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Imperial Visit from Natopia

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"I actually liked my cabin at the helicopter!" Nathaniel laughed.

"My aunt has always had a certain affection for the Vaan Aujoen. If they are 'free', I know she would be most pleased by a chieftaincy there. I of course agree to your changes.

"There's the matter of your father's letter of guarantee. Would it be possible that in it, once she's inducted, that should she inherit the Natopian throne, she would already have the High King's consent to do so?"

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The Vaan Aujoen was also the Jarldom that the High King's daughter had in mind as Lady Esther's Imperial Chieftaincy which brought a smile on her face..


"The Imperial Chieftaincy of the Vaan Aujoen is indeed still available so it shall be conferred upon Lady Esther when she is inducted into the House of Ettlingar Freyu", Storjarla Æsileif said.


"As for the advance consent of the High King for your aunt's possible future accession to the Natopian throne: a provision concerning that matter can be included in the Letter of Guarantee. She would, however, also still require the consent of the Most Honourable Jarls in the Althing Assembled.", the Queen of the Ravarians continued.


"Have you already given any thought about the name for the children born from Storjarl Hallbjörn's and Lady Esther's marriage?"

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"Such negotiations, my Lady, I think we'll leave to the couple's future bedchamber," Nathaniel smiled and quickly added, "as long as they share the same house names as their parents."


"I do not anticipate any problems from the Althing. It's proved itself to be a wise assembly."


Nathaniel cleared his throat.


"The ceremony... Who would be a neutral person to conduct it? The highest secular position in this country which is not related to any of the couples or intimately connected... The Lady High Justiciar perhaps? What do you think?"


Nathaniel looked like he had a lightbulb lit over his head.

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Storjarla Æsileif scratched her head and thought that she should have been a bit more clear.


"With the name of the children born from the marriage I meant the name of the house(s) they are to bear", the High King's daughter clarified.


"The High Justiciar would be an excellent person to officiate at the wedding. Not only does Lady Unna hold the which is not related to or intimately connected with the bride or the groom. but as a seven times High Justiciar she also is quite a regular at Harald's Holdfast where the wedding ceremony will take place."


"Due to her long career she also has tons of experience with presiding over and officiating at all kind of ceremonies and as High Justiciar she may also speak with the High King's voice so she is as good as one can get".

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The continued tenure of the Lady High Justiciar was quite amazing!


"Lady Unna indeed is quite the institution", the Imperial Chieftainess of Borgarrike said, being fully in agreement with the Emperor of Natopia.


"She has really has left her mark on the office of High Justiciar. Due to her all High Justiciars who preceded her in that high office are all but forgotten."


"Lady Unna is doning pretty well in a quite unglamorous and rather difficult office of great responsibility and is together with my Lord Father the High King the exponent of the stability of Storish Government."

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Day 3: Tjootahite / Haithabu


The following morning, after all had gone to sleep the night before and then this morning woken up, the weather was looking much better. It was decided that the entourage would continue with the itenary, so to today the trip would go to Tjootahite and then Haithabu.


Nathaniel was very pleased by the last night's negotiations and he had told his aunt all about them. She hugged him and told him she wanted things to be formalized as soon as possible. "Why wait?" she had told him, "Life is too short to wait for things..."


While on the helicopter across the Heartland again, Nathaniel read the news on his pad. He noted an article about Haithabu's cathedral and was reminded of its grandeur.


"Would it be possible," Nathaniel asked, "while we are in Haithabu, to visit the Church of Stormark cathedral? It's in the same quarter as the market anyway... isn't it?"

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Storjarla Æsileif took a seat next to Emperor Nathaniel.


"Has the gossip press already caught wind of the your aunt's and my dearest brother's love story", she asked with a big smile on her face.


"It is indeed possible to to pay a visit to the Saint Sunniva Cathedral in the Royal City of Haithabu. It belongs together with Hedeby Rock and the Haithabu Junction Farmers’ Market to the foremost features of the Old Trade Town."


"The cathedral is called after Saint Sunniva who was the Christian heir to a insular petty kingdom, but had to flee when a pirate king, who wanted to marry her, invaded. She and her followers took refuge in Haithabu, where she caught the eye of the petty king Liðsvaldr Áfastrsson, the King of the Rock, who was the ruler of Haihabu and whom she later married."


"Saint Sunniva is to this very day fondly remembered in Haithabu as a very benevolent queen who went at great lengths for the welfare of her subjects, one day even riding naked through the streets of the City of the Rock in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants.


"For all her benevolent deeds the church canonized her and she was also immortalized by being put on Haihabu's coat of arms."


Those Storish history classes, I took truly have paid off, haven't they", the High King's daughter said with big fat wink.


"Well, in other news... I have just learned what kind of contractual wedding gifts Storjarl Hallbjörn will present his future wife with. My dearest brother will give her a Valtian gold and silver-mounted aquamarine and diamond pendant brooch as well as a Valtian girdle with coins and medallions."

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While touring the Haithabu Cathedral and market, Nathaniel walked closely to Lady Aesileif. His aunt was feeling unwell, she wasn't used to much activities since her time in hospital so she decided to rest.

"I forgot to thank you for your eloquent presentation of these grounds from when we were flying. I am afraid I have to upset you... your telling didn't really do this majesty any justice," said Nathaniel and gave Aesileif his best smile.

"Also, I just spoke to my aunt. She has decided to give the brooch of Tårbaek to her husband, as well as some other Humlebaek regalia... I'm afraid I didn't quite catch actually what. She'll collect them from the family vault when we get there."

The entourage were served some refreshments, while a newsreel at the market stated that Aesileif's son had been elected king of Batavians.

"Wow, my Lady, my warmest congratulations for your son!"

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"Wow! The Dragon Brooch of Tårbæk and other Humlebæk regalia! It really shows through the giving of these ancient heirlooms as wedding how much your aunt cherishes my dearest brother! They are really going to have one happy marriage!", Storjarla Æsileif exclaimed enthusiastically.


The Imperial Chieftainess of Borgarrike was fully in agreement with Emperor Nathaniel that the words of a mortal weren't sufficient to describe the majesty of Old Haithabu which was since times ancient beyond the memory of woman the trade hub of the Heartland.


While enjoying some local refreshments the news broke that Lady Æsileif's son, Frederik Hendrik des Vinandy had been elected King of the Batavians.


"I'm a Queen Mom now!", the Queen of the Ravarians exclaimed.


The Emperor of the Natopians was to first to convey his congratulations to the newly Queen Mother of Batavia.


"Thank you very much, noble prince!", the High King's daughter said while gleaming with the purest of maternal pride.


"I'm so happy for my beloved son that he has regained his birthright, the Throne of Batavia!"


A market vendor walked up to the Imperial Chieftainess of Borgarrike, bowed deeply, introduced himself, and with a wickedly happy grin offered her a floral crown.


"You must be from Borgarike", Lady Æsileif said with a mischievous smile.


"Aye, Your Majesty! From Skapstaðr to be exactly", the market vendor replied.


The newly Queen Mother of Batavia thanked him with an impish smile, put the floral crown on her head, and strutted around jokingly imitating a proudly walking peacock.

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After a day at Tjootahite and Haithabu, a night-flight to Jakrestað was to take place. Esther was patiently waiting at the airport for her uncle and her soon-to-be sister-in-law. She hadn't been feeling very well the whole day but was finally getting her strenghts back.


She really wanted to talk to the storjarla and make some more arrangements for the upcoming wedding, but she knew that things would have to go in their own pace.


These past days had been wonderful for her. She had gotten back her nephew -- a charming young man who reminded her so much of her own brother -- and felt the instant love between them, and she had arranged for a marriage with the son of the high king, well, negotiations for them anyway. She couldn't help imagine what it would be like to actually be married to him. What would her son think of him? She already knew that her nephew was a bit skeptic -- but Nathaniel did maintain dignity and full support for it, even conducting the marital negotiations perfectly.


Great things will surely come to pass, she thought.

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"There you are!", Storjarla Æsileif exclaimed while storming towards the beautiful lady who was waiting for the Imperial Helicopter at Old Trade Town International Air- and Spaceport which would the twice Imperial travel company to the Hurmu Ruins and Remains at Jakrestað.


The High King's daughter lifted her future sister-in-law up and swirled her round. It was quite obvious that she already was excessively fond of Emperor Nathaniel's aunt.


"Lady Esther Maryam Amirdokhtar of Ayreon-Kalirion", the Imperial Chieftainess of Borgarrike said while smiling from ear to ear, "I'm so glad to see you again! I really missed you much! How are you doing right now?"


"I will tell you that when you have put me down, Sweet Sister!", Lady Esther said, squealing with joy.

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Once on her feet again, Esther smiled. "I have been thinking..." she said and gave a childish smile. "I could let my nephew go to Humlebaek on his own, I would very much like to spend time with your brother. Do you think he would be amenable to that? I would like to introduce him to Jonathan too."


She then saw that Nathaniel had arrived, she hugged him tightly and rubbed his hair. He felt to her as if he were her son too. She loved him like one. Nathaniel bid her good-night, he was very tired after a long day's socializing and mingling.


"Sweet sister," Esther looked at the storjarla, "would you like to join me for a cup of hot chocolate before we go to bed?"

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"Oh, Sweet Sister of mine", Storjarla Æsileif joyously said, "I'm pretty sure that Hallbjörn would cherish every second he could spend with you. He is also quite eager to meet his future stepson."


The warm smile of the face of the Imperial Chieftainess of Borgarrike widened.


"I'm also of the mind that my dearest brother will seize the opportunity to introduce you to Lady Fjǫrleif, his daughter. She will for sure be delighted to meet you. The little one has been playfully "nagging" her dad lately to get himself a wife so that she could have a mommy mortal again."


"And I would be most happy to join you for a bedtime cup of hot chocolate. Then we can also engage in some more girly gossip", the High King's daughter said with a big fat wink.

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"Good! Let's go tomorrow to see them!" Esther exclaimed. "If he's not busy... of course..."


As they sat in Esther's cabin, Esther asked her future sister-in-law. "Tell me something... don't you think Nathaniel looks a bit sad and lost all the time? I'm worried about him. What do you think?"

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"Esther, Sweet Sister of mine", the Queen of the Ravarians said with her voice full of understanding, "of course your nephew feels sad and lost. You are a great woman with numerous excellent qualities and a bit of a mother figure to him."


"Nathaniel thought that you were lost in the Siserian genocide. You rose from the dead, and now he feels like that he is losing you again."


The Imperial Chieftainess of Borgarrike paused for a second.


"The best way to let him overcome his anxieties is to let him know that you will always be there for him, with your love and wise advise and counsel."


"And when are you married to Hallbjörn you simply keep in touch with your nephew by daily telepresence calls. And there will be plenty of time and opportunity for visits to Natopia since members of the Imperial House of Ettlingar Freyu have a plethora of aircraft at their disposal and may use them like an Udaller would take the bus or train."


"So there is nothing to worry about. Everything will be alright", the High King's daughter said with a big smile on her face.

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Esther hugged her sister-in-law, smiled and said, "Yes... you're right. Here he comes, full of love, and the first thing I talk about is getting married. I am his only family. He doesn't have any one else. Family is important. He hasn't had one for a long time. Thank you for your advice!"


Esther then asked, rather cheekily. "Do you have any pictures of your brother from when he was younger? I want to see how cute he was!"

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"Yes, Sweet Sister! I do indeed have a couple of pictures of my dearest brother when he was younger", Storjarla Æsileif said.


The High King's daughter took out her mini-iPad and started searching for the pictures requested.


"I keep them deeply in my iPad hidden behind numerous security layers to prevent my lady servants from swooning over them", the Imperial Chieftainess of Borgarrike explained. .


"Tadaa! Here they are!", the Queen of the Ravarians joyously said while holding her mini-iPad in front of Lady Esther.

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Nathaniel knocked on the door. Esther showed him the pictures too, "Isn't he cute?" she said and smiled.

"Yes, very much so," Nathaniel replied, smiling too. "He looks much more blond than last I saw him!" He chuckled.


"Aunt Esther -- please, I need to speak with you. A matter of state importance. Lady Aesileif, will you please excuse us for a moment?"


"Of course," the storjarla replied.


Nathaniel and Esther headed out, went to Nathaniel's cabin.


"I have appointed you Natopia's ambassador to Stormark. It's only temporary. Once you're married, it would be bad form to keep you ambassador... but really now I need someone I can trust. The Natopian government wants to negotiate a treaty with Stormark..."


"Yes, Nathaniel... that's perfectly alright. As I was saying to Aesileif, I was hoping to go to Haraldsborg tomorrow anyway."


"Alright, thanks. Stay in contact though?"


"Of course... I love you as if you were my own son."


Nathaniel hugged his aunt, and while doing so sobbed a little.


"Damn it, I have to regain my composure..."


"Shhh...." was all that Esther said.


Two minutes later, Nathaniel had written the necessary papers. "Here you are. Take them to the High King tomorrow. Sorry about my behaviour."


"My love, there is nothing to be sorry about. I am to be sorry... I haven't considered your feelings much. I will be better."


The hugged and parted, and Esther went back to Aesileif. Nathaniel stayed in his cabin and started a telepresence conference with the Imperial Council at Lindstrom. Due to the differences in time zones, this was the earliest time possible.

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Day 5: Jakrestað / Thorfinnsborg


"This is such a fascinating place!", Storjarla Æsileif enthusiastically exclaimed. "It truly breathes history!"


The Imperial Chieftainess of Borgarrike was strolling through the Hurmu Ruins and Remains at Jakrestað with Emperor Nathaniel by her side and she was having a great time.


"As you will obviously will know this site is also of great significance to the Storish Monarchy since this is one of the sites where my Lord Father and Lady Hervör took shelter during their escape from the Blood Parley, the High King's daughter said.


The Emperor of the Natopians nodded.


"My knowledge of this place is, however, far from complete, Your Bovic Majesty!, the Queen of the Ravarians continued.


"Nor is mine", Emperor Nathaniel chuckled.


"It still is much larger than what I know", Lady Æsileif countered with a big smile on her face. "There must still be something interesting to tell me about."

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"Of course," said the emperor and brought the storjarla to one of the stones hidden by a few low-laying branches. "Look here, see this runes? They're old Hurmu runes, quite unlike the Storish ones. Here it says..." Nathaniel bowed himself down, dusted off some of the dirt on the stone, and just as he was about to stand up tall again, he hit his head on the branch above, which brought him down to the stone again.


Nathaniel's head cracked, and blood started streaming down the stone.


A bodyguard came running fast, and applied first aid.


"My Lady!" he shouted. "He's still unconscious. We need medical assistance immediately."

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Nathaniel woke up 36 hours later in the imperial ward of Haraldsborg's most regal hospital. Somehow, by the unluckiest turn of events, he fell unconscious by his own stupidity among the rocks. But he was in great care and felt terrific now. In fact, he felt as if he never had felt any better. Had he been given some Idunish apple juice? God knows.


A few phone-calls from the Chancellor in Natopia later, Nathaniel had been informed that a brother had been found. His father Nathan had fathered another son, Naian, in the mysterious Hazel forests, and the Chancellor advised Nathaniel to immediately return home. As a constitutional monarch, he feared that he had no other choice right now.


He had lunch with the High King's daughter, herself a Queen and seeming female chaperone of Nathaniel's trip to Stormark. He profoundly apologized for having to leave so soon, and promised that the trip to Humlebaek would have to wait until things had calmed down and his aunt had married Aesileif's brother.


"But that will be soon," Nathaniel smiled, "I will of course return to the wedding!"

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