The Yule War
The Greatest Gift
Summoned By The Queen
It took almost a week for Geirdis to calm down and return to the happy newlywed that she had been before her husband had been called to war. Now, with her husband safely back in her arms at night, the nightmares that had haunted her without mercy ceased. Her dreams became happy visions of domestic tranquility yet to come. One dream that she often experienced was the vision of her husband emerging from a dark mist on a white horse to take her away to a beautiful mountain valley filled with flowers. There they sat for hours by a waterfall drinking honey wine and making love. So happy was Geirdis that when there came a pounding on the door early one morning she felt no fear at all.
Knutr rolled out of bed and put his boots on before answering the persistent visitor who was pounding on his door.
" What manner of human being wakes good people up at this time of the morning. " he muttered under his breath.
Before opening the door Knutr placed his sword on his belt. The commander of the army was tired, but he was no fool. In the sayings of Odin, known as Havamal, the wise one teaches that a warrior should never be far from his weapon, and Knutr believed in this axiom wholeheartedly. As he slowly undid the latch the impatient visitor knocked on the door once again. The commander of the army quickly lost his temperas he threw open the door.
" For the Gods' sake, what is it ! ? " he yelled angrily at the man who stood in the doorway.
Knutr's anger quickly faded when he saw that the warrior who stood before him was one of the queen's guard. And he was not alone ! Three warriors sat on their horses out in the middle of the road that ran by his house . What worried the commander most was the serious look on their faces. For this appeared to be an official call !
" Well ! What is it that you wish to say so early in the morning. " Knutr asked impatiently, but in a softer tone.
The queen's commander of the guard, though technically lower in rank than Knutr, was none the less unafraid of the commander's angry demeanor.
" I am Albrikt, captain of the queen's guard ! The queen has sent me here at this early hour with an important message for the commander of her army. " the captain stated before pausing when Geirdis walked up beside Knutr.
Albrikt bowed slightly to Geirdis before continuing :
" Sorry for the intrusion ma'am ! " the queen's captain said apologetically.
Geirdis returned his bow with a nod of her head.
" And what is that message captain ? " Geirdis asked.
As Albrikt stated the queen's message to Knutr he stood erect, and very still. It was almost as though the queen were somehow standing over him watching the way he handled himself as he spoke :
" Queen Magdalena orders you to place Uddvarr in command of the army immediately, .... and she wishes you, ..... and your wife, to come to her great hall in Hamri at once ! " he told the commander.
Geirdis' eyes widened with fear, as she tugged on her husband's sleeve.
" Why does the queen wish to see us ? Is something wrong ? Are we in trouble ? " she asked in rapid succession.
The Queen's Guard answered her question before Knutr could speak.
" I assure you ma'am that I am not here to arrest you. I was merely sent to safely escort you and your husband to the queen's great hall. " he explained.
Geirdis nodded her thanks for clarifying the circumstances for his visit, and then asked politely :
" May we have a moment to dress and pack some clothes for the journey ? "
Albrikt smiled for the first time.
" Of course you can . Take all the time you need . " he told Geirdis in a more relaxed tone.
Albrikt then turned back to the commander of the army and in an instance became very formal again.
" Sir ! If you will tell me where Uddvarr resides I will send one of my men to fetch him for you ! " the captain told Knutr.
Knutr nodded and pointed to the north.
" Thank you captain ! He lives in the last house on the left before you leave the village. " Knutr informed him.
" Vedar ! " Albrikt shouted.
" Yes, captain ! " one of the riders shouted back.
" Uddvarr lives in the last house on the left in the north section of the village. Bring him here at once ! " the captain ordered.
Knutr then nodded to the captain and spoke to him in a somewhat apologetic tone.
" Well, if you will excuse us for a moment we will make ourselves ready to travel. " he told the captain.
When Knutr closed the door Geirdis spun her husband around and asked him the question that had been causing her stomach to turn sour.
" Does the queen blame you for her husband's death ! ? " she asked in a tone tainted with terror.
Knutr, who was lost in thought sighed deeply before answering.
" I am afraid that we will have to wait to see the queen to find out what this is all about. " he told his worried wife.
- End Chapter 8
- Next : Chapter 9 : The Greatest Gift Of All
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.