It is late, dark and quiet here… I stand at a window in this Villa of King Ecbert’s and stare out at the night sky. The stars shine so brightly tonight and I am reminded of something I heard as a child? Each of those stars is a soul, a person departed from this life and now a shining star in the heavens above looking down on us lighting our way and guiding us. It comforted me as a child and it comforts me now as I look up and wonder which of those stars is my friend, Siggy. My heart is aching, my eyes red from tears that I can not keep back no matter how hard I try. I suffer my grief alone for now as I can not tell anyone here what has happened. All I can do is urge and plead with my friends to go home, go home quickly for I feel they are needed in Kattegat and in Hedeby. I fear for our safety here now as well… But, as I have said, I can say nothing for to tell them would cast me in a fearful light. Tonight is not a time to put myself in any doubtful position, not after the spectacle that happened at their feasting celebration. My friends here put up with my sometimes odd behaviors and thoughts for the most part. I make every effort to fit in and not call undue attention to myself. I am used to it, I have been living here in the past with these people for many years now have so far managed not to cause doubts or accusations on my sanity or be labeled as a sorceress or seer. I do not want that label at all, nor do I want the label of crazy villager, or worse here in a Christian world- that of witch?
Tonight is one of those rare times when I think about my past… the future and I wonder if I should not just go back to my life there? I really do not know if I am strong enough anymore in my heart to continue with this life in the past. My mind is filled with doubts and with fears for our future and all I can do is stand here and weep for the loss of good friend. I look down at the parchment in my hands, know that I should burn it but I can not do it. It is all I have left of Siggy, these words, this account of the events that led to her death. I hold on to the pages, my hands shaking and my tears dripping down to this paper. My nose is running now as well, and with little thought, I wipe my nose on the sleeve of my dress. I do not care for my appearance at this point, in fact I have cared about little since receiving this message some days ago. I make excuses of illness to everyone here, they give me wide berth and avoid me… if it is something catching, none wants to be too near to me. That is fine with me, I am far better off with this solitary time in which to deal with my sorrow.
I mentioned that there was a great celebration and feast of sorts tonight in honor of our victory over Mercia. Our warriors have returned home and they celebrate in some fashion, this victory. Whether it is truly a victory remains to be seen. I will speak more of this later. for now, I must tell of how I came to receive this sad news of Kattegat. You may recall that in some earlier writings, I mentioned my interest in Wilton Abbey and my desire to visit there. I enlisted the help of Lady Judith in this endeavor but she seemed quite preoccupied with her own personal matters and Athelstan. I was about to give up hope on this whole idea when a young priest came from there in search of me. Now, at first I assumed that the young man was mistaken when he insisted that he came with a message for me. He said that he had an urgent message for one Lady Judith… I of course told him that he must have the wrong Judith? I pointed him towards Lady Judith and told him that she was most likely the one he was in search of. The young priest shook his head and said, “I know who that Lady Judith is! I am in search of you, the one who arrived with the North settlers.”
I was highly puzzled and confused by this. I know of no one outside this small village and our settlement. My concern must have shown on my face and he took some pity on me. He motioned to an alcove where we could speak more privately. Once there, he whispered his explanation. “Shhhh just listen to me, this is important. We have a traveler there who has just recently arrived from the Dane lands. This traveler has a grave message for you. He said to tell you that Gunnar waits there for your visit.” The priest held on to me when it appeared I might fall at his feet in a shocked faint. My “brother”, my friend Gunnar is still alive and is searching for me!
We had spoke at one time of Wilton Abbey and the possibility of using it as a meeting place or safe house. One of the first and most important things one learns in training for this time travel is knowing of such places where you might find shelter and safety if becomes necessary. In our early discussions of this Wessex area, we chose Wilton Abbey as such a place for it’s proximity to Standing Stones… Stonehenge to be exact, and for it’s earliest reputation as a lesser known sanctuary. We also chose it because of it’s connections to Ecbert’s family, thinking it might be a more feasible option than some other places.
The priest made arrangements with Lady Judith, saying that he would gladly take me with him to Wilton… Judith being so pre-occupied with those other matters, happily went along with his suggestion. So, I made the trip to Wilton Abbey and was reunited with my friend Gunnar. It had been years since we saw each other last and frankly, I had assumed him dead! I did have a feeling that besides his news, what ever it might be, was not the only reason he was searching for me. I was in possession of a rather large amount of treasure that was rightfully his. He had left it with me and told me to care for it, but to use it as I saw fit if he should not return. Ummm well, I guiltily looked at the chest… there was still quite a bit left but I had made use of some of it. Damn, now I supposed he was going to want it back- so much for my retirement savings!
My worries over such pettiness as wealth were quickly forgotten once I met with Gunnar. We had our heartfelt reunion and he did express his guilt and apologies for having left me there in Kattegat on my own and not returning to see to my welfare. He did admonish and remind me though, that it had been my choice to stay. I could have left with the other travelers when they fled Kattegat during those years of Earl Haraldson’s madness and then the mess with Jarl Borg. He assumed that I had left with the others. When he met up with all of them they told him of my decision to remain with Siggy. He thought that I was safe enough with Siggy, and with Rollo so he continued on with his sea adventures. He had returned to Kattegat recently, now that it was at peace and was told of my leaving for England. Gunnar was in Kattegat to witness the awful events taking place and knew that he must come in search of me to tell me this news himself. He took time to write it all down so that there is a written account of it for the future. That is what we are suppose to do here… document the various events with no interference or subjective slanting on our parts. We have all come to realize how impossible that task is though after being in the middle of history, meeting these people and becoming friends with them.
Gunnar made two copies of the story, one he will keep safe and send on with messengers to the future. The other copy, he gave to me to keep for myself, for my own memories of my Siggy. I know that I probably should not keep it. It is so risky to keep our journals but I can not part with it. So, I will hold it with my other treasured writings and thoughts… then I will take them out at times such as this, read them and remember my time spent here, remember those that I have come to hold so dear to me and cry my tears in private. I know that returning to the future is but a fleeting thought in these moments of fear and heart ache. I will find my inner strength and I will go on. There are still others here that need me, such as Rollo. He has made such strides in putting his life together and becoming that man of greatness but I fear that this news of Siggy might cause him undue stress and much heart ache. I can not leave him to bear the brunt of it on his own, I worry that he is not yet strong enough in his convictions and determination to handle this well. No, I must stay on here now for Rollo’s sake. I will continue my path, and keep the promise I made to Siggy when I left her in Kattegat. I promised her that I would follow Rollo and watch over him as much as possible, see him safe and on his path to his own greatness.
As is often the case with sudden and unexpected tragedies, I am filled with doubts and second guessing as well. Perhaps I should have remained in Kattegat with her… would that have changed this outcome? I knew that she was suffering much guilt and depression over the events that happened with King Horik. She was not herself but she assured me that I should go with Rollo and she would be fine there on her own. I knew too of Aslaug’s disregard of Siggy, and her ill treatment of her but, then Aslaug treated all of us much in the same manner. She has always presumed that she is better than the rest of us, has treated us all as her servants and taken advantage of those with good hearts.
Now, as my last honor to my friend Siggy, I will share the story here so that no one shall question the events that took place! Gunnar’s telling was far more objective but I can not be objective in the telling. I lived with these people for so long, I know them well and I know in my heart what that Bitch, Aslaug is capable of. After this, I will have no respect at all left for her and I will be happy to be witness to what ever downfall may come her way.
The problems in Kattegat began before the arrival of a strange wanderer named Harbard. Gunnar was in the village at the time and said that Siggy was not herself even then. He has known Siggy for some time from his days of trading in Kattegat, and he said that she seemed much bothered and unhappy even before the wanderer showed up in the village. There was talk of strange dreams and everyone in Aslaug’s household seemed ill at ease. At the time Gunnar put it down to them having to live with Aslaug, who he referred to as a shrew? He said too, that it must have worn on their nerves, the continuous crying of that baby, Ivar.
Siggy did share that she was bothered by bad dreans and feelings of unknown fear? She mentioned that she had went so far as to seek help from the Seer, and he was no help at all! In fact, he seemed bothered by his own feelings of impending doom? When Siggy asked him for help, his reply was “No one can help you”
When this man, Harbard arrived in the village, strange things started happening and Siggy was open in her mistrust and misgivings about him. She was suspicious of him from the beginning. Then when those two boys were found drowned, and Ivar’s pain was temporarily relieved, Siggy became fearful and filled with dread that this strange man was not who he claimed to be. Her premonitions of danger increased, her nerves were on edge and she sank into a dark mood. Siggy grew irritated and impatient with Aslaug’s attitude and shirking of responsibilities. Aslaug was infatuated with this Harbard would listen to no warnings against her behaviors with him. When Siggy tried to remind her of her responsibilities to the village and to her family, Aslaug bluntly told her that it was none of her concern, to mind her place and not speak to her Queen in such a way.
Siggy had been caring for these boys since they were born… Aslaug has ever and always been too busy to pay too much attention to them or care for them. She can easily produce them and bring them into the world but does not seem to have too much concern or patience for the raising of them? In her opinion, I guess she feels that duty is somehow beneath her… The one she does care much for is the infant Ivar, who she insisted on saving from death, only to now have him live in constant suffering and pain. In some limited defense of her Mothering abilities, maybe she is overwrought by the number of boys she has brought into the world in a rather short time. And, perhaps her feelings for baby Ivar are spurred by some guilt on her part at saving his life but now seeing what he must endure as a result. Part of her infatuation with Harbard is due to the fact that he is the only one who is able to ease Ivar’s pain!
Siggy has been more of a Mother to the boys than Aslaug. She cared deeply for those boys, maybe it was because of losing her own children that she cared for them. Probably too that is much of the reason for her frustration and anger at Aslaug’s inattention to her own children. Aslaug began spending far too much time with Harbard, leaving Siggy to hold the family and the matters of the village together. It caused Siggy to think of her previous life…
Everyone wondered about this man, Harbard. Who was he? He claimed to be a wanderer, a story teller, told stories of the Gods and of life in Russia? I asked Gunnar about his thoughts on the man… as Gunnar and I are both travelers from the future, we do have our own thoughts on this strange man. Of course, many firmly believe that he is indeed a some sort of God like figure come to earth or Midgard to either mettle, interfere, teach us some lesson, or test our faith.
Midgard (an anglicised form of Old Norse Miðgarðr; Old English Middangeard, Swedish Midgård, Old Saxon Middilgard, Old High German Mittilagart, Gothic Midjun-gards; literally “middle enclosure”) is the name for the world (in the sense of oikoumene) inhabited by and known to humans in early Germanic cosmology, and specifically one of the Nine Worlds in Norse mythology.
Harbard tells many stories of his homeland, Russia and insists that he is Father to the current Grand Duke of Russia, Olaf.
In the future of Russia, there will be another such wanderer, a mystic and a healer of Royal children… and eventually was in part responsible for the downfall of that Royal monarchy. While many would call Harbard a God, perhaps even Odin himself, others might see him as a charleton, a fake and a cult like influence? This is much the way the other “wanderer” of the future was also viewed. No one can be certain of who Harbard is but, for some of us who know the future, he bears some resemblance to the man known as Rasputin.
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (Russian: Григорий Ефимович Распутин; IPA: [ɡrʲɪˈɡorʲɪj jɪˈfʲiməvʲɪtɕ rɐˈsputʲɪn]; 21 January [O.S. 9 January] 1869 – 30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1916) was a Russian peasant, mystical faith healer and a trusted friend to the Tsar’s family. He became an influential figure in Saint Petersburg, especially after August 1915 when Tsar Nicholas II took command of the army at the front.
There is much uncertainty over Rasputin’s life and the degree of influence he exerted over the shy and irresolute Tsar and the strong-willed Alexandra Feodorovna, his wife. Accounts are often based on dubious memoirs, hearsay and legend. While his influence and role may have been exaggerated, historians agree that his presence played a significant part in the increasing unpopularity of the Imperial couple and the downfall of the Russian Monarchy. Rasputin was killed as he was seen by both the left and right to be the root cause of Russia’s despair during World War I.
Maybe this Harbard is Odin come to midgard… or perhaps, he is some long distant ancestor of Rasputin? What ever the case, he has some mystical healing abilities along with ability to influence the gullible and willing Aslaug. His ability to calm the troublesome Ivar is more than enough for Aslaug to feel greatly indebted to him and for her to find some way to repay him? Harbard does have a suggestion on how she could repay him?
The most important thing to remember about this affair is that Harbard gives Aslaug a choice. He does not force her into anything, he tells her that if she is not willing, she should return to her children. Aslaug’s answer is clear and telling of where her children fall on her list of priorities. “I do not want to be with my children… I want to be with you.”
While she involves herself in this affair with Harbard, Siggy as usual is left to care for the children. She is left to keep them out mischief, and answer difficult questions such as “Where is our Mother? Why is she never here?”
Siggy in her own frustration with the whole situation, did grow a bit impatient… I am sure that she did not mean for her words to come out the way they did and set such a possible tone for future sibling rivalry? “Ivar needs your Mother more than you do”
Siggy’s maternal instincts and her true caring for these boys takes over as she tries to help them understand. She tried to make excuses for Aslaug and not put the woman in a bad light to her sons.
Siggy also poured out her heart in her explanation of sacrifices that a Mother makes for her children. As I said, Siggy raised these boys, and in some way I think she felt like they were her own sons. I think too that is part of why she remained so long in that household with Aslaug!
The boys were a handful though, curious and mischievous much like their Father. And, besides trying to keep them under control, she also had to deal with baby Ivar and his constant needs.
Once again, Ivar’s needs took precedence and the older boys saw a chance to escape for adventure.
With Aslaug nowhere in sight to help care for the children, Helga and Siggy were stressed to their limits in caring for all of the children. When the boys took off, Helga could not follow as she had other children namely her own child, to watch!
Siggy’s bond with those boys caused her to feel a Mother’s intuition of when their child is in danger… Something that Aslaug obviously was lacking!
Siggy felt an overwhelming fear for the boys and took off in search of them. her search takes her through rocks that ominously resemble the sight where a young boy earlier sacrificed his life for her husband’s greed.
She also wanders through woods such as where her own two boys might have perished in their own sacrifice.
Finally she arrived at the edge of the frozen lake to see the boys wandering out on to the ice. Panic stricken, she tries to remain calm and calls out to them to stop. They hesitate for a moment…
With no thought of danger to herself, Siggy knew only that she must make a choice to step out on the cracking ice to reach the boys.
As she tried desperately to reach them in time, the ice cracked underneath the boys
She frantically struggled to find the boys under the ice…
As she fought to save them, an unknown hand reached down to help…
The Gods above have sent help. Siggy sees the face of her daughter Thyri come to help save these two boys and welcome her Mother.
Thyri filled Siggy with strength of the Gods to rescue the other boy.
He opens his eyes to see the face of Siggy as she rescues him from death… and perhaps in the future, he will remember those words she once spoke to him and his brother about the sacrifice a Mother will make for her children.
After rescuing the second boy, Siggy sees not Thyri waiting for her on the ice, but Harbard?
Siggy’s hand clings to the ice while Harbard watches her. Will he reach down to save her… will she fight to stay alive? The choice seemed to be up to her to make. In those last few moments, she had to decide her own fate. He would not interfere, it was her decision to make for herself…. much as the earlier decision by Aslaug had been hers alone to make.
In the end it comes down to your choice… As Ragnar has often said, “We are always free to choose.” Siggy made her final sacrifice for those boys she loved as much as her own. She gave them life and she chose to go on to those who waited for her on the other side.
Will there be consequences for the choices we make? There are always consequences and we must always be accountable for our actions and our choices in this life.
I have only one last comment to add regarding my thoughts on Aslaug right now…
Last, but certainly not least by any means, I want to say a heartfelt thank you and appreciation to Jessalyn Gilsig for bringing Siggy to life for these seasons of Vikings! You have done an amazing job and I wish you much happiness in the future! My thanks and appreciation also to Michael Hirst for this final honor and tribute to the character of Siggy, and for his thoughtful handling of the necessary departure by Jessalyn from the series!
I knew that Siggy and Rollo would eventually have to part ways, but I did always hope that Siggy would find peace and happiness in life and maybe remain in Rollo’s life in some capacity even if it was just as friends… that did not happen, but Siggy, I think has found her peace in her sacrifice for the boys.