ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hunding's Saga - 14: Betrayed - Lifing's Hatred Sees Hunding Chained

Updated on June 26, 2019

Holmgard, Novgorod (Newburgh) to the Slavs

Holmgard market, where foreign traders rested and sold their goods - looking down the slope towards the River Volkhov with the citadel across the river within the old town
Holmgard market, where foreign traders rested and sold their goods - looking down the slope towards the River Volkhov with the citadel across the river within the old town | Source

Lifing exacts revenge for being thrown overboard in Hunding's escape from Jumne

Without wishing to give anything away and offend his Aenglish crewmen, Hunding gave out that King Aethelred had many good fighting men in his kingdom.

After all, Osferth was doing well in this time of open trade, and Hunding himself gained from his master's overseas links. Another king might demand higher tolls on gains from trade with likely foes such as the Danes, West Norse or Svear.

However, bored with talking about King Aethelred began talking about his own realm. He was keen to show Hunding, Lifing and Tofig his golden wreath or crown.

'The emperor Vasili - you may have heard of him as Basil, we here amongst the eastern Slavs cal him Vasili - let me know through his legates that the rulers of old in Roma wore these in their day', Valdemar boasted proudly, showing off the fine workmanship. He even let Hunding handle it before passing it to Lifing and Tofig.

'It is well crafted, my Lord', Hunding and Tofig agreed.

'A thing of great beauty', Lifing added, his eyes narrowing.

Hunding gazed long and hard at the trinket, and, never having even seen the ealdorman of Northanhymbra, wondered to himself what the Danish or Aenglish kings wore when seated on their thrones.

'You are lost for words, I know', Prince Valdemar smiled warmly, or at least that was how it seemed..

'You are right, my Lord. I am lost for words', Hunding knew that what he really thought would offend the prince. He was thinking that whatever the great prince had paid for it, he had been robbed.

Lifing was thinking of a way to use Hunding's seeming lack of words to his own ends. It could be seen by someone of a suspicious nature as thinking of a way to lighten Valdemar's hoard. He was looking for a way to disgrace Hunding in the prince's eyes, putting together a plan to rob Hunding of the swords and have him taken into captivity - even worse, sold off as a thrall. Lifing also wanted Braendings Slange. He could put together a crew to take the ship to Jumne. Hunding's crew would not need a ship for some time - until freed to find their way home to wherever they came from.

Sverri, seated aft on Braendings Slange saw shadows on the river strand. The ship was beached on the other side of the river from the prince's own inner fortified Holmgard. All around were trading ships like theirs from other parts of the east and Varangia, lighted candles flickering in roughly made casings swinging by the masts in the light wind. Rus merchants' warehouses and homes loomed over the river bank in the darkness, pinpricks of light shining from lamps mounted on outer walls overhanging the river. Taverns rang with the noise of men toasting deals struck between Svear and Arabs, between Wends and Rus traders.

'Aesc, you and Odd go up to the prow', Sverri hissed behind his left hand. 'Ealdwin fo midships. Ravnsord and Skalpi stand here by me'.

'What is afoot?' Ealdwin asked, confused about this sudden rash of activity on the ship at this late hour.

'Hush! I do not know - yet. Just go forward. I shall let you know what to do before long, fear not', Sverri gripped Ealdwin by one elbow and gave the Aenglishman a light shove, then looked around again.

The shadows had stopped moving, Sverri noted. He stared into the darkness, trying to make out whether he could see shapes. A man stumbled behind him and Sverri rose to take on the man who would otherwise have struck him with a long-bladed knife. The fellow now knelt, unable to move on for fear of the tall, burly Dane. Sverri unsheathed his own dagger and shot forward. He could feel the man's lifeblood ebb away, but before he could shove the corpse away, another was on him... and another two. Others were on the deck now, Sverri saw from the corner of one eye, more than their own number. One held a blade to Ravnsord's throat.

'Lay down your weapons!' Lifing snarled at Hunding's crew. Sverri growled at the sight of the hated Lifing. How had he sprung back to life, when they thought that he and the fat steersman Brond had been dealt with? Lifing sneered at Sverri. He knew what his fellow was thinking.

'You are right to be worried, friend. Your shipmaster Hunding is being held for the theft of the prince's gold crown', Lifing looked to midships. for what Sverri did not know. The swords and fleeces had been taken to Valdemar's hall early in the evening.

'Fool - what would Hunding want with a crown?' Sverri snapped, then grinned to himself at the thought of seeing his old friend with a crown on his head. 'Where could he sell it, after all? Never having seen it myself, I would not know what to look for'.

'You might well ask, Sverri - where could he sell it? I think you know what it looks like, who would buy such a well-crafted trinket, or who might know those who would want to buy such a treasure', Lifing smiled crookedly and waved to the men with him. 'Seize him, bind him and bring him to the prince's garth. Bring the others with him, and two of you stand guard on this ship'.

Lifing had the crew marched toward a bridge that spanned the River Volkhov. A shout up to the guard had the gates to the prince's garth swung open. Sverri, Aesc, Ealdwin, Ravnsord, Skalpi and the others were pushed through the gateway, shamed by bindings on their hands like common offenders. They gasped, however, when they saw Hunding and Tofig in front of them in the dimly-lit yard, chained like bears.

'What have you done?' Ealdwin yelled at Hunding, fearful for his own life. Hunding gelt a blade against his shoulder blades and stayed silent, biding his time.

'Your master stands accused of the theft of Prince Valdemar's gold wreath crown', a Rus nobleman called out from behind Hunding. A giant of a man, his blond hair twisted into plaits over his ears, this fellow looked as though he would brook no argument. Ealdwin and the others were stunned. All eyes turned to Hunding, but his tongue was tied. He added smugly, pointing to Hunding's and Tofig's heavy iron chains, 'You, as his crew, might have wished him freed. We have ensured that such a threat will be no threat at all'.

'I for one do not believe Gunding would have done that!' Ravnsord shouted back.

'Such trust is misplaced in him', Lifing sneered, ready to push Sverri onward. But Sverri stood firm, feet planted wide apart on the hard-packed earth of the yard. One of the prince's Rus guards strode up behind him and sought to trip Sverri over his long spear. The guard himself lost his footing and fell forward onto a muddy patch. Ravnsord and Skalpi laughed, only to be dealt back-handed slaps across their mouths by Lifing.

'You will laugh differently when you are all locked away!' Lifing snapped and Sverri grinned as Lifing fell backward over his outstretched foot.

'Take him to the water gate and see how he laughs in the morning - in the drowning pool!' Lifing ordered, livid. Two guards shoved Sverri away, the three of them vanishing into the darkness. The rest of the crew watched after them in stony silence. Lifing cackled, 'Sverri will be bound to a stake in the still freezing river tonight. Then we shall see how he laughs!'

The nobleman stepped forward to stand beside Hunding, whose costly new spun silk shirt had been torn when Valdemar's guards manhandled him to kneel before their prince.

Next: 15 - CHAINED

Norse influence on the young Rus state would manifest itself in the outward appearance of its warriors, although court dress looked east to Slav influence

Mediaeval Rus man at arms - the outfit owed much to its Scandinavian origins - the shield looks much like those the Normans' carried, and King Harold's huscarls adopted in latter years
Mediaeval Rus man at arms - the outfit owed much to its Scandinavian origins - the shield looks much like those the Normans' carried, and King Harold's huscarls adopted in latter years | Source
See description below
See description below | Source

Tracing Novgorod's history through the Mediaeval Chronicles, how the east was won - Rurik and a band of chosen warriors left Sweden east across the Baltic in response to a plea from the Slavs. By the 11th Century a new era would begin with Valdemar (Vladimir) 'the Great' and reach a peak with Jaroslav 'the Wise'.

Holmgard - Novgorod

Novgorod is the eastern Slav for 'Newtown' or possibly 'Newbury/Newborough', Holmgard is the Norse for 'Island stronghold', as 'Koenungagard' was Norse for 'the king's stronghold' at Kiev/Kiyiv, and 'Miklagard' was the 'great stronghold' of Constantinople (see also Micklegate in York = the great or broad street).

The ruler of Novgorod was a prince, later also to be prince of Koenunagard.. Two of the most famed princes of Novgorod were Vladimir or Valdemar to the Norsemen, and Jaroslav allied to the Byzantine head of state Emperor Basil I, 'the Bulgar Slayer' who sent Greek Orthodox missionaries on Jaroslav's request. Jaroslav would be known in perpetuity as 'the Wise' for the Christianisation of the Rus states (Russia).

In these stories I have portrayed Valdemar as being envious of Basil's crown. This is pure fiction for the purpose of bringing adventure into Hunding's time in the east, not to blacken the prince's reputation.

*See also 'VIKING - 40: Rurik And The Rus...' about the establishment of the Rus state.

© 2011 Alan R Lancaster

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)