11.0 KING CANUTE RETURNS TO DENMARK 

Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN POINT ZERO

11.0 KING CANUTE RETURNS TO DENMARK  (Circa 1023 AD)

 

King Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson

 

(1023 AD)  After Yulefest and Christmas had been celebrated in London, King Canute returned to Winchester and Queen Emma and Prince Hraerik returned to Southampton.  Emma had been holding back some information on the last Newfoundland trading season until she got some confirmations from her Norman sea captains in Rouen.  They had sailed straight from New Ireland in the Newfoundland to Rouen, so Queen Emma had invited them to London over the festive season because she wanted to hear their tales directly from them before making Prince Hraerik aware of the developing problem.

“We had some trouble with the Greenlanders last trading season,” the queen told her husband.  “I didn’t want to bring it up with you until I received some confirmations.”

“What have they done now?” Hraerik asked wearily.  “They’re supposed to keep to the north end of the Island of New Ireland and we’re to keep to the south end.”

“The problem isn’t in New Ireland,” Emma said.  “It’s in the interior of the Newfoundland.”  Hraerik sat up as she continued, “Some Greenlanders in York boats were captured trading on the Mis Sis Sippi River.”

“They’re not supposed to be there,” Hraerik said.  “They’re not allowed on the Newfoundland River or across our Nia Gara Falls portage to even get there!”

“Apparently they didn’t use the river or go past the falls,” Emma responded.  “That’s what I wanted confirmed.  They’ve found a route straight west from Greenland into the Newfoundland and they take an inland river to the Mis Sis Sippi.  They were captured by one of our longships at the north end of Le Miz.”

“So, what happened?”

“Our longship captain decapitated one of them and sent the rest back north in their boats.  He told them if they ever came back, he would execute them all.”

“He should have brought the man back here instead of killing him,” Hraerik said.  “Then we could interrogate him, get names, numbers and routes so we can stop them.”

“My captain said that if he’d taken one of them, the rest would have trailed his ship to rescue the captive.  He gave them the body, but he kept the man’s head.  He claims our Aesir witches can make the head talk.”

“Perhaps Witch Hallveig can get it to talk, but the head has to be properly preserved in order for that option to work.”

“Our captain’s cabin boy is actually a young girl who is also an apprentice witch of Rouen.  She did some preservation work in the Newfoundland, but they sailed straight to Rouen to have her coven witch do the final work on it as quickly as possible.  By doing it this way, our captain figures we can get the intel without the Greenlanders even suspecting that we’ve got it.  We can lay a trap for them this spring in case they come back.”

“Oh, they’ll be back alright!” Hraerik said, rubbing his hands together.  “And they’ll fock up our relations with the natives there.  They always end up getting into battles with the Skraelings, as they call them.  They’re all warrior farmers, not professionals, like our Hraes’ traders, and they all take after Erik ‘the Red’!”

“The captain brought me the head,” Emma said.  “Do you want to send for Witch Hallveig or should we get a witch from Rouen?”

“Where is it?” Hraerik asked, looking about the master suite.  Then he followed Emma’s eyes up to the headboard of their bed.  He saw the special wooden box that witches kept heads in, the plain type.  “Gross!” Hraerik complained.  “That head has been watching us while we’ve focked the past week?”

“It’s quite a handsome head,” Emma teased.  “When I pictured his face instead of yours while I was riding you, I’d come three times!”

“Don’t joke about that!” Hraerik said.  “Not after all the shit Mstiry Dada has been through with his new Aran witch wife!”

“Don’t be such a pussy!” Emma told him, laughing.

“I’ll send for Witch Hallveig,” Hraerik answered her.  “I brought some more of that Zombie drug and antidote from India.  I want her to help us with an experimental use for it.”  Hraerik laid back on the bed again and said, “Why don’t you ride me again and come three more times?”

“Do you want me to move the head?”

“I don’t give a shit,” he said.  “Maybe he’ll decide to join in with us.”  And he pulled Emma onto his hips.

After they’d had sex under the Greenlanders head for an hour or so, Hraerik told Emma, “It’ll take a week to get a message up to York and a week for Hallveig to come down here.  Perhaps we can speed this up a bit?”

“A witch of Rouen would be quicker,” Emma agreed.

“I need Hallveig for the experiment,” Hraerik said.  “Do we have a witch here in Southampton?”

“We only have healers here,” Emma answered.  “Come on,” Hraerik prodded.  “No, really,” she protested.  “We’re Christians here.”  Hraerik looked at her and again prodded, “Come on.”  Emma sat up this time.  “I did invite that captain here in case you wanted to question him directly.  And he had his cabin boy with him.”

“And just how old is his cabin girl?”

“She’s about two years too young.”

“She’s only ten?  And she can preserve a head already?  She’s good!”

“That’s what the captain said.”

“Can you send for them?”

“They’re right here in the palace.  I gave them a guest suite.  They make a cute couple.”

Emma and Hraerik dined that evening with the cute couple and the girl was cute and blonde and the captain was about thirty and handsome and blonder.  They had been told that the young girl’s talents would be needed for a séance later so she came with her wand and magics kit and he carried her witch’s outfit for her.  After their meal in the highseat hall, they retired to Emma’s master suite and Witch Nadege undressed and stood naked in front of them as Captain Hugh shook out her dress for her.  The girl saw the head box on the headboard of the bed and said, “Will it be involved?” and she walked over to the headboard and reached for it but was too short.  Hraerik followed behind her and brushed against her side as he took the box off the top and passed it to her.  “I think you knew it would be,” he answered, and he noticed she had quivered as he brushed against her.

“I think she came when you brushed her,” Emma whispered as he rejoined her and she gave him a little shot on the arm.

“I hope she can handle this,” Hraerik responded.

The girl was busy working on the head.  She took it out of the box and placed it on a silver platter and she was carving a rune stick to put under its tongue and her captain helped with the carving as she got dressed in her witch outfit.  Hraerik drank his antidote and Emma put hers on her lips and they measured out the correct amount of Zombie drug into two vials.  The drug doses sat on a bed table and the witch brought the head over to it and set it down beside the vials as both Emma and Hraerik got naked beside her.  They both sucked back the drug and got on the bed and Emma shook Hraerik’s lingam until it was big and hard and they started focking missionary style on the silk sheet.  Witch Nadege turned the head a bit so it could watch better and she put the rune stick under its tongue and its bright green eyes blinked open.

Hraerik was thrusting into Emma hard and fast by now and, as they were coming, their spirits left their bodies and they were flying now in the dusky English air and they flew past London on their starboard and then over Northampton on their port side and were soon above York, and their bodies were back in Southampton in a state of orgasm the whole time, if time, indeed, was passing.  They circled above Castle York, where the Hraes’ store sat, and they entered Witch Hallveig’s master suite through a shuttered window and it flew open and slammed shut behind them so hard that Jarl Eirik almost had a heart attack as he was focking the witch, but Hallveig sensed who it was because she’d thrown a fine fock or two into Prince Hraerik after the Battle of Assandun and she got out from under the Jarl and she walked across the room and Hraerik could see that she was still Irpa blessed because her naked skin was like silvered metal and her body was perfect.

Witch Hallveig opened up a fine crafted box on her sideboard and in it was Thurkil Nefia’s head, Olaf Tryggvason’s brother, and she put a rune stick under its tongue and she listened to it talk.  Jarl Eirik stood right behind her, naked as a hatchling, and he watched in excitement.  If there were talking heads involved, he was in.  “Prince Hraerik wants us to come to Southampton for some witchcraft,” Hallveig told her jarl, “as quickly as possible.”

“Does it involve talking heads?” Jarl Eirik asked her.  She stood up and turned to face him and she rubbed her perfect metalled body against his and Hraerik and Emma watched the jarl grow hard again and Hallveig whispered, “Yeeesss!”

“We’ll leave tomorrow!” the jarl said.  “If there’s talking heads involved, I’m in!”

Hallveig turned around again and bent over and whispered a reply to Thurkil’s head as the jarl entered her from behind and began thrusting in and out of her.  Emma and Hraerik watched from above as the jarl ploughed the perfect witch a long furrow, totally oblivious to the fact that they, themselves, were coming while focking in Southampton.  As they were still focking hard in their bed, the young girl whispered a request into one ear of the head and then listened to the Greenlander mumble some words and she told her captain, “I think he said they’ll be leaving York tomorrow!”  They heard a noise coming from the bed and they both watched as Hraerik began franticly focking Emma, who had just died, and he soon exploded inside her and then he died, himself, and collapsed on top of her.  A minute later Emma came back to life and she kissed Hraerik on the lips and she kept kissing him until he sprang back to life.  Then they hugged each other deeply.

“They were focking hard like that for over an hour,” Captain Hugh told Witch Nadege.  “I know,” she said, looking down at the upturned toes of her shoes with little silver bells hanging from the tips.  She felt flushed.

“What did Witch Hallveig say?” Queen Emma asked, getting out of bed and walking over to them naked.  “They’re leaving York tomorrow and should be here in a week,” the young girl told her queen.  Emma sat down at a chair and took up a glass of wine from the bed table and began drinking it thirstily.  The girl took off her witch’s outfit and passed it to her captain.  Emma passed the girl a glass of wine and waved towards Hraerik.  As the young naked girl took the Prince his wine, Emma passed another glass of wine to the captain.  Hraerik was laying naked on the far side of the bed, so Nadege had to crawl up on the bed to pass the glass to him and he caught her about the wrist with one hand and took the glass with the other and sipped as he drew her towards himself and he put the glass on the headboard and he began to kiss her all over her young body as the head on the night table watched and then he pulled the girl across his hips and she mounted him slowly because he had grown quite large and she began to ride him as Emma and the captain sat and sipped wine and watched.  Emma thought of Brother Thomas back in Rouen and she wished for a second that he had raped her properly, not just anally, in that stable in Rouen and she looked over at the captain and she could see through his pants that he had grown hard watching his ‘cabin boy’ having sex with his prince, so she got up and walked over to him and she unbuttoned his pants and took out his lingam and sucked it to wet it and then she sat facing him on his lap and she took him in herself anally and she began to ride him.  ‘Hraerik’s right,’ she thought as she rode her captain, ‘the Guild’s Elixir of Life drug does make you randy as hell!’

A week later, Jarl Eirik and Witch Hallveig arrived in Southampton from York and they brought a guest along.  Queen Emma and Prince Hraerik were on the main quay to greet them and when shown the guest they responded in unison, “You brought King Sweyn’s head?”

“He was stirring,” Hallveig said, “and making noises inside his box.  I thought he might have been upset because you had me awaken Jarl Thurkil instead of him, but that wasn’t it.”

“What is it then?” the two said in unison again.

“I don’t know,” the witch replied.  “But something’s up, so we brought him along.”

That evening, they took Eirik and Hallveig to their master suite and introduced them to the young apprentice witch, Nadege, and her captain.  Nadege marvelled at the richly crafted oak and walnut box they brought and she was told it held King Sweyn.  “I put preliminary spells on this Greenlander’s head,” the app-witch began, “back in the Newfoundland and our head coven witch finished the spells in Rouen, but, outside of the message, we haven’t done a thing with it.”

“And sending the message tete-a-tete, is that a witch of Rouen thing?” Hallveig asked the girl.  “I’ve never seen it done before!”

“No ma’am,” the girl said, bowing slightly.  “That was the Prince’s idea.”

Hallveig looked over to Hraerik, impressed.  “Did I fock a bit of warlock into you after Assandun?”

“We used an Alchemist Guild drug,” Hraerik answered, pulling Emma close to his side.  “It’s guild science, not witchcraft.”

“You focked her?” Emma whispered.

“Guild science!” Hallveig said with contempt as she looked at the Greenlander’s head sitting in its plain box on the bed table.  Jarl Eirik set King Sweyn’s head down beside it.

“You saw her body in York,” Hraerik whispered.  “Wouldn’t you?”

Hallveig bent over to study the rune stick that sat beside the head in the box.

Emma remembered York and Jarl Eirik driving his member into that bent over ass before her and whispered back, “I want to fock it now!”

Witch Hallveig straightened up and told the girl, “You did a fine job.”

Captain Hugh poured out some fine Frankish sparkling wine and passed glasses around to everybody except the girl.  They gathered chairs about the bed table as though to start a seance and Hallveig took the rune stick out of the Greenlanders box and began to carve a few new runes into it, sipping wine between cuts.  She heard a slight noise and she opened King Sweyn’s box as well.  “He stirs,” she said, but no one could see his head move.  They all crowded their chairs around the one side of the round table, the open box side, and they watched as Hallveig put the rune stick under the thick tongue of the Greenlander.  “Sit beside me,” the witch told the wee app-witch, and Nadege slid her chair nearer and the two witches worked elbow to elbow.  They whispered incantations together and they said spells and they called on the spirit of the Greenlander and his green eyes blinked open suddenly, and Emma started back and spilt some wine and Hraerik put his arm around her.  “His name is Thorbjorn Ketilson,” Hallveig announced.  “What is it you wish to ask?”

“Have him tell us of the new route the Greenlanders have found into the Newfoundland.”

Hallveig whispered the request into the ear of the head and the girl listened intently to the unintelligible words she used.  She was speaking in tongues and the head was soon answering in kind.  “He does not wish to tell us,” Hallveig said.

“Can you compel him?” Emma asked.

“I can, but that will take time and it could be a lot of time.”

“Offer him the girl,” Hraerik said.

“What?” Hallveig asked.

“Offer him sex with Nadege,” the Prince repeated.

“How am I going…?” and Hallveig turned to the head and offered it sex with the girl.  The head mumbled a response and the app-witch translated it.  “He wants the sex first,” she said.  “Are you willing?” the Prince asked.  “I don’t know how to go about it,” she replied.

“Trust me,” Hraerik whispered and he could feel Emma squeezing his hand.

Nadege mumbled her own response into the head’s other ear as Hallveig monitored her tongue-speak.  “He agrees!” the young witch told everybody.

Everybody was impressed with this but then wondered how it was to be done.

“You saw us last week,” Hraerik told the young witch and her captain, “when we had sex to send that message.  Now it’s your turn, and you are going to love it!”

The Prince showed Hallveig the new Alchemist Zombie drug and the antidote and he began to explain its use.

“That’s not new,” Hallveig said.  “It’s African and it’s Magi.  Jesus, the Christian’s prophet used it to raise Lazarus from the dead.”

“Exactly,” Hraerik agreed, “and he used it to raise himself from the dead, but that use is purely physical, known only to a few healers and high witches, but known.  The Alchemist use of the drug is a new spiritual science being used by the Cosmologists of India.”

Hallveig was impressed.  “You sent your message through spirits?”

“We were the spirits,” Hraerik said, hugging Emma beside him.  “We carried the message to York, from the Greenlander, Thorbjorn, to Thurkil.  We watched Eirik plough you from behind as you were talking to Thurkil’s head!”

Hallveig looked at Jarl Eirik and he looked at her and they were both very impressed.  Just then a messenger came in with a request for Jarl Eirik at the Viking fortress on Wight and he had to leave unexpectedly.  Hraerik went on with his explanation of the drug and Emma mixed up the antidotal lip gloss as Hraerik gave Hugh a dose of antidote with his wine.  Hraerik pored measures of the Zombie drug into vials as the witch and her captain doffed their clothes.  He gave one vial to Nadege and she sucked it down and they waited five minutes, watching Emma’s waterclock drip on the sideboard, and then Hugh sucked back his and they went to the bed and Hugh laid back and the girl sucked him hard and got him wet before straddling his hips and lowering herself onto him.  She began her slow rhythmic ride and dead eyes watched, both green and blue, and Hraerik walked over to his grandson’s head and he closed the box saying, “Your turn comes later.”

The couple were focking hard by now and picking up speed and were coming when Witch Hallveig watched the spirit of the dead Greenlander rise out of the box and flow across the room and into the handsome captain, who was now on top of the app-witch and driving her fiercely.  Only Hallveig could see the spirit, but Hraerik could sense it.  The spirit was now inside the coming captain and the young witch was writhing orgasmically below them.  The others turned their chairs about and watched them focking and they drank wine and Emma brought out Khazar Vayar and English wafers and they enjoyed themselves and were necromancing voyeurs for an hour.  Then the young app-witch died.  Her captain sped up his thrusts and they could see the girl was bleeding a bit and Hraerik, concerned, got up and stood at the head of the bed.  But the captain soon exploded inside her and the spirit with him and then Hugh died and collapsed on top of her and Hraerik held the captain’s weight off of the girl a bit as the spirit left his body and Hallveig saw it return into the head as she helped revive the girl, who began kissing her captain fiercely until he, too, awoke.  The two lovers fell into each other’s arms and then blissfully fell asleep and Hraerik covered their naked bodies in silks and he returned to his chair beside Emma.  She held his hand and squeezed it because she knew the bliss the witch and her captain were in right then.

“Now ask the head again,” Hraerik told Hallveig.  The old witch who looked young in her silver metalled beauty sat in awe of the even older Prince who looked young too, though not of silvered skin, but of golden spirit, and she fell in love with him just as she had loved Sweyn.  “Tell us now of the new route your Greenlanders have found into the Newfoundland.”

She listened to the mumbling of Thorbjorn, while she opened Sweyn’s fine box, and then she told Hraerik and Emma, “They’ve found a route straight west from Greenland to an inland bay that is larger than the Baltic Sea, and they take one of the rivers that flows into it and they sail a bit west and then straight south to a portage they’ve made to your Mis Sis Sippi River.  One great bay to the west and one great river straight south and they portage directly into your river that flows through the valley of the mound builders.  It’s surprisingly quick once you’ve got the route down.  He thanks the girl.”

“Ask him quick, before he leaves, what is death?”

Hallveig had asked spirits that before, and they never answered, but she asked the Greenlander the question anyway.

“It is just blackness,” the head mumbled in tongues.  “A vast Ginungagap of nothingness.  I shall relish my time with your girl my whole death.”  Hallveig translated.

“Tell him to go back,” Hraerik said.  “Go back through his death and to his life.  There he’ll find his consciousness and a path to eternity and the universe.”

Hallveig told Thorbjorn this and the head said it would try and then the green eyes closed.  The witch closed his box and she looked at Hraerik in disbelief.  “They’ve never answered me,” she told him.  “The spirits have never told anybody about death.  Why would he tell you that?”

“Perhaps because I know the answer already?” Hraerik replied questioningly.

“This has been quite the night!” Hallveig said.  She had never seen so much new witchcraft, or science, in her long life.

“By the way,” Hraerik told her, “we are just getting started.”

By now the young witch had awakened and she came over and stood naked beside Emma.  The queen put a red shawl around the girl’s shoulders that would have covered her breasts if she’d had any, and her captain came over from the bed and sat down naked and took Nadege onto his lap and they listened as Hraerik told them what had happened to Prince Mstislav in Tmutorokan.

“The Greenlander is a cooperative spirit,” Prince Hraerik started, “and when he entered your body, Hugh, to have sex with Nadege, the drug allowed you to share her together in a mutually beneficial way, and when you died, he returned to his own head.  The spirit of Iry Dada is an intrusive one with half a mind of its own.  Only half the spirit returned to its head and the other half stayed hidden within Prince Mstislav, so, his Aesir witch wife now calls him Mstiry Dada, and Mstislav wants the half spirit removed, so , we are going to experiment and find a spell that will accomplish this.  Witch Hallveig is going to ask King Sweyn if he will join us in this.”

The Prince wanted to keep his growing list of potential uses for the drug to himself so, he kept a lot of the details private and he mulled them over as the witch, Hallveig, spoke in tongues with Sweyn.  “He agrees to it,” the witch said when she was done.  Then  Hallveig went through several scenarios with the wee witch, Nadege, and Hraerik took his antidote and showed Hugh what he had to do, and Emma got her lip gloss on and began getting naked, and Hallveig and Hraerik were right behind her and they all got together upon the bed.  The Prince wanted to extend and enhance the effects of the poison so, he took a half dose to start with and Emma then took her full dose, while the Young witch worked her spell upon King Sweyn’s head and his spirit flew up across the room and entered Hraerik.  The Prince could feel the pent up lust within Sweyn for Emma, and Hraerik was already hard and ready for her, but he let her suck on his lingam to get it harder yet, and wet.  Emma wanted it well wetted, for she could see Sweyn’s fire in Hraerik’s eyes.  Hraerik let Sweyn take over and he marvelled at how he was sharing Emma with the spirit of his dead grandson, a woman they both loved very deeply, in very similar, yet very different ways.  Emma worried that the gift of Irpa that Sweyn had been blessed with might carry over to Hraerik now that they were thus combined, and Hallveig rested her silver metalled perfect body and watched as Hraerik entered her queen.  Emma’s worries were justified as she felt Hraerik’s lingam swelling large within her as it stroked in and out and Emma knew it was Irpa’s gift and she was glad she had worked on the Prince.  Hraerik and Emma were soon coming together and they focked hard for an hour and Sweyn was controlling the pleasuring as Hraerik worked at methods to evict the spirit mentally and, when that failed, the young app-witch worked with Hallveig on spells that might drive him out, but Hallveig was getting worked up watching them and she knew her goddess Irpa was involved and she was soon laying back and pleasuring herself beside Emma and getting Nadege to help out with the masturbation and then Emma died and Hraerik took over from Sweyn and frantically began focking her hard and fast until both Hraerik and Sweyn exploded within her and they flowed until they filled her and their thrusts pumped their flow out of her and it pooled on the silk sheets between her legs and the Hraerik collapsed dead on top of her and Sweyn left his body and flew about the room and the young witch helped revive Emma and then Emma began kissing Hraerik with her glossed lips until he came back to life.

Hallveig was a sexual panther by now and she prowled across the bedsheets and she began lapping up the flow that had spilled out of Emma on the silk and she could taste Hraerik and Sweyn and traces of Emma and as soon as Hraerik was revived and recovering, she sucked back her poison.  Hraerik had to rush and take his second dose of antidote  and he waited a bit and took his second half dose of poison and then Hallveig was on him like a silver sheened cat and she was between his legs sucking him hard as he laid back and let Sweyn take over and Hallveig could taste Emma on his cock and she got hotter and got atop him and ran his hard shaft deep within herself and as she rose and fell she felt the Irpa coming out in them and she took it all fiercely and Sweyn responded with the thrusts of a man long dead and well rested and he savoured her sensations and the two of them focked like wild cats for half an hour and Hraerik tasted blood and discovered it was his own as Sweyn and Hallveig scratched and clawed at each other while getting into positions that the Kama Sutra would have baulked at.  Hraerik had to ease back into control and get Nadege to try some more spells to drive Sweyn out, but he saw the young witch laying on the bed with her captain inside her and they were focking on the other side of Emma as she recovered.  The young witch looked across at Hraerik apologetically as the captain ploughed a furrow and the girl began moaning like the young girl she was and the captain was soon flowing inside her and when he was done she pushed him off her and began chanting spells into Hraerik’s ear.

None of the spells and charms were working and, as the young witch squatted over the resting Emma, her white flow began leaking out upon the queen and she began lapping it up and she followed the stream and began lapping the young witch’s clitoris and licking up the flow and the witch became distracted and coming as she tried out her spells.  And while Emma was lapping the wee witch, her captain had swung about and was now lapping at Emma’s clitoris and she was soon moaning too.  The experiment was getting out of control as if the sex drug had hallucinogenic powers as well, but nobody was hallucinating.  The ecstasy was real.  And while Hraerik was observing all this, Sweyn and Hallveig had gotten back into stride and were focking harder than ever and were both coming together and Hraerik was drawn into the ecstasy as well and he got atop Hallveig’s soft metalled frame and did some thrusting of his own and her body was perfect in both fit and form and Hraerik and Sweyn both went wild on her and she died.  They both thrust into her harder and faster and they exploded within her and flowed and flowed and the queen and young witch put some silks beneath Hallveig to catch the overflow because they sensed that she would want it, and then Hraerik fell dead upon her metalled breasts and they grew soft and pliable where his face touched them, but hard everywhere else.  Hallveig came back to life as the flow flowed inside her body and she took over for Emma, who was kissing Hraerik back to life and Hallveig applied her lip gloss to the Prince as well.  Emma pointed her over to the silk with the white pool upon it and the silver witch crawled over top it and began lapping it up while Emma resumed kissing Hraerik.  When Sweyn’s spirit left his body, Hallveig looked up from her drink and watched her king return to his head and she panicked a bit and went over to help Emma revive the Prince.

When Hraerik opened his eyes, Emma was above him kissing him and the captain and his young witch were going at it again and Hallveig was lapping at the crouching queen from behind and he could tell she was enjoying it.  Once Emma was sure Hraerik was recovering well, she gave him a sorry look and dove around at Hallveig and began kissing her clitoris and the two older women were pleasuring each other as the young witch and her captain were coming together once more.  The Prince laid back and rested and watched it all about him and he thought about how orgies were a Vanir Roman thing and they were all Aesir or worse and he wondered if the Brahman use of it as a sex drug was new or just an ancient use rediscovered.  Archives in Constantinople could perhaps tell him more and he made a mental note to personally take a shipment of Indian untouchables to the Romans in that city during the next trading cycle.  Hraerik got out of bed and took a long piss in the chamber pot of the dressing room and when the others had finished with their trysts he had glasses of wine for them.  They were all in a euphoric state and they cuddled together on the huge bed in great intimacy and soon fell asleep under the sheets.

The next morning they had breakfast brought to the master suite and they all sat about the bed table in various states of nakedness and ate and discussed their experiences with the experiment.  It was a general conclusion that things had gotten out of control and it was agreed that the Zombie drug had some unexpected attributes while being used as a sex drug.  But the attributes were not insurmountable and everybody agreed that further experimentation should be done to gather further data.  Jarl Eirik suggested that they rest up for one evening and get back at it the next while their experiences were fresh in their minds.  “We’ll have to consult with King Sweyn,” Witch Hallveig stated and they all turned and looked up at his box upon the headboard.  Then Hraerik looked at the scratches upon his arms and chest and was thankful for a night alone with Emma between sessions.

Jarl Eirik returned at noon from the Viking fortress and told Prince Hraerik that pirate ships had been spotted in the Channel to the west, Al-Andalus or Berber slavers, and that a town had gone missing in Cornwallis.

“What do you mean, a town?” Hraerik asked.

“The houses are there, the church and the store, but the people are missing, all of them, and all of their stuff.  It’s like King Sweyn’s raids, but Sweyn would follow Roman law when he sacked a town and he only took half of the residents, and he allowed three days for ransoming relatives.  These pirates are just kidnapping a town at a time.”

“King Canute was worried that something like this might happen,” Hraerik said.  “His ships have driven off all Viking slavers and they kept the Mediterranean slavers away.  That’s why he had all his ships stationed in Wight.”

“I sent a war fleet out after them,” Eirik said.  “I’ll lead another fleet after them when we’ve finished this talking heads business.  Sorry I was called away last night…how did it go?”

The Prince told him what had transpired and that it had gotten a bit out of control.  Hraerik also told him that they had decided to take a night’s break away from it and would resume the next evening.

“I was hoping it would carry on tonight,” Eirik said.

“Because of the pirates?”

“No.  Because I’m excited about this talking head stuff.  I can’t believe that you and Emma came to York carrying a message for us!”

“In spirit form only,” Hraerik reminded him.

“Still, we got the message loud and clear!” the Jarl exclaimed, and Hraerik could see by his eyes how the heads excited him.  “How was Sweyn?” he asked.

“He was randy as fock!” Hraerik said.  “He took over from me when we were focking Emma, and he went crazy focking Hallveig!  They both went crazy!” and Hraerik showed Eirik his arms.

“They did that?”

“Yeah, and Sweyn didn’t care because he was a spirit inside my body, and Hallveig has the metal skin that goes all soft and supple when you touch it, but try to scratch it and it’s like steel!  I need the night off just to recover.”

“So,” Eirik started slowly, “if Sweyn wants me it’ll be with your body?”

“Why would Sweyn want you?”

“Witch Hallveig made us Theban Band brothers.”

“THE Theban Band?  As in Thebes?  Aesir Greece?”

“Something like that,” Jarl Eirik said, a little embarrassed.

“Why would she do that?”

“Sweyn said it was to bind us together so we could win the Battle of Hjorungavagr, but later he suspected that Hallveig did it just to be bad,” and the jarl looked down at the table.

“It may have been to win,” Hraerik reassured him.  “Princess Blaeja, her spirit, told me just how close you guys came to losing that battle.  If you were bound by the oath of the Theban Band brothers, it might have made the difference.”

Jarl Eirik looked up brightly from the table, “Really?”

“The Theban Band fought miracles back in ancient times, until they were finally wiped out.  To the last man.  Like the Aesir Spartans at Thermopylae.  With an oath like that, you two would have brought a lot of hamingja into battle with you.”

“Hallveig bringing Thorgerder Helgibruder and then going full Irpa is what really helped us win that battle.  I don’t know why she couldn’t do it at Assandun,” Eirik pondered, “but if you hadn’t shown up with your legions we would have been toast!”

“I saw Thorgerder’s clouds heading straight for you.  Maybe she saw me coming up the river and didn’t want to steal my thunder?”

“That could be,” Eirik said.  “Helgi was your son, and she loved him, so, she wouldn’t want to step on your toes, no matter what Hallveig said or did.”

“Don’t tell Hallveig that,” Hraerik said.  “She focked me that night for saving her ass.  If she found out that Thorgerder turned away because of me, she might want that fock back.”

Jarl Eirik laughed, “How the fock’s she gonna get that fock back?”

“I don’t know, Eirik,” Hraerik said, “and I don’t want to find out!”

That night, Hraerik and Emma were in bed in her master suite cuddling and kissing, but they had both agreed to abstain from sex during their break.  Emma had Hallveig take all the heads into her suite so they weren’t bothered by noisy boxes and such, but there was something about the Greenlander that bothered Emma.  “What are we going to do about Greenlanders coming into our Newfoundland?” she asked her husband.

“Captain Hugh wants to set a trap for them,” Hraerik answered.  “We’ll arrest them and bring them back to England for trial as raiders and we’ll allow King Olaf to ransom them if Olaf promises to restrict Greenlanders from trading in the Newfoundland, except for their traditional area north of New Ireland.  If we find them inland again, we’ll ban them from trading in their traditional land as well.  What do you think of that tack?”

“It sounds like a good plan for us, but a bad outcome for the Greenlanders,” Emma said.  “There is something about that Greenlander spirit that seems a little too accommodating.”

“In what way?”

“Well, he told you about death, and Hallveig was surprised because spirits don’t do that, and he gave us their route inland just for sex with Hallveig’s apprentice witch.  He was okay with entering Captain Hugh’s body to fock Nadege, but it was the captain that took his head.  Why wouldn’t he have asked to use your body instead?”

“Well, the captain’s younger than I am, so, perhaps he was judging by age?  And he described death as just blackness, so sex with Nadege would look like a pretty good offer for someone coming out of months on end of blackness, and he told me about the blackness because he’s telling me nothing, of nothingness.”

“But nothingness is a lot!  He died by the sword.  Wouldn’t he be in Valhalla if it existed?”

“Greenlanders converted to Christianity over twenty years ago.”

“Well, heaven then!  Wouldn’t he be in heaven?”

“I don’t know.  You’re the Christian here.  You tell me.”

“Then, yes.  He’d be talking about heaven or hell or purgatory, but certainly not blackness!  He told you it’s all a fraud!”

“I used to think it was all a fraud,” Hraerik told her, “but I’ve seen too much to believe that anymore.  Just look at Hallveig!  She has skin of silvered metal!  Thorbjorn just has to find his way, find his consciousness.”

“I still don’t trust him,” Emma warned, as Hraerik began massaging her breasts through the silk sheets.

“I’d rather fock than talk,” he whispered.

“You’re lucky your drug makes me randy,” she whispered back and she slipped the silks out from under his hands.

The next evening the group joined Hraerik and Emma in her master suite and Jarl Eirik was not called away this time.  Witch Hallveig asked King Sweyn if he wanted to help with the experiment again, speaking in tongues.  “He agrees again,” the witch said, then went through several scenarios with the wee witch, Nadege, and Hraerik took his antidote and showed Hugh and Eirik what they had to do, and Emma got her lip gloss on and began getting naked.  It had been decided that Witch Hallveig would sit out and run the experiment and keep it under control.  Hraerik undressed and joined Emma on the bed and he took a half dose of poison again and Emma then took her full dose, while the Young witch worked her spell upon King Sweyn’s head and his spirit flew up across the room and entered Hraerik.  The Prince once more felt the pent up lust within Sweyn for Emma, and she could see Sweyn’s fire in his eyes.  Hraerik let Sweyn take over again, as Hallveig monitored the possession.  Emma felt Hraerik’s hardness within her and the three were soon coming together and they took pleasure in each other for an hour and Sweyn was enjoying it as Hraerik worked again at methods to evict the spirit mentally while Hallveig cast spells to drive him out.  Witch Hallveig had used all her Aesir spells the prior evening so she went through her archives and was working on Vanir spells.  Witch Nadege stood by to help out if needed and Jarl Eirik and the captain stood by as well, but the captain got excited watching and he soon had the young witch naked on the bed and was focking her beside Hraerik and Emma.  When Emma died, Hraerik took over and frantically began focking her hard and fast until they exploded within her and then Hraerik collapsed dead on top of her and Sweyn left his body and flew about the room and the young witch was supposed to help revive Emma, but she was busy with her captain, so Hallveig stepped in and revived her, then Emma began kissing Hraerik with her glossed lips until he came back to life.

Hallveig watched her apprentice witch in the throes of orgasm as she covered for her and she was not pleased.  Nadege apologised and returned to her duties soon after.  Hraerik took his second dose of antidote and he waited a bit and took his second half dose of poison and then Eirik joined him on the bed and began sucking on his lingam.  Hraerik let Sweyn take over and Sweyn began taking Eirik from behind and he grabbed him by the hips and entered him and began thrusting slow and deep and soon all three of them were in a state of orgasm for the longest time.  Once more, the captain got on the bed with Witch Nadege and he began focking her wildly.  Nadege tried pushing him off but she was a young girl with a full grown man on top of her.  As Captain Hugh was having his way with her, Witch Hallveig stopped her spell and watched them carefully and waved back Queen Emma when she tried to stop them.

“Go to my room and get the Greenlander’s head box!” Hallveig hissed at Emma.  By then, Eirik was taking Sweyn from behind and Hraerik thought that things were once more getting out of control.  Hallveig began casting a Vanir spell on the captain, a spell she had found in a book she was compiling in York with the help of Welsh witches from north Wales.  They were old Roman Vanir spells from before the flight, but no recent witches understood what they were for.  Hallveig flipped her manuscript open and began to read the elaborate Latin script and it started to make some sense to her.  Sweyn and Eirik were in deep embrace so she went over to the captain’s side of the bed and began reading over him as he was focking the young app-witch fiercely.  She was just completing the spell when Emma rushed in with the head box and Hallveig shouted, “Open it!”, and then started beating the captain on his bare back and buttocks until the half spirit of the Greenlander left the captain’s body and rose up into the air above and then was drawn straight into the head in the open box Emma was holding.  “Close it!” Hallveig shouted, but Emma already had it shut.

“I knew there was something off about that Greenlander” Emma said, passing the head box over to Hallveig while watching her husband thrashing around having sex with Jarl Eirik.

“It’s King Sweyn,” Hallveig told her.  “He’s been in control for the past hour.  It will be over soon.”

And Hraerik and Sweyn soon came hard within Eirik and Hraerik collapsed dead on top of his back and Eirik lowered himself onto the bed and Sweyn left his body and returned to his head and Hallveig watched closely to make sure it was his full spirit.  Emma rolled Hraerik off Eirik’s back and she began kissing her husband long and hard until he revived with a start and opened his eyes.  The captain and Nadege were at the bed table and they were both drinking wine and trying to recover from their experience with the Greenlander.  Soon, they were all at the table drinking and enjoying themselves and this progressed to the bed.

The next morning they had breakfast brought to the master suite and they all sat about the bed table in various states of nakedness and ate and discussed their experiences with the experiment.  It was a general conclusion that important things had been discovered and it was agreed that progress had been made in further uses of the Zombie drug.  But the attribute Jarl Eirik was really interested in was the messaging that could be done between heads.  Hallveig explained that they had set up a Welsh witch with rune sticks and spells and the head of Jarl Olaf and they wanted to communicate with young Jarl Haakon in York using Jarl Thurkil Nefia’s head from King Sweyn’s Viking fortress on the Isle of Wight.  Jarl Eirik wanted to stay with King Canute’s warfleet in the south over the summer and destroy the Berber pirates before they caused more damage.

In the spring, Captain Hugh led the tallships as they sailed for the Newfoundland, and Prince Hraerik and King Canute then led the great merchant fleet east while Emma continued with construction of King Sweyn’s stone castle and Jarl Eirik went to war with the Berber pirates of the Barbary Coast. 

King Canute wasn’t going all the way east, he was just going as far as Roskilde to instil his official young son, Hardeknute, as ruler there.  Prince Hraerik left his son there under the care of King Canute and Queen-Mother Gyritha and carried on east with the merchant fleet.  Canute and Gyritha carried on the tryst they’d had years before and Canute set up Jarl’s Thorkel ‘the Tall’, whom he had exiled to Denmark, and Ulf Thorgilsson of Skane, whom he had given his daughter Estrid in marriage, as Hardeknute’s advisors.  When Canute wore out Gyritha, he returned to his Aelfgifu in England.

When Prince Hraerik arrived in Kiev, he learned that Prince Ivaraslav had called Prince Mstislav ‘the Fierce’, Mstislav ‘the Focked’, in public and now there was trouble between the two.  The Prince met Mstislav in Cherson and the young prince was angry and told him that he planned to attack Prince Ivaraslav after the summer trading cycle.  Hraerik tried to talk him out of it, but the young prince would not be dissuaded.

When they arrived at the Caliph’s palace in Baghdad, Hraerik asked Mstislav how his marriage with the Aran witch, Princess Nado, of the Burgalty clan was working out and Mstislav told him it was going very well and that sharing her with Iry Dada was working out as well.  Hraerik spent a week in the city, most of it again with Anise and Saffron, his trade agents there, then he left for Ashaval and Mumba met with his new Aesir wife, Nika, just in time for the birth of their daughter.  Then he had meetings with Misha’s group working on mathematics for him and he checked on their progress.

The Prince’s Indian fleet made one sailing to Baghdad and back, with Indian untouchable slaves and then a second sailing through Baghdad and on to Constantinople to sell Indian slaves there as well.  While he was in the city he stayed at the Hraes’ Red House of Constantinople and slept with some of the princesses there and he consulted with the Aesir and Vanir witches that conducted magic shows in the basement of the building.  He went through some of their Vanir spell books and he found the spell that Witch Hallveig had learned from the Welsh witches of Wales, but the coven Witch Hama didn’t know what the spell was used for.  He gave her some gold to have research done on it and then he took his Indian fleet to meet Prince Mstislav and the great merchant fleet at Cherson for the tithings.

“I’ve been working on a spell to free you of Iry Dada,” Hraerik told his young acolyte.  “We’ve found a Vanir magic spell that may work.”

“Iry Dada doesn’t bother me,” Mstislav told him.  “I have better sex with Princess Nado when we share her.”

“It’s not good to have a spirit inside you.  It could take control of you.”

“Iry Dada is a warrior and I’m going to war with Ivaraslav.  Perhaps he will be helpful inside me.”

“You should work things out with your brother.”

“He can’t unsay what he said!” Mstislav said.  “Tell him, I’m coming at him!”

When Prince Hraerik took the great fleet through Kiev, he stopped in and gave Prince Ivaraslav the message from Mstislav.

“Did you try to talk him out of attacking me?” Ivaraslav asked.

“Till I was blue in the tooth,” Hraerik told him.

“I don’t want to fight with my brothers,” the young prince said.  “I’ll send him gifts.”

“Let’s hope that works,” Hraerik offered, but he knew it was unlikely.

Hraerik spent some time with young Prince Hardeknute in Roskilde, and while he was there a merchant ship arrived with news that Kiev was under siege by Prince Mstislav of Tmutorokan and his legions and Kasogian horsemen and Khazar troops and Huns.  When he got back to Queen Emma in Southampton he told her how their son was doing and she told him how well Captain Hugh had done.  The trading in the Newfoundland had gone well and they’d replenished all the Hraes’ trading posts there and had collected vast quantities of fine fur pelts, some known, but most unknown to the old world.  And they had set their trap for the Greenlanders and had killed a few, but had captured many.  They had two dozen Greenland traders to ransom back to King Olaf of Norway, who controlled Iceland and Greenland trade.  King Canute had already sent messengers to Lade with an offer to exchange the prisoners for assurances that they would cease inland trade and stick to their northern coastal trade zone.

“King Canute also spent the summer in London,” she told him, “digging up the body of Saint Alphege and returning it to Canterbury to reward young Earl Godwin for his success in Poland.  Bishop Alphege was from Godwin’s hometown and he wanted the saint buried there to spite London as much as anything, I suspect.”

Queen Emma was showing her Prince the progress being made on King Sweyn’s castle when they saw Jarl Eirik’s warfleet sailing up the Solent and into the Viking harbour.  They had won a great victory over the Berber pirates south of Ireland and had destroyed most of the fleet but had lost a number of ships to the Arab version of Greek fire flung by catapults.  But the catapults were no match for the gravity trebuchets of the legion transport warships, both in range and firing velocity.  The tonstone shot being whipped at the Arab caracks tore them apart from stem to stern.  As the ships closed in on each other and throwing distances closed, triple shots of tonstone could be hurled with each fling, and the results were catastrophic for the caracks.  Emma and Eirik had even outfitted two new tallships with deck mounted trebuchets and tween deck mounted ballistae that shot huge bolts through portholes that smashed timber below the waterlines of the caracks, causing them to take on water faster than their bilge pumps could discharge it and some were equipped to fire tonstone shot that swept decks of men and machines.  Jarl Eirik’s war with the Berber pirates had gone so well that he planned to return to York soon and would only return to Wight if fresh pirate fleets came back.

“Witch Hallveig and I plan to send a message to York that we will be on our way home soon,” Jarl Eirik told Prince Hraerik and Queen Emma.  “You’re welcome to join in on the messaging if you wish.  If not, Witch Nadege can handle it.”

“I don’t know if I would be sending such a message,” Hraerik told him.  “You’ll get there when you get there.  There’s always a danger in the use of the Zombie drug.  It’s still killing people in India.”

“Hallveig and I have been very successful sending messages,” Eirik responded.  “We haven’t had any problems.”

“Do you mind if we just observe and help Nadege if she needs it?” Emma asked.

Eirik looked over to Witch Hallveig, then said, “That’s fine with us.”

So that night Witch Nadege set up everything in Witch Hallveig’s bedroom suite in King Sweyn’s longhall of the Viking fortress and Eirik prepared a message to send to his son, Haakon, in York.  Hraerik and Emma arrived with some sparkling Frankish wine and Khavayar and sat down at the bedtable and watched Eirik and Hallveig disrobe and relax on the bed while the young witch measured out the poisons and antidotes.  The couple administered their antidotes and took their poisons and were soon copulating on the bed.  Hallveig had the body of a young goddess and her silver metalled skin quivered in the candlelight as she rode Eirik’s member.  They were focking fairly hard when they began coming and their spirits headed north to York and they were mating with increasing ferocity as the minutes passed and were soon working up a sweat and making load moans and cries as their bodies writhed about on the bed.  The young app-witch joined the couple at the bedtable and Emma commented on the excessive violence of their mating.

“They’ve been focking more fiercely every time they’ve sent a message over the summer,” Nadege replied.  “They seem to enjoy it more.”

“How often have they been sending messages?” Hraerik asked.

“Every couple of weeks.”

“That’s too often,” Hraerik protested.  “It’s far too dangerous to be used casually.”

Jarl Eirik was on top of Hallveig and they were going at it very hard and the three onlookers marvelled at the stamina of the man.  He was older, but in battle condition, used to fighting hours on end in battle ecstasy, and Hallveig used to be older, but was Irpa blessed with youth and godly strength, so their sex was a marvellous thing to watch, even taxing on the voyeurs.

“They’re usually gone longer than required for York,” the girl-witch said, “and I think they go on to Trondheim and Lade and Hell, to spy on King Olaf and visit Hallveig’s estates.”

Hraerik had just finished saying, “That’s too often and too far,” when Jarl Eirik began slowing his ploughing and they could see he was in some distress.  The young witch rushed over to the bedside and Hraerik and Emma followed, but the mating couple were both in orgasm and oblivious of their monitors and then Hallveig died.  The poison had taken effect and though in distress, Eirik began focking her vigorously and soon came within her, then collapsed on top of her and died.  Nadege helped revive Hallveig and she was soon kissing Eirik to revive him but Hallveig couldn’t get him to respond.  Nadege helped her and Hraerik joined in as well, but they could not revive the jarl.

“I think he had a heart attack,” Nadege told Hallveig and Hraerik began pounding on Eirik’s broad chest, but to no avail.  Jarl Eirik died on the bed while still inside Hallveig and Hraerik tugged and turned to dislodge him from the witch and he rolled the jarl off her and onto his back.  His lingam was still hard and overly large and had turned somewhat blue.

“He put everything he had into his last efforts to come,” Witch Hallveig said, “to ensure he revived me.”  And she kissed him lovingly.  Hraerik began pulling Jarl Eirik off the bed and Hallveig helped him, easily handling his lower legs even though the Jarl was a very heavily muscled and well-built man.  They laid the Jarl’s body on a carpet in a corner of the bedroom and then the Prince asked the witch if she was up for another trip.  “I don’t think it was a heart attack,” he told her.  “Eirik was old, but he was in fighting condition and the sex was hard, but so, too, is battle.”

“What do you think caused his death?” she asked.

“Let’s retrace his steps and find out.”

So, while they applied their antidotes, the app-witch measured out their doses of poison.  They downed them and then began a very wild ride, as they attempted to duplicate the sex that Eirik and Hallveig had practiced when the jarl died.  The Prince was much older than Eirik had been, but his youth was protected by the Alchemist drug he took, and he, too, was in fighting condition, so Queen Emma and Witch Nadege sat at the bedtable and watched the couple focking as hard as they could, and it was, Emma thought, quite magnificent and Nadege helped herself to another glass of sparkling Frankish wine.

Hraerik and Hallveig were soon in the heights of orgasm and their spirits flew out of their bodies and flew the heavens to York and they watched Jarl Haakon as he was focking the Welsh witch who had helped him take a message from his father an hour before and they passed a message to Jarl Olaf’s head that was still out and watching them, that Jarl Eirik was dead and the Welsh witch whispered it into Haakon’s ear as he was ploughing her and he stopped suddenly.  Then they flew outside of York to Hallveig’s two estates there and she showed him her two Jomsviking men that were raising their families on them, and then Hallveig led Hraerik north of York and they passed over and flew along Hadrian’s wall to the seacoast and then out across the North Sea waves up the Nor’Way until they got to Trondheim and they visited King Olaf’s great hall there and they watched Olaf ‘the Stout’ as he was feasting with his Centuriata of warriors.  Then they flew out of the king’s hall and off to Hell to visit Hallveig’s three estates there where her other Jomsvikings were living and raising large families.  When they flew back to England and went above Hadrian’s Wall again, Hraerik thought, ‘Did you always fly above this Roman wall when you sent messages?’

‘No!’ Hallveig thought in reply as they air sailed south.  ‘We’ve never gone that route before.  Perhaps Jarl Eirik was looking for something?’

‘Or trying to tell us something?’

They then flew south to London and they flew around the king’s palace and then the queen’s palace and finally flew into the Tower Of London.  Jarl Eirik had been looking to see where Gretta the Assassin was locked up, but she wasn’t there.  Eirik had flown throughout the palatial tower but could find her nowhere.  ‘Why was he looking for Gretta?’ Hraerik thought.

‘I don’t know?’ Hallveig thought.  ‘I didn’t realise he was looking for her.’

‘Well, she is gone,’ Hraerik thought, ‘and she is supposed to be securely locked up here!’

‘She’s escaped!’

‘I don’t think she’s escaped.  She’s snuck out for something.  Let’s wait for her.’

‘We can’t!  We have to return to our bodies or we will die!’

‘Join with me!’ Hraerik thought loudly and he pulled Hallveig towards himself and he entered her spirit and she saw the mental calculations he was doing and they spun forward in time several days until they saw the assassin returning to her lair and Gretta began unpacking her bag on her bed and she put her travel clothes away and undressed and went to bed.  The Prince watched her naked form through the light silk sheet and he longed for that body momentarily, remembering their nights together on his ship in Kiev and he wondered if they had shared some loving moments there while they plotted the death of Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg.  He then did some more mental mathematics and they spun back into the present and, as they flew off to Southampton, Hallveig asked him how he had done that time thing, but just as they got back, Hallveig died.  The spirit of Hallveig entered her and Hraerik entered his own body and he began focking Hallveig quite violently until he came within her and he flowed until he filled her and then he collapsed and died on top of her.  Witch Nadege helped Hallveig revive and Emma helped Hallveig kiss her husband back to life.

They all sat around the bedtable and Hraerik told them where they had gone and what had transpired.  “Why would he go to Hadrian’s Wall?” Hraerik asked Emma, but she had no idea.  “And what was Gretta doing that had peaked Jarl Eirik’s interest?”  Nobody knew the answer to that question either.  “We’ll have to ask him,” Hraerik said, and they lifted the dead jarl onto the bed.

“How are we going to do that?” Emma asked.

“I’ll get my runes,” Witch Hallveig told Hraerik.  “Do you know the Permian chants?” she asked her apprentice.  The app-witch began a series of chants as Hallveig carved her runes into a runestick and she would join in on the chants at certain points and harmonize with Nadege in a most beautiful manner.  The young witch had a young girl’s beautiful voice like the young girl she often was, and the older witch pitched in with a goddess like voice as the goddess she could sometimes be.  Soon aiding spirits circulated about the master suite and Witch Hallveig put her runestick under the tongue of her dead jarl and she waited for him to speak.  Hraerik was beside her, holding Jarl Eirik’s hand and he felt the jarl squeeze his fingers and his eyes opened as he mumbled a word at Hallveig.  Just one word and then he ceased being again.

“What did he say?” Hraerik asked the witch.

“Romans!” the witch replied.  “Or Romanous, as in Roman like?”

“Roman-like, like Hadrian’s Wall?  It still makes no sense!  And what of Gretta?”

“He wasn’t taking questions,” Hallveig said.  “He only had the one word for us, and it was a warning.”

“Fock!” Emma said, getting up and starting to pace.  “I’m Christian!  I can’t be doing this?”  Prince Hraerik put his arm about her and he comforted his queen.  Talking heads and waking the dead.  He took Emma to their master suite and he left the witches to clean up.  As Emma was in bed and trying to sleep in his arms she whispered, “You were magnificent.”

“What?” Hraerik whispered back.

“When you were focking Hallveig on the bed,” she said, “you were magnificent.”

King Canute and Princess Aelfgifu came down from Winchester to Southampton for Jarl Eirik’s arval in Queen Emma’s palace, and Prince Hraerik and all saw Witch Hallveig with her Jarl Eirik off on the main quay as they sailed back to York.  His son, Prince Haakon, was to be the new Jarl of York, King Canute had decreed, and that news and a body were what Witch Hallveig took back north with her.  All the people of York already knew their Jarl was dead even before Hallveig set out.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year read:

A.D. 1023.  This year returned King Knute to England; and

Thurkyll and he were reconciled.  He committed Denmark and his

son to the care of Thurkyll, whilst he took Thurkyll’s son with

him to England.  This year died Archbishop Wulfstan; and Elfric

succeeded him; and Archbishop Egelnoth blessed him in Canterbury.

This year King Knute in London, in St. Paul’s minster, gave full

leave (60) to Archbishop Ethelnoth, Bishop Britwine, and all

God’s servants that were with them, that they might take up from

the grave the archbishop, Saint Elphege.  And they did so, on the

sixth day before the ides of June; and the illustrious king, and

the archbishop, and the diocesan bishops, and the earls, and very

many others, both clergy and laity, carried by ship his holy

corpse over the Thames to Southwark.  And there they committed

the holy martyr to the archbishop and his companions; and they

with worthy pomp and sprightly joy carried him to Rochester.

There on the third day came the Lady Emma with her royal son

Hardacnute; and they all with much majesty, and bliss, and songs

of praise, carried the holy archbishop into Canterbury, and so

brought him gloriously into the church, on the third day before

the ides of June.  Afterwards, on the eighth day, the seventeenth

before the calends of July, Archbishop Ethelnoth, and Bishop

Elfsy, and Bishop Britwine, and all they that were with them,

lodged the holy corpse of Saint Elphege on the north side of the

altar of Christ; to the praise of God, and to the glory of the

holy archbishop, and to the everlasting salvation of all those

who there his holy body daily seek with earnest heart and all

humility.  May God Almighty have mercy on all Christian men

through the holy intercession of Elphege!

The Prince Hraerik’s New Chronicle of the Hraes’ for the year read:

(1023 AD). Prince Mstislav marched against Prince Ivaraslav with a force of

Khazars and Kasogians.