King Blot - Sweyn :
The Last Royal Sacrificer
King Blot - Sweyn
A revival of the old customs, and practices, began almost as soon as Sweyn was chosen by the Heathens to be their king. With royal protection the Heathens no longer had to fear their Christian neighbors, and they were now free to sacrifice to their Gods as their ancestors had done for generations. The table had now turned, and it was the followers of the White Christ who had to be careful with their interactions with those who honored Red Thor !
Uppland, Sodermanland, and Vastmanland, were now firmly in the control of King Sweyn, who was now affectionately called Blot - Sweyn by his subjects. South of Sodermanland belonged to King Inge, and Sweyn knew that at this time he did not have an army strong enough to defeat his brother - in - law. At the moment Sweyn was more worried about a Christian uprising in northern Gastrikland that was beginning to affect his loyal Heathens in southern half of that area. These Christians were upset over the removal of King Inge, and had begun to attack the Heathens in the south. They had already killed several Heathen farmers, burned their homes, and destroyed valuable crops in the south.
To calm the fears of his subjects in southern Gastrikland, and northern Uppland, King Blot - Sweyn sent his best commander, Steinkell the Fearless, with almost half of his army to aid the Heathens there. Steinkell was given orders to find and kill the Christian chieftain, named Rut, who was leading this uprising. King Blot - Sweyn was determined to put the fear of the old Gods back into these Christian troublemakers.
" I want his head brought to me on a stick so I can show these Christians that we will not tolerate their insolent behavior ! " King Sweyn had told Steinkell before he left.
In Uppland, and especially in the territory surrounding the temple at Uppsala, King Blot - Sweyn was held in the highest regard. He had protected their temple, brought back the religious sacrifices, and for the most part he was keeping the unruly Christians under control. The fact that their new king performed many of the blots himself further endeared him to his subjects. Many newborn Heathens were named after their king, and several rune stones were erected in his honor.
The Heathens were both glad and very proud that their new king involved his son Eirik in the sacred rituals, and in the business of running the kingdom. They were grateful and relieved that he had a son who would inherit the throne once the king was gone. For no one in Uppland wanted a civil war among the chieftains if there was no clear successor to the throne !
Then one day, three years after King Blot - Sweyn became king, and just before the annual harvest festival, an English bishop named Eskil came to Uppsala. He was traveling with two priests, and had no warriors, or weapons of any kind. The bishop asked King Blot - Sweyn if he could stay in Uppsala for a short while to rest before moving on. The king was skeptical of the bishop' s intentions, but because he was unarmed and unescorted, Sweyn saw no harm in allowing him to stay. The Heathen king did warn the Christian, however, not to cause any trouble.
" Do not preach about your God to my people, or I will surely make you pay for your transgressions holy man ! " he told the bishop firmly.
On the day of the Harvest Blot the whole village came out to honor the Gods and Goddesses, and to thank them for such an abundant crop. There was much joy over the high yield of corn and wheat that had been harvested. King Blot - Sweyn ordered that nine oxen be brought to the wheat fields at the edge of the sacred temple at Uppsala. There they were sacrificed to the Goddess Sif, and nine maidens sprinkled the blood over the fields with twigs.
While the oxen were being ritually slaughtered the priests ran and told the bishop that the inhabitants were performing an unholy blasphemous act against their God. The bishop quickly came strutting down to the wheat field bracketed by his priests. Acting more like a warrior than a holy man, Bishop Eskil pushed his way through the crowd, carefully placed himself in front of one of the maidens, and would not allow her to sprinkle the blood upon the ground.
" What is this sacrilegious act that you are performing ! ? " the bishop shouted as he pointed to the nine dead oxen.
King Blot - Sweyn was preparing to sprinkle his faithful subjects with the remaining ox blood when the bishop interrupted. The king handed the wheat stalk, that he was about to use to anoint his people, to his son Eirik, walked over and grabbed the Christian by the arms, and lifted the puny little man off of the ground.
" How dare you insult our Gods and our ancestors by interrupting our ritual. Leave before my patience runs out holy man ! " he told the bishop before he threw him to the ground.
The bishop looked up at the Heathen king and pointed his bony little finger at him.
" You have condemned your souls, with this evil act. You are the devil's instrument here on earth, and eternal damnation awaits you upon your deaths ! " the bishop shouted angrily at the king and his followers.
Before the king could reply the Heathens began to shout and ridicule the bishop as he lay upon the ground. The king and his son laughed as their subjects insulted the holy man over and over again, adding to the bishop's embarrassment. The priests, sensing that this situation was about to quickly get out of control, rushed over and helped the bishop up off of the ground. As they brushed him off Eskil pointed his finger at each and every Heathen gathered at the edge of the wheat field.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost I curse you all to Hell ! " he screamed at the blasphemers.
Spabodde, a local diviner, who was standing first in line to be anointed, bent down and picked up a rock. He carefully aimed and threw it at the bishop hitting him square on the forehead. The bishop was staggered by the blow ! As the blood began to flow down the bishop's face, another Heathen came out of the crowd, and gave Eskil a glancing blow on the back of his head with his axe, knocking the holy man back down on the ground.
King Sweyn, with his son by his side, slowly walked over to where the bishop lay stunned and bleeding profusely. As they stood over the holy man Sweyn spoke angrily to him.
" You can curse me all you want little man, but here in Uppsala I rule.... and I sentence you and your priests to death ! " he yelled down at Bishop Eskil.
Eirik pointed to several of the king' s warriors, who were standing nearby, and with the authority given him as the king's son, gave them orders.
" Take these Christians out of our sight, and send them on their way to their God ! " Eirik commanded.
As the warriors carried the bishop and his priests away, King Blot - Sweyn shouted to them.
" Soon you will see if you have earned a place in your heaven, or if a place has been reserved for you in your Hell ! " he told them with a sarcastic laugh.
While King Sweyn and Eirik resumed blessing their folk with the sacred ox blood, the bishop and his priests were stoned to death in a valley nearby. The king's warriors then tied their bloodied bodies to three tall trees, that grew within sight of the great temple, as a warning to other Christians to be respectful of their Heathen customs.
Anund witnessed it all, and sent his loyal friend Thorvid as a messenger to King Inge to tell him of the awful deaths of the bishop and his priests. He told his friend to make sure to include in his message all the gory details that had transpired at the Temple at Uppsala. The skald also instructed Thorvid to tell the king that Blot - Sweyn had let down his guard, and that the Heathen king only had half of his army in Uppland while the rest were off fighting in Gastrikland. Anund ended his message to King Inge in this way :
" Now the time is ripe for your return. If you wait too long the fruit that you seek will rot upon the vine, and it will be lost to you forever ! "
- End Chapter 5
- Next Chapter 6 : King Inge's Return
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.