A/N: The Viking's have invaded Ireland to retake Dublin. Erik and his men are ready to depart for their homeland when he finds that his brother, Leif, has not shown up. His body has not been found...so where is he? Erik will not leave without his brother; therefore, their voyage home will have to wait until he is found. Before the day is up, a messenger is sent to Erik announcing that the King has imprisoned Leif and will release him unharmed, if Erik returns the his daughter.
I do not own Eric and Sookie or any of the SVM characters. They are the perfect couple to write about.
I have slowly begun to rewrite this fic. The rewrite date will be at the end of each page.
Dublin, Ireland the year 917
Where the hell is Leif? I fear I have waited long enough for his return. The battle is over, the slaves are below deck and the long ships are ready to depart. He has never taken this long before. We have recovered all the fallen warriors and Leif's body was not among the dead. Thinking back though, he has a history of enjoying himself a little bit too much with the local vermin. I don't care that he is the eldest; I am losing my patience with him. Father would never forgive me if I sailed without him, not to mention Aude. Erik Northman, a fearsome Norse warrior, thought as he impatiently paced the deck of his long ship, awaiting the return of his eldest brother, Leif. Leif always rushed to the ships when they departed from his village, seeking relief from his jealous, overbearing wife. The trip home was different, however, as he was usually the first to show up on the deck of his ship.
We have missed the tide and now we will not be able to sail until tomorrow. Leif, if you are not dead already I fear I am mad enough to put my broadsword through your heart….where the hell are you? Erik's patience was completely gone as he turned to his second in command. "Jakob, the voyage home will be long and treacherous; sleep is a luxury that my quarters do not provide. If I must wait for word of Leif I would much prefer to sleep in the monastery we just left behind. Do me a favor old friend…..I ask much of you, but you are my most trusted friend and fellow warrior…..chose three strong females to cook and serve our meals and for some reason that small lad along the rail impressed me earlier with his boldness and spunk. Bring him along to serve as stable boy. Choose a dozen of our best warriors and have the horses unloaded. We cannot leave until my brother is found!"
"What of our pleasure, my lord?" Jakob asked with a gleam in his eyes.
"I care not what you do with your lust; just remember that no harm is to come to the slaves. You cannot expect them to work for us if we mistreat them." Erik lost his internal battle to keep a stern face as his old friend's sassy disposition made him smile. "The men must learn to respect our conquests. We are a very powerful breed and most cultures fall easily by our sword. This campaign was successful as we finally recaptured Dublin and we are here to stay." Erik continued shouting orders as he climbed upon his black stallion.
As the entourage headed toward the monastery Erik thought about marriage. Leif was forced into an arranged marriage; he has no love for Aude…..so he fornicates with every female he encounters. Even the happily married Jakob has no problem with being pleasured by the thralls. I guess 'Out of sight, out of mind' is what most of my warriors believe. Why does my heart and mind tell me something different? My father has stayed home the last two seasons of conquest to be with my ailing mother. The years I have accompanied him on our yearly campaigns, I have never seen him betray my mother's trust in him. He never abused a conquered female and he never took one to his tent or bedchamber. I have always admired his strength, honesty and the power of his love for my mother. He has been a good role model and I wish to pattern myself after him. My mind has been plaguing me with thoughts of staying here instead of returning home. I have no one to return to except my parents. The thought of building a life here appeals to me…a home, a wife and a family would bring the happiness I seek.
The monastery was used as a strategic post during the recent battles, so when he reached the front entrance Erik swiftly dismounted Thor. For the protection of those living there, the monastery could only be entered by a ladder, so he placed it against the ancient building and entered the single door to the round tower. After entering the upper bedchamber, which he previously established as his sleeping quarters, a knock at the door broke his train of thought
"Enter." Erik demanded the entruder.
"Erik, here is the stable boy. What are your instructions for him?" Jakob entered the large room. Because it was used as a monastery, the room was very plain with uneven wooden planks as flooring. The sleeping pallet was quite large and raised high off the floor. There was one shuttered window facing the sea and a fire was already blazing in the large stone fireplace to keep the chill away. To make it feel more like home Erik instructed Jakob to return his furs and tapestries, for he had no idea how long he had to endure the facilities until his brother's return.
Erik studied the lad standing next to Jakob,"Leave us, Jakob. My young friend and I have a few things to discuss. I also wish for him to return to my room after he has taken care of our horses. I don't expect him to groom and feed all of the horses, so make sure the mead is not served until each man takes care of his own animal. The boy will be responsible for mine and yours." After Jakob shut the heavy wooden door behind him, Erik began taking off his woolen tunic and sash. For some reason he noticed the lad's face was turned toward the door facing the floor.
"Here lad, help me remove my boots. When you complete that task, find one of the newly acquired thralls and hand them my dirty clothes to launder." Erik continued by removing his pants to add to the lad's pile of dirty clothes. The young boy briefly lifted his eyes and silently gasped at the vision before him. Brief, yes...but long enough to get an eye full of a naked, larger than life Viking warrior.
As the boy exited the sleeping quarters, Erik noticed a slight curve in the lad's hips and there was a very long strand of silky, honey blond hair hanging down his back. I know I should question him…..but I will allow him to do his job and return to me. Something about him is just not right. His height is slight for a teenage boy and I don't understand the length of his hair. The other slave children have long hair, but not that long. I only wear my hair this length, because we have been away from our homeland for some time now and I never trim it until our safe return. The boy's hair color is similar to mine; he will fit into my family well. He seems shy though; he did not look me in the eye and always had his head down as if he didn't want me to see his face. Perhaps he has been beaten and his face is scarred…...I respect scars as I have so many of my own, therefore, when he returns I plan on confronting him. I enjoy children, and truly want to have many legitimate sons. Unlike my fellow clansmen, I refuse to impregnate the thralls. I want no illegitimate families. I long for a loving wife, many sons…..maybe a daughter or two…..and land such as this. Erik stared out the small window facing the sea, as he admired the beautiful rolling green hills speckled with wild flowers.
A wooden tub was rolled into the sleeping quarters by one of the newly acquired slaves. "I will assist you with your bath my lord. If you require more, I am more than willing." The wench was certainly comely, but for some reason Erik could not bring himself to accept her offer and instead of enjoying her eyes on his manhood, he was uncomfortable. That has never happened before! I usually need some relief after a treacherous campaign, but she does not arouse me.
"That will not be necessary. The bath will fit my current needs, thank you." Erik excused the wench, but before he was able to lower his sore body into the inviting bath, the sound of a rider approaching outside attracted his attention.
"Erik…Erik make haste, there is a messenger from King Niall Glúndub mac Áedo." Jakob called from outside the door.
After Jakob gave the missive to Erik, he unrolled the small scroll. A look of rage appeared on Erik's face as he threw it on the floor with his mind in turmoil. How can this be? Leif, you are such an ass! How could you go and get yourself captured and now imprisoned by that...that…king who should not be breathing!
Erik finally gained his composure, "It seems that Leif has gotten himself captured by King Niall. The King claims we have captured his only daughter and wishes to trade 'The Northman Prince' for his beloved daughter. Find this wench!"
"Erik….there is no such woman on the boats. We have fifty woman, twenty men and twelve children." Jakob informed his friend. "If this woman is a beautiful princess, should she not be dressed as such? We have no such woman. Does the note describe her? Does the note give us any clue as to how we can identify her?"
"No!" Erik read the missive outloud:
Your pathetic ginger haired brother will die if my daughter is not returned to me. She is the most beautiful woman you savages will ever have the honor of gazing upon. If my precious daughter is not returned to me within the week, your brother will start losing body parts. His manhood would be a good start!
Your mortal enemy, the rightful King of Dublin
This cannot be happening! Erik thought to himself as he turned to Jakob to issue his orders, "Jakob find this wench and bring her to my bedchamber! If she does not give herself up willingly, I order you to kill one slave every hour until she does. She will have their blood on her pathetic, Irish hands. As far as I am concerned she is an Irish traitor who hides from us. I will not tolerate a woman who lies about her identity when it comes to my brother's life! Find her…now!"
How can this be happening to me? Sookie thought to herself as she began tending to the incredibly handsome barbarian's horse. How dare he strip in front of me! I have never seen such a sight. The only problem is I truly enjoyed watching him in a perverted way and now I am unable to concentrate on my task. Will he punish me if I do not do my job well?
Sookie's father was indeed the King of Dublin, but she had not seen him for over five years. He had never been particularly fond of his daughter; however, he gladly sold her to a 75 year old lord in order to increase his land and wealth. When she was just a child of twelve years, one of her father's advisors tried to grope her growing chest. Her father became enraged. He took his rage, however, out on her instead of the perverted lord. His punishment was to banish her to a well-guarded monastery along the coast. She was allowed to wear clothing that only a pauper, male child would wear. No contact with other humans, except the kindly priests was to be her social life until her wedding to the ancient Lord Dunnigan. That way her safety and innocence would be guarded...so thought her father.
Sookie was lost in her daydreams. The handsome barbarian called Erik, was so powerful and handsome, she thought of a life with him…as what? Surely she could not keep up her ruse as a lad forever. She was sure to slip up and then instead of his kindness, she would feel his wrath the same as her loving father had shown his true colors. The sound of a rider interrupted her thoughts as she ran to the barn opening to see what the commotion was. An Irish soldier...part of my father's guard! What in the world could this mean? Perhaps my father is finally dead and I will be free…..Thank God, for I will never marry Lord Dunnigan!
Before Sookie's happy thoughts could be confirmed she heard the handsome barbarian, "Find her….now!" I pray he does not mean me. Fear of being caught as an imposter by my captors instantly outweighs my fear of marrying Lord Dunnigan at the moment. My only escape is to mount the barbarian's horse and flee. Which is exactly what she did.
I am so enraged at my brother, the king and myself for allowing this to happen. Out of the corner of Erik's eye he spied the stable boy riding away on Thor. Since it would be unwise to ride after the boy without clothing, he hastily grabbed a clean pair of woolen pants and another pair of boots. His sword and axe were the last items he procured as he jumped out of the monastery and lept onto the back of Jakob's horse. I knew there was something odd about that boy. What boy has honey colored waist length hair? What boy has the hips of a wanton fertility goddess? If I would have only looked him in the eye, I would have seen that he was perhaps a female instead of the lad he has portrayed himself to be. I will catch him, and he or she will answer to me!
The boy is an excellent horseman, a sure sign of wealth! Erik was finding it more and more difficult to catch up to him and from the corner of his eye, he noticed that the lad had veered left into a thick forest. Rather than follow on horseback, he dismounted and hid his horse in an effort to sneak up on the questionable lad. I will not tolerate lies and deceit and if this is the illusive princess, she will be tied to my bedpost and stripped naked until I can get her to reveal where Leif is being kept prisoner. How that ass of a King thinks he can hide his daughter in boy's clothing and at a monastery is beyond me. He must be completely mad and so is this daughter of his. Pft….beauty my ass! We shall see about that!
As Erik silently crept through the forest, he finally spied the girl. Her hat had been discarded and her hair was indeed the color of sweet honey. The sun shining through the tall trees made each long, silky strand glow as if it were spun with gold. For some reason, the girl was weeping and had her head down between her legs with her hands over her face. Erik was enraged and sympathetic at the same time. His emotions seem to be torn apart, because he had never been able to tolerate a weeping woman. On the other hand she most likely played a part in kidnapping Leif.
Finally her hands fell from her face and her head rose up as if sensing Erik's presence. Erik could not conceal the gasp he uttered by the beauty his eyes beheld. She is more beautiful than all of our Norse women combined! Her angelic look made Erik feel no threat to his being as he approached her only to encircle her in his embrace to comfort the poor, sweet child.
"What have we here…..a very beautiful lad?" Faster than Erik could react, the girl picked up a bow and arrow and shot directly at his head. The arrow just missed his cheek as he felt the air whoosh past him.
"Stay away from me….you…you…barbarian! I will not go with you and I will not go back to my father. He is mad and I hate him and I hate you!" Sookie literally spit each hateful word out as emphasis. Erik realized that besides her beauty, the girl continued to have the fight and spunk he noticed when he thought she was a lad. His well-honed control was destroyed as his body hardened at the thought of possessing this beauty.
"Put your weapon down, little one. There is nothing that cannot be resolved with talk. If you kill me with your little bow and arrow, my men will surely find you and kill you. Of course they will all be obliged to rape you first and that little cunt of yours will be aching as you are strung up as a murderer." Harsh words at the moment were meant to cause fear in the girl. Erik would never allow such a thing to happen to the beautiful angel before him, but he needed to recover his brother and she was the key.
"Just as I thought; even though you look like a god, you are nothing but an animal that would rape and kill an innocent woman. Men are hateful and cannot be trusted." She screamed at him as tears continued down her velvety cheeks.
What has made her fight so hard and why is she in this desolate area dressed as a lad? Erik could not help but wonder to himself.
Jakob quietly snuck up behind her and in the blink of an eye she was captured.
"Tie the little Irish traitor's hands behind her back and her ankles together. Bring her to my quarters and tie her naked to my bedpost. We will get to the bottom of this!" Erik ordered as he turned in a rage and left Jakob and the girl in the forest.