THE LAST VIKING
25th September, 1066. The Viking King Harald Hardrada’s invaders are being slaughtered at Stamford Bridge outside York. Caught unawares by the English King Harold and his army, the Norsemen fight to their last breath, as all worthy warriors must.
Battle-torn, bloody and exhausted, the ageing warrior king bursts into a simple thatched dwelling, the clamour of battle and cries of the fallen fading behind him. He stumbles, throws himself onto a bed, is taken by sleep. Wakes to find food bubbling in a pot over the fire. Eats ravenously. The door opens and a spear-armed, one-eyed stranger in a wide-brimmed hat walks in. Sits down. Stares at the great king with his single, soul-searching eye. Under this scrutiny Hardrada feels suddenly compelled to tell this stranger the saga story of his own illustrious, war-filled life.
For though the great Harald Hardrada might not know it, his mortal body even now lies hacked and bloodless on the field by the river. And yet such was the warrior’s ambition in life, such was his thirst for sword-fame and glory, that he has one more tale to tell. One final epic to share, of his journey along the warrior’s way, before his soul can move on to what lies beyond.
And Odin the spear god, lord of war and poetry, would hear it.