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Sigrid and Elyn

A Tale from Norvegr

by Edale Lane

Sigrid and Elyn - Edale Lane
Part of the Tales from Norvegr series:
  • Sigrid and Elyn
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99
ISBN: 9798849913766
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Pages: 363
Paperback: $ 14.99
ISBN: 9798849913766
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Pages: 363

Attracted by passion, repelled by war. Can two shieldmaidens navigate battlegrounds of the sword and the heart?

Sigrid the Valiant is legendary throughout the kingdoms of Norvegr for her heroic deeds, but her love has yet to find a home. Now, racing on the heels of her father’s murder, a neighboring kingdom’s raids signal an all-out conflict.

Elyn is a young shieldmaiden with a score to settle, fighting her own insecurities along with enemies who threaten her homeland. However, she suspects a more menacing danger lurks in the shadows.

When the two clash on opposite sides of their shield walls, sparks fly from both their swords and passions. But when they talk, the fierce women discover an antagonist’s plot has pitted their kingdoms against each other.

Can Sigrid and Elyn move past their suspicions and differences to forge a binding love and foil the villain’s scheme, or will the enemy’s assassins end their search for the truth?

Action, adventure, and intrigue ride together with romance in this enemies-to-lovers saga from the pre-Viking land of Norvegr. Award-winning, best-selling author Edale Lane brings history to life in this fast-paced sapphic novel. Grab your ax and rönd and join the quest!

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Editors:
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Genres:
Tags:
Tropes: Big Sword, Born Hero, Conspiracy, Enemy to Ally, Prophesy
Word Count: 101,085
Setting: Norway, 649 C.E.
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Tropes: Big Sword, Born Hero, Conspiracy, Enemy to Ally, Prophesy
Word Count: 101,085
Setting: Norway, 649 C.E.
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Excerpt:

Elyn’s heart pounded in her chest as she weighed her options. Right here, right now, she could kill Jarl Sigrid the Valiant and gain great fame and renown. With no witnesses, she could concoct any story she liked about how the epic battle in the cave occurred… except without witnesses, people may say Sigrid died in the fall and all Elyn did was chop at her corpse making it appear she had been victorious. A further problem with the option was that the gods saw everything. To kill an unarmed, unconscious opponent was a dishonorable display of cowardice akin to murder.

What would Sigrid do? Elyn lifted her ax but hesitated. One so well respected would not slay an incapacitated foe, would she?

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But what troubled Elyn the most was the true impetus behind her reluctance—she didn’t want to kill Sigrid. She wanted her to live. Lowering her weapon, she gazed at the fair legendary hero. Though caked in dust sticking to blood and sweat, her legs pinned under heavy jagged rocks, she was the most astounding human being Elyn had ever seen. Maybe it was not her beautiful face or toned body, but the songs and stories which hailed her victories over man and beast and saluted her valor and generosity that most fueled Elyn’s imagination. Perhaps it was how Sigrid had saved her from a spear hurled on the battlefield when it had been against her own best interest. But maybe it was the strange energy that pulsed through Elyn’s sensations whenever they were near each other that compelled her to choose mercy. Then again, it could merely be her own sense of unworthiness.

I am nobody, she thought. I can’t kill a jarl, a female warrior jarl… a lovely, defenseless woman of distinction. She needs my help.

Elyn shoved the ax back into her belt and lifted heavy stones off the fallen shieldmaiden, tossing them aside. As she worked, Sigrid awoke. Sky-blue eyes blinked, and the trapped woman coughed away dust, soon becoming aware she was not alone.

With a startled expression, Sigrid grabbed her sword and swung it at Elyn, who had to jump to avoid its reach. “Do not think of crushing me with a slab of limestone!” she blasted with rage igniting in her glare. Sigrid’s voice was robust enough to overpower the burble of the waterfall. “I could carve you like a roasted pig even without the use of my legs.”

An admiring smile tugged at the corner of Elyn’s lips, and something sprang to life deep within her core. “I am certain you could, Jarl Sigrid, but if you will notice, I am not attacking you, but digging you out of the rubble.”

“What happened?” Sigrid raised her left hand to the gash on her forehead.

“The ground gave way, and we fell into this pit chased by large rocks. I think a Jötnar is to blame,” Elyn replied in a placid tone that seemed to disarm Sigrid.

As her focus cleared, she aimed it on Elyn’s face. “I find myself at a disadvantage,” Sigrid admitted. “You know who I am, but I am not familiar with you. What is your name?”

Elyn heaved the last of the big rocks pinning Sigrid’s legs to the side and sat on it. “I am Elyn, a shieldmaiden of Firdafylke. I live in a village called Kaldrlogr. It would appear for the moment we are trapped in this crevice. Thus far, no one has appeared at the fissure above to lend aid, and I suspect the battle continues.”

 

Sigrid nodded. Elyn! So that is your name. Satisfaction nestled within Sigrid until she recalled why they were there. Feelings of languid infatuation evaporated, and vengeful wrath rushed in to seize their place. She pushed up on her sword, gathering her legs under her body, and struggled to her feet. She could tell her injuries were more than superficial, and she could not bear weight on her right leg, but she was determined. Mirroring her movement with caution, Elyn rose from her rock and shifted a hand to the ax on her belt.

Pinning the flame-haired shieldmaiden with a frigid glare, Sigrid snarled. “Why did your raiders attack our farms? It is fortunate you were not among their number as we left none alive.”

She cocked her sword arm for a swing, and in an instant, Elyn whipped out her ax to block the whirling blade. The motion of the stroke rendered Sigrid off balance, and she could have easily toppled over, but her opponent pushed against her steel with her weapon until she was upright and steady on her one good leg. Elyn’s action surprised Sigrid, though she was glad for it.

“We did no such thing!” her foe declared with heated conviction. She hoisted her ax, poised at the ready.

Sigrid realized she was in no condition to fight, so she had better rein in her temper. She glanced down at Elyn’s sturdy legs, shapely hips, rounded breasts, up to luscious full lips, and finally into stunning green eyes and held them.

“Several of my friends were killed,” Sigrid asserted, and she felt a quiver go through her body. “A dozen men under the banner of Firdafylke carrying shields with your colors,” she testified, motioning to Elyn’s rönd lying a few feet away, “attacked the outlying farms of my village, Gnóttdalr. They burned homes, slew livestock, murdered women and children, then tried to flee like cowardly rodents.”

Elyn’s brows knit together in concern. “When was this?”

“Less than two weeks ago,” Sigrid confirmed. With her shoulder stiff and in pain, she lowered her sword but kept a firm grip on its hilt. “Maybe a week and a day after the first time we fought.” Sigrid tried to calculate, but her head throbbed. Has it been three weeks I have spent dreaming of you?

“That is impossible!” Elyn’s declaration snapped Sigrid’s thoughts back into focus. “It wasn’t us. All of Jarl Njord’s warriors are accounted for at the time and none have gone missing,” the younger woman insisted.

Sigrid’s frown deepened. “I know about Jarl Njord and his intentions for the throne of Firdafylke. With King Tortryggr’s mind and strength failing, he supposes to increase his fame by defeating us, but it shan’t work.”

“What are you talking about?” Elyn fumed and tossed her empty hand into the air. “There is nothing wrong with King Tortryggr’s health, mental or otherwise. And while it is true Jarl Njord has ambitions, he is not a traitor. What about your King Grimolf? Greedy to the core! We know about his plans to take over our kingdom, how he has promised all you jarls will double your holdings.”

“Nothing but sheep dung!” Sigrid retorted. “That is the biggest load of shite I’ve ever heard.”

Elyn’s brows narrowed, and her scowl deepened. “What about the Svithjod raiders who attacked our farms? We had defenseless people killed by your warriors, too. Did they make sport of it? Was it a game to them?”

“We did no such thing!” Sigrid’s voice reverberated about the cavern, which only increased the throbbing in her head. “We supported you several years ago when Raumsdal assaulted your land. I personally led a team of wagons to reinforce your army with supplies, and my brother brought volunteers to join your defenses.”

“I know,” Elyn countered, “which is why we feel so betrayed you have invaded now. Maybe the raiders did not come from your band, but they flew the raven flag and carried the yellow and black shields of Svithjod. Why do you lie?”

She raised her ax in a defiant motion and Sigrid reacted instantaneously, slamming her sword to bear against it. “I do not lie!”

The two shieldmaidens pressed closely together, hot with anger and confusion. Sigrid was not expecting the arousal she experienced at the proximity to her enemy, but her desire could not be denied. It was baffling and unacceptable. Only a handle of wood and a blade of steel stood between them. Sigrid kept her balance on her one good leg, but if Elyn pulled away, she would surely fall. She felt the heat of her breath, inhaled her intoxicating scent, and her body ached for a woman she should not want. Is this a trick? Have I been bewitched? A part of her wished to examine Elyn’s every feature in intricate detail, while reason ordered her emotions to stand down.

Elyn slowly backed away, almost as if she was being careful to not cause Sigrid to fall. “No, you do not lie.” The words rang with sincere belief and Sigrid eased her muscles as she mirrored her foe to relax. They lowered their weapons at the same time. “But neither do I.”

COLLAPSE
Reviews:K.S. Marsden on GoodReads wrote:

Elyn and Sigrid are shieldmaidens from opposite sides. By working together, only they can stop the war from claiming any more lives; and perhaps find something more.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first book in the Norvegr series, but it feels like it could be a stand-alone, as Sigrid and Elyn's stories have a satisfying ending in this book.

The story is mostly narrated by our two main characters.
Sigrid the Valiant is a legendary warrior, and alongside her twin brother Sigurd, they are co-Jarls.
Sigrid knows that she's lucky to live a life of freedom, and has the power to reject the normal female roles. She's an adventurer and fights to protect the innocent.
When their land is attacked, Sigrid rallies to aid her king.

After her parents died, Elyn went to live with her uncle, who treated her little better than a slave. She knows that one day she will be sold off in marriage, and her only source of joy is her training as a shieldmaiden.
When Elyn sees the famed warrior Sigrid across the battlefield, she sees everything she wants to be, even if they are on opposite sides of a war.

The story is set in Norvegr (Norway), and the author weaves together their own imagination and historical facts, to create a believable and entertaining adventure.

It's fairly clear from the beginning who the Big Bad behind the conflict is, and which of his minions are pulling the strings. This doesn't really detract from the story, as it keeps you guessing as to which other puppets have been enlisted? Who killed Sigrid's father? And how can this all be resolved?

I really enjoyed following the growing relationship between Sigrid and Elyn. I liked that it avoided some of the usual cliches of jealous lovers, etc. Instead, (almost) everyone is happy for them, and it has such a sweet positive element in the middle of all the danger.

I think watching Elyn really come into her own was one of my favourite parts. She's been the down-beaten girl for so long, she just accepts that's the way things are. She doesn't realise she's allowed to be strong, she's allowed to be intelligent.

Overall, this was highly entertaining, and I can't wait for the next Norvegr story!

Ashley Jordan on GoodReads wrote:

There are many storytellers in the world, however, Edale Lane takes this craft to a whole other level. Set in an often romanticised time that allowed women to fight for their community while also being actively kept in their 'female place', we follow a love story full of courage, self reflection, self discovery, honour and betrayal. Touching on some hard truths about human behaviour, the author doesn't dwell on these aspects, rather she weaves them through the tale to build the background without detracting from the main story line. Of our two heroines, I didn't know who to fall in love so was swept away by both. If you adore strong, weapon carrying characters (and there is nothing sexier than a sword wielding woman) who keep their honour and humanity alive in spite of living in a world designed to wipe it out, Sigrid and Elyn, along with their close family and friends, are everything and more. Skol.

Debbie on Amazon wrote:

Enemies to Lovers
I beta read this book and am leaving an honest review.

This is a Viking era enemies to lovers story.

Sigrid is legendary in her kingdom for valiant deeds, but has never found love.
Elyn is young, with her own score to settle as well as fighting her insecurities.

Both women meet on the battlefield and wonder why the other one hadn’t killed them in battle. The story evolves with lots of drama, questions and a nameless foe creating problems in each of their kingdoms.

The author has done a fantastic job of laying out the historical scene and time of this novel and draws you in with the events and tempers of all in both kingdoms. The conflicts are intense withy loss of life in each kingdom.

Read how both women figure out what is happening and set out on a journey to rectify the wrongs in their kingdoms as well as finding love as they work together.


About the Author

Edale Lane is the pen name used by Melodie Romeo for her LGBTQ literature to differentiate from her more mainstream stories. Melodie Romeo is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida. Ms Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver with Prime, Inc. Her first book, Vlad, a Novel, (https://www.facebook.com/VladANovel) an historical thriller, was published in 2002. She has short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press, Charon Coin Press, Alban Lake Press, and Less Than Three Press. She has a son, Peter and daughter, Michele who both serve in the US Army, a daughter-in-law, Jessica and two grandsons, Mark and Asher. Melodie resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna. Some of her works can be found at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WFFFEA4
Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing fulltime.