Aethelflaed & Lagertha
For my research about the historical reimagining of Alfred the Great, I am currently looking at fan fiction about The Last Kingdom, that includes one (or more) of the Alfredian (Anglo-Saxon / Old-English) psalm translations. The following story, by Bandi Crawford, features some romance between Lagertha (from Vikings) and Aethelflaed (from The Last Kingdom). Republished with permission of the author.
Lagertha scanned the page with a crease in her brow. If anyone else had pulled such an expression they would have looked most uncouth, yet for Largertha it merely added to her regal nature.
“I don’t understand this.” She said in husk tones.
Æthelflaed gave a soft sigh and stroked a long strand of hair behind her ear. It was a stark contrast to Largertha’s blonde braids – but then again, the two were polar opposites.
“This is the translation.” She tapped on the page, reading aloud. “’And does not stand in the way of the sinful'”
“Do you think me sinful?”
Æthelflaed turned her dark gaze towards the Viking. Under God it was certainly sinful to behave as Lagertha did but she did not feel like a sinner. Æthelflaed licked her lip slowly – something that Largertha caught.
“I do not think you are sinful. You commit sins according to God, but you are a good person who acts in Christian ways often.”
“I act under Odin.”
Æthelflaed nodded. “But some of the values cross. You are strong of heart and kind and… always doing the best for your family.” The world beautiful had scrolled through her mind, caught on the tip of her tongue and only just held back.
“I see.” Lagertha’s gaze was long upon her – eyes seemingly seeing straight into the brunette. It cut through and felt as though tendrils outstretched and touched her very soul.
Æthelflaed’s cheeks shaded as pink as a summer rose. “’And does not sit in their pestilential seat'” She continued.
“Pestilential?” Lagertha repeated with a tilt of her head. When Æthelflaed pointed out the word, she lay her hand on top of hers. Both had smooth skin. Æthelflaed had been about to explain but found herself lost in the softness. She could not imagine such gentleness came from a Viking but it did and for the first time she realised the beautiful blue of Largertha’s eyes.
“’but his pleasure is in God’s law.’” Æthelflaed continued, as though the words were engrained in her very soul.
The words fell to Lagertha but she did not hear them – lost only in the sweet tones of her voice.
“It seems an important message.” Lagertha said after a while, drawing her hand away so slowly that it ghosted over Æthelflaed’s wrist with the grace of a swan on the water.
“It is.” Æthelflaed said. “Very important. A mix of power and purity.”
“That is something I can understand. A balance. Like a goose and a blade.” Lagertha gave a wry smile.