• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 10

St Magnus, Kirkvoe

Harald Maddadsson, Earl of Orkney, peered through a Romanesque window at newly-completed St Magnus Cathedral. The focal point of Kirkvoe had been founded by his sanctified forebear – Magnus Erlendsson – ahead of his brutal, untimely demise at the hands of Haakon's men.

So stands Orkney where she did, he pondered, gazing out to the narrow streets, dominated by the sturdy tower-house of the Bishop's Palace. Were the rebellious Orcadians and Scots ripe for crushing? 'Ethnic cleansing' like the Picts, intermarriage and assimilation, joint sovereignty of Orkney, Shetland and mainland Caithness? A monetary deal with King William of Scots might be the best solution, he mused.

Maddadsson paced the smooth floors, admiring the sandstone pillars and arches of the finest Cathedral this side of Bergen; before joining Harald Eiriksson – so headstrong, so naïve in administration, so much to learn! Striding purposefully ahead, Harald the elder exited and felt the warm glow of sunshine on his cloaked back. He looked up; a raven perched precariously on the weather-cock above the Cathedral's pyramidal tower – a portent from the Gods?