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INTRODUCTION
PROLOGUE
CHAPTER I - THE SWORD
CHAPTER II - MORAVIA
CHAPTER III - MARHAT
CHAPTER IV - TRIBECH
CHAPTER V - THE ARROW
CHAPTER VI – NITRAVA
CHAPTER VII - BOGATYGRAD
CHAPTER VIII – CLOTHAR
CHAPTER IX - DAGOBERT
CHAPTER X - RETALIATION
EXPLANATORY NOTES


CHAPTER VIII – CLOTHAR

Years have passed and Samo came to Bogatygrad to oversee training of his daughters. They were still young children but they already knew their bows. A routine training of archers within city walls was planned for today. Soldiers cleared out a quarter of the city while young and older archers trained how to defend the streets while retreating. Young archers shot only at targets attached to buildings and older ones also trained shooting while a swordsman with a target shield was running towards them and screaming obsessively.

This kind of training teached them to use the environment they knew to their advantage. The girls were handy and learned fast. Later on, standard shooting from a city wall was on the programme. Archers stood firm on the palisades and shot at markers outside the city that were equally spaced from each other. The trick was to get a feeling in their hands and to aim at the right angle and hit the target or at least get the distance right.

This is how superior archers were selected out of the newcomers and they earned the right to get special attention within their new profession. Samo had in mind to use this system in other corners of his empire as well. He knew that if people focus too much on trade, agriculture and farming, they’ll be too vulnerable in case of a foreign threat.

More and more Venedian tribes joined the Union. Whole historical regions like Bohemia and Carantania enriched the Union, which grew into an important player in Europe. Chieftains of all the tribes were satisfied with Samo’s leadership and it was once again time to prove it in a vote.

Samo was travelling with Ragnahar, escorted by Samo’s personal guard, to the Bohemian fortress Vishegrad lying on the river Vltava. It was an important center in the heart of Bohemian lands. Samo was welcomed exquisitely by the locals. Later he dressed more discreetly and took Ragnahar to a local tavern to have a beer or two.

“To our health!” said Samo followed by Ragnahar: “To our health!”

After one gulp Samo stated: “Aakh, you simply need to go to Bohemia to have the best beer. Czechs really know how to satisfy their desires by food and beer.”

“And beautiful women,” added Ragnahar looking around. After having another one, both went to prepare themselves for the evening meeting. The meeting went without any surprises. Samo was re-elected as ruler of the Union and a sumptuous feast followed.

As all the chieftains were drinking and talking to each other, Ragnahar approached Samo: “A Frankish messenger came and he would like to see you.”

So they went to a quiet room and the messenger handed over the message. Samo realized that the message comes from the King of the Franks, Clothar II. The Frankish messenger spoke: “Our dearest king died and his final wish was for me to bring you this message.

The message stated:

“Honorable Samuel,

I have done many cruel deeds in my life. Only God will judge me for my sins, but I would like to make up for at least one of them.

When I was young I fell in love with a Venedian slave who was toiling away at our court. She died during childbirth and left me alone, only with you. I couldn’t let anything happen to you, so I arranged for a local merchant family to raise you as their own.

You’re my eldest son and part of the House of Merovingian. I always followed your achievements. You were able to pull down the Venedian people into action and thus indirectly protecting the Kingdom of Franks from barbarian attacks. You’ve proven yourself even though you have more of your mother in you.

I would never tell you about your roots, but I assume that Dagobertus found out about you and he sees you as a threat. I want my empire to stand the test of time and not fall into the hands of some barbarians like it happened with great empires in the past. Protect my legacy.

My final wish is for you to not speak about this to anyone, to not claim any titles in the Kingdom of the Franks, to not harm my son and successor Dagobertus and to burn this message after you read it.

Take my final wish as sacred.”

“Signed King of the Franks, Clothar II. of the House of Merovingian,” said Samo to himself.

Samo stood up and threw the message into the fire. He thanked the Frankish messenger and offered him food and something to drink for the ride back. Then Samo returned to the meeting of chieftains where a heated discussion was going on.

One of the chieftains spoke out fearfully: “I truly hope that we won’t be faced with them in our lifetimes.”

“They won’t reach Europe in a thousand years,” replied another mockingly.

Samo asked the bystanding Ragnahar: “What are they talking about?”

“There’s a new religion emerging in Arabia. In my opinion, it’s truly necessary to talk about it right now,” replied Ragnahar sarcastically.

“You’re right. I need to talk to the chieftains,” said Samo and interrupted the not so fruitful discussion.

“Dear chieftains of Venedian tribes, we need to discuss urgent matters. I’ve got a message saying that an important change happened with our neighbor, the Kingdom of the Franks. Its ruler Clothar the second died,” explained Samo and the room went quiet.

“As you know, every such a change brings new circumstances to the table. We want to maintain friendly relations towards our neighbor, but we also need to be prepared for anything. Dagobert, King of Austrasia, will become the new King of the Franks and only time will show what he will be like,” continued Samo.

“How can we prepare ourselves for the changes that will come?” asked one of the chieftains.

“You all will build military training centers in your largest cities as the one in Bogatygrad on the river Morava. Each year you will hold contests for young boys and girls and the most skilled ones will receive the best possible advanced training. Others will receive standard training so that everyone is prepared for the worst. Even your children,” answered Samo.

“I object! My daughters won’t be forced into military training!” shouted one angry chieftain.

“You’d rather for them to be defenseless when it comes?” asked Samo and the chieftain went silent.

“We need to prepare ourselves for anything that’s coming to us. I will do everything in my powers to protect our lands and our people. Now let’s have a toast to our future!” said Samo. He raised his glass and so did others.


INTRODUCTION
PROLOGUE
CHAPTER I - THE SWORD
CHAPTER II - MORAVIA
CHAPTER III - MARHAT
CHAPTER IV - TRIBECH
CHAPTER V - THE ARROW
CHAPTER VI – NITRAVA
CHAPTER VII - BOGATYGRAD
CHAPTER VIII – CLOTHAR
CHAPTER IX - DAGOBERT
CHAPTER X - RETALIATION
EXPLANATORY NOTES