Ellisif stood on the hill, searching the coastline. Olaf, Lothar, Bjorn and Járni had been gone for a long time. Trading had become dangerous along the coastline. Some of the kingdoms were becoming Christianized. Other harbors were visited by the plague, and weren’t safe. As darkness fell, there was still no sign of the small dragon boat.
“Mutti, please come home. Dinner is ready.”
Ellisif turned to see Una standing there with little Farulf on her hip. She nodded and walked slowly back to the longhouse. Darius was trying to keep the children in order. Over the years, the men on the Dragon boat had married, and had children. Some moved off to their own land, but many stayed with Ellisif and Lothar. Hafr, Ragnar, and Brynki had already joined her fader in Valhalla. Tryggvi had moved to the mainland. Gundar and Snorri in the last ten years had grown old and seldom moved beyond the fire.
When Ellisif sat down, Una brought her a bowl of stew and a mug of warm mulled cider. She picked at her food, still worried by the missing men. As people finished eating, Ellisif grabbed her cloak and a lantern.
“Where are you going Mutti?”
“To look for the boat. They have been gone too long.”
“Let me go with you,” said Darius.
Ellisif nodded. She kissed Farulf goodnight and left Una to tuck him in the great bed. Then she and Darius headed down to the small dock where Olaf kept his boat. When they got there, Darius started a fire and Ellisif sat on a stump. Together, they waited by the fire for any sign of the four men.
The moon set as Ellisif tossed a stick on the fire. She stood and looked out seeing nothing.
“You are afraid, aren’t you Ellisif?”
“Yes, Darius. They should have been back days ago. I am afraid.”
“But Lothar is very strong, even for an old man, and Járni is learning to be a good fighter. Surely they will be alright.”
“Yes, but Olaf and Bjorn are very set in their ways, and I am not sure that any of them will hold their tongues. These Christians are very tricky. They get the Jarls and Kings to change things.” She looked up at the stars. It was very late. “Perhaps we should walk home.”
“Yes.” Darius stood and kicked sand over the embers. Then they headed home.
“Ellisif, wake up.”
She opened her eyes to see a very tired Lothar looking down on her. “Oh Lothar!” She sat up and wrapped her arms around him. “What kept you?”
Lothar helped her out of the bed, wrapped her in her cloak and they sat by the fire. Outside, dawn was lighting up the world.
“Olaf. He died. As we came into port, in Stockholm, he cried out as we were pulling in the sails. He grabbed his chest and then fell over. The port men didn’t want to let us in, thinking it was plague. I think his heart just gave out. So, we had to sail back out. We found a small fishing village and Bjorn and Járni bought a small boat. They also bought firewood and straw. Then we sailed out to sea and put Olaf on the smaller boat. We did our best, and then fired the small boat. We watched it burn until it sank. Then we headed back towards Stockholm. The man at the harbor remembered us, and made us wait on the boat for three days to make sure none of us were ill.”
Ellisif wrapped her arms around Lothar. “Then what?”
“We did our trading, and came home. I think Bjorn aged ten lifetimes overnight. He’s sitting with Snorri by the fire.”
Ellisif got up and went over to see her son and Bjorn. Lothar was right. Bjorn did look old. He wasn’t the strong man who’d left a few weeks ago. “Are you alright Bjorn?”
“No. Never, never have I been treated like I was this last fortnight. I will never leave the farm again.”
Not knowing what else to do, she hugged Bjorn. Then she went to help the other women put away the trade goods that had been brought home.
“I thought I had lost you.” Ellisif cuddled next to Lothar in the big bed. Una had taken Farulf off to sleep with her so that her parents could have some time alone.
“I was afraid we’d never get back. Poor Bjorn. He looked so stricken when Olaf died. He was younger than Bjorn, you know.”
“Yes. Then again they are all so old. We are old, even though you look almost like you did when we first pulled you out of the river.” Ellisif ran her hand over Lothar’s face. While his beard and hair had a few gray hairs, his face was almost as youthful as it had been twenty years before.
“You keep me young,” he said kissing her.
“I have grey hair. I have wrinkles. I know you are at least ten years older than me, and yet you look more like Járni’s brother than his father.”
“I don’t know why. My father, also Járni, always looked young. Just a little grey hair, like I have now.”
“It isn’t fair.” She curled up next to him, and let her hand trail down his body until she touched his cock. “At least this still stands up.”
“Yes, although there are days you wear me out and I think I too will clutch my chest and die of the pleasure you bring to my bones.”
Ellisif kissed her way down his body, and the two of them began to touch and love as they had for many years. Her tongue woke his desire as it had that first night she climbed under the bedfurs. His hands stroked her body until her juices coated his fingers. He played with her button until she cried and shuddered in pleasure as she orgasmed.
Lothar pulled her to him, and she seated herself on his cock, sliding down it until their hips met. As Ellisif rocked back and forth, he cupped and squeezed her breasts. Ellisif moaned softly. She rocked faster and faster until Lothar grabbed her hips, thrusting upwards. His body stiffened in orgasm, as Ellisif felt her own body melt with delight. She cried out softly. As they regained their senses, Ellisif curled up next to Lothar. He couldn’t resist, and let his fingers dance over her body until he made her cry out in another orgasm. This time she wasn’t as quiet.
“Quiet! You two will wake the dead and then Olaf will really be pissed!” cried someone in the dark. Giggling and laughter followed.
“I love you, Ellisif.”
“And I, you. I will love you even when I’m too old and tired to play like this. I love you even though you never seem to grow old.”
“Good thing. Sleep well.”
“And you.” Ellisif curled up in Lothar’s arms and soon they were both asleep.