Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Soul Chaser - Sneak Peak at Chapter 8 Omens in the Ash

I have suprised myself and actually done some writing on Soul Chaser Chapter 8 Omens in the Ash, not alot and not often but enough to at least get the first 3 pages done and what's even more suprising is yet again through Jenny I am learning not just more about her but also about the Aesir themselves, legends which no ones knows about just act themselves out before my mind and evolve into my own writing. 
There is still a lot more to write on Chapter 8 before it reaches the point where it should lead into Chapter 9 but it's proving to be a very revealing and thought provoking chapter already. So here's a taster of the norse treats I've discovered through my valkyrie muse - hope you enjoy - any feedback is appreciated.
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I relit the candle on the table with a small flash of the rune Ken (^) and rummaged in the bottom of my trunk. Amongst the heavy shadows of clothing I came across with some relief the small ash wood engraved box containing parchment, quill and ink and a few pieces of my Valkyrie jewelry such as my silver torque bracelet. Bringing it up onto the table I caught myself marveling in a rather silly manner at the scenes the flickering candle light depicted before me.
    Each side of the box had a scene from famous Norse legends and sagas. The one on the front with a silver clasp in the middle depicted Sigurd the Blacksmith, slaying the dragon Fafnir, the left side had Grettir the Strong being hurt by a wicked enchantment from a log that washed up at his secret hideout. On the right end was four figures holding what appeared to be a giant platter until you see beneath it is a small marking of a tree with a couple on its left and a cow and dog on the its right. That was Yggdrasil at the birth of the world with the four Giant Dwarves, their names that of the four winds, holding up the sky so tree, man and animal could live. The rear side of the box though was particularly special, a scene very few of those who live outside the Norse Pantheon know about.
Engraved is a paradisiacal landscape with great plants and wondrous creatures, and under a pavilion in the centre are sat two women, one clearly older than the other due to the length of her dress but each holds a bird at her feet. The older and more regal holds what looks like a hawk or eagle, the younger and sterner of the pair is holding what could be first perceived as a goose but when examining the flair of its wings is clearly a swan. This secret scene depicts the untold legend of how Frigg and Freya recognized each other upon the Peace Treaty and Alliance with the Vanir. Frigg gave Freya the gift of a royal Eagle; Freya in turn granted her new Mistress the grace and beauty of the Swan. All Valkyries in training are granted magical swan feather cloaks in honour of that exchange yet only ever will Freya be allowed to adorn the wings of an Eagle.
That box, like so many special items I’ve been given or earned during my handful of years with these gods and their shield maidens, always had some saga, tale or legend attached. Its own life story of how it came into being, how it came be owned by whom and all that happened after. Such as Freya’s Brisingamen necklace, to be wrought of gold so fine that it glowed as bright as the sun even in a dark room. It was crafted by four dwarf brothers when they discovered a boulder sized lump of gold that had no impurities found in the much smaller lumps found in their mineral mine. Only the Aesir Gods and some of the oldest Viking Einherjar remember the part of the saga where the four brothers had to slay a Wyrm King who slaughtered their family in pursuit of their discovery. No, everyone remembers the more exciting and even naughtier part of that necklace’s tale, how Freya sold her beauty and body in order to gain it.
It’s this eternal link to someone’s past, someone’s life, someone’s memories and experiences that I quickly appreciated as I learned that my own past life was missing from my soul. When I learnt that truth I felt cheated by some cruel force by not just ending what life I had young but withholding what life I did have. I was like a faulty toy on the production line, somehow before, during or after my demise Death in whatever form it was released my soul incorrectly, almost leaving a remnant of me behind in my physical body. A bit of me that may seem unimportant now I’m forging a new life but without the past I don’t truly know who I am or who I was. I know things about me unconsciously like what foods, music, and clothes I like and what things I don’t like but I have no real reason why. I have no truth or experience behind even the smallest of my decisions.  
Martha compared my amnesia of the past life to those mortals who suddenly and quite randomly forget everything in a severe bout of amnesia and have to remake entire lives and relationships with those who knew the old them. Some of them never did revert back to their old ways and recall their old memories. Some never could rebuild those relationships that could be closest to them. Things had changed too much. They were too different. The major difference in my situation is I have no one to tell me I didn’t use to like marmalade or I used to be head over heels in love with some celebrity. I’m a blank page in the middle of a book with no story behind me and the story of my future yet to be written.
It was that great void in the centre of my being that drew me to gorge upon any and all legends and sagas I came across or heard a member of the Einherjar discussing and this ultimately led me to befriend my first Aesir God. Bragi, God of Poetry and Skalds. The father of narratives true and fictional, long or short, famous or folklore. He was the ancient story teller.

1 comment:

  1. Great excerpt; it's so full of emotion and it's so visual too. I love norse legends, and Freya in particular - I even have a replica of her Brisingamen necklace.
    It may just be because I haven't read the rest so this excerpt is out of context, but I found the references to modern life a little jarring (the broken toy reference and the marmalade and celebrity). I guess your MC is kind of in limbo between two worlds, but it kind of broke the flow of the piece for me. Like I said, it's probably because I'm reading the extract out of context.
    But I did love the piece, and I think you beautifully capture a sense of longing and loneliness; she knows all the Norse legends, but can't remember herself.

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