Interview My Character – Aldaith, Viking warrior

Today, it's my turn to conduct an interview. It's an event I've been waiting for patiently whilst other intriguing characters took their turn in the Historical Writers Forum "Interview My Character" Blog Hop. Make sure to discover their interviews – and some fabulous historical fiction!

My very own Geoffrey de Mortagne from Dark Deceit will be featured on 21st July 2019. I'll share the link here. Bear that date in mind...


So why am I slightly nervous when facing Aldaith, a gorgeous Viking warrior? Hmm. Self-explanatory, isn't it? But I must not raise the suspicion of his wife. I might be an OK archer, but I don't quite fancy my chances in a sword fight against a shield maiden!

Aldaith is, as already said, a Viking warrior, a fascinating man, who is featured in Sarah Dahl's "enchanting" Tales of Freya, a collection of sensual historical short stories. I found his story gripping and his relationship to Nyssa intriguing. But without further ado, please meet the man himself: 

I'm greeted by young Viking Aldaith and his beautiful wife Nyssa on their farm in rural Ireland, the year must be around 940. It’s a well-kept little place (very unlike my own!), if a bit littered with weapons and shiny memorabilia from all continents. He invites me in and makes me sit by the hearth fire. Nyssa offers strong drinks and fills two horns. 

His introduction “You should be interviewing her, she talks a lot more than me” earns him a smack on the shapely butt, before Nyssa goes to sit a bit away from us two. I'm trying not to blush!

Were you always destined to become a warrior? At what age did you start training to fight? 

(He tilts his head, thinking) I was small. Kids have to start early – I think I was five or six? I competed with adults from around ten. I always loved wrestling, and still do (gives his wife a cheeky sideways glance). On the sports field in our community, in south-east Norway, we met regularly, for running, ball games, throwing, archery … you gotta do it all, and well. Chieftains do recruit their crews there, too. That’s where they asked me if I’d like to join a band. I was always good in close-combat … (here, Nyssa laughs) but rubbish with the bow. Don’t ask me why. She there is much better – well, she was, before her injury. 

Was there an important moment in your life, a time of change? 

(He scratches his strawberry blonde beard) There are two. When I followed the first chieftain’s call, together with a mate, to board a ship. A dragon boat, fierce head and all! Glorious day that. My blood still tingles when I picture it. Sun was out, gentle waves lapping. That was the beginning of a new life, my profession. But by the gods, did I get seasick! (laughs) I went where the chieftain promised reward – and I love to see new lands. I’d rather go somewhere interesting with less payment than follow the promise of riches to a boring place. Raiding monasteries? Screw that. Monks are no opponents. We always preferred a fair fight. Also, for some reason, long sea journeys make me uncomfortable. I like firm ground. The sea is an enemy we can’t control nor judge well. Rán (the sea god) might drag us down anytime.

Another important moment was meeting Nyssa, of course. She changed my life without even trying. When I saw her on that day they beached her ship beside ours … (pauses then grins) Wow, I mean, look at her! (points to where his wife sits sharpening a knife in the doorway) She still takes my breath away, every day. That day we got together (in “The Current”) I thanked the gods for sending her my way. But then – maybe I should have run! 
(Nyssa lifts her head, stills, and throws something, which he lazily picks from the air. A little whetstone. Not the knife, thankfully. He raises his voice) You can’t run a farm with just one arm and no husband, woman! (She tilts her head as her grin widens. He turns back to me.) See that belly? That’s our little warrior in there. 



Many congratulations! That's exciting news. Now, you’re a deep thinker, Aldaith, and you show us a side that is less of the ruthless warrior, but more of a caring man. How are these two sides of you compatible? 

(He frowns) I tend to think the sides take turns. On the battlefield and when negotiating I can be ruthless, stop weighing up. But with your beloved you have to see their side, make sure they are safe and cared for. Nyssa is pregnant with our first child and we often quarrel about me being too protective, haha. I tried to take away the sharpest knives and her sword, but man, did that get me a beating. (lifts his tunic to show a bruise on his side) She sends me away to the field when I’m too annoying; I can go hack the earth now instead of enemies' bodies. Farming is no less physically demanding than fighting. It’s just a different kind of dirty. (laughs then gets serious) A good man has to be caring. A fighter without a heart is not a man, he’s a berserker, a beast. A real man feels fear for them, and he would die for his family. Any time.

What went through your head when you realised the passion you shared with Nyssa had turned into a fierce love? 

How can you not love that little wildcat? (Nyssa lifts her head, sends him a stern look. For a moment the air seems to crackle. He smirks, then turns his bright gaze back to me) Honestly? I was shocked. I hadn’t planned for love to complicate things – I wanted some light fun. Before that, I’ve had fun with women, but moved on with the ships. Only that Nyssa isn’t the type to allow that. She goes deep. She wants truth. So when she told me about her feelings it tore the ground away from under me (in the Tale “Bonds”). Everything changed. It was like the forest floor swallowed me; I thought I couldn’t fight the next day. I never thought about what it really means, to love someone so much … that it makes you vulnerable. You want them safe! And how is that possible with a shieldmaiden like Nyssa, who happily collects scars to show off with? Even now, with just the kitchen knives. (laughs) I knew I was screwed. But I knew then that I’d never give her up either. I knew our realisation would change my way of seeing her, and us, forever. That it would cause major problems for our warrior lifestyle. Which is exactly what happened when she got so injured she had to give up fighting (in the Tale “Battles”). I wanted to help her and couldn’t – the worst feeling ever. Eventually, after I survived a few of her infamous outbursts, we decided to give up the warrior life and settle down. (waves around) That’s our farm here, cool eh? At our core we’re all farmers, us Norsemen. I like soil. I like to eat what I’ve sown.

That's quite a major change to your life. Many would say it's not easy to change so completely. So reality sank in when Nyssa was severely injured. How did you, in your head, cope with the change in Nyssa?

Witnessing her go down on the battlefield was like – (pauses) worse than dying with her. I’m not kidding, seeing her lie in her blood tore my heart out tenfold. To endure her turmoil and pain later was harder than facing the enemy in a shield wall. Harder than any pain I’ve experienced myself. I’m a doer, I can’t just sit and watch her or any of my loved ones suffer. 
(He lowers his voice) Does that mean once she gives birth I’d better go far away, where I can’t hear her screams? She’ll come out holding our baby with her shieldmaiden grin, while I’ve turned into a quivering wreck. (winks) Maybe I’m quite the wimp after all… Love makes a man that: a wimp.

But (raises a finger) It makes you happy. So so happy. (points) Write that down there in your funny letters. Love makes it all worthwhile. 

Well, I think it's time to take my leave. Thank you, Aldaith, for your open and honest answers. May your new life fulfil you. And thanks be to you too, Nyssa, for your kind hospitality. May the Gods grant you a whole bunch of tiny, squabbling shield maidens and warriors!

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“Tales of Freya” by Sarah Dahl
 A collection of sensual short stories set in the Viking Age

In a world of crackling fires and rough landscapes, long winters and bloody raids, the immediacy of life and death ignites undeniable passions. Warriors and monks, healers and housewives – all follow the call of their hearts and bodies to indulge in pleasures that may forever change their lives.

In this collection of adult bedtime stories, Sarah Dahl pulls back the curtain of history to depict the erotic lives of Viking men and women. Amid the stark landscapes of fjords, forests and snowcapped mountain peaks, her characters search for love and passion. Dahl authentically illuminates the sensual side of a world of battle and plunder in an alluring collection perfect for every lover of gritty Viking romance.

Ebook: 

Paperback:



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Links:
Author homepage and blog: sarah-dahl.com
Book Alert mailing list: https://mailing.sarah-dahl.com
Twitter: @sarahdahl13  
Instagram: sarahdahl13


Author bio

Sarah Dahl lives on the edge of the rural German Eifel and writes historical fiction (novels and short stories) primarily set in the Viking age. She was an editor in several German publishing houses and managed a translation agency. 
The magic of writing re-entered her life at UCD Dublin, where she sat in J.R.R. Tolkien’s office every day, while working on the ‘Dictionary of Hiberno-English’. Tolkien’s spirit must have done something to her creative muscles – it sure wasn’t the bland view from his office. She became a full-time writer soon after and still works as an editor, translates, and coaches new authors. 
She is interested in everyday life in bygone centuries and the human stories that may have occurred behind the hard, historical facts. 
Her author page is: sarah-dahl.com
You find her newsletter at: https://mailing.sarah-dahl.com.

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Comments

  1. Excellent to make your acquaintance, Aldaith. All the best wishes to you for prosperity in your hearth and home... and similarly to your author and creator!

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