Northern Thule (Norway) with Hrafnista (Red Dot), Varanger Fjord (Yellow Dot) & White Sea (Orange Dot)


A Novel By Brian Howard Seibert

© Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert



(Circa 810 AD)  King Ragnar renamed Jarl Arthor’s ‘Way’ Fjord the ‘Varanger Fjord’, meaning the Fjord of the Way Wanderers and he declared that only those who made the great stormy Northern Sea crossing from Europe into Asia could call themselves Varangians, Way Wanderers of Hraes’.  And he called his company, the Hraes’ Trading Company, and he had all his men and shield-maidens and all the traders swear oaths of fealty to him and his new trading firm.  Then the weather turned and the great storm approached and they all went out to their ships, lashed down the awnings and sailed east into the Barents Sea.  For two days they were battered by the dark brooding storm and could barely tell if it was day or night and then suddenly the storm passed and they were deposited in the calm of the White Sea.

Ragnar and Ladgerda pulled open the sheepskin awnings of their stout new Nor’Way ship and when his men saw the evergreens on shore, they seemed to be the greenest trees they had ever seen and the water was the bluest of blues and the sunshine was so golden it hurt their eyes.  It was Ragnar’s second crossing, but for many of his men it was their first, and it invariably left a deep impression upon them as they realised that they were now Varangians.

They sailed south across the White Sea to the estuary of the Northern Dvina River and they rowed up the river and traded with the local Biarmians and Permians as they sailed south and east and rowed past Giantland.  The Biarmians traded rich fine furs for iron goods, knives and kettles and the Permians traded their swords of silver and gold for the Varangians’ swords of steel.  King Ragnar named Arthor’s portage Hawknista, for it had as many hawks about it as Hrafnista had ravens, and he left two dozen men there to build a longhall and storage sheds and the rest of them floated their ships down the source of the Kama River and when it got wide enough they rowed and sailed south to the Volga River, trading with the Permians as they went, and some of the Permians spoke Bulgar and some of the freed rowers in Ragnar’s company of men spoke their tongue because the Romans had been fighting and trading with Balkan Bulgars for over a century, and the rowers told him that news had been traversing Scythia about a pirate group who had destroyed an invincible Roman fireship and had kidnapped a Kievan Slav princess, the daughter of King Olmar of Kiev, and both the Romans and the Slavs were scouring the northern lands looking for the pirates.

“Ask them if the Romans have any idea who these pirates could be,” Ragnar told his men.  The rowers’ Bulgar wasn’t good, but they learned that the Romans thought the pirates might be Northern Goths of some unknown origin.  “Tell them we are only Danes and Norse and that there are no Goths here,” and Ragnar gave Brak a quick look and a wink.  After another week of trading and rowing they entered the lands of the Bulgars and some of them spoke Greek, which Brak had been teaching Ragnar, and they learned more about these wanted pirates and of the great searches being made for them.  The Bulgars inspected the stout Nor’Way ships of the traders and told them that the pirates had the longships of the Goths and that they should be wary of anybody with that type of ship.  The pirates were not just after gold, but were likely slavers as well, for a whole Khazar-Slav embassy had literally been swallowed up by them near the river that a Roman fire breathing bireme had been plundered and burned upon.  One of the Goth longships had been attacked and destroyed, but they had fought to the last man and the rest had escaped back to their northern lands.

King Ragnar and his Hraes’ Trading Company spent two weeks trading in the land of the Bulgars, and the Bulgars traded gold Byzants of Rome and silver Dirhams of Baghdad for the rich furs the Varangians brought south with them.  And the nomadic Bulgars that came to trade from farther east had horses to exchange for swords.  When Ragnar wanted to go further south down the Volga to trade with the Khazars, the Bulgars told them not to.  Only they traded with the Khazars.  Ragnar and his men still had a few furs left to trade, but not enough to squabble over, so they sailed back up the Volga and traded the rest with the Burtas who lived on the west bank of the great river and they got some wains and wagons from them and loaded them all into their little Nor’Way ships.  Perhaps it was because Ragnar had Ladgerda, or perhaps because of other motives, but Arthor even bought himself a nice young Burta girl to keep him company under his Nor’Way ship awnings.

They got back to Hawknista a little earlier than they had expected, so Ragnar paid his traders gold to work on the portage station and they built a barn for the horses and they cut hay from meadows and they modified the wains to carry their ships, a towing wain on the front and a tag wain on the back end of the ships and, for the first time, Arthor was portaging ships without manpower and log rollers.  Ragnar paid volunteers gold to overwinter and care for the station and he left Danish troops to provide security.  He left them a few of his new Nor’Way ships and Ladgerda told his commanding officer to show the Romans the ships if they came looking for pirate longships.

Ragnar and Ladgerda enjoyed their last night together in the new Hraes’ longhall and they shared the highseats with Brak and Arthor and everyone was in high spirits as the trading had gone very well and even Arthor’s old traders were impressed with the profits they had all made.  Jarl Arthor was so impressed with the longhall that King Ragnar’s gold had enabled that he asked Ragnar’s permission to be put in charge of Hawknista and overwinter there.

“Is that why you bought yourself a fine young lass?” Ladgerda asked.  “She shouldn’t be down there serving the men their ale,” she added.  “She should be up here sharing the highseat with you!”

“I saw her and I liked her,” Arthor admitted, “and I talked with her some in the Bulgar tongue and I wanted to take her back to Halogaland so she could teach me Burta over the winter, but now I think my primus wife would be too jealous to let me keep her.”

“Ah, the real reason,” Ragnar said, beaming with the ale he’d been drinking.

“That is true,” Arthor said, “but I never expected this longhall to be so fine and so large.”

It was true, Ragnar saw, as he looked about the hall.  There were sixty benches for the men down each side of the over-long longhall and bedchambers at the one end for Jarls and officers and a master suite at the very end for Ragnar and Ladgerda, but the men had added an extra touch, a second master suite above the first, tucked up into the rafters, and Ragnar had assigned it to Arthor and his new concubine and he and Ladgerda had enjoyed hearing the new floorboards squeak and creak above them as the Jarl broke in his new Burta wife and fresh sawdust had drifted down from the ceiling above them.  It had been heartwarming for Ladgerda and she had shown her approval of it in her own lovemaking with Ragnar.

“Well, Arthor,” Ragnar declared, “I make you Jarl of Hawknista, to rule as long as you wish.  Now we all have to leave early in the morning, so Ladgerda and I shall be retiring early and so should you and yours.”

Looking out about the hall had warmed Ragnar’s nether regions, so he got up and waved his men good evening and he extended his hand and guided Ladgerda down the highest highseat steps and he escorted her arm in arm to their master suite.  They got undressed and hurried under their sheets and blankets and waited to hear Arthor and his concubine tiptoeing up their stairs and they waited excitedly for the creaking to begin and they, too, began making love to the cadence of the floorboards.  As they later rested in each others’ arms, Ragnar said, “The life of a trader like Arthor can be hard on a marriage.  If the ice-free season isn’t long enough for the trader to sail out and then back home in one summer, if he has to overwinter in another land, his marriage withers and he loses his family.  Arthor started traversing this route too soon and had to overwinter for several seasons and it was hard on his marriage.”

Ladgerda thought about their own marriage and said, “Being a trader king can be even harder on a marriage.  Take more care of Aslaug than you did of me!” and she punched him on the arm and they cuddled some more.

The next day, the Varangians sailed down the Northern Dvina and were soon crossing the White Sea and awaiting their storm off the Kola Peninsula.  It came and took them away for two days and then deposited them at the mouth of Varanger Fjord and they stayed there another two days and repaired ships and awnings before sailing around the North Cape and down the coast of the Nor’Way.  Ragnar took Ladgerda to her realm in Trondheim and Prince Fridleif ‘Bjorn’ and his sisters were waiting there for them.  He spent a few days in her longhall palace and visited with his children before sailing off to Ireland.

Queen Imaira was waiting for him at Longphort Dub-Lin with a shield-maiden named Rusila and Ragnar gave Imaira the armoured shirt of a Byzantine fire officer, which the red haired warrior maiden found appealing.  He spent time there with his son, Imair, by the queen and with his daughter by Ladgerda, and Ragnar, Imaira and Rusila shared the highseats together in their longhall palace before Ragnar had to leave for his own palace in Liere.

Chapter 7: KING RAGNAR ‘LOTHBROK’ GOES TO LIERE shall follow on next Post or may be found under Heading of The VARANGIANS / UKRAINIANS in Book One: The Saga of King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ Sigurdson.

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 / UKRAINIANS or The Nine Books of the Danish History of Brian Howard Seibert

BOOK ONE:  RAGNAR’SAGA LOTHBROK or The Saga of King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ Sigurdson

King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ Sigurdson’s third wife, Princess Aslaug, was a young survivor of the Saga of the Volsungs and was a daughter of King Sigurd ‘the Dragon-Slayer’ Fafnirsbane, so this is where Ragnar’s story begins in almost all the ancient tales (except Saxo’s).  In our series, we explore this tail end of the Volsungs Saga because King Sigurd appears to be the first ‘Dragon-Slayer’ and King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ would seem to be the second so, it is a good opportunity to postulate the origins of Fire Breathing Dragons and how they were slain.  King Ragnar would lose his Zealand Denmark to the Anglish Danes of Jutland, who spoke Anglish, as did the majority of Vikings who attacked England, which spoke both Anglish and Saxon languages, sometimes mistakenly called a common Anglo-Saxon language.  The Angles and Saxons of England never really did get along, as shall be demonstrated in the following books.  King Ragnar assuaged the loss of Zealand by taking York or Jorvik, the City of the Boar, in Angleland and Stavanger Fjord in Thule from which he established his Nor’Way trade route into Scythia.

BOOK TWO:  ERIK’SAGA BRAGI or The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi the Old’ Ragnarson

Book Two of the Nine Book The Varangians and Ukrainians Series places The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi the Old’ Ragnarson from Book Five of The First Nine Books of the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1200 AD) about King Frodi ‘the Peaceful’ into its proper chronological location in history.  In 1984, when I first started work on the book, I placed Prince Erik’s birth at circa 800 CE, but it has since been revised to 810 CE to better reflect 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, just north of the Caspian Sea, and helped the Khazars control the western end of the famous Silk Road Trade Route.  Princes Erik and Roller, both sons of Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’, sail off to Zealand to avenge their father’s loss, but Erik falls in love with Princess Gunwar, the sister of the Anglish King Frodi of Jutland and, after his successful Battle Upon the Ice, wherein he destroys the House of Westmar, Erik marries Gunwar and both brothers become King Frodi’s foremost men instead, and the story moves on to the founding of Hraes’ and Gardar Ukraine.

BOOK THREE:  HELGI’SAGA ARROW ODD or The Saga of Prince Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Erikson

Book Three, The Saga of Prince Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Erikson, recreates Arrow Odd’s Saga of circa 1200 AD to illustrate how Arrow Odd was Prince Helgi (Oleg in Slavic) Erikson 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 Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ by poisoned blood-snakes in York or Jorvik, the ‘City of the Boar’, and how his curse of ‘calling his young porkers to avenge the old boar’ sets up a death spiral between swine and snake that lasts for generations.  The book then illustrates the famous Battle of the Berserks on Samso, where Helgi ‘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 Denmark to ravage Norway and then England and on to Helluland in Saint Brendan’s Newfoundland.  A surprise cycle of vengeance manifests itself in the ‘death by snakebite’ of Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’.

BOOK FOUR:  IVAR’SAGA BEINLAUSI or The Saga of Prince Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Erikson

Book Four, The Saga of Prince Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Erikson, reveals how Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Ragnarson was actually Prince Eyfur or Ivar (Igor in Slavic) Erikson of Kiev and then King Harde Knute ‘the First’ of Denmark.  By comparing a twenty year lacuna in the reign of Prince Igor in The Hraes’ Primary Chronicle with a coinciding twenty year appearance of a King Harde Knute (Hard Knot) of Denmark in European Chronicles, Prince Igor’s punishment by sprung trees, which reportedly tore him apart, 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’.  The book expands on the death curse of Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ and the calling of ‘his young porkers to avenge the old boar’ when Ivar leaves his first son, King Gorm (Snake) ‘the Old’, to rule in Denmark and his last son, Prince Svein (Swine) ‘the Old’ to rule in Hraes’, further setting up the death spiral between the swine and snake of the ‘Lothbrok’ curse.

BOOK FIVE:  SVEIN’SAGA the OLD or The Saga of Prince Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson

Book Five, The Saga of Prince Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson, demonstrates how Prince Sveinald (Sviatoslav in Slavic) ‘the Brave’ of Kiev was really Prince Svein ‘the Old’ 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 then 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 and included the famed 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 close to defeating the greatest empire in the world, but lost and was forced to leave Hraes’ to his three sons.  He returned to the Nor’Way and spent twelve years rebuilding Ragnar’s old trade route there.

BOOK SIX:  VALDAMAR’SAGA’ the GREAT or The Saga of Grand Prince Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson

Book Six, The Saga of Grand Prince Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson, establishes how Grand Prince Valdamar (Vladimir in Slavic) ‘the Great’ of Kiev, expanded the Hraes’ Empire and his own family Hamingja by marrying 700 wives that he pampered in estates in and around Kiev.  Unlike his father, Svein, 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 of Constantinople, 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 Hraes’ Grand Princes were called ‘Czars’ and their offspring were earnestly sought after, matrimonially, by European royalty.

BOOK SEVEN:  SWEYN’SAGA FORKBEARD or The Saga of King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ Ivarson

In The Saga of King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ Ivarson, Prince Svein anonymously takes the name of Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ in Norway and befriends the Jarls of Lade in Trondheim Fjord in Norway as he expands the Nor’Way trade route of his grandfather, Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’.  He had come close to defeating the Eastern Roman Empire, and still felt that he was due at least a shared throne in Constantinople.  He used the gold from the Nor’Way trade to rebuild his legions and his Hraes’ cataphracts and though his brother, King Gorm ‘the Old’, was dead, his son, Sweyn’s nephew, King Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormson had usurped the throne of Denmark and had hired the famed Jomsvikings to attack Prince Sweyn in Norway, setting up the famous Battle of Hjorungavagr in a fjord south of Lade.  King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ would emerge from that confrontation and then he would defeat King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway in the Battle of Svolder in 1000 AD, in an engagement precipitated over the hand of Queen Sigrid ‘the Haughty’ of Sweden.  Later he attacked England in revenge for the following St. Brice’s Day Massacre of Danes in 1002 AD and he fought a protracted war with the Saxon King Aethelred ‘the Unready’ that could only be described as the harvesting of the English for sale as slaves in Baghdad and Constantinople.  With the help of his son, Prince Valdamar of Kiev, and the legions and cataphracts of Hraes’, he conquered England on Christmas Day of 1013, but victory was not kind to him.

BOOK EIGHT:  CANUTE’SAGA the GREAT or The Saga of King Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson

Prince Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson of Kiev, who had supported his father, King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ of Denmark in attacks upon England left his ‘Czar’ sons in charge of Hraes’ and took over as King Valdamar of England, but the Latin Christian English revolted against his eastern name and Orthodox Christian religion and brought King Aethelred back from exile in Normandy and Valdamar had to return to Hraes’ and gather up the legions he had already sent back after his father’s victory.  His half brother was ruling in Denmark and his sons were ruling in Hraes’ so, in 1015 AD Grand Prince Valdamar ‘the Great’ of Kiev was written out of Hraes’ history and in 1016 the Latin Christian Prince Canute ‘the Great’ returned to England to reclaim his throne.  He defeated Aethelred’s son, King Edmund ‘Ironside’ of England, at the Battle of Assandun to become King Canute ‘the Great’ of England and later King Knute ‘the Great’ of Denmark and Norway as well.  But that is just the start of his story and later Danish Christian Kings would call his saga, and the sagas of his forefathers, The Lying Sagas of Denmark, and would set out to destroy them, claiming that, “true Christians will never read these Sagas”.

BOOK NINE:  WILLIAM’SAGA the CONQUEROR or The Saga of King William ‘the Conqueror’ Robertson of England and Normandy

The Third Danish Conquest of Angleland was seen to herald the end of the Great Viking Manifestation of the Middle Ages, but this, of course, was contested by the Vikings who were still in control of it all.  Danish Varangians still ruled in Kiev and Danes still ruled the Northern Empire of Canute ‘the Great’, for the Normans were but Danish Vikings that had taken up the French language, and even Greenland and the Newfoundland were under Danish control in a Hraes’ Empire that ran from the Silk Road of Cathay in the east to the Mayan Road of Yucatan in the west.  “We are all the children of Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’,” Queen Emma of Normandy often said.  Out of sheer spite the Saxons of England took over the Varangian Guard of Constantinople and would continue their fight against the Normans in Southern Italy as mercenaries of the Byzantine Roman Empire.  They would lose there as well, when in the Fourth Crusade of 1204, the Norman Danes would sack the City of Constantinople and hold it long enough to stop the Mongol hoards that would crush the City of Kiev.  It would be Emperor Baldwin ‘the First’ of Flanders and Constantinople who would defeat the Mongol Mongke Khan in Thrace.  But the Mongols would hold Hraes’ for three hundred years and this heralded the end of the Great Viking Manifestation.  The Silk Road was dead awaiting Marco Polo for its revival.  But the western Mayan Road would continue to operate for another hundred years until another unforeseen disaster struck.  Its repercussions would be witnessed by the Spanish conquerors who followed Christopher Columbus a hundred and fifty years later in the Valley of the Mound Builders.


By recreating the lives of four generations of Hraes’ Ukrainian 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 Hraes’ Ukrainian 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 Hraes’ and returned to their kingly duties in Denmark with a lot of Byzantine Roman ideas and heavy cavalry and cataphracts.

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