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This is a continuation of my story Herta Wolfsfriend, which should be read first. Apologies if I’ve made any errors in depicting Norse or Saami cultures. This historical romance draws from Maria Kvilhaug’s Blade Honer novels, as well as Nils Gaup’s excellent film The Pathfinder (1987). The central idea, a strong BBW Norsewoman with three adoring younger wives, was loosely inspired by a drawing by Oupelay on DeviantArt, entitled Barbarian Queen (minus the ridiculous skimpy costumes). All sexually active characters in this story are above the age of eighteen.
The following autumn, when Solveig took Oavaan back to his uncle Leif’s household for the winter, she found the village all a-stir over the visit of Ingrid Björnsdaughter, an esteemed priestess of Freyja, from the great temple at Uppsala. Kings, it was said, feared her judgement. She had the power of life and death, to choose men, regardless of their wealth and station, as sacrificial offerings to the gods. She was not just a priestess, but also a völva, a witch: she could lay curses, but she could also grant boons: plentiful catches of fish, rich harvests of grain, thriving herds of cattle, the birth of healthy children, and — particularly important to the goddess she served — success in love matters. But no one really knew why she had chosen to come to Egil’s Rock, a fairly, it must be conceded, insignificant fishing and farming village of the backwater kingdom of Halogaland.
The day after Solveig’s and Oavaan’s arrival, a feast was held in honour of the visitor, hosted of course by the Jarl, Leif Gunnarsson. As the Jarl’s sister, Solveig’s place was at the high table. And so Solveig found herself seated next to Ingrid Björnsdaughter herself. The great priestess-witch turned out to be a disarmingly ordinary-looking woman, with pleasant features, heavyset, perhaps sixty years of age, who walked with a walking-stick. She was attended by a pretty, brown-haired young priestess, perhaps a few years younger than Solveig, named Ragnhild. Ingrid Björnsdaughter was asked several times, in the course of the evening, about her purpose in coming to Egil’s Rock, but each time she responded by launching into a long story that captured her listeners’ attention and entertained them so that they forgot the original question. As the feast ended, Ingrid rose and pronounced Freyja’s blessing on the village. Then she named several women, telling them that they would be with child within the year. The people of Egil’s Rock were set at ease about the priestess. She was a benevolent old woman who enjoyed her food and told amusing stories, who did the usual priestess fertility mumbo-jumbo, but was otherwise harmless. And if the mumbo-jumbo actually worked, so much the better.
Afterwards, Ingrid turned to Solveig and spoke low: “My dear, we must talk tomorrow, privately. Will you meet me by Ymir’s Stone at dawn?”
Solveig, dumbstruck, nodded.
At their meeting the following morning, Ingrid pressed Solveig for information about her household — not her brother’s household: she meant the women up in the mountains. Sensing that it would be unwise to lie or withhold information from this clever and powerful woman, Solveig told her the full story: about Herta Wolfsfriend, who ran away from home as a girl and built her own farmstead in a highland meadow; about herself, Solveig, who fell in love with Herta and became her sif; about Aili, the Saami girl rescued from slavery, who had also become Herta’s sif; about Oavaan their boy with three mothers.
“Good,” Ingrid said. “My mistress Freyja has led me aright. It is an unusual household you have, up there in the mountains, but richly blessed by the goddess I serve, I’ve no doubt. Freyja is no stranger to the pleasures of woman-love … nor are many of her priestesses. Though that three-in-a-bed business — hmm, downright racy, some might call it,” Ingrid chuckled. “Now I will tell you a story, Solveig Heartsharer, about a king’s daughter.”
“It is one of Freyja’s titles. I gift this name to you, gentle Solveig: it suits you, much better than ‘Gunnarsdaughter’. Well, let me get on with my story. You have heard how, some dozen years ago, in Westfold, King Thorwolf Bloodhand was assassinated by Haakon Sigurdsson, father of the present king Ranulf?”
Solveig shook her head. “We hear little news from foreign parts in this village. Up in the mountains, I hear nothing at all.”
“Well I can you this: kingship is a dirty business. Our kings, you know, were once merely men chosen by the jarls to act as lawspeaker at the All-Thing, to offer sacrifices to the gods, and to serve as military leader in times of war. The important decisions rested in the hands of the priestesses and the grandmothers, as it should be. But times changed. Wars became more frequent. Power passed into the hands of warlike men. Kings began putting on airs, speaking of their “royal blood”, of dynasties bursa yabancı escort “descended from the gods”, and similar nonsense. As though we were not all descended from the gods, even the lowliest slave among us.
“So this Haakon, not content with the murder of the king, massacred Thorwolf’s entire family as well,” Ingrid shook her head. “But a nurse escaped with the king’s youngest daughter, Thordis, and brought her to the temple at Uppsala, where she was raised to serve Freyja. She is like a daughter to me. You met her last night. She now goes by the name Ragnhild. I put her life in your hands by telling you this.”
“I will not betray her secret,” answered Solveig ardently.
“I know it, Solveig,” the priestess smiled and took her hand. “I can see that you are a good woman. Your Herta is lucky to have you as her sif. Anyway … we had hoped that Ranulf Haakonsson had forgotten about Thorwolf’s daughter. But somehow he found out where she was. Recently, there was an attempt to abduct her from Uppsala. But they grabbed the wrong girl — fortunately for Ragnhild. Not so fortunately for the other girl: they strangled her when they saw their mistake. She was a servant girl named Aslog, the gentlest of souls.” Ingrid paused. “Certainly he will try again. Ranulf wishes to force Ragnhild into marriage, to beget children upon her and so to strengthen his claim to the throne. If he cannot marry her, he will try to murder her just as he murdered Aslog, to remove the threat she poses. As I said, it is a dirty business being king. Ragnhild wants no part in dynastic struggles, and I don’t blame her. But she is no longer safe at Uppsala. So she and I prayed to our mistress, we practised sei?r, searching for a place where she may live her life in safety. In the flames, we saw a vision of a mountain meadow in this distant corner of Halogaland, sacred to our mistress’ brother Freyr, and of three women, dear to Freyja, who care for that place. So I ask this of you, Solveig Heartsharer: to take the goddess’ servant, my love-daughter Ragnhild, back with you to Herta’s Meadow, to place her under the protection of your house-bond, Herta Wolfsfriend, where she will be safe, where she will thrive, where she will be loved. And one of these days — it may be several years from now — I will come visit your household, and see how my Hildy is faring.”
“Are you suggesting that Herta take Ragnhild as her sif?”
“I am suggesting nothing, Solveig Heartsharer: you are suggesting it,” Ingrid smiled impishly. “The nature of your … ahem … sleeping arrangements is entirely for the four of you to work out.” She paused. “I can tell you this, though: Hildy prefers the embrace of a woman to that of a man. That girl broke some hearts among the priestesses at Uppsala, when she left to come here to Halogaland.”
Solveig looked at Ingrid again. “You’re walking without your stick this morning.”
“Very observant,” Ingrid laughed. “The stick is a prop, my dear. Sometimes it’s useful to let people think you are a bit more feeble than you are, just a harmless old woman. And now, I must go back and settle the hash of this Westfolder king, who thinks he can lay his hands on Freyja’s priestesses with impunity. I’ll show him harmless.”
Solveig and the Uppsala party left Egil’s Rock the same day, apparently travelling in opposite directions. But Solveig doubled back far outside the village to a pre-arranged spot, where she found Ragnhild waiting for her.
Solveig had always imagined the Uppsala priests and priestesses to be grand personages, accustomed to lives of ease and luxury. It’s true that Ragnhild, on their return to Herta’s Meadow, rode a fine horse and wore a handsome wool frock and bearskin cloak. But she proved to be a simple, down-to-earth young woman. She put on no airs, she travelled without complaining, carrying few possessions with her. She was adept at making camp when they stopped to rest each night. Like her love-mother Ingrid, she was an entertaining story-teller. Moreover, she asked lots of intelligent questions about the farmstead, about Herta and Aili and Oavaan, about how she might help with the household work. Solveig thought back to her journey seven years previously, bringing Aili to Herta’s Meadow, when Aili had asked similar questions. Certainly her house-bond would like this new girl, perhaps she would come to love her. The thought of another sif in the household began to grow on Solveig.
When they finally reached Herta’s Meadow, Solveig called out in greeting, but Herta and Aili were nowhere to be seen. Then she noticed the smouldering firepit by the entrance to the sauna; and as she and Ragnhild drew nearer, they heard sounds of lovemaking within.
Solveig blushed. “It might be best if you wait outside here, dear Ragnhild, whilst I greet my house-bond and love-sister. The stream is to your left; you may water the horses there. bursa sınırsız escort I … er, may be a little while.”
“Take your time,” Ragnhild winked.
Solveig quickly disrobed and entered the sauna. In the dim light of the glowing rocks, she could see Aili sucking at Herta’s right breast, whilst gently fingering her cunt.
“Now there’s a sight for sore eyes!”
“Solveig!” both women cried out joyfully.
“Shh, don’t get up. I want to join in on this.” She snuggled up to her house-bond on the wide bench and began sucking Herta’s left breast, tasting the sweet breastmilk she’d been deprived of for half a month. Her finger joined Aili’s inside Herta’s snug, slippery channel. “Gods, I’ve missed this, Herta my love.”
“And I’ve missed you; we both have,” Herta murmured happily. “You’ve been gone too long, sif. Oavaan settled in well?”
“I’ll tell you all about it, shortly. First I want to help my love-sister make you come.”
She soon got her wish. Herta wanted to return the favour, but Solveig pulled away.
“Later, house-bond. I have brought back someone with me, a priestess of Freyja.”
Herta’s eyes grew big. “What? She’s here? Now?”
And so, as the women quickly rinsed their bodies down, towelled off, and pulled on their shifts, Solveig hurriedly explained to them about her time in Egil’s Rock, about Oavaan’s well-being, but mostly about the visit of the Uppsala priestess Ingrid Björnsdaughter, and the danger her love-daughter Ragnhild faced from the Westfolder king.
They went out at once to meet Ragnhild, finding her gathering cloudberries from the bushes beside the stream. The girl was lovely, Herta noticed, not just in her features, but in the simple, confident way she moved, in the winsome way her dark brown braids flicked about as she turned her head.
“Forgive us, Ragnhild, for our delay in greeting you,” Herta said, embracing her. Ragnhild hugged her back, warmly.
“There is nothing to forgive, Herta Wolfsfriend. You were enjoying the love of your sifs. To the goddess whom I serve, nothing is more sacred.” Ragnhild’s formal demeanour melted and a look of simple girlish glee came over her face. “Oh Herta, I am … delighted to meet you at last! And you too Aili Oavaans-mother.” She took the Saami woman in her arms. “And please call me Hildy; Ragnhild is too much of a mouthful for everyday use.”
“Solveig has explained your situation, dear Hildy, and why you have come here,” Herta continued, as they entered the house and sat down. “You are most welcome, of course. We are honoured to have a priestess of Freyja living with us, to say nothing of a king’s daughter.”
Ragnhild still gazed at Herta intently, with a sort of seductive witchy look in her eyes. “Forgive me … I have had visions of you, Herta Wolfsfriend, in the flames of sei?r. And Solveig told me much about you on the way here. I feel as though I know you already. You too Aili. But seeing you here in front of me, in the flesh … Herta: I was not prepared for how wonderful you are … Excuse me, this is awkward. And forward of me, I know. It’s just that … in sei?r I saw and felt the inner essence of you, not your outward appearance. But now … you quite take my breath away. I must say it. You are so strong and beautiful, Herta, inwardly and outwardly both.”
Herta, at a loss for words, blushed crimson.
“Oh, and I have not come empty-handed.” Ragnhild opened her saddle bag. “For your altar, I bring you these figures of Freyja and Freyr.” The women excitedly admired the exquisite ivory carvings.
Herta lowered her eyes sheepishly. “You will think poorly of us, priestess — we have no altar here for the gods, just the altars of our hearts.”
“That is the most important kind of altar, certainly. But a visible altar can help remind the heart altar. I will build such an altar, if I may, to place these figures upon, so that I can offer prayers and sacrifices for this household. And these little trinkets are for Solveig and Aili, my new love-sisters.” She gave the honey-haired woman a pair of dazzling sapphire earrings, and equally dazzling ruby earrings to the Saami woman. “Let me see them on you. Yes, those go well with your colouring, I think. I will give Oavaan his gift when he returns in the summer. This, Herta Wolfsfriend, is for you.” It was a fine gold necklace with a large emerald pendant that perfectly complemented her red hair, now touched with streaks of grey.
“Thank you, Hildy,” Herta said at last, stunned. “Your rich gifts honour us. But … we are not grand ladies here. Who will ever see us with these precious jewels?”
“I will see you. Wear them for me, please.” She paused, looking nervous.
“I have one more item to bestow. I should wait, but … my heart is impatient.” She pulled out a leather moneybag and set it on the table, with a heavy chink. Cautiously, Herta opened it.
“Why görükle escort there are more gold coins here than could be spent in a lifetime!” she gasped. “Oh Hildy, this is not necessary. You don’t have to buy a place with us, precious one. I cannot accept this.”
“It is not to buy anything … it is my dowry,” she said softly.
“But your dowry is for when you marry. For your house-bond’s household.”
“Yes.” Tears stood in Ragnhild’s eyes. “The idea is unwelcome to you, Herta Wolfsfriend? I thought … I have misjudged the situation, it seems.”
Herta gazed at her, open-mouthed. Then she stood up. “Ragnhild, I must speak privately with my sifs. No, you stay here please. We will walk outside.”
Herta and her two sifs strode silently down to the lake and sat on the large flat stone.
“You said she wanted to stay with us,” Herta erupted at Solveig, “to hide from that king; you said nothing about marriage!”
“I did not know this was in her heart, house-bond. Well, Ingrid Björnsdaughter hinted at the possibility — but I thought Hildy would give it more time, to know her own heart and to let you know yours. It seems she is completely smitten with you — the way she gazes at you, they way she speaks of your beauty. She will be crushed if you refuse her.”
“Why are you so upset, house-bond?” Aili asked. “Yes, this is all very sudden and unexpected, but … this young woman is a treasure, a blessing upon our household, a gift from Freyja herself. You must see that. I don’t have time for some of your Norse gods, but Freyja is the same as our Maderakka. I don’t want to see you reject a precious gift from Maderakka. Besides, you already have two sifs, so what’s the big difficulty in adding a third? Particularly a beauty like Ragnhild.”
“Precisely, dear Aili: I already have two sifs!” Herta threw up her hands. “Yes, Hildy is a beauty and a treasure, no doubt. But my heart is already full with you two. Where will this end? Every few years another sif? Must I marry twenty sifs before I die?”
“Don’t be so dramatic, house-bond,” Aili countered. “Twenty sifs could not fit in our bed. But there’s room for three. Hmm, three would be perfect, in fact, now that Silver is gone.” She looked meaningfully at Solveig.
“Ah yes, I see,” Solveig grinned. “Aili and I will continue to sleep beside you, with our heads pillowed on your breasts, and Hildy will sleep between your legs, with her head pillowed on that lovely mound of red hair. Or perhaps Aili or I may take a turn down there, with Hildy’s permission; it sounds very cozy, now that I think about it.”
Despite herself, Herta felt her cunt moistening, as the scene played in her mind.
“Remember, house-bond,” Solveig added, “how you resisted the idea of a second sif. I had to wear you down with arguments, night after night, till you finally gave in. Are you sorry Aili is with us now?”
“Of course not. You know I’m delighted with both of you –“
“So perhaps I am right again. Perhaps you will be delighted with Hildy too.”
Aili agreed: “It’s two to one, house-bond. You are out-voted.”
“Is that how these decisions are made? Is this a village Thing?” Herta grunted in resignation.
“I’m afraid so, house-bond,” Solveig grinned. “As law-speaker for the Thing of Herta’s Meadow, I sentence you to marriage, to all three of us.”
“Why do you women never give me time to get used to the idea?” Herta humphed. “Aili, you had to be abed with me the second night after coming here; Solveig, it was the very first night for you.”
“I don’t remember you complaining at the time,” Solveig laughed. “And I wager you won’t be complaining two hours from now, when we’re abed with Ragnhild. It seems you attract women who don’t favour long courtships.”
“It’s your breasts, Herta,” Aili giggled. “I just couldn’t wait: they drove me wild. Still do.” She snuggled into Herta’s arms, laying her head on her house-bond’s ample bosom to demonstrate her point. “Mmm, so soft and full. I love them. I suppose they have the same effect on our Hildy.”
“She moves fast, that one,” Solveig added, “I’ll give you that. She thinks with her heart, not her head — perhaps that’s the goddess in her. But, really, this had to be. Can you imagine having that girl in our household long-term, without her coming to our bed sooner or later? So why not sooner?”
When they returned to the house, Ragnhild held herself stiffly, eyes downcast, bracing herself for Herta’s decision — perhaps she would have to sleep in Oavaan’s bed in the loft … or worse, she would be sent back to Uppsala.
“Ragnhild, dear Hildy, let me embrace you, my sif,” Herta said softly.
Ragnhild blinked in surprise for a moment, then she sprang to her feet and threw herself into Herta’s arms.
“Truly, my sweet Hildy. My sifs would not have it any other way.” Herta held the young priestess in her arms, stroking her hair. “And I am quickly warming to the idea. Very quickly.” Then she kissed the young priestess’ mouth, and Ragnhild kissed back, passionately. The other women cheered.
“You are one of us now, love-sister,” Aili squealed happily, embracing Ragnhild from behind.
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