Child Of Destiny
As Thorvald rode across the stream and back to his hall in Hedemark, Astrid took Onund aside and asked him not to tell her parents about what he had seen this day. Onund told her that because he had to go back and get help from two of the king's men to look for her, he would not be able to lie about her being with Prince Thorvald of Hedemark. " I will, however, leave out the part about you both being naked princess. " he told her with a touch of sarcasm . " For that I thank you very much Onund ! " Astrid said with a worried smile.
When the king and queen heard that Prince Thorvald had been seen with their daughter, they summoned Astrid to their court at once ! As Onund walked to her sleeping chamber, to escort her to the meeting , he wondered, no he hoped, that the whole truth would not come out. If the king found out that he was hiding what really took place in that cave, he would be dismissed, punished, and possibly even put to death. As he knocked on Astrid' s door he said to himself : " No, Astrid would never tell her parents what really happened out there by the Hedemark border ! "
Astrid had been waiting in her chamber all morning for the meeting she knew was coming with her parents. She had gone over and over in her mind the half truths she was going to tell her parents. To enhance the innocence of her story, she had dressed in a very conservative gown, which made her look much older and mature than her age. As she opened the door to her bed chamber she took in a deep breath. " The king and queen have summoned you to court Princess Astrid. " Onund said firmly. Astrid nodded as she closed the door behind her. " You will keep your word, and remain silent about what you saw in the cave yesterday ? " she asked. " The lie has already been spun, princess ! I am entangled in its threads, and it will bring me down if I try to free myself from it now. " Onund replied. Astrid mouthed a silent, " Thank You " as they walked down the hall to the court.
Astrid and Onund were both grateful that it was a closed court for their meeting with the king and queen. No guards, no handmaidens, and best of all no one to gossip to anyone, or everyone, what was about to be discussed. As they approached the high seats it was very clear to both of them that the king and queen were in a foul mood. Astrid had seen that look on her mother's face only on rare occasions, and knew that she was very, very angry !
Astrid decided to try and diffuse the situation, and lighten the mood, with a smile and her friendly spirit. " Good morning mother ! Morning father ! I hope the Gods find you well on this lovely morning ! Astrid said pleasantly. Unfortunately her parents were not interested in small talk this morning. " What in the nine worlds were you thinking my daughter ! " Grima shouted angrily. "Onund has told us that you were with Prince Thorvald ! And you were hiding in a cave together ! ? she asked even louder. Astrid was shaken by her mother's anger, but she quickly composed herself. " Mother, it began to pour down rain as we were riding on opposite sides of the stream. We were simply looking for a place to shelter among a grove of trees when we spotted the cave opening. We stayed there until the rain began to subside,.... and we were leaving just as Onund entered the cave. " Astrid stated pleading her case.
King Runolf raised his hand signalling Astrid to stop, and looked over at Onund. " Were they naked when you found them ! " the king demanded. Astrid held her breath as Onund answered. " I can honestly say that I did not see your daughter naked my lord. The princess did have a horse blanket over her to keep warm. " Onund said nervously. " And tell me why you were not with my daughter when it is your duty to protect her ?! " the king asked. Astrid stepped forward and answered for him. " That was my fault father ! I had forgotten my cloak, and asked Onund to go back and retrieve it for me. " she replied.
Queen Grima shook her head as she laughed. " Do you really expect us to believe that this was all some sort of coincidence !? Do you think that we are stupid Astrid !? " she asked but did not wait for an answer. " I saw how you looked at Prince Thorvald at the great feast, ......and I saw the way he returned your gaze ! " she added. " No Astrid ! I do not believe for a moment that this
" chance meeting" simply happened by coincidence. I think you planned to meet Thorvald, and the rain storm ruined your plans ! " Queen Grima screamed at her daughter. Grima then looked over at her husband and demanded : " I want her punished ! And I want her kept away from that prince from Hedemark ! "
King Runolf rolled his eyes, but shook his head in agreement. " Onund, I believe that you were an unknowing party to my daughter's trick, and I will not punish you. " the king said in judgement. " Astrid, you are confined to the great hall, and the grounds on which it sits. You will go nowhere without a guard, and you will never see Prince Thorvald again ! " Runolf demanded. " Onund ! " the king shouted. " You will not let her out of your sight ! For if you do, I will have your head handed to me ! " the king told him. Understood, my lord ! " I will not let her out of my sight ! " Onund replied.
Astrid started to protest, but the king waved her away. When she took a step towards the high seats, Onund grabbed her by the arm, and stopped her. " The king has dismissed us princess ! It is time to leave ! " Onund said sternly. As they walked out of the court Astrid turned to Onund and asked : " Why did you stop me from pleading my case ? " Onund stopped and looked her in the eyes. " Princess your words, no matter how eloquent, would have made the matter worse. Over time this will fade and you will regain your freedom. For now you will simply have to bide your time and wait. " Onund told her.
Later that morning King Runolf sent a messenger with a formal complaint to the king and queen of Hedemark over this matter. King Olaf and Queen Gudrun were shocked when they heard the news, and gave the rider their assurance that their son would never be seen with their daughter again . They too called their son before them, but when they heard his version of what had happened they did not see any great concern over such a small matter. King Olaf simply told his son to ride his horse elsewhere and to stay away from the border with Romerike for a while. Prince Thorvald agreed, but his heart had been turned to love, and he knew that one day he would see Astrid again.
As Astrid sat looking out of her bedroom window, she was not aware that she was being watched. From Hlidskjalf ,Odin and Frigga shook their heads as they pondered their next move. Freyja walked over to Frigga and whispered : " I am sorry All- Mother, my plan has turned against us. " Frigga placed her hand over Freyja' s : " Another opportunity will arise my dear. " Frigga said in a soft tone. Odin looked over at the Goddesses and smiled. He already had a plan !
End Chapter 5
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2014.
Next : Chapter 6 : Kidnapped !