The Lost Viking
The Final Farewell
When they reached Holtavord the jarl kept his word. Bjorgolf, Thorir and Signy went to visit Helga, who was not happy to see her dead husband' s commander again. " What do you want ?! " she asked angrily. It was the jarl, however, who asked Helga for the favor. " Bjorgolf wishes to take the Englishman Edward back to England with him, and I have agreed to let him take him. " he told her. " This English dog does not belong among our people . " he added. Helga did not want to do anything for Bjorgolf, but when Signy pleaded with her on her former husband's behalf, she reluctantly gave in to his wishes, and allowed the Englishman to go with Bjorgolf.
The merchant ship's captain had been wise to take Bjorgolf's advice. Staying in Holtavord had been very profitable for Egil. The captain had sold almost all of his cargo to the local merchants in Holtavord. The day before he was to sail to Lade, and then back to England, Bjorgolf came down to the dock to speak with him. Bjorgolf asked Egil if he would take himself and one other person back to England with them. Egil, knowing that he was a friend of King Amundi was more than happy to grant his request.
Edward, however, was suspicious of Bjorgolf's motive for freeing him from Helga' s service. The Englishman feared that because he told King Hallfred that he was dead, Bjorgolf would kill him for revenge. Bjorgolf, however, assured Edward that he had no such intentions. For he knew the pain, hardship, and loneliness of being held captive in a foreign land. He also of course knew the great joy of being freed ! In the end Edward had no choice. If he ever wanted to go home, and see his wife, Bjorgolf was his only hope .
The night before the ship was to leave for England, Signy could not sleep, and Jarl Thorir was awakened by his wife's stirrings. Groggily he turned to her. " Does my wife wish to go down to the fjord to say goodbye to Bjorgolf ? " he asked with a yawn. Signy' s eyes welled up with tears. " I never really had a chance to talk to my former husband since his return ." she told her husband. " And yes, I think it would be the right thing to do. " she added answering his question. Thorir lovingly wiped the tears from her cheek. " These circumstances are so very confusing. But the fault does not lie with Bjorgolf, or with anyone for that matter. All one can say is that it was just something that happened, accept it, and move on. " he explained. " You should go down to see him off . " he told his wife. Signy kissed her husband, and held him tight . " Thank you ! You are the best thing that ever happened to me ! " she whispered in his ear.
Thorir did not accompany his wife down to the docks to see off Bjorgolf. He thought it only right that they have a few private moments together. Signy arrived, with Gudny, at the fjord just as the sun rose above the snow capped distant mountains. It was going to be a beautiful day ! As she approached the ship she noticed a gentle breeze was beginning to blow. The wind was coming out of the northeast, and would help the ship greatly when they set their colorful sail. Signy decided to bring her daughter with her because she wanted Gudny to remember Bjorgolf as a good man . And he was a good man ! Signy knew that if not for circumstances beyond their control they could have had a wonderful life, and Gudny could have been Bjorgolf's daughter.
Bjorgolf spotted Signy first, and walked down the plank to greet her. When Signy heard the creaking of the wood she turned and saw her former husband. He looked splendid in his fur collared cloak, and very regal with his jewel encrusted sword sticking out of its scabbard. In a moment of weakness she thought to herself : " If only.... if only things had turned out differently. " Bjorgolf noticed that Signy wore a beautiful gown, with a well made cloak, to cover her from the cold morning air. The pin that held the cloak was shaped like a raven, and appeared to be made of pure gold. Bjorgolf smiled as he thought : " Thorir treats Signy well, and that will ease my mind through the years. " Bjorgolf also could not help but notice that the little girl, who's hand she held, looked exactly like her.
The two stood for a moment studying one another as if they were trying to make for themselves a mental picture that would last them the rest of their lives. Bjorgolf spoke first : " I did not think that you would come to see me off. " he told her. Signy took a step closer before answering. " We may not have been together for very long, but we were joined before the Gods, and that bond is not so easily broken. " she told him. Bjorgolf then looked her straight in the eyes. " I am so very sorry for everything that I have made you endure. I assure you it was never my intention to hurt you, and if I had the chance to do it all over I would not leave you this time. " he explained to her. Signy's eyes welled up, but she did not cry. " You did what you felt you had to do, and went where the Gods took you. I do not blame you ! Our destinies were simply never meant to be intertwined by the Norns. " she told him.
To keep himself from becoming too emotional Bjorgolf changed the subject. " I cannot believe how much your daughter looks like you ! " he told Signy as he brushed his hand on the child's cheek. Signy smiled . " I have been told that quite often. " she replied. Although she is the result of the love between myself and Thorir, she will always remind me of you Bjorgolf, my first love. " she told him. Bjorgolf gave her a curious look. " And why is that ? " he asked. Signy picked up Gudny and kissed her on the cheek. " Because if you had not gone away I would never had met Thorir. " she answered.
Just as Bjorgolf was about to respond, Egil shouted down from his ship. " The winds are right Bjorgolf . It is time to go ! " Bjorgolf's smile turned into a frown. " I guess it is time for me to leave. " he blurted out. Bjorgolf stepped forward and kissed Signy on the cheek. " I wish you and your family only the best ! " he told her. Signy tried, but she could not hold back the tears. " And I hope that you find love and happiness in England ! " Bjorgolf nodded. " Thank You ! " he told her. Bjorgolf then turned, walked up the plank, and onto the ship.
Signy and Bjorgolf watched each other for a long time as the crew cast off the lines, rowed away from the dock, and set the sail. As the ship slowly made its way out of the fjord Signy and Bjorgolf waved to each other one last time. Signy did not leave until the sail disappeared into the distance. Then she turned and started back to her cart for the ride back to Hrutadale. As she stepped up into the carriage, Thorir rode up on his horse. " I thought you might like some company for the ride home. " he told her with a smile. Gudny clapped her hands and shouted : " Hello father ! " Signy laughed, and slapped the horse with the reins to get it going. As they rode away from the fjord together Signy never looked back.
Bjorgolf was greeted warmly upon his return to York. King Amundi was very glad to see that his good friend had returned. Bjorgolf had come back just in time to join in the beginning of a great war between the Danelaw and King Edmund of Northumberland . Bjorgolf was given the great honor of leading an entire division of Amundi's army into battle. The Danes made some initial gains into the English territory, even capturing Durham for a short time, but they could not defeat the Northumberland army, or hold the territory that they had gained. Eventually the border between the two kingdoms was decided during a long peace treaty negotiation. Ironically, the new border was only about two miles north of where it had been originally.
Bjorgolf proved himself a capable leader and a great warrior in battle. King Amundi rewarded Bjorgolf for his loyalty by making him the Jarl of Leicester. It was here that he met a beautiful English girl named Mary. Anyone who had known Bjorgolf in Norway would have known why he chose this pretty little English maiden. Mary had shiny long blonde hair, and pretty big blue eyes, just like the girl he left behind. Together they had a son who they named Hoskuld, and a pretty little girl named Signy.
One morning, early in the war, Bjorgolf personally brought Edward to a field in between the two armies, and let him go free as he promised. Edward thanked Bjorgolf for his kindness, but instead of heading to the English army, and relative safety, he walked around them to get back to Bamburgh, avoiding any more of the bloody conflict. Edward was tired of death and war.
On a sunny warm morning Edward arrived at the outskirts of Bamburgh. He was intending to go straight into the town, but then he saw a woman tending a flock of sheep on a hill overlooking the town. As he came closer he realized it was his wife !
" Elizabeth ! Elizabeth ! Elizabeth ! " he shouted as he made a mad dash across the field. At first when she heard the shouting she could not tell who it was who was calling to her. But when she saw the figure come into view, and finally came to the realization that it was her husband, she dropped her walking stick, and ran to greet him. Both broke down in tears as they embraced for the first time in years.
From that day on Edward always faced the sea when he watched their flock of sheep. What he was searching the distant horizon for was the dreaded square sail of a dragon ship. They never did come again. The age of the Vikings was over !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2014.