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Vikings Wanderer: Other Strangeness!

 

 

Aside from the Princess Kwentirith and her strangeness ( as if that isn’t enough for anyone to handle!) there was so much other strangeness going that it was difficult to keep up with it!  Before we see what the next chapter reveals, we should look at those odd events.  When we spoke of  Torstein’s fate, and of Kwentirith, I mentioned some celebration which included mushrooms? I believe those mushrooms were part of the cause for the lack of treatment to Torstein’s arm. So, first let us look at that celebration and those mushrooms.

Of important note relating to this celebration involving mushrooms- mushrooms have been long known for their hallucinogenic properties and are still often used in many shamanic rituals and vision quests. In a previous episode, Floki fed his friends a certain type of mushroom, “food of the Gods” to put them into death like trance. Mushrooms have often been referred to as food of the Gods because of their various hallucinogenic properties and other affects. One must be extremely cautious when eating mushrooms and know exactly what kind they are eating. Some will cause the hallucinations, some will have the death trance affect, and yet other will cause types of crazed behavior such as that of going Berserker… A number of resources have made reference to the Norse people using mushrooms to help achieve that Berserker affect. 

Mushrooms as food of Gods

http://www.philipcoppens.com/mushrooms.html

After the battle with Kwentirith’s Uncle, the group engaged in celebration that centered around the eating of mushrooms. Their celebration turned bizarre to say the least! Floki, after ingesting some of them, found Kwentirith’s behavior amusing and had no issue with going out to retrieve her Uncle’s head for her to chop into bits!

another bite of the shroom and sure no problem I'll get the head

floki gets his head

here is uncle Britwulf

here is uncle Britwulf

Whether Kwentirith’s behavior was due partially to ingestion of said shrooms or her general insanity is uncertain…

Kwentirith unleashing her savagery on Uncle britwulf's head

I should mention here that Aethelwulf and his Priest were not impressed or amused by the celebration or the behaviors that ensued!

Aethelwulf and his priest look on in shock

Aethelwulf and his priest look on in shock

I hate to admit it, but it was our Rollo who was responsible for encouraging the consumption of large quantities of the mushrooms. Being a good friend and good host, he offered his find to everyone, including Torstein. Rollo offered Torstein mushrooms as a form of   pain relief, which I suppose could go to his favor as he was trying to aid his friend in the only way he knew of at the time?

rollo offers mushrooms as relief

rollo offers mushrooms as relief

passing the shrooms

Rollo’s behavior due to the mushrooms was by far the most bizarre and begs to answer the question of, “How many mushrooms are too many?” Rollo obviously consumed far too many of the shrooms!

I wonder how many shrooms are too many shrooms

To say that Rollo’s behavior was bizarre would be understating and putting it mildly?  It started as just a curious observation on his part of watching the group of prisoners and then descended into an obsessive thought concerning one captive and his leg?

What's that moving over there in the woods

What’s that moving over there in the woods

I must fix this now

I must fix this now

what is wrong with these barbarians

I see dead people  I see dead people moving

I see dead people I see dead people moving

There now I see dead people

There now I see dead people

I shall fix this leg and it's annoyance to me

I shall fix this leg and it’s annoyance to me

Ohhh oooops I guess I do not see dead people?

Ohhh oooops I guess I do not see dead people?

that dead man is yelling at me  I must yell back

After chopping off the offensive leg, Rollo staggers away and realizes that yes, maybe there is such a thing as too many mushrooms?

Whoa I don't think I should have had that last shroom

The shrooms did have some helpful affect on Torstein… he was so dazed that he did not seem phased by Rollo’s act other than to casually ask, “Why did you do that?” Rollo’s reply… “It was that leg, I did not like the angle of it!”

why did you do that   that leg  I did not like the look of it

Rollo’s ingestion of said shrooms also affected him in that after a rather embarrassing encounter with Kwentirith, he found the whole event hilarious?

Ummm not so fast  the witch come out in her

Ummm not so fast the witch come out in her

No means No at least you understood that didn't you

No means No at least you understood that didn’t you

NO Now we know our first English word A woman has slapped me and told me no why do I find that so hilarious

I do think that they all embibed far too many  mushrooms and their next action was a direct result of that…

well ok maybe the shrooms haven't quite worn off yet

well ok maybe the shrooms haven’t quite worn off yet

It did have the desired affect of scaring the crap out of their enemy but once the shrooms wore off, they were then faced with another rather nasty after affect? While it seemed like a great idea at the time, it was one of those things where you rethink your decision once you have to clean it all up the next day!

whose bright idea was this now we have to get rid of all of them

whose bright idea was this now we have to get rid of all of them

now the shrooms have worn off and the men think well maybe this was a little much

now the shrooms have worn off and the men think well maybe this was a little much

 

The other strangeness had nothing to do with mushrooms or celebrating… though, I do wonder if the women perhaps being bored- were ingesting a few mushrooms of their own? This event took place in Kattegat and involved the women left behind. Aslaug, Helga and Siggy were left behind at Kattegat to fend for themselves… This event could only be described as “Nightmare in Kattegat”! The women began having an odd shared dream experience where they each saw the same strange man, and the impending death of their ancient Seer?

I can not discount the idea or concept of shared dreams because I have had my own personal experience involving them.  For me it had nothing to do with the mystical or religious/spiritual ritual connotations  but was more of  what I believe might have been some past life memory that we all might have shared? I will delve more into it in a separate post at a later time. I just mention it because, having had my own experience with the shared dreams, this event struck a chord with me. I do believe that they exist for any number of different reasons. They come from some deeper place in our consciousness and serve to connect our spirits or souls in some way to teach us a group lesson, to possibly bond us together for some reason?  These three women left in Kattegat are three very different women going on very different paths of life. They are not necessarily that good friends with each other, but they do have one thing in common. These women are deeply rooted in the old religion, the old ways and they are not yet swayed or prone to believing in the new Christian religion. While the others travel to England and become more exposed to new beliefs and traditions, these three women will hold more firmly to their own ways and beliefs. Aslaug was considered to be a Volva or seer in her own right. What the dreams mean to them, or are predicting is uncertain as yet. There any number of things that they could be representing and everyone has their own theory on what the dreams are foreshadowing or telling us. Their dreams are of a wandering traveler arriving at their village. All of the women agree that part of the dream is not frightening but exciting? It is a dream from which they are disappointed to wake from and realize it is not real. They look forward to this stranger coming.  In their dreams, he arrives with one hand covered in blood and the other hand holding a ball of flaming snow?  The dream that disturbs them is one of  the death of their ancient Seer… What should we read into these dreams? I really have no more idea than the women at this point! Could the wanderer be Odin in disguise, some think this a possibility. Could the death of the Seer be a representation of the death or demise of their religion, their beliefs? I think this could be a good possibility.  If that is the case, then does the Wanderer have something to do with bringing about this demise, this change? Is he some sort of prophet sent to test them and tempt them? Or is he just some sort of Charlatan or trickster who sees lonely gullible women to take advantage of with intent to sell them some fabrication of his creation?

 

Shared Dreaming- does it exist?

https://lucidallnight.wordpress.com/2008/01/04/shared-dreaming-does-it-exist/

nightmare in kattegat

As I stated, perhaps they were a bit bored, a bit frustrated, and a bit worried about their futures? They were wandering around Kattegat with far too much free time on their hands and their minds…

the women left behind share a dream

speaking of the dream

speaking of the dream

The curious and mysterious dream of a strange wanderer turned to a nightmare of seeing their Seer slaughtered, coved in blood…

where are you ancient one

looking for the seer

looking for the seer

seeing the death of the seer

seeing the death of the seer

nightmare in kattegat

was it just a dream?

was it just a dream?

Awaking from the nightmare, they all tried to assure each other that is was just a bad dream… Yes, just a bad dream

so much blood it was everywhere

so much blood it was everywhere

sharing the nightmare

sharing the nightmare

it was only a dream

it was only a dream

Or was it? The wanderer that they had seen in their dreams made his appearance in Kattegat!

wanderer coming through the mist

wanderer coming through the mist

wanderer comes out of the mist

wanderer comes out of the mist

the wanderer

helga sees him coming

helga sees him coming

blood in the snow

blood in the snow

wanderer's hand dripping with blood

wanderer’s hand dripping with blood

the wanderer arrives dripping blood and holding flaming snow

the wanderer arrives dripping blood and holding flaming snow

These three women will be tested, tempted and each will fight their own personal inner battle- perhaps that is what the Wanderer is there for? To simply guide these women through their own choices and set them on their own varying paths of life.   While the Wanderer is testing these women in Kattegat, in England Athelstan faces his own tests of faith.

There are so many layers of subtle clues and connections that it is difficult to pinpoint them all!  I do find it interesting and curious that while the Wanderer is dripping blood from his injured hand, Athelstan is also dripping blood from his own hands? Athelstan makes a very profound and prophetic analogy too, when he is trying to explain the differences in beliefs but mentions how closely they are actually connected. His comparison of Odin dying on a tree and being reborn to Christ being crucified and resurrected speaks volumes in connecting the two religions. In his thoughtful perception that Odin’s death and rebirth story was so similar but happened so many centuries before the story of Christ, Athelstan was able to bridge that basic lack of understanding and acceptance of beliefs. Would it sink in and have affect on the others he spoke to such as Judith? That remains to be seen. Ecbert already has an understanding and some acceptance of the concept but he has a higher priority that concerns him. Whether Ecbert believes in Christianity or not is rather a moot point… he understands the power of the Christian Church, the politics of that Church. He knows that in order to continue with his own quest for power, he needs the backing of the Church. Ecbert will play the good and devout Christian because it is in his best interests to do so.  Lagertha is faithful to Odin and her beliefs, but in all reality, Odin has not been all that generous or kind to her lately? If she should face yet another crisis in her life and feel let down or feel that Odin has once more turned his back upon her, she may be open to other options… She is also a very intelligent woman who will make her own choices and decisions based on what she sees and experiences. Ragnar is already at the point of questioning his beliefs because of Athelstan’s guidance, so Lagertha may make her own way down that path as well.  Judith, a devout Christian would have the most difficult time accepting any religion or belief system that goes against her own. Her mind is so engrained in the Church’s teachings that to question anything different would be almost impossible for her to comprehend.

Athelstan is destined to a higher purpose in life. His mind, his body and his soul are being tested now and it seems that it will only be a matter of time before he passes these tests and is called back to God? He has already had an affect on both Ecbert and Ragnar… how many others will his spirit touch before he leaves this earth.  Peacemakers such Athelstan made it possible for some to find a way of accepting other beliefs than their own. Many of the people who converted to Christianity in the beginning did so because they already had a belief in more than one God, so in their mindset, they could look upon the Christian God as just another of the many Gods they held belief in. It is far easier to accept one God into a house of many than it is to share your one personal God with a whole house of other ones.  Many early converts also saw the advantages and benefits that the all powerful church could provide and thus went along with the ruse of belief even if they thought it was all nonsense?

Athelstan the bridge between two worlds

Setting Athelstan’s personal struggles aside for now- he is struggling with those more earthly lessons of passion and desire… and is being tested in that area by the Lady Judith. She is also being tested greatly and as her Father in law, King Ecbert reminds her, she is treading in dangerous waters with her desire and fascination for Athelstan.  This is a personal test for both of them and what ever the results, I am sure they will both suffer some consequence for it.  There is a far greater test facing Athelstan right now that involves all of the new settlers as well, including Lagertha. 

I have mentioned previously, the wounds on Athelstan’s hands that do not seem to ever heal completely. Those wounds occurred when he was tortured and crucified by other “Christian” Priests…

crucifiction of Athelstan crucifiction of Athelstan2

Ecbert saved his life that day and their bond began there.

Now, he seems marked forever by God and though he does not seek or want the attention, his affliction is seen as a mark of holiness and greatness by some? So, while Athelstan does not reach for fame or want it, he will most likely receive it.  It is a belief of the Norsemen that fame and reputation are the greatest of gifts and accomplishments that one could receive from the Gods. They often desire and crave it more than anything else, for then when you enter Valhalla, the Gods will know of you from your actions and your fame on earth? Kalf in Hedeby- the one who would betray Lagertha for such greatness speaks of this exact desire. His one goal, his one desire is to be as famous as Ragnar, so that all will know his name.

what sensible man would be afraid of one such him a farmer who made himself king

what sensible man would be afraid of one such him a farmer who made himself king

Kalf does not really care how he becomes famous, only cares that the Gods know his name and remember him? He will do anything to pursue this greatness while Athelstan on the other hand, would most likely do anything not to be so famous?

I want to be famous I want the Gods to know my name

I want to be famous I want the Gods to know my name

It remains to be seen yet as to how the Gods and the spinners of fate will answer Kalf’s wishes?  Meanwhile, God has already given Athelstan his destiny whether he wants it or not…

Athelstan's hands dripping in blood

Stigmata:

Stigmata (singular stigma) is a term used by members of the Christian faith to describe body marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, such as the hands, wrists, and feet.

The term originates from the line at the end of Saint Paul‘s Letter to the Galatians where he says, “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” Stigmata is the plural of the Greek word στίγμα stigma, meaning a mark, tattoo,  or brand such as might have been used for identification of an animal or slave. An individual bearing stigmata is referred to as a stigmatic or a stigmatist.

Stigmata are primarily associated with the Roman Catholic faith. Many reported stigmatics are members of Catholic religious orders. St. Francis of Assisi was the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history. For over fifty years, St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin reported stigmata which were studied by several 20th-century physicians.

 

Athelstan’s hands that will not heal and that often drip blood are his destiny, his fate… they are his God’s mark, his testimony and his lesson to others? God has sent this sign through Athelstan to show others. Actions speak louder than words… While Athelstan is a gifted teacher, speaker and preacher, sometimes it takes more than words to convince people. The settlers are all pagans who deeply resent the Christian interference in their lives. When Lagertha settled into the new home, Ecbert made much of insisting that Athelstan bless the home. This offended some of the people. It  caused anger and dissent between our own people, some of whom were already feeling a pull towards these new beliefs.

ecbert asks Athelstan to bless the new house

ecbert asks Athelstan to bless the new house

one of the settlers shows what he thinks of the christian blessing

one of the settlers shows what he thinks of the christian blessing

the woman prays along until the man stops her

the woman prays along until the man stops her

It was some time after this house blessing event that Athelstan came to us in great despair and concern… he was as frightened and alarmed as the rest of us were by his hands!  He entered the house and called to us in much emotional if not physical pain.  When Lagertha turned and saw his hands, her fear and puzzlement were apparent on her face. None knew what to make of this sudden pouring out of blood from his hands.

lagertha sees Athelstan come in

lagertha sees Athelstan come in

athelstan's hands are covered in blood

athelstan’s hands are covered in blood

Even I, being a half hearted, doubtful and non-practicing Christian who has heard of such things before, was at a complete loss for words or explanation. If it should scare me, then I can only imagine what thoughts ran through everyone else’s minds and hearts?  It is one of those events that causes you to pause, wonder and fear that is truly a sign from God, or the Gods… and then your next thought is immediately of what could it mean? It is a much soul shocking event that unsettles even the most rational and logical minds!

lagertha shows fear at Athelstan's condition

lagertha is at a loss she does not know what to think

lagertha is at a loss she does not know what to think

What is the reason, what does it mean? Right now, I am as puzzled and fearful as all others… I have no rational answers or explanations! I only know that my personal faith is being questioned and tested as are those of so many others here and in Kattegat. For the time being, all I can do is put my faith in the Spinners of Fate- those most ancient ones who sit together weaving our lives and our destinies. Those spinners of fate, I do believe in. They weave all of our lives together in a pattern, a story that unfolds over time with no regard or concern for our personal choices of which God, which King, which road or river to follow. We think that we make the choices, but really they will take us where they choose in the end. I will content myself with that and I will simply follow where they lead me to.

The suffering of Athelstan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings: In defense of my friend Siggy!

 

 

 

A new dawn, a new voyage and adventure draws near now and our past is just that. As we head to this unknown future, we must try to put the past behind us and begin anew? As many of us know, that is much easier said than done? The past will forever follow us, haunt us and even be our guide at times, no matter how hard we try to forget and forgive, to say it does not matter? We carry those memories with us deep inside our minds and our hearts and they shape our destinies whether we would admit it or not… In the past years, there have been many hurts, many betrayals, mistakes and misgivings on all our parts which we must tell ourselves to set aside for a new beginning, a fresh start, and for some of us- a final revenge upon past misdeeds. We know not what tomorrow will bring or what path our fates will lead us upon. We can only hope for the best, pray that our Gods are on our side and choose wisely.  We can listen to the Seers, the prophecies, the Volvas and perhaps rely upon them to tell us what the future might hold for us. In the end though, it is us who decide our own destinies, for although the Norns, the spinners of fate, or as Christians believe-God sets our course on life, we are free to choose our path, our way. As some Christians believe, God has given us free will and it is up to us each moment, each day to make the right decisions.

Most of my Norse friends believe that the Norns set us upon our path, our destiny and determine our fate in life? They are with us from the moment of our birth, spinning, weaving and often twisting the threads of our life and as such they determine the outcome of our life.

800px-Norns_(1832)_from_Die_Helden_und_Götter_des_Nordens,_oder_Das_Buch_der_sagen Norns three women spinners of destiny

Norns are female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men, twining the thread of life. They set up the laws and decided on the lives of the children of men. Their names were Urðr (that which became or happened) related with Wyrd, weird (fate), Verðandi (that which is happening)  and Skuld (that which should become, debt, guilt).

In younger legendary sagas, the Norns appear to have been synonymous with witches (Völvas), and they arrive at the birth of the hero to shape his destiny. It seems that originally all of them were Disir, ghosts or deities associated with destruction and destiny. The notion that they were three, their distinction and association with the past, present and future may be due to a late influence from Greek and Roman mythology.

The Valkyries (choosers of the slain), were originally daemons of death. They were female figures who decided who will die in battle, and brought their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain. They were also related with spinning, and one of them was named Skuld (debt, guilt).  They may be related to Keres, the daemons of death in Greek mythology, who accompanied the dead to the entrance of Hades. In the scene of Kerostasie Keres are the “lots of death”, and in some cases Ker (destruction) has the same meaning, with Moira interpreted as “destiny of death” (moira thanatoio :μοίρα θανάτοιο) .

The Germanic Matres and Matrones, female deities almost entirely in a group of three, have been proposed as connected to the Norns and the Valkyries.

Two men on horseback meet three women. All are in Elizabethan dress.

Macbeth and Banquo meeting the three weird sisters in a woodcut from Holinshed’s Chronicles.

In Anglo-Saxon culture Wyrd (Weird) is a concept corresponding to fate or personal destiny (literally: what befalls one). Its Norse cognate is Urðr, and both names are deriven from the PIE root wert, “to turn, wind”, related with “spindle, distaff”.  In Old English literature Wyrd goes ever as she shall, and remains wholly inevitable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moirai

For many, the belief that the Norns have already determined our fate or our path and we can not change it is equal to the Christian Monks and church saying that what ever happens to us is God’s will. It is a fatalistic view and one that does not take into account or approve of our thinking for ourselves, for our questioning our circumstances or our station in life… It is a thought that the Gods, or God has willed my life to be this way and I should not attempt to change it. It is a concept or thought that they have chosen us to either suffer or glory for some reason that we should not question.

I myself have seen far too much suffering and pain over the past years to believe fully that it is the choice of  Gods, or God! I think that this is often a way for men of power to somehow attempt to absolve themselves of personal responsibility or guilt in such events! 

What ever the future holds for us, I will face it knowing and believing that we can steer our course on the voyage of life, make decisions on our own that will guide us through troubled waters… and that we must take responsibility for our each our own decisions and actions. I will go through this life forever more questioning and doubting why the Gods, or God causes us to suffer but I will still hold on to faith that, for everything there is a reason? I will hold faith that in the end, there are fair, just and honorable people with compassion in their hearts whether they be Christians, Northmen, or any other believer. There must be a way for the hatred, the bitterness and the battles of power hungry men to come to some peaceful conclusion. I will also hold faith that someday, the lot, the value and the life of women will see a change for the better. I did see some change in the future, but in many ways, it was becoming as treacherous and difficult as it is now?

 

As I wait for the next voyage that is so soon upon us now, I have not time to write of everything which happened in our past that leads us to our next moves. I have time only for a few last thoughts of those things that left me with the most heart ache, the most concern and the most puzzlement as to what will happen next?

first of all, I must address the rumors and the accusations upon my good friend, Siggy. She has made some grave mistakes and bad decisions… have not we all at one time or another? But, I will stand for  her and deny the claim that she is not a Whore! Siggy is not a Whore… now, that Princess Kwentirith of Mercia- she has most certainly earned and warrented the title of Whore? But, Siggy’s actions of late do not constitute the label of Whore. In my definition and estimation, a Whore is one who is not choosy about their partners, who has few scruples about their actions and does not have care or concern about said actions or activities. Siggy’s situation and her resulting actions were done for only one reason in her mind, and it was not as many think, just for benefit of herself!

I have stated previously, many times, that Siggy’s situation was precarious to say the least? She was in fear for her life and that of her daughter, Thyri at first, and you must understand that all women were in some ways dependent on men for their survival. Very few women were of such high state or power that they could completely make their way in life, rule themselves or make their own choices without the backing of men. Siggy knew this, all women knew this! Siggy lost her place in life and society when Earl Haraldson died and had to find her own way. In the beginning she was able to navigate the tides of change and could accept those changes with help from Lagertha, along with some thoughtful guidance from Athelstan.  She also had some thought, some assurance and protection from Rollo in that beginning. Rollo, who then had faith and belief that he would be an equal to his brother, Ragnar, offered her protection and the opportunity to regain her station in life as his wife.

After Haraldson’s death, Athelstan helped Siggy make her peace and make a new beginning in Lagertha’s household. This was by no means an easy thing to do for Siggy, but she did it. Siggy is a woman of pride and she had to swallow all of it in going to Lagertha. She begged forgiveness for her husband’s actions and she offered herself as servant to Lagertha’s houselhold.  Lagertha showed her compassion and her true judge of character in accepting Siggy into the household, not as a servant- but in the end as a true and valued friend. It was a friendship that would last, would survive through everything.

Athelstan paves the way for Siggy and Lagertha

Athelstan paves the way for Siggy and Lagertha

siggy begs forgiveness and charity from lagertha

siggy begs forgiveness and charity from lagertha

Siggy is doubtful but hopeful with his words

Siggy is doubtful but hopeful with his words

puzzled and untrusting looks at Siggy's offer to serve

puzzled and untrusting looks at Siggy’s offer to serve

Lagertha is uncomfortable with the offer as well

Lagertha is uncomfortable with the offer as well

Siggy and Lagertha formed their bond of friendship and Siggy became a source of great strength and comfort to Lagertha in the worst of times. These two women knew the meaning of friendship, and understood well the importance of women sticking together, supporting each other no matter what each one’s circumstances. It was during this time when the men were off in England that they faced together, one of the most difficult battles that women will ever face… the battle, the fight that men will never quite understand no matter how hard they might try? Men fight their battles and their wars on the field, most often against their enemies. Women fight their greatest battles, and so often lose at them, in attempting to give birth to one they already love and cherish. Their struggle, their fight often ends in the loss of that one they fight so hard to save? And, if they do not lose them in child birth, they lose so many children early in life that often their hearts close against the pain of such loss. They will often become distant and detached, appearing cold hearted towards their children, preparing themselves against another painful  loss. Siggy knew well of these feelings, having lost her two sons and almost losing her daughter Thyri, not to death, but to the inevitability of  marriage.

What began with fears about Ragnar’s safety across the sea brought hopes and dreams of their own future and then turned to something much more tragic.

A long time ago the seer prophecied that your father would have many sons that is how I know it's a boy

A long time ago the seer prophecied that your father would have many sons that is how I know it’s a boy

at home some mother daughter bonding time

at home some mother daughter bonding time

While Ragnar was in England thinking of great treasure and of revenge… Lagertha was at home in Kattegat fighting a losing battle for the life of their son.

Women would oft stand a better chance on the battle field than in the birthing bed

Women would oft stand a better chance on the battle field than in the birthing bed

death and tragedy strike at home

death and tragedy strike at home

the loss of their son

the loss of their son

the hardest fight to lose is one for the life of your child

the hardest fight to lose is one for the life of your child

 

siggy tries to comfort lagertha

siggy tries to comfort lagertha

So, while Ragnar was glorying over his victory in England, he failed to realize that in every reward from the Gods, there is a price to pay?

 

staring at his hard won treasure Ragnar little realizes what he has lost in return for it waving goodbye to Aelle

He returned home to greeted with the sadness that his much precious and prized next son had been lost. After that, there was much doubt in his heart that Lagertha would bear him more healthy sons and he eventually looked at the appearance of a young Aslaug as the Gods’ answers to his doubts? It was while he was off on a journey to aid King Horik that he was faced with the temptation of Aslaug and could not resist that temptation? It was also during this time while he was enjoying himself that the greatest of tragedies beset our village of Kattegat and everyone in it.

I do wonder at times if Siggy does not carry guilt and some kind of unbearable remorse that she can never quite forgive herself for in light of what occurred? It was certainly not her fault in any way, but I know that any one of us in the same situation would feel the same thoughts and wonder if we have caused such death in some way, and if we are then unworthy of forgiving ourselves… No one has ever set blame upon her for it, but in these situations, no one needs blame us- we blame ourselves for eternity and carry some form of unsaid guilt within our hearts forever. It began when she returned from a visit to a cousin who had just lost a child to sudden illness. We thought nothing of it at the time, such things happen all too often in this life.

After Ragnar and the men left on their journey, Lagertha was filled with fear and doubts which she could not shake from her thoughts. Much of it, I am sure had to do with the loss of her baby and her mourning that loss.

a somber family at home  Gyda worries over Lagertha You haven't eaten in three days

a somber family at home Gyda worries over Lagertha You haven’t eaten in three days

She was overcome with some undefinable fear that she felt hovering around her, like shadows in the corners, she called it?

I have fears  it's sometimes better not to know if fears will come true

I have fears it’s sometimes better not to know if fears will come true

Some of that fear had to do with Ragnar and her conclusion was, “Ragnar is in danger from himself!”

lagertha thinks Ragnar is in danger from himself

lagertha thinks Ragnar is in danger from himself

 

Later, Siggy returned home from her visit to relatives and complained of not feeling well? At first we thought she was just overly tired from her journey, but she quickly became very sick!

Siggy  tells of her cousin's son who died suddenly of a sweating sickness

Siggy tells of her cousin’s son who died suddenly of a sweating sickness

siggy complains of not feeling well

siggy complains of not feeling well

siggy becomes very ill

siggy becomes very ill

Suddenly, our entire village succumbed to the deadly illness. Everyone one us suffered and so many died that we could not keep up with caring for the sick and burying the dead? We suffered the loss of young and old alike, and in the end we lost our loved ones. Sweet innocent young Gyda was taken and so was the much loved Thyri.

the dead and dying in Kattegat

the dead and dying in Kattegat

the sickness strikes all and lagertha tries to care for them the great hall filled with sickness sweet young gyda falls ill I am going to die I know I am gyda asks for Athelstan but he is too weak to come to her athelstan is stricken athelstan comforts thyri he is too late  gyda has passed on as wellthyri has passed on horrified and grief stricken siggy holds her daughter

With Thyri’s death, Siggy felt that she had now lost everything? It would have been so easy for her to give up completely right then… as she had nothing left to live for in her mind. Lagertha had lost a baby, and now Gyda, but she did still have Bjorn and a husband left. She had reason left to fight but Siggy did not have that. Lagertha summoned her faith and called upon the Gods to help us. In the end, I do think that the only thing which save the few of us left alive and put an end to the sickness was the fact that custom and beliefs required us to burn the dead and their belongings along with them!

lagertha makes an offering to the gods in hope of stopping the sickness burning the dead

The only remaining comfort and solace for Siggy and Lagertha came in the knowledge that their daughters would travel together to the other side? And, in some way, I think that may have even strengthened the bond between them in this life, that thought that Gyda and Thyri would ever be together waiting on the other side and watching over them.

gyda's death2

gyda’s death

Our village and our people were decimated and nearly destroyed by this plague but there was little time to mourn the loss before even more chaos and destruction hit us. Ragnar and his men returned only to tell of Rollo’s betrayal and of a new battle for King Horik against Jarl Borg. Rollo was so filled with doubts about his own self worth and about Ragnar’s treatment of him that he chose to side with Jarl Borg in this war. The saddest part in all of it was the fact as Lagertha put it, it was not any war of our concern until Ragnar chose to involve us in it! For the life of me, I still do not quite understand all of the reasonings and motives behind all of it? It started as a land dispute between King Horik and Jarl Borg. Ragnar offered his services to King Horik in negotiating some form of agreement or settlement of the dispute. For all practical purposes, Jarl Borg was most probably in the right in his refusal to settle the matter! But, as it is done and over now, that is of little consequence and will not heal the hurts caused or bring back the dead.  After a deadly and vicious battle in which Rollo lost all reason, gave in to bloodlust, killed those who had once been friends and very nearly killed Floki, the battle was ended when Rollo regained some semblance of sanity and admitted that he could not kill his own brother. For all of this death and carnage, the battle did not even result in a victory for either side! They set their differences aside and decided that it would be far better choice to join forces and raid England together than to kill each other! The only one who really lost in this matter was Rollo.

The group returned home with Rollo as prisoner, now disgraced and dishonored, waiting for death. Rollo was really the only person, the only thing that had kept Siggy going on after the death of Thyri. When they brought him back, she did not desert him or give up on him even though he had given up on himself!

rollo in chains

rollo in chains

Siggy did not give up on Rollo even though he kept telling her to leave him be and let him accept his fate.

siggy comes to offer some comfort

siggy comes to offer some comfort

Eventually there was a judgement and the Lawgiver made the judgement to spare Rollo’s life but that did little to ease his mind or his heart? Rollo had lost all faith in himself and deemed himself unworthy of care or concern. He said it would have been better if he had died than to now live in such disgrace and dishonor.  The one person to pull him through this deepest inner battle was Siggy! She refuse to give up on him and forced him to face his demons. Now, at this time, Rollo was at such rock bottom that one could not really say that Siggy was doing this for any benefit to herself. Because, really what use or benefit was a drunken, has been warrior to anyone? Rollo did not have useful connections or grand wealth that would benefit her in the long run… he had nothing and he bluntly told her of this many times! Why would anyone choose to align themselves with him during this time other than out of true care and deep feelings for such a person?

At his lowest point, she had to revive him from having passed out in a snowbank! She most likely saved his life that night and did he care or thank her for it? No, he did not! He wanted to wallow in his self pity and destruction but she would not let him.

siggy bluntly revives a drunken rollo

it will be a long hard climb back up for Rollo

He finally sobered up and decided that he would leave Kattegat. He thought to sneak out of the village without even telling her of his leaving but she caught him and finally lost her temper with him!  She bares her heart to him and tells him, “I have lost everything, my sons, my husband, my daughter, my own worth, I will not lose you as well!”

I have lost everything my sons my husband my daughter I will not lose you as well

I have lost everything my sons my husband my daughter I will not lose you as well

Determined to reach him, she uses the force of the Gods on him, “The Gods have offered you a second chance at life and you would throw it away!”

the gods have offered you a second chance at life and you would throw it away

the gods have offered you a second chance at life and you would throw it away

siggy forces rollo to face himself

siggy forces rollo to face himself

Her final push to his limits is to hand him a seering hot knife and tell him to go and speak to Ragnar or else just end his life right now and be done with it once and for all!

 

go and speak with your brother or take this blade and kill yourself right now

go and speak with your brother or take this blade and kill yourself right now!

 

rollo takes the blade

rollo takes the blade

He could not do it, proving that there was still some spark of hope within his soul. Siggy saved his life and his soul on that night! She did not do it for her own gain, for any great rewards, she did it because she cared so deeply for him!

Rollo did go to Ragnar begging for forgiveness and some second chance at life with his brother. Ragnar was loathe to trust him again but did accept him once more as brother. He refused to allow Rollo to raid with them though… which in the long run was probably a good thing because Rollo eventually saved Ragnar’s family from the revenge of Jarl Borg!

Why should I forgive you or ever trust you again?

Why should I forgive you or ever trust you again?

begging for second chance with Ragnar

begging for second chance with Ragnar

Rollo was relegated to remaining at home while the others planned another raid to England. It was previously decided and agreed upon that King Horik, Ragnar, and Jarl Borg would raid together? But, King Horik changed his mind at the last minute and decided that he did want to include Jarl Borg in the raid. This decision would have disasterous consequences for all later on? King Horik was a devious and manipulative man who would use any means to ensure he got what he wanted?

I will not go into all of the details of his manipulations but it was during this time that Siggy began her own desperate attempts to fight for Rollo’s causes. She entered into the most dangerous of games at this time, taking great risks to herself and her own self worth. After having lived with Earl Haraldson, Siggy was well versed in the ways of dangerous political and power games that men will play and she entered into this world with the only assets she had available, her body… Yes, some would say that this makes her a whore, a prostitute and an ultimate betrayer of Rollo. But, in reality, this was much the way of the world back then, and is even now though we are loathe to admit it! The difference between Siggy’s motives and actions, and those of one such as that Princess Kwentirith is that Siggy did feel guilt, remorse, even disgust with herself at times. And, she did what she did for one sole purpose, Rollo! Siggy entered into a dangerous game, one which she could not back out of in the middle of it. It was one of those situations that you put yourself in, knowing full well the possible consequences and one that you know you must follow through on even when it turns far uglier than you ever imagine?

siggy tries her hand swaying horik

siggy tries her hand swaying horik

 

Siggy was not above using her body if need be to survive.

Siggy was not above using her body if need be to survive.

 

It was also during this time that Aslaug made her appearance in Kattegat and forever changed many lives… and not in a good way! This was a mess of Ragnar’s own making but the rest of us had to suffer it’s consequences! I have no love for Aslaug, and neither does Siggy. The woman was basically good for one thing- making sons for Ragnar. He fell for her wiles and temptations, and in the end lost Lagertha and his son Bjorn because of it. Lagertha chose to leave rather than be degraded and humiliated by Ragnar’s lust for this woman. I do not blame her in the least, but it was heartbreaking to see her go and be left with the haughty and useless Aslaug as leader of the household! We made attempts to get along with her… what other choice did we have?

From the moment of her arrival, she flaunted her pregnant self in front of Lagertha and assumed such an air of superiority over everyone that it was difficult to feel any fondness for this woman!

aslaug arrives

aslaug arrives

Siggy’s heart was with her friend Lagertha and she tried to console her in this matter but knew that Lagertha would not content herself with staying in this situation.

siggy tries to help Lagertha

Siggy tried to help Lagertha through the mess but knew that Lagertha would not stay in such a situation

Lagertha made her choice to leave and our hearts broke for her! It was a wretched and tear filled goodbye between friends.

lagertha prepares to leave friends they have become and friends they will remain a heartfelt goodbye between friends

Lagertha’s parting words for her husband were filled with contempt and disgust, “You insult and humiliate me, I have no choice but to leave!”

you insult and humiliate me I have no choice but to leave

you insult and humiliate me I have no choice but to leave

Bjorn chose to leave with his Mother… so Ragnar had traded one loving wife and son for another younger one who might produce more sons for him?

leaving ragnar is it possible to replace one son with another

And then what did he do? Why, he immediately left her with us to deal with as he went off to raid England again! He also left Rollo behind…

rollo watches the others leave

rollo watches the others leave

Aslaug did make half hearted attmepts at friendship with Siggy and Siggy forced herself to put up with the woman. No one was fooled and all knew that it was a friendship in name only!

aslaug attempts friendship with siggy siggy's response yes women must stick together more

aslaug attempts friendship with siggy siggy’s response yes women must stick together more

let's not fool each other you were once where I am now and perhaps you would like to be here once more

let’s not fool each other you were once where I am now and perhaps you would like to be here once more

As I mentioned, it was fortunate that Rollo did stay behind because it only his skills and his thinking that saved us when Jarl Borg chose to seek revenge upon Ragnar. He attacked the village and took it over while Ragnar was in England raiding with King Horik. and we were relegated to surviving up in the hills with the wining and useless  Aslaug and her sons. It was truly one of the worst times of my life, having to listen to her constantly!

To make a very long story shorter, Jarl Borg maintained control of Kattegat for a great length of time but we all managed to survive and eventually the village was taken back. Some years had passed and then to our great relief and pleasure, Lagertha returned to us for a time with Bjorn. He was now grown, a fine young man he was too! He and Lagertha returned to help fight for Kattegat and they did stay for a time. Lagertha eventually said she must leave and go back to her husband… a different sort of mess that we were unaware of at the time. But, she left Bjorn with us. He wanted to stay with his Father now.

There was still much intrigue and political maneuvering during this time and Siggy still played her dangerous game. She was greatly troubled though by her circumstances and her feelings. At one point, she visited the Seer and admitted her bitterness and resentments over the way her life had turned out. She wants to know if the Gods will ever smile upon her again.

siggy visits the seer are you unhappy do you think the gods have cheated you

siggy visits the seer are you unhappy do you think the gods have cheated you

i-want-my-old-position-back-i-am-bitter-i-am-angry-everything-i-had-everything-has-been-taken-from-me.

i-want-my-old-position-back-i-am-bitter-i-am-angry-everything-i-had-everything-has-been-taken-from-me.

I want to know will the gods ever smile on me again

I want to know will the gods ever smile on me again

The Seer’s answer to her is that the Gods always smile upon brave women like the sirens whom men desire and yet fear so much?

The gods always smile on brave women  like the sirens who men desire and yet fear

The gods always smile on brave women like the sirens who men desire and yet fear

Siggy took his words as some indication that she should continue to follow the path she had chosen no matter how dangerous, treacherous and disgusting it would become. At a meeting of the men after their return from another disasterous trip to England, Rollo and Siggy listen closely to King Horik’s plans for revenge and to his plans of once more joining forces with Jarl Borg? Rollo is suddenly in a much higher and more valued position…

it should be you rollo you know him better than anyone

it should be you rollo you know him better than anyone

siggy and rollo listen closely to horik's plan of revenge on king ecbert

siggy and rollo listen closely to horik’s plan of revenge on king ecbert

At what cost was this to Siggy though? Siggy had firmly entrenched herself in these games of politics and could not back out evenly when the cost became higher than she could stomach. She was visited by Horik and his son and at first thought it was a simple meeting, one which would just assure Horik of her willingness to help him in his cause and ensure some better circumstance for Rollo. She did not imagine what far more devious, deceptive and degrading game he played? She assumed that he would not involve his son in such actions, but that was where she was so very wrong!

siggy entertains horik and his son.

siggy entertains horik and his son.

everything I do I do for Rollo

everything I do I do for Rollo

if rollo rises I rise also     And you need my help

if rollo rises I rise also And you need my help

Horik does involve his son! “I want my son to undertand the games we play, you and I play, and Ragnar tries to play.”

I want my son to start to understand the games we play  you and I play  Ragnar tries to play

I want my son to start to understand the games we play you and I play Ragnar tries to play

my son is ignorant of these games and strangely ignorant of other things as well

my son is ignorant of these games and strangely ignorant of other things as well

I want him to enjoy the attentions of an experienced free woman

I want him to enjoy the attentions of an experienced free woman

Siggy suddenly realized just how far Horik was willing to drag her down to have complete control over her in her desperate attempts to ensure Rollo’s rise…But, she also did realize that she could not quit in the middle of such a treacherous game. For fear of her life and that of Rollo, now she must carry through with this because this act showed just how merciless and soulless Horik was. He would have no qualms about seeing her and Rollo done away with should she not comply with his wishes now. Especially now that she had admitted her feelings for Rollo and that she would do anything to ensure his rise in life.

how far does siggy degrade herself to help rollo rise once the game has begun one can not just quit or back out in the middle of it horik watches and siggy will not forget how low he has forced her to sink

and so siggy will go on with the game now because she must

and so siggy will go on with the game now because she must

Siggy may have played the whore because she felt desperate enough for Rollo’s future that she would have done anything for him, but that did not mean that she did it willingly or because she enjoyed it. Her disgust in herself was evident and she would never forgive Horik for putting her in such a position. There in lies the difference between Siggy and the ones such as Kwentirith!

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/vikings-trivia-who-is-princess-kwenthrith/

kwentirith inspecting the northmen Kwenthrith1 kwentirith talk to me of love and death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings: The beginnings of Rollo and Siggy

 

the wrath of a shieldmaiden

Still some time left to fight/vote! I will close the poll on Saturday… which is as we all know, Valentine’s Day- a day for love, peace and togetherness! So, no matter who wins or loses the battle, we will put down our shields and celebrate a well fought battle! The Shieldmaidens have come from behind and are currently the favored odds on favorites but that could change at a moment’s notice so continue to fight!

Now on to our memories of the past…

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/vikings-past-and-future/

As I told of earlier, we all attended Thyri’s wedding and wept to see her put up such a brave front in the midst of this arranged marriage which would bring Earl Haraldson such great profit and alliance with greater powers who might prove helpful should he face revolt again in the future.  The rather repulsive and disgusting groom, Earl Bjarni was a cousin of  King Horik, whom we would all meet later…  Haraldson took great pains to stress the importance of this marriage and alliance to Siggy and remind her that the marriage was about far more than just Thyri’s happiness. 

Thyri  tried so hard to maintain her dignity and hold her head high going into this marriage no matter how grieved she was at her fate. As we attended the wedding feast and watched her, we all felt such sadness for the girl.  I think of course, none was so sad as Siggy? 

just go on and remember to look happy

We were all surprised by Rollo’s appearance at the wedding feast for Thyri, the one who had once been used a promise- a pawn- to gain his allegiance to Haraldson? We all knew well that Haraldson now viewed Rollo as a traitor and was watching him closely to see if he would lead to Ragnar? Why would Rollo take such chance as to show up at this time? Did he not know, realize how much danger he was in from Haraldson? Why would he do this… many say it was because Rollo did not think ahead, did not think of consequences, acted on his impulses rather than common sense. At times, I would have to agree with those words about him.  In this instance, I believe though that Rollo perhaps thought this might be the best time to approach Earl Haraldson? Haraldson would not want a blood letting or fight to mar his daughter’s wedding to Earl Bjarni. He would not want Earl Bjarni to know so much about what other real problems there were within his small kingdom… it would not look good to have this more powerful Earl see that he was in a battle for control of his people?

What ever his reasons were, he chose to approach the Earl on this night.  Later that evening he met with Haraldson outside and confronted him about being followed and harassed for no other reason than being Ragnar’s brother.  He tells Haraldson, “You own everything I do not want to be on the outside I want to raid and fight that is what I do.”

Tell your thugs to stop following me it's a waste of time Ragnar is dead.

Tell your thugs to stop following me it’s a waste of time Ragnar is dead.

You own everything I do not want to be on the outside I want to raid and fight that is what I do.

You own everything I do not want to be on the outside I want to raid and fight that is what I do.

Earl Haraldson gives thought to Rollo’s words and advises him that he may work on the boats until such a time as Haraldson makes a decision on his trustworthiness?

Siggy watched this meeting from the shadows and did not trust that any of it would go well? I have said often that I do not know for sure of what may have transpired between Siggy and Rollo before this night… I only know that on this night, Siggy made her choice to involve herself more deeply in Rollo’s life.

siggy watches and listens to rollo and haraldson

Rollo watches Siggy in the shadows

Rollo watches Siggy in the shadows

Now, normally Siggy did not involve me in her personal affairs so much and I appreciated that. There are times when the less we know about certain things, the better off we are? But, after this night, she did ask me to help her? She put it more as helping Rollo than her… she swore he was in grave danger and would not take serious heed to warnings of Haraldson’s deceptions or his hatred of all Ragnar’s family.  I did not know what she thought I could do to help in this matter but she said that all I need to was make some excuse for her absence if any should ask after her? She was determined to meet with Rollo even though I did warn her that she was putting herself in equally grave danger? What if Haraldson should find out of this? Siggy shook this off and told me in confidence that those many were right about Rollo- he was too trusting, and too often believed people’s promises to him…

She arranged a meeting with him to warn him of the danger.

siggy and rollo meet secretly in a whare house

siggy and rollo meet secretly in a whare house

rollo believe me get away he hates you

rollo believe me get away he hates you

I've come to warn you

I’ve come to warn you

 

you must leave at once

you must leave at once

 

Her warning was in vain though, because as he made to leave, he was set upon by Haraldson’s men.

as he goes to leave he is set upon by haraldson's men

as he goes to leave he is set upon by haraldson’s men

Haraldson showed his truest hatred and seemed to take great relish in his torture of  Rollo?  I did never mention my thoughts on this to Siggy, but I think perhaps he knew something of Siggy’s involvement with Rollo and thus took even more revenge on the man?

I will admit to my small part in helping Siggy to find where Rollo was being kept… I was but a maid moving around the grounds and could more easily hear of things than she would be privy to? I think Haraldson did not trust her so much either now… I did help her into that room and then waited in shadows outside for her.  She was overcome with her grief, and guilt, I think at the treatment of him? I mention guilt because I do think  she knew in some way that this was far greater torture and punishment than called for on any level? Was it guilt because she did not warn him sooner, or was it guilt because she had in some way been a part of this? I do not know, for she never spoke of it after this.

beaten and tortured but not killed siggy sneaks in to see him

beaten and tortured but not killed siggy sneaks in to see him

Before I could warn her to leave, Earl Haraldson showed up and found her in the room with Rollo.

very suspicious now

Earl Haraldson is very suspicious of Siggy being in the room but chooses to say nothing of it

 

now a prisoner of haraldson

Siggy looks on in silence as Earl Haraldson approaches his prisoner.

siggy looks on as haraldson threatens more torture

siggy looks on as haraldson threatens more torture

where is ragnar lothbrok

where is ragnar lothbrok

Siggy kept her silent vigil as Haraldson continued to take his revenge on Rollo, asking him “Where is Ragnar Lothbrok?” It did no good to so continuously torture Rollo for he did not know!

rollo barely alive earl haraldson

Only a few knew of Ragnar and his family’s hiding place far up in the hills and woods at Floki’s home.  He had been close to death when young Bjorn searched for Floki and begged him to help. Helga was there with Floki and later told me the story of how Bjorn had shown up asking for help. They took the family in and hid them well with only those few closest to them ever knowing the truth.

desperately seeking floki bjorn meets Helga

I must speak with floki

I must speak with floki

what are you doing here boy My father is dying you must help us

Despite his disgust for the priest Athelstan, floki grudgingly admitted that there was some worth to him and all of them worked feverishly through the next weeks to keep Ragnar alive.

hidden away at floki's cabin ragnar heals.

hidden away at floki’s cabin ragnar heals.

During that time Athelstan learned much more about the Norse Gods as Floki and the others shared stories to help pass the time.

they tell athelstan stories about their gods how the water was made and how the ice came helga tells the story of how the earth was created

Athelstan could not hide his interest and his fascination with their stories…

athelstan is fascinated with the stories

Their peace and Ragnar’s healing was interrupted by Torstein’s arrival to tell them of Rollo’s capture and torture.

Torstien comes to warn of trap and of Rollo's torture

Torstein comes to warn of trap and of Rollo’s torture.

Ragnar was far from recovered of his wounds but decided that it was time to face Haraldson anyway and put end to the matter one way or another. Let the Gods decide on his fate in this battle…

 

tell me if he refuses

He sent Floki to  Kattegat with message and challenge Haraldson to a personal combat with him, making it clear that if Haraldson refuses then shame will stalk him forever and Odin will never allow him into his halls.

 

In Kattegat, Rollo’s life as well as the rest of ours hung on edge… Siggy must find some way to convince Earl Haraldson that Rollo meant naught to her, that she was as loyal and faithful as ever to the Earl and that she would stand with him no matter what.  She knew now exactly what her husband was capable of doing to any or all of us that he might view as traitors to his will and his cause. It only  Floki’s arrival and message from Ragnar that saved us all, that is my personal belief on it.

I must remind all who read this that despite the thought that the story is of  just Ragnar and his glories… it is not! It is so much more than just a telling of Ragnar Lothbrok’s life. Many often think only of Ragnar, of his deeds but I am here to tell the stories of those others like Rollo and Siggy along with others who often fell into the shadows of Ragnar’s larger than life exploits.  I must tell the story as I see it, as I know of it from the perspectives of all of those who shared in the events of his life, good and bad such as they were.

Siggy and Rollo, they are my friends and their stories matter just as much as Ragnar’s or anyone else’s.  Ragnar’s actions dragged all of us into this change of our world whether we should liked to have gone or not. Such is the case of Siggy and Rollo. In order to understand how they came to be who and what they are now to each other, we must see what happened to both of them in those early years to bring them together.

Despite what Siggy might have felt to Rollo at the time, she did love her husband once upon a time. She loved the man he used to be not the one he had become before the deaths of their sons, before the coldness and bitterness set in on him and the need for power and control at all costs took over his life and his mind. When Floki arrived that day with Ragnar’s challenge, I think that she feared the worst for us all no matter what the outcome? If her husband won, all those who might have sided with Ragnar or even been connected to him in the slightest of ways would see their own deaths as well as his. If Ragnar won? Well, if Ragnar won, her husband would die… and where would that leave her and her daughter, Thyri as well?  In those few days before the challenge she sought to find peace with herself and with her husband.

Floki arrived with his message, the challenge of personal combat to Earl Haraldson from Ragnar

floki delivers his message to haraldson

floki delivers his message to haraldson

The Earl’s henchman, Sven makes comment about how ridiculous this challenge is. Ragnar Lothbrok is nothing, a wanted man- how dare he think to issue such challenge to one such the Earl?

he has high opinion of self   Well he is a descendent of Odin

he has a high opinion of himself, doesn’t he? Well he is a descendent of Odin.

Floki tried to remain unphased and continued his speech about how bad it would look for the Earl to refuse such challenge?

others are moved by his speech

After some thought on it, the Earl agreed to this challenge, knowing it would be the death of either Ragnar or himself.

 

After the challenge was accepted, the worst fears and doubts were faced by all?

Haraldson prayed to his Gods but found no signs or answers…

 

 

haraldson praying to the gods

haraldson praying to the gods

give me a sign I can not feel your presence

give me a sign I can not feel your presence

Siggy watched on as the man that she had loved for so long gave up the fight before it had even begun.  In those darkest hours, she remembered who he had been and felt his pain. She stayed by him trying to comfort him, give him some peace and some strength to fight this battle for as I said, she feared what his loss would mean for her and Thyri… and she had loved him deeply once. It was those memories she held to as she tried to give him that courage, that warrior self that he was losing now.

siggy watches as he throw the idol down on the alter

siggy watches as he throw the idol down on the alter

It was during those hours that Haraldson admitted his respect, his honor of Ragnar Lothbrok. “He is what I used to be… ambitious, restless and he was right about the west. But, then I knew that in my heart.

He is what I used to be ambitious restless and he was right but I knew that in my heart

He is what I used to be ambitious restless and he was right but I knew that in my heart

He acknowledges, “Tomorrow I must kill a man for whom I have the utmost respect for.”

tomorrow I must kill a man for whom I have the utmost respect

tomorrow I must kill a man for whom I have the utmost respect

Siggy, at a loss for words, hands him back the locks of hair from their sons. in attempt to give him some added support and belief, she whispers, “Believe at least in them if not yourself that the Gods are with us.”

believe at least in them if not yourself that the gods are with us

believe at least in them if not yourself that the gods are with us

They passed the long night together and I do think that they both knew in their hearts that this was their closure, their goodbye to one another?

siggy and haraldson before the coming challenge

Thyri spent the night with her new husband and tried not to think of the future, or of the coming battle between her Father and Ragnar Lothbrok.

thyri and her new husband

thyri and her new husband

Her husband of course wanted to know more of this, of this man Ragnar Lothbrok but Thyri refused saying, “I do not talk of him, he is my Father’s enemy.”

who is this Ragnar everyone talks of  I don't talk about him he's my father's enemy

who is this Ragnar everyone talks of I don’t talk about him he’s my father’s enemy

 

Lagertha spent that night voicing her own fears…

savoring a few private moments before floki returns

savoring a few private moments before floki returns with the answer

Let us leave this place, go away from here. There are other places we can go to and live in peace…

let us go away there are other places we can live in peace

let us go away there are other places we can live in peace

 

Daylight came and everyone made ready for this final battle between two warriors, each for their own honor. For that is what it came down to, two men fighting for their personal honor. Two men, one who could not let go of the past and one who embraced the future. In the end, they honored and respected each other for in each other, they saw themselves.

the battle begins

the battle begins

In battle, they were well evenly matched and both fought honorably knowing that in this their final battle, an honorable death to one of them would be the only outcome.

they throw down their weapons and it's hand to hand combat the battle continues he loses his shield and haraldson throws his down too ragnar strikes from behind ragnar offers some comfort to the dying man Odin is here to take one of us  So I shall dine tonigh at the high table with Odin

At the end, Earl Haraldson lost the battle but Ragnar assured him of his well done fight and his journey to Valhalla.

ragnar helps his leaving come quicker

ragnar helps his leaving come quicker

Siggy’s worst fear had become reality. She kneeled next to her husband and made a last effort to save him

siggy tries to stop the leaving and blood letting but haraldson pushes her hand away he is ready to go

but he pushed her hand away and said, “Do not grieve, Tonight I shall be drinking with our boys”

tonight I shall be drinking with our boys

tonight I shall be drinking with our boys

As her husband died there in front of her, Siggy found her last strength…

his life fades away

She stepped back from her husband and loudly proclaimed her loyalty to Ragnar Lothbrok in a voice which demanded the respect of everyone else standing out there.

 

Hail Earl Ragnar

Do not tell me this did not take great courage on her part, as did her next action… a final action she took to save her daughter’s future. While everyone was standing there in stunned shock, she grabbed a knife and went to Thyri’s husband, Earl Bjarni, stabbing him to death.

before anyone realizes what she is up to Siggy grabs knife and stabs thyri's husband

before anyone realizes what she is up to Siggy grabs knife and stabs thyri’s husband

It was not until that act was completed that she walked away from the crowd in her own dazed shock.

in a daze she walks away from the crowd

in a daze she walks away from the crowd

The Earl’s henchman, who will forever live in my mind by the name of Piggy Henchman- I shall not honor him with his given name, he does not deserve that respect! He tried still to hold on to power after the Ear’s death, commanding the men to kill Ragnar.

piggy henchman attempts still to give orders

piggy henchman attempts still to give orders

pointing to ragnar he gives the order to Kill him

pointing to ragnar he gives the order to Kill him

Rollo calmly picked up an axe and finished the henchman’s miserable life!

rollo picks up an axe

rollo picks up an axe

attack on the henchman

attack on the henchman

At that end, he still thought there might be some chance? The man looked like he was debating on whether to pull the axe out or not?

an axe to his chest

an axe to his chest

 

For everyone in the village, this whole event became a blur of so much shock and change that it was difficult to sort it all out until much later. Suddenly in a matter of moments, Ragnar Lothbrok was now the Earl of Kattegat! All of the men immediately wanted to make their allegiance to him known, and be sure that there was no question or doubt about the event that had given him this honor. He was quickly swept into the Great Hall, in much of a stupor and daze himself.

still in some shock himself he looks dazed as he heads to the Earl's throne

still in some shock himself he looks dazed as he heads to the Earl’s throne

the men immediately swear their allegiance and fielty to him

the men immediately swear their allegiance and fielty to him

 

He tried to dissuade them all, saying there was no need as they were all his friends. They would not be argued with and insisted on this ritual. Then came an old man up to the throne, whom Ragnar did not know so he asked him his name and what his intent was?

the next time you go raiding you take me I am old I want to die in battle and enter valhalla with honor

the next time you go raiding you take me I am old I want to die in battle and enter valhalla with honor

 

give me the chance to die with honor in battle and join my companions

give me the chance to die with honor in battle and join my companions

The old man’s words were sincere and heartfelt, but Rollo was never one for tact or subtly made a less than honorable comment to the man. This was one of those time when many of us wanted to reach over and slap him for his unthinking remarks as Tostig took his oath of allegiance to Ragnar!

tostig steps forward to swear his oath

tostig steps forward to swear his oath

 

Rollo is blunt and has little tact at Tostig's oath of from this day forward he replies well it won't be too long then

Rollo is blunt and has little tact at Tostig’s oath of from this day forward he replies well it won’t be too long then

 

Later, Rollo made his own oath of allegiance and loyalty to his brother. Ragnar insisted there was no need because Rollo had already suffered greatly in showing his loyalty.

there's no need for you to swear you have already suffered and shown your loyalty

there’s no need for you to swear you have already suffered and shown your loyalty

Rollo is adamant about swearing his loyalty

never the less I will swear my oath to you brother

never the less I will swear my oath to you brother

Rollo speaks from his heart. He vows his loyalty, wishes Ragnar good fortune from the Gods and his last words are ones that he believes Ragnar will hold to? “I hope that we will ever be equal now, my brother”

I wish you good fortune always I hope the gods remain with us

I wish you good fortune always I hope the gods remain with us

I hope we will ever be equal now my brother

I hope we will ever be equal now my brother

Rollo speaks from his heart, and he thinks that his brother does as well? But, this was one of those moments when Siggy and many others were right… Rollo puts too much trust and faith in some, he still believed then that his brother would treat him as an equal in their relationship?

 

at rollo's words of equal Ragnar's look changes

at rollo’s words of equal Ragnar’s look changes

Rollo firmly believed that Ragnar would treat him as an equal, as a partner… When he came upon Siggie and Thyrie making plans to flee for their lives, he made a promise, a statement to Siggy that said as much.

Siggy and Thyri prepare to flee for their lives

Siggy and Thyri prepare to flee for their lives

Siggy was in a panic thinking that Rollo had come to do Ragnar’s bidding and put end to them as well.  After all, it was much a common practice… she was expecting such and was in a hurry to escape with Thyri.

have you come to kill us because Ragnar told you to  It is often the way the new Earl does

have you come to kill us because Ragnar told you to It is often the way the new Earl does

“Even if we don’t die, everyone will shun us like a bad smell nor take us in even though we have nowhere else to go”  Siggy had told me of this earlier and bade me go to Lagertha to swear my allegiance and offer my services to her.

even if we don't die everyone will shun us like a bad smell or take us in even though we have nowhere else to go   They won't

even if we don’t die everyone will shun us like a bad smell or take us in even though we have nowhere else to go They won’t

Rollo offered her his own protection and swore none would kill her or Thyri, much less Ragnar.

no one will force you to go anywhere if I vouch for you

no one will force you to go anywhere if I vouch for you

ragnar won't kill you

ragnar won’t kill you

Rollo believed he would hold equal status with Ragnar and offered marriage to Siggy… Thus began their long and complicated relationship!

would you not like to be married to another Earl  What do you mean who

would you not like to be married to another Earl What do you mean who

Of course, it must be said that this offer came after he realized that his wishful thinking of some future with Lagertha was just that… wishful thinking and nothing more. He had witnessed a moment between Ragnar and Lagertha where he knew that there was nothing between them save his unshared feelings for her.  That moment when Lagertha announced that she was carrying another child of Ragnar’s, Rollo’s pain at that was so visible. He could not hold his feeling within and so it was afterwards that he made his offer to Siggy.  If he could not have Lagertha, then he would have an Earl’s wife for his own…. Rollo and Siggy’s relationship began out of hurt and desperation on both their parts but they did come to care deeply for each other.

As they observe the death Lagertha announces her pregnancy rollo watches them walk away rollo looks on at the two of them together I know you're a boy the seer told me By all the Gods you have made me a happy man

Rollo and Siggy have a love that many do not understand… It was not born of fairy tales of childish dreams and fantasies. Their lives have been painful and oft filled with darkness. But, sometimes love is painful and it grows from those darkest and deepest cuts to the heart.

Rollo and siggy

 Siggy’s heart and soul were broken, Rollo gave her a way to go on, to come out of that darkness and reach for life again. Rollo’s heart and spirit were broken as well, and he was filled with doubt. Siggy gave him strength and purpose over the years to keep fighting the doubts, to be a better man. Theirs is a story of two troubled and broken people fighting from the ashes of life to survive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings: Past and future

 

 

Don’t forget to fight for your honor Shield Maidens!

girl power go girl two You go girl

Before we speak more of the past, let us take another look at the future?

Lagertha puts it very clearly and straight forward when Ragnar asks, “Is your Earldom really that important to you? Why?”  Lagertha answers simply and boldly, “Because it is mine!”

 

A sneak peek at season 3: conversation and meeting between Ragnar, Lagertha and King Ecbert!

http://player-services.goviral-content.com/video/18944

 

Vikings: Secrets of the Vikings: The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok

And, from the journals of Athelstan, we find his thoughts on all of the events of the past?

Athelstan's book

Athelstan’s book

He speaks of many things, but for me his words on loyalty and honor have the most meaning and most clearly point out why I have for so long put my faith and my fate with that of Siggy and Rollo despite their many faults and flaws.

Vikings: Athelstan’s Journal: Loyalty

 

Vikings: Athelstan’s Journal: Honor

 

Athelstan spoke of  the importance of loyalty and honor, the many ways both of those attributes shape our personal lives and our destinies.  Our lives may be governed by the fates of Gods and destiny but it is up to us how we choose to follow that fate or destiny. We may end up at the same final place no matter what we do, but will that ending and that memory of our life be recalled with honor and loyalty or disgrace and betrayal? That is for us each to decide and to choose. In the end, it comes down to whether our life- our story is remembered at all and whether we are remembered well and worthy by our future generations.

I previously spoke of  the trial which would affect so many of us in different ways? It was not and end of things, but a beginning of  hard lessons, tests of loyalties and bitter betrayals which would result in a great change for our village.  I could go into great detail and depth on what happened but I shall try to keep to the most important parts of it.

Ragnar walked away from the trial knowing that he was not really a free man, there would be a high price for this acquittal of his honor and of Lagertha’s.  Rollo walked away knowing the same thing… his loyalty to family and his betrayal of Earl Haraldson would not go unpunished.

The Earl made many plans in a short time. His first act was to show Ragnar that he was still Earl, he was still in control.

It was fine day, one good for hunting and so Ragnar left the farmstead unattended to do jus that. It has been quiet and he was not expecting any reprisal or retribution from Haraldson, especially not the kind that would follow?

a day in the woods hunting

hunting to eat

The people of his farmstead were occupied with the daily chores of life and not expecting trouble…

even the family heir must work to eat here

even the family heir must work to eat here

Bjorn as well as the rest of the group were taken by surprise to see the Earl Haraldson calmly sitting upon his horse instructing his men to attack.

Bjorn looks up to see Earl Haraldson and his men arriving and attacking

Bjorn looks up to see Earl Haraldson and his men arriving and attacking

attacked by haraldson and his men

attacked by haraldson and his men

In all truth, no one ever expected the Earl to go to such violent and brutal lengths against those innocent villagers and workers who had no part in the feud between Ragnar and him other than to be a part of Ragnar’s farmstead. I do not think that even Siggy knew how deeply and cruelly her husband’s mind was turning? She would soon have her own fears to contend with on that path his mind was taking.

a surprise attack on peaceful villagers

a surprise attack on peaceful villagers

 

running in fear for their lives from their own leader

running in fear for their lives from their own leader

Ragnar arrived home to find his farm and his family under attack.

 

arriving to find his family and farmstead under attack

He managed somehow to get to the questionable safety of his house and found his family alive. Although he had been seriously wounded getting there, his first thought was of how to get his family out of this attack safely? Bjorn of course argued that he would stay with his Father but Ragnar would hear none of it and pushed the boy down a ladder to escape. They made their way to the boat and were able to watch from a distance as the farmstead was burned and everything they owned destroyed.

watching from the boat watching the house burn

With his family safely escaped to the boat, Ragnar was taken by the Earl.

on his knees before haraldson

on his knees before haraldson

 

What do you say now Ragnar Lodbrok?  I am Earl here and I control everything, even you!

What do you say now Ragnar Lodbrok? I am Earl here and I control everything, even you!

Ragnar accepted his fate and asked for one last moment to pray to his Gods…

I accept my fate let me speak with my gods

He prayed for strength and his Gods listened because as he so oft reminds everyone, the Gods favor him!

The gods are with him he finds his strength manages his own escape

He did escape and did fine until he ran out of space to run? He eventually came to a cliff with certain death on both sides of him. His family looked on in horror from the boat at his choice.

one of those I am going to die any way I will take my chance with the fall

Ragnar faces one of those, I am going to die any way – I will take my chance with the fall, moments!

the leap the shock

The men assume that no one could survive the fall and give him up as dead.

his followers catch up with him and he has one choice left

The family held their breath and prayed for some sign of survival.

can you see him

Athelstan showed his courage and his devotion to this family that day by diving in and saving Ragnar’s life.  It would forever change how he was looked upon in this village!

athelstan dives in after him  Where are they athelstan saves his life  Is he dead

He did survive and was eventually taken to Floki’s home where it would take many weeks for him to recover in hiding from Haraldson.

During this time the Earl was making many other plans which would have dire impact on so many. He of course did not believe that Ragnar was dead, but he could not prove it either way? He also wanted to know where Ragnar’s family had disappeared to… he thought this all too suspicious to let go of? And, he had one more matter of revenge to settle… that was with Rollo. Rollo was continuously followed and harassed by Haraldson’s men for the assumption that he must know something of his brother’s fate and that of his family. He was also being watched by someone else who had her own interests in his survival?

It was during this time too that Haraldson made a decision about his daughter’s future fate, without consulting his wife Siggy. Siggy took this decision as a betrayal from him and even though she professed to understand his later reasons, I do not think she ever did forgive him for the act. It hurt her deeply that this man whom she had once loved, had been ever loyal to would keep such secrets from her. I do think that one of the worst parts of those secrets were the ones which surrounded the death of her sons. He chose to keep this from her for all of those years, and had kept the remaining remnants of their lives, their existence from her as well. As if he were the only one who cared for them, as if he were the only one to hurt so deeply from their loss…

First, he chose a husband for Thyri,  an old, ugly fat Swede for their young daughter… did he care so little for their own daughter as to marry her off to such a man? Was his daughter nothing more to him than bags of silver and land that they did not need? His response to Siggy’s outrage said everything, “I stopped caring about anything when our sons died!”

young thyri's future husband

young thyri’s future husband

why is he here what does he want

why is he here? what does he want?

why would we want to know each other better

why would we want to know each other better

too shocked for words

too shocked for words

siggy too upset to speak

siggy too upset to speak

thyri3

After Haraldson’s announcement of this marriage, Siggy could not keep silent her thoughts!

you told me nothing you've treated me with utter contempt you don't care about any of us

you told me nothing you’ve treated me with utter contempt you don’t care about any of us

I care for her security and her future and ours

I care for her security and her future and ours

 

this marriage will bring us land and important alliances he is cousin to king horik

this marriage will bring us land and important alliances he is cousin to king horik

what do you say thyri  Thank  you

how could you don't you care for her happiness  He will give us 20 pounds of silver for her

how could you? don’t you care for her happiness? He will give us 20 pounds of silver for her…Is that all she is worth to you, all we are worth?

Haraldson admits to Siggy that he stopped caring about such things as happiness when their sons died.

I stopped caring about anything when our boys died

I stopped caring about anything when our boys died

He then shared the secret of how they were killed and buried in such a blatent disrespect to him and how it was a clear message to him that there would always be those who would seek to destroy him. He shared with her too, finally, the locks of their hair which he had kept for long and not allowed her to see.

Haraldson shows siggy the locks of their sons hair

Haraldson shows siggy the locks of their sons hair

they were my sons I bore them I raised them I loved them just as I loved you once

they were my sons I bore them I raised them I loved them just as I loved you once

I think for Siggy, this secret was the most hurtful and deepest of  pain and betrayal which she ever felt? For him to hold on to these few precious memories of their sons for himself cut her heart in the worst possible way. That he assumed his own grief and suffering were more than hers was more than she could take and it did break something within her heart for she had truly cared for and loved this man. And, now she must try to accept that his actions and the feelings of revolt and vengeance on the part of those who hated him would continue to put them all in danger, so much so that she must sacrifice her daughter’s happiness and go along with this marriage just to see Thyri safe away from this place.

You see when you have such knowledge being married to a rich old man isn't so bad

You see when you have such knowledge being married to a rich old man isn’t so bad

 

Believe me when I say that this was one wedding that most of us would have preferred not to attend! All of our hearts went out to poor Thyri even if most did not know the truest of reasons for such a deplorable and disgusting arrangement!

thyri's wedding

thyri’s wedding

Siggy tries to console Thyri

Siggy tries to console Thyri

the happy and excited groom

Nooo I can not pretend I can not smile about this  Neither can I.

Nooo I can not pretend I can not smile about this Neither can I.

just go on and remember to look happy

We all made attempt to pretend happiness for the couple but it was so difficult and took much mead on everyone’s part!

advice from Mother  stay calm pretend to be happy

advice from Mother stay calm pretend to be happy

thyri's wedding night

thyri’s wedding night

Then there came a surprise guest to the feast and we all held breath in fear that blood would be spilled?

a surprise guest at the wedding

a surprise guest at the wedding

 

Siggy looked on in great worry...

Siggy looked on in great worry…

Rollo took it upon himself to attend the wedding feast for Thyri!

rollo shows up at the wedding feast

rollo shows up at the wedding feast

Fortunately, the feast was not marred by bloodshed as well as disgust… Earl Haraldson and Rollo made attempt to be somewhat civil for the time being?

I don't remember inviting you  Oh I assumed you had just forgotten to

I don’t remember inviting you Oh I assumed you had just forgotten to

that could have been you dancing with my daughter.  Well I had to think about it...

that could have been you dancing with my daughter. Well I had to think about it…

I guess was not fated to marry her!

I guess was not fated to marry her!

That attempt at civility would not last long as we will find out soon!

To be continued….