A/N: another historical Nordic fanfiction! This one is documenting the St. Brice massacre on the 13th of November 1002 AD. I blame watching a documentary on the Vikings :) minor DenNor and SuFin if you squint.
Apologies for any historical errors, I did the best I could to be accurate but my some facts might be wrong so bear with me…
1 November 1002 AD
Lukas frowned as he poked at his food without any sign of appetite. His attitude was quickly picked up on by the others sitting at the table, Tino pausing to stare at him curiously.
"What's wrong? You're not getting sick are you?" the small Finn asked.
"It's nothing Tino. Just worried about Matthias." The Norwegian grumbled, trying to hide his emotions by stabbing his breakfast with a fork. The Dane had yet again sailed to England to bother Arthur and they all knew that the Englishman was growing fed up with all of the blond Viking's raids.
"It's Matthias. He's been doin' this fer years, worry abou' Arthur…" Berwald scoffed, sitting beside Tino who flinched slightly. The small blond may have been under Swedish control but that didn't mean he was completely comfortable around him yet and sudden movements like that never ceased to make him jump.
"Berwald's right Lukas." Emil murmured, feeding his puffin a piece of crust. It had appeared he had been paying attention to the conversation despite his apparent lack of interest. "What could possibly hurt him? Arthur wouldn't dare."
"It's just a feeling okay. Now drop it!" Lukas snapped. This was why he didn't like sharing his thoughts, people always thought they had to reassure him or pity him. He sighed shoving his food away. "I'm going to go check on him."
"He's in Englan' Lukas. He'll be back before ya even get there." Berwald explained, raising an eyebrow.
The Norwegian didn't answer though, already storming out the door without a backwards glance. Tino sighed, wondering if they would ever have a family get together where it didn't end with someone storming from the room.
13 November 1002 AD
Matthias groaned as he came back to painful awareness. Every part of his body ached beyond imagination. He struggled to remember what had happened to him other than the unbelievable pain of it. He couldn't even remember crawling away, for all he knew he'd just been dumped and left for dead. He bit back a shout when he tried to sit up, his rib cage flaring up with agony even as his limbs protested.
He fell back in a limp heap, his chest heaving as panted. Each breath brought fresh sharp pain lancing through his body but he couldn't calm his desperate gasps for oxygen. He felt like he was on the verge of death.
Light flared against his squeezed shut eyelids, making him crack them open with a wince. He wasn't sure what he was expecting, the Valkyries of Valhalla? The fires of Helheim? He chuckled before biting his lip against the pain.
Those times were over, belief in the old gods dying out. It had to be hellfire.
He sighed, feeling his grip on consciousness fading as he slumped. A voice, achingly familiar even if he couldn't recall who it belonged to, called to him but he was already too far gone. His pain faded as he surrendered to the darkness.
Lukas cursed, falling to the ground beside the Dane as the pair of ravens he'd summoned croaked and flapped midnight black wings before blinking out of existence. They only left behind a ghostly greenish glow in their wake and the echoing croaks of their calls. The Norwegian didn't care though; he knew the gods would forgive his disrespect in such a circumstance as he set his torch aside to check on the injured nation.
Matthias was breathing shallowly, his body a network of wounds. His right leg was situated at a funny angle midway down his calf where the bone had been broken and judging by his ragged gasps his ribs weren't in any better shape. A deep cut graced his brow, staining his blond hair and pale skin with blood. Part of his arm was covered in angry blisters and burnt skin.
This wasn't losing a battle, this was torture. Someone had attempted to butcher the Dane. He didn't even have his usual battle axe near him so it can't have been a fair fight.
But he was alive, Lukas told himself as he started shaking with rage. He had to hold onto that. He couldn't go after the Dane's attacker until he was sure that he was going to be alright. Matthias wouldn't be alright if he just left him in the middle of this god forsaken forest in the middle of England.
He sighed softly, trying to work his arm under the blond's body to pull him upright without aggravating his injuries. It was impossible though, there wasn't a single patch of skin that wasn't broken, bruised or burnt and the unconscious man whimpered at his touch. Lukas merely grit his teeth though, ignoring the guilt that ran through him as he shouldered Matthias's weight.
He was strong but even so the Dane's weight was almost too much for him. His knees buckled painfully but he didn't care, willing himself to stay upright as he murmured a quick plea to the gods to allow him to get Matthias to safety. They had gotten him to England in time and guided him to the injured man; they couldn't let him get so far to fail at the final stretch.
Whether by the gods will or his own he somehow managed to half drag and half carry the Dane back to where his long ship and crew were moored. A landing vessel was beached on the sand and rock strewn shore, the men manning it glancing up and coming to his aid when they saw the Norwegian struggling under Matthias's weight.
"Leave him to me! Man the boat!" he snapped when one of them reached out to help him. The men, all far larger than Lukas, paused at his orders. There was something in the Norwegian's eyes that made them drop the issue, preparing the boat for launch as the dark blond nation struggled the final few meters to get Matthias into the vessel. The man whimpered at the contact with the hard wood making the other brush some hair out of his face in a rare act of tenderness. No-one commented on the exchange, too fond of their lives to even dare to do so.
"How much longer till we reach Denmark?" Lukas murmured, squeezing out a wet rag to cool Matthias's forehead. The Dane was pale despite his skin being scolding hot to the touch. Most of his cuts had finally clotted but some had required crude bandages to stem the bleeding and there was nothing the Norwegian could do about his burns whilst on a ship. Those wounds worried him the most as they were starting to show signs of infection after nearly a week at sea.
"A few more days provided the wind holds." The man stated, eyes on Matthias. "Do you think he'll last that long? He has yet to wake…"
Lukas didn't look up, focussing all of his attention on ensuring the Dane's comfort. "He will. The gods have been kind for this long and I believe they will continue to do so. Valhalla won't claim him yet. He's stronger than you give him credit for." He murmured, ignoring the disapproving glare that he could feel aimed at him over his mention of the old gods and traditions.
It wasn't the Christian god who had aided him so he didn't care what his followers thought.
"How's he looking?" Emil asked, handing over the change of bandages the Norwegian had asked for.
Lukas gave a tired smile. "He's looking a little better. I think the infection's finally disappearing." He murmured. The Dane was a lot thinner and paler than usual but his breathing had started evening out over the past few days. His leg had been bound and braced along with his other wounds being treated by a physician.
"I'm glad." The Icelandic nation mumbled, sitting beside the Norwegian. "Do you know what happened to him?"
Lukas sighed, trying to keep the anger out of his voice as spoke. "It was Arthur and that bastard Æthelred… he decided to get back at him by killing the Danes living in his country and this idiot got caught up in it." He explained bitterly. He'd heard the news from the physician and it made his blood boil with rage.
He would pay for it.
Matthias groaned, struggling to get his too heavy limbs to respond as he forced his eyes open. He still hurt but it was a dull ache compared to the earlier agonising pulses. His eyes fell on messy dark blond hair and closed eyes that he knew were a soul piercing dark blue when they were open. They weren't though; instead they were closed as their owner slept in a dishevelled state.
The Dane gave a tired smile, reaching out with a heavily bandaged hand to lightly brush the Norwegian's hair out of his face. "Norge?" he murmured as Lukas stirred at the touch.
There was a flash of relief in those dark eyes before it was hidden behind a stoic expression. "You're awake? ...how do you feel?" he said softly, pulling away from the touch.
"A bit stiff and sore I guess… how'd you find me? I thought you stayed in Denmark…" Matthias shrugged with a wince.
The Norwegian smirked, raising a hand as he looked away from the Dane. He murmured under his breath in old Norwegian that had been all but forgotten as his hand glowed green for a moment before a large raven appeared and perched on his hand. It cawed, gazing at Matthias with a beady eye before taking off and vanishing into thin air.
The Dane blinked, the raven's name on his tongue before he shook his head. "I thought you'd given up magic…"
Lukas sighed, staring at where the bird had vanished. "Just because the Norwegian's have forgotten and turned their backs on the old ways doesn't mean I have." He said, his tone was slightly sad at the thought.
Matthias looked like he wanted to comment on it but for once held his tongue. He too had fought against the change at the start and Lukas had far more to consider giving up than he ever did.
Matthias's eyes were cold as he stared out over the ships moored in the harbour. Everywhere there were Vikings preparing to avenge their fallen brothers in England under the orders of King Sweyn. It had taken a few months for the Dane to be up to such an attempt but his wounds had finally healed to pale scars even if he did still limp if he exerted himself too much.
He sighed softly, hands clenching around the shaft of his axe. The weapon was newly forged to replace the axe he'd lost last time he was in England but was a familiar weight in his grasp. He couldn't wait around; he needed to find a ship to board until he reached their destination. Finding such a vessel wouldn't prove difficult; it was considered an honour to have the nation of Denmark on board one's ship after all.
He paused when he heard a muffled shout behind him, turning to look at the other Nordic nations with a frown. "What are you doing here?" he asked suspiciously. All four of the nations were garbed in armour; even Tino who looked nothing like a warrior had a sword at his waist. Berwald just stared at him, holding a spear loosely in his grasp. Emil's usually emotionless violet eyes were filled with the desire for war and bloodshed.
"You didn't think we'd let you go alone did you?" Lukas snorted, his arms crossed against his chest.
"Yes actually I did. This isn't your battle Lukas; it isn't any of yours' battle."
The Norwegian rolled his eyes. "The minute you got involved in this dispute it became our battle. We're family Matthias, and family doesn't stand aside to see one another die."
"It won't come to that… besides, Emil and Tino are hardly fighters!" the Dane paused when he glanced at the pair. While it was true that neither had the typical Viking build he could see the same lust for battle that run through his own blood. It was a strange emotion in their eyes despite its familiarity. The same desire was in Berwald's stance as well as Lukas's, Matthias could feel it thrumming through his own veins.
Lukas merely smiled as he saw the realization across the Dane's face. "We're Vikings Matthias. We can't walk away from this fight any more than you can." He sighed, shaking his head as he gazed out over the ocean. Matthias could see the glow of old magic around his hands before he blinked and it was gone. The Norwegian turned back to face him, his head held high with defiance and pride. "We fight with you Matthias, to victory or death."
A/N2: history lesson time!
On November 13th 1002 AD the King of England (Æthelred the unready) sent out the order to execute all the Danes in England out of the belief that said Danes would kill him and his council to usurp his throne along with him being fed up by yearly Danish raids. He'd hoped that such an action would dissuade the Danish king (king Sweyn the first) from raiding England.
Danes were butchered and killed including a group of young, apparently unarmed Danish men who took refuge in a church. When their attackers couldn't force them out they set fire to the building, those within burning along with the church.
Instead of acting as a deterrent however the massacre incited king Sweyn to attack England the following year (there is some theories that say that his sister was killed during the massacre). England was swiftly brought to its knees a few years later by the Danish empire when King Æthelred ran away from the horde of Vikings allowing the Danes to conquer England.
At the time the Danish empire also included parts of Norway and Sweden which is why I felt it would be fair to presume that not all the Vikings who sailed with King Sweyn were Danes.
Scandinavia was also almost entirely Christianised at the time with the old Norse beliefs steadily being wiped out in favour of Christianity. Norwegian pagans were often persecuted as witches and dispatched of as such by the encroaching church.
The two ravens mentioned in the story that helped Lukas find Matthias are Odin's ravens who flew around the world to bring news to the king of the gods, Huginn and Muninn.