Nøkken : The Water Spirit
The Nøkken, after a blissful night of sleep, awoke to a sound that alarmed him greatly ! Mixed in among the morning sounds of birds chirping, roosters crowing, and cows mooing, was the ominous sound of hoof beats on the bank of the pond. At first he thought to himself that maybe the boy had left the barn door open, and that their plow horse had gotten out. When he heard the horse's high pitched neighing he knew that this was not a mortal horse, but was instead a deadly type of Water Spirit.
" Bäckahäst ! " the Nøkken thought to himself.
As he slowly surfaced his glowing eyes peered out to scan the shoreline to see where the Water Spirit was hidden in the mist. A Bäckahäst was hard to spot. Their white coat, tail, and mane, blended in perfectly with a heavy mist, or a fog. Camouflaged within a white morning blanket the evil horse would neigh to attract an unsuspecting human to mount it. Once the defenseless victim was on it's back they could not get off. And it was then that the Bäckahäst would dive into the water killing it's victim, and satisfying it's blood lust.
The Nøkken, however, knew that there was one way to find a Brook Horse even in the thickest of fogs. The great beast had one failing that gave it away. It's dead black eyes cut through the the morning mist like a blazing torch.
" Ah ! There you are my little white enemy ! I do not mind sharing my pond, or my brook with you, but these humans are mine, and mine alone ! " he whispered.
He was about to shoo away the Bäckahäst when he saw Sefa's son Haki coming up alongside the horse to stroke it's neck. Then, the Nøkken watched in stunned horror as Haki, as though he were under a spell, jumped up onto the back of the great white beast !
Suddenly a hundred thoughts went through the Nøkken's mind at once.
" If the boy dies will Sefa leave the farm ? If she stayed would her sorrow be too much for her to bear ? Might she never come down to the pond again ! ? " he quickly asked himself.
A rage grew within the Nøkken that he had never felt before ! He had killed many times over the many millennium that he had existed. First fish and frogs, then animals, and finally humans. But never did he kill out of anger. He only took a life to satisfy his need for sustenance. Now, however, he wanted to kill, ....to murder, to end the life of another for,... love !
The Nøkken rose up out of the water ready to mutilate the Brook Horse before it could come near the water, but he was too late ! The Bäckahäst had already coiled it's body, and was ready to leap into the pond. He could not save the boy by killing the ghostly stallion, but he could save him if he allowed the Brook Horse to live. With legs that resembled the roots of an underwater plant, he sprung from the water as if catapulted from a geyser. As the Bäckahäst's front legs hit the water the Nøkken grabbed hold of the boy with hands that were stronger than a blacksmith's vise, and ripped him from the horse's back. All three splashed into the pond at about the same time sending water cascading to every part of the pond's shore. With the boy free from the Water Demon, the Nøkken went after the Brook Horse, wrapping it's root like arms around it.
Haki woke from his dream, and found himself in the pond. He had never been a very good swimmer, and the confusion of his situation made him struggle to stay afloat even more. Realizing that he was in danger of drowning he began to cry out for help !
" Mother ! Mother !! MOTHER !!! " he screamed over and over.
Like a mother to her newborn baby's cries, Sefa was jarred awake when she heard Haki's voice off in the distance. Without bothering to put on a robe, or slippers, she ran out of the house to help her son. What Sefa saw as she looked out to the pond nearly frightened her out of her wits. Her son was drowning !
" NO !! NO !! " the terrified mother screamed as she raced for the dam.
The Nøkken heard Sefa's high - pitched cries and reacted immediately. He unwrapped his tangled arms from the Bäckahäst's neck, changed form into a human, and did for the second time in a matter of moments something that no Nøkken had ever done before. He saved a life instead of taking one !
As Sefa reached the edge of the pond she was both relieved and startled at the same time. Haki was sitting on the bank of the pond apparently safe and sound, while a man hovered over him. And the man was stark naked ! For a very long moment Sefa looked the stranger over from head to toe, staring particularly at his manhood for an uncomfortably long time. When she regained her wits about her she spoke to the man.
" Thank you for saving my son ! " she finally managed, not without blushing heavily however.
The Nøkken smiled, and nodded to the human female that he knew as Sefa.
" I was passing by, and saw that your son was in need of help,... so I jumped in after him. " the Nøkken lied.
Sefa could not help but grin as her eyes migrated down below his waist again. Just as quickly she turned her gaze away from the stranger and back to the shoreline.
" Where are your clothes ? " she asked .
The Nøkken, startled by the question, had to think for a moment before answering.
" The,.... Bäckahäst must have dragged them down with him. " he finally explained to her.
Sefa raised her eyebrows.
" Bäckahäst ! A Brook Horse !! " she replied nervously.
Then she quickly added :
" Then you truly did save my son's life ! "
Sefa, realizing she had been ignoring her son, turned to him and asked :
" Are you alright Haki ? "
Haki nodded his head.
" I am fine mother,.... but I don't know how I got into the pond ! " he told her.
Sefa pointed to the house.
" Go and get this nice man some of your father's old clothes . " she instructed Haki.
It was then that Haki too realized that the man was standing there naked.
" Yes, mother ! At once ! " he replied, shocked by the man's nakedness.
Sefa smiled at the man and tried to keep her eyes above his shoulders.
" My name is Sefa, and that is my boy Haki. " she told the stranger as she pointed back towards the house.
The Nøkken smiled to hide the fact that his mind had gone blank, and he did not answer right away. "
" Water Spirits do not have names ! They have never had names !! " he thought to himself.
As he searched his mind for an appropriate moniker he could not help but notice that Sefa appeared to be very pleased with his human form. After a long moment he grinned before replying :
" My name is Åndeløs. " he told her politely.
Sefa did not mean to, but she laughed anyway.
" Åndeløs ? Breathless !? " she asked still giggling.
The Nøkken did not understand why Sefa thought his name humorous, but he felt it was quite appropriate !
- End Chapter 8
- Next : Chapter 9 : The Farm Hand
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.