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His Royal Highness, Prince Vincent - 15. The Mighty Thor

Okay, I was sick last week and still am. I'm taking my medicine after this and going to bed. I indulged in two of my favorite things. You'll see. I love you, Daniel. I love my readers. I love writing. :wub:

The Mighty Thor

 

The palace was beautifully decorated. There the pungent sweet, woodsy smell of pine I instantly associate with Christmas. I decorated Aunt Benedikte’s house. So did Vincent. Okay, the house staff helped us. I asked them, “It’s Christmas! You know, once a year? The dust won’t kill you to leave it there one more day, you can sweep, polish and all that.” I said happily. “Christmas! Jul? Kommer en gang om året. Vi holder fest!” I said in Danish, telling them Christmas came once a year and we were having a party! Back at the ranch we had a party and the hired hands decorated the house there. It was their home. They lived there. I was standing on the fourth step up of the grand central, marble staircase. There were ten and I was determined to keep them. They had been a little stand offish at first. Until I made the whole kitchen staff laugh at one of Dad’s favorite jokes. Now we greeted each other by name and I made certain I remembered each. We went out and cut the evergreen pine. We only decorated the rooms we frequently used. That huge foyer (for yah) was a bitch! You came into the house through two double doors onto a large marble floor that had a circular with a design that looked like a starburst and overhead was a large crystal chandelier at the center. The staircase came down both sides and converged together creating a landing. Uncle Fred’s great aunt didn’t like corners because the elegant polished wooden banister curved on the right and left sides. Then a wide staircase carpeted red, spilled down like a waterfall and curved on the ground floor spreading slightly left and right. I thought it was very grand until when we draped garland bound by red ribbons. The great aunt had reflectors that we hung making the garland sparkle in the light. Those reflectors were normally placed behind individual candles to make it shine brighter. With no electricity yet, she needed a lot to entertain. People had to see! Now, they were stars as the light hit them.

 

Queen Magerete must have used all of the palace’s staff, or hired people from the street or both! Garland hung on the walls with the red ribbon, too. However, there were little golden bells hanging and shined in the light. Brass was my guess. And she had small lights up there that added a sense of magic to the palace. She out did us, but I was big about it and was only little jealous. Next year; look out. The table with the white tablecloth was also decorated with garland and candles in the center of long table. Not blocking you from conversing with the person across from you. The dishes and silver were there with the crystal and added to the decorations. The first time I saw the plate with what I thought was another plate. Fortunately Vincent was there, so I asked, “It’s charger.” He tells me. “It keeps the table cloth clean and it looks nice, don’t you think?” Life was an education and I learned that day.

I looked over at Cousin Matilda and tried to get an assessment of her by observation. She as too proud and that was just for show. Fortunately, Queen Maregete had place cards for seating. I noticed the seating at the head of the table to King Fredrik was Vincent to the right of his father as his heir. Queen Maregete sat on her husbands left and Annabelle was beside her. Most of the time the queen sat at the opposite place at the table. I sat by Vincent. Beside me was Christian! I smiled at what the queen was doing. She was making a statement that her family was solid. If anyone suspected something between Vincent and me, or King Fredrik and Christian. She thought of Christian and myself as extended family, but close family members. I loved her now. Not that I hated her before. She just scared me! I had faced that angry face looking at me. I’ve faced snorting bulls who bowed their heads down charged at me with intent on goring me. She scared me even more than that!! Now she was so pleasant! There are some great ghost stories and weird happenings in this part of the world. I had read about Changelings who were what fairies exchanged when babies were taken and replace with a fairy child. They took adults, too. If she was a Changeling I hoped the real Queen Magerete never comes back!

I noticed Cousin Tilda was down near the end of the long table. “Aunt Maregete,” I said quietly across the table.

She smiled looking at me, “Yes, Dear.”

I still had to adjust my thinking. I wasn’t expecting that affectionate address, but I pressed on, “All these people are arranged. Are they all related to you?”

“Oh, yes!” Queen Maregete nodded. “These here live in Copenhagen.” Her head nodded in a direction. It was impolite to point. “Next to Christian is King Fredrik’s only surviving Uncle Galin. And across from him is his Aunt Kirstin,” They were quite elderly. She did wave down the table, but didn’t point. “The others are the children of King Frederick and heir and plenty of spares,” she shook her head, “Poor Queen Marie! She was pregnant every other year! Nine times!”

My eyes widened, “That’s almost twenty years!”

“Unfortunately,” Queen Maregete said very quietly in a near whisper, “She lost two. One was still born and the other died shortly after it was born.”

“That’s terrible,” I said sincerely. Infant mortality was high around the world. The Pohogwe were good with many cures, but they had infant deaths, too. “Still, seven survived. I’ve assisted with several births. That’s saying something, but her poor body.”

“You helped with some births?” Queen Maregete in disbelief a little. She was not accusing me of lying, it was just unusual here.

“My late Grandmother was assisting with the actual birthing process.” I smiled. “She was the Pohogwe Medicine-Woman. I began helping her when I was eight. I was her assistant and brought her whatever she needed, such as water and clean cloths. She told me everyone was born it’s the natural cycle of life. Grandma was a kind of midwife. She had a reputation of success and delivered some babies that were difficult, but she knew what she was doing and the baby and mother survived.” I chuckled. “One birth I saw, the baby just wouldn’t come out! She said the baby wasn’t in the right position.” Now, I noticed Annabelle was fascinated. So were Christian, Vincent and King Fredrik. I went on, “Grandmother stuck her whole hand in the mother and that hurt the mother very much. Grandma told me, there is a lot of pain giving birth. A little more and she won’t die!” I nodded at their expression. Annabelle’s lips curled a little sympathizing with the pain she couldn’t imagine. “It took a few minutes, once in the position, the baby was born and screamed her cry! Mother and daughter are just fine.”

Annabelle sighed in relief and sat back like she had gone through it, “Oh, Thank God!” She press on her chest over her heart which I guessed was beating too hard.

“My goodness,” the queen said impressed. “Your grandmother sounds like a remarkable woman!”

“She was,” I smiled. “She is missed by many people back in Wyoming.”

“I didn’t have those sort of problems with any of mine,” She looked at Vincent. “He took the longest. Forty-three hours!”

I nodded, “He was your first. Grandmother said the first one is sometimes the most difficult.”

She smiled at Vincent, “But he’s here and healthy. I think it was worth it.” She looked at Annabelle. “You only took about thirty hours, but you were the loudest!”

Vincent chuckled, “Some things never change.”

Annabelle narrowed an eye at her brother, “Oh, be quiet.”

“I wanted to be there by your side, but they wouldn’t let me,” King Fredrik said. “They are my children.”

“Many midwives think the fathers will just be in the way,” I said. “They can’t help or panic and cause problems.”

“Nonsense,” the queen said. “I sweated and would love to have had someone wipe my face with a cool damp cloth. I was burning up!”

That’s when the palace kitchen staff came out with steaming silver containers. They spooned out soup, excuse me, it was Bouillabaisse. That was a French word for a soup that had scallops and a little halibut and the chefs always did a superior job. It wasn’t a lot. Dad would have asked where the rest of it was, he was hungry. I glanced at Cousin Tilda. It made sense why she was so far down. She was far down the list of relatives she was separated by three, or was it four, generations. Being a Baroness didn’t give her added status at this table. The Baronial title meant she was royalty, but the lowest status of any. She was eating, but she didn’t look happy. She was cunning. She had the brains enough to have her future husband sign a contract giving her full Baronial power at seventeen. We needed to be careful with her around. I remembered she lived in Berlin and would be going home soon.

Julefrokost was delicious. And the company was good. I enjoyed speaking to Christian, even if we couldn’t speak too freely. Vincent and his parents were very pleasant. The two surviving members were his Aunt and Uncle, a princess and prince, and they were both in their mid-seventies. Both were very proper, but friendly. They were quite fascinated by my heritage and my life at the ranch. I was more than happy to tell them about it. I was proud of being a cowboy and a member of the Pohogwe. The others were their children and grandchildren, but I couldn’t talk to them without shouting. Queen Maregete would make me wear a gag if I did. I guess I was still scared of her. Oh, well. I minded all my manners.

As Julefrokost ended, but we didn’t leave, but visited again. We talked to many guests. When Matilda came to us again.

“Are you enjoying yourself?” Vincent asked her.

She walked around Vincent at a leisurely pace around Vincent. I got a feeling like I was watching a cat circling a mouse just to torment the mouse before the cat kills it. “Absolutely! Your mother is an excellent hostess and really has great taste!” She was beginning another pass, but I blocked her path this time. She merely smiled at me. She turned to Vincent. “I understand the tradition of putting guest according to how closely related they are to the king, but why does this American cowboy and that man whose always with King Fredrik get to sit with the family? While I, a Baroness and relative sit at opposite end?”

“Well, yes,” Vincent said simply. “You are German. Your grandmother was a Dane. She’s buried here, but her children went other countries and married and grand children where they were. Your four steps down.” He looked at me and grinned, “Now, this guy,” he threw his arm around my shoulders, brought toward him and kissed on the forehead which I fought off. I’d seen guys on the same team do that after a win. “He was always my friend.” Vincent looked at Tilda. “He saved my life. We became practically brothers after that. He is my closest friend and I love him. The others in the family do, too. Dad loves him, my mother loves him and my sister adores him.” He reached down and took my right hand, “I thought you knew about this. He wears the Ring of Trust.” He touched my ring, “That trumps everyone else and makes him a part the family. I gave to him and he can see me even if I’m in important meeting.” He shrugged, “You are welcomed when you come, but if you didn’t know that; you aren’t from Denmark. Everyone here knows that. Even the guards know.”

Cousin Matilda was looking a little annoyed.

“Dad gave one to Christian years ago,” Vincent was smiling at her face. “I guess you don’t have that in Germany. They are the most trusted advisors.” He did the chum squeeze again. No kiss this time. “He’s Cambridge graduate and a genius. He was sent here by the Government of the United States because he speaks Danish and Norwegian fluently. He’s lived over here so long people see him as a Dane…”

“No, we don’t” she said sharply and interrupted. “The royals in the world are forced to step down.”

“I’ve heard that,” Vincent said.

“Are you an advanced scout to make that happen?” I asked her, “find something wrong and grievous and atrocious…”

“Don’t those two words mean the same thing?” Vincent asked calmly interrupting me.

I nodded, “Yeah, they do.” I said as calmly. Not once did I raise my voice. “I just wanted to say what is bad here is very bad. I wanted a stronger impact.”

“Oh,” Vincent said, “If you bring any charges about me. You’ll find the accommodations won’t be up to your standards.”

“Bring them up against King Fredrik,” I looked at Vincent, “Do you still have a dungeon?”

“We do,” Vincent nodded. “It’s not really used now except for storage, but Dad can open it up again.”

“Is there electricity or heat down there?” I asked.

“No,” Vincent bounced. “When we used it for criminals we used torches. It will be cold and dark.”

She huffed and walked away.

“You did very well,” I said to him.

“Thank you,” Vincent smiled. “So did you.” He sighed. “I better tell Dad. He and Christian had better watch themselves and Dad can have someone follow her while she’s here.”

 

We told King Fredrik, who was with Christian, We were telling him what happen and suggested she be followed and he just smiled, “I already have.”

I smiled at King Fredrik, “Of course, you have. Your not sleeping on the throne.”

King Fredrik smiled bigger, “No, I do not. She has been a problem before. She confronted Christian.”

Vincent nodded, “We heard about that. He told her to take him to court and prove it.” Vincent chuckled. “But why is she allowed in?”

“Well, she is family,” King Fredrik gave a slight shrug. “And what better way to find out what she’s doing than for her to be here. She is welcomed. She has three of the best watching what she does, Majlis, Clara and Regna. They were very well trained. They are her Chambermaids.”

“Women?” Vincent asked.

“Sure!” I said to Vincent with a big smile, “Women are great in covert operations.”

“Yes, they are,” King Fredrick nodded. “Of course, you know this, but I need to tell you not to tell anyone.” He even did the finger shake at us like he was scolding us.

“No, sir,” Vincent and I said together.

“We try not to do anything to let anyone know,” Vincent said.

“We saw that,” Christian chuckled. “That performance of two friends, in their late twenties, was priceless.”

“We are friends.” I said smiling.

“Best of friends,” Vincent did the one arm hug men do. “I told her why and he was trusted.”

“He’s honorable,” King Fredrik said. “Good choice, Son.”

 

All this was just speculation. It was clear King Fredrik had no proof. Maybe, Majlis, Clara or Regna would find out something.

 

We were walking back to the house when some movement caught the corner of my eye. Moonlight made possible to see enough. It was small, dark on white snow and walking slowly. It was less than a foot high. Walking on snow was a Hell of a lot easier than ice. My legs did sink into the snow. What was walking was sinking too. It was clearly a small dog.

“What is it?” Vincent asked.

“A puppy,” I answered. “I think.” I approached it slowly and spoke softly in soft voice, “It’s okay. You’ll be okay when we get you out of this cold.” He couldn’t run away. He could barely walk now. The puppy didn’t even whine or cry. He was violently shivering a lot. He also soaking wet! There were ice crystal forming in his short fur. I looked up at long park built next to a channel of water. It wasn’t far.

“What’s a puppy doing here now?” Vincent asked. “Isn’t it spring when a dog goes into heat?”

“Yes,” I answered. “Is there a dog breeder around here?”

“Two,” Vincent said.

“There are ways to induce heat for breeding,” I opened my coat and put the shivering puppy next my warm body. “People will give puppies as Christmas presents. Here you go little guy. I’m warm and so will you be in just a few minutes. I got you.” I assured softly. “I’d say a breeder did it to have puppies for Christmas that can be sold.” I threw my arm my arm out. “Everybody loves a dog!” Then I remembered, “Except your mother because they make her sneeze.” I shrugged. “Some of our bigger cities have more wealthy people and they will do that to have puppies to sell. Then after Christmas, get rid of the unsold puppies.”

“That’s terrible!” Vincent said and then stopped, “So, how do you know this?”

I turned looking at him in disbelief, “Yes, Vinnie. I suppose you found that huge kennel we had in Wyoming where we raise dogs as well as cattle.” I turned and walked to get out of the cold to see what I’d rescued. “I read it the Chicago Tribune where there was a group protesting this barbaric business. They wanted to stop them from killing these innocent lives.” I opened my coat and saw two eyes, “Who could do that to that sweet little face?” Okay, I spoke to the puppy in that voice. It was baby talk, but not where you purposefully mispronounce words. The puppy now responded with the signature helpless whine. Because he was helpless. He couldn’t fend off anything. “I got you. You’re fine.” He was still shivering, but that could be from the fear as well as the cold.

“Your plans for the little guy?” Vincent asked with a hopeful voice.

“I’m going to take him home,” I said. “I’ll feed him, see if Amil is there because he knows animals, then we’ll clean him up and name him.”

“You’re going to keep him,” He said in a way that told me he was hoping I would, “You’re not going to give him away.”

I could see a much smaller Vincent stand with a stray he found asking his parents, promising to take care him. Telling his mother with her handkerchief over her nose she won’t even know he’s there. He was told no.

“Yes, Vincent,” I smiled. “We’re keeping him.” I shrugged. “He’s not a longhorn steer. But beggars can’t be choosers.”

 

When we got home I realized that gorgeous foyer was only a little better than outside. The high ceilings where all the heat went. So, I took him to the warmest room in the house. The kitchen. I know, I know. Dogs shouldn’t be in the kitchen, but this was an emergency.

There were two there at the moment, two women turned and smiled at us at first but when I opened my coat one was a little bothered, but the other one said, “Åh, den stakkels lille ting.” Oh, the poor little thing. She rushed over to me. She touched a table, “Put him up here.”

“We prepare meals there, Rebekka!” She said to the middle-aged woman.

“Which we aren’t doing at the moment, Laura,” Rebekka said sternly to the younger woman. “It will be cleaned.” She took the puppy’s head in both hands. “You’re safe,” she said. “No one will hurt you.” She felt his body and extremities. “He’s soaking wet!”

“I theorized that one other two dog breeders was getting rid of his unsold inventory,” I said.

Rebekka blew an angry breath, “I’d love to put both of them in a bag with a weight and throw them both in the river!” She didn’t even look, “Laura, instead of just standing the gawking, why don’t you go get a used towel from the laundry room.”

“Is Emil still here?” I asked.

She nodded, “I believe so. He went to carriage house to check on the horses.”

“I’ll go get him,” Vincent left to do that.

I looked over the puppy and tried to get an idea what breed he was. He looked like a solid brown beagle puppy. There solid brown told me he wasn’t a direct beagle breed. “How old do you think he is? Six weeks?”

Rebekka nodded, “I hope so. I’ll bet he’s hungry. I hope he’s been weened.” She snapped her fingers, “I know!” She hurried to the pantry.

I really like dogs. We always had one on the ranch. They were good sentries. Duke was friendly dog to everyone, but he was really a hired hand’s dog and they loved each other. He went with them everywhere.

“Here you go, Eric,” Laura said handing me a towel. “He is cute.”

I nodded, “He is. I’ll never understand Human cruelty.” I laughed. “There was a time when I had a problem what we did at the ranch. I was eight. We were raising our cattle for slaughter! Dad wasn’t mad, but he asked if I liked Mom’s beef stew, hamburgers, or steak? I did and he asked me where did the meat came from? I knew, but I didn’t really get it until then I didn’t get it. Dad told me we were supposed to. We were predators. Our teeth said we were as they were like wolves. One day we may not have to.” I began rubbing the puppy dry. He starting to whine a little. “No, no, you’re fine. Or do you just want to be held again?” I picked him up in the towel. His head was near my face and he started licking me. “You’re welcome…” I looked at Laura. “I need to name him.”

Laura smiled, “You’re going to keep him.”

“And I predict he will be a blessing to have around and a huge problem,” I looked at the puppy. “Aren’t you?”

 

Emil was great with animals and cared for the horses. That was important as with snow or no snow they were needed to get around. Emil was a very friendly man and was veterinarian. He was in his forties and gave up his practice and made more money working for the king. Rebekka came back with…mush?

“You can feed him the occasional carrot, but cut it down very well into small pieces,” Rebekka instructed. “He’s just a baby, but he should be able to eat this.” She put it in front of the puppy. “This is leftover roast beef finely chopped and uncooked oatmeal. Meats should always be cooked to avoid any parasites in them.” She sighed contently. “We can introduce things like those carrots and corn. It’s good to add, after we see if he tolerates this protein.”

Vincent smiled at Rebekka, “How do you know all this?”

“Oh,” Rebekka chuckled. “I’ve always had dogs. I still do. My father raised dogs and taught me. It’s a fine thing you did, Eric.”

“I couldn’t let Thor die!” I shrugged.

“You named the puppy Thor?” Vincent asked amused.

“Doesn’t he look like a Thor?” I held my hand out to the puppy who sniffed the mush and then began eating it. “He’s a credit to his species! He escaped watery grave somehow, swam in icy water, and walked where we found him! He’s miracle! He’s a Dane!”

Thor ate all his dinner and we gave him water. Now when I talked to him, his tail would wag. Emil put the Berlingske, Copenhagen’s daily newspaper down in the mud room. He had just eaten and drank water, but he couldn’t go outside. It didn’t take too long before he peed and pooped. Then Emil got rid of immediately to avoid a stink. The bath. I used a mild soap him warm water in the kitchen sink. He cried at that, but I reassured him he wasn’t going back into the water. Dried him off and I swear one of his parents was a beagle. He had a beagle face and head, but his color was brown. From nose to tip of his tail a chocolate brown.

Vincent held Thor who licked his face and he was talking softly and sometimes in babytalk. What is it that puppies make us all do that? And why did it take five grown adults to take care of a puppy? I looked at Dad’s watch. “It’s three in the morning! Go home. It’s Boxing Day! Thank you so much for the help.”

They said it was their pleasure and it would be nice to have a dog around the house.

 

Royalty love dogs. Queen Victoria had several dogs, even at the same time. Just because Queen Maregete was allergic they didn’t have one. I know if she weren’t there would be. We took the back stairway the house staff used.

“This is fun,” Vincent said as he still talked babytalk to Thor who was eating it up as his tail was going very fast, “We have to be more aware of our surroundings with Tilda here.”

“Why?” I asked carrying our two coats. Who knew staying warm outside would be so heavy? “We only kiss in an empty room and everything else behind locked doors.”

“We can’t even be seen going in the same bedroom,” Vincent said. This situation with his cousin had really shaken him up. More so that I thought.

When got to the top of the stairs; I stopped him, “There are four people involved here. And soon to be five. Angelica and Harald have made some great sacrifices to be together and so have we. We don’t even know she’s up to anything.” I took his arm and pulled him farther down the hall. “We need to get to our room or I’ll have to put these coats down. They’re getting heavy.” That made Vincent chuckle.

We got to our room and we locked it as was our habit.

“Where’s that robust cowboy strength you had at the ranch?” Vincent chuckled.

“Sez the man carrying six, maybe seven pounds,” I threw both coats on the bed and sighed. “How can you hold Thor up?” I had been carrying a few pages from the Berlingske. I went to the corner and put that down. “Just in case.” I smiled at Vincent. “I don’t know Matilda’s goal is. Who is she working for?” I waved at the door, “There are limited amounts of hiding places in the hall. Even if she had one she would be arrested for breaking and entering. Your father asked me to be the Ambassador here. He’s letting me use this house to do that. It’s sort of guarded now. It will be heavily guarded when the U.S. Marine Corps arrives. I’d like her to try to get past them.” I waved at the house. “How many rooms does the house staff clean and change sheets for?” I held my right index finger up. “One.” I answered my own question. “You know the house staff knows and won’t say a word. There was certainly a lot to talk about at the palace! I think we took care some suspicion with that school chums routine. We did it in Oslo. We do that here. A majority will think we’re just immature. Good friends together usually are.” I came closer to him. “Everything in my body tells me, we are meant to be together.” I leaned in and kissed him. I felt Thor move between us. “And you, Thor,” I put his head into my hand and gave him a playful and gentle shake. “Not a word to anybody about what you see here. Okay?” I bent down and put my face in front of his. I got several licks as an answer.

Thor was put on the bed and we got ready for bed. It would be a while before he jumped down. In a year, he should be able to jump up as well. He did whine the first time we disappeared into the bathroom because we left him. We left the bathroom door open so he could see and hear us, but he wasn’t with us.

“We’ll need to get him a thermal covering it we take him outside,” Vincent said.

“I haven’t seen many hounds in Denmark,” I shrugged “Or Norway. Hounds don’t have the undercoat needed for cold climates.”

Vincent grinned, “They don’t, thus the thermal covering.”

“I walked into that one,” I smirked. “You get the point this time.”

We went to opposite sides of the bed. Thor didn’t know which to go to, so he sat, but then we started to turn the bed down and Thor had never in his six weeks of life seen this! I picked him up and put him down on the blanket.

“Why the name Thor?” Vincent asked as he slid into the sheets under the blanket. And Thor came over and greeted him again with a couple of licks. “Why do you like Vikings so much?”

“Okay,” I waved my fingers in the give it to me gesture. “I’ll take that point back. I do it because of you. I fell in love with someone whose country is made up from people that were Vikings. That includes you. I love Denmark.” I slid in. “I couldn’t name him Spot. He hasn’t got any!” I realized I hadn’t gotten his input. “I’m sorry, Vincent. He’s not my dog, but our dog. Is there a name you prefer?”

Vincent shook his head and chuckled, “No, Thor is perfect.” Thor walked over and licked Vincent, “And I love you, too, but it’s time for little dogs and big dogs to get some sleep.” He patted the bed next to him. Thor had a busy, wet and cold Christmas. It only took a couple of times for him to understand what he was to do. He was a social creature and so were Humans. He was now a part of a pack.

 

Vincent woke up in time to see Thor getting ready to hike his leg up and he grabbed him up and hurried him over to the newspaper.

“No, this is where you do that,” Vincent said in his soft voice and tapped on the paper and the floor. Thor just wagged his tail.

I chuckled. Having a dog was perfect for Vincent. He was very patient and didn’t raise his voice. “He had an adult male dog in his short life.”

“Sure, he’s here,” Vincent stated the obvious.

“No,” I said. “Not that, but male puppies don’t usually hike their leg up until father or the alpha teaches them how. Otherwise they squat.”

“Aren’t you a wealth of information?” Vincent said and tapped the paper on the floor again. “Come on. I know you need to.” He looked up, “Now I need to.” He snatched up Thor and went in the bathroom. We didn’t close the door to pee so I heard Vincent go. Then he came back and put Thor down again. Tapping the paper again, “Now, it’s your turn. Do it here.” Vincent tapped the newspaper again. It only took two more; maybe seeing Vincent do it he knew or just because he had to go, he did.

“Yes!” Said in quiet victory. He scooped up Thor and kissed him on the head, “That’s a good boy!” He kissed Thor on the head again. “That’s a very good boy!” And Thor again was just eating it up as his tail wagged quickly.

“So,” I grinned. “Who’s cooking?”

The look on his face was priceless. He’ never had to cook before. It had been a while for me, but I still remembered how to make breakfast.

It was a big house. So, there was a lot of room for Thor to get his exercise. We changed and were going to the kitchen. I put Thor down in the hall, “Let’s go, Thor.” I said and began to walk on. I took Vincent by the arm and pulled him with me. Thor just sat there at first. He even let out whimper, “Well, come on, Thor.” I looked at Vincent. “He needs to learn the commands.” I held up the newspaper Thor peed on to get rid of. “You did great with the first housebreaking. Now he needs to learn to follow when called.” I looked back and he was still sitting there. “Let’s go, Thor.” I said a little firmer. He got it and ran to catch up. “Good boy!” He was a smart dog.

We carried him down the stairs. He wasn’t ready for those. We made sure all doors were closed from the kitchen to the rest of the house.

“Watch him,” I said pointing at Thor. “He just peed, but dogs love to mark their territory. He will too. It will be just a little and I don’t care, but he can’t just pee.”

“You don’t think there was any harm to him being as cold and wet as he was?” Vincent asked.

I shrugged, “Emil is a Veterinarian. The trauma in his mind at what happen to him is healing with us.” I said getting the eggs out of the large refrigerator. I also saw where the kitchen staff had sliced up some pork belly for bacon. “Was he part of a litter? I bet he was. Were they included in that sack? I don’t know, but if I find out who did this, I’ll break his nose.”

Using a cast-iron pan, I whipped up bacon and eggs. I even made toast!

“This reminds me of that cattle drive with your Dad,” Vincent said smiling.

“We had this every morning on the cattle drive,” I chuckled. I spotted Thor about to squeeze between two cabinets. “No, Thor!” I raced over and picked him up. “You can’t do that. It could be dangerous.” I lightly used the scolding finger and tapped his nose lightly. I’d never hurt him. “He was just exploring.”

“How is this going to work?” Vincent laughed. “You’ve got a job; I’ve got a job…”

“I’ll be working a lot from here,” I smiled. “There’s an office I can use where the Parliament meets and the Prime Minister has his office. I’ll prefer what I have here. He can come with one of us or we hire someone to watch him that Emil approves of.” I put Thor on the ground. “We need a leash or harness.” I said as Thor was going right back to where he was when I stopped him. I got back up and got him again. “No, no, no.” For Thor is was just noise for now, but he would learn. “What do you say about discipline?”

“I don’t know,” Vincent shrugged. “I don’t have any experience with any pets.”

“Okay,” I smiled. “He’ll need to be startled when he does something wrong. Don’t see he’s done something, go find him and discipline him. He won’t remember what he did. We need to find something flimsy and light to pop him on the nose.”

“Hit him!?”

“Not to beat him into a bloody pulp,” I chuckled. “Never to hurt him, but startle him. It needs to be done right then. A single sheet of newspaper would do, but I want him to associate that with potty time. I hope he never cowers from either of us.” I shook his snout lightly. “I never want him to be afraid of us.” Thor gave his first play growl to me and fend me off with a paw. He knew it was play.

“Do you think he’ll be a big dog?” Vincent asked chuckling as Thor was responding with his tail wagging..

“His paws aren’t that big,” I held a paw out. “May two and a half the size he is now.”

“That makes sense,” Vincent nodded. “People are keeping them in their homes. Even in the Summer.”

“Maybe I should have named you Loki. He is the Norse god that was always causing mischief,” And this time, Thor was kissed by me.

Dogs usually eat once in the morning and once at night. This time I gave him shredded cooked chicken, some oatmeal and some carrot chopped finely. Oh, and a bowl of water. Then we did as we did the night before with the newspaper. This time he didn’t that much coaxing. He was learning.

 

I knew this was a big house, but I never saw the whole thing. There was a big difference in the feel of the house with no one here but the three of us. It felt so empty without the house staff. That could also be just in my head.

Vincent suggested we see every room. I was pleased that Cousin Tilda’s Great, Great Grandmother thought about Tilda’s Great, Great Grandfather. There were two rooms towards the back of the house that were definitely masculine. Dark wood paneling and large polished wood furniture and plenty of ashtrays. A Smoking Room. A room where the men could retreat when dinner was over and have a cigar or smoke a pipe. Vincent nor I would be doing that. The Smoking Room had an arched doorway that led to a room with large green table. I saw the red and white balls on the Billiard Table. No pockets. I knew Pool, I didn’t know Billiards. I only knew Eight Ball. What I didn’t expect was the Steam Room. Those rectangular containers were where you put the volcanic rocks and poured water on them once they were heated up. It was apparently for the men only as it was in this portion of the house. We were constantly watching for Thor. Something would catch his attention and he wanted to investigate. There were a couple of places he marked his territory. It wasn’t much. His little bladder wasn’t that big! Mostly, he just followed behind us. He’d be fascinated with something, look up and see we moved on and ran to catch up. He seemed very happy. I just hoped he didn’t remember what happened yesterday. Dad said, we can’t know a dog’s mind. Thor did alright with his warm bath. We’d have to see.

There was a grand office, also in the men’s portion of the house. A beautiful wooden desk and wooden cabinets behind it. I wondered what it was he did here.

“My Uncle Klaus was a Privateer,” Vincent said.

I was startled as I turned to Vincent, “Under what flag? During what war?”

“Germany’s, Denmark’s and Sweden’s,” Vincent grinned.

“I know you were at war with England in the early 1800s,” I said.

“He sort of freelanced,” Vincent shrugged smiling more. “He flew whoever’s flag paid him.”

“Legalized piracy!”

“Yep,” Vincent nodded and he said with a little pride.

“That explains a lot of the money,” I muttered. “Profiting from war? That’s…” I sought the right word.

“Isn’t it?” Vincent agreed with whatever word I chose.

“They were some of the most dangerous!” I said. “They had no loyalties.”

Vincent was nodding as his smile grew, “I know!”

“He was an honorable Privateer?” I asked.

“No one knows,” Vincent shrugged again. “Those that do were killed. He would be gone for two, three or four years at a time. His cargo hold would be full!”

“Who kept an accounting of it?” I asked. “Did he give all of it?”

“Again, no one knows,” he waved at the house. “It could be in all this.”

“And your great whatever agreed with him marrying his daughter!?” I asked in disbelief.

“He was…” Vincent thought a moment, “A gentleman pirate?”

We both heard this whine and looked back at Thor. He had simply sat a few steps back.

I chuckled at him, “This has been the most walking you’ve done in your life, huh?” I walked back and picked him up.

“Shouldn’t he have energy to burn?” Vincent asked.

“And he will,” I said kissing Thor on the head. “Yesterday he was probably with his mother and any siblings in a kennel. I doubt he had a lot of room to play. Then yesterday he walked a good way for a puppy. It’s amazing he didn’t freeze to death. We’ve been walking at a normal pace and he has to run to keep up.” I waved at the interior, “And this is a big house. He’s still a baby.” I smiled at Thor. “I’d say in a week, we’ll have trouble keeping up with him. We need to get you a ball and some chew toys you can attack.” I looked at Vincent. “So, this great Klaus guy had good manners. Why would any king let his daughter marry him?”

Vincent smiled and shrugged, “Because he put a lot of it in our Treasury. And Aunt Benedikte fell in love with him.”

“That does explain a lot about Cousin Matilda,” I muttered. Then I looked glared at him. “And why did you look so happy about it?”

“How many people can claim a real pirate in the family,” Vincent smiled again and shrugged as if he couldn’t help it.

“So, he did both?” I asked.

“That’s the story,” Vincent said. “He made more money as a pirate, but kings looked the other way with him being a privateer if he gave them some of it.”

I thought about what he said, “I’m not necessarily seeing that as good thing.” Then I looked at Thor, “And you are going to be healthy and grow big and strong. We are going to just love you to pieces!” I said squeezing him gently in a hug and kissing his head again and felt his tail wag again and he licked my face. Then I handed him to Vincent. “They grow very fast. You might as well enjoy it while you can.”

Vincent grinned taking Thor, “Who’s a good boy?” Held Thor up so he faced Vincent and Thor’s tail practically disappeared and he licked Vincent’s face happily.

It was just a shame Vincent didn’t have a dog when Vincent was younger. Thor would be spoiled rotten. I couldn’t wait. We would have to keep watch over him. It wasn’t a question of if he would pee and poop where he shouldn’t, but when and where.

That day, we spent doing nothing really. There was a pet store in Copenhagen. We would go the next day and bring Thor with us wrapped in a blanket, of course. Most will think it’s silly, but he was our dog. That made him special.

 

There were things to do, but Vincent and I were so used to being on the way somewhere. Having nowhere to be that day did make me a little antsy. I did go to the Carriage House to see what Emil had there. To my delight I found tennis rackets and tennis balls. Where were the tennis courts? I also got a riding crop. Thor wasn’t a cat, but he could chase the end of it.

Vincent built a fire in the Smoking-Room fireplace and put the screen up to keep Thor away. I wasn’t kidding about Thor growing up fast, so both Vincent and I sat on the floor and played with the puppy who tried to catch the ball that was being rolled between Vincent and me. He tried to bite the ball, but his mouth wasn’t big enough and his puppy teeth couldn’t sink into the ball. I would take the riding crop and tickled him gently on the side, or on his belly making him try to get it. I didn’t let him get it long and it turned into a game of Tug of War with him giving his puppy growl as he pulled.

“He doesn’t bark,” Vincent stated.

“He will,” I smiled. “Any time now. When he’s ready.” Vincent rolled the ball to me that was passing Thor who charged the ball knocking it off course making it roll away. I had to get up to get it.

There was a faint pounding heard I recognized the echoing sound of the heavy door knocker at the door.

I tossed the ball to Vincent and threw the crop to him, “Since I’m already up. I’ll get the door.”

“We’ll stay here,” he pointed at Thor who was looking at the ball Vincent had with great interest.

I jogged through the house to the door which I opened. This hooded, cloaked figure burst pass me as it entered.

“I’m sorry for just coming over,” the figure said as it lowered its hood and removed the cloak. I recognized Annabelle’s voice, but now I saw her.

“Hello, Annabelle,” I said as I closed the door. “How are you? Won’t you come on in?”

She ignored that and turned to me, “I just had to get out of that house!”

“You’ll always be welcome here,” I hugged her.

Annabelle’s horns again showed as she asked, “I hope I didn’t interrupt anything.”

I grinned, “Not at all. Vincent is just playing with the baby.”

Annabelle’s reason for coming over was temporary forgotten, “Baby!? What baby?” She asked stunned.

“I’ll introduce you,” I motioned for her to follow me. “Come on.”

“Who’s baby?” Annabelle asked.

“Vincent’s and mine,” I simply said as we walked to the Smoking Room. “I warn you, though; he was severely traumatized last night. Don’t speak loudly or rush at him and it will be fine.”

Annabelle’s expression became more confused as we walked.

I opened the door for Annabelle who walked in and saw Vincent spreadeagle on the floor by the fireplace with Thor playing Tug of War with Vincent complete with the puppy growl.

“Don’t scare him,” Vincent grinned at his sister.

Annabelle’s eyes widened and then did what most women did as her eyes softened as Thor melted her heart and pressed her chest to avoid any gushing from that heart, “Oooh,” she crooned, “It’s adorable!” She walked slowly forward and sat by Vincent. She held her hand out toward Thor. “Hi, Little One.” She said lightly. Thor, who let go of the crop and walked to Annabelle and sniffed her fingers. She scooped him up and held him to her chest. “He is so cute!” She then was receiving licks to her face which she didn’t stop. “How do you have a puppy? And this time of year?”

She didn’t know that much about dogs than Vincent did. So, I explained the induced heat in the females and how we got Thor.

Annabelle’s eyebrows came together as her anger grew, “How dare whoever it was?” She demanded lightly. “He’s just a baby and he is so affectionate. Any creature capable of love deserves to live.”

“That’s just a theory,” I said. “We made judgements based on what we found.”

“And judgements you made that make sense,” Annabelle replied. “Breeders would know when to induce heat when for there to be puppies available for Christmas. And it makes a sick sense to get rid of the unsold puppies. Otherwise, they would cost you to keep feeding them. You lose money.”

I nodded, “But Thor won against all that and survives.”

“Someone should do something about it,” Annabelle stroked Thor who once again was just eating it up. He wagged his tail.

“What can we do?” Vincent asked. “If the owner doesn’t want the dog…”

“What? He kills it? He can give them away.” Annabelle challenged, “But no if he did that the ones that bought a puppy would get upset. That is so cruel! So, why not kill Thor now?”

“Because he was thrown away and we own him now,” Vincent said. “We say no. He’s already a member this household. He charmed three of the staff last night.”

She laughed and kissed Thor on the head, “I know he did. I think it’s immoral! It should be outlawed,” Annabelle said firmly.

“Too bad you don’t have any pull with the king,” I grinned at her as I sat, too. “There are animal rights protesters in the United States now. They established the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. That was formed a few decades ago. They also had charges and fines instated for anyone even neglecting animals.”

Annabelle nodded, “That’s what I’ll do. I’ll talk to Daddy.” She smiled. “In fact, I’ll bring him over and talk to him.” She looked at Thor, “Once he sees this face he’ll have to agree.” Yes, it was babytalk again.

“What happened that made you leave the house?” I asked. “Do they know you’re here?”

Annabelle put Thor down again and Vincent resumed with the ball making Thor growl at it and pounce. That ball was not getting away! Vincent laughed at him urging Thor to “get it!” Thor was a Christmas gift. To both of us. Right now Vincent was really enjoying Thor.

“There is nothing but a few staff at home, so I’m Matilda’s best friend now!?” Annabelle said in disbelief. “She was down to one chambermaid and I’m the only one she can talk to!?” She asked, “I don’t think so. I told Dad I was coming and he didn’t object.” She looked at Vincent, “He usually objects with my going outside alone, so I had one of the guards walk with me.”

“We’re within walking distance and he knows us to be reliable,” Vincent answered. “What did you tell him?”

“That I had to get away from Matilda and her interrogations,” Annabelle answered. “That I was going to my brother’s house. He agreed quite easily. Why?”

“Because she’s up to something and we want to know what,” Vincent answered.

She nodded, “I just bet. More than usual?”

“That’s what we need to find out,” I said.

There was a light yip as Thor was about to pounce on the ball. Then he yipped again.

“Aw, he’s growing up!” I said happily. “His first bark!!”

Copyright © 2016 R. Eric; All Rights Reserved.
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A Viking warrior fights against death and wins new allies in the royal court. Enter Thor! Soon i suspect he will sniff out evil doers to protect his new allies and protectors three - an ambassador, the future King and a princess. Untilda then we just have to do what Thor does, wait, watch, then pounce.

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9 hours ago, Anton_Cloche said:

A Viking warrior fights against death and wins new allies in the royal court. Enter Thor! Soon i suspect he will sniff out evil doers to protect his new allies and protectors three - an ambassador, the future King and a princess. Untilda then we just have to do what Thor does, wait, watch, then pounce.

That was very clever!! I mean it sincerely. I'm impressed. :P

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PUPPY!  🐶 Yay!

I didn’t like that Matilda when she was first introduced and even less now.  I can hardly wait to find out what she sniffing around for.

 
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23 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

Matilda...beware the Hammer of Thor!!!

You know it!! 🐕 Attack of the Killer Beagle! Miss Scarlett was the only one I got to act mean and vicious on command. (The problem with that is; as soon as she stopped, the tongue would come out and the classic beagle smile came back, the tail would be going again. She wanted to it right.  :P

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