My Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time III
I am already there, stood between Patrick and Bjork-Mari, in Njardarheimr in Freyr-Anders’ Gudvangen Village of the Vikings. I am there in my heart. I am already there and in this dream.
My Gudvangen Dream Life III sees me already in the Viking-style life ahead of me in Gudvangen where I will be living (and blogging) as Skald to the Viking Chieftain in Njardarheimr Viking Town in Norway. Stay in place as followers to know what happens next; beware, nothing is made up, yet most of this is dream.
NB The fictitious names are taken from those I have known but the characters added to them are based on other people I know.
PS The innocent will be protected until the group decides upon going to war. (The time is now.)
PPS You can become part of this by sending me thoughts and ideas adrianspendlow @ gmail.com or by commenting below (as if you were there).
In the mist-morning when the thumps of white are so dramatic forming shapes balanced in the air; blink and the solid realness of it is, over there. It was here. It was this shape. It is, *blink*, up the mountain, down the path, here in the garden.
It is morning I think.
I still hear trees creak. Waterfalls thrum. Even shadows cast an echo.
And this is war. Today we shall go to war.
We wake for war.
The thick lamb broth of the yesterday is still warm we won through there.
Breakfast is thick and fast and hot. The breath steams.
We do not wish to have to tell you how to feel but a raven flies in.
Siw-Alfadis thinks they see a raven out to sea coming this way.
“It can’t be a raven,” says Olafr-Andreas, “that’s an omen”.
“And a myth,” rejoins Blathnaid-Brigid.
“Do not say Odin’s ravens are a myth,” gleams Siw-Alfadis, “for the two ravens watch us”.
“Not the two ravens,” recounters the Irish born maiden, “the three”.
“The three, the three, the holy three,” dances Janne-Annhja.
“We are before your holy ghost and the Draugen still climb from the sea in fear of Ran and her nine waves,” Bjork-Mari leans seriously forward fixing the eye.
“It is the nine,” intones Siw-Alfadis.
“The nine,” is the stern echo from Teresa-Linn.
“The nine,” we all confirm in solemn depth.
“The nine!” a thin voice cries, and a nine-pointed star shoots from the hand of Bjorn-Ole into a doll hung upon our sacred dressed tree.
We all laugh at the leap and throw, of the far-travelled adopted one who took a name and life in service, “Nine not three”.
“Two not three for that is the number of the ravens,” claims Blathnaid-Brigid, “The stories they tell us of the ravens”.
“I know of the three ravens for I am from the new lands where they still tell the old tales.” Johnson doesn’t rise for his scraping-sheet is upon his knee and the sharps hurt the feet of the one to follow there where they fall.
“Wise is the chap who cages three ravens. For such a karr will have their guidance. When one has sailed beyond the fjords and heads out south…”
“No, no, one should never leave the fjords”, proclaims Tor-Gunlodd, “Yes, I know Bjorn-Ole is from far away but that was over land; I know Blathnaid-Brigid is across the seas, but surely just in sight and not that far, for all she is a Celt.
“There are lands a year from here and many drown who seek to come from there and many more who seek to leave here,” insists Johnson.
“To be sure you are all wrong, wrong for there are words of marvellous lands far far beyond the lands of my home, beyond the green. Magical lands we can never enter at all at all at all”.
“Stop it now Patrick,” laughs Teresa-Linn.
“Enchanted isle beyond enchanted isle forever ever ever on.”
“You stop it too Blathnaid-Brigid,” scolds Freyr-Anders with a smile, “Well just for now sweet wild thing. Let us hear of the ravens of Jorvik”.
“Not of my lands at all,” says Johnson.
“Not at all at all at all at all,” chips in Patrick.
“Stop it I said,” laughs our Chieftain.
“Not of my lands, not of the lands of ice, or the further lands of ice which lie to us by saying they are green.”
“Send you poor farmers to Ireland and you rich sons to Jorvik we know we know we know,” says Patrick.
“No there are further lands.”
The circle hush.
“How dare one say such a thing,” queries Frode-T’or.
“There are the old tales,” whispers Tone-Irene.
“They sailed,” says Johnson, “or so it says, the word. Take three land birds of the feather dark with you and guard them well. After a few days let one go. It will wing back to where you came from and you know you will still have far to go.
Let out the second later and there is still no land, it circles. You know you have come so far. It settles on the mast. There is no land for it to fly to. A few days of hopeful sailing later you let go the third. Oh how we rejoice, it flies forward. It smells the land, a new land and new place, a new found land”.
“This is where I say the tales are wrong, you don’t need three,” stands Blathnaid-Brigid, “The one on the mast would smell the land ahead and fly forward. All you had to do was feed it now and then, to keep up its energy, and it would fly. You don’t need the third”.
“So it is with all stories,” wonders Leif-Lasse.
A raven lands at their feet.
Siw-Alfadis looks down with a slight tremor of the face, “Methinks this was the blink of dark of shadowed sky I spied a while back flying in, it traversed the walls of high stone over fjord waters and I say it came from sea; it is an omen.” She turns to look at us.
“A warning,” agrees a serious-faced Bjork-Mari.
“The enemy are coming,” resolutely Frode-T’or states.
“See how it pecks of the remains of another bird which died, the entrails of a smaller thing are no longer on the wing yet take shape,” says fixated Siw-Alfadis.
“Ooooooh, oooooh,” shamanic-like Linnea-Ingeborg foresees, “Raven is a warning as it flicks at guts of littler dead thing. It says they, the unknown, sail this way”.
“The enemy,” repeats Bork-Mari.
“Yes, yes, yes – Prepare for war!” cries Lars-Eirik.
“Visitors come, stands Freyr-Anders, “it is true, but from within the lands they come to see. To see how we live and eat and fayre.”
“Then let us go about our lives,” says Brinhild as she starts to walk.
The sweat lodge beckons.
“I have kept great stones hot,” quiet Kjell-Toffe guides.
Clothes are falling as we walk behind him.
Behind the blacksmith’s near lowered bathing bank an entrance beckons. Before this leathered structure a fire; it burns long and slow and all since yesterday. Broad, lasting, logs, so slow are cossetting the dampened stones. Huge stones. They are dry now, hot, extremely hot; long strong poles await.
We do not follow commands from Krell-Toffe, in words; in strong actions, he leads, we follow. An arm jerks here, and stern look there, we follow. Grasping those poles and as with his poised strength we bolster, lean and slowly keen the stone from burn. They roll at last the stones. Bigger than a sheep, heavier that our heaviest man. Kjell-Toffe heaves now and we follow lead. The stones lead on and roll into the delve, they roll right within the lodge.
We dug here, set stakes around the shape of egg and laid damp wood shapes around the curve. The bending of the stakes a roof formed to leather clad. A carving of the centre forms a station for the in-rolling stones. They roll there now.
We are naked and we form a shape of egg around as we sit. The stakes above are clothed. The tent hut of skins surrounds and darkens. A leather kettle is dipped into and a churn of water dampens stones. The effect is immense. We are bathed. We are boiled. We are cleaned. We are naked. We are babes. We are calmed and quietened.
Gradually we share out quiet thoughts.
“So when the war comes, who will wield what? Wonders Frode-T’or.
By we leave we are battle ready.
The visitor they did come.
They sit upon banks and await amusement.
“Welcome but stay safe,” in our language and their own calls the statuesque Tone-Irene.
“Yes stay back and stay safe,” repeats Bjorn-Ole in our words and then in his mother tongue, “for one of you could be my mother”
Youths and maidens refresh them.
Our great chieftain Freyr-Anders seeks to quieten them. They see. They see into his beautiful dark eyes, he raises an arm. Then. Upon his hand lands. A raven.
From the sea another one. We turn to run.
We turn to run for arms.
For look, see sails.
They are close. The harbour they can have. Too late to set the fire lines. The harbour they can have. Their ships can land.
Those who ran far and fast now return with arms.
We stand between the boat houses, between the high fences.
Bjorn-Ole the far-child trade-swap from a land of silk he says he is not of the size to wield a shield or long long spear; as they near he lifts his chosen weapon from his ancestry, a slender spear-shaft he has crafted to a slim long curve-sided blade. “Stand in your lines, with this I raise.”
“I too have slashing blade,” our chieftain proclaims, and it is raised. “From a king of long gone.
This is my king blade, but I will take a shield.” A shield so large it rests upon the floor, he reaches over, wielding slashing blade and hopes for war.
Upon his head the helm of boar.
A wildness over comes us.
“Take up your stand of arms and form a line,” he commands.
Johnson of the madness still has no clothes. He takes a shield and axe and says his head is dead and he will surely soon be, “Let it be a glory morning”. His skin is blue.
Nils-Harold wears fur, I need no shield but I will bare upon command. “With this blue board and this sharp steal I stand here. Rooooar!”
Brinhild will not stand with shield. “And I too frail,” states Ingerlill-Nairaa, “so we will stand at spear”.
“I stand nearer,” cries the tall strong blond Tone-Irene and takes a shield and large axe.
Thirteen stand at front; fifteen behind.
Axe and flat of sword are banged at shield, “Ooooodin”. Feet are stamped in surety, “Ooooodin”.
“Come on invaders.”
“Come on in, if you can.”
Bang bang – Bang bang.
They land, unboard, do not take a charging course.
They disembark some more.
“They, have horses,” spies Inga-Idunn.
Mounting now they ride this way.
Behind us children cry.
Smokes fly wisping hints of home at us.
We are firm and fierce and yet afeared.
“We die today!”
Tone-Irene, Lars-Eirik, Kjell-Toffe, Siw-Alfadis, Olafr-Andreas, Patrick, Lief-Lasse and Nils-Harold form to either side of the chieftain; his wall of blonde strength. Fire and raven-haired fill the ends.
Behind them fourteen take up long spear, they raise, they place a foot upon the base and lower slowly to shield bearer’s free shoulder.
Man and horse is each like a single monstrous beast, long shining claw of steel once waved is set back in sheath. As they ride a bow is lifted from side. They charge up close.
The long spears run in until each wielder is right behind their shield-bearer.
The horsemen stop just short of spear heads; their arrows fly.
Beaded jewellery shatters as Inga-Idun drops stiffly backward, Kjell-Toffe screams as chain links of shoulder shred and redden, and in the centre, the dead centre, an armour piecing arrow splits the largest shield and chieftain cries; pinned to shield and propped there while a pool forms round his boots.
His shield wall freezes in dread and are falsely cheered, are fooled enough to rally, by, the dying words of Freyr-Anders, “We stand and fight”.
The enemy reach for a second arrow. A stone is hurled, the central rider is now faceless under helm.
As Bjorn-Ole switches back to his curved blade-stick rest of riders turn and flee.
Only to re-group, draw hand weapons and charge.
Long spears laying flat to the ground, as the horses near are suddenly raised.
They stop in time, all but one. Tove-Maria hits home., the rider dies, the horse twists. Tove-Marie sets both feet but she is dragged, gripping every slip. She is through her fellow fighter’s wall and in the middle of the field.
At last she lets go as a dozen arrows fill her young frame.
They turn and ride upon us once again. As spears raise you can see they pull back; a false charge: except for two they increase in speed – an axe in one hand a smaller axe in the other. The long spears stop their beasts the riders release. Dead horses stop in their tracks, riders fly on. Through the air they go, swinging down with their axes, hitting shield tops as they arc down. Two shields, one on each side of the chieftain, are pulled forward and two of us are now bereft of shield. These two of us are crushed by flying warrior; Siw-Alfadis and Lars-Eirik are broken.
As one axe -man swings into the thigh of Janne-Annhja, Bjorn-Ole pierces him with his slashing stick. Janne-Annhja, close to death, snatches the curved sword of her up-propped chieftain. Freyr-Anders, (thus realising he is dead and held in place by arrow through shield), and in the moment of her own dying kills the second axe-man; she has time for last words, “Our chieftain…..”
Two figures dash screaming through the shield wall, one naked-blue one draped in furs, out into the field; Nils-Harold and The Johnson pull down three from horse back to kill them before being stripped of life themselves.
Jan-Robert and Brinhild take up fallen shields; the wall still full. They may not hold for long the full charge is racing in. Our six remaining spears are raised, and hit! Each has boot against the base and their long spears as levers lift the enemy to the sky.
A heavy screech of noise and impossible flight of thrashing limbs hovers momentarily, for the soon to die below – it darkens.
The many are dead, it is like a new dawn for the stunned laid around, then one horse pitifully tries to rise.
All remaining horses run, in search of goat path, a few take riders with them.
Two are sliced into by high leap from silk-road child Bjorn-Ole before another makes him into two.
Patrick lifts his defence rune shield, “A last stance.”
Linnea-Ingaborg runs, “Come run.” Ingerlill-Nairaa follows her.
When Bjork-Mari sees they run to the fire she understands and follows too.
Not the youngest of our fighters survive, but the biggest, strongest, most experienced do; Kjell-Toffe, Olafr-Andreas and Loke-Daan run to Patrick’s call and in a circle facing outwards with two weapons each foresee one last fight.
Bjork-Mari follows the lead of the other women by taking up a firebrand; she runs after Linnea-Ingaborg to stand on harbour, torches high.
The last mob of axe men angered, mad, encircle our small group and weapons clash.
Three torches high, “Leave us with no further fight or see ships burn”.
“Fight on, fight on!”
Ingerlill-Nairaa leads the women now, “Then let this burn”. Torches tip into the nearest ship as warrior smites at warrior.
The ship bursts faster, higher, than expected igniting our unused defence; the fire-lines. The harbour burns.
Three women aflame are falling, screaming, drowning, gone.
The flames race on, backwards to the way of their plan. Right back to boat houses bursting everything in flames. The boat house each, the warring parties each in one mad burn.
All are dead, the city falls. Nothing is left. Amid the blackened field the figure of the dead chieftain grimly stands.
All are dead, the end. Dream-time recollections end.
And in the sweat-lodge I, Add-ri-An, awakens. Gentle noises all around. I run out of the hot dark to look upon the field of death.
Within this dream the tourists on the bank stare on, awaiting spectacle. The boathouses and the harbour pristine stand.
Snoring from behind me makes me realise my comrades slumber on, and it is all a dream – a dream within a dream.
A raven lands.
The chieftain joins me and raises arm, a second raven lands upon his hand.
“An omen,” Siw-Alfadis joins them.
“The enemy,” calls Bjork-Mari.
There in sight on fjord water sail in ships; the ships of war are coming here.
The wild blonde shield wall forms, the sides are filled. The long spears lay upon their shoulders.
From the ships come foreign axe men, they lead off horses. They mount and form a massing line.
Our chieftain steps forward to the centre of our shield wall to address one and all, perhaps for one last time, “I, Freyr-Anders, chieftain of Gudvangen,” he raises his sharp curved sword, “I bid you,” we all can see the shine in those darkly commanding eyes, “Welcome! Welcome, welcome, welcome.”
How the horse men laugh and ride about us grasping raised arm after raised arm as they slowly pass. Kjell-Toffe and Inga-Idun are each clasped by arm by riders, who firmly grip and swing. Then suddenly their two lead figures have a standing friend upon the horse with them. Kjell-Toffe and Inga-Idun arms in air stand as their mounts encircle, echoing words of our great chieftain, “Welcome, welcome.”
(and here is the Ghost walks of York series)