Aetta Gydasdottir

Aetta is the daughter of Sigurd Olafson and Gyda Kadlinsdottir. Aetta's story begins with her great-grandparents, Einar and Anora in Denmark 907AD. Einar was a renowned warrior who was known for traveling the Whale Road, raiding and pillaging. His brother Haldor went south to Wessex. One summer, the raids had been bad. Food was sparse and illness was rife. Soon it became apparent that they needed new places to raid, and their oars turned to a place that had been said to be ripe with food and resources. This place was Ireland. With a farewell to his pregnant wife, Anora, Einar sailed his longship to this supposedly plentiful land. And plentiful it was indeed!  They found food, cloth and women and plenty of each, where Einar took his fill. Ireland yielded its resources to these strange folk, who often returned when times got tough.

 A few months after the first raid on Ireland, Anora had her child. A healthy boy whom they named Olaf. Einar rejoiced at the news. When Olaf grew up, he was much like his father, both in appearance and demeanour. Often, he would accompany his father on raids, even to Ireland!  Eventually, Olaf and his father learnt that perhaps it was better to trade with the Irish rather than pillage after they had been the subjects of a rather vicious counter attack. When Olaf was a man, Einar fell from a wound to the stomach from which he would not recover. Olaf had to be the bearer of bad news, and returned with the body of his father. His mother was overcome with grief and with a trusted band of warriors, Olaf set out for Birka and further still to the lands of the Rus and Slavs, striking up a favourable trade route although sometimes the goods he returned with were taken by force. Old habits die hard.

After a few years of raiding, Olaf had made a home for himself in Norway, having quite the horde and wealth to do so. It was there, that he met his future wife Freydis, a fiery lady who's tongue and wit was as sharp as a blade. After a few months of being married, Freydis fell pregnant with her son Sigurd. Olaf felt that he had one journey left. Together with Freydis, Olaf travelled to Ireland where they settled at last.

In Ireland, Sigurd was born. A storm was raging and the sky roared, clouds black with thunder. Some say it was Thor beating his anvil, welcoming a new life into the world. While others said  Sigurd was dragged into this world by a black ram. As Sigurd grew, so did the amount of mischief he got up to. He was forever out until the dead of night, trailing mud and moss. He could often be found playing with the girl who's parents were also Norse. Her name was Gyda, and Sigurd liked her because she would sooner hit you with a stick and practice archery than sit down and sew with her mother. She could climb trees better than anyone too. They were friends for years and after much asking on Sigurd's part, they finally married. Nobody was surprised.

All seemed well, Gyda had given birth to a healthy girl. Aetta, they called her. She was almost three, and quite the little mischief maker. Soon though, a fever struck their village. While Sigurd and Aetta managed to withstand it, Gyda was not so lucky. She was among the first to be taken by it. Aetta and Sigurd mourned. Her mother was cremated and the only thing Aetta had left of her  was a pendant of Thor's face that she wore everyday.

Times did get hard but that just made Aetta and her father closer. Eventually though, Sigurd had to leave to raid, he had to feed them somehow. As she was of age, Sigurd fostered Aetta to his cousin's family, the Lothgelds, in Kernow. Cadan, Sigurds cousin, was a Celt, but had Viking roots. When the two found out they were related, they were inseparable, brothers. They both served the King of Kernow, Gyrd Grimson, in the warband Morvleydh. Braeca, a shield maiden and Cadan's wife, looked after Aetta. She taught her to cook and would let Aetta borrow her bow to practice archery. Cadan and Braeca had four boys, who were as good as siblings to Aetta. She loved having their company. As well as cooking and doing the things that were considered more womanly, Aetta wanted to fight. Like her mother had when she was her age. Aetta would train with the men when she could and she soon hoped to be in the shield wall with them, protecting her own family.