Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert
THE REIGN OF KING IVAR THE BONELESS (Circa 932-933 AD)
At summer’s end, King Ivar returned to Kiev from Constantinople and told Queen Helga that negotiations had not gone well there. They had learned that the Romans were planning to begin tithing the Hraes’ on their goods that flowed across the Black Sea to Roman lands. Prince Hraerik had managed to stall talks for a while, but a permanent solution would have to be found and it would likely involve another attack upon Miklagard. Helga then told Ivar that their attempt at making offspring in the spring had failed and no son stirred within her. So, they worked at it some more until Ivar had to leave on the tail end of his merchant fleet. Helga begged him to winter over in Gardar, but Ivar reminded her that slaves had to be rounded up in Europe over winter for the next trading season. And, even though his father, Prince Hraerik, kept claiming that winters were getting warmer, overwintering in Hraes’ was a bitterly cold experience. His father ruled in Tmutorokan on the Black Sea coast where winter’s were relatively balmy, but winters in Kiev were still deadly. It was warmer than when Ivar was a child and the winters were getting noticeably shorter, but the extreme cold took thousands of lives every season and was particularly hard on the poor and the slaves.
King Ivar took his usual route home and arrived in Liere to find his wife, Queen Blaeja, still without a daughter. He was starting to wonder if it was he who had a problem until he sailed to Norway and learned that his wife, Lagertha, was again with child. In Lade, Jarl Sigurd complained to him that he was still having a time trying to pry a child from his wife. In Ireland he squared up with Princess Hrafnhild in Dublin and met with the Ui Imair in Waterford, south of Dublin to see how the gathering up of Irish slaves was progressing. He then sailed off to Rouen to share profits and tithes with his uncle, Duke Rollo, but learned that his uncle had died in a riding mishap that summer, so he visited Rollo’s sarcophagus in Rouen Cathedral and began doing business with his son, William Longsword. Finally, he headed to York to meet with Sihtric on military matters before finishing up business with Princess Blaeja in York Castle . He visited with her a while, then headed off to visit with Biorn in Bamburg. When he returned to York, he asked Princess Blaeja if he could winter in York with her.
“You might as well move into my room,” Princess Blaeja said. “I went to Frankia last summer for Duke Rollo’s funeral. I’ll tell you about it…in the morning.”
Ivar had his men place him on the bed and he sent them out to guard the room. Blaeja was hoping to have pleasant sexual relations with her son-in-law, but that was not to be the case. As he was undressing on the bed, she undressed herself slowly by the side of the bed, but when she joined him on it, he grabbed her by the hair and put his member in her mouth and forced her to perform oral sex on him. As he grew bigger and harder, he began thrusting past her mouth and into her throat until she was soon gagging and coughing, so he withdrew and spun her about and began penetrating her anally from behind. She struggled to get away but he pulled her up tight against himself, then pushed and pulled his way with her until she got over her fit of coughing and spun her around once more and inserted his member in her mouth again and made her continue with their oral sex. When she started gagging again, he pinned her down onto the bed and entered her vaginally and drove himself deep within her hard and fast until he came.
“That was rough,” she complained, crawling into Ivar’s arms.
“Ireland was rougher.”
“What happened in Ireland?”
“Business was good…a little too good. They’re having a famine in the south. Crops failed. The poor are starving. We’re buying up their slaves for next to nothing.”
“That’s good for you. Terrible for Ireland, but good for you.”
“We’re starting to buy their children. The children of the poorest right now. But it’s going to get worse. The Ui Imair have been going out and buying them before they starve to death. When they come into our Waterford station, they’re skin and bones. I ordered our company cooks to feed them well to get some muscle back on them before we ship them east in the spring. But our costs are going to be high to get them better over the winter. Our ships are bringing in grain from Denmark and Sweden. We sell the best grains to the rich and feed our child slaves with the lower quality grain. I told our agent in Waterford that if one child in Ireland starves to death over the winter, I am going to hold him personally responsible.”
“Is there anything our other Hraes’ stations can do to help?” Blaeja asked. “Could we send some of our staff to help?”
“That’s a good idea,” Ivar said. “We need more cooks. And they should bring their own gear…pots, pans, utensils…just for over the winter.”
The next morning, Princess Blaeja got up early and started arrangements to get a cook ready to leave from York to Dublin by weeks end. She then gathered up breakfast from the house maid and took it up to King Ivar. She spread the food out and was about to wake up Ivar but decided to join him in bed instead. Crawling in bed beside him, she shivered and warmed up off the heat of his back and she reached around his front and felt that he was hard.
“You’re up early,” Ivar said as he woke.
“You’re up early,” Blaeja said as she felt around and stroked. She rolled him off his side and onto his back and she straddled him and felt for his cock and she thrust him deep inside herself and began to ride him slowly at first and then harder and faster and she came twice before she felt him spouting off inside her. Then she crumpled in a heap upon his chest and she rested on him.
“That’s how I want you to wake me every morning,” he said, hugging her.
“It’s your father’s drugs,” she said. “He warned me they would make me randy. It’s a side effect.”
“So that’s why he’s so easy going when he visits!”
“It’s your father we’re talking about!” she exclaimed and gave him a swat.
“Does it have other side effects?” Ivar asked. “Like…can it make you fertile?”
“Are you trying to get me pregnant?” Blaeja asked, laughing. “I hope I’m well beyond that.”
“You’re a healer and I was wondering if it might help Jarl Hakon’s wife to get pregnant. They’ve been trying for years and I picked up Duke Rollo’s medicine when I was in Rouen. I could give her some if it would help.”
“You could try. If she’s older it might help her feel younger and if she’s younger, it may help her feel randyer. That may be enough to make a difference.”
“I think I should try to help them,” Ivar said. “Now you promised to tell me about Duke Rollo’s arval.”
“A Hraes’ ship arrived from Frankia with the news of Rollo’s death, so I immediately sailed to Rouen and arrived there just in time for his funeral service. If the king of Frankia had not been late, I would have missed it altogether, but he was at a meeting in Ingleheim and he didn’t want Rollo interred before he got home. Duke Rollo was a hero in Frankia. He and your brother Oddi saved Paris from an attack by King Frodi. Duke Rollo was worshipped by the Franks.”
“So, I take it the Franks never learned that Duke Rollo was King Hraelauger, the son of Hraegunar Lothbrok, the sacker of Paris a generation earlier? And they never figured out that it was actually Rollo that King Frodi was after, not Paris?”
“I don’t think they would have given him a royal send-off if they had,” she answered. “A death mask of gold and a marble sarcophagus? His own grotto in the Cathedral of Rouen? I don’t think they even suspected who he was.”
“I know. William Longsword gave me a tour of it when I was there. No expense was spared.”
“What did you think of Rollo’s eldest?”
“Pretty full of himself for a prince of no achievements. And he can barely speak Norse. Thank the gods…god…that father taught me the French he had learned from Sister Saint Charles or we wouldn’t have been able to converse at all.”
“I know! And when I talked to him in the Northumbrian French of our learned Saint Alcuin, he looked down his long nose at me.”
“I know! He did that to me and I thought, ‘My worst French is better than your best Norse and you call yourself a Norseman,’ I guess it’s Normans they’re calling themselves now, and their Province of Normandy. He was showing off his legion of Roman cataphracts to me, the very two thousand rented Roman knights that my father gave Rollo decades ago, so I guess it would be the sons of the Romans my father had rented decades ago. They did look good. I told him I had a full legion of our own Varangian cataphracts in Kiev and another full legion of them in Gardariki.”
“What did he say about that?” Blaeja asked, laughing.
“Mais non! Deux cataphracts? Ce n’est pas possible!” Ivar exclaimed, laughing. “I could actually hear his mind calculating the costs of fielding another legion of cataphracts for Normandy. I told him, ‘Sales will have to pick up in the Hraes’ stations of Frankia before that happens!’, but I told him in Norse so he wouldn’t understand me!”
“He’ll have to double his Khazar Vayar sales,” she said laughing.
“I think he’s already doing that! The Franks are eating it up!”
The two people who quietly ran York were laughing and in great spirits as they ate their breakfast.
“How did you want me to send our cook and his supplies to Dublin?” Blaeja asked. “We should get other stations to contribute as well along the way.”
“I think I should visit those other stations to get a better response,” Ivar said. “I’ll sail at the end of the week with your cook aboard and we’ll stop in at the London Hraes’ station and I’ll have to visit young William again and tap the Hraes’ stations in Frankia.”
“That’s very kind of you,” Princess Blaeja said, somewhat surprised. She had been looking forward to his rough sex. “It’s so kind of you to be taking care of the children of Ireland like this.”
“Well I did tell my station agent that I would hold him responsible for any young lives lost there, so I should at least get him the tools he’ll need to see it through.” King Ivar had been sampling some of the product during his week in Waterford and he had this urge to get back there and sample some more. The wee folk of Ireland should have put on a few pounds by then and would be better able to withstand the rigours of his rough sex.
While King Ivar wintered in the west, Prince Mal sent two of his wisest men to Kiev to try to convince Queen Helga to marry him. The sagacious two did not bring up the fact that King Ivar had married a Christian princess in Denmark, not wanting to upset their queen, so they focused more on the strong past that Helga had with Chernigov and Dereva, the land of the Drevjane. They talked about their Prince Mal and how wealthy he was becoming with the Slav participation in the Dan’Way trade and how he was looking for a wife of noble birth with whom to share his good fortune with.
Queen Helga suddenly wished that her mother-in-law, Queen Mother Eyfura was still living in Kiev instead of dying in Gardariki. The Slavs all feared Eyfura, the queen who had brought the slave trade back to the Dan’Way. She was sure the Slavs would fear her as well had they only known what had happened to the Chernigov twenty. She decided that she must do something to put the fear of Odin back into the Slavs so she said, “If Prince Mal was serious in making a proposal, then next winter he would send more than two wise men to convince me of his greatness.” Then she sent the two wise Drevjane elders back to Iskorosten.
In Gardariki, Prince Hraerik had been providing Queen Eyfura with the best care that the Alchemists’ Medical Guild could provide, but he had been watching her slowly slip away over the years from the poison of his famed blade Tyrfingr. Winter was hardest on her. Even as they approached the peak of the world warming cycle, it still could get cold in Tmutorokan. He had seen the five hundred year warming cycles followed by five hundred year cooling cycles many times when he had hanged nine days on the tree of knowledge, Yggdrasil, as a teen. The warming cycle had peaked at the time of the Christian lord during the Pax Romana, but the peace was broken by the following cooling period, when crop failures had started the great migration period of the Goths and the Vandals and the Huns, ultimately resulting in the fall of Rome. They were now almost through the following warming period and soon cooling would dominate world weather and crop failures would again cause starvation in the northern lands and stir the people south.
This time it would not be Huns stirring forth from the frozen Uralic plains. Hraerik had been having visions of a far worse enemy riding from the east. Mongols on horseback, used to fighting in cold weather, riding westward past the Khazars and the Huns who would have stopped them, but they no longer held their land, their gateway between east and west, and the Mongols poured into Europe, slaughtering all before them and conquering the west. Hraerik shivered as he crawled into bed beside Eyfura. She was sleeping peacefully, thanks to opium pain medication, and Hraerik saw the beauty of her form in the moonlight from the window glazing. ‘She was still beautiful like Alfhild and Gunwar combined,’ he thought as he snuggled up beside her. ‘What is happening to the Khazars?’ he thought, falling into a restless sleep.
When King Ivar returned to York from Ireland, he had with him a dozen young red haired girls from County Cork and he put them up in his room down the hall from Princess Blaeja’s room and he then joined the princess in her room at the end of the hall.
“How old are those girls?” Princess Blaeja asked. “They’re just children!”
“They’re not for me!” Ivar exclaimed as his men placed him on her bed. “They’re all still virgins. Checked and cleared by a Dublin healer. They’re a gift for the Caliph of Baghdad, for his harem.”
“They’re not even twelve years old!” Blaeja objected. “You’re giving young Christian girls to some old Muslim letch?”
“The Caliph is a gentleman. I’m sure he won’t touch the girls until they are of marriageable age. Now come…join me on the bed,” Ivar said, patting the down mattress. “It was a long trip.”
“I’m not joining you on the bed,” Blaeja said, walking out of the room. But two of Ivar’s men grabbed her as she walked through the doorway and they brought her back into the room and held her face-down on the bed as Ivar attacked her from behind, first anally, then vaginally. Blaeja was crying by then so Ivar sent his men out of the room. He began undressing her and turned her over on her back, then he laid himself on top of her and entered her again, thrusting even harder this time until he exploded within her. Then he laid on top of her a while and she gasped, “Get off of me…please.” He rolled off her and grabbed her by the hair and pulled her down towards his groin.
“Clean me up,” he ordered. When she resisted he slapped her hard about her face. Then he pulled her head down to his groin again and she took his member into her mouth and began to suck it clean. Once he was satisfied, he let go her hair and pulled her up into his arm.
“That was rough,” she whimpered into his armpit.
The next morning, Princess Blaeja was up early and she returned to her room with a breakfast trencher. She put it on the bed and sat down beside Ivar and began to feed him.
“That looks bad,” Ivar said, looking at the bruise on Blaeja’s cheekbone. “What did your family say?”
“They wanted to kill you,” Blaeja laughed. “I told them you like it rough and I like it too. Now they want to kill me.”
“I don’t think they’d kill you.”
“For focking my grand-daughter’s husband? I think they would but they’re afraid of you.”
“I think we’d best sleep in our own rooms tonight,” Ivar said. “Just to be safe. We don’t want to upset your family more than they already are.”
“You just want those girls.”
“They’re virgins and will have to remain virgins or the Caliph will be insulted by the gift. The twelve are a matching set. They’re all related.”
The next night King Ivar retired to his room early, just as the slaves were removing the evening meal trenchers from the room. There were twelve cots butted along the far wall of the large chamber so Ivar ordered the children all to bed and joined the two young matrons overseeing them in his own bed. He stripped the two Irish women naked and proceeded to demonstrate the kind of threesome sex that the Caliph would be expecting of the children. He wanted to ensure that the Caliph would be pleased with his gift.
Once the demonstration was complete, Ivar had the two maidens strip the eldest young girl and bring her to his bed. He inspected her body, had oral sex with her and then had her ride his member anally. Then he sent her to her cot and performed the same ritual with the next eldest girl. This went on for another eight girls as he worked his way to the youngest. The final two were stripped naked by the maidens and Ivar could see that they were young boys. The maidens tucked the young boys into bed with Ivar, snuffed most of the candles out and joined Ivar in bed themselves. Princess Blaeja was at the door of her room listening to the moaning and the crying emanating from Ivar’s room till the wee hours of the morning.
“I heard your ruckus all night long,” Princess Blaeja complained to Ivar the next morning.
“They’re all still virgins,” Ivar reassured her. “But they have to be trained for the Caliph. If they’re not properly trained, the gift will be an insult.”
“Two of them looked like young boys,” Blaeja stated.
“Well..they’re no longer virgins, but the Caliph won’t know that.”
“But young boys?”
“That’s the Caliph’s preference, not mine.”
“And the two young matrons?”
“Definitely not virgins!” Ivar exclaimed, laughing.
In the spring a Danish fleet left Dublin carrying shipload after shipload of young Irish slaves, children saved from starvation by the Ui Imair. King Ivar set out from York with another fleet of Danish knarrs carrying Anglish slaves purchased locally. They were to meet up with the Dan’Way merchant fleet at the harbour-town serving Liere. Princess Blaeja sent one of her trusted handmaidens along with one of the ships to monitor Ivar’s treatment of her grand-daughter, Queen Blaeja, and her great grandson Gorm. She returned to York on a Hraes’ Trading Company transfer ship a month later with positive news for her mistress. Princess Blaeja accepted the rape and abuse of her king as long as it improved her grand-daughter’s lot in life. She even pretended to enjoy the rough sex in order to keep her son and daughter from reacting to the bruises that resulted.
“Did you have any trouble from the Drevjane?” King Ivar asked his wife, Princess Helga, in Kiev.
“Prince Mal sent two wise men to ask for my hand,” Helga replied.
“And what did you say?”
“I asked them why Prince Mal had only sent two wise men and told them to have him send more next time.”
“Let me kill him for you,” Ivar said.
“You agreed to let me handle this,” Helga reminded him. “So, let me handle it.”
Ivar pushed his wife down onto the bed. They were still trying to have a son together. “Did you take the medicine I gave you?” he asked. He had given her the medicine he had relieved from the chamber of Duke Rollo of Frankia. “It will make you randyer.”
“I took it but I don’t feel any different.”
Ivar pushed himself into her and began thrusting.
“Now I feel it!” she said, wrapping her legs around his buttocks and adding to the thrusts.
“Well, what do you think of them?” King Ivar asked his father in Gardariki, as the twelve red headed girls were paraded in front of them by their Irish matrons in Prince Hraerik’s palace.
“I think the Caliph will be pleased,” Hraerik answered, “especially with the two boys. They’re all virgins?”
“They were when we left York,” Ivar answered. “I’ll have them all checked by a healer in Baghdad before I gift them to the Caliph.”
“Good,” Hraerik replied. “Why such interest in pleasing the Caliph?”
“If the Romans are going to tythe us, I want to do more business with the Muslims. I may need his cooperation in finding new routes to the Caspian.”
“We have the Kuban River route right out of Gardariki,” Hraerik countered.
“I don’t trust the Khazars,” Ivar said. “They control the Volga entry into the Caspian and our entry point is too close to their lands. I want to find a southern entry into the Caspian. One through Arab lands. I bought a map last time I was in Baghdad that has a likely river route with a short portage.”
“The Khazars haven’t been a problem for a long time.”
“The White Khazars are Roman! The blood of the Caesars flows through their veins. They’re porphyrogeniti, probably purer purple than the blood flowing through the Eastern Roman Emperor right now. If the Romans tell the Khazars to tythe our trade along the Kuma route, they will do it.”
“I’ll be going over this tythe,” Hraerik started, “with Emperor Romanos this trading season, but I know it’s going to require another attack upon Constantinople. It always does. So, I’ll just stall some more.”
The father and son led their separate merchant fleets their separate ways. King Ivar led his fleet up the Kuban River and across a land portage to the Kama River and then south down the Caspian coast to the skerry of the Araks River followed by a long portage to the Tigris and an easy downstream row to Baghdad. Prince Hraerik led his fleet down the Kuban River to the Sea of Azov past the Kerch Peninsula into the Black Sea and west to Pereslavets at the mouth of the Danube where he met up with the Kievan fleet on its way to Constantinople.
King Ivar and his fleet had great success in Baghdad. The young Irish slaves were in very high demand and the Caliph was so enamoured with his gift of red haired girls that he requested that King Ivar provide him with a dozen blonde haired girls next season. Profits soared and the Hraes’ merchants prospered. Prince Hraerik and his fleet experienced moderate success in Constantinople. Their young Irish slaves were viewed as Christian captives for which only bonding prices could be garnered. And the Prince’s talks with the Emperor did not progress to either party’s satisfaction and so, were put off to next season.
“My father was pissed at the Romans,” Ivar told Helga when he got back to Kiev. “They didn’t appreciate the young Irish slaves we brought them.”
“They weren’t Pagan enough?” Helga asked.
“They protect their own, I guess. We should have raided, but that would have driven up costs. And the Irish sold very well in the Baghdad markets.”
“I’ve gone through the season accounts,” Helga started. “This is by far the most profitable season we’ve ever had. Will the famine continue in Ireland?”
“I asked my father about it and he said the drought is an anomaly, a product of the world warming period we are in. It may last another year, but it should not be prolonged.”
“World warming period?”
“He has visions. Hraerik saw it when he spent nine days upon Yggdrasil, the world tree of knowledge. The last warming cycle peaked at the birth of the Christians’ lord. Then it was followed by a five hundred year cooling period that caused the great migrations of the Goths, Vandals and Huns. It grew so cold that the riverways of Scythia ceased being used as trade routes. In our present warming period, Hraegunar Lothbrok opened up the Nor’Way and King Frodi reopened the Dan’Way.”
“He saw this in a vision?” Helga asked, suddenly gaining even more respect for Ivar’s father.
“He even claims that when this warming period ends in the next hundred years or so, the following cooling period will make famines like this one in Ireland quite common. He says the warming periods are gradual, but the cooling periods seem to be sudden. The warming periods allow for better and better crops and increasingly greater populations, but the crop failures of a cooling climate cause sudden starvation, wars and migration. So he says, ‘Make hay while the sun shines’, and we should do just that!”
“How long has your father had these visions?” Helga asked, concerned.
“He was eighteen when he was nine days upon Yggdrasil and he’s had visions ever since. Some he can control, others just come to him. He’s had visions lately of horsemen migrating from the Asian plains during the upcoming cooling period and conquering the whole world.”
“Huns?” she asked. “Will this happen soon?”
“It won’t happen for a few hundred years, but it’s not the Huns. They are worse,” he says, “much worse.”
“Well we won’t have to worry about them,” Helga reassured Ivar.
“But I think father may have to,” Ivar responded. “He is an Alchemist and I think he plans on living for a very long time.”
“And how will he do that?”
“That medicine I’ve been giving you. It keeps old people young. Randyness is just a side-effect.”
“And that side-effect is coming over me now. Let’s go to bed,” she said.