The Dark Ages. What Dark Ages?
They used to be called The Dark Ages and are still thought as such by many people but the interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon period of history has been revised and is now general recognised as being nothing of the kind.
For many years the heroic Anglo-Saxon tale Beowulf was considered to be just that – a tale about Scandanavian kingdoms that bore little relation to how people in Anglo-Saxon England lived their lives.
Then, in 1938, the Sutton Hoo ship burial was discovered. The penny dropped. The tales about hoards of gold, magnificent swords, decorated helmets and the exchange of golden rings were found to actually be an accurate description of the culture of the age. Anglo-Saxon kings really did have hoards of this amazing stuff.
Then of course the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in a farmer’s field a few years ago and re-enforced this. The Anglo-Saxon’s were shown to have huge wealth, trading links to the outside world and the skilled craftsmen to fashion magnificent objects. I had the privilege to see the Staffordshire Hoard when it first went on display in Stoke Museum. I had to queue about 2 hours to get in as it had caught people’s imaginations so much but it was worth every minute for the privilege of seeing these wondrous artefacts.
So, when archaeologist Sam in my story shows Dan photographs of the things found in a burial mound and describes the source for the gold, amber and garnet, all of that is accurate. The gold would most likely have been coins from Byzantium, traded across Europe and then melted down to fashion ceremonial objects and jewellery.
So, to have Cyneburh, my own Pagan Sorceress, dripping with gold shoulder clasps, rings and jewellery would have been pretty realistic. Alhfrith’s sword with its garnet encrusted pommel in the shape of a horse’s head and Cyneburh’s sceptre mounted with a golden stag and other objects described in the story are all inspired by the real finds from Sutton Hoo and the Staffordshire Hoard.
If you’re looking for an erotic read this Halloween then check out Slave Nano’s new release ‘The Pagan Sorceress’. The action takes place on Samhain as archaeology student Sam sets out to re-enact a Pagan burial ceremony.
If the author of the Anglo-Saxon heroic tale Beowulf did erotica what might it have sounded like? That’s the challenge author Slave Nano has set himself in his newly released novella ‘The Pagan Sorceress’, partly set in the Anglo-Saxon era.
Sam is about to carry out a strange experiment. She is an archaeology student specialising in reconstructive archaeology and her idea is to recreate an Anglo-Saxon pagan burial ceremony. It’s Samhain eve and the night of a full moon so it’s the perfect time to carry out such a ritual. She enlists the help of her friend, Dan, and together they go off to the site of a burial mound where wonderful swords and sceptres were excavated many years ago.
A travelling story teller is at the court of a Saxon king. He recites the tale of two soul-entwined lovers from an earlier, more chaotic, period when king’s warred amongst each other. He tells the tragic tale of Cyneburh, Pagan sorceress and daughter of the mighty Pagan king Penda and Alhfrith, son of Athelwald the king of Deira, her hero-warrior lover and betrothed. The two kings have formed a mighty political and religious alliance but, more than that, the young woman and man have forged a passionate union of their own. But this new alliance has enemies and before their wedding night is over there will be a tragic outcome. As King Penda stands at the edge of their burial chamber he invokes a curse of vengeance against the murderous act perpetrated against him. But, how many years will it take before he is finally avenged?
As Sam stands on top of the burial mound dressed as an Anglo-Saxon pagan priestess with Dan at her side, is she aware of what ancient powers she will invoke as their lives become entwined with those of Cyneburh and Alhfrith from many centuries ago? Will the pagan king’s oath of vengeance be fulfilled? Will the souls of the two lovers be finally released?
……Sam pulled out some colour photographs from her notes. Dan gasped.
“Yeah, now this is incredible isn’t? Fuck all the ‘Dark Ages’ stuff these guys were skilled craftsmen and they traded stuff in from all over Europe and beyond – gold from Egypt, lapis lazuli from one cave in Afghanistan, amber from Russia and, get this, tests on the stones in that sword show the garnet came from a single site in India.”
Dan was now caught up in the maelstrom of Sam’s enthusiasm for the subject and he couldn’t help but be amazed at the photos spread out before him; golden buckles and clasps in intricate geometric patterns inlaid with precious stones, rings fashioned in the shape of serpents and dragons, a ceremonial golden helmet and decorated shield and the two outstanding objects, a sword with a golden pommel in the shape of a horse’s head and set with stones of dark red garnet and a golden sceptre surmounted with a beautifully wrought stag’s head.
“Most of the barrows had standard domestic stuff – bowls, pins, broaches but one burial mound threw up this remarkable stuff. These objects must have belonged to Anglo-Saxon royalty or at the very least an incredibly wealthy and powerful thane. Historians have speculated over who might have been buried in the mound – a king or member of a royal family or, from the symbolism of the artefacts, some pagan priestess….
Slave Nano is a writer of erotic paranormal and fantasy stories with bdsm and fetish themes. He has had short stories and novellas published by Xcite Books and House of Erotica. His first erotic novel, ‘Adventures in Fetishland’, was published by Xcite in March 2012.
You can find out more about him and his writing at http://www.slavenano.co.uk