Sigurd was a Viking; a mighty warrior who lived near a fjord in Norway. Well, he lived near a fjord that much was the truth, and he was mighty; for he was as tall and as strong as a pine tree and quite as handsome, if you can call a pine tree handsome that is. But alas, a warrior he was not.
Oh he was meant to be of course. Many’s the time he had joined the other warriors from his village as they hopped aboard the long boats and sailed across the North Sea for a spot of pillage and plunder. And he was jolly good at it as well. Wielding his broad sword and his spear, he cut a real dash in his chain mail, and the helmet with the rather fetching nose guard.
Baring his teeth in a canine snarl, emitting blood curdling yells as he waded in to the melee he appeared not one bit different to the others. Even Einar, his beloved boyhood friend was impressed. And Einar, it must be said was not a man to be easily impressed by anyone or anything. It was even whispered in the village that Einar would not be awed even in the presence of Odin himself.
But back to Sigurd now. Our hero would wield his sword with skill and dexterity, screaming oaths and grimacing with effort. But, if anyone had cared to take notice, which of course they couldn’t being otherwise engaged themselves; they would have noticed that not one adversary ever succumbed to Sigurd’s deadly blade. Not one bloodied corpse ever lay in Sigurd’s path, only those which had been killed by his fellow warriors. And Sigurd’s sword remained unbloodied and untried.
But worse than this, much much worse, it wasn’t only Sigurd’s sword which remained untried. For when his fellow Viking’s finished up the days events with a spot of ravaging and deflowering, Sigurd would slink away to the nearest ( plundered) ale house and, seeking out what ever his mates had left, he would sit and have a quiet drink by himself and think his thoughts and wonder what it was all about.
He was a fraud, a sham, a pathetic excuse for a man. And oh how ashamed he was of this life of lies. But what was he to do about it. His heart just wasn’t in killing and running amok and certainly not in ravaging women. But what did he want? He knew he wanted something but poor old Sigurd was at a loss to know just what that elusive something was.
Then, during the last pillaging expedition, his secret nearly came to light when Bjorne, who had the keenest eyes this side of the Poison Sea had noticed Sigurd swing his sword at a very determined Englishman and ‘miss’.
‘By the blood of Odin’, Bjorne had thundered, ‘a newly weened brat could have pierced his gut. Are you blind?’
‘No, by the Gods’, Sigurd had answered ‘I slipped in the mud and he swerved. Anyway, you did for him, so all’s well’. Bjorne had looked at him with narrowed eyes, but had thankfully let the matter rest. But it was no good, he couldn’t go on like this.
So shortly after this incident, Sigurd went out into the pine forest and sat on a log, and prayed to Odin, Oh mighty Odin, he began, I’m tired of this pretence. I want to be a proper man, a warrior but my heart is not that of a warrior yet. I want something oh Mighty Lord, but I don’t know what. And until I do, I’ll carry on with this dreadful pretence and soon all men will know me for a coward and a liar
He was so miserable and so terribly down hearted that he didn’t hear the rustle of the bushes as they parted in front of him. It was only when he heard the slight ‘ahem’ that he looked up…….and gasped in surprise and wonder.
For there, standing right in front of him was the most beautiful young man he had ever seen in his life. Why, he was even more handsome than Eric who all the girls in the village mooned after, even the married women were said to harbour secret fantasies about Eric.
‘Who, by Thor’s hammer are you?’ asked Sigurd, his eyes nearly popping out of his head at sight of this vision. Oh, he was stunning. With hair the colour of ripe corn, which flowed in waves to his shoulders, eyes as blue as the fjord in summer. And skin which looked to be as white as a maidens belly. Not that he’d ever seen a maidens belly, but he’d heard the others make this comparison so it seemed appropriate.
The youth came closer to where Sigurd still perched on his log, ‘I am Lopti’, he said, his voice like music to Sigurd’s ears, ‘and I am yours if you want me, Sigurd’.
‘W..w want you’, Sigurd stammered, ‘erm in what way would I want you?’
The boy came closer still, so close in fact that Sig could see the dilated pupils and smell the scent of pine wafting off him. Oh, it smelt wonderful and so…so manly. Yes, it smelt manly and fresh and clean and it smelt of the forests and the trees and………’Mmmmmm’, Before he knew what was happening, the boy had bent his head, clamped his mouth to his and was giving him the longest and deepest kiss he had ever had in his life.
‘What in the name of..of well, of anything do you think your about’, Sigurd was astounded at this boys presumption. ‘You can’t just go around kissing other men, and me a warrior to boot. It’s just not done’.
The boys eyebrows had shot upwards at Sig’s display of indignation, but now he began to laugh.
‘Oh, come now Siggie’, he said, ‘you enjoyed every moment of it. You cannot deny it’. He sat down next to Sigurd and went on, ‘As for warrior, come on Sig, you’ll never amount to that status until you know what it is you really want’.
Now Sigurd was really curious. How did this vision know so much about him and his affliction, and he asked him.
‘I’, said the young man pulling himself up straighter and with a great deal of pride in his voice, ‘ know much and more besides about you, Sig. You see, I have been sent by none other than the mighty Odin to help you’.
Now Sigurd had heard some sagas in his life, sitting around the blazing fires on cold winter nights, but this took the venison pasty. Laughing mightily, and sounding just like the warrior he aspired to be he said;
‘Aye, lad of course you have. And I’m bidding fare to be the next king of Northumbria’.
‘You don’t believe me’, asked the boy very calmly despite his annoyance at not being believed.
Sigurd shook his head, tears of mirth trickling into his beard, ‘Now what gave you that idea’, he managed to say, ‘Odin sent you, to help me?’ and he guffawed again and nearly fell of the log.
‘Very well, Sigurd’, said Lopti looking with disgust at the other man ‘if you won’t be helped and you don’t believe me, I’ll go’. And he got up off the log and made to go back into the forest. ‘But’, he said over his shoulder, ‘just don’t expect any help in the future when you pray to Odin that’s all’. And he swished back through the bushes and shrubs leaving no sign of his passing.
Sobering quickly with the boys exit, Sigurd leapt off his log and made to follow Lopti into the forest. ‘Boy!’ he shouted, ‘Lopti! where are you?’ He couldn’t let him go now, not now his curiosity had been piqued and well, something else which he was finding quite pleasurable and it had started when Lopti had kissed him. Maybe he had been sent by Odin, after all stranger things had happened. There was that time when, after drinking several horns of mead Snorri had………….’Argh!’ The arm had shot out of the bush and before he knew what was happening Sigurd was grabbed in a surprisingly strong grip and dragged into a clearing. And was face to face with a grinning Lopti.
‘Hello again, Siggie’, he said throwing an arm around the man’s shoulders, ‘I knew you’d follow me, you couldn’t help yourself. Now, what do you think?’ Sigurd looked about him, and what he saw truly amazed him. For this was no ordinary clearing, indeed it was just like something from those sagas he’d just been thinking about.
Surrounded by flower covered bushes and carpeted by a swathe of lush green grass, it was beautiful. But what really caused Sigurd to gasp for the second time that day was the crystal clear pool, at it’s head a waterfall, white and foaming, it cascaded down over moss covered boulders and rocks, splashing into the silvery water below.
‘Now, to business’, Lopti said, as he began to strip off his clothes while Sigurd stood and stared in wonder as the beautiful body was, little by little revealed at last.
Something stirred in Sigurd, and before he knew it, he too was divesting himself of his clothes and flinging them about with careless abandon. Then, lying on the grass together, Lopti proceeded to show Sigurd what he really did want. And oh, it was the most wonderful thing Sig had ever experienced in his life. When Lopti began to cover his body in kisses with those full, sensual lips, nibbling and sucking and caressing he was lost.
It was when Lopti took him at last, gently, tenderly but with passion, that he knew this was what he’d been wanting, what he’d been waiting for.
And when, arching his body against his lovers, his cry of release echoing around the clearing, not caring if he was heard, he had felt a mixture of ecstasy and liberation. Sinking back down onto the cool green grass, Sigurd looked deep into the other man’s eyes and saw in them a spark of amusement.
‘You enjoyed that didn’t you Sig?’ Lopti said, lying down next to Sigurd and staring up towards the sky, the sun glinting on his hair, his body still flushed and glowing.
‘You know damn well I did’, Sigurd, feeling boneless and quite drowsy snuggled further in to his lovers side and prepared to sleep.
‘Sig’, Lopti was shaking him awake, ‘Come on, wake up. You’ve got to go find Einar’.
‘Huh, what?’ Sig opened his eyes and wondered where he was for a moment. Then he remembered but, ‘Einar, why would I want to find him right away?’ still befuddled with sleep he squinted up at Lopti who, fully dressed again was crouching over him.
‘Why, don’t you know yet, Sig’, Lopti heaved Sigurd to his feet and like a mother with her child helped him to dress. It was a peculiarly tender gesture and Sigurd was touched.
‘No, I don’t know, Lopti, so you tell me. What’s Einar got to do with any of this?’
‘By Odin, you are dim, Siggie my fine Viking warrior’. Buckling Sig’s belt he stepped back to survey his handiwork. ‘Yes, you’ll do. Now, I told you I’d come to help you didn’t I?’
‘Hmm, you did, from Odin’.
‘And so I have. And I’m killing two birds with the one stone and not only helping you, but that dim witted friend of yours’.
‘Now look here, just because you and I have…….’ Sigurd began, but the other man cut him off.
‘Einar is in love with you, Sigurd. Didn’t you know that. All that posturing and don’t care a damn about anything, it’s all for show. He’s hiding what he feels and of course he thinks you’ll rebuff and scorn him if he shows his true feelings for you’.
‘Einar! In love with me’, This was news to Sigurd, but welcome news nonetheless. He did love Einar, but he’d always imagined it was more of a brotherly affection but, now Lopti came to mention it…….
‘So what should I do, Lopti?’ he said, ‘How can I tell him. How can you be sure that he feels love for me?’
‘Trust me, Sigurd, just trust me alright’.
‘All right, I do. But…..but will I ever see you again?’ Sigurd was suddenly aware that as Lopti had arrived seemingly from nowhere he might just disappear in the same way.
‘Ah, Siggie, you’ll see me in the most unexpected of places’, he said with a mischievous grin, ‘I am everywhere and everything’. Taking Sigurd by the hand he led him to the edge of the clearing, ‘Now for the love of Odin, go. Go and find that friend of yours and tell him how it is with you’.
Preparing to go, Sig felt a sudden tightening in his throat, and turned once more to Lopti, ‘Lopti, I..I..thank you’. He felt the sting of tears in his eyes but held them back, and Lopti, noticing grabbed him by the shoulders and delivered a resounding and hearty kiss, ‘Goodbye, Sigurd’ he said again, ‘You were wonderful you know’. Just before he vanished back into the foliage, Lopti turned and said, ‘I’ll tell Odin you’ll now be one of his best warriors, and one day he will welcome you into Valhalla. But not for many years yet. Oh and Sigurd………Loki knows what he’s talking about’.
And with that he was gone. Leaving Sig open mouthed with shock. Loki! Loki! He’d just…….with Loki!
Then grinning to himself, he set off back to the village to find Einar and tell him….what? Well, he’d see how it went and someday he’d tell Einar about Lopti or Loki. And if he didn’t believe him, well he’d soon discover the truth of it when they arrived in Valhalla and Loki met them at the doors. For if nothing else, he knew now he would die with a sword in his hand, aye a bloodied one too.
All images Google Images.
Note, Lopti was one of several names by which Loki was also known