@spideyivydaredevilfan26: Looks like it's about to get unpleasant for Sharp-Hound.
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Well here goes nothing. First into the breach etc. Italic text are actual Viking facts taken from: F. Donald Logan, The Vikings in History (2005)
Hope you guys enjoy
The Seduction of Ragnar
Smoke circled ominously over the monastery alongside the ravens as the crawling monk clutched the crucifix in his hand and silently preyed to God as the broad axe sliced through his neck. Lying arms spread out his body merged with the field of slain brothers as the invaders streamed out of the monastery clutching chests of gold and religious artefacts as well as a few bound women, most dressed in simple peasant attire and all but one screaming.
“This was a good raid.” One of the raiders snorted as he dragged a two meter tall statuette of the Virgin Mary along the ground. “The Saxons are ripe for plundering, they have spent too long standing behind ploughs rather then shields.”
“Monks are easy prey.” A second sneered as he pushed a cart loaded with three chests loaded with gold. “But their blood stains us so easily. Their blood is filthy and spreads disease; it must be cleaned before we leave lest we bring back a plague to out people.”*
* Vikings despite stereotyping were obsessed with the cleanliness of their clothes. They were described by the Anglo Saxons as always grooming their hair to remove dirt. Even the ancient Islamic cultures of the Middle East took note of their ‘vanity’ when it came to clean clothes
“Still the Saxon women will make good slaves.” A third announced. “The Chieftain is willing to give a woman each to his best warriors.” He added as a massive man, his face covered in an iron mask connected to his helmet supervised the group moving the slaves, his eyes wandering to a woman clad in a short leather dress; her hair dyed blue shining among the blonde and brunette haired Saxon women. “That one’s a Celt; they don’t make good slaves they have to much pride. It takes an iron hand to dominate one of their women and even then she’s as likely to chop your head off as rolling on her back.”
“The Celts are filthier then the Saxons.” The first spat, “They are savages that run wild in the countryside like animals.”
“Aye.” A strong voice announced and the three turned to see a massive man clad in heavy chain mail and carrying a halberd. “The Celts are barbarians but like us they refuse to bow down to the Christian god that has made the Saxons weak.”
“Ragnar.” The warriors gasped, “We thought that you were to the east discussing trade treaties with the tribes on the Volga.”*
* Despite being pirates the Viking economy relied heavily on trade. As a largely sea-faring nation the Viking peoples used their ships to carry riches from Scandinavia to the French Coast and even as far as Byzantium and the Volga.
“Aye last summer, since then I returned to find my home empty, devoid of a wife and child. Loki’s trickery took both from me while I was away. Still a strong Celtic woman would make a good match for me.”
“In your dreams Ragnar who wants a wife who fights your every action?” The second raider asked as the iron masked Thane beckoned the four of them to come closer.
“Thane Canute the Wise.” The men said in unison as they followed the man and the slaves to the crest of the hill to look down at the beached longboats sitting in the bay. “What do you ask of your warriors?”
“Ragnar my son.” Canute said, his face hidden by his mask, “You and your warriors are to guard the spoils while the work team move the ships off the beach. Be on your guard, the Saxons are not to be trusted and the Celts even less. I lost five of my men to the barbarians last year when we came to this shore.”*
*Viking Longboats were shallow drafted and able to sail up rivers as well as across the oceans. In addition the Vikings were known to ‘pottage’ their ships over obstacles such as sand bars and mud flats.
“Yes my Thane and Father, we will guard this horde with our lives.” Ragnar answered before watching as the Thane took off his face mask to reveal a wrinkled caring face. “My son I am sorry about the death of your wife Ingrid.”
“As am I father, yet in my heart I know that my mistress held precedent over my wife. That adventure, travel and war are the women who hold my soul” Ragnar told him. “I am sorry father.”
“You are still young.” Thane told him, “We won’t be long.” He added as he walked down the hill towards the beach as a few more raiders dropped their loot off before following him down into the bay. Shooting a look at the Celtic woman Ragnar walked over and bent down before offering her a walrus ivory cup filled with water to sip. Glaring at him she head butted the vessel away, her eyes burning through him like a white hot poker. “Do not offer me kindness marauder. I would rather die then become your prize slave.”
“Feisty.” One of the raiders grunted as Ragnar picked up the cup and stared back at the woman. “I told you about the Celtic Women’s spirit. They have more balls then their men.”
“What’s your name?” Ragnar growled as the Celt attempted to chew through her restraints. “Stop that, what are you an animal.”
“I am Fea, the bringer of chaos in war.” The Celt hissed as a particularly large crow flew past cawing loudly. “Your people claim to be warriors yet they attack the defenceless and retreat with pockets full of plunder before they can face true steel and shot.” As she finished mist begun to rise off the sea and the crows began to get louder until they merged into one giant swarm of darkness that dive-bombed the Vikings on the hillside.
“This is witchcraft; this woman is a Celtic devil.” One of the raiders called.
“Kill her.” Another barked.
“Nay my friends!” Ragnar boomed with authority, “Hold fast less it is said that brave Viking warriors are frightful of fog and birds.”*
*Vikings were always looking for signs of the gods’ displeasure. The crow, unlike the raven, was seen as an ill omen. Fog too would be seen as bad sign due to the weathers ability to cloud judgment and affect navigation.
“But they came only when you spoke to the Celtic witch.” The third whimpered as the sound of wolves howling sounded around the whole hillside and phantom shapes could be seen darting through the mist. “And now there are wolves. She is a demon and must be slain before she brings ruin on us all.”
“Look the Saxons.” The first yelled as the shapes darted into the treasure horde. Shuddering the Saxon slaves begun to transform, their new forms ripping out of their clothes to reveal man sized wolves, their eyes glowing red in the darkening light. With a blood curling howl the transformed women leapt at the Vikings, their bodies exploding into boiling tar that showered the raiders in thick black liquid, the men falling into the pile of gold, individuals relics fusing to their bodies. Standing alone Ragnar walked over to the nearest only to see the man’s now golden body splitting open to reveal a rotting human head.
“This is witchcraft.” Ragnar muttered as he turned to Fea, “Why spare me and not them?”
“Because you interest me.” Fea purred as two crows landed next to her before transforming into two identical women, their hair dyed blue with woad like Fea’s. “Because I and my sisters always look for men like you. We are the Morrigan, this countries spirit of war. You called us with your desires, if you truly look for those things find me.” She added before kissing Ragnar on the forehead before slipping from her bonds and joining her sisters as all three transformed into crows and flew away.*
* The Morrigan (Irish Gaelic for Phantom Queen) was the Celtic goddess of war, strife and nobility. Made up of three women identified as; Badab, Macha, Nemian, Fea or Anand they often appeared in the form of crows, wolves, eels or cattle to survivors of battle.
“Ragnar!” Thane’s voice boomed out of the fog, “There is an ill essence to this place, we will bury the majority of the horde and come back for it. Bring the women and the gold and we’ll but our sails to the wind and leave these cursed islands.
“Aye father.” Ragnar replied as he walked down to the bay. “But I will not be following you home.” He stated as he climbed aboard and dropped his weapons on the longboat’s deck before watching as three crows flew overhead. “I found the woman I’m looking for.” He added as he handed his father the obsidian pendent he wore around his neck. “My Mistress calls.” he added as he leapt off the ship before landing in the water, his form melting and fusing into a giant eel that slithered away from the ship following the birds inland.
“My son.” Thane whispered as his men lept in to the water in an attempt try and capture Ragnar. “My son is lost to this bedevilled island. Ready arms, I will grind this land down to sheer stone to get him back. I will not let this place claim my son. Skuldt!” He bellowed turning to the man to his right clutching an axe and buckler. “If I don’t return immortalize my son and warn my people of the dangers found on this island.”
“And what happened next?” A child’s voice squeaked as the fire begun to die down. The wizened man smiled and gathered his grandson and grand daughter close to him as the sun began to set below the green ocean to the west. “I found my son happy with his love in a lake to the north, a pair of warriors immortalized as serpents in the great loch. I returned and told the Skuldt my story before heading back to my wife and daughter, your mother and decided to dedicate my life to trade and peace with all our neighbors.”
“Can we go to Britain, to see the monasteries and wolves and Ragnar?” The little boy asked.
“In time my grandson,” Thane answered as he slipped the obsidian pendent around the boy’s neck. “Let adventure by your mistress and see her mysteries. This world holds hidden wonders, wonders the two of you have never seen.”
“Can you tell us another story Grandfather?” The little girl asked.
“Tomorrow my child.” Thane smiled as he watched a pair of crows land on the roof of his longhouse. “Tomorrow I will tell you about the Ocean Sea and the giant creatures that swim her depths. Now sleep well.” He added as the children ran inside. “Tonight I talk to my son and his wife.” He whispered a smile stretching across his wizened face as the crows landed on his shoulders and nibbled his ear affectionately before blowing the fire out, three human figures walking through the cinders towards the sea.
@wildvine: @joshmightbe: Hey I'm game for a read and review system of both in return for some T-Bolts reading. If fact sod that last bit I'm game for a read and review system. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who didn't vote for myself,