I’d like to start today’s post with an interesting historical bit featured in Blind Mercy…
Beginning in the 8th century, decrees officially linked the Pagan practices of slaughtering and eating horses with opposition to the church. These misdeeds were considered quite serious, punishable offences.
The Pope’s geopolitical maneuver found a capable agent in Boniface (later to become Saint Boniface). This missionary famously felled the holy oak tree dedicated to Thor in northern Hesse, amazing the Pagans when a lightening bolt didn’t strike him, and setting in motion the felling of the Pagan ways of northern Europe.
Pope Gregory III sent Boniface a letter in 732 AD charging him with the sacred duty of abolishing the Pagan custom of slaughtering and eating horses – a taboo successfully woven into the layers of the cultural fabric of the modern west.(http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/02/23/vatican-vikings-american-horse-eating-taboo/#axzz2vxuiN6s1)
Please note the government recently approved the sale of horsemeat for consumption in the United States after centuries of adhering to church dictates to ban it.
Blind Mercy release February 12, 2014…
The Sigurdsson family legacy continues…
A woman who prayed for a hero…
Orphaned at a young age, Rachelle Fiennes prayed for a hero to rescue her from her tragic life in England. When her only kinsman goes missing after the Battle of Stamford Bridge, Rachelle braves the aftermath of the battlefield to find him.
A man who lost everything…
Damned by the gods for surviving the bloodiest defeat in Norse history, Jarl Tyr Sigurdsson is still determined to get home. Hiding until nightfall so he can escape to his ship, his dangerous endeavor is disrupted when he’s accidently discovered by a beautiful Saxon.
Brought together by war, Rachelle and Tyr face many obstacles. Can sworn enemies find peace through love, or will fate tear them apart?
One of my favorite scenes…
Unable to mistake the aroma of the food, the guests clapped as thralls appeared with sizzling horse flesh, skewered on long metal rods. A traditional meal from ancient times meant to unite Norsemen. The prince’s face twisted with revulsion after a plate of meat was placed in front of him.
With one strike, Tyr could crush his skull. Instead of resorting to violence, he’d devised a much more effective way to dispose of the prince. Picking up a skewer, Tyr bit off a large piece of meat. He watched Rachelle nibble delicately on her own serving. By Odin, he loved her. Dipping a piece of bread in thick brown broth, he noisily sucked the juices from the crust before he consumed it in one bite. Atrocious table manners were useful. He studied Edwin between sips of wine. The coward hadn’t touched his food.
“Is there something wrong with the main course?”
The horse flesh was swimming in garlic and onion sauce. “Nothing at all,” Edwin lied.
“Do you prefer something more delicate, perhaps leg of lamb?”
Edwin leapt to his feet. “Are you calling me weak?”
The prince’s guards swarmed to the front of the room. Onetooth jumped up, holding his battle axe. Rachelle gasped, then dropped her linen on her lap. She threw Tyr a piercing look. Amused by Edwin’s reaction, he disregarded her. She’d hear the truth soon enough.
“Why do you tempt my displeasure, Jarl Sigurdsson?”
“I never intended to make you uncomfortable, Prince Edwin. You’ve spent two days sharing your vision for a renewed Trondelag. You condemned your father’s traditions and offered an array of ideas that might earn any other man a death sentence. You speak prettily of tolerance and unification. You claim to care little for what gods men worship. Pagan, Christian, or Jew. Some might believe such lies. If your intentions are true, eat with me.” He left no room for refusal and leaned in so only Edwin could hear his next words. “You’ll die before you get between her legs.”
Edwin swore. “Is that what made you angry?”
Tyr’s heart pounded. “Your father never compromised. Although I disagreed with him on many issues of importance, he was a man of purpose. The north provided security for him and he knew the only way to keep us in his ranks was to turn a blind eye while we worshipped Odin. He did so out of desperation. And I respected him for it.”
“My father was a tyrannical beast.”
The formal mourning period for King Hardrada had barely ended. And his son dared to publicly deprecate his name. Angry words flew from the crowd. Edwin’s insult provided the damning evidence Tyr needed to disprove his claims.
“You’ve taken advantage of your position.” Tyr stood, then pushed a full trencher in front of the prince. “I’ll give you a chance to redeem yourself. Eat with me and I’ll be the first man to welcome you.”
Edwin refused. “This unclean food is forbidden to all Christians.”
“By what authority?” Tyr harpooned a chunk with his knife, then held it up. “Pope Gregory, whose corpse is rotting in the earth? Why concern yourself with a holy man whose body is fodder for worms. Eat as proof of your dedication and I will bend my knee in support of your claim. Recognize Odin’s authority, admit Thor’s spirit still roams this sacred land, and condemn the destruction of the Holy Oak in Hesse—renounce your faith in the White Christ and beg our forgiveness and I might let you walk out of here.” In that moment, Tyr sensed the strength of Allfather’s presence.
Edwin shoved the plate aside, then drew his sword. “You question my honor.”
“Honor,” Tyr scoffed. “Liars have none.”
“You’re not qualified to be my judge.” Edwin turned to Rachelle. “This man speaks of truth, yet he withholds valuable information from you.” He grinned triumphantly. “A man that tells half-truths is still a liar.”
Rachelle eyed Tyr. “What hasn’t he told me?”
Tyr edged closer. The prince’s blade was inches from his throat.
“The Normans invaded England and murdered your good King Harold at Hastings. The Saxons are no longer freemen.”
Edwin’s weapon came loose as Tyr wrestled him down. The back of the prince’s head landed in a trencher of gravy. Tyr grabbed a fistful of hot meat from another plate and shoved it in Edwin’s big mouth. “Choke on it, you bastard.”
Edwin’s face turned three shades of purple.
Onetooth intervened, grabbing Tyr’s shoulder. “Let him go, milord.” The captain pried his fingers loose one by one…
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