Here Kusi tells a little about his father Ræf Sighfrith, uncles Erik and Regnwald and mentions his mother also. - Ed.
Come, sit...warm yourself by my fire...I'll tell you of my fathers doings in Angleland.
He was captain of many heroic fighting men commanded by the famous war chieftain Ivar the Boneless.
“We were the head of Othin's spear, we were the chosen warriors...pushing the border of Daneland further and further with each swing of a sharpened steel blade...aahhkkaa kkaa ka!!” my father would scream and rant like a madman, his mead horn pointed toward the heavens.
My father was a man called Ræf Sighfrith, and he had many jobs while I was a lad. When I was young he and his brothers were some of the first warriors to fight in Angleland. He was gone for months at a time and only returned to Daneland when his warriors ran thin in numbers. He told me many times when I was young, “if you can't even pull off a raid or defend a camp its time to move back to the ships, while you got enough to crew a few boats!!” He was a leader of many fighters in Angleland and most of them from the my home, Fjord Vejle. I remember making my way to the top of the valley and climbing a tree often visited by the Chieftain's men, it was called the looking larch if I remember right. In the top of the giant larch you could see any man coming down the fjord trail or moving through the low open lands. It was a great scout post! “I was keepin' watch to see if Papa was coming home.” I would tell my mother.
My mother, Rúna and my fathers eldest brother Erik raised me while my father had finished his fight in Angleland. My uncle Erik came back to the fjord before his brothers did, but it was for good reason, his ax hand was hacked of by a fellow Dane warrior! Uncle Erik and the band of warriors he was with was surrounded and ambushed by Saxons, prisoners were taken. Then the next night a rescue party of Danes were dispatched and raided a group of Saxons escorting Erik and the others...they didn't have time to unchain the shackled prisoners using the less painful method before the Saxons could react with force...but that is a story for another time. My father Ræf returned after five years of war abroad, he set sail for Angleland spring of my sixth year and returned to the fjord summer of my eleventh year. The few times I saw him in between he had a most sad and angry disposition, what ever this Danelag was, it was not the spring and summer vikings he talked so highly of.
“Angleland is a crazy land...witches, and the preachers of christ...living together in the same village without strife, until I came around that is,” boasted my father. Sometimes, like when the rain was to heavy for work, he would talk all day. I always loved to hear his stories of the battles at Jorvik.
“The locals called it Jork, or somthin' like that but I've never seen so many people in one spot of land before. I thought Hedeby had too many volk in one town...that's a flowergarten next to Jorvik! But it dosen't matter now...” he would say with a grin, “they're all dead.” My father Ræf and his brothers were fighting in the biggest army the saxons had ever seen, the Great Army under the berzerk war chieftain Ivar “the Boneless” and his brothers Halfdan and Ubbe, sons of Ragnar Lodbrok, and they had many friends. My fathers told me tales of the Jarl Ragnar Lodbrok.
“Years before the battles at Danelag he led one hundred and twenty ships, some with fifty dane warriors, into the heart of the Frankish lands without fear...they plundered and raided towns along the countryside on there route to Paris, the lord in Paris paid them in silver and gold, they were rich! Then...our Great Lodbrok and what was left of his army...never made it home. Ivar told me once he reckoned his father died in 845, about the time your uncle Regnwald was born.” referring to his youngest brother.
Yes, these were amongst my fathers most entertaining stories indeed. Erik, Ræf, and Regnwald were born in a sod haus south of my birthplace in the Vejle Fjord.
“If it ain't fer us boy, you'd still be sleepin' in damed dirt like a lad should...go on then Kusi...bring us some more ALE!!” often spake my uncle Regnwald while home from Angleland. And my father would simply whisper in my ear, “Never fear Kusi, you will become a greater man than my little brother has.”
As told by Kusi Sighfrith.
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