Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Over Fjeller Denne Mann-barn Går

Over the mountains this man-child walks.

He is a dark one.

I have heard him walking in the night. He does not fear death, so he steps where he pleases. Some of us at the village have found him eating venison in the hill area, but he was silent. I myself do not believe him to be of any speaking tribe.

He is a lonely one.

Our village has many things, some elders say too many. When I was a boy the Kristne came and gave us our tools. They were kind, and spent many nights giving their medicines and tools to us in exchange for our attention. They told us tales of the Kvitekrist, a man sent by the All-Father to die on behalf of the race of men. Few believed them, but those who did were changed in their minds and ways. They healed my son, and though I do not understand their tales I understand their kindness. That is enough for me.

But this wandering one, he is not like the tools that came. Long ago the elders told me a tale about men like these. They fight the battle of blood, to drink the life of their enemies. They are creatures that descend silently on the hillside villages in the night, to slay in darkness. Long ago, one greater than all of them lived. She was a monster said to spawn foul demons long before man walked with shields and girded themselves with swords. One of her many sons was said to have matched wits with a lesser man in a dispute over Heorot's hall. When he was slain, in her grief she sired new demons. One of them was the first of the black men of the mountains.

Once Sigmundur told me that this creature was no man but a boy, yet he is ferocious, a warrior to be feared. Not even ten of my finest men could stop him given the chance. But all children are fragile things, and this one's mind had been nearly broken by the cruel men of the North.

I will tell you this though. It is a story that none know. It is my tale

When I was out fishing near the river on Sagi's land, I saw him for the first time.

He was just a child as Sigmundur said, a little thing no older than my own son. His hands were weary with toil, holding a black stone to kill a fish under his hand. Though he did not speak, his spirit cried out to me in pain. He was fraught with loneliness and despair and was an outcast. On his neck he wore a metal collar, girding him forever. The sharpened points inside it stuck into his neck, and every movement for him was horrible.

I cannot say now why I did what I did, but I am a father. What else could I have done? I cannot stand by and watch a child suffer alone.

So, I stepped out.

The boy did not immediately turn to look at me, but when his eyes trained onto me, they lowered. Like a wild animal, he ducked down, walking on his hands and feet. In his hands he held the rock, covered in fish scales, and kept it close to his side. But I was not afraid. I stood tall, and I did not reach for my knife.

When he neared me I got down on my knees. To the death I swore, and to all the Gods I cried out, that I would not harm him. I closed my eyes, awaiting certain death, a sacrifice of peace.

There the boy stood, sitting cross legged holding the rock in his palm. Eying me with curiosity, he leaned closer to me, and leaped back onto his hands and feet with a fierce growl. His hand still clung loosely to the rock, but I was not afraid.

Standing up slowly I held out my hand. There was food in it, something I had planned on bringing for myself. This boy hungered fiercely, so much so that he ate everything in my hand, everything including the sleeping pill that one of the travelers brought to us. As the boy ate satisfied, he smiled, but his eyes closed, and fell back immediately onto his back in a stupor.

That is the story of how that wild child Galdur came to us. So if you ever ask yourself, “how did this wild child come to us?” you will know the true story. Sigmundur has not yet told the story to the boy yet, even though he took him to be his son. He has never lied out of sloth or malice in my days knowing him. He will be good to the child.

Great things will come of him.

I know this to be true.

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