“Such great good fortune stung Feng with jealousy,

so that he resolved treacherously to waylay his brother,

thus, showing that goodness is not safe even from those

of a man’s own house.  And behold, when a chance came to

murder him, his bloody hand sated the deadly passion of

his soul.  Then he took the wife of the brother he had

butchered, capping unnatural murder with incest.”

“Amleth beheld all this, but feared lest too shrewd

a behaviour might make his uncle suspect him.  So he chose

to feign dullness and pretend an utter lack of wits.”

                        Amleth; Saxo Grammaticus.

When Hraerik Bragi Boddason Hraegunarson returned to Novgorod, for he had been there once before, the town, situated on a marshy island at the mouth of the Volkov River, was no more than a trading station.  He had known the place as Holmgard when the Danish army had taken refuge there during the First Khazar War, and the population of the place seemed very sparse now in comparison.  Gardariki had once been just an open meadow surrounded by hills and Hraerik had built a fortress around the crests of those hills and a town had grown inside it.  Novgorod would need no such walls, being nestled within the secure expanse of the Volkov, so Hraerik set about having erected longhalls and warehouses and places of worship for both Odin and Perun.  No Christian church graced the grounds of Novgorod and the fact saddened Hraerik.  The building of the town spun him back through the years and he had never missed Gunwar more.  Sometimes he could feel her presence as though she walked through the constructions with him and he would change a building here or locate a bath house there because he knew it would have been her suggestion.  And always he would think about his missing son, but reports would come back from his emissaries and traders that no sign of the boy could be found.  So Hraerik put his efforts into the building of his town and was consoled in the sons of Princess Eyfura and Prince Arngrim, who had agreed to rule his northern lands from there.

“Tell us a story,” Angantyr asked Hraerik one night before the hearth of the high seat hall.  He was the eldest of the twelve sons of Eyfura.

“I shall recite you a poem of the ancients,” Hraerik replied.

“But, we’ve heard all the poems of the ancients,” he complained, and the agreement of eleven brothers could be heard in the background.

Hraerik looked towards Eyfura as she sat on the floor before the hearth with her youngest in her lap and he saw shades of both Gunwar and Alfhild in her.  “But, I’m a poet,” Hraerik responded.  “Stories are for the tellers of tall tales.”

“We want something new!” another Angantyr demanded, for the first three sons of Eyfura were named after their grandfather, King Frodi, denoting their common birth.

“A new story!” chimed in the third.

Hraerik looked over at Eyfura once more and her eyes pleaded, just as Gunwar’s would have done.  The Bragning Prince stared into the fire and the flames took him back into the past and he could have sworn he saw Gardariki burning.  “There was once a Danish Prince,” he began, “whose name was Amleth…”

The Saga of Hraerik ’Bragi’ Hraegunarson

The End

To be Continued in

The Saga of Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Hraerikson