in Four Acts
Thiot book manuscript
All Rights Reserved
by Albert Burger
box 6 Faust AB T0G 0X0 Canada
~ in order of appearance, pp.
Musical Vocal Ensemble 1, 5, 12, 25, 32, 76, 147, 153.
Vargarm 1-4, 7-12, 14-20, 22-26, 27-44.
Shoo 1-2, 5-7, 13-14, 28, 32, 166-168, 170, 177.
Le An 17-18, 21, 27, 32, 153-158, 170, 172-173, 185-186, 188-190.
Radendr 22-27, 99-107, 115-116, 127, 134-138, 144-153, 187-188.
Dee 44-45, 48, 50-53, 56-79, 153.
Snorri 116-118, 135-136, 141-144, 159-160, 163-166, 177-184, 188-189.
Inspector 2-5, 12-14.
Mother 56-58, 70-72.
Author 1, 44, 78, 99, 153, 189-190.
#1 1, 44, 78, 99, 101, 124, 141, 153, 173-174.
#2 5, 20-21, 30-31, 34-35, 78, 158-160, 163-164, 170-174, 184-187.
#3 20-22, 37, 78, 139-141.
#4 20, 78, 107-110, 116-118, 124, 135, 139, 141, 146.
#5 45-47, 49-50, 53-56, 77-78.
Name Scroll (2 rq'd) 79-99.
Futhark (2 rq'd) 127-134.
Song of the Sun 171-172.
Baldurs Draumar 180-181.
Author: Rune Song of the ErilaR Masters
The death of one we love dearly leaves a gaping wound that never closes. But it is a physical wound suffered by our embodied soul, that at the same time continues to know and feel and experience the passed over soul in our world ~ in the northern lights, or in an evocative memory, in a flower, or a grief-stricken hour. This pain of the body we need not deny nor seek to diminish. But learn to recognize that soul in what surrounds us in the world, that we may see the departed in all places, and in all things; that we continue to share the great soul of spirit with that beloved one.
Life is a long haunting thought ~ of questions and of answers: this is the stuff of myth and religion, and of story. The tale that follows has been long in the telling, and what has been true to me has found a place in it, along with my fancies. It was woven in skeins of fact and fiction and it cannot easily be unraveled into truths and lies.
Narrator #1: Walt Whitman wrote: "You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books. You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me. You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself."
Author: ACT ONE
Music: World Against Me
Author: PART ONE Thiot: Chronicles Of The People.
Narrator #1: Joseph Campbell wrote: "I will participate in the game [of life]. It is a wonderful, wonderful opera ~ except that it hurts."
Vargarm: Dorchester Shoo was a scrupulously honest man and an accomplished liar. His entire reputation rested on his unfailing truthfulness. He did not need to lie ~ certain questions were never asked of a man like Shoo, but on a matter of crucial importance he would lie baldly and be believed.
Shoo: (to Inspector) Life is cowardly. If you beat it more than it can stand, it flees. Life demands courage. If courage fails, there is no life. If people suffer, give them courage and they will rally. If people prosper, take their courage and they will decline. You're a senior officer. I must demand of you as a regional inspector an appreciation of the political aspects of the situation. At last count, there were forty-one squatter settlements in the Northern Region. There is one in your sector.
Inspector: The northern regions are difficult to police.
Shoo: Yes, well, let me assure you that it is political dynamite to have so many people out of effective government control. I know your difficulties ~ other sectors share your problem, but some progress must be made. Inspector, I'd prefer not to use force, but some of these settlements have been there for decades. What keeps the people there? What is it that sustains them? Discover where they find their courage. I'll expect a report from you in three weeks. A report that will recommend a clear line of action designed to remove these people from state land.
Vargarm: In due time, Shoo received a two-centimeter-thick REPORT: 1NR55-94s7KA, which he returned unread with the instruction to "reduce this to five pages or less."
Next day, it arrived on the desk of Shoo who, characteristically, turned first to the last page:
Inspector: SOCIAL UNIT (POPULATION 200PLUS-MINUS) RESIST SYSTEMIC INDOCTRINATION. TWO-DAY DATA TRIP RESULTS ECONOMIC: EXTENSIVE GATHERING, TRAPPING, HUNTING, FISHING. CROPS/ PRODUCE: GRAINS, POTATO, LEGUMES. LIVESTOCK: FOWL, CATTLE, GOATS, SHEEP, HORSES, MOOSE.
Bare feet, tangled flows of hair, bright sun-touched faces turned skyward. Curious eyes watched the flyer descend. Harvest time: grain pulled by hand, bundled and stooked, by mostly naked villagers. Hands had touched the seed for a brief moment before it tumbled to the earth, was buried. Voices sang the new seed home. Water, fire, air, nourished the plant. The fruit was touched by hands again.
The flyer landed by a patch of sorghum. The pilot leaped out of the cockpit, two burly aides out the sides, followed by myself, the Regional Inspector for Sector W11/01-20/SN. A few naked bodies pulled on some clothes. A woman darted up the hill where stood their round-house.
We were in the area, I said, and decided to stop in and meet some fellow citizens. I took off black uniform-coat and vest, and for several hours worked and sweated with the astonished villagers until the clanging of a meal bell.
The round-house, named Gimle, built of stone, logs, and timbers, rose massive over the circle of tables laden with the best of food and drink. Fires blazed at the center. Children laughed, a baby cried, men and women watched as we sat to eat. The head-man and head-woman, sitting on either side, listened as I spoke:
You and I know this is not just a social visit. You people have been here a long time. You knew this day would come. I looked around, noted the children playing carefree around the tables. None of these children have universal coding. Your actions are depriving them of the opportunity to participate in society, and at the same time denying the state access to its young citizens. There is great concern about this in high places.
From the shadowed perimeter of the round-house stepped a young woman. Her delicate olive features were topped by a white woollen cap, complementing knee-high boots of the same material. She wore blue-dyed britches, knitted sleeveless sweater from which arms of a bright-orange bodice flowed to long-fingered hands.
"I am Jaine," she said, stepping into the flickering light of the fire. "I have been instructed in the prophecy of the approaching monstrous winter, which is to bring destruction everywhere. It is followed by an everlasting spring. And who is ruler then? Neither warrior nor priest, but the tiller of the land."
Who are you? I asked. Are you the leader?
"We have none for we are all of equal authority," she answered.
You must recognize the authority of the government, serve your country, and receive the benefits of citizenship.
"We shall never submit to anyone at all, agree to any servitude, nor accept favors from anyone. That benefit pleases us best that we have won for ourselves. These are our teachings."
Tell me what faith you are of.
"We believe in our own strength," was the reply.
Vargarm: From Jaine's mouth then came a harsh song, taught by the ancestral mother as she instructed her children in lore and learning of the past. As she sang, a multitude of voices shared the recital ~ rousing their courage. From the tone they shouted, they inspired or felt alarm. It was not so much an articulate sound as a general cry of valor. They aimed at a harsh note and a confused roar that reverberated from the walls and roof, swelling into a full and deep sound.
The regional inspector had half risen from his place. His two aides abandoned food, drink, and data, as they rushed to his side. The pilot made for the nearest door.
And none would give their children to be micro-tattood.
Inspector: I awoke the next morning with a start. The guest-house was gray with pre-dawn light. Outside, the walls of Gimle swirled in early morning mist and a plume of smoke rose stately from one of its many chimneys. Children's voices, breaking the crystal stillness, tumbled through day's first light.
Children's voices? I thought, then saw them: clambering up the hill, skipping along the trail, laughing as they went, and entering, in small gay groups, the great round-house. Following them in, I found them seated at the tables, gathered around the fire, eating tidbits and drinking from steamy mugs; and talking, talking.
By the fire a man rose. Though not large, he was a striking figure with ageless features, and great manes of flowing red hair and beard that was tied in numerous braids. He was clothed in hide trousers and moccasins, and a woollen shirt over which he wore a short cape woven of split spruce-roots. A dyed design of great beauty on the back of the cape depicted a hammer-like T in a circle. With an elaborate gesture, he faced north, and raised a sing- song chant that drew the young to circle him and join voices: Shining Mane draws the day in for Elf Beam to light.
A child asked a question and he spoke softly in reply. A boy of about ten made him walk to a great and smooth stone wall and with a hunk of chalk write several large glyphs.
"What does it mean, Radendr?" The boy turned to face the man.
Radendr smiled. "What does it mean," he repeated. "Runes are magic and mystery. Each has its own story."
"Tell us one, Radendr."
"Yes, tell us a Rune story."
And he commenced with sweeping gestures, thundering voice and lowest whisper, a long tale with much quoting of ancient verse that had the children enthralled.
Music: Ymir and Odin
Inspector: "Every day at dawn, Radendr comes up the hill, and the children, of themselves, come to learn."
I turned. Jaine stood there smiling. Bare-headed now, her open shirt showing silken neck.
Said she: "We have returned to the ways of our ancestors. It is what makes us strong."
As she walked me through the settlement during the morning, I found the people, the tribe ~ 'Thiot,' as she put it ~ living scattered and apart just as a spring, a meadow, or a wood had attracted them. They had not arranged their village with buildings connected and joined together, but every person surrounded their dwelling with an open space.
The dazzling afternoon brought us back to the round-house where I noticed for the first time Runes cut into the door-mantle, and Jaine quoted: "Many are then the noble driven to evil employment. Best is then to be in Gimle in heaven. Everything noble is there that seems delightful to the soul. Set on a certain mountain, it is nourished from the red gold. Ever after shall good people dwell in the sun."
SOCIAL UNIT PREDOMINANT MYTH OF EXCESSIVE LIBERTY SHAPES AND DEFINES IT. REMARKABLE USE OF RUNES (ORIGINATED IN STONE-AGE SCRATCHING CONNECTED WITH MAGIC AND MYSTERY). HEADMAN, HEADWOMAN, NO REAL AUTHORITY. WOMAN JAINE CHIEF INSTRUMENT IN TRIBAL MYTH.
Shoo: There was no real recommendation in the report. These people had mythology as the basis of a social organization that let them survive their circumstances. I moved to a console, keyed in some data and scanned the read-out while fiddling impatiently with a computer device.
Narrator #2: Sir, the convener has commanded a consultation of the full board at 0600 hours. That is in ten minutes.
Shoo: Thank you. Oh, Major, take a look at that sector report.
Narrator #2: Yes, General.
Shoo: I wearily made my way to where a bank of holoscans rose from the floor, and sat in front of my transmitter in a heavily padded chair staring at the five cylinders before me, waiting for them to light up with the images of the other members of the Board of Six. A time signal from the monitor station in the heights of the Cordillera de Andes materialized in the America cylinder ~ the Director of Monitoring Activities was ready. The Convener's seal flashed from the universal city of Beijing, where the member at large maintained the administrative complexes. One by one, the indicator lights came on with a slight bleep. All transmitters were on stream. I pressed my own control, spurring electronic messages around the world: to Kalimantan in darkest Borneo and the fortress of the High Commander of Armed Forces, governor of the Equatorial South. To Africa's Universal Coding Comptroller in the depths of the tropical Congo forest. All at once they were on holograph. Four men and two women who ruled the world.
The convener stared sourly out me. "My command for this full board consultation," she said, "is issued by authority of the budget at the request of the Coordinator of Space Missions."
From the spaceport in the vast wastes of the Golodnaya Steppe in Eurasia, the coordinator's voice wheezed through the receiver.
More money for the black hole probe. My eyes glassed over and my mind wandered. I had heard this before.
"Antimatter meeting matter releases energy in the following ratio," said the coordinator. Mathematical formulae illustrated his words.
Like all of the Board of Six, I was the final government authority in my region. From headquarters in Svalbard, 'the cold edge' (once also known as Spitsbergen), I controlled the vast Northern Region from the boreal forest belt, through taiga and tundra, to the Arctic pole. Like all of the board members, the Inspector General also had a world-wide responsibility that was confined to a specific function. The Convener represented the triumph of bureaucracy. She was the overseer of the world's administration centered in one complex in the megalopolis of Beijing. Forty million people in the service of portfolios, files, and forms. Her word was command to the Board of Six. Hers the final decision. The convener's regional authority, however, was limited to the city.
"Anti-protons held in a magnetic field . . . ," said the Coordinator of Space Missions.
Anti-socials held in a mythic field, thought I.
The Coordinator governed Eurasia, the most advanced of the five regions, with 84.4 percent of the population urban, . . . in Bombay, Calcutta, Karachi, Shanghai, Seoul . . . , producing the finest crafted work. The people were closely watched by the Office of Monitoring Activities whose director was perched like the American eagle on his lofty Andean mountain. His gaze took in the citizens of all the world. His was the last word in police ~ secret and otherwise. His was their on fist that controlled social upheavals. Real military power, however, was under the control only of the High Commander of Armed Forces, almost unapproachable in his remote Kalimantan strong-hold. The other woman of the Board of Six was the Comptroller of Africa. She was in charge of universal coding, and was fate and future to the world's peoples ~ micro-tattood on the left inside fore-arm at birth.
I was in charge of social manipulation. I could send a million desert nomads to the great Arctic river delta if the need was there. Or reprogram the religious doctrine of a denomination. Abolish unemployment. Every human cog in the right place. Still, the squatter settlements remained.
Being a northerner, I knew the mythology that had been carried ever northward by the convictions of personal law and religion. It led ~ by the creation of the allthing, the united parliament ~ to the establishment of the first free republic in the European world: Iceland, the final refuge of a profound liberty. A thousand years or so later, I was only a flyer-hop- and-a-skip north.
Did that ancient tribal belief still exist?
Vargarm: It was a movement, they said. 'Back-to-the-land', they called it. The land, the people's common treasury. The indispensable, absolutely necessary and essential factor of human existence. The earth, in its intimate relationship with all things, provides sustenance to all its life. It is drawn from the soil, either directly or indirectly. Free access to the land provides the means of producing the essentials to survival: nourishment and shelter. The animal, vegetable, and mineral of the planet give humans food, medicine, tools, clothing, and housing.
It was a code of ethics, a philosophy, in which the small diversified family homestead was one place, at least, where individual freedom and communal self-sufficiency could remain protected. They thought of themselves as the new peasantry. Together they came to realize that self-sufficiency was essential to freedom, and that the only ethical response to the times was a withdrawing from society.
Learning. Going back to the land, the only real seat of learning. They'd learn from the land all they'd need to know ~ all there is to know. If they stayed there long enough, they'd learn that they are the land.
They had squatted on government land and against large odds survived five years of struggle. Struggle with the environment, with bureaucrats, and with themselves. Then ~ a tragic punctuation in the community's short history, a fire destroyed all they had and more. Seven children, four women, and a man, left their lives in the ashes of the communal dwelling they had built.
Jaine was a young girl adolescing into womanhood. The fire was the heat that caused her bud to unfold. She first felt the fire in herself hours before. In an innocent conversation with a young man, a sudden passion stirred her and intense erotic power lept from her genitals to his ~ linking them, for a moment, with vibrant tension. She dashed away into the bush, blushing and confused, and aroused. She ran through the shade of the spruce-wood until she reached a lagoon. Amid the calls of redwing- blackbirds, she walked through grasses luscious with seed to the rushes and cat's-tails at the water's edge. There, in the hot sun, she waited for a long time, silent and still, to watch the muskrats swim. At the forest's border, in a thicket of willow and swamp-dogwood, was a flat rock. Jaine stretched naked on the stone, a palm pressed into the soft lips of her thighs, while fire burned and throbbed at her temples.
When the sun waned, she dressed and left by a little-used path. She walked slowly, stopping often to examine plants and search out small animals. It was dusk when she came to the communal house ~ a large ramshackle lumber structure of built-ons and additions that had been dubbed: the Plywood Palace. Most of the communards, some thirty people, lived in it together. The house was full of the sounds of women at work and children at play. Jaine entered by a side door where she found a man repairing a propane oven. She sat on her heels, leaned against the door-jam and watched him work.
The man struck a match, put a hand in the oven. The stove exploded, tearing away the wall behind it and collapsing part of the ceiling. The broken wood was instantly ignited. Every window in the building shattered. He found himself trapped, unable to move. He screamed for help but no-one seemed to hear. Craning his neck, he watched as the fire from the stove began eating its way toward him.
Jaine had managed to crawl out of the debris but realized that the man, whose head and arms jutted from the wreckage, was trapped. She began to tug wildly at him trying to free him before the flames closed in.
"Pull, girl, pull," he said. "Pull me out if you have to break my legs."
The young girl, weeping and shouting, put all her strength against his pinned body but it was useless.
Seeing the flames less than a meter away, the man reached up, embraced Jaine, kissed her, and said: "God love you, girl. Now go!" He threw her backwards only moments before the flames surrounded him.
Jaine found herself lying outside on the ground in a weird twilight. The house was a blazing inferno. The glare from the burning building threw red flame and shadow about in which figures moved like ghosts. In the intense heat, two men sat and stared. Uncomprehending, people stood and merely watched. Surrender was complete. Cinders were falling about Jaine, at times setting her clothes on fire ~ just little tinders that smoked and went out. They hurt her face and she used a kerchief for a veil. Someone dragged her away and wrapped her badly burned body in a blanket.
The fire was shooting out tongues of flames as oil-lamps exploded inside. A woman appeared at an upstairs window. She was pregnant and alone. She had heard the explosion, smelled the smoke, and panicked. Mad with fear, she tore her hair and ran from window to window with flames licking her gown. She leaped screaming down and broke her back and right arm. Her child was born dead a few hours later. From the house came the most terrible cries, piercing Jaine's soul. One voice rang in her ears long after. That of a child who kept crying: "Won't someone let me out?" The last Jaine saw was a woman staggering through a room, her clothing on fire. As she lurched toward a window, several men grabbed her and rolled her on the ground to put out the flames that crackled along her back. The woman was taken to a house where she died of her burns.
In a delirium of wet brow and flushed cheeks, Jaine opened her eyes. They were tranquil pools both dark and deep. She spoke of fire. Not of the killing inferno, not of the blaze of fever, nor of the heat of passion. She was laid on a bed in her family's little house, her body uncovered from the abdomen up. She remembered the burns scorch her living flesh, felt the heat in her bones, saw the flames with her mind's eye.
"I see the fire," she said.
The eyes of her mother, Le An, filled with tears. "Yes, dear."
Jaine saw fire jumping from mountain to mountain, plunging into the sea, saw great columns of steam come bursting from its depths, flames licking through it as they rose.
Lightning flashed within the clouds of steam, and in the sharp-blue flickers of light a man flailed an ancient sword against an unseen enemy.
"Radendr is fighting," she said.
"No, no," said Le An. "Radendr isn't fighting. He's here to help you, he has medicine for you."
Radendr had entered the house quietly. His great red manes were tied in a knot at the back of his head. He moved quickly beside Le An at the bed, leaned down to Jaine, and looked into her eyes.
Jaine saw flames leap to the sky, saw stars come hurtling down to the ground where smoke rose pungent with human flesh. A wind blew in from the north. It cleared the smoke, and Jaine saw the smouldering hole where the house had been. A hall began to materialize, shimmering through the smoky haze. It appeared from its foundation up, each stone set in place, each log and timber laid up one by one. It was revealed to her to every shingle on the huge span of roof, she knew each peg and joint in the timber rafters, saw all the planks that formed the floors. She felt the fires that were blazing in their many places of the main hall. And she knew how this great round-house was named.
"Gimle," she said.
"It's the fire," said Le An.
"The fire," came another voice.
"Yes," said Radendr, "but not that burned her flesh today. Those are not earthly fires she sees." He removed the contents of the hide parcel he carried. At the foot of Jaine's bed he placed a plain wooden totem in which he had carved three Runes. Each was painted with Radendr's blood. From unopened red rose-buds he had distilled the volatile oil which he dropped sparingly on a small charcoal fire in a little cast-iron jar. The room filled with a sweet odorous vapor, soothing to Jaine's burning flesh. He had prepared an infusion from the seeds of stinging-nettle and lifting gently at her head made her drink of it to help fight the fever.
Turning to Le An and her husband, the young girl's parents, and speaking also to the others who were fearfully gathered there, Radendr said: "Now pray." As they fell to their knees: "Not to some god for mercy on this child. Pray to her, to Jaine. Pray to let her use your spirit for the strength she needs this day."
The room fell silent. Souls prayed fervently, minds in bitter con-centration. Jaine, on her pallet, felt the tumult in her body but she journeyed far above it.
Radendr took the totem in hand, fingered the Runes carved on its surface, and recited them one by one: "Kaynosh," he said. "Fire; the torch. Needish," he said. "Need; distress." He touched the last reddened symbol of the arrow pointed up. "Tiewash," he said. "The Shining."
The fire seared Jaine's chest. It pinched off her left breast, leaving her like an amazon able to pour strength into her left arm. The fever broke that had burned her girlish body and her burns healed ~ with the help of Radendr's goat-fat ointment of comfrey-leaves ~ but the fire did not leave her. Her burnt skin came off in hard, leathery shales, leaving pink young skin sensitive even to the touch of air, but the flames never stopped their leaping in her mind.
Fire purifies. It drove away the weak, left only the strong and committed. The turmoil occupied all the senses and left spirits infertile to the seed Jaine had been instructed to sow. The stricken community of souls was unable to share her vision. Who could believe her? Who could believe a teen-aged girl? Come from the flames single-breasted, lean, and fiery-eyed. She tearfully exhorted them to rally, to build the great hall of Gimle.
Radendr recognized in her one of the chosen who see signs of the prophecy, to share truth with other initiates. He went with the girl to search out materials for the round-house. Up a south-slope stood stately spruce, killed by fire ~ bare-branched, blackened bark in great flakes hanging from the trunks. The wood, hardened by fire, stood sound and dry on the stump. On a hill was a rock quarry with boulders and great slabs of a colorless, white, or yellowish stone, with everywhere in it various colored crystals and streaks and splashes of red, brown, and black melded into its porcelain sheen.
And Jaine was instructed by Radendr in the traditional knowledge. Radendr was one of the songsmiths who were named after their mothers and reckoned their descent through a female line of wise-women ~ the deep- minded, who kept poetry and magic together since times of yore. "The Wise Woman alone plumbs our lots," he said to Jaine. "The Awesome Sage himself was instructed by her."
And he revealed to her the ancient script.
"Certain is that which is sought from Runes," he quoted. "Runes hold the mystery of magic spells. All that can be known by people is contained within them."
Through the years a growing group gathered with Jaine, and Gimle slowly rose above its foundation in labors of love. Jaine and her band of followers went into the hills and recited certain incantations over and over into the surrounding stillness. Slowly the recitation took on meaning and unfolded to them. The unknowable unknown is a presence and the knowing of that presence became the only revelation to Jaine and hers who learned to allow the unknown to operate directly on their minds. They found the knowledge imparted to the mind by the Runes not a formulation but a cosmic energy, a mysterious power that pervades all nature.
The great triangle of the continent's interior plain tipped the Arctic Ocean, shouldered shield and mountain; glacial lakes deposited clays there to form fertile lands and, in the north, bogs and muskegs, rich green forests, foothills rolling to a lake. In many places quite shallow, in others over thirty meters deep, the water brown after a storm or gray before it, sometimes a deep blue, shading to light-green, or a muddy ochre, it was the refuge of many kinds of northern fish, and of geese, ducks, pelicans, swans. Mists rose up the surrounding hillsides where the pines, and the wolves, coyotes, moose, deer, bear, and the wily lynx, reached back to the Rocky Mountains where the cougar roamed. The vapors bathed poplar groves, the birches, the willows, alders, and the boreal tamaracks and spruces that gripped the dark gray soil, as did all the other plants that grew there: rose and nettle, grass and grain, berry and flower with every bright color in the eye's palette. Eagles and hawks ruled the skies, and when the cranes flew hearts also soared. The very winds whispered soft meaning, taught a song of place: 'I am simply of the Earth. Need I be afraid?'
Music: Road Of Life
Inspector: As Regional Inspector I had taken very seriously the instructions of my general and, some weeks after my own visit to the squatter settlement in his sector, dispatched several of my officers to induct the children into the system by having them micro-tattood. They arrived at the village with two agents of the Office of the Comptroller for Universal Coding, in pursuit of the old strategy of the separation of generations.
Get the children, I had told them, and we won't have to worry about the elders.
The elders, however, confronted the little group of officials with little regard for their presumed authority, turned them on their heels, and saw to their departure with considerable loss of face to officers and agents.
Universal Coding headquarters in the Congo, when advised of this, ordered a force of twenty out to the scene, which prompted me to assign an additional twelve officers. This not inconsiderable force again flew to the village by the lake where their flyer landed on the grassy slope above the round-house that stood silent, shuttered, and locked. Of the villagers, the young, the weak, and the needed, were camped at a bush homestead, sufficient and unseen among the trees. Armed men and women were positioned in strategic places. Three uniformed figures detached themselves from the machine and made their way to the round-house. Unable to effect entry, more agents and officers were disgorged who, through the hours that followed, dispersed into the far-flung community to make search.
Four village men, with stealth and quick blows, overpowered and disarmed the guard left by the flyer, and trussed the two officers inside. Three of their number retreated to ambush, taking with them the guard's arms and a small item vital to the operation of the flyer's propulsion unit. One climbed atop the vehicle and sat displaying a white flag. When the government men returned, he demanded of the commanding officer that they surrender their weapons, saying the flying machine had been disabled and they were in ambush. At a wave from him, several high casements opened in Gimle and arms were shown from all sides of the government party. One of the officers made a lunge for the villager who stood near the flyer. A quick burst of gunfire sounded. The villager fell mortally wounded. A figure in uniform lay dead, others wounded. A savage voice from among the trees commanded the huddle by the flyer to disarm, and unarmed they left, plotting revenge, and report to me. I, in turn, had to take word of the fiasco to the general.
Shoo: I was not pleased.
Damn it, man, I don't want universal coding involved. I don't care how you do it, but stop the agents from reporting to the comptroller ~ she'd get the directorate of monitoring activities into it. This must remain an internal northern matter.
"Yes, sir. Just a minute, sir," the regional inspector said and, employing another line, transmitted my order to an underling, hoping it was not too late, no doubt.
You've bungled, allowing twenty UC agents to take part in the mission has pushed us into committing the action to force. Well, it's too late now. Go back in force ~ don't take any agents this time. A company ~ two-hundred men, flyers, all-terrain vehicles, the works. Set up a base camp far enough to make access difficult from the settlement but close enough for us to get there with equipment in minutes ~ ten kilometers or nearer should do. I want that woman you named in your report. . . .
Shoo: Yes, and whoever is in command of this resistance operation. This may take a day or so. Meanwhile get a couple of their men, any way you can, and grill them. And keep me fully informed. That is all.
I switched off the video. Immediately it lit up with the code: W11/01-20/SN. Already? I thought, and punched the console. The worried features of my regional inspector came on the screen.
Inspector: General, it seems the UC agents were transmitting a message to the Congo when I relayed your order. They were cut off but there is no telling how much was sent.
Shoo: Well, no sense worrying about it now. Send any queries from the comptroller's office direct to me. Thank you, Inspector. The screen went blank. I got up briskly, straightened my rumpled black uniform absent-mindedly. In truth, I was worried. There were too many squatter settlements in his region. A final solution had to be found.
Vargarm: "I cast it away. My body." The power of the song came from the total integration of words, meaning, rhythm, and movement; the chant was whole ~ its effect on the mind, not the ears, as the village prepared for battle.
The landing of the officer force was observed, and Jaine said: "I am going to the place of the soldiers. I saw myself there, and a dog made me its prey." For many years she experienced fleeting loss of her ordinary eyesight, in a visionary state of continued deja vous ~ the already seen of the twice-sighted, always arriving instants after the event in which she acted. Now, Jaine knew she must face her lot and overcome the dog.
She began to walk to the armed camp. Soon she met with a small patrol of four young men and one young woman ~ independent fighters in the old tradition, whose leader won obedience by skill proven in hunting, games, and now perhaps in combat. They carried arms at the ready and walked under cover at speed with the least noise ~ it being the best method to avoid detection or cause surprise. During a short rest, Jaine studied one of the men. He sat quite still ~ just a slight vibration in his foot revealed tension within. Suddenly, the single scout, some fifty meters ahead, was seen wrestling with a black-uniformed officer. The party bore down on them running, and as they drew near the struggling men it seemed to Jaine as if they were fighting like dogs.
"I am leaving you now," she told the woman. "Don't follow."
She ran from them, then walked for hours until she stood silent among scrub willow, observing the goings-on in the armed camp. She gathered herself and leisurely walked toward it. There was a shout as she was noticed strolling by the corner of a large tent where she came face to snarling snout with a guard-dog straining on a short leash. Her self-assured inner authority made her the first person in the camp, a fact that was reluctantly but quickly acknowledged through the ranks to the camp's commanding officer.
"Take me to your leader," were Jaine's first and last words, until the regional inspector was summoned and came. "I'm in charge here," he said, pleased to find Jaine in his possession so soon after the general's orders. "What do you want."
Jaine studied the regional inspector and found him wanting. Where was the dog?
"I want to speak with your superior," she said finally.
"Impossible," was the answer. "What about?"
The regional inspector tried to assert his authority by using the force of his officers. Jaine reached behind and drew an invisible sword. With the finger of her right hand she traced in the air ~ as if inscribing a blade, twice Tyr: the victory Rune of the One-Handed Battler. With a mighty sweep of her strong left arm the sword knocked down three unhurt before she sheathed it in its unseen scabbard.
The fevered report of this impossible event was to the inspector general an irresistible lure. When Shoo and Jaine came face to face, the only thing Shoo noticed was a peculiar small leather pouch she wore by a cord from her neck. A deep drumming throb seemed to suffuse Shoo and he produced an identical pouch, opened it, and placed a finger-thick slab in his palm which he held out to her. One side of the piece ended in a rude break, and it was in fact only half a token of which Jaine produced another out of the pouch she wore. She placed it on Shoo's outstretched hand, fitting the fractures precisely together to unite a delicate carved symbol of a T inside a circle.
"Thiot lives," said Jaine.
"The tribe lives," Shoo also said, but for him it was the astonished gasp of one who sees realized what has long been expected yet secretly disbelieved.
"It was told," he said. "But the tribe is nothing but scattered remnants who know nothing of themselves. They live without the strength of the common bond that once held them together. The only thing all people want is power," said Shoo. "Whatever is wanted is wanted for the sake of power."
"With a more penetrating knowledge, power is satisfied in self- control rather than in subjugation of others," answered Jaine. "We will not have your slave morality," she cried. "The resentment of those denied the deed, who compensate with imaginary revenge, and live shriveled, hollow lives. There is an exception to every rule," said Jaine. "Is it not so? We except ourselves from your rule. And if not us, who is excepted?"
Shoo stared at her.
After a very long time, Jaine said softly: "You are on the wrong side."
The flash of recognition kindled an immediate rage in Shoo. Jaine looked into his face and knew she was about to die. She watched him raise the gun, saw his finger tense on the trigger. She was vaguely aware of the others, standing at black-uniformed attention ~ like chickens when a crow flies over. The place filled with sounds that emanated from inside her own head: a powerful drone and shrieking war cries. She saw the explosion of the gun as a slow-motion volcanic outburst. Fire spurted from the barrel streaming elegant arcs of light, a cloud of smoke curled and billowed majestically, and a lead bullet emerged ponderously ~ moving its head slowly from side to side like a clumsy dog after its prey.
Shoo watched impassively as her body slammed the wall with the impact of the bullet, then pitched forward to the floor. He knew she was dead. He bent to tear the pouch from her neck. With an impatient gesture he holstered the antique pistol.
"Get rid of this body."
"Yes, General," answered three voices, but he had already opened the door and walked into the cold dark night.
"Commander, prepare an assault group. At dawn we'll move in and clear them out by force."
In the night, however, the general received startling military news that told his presence (and that of the two-hundred-odd commandos) was more urgently required elsewhere. Just before dawn, in flaying northern lights, there was a general exodus of aircraft from the area ~ an exodus that was observed with delight in the rude village seven kilometers away.
Le An: "They're going, they're going! Jaine did it. She's made them leave."
From where I sit by the fire, I hear them outside my house. I sit bent over as if struck by a heavy blow, for I know. Know! Jaine is dead. 'Did you see the northern lights, mom? I did that.'
Outside my door now there are many voices. They are jubilant: "They've gone. The army is gone." They prepare to send out a party.
I know I must tell them. I open the door, stand outside.
"It's her mother."
Jaine is dead. Again I see the bullet's path ~ hear it strike home. The sudden burst of living flesh. Fleeting moment on the threshold of death's door. I feel the door-knob in my hand, see the pale faces of the people staring with wide frightened eyes. In the bare light of a frost-laced morning, a stumbling run across the common yard takes me into the strong embrace of my man. She's dead. He killed her.
Some of the men brought Jaine's body back, and some of the women cleaned it up. Now it is laid out in my house. I escape into the forest. It is early winter ~ fog-moon month. The afternoon sun shines through naked branches bright on the dust of snow. It feels warm on my face. There is a great silence among the trees, and from the silence comes a man.
"I'm glad you have come, Le An," he says. It is Radendr. "Come sit down."
I sit like a child at his knee. Silent, for long moments. Finally, when I raise my head and look into his face, I am warmed by the compassion in his steady gaze.
Who are you?
"Who are you?" is the reply.
How did I know?
"In the manner all things are known," Radendr says. "From the unknown all knowledge derives. Suffice it to state that you knew."
What do you want with me?
Radendr utters a short laugh. "You know that as well."
Vargarm: Years earlier her swollen belly gave a gentle uneasiness in her back. Now is the time for this child, she thought. A surge of strength flowed through her, caused her to tremble, as she strained and pushed with the pain and joy of the first time. In a rush of amniotic fluid, blue and hardly breathing, Jaine was labored into the world.
It was a cold and stormy month near the mountains. The winds howled across the plateau, whipping bitter snow into the valley and the commune where Le An had gone to have her child. An old truck was fired up, the new-born wrapped in blankets, and Le An helped into the cab. They headed into the snow and dark. It was twenty-five hard kilometers, and the baby was near death when the old truck pulled up to the emergency entrance of the sisters of mercy hospital. They went up to the desk and quickly explained to the nurses.
"Do you have any medical insurance? Name? Address? Occupation?"
"Look, you don't seem to understand! This baby is dying."
"Please, sir, don't raise your voice. We're not responsible for this. People trying to have births at home. The doctor is out on call right now but he should be back in a short while. Since you don't have any medical coverage, it is our policy to request a show of financial ability before a new admission. It's just a formality. You'll have to pay fifty dollars before we can examine your child."
"What are you talking about? This baby is dying and you are asking if we've got money."
"Sir, I'll have to ask you not to raise your voice. If you'd just wait."
"My god, I don't believe this. Sisters of mercy and you won't take a dying baby because we can't pay you right now ~ is that what you're saying?" He picked up the cold bundle. "Come, Le An."
Back into the howling night. Past the statue of a merciful sister stretching eager arms to a haloed babe. Sixty kilometers south through the hills on winding roads. Another hospital.
"They take anyone. It is especially for poor people."
At the commune, a peyote meeting had been called. The medicine circle had been cleared of snow, the teepee brought out, the poles put up and, fighting wind and freezing hands, the canvas pulled into place. When a fire was made, an earnest voice was raised to "ask for help for Le An and the little one." Peyote was passed around.
"I'd like to ask a blessing on that little girl, great spirit, maybe there is some way you could help."
"Heya now, weh hey, yah whey!"
The chanting grew stronger. Everyone focused on the fire. Outside it was extremely cold. Time for midnight water, brought in and passed around.
The teepee-flap opened and seventy-year-old Little Joe came into the canvas circle. He had walked several miles across country, wrapped in his small blue blanket. It seemed warmer immediately he sat in the road-chief position. He exuded calmness, smiled like a child, chanted a prayer:
"O, Great Father, hear my voice. I lift my prayer feather to you. Let this smoke bring my prayer close to you. These people need your help, Great Spirit. Little baby is dying. They need that baby to grow strong. Help them out at this time. Maybe you could give them a little hand."
In the hospital, they laid mother and child on a table. The doctors and nurses were kind, said there was little they could do. The baby stopped breathing. The pulse could not be felt.
Little Joe raised his head. "Thank you, Grandfather. Thank you for this way."
The babe sucked air in tiny shallow gasps, opened her eyes on a new world. Le An lifted her shirt, and Jaine reached for a breast.
"What of the man?" asks Radendr.
Weston D. Shulman. They had been at university together; he in political science, she in social work. Both had joined a volunteer company of the peace army. Social action brought them close. They saw each other frequently as they travelled on assignments. He was Le An's first love They had intercourse of the mind as well as body for which she took a daily pill to prevent conception, but she wished for his child and, while he was away for a month, stopped ingesting the drug. She was fertile and waiting for Wes on his return. Laughing with happiness she told him at last they could make love 'for real'. Love and lust and biological impulse combined for one single night of ecstasy for Le An. Wes left the following morning. She never saw him again. There were rumors he had joined urban guerillas.
"What has it to do with me?" Le An implores Radendr.
"It has to do with the child and with the man," says he.
Narrator #2: The head on Jaine's body bobs to the rhythm of the music as it stands propped in its coffin leaned against a wall of Le An's house. It is the wake, and there is dancing and laughter, and food and talk. Talk of Jaine:
Narrator #3: I was angling down at the dock. I hooked a big fish, a real fighter, but I got him up on the rocks and pulled him on land. A great big Jack." He spreads his arms far apart in the classic fisherman's pose. "You were there. You seen it!" Several people nod. "The hook broke just as I got him in a hole. I thought I had'im, but that snake jumped up with a tremendous twist of the tail and slid back into the water. Jaine was there, she saw the fish escape, jumped right into the water after it, wrestled it like an alligator, and brought it back in." He laughs uproariously. "Haha, it was funny! That Jack must've had half-a-dozen hooks in it and probably felt it could get away again, but Jaine said: 'You get this close to a catch, it's got to be yours.'
Narrator #4: She lived in a teepee up on the ridge for a few years and everyone would go to visit. Sometimes there would be quite a little camp up there. I went to see her on an evening when she was away and fell asleep between the hide coverings of her bed. When Jaine arrived, much later in the deep of night, she stripped her clothes and glided naked between the covers. I awoke; she fell sound asleep. Mercifully, it was not long til dawn when I got up. As soon had I left the tent everybody was asking me: You slept with Jaine. How was it? I was so wide awake the whole time that every bit of me tensed to make me tremble; I didn't realize until I got up and felt my tired aching limbs.
Narrator #2: We was huntin' one time, me an' Jaine an' old James. We seen a big bull come out from the lick up in the pines. Just hoofing it north, looked like he was going for the muskeg. We sent old James after it, and me and Jaine went up the big cutline. Figured to head it off. We had to really travel til we came to that pipeline right-of-way where we went real slow and careful to the intersection. First we looked one way and then the other, and there we were face to face with a big sow. She stood up on her hind legs and lifted up her paws, and me and Jaine both dropped to our knees and raised up our rifles. That bear was big. Not a grizzly, but a real monster just the same. There we were, not movin' a muscle, and her towering over us, looking down with a mean glint in her eyes and just a-growlin' real low. It seems we were like that for a long time. I could see her wicked claws, saw the teeth sparkle in her jaws. I swear she drooled right on the barrel of my gun, she was as close as this. Then she turned, dropped on all fours, and walked away. Right there, Jaine gets up and talks to her! 'Chickenshit,' she says. I thought I would die. That bear turned around, come back like it was pissed off, and stood on her hind legs over us again. Just growling from deep inside her chest, and her huge hairy arms over her head ~ over our heads. I just pointed my gun and crouched as low as I could get. I don't know what Jaine was doin', but it must've been much the same. Finally, the bear dropped and walked away again, and ~ a few steps from us, she kinda looked back at us over her shoulder. Well, sir, Jaine didn't say 'Chickenshit' again.
Le An: After I had Jaine I moved to the city. Got married. Had more kids. Lived there for years. People would ask me: 'Why isn't Jaine playing?' She never played with the other kids, you know. Never was active. Just wasn't interested. She would as soon watch a flower. She never fit in. Had a hard time of it, poor child.
My voice continues but I know not what words I speak, for in my mind's eye is another scene: I realized the child was fever-filled when I picked her up. As I held her close to myself, the heat surged from the child into my body, massing angrily in the pit of my stomach. Someone took the child, and I stumbled away several steps. I tried to sink to the floor, but fell awkwardly and spewed foul vomit on the floor between my feet, while moans loudly came from my mouth. I huddled, afraid of the sound in her head, until all that was left was a dull spot deep down in my abdomen.
Even after we moved here she never really found herself, . . . until the fire.
Narrator #3: When I think of her, it's by a riddle she told me when she was a girl fresh from the fire:
"Footsteps white as snow,
carry into the burn;
high is seen below;
sweet to salt does turn.
She was so young and it seemed so simple, but I've never forgotten, and I have yet to learn its answer.
Vargarm: The sky truly wept. The evening of Jaine's wake the rains came, soaking up the little snow, creating huge puddles within an hour, and poured with undiminished force until her body was buried in a water-filled hole in the clay, when of a sudden the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the moon shone on the grave.
The coffin floated and had to be weighted with stones. "Bring more rocks."
The day following Jaine's burial, some men came across two officers who had been left behind, captured them, and counseled vengeance. The two prisoners, bound hand and foot, were left outside Gimle where they attracted an abusive crowd.
Le An sees, calmly enters the throng (she knows no hesitation), serenely unbinds them. Then she leaves them standing and turns into dark Gimle.
"It doesn't matter what they did. We have our own honor to uphold. Let not your women be ashamed of you. Charge your children with righteous valor."
She takes the prisoners to her house where they are bathed and clothed in the best apparel there.
"Wear my clothes," she tells them.
The while she prepares food.
"Eat this food," she says.
People stare into Le An's house by the windows and the opened door through which steps Radendr to sit down and eat with them. Slowly the room ~ then the house, fills with people until, at last, they spill outside to a fire in the damp and cold afternoon.
"I have seen prisoners black and blue from head to toe," cries Le An. "Give your best, not your worst."
And everyone eats together.
Finally, one of the officers says: "You have killed the hate in me."
Radendr: Who are you, Le An had asked, and what could I have told her? I am Radendr, reason and riddle. I read the mysteries and offer counsel, foretelling in ancient proverbs the remedy by which the people may govern their affairs. I am Radendr.
Sometimes pain reached for me and I would bend my power to transcend the agony of confusion to reach the calm certainty of truth eternal. I pursued myth from the mystic state, like a fighter in training, in renunciation, meditation and mental culture. The ability to contemplate is what defines the human species. For eight-thousand years and three-hundred generations, initiates maintained a tradition that helped me gain an insight into perceived and ultimate reality: the I am of being and existence. There are those who worship gods, those who worship the visible nature. I sought the wisdom that can release the human spirit.
I once mingled with the great;
I left my pleasure in their palaces and temples;
I saw the rulers and their power, and they took from me my envy.
An old and tired man said: 'Give me your regrets,' and he walked away stooping with the burden.
The people clenched an armed fist in revolt against an unjust ruler; though I did not touch a weapon, there I left my contentment.
To a person ~ beautiful within as without, I gave my love;
it caused a horrible transformation to a monster with yawning jaws; into its fiery throat I cast my hate.
Demons of the dark devoured my fear;
I slit my throat, hope flowed from the wound; the world ended.
A child stood by the holocaust and I pressed my innocence into its trembling hand;
I gave my pain to the tortured child, and my pity when it died.
At last I came to a vat so large it reached the far corners of the directions;
it held a foul-smelling brew;
into this I put my guilt ~ carefully lowering it not to splash.
Vargarm: Under the shelter of a leafy-branched lean-to, Radendr sat in a sea of shavings ~ thin curls and slivers of spruce in great mounds where it had fallen from his simple tools. Out of a bucket, he took water-soaked spruce-roots, removed the bark, and split them with his teeth. Behind him, dozens of slats leaned against his house, others, bent and tied in horseshoe-shapes by his hands, hung on branches. On an earthen platform, a canoe was partly assembled of spruce-wood gunwales, thwarts, ribs, and planking, and sheets of birch-bark, stitched with spruce-roots, that he had harvested from the forest. But not without a solemn offering and a turning of the mind on the beings that occupied the trees. He had stood under the towering forest canopy that always taught him metaphors of life: 'A wind blows upon my soul and exposes my weaknesses, like an old tree is gale-stripped of dry branches'. He had tapped the spruce for pitch; four years to fill a pail. The straight and branchless lower trunk of a black spruce had been cut down. A likely white spruce had been selected, the ground under it prodded with a stick, the long, tough, pliable roots followed to their ends, and dug out. He had tested a number of birch trees by making a slight cut in the bark and bending it back to view its characteristics from the inside, and had taken bark free of knots and with a minimum of the typical horizontal markings.
Radendr: I have lived here always. I have travelled from this place only as far as can be walked in a mere nine days, yet I know of the mighty mountains to the west and of the great sea beyond, for the warm winds that blow from there to temper the ice and cold of winter carry their odors; and when I walk among the trees of this land, I see in them all the various trees of the good earth. Where I look she shows herself as she does everywhere: the grass beneath my feet as green, the sky over my head as blue.
Vargarm: Radendr had worked on the spruce log. The lower end was sawed off. He spat in his hands, took hold of his axe, and set to work splitting the log with the aid of wedges cut from a small poplar. When it was split at last, and he examined the wood-grain, he exclaimed satisfied. Then he split the two halves to make quarters. He split rough slats from a quarter-log by making a cut at the end of it with the axe, and carefully working the blade down until a handhold could be gained on the slat. Then it was pulled off with great care not to cross the grain and lessen the strength. The other end of the log he hewed until he fashioned a timber that he then ripped into nine boards of lumber. He had made a shallow hole in the ground. Sheets of birch-bark were placed one on top of the other in the depression. A board weighted down with some large rocks was put on top to flatten and store the bark until it could be used. The moist earth prevented it from drying prematurely.
Radendr put the spruce-pitch he had collected in a basket of root netting and threw it into a container in which water was boiling. The netting retained all the pieces of bark, moss, and twigs that had fallen in, while he skimmed off the pitch to spread over all the stitching, and every place where it seemed a leak might develop.
Radendr smiled. He was a craftsman and a seeker. The early morning mists drifted over the water as he launched the canoe. The water was a translucent green, reflected from the land ~ beatified and beautified with the song of thunder: the voice that fixed fertilizing nitrogen in the soil the evening previous. He had fasted and sweat. He knew the time to be auspicious. He smiled, for he was a craftsman and a seeker.
Music: Tall Tale
Radendr: 'In the present, lie past ages,
In the now, what'll come to pass . . . .'
Cleaning game. A fat ruffed-grouse.
"Does that mean it will be a cold winter?" they ask.
No. It means it ate well; it was a good autumn. To speculate on the future by the evidence of events is very uncertain. The same fact, however, does show clearly its past. The past can be seen in the present. The fat of the grouse shows the abundance of summer clover and autumn cranberries. When the past is seen, the present can be understood. So our ancestors' heritage is part of our present lives. The history of human activity shows ~ through laws of state, rules of society, maxims of humanity, a glimpse of the ultimate principles preceding it. What our forebears gave us: the ability to live independently on small plots of land, this too is what we must give to our children.
Vargarm: In the main room of Radendr's log house, there were books everywhere ~ spread on sturdy chests, packed in solid ranks on window seats, and piled on the floor. His own works were scattered about too, along with the materials for making them. On a huge, rough wooden work table were stacked sheaves of paper, some small, others large, and rulers, triangles, curves, compasses, pens of all descriptions, pencils, brushes, and all the paraphernalia of reading and writing. There was a litter of objects, the gear and tackle and trim of dozens of trades that signified Radendr's insatiable and wide-ranging curiosity. Scattered among the books were various lenses, crystals, and prisms for examining the refraction of light, a beaded abacus, gleaming brass alidades and astrolabes for watching the heavens, white skeletons of animals, and the flasks, crucibles, and retorts of the practicing alchemist.
His was the study of chemistry, the natural sciences, mathematics, medicine, and above all, experience ~ which had revealed to him the secrets of nature, the curative arts, celestial phenomena. He disdained nothing and would blush if he found a layman, an old woman, a soldier or a worker, better informed than himself in matters that concern each. To cast and forge metals, to manipulate silver, gold, and all minerals, to invent instruments and arms, to make a science of farming and husbandry, to seek truth in the charms of the sorcerer and the artifice of jugglers ~ this was his life's work.
Radendr: Life nurtures the work, while
Day burns until evening's dark; when the rays of
Dawn strike clanging on the mountain, ruinous
Hail fades. Ancient power of
Ice; the sign of
Algiz protects the deep
Lake's sacred waters, where
Uruz, mighty yore-ox, awaits to proffer
Wunjo and fill my world with bliss.
As in the autumn season the forces of winter are already showing their influence, conditions are such that the dark powers favored by the time are advancing. Winter cannot be averted, and in retreat success is achieved. This is not to be confused with flight, for the forced flight of the weak person means saving oneself under any circumstance. Retreat is a sign of strength when taken at the right moment while in full possession of power and position. Then the signs of the time can be interpreted before it is too late, and to prepare for a provisional retreat instead of being drawn into a desperate life-and-death struggle. The field is not simply abandoned to the forces of the dark; its advance is made difficult by showing perseverance in single acts of resistance. In this way is the counter movement prepared.
Retreating in their own thoughts, adepts keep the negative elements at a distance. Not angrily but with reserve, and not with hatred for then they would be bound by that hatred. In this way are they in accord with the time, for it is vitally important to hit upon the moment when retreat is called for. The meaning that lies hidden in such a time is important.
The essence of life is the unseen. The unseen within the human shell. What it is really that goes on inside myself, I don't know. I simply accept it and go along for the ride. I follow my thoughts as best I can until, expressed in action, I do something. I am not rash (age has tempered my haste), and I know the law.
Le An: But why me?
Radendr: I don't know. Perhaps you are the mother of a nation.
Le An: But I'm not like them.
Radendr: Race is not what defines a people, race is a biological statistic. What determines the form of society is its predominant myth ~ the common bond of shared comprehension. The one I follow is but one of the thirty-five sages whose teachings will lead us out of the age of chaos. Then will be seen the unity of all nations. Til then help these people with the wisdom of their fathers and mothers. These are your people, aren't they?
Le An: Yes.
Radendr: With your nose so squat and low, cheekbones broad and high, and your long straight black hair, your skin of yellowish-tan, and that inside fold over the corners of your dark-brown almond eyes?
Le An: Yes, of course. They are my people. But why me?
Radendr: Do you have any choice? It is a cow's death to die without wounds.
Vargarm: Svalbard had been hit by a bomb attack. From the flyer that carried him back to his headquarters, Shoo saw the damage. After landing, while behind him the commandos disembarked, an officer briefed him. None of the main buildings had been hit and only superficial damage had been inflicted by what apparently had been intended as a show of strength by a terrorist organization. Once Shoo had again resumed command of the situation from his place deep inside the bunkers, the urgency became clear to him as each new piece of information was conveyed in the clipped tones of his officers: beside Svalbard, eight major world complexes had been hit at precisely the same time with conventional bombs by a combative terrorist group located in Australia. The group claimed a standing army and nuclear capabilities. It demanded a place outside the control of the Board of Six ~ possibly northwest Australia.
Within hours of the bombing, the Director of Monitoring Activities had proclaimed a state of apprehended insurrection. After the High Commander of Armed Forces refused to commit troopers, five-thousand members of monitoring activities were moved to Australia where they suffered heavy losses in fighting the terrorists. The director demanded nuclear force be employed by the armed forces, but the commander again refused him. The convener declared the director's actions constitutional and called on the full board for a decision.
Shoo: Sitting in front of the bank of holoscans, I mused on the fact that human societies for the past several thousand years had emphasized competition and suppressed mutualism. The result had been continual conflict. Mutualism, I thought, must be the dominant tendency in world society. A high energy civilization cannot afford the frictional waste generated by competition for wealth and authority. I had never anticipated any basic change in environmental and social circumstances. To be in complete accord with the technological age meant to expertly organize and manage industrial resources for the good of the whole world. The aim is the reduction of human drudgery, the betterment of the human material condition, the protection of all against insecurity. There are people with personal problems and worries, but these problems are not of an economic nature. No-one wanted for a place to live, or for clothing, food, or health care.
Vargarn: The commander's grey hologram face strained. "The use of nuclear force against the rebels. . . ."
"Terrorists," interspersed the director.
". . . Is absolutely ruled out."
"I've had over four-hundred members killed," the director protested. "My people estimated the enemy total at better than ten-thousand ~ mostly rag-tag, admittedly, but led by a disciplined military force. They will attract revolutionaries from all over the world. They must be stopped before their force grows."
"Madame Convener," said the commander, "we have at our disposal the use of the greatest project in the history of mankind ~ bigger than the wall of China, the pyramids, or the Suez Canal. I sit here in the Borneo jungle at the center of a forty-thousand square kilometer complex that has six-thousand kilometers of railway. There is more concrete here than in the megalopolis of Beijing. It has cost at least three times as much as the space probe the coordinator proposes. We have here the most powerful armament of all time, and we cannot use it. The insurrectionists. . . ."
The Director of Monitoring Activities flinched.
"The insurrectionists claim nuclear capability. I believe them. They have the required radium ore, they derive uranium by the phosphoric acid process, plutonium by reactor, and may soon breed fusion. Yes, Director, and I'm surprised you didn't know this. It would be very unwise to attack an unknown nuclear quantity to possibly set off a fission reaction we may be unable to control."
"But perhaps they have nothing," sputtered the director. "Maybe they need time to develop their arms."
"They escaped detection by your agency," the comptroller's voice cut in. The woman's hologram eyed the director's sharply. "Escaped for a good many years. Then they hit ~ when they were ready. Very professional. They bombed each of our headquarters at the precisely synchronized moment. They used non-nuclear bombs, damaged nothing strategic, and killed only four faceless unfortunates. I believe them as well." She nodded to the commander.
"But surely, Commander, you must commit troops!" This was demanded by the Coordinator of Space Missions. "I understand your reservations about the use of nuclear force, and certainly we must not allow them to use it either. But they must be stopped. We can't give away Australia. This definitely calls for troopers ~ but with conventional weapons only?"
"Yes, there will be troopers committed. However, we don't want to be drawn into a long guerilla-type conflict with heavy demands on men and materiel. No, instead I propose to use the occasion for a test. My own research division has developed an invisible craft ~ that is, not quite invisible perhaps, but practically non-detectable, at least. In excess of eighty percent of its component structure cannot be seen by the human eye, the materials having a frequency primarily outside the range of normal vision. We have such a vehicle, which operates by remote control, ready for action. The weaponry by which we propose to arm it is the photon-laser, a working prototype of which now reposes," and here the commander's image turned with some amusement to Shoo, "in the northern region ~ and I'm surprised you didn't know it ~ at the Stockholm Technate Institute."
Narrator #2: "The moon rocks are growing!" The young adjutant said it excitedly with a flush in his cheeks. He held out a report from the technate institute in Stockholm from which he was a messenger.
A warning came into Shoo's mind. A warning from the Hopi at Old Oraibi: 'Earth and Moon should never touch.' It had been delivered many years earlier, in the infancy of the exploration of space, to the government of the day. After the first astronaut had made his 'giant leap for mankind' and rocks from the surface of the moon were taken, the old Hopi read their prophecy and mournfully predicted that the rocks would grow.
The technate report stated that no change in the rocks had been observed until the floor joists began to crack. When it was attempted to move the rocks, they were found impossibly heavy. The rocks, said the scientists at the institute, were increasing in mass at an apparently accelerating rate. The material now weighed about fifty kilograms per cubic centimeter and had a density about fifty times that of water. (The largest rock, measuring roughly eighteen centimeters in diameter, was estimated at over one-hundred tons.) Further, the scientists reported, the surface temperature of the rocks was increasing very slowly, but at a rate that did not correlate with the change in mass. Another, more curious correlation was with time. In the vicinity of the rocks, watches ran slower (tests with biological specimen were underway to test the effects on metabolism). Increasing in direct ratio to the surface temperature, the effect of time slowing was more severe when nearer the rocks, but was also extending spatially ~ now having reached a detectable broadcast area of one-hundred meters.
Calculations based on Einstein's special theory and the Lorentz trans-formation indicated that the 'rock phenomenon' might be slowed, stopped, or reversed, by subjecting the rocks to a tachyon bombardment. These particles/waves have a speed greater than light, creating the conceptual difficulty of arriving after the event and disappearing before they exist.
It is customary to express the equivalence of mass and energy (though somewhat inexactly) by the formula: E=mc2, in which c represents the velocity of light; E is the energy contained in a stationary body; m is its mass. The energy that belongs to the mass m is equal to this mass, multiplied by the square of the speed of light. Altering this last enormous factor in the equation even slightly, the scientists pointed out, would greatly affect the mass as well as the energy of the rocks. Lorentz's calculations showed that a body's relative speed can never exceed lightspeed. That is, the sum of the speeds of two bodies moving in opposite directions can never be more than lightspeed. As the speed of tachyons is as constant and predictable as the law of transmission of light, mass and energy must by the formula E=mc2 readjust to the new value of c.
Vargarm: Shoo brooded for days, then ordered a communication with the coordinator of space missions.
"This is extremely irregular, General," was the first the coordinator said when, after fifteen minutes, his image appeared.
"Yes, Coordinator," said Shoo, "but only the convener is prohibited by law any communication with the members outside of formal board deliberations. Irregular, yes ~ unlawful, no. The matter is of some importance. I noted you cast the only negative vote on the laser test. As you remember, I abstained ~ for I have some reservations with respect to the effect of the laser. . . ."
The coordinator made no answer.
"Why did you oppose?"
"I cast EurAsia's vote in the interest of space missions, as is my duty."
"Yes, but I'm in need of information, Coordinator."
"General, I will be very interested to see the results of this laser test for it gives my people a chance to study the 'black hole effect', but the technology would be more usefully applied in space, I made that clear during our deliberations."
Shoo interrupted. "Black hole effect?"
"That is what we call it: an implosion effect that distorts mass beyond the critical point."
"We believe it will be confined. There simply will not be the neces-sary energy clustering chronology. Still, space would be better."
"This is too dangerous," Shoo said suddenly. "Coordinator, I need you to achieve the necessary two votes to call on the convener for a review of the deliberation in question."
"That I cannot do. I must serve our own interests."
Shoo: My influence over the lives of people in this region, and in the world, was no longer an individual accomplishment: to gain, to have, and to hold the power to seize the destiny of an entire race is the most exciting challenge life offers. If there is a price, . . . must it be paid? No. No! But it could not be stopped. What to do? Where to go? The tribe. The tribe lives!
Music: Good Things
Le An: An insistent knocking on the door brings me to open it. A man stands on the step. He looks into my face. I see the explosion of the gun as a slow-motion volcanic outburst. Fire spurts from the barrel streaming elegant arcs of light, a cloud of smoke curls and billows out majestically, and a lead bullet emerges ponderously ~ moving its head slowly from side to side like a clumsy dog after its prey.
Shoo looks earnestly in my eyes.
"Come in," I say.
Vargarm: The shrieking sounds in Jaine's ears increased until it filled her consciousness and there was nothing but sound. Then there was nothing. Not as emptiness, but liberated from the senses it became fulfilled as pure knowledge of being in which everything became nothing and nothing was everything. Jaine knew the bright shine of the blazing mountain from which lightning flashed. There came helmeted beings in bloodied armor, carrying spears from the points of which stood beams of light. They chose death for people and determined victories. They always rode to say who fall and to cast their spells. The choosers of the fallen lifted Jaine. Thus her soul ascended to become one of the adopted children.
The village accepted Shoo as a man with many useful talents and a hard worker. Some time after his arrival, he walked rapidly up a trail when confronted by the figure of a woman clad in a heavy cloak with a hood that concealed her face. She dropped to her knees before him, placed his hand on her bowed head, and clasped his legs.
"Who are you? I don't know you. What are you doing?" He bent down, loosed her arms from around his legs, and urged her up. She turned her face up to Shoo. He looked into features contorted by a terrible emotion he could not comprehend. A raw red wound appeared in her forehead and the hood fell off revealing the back of her head as a horrible bloody mass. Shoo stepped back gasping. Without a word, she pulled the cloak around her and turned away. He vainly reached for her with one hand as she strode from him with large determined steps.
"Who do you think you are? Don't just walk away. What are you doing? Speak to me."
The cloak fell from the woman's nude figure, she stopped, turned a perfect unwounded head, and from darkling eyes gazed serenely back at Shoo.
She broke into a jogging run and disappeared among the trees.
"Wait. You must. . . ." He ran after but couldn't find her though he stumbled on for long. He walked til he came to a house where Le An stands at the gate. She smiles painfully at Shoo who sits on a bench. It is cold but Shoo doesn't notice.
"You are always alone," says Le An.
"There have always been the crowd and I," he answers. "A small congenial group yet too restricting ~ even the family. I have had a woman's love; I found it possible to live without."
She takes his hand and leads him inside into her bed where, in the naked sexual embrace, he inserts a finger into her nostril, and she bursts out laughing. Woman perpetuates the race by giving birth and then surviving; man helps, protects, and impregnates; but Le An is too old to conceive and Shoo is a murderer who later eats bread in her kitchen, then suddenly says: "We all get our wish, but it must be made in ignorance. As a boy, I wished to eat bread with butter thickly smeared." He laughs bitterly. "Now, I do."
Le An turns away.
"I could have wished for greater things. For love. It is wonderful to be loved ~ but I have no love."
Silent tears trickle down Le An's face. "Love but everything," she says softly.
"You don't understand," says Shoo. "I have nothing to give."
"Why, after so many years," breathes she.
Surprised, Shoo faces her.
She looks through tear-misted eyes at him. "Wes," she says.
Weston Dorchester Shulman. The name had not been used since (like many in the movement) he had changed it to signify the new beginning. Now his past confronts him in this, his last refuge; brings him full circle to his first battle, his first conquest, his first love, and a strange delight fills him. It is not of sexual origin although his body still tingles from the passion of Le An's bed.
"How is a man to be told he killed his own daughter, his first-born, maybe only, child? My child. Our child! What have you done?"
Shoo's search for power had been a lifelong hunt that ~ in the end ~ made him a mere watchman guarding the devaluing treasure of his achievements. And as that watchman he had renounced and put to his past life the dreadful lie that falls on this moment and stretches into his future. Like a shadow it flows over Shoo's struggle for light and hope, and darkens the life of the woman before him.
"I know. I saw," she says. "We must speak with Radendr."
The cocks crowed loudly in the village the following morning. In a valley of willow clumps and frosted yellowed grasses crumbling in the snow where he had taken them, Radendr produced an object enshrouded by several lengths of fine cloth. He unwrapped it, revealing a well-made sword, but old and worn, pitted and chipped, gnawed by air and time. It had a long two- edged blade with a sharp-shouldered tang, gently tapering to a slightly blunted tip, and down the middle on each side ran a fuller ~ a shallow round- bottomed channel. The hardened steel-edged blade was of pattern-welded bars of iron, twisted together, drawn out, and laminated by the blacksmith's art.
"This sword is plain. It is old. It knew many ancestors. It takes oaths well. Place your hands on the steel as I hold it before me. Now speak with truth and no thoughts other than the sword's power, which flows to it from your hands, lets me hold it by the handle. You need no incantations. Speak."
"I named her Jaine," says Le An.
Shoo chokes. "The child. Your child; our child. What is this terrible life that feeds on destruction? I killed Jaine!"
Radendr raises the sword so swiftly it cuts the hands that rest on it. "Revenge," he shouts, and hefts the ancient wound-gasher high above him with a two-handed hold on the tapered, pommeled grip. "I claim vengeance."
Narrator #2: A bullet of light in the far infrared shot from the laser and smashed into the target. Passing a point in one-trillionth of a second, it made a harsh sound like the crack of a thorny whip. On the monitor, the target disappeared ~ there were no fragments, no smoke. It disappeared in a form of atomic fusion ~ the spark of suns. Unlike the jumble of wavelengths of the visible light, the laser emitted a light-beam less than a pico-second long, of one frequency with every photon vibrating in lockstep. Its pulse, almost simultaneously, converted the substance of the target into plasma ~ the stuff of stars. The fusing plasma vaporized everything within the target while the outer parts were blown away, and the force imploded the central plasma, raising its temperature beyond the fusion threshold. Radiation of all sorts moved out from it at wildly varying speeds. A certain type entered the terrorists' stockpile of uranium isotopes in which the excitement caused the atomic nuclei to split. The sky grew crimson then greened, as a fission-fusion process devastated two-fifths of the Australian island-continent. A certain radiation travelled by way of secondary laser-beams, trained on the target to convey scientific information, to the Stockholm Technate Institute.
The moon-rocks, measuring tonnes in weight, had a combined gravitational field extending over one kilometer. High-energy cosmic rays escaped through the aperture in the mirror system of the lasers to become immediately trapped in the field. Subtle effects caused the rocks to glow as their temperature rose slowly until they shone like tiny stars. Around them, extremely hot gas electrons moved furiously fast, hitting photons and imparting energy to them. Braking radiation scattered and escaped in a brilliant flash that sealed the rocks from the universe by their own event horizon. Inside this critical singularity, space and time became violently distorted.
In a flash of radiation, timeless infinite mass and density created a seed black hole that caught in its field heavy water fusion fuels. These became enormously compressed just before vanishing in the hole, fusing, and releasing energy in the form of dozens of tiny holes ~ no larger than a nuclear particle but weighing as much as a mountain. These radiated so much energy that they evaporated explosively. As they depleted their mass, they radiated the more intense, until the entire cluster of seed and mini black holes ~ contorting matter and anti-matter in time-flow reversals, caused the earth to shrug and dislodge the cluster from her surface, and push the other-universe event constellation toward deep space.
Vargarm: Le An sees Jaine ride a wolf with snakes as reins. Behind her the ground undulates as the land becomes ocean, the waves coming toward Le An. The ground slips quietly away from under her feet with a sickening sway and she is flat on her face. The ground crumbles under Shoo's feet. She hears a yodeling whoop as he falls into an abyss.
"Will it never, never stop?"
Though the first shock lasts only forty seconds, it seems two hours. The second shock comes after a ten second lull and is light compared to the first, but it completes the shifting movements of what the first had only unbalanced. Fissures open in the ground in parallel ripples. From where Radendr fell, he slides down with upreached arms. The gap of the earth closes and leaves only the sword held by his hand which ~ in a last convulsive movement ~ opens to drop the old bone-biter on the ground before Le An who has but to reach out and take it.
The contour of the landscape is ripped, shredded, and reshaped. A thirty kilometer area sinks three-hundred meters. Lakes disappear; new ones form. Two small mountains vanish. Large chasms of earth gape open and she falls into one of these, her arms and her legs caught by the soft soil below. One arm seems permanently pinned until she realizes that it is the sword wedged and she is still holding it. She lets go, works her arm free, and climbs out.
"Nothing lives except the Earth."
The words form in Le An's head by the booming sound of shockwaves from deep underground explosions. Water spouts leap up carrying bursts of forked lightning. A vast column of steam pours forth with terrific noise from an opening about twenty meters in width. A death torrent of giant boulders, scalding steam, waves of gas and heat, and burning mud rains down. A vapor tower, no less that three-thousand meters high, catapults lumps of pumice hundreds of meters upward. Amid the dust and vapor, sulphur pits open to hurtle red-hot blocks through the air which ignite the grasslands and set the area on fire. Subterranean upheavals make the ground vomit incandescent matter that gives forth a prismatic light as it rolls away. Gigantic clouds of ash and steam, in a column so black it has the appearance of ebony, rise to a height of twenty kilometers, gradually mushroom and spread into dense clouds that descend to blot out the day and bring night at noontime. From the Earth come tremendous detonations that merge into an incessant roar. This lasts through the day and the night and the day following.
Over carbonized plants among trees cut down to splintered stumps, Le An walks leaving her footsteps white on the blackened ground. She crests a rise, her heart sinks as she looks on the devastated landscape, falls on her hands and knees, and groans.
"The Earth is burnt."
A great shock, accompanied by a terrific roar, sweeps her up, twirls her about. She sees in the rippling ground her footsteps catch up with her and precede her down into a patch of forest all burned and covered by ashes and stones and smoke everywhere. A grove of trees moves a kilometer. Hills walk; Le An watches one sink before her until it is far below. She feels no trace whatever of fear.
"Go it," she cries, "and go it stronger!"
This power, which has been lying low and holding itself back within the Earth, manifests itself to her ~ inevitably and irresistibly ~ with an intent and spirit pointing to a living agent as its source. Something mighty grips her heart, squeezes it in her breast, and shakes it like the rattle of a powerful shaman.
Long listens Le An to the Earth's words and crouches on that hill, and when her mind is freed and her eyes see earthly matters again, she looks down upon the great lake to see the water drain away, then rush back at over five-hundred kilometers per hour and flood far inland. When it is all over, the birds begin to sing loudly and discordantly. Le An makes her way down to the water's edge, dips in a finger and tastes.
Narrator #3: Footsteps white as snow,
carry into the burn;
high is seen below;
sweet to salt does turn.
Vargarm: In the village survived twenty-two women, fourteen men, and nineteen children. Every house was destroyed but Gimle stood. An avalanche of earth ~ shaken loose clod from clod, and grain from grain ~ had cascaded like water and had piled up in a young mountain near enough to overshadow and forever deprive the round-house of sunrise.
From the rubble of the village the living and the dead had been pulled, dug, scratched. The stiffened legs of animals protruded here and there, and attracted hungry dogs scavenging to feed. A hound gnawed proudly on a human skull. Corpses were piled awaiting disposal and had to be guarded. The cold ~ first an ally preventing disease, became a harsh enemy as temperatures plunged.
Hours and days were lost in sky-glows, crimson dawns, red rising suns, or yellow clouds in skies of vivid red, fading into green and purple, with the sun sometimes looking like a blue ball, and always a shimmering phosphorescence was in every part of the atmosphere.
Winter Sunstead is at once a plea for the sun to remain unconquered and a celebration of its inevitable return. During the twelve night cycle, a large log was every day brought to the fires of Gimle to burn as the Yule-clog. 'To put fire among us,' was taken by the people with almost religious fervor to infuse their environment with a fragile aura of hope and to dispel the dark despair that rested in the hearts of every survivor ~ young and old. On the twelfth night of sunstead the villagers gathered on the new earth mound by Gimle. The naked soil loomed over the scorched and frosted land. Every able man, woman, and child, stood stamping feet, hoods pulled over faces against the biting wind. In their midst was a nine-spoked wheel ~ at least three meters in diameter, all wrapped with straw, which was set on fire, and rolled down the hill. And the people cheered the wheel like a sun revolving across the sky.
The sun returned but winter did not abate. The warmth of day was negated by the cold of night, and spring did not come. Where sunlight could not reach, ice crystals glittered; frost did not come out of the ground, and in midsummer fell snow. Crops would not mature. Game grew scarce. The common cycles of life are taken for granted, but when the seasons did not follow their accustomed sequence making plant growth fail and animals perish, people grew afraid and began to suffer from the depression that comes of harshness of climate and lack of sun which can drive men and women mad. They went poorly stocked into the following winter, which took the land in a frosty grasp so grim the forest-trees cried out with cracks that rent the cold stillness. When they went out, the sweat froze in the bottom of their boots, forming ice crystals that cut numb-cold feet, to be drawn from blood-soaked socks with frost-bitten dead-black digits. Snow fell the height of a person in half a day. Weakened people died in it, their bodies sticking out of the drifts.
No longer happy or sad of her own self, Le An is happy when those near her are, and sad when they are so. She watches as the people become lean, emaciated, starving. As they suffer more, they become more beautiful. In this deprivation is not the meanness bred of much need, many mouths, graves, and little hope. In this hardship, how can they be so humane? she wonders, and watches the light in their eyes and the softness that steals sometimes over their wretched features.
The people reached another sunstead at which the sun's greatest power still left the country mean and cold. It needed all of the midsummer's day to find flowers to drape over Gimle's doors and decorate the living areas inside. The fire blazed through the shortest night that gathered all around to hear the man with the horse's head. He spoke truth while dancing in the assembly ~ shaming wrongs, proclaiming right doings. Protected in his equine guise, he was free to speak of any matter, and his devoted calling was to articulate what the community would hide.
He speaks of those who died in this fimbul winter; of cold they died, and of hunger and weakness. Tears stream down Le An's face into an unutterable stillness. Everything bathes in a soft clear light. A flame-colored cloud envelopes Le An, and into her brain streams a momentary flash of illumination ~ a drop of bliss that leaves a glow of immense joyousness. She sees the light, but she has no more idea of it had she first seen the sun. It is impossible to set forth the feeling of the vision for there are no words. It is a seeing inward, and the word harmony would perhaps describe part of what it is.
In the womb, the embryo seems to retrace and summarize the evolution of the human race. In a few brief months, it grows from single cell to human form, seemingly resuming each day the slow evolution of millions of years. Likewise the child ~ from birth to maturity, and from the bottom rung of the ladder of mind ~ ascends in a few dozen months through the successive phases which occupied in its accomplishment by the race thousands of years. Le An passes through these experiences aware only of her own being ~ nothing but the speck of consciousness that is herself. Time and space are lost in an eternity of contemplation, until ~ at last ~ she discovers the world by naked sense impressions that leave memory spawning reason in her mind. Then she becomes conscious of herself and everything that is other, and she names her perceptions and gains language. The light of illumination transcends the word, the name, the concept, and Le An's mind leaps into the blissful reality of knowing.
'I believe in you, my soul,' she shouts. Mother of a nation? She laughs. Doesn't believe in immortality; she sees it.
Intense feelings of joy, peace, and love overwhelm Le An. Freed of her body she soars over tender green mists that spread over the land. She listens to the unheard beat of life expressed as a rhythm ~ a keeping time within her. From her being again springs Jaine. Inside her wholeness again lives the man's seed. She feels lovingly stroked, yet not at all like this. There is a perfect tranquil transcendence of which she is an indivisible part charged with latent potencies. Le An divines the fates as a prophetess from the future- scapes ~ wantonly thrust upon her unawares ~ which she bears like shackles in her ordinary life. The visionary sees directly into what is now ~ wears it like a glowing mantle that comes to envelop Le An also, and she knows the wearer is Jaine. Mother and daughter share the prophecy of things to come and the vision of light. The father sows again, emanates great power, then breaks his own life-stalk that remains strangely glowing and absorbing. The spirit of Radendr still quotes the myth, though the words are not heard by Le An but felt: 'Was one born ever greater to augment the earth's powers; with a word is ordered destiny's course, in the intimate affinity of the legions who compose the grounds. Then came another even more charged with ability; though i dare not pronounce the name.'
She rises radiant from the pallet where she has lain four days, the people watching fearfully over her, astonished at the light that emanates from her countenance. They find a slow happiness rise in themselves when Le An tells them she saw spring ~ sees it yet, and feel strangely rallied for yet another winter.
Village life was Gimle life ~ the round-house holding people, beasts and fowl, as well as their few stores. Hunger was their constant companion; they ate what could best be spared: sometimes a piece of old half-rotten moosehide, and at others a pair of old boots. These were nothing more than the common occurrences in their lives. The sheer repetition of hardships ground down day by day, night after night, week in and week out, from moon to moon, left only half the people remaining.
They felt utterly alone. The techniques for the making of tools neces-sary for survival had been handed down among local populations of the boreal forest for hundreds of generations, but there were few conscious memories that these orphans of technology could apply to their sudden stone-age existence. Millennia of glaciations were witnessed by an ancient race of humans who left tools for the ground to keep hundreds and thousands of years, to be regurgitated and found and used anew: a fired-clay round-based flask with a finger-long spout intact but for a small shard, a polished stone adze-blade with hollow ground cutting edge, and a wooden saw with rows of geometrically chipped flints for teeth.
After the ice, and during warmer eras of a few hundred years at a time, the sterile, desolate, kilometer-thick ice fields were broken by open land corridors with lush growth of vegetation established in the glacier's rubble of boulders, gravel beds, and moraines. Through these ~ slowly expanding their hunting grounds over the watersheds into the valleys, hunters had come dressed in hides and carrying throwing sticks and their belongings; men and women and children. The spectre of these generations of hunters, fishers, workers in flint, clearers of forests, raisers of crops, minders of stock ~ with undulating shadows of uncounted ancients behind them, gave the people in the round-house a growing awareness that lifted them, as dire necessity forced them, to measure themselves against their circumstance. Instead of a pitiable group of survivors they were a self-reliant little band composed of twelve children (half of each sex), nine women, and six men. In each of them, safe perhaps the smallest, the strength that comes of emerging from a great purge.
Never was such a spring as this. The joy of the people reached exultation with the warming days that greened the land with soft mists of fecundity. The first sun following the spring evenmete was bright and clear. They came out into the light shy and blinking as newborn kids, then reached for the sun like eager flowers, and danced in the first breeze of gentle summer. They danced on the green grass, and ran with burning brands through the fertile fields, and fell there ~ men and women ~ in wild tangles of sexual abandonment, and bathed in the dew of a new moon dawn.
On the many graves they sowed grain that sprouted to profusions of milky kernels that grew hard and heavy. The animals returned and brought new kin that fed on poison and pollution. Harvest was abundant and thanksgiving great. When winter came it was mild and seemed kind to the people who feasted amid their great stores of food and fire. At the darkest hour of sunstead the joy still welled up inside them ~ irresistible joy of survival that made them leap and laugh and sing and love, and they banished the dark with plans and predictions. The years stretched ahead of them into a future that held no reason to bemoan the past.
On the south slope of Gimle's hill a stone knoll cropped out which became a favorite play area of children. One day it was noticed there were markings in the stone, and they began to clear away the earth. The soil was loose and easily removed by the children's hands until they had uncovered a great stone menhir, the base of which was welded to solid bedrock. It was over two meters round and stood five meters tall. The coarse pitted grey stone face away from the slope of the hill was covered by carvings of serpents, snakes, worms, all coiling, writhing, around a huge snake-dragon whose body formed a serpentine band cut with Runes. The inscription was clear and simple to read even for the children: 'The Tribe Of Five-Hundred- And-One Prosper In Nineteen Bands Together In The New-Green Lands Of Tomorrow's Dawn.'
They had grown used to thinking of themselves as the only people and had not thought of exploring for others. History records the peoples' deeds ~ foul and fair, for the learned to recall; culture preserves their deeds for all people to see for, while it is the expression of what is artful in each person, it creates devices to good behavior from a system of belief that has as its object socialization and suppression of individualism ~ as does all mythology and religion. Thus was the fiery super-shaman of individual power destroyed, and replaced by the vision of the tribe through Jaine and Le An. Thus did the menhir wrench from them the overwhelming sense of individualism that comes to the last people in the world, and did this little band of humanity send out searchers to find those who would re-unite the bands of the tribe.
Empires crumbled, nations split, the earth itself shook. In the land where the waters flow north, the bands had resumed their ways. They rediscovered each other season by season no farther than twenty days travel from Gimle. Each had been left with the optimum number for a cooperating unit of individuals who have to engage in careful planning of the activities called for by their mixed economy: a population of about twenty-five. This is too few to be stable; the smallest tribal number that would ensure an overall balance in births of sexes and in the gene pool is about five-hundred. So were there five-hundred-and-one: nineteen bands in all.
It was a spring of four-hundred rounds of seasons when it darkened with the prophecy that could not be rescinded by order. The sky dimmed ~ in truth ~ when the dragon came flying. 'The serpent from below the hated mountains,' which the prophecies foretold, crawled forth from the Earth as the horse-eel from the ness; the monster of the lake, but also of the swamp, which moves through land as well as water. He flew up from the ground and soared high before swooping over the plain. As he drew nearer the people scattered with fright, for he carried an aura of pure evil that boded ill malevolence, malice, and hate. His eye gleamed with an unwholesome depravity. He was a real do-evil ~ devil. His presence alone caused pain.
Most miserable and wretched was his burden, 'his winged talons' which rode upon him. The 'Hostile-Striker' ~ non-human, sin incarnate, who came to power and authority, and governed all with the rule of blood. From their dark primitive caverns they urged their foul steeds on the people to kill and kill to reach a frenzied fury ~ that berserker rage. They fought with the avowed aim to annihilate the tribe.
"Thy sires failed to bequeath the baresark marrow to thy bones," they mocked.
It was so. A moral nature nurtured in four centuries of peace recognized that mere brotherhood in arms did not distinguish the savage from the civilized. To kill or be killed like berserkers is to be berserk.
'Now must the dragon sink,' said the prophetess.
Now must he sink, say I.
I quote again: 'Then came another even more charged with ability; though i dare not pronounce the name.'
I weep, cry, plead. Shining, transcendent Tiwa. I have forgotten the meaning of what I dare not.
One time, long ago, real men and real women walked these shores. In those days, great evergreen forests covered this land, and there was an abundance of game in them, and fish in these waters.
Then the forests were destroyed. The animals became few. The waters were all but fished out. The people defiled their home, their land. They lived violently ~ fighting, lying, stealing, in darkness and untruth.
A terrible imbalance caused volcanic eruptions and earth quakes. Erratic weather patterns sent space winds that hurl about the Earth to its surface. Giant hail storms devastated crops.
The Earth in upheaval was reflected in the poor creatures living upon it. There were the people, living under the yoke of tyrants who ruled the world under the bloody banner of naked violence.
War and discord spread. Brother fought brother, sister fought sister. Then in a blinding flash, fire leaped to the sky and during four turnings of the Earth darkness was not known.
The Earth itself was afraid and trembled. The sea left its basin, the heavens tore asunder. Continents were destroyed. New lands rose in all the oceans.
Then came three winters without end, the Sun imparted no gladness, the wind was piercing, the frost severe, and it spread hunger and devastation.
And all the carrion animals of the earth ate the people's flesh.
The Earth' crust rippled, sea levels changed, but it was not the final destruction ~ the agonizing end to a long-suffering existence. No! It was an age of violent transition during which the people were driven within them-selves to find the roots from whence they came. It was a renewal, like the Sun that returns to the land in a flash brings new life in an abundant regeneration. A renewal. For the Earth is not some slab of lifeless rock. It is a fiery-ocean-ball, alive and conscious. The Earth's crust festered and healed, and festered again.
There was a rebirth of the people, when came the five-hundred-and- one ~ the nineteen bands by which the people escaped the common ignorance of the enslaved multitudes who bring their offerings to the altars of the gods.
Know this to be set down in year 27 of godi Mjoda's regency by Vargarm Radendrskin ~ ErilaR, initiate to Runic mysteries.
Author: ACT TWO
Dee: Here Be Dragons
Author: PART TWO Here Be Dragons: Translator's Confession
Narrator #1: Etty Hillesum wrote: "What makes the people want to destroy others? The people, yes the people, but think, that you also include yourself in that. And that decay of others also lives in us. And I see no other solution, I really see no other solution than to turn into my own center and there destroy all that decay. I no longer believe that we can improve anything in the exterior world, that we must not first improve within ourselves. And that seems to me the only lesson of this war, that we have learned. That we must search only in ourselves, and nowhere else."
Dee: Here ends the Manuscript.
It (together with other texts which are now being translated) was composed in ancient script on hide parchment that was recovered less than a decade ago. The original writ is no longer understood except by means of translations and commentaries in more modern tongues. Thiot: Chronicles Of The People is the only extant text of the Holocaust. It is a traditional retelling of the tale of the tribe's survival, although Vargarm's editorial pen is evident particularly in the final chapters which, so he tells us, were completed during the Regency of Mjoda ~ a realm of which we know neither place nor date.
The Piscean Age that preceded ours is known by scholars as the Christean era. For millennia the calendar began with the birth of the 'Christus' savior, and the years were numbered and dedicated to him: Anno Domini, the 'year-of-our-lord'. Known as the AD dating system, it was in use as late as AA700 in some parts of the known world. Because of inherent errors in the system, much history before the year 500 can be only provisionally fixed as to date. The cataclysmic events in the tale are known to have culminated with the dawning of our Age.
It is strange to say we have not yet determined how we learned to tame the dragon. However the dispute, the tribal myth is evident in our customs and manners. May the Serfdom of Thrallii and its learned Council of Nineteen profit by this account.
Narrator #5: When boreal ethnographer of Landsuniversity at Towering Halls, Dee WARRAN-MUST submitted (in the year 1823AA) the translation of the Chronicles Of The People to Council with the above Translator's Note appended, he concealed a secret, heretical question that had begun to take shape in his mind, a question he had obliquely raised in an incautious sentence of the last paragraph. His was a time of familiar stories about a myth-shrouded history that told of a horrific war with the Berserker and how the dragon came to the people along with the secret knowledge to tame the terrifying and ravenous Needhog Horse Eel. On such tales ~ part fable, part history (and none could tell which), rested a tenuous edifice of theoretical ethnogeny.
From the Northbond Epic:
. . . This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land, terrifying all Northbonders most woefully: there were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine; and not long after, the harrowing inroads of the Berserker made lamentable havoc in the temple of the Sonne in Holy-land, by rapine and slaughter.
Very long ago this was, so old people have told me, when the terrible monster came from its home in a hell not hell but earth, where it was spawned in the slime. It had a body like an ox, and legs like a frog, two short fore-legs and two long ones behind, and besides that it had a tail like a serpent, ten fathoms in length. When it moved it jumped like a frog, and with every spring it covered half a league of ground. When the Horse Eel stirred, its thoughts were as quick as its greed or its claws. Snatched man, clutched him, ripped him apart, cut his body to bits with powerful jaws, drank the blood from his veins, and bolted him down, hands and feet; death and Needhog's great teeth came together, snapping life shut.
Its thoughts quick as its greed, it made cowards and traitors of men, shamefaced jackals, pierced their minds with a nameless, shapeless terror that drained their will of courage and filled them with agony.
Berserker too proud to care what their hearts hid, brought only destruction and slaughter. In their mad rages they killed. Granted greater strength than anyone alive, but dark and blood-thirsty in spirit. Shared no treasure, showed no road to riches and fame.
Earl clung to rotting wealth of this world, clawed to keep it, earned no honor, no glory, in giving golden rings. Thus he awoke the demon, the fiend, from its darkness and dreams and brought terror to the people: the beast had slept in a huge stone tower with a hidden path beneath. Earl stumbled on the entrance, went in, discovered the ancient treasure, the pagan jewels and gold the dragon had been guarding, and dazzled and greedy, stole a gem-studded cup, and fled. But now the dragon hid nothing, neither the theft nor itself; it swept through the darkness, and all of Northbond knew its anger. Vomiting fire and smoke, the dragon burned down earl's castle and churl's hut; it meant to leave nothing alive.
The churl thought he had nothing now and would have less but for the fame of a dragon's treasure in the monster's hidden home. He found the huge stones, set in the ground, with the sea beating on the rocks close by. Stone arches felt the heat of the dragon's pestilential breath flooding down through the hidden entrance, too hot for any to stand, a streaming current of fire and smoke that blocked all passage. Then churl dug a deep pit and a shallow trench running out from the side of it, in the dragon's path; the pit to catch the poisonous, burning blood, and the trench for churl to sit in wait. When Needhog, crawling on his way down to water, came over the pit, churl cut him through with the heavy sword, strong and blessed with magic, the best of all weapons but so massive that no ordinary man could lift its carved and decorated length. Then the sword melted, blood-runneled, dripping down so that all that was left was the hilt of the jeweled sword; the rest of that rune-marked blade had dissolved in Needhog's steaming blood. The dragon screamed a cry of pain and malice, sought out its fearsome cave; that too was the end of the Berserker.
But for the churl the triumph was the last he would ever earn. The noxious breath and toxic blood had begun its evil-stained action on him; he could feel something stirring, burning in his veins, a stinging venom, and he knew the beast had left it. To him came a thrall, and poison-touched churl spoke, knowing he'd unwound his string of days on earth, seen as much as would be granted him, all worldly pleasures gone, as life would go: 'This dragon's treasure is not gold and gems but words and oaths. Death will be softer, leaving life and this people, if I pass on this treasure before I die.' Then thrall sprinkled with water the hero, until the words deep in his breast broke through and were heard as he lay weak and dying, gasping for breath, and thrallish ear bent to churlish mouth to hear the secret of the Horse Eel.
With this precious learning, the thrall haltered the monster and led it to a far isle and Red Cap's Hide. Came earl out of the woods, knowing the dragon was gone; afraid while it spit its fires, he fell then on the Berserker whose rage had waned and drove him from Northbond. . . .
If the tale rings true, the truth belongs to us all; if it chimes hollow, the fault is mine only, who told the tale.
Scholar: My dear old colleague, as a scholar of political history, I can tell you this: The Northbond Epic is as reliable as any extant text. Approached as an archeological relic, it is fascinating. Taken as a linguistic document, it is a marvel, a mine of revelations and controversies. It gives us information about Old Northbond social life and about Old Northbond politics and about many things on which scholars would like to have much more information.
As for history, the year of which this section of the Epic deals has been traditionally accepted (religiously, really, one should say) as Year One of our Age and of the Serfdom's foundation. Some scholars believe that this should be placed later ~ but this is a heresy to be left unpublished, unspoken even.
There is no historical doubt that the Berserker War was fought, that they were driven off by our ancestors, and that this completed a chain of events that led to the earliest stages of what would become the Serfdom of Thrallii. We have a picture of this early society, that could not yet be called a thralldom, when earls, churls, and thralls composed the strata of what your specialty calls ethnosity, what mine calls political classes: the human divisions that the Northbond Epic depicts of earls living in castles and clinging to inglorious wealth, churls in huts with nothing but to fight the menace, and thralls who appear only to serve those who would lose their mastery over them when finally the Serfdom was realized.
The earls, disgraced, disappeared from history; the theft of the golden cup should perhaps be seen as allegory. The heroic churl ~ 'no ordinary man', as the Epic states ~ nevertheless remains unnamed, unless a secret tradition speaks of him among the churls who survive to this day in isolated tribes throughout the far-flung reaches of Thrallii. At last appeared the thrall to offer the churlish hero water and in return received the secret knowledge with which he haltered the dragon. The Horse Eel, likewise, is a historical fact, and has been so attested through the centuries; we have archeological evidence of where the huge stone tower of the dragon stood and where the thrall led the beast to Red Cap's Hide.
Where is Red Cap's Hide? You ask.
On the western end of the Isle of Thrallii, an island so large and wild that geographers consider it a land in itself. It is told that when Needhog was tamed he was led back to this tower and put in the care of Red Cap ~ an extremely interesting personality in his own right; and as you know, he takes his own unique position in our religious pantheon.
Dee: I'd like to hear of the historical Red Cap, but I would return to the subject of which you are reluctant to speak. It is a well known ethnographic axiom that our Serfdom and this Age together arose from the Holocaust: a new-born state in the reborn world of a dawning age. But the Chronicle I have just submitted in translation to Council is very clear: Vargarm states that from the time of the tribe's so-called fimbul winter to the coming of the dragon and the Berserker who came with him, four-hundred rounds of seasons passed; and what is known of the reign of godi Mjoda, in whose time Vargarm wrote?
Scholar: The term godi is a churlish one, and means priest or chief, or perhaps priestly-king. Your remarkable translation of the Thiot Chronicles, and the reference to Mjoda, caused me to recall an old churlish genealogy, and upon going back to it found this name in the long dreary lists of begats and succeededs that enumerate many generations. Godi Mjoda's place in these listings seems to agree very well with Vargarm's four-hundred rounds of seasons. But be warned that this is dangerous ground ~ soaked with the blood of political historians who would speculate on such questions. The very tenets of the temple are enshrined in the simultaneous emergence of new earth, new church, new state ~ infallibly revealed in nature by our all-embracing Sonne.
Narrator #5: The Old East Road led only to the vast forest wilderness. Few travel-ers trod it beyond where stood a soaring stonework fortress surrounded by massive, battlement-topped, ancient walls that had been three-hundred years in the making. Though its brick and stone had crumbled in places, from the outside the view conveyed the wall's great length, and the numerous towers and turrets, its six outer gates, spoke eloquently of its now faded illustrious past. The main gate had tall, slender, double-towered spires over a high-shouldered arch, and was an impressive showpiece in richly adorned ornate brick form. Inside, the fortress made an impression of bulky height, with every building an architectural marvel: a high saddle-roofed right-angled hall with arcades built in front of its two stories; a large rectangular building with a square bell-tower on a massive keep; a temple with the entrance to its inner court through a narrow soaring arch set between two round, squat towers with fluted spires. There were storehouses, hostels, bath-houses, carters, stables, half-timbered low town residences, narrow high triangular gabled houses with staggered eaves, and humble thatch and daub wooden servant quarters, all dwarfed by lofty towers. Squares and courtyards, streets and alleys, made it seem much like a town ~ which indeed it had once been, but its government had long removed to the City of Thud; a hospital occupied the old seven-spired municipal building. All this, ringed by the ancient walls, was Towering Halls.
Its most famed and noted feature, however, was at the east, last to be seen when coming from the nearby city on the coast. Jutting from the walls was an ancient chapel stronghold with narrow windows high in its rough stone walls. The chapel was towerless ~ no cathedral it, for the sun reaches to the lowest. The entry into the chapel, between two square columns, up monumental steps, was barred by heavy, metal inlaid, double wooden doors. It was empty and cold inside, while outside of this severe silence, huddled against its walls, was a jumble of huts, hovels, and barns, occupied by people who (though not encouraged to stay and able to eke only a meager living from the land) lived there to be near the priestess of this chapel whom they thought a great oracle. There were many acolytes, nuns and monks of various ranks and orders, who served the chapel.
But most people at Towering Halls were the students, graduands, teachers, schoolmasters, scholars, administrators and servants of the institution of learning that had its seat there. Landsuniversity was venerable as the walls: its first chancellor had received two silver scepters and the great seal as proof and symbol of its exalted status. The departments of ethnography and ethnogeny shared with the department of metaphysics a structure that had started as two simple buildings side by side, joined by transverse facades, extended twice in three centuries, and finally combined by means of a massive blind facade in brickwork concealing the original gables and roofs; tracery and rosettes subdivided and adorned the facade to form a unique architectural whole. Inside were lecture halls, conference rooms, offices, study quarters, libraries, and tenured staff apartments. In one of these, at the rear of the building, overlooking a narrow alley from a third floor study window, Dee had labored for many years. At Towering Halls, Dee had spent most of his life.
Dee: A junior ethnogeny research fellow tapped timidly on the door marked: b.e. DeeWARRAN-MUST, Doctor of Boreal Ethnography (with laurels). Almost immediately, it was opened by my maid-servant who led him through a short, darkened hall, and bade him wait. After a respectful knock, she entered the study, then returned nearly at once to usher the fellow inside, closing the door behind him.
Sit down, sit down, I said from across the room. I stood by a work-table from which I took a parchment leaf covered with symbols of writing, placed it on a folio on a shelf and covered the stack carefully with a cloth. Then I went behind my spacious desk and looked across to the young fellow who sat uneasily on the edge of a chair on the other side. I pulled a short flask from a small pedestal cupboard, cleared a spot in the clutter of books, papers, and notes, and set it on the desk. Drink?
"No, sir. Thank you, sir."
I produced a tiny glass, filled it with a pleasing glug-glug, sat down, and sipped.
"Doctor MUST," said the junior uneasily, "I was assigned the query you directed to our department."
"Pertaining to the regency of one godi Mjoda, sir."
Ah yes, of course.
"I'm afraid, sir, we haven't much."
I had not expected much.
"Ethnogenically considered," said the junior researcher, consulting a thick file he had brought, "there is very little documentation beyond some old genealogies in the library of the department of history that appear to place it in a period of churlish hegemony. But this does not assist us in determining the location of the regency in question. However, among historical geographers there is a tradition that at a very early date there existed somewhere in the lands north of the Bay of Slaves a loose federation of churls known as Thidoruk's Chiefhold. Combining the historical and geographical facts with our ethnogenical research, it seems certain at the least that there is a strong connection (either ascendent or descendent) between the regency of Mjoda and Thidoruk's Chiefhold. Even though the so-called chiefhold may in fact be largely legendary, and considering the huge geographical area we have tentatively identified, when taken with your own considerable knowledge in the field of ethnography, there may be sufficient clues for you to deduce a more precisely defined location." He looked hopefully at me.
I nodded. I had not expected much, and that was exactly what I had received. I took the file from the fellow, leafed absent-mindedly through the documents in it. As I leaned forward, I nearly tipped the flask on my desk so put it back in the cupboard and drained the glass. I shuffled with my hand on the desk until I found a small paper, checked both sides for writing, found none, and scribbled some words on it. I sealed the note with my signet and handed it to the young fellow.
Please give this note to your departmental supervisor. Thank you for your work. I'm sure you will get a good mark for it. I'll return your research file shortly. Thank you.
The young man rose quickly and bowed stiffly. "Thank you, Doctor," he said sincerely, and made a relieved get-away.
The information did at least confirm my own assumptions. The north shore of the Bay of Slaves was a likely location for the origin of the ancient manuscript. Almost ten years ago to the day I had purchased it from a Northmost trader ~ and purchased it dearly too. The trader had brought it to Towering Halls where he meant to turn a profit on it. By chance (was there such a thing as chance?) the trader had ended by offering it to me in this very study. The man, exotically clothed and all brown, weathered and rough-looking from many years on the road, had told me he bought the parchments at the harbor town of Land End from a churl who had a fearful story:
Some years previous, the churl had related, it was learned among the local tribes that certain ancient and sacred scriptures had been discovered in a low cave of the north shore coastal lands. This holy writ, so it was murmured, had powers to free the mind, and an urge to behold this text came over him. After a difficult traverse of several weeks across the countryside, he found entrance to the cave controlled by ruthless merchants exacting high prices for a view of the relic. Again and again he paid to try and read the ancient script until his small store of funds was exhausted. But now an obsession had taken hold of him, an obsession that caused him to be a triple murderer, steal the parchments, and flee by ship to harbor at Land End. But so great was his remorse that now he wanted only to rid himself of what had caused this ghastly burden on his conscience, and only a superstitious fear had stopped him from throwing them overboard into the sea.
I was occupied with the routines of students and teaching, and the continuing work of translation ~ for the completion of the Thiot Chronicles had been only part of the total ErilaR Manuscript (as I had come to call it). Using documents such as the Northbond Epic, the Thiot Chronicles, and the even more ancient tales related in Runesong, another text of the ErilaR Manuscript, I tried to devise a rational chronology. I began an outline for a paper but, though it was the best I could do, it seemed replete with inconsistencies:
In the remotest dawn of antiquity, from a state of anarchy descended a nation which took up residence in the legendary land of Europe where they came into conflict with kings. The kingdoms developed an empire, while the nation evolved the tribe Thiot. Then the Holocaust; and the cataclysm did not only alter geography, for when the state of North-bond arose it had three new ethnosities: churl (begat from Thiot?); earl (had they been imperialist?); and enslaved thrall (from where did they come?). But unshaken by the Holocaust remained Sonne: the shining sun of Northbond, as before the supreme principle Tiwa: the shining inner light. 'Then came in dimness dragon flying, adder gleaming, beneath from Nidafjollum,' or 'from its home in a hell not hell but earth'. But 'most miserable and wretched was his burden, his winged talons which rode upon him. From their dark primitive caverns they urged their foul steeds' ~ the Berserker who brought the horrific war. This dreadful conflict finally resulted in the Berserker being driven off into the oblivion of history, but not before he wiped out earl to the last man, and drove churl to within an inch of his life. Only thrall survived to establish a glorious Serfdom. The dragon was led away to the mastery of Red Cap where the great tower was to crumble with age.
I was convinced that certainly the latter portion of the Thiot Chronicles' final chapter was Vargarm's contemporary account of the horse-eel. And what did it tell? Vargarm expected the dragon must sink, quoting an unnamed prophetess: Jaine? Le An? Another, more ancient, seeress? But the dragon was led away and, far from sinking, became ethnographically absorbed in the institutions of Thrallii ~ its church, state, social life. Where now he was the giver of knowledge, for Vargarm he had brought pain by his very presence. But Vargarm spoke of the dragon only 'as the horse-eel'; perhaps this was not the great Needhog he had written of but some other, commoner, dragon. Why was it that the historical and ecclesiastical traditions of the dragon stood in direct opposition? In the former he was the bringer of agony to the righteous, while in the latter bringing tranquillity to the pious; in one he was the consummate 'do-evil', the other associated him with the divine; history showed his power broken by knowledge, but he was revered in temples for providing knowledge of Sonne. While historians had him the dragon of wanton destruction, to ecclesiastics he bore the sun in his monstrous jaws; but both secular and historical tradition agreed this dragon, the Horse Eel, Needhog, was and is mastered by Red Cap. Red Cap: the enigma. Was he thrall, churl, or earl? Berserker? Who was Red Cap? Whence did he come; where did he go?
Narrator #5: No tinge of dawn touched the sky when, surrounded by numerous yellow-robed acolytes, the priestess crossed the wide, cobble-stoned inner courtyard to the ancient chapel stronghold; as the most exalted ecclesiastic in the land the sun could not be allowed to strike her sacred body. Inside the austere darkness of the chapel, the curate (an old man with a grey fringe of hair, a white and yellow robe over his short, thin, bowed figure) had opened the huge wooden doors to the devout who had come in throngs. They awaited the ceremonial rite of the Feast of Sonne seated on mats, rugs, and little stools on the rough, stone floor of the main chapel where the ceiling rose many times the height of a man. When the priestess followed by a procession of acolytes entered, they stood up and a low, expectant murmur arose from them. She was dressed all in white and wore a chain of office from which dangled a golden sunburst pendant. From her waist hung a long, golden sword with which, it was said, she was invincible as in quickness to parry she had no peer and she could strike twice where any man could once. At the far west end of the chapel a large sanctuary soared up into darkness; in its center was an altar made of a massive slab of polished stone where the priestess took a position encircled by her acolytes. Through windows set high in the rough stone walls of the chapel pale daylight began to filter, and columns on either side threw huge, solemn shadows across the rough stonework.
Shortly, at a certain carefully calculated time, the curate rang a bell several times, signaling the priestess to start an invocation.
"Hear me, oh breathing, flowing Sonne."
The acolytes began to chant in unison: "Oh, sun, oh, dragon-sun, the beast that whirlest forth, oh begetter of life."
"Thou that flowest. Thou that goest," all the people congregated in the great chapel chanted in return.
Then the acolytes again: "Thou Needhog-sun that goest without will. Thou air, breath, spirit. Thou without bound or bond. Thou essence, air-swift streaming. Thou wanderer. Thou shining force of breath. Thou dragon-sun. Thou savior, save. Thou secret, solitary bird, inviolate wisdom, whose word is truth, creating the world by magic."
And the congregation: "Thou that flowest. Thou that goest."
The priestess turned to the altar. "Hear me," she cried, "and make all spirits subject unto me, so that every spirit of the firmament and of the ether, upon the earth and under the earth, on dry land and in the water, of whirling air and rushing fire, and every spell and scourge may be obedient unto me. I invoke the terrible and invisible which dwells in the void."
The first rays of sunrise fell through a cunningly placed opening high in one of the chapel walls and sent a mote-swirling beam of light the length of the long chapel into the darkened sanctuary where it struck the great stone slab.
"Thou Needhog," the acolytes sang. "Thou eye, thou lust. Cry aloud. Cry aloud. Whirl the wheel. Oh, Needhog."
Then the curate shouted with feeble voice: "Silence. Give me thy secret."
Acolytes brought a golden, high-footed grail, placed it on the altar, and arranged in its wide-mouthed bowl small sticks and straws in a heap. The priestess was provided with a long-handled lens with which she intercepted the beam of sun to focus its heat into the grail. When, after some little time, a tiny flame lept from the bowl and pungent smoke rose in small tendrils, she stepped away.
The old curate advanced then to the altar, three times kissed a great, clasped book he placed on the slab, and intoned: "I proclaim the law of light." He put his palms together in front of his breast, then slowly separated them as if parting a veil.
Making the same gesture, all the people responded: "Light is the law."
The curate took the book, acolytes removed the grail, and the priestess stepped forward, drew the sword, disrobed, and stood naked before the altar ~ empty but for the bright sunlight on its polished surface.
Though she was very old, the priestess was smooth and handsome with a very pale complexion, and she was exceedingly thin. She raised the sword. "By the power of the sharp edge, I say unto thee, arise that thou mayst administer the virtues."
The curate draped a gold and scarlet robe over her nakedness, and said, "be the flame of the sun thine ambiance, oh, priestess of Sonne. Be the dragon."
And the congregation chanted: "So mote it be."
Continued the curate: "Oh, visible and sensible of whom the earth is but a frozen spark turning about thee, source of light, source of life, let thy perpetual radiance hearten us to continual labor and enjoyment."
"So mote it be," chanted the people.
"Lady of darkness, be thou favorable to hunters and lovers, and to all who toil upon the earth, and to all mariners at sea."
"So mote it be."
"Be the hour auspicious, the gate of life open, the veil fallen."
"So mote it be."
The priestess raised with two arms the sword and turned to face the congregation. She stepped into the light so that the sunbeam struck her flat, naked breasts and abdomen between the hems of the open scarlet robe, and the sunburst pendant sparkled a golden reflection above her black pubic hair.
With great force she said: "There is no part of me that is not Sonne." Then she turned away and with the sword held high led her acolytes in procession out of the sanctuary into the dark forbidden recesses of the chapel.
The curate remained to stand beside the altar, holding the book of the law, and watched as the congregation filed past one by one to let the sunbeam fall across their bodies, and thus be blessed by its passion.
Dee: I transversed the cobblestones of the courtyard, and entered the chapel by the door used by acolytes. I hurried down the dark, gloomy corridor past the curate's quarters while my leathered feet barely raised a hollow, shuffling echo from the rough stone floor. Pushing aside a heavy fold of massive, brocaded and tasseled curtain, I went into the sanctuary.
The priestess could not have heard me but she turned around at once.
"Dee," she said.
Her piercing green eyes rested coldly on me. She had thin black hair around a long, narrow face, and, with her figure barely concealed in the white robe she wore, she gave an overwhelming impression of thin delicacy, frailty even ~ but that, I knew, would be a very mistaken assumption.
How like her I am, I thought, and said: "Mother."
She said nothing more.
I looked around, saw we were alone. The main doors locked out the world beyond the walls of the chapel and captured an oppressive silence. I walked to where she stood waiting, took a deep breath.
My students' semester is almost complete," I said. I have been engrossed in research. Mother, I would travel to the Isle of Thrallii.
Mother: At your age? And for what purpose? Is it to do with your work?
Dee: I wish to stand where the dragon's stone tower once stood, and reflect on something solid instead of my troubling speculations. I would follow up my research with fieldwork that could very well be valuable in the field of knowledge about the origin of the horse-eel. You see, there is considerable confusion in my mind at present about the Holocaust, about the dragon, about Red Cap, and about how these came to be in Sonne's domain.
Mother: Of Red Cap all is taught here among my acolytes," she said. "That he masters Needhog ~ the cosmic dragon who bears the sun in his jaws." Then she surprised Dee greatly by suddenly speaking very candidly. "The nature of Sonne," she said to him, "is alien to the universe which he neither created nor governs. He is from a divine realm of light ~ self-contained and remote; we are but wanderers from that realm in this cosmos that is its opposite ~ the realm of darkness. The world is the work of lower powers; descended from it is the Horse Eel who doesn't know the true divine; and though Needhog obstructs the knowledge of it, he knows it is the power of Sonne that sustains him and he prostrates himself before that power that infuses the world with eternity's counterfeit substitute of time. In the end, golden Sonne is to be slain by the evil principle that Needhog carries within him.
Dee: But the tenets of the church . . . .
Mother: The tenets of the church," she replied offhandedly, "inculcate rigid and exclusive habits of thought in the common thrall.
Dee: What then do the people think they are doing when they come to worship Sonne in your chapel ~ and in all the churches and temples of the land?
Mother: The greatest visible power is that which lives in the sun, the force of life by the influence of which that body, that ball, is made to shine and to move. The forces of life come from the heavens to the sun, and from the sun to earth; grain, grass, and trees cling to the earth in order to partake of it. And the chief power here below is fire, which is the ancestress that sustains us and rears us. The body is the expression of the life force.
You ask what the people think they're doing. I will tell you, in Master HUXLEY's words as taught in the Mystery School: with one part of their minds they think they are worshiping an enormous divine personality who can be cajoled with ritual and promised acts of adoration into giving them what they want. But with another part of their minds they know perfectly well that Sonne is not a person. They even know that if prayers are sometimes answered it is because in this very odd world of ours, ideas have a tendency, if you concentrate your mind on them, to get themselves realized. And another thing the people are doing ~ they are unconsciously learning a lesson about themselves, they are being told that if they'd only stop giving themselves suggestions to the contrary, they might discover that Sonne is wisdom, the center of energy, that each human being contains within itself a center that may grow to be a sun.
Dee: Are you saying that there is no use in the rituals of worship that you conduct?
Mother: Magic causes the sun to shine," the priestess answered sternly. "I do that so the sun may be burning hot and eat up all the clouds in the sky. I kindle the sun by my rituals and my magic ceremonies. Assuredly it would not rise were we not to make offerings.
Dee: I fell silent and stared at the floor. When she said nothing further, I looked up and saw her piercing eyes resting speculatively on me.
She turned away from me, touched one knee briefly to the rough stone and placed a hand on the altar.
Mother: I will have travel documents drawn up and brought to your apartment.
Dee: I thanked her and was about to hurry away, when, without turning to me, she spoke again in a peculiarly appraising tone of voice:
Mother: The nature of people, Dee, cannot be changed.
Dee: I believe, I believe that I can change!
Mother: Do not change too greatly, my son.
Dee: Seated on a plodding steed, I rode out one of Towering Halls' western gates on a clear, cool afternoon, trailing a tethered spare riding horse and two pack-mules. Walking briskly behind was my maid-servant who was to tend to my needs and comfort on the journey to Red Cap's isle that lay ahead.
We had traveled little over an hour when the outskirts of the city came into view, but I turned off the Old East Road before reaching these and entered the courtyard of an old two-storey stone building. So weathered it would not be noticed by any but those familiar with its features, barely legible in chiseled stone on the facade over the entry, was the legend: Thud Hostelry. I dismounted.
A grey-haired old man with a ruddy face in which were set pale blue eyes came out the door and down the steps. "Doctor MUST," he said with a slight bow. "A pleasure to have you again." With an appraising look at the animals, he added, "will you be requiring the stable?"
Yes indeed, churl, I answered. For the night only, and the small suite for myself and my servant. We travel early tomorrow, but first I would enjoy one of your goodly meals and the use of the study-room to peruse some of the maps in your collection.
"Certainly, eminent sir," said the hostelier and, turning, gave some instructions to a stocky man with uncommon red hair who took the horse's halter and with the help of my servant began to lead the small train across the yard.
Wait, I said. Let me take this now, and unstrapped from my riding horse a heavy parcel wrapped in hide, securely bound with leather straps, and carried it up the stone steps. Any guests? I inquired.
The old man shook his greying head. "No, Doctor. Though once, long ago, no doubt, there was, you know there is little business here for a hostelry. If it was not for my son and his wife to till our small patch of rocky land, we surely would starve. But enough of that. We have had your patronage for lo these many years and sorely glad we are of it too." He led the way inside the common room and quietly ordered a woman there to kindle a fire.
Shortly after, I was comfortably ensconced with a beaker of hot mead in front of brightly leaping flames in the hearth. Outside, dusk crept slowly over the land. From behind him came the soft murmur of the women (two of a kind, with their thin black hair, pale, narrow faces, and soft voices) as they lit lamps and prepared a meal table. The hostelier attended him. I pressed some silver into his palm. This parcel, I said, pointing with my foot, I will leave for safe-keeping here with you.
The old man nodded, but slightly raised the greying brows over his pale eyes.
It contains nothing of value to any but a scholar, but it seems that in my advancing age it may yet become my life's work. I would not trust it lightly with many a man.
"I understand, Doctor. Indeed. Your generosity is well known to us. I myself will take it to the vault." And off he went, carrying the hide-wrapped parcel, while Dee went to table and an excellent repast.
When the full dark of evening covered the silhouettes of the landscape outside the window of the old hostelry's study-room, I sat at a wooden table by the light of a lamp and unrolled the maps the hostelier pulled out for me. The old man and I spent several hours in earnest discussion until, all at last having been satisfactorily arranged, I retired to my suite. It was cool in the darkened rooms. By the light of the candle I carried, I saw that my maid- servant was abed. I disrobed, snuffed the candle, shivered slightly, then eased under the bedcovers cozily beside her warm, sleeping form.
Following a pre-dawn breakfast, next morning early, our tiny caravan clopped through the silent warren of houses and establishments, cobbled streets and dirt alleys, that was Old Thud ~ the oldest section of the city. Less than half an hour later we reached the intersection with the Northern Trade Route, but I turned the animals southward. Soon the jumble of dwellings lay behind, and I saw tillers labor the land on both sides of the road. Several hours after, the fields became less frequent until great trees crowded the road except where here and there between rocky outcrops the vast sea of the Bay of Slaves could be seen on the right hand side. Then I allowed my servant to ride the extra horse. Thus we proceeded.
The old hostelier had been a traveler for many of his long years and I had been keen for his advice, so the evening previous had bid him stay in the study-room with me. Then I explained my plan of setting off southwest from Thud to take this road that ran close along the coast. After some measurements he had determined the distance to the harbor village of Must ~ named like me. It should take twelve days. Allow two weeks, I estimated.
The old man had nodded.
Then hire a vessel for a bit of coast-hugging sea faring to this place marked with an S on the Isle of Thrallii.
"Depotess," the hostelier had said. "Is that your destination?"
No, I want to go . . . ," my finger traced the island westward, here. Pointing at an unnamed place marked by a small black circle.
"That is a hundred miles of untracked land," the old grey-hair had exclaimed. "What is it that you seek so far away on this wild and rugged island?"
Long ago, I told him, in ancient days, a tower famed in history and legend stood here.
The old man frowned. "It will be very difficult, Doctor. I don't know this place of which you speak, sir, but in my youth I traversed the Spireberg mountains of that isle. If you would, once in Depotess seek out one of my churlish relations. It can be arranged for you to be assisted." And he had provided me with a sign I should use.
We made excellent progress and, after an uneventful journey, found ourselves in the village of Must. There I sold the animals and engaged a vessel to sail up the coast, then cross the treacherous swift currents and rip-tides in the strait that separated the mainland from the Isle of Thrallii. At Depotess a stony breakwater protected the mouth of a wide river that served as port for the tiny hamlet of no more than twenty houses. It was a simple matter to find the hostelier's relation. The only representative of his race, short and stocky with tousled blond hair and the hostelier's blue eyes, he lived alone in a shack on the edge of the hamlet. Shown the hostelier's sign, and having determined fair recompense in silver, he agreed at once to be retained as guide. On his advice, I rented a cottage near shore where my maid-servant awaited my return. I purchased three sturdy, long-haired ponies, and scant time passed before recommencing the journey.
We followed the river upstream through heavy forest for five days until it was a mere stream flowing from the broken-stumped crags of the Spireberg Shoulder. The churl told me that north of it lay the barren Stony Plain that slowly descends to a rugged, rocky coast, perilous to ships that venture near shore. The Spireberg Shoulder was a system of low mountains that reached eastward many days travel to a small village, Thidoruk Fell, where (so old churlish tales related, I was assured) a legendary chieftain had found the half mile long beach that afforded the only possible landfall on the north shore from the treacherous currents of the choppy waters in the Great Slave Bay. Thidoruk, the churl told, and his band of warriors traveled west to the peak known as The Spire where they battled a fearsome monster before setting up a beacon there. They rode now, he impressed on me, the trail of the great chief. I turned onto the barely perceptible track and toward the destination, the peak at the end of the isle where the Spireberg Shoulder met the sea.
Three days later we emerged from the forest onto a trail along the southern coast that led after a few more hours to where a wooden-piled dock reached tentatively out from a shore upon which huddled four shacks occupied by fishermen and their families. To the north The Spire could be seen rising above the land far distant. A well-marked trail led northward but none of the fishers wanted to travel it; in fact, they assured me that the peak, the rocks around it, and the dark and choppy waters of the seabay were taboo to them, and nothing would induce them to speak more of the matter ~ sullenly shaking their heads, until one finally allowed that to the north lived a solitary woman who might speak with one such as he (and I thought of mother).
But the churl had heard too much and declared to me that it seemed unnecessary to accompany me farther as the destination was clearly in sight and his contract fulfilled. He would stay with the simple fishers, he said, and help them with their nets until I returned.
It was not until the following morning that I was able to convince the churl (with some copper coins) to ride with me. The trail went nearly straight north into the forest until, after a couple of hours, it turned abruptly west and shortly came to where a wicker-gated path led off. I leaned over the pony's neck to peer down the path and suddenly noticed the woman standing beside the gate. The pony jumped as I reacted with a start; after a short struggle for control, I dismounted.
She wore a grey cape, so long he could not see her feet, tied by a tas-seled cord around her thin waist. Her eyes looked benevolently from a pale, narrow face. "You've come to the tower," she stated.
Yes, indeed, I said. Did you guess?
"I didn't guess you came to see me."
Well, madam, but indeed I have come to see you. Some simple fishers at the coast said you know lore of The Spire ~ and of the tower.
"Lore. Well, well, indeed you say."
I would certainly be obliged, and very willing indeed to offer. .
"Indeed," she said.
Indeed, I repeated rather stupidly.
With a swish of her long cape, the woman turned and strode away along the path. Dee pushed on the wicker gate; it swung open effortlessly. Behind me on the trail the churl stood uncertainly holding the three ponies. I turned to him and said: Take a break. Then I hurried after her. A few minutes down the path led me to a small, rough wood and stone house. There was no sign of the woman so, not knowing what else to do, I knocked on the door. She opened it at once, but turned without a word. As she walked into the house, as if leading him in I saw that she wore a sword on her back. Surprised, and with some concern, I stopped just inside the door, then (with a mental shrug) pushed the door closed behind me and entered the room where she stood to face me. The cape had gone, and she wore a long, rough, white robe; around her neck a chain from which hung a silver sunburst pendant.
You are a priestess.
"Sir," she said severely.
Forgive, revered lady. I am DeeWARRAN-MUST, Doctor of Ethnography at Landsuniversity.
"In Towering Halls," she said.
Indee. . . , I started to say.
She silenced me with an impatient movement of her hand. "WARRAN," she said meditatively. "You are the Vala's son." When he nodded, she laughed quietly. "Why do you seek the tower?"
I opened his mouth, started a gesture with an arm, raised one shoulder, could find no ready answer.
"A long story, is it? But forgive me. My hospitality. Sit down. Lived alone too long. . . ." She bent over a small iron stove. "Would you eat, drink?" I took from her a mug filled with a hot herbal brew. An invigorating fragrance belied its acrid taste, and I must have grimaced, for she said: "Oh, bitter. You may add some honey."
What is your duty here? I asked.
Her green eyes rested on him, considering what to tell me. "Why ever did your mother send you here?" she said at last, shaking her head.
She didn't. She permitted it at my request.
The priestess began to draw from me my thoughts and learning and the reasoning that had caused my presence in her house. After weeks of ceaseless travel, I had an eagerness for intellectual discourse that she skillfully exploited, until I realized I had told her a great deal while she had revealed very little.
The fishermen said you are well-versed in lore. Of course, I didn't know they spoke of a priestess, solitary, with no congregation. Why are you here, alone?
Again she considered him seriously. "I really don't know what to tell you, and the duties of a priestess may not concern you."
Well, you know where the site of the tower is. I saw assent in her face. Will you show me?
"Certainly." She put a number of items into a leather pouch that she swung by a strap over her shoulder after donning the grey cape. "Let's go." She took a staff and went out the door, leaving me to hurry after her.
The churl had started a small fire beside the trail, the three ponies hobbled nearby. He stood up awkwardly, glanced fearfully at the woman. "Where is she going?" he asked.
She'll show us the way, I answered.
Immediately followed a flood of words to say that certainly I had now no need for another guide ~ one, moreover, with no knowledge of the terrain in which they found themselves. In short, the churl did not want to continue, until offered more coin and I, finally, in exasperation, waved the hostelier's sign to insist his hire was not guide alone but labor and service, and the churl was at last persuaded.
The priestess at once set off on foot along the trail.
I trotted behind her. From under the swirling robes I saw her pale bare feet. You must ride the third pony.
"I never ride." She stopped, looked skyward. "Go on," she said, "get your horses. You'll catch up. It's far to go before dark."
After some time the trail turned north again, and several hours passed before the forest fell away and they began the slow ascent of a vast stony plain dominated in the distance by the steep rocky slopes and crags of The Spire. Far off to the east the broken-stumped mountains of the Spireberg Shoulder showed mistily. The priestess walked for five hours without stop until the peak loomed in the sky and cast a huge gloomy shadow over the barren, undulated rocks and crags.
"The sun is hidden by the tower," she said, "but it is not yet late. We might rest a short while."
You say tower. Is it the mountain you mean?
"To us tower and Spire are one and the same," she answered, busying herself kindling a small fire and boiling a concoction, and her only further reply was that "there is no point saying words about what you shall see for yourself in a short time."
Shortly after, they resumed and soon reached a junction from where a rocky trail led up the slopes of The Spire.
The priestess stopped. "This leads to the top," she said, pointing. "It's not as high as it looks, but it'll take a good two hours."
The churl had hung back with the ponies. "Doctor, please," he said when he rode up visibly discomfited, "you don't need me. Let me wait here for you. I'll have no useful purpose."
At that the priestess spoke to him sharply: "My command is for you to continue. It is not for churls to question purpose."
Then the churl said no more but trembling lowered his gaze. He led the ponies after I, occasionally glancing fretfully about him.
The winding trail had hairpin curves carved into the rugged rocky slopes, and the steady ascent was taxing me and I walked with eyes to the ground behind the priestess until she suddenly stopped.
"There," she said.
I looked up to see that we had crested the height. In the length-ening shadows I saw the ancient remains of crumbled walls and heaps of rock and stone that once were perhaps a structure cradled in the rocky crags of The Spire. The tower!
"What's left of it. But look." She pointed.
My gaze followed her arm and it seemed to me that far ahead in the dusk I saw a faint glimmer of light. I turned with a question, but she was already striding ahead. I hurried to catch up. Behind me I could hear the clatter of the ponies' feet on the rock.
Master Red Cap was a thin old man. He wore leather jerkin, short pants, and high boots. His pale, thin limbs showed grotesquely. In his belt he carried a wide, long knife. On his head he wore a rust-brown brimless cap that fit closely to his skull and covered his forehead and most of his ears. Thin strands of black hair hung down his neck.
I knew who he was because as soon as we stepped past the door of a chamber restored or preserved within the ruins of the ancient tower, the priestess introduced him.
"This is Master Red Cap," she said.
I was stunned into silence.
"And this," said the priestess, indicating him, "is Doctor WARRAN."
MUST, I corrected.
"MUST," she agreed. "I do believe he wishes to be shown around."
Red Cap had a secret smile. "Come," he said, "there is no time like the present." He fetched two lit torches, handed one to the priestess, led them to a black stairwell, and descended worn stone steps into the rock.
I followed. Behind him, the priestess motioned to the churl who dared not protest and took his place in the small procession with the priestess following him. The torch flames threw a flickering light on the stairs that turned then here, then there, sometimes interrupted with a short passageway, and always down, down.
I thought, I said, that Master Red Cap lived many centuries ago.
"That is true," answered he, "and ever since has a Red Cap passed from head to head ~ and so I, too, have grown old and must pass it on."
Ah, then it is a symbol of your office.
"Office. Heh, heh," he chuckled amiably and repeated it. "Office. Heh, heh, heh. It's more of a duty, rather. A responsibility."
You are responsible then for the tower ~ this ruin here on The Spire?
"That and everything in it."
In it? What is in it?
"That knowledge is my responsibility."
The knowledge of what is here?
"Yes, yes. But enough, we're here. Move slowly now."
We stepped out onto a wide, rocky ledge high above the floor of a huge underground grotto. Red Cap led him to the edge, raised the torch high and there was a flickering reflection from a still, black surface below. "The dragon pool," he said softly.
Is this where the horse eel lived?
The priestess stood so the torch she held lit steps cut down into a narrow cleft.
I peered down. May I, go and look?
The bottom steps narrowly opened onto the cavern floor where the pool lay shimmering in the light from the two torches held high above him on the ledge. I sniffed a fleeting whiff of salty breeze, and took a step. From above me came an agonized moan. Then I saw it. It stood upright unalarmed. The details of its body did not garner attention because the eye was held by the head ~ strangely too large for the body, with big yellow forward-facing eyes. It dropped to the ground and looked at me. It slowly came toward me, staring all the time. A stillness beyond terror came over me, a sense of being asked a question the answer to which is both obvious and impossible to find. One needs a strong will to break away from such a stare, to see anything else but the steadily advancing head, to force numb limbs into action, to turn, to run. The dragon did not follow.
That's a dragon, I panted when I reached the top of the rocky ledge. I looked down, saw it stand in the murk by the pool looking up at them.
"It's a female," said Red Cap. "She lives in deep water and cannot fly. The male is much larger and fiercely territorial to protect her watery lair. His limestone cave must be long enough to contain the body, narrow enough to be defended by the head, for his body can be pierced easily which drains him of the corrosive juices that enable him to fly and breathe fire."
You're giving me a physiology lecture on, on that, that . . . .
"This is knowledge to be passed with the Cap," Red Cap answered seriously.
Passed with the cap? As in succession? No, no. Not to me.
Red Cap exchanged a glance with the priestess.
"You have come here, though you may not yet know it, as destined by Sonne," she said to me. "To learn the mastering of the Horse Eel from the Master."
No, no, I protested, I told you why I came.
"To find the tower; to stand on The Spire. Do you not wonder what compelled this arduous, rather useless, journey? Sonne's fate lays upon you and it holds the master's cap."
That simply cannot be. I looked down to the dim pool below where the dragon (the dragon!) still stood staring up at the torch light. That gaze is terrifying. I shivered.
"The dragon mask is its helm of terror," Red Cap said placidly. "The head is its only invulnerable part."
I had felt the terror of that hypnotic gaze, but not the agony of which the old Epic had spoken; and Vargarm had written that 'his presence alone caused pain'. No pain, I muttered, no pain.
Master Red Cap laughed, understanding perfectly. "None for us," he said. He motioned Dee to turn and look where the churl stood.
He was rigid. His face contorted. From him came soft, fearful moans that, I realized, sounded the terror-filled drone I had been unable to identify in my excited state of mind.
"He feels the pain," Red Cap added by way of unnecessary explanation. "But he will be gloriously relieved of it, for he also has an important function. Fate has provided all that is required."
I was aghast and bewildered.
Red Cap removed his hat, held it out to me. "At certain times, and this is such a time, the Master's Cap needs to be redyed in human blood." He drew the wide-bladed knife from his belt.
I recoiled violently, coming perilously near the rocky edge.
"Steady," Red Cap said kindly, "wouldn't want to lose you so quickly." He walked to the churl and with one efficient arm motion slit his throat. The priestess helped him lower the body to the rock, while Red Cap caught a pulsing, steaming stream into his hat.
I stood shocked in a sudden silence. Below, I heard a movement of the beast.
"She smells blood," Red Cap said. "They don't eat much: a pig a month; but their greed knows no bound." He rolled the body to the edge.
I looked about wildly, then ran as fast as I could into a pitch-black opening away from the horror. Stone steps led me down, my mind rushing as my feet, until I suddenly emerged, hearing surf, seeing starlight reflected off the endless heaving sea, a dark lifeless firetower, a dock with a masted dory.
Berserker. Berserker. The name echoed through my wild thoughts. I had led the churl to his slaughter just as had the Berserker of old. This was not what I had gone to the tower to learn. I am the berserker ~ my race Berserker.
Prevailing winds and currents swept the sailed dory along the north coast of the island, across the open sea, directly toward the City of Thud and, after three nights, a landfall at a southern suburb of fashionable villas where I had several friends and relations, the nearest of which I looked up.
"Uncle," they said, "have you not heard? Ah, but you've been away. Council men have been to look for you. There is rumor of an Inquiry. What have you done?"
I bathed and ate, answered little, rested less, was soon away in a clattering carriage through Thud's old quarter, up the Old East Road, to Towering Halls. When I entered my apartment, I found an envelope pushed under the door and every room ransacked. The thrashing of the study in particular made me coldly livid. I turned away after surveying the wreckage less than five minutes, and made directly for the chancellor's chambers where I was taken into custody by two polite but firm men-at-arms, and transported back to the city.
I was very tired.
The hearing chamber was imposing and large.
"You understand, do you, that this is a court of inquiry and not a trial," said the chancellor. He was seated behind a high bench beside a man in the silver-decorated black cloth of a councillor, on whose other side sat the old curate in his yellow and white robes. In contrast, the chancellor's garb was all somber browns, even to his dark, mortar-board hat.
"Doctor MUST! You understand, do you?" he repeated.
Yes. No! What inquiry?
"Doctor, please. You can see the college thought fit that I myself attend proceedings."
"Be assured, Doctor MUST," broke in the councillor, "our procedures, which you well know, will be observed, and the nature of this Inquiry will be revealed in due course. As you can see, both the College of Scholars and the Ecclesiastical Curate are represented at the highest levels. Council, though unable to free our Prime Councillor from his other, most pressing, duties, has nevertheless authorized me fully." The councillor turned from me to where the priestess sat on a balcony set in a side wall high above. "Being lawfully constituted of Curate, College, and Council, let this court be affirmed."
The priestess waved a hand. "So be it."
"The church," said the councillor, "has sought this Inquiry into an unorthodoxy published by you in the translation of a Chronicle, Doctor. It is further alleged that you took an old churlish tale and appended to it portions of your own making. If such is found to be the case, the church will press for a trial on heresy. Such is the issue before this Court of Inquiry." The curate seemed about to speak, but the councillor held up a hand, and continued. "Now, I understand that the Chronicle in question came into your possession as a parchment folio that you evidently presumed to be of great age, and translated in good faith to be submitted to Council for disposition. Is it not so?"
Yes, I said.
"If the church," the councillor turned to the curate, "if the church finds in this document an unorthodoxy, the church will mete its punishment in the realm of the soul. However," and here his yellow hawk eyes swung back to me, "if indeed, as the church alleges, these unorthodoxies are not contained within the original parchments, we have a deliberate heresy, punishable in law at trial. You understand, Doctor?"
"There is more evidence," the curate said.
"That certainly will be most carefully considered at trial," the councillor said. "Do you understand," he asked me again, "what I have just put to you?"
Yes, I do. But what is the unorthodoxy I am accused of?
"What is unorthodox, and what a heresy, is for the church to determine and for the court to accept, and of no moment at the present. In fact, it may be asked why the issue is at inquiry here when the matter seems easily proved by an examination of the original document."
"Indeed," spoke up the chancellor.
The curate glanced up at the priestess above him on the balcony. "The church," he said feebly, "has not this parchment."
"Of course not," the chancellor said. "Doctor MUST has it. He continues the translation of it. The original will show there is no heresy. Doctor MUST is a respected scholar in his field." He turned to Dee. "Doctor, provide the court with these parchments for a scholarly examination by the college."
"No," the curate responded. "The church must examine same."
"Esteemed colleagues!" The councillor chided them silent. "An examination of the original," he said to me. "You have it in your possession then, do you, Doctor?"
The curate leaned forward.
Yes, I said. No, I said. A great weariness almost over-whelmed me.
What could I say? What did I say? I spoke. They listened and, eventually, nodded. They let me go. Adjourned to the morrow. The complete parchment folio to be submitted to the court. At Towering Halls, I'd said, in a secret place only I could find. The councillor, Sonne bless him, said he was an honorable, well-respected man of substance and family. The curate wasn't so certain. As I left the court, I noticed a yellow-robed figure follow at a distance. The figure started to trot. As it neared, I saw it was a young woman who came to him to say: 'Our Lady wishes to see you.'
The priestess stood waiting.
I didn't know what to say. Mother, I said.
Mother: And what did you learn at the tower?
Dee: I expected: Did you do it? Is it true? That the horse eel lives.
Mother: And Red Cap?
Dee: Had she caused me to be inquired for heresy? Master Red Cap lives.
Mother: I do not think you have any choice.
Dee: What do you mean? To give the parchments to the court?
Mother: No, no. Take your precious books. Do you not see how you can complete your work? The only way is to take it, take it to the tower and the master's cap.
Dee: I cannot ever be berserker! Oh, Mother, Berserker. Are we?
Mother: You wanted to do fieldwork. Remember? Important work, you said, Dee, valuable to the field of knowledge about the origin of the dragon. You've met the best teacher there is, Dee.
Dee: I know it. But I've just spent three days on a little boat with only my thinking: and what if our histories, our traditions, the very tenets of the church, are based on lies?
Mother: A cherished myth is more valuable than truth, Dee. What the worship of Sonne has conferred on our race is a liberating conception of law that transcends all human prejudices and interests. Could one hope for this from any other principle than religion?
What is to be gained by telling the common people that the she- dragons have spawned their long-lived generations in the tower, watched over by a Red Cap passed from Master to fleeting Master, since Day One of our Age?
And whether Day One was the precise moment of the Holocaust, or five-hundred years later, matters nothing whatever.
Dee: But, Mother, I said.
Her posture stiffened. Suddenly the golden-chained sunburst pendant on her white-robed chest seemed prominent and she was only the priestess:
Mother: At best, you can give your work up to the court, be censured by the church, and return to Landsuniversity for your remaining tenure under the cloud of unorthodoxy.
Dee: But the dragon. And Red Cap . . . , he slit the churl's throat to dye his hat! That is the real heresy.
Mother: Phsaw, I care not a whit for heresy.
Dee: Laser-fused radiation: After the Holocaust, such radiation caused mutations that also had its effects on humans. This is what I think happened: there was a tribe living then on the Isle of Thrallii where there was a particularly traumatic event that drove the people to live in underground caves where over generations they mutated, and dwelling with them was a beast also affected by the same radiation, and these became the Horse Eel and the Berserker, and they are us. Once perhaps we were churl like those we deem our lessers, but now our thin stature and pale complexion marks us as thralls.
Mother: I cannot help you in court, against the church. Only at The Spire will you be rid of the threat of heresy, free to pursue your studies, your work, your translations, and put your mark in the Master's Record that is in the curriculum of the Mystery School for all time to come.
Dee: I walked between barracks to the main street that led to the harbor. Across was a Thrall House for official visitors where I registered and took a room. I sank down on a chair, and sat without moving for twenty minutes. Then I found a flat wooden box in which I placed a water-filled leather flagon, wrapped it in a torn piece of bedcover, tied around a cord cut from a curtain, and placed on it my signet. I went down to the dining room and had a meal over which I lingered until it was nearly dark, then ordered a carriage.
I did not see anyone, but was sure I was followed. I peered behind and could see the swinging lamps of several wagons in the street. I paid the coachman well to deliver the important parcel into the hands of Doctor MUST in Landsuniversity at Towering Halls, department of ethnography. I had him repeat it several times, to make sure it would be done right, for I (an old understudying graduand, I told the coachman) wished to stay the night in a slightly unsavory part of the city. Thus, after the horse had plodded its weary way down the Northern Trade Route, I slipped out of the carriage (the coachman understood the need for discretion).
I stood in the shadows of a narrow alley to see, scant minutes later, another carriage pass, and watched the receding lamps turn, first one, the other following, onto the Old East Road. Then I hurried along the rutted dirt lanes between hovels and rude houses, until I came out a short distance from the old Thud Hostelry where I knocked on the door and entered.
The younger churl was in the common room. A stocky shadow played at his feet, lamplight threw an auburn-hued sheen on his hair.
Good evening, is your father available?
I left a parcel in his safekeeping. The name is MUST.
"Doctor MUST, oh yes. I'm afraid father is gone, and will not be back for long."
He put it in the vault, he said.
"Oh yes. I know the parcel. It is there."
May I have it, please?
The churl shuffled off.
I suddenly fumbled in a pocket, brought out and smoothed the crumples of the envelope found inside my apartment door in the morning. This morning! I sat. Weariness stole over me. The envelope contained a short note and a folded map ~ not large in size, but old. The map's legend read: 'Seafarer's Map Of The Thrallian Sea ~ showing the Great Seaway and ancient Thidoruk Fell'.
The note was hastily written and brief: "Don't know if you're in trouble, but best not be seen with you. The map is over 600 years old. Note unnamed place NE of sea. That is Thidoruk's Chiefhold, and almost certainly also the earlier location of Mjoda's Regency. Yours."
No name, but I knew who.
The map was of the Bay of Slaves. Tides and currents, landmarks and navigational directions, were all marked, to a scale of nautical leagues. It showed the Isle of Thrallii, and where Thidoruk Fell was on it, and at the isle's western tip marked The Spire with a small cross. The City of Thud was prominently circled and arrowed at bottom-right. The Northern Trade Route traced along the edge of the map to the mountain pass Storm Gap. The main northern peak, Asaberg, was indicated by a heavy cross. A little distance below it, a small circle marked an unnamed place not more than ten miles from the north coast of the great sea.
The hostelier's son returned with the heavy parcel wrapped in hide and bound with leather straps. "Here you are, sir. Couple of weeks ago, sir, councilmen came here to ask about you. The next day, father left. 'When the law suspects respectable gentlemen like Doctor MUST,' he said, 'churls should be scarce,' he said. But me and the wife, we know nothing but to till our little plot of land. Should I make a fire, sir?"
No. I must be off immediately. I stood up, picked up the parcel, headed for the door, turned back. The churl had followed and I looked into the unsettlingly blue eyes. I did not speak. Left, without even offering gold.
I made my way through the dirt lanes of the dark and silent workers district of Old Thud with the parcel on my shoulder. It hurt me when I made it back to where, from the Northern Trade Route, the street ran to the harbor. I walked past, keeping to the dark side of the road, away from a well-lit New Thud Tavern on the corner. A few hundred yards up the road I turned by an alley into a squalid slum from which I emerged at the north end of the harbor. At that time of the evening it was still a hive of activity with stevedores, sailors, and businessmen going about their work, and frequenting a couple of small, stand-up ale-houses that looked out over a fleet that bobbed protected by a pier on the south, and a long arm of land to the north that blocked the current of the mighty River Thud. There were long, slim, masted galleys with two, three, and even four banks of oars; warships with distinctive overhanging forecastle and rounded stern, and two, three, or more masts; but most were short, wide-hulled, single-masted cogs.
I turned from the harbor north to where shipyards overlooked the broad, island-studded delta of the great river where, I knew, oftimes smaller vessels moored. I engaged a cog to take me up the coast to Land End, the small port that usually served as a staging point for the crossing to the north coast. Within the hour, wind and tide were favorable and the cog sailed. In the small cabin below, I fell exhausted on a cot.
I was awakened hours later with Land End's beacon in sight. When I set foot on the pier, dawn was breaking over the rising flatlands of the enormous river delta. I rented a room at an inn in the village, and slept the entire day. Most of the following night I sat in the darkened room, occasionally putting flame to a candle to study the map or make notes, and pondered the shape of a plan. I had my travel documents, a well-stocked purse, and the hide-wrapped parcel. I could not afford much more time at Land End; it was a day and a night since I failed to appear in court.
It took a good part of the morning to hire another cog and to purchase the outfit I needed, but well before noon I was able to sail a course almost due north ~ the coast always on the starboard side. The second morning dawned clear, and Asaberg's peaks were visible far beyond the ship's prow cutting into the sea's horizon. Always a sailor's guide to navigating these waters, the sight of the mountain struck me with the force of revelation: I thought himself not escaping, but on pilgrimage ~ about to enter a divine landscape. Below the great mountain, Runes had etched song-lines in the sacred land. As a pilgrim I stood, there on the prow before the shining swells and Asaberg rising off the invisible seam between sea and sky, like a pilgrim ready to accept the earth's charity. From that moment a star guided me: the idea of a center, the magnetic point of the geomyth, the return to where Gimle once stood. Pilgrimage to an answer. A need to shed beliefs and to look at the pilgrim, for it was really not about going somewhere, it was about myself. From that day forth, I found the mystery school in the world as it was, and initiation a daily task. I perceived the mysteries in the ordinary pain-filled world ~ in which each had a purpose, mine perhaps to find the tribe Thiot.
The angle from north to Asaberg had been carefully measured on the map by me, and given to the mariners made a landfall off a placid sea on the third day. I had a trunk buried in a shallow hole high up on the beach, shouldered a heavy backpack and walked into the deep forest. Within hours I emerged on an old, little-traveled road indicated on the map as running east-west. A massive mountain range with Asaberg's peak dominating was prominent far in the north. I turned west, and soon reached the collection of huts, hovels, barns and stables that was Thidoruk's Chiefhold ~ as it was still known.
The value of gold and silver coin was high in the remote village and I found himself possessed of a small fortune. I purchased a pleasant little house to settle with the local churls. A thrall operated a dilapidated Nemeton Inn (ale-house and general supplies). She lived by the profit of her enterprise and was approaching middle age. Delighted with his company she bestowed on me warm hospitality, and plied me with knowledge of local customs. The churlish name the inn bore was an ancient one, she said, after a sacred grove where interlocking boughs (on which birds fear to perch) enclose a space of darkness and cold shade where sunlight is banished. No wild beasts lie down to rest there, no wind ever blows though the trees rustle among themselves.
The pilgrimage turned to Nemeton. I began a one man ethnographic field project. The churls soon grew used to my inquisitive nature, my habit of incessant note-taking, and good-naturedly called me: 'Perfesser'. Of the sacred grove their tales related; of Gimle they knew nought. I hired them frequently to guide and accompany me on jaunts into the forest in search of Nemeton, for I was certain it was the key to finding Gimle, and beyond to the faint hope of discovering the serpentine-Rune inscribed megalith stone of the nineteen tribes. As I walked in the forest, the spirit of the trees descended upon me; I grew into the land and the land grew in me, and songlines etched me.
Music: Chance To Be Free
Dee: As the seasons fell away, one by one, by one, I told most of the story to my compatriot in the Nemeton Inn's comfortably appointed taproom, and sometimes in her bed. She was an independent thinker. I held regular readings at the inn. At first only a few locals attended, but in time stoic churls filled the common room to hear I read from the Thiot Chronicles and other new translated work. It was good for business, but one evening she had an observation.
"A missionary. You're acting like a missionary."
But I don't have a gospel.
"Yes, you do. It's these Thiot tales, and Runesong."
I'm reacquainting them with their own tradition.
"You're not one of them."
I stopped. Did I want to be a churl? What was it Radendr had said? Race is a biological accident? (I looked it up later: 'race is a biolo-gical statistic.') Gender also was such a statistic. I leaned over to touch the hair on her head so like my own, brushed a kiss on her gentle lips.
I am not a woman, but I am one of your sex by our very humanity.
She smiled and settled close to me. "Why do you teach them these churlish tales but never thrallish tradition?"
The history of nations diverged from each other out of a common mythology that speaks of a continuous tradition of sages who teach about the shining inner light.
"That's what I mean. Like an evangelist."
Once we were all the same; once we will be again. Ethnosity is impermanent ~ fleeting variations in the scheme of populations. It's not one way transmission either. I am learning much from their tales.
"And what are you learning?"
Thiot's nineteen bands survived the Holocaust to the regency of Mjoda, right here in these lands. On the southeast shore of the great sea, meanwhile, the Serfdom of Thrallii was founded, soon to displace the nineteen churlish tribes of Thidoruk's Chiefhold. Through an ethnographic accident (a cultural victory by the vanquished, one might say) the Serfdom is governed by a council of nineteen and the principle of the great Shining of old survived and lives in our Thrallish Sonne.
I fell silent, feeling contemptible.
Fortunately, she kissed it better.
Narrator #5: There was no village proper at Thidoruk's Chiefhold. Its center was the Nemeton Inn on the Northmost Road that yielded few travelers from the west's far distant realms. Eastward led the beaten trail to the Northern Trade Route, to Thud far to the south, or through Stormgap to the Northmost lands beyond the mountains. No structures but the inn were in sight anywhere along the road. The inhabitants numbered scarcely a few thousand but they occupied a considerable area, for they lived apart, their own fields and woods surrounding the outbuildings and houses.
At any one time there were several hundreds of churls who stayed for shorter and longer times at the chiefhold where all, invariably, had near or distant kin. Every churl in the whole world, it seemed, came at least once in their lives. In fact, most came many times, and many came often. So it was not surprising that Dee should encounter the proprietor of the old Thud Hostelry. The encounter itself was, however, not only surprising, it was as Fanshawe had it: at a place high in the mountains, he discovered four men chanting by moonlight. He first heard them from afar while on a somewhat perilous journey. Riding on alone under a full moon, he finally reached where they were to be seen swaying backwards and forwards in a trance, reciting in a strange mixture of dialects. Their chant went on until dawn. This Dee heard out in the wilderness under the most extraordinary circumstances imaginable. At the time he felt very elated and was inspired.
"Teiwaz, I was, I is, I am; I was, and as I is, I am. Within me was and is Teiwaz. In me Shining."
Then, one of the chanting voices, one of the swaying figures, took on a disturbing familiarity until Dee realized it was the old hostelier, and he crept away.
Dee became a virtual hermit, rarely venturing from his house. Ostensibly, to resume translating the ErilaR Manuscript, and he accomplished a great deal of work in long cycles of intense concentration and exhausted sleep, from which he emerged dazed into the outdoors sometimes to see the seasons change. Ostensibly. Though he didn't admit it to himself, Dee was hiding from the hostelier, hiding from his guilt, by hiding in his house, by hiding in his work.
All Narrators: Surely in time Dee would recognize this in himself. Would he? And seek out the hostelier to set everything aright. It is in the mind of Le An who conjures this, whether the knowledge in the manuscript liberated Dee to thus find Thiot within ~ the strength of the people living in each, or whether Dee would turn to the sure welcome at the tower and the honor of the Master's Cap. But we, the tellers of this tale, propose to turn from Dee to the work on which he lavished such energy and devotion.
Dee: The original hide parchment manuscript is a collection of various texts that appear to have been gathered from different sources but have related subject matter. The second major text, Runesong, especially noteworthy for variant mythological tales and copious references to ancient books, is the polemic of a scholarly initiate in a preholocaust era. As I painstakingly worked for a literal translation (what remained of the poetry due only to the eloquence of the composition), I became convinced that it was the work of Radendr, and I was seized by a growing conviction that through it Radendr and the ErilaR of old were speaking to me.
Though we may be doomed to repeat cycles of destruction and regeneration (or should that be degeneration?), this morbid prophecy of which was told they turned to a cause of proud intensity to act justly and true to their world view that was rooted in the northern lands. Each of us, they said, stands alone before the mirror of the universe that as a consequence of its nature can reflect only what we hold up to it. Nothing matters but what we do, they said. Admit no rule but thy own ethic, they said. Their fierce independence stirred in me longing for a freedom lost and buried in past ages.
This is my confession. That I know myself to be Berserker. But also that as berserker I am specially bound like a shaman to ecstacy.
The number nine has great significance to the ErilaR and I noted that each book was divided into nine parts. But Runesong's ninth was a poem styled after the old lays composed and added over four-hundred years after Radendr's time by Vargarm, and I fell to thinking on why this text had but eight chapters or had Vargarm replaced an original chapter with one of his own. Then, in a flash of insight, I saw that Radendr's Great Book was designed to have a ninth chapter added by the transcriber or translator of each age, as if to indicate that the great myth, the old ethic, must always remain current. I realized then that my task was to allow the great work to permeate my own being to bring to fruition a statement of the ancient myth in the context of my time, and that this was Radendr's deep intent: to show the timeless current of one nation's understanding in the psychic universe ~ an unbroken stream of thought whose tenuous tendrils could be grasped regardless whether thrall, churl, or berserker.
The Book that follows contains many names of beings, places, and things. This Scroll of Names, in the old tradition, provides brief explanations based in most cases on language and the mythology.
A most ancient mythological name that means Sea Giant, the water man, a name for the ocean itself. Its etymology is unknown; it may be as in ahwa: water, agna: running water, or the mother language ewa: course.
The aesir are stirrers, inciters, and the name for the race of Ases. Ae means ever, and perhaps the aesir are the ever-living, for it is also ansuz from asu: vitality.
All-father, a name of Woden.
One of the Nine Worlds. Home of the race of Light Elves ~ beings with formidable magical powers, exercised variously for the benefit or injury of humankind. The mythology recognizes both dark and light elves.
Arctic means literally: of-the-bear-star, and symbolizes the cold, far north. The Arctic Circle bounds all those stars that never set.
Ancient root culture the name of which conceals many meanings.
Ases' Yard, one of the Nine Worlds.
The name of the first man, made of ash-wood.
Aud: riches, and humbla: hornless, make the name for the primal cow whose four rich streams of milk nourished the giant Ymir. But aud's oldest meaning is also fortune, as in the prosperous lot that may befall one, and is related to the word for heritage.
Set of twenty-one lost sacred books.
The light and beautiful aesir, son of Woden and Frig of whom only good things are told. With Balder's death begins Ragnarok, but he returns to live in the new world after it. Balder's appearance is so beautiful and so bright that light shines from him, and where he lives (in Breidablik: Broad-view) there is no impurity. While the root-word's oldest meaning is white, it developed from lord and hero into bold: stout-hearted.
One of the dispersed Aryan nations.
Bellow, the giant killed by Freyr with a hart's horn.
Bellowing ~ see Belja.
Keltic needfire festival of the quarter year.
Furious bearskin and wolfhide warriors in shamanic trance that renders them insensitive to fire or pain and in which trance do not bleed; when the fever abates they are weak and tame.
Giantess whose name means bast- or bark-less, mother of Woden.
Song-of-the-divine-one exalting faith and action.
Tremble-roost, the rainbow, foremost of bridges, between Asgard and Midgard. Every day ride aesir thither up over Bifrost, which is also called Asbru (Aesir's Bridge).
Bale-thorn, giant father of Bestla.
Bairn or Child, father of Woden.
Surfer, the name of the giants' beerhall.
The golden Shining Necklace, emblem of the stars or the fruitfulness of the Earth; its fire reflected in the shimmering northern lights. Forged by four dwarfs, Freija spent a night with each of them to obtain it, and it is her most precious possession.
There is more than one buddha and each may have an earthly life, but there is never more than one in the world at any time.
Birther, the first human form licked free from the primordial ice by the cow Audhumbla; father of Bor and progenitor of the aesir.
Brother of Loki. His name means Roar-of-the-Galewind-Lightning.
The avatar of Israel known as White Kristr, who spawned long-lived Kristni cults.
A Kristni cult ritual of Winter Sunstead.
Day, son of Nott and Dellingr.
Singer, a dwarf.
Mark is march and border, thus: Borderland-of-Danes, a Teutonic people.
One of the Nine Worlds. Home of the race of Dark Elves, blacker than pitch, and very different from Light Elves.
Dayspring, father of the Sun.
Virgin Sisters, served in the hall where their looms weave the lots of men.
Drift (of snow), a frost giantess.
Keltic class of priests, teachers, diviners, and magicians; physicians, historians, mathematicians, astronomers. Persecuted and extinct.
Wanderer, a dwarf.
Giant aesir Iord, Thor's mother.
Edge-you, a giant.
Dweller in a preholocaust land.
Ice Waves, the Way-of-the-Storming-Snows, the Milky Way.
The name of the first woman, made of elm-wood.
Teutonic inhabitants of the ancient Land-of-Ing.
Runemaster of the Herulr tribe bound to Woden.
Legendary land of antiquity, Yore Opening.
David, audio record note to 'Spirit of African Sanctus'.
A division of the Vendidad, a chapter.
Fen-dweller (one of Loki's offspring), the monster wolf bound by the aesir with the fetter Gleipnir. Thus Woden's bane lies until Ragnarok.
Frig's abode, Fen Chambers.
Awesome-divine, a name for Woden.
One of the roosters who crow before Ragnarok. Also a learned giant.
Fair-guni ~ a mountain, a name for Mother Earth, Thor's mother.
Encyclopedic codex history of Norse kings incorporating stories from different sources.
A Teutonic tribal member.
Beautiful vanir Mistress of lovers and fertility. Sister to Freyr, she possesses a falcon garment that enables her to fly and the fabled necklace Brisingamen. She taught aesir the magic of seidr. When she rides into the fight, she chooses half the fallen to come to her abode Folkvangr: Folk-Field, and her hall Sessrumnir: Roominess-in-seats.
Vanir Master, Lord of fertility. Also known as Ingwaz Freyr, he is brother to Freija, and resides in Alfheim. The boar Golden Bristles pulls his chariot.
Aesir Woman, Love or Beloved, the silent wise woman who spins her wheel in secret, wife of Woden. Keys hang from her girdle, symbolizing the married mistress of the household. From Fensolum, she attends to the well- being of mortals ~ smoothing the paths of lovers, ruling married love, spread-ing knowledge, and dealing justice.
Member of a Teutonic tribe.
The giant Frost.
Name of the horse that brings the night, Hrimfaxi: Rime-mane.
Follower, a person's spirit double, a female or animal guardian fetch or wraith who counsels in dreams. A Fylgja can act or appear instead of the person, but to see one's own means imminent death.
Chant, an intoned magic spell.
Goer, vagabond or wanderer, a name of Woden.
The Ragged One, the hound whose baying before Gnipahel is one of the signals to Ragnarok when Garmr and Tyr fight each other to the death.
A Teutonic tribal member.
Spear Thruster, a valkyrie.
The giant daughter Girder, the encircling protectress of the Earth, and wife to Freyr.
The boundless deep of all beginnings that was before Earth and Heaven, the magical mouth of creation and sacred illusion.
Yelling Horn, the ringing trumpet Heimdal blows when the Bifrost bridge is violated to begin Ragnarok.
The supple fetter with which Fenris is bound. Dwarfs crafted it of a cat-walk's din, sinews of bears, the shaggy beards of women, roots of moun-tains, the breath of fish, and the spittle of birds.
Peak Cave, in front of which Garmr barks.
Enchanted one, a valkyrie.
A Teutonic tribal member.
A land in prehistory.
A dragon monster giant.
Golden-comb, one of the roosters whose crowing announces Ragnarok.
Gold-draught, the personified greed for gold; the thrice purified gold is the conscious soul.
Woden's spear Quailer, that is, to bring into subjection by fear; Runes are carved on its point.
Battler, a valkyrie.
Battle-inviter, the giantess who guarded the mead of the Skalds.
A giant, father of Gerdr.
The personification of a person's good fortune and a soul-like protect-I've spirit ~ the shape-grown, or skin-lady
High, a name of Woden.
High-one, a name of Woden.
Home-dale, deadly enemy of Loki; they kill each other at Ragnarok. He is called the white aesir and is mighty and holy. He was born of maidens nine and all sisters. His teeth are made of gold; his horse's name is Gulltopper (Goldtuft). Where he abides is named Himinbjorg (Heavenly Mountain) near Bifrost. He is the warden who sits at the gate by heaven's end to guard the bridge against mountain giants. He needs less sleep than a bird. He sees even in night as in day a hundred leagues in front of him. He can hear grass grow in the earth or wool on a sheep's back and hears all that's louder. He has a trumpet that's named Gjallarhorn, and its blast is heard in all the homes.
The ogress Death, one of Loki's children by the giantess Angrboda (Grief-bringer). Hela was cast by Woden into the abode Niflhel in Helheim ~ not a hell but a residence they can never leave for those who died on land. She was given power over nine homes, to hers must shift all abodes of them sent to her; but those are the sick-dead and the old-age-dead. She has a mighty bulwark, and her gard is exceedingly high and the gates great. Eljudnir (Mind-energy-sprinkle) her chamber is named, Hunger her plate, Famine her knife, Go-slow her thrall, Go-slower her bondmaid, Falling-peril her threshold to go in, Sick-pallet her bed, Bleak Bale the chamber hangings. She is half blue and half with skin tone. Thus is she marked out and rather stooping and fierce.
One of the Nine Worlds, Death-home, the dark Other World of illusion.
One of the displaced Aryan nations.
Father-of-the-Harriers, a name of Woden.
Herjan is Lord-of-the-Wild-Host, a name of Woden; his nuns are valkyries.
Din of battle, a valkyrie.
A name of Aegir.
A name for Frig; it means Protectress.
Hearth-place, a mythical name of the Earth.
The Wood of Mimir's Treasure (the Hoard of Mimir ~ Woden's eye?), the forest of refuge from Ragnarok for Lif and Lifthrasir.
The blind aesir Slaughterer is the immensely strong son of Woden who slays Balder with a branch of mistletoe; he is killed at Ragnarok by Vali but returns with Balder after the Earth's green renewal.
The name of one of the aesir who with Lodur and Woden gave the gifts of life to Ask and Embla. He reappears in the new world after Ragnarok; Skalds call him bench-mate or fellow, or Woden's meal-finder and the shooting aesir and long-foot and gold-king.
Holy Roman Church
The Kristni cult institution that held sway for two-thousand years but was neither holy or Roman, nor, ethnographically speaking, a church.
Caller, a name of Woden.
Senile, a giant.
Bay-of-the-Hide-of-Atonement, from a legendary geography.
Roarer, a giant (perhaps a name of Loki).
Geyser Grove, where Loki lies fettered.
Dusk-maker, a giant.
Iron Saber, a giantess who bore Thor two sons, Magni and Modi.
The icy land of the Skalds.
In Shining, ancient land where many sacred texts were preserved.
Aryan of legend.
A pre-holocaust institution against Kristni heresy that over many centuries burned hundreds and thousands.
A Keltic people.
The only surviving work of Ari Thorgilsson. Written at the instigation of Icelandic bishops, it chronicles the spread of Kristni doctrine but its outline history contains an account of the settlement and other events of historical importance.
The Carry God nation of White Kristr.
One of the dispersed Aryan nations.
The Iron Woods.
The ancient Yah-Weh's people ~ followers of the Light of the Elohim. Theirs a religion of exile from the primordial tree in the garden.
Icicle, a giant.
A name for the serpent that encircles Midgard. A compound of two very ancient mythological words; gandr is an enchanted object or the primal supernatural force itself; jormun (it's a name for Woden) implies superhuman vastness: jormun-ground is a term for the Earth, and jormun-thiot for human-kind.
One of the Nine Worlds, Giant Home. The jotun race is not the only giant race of the mythology; an old saying: 'high like a risi, strong like a jotun, homely like a thurs,' or, tall as a risi (a handsome, long-lived race), strong as a jotun (the true giant), and stupid as a thurs (a demon), notes three giant races. The mythology does not clearly separate them. Some of the giants were human-like except for their size, some were huge demoniacal beings like the eight-headed Starkadr, while others were monsters as the Midgard Serpent. Intercourse between the aesir (as between vanir) and jotun was frequent and, though many battles were fought between them, they are kin many times over. Buri, the progenitor of the aesir, had a giant to wife. Thor's wife, the giantess Iarnsaxa bore him two sons, Magni and Modi who survive Ragnarok. The giant Hymir is Tyr's father. Gymir's daughter Gerdr was woed by Freyr.
Ymir was the first being in existence from whom came the giants of air, fire, water, and earth. Little is known of the last, the bergbui, bergjarl, bergrisis ~ the mountain giants. Ymir's sons included the water-jotun Aegir from whom with his wife Ran descended Mimir, Gymir, Grendel (all well- known mythological giants), as well as nine wave maidens ~ Heimdal's mothers. Also reckoned a son of Ymir is Loki ~ often characterized as the Flame; the world of fire, however, is ruled by the giant Surtr. The giants of the air were hrim-thursar, rime-giants, also descended from Ymir through his son Kare. Kare had three sons: Beli, Thiazi who had a daughter Skadi, and Thrym who is called lord of the thursar. Thrym's children include Jokul, Frosti, Snoer, and Drifta.
Yulean (Big Wheel), Emperor of the Romans.
Curly, a Skaldic name for the sea, a giant.
One of the dispersed Aryan nations.
Doctrine, preaching, lesson, teaching, sign, token, knowledge: to name after. Figurative diction of the Skalds, a poetic paraphrase: wave-steed is ship, bone-biter sword; some impossible to solve without knowledge of the corresponding myth: Son-of-Earth is Thor, Ymir's-skull the sky. The language of kennings sometimes approaches that of riddles; the artistry is in the word- picture created.
The mythical court at Merchants' Harbor.
The incarnated Sun, the avatar of the Bhagavad-gita.
Life, with Lifthrasir the couple whose great kin-produce people all the homes of the new age after Ragnarok.
Life Struggler, see Lif.
Member of a Baltic tribe.
Inviter, Bidder. Nothing else is known but the name of this aesir who with Hoenir and Woden gave the gifts of life to Ask and Embla.
Also counted with the aesir is Woden's blood-brother, who some call aesir's slander-bearer and first-summoner of falsehoods and un-friend to all gods and peoples. He is called Loki (Enlightener, or Lucifer, Light-bringer) or Loptur (Lofty-one), son of the giant Farbauta (Fare-beater). His mother's name is Laufey (Leafy) or Nal (Needle). Loki is peaceful and fair countenanced, ill in temperament, much changeable in habits. His counsel is beyond that of other people, and is slyly pledged and with fraudulence to all lots. He equally comes to help the aesir in difficulties, and often redeemed himself then with wily trickery. His woman's name is Sigyn, with whom he has two sons. His family has still more offspring. Angrboda (Grief-bringer) is the name of an ogress in Jotunheim. With her got Loki three offspring. One was Fenris-wolf, another Jormungandr, that is the Midgard-worm, and a third is Hela. Loki is both hero and deceiver. He steers a ship of monsters and freaks against the aesir at Ragnarok when he fights Heimdal to the death of both.
Might, son of Thor, who with his brother Modi becomes heir to their father's mighty hammer Mjolnir after Ragnarok.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
An otherwise unknown yoga master.
One of the Nine Worlds, Middle Yard, humanity's home.
Rememberer, the thrice-wise jotun lives by the well of peace and consciousness. He is full of wisdom because he drank from the well out of Gjallarhorn. There came Alfadur to bid a drink from the well. But he fetched none, until he laid an eye to abide there as a pledge.
Miller, the crusher, the name of Thor's hammer that produces thunder and lightning when thrown. After Thor's death at Ragnarok, his sons Modi and Magni inherit it. Mjolnir is feared by the giants as a combat weapon, but its greatest importance is as a culture symbol in the holy sign of the hammer of the ancients.
The Moody son of Thor. See also Magni.
Salaam-people ~ those who resigned themselves to Al-lahu the god.
The name of a giant, but not the ruler of Muspelheim. This is a very old and difficult word.
The first of the Nine Worlds; its name means perhaps Moisture-spoil- home. It is light and hot, and such flaming and burning is too much for those who are outlanders and own no heritage there. One who's called Surtr sits there at land's end as that land's warder. He has a flaming sword, and at the end of the world he will fare and harry and vanquish all gods and burn all the homes with fire.
Mida, show, see, recognize, mark.
Nail-fare, the ship of the dead, built from the uncut nails of corpses. Launched at Ragnarok, it is the largest ship in existence.
Corpse Beach, where the straw-dead (those who died in bed) remain.
Teutonic inhabitant of the Low Lands.
Natural fire not kindled but produced by elemental action of sky (lightning) and earth (volcanic), or as reproduced by, for instance, friction.
A universal lot that cannot be averted, a necessary happening.
Waning Fells, from beneath which Nidhogr flies.
Wane-pale, a name for Nidhogr.
Waning Fields, where stood the gold-showered chamber of Sindri's family.
Reviling-Striker, the dragon. Ever it gnaws the root of Ygdrasil.
One of the Nine (Nebula Home), the world of mist that was before earth and sky. One root of Ygdrasil reaches here where lies the well from which Elivagar springs.
A fair chamber stands by the well under Ygdrasil, and from that chamber came three maidens who are named Urd, Verdandi, Skuld. These maidens shape the eras of people. These we call norns. They come to every child who's born, to shape its life. And these are god-intimate, but others are of the elf family, and a third of the dwarf family. Good norns, of good family, shape good ages. But for those people who encounter misfortune, thus chose ill norns.
A Teutonic people.
North-Way, land of the Norse.
The giantess Night.
Inspiration, a husband of Freija.
Woden, in the northern speech.
Ecstacy Rearer, the cauldron of inspiration that contains the poetic mead.
Uncold, where the giants' beer-chamber stands.
Legendary land of the far East.
Easter, Lady of Spring.
A fabulous land.
Cursed Judgement, it is characterized by the fimbul-winter, the world- fire, the sinking of the Earth, and the darkening of the Sun.
Seize, wife to Aegir. The drowned belong to her.
River in Europe and the mythology.
Rigor, who ~ in an Eddic lay ~ begot thrall on great-grandmother, churl on grandmother, and earl on mother.
The risi are a handsome and long lived race of giants. An old saw has: 'high like a risi, strong like a jotun, homely like a thurs.' The Age-old Saga relates that risis settled then widely, but some were half risis as there was then much together blending of nations, thusly risis caught women in Ymislandi (the lands made of Ymir, the Earth). In very old language rishi is a master, avatar, buddha, mahatma.
The great Italic realm of concentrated power.
Sayings, a story, tale, legend, history, first oral, then written.
A root language.
A Teutonic tribal member.
Land of the Saxons.
A late pre-holocaust name for the northern lands, the Beautiful.
Skinfaxi, the horse that pulls daylight.
Father-of-victory, a name of Woden.
Victory-friend, wife of Loki.
Cinder, the dwarf who forged Gullinborsti (Golden Bristles), the boar that pulls Freyr's chariot; Draupnir (Dripper), Woden's arm-ring from which eight equally heavy rings drop every nine nights; Skidbladnir (Stick-blade, made-of-planks), Freyr's ship that has room on board for all the aesir in battle dress, always has a fair wind, and folds to be carried in a bag.
Scathe, daughter of the giant Thiazi and mother of Freyr.
Scold, curse, libel; but first a particular poet who because of the close interaction between alliteration, internal rhyme, syllable-counting meters, and the use of kennings, were allowed little freedom; but the emphasis on skillful composition within this formal system is all the greater. The mead of poetry is a mythological intoxicating potion that makes a Skald of whoever drinks it. The myth of the theft of the mead by Woden is exceedingly ancient.
Sheering (the brightly sparkling one), Freyr's messenger who was gifted his master's sword for wooing the giantess Gerdr.
Thruster, a valkyrie.
Debt, or Guilt, one of three maidens, the sisters of weird, who laid yore-law for ages-old children Ask and Embla.
One of the dispersed Aryan nations.
Slippering, the grey, eight-legged shaman's horse of Woden has Runes on his teeth. Loki, in the form of a mare, conceived him by the giant stallion Svadilfari (Swath Faring, treacherous going).
Fearful, a river bubbling with sabers and swords.
Snower, a giant.
Those who wear cloaks of suf (coarse wool), keepers of the past and future Record, summoned with: Come you lost Atoms to your Center draw, and be the Eternal Mirror that you saw: Rays that have wandered into Dark-ness wide, return, and back into your Sun subside.
The Black giant who rules Muspelheim. Surtr's flame makes the world conflagration of Ragnarok when he and Freyr do battle to the death of both.
Land of the Swedes, a Teutonic people.
The transcendent light and inward love, also known as Ju(pitor), Zeus, Ziu, Tuisto, Tiw, Tig, Tyr.
People Rearer, a dwarf.
Thunderer is foremost, and is called Asathor (Thor-of-the-aesir) or Akathor (Thor-of-the-yoke). He is the strongest of gods and people. He has a realm that Thrudvangar (Fortitude Fields) is named. But his hall is named Bilskirnir (Measure Sheeringer). Thor has heifers (bucks, he-goats) two: Tanngnjostur (Tooth-gnasher) and Tanngrisnir (Tooth-grinder), and a wagon in which he yokes, but the heifer-goats drag the wagon. Thus is he called Thor of the yoke. He also has three precious possessions, same is the hammer Mjolnir, which rime-thurses and mountain-risis know how it can come at them aloft, and this is not surprising. It has crushed many a skull of their fathers and relatives. Another possession among his best, same is the might-girth. And when he spans this around himself, then waxes his aesir-might by half. The third lot to him is in his mighty grippers. These are iron-gloves. He requires these to blunt the heat of the hammer's handle. The ancients held the sign of the hammer holy.
Alarm, the giant who stole Thor's hammer.
A name of Woden.
A demon giant.
Land of Turks whence Woden came.
There is one aesir who is named Shining. He is the most daring and best minded, and he counsels much victory in wars. It is good for valorous people to call on him. It is proverbial that he is Tyr-valiant who is ahead of others and does not sit before them. He is also wise, such that it is said of who wisest is that he is Tyr-seeing. This is one mark of his daring, that when the aesir locked Fenris-wolf and wanted to lay the fetter Gleipnir on him, he did not trust them to loosen him until they laid Tyr's hand in his mouth as a pledge. But then when the aesir would not loose him, he bit the hand off where is now called the wolf-member (the wrist). And so he is one-handed, and not called peaceful man-maker.
Old Upsala, Swedish secular and religious center.
Weird, one of three maidens, the sisters of weird, who laid yore-law for ages-old children Ask and Embla.
Under the third root of the ash Ygdrasil is a spring that is mighty and holy and is named Weird Spring. There own the gods their judgement-stead. It is said that the norns, who live by Urdarbrun, every day take water from the spring to put on the loam that lies about the spring, and sprinkle it up over the ash for its limbs must never become woody or rotten. But that water is so holy to all lots, that they who come there in that well become so white as the skin that lies within an eggshell.
Father-of-the-fallen, Woden, who is named thus by his adopted sons ~ all those who were slain and fell. For them he equipped Valhalla, and named them only-harriers.
Hall-of-the-fallen, where reside all people who have fallen in war since the upheaving of the homes and have come to Woden. As Gylfi obser-ved: 'I think it must be almighty full of people!' Which is true, and many more will there be, yet they will seem too few when the wolf comes. The hall has 540 doors, and 800 of the only-harriers will march out each door to fight beside the aesir at Ragnarok.
Balder's avenger, son of Woden by the rape of Rinda. He reappears with Vidar after Ragnarok to live in the new world.
Choosers-of-the-fallen, they pick the worthy battle-slain to carry to Woden whose maidens and shield-girls they are.
Vanir Home, one of the Nine Worlds.
The Vanir are those who want or lack. As a race they occupy a position opposite that of the aesir, and their name may allude to their difference: perhaps the aesir have vitality while the vanir lack it and thus are unable to act in the manifested universe except by their seidr-magic relations with the aesir.
Woden's brother ~ one of the triad Woden, Vili, and Ve, sons of Bor and Bestla in the myth of descent. His name is wiha: celebrate, ordain, devote, dedicate, consecrate, sanctuary, shrine.
The four Books of Knowledge that originated among the Aryans.
One of the scriptures of the Avesta.
Becoming, one of three maidens, the sisters of weird, who laid yore- law for ages-old children Ask and Embla.
The aesir Wider, at Ragnarok the avenger of his father Woden. Vidar will live in the new world after.
Fight Rider, the plain of the final battle between the forces of Surtr and the aesir-led sons of the prime generation.
Viking (properly Vikinger)
In heathen days it was usual for young men of distinction, before settling down, to make a warlike expedition to foreign parts, this voyage was called 'viking,' and was part of a man's education.
Will, Woden's brother ~ one of the triad Woden, Vili, and Ve, sons of Bor and Bestla in the myth of descent.
A name of Woden.
Land of Wales, a Keltic tribe.
The aesir of many names ~ one of the triad Woden, Vili, and Ve, sons of Bor and Bestla in the myth of descent. His name is from odr and wuta and wods; it means: ecstacy, inspiration, fury, possessed, prophet. There is a mighty stead that's named Valaskjalf (Chosen-shelf). That stead is Woden's. It was made by gods and thatched with pure silver, and Hlidskjalf (Open- scaffold) is there in this chamber, that high-seat that is so named. And when Alfadur sits in that seat, then he sees about all the homes. The viands that lie on his plate, he gives to two wolves who are named Geri (Greedy) and Freki (Harsh). But no viands needs he. Wine is both his food and drink. Ravens two sit on his shoulders and say in his ears all the tidings of which they see or hear. They are named such: Hugin (Thought, thinking) and Munin (Mind, remembering). Them he sends at dawn to fly about all the homes, and after they come to the breakfast-meal. Therefrom becomes he aware of many tidings. Thus call people him Raven-god. He is also known as Fjolsvidr (Full- wise). His knowledge he got by a draught from Mimir's well, but he had to sacrifice an eye to get it. So he is also referred to as the one-eyed aesir. When he is seen he wears a broad-brimmed hat and a cloak that conceals him. He owns the spear Gungnir, the horse Sleipnir, and the ring Draupnir (Dripper), the arm-ring from which eight equally heavy rings drop every nine nights.
A name of Woden that means terrible, fierce, vicious, awful.
The World Tree. Because Woden hung on the windy trunk all of nine nights, the tree's puzzling name has been taken to mean Woden's Horse from Woden's name Ygr and Drasil, which (in the fragment of Aldinnsmal) is the name of a horse ridden by Dagr; while a dwarf in Fjolsvinnsmal is named Vegdrasil (translated as Way-horse). The word drasil may be related to the word dross (cast off matter, sloughed off skin, fallen tree-leaves, etc.), and Ygdrasil may mean something like Horrible Dandruff.
The ash is of all the trees the best. Its limbs spread over all the homes and stand over heaven. The three roots of this tree hold it up and stand far abroad. One is with the aesir, another with the rime-thurses, the same where Ginungagap spewed forth. The third stands over Niflheim, and under this root is Hvergelmir (Where-yell-moisture, the spring from which Elivagar flowed), but Nidhog gnaws beneath this root. But under the root that to the rime- thurses turns, there is Mimir's spring, in which peace and consciousness is hidden. And Mimir is the one who is at that well. The third root of the ash stands in heaven, and under this root is a spring that is mighty and holy and is named Urdarbrunn. There own gods their judgement-stead. Much is there to say of Ygdrasil. An eagle sits in the limbs of the ash, and he is very knowledgable. But between his eyes sits a hawk with the name Vedurfolnir (Weather- paled). A squirrel, named Ratatoskr (Travel Tusker), runs up and down along the tree and bears words of slander between the eagle and Nidhog. But forty harts run in the limbs and bite the buds.
The Teutonic proto-giant. His name is from iemo and means twin, or hermaphrodite; his other name Aurgelmir is loam-yell-moisture; in the Secret Doctrine, primordial matter differentiated from chaos; literally: seething clay.
It is written that as the cold stead of Niflheim holds all grim lots, such were ages that know the nearness to Muspel brings heat and light. But Ginungagap lacked the same and its air was windless. When the rime was met with the heat of the breezes, there was such melting and dripping, that from this fell drops of vitality, quickened by what had crafted it and which sent the heat, and it grew into a human likeness who was named Ymir. But rime-thurses call him Aurgelmir, and from thence came the family of rime-thurses. But never shall we confess him to be a god. He was ill and all his family. And such is said that when he slept he fetched his sweat. Then waxed under his left hand a man and a woman, and his one foot begat a son with the other. But from there came the families that are rime-thurses. This old rime-thurs we call him Ymir.
Zoroaster the prophet who left three germs in the world to impregnate a maiden to bear an avatar in each millennium.
The old Indo-European language of the Avesta.
Author: ACT THREE
Author: PART THREE Runesong: Poetry, Myth, And Tradition
Narrator #1: In 'Havamal', High One's Speech, of the Eddukvaedi it is written: ". . . if i see up on a tree a swinging noose-corpse, so i etch and color runes, that man comes down and speaks with me."
H.P Blavatsky wrote in Isis Unveiled: "That which is now termed the superstitious verbiage and gibberish of mere heathens and savages, composed many thousands of years ago, may be found to contain the masterkey to all religious systems."
Radendr: Among the Teutons exists a tradition that reaches to its tribal ancestors, the people of antiquity that called itself Ri-ar: those-who-till (the ancient Aryans whose Sanskrit name means: those whose life is based on spiritual values). Teutonic lore is transmitted by means of Skaldic poetry, Sagas, Runes, Thulur, and the Edda; the keepers of the ancient words to recite and of the primordial shapes to know are the ErilaR, a name that is widely understood as Runemaster. They preserved the core of Teutonic belief, having transmitted it from mother to daughter, father to son, since the beginning.
They told that once there was no Heaven above nor Earth beneath but only the bottomless deep ~ Ginungagap, and a world of mist ~ Niflheim, in which sprang the rivers of the icy waves ~ Elivagar. When these had flowed far from their source they froze to ice; one layer of ice froze onto the last until the great deep was filled. Southward from the world of mist was the world of light ~ Muspelheim. Warm winds blew from there that melted the ice. Vapors rose from the great deep, billowed in the air, and formed great clouds. From the clouds sprang Ymir, the rime-cold giant who was evil and all his kind which emerged like maggots from his armpits and crotch and from every opening of his body. From the clouds also came the cow Audhumbla whose milk the giant drank for nourishment. The cow every day licked the hoarfrost and the salt from the ice for food. While she was one day licking the salt stones, there appeared the head of a being. On the second day his head showed. On the third day, his entire body was free of ice showing its beauty and power. This new being was Buri. From him came Bor, who on his wife (a daughter of the giant race) fathered Woden, Vili and Ve. These are the first of the aesir race, that some call gods; they are of asu: Life. Woden, Vili, and Ve, slew the giant Ymir and out of his body formed the Earth. Of his blood the seas, of his bones the mountains, of his hair the trees, of his skull the heavens, and of his brain clouds charged with hail and snow. Of Ymir's eyebrows they built a fence around Midgard ~ the midmost place, middle-earth ~ home to the People. Woden set the Sun and the Moon and the stars in their places in the heavens. As the Sun began to shed its rays, the Earth started to bud and sprout and blossom. Though the aesir made the visible world, they did not create it nor the people but only their form. They took an ashen spar and made a man of it. Woman they made of an elm branch. The Teutons call the man Ask, the woman Embla. Woden gave them breath, Vili motion and the senses, and Ve gave them life and blood. Midgard was given them as their residence, and there they begat children, and the children's children ~ who only knew their mothers ~ ranged the world to find their homelands.
The children of Ask and Embla found Ri-arana, the first of the good lands, where they lived in peace and harmony. This was told in the Avesta, the book of knowledge and wisdom given in the hands of the prophet Zarathustr, the complete text of which covered twelve-thousand cow hides. It had twenty-one books, only one of which remains: the Vendidad. Thereupon, says this account, "came he who is all death, and created by witchcraft the serpent in the river and winter. Ten months of winter were there, two months of summer, and those were cold for the waters, cold for the Earth, cold for the trees. Winter fell there, with the worst of its plagues." It forced the people to leave their homesteads and settlements. Some of the nations traveled south and east, to Persia and India, others went west into Europe: Balt, Hellene, Ital, Kelt, Slav, Teuton. They had barley, wheat, oats and rye; flax, hemp, peas, beans, turnips, beets, onions; cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, horses, oxen, chickens, geese, ducks, dogs. They carried with them the knowledge of their household society (at once hunter-fisher, herder, gatherer and tiller), and the ideology that permeates the religious texts of the ancient Indians, emerges in the epic poetry and drama of the Hellenes, hides behind the facade of history among the Itals, and expresses itself in the tales of medieval Keltic and Teutonic peoples.
Narrator #1: It is written in the Vendidad (Fargard III):
"Who rejoices the Earth with greatest joy is who cultivates most grain, grass, and fruit, who waters ground that is too dry, or dries ground that is too wet.
"Unhappy is the land that has long lain unsown with the seed of the sower and wants a good husbandman, like a well-shaped maiden who has long gone childless and wants a good husband.
"Who would till the Earth, unto him will she bring forth plenty, like a loving bride on her bed, to her beloved; the bride will bring forth children, the Earth will bring forth plenty of fruit.
"To who would till her, thus says the Earth: 'O you! who tills me, here shall people ever come and beg for bread, here shall I ever go on bearing, bringing forth all manner of food, bringing forth profusion of crops.'
"To who does not till her, thus says the Earth: 'O you! who does not till me, ever shall you stand at the door of a stranger, among those who beg for bread; ever shall you wait there for the refuse that is brought out to you, brought by those who have a profusion of wealth.'
"'How is the law fulfilled?' asked Zarathustr, and was answered: It is sowing again and again! Who sows, sows holiness and makes the law grow higher and higher, makes the law fat as with a hundred acts of adoration, a thousand oblations, ten-thousand sacrifices."
Radendr: The people had no priests, temples, nor images, for (as Roman historian Tacitus noted in the first century of the current era) they did not consider it consistent with the grandeur of celestial beings to confine them within walls or to liken them to the form of any human countenance. "The Teutons" (commented Julius Caesar more than a hundred years before Tacitus) "the Teutons have no Druids to control religious observances, and are not much given to sacrifices. The only beings that they recognize as gods are things that they can see, and by which they are obviously assisted; the sun, the moon and fire; the others they have never even heard of." Trees, woods, and groves were consecrated, and the names of deities were applied to abstractions discovered in spiritual activities. There were places that custom consecrated seasonally to the assembly of the people where mounds, stones, trees or springs symbolizing communal liberty had long attracted devotion. Festivals grew ancient in these religious places, where goods were traded in gifting ceremonies and oaths were taken, and local traditions attest to the faithfulness of communal meetings to the original meeting place marked by megaliths ~ stones of justice (erected for all time to mark the peaceful millennia of the Old Stone People). These marked central places where the social cohesion of the group, the cult that sanctified the places, and the oaths made in them were all reinforced, but they were also places of encounter and passage where alliances between neighboring groups were forged. In historical times the Teutons were a medley of independent tribes occupying northwestern Europe. Tacitus wrote that they maintained their greatness by righteous dealings: "Without ambition, without lawless violence, they lived peaceful and secluded, never provoking war or injuring others by rapine or robbery. The crowning proof of their valor and strength was that they kept up their superiority without harm to others. Yet all had weapons in readiness, and an army if necessary, with a multitude of men and horses, and even while at peace they had the same renown of valor." Both Tacitus and Caesar remarked that the people lived parted by marshes, lakes, and forests, and that they were fond of such separations. The extended family members, or clan, owned the houses, outbuildings, gardens, and fields, that were used in the annual productive activities of the homestead, and was surrounded by a tribal commons through which a stranger might only travel with much noise so as not to be mistaken for a foe. Because of the cultural importance of gifting, there was little trade and consequently few villages or towns where markets might flourish. To free peoples trade is unworthy; traditional work was agriculture, husbandry, hunting and arms; the worst crime was falsehood; youth were trained to work, fight, and speak truth. The kindred or clan was responsible for the acts of all the living generation, shifting with deaths as to blood relationships. The feud righted murder, injury, and insult, by just revenge or by wergild: payment of compensation. The social order was based almost wholly on the family and the clan in a spirit balanced by hospitality and bravery, the hard life and climate lightened by music and song and loyal friendship. An individual's responsibility was to mother, father, spouse, family, kindred and clan, community, tribe, nation. "The country was common, the government peculiar; the territory the same, the nations different. The spirit of personal law prevailed among the people." So wrote Baron de Montesquieu about Teutonic society in The Spirit of Laws. Each tribe apart was free and independent, each individual to be tried by the established custom of his or her own nation. About minor matters their chiefs deliberated, about the more important the whole tribe. Their freedom had this disadvantage (wrote Tacitus) that they did not meet simultaneously or as they were bidden, but two or three days were required in the delay of assembling. Then the chief, according to age, birth, distinction, or eloquence, was heard more because of influence to persuade than because of power to command. If the sentiments displeased them, they rejected them with murmurs; if they were satisfied, they brandished their spears. This was the Weapon-Take, the Witan, the council by which alone a chief might be acclaimed. In these same councils they also elected the chief magistrates who administered law in the cantons. The common council was the supreme court interpreting the body of law according to the rules of custom as it was held in the minds of the living generation ~ for law is the dynamic rule of the tribe as arising from the people, not as enacted in single rules by authority of a few.
Then came warlike times of the short iron sword that made people everywhere build hill forts great and small, when who tilled the soil was thought the lowest rank by those who prided themselves on idleness and lived by pillage and plunder, and aristocrats came to brood for a king as they sat drinking Hellene wine. The dynamic of Europe at that time came to be dominated by two radically differing philosophies: from the south had come the concept of concentrated power that sought to establish ever growing empires; to the north what John Stuart Mill termed an "excessive liberty" and a fierce independence resulted in anarchic forms of social organization. It rejected authoritarian government and maintained that voluntary institutions are best suited to express people's natural social tendencies. It is based on faith in natural law and justice, and aims at the utmost possible freedom compatible with social life, believing this to be the most harmonious and ordered in its effects. It is a benevolent doctrine held fast in the belief of the innate goodness of people. Vast areas became enslaved in a rigid hierarchy that ascended to the gods and the emperor could, with the aid of a powerful priesthood, claim to rule by divine right. But in the boreal north, individualistic to the point of chaos, an entire populace stood ready to bring down any who would seek to abrogate the power of the individual, for the people held that none could have power over another.
For long centuries, the Roman Empire sent its legions in efforts to extend its frontiers by clashes with the northern 'barbarians' (as the Romans styled the tribes). Time was when the emperor himself first brought Roman arms to the far reaches of his realm. In the course of nine years of campaigns, his well trained army of legionnaires nearly exterminated some tribes. In one obstinate conflict hardly five-hundred survived of sixty-thousand tribal fighters. At another, the total population of thirty-three-thousand was sold into slavery after succumbing to an arduous siege of their last refuge. These were the two greatest border tribes of the Gauls. Taking time to maraud Britain (and lay the groundwork for four centuries of Roman rule there), Caesar subdued the country of the Gauls, punishing and annihilating. Tribal lands were laid waste and the people were hunted like wild beasts. Large tribes were destroyed, whole regions depopulated and ravaged, respect bloodily impressed, and thus the empire grew. Two entire Teutonic tribes numbering four-hundred-thousand pushed into northern Gaul but were driven back across the Rhyn. Still the mighty river could not be forded. Teutonic warriors raised such stubborn resistance that the armed occupation of northern Gaul required fifteen Roman legions (perhaps seventy-five-thousand men), a thousand ships, fifty fortresses; and a bare strip of no-man's-land, with walls faced by deep ditches and dotted with watch towers on the south shore, established the Rhyn as the end of empire beyond which stretched the vast and unknown mirkwood forest homelands of the Teutons. Over centuries, revolts and uprisings of oppressed peoples stained with blood the imperial banners as all of the province of Germania was lost by the Romans and the rule of empire decayed and shrank, but it left behind the legacy of an alien civilization and religion.
Then also was the time of the Folk-Wandering. The climate cooled, coastal areas flooded, and the women (as historians Durant put it) were more fertile than the fields. Cold and hunger became constant companions. The adventurous, determined, and the desperate were forced into a great centuries long migration. They rolled south in covered wagons and a million fighting men, women, children, and animals. They were so blond that terror-stricken Itals described the children as having the white hair of old men. Fierce blue eyes, huge frames, and red hair, were other distinguishing characteristics. From the south (leaving deserts in its wake), concentrated power ~ in the form of imperial economic manipulation, aided by priests bent on cultural genocide ~ compromised the lives of free Teutons. Life became increasingly dependent upon the rule (or misrule) of various royal estates as kings battled each other for thrones and territory, imposing on the people their wars and their crimes. A millennium of a thousand unjust imperial and religious wars wrought carnage and desolation. Armies fed by appropriating the grains and fruits and cattle of the fields, quartered in the homes of the people, and plundered, and raped, and killed. Fertile land was left untilled for lack of men, draft animals, or seed, or because peasants had no assurance that they would live to reap where they had sown. Those who survived were reduced to eating dogs, cats, rats, acorns, grass. Men and women competed with ravens and dogs for the flesh of dead horses. Offenders were taken from the gallows to be devoured. Exhumed bodies were sold for food.
The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, the secular state, coincided with an increase and the supremacy of the Holy Roman Church, the new ecclesiastical state. In the course of hundreds of years, imperial language, gods and priests replaced the dangerous (because national) knowledge of Keltic Druid and Teutonic ErilaR who retreated to the forests and mountains seeking in secret to counsel the people as "they were robbed even of their legends, which were reworked by crafty clerics who forged out of them the mental foundations of a veritable ideology of power" (at least, so wrote Poly).
Teutonic culture became poisoned with the greed of those who usurped the power of the people, ever aided by priests with a mission of cultural destruction. The last stand of Teutonic tradition in Europe ~ before its northward retreat, was in the war of thirty years against Frankish emperor Karl the (so-called) Great. By cruel efforts to spread the gospel of a messiah of Israel, he gave Saxons a choice between baptism and death and had forty-five- hundred beheaded in one day. Through the centuries hundreds and thousands died for persisting in the old traditions. They were dragged from their homes and hacked to death with seven blows of a rusty sword, put to torture, hands and feet burned to the bone, tongue cut out, and suspended over a fire and slowly roasted. In the north they struggled to remain free of royal prerogatives and of feudal subjection. The historical records show the destruction of Roman churches, the killing of church organizers and missionaries, and when the Vikings sailed in fleets of hundreds as the scourge of Europe it was in vengeance that monasteries and churches were burned and looted.
The early records, the songs and the stories, were obliterated by foreign monks and priests who felt a bitter hatred for the paganism they had come to destroy. It is remarkable how clean a sweep these ecclesiastics were able to make. Scholars recognize that the greater part of the early tradition has perished, that practically none of it survives except in Icelandic manuscripts, and that it must have lived orally for many generations before it was written. Its corpus are the Thulur: "collections of mnemonic verses, lists of synonyms or names which served to pass on knowledge to the following generations orally, using mnemotechnical aids such as alliteration, rhythm and factual associations," according to Simek, while Cleasby defined thula as "a rote, or strings of rhymes running on without strophic division, also used of rhymed or alliterative formulas." It was originally of magical-religious content, and the thulr (a sayer of saws, a wise man, a sage, or bard), as Simek noted, "could, thus, be seen as the guardian of tradition, especially religious but perhaps also legal tradition, as the speaker of the tradition, as 'cult speaker'. . . . As the Thulur in the more extended sense of the word . . . convey mythological knowledge, it would seem natural to see the origin of the Thulur as part of the education of the Thulr, the cult speaker." Such are the ErilaR who preserved the tradition by unique wordcraft in lays and drapas as they were performed by the bards of yore, recorded in innumerable ancient songs that were learned by heart. In the collection known as the Edda, the text of the verses was copied in Roman characters from an earlier version in a single, practiced, elegant hand on fifty-three leaves (eight leaves are missing) of a vellum manuscript. Believed penned perhaps a thousand years ago, there is no record of it before being rescued from an Icelandic farmhouse into the possession of a Scandinavian bishop in the seventeenth century. It was presented as a gift to the king of Danmark and remained for three centuries as the Codex Regius (King's Book) in the royal library at Kobenhavn until it was returned to Iceland. It contains forty-one strophic lays in a complex, artificial style, with much use of mythological imagery ~ turning songs in lyric stanzas meant to be recited. Not until the first decades of the nineteenth century were all the lays published.
The ErilaR carried the mythological lore and the traditions ever northward, and Iceland became a final refuge of the profound liberty it demands. It led ~ by the creation of the allthing, the united parliament ~ to the establishment of the first free republic in the European world, where the homesteader also was poet, law-speakers were bards, and a small peasant population devoted a consuming literacy to the preservation of what then was an oral heritage. According to the Islendingabok, the settlers moved to the peace by the northern seas to keep "holy freedom's laws" and to be free of the authority of "kings and criminals".
Narrator #4: "As I see it," wrote Guthmundson, "the main feature of their religion was of the same nature. At least, the worship of fertility and the veneration of a goddess was a characteristic . . . at the time of Tacitus." Guthmundson noted the Skalds reckoned their descent through a female line and named children after the mother. He found in Iceland female chiefs and independent female settlers, as well as farmsteads bearing the name of women although they were married. Skaldic culture, he wrote, "came to Iceland with the fertility worshipers who venerated female divinities." Chantepie de la Saussaye also noted the "two characteristic features" that "receive special emphasis in the account that Tacitus gives of Teutonic religion: the air of mystery and the intimate connection with the life of the tribe. Reverence for the mysterious stillness of the forest, for the divine in woman and for her powers of divination." Women had an important place and special role among the Teutons of old. Tacitus wrote that women were regarded "even as goddesses," and Nederlander P.J. Blok asked: "Who, otherwise than upon the wings of fancy, can picture Teutonic society in that remote age, when woman, as the real propagator of the race, stood higher in the family than the man? Unquestionably this right of the mother prevailed in the youth of the peoples and shaped their customs, state, and family life." Runic initiates believe their kind was taught by the ancestral mother when she instructed her children in the lore and learning of the past. They are songsmiths in a line of wise women ~ the deep-minded, who kept poetry and magic together since times of yore. The ErilaR see a chain of women linking the future with the past. They know it is woman who experiences the connection between certain elevated moods and her menses. As if at once the entire blood circulation has become changed; a quite different life-feeling within. This change causes a mysterious cross-action between woman's body and soul. That very curious and dreamy and yet also so clarifying mood that comes forth from the womb. The ErilaR became what their mothers were from original instructions that began when the newborn was passed around the circle of women ~ a circle only rarely entered by a man.
Dark Age witch hunts and a Roman church Inquisition (carried on nearly exclusively by men) spent centuries to ruthlessly wipe out practitioners of witchcraft (primarily women). These witches were the venerated seeresses and soothsayers of old. It was written that "women witches lay great stress on necklaces," and the necklace is a persistent and significant part of the imagery of the fertility goddess. The association of cats with witches is also a widespread tradition. Freija, the oldest Teutonic fertility goddess, has as her most valued possession the fabled necklace Brisingamen, and travels in a carriage drawn by cats. Freija is considered to have originated a specific form of magical practice known as seidr. It holds as a fundamental law that there is no cessation of motion in Nature, and it is knowledge of this that permits and helps to perform seidrs, various phenomena, such as disintegration of matter, the transport of objects from one place to another (noted Blavatsky). This "art from which the greatest power follows and by which he [Woden] furthered himself," . . . "is followed by so mighty a lust that it was thought noble-men could not fare without shame, therefor were female chiefs taught this art."
Among the tribes traveled groups of wise women who were followers of Freija and practitioners of seidr (perhaps as in the Sanskrit siddhi: psychic attainment or power). The Flateyjarbok indicated of an earlier era: "At that time wise women used to go about the land. They were called spae-wives and they foretold people's futures. For this reason folk used to invite them to their houses and give them hospitality, and bestow gifts on them at parting." Such a woman was known as Volva (literally, wand-bearer) ~ someone with special mantic gifts, a seeress. In a Greenland Saga is given a detailed description of a late (likely one of the last) appearance of such a seidr-practicing Volva, the remaining member of a group of nine women. A small dais was set up for the seeress who carried a staff with a stud as a sign of her calling, and the women formed a circle around this seat. The essentials of the seidr ceremony concerned the erection of a platform or lofty seat on which the leading practitioner sat, the singing of spells, and the falling into a state of ecstacy by this leader. Sometimes the Volva was supported by a large company, who acted as a choir and provided music and ritual.
Hilda Davidson wrote:
"We are told in the accounts of Eirik's Saga, that the volva wore a costume of animal skins, including boots of calfskin, and also that a sacrificial meal was prepared for her from the hearts of all living creatures obtainable. She sat on a kind of platform high above the audience, upon a cushion stuffed with hen's feathers. She asked that someone should be found to sing the spell necessary for the ceremony, and after some search a young Christian woman admitted that she learned it when a child, and was persuaded to sing it. The volva told her afterwards that her singing was so successful that many spirits thronged to hear, and thus she learned from them the hidden things which men wished to know. After the main ceremony was over, she replied to the most important question, which was whether a famine afflicting the community would soon end. She also predicted the destiny of the girl who sang the spell, and told her what her fortunes in marriage would be. Finally men and women went up to put individual queries to her, and received wise answers; in fact 'little that she said went unfulfilled'."
There has been much speculation and disagreement as to why the Edda is so named. Some hold the theory that it's because it was penned in the old Icelandic seat of scholarship Oddi, another belief is that the word is related to odr: inspiration or poetry, but most scholars recognize it as the name of the great-grandmother of 'Rigsthula' ~ one of the lays in the manuscript. In Icelandic, the collection is known as Eddukvaedi, or Great-grandmother-quoted. The first lay of the Edda is 'Voluspa', meaning the Volva's soothsaying, foretelling, or truth. In language full with the ornaments of ancient diction and allusion and often obscure in visionary symbolism, it is commonly regarded as the oldest, most profound mythological poem in Teutonic literature.
Cleasby noted that:
"The ancient Sagas contain many remarkable records of the heathen wise-women or sibyls, who were held in honour and reverence; at the great feasts and sacrifices in the mountain, the volva (often a woman of rank) went with her troop of maidens through the country, where she, so to say, crowned the feast; she was seated on a high seat (seidhjallr) in the hall, where she wrought her spells and sang her 'weird-songs' (vardlokur), after which the guests went past her one by one, and she told each his fate, or whatever else one wanted to know, e.g. the course of the coming winter and the like. The former part of Voluspa is evidently conceived as the inspired song of a volva, seated on her high seat, and addressing Odin [Woden], while the gods listen to her words; and the latter part of the poem appears to be a kind of necromancy, or the raising of a dead volva . . .":
Voluspa: "Harken bid i all hallowed kindred, greater and lesser youths of Heimdal. You will, that i, Valfadur, well tell first ancient spells of people, though you are foremost among bonded.
"I am bonded to giants since the birth of seasons, they who in aforetime headed my feeding. Nine bonded i house, nine in the tree that meted blessings before earth was beneath.
"Of yore were ages, when nothing was, neither shores nor seas nor cool waves; earth was never found nor high-heaven, the gap spawned sanctity, but grass was nowhere, ~
"before Bor's sons the soil raised, them who Midgard's blessings shaped; the sun shone in the south to stain the chambers, then did the ground grow greening leeks.
"Sun cast from the south, and the companion moon, were caught within the grasp of heavenly bounds; sun that did not know, where the chambers of her family, stars that did not know, where the steads of their family, moon that did not know, whence his mighty family.
"Then went all rulers to judgement-seats, gap-hallowed gods, and about there tended; night and nether names were given, morning called and midday, afternoon and evening, seasons to tell.
"Hit aesir on Idafelli, where is the high cairn and court of timbers and hides; caused laws, smithed fortune, shaped tongs and made tools.
"Tables they played in the garden, with cheerful lips, was there no-one wanting flakes of gold, until three giant maidens much unmighty came out of Jotunheim."
"Then went all rulers to judgement-seats," continues the wise woman, where they consider how the race of dwarfs was created by the blood and bones of the giants of Earth and Sky. The Volva recites full eight verses of dwarf names, and resumes.
"Then three members of the strong and beloved aesir came to the houses, chanced upon compatriots of little might Ask and Embla lacking yore-law.
"Breath they had not of their family, soul they had not of their master, life's heat nor manner nor the likeness of chiefs; breath gave Odin, soul gave Hoenir, life's heat gave Lodur and the likeness of chiefs.
"An ash i know it stands, it's named Ygdrasil, high bosom, sprinkled white loam; thence come dewtracks, that fall in the dales, stands ever green over Urdarbrun.
"Thence came three maidens of high consciousness out of that sea, that lies under the thole; Urd one is called, another Verdandi, ~ it's scored on sticks, ~ Skuld is the third. Theirs the laws laid, theirs the life chosen for ages-old children, and yore-law said.
"Bonded she is to the folkfight first in the homes, who Gullveigu's spear steadied and in the hall of Har her burned, thrice burned, thrice born, often, not seldom; yet does she live.
"Brightly they hight, who to the houses came, seeresses well-foretelling, charms she spirits; seidr she does, where she's known, seidr she does mindbending, ever was she fragrant but foul the brothers.
"Then went all rulers to judgement-seats, gap-hallowed gods, and about there tended, whether aesir must withhold yield or must all gods yielding own.
"Flew Odin and shot among the folk, that was still the folkfight first in the homes; broken were bulwark shelters of aesir, able fight-foretelling vanir spurned the fields.
"Then went all rulers to judgement-seats, gap-hallowed gods, and about there tended, wherefrom was the air with treason blended or Od's maiden given to the giant family.
"Thor only with woe suppressed his mood, ~ he seldom sits, when he is thus informed. So became oaths, words to swear, speech of great might, that fared between them.
"She knows Heimdal's hail is hidden under the shady hallowed bosom; where she sprinkled water on the loam from Valfadur's pledge. Know you further ~ or what?
"Alone sat she outside, when of ages came the terrible young aesir and in eyes searched: Who questions me? Why test me? All i know, Odin, where your eye is hidden, within blessed Mimisbrun. Mead drinks Mimir every morning from Valfadur's pledge. Know you further ~ or what?
"Kept they Herfadur's rings and necklaces, fetched a peaceable spell and foretelling spirits, she saw far and wide about the world everywhere.
"Saw she valkyries come widely about, garbed to ride to Godthjodar; Skuld held shields, but Skogul sword-blades, Gunnar, Hildur, Gondul and Geirskogul. Now are told Herjan's nuns, garbed to ride the ground as choosers-of-the-fallen.
"I saw Balder's man-blood shining, Odin's child, yore-law hidden; while profusely grew in hoary fields the fair and lowly mistletoe.
"Ward off that which maims, this slim looking, harmful-shaft so dangerous, that Hodur took to shoot. Balder's brother was but barely born, Odin's son just one night old.
"Though he neither washed hands nor combed his head, first to the fiery bier was Balder's attacker; but Frig wept in Fensolum and woe filled Valhalla. Know you further ~ or what?
"Then knew Vali a fightbound turn, heroic was the
hardship, hobbled by entrails.
"Hobbled saw she lying under Hveralund, the lowered body of disagreeable Loki. There sat Sigyn over him yet not with gladness. Know you further ~ or what?
"Then fell from the east over poisoned-dales sabers and swords, Slidur this was named.
"Stood far to the north at Nidavollum the gold-showered chamber of Sindra's family; but another that stood at Okolni was the giants' beer-chamber, and its name was Brimir.
"A chamber saw she stand far from the sun on Nastrand, with north facing doors. Poison drops fell in through the louvers, because the chamber was plaited of rueful worms.
"Saw she wade in burdened streams people perjured and murder-soiled and there are other confounding silent-mysteries. There suckles Nidhogr near forthgoing, loosed wolves were. Know you further ~ or what?
"Easterly sat the old one in Jarnvidi and fed there Fenris' kindred. Worthiest of them all one certain moon drawer in troll's skin.
"Full of vitality were deathbound people, a ruddy curse settled in reddening blood. Black became sunshine during summers after, weather all woeful. Know you further ~ or what?
"Sat there on a mound with a bone harp the ogress herder, glad Eggther; crowed for them in gallows-wood the fair-red cock, that Fjalar hight.
"Crowed about aesir Gullinkambi, who woke the holds of Herjafadur's; but another soot-red rooster crowed in front of the underground chambers of Heljar.
"Garmr barked mightily in front Gnipahel, fetters shall shatter, and freaks run. Much lore she knows, far distant i see about ragnarok ~ the cursed-judgement of a bitter victory-shine.
"Brothers shall batter and with bane become, shall cousins spoil sib; hard is it in the homes, whoredom great, axe-age, sword-age, shields are cloven, wind-age, wolf-age, ere the world is overthrown, is reverence for others in no human mind.
"Mimir's sons play, but the meter kindles issuing yells of Gjallarhorn. High blows Heimdal, horn is aloft, as Odin speaks with Mim's head.
"Trembling, the ash Ygdrasil stands fast, groan does the age-old tree, as giants are loosed. Dreadful all on helways, ere Surtr then his sib engulfs.
"What is with aesir? What is with elves? Clashes all Jotunheim, aesir are in meeting, leaders of the rock-cliffs, dwarves groan before their stone-doors. Know you further ~ or what?
"Barks now Garmr mightily before Gnipahel, fetters shall shatter, and freaks run, much lore she knows, far distant i see about ragnarok ~ the cursed-judgement of a bitter victory-shine.
"Hrymr drives easterly, raised shield before him, Jormungandr thrashes in giant-fury. The worm presses the waves, and the eagle screams, nearly cut loose is Nidafolr, Naglfar is launched.
"Keels fare easterly, Muspel shall come among the law members, and Loki steers. Fare mighty-monsters with all freaks, they who with Byleist's brother fare.
"Surtr fares southerly with treason of switches, from the swords shines the sun's transcendent-weal. Stone crags crash, and fiends travel, heroes tread helway, and the heavens cleave.
"Then comes Hlinar with other harms forward, when Odin fares toward the wolf's way, but Belja's bane is brighter than Surtr; then shall Frigjar fall sweetly.
"Barks now Garmr mightily before Gnipahel, fetters shall shatter, and freaks run.
"Then comes Sigfadr's great youth, Vidar, on the way of the carrion-beast. His manner with Hvedrung's offspring is with his hands to stand the sword to the heart, and then the father is avenged.
"Yawning aloft over the girdles of the earth, gape terrible jaws of the worm in mockery. Odin's son shall meet the wolf's poison that's death to Vidar's descendant.
"Then comes the blessed youth of Hlodynjar, goes Odin's son against worm's way, in wrath he strikes Midgard's shrines, ~ shall heroes all homesteads disperse; ~ nine paces goes Fjorgynjar's child in pain from the adders spite.
"Sun tokens a blackening, fields sink into the sea, thrown from heaven the bright stars. Vapors rage over ember-feeder, high heat plays against heaven itself.
"Barks now Garmr mightily before Gnipahel, fetters shall shatter, and freaks run.
"Sees she come up another companion earth out of the sea made-green. The waterfall, flies the eagle over, who on the fells hunts fish.
"Find aesir at Idafelli and around the mould-thole mightily deem and remember that which is deemed the highest of Fimbultyr's ancient mysteries.
"There shall after the altogether-wondrous golden tables in the grass be found, there where in days-of-yore that family headed.
"Shall unsowed acres grow, bale shall all better, Balder shall come. Build there Hodur and Balder on Hroft's victory-turf, well is the shining-weal. Know you further ~ or what?
"Then can Hoenir lot-woods choose and children settle the twin brothers' vast wind-home. Know you further ~ or what?
"A chamber sees she stand sun fair, gold thatched at Gimle. There must virtuous households settle and an age-of-days their fond-abode enjoy.
"Then does come to rule that reign of great power from above, that is all reason.
"There the dark dragon does come flying, adder gleaming, beneath from Nidafjollum; bears in its feathers, ~ as it flies the plain over, ~ Nidhoggur near. Now shall she be sunk."
'Voluspa' is plagiarized in another Eddic lay (set down in a different hand and the work, according to Gordon, of an inferior poet), the 'Voluspa in skamma', the Short Voluspa. It's last two verses read:
"Became one borne of all greatness, thus to augment earth's might; then pronounced a profound and potent beatitude, that bound by affinity settled in the very fields.
"Then came another even mightier; though that i dare not name. Fewer see now forward longer about when Odin shall meet the wolf."
Radendr: In the ancient language, God as a proper name was never used; Old Teutonic gudo is neuter and means to invoke, or to offer sacrifice, thus an object of worship. The Edda recounts little of god, it speaks in more mysterious words and reserves for the highest conception the term tiva ~ as the Sanskrit dayaus: the transcendent light and the inward love. It is that which the Skalds "dare not name", That which has no name: the unknowing darkness of the closed eye becoming (the proto-teutonic) Teiwaz, the first manifestation of light. Early studies expressed the idea of Woden dethroning Teiwaz. Although now discredited, the theory showed the Teiwaz concept with Woden as avatar replaced by Woden as god in the likeness of man. Avatar is a manifestation in human form; in Vedic mythology, the descent of a deity to the earth in carnate form. Blavatsky wrote of the "Records of the Thirty-five Buddhas of Confession" that relate of the great Mahatmas who "may just as well be called Rishis, or Avatars, etc; . . . they are historical sages ~ at any rate, for all . . . who believe in such a hierarchy of Sages, the existence of which has been proved to them by the learned ones of the Fraternity. Odin, or the god Woden, . . . is one of these thirty-five Buddhas; one of the earliest, indeed, for the continent to which he and his race belonged, is also one of the earliest. So early, in truth, that in the days when tropical nature was to be found, where now lie eternal unthawing snows, one could cross almost by dry land from Norway via Iceland and Greenland, to the lands that at present surround Hudson's Bay." As in the Vedic tradition, the true knowledge became concealed by the ErilaR initiates. The solar mythology that was postulated in the early studies arises from the Teiwaz concept of the shining inner light. But this dethroning is a legitimate part of the tradition and only misleads those ignorant of the more lofty concept. The essence of the Teutonic world view does not lie in the concept of Woden as god, for the idea of such a god is not compatible with the ideals of a personal religion and personal liberty.
The Volva called Woden "foremost among bonded", bound ~ as are we all ~ to the sphere of the manifested universe. He represents male energy as Freija and the Volva do female. Coming forth from man's testes is a bodily imperative to lust, to seed, to thrust, to impose, to rule. Freija's Volva is woman; Woden's priestly Son of the Prime Generation is man. "In the hymns of the Aryans assigned to about 2,000 B.C. there are indications of a formulation of doctrines which have come to be considered Sufic in the sense of the carrying out of certain practices of sublimation and development," Idries Shah wrote. The Sufi illuminate, he maintained, is "the herdsman" who possesses a "certitude" the essence and expression of which "is the 'retrieving of the very marrow, the shepherding of others, the exercising of the commanding authority and endowment usually invested in what is called a priest in mechanical religion.' . . . This, to the Sufi, is the meaning of a priest ~ that he should have arrived at some sort of certitude that places him in contact with the greater dimension, not that he should be mechanically created by order or study. A priest is the result of a development. No such priest exists in familiar religion." According to traditional conceptions, the function of a master is not limited to the teaching of doctrines, but implies an actual incarnation of knowledge, thanks to which he can awaken other men, and help them in their search simply by his presence. He is there to create conditions for an experience through which knowledge can be lived as fully as possible. In such a sense is Woden the highest of the aesir's priests and masters.
Narrator #4: Woden was head of the aesir's home, where (as Sturluson told in his Ynglingasaga):
Snorri: There were great places of sacrifice. It was tradition there that twelve court-chiefs were adored; they must counsel before sacrifice and render judgement between people; they were called priests or masters. Them must all the folk grant service and reverence.
When Asa-Woden came to the Northlands with his priests, it is said on good evidence, that they raised and taught their arts by which tradition people have long since fared. Woden was most honored of all, and from him took they all their arts, for he understood them not only first but best. But it is said that the reason he was thus much exalted was because he bore this lot: His likeness was so fair and glorious, that when he sat with his friends, laughter came to the minds of all. But when he was with an army, his appearance was grim to his enemies; and this he bore too, that he knew those arts by which he shifted likeness and body according to each emotion, as he willed it. His workings were such that he told so eloquent and smooth, that all who heard it thought it was the only truth. He spoke all in rhyme, just the same as that still quoted by those called skalds. He and the court- chiefs are called songsmiths, because that art was raised from them in the Northlands. Woden can do such, that in battle his enemies become blind or deaf or fearful, and their weapons bite not like swords but wands, but his people fared without chainmail and yelled like dogs or wolves, bit on their shields, and were stronger than bearsows or young cattle. They slaughtered the people's folk, but neither fire nor iron worked on them; that is called going berserker.
Woden shifted skins. His body laid then as if sleeping or dead, but he was then bird or beast, fish or worm and fared in an instant to faraway lands on his own errands or other people's. What he could do too is with words only slake fire and calm seas and turn winds, ordered however he willed it. . . . Betimes he woke up dead people out of the earth or sat under the hanged; because of this was he called ghost-master or hanged-master. He owned two ravens, whom he had tamed by speech; they flew wide about the lands and said to him many tidings. From these lots he became a great lorester. All these arts he knew by their runes and songs that are called enchant-ments. For this were Aesir called enchantment-smiths. Woden knew that art from which the greatest power follows and by which he furthered himself, which is called seidr, and from this force he knew the peoples' yore-law and their unuttered lots, and thus could make people's bane or misfortune or sickness, or could take from people their wit and vigor and give these to others. But this fullkenning, when furthered, is followed by so mighty a lust that it was thought noble- men could not fare without shame, therefor were female chiefs taught this art. . . . Most of these arts he taught his sacrifice-chiefs, for they were nearest to him in all knowledge and fullkenning. But many others also took this knowledge, and have thereby dispersed full-kenning widely and kept it long. Woden and the twelve court-heads were worshiped by people who called them their gods and entrusted this to a long tradition.
Narrator #4: The Icelander Snorri Sturluson wrote early in the thirteenth century. The author of many different kinds of literature was raised from childhood at Oddi where many scholars labored and imparted their lessons to the boy who would early win a reputation. His Snorra Edda was designed as a handbook for poets who used the old Skaldic forms. Throughout the work Sturluson quoted what he considered were the most trustworthy of sources: the ancient lays that reflect tenets based on the knowledge of the accumulated wisdom and secret teachings concealed within the rituals, allegories, and mysteries of the ages.
Snorri: Woden had prophecy and so did his wife, and from their wisdom they found their names held in high repute in the northern half of the homes and honored beyond other kings. Soon this caused desire to begin their journey from Turkland and they had with them a great host of company, young people and old, men and women, and carried also great many costly treasures. Wherever they traveled over land, there was much glory added to their legend, such that they were thought of like gods more than as people. They stayed not their travels, until they came to that northern land that is now called Saxland. There dwelled Woden a longer while and widely possessed that land.
After that he fared north to what is now called Swede-nation. There was a king named Gylfi. When he tracked the journey of these Asia-people, as the aesir were called, he traveled through the night to offer Woden any such power as he wished to wield in his reign. And as time followed their journey, in whatever lands they had delayed there were fruitful seasons and peace. Then believed all, and so were they counseled, and thus it seemed to the common people, that they were unlike other people, for theirs was the highest beauty and intelligence. Woden considered his fair and valued land and chose here a certain town-site. . . . He created there cantons, . . . and set twelve head-people in steads to judge the laws of the land, and thus created he justice for all. . . . After that he fared north, where he beheld the sea, that is said to lay around all land. . . .
Narrator #4: In the Edda's second lay, 'Havamal', High-one's Speech, the words of Woden are twined in Guest Strands:
Havamal: "Gates all, before going through, viewed must be, espied must be, because it's uncertain to know, where strangers sit in front of the flats.
"Givers hail. Guests who come in, where must they sit? Unseemly the haste, of who at the hearth must further one's own effort.
"Fire is needful, to them who've come in and are cold at the knees; food and clothing is people's need, them who over the fells have fared.
"Water is needful, to them who to the meal come, towels and a nation's-invite, good for the disposition, if these get meted, words and attentive-hearing.
"Wit is needful, to them who widely travel; used to being away from home. Wool pulled over their eyes, get they who nothing ken and with the clever sit.
"Of their beliefs humans must not boastful be, rather tend to the senses. Then who wise and silent to the homestead come, seldom wield sharp wits, because to disturb a friend brings humans never to great consciousness.
"The wary guest, who to the meal has come, is little heeded at first, then let the ears harken, and eyes view; thus news is ever learned first.
"They are happy, who guess about praise and mercy-signs. Uneasy who denies it, are humans who must own what's in others' breasts.
"They are happy, who of themself have praise and wit, during life; because ill counsel humans often get out of others' breasts.
"No burden better to bear on the human road than great consciousness. When better fortunes seem in unknown stead; that engenders who wretched be.
"No burden better to bear on the human road than great consciousness; no worse provisions to take on the way than over-drinking ale.
"It's not so good when good quotes the ale in generations' sons, because know that who ferries more drink, there too goes the sense of men.
"The herons-of-forgetfulness are named who over the drinking party tarry; they steal the senses of men. These birds of feathers are the fettered wolf in Gunladar's garden.
"Ales i avoided, avoided drunkenness when at learned Fjalar's. Because ale is best, when after the homeward turn men each have their senses.
"Silent and mindful must nations' children be and boldly daring; gladsome and cheerful must each man be, until his bane abides.
"Slow humans believe life shall last forever, if they avoid the fight; but old age gives them no peace, though they gave up spears.
"Oafs stare, when come to acquaintance, their murmurs within them tarry. All in good time, if soon they get their swill, rises then the mood of men.
"That only know, who widely travel and have fared manifold, ever senses steer each man, them who knowingly use wits.
"Hold not humans to the beaker, drink but in moderation mead, speeches need or silence; none of humanity will come to woe, if you go early to sleep.
"Greedy heroes, take senses as signal, eat themselves life-long-grief; often fear ridicule, who with the wise come, people with homely stomachs.
"The herds know when to home they must return, and when to go from grass; but unswift humans know nothing but the speech of their maw.
"Bereft humans and ill creatures harken to everything. It doesn't hit them to know, that their wits are needed, as they are not lacking in faults.
"Unswift humans lie awake all night to worry over everything; then they are moody, when morning has come, and are all in misery.
"Unwise humans believe all who smile upon them are friends. Revealed they find, these thoughts glean fear, when they with the clever sit.
"Unwise humans believe all who smile upon them are friends; then it's found, when to the meeting come, that to the forespeaker they're fetched.
"Unwise humans seem all witty, when they are in their own surroundings. Revealed they know, what they must wrongly quote, when they're tested by travelers.
"Unwise humans, who with elders come, it is best, they be silent. No-one will know, that they nothing ken, and take what they say too highly; know-not humans, they who weightless know, though they speak too much.
"Learned they seem, who understand questioning and sayings do befit. Nought's concealed to sons of the prime generation, who thus go about men.
"Enough speech, he who's never silent, are groundless statements; quick-spoken tongues, when not taken hold, often yell their own undoing.
"Humans must not pull the wool over the eyes of others, when to acquaintance come; many then seem learned, if they ask nothing and care to keep their noses clean.
"Learned seem, who take flight, when guest mocks guest; one knows not clearly, who defend with a grin, though they with grimness growl.
"Many men are wholesome and good, except when the mealtime's shared; since ages strive shall ever there be, when guest disagrees with guest.
"Early meal must humans often fetch, when to acquaintance come: else they'll sit and snuffle, their manner greedy, and the questions few.
"Turn away much from ill friends, though at the road abide, but to good friends lies the straight and narrow, though to them it's far faring.
"Going must, must not guests be ever in one's place; beloved becomes loathed, if long they sit in others' flats.
"The farm is better, though little it be, each is a hero at home; though but two goats and a thatch-roofed chamber, that is yet better than begging.
"The farm is better, though little it be, each is a hero at home; bleeding's the heart, of them who must bid with their speech for each bit of food.
"From their weapons humans must not choose to step away, because it's uncertain to know, when near draws the outbound way and spears be the need of men.
"Never found i mild people and thus good food, that was not received forthwith, with possessions they were thus not stingy, which leads to its reward, if accepted.
"Holding possessions, hard won, humans must not endure need; often is spared for those loathed, what was meant for loved ones, much goes worse than foreboded. "Weapons and clothes must gladden friends, that is of itself most certain. Those who give-in-return and those who give-again ever be longest friends, if it abides that well it happens.
"With their friend must humans friends be and yield gift with gift. Laughter with laughter must the landholder take, but treachery with lies.
"With their friends must humans friend be, to them and their friends; but with a stranger's friends humans must not friendly be.
"Know this, if you have friends, whom you trust full well, and you will from them goodness get, moods must blend with them and gifts share, fare to those friends often.
"If you have others, them whom ill you trust, yet will you from them goodness get, fair must you speak to them, but falsely minded and yield treachery with lies.
"Thus it is with those, whom ill you trust and have suspicions of their thoughts, laugh must with them and about mind speak; alike must yield gifting.
"Young was i formerly, fared i one alone, then i avoided bewildering ways; fortunate seemed, when i found another, humans are people's pleasure.
"Mild, brave people live best, seldom sorrow bear; but slow humans have terror of whatever, mourn ever stinginess in gifting.
"My clothes i elected to give to two tree-people; righteous then thought, who that linen cloaked; shamed are naked heroes.
"Withering thole, that stands by the hamlet, warms not its bark nor needles. Thus are humans, they whom no-people love. For what must they live long?
"The fire of peace burns hot with ill friends for five days, but then it slakes, when the sixth comes, and worsens all friendship.
"Grandly only mustn't people give; often it buys one but little praise; with half a loaf and with tipped beaker fetched i myself fellowship.
"Little are sands of little seas and little is the sense of men; because all people's weird is not to be even-sighted; half is every age.
"Middling-clever must people each, never too clever be. Warriors with the fairest life are those who keep their wits.
"Middling-clever must people each, never too clever be; because clever people's hearts become seldom glad, if they are over-clever, that is so.
"Middling-clever must people each, never too clever be. Their yore-law no-one knows before, theirs is sorrowless feeling.
"Brands from burning burn, until burned they are, flames quicken from flame; humans from people by speech become known, but the dull by what they hide.
"Early must rise, if others' possession or vitality will have. Seldom do lying wolves get the ham nor sleeping humans victory.
"Early must rise, who has workers to fetch, and has their work to plan. Much is delayed, when the morning is slept away. Half of fortune is made of vigor.
"Dry kindling and thatching bark, this can humans measure, and this wood, that may withstand time and season.
"Washed and sated ride humans to the meeting, though their clothing's not too well. Shoes and breeches shamed no human nor steed the hero, though they haven't good ones.
"Snuffling and stooping, when to the sea came, was the eagle over the watery fruit; thus are humans, who among many come and to the forespeaker are fetched.
"Ask and say must the learned each, them who will be called wise. One may know but no others must, the nation knows, if three do.
"Their power must counsel-clever each in moderation hold. Then it is they find, when among the brave come, that none is alone most vigorous.
"Words there are, which humans to others say, that often do yield guesses.
"Much too early came i in many places, and too late in some. Ale was drunk, else was unmade; but seldom's found loathe in a member.
"Here and there a home means to beckon me, if needful meal is starved of food, or two hams hang up with faithful friends, there where i had eaten one.
"Fire is best with generations' sons and the sight of the sun, healthy they, if humans have these near, without fault proceeds then life.
"No humans are all bereft, though they have ill health. Some are happy from sons, some from relatives, some from possessions honored, some from good works.
"Better to be alive than un-alive, ever get the quickened cows. I saw fire burn up fortunate people before, but outside the dead were in front of the door.
"The halting ride horses, the herd driven by who wants hands, the deaf are glorious and doughty. Blind is better than to be burned, no people endure death.
"Sons are better, though late begot after going about men; seldom stand memorial-stones near the road, for to raise these takes offspring and kin.
"Two are one's harrier, tongue is head's bane; it's to me a hide wherein hands to expect.
"Night becomes fair, that is provisioned true, cramped are ships' quarters; shifty the autumn-night; plenty changes weather in five days, but more in a month.
"They know not, who weightless know, that many become from silver fools. Humans are fortunate, others unfortunate, mustn't then place blame.
"Cattle die, relatives die, the self dies it seems; but word-renown dies never-an-age, whence one his virtue gets.
"Cattle die, relatives die, the self dies it seems. I know only, that never-an-age dies: the doom about the dead each.
"Now is Hava's speech quoted in Hava's halls, all-needed by generations' sons, no-need for giants' sons; hale them, who quote, hale them, who know, useful to them, who take, holy they, who heed."
Narrator #1: Jacob Grimm wrote in his Teutonic Mythology: "If the full import of the [Rune] names were intelligible to us, we might take in at one view all that was effected by magic spells."
Havamal: Runes Of Magic And Mystery
"That is discovered, when you trace the runes done by reigners-knowing, they were made by the beginning-rulers and colored by the awesome-sage, that have they best, if they're received."
Narrator #4: Runes are ancient as the people's belief they are gifted by Woden who, in order to win them, hanged himself on the great tree, wounded himself with his own spear, and hung there for nine full nights ~ as is related in 'Havamal':
"I know, that i hung on the windy trunk all of nine nights, spear wounded and given by Woden, self to myself, ~ on that trunk, of which no people know, from where its roots run.
"With a loaf mine happiness but without a horn; pried i below, took i up runes, weeping took, fell i after thence.
"Nine awesome-lays took i from within the famed son of Bolthorn, Bestla's father, and a drink i did get of precious mead, out of Odreri.
"Then took i intuition and learned was and waxed i in well being, my word from wording led to words, my work from working led to works.
"Runes shall you find and counseling staves, mighty sturdy staves, mighty stiff staves, colored by the awesome-sage and made by the beginning-rulers and etched in Hroft's reign.
"Woden with aesir and for elves Dain, Dvalin for dwarfs, Asvidar for giants, i etched some myself.
"Knowest, how etch must? Knowest, how counsel must? Knowest, how color must? Knowest, how test must? Knowest, how bid must? Knowest, how sacrifice must? Knowest, how send must? Knowest, how offer must?
"Better is unbidden than over-sacrificed, ever these too yield gift; better is unsent than over-offered. Thus Thundur did etch before nations' origin, there he up on rose, he who after 'round comes."
Tale of Lays
"Lays i can yet, that can't nations women and no peoples' youths. Help one is called, and that shall help against sickness and sorrows and griefs quite entire.
"That can i else, that's needed by generations' sons, who would live as healers.
"That can i third: if my need becomes great to cuff my foemen, edges i blunt of my attackers, bite not their weapons nor wiles.
"That can i do fourth: if my warriors bear bonds at bow-limbs, thus i yell, that i erase them, spring off my feet the fetters, and from hands the cuffs.
"That can i do fifth: if i see the fearful shooting pike wade into the folk, fly these not so stout, that i unsteady it, if i seek it with my sight.
"That can i do sixth: if a yeoman wounds me with scored woody roots, then the hero, who spoke to me of feud, eats maim rather than me.
"That can i do seventh: if i see high flames in the chamber about my seatmates, burns it not so broad, that i cannot protect them; then know i chants to yell.
"That can i do eighth, that is completely useful to take: where hatred has grown among heroes' sons, that erase i and better soon.
"That can i do ninth: if my need is to stand to shelter my fleet faring, the wind i calm over the waves and soothe the whole sea.
"That can i do tenth: if i see hedge-riders sport aloft, i work so, that bewildered then fares their home-shape, their home-sense.
"That can i do eleventh: if i must to battle lead long-friends, under shields i yell, and then with power fare hale heroes to, hale heroes from, come they hale from thence.
"That can i do twelfth: if i see up on a tree a swinging noose-corpse, so i etch and color runes, that man comes down and speaks with me.
"That can i do thirteenth: if i must at young yeomen water throw, they shall not fall, though they go with the troops, these heroes sink-not before swords.
"That can i do fourteenth: if i must tell company members of the shining, of aesir and elves i know quite clear; few know such to be unwise.
"That can i do fifteenth, the yells of Thjodrerir's dwarves before Delling's doors: strength yelled they to aesir, and to elves as well, beliefs of Hroftaty.
"That can i do sixteenth: if i do will to have the swift bond-girl's entire mood for gaming, i turn my mind on the white-armed woman, and i change all her affection.
"That can i do seventeenth, that my mind does slow the far-off youthful bond-girl. Lays like these shall you, Lodfafnir, long be wanting; though these are good, if you get, useful, if you take, needful, if you receive.
"That can i keep eighteenth, with much i never acquaint maid nor people's women, ~ it's always better, if only one knows; and that followers conceal these lays, ~ take these only, who in my arms has lain or my sister is."
Sigurdrifumal: In 'Sigurdrifumal', Sigurdrifa's Speech, another Eddic lay, a valkyrie is asked to speak of the ancient knowledge, and thus quoth Sigurdrifa:
"Beer i ferry thee, fine tree of battle, with power it's blended and in glory stained; fraught are these songs and mercy-signs, goodly chants and game of runes.
"Victory runes must you ken, if you will victories have, etched on the hilt of the sword, some on shaft, some on haft, and name these twice Ty.
"Ale runes must you ken, if you will not accept another queen's wiles on faith, if you are the trusting sort; on the horn must be etched and on the back of the hands and mark Naud on the nails.
"The goblet must sign and against fears see and edge with leeks the rim; then i know that, to them never comes maim blended with mead.
"Birth runes must you ken, if you would shelter and loosen the child from women; on the palms must be etched and around the joints spanned and bid then the virgin-sisters' aid.
"Surf runes must you etch, if you will shelter sailsteeds in the straits; on stern must there etch and at starboard and lay fire in the oars; however so steep the breakers nor so billowing the waves, yet come you hale from the ocean.
"Branch runes must you ken, if you will a healer be, and know sores to see; on bark must then etch and on branches of trees, those whose branches easterly bow.
"Speech runes must you ken, if you will, that no-people's feuds yield harm; there about wind, there about weave, there about seat all together for to meet, thus nations must in full judgement fare.
"Mind runes must you ken, if you will ever be a mood-swifter man; there about counsel, there about etch.
"That are bettering runes, that are shelter runes and all ancient runes and valuable mighty runes, whoever can use them unerring and unspoiled they have auguries; use them, if you take them, until the violation of the rulers."
Radendr: Runes were once the usual form of writing among the Teutons but they are not merely letters. Originating in Stone Age scratchings, they have magical, ritual, and religious significance. Three centuries ago people burned because Runes were found in their possession. Thirteen-hundred years before that, when Ulfilar translated the Book of Israel he rendered 'the mystery of god' as runa goths, for the root meaning of Rune is hidden lore and mystery. Roun (mystery) relates to that which is written, to counsel and consultation, to speech, and to song, and the ErilaR sages believed all that could be known by them was contained within the glyphs. Through the Runes the ErilaR experienced the kinship of language shown also in the name by which the Teutons refer to themselves ~ a self-appellation that means simply: the people. Its etymology is ancient and the same among all the nations: Old High German, diot; Old Frisian, thiade; Old Swedish, thiod; Gothic, thiuda; Old English, theod; Old Norse, thjoth; Old Irish, tuath; Cornish, tus; Old Keltic, teuts; Lithuanian, tuata; Welsh, tud. . . . Without need for understanding complicated old tongues as Zend and Sanskrit, Senzar (Blavatsky's "ancient language of the Sun"), and the ever more difficult maze of case endings, declensions, and conjugations of the original tongue, the Runes provide ancient mythological and historical lore the origin of which is lost.
Futhark: The futhark (so named from the first six characters) is divided with the help of dots into three sets of eight known as aetir (families or eights). Each aetir is named after the first Rune of the set. So: Fehs-aet, Hagals-aet, Teis-aet. Besides the Runes of this Futhark, other forms for the same Runes are known as are many other glyphs and sigyls in magical inscription that sought to invoke the names of power.
FEE (fehu) means domestic cattle. Since the Bronze Age at least, cattle played a role in the religious life of the Teutonic tribes. The bull was said to be one of the symbols of Thor, and an element in the worship of Tyr. Both bull sacrifices and the bull as a symbol of power are documented, and a cult of the bull was widespread in times of old. Cows were once also of considerable importance in Hellenic and Italic theology, and are still sacred in India where there are several Vedic allusions to the mystic relation between the cow and the Earth, while in the Teutonic creation myth the primal cow Audhumbla is prominent. The word fehu has the same root as the Italic pecunia for money and the English word fee, and thus came to mean property and wealth. A fee was also homage rendered, and the sum a public officer (who held office 'in fee') was authorized to demand, from where it has come to stand for any payment to professionals ~ as in fee for service, entry fee, etc. The word was also used to denote an allowance to an officer or servant such as a forester, cook, or scullion, as well as a warrior's share of spoil, the pay of a soldier, and wages. A fee also was a prize, a reward, a gift for services. Later meanings include movable property in general; goods, possessions, wealth. From this, and wages, payment for services, and 'to take for one's enjoyment,' fee also came to mean 'heritable estate in fief', and things held 'in fee' were subject to obligation, while to 'be in fee' was to be a vassal to a superior lord. The Old English fee, in common law, is an estate or inheritance of land. "In English law," according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "all landed property being understood to be held feudally of the crown." Possession to the Teutons was not merely to own; it brought the obligation to give, and thus Fee is also a form of gift that creates bonds of peace ~ the gift that obliges, the present that binds. POSSESSIONS.
UROX (uruz) is the name aurochs for the primeval wild ox of Europe, Bos Urus, which disappeared in the seventeenth century and is extinct. Caesar (in De Bello Gallico, as quoted by Elliott) described the aurochs as "somewhat smaller in size than elephants, and are like bulls in appearance, color, and shape. Great is their strength and great is their speed, and once they have spied man or beast they do not spare them." Aurochs horns, their edges encased in silver, were used as drinking beakers at the most magnificent feasts. Possession of the horns brought great fame as evidence of the strength and cunning needed to hunt the great beast. The first part of the Rune name, ur, means primitive, original, earliest ~ the primal; the wild ox symbolizes unbridled strength and power in the Teutons' Mirkwood-forested homelands. YORE-OX.
THURS (thurisaz) is the cause of insanity ~ demon, or ogre (driven away by the sound of bells). In the Eddic lay 'Skirnismal', Skirnir (Freyr's shoe-swain) threatens the giantess Gerdr: 'Thurs i etch there and three staves, lust and rage and unbearable restlessness!' The Old English Thorn Rune stood for anything that causes pain, grief, or trouble. In medieval Scandinavian folklore thurs was a demon of disease that can particularly damage women in body and spirit. Later the name survived in rustic speech for goblins and hobgoblins. Thurses are evil-minded giants, while the other giants of the mythology are the jotun, and the even taller risis ~ all descended from the giant Ymir who was the first being in existence. An old saying goes: 'Tall as a risi, strong as a jotun, stupid as a thurs.' GRIEF.
ASU (ansuz) means being, existence. "The Old Norse as ~ god, spirit, is the Sanskrit asu ~ life, which is plainly the primitive meaning," according to Isaac Taylor in The Origin of the Aryans. As the Earth is bathed in sunlight, the universe is infused with Life ~ the illuminating light of existence: Teiwaz. Ansuz works ~ has power to act, and it stands for the creative action. The Rune has most commonly been taken for aesir ~ the race of beings in the mythology. In Old Norse, as means one of the aesir; in Old English, os became a god. LIFE.
RIDE (raido), is to ride, journey, or the way itself. There is a likely connection with the lot of existence ~ as in the eastern tao, which is at once the beginning of all things and the way in which they follow their course. (A depiction of Thor's Hammer, the T in the circle, is identical with that of the tao.) They who know the Way and follow it are above justice, compassion, and the rites; because they are in harmony with the forces of the universe, they have attained serenity. RIDE.
KANE (kenaz) is the torch; fire (and an inflammation ~ a boil, sore, or swelling). Though fire burns, it also purifies. People gather around a fire because it is a living demonstration that there are no things, only events. Madame Blavatsky wrote that light is cold flame, and flame is fire, and fire produces heat, which yields water; the water of life of the Great Mother. The Teutonic cosmos had its beginning in fire, and water ~ and ice. Because of his command over lightning, Thor has special links with fire. The Supreme Spirit was idealized as immaculate fire and symbolized as a pure and elemental flame burning in infinitude. FIRE.
GIVE (gebo) stands for both the gift and the giver; in law it is the voluntary transfer of property as well as the thing given. Gifting ~ in the economists' term, as a social institution such as ceremonial giving, and wergild or other compensation, shows the purpose of the gift in a social context as a means of avoiding concentration of wealth. It denotes the power and right of giving (ring-giver is a much-used kenning for leader and rewarder), and that to accept a gift is to be bound to the giver. Freija is nicknamed The Giving One, and gebo is often an offering to a deity which when accepted is an indication of right behavior; thus the giver, gift, and recipient become one and the same. Grimm recognized the importance of the gift when he noted: "When sacrifice ceased, avarice increased." GIFT.
WUNJOY (wunjo) is joy and jewel and glory, and means to rejoice or delight. The feeling and emotion of illumination is joy, and wunjo is therefor also connected with the light of the mystic experience, the cosmic consciousness of the enlightened being into which streams a momentary flash of illumination ~ a drop of bliss that leaves an immense glow of joyousness: Instant of illumination ~ I saw I know not what. Glad spirit, light on tear-stained cheek, remembrance fills me yet. JOY.
HAIL (hagalaz), "of grain the coldest", as an old Rune verse has it, has been connected with the sense 'ruin'. Hail often comes in summer as a destructive reminder of the force of winter, and may allude to the awesome powers of cold and ice. HAIL.
NEED (naudiz) has a wide meaning. Held within even the modern word need is a layering of meanings that begin with: violence, force, constraint or compulsion, exercised by or upon a person. It is distress, trouble, difficulty, an emergency or crisis; to 'be in need' is a condition of distress or destitution; to 'have need' is to want; it is a necessity and something unavoidable (needful), and thus not wholly negative. NEED.
ICE (isa) is the frozen water of life from which sprang the first living beings. The great power of ice, though often destructive, also spreads bridges, and the cold cleanses the northlands. Its white powers cause death or the sleep of hibernation, while at the same time communicating peace. It signifies the action of primal matter. ICE.
JERA (jera) is year, but its more complete meaning is season, as in the Zend yare which is a time, an age, related to the Sun's progress through the sky as the Earth revolves in its orbit. It stands for a period, a cycle of any length: eon ~ infinitely long; cycle ~ a succession of periods. SEASON.
YEW (ywaz) is the evergreen tree of the genus Taxus. The evergreen symbolizes everlasting life, while all trees ~ with roots below and branches reaching up, are symbolic of the relations between the lower and upper worlds. Next to the temple at Upsala stood a great yew that was famed throughout the northern lands. Ywaz has a long association with ritual and Runes carved on yew-staves are especially potent. All the sages of human tradition are associated with trees from the shady bosom of which they taught; the yew may be that of the Teutonic avatar. YEW.
PERTH (pertho). The meaning of this name is quite unclear, though there is some scholarly agreement that it may be the name of an otherwise unknown gaming piece. From the shape of the Rune (something like a dice cup) a connection has been made with the casting of lots and thus with augury. There is an old word in the Indo-European languages (Italic apert, Old English perth) that means open, unconcealed, manifest, evident; it glosses with Old Norse and Icelandic birta: display, illumine, enlighten, reveal. Thus it is a foretelling; a means and also the counsel provided. It fixes a moment in time for examination but can never fix events, for one's lot is not immovable. Pertho is a toss of the dice, an omen or portend, the consultation of an oracle, advice of a sage, or insight into that which is. FOREBODING.
ELKZ (algiZ) is the large deer, genus Alces, the elk, wapiti, and moose. Tacitus related of twin brothers called Alcis, which name is related (as are Gothic alhs: temple; Lithuanian elkas: divine grove) to Old English ealgian: to protect. The antlers of algiZ suggest the shape of the Rune and stand for defense, protection, and negation. It also symbolizes the hand sign: stop, halt. It is a sanctuary from danger provided by or for a higher power or being. PROTECTION.
SOL (sowilo) is the sun. There are several different forms of this Rune which has been connected with the sun-wheel to which is also related the svastika, one of the oldest symbols in the world. Sowilo is also the sigyl, an occult sign or device having mysterious powers. To alchemists it stood for gold. Great light, sphere of fire, though the material Sol is, it only reflects the transcendent light of a spiritual sun ~ the inner light that can only be apprehended by direct intuition. SUN.
TIWA (Teiwaz). It is thought by scholars that the earliest and supreme god of the Teutons was Teiwaz who stood for the shining heavens and the light of day, and was associated with law and justice. The surviving meaning in Indo-European languages is simply god (the Vedic devas, Old Norse tivi, Old Irish dia, Italic dei), or as the name of a god (Old Norse Tyr, Hellenic Zeus, and the Roman Jupiter ~ dyaus-pitar: father deus). The word is identical in root with the Sanskrit dyaus, the true meaning of which is the transcendent light and the inward love. It is the only Rune name that is commonly capitalized. It stands for a light benevolent, amorphic indefinite eternal state of divine transcendence in perfect tranquillity, and for the human spirit that partakes of it. Many authorities identify this Rune with Tyr, the one-handed aesir. (Especially in compounds, the word Tyr has the sense of god, the god ~ often applied to Woden.) Tyr was associated with justice, goodness, and light. His one-handedness symbolized perhaps randomness. THE SHINING.
BIRCH (berkana) is the tree of the genus Betula, that was among the first to move north after the ice retreated and prominent in virtually all the forested lands of the north. Reaching into the sky for light and under the earth for water ~ thus partaking of all the elements, berkana (as do all trees) symbolizes the regenerative powers of nature: to promote fruitfulness in animals and young men and women, they were struck with birch twigs. An old custom fixes birch-twigs over the sweetheart's door on May Day. The birch was consecrated to Thor, and is especially efficacious against evil spirits. BIRCH.
EORSE (ehwaz) means horse. The domestic horse is probably of Indo-European origin, spreading during the nations' movements of the second and third millennium before the current era throughout the Near East and Europe. The horse is connected with sky, thunder, and fertility, and had a special significance among the animals associated with the old Teutonic religion. It was consulted ~ living and dead, in rites of divination. White horses especially were a highly acceptable sacrifice (a white horse is lucky). Woden's horse, Sleipnir, the eight-legged mount, is also found in Siberia as the super-natural steed of the shaman. The close relation between horse and people may perhaps be noted in the similarity of this Rune with the Mens Rune (#20). The traditional cultic relevance of the horse among the tribes is shown from the Bronze Age onwards in rock carvings, Rune stones, and many other depictions. Horse sacrifices are archeologically documented, and the eating of horse-meat at the sacrificial meal a deep-rooted custom. Sacred horses were kept in sanctuaries dedicated to Freyr; Freija has also been concerned in some way with horse-cult rites dealing with the fertility of the land and also with the rearing of the family and the giving of young girls in marriage, as well as helping at the times of childbirth and shaping the lot of children through the art of seidr ~ which is found more than once in connection with the horse cult. The vanir ~ themselves associated with divination and wisdom, were the subject of a horse cult. Tacitus thought that the animal was held to be in the confidence of the divine power. HORSE.
MENS (mannaz) is a human being: the means of action, the physical expression of an eternal spirit that is the vehicle of the Runes. The proto- teutonic root of the word man has a primary meaning referring to intelligence as the distinctive characteristic of human beings as contrasted with brutes. Tacitus has Mannus as the son of Tuisto (Teiwaz?), and the mythical ancestor of the Teutons. Mannus himself has three sons who gave their names to the traditional Teutonic divisions of Ingaevones, Herminones, and Istaevones. Vedic mythology also has Manus as the progenitor human. PERSON.
LAKE (laguz) means water or lake ~ a large body of water, but also a pit, den or underground dungeon, for the depths of water hold great mysteries. The belief in the sanctity of water is common to all Teutonic peoples. In olden times new-born infants were hallowed with water, people bathed in springs, and the river itself might be held sacred and its roars need be in the ears of a prophetess. Wisdom wells in the springs of mythology, and water is closely associated with life and ~ especially in the form of rain, with fertility. The primal rivers of Elivagar provided the vital life force from which existence came by action of fire and ice. WATER.
ING (ingwaz) stands for the natural fertility that came to be personified in gods. The meaning of the name is now obscure. Old English ing and Old Norse eng are a meadow or pasture land (especially wet lands) and Eng-land is the land of meadows. ON ung is young, and angan is joy or beloved one. Other possible relations may exist with OE engl: angel; ingl: fire, light, and to fondle or caress; ingo: the groin. Tradition has transferred ingwaz to the vanir Freyr, the fair and the free, intelligent and wise, who stands for peace and love, and to his sister Freija, the Mistress of lovers. FERTILITY.
ODEL (othila) is land "held in absolute ownership without service or acknowledgment of any superior, as among the early Teutons," which is the Oxford English Dictionary definition of the word allodium. This is the all-odel as opposed to the fee-odel, which shows the influence by the world view of southern empires that propounded a feudalism that took the concept of odel, the ancestral land that was possessed unconditionally by the free Teuton clans, to attach a fee or obligation to it, thus making it a feudal possession. The idea of fealty was deeply influenced by the ancient belief in odality that demands the free holding of land, for to hold land freely is ennobling, and the importance of freedom as a concept among the people became an essential of nobility; thus in Old English ethel it means native land or estate, patrimony; OE athel is noble, of noble descent or good family. The same word in Old Norse means family, race, ancestry. HERITAGE.
DAY (dagaz) is day, as in Sanskrit dah ~ to burn, which is related to dyaus (Teiwaz); it symbolizes light, prosperity, fruitfulness. Dagr is the light and beautiful son of Dellingr and black Nott who is the daughter of the jotun Norvi. Morning brings the sun in dawn ~ harbinger of day that stretches to the mountain peak where the first rays of the sun strike with a clang as day breaks, and its claws rend the night-sky away; the mighty beast retires the timid roe, though evening will soon sneak in to take the sun down from its place. DAY.
Radendr: "After word comes weird," is an old saying that alludes to the belief that the saying of a thing is followed by its happening through the power of weird: the principal agency by which lots are determined. We speak of a weird occurrence when this power appears perceptibly evident in an implausibly coincidental happening. Weird-spells, seeking to twist the lot that befalls us by seemingly magical power, are the province of the norns ~ the sisters of weird, who are known by others as the three fates. Rune shapes express the force of weird in physical form. Rune names are the words of power, for sound is, according to Blavatsky, "the most potent and effectual magic agent, and the first of the keys which opens the door of communication between Mortals and Immortals." It is a special language made of sounds, not words, but complete formulations are composed of sounds, numbers, and figures. "He who knows how to blend the three, will call forth the response of the superintending Power." Runes were used in the practice of divination. The lots were consulted three at a time, or three times ~ sometimes on consecutive days. Weird was addressed by the casting of Rune lots, cut on staves of yew, inlaid red with blood, while incantations (galdr) were chanted. (An interesting and revealing exercise is to lay nine Runes on the Cosmology Of The Nine Worlds.) Since its beginning, the world is constituted to signal to those able to read the symbols, but it is prudent to heed the caution of the man who would be the Beast 666: "Fortune telling is an abuse of divination. At the most one can only ascertain what may reasonably be expected. The proper function of the process is to guide one's judgement. Diagnosis is fairly reliable; advice may be trusted, generally speaking; but prognosis should always be cautious."
It is important to know that the word lot, although it correlates with the Italic-based fate, providence, destiny, has a quite different meaning. Its root is in the Old Teutonic hluto, the primary meaning of which is uncertain. "In genuine OE idiom" (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) "the verb governing hlot was weorpan ~ to throw; its meaning is primarily the object (usually a piece of wood) used in the ancient method of deciding disputes, dividing plunder or property, selecting persons for an office or duty, by an appeal to chance or the divine agency concerned with chance." Thus it is not only the casting or drawing of lots ~ the action, but also the result: what falls to a person by lot, a share, or inheritance. The important difference with the Italic cognates is that the Teutonic lot has no connotation of divine determinism. This concept of the human lot is opposed to belief in a fated existence. One need not bend to destiny, for the human lot is subject to circumstance and one's willful intercession. Wrote Madame Blavatsky: "Reject fate that implies a blind course of some still blinder power; believe in destiny which from birth to death everyone weaves thread by thread around themselves." Destiny and fate may make a Needlot, and we live side by side with what befalls us of necessity; but each woman, every man, has power to bend that great Need by acting with the integrity of their convictions.
Narrator #4: In the 'Prologus' to his Snorra Edda, Sturluson wrote that since the beginning humans have had the wisdom to discern their lots, by observing the habits of earth and sky:
Snorri: Then thought they and wondered, how the forms they encountered, of earth and animals and birds together had their heritage in the same lot, though they were unlike in habits. They had one heritage, for when the earth is dug on a high mountain peak, water springs up there, and needs no longer digging to water than in deep dales. Such is it with animals and birds, that it's even-long to blood in heads and feet. Another nature is of the earth, that in every season grass and flowers wax on earth and in the same season are all felled and wither; such is it with animals and birds, that wax hair and feathers that fall off every season. There is a third nature of the earth, that when she is opened and dug, that grass grows in her soil, which is supreme on this earth. Boulders and stones signified to them the marks of quickened teeth and bones.
From this discerned they such, the earth shelters what quickens and has life with anysome habits, and they ascertained, that she was forebodingly ancient as ages are counted and mighty in heritage. She fed all that's quickened, and she owned all that is dead. For that sake they gave her names and counted their families from her.
The same traced they from ancient relatives of theirs, since from them were counted many hundreds of winters, when were the same earth and sun and heavenly-stars, but the goings of the heavenly bodies were uneven; the quarters of some of their goings were longer and some shorter. From thuslike lots suspected they then, that anysome hands were steering the heavenly bodies, that which steadied the form of their goings to its will, and the forms seen were in realms of main and might. And this expected they, if it counseled before the creation of the prime elements, that it had form and was there before the heavenly-stars. And then they saw, if it counseled the goings of heavenly bodies, that it shall counsel the shining sun and the dew aloft and the awaxing earth-doings, and thus it follows that the same engenders the winds aloft and then too the stormy ocean. But they knew not, where its realm was. From this trusted they, that it counseled all lots on earth and in sky, heavens and heavenly bodies, oceans and weathers.
To ensure that this might long be related or kept in mind, they gave names to all those lots they themselves had seen, but since has this old creed through many dispositions changed, because nationalities shifted and languages branched off. But all these lots discerned they in a material meaning, because to them was not given spiritual wisdom. So they discerned, that all lots were smithed from anysome stuff.
Radendr: Four steps to initiation have been recognized: the introduction of the master, the awareness of change working within, a vision of god that confirms the knowledge of oneself as distinct from the body, and the finding of the universe within ~ the cosmic consciousness of the witness to all. Adepts of all disciplines contemplate and renunciate in meditation and mental culture. They watch the breath, in motionless posture to still themselves, matching inhalations and exhalations with the heart pulse to reach a state of mindfulness where the breath is watched with the mind's eye only. It is a mystic state that is mind-created, mind-produced, and mind-conditioned. It has nothing to do with reality. But there is a transcendent absolute reality beyond our ken: the universe between observations. Through mindfulness, awareness, attention, and concentration, the initiates turn from the perception of material reality to focus on the intuition, seeking the wisdom (the knowledge, or gnosis) that can release the human spirit, forced to descend from the higher spheres to be born into a construct of human belief: the material universe ~ which the Gnostics saw as a vast prison with the world its innermost dungeon where fate and destiny rule by the law of nature to enslave the people. "What makes us free," wrote a Gnostic bishop (Clement of Alexandria in Excerpta ex Theodoto), "is the knowledge who we were, what we have become; where we were, wherein we have been thrown; whereto we speed, wherefrom we are redeemed; what is birth and what rebirth." Hewitt indicated that the "Sufis are taught to pursue the 'Who Am I?' inquiry in this meditation: I am not the body. I am not the senses. I am not the mind. I am not this. I am not that. What then am I? What is the Self? It is in the body. It is in everybody. It is everywhere. It is the All. It is Self. I am it. Absolute oneness." Who am I? Where do I belong? What am I supposed to do? To ask this is the first required step on the traditional path; it is to have intelligence ~ the human characteristic.
"Voluspa," wrote Cleasby, "distinguishes between three parts of the human soul, ~ ond, odr, and lae, spirit, mind, and craft(?); the ond was breathed into man by Odin, the odr by Haenir, the lae by Lodur; the faculty of speech seems also to be included in the odr." To the ErilaR, ond is the supreme universal breath of spirit that may by intuition know directly of Teiwaz; odr, inspiration, is the soul's force expressed by right action ~ it is influenced by the senses, foresight and memory, and by thought, idea, volition, will, and intellect, as well as by emotion; lae, is life's heat that infuses matter, and is the gift of our earthly life that flows from it ~ savor, odor, sound, and light, the bodily senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and vision, the affections of pleasure and pain.
Gordon noted that "the authors of Icelandic prose do not seem to have cared for beauty in anything else than conduct and character." Paraphrasing Gordon, the heroes of the sagas knew it was not enough to be merely courageous. They understood the purpose of their courage. They had a very definite conception of the evil of life, and they had the courage to face it. They had a creed of no compromise with anything that gave them shame or made them less human, for they were champions of the freedom to shape the human lot. They knew the body cannot be preserved from destruction, but they could preserve an undefeated spirit if the will were strong enough. Yielding made them less as people, so they resisted to the end and won satisfaction in being master of their lives while they had it. Their courage rose higher, their spiritual energies grew more concentrated, as the opposing forces were stronger. They might win the struggle or they might know it was hopeless, but it was better to die resisting than to live basely. The problem of life lies in the struggle for freedom ~ against the pains of the body and the fear of death, against each individual's lot itself. And thus the ErilaR await the day to again raise among all the tribes the ancient traditions that demand personal liberty and self-rule, freedom and justice. Justice: impartially; with benevolence, which demands that in all actions the interests of all beings must be considered; and in the spirit of liberty which holds that one ought not to interfere in the chosen course of any rational being. The supreme demand is for action without concern for its result as success or failure ~ for there are no ends but only means.
Thus also teach the ancient Sanskrit scriptural texts, the Veda, that originated among the Aryans. The Bhagavad-gita contains the essence of Vedic knowledge in seven-hundred concise verses. It instructs the "imperish-able science of yoga" that admits of three kinds of transcendentalists (those who seek higher consciousness): scholars, devotees, and yogi. Yoga is literally: to yoke, and means (to the yogi practitioners) union ~ a linking with the supreme, or the mystical absorption of sat-chit-ananda: being- consciousness-bliss (or, the reality, the knowing, the blissful). Voluspa's lae (the living heat's action in blood and bones), odr (the soul's inspiration and the driving force of mind, reason, and intellect), ond (the spiritual breath of the soul), is sat-chit-ananda (the rapture of transcendental bliss in pure consciousness of spirit). There are many kinds of yoga that seek to harness one's faculties: astanga-yoga's mystic eightfold path that seeks the seeming-death trance of samadhi; karma-yoga of dedication of the fruits of one's work; bhakti-yoga of the worshipful devotee; jnana-yoga of spiritual realization through a speculative search for truth; hatha-yoga of bodily posture and breath control that is preliminary to mental discipline. As a spiritual discipline, Hewitt wrote, "yogic . . . metaphysics. . . does not rely on intellectual acceptance of a theory, but says something like this: 'Sit quietly, breathe evenly, silence your mind's chatter ~ and you will see into your inner nature and enter the plane of Being'." In yoga there are no scriptures, no shrines, no saints; anarchy is the yoga tradition. Symbolicly, to breathe is to assimilate spiritual power in imitating rhythms of the universe; yoga rhythm enables absorbing not only air but also the light of the sun ~ the solar light ~ the astral gold.
Narrator #4: Deepak Chopra noted that the systems of mystic "meditation meant controlling the mind. . . . It was meant for hermits and the religiously inclined. It led to inner peace, but primarily for those who renounced the world." The promise of stress relief attracted Chopra to the method of transcendental meditation (TM) of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:
"I found that the technique was easy, as advertised. It also made very little claim upon my time, since the sittings for meditation were only fifteen to twenty minutes long, twice a day ~ nothing at all compared to what is required of a devotee in India. Nor did I possess a devotee's strong beliefs. My TM teacher emphasized that one could sit with eyes closed thinking, I don't believe in this, I don't believe in this, and the technique would still work. I was told, however, not to force thoughts of any kind, for or against. The key to the practice was innocence. The ideal attitude, my teacher said, was to meditate for one's twenty minutes, get up from the chair, and forget that the meditation had ever taken place.
"By a stroke of genius, Maharishi has compressed the acharya [the guru, the religious teacher, the master] and placed him inside every meditator. If we want to look for the one who will enlighten us, we do not have to go beyond our own doorstep."
Narrator #3: According to the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna these words said:
"Certainly there was never a time I did not exist, nor you; certainly will we all never cease to exist hereafter.
"Steadfastly perform your duties, giving up attachment to success and failure. Steadily becoming even-minded is called yoga.
"While contemplating sense objects, a person develops attachment to them, from attachment develops desire, and from lust anger becomes manifest.
"Sacrifice of possessions, sacrifice in austerities, sacrifice by yoga of the eightfold path, while others sacrifice by the study of the sacred texts, sacrifice to advance in transcendental knowledge, like enlightened persons who have taken strict vows.
"All, although apparently different, are those who know the purpose of sacrifice and are thereby cleansed of sinful reactions. The results of such sacrifice tastes as nectar approaching the supreme eternal atmosphere.
"Greater than the sacrifice of material possessions is sacrifice in knowledge, as all activities in totality in knowledge end.
"Certainly nothing compares in sanctity in this world as the knowledge that exists in the inner self of the yogi who matures in the course of time and this the self enjoys.
"The faithful achieve knowledge by control of attachment to the senses. Once knowledge is achieved, transcendental peace will be very soon attained.
"Therefor, born of ignorance situated in the heart, let knowledge be the weapon of the self, cutting off doubt. In yoga be situated to rise and fight.
"If you cannot practice this, cultivate knowledge. However, meditation is better, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation peace is attained.
"The great soul resides the same in all living entities, in the destructible not destroyed. Anyone who sees this, actually sees.
"Partaking of eternity due to being transcendental, this spirit is inexhaustible though dwelling in the body.
"Fearlessness, purification of one's existence, in knowledge of yoga practice, charity, controlling the mind, and performance of sacrifice, and study of sacred scripture, austerity, simplicity, nonviolence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquillity, aversion to faultfinding, mercy toward all living entities, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, determination, vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, freedom from envy, no expectation of honor, are the qualities of one born of the divine nature.
"Sacrifice, charity and penance, activities never to be given up, must be done. Certainly such sacrifice, charity, penance also is purifying even to the great souls.
"All these activities certainly must be done, but not with expectation of any results but as a duty.
"Certainly it is never possible for the embodied to renounce activities altogether. But those who renounce the result of work, they are the renouncer, it is said.
"With the intelligence fully purified, engaged in determination, the self regulating also the sense objects, giving up attachment, and laying aside hatred also, living in a secluded place, eating a small quantity, having controlled speech, body, and mind, absorbed in yoga trance twenty-four hours a day, detached, having taken shelter from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and acceptance of material things, without a sense of proprietorship, peaceful, for self-realization is qualified.
"All varieties of religion abandon. Unto me only for surrender go. I will deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not worry.
"Those who will study this sacred conversation on knowledge of ours, by that sacrifice I shall also be worshiped."
Narrator #1: The following is noted in Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend:
"Teutonic mythology, beginning with the formation of Ymir in Ginungagap, is a complete cycle of which Ragnarok is the culminating chapter. Ragnarok is more than the final battle of the world in which the forces of good and evil valiantly fight out their predetermined one-sided battle. It is the complete destruction of the universe and begins, roughly, with the death of Balder and the realization by the gods that, in Loki, they have been fostering the seeds of evil in their midst. Although they have him secured in chains they know that it is too late: the final dissolution has begun. This seems to be the point in the cycle in which the sagas and the eddas were written and in all probability, the time in which we are still living in spite of the intervening millennium."
Narrator #4: In the Snorra Edda's 'Gylfaginning', The Beguiling Of Gylfi, Sturluson has an ancient wanderer put questions to three knowledgeable beings called High, Just As High, and Third. In the chapter 'Um Ragnarokkur', About The Cursed Judgement, the following is related:
Snorri Then spoke Gangleri:
~ 'What tidings are there to say about the cursed-judgement? Of this have i never got hearing.'
~ 'Great tidings are of this to say and many. Yet the first is, that a winter is seen come, which is called awesome-winter. Then drifts snow out of all quarters. Frost is then great, and wind hard. Of no use the sun. This winter is three together and no summer in between. But before such happens there are three other winters when the whole world is in great wars. Then smite brothers for greed's sake, and no-one reveres father or sons in manslaughter or incest. Such it says in Voluspa.
'Then becomes that, which great tidings seem, that the wolf-bitch gulps the sun's doings, and that seems to people a great harm. Then takes another wolf-bitch twinkling-members, and rifts are seen, and great dread. Lingering-stars are torn from heaven. Then too there are these tidings, that there is such a shaking in all the earth that mountains and trees loosen, and mountains are ruined, but all fetters and bonds break and tear. Then Fenris-wolf becomes loose. Then gushes the sea on lands, because Midgard's-worm thrashes then in giant fury and seeks to come on land. Then becomes further, that Naglfar is loosed, that ship, that is called such, which is made of the nails of dead people, and therefor be warned, if humans die with unshorn nails, these humans greatly increase the stuff of Naglfar, which gods and people would slow, its shelter making. But in this sea-going hastens Naglfar.
'Hrymur is called the giant, who steers Naglfar. But Fenris-wolf fares with gaping mouth, and his nether jaw is against the earth, but his upper against heaven. This gape he would form more, if in this shelter there was room. Fire burns out of his eyes and nose. Midgard's-worm blows such poisons, that he scatters it all aloft and low, and he is all-terrible to see. He is on the other hand of the
'In this din cleave the heavens, and creep thence Muspel's-sons. Surtur rides first and before him and after fire burns. His sword is much good. From it a shine brighter than the sun. But when they ride Bifrost, then breaks this, as before was said.
'Muspel's-sons seek forward to that field, that's Vigrid called. There comes then Fenris-wolf and Midgard's-worm. There is then Loki come and Hrymur and with them all the rime-giants. But Loki follows all Heljar's-sons. But Muspel's-sons have their own ranks, and it is much bright. The field-of-action is a hundred leagues wide in every way.
'But when these tidings come about, then Heimdal stands up and blows vehemently on Gjallarhorn and wakes up all the gods, and has them meeting together. Then rides Odin to Mimir's-well and takes counsel from Mimir for himself and his followers. Then trembles the ash Ygdrasil, and no lots are then without dread in heaven or earth. Aesir don harrier-dress and the only-harriers seek forward to the field-of-action. First rides Odin with golden-helmet and fair chain-mail and his spear, which is called Gungnir. Summons he to meet Fenris-wolf, but Thor goes forward on his other side, thus he has help to catch and batter against the Midgard's-worm. Freyr strikes against Surtur, and it becomes a hard together-going, before Freyr falls. That becomes his bane, that he is missing his good sword, which he gave to Skirni.
'Then becomes loose the hound Garmur, who is bound before Gnipahel. His lair is most dangerous. He meets Ty in fight, and each become the other's scathing. Thor bears the bane-word from Midgard's-worm and staggers thence back nine paces. Then he falls dead down to earth from such poison, that the worm blows on him. The wolf-bitch gulps Odin, that becomes his bane. But forthwith after turns forward Vidar and staggers with one foot in the lower jaw of the wolf. On his feet he has shoes, that in all ages have been collected for. The bits of leather, which people cut out of their shoes at the toes and heels. Thus must these bits of leather be cast away by humans, who believe such will come to the aesir and their followers. His other hand takes the upper jaw of the wolf and rives asunder his mouth. That becomes the wolf's bane. Loki is at war against Heimdal, and each becomes the other's bane. Thus next slings Surtr fire over the earth and burns all the homes. Such it says in Voluspa.
'Here it says further such:
Vigridr is called the plain,
which finds the fights
of Surtr and the beloved gods.
this is in every way.
That is the field which is known.'
Then spoke Gangleri:
~ 'What becomes then after, when burned are the homes, dead the gods and all the only-harriers and the people's folk? It has been said before, that each human must live in anysome home for all ages.'
Then answered Third:
~ 'Many are then abodes good and ill. Best is then to be at Gimli, in heaven. And to them who think that game, all-good are then also the good drinks, in that chamber, which is called Brimir. It that stands at anysome field, made of red gold. It is called Sindri. In this chamber must settle good people and the righteous. At Nastrand is a great chamber and iller, with north facing doors. That which is woven all of rueful-worms, but the worms' heads know all within the house and blow poison, such that after that the chamber runs with poison, and there wade oath-breachers and murder-soilers, such as in Voluspa says.
Then spoke Gangleri:
~ 'How forth live any some god then, or is there
any some earth or heaven?'
~ 'Up shoots the earth then out of the seas, and is then green and fair. Wax then acres unsown. Vidar and Vali live then, so that no-one has sores and Surtr's-flame injure them, and settle there at Idafelli, there where before was Asgard. And then come Thor's sons, and have there Mjolnir. Thus next come there Baldr and Hodur from Heljar. They sit then all together and relate tales to remind them of the mysteries and to counsel about all tidings, which had gone before, about Midgard's-worm and about Fenris-wolf. Then find they in the grass there the golden-tables, where aesir headed family. Such it is said, that
Vidar and Vali
settle the sanctuary of the gods,
that is blackened by Surtr's-flame,
Modi and Magni
must have Mjolnir
as Vingnis is fight-destitute.
'But there is what's called Hodmimi's-wood where hide two people, who such are called: Lif and Lifthrasir, and they have the morning-dews for food. But from these people come such great kin-produce, to settle all the homes, such as here says:
Lif and Lifthrasir,
but though hide they shall
in the wood of Hodmimi.
though hiding as food have,
but from thence be ages all.
'And it shall seem wonderful, when the sun engenders a daughter no less fair than she is, and she fares in the steps of her mother, such as here says:
before she's fetched by Fenrir.
She must ride
when the rulers are dead,
her mother's road this maid.
'But now if you can probe longer, that i've never known, hence there came, because no-one have i heard speak longer of the faring of the ages. And may it be useful now when you take it.'
Radendr: Madame Blavatsky, in The Secret Doctrine, provided the symbology of the earliest tradition that begins with a circular white plane of knowledge surrounded by the blackness of the vast unknown. It shows that the manifestation in the circle is the only knowledge attainable. At the center comes the point of differentiation that appears when we can say: here is this; there is other. When the point is extended into a horizontal line within the circle, it represents female nature and the universe within the immenseness of existence. A vertical line bisecting it makes the worldly cross of humanity in nature. The boundless circle is the single most powerful symbol of unity, and it lends truth and virtue to any within placed sigyl ~ an occult sign or device having mysterious power; such is the encircled svastika ~ derived from the Sanskrit su: good, and asti: being. "Born in the mystical conception of the early Aryans, and placed by them at the very threshold of eternity," as Blavatsky wrote, it has been extensively used as a most sacred decoration and mystical symbol in almost all parts of the world since pre-historic times. Again Blavatsky: "The Svastica is the most philosophically scientific of all symbols, as also the most comprehensible. It is the summary in a few lines of the whole work of creation, or evolution, as one should rather say . . . [and] is found heading the religious symbols of every old nation." It is Thor's Mjolnir, the Worker's Hammer that strikes the sparks of existence that binds the universe through life's creative action. Thor's Hammer can also be seen in another such ancient sigyl: the inscribed Egyptian tau (identical with the eastern tao) that symbolizes evolution and the fall into generation or matter. The square that stands for humanity, when placed within the circle is the most powerful mystic and magical symbol. But while Blavatsky's earliest symbology shows a geometry of progress from the plain disc to the cross in the circle, its mundane use was accompanied by a gross regression that is shown in the Keltic cross where the bisecting lines extend beyond the circle's boundaries, then in the Egyptian ankh ~ the emblem of life, in which the circle rests on the tau, in the symbols for Venus and Earth where the sigyl is wholly outside the circle, and finally in the complete disappearance of the circle after which the svastika is merely the sun-wheel fylfot, and the cross represents humanity in ignorance. Geometric figures symbolize much arcane esoteric knowledge, and primary among these perhaps is the triangle that stands for the divine trinity. Related to it is yet another symbol that has been associated with (perhaps thought of as representing) Thor's Hammer, the triskele, the Hellenic three-legged sun-wheel. The valknut ~ three triangles linked together in a kind of knot, is shown on several memorial stones beside the figure of Woden and is thought to symbolize Woden's power to bind and unbind.
The symbology seeks to instruct humanity of its dual and triple nature: dual ~ male and female, triple ~ spiritual and psychic within a material fabric without. Numbers have an important function in the creation of conceptual models.
Narrator #4: As R. Buckminster Fuller put it, before describing his own mathematical symbology of triangles:
"The original disclosure of a hierarchy of rational quantation and topological interrelationships of all experiental phenomena is omnirationally accounted when we assume the volume of a tetrahedon and its six vectors to constitute both metaphysical and physical unity. The geometry of thinking recognizes that knowledge organizes itself geometrically, that is, with models. Unity as two is inherent in life and the resulting model is tetrahedal, the conceptuality of which derives as follows: life's inherent unity is two; no otherness = no awareness; life's awareness begins with otherness; otherness is twoness; this moment's awareness is different from previous awareness; differentiations of time are observed directionally; directions introduce vector (lines); two times lines demonstrates the observer and the observed; the interconnection of two lines result in tetrahedon; sixfold interrelatedness is conceptual. Because every action has both a reaction and a resultant, every now must have both a fading past and a dawning future."
Radendr: Here is what the numbers signify: One is the homogenous substance-principle of which the universe is a temporary manifestation in ever- changing life cycles from one day moth to star that each is conscious of itself; Two is the invisible male and female seed of humanity, the duality of existence, the circle's inside and outside; Three represents the temporal (past, present, future), the triangle; Four represents the spatial, the four elements of water, air, fire, and earth, materiality, the square; Five is the mystic five-pointed star that when inverted with its two horns up is human sorcery; Six is the double triangle, the six-pointed star of the double trinity; Seven is the triangle in the square, humanity; Eight is the compass division of the eightfold sunwheel; Nine are the numbers that when added to the boundless circle make it a zero, manifesting its potency ~ "Nine bonded i house, nine in the tree. . . ."
The Teutonic Nine Worlds can be juxtaposed with the Vedic cosmology that both have their origin in the oldest Aryan tradition and represent besides the present existence the chaotic and formative periods before and after our present universe began to be evolved. Humanity is born from the watery mist of the supreme universal breath of the Unbounded Knowledge: the inhalation and exhalation in which universal existence lasts but a day of a thousand divine ages, to be followed by a thousand times longer night during which all is united in the divine transcendence of original purity and perfect tranquillity. THIS which has no name is the unknowing darkness of the closed eye becoming Teiwaz ~ the first manifestation of Light from which emanates first a female essence that becomes also the male essence. These essences form a Creative Potential of the harmony of the super-celestial intellectual-spiritual sphere that unites the unmanifested mother earth and unmanifested father heaven to produce the manifested universe. This is the primordial secret trinity. Asgard (the garden of the aesir) represents the creative action through which the world within the universe is made to function. The Runes provide the manifested concepts by which may be learned that the human spirit is of the supreme breath. The sound of the breath of life is the secret speech, evocation, Rune, by which the manifestations of Teiwaz may be grasped. Helheim represents the objective or phenomenal sphere of illusion, darkness, and death. The subjective but real sphere has in the north Niflheim, the nebular, the misty place ~ the destructive (but also generative) force of water, while in the south is Muspelheim ~ the preservative (but also annihilating) force of fire and light. These forces with the Creative Potential form the trinity of existence and being (recognized by those ignorant of the real first trinity). Alfheim and Dark Alfheim are respectively the homes of light and dark elves; Jotunheim is the world of giants; Vanaheim that of the vanir,
The great geometrical figure of the double triangle represents the three great principles and the dual principle which partakes of both and binds the two. It is the most important mystic figure, and the emblem of the double trinity. The central circle represents Midgard ~ the World Within the Universe, that is caught in the stream of Elivagar, the rivers that must be crossed to reach other realms. The World Within the Universe is the microcosm within the macrocosm. From within the Shrine at the bosom of Mother Nature proceed all avatars ~ the sages of the invisible Teiwaz.
Radendr: The existence of a speck of dust is miraculous, but the first and last mystery is the ocean of time and space in which it exists ~ no mystery is greater. The unknowable unknown is a presence. The knowing of that presence the only revelation. Knowledge has three degrees: opinion, science, and illumination. The means of the first are the senses. The second provides proper knowledge by understanding through representation of it as it is. The third is direct knowledge by intuition, that noble power of the soul that grasps the pure essence of eternal mystery; knowledge that can only be of what is true. As a direct source of knowledge, human perception is limited to no more than one-millionth of the total known frequency range limits of the electromagnetic spectrum. And what is perceived are not properties but interpretations (or scientific measurements) of sense impressions. The star bright's true light may be extinguished for a million years; the perception of its light real though the star no longer expresses its existence in mass. From the mathematics of design, Fuller postulated that the universe may be employing a scanner of atoms transmitted from anywhere. "There are no things," he wrote. Reality is information; information is experience; experience is an event, what occurs, what happens. Cosmic structures are event constellations. Reality is the experience of near and far events moving at different speeds in all manner of frequencies, some so high to appear as solid things, some so slow seeming to be absolute voids.
The Sun has a path of travel that is called the back-tracking of evenmetes (the regression of equinoxes). This movement gives our astrological Ages which resolve in the completion of the great solar cycle every 25 868 orbits of Earth. Worldly time is a means of reckoning provided by each setting Sun, and from moon to moon, season to season, as the flaming orb moves across the stars to return nearly whence it started. Counting time is a function of cosmic events ~ a recognition of cycles, from polarity reversals of the geomagnetic field that occur about every million years, activity of spots in the Sun, and lunations, to a single rotation of Earth.
The Teutons divided the year into halves: Summer and Winter. The solar year ended with the Feast of the Disir, the three Holy Sisters, that lasted five days to the (longest) Mother's Night, when the Sun had retreated to its southernmost position in the sky: Winter Sunstead, when the Sun stands still, as it were, before returning to the northern lands. But the Moon, not the Sun, was the main time cycle in the north. If in the twelve nights following the longest night a full moon waxes, then will the solar year have thirteen moons, otherwise it will only have twelve. According to the moon cycle, the first wind-cold day of Winter comes before the Gore-Moon waxes full; it was named from the seasonal animal slaughter. Ram-Moon follows, when rutting stock was put in breeding pens; perhaps it was also called Rutting-Moon, or Blood-Moon ~ the month of sacrifice. Yule-Moon is the frost month at Sunstead when the year turns. Thorri, Waning-Moon, signals winter's ebb. Then comes the Moon-Of-Sprouting-Kale. Storm-Moon, or One-Moon, is the last of winter. The first gentle breeze of Summer blows in before the middle of Harpa, the Moon of Ostera the dawn goddess; it is followed by the Moon-Of-Three-Milkings that freshens animal lactation by plentiful tender plant growth; the Rites Of Spring are informed by these two Moons. Sol-Moon, or Jon-Moon has the Summer Sunstead. Shed-Moon (also Hay-Moon and Mead- Moon) remembers animal husbandry practices that called for bringing in stock from pasture. Reaping-Moon is the time of harvest and shearing; and reaping in the Grain-Moon (Barley-Moon) that follows. The Moon Period became the month of the Italic calendar. While the months have lost their Teutonic names, such is not the case with the days: Wodensday is for the one whose name means prophet; Thorsday is for the might expressed by his mallet, when the meeting was held and no work to be done; Frigsday for the silent wise woman who spins her wheel in secret, or perhaps Freija's-day for the mistress of lovers and fertility; Saterday for the fire of Loki (the primeval satyr); Sunday ~ fire of life; Moonday, ruler of cycles ~ woman's friend, destroyer of foes; Tiwsday, for Teiwaz.
There were three great annual fire feasts: when Summer began, when Winter set in, and at midwinter's Yule-time. The Feast of Twelve Nights was one of the most important celebrations among the ancient Teutons. Yule Father is a name for Woden. According to Cleasby, "in Icelandic popular usage Yule-eve is a kind of landmark by which the year is reckoned, so that a man is as many years old as he has passed Yule nights, for the year counts from Yule night. . . . The heathen Yule lasted thirteen days, whence are derived . . . also the English 'Twelfth-night'; the heathen Yule was a great merry-making, and tales of ghosts, ogres, and satyrs were attached to it, especially the . . . 'Yule lads,' a kind of goblins or monster satyrs, thirteen in number, one to each day of the feast, sons of the kidnaping hag Gryla, whose names were used to frighten children with." In the Middle Ages the Holy Roman Church stipulated Christmas as the surrogate for these celebrations of the heathens (that is, those peoples who did not worship the god of the Christians, Jews, or Moslems), but to this day many of the celebrations of the holiday season recall the practices of the free peoples. During the Feast of Yule (Wheel) the people remembered by certain ceremonies their ancestral spirits, conducted rituals to ensure the fertility of the Earth in the coming new year, and celebrated the return of the unconquered Sun. Light, fire, and fireworks were important to the Yule feast. All of the tame fires in the hearths of the community were put out and not even a night light must shine so that the sacred wild fire, the living fire with a life of its own, comes in spontaneous combustion as by an agency other than human. People made it by friction with posts and poles of oak, fir, poplar, and nine kinds of wood sometimes. This was called the Needfire, and from it Yule fires were kindled in the houses and in every community huge bonfires were made that were held sacred and over which the people leaped as a purification rite and past which the animals were led to protect their health and well being, for contact with the fire was interpreted as symbolic of contact with the life-giving Sun. A huge Yule log was hauled to the homefire, there to burn during the full twelve night cycle. The ash of the burnt log was spread on the fields and kept for use in medicinal preparations, and one piece of the log was saved to be kept to kindle the next Yule fire. Offerings of food and drink were burned in the fire to ensure next season's harvest of plants, animals, and fish. The sacrificial offerings might be entire oxen or horses, as well as spices and drink. A Yule goat was often made of sheaves of grain and burned in the fire. Yule cakes were baked of flour ground from the grain of previous harvests mixed with that of spring seed to carry the fertility of the old year into the new. Yule beer, prepared according to ancient rites, made a special offering as well as a festive drink. Much eating and drinking encouraged the Earth's fertility. The mad joy of the feast resulted in wild dancing around the fire throughout the night. During the twelve night cycle no worldly law had force and the people chose a Lord of Misrule who was the Spirit of Anarchy when the people recalled the One Law of the free tribes that stated that no law had more authority than the conscience of a single human being and that none had greater power than another. While the Feast of Twelve Nights was celebrated, the people were to refrain from labor that involved any circular motion. This was in deference to Frig who in tribal tradition ever spins the life threads of mortals, and the three Norns who spin the threads of fate, and for each personal fylgja (follower) who may pass on to another family member at death. While the feast was a wild celebration, it also was a serious time of toasting and praising the spirits of the ancestral past. Then rode the one-eyed Woden on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, and souls of the dead rode goats as the following host of the wild hunter. The people communicated with the far off spirit world by raising a loud and noisome din. Young girls and boys especially were enlisted in the banging of objects, the blowing of horns, and the ringing of bells. Because the spirit world was alive in the Earth during the Yule Feast, miraculous happenings were thought to occur. In the secret depths of the forest, it was believed, trees and shrubs bloomed, bees sang in their hives, and the animals foretold the future in ancient prophecies. To see or hear these secret happenings, however, meant death to the human observer. This was of old also the season of gifting as the people believed that if they gave much to each other so the Earth would give much to the people in the coming year. With the gifts, powerful bonds were created between the giver and the recipient, and return gifts bound the people together. The greatest of gifts, however, are not things but good wishes ~ especially when presented by innocent children; wishes that gain the ritual power of prophecy when properly offered.
The hare and eggs of Ostera the dawn goddess were honored as the power of fertility when summer began. "The summer- moon," wrote Cleasby, "i.e. the moon at the time when summer begins, in popular belief, one ought to notice when he first sees the summer-moon, and then mark the first word spoken by the first person he meets, for it is prophetic; this is called . . . to address one at the summer-moon." It was followed by the Rite of Spring that was also an important fire festival: May day, the Keltic Beltane, or Walpurgis Night.
Common to every Aryan mythology is the celestial tree with luxuriant boughs under whose protecting shade humanity lived without desire as without any fear during the Golden Age of the distant past. "In the religious history of the Aryan race in Europe," Frazer wrote, "the worship of trees has played an important part. . . . From an examination of the Teutonic words for temple Grimm has made it possible that amongst the[m] . . . the oldest sanctuaries were natural woods. However that may be, tree worship is well attested for all the great European families of the Aryan stock. . . . At Upsala, the old religious capital of Sweden, there was a sacred grove in which every tree was regarded as divine." As a penalty for peeling the bark of a standing tree, he noted, "the culprit's navel was to be cut out and nailed to the part of the tree which he had peeled, and he was to be driven round and round the tree till all his guts were wound about its trunk." (Consider then the outrage when a Christian zealot cut down in the eighth century the sacred oak in Hesse known as Thor's Oak.) Wrote Walt Whitman (in 'Song of the Open Road'): "Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me? (I think they hang there winter and summer on those trees and always drop their fruit as I pass.)" The tree spirit was captured in the May Tree, its boughs fixed over doors and houses, because it annually brought fertility, love, sex, to boys and girls, and seasonal queens and kings. Burning brands in fields, fires of the sacred flame, running through golden embers, throwing flowers into the fire, baking and distributing large loaves and cakes, fires by sacred trees. The May Pole was a tree (stolen to increase its magical potency) cut in the dark, brought inside and decorated with flower wreaths. Then followed dancing through the night, and orgiastic activities celebrating the fertility in nature and especially of young girls. The tree stood only one night and day, then it was to be burned or drowned. Decorate the house with green boughs and dance around the pole. In the New Moon dawn, bathe in dew. The May Feast was formerly widespread but was forbidden by the church because of the practice of ancient heathen dances.
The time of Summer Sunstead is great to rejoice the Sun regaining full power and virility. The circular dance when the man with the horse's head speaks true ~ as 'from the horse's mouth'. Dreams of a Midsummer's Eve are true, and all magic especially potent; work on a Midsummer's Day must be shared. It is a time of lovers and happy lunacy, and for swimming and nudity, and flowers over the doors and in the homes. The feast of Jon was, again according to Cleasby, "in the northern countries a kind of midsummer Yule and was in Norway and Sweden celebrated with bonfires, dances, and merriment; and tales of fairies and goblins of every kind are connected with St. John's eve in summer as well as with Yule-eve in winter."
Harvest time was one of thanksgiving in a festival of bread, and for fruit offerings, horse races, wildberry cakes, bonfires in circles of stones, marriage. On the Hallowed Eve did Teutons sing by the communal bonfire, bring new fire to the hearth, have a small wake and think of the dead and dying; brought candles into the houses to banish the dark with fire and illumine plans, predictions, visions, and prophesies. At Fall Evenmete they desired to eat roast goose when gathered at the feast of mourning for the dying Sun, and at the Spring Evenmete the first sun following see.
Music: Spirit And Power
Author: ACT FOUR
Dee: As She Spoke
Author: PART FOUR As She Spoke: Le An's Lament
Narrator #1: In 'Gudrunarvhot', Gudrun's Urging of the Eddukvaedi it is written: "Thus treasured all heritage betters, gentle-ones have all sorrows lessened, because about these rows-of-griefs were told."
Dee: 'Le An's Lament' (though it lacks the opening verses given here) is well known in classical literature, having come down to our time in several folios, but its true age and the identity of the author, was not known until this version entitled 'As She Spoke' was translated from the ErilaR Manuscript.
Music: Lord And Lady
Le An: The wolves run now in this world made of our good green earth. I am sure their howls must be hymns of thanks to that great one with the yawning jaws who swallowed up all that was just and good. And yet, not even that so terrible as the wolf who came to my door. That wolf I desired more even than my own child. In the very moment of her death (though I sat hunched in my own house far away) I saw with her the bullet emerge ponderously like a large dog shaking its head before falling upon its prey. I traveled with her to the threshold of death's door. And when he came to my door, I led him into my bed to gather the spent passion of years in lustful embrace. Though I knew. I knew.
To be left with my sorrow, with my pain. With only the dying people of the round-house. There are only thirty now. I don't count myself anymore, for I have grown so weak I can no longer move from the pile of bedding in front of the only fire we can manage to keep. A huge tent has been erected around the great central fireplace to trap the little warmth our few sticks and scraps generate. It seems we cannot survive this fimbul winter, and still I do not despair ~ nor, it appears, do the others. I called them 'the people' before, but now I'm weary and it's easy to believe that when I close my eyes they will vanish with my sight. It ought to fill me with terror, this anticipated extinction; but instead I'm serene. I suppose it's malnutrition.
Outside in the bitter cold only the wolves roam. They roam in packs about Gimle. Although wolves seem to avoid humans, because of the deep snow and the great changes in the land they've taken to the roads and trails to scavenge for rotten carcasses of livestock and human burial sites. The age-old struggle between wolves and people renews as the cry: wolf! regains its urgent meaning. Sometimes, pressed by hunger, the packs gather to find strength in numbers, and so harass us we can barely go out. In the nights they sound. Some far off, their wavering howls on the edge of perception, then the rallying cry startling close, filling the woods with echoes. But their silence is more grim, for wolves do not howl when following a blood trail and fall silent when they come in sight of their quarry. Yet have not a few of us hung about our necks a snout of the dreaded wolf.
There is one who hates wolves. His name is Harrison [Hraesn, Boastful]. Now he is a hardened young man; he was a teenager at the Upheaval, gone to see to his rabbit-snares. When he made it back to the village, he found his parental home destroyed. A lone wolf scavenged the rubble and lay gnawing. He drove it off with curses and a stick to find human remains with torn and bloodied remnants of a dress he recognized as his little sister's. He wept then while the wolf watched him from a little distance. In a screaming rage he ran at it, making it retreat. Only a portion of the pitiful corpse protruded from the jumbled wreckage of building and upheaved earth and boulders, and he worked to extricate it.
Shortly, the wolf returned with two of its fellows. The animals circled warily, occasionally making grunting sounds. He tried to work on, but the wolves gradually crept nearer and he had to chase them away time and again, only to have them resume the circling and pressing nearer, and he noticed that they'd increased in number and grew more aggressive and difficult to drive off. He realized that he had to cover the remains as best he could for the wolves would not leave him to work uninterrupted to free it and he began to collect stones, bits of broken tree stumps, pieces of lumber, to cover it. The wolves became ever bolder, beginning to harass him from close-by so that he grew fearful of an attack. The large she-wolf leapt back and forth in front of him, emitting such threatening growls which even the stick would not silence that he was forced to climb a tree for safety. Then the wolves, which now counted eleven, tore open the little cairn he had tried to build over the remains and proceeded to tear apart what the cache had tried to protect. Shout as he might, the wolves would not stop, nor did they allow him to descend the tree. Helpless, forced to watch the cruel severing of his sibling's corpse, he sat in the crook of a mighty limb for many hours.
Harrison became a hunter. Once he killed a wolf, for which he was reprimanded as wasting shot; a second wolf-kill caused a severe castigation; upon a third, they took away his weapon. After that, he trapped and snared any animal spoor he could find, but soon had fearsome competition from the wolves who stole his catch so repeatedly they seemed to watch his trapline closer than he could. During times when the cold was least severe, he camped out and lived off the land. Vigilance took him as a victim. He learned to sleep like a wolf: never more than two or three hours at a stretch. Seeing the wolves, and being seen, made him feel vulnerable. But for string, wire, and a skinning blade, he was without a weapon ~ the fire he made for cooking every two or three days was his strongest magic that never failed to send lupus slinking away. Canis lupus. The hated name became meaningful when he came within paces of the she-wolf ~ the wolfen. She with legs and tail stiff, her neck bristled and lips curled. He bristling too but with a chill of apprehension.
Several people have since been told what happened next, but not the same each time. Perhaps there was the deathly silence of time frozen as ice to crack and shatter into broken sheets of space, or yet there were voices and unearthly sounds, a mighty wind, scarlet before the eyes. At first he said that, with a terrible shout, he had leapt on the wolfen and grappled ferociously until he ripped her throat with teeth and bare hands. Later he believed she came to him in a stiff-legged walk, then the furred limbs crumpled and she collapsed motionless with her nose nearly on his boot. He stood stock-still. She did not move. He nudged the snout with his boot . . . then kicked it, slightly moving the brow. The eyes opened: windows into the void of the Great Deep. They locked onto his: the eyes of the hunter ~ the wolfer. The wolfen's irises were fibrous rainbow spokes that drew his vision into the black dilated pupils where the retina's surface carried no image. Her jaw gaped and clamped onto his boot. With a bodily shudder that arched the wolfen's back, fangs sank deep into foot muscle and bone. He screamed in agony. Could not get loose. He reached desperately for the knife, plunged it into the hated eyes, then deep into the neck, again and again. He stuck the blade between the jaws to pry them apart and free his foot. He fell upon the lifeless body to skin it. Stood up laughing wildly, held up the hide to drape it over head and shoulders. He started a crazed dance, lifting his feet to the heartbeat throbbing at his temples, around and around the red, naked carcass of the wolfen: Canis lupus, the valorous guardian of evil, slain. On and on he danced until he collapsed at last. When he tried to rise, he discovered he could no longer stand on the sorely wounded foot. Then he realized he had to make it to the roundhouse or perish where he would feed the wolves. As he painfully struggled the timeless distance, in his mind wolfer and wolfen became one ~ her purpose, his.
Some few saw him as he half-crawled into Gimle, his clothing torn, blood-spattered hands and face, hair matted to the head in which wild eyes blazed. On one knee, he drew the stained knife, tried to speak but growled incoherent noises. Some urgent foreboding had me turn to the door but I did not see Harrison. I saw a shadow, black and soft as smoke, except for a pure white smudge in the center. I fairly flew then (although I could only walk with difficulty), pushed by an insistent force. A broad-bladed knife found its way into my hand, and I struck at the shadow's white center that I knew somehow to be its only vulnerable spot. Instantly, shadow and knife disappeared. The knife was later found outside stuck through a splintered bone. People say that another walked with me, that it was myself stood behind, exact in every physical detail. But the breast of the follower did not rise and fall, no voice came from the pallid lips. Harrison fell as if bludgeoned. His foot was mashed and frozen and they had to cut it off. He lies with me now. He invoked the classic berserker rage, but now he is weak and tame and talks of keeping the wolf from the door and of wresting our land from the wolves.
From when it did not exist, time is spinning out, each day longer than the last and but eighteen hours a thousand-million years ago. Twenty-million years ago, when apes walked the earth, were the minutes subtracted from their lives? We are the ancients in the age of peoples, we are the old ones in the age of the world to gain the wisdom of time. But are not the young ones closer to the source of time? I walk where none walk, and in this realm are Jaine and Shoo or, rather, their disembodied spirits ~ the true being of which I do not comprehend.
"Le An," Harrison says, "you're delirious."
It is my frequent comment to him. What is real and what is not?
"What you can name is real," he says. "Because a thing's name is true."
What these things are is one thing, and that they are is another. Listen, Harrison: I awoke stupid and drunk with the question Why? framed in my mind. I was just a perceiving awareness, with no solidity, boundless. A sort of aura or halo spread from me that projected on this mist-shrouded world the shadowy phantoms of my creed. It seemed to me that a long tradition resided here and that I was a part of it in some way, but I didn't know what had shaped this tradition, whether powers high or low. After long contemplation, I was able to reconstruct the events of this time one after another to chart a mental pattern, but it was only a deceptive mask for this realm to wear. I 'walked' in that strange landscape. I was lonely. At once, I perceived the presence of another being. I didn't know the nature of it but I wanted to be of good behavior, so I formed a greeting ~ how, I don't know. The being seemed surprised, sent off a wave of alien affections and motives for which I felt no sympathies, but induced a profound confusion in me. I moved away at a rapid pace, propelled by a need to find the just that must exist in the nature of this universe. In the distance appeared the dim outline of a structure that, as I neared it, grew into a huge circle of standing stones surrounded by a wide and deep ditch. The granite bouldered round could not be entered but by a bridge to a formal entry threshold, over which I stumbled into my habitual body.
Seated figures in crumbling stone faced inward to a cold fire of long-frozen flames. I walked around from one to another of the figures, returning at last to step again over the threshold but I could not. For a brief time I considered my lot to remain there, to petrify, then crumble like the seated figures all around ~ watching me. I picked a stone off the ground and hurled it at one of them which, striking it full in the chest, caused the figure to collapse by a number of small rockslides and disintegrate into a random pile of stones, revealing a low wooden portal behind. The effect of my throw had frightened me, but the door opened to my hand and I crawled through.
What seemed a deeply mudded path, was petrified in solid stone that clearly showed a solitary pilgrim's struggling steps meander off into a hazy distance of gorsed hills. The undulating landscape was covered in spiked trees and thorny bushes. I followed the crooked course of the trail and the ancient traveler's plodding tread. Because my body is weak, I often tripped over petrified lumps of clay and in deep stony runnels of eroding water. The footprints marked the way through a wrought iron gate ~ no fence on either side along the path, and halted by a toppled tombstone with this inscription: 'Earth receive our honored dead, spirit singing overhead, within the trees arising nigh, touches root and reaches sky.'
I left grave and gate, and continued on a narrowed but now untrodden path, determined to follow it when, finally, it led to a hollow dell and a circle of the just who were assembled in the round of judgement seats, where stood a place at council to which I was ushered. A scorn-pole was raised, to call on the land spirits to reject Shoo who entered the circle to hear the sentence of banishment.
What is the means of your existence? I asked. His astonishment was so great, I felt it as a shock ~ for he had not formed the question himself, and thus had not given shape to it. Conflict: I transcended the notion, but its idea spawned from the timeless place in which it waited upon my apprehension.
He laughed. "Le An," he said, "why do you keep to the beliefs that have been handed down from one to another. You hold these only to be practical. Holding to the past lends no merit to a future that is perhaps ultimately perfectible."
It became intensely cold, and I fell into a violent, uncontrollable shuddering. They carried me away and I laid sick for long, nursed by silent, gentle women who each one resembled my olive skin, shape of eye, black hair. When I arose I was alone to open the door and step outside. I felt weak. I thought to summon Jaine, and her presence was immediate though I could not see her.
"What appearance would thee have me?" Jaine asked.
When I answered: the habitual figure of you I loved in life and love in death, my child, she stood before me instantly and I went to embrace her. She yielded gracefully to my touch but did not return it.
"I do not dwell in this place, Mother," she said gravely, "I came only to meet thee."
She took my hand and we soared up high into the sky, over clouds, and down again. I saw far below a vast forest and an enormous thorny maze, at the edge of which Shoo was hacking into it with an old-fashioned, short, one-edged sword.
Narrator #2: Shoo slashed into the thorny maze with the old seax-blade, seeking the center. In the face of eternity, the task seemed possible. In three hours he hacked through onto a path. Half a day later, without knowing whether he might have walked around in half an hour, he hacked onto another path one end of which did not end in a wall of green and brown thorny gorse.
Snorri: Early in the development of the settlement by the gods, when the gods had set up Midgard and made Valhalla, then came a certain smith and offered to make them a bulwark in three seasons of such goodness, to be trusty and fearless before mountain-risis and rime-thurses, though they came right into Midgard. But he spoke that to buy himself, that only Freija must be his, and he would have the sun and moon. Then went the vital-ones [aesir] to talk and reason their counsel, and was that sale made with the smith, that he must own all that, but they spoke too, if he caught the making of the burgs in one winter. But upon the first day of summer, if certain lots were unmade of the burgs, then he must cancel the sale. And he must cancel anysome laborers accepted for the works. But when they said to him these costs, then he requested, that they must allow, that he have use of a stallion of his, who's named Swath-faring [Svadilfari]. And thus counseled Loki, with him it was who laid this. He took to the first winter's-day to make the bulwark, but during the nights he had the stallion draw the stones for it. But that thought the vital-ones a mighty wonder, noneso sturdy crag as the stallion drew, and half more strength-work made the stallion than the smith. Though there were strong witnesses to the sale and much swearing, yet the giant trusted none of it to be among the vital-ones without a truce, if Thor came home. But he was then faring on the eastern-road to smite trolls. During the course of winter, the stoutest of mighty bulwarks was girded, and they were of such height and strength, that nothing might seek it. And when it was but three days to summer, then had it come nigh unto the burger's-gate. Then sat the gods in the judgement seats and let reason search out that other, of who had reasoned to gift Freija to Giant-home [Jotunheim] or spoil the lofty heavens so to take thence the sun and stars to give to the giant. But that came to be agreed by all, that this must have been counseled by him, who is the most evil of counselors, Loki Lady Leafy's son [Loki Laufeyjarson], and deserving an ill death they said, unless he owns up and advise them, how the smith could be bought off; and some went at Loki. But as he warded fearfully, he swore oaths, that he must manage in such a way, that the smith was bought off, whatever the cost to himself. And that same dusk, when the smith drove out after the stones with the stallion Swath-faring, then walked out of the woods and to the stallion a certain mare and whinnied to him. And when the stallion knew, what horse this was, then he raged and ripped asunder the ropes and galloped to the mare, but she withdrew into the woods and the smith after for he would take the stallion. But these horses walked all night, and after that day there was not such building as there had been before. And then when the smith saw, that his own shall be a shut-down works, then fired the smith his giant-rage. But when the vital-ones had seen for certain, that there was a mountain-risi coming, there was no reverence to oaths, and they called on Thor, and in a half-turn he came. And thus-next flew in the air the hammer Miller [Mjolnir]. He chanted that smith's bargain and no sun or stars, rather he denied him to settle in Giant-home and unleashed that first hitting blow, to shatter the skull into mere dust, and send him beneath under Nebula-home [Niflheim]. But Loki had then been bound to Swath-faring, so that somewhat later he bore a foal. It was good and had eight feet, and this horse is seen by gods and humans as the best. Thus says Voluspa.
A stronghold had been built amid tall standing homes, and within the bulwark's den, work first had made a court with seats to stand there ~ twelve others and a high-seat that was Allfather's. That house was the best made in the worlds and most all inside and out was the same of pure gold. People called this Gladhome [Gladsheim]. Another chamber was made on a mound, on which priestess families were in their all-so-fair houses. This people called The Friendly Floors [Vingolf]. An enormous smith works had been made and a great forge to make hammer and tong and anvil, and thence all other tools. They smithed the metal-stones, and so plentiful was the metal named gold that all the household goods, riggings and tack, were of gold. After daylight had quelled and drinks were taken, they let bear into the hall swords that were so bright they lit it, and there were no other lights while they sat drinking. The wall-panels were all hung with bright shields. Shoo thought all he saw about him was glorious, as the mead took hold because much was drunk. Next to the human Shoo sat Barker [Bragi, the skald], and they shared drinks and words.
Narrator #2: At one point, Barker rose from his seat and recited an ancient lay ~ As Thrym Quoth:
Thrymskvida: Vingthor was angry then, when he awakened forsakened of his hammer, shaggy bristles quivered, locks all a-shook, as the Earth-born counseled for to seize it back.
And here are all the words he quoth about this first: "Hear you now, Loki, what i now speak, no-one wits anywhere on earth nor in upper-heaven: that the vital-ones have the hammer stolen."
They went to fair Freija's garden, and here are all the words he quoth about this first: "Shall you, Freija, lend me the featherskin, if i may meet with my hammer?"
"To give, this i am minded, though it was golden, and yet grant, though it was as silver."
Then Loki flew, ~featherskin rustling, ~until he went far beyond and came before the inner sanctum of the giants' home.
Thrym sat on a height, thurs' master, his greyhounds wore twisted golden bands and even so in the manes of his mares.
"What is with vital-ones? What is with elves? Why have you come alone to Giant-home?"
"Ill it is with vital-ones, ill it is with elves; have you Roaring Rider's hammer hidden here abouts?"
"I have Roaring Rider's hammer hidden here abouts eight leagues underneath the earth. There is no human can claim it, unless Freija is taken and ferried to me for a wife."
Then Loki flew, ~featherskin rustling, ~until he went far beyond Giant-home and came before the inner sanctum of the vital-ones' yards. He met Thor in the middle gard, and these are all the words he quoth about this first:
"Have you toiled on the errand? Say up aloft these long tidings. Often sitting makes concealing stories, and lying down treacherous lies."
"I have toiled on the errand; Thrym has thine hammer, thurs' master, he'll have no human claim it, unless Freija is taken and ferried to him for a wife."
They went to meet fair Freija, and here are all the words he quoth about this first: "Bind yourself, Freija, in bridal linen, with two must we yoke into Giant-home."
Then Freija was so angry she snorted, all the vital-ones' chambers stood a-tremble, and the mighty necklace Brisinga bounced: "You think i've become eager-in-lust, if i yoke with you into Giant-home."
Soon the vital-ones all were met and asa-ladies all in speech, and about this counseled the shining rulers, how to settle about Roaring Rider's hammer.
Then quoth that Heimdal, the whitest vital-one, well aware of what's-to-come as like the wanting-ones: "We'll bind Thor then in bridal linen, have him don famed Brisingalace.
"Let keys dangle under his wives-cloth that falls about the knees, but at the breast the bridal stones, and handsomely hooded around the head."
Then quoth that Thor, doughty vital-one: "Wretched all the vital-ones shall call me, if i'll be bound in bridal linen."
Then quoth that Loki, Lady Leafy's son: "Keep you, Thor, these words. Soon giants shall make Asgard their abode, if you don't take steps to reclaim thine hammer."
They bound Thor then in bridal linen, and with mighty necklace Brisinga, and let keys dangle under the wives-cloth that fell about the knees, but on the breast the bridal stones, and handsomely hooded around the head.
Then quoth Loki, Lady Leafy's son: "I shall be there as a handmaid, with two must we yoke into Giant-home."
Soon heifer-goats were driven from home, hastily poled, dutiful runners. Mountains broke, earth burst into flame, as Woden's sons yoked into Giant-home.
Then quoth that Thrym, thurs' master: "Stand up, giants, and straw the benches. Now is ferried to me Freija for a wife, Njord's daughter out of Shiptown [Noatun].
"Here in the yards go the gold-horned cow, and the giants' all-black oxen gambol; full plenty have i of gifts, full plenty have i of necklaces, only Freija is lacking to me it seems."
Dusk came early about there and ale was brought forward for the giants. One ate an ox, eight salmon, and all the dainties that were there for the dutiful women, Lady Sib's husband drank three measures of mead.
Then quoth that Thrym, thurs' master: "Where saw you a bride bite keener? I've not seen a bride with broader bite, nor a maiden drink in more mead."
The seated handmaid oh-so-smart, fetched these words to speak with the giant: "Freija ate nothing for eight nights, so madly-eager was she to be in Giant-home."
Bent under the linen, lusting for a kiss, he was hurled along the seeming endless chamber: "Why is such a fiery spirit in Freija's eyes? It seems to me those eyes are full of flaming fire."
The seated handmaid oh-so-smart, fetched these words to speak with the giant: "Freija slept not for eight nights, so madly-eager was she to be in Giant-home."
In came then the giant's wretched sister, she who dared bid for a bridal gift: "Let from your hands these ruddy rings, if you would gain this love of mine, love of mine, with all honor."
Then quoth that Thrym, thurs' master: "Bear in the hammer to hallow the bride, lay Miller on the maiden's knee, to keep us together in holy Var's hands."
Roaring Rider held the laughter in his breast, when with hardened-mind he held the hammer; Thrym he struck first, thurs' master, and of the giant family, all were lamed.
He struck the age-old giant's sister, she who for a bridal gift had begged; she was smacked for just a penny, but the hammer smashed for the rings a-plenty. Thus came Woden's son formerly to the hammer.
Narrator #2: "Thou needst not hack and hew thy way through the gorse," Barker had said to Shoo. "It's not that sort of maze."
The seax-blade had taken him here, Shoo thought, but he said: "what sort of maze is it then?"
"It is hidden in runes or in skaldship," Barker answered. Then he cited:
Snorri: Skaldship arose from this: that the gods disagreed with that folk called the wanting-ones. But they saw to a peace-meeting and set a truce to that temper, so they went each together to one vessel and hawked their spit into it. Then at parting, the gods took it, for lost they would not let that truce-mark be, and shaped therefrom a person. His name was Quasher [Kvasir].
He was so wise that none could ask him their lot, that he did not know how to loosen it, and he fared wide about home to know people's learning. Once he was bidden to the home of certain dwarfs, Feller and Yeller [Fjalar and Gjalar], and on coming there they called to see him in a one-to-one talk, and they struck him, let his blood run into two vessels and one kettle, and its name is Goderer [Odreri], but the vessels are called Sidding and Bidding [Son and Bodn]. They blended honey with the blood, and it became therefrom a mead that whoever drinks of it becomes a skald and a learned human. The dwarfs said to the vital-ones that Quasher had choked on people-wits, because there was no-one with enough learning so learned that they could even ask.
Then these dwarfs invited to them a giant named Yelling One [Gillinger], and they rowed out to sea with him. But when they'd fared far from land, the dwarfs rowed onto a certain rock and capsized the boat. Yelling One was asundered and he perished, but the dwarfs righted the ship and rowed to land.
They told his wife of this happenstance, and she took it badly and wept high. Then Feller asked her if it would lighten her mind if she could look out to seaward where he had perished. When she said she would do so, he spoke to his brother Yeller that he must climb up over the door when she went out and let a millstone fall on her head because, he said, he was loathe of her wailing. And so it was done.
The giant Settlemaker [Suttungr], Yelling One's brother-son, heard these tidings and he fared to the dwarfs, took them, and carried the dwarfs out to sea and set them there on a flood-skerry. They begged Settlemaker for a life-truce and bade him a settlement with the precious mead as father's-gild, and that became the settlement between them. Settlemaker carried the mead home and kept it in what's named Mount Knit [Hnitbjorg], and there set on watch his daughter Gunled [Gunlod].
From this we call skaldship Quasher's blood or dwarfs' drink or fill, or a certain kind of water of Goderer, Bidding or Sidding, or the dwarfs' ferryboat, because it was the mead that saved their lives on the skerry, or Settlemaker's mead or Mount Knit's liquid.
Narrator #2: "With such names," Shoo said, "it seems to me that what you call skaldship is only murky speech. But however did this mead of the skalds come to the vital-ones?"
Snorri: They say it was like this, that Woden fared from home and came to where certain thralls were mowing hay, and asked if they would that he whet their scythes. They said yes to this. Then he took a hone from his belt and whetted the scythes. They thought the scythes cut so much better that the hone should be sold. So he decided that who wanted to buy it must give a feast for it. All of them claimed to be willing and bade him sell it. But he cast the hone up aloft, and when they all tried to handle it they fell into such differences that they brandished the scythes at each other's necks.
Woden sought lodging for the night with a giant who was named Bah [Baugi], a brother of Settlemaker. Bah considered his estate poorly, he said, for nine of his thralls had been killed and he was out of his wits to get the labor done without workers.
Woden went by the name of Baleworker [Bolverker]. He offered to take up the work of nine laborers for Bah, and he spoke of his wages as but one drink of Yelling One's mead. Quoth Bah that he had not counsel on the drink, and said that Settlemaker alone would have this. But, quoth he, fare he shall with Baleworker and try to fetch the mead.
Baleworker labored all that summer on nine people's work, and when winter came asked for his pay. Then fared they both to Settlemaker's. Bah told his brother about the bargain he had with Baleworker, but Settlemaker flatly denied even a single drop of mead.
Then Baleworker bided with Bah, saying they had certain crafts that might bring them near the mead, and Bah let that be well. Then Baleworker brought out the auger that was named Rat [Rati], and said that Bah must bore through the mountain if the auger would cut it. He did so. When Bah said that the mountain was bored through, Baleworker blew into the auger-hole but the chips rebounded up towards him. Then he found that Bah wanted to defraud him and bade him bore through the mountain. Bah bored again, and when Baleworker had another of his blows the chips flew through.
Then Baleworker shifted to be wormlike and crept into the auger-bore. Bah stuck the auger after him but he missed. Baleworker fared to where Gunled was and laid beside her for three nights, and she allowed him to drink three draughts of the mead. In his first draught he drank all from Goderer, in another from Bidding, and in his third from Sidding, and then he had all of the mead.
Then he shifted to an eagle-shape and flew his most strenuous. But when Settlemaker saw the eagle's flight, he took his eagle skin and flew after him. When the vital-ones saw Woden flying, they set their tubs out in the yards. When Woden came within Asgard, he spat up the mead into the vessels. By then he had come so near to Settlemaker nabbing him, that his rear-end sent out some mead and no-one cared about this. Whoever wants that may have it, we call that the skald-fool's lot.
But Settlemaker's mead was given by Woden to the vital-ones and to those people who can work it. Thus we call these skaldship crafts the catch of Woden and find and his drink and his gifting and the drink of the vital-ones.
Shoo: As Woden set the auger to the mountain, so I took the seax-blade to the thorns. I had discipline and drove myself to the task. Persevering, I hacked onto a path that, as before, at one end did not present a wall of spiky gorse but opened onto a fair place with a sparkling pool on which two white birds were feeding.
They spoke to me: "Our name is Swan," they said, "and from us have come all that birdkind that is so called. You cannot enter here."
But I must, I said. I will.
"The wild swan sounds true," the birds answered. "At the great seal which lies beyond you will find it so."
All was beautiful and light, and such a shimmering faery aura beguiled me that I did not know where I wandered, when I came to a brilliantly white wall. Set seamlessly and artfully into it was a huge metallic portal (like the door to a great vault). It was engraved as a monumental medallion, where-ever the eye alit drawing it near to focus on the smallest etchings of details depicting a masterwork on a thumbnail. I was bewitched and befuddled, hardly knew how I made it back to the sparkling pool.
The swans were not on the water, but there was a remarkably beautiful maiden wearing a sheer dress in the lightest hues of green and fashioned of lace so airy it sparkled like the pool.
"The birds set me here to await your return," the maiden said. "Five-hundred-one days you stood before the portal."
Whereto goes it?
"Oh, it is too difficult to understand for a human. This is how the skalds have told," and she quoted Gylfaginning:
Snorri: Many glorious steads are there. There is one stead there that is called Elfhome [Alfaheim]. There abide that folk whose name is light-elves that are fairer than the sun is. Toward the sun at heaven's end there is a chamber where all is fairest and brighter than the sun, and its name is Gimle [alee of the gem of fire]. It must stand when both heaven and earth have fared on, and in this stead settle then good people and the righteous throughout the ages. Thus it says in Voluspa. Such it says that another heaven is to the south, and up from this a heaven with the name Andlanger, but there is a third heaven up from them with the name of Wide Blue [Vidblain], and in these heavens we think these steads are, but we think only light-elves abide now in these steads.
Shoo: This is heaven? And it's populated by elves? I asked.
"Once," the maiden answered, "they dwelled on the growing one."
The growing one?
"Earth is its name with people, called the growing one by elves. But aelf-rek drove the elves away."
Aelf-rek is a being?
"It means what is drek to elves. It is the dirtying of the growing one so that they cannot abide to live there any longer. But they have such love for it that they tend the flowers and birds and streams, unseen and hidden from humankind ~ which they visit betimes to take their mischievous pleasure in tangling and knotting the tails and manes of livestock, or by riding a steed to exhaustion through the night. Or, with elfshot cause illness."
What good are these tales to me, if I can't enter here.
"While you cannot enter," the maiden said, "you may not leave without an alfablot sacrifice."
I have nothing to give.
"You have your blade," said the maiden, and turned her beautiful countenance away. From behind, she was hollow as a trough.
I tried to depart that place, but when I left the pool I fell into a great befuddlement and always returned to its sparkling waters. Once I thought I saw standing far off a figure in a watchful pose, hand at rest on a great horn. I heard music then, and singing. In a flash of brilliance from high above, pretty aelfs and their elfen females glided down beams of light, to dance on the shore across the white pool. Holding one another by the hand they danced in circles, and delighted in that certain air that is known as the elf-dance, and the dancing, and the singing, and the music, was so irresistible that I could not refrain from dancing too. I danced and danced, incapable of stopping, until it seemed I'd die of exhaustion. Then I pulled the seax from my belt and hurled it high, whirling in the air with bright reflections on its blade, to plunge into the water of the pool.
Silence fell. I stood in the pale green circle that elven feet had pressed. I saw then, not the hidden people ~ the sprites, the faeries, or the beautiful white light-elves, but all those swarms of dune-elves and wood-elves, field-elves and hill-elves, water-elves and mountain-elves . . . , and they sang and danced, and laughed. They gave to me a wooden staff carved with elven figures, and ushered me from that place.
The path wended through thistle and thorn, thickets of spikes, piercing bramble, pricking brier, in woody vines, sprawling shrubs, spreading bushes, sturdy trees, with spinescent branches and spiky, thorny stems, sprinkled with sweet little white-petalled flowers and red and black berries.
I heard a deep voice from behind the gorse, then another in even lower rumbling tones:
Alvismal: ". . . Wise guest, be wary, unless you can relate of all the homes what it is I want to know.
"Say to me, Allwise [Alvis],~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is the earth named, that lies before sons-of-the-ages in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Earth the name with people, and with vital-ones field, called the way by wanting-ones, evergreen by giants, by elves the growing one, called rich loam by upper-rulers."
The second voice spoke again: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is heaven named that is known in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Heaven the name with people, but spangler with gods, called wind-woven by wanting-ones, upper-home by giants, by elves fair-roof, by dwarfs the dripping chamber."
Then the second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: howso is the moon named that the people see in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Moon the name with people, but milling with gods, called the whirling wheel in hel, hasten by giants, but shine by dwarfs, called by elves season counter."
The second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: howso the sun's name, which is seen by sons-of-the-ages in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Sol the name with people, but sun with gods, called by dwarfs Dvalin's play, everglow by giants, by elves fair wheel, all-pure by vital-ones's sons."
The second voice again: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is that cloud named, which showers blendings in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Cloud the name with people, shower hope with gods, called windfloat by wanting-ones, drizzle hope by giants, by elves weather-might, called in hel the hidden helm."
The second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is named the wind, which fares the widest in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Wind the name with people, but waverer with gods, called neigher by beginning-rulers, weeps by giants, by elves din-farer, called in hel fitted."
Once more the second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is named that calm, that must lie in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Calm the name with people, but haven with gods, called wind-abates by wanting-ones, over-sheltered by giants, by elves day-soothe, called by dwarfs day's shelter."
The other: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is named that lake that people row in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Sea the name with people, but sail-terrible with gods, called barrow by wanting-ones, eelhome by giants, by elves waterstaff, called by dwarfs deep lake."
Then the second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: howso is fire named, that burns before sons-of-the-ages in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Fire the name with people, but with vital-ones flame, called barrow by wanting-ones, greedy-one by giants, but downburner by dwarfs, called in hel dreaded."
Then the second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how are the woods named that wax before sons-of-the-ages in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Woods the name with people, but field-mane with gods, called tangle of slopes by heroes, kindling by giants, by elves fair-limbed, called wand by wanting-ones."
The second again: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: howso is night named, in Norvi knowed, in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Night its name with people, but dimmed with gods, called cowled by beginning-rulers, no-light by giants, by elves sleep game, called by dwarfs dream-sister."
Quoth the other: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is that seed named which sons-of-the-ages sow in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Barley the name with people, but burr with gods, called waxed by wanting-ones, edible by giants, by elves lawstave, called in hel drooping."
The second voice: "Say to me, Allwise,~about all the ways of the judged, of which I am aware, dwarf, to wit~: how is that ale named, that sons-of-the-ages drink in all the homes?"
Quoth Allwise: "Ale the name with people, but with vital-ones beer, called brew by wanting-ones, pure-water by giants, but in hel mead, called party drink by Settlemaker's sons."
Again the other: "In one breast only I saw never-an-age more old lore. Yet, still greater wisdom have the wanters~those who lack, west in Wanting-ones Home [Vanaheim]."
Shoo: I heard the voices no more then, though I shouted at the top of my lungs. I looked for the sun halfway up the sky ~ morning or afternoon? I set my direction, followed the path westward to an arching arbor of luxurious pink flowers (set on thorny branches, I noted). As I passed under the arbor a misty essence of vital saps enveloped me.
"Hail thee, stranger," a voice came to me. "Whereto is your travel?"
I did not see anyone, but with the elven-wand held by my body a certain way I saw the figure of a woman, though I could not make out any features. I go west to Wanting-ones Home to profit by their wisdom, I answered.
Le An: Two wisdoms, peace and fertility, are kept in that Home. The twin son and daughter of mother-father, earth and sea, teach to be aware of the Earth. But all their kind do not think it their province to distinguish between good and evil as they act in the worlds. Two powers they have in that Home. To link with the unseen world ~ and this was already worked in you.
They work their other power now. Come, see the spirits of land and sea flocking: all the vast assembly of vanir-gods of fertility from all the localities they inhabit on the Earth. This power to create life and increase in field, animal, and home; this Power!
Narrator #2: She fell silent, and when Shoo turned to her she was Le An. It was as if new life filled him: the substance and energy of the mythical chaos, the urge for creation to be repeated. When he reached for Le An she was soft and yielding. Together they awakened an orgy of sexual energy in an ecstasy they did not wish to stop. Gods and spirits sang vigorous hymns of cleft and rod. Glorious were their melodies, until at last they came to an end and Shoo fell into a deep sleep.
Song of the Sun:
Song of the Sun
Lay of Counsel
Holy Sisters bid you to where master's speech is wholesome to the mind; betimes after, where all shall wish to go.
Work of wrath which you bestowed, bettered so you be not ill; griefs must be soothed with lots so good as seeming to quote the soul.
To god must be attributed these lots so good, then to who have shaped these treasures, and became long before where people were in whom they found the father.
Asking for help is certainly difficult to who thinkers want to be; while it goes amiss with them who never bid, few suffer in silence.
Late i came, though early called, to judgement-wielding animals; thither i intuited myself; thus was i named; he will have the dainty who craves it.
Sin wields so that we fare afflicted out of neverhome; nothing so dreadful as taking to evil deeds; good those who blameless are.
Like wolves they all think in their own whirling minds; another mind is given them who must go there by the inward shining path.
Friendly counsel and wits i can combine therefor together; clear your mind and never ever be diminished; all is of use for you to accept.
Life and Death
Of this is to say, how blessed i was in enjoyment-home, and these other words, why the sons-at-the-launch came to accept the need-deed.
Will and conceit lure worthy sons, them who desire to possessions; bright silver leads long to grief, many have been mocked by fortune.
Glad i thought most grooms were, because i knew few before; strayhome has the master shaped with much mindfulness.
Bent i sat, long i slumped, so much i lusted then for life; but saw the counsel of who rules that from below come the threatening paths.
Hel-dwellers came hard and rope lashed to my sides; i wanted to slit them but they were tough, until they lifted loose.
One thing i know, of all the ways that swell my sorrows, it's Hel's maidens have my shudders who bade me to the home of one-and-all afflictions.
Sun i saw, affirming daystar streams the dinhomes in; but Hel-dweller's gate hearkens day the other way with depressing howls.
Sun i saw, set in dreary staves, much was i then out of home's halls; mighty is the lure of many ways because they are from before. Sun i saw, such like methought i seen an honored god; to this i bowed in yon ages-old home.
Sun i saw, such a burl on a beam that methought i could in nowise know; but beasts streamed bellowing the other way, blending much with blood.
Sun i saw in sight a dreadful shaking and decline, so that my heart was greatly torn and in shreds asundered.
Sun i saw seldom afflicted, much was i then out of home's halls; my tongue felt like wood and cold spread outside.
Sun i saw beside no-one after that dreary day, the cause of the waterfall stilling before me, but i turned from these beckoning torments.
Hope-stars fly,~then was i tended,~away from my own breast; it happens like a flea that never settled but now enjoys a well deserved rest.
Narrator #2: Shoo dreamt he stood before a flaming gate. He approached, but the intense heat drove him back. He found that the elven wand held in front of him gave protection, but the flames leaping all about the pedestals and high arch of the gate were still too hot to bear. He determined to make a run for it. Holding the elfin staff high before him he rushed over the gate's threshold into light and heat so severe he knew he could not survive. The sons of fire rode wildly about him, roaring and flashing, and fanning sere winds. He jumped back, stumbled and crawled away.
Le An: Harrison lies helpless on the bedding in front of the fire of Gimle. His arms and his legs are spread, his face is a tumescent red, eyes bulged, hair wet with sweat. He pants. I peel away covers and clothes, finds his skin a hot red everywhere. I shuffle off to fetch snow to cool him. When I return, he has declined in a slow, laborious, rasping breath that seems near death. I pat snow on his exposed skin. He shudders with a sudden intake of breath.
"Le An," he says with difficulty, "what is happening to me?"
I look into his eyes. Don't be worried, I say, but am. I can't remove a top garment because he clenches a fist. Open your hand, I say, but wild gasps are his only response. I struggle to get the clothes off as best I can to pack snow on his deep-flushed body that feels searing hot. I make him drink often. Tremors run through him that pull muscles taut until, with hands and feet in knotted balls, he falls into the death rattle; then that great shivering again to repeat, while I bring snow where he now lies in the watery sludge of a deepening puddle I am diking off. At last, the rasping breath flows long and stops. I think he died but, with a shock that jerks him upright, he takes a powerful gasp, then sinks to finally have the body relax. I bend over to hear the breath come deep now, and move him carefully, reluctant to touch his burning skin, wrap him to keep him warm. I only touches him later to make him drink where he lies for two days.
I examine what he'd clasped in his fist all that long night: a wooden rod round as a girl's wrist, as long as the width of his hand, blackened and charred at the ends, carved with foreign characters visible only where his fingers had gripped it.
When he can speak again, he asks where he is.
Harrison, I answer. You're in Gimle.
"Harrison? In Gimle?"
Then I ask him about the wooden rod and he reacts in shock.
"Where did you get this?"
What is it?
"It's the elfin staff."
Harrison, how did you get it?
"Why do you call me Harrison? Get a mirror. Get me a mirror!"
I find a small hand-mirror, watch his complexion actually fade to grey as he looks wide-eyed into his reflection.
"Oh, my god," he whispers. "it can't be."
Who are you? And what have you done with Harrison?
"No, no," he shouts, and struggles to get up. I try to hold him down, but he is like a wild man who tries to stand on the stump of his lower leg to collapse with a hoarse cry of pain. As he crawls away, I reach for him but is afraid to touch the skin that hangs in tatters. He tries to crawl into the fire but I drag him by the legs from the fireplace. He delivers a fisted blow full to my forehead and I fall senseless. In the hearthfire's burning embers he sees an indistinct figure. He crawls toward it.
Narrator #1: In Eddukvaedi's 'Voluspa in skamma is written:
"Loki ate of heart in linden-wood burnt, he fetched half-done the woman's mind-stone. Womb-filled was the Lofty One [Loftur, Loki] with an evil woman; thence have all ogresses come into the fields."
Narrator #2: The elemental fires of Muspel sent forth huge showers of sparks into the yawning gulf. From the Nebular ~ dim and misty, roared the seething waves that hardened to great blocks of ice in the vast chasm. At Ginungagap the great tree reached root with gap-hallowed rulers.
If Shoo lived, he didn't know it. These depths he could not fathom. If he lived, he lived as Sheer-one [Skirnir], and this is cited in Sheer-one's Speech:
Skirnismal: Lord Freyr, son of Njord, had sat upon the Open Shelf [Hlidskjalf] and seen over all the homes. He saw into Giant-home and saw there a maiden fair. Then he was shamed and went from his father's scaffold. Since then his mind became greatly troubled. Sheer-one was the name of Freyr's shoe-swain.
Quoth Sheer-one: "Say, Freyr, good wielder of folk, what I would know: why sit endlessly alone in your chamber, my master, for days on end?"
Quoth Freyr: "How to say this, young talker, about the torments of moods? While elf-halo lights up all the days, it shines not within my mind."
Quoth Sheer-one: "Thine mind, I think, is of such might you may say or not, as once we did when we were young together in days of yore, and well valued was the trust betwain."
Quoth Freyr: "In Shlymir's [Ga Ymir, or Gymir] garder I saw the maiden of my longings go; arms so light, from them it filled the air and the water.
"This is the maiden I have longed for more than people for their young ones in days of yore. Vital-ones and elves no human will be together with."
Quoth Sheer-one: "Give me that mare, to bear me through the murk wither the wavering flames, and that sword, which of itself wages against the giant family."
Quoth Freyr: "That mare I give then, to bear you through the murk wither the wavering flames, and that sword, which of itself shall wage, if the one who has it is wise."
Sheer-one spoke to the horse: "It is murky out, I state the case for us to fare over the drizzly fells, over the thurs nation. Both to return, or both of us be taken by those almighty giants."
Sheer-one rode into Giant-home to Shlymir's garden. There were savage dogs bound beside the stockade wherein Girther's [Gerdr] chamber was. He rode to where a cattle herder sat on a height, and demanded of him: "Say, herder, you who sit on the height and watch all the ways: how shall I spill breath with the young one I came for if in front are these yapping-greys of Shlymir?"
Quoth the herder: "Whatever are you, frantic or far-beguiled? Ever must you lack the spilling of breath with the good maiden of Shlymir."
Quoth Sheer-one: "A hero's trial is better than to be weak, for them who wish to fare; all my days were shaped in ages past and all my life was laid."
Quoth Girther: "What is that clashing crash which I hear now coming into our abode? Earth trembles, here right in front of the shelter of Shlymir's yards."
Quoth a servant: "There is a human outside, dismounts from the mare's back, aye and lets it take to pasture."
Quoth Girther: "You bid him go into our chamber to drink the maiden's mead. Though it distresses me to have my brother's bane here outside.
"What is neither elf nor vital-ones' son nor wise wanting-one? How is it you have come over the oaken fire for this intercourse- chamber to see?"
Quoth Sheerer: "I am not elf nor vital-ones' son nor wise wanting-one. Yet I came over oaken fire for your intercourse-chamber to see.
"Eleven apples have I here, all golden, to you, Girther, I shall give these, to buy peace, and have you state that Freyr you loathe no more than life."
Quoth Girther: "Eleven apples I shall never-an-age accept from anyone, nor with Freyr~while we have our faering lives~settle both together."
Quoth Sheer: "This band I then give which has been branded by Woden's son. Eight of them, just as heavy do fall from it every ninth night."
Quoth Girther: "This band I'll not accept though branded it be by Woden's son. It is not me lacking in gold at Shlymir's garder, where are dealt my father's possessions."
Quoth Sheerer: "See you this make-sword, maid, slim and speech-painted, which I have in hand here? The head I shall hew off your neck unless you say accept to my settlement."
Quoth Girther: "Under duress I shall never-an-age accept suffering from anyone. Though blows I may get, when Shlymir finds out there will be fearless fight to turn the tide our way."
Quoth Shoerer: "See you this make-sword, slim and speech- painted, which I have in hand here? For these edges the aged giants have been seen to sink, and thine father became cowardly.
"Meekward I was sent by beatings, but I accepted that taming mind, maid, to me minding. There you must go to accept and see that groom's son ever beside thee.
"On the eagle's mound you must ever sit, turned to the homes of yore, hankering for hel's abodes; the flesh is loathed there more than the gleaming worm by people who are all bereft.
"It was a wonder-sight to behold you when you came out to accept Rimed-one [Hrimnir] as lord, to receive everyone's stares, disagreeable you became and warded off good, gaped at in front of your gates.
"Fool and folly, tassel-magic and suffering, will wax tears of grief. Set you down, but I shall say in answer twofold griefs breaking like the surf.
"Grim demon's nips must be received all the day long in the giant's garder; to the halls of the rime thurses must every day, cranky and worthless, cranky and of no worth; weep you must against that game that leads to teary grief.
"With three-headed thurses near must ever you be or havenless be; the deed-mood grips and gets mournful mourning; like a thistle you are, that's overgrown when the season has declined.
"To the hills I went for succulent plants to get and work the illusion-twig, and illusion-twig I got.
"Wrathful is Woden there, wrathful is there vital-ones' best. Freyr must receive what is desired, do abominable maid, unless you catch the good illusion-rides.
"Hear giants, hear rime thurses, sons of Settlemaker, selfsame members of the vital-ones, how I forebode, how I forebane shall people's merriment, shall people's use.
"Rimegrim [Hrimgrimnir] is named the thurs who must be received before the gates of the dead beneath; there wretches toil over woody-roots and give out goat piss. No other drink fetch you ever-an-age, maid, to thine minding, maid, to my minding.
"Thurs I etch there and three staves, lust and fury and suffering; that which I etch, same that I un-etch, if this need be."
Quoth Girther: "Hail be you now, hero, swain, and take the rimed chalice full of aged mead. Though it's a fine day to intend what formerly never-an-age would be granted: to be a vanir lady fine."
Quoth Shoer: "Mine errands I know full well, before I ride hence to home, to meet and be near you vigorous son of Njord shall strive."
Quoth Girther: "Needle-grove [Barri, burr] is named which is known to both of us, the tranquil grove; but it shall be nine nights after that Njord's son Girther's gifts will gain."
Then Shoe rode home. Freyr stood outside and quoth he to pry for tidings: "Say to me what, Shoo, before you throw the saddle off and you dismount from the stepper: is what you learned in Giant-home theirs or mine minded?"
Quoth Shoo: "Needle-grove is named which is known to both, the tranquil grove; but it shall be nine nights after that Njord's son Girther's gifts will gain."
Quoth Freyr: "Long is night, longer are two, how much yearning is three? A month seems much longer to me than the time to my wedding-night."
Shoo: Over a dark river I was ferried. The ferryman hawed how he had been hired one night by a mysterious personage to ply his boat back and forth. At every trip his vessel was so laden with invisible passengers that it nearly sank. When his night's work had been done, he received a rich reward and was told that he had carried dwarfs across, as they were leaving the country forever because of unbelief among the people.
On the other shore awaited me a small, homely being, dark of skin, green eyes, large head, short legs and inturned feet. His kind was called dark-elves or dwarfs, and sometimes kobold, troll, or goblin.
"Blood and bones of Earth and Sky made the dwarven race, but when ages old beliefs were no longer revered, our kind withdrew entirely," he replied to the ferryman's tale.
Though not gods, dwarfs are far more intelligent than humans, and I could not penetrate the dark elf's purpose. On the road to Dark Elves Home the dwarf let his rumbling voice lead the way:
Snorri: Loki, Lady Leafy's son, had as a trick clipped all the hair off Sib [Sif]. When Thor became aware of this, he took Loki and meant to break his every bone, unless he swore to go to the black elves and have them make locks of gold for Lady Sib, and such that it must grow the same as other hair.
After that Loki fared to certain dwarfs, named the sons of Inwielder [Ivalda], and they made the locks and Stickblades [Skidbladnir] and the spear which is named Quailer [Gungnir]. Then Loki wagered his head with a certain dwarf, named so-and-so, that he was meant to make three just as good to grasp as these were.
When they came to a smithy, the dwarf laid a swineskin in the forge and he bade Shoo blow and abate none before and until he took out of the forge that which he had laid in it. And with that the dwarf was gone from the smithy, but Shoo blew. Then a fly settled on his hand and stung, but he blew the same as before, and he who was smithing took out of the forge a boar that had bristles of gold.
Next he laid gold in the forge and bade Shoo to blow and let not the blower fail before and until he came back. He went away, and then a fly came to settle on his neck and stung now half again harder than before. But Shoo blew, and he who was smithing took out a gold ring that he called Dripper [Draupnir].
Then he laid iron in the forge and bade Shoo blow and said it meant to become useless if the blowing failed. Then the fly settled between his eyes and stung his lids. Blood fell into his eyes so that he could see nothing, and he groped with his hand for a kerchief, meanwhile the bellows laid still, and he wiped off that fly. Then the smith came and said that nearly now all was made most useless, and he took out of the forge a hammer.
He fetched then all the grasping-treasures in the hands of Shoo and bade him fare with him to Asgard and redeem the wager.
"About Loki," spoke the dwarf. "It is said that when Skadi, daughter of the giant Thiazi, took helmet and mail and all her weapons and fared to Asgard to avenge her father, the vital-ones bade her settle for wergild compensation. To this she consented, but part of the settlement was what she thought they must never be able to do: the vital-ones must make her laugh out loud. But Loki did so: he bound a rope around the beard of a goat and the other end around his scrotum, and they set to pulling to and fro and one shrieked higher than the other. Then Loki let himself fall on Skadi's knee, and then she roared. That was part of the settlement that the vital-ones handed over to her." The dwarf wrinkled his beetled brow. "But Lady Leafy's son is not a funny fellow. No, no. He's extremely dangerous."
To Asgard Loki came bearing his treasures, where the vital-ones sat on the council-stools, and that pronouncement must stand the same as Woden, Thor, and Freyr's final decision. Then Loki gave the spear Quailer to Woden, but to Thor the locks which Sib must have, and to Freyr Stickblades, and he said the sense of all these grasping- treasures. The spear always laid steady; the curly locks were flesh- sprouting as soon as they came on Sib's head; Stickblade had a breeze as soon as the sail was hoisted wherever it must fare, and it had the power to fold the same as cloth to have in a pouch, if that was wanted.
Then Shoo carried forward the graspings of the dwarven smith, who gave to Woden the ring and said that every ninth night it meant to drop off eight rings just as heavy as itself. To Freyr he gave the hog and said its power was to run in air and in water, night and day, faster than any horse, and if ever was such a murk of night or in murkhome be that there was not sufficient light where-ever he might fare, such illumination burst from him. To Thor he gave the hammer and said its power was to aim and strike as hard as he would whatever was in front of him, that the hammer meant not to fail, and that when he threw it, it meant never to miss and ever fly so long to seek its owner's hand. And if he wanted, it could be so little to be able to carry it in a shirt. But it had one flaw: the fore-haft was rather short.
It was deemed then that the hammer was best of all grasping-treasures to ward off most of the mountain risis and rime thurses, and they deemed that the dwarf should own the bet fee. Loki tried to ransom his head, but the dwarf said this was no-one's wont.
~"You better take me then," quoth Loki.
But when he would take him, he was already far and wide, because Loki owned shoes with the power to run in air as well as water. Then the dwarf bade Thor that he must take him and Thor did just that. The dwarf would hew off his head, but Loki said that he owned the head but not the neck. The dwarf then took a thong and a knife and would sew closed his mouth, but the knife would not bite. Then he spoke that his brother had a better awl, and the instant he named it, there that awl was, and it bit the lips. Then he sewed the lips together, and he ripped out of the vital-one the thong that had sewn closed Loki's mouth.
I am that Snorri, Sturla's son. I wrote the Skalds' Creative Manual, in praise of the skill and craft, the lore and learning of thulur songsmiths of old. History and myth are my province, the old beliefs my seat of power, I over-ride it on the poetry of the skalds.
Alliteration is the essence of the metrical structure, bound by pairs of words with heavily stressed syllables in two short lines to make four in the longline. In the first short line either or both may alliterate, but in the second short line only the first stressed syllable must. These syllables are the pillars of poetry, the stead of the song, and the headpost is the most stressed syllable of the second short line. It is an accentual, not syllabic, meter, for it depends upon the number, position, strength, and grouping of stressed and unstressed, long and short syllables. Each regular short line is of even measure, each has two bars of even measure, regardless the number of syllables. Each bar is divided in four, and begins with a fully stressed syllable. The headpost syllable is to be recited with most emphasis, for these are spoken songs with the melody in alliteration and rhythm. The meter may be in fours, sometimes fives, sixes, even sevens. We skalds call these Old Story Rhythm, Speech Meter, Song Meter, Quote Meter, Master Quotes, Streaming, and so on. The Song Meter generally has strophes of six lines with a half-strophe of three; the third is the full line that may take more syllables and is not bound to alliterate with other lines. The half-strophe is always metrically complete. The number of lines may vary ~ even within one verse, but most often there are four lines to a strophe.
I cannot speak but am reminded of an ancient verse, Balder's Dreams:
Once the aesir all were met and asa-ladies all in speech, and about this the shining rulers counseled: how Balder was having bad dreams.
Up rose Odin, the old Goth, and he laid the saddle on Sleipnir. Down he rode from there to the lady at Niflhel. A whelp he met, which out from hel had come.
It was blooded on the front of its breast, and barked long at the father of chants. Forward rode Odin, dallying on the ways of the fields, until he came to the high abodes of Hel's ladies.
Then rode Odin before the eastern door, which he knew led to a volva. Witty vala-chants he took to quoth until needful rose the corpse to speak.
"Who is the person unknown to me, who will have me eke and work my senses? I was buried in snow, driven by rain, drenched with dew, long was I dead."
Quoth Odin: "Vegtamur is my name, a son I am of Valtams; tell me what of hel, and I shall of my home: for whom did I see the benches set, and the rooms fairly flooded with gold?"
Quoth the volva: "Here stands the mead for Balder brewed, shields lie over the purified whiskey, but the mighty aesir are overly hopeful. Needful said, now I shall be silent."
Quoth Odin: "Be not silent, you volva, I yet will ask until I know all there is to know: whoever shall become Balder's bane and destroy forever Odin's son?"
Quoth the volva: "Hoder borne high in thine praiseworthy bosom, he shall become Balder's bane and destroy forever Odin's son. Needful said, now I shall be silent."
Quoth Odin: "Be not silent, you volva, I yet will ask until I know all there is to know: who shall have on Hoder vengeance and work to bring Balder's bane to the pyre?"
Quoth the volva: "Rindur births Vali in the western chambers. When Odin's son is aged but one night, shall he, with hands unwashed and head uncombed, to the pyre bring Balder's attacker. Needful said, now I shall be silent."
Quoth Odin: "Be not silent, you volva, I yet will ask until I know all there is to know: whoever are those maidens, who shall cry and throw neck scarves up to heaven?"
Quoth the volva: "Thou art not Vegtamur as I thought, rather art thou Odin, the ancient Goth."
Quoth Odin: "Thou art not volva nor wise woman, rather art thou thrice a thurs' mother."
Quoth the volva: "Home ride you, Odin, and be praised. This will people come to know when Loki's limbs are loosed from the bonds and the cursed judgement breaks over them".
Snorri: I warn you. Do not attempt to fare to hel. Everything on the way is fraught with danger, and you'll not like what you'll find if you get there.
Let me say to you these tidings, that were thought more of by the aesir. The start of that saga is this, that Balder the good dreamed disturbing dreams of a serious threat to his life. When he told the aesir of his dreams, they took it to counsel and decided to ask a pardon for Balder from all kinds of dangers. Frig took oaths that Balder must be spared from fire, water, iron and all kinds of metal, stone, earth, wood, sickness, animals, birds, poisons, worms.
When these were made and vetted, Balder and the aesir had a pastime in which he must stand up at the meetings, and of all the others some must shoot at him, some hew, some throw stones. But whatever was done to him, he remained unscathed, and they all thought this mighty fair.
When Loki Laufeyjarson saw this, he liked it ill with Balder, and went to Fensolum to see Lady Frig but his brow was that of a woman. Frig asked if the woman knew what the aesir were doing at the meeting. She said that they all were shooting at Balder and that he remained unscathed.
Then spoke Frig: "No weapon or wood may hurt Balder. Oaths I have taken from all of them."
The woman asked: "Have all lots granted oaths to spare Balder?"
Answered Frig: "A woody twig grows only at the west of Valhall, that is called Mistletoe. This I thought too young to demand an oath from."
Next the woman hied away, but Loki took the Mistletoe and sidled up to go to the meeting. Hoder stood outside the ring of people because he was blind. Loki spoke with him: "Why don't you shoot at Balder?"
He answered: "Because I can't see where Balder is, and also I don't have a weapon."
Then Loki spoke: "You can do as the other people and give Balder honor like other people. I shall show where to he stands. Shoot this twig at him."
Hoder took the Mistletoe and shot it at Balder where Loki showed him, the shot struck Balder, and he fell dead to earth. This was to be the most unhappy event of gods and people.
After Balder had fallen, words failed all the aesir, and there were such hands to take him, and they looked at one another and were all of one mind as to who had willed this to happen. But no-one might have such a thing in this mighty sanctuary. The aesir tried to speak then, but before they could there arose such a weeping, that no-one could utter the words of his harm to another. But Odin bore worst this destruction, the sense of which he knew most, wherein the aesir were to have many deaths and losses from the falling of Balder.
When the gods acknowledged this, Frig spoke and asked where was that aesir who would ride the helway to try, if he found the image of Balder, and bid him loose from out of Hel, and let Balder fare home to Asgard. And he who was named Hermod, he hastened, Odin's son, who went to do that errand. Then they took Sleipnir, Odin's horse was led there, Hermod mounted onto the horse and galloped away.
The aesir took Balder's corpse to float out to sea. Hringhorni was the name of Balder's ship, it was the best of all ships. The gods would push it off and have Balder's balefire on it, but the ship went nowhere. Then they sent to Jotunheim for an ogress of theirs who was named Hyrokin. She came riding a wolf that had serpents for reins. When she jumped off the steed, Odin called four berserkers to watch over it, but they could not catch a hold until they knocked it down. Hyrokin went to the cock-boat's fo'c'sle and shoved it ahead in an instant, so that fire flew from the launching rollers and the land shook. Thor was wroth and grabbed for his hammer and meant to break her head, until the gods bade him to peace.
Balder's corpse was carried out to the ship then. When this was seen by his woman, Nanna Nepsdottir, the shock was too much and she fell dead, and she was borne to the bier and laid in the fire. Thor stood then to beatify with Mjolnir, but a certain dwarf by the name of Litur ran under his feet. Thor tripped him and he staggered into the fire and he burned there.
To this burning sought many kinds of nations. First, of course, was Odin, with him fared Frig and the valkyrie ladies and their ravens. Freyr in a cart yoked to the snorting one whose name is Gullinbursti, but Heimdal rode his horse named Gulltoppur, and Freyja yoked her cats. Mighty folk came there, rime thurses and mountain risis. Odin laid on the bier his golden band with the name Draupnir. Balder's horse was led to the bier in all its tack.
Meanwhile, Hermod had ridden for nine nights through dales so deep he saw nothing, until he came to the river Gjallarar and rode to Gjallarbridge that was thatched with light gold. Modgunnur is named the maid who guards that bridge. She asked him for the name of his family and said that earlier that day five ranks of dead people rode over the bridge, "but the bridge's din was not even as much as under only you. You don't have the look of dead people. Why do you ride here on hel's way?"
He said this: "I must ride to Lady Hel to search for Balder, or have you seen a certain Balder anywhere on the helways?"
But she said that Balder had ridden over Gjallarbridge, "but downward and north lie the helways."
Then Hermod rode there until he came to the helgates. He dismounted the horse and girdled it firm, mounted up its side and drove his spurs. With that the horse jumped so high over the gate, that he came down nowhere near it. Then he rode to the halls of that home, dismounted, went into the hall, and saw his brother Balder sit there in the highest seat. Hermod spent the night there, but in the morning he bade Hel to let him off, that Balder must ride home with him where, he said, there was much weeping with the aesir.
But Hel said that it must be tested whether Balder was so beloved as was said, and if all lots in the homes, alive and dead, weep for him, after that he must fare to the aesir, but held by Hel if any speak against him or will not weep. Hermod stood up, Balder led him out of the hall and took the ring Draupnir to send Odin in testament. And Nanna sent Frig linens and one other gift, Fullu fingergold. Then Hermod rode his track to return to Asgard and related all the tidings of which he had seen or heard.
The aesir sent a brisk-dragon then about all the homes, that Balder be wept out of hel. And everything did so, people and the living beasts, earth and stone, trees and metals, which as shall readily be seen do weep when they come out of frost into the heat. The messengers fared home and considered their errand well reckoned, when they found some hole where an ogress sat. She was named Thok, and they bade her weep.
She answered: "Thok shall weep dry tears because of Balder's funeral. Alive nor dead do I need any commoner's son. Let Hel hold what she has."
And this is why people hold that it is Loki Laufeyjarson who has made the most evils with the aesir.
Narrator #2: Some say Loki was that ogress Thok. And Loki had been the fly that stung. Shoo knew it with certainty ~ all the long and painful way of the rough roads to the cold, dark regions of River Gjal. Over it was laid the bridge of crystal arched with gold and hung by a single hair. It was guarded by a grim skeleton that made Shoo pay a toll in blood and vitality before it would let him pass. Across, on the other shore stretched Ironwood, where stood only bare or iron-leaved trees. Coming through it at last, he reached the Gates of Hel where the fierce, blooded hound kept watch. It was cowering in a dark hole, but it charged Shoo like the raging monster it was. He could not venture near the gate at risk of life and limb, and finally returned to the horrible skeleton at the bridge. If once it was a maid, perhaps that is why she told him the monster's rage could be appeased by offering it helcake, and for another toll of blood, she gave him a piece the size of a saucer.
Again Shoo toiled through Ironwood. Weak from the blood-toll, he stumbled. After he had stumbled three times he stopped to rest, and because he was hungry ate some of the helcake. By the Gates of Hel he saw the Lady ride forth from her halls on a three-legged, white charger, on its back her tools of broom and rake, and saddlebags packed full with pestilence and famine. The blooded hound charged, and he threw the cake. The monster stopped, sniffed, then in one great bound was upon Shoo, the slavering jaws on his body, the gashing fangs in his flesh.
Le An: All this time I was with Shoo, and Jaine beside me. All went amiss, it seemed, within the vital-ones' halls: given drink and wise bench-mates, but the power of saga he would not have. When he meant to go into the elflight, he could not pass, nor return without a sacrifice. Who helped him step out from the elven ring? Who taught him the truth of names? Who sent him seeking the light into the very fire of yore? Shoo walked the myth, lived to see Master's service, Allfather's gifts, Loki's wiles, and learned the evil fraud that Lady Leafy's son had done.
From this i gibed most fearfully, loth to speak, this telling of griefs so great, when with hard mind and grim words I sharpened my own daughter to fight. "Why do you stay? Why sleep in death? Why do you not grieve, but cheerily speak? Bear forward the ornaments of Heathen Kings; have us sharpen a meeting of swords."
Weeping, full of her grief, she went to sit at a bypath, and told with tearful cheeks the many ways of her sad tales: "Thrice i knew fires, thrice i knew hearths, i was in three men's houses weighed. Heavy troubles i was to see and much methought of strife.
Heathen sharper i named myself to the runes; so that i might work about a better curse. I went to the shore, grim was i to the norns and i would throw off the strife of their abode. But they stayed me, drowned not, but was borne high and i rebounded onto land, to live on duty-bound.
I went to bed~each time thinking it would be better~, thrice with nations' kings; i strapped babies to me, inheriting heirs. But when Jaine sat in the round of girls, it was her i cherished most of my children, for Jaine's countenance was like a sunbeam in my rooms. Endowed with gold and woven finery i've given her to the Good Nation.
A multitude shall i curse. You remember, Shoo, what was spoken between us, when we were abed to both of us sate, that you would for me, and i would for you, move heaven and earth.
Lade up, gentle-folk, the oaken pyre, let it become the highest under the helm of sky; may this full-cursed fire burn the breast and thaw about the heart these sorrows.
"Mother," then said Jaine, "understand that Shoo cannot forgive me reminding him that shameful act of mine own murder. But I forgave him. Why cannot thee?"
My mouth was bitter. I could not forgive.
Narrator #2: Two ride with three eyes between them, ten feet, and one tail. The Wild Host following snorts and bays in the rush and roar of the wind. A phantom hunt for the white-breasted maidens ~ where Le An, as in volva seidr, stands with one leg. She watches a mouse, Harrison, creep in and out the open mouth of a corpse: his own.
From far, far off, the Great Mothers tend and nurture the holy disir Sisters of the Earth, and all that is female in every realm: valkyrie virgins, wish maidens, shield girls, in swan-plumaged flight; and the women's evil of who sank to the rank of witch and plunged naked arms to the shoulder into great tubs of blood.
A woman, old and decrepit, has waded far out in the western sea. Another, young and fearless, stands on the highest eastern peak. Between them a shuttle flashes to and fro. They weave a web: a woof that uses now, across a warp of what is to come, in a weft of the past. They do not seem to spin of their own intent, but blindly, within the bounds of yore-law. There is a third, closely veiled. She holds an unopened book. Relentlessly, she undoes the work, and often tears the weavings angrily to shreds, scattering remnants to the winds of heaven.
"Early begun," says the old one.
"Further spun," who is young.
"One day done," she with veils.
They chant a solemn song:
"Hail days. Hail days' sons. Hail nights and nieces. Hail vital-ones. Hail asa-ladies. Hail that one of full-used fields.
"Of yore were ages when the eagles screamed, and holy water softly showered from Heaven's Fells [Himinfjollum].
"The night it warded when the norns came to shape the rights of land in ages past.
"They have the means to snare the yore-law strands. They gather the golden cords to fasten midway under the chamber of the moon.
"To the east and to the west the ends fall, and praiseworthy families between. The bright niece at the northern-way fastens only what she bids be held forever."
There are norns as many as guard all the spirits' lavish gifts at births, marriages, deaths. Among these hordes, Le An finds Harrison's Skin Lady ~ his protective spirit of good fortune, the physical hamingja; and Harrison's Follower ~ his spirit double and guardian wraith, the fylgja wolfen.
"It was trusted in antiquity that people were reborn, but this is now called an old-wives-tale," the Skin Lady says. "This is not Harrison's corpse, but an image that the fylgja wills. The body burned in Gimle's hearth-fire." She bends down, the mouse runs up her sleeve, and she walks away into the crowds of women around them.
The wolfen sits on her haunches and drools. "No kin has Harrison," she growls. "No relations for the fylgja Follower, and none to wait for. A fetch empty as this corpse I am. It was you who struck the knife and drove me off, your doing left Harrison to be taken by another. You stand here only with one leg, for you are bound yet to your own world. One hand I see is empty here, but what is that you hold in the other?"
A great tree towers high and massive over where a deep pool wells. Within the bosom of arbor and spring live the norns who dole out what they know of yore-law at each new human birth: time they give, to become what must; debt they give, of cause and effect; weird they give, that power to shape lots. Three portions make up Le An's life ~ that flowing time of her perception, her lot she forces where she wills, but of her debt she does not know. Then, for the flash of a moment only, she steps wholly within the fylgja's realm ~ two legs, two arms, and from that other hand falls the charred stub of elfin staff, glyphs ablazing.
A dark dragon raises itself with a roar. Fire jumps from mountain to mountain, plunges into the sea. Great columns of steam come bursting from its depths, flames licking through it as they rise. Lightning flashes within the clouds of steam. In the sharp-blue flickers of light, Radendr experiences the sense of the cosmos beyond the consciousness of the human self.
Radendr: Know you this: Our material bodies, by passing through living crucibles, are by Nature's alchemical transmutations transformed. Plants and creatures all have been consolidated in their structures by the dross of living and dead human matter on which they feed. Our outer bodies are made of the cast-off dust of minerals ~ which is crystalized and immetalized LIGHT. This is the means by which intellect and spirit evolve in physical humanity, from the astral shadows of the forms of divine-human, semi-divine, and divine MIND; which Mind emanates essences and intelligences into the Rounds of BEING that reflect in the LIGHT of visible Nature ~ what esoteric allegory shows as the Unknowing Darkness of the Body of the Night of BE-NESS. In the Secret Doctrine, the immutable PRINCIPLE ~ unthinkable and unspeakable ~ that incessantly manifests and disappears numberless periodic universes. Know the fundamental identity with BE-NESS and Being of all whose human souls are on a pilgrimage obliged by Need to pass through every elemental form of the physical plane.
Know you this: All things have their origin in spirit.
Le An: I know what he says but I cannot hear him. Things outside of speech, when spoken of, the words are misunderstood. But when known, the mind comprehends itself in an eternity not of time. Radendr owns a pearl for which the wise willingly offer all they have. Because of this, the dragon cannot rend him for it finds no place to fix a claw, because there is in him no place of death.
But now the wolfen lives in me.
Snorri: When the gods had become as wrathful as might be expected, Loki leaped away and sheltered himself by a certain waterfall, where he built a house with four doors so that he might see out of the house to all quarters. But often during the day his brow was like unto a salmon and he sheltered himself there, which had the name of Flashing Falls [Farangursfoss]. He thought to himself what craft the vital-ones meant to find to take him out of the falls. He sat in the house and took a little yarn and knitted it into a mesh, such as nets have since been made. A fire burned in front of him, when he saw the vital-ones come in his direction, because from the Open Shelf Woden had seen where he was. He leapt forthwith into the river, but not before casting the net into the fire. When the vital-ones came to the house, the wisest of them, whose name was Quasher, went in first. He saw in the fire the pale ashes to which the net had burned, and he considered in his mind that this had been crafted to take fish, and he said so to the vital-ones. So next they made themselves a net like that they saw in the pale ashes that Loki had made.
When the net was made, the vital-ones went to the river and cast the net into the falls. Thor held one side of the net's throat, and all the vital-ones the other and then they dragged the net. But Loki stayed ahead of it and lay beneath two mill-stones. They dragged the net over him but knew there was something alive there, so they went once more to the falls to cast out the net, bound with such weights that nothing might slip under it. Loki stayed ahead of the net, but when he saw that soon he would be in the sea, he leaped up over the net-lines and ran up the falls.
Now the vital-ones saw where he went. Then they went up the cliff and divided their members in two groups. Thor waded into the middle of the river, and walked out towards the sea. Then Loki saw two choices: to leap out into the sea at life's peril, or to seek a way over the net. The last he did. He leapt with a twitch over the net- twines. Thor groped for him and got a hold of him, but he wiggled out of his hands, until he took a steady hand to the tail. It is for this sake that later the salmon's tail was tapered.
Now Loki was taken without pardon and they fared with him to a certain cave. They took three rocks, set them on edge and cudgeled holes in each of the rocks. Then they took Loki's sons, Vali and Narfi. The vital-ones braided Vali into a wolf's likeness, and he ripped asunder his brother Narfi. Then the vital-ones took his guts to bind Loki over the three cave-stones. One edge stood under the shoulders, another under the loins, a third under the knee-bones, and those bindings became iron.
Then Skadi took a poisonous worm and fastened it up over him, so that the poison must drop from the worm into his face. Sigyn, his woman, sat beside him there and held a wash-basin under the poison-drops. But when this hand-basin is full, then she's gone to slop out this poison. Meanwhile the poison drips into his face. Then his struggles are so hard and strained, all the earth shakes. There he lies in bonds all ages until the cursed judgement.
Author: No tale is so grim it cannot teach;
no life so cruel it cannot learn.
Le An: My conscious aim is to create art. In a mysterious, intuitive way, art relates to the soul directly. And it relates through the emotions which largely rule the senses by which we experience life. This art, when sanctified in myth, revealed in ritual, and buttressed by tradition, sets the psychic reality that is the most vital factor in life. It is my tale has spellbound Shoo.
From the slavering jaws of hel's monster I snatched Shoo. The cake still where the hound had sniffed, but not eaten. Hel's cake failed who never did give bread to the needy. Ah, but countered Shoo, that is not so. Once I gave all, and when I needed, no-one had. But truly have I fed the hungry and soothed the sick. But no! It must be him and him alone ~ and that I tell is true. Nothing just happens, and everything that does, happens not just to anyone but to who started it. Our every breath and thought have cosmic consequences.
It cannot be that I love Shoo but in the basest lust, and as the instrument of my shame I cannot forgive him. Forgiveness or revenge: I know one but not the other. In the spirit is expressed a reality of idealism, lawfulness, beauty, truth, goodness, that is also expressed in the world of appearance where the same principles govern ~ for they are one and the same. But I know one, not the other.
Author: What madness is it I have wrought? This frightening proposition that as the creator of my life, I make my universe, my world ~ with time and events of my own making; my own personal world (in which 'Shoo was a scrupulously honest man and an accomplished liar').
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