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 THREE:


Princess Alfhild Gotarsdottir of The Vik, Nor’Way


A Novel By Brian Howard Seibert

© Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert


“The king gave him a ship, and the oarsmen

 called it Skroter (Fair Faxi).”

History of the Danes;  Saxo Grammaticus.

The Nor’Way Ship ‘Fair Faxi’

(828 AD)  In a dark remote corner of King Gotar’s high seat hall, he stood, perturbed.  Bobbing in a throng of stout young warriors, all dressed in the raiment and finery of battle, he watched.  Past the soldiery crowding both sides of the longhall, he stared, his eyes sopping up the beauty of Princess Alfhild, King Gotar’s daughter, as she sat upon her high seat on the far side of the hall.  Her beauty had entranced him when he first saw her from a distance.  And her beauty had enslaved him when he next saw her up close.  She had been standing upon her father’s high seat dais and Erik had been carrying a table into the hall and bright light from a window had caught up her form and her presence.  She was a young woman of unusual beauty; her lithe form an embodiment of grace, her flowing blonde hair a frolic of sunlight, her deep green eyes a sounding of oceans and her pink full lips a flushing of sunsets.  Her presence, an elegance, her slightest movement, sensual, she stood before Erik and he froze, captivated by something he had never felt before.  His face flushed, and his forehead broke out into a sweat.  All strength left his body and he let go the table.  It thudded softly on the clay floor and she turned away, oblivious to her conquest, and then she was gone.

As he floundered in his emotions, his feelings huge swells in the tempestuous sea of the war assembly, arguments were being waged for and against an attack upon Denmark and its young King Frodi.  But he was oblivious to it all.  Perhaps it was infatuation, but a woman such as Alfhild he had never seen before.  He should have been attending to the arguments of the war thing, but, as he watched Alfhild from afar, he recollected instead his arrival in The Vik and his first sighting of her.  He was at the forestem of Ragnar’s longship and, as they closed with the shore, he was studying a huge headland that tumbled out into the sea.  On a high scarped knoll, he saw her standing alone, watching.  The day was waning, and the sunlight caught up in her tresses and it flowed and ebbed with her movements along the crest of the cliff.  He waved at her and her hand went up as she tossed forth a flower in answer, the blossom arcing over the edge of the cliff and plummeting down to the breakers far below, swallowed up in the crashing surf.  A loud roaring of warriors brought Erik back from his reverie.

“Furthermore,” Hrafn Ketil shouted, in conclusion to his inspired speech urging an assault upon the Danes, “are we to sit idly by while young King Frodi builds his Southern Way, his eastern empire, at the total expense of our Nor’Way?  And when this southern route collapses, as it surely must, can the Northern Way, our Way, be reopened?”

Again, a great cheer erupted, “Nay! Never!” from the warriors and chieftains as they stamped their feet and pounded their benches.  Erik was still watching Alfhild when he saw his brother step down from the opposing third high seat and walk toward his corner of the hall.

“I don’t like the way this council is turning,” Roller said as he stepped beside Erik.  “Hrafn Ketil covets the Raven Banner and is emboldened by the news of father’s flight at the hands of Oddi.  Now Sigurd’s Way, Hraegunar’s Way has become the Northern Way, Everybody’s Way.”  Roller smacked his palm with his fist.  “He’s stirring up the Vik to defend the Nor’Way so that soon he can deprive us of our rights to it.  Sigurd discovered it, Hraegunar tamed it and now I, Hraelauger, shall lose it to the very people who benefit from it.  King Gotar and Hrafn Ketil plan to claim it as their own.”  The cheering subsided, and the hall began to hum with little pockets of discussion that broke out up and down the length of the chamber.

“But my dream,” Erik started.  “Gotar hasn’t a chance against Frodi according to my portents.”

“If we lose the Way to Gotar or because of Frodi, the loss is still the same to us.”

“Well…we won’t be around to worry about it if we follow Gotar off to war.  The defeat in my dream is quite complete and I saw my fylgja above Gotar’s high seat hall this morn.  If Odin has a warrior on this side, Oddi is that man and soon he will set a death trap for us all.”

“We won’t be following Gotar,” Roller assured him.  “I’ve arranged for you to have an audience with King Gotar and I want you to recite your dream to him, in a drapa, just as it came to you.  If it doesn’t convince him to give up on his plans of conquest, at least it shall give us an excuse not to join him on those strands.”

“For the hand of his daughter, I would follow Gotar anywhere, even out onto those strands; but I’ve little chance of acquiring a hand such as that one.”

“Don’t underestimate yourself, Hraerik,” Roller laughed.  “Poetry has won many a royal heart.  Now…I’ll signal you when it’s time for your recital.

“Just remember…the telling of fortunes is a dangerous game, best left to charlatans who tell people what they want to hear.  Gotar likely won’t believe your dreams, Hraerik.  He’ll suspect I’ve put you up to this and he may try to hang us both for it.  But it’s the only chance I can see of keeping us out of this war without losing face and station.  We wouldn’t be doing this if father were here, but Brak agrees it may be the only way out of this mess, so, if you want to back out of this, tell me now.”

“Gotar must weigh my poetry against Hrafn Ketil’s words.  I shall not falter in the recital, but if Gotar chooses words of war over poems of peace, I don’t think that I shall be running from this fight.  If my poesy fails to impress our king, then at least let it win me a place in the heart of Princess Alfhild.”

“What good will your words in her heart do when your bones are bleaching on the sands of a strand?  Father would forbid your going and I’m afraid I must as well.  Perhaps this recital isn’t the best idea after all.”

“I shall not turn tail from this contest Hrafn Ketil arranges; not in front of Princess Alfhild.”  Erik was pleading now.  “It was my dream.  Even now, as we speak, the poem comes back to me.  Odin’s mead words shall not be taken lightly by Gotar.  Besides…like as not, the sons of Westmar, King Frodi’s berserks, shall be there.”

“If you are determined to go, then I’m going with you,” Roller said stiffly.  “To keep you out of trouble.  You’ll have to answer to Hraegunar.”

When Erik nodded, Roller worked his way through the crowd to the high seat of King Gotar and had a word with him.

The request of a son of King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ was not easily denied, for, besides being of royal descent, Ragnar was a wealthy and powerful leader of men; Erik soon found himself before the king’s high seat.  King Gotar had been told to expect a drapa inspired by prescient dreams and he now signalled for the poem to begin.

Erik recited it thus:

“Drums of war I dreamt of,             dreams of norns it seems of,

 misty shrouded masts of               mighty sea-steeds fighting.

 Gauta-Tyr’s song, Gotar,                 glazes Odin’s blazes:

 glore the victor garners,              gore the vanquished forfeit.

 Steadily the steeds rock                 striking Frodi’s vikings.

 Odd, the sea king, Odin                 aids to halt the raiding.

 Rising waves he raises,                   raging winds he stages,

 hard swept warrior hoard is           harried by the skerries.

 Streamy-horses stumble               stranded where they landed.

 Strung out for the strangling              sleet-of-Har this fleet is.

 Burnished gleam the bared swords,        brightly flashing lightning.

 Know the kettle drums now start              Hnikar’s-storm is speaking.”

Erik’s poem went on for seventeen more stanzas completing a full drapa and, once it had described how Oddi, King Frodi’s sea king, would call upon Odin to provide a storm that would run the Norwegian fleet aground, it went on to warn that the Danes would cause heavy stones to fall from the sky breaking up the stranded ships in the beating surf and that the survivors of this debacle would be slaughtered, their bones bleaching in the sand of a distant Danish shore.  And in the centre of a small island there would rest an eagle picking over the carcass of a wolf.

Erik’s poem struck fear into many of the chieftains entertaining an attack upon the Danes, but King Gotar was visibly angered by it and Hrafn Ketil was furious, preparing himself for a verbal assault upon the bastard son of Ragnar, the chieftain who had so recently fled from the Danes.  But Erik noticed only Princess Alfhild’s reaction as she shook her head in warning, as if to say:  “My father is not to be swayed in this…Your life is in jeopardy…Hrafn Ketil will have your head in a noose if he can.”  All this she told Erik in a glance and in that fraction of a second Erik could feel his life teetering over the great abyss, the vast ginungagap, and it seemed as if the gods were struggling, some for, some against him…some thrusting him into the blank depth…some pulling him back out and it seemed as though he teetered there for quite some time…though he knew it to be less than a moment…and suddenly he felt the course of his life change.  Gotar was doomed; Erik felt it.  He would save his king from Oddi, but Gotar was still doomed.  Paths had been preordained by the norns and in this moment Gotar had made a decision that would drive their paths apart, and Erik saw his own path continuing onward and upward while Gotar’s led off into an unfathomable abyss.  All this Erik felt in an instant and then he knew what he must do.

“It is commonplace that he who covets another man’s goods,” Erik started, eyeing Hrafn Ketil fiercely, “often loses his own.  The unrest of the Danes shall dissipate at the approach of an enemy host.  Quarrelling swine are drawn into tight array at the approach of a wolf.  A native tyrant is oft-times preferred to a foreign king and Frodi shall not allow you the chance to sway his people but shall sally forth to meet you.

“Unlike Frodi, King Gotar,” Erik said, shifting his eye to meet his ruler’s “you are surrounded by loyal subjects willing to try the fortune of this young king for you.  Let your most trusted subjects test the magic of Oddi and the strength of the Danes while you maintain your neutrality.  A blacksmith uses tongs to spare himself the heat of the ingot; a warrior throws first his spear, then draws his sword; use your most loyal subjects to gain your ends and take some thought for yourself.  Allow Hraegunar’s men, your loyal subjects of Rogaland Province, to try the luck of young King Frodi for you!”

A great cheer rose from all the men in the hall and it was obvious that King Gotar was moved by Erik’s appeal.  He leaned over and conferred with Hrafn Ketil, who sat in the third high seat on his left.  They had words for some time, then King Gotar turned to face Erik and smiled ever so slightly.  “My foremost man, Hrafn Ketil, tells me that you are Hraerik Boddason, half-brother of Hraelauger Hraegunarson and son of Hraegunar Sigurdson.  You are eloquent in speech and equally convincing in argument.  Perhaps you have been too long in the shadow of your brother’s blood and brilliance.  Henceforth your byname shall be Bragi, foremost in speech and argument…Hraerik `Bragi’ Boddason.”

Erik stepped boldly forward and said, “Is it not customary for some toothing gift to accompany a naming?”

“Shrewdly spoken, Hraerik,” King Gotar answered.  “What is it you desire most?”  Erik wanted, more than anything, to ask for the hand of his king’s daughter, but, bold though he was, it would be some time before he would make that request, and under totally different circumstances.  “I have a fresh forged sword that yearns to fight the Danes,” Erik answered, looking first at Gotar and then upon Alfhild, “but in King Gotar’s high seat hall I find most need of a buckler with which to build a shield-fort around my heart.”

Alfhild was amused by this and warned her father, “One shield does not a shield-fort make.”

Gotar was more than a little surprised by the interest his daughter seemed to be showing in the dangerously outspoken and, as he saw it, rather brutish young poet.  “Yes daughter,” he replied.  “A mere shield would make for a paltry toothing gift.  Since you ask for a leaf-from-leafy-land, Hraerik, I find it fitting to give you the whole sea-tree.  I will give you a ship that I have just had completed.  She is called Skroter, meaning fancy or showy, but Princess Alfhild prefers to call her Fair Faxi, meaning pretty horse.  The ship has been specially built to suit the name.  You shall also lord over the district of Lither wherefrom you may select your crew.  Alfhild, could you have one of the stewards show young Hraerik to his ship?  Meanwhile, Hrafn Ketil and I have a great deal to discuss regarding a change in plans.”

Alfhild stepped down from the high seat and called over her father’s chief steward.  Alfhild and the frail old man led Erik out of the hall and down toward the Vik to a secluded bay in which her father berthed his ships.  They led him down a quay beside which bobbed a vessel, a showpiece of a ship.

Erik stepped over the brightly painted ochre bulwark and onto the white deck.  “She’s beautiful,” he said, helping Alfhild aboard.  The chief steward watched aloofly from the dock.  Erik examined the longship from stem to stern.  It was some sixty feet in length by ten foot across with benches for twenty-four rowers.  Erik studied the intricately carved forestem with a fierce stallion’s head mounted high at the top.  The horse had a long wicked snout full of bared teeth and it had the ears of a mule, but, most eerily, it had no eyes, having only deep sockets that gave it more the appearance of a horse’s skull rather than a full head.  It almost resembled a scorn pole and that fact sent a shiver up Erik’s spine that he could not yet fathom.  Erik then began working his way down the ship, stepping over the uppermost crossbeams, when his mood changed from enrapturement to consternation.  He realized that this ship’s framework closely matched the heavy construction of his father’s Nor’Way ships.  The crossbeams and floor-timbers were twice the usual number and the clinker-laid strakes had double fastened pine tarred joints.  Princess Alfhild waited patiently on a foredeck rowing chest as Erik concluded his inspection at the inboard rudder port then worked his way forward to rejoin her.  “How many of these ships are there, anyway?” he asked her angrily.

“This is the first,” she replied.  “Father gave Hrafn Ketil another.”  She paused and studied the coarseness of Erik’s face.  There was none of Roller’s winsomeness, but there was a power to it and she decided that this she found attractive.  “As you can see, there is more to this gift than first meets the eye,” she warned.  “You’ve made a powerful enemy in Hrafn Ketil.  He is of the common people, but he is very ambitious.  My father will send him to test the strength of the Danes, not you.”

“I expected no less.  He shall not be my enemy for long then.”

“You have that much faith in your dreams?”

“Enough that I’m sure it’s my death if I follow your father against King Frodi.”

“Yet you were the first to volunteer to test Frodi.  Your grasp of the political surprised me, but it totally shocked Hraelauger.  I was watching him as you concluded your speech.  He didn’t set you up to this,” she said with conviction.  “Perhaps father was right when he said that you’ve been too long in the shadow of your brother.”

“And perhaps he only said that to put dissension between brothers.”

“That should not even be required in your case,” Alfhild scolded.  “Hraegunar ‘Lothbrok’ doesn’t even recognize you as an illegitimate son.  You’re your mother’s son with no right to even a third of your inheritance.  Hraelauger’s mother, no doubt, has seen to that.”

“That is true, and I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t bother me, but somehow I’ve always felt that I have a greater destiny to pursue.  Hraelauger judges himself by what Hraegunar has done, who in turn has tried to match the greatness of Sigurd.  It is a legacy not meant for me.  I am to do something, as yet unknown to me that has never been done before.”

“My mother knows of your foresight.  She says that Kraka, Princess Aslaug, is a priestess of Odin, a witch, but she also says that you have a great gift and that Kraka fears you.  Now I see what mother means.  There is much power in your vision, but what would you have done if father had accepted your offer to test the strength of Frodi?”

“I would have gone off in search of Frodi, for I could not run from a fight before the cheek-lights of the most beautiful princess in the Nor’Way.”  Alfhild blushed at this and Erik kissed her awkwardly.  Then they both heard a cry, far off at first, but closing.

“Help me, Hraerik! Help me quickly!”

“What is that, Hraerik?” she asked.

“Help me, Hraerik! Help me quickly!”

“That is a dwarf,” Erik answered.  “A dwarf named Dvalin.  I heard some of your father’s men talking about having a dwarf throw while the war council was in session.”

“A dwarf throw?  That sounds perfectly awful.  You must help him.”  Princess Alfhild peered over the ship’s side and she saw a brightly dressed dwarf running for his life down the path to the wharf, towards an alarmed chief steward.  Running fast behind him were six sailors, their awkward gaits betraying them as men born to the sea.

Erik leaped down onto the dock, gathered himself up and charged the men as Dvalin ran by him and jumped into the ship.  Erik knocked the first man off the quay and caught enough of the second man to send him spiralling into the quaking chief steward and both of them toppled off into the water, but the onslaught of the others drove Erik back beside Fair Faxi’s berthing.

“Help me with this oar,” Dvalin cried as he wrestled a long oar off the ship’s cross-members.

Alfhild helped him raise the oar up into the air and, when they had positioned it just right, Dvalin pushed it over.  The blade of the oar arced down through the air and smacked one of the sailors across the back, knocking him into the water.  When Erik sent a fourth man into the drink, the remaining two fled back to shore.  Erik helped the rest of the men out of the icy water and sent the sailors on their way.  The chief steward shook himself off on the dock and stood there shivering, looking quite the drenched old dog.  By the time Erik got back on the ship, Dvalin had already made Princess Alfhild’s acquaintance and was busy reading her palm.

“I see a great king in your future,” Dvalin said, bunching up his face and talking with great intensity.  “A very young king, handsome and brave and showing great promise.”

“Spare us your divinations, Dvalin,” Erik said, annoyed at his words.

“I want to hear this, Hraerik,” Alfhild pleaded.

“That is all I see,” Dvalin prudently answered.

“Come, Alfhild.  I’ll walk with you back to your father’s hall.  You stay here, Dvalin.  Watch the ship and stay out of trouble.”

“I’ll stay here and prepare the ship,” Dvalin replied.  “It shall serve our purpose nicely.”  He stomped his foot upon the deck.  “She’s very solid.  What do you call her, Hraerik?”

“I call her Fair Faxi,” Erik said.  “It means pretty horse,” and Princess Alfhild was pleased at this.

“The name suits the craft,” the dwarf replied.

Erik and Alfhild walked up the quay hand in hand, wet steward shivering in tow.  Alfhild turned slightly and waved at the dwarf.  “He’s such a sweet little fellow,” she said.  “And handy with an oar.”

“Yes,” Erik laughed.  “But he can’t read palms worth a damn.”  They both stopped and laughed, then continued up the path.  “Did Dvalin look well to you?” Erik asked as they walked.

“He looked just fine,” Princess Alfhild replied. “I don’t think those brutes got a chance to lay a hand on him.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Erik said, but it was Dvalin’s health Erik was worried about, not his condition.

Erik left Alfhild at the hall, which was quiet now, the assembly having been concluded.  He then walked over to the shore where the ships of Rogaland Province were beached.  Roller and Brak were there, standing and talking between their ships.

“Hoi, Hraerik,” Roller called.  “How’s your ship?”

“She’s a real beauty,” Erik called back.

“And the princess?” Brak asked.

“The ship pales next to her,” Erik replied.

Roller and Brak shook Erik’s hand, congratulating him on how he had shifted the upcoming battle from their camp to that of Hrafn Ketil’s, and the men gathered round and did likewise.  Erik could not have handled it better, they all agreed, and Erik never told them he would have led them out onto those strands himself, for a chance at the hand of Alfhild.

With the approach of evening, Erik and Roller began grooming themselves for their final night’s revelry.  Erik was hunkered down in front of a polished bronze mirror that stood between the beached longships, brushing his hair.  Their men were nearby, on the beach, roasting meats and preparing for a feast of their own, but the real celebration to conclude the war council was up in Gotar’s high seat hall, which Brak and others were already commencing with.  When Erik and Roller got up to the hall the ale was flowing freely and Erik was greeted with toasts and cheers as the brothers walked between benches and hearths.  Roller snatched two horns of ale from a slave girl and he and Erik toasted the men who were cheering them on.  Erik took note that it was the older, proven warriors that were doing most of the cheering, while the few young men his own age that were allowed to attend the war thing sat sullen and envious.

When Erik turned to continue, he found Princess Alfhild standing in front of him, her bright green eyes staring boldly into his.  Wisps of blonde hair flowed past pink cheeks and her red lips parted.  “My father wishes that you join us at our high seats for the feasting.”

“And do you wish this also?” Erik asked.

“I should prefer to share my seat with the young king your dwarf promised me, but, in his absence, I shall settle for my eloquent prince.”

Alfhild led the way to the high seats and Erik could not prevent his eyes studying her movements, her grace, as her body flowed beneath her white silk gown.  The silk had come from the Eastern Romans, the Greeks, via Ragnar Lothbrok’s Nor’Way, and only just now had Erik come to fully understand why royalty placed such a high value on the material.

“Keep your eyes in your head, dear brother,” Roller whispered as he turned off for his own high seat on the other side of the hall.  “Your tongue gets you in trouble enough on its own.”

Erik shared the second high seat with Princess Alfhild, on the right of King Gotar, who sat alone, his queen, Alfhild’s mother, being ill, while Hrafn Ketil and Bari, the king’s foremost skald, shared the third high seat on his left.  Roller and Brak and several notable chieftains sat in the opposite high seats across the hall.  A slave handed Erik a fresh horn of ale, which he shared with Princess Alfhild.  Trenchers of choice cuts and platters of fresh baked breads followed, and the princess soon had Erik’s tongue flowing as fast as the ale.  She wanted to know all about the charming little dwarf she had met, so Erik told her about Dvalin and the falling star stone and the forging of Tyrfingr.  She wanted to see the sword, but, as weapons were not allowed in an Althing hall, he could only promise to show her it later.  As the evening wore on, King Gotar asked that Erik recite his poem once again, but for his ears only this time.  Erik switched  places with Alfhild and recited his poem to Gotar over the arms of the high seat benches.  Once King Gotar was satisfied with the accuracy of the reciting, for a true poet committed his verses to memory word for word, he made praise of Erik’s talent.  Bari, the king’s skald, then rose from his high seat and offered a poem in praise of the generosity of King Gotar, stating that his virtue could not be equalled.  The poem was amiably worded, but was, in effect, a slight against Erik, for it implied that Erik deserved no reward for his warning, nor his offered aid, and that Gotar expected no return on his favour.  As the poem progressed Erik’s temper rose and only Princess Alfhild’s calming words kept him from attacking the king’s skald.  Hrafn Ketil enjoyed the poem and savoured Erik’s anger, while King Gotar sat in muted silence, showing no favour one way or the other as he played his foremost man off against his eloquent guest.  Later, when the drinking bouts started, and the bragging challenges began, and the women were leaving the hall, Alfhild asked Erik to walk her over to King Gotar’s living hall which was located beside and a little back of his assembly hall.  Erik walked the princess there and they stood in front of its great double doors.

“Hrafn and Bari were trying to provoke you, Hraerik,” Alfhild warned.  “You must control your temper lest others use it against you.”

“Hraegunar warns me of my temper all the time, but it is a part of me and I’m loathe to change it.”

“Does he complain of your stubbornness also?” she asked and they both laughed.  Erik kissed her then and they looked into each other’s eyes for a long time, as if they both did not want to part just yet, then Alfhild’s mother called weakly for her and she went inside and Erik turned away from the porch and headed back for the high seat hall.  Alfhild lingered in the vestibule and she watched him as he walked, and he would turn and wave, turn and wave until he disappeared into the darkness.

“I see much in this dream of yours,” Gotar confided, when Erik had rejoined him on the high seats.  “Hrafn scoffs at this, but my wife has told me that many people put great store in this prescience of yours.  In this light, I want to thank you for your offer to attack King Frodi for me, but since you, more than anyone, must have faith in your own visions, I find it only fair to send out Hrafn and his men to destroy the Dane.  They take no heed of your warning, so they shall be the ones to try it.”

“I find your decision in this most wise,” Erik replied, noting the emphasis Gotar had placed upon the word try.

“It is in this light that I have given you such a generous toothing gift.”

“It is a beautiful ship,” Erik acknowledged.  “But of unusual construction.”

“I’m glad you realize the significance of the gift,” the king said.  “And you realize, of course,” Gotar added, “the stakes involved in this test of your prescience.”

Erik was fast learning the subtleties of high seat discourse.  “Certainly,” he answered.

“You shall, of course, become my hired man, Hraerik.”

“I thank you, my king,” Erik answered, “but first I must traverse the Nor’Way.  I have promised a friend a return to his homeland and we must set off as soon as possible.  My friend doesn’t know it, but I sense that he is dying.”

“You shall stop at the district of Lither on the way and select your crew.  My steward there is quite capable and will run the district well for you, should you wish to retain him.  When you return from this voyage you shall become King Gotar’s man.”

“I wish that very much,” Erik answered. “I find The Vik and its people very exciting.”

“It’s settled then,” Gotar confirmed.  “A word regarding Alfhild though, Hraerik,” he said, leaning heavily on the arm of his high seat and speaking very confidingly.  “I have raised her with the purpose of alliance in mind.  She is a princess destined for a king, when the time and circumstances benefit my kingdom.  You seem to amuse her, and I appreciate that, as long as you keep it in mind that she is destined for a fine-blooded king.”

Anger danced dangerously upon the tip of Erik’s tongue and his face flushed with it, but Princess Alfhild’s recent lecture helped him curb his temper and he even began wondering if she had guessed what her father would be saying later.  “I’ll be taking Fair Faxi out with the dawn,” he said coldly.  “You’ll give Alfhild my fondest farewell?”

“Of course,” King Gotar replied.  “May your journey be blessed by Thor.”

Erik stepped down from the high seat and stalked angrily from the hall.  Roller saw all of this and followed him out.  “What’s happened?” he asked, rushing up behind his brother.  “What did Gotar say?”

“Gotar wants me as his hired man, but he wants me to keep my distance from Alfhild,” Erik complained bitterly.  “I told him I sail in the morning.  Will you sail with me, Hraelauger?  Across the Nor’Way?  Dvalin is dying.  Tyrfingr has poisoned his blood.  We must hurry if we are to make it back by the end of this season.  Hrafn will be dead before Dvalin even begins to feel his sickness,” Erik rambled on, “and soon the Nor’Way will be dead as well, unless we stop King Frodi.”

“Hraerik!” Roller shouted.  “Catch hold of yourself!”  And he grasped his brother by the shoulders.

A pained helplessness crossed Erik’s face.  He gripped Roller’s arms as the anger passed.  “When we get back from the east,” he said, “we’ll destroy Oddi for Gotar and we’ll destroy those berserks for Hraegunar.”  Erik let go Roller’s arms and continued walking for their ships.  “That will change Gotar’s mind about me.  He’ll see that my blood is worthy of Alfhild.  He’ll see the stuff I’m made of.”  He patted Roller’s back and looked at him and there was a hot-blooded madness in his eyes that Roller had seen only once before.  There would be no stopping Erik when that look came to his dark eyes and Roller was sure Gotar would rue the day he had abused his brother.

Chapter 4: THE NOR’WAY  (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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