Thorgest : The Life And Death Of A Viking Raider
No Rest For The Weary
" And it only cost me the loss of one warrior ! " he whispered to himself.
The king's smile quickly faded, and his eyes narrowed, as he relived the death of the warrior. As he shook his head from side to side he remarked under his breath.
" If only my warrior had been more diligent he would have noticed that the monk had a knife hidden up his sleeve. " he lamented.
King Thorgest did not stay at the monastery for long. After gathering up Raðbarðr and his men the king quickly headed east to meet up with his wife Auðr for the long trip back to Dyvlinarskire. Lord Melaghlin was quite surprised that Raðbarðr was not staying, but he was also relieved that he would not have someone directly looking over his shoulder, watching his every move. Of course, at least for the moment, Melaghlin did not know about the Viking ring fort to his north at Lough Ribh.
The queen, as the king expected, was not pleased that he had not destroyed and looted the monastery at Cluain Mhic Nois, but she was placated when she heard that he had looted a second monastery further to the north, and obtained great riches from the religious site known as Inchcleraun. With both the land her husband had conquered, and the wealth he had brought into their coffers, Auðr felt as though her status as Queen of Dyvlinarskire was quite secure. The queen, however, never satisfied with what she had, wished to discuss something of great importance, that she had learned from the local folk, with her husband.
" While you were gone my love I had many of the local villagers brought before me to be questioned. Most were quite uncooperative, and paid for their reluctance with their lives, but one man in particular had some valuable information that you might wish to think upon. " she told him before pausing to gauge his reaction.
The king looked over at his wife, who insisted on riding at the head of the army with him, and though he tried, he could not wipe the annoyed look off of his face.
" And please tell me, my love, what of great importance did this Irishman tell you ? " he replied trying very hard not to sound too condescending.
Auðr raised an eyebrow as she glanced over at her husband, but she ignored his apparent indifference.
" This Irishman said that there is a very rich monastery across the sea,..., in a place he called Wales. He told me that this monastery is called Tyddewi in their language, which means David's house. The man also explained how this monastery was,..., ' Ripe for the picking ',...., I believe that is the way he described it. " she told her husband proudly.
King Thorgest grimaced as his head fell down upon his chest.
" And I suppose you wish me to sail to this monastery in Wales and plunder all the treasure there as well ! " he replied wearily.
" It would be a pity not to ! Don't you think !? " she asked.
King Thorgest reluctantly nodded.
" Yes ! Where is this Irishman now ? You did spare his life, did you not !? " the king asked in rapid succession.
Auðr laughed sarcastically.
" No, of course not ! I had his useless corpse thrown into the pit with all the others,...., once we were done torturing him. " she informed her husband.
Thorgest shook his head before taking a long breath.
" I would very much liked to have had an opportunity to speak to this man before you killed him, my dear ! " he replied angrily.
Auðr pursed her lips together tightly before replying.
" He told me enough ! When we reach Dyvlinarskire simply ask some of the merchant sailors about this monastery. I am sure they will know much more than a simple peasant farmer ! " she told her husband coldly.
King Thorgest remained relatively quiet for the remainder of the journey back to his kingdom, while his wife rattled on and on about how he should have plundered Cluain Mhic Nois, and burned it to the ground. Over and over again she relentlessly pounded home the point that now at least, thanks to her, he had an opportunity to atone for his lack of judgement by looting the monastery in Wales that she had discovered for him. Her nagging became so incessant that whenever Raðbarðr rode up with the slightest problem the king quickly left her side as if it were a catastrophe that could only be handled by himself. Raðbarðr, being a rather clever man, quickly picked up on this and began to ask for the king's assistance more and more.
Albrikt welcomed the king and queen back to Dyvlinarskire with a great feast, and a newly built hall. One so finely made in fact that even Auðr could find little fault with it. The queen marveled at the two fire pits, the fine high ceiling, and the massive double doors made from the best Irish oak. The tables and benches ran for half the length of the hall, and were adorned with golden cups, and silver plates. What most caught her eye, however, were the two high-seats that towered above the rest of the hall at the far end of the great structure. Made from sturdy wood, and carved with intertwined serpents, they were truly magnificent. And to her great surprise and delight they had purple seat cushions, the color of royalty !
After the king and his court had listened to Rauðskeggr's wonderful tales of ancient heroes, and mythical beasts, King Thorgest called over to his table Albrikt and Raðbarðr to discuss their strategy for the upcoming raid on Tyddewi. Earlier in the day, upon hearing of this new raid, Albrikt had sent his warriors out along the coast to find the most experienced Irish seaman in the kingdom. Midway through the festivities a warrior named Magnus came into the hall escorting an older man. When he reached the king's table he threw the man on the floor, and then bowed to the king before addressing Albrikt.
" They tell me this man is the best navigator in all of Dyvlinarskire, my lords ! " he explained.
Thorgest narrowed his eyes as he looked up at Magnus.
" These are now my subjects as well Magnus. There is no need to treat them in this way. " he admonished his subordinate.
Magnus reluctantly nodded.
" Yes, my king ! " he replied.
The king pointed to the prostrated Irishman and asked :
" Does he have a name ? "
" He is called Laeg, my king ! " he announced promptly.
The king waved his hand at Magnus.
" You may grab a seat at one of the tables and have your fill of food and ale. " he told the warrior.
Magnus bowed slightly.
" Thank you, my king ! " he replied happily.
Thorgest then gestured to Raðbarðr to move over slightly to allow Laeg to have a seat at the table.
" Come Laeg ! Sit and talk with us a while ! " the king said graciously.
Laeg hesitated a moment.
" The last man who sat with you left and did not return, my Lord ! " he replied warily.
King Thorgest tried to hide his anger as he responded but failed miserably.
" Diarmait betrayed us ! If he had fulfilled his promise to us he would have come home safely to his wife and child ! For I had given him my word ! " he shot back.
Laeg swallowed hard.
" And me, my Lord. Will you give me that same promise ? " he asked timidly.
The king instantly calmed down.
" Yes ! You have my word ! " he replied.
Laeg bowed slightly.
" Then I will sit and speak with you,...., and I promise before my God not to betray you ! " he told the king.
- End Chapter 8
- Next Chapter 9 : Across The Irish Sea
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2018.