Forbidden Love :
A Story Of The Goddess Lofn
An Uneasy Alliance
Heinrekr was relieved, when he reached a midpoint between his father's army and the Jamtalanders, to see that the two antagonists were not yet engaged in battle. His men became further perplexed, however, when the prince told them that they would be making camp here for the night and not continuing on to join the main army.
" Why do we stay here Prince Heinrekr ? " one warrior asked in a worried tone.
Before the prince could answer another quickly joined in with a question of his own.
" Should we not hand over our prisoner to King Harjulf as soon as possible ? "
Heinrekr narrowed his eyes, and bit his lip angrily, before answering.
" I doubt that Prince Edmund will be enough of a deterrent to stop the Swedes from invading our lands. If, however, we can combine the Herjardalr and Jamtaland armies, then, and only then, do I believe that we will have the might to make King Ring bargain with us as equals. " he told his men.
" And how will you convince your father to join forces with his sworn enemy King Vifinnr !? " a third warrior asked sarcastically.
Myrgjol, who had been quietly standing in the shadows, stepped forward and answered for Heinrekr.
" We will both convince our fathers by simply stating the obvious and stark reality of the situation that our kingdoms are currently faced with. If they continue their war against each other then both will lose their kingdoms, and quite possibly their lives. Only together, as one fighting force, can either hope to retain their autonomy, and secure their futures, and those of their folk. " she replied eloquently to Heinrekr's warriors.
Heinrekr nodded that he fully agreed with Myrgjol's assessment of the situation.
" We will camp here tonight. Tomorrow I will visit my father, while Myrgjol will go and see King Vifinnr to convince him that our plan is the only viable option left to us. If all goes well we will return here tomorrow to formally form an alliance against our common enemy the Swedes. " he informed his men.
Lofn watched from Hlidskjalf as both King Harjulf and King Vifinnr lay down to sleep. The Goddess of Permission had stood by over the past several days and allowed the natural progression of events to play out on Midgard. Few, if any of the Gods, knew these Midgardians better than she. Lofn understood all too well that there was a time to allow the future to flow like a stream in the direction of least resistance, but that there was also a point where the time stream needed to be diverted, pushed to a more convenient point to suit her needs. It had now become the time for the latter.
Lofn waited patiently for the restless kings to fall into a deep sleep before she permeated both of their dreaming brains to show them the images that she wished them to see. To change their minds, and push them away from the years of hatred that these two leaders felt towards each other, she had first to instill such fear in them that this new greater emotion overcame all their other impulses. And she would accomplish this all from nightmares.
Frigga's handmaiden first went to King Harjulf. In his pliable mind the Goddess showed him visions of himself proudly fighting the Swedes, while mounted gallantly on his great stallion. At first all went well. The sun was shining brightly, and the battle was apparently going in his favor. But then a dark cloud hovered above him and as if the heavens were weeping for him the Swedes broke his line and all was lost. His last memory of the fight was being knocked off of his horse, and hitting the ground with a hard thud.
King Harjulf awoke feeling cold and defenseless. A chill ran up his back as he looked up into the face of King Ring who was running a knife gently up and down his spine.
" My judgement against you is death ! " the King of the Swedes spat in his face.
Then the king laughed maniacally.
" A larger kingdom for me,...., enslavement of your people,...., and the blood eagle for you ! " he shouted.
Harjulf tried desperately to pull himself free from the restraints that held him down, but it was no use. As the sharp point of the blade cut into his back his brain screamed a split second before it echoed out of his mouth. As his mind and body tried to deal with the shock and agony of the intense pain Harjulf braced himself for what he knew would come next.
Each time the axe head cut through his back and severed another rib his body convulsed involuntarily from the sheer agony, and by the time the final connection was broken his body and spirit had been broken. There was, however, one more torture to endure before he died. As he felt King Ring's hands reach into his back, to pull out his lungs, he screamed one last time !
Harjulf found no mercy from King Ring in his dream, but the shrill sounds of his own screams drove him away from the nightmare and back into the world of reality. As his eyes fluttered open he looked up to see that his guards had gathered nervously around him. Each and every one of them had the same look of worry and fear upon their faces as they gazed down upon their trembling and sweaty leader.
After stretching several times the king pointed to the flap of his tent.
" I am fine now ! You may leave me ! " the king told them as he wiped the sweat off of his brow.
King Vifinnr found himself confidently leading his army down a steep hill on foot towards the Herjardalr army. In one hand he held a golden shield, and in the other a silver sword. When he reached the base of the hill, however, his heart sank into his stomach as the Herjardalr battle line suddenly turned into a massive Swede army led by King Hring. When he looked back down at his shining shield it had turned from gold to rotted wood, and his sword was rusted and bent. As his mind tried to deal with such a horrific reversal of fortunes, he was suddenly attacked violently by King Hring, who was wearing a majestic purple robe.
Valiantly Vifinnr tried to defend himself, but each of the Swede's sword strokes ripped his shield apart, and chipped pieces off of his rusted weapon. When the King of Jamtaland held only the leather strap of his shield, and his sword was no longer than a small dagger, he could not stop the Swede's sharp weapon as it was swung at his neck. A piercing pain raced through his body like a lightning bolt as the blade did short work on his flesh and bone.
Vifinnr became dizzy as his severed head rotated in the air before slowly tumbling to the ground. With his last moments of clarity the King of the Jamtalanders watched from the mud as his body slowly tipped over and fell. He tried to release his horror in the form of a scream, but his mouth would no longer open.
Myrgjol shook her father several times before he finally stirred.
" Father ! Father ! Did you have a bad dream ! ? " she asked in a frantic tone.
Vifinnr quickly looked around the small tent several times, and when he realized that he was truly safe, the king finally answered his daughter.
" Yes ! I believe that it was merely a bad dream. But I must meet with King Harjulf at once ! " he stated nervously as he tried to shake off the affects of the nightmare.
Myrgjol was so astonished by her father's words that she was rendered speechless.
Heinrekr too had quite a shock when his father agreed, without any prodding, to meet with King Vifinnr in the fields between the two armies. As the two leaders approached the encampment, where Prince Edmund was being held, Heinrekr and Myrgjol feared that the two men's hearts would be hardened by the mere sight of the other. What the Prince of Herjardalr, and the Princess of Jamtaland, did not know, however, was that both kings had seen, and felt, their own demise and had good reason now to form at least an uneasy alliance.
- End Chapter 12
- Next : Chapter 13 : The Ultimatum
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2019.