Craving love and acceptance can lead to a path you have never imagined.
Kingdom of Hordaland
The warm and luminous tones of the afternoon reflected the beauty of the valley.
Erland was assembling his flock to guide them towards the house for the night.
Lurking behind a tree, Aegir was watching to decide the right time to jump.
He was desperately hungry.
Since the smallpox outbreak started, he had nowhere to go. People in his village avoided him because he had caught the disease.
His face was covered with pustules.
He started to look for his food by hunting small animals, but it was not enough.
He spent long moments by himself in the forest.
He decided that he would leave his region.
He would build a hut somewhere in the woods.
He managed for a while to survive but the rigorous winter forced him to look for warmer clothes.
For him, his only choice was to steal them.
It was not his intention to become a violent thief but he had often to resort to brutality in order to take what he wanted.
He justified his actions because he had been rejected by the persons who were supposed to love him.
Aegir looked intensely to see if Erland was alone.
At the speed of light, he was in close contact with him. He threatened Erland with a knife under his throat.
Even though he was surprised, strangely Erland stayed calm.
“What do you want? “asked Erland.
“I just want some food, let’s go inside your house.
I promise, I just take the food and leave, I don’t want to cause you any harm.” said Aegir.
“You don’t need to threaten me, I will give what you want.” said Erland.
Suddenly, when Aegir saw that Erland tried to reach for his pocket to take something, instinctively he stabbed him.
Aegir was startled by what he just had done.
Erland touched his chest, he saw that the wound was probably superficial. He did not try to take back control of the situation.
“let’s go inside!” said Erland.
Aegir did not know what to do, he did not expect that Erland remained so calm.
“I did not mean to hurt you.” said Aegir.
“It’s OK don’t worry, accidents happened.”said Erland.
Even though Aegir was relieved that Erland seemed fine, he was vigilant.
Maybe it was a trap.
The way Erland behaved was very far from what he was used to deal these last months.
Both men entered the house, when they passed the door, Freyja, Erland’s daughter, looked with horror at his father.
“Daddy what happened to you.” said Freyja.
“Oh my darling it’s nothing. I fell down when I was working, and one my tool injured me.
This man was nearby and helped me standing up.
I proposed him to dine with us tonight.” said Erland.
Freyja was frightened by this strange man.
Aegir felt really uncomfortable. He did not expect to see children.
Freyja had a little brother named Sigvard.
“Daddy let me help you with the animals.
I will put them inside the house. Come on Freyja let’s go!” said Sigvard to his sister.
Aegir probed the house because he was still not totally reassured.
“I will clean my wound, and then I prepared the dinner for us.” said Erland.
Aegir was completely taken aback by Erland’s attitude towards him.
“Why are you like this with me” asked Aegir.
“I saw your reaction when you stabbed me.
I could see that you are good person that is going through a rough patch in his life” said Erland.
He went to clean his wound. He prepared the dinner.
While they were eating, Erland asked Aegir about his past.
Aegir had to lie because he was ashamed of what he had become.
Erland proposed him to stay the night.
Initially, Aegir refused, but because Erland insisted so much, he accepted.
Erland explained to Aegir that his wife passed away two year ago after having been infected by the smallpox.
He understood his plight.
Since the death of his wife, with the children they did not have too many contacts with the rest of the village.
Aegir did not exactly know why, but he had a feeling that he could trust Erland.
He was the first person, in a long time, that saw him like a human being, and not a menace you should avoid.
Erland had the intuition that his family would be safe if Aegir stayed with them.
The following day, Erland told Aegir that if he wanted,
He could remain here to help him with the farm, the time he could recover to eventually pass the winter with them.
Aegir thought he could live there for a while
,and he would see what happened.
It seemed too good to be true but he would be extra cautious.
Aegir performed well to help with the farm.
He decided to stick around.
Weeks became months, and months became years. Erland and Aegir developed a great friendship.
During some winters, Aegir brought back much needed meat he could hunt.
The children started to call him uncle Aegir.
It was the first time that he felt at home somewhere.
He barely remembered his previous life.
The children grew up, Sigvard became a very energetic young man.
He wanted to help his father with the farm, but life was quite difficult in this region. The resources became scarce.
One of his friends told him about the warrior life, and he convinced him that it was the way to go.
It was a very dangerous activity, but the rewards could be enormous.
When he saw that Sigvard was serious about becoming a warrior, something inside him told Aegir that he should also become one. He would go with Sigvard on the adventure to keep an eye on him.
Erland was disappointed to see his son and his best friend wanted to go but there was nothing he could about it.
He gave them his blessings. He wished them good luck.
In the following months, Sigvard and Aegir pillaged cities and towns in Scotland and England.
They did things that later they regretted.
They realised quickly that it was not the life for them. They decided to emigrate to Iceland where new colonies started to be established.
The call for adventure pushed them to explore regions of Greenland.
They came back full of memories.
Aegir and Sigvard found love in Iceland.
They married and built houses.
But when he thought that he had at last found peace, tragedy was around the corner.
His wife and unborn baby died when she was in labour due to unforeseen complications.
Aegir felt that he could no longer stayed in Iceland. He left his friend Sigvard and his family to go back to Norway.
Erland was happy to see his friend came back, but he felt sorry for him after what happened.
“How long do you plan to stay?” asked Erland.
“I want to live here, I left everything I had in Iceland.” said Aegir.
He transformed a meadow outside the village.
Aegir transformed it into a farm.
He was regularly invited at Erland’s house.
He remained single a long time, but eventually Aegir found a new love and married again.
Erland was really happy for his friend
Everything seemed to go well when a rival chief in the region, who was jealous of the relative prosperity of the community, started a campaign of harassment.
Erland could not tolerate such behaviour.
he was now the village chief.
He went to see the other chief to stop the new development but nothing seemed to work.
He had no other choice than to use force to retaliate. It was the beginning of a vicious cycle of counter attacks who ended with the death of six men.
Aegir was very involved in helping Erland to defend the village.
With his military experience, he was like a general organizing the troops.
One night when a group of men tried to burn Erland’s house, Aegir vigorously fought against them.
He saved his friend’s life.
Erland decided that it had to stop.
He went to see all the chiefs in the region who could help him.
The rival chief did the same.
Both of them realised that this cycle could last forever.
They started to talk.
They finally agreed to find a compromise.
They would organise a fight between the two best men of each camp. The winner would decide who should rule over the two villages.
Surprisingly, Erland and the other chief kept their promise.
Aegir was chosen to represent the village.
Before the fight, He had a dream that the god Odin told him that he was going to win.
He was older, but he thought that he had more skills and determination to win.
His wife was really worried, but she trusted that the gods would help him.
The day of the fight came.
Aegir had to use all the tactics he had learn over the years.
His opponent was a fierce combatant, but he managed to win.
The matter was settled.
A huge feast was given in honour of his bravery.
He never felt more accepted and connected to the other people to this day.
His quest to be loved was over.