Death is such a complicated truth to apprehend. One's own death, even more. But for a Völva, it was both so simple and yet so difficult.
Aslaug did not sleep that night. That fated day had finally come; the day of her end. And it was Lagertha who would end her. Of all people on Midgard, she would have never expected the mighty Lagertha, the kind Lagertha, the loving Lagertha, to be the one who would kill her.
On her bed she closed her eyes, trying to see again what the future brought for her sons and Kattegat, that town she had grown to love.
But she saw nothing past the vision of her death. Her thread was cut; with it, her Sight. So many visions, some told, some untold, came to her over the course of her life and now, all she could see was an inevitable void. Now, her dreams were free of those senseless pictures she usually saw. Now, she saw nothing.
Her eyes were clouded. She could see nothing.
She hesitated to weep or laugh. She hesitated to sink into despair and acceptance or fight like her mother and father did.
But she wasn't them. She was herself; a truth she had learnt long ago to accept.
Of all people on Midgard, it had to be an ageless woman, so much like her mother who would end her life. A seeress born from a Valkyrie and killed by another; so the gods did have a sense of humor.
Aslaug closed her eyes again. Lagertha. How she envied her! Lagertha the fierce and Lagertha the kind. Lagertha who was so beautiful all men wanted her; so fierce she killed two husbands, divorced another and still became Jarl, beloved and worshipped. A woman who took her destiny in her own hands. A woman she suffered the comparison with for a long time. Who wouldn't be jealous? Who wouldn't want to look like her?
Aslaug envied her. If she had been as strong and respected as Lagertha, she could have taken her destiny in her own hands. And if she did not have the Sight, she could have refused her fate.
But she saw. And it was long ago she knew her visions came true. It was long ago she accepted to embrace the inevitable.
Aslaug envied her.
Aslaug loved her. She admired her strength and respected her bravery. There had been a time they were friends. There had been a time they were close, seeing past Ragnar and his affect on their lives to focus on what they had in common; sons and bravery.
Aslaug smiled. Good times.
Times she was joyful and more naïve. Times she was kind and compassionate. Lost times; lost with Ragnar's neglect and abuse, lost with the people of Kattegat's disdain towards her. She had tried to make herself loved by them; respected even. She had succeeded for a brief amount of time, but no matter what she did, she would never be as great as Lagertha or her mother.
So screw them. She had tried and she had failed. She was tired of trying. She was tired of wasting her time to become a woman she could never be. It was time for her to take. It was time for her to rebel and fight for what she loved; for Kattegat. And for her sons; their rights on the throne.
Her sons. Aslaug smiled. The only good thing that came out of her marriage with Ragnar. She saw her proud Ubbe, so much like his father it was painful for her to look at him sometimes without thinking of Ragnar's slaps, Hvitserk, her adorable babe, always eating and quiet, Sigurd, to whom she gave all her love and expectations through his name, with his hair blessed by Sif and his gentle and compassionate nature; so much like her when she was young. How much time until her neglect awakes his demons and he becomes like what she had become with the years? How much time until he loses what makes him her son? And Ivar, her beloved Ivar; the child she saved. The final proof of her lost compassion and her bravery. Ivar, her best accomplishment, her pride.
Her sons, born from a love she had felt for Ragnar at the beginning of their marriage. A lost love, wasted. Now it felt she could never love again for she had used all her heart for Ragnar and Lagertha. In vain.
Now, her memories went to Harbard, that snake she had invited and who caused Rollo's grief and her best friend, Siggy, the wisest woman she ever knew's death. Harbard she now hated to the point she wanted to banish his name from the mouth of men.
Siggy. Would she be where she will go? Would Siggy weave with her? Where was she? Aslaug missed her. A part of her died with her death. And it was her sons'... no. it was Harbard's fault. He killed her.
Aslaug missed her. She missed those evenings in the great hall with Helga and her, taking care of their children, and talking by the hearth while snow fell outside. Those nights had always been warm and filled with joy and love. Aslaug will always cherish those nights. She will always cherish those time she played with Angrboda, her heart aching with the idea of having a daughter to teach everything she knew as well as the Sight. She had wished to have a daughter.
But she had sons. Fated sons and promised sons.
And one of them most certainly died with his father. Aslaug swallowed a hint of hatred and rage. Ragnar took her innocence, her compassion and her joy away from her. He stripped her of what made her a happy woman. And now, he stripped her from her pride and proof of bravery. Now, she was nothing; only foam on water, vanishing in time and from memory.
Aslaug wept. A single tear, scorching her skin, burning and painful.
So many regrets filled her heart; so many memories, so many faces she had forgotten with years. Aslaug gave a weak laugh. How odd that she saw the past when she had been so used to see the future.
She thought of Thorunn also; the woman she freed to please Bjorn and give love a chance. The woman she wanted free because she reminded her of herself when she was younger. The woman she would have wished to turn like her but had chosen Lagertha, like everyone in Aslaug's life. Thorunn who left, scarred, her strength gone. Thorunn, the beautiful and fierce Thorunn.
Aslaug closed her eyes again. Another failure. Another reminder that she was nothing and had no power in spite of her line and Jotunn heritage. There will be nothing of her left in this world. Ivar was gone, Ubbe and Hvitserk were too much like their father and Sigurd hated her.
What could one do except embrace the void?
She will die tomorrow. There was no future to see; only the past.
But did it mean she had to stay put as people will die? No. she protected her sons all her life. She helped Kattegat grow. She built it out of love and pride for this town that never cared about her. She cared. Her heart was still beating. A last impulse of bravery; a last hint of love in her heart, that was all she needed. She must protect her people and her legacy. She will accept death, but not others'. She will protect them. Blood mustn't be shed. Lagertha will understand this.
And suddenly, she was Aslaug the young again. Warmth and love filled her heart again. Compassion came to revive her.
Tomorrow, she will die. But she will fight as she had always done. She will show her wits, the last thing she did not lose. Tomorrow she will fight her own way. She will not submit to a game she was not a player of. War was for warriors, not Völvas.
"Mother and father. I am your daughter. I shall be brave and you will be proud of me." she whispered.
Tomorrow, she will die. Fate could not be unwoven.
And a week after this release on Ao3, I decided to post this fic on because of reasons? I hope you like it. Feedback are greatly appreciated.