The Lost Viking
Signy' s New Love
Not quite half way to Holtavord the caravan suddenly stopped behind him. A rider quickly came galloping forward and told the jarl that one of the women was sick and had collapsed. Jarl Thorir, fearing the king would blame him personally if anything happened to the women, rode back immediately to check on the woman' s condition. The young woman was lying on a cart when Jarl Thorir rode up and dismounted. As he stepped up on the cart he could see that the woman was obviously sick with a fever. As he knelt down beside her he felt her forehead with his hand. It felt warm in the cold air, and he also noticed that she was shivering. When he brushed her golden blonde hair back off of her face, he saw her pretty blue eyes looking up at him. The jarl also noticed her ample breasts heaving up and down as she breathed. As he felt something inside of him stir the jarl took off his hood and draped it over her. Jarl Thorir was twenty eight years old and had known many women, but he had never felt anything this strong for a woman before. True love had awakened in him for the very first time as he lost himself in her beautiful blue eyes.
Thorir placed his hand on her forehead again. It seemed hotter this time. " This woman is burning with fever ! We must get her to my hall as quickly as possible ! " he shouted to his men. Then the jarl looked around until he found the warrior he was looking for. " Egil ! Egil ! Come at once ! " the jarl yelled frantically. A large man riding a white horse pulled up alongside the cart . " Yes, my lord ! " Egil said. Thorir gave his best warrior a worried look as he spoke. " You will escort the rest of these women to Holtavord, while I take this woman to my hall in Hrutadale to see a healer ! " Egil bowed to his commander and replied : " At once my lord ! " As Egil rode back to the front of the caravan, Thorir turned and asked Helga if the woman who was ill was the wife of Bjorgolf. " Yes, my lord . Her name is Signy. " she told the jarl. Thorir nodded and said : " I would like you to follow me to my hall. There I can have her looked after by the local healer, who is known for his herbs, and medicine. " Thorir then jumped from the cart back onto his horse.
It took most of the afternoon for them to reach Thorir's hall in Hrutadale. As the jarl gave his horse to a handler he ran inside and shouted for a warrior and a maiden to come outside at once. The jarl instructed the warrior to carefully bring her into his hall, and then he did something that the man did not expect. The jarl helped to carry the woman into the hall as well. Once they had her safely onto a bed, the handmaiden took off her shoes and covered Signy with several blankets. The jarl then turned to his warrior and angrily shouted at him : " Why is it so cold in here ?! " The warrior shrugged his shoulders. " My lord, everyone was away. I saw no need to heat the hall. " he explained. Thorir looked down at the shivering woman in his care, and then grabbed the man by the shirt and yelled : " If I do not see a raging fire in each of those fire pits in the next few moments I will kill you, and feed your dead body to my dogs ! " The terrified warrior ran over to the wall where the firewood was stacked, and grabbed a huge handful of wood. Then ran over to the fire pit and threw them in. He did this in rapid succession until both pits were filled. The warrior then went over and grabbed a torch from the wall, and lit the pits one by one. The warrior hurried back over to Thorir with the torch still in his hand . " Are the fires big enough my lord ? Should I throw more wood in and make them bigger ? " he asked nervously. The jarl placed his hand on the warrior' s shoulder. " They are fine. Thank you ! " the jarl said in a much softer tone. To a viking the jarl' s gesture was as good as an apology. Jarl Thorir then asked the handmaiden to go find the healer, and bring him to his hall .
The jarl did not leave Signy' s side for three days. Helga and the handmaiden had to stand back at times while the jarl wiped her brow or fed her the herb broth that the healer had mixed for her. The jarl tended to her needs the way a mother tends to her child. Both Helga and the handmaiden could sense that there was something developing between the jarl and Signy. Then on the fourth day Signy felt a little better and was able to sit up. Thorir dismissed the handmaiden, and told Helga to get some rest, as he spoon fed Signy spoonfuls of stew. And it was his hands that held the cup of water to her lips to let her drink. As the handmaiden left the hall she commented to Helga : " A blind person could see that the jarl has fallen in love with the maiden Signy . " Helga who was tired and hurting looked back and watched as the jarl wiped Signy' s chin with a cloth. She turned back to the handmaiden and nodded that she agreed.
After a week passed Signy was well enough to travel again. The night before she was to leave, however, Thorir sat her down in front of the fire, and placed a blanket over her shoulders. " I do not want you to leave Hrutadale. " he told her. As Thorir stroked her golden hair which the handmaiden had beautifully braided around her head, Signy looked into the jarl's eyes, and felt something stir inside of her. " I am not sure that it would be proper for me to stay here in your hall my lord. " she told him with a hint of shyness. Thorir stroked her hair again and ran his hand gently over her cheek. " If you agree to stay here in Hrutadale, I will find you good lodging until we can be officially married. " he told her.
Signy stood up and turned her back to Thorir. " I do not remember you asking for my hand, my lord ! " she told the jarl. " Was I sick when you proposed ? " she asked with a big smile. Jarl Thorir was a big man . A strong man who was not afraid of anything or anyone, but suddenly the great warrior was nervous inside. Thorir stammered as he answered : " Well,.... I just assumed.... I mean there is nothing left for you in Holtavord.....and I ..... I could provide you with a much better life than you will ever have on your own . "
Signy turned around with a sexy little smile on her face. " I did not say that I would not marry you. I just don' t remember you asking. "she said with a little giggle when she saw the look upon his face. Then the ferocious warrior bent down on one knee, kissed Signy's hand, and nervously asked her to stay and marry him. Signy knelt down, wrapped the blanket around both of them, and kissed him on the lips. " Well, since you asked so nicely, I think I might just marry you. " she said with a laugh. That very night Jarl Thorir held a great feast to announce his intentions of marrying Signy. Despite being somewhat of an odd couple in height, everyone thought they made a wonderful match. And Jarl Thorir, true to his word, placed Signy in the home of one of his most trusted warriors until the day of their marriage. Every day, however, Signy was called to the jarl' s great hall, and given present after present. Thorir gave Signy the finest dresses, some of which came all the way from the Frankish Kingdom. He also gave her jewels, and a golden goblet he had received from a man who had raided Paris several years before. The day before their marriage Thorir gave her the present that she adored most of all. The jarl gave Signy a beautiful black pony with white spots, which was smaller than most other horses. When she sat on the black pony with her golden blonde hair blowing in the breeze, Thorir thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
A few days before the wedding, guests began to arrive from all over the kingdom. They included local chieftains, jarls, great warriors, and of course King Hallfred. As soon as the king arrived Jarl Thorir and Signy visited him and officially asked for his approval. Although only a formality, it was important to follow protocols, and not offend King Hallfred. Signy was worried because only a short time had transpired since they learned of her husband' s death. The king quickly put her fears to rest and told her that her late husband had actually died almost two years before, and he considered that more than enough time for grieving.
The wedding was a lavish affair. King Hallfred presided over the joining of the couple personally, which gave the event a special air of dignity and importance. Jarl Thorir spared no expense when it came to the food and drink for the wedding feast. Thorir had sent out his best warriors to hunt in the woods around his great hall. They came back with a nice assortment of wild boar, deer, pheasant, and ducks. Some were roasted over open fires, while others were cut up to make a variety of delicious stews. Ale, mead and wine were all available in copious amounts, and were consumed throughout the night, and into the early morning. Even the entertainment was grand ! Jugglers juggled everything from fruit to knives and axes. While acrobats performed spectacular feats of tumbling and balancing skills. An old skald told stories of warriors who battled dragons, and saved fair maidens in distress. Everyone had a wonderful time ! Even Bjarn, a berserker who rarely ever smiled, was seen dancing on the tables when the music began !
Everything stopped for a moment, however, when Thorir and Signy got up to leave for their bed chamber. The jarl walked over to the king and respectfully asked to be excused. King Hallfred, with a drunken laugh exclaimed : " And how could I refuse such a request on a night such as this ! " Then he raised his horn high, and did something he rarely did. The king proposed a toast ! " A toast to my jarl and his new bride Signy. May you live happily, and with great wealth in my kingdom, for a very long time ! " he told them both. Then with a wicked grin the king turned to the guests and shouted : " Have fun you two, but try not to bring the longhouse down on us tonight ! " Signy blushed as the jarl picked up his bride and carried her out of the hall to a loud roaring cheer, mixed with a few lewd comments.
Unlike the wedding night that she spent with Bjorgolf, she had no worries, or fears going through her mind as she bedded down with Thorir. Tomorrow morning, and every day for the rest of her life, he would be there for her. And that comforting thought allowed her not only to enjoy her wedding night, but also give herself totally to her new mate.
The couple lived very happily in Hrutadale, and within a year were able to introduce to the village a beautiful little daughter. They named their blonde haired, blue eyed girl, Gudny. And she was the joy of the entire village. Jarl Thorir knew he had made the right choice in marrying Signy. Not only was she a wonderful wife, and mother, but she had made him twice as popular as before, and he was now sure that many of the local chieftains, and their warriors, would fight for him against the other jarls when the king, who was without an heir, died.
End Chapter 7
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2014.
Next : Chapter 8 : Bjorgolf Escapes !