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This is a continuation of the story. Please read the previous chapters or this won’t make much sense.
I woke with a start. Runa, my sister, was looking outside the window of the plane. She turned to me and put her hand on my arm. “Astrid, are you OK?” The concern was plainly written on her face.
“I…sorry I’ve just been having very vivid dreams of late.” I stammered.
She gripped my arm and looked deep into my eyes. “You too?” she asked. “Here, I thought I was going crazy.”
Now, I was intrigued. “I have had…spirits—for lack of better terms—coming to me. The first was Grandfather, the second was some woman I only knew as ‘Mother’, but it wasn’t our mom. They talk in riddles and show me impossible things.” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “What are yours about?”
Runa averted her eyes and replied timidly. “Sister, don’t think me crazy. My sleep is haunted by books and candles and symbols… people in hooded robes chanting nonsense. It reminds me of things I saw you looking at in those old books from the village, but it was so detailed.” She looked at me again and continued. “I never bothered with that stuff, there’s no way I would remember those things. It’s like some kind of ceremony or something. I see Hagen and you—” She stopped abruptly, and it was obvious that something bothered her greatly about this.
“Runa,” I said, trying to be strong for her. “Were we being hurt?”
Her eyes went wide, “Oh no! Nothing like that. Quite the opposite, it seemed.” She looked down again and her face blushed as read as her own hair.
I think I knew. “Runa did we…make love?” It was as hard for me to suggest it as it was for her to hear it. We both blushed uncomfortably, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer. She simply nodded her head in affirmation.
“Runa, I think this might be related.” Her head perked up to listen. “There’s something we don’t know about this village, some hidden mystery that I think we’ll have to unravel. It’s something to do with the Gods, but then again…actually I don’t know what it is.” It seemed clear at first, but then the thought just fell apart. Now I sounded like the one spouting nonsense.
“The Gods! Yes!” she whispered excitedly. “I mean, yes but…also no. Not them, something else, something new. There is a common theme in our dreams: this mother/daughter thing. The Mother is the Goddess Lys, daughter of Sol. She kept calling me, you, and some others ‘daughter’. I got the impression that she was the only one around anymore, and so she has taken on the role of Matron. I’m not a bookworm like you, so it’s all confusing to me.”
This was a powerful revelation, and created more questions than answers. “Wow, Runa that’s—you’re right. Somehow I felt it, too. But don’t worry about it now. I think she has good intentions for us. You might see some scary things, but I believe she will protect us.” I left out the really scary parts for her sake and mine; I wanted to research it some more to confirm the implications. If I was correct, this would shake the world.
The pilot interrupted all of us to inform of our pending arrival. Out of the window, I could see the sprawling metropolis of Oslo, backed by vast green hills in the distance.
Landing and de-planing went pretty smoothly, but it was quite the ordeal getting through customs and immigration. They selected us at random for further inspection. I had a bad feeling about this. They took us into a small security room and had us three children wait while a male and female officer took Mom into another room for questioning together. It seemed like they were in there for quite a long time. I took this opportunity to chat with Hagen, since we hadn’t had much chance to talk about all the recent developments…
“Brother,” I said as I sat in the chair next to him Runa was on the other side. “I’ve been having some…dreams. They’re disturbing, but not in a scary way.” I paused, trying to think how to start all of this.
“I know, Sister,” he said as he put his hand on my leg. “I’ve been having them, too. I—”
“You, too?” Runa broke in.
Hagen looked at each of us, looking a bit surprised. “I—I don’t really know how to explain this. You’re going to think I’m nuts. She visited you both didn’t she?”
Runa and I stared at each other in disbelief, jaws wide open, and nodded slowly. “Astrid let me ask you,” he said as he looked right at me and grabbed my hands. “You are the key to all of this aren’t you?”
I was quite shocked by the question. I certainly didn’t feel important enough to be “key” to anything. I started to shake my head no and protest, but he stopped me.
“No, it must be true. I can’t explain how I know, but you are; you’ve been chosen by her for something, and Runa and I are both to support you.” I cocked my head and looked quizzically at him. “I saw…it doesn’t make any sense how it was even possible, but this is what I saw: She was on a platform before a group of people. bursa eskort She reached her hands out and started speaking, and her body became a mist. The mist that came out of her mouth formed into the shape of a woman—you. The mist that came out of her hands formed me and Runa.”
I closed my eyes and said, “I see now. We are parts of a whole.” I opened my eyes and looked around, noticing the cameras. “We need to discuss this later; now’s not the time.”
They nodded in agreement and we leaned back into our chairs. The silence was deafening.
The security door opened and Mom came out. Her hair was ruffled, her face was flush, and her clothes look like they were put back on in haste. She cleared her throat and said “Ok, we’re good now, kids. Get your stuff together.”
As we got ready, I smelled something different around Mom. It was vaguely familiar, but I just couldn’t place it. The male officer led us out, led us past all of the security gates straight to the airport’s unsecure lobby area. As we parted he waved and said, “Light be with you.”
* * * * *
Mom had apparently arranged transportation ahead of time and we headed out to the village. It looked like an older delivery van with oversize tires, but inside was fairly modern-looking with comfortable seats. After settling in, my mind got back to thinking about recent events. My focus was split between questions about what really happened with Mom in airport security and my previous conversation about the dreams with Hagen and Runa.
“Mom,” I whispered to her. “Are you OK? It’s not my place to ask, but it seems like something happened back there. Did the security guard… did he…”
She smiled at me and put her hand on my mine. Then she whispered back, “Yes, they were both very accomodating.”
My eyes widened. “B—both?”
She nodded silently and leaned into continue whispering. “You’re old enough now to know how the world works. But this was a bit of a…special case. They were both very good! Helga, especially, was quite skilled with her tongue.”
My face was flush with both shock and excitement. “Her…tongue? You guys…” She nodded and raised her eyebrows mischeviously. “But what about Dad?” My mind was more in shock about her casual attitude rather than the realization that such quid-pro-quo still existed in the world.
“Oh, I know, baby.” She said soothingly. “It’s a real shame he had to miss out. But don’t worry, there’ll still be time to have fun before—” She paused to think. “—before the ceremony.”
I couldn’t believe what I just heard. My mom just had sex with another man AND another woman, but acted like it was all no big deal. I know our belief system isn’t quite as conservative as some others, but you still grow up with some of the same societal norms and expectations.
My mom handed me a book. “Read this; it will make all of this easier.”
Truthfully, I was grateful for the distraction. This was a very old hand-written book containing various stories of Norse mythology. Toward the back there were some pages with hand-written text that looked like ritual incantations, complete with creepy symbols and drawings. The last page had a picture of a naked woman straddling a man on a stone table. The artwork was very detailed, even showing the man’s penis inserted into her vagina. But she was holding a knife in the air as if she was getting read to stab him! I know that the Old Ways had some pretty extreme beliefs, but I sure hoped we have all evolved past human sacrifice…
* * * * *
“Astrid, we’re here!” my Mom said as she shook my arm. I had been engrossed in the book, oblivious to the world around me. I had just finished the last story and was just starting to peruse the ritual texts. I looked up to see we were deep in a forested area at the base of a hill
The village looked like something you’d see in a movie set in ancient times, with Dragons, Elves, Dwarves and magic. Obviously there were no such fantastical creatures here, though; but that’s just what came to my mind about it. After I got out of the bus I looked more closely. The houses appeared to be made of stone and wood.
An older woman rushed over to greet my mother, and they hugged for quite awhile—very tightly, I might add. It seemed as if they were whispering to each other. Then they broke apart and Mom pointed at me. Some young men came by and took all our bags, carrying them up the path. I was going to ask about it, but then the older woman appeared in front of me and asked, “So this is the one?”
“Yes, Keeper.” My mother said. It sounded so formal and reverent; I guessed this lady was very important in the village, and this was either her name or a title of some kind.
I curtsied, and started “Hello, ma’am, I’m—”
The woman interrupted me, harshly “No need for all that cutesy crap, dear!” I looked up, not knowing what to do or say. She squinted her eyes at me and whispered softly to me. “I know who bursa escort bayan you are. You may not yet know, yourself, but you will very soon.” With that, she pulled me very close to her in what felt like should be a lover’s embrace. Her hand roamed up and down my back, and down to squeeze my butt gently. Her leg had jammed into my crotch, and hers was pressed against my leg.
She snapped on the back of my bra strap a little bit, pushed back at me with her shoulders and started looking me over from top to bottom. She reached out to cup my breasts, to which I jumped a bit in surprise; I felt like livestock being inspected before purchase. “What’s with this restrictive attire? We’ll have to find something more suitable for you. A woman of your station needs—”
My mom interjected quickly, “Keeper, forgive me. We didn’t have time to go over any details, and I figured you would want to guide the process more…personally.” She said the last part with a mischevous smile.
The woman let out a boistrous laughter, “Ha ha ha! How I’ve missed your wit, dear!” The Keeper looked at me and straightened out my clothes a bit as she spoke, “I may be old, but I can still perform my duties.”
The two young men who had taken our bags were back and standing there, watching the exchange. I felt their eyes leering at me and it made me somewhat uncomfortable; I crossed my arms. The Keeper whistled sharply and they came over. She motioned behind her, and they beckoned for us all to follow, “Come kinsmen, we will show you to the guest house.”
As we followed them up the way to a small building, I noticed how everyone’s clothing was much different. The young men wore shirts and pants made out of a fairly coarse material, with handmade leather shoes; the women wore what looked like cotton robes. Everyone used simple ropes and leather straps for belts and other fasteners. Once we got there, the oldest said, “We’ve set out some food for you, since you’re probably hungry from the trip. Dinner will be at 5 in the Great Hall. Guests aren’t required to participate in chores, but you’ll have to take care of this room by yourself for now.” I noticed he had a watch on as well, which looked out of place considering the other attire.
“Thank you” my mother said, as they scurried along up the path.
The room was odd, to say the least. It was a fairly small, long room and had a single large bed on the long wall, probably about 12 feet wide. On the other wall was a glass-framed shower in the center, with a wooden table and chairs on one side and some wooden shelves on the other. The toilet looked like modern plumbing, but it was inside the glass shower.
“Saves space.” Mom said.
“Huh?” I replied, then realizing I had been staring at the shower.
“Everything here is designed for simplicity and efficiency.” Mom continued. “The toilet inside the shower allows it to double as a bench, and it centralizes the plumbing. A large bed is used instead of multiple smaller beds to conserve space and materials.”
“It makes sense, but surely there’s more to the story,” I prodded.
“Yes,” she replied, sitting down on the bed. “Aside from our cultural heritage where people lived frugally, this place was rebuilt after the war. Everyone had to pool their belongings, and things were scarce. So it just came as a natural result of needing to conserve resources.”
I sat on the bed next to her. “Can you tell us any more about this place?” I was hesitant to ask, but curiosity was just getting the better of me. “Over the past few days, I got the sense that there was more to the stories than you, Dad, and Grandfather would tell us. We’re here, now, and we’re not little kids anymore. I feel like we’re going to be caught offguard by something, and it makes me nervous.”
A thoughtful, almost sad look came onto her face. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, letting it exhale slowly. “Yes, She says you’re ready. Your father and I haven’t been forthcoming about many details because we needed to shield you from the truth; it was necessary to ensure you weren’t tainted with false promises, and the baggage of the past. We needed you to grow up normally in a loving family without a bunch of complications. You needed to discover your destiny on your own.” She paused, closed her eyes, cocked her head to the side, and nodded. “—and it seems that all three of you have already been introduced to Her.”
“Who is she?” blurted out Runa. I couldn’t blame her for being impatient.
Hagen chimed in next, “Yes, please, let’s have it out. I don’t like surprises, and I don’t think any of us have the big picture.”
Mom turned to him and replied, “Well, you’re not supposed to. The hands do as the mind directs, and the voice only echos the words of thought. The feet give agency to the will, and the heart provides life to all.”
It was starting to click for me. “Yes!” I exclaimed. “I’m the voice, görükle escort Runa and Hagen are hands. Who are the feet and heart?”
“Your father is the feet,” she explained. “His income provided the means for you to live and grow. I am the heart; I provided what you needed to grow: milk and a nurturing love. I also provided strength to your father when he needed it the most through the passion of our lovemaking and the stability of home.”
It all made sense to me now, except the last part. I guess Runa had the same thought; she asked, “Mom, what do you mean by the ‘stability of home’?”
She turned to reply, “Runa, think about it. Women wouldn’t put up with a husband who is always off on some business trip to exotic places while they stay at home and slave over the stove alone. Aside from the build-up of sexual energy that both men and women need to release, husbands and wives need love and emotional stability from each other.”
Now Hagen chimed in with the questions, “Was Dad cheating on you out on business trips? How did you cope with all of this?” We all got up on the bed a bit more and sat cross-legged so that we could all face each other. The large bed was really useful for this sort of thing!
“Of course he did!” Mom exclaimed a little too excitedly. “And when he came home, he’d tell me all about it in great detail as we made love.” There was a collective gasp from all three of us. “There’s no easy way to explain this other than to tell you straight up. The man you know as ‘Dad’ is not your biological father. It is, in fact, Jarl Eric.”
Mind. Blown. All of us were too shocked to speak, and listened intensly as she recounted the story.
* * * * *
During the winter, after many had died, Eric and the 5 remaining women called upon the Old Gods for days with no response. On the third night, a woman who was traveling alone came to the barn for shelter. She was at death’s door already from cold and starvation, telling how her family had all been killed by the war. Their stockpiles were almost completely depleted by this point. Though they had so little, they gave her food, water, clothing, and let her warm by the fire. As her strength recovered, she recounted stories both old and new about the Old Gods. As day broke, she finally claimed that Ragnarok had come, the Gods were dead, and although Odin’s army was victorious, Valhalla was no more. They thought her mad and everyone heckled her except Eric.
He shouted “SILENCE!”, and the earth shook around them (as the story goes, anyway). He turned to the woman, intent on hearing her out.
The woman stood, and the fire’s dim embers reignited in a whitish-yellow flame that was many times brighter than any natural fire could be. She proclaimed, “Eric the Wise. May your rule be eternal in this place. You have wisdom beyond your years, and strength beyond your body. I am Lys, the secret daughter of Odin and Sol; you have hidden me from Ragnarok and brought light to dark places. You shall be my Champion of Light, and I will forever be with you. Of your offspring a Champion will always be chosen; he will fight against injustice, and guard the defenseless.” With that, she unfastened her robe and let it fall to the floor. Her body was beautiful, without flaw, and shone like the sun.
At this sight, the other women threw themselves down and begged for mercy. She turned to them and said, “You have strayed from the light, but I will have mercy. In pennance, you and your female children shall be forever be slave to Eric and his sons. But hearken to hope! You shall be called the Daughters of Sol, and your children will spread my light throughout the world. They will bring peace in times of war, food in times of famine, and love in times of evil.” Just then, she disappeared. They rejoiced and wept at the same time, praising the Goddess Lys and the wisdom of Eric.
They led Eric into a secluded room, away from the children, and each offered themselves to him in body and soul to seal the pact which they made with Lys. In the weeks that followed, they each made love to him daily. And as long as they did so the fire burned brightly without fuel and the food stores did not run out. They survived like this until winter broke, and they were able to start rebuilding.
Eric was named Jarl of the village and the women formed the governing advisory council to oversee the needs of the village. A few families who had left tried to return to reclaim their previous life. But Eric and the others were bitter about the loss of their loved ones, and deeply resented the few that came back. By that point in the spring, most of the houses had been stripped and the village reconstruction had altered the village irreparably. Most families that came back saw the fate that had befell everyone, and mutual agreement was reached that it was best for them to leave and never return. But one family had different ideas.
A man and his wife refused to leave. They had a single son, and were determined to have him remain in the village to carry on their traditions. Lys visited Eric and the council members in a dream to warn that the family’s presence would taint the fragile Light of the village and bring darkness; and so she decreed that the family must die.
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