|The Viking shieldmaiden Lagertha (1913)|
|by Morris Meredith Williams (1881-1973).|
According to the 12th-century Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus, Ladgarda (a.k.a. Lagertha, Lathgertha, Ladgertha, and Ladgerda) was the daughter of the Norwegian king Siward. The Swedish king Freyr invaded Norway, killed Siward and placed the women of Siward's family into a brothel. Ragnar Lodbrok arrived on the scene with an army to avenge his grandfather. Ladgarda, dressed as a man but with her locks flowing down her back from under her helm, fought with Ragnar and distinguished herself with her courage and skill. Ragnar married Ladgarda after passing some trials and fathered several children with her. He later divorced Ladgarda to marry the daughter of a king.
In Rains's tale, Ladgarda leads her own band of warriors and comes to the aid of her former husband Ragnar. Her attack carries the battle for Ragnar. When collecting payment for her help, she learns that he is to marry the princess Thora of Sweden. This is not good news for Ladgarda. The Swedes have no love for her. As she tells Ragnar when bargaining for her payment:
Ladgarda hissed with irritation. “I help because you leave me to sail the sea. If you do not rule, another would try to hunt me down and I will not give up my freedom.”To what lengths of subterfuge will Ladgarda go to preserve her freedom? Check out Rains's tale to find out. Rains weaves a short but raw and exciting adventure in “Ladgarda” and flavors her tale with sexual tension.
To learn more about Christine Rains and her work, check out her blog at christinerains-writer.blogspot.com.