Forbidden Love :
A Story Of The Goddess Lofn
The Bargaining Chip
Helga looked out of the doorway to their great hall and saw coming from a great distance a horde of warriors dressed for war and covered in blood. In a state of sheer panic the queen shouted for her personal guards to help her escape from the menace that would soon be upon her. At first no one came to her aid, and she began to scream for someone, anyone, to help her. When her guards finally showed themselves they seemed to have no idea what they should do to protect her. In a state of shock and bewilderment they ran around in circles seeking a remedy to their predicament.
Queen Helga began to cry as the Swedes reached the edge of their village. The Swedish horses belched out flames from their nostrils as they galloped faster and faster towards her great hall. Through her tears, which distorted her vision, she saw the bony skulls of the Swedes peeking out from under their helmets. Maggots wiggled in their eye sockets, as snakes slithered in and out of their mouths. Helga tried to run but her legs would not obey her command to move. Seeing no other option but to remain and die the queen screamed !
Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, a great white horse rode up and stopped in front of her. A strong hand reached down and grabbed hold of her. The faceless hero pulled her up onto the saddle with barely an effort, and then kicked the horse into a fast gallop to escape the fast approaching enemy. As she turned and looked behind her she saw her personal guards on their knees begging for mercy. They received none ! When she turned away from the horrendous sight of watching her guards being slaughtered she realized that the hero who had saved her was her son Heinrekr.
With her work done Lofn removed her hand from the queen's forehead and broke the connection between the two. Before the mortal Helga could wake up the Goddess disappeared like the God Mani behind a cloud.
Helga awoke to the sounds of a commotion just outside of her bedchamber. The queen quickly wrapped herself up in her bearskin blanket and ran out into the great hall to see what was the matter. When she entered the torch lit hall she saw three of her guards holding a messenger down on the floor.
" I must see the queen ! " the courier shouted as he struggled against the guards who had him well restrained.
" Queen Helga is sleeping ! No one can see her now ! " one of the guards shouted back at him.
Helga ran over to where the man was held down helplessly and slapped the nearest guard, a warrior named Kvigbjorn, on the back of the head.
" Let the man up ! I will hear what he has to say ! " she commanded forcefully.
The guards immediately realized their mistake and released the man. After the messenger righted himself he bowed to the queen before delivering his message.
" My queen ! King Ring has crossed our border and is heading this way with a portion of his army. I estimate that they will be here in a day, or two at the most. " he informed the startled queen.
Queen Helga glanced over at her personal guards with great disdain before issuing a series of orders.
" Release my son at once ! He will now lead my personal guard and whatever warriors you can enlist from the village. Have Heinrekr's horse and mine saddled and ready to ride as soon as possible ! " she commanded.
Just before they left to join King Harjulf to the west another rider came into the village and gave the queen, and the prince, an update on the position of the enemy.
" My queen and lord ! The enemy line now extends all the way north to the border with Finnmark ! " the rider exclaimed.
Heinrekr's heart sank as it pounded wildly in his chest. His thoughts turned away from their own plight for a moment and he considered Myrgjol's situation, who he feared would be waiting for him at the River Slyan, which would soon be in the path of the invading Swedes. He did not want to leave his mother, but he felt he had to do something.
" Kvigbjorn ! " Heinrekr shouted back to the captain of the queen's guard.
" Yes, my lord ! " he obediently called back.
" You will escort the queen northwest to meet up with my father's army. I am going to take twenty warriors and head northeast to scout the position of the enemy personally ! " he ordered.
" Yes, my lord ! " he again replied as he moved his horse to the head of the column.
Queen Helga, with the nightmare still fresh in her memory, tried to protest but Heinrekr assured his mother that he would quickly ride out, assess the situation, and return to the column as soon as possible. He of course made no mention of Myrgjol as he spurred his horse away from the village with twenty of his best warriors.
The queen's guards followed Heinrekr blindly to the border between Herjardalr and Jamtaland, for they had no reason to doubt their prince. To scout ahead to see how far their enemy had penetrated into their kingdom made perfect military sense to these battle hardened warriors, and they were proud to have been chosen to join Prince Heinrekr on this mission. Furthermore, the prince's willingness to risk going to the border of their enemy Jamtaland to accomplish this only further showed the guards his courage.
Edmund, despite warnings from his father King Ring, and some of his best warriors, decided to explore deep within Jamtaland near the border with Herjardalr. Scouts and Swede villagers had reported a horde of Jamtalander warriors in this area who seemed to be gathering for another attack upon their kingdom. The evidence on their side of the border seemed to bear this out as well. Crops had been destroyed, whole villages burned to the ground, and hundreds of displaced Swedish folk were streaming east away from the area to seek safety further away from the border. And yet, as Edmund moved his army west into Jamtaland he found no evidence of this, "ghost army ", as he came to refer to it, along the way. Other than a few Jamtalanders, who had banded together to try and stop his army, there appeared to be no one to stop him.
As the sun began to set Edmund and his six warriors came upon a stream, which they followed to a river. In the distance the son of King Ring spotted a young woman sitting against the trunk of an old oak tree.
" Let us see if that maiden can tell us where the Jamtaland army can be found ! " he informed his warriors before kicking his horse into the three foot water to cross the river.
By the time they reached the tree the maiden had mysteriously disappeared.
" Find her ! " Edmund commanded.
As his warriors rode off in all directions the son of King Ring dismounted and stared up into the gnarly branches of the tree to see if the maiden were hiding among the thick foliage from him. Despite his best efforts, however, he could not see her amidst the leaf cover. He was about to mount his horse and join his warriors when he thought he heard something from the other side of the large tree trunk. Slowly Edmund drew his sword as he cautiously walked around the huge oak tree. As he peered around the corner Edmund thought he saw something move in the hollowed out rotted part of the trunk, and he squinted his eyes as he moved in for a better look.
By the time he saw the crouching maiden, the arrow had already struck him, and knocked him backwards onto the ground with a great force. As he slowly regained his wits he saw that the maiden had placed another arrow on her bow. He also heard the distant hoof beats of his warriors returning. Despite the throbbing pain in his shoulder Edmund grinned from ear to ear.
" Lower your bow, and I may let you live ! Release your arrow and my men will surely kill you ! " he shouted angrily at the maiden who had dared to attack him.
Myrgjol was about to answer the Swede's threat when she heard a familiar voice call out to her.
" Myrgjol ! Don't kill him !! " the voice called out to her.
Myrgjol looked up from the Swede's now confused face, and as tears filled her eyes she called out to the man she loved in a bewildered voice.
" Heinrekr ?! " she yelled as she ran over to greet him.
As they hugged Heinrekr's warriors, minus the one killed in the battle against the Swedes, surrounded Edmund. Myrgjol, after a brief kiss, called out to Heinrekr's men.
" Kill the Swedish bastard ! "
The Herjardalr warriors did not respond to the Jamtalander maiden's command, but instead waited for Heinrekr's order.
" No ! We can use the son of King Ring as a bargaining chip ! " the son of King Harjulf commanded.
From Hlidskjalf Lofn clapped her hands together joyfully as she watched her plan work to perfection. Tears of joy filled her eyes as she watched the two lovers embrace and kiss a second time.
" The Valfather, and the All-Mother, will be most pleased with the results of my intervention. I must not become apathetic now, however, for there is still much to do ! " she whispered to the viewer.
- End Chapter 11
- Next : Chapter 12 : An Uneasy Alliance
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2019.