Chapter 1: Warrior's Rest
It was always easy to tell when Eivor returned home. Even from the room that was quickly feeling more and more like a cage, Randvi could hear the excitement spread through the growing settlement.
Sometimes, Randvi would allow herself the freedom, the moment of indulgence, to walk to the doors of the longhouse and watch. Today she allowed herself. Eivor had been gone for a while, after all.
It was past midday, but still a short time left before the sun would truly begin to descend. Randvi watched as a few of the children ran excitedly past towards the docks. Some to greet family, others to simply enjoy the excitement of the warrior’s return.
It seemed they were returning with a good haul, unsurprising since they had been gone for nearly a week. Likely Eivor returned with not only physical spoils, but news of a forged alliance as well.
Randvi smiled. A chuckle soft enough to be carried away on the breeze left her lips. She watched as the children swarmed around Eivor, likely asking for tales of her exploits. Or gifts. Which she always provided. It endlessly amused Randvi how Eivor could be so quiet and brooding much of the time, yet soft with the children. Well, soft in her own way. Which was still enough to endear her to them endlessly. And to enchant Randvi further.
She made her way back inside before too long. Eivor always stopped by to see her first, to report back. To talk. Or sometimes not talk. They just looked over the maps, the reports, in silence. It was nice. Eivor's presence was a comfort. It always had been. From the day she'd been married to Sigurd to secure peace, Eivor had been one of the few sources of happiness in Randvi's life. And the only constant one that had lasted through the years. All others had been fleeting moments, things Randvi had clawed out for herself. But Eivor...she was as unwavering in her support as she was in battle.
As expected, Eivor arrived a few minutes later to the map room, the white wolf trotting happily at her side. Chewy. Randvi had laughed at the name. Eivor had been stone faced, apart from the tiny, amused smirk gracing her lips. Apparently one of the children who'd offered the name had been very enthusiastic about it.
"Randvi, good to see you."
Randvi wondered if there would be a day when Eivor's voice, that rough, even rasping tone, would not affect her. She couldn’t recall a day when it hadn't, from the moment they met. Nor could she foresee any future where it would ever stop. It was as though it was woven into the very fabric of her fate.
"Eivor." Randvi smiled at her friend, looking her over. "I'm happy to see you back and healthy."
Eivor didn't appear wounded, but when Randvi looked into her salt blue eyes, she saw the weight of weariness. It was always hard to tell, with the black warpaint Eivor wore around her eyes, but Randvi was good at seeing the differences in them by now.
Eivor chuckled, but even that sounded tired. "Always. And I return with good news. We can call the new king our ally."
"That's great news Eivor. Yet again you've made us stronger."
"Of course, soon we'll be too powerful to contain." Eivor chuckled. "And how have things been here? How have you been?"
"We continue to thrive, thanks to you. A little more vigilant against raiders now, but things are well. The supplies you brought back will allow us to expand even further. I have a few ideas, just to consider. The choice will be yours, as always."
"Of course Randvi. You know I'll always listen to your advice. The clan would be lost without it." Eivor took a step forward, the corner of her lips lifting along with her brow. She wasn't much taller, but this close the difference felt so much more. She smelled of the familiar scent of iron and blood, something Eivor had always smelled of. But where once there was the scent of salt and the snow, she now smelled of fresh earth and rain.
"But I asked how you were as well. I'd like to know."
Randvi didn't consider herself young enough to blush anymore. But she did. Luckily it was faint enough that nobody could notice. Probably. At least Eivor didn't. Hopefully.
"I'm well. I have much work to keep me busy." She stopped herself from continuing further. From telling Eivor how these walls felt smaller and smaller each day. How nearly every moment she didn’t manage to bury herself in work she was thinking of sailing and raiding and exploring. With Eivor.
But Randvi didn't share those thoughts with her friend. Not now. Not seeing her slumped shoulders and looking in her tired eyes. Eivor worked harder than any here. She needed--deserved--rest.
"That's good. If you'd like, I can hear those ideas you had now, then go get started on the work." Of course, of course she would push herself further still.
"Actually…do you think you could do something for me, first?"
"Oh course. What do you need?"
"For you to sleep." Randvi chuckled, smirking at her friend's confused expression. "You look exhausted, Eivor. The construction can wait until you rest. Please just go, get something to eat, and sleep. I'll take care of things."
"Well, if you insist." Eivor smiled that barely there smile of hers. "Thank you Randvi. I'll see you in the morning."
"Of course. Good night, Eivor." It was nothing more than a parting nod, and Eivor turned and headed towards her room. Randvi watched her until she disappeared from sight, before sighing only to herself and returning to work.
Randvi was usually up before many. She'd made it a habit to always go and get herself the first fresh loaf of bread Tovar made. It was one of the few things she truly looked forward to in her days. But dwelling on that would lead her thoughts down a gloomy path, one she preferred to avoid.
Instead, she took in the sights and smells of the budding village. It had grown so much since they'd first arrived, and much of it thanks to Eivor's tireless work.
The thought of the brave warrior made Randvi smile as she stepped inside the bakery. Perhaps today she could share her first meal.
If Tovar was surprised when she asked for two loaves, he didn't show it, merely smiling politely as he wrapped them in cloth to keep their warmth. For such a large, strong looking man, he was always polite and friendly. A good addition to the clan.
With some smoked fish, enough for herself and what she knew Eivor's voracious appetite to be, Randvi returned to the longhouse. A few people were up and about by now. The door to Eivor's room was slightly ajar, as always, to let Chewy come and go as she pleased.
Randvi set the food she'd gathered on a nearby table, closest to Eivor's room, before moving to peek through the space between the doors. The sight was perhaps the most endearing she'd ever witnessed in regards to the fierce, brooding warrior.
Eivor was sprawled across her bed, clothes in a trail leading to it, as though she'd begun shedding them as she walked. Now she lay on her stomach, back bare, revealing the tattoos running up her spine and over her strong shoulders. Scars mapped their way over Eivor's skin, telling the tales of her struggles and won glories.
As...delightful a sight Eivor's bare back provided. what had the majority of Randvi's attention was who was sleeping next to the warrior. Stretched out alongside the Eivor, pressed along her entire side, was the white-furred form of her wolf companion, sleeping peacefully with her head next to Eivor’s. As if the sight were not wonderful enough, it appeared even Synin had required rest and had nestled herself among the wolf's fur.
Randvi wished there was some way she could immortalize the image in any place except her own mind. Yet, there was still a certain appeal that such a sight would exist only for her. She was not a selfish woman, but just this once, perhaps she would be.
With a smile, Randvi gripped the handles to the doors. “Sleep well, Eivor,” she whispered, causing neither warrior nor animal to stir as she closed the doors.
Chapter 2: Green serpent
Eivor returns from her work with tales of the great leader Soma. Randvi struggles with her feelings.
Jealous Randvi was requested. I love Randvi being jealous of Soma is canon. Randvi isn't the type to seethe with jealousy I think, it's internalized and makes her feel guilty.
Maybe I can do slightly more overt jealousy later on. Hope you all enjoy.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It wasn’t unusual for Eivor to receive...attentions. They'd only known each other three years and Randvi knew the warrior had her share of dalliances. But that's all they had ever been.
Sigurd had plenty of stories of their youth together, but never had there been tales of Eivor having any great love. Randvi had made subtle inquiries, pried what stories she could from Sigurd and others, but it seemed Eivor had never harboured any great affection for anyone. At least not romantically. There was a few short lived relationships with women, a handful of singular encounters, but that was all.
When Eivor spoke of anyone fondly, it was of her brother, Sigurd, and if rumours were true, Randvi herself. Something which still filled her with warmth.
But when Eivor returned with a promise of an alliance from the summer army and their leader, Soma, there was something different about the way she spoke. There was a spark in her eyes, a fervour to her voice.
When Eivor sat around the hearth that night, telling of her adventures, a great deal of praise was heaped on the woman, Soma.
To hear Eivor tell it, Soma was an incredible woman. Strong, fierce in battle, and a dedicated leader who treasured her people.
Then there was the shield.
Eivor often fought with two axes or a larger, single one. But a good shield was always important to have, and the shield Soma had gifted her was a good shield. Her family shield. It was not a gift one gave lightly. And Eivor carried it proudly.
It had Randvi wondering just what had transpired between them. How close was their bond? Had they…was there something more there?
Not that it would be a bad thing. Eivor...Eivor deserved happiness. Randvi wanted her to be happy. Was she though? She seemed it, but it was hard to tell sometimes.
Soma would be a good match for Eivor, from the stories Eivor told at least. The two of them together...did Eivor wish for that? Had it already happened? When Eivor left to secure alliances and go raiding, did she visit Soma? Did Soma travel with her on occasion?
Randvi wondered. She couldn’t stop wondering. She made inquiries with those who sailed with Eivor. Her motives were always hidden, of course--she couldn’t allow others to discern her true motives. She wasn’t even sure of her exact motives herself. She just...wanted to know.
But her investigations yielded little. Eivor didn't seem to stop at Soma's settlement more than anywhere else. Nor had Soma ever accompanied them.
Randvi wasn't quite sure how to take the information. There was a part of her that was happy. She knew why--of course she did. She was not so dense as to not recognize her own feelings. It made her insides twist and knot themselves like a serpent. Treacherous feelings of jealousy she despised herself for having. How could she be pleased someone so dear to her was denied happiness?
But of course, Randvi didn't know that Eivor harboured feelings for Soma. Perhaps she simply admired the woman for her strong character and leadership skills.
It seemed a good explanation. Then the letter arrived.
All mail came to Randvi and she took charge of distributing it. Today there was a letter for Eivor, from Soma.
Of course Randvi didn't read it. She would never stoop to such levels. She would never deny Eivor her privacy like that. But, Randvi did hold on to the letter, rather than putting it into Eivor's letter box. It was...she wanted to see how the warrior would react.
She returned later that evening, having only gone off to explore the neighbouring region for the day. She came to see Randvi. She always did.
Randvi smiled when she saw the warrior approach with her silent steps, and that faint smile warmed her like the sun in the day and the roaring hearth at night.
She took in Eivor's form, noting the splashes of blood across her arms and chest. But she seemed unharmed. No new scars to add to her collection today.
"Did you have fun?" Randvi asked, grinning at her friend.
"Hm? Oh, just some wolves too close to the settlement. I helped Petra hunt them."
Ah yes, one of the hunter siblings that had settled here. Randvi had spoken with them a few times. Good people.
"Ah, I'll be glad to not have their howls keeping me up at night anymore."
"If I'd known they were disturbing your sleep, I would have gotten rid of them sooner."
Randvi laughed, "Not all of us can sleep like the dead." She grinned at the warrior, who gave a tiny tick of her lips to that smirk of hers.
"Not all of us can have your strength, Randvi. Nor be so beautiful without as much rest as possible."
If the way her heart beat faster and her face felt like a forge weren't enough indication that she was blushing, the way Eivor's barely perceptible smirk grew was plenty enough of a signal.
“I see that silver tongue of yours has become weightier.”
Eivor chuckled, salt blue eyes glancing away towards the table, focusing on something. “A letter for me?”
Randvi blinked, following the warrior’s sight. “Oh. Yes.” She had forgotten about it completely. Not a wholly uncommon effect Eivor had. “I had yet to put it in your letter box.”
She plucked the letter from the table, holding it out towards the warrior, eyes darting up to read her face. “From Soma.”
The reaction was not one that wrote itself across Eivor’s entire face, they rarely did. About the only expression that was always clear was her brooding. But the way her eyes shifted from their usual softer look directed at Randvi to something...almost wistful, and the manner in which she wiped her hands clean on her pants before taking the letter gently, carefully, said much.
“Ah, thank you, Randvi.” Eivor’s voice was gentle, in its low, raspy tone, but her eyes stayed fixed on the parchment for just a moment longer than necessary, before finally moving back up to Randvi. “It’s late. I won’t disturb you any longer. See you in the morning, Randvi.”
“Ah, yes of course. Sleep well, Eivor.”
The warrior gave a subtle nod before leaving and disappearing through the threshold to her room. Randvi blinked, eyes slowly falling back down to the table. Well...perhaps her worries hadn’t been totally unfounded, there was something there after all.
Randvi was of course up in the morning by the time Eivor woke. That was not unusual. Excepting the fact Randvi had found sleep elusive all night, despite the absence of howling wolves. Too many thoughts and feelings plaguing her.
She'd lived with these feelings for Eivor since arriving to her clan, so why was it so much more difficult now? Was it because they had begun working so closely together? They were building a new home together, a new life, a new future. Perhaps that's why these feelings, this burning desire within her was getting harder and harder to ignore. Why looking across the alliance table at Eivor's brooding features and salt blue eyes that would so regularly soften when they glanced up to meet Randvi's stare left her almost breathless.
They were building a new future for themselves in a new land. Could Randvi not finally have something for herself as well?
"Good morning, Randvi." Eivor gave a wave as she walked towards the map room, leaning against the frame. Already dressed for battle. To leave.
"Good morning Eivor. Going to see Soma?" The words slipped free without her approval. It took all the restraint she had for Randvi to keep her eyes from widening and blurting forth an apology. The only reprieve from embarrassment was her mercifully casual tone.
Eivor tipped her head much like the wolf often at her heels. Curious. Confused. The wheat blonde braids that would need to be redone soon fell with the movement. "No, going to raid a monastery I spotted yesterday."
"O-oh of course. I hadn't meant to presume. It's just...the letter. Was she not asking for your company?"
"Oh, no. Just wishing me well." There was that odd tone again. The one Randvi was beginning to feel was reserved solely for Soma.
"Oh. I see. Well if you have a letter you wish to send back, my scouts will deliver it."
"I hadn't considered that. Perhaps when we return."
"Of course. I'm sure she'll be pleased to hear from you." Randvi gave a sly smile, teasing. Teasing was safe, familiar. Perhaps it would cover up the writhing serpent inside her.
"She might." Eivor had that curious tilt again but it was brief before she shrugged. "I'll write her when I get back. Thanks Randvi. We should be back before sundown."
"Stay safe Eivor."
There was that grin again. "You know me." And with that the warrior left.
Randvi sighed, staring sightless down to the map. Well, now she'd encouraged them to write. Great. It was the right thing though. As always, Randvi did the right thing and what she wanted seemed further from reach.
Feel free to make requests. I can’t promise to do them all, but I will certainly try.
Chapter 3: Battle Lust
Ravensthorpe is raided, Randvi and Eivor fight side by side, reveling in the battle lust. It brings them to new heights of bravery.
Rating dump for this.
I'll mark all future chapters containing smut thusly, so those who want to skip can. I am going to try and do a non explicit version of every chapter that does contain smut, they will be released at the same time.
And if I haven't made it obvious, the Eivor in all my writing is very buff and tall. Check out BanishedPotato and see their drawings of lady Eivor.
Also, I'm going to be doing a modern AU for this ship. I'll be making a bunch of dumb twitter photos to go along with it, so you check out my socials for that. Eivor is an MMA fighter. Randvi owns a bakery. Eivor is the useless lesbian with a crush on the hot bakery so she keeps buying treats despite her gluten allergy.
Anyway, hope you all enjoy the sex.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The shouts, the screaming, the swirling chaos and flying iron. The surge of bodies, the thrill of battle, the heat of the fire it caused within her. It was glorious, addicting. Something right out of the memories of her wild youth. Even if it was their village being raided, their people being attacked, Randvi felt no danger. These cowards would never prevail, not when it was just her and the few souls still awake so late defending the oncoming raiders. And certainly not with Eivor barrelling out of the longhouse like Fenrir incarnate, ready to devour the gods themselves, warcry ringing through the air as her axes hacked down anyone who dared get too near.
It wasn’t till she got closer, slamming an axe into a raider several times and kicking his body away, that Randvi saw the grin on Eivor’s blood streaked face. Their eyes met, close enough now that no churning of battle separated them. It was only when Eivor spoke that Randvi realized she was grinning too.
“Does this stir your thirst for battle, Randvi?” Eivor laughed, throwing herself forward at the next raider.
“It does.” Oh did it. Her body was alive, heart racing faster than any drum as she fought by Eivor’s side.
Almost immediately, the thirst for battle was not the only thing stirring within Randvi. In their years, Randvi had never seen Eivor fight--truly fight--in the bloody, glorious carnage that was a true battle. She’d been confined to the village since her marriage, watching Eivor leave and return, blood soaked and newly scarred.
But now, seeing the might and fury that was Eivor in person, seeing their clan’s venerated drengr cut down their enemies with her own two eyes...Randvi would never be able to forget the sight.
The late night raid meant most had been asleep or preparing to retire, including Eivor. She was dressed in only her trousers and the loose bindings around her chest. Her muscles rippled with every swing of her axe and swift dodge from any weapon seeking to cut her blood splattered and sweat slicked skin.
Eivor dodged a strike from one raider, Randvi blocked a second, and both warriors felled their foes together, moving to the next in step. This, this was everything she had been missing, had wanted. Side by side with Eivor striking down their enemies and earning glory in battle. Randvi had longed for this moment for years and now it was finally here. She never wanted it to end.
When the raiders dwindled down to nothing, Randvi didn’t hesitate, body acting only on instinct when she saw Eivor give chase to a single raider attempting to escape. The headstart he had gained him little in the end, not with a wolf at his heels. It was past the longhouse, just a short distance from the village that Eivor pounced, tackling the raider to the ground, arms wrapping around his neck as she gave a mighty pull, muscles bulging with effort before a sharp crack sounded through the forest. Eivor gave a sound that was between a laugh and a battle cry. The thrashing, frantic desire inside Randvi was all the more potent as she took in the sight--Eivor blood streaked and sweat slicked, muscles gleaming in Mani's ethereal light.
Eivor looked like einherjar come from Valhalla itself.
Maybe it was the battle lust still pumping through her veins, the call of glorious battle clouding all rational thought. Maybe Eivor's very presence was so powerful in this moment that it was impossible to resist. Or maybe Randvi had finally, somewhere inside herself, decided to stop denying herself what she wanted.
Randvi moved first. That was the only moment of conscious choice she made before falling to the ravenous need inside her, allowing it to rule her for the first time in years.
Eivor’s lips tasted of salted sweat, the tang of copper, of freedom. Randvi crashed into her like a wave, fingers gripping, scratching, digging into whatever purchase they could find on the cool, slick skin of Eivor’s arms and back, tugging her downwards. Tongues and teeth met, the kiss hard and bruising. There was no hesitance, no resistance from Eivor, fingers bruising in their grip as they grasped Randvi’s hip, pulling, demanding her closer. Fingers weaved into the tangled mess of hair, not allowing a hair's breadth of space between them.
Lungs burning and screaming for air was all that caused Randvi to separate. But she would not stop, could not. Not when Eivor was so close, when she was finally so close to her having her heart and body's desire.
“Randvi…” The natural rough, rasping quality to Eivor’s velvety steel voice was more rough and darkened than Randvi had ever heard it. If any vestiges of rational thought remained in her, they fled at the sound. At the lust clouded look in her salt blue eyes, visible only because Randvi was close enough to feel every breath on her skin.
Randvi said nothing, couldn’t, wouldn’t say anything. No thinking, no questioning. Her body had finally overruled her mind and she was only too happy to give it control. She sealed her mouth over Eivor’s once more, tongue daring, boldly exploring and claiming the warrior’s mouth, even if she could only claim it for tonight.
It was often impossible to tell what Eivor was thinking, but Randvi had no need for guessing with the way she reciprocated with a passion that burned hotter than Surtr's flames.
Bark dug through her clothes and into her skin as Eivor pushed her against a nearby tree, hands roaming, gripping her hips and lifting without effort until Randvi's legs wrapped around her hips. Her grip was tight enough that Eivor's hands began roaming over her body with a fevered frenzy that Randvi returned.
The lust consumed her, building in her body, heat pooling below her belly. The need for friction, for relief, for Eivor.
Randvi gasped into the night air at the sting of teeth against her throat, Eivor kissing her, biting her, marking her. The heat was unbearable now.
"Eivor," Randvi husked, her own voice foreign to her ears. Had she ever sounded this needy? This wanton?
Her grip fumbled at first as she frantically grabbed Eivor's hand, pushing it beneath her trousers and against her slick heat.
"I need you, please."
The sharp intake of breath against her neck sent a jolt right between Randvi's legs.
It was only a heartbeat before Eivor's calloused, battle hardened fingers began to move. Sliding up and coating themselves in her dripping wetness, drenched by the time they pressed against her clit.
Randvi's moan was swallowed by Eivor's mouth, fingers slipping away from her clit and to her entrance, two fingers pushing inside with no resistance, bottoming out at the knuckles, stretching her.
Randvi whimpered into Eivor's mouth, shifting her hips downwards, seeking, needing movement, friction. Eivor did not need any more urging, her fingers were pulling out and thrusting back in as hard as their angle would allow.
Her lungs burned with the need for air but breaking her kiss with Eivor seemed impossible. At long last Randvi finally had her and no part of her wanted to give it up for even a heartbeat.
It was Eivor who broke the kiss, sucking in a rasping breath, body pressing her harder against the tree, eyes black from the darkness and lust staring at Randvi as though she were the only thing in sight.
"E-Eivor," Randvi stuttered, blunted nails digging into the hot skin of Eivor's shoulders, feeling the shift and flex of her muscles with every movement of her hand.
Their breaths mingled, Eivor pushed inside as deep as possible. Randvi gasped at the sting of teeth on her lower lip, her fingers curled, digging into the back of Eivor's tense neck, keeping her close. The air around them was thick and heavy with the heat of the passion that consumed them. She could feel it, and not even the cold of the night could make itself felt.
Eyes locked, Eivor drove into her. Wet, frantic kisses slipped away to panting breaths and mangled moans. Randvi felt herself nearing the edge of release and wanted nothing more than for Evior to send her flying over it.
Her legs trembled around Eivor's stomach, at this point she only stayed up because of Eivor's strength pinning her to the tree.
When her release came, it was unexpected. She was already so close, Eivor staring at her, rough voice like steel wrapped in velvet husking her name was all it took.
Randvi bit down on Eivor’s shoulder, cutting off any sound of her release before it could carry through the woods. Her fingers dug into Eivor’s skin hard enough that she could feel the skin break beneath them. The sound Eivor made was something between a groan and a snarl and it had Randvi clenching harder around her fingers.
Waves of pleasure crashed through her like a tempest. Her insides melted down to her feet, blood surging through her and leaving her almost dizzy, spots distorting her vision.
Eivor's fingers slowed, but didn't stop, every curl causing another wave to cascade through her, walls clenching harder around Eivor's fingers.
Randvi pried her mouth from Eivor's shoulder, taking in a gasping breath that turned into a shuddering moan against Eivor's neck. The warrior was already building her up to another release.
"Eivor! Randvi! Where are you?"
The shout--Dag?--had both women freezing as though struck by jotun magic and reality set in through the barrier of lust that had separated them from the rest of the world.
She was married to Eivor's brother. This shouldn't--even if there was no love in their marriage, she couldn’t put Eivor in this position. How could she have…but Eivor hadn't turned away she hadn’t--
"Go." Eivor's scratchy voice was far from its usual steady tone. She pulled her hand from Randvi's trousers, setting her hastily on the ground before taking a large step back. The air suddenly felt frigid and biting.
"I'll follow. Say you lost track of me. Go." She nodded towards the distant lights of the settlement.
Randvi swallowed. This wasn’t how it was…"Eivor, I'm--"
"Randvi, no time. Go." Eivor gave her a ghost of a smile before turning serious again. Dag's shouting was closer now. Without a word Eivor darted away into the darkness of the trees, disappearing from view. And perhaps out of her reach forever.
Shit. How could she have let this--how could she have done this? How could she do this to her brother? Randvi was his wife! Eivor had been there for the wedding, she had watched their union be sealed, she had toasted them!
Even if there was no true love between them--something confirmed to her by both of them. But that didn’t give her the right to--
"Fuck!" Eivor slammed her axe into the nearest tree, letting the rage and self hatred fuel the action, hopefully burning it up and leaving her with some clarity.
But there was none. Only the knowledge and guilt of what she had done. She'd…she'd done what she'd dreamed of for years.
Gods, how long had she looked at Randvi like she was Freyja herself? Had there ever been a time when she hadn't? Had there been a time when the sight of flame red hair hadn't set her heart beating faster? When a teasing smile and voice hadn't sent a pang of longing through her entire body?
Long had she dreamed of what it would be like, if Randvi were to want her, wanted Eivor to be hers, if Eivor could be hers. Dreams of what it would be like to touch her, to hold her.
But that's all they had ever been. Dreams. All Eivor ever thought they would be. All they could ever be.
But when Randvi had kissed her, had looked at her with that wild look in her eyes, the battle lust making them burn with a new life that drew Eivor in like a moth. She'd never had a chance to resist. Not Randvi, not when she was asking, demanding what Eivor had dreamed of since they met.
Eivor pulled her axe from the tree with a grunt, beginning to trudge back to the settlement with heavy steps and mind. Could she face Randvi again? Knowing what she felt like? What her lips tasted of and the way she felt in Eivor’s arms? Guilt knawed at her like a rabid wolf. Guilt for what she’d done, but even more for not finding even a shred of herself that regretted her actions.
If this is all she could have, would ever have...gods, just the idea wrenched her insides apart, her heart beating harder and harder until it hurt. Why? Why couldn’t she have this when Sigurd had everything else? Neither he nor Randvi even wanted each other. Why could she not have some semblance of happiness, someone who didn’t look at her with expectation. Someone, the only one who had ever truly known her outside of Sigurd.
“Eivor, thought you might have gotten lost in the woods.” Dag’s voice brought her to the present quick enough to catch his grin.
“He was fast,” Eivor grunted, not breaking her stride. She needed to...move. She just needed to keep moving.
“And put up a fight too by the looks of it.” Dag chuckled. “You look like you were mauled by a wolf, Eivor.”
That caused the towering warrior to pause, looking over her shoulder at the bloody marks in her back. Marks from Randvi’s nails. She could still feel her mouth over--
“Yeah.” She quickened her pace. “Bury the bodies. We--be ready to sail at first light.”
“Off again so soon?”
“Yeah, we--” A flash of orange drew Eivor’s eyes to the entrance of the map room, to Randvi, talking with several of the clan. Their eyes met and Eivor was quick to avoid them, guilt roiling inside her once more. “We need more alliances. Be ready.” Move. Just keep moving. Maybe somewhere along the way, Odin would grant her the answer, or Tyr would deliver his justice.
Been quite a while since I wrote smut. Still a bit rusty but there will be plenty more ahead so hopefully I get better.
Chapter 4: Everything
Eivor and Randvi ruminate over their actions. Both come to a decision.
Sorry for the delay. Life got crazy busy. I rewrote this 4 times. It also used to have smut, but I cut it out. Will make up for it later.
So, after this chapter it's going to start being more one-shotish. Still all going to be connected, but chapters taking place directly after the other will be less common. Now we move on to snapshots of their lives together.
As always, if you have any requests/suggestions, leave a comment or come over to tumblr or twitter and yell at me.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Eivor left early in the morning. Earlier than she usually did. Randvi only knew because she was awake, still. It wasn't a surprise that sleep had eluded her all night, mind plagued with worry and guilt as it was.
She spent the night in the map room, trying to busy herself with work, unable to go longer than a few moments without glancing up at the doorway, expecting to see Eivor. Was she hoping for it, or was she dreading it? Now in the rays of midmorning light, Randvi still didn't know.
All the hours she'd had to ruminate on what had happened, Randvi was still no more certain in her feelings. Regret and happiness warred like the gods and giants inside her.
Even still, her only real regret was based solely on Eivor's reaction. Or rather, the reaction that Randvi was still awaiting. Cleaning up after the raid had left no opportunity to talk, and any chance of talking after was swept away by Eivor's early departure.
Randvi was beside herself with worry. Was Eivor angry? Was she disgusted with Randvi and herself? Was she pleased? Certainly Eivor must have...a part of her must have wanted what had happened, wanted Randvi. Or had it all truly been the battle lust? Eivor could be emotional at times, but…
Randvi sighed, leaning heavily against the table. What could she do? Beg forgiveness? Lie and say it was a mistake? She couldn’t bring herself to do either of those things. Her only course of action was to wait, wait and see what Eivor would do. Randvi had finally taken her life into her own hands for a single evening, and now she had to wait and see if that would all come burning down or if there was some glimmer of distant hope.
Of course, waiting was a heroic challenge in itself. Randvi had always been a patient woman, not naturally, but she'd had to learn. Forced to set her wildness and thrill-seeking nature aside for one of measured patience and quiet cunning. It wasn’t wholly bad. She did enjoy strategizing, and out thinking and out maneuvering others had always been a skill of hers. But the ability to sit quietly and wait for others to decide her fate without being able to do anything? That, she was not suited for. Even if her life seemed to necessitate it over and over again.
Of course, even with practiced patience, it would still be a challenge. Eivor was often gone for several days to a week at a time, especially when setting out to secure new alliances, and with the current state of affairs, Randvi feared it would be longer.
Her worry and certainty at Eivor's long time away is what she attributed to causing her body to jump at the sudden thud of boots behind her.
Her body acted without thought, muscles moving with no need for the mind to order them. Her axe was in hand before she'd even fully turned, body freezing as she took in Eivor's painfully familiar form.
"Sorry," Eivor said, clearing her throat. "I didn't mean to startle you."
"Sorry, I was…" Randvi cleared her throat too, slipping her axe back into the loop at her side. "You're back already?"
"There's a feast to be held in a few days where we'll meet the bride to be and her brothers. No need to wait around with nothing to do."
“Of course.” Randvi nodded, watching Eivor with a bated heart. Surely now would be the time for Eivor to reveal her feelings, to dash Randvi’s hopes and confirm her fears, or to alleviate them.
Instead, silence lapsed between the two of them, Eivor scratching at the back of her neck as she shifted her weight from left foot to right. It was a long, heavy silence before Eivor finally cleared her throat. “Well, I won’t disturb you from your work any longer.”
She turned and left before Randvi could form any kind of response. It wasn’t the end of Eivor’s odd behaviour, because she didn’t go far, merely seating herself at one of the benches in the longhouse, still within view of Randvi. She busied herself, setting to work on maintaining her weapons and armour, but it was odd. Out of the usual. Eivor did such things late in the evening, in the quiet of her room.
Randvi only saw how Eivor's gaze lifted up towards her because of her own watchful gaze. The warrior was quick to look away, seemingly very concerned about something dirtying her axe.
What was she doing? Randvi wanted--needed--answers. Answers to quell her turbulent mind and aching heart. She wanted to go and demand them. Demand to know what Eivor was thinking, what she was feeling. To either embrace her or cast her aside and yell at her for sullying their honour.
She wanted to. Almost did. But she stopped herself, hands gripping the edge of the table to halt any movement as her eyes saw, truly saw.
Eivor's movements, always so precise, strong and sure, were but a shadow of that. Her hands moved in jerky, unsure motions, often abruptly stopping and changing tasks, as though Eivor's mind could not settle on a single thing.
It gave Randvi pause. She had seen an angry, brooding Eivor many times but that was not the sight before Randvi's eyes. This...this vision of Eivor was something new.
Unsure. Confused. Perhaps even distraught. Whatever exact thing Eivor was feeling, it was not anger. She seemed to be wrestling with great thoughts, and that was enough to still Randvi. If it didn't quiet her mind completely of worry, it did quell the storm to a soft patter. Present, but not overwhelming.
She could wait. She had to wait. She owed that to Eivor, and rushing her to a decision would only make things worse. Randvi had to let her be. It would be ok. She had plenty of work to keep herself busy after all. She would just need to keep herself...very busy.
Maybe it was all the ale. Maybe it was that Christian weddings were weird. Maybe it was just the fact that she was at a fucking wedding of all places. Had she ever attended a happy one? She supposed Sigurd’s wedding had been a happy occasion. The end of a war between clans, uniting them instead. A time when Randvi was nothing more to Eivor than a pretty face. When there was no love beating in her heart for the beautiful fire haired woman. How quickly that changed.
Sigurd had always been driven by ambition, by a need to explore and conquer and gain his glory. It was something they shared, and yet fates decreed they never sailed together until England. It was not long before he was leaving his new wife behind and riding the waves to whatever glory he could find.
It hadn't taken long to realize Randvi was different. She walked tall and proud, quickly making herself a valuable asset, talking to everyone, forming plans to improve the town and the lives of those who lived there.
Randvi was fiercely intelligent and it wasn't long before everyone had realized that, including Eivor.
To this day, she still didn’t know why Randvi had sought out her company. That wasn’t something anyone besides Sigurd ever did.
Eivor knew she wasn't hated by those in the clan. She'd won her respect as a drengr and that was never questioned. Yet she was always still an outsider.
Daughter of a coward, a man who'd abandoned his honour and gotten his clan killed. Not someone anybody wanted to get close to lest she taint them with her father’s dishonour too.
But Randvi had been different. She was always different. Perhaps it was because she was an outsider too and that was enough common ground for her. But it wasn’t long before she was greeting Eivor at the docks on her return from every raid.
She always noticed Eivor's wounds, even the ones she tried to hide, not wanting to appear weak before the clan. Always helping her to treat them, or forcing her to see Valka if they proved serious enough.
It was hard to say when she'd seen Randvi as something more. When she'd started getting distracted by watching the sun shine through Randvi's curls of red and gold. When her playful smirks had made Eivor's heart skip a beat like a drummer too excited to keep their rhythm. When her voice hadn't reminded Eivor of the soothing sounds of the tide lapping at the shores of home. When her touch hadn't excited Eivor more than the thrill of the greatest battles. When the mere thought of Randvi hadn't made her body ache with longing and her insides clench in pain at the impossibility of it all.
Maybe just being at another wedding again, after everything that had happened, after her and Randvi...maybe it just made Eivor think of what could have been. Of all the things she wanted.
Years of her life had been spent consumed by anger and the thirst for revenge. She’d driven herself to exhaustion to achieve it, to prove herself. Her life now was dedicated to providing a safe home for her clan, to making them strong. Could she not have something for herself? Weeks in East Anglia running around, fighting to secure peace and a marriage. To secure happiness for others. Why could she not have something for herself as well?
Would Sigurd truly be upset? Would he even care? The need for his and Randvi's marriage no longer existed. Perhaps…but did Randvi desire the same things Eivor did?
She clearly wanted Eivor physically, at least she had under the haze of battle lust. But was that all it was for her? It was hard to imagine Randvi being so flippant about her physical affections. But Randvi had also been silent these past weeks, even with Eivor lingering around far more than usual.
It hadn't been a...deliberate choice. Not at first, coming back more often, sitting where she could watch Randvi working without notice. It had been Dag who brought up their more frequent trips home. Eivor had merely brushed it off, excused it as wanting to help build the settlement more. But she just...needed to be near Randvi, to see her, to assure herself that despite what had happened, Randvi wasn't looking at her with disdain or regret.
Perhaps that was Eivor's answer, that if Randvi didn't look at her like that, then surely she must not be upset about what had happened. But Randvi had always played her emotions very tight against her chest. And this was not something Eivor could afford to be risky with. Not with Randvi.
Eivor sighed, her boots thumping loudly on the hull of her ship. She didn't know when exactly she'd wandered from the wedding, but she was glad she did. The crew were still enjoying the celebration, and she was happy to let them be. They would return soon. More time on her own to brood. To try and come up with some solution that wasn’t simply waiting for Randvi to say something. But...but if she did then...deep down, Eivor knew. Knew that she would take that chance.
The winds blew soft and gentle on her face, warm and humid, to the west. A perfect sailing wind back home. Back to Randvi.
Randvi hadn’t meant for it to happen, not in a way for anyone to see. She'd had a plan, late in the evening to walk around the settlement and just get out of this damn room. This room where she'd spent weeks worrying, forcing herself to work to exhaustion every night. She just needed away from these walls.
When Eivor walked into the map room, Randvi had nodded and greeted her as usual, keeping her restlessness and unease hidden. To herself. Or so she'd thought anway. But Eivor hadn't even begun her report before that quiet frown of hers formed and she stepped close. So close. Closer than she'd been in weeks.
"Randvi, what troubles you? I don’t think I've ever seen you so tense."
Of course Eivor would know. Would be the only person who saw what she tried to hide. And that was all it took, was Eivor knowing, was seeing that concerned crinkle at the top of her nose, for Randvi to let out her frustration.
"I need out of this room Eivor! These walls are all I see every day! Trapped in here with nothing but reports and maps and my thoughts! I want to be in the sun for more than a few fleeting moments! I want to actually see this land we've come to not just stare at it on a map!"
Randvi sagged slightly, shaking her head. She hadn’t meant to be so...she should have controlled herself better. Her voice had rang frantic and far too emotional through the air between them. Eivor didn't need this, she was already forced to deal with the consequences of Randvi's...impulses. She shouldn't have to--
"Then let's get you out of here."
"What?" Randvi could only blink at the warrior, watching the easy way her muscular shoulders lifted in a shrug.
"Grandebridgescire is close by and has recovered well. We could ride there, get you out of here for the day."
"I-no I can't. There's so much work to still do here-" Randvi didn't really know why she was objecting, wasn't this what she wanted? Eivor offering to…
"The work will still be there tomorrow, Randvi." Eivor smiled that quiet smile of hers, pushing the papers away from Randvi's reach. "Come on, just the two of us."
How could she say no to that? In just that moment, Randvi decided to just let go. Today she would think about nothing but enjoying the day. Enjoying her time with Eivor.
No more guessing and worrying about thoughts and feelings. No more constant stress about what would become of them and no more worrying of maps and reports. Just Eivor and her voice, her small grins, and her presence. It was as Eivor said, today would be just them.
"Ok." Randvi didn't repress her smile, or the gratitude in her voice. She was letting go today. No hiding. "Thank you, Eivor."
Eivor's smile grew just a little and she nodded towards the doors. "Come on, let's go."
"I do still need to hear about your efforts in-"
"Not today Randvi." Eivor grinned over at her as they walked side by side. "Just trust me. Have I ever come back with bad news?"
Randvi smirked. "I seem to remember you leaving on a ship and returning hungover and on a very different vessel. I think some may call it a raft."
"In England, Randvi."
Randvi laughed. It felt like ages since she had last laughed. So much worry and regret lately. She grinned brightly at the warrior, a teasing lilt to her voice.
"Then no, mighty drengr. You return only with tales of glory and victory."
Eivor grinned, walking them to the stables and retrieving her horse, easily swinging into the saddle.
She never got to finish as Randvi hopped up behind her on the horse, securing one arm around Eivor's waist, palm settling on her stomach.
"Problem, Eivor?" Randvi couldn’t help but tease. It felt so freeing. Just letting herself go, to do what she always wanted to.
A spike of worry struck her like an arrow when she felt Eivor stiffen the second Randvi's palm settled against her stomach. This had been a mistake, she should never have allowed herself to-
"Just make sure you don’t fall off."
"Are you telling me to hold on tight, Eivor?"
"If you need to." Eivor's reply was deadpan, but it had Randvi laughing, resting her head between the warrior's shoulder blades. "I guess I won’t see much from back here," she murmured.
Suddenly Eivor was moving her hand and sliding off the horse. Without a word she easily lifted Randvi enough to seat her further forward on the saddle before seating herself behind Randvi, arms wrapping around her as they grabbed at the reins.
Randvi’s heart thudded like a war-drum against her breast. Eivor was everywhere, she was completely enveloped in the warrior’s presence, her scent of iron, sea, and pine. Surrounded by her arms, strong, battle scarred, yet still so safe and careful when they needed to be.
“Much,” Randvi whispered, letting herself lean back, just a little bit. She swore she heard Eivor’s breath hitch, and that put just a tiny smirk on her face. Maybe...just maybe her worst fears wouldn’t come true.
Eivor's heart hadn’t stopped thudding in her chest since they set out from Ravensthorpe. Why, why had she thought riding like this was a good idea? Randvi's weight against her chest was far more prevalent as they rode to the tower. Despite the ale coursing through their veins, Eivor knew Randvi wasn't drunk, even with her victory in their contest earlier. So that couldn't be blamed for the way she leaned back against Eivor, leaving not a shred of space between them.
Even through their clothes Eivor could feel every place their bodies connected. Could focus on little else but the way Randvi's body felt against hers. The warmth, and comfort. She smelled of wax, parchment, and honey. More potent than any ale.
It took every ounce of willpower Eivor had to keep her hands gripping the reins. It was a grip that turned her knuckles white and made the leather creak, a grip reserved for a person’s only lifeline from plummeting into an abyss. How badly she wanted to let go and fall into what waited. To wrap her arms around Randvi and hold her, to have the touch she both craved and feared more than anything.
With every second spent in her company, Eivor craved it more. Her resolve to never pursue anything with Randvi, the resolve she had carried since meeting the woman with hair of golden fire, was melting like ice in the summer.
Eivor could do nothing but wonder, if Randvi wanted her too, truly wanted her. No haze of battle lust, no motivations beyond wanting Eivor to be hers as deeply as Eivor yearned to be.
If Randvi did want this, want her beyond a single moment...would Sigurd forgive them? Forgive Eivor?
Valka's words rang loud in her mind. Was this the betrayal she spoke of? It couldn't be. Even if they did...Eivor struggled to see a scenario where Sigurd would not simply agree to dissolve his marriage with Randvi, to allow them to be together. Any need for the politics of their marriage was far away in Norway. Sigurd would surely agree if they spoke to him.
But where was Sigurd? Since they arrived he had been gone with Basim. Eivor had no clue when she would even see or hear from him again. Hopefully it would be soon, but…
When Eivor saw Randvi dive from the bridge, heard her laughter echo and fill the ruins around them, Eivor knew in that moment. There was no resisting the way her heart yearned for Randvi. There never was.
When they stood atop the ancient tower, gazing over the land, their home, Eivor knew. They had come here to build a new future for themselves, one of their own choosing. Eivor would do that, for her clan, for herself.
When Randvi kissed her, Eivor took everything she offered.