Heartcleft road – Gna’s Story part 3

Posted: July 23, 2014 in Aesir & Asynjur, Deities & Wights, Gna, Handmaidens, Stories
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Pleiades_large

Part 3: The Empty –

 

Hooves pounded behind as I jumped off the Cliff of Heaven, finally free from Heimdall’s Seven. Air became solid under my feet, for I ran as only Sky Maidens can[1].

I looked back to my steed following in my escape. But sky ran out and solid air failed as I sped across the border of the Aesir world. Blue sky changed to fog and I lost my footing, only to start slowly spinning out of control. Still I could see Hoof-Tosser behind as I spun; feel him in my head and heart. But when he too crossed the boundary from blue to gray, it all went wrong.

He screamed and struggled as I saw his shape shrink and fold, the ancient curse taking hold once more. Our mind-link was painfully ripped from my chest, and without it he returned to the form in which I first found him: a wide flat drum without voice to speak words, deprived of limbs to direct his motion.

“No! You are free! Hoof-Tosser return to me,” I commanded, knowing full well he had no way to comply.

I extended my arms as far as I could, to catch the rim and re-kindle our link, but he was too far away.

The drum merely tumbled, as did I, deeper into the thickening mist.

 ≡

The silence was deafening, every sound muffled to nothingness by the fog. I pulled arms and legs close as I started shivering, the penetrating chill of the mist contrasting with the burning in my chest. It felt like the skin over my breastbone had been carved out, leaving my heart raw and exposed. Without my companion I would truly be alone in the worlds, and I didn’t think I could survive his loss.

  ≡

I’m not sure how long I drifted, disoriented and weightless, but eventually the chill turned to numbness. Everywhere looked the same, everything felt the same, even the pain went to make way for a dull emptiness in my chest.

“This is boring,” I said aloud, my voice sounding muted. Surely I’d fall into one of the other eight worlds eventually. I hoped. Travel by ship was torturously slow with little to look at, but this had to be the worst journey I’d ever endured.

“If you’re going to kill me,” I addressed the fog, “you’d better get on with it. I don’t want to be here forever.” When I jumped, a decision born of desperation, I’d been aiming for a Path further down the side of the cliff, hoping to reach it in my leap, to elude pursuit by cutting across the Void. These Paths were the only safe ways across worlds, connecting them like colorful strands of yarn laid across branches of sacred trees. As a messenger, I probably knew more of them than anyone else. Obviously, I’d missed.

They all looked a bit different to their travelers: Noatun’s road started from Asgard’s harbor, apparently an endless sea, though if you went off-track you’d run into fog; Heimdall’s road was unusual because it moved. Midgard being below us on the Great Tree, he essentially threw his rainbow bridge down like a rope ladder and pulled it up afterward. Up and down don’t really mean much in the Void so it doesn’t seem like a vertical climb when you’re on it. I personally liked those that looked like a milky trail through a starry sky. The one I was aiming for lay at the base of the Cliff of Heaven, and looked like a wide road through a spruce forest. Loki had revealed that path one night, after I’d gotten him particularly drunk on my favorite elderberry liqueur, by challenging him to leave Asgard undetected. It had used up a sizeable portion of my precious stash. Ah, but mining him for secrets was fun, I thought with a small smile as I hugged my knees.

The smile faded and I shook my head, reality sinking in. I had just lost my closest companion, with no chance of ever finding him. Still numb I couldn’t even focus enough to cry his loss.

I blinked. How could I steer myself out of this? My powers were useless, if only I had a rope to pull myself out with…

“The wind spell,” I exclaimed, “maybe I can use that!”

It was still tied to my hand, and I gave it a yank, imagining I could reach the border of Midgard that way. I felt a different sort of motion, and before long saw the fog thinning. That was slightly before my head painfully struck the shimmering world barrier.

“By the bloody bones of Ymir,” I swore as I rubbed my forehead. Then my face fell in realization. I can’t go back to Midgard. My own curse prevents it. Covering my eyes, I started to weep. I had stayed thirty three years there. As long as I stayed in any world, that long I was barred from returning. Can I wait here that long without going mad? In a fit of fury, I started banging on it.

“No! Not this! Let me through! I must go back!” I raged to no avail. For me alone it was solid as a steel wall.

“Oh friggin Hel,” I cussed through tears. Time wasn’t flowing in Midgard which meant I could be here waiting forever. Or until I died. Or I could release the spell, fail my children, then wait three decades while being driven insane by boredom. My burst of emotions sputtered like a campfire in the rain, and hollow numbness returned. I could stare at the blue sky out of reachbeyond the border, or at the gray. Instead I tucked my head in between my knees, finding myself humming a tune whose words escaped me. Eventually I remembered and sang to distract myself:

“Seven stars with Heimdall stand

Seven watchers do death await.

No mercy give the men who go

And lay below their baleful gaze.” [2]

If only they could see me, find me, I thought, I’d gladly take their cage over this. Nothingness was all I had to look forward to. Inspecting my hand, it seemed as if I could start to see my knee through it. As I’d feared, I was Fading. There is a point beyond which even Gods can die, never to be revived, not even to haunt the halls of Hela. Walking into the Void Between was one such way to end it all, as Mundilfari had over a thousand years ago. I closed my eyes. Never had I felt more empty and bereft of all friends.

Hollow and spent, I longed for tears – for my sons and daughter, for my steed, and for myself. I would die here alone, a traitor to the realm, and as I did time would start again with no one left to hold the Winds. I considered releasing them now, what was the use? William and Joan would grow up without a mother. Frigga and her ladies would weep for me. No one in Midgard would notice I’m sure – just another Goddess whose last worshipers were long dead, gone forever, my name forgotten and unsung. I would disperse like sea foam, as if I had never been. The longer I held onto the Winds, the faster I would Fade. Without önd, the life-breath to replenish my megin, the power for my spell, the effort was rapidly draining me. I don’t like waiting around, not even for Lady Death. Perhaps it’s better I die quickly. Maybe I’m just too stubborn to let go. I doubt any would even find my soul here to carry me down to Hel. There will truly be nothing left to mark my passing. A soap bubble… iridescent… and then gone. I never expected my final passage to be this boring. I closed my eyes, and leaned against the cold barrier before me, whimpering softly as I waited for my end.

 


 

Note: All comments are appreciated. They help fuel faster writing and posting of these stories.

[1] Loki also has this ability, but he uses magic shoes to mimic their powers.

[2] Heimdall’s Seven refer to the Pleiades, a cluster of seven stars visible from Fall to early Spring in the Taurus constellation. That they are seven men who serve Heimdall and associated with the Pleiades is my UPG; no associates of Heimdall are mentioned in the lore. In fixed star astrology, they are associated with passion, arrogance, violence, misfortune, artistic vision, judgment of the dead without mercy or compassion, and male homosexuality. See http://darkstarastrology.com/pleiades/. In Greek mythology they are seven nymphs.

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Comments
  1. Thank you for sharing these stories. ^_^ I love hearing about these Ladies, and always look forwards to the next part!

    Like

    • lofnbard says:

      You’re welcome, and thank you for commenting, I really appreciate it. I got stuck on an edit for chap 4 but I should be back on track this week, starting with some new shrine pages introducing the Ladies of these stories. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. sonyjalerulv says:

    There is mention of a curse on Gna, and one on Hoof-Tosser. This is very intriguing. Gna really gives me the impression being bored is the worst nightmare she could face. 🙂 So she got Loki drunk to get some info out of him. I love it. lol

    Like

  3. lofnbard says:

    Yes, boredom is the worst for her, she lives for excitement and new stimulation. As to the curses, I gave the basics of what they do. Their origin deserves its own story, and it wasn’t relevant here. But it hints nicely to make one wonder. 🙂

    Like

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