Here at amazon.com, here at amazon.co.uk, here at amazon.co.de (Hello to all my German fans!), here at bn.com, here at smashwords.com… May or may not be allowed into to the iStore someday, who knows… And definitely coming soon to TLAVideo.com!
Here’s another taste for you (this excerpt is all plottin’ and no sexin’ just so ya know):
The Volva’s house was just at the edge of the village. She had her own pens full of chickens, a few pigs, a goat…as likely to end up as sacrifices to Odin and Thor and Freya, Colum thought, as to end up on the dinner table.
He went to knock on the door but it opened as he raised his hand. The woman inside had the grey hair, the stoop, the wrinkled face of the very old, but her eyes were as young and bright as Colum’s. “So,” she said. “Well, well. Come in.”
Whatever Colum thought a witch’s house looked like – lots of bones hanging about and a cauldron boiling, he’d always supposed – this was far from it. Dýrfinna’s house was tidy, neat, clean. A spindle stood in a corner, a tunic half finished. A brisk fire crackled in the fireplace.
He handed her the gold coins, and she nodded. “Viggo serves the gods well.” She whispered something Colum couldn’t understand, and tossed one into the fireplace. Now there’s a real sacrifice, Colum thought, as he watched the coin begin to soften on the hot coals.
“You speak our language,” she said.
“Yes, a bit. My accent needs work.”
“Well, you learned it off sheets of paper, so that’s to be expected.” She indicated a desk in the corner. Colum’s shock was apparent – it was a monk’s desk, clearly appropriated from some monastery.
“Yes,” she nodded. “A spoil of war.”
“Why would a Viking bring a desk back from raid?” Colum wondered.
“Because I told a Viking to do it,” she smiled. “I have seen Viggo’s ørlög,” she said, using the word that literally meant “ancient law,” but really meant a man’s fate, his destiny. “And I have seen you, and your place in it.”
Colum thought back to what Viggo had said on the day he’d fought Ljótr.
“Do you know what the runes said about you?”
“No, my lord.”
“That you will share my bed, like a woman. And that you will ride by my side, like a warrior. I will make you my woman. But you are already a warrior. It only remains now to make a Viking out of you.”
Dýrfinna took his right hand. “Well, let’s just see if the men’s magic is right,” she said, almost as if reading his mind.
She closed her eyes and felt his hands, right, left, right again. Her own were cold at first, an old woman’s, but they grew warmer and warmer, quickly. Her breathing increased, and Colum felt a strange sensation in his stomach.
Her eyes flew open with surprise. “Oh,” she said with amazement. “The gods favor you. They have many plans for you.”
Colum didn’t say that he didn’t believe in the Viking gods any more than he did the Christian one. He supposed there might be one or the other or all of them, but unless they appeared in his life and made a great display of it, their existence was of no consequence to him.
“I know,” she nodded. “That’s what interests them. Some of what interests them, anyway.” She took both his hands now in hers and closed her eyes.
“Free, slave, free, slave, free.” She nodded. “Two down, three to go.”
“What do you mean?” Colum asked.
“Your destiny. You were free, now you are a slave. The rest will follow.”
Colum liked the idea of being free again, but the idea that it would be followed with another enslavement was too much to bear. He opened his mouth but she cut him off.
“Wait. There’s more.” She was silent a moment, then let go of his hands, and backed away. Her eyes narrowed as she regarded him with new interest, respect even.
“Scholar, lover, warrior, merchant, magician, scholar. Each and all in time.”
“What do you mean?”
She smiled. “Your ørlög. Your future.”
“And Viggo’s?” he had to ask. “Where is he in all this?”
She laughed. “You do love him very much. Oh, don’t look so afraid,” she waved a hand as if to chase away a fly. “That’s as old as cocks themselves and their need to go in holes.” Colum blushed at her bawdiness. “Some men love women and some love men. And he’s quite the man. You know, don’t you, that he’ll marry and have children? But that’s no obstacle. In fact, it’ll make it easier for the two of you if he does.”
Colum thought of Viggo being serviced by the tavern wench. To have to share him with a woman…to lose him every night to her bed…he didn’t know if he could bear it. She was right. He did love Viggo. Loved him as a woman loved a man.
She slapped him lightly on the wrist. “Don’t be a fool. He’s yours, in your hearts. But the gods must have sons, to carry on the battles. And who better to make sons than Viggo? Now that would be a crime against nature, for him to spill all his seed in you.”
“And how many lives will he lead?” Colum had to ask.
“First you must count how many he’s lived already.”
Colum has to think about that. How does he know Latin, how to read and write it, to recognize great manuscripts, as easily as he kills a man in battle? How can he be so gentle in private and so cruel in public, when other man are the opposite with their lovers?
She indicated the desk. “There is much in your head that needs to be set loose in the world again. Pagan words lost with the paper that carried them to you, but found again in you. Get to work,” she said. “The gods want them saved, and for that purpose they have saved you.”