Blenda : Sweden's Greatest Heroine
The Dagger Of Destiny
" No !!! " Mechtild screamed as her husband Grimm and the midwife Thyrvi fought over the child she had only moments before given birth to.
Although she was exhausted, and in pain from a long and difficult labor, Mechtild at first pleaded with Thryvi not to allow her husband to take the child, and then begged Grimm not to kill their baby once he had ripped her from the midwife's arms. Words, however, were not enough to keep her husband from heading for the door with the newborn.
Thryvi fought back and tried to retrieve the child before he could leave, but Grimm was too strong, and pushed her down to the floor. Despite hitting her head on the edge of a small table, Thryvi staggered to her feet, and grabbed hold of Grimm as he opened the door and tried to exit the hall. A quick backhand, however, put the midwife down for good, and allowed the husband to leave unimpeded.
As her husband disappeared through the doorway Mechtild called pathetically to him :
" Please don't kill my baby ! Please let her live !! Please !!! " she screamed in anguish.
For the moment at least Grimm's anger at the Gods was stronger than his love for his wife. He ignored her pleading and continued through the village, and out into the woods. Her reasoning was offset by his fury !
" She can have another child ! They did not need this one ! " he whispered to himself as he navigated around brush and brambles in the forest.
Grimm had pleaded with the Gods for a son. Was that too much to ask of them ?! A male child that he could train in the skills of war, and who, when he was old enough, could succeed him as the chieftain of their village. He thought that Odin and Thor surely would have understood, and honored him with an heir, but obviously he was wrong !
" Should I have asked this new " White Christ " instead ? " he thought to himself as he continued deeper into the woods.
When Thyrvi announced that the child was a girl Grimm knew what he must do . For generations newborns that were sickly or unwanted were left out in the forest to die from exposure. The ravens, and other scavengers would take of the rest. No one would think him dastardly for his actions, and his wife would recover from the loss of an unwanted child when she became pregnant again he assured himself.
As Grimm approached the lake, that sat in the middle of the forest, he removed the child's blanket and threw it aside. He then placed the naked child on the shore just beyond the lapping waves.
" Goodbye, and good riddance ! " he exclaimed as the child began to cry.
Suddenly Grimm became aware of the presence of another, and when he heard a twig snap behind him over the cries of his child, he drew his sword and spun around in one continuous motion to confront the intruder.
" Will you kill me as well as your daughter ? " a large old woman asked who appeared to have come out of nowhere.
Grimm stood motionless for a long moment not quite knowing what to say or do. He had not felt any guilt or shame when he took the child, or when he had placed it on the muddy lake's shore to die, but now, faced by this old woman, he began to feel as though he had done something wrong.
And this woman was old. Very old ! Grimm had seen many elderly women in his day, but none quite like this one. Her face was wrinkled like an old sail that had been folded and stored away for many years. And her hair,.... her hair was as white as the snow caps on the distant mountains ! The old crone's back was curved like a scythe which made her neck arch upward to compensate for the uncomfortable bend. But it was her eyes that were the most disturbing ! They appeared to be lacking in color in the center. All yellow - white they were as if time itself had faded the pupils away.
Though her features were startling she appeared to be of no threat to him. Grimm placed his sword back in it's scabbard, and shook his head slightly before answering.
" No ! I was simply unaware of your presence. As a warrior in the king's army I was merely defending myself against an unknown threat. " he explained to the old woman.
The old woman did not react to his explanation. Instead she pointed to the naked child that was shivering on the lake's shore.
" Why do you leave the child here to die ? " she asked without emotion.
Grimm bit his lip slightly before answering.
" I wanted,...., and asked for a son, .... but the Gods have forsaken me and given me a daughter instead ! " he replied bitterly.
" Not true ! " the old woman said angrily.
Grimm frowned at the old woman.
" What do you know !? And who are you ? I have not seen your face before ! " he asked.
The old woman grinned ever so slightly.
" I am the Seeress,......, Skuldura ! " she began.
" Do not judge me by my age, for I have gained great wisdom and knowledge over my many years. And do not dismiss me because I am blind, for I see far more than you Grimm of the Konga Harad. " she replied with a hint of anger and impatience in her voice.
Grimm shook his head.
" If you truly were a Seeress then you would surely know that I had asked for a son ! " he told her.
Skuldura looked deep into the man's eyes with a blank stare.
" Once again I must tell you that you are not speaking the truth ! " she replied.
Grimm stamped his feet like a cranky child .
" I have no time for such nonsense old crone ! " Grimm replied angrily, and then turned to walk away.
" I have all the time in the universe ! " she replied calmly.
Then she added :
" You asked Odin for a warrior, did you not ? "
Grimm stopped dead in his tracks.
" How do you know ..... " he started to say before changing his mind in mid - sentence.
" Yes ! But the Gods knew what I meant . And I wanted a son ! " he explained.
Skuldura pointed to the sky and smiled.
" The Gods do not see time as we do my friend. To our species a generation is a lifetime, but to them it is only a blink of their eyes. The child that the Gods gave you is not a warrior, and not even a future mother of a warrior. What she is, my shortsighted friend is the great, great, great, great, great, grandmother of a child who will one day defeat an invading army and save the kingdom of her people. " the Seeress explained.
Grimm shook his head in disbelief.
" You are crazy old woman ! " he replied with a sarcastic laugh.
Skuldura reached into a small bag that was tied around her waist and pulled out an ornate dagger.
" This is the ' Dagger of Destiny ' ". she told Grimm without a hint of emotion, as she handed it to him.
Then she added.
" Look at it closely. Do you notice anything unusual about the weapon ? " she asked.
Grimm turned the knife over and over in his hands as he carefully examined it .
" It is very beautifully crafted, but I see nothing out of the ordinary about it. " he told the old crone.
Skuldura pointed to the child that lay on the shore of the lake.
" Place it in the child's hand ! " the Seeress instructed.
Curious, Grimm walked over to the child and placed it up against the child's hand. With tiny fingers it grasped a part of the end of the handle. Suddenly, the knife glowed like a star in the night ! Stunned, Grimm stumbled back several steps before asking :
" What is it ! ? Why does it shine so ?! " he shouted.
" The blood of her ancestors was used in the making of this dagger. That same blood now courses through her veins, and it is the recognition of kinship that makes the knife " glow " as you so aptly put it. " she explained.
" Then this child must not die !!!! " Grimm stated almost in a state of panic.
Skuldura walked over to where the father had dropped the blanket, and despite being blind, picked it up as easily as a seeing person. How she could find the blanket without eyes no longer mattered to Grimm, for he now truly believed that she was a Seeress, and that what she had told him was a prophecy that he could not deny or ignore.
As she handed him the blanket she peered into his eyes as though she were once again looking deep into his soul. Then, unexpectedly, she grabbed hold of his shoulders, and with a strength she should have not possessed forced him to stay in place to listen to every word that she spoke.
" When your daughter comes of age you will give her this dagger, and tell her what I have told you here this day. Hand her the dagger and she will know that what you say is the truth. Tell her to give the ' Dagger of Destiny ' to her eldest daughter when she comes of age. Then, in the eighth generation, the prophecy will be fulfilled ! " she told him.
The Seeress let go of Grimm, turned, and began to walk away. Before she left him she had one more thing to say :
" Bring your daughter home and apologize to your wife, ....., for Odin has not forgotten you. Your next child will be the son that you asked for. " she told him before she disappeared into the mist.
Grimm had fought in many battles over the years and never been afraid, but as he wrapped the child once again in the blanket his entire body shook uncontrollably with fear. The forces that had brought him to this moment were stronger than any foe that he had ever encountered in war. Here, on the shore of a cold lake, he had met up with destiny, and it chilled him to the bone !
- End Chapter 2
- Next : Chapter 3 : The Blink Of An Eye
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.