Odin' s Legion
The Early Snow
Princess Aldisar peeked around her father' s massive body to see the blinding mass of white that covered everything. The princess then ducked under his arm and peered out through the doorway. Aldisar did not like what she saw ! The great hall, where her wedding was to take place, seemed to her to be a hundred miles away, and the path to it was covered in deep snow. " I will ruin my wedding dress if I have to walk through all that snow ! " Aldisar told her mother in a whining voice. Queen Dalla looked at her husband with a blistering stare. " Well ! What will we do ? " she asked impatiently.
King Ogmund smiled and crouched down with his back towards his daughter. " Mount up princess ! Your steed has come to take you to the wedding hall ! " he told his daughter with a grin. Aldisar paused, gave her father a questioning look, then lifted her dress and jumped up onto her father's back. The princess bride held on tightly as her father lifted her off of the ground. " Onward to the hall Sleipnir ! " Aldisar shouted with a giggle. She then gently kicked her father as if he were a real horse. King Ogmund whinnied and stepped out into the deep snow. The king of Romerike took his time in crossing despite the cheers coming from King Sigtrygg' s hall urging him to hurry. King Ogmund loved his daughter more than anything else in the nine worlds, and he did not want anything to ruin her special day.
Methodically, step by careful step, the king made his way through the knee deep snow. As he approached King Sigtrygg's great hall the snow slowly tapered in its depth, and the last few yards were relatively easy to navigate. King Ogmund spun around at the hallway's entrance to allow his daughter to slide off. When her feet hit solid ground she turned and was immediately greeted by Queen Geirny of Varmland, who greeted her warmly. The queen escorted her into the back of the hall, where she sat the princess down by a warming fire.
King Ogmund spun around, and with a wink and a smile, pushed those who had watched his crossing into the hall, and then closed the door behind him. Across the way Queen Dalla watched in horror as everyone entered the hall and the door quickly closed. With a look of utter dismay on her face the queen began to shout : " Ogmund ! Ogmund ! OGMUND !!! " Suddenly the doors of the great hall flew open, and King Ogmund stood in the doorway with his hand cupped up to his ear. " My friends, do you hear something ?! " he shouted out into the cold air.
Ogmund's smile turned into a frown when he looked across at his wife, who stood in the doorway of the small longhouse with her hands on her hips, and an evil look upon her face. " The woman has no sense of humor ! " he said to no one in particular. King Sigtrygg, who was standing behind Ogmund, handed his old friend a horn filled with ale. " A drink before you die ? " he asked in a mocking tone. King Ogmund grabbed the horn, drained it in a few short gulps, handed it back to Sigtrygg, and then headed back for his angry wife without saying a word.
Ogmund rolled his eyes when he saw the angry stare that his wife greeted him with. Once again the king bent down to allow a rider to mount him. This time, however, Queen Dalla kicked him in the ass before mounting her husband ! " That was very embarrassing for me ! " she told him angrily. Ogmund took a deep breath, but said nothing. For the king's second crossing the audience had grown in size and included both King Sigtrygg, Queen Geirny, Prince Viglund, and Princess Aldisar. They all whistled and cheered Ogmund on as he began his slow journey back to the great hall.
Fully aware that he was being closely watched, and knowing that his wife was angry with him, King Ogmund was very careful with his footing. He gently placed each boot into one of the footprints that he had made previously as he slowly made his way between the two halls. About halfway across the king warily stepped into a foot print which had caved in . As his foot sank into the hole he felt it slide ever so slightly. The king desperately tried to compensate, but his wife was much heavier than his daughter, and the extra weight threw him off balance, sending him falling head first into the snow, and throwing his wife sprawling into the cold white flakes !
At first their audience could not help but laugh. When Queen Dalla picked herself up out of the snow and slapped her husband in the face, however, the onlookers quickly and quietly disappeared back into the hall like ghosts vanishing into thin air. An embarrassed King Ogmund picked up his wife in his arms, and without saying a word, carried her to the doorway of the great hall, where he dropped her feet first onto the stone walkway. Dalla' s eyes narrowed as she looked at her husband, but knowing that she was being watched, she kept her composure, and said nothing .
Inside the great hall Dalla was met by Queen Geirny, who try as she may, could not contain a little smile on her face. Queen Dalla gave her royal counterpart an annoyed look which made Geirny bite her lip. " I have never been so humiliated in my whole life ! " Dalla told her angrily. Queen Geirny bit down harder on her lip to stop herself from giggling before she replied. " Well, let us get you cleaned up, shall we ? " Queen Geirny then motioned for two of her hand maidens to attend to the queen of Romerike's needs.
King Sigtrygg, who was still standing near the doorway with the empty drinking horn in his hand, smiled at Ogmund. " My suggestion to you old friend is to drink heavily ! " he told him with a hearty laugh. Ogmund looked over at Sigtrygg and shook his head. " That is my intention my friend ! " he replied.
After having the snow brushed off of her, and her hair redone, Queen Dalla sat by the fire pit to dry her dress. As she watched her daughter being fitted with the silver bridal crown, which was covered in holly branches with bright red berries on their stems, she shook her head from side to side in frustration. " If we had waited and held this wedding in the spring my precious daughter would be wearing a spectacular crown adorned with beautiful flowers. Why... why did Viglund have to get Aldisar pregnant ! " she whispered to herself angrily.
Queen Dalla motioned for her daughter to come over by the fire. As Aldisar stood before her Dalla hugged her only daughter tightly. " You look so beautiful ! " she whispered in her ear. Dalla gently pushed her daughter away to arms length and reached into a small pocket in her dress. The queen of Romerike pulled out a set of keys made of pure silver, and showed them to Aldisar. " My mother gave me these keys on the day I married your father, and now I am passing them on to you. " she told her daughter as she handed the keys to her.
Aldisar began to cry as she looked at the keys. Though the keys were beautiful and shone like a mirror in the well lit hall, it was their symbolism that had struck an emotional cord within her. For these keys, passed from mother to daughter, represented the passing of a young woman out of her parents care, and into the role as head of her own household. Dalla took the keys out of her daughter' s hand, and holding back her own tears attached the keys to her daughter' s belt. " There now ! Mother Frigga will bless you, and your marriage, as she recognizes that it is you, my lovely daughter, who is the head of your husband's household. " she told Aldisar as she wiped a tear that was coursing down her daughter's cheek.
King Ogmund came up from behind his wife. He stood quietly for a moment admiring his beautiful daughter before he spoke. " It is time for us to begin the marriage ritual ! " he told his wife and daughter as he pointed to the high seats at the end of the hall where King Sigtrygg, Queen Geirny, and Prince Viglund waited. As they approached the high seats Princess Aldisar became very aware that all eyes were upon them. What the princess could not possibly see, however, was that not all the attention being paid to them came from their world !
- End Chapter 1
Next : Chapter 2 : The Watchers
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.