THE SAGA OF PRINCE ERIK ‘BRAGI’ RAGNARSON Has Been Added to The Site Under the New Heading The VARANGIANS / UKRAINIANS Book Series – The True History of ‘The Great Viking Manifestation of Medieval Europe’© and the below Post Covers CHAPTER ONE:


Prince Erik ‘Bragi’ Ragnarson of Hraegunarstead, Stavanger, Nor’Way


A Novel By Brian Howard Seibert

© Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert



“This sword is renowned in all the ancient tales.”

Anonymous; The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise.

(828 AD) On a dark spring night, yet crisp with winter’s cold, Erik saw something come crashing down from the heavens.  He was riding his rounds, checking the herds, the northern lights shimmering in the darkness above him, when the dancing curtains parted for a plummeting star.  Growing while falling from the Boreal sky, the ethereal orb soon caught his eye.  Each time Erik blinked in wonderment the falling star grew larger, all the time coming towards him, at first in silence, then accompanied by the lowing of cattle, then by the stamping of his own mount and finally by the prayers of the field slaves singing out in their native tongues.  When at last he could hear it over all that din, there was a whiz as it passed overhead like an arrow, an arrow of the gods, and a bang as it tore through earth towards Hades.  Ducking while dancing his mount once about, Erik watched the dust rising in a copse of trees a hundred paces away.  A dozen trees had shattered as the meteorite buried itself deep within the earth, but a red‑hot shard that had burst free of the main remained on the surface and set the battered brush ablaze.

Erik gathered the slaves and led them into the woods to put out the fire, but the grass was dry and the flames had spread quickly.  Try as they might to beat it down with tattered cloaks and musty horse blankets, the fire fought back.  It enlisted the help of the wind and the darkness and it fought back hard.  Erik handed one of the slaves, a dwarf, the reins of his horse and sent him back to Hraegunarstead to get the freemen and the rest of the slaves.  They would need all hands to fight this blaze.  “And shovels and axes,” Erik shouted after the dwarf as he rode off into the darkness.  The dwarf’s hair was long and black like his own and he thought it odd that he would notice that while a wildfire blazed behind him and the young Norseman then tore off his own heavy wool cloak, his best, he reminded himself, and set to beating down the flames.  Aligning the thralls on either side of himself along the fire front, he had them working with the wind to drive the fire up into the foothills where Ulf Creek ranged and wandered across the field diagonally to the settlement below.  Beyond the creek there was still snow on the ground and, as more men arrived, he would put them in the fire line where the flames fought hardest, and he would shift slaves from the left flank and put them on the right as though he was some officer directing his reserves into a foreign fray in some battle far away.  Sometimes the wind would shift and the long billow of smoke rising from the fire would blow back in their faces and double them up in fits of coughing and the fire would threaten to get away on them until the wind would shift back again.  As more men came, and soon women too, the fire line grew longer and longer, and the front moved forward up the slope until it met the cold rushing water of the spring swollen creek and the fire died in the wet grass of the creek bed.

Tired and exhausted, the freemen and slaves made their way back to the farmstead, but Erik and the dwarf stayed to watch for flames that might spring up.  In the morning’s light he surveyed the damage and he found the star stone shard, still warm in the dew, weighing a quarter stone.  It was an odd bit of metal, akin to a bog iron nodule and the blacksmith within him was aroused.

“If you wish to pull a sword from that stone,” the dwarf cried with glee, peering up into the forge, “there are a few things you shall need.”

“Go back to your hearth, Dvalin,” Erik cried.  “Go play amongst the coals.”  Erik let go the bellows and tonged the red-hot fragment from the forge.  He set it upon a great flat stone and held it in place with the tongs while he beat it with a forging hammer as hard as he possibly could.  It seemed as though the stone should shatter; Erik flushed with the effort while the metal grew pallid with the blows.  When the forging glow had dissipated he sat down, and he rested.  He was exhausted, and the shard showed barely a bruise.

“But it’s the coals that you need,” the dwarf exclaimed, rolling his eyes and shaking his head.

Erik sensed that the dwarf knew some secret of this stone from the stars.  “Tell me Dvalin,” he said, patting the wooden bench he sat upon, “tell me what you know of this star stone.”

Onto the far end of the bench climbed the dwarf; he bunched up his fists and he swung his arms and he stomped down to the end where Erik sat; standing there, his arms akimbo, he looked Erik straight in the eyes, his own face tightening up into a wrinkled mass as if giant secrets were about to unfold.  “You need the finest coals,” he exploded, “the hardest you can find, and the largest of bellows, two or more,” and he shot out as many fingers on as many hands.  “…enough to make the metal white hot.  Then, and only then, can you forge your sword.”

“How do you know all this, little one?” Erik asked.  “You’ve seen such stuff as this before?”

“If I tell you my secret,” Dvalin explained, backing off to the far end of the bench, “it is only because … of all the folk of Hraegunarstead, only Hraerik’s foot has Dvalin’s rump not met.  You alone have been kind to me, and kinder yet you will be, for there is a great price to be paid in working the star stone.  Ask me no more of it and I will understand.”  The Dwarf used Erik’s Norse name, Hraerik, when he answered him.

“Ah…,” Erik whispered.  “You would like your freedom, no doubt, in exchange for this secret of yours?”

“What good would my freedom do me here?  My backside would but trade my owner’s sole for every freeman’s foot at fancy.  You must take me back to wherefrom I was torn, back to the east, where giants and dwarves like myself roam free.”

“But that is a journey I have never made,” Erik said, humouring the dwarf.  “And, like as not, never shall.”  A sad hone dulled the edge in his tone.  “How can you ask such a price of me?” he queried the dwarf wistfully.

Dvalin shuffled down the bench, took up Erik’s coarse hand and studied it.  “A ship shall soon be yours,” he started, “and such a journey shall be well within your grasp.”

“No ordinary ship can sail the Nor’Way.  It must have double the cross-members and side-timbers.”

“Shush, shush, shush,” the dwarf exclaimed, his face once more a wrinkled mass.  “Such a journey shall soon be yours, and great though it is, it shall be but one of many long trips you shall make in your long life, my lord.”

“Tell me more of this stone, little one,” Erik encouraged him in amused disbelief.

A sudden calm set about the dwarf’s countenance, even though he still seemed quite troubled.  He sat down beside Erik and, staring into the fire of the forge, began his tale.  “In the land of my birth, in my father’s time, we had no iron.  We knew not how to mine it, nor how to search out the iron nodules in the bogs, but odd times we would find metal stones such as the one you have here and from them we would forge our weapons and tools.  They made the finest blades: better by far than the swords of the  Franks or your Stavanger blades….even better than Damascus steel.  But the star stone was scarce and very difficult to forge and sometimes there was a price to be paid in its working.  When your people came to the east, they taught us an easier way…how to find and smelt iron into steel…and how to whet an edge from stone.  The art of my father and his forefathers was working the star stone…and now it is an art all but lost, known only to some fool of a dwarf mucking about the hearth coals of a far-off land.”

A pained look crossed the face of the dwarf and Erik knew then how he longed for home.  “Tell me more Dvalin and, if what you relate of my fate be true, I’ll take you back to the glassy plains, to Giantland.”

The dwarf cheered up somewhat and continued his tale.  “I have watched the star stone being worked and have worked it some myself, so I know its varying qualities,” and the dwarf’s eyes shifted from the forge to the metal upon the anvil, “but I have never seen such a stone as yours.  Even cold as it is now, it retains some of the hearth‑glow.”

Erik studied the stone for a glow.

“Few see it clearly,” the dwarf explained, “some see it better than others, most don’t see it at all.  But I have heard tales about star stones that glowed from my father and others; tales enough to know that if we do forge it into a sword:

it will never rust,

it will forever remain sharp,

it will neither bend nor break

and the most powerful of berserks

            shall never blunt its edge.”

“I’ll get you this hard coal,” Erik exclaimed, “and the bellows…all the pumps you’ll ever need.  And, if what you say of this ship and my travels be true, I’ll return you to your homeland.  When we forge the sword, I’ll consider the bargain as struck.”

“Get me what I need, and the striking shall come soon enough,” Dvalin replied.  He stared into the flames of the forge once more and he contemplated the price of the forging and he wondered, “How soon is soon enough?”

It was the spring of 828 and there was once a powerful Norwegian Vik-King named Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdson and he had two sons.  Roller, the elder, was a strapping young man of nineteen, with long blonde hair, bright blue eyes and a fresh ruddy face that women found attractive.  Over the winter Ragnar had decided to take Roller with him on a viking expedition down the coast of Jutland, so in the early spring they sailed off leaving the youngest son, Erik, to tend the homestead.

Erik was a big strong lad, a half year younger than Roller and not as tall, but more powerfully built, with coal black hair and deep blue eyes set under heavy brooding brows.  Hard work had always been his lot, and this was reflected in his harsh features.  Unlike Roller, he was neither handsome, nor well trained in arms, but he had surprising strength and drew the heaviest bow in the district.  A steady hand and a sharp eye made his shot unmatched thereabouts.  He was well trained in the black art of the smith and there was a little of the uncanny about him.  He had learned all the old poems and the ancient tales of many lands that his foster-father, Brak, had taught him, and he could read the runes as well as any skald or witch.  But while Ragnar worshipped Odin and Roller trusted in Thor, Erik showed fealty to none of the gods, putting his faith in the strength of his arm and the stroke of his sword; yet there was still a little of the uncanny about him.

The main hall of Hraegunarstead was a longhall of a size befitting Ragnar’s  station as Vik-King of Stavanger Vik or Fjord and Rogaland Province, being thirty-two feet wide, a hundred and forty feet long and standing twenty-four foot at the gable peak.  It was of massive post and beam construction–the huge squared timbers having been hauled out of the great mountain forest surrounding the farm–with board and batten walls and a steep pitched pole and thatch roof that, from the front porch at the gable end, seemed to arc up into the very heavens.  The posts and beams were detailed in carved reliefs of ancient religious motif–the work of finely skilled craftsmen–and the designs marched down the doorposts and across the great oaken entrance doors, twin story panels at the front of the hall.  The heavy front doors opened with effort into the main hall and there was a vestibule with a great square entrance hearth where a fierce fire roared, keeping the chill of the doorway at bay.  The inner front wall of the hall was studded with pegs upon which guests hung their outer garments and weapons.  In the front half of the hall, sleeping benches were butted up endwise to the heavy plank side walls, twelve on either side, and the walls themselves were adorned with the painted shields and silver inlaid weapons of Ragnar’s hired men.  Halfway down the longhall, two sets of triple highseats faced each other, backed against either wall, sitting above the worn plank floor, each upon its own dais.  The highseats, too, were handsomely carved and behind them the walls were rich with tapestries.  In the back half of the hall two dozen more sleeping benches hugged the walls and again the shields and weapons of warriors graced the greying planks.  Down the centre of the hall ranged six long narrow flagstone hearths spaced out evenly between the two rows of sleeping benches leaving an open area between the two sets of highseats where audiences and entertainments took place.  The wood smoke from the hearth fires rose freely up into the beams and rafters where it blackened them with creosote before escaping through smokeholes in the thatched roof.  Beyond the main hall were the bedrooms, three plank walled chambers on either side with a six-foot hallway between them.  And at the very back of the hall was the kitchen and scullery where the feasts and the meals were prepared.

The longhall was the largest of many buildings at Hraegunarstead, a great meadow of a farm at the head of a fjord, closed off from all other land by the heavily forested mountains that surrounded it.  A large crafthouse where all the wool was spun, and the cloth was woven stood to the south of the hall, while a long shipwright’s shop, where the sturdy ships for crossing the Nor’Way were built, stood to the north, all three facing west, opening out onto the bay.  Farther down the shore was a large smithy shop where iron was smelted, and steel was forged.  The homes of Ragnar’s freemen were nestled into the slope behind these buildings and behind the smithy shop there was a greying dilapidated hall in which the slaves slept.  Between the halls and the rising meadow was a loose crescent of outbuildings: a dairyhouse where the cows were milked, and the cheeses were moulded and a salthouse where the meat was laid up.  There were cattle barns, horse stables, sheep sheds and granaries and beyond them all, the meadows, fields and pastures rising gently to meet the surrounding mountain forests.  And running down from the mountains was Ulf Creek, quencher of fires, wandering its way south-west through the fields then west through the little settlement and just south past Ragnar’s longhall, where a little wooden bridge crossed it, then out across the beach and into the bay. 

That evening at supper all Ragnar’s hired men, freemen, the women and children of the stead and the slaves attended their usual places, save for the men out raiding and one dwarf slave named Dvalin.  Erik’s stepmother, Kraka, sat alone in the highest highseat, which she normally shared with Ragnar.  Roller’s highseat to her right sat empty, but on her left Erik shared his highseat with Dvalin, who was dressed in his finest attire, a patchwork of colourful rags.  The matching highseats on the opposite side of the hall were empty, reserved only for guests of high station.  Below them the people of Hraegunarstead were occupied with their meals, sitting at the ends of their sleeping benches or on stools with their trencherplates on their laps, devouring roasted and boiled meats, baked breads, meal cakes, curds and cheeses, then washing them down with milk or ale.

Kraka marked a tendril of smoke as it fled the flames of a nearby hearth, spiraling past a sooty crossbeam, up into the rafter poles, where it joined with a band of smoke playing about the thatch while seeking a smokehole through which to escape out into the cool night air.  She was worried about her son, Roller.  “Much like smoke a child is,” she mused, absorbed in her melancholy reverie.  Dvalin chose this inopportune moment to belch loudly.  Kraka began shaking her head slowly, first left, then right and her silver-blonde hair danced about her shoulders.  Finally, staring into the trencher that was laid across her lap she said, “I never thought I’d see the day when a slave would sit upon a highseat of Ragnar’s.  And a dwarf at that!  What is this world coming to?” she asked of Erik this seemingly eternal question.

“Mother,” Erik sighed, breaking away from his third helping, “you know full well that I have taken Dvalin aside and extended him some freedom in faith of what he proposes to do.”  Erik felt Dvalin shifting nervously beside him.

“Freedom is one thing, Hraerik,” she said, rising from her seat.  Her trencher, which she held a little away from her body, hung down, threatening momentarily to drop from her fingertips.  She was a splendid woman, tall and lithe with a gracefulness that belied her age.  “But from hearth to highseat in a day is quite another.  Hraegunar shall hear about this when he returns.”  Kraka turned, stepped down from the dais and walked away.  A slender bondmaiden rushed up behind her, caught up the trencher plate and followed her into the chamberway.

Erik watched his stepmother disappear and it suddenly struck him how much she had aged.  “Soon she shall walk upon the bitter green,” he thought, then returned his attention to the trencher upon his lap.  Dvalin, too, resumed his meal, savouring the choice cuts of the high seat spread.

“You said there was a price,” Erik started, “a price that is paid when working the star stone.  Has it to do with the peculiar glow of the metal?”

“It is precisely the glow!” the dwarf cried, then continued his repast.  While Erik watched impatiently, he finished his plate, smacked his chops and wiped his mouth on his cuff.  “Stones that glow like yours, I have never actually seen before, but I have heard of them.  My grandfather told me of a blade that was forged from a star stone that glowed thus.  It is heavenly poisoned, this steel, and when forged to an edge it is death to any man it cuts, for, no matter how insignificant the injury, the wound never heals.  We must be very careful when we work it.”  Dvalin looked about the hall nervously, his eyes finally coming to rest at his old spot among the ashes of his former hearth.

“There is more?”

“It is said,” the dwarf sputtered, staring into the flames of the hearth, “that the blade must always be sheathed still smothered in the blood of its last victim, or it will be the death of its owner.”

“Does it smite the hand that wields it?” Erik laughed.

“It is no joking matter,” Dvalin answered palely.  “The man who carries the unquenched blade, a blade cooled only in human blood, is set upon by a disease that sours his own blood, and, over time, he turns quite ash grey and dies!”

“I am not sure I am willing to pay such a price for this sword you propose,” Erik replied, turning suddenly grave.

            “I believe the choice is beyond us both, for you have the stone and I have the skill and we’ll both be loath not to use them; when the forging becomes difficult…I will put the edge on the blade, for that is when it is most dangerous…when the blade has not yet been consummated in the blood of a human being.”

Over the course of the next week Erik had his father’s hired men about on errands.  Some he sent off in search of the hardest coals they could find, while others he sent to neighbouring steads looking for the largest bellows they could borrow.

At Trondheim, in the north of Norway, Erik’s emissaries located a coal so hard the locals had difficulty mining it and so vitrified it hardly burned on its own, requiring softer coals to keep it alight.

With the required resources gathered, Erik and Dvalin set to work forging the sword.  They employed three bellows to keep the coals fired bright, but even these hottest of coals could only just bring the star steel to a white heat and the forging remained very difficult.  It was like working with ton-stone.  For two days they struggled, hammering out, or pulling, a three-foot blade, pounding in bloodletting grooves, forging the trident guard, beating down the middlepiece and forming the heavy ton-stone pommel until a fine sword started to emerge.  Erik did all the heavy forge work, keeping three slaves sweating at the pumps while Dvalin prepared a special leaden scabbard to receive the weapon.

Finally, when the sword was ready to receive its edge, Dvalin asked Erik, in his lilting native tongue, “Which of your slaves do you least prefer?” and he motioned towards the bellowsmen.

Of all the folk of Hraegunarstead, only Erik had managed to master the language of their dwarf captive.  Ragnar cursed the eastern tongue and likened it to the twittering of birds, but languages came easy to Erik and he had learned to converse with the dwarf at an early age.  “The fat one is too lazy for my liking,” he replied in same.

That night Dvalin snuck away from his new sleeping bench in the high seat hall, roused the slaves to run the bellows and refired the forge in the smithy shop.  While an exhausted Erik slept, the dwarf set about putting an edge on the blade.

The smithy shop was a long-weathered shed of ancient stone construction with its whole front left open to the sea.  The acrid smoke from a score of twisted tallow tapers joined up with the soot smoke from the forge and floated out over the moonlit waters of the bay.  The crescent of candles lit the centre of the shed, leaving the periphery in shadows.  In the darkness at the back, three slaves sweated at the bellows.  Dvalin was at the anvil stone, his haggard features emerging softly from the halo of flickering light, as he patiently tinked an edge onto the sword.  He reheated the blade every few minutes and all the while he sang as he worked.  His worn and cracked voice rose above the sighing of the bellows and wafted out over the lapping waters, a low soft song in that lilting native tongue.  When he hammered on the blade the metal would flash brightly, lighting his wrinkled and whiskered face, a cameo floating in the velvet darkness.  Tinking his way up from the guard, he worked both sides of the blade into fine matched edges.  It was with a patience known only to men of his stature that Dvalin worked the metal.  No file or hone had effect on such steel, its sharpness coming straight off the anvil stone.  The dwarf kept tinking the two edges, reheating the sword in the forge, then tinking some more until the edges came together at the tip of the blade.  He then worked a fine point onto the sword.  And a visible glow remained in both edges and converged at the tip even as the blade grew stone cold.  Dvalin held the sword up and surveyed the work he had done.  He slipped the sword into the scabbard several times to check the tight fit then he set the nervous slaves back to work at the bellows as if to heat the blade one last time.  As the man nearest him, the fat one, stretched upward at the pump, Dvalin withdrew the sword from its sheath and thrust it straight through his belly.  The bellowsman screamed in pain, then pitched forward into his own gore and writhed upon the dirt floor.  The other slaves fled in terror lest they be fated to join him.  But Dvalin remained above him, sword still in hand, as the slave churned up mud in his death throes.  The dwarf drove the blade in yet further, all the way to the hilt.  When he prized the sword free it was crimson with gore and the glow had subsided somewhat.  He then slid the blade, still awash with blood, into the heavy scabbard.

The dawn to which Erik awoke was heralded by the death cry of a slave from the smithy shop.  By the time he had dressed and rushed down to the forge Dvalin was ready to present him with the sword.  “It is done, my lord,” the dwarf panted as he held forth the sheathed blade.  “What shall you name her?”

Erik took up the scabbard in his hands and inspected the guard, still dripping with gore.  He was about to withdraw the blade when Dvalin stopped him with a warning.

“She must never be relieved of her scabbard unless there is slaying to be done, for she must always be sheathed in the blood of her last victim.”

Only with blade in hand, gore dripping off the guard and a slave lying dead on the floor, could the sword’s curse be fully felt.  Erik studied the crumpled corpse at his feet and a shudder ran up his spine, for he had no love of the weird; yet he knew even then he would strike the same deal all over again.  He’d found the stone and in Dvalin the skill and he had been loath not to use them.

“I was going to call her Aurvandil’s Toe, but I think the appendage unfitting the blade, be she half what you claim her to be.”

“She’ll be that and more if one can judge by the forging.”

“I believe you are right, and, in such light,  I shall name her after the only god for which I have respect, Tyr, the god of justice.  I name her Tyr’s Finger.”

“Tyr’s Finger”, Dvalin reflected.  “Tyrfingr.  The name fits the forging.”

It was during the forging of Tyrfingr that the war arrow was passed around Norway.  The war arrow, a dart Odin blessed, was stored up in the rafters of a king’s highseat hall, its presence a reminder to all of their duty to their king, its aloofness a reminder of a king’s duty to all.  Lodged amongst the rafters, played upon by the hearth fire smoke, blackened by the soot until it looked quite burnt, the arrow would remain at rest till chance or mood or circumstance moved the god of war and it was taken down by the king and it was passed amongst his chieftains.  Any who chose not to respond to the call put his life and position at risk.  From the rafters of the high seat hall of King Gotar of Romerike was the war arrow now taken down, and it was passed around the Oslo Fjord, The Vik as it was called, on to Ringerike and Tonsberg and Vestfold.  From Vestfold it was passed on to Agder and then to Jaederen Province and on to Rogaland, over which Ragnar lorded.  As he was yet out a viking, it was his son, Erik, who was obliged to accept the arrow.  Erik passed it on to West Agder and on it travelled up the western coast to Gaulardale, Hordaland and Sogn, Fjord Province, Southmore and Romsdalen, then on to Northmore, Trondheim and Namdalen and at last Halogaland, the northernmost province of the loosely federated states of Thule (Norway).

Back in Rogaland, Erik was obliged to take down from the rafters his father’s own war arrow so it could be passed around the surrounding steads to rouse the forces under Ragnar’s command.  He placed a tall stool on his father’s high seat and Dvalin steadied the stool while his mother looked on.  As Erik felt around the top of the rafter up above him, his hand knocked over a stack of two books and they plummeted down from the timber overhead and Dvalin, looking up, instinctively caught them and the trail of falling dust and soot that followed the books drifted down and about the dwarf’s head and shoulders and his face became suddenly black.  Kraka saw it all and she burst out laughing, as Erik looked down and asked what it was that had fallen.  “It is books!” the little dwarf exclaimed, and he looked up at Erik, two big white eyes bobbing in the sea of black that was his face.  Erik, too, began to laugh, so hard he near fell off his stool and he finally found the arrow and climbed down from his perch, dart in hand.

“What are you looking at?” Dvalin cried and this just started Kraka laughing even harder.  The dwarf did not seem aware of how pitch black his face had become until after he had passed Erik the books and began wiping his eyes with his bunched little fists.

Erik brushed the soot off the cover of the top book and he could see that they were both red leather-bound renditions of the same book, rather small books compared to some the Christian missionaries carried, but bound books, nonetheless.  “I didn’t know father could read,” Erik said, and Kraka responded that he couldn’t.  Erik opened the first book and replied, “At least not in this tongue!”  He passed the book to Dvalin and asked, “Have you ever seen this script?”

“No,” the dwarf answered, “but it looks as though it comes from the eastern realms.  Perhaps it’s Persian.”

Erik opened the second book and near dropped to his knees.  This book was a copy of the first, or rather, the first was a copy of this one, for this one was ancient.  Erik could sense it was older than Babylon itself.  Later he would learn the script was in Aramaic, not Persian.  Chaldean Aramaic to be precise.

“Are you alright, Hraerik?” the dwarf asked and Kraka stepped up on the dais to help.

“I fear there is evil in these,” Erik started, then caught himself.  “I know it’s not Latin, because Brak is teaching me Latin.”

“Brak can read the Christian script?” Kraka asked.

“Yes.  And the Greek of the Romans.  Now he’s teaching me.” 

Kraka was amazed.  “I knew he could read the runes,” she started, shaking her head back and forth.  “After all, he keeps Ragnar’s merchant records and he maintains Stavanger’s Naming Book.”

“He can read the runes in all the northern dialects, and the German dialect too,” Erik started, bragging up his mentor.  “And he can read the Christian script better than a priest.”  Erik could see that Kraka seemed impressed.

She had learned to read the runes, but it was her duty as a priestess of Odin and a healer.  She had to be able to read the chants and the incantations, and recipes for potions and remedies.  Kraka was very impressed.  “Perhaps that is why Ragnar hired him so many years ago,” she started, then looked up to the rafters wistfully.  “I thought it was because he knew the secret of steel.  We’d best put the books back……and tell no one that we found them.”

            And Erik did just that.

Chapter 2: A FISTFUL OF LUCK  (Circa 828 AD) of BOOK 2: THE SAGA OF PRINCE ERIK ‘BRAGI’ RAGNARSON shall follow on next Post or may be found under Heading of The VARANGIANS / UKRAINIANS Book Series – The True History of ‘The Great Viking Manifestation of The Middle Ages’© in Book Two: The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi’ Ragnarson.

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 Saxo’s Danish History Per Brian Howard Seibert

BOOK ONE:  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:  The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi’ Ragnarson

Book Two of the Nine Book The Varangians / Ukrainians Series places The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi’ 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:  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:  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:  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:  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:  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:  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:  The Saga of King William ‘the Conqueror’ Robertson

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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