Dear Ingrid

Years have passed since we last saw each other, and I have been away from my home for too long. I sent a message to you seven years ago promising that I would return one day, and that day has come. I am writing this letter to you, dear sister, in an inn in Saxland. I am writing to you in a language that I have not spoken for years and in letters that I barely recognize. My journey has been long and difficult, but I have overcome the challenges on the way. If only you could see what I have seen: the great city of Miklagård, the seas of the south, the lands of sand, it is views that I fear you nor most people will ever see.

I never had the chance to explain why I have not returned home, nor how father died, and I will explain it short in this letter in case I won't reach Birka. We left you and mother on that warm summer evening to travel to Miklagård so that cousin Björn could become a guard for the Byzantine emperor as he always wanted. Do you remember that night, when all of Birka stood by the waterfront to wave goodbye, and you gave me that iron ring as a gift? I remember that night; I still have the ring with me. It took us weeks to reach the sea that would eventually take us to Miklagård, and since I was just a fifteen years old boy at the time who had never left the north, I couldn't have been more happy. It all changed though, our ship hit a rock and we had to continue our journey on foot. That's when we where attacked by bandits, before we ever reached Miklagård. We fought hard, but they where many. I do not remember much from the battle, I never fought because I was hit in the head and fainted. When I woke up, all I could see were corpses with flies eating on them. I can't even describe the horror of the sight. I found Torsten and Ragnar, and together we searched for any survivors. We found none, and we never found the corpse of father. Together, we traveled to Miklagård in order to find a way to return home. They told me to wait in a market while they searched for someone who could help us. They promised that they would return by midnight. They lied. Lost in a big city, something that was complete unfamiliar to me, in a place where they spoke a language I could not understand, I felt that my hope was lost. I spent months on the streets of Miklagård, trying to learn the language and survive the day by stealing and begging, until I was saved. A man who noticed my talent for escaping the guards gave me food and took me to a place far away from Miklagård. I was just glad to not feel as hungry any more, so I joined him, he was my friend. He took me to a place not known by most, a place where I was enlightened.

For the past ten years, I have been taught knowledge that is beyond anything that the wise men of Birka will ever teach you. I have been taught the true way of the world, the insight that nothing is true. I have been taught how to read and write, besides the runes that is used in the north. I have learned to speak in a language vary different from ours. I have been trained to move like a shadow, to become one with the dark and blend in crowds. I have been taught how to kill, to hunt my prey and fight like no one else.

I may not be the same person I was when I left you ten years ago. I have grown up, I am a man now, but not the man my father expected me to be. I do not know if I still worship the gods, Odin and his sons. It's difficult to believe when you know as much as I do now, but some parts of me feel still want to believe. I want to believe that father is drinking in Valhalla with his brothers. One thing is certain though; I do not worship the new god. They call him Christ, and his priests have established great power here in the south, and I have seen the priests of Christ. They impose fear among the people, threatening them with eternal damnation if they do not bow for Christ. The men of the church live in wealth while the common people are poor. They preach to them in a language they do not understand and punish anyone who doesn't agree with them. I fear this injustice will try to infest our lands one day, but I will not let that happen. However, my purpose is not to hunt the men of the church, I am of another cause.

I do not return with any riches or wares that can be traded, I bring something much more valuable. With me, I bring a key of freedom and justice, my purpose and my cause. I bring the Assassin's Creed. I will explain who we, the Assassins, are when I return to Birka. I don't return with the intention of living a "normal" life, I was sent by my order for a far greater task. I will establish basesfor my order in the North, one in Birka, one in the fjords of the west, one among the Danes, and one on Island. I will also travel both east and west to establish bases around the regions where our people travel for trades and exploration. I will also recruit new apprentices that may one day call themselves Assassins. During my journeys I will also hunt the men of the other order, those who prevent freedom and justice. There is a lot to be done, but first I will finally return home.

I would prefer to say these words to you in person, but I fear that I can not guarantee that I will reach Birka alive. I am preparing myself to hunt a man of the other order here in Saxland, and can not promise that I will survive. It has to be done, for I am a hunter and will hunt these men who do takes away freedom and oppress the people.

I am an Assassin.

/Hakon Olafsson