Hagall. Midsummer

Reads: 336  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Norway, 993 AD.
Helgi and Lars are sharing their experiences from the Midsummer celebration the night before. In the process, they discover something about themselves and their friendship...

________________________________________________________
Helgi Dagsson and Lars Brandsson are characters in my novel "Sons of Disobedience", which takes place about 5 years after this story. It's a sort of a "before" series of short-stories that I'm writing with my characters before I actually publish my novel.

Submitted: August 07, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 07, 2015

A A A

A A A


HAGALL. MIDSUMMER

Lars Brandsson was up on the ladder, on the tall and abrupt roof of the house, with a couple of nails between his lips, knocking with hammer in hand. The sun, gleaming in white hue, had just slid above the distant mountain ridges in the East. A robin shrilled hidden in some trees nearby, its chirping covered by the interrupted pounding of the hammer. Trampling of hooves sounded from the road and a young man of about seventeen approached on horse, dressed in thin linen shirt opened at the chest, with an axe girded at the waist and fishing utensils arrayed on the saddle. It was Helgi Dagsson. Lars Brandsson glanced to the side a moment, wiping some loose strands of hair off his face and arranging them behind his ears, then went on to hammer the nail into the wood.

“Are you ready, Lars?” the young man called. “The fish aren't waiting for your lazy arse!” But seeing Lars going about his business as if he had barely noticed him, he frowned. “What are you doing, man, where are your tools? Why the king of jotuns are you not ready yet? Have you forgotten we talked to go fishing today? O, yea, no wonder you don't remember, you were drunk like a pig last night!”

Lars gave a last noisy pummel with the hammer then set the tool at his belt, pressing bunches of straw and reeds above the wooden planks with his hands.

“I thought we weren't going anymore. I didn't imagine you'd be up so early this morning. After last night.”

“Who says I've slept at all?” smirked Helgi Dagsson.

“Look, I need to cover this damned hole in the roof now, can't you see it's going to rain today?”

Helgi glanced at the sky; it was utterly clear and bright blue. Even though it was the third month of summer, Solmanudur, and the sun was in the sky day and night, it was rarely ever warmer in Nordland than it was on that day. So he frowned and shook his head, dismounting the horse and pacing right under the eaves of the house with arms crossed and staring upwards at Lars emphatically.

“Come. Fishing. Right. Now. I have something to tell you, obviously.... Something you wouldn't want your mother to hear.”

“Trust me, Helgi, whatever you mean to tell him, I've already heard it in one form or another!” came the voice of a woman from the back yard. She appeared by the corner of the house, wearing a dirty apron over the pale dress and carrying on her vigorous shoulders two yoked buckets that were shaking, splashing water on her hems. “I didn't go raiding in the Austmarrwith the scum of the earth for nothing.”

“Ragna,” Helgi beamed at her and, from the roof, Lars scoffed in laughter. “Good morning. Let me help you with that,” he ran to grab a bucket, but she stopped him.

“It's all right. Better give me a hand to move that vat over there. My husband Brand is out in the field with the thralls and my son has to finish the roof, lest it rains.”

They went into the house and, after a while, Helgi Dagsson stepped out with Lars' fishing utensils stopping by the ladder. Lars shook his head chiding, but when he saw Helgi's mischievous grin, he puffed out laughing and climbed down to get ready.

The lake was not very wide, stretching between a small wooden pier on one side and a birch grove on the other. Green wooden sloped mountains rose beyond the forest and reflected inside it almost undistorted. No wind was blowing, so the surface of the lake was quite still and smooth. Lars Brandsson had his trousers lifted over the knees where the water reached.

“Did you see those dark-brown frogs on the shore? And the robins chirping. I'm telling you it's going to rain. I don't understand why you say it won't. And the sun was so white in the morning when it came up. There's a storm coming, hail even. Not hail, I hope, it'll wreck the pear-trees and I'd love some pears. Wouldn't you?”

But Helgi was grinning.

“Guess what I did last night. In the fields – with Friða!”

Lars stared at the ripples that the fishing pole's string was shaping in the water.

“I figured out.”

“Shut up, you figured nothing!” laughed Helgi. “You wrestled Kettil all night to win that stupid thing – what was that, anyway? - and then you both started washing beer down your throats like there was no tomorrow. And at one point you just disappeared.”

“Someone had to taste the newly-brewed beers, after all, that's what we were there for!”

“Beer... you can have beer any time. But that girl Friða... damn! You heard how she was telling that story casually, like it was nothing! And after the dances we went into the field, just me and her, away from the rest. We are chatting, when she suddenly pours beer in my mouth from the horn, so that it's trickling down my neck and chest, and then she starts licking the drops. Just like that! Damn, you should have been there, you fool.”

While talking amused, Helgi walked out of the water and put the fishing pole aside. He opened his belt to undress his grey-blue shirt and his trousers, and then stepped back in, splashing water on his chest and back as if to get used to the temperature. Lars asked:

“If you had such a good time, how come you are not meeting again?”

“She has only been visiting some relatives up North, so she hasn't much time. She is leaving back home in Vestfold tomorrow. So we won't be meeting again. You know, Friða told me her friend Mette complained that you ran out on her after the dances. Why in Hel you chose to leave alone and go to sleep after kissing Mette, I will never understand. She was all right.”

“Well, she ended up dancing with Asvald afterwards. So I reckon in the end she was glad to have got rid of me. Also, it seemed to me that Mette would have needed a lot more persuasion than your girl Friða.”

“I know,” laughed Helgi. “I was incredibly lucky, right? A girl like that comes into town, all loose and willing and, for some weird inexplicable reason, she lays eyes on me. Why didn't she choose Asvald, for instance? All the girls like Asvald. I wonder what she saw in me.”

Lars looked at Helgi as he floated in the lake, face up in the sun, with hands paddling the water calmly. He was wearing only the runed necklace on his chest and his eyes were closed. The image of the trees and the green slopes mirrored in the lake rippled, disturbed by his body. Lars said:

“You are taller than Asvald and more slender. So you look... tall and slender, I suppose. But you are scaring all the fish now, you know that, right?”

“Damn the fish, we came too late anyway. Throw that damn pole aside and let's swim.”

Lars went back to the shore and packed his fishing tools, then plunged in and swam to where Helgi was floating. He was now smirking at him:

“So, as I was saying, I am in the fields with Friða, drinking beer like that. She unfastens her shirt but doesn't remove it completely, you know, just so that her skin shows through the openings of the lace. And her breasts... you saw how she looked, right?” he gestured. “I mean, my hands are not even big enough to hold...”

“Yes,” Lars nodded.

“Wait, wait, I'm not done yet. Here comes the best part. So, then she bends over and says Ride me.” He grinned. “Eh? Now I'm done.”

Lars swallowed and then asked half-voiced: “So? Did you?”

“What do you think?” Helgi laughed. “You have to try it some time. You're eighteen, what are you waiting for? Hey... what's wrong with you? Don't you want to swim?”

“Headache.”

“No wonder, after you drank like that. Here,” he said and came close to Lars, at his back, gathering his long dark-blond locks in a bun, so Lars reached to hold his hair up like that. Then Helgi touched the back of his neck, pressing his fingers tight on both sides of the spine, sliding down on his shoulders. Lars closed his eyes as he heard him speak: “Friða talked about you. She said you are handsome too, but you are way too shy and silent. You know... you could have stayed with us. I mean, maybe she wouldn't have minded.” Through half-opened eyelids, Lars watched Helgi's reflection in the lake behind him, as they stood on a spot where the ground was higher, so water was reaching just below his waist. His hands kept massaging his back, moving on to press on his temples, in small circles. In the water, Lars saw Helgi wet his lips as he went on: “You know... I wouldn't have minded either. I mean, we are friends, right? And she was just a girl.”

Lars swallowed. He folded his hands abruptly before himself when Helgi moved at his side.

“I don't think she realized I had not been with anyone before. I mean, I was pretty good. I think... Hey, you don't suppose that's why she didn't meet me again today? She really was busy and it wasn't only a pretence, right?”

“Does it matter?” Lars asked.

“Nah,” Helgi answered after a moment, shrugging his shoulders. “I don't care. She was not my type anyway.”

As they stood side by side, glaring across the surface of the water, the back of their hands touched. Lars moved his fingers on Helgi's hand slowly. He then turned towards him, close, caressing his arm to the elbow and resting his hand on his hip as he kissed his lips briskly. Seeing him make no move, he kissed him again. Helgi kissed him back, but after a couple of moments he turned his head to the side. Helgi's hair hanged to cover his face, hiding it. So Lars arranged the locks aside with an uneasy motion, turning his chin forward to have a look at him. But Helgi was beaming brightly. They both laughed.

“Still want to swim?” said Lars and slid under the water, face up, not losing him from sight.

“To the other side. To the birches,” Helgi nodded still grinning. “You were right, you know, there will be hail,” he pointed towards some grey clouds gathered at high altitude far away towards the East and plunged in the lake.

*Eastern Sea, Baltic Sea (O.N.)


© Copyright 2019 Helevorn. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Young Adult Short Stories