The Bastard Son
Both the Rus and the Ranrike commanders held to their word. The hostilities ended and the Rus, led by Albrikt and Kiartan, pulled out and headed north to make the long journey back to the Land of the Rus. Despite Oski's agreement with Alfrekr not one Rus warrior elected to stay in the land of the Viken.
When Halogi, the Viken commander, heard of the Rus withdrawal, he sought out King Sigvaldi, and made a peace agreement with the Vestfold king. Sigvaldi agreed to acknowledge Halogi as king of the Viken peoples if he killed King Thorvald, and then demobilized his army. Halogi was more than happy to comply. He took his depleted, but much fresher army, and attacked King Thorvald's tired and battered forces. Thorvald quickly surrendered, and was killed by his own warriors, who blamed their king for all of their misery. His body was hung from a tree at the entrance to the fjord. It remained there for weeks until someone, or something, took it down.
Queen Bekkhildr arrived at the battlefield shortly after the holmgang was over. She ordered three of her personal guards to take her husband's body back to southern Ranrike for a burial at sea. She commanded the rest of her guard to cross over to the Rus camp and arrest Eydis. The Rus commanders protested, but they were no longer in a position to prevent it. The queen demanded that her son have Eydis tortured and killed for her treasonous acts, but Gormr held to the oath he made to his father, and Eydis became a guarded "guest " of the Ranrike kingdom.
A year later the Rus queen, Katarina, with a small contingent of warriors landed at the docks just to the north of Gormr' s great hall. Queen Bekkhildr urged Gormr to send Vigmundr with the army to arrest them, but Gormr refused. The new king of Ranrike felt it was wiser to treat the Rus queen as an honored guest, and sent his personal guard out to escort her to his great hall.
Upon their arrival Queen Katarina, and her entourage were treated royally, and the queen was invited to stay at the great hall. That night Queen Katarina met with Queen Bekkhildr, King Gormr, and Eydis. She asked that Eydis be remanded to her care, and be allowed to return to the Land of the Rus where she was greatly beloved. Katarina also made the case that Eydis should be allowed to care for the grave mound of her son Oski, whose body had been brought back to the Rus by Albrikt and Kiartan, and was buried just outside of Holmgard. The Rus queen also offered Gormr a hundred gold coins for her release.
Queen Bekkhildr refused to even speak of it, but Gormr, not wanting to embarrass his mother in front of the Rus queen, told Katarina that he would consider her proposal. That night during a heated exchange, Gormr, remembering his father's last words, let it be known by his mother, in no uncertain terms, that he was now the king of Ranrike, and it was his word that was the law of the land, and not hers !
The next morning King Gormr, with his mother noticeably absent from his side, told the Rus queen that she could take Eydis back to the Land of the Rus under one condition. The queen must agree to a treaty of peace with the Kingdom of Ranrike. Queen Katarina, knowing that her husband King Oleg had no reason to wage war against Gormr, here in the west, was more than happy to agree to such a demand. Upon hearing her acceptance of his terms King Gormr politely refused the one hundred gold coins the Rus queen had offered for the release of Eydis.
Two days later the Ranrike king personally escorted Queen Katarina and Eydis to the docks to see them off. As they sailed away Gormr suddenly heard whispering in his head. He turned to Vigmundr and repeated the words he had heard.
" And now let their be peace in our lands ! " he told his commander.
Until the day he died Gormr believed that it was his father Alfrekr who had spoken these words to him. He never realized that it was a higher power that spoke to him until he died and stood before Odin himself in Valhalla.
- The End
Next : Odin's Eyes : A Story Of Hugin And Munin
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.