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 SIX:
BOOK TWO: THE SAGA OF PRINCE ERIK ‘BRAGI’ RAGNARSON
A Novel By Brian Howard Seibert
© Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert
6.0 VISIT AT HRAEGUNARSTEAD (Circa 829 AD)
“The snake will strike, venom filled, flashing from
the time worn skull of Faxi.”
The ironic thing about home is that it is never really home until you leave. It is a place for nurturing, a place for growing, a place of primary explorations and discoveries, but, most of all, it is a place to escape from. Only beyond the confines of home, out in the unforgiving world, does the place become home. A refuge to retreat to. A sanctuary to return to. Home.
Entering the bay, watching the crowd gather upon the bitter green, seeing the longhall and the boat sheds and the smithy shop, then the homes of the freemen and the shanties of the slaves, and, in the distance, Ulf Creek, the ranging wandering little river, the familiar meadows and forests and grey sequestering mountains, Erik felt, for the first time in his life, that sense of home.
Erik stood at the forestem of Fair Faxi as they swept by the mottled crowd on the greensward. The people of Hraegunarstead shouted and waved and ran alongside and Erik saw Ragnar and Kraka fall behind. They both now walked upon the bitter green.
Home. It was not just a place. It was a time, and, although that time had passed, the place bore its shadow. And time, when gauged by the life of a man, was seldom linear and often cruel. In the course of a few months it had surged forth years. Suddenly Ragnar was old.
Fair Faxi thudded softly into the sand of the bay and the throng took up ropes that were thrown out to them and they hauled the ship up on the beach.
Ragnar was in much better spirits now than when his sons had last seen him, having successfully concluded another season’s trade in the east while his sons had bided their time in the Vik. But his body was now stooped, and his hands were swollen and inflamed. He welcomed the boys home and led them up to the longhall, where ale and food awaited them.
The two youths sat once more upon the high seats of their father and announced their upcoming embassy to Denmark.
Ragnar seemed to ponder the news for some time. He got up from his high seat, stepped down to the dais and turned to face his sons, arms akimbo. “And I understand the two of you volunteered for this. Hraelauger stepping forward first and then you, Hraerik.”
Erik realized then that Ragnar had his own ears in Gotar’s high seat hall.
“It’s bad enough,” he continued, “ that you’ve both fallen in with a luckless king, a king I instructed you not to support, but now you’ve placed your lives at risk, and the lives of your men as well. Am I to believe that a luckless king such as Gotar is capable of soliciting such loyalty from my sons?” Ragnar paced a little on the dais, stroking his greying beard. He waited for an answer, and when none came he said, “I think not. Why then this foolishness?” Ragnar asked, and he clenched the fingers of his right hand into his whiskers. “I ruined my reputation running from Oddi, throwing to the winds the chance for that one last great battle,” Ragnar said, his voice rising passionately, his right hand scattering its swollen fingers out into the air then collecting them back up into a fist, which he held below his nose; and he inhaled, as though death in battle was some sweet poesy within grasp. He exhaled softly. “I did that, so my eldest son might have his chance at life; and now both my sons volunteer for a fate that I have suffered so to prevent happening. I would stop you if I could, but you are both now men and you do what you must. I know what intent lurks in your hearts and whose loyalties you hold dear, so I will give you my support in this and more, but I fear the cruel norns are busy weaving your fate, for I feel that this is the last time we shall be together in this world.” That said, Ragnar returned to his high seat, sat down, closed his eyes and concentrated deeply as if he himself was doing battle with the norns, the small demi-gods who cast the fates and fortunes of men.
“You will need several ships,” the old man declared, “and much silver if you are to escape your fate. Kraka converses with the norns and we shall make sacrifices as they require, but it will be very hard.”
As if responding to a cue, Kraka entered the room from the chamberway. “The norns have voiced their opinions and they say Hraerik is no match for Oddi. Odin is the god of war and he favours the Danish sea-king, but he does have a near equal in Tyr and Hraerik has gained some favour. But it will be very hard,” she echoed.
Kraka had led a group of cookhouse slaves in with the evening meal and soon all the folk of Hraegunarstead were at supper in the hall.
The next day, Ragnar took his sons out on an early morning ride to inspect the cattle herds and the vast hay and grain fields. His thralls were busy with the harvest, the cattle were fat with a warm lazy summer and a cooling breeze swept down from the mountains. Soon they rode down-shore a way to a deserted stretch of beach and Ragnar led them to a small cliff with boulders strewn at its base. They dismounted and Ragnar pulled his linden shield off his small pony, took a bite out of it and got himself between a huge boulder and a jag in the cliff face and began to prize away on the rock. Six men would have been taxed to jar it, but he would not allow his sons to assist him. The berserk fury soon took hold of the old man and, with a great heave, he pushed the boulder upslope and kicked in place a wooden stop that had been stored behind the stone for that purpose. Ragnar exposed a narrow cave that had been sealed for many years.
When they entered the cavern, the boys looked about and saw six small chests on either side of the chamber. On their father’s advice they opened the chests along one wall and found silver Kufas from Baghdad, Shekels from Judea and gold Byzants from the Eastern Roman Empire. They found chains and bracelets of gold from the Orient and silver goblets and plates from the Rhine. “We mustn’t ever touch the Red Gold Hoard of Byzantium,” Ragnar said, pointing to the other side of the cave, “for the red gold of the Romans is cursed, but this treasure I have accumulated, and you are welcome to take of it what you need.”
Erik and Roller were surprised to learn exactly how wealthy their father was. There was enough treasure to pay for a small war against King Frodi. They decided to take only the chest of silver Kufas, even though their father pressed them to take the chest of Roman coin as well. But the silver, being more common than the gold, was less likely to draw attention.
“All this will be yours when I am gone,” Ragnar declared. “Fafnir’s treasure must remain here where it may bless our land, but its curse may rest.” Ragnar searched through one of the chests until he found a gold bodkin, a cloak pin, of unusual construction. “You see, I haven’t given up on my boys entirely,” he stated, sitting upon the chest. He waved for the boys to do likewise. “I’m afraid I haven’t been much of a father to you, Hraerik,” he started. “This bodkin was your mother’s,” he said, passing it to his youngest son. “It’s from the east. I want you to have it.” Erik took the pin and studied it in the dim light. It had a gold chain as if to be worn around the neck and it had three tines in the form of a trident. “Your mother was from the east and I suspect she was a princess of some importance, most likely a daughter of King Olmar of the Poljane Slavs of Kiev. Shield-Maiden Ladgerda rescued her from the Huns, who were taking her to Attila’s city of Atil to marry some Hun noble. I fell in love with the woman. She was beautiful,” and Ragnar stared off into the far wall of the cave and the boys knew that he saw her once again in the mist of a memory, and Erik wished that he could see what his father saw then. “She died giving birth and I have always blamed you for this, Hraerik. I hold it against you and I have no right to do so. It’s wrong, I know, but I can only apologize for my feeling. I cannot change it.”
Erik clutched the cloak pin in one hand and touched his father’s swollen hand with the other. He had learned early in life what had happened to his mother and he had his own feelings of guilt. He would try to forgive his father. He accepted the bodkin and he chained it around his neck and tucked it away under his shirt. He would try to forgive himself.
“Kraka has always been envious of the love I felt for your mother, Boddi, and she has fanned the anger I felt towards you, always playing it off against my love for Hraelauger to deprive you of any inheritance. You must try to forgive her as well. Hraelauger has always countered her ill will with a brother’s love and has always come to your defence in times of need. She knows nothing of this treasure and I want my sons to share it equally.” There was a finality in Ragnar’s voice and the brothers sensed his feeling of doom.
“Can you tell me more about her?” Erik asked.
“She had a beautiful face,” Ragnar started, “soft eyes and long flowing hair…dark as a raven. She never learned our language, but she treasured that cloak pin more than anything. She must have carried it from her homeland. I never found out who she was, but she seemed well educated and her bearing was that of a princess.”
That said, Ragnar got up and left the cave and Erik and Roller followed, carrying the small chest of silver between them. Once outside, Ragnar used the butt of a spear to drive the wooden stop back from under the boulder and it rolled back in place sealing up the cave once more. They tied the chest across the haunches of Erik’s horse and they walked their mounts down the stony beach toward home.
While the men were out inspecting the herds, Kraka was in the scullery preparing a magic meal with which to give her son, Roller, the strength and wisdom to make it through his upcoming trial. Three snakes she suspended over a pot of boiling gruel: two were of a dark hue and these she had hung by the belly and the third had whitish scales and was hanging by its tail, somewhat higher than the rest, and all were spitting their poisons into the potion. Since Roller did not believe in her magic and Erik, in particular, detested it, she had decided to ply her craft in a deceptive manner by issuing her alchemy as the evening’s meal. When the men got back and sat down to their supper, Kraka apportioned the strongest parts of the potion to Roller and the rest she set in front of Erik. When Roller complained of the taste of his portion Erik offered to try it, exchanging their trenchers one for the other.
“This is how forestem comes stern in the great gale of the Nor’Way,” Erik said, laughing. He then started into his meal and, likewise, was none too pleased with the taste, but he quickly finished it. When Kraka returned from the kitchen with the ale, she saw the portion that Roller had acquired and she realised that a switch had occurred. She inwardly cursed the ill fortune that had deprived her son of the strengthening meal and she confessed to the men what she had been up to.
“I have, over a number of years, built up Hraelauger’s resistance to the poisons of the snakes,” she claimed, “but Hraerik, I fear, has no such protection and the meal he has eaten is as likely to kill him as not.”
Erik began feeling the effects of the poison as a dizziness set upon him and a numbness crept into his limbs. He stood up and would have toppled over had not Roller caught hold of him. Roller helped him to their bedchamber and Kraka administered potions and salves to counteract the meal. Still, Erik fell into a deep coma that was filled with a dream, a vision.
His dream took him to a perfect place where nothing, not even time, existed. A perfect place where all was at peace and he knew this place to be the great abyss, the vast ginungagap. A nothingness that was perfection in balance; perfection in symmetry. But nothing escapes the ravages of time, whether it exists or not, and perfection suffers, perhaps, most of all. A great sadness had overcome Erik and for a very long time the pain smouldered within his soul, but then he saw a minute point form within the enormous void. It was both something and something else together, and Erik could see that there were many minute points pulsing within the enormous void, pulsing without existing, but with the potential to exist and each was pulsing at its own rate, some fast, some slow. But the minute point that Erik had seen first suddenly burst forth in two opposing directions, forming a linear anomaly of pulsing waves of positive and negative energy that quickly cancelled each other out as they advanced outwards, linearly, in both directions for an eternity, or at least as long as it took the cadence of the peculiar pulsing to count off an infinite number, then the point panned out in a wave all around itself and the linear universe turned into a planar universe consisting of waves, both negative and positive, bursting forth in all four directions of a two dimensional universe and this too went on for an eternity, or, again, as long as it took the pulsing to count off a second infinite number and then it happened again. A brilliant flash burst forth in six directions, further sweeping away the abyss, propagating itself in a three-dimensional world, its positive and negative energy waves in perfect balance, existing, then not existing, then existing in an opposite form, always maintaining perfect balance and harmony within the perfection of the abyss all around it. Erik saw all this happening from afar, but as the three dimensional universe expanded, it moved towards him and the energy waves rolled over him, first positive, then a vast ginungagap, then a negative wave, over and over again, more than a hundred times and in the wake of the vanguard of each wave, particles began forming and tainting the purity of the energy waves and their newfound mass slowed them and the energy waves passed over them, with the negative energy field compressing positive particles into dark masses and expanding negative particles into an expanding existence within the negative wave and when the following positive wave overcame the negative, the negative particles were compressed into black masses and the positive dark masses expanded explosively into clusters of matter congealed, gravitationally, into hot gases and stars and clusters until the following negative wave compressed them back into black masses, releasing larger negative matter into explosive clusters of their own. Erik watched all this until the cadence of the universal pulsing had counted off a third infinite number that coincided with his own time of 3.1416…. and the positive matter that had been compressed into a black mass was overcome by a positive wave and the positive matter exploded into particles and congealed into atoms and the stars and the planets were formed.
Erik’s own world was seething now in front of him, boiling with the heat of its own fiery birth and it struck Erik as being not unlike a spot of molten iron and it cooled as it revolved around its own mother star and a blister of star dust slag began to form on the side that faced away from its sun and, as this Pangaea formed, the planet began rotating, producing a more even cooling of the surface until the ocean floor solidified and began collecting up the world ocean and the environment was such that miniscule life was formed in this ocean and it grew larger and evolved up onto the land. Many times, different forms of life evolved upon the land only to be wiped out by extermination level events and their carbon was deposited in the silts of choked estuaries for use by future life forms.
The earliest successful beasts were reptilian in nature and evolved into a dominant species of dragon-like giants, but the break-up of the Pangaean crust into wandering continents that drifted and collided, and the ensuing volcanism heralded the demise of the dragon reign. But it was a star stone that came crashing down, a much larger stone, that brought an end to the giants and their carbon, too, was deposited into the silts of choked river estuaries as the annihilated animals and shattered plants were swept away by the rains from the valleys down to the seas. And soon the timid mammals came down from the mountains and began their evolution to world dominance, culminating in the birth of man. Erik watched as the first hominids were forced from their forest nests and the terrors of the plains birthed their sentience. Erik felt great sorrow for this man just learning of existence, feeling only the sensation of loss, not of being. As man mastered his world, the terror that the beasts had inflicted upon him was gradually replaced by the horror he inflicted upon himself, as though this new-found sentience required blood fuel to keep it alive and wave after wave of new men replaced the old. Erik was very much at home in this period of man and he sensed his own existence come into being and pass as time swept on. The sentience of man eventually became self-sustaining and peace and harmony came to the world, but Erik was out of his time and this man of the future was no more a part of him than the first hominids that had walked the grass filled southern plains. He had a great sense of remorse that the time of his man had passed, and he took no comfort in this peace that seemed to pervade the earth. It was an age when machines could talk and think and it frightened Erik, but it was this technology, this god of the new western world and the trapped carbon of the old world that allowed man to escape out into the stars and the starborn helped man avoid the world’s next extermination level event. But more frightening still was the return of the vast ginungagap. Hard on the heels of exploding existence, perfection awaited its return. And man, ever fearful of perfection, strode out into the wave of the exploding universe. And they followed the cries, the cries of worlds rising and falling, the cries of billions of sentient beings dying suddenly by mass extinction only to be saved by time travel, which man discovered to not only be possible, but be required for a universe to come into complete existence. Erik began to scream with the beings and suddenly a great calm overcame him, and he awoke from his dream to find Roller shaking him awake. “You were screaming, Hraerik,” Roller cried. “I thought you were dying! Thank the gods your fever has broken. Nine days you have been in this fit.”
“And I have seen things in this fit that no man should bear witness to,” Erik replied, falling back on his bed in a sweat. But he could not go back to sleep so he got up and Roller helped him and they went into the hall and they sat by the fire of a hearth and they talked until morning came, but Erik didn’t tell his brother about his dream. It was but a fading memory, leaving not much more than a bittersweet after-taste. But the dream left a deep mark within Erik, strengthening and reinforcing his already powerful sense of prescience.
In the morning, Ragnar and Kraka were overjoyed to learn that Erik had made a complete recovery. Nine days he had been in a coma-like state, visiting Yggdrasil, Odin’s great tree of knowledge and Kraka apologized to Erik for her misuse of magic, but she also took him aside and explained that the potion had imparted into Erik the knowledge of all things that were and are yet to be and that this would help him through his upcoming ordeal. She also begged that Erik always aid his brother, Roller, that they might both come through their test alive, and for this boon she would grant that, should ever Erik fall into dire straits, he need only call out her name and aid would come.
The night before the sons of Ragnar were to leave, a feast was arranged to celebrate Erik’s full recovery and neighbours began arriving from all over the district. The women of Hraegunarstead had been busy all day preparing food and decorating the hall. Many of the local youths had joined up with Erik’s company of men and their parents were all invited to attend. Kraka had also asked a powerful prophetess to come and bless the expedition. She arrived late into the feasting and was shown her place on the opposite high seat, such being the respect due her lot.
The witch’s name was Thorbjorg and she was attired in a rich indigo tunic and a long blue cloak adorned with beads of amber all the way down the front and around the hem. This she wore throughout the evening, with a black lambskin hood lined with white cat’s fur pulled up over her head so that her features were almost indistinguishable. She was middle aged and carried a wooden staff with a brass-bound knob studded with stones. Girded about her middle was a touchwood belt from which hung a pouch containing all her charms, and on her feet were hairy calfskin shoes with thick laces that had tin capped ends. She was overdressed for the season and wore cat skin gloves, with the white fur turned inside, even when she ate.
The prophetess sat on a hen’s feather cushion on the highest guest high seat and did not eat the same meal as everyone else but had a thin gruel of goat’s milk and an entree of the boiled hearts of various animals culled from the herds of Hraegunarstead. She ate with brass implements which she brought herself in a pouch about her waist.
After the meal, Ragnar walked to the back of the hall, disappeared into the hallway and came back out bearing a gift for Erik. He stood in front of the high seats and said, “King Gotar has said that perhaps too long Hraerik has been in the shadow of his brother’s brilliance. This is the first sense our fine king has made in many a year and the one point that I will agree with him on, but when Hraerik asked for a shield of a stature to match his new and famous sword, Tyrfingr, all he got was a ship.” Ragnar began, stroking his grey beard in his characteristic manner, then went on, “Now a ship is fine if it never takes you into trouble, but when it does, as they often do, then a fine shield is required. This is the shield of Shield-Maiden Brynhild, the first wife of Sigurd Fafnirsbane and I sought shelter, under this one, after I reworked it and renamed it ‘Hrae’s Ship’s Round’, from the flames of the dragon ship, Fafnir, until we got in close enough to destroy the fire breathing monstrosity.
“Soon both my sons shall be off testing the strength of the Danes and, while Gotar has given my son a ship to take him into trouble, I shall give him this fine shield that sheltered me in my time of need, and may he ever find safety behind it.” All the people of the district applauded heartily as Ragnar presented Erik with Brynhild’s finely crafted war shield of red stained linden wood, capped by carved and painted motifs of ancient and religious tales.
Later in the evening Kraka gathered up the free women of the stead and they stood in a semi-circle around the witch’s high seat and they began to chant spells called Warlock-songs. Soon the witch addressed the audience from her seat. “Spirits are now present, as are the Norns and Fylgjas, attracted by the sweet singing of charms. I ask their blessings of this dangerous undertaking of Hraelauger Hraegunarson and his half-brother, Hraerik Boddason. May the gods be gracious, and may our sacrifices be bearable.” Once the blessing was finished, the people filed up to the prophetess to have their fortunes told. Erik would have no part of this and remained at his high seat and drank heavily. When everyone’s fortunes had been foretold the priestess asked why the eloquent one had not addressed her. Erik said he preferred to place his faith in his arm, and that Tyrfingr would carve his fortune for him. Muffled protests ran up and down the crowd in the hall and finally Ragnar leaned over to Erik and told him to have his fortune told if for no other reason than to reassure his companions. This Erik did.
“Great deeds and far travels lay in store for you, Hraerik Boddason,” the old witch began, “but the ship you have won with your eloquent tongue is flawed. King Gotar peeked when they laid out the keel of the ship called Fair Faxi. He watched as the first chip hewn landed keel-side up and that is why he has parted with his prize. You asked for a leaf from leafy land, but you got a blighted sea-tree. Death shall strike, venom filled, from ‘neath the time worn skull of Fair Faxi. The ship must be burned, and sacrifices made, or it shall be the death of your son.”
Erik had risen while the sorceress was preaching and had crossed the hall to her high seat. He was furious with the witch for condemning his ship and he raised his hand as if to strike her, but he remembered the woods and his picnic with Alfhild and how the thought of that mental blow had staggered him. He had lashed out at Alfhild only in his mind, yet his love for her had been renewed by her requited love. And Erik lowered his hand and he pointed at the witch and he said, “I’ve no love for this witchcraft of yours and your threats on my life shall not cost me my ship, but I shall not strike you for this wagging of your tongue. Just make sure King Gotar doesn’t hear about your lies or your head may wish it had gotten only a slap!” This said, Erik stormed out of his father’s hall and marched down the beach to his ship. Fair Faxi rested on the sand, tilted over to one side and Erik sat down on her upper strake, his feet dangling in the air, a star filled fall sky above him, clear and cool and threatening frost. He thought about Ragnar and what he had given as a toothing gift, ‘Hrae’s Ship’s Round’. The most famous shield in the north. “Hrae,” he whispered to himself. “Hraerik!” he shouted to the Boreal sky. “Hraerik Bragi Boddi Hraegunarson!” he cried to the northern firmament, his hands clutched tightly on the top strake upon which he sat. He was about to set out on the most dangerous mission of his life and he had never felt so good, so free. He began to compose a poem for his father:
“Wilt thou, Hrafn Ketil, hear me, how I chant the praise of
Thor’s daughter’s–and, thane, thee!– thief’s his well-stained foot-blade?
So that the famous son of Sigurd grudge not for the
ringing round of Hild’s wheel to reap his mead of thank-word.”
Erik’s poem went on to describe the stories painted on the face of Sigurd’s shield, first of Gefion, who with four oxen ploughed out the island of Zealand from the coast of Sweden, second of Thor’s fishing for the world serpent, third of Hamdir’s and Sorli’s bloody attack upon Eormanrik, sleeping:
“Warriors’ fall on the fair shield’s furbished bottom see I.
Hraegunar gave me Hrae’s-ship’s- round with many a story.”
Erik’s poem continued on to describe the eternal battle of Hedin and Hogni:
“Here you may behold that hail-of-darts on the shield’s face.
Hraegunar gave me Hrae’s- ship’s-round with many a story.”
(Bragi Boddason the Old; Hollander)
When Erik was satisfied with his poem of thanks he returned to his father’s hall. By this time, the witch had retired for the evening and the folk were heavy into their drinking bouts. Eyvind Ingvarson, a visiting Swedish skald, was well into his ale and standing in the centre of the hall between the high seats reciting a poem of ancient tales. Erik got himself a horn of ale and managed to put back most of it by the time Eyvind had finished. They all applauded the skald’s poetry and then began a ring dance as they repeated the words and the cadence of his poem and they danced in a ring between the high seats that broke into a line winding its way through the hearths at both ends of the hall. When Eyvind returned to his bench, Erik stepped out onto the floor and praised the mead-words of the son of Ingvar and then he recited his own thank-words to Ragnar. Again, there was much applause and once more a ring dance was formed as Erik recited his poem ‘Dream of the Drums of War’. Erik then took his place on the high seat and all the folk drank and toasted late into the evening. They carried on as if many would never see each other again and, indeed, many would not.
Chapter 7: THE SLAUGHTER OF SPEAR ODD (Circa 829 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.