I`m so sorry for not having posted a chapter yesterday. I`m currently on a small island with very poor internet connection and when I was ready to post, the connection was down. It`s a lovely island, btw, and the fun thing is that someone has built a copy of a Viking ship, sailed around the world in it (in 1992) and now the ship is here. It`s always a great inspiration for this story to be able to go on board a Viking ship!
I want to thank Suki59 for being such a great beta. She has now posted her second Hunger Games fanfic – you should all go and read it.
The sun was warm and my head was heavy. I felt sticky and dizzy and was glad I was lying down. Trying not to move and doing so I used the little brain power I had left to decide where I was.
I sent messages to my skin and, though with clear delay, I was told that my legs and the lower part of my torso were on a hard surface, possibly grass. My head was resting higher, though. Higher and warmer.
I was on my back and my arms were by my side. I moved my fingers a little, weaved them into something. Yes, grass.
But I couldn`t make out what was under my head.
I lay still for a little while and then I realized it was alive.
Was it a dog?
No, I didn`t have a dog.
I took a deep breath and a familiar smell reached my nose. What was it?
Slowly, I opened my eyes and saw … Odin? No, this wasn`t Odin. I`d found out that this wasn`t Odin. This one had both his eyes. Blue eyes staring at me. A mouth smiling.
The sun was behind his head and made his blond hair glow like gold. Definitely not Odin.
“Eric?” I asked, my voice not really my own. It was distant and … raspy.
“Do you need to throw up?” he asked and my hazy brain immediately found the memory of the last time I`d been intoxicated with Eric.
I shook my head and realized I was lying in his lap, his strong thighs under my head and shoulders.
“How do you feel?” Eric asked.
“Dizzy,” I said, still in that same whispery voice. “And thirsty.”
Eric leaned back and soon a leather flask was at my mouth and fresh water rolled down my throat. And my chin as I couldn`t swallow very well.
“Amelia told me you`d taken the mushrooms of truth.”
I nodded. “She`d had a vision where I was predicting the future.”
He grinned. “She told me about your predictions.”
“Yes, apparently you and I are going to grow old together. No house in Valhalla.” His grin was still there and I couldn`t detect if it was because he enjoyed that prediction or if he was just teasing me.
“Really?” My voice was now loaded with doubt.
“Really. Did you know that you and I are going to have eleven children?”
Definitely teasing. “I am not giving birth to eleven children. You`d be castrated long before that happens.” I took another sip of the water and felt my brain clearing.
“But imagine the fun we`d have making all those children.”
I couldn`t help enjoying the feeling of lying in his lap and staring into his teasing face. I tried to hold onto my anger. My frustration. But it seemed to fade away and my heart started fluttering as if it belonged to a teenage girl.
“You know I`m good with the sword. A little mishap during practice and I wouldn`t have to worry about you impregnating me at all,” I said but my smile undermined the threat.
Eric pretended he hadn`t heard me. “The boys would be as strong and brave as their father and the girls as good looking as their mother.”
“Or vice versa,” I countered.
“I know that I`m handsome, Sookie, but I wouldn`t want my daughters to have my looks.” His smile was wider.
“I meant that I was strong and brave, you oaf,” I said and tried to push myself up to a sitting position. It didn`t go very well as my dizziness came back and it brought friends. Headache and Nausea.
“I think I have to throw up anyway,” I managed to say just before bile filled my mouth.
Magically I was pushed to lie on my side and a bowl appeared under my mouth. I emptied my stomach – and then some.
“I seem to get to see this side of you a lot, wife,” Eric said in a dry voice and it wasn`t until I`d dry-heaved a couple of times that I realized he`d called me “wife.”
“Yeah,” I said, searching my brain for a snappy reply. “You have to wonder why I keep throwing up when you`re near.” Not exactly what I`d wanted to say but it would have to do.
“Ouch. I remember other reactions to being close to me. I can still hear your moans of desire, your ….”
“I thought I was going to die, remember?” I stopped him. I couldn`t help smiling, though, because I remembered those moans too.
When my stomach seemed to be through dry-heaving and I had nothing left for it to throw up, Eric gently raised me and half-carried me away from the camp and to a lake close by. He peeled off my clothes in silence and then undressed himself while holding onto me with one hand – which was good because I wasn`t sure I could stand on my own two feet without the support.
My brain noticed the fact that his arm seemed to work and I wanted to comment on it but didn`t.
He carried me into the lake, his right arm carrying most of the weight so apparently his left arm wasn`t back to full strength yet, and lowered me so that I had water to my chin. I dived under and took a large sip of water. Then I rubbed my face to make sure there wasn`t any vomit left on my chin.
I knew I should be embarrassed that Eric had helped his vomiting wife twice now but I just couldn`t muster the energy to care. If a large army had come my way now, threatening to kill me and everyone I cared about, I would probably just have welcomed them and asked them to be quick about it.
I was that exhausted.
Eric pulled me up and I remembered I had to breathe which was hard with my face under water. I gasped for air and realized my brain was in a poor condition when not even my basic survival skills were functioning.
“Thank you,” I said to Eric when my breathing was normal again.
“You`re welcome. I can`t have you drowning now that I know you`ll be the mother of my eleven children,” he deadpanned.
“I think I`m going to be sick again,” I deadpanned back while making gagging sounds. Yes, I`m hilarious when I`m recovering from a night of mushrooms.
He smiled and let his hands glide over my body. Not in a I-want-your-body-and-I-want-it-now way but to make sure I was clean all over, rubbing away invisible dirt and things too gross to think about.
Then he pulled me up and carried me to the grassy hill at the other end of the lake. He laid me down and stretched out next to me. We lay there next to each other, our bodies getting dry and warm from the sun and when his hand grabbed mine I couldn`t help sighing.
Imagine that – me, Sookie Stackhouse, sighing because of a man. And not just any man, but the man I`d cursed for weeks and wanted to give a good kick if I ever saw him again.
I was a disgrace.
We lay there for awhile. The sun moved over the sky, and the shadows from the distant trees and rocks moved with it.
I was at perfect peace. With the world. With myself. With Eric. It must have been some mushroom to have accomplished that and deep inside I knew the peace wasn`t a lasting one. No peace ever was.
“Why are you here?” I asked Eric when I`d listened to the birds and the bees and his breathing for too long.
“I expected you didn`t want to miss the war so I came to get you.”
I turned my head and found him looking at me. Eric smiled one of those smiles that turned his blue eyes warmer and made me want to smile back. “I thought Sophie-Anne wanted to wait?”
“Not when she has the upper hand.”
My mushroom-drugged brain didn`t connect at first but then I realized what he meant. “Victor,” I said.
“Yes. Felipe has received an ultimatum. He is to give in or Victor will die.”
“Sophie-Anne expects a battle?” I asked.
“Sophie-Anne likes to be prepared. And she assumes Felipe will be more likely to accept defeat if Sophie-Anne`s army is larger than his.”
“Which is why she needs me?”
“Sophie-Anne wants as many women fighting for her as possible.” One of Eric`s fingers glided down my cheek to my chin.
“She is sending Felipe a message.” I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feeling of his finger when it made another trip down my cheek.
“It`s a message I agree with,” Eric said and leaned over me. A kiss as soft as a butterfly`s wings landed on my mouth and I inhaled, taking in his smell. But before I could kiss him back he`d rolled up to a sitting position. “We need to get back,” he said.
“But ….” I wasn`t sure what I was going to say but it had something to do with the kiss.
“I would love to, Sookie,” he said and gave me another one of his special smiles. “But I`d prefer for you to be entirely sober. Our first time was on death`s door. I don`t want our second one to be with you drugged on mushrooms.”
And then he kissed me again.
This was a short one – sorry. It had to be like this because of the next chapter.
Since I have no internet right now I can`t double check, but I think it was AuntieL who asked me what a “Vølve” was. I`m sorry I didn`t explain the Vølve in my last chapter.
A vølve, or volve, volva or vola, was a person who could see the future. A vølve was a woman and usually the leader of a cult of women who would travel around the country and offer their services. She would be connected to Odin who could also predict the future.
Vølve means “carrier of the holy rod” and that rod would usually be the sign of their “profession.” Until Christianity the Vølve were met with a large amount of respect but later they were looked upon as witches which wasn`t as positive. In my story I`ve called Amelia a witch but this is meant as a positive Vølve – someone who will do good things for her people.
Vølve were closely related to Sejdmenn (men) and Sejdkonur (women) who were a kind of shamans. Often a Vølve would also be a handler of the Sejd. Women who were Sejd had much more respect than men, who would often be taunted for choosing that line of work. In some myths Sejdmenn were seen as sexual perversions and not “real” men.
Vølves (who were always women) were usually looked upon as experts in sexual seduction but men were also warned against having sex with them as they could lose their powers to the powerful Vølves.