Ch. 17 THE SUMMONING OF THORGERDER HELGIBRUDER

Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert

Thorgerder Helgibruder by J. Nystrom 1895

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

THE SUMMONING OF THORGERDER HELGIBRUDER (Circa 980-986 AD)

14.      “One king we overthrew,    enthroned the other.

                        To good Guthorm                 we granted victory;

                        stern was the struggle         ere Knui was struck.

                                   Anonymous; Grottasongr, Prose Edda (Hollander)

(980)  Grand Prince Valdamar took over sole rule of the Hraes’, moving into King Frodi’s palace in Kiev with his wife, Princess Hraeguneda and his two Anglish concubines, all at various stages of pregnancy.  Like his father, Prince Sweyn, he was a staunch pagan and he set pagan idols upon the hills around King Frodi’s palace: besides the tripartite Varangian gods of Odin, Thor and Tyr, there was a wooden statue of the Slav god Perun with a head of silver and hair of gold and idols of Khors, Dazh’bog, Stribog, Simar’gl and Mokosh.

Even though still very young, Prince Valdamar was overcome by an insatiable lust for women.  He became prolific in his vice and even seduced married women and violated young girls.  He began acquiring many young concubines from Scandinavia, Angleland, Ireland and some French girls from Frankia.  He even purchased Slav girls from throughout his realm and the surrounding areas and he would sleep with them all together and have them compete for his affections and those that excelled at driving him mad with lust would receive beautiful gifts from India and Cathay and Baghdad and Constantinople.  The areas around Hraes’ that had the girls he desired most, were the lands that he attacked in order to enslave more concubines.

Princesses Svia, Serah and his mother Malfrieda all lived in Kiev with Prince Valdamar, but were unable to control his insatiable lusts.  And Princes Sweyn and Hraerik were busy wringing gold from the Nor’Way and Dan’Way trade routes for the Hraes’ Trading Company and Sweyn was building up his fleet in Norway.  Prince Sweyn also was proud of his son taking after him in the ways of war.

When King Sweyn returned to the west from Hraes’ he brought the First Kievan Legion and the Seventh Mobile Legion with him and he visited his cousin Duke Richard and they set themselves up in Rouen and from there they attacked Angleland.  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for that year read:

A.D. 980.  In this year was Ethelgar consecrated bishop, on the

sixth day before the nones of May, to the bishopric of Selsey;

and in the same year was Southampton plundered by a pirate-army,

and most of the population slain or imprisoned.  And the same

year was the Isle of Thanet overrun, and the county of Chester

was plundered by the pirate-army of the North.  In this year

Alderman Alfere fetched the body of the holy King Edward at

Wareham, and carried him with great solemnity to Shaftsbury.

Most of the population of Southampton was captured and ransom was offered and many citizens ransomed themselves while many others were enslaved and shipped off to Kiev for slave training.  The same Aesir treatment was afforded the citizens of Thanet and Chester and the three locations were each plundered for three days in the Roman fashion to which the Kievan Legions were accustomed.

(981)  Young Polish girls must have won the first round of the competition because Prince Valdamar marched against the Lyakhs of south-eastern Poland, conquering the cities of Peremyshl, Cherven and other towns there.  Following ancient Roman law, he enslaved half the people and allowed half of those to be ransomed but he kept the finest looking young females for himself and made them his concubines.

When King Sweyn returned to the west from Hraes’ he brought the Second Kievan Legion and the Eighth Mobile Legion with him and they returned to Rouen and from there they attacked Angleland.  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for that year read:

A.D. 981.  In this year was St. Petroc’s-stow plundered; and in

the same year was much harm done everywhere by the sea-coast,

both upon Devonshire and Wales.  And in the same year died

Elfstan, Bishop of Wiltshire; and his body lieth in the minster

at Abingdon; and Wulfgar then succeeded to the bishopric.  The

same year died Womare, Abbot of Ghent.

Most of the population of St. Petroc’s Stow was captured and ransom was offered and many citizens ransomed themselves while many others were enslaved and shipped off to Kiev for slave training.  The same Aesir treatment was afforded the citizens of Devonshire and Wales and the three locations were each plundered for three days in the Roman fashion to which the Kievan Legions were accustomed.

(982)  When the Vyatichians failed to make the tithe payment of a silver piece per ploughshare that Prince Sweyn had levied against them years earlier, Prince Valdamar led his legions against them and plundered the city of Murom, just as his father had done.  Again, he enslaved half the population and he kept the most beautiful young girls for his royal covey of concubines.  Because the Vyatichians had failed to make their tithe payment, Prince Valdamar began to take a regiment of troops with him to collect tithes from newly conquered territories.

When King Sweyn returned to the west from Hraes’ he brought the Third Kievan Legion and the Ninth Mobile Legion with him and they returned again to Rouen and from there they attacked Angleland.  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for that year read:

A.D. 982.  In this year came up in Dorsetshire three ships of the

pirates, and plundered in Portland.  The same year London was

burned.  In the same year also died two aldermen, Ethelmer in

Hampshire, and Edwin in Sussex.  Ethelmer’s body lieth in

Winchester, at New-minster, and Edwin’s in the minster at

Abingdon.  The same year died two abbesses in Dorsetshire;

Herelufa at Shaftsbury, and Wulfwina at Wareham.  The same year

went Otho, emperor of the Romans, into Greece; and there met he a

great army of the Saracens, who came up from the sea, and would

have proceeded forthwith to plunder the Christian folk; but the

emperor fought with them.  And there was much slaughter made on

either side, but the emperor gained the field of battle.  He was

there, however, much harassed, ere he returned thence; and as he

went homeward, his brother’s son died, who was also called Otho;

and he was the son of Leodulf Atheling.  This Leodulf was the son

of Otho the Elder and of the daughter of King Edward.

Most of the population of Portland was captured and ransom was offered and many citizens ransomed themselves while many others were enslaved and shipped off to Kiev for slave training.  The same Aesir treatment was afforded the citizens of Dorsetshire and the two locations were each plundered for three days in the Roman fashion to which the Kievan Legions were accustomed.

(983)  Prince Valdamar purchased a Yatvingian concubine and, finding her quite pleasing, decided to conquer her people so, he led a legion against them and took their city by force.  He enslaved half the population and he kept the most beautiful young girls for his royal covey of concubines.

When King Sweyn returned to the west from Hraes’ he brought the First Kievan Legion and the Seventh Mobile Legion with him and they set themselves up in Rouen and from there they attacked Ireland.  The Irish Annals entry for that year read:

A.D. 983.  In this year was Ethelgar consecrated bishop, on the

sixth day before the nones of May, to the bishopric of Selsey;

and in the same year was Cork plundered by a pirate-army,

and most of the population slain or imprisoned and the County of Cork

was plundered by the pirate-army of the North.

Most of the population of Cork was captured and ransom was offered and many citizens ransomed themselves while many others were enslaved and shipped off to Kiev for slave training.  The same Aesir treatment was afforded the citizens of the County of Cork and the two locations were each plundered for three days in the Roman fashion to which the Kievan Legions were accustomed.

(984)  Prince Valdamar happened to purchase a Radimichian concubine that he found quite pleasing, so he decided to conquer her people as well.  He was spending time with her so, he sent his general named Ulvehale, or Wolf’s Tail, with a legion against them and he met their forces by the Pishchan’ River and defeated them then took their city by force.  He enslaved half the population and the Hraes’ legionnaires joked that the Radimichians had run at the sight of a wolf’s tail.  Prince Valdamar went to the city of Homiy and he picked the most beautiful young girls for his royal covey.

When King Sweyn returned to the west from Hraes’ he brought the First Kievan Legion and the Seventh Mobile Legion with him and they set themselves up in Rouen and from there they attacked Ireland.  The Irish Annals entry for that year read:

A.D. 984.  In this year was Waterford plundered by a pirate-army,

and most of the population slain or imprisoned. 

Most of the population of Waterford was captured and ransom was offered and many citizens ransomed themselves while many others were enslaved and shipped off to Kiev for slave training.  The city was plundered for three days in the Roman fashion to which the Kievan Legions were accustomed.

(985)  A Nor’Way trader happened to be passing through Kiev and he gifted Prince Valdamar with a young Bulgar girl that he found quite pleasing.  He took a legion to conquer the Volga Bulgars but their kagan got quite upset because he had paid his tithes to Kiev and had been fully supporting the Nor’Way traders plying the Volga River so, he didn’t think the young prince had any right to attack him.  He then told young Valdamar that he would complain to Prince Sweyn about this treatment so, Prince Valdamar asked the kagan if he could purchase some more young Bulgar princesses for his royal covey and they came to terms and he made peace with the Bulgars, and they took oaths between them.  The Bulgar kagan then declared, “May peace prevail between us till stone floats and straw sinks.”  Prince Valdamar returned to Kiev with six young Bulgar beauties.

When King Sweyn returned to the west from Hraes’ he brought the First Kievan Legion and the Seventh Mobile Legion with him and they set themselves up in Rouen and from there the attacked Frisia.  The Frisian Chronicle entry for that year read:

A.D. 985.  In this year was Amsterdam plundered by a pirate-army,

and most of the population slain or imprisoned. 

Most of the population of Amsterdam was captured and ransom was offered and many citizens ransomed themselves while many others were enslaved and shipped off to Kiev for slave training.  The city was plundered for three days in the Roman fashion to which the Kievan Legions were accustomed.

(986)  In the early spring, Prince Valdamar took his favourite Lyakh concubine princess along with his new Radimichian princess with him to Peremyshl and Homiy to collect the annual tithes from their cities.  He had a regiment of mobile troops with him as they sailed upriver to the land of the Lyakhs, but Valdamar spent most of his time with the girls under the forecastle deck having sex.  It was evening when they got to Peremyshl, and Valdamar took his Lyakh princess into their prince’s longhall, but there was nobody there.  Valdamar looked around and then asked his princess, “Where can we duck into and have some quick sex?” and she took him behind the highseats and there was a space under the dais among some tapestries where they could snuggle together so they dove into the woollens and started focking.  No sooner had they started making out when some warriors entered the longhall and they came to the highseats and sat and began talking in western Slav.  Prince Valdamar and his princess were both naked and they both froze so they wouldn’t be discovered in such a compromising condition.

“The Jomsvikings of Wollin are going to attack the Jarls of Lade in a month,” one warrior began, “and there’s gold for any of our warriors who want to join in on the attack.”

“They’re mercenaries,” another warrior countered.  “Why are they attacking the jarls and who’s paying them?”

“King Harald, of course!” the first warrior answered.  “The Jarls of Lade have been hiding a Prince Sweyn Forkbeard in Trondheim Fjord and it turns out Sweyn is actually Prince Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson, King Gorm ‘the Old’ Ivarson’s long lost brother, and Harald is worried he may be after the Danish throne.”

“If he’s King Gorm’s brother, doesn’t he have precedence over Harald?”

“Who cares?  Gold is gold.”

“Gold or not,” the second warrior replied, “I don’t want to get involved in any fratricidal shit.  It sounds focked!”

“We’ll be leaving in two weeks, if you change your mind,” the first warrior said, then he walked out of the hall.  The second warrior left his highseat and went into the back of the hall to one of the bedrooms there.  Prince Valdamar and his princess got up and got dressed.  “That was our prince,” she said.  “We have to go.  He could come back out anytime,” she whispered.  They crept out of the hall.

“I want to leave right away,” Prince Valdamar told her as they left the hall.  “I don’t want anybody to know we were here.”

“I want us to take my younger sister away with us,” the princess said.  “She’s almost marrying age and I miss her.  She’s very beautiful and I think you’d really like her.”

She took Valdamar’s hand and led him to her family’s longhall and she snuck in and came back out with her little sister and Valdamar was quite pleased with what he saw in the dusk.  They went back to their ship and they left without being seen.  They rejoined their fleet on the Nieman River and Valdamar sent one ship back to Kiev with a message for his mother and he took thirty ships with him and he left for Lade.

When Prince Valdamar’s fleet entered the Baltic and sailed west towards Denmark, the prince spent most of his time below the foredeck with his three concubines.  His Lyakh princess pleaded with Valdamar to wait until her younger sister reached marrying age before he had his way with her, but he would not be put off.  Towels were put down atop the furs of the forecastle and the two older concubines performed nominal congress on their prince and, when he was ready, they helped the young girl to lower herself onto his lingam.  The girl was having difficulty with the size of the thing and she could not seem to get it up into herself, but the ship hit a wave and suddenly it was done and the blood flowed onto the towels as he slid gently into her.  She rode him a bit, but when she began to experience discomfort, her older sister took over and slid onto her prince and rode him like a seahorse.  The Radimichi princess watched and awaited her turn and when she was done they all got dressed and went above deck.

A young Hraes’ sailor was partway up the mast, peering over the yardarm and surveying the sea for pirates.  He was young and strong with extremely good vision so, he got the job as lookout.  He shouted the ‘all clear’ and clambered back down the mast.  Prince Valdamar stood at the forestem of his shieldship with his Radimichi princess under his left arm and his Lyakh princess under his right arm and his new wife stood tucked in between the prince and her older sister.  The islands of Denmark were soon approaching from the west and the lookout went back up the mast.  Now he was surveying the sea for Danish warships as they tacked north along the Sound, the channel between Skane and Zealand.  They hugged the coast of Skane and Vaster Gotland and were thankful they saw no ships of King Harald Bluetooth.  They camped on the coast of Gotland and on the next day they sailed east across the mouth of the Vik and were thankful they weren’t intercepted by the warships of the sons of King Harald Finehair.  They had a fine wind and made it to Stavanger Fjord and they stayed overnight at Berurjod as a guest of Bjork, Prince Sweyn’s Nor’Way captain.

“How many wives do you have, my prince?” Bjork asked as he offered Valdamar and his wives the master suite of his longhall.  He had acquired much wealth as a Nor’Way merchant and had purchased three concubines himself.  “About three hundred,” Prince Valdamar replied, “in Kiev, and a few more in my other cities.”

Valdamar sat on the edge of the bed while his three wives undressed him and he laid on the bed as he watched his wives undressing each other.  Then his new wife was tasked with making love to her husband without help from his other wives and she started with nominal congress to get her prince’s lingam wet and lubricated but, as it stiffened up and grew, it got too large to fit in her young mouth and she could only wet it by kissing it on the sides.  When her older sister tried to help, Valdamar waved her back.  He swung the girl around and began kissing her vagina as well and then he had her lower herself onto him and she rode him slowly for a while and when he felt she was wet enough he flipped her under himself and he thrust deeply into her and she breathed in suddenly and deeply and as he thrust she let out little grunts of pain and her sister winced every time she cried out.  Her sister then laid beside the two and she spread her legs and she put her fingers into her vagina and she began penetrating herself and moaning in orgasm until Valdamar was distracted from the girl and he slid across and entered her sister.  He thrust into her fiercely and began driving in and out of her at a lustful pace until she was in pain as well.  Then the Radimichi princess put her fingers into herself and began moaning until Valdamar was attracted to her and entered her and began thrusting wildly until he exploded within her.  They rested and snuggled under the Cathayan silks for a while and then they did it again but, this time, Valdamar wasn’t quite as large and he went off in the older sister.  And by the third time, his member fit into the girl’s mouth and he was more comfortable for her and she had her first orgasm and then he came within her as well.  They slept together very soundly and in the morning they did it all over again.

Bjork’s three concubines had heard all the noise the young lovers had been making that night and then they got to hear it again as they ate breakfast in the morning.  “Don’t look at me like that,” Bjork told them.  “It’s not going to happen.”

They had a fine wind the next day and Valdamar’s warfleet entered Trondheim Fjord by evening and they were soon docking in front of Prince Sweyn’s longhall.  Sweyn, Alfled and Aud were out on the quay and Sweyn said, “What are you doing here?”

“The Jomsvikings are coming!” Prince Valdamar replied.  “I learned of their plans to attack you and we had to rush here and warn you.”  Sweyn invited his son inside and Alfled gave him and his young wives food while Valdamar told his father what had happened just outside Peremyshl a week earlier.  “You must have sailed hard to get here so soon,” Sweyn said as they sat at a table and ate.

“My captains claimed it was all the focking going on under the foredeck that seemed to propel the fleet forward much faster,” Valdamar replied, laughing.  He remembered how they talked in Trondheim even though he was just a boy the last time he was here.  “Oh yes,” he added, “this is Princess Luvyna and her younger sister Gosia and this is Princess Izolda.  The sisters are Lyakhs and Izolda is Radimichian.”

“I heard you were allowing all your territories,” Sweyn started, “how should I put it?  Equal opportunities in impressing you with their beautiful princesses?”

“That’s a great way to put it!” Valdamar said.

They all sat and talked for a long time and then Sweyn offered his son the second floor master suite above his own.  His longhall was patterned after Jarl Haakon’s though not quite as large in overall dimensions and, like Haakon’s, the longhall had a second master suite up in the rafters above the main one.  He wasn’t going to offer him the main suite because Aud was staying over with Sweyn and Alfled to study the miniscule font of Alcuin out of the Kama Sutra in the master bedroom.  ‘Besides,’ he thought, ‘they were all young.  They could go up and down the stairs.’  Once he got his son and his wives provided for, he was going to go over to Haakon’s hall to warn them of the impending attack, but then Haakon would be wondering why he hadn’t brought Aud back with him so, he decided it could wait.  He went back into his longhall and joined Alfled and Aud who were already naked in bed and enjoying themselves with the book.

“What is that noise?” Sweyn said as he walked into the master bedroom.

“That is your son,” Alfled said, “focking the asses off of his three young wives.  They’ve been going at it steady since you closed their bedroom door.”

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to get much studying done,” Aud complained.  “Perhaps we should just have sex.”

“There’s daub dust coming off of the ceiling,” Sweyn said as he disrobed and joined the women in bed.  The bed in the room above was pounding on the ceiling.  “How about we have sex now,” Sweyn said, “and we’ll do some reading and positions once they’re done above?”  They all agreed that it was a good idea so, they had sex and were all sated by the time the pounding stopped.  So, they took out the Kama Sutra and they began reading from it and, after a page or two, the pounding started up and kept going for a long time.  They decided to put the book away and have sex again while they waited for the pounding to stop.  After another hour it finally stopped so, Sweyn took the book from the headboard and they began reading once more.  They were a few more pages into the book and the pounding started all over again.  Sweyn closed the book and they all laid back on the bed and stared up at the daub dust floating off of the ceiling.  Aud and Alfled were laying back on either side of Sweyn and they began looking at him expectantly.  “Don’t look at me like that,” Sweyn said.  “It’s not going to happen.”

“Oh, to be young again!” Alfled said.

“I think I know what they’re doing,” Aud said.  “They’ll pause soon and it’ll start again in a few seconds,” and they waited and there was a pause and it started up again.  “He’s focking each one of them and the short pause is when he’s moving on to the next wife.  Then they rest for a while and he focks all three of them all over again.”

“How long can it possibly go on for?” Alfled asked Aud, looking at her over Sweyn’s chest.  He was already asleep.

“I think this third round will be it!” Aud said, and she was right.  When the third set of pounding was over, it seemed to have stopped for the night.  But in the morning, it all started back up again.

Just before noon, Sweyn and Alfled and Aud took Valdamar and his three wives next door to visit Jarls Haakon and Eirik.  They put two tables together and they all had lunch together and Valdamar told the Jarls of the attack he and Princess Luvyna had overheard while having sex under the highseat dais in Peremyshl.  Everybody looked over at Haakon’s highseats and the low dais they sat upon, it was an instinctive reflex and then they all started laughing because they all caught each other looking.  “The attack is planned for the end of this moon,” Valdamar told the Jarls.

“And it’s the Jomsvikings?” Haakon wanted confirmed.

“Yes,” Valdamar said.  “And King Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormson is paying them gold to do it.”

“Jomsvikings!” Eirik cursed.  “They’re deadly!  They’re tougher than the Hraes’.”

“Nobody’s tougher than the Hraes’!” Sweyn and Valdamar said at the same time.

“Sorry,” Jarl Eirik backtracked.  “They’re almost as tough.  How many ships are they sending?”

“I don’t know,” Valdamar said.  “The warrior was asking the Prince of Peremyshl to join in so, my guess is all of them and then some.”

“You should kill this prince!” Jarl Eirik said.

“No!” Princesses Luvyna and Gosia said quietly.  “Our prince refused to join in with them,” Luvyna added.

“Sorry,” Jarl Eirik replied.  “Your wives are as wise as they are beautiful.”

“How many beautiful young wives do you have?” Jarl Haakon asked the young prince.  “I have one wife in Kiev,” Valdamar started, “named Hraeguneda and I have three hundred wives at my palace in Vyshgorod, another three hundred wives at my palace in Belgorod and two hundred wives in Berestovo, all around Kiev.  Princess Luvyna and her younger sister Gosia live with me in Vyshgorod and Princess Izolda lives in Berestovo.”

“That’s a lot of wives!” Jarl Eirik exclaimed.  “How do you keep them all satisfied?”

“Some are wives, some are consorts and most are concubines,” Valdamar admitted, “but they are all princesses, as they all have Princes or Jarls for fathers.  I fock my wife once a day unless she is pregnant, which is often, my consorts get it at least once a week and my concubines, at least once a month.”

“That’s still a lot of focking!” Jarl Eirik said, mentally trying to do the math.  “It would kill me!”

“It gets hard when I’m out on campaign,” Valdamar admitted.  “My wives keep track of what I owe them and I have to double up when I get back from making war.  Even just being here to warn you of the impending attack is causing all those focks back home to pile up.  I may have to take some Norwegian Jarls back home with me to help out.”  What Valdamar did not tell them about were the numerous married women of Kiev with whom he was having affairs and the large number of local young virgin girls he and his officers were deflowering in and around the city.  Something had happened when his legion conquered Chernigov and they sent all the men off to Kiev to complain while they systematically raped all the women of the city.  They had enjoyed it, and, when they took Kiev away from his brother, Ivar, they couldn’t overtly rape all the women there, so they had done it covertly and the process had never actually fully stopped.

Over the next few weeks, the Norwegians of Trondheim Fjord began putting together warship crews and Prince Sweyn trained his dromon sailors and Prince Valdamar put his Hraes’ regimental war transports through their paces.  They sent fast scout ships south to watch for the Jomsvikings so they could go south and meet them in battle somewhere well clear of their home fjord.  Jarl Haakon estimated that the Jomsvikings would have between fifty and a hundred ships and the forces in Lade were already over a hundred and fifty warships, but he knew the Jomsvikings and three hundred warships might not be enough.  He wanted divine help, assistance from the gods and he sent Jarl Eirik and Prince Sweyn to Hell to get help from the witch Hallveig, the mid-wife and healer that had helped with the birth of Sweyn’s children in Lade.

“I have to go to Hell tomorrow,” Sweyn told Alfled, as they disrobed each other for bed.  “Jarl Haakon wants some witchcraft done to protect us in our upcoming battle.  Jarl Eirik and I will be spending the night in Hell, while the witch has her chantreusses doing chants all night long.  She has to contact the spirit of a long dead Valkyrie named Thorgerder Helgibruder, a famous shieldmaiden of Halogaland.  She fell in battle while fighting alongside the shieldmaiden Stikla at the Battle of Stiklastad.  Apparently this ghost has helped Haakon win battles before.”

“Take me with you!” Alfled pleaded.  “The pounding never stops!  It’s…unnatural!  Aud won’t even come over to study with us anymore.”  So much daub dust had fallen from the ceiling of the master bedroom that Alfled had moved their bed into one of the side bedrooms down the hall, but the nightly pounding emanated down the hall as well.

“While I’m gone, have the slaves move our bed one more room down,” Sweyn said.  “I was wondering why Aud had stopped our studies.  I miss her anus,” Sweyn added as he thrust his way into Alfled.

Hell was a small village just south of the town of Stjordal on the eastern end of Trondheim Fjord and Hallveig had her longhall at the edge of the fjord.  They took Sweyn’s Nor’Way ship for the short jaunt.  “Haakon told me he wasn’t up for the spell,” Eirik started, “as the Witch Hallveig’s demands can be quite rigorous.  But he warned me that we must follow her instructions to the letter or lives could be lost in the upcoming battle.”

“I don’t put much stock in witchcraft,” Sweyn told him.  “I put my trust in my legions.”

“Haakon told me you’d say that and he told me to tell you, ‘Don’t fock it up’.  These are Jomsvikings we’ll be fighting and any help we get will be needed, trust me.”

“Okay,” Sweyn said, “but I better see this Thorgerder Helgibruder when she shows up for our battle!”

They beached the ship on the sand in front of Hallveig’s longhall and Emma came out to greet them.  She had Sweyn’s son with her and Sweyn kissed her and then kissed his son and they walked into the hall together.  It was evening and the children were chanting in a circle as Hallveig sat alone on a highchair in the center.  The entrance hearth was burning, so Sweyn and Eirik warmed themselves as the warlock songs were being sung.  It was early spring and the night air was still cold.  Emma listened to see where they were at with the chants and returned to the hearth.  “Have a seat at the visiting highseats,” she told the princes, “and I’ll bring you some food before I get young Svein ready for bed.”

The men went to the guest highseats opposite the host highseats and they watched the children singing and circling the witch on her highchair.  Hallveig seemed to be in a trance as she sat on the chair in a fine fur-trimmed woollen dress and a black felt hat with a great wide brim.  She wore shoes that curled upwards at the toes and there was a brass bell at the end of each curl.  Her hands were sheathed in black catskin gloves and she held a wand between her fists.  She was lean and muscular and quite handsome looking for an older woman and her dress was tight around her breasts.

Emma brought them some food and some wine and then took young Sweyn off to her bedroom to sleep.  She came back out and sat with the men on their highseats and she snacked off Sweyn’s trencherplate as he was eating.  “They won’t be through the chants until midnight,” Emma said.  ‘Bring your wine and rest with me in my room and we’ll watch little Svein fall asleep.”  Sweyn looked across to Eirik and he nodded for him to go.  “We’ll be back before midnight,” Sweyn told him.  “I’ll leave you my wine.”

When they went into Emma’s room, Svein was already asleep.  They undressed each other and crawled naked between the wool sheets of the bed.  Sweyn had his glove with him, but Emma took it and put it on the headboard.  “I want to have another baby with you,” she said, “if that’s okay with you.  Hallveig has given me her approval.  She loves Svein and I think she loves you too Sweyn, in her own way.”

“I’d love to have another baby with you,” Sweyn said, as he brushed her blonde hair away from her pretty face.  He loved the feel of Emma.  Her body was lithe and strong and he could still remember how she fit him like a glove when he slid into her.  She felt sweeter than any woman he had ever had.  The men of Lade called such a thing a honey cunny, but he called it a honey well.  He kissed her and slid down to kiss her breasts and then he slid all the way down and he dipped his tongue into that honey well and kept dipping until he had her quite stirred up.  Then he slid back up the bed and his lingam slid into her and they both gasped as he penetrated her.  The fit and texture of her well had been made for his member and, as he stroked it within her well, it grew thick and hard in a most gentle and peaceful manner as if great wonders were in the works and, because the fancy was to make a baby, the feeling of it was multiplied.

“Go slow,” she said.  “And take your time.”

“There is nothing I would rather do,” he said, “than make a baby with you.”

“There will be demands made of you later, so let’s relax and take our time.”

Sweyn now savoured the feel of her honey well just, as before, he had savoured the taste, and he would begin to speed up and she wrapped her strong legs around him and slowed him down again.  She made him savour the feel and she made him take his time because she knew she would only have the one time and he would be having many.  But her own body betrayed her and she started having little orgasms one after another and she fought back the little moans, choking them off with her throat, but a few would escape and put spurs to her steed and when he sped up, the little orgasms grew larger and she could no longer stifle the sounds and the spooked steed took off at a gallop and she came in waves as the orgasm coursed through her body and she felt Sweyn exploding inside her.

“How is it you feel so fine to me?” Sweyn asked her as they cuddled together.  “You have such a sweet honey well!”

“I do a thousand sit ups a day,” she whispered.

“A thousand?”

“And a thousand push ups a day.”

“You’re a healer and a midwife,” Sweyn said.  “Why would you do so many?”

“I’m a shield maiden as well,” Emma admitted.  “And I’m so afraid.”

“Why are you afraid?”

“I’m afraid of the upcoming battle,” she said.

“Why would you be afraid?”

“Because I’ll be in it.”

“What?” Sweyn said, getting up on an elbow and looking at her.

“Hallveig has to go and I’m going with her.  We’re both shield maidens!”

“She’s a witch!  She just casts a spell and Haakon feels better about his chances and this helps him win.”

Emma laughed.  “There’s a lot more to it than that.  The spirit of Thorgerder Helgibruder becomes attached to Hallveig and she has to be where the battle is.  Right in the thick of it!  And I have to be beside her in case she falls.  Then the spirit will attach herself to me!”

“Have you ever seen this Thorgerder Helgibruder?” Sweyn asked.

“Yes!” Emma said.  “Haakon has paid Hallveig for this spell before.  She’s a frightful bitch!  Just a ghost, but she is huge.  And she shoots arrows from all ten of her fingertips and every shot brings death!  I’m scared shitless every time because if Hallveig goes down, she’ll attach herself to me!”

Sweyn took Emma under his arm and comforted her.  “Do you know where you draw your water from?” he asked her.

“We draw it from Hell River,” she told him.  “The village is named Hell after the river.  But it doesn’t mean the underworld Hell.  It’s more like hail.  It hails a lot up in the mountains and if the river is cold the hail runs into it and floats down the river so, they called it Hail River.  It’s a dialect thing.”

“Tell me more about this Thorgerder Helgibruder,” Sweyn said, trying to calm her.

“She was a shield maiden and a lover of the shield maiden Stikla and she died while fighting beside her at the Battle of Stiklastad.  They were both of the Isle of Lesbos, like Hallveig, if you get my meaning.”

“Oh, I get your meaning alright,” Sweyn said, and his ass clinched just a bit.  “Has she been using her horse dick on you at all?”

“No!” Emma said.  “After I had Svein, she’s never touched me.  I think she considers you my husband.  And I think she loves you just a bit.”

“And you?  Do you love me just a bit?”

“I love you more than a bit.  Every time I see Svein, I see you, and I love you more each time.  By now I love you quite a bit more than a bit,” she said, stroking his cheek.

“I’m glad she’s leaving you in peace.  Now, if Thorgerder was of Lesbos, how could she be Helgi’s bride?”

“They called her Helgibruder because Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Hraerikson promised to give her a child if she fought alongside Stikla at the famous battle.  When she died in the fight, Helgi gave Stikla a baby in her stead.  They focked hard all night and the next day Helgi left to fight King Frodi in Angleland and Stikla couldn’t walk straight for a week.  But she did get pregnant, and Hallveig is a granddaughter of hers.  Thorgerder loved Stikla so much that her spirit answered to Stikla’s call in times of need, or so they say.  Hallveig says that it was Warlock Ogmund Eythjofsbane that killed Thorgerder and when he realised that he had killed a woman he kissed her and set her spirit free to be called upon by Stikla and her offspring.”

“I’m related to Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Hraerikson,” Sweyn said.  “He was my uncle.”

“No!” Emma said.  “That means you and Hallveig are related.  Maybe that’s why she treats you with so much respect.”

“She couldn’t possibly know I’m of Lothbrok stock!”

“She might know.  She told me she felt that you and Eirik were brothers.”

“We’re blood brothers and Haakon has adopted me,” Sweyn said.

“She told me you two had the same father.  I thought maybe that’s why Haakon adopted you.  You were his long lost son or something.”

“No.  He adopted me to bind our alliance.  We’re Aesir and we’re committed to stopping the Christians.”

“Now I love you a whole lot more!” she said, kissing Sweyn.  “Is that why you and Aud are printing out all those books in your scriptorium?”

“Yes,” Sweyn said.  “We’re fighting fire with fire.  We’re recording the drapas and poems and sagas of our pagan skalds so that the Christian skalds aren’t the only ones being recorded.”

“And I thought you just liked Aud’s bum,” Emma teased.

“What have you heard?”

“Just that Aud’s still saving herself for King Erik of Sweden.  Hallveig’s her physician and I assist in a lot of the checks.  That’s all.  I heard you’re working on ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ with Aud and if she’s still a virgin, you two must be doing it anally.”

“We’re printing the Varangian Sagas,” Sweyn corrected her, “and Aud has a very nice bum.”

“Christian kings are calling them ‘The Lying Sags of Denmark’,” Emma went on, “so you must be very careful to get all the details exactly right.  When you write about our battle with the Jomsvikings you must be sure to say that it was Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ who first founded the brotherhood when he was king of Denmark.”

“My uncle Helgi was king of Denmark?” Sweyn exclaimed.

“For a short time.  He couldn’t be called Arrow Odd because Prince Odd had killed far too many Danes when he was fighting against King Frodi of Denmark and his general Ogmund Eythjofsbane, so they called him Helgi ‘the Sharp’ instead of Arrow Odd, meaning Arrow’s Edge.”

“I’ve heard of King Helgi ‘the Sharp’,” Sweyn said.  “I just had no idea he was Arrow Odd.”

“When Arrow Odd was fighting Ogmund Eythjofsbane, he surrounded himself with a Norse warrior elite because he was always fighting the elite Hraes’ warriors of King Frodi of Kiev.  He drove King Frodi out of Denmark and ruled there for a time, but when the Danes eventually learned that he was Arrow Odd, the famed killer of Danes, the people went to King Olaf of the Swedes for help and the Swedes drove Arrow Odd out of Denmark and he led his elite band to an island fortress just off Wolin and the coast of Poland and when Arrow Odd left them to marry Queen Silkisif in Greece they became the elite Jomsvikings.  Prince Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Hraerikson was the greatest warrior to ever come out of Norway and that is why the Jomsvikings are the best of the best and that is why I am so fearful.”

“The Jomsvikings became the elite because they were fighting the Hraes’,” Sweyn told her.  “I have sixty ships full of Hraes’ troops and my son brought another thirty ships full of Hraes.  We are the Hraes’ and we’re back!”

“I want to fock you so bad,” Emma whispered.

“I’m up for it,” Sweyn said, and she could see he wasn’t lying.  “We can’t,” she said.  “Hallveig needs both you brothers tonight.”

“I can’t believe she’s a shield maiden,” Sweyn said.  “A granddaughter of the famed Stikla.  And you’re a shield maiden.  You have no idea of how hot that is making me.  You’re sure it’s all your training that has made your honey well so sweet?”

“You have dozens of shield maidens in your ships,” Emma stated.  “Are you trying to tell me you haven’t helped yourself to some of your own taut muscled maidens?”

“They service my men,” Sweyn said.  “It wouldn’t be proper for me to impose on them.”

“They do a lot more than just service your men!” Emma said.  “I’ve talked with some of them when they’ve come to us with injuries.  Many of them are training to be healers so they can take better care of your men.  They make sure your men eat properly and they make sure your men stay fit.  And they stay fit themselves.  Have you seen the bodies on your Valkyries?  Hallveig has, and she’s impressed!  I think she’s looking forward to going into battle with them.  And in battle, your shield maidens often kill more of the enemy than your men do.  They follow behind your shield walls and save your injured men and dispatch the injured enemy.  Your men love their shield maidens.  They would fight to the death to protect them and often they do.  The shield maidens are why your legions are so strong.  And after battle they bend over and allow their men to service themselves.”

“Not always,” Sweyn said.  “At the Battle of Dorostal, when we fought the Bulgarians, our shield maidens fought so well that I ordered our men to serve their shield maidens.  Whatever their Valkyries wanted, their men had to provide.”

“And all your shield maidens wanted you!”

“No,” Sweyn said.  “I would be taking advantage of my position, my rank over them.  It could affect discipline.”

“Your Valkyries told me that you came up with the idea of having a shield maiden attached to each unit of men.  Before that there were just old hags that followed the shield wall and dispatched the injured enemy, Angels of Death, you called them.”

“Our shield maidens don’t just dispatch the injured enemy,” Sweyn told her.  “They save as many of the enemy as they do our injured.  We ransom them back to the Bulgarians or Romans or we sell them to the slave armies of the Caliphate.  Many of the injured enemy that our Valkyries have saved have gone on to become great generals in the armies of Islam.  I am very proud of what our shield maidens do for our legions.  That is why I cannot sleep with them.  It would be disrespectful of me.”

“Well, I am one shield maiden that you can have anytime you wish,” Emma told him.  “I love you, Sweyn,” she said and she kissed him for a long time.  When he started kissing her neck and began working his way towards her breasts, she said, “Anytime, but just not now,” and she escaped from the bed and got dressed and he watched her as he lay naked on the bed.  He watched her flat belly and taut stomach muscles and he saw that thousand sit ups a day in her form.  Her smooth legs were powerfully muscled and her arms were strong like those of a young man.  He could see her dragging the injured enemy out from under their shield wall and dispatching him.  Or saving him.  She was, after all, a healer by trade and a shield maiden by training.

“I’m going out to see where they’re at with the chants,” Emma said as she put her shoes on.  “You stay here and relax.  I’ll be right back and you can service me.”  She hopped toward the door as she adjusted her last shoe and then slipped out of the room.

The young children were resting as the older boys and girls did individual chants to gather spirits about the hall.  The spirits that gathered would take a message to Thorgerder Helgibruder that she was needed.  The more that gathered, the faster she would be summoned.  Emma saw Hallveig listening to the chants from her highchair, making sure they were recited correctly.  Jarl Eirik was laying across the cushions of his double highseat, sleeping, and he must have been snoring because one of the older girls had sprinkled his nose with an herb that stopped snoring.  She wondered which of the older girls had done it and if she would be one of the girls selected for the upcoming debauchery.  Emma judged there to be yet an hour of chants and recitations to go and she returned to her room.  Sweyn was still naked on the bed but he wasn’t relaxed.  He had a huge stiff member and Emma watched it as Sweyn watched her get naked.

“You can’t have anymore sex,” she said, “but I’m good to go,” and she sat on his chest and slid onto his chin and she started to stroke herself on the gold coil of his beard’s left fork.  He could reach her with his tongue, but only on the downstroke and he wished that his tongue was as long and hard as his poor lonely cock was.  As Emma was having sex with his gold he thought of Queen Silkisif and how she, too, loved sex over gold.  She had married his uncle, Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’, and, after he died, she had made his father, Ivar ‘Harde Knute’, her lover, and, after he died, she had made his grandfather, Hraerik ‘Bragi’, her lover over gold, and then, before she died, she had made his grandson her last new lover and they had spent three days together having nothing but sex…Khazar Vayar and wine and sex over his gold in the vaults of Gardariki and Tmutorokan.  And now this beautiful young blonde, who had just mentioned Queen Silkisif in passing, was having her own sex over his gold and she was moaning quietly and coming on his coil and her sweetness was running into the corner of his mouth and he savoured her taste.

Emma held the head of the bed with both hands as she straddled Sweyn’s forked beard and she breathed out as the last of her orgasm left her body.  She pulled herself off of the fork and the gold and she felt him kissing her clitoris and she wanted to sit back down but she whispered, “We have to go,” instead.

“Don’t just fock my beard and leave,” Sweyn whispered and he pulled her back down and put his tongue up her honey well.  It felt so good she sat back down and let him have his fill.  Then they got up and got dressed and checked on the sleeping Svein.  One of the older girls would be watching him while they were upstairs in the master suite loft paying off the spirit of Thorgerder Helgibruder.

There was a huge bed in the large master suite loft and double doors in the front that had a balcony and stairs and there were side doors on either side that led to nowhere and far end doors that led outside to nowhere.  There were six sets of doors and only one set of stairs.  Emma sat at the end of the bed and Sweyn and Eirik sat on either side of her and they waited for Witch Hallveig.  They could hear Hallveig coming up the stairs and her steps were the steps of a young woman, quick and light.  She walked into the bedroom and she had a goblet in each hand and she passed them to the men and said, “Drink this.  Drink it all!”  So, they drank wine from the goblets, but the wine had a bitter taste and they both knew it was not just wine.  “It will just help to keep you calm,” Emma told them.  Sweyn could feel the drug at work right away.  He watched Emma and his jaw grew slack and his eyes went big and round.  Emma began undressing both men and she laid them down on the bed beside each other.  She went to the left side of the bed and she put her lips on Sweyn’s lingam and she began to suck him hard while Hallveig got undressed.  When Hallveig was naked she crawled onto the bed and she mounted Sweyn and she gently began to ride him as Emma went to the right side of the bed and took Eirik’s cock into her mouth and she began to suck him hard as well.  Hallveig began riding Sweyn harder and she and Emma began chanting and channelling the spirit of Thorgerder Helgibruder into the room.  But the chants were very sensual as well and soon Sweyn was flowing within Hallveig and she stopped and squatted on Sweyn and she moved about on him as though soaking it all up.

Emma then took Eirik’s cock back into her mouth and got it all wet and hard.  It was not quite as big as Sweyn’s, but it was large enough, and Emma thought, as she sucked, that perhaps she should have started with Eirik so that Hallveig could have worked her way up in size to make things more comfortable for her and she filed that thought away for future reference.  Once Hallveig was sure she had gotten all Sweyn’s fluids inside her, she mounted Eirik and slid him into herself and began her ride.  Sweyn watched Hallveig riding Eirik’s strong steed and he smiled as Emma went to a sideboard and wetted a towel in a wash basin.  She came to Sweyn and began washing his lingam, then asked, “What are you smiling about?” and Sweyn mumbled, “Most people think witches ride broomsticks.”  Emma smiled and almost started to laugh but she choked it down with her throat.  “Just relax,” Emma crooned and she stroked Sweyn’s blonde locks.  She would not have recognized him a decade earlier with his head shaved except for a side lock and the same long moustaches but with no fork beard, getting ready to be baptised a Christian Emperor.

The women began to chant again, the same sweet song, and soon Eirik was flowing within Hallveig.  She squatted atop him as well and seemed to be soaking it all in and when she pulled herself off him, Emma was there with a towel to clean him up.  Hallveig went over to the sideboard and opened a door and took out her horse penis and belt and began oiling it up.  She strapped it on and crawled upon the bed and had Sweyn bend over on all fours and she knelt behind him and eased her steed inside him and began stroking in and out of him and was soon moaning in orgasm as she channelled Thorgerder Helgibruder into herself and a side door flew open on the left and a wind rushed in, even though it was an inside door.  Emma walked quickly to the door and eased it closed.  Eirik’s eyes followed Emma as she walked and he decided he really liked her ass and then he saw Sweyn getting focked on the bed by Hallveig and he would have laughed but he knew he was next.  Hallveig seemed to come inside Sweyn, or was it the spirit?  Hallveig slowly withdrew the long thick member from Sweyn and Emma was there to clean it off and put more oil on it before Hallveig bent Eirik over and began easing her steed up Eirik.  Emma began cleaning Sweyn and then had him kneel on the bed in front of her while she took his lingam into her mouth and began to suck him hard once more.  Hallveig began thrusting vigorously into Eirik and she soon began moaning and channelling Thorgerder Helgibruder once more.  This time, a door on the right flew open and a wind gusted into the room.  Emma curtly walked over and closed the door as Hallveig withdrew her large steed from Eirik.  Hallveig then turned Eirik to face the door that Emma had closed and Emma went back around to the other side of the bed and turned Sweyn around to face Eirik’s rear and she guided his lingam up Eirik’s anus and got Sweyn to begin stroking within him.  The women started chanting and channelling the spirit and as their chant sped up, so, too, did Sweyn’s stroking and he put his hands on Eirik’s waist and began driving deep within him and the chanting sped up more and became very sensuous and orgasmic and the left door flew open as Sweyn exploded within Eirik and he kept thrusting until he was all spent and he took Eirik’s shoulders and he gave a few final thrusts to show him that he’d enjoyed it.  Emma was busy cleaning up the men while Hallveig explained that Thorgerder Helgibruder had ordered that the two brothers become members of the Sacred Band of Theban Brothers.  Emma went over to Eirik and took his semi-hard cock into her mouth and began to suck on it.  She could tell that Eirik had enjoyed it as well.  Hallveig went on to explain that, as Theban Sacred Band Brothers, Sweyn and Eirik were now married as warriors and would owe loyalty to each other above all others and neither was to leave a battle before they were sure the other was safe.

Hallveig then had Sweyn go on all fours on the bed and face the door that had just blown open and Emma turned Eirik around and guided his cock into Sweyn’s anus and the women began chanting and channelling as Eirik took Sweyn’s waist and began stroking within him.  When the chanting sped up, so, too, did Eirik, and he soon exploded within Sweyn and the right door blew open.  Emma closed the door and went back to Eirik just as he put his final thrusts into Sweyn to show he’d enjoyed it as well.  ‘Perhaps a little too much,’ Emma thought but she realized that she loved Sweyn and perhaps didn’t like sharing him with a man.

“They’re getting a little tired,” Emma said as she checked their pulses.

“Have them lay down and rest and perhaps get naked and lay between them and calm them.”  Hallveig was still naked herself and she threw on a robe and left the bedroom.  She came back in a bit with two young girls who were just over marrying age and Sweyn could see that they were drugged as well.  “We’ve given them opium so they won’t feel any pain,” Emma explained, as she got up and took some towels and placed them on the men.  She took Sweyn’s lingam into her mouth once more and she sucked him hard as Hallveig undressed the young girls.  Emma ensured that the girls were still virgins and she used her fingers to gauge who the larger girl was and she took her and put her atop Sweyn.  The girl straddled Sweyn’s hips and Emma guided his lingam once more and she pulled the girl down onto Sweyn and her blood flowed onto the towels.  She then guided the girl in her ride and went back to the other girl and took her over to Eirik and did the same thing.  Hallveig was putting her horse penis away and then she took off her robe so that they were all naked just as a courtesy to the others.  Emma went back to Sweyn’s young girl and began guiding her stroking more quickly and Hallveig joined in with Eirik’s girl and did the same.  The women then resumed their seductive chanting and soon Sweyn grabbed his young girl and began bouncing her up and down on his groin very quickly until he exploded inside her.  Emma took the girl off of Sweyn and cleaned them both up and she laid the girl beside him just as Eirik began thrusting deeply inside his girl until he went off.  Emma then helped the girl off of Eirik and cleaned them up.  She tucked the girl in next to Eirik and she went over to the sideboard and she got more wine for the men and had them drink it in bed as she held their heads up for them.  “It’s just to calm you,” she told them again.  She then got some juice for the girls and when they drank theirs they immediately fell asleep.

Emma went to the right side of the bed and she took Eirik’s young girl up in her arms and she placed her across the foot of the bed so that her head hung over the edge and her pert breasts faced up into the candlelight.  Witch Hallveig came over from the sideboard with a cord in her hands and she wrapped it around the girls pale throat and she strangled the life out of the sleeping girl while Emma watched and held the girl’s hand and felt for a pulse.  Emma then went over to the left side of the bed and began to take Sweyn’s young girl, but Sweyn could just lift his right hand and he grabbed the girl’s arm to stop her.  “It’s okay, it’s okay,” Emma whispered to Sweyn, as she peeled his fingers off of the girl.  She set the girl across the end of the bed and her head hung over the other side.  Hallveig wrapped the cord around the young girl’s neck as both Sweyn and Eirik mumbled incoherently in protest, but could not move.  Both side doors blew open and gusts of wind flew in and blew out half the candles and then the girls were gone.  Emma crawled naked in between the two men and Hallveig covered them all with a blanket, then blew out the rest of the candles in the room, save for the candlestick she carried, and she left.  Emma cradled Sweyn and Eirik in her arms and the two men cried upon her breasts and went to sleep.

In the morning Emma brought the men breakfast in bed and she sat on the bed in her robe between them as they ate.  They were still tired but they were famished as well.  Eirik seemed fine, but Emma could see that Sweyn was pissed.  After breakfast Eirik went back to sleep, but Sweyn got up and got dressed and followed Emma down the stairs and they went into her room together.  Young Svein was awake, so Emma dressed him and sent him out into the hall to play and she sat down on the bed with Sweyn.

“I want to take you and Svein back to Lade with me,” Sweyn told her.  “I don’t want you to have to raise our children in this environment.”

“Hallveig owns me,” Emma replied.

“I’ll pay that old witch to free you!” Sweyn said.  “I don’t care what it costs.”

“I love you Sweyn,” Emma said , stroking his cheek, “but I can’t leave.  I’ll be taking over the practice when Hallveig retires.  People need me here.”

“She killed two of her own chantreusses!” Sweyn protested.

“She didn’t,” Emma confessed.  “Remember when I told you, ‘It’s okay,’ last night?”

“Vaguely,” Sweyn answered.

“Hallveig didn’t want to kill those girls, but she knew Haakon would demand it.  He has paid for this spell before and he has gone through what you and Eirik have.  Hallveig came up with an alternate sacrifice to Thorgerder Helgibruder.  The drug she gave the girls didn’t put them to sleep.  It killed them.  The girls were already dead when she strangled them.”  Sweyn looked at Emma in disbelief.  “I felt their pulses after she strangled them so I could bear witness that she had killed them.  She took them out of the room to her master suite and she gave them the antidote to the drug she had killed them with, and the antidote revived them.  The drug that she used on the girls comes from Africa, from a certain type of fish there.”

“What did she revive them with?”

“A drug we use here, some of our berserks use here, to go into fits faster.”

“So, what is Hallveig’s alternate sacrifice to the spirit?”

“She had sex with you and Eirik,” Emma started.  “She didn’t want to.  She only had sex with you the one time before because she didn’t want to die a virgin, but she had to have sex with you and Eirik because now she carries twins and they are growing within her as we speak,” and Emma put her hands on her own belly, “just as your daughter is growing within me now,” and she put Sweyn’s hands upon her taut stomach, “but, while our baby will go full term and be as beautiful as Svein, her babies will be stillborn.”

“I’m sorry,” Sweyn said.  “Poor Hallveig is making the sacrifice for us.”

“Don’t forget,” Emma said, “that the stillborn babies are yours and Eirik’s as well.”

“I know,” Sweyn said, “but I’m not carrying them inside me.”

“But you are,” Emma assured him.  “The same semen that entered Hallveig last night also entered you, and the same semen that entered Eirik last night, entered Hallveig as well.”

“It may be in me,” Sweyn countered, “but it can’t get me pregnant!”

“I gave you calming drugs last night,” Emma confessed, “but Hallveig mixed them up.  She may have added a fertility drug to the mixture as well.  You and Eirik may very well be pregnant and carrying each other’s child.”

”No!” Sweyn said, and he would have sat down on the bed, but he was already sitting.

“I’m just focking with you,” Emma said, and she started laughing.  “You should have seen your face!”

“So, was Hallveig focking with us too when she had me focking Eirik and he focking me?”

“She was just being bad,” Emma admitted.  “Theban Sacred Band of brothers?  Really Sweyn?” and she started laughing again.

“Sacred Band, my ass!” Sweyn said, and he started laughing as well.  “I’m going to kill that cunt!”

“You can’t,” Emma declared.  “She’s your relative!  Besides, you enjoyed focking Eirik.  I saw you grab his waist so you go drive just a little deeper.”

“I just pictured I was focking his sister Aud.  She has such a sweet little ass!”

“I think Eirik thought you had a sweet little ass, too!  I saw him grabbing your hips as well.”

“Well, we are Theban brothers now,” Sweyn said.

“Speaking of brothers,” Emma went on, “remember when I told you Hallveig said you and Eirik have the same father?”

“Yes,” Sweyn said slowly.

“She says Aud is your sister as well.  By that same father.”

“Don’t tell me that!” Sweyn said.

“We must never tell anybody about this, okay?” Emma asked.

“My lips are sealed,” Sweyn swore.  ‘I’d have all of Aud if I could,’ he thought, “but if she’s saving her sweet honey well for King Erik of Sweden, I’ll at least enjoy her sweet ass while she’s still in Lade.’

“How much would you have paid for me?” Emma asked curiously.

“What?”

“You said you’d pay Hallveig any amount to take me away from here.  How much would you have paid?

“Thirty thousand pounds of gold.”

“Thirty thousand pounds of gold? Emma gasped.

“I have thirty thousand pounds of gold in my grandfather’s vault in Tmutorokan,” Sweyn said, “and I’d give it all to her for you.”

“That’s a lot of gold, Sweyn,” Emma said, kissing him.

“It’s Roman pounds, though,” Sweyn clarified.  “They’re about three quarters the weight of our pounds.”

“Still, that’s a lot of gold!” and she kissed him again for a very long time.