gods_that_haunt_me: (Default)
I work like a Dwarf through the seasons.

My toil is fraught with frustration, and blessed with inspiration.

The gods move me. They give me every reason to wake up with the sun. To make love to Helga. To seek the trees with which to build my boats.

This is my existence. And I would not trade it for anything.


It is early spring, when the first warm breath of wind mingles with the receding chill in the air. The water reflects a cloudless sky. A perfect time to stay outdoors from morning to evening. Working, and delighting in the work.

With every pull on the draw knife, a plank of wood takes shape. I see what it will become; I see how it will be a part of the ship.

The ship itself is yet a skeleton. On its bones I will lay the flesh and smooth its skin, a living thing. I see it all in my head, and I pray to the gods to help me make my vision real.
gods_that_haunt_me: (sidelong)
[Part One]

Early in the morning, Helga wakes up and carefully slips out of bed, not wanting to disturb Floki. She cooks breakfast for the both of them, porridge, as it's the only thing Floki can eat at the moment. Gently waking him, she helps him sit up, and she spoonfeeds him, sharing the porridge out of the same bowl.

Later, with the assistance of a servant, Helga changes Floki's bandages and applies a fresh healing paste to his wounds. The gouges in his side still ooze blood, but they don't seem infected. Helga only worries that they're too deep to close up properly.

For Floki, sitting up to have the bandages removed and the clean ones wrapped around him is painful, as his ribs still feel as if they're stabbing his lungs with every breath he takes. But he is determined to do some things on his own. Like standing. With the help of a wooden staff, of course. But not for too long because the bed is really quite comfortable and lying down is good.

Sometimes, with a silent plea to the gods, he tries to move the fingers of his right hand. And tries not to panic when he finds that he can't.

He would truly go out of his mind if not for Helga. And this idea of Athelstan's is the next best thing to divine intervention.
gods_that_haunt_me: (Helga)
I think I am dead.

I am laid out on a boat. A boat I built myself.

But there are no flames; only endless waves that rock me, carry me away to I know not where.

Home, perhaps?

Valhalla?

Endless, endless waves.

People surround me. They come and they go, passing silently. Sadly.

I must be dead.

There is one man who does not come and go, but rather he stays. Solid and unmoving in his presence. Like the anchor on this boat, even as it rocks on these endless, endless waves.

There is no nighttime; there is no daytime.

Only hunger and thirst and pain.

I hope I am dead.

I want this journey to end and for the gods to take me.

Instead I am borne away by hands, a multitude of hands that lift me and carry me to I know not where.

Am I home?

Lips kiss me, her voice soothes my soul. Soft, warm, and gentle. Like sunshine. Endless sunshine.

But fever grips me and makes me pray for death, even as her kisses strive to keep me in this realm. The gods cannot make up their minds to take me or leave me.

I see ships.

A fleet of huge, magnificent ships. Bright sails unfurled in the wind, oars pulled by countless men. And there is one man, solid and unmoving like an anchor.

I must build those ships for him. And they will take us to rich, wonderful lands that lie far, far beyond the horizon.

I am not dead.


Read more... )

OOM

May. 8th, 2015 10:21 pm
gods_that_haunt_me: (Helga)
Her hair is like spun gold, soft and fine, cascading like a waterfall over her shoulders and down her back. The crackling fire makes it shine like curtains of sunlight. She brightens our plain little house and turns it into a beautiful place.

"Floki, I know you're awake," Helga says, filling a bowl with porridge.

I shut my eyes and pull the furs up to my ears.

"No, I'm not."

She laughs, and it sounds like birdsong in springtime.

"Your breakfast will get cold."

"Not if you keep it warm."

"I can't keep it warm forever."

"How about keeping me warm forever?"

"I can probably do that, but that's much easier than porridge. Now get out of bed and come here!"

She makes her demands with the most enchanting of smiles, so how can I resist? Wrapping the fur blanket around my bare shoulders, I lumber out of bed like a disgruntled giant and shuffle to the fireplace in the middle of the room. I sit on the floor beside Helga, and she gives me the bowl and a spoon. She then pulls the blanket around her own shoulders and leans in against me. Our body heat fills what little spaces are left between us.

"What will you work on today?" she asks as I eat.

I think back to what Thor had told me. Personally. To my face. That the gods may only inspire, while my skills are all my own.

That is a lot of responsibility.

"I don't know yet," I say.

She rests her head on my shoulder.

"It will come to you."

"Perhaps. Or perhaps nothing will come at all."

"It's not such a bad thing if nothing comes today," she says, scratching the back of my head as if I were her pet (which admittedly is not such a bad thing either).

"But Ragnar is depending on me. We spoke of bigger ships, better ships, and I said I would build them for him. I know I can."

"And what is stopping you?"

"...When nothing comes."

Helga smiles and sighs, covering my hand with hers.

"Oh, Floki. Just eat."

"How can I eat? Why should I eat? Did you cook bright ideas into this porridge?"

"Yes, I did," she replies with a straight face. "I picked them off a tree growing out back. Eat."

I laugh, and she pokes me.

I kiss her, and she kisses me in return.

I set my breakfast down, and we roll ourselves up in the blanket.


Breakfast has gone cold when there's a knock on the door. Helga and I untangle ourselves with great reluctance. After I give her the blanket to cover herself with, I get to my feet and pull on my breeches.

"Yes, yes," I bark as the knock comes again. I open the door, and there's a man standing there, a man who I have seen around Ragnar's hall. "What is it?"

"Earl Ragnar would like to speak with you," the messenger replies. "King Horik has sent word."

And suddenly I have no appetite for breakfast.

"Tell him I will visit this afternoon."

The messenger nods and leaves, and I close the door.

"Floki?" Helga looks up at me with her ocean-blue eyes.

I sigh and sit next to her, and we wrap around each other again.
gods_that_haunt_me: (Default)
Season finale. Oh my gods. This show. This show.

Cut for spoilery reactions after watching it twice.

no seriously omg )
gods_that_haunt_me: (Default)
Under the cut are my reactions that I posted on my Facebook while watching this episode live. Perhaps I'll be more articulate and coherent once we get to discussing stuff.

ALLCAPS AND SPOILERS )
gods_that_haunt_me: (Default)
My horse bears me and my message from Jarl Borg swiftly over hill and dale into Horik's kingdom. It is a long journey of several days. Gray skies blot out the sun; cold mists blanket the night. But I ride, as Ragnar has entrusted me with this task.

And having the King's ear is no small privilege. It will not be wasted.

Horik welcomes me. I warm myself by his fire and dine at his table. When I have rested well, we take our horses into the woods, and we talk.

He says to me that he has heard that I tell stories of the gods. I do. Would he like to hear some? He would. So as the forest embraces us, I speak of Loki's children.

***

"Fenrir, the giant wolf, could not be constrained by any means known to man."

The King and I are now wandering on foot. The soft moss sighs under our feet and wet leaves whisper over our heads.

"So the Dwarves forged a chain. But not from metal."

Horik is listening.

I come across a spiderweb, its gossamer threads beaded with raindrops.

"They forged it from the things we cannot see and the things we cannot hear. Like the breath of a fish. The sound a moving cat makes."

Horik nods and turns to me.

"The roots of a mountain," he says.

And I smile as if he has seen where my heart lies.

"You know?" I ask him, astonished, and he laughs.

"Of course I know! These things interest me!"

The King does me such great honor in acknowledging this. He knows the gods! I am humbled and joyful, yet I must contain that joy for now. There is business of land ownership to be discussed. Now that we have this understanding, I feel I can broach it much more easily.

"I came to ask about Jarl Borg," I say, and the air between us grows serious. "He won't sell. He wants to make a deal."

The King makes a small but dissatisfied sound.

"I'm not interested in deals."

Hm.

"That would make it hard for Ragnar," I say, reminding him that he had sent Ragnar as his own personal emissary.

"Ragnar will come to the right conclusion," Horik insists confidently, "and make the right decision."

I must see things from all sides, and so must the King. Or else there will be war.

"Don't you care if the negotiations fail?" I ask.

But Horik seems to not be listening. Something else has captured his attention.

"Look!"

And he points to the spiderweb. A fly has gotten itself ensnared in its bejeweled threads. The black mistress of the web scurries out on nimble legs to stab her meal with poison and bind it with silk.

Horik smiles and moves off back toward our horses.

It is then that I see what he sees that the gods are showing him.



[Dialogue taken from Vikings Season 1, Episode 9.]
gods_that_haunt_me: (Default)
I had meant to do this for last week's episode because I had SO MANY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS about that one, but now I think we can take a better look at the events of last week's and tie them into the results of this week's. That being said, I need so much emotional support you guys, omfg.

SPOILERS )
gods_that_haunt_me: (axe)
A tall, lanky man, seemingly made up entirely of long lines and angles, wanders into the bar through the back door.

He's been out all day, exploring the forest. Listening to the trees.

(They were quite talkative.)

The waitrats scatter as he crosses the room. They probably don't like the hatchet tucked into his belt. Or the knife. Or the sword.

He snickers at their fright. He's harmless! Really!

(No, he isn't.)

"Lady Bar, a cup of mead, if you please," he says in Old Norse. A horn cup appears, and he takes a swig.

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