Book 7, Ch. 10.0, Princes Mstislav and Iry Dada Wrestle to the Death (c. 1022 AD), Excerpts:
(1022) The Prince and Queen Emma visited with King Canute and Princess Aelfgifu in Winchester and Hraerik told Valdy about his plan to expand King Sweyn’s Viking fortress on the Meduna River on Wight into a western Gardariki, a city with a castle in which to store half of the Hraes’ gold treasure of their trading company. “The mobile legion we have there would be permanently stationed in the castle and the city would help Southampton provide goods for our Newfoundland trade,” he explained. “We’ll rebuild Sweyn’s fortress into a proper stone castle using rock quarried from Emma’s quarries on Wight. Knars will transport the stone down the Meduna to the Viking Harbour and we’ll start construction this year.”
“My quarries will be able to supply all the stone required for the castle,” Emma reassured Valdamar.
“How much gold are we talking about?” Valdy asked his grandfather. He had no idea of what the Hraes’ Trading Company was worth these days.
“I’ll be bringing in about eighty thousand pounds of gold,” Hraerik replied, “and twice that amount in silver.”
“That’s half of the Hraes’ Red Gold Hoard?” Valdy asked, referring to the treasure by its old Roman name. “I had no idea we had that much gold!”
“Your father planned on attacking Rome,” Hraerik reminded him. “That was going to take a lot of gold.”
“So, we’re no longer attacking Rome? Shouldn’t we be following my father’s wishes?”
“Sweyn had a claim to a share of the throne, as step-son of Constantine the Seventh,” the Prince elaborated, “through the marriage of Empress Helga with the Emperor. That claim ended with him.”
“My wife, Anna Porphyrogennetos, was born of the purple and was a daughter of Constantine the Seventh, God rest her soul. Wouldn’t I have just as strong a claim?”
“Theoretically,” Hraerik postulated, “but you would be considered a usurping uncle, and that’s a tough sell for Romans. They’ve got that old Prince Brutus tale where he feigns madness to survive and overthrow his usurping uncle, King Tarquin. You’d be seen as the usurping Uncle Vladimir ‘the Impaler’ taking away the rightful thrones of Basil and Constantine the Eighth. It wouldn’t sell well.”
“Some of my sons are born of the purple and are grandsons of Constantine the Seventh,” Vlady protested. “Wouldn’t they have a strong claim?”
“They might,” Hraerik agreed, “but they’re too busy squabbling amongst each other. Hraes’ is fragmenting into a patchwork of petty principalities. They’re half the reason I want half the Hraes’ gold here, in England. I don’t want to keep all our eggs in one basket.”
“Especially golden eggs!” Valdy concurred. “I had no idea the Romans took that Brutus story to heart so much. Didn’t you write your own version of it?”
“The Amleth Saga,” Hraerik replied. “Amleth means dull like the Roman name Brutus. But Prince Amleth was actually King Bjorn ‘of the Barrows’ of Sweden. He played a mad prince to escape my wrath when I usurped the Swedish throne from his father, King Alrick, and when I succumbed to my wounds from killing Alrick, he took back the throne and was going to kill me instead.”
“Ah, yes,” Valdy said, looking at their wives, “the Head Ransom Drapa!”
“We know that one!” the women chimed in. “All princesses know that one!”
“Yes,” Hraerik said. “I played the mad poet and wrote a drapa for my dead wife, Princess Gunwar, and when he heard it, he was so pleased, he offered to help me avenge her death if I wrote him a like drapa overnight. And he was true to his word. He helped us defeat the Khazars at the Battle of the Goths and the Huns.”
I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 10.0, Princes Mstislav and Iry Dada Wrestle to the Death (Circa 1022 AD),of Book Seven of ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ Series, “The Saga of King Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson” to the website SeiberTeck.com under the Book Seven Heading.
When the great fleet sailed past Polotsk, the Prince had a few words with Prince Bryachislav to try and patch things up between him and Prince Ivaraslav, and when they sailed past Kiev, the Prince did likewise with Ivaraslav. Then he met up with Prince Mstislav at Cherson and learned that Prince Rededya of the Kasogians had been mollified, so far, with gifts, but would likely continue with fall raiding in Tmutorokan. There were other problems with other princes to be handled as well, so, Hraerik was relieved when they finally arrived at the Caliph’s palace in Baghdad. He spent a week in the city, most evenings being spent with Anise and Saffron, his trade agents there, before heading off to Ashaval and Mumba to spend time with his children and new Aesir wife there. He also met up with his older concubine wife, Misha, and told her that he wanted to get her group working on mathematics for him.
“I thought the Guild was going to work on your theories with your new Aesir wife,” Misha complained.
“They are, but I know the kind of progress they make and I would like you to shadow them. I’ll provide you with everything they do for me and we’ll see if you can accelerate things a bit. We’re not as young as we used to be.”
“How is your new young Aesir wife?”
“Nika’s very young,” Hraerik repeated, “but she is a prodigy and I think you’ll be impressed with some of her proofs.”
“I meant in the sack,” Misha protested, poking him in the ribs.
“Well, she was very good, but now she’s very pregnant,” Hraerik said, getting up on one elbow. “She throws up while we’re having sex now.”
“You should have used a glove.”
“She wanted to have a baby,” Hraerik protested. “How could I not oblige her?”
“Okay, I’ll put the team together.”
“I was hoping you would. I brought you some gold.”
“My team are volunteers,” Misha said. “We don’t need your gold.”
“It’s for progress bonuses,” the Prince told her. “We were going to attack Rome, but now we’re not, so I have some extra gold to speed things along.”
“Just as well then. It’s going to be hard to model your theorem with your added dimension. Time as a dimension? I still have cosmologists trying to wrap their heads around that one!”
“I know!” Hraerik said. “It makes my head hurt.”
The Kasogian army soon drew up in orderly array and some riders came forth carrying white standards. “They want a parley,” the Prince said. “A what?” Mstislav replied. “They want to talk!” So, the two Hraes’ princes rode out to meet the standard bearers and Prince Rededya then rode out from his forces to talk.
“Why should we destroy our forces by doing battle? Let us rather fight in single combat ourselves. If you win, you shall receive my property, my wife, and my children, and my Kasogia. But if I win, I shall take your Tmutorokan.”
“Don’t do it,” Hraerik hissed. “Our legions will win and we need the captives.”
“I heard that his wife is pretty hot,” Mstislav replied.
While they were discussing the offer, Prince Rededya upped the offer. “If you’d rather, we could wrestle in the old Greco-Roman fashion instead of making single combat with swords. I’m old,” he added, stroking his white beard. “You’ll win for sure.” He then pulled at his white moustaches and said, “My wife is young and very pretty.”
“He’s stronger than he looks,” Hraerik warned the young prince, “and Greco-Roman is fought naked and the loser is bent over.”
“I don’t intend to lose,” Mstislav answered.
“Don’t put yourself at risk!” Hraerik said. “That is what I have been teaching you.”
“I accept your challenge!” Mstislav shouted in reply and he turned to the Prince and whispered, “I want all Kasogia, not just a few slaves. With his wife as my own, I shall rule all of it.”
“Don’t do this,” Hraerik repeated. “We can beat the Kasogians and take them as slaves and keep doing it for the next decade at least. That is how your grandfather, King Sweyn would play it.”
“It’s too late,” Mstislav said, “I accepted his offer and he’s already getting ready.”
Prince Rededya was already standing on the dusty plain between the two armies and he was stark naked and his page was oiling up his body. Mstislav was off his mount and stripping off his clothing and he told Rededya, “I’m Christian. We aren’t allowed to fight completely naked.” He stood in front of him in his underpants and began oiling up his own body. What he didn’t tell Rededya was that he always kept a silver dagger hidden in his shorts. As he had told his great grandfather, he did not intend to lose.
During Mstislav’s victory wedding feast, Hraerik stood drinking with his grandson, and said, “I know it was your knife that fell into the dust, but why did you take so long to use it?”
“I told you I had no intentions of losing,” Mstislav answered, “but, while I was depriving Rededya of his life in a manner of which I am not proud, I thought at least I could allow him a death that all warriors wish for…to die focking so I let him finish before I put my knife between his ribs. I owed him that much.”
“That is focked on so many levels,” the Prince started, “that I’ve just got to respect the hell out of it!” And he slapped Mstislav on the back and the young prince grimaced as his sphincter tightened.
“Do you want to hear something really focked up?” Mstislav asked his grandfather.
“Like that wasn’t focked up enough?”
“I felt his spirit pass into me when he exploded inside me as he was dying,” Mstislav said, shaking his head, making his red hair dance. “It felt like his spirit was passing right through me, but part of him stayed inside me.”
“I’ve been there,” Hraerik told him, deathly serious. “Spirits are connected with death and they flow between the past, the present and the future.”
“Like the three Norns?”
“That is a poetic simplification of it, but…yes.” And Hraerik told him about his experiences with Myia and Princess Blaeja and their hit on the Mongol Khan from the future.
“That’s really focked!” Mstislav said. “Now I don’t feel so bad about it.”
“I’ve told your father, Valdamar, what happened,” Hraerik said, “but let’s keep this spirit stuff between us.”
“I’m okay with that,” Mstislav replied.
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‘The VARANGIANS’ Series (AKA ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ Series):
‘The Varangians’ series (‘AKA ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ series) of five (seven) books is about the Danish Varangian Princes of early Rus’ (Ukraine), based on The Nine Books of Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus and the Rus’ Primary Chronicle of Nestor. The Rus’ monk Nestor asserts that Rus’ was founded by three brothers, Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, but the Danish names in Book 5 of Saxo’s work are Erik, Sigfrodi (King Frodi) and Roller, three brothers from Denmark and Norway.
Book One of the five book Varangians Series places the Saga of King Frodi the Peaceful from Book Five of The First Nine Books of the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1200) into its proper chronological location in history. In 1984, when I first started the book, I had placed the main character, Erik’s (Hraerik’s) birth at circa 800 CE, but have since revised it to 810 to better fit with the timelines of the following books in the series. Saxo had originally placed the saga at the time of Christ’s birth and later experts have placed the story at about 400 CE to correspond with the arrival of the Huns on the European scene but when Attila was driven back to Asia, the Huns didn’t just disappear, they joined the Khazar Empire north of the Caspian Sea and helped the Khazars control the western end of the famous Silk Road trade route.
When King Frodi’s Danes started their ninth century ‘Southern Way’ incursions into the rivers of present day Russia, they ran into the Khazar Khaganate that was controlling Silk Road trade there and cooperation looked promising when he married King Hun’s daughter, Princess Hanund. But she cheated on him and he sent her back to Khazaria in disgrace and things got ugly, fast. Two Norwegian princes, Hraerik and Hraelauger Hraegunarson, sons of the famous Hraegunar Lothbrok, visited Frodi’s court in Liere with a dangerous plan to protect their own Nor’Way trade route to Khazaria, but that plan changed when Prince Hraerik fell in love with and married Princess Gunwar, King Frodi’s sister.
When news arrived in Liere that the Huns planned to attack Denmark, Prince Hraerik convinced King Frodi to assemble a Varangian Army of the North and lead a pre-emptive strike against the Khazar Empire. Following the capture of Kiev, the three brothers, Frodi, Hraerik and Hraelauger established the Hraes’ (Rus’) Trading Company and built an empire that exists in many forms to this very day, including Russia, Normandy, Great Britain and L’Anse Aux Meadows in America. The wealth of the Hraes’ Trading Empire they created powered the prolific Viking expansion in Medieval Europe that still fascinates us today.
Book One, “The Saga of Hraerik ‘Bragi’ Hraegunarson,” recreates Book Five of Saxo’s work to illuminate the origins of the name Rus’ and how it evolved from Hraes’ in ninth century Russia and how the name Varangians originally meant Va Rangers or Way Wanderers of the Nor’Way. The book examines the death of Princess Gunwar (Hervor) at the hands of the Hunnish Prince Hlod and how it drives Prince Hraerik ‘Bragi the Old’ Hraegunarson (Hraegunar Lothbrok’s son) to write a famous poem of praise that both saves his head and rallies the northern kingdoms to fight the infamous Battle of the Goths and the Huns on the Don Plain of Gardariki (Gnita Heath of Tmutorokan).
Book Two, “The Saga of Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Hraerikson,” recreates Arrow Odd’s Saga of c. 1200 to illustrate how Arrow Odd was Prince Helgi (Oleg in Slavic) Hraerikson of Kiev, by showing that their identical deaths from the bite of a snake was more than just coincidence. The book investigates the true death of Hraegunar Lothbrok by poisoned blood-snakes (kenning for swords) and how his curse of ‘calling his young porkers to avenge the old boar’ sets up a death spiral between swine (Sveinald) and snakes (Gorm ‘the Old’) that lasts for generations. It then goes on to depict the famous Battle of the Berserks on Samso, where Arrow Odd and Hjalmar the Brave slay the twelve berserk grandsons of King Frodi on the Danish Island of Samso, setting up a death struggle that takes the Great Pagan Army of the Danes from the ravaged coast of Norway to England and on to Helluland in Saint Brendan’s Newfoundland.
Book Three, “The Saga of Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Hraerikson,” reveals how Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Ragnarson was actually Prince Eyfur (Ivar in Danish, Igor in Slavic) Hraerikson of Kiev and then King Harde Knute of Denmark. By comparing a twenty year lacuna in the reign of Prince Igor in the Russian Chronicles with a coinciding twenty year appearance of a King Harde Knute I (Hard Knot or Knytling) of Denmark in European Chronicles, Prince Igor’s death by sprung trees, which reportedly tore his legs off, may have rather just left him a boneless and very angry young king. Loyal Danes claimed, “It was a ‘hard knot’ indeed that sprung those trees,” but his conquered English subjects, not being quite as polite, called him, Ivar ‘the Boneless’. And the Danish ‘Knytling’ line of kings carried on for ‘the Old’ Fridleif/Frodi line of kings.
Books Four, Five and Six, “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson“, “The Saga of Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson” and “The Saga of Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ Ivarson” demonstrate how Prince Sviatoslav ‘the Brave’ of Kiev was really Prince Svein Ivarson of Kiev, who later moved to Norway and fought to become King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ of Denmark and England. But before being forced out of Russia, the Swine Prince sated his battle lust by crushing the Khazars and attacking the great great grandfather of Vlad the Impaler in a bloody campaign into the Heart of Darkness of Wallachia that seemed to herald the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with the 666 Salute of the Army of the Impalers. The campaign was so mortifying that the fifteen thousand pounds of gold that the Emperor of Constantinople paid him to attack the Army of the Impalers seemed not nearly enough, so Prince Svein attacked the Eastern Roman Empire itself. He came so close to defeating the greatest empire in the world, that later Danish Christian Kings would call his saga, and the sagas of his kin, “The Lying Sagas of Denmark” and would set out to destroy them, claiming that, “true Christians will never read this saga”.
Book Seven, “The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson”, establishes how Grand Prince Vladimir ‘the Great’ of Kiev was also known as Prince Valdamar Sveinson of Gardar, who supported his father, Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’, in attacks upon England and later became King Canute ‘the Great’ of England and also King Knute ‘the Great’ of Denmark and Norway. Unlike his father, he came to the aid of a Roman Emperor, leading six thousand picked Varangian cataphracts against Anatolian rebels, and was rewarded with the hand of Princess Anna Porphyrogennetos, a true Roman Princess born of the purple who could trace her bloodline back to Julius and Augustus Caesar. She was called Czarina, and after her, all Rus’ Grand Princes were called Czars and their offspring were sought matrimonially by European royalty.
By recreating the lives of four generations of Russian Princes and exhibiting how each generation, in succession, later ascended to their inherited thrones in Denmark, the author proves the parallels of the dual rules of Russian Princes and Danish Kings to be cumulatively more than just coincidence. And the author proves that the Danish Kings Harde Knute I, Gorm ‘the Old’ and Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormson/Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ were not Stranger Kings, but were Danes of the Old Jelling Skioldung Fridlief/Frodi line of kings who only began their princely careers in Rus’ and returned to their kingly duties in Denmark with a lot of Byzantine Roman ideas and heavy cavalry and cataphracts.