The Spirit Tamer
Naddoður felt more comfortable with the Saxons than did Halldorr or Ossurr. This was partially because he could understand their language, and therefore was more at ease with what was happening around him. It also had to do with something that he saw in Henry the Fowler's eyes. Within them he sensed a willingness to trust anyone who was willing to fight with the Saxons to rid their kingdom of the Nachtkrapp. Halldorr and Ossurr, on the other hand, found themselves surrounded by a small army of Christians, who under most circumstances would be just as willing to kill them as to take them to the Weiß Berge, to look for the nests of the Night Ravens.
Naddoður could see their apprehension and made a point of giving them updates on both what the Saxons were saying and why they were doing what they were doing. Halldorr and Ossurr felt a little more reassured when Henry himself gave both Kvenlanders spears and shields of their own before they left.
Word of their mission had spread quickly throughout the local villages. In some of the communities the folk came out of their homes, or left their fields, to watch and cheer on the Saxon warriors as they rode by. Most, however, came out to get a close look at the Heathen Shaman who had promised to help them rid their lands of the Nachtkrapp.
As evening fell on the first day Henry stopped his warriors at a tiny village called Lübbecke. The Duke's son intended to quickly water and feed their horses, and leave in time to ride a few more hours before making camp when it became to dark to continue. A woman named Helga had other ideas however.
Naddoður had just finished giving his horse some grain when a rather roly - poly woman came running up to him pleading for his help.
" If you are the Shaman you must help me ! I have a spirit in my house, and I am terrified of what it might do to me ! " she frantically told the Shaman while pulling at his clothes to make him follow her.
Henry walked over to the woman and pushed her to the ground.
" Leave the Heathen alone ! We do not have time for such nonsense as this ! " he shouted at the stout woman.
Naddoður looked down at the frightened woman, and before Henry could say or do more to the " frau ", as they were called in this land, he put his hand up in front of the heir to the throne of the Duchy of Saxony to stop him.
" No ! Please ! I would like to hear this woman's story. " he told Henry.
Then the Shaman added after a moment of thought :
" Could we camp outside of Lübbecke tonight and leave earlier in the morning to make up the time ? " he asked.
Henry the Fowler was not accustomed to being asked in such a fashion, but he needed the Shaman's help, and his request was not unreasonable.
" The watering and feeding of the horses is taking longer than I anticipated. Possibly it would be better for us to camp here for the night, and get an early start in the morning. " he told the Shaman, making it sound as though it was his idea.
" Thank you ! " he replied to Henry's generosity.
Naddoður reached down, and with great effort helped the portly woman off of the ground. As he brushed the dirt off of her shawl Henry shook his head.
" You are wasting your time here. House spirits are a myth held over from our Pagan times. " he explained to the Shaman.
Henry the Fowler then gave the woman an evil stare.
" True Christians do not believe in such things ! " he angrily told her.
After Henry walked away Naddoður allowed the frau to lead him to her home at the edge of the village. With their curiosity raised Halldorr and Ossurr quickly fell in behind the Shaman to see what would happen next.
Naddoður quickly wished that his comrades had stayed with the Saxons and allowed him to speak with the woman alone, who told him that her name was Helga. Every time she told him a little more of her house spirit problem, he then had to turn around and translate to them in Norse what she had just said in German.
" Every night this spirit,... we call them a Kobold here in Saxony,.... comes into my home. It lights candles, makes strange noises, and moves around my things ! " she explained to the Shaman.
After translating for his comrades, Naddoður asked a few questions.
" In the northern lands we have similar creatures which we call Nisse or Tomte. " he told her first.
Then he added :
Now, does this Kobold always move your things to the same places every night ? " he asked.
" Yes ! How did you know that ? " she asked in return.
Naddoður smiled at Helga.
" House spirits see the home they inhabit as their own, and they tend to want it to look a certain way,... their way. " he explained to her.
" Does this Kobold ever break anything ? " he asked next.
Helga shrugged her shoulders and shook her head.
" Well,... not yet ! " she informed the Shaman.
" That is very good ! That tells me that your Kobold is not dangerous. "
The Shaman thought for a moment .
" Will you do something for me ? " he asked.
Helga's eyes lit up with excitement.
" Sure, sure ! I will do anything to help ! " she told him happily.
Naddoður pointed around the room as he spoke :
" Place everything where the Kobold moves them to each night, and I will come back in the morning to see how things went. " he told her with a smile and a wink.
Helga's joy turned into a small pout.
" You will not stay here tonight ? " she asked.
Naddoður could not help but chuckle slightly at the woman's pitiful response. Then he put his face next to her ear and whispered :
" No ! But I will leave a " spirit " of my own here to watch over you. " he told her.
The Shaman reached into his pocket and gently pulled Alva out and released her. Alva smiled at Naddoður as she buzzed around the woman.
" Do not worry, my love, I will watch over her and keep her safe. " she assured him.
Ossurr could see the fairy that flew just above the woman's head, but Helga and Halldorr had absolutely no idea what was going on, or why Naddoður was staring at the woman's hair as he spoke.
" Then I will stop by early tomorrow morning to see how the night went for you. " Naddoður told her before leaving.
That night around the campfire Halldorr asked Naddoður why he always seemed to be speaking to spirits even in the daylight. The Shaman laughed and raised his horn to his comrade.
" I am afraid that if you cannot see what Ossurr and I can see then you are not ready to accept that which we firmly believe in. Skal my friend ! " he told the commander of the Kvenland army.
As Ossurr laughed, Halldorr, bewildered by a secret he could not understand, raised his horn and responded with a half - hearted " Skal ! "
The next morning, while the Saxon warriors readied themselves to leave Lübbecke, Naddoður with Halldorr, Henry, and Ossurr in tow, went back to the woman's house to see if everything was alright. They were all quite surprised when a cheery Helga met them at the door.
" You were right Shaman ! The candle lit, as it does every night, but all remained quiet. So quiet in fact that I slept like a little baby. And nothing was disturbed at all ! The Kobold, as you said, must like things to be a certain way, or it gets angry. From now on I will leave things as they are, and I think the Kobold will be satisfied. " she told the Shaman happily.
Naddoður smiled as Alva flew over and sat upon his shoulder.
" I am glad that everything worked out for you . " he told her.
Henry the Fowler looked over at the Shaman with a renewed confidence in him. But he also realized that there were more important things to deal with at the moment.
" I am afraid that we must now leave. For we have dire matters to attend to. " the king told Helga.
Naddoður bid farewell to Helga one last time, and then left to catch up to his comrades. Before he reached them he asked Alva a question.
" House spirits do not usually become so docile this quickly. " he told Alva with raised eyebrows, and a little grin upon his face.
Alva laughed as she flew backward in front of his face with her arms folded across her chest.
" Well,... I might have made it known to the little pointy nosed spirit that if he did not behave himself I was going to come back and rip off his arms and legs. " she admitted to Naddoður, and then began to laugh.
Naddoður could not help but laugh as well.
" It obviously worked ! "
Alva flew over and kissed him on the nose.
" Yes ! And the Kobold even swept her floors and dusted her furniture last night as well ! " she told him before flying back into his pocket.
- End Chapter 22
- Next : Chapter 23 : The Nachtkrapp's Lair
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.