Forbidden Love :
A Story Of The Goddess Lofn
King Ring Declares War !
Sigmund bowed his head slightly to Odin before asking :
" We are to attack Swedish villages all along the border with Herjardalr and Jamtaland, burning everything in our path, but we are to harm no one ? " he asked in a sharply incredulous tone.
Odin took a long drink of his ale before replying with just one word.
" Yes ! "
Sinfjotli could not help but ask the very obvious next question.
" You have trained us for many years now to be the best warriors in all the nine worlds. We are as violent as wild beasts, and as uncontrollable as any berserker in battle. How can we now be expected to restrain our urge to kill ? "
Odin slammed his horn down hard upon the table, and pointed to the two greatest warriors in the hall with a threatening finger.
" Are you questioning a command from your lord and master ! ? I did not have my valkyries pluck you from the throes of eternal death Sigmund only to have you defy me here in my own hall ! " he told Sigmund first before turning his attention to Sinfjotli.
" And you ! I came to Midgard personally and carried you, Sinfjotli, back to Valhalla ! Is this my reward for that kindness ! ? " he asked angrily.
Sigmund and Sinfjotli bowed their heads in shame, and out of a great respect for the Valfather that had grown over many years. It was Sigmund who humbly replied to the Lord of Valhalla.
" Valfather ! I assure you that we meant no disrespect. We are simply surprised by the strangeness of your plan. We will undoubtedly follow you to Niflhel and back, if you so command us my lord. " he assured Odin.
Odin grinned, for he knew that one day his einherjar would fight the minions of Hel in battle. As he rose up off of the golden bench he slowly pointed a finger around the great hall.
" Does anyone here intend to defy me ! ? " he shouted.
A loud " No " rang out from those seated in the great hall. This was quickly followed by a chant of, "Odin, Odin, Odin ". When the hall had quieted down Valfather drew his sword and pointed the weapon at the massive golden doors.
" Draw your weapons, raise your shields, for today we start a war ! " he shouted so loud that it echoed throughout the cavernous hall.
Sigmund led his army of the dead against a large village that lay just across the border from Jamtaland in Nordanstig. Many of the villagers ran for their lives when they saw the massive army marching across the fields towards them. Some, however, warriors and shield maidens alike, led by their chieftain Sven, went out to meet them, despite being outnumbered a hundred to one. The Swedes fought with great determination, but were far outmatched by the skills of this marauding professional army, which flew the simple raven flag of Jamtaland.
Despite Odin's warning many of the Swedes were wounded, some severely, before being captured. None, however, died because Odin sent the Goddess, who is known as the Best of Physicians, to heal those who might otherwise have perished. Eir thought it odd to be asked to heal those that Odin's warriors had injured, but the Goddess did not question the Valfather and performed her duties with great skill and caring.
Sigmund personally took Sven's sword, and ordered that he and his folk be locked in his great hall at the edge of the village. Sven's heart sank when he heard the door of his hall being nailed shut, for he expected that at any moment the hall would be lit on fire, and that they would all burn to death. Shortly thereafter all inside the chieftain's hall heard their village being torn to pieces, but it wasn't until smoke began to filter into the hall from outside that those confined inside began to panic.
Just as Sven was about to order his people to rush the door, and force their way out, he heard the sharp cracking sound of wood breaking at the entrance way to his hall. With one hand he held back his folk while with the other he gently pushed on the door. As it slowly creaked open Sven cautiously peered outside. The chieftain looked carefully to his right and then to his left. Not seeing any of the marauding Jamtalanders, however, Sven slowly made his way out of the hall.
What the chieftain saw demoralized, and astonished him. Pets and livestock alike lay slaughtered in the roads between the huts, and every structure in the village was on fire except his great hall. And as he gazed through the thick smoke bellowing forth from the fires Sven caught a glimpse of the Jamtaland army disappearing in the distance, burning their crops as they left.
A cold shiver ran up Sven's spine when he suddenly became aware of the presence of someone standing near him. Slowly he turned his head and gazed over at the dirty faced shield maiden who was watching their village burn to the ground next to him.
" Why did they not kill us ? " Brinda asked.
Sven turned his gaze back to the devastation, shrugged his shoulders, and shook his head in utter disbelief.
" I do not know,......., I do not understand. " he replied in a state of shock.
Odin had chosen to ride with Sinfjotli into Sundhed because he was younger and much more impetuous than his uncle Sigmund, and the Valfather was also concerned that he might not heed his warnings about sparing the Swedes. He need not have worried, however, because Sinfjotli led his Ghost Herjardalr army against the Swedes with great fury, but also with much restraint. Odin, who carried the broken horn banner, which was the symbol of the Herjardalr army, was much impressed by the skills and good judgement of Sigmund's nephew. Sinfjotli following his scorched earth protocol to the letter, and because of his diligence only a few Swedes were severely injured, and those once again were saved by the healing touch of the Goddess Eir.
Together Odin and Sinfjotli rode through the Swedish countryside causing havoc and fear. Deeper and deeper they went into the old kingdom destroying everything in their path until the Valfather was absolutely certain that the King of the Swedes would have no choice but to mobilize his army to defend his lands and his folk. Only then did they return to Valhalla.
King Ring was furious when the messengers began to arrive from all over his kingdom with news that the Jamtalanders and the Herjardalr had suddenly, and without warning, decided to encroach into his territory burning and plundering as they went. The fact that these Northlanders were releasing his people after capturing them was most perplexing to the king, but the destruction left behind to their crops, stores, and villages left the King of the Swedes only one option.
" As of this moment we are at war with Jamtaland and Herjardalr ! " King Ring informed his sons, before officially announcing his decision to the entire army.
Emund and Erik were both very young, but each was eager to demonstrate to their father that they would someday be the right choice to succeed their father as the King of the Swedes. Both quickly offered their support, and their loyal services to their father.
" I am pleased that my sons are ready to fight for me ! " he stated proudly.
King Ring sent Emund south-west, with a small contingent of his immense army, to the border with Herjardalr, and Erik he sent north-west to the border with Jamtaland to see what the enemy was doing there. Before they left the king gave them strict instructions.
" Observe, but do not engage the enemy ! I want to know how large their armies are, and where they are located. Report back to me as soon as possible, and I will then formulate a plan on how to deal with these people who have dared to invade my kingdom ! " he instructed them.
- End Chapter 9
- Next : Chapter 10 : New Priorities
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ) © Copyright, 2019.