The Telemachus Story Archive

Norwegian Wood
By Amalaric (Illustrated by Amalaric)
Email: Amalaric


This pair of manips has been hanging around in a file for well over a year and a half. Originally made for Kore- Viking extraordinaire- I had thought to write a story to go with them and became just a little intimidated. I mean, no slouch when it comes to history myself, I am nevertheless well aware that Kore’s knowledge of the historical and social arcanae of medieval Scandinavia puts my rudimentary learning in the shade! For instance, I couldn’t even figure out a decent name for the guy that would fit time and place…much less a credible village where he may have lived…and so on. And then there is TTrainer, now on Board and, well, fark my barnyard full of goats and ranch hands- can you imagine the rash of spelling airrrors that might appear in a story set in medieval Norway?????? At any rate, Kore’s latest manip posted yesterday, set somewhere in those same woods, put this old series in mind and I thought I would give it a go and let poor Lars (yeah, I am calling him Lars) see the bright lights of CM. No story, really, just a little suggestive verbiage to grease the (medieval) wheels…

Well…once upon a time… Sorry! Let’s begin again… Several villages, innumerable farms and fields, and a sprawling forest or two north of tenth century Oslo the ancient rhythms of the land spun slowly by; life to death and back again as grain budded, ripened and was gratefully harvested, but that bird’s eye view of pastoral tranquility, the product of a timeless wisdom unaware that time has run out, masks truth with a casual stroke far too broad for my frenetic and admittedly dark taste. No. Each thrall plowing, hoeing, and otherwise coaxing the soil lived his own drama as certain and real as the many hungry mouths he had to feed, his woman working in the yard or before the hearth, aspirations for justice and perhaps (if he was a dreamer) even of freedom. Life itself was uncertain and, though faith in God or the gods gave a window with a beguiling view, a man’s head was most often bent away from the sky and toward the rich gash of a newly dug furrow. Lars was no exception. He worked hard and was able to do so because he was young- not more than twenty summers- and motivated by life’s cares; a kind of innocent, though far from stupid, believing that all would somehow be well as the green leaves trembled on a Spring breeze and the welcome northern sun tanned his broad naked back a golden shade to match the earth. Like everyone, Lars had his cherished dreams and these, too, revolved around the land, hoping someday for a freehold like that inherited by his older brother instead of the paid labor wrung from the tight fist of the young thane. He dreamed and sweated as the hours slid by, stripped to a linen loincloth in the lonely clearing, counting the silver- most for living hardscrabble, rent (of course) to the thane, and maybe some for the future if the harvest was good.

Leaning against the precious iron hoe, Lars was startled by a thrashing noise of disturbed bracken as the thane and his boon companion entered the clearing. ‘You, boy!’ The shouted remark, half question, half command, thoroughly peremptory, griped Lars’ hammering heart with strength as sure as the iron blade beneath his whitening knuckles. Dropping the hoe, he slowly turned around to face the young lords and the breath pistoned from his smooth chest as he caught the crackle of violent lust in twin pairs of cold blue eyes.

Lars was taken deep into the forest, mostly silent after pleading a cause lost to the thane’s very different kind of dreams, and stripped beneath an ancient oak. Chained naked to the tree, the young laborer waited in an endless moment for the rough games to commence.