A/N: Yet another place my musi are dragging me by the short hairs. And with the permission of my good buddy DK I hope to exercise this particular demon. Disclaimer: I don't own any of this stuff and made no money from it. -Rei
Location: Holmström & Associates Offices New York, New York; year 2100
An albino woman dressed smartly in a dark suite that nearly covered every inch of her body stared at the seven people assembled before her. Each of the people seated at the board table in front of her represented roughly eight hundred years of history. Years defined by war, bloodshed, bigotry, rediscovery of self, selective breeding, and finally evolution. All this while she guarded them from the shadows, taking care to never interfere, less her charges be punished for her mistakes.
But the time for silence had passed and Edda Norns would speak for her as a modern, mortal woman. Though the truth of power was not lost on the group she was addressing, they have still yet to learn the full story. And those who had even the slightest inkling were long buried, burnt, or left to rot. "Ladies and gentlemen of Holmströmand associates, all descendents of the original Glemete, believe me when I say this from the bottom of my heart." Her English was clipped and precise with the awkwardness of a language not her own.
Though some of the words in English were borrowed from her native language, and some of it had the same structuring, she found it no easier to be without the particularities of her own lost culture. It was only now looking at the latest generations of a bitter and blindly furious progeny that the former priestess began to realize that all that was hers was gone. Like her fallen lover she had clung too tightly to a world dying around her. But unlike the man she once loved, Edda lived to see it razed to the ground with only the dregs left behind to haunt the shadows.
Looking directly into the eyes of her direct descendant by her first lover, Erik Holmström, Edda was painfully reminded once more of a simpler time, a time when she was a mother. The child before her now was of his ancestor's likeness in almost every way. Dark blond hair, even darker blue eyes, tall and yet somehow still managing to be brawny in the shoulders and pectoral area. And he took after the fallen mortal in more than his looks; he had his passion as well. Edda took a deep breath calming nerves she never remembered having. "You are all, fucking morons!"
Council of Asatru: Location unknown, 13th century A.D. year unknown
Twenty four high seats of solid oak stood in silent prominence around a sunken dirt floor. An altar at the center of the circle was made of solid stone and carved with protective runes on its reflective surface. Thick water sealant treated calf hide guarded the otherwise fragile thrones from the moisture latent air. They were well maintained and with good cause. They belonged to the councils of Odin and Frigga, as a symbol of their authority here in Midgard. These seats of power were only to be occupied at the gravest of times, when not even the sacrifice of life, either willing or unwilling could be heard by the gods.
By which case there would be no other choice, twelve elder Volvas and twelve elder Druids would be called upon to sit in the mortal thrones of their gods, and risk their very souls to seek aid. "Hark, daughter of Verdande of the Norns. The son of Aun calls on you." The keeper who lived in this secret sacred cave glanced up from her silent musings. Orik, youngest son of the Swedish King had come. And with him, he brought those who would dare to call upon the Norse gods.
Each hooded individual would be the voice for the whole of their lands' many tribes. And while the 'rulers' of the isles of the north might not see the threat of the Roman Christians, those of the long learned did. Cruelty disguised as sophistication, constant war, and good intentions barbed in monstrous actions were nothing new to the Norse. But this resolve, the true belief that their destruction would bring about good, was terrifying. The wise ones and those taught by them had no answer to this new invasion, as lies, and death were spread in equal fanaticism across land and sea.
The fair prince of Sweden had not been raised in the hall of his father, and thus hadn't been corrupted by the Roman and their' new dead god. Aun, like most kings, was more concerned with the progeny that would succeed him, and thus the young prince was left to the care of the old ones. He saw the corruption where his father and brothers turned blinded and greedy eyes away from. The cave caretaker stood, and lowered her hood, unmindful of the raindrops quickly soaking her now exposed ashen mane.
And for the first time looked at the man that she had only heard about through the gossiping old woman from the village that usually came to give her food. Orik stood at eye level with her, which was surprising since she usually towered over even the tallest of her fellow Norwegian countrymen. The chainmail he wore over his thick wool shirt was minimal and well used, as was the battered looking boots on his feet and long spear in his hand.
The isolated woman did her best to ignore the rain soaked pants, and gold spun hair plastering the strong column of Orik's throat. Looking into the prince's eyes she was met with dark, nearly black indigo orbs peered out at her from under the protective covering of his helmet. It felt as if a stone had grew around her heart; it was fast becoming a battle to breathe. She silently prayed that he didn't notice the tremble in her hand as she drew an athame from her belt, a sacred dagger that has never spilt blood.
It was only long years of training that allowed her to ask the ritual question, "Hark callow prince, do you enter this sacred place of your own free will, in perfect love, and trust." Orik gazed back at her with keen eyes, he had noticed, and felt the answering pull in his gut. The nameless guardian was ethereally, gloriously, so beautifully pale. A fine featured, sharp boned creature that could easily pass a Skadi the winter queen herself. Leaning forward Orik kissed the blade without taking his eyes off of her, "I do."
Quickly stepping away, the maiden turned her attention to the druids and volvas that were charged under his care. Many were well passed what should have been their travel worthy years. And yet out of desperation bore strength, strength that would not see them through the return to their homes. She raised her athame above her head, "then enter; with this warning." Planting the knife in the ground at the prince's feet she moved back into the shelter of the only home she'd ever known. "It is better to rush upon this blade than to enter with fear in your hearts."
None of them hesitated; marching passed the knife and following her into the darkness of the cave fortress. But as Orik stared after the most forbidden woman in his culture, Erik a well respected druid of Sweden grasped his unoccupied arm, "she is not of our world Orik, nor any man's to call their own, avert your eyes, and cast your lust elsewhere." The hissed warning though not well received, was still heard and Orik did as he was told jerking his arm away from the frail grasp at the same time.
The other spiritual leaders paid the interaction no mind as they continued to follow their host, fascinated by the natural beauty that now surrounded them. The maiden didn't dare look back as she led her guest to the thrones of Æsir. And though it was almost pitch black, she needed no light to guide her steps as she entered the circular chamber housing her charge. Her visitors soon entered after her, the invoking chants sweet on their lips as she made to prepare this basin of power.
Orik kept well out of the way, knowing that while he could observe he could do nothing else. The pale woman immediately went to the altar at the center of the room, using a piece of calcium and emerald to set a thatch of sage in a bowl of a questionable substance. Quickly removing the fauna from the vessel she used it to light five candles. Burgundy for energy and rekindling, white for vision and protection, yellow for centering, purple for spirit, and black for authority; each necessary to call on the gods. Blowing out the sage she beckoned the druids and volvas forward.
"Come and be fasted." The eldest of them went first, a volva from Denmark. She lowered her soaked hood with shaking sun weathered hands. "Brigantia calls on Tyr lawgiver in this time of peril." Having invoked the gods name the elderly woman drank deep and quick droughts of the substance in the bowl. The guardian then smeared the still hot ashes of sage on her forehead and palms. Bowing as best as she could, the volva then sat in one of the thrones, the substance that she drank was already taking effect.
The process was quickly repeated with the other spiritual leaders, each invoking the presence of their patron deity to take part in this council. The Swedish prince watched as each of the forest priest took their place in the seats of power. Was both in awe and horrified as the druids and volvas very breathe was reduced to nothing more than a whisper, their bodies were now still and cold. And when finally the last of the twenty-four was enthroned, the pale mistress of the cavern stretched forth her hand to Orik, silently commanding him to join her at the altar.
The youngest son of Aun made sure to leave behind the majority the weapons on his person, only allowing himself the dagger on his belt. The dagger that was immediately taken upon entering the circle of thrones, the woman he was fast falling for despite warnings against it drew the sharp blade across her palm. Her blood easily spilt onto the floor, and once near pitch darkness became illuminated by a source-less light.
Or so he thought as Orik had to cover his eyes against the sudden brilliance. "THIS COUNCIL IS CALLED TO ORDER; SPEAK YOUR PEACE DESCENDANT OF FREYR." All the pride in the world couldn't make any other man stand at hearing the sound of the booming voice, but Orik didn't have a choice. The survival of the Norse way of life depended on him. Taking a deep breath and calling on all the bravado due to him as a prince, the young Norseman got to his feet and tilted his chin upward. The light was still too bright for him to dare look beyond the suddenly finely clad torso of the immortal now sitting before him.
"Odin, all-father we humbly come before you now these dire times to seek aid which threatens all of the Norse. A dead god and his servants encroach upon your territory even as we speak." "THINK YOU MORTAL, THAT WE ARE UNAWARE OF THE FALSE BELIEVERS?" At this the hapless prince couldn't help but turn his head to look upon the one whom spoke. And nearly get blinded as he got his first look at Freya, goddess of love and queen of the Valkyries. The frowe was as beautiful as the legends said, golden haired and eyes so blue they were all but opaque. Garbed in armor of pure gold, Freya and her fabled familiar stared down on him with cold calculation.
And then her words finally sunk in, Orik shook with sick rage. He cast his gaze away from them all, his every breath becoming more labored than the last. "And you do nothing?" Once again Orik's blue orbs were irrevocably drawn upward, only this time to the pale beauty that was the priestess of the cave. Somehow she seemed all the more lofty in her rage. But all that passion was no match for the gods. "SILENCE, YOU HAVE NO CONCEPT OF THE PATH OF LIFE CHILD, OUR TIME IS ENDING. THE DESTRUCTION OF YGGDRASIL IS NYE." The Norns spoke as one, and all knew that any decree by them was final. "No!" Orik shoot to his feet numb to anything save the shattering of the world around him.
And just as his hand reached for the knife that spilled the white lady's blood, he was frozen in his tracks, unable to move or comprehend beyond the single eyed all-father staring back at him. He didn't hear the priestess cry for his release, nor Frigga Odin's wife defend him, nor did he comprehend the other gods argue over his fate. All he could hear was the judgment placed upon him, "Your obsession with the preservation of this life has led you to raise a hand against us, your gods whom you owe all fealties. Thus the payment in kind is this, you shall live to see all you know gone, all you loved reduced to nothing, and only when all light of hope is lost to you will you die. Forever more are you Glemete forever are you and yours forgotten by us."
'But the curse placed on Orik wasn't only for him.' Edda thought quite bitterly as she watched the CEO's of the company her descendant and Erik's great, great, great grandfather had founded create uproar. Erik was glaring confusingly at her, not sure what to make of the opposition against his plans. For a man used to getting his way, this was new and unwelcome territory. It was made even more-so because he had only had vague rumors of his cousin 'Edda' and her ilk, whom were said to be the most powerful of the families. 'Probably just doesn't want her family's power challenged,' he thought pragmatically.
The Norns scion slammed her hands on the Teague wood long desk meant to accommodate the eight people currently having it out. But the noise immediately shut them up, especially because of the sparks skittering across the table from Edda's finger tips. "Has the consequences of our forefathers taught us nothing? Are you all so desperate for power that you would actually consider the blasphemy you want as a viable solution?" Unabashed Rosalind Abramssen of the Faroe Islands spoke out, "do you not see? Our way of life has become corrupted; power and force are our only answer."
Edda swallowed the words that wanted to accompany the bile that burned a path up her delicate throat. Dryly she scoffed at them all. "I will have no part in this, no cause is worth this. You would rip innocent people from their eternal rest for what? For vengeance that is a good eight hundred years cold, on peoples whom you yourselves are a part of and have nothing to do with the destruction that wrought our existence? The burning in the cursed woman's throat migrated south heating the long fragile glass that was what was left of her broken her. She could feel the still healing fissures crack, and she knew that her time was nearing. 'But first I must help them Raelynn, Mark, and Kane, only then will I rest.'