Thorgest : The Life And Death Of A Viking Raider
The Death Of A Viking Raider
" I will have your flesh peeled slowly off of your bones if you do not release me at once ! " he screamed at the men in the front of the boat who were still unrecognizable.
When Melaghlin heard the king's warning he turned and laughed.
" You are in no position to give orders to anyone ! My army returned this morning and killed all of your warriors, many of whom were still sleeping ! So you see, my lord , you are a man without an army, or a kingdom for that matter ! " he replied sarcastically.
Thorgest craned his neck from side to side several times before he asked.
" Where am I ! " the king demanded to know.
Lord Melaghlin was more than willing to share that piece of information with the former King of Dyvlinarskire.
" We are in the middle of Lough Owel. " he responded.
Thorgest tried to hide his growing fear as he quickly began to realize that he was in a lot of trouble.
" And what am I doing here ? " he asked.
Melaghlin suddenly became very angry and pointed a finger at the Viking as though it were a weapon.
" You are here to pay for attempting to rape my daughter ! " he replied harshly.
The king shook his head.
" No ! No !! I was planning to kill Auðr and make Aibreann my wife,...., your daughter would have become the new Queen of Dyvlinarskire ! " he shot back.
Melaghlin pointed to the front of the boat and laughed.
" I knew that this was your intention, which is why I invited your wife here to watch you die ! " he told the Norsemen with a little grin.
Auðr stood up and waved to her husband .
" Hello, you son of a bitch ! You were going to kill me, and make Melaghlin's daughter a queen, just to satisfy your sexual lust ? ! " she screamed at her husband.
Thorgest chuckled a little and shook his head as he answered his wife.
" I hit rock bottom when I married a whore like you ! " he shot back.
Melaghlin pointed down at the water and smiled.
" Well, it seems that you will now wind up at the bottom for your lust of my daughter, and hatred of your wife,...., and I want you to know, before you die, that I am going to keep your wife as a guest in my court for the rest of her life just to spite you ! " he yelled at the king.
Thorgest managed, after much effort, to sit up.
" My warriors will come for you, and kill everyone here in Westmeath. " he assured Melaghlin.
The Lord of Westmeath grinned broadly as he replied to the empty threat.
" Egil, I am sure will come to Westmeath to exact revenge upon us for your death. He will, however, be given only two choices. Either leave and return to Dyvlinarskire in peace, or be destroyed by my much larger army. I think he is a wise man who will make the right choice. " he informed the Norseman.
" Besides, I am sure that he stopped at the ring fort at Lough Ribh and observed what my army is capable of ! " he added with a grin.
Thorgest struggled against the ropes for a moment or two before realizing it was useless. He then spat at the Lord of Westmeath before screaming vehemently at him.
" You will not get away with this ! " he told the Irishman in a tone that betrayed his frustration.
Melaghlin laughed again.
" And who will tell of what happens here ? You, oh great King of Dyvlinarskire ? Or maybe the wife who hates you !? No ! The secret of your demise will die with you here in Lough Owel ! " he responded angrily.
The Lord of Westmeath then turned away from the Norseman and addressed his warriors who had rowed the boat out into the middle of the Lough.
" Tie the weights to his arms and legs ! " he commanded.
Thorgest tried to wriggle and squirm to make it difficult for the Irishmen to attach the weights, but he was far too securely tied up to stop them. Once the deed was done the men lifted the king up and forced him to the side of the boat.
" Cut the ropes from his feet ! I want to watch him struggle before he slowly sinks to the bottom ! " he told his men.
As they cut through the thick ropes Auðr clapped her hands and began to laugh hysterically.
" Is my husband going for a little swim ? ! " she asked in a comical tone.
Thorgest looked over his shoulder and said two last words to his wife.
" You bitch ! "
Once Thorgest's legs were freed from their restraints he was thrown overboard. The king flipped over as he hit the water with a large splash. At first, as the king sank, Melaghlin and Auðr thought they would be denied the opportunity to watch Thorgest die slowly, but when he popped up to the surface again like a cork the Lord of Westmeath clapped, while Auðr cheered her husband on to his death.
Thorgest could hear the laughter of the Irishmen, and his wife's loud high pitched cackle, as he kicked his legs violently beneath him in a futile attempt to keep himself afloat. He wanted to swim on his back over to the boat and try to capsize it, or at the very least curse his executioners, before he died. Unfortunately it took all of his effort and concentration just to keep his head above the water. And with each kick of his feet his body grew weaker and his mind more desperate to save himself.
The onlookers cheered the king as he screamed in between large gulps of swallowed water. As he watched, the Lord of Westmeath became quite proud of himself for guessing just the right size of the rock weights he had his men attach to Thorgest's limbs. They were heavy enough not to allow him to float or swim, but not so cumbersome that they would drag him straight to the bottom.
The pinnacle of the spectacle, however, occurred when the former Norse king could no longer keep his nose or mouth above the surface of the water. The Lord of Westmeath made certain he was positioned directly above the king as he perished. The two made eye contact one last time before Thorgest exhaled his last breath. He smiled from ear to ear as the viking's eyes bulged out as he inhaled water into his lungs instead of air. Then Melaghlin and Auðr stood side by side to watch Thorgest as he sank deeper and deeper into the Lough. Auðr, in a last sarcastic gesture, blew her husband a kiss and waved goodbye to her husband. Only when the image of the dead king disappeared completely into the murky depths did they look away. It was then that Melaghlin gave the order to return to shore.
" My daughter is now avenged, and I have destroyed the nest of the vikings here in Westmeath. Let us leave this place and allow the fish to feast on the king's flesh in peace ! " he told his men with a slight grin.
Two days later Egil, with his meager little army, came riding into Westmeath. There he was met by Melaghlin's superior forces. As the two armies stood across from one another the Lord of Westmeath left his guard behind and rode out and spoke to Egil alone. For a moment the two sat stoically on their horses sizing each other up without saying a word. Finally, after what must have seemed like an eternity, it was Melaghlin who spoke first.
" Your king is dead,...., and your army has been decimated. I could easily destroy your tiny forces and finally be rid of you damned heathens,....., and yet I am willing to show you the same mercy that I have been told you showed the abbot, monks, and villagers of Cluain Mhic Nois. " he told the Norseman.
When his offer was met only with silence the Lord of Westmeath narrowed his eyes, and asked in a more demanding tone.
" What say you, Egil the Viking ! ? "
The commander looked around at the pitiful remains of their proud force, that had left Norway only a few years before, and hung his chin low against his chest.
" I wish we had never come to this Christian land ! " he shot back.
Lord Melaghlin was quickly becoming impatient and wanted an answer to his question.
" Will you leave in peace or shall I kill you right here and now ! " he shouted angrily.
Egil nodded his head slowly, but did not look the Irishman in the eyes as he answered.
" I will accept your offer and go back to Dyvlinarskire peacefully. " he told Melaghlin, before riding back to his small band of warriors and leading them past the Irish army that stood and watched them as they left.
The Lord of Wesmeath was glad that no blood had to be spilled this day, but as the Vikings disappeared into the distance Melaghlin whispered under his breath his true feelings.
" If you come back I will kill you all ! This I promise !! "
- End Chapter 15
- Next : Chapter 16 : Aftermath
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2018.