King Blot - Sweyn :
The Last Royal Sacrificer
His father, King Stenkil, had succeeded to the throne of Sweden in 1066 when Emund the Old died. Stenkil' s claim to the crown came through his marriage to Emund' s daughter. and although he was not a blood relation, the union with his daughter made him next in line for the throne. Unlike many of the previous kings, Stenkil was not from Uppsala, but instead had his great hall at Vastergotland in the southwest of Sweden.
Stenkil loved the West Geats, and often placed them in higher regard than those from other regions. King Stenkil also differed from Emund in that he was a staunch believer in spreading Christianity throughout all of Sweden. With the support and cooperation from the Archbishopric of Hamburg - Bremen the king was making steady strides to stop the old Heathen practices, as he continued to promote the building of Christian churches in Sweden.
Although King Stenkil worked towards the eventual destruction of the old faith, when Adalvard the Younger wanted to destroy the great Heathen temple at Uppsala the king stopped him out of fear that it might bring the Heathens together in a new solidarity.
" If only my father had allowed the temple to be destroyed, then and there, I would not be in the predicament that I am in now ! " King Inge told his wife.
Queen Helena, who was playing with little Katarina, looked up from her daughter, and waved for Markus to leave, before speaking to her husband in an angry tone.
" You are in this mess, my husband, because you and I both trusted my brother Sweyn. For several years now you have been kind enough to allow my brother to stand by your side and to be seen as royalty. You have introduced him to many of the most influential people in our kingdom, and you kindly treated him like a true brother in all of your dealings. " she told him.
The queen handed little Katarina to a handmaiden, and rose up from her high - seat.
" And how does my brother repay you ?! " she asked without expecting an answer.
" He incites our people to riot, and then takes your power, and steals your throne ! " she yelled at her husband, as she pointed her finger in his face.
KIng Inge shook his head back and forth, and took a long deep breath before replying.
" What would my wife have me do ? " he asked in an exasperated tone.
Helena placed her hands on her hips, and smacked her lips in frustration.
" I expect my husband, as the true king of Sweden, to ride to Uppsala and fight to get his lands back from the man who only pretends to be a king ! " she replied angrily.
King Inge laughed !
My wife speaks with great conviction, and if it were only that easy, I would march to Uppsala at this very moment ! But I am afraid my dear that the situation is much more complicated than that . " he told her with a hint of sarcasm.
Helena sat down upon her husband's lap, and placed her arms around him in a loose hug.
" Pray tell me my love, why is it so difficult to wrest the throne away from my brother Sweyn ? " she asked playfully.
King Inge placed his arm around his wife's waist, and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
" First and foremost, I do not have a large enough army of warriors to confidently ride to Uppsala and " wrest " the throne away from your brother. The Heathens have risen up in Sodermanland, Vastmanland, and southern Gastrikland, and I fear that at the moment my only reliable support comes from here in southern Sweden . " he explained to her.
KIng Inge then reached into a pouch he had around his waist and then held up a folded piece of parchment.
" And this my love is the other problem. Pope Gregory of Rome, addressing me only as, " The King of the Geats ", is urging me to quickly root out and destroy the Heathens, and spread Christianity throughout Sweden. He ends the letter reminding me that he expects me to continue to make full payments to the Roman Catholic Church ! " he told her angrily.
Helena slid off of her husband's lap, and stood before him with angry eyes, and a child's pout upon her face.
" What my husband is telling me then is that there is nothing he can do ! " she replied in a frustrated voice.
King Inge reached out with his hand and grabbed hold of his wife's wrist.
" I do still have one more move to play in this chess game that I am playing with your brother Sweyn. I have an informer, a spy if you prefer, planted right in the midst of Sweyn' s court ! " he told his wife with a sly grin.
Helena raise her eyebrows, and her frown turned into a weak smile.
" And who is this mysterious person ? " she asked eagerly.
King Inge laughed !
" Do you remember the young skald that Markus Skeggjason was tutoring ? " he asked his wife.
Queen Helena' s smile grew broader.
" Yes ! His name was Anund I believe. I remember Markus said that he showed great promise as a poet and a storyteller. " she replied.
Inge reached out and kissed his wife's hand.
" Well, as we speak, Anund is a part of Sweyn's inner circle, and he has been appointed as the king' s official skald ! " he told her with a big smile.
Helena bent down and kissed her husband on the lips.
" That is wonderful ! " she told her husband.
Then her face turned ugly with rage !
I want my brother, who is now referred to as Blot - Sweyn, to pay for what he has done to us ! " she screamed angrily.
King Inge nodded.
" Sweyn the Sacrificer will suffer for betraying us and our kingdom ! " he told her in full agreement.
- End Chapter 4
- Next : Chapter 5 : King Blot - Sweyn
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.