Flaxen slumps in his feasting chair, eyes glazed and old. The night had been long, the mead had flowed like wine. Comely maids had danced for their Lord and had provided a happy ending (extra 12 groats: ‘You pay now, pay now’). Ominous dark stains bespattered his leather breaches (20 groats at Marks and Spencers) and the smell of ripe testicles assailed his nostrils. A thegn (thegn I actually) interrupts his Jarl’s reverie…......
Thegn I: “Calamitous news, My Lord. The Gypos have landed their long caravans on Tipton shore. They have formed a palisade of milk churns and dead whippets around the midden pit.”
Flaxen Saxon (for it is he): “Raise the levies. Call to arms my House Carls, my thegns and bondsmen. Bring me my stoutest chainmail and my trusty seacx, ‘Arse, Big Fat Arse, Biter.”
Thegn I:”As you command, my Lord.”
Flaxen Saxon: “Where is my warrior son Athelstan?”
Thegn II (Thegn I has gone to do his master’s bidding, remember?): “My Lord, Athelstan is having his roots done and blond highlights put in his hair down at….”
Flaxen Saxon: “WHAT, I THOUGHT HE WAS A NATURAL BLOND!”
Thegn II: "Undoubtedly he is my Lord, but this cold weather we have been having lately plays sore havoc with your natural tones. He just wanted to capture that ‘height of summer’ look.”
Flaxen Saxon: "Thegn II, send a bondsman to Athelstan, tell him to don his finest byrnie. Tell him this time, not the one with the amethyst sequins! I don’t care if it matches his eyes.”
The mists gather in the Great Hall and Eingar, Flaxen’s trusty wolf howls disconsolately. A form slowly coalesces about the great Jarl and Loki appears at Flaxen’s side.
Loki: “Flaxen, will you burn the Gypos and their long caravans, will you?”
Flaxen Saxon: “What is it with you Loki and the burning? Burn this, burn that. Haven’t you ever considered just a light scalding?”
Loki: “You are right of course, Flaxen. You have Woden’s wisdom and eye.”
Flaxen Saxon: “Begone foul wraith, begone!
Loki retreats into the shadows to wait a more propitious time…
Gerhard (The leader of the House Carls): “Your host awaits, my Jarl.”
Flaxen Saxon: “And my son, Athelstan?”
Gerhard: “He will stand at your side, my Jarl, as your shield bearer. Although I fear he is still replete with tin foil strips in his hair.”
Flaxen Saxon: "Good! It will protect him from alien, anal probing (allegedly) and tell him not to go berserk this time. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.”
To be continued….