Book 7, Ch. 13.0, The Death of Thorkel ‘the Tall’ (c. 1025 AD), Excerpts:
(1025) During Yulefest the increased guards and Exeyes officers that Prince Hraerik had surrounded Gretta with kept her isolated. The Saxon intel officer that had earlier visited her was apprehended when he tried to contact her again and he was imprisoned. The Exeyes officers would be transporting him east with them in the spring. The Prince did some research on whether it was possible for the woman in black to have mentally controlled Gretta into thinking she had known her all her life, but he realised that she would have had to have been an operative, a spy, an assassin, long before she had whored her and her ‘daughter’ out to King Athelred. He had learned that Gretta was English, but he was now beginning to wonder if the old woman in black was. Princess Gytha was allowed to visit Gretta and she brought her children with her, accompanied by Prince Godwin and her foster-father, Jarl Thorkel ‘the Tall’.
Jarl Thorkel had arrived for Yulefest from Roskilde and he brought young Prince Hardeknute, Queen Emma’s son, back to England with him and he visited with his own son, Harald, that King Canute was fostering for him. Hraerik and Emma spent time with their son, hardeknute, as well. Thorkel’s brother, Jarl Ulf, and his wife Estrid, King Canute’s daughter from Kiev, also came to England from Roskilde. King Canute and Princess Aelfgifu were in great spirits throughout the holidays and the king passed out gold and gifts to his guests from Norway, disaffected princes and jarls that had taken up residence in York and Northumbria, as well as his own English princes and earls and a lot of gold to the Latin church. Some of the gold was from his share of profits from the Hraes’ eastern trade, but a lot of it was now coming from the Newfoundland. Trade had been increasing over the near decade that Prince Hraerik and Queen Emma had been developing direct sailing across the Atlantean Sea and trade across the Mayan Sea had grown as well, and the Mayans had a lot of gold. Some Hraes’ traders claimed that the Mayans had as much gold as the Permians had silver! And all the Hraes’ western traders were sworn to secrecy, but rumours of the gold were leaking out from Norse sources connected with the Greenlanders.
With the transition of worldwide warming to cooling came extremes in both hot and cold weather and while returning to Denmark in cold weather in his open longship, Jarl Thorkel became ill. He was getting on in years now and had faced the ravages of the winter sea, side by side with his men and had taken a fever. He died in Roskilde a few weeks later.
Jarl Ulf and Princess Estrid took over the fostering of Prince Hardeknute. When word got back to England, Prince Hraerik told Queen Emma he didn’t think that Jarl Ulf was a good father figure for their son, but Emma felt that Ulf was up to the task. She liked his determination.
I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 13.0, The Death of Thorkel ‘the Tall’ (Circa 1025 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.
Princess Sviataslava ran the Red House Of Constantinople, or the RHOC, but she was away with her son, Prince Ivar, in southern Italy, enjoying herself in the heel of the boot, while her son led the Varangian Guard in battle against Norman knights somewhere up the calve. Her manager, Witch Hama, welcomed the Prince and his concubine and set them up in the penthouse bridal suite on the eighth floor. Typically, Roman apartment buildings were limited to four floors because that was a limit that people tended to follow when walking up and down stairs to their flats, but the Red House serviced most of their guests on the first four floors and had the Princess flats in the next two and then larger special suites on the top two floors and the top two floors were serviced by an Archimedes screw that took guests up to the eighth floor in special roller chairs. Prince Hraerik sat in a chair and pulled Gretta onto his lap and a servant loaded the chair into the huge bronze tube of the Archimedes screw and the screw began rotating and the chair rolled up the screw and in a minute or two they were on the eighth floor where another servant helped them out of the tube and led them to their bridal suite. Their bags would follow on the next available chair, which happened to be the very next one, so the servant quickly grabbed their bags as he led them.
“That was amazing!” Gretta exclaimed, as they entered the room. The Prince gave the servant a silver piece as he set out the bags for them and then took the silver and left with many thanks. “Always make sure your first tip is the largest because then you’ll get fine service for the rest of your stay,” he told her. “But how do we get down?” she then asked. “Check out the bed,” he said. “Sometimes guests come up and they never go back down,” he laughed, pushing on the huge silk sheeted mattress with both hands. “No, really,” she said, “how do get down?” “You’ll see when we go down for supper. Meanwhile, we wait. One of my Exeyes officers will be delivering a package this afternoon. So, really, let’s try out the bed!” and he pulled Gretta onto the bed and began tearing off her clothes.
Prince Hraerik continued going through files and he found one on Prince Svein that reported on his plan to reconquer Roman territory for the Eastern Roman Empire once he had been made co-Emperor. “Very few Hraes’ knew of Prince Svein’s plans to rebuild Rome,” he told Gretta. “I don’t know how they got this intel, but now I see that Emperor Basil has been following it to the letter since he took over from Emperor John. But Svein was a military genius. It had taken him twenty weeks to conquer Bulgaria and Basil has spent the last twenty years accomplishing the very same thing. They now call him Emperor Basil ‘the Bulgar-Slayer’.”
“Why do they call him Bulgar slayer?”
“Ten years ago he defeated a Bulgar army and he captured fifteen thousand Bulgars and five thousand Wallachian allies. He had them all blinded, but every hundredth man was spared one eye to lead his cohort back to Bulgaria. When they arrived in Sofia, it is said the sight caused Tzar Simeon to lose his mind and he died shortly after. From this incident comes the saying, ‘In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,’ or so they say. But it was the Wallachian allies that Basil was really punishing.”
“How so?” she asked.
“After Prince Svein conquered the Bulgarians for Eastern Rome, they refused to make him co-Emperor, so Svein attacked the Romans. During the war, Empress Helga died in Gardariki, so Svein came back for her funeral. The Romans attacked while he was gone and they trapped and killed twenty thousand Pecheneg light horsemen with their heavy armoured cataphract knights, so Count Vlad ‘the Impaler’ of Wallachia, our ally, captured Philippopolis and impaled twenty thousand Romans in revenge. The blinding’s were Basil’s revenge. Impaling is a Wallachian thing and blinding is a Byzantine thing!”
Emperor Basil had not seen the creator of Operation Brice for almost two decades so he got up and came down to look at him closer and he stood in front of Tyrfingr for several minutes while he assured himself that it was his security officer. Then he returned to his throne and he made his selection.
“I will not accept your black powder,” he started, “because Rome doesn’t need anything that was created by the Alchemists Guild. Our Roman science is vastly superior to the Guild science.” Then he moved on to the next gift. “I will not accept your sword, as it is of Aesir magic and we are a Christian Empire.” Then he moved on to the last. “I have no idea who this man is,” he said, “but he looks in need of aid and, as we are a Christian Empire, I find it necessary to show him kindness and care, as he seems somewhat dishevelled at being carted about in a crate. In exchange for this man, I release Gretta from her oath, whatever it may have been for.”
“Thank you, Emperor Basil ‘the Bulgar-Slayer’,” Prince Hraerik said, and he had his men pack up the rest of the gifts. As they were sailing across the Scythian Sea to Tmutorokan, the Prince took the crate that held the sword Tyrfingr and he dropped it into the waters. “It was getting far too dangerous,” Hraerik told Gretta.
“Did Emperor Basil get enough exposure?” she asked.
“He’ll be dead before the year is out,” he answered and he instinctively rubbed his hand, the one he had used to expose the blade a bit more. “Emperor Constantine didn’t get as much of a blast. He’ll last a year or two.”
It is said that the Scythian Sea came to be called the Black Sea because, at a certain depth, the lead weights of sounding lines turned black from something in the lower waters. Perhaps that something is Tyrfingr.
Please Note: This website is about Vikings and Varangians and the way they lived over a thousand years ago. The content is as explicit as Vikings of that time were and scenes of violence and sexuality are depicted without reservation or apology. Reader discretion is advised.
‘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.