King Of Destiny
The Alliance Destroyed ( Part 2 )
As the Pagan armies approached from the north and the south, and a hundred ships landed on the Rogaland coast, King Sigtrygg sought out Bishop Callistus to receive Absolution. As the bishop recited the part of the Sacrament of Penance known as Absolution, King Sigtrygg began to dream of what might have been. He would have been the sole king of a great Christian land, adored by everyone, and honored by the Pope himself in Rome. And in a blink of an eye his plans of a united Christian Alliance Kingdom under his rule had disappeared like smoke in a stiff breeze. " How could it have all gone so very wrong so quickly ?! " he asked himself as the bishop continued with the penance.
" Dominus noster Jesus Christus te absolvat ; et ego auctoritate ipsus te absolvo ab omni vinculo excommunicationis et interdicti in quantum possum et tu indiges. Deinde, ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et filii, et Spiritus Sancti . Amen "
( " May our lord Jesus Christ absolve you; and by His authority I absolve you from every bond of excommunication, and interdict, so far as my power allows, and your needs require. Amen " ) Then the bishop made the sign of the father the son and the holy ghost. ( " I absolve you from your sins in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy ghost . Amen ")
King Sigtrygg only heard the last word, which he repeated : " Amen ! " Just then a rider pulled up and shouted : " My lord the Pagans have begun their attack ! "
Unlike the battles with the More and Sogn armies this struggle was to the death. King Sigtrygg had told his warriors that the Pagans would burn their homes, kill their children, and rape their wives if they lost this most important of battles. It was a desperate and bloody battle that lasted well into the evening and beyond . Christian shield wall, after Christian shield wall, was formed and then destroyed by the Northland army, and yet the Rogalander warriors would not surrender. As night fell the screams of the wounded and dying echoed throughout the mountains. Many of them begging their Christian God, or the old Gods for help. Some simply begged for a last sip of water. By the next morning their cries had died down to just a few, as the armies once again clashed in the fertile valley.
By noon of the second day the Rogaland army was completely surrounded. Jarl Thorkel had marched his confident warriors in from the coast, and now blocked the western entrance to the valley. With almost no options left, and retreat all but impossible, King Sigtrygg gathered up the last of his reserves, and even forced the injured to takes up arms again, and attacked straight ahead where King Magnus stood fighting next to the Raven flag. The Christians fought as hard as any army ever did, but they could not penetrate very far into the Pagan lines before they were slowly pushed back to their original position. It was there that the Rogaland army set up defensive lines, formed shield walls, and made their last stand.
As the sun slowly began to set over the mountains in the west, King Magnus, Herjan, and his personal guards, led an attack directed at this last remnant of the Rogaland army. In the center of these shield walls, which had been pushed back on the ends to form almost a circle, sat King Sigtrygg on his horse holding a white Christian flag against the reddening dusk sky. Sigtrygg was yelling at his men like a mad man, as he desperately tried to make them hold off the Northland army until total darkness set in. Then, and only then, would he have a chance to escape the grip of King Magnus' great army. Magnus on the other hand was tired of this battle, and with a great strength that skalds would glorify with their words for decades, battled his way towards King Sigtrygg leaving a path of death and human agony in his wake.
The closer Magnus and his guards came to the Christian king, the more desperate the fighting became. Sigtrygg' s warriors literally threw themselves at King Magnus and Herjan trying to stop them ! As he approached the Christian king, Magnus found himself fending off four opponents at once. Herjan tried to help, but he was also locked in battle with multiple enemy warriors. When King Magnus was turned around in the fight, King Sigtrygg saw a last chance at revenge ! The Christian king put his spurs into his mount, and pushed his horse towards Magnus at full gallop ! As he came close to the Pagan king he dropped the Christian flag, and drew his sword. As Magnus killed his last opponent he turned to go after Sigtrygg, but it was too late ! The Christian king was on him ! Magnus did not even have time to duck as the sword flashed before his eyes. Then the sword seemed to stop in mid air ! Just as Sigtrygg was about to strike the Pagan king down, he himself was struck in the chest, stopping him dead in his tracks, and lifting him off of his horse. When Sigtrygg looked down he saw a strange spear sticking out of his chest. As he followed the spear handle to its owner, he saw a one eyed old warrior, with an angry look upon his face. Sigtrygg only remained in the air for a moment before he came down hard on the valley floor.
Herjan had watched Magnus out of the corner of his eye while he was locked in his own combat. When he saw that King Magnus was in trouble he quickly killed his opponent, then ran with a speed that a man his age should not have possessed, to aid his king. He arrived just in time to stick Hrungnir into the chest of King Sigtrygg preventing him from striking down the Pagan king. As Herjan looked upon the dying Christian king he held him on the ground with his spear, and knelt down beside him. " Know you that on this day Odin himself has killed you, Sigtrygg King of Rogaland ! " he whispered in his ear. Sigtrygg's eyes bulged when he heard the All - Father's words. " Odin ? ", was the last word that Sigtrygg ever spoke in Midgard ! Then Herjan stood up, and pushed his spear all the way through the king's chest killing him instantly !
The battle did not end with the death of King Sigtrygg, but continued deep into the night. Mani seemed to hover over the great battlefield like a glowing torch to allow the warriors to continue their death struggles . And as the night passed it was hard to tell if there were more stars in the heavens, or more bodies upon the earth ! By morning only the victors stood upon the battlefield. And the flag they carried had a raven sewn upon it !
- End Chapter 10
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2014.
Next : Chapter 11 : The Northlands United