The Queen Of War
Ominous Tidings In Gulen
Brettifa could not believe how fast the five days of her honeymoon had gone by.
" Is it already time to go back to Stavanger ? " she asked Vetr as she rolled over in bed.
" Yes, my dear ! The queen will be expecting us ! " he told his wife.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door.
" Enter ! " Vetr commanded.
Gulla bowed slightly as she peeked in the doorway.
Your breakfast is ready Chieftain Vetr and Lady Brettifa. " she announced.
Vetr smiled at the shy, polite young woman.
" We will be there momentarily. " he told the handmaiden.
Gulla bowed again.
" Thank you, my Lord ! " she replied, and then shut the door again.
Brettifa hung her legs over the edge of the bed, and cleared her throat.
" My dear ! Would you mind if Gulla ate her meals with us instead of by herself in the corner ? " she asked.
" You and I think much alike my love ! I think of her more as our child than your handmaiden . " he told her with a nod.
When Brettifa and Vetr were dressed they came out and sat at the table. For a woman of such a young age Gulla had quite the knack for cooking, and she had made a lovely spread of various foods for each of their meals since they arrived at Alvadsnes. And this morning's breakfast was no exception !
As he sat down Vetr pointed to the empty bench on the side of the table.
" You will sit here, and eat with us from this day forward. " he told the handmaiden.
Gulla's eyes almost bulged out of her head.
" My Lord ! I do not think that to be proper ! " she stated in a startled tone.
Surprised by her response Vetr raised his eyebrows.
" I am the chieftain of Avaldsnes, and if I say you will eat with us,.... well then you will eat with us. " Vetr replied sternly, but without anger.
Brettifa could not help but smile at her husband's inexperience when wielding his power as chieftain.
It is alright Gulla ! It is our wish for you to join us . " she explained in a softer tone.
Gulla nodded and reluctantly sat down on the bench. All through breakfast she sat quietly with her head down.
After they were done eating Gulla received another surprise. She was told that she was returning to Stavanger with them, and that she would also be going to Gulen as well for the Gulaþing.
The trip back to Stavanger was an arduous and boring affair for Vetr and Brettifa, but for Gulla it was a wonderful journey of adventure. When she lived with her mother, Bergdis, Gulla almost never left their hut other than to chop wood, or to relieve herself. She had to remain close in the event that her sick mother needed her. Now she had traveled to Alvadsnes and back to Stavanger. To her it was as though she was seeing the whole world for the first time !
When they arrived at the queen's great hall they were met by Nafni who immediately escorted them in to see Queen Birsla. Gulla, unsure if she should come as well waited outside.
" My queen ! Vetr,.... I mean Chieftain Vetr of Avaldsnes has arrived . " he announced as though it were more important than it truly was.
Vetr and Brettifa bowed before the queen of Rogaland, and then greeted her warmly.
" It is good to see you again my queen ! " Brettifa said cheerfully.
Queen Birsla laughed.
" My dear, you have only been away for a week.... and yet I already see a change in you ! " the queen told Brettifa.
" Have I done something to my wife already !? " he asked.
Queen Birsla raised an eyebrow at Vetr before replying .
" You have taken away her innocence, and made a woman of her Vetr. That is what I see in her eyes and in her smile ! " she told him.
" Ma'am ! " she exclaimed in a mocking manner.
Nafni clear his throat to interrupt.
" My queen ! Your horse is waiting , and my Hirdmen are ready to escort you to Gulen for the Gulaþing. " he cut in.
" Yes ! Yes !! " she replied in an annoyed tone.
" I am afraid that we must leave at once. The Lagmann Silfast sent a message yesterday that there was trouble brewing in Gulen, ...... though he did not elaborate with details. " she explained to Vetr.
Just then the door flew open, and Chieftain Unnvaldr of Varhaug burst into the room.
" Where is the Commander of the Hirdmen ! And why is the queen's great hall not guarded ! ? " he shouted playfully.
The queen, Brettifa, and Vetr laughed, but Nafni narrowed his eyes angrily.
" The queen is preparing to leave right now, ..... and if the likes of you were to attack my queen I would cut you down in mid - stride ! " Nafni told his old friend in a half - kidding way.
Unnvaldr kept his sense of humor and replied with a chuckle.
" Well then we had better leave before this scoundrel cuts me in half ! "
The ride to Gulen was a pleasant one. While Gulla watched the world go by with wide - eyes , the queen, Vetr, Unnvaldr, and Brettifa talked away the miles reminiscing about all that had gone on in Rogaland over the past few years. Birsla did not mind speaking of her late husband Kaldstein. Though she did often refer to him as that evil man who had a weak spirit and a feeble mind. Nafni rode over and offered a comment here or there, but he was very zealous about his new position as commander of the Hirdmen, and busied himself with protecting the queen at all times. Quite often Nafni would send out scouts to their front and rear to make sure that nothing , and no one, was trying to ambush them.
As they reached Gulen their little entourage saw an ominous sight waiting for them in the middle of the road, at the far edge of the village . Silfast, the Lagmann, and another man they did not recognize, were pacing back and forth in the road, and it appeared that they had not walked all that way just to greet the queen of Rogaland.
Silfast put up his hand in the air as they approached to stop them. Then both he and his companion bowed slightly before Silfast spoke.
" Greetings my queen ! " Silfast offered.
The queen left her Hirdmen behind and pulled up alongside the Lagmann.
" Save the felicitations my old friend, and tell me what is the matter ! " she implored Silfast.
The Lagmann nodded.
" King Ljufvini and Queen Alfhilda of Hordaland will not be coming to this year's Gulaþing, my queen. And furthermore they have sent a man named Skirpnir here to speak on their behalf. " he explained.
As Nafni, Unnvaldr and Vetr pulled up alongside her, Birsla raised her eyebrows before inquiring :
" Has this ' representative ' given any indication of what this is all about ? " she asked sternly.
Silfast shook his head from side to side.
" No ma'am ! " Just that the message is only for you, the queen of Rogaland. " he told her.
Then the queen gave a suspicious look to the man standing next to Silfast.
" I guess we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out what he has to say ! " she replied with a forced smile.
Then she added :
" And who may I ask is this man you are standing with ? "
Silfast appeared a little uncomfortable by the question.
" Forgive me my queen ! He is Adils,..... I am training him to be my replacement ! " he explained nervously.
Queen Birsla raised her eyebrows and shook her head.
" Well, let us hope that he is better than your last student ! " the queen told him with a hint of sarcasm.
Silfast nodded to the queen, but did not reply. As they rode off to the great hall Silfast turned to Adils and took a deep breath.
" That is my hope also ! " he told his new student.
- End Chapter 3
- Next : Chapter 4 : The Great Feast
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.