Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert
EMPRESS HELGA’S FASHION EMPORIUM
QUEEN HELGA’S PRINCESS DRESSES COLLECTION # 4 (Circa 950 AD)
Queen Helga’s Fashion Showings in Constantinople, showing out of the infamous Red House of Byzantium, remaining controversial for their designs and use of translucent silk, continued to be successful even though banned from the runways of the Emperor’s Great Palace. Even less was left to the imagination. Scant flowing silks with silver and gold threads and trims remained the focus of Queen
Helga’s designs and use of colours, but even worse, the royalty of the Romans was being drawn into a red house of ill repute that was rumoured to practice the ancient witchcraft of the old Vanir religion of Rome. Gladiatorial combats were said to take place deep within the foundations of the house and wee wives were bought and sold with impunity. And while royal princesses and duchesses of the surrounding Roman provinces watched the fashion exhibitions, their royal husbands disappeared for hours doing God only knows what!
The publicity the Red House brought to the Varangians of Constantinople was all bad, but often bad publicity is better than no publicity and sometimes bad was even the best publicity. It brought the presence of Queen Helga in Constantinople to the interest of Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos when Imperial advisors suggested that the queen be allowed to resume her showings at the Great Palace Spring Exhibitions being organized by the Empress mother. Queen Helga took the latest news with her usual candor and decided to participate in the spring palace showings only if allowed to continue her summer fashion showings in the Red House, in the Saint Mamas district of the city. The advisors cautioned against this, so the Emperor suggested a short audience be arranged between the queen and the Emperor and empress. When Queen Helga arrived at the palace dressed in one of her translucent and transparent silk spring fashion creations, Constantine was so taken aback by her beauty that he decided she could pretty much do as she wished as long as it was within the law and remained within the treaty allocated Varangian district of St. Mamas.
While Queen Helga could keep her extra-palatial activities within the confines of the St. Mamas district, she could not legally keep them within the law, for she had purchased The Red House under the condition that she make few changes to the operation that had been established centuries earlier. And these operations included the practice of prohibited Vanir and Aesir witchcraft ceremonies, sans warlocks, as well as the rumoured restricted gladiatorial combats and the illegal sale of child concubines. Besides, the queen had other motives. She introduced the sale of princess concubines to the Red House repertoire, northern princesses taken in northern sea raids of Ireland and Angleland and Frisia as well as random Scandinavian raids and the collection of royals in infant offerings to the gods.
When Queen Helga took over The Red House, she continued to throw lavish dinner parties in Constantinople and she invited the Roman princes and dukes and their princesses and duchesses as well as many knights to the affairs. She began using her slave trade connections to begin adding Irish and Anglish and Scandinavian princesses to her stable of girls in The Red House. Many of the princesses were captured during raids and wars in the north and most Scandinavian princesses were gleaned from within the Aesir religious system whereby unwanted births were exposed in sacred groves. Queen Helga had plans for these young unwanted and often beautiful princesses and it involved the Roman princes and dukes she was cultivating in Constantinople. She was planning the conquest of Rome from within. She didn’t know it at the time, but her plan would grow to be far more successful than she had ever imagined.