|Feast of Eagles fragments
Author: Nate Davis Volsungassonnr PM
Some disjointed fragments from a historical fiction peace I'm working on. Feast of Eagles, the story of a Danish outlaw fighting under the Lodbrok brothers against Wessex in the 800s AD. T for blood, and lots of it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Spiritual - Chapters: 3 - Words: 3,312 - Updated: 09-03-11 - Published: 08-28-11 - id: 2947449
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Feast of Eagles: A Fragment
The Saami woman stared at Wulfgar, her almond-shaped eyes glimmering in the firelight and piercing the darkness like the eyes of a hawk. She said softly, "Last night, Mother Skadi came to me. She took me into the high branches of the Yrminsul and showed me many hidden things."
"Did you see anything of the battle?", demanded Wulfgar.
"When I was but half a whelp, living among my wolf-brothers and bear-brothers in Lapland, the Dragon People would come to trade us mead and iron weapons for good skins, and those among the Reindeer People who could speak their tongue would sit around the merchants' fires and listen to their songs. The one that I loved the most was the song of the Vulva's prophesy, of the twilight of the gods; I laughed at it, because I thought I could see it for what it was: a bunch of nasty lies that the Christians made up to trick the Dragon People. But last night, Mother Skadi showed me something I did not expect."
"And what was that, my love?"
Suddenly, the Saami witch threw her head back and cackled maniacally, as if possessed. "The Voluspa is true, Wulfgar, every last word of it is true. And Baldr is dead, the nail-ship is sailing, and you, o Wulfgar the Berserker, son of none, are the mightiest of Odin's corpse-warriors."
"What are you saying?"
"The first blow of the Last Battle was struck in Frankia nearly a thousand years ago. The boiling oceans have swallowed up the Middle Earth and even now the waves lap at Asgaard's gates. Heimdal's horn has sounded. Thor may break the Dragon's back, but the venom of the Dragon will still consume him."
"Woman, can you not speak clearly for once in your life?"
"Very well; Mother Skadi, but you Dragon Men are as imaginative as rocks. The sons of Ragnar Lodbrok, your lord Ivar most especially, are Thor. The battle-standard of Wessex is a dragon, is it not? And that dragon's poison would be the Church you so hate."
Wulfgar's eyes widened as he realized what the winter queen had shown his lover in the night. She voiced his thoughts for him before he could vocalize them.
"I saw your Wyrd like a vast cobweb in the branches of the Yrminsul. I looked at your future and I saw no future, only a world of fire and pain. I saw a green field, a British fort, and a big white horse, and all over all of was blood, blood, blood, blood like a river. I saw the iron strength of the Dragon People shattered like ice. I saw the Old Gods, mightiest in the worlds and the most honored of our ancestors, retreating back into stock and stone to await a renewal a thousand years on. I saw crosses standing over shattered shrines from Ireland to Kiev just as happened in Germany. I saw Ivar the Boneless dying broken and penniless in the wilderness, and I saw Ubbe Lodbrokson sleeping in his blood by a southern sea."
"Is there no hope at all, then?"
"For your vendetta, for Ivar's empire, for Guthrum's crusade? No. It can only end in fire and failure and tears. But for you and I? Wyrd shows us only what was, what is, and what should be, not what must be. You can still do something."
"And what is that?"
"You have a few good dragon-ships, don't you? You have thralls, karls, and stalwart oath-men. In Ymir's name, abandon England, for the gods have forsaken it and will not return for a thousand years. Mother Skadi showed me a land far to the west, a land peopled only by Saami like me. A land where there are deer the size of stallions, and forests full of wild grapes on the vine. Leave the Lodbrok sons to their fate, point your ships toward the setting sun, and when you are beyond the Island of Fire and the Island of Ice you can live fat and mighty as the first in a new line of Heathen kings."
Wulfgar was silent for a very long time. He threw a bit of wood onto the hearth-fire and stared at it glumly, as if expecting an answer to spring up from the coals. After what felt like years he said, "Oaths are the strings that bind the worlds together."
"What was that, my love?"
"A man whose oaths mean nothing isn't a man anymore. He's a beast to be hunted and slain without reproach." He held up his sword-arm, upon which rested a magnificent silver bengel stamped all over with thin, angular letters. "When I first came to Ivar the Boneless, he was already a mighty sea-king whose name the Christians whispered in fear from Ireland to Miklagaard. I was a starving outlaw desperate for sword-work. I gave him my oath, and because he saw the fire and the hatred in my eyes he gave me this. Death comes to everyone sooner or later, and the measure of a man is in whether he faces it with groveling and tears or with war-cries and swordstrokes. Would you have me sunder oaths sworn before Odin himself and run away like a beaten dog just because I'm doomed?"
"You're going to die."
"I know that. The question is, am I going to die in a sick-bed or on a battlefield?"
"When battle is joined beneath the white horse—"
"I'll bleed a thousand Christians, and by sunset the eagles will feast like kings."