Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Vikings are back in Week 13/Chapter 13 of Silver and Spice by Maria MacAuley!

Hello friends/followers! Welcome to week 13/chapter 13 of  Maria MacAuley's Silver & Spice. Now we present to you another portion of a very exciting, romantic and all-around great story.  We will be posting a chapter for you to enjoy each week until the story's end. We are looking forward to comments, feelings, thoughts, etc. of what you think for each portion posted. So please be sure to leave a comment in the comments section :)

Now I present to you... Silver and Spice!

View Prologue and chapter 1 HERE, chapter 2 HERE,  chapter 3 HERE,  chapter 4 HEREchapter 5 HERE, chapter 6 HERE, chapter 7 HERE
chapter 8 HEREchapter 9 HEREchapter 10 HEREchapter 11 HEREchapter 12 HERE

Chapter 13

Roisin woke up to a sweet nuzzling on her neck and a warm hand kneading softly on her breast. She found the touch of Kristr’s mouth and hands exquisite, as her caressed her from sleep.  Yesterday, his touch was a salve.  Today, rather than healing, the sensation of his hands upon her skin was creating an intense want within her very being. Squirming and giggling, she wriggled from below him, 'Kristr, stop it! You are making a wanton out of me!'
'Good.' He arched an eyebrow, 'that makes two of us. You are my every wanton breath, and I need sustenance.' She playfully slapped his hand away and threw back the bedfurs.  She picked up her underdress and slipped it over her head. 'I have to earn my keep on the steading now. Let me prepare some food for our dagmal.'
Kristr growled in amusement at her use of the Norse word for the morning meal, 'That is not the sustenance I want, and you know it. I told my brother you would be speaking like us before long. And attractive as you are when you speak Gaelic, I can barely contain my Viking bloodlust when you speak in Norse.' He gave a long low rumble as he lunged for her.
She squealed in delight as she tried to duck his grasp, but it was pointless as he held her firmly, biting gently on her neck as she tried to twist her head, her body held motionless against his.  'Well, do you yield to this Viking, my wanton Irish princess?' he murmured, continuing to kiss her neck, nipping sweetly at her jawline, pulling her back onto the bed.
'Ja,' she moaned. She felt his shaft grow hard against her hip as he pressed his weight upon her, making her all too aware of the growing heat within her core, and her desires of her body overran the established rational thoughts of her mind. 'Kristr! Nei! I do not yield.'
He stopped instantly, and seizing her chance, she rolled from under him, pushed him on to his back, and sitting astride him, she watched as his silver eyes grew as wide as Danish coin. She raised her body so that she could take his length, his hands cupping and caressing her smooth hips, supporting her as she adjusted to the new sensations, filling her, impaling her. Slowly finding her rhythm, her movements, careful and measured soon became more urgent as she felt she felt the now delicious tension grow within. As she watched the expression on her Kristr's face move from lust to longing, with a final shudder, she threw her head back cried out in ecstasy as the spasms of her womb brought her lover to his own release.  Roisin sighed as she curled up into Kristr’s arms.  The dagmal could wait.


'Kristr!' Kerik's familiar loud voice echoed down the hall. 'Are you awake?'
'If I was not awake before now, you have made it so, Fadir,' Kristr yelled back. Roisin hid under the furs in embarrassment, only recognising a word or two. She felt his light kiss on her forehead, as he tucked the fur in around her naked body with a smile. Leaping up to pull on his breeches and tunic, 'Wait there so that I may save my woman's blushes.'
'It is as well she does she not understand all your words yet, Kristr Silver-Tongue! Come, you and I need to take part in a family Allthing.'
As Kristr wrapped the leather laces around his leggings, sitting on the bed he said, 'my father wants to speak with me in an Allthing.'
Confused, Roisin asked ‘What is that?’
'Normally it is an event whereby men and women can come together to discuss their issues and air their grievances, although in this case it will be just between him and I. Father to son, not Jarl to free man.’
Roisin swallowed.  ‘Will you have to discuss whatever news Johan brought with his arrival?’  When the boat had been sighted in the fjord, Roisin was sure that it was someone coming for her, and was relieved when it was not MacRonan.  However, now that Kristr was summoned to talk to his father, she was concerned once more for her fate, and that of Catherine.
He pulled her braid from below her back and curled it over her shoulder, draping it over her breast. Dropping a kiss on her forehead, and then on her lips, 'I shall see you soon, Sweetling.' 


Stepping out into the bright sunny day from the dim light of the hall, he saw his father standing with Erik and Johan. Taking his leave from them, he called to Kristr, handed him a sack.  Kristr opened the sack.  His father must have assumed he had not eaten as it contained  bread, cheese and a lump of ham. Kerik started walking along the path to the high-point overlooking the farmstead and the fjord.. 'Come, son.'
The dew on the long grass was felt cold and damp against the wool of his leggings, as he walked in silence behind his father. When they came to the high-point, overlooking the icy blue waters of the fjord, empty and still, Kerik motioned for his son to sit on the flat rocks, facing out onto the limitless horizon beyond the sheer mountains. Kristr thought of the journeys he had made, leaving Halsrafjord, and the joy he felt on returning home. He may be a wealthy man, but on the steading, Kerik was Jarl, and disobeying his sire was not countenanced. The gentle distant lowing of cattle and calls of the seagulls was finally broken by Kerik's voice, softer than usual.
'Son. I need the truth. Why should Alfhilde create an allegiance with MacRonan, the son of a murderer?'
'Why should you call MacRonan the son of a murderer?' Kristr countered.
Kerik's features darkened, his tone more firm. 'I am Jarl, I am responsible for this steading and you will answer to me, not question me.'
Kristr picked up a twig and idly poked it in the soft damp earth. 'Ja, Fadir. I understand.' He took a deep breath. How could he explain to his father about his time in fosterage in Shetland? Under Viking law a boy became a man at twelve summers, but it was only when his time was over with Alfhilde that he was on his way truly to becoming a man. Throughout their world it was known that she had the ability to harness the skills, potential and ability of each boy and develop them into strong, independent men. Masters of their worlds.
He looked up at his father, a small recalcitrant child again, answering to his sire. Kerik's arms folded, his face expectant. 'Alfhilde was an excellent educator. She taught me to recite the old Norse sagas of Odin and Thor, of the creation of our world, Asgard. I also learned of the Greeks and the Romans, and through her slaves, the languages that I needed to make my way in the known world outside our noble Viking lands.'
Kerik nodded. His wife's sister had made a fine merchant and negotiator out of the sorrowful young boy he had left there all those seasons ago.
'However, she believed in very strict discipline, inside her hall and,' Kristr paused. This was difficult. '...and inside her bed chamber.'
The older man uncrossed his arms, and leant into his son, holding his shoulders. 'Her bed chamber?' Kristr swallowed and nodded. 'Continue.'
'A number of boys were favoured by Alfhilde. We were taken to her chamber where she, ah, educated us on the methods of love play. If we did not meet her standards, the discipline used within the hall became more severe.’  He did not want to tell his father the details of how Alfhilde denied them food for forgetting lines of the sagas, or beat them if they could not converse freely in another language. The desire to please their teacher in lessons became wrapped up in the desire to please her in bed, even if they felt no love for her.
Kerik was barely able to contain his fury, but had to, for his son's sake. He shook Kristr's shoulders. 'And why did you not think to tell me of these actions? I am your father and your Jarl!' Gertrude should have told him of Alfhilde's tastes in young boys. They were sisters. She must have known.
He looked his father in the eye. There was no holding back the secrets of his life as a young man now. 'At first I was ashamed. I believed I deserved the punishment for not saving my mother.  I wanted to make Aisling proud of me as she watched me from...’ he stammered and choked on the word ‘... Heaven.  Her ... Heaven.’
Kerik looked at his son with a mixture of pity and horror. 'Fadir, you asked the question, let me continue. 'The relationship changed. As Alfhilde made me the master of my world on the seas and in the trading markets, I became the master of the bed-chamber.'  Kristr allowed his mind to flip through the many women he had bedded over the seas.  Every time he stopped at the Jarlshof he could not resist lying with Alfhilde, relishing the experiences that he brought back to explore with her.  He was the teacher now.
Kerik's voice was hoarse, his mind racing as her tried to listen to his son. The healthy strapping red-headed boy Aisling had borne into the world, that he was proud to claim. The terrified child who saw his mother killed outside Dubh Linn. The grieving lad who was sent far across the sea to become a man. He stood, pulling his hands through his brown curls, pacing, trying to drag air into his lungs. 'And when did this end?'
'When I rejected her love play for Roisin.' This tryst had continued until a fortnight ago.
Kristr watched in shame as his father howled in rage and spewed the contents of his daymal from his stomach. 'My son! I failed you.' He spat the remaining vomit onto the heather, the sour-smelling lumps ugly on the fresh growth of plant.
'Nei, Fadir, you did not fail me.' He could not blame his sire. When he was a confused young boy he thought it was part of his education.  Sex was nothing to be ashamed of in Viking society.  He could not tell his father how much he had enjoyed the bedsport with Alfhilde as a man; that was until Roisin came into his life.
'Alfhilde failed me. She failed me as my teacher and mentor when she joined forces with MacRonan.' He could not see how they were connected to each other and asked his father where his thoughts on the matter lay.
Regaining his composure, Kerik stood up and wiped his mouth, his loud voice still shaken, 'I need to tell you of MacRonan, and it is not a pleasant tale. Some parts will be familiar to you, others will not.'
Kerik proceeded to confess to his son all that he knew of Aisling's history, how he when he had first laid eyes on her, in his bloodlust he wanted to take her for a bed thrall, enticed by her small frame and beautiful hair. That was until he saw the bruises on her arms and the pain in her eyes. She had not fought him, when he scooped her into his arms, taking her chances with a Viking raider than stay with her lawful husband. With Kerik's careful attention and Gertrude's sisterly love, Aisling settled into the way of the steading.
This was not new to Kristr, but as Kerik unfolded the rest of the story to him, so much more became clear. Aisling had told Kerik of the loss of her first born son, Sean, who was drowned on the way to Anglesey with his father. Determined that she bear him another son, she was subjected to her vicious husband's nightly assaults until that day that Kerik had found her hiding behind the church. Kerik also had his doubts on the accidental drowning, but as a Christian, Aisling wanted no more loss of life. He could not understand her God and their faith of turning the other cheek.  Retribution would have been the first thing on his mind, but he promised Aisling he would not seek revenge for her injuries.
'I broke my vow to Aisling when I killed her husband. I knew it was Peter MacRonan that killed her on that ridiculous Christian pilgrimage. When you regained consciousness and told me that your mother had told you to hide, and you described the figure that you had seen, I realised the truth.  He had known she was back in the country and the only people that were attacked were Aisling and yourself.
Kristr paled. 'I did not know the name of her Christian husband.'
'Nei, she never told you. She loved you so much, and she was overjoyed to be a mother again. After her death, I sought information on MacRonan. During that time, I found out her son was still alive, but Hyde had cast him in his own image, and told him his mother had abandoned him. His looks favoured the father, but you have the colouring of your mother.' Kerik had found out that MacRonan's mind had been so corrupted by his father, not even Johan Flynn would be able to uncover the truth.
Kristr's shoulders slumped, as he pulled his own hands through his hair, he suddenly recognised the family trait between himself and Kerik.
'MacRonan is my brother.' The thieving, greedy avaricious waste of a sire's seed shared his own flesh and blood.
Kerik rubbed his son's shoulder, the only affection he could manage or Kristr could tolerate after their conversation. 'From what Johan has found out from MacRonan, he has not made the connection.'
'Under Norse law I cannot kill him yet. I shall have to challenge him to a Holmsgang, a duel.' Kristr could not abandon his Norse sense of honour now. 'And then I will kill him. For my mother. For Roisin.'
'Come, son. It is time to join your true brothers.' Kerik extended his hand as Kristr accepted and pulled himself up. Clasping hands, the bond between father and son may have been bruised, but strengthened, not broken.

Having composed himself on the walk back, he stopped for with Erik and Johan in the fields, whilst Kerik headed back to the blacksmith's hut. Everyone on the steading had to work, and Kerik did not become a strong respected leader by sitting on the dais, ordering people from afar. Taking a long drink from the water skin he smacked his lips, watching the expectant look on the faces of the other men.
'I told him,' he confessed. His brother’s sigh of relief was evident. Erik always had his doubts about Alfhilde's intentions towards Kristr; a young skinny boy on the verge of manhood should not have been attractive to an experienced woman such as she. Although Johan had experienced the harsh discipline of the hall, he was not favoured sexually by Alfhilde, through their friendship as foster brothers, Johan had known of the night-time activities of Alfhilde and her favoured fosterlings.
Kristr caught the expectant look of Johan. They had been friends and brothers in arms for too long, and Johan would know there was more information to come. 'Kristr, what else do you have to say?'
Kristr gave a hollow laugh. 'You always had the gift of second sight, Johan.' He pulled his hands through his hair and gave a long low sigh, expelling every breath of air from his lungs, before taking a deep breath and recounting the whole ugly saga to the pair.
'As you know from yesterday, Fadir has given me permission to take Roisin to see her kin, but she must return with me. Now that I know more of MacRonan, I cannot, I will not, let him take her from me.'
Erik murmured in approval. To see his brother finally feel love for a woman, not just lust for a bed partner displayed the inner emotions he had kept controlled for so long. Erik loved women, but until the first time he had held Ciara in his arms, and offered her a drink from his wineskin, he did not know he could fall in love.


Kristr found Roisin in the main hall at the loom, demonstrating to Gertrude and some of the other women her methods of weaving fine linen cloth. She had not lied about her skill, pride in her work evident on her face as she worked the large broadcloth loom. The language may have been halting, but was no barrier to learning; the women clucking appreciatively, watching Roisin's deft movements as her fingers handled and slipped elegantly over the shuttle as it flew through the weft threats displayed her expertise. He wished his cock were that shuttle, wrapped in those skillful hands. Shaking his head from his daydream, he approached the group, engrossed in their observations.
'Madir, may I take Roisin from her teaching? I think it is time for another lesson.' Gertrude smiled at him. He was not her child by blood, but she loved him as a son as much as Erik. And now both her boys were blessing her with daughters. Aisling would be proud of him. Gertrude still missed her after all these years; she had loved the flame haired Irish woman more than her own true-sister on Shetland.
'Of course, son.' She gestured her thanks to Roisin, as she took her place at the loom, eager to apply what she had observed from the younger woman.
Out in the clean morning air, Kristr turned to her, as he smoothed his hands over her plait. 'I have two gifts for you today, and a lesson.' Her eyes lit up in as he handed her a small dagger. He really was going to teach her to defend herself. 'The blade is still blunt, in case you manage to cause me damage.' His eyes twinkled silver. She may be tiny and defenseless now, but under his tutelage she would learn to do damage on anyone who dared to touch her.
'Tis beautiful.' She ran her fingers lightly over the patterned bronze handle, wrapped with a slim leather thong. 'And it is mine?'
'Ja, and when you are ready, we shall sharpen it, so that it matches your tongue!' He grinned at her snort of disapproval.
He showed her how to hold the knife, to stab, to slice, to block. He explained its benefits in close combat. She would not be using it as an offensive weapon, he was teaching her to protect herself. They would practice every day until she felt confident, and then he would take her to the blacksmith and they would sharpen and polish the blade. She would no longer be helpless and whilst he loved the idea of protecting his Roisin, he delighted in the fact that she would also be her own woman. Determined. Skilled. Viking.
'My second gift to you is not a weapon.' She looked at him quizzically, and unable to keep his news to himself any longer, 'my father has given me permission to take you to visit Dun na Shee and let your kin know that you are well.'
She threw her arms around him 'What wonderful news! When can we sail?'
'Easy, sweetling. It will be another fortnight before the tides are favourable, but you must promise that you will return with me.' Breaking the embrace, she felt weak at the knees. Still a hostage. Still held for ransom. She knew what she wanted, and there had to be more to her life with Kristr. She wanted to be with him, to take wedding vows with him, she did not care if they were Christian or pagan. She would live anywhere with him; the cold north, the warm lands far to the south. When she saw her father and brother, it would be easy to sail back with him, but because it was by desire and love, not by obligation and law.
'And if my father has garnered the silver, what do you expect from me?' She tried to hide the nervous tremble in her voice.
Kristr pulled her back against his chest, not wanting to let her go now or ever. Her value to him was beyond all the silver, gold, garnets and jade in his possession. She should be his wife, not his hostage. Honour and ransom hung over his head like the heavy snow-filled clouds of winter.
He took a deep breath, and hated the words he had to say.  'If Conall of Dun na Shee has the silver, then you will be released, and free to stay with him.' Kristr said a silent prayer to whatever god was listening that this was not the case.

Be sure to come back next week for chapter 14!

Thank you to:
The picture of the bed is Copyright ~Misty~ from her ‘Viking Life’ set
The picture of the boat is Copyright Jomme from his ‘Norway 2008’ set

E. Paterson for the Viking painting


Maria MacAuley is from Derry, Ireland and has a degree in Celtic Languages. She is married to the love of her life, and they live in relative peace with two cats.

She has a secret wish that her husband will investigate his Nordic family tree further and whisk her off on a longboat to Hammerfest to view the Northern Lights.

If Maria were to choose her favorite tense, it should be the subjunctive, and is always keen to discuss same over a pint of Guinness.

~*"No portion of this story may be copied or shared without the direct permission of the author."*~

1 comment:

  1. Yet another excellent chapter! LOVE the photos as well. Actually, every weeks photos are awesome!


Talk to me