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The Way of Vikings The child had grown to a young man. The calluses on his hands showed the effort put into weapons training. His muscles had started bulging shyly throw the skin a few months ago, a fact which made him really proud of himself. A black eye from the last training with Ragnar; a patchy fuzz that resembled a beard. At age 15 he felt like a man. Living of wild game and foraged plants had changed his body, making it leaner and stronger, so different from his soft childhood body. After checking no one was around he flexed his arm to admire his halfway developed biceps. “Get a grip, pretty boy” Ragnar’s laughter caught him off guard. “Damn you and your stealth Ragnar, sure you are werewolf and not a werecat? ” Said the young man, his face red from the embarrassment. “Don’t worry little brother, no one else was looking, and besides, you are getting fairly strong for a fellow your size” Ragnar was a head taller than the young lad would ever be and he didn't missed an oportunity to remind him so. "Njal says it's time for you to swear the oath... if you prove yourself worthy" said Ragnar, suddenly serious. "Don't sweat it, I know you'll do great. I've trained you myself, didn't I?" "And a good trainer you've been, brother" said the youngster as he touched his black eye. All members of the brotherhood addressed each other as “brother”. He was not a full fledged member yet so calling Ragnar his brother was considered an offence to the code, yet he truly thought of him as a brother, from the day he found the boy half dead on the river bank… it seemed like a lifetime ago. Njal was the leader of the brotherhood, an old warrior as big as a bear and as smart as a scholar. He had accepted Ragnar’s request to let the boy prove his worth and swear the oath when he was old enough, and that time had come. The young initiate had to fight the newest member of the brotherhood, and if his performance pleased Njal, he would get to swear a sacred oath. His opponent would be Skallagrimm, a 20 years old man who was really fond of him. “Worry not fella, Imma make look good in front of the old man, you’ll be a brother really soon” he had said to him the day before. Njal must have told him first. "Hey, Ragnar! Can you stay away from your little fuck-boy long enough to attend a counsil meeting?" Hafthor's voice, loud as thunder, interrupted his thoughts. "Who do you call a fuck-boy, Hafthor you piece if shit" the young lad confronted the bigger man. "Bring it on then...fuck-boy" Hafthor smiled and raised his guard. “Break it off both of you. NOW" Ragnar got inbetween the two. "You said there's a counsil meeting, well let go then". "Ragnar won’t be around forever, boy" Hafthor laughed as they walked away. Ragnar and Hafthor were Njals officers and one of them would take command of the brotherhood upon Najl's death. While Ragnar simply acceptes this fact, Halfthor lusted for such power. Apart from being the strongest of the brothers, Halfthor was a mad dog: he enjoyed torturing and raping during pillages and had a fame for randomly bursting in rage over small matters. It was a fact that Hafthor was waiting for the chance to stab Ragnar in the back and claim Njal's place. By the time he returned to camp, the counsil meeting was over and some brothers were gathering around the fire. "It seems like the little rat will get a chance to prove it's worth" Hafthor spoke to no one in particular "can't wait to see how Skallagrimm chops him to pieces". The boy stepped forward to face Hafthor "Why don't you say that to my face?” “You’ve got a big mouth, hum… little cunt”. He could not stand the insult, just like Hafthor expected. The boy’s fist flew through the air and landed on the man’s jaw, barely shaking his head. “Alright, I accept the challenge. Let’s see if you have what it takes to be part of the brotherhood”. Hafthor seized a fellow brother’s sword and tossed it at the young man’s feet, then unsheathed his and threw the first cut. His adversary raised the sword to block the blow. The force was so brutal that the sword flew out of the youngster’s hand and in quick succession; a vicious punch sent him to the ground. “This is how we battle boy, is the way of vikings!” Hafthor shouted, as he went for the killing blow. Ragnar’s sword deflected the blow just in time to avoid the death of his “little brother” striking Hafthor’s face with the pommel. “Stay down, damn you” Ragnar turned to face his little brother “What in the world was that? Are you trying to get yourself killed? Your first fight was supposed to be against…” At that moment a blade appeared through Ragnar’s chest. With eyes wide open, the man grabbed the blade coming out of his body and fell to his knees. Then he dropped to the ground face first. Hafthor held the sword for a moment and then proceeded to clean the blood out of it with Ragnar’s tunic and walk away. The boy with his brother’s dead body on his arms could not believe what just happened. As anger filled every corner of his body, he grabbed Ragnar’s sword and rushed towards Hafthor. The man saw this and raised his guard. Obviously brute force would not win that fight; he’d had to outsmart his adversary. The boy dodged a blow, and then a second and a third one. He kept on dancing around the bigger man, dodging every blow, until his technique became sloppier as he got tired, and his breath became heavy and difficult: Hafthor might have been strong, but he couldn’t fight for very long. The lad saw his chance and took it, cutting the backside of his enemy’s ankle rendering the leg useless. Just as Ragnar taught him, he did a reverse cut and sliced the other ankle. In the moment Halfthor fell to the ground, his adversary kicked his face with full force breaking his nose, causing him to lose his grip on the sword. “This is how we battle!” the boy shouted at his brother’s murderer. Another kick to the face and the murderer fell backwards- “this is the way of Vikings!...” -With all the strength he could summon, he drove his sword through Hafthor’s eye into his skull, ending him swiftly- ”…boy”. The lad fell to his knees crushed under the weight of his brother’s death, and tired from the stress of the fight. An old, callused hand grabbed him by the shoulder “C’mon , son” Njal said ”we have some graves to dig… and you have an oath to take” As many of you fellow rebels, I've found a weekly routine that more or less works for me. Last challenge I put an extra effort on the nutrition front, just to find out I wasn't doing it all that bad without actual macro counting and stuff. So, now that I feel confident about my caloric intake, it's time to get back to the grind: batch cooking, avoiding more than 1 variance/week and training my ass off. That takes us to the main goal of this challenge, which is working on my endurance. I am really lacking on that department. That is making the WODs harder to complete because even if I'm phisically able to perform a specific exercise, stringing a few of them in a row becomes really difficult due to my poor endurance (a.k.a I get winded way too fast). Besides is an excuse to try some rucking, using "Zombies, Run!" to add some sense of purpouse. I'll definetly practice jumping rope because I totally suck at it and if I can, I'll squeeze in one or two sessions of HIIT. Last challenge non-fitness related goals where left for dead, but they are coming back for this one. The to-do list will be weekly, not daily, and there will be a goal related to decluttering and organizing my small toolshed in order for it to become a small functioning workshop. I'll use a point system to grade my efforts, so I get an idea of how well I did when the four weeks are over. For the activities I do on a regular basis (CrossFit, Ultimate Couple WorkoutTM,batch cooking) I'll be getting 5 points. For the new activities related to this challenge(Rucks, Jumping Rope) I'll be getting 10 points. For the extra activities(HIIT, Yoga, Martial Arts?) I'll be getting 15 points Every hour dedicated to building my metal/wood working manshed shall award me 5 points To- do lists and PvP events from Wolf's and Rurik's challenges will SUBSTRACT 5 points each when not completed but won't add to the total point count. The same goes for non-paleo food: Any non-paleo meal will substract 10 points to the total point count. So if I dont miss any of my regular activities they should make 100 points. New activities should make 120 points(2 rucks, 1 rope session a week). That's 220 points total; anything below that number will be counted as a fail. Let's do this!