Hey! As I promised, here is the sequel to my fanfiction "The bear and the maiden fair". I really wish to thank you for reading it (again).
There were some ideas in my mind that I wanted to explore so there they are! I really hope that you'll like this story. Tell me by writing a review my sweet cupcakes! ;) I really love your words!
His son was running in the corridors. At only one, he ran faster than most of babies. Sometimes, he came to the stairs and looked at them, curious and mu by a strong will, began to climb them, step by step. Of course, Gisla was always there to prevent him from hurting himself. It was either her or Rollo. Guillaume sure knew how to drive his parents crazy.
Rollo was carefully watching him while discussing important financial matters with his closest advisor; his wife. They had to decide to wether or not renovate the ancient roman way between Baiocas and Loxovias, two of the richest and most religious cities in the duchy. Rollo said it would increase trading when Gisla was questionning the amount of money that this project would require. While they were arguing, Rollo couldn't help but think about his happiness. He had a wife, beautiful and what's more, who loved him, a high rank, he was still on good terms with his Norse relatives and had a son who, he was sure of it, would later become a great warrior considering his strenght and energy. But still, he somehow feared that his happiness would not last long. It never lasted, he thought. Considering his history and luck, he will be deceived one way or another. His second of lack of attention while arguing with Gisla gave her the final word.
- Ha! I won! Then, we will do as I said, she said teasing her husband.
Rollo, sighed. He rolled his eyes the "Ragnar way" and smiled at her.
- I guess you do, princess,he said with his deep soft voice.
Her face was close to his. Way close. He suddenly felt attracted to her lips. He couldn't help but to stare at them with a mix of desire and bewitchment. She lowered her eyes to Rollo's lips and without even realizing it, she kissed him tenderly. At her very first contact, Rollo grabbed her waist with his powerful hands and made her sit on his knees while their kiss became more passionnate. They were prompted by a violent wave of love and desire at this moment that they weren't paying attention to anything that happened around them. Ragnarok and Apocalypse could happen, they wouldn't even move an eyelash. Rollo began to seek for her hips under her dress when they heard a great crash. Taken aback, they immediately looked at the place where the sound came from and saw their son, running, weapons and other dangerous objects falling from tables. Gisla immediately rushed to her son and took him hastily from the ground to hold him tight in her tiny arms. She kissed his head, reprimanding him with a stern tone and while the child was processing the informations, she looked at Rollo amused.
- I guess this reckless attitude comes from you, she laughed at him.
But instead of answering to her pun, he stood up from his throne, walked up to Gisla's height and stared at the mess his son made with a depressed sight. Suddenly, Gisla's smile faded away and she looked at him, with curiosity. She lowered her head to look at him and asked with a worried voice:
- Robert, are you ok?
- What? Yes! Yes I am, he said taken aback.
- Don't mess with me! Answer my question, she said pissed. Are you ok?
Rollo hesitated, should he talk to her about what he began to feel recently? He wasn't sure, but she seemed so angry and ready to pout that he felt compelled to say what was running in his mind recently.
- I'm just … I'm just wondering if this situation will last.
- What do you mean by that?
- Well, it seems just so unreal. Me, you, happy and a child for Gods's sake! It, just doesn't happens to me usually. I'm even wondering if all of this is a trick from Loki.
- Well, I don't know Loki, but what I know for sure is that you and me are married before God and that God never lies. So, be assured that I am real, that our son and everything that we lived these past two years are real. Never, ever think otherwise, she said with confidence.
Then, she turned his head to her's with her palm and kissed him. Guillaume giggled and his parents stopped their tender activity to focus on him, Gisla making faces and Rollo making weird animal noises to amuse the little duke.
Rollo had the habit of training his men every morning. It was November already and cold froze the Franks men to their toes. Rollo and the other northerners were used to it and to increase his men's ability to resist cold, Rollo made them train half naked. The sword and axes swung in the air while shields were protecting their carriers. The noise of steel on the shields caused Gisla to come and watch, wrapped up in a large fur cloak, baby Guillaume in her arms. She sat on a stone bench and stared at the movement of the fights. But she couldn't help but to always brought back her eyes to Rollo. His tattooed arms, his many scars and his strong muscles. How lucky she was to have such a man in her bed, she thought. As she was lost in her thoughts -mainly about naked Rollo- Guillaume began to fidgeting about in her arms. He was showing to her mother the fight with a happy expression and moved his tiny arms with excitement. Gisla sighed and smiled at him shaking her head.
- You really took from him little man. I even wonder if you have anything that's me in you, she said still smiling.
Guillaume grabbed the golden cross she had around her neck into his tiny hands and looked at her mother.
- Well, I guess you manage to get some of my blood after all, she whispered. I shall make you a great christian duke. And you shall become a great warrior, just like your father, she whispered at him.
She was so focused on her son she didn't hear Rollo coming behind her. He told his son to shush with his hand and put his hands on Gisla's shoulders. She shrieked and startled almost making Guillaume fall on the floor. She turned back, holding her child tight and stared at her husband showing her annoyance and anger. She slapped him and said:
- You stupid dumbass! You scared me! And Guillaume could have fell on his head and die! I could have drop him!
- But you didn't, Rollo said amused by the pouting princess. Because I knew you wouldn't drop our son. I trust you.
- This is not an excuse to scare me and almost making me dropping my son!
Rollo smiled. He knew he couldn't prevail against his wife. He took his son and they began to run in the middle of the yard when the men were finishing their training. Rollo presented two wooden weapons to his son, an axe and a sword, waiting for him to choose. The little boy took the sword and began to play with it with entertainment. Rollo sighed and said to himself in his tongue:
- I guess you didn't take everything from me then. Well, it is better that way.
Then, they began to play together. Guillaume was waving his sword awkwardly at Rollo's great laugh at his son's attempt to fight the giant that stood before him. He groaned with faked ferocity as his child rushed to him with his tiny sword. Rollo faked to defend himself with a tiny wooden axe in his large hand while Gisla watched them a tender smile she tried to hide on her lips. The giant finally fell on the floor while the little boy sat on his chest, proud of his victory. Gisla clapped loudly and Guillaume smiled even more. Then, Rollo's arms trapped the little boy and he started to tickle him to make him laugh. He really had a thing with children, Gisla thought. She could easily see in Rollo a mama Bear ready to do everything for his family. At this instant, Gisla was so happy she considered the idea of never leaving Rollo's side. Not even for her God.
The next few months, the cold intensified and now every wall in the castle was covered with tapestries. Rollo and Gisla usually stayed by their room's fireplace with their son and when they had an important matter to discuss or when there was some issues with the peasants, they would sit on their thrones in the great hall. Of course, Gisla found a person to take care of Guillaume most of the time. At first, the solution didn't come to her head immediately. But soon, she realized this person was there all the time: Gertrud. She was strong, carefull, loving and sweet with children. Besides, she had enough experience to deal with the little reckless duke. Gisla knew that her precious child would be safe with her.
Blizzard and snow came suddenly the coldest day of winter and with it came news from across the known world. Apparently, the Northmen attacked several cities in southern France and some of them even reached Syria this summer. They also raided in south Italy and in the kingdom of Castilla. Of course it caused Gisla's disapproval but whenever she spoke of it, Rollo would roll his eyes and said "better them than us". His duchy was finally at peace and he enjoyed this situation. He received some news from Björn and Ragnar, that they went to have some explanation about what king Ecbert did to the settlement. He denied it completely and impute the attack to angry peasants who didn't like the idea of pagans in their lands. Of course, Ragnar and Björn didn't believe him, but they chose not to say a thing to avoid a war that would have cost many lives. Besides, the king of Wessex was angry enough because of Athelstan's death and he didn't need an excuse to kill who he thought were his murderers. But the king of Northumbria was angry at king Ecbert for letting Ragnar Lothbrok's people settle in Wessex. He claimed Ecbert was a traitor and began a war against him for his alliance with his mortal enemy. This war began to worry the ducal couple and Gisla decided to send spies and informers in England to know what was going on and if it would have repercussions on their duchy and the trading activities. In the meantime, king Ecbert kept trying to invade Mercia. But the queen and her army were strong and despite some little battles, she always had the advantage. Moreover, she now had Ragnar on her side. Rollo imagined that he felt compelled to help her because he got her pregnant and had another baby, but he knew he was hoping for more lands and had interests of keeping the queen close to him. But Rollo doubted Aslaug was happy with it. Did she ever know? Often, Rollo criticized his brother's inability to keep his dick on his pants. How many sons will he have? Was he planning to repopulate earth with his genes?
One day, Guillaume caught a cold. Gisla and Rollo were so worried that they didn't left his side for days. They were so afraid they'd lose him they called every doctors in the duchy to heal him. They loved him so much. But soon, the child recovered, stronger than ever. And that was at this time he said his first real word:
- Shield, he said with excitement.
- Shield, Gisla asked to Rollo puzzled.
- Shield, Rollo said sighing.
- Shield it is then, Gisla said.
They were marveled by all the words he was learning and by the sound of his voice. Now, his mother was reading him books in hope that he would be a great ruler cultured, polite and intelligent, while Rollo trained him for him to become strong and not die in battle. Even if the sky was low and grey, Rollo spent the brightest days of his life during these months.
Cold went away soon enough and winter with it. And suddenly, the sun came to illuminate the fortress and its inhabitants. But with the sun, came news from England. Gisla's spies came back with great news. He entered the great hall, where Rollo was sitting on his throne, Gisla standing beside him. He bowed before the duke and the duchess and started his story.
- My lord, I have terrible news. I went to spy in king Ecbert's army and I heard the prince Aethelwulf talking to his army's leaders one night. He was drunk and I was by his tent and talked with a voice so loud I couldn't help but to listen to what he said. And here is the terrible part my lord: his father wants to invade your lands and to rule it. He thinks that because it is close to his kingdom, he should seize it.
- Are you sure of what you are saying, Rollo asked the man.
- Yes my lord. I'd bet my life on that.
- Thank you for your informations. You can go now, he said waving his hand.
- As you wish my lord, he said bowing before leaving.
As soon as the man left, Rollo turned to Gisla.
- What do you think?
- As if I knew! You are the duke! You are in charge of all that war and battleling stuff, she said pissed.
- Gisla, what do you think? Give me a real answer!
She sighed and sat in front of him.
- To avoid a conflict that would only cause loss to our lands, commercially and humanly, I suggest we use the card of diplomacy. We must avoid war and battles at all costs considering the youth of our duchy. We already had enough with the Britons.
- Diplomacy seems a reasonable option indeed. Well, I suppose I need to prepare myself for a little trip to Wessex then, the duke said laying his back to his throne's back.
Gisla froze. He was going to leave. Again. No, she thought, she couldn't bare to be alone without him once again. She wouldn't survive it. Apparently, her face showed her exact thoughts as Rollo put his hand on hers and asked with a soft but nevertheless deep voice:
- Gisla, my sweet, are you ok?
- Don't leave, she muttered.
- What, Rollo asked trying to understant what she just said.
- Don't leave my side! I couldn't bare it! Once was enough! You promised to never leave me! Remember?
- I don't want you to leave! I love you and your absence would kill me!
- Besides, you cannot leave your son when he is still learning. You can't leave!
- Gisla, he said again taking her hands in his, you know that I have to. After all, it is your idea.
- Yeah, but... I was thinking that I would go.
Rollo frowned in disapproval.
- Gisla, it is war there. I couldn't possibly let you go there knowing that you put your life at terrible risks. I love you too much to let you do that.
- But what about you? You are also putting your life at risks. And I love you too. How to react in front of that? Are you implying that I am weaker than you, she asked a daring look on her face.
- I wouldn't even dare to imply that, he said smiling. I know you too well. You would just go there giving them a lecture as the proud great grand-daughter of this Charlemagne guy that you are and they would be so terrified they would just flee like sheeps in front of a wolf. But what keeps me from letting you doing that is that you are the sun of my life and I cannot risk to loose you. You are too important.
- You are important too. Because I love you more than my life, she said proudly.
They remained silent for a few minutes, staring intensly to each other in order to figure out who would win.
- If you go, I'm coming with you, Gisla said determined.
- Who will rule the lands then? And what about Guillaume? Who will take care of him, he asked bemused.
- Gertrud is perfect for the job. And you could lend the reins of the duchy to this guy. What was his name again? Thorbjorn! What do you think? After all, he is your number one man!
- Yeah, Rollo said thinkful, I guess Thorbjorn is the right man for the job. Besides, he is more loyal than any of my barons.
- Then, it is settled! We shall live as soon as we can, she said with energy.
- Oh gods help me, Rollo said in Norse. We should not warn them about us coming. Let's just make them a surprise. The northern way, he said with a grin.
- You know I don't approve your methods, she said.
- And yet, you love me.
- And yet I love you, she said as they got closer to each other.
- You always have the last word, he said his mouth at one inch of hers.
- I do, she whispered looking at her husband's lips.
Their lips landed on each other's and, as they stood in the middle of the great hall, the world faded around them. There was only them now. Inside a closed little world that belonged only to them. It seemed that time and space disappeared, that nothing more than them existed. And they kissed. They kissed for what seemed to be an eternity. When they stopped kissing, little Guillaume was running around and looked at his parents a radiant smile on his face and managed to say:
- Me too.
His father smiled and his mother looked at her husband lovingly. They were so happy. And she was going to have Rollo for herself for several days. She felt so lucky right now.