The Skald by Gregory Amato
Keep your wits as sharp as your sword. Ansgar the Skald just needs to make a simple delivery. One very fine sword, made by his foster father, needs to go east. Over the mountains, into the woods, and almost to the land of the Swedes. Once he does that, he can go home and warm his feet. All he needs to do is choose the right path through the forest. This is one foreboding forest, though, and a part of the world Ansgar has never traveled through. In that bleak part of the north, outlaws want to take his sword, wargs want to eat his face, and witches want him for things he would rather not think about. As a skald, Ansgar knows the kind of lore that can keep a man alive in the far north. Tales of heroes and trolls, of gods and dwarves. He's got the best stories. He's got his wits. And he's got a cynical raven to give him advice. Maybe. The right direction has a warm fire and a horn full of mead waiting. The wrong direction has wolves the size of ponies. Or worse.