Enslaved by the Viking: A Medieval Short Story

Enslaved by the Viking
Elle James
Twisted Page Inc

© 2016 by Elle James

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

his book is dedicated
to my sister Delilah Devlin for inspiring me to write and for being there when I need help with fresh ideas. I love you, Sis!

About this Book

When a Viking wages battle to win the loyalty of a Celtic beauty, he risks losing his life and his heart

onrad hopes
to have fought his final battle and is ready to settle down and make this Celtic land his home. Only one person stands in the way of realizing his dream, the clan leader, the comely wench with raven hair and a firm hand.

Brigid of clan O’Ceallachain will be slave to no man. With subversive means to protect herself and her clan, she sets out to rid her people of this latest invasion of Norsemen. Her plans take a twist when the beast of a Norse leader demands she marry him and warm his bed.

Author's Note

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Chapter 1
The west coast of Ireland, 857 AD

onrad strode
through the small village of Carrigeen in the southwest coast of Ireland, his chest puffed out, his sword sheathed in his scabbard, surveying the land he and his men had conquered.

“A fine bit of earth you have, Konrad.” Thorsten strode alongside him, his bravest soldier and friend since they were small children. “Fortunately, the village is intact, save only one cottage that burned to the ground. The men are content to have women to see to their needs and you have a ready-made roof to cover your head.”

“Indeed.” He eyed the people of Carrigeen as he surveyed his domain. The children seemed well fed, the women strong enough to plow fields, tend gardens and herd animals. What he did not see were a lot of men. “What do you make of the lack of men?”

“From the stories the women have told, they have seen many battles and those who have conquered them in the past killed their men, but did not stay long. They claimed the land was haunted and unhealthy for the Norse. Something about the water making the men sickly. The native Gaelic have built up an immunity to whatever ails newcomers.”

Konrad’s brow furrowed. This was not the news he cared to hear. The soil was rich and, from what he’d seen, the sheep and cattle were fat. If the natives and the cattle could survive on the water in Carrigeen, he and his men could.

After years of battle in his homeland of Norway and across the seas to fight the Danes, under the leadership of his older brother Ivarr, Konrad had come to this island to stake a claim for land and a home of his own. He was tired and ready to settle, take a wife, and raise children and cattle. He’d heard Ireland was a paradise of green pastures and strong women, both key ingredients to his plan.

Thus he had sailed his last journey from Dublin around the isle and let the wind carry him here to the west coast of this lush green land he’d come to love.

After a fierce battle led by a paltry lot of old men and boys barely off their mothers’ apron strings, Konrad had conquered the land upon which he planned to live out his life. He wondered that others hadn’t tried to claim this glorious place.

Ahead two women carried armloads of clothing and linens, hurrying toward a cottage.

One was a winsome beauty with light red hair cascading down her back in long luscious waves. The other was tall and raven-haired, her tresses curling down her back in glorious abandon. Her hips swayed beneath the dress broader than the redhead’s and with a determination found more often in the men he led in battle.

She handed her burden to the woman standing at the door of the cottage and spoke to her in hushed, urgent tones. The red-haired woman stood by meekly waiting for the taller one to finish.

Thorsten leaned close to Konrad. “She is a beauty.”

“Ja. Indeed she is.”

The raven-haired lovely gave her last command and motioned for the redhead to follow her to the next cottage where she again took charge, handed off the goods the redhead carried and gave her orders. When she was done, she worked her way from building to building, checking with the inhabitants.

“From what I’ve learned, the dark-haired woman is the leader of this clan. She is the widow of the previous clan leader. The red-haired beauty is her younger sister.”

Konrad had been too busy tending to the wounded and giving his dead a proper send off to Valhalla to learn more about the social structure of the people he’d conquered.

“The old man warned of her iron hand and stubborn streak. I suggest you establish your claim immediately and either send her away or make her your slave.”

Konrad frowned. “I would wish this to be my home. These people will be my people. They need to learn to trust that I will defend them against future attack and provide for their well-being.”

“The villagers seem to hold the raven-haired one in high esteem. To win them over you must first win her over or cull her from the herd.” Thorsten nodded toward the redhead. “Another suggestion would be to take her sister to wife to secure her fealty to you.”

The raven-haired woman emerged from a home and cast a glance around the village as if to assess the damage. Throughout her visits, she avoided looking his direction. Alas, she wiped her hands on her apron and glanced his way, her chin tilted high, her gaze direct and defiant.

Konrad’s groin tightened, his manhood rising to the woman’s challenge.

Thorsten chuckled beside him. “I see you will have trouble with that one. Perhaps if you use her as an example and publicly whip her, she will fall in line.”

“A whip would not cow the woman or bend her to my will. What she needs is a firm hand and a reason to accept me.”

“Aye a proper beating is what she’ll get. She is strong and young enough she will make a fine slave once you break her will.”

Konrad had no desire to break the woman. Like fine horseflesh, she should be gentled and led to believe she would be better off with him as her rider. He squared his shoulders much as he would walking into battle and marched toward his destiny.

Chapter 2

rigid O’Ceallachain expected
the Norse brute to come to her eventually to bend her to his will, perhaps make her his slave. The previous Norse conqueror had done much the same, forcing her to his bedchamber with the intention of poking his man staff into her like the greedy, smelly old goat he was.

She had managed to waylay his aggression with food and drink, charging his wine with a wicked herb that made him sleep like the dead. When he woke, he could not eat for days, with the worst belly complaint he’d ever imagined.

Using her skills as a healer to her advantage, she promised to nurse him to health as long as he agreed not to harm her or her sister.

So sick with the ague he could barely climb out of his bed, he agreed.

Meanwhile, she had the ladies of the village spread rumors among the men, claiming the river water was poisonous to anyone who had not been raised on it, building a natural resistance to the toxins. They also said the land was cursed by the dead soldiers left unburied after drinking the river water.

Soon the Norsemen succumbed to the same complaint as their leader, each sick and too weak to lift their swords. First one, followed by many, begged their leader to take them back to their homeland where they could die in peace. Still weak of his own complaint, their leader loaded his ships and sailed away, leaving the O’Ceallachain clan tucked in the rocky hills of County Kerry in peace.

Brigid buried the cache of herbs she’d used to fight her battle beneath the fairy tree and went about the business of clan leader as usual.

She ran her gaze over the Norse conqueror as he stood in the village with his second in command, their gazes taking in what Brigid and her people had built over time with the sweat off their brows.

She had to admit he was comely with broad shoulders and thickly muscled thighs. He had no boils upon his face and his teeth weren’t rotting out of his head. Not that it mattered. Brigid O’Ceallachain would bow to no man. This was her land and her clan. She refused to concede without a fight.

Unfortunately, without an army to back her, once again, she had to resort to other methods to vanquish her enemy. One option was to go to Seamus O’Leary, the lecherous brute and High King of County Kerry. He’d had his eye on Caitlinn since she was but a child in bright orange pigtails. Now that her sister was of an age to marry, Seamus wished to negotiate an alliance propagated on his marriage to the fair Caitlinn for the High King’s protection of the O’Ceallachain clan.

Brigid told Seamus she would give him an answer by the next full moon. To be fair to Caitlinn, she’d presented the proposal. Her softhearted sister begged her to agree in order to save their home and people from the heathen Norse marauders plaguing the lands with incessant battles.

Brigid had no intention of bartering her beloved sister for protection of her land and people. She’d offer herself in Caitlinn’s place first, not that Seamus would agree. He had a taste for delicate, fair-haired beauties, not for women with hair the color of midnight.

After admitting defeat in the short, but bloody battle with the Norsemen, Brigid tied a ribbon to the fairy tree, wishing for an end to hostilities for good, knowing she was out of choices and able-bodied soldiers.

Caitlinn laid her hand on Brigid’s arm, her fingers digging into her skin. “Brigid, they are heading our direction.”

Brigid squared her shoulders and lifted her chin. She had at least one more battle to fight with this hulking Norseman and she vowed to win.

The big Norseman, dressed in his bloodstained armor stopped in front of her, his feet planted wide, his arms crossed over his chest. He stared down his arrogant nose at her and announced, “I am Konrad of Kristiansand.”

He spoke Gaelic, almost as well as an Irishman. As much as she wanted to tell him she was not impressed and he could leave, she held her tongue and nodded graciously. “I am Brigid of clan O’Ceallachain.”

His gaze swept her length and back up as if finding her wanting. Then he swung his head around so that his perusal encompassed the entire village. “Am I to understand that you are the leader of this clan?”

Her teeth ground together, but she managed another nod. “I am.” Her nostrils flared, as she fought to control her temper. “Or I
depending on your intent.”

Again, he looked down on her from his lofty height, towering over her. “This is now my land and my people. Have them assemble to hear my words.”

Her first inclination was to spit at his feet and tell him to assemble them himself. She chewed hard on her tongue to retrain herself, before turning to her sister. “Caitlinn, please have the people come out.”

Caitlinn hurried away to grant her bidding. Konrad’s second followed her with his gaze, practically salivating like a dog over a juicy bone.

The men stood silent while the village folk gathered. Most were women and children with a few old men scattered among them.

When all had assembled, the big brute opened his mouth, his voice booming loud enough to be heard by all. “I am Konrad of Kristiansand, your new leader. I have come to settle in the O’Ceallachain lands and make this my home. I will marry one of your people and produce heirs to ensure the protection of these lands for future generations.”

He lifted his chin higher. “Today I will choose my bride. All unmarried women of child-bearing age come to the front of the crowd.”

Brigid’s fists clenched. She should be happy that he was willing to marry the woman he bedded rather than using her as a concubine to slake his manly lusts. But these were her people, the women for whom she felt responsible. It made her belly ache with an anger so great she could barely breathe.

When the young women stepped forward, their eyes downcast, Brigid’s blood boiled.

Konrad marched down the line of potential brides. He stopped in front of one buxom lass, turned her around, stared at her hips, turned her back around and made her open her mouth to display her teeth.

Brigid stepped forward, scathing words on the tip of her tongue.

Caitlin’s hand on her arm kept her from launching herself at the oaf and raking her fingernails down his back.

He moved down the line and back to where she and Caitlinn stood. He turned his attention to Caitlinn. “And you? Are you unwed?”

Caitlinn nodded, her head bowed, her gaze on his boots.

He lifted her chin and studied her face. “Open your mouth.”

She did.

“You have all of your teeth,” he observed. He lifted her arm. “Strong arms.” He turned her around. “Good hips for breeding.” He placed a hand on either side of her hips as if measuring. “What do you think, Thorsten? She will make a fine bride and bare many sons.”

Thorsten clapped his leader on the back. “That she will. She has the hips for baring children.”

Heat steamed from Brigid’s head as the Norse animals laughed.

“I intend to be married before the sun sets this day,” Konrad announced and gave Caitlinn a firm pat on her behind.

Brigid’s sister stumbled forward and turned, her eyes wide, her cheeks flaming.

“Enough!” Brigid stepped in front of Caitlinn, her shoulders thrown back her feet wide in a fighting stance. If she’d had a sword in her hand, she’d have run him through. “These are my people and I will not have you treat them like cattle.”

Konrad’s brows rose and he looked down his nose at her. “They are not your people anymore. From the moment we laid siege to these lands, they became mine. I will do with them as I please. And it might please me to make all of them slaves to provide food and entertainment to my men who have fought hard and suffered greatly in many fierce battles.

“Fierce battle,” she snorted.

“Brigid, don’t…” Caitlinn begged.

Brigid ignored her sister’s plea. “You fought old men and young boys, not strong and worthy opponents. Now you stomp in here demanding fealty of women and children like lording beasts. I will not stand by and allow you to harm one woman or child.”

“And how to you propose to stop me? If I choose to take this woman as my bride, I will do so. You are not strong enough to defeat me.” He pulled his sword from his sheath. “Unless you are carrying a sword beneath that dress.” With the tip of his sword, he lifted her dress, revealing her legs beneath.

Brigid jerked her skirts away from his sword. If she didn’t do something quickly, he’d take Caitlinn and ruin her and all their chances to bargain with Seamus. “I propose a bargain. My hand in marriage and with it the obedience of my people.”

Konrad snorted. “You are in no position to bargain. But for the sake of argument, what will you ask in exchange?”

“You will not allow your men to ruin my women and they will be allowed to choose their own husbands.”

“Again, I see no advantage to me, only you. We could take what we want and disregard your desires.”

She nodded. “You could. But as you said yourself, you wish to settle and raise children. Would not it be better to have loyal subjects by marrying their leader than by making her or her people slaves?”

Konrad’s eyes narrowed. “I will inspect my prize before I make a decision.”

Her chin rose higher, heat filling her cheeks. She refused to back down. Let him treat her like an animal as long as he let the other women alone.

He circled her, tapping the flat of his sword against her bottom. “Firm and strong.” Back in front of her, he sheathed his weapon and stepped close to her.

“I have all my teeth and I’m taller and broader of hip than Caitlinn. Surely I will better bear children.”

“I will be the judge.” He gripped her hips in both hands. “Yes, I believe your hips are broader. But what about your breasts? I won’t have the mother of my children starving them for lack of milk.” He reached out with both hands and plumped her breasts.

Shocked, Brigid slapped his face as hard as she could.

A gasp rose from those gathered, as a bright red handprint appeared on his cheek.

Brigid stepped back, her eyes wide, unable to utter an apology and afraid he’d take out his anger on her and her entire clan.

Konrad’s lips thinned and he straightened, without shifting his gaze from hers. “I accept your bargain. The ceremony commences within the hour.” He spun and marched away without another word. Thorsten followed, a grin stretched across his wretched Viking face.

“Oh, Brigid.” Caitlinn grasped her hands in her. “You did not have to take my place as his bride. I would have married him to spare our people.”

“I am leader of Clan O’Ceallachain. It is my responsibility to protect my people. Now, I must prepare for my wedding.” First she had to dig up the herbs from beneath the fairy tree. While she was there it wouldn’t hurt to tie a ribbon and pray again for peace.

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