King Of Destiny
Epilogue : Magnus The Great
This is not to say, of course, that occasional strife did not arise from time to time. For their were several uprisings by local Christian chieftains, especially in Rogaland at the beginning of his reign. Jarl Onund always took swift and absolute action to defuse these insurrections. The jarl always tried to negotiate with the belligerents first, but if either side, Pagan or Christian, refused to obey the commands of King Magnus, Onund would come down hard on them. As the years went by the animosity between Christians and Pagans began to diminish, and mistrust was replaced by a sense of pride in their national unity. Over time they no longer defined themselves by their faith first, but instead would proudly state to others that they belonged to the Kingdom of Northland, or call themselves simply Northlanders. King Magnus instilled in his subjects a great sense of
honor in their ancestors, and in their shared culture. Something that grew with every passing year.
King Magnus never forgot how important the lessons Herjan taught meant to him as he was growing up. The king sent skalds to every village to teach the local children . At first these skalds taught in the Christian churches, or in the Pagan temples, but slowly over the years, the towns and villages built small permanent schools in which the children could learn in. Their education not only included how to read and write, but also how to build a long ship, shoot a bow and arrow, and of course how to fight like a warrior, in case there once again came a time of war. Girls, as well as boys, were taught to be warriors from a young age. From these schools there was turned out a whole generation of skilled warriors, and shield maidens, to defend their young kingdom. Unfortunately this " Warrior generation " would be very much needed !
Both Svearike and Danmark were converted to Christianity during the reign of King Magnus . Svearike, also known as Sweden, declared war first under the reign of King Sveinbjorn. The Swedish king attacked along the coast through Ranrike. With the help of local chieftains King Magnus quickly raised an immense army that threw the king of Sweden back into his own lands with a great loss of life. Over the next five years the Swedes attacked Hedemark and Romerike, but were defeated both times with relative ease. The final Swedish army to attack came in the tenth year of the reign of King Magnus when they tried to attack through the Northern Jarldom of Trondelag. King Magnus, through his spies, had forewarning of the attack, and laid a trap for the Swedes to march into. The Northland king allowed the Swedes to cross their entire army into his kingdom before attacking it in a deep valley from the front and rear. The slaughter was horrible, and King Sveinbjorn had to fight desperately just to get a few remnants of his great army back to Sweden. Only a quarter of his great army made it back safely to their homelands.
The Danes were next ! In the fifteenth year of the reign of King Magnus, and spurred on by Bishop Callistus, King Vestmar, with a fleet of long ships attacked along the southern coast of the Northlands, from Agder to Viken. Initially the Danish king mad good progress inland. That is until he met a wall of Northlanders that stretched from the Rogaland coast all the way to the border with the Swedes at Romerike. As King Magnus and his jarls pushed the Danes back to the southern coast, Jarl Thord and Jarl Thorvald came from the west, and cut off the Danes ocean path of retreat with their huge dragon ships. After months of fighting King Vestmar returned home with barely a third of his army. To escape he had to march his men through the narrow stretch of land in Ranrike that connected to the Northlands to the Danes Kingdom. Bishop Callistus was not as lucky in his second attempt to overthrow King Magnus. Struck by an arrow in the groin he died of a fever on the way back to Danmark.
Then there was peace, and King Magnus could look towards other pursuits. While visiting his old friend Jarl Onund in Rogaland he met a Christian chieftain named Odd during a feast held by the jarl. Odd proudly introduced the king to his beautiful daughter Hrefna. The king was captivated by her beauty at once ! Her hair was as gold as wheat blowing in the wind. And her eyes, her eyes were as blue as the water of the great oceans ! Odd' s wife Thurid was not happy about the king's advances at first however. Two of her brothers, and an uncle, had been killed in the Christian - Pagan Wars, and she held a lot of animosity towards the Pagans. Over time, however, she began to warm up to the king, who was as charming as he was a great warrior. The fact that she would be the mother of the Queen of the Northland Kingdom, held some sway in Thurid's decision to allow her daughter to marry the king as well.
That autumn they held a huge wedding that was attended by everyone who was anyone in the Northland kingdom. Many other dignitaries attended as well including the king of Britain, the king of the Franks, the Finnish king and men of high standing from as far away as Iceland. Sadly Queen Grima and Queen Gudrun did not live to see their grandson wed. Queen Astrid was very happy with the union of Magnus and Hrefna, and saw it as the final unification of the Northland Kingdom. A Pagan king and a Christian Queen would be a shining example of unity for all to see ! A local Godi named Asmund, and the now elderly Father Bersi, both presided over the union of the royal couple. The feast that was held immediately after the wedding is still talked about to this day throughout the Northland Kingdom !
By the next summer Hrefna was with child . Unlike Astrid, who had great difficulty with the birth of Magnus, Hrefna had an easy birth, and the large child was born very healthy. As King Magnus held up his son for all to see he proclaimed to all in the chamber : " I want you all to meet the next king of the Northland Kingdom...... my son.... Herjan ! "
From up on Hlidskajlf, Odin, Frigga, and Freyja watched the birth of the son of King Magnus and Queen Hrefna. Frigga reached out her hand, and squeezed her husband' s hand tightly. " What a wonderful day ! " she exclaimed. " And Magnus did not forget you my love ! He honored the All- Father by naming his son after you ! " she added with excitement. Odin squeezed her hand back, and simply nodded as he watched. He did not want anyone to see the tears that were welling up in his eye.
After Frigga and Freyja had left, Odin, who was still sitting on his high seat suddenly felt a presence. As Odin turned he was shocked to see the Volva he had summoned all those years ago ! " I have not sent for you witch woman ! Why have you come ? " Odin asked her. As the Volva sat down in Frigga's high seat she changed form. Odin stood up at once when he realized who she actually was ! What are you doing here in my hall Skuld ! " he shouted. The Norn smiled at All - Father and said calmly : " My sisters do not know what it is that I have done great Odin. If they knew they would not be happy. For you and I have broken the thread of fate that was woven for the Northlands, and have changed the course of Midgardian history ! she told him. " And to answer your question,......... I have come to see the fruits of our labor in person. " Skuld added with a pleasant smile.
- The End
Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright 2014.