Shield-Maiden by Melanie Karsak (The Road to Valhalla Book 3)
English | 2020| Fantasy | ePUB | 3.3 MB
Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and The Celtic Blood Series. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children.
Under the thunder moon, the war-horn will sound, and Odin’s Valkyrie will rise.
Reunited with Hofund, and with Bolmsö safe from its enemies, Hervor takes her place as jarl. But the All-Father has bigger plans for his favorite shield-maiden. When Hervor learns that Jarl Bjartmar has vowed vengeance on Leif, she knows she must stand by her cousin. To free Dalr, they must enlist the help of old allies, former enemies, and a warrior-priest called the Reindeer King. Together, they will fight to free Dalr.
Hofund laughed lightly. “The gods. For many months, I despaired. The words we spoke between us,” he said, reaching out to touch my face. He gently stroked his thumb across my cheek then shook his head. “I believed you cared for me. And I”—he smiled— “well, I was already in love with you. But the jarl told me differently. He told me you never wanted to marry, that the idea was abhorrent to you, that you ran off when you learned I’d asked for your hand. You and I… I thought we’d reached an understanding. I was dumbfounded. I thought, perhaps, I had misread you. Maybe I had pushed too hard. Maybe my mother’s vision had been wrong. I didn’t know what to believe.”
“Did Svafa send word? She promised me she would.”
“She did, but it did not reach me. When I came again to Dalr, she told me she had sent a messenger. The message never arrived.”
“That is very odd.”
“So it is. As you know, my mother was a völva. She saw the future. I, too, have seen strange visions but not often. Then, I started to see you: in a ring of runestones, fighting on the shore of an island. I didn’t know where you were. Nor did I know if you loved me or not. Then, I had another vision. I saw you in your blue dress, with the banners of Bolmsö fluttering in the breeze. Snow fell in fat flakes all around you as you stood before a fire in a wide square, a glimmering sword in your hand. In the vision, you whispered my name. It felt so real. When I woke from it, I had snow on my shoulders. After that, I knew you had not forgotten me.”
“I never did. My feelings for you never changed. The jarl lied. I sent a message from Halmstad on a ship bound for Grund. Did that reach you?”
Hofund looked perplexed. “A ship? No.”
I frowned. Why had the gods stepped between Hofund and me?
“After the vision, I began my search. I started in Dalr. When I first arrived, the jarl was in Silfrheim, so I spoke to your mother. She was much changed. She told me what had happened, how the jarl had deceived me, and why. She told me you had gone to Samso. So, I followed you there, nearly drowning in the process. My ship was caught in a squall. As I nearly went under the waves, all I could think about was you.”
I squeezed his hand. I remembered my own vision, seeing him on the tossing waves.
“When we arrived in Samso, I met an ancient woman, Sigfrid. She told me you went on to Bolmsö. I followed you, making port in Halmstad. When we landed there, we discovered they were preparing for war against Bolmsö. That was when I returned to Silfrheim and collected Leif and his men. We sailed halfway around Scandinavia to reach your lake. Only the gods brought us there on time. I am sorry it took me so long. And…and I am sorry I doubted you,” he said, then set his hand on the back of my head. “Please forgive me.”