The ground trembled beneath the battle, the air reverberated with the clashing of sword and ax. The thirsty soil drank the pouring blood that ran from the wounded lying upon the ground, the call of the crow overhead searching for the dead echoed and the rumbling of thunder with the approach of Odin to claim his warriors. Ragnar stood amidst this mass chaos, defending himself but always keeping a wise eye to the turning tides of the war. The Northmen were winning, by now this was obvious but the enemy proved to have great valor, refusing to surrender.
"We shall vanquish them, father!" Bjorn called and Ragnar looked at him, studying him in his quiet way. Bjorn was quickly distracted by another attack and Ragnar as well. He kept his eyes on his youngest son, Ivar the Boneless. The young man had demanded to come into battle, demanded to fight alongside his able-bodied brothers and Ragnar did not have the heart to deny him. Ivar had built a chariot, enabling him to fight alongside his brothers. His thirst for war and eagerness to prove himself had begun to impress Ragnar. All of his sons prowess on the battlefield impressed him and he was thankful to the Gods to be given the time to fight besides his sons.
The Northmen had been victorious, they had invaded the village and were now sat around the table, reaping the wealth of their conquest. Ragnar was at the head table, his cup being refilled and Lagertha to his left, Bjorn to his right with Ubbe. Hvitserk, Sigurd and Ivar were scattered throughout the Great Hall, celebrating with drink, food, and women. As Ragnar brought the cup to his lips, his eyes fell on a blonde woman that was serving his sons and he stared in wonder. He leaned forward into the table and watched as she continued pouring drinks. She had emerald eyes, pure white skin and though age had begun to take its toll, she was still as beautiful as the day he left her.
"What is? Find a woman to fill your fancy?" Lagertha asked and Ragnar shook his head, leaning back in his seat.
"She has already filled my fancy years ago," he said and Lagertha looked to the woman.
"How long ago? Were we still married?" she asked and Ragnar glanced at her, realizing his words had trapped him.
"I do not remember," he said and Lagertha pursed her lips in annoyance.
"So why do you remember this one so well above the rest that I am sure filled your bed?" Lagertha asked and Ragnar stared at the woman still.
"Because I left her with my child," he said and Lagertha looked to him, stunned.
"Your child?" she asked and Ragnar nodded.
"She came to me and told me that she was with my child but I was young, I wanted adventure more than fatherhood and you had given me Bjorn, what did I need a bastard for? And how did I know it was mine?" he asked.
"How young were you?" Lagertha asked and Ragnar shrugged.
"Young enough to leave a woman with my child," he said and watched as she came closer, pouring the drink into Bjorn's cup. "Dagny?" he said and she looked up, her green eyes focusing on him.
"Hello Ragnar," she said, standing and cupping the jug with her other hand. "I did not think I would see you again," she said and Ragnar felt the guilt enter him. "Are these your sons?" she asked, looking at Bjorn as well as Ubbe. They studied the woman with curiousity, their father seemed familiar with her.
"They are, this is Bjorn and Ubbe, my other sons are also here," he introduced, pointing down the table and she looked to them.
"Sons of Ragnar, they must be proud to be that," she said and looked back at Ragnar.
"And what of?" he asked and she studied him, she knew what he asked without saying.
"She is well," she said and Ragnar's eyebrows raised.
"I have a daughter?" he asked and Dagny nodded.
"Yes, Vigdis," she said.
"Vigdis," Ragnar repeated to himself. "Is she here?" he asked and Dagny looked across the room, Ragnar's eyes followed hers. He saw her point and he looked anxiously. A beautiful girl with long blonde hair loose at her shoulders sat among his warriors, it was clear quickly she was Ragnar's daughter and his breath caught in his throat. Her crystal eyes, her mannerisims and her smile, all pieces of him.
"There," Dagny said and Lagertha wrenched her neck to see this daughter of Ragnar. Bjorn as well as Ubbe turned and craned his neck to see their apparent half-sister.
"What is this father? Do I have a sister?" Bjorn asked and Ragnar glanced at him hastily before turning back to Vigdis.
"Apparently you do," he replied.
"I want to meet her," Bjorn said, standing and Ragnar looked up at him. Ubbe stood as well and Ragnar sighed, getting to his feet.
"Dagny," he said and the woman nodded, leading them across the room. As they approached, the warriors quieted seeing their King and his princes.
"Vigdis," Dagny said and the girl looked up to her mother than to the faces of the men. "Do you remember the tales I would tell you of your father?" she asked and Vigdis nodded, looking back to Ragnar. "This is your father," she said and Vigdis' blue eyes met Ragnar's own. The pair studied each other, sizing the other up and then her eyes went to the brothers.
"And who are these men?" she asked and Dagny looked to them.
"These are your brothers," she said and Vigdis looked back to them.
"I have brothers? You did not tell me this," she said and Dagny nodded.
"I did not know myself," she said and Vigdis looked back to them. She had not risen, she remained seated as she was and appeared to have Ragnar's cockiness.
"Well then they must sit and we must feast together," she said and the men cleared the table quickly, Ragnar watched them disperse. He was surprised at her ability to boss his men around and at their eagerness to follow her order. The brothers sat as did Ragnar, Dagny set the pitcher down before joining them.
Lagertha watched the group from across the room, glancing up as Astrid came over.
"What is this?" she asked and Lagertha sighed.
"Yet another one of Ragnar's children," she said and Astrid's eyebrows raised.
"Another? And a daughter?" she asked and Lagertha nodded. "What do you know of her?" she asked and Lagertha shook her head.
"Nothing other than she shares his blood," Lagertha replied.
"When was she born? Was he still married to you?" she asked and Lagertha shook her head.
"He says he does not remember but I think he is trying to evade the question, though she looks older than Bjorn," she said and Astrid looked back to the group.
"She would be the eldest of Ragnar's children, that carries much burden," she said and Lagertha looked to her. She had not thought of that, that this girl now usurped her own son for Ragnar's inheritance and she looked back to her. This wild card could upset the whole hierarchy of Kattegat. "She certainly resembles him," Astrid murmured and Lagertha stared at the girl, she could not deny that.