The year is 1142, and magic has not yet been overshadowed by science. The Byzantine Empire stands as the last beacon of old Rome in Christendom, but it is surrounded on all sides by cunning enemies, ferocious monsters, and wicked sorcerers. The Emperor's best defenses against these foes are the elite soldiers of the Varangian Guard: fierce, axe-bearing Norsemen from the frozen wastes. When rumors of murder, war, and blackest sorcery plague the Emperor's planned pilgrimage to Jerusalem, it is these warriors who answer the call. Take up your axe and shield, Varangian, and fight for the Empire!