King Of Destiny
The Northlands United ( Part 1 )
The battle was over, but unfortunately the war was not. Many of the chieftains in Rogaland refused to surrender, and /or join the Northland Kingdom. Their minds had been poisoned by King Sigtrygg's hatred for the Pagans, and they would not submit to Pagan rule under any circumstances. In time King Magnus gave a portion of his army to Onund, and even more of his warriors to Jarl Thorkel, and told them to hunt down these rogue chieftains one by one, and kill them. He told both that if any warriors surrendered, and submitted to his rule, they were to be humanely treated. The chieftains had no such option ! Magnus wanted them all killed for continuing this insurrection. There were also minor instances in More, Hordaland, and More as well, but nothing as severe as the violence that would often erupt in the new Jarldom of Rogaland. Bands of Christians, led by the chieftains, would attack any village where the inhabitants had agreed to, at least in principal, pledge an oath of allegiance to King Magnus. Traitors to King Sigtrygg were tortured, and killed. Many of them were hung on the main roads that lead from one village to the other, as a warning not to deal with the Pagans. Their brutality knew no boundaries ! Women, children, and the sick and infirm, were all considered fair game for the chieftains revenge.
Onund and Jarl Thorkel met the enemy' s violence with their own violence and brutality ! When these rebels were caught they were beheaded, and their bodies buried separately from their heads, to prevent them from going on into the afterlife. Slowly, over many months, the chieftains were hunted down and killed . Occasionally a lone chieftain would surprise a Pagan army in a hit and run attack, and kill a few warriors before disappearing into the woods from which they came, but eventually, over time, the chieftains ran out of places to hide. Some surrendered, but many sailed to Iceland and Greenland where Christianity had taken hold, and where they could start anew.
When King Magnus felt that his coastal Jarldoms were secure, he invited all of his leaders to a grand feast in Hedemark at his late father's great hall. The feast had been called for, not only to celebrate their great victory, but also to announce major changes in the leadership of his kingdom. Before leaving for Hedemark, Magnus, Herjan, Onund, Jarl Thorkel, Jarl Bjorn, and even a slowly healing Jarl Thord rode to More, with part of the army, and visited the battlefield where Magnus' father, King Thorvald, had been killed. King Magnus ordered his men to erect a massive rune stone in honor of his father, and his great victory over the More king. Then the king had the best stone carvers in the army chisel deep within the stone these words of great honor :
" It was here on this great field of battle that Magnus Thorvaldsson erected this memorial stone to commemorate his father, the great King Thorvald, and his victories over his Christian adversaries. The Valkyries came, and carried him off this field, and now he fights an eternal battle with the army of All - father Odin in Valhalla. "
When the rune stone was finished it was set in the middle of the field where Magnus was told that his father had fallen to an enemy's sword. A temporary altar was placed in front of the monument, and with the help of a local chieftain, who acted as Godi, nine goats were sacrificed to Odin and Thor. The blood which ran insmall rivers off of the altar was captured in a large bowl, and was then taken out and sprinkled, using a sacred ash branch, over the entire length, and breadth of the field. After the sacred ritual was over, King Magnus attempted to give the chieftain a few gold coins for his trouble, but the acting Godi refused the king' s generosity, and told him that it was a great honor to have been allowed to perform the sacred ritual to honor the late King Thorvald. The king and his army left shortly thereafter for home.
As Magnus approached Hedemark the villagers turned out in great numbers to honor the king, and his victorious warriors. Many ran over out and offered mead and ale to the thirsty warriors, as they slowly made their way to the great hall. Small boys came out of their houses and ran along side the king's horse, just to stroke its neck as it strutted by. The village girls, who were all dressed in their finest gowns for the unmarried king, offered Magnus bouquets of flowers to honor him. Some of the bolder women waved at him, and a few even dared to run up, and kiss his hand ! Magnus smiled and waved as best he could, but he was quite embarrassed by all the attention. As Onund watched he saw much of King Thorvald's honor and kindness in the actions of Magnus. Though he was surprised that the king held on to the bouquets, and did not hand them off to the guards, or throw them away when they left the area. Herjan, who had been very quiet of late, retreated to the back of the line, and watched carefully as his student rose to new heights of glory. All of the old warrior's hard work was coming to fruition. The king had almost reached his destiny.
The king's grandmother's , Queens Grima and Gudrun, and his mother Queen Astrid, waited outside the great hall for Magnus to arrive. Suddenly a rider rode up to the front of the great hall . " He is coming ! The king is almost here ! " he shouted. Then the messenger rode off to spread the good news of the king's arrival to others. Off in the distance they saw the king followed by his entourage, as they came around a bend in the road. As King Magnus approached a great cheer arose from the crowd along the way. The king acknowledged them politely with a pleasant smile, and a wave as he passed. When he saw the hall, however, Magnus galloped ahead of his warriors, and stopped directly in front of the queens. He bowed to his mother, and grandmothers, and then slid out of his saddle, and stepped on the ground before them. The king then gave each of them one of the bouquets that the young girls from the village had handed his as he rode by. Onund shook his head in amazement as he witnessed this kindness. " There is a purpose to everything that man does ! " he said out loud. Herjan chuckled when he heard Onund's words. " Only his strength is greater than his kindness ! " the old warrior told Onund.
Queen Grima, and Queen Gudrun, kissed their grandson to welcome him, and thanked him for the wonderful gift of flowers. His mother, however, could not hold back her grief over the loss of Thorvald any longer, and broke down in tears. She had managed to stay strong all this while, but when she saw Magnus his eyes reminded her of her beloved husband. The young king placed his arms around his mother, and held her as tight as he dared. Astrid, for her part, tried to stay strong, but sobbed uncontrollably. She had lost the only man that she ever loved. As Magnus held his mother he remembered how close his mother and father were when he was growing up. They were always together, and they were always happy. Magnus too had tears in his eyes, but he was now king of the united Northland Kingdom, and he could not afford to be seen as weak. Eventually his mother sensed that the townsfolk were watching, and pulled herself together. She pulled away, kissed her son on the cheek, and then motioned for the warriors to come into the great hall.
- End of Part 1 of Chapter 11
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2014.