Prince Aethelwulf of Wessex decided to pass by Paris on his way back from Rome. Sure it was longer, but he wanted to introduce Alfred to the king and father Prudentius desired to visit his old priory and Paris'. Moreover, his father king Ecbert, held Charlemagne dearly in his heart so it was only natural for Aethelwulf to greet his grandson in behalf of his father. Perhaps that would make him happy and proud of his son, who knew? The prince really wanted to prove himself as a good son, dutiful and worthy of the crown his father will pass on him. It was perhaps, the thing he desired the most aside from the sulphurous Kwenthrith and the temptations of her body.
He looked down at Alfred. He loved that boy, even if he wasn't his father by blood. As a good christian he forgave Judith and began to love the child as the Christ did to those who made him suffer. But he did not forget this humiliation. It was carved in his body with fire and his frequent self-infliged whipping didn't erase that. He tried as much as possible to be fair to his sons. He tried to treat them equally for equality was for him very important. It didn't matter that Athelstan was Alfred progenitor, Aethelwulf raised the boy and took care of his education on every things a prince should know. He might be a bastard, but for Aethelwulf, he was his own son.
Many people could see that kind of attitude as weird, but the prince of Wessex didn't care anymore. Of course he knew Alfred was his father's favorite, which he hated, just as Athelstan was, which he hated more, but he compensated this by behaving like a true father: stern, harsh and demanding. That attitude balanced Alfred's preferential treatment and it made the prince glad.
Finally they saw the walls of Paris. The entrance was impressive for a Saxon. The high towers were so different than those they have at the king's villa. Around them was a profusion of colors, clothes, merchants who came her to sell some fine wines or jewelry imported from exotic lands, noble ladies in coaches, noble men mounted on fine horses, animals people took in to sell. It almost made Aethelwulf dizzy. He considered buying some jewels and perfumes for Kwenthrith and perhaps a piece of clothe for Judith. He looked at Alfred once again. The boy was looking everywhere in awe. Everything was new to him. It was different than Rome: it was less ancient. When they got into the city, Aethelwulf fully realized how beautiful Paris was. The house were made of white stones, the roofs were covered with red roofing tiles and the city itself seemed to be alive. Around him he only heard laughters, voices debating prices or talking about the latest news, animals and shouts merchants made to attract clients. It was a marvel.
"I'll leave you there, your highness" Prudentius said.
"Where are you going?"
"I'll pay a visit to the hospital and the monastry. I want to make sure they are well after the recent raid of the northmen. Perhaps I will hear about who defeated them and the latest intrigues at court"
"Very well then. I'll send someone to fetch you when I'll be done. See you later" he said politely.
Prudentius bowed before him and then, disappeared into the crowd of the city. Aethelwulf sighed. He wasn't sure he would be able to speak Frankish very well now that his teacher was gone. He might stumble on some words and forget some vocabulary. Alfred looked at him with worried eyes. The prince noticed and adressed his son a reassuring smile.
"Let's salute the king, shall we?"
Alfred nodded and both headed to the palace. Truly, Aethelwulf had never seen a palace that high and that big. He could have easily lose his path in the multiple corridors of the building. The ceiling was so high a giant could have walk without the need to bend. The sunlight coming through the windows illuminated the rooms in such a way that the prince felt that he was outside.
Naturally, they announced themselves before entering the palace and a paige led them to the throne room, where the king was talking about important matters with some nobles. They waited for a certain time behind the big doors of the room, until it opened to ten young nobles, apparently frustrated. The paige came to tell them the king was ready to receive them and they entered.
To Aethelwulf's surprise, the king seemed weak and not very worthy of Charlemagne's legacy. But there was something in him that told him not to underestimate the man. Beside him stood a woman with short hair, wearing a crown and a long blue dress. From her round belly, she was pregnant. Aethelwulf deduced she was the princess of the Franks. The one who married a northman. He pitied her.
"Your highness" he greeted the king bowing to him "I have come to greet you on my way back from Rome in behalf of my father, king Ecbert of Wessex. My son, Alfred, and I are very happy you allowed us to do so."
"Then, I am happy as well, prince Aethelwulf. I know how respectable your father is. You will greet him for me, and also thank him for thinking about me." Charles said nodding. "Let me present to you my daughter, Gisla, who is about to leave Paris for her husband's lands."
Gisla bowed lightly to the prince, her belly preventing her from making a proper bow. She gently rubbed her thumb on her belly and then smiled to her father.
"I have heard you suffered, again, of the attack of some northmen this year. I am pleased to notice that the city remained untouched" the prince of Wessex said.
"Yes. And it was all thanks to one single man: my daughter's husband. He defended Paris so well I had to declare him guardian of the realm."
Gisla's smile widened. It was so tender there was no doubt she loved him. Aethelwulf wished he could see such a smile on his wife's face or on Kwenthrith's.
"With all my respect, your highness, why would you rely on a northman? Didn't your grandfather fought and won against them?"
"My grandfather," The king said with a dark look on his face "as great as he was, as admirable as he was didn't know everything. There are some things he couldn't see. The prospect of a durable alliance, for example. The duke defended us so well I don't understand why this has not been done before my reign." He finished his sentence on an angry note. After a few breathes, he finally smiled again "Now, your son must be exhausted by this long journey. I suggest he goes to rest in a room of the palace. In the meantime, while we wait for dinner to be served - dinner to which you are a guest – I suggest you wander around the castle. Perhaps go visit the training yard where our duke is training the soldiers or maybe the gardens. We had have a wonderful flowering this year. My daughter will escort you."
"Thank you, your highness." the prince said bowing again to the king.
The king nodded and a paige came to escort Alfred to his chambers. Gisla walked toward the prince and beackoned him to follow her. They left the tired king in an empty room and walked to who-knew-where. After a few minutes of awkward silence, Aethelwulf finally decided to begin the conversation.
"If you please, I would like to go pray in the chapel." he said with a terrible accent.
Gisla nodded to his request. A few seconds of silence later, he spoke again.
"How is he, your husband?"
"He is... he is wonderful." she said smiling warmly "He defended Paris against the army of Ragnar Lothbrok on his own. He is the hero of Frankia and the savior of Paris." she proudly declaimed.
"Yes, a northman. Sure, on the first days and months of our wedding, I hated him. I thought that he was a savage, cruel and violent. But I had seen him only in battle, so obviously my judgment was a little bit distorted by what I knew of him and his people. He is known to be the strongest of all northmen and we all know how violent they can be. They rape and kill. They are beasts. But my husband had proven me wrong." she tenderly said. "On our wedding night, he didn't force himself upon me. He simply waited until I was ready. He learned our language to please me and gave me his soul. He told me that I was his destiny. And also that he would protect Paris."
"A northman would be that delicate? I have trouble picturing it. The only ones I knew were savages who destroyed everything in their way."
"My husband behaves that way only in case of war. He is very gentle and always takes my advice in consideration. He listens to me more often than any other man and his straightforwardness is very refreshing at court."
"Hearing you, it sounds like you love him."
"I do. I am happy this marriage of convenience ended to be a love marriage."
"I wish I knew the same fate with my wife. But unfortunately, it wasn't the case." the prince said with melancholy.
"I am sorry." Gisla sympathized. "Do you love her?"
"I did. Truly. But it went away when she laid with another man. A monk. I was angry and jealous. I kept asking myself what he had that I didn't. Even my father favored him. Lately I found love again, in the arms of the queen of Mercia"
"I am sorry to hear that. And yet, I wonder if your attitude is very christian-like."
"I whip myself for that. I have to repent from my sins." He said touching his back. "Do your husband lay with other women, since he is a pagan?"
"No. he loves and respect me too much. I am fortunate he doesn't lay with other women in bed. I could have been married to an unfaithful man."
Aethelwulf stayed silent. Unfaithful, he was. And for that he wished to whip himself until he bled enough to make him faint. He was sure of being a bad christian and had to repent of that.
"Look" she said showing the beautiful necklace around her neck "this necklace was bought to me by my beloved husband. And this," she said rolling her sleeve up "is his arm ring. He said it was really precious to him. Apparently, northmen receive this when they reach adulthood and swear oaths on it. My husband gave it to me and not my father. He pledged loyalty to me above any other man. I love him for that. My husband," she bragged again "has an exquisite taste when it comes to jewelry. I suspect he acquired that when he was raiding in Wessex with his brother."
"He raided in Wessex? Perhaps I know him." Aethelwulf said surprised.
"Perhaps. He is way older than me so I don't know much about his life before he came to Paris."
"Did he came in Paris because of a raid?"
"Yes. He was the commander of berserkers in the army of king Ragnar Lothbrok. Himself is a berserker. The first time I met him, he fought without any armor on and was waving his axe, shouting to scare our soldiers. He is a man of great strength and yet, he is so delicate. He often tells me poems and loves to whisper sweet words to our child. When I told him I was with child, he cried. I will always remember that."
"I know Ragnar Lothbrok. My father granted him lands against his promise to no longer attack our cities and to no longer raid in Wessex. He also asked him to fight for queen Kwenthrith of Mercia, to reclaim her throne. I fought with them. I saw how strong they are. Unfortunately, a few of our nobles didn't like to share our lands with those pagans, so they burnt their settlement. This had led to their execution."
"Ragnar Lothbrok. I despise that man highly. Not only did he killed the archbishop, threatened my father with a knife and took me hostage for his army of heathen to pillage and rape my city, but he also made my husband's life miserable. When my husband fought against him again, he came back covered in blood with countless wounds. It took him days to recover!" Gisla spat with anger.
"Your husband knows Ragnar Lothbrok?"
"Well, of course! He is his brother after all. The best of both. To tell the truth, I wasn't keen on marrying the brother of the man who I despise the most. But there is no one who wants to defeat Ragnar more than my husband."
"Your husband is Ragnar's brother" Aethelwulf said in shock. "Then that means he is..."
"Gisla! There you are. I have been looking everywhere for you." A deep voice said behind them.
"Rollo! Perhaps you know prince Aethelwulf of Wessex already? He just arrived in Paris with his son" Gisla welcomed the warrior.
Aethelwulf turned slowly to the viking and shot him a stare full of hatred and surprise. He didn't think Rollo able to speak another language than his own but clearly he was wrong. He thought northmen hated christian folks and yet what he saw showed the opposite. Rollo's hair was finely cut, his beard wasn't as bushy as before and he was wearing finest clothes than the prince had back in Wessex. He was wearing a ring on his pinky finger and another on his left hand. Everything in him breathed majesty and wealth. He wasn't the warrior he met years ago. Aethelwulf felt himself struck by jealousy. Why was this pagan so rich and important when him, a christian, was denied love, happiness, and power? This was so unfair!
"Aethelwulf? Yes. I know you. Last time we spoke we were in a camp, waiting to attack the Mercian army. I remember you learnt our language." Rollo recalled. "How is the settlement?"
"It burnt. The people who did this were punished. I have to say: it is weird seeing you like this. I am surprised a pagan got this far." he said looking at him with disdain. "Tell me now, northman, how many spoils did you steal?"
"I stole nothing but the heart of my wife. I earned my riches, my title and my wealth." the duke said lowering his eyes to his wife tenderly.
"By invading and killing Frankish people?" Aethelwulf asked implying he was still a beast of the fields.
"I saved more lives that I killed. The soldiers and the people respect me." Rollo said smiling to himself. "I guess you should know how that feels, don't you, prince?"
"No. No I don't. The respect I deserve was given to another. And you know him!" He stopped for a second, trying to calm himself down. "Athelstan. Athelstan was chosen and favored over me by everybody I know! Even by my own wife... she..." He clentched his fist to contain his rage. He was still bitter about this.
"I know how you feel." Rollo sympathized.
"How could you?" The prince asked still angry.
"My brother, Ragnar was also chosen over me by many people. The woman I loved, my friends and even my own parents. I sacrificed everything to him. Perhaps you and I are the same." the duke said with melancholy.
"I am not the same as you, northman. I am christian! I was born noble and rich. You are a pagan. A beast. You are of lower condition than myself and you know NOTHING about my life." Aethelwulf yelled, not able to hold his rage anymore.
"Like it or not, we are the same. Prince." he pronounced this last word the same way his speaker pronounced 'northman'. "We are both bitter and sad to have been constantly chosen last. Your wife cheated on you, my precedent lover did just the same. It is like we will never find happiness and even less, love. Your father does not love you enough and my brother didn't love me either. They both chose Athelstan. What a chance he is dead now."
"Athelstan is dead? Then this is terrible. My father will be furious when he'll hear it. After Charlemagne, he was his favourite person."
"Charlemagne?" Gisla asked suddenly interested. "What of Charlemagne?"
"My father admire him greatly. He constantly talks about him and the time he was at his court. That is why I figured it would make him happy to greet his grandson."
"I strongly advise you to shut up about Charlemagne. My father highly dislikes being compared to him. You can understand that, don't you?"
"Yes. Yes I can" the prince said after a few seconds of silence. "I can't imagine his face when he'll learn that a pagan, Ragnar Lothbrok's brother what is more, married his role model's great grand-daughter."
"It sure would be amusing. How is the queen we conquered the kingdom of?" Rollo asked.
Aethelwulf stayed silent for a moment, he touched the ring Kwenthrith gave him before he left for Rome. He didn't say it much, but he truly loved the Mercian queen. She was the only one to have chosen him over his father or Athelstan. She had awoken the good man inside him despite her lustful behavior and for that, he will forever hold her dearly in his heart. If anything happened to her when he was away, he would never be able to trust himself. He would whip himself to the death.
"She suffered many troubles since she regained her kingdom. Her nobles didn't accept her and I had to fix the situation with my army. We rescued her from the tower she was kept hostage in along with her son."
"Her son? She conceived a child?" Rollo asked puzzled. "Last time I saw her she wasn't betrothed to anyone and I didn't feel that she was with child."
"What do you mean, 'feel'?" Gisla asked her husband shooting him a dark glare.
"I tried to woo her. But I realized she wasn't my princess. When I first laid my eyes on you, I instantly knew it was you. It was you who I was fated to be with." he said, his green eyes glowing with love.
"Well put right." Gisla said while hitting his arm with her fist.
"Yes. She conceived a son. I am surprised you don't know about this. After all, he is your nephew."
"My WHAT ?" Rollo's jaw dropped in shock. So apparently Ragnar tried to repopulate Midgard with his sperm. He was disgusted. All his life he was denied children while his brother kept reproducing himself like a rabbit. But Gisla's presence reminded him of his soon-to-be born child. That simple thought was enough to cheer him up. "Ragnar, this little..." he muttered in Norse.
"So, he doesn't know then... interesting. Speaking of children, Alfred is Athelstan's son. He conceived it with my wife. This Jezabel!" Aethelwulf casually, yet angrily, said.
"Athelstan has a son? But I thought priests couldn't lay with women in bed. Isn't it true?" he bended his neck to ask Gisla.
"Yes. But perhaps living with you pagans made him renounce to his vows of celibacy. Perhaps he became like you: a heathen."
"This is most likely what happened." Aethelwulf added.
"Then I suppose your wife paid the consequences of her actions. Abbott Lupus told me what happened to unfaithful christian women."
"She was supposed to have her ears and nose cut with a boiling iron blade, but she escaped it by confessing her son was Athelstan's. My father could let the executioner cut her other ear and nose after that revelation. He said that she had been blessed to be noticed by a man chosen by God." he bitterly chuckled. "Even God favor him."
"And you say I am the barbaric one. Christians can be so cruel." Rollo ironized.
"Your people are barbaric. Like it or not." Gisla said. "I am glad you are Frankish now."
"My beloved wife, it is time you face the truth," he said quite irritated "I am not Frankish. I will never be. Things may be better here, but I still hold some things of my past dearly. Part of myself will always be viking. And I don't care how much you say that 'we do things differently in Frankia', when we'll be in our lands, I shall do things my way. You can help me or not, it is up to you."
"I shall help you, husband. But I still hold the thought of you becoming a good christian noble." she answered slightly angry.
"Weren't you baptized?" Aethelwulf asked puzzled. "I thought king Aelle baptized you a long time ago. Judith even told me of this."
"It was a joke." Rollo gloomingly said.
"Then why did you married a christian if you don't take God or baptism seriously? Don't you hate christian folks?" Aethelwulf asked still puzzled.
"My gods makes alliances for the greater good. I understand that and so did his highness, the king of Frankia. There can be no peace without alliances between us and the christian. Something a friend of mine has trouble to understand."
"That man whose eyes are circled with black paint?"
"Yes. Floki. He hates christians and worship the gods harder than any other viking. He is not ready for the future we'll build."
"You talk about the future. I am surprised you take this matter into consideration." the prince of Wessex disdainfully said.
"What? You thought I was stupid? I am not, prince. I am, perhaps, wiser than you. Unlike you, I learnt from my mistakes." he harshly said.
"Mistakes like raiding our kingdom?"
"That and many other things." the duke said with melancholy. "Anyway, what happened to the boy?"
"My father decided to adopt him as his grandson and I decided to raise him as my own son. He needs an impartial treatment and I'll be there to take care of that." There was such affection in his voice there was no doubt he loved the boy. "A father, just like a king, has to be fair to his children."
"I couln't agree more." Rollo warmly said. "I am very fond of equality."
"You sound like Salomon, from the Bible." Gisla noted. "He also was a fair man. He was an admirable king. Perhaps more than Charlemagne."
"He must have been a great christian king, then."
"You idiot." Gisla gently scolded him. " Didn't abbott Lupus tell you that story? He ruled way before Christ was born."
"Your stories are so complicated" the berserker said putting his head in his hand.
"Yours are worse. The mere story of the creation of the world gave me a headache for three days straight." the princess complained.
"Actually, I was escorting him to Rome. The pope blessed him. I suspect my father wants to pass the crown down to him. My youngest son is favored over my oldest son and I cannot tolerate that." he said still bitter. "But it doesn't prevent me of loving him."
"You are a good christian man, prince Aethelwulf" Gisla noted . "I am sure both of your sons must be proud of you being their father."
"I hope so. I fully intend to protect Alfred from the burden my father tries to put on his shoulders. He is too young to suffer this."
"I wish I will be as good as a father as you, prince Aethelwulf." Rollo suddenly said. "I wish I will inspire and protect my son as good as you are inspiring and protecting yours. Fathers must always take care of their children. My only wish is for my son to outdo me one day. Then, I will know that I succeeded."
"You are wiser than when I met you, northman." Aethelwulf said suddenly realizing the value of the duke. "Perhaps I was wrong about your kind." his face soften. "Unless I was wrong only about you."
"I thank you for your compliment, your highness." Rollo nodded to the prince.
"Wait, how are you so certain that our child will be a boy?" Gisla asked him with doubt.
"You seem to be more angry and eat more. You insult me way more since we conceived it. There is no doubt." Rollo answered while chuckling. "But it doesn't matter. After all, it is your insults and your temper that made me love you in the first place. You are so fierce and proud." he tenderly sighed.
Gisla looked at him tenderly and buried her head in his chest. She smelled his scent to remember it. She wish to never be departed of him. He gave her such protection, such comfort and such respect she was grateful she married him. Yes, he was a viking, but more than anything, he was her husband.
Aethelwulf looked at their last exchange with a hint of jealousy. He wished he knew the same luck with his wife. It seemed to go well on the first days of his marriage with Judith. She seemed to enjoy his company and perhaps she began to love him. He remembered he fell in love with her when she was kneeled in front of the altar. She was so sweet, so kind, graceful and dutiful. She was a woman of high virtue. But Athelstan had to come back in Wessex. Instantly, all he shared with Judith, love, respect and fidelity was wiped away by his presence. For that, Aethelwulf would always hate Athelstan. Fortunately, he met Kwenthrith. Kwenthirth might not be of high virtue, but she was kind to him and respected him. She cared about his desires. He knew she was fragile and he wanted to protect her along with her son. He loved her for what she gave him: life. A life away from his father's contempt toward him.
"It is sad, yet, that Athelstan will never be able to know that he has a son." Rollo said looking into the void.
"What do you mean?" Aethelwulf asked.
"Athelstan is dead. Floki killed him. I saw it and I did nothing to prevent it. One's death is unavoidable. It was his time and I surely won't miss him." Rollo bitterly said.
"Me neither. He might had been a christian man, I cannot forgive him what he made me go through."
"On that we agree. He always came first in the eyes of our families: my brother, your father and your wife. It is sad for them, but quite frankly I don't care. I am way more happy here with my wife and her father."
"I wish to know the same happiness as you. I wish I will find it with the queen Kwenthrith."
"You deserve it." Rollo said putting his hand on the prince's shoulder.
"Thank you, northman." he warmly said.
"Call me Rollo."
"Forgive me, my lords," Gisla said with mockery. "but will you tell me how you two met? I am curious."
"It was many years ago. It was my first raid after... after... after a very dark time of my past. We were surprised by the Saxon cavalry. I was slaying their horses with my axe and suddenly I was overturned by some of them. They treaded on me." Rollo told her. She put her hand on her chest, horrified by what he was saying. "Then, the priest, Athelstan, found me and he handed me to the healers. Apparently I was important enough to be saved. I thought I died that day. I had no regrets. I was at peace finally. But they healed me and I survived poorly. My ribs were broken as well as my leg. That is why it is still painful and I have trouble walking for longer than three hours."
"So you owe your life to Athelstan." Gisla noted.
"Yes. And a lifetime of humiliations!" Rollo said with rage. "I should have died that day! It would have been a relief! But that priest had to save me! I should never have survived! It would have been better for everyone if I died! My brother would have been happy and no one would have remembered me! They would have sang 'good riddance' and they would have been right! I wish I had died. I am worth nothing!" now he was almost crying.
"I am glad it wasn't the case. Who would have protected Frankia if not you? Roland? He only acted in his own interest and not Frankia's. Odo? He didn't trust you and he would have drove Frankia to its end. And I wouldn't be so happy. I would have married a prince who would have had his way with me on our wedding night. He would not have respect me as much as you do. You are the hero of Frankia, Rollo. You are my beloved husband. God chose you." Gisla gently said. She stroke his hair with her hand. "I love you. Do not forget that."
Rollo simply took her hand in his enormous paw and kissed it with all the love and gratitude he felt toward his wife. Then he put his other hand on her belly and rubbed his thumb on the fabric of her dress. He gently caressed the place that hid his son and finally relaxed.
"My father will be saddened to hear about Athelstan's death. He loved him so much." Aethelwulf said without empathy. "Judith sure will be sadder. But the one I worry about the most is Alfred. If he heard about this story, then surely, I will lose him. And I don't want to lose my son."
"I understand." Rollo said. "I wish I would be there to see the king's face when he'll hear about that. It would have amused me."
"This Judith doesn't seems to behave appropriately for a christian woman." Gisla noted. "I am sad to hear that. Of course it is normal to weep for the people we lost and mourn them, but you are her husband. She should also take your feelings in consideration."
"She is a lot like you in certain things. She seems to want to free herself from her condition."
"I found freedom in my marriage. Freedom can not be found without constraints." she asserted.
"Yet, despite your common traits, you are perhaps the most virtuous. You seems to be dutiful from what I heard of you. You take your father's and your kingdom's interests dearly and your fidelity to Rollo makes no doubt. Perhaps you even share some of Kwenthrith's traits. She is very free on the matter of sex and would do anything to protect those she loves."
"I am only free because my husband showed me I could be without any shame. Sex is not an issue with him." she added looking at her husband with affection.
"It should not be. You are my wife, it is my duty to give you the pleasure you deserve." he added, kissing her forehead.
"Well, I should probably go pray. It is almost time for dinner and I have yet to make my penitence of the day. I am happy I got to talk with you your grace, your grace," he said bowing to them. "I am pleased to know that we can be friends and build a strong alliance between our people."
"I too, am happy of our conversation." Gisla said. "I am pleased you told me about my husband's past. I only know so few about it. Thanks again, prince." she finished, bowing to Aethelwulf.
"I am pleased I got to see you again. May our people live in peace in the future." the duke gripped his hand and shaked it. He was glad he made himself an ally of the prince of Wessex. "Now, we should get going too. I have yet to ready the ship that will carry us to our lands. I hope your chests are ready, Gisla, because we're leaving tomorrow."
"It is, husband. Perhaps prince Aethelwulf would enjoy a trip on the Seine? What do you say?"
"Sadly, I have to decline. You see, I am still in pilgrimage, so I'll have to walk. But I do thank you for your efforts. The offer was very nice. See you tonight." the prince said bowing one last time before the ducal couple.
Rollo and Gisla bowed once more before him and then, went back to their occupations. Rollo held Gisla's arm while they were walking to support her. She was pregnant and he knew he had to take great care of her. He was so overprotective she insuted him more than usual. Aethelwulf looked at them walk away with melancholy. Perhaps he'll pray for him to know such happiness. He'll pray to find it in the arms of Kwenthrith. He wished he would never be departed of her.
Talking to Rollo bring hope back to his heart and finally, he found that peace he longed for, for so many years.
I always wondered what might happened if Aethelwulf met DUKE MOTHERFUCKING ROLLO on his way back from Rome. What a pity Hirst didn't show us that (as well as many things)!So, I imagined this Oneshot because by brain can't stop imagining new stories.
Aethelwulf might be OOC but I desperately wanted to show some kind of friendship between him and Rollo. At least, an understanding. And both could bond over the fact that Athelstan is everyone's favorite. We all know that Aethelwulf hates northmen, but I always felt like Rollo is the only one he could really be friend with.
also: Brace yourself! A bonus will come!
Leave a review if you feel like it ;)