Thursday, August 27, 2015

Völva spoke of what has been and what will be

 Naglfar Rotting 

I remember Ole'Mâ telling us about her Ma's mother. Sis claims she can hardly picture some one that old. I hush her to say, "she is gone to Heaven now." Ole'Mâ wrinkles her nose at this notion. It's more for sis than my elder, for children like short explanations because they are easy to repeat. Ole'Mâ is the eldest in our village, no living man remembers her birth and the church scarcely ascribed trivial things in those days as the birth of a baby girl. Most never survived their first winter. Her words now are few and she tells Sis and I what she can recollect in hushed tones. Her words are crafted under the strenuous labor of breath and she naps sometimes between sentences. My younger sister sometimes looses the story as she rests, I've corrected her to not interrupt for fear of precious stories fading in her twilight. Our history is a lie. I know this because the words of truth fall from her lips like leaves in the autumn, and I know she will not survive this winter like her first. Sometimes in the night I hear her voice softly singing in strange words from her weathered elm limb chair lashed with hog leather straps. I have crept to the window to listen closely but I do not understand this strange tongue. When my mother died of the fever, Ole' Mâ sat by her bed side and would not relinquish her to the grave till her song was complete. My father died that night also, but his corpse still tends the fields, eats at our table and withers in our home. His anguish erupted after mother's burial sum three nights and the violence has left black roots in our souls.
Ole'Mâ tells me that she remembers when stones could speak if you knew how to listen. The wisest of the stones were adorned with wreaths of honey suckle, holly, and ancient symbols. This communion could wake the stones to reveal their secrets. Her Ole'Mâ could make the stones sing and the village would build great fires and dance around them till dawn. Sis and I sang to the stones in the abbey yard but no one danced and we were scorned away. Ole'Mâ wheezed a chuckle," The dead's stones are silent girls, nothing to offer to you, we don't already know."                     

Our older brother brings broth for our meals. The fields share little with us these days and winter is coming. When his clever snares lay empty he turns to other means of forbidden prey for our barren hearth. He teaches me the way of the yew. Her nimble reflex and patient strength. We made a bow together, it's taunt limbs snap the sinew tight leaving welts on my wrists. It stings but it makes me feel strong. When father found it, he broke the golden bow across his knee and beat my brother down with it. He did not beg for mercy, he just took the lash till he fell before our father.         

~Uliza of Fjord Manor~ 964AD

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