As a proud Canadian, I’ve always been fascinated with the legendary Viking settlement, Vinland, and it’s assumed location in L’Anse aux Meadows on the coast of Newfoundland. So when I heard that Delilah Devlin was looking for Viking stories to include in an anthology, Vinland was the obvious location to inspire me.
But what do we know about Vinland?
The site has been meticulously excavated since its discovery in 1960 and several discoveries inspired aspects of my story. Key among them were a bone needle and a spindle whorl – tools typically used by women. These suggest not only were women present at Vinland, but that they had in their possession sharp needles, in case they happened to want to pierce disobedient lovers!
Another thing we know about L’Anse Aux Meadows, is that the Vikings were not happy there. Evidence suggests they only stayed for a few years, and only one child was born there (further proof, of course that women were part of the settlement), Snorri Thofinnsson, who later became a key figure in the Christianization of Iceland. He was the son of Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir, the ultimate bad-ass female Viking. She is sometimes known as Vidforla or “The Far Traveller”. She is said to have been the most travelled woman of the Middle Ages, her journeys stretching from Iceland to Canada to Rome and back to Iceland – all 500 years before Columbus set sail.
Gudrid’s travels are partially the inspiration for the travels of Gull Grímsdóttir (the heroine of The Needle and the Strap) and her sister Katla which form the foundation of my series The Vikings of Vinland. You can read a bit more about Gull and Katla in my novella The Shield Maiden’s Revenge.
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The Needle and the Strap by Bibi Rizer
“We should go back to the longhouse, I suppose,” Jari said, his nerves lighting up. “If there’s no danger, there’s no need to stay here.”
Gull nudged his knee with her pale slender foot. “Isn’t there?” she asked. She moved her foot up his thigh and pressed gently on the hard bulge in his breeches. “We should get you out of these wet clothes.” Gull stood and wrapped her arms around Jari’s waist. She squeezed him, laying her head on his chest with a sigh. “Thank you for saving my life.”
Jari caught his breath. He couldn’t remember the last time anyone had expressed gratitude for anything he’d done. Maybe the act had never happened. His brother and the other men of their settlement mostly treated him like a burden, though he worked as hard as any of them. The three women in the settlement – his brother’s wife, the chieftain’s wife, and her elderly thrall mostly ignored him, unless something heavy needed to be moved. And then they never thanked him, certainly not with a warm cuddle.
Jari felt he would be content to stand there with her head resting on his chest until Wodensday after the full moon came, and they were allowed back in the long house.
But Gull began to unlace his knife belt, and it soon clattered to the floor.
Jari watched her as she tugged his tunic out of his pants, and he lifted his arms obediently as she slid it off him.
“Oh my,” Gull said, brushing her hands over Jari’s hard stomach.
He was mostly hairless, another thing the men teased him for, but Gull didn’t seem to mind.
She leaned down and bit one of his nipples rather hard.
“Ow,” Jari squeaked. “You vixen, that hurt.”
Gull just shook her head and slipped off her own tunic.
Jari thought his cock might spend right there and then. Gull stood in front of him, naked but for a rune stone and a small pouch on a thin leather strap around her neck. Her breasts were everything he imagined—full and fair with dark red nipples like berries ripe for picking. He slid his rough hands up to cup one in each, feeling the weight and warmth of them, the intoxicating woman of them. He felt light-headed, longing to spread her legs and plunge between them with his cock, mouth, fingers, everything he had. His brush with death had ignited him like a Solstice bonfire, and he needed to be doused. To blazes with being content with a cuddle.
He picked her up and sat back on the chair with her in his lap. She wriggled and pressed down on his manhood, sending jolts of pleasure coursing through him. Nothing was between his cock and her cunt but the fabric of his breeches as Jari laced his hands into her tangled hair and pulled her forward for a kiss.
She tasted of salt and wine, and oh sweet gods, he had never been kissed like this. Gull kissed with her whole self: her lips, her teeth and, Freya’s cats, her tongue. It darted in and out and wrapped around Jari’s until he could no longer think.
“Let me fuck you,” he said, tearing at his breeches, trying to pull them off. “I beg you.”
Gull leaned back, a little smile on her face. “Begging is not necessary,” she said. “But you will have to do it my way.”
“Gods, anything,” Jari said.
Gull slipped the leather rope from her neck, removed the rune and the pouch, and set them on a bench. Then she slid her hands down Jari’s arms and lifted them above and behind his head.
She pressed her lips on his, quieting him. “Don’t speak unless I tell you to. Nod if you understand.”
Jari nodded. He was breathing so quickly his lungs burned.
Gull wound the strap of leather around Jari’s wrists and tied them tightly to the back of the chair.