King Of Destiny
The Alliance Destroyed
To Eirik' s surprise King Magnus came to where he was being held to meet with him. As the king approached, Eirik stood up from under the tree where he sat. Eirik was about to bow before the conquering king, but Magnus offered his hand instead. As Eirik shook the king's hand Magnus spoke first : " I have been told that you wish to see me about an urgent matter ! " Eirik took a deep breath, and then looked the young king directly in the eyes. " If I can convince my commanders to peacefully become a part of a united Northland Kingdom would you spare my people as you did the Sogn warriors who surrendered to you ? " Eirik asked as calmly as he could. " Yes, If I can unite all of the Northlands into one kingdom without bloodshed, I would gladly do it ! " Magnus replied. " Then let us ride to where my commander, Vagn, has set up the defensive lines for Hordaland, and speak with him. " Eirik told the king. Magnus patted Eirik on the shoulder, and smiled before shouting : " Guards ! Mount up ! We are riding to Hordaland ! " Before leaving they stopped by Jarl Thorkel' s camp to inform him that he would be in charge of the Northland army while King Magnus was away with Eirik in Hordaland.
King Magnus and Eirik rode in the lead, with Herjan on one side, and Onund on the other. They were followed closely by thirty of the king's personal guards. The ride was not an especially long or grueling one, and as they approached the first outpost in Hordaland they were halted by a small force which formed a shield wall in their front. " Halt and identify yourself ! " their commander shouted from behind the shield wall. " I am your King, Eirik Roriksson, and I order you to send a messenger to find Vagn, and bring him here ! " he commanded. The man walked through the shield wall, and stood before the riders with his sword lowered, and leaned on his shield as he spoke : " King Eirik !? We thought you killed at sea my lord ! I am Ketil my lord, and I lead these men. " he told his king. " As you can plainly see I am quite alive Ketil ! Now please send for Vagn at once ! " Eirik commanded . " At once my lord ! " Ketil replied. " He is just in the next valley sire ! " he added before demanding a rider to find Vagn.
Vagn arrived a short time later with a small entourage of warriors. As he approached he was elated to see his king alive and well, but he was also extremely wary of the others around him. As Vagn dismounted he kept his hand on the hilt of his sword. " It is good to see you my lord ! " Vagn told his king with a slight bow. Eirik walked over to his commander and grasped his hand : " It is wonderful to see you again also my old friend ! " Eirik told him. Vagn put his arm around his old friend, and patted him on the back. As he did so he discreetly asked : " Who are these people ? " Eirik stepped back before speaking. " This is King Magnus of the Kingdom of Northland, and these are his warriors. " he told him. Vagn' s first reaction was to draw his sword, as did his warriors ! As Onund's guards began to draw their weapons, King Magnus raised his hands and shouted : " No ! " Eirik walked over to Vagn, and placed his hand on his friend' s sword. " You need to listen my friend ! The Northlanders have destroyed the armies of More and Sogn, and they will destroy our army as well ! We must sign a treaty with these Pagans, and become a part of the Northland Kingdom, or we will all be killed and they will take our kingdom anyway ! " he explained to his commander.
Vagn stepped away from his king, and gave him a look of disbelief. " Do you really believe that this Pagan king will allow us to live in peace as though nothing has happened ? ! " Vagn asked in a loud angry tone. " Yes ! I have seen it ! The Sogn warriors who surrendered were allowed to go back to their villages and loved ones. We passed by more villages than I can count on both hands, and none of them were touched at all my old friend. I trust King Magnus, and believe that he is a man of his word. " Eirik told him. Vagn took a deep breath before asking : " And if we do not surrender ? " Eirik walked over to his friend, and placed his hand on his shoulder as he looked him in the eyes. " I saw King Magnus kill King Olaf of Sogn with his bare hands ! He is as merciless to his enemies as he is kind to his friends and allies . If he has to he will kill all of us to unite these lands into one kingdom ! " he told Vagn in no uncertain terms.
King Magnus stepped forward and looked Vagn straight in the eyes. Vagn returned the stare. Neither flinched ! " What will it be Vagn ? Peace or war ?! " the king asked. Vagn stood for a moment in deep thought. He looked at King Eirik, and then back to his men. As Vagn spoke he placed his sword back in its scabbard : " For our villages, our homes, and our wives and children, I will heed the words of my king, and trust that you, King Magnus, will keep your word. We will join the Northland Kingdom in peace. " Vagn told the king. Magnus turned to Onund, and told him to order the army forward. Herjan smiled proudly as another kingdom fell into line.
That night as Eirik and Vagn sat around a blazing fire with their army, surrounded by thousands of Pagan warriors from the Northland Kingdom, they began to wonder if they were not actually prisoners in their own land. Vagn kept looking around wondering if at any moment Northland warriors would enter their camp, and kill them all. Then, suddenly, a rider came galloping up at full speed, and stopped before them ! The two Hordaland leaders stood up and braced themselves for whatever bad news the messenger might bring ! " KIng Magnus invites Jarl Eirik Rorikson, and his commander Vagn, to a feast tonight as his honored guests. Vagn looked over at Eirik and asked : " Jarl ? " Eirik stood in stunned silence for a moment before answering : " I was almost killed a week ago, and a prisoner a few days ago, who thought he would face the blood - eagle. Now I am allowed not only my freedom, but to retain a leadership role in our kingdom ! " Eirik whispered. " I think you were right my old friend ! King Magnus is as good as his word ! " Vagn replied . King Eirik turned to the messenger and told him that they would be greatly honored to feast with the Northland king !
As the doors to the great hall opened the Northlanders became silent ! Vagn had a bad feeling as they walked to the front of the hall where King Magnus, and a man he recognized as a local chieftain named Trausti, sat on high seats. Eirik and Vagn stopped dead in their tracks when they saw Father Bersi standing by the side of Trausti. Jarl Eirik had a sinking feeling as they began the final walk to the high seat of King Magnus. As they stopped before Magnus, Jarl Eirik spoke first : " Will you kill my priest King Magnus ? " he asked. Magnus laughed at the question ! " He is your priest Jarl Eirik ! You may do with him as you please ! " the king answered. Trausti then stood up and offered his seat to Eirik. " Please take my seat King...I...I...I mean Jarl Eirik ! " he told him with a stutter. As Jarl Eirik took his place next to King Magnus, Trausti escorted Vagn to a place of honor at the head of the table closest to the high seats, and next to Herjan and Onund. Once everyone was properly seated, King Magnus clapped his hands and shouted : " Let the feast begin ! "
After eating, King Magnus, and Jarl Eirik drained several horns in honor of the joining of their two kingdoms. Then the Jarl brought up a subject that they had both been avoiding all night. " What will you do about King Sigtrygg and the Rogaland army ? " You must know that their army is by far the strongest in the Christian kingdoms ? " he asked. Magnus leaned forward and told Eirik : " I will give him the same choice that I gave to the Sogn king, and to you jarl. Either join the Kingdom of Northland, and live in peace, or be destroyed ! Eirik said nothing, but he knew which King Sigtrygg would choose.
The next morning a messenger came from Jarl Bjorn in Agder. He had taken up a defensive position just outside of Rogaland, and would wait there with his army for the command to attack. King Magnus had his army on the move by mid - morning . It would be a long three day march to the Rogaland border, and the king wanted to be in position as soon as possible. King Magnus, if King Sigtrygg did not surrender, had placed his fleet under Jarl Thorkel of Namdalen, just off the Rogaland coast. If it was to be war with Rogaland then he would have Jarl Thorkel land his ships on the beaches and attack King Sigtrygg from the west, while Jarl Bjorn came up from the south, and his main army swooped down from the north. As Herjan rode at the side of his student he was confident that the Volva' s prophecy all those years ago was about to come true.
End Chapter 10 : Part 1
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2014.