The Queen Of War
The Short Honeymoon
It was late in the morning before Brettifa and Vetr left their wedding bed. They had been awakened by a persistent knock upon their door which reluctantly forced them to get up. When Vetr opened the door he had a very angry look upon his face, but this scowl dissipated as soon as he saw that it was Nafni and Unnvaldr who were waiting outside. Vetr could not help but lose his anger because both were grinning from ear to ear like little children.
Unnvaldr tried to keep a straight face as he spoke :
" Commander ! We appreciate that you are tired from your, ...... wedding night,...... but I am afraid it is time to go to the great hall to give your wife the wedding gift. " he told Vetr with a mock clearing of his throat.
Nafni did little better in remaining stoic in appearance.
" Yes ! We we have brought the queen's handmaidens Gilla and Metta to attend to Brettifa, courtesy of Queen Brettifa of course. " he added with a toothy smile.
" Well alright ! Give me a minute to get dressed though ! " Vetr explained as he shut the door.
Brettifa smacked her lips.
" Is it time to go already ? " she asked without trying to hide her disappointment.
Vetr smiled and kissed his wife on the cheek.
' I am afraid so my love ! " he replied playfully.
When Vetr was finished dressing he kissed Brettifa on the lips, and then walked over to the door and opened it. Before leaving he held it open for Queen Birsla's handmaidens, who nodded to the groom with a little grin on their faces, and a blush on their cheeks.
After Vetr closed the door Brettifa heard Unnvaldr and Nafni loudly congratulating her husband on his wedding night. Brettifa shook her head and whispered with a hint of frustration :
" Men ! "
Gilla and Metta giggled for a long moment, and then went to work getting Brettifa ready for the final marriage ceremony, the giving of the morning gift. The handmaidens carefully braided Brettifa's hair, and then dressed her in a beautiful gown that had been dyed in a blue - green tone. The handmaidens then attached the hustrulinet to her braids which told the world that she was now a married woman. When Brettifa felt she was ready Gilla and Metta escorted her to the great hall.
As Brettifa and the handmaidens entered the great hall they noticed that Queen Birsla had left up the beautiful cloth and flower decorations that had been put up to adorn the hall for the wedding feast. Brettifa could not believe how much the queen had spent on their wedding to honor them, but she was very grateful.
With Unnvaldr, Nafni, Gilla and Metta acting as witnesses, and Queen Birsla taking on the role of Godia, Vetr paid his wife the morning gift. The queen then joined the couple's hands together and announced that they were now and forever man and wife.
Vetr then reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring of keys. He was about to announce that he was giving Brettifa the keys to his home, because she was now the mistress of his household, when Queen Birsla stopped him.
" Those are not the keys to your home Vetr ! " she told him bluntly.
Brettifa and Vetr looked at one another with deep frowns upon their faces. And then the queen continued :
" And I am here to announce that you are no longer the commander of the Hirdmen,..... and that you will have to cut short your honeymoon . " she announced.
A collective gasp rose up from the guests in the hall. Brettifa's eyes began to water and a sad pout quickly developed on her face. She had been so happy just a moment before, and now she was not quite sure what was going to happen !
" Vetr ? " Brettifa asked hoping that her husband would say something.
Vetr stepped forward and bowed his head.
" My queen ! I must ask why I have been relieved of my command, and also why we must cut our honeymoon short. " he blurted out.
Queen Birsla pulled a set of keys out of her gown, and jingled them in front of the newlyweds.
" As you know the Gulaþing is in a little more than a week, and because I have no husband I wish to be escorted by the chieftain of Alvaldsnes. " she explained with a little smile.
Vetr looked at the keys and then back at the queen with a puzzled look.
" I am afraid that I do not understand, my Lady. " he replied in a confused tone.
Queen Birsla turned to Brettifa and handed her the keys she had been dangling in front of Vetr.
" These keys now belong to you Brettifa. They are the keys to the great hall in Alvaldsnes. " she told the maiden in a pleasant tone.
It was now Brettifa's turn to be totally confused.
" But I wish to live with my husband ! " Brettifa countered quickly.
Queen Birsla smiled from ear to ear.
" And so you shall my dear. As of this moment Vetr is the chieftain of Alvaldsnes, and you are the mistress of the great hall. " she told Brettifa.
Vetr's eyes nearly popped out of his head !
" What has happened to the chieftain who ruled Alvaldsnes ? " Vetr asked.
Queen Birsla' s face went sour with disgust.
" He was a vile little man who was stealing Rogaland's tax money, and mistreating his people. I probably should have had him killed, but I exiled him instead to the land of the Finns. " she told Vetr.
Vetr bowed to the queen again .
" Do I deserve such an honor ? " he asked.
Queen Birsla raised her eyebrows and pointed her finger at Vetr.
" Will you defy your queen and refuse the post that she has bestowed upon you ! ? " she asked .
Vetr, stunned by the appointment, could think of little to say.
" No, my Lady, I am greatly honored. " he finally replied after a long moment's pause.
Queen Birsla nodded and smiled at the newly married couple before remembering that she had more to say.
" Oh ! And Unnvaldr you are now the chieftain of Varhaug,..... and Nafni, you have been made the commander of my Hirdmen. " she told the completely stunned guests.
There was complete silence in the great hall. Vetr looked at Brettifa, and Unnvaldr stared at Nafni, but no one seemed to know quite what to say next. The silence was finally broken when Gilla and Metta, who knew beforehand of the changes, began to giggle.
With the awkwardness of the moment over, Birsla pointed over to the right corner of the hall and continued to speak.
" Brettifa ! As the wife of a chieftain you will need a handmaiden. " she said, and then paused.
" Gulla ! Come here child ! " the queen commanded.
A young woman, with pretty blonde hair, stepped out of the shadows and with her head down began to slowly walk over to the queen. She looked terrified, and seemed very out of place.
" This is Gulla ! Her father was killed while away raiding , and her mother, who was very poor, begged me to take care of her on her death bed. She is a little shy, but she is a very nice young girl, and I know that you will treat her with the same kindness that you always showed me over the years. " she explained to Brettifa.
Then she added quickly :
" Now you must go ! It will take a full day's ride to reach Avaldsnes, and a day's ride to return. That will only give you five days for your honeymoon..... so hurry ! " Queen Birsla told Bretifa and Vetr.
Vetr kissed Brettifa, grabbed her hand, and walked quickly to the great hall's entrance. As he opened the door Queen Birsla yelled after them.
" Wait ! Haven't you forgotten something ?! " she asked.
Vetr and Brettifa looked at one another and smiled.
" Thank you, my Lady ! " the both yelled back in unison.
Queen Birsla laughed.
" You are very welcome ! But I was referring to Gulla ! " she explained.
Birsla turned to Gulla who looked frightened.
" Go child ! You will now have a wonderful home to live in, and people who will treat you kindly and with love. " she told the child before kissing her on the cheek.
Gulla bowed, lifted her dress, and then ran to the entrance to join Chieftain Vetr and Brettifa.
As they left Birsla had to hold back her tears.
" And thank both of you for everything ! " she whispered under her breath.
- End Chapter 2
- Next : Chapter 3 : Ominous Tidings In Gulen !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.