Archive for the ‘Eir’ Category

Dancing in the Woods

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Chapter 2 – Power –

 

Blood thudded in her throat, loud enough to hear her heartbeat, and sweat greased her palms. Joy was marred with a nauseous dizziness, fearing she might ruin her chances with foolish words.

A date, she thought, a real date!

They sat at the same tree, facing the sounds of the ongoing celebration.

“Better,” he said, with a finger to her lower neckline.

“You like? I thought it would be… better. That you would… like it… more.”

“Stop,” he said with a hand to his forehead, “you are dazzling me with your vocabulary. I will have to seek a sage to understand your poetic elocution.”

“Hmmph,” she responded, blushing furiously as she crossed her arms. “See if I go making efforts for you again.”

“No, no, I appreciate, and have brought you a gift too. See?” He held up a bottle. Not a common clay amphora but an actual glass bottle, green with ornamentation etched into it.

“What, ale? There is plenty of that at the party.”

He shook his head. “No, this is a potion.”

She leaned forward onto her hands, eyes alight. “A p-potion? A potion for what?” (more…)

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Valkyries Riding

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Chapter 1 – Purity –

Battle raged all around, the screams of men, the splatter of blood from a battle axe plunged into a neck. And always, the howl of the wind. No, not the wind. The howl of women keening.

The men that fought were gray shadows of themselves, their shouts muted. Only the blood was bright, red, colorful. So much blood, everywhere. She walked in a daze between them, seeing other women in gleaming armor wandering with her. Here, one would pierce a man with her spear, watch him fall with a smirk, then reach into his gut like a carrion crow gorging on innards. The women‘s coloration looked more normal, but their hands and arms became shiny with blood when they reached into a corpse . And there, from deep inside the wounds, they would pull out their prize with an ululating shout of joy, holding it aloft. She couldn’t quite make out what they had in their hands, only that it was dazzling, like staring at the sun, and she had to look down.

Her own arms, she realized, were also covered in glinting metal, and in her hand was a weapon. Curved like a sickle, it was sharp on both sides, to hook and to slash, to trap and to tear.

Looking up, she saw her own target, a bear of a man who fought and slashed with the fearless ferocity of a boar. His blade circled with slashes all around, and wherever he struck, men fell.

Odin will be pleased,” she heard herself say as a smile formed on her face. Raising the sickle blade as she advanced on her prey, she blocked one of his slashes and trapped the sword. Perplexed as to why his blade had stopped in mid-air for no apparent reason, he looked around warily, pausing his carnage. That was enough distraction for a spear point to bloom through his gut, and she laughed at the surprised look on his face as he glanced down. The spear was pulled back, and he roared, freeing his blade and whipping around to decapitate his slayer. Which he did, but then the rapid blood loss caught up to him and he fell to his knees.

Don’t like to kill them, do you?” a female voice said beside her.

No need,” she answered.” A distraction suffices, and I have enough blood on my hands. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a core to claim…” (more…)

Birthing Rope

Prologue – Nations At War

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Odin’s daughter cried out when she was born – a wail worthy of any Valkyrie announcing the death and sorrows to come. It made him proud, showing her battle spirit was strong. Even the chanting crescendo of seven midwives was not as loud as the scream of his newborn shield-maiden. Strips of red cloth hung from all rafters in the birthing hall, and blessings rained down from these like the blood of her ancestors, drop by drop in the dim light of clay oil lamps. None sat on the benches lining the side walls, and green fresh-cut grasses carpeted the ground of the birchwood longhouse. Three log pillars supported the roof. The women, clustered near the one at the front, used the door flap to let in more air as needed. He was at the opposite end, where breathing was more challenging. Burning pine sap vapors filled his nostrils with a cleansing scent, made cloying by the stifling heat. His blue tunic was soaked, clinging to his skin, sweat dripping from his brow onto the thundering drum he held.

The youngest midwife poured one last ladle of reddish water upon hot stones in the pit at the center of the hall, raising a scalding cloud of steam. Until now, that hiss had been the grandmothers and grandfathers breathing life into this new spark. The last pouring though, that was for the first breath of the babe, and the warming steam all around saved her from the cold shock of separation. It eased the transition from the womb to the world.

He had lost so many good people during the war, it was good to see new life from his loins. When her end came, as it comes to all, seven mourners would raise wails within these walls to ease her passage from the world into the mists beyond. To the Vanir, death and birth were journeys that mirrored each other, Odin reflected as he pounded the last birthing beats on his oiled drum. For now though, his heart swelled with joy and a large grin split his face. It was time to approach his newest daughter! (more…)