The Spirit Tamer
After an uncomfortably long farewell Naddoður went out to the fields to tell Alva that he was leaving. As awkward as the goodbye with Ragnaldr had been, the parting with the little Elf fairy seemed even stranger to him. Although she appeared to him without having called her, and despite her eagerness to help him rid the farm of the Deildegast named Magnbjorn, she did not seem to care if he stayed or left.
" I hope that your journey is an easy one, and that you find happiness wherever you go ." was all she told him before flying away.
As he walked southward, his staff firmly in hand, he pondered the different attitudes shown towards him when he left. Regnaldr was truly sorry to see him go, and would have let him stay as long as he wished, while the Elf, who had helped him so very much, seemed ambivalent to his leaving. Like a ghost it haunted him all through the day, and remained with him as he set up his camp and started his fire that night.
Naddoður had chosen an ideal spot to make his camp. A brook with crystal clear mountain water was less than thirty feet from the site, and the area around the camp was flat and filled with tall evergreens with thick canopies that would act as a roof should it rain during the night. It was so cozy in fact that Naddoður fell asleep not long after he finished his supper.
Dreams can take you away to either a place you remember, or to worlds where you have never been. No matter how deep the dream, however, the real world can interrupt the magical journey to the world's of your fantasy, and bring you back to the reality of the moment.
Naddoður stirred slightly, rolling over from side to side. Before he could return to his sleep he was startled awake by what sounded like a man singing a beautiful melody down by the brook. As he sat up to listen more carefully he pulled his blanket off of him, and reached out for his boots. It was then that he heard a familiar buzzing in his ear.
" I would not go down to the brook if I were you. " a familiar voice whispered in his ear.
Naddoður tried not to look too happy as he turned his head to see his little fairy friend.
" Alva ! " Naddoður whispered joyfully.
Alva ignored his surprise, and waggled her tiny finger at him.
" Cover your ears, for the Nøkken sings a deadly song. " she told the human.
Naddoður gave her a puzzled look but covered his ears anyway.
" I will make him go away ! " she told him despite his inability to hear her.
Fearing for the tiny fairy's life Naddoður quickly put on his boots, and jumped up ready to go after her. Before he could take even one step he heard loud splashes coming from out of the darkness in the direction of where the brook flowed. And then there was only silence. For the first time in his life he froze and stood listening instead of acting.
Naddoður's mind went through a multitude of possibilities. None of them very good for Alva ! When the fear that gripped him eased he ran over to the tree where he had left his walking staff, and grabbed hold of it tightly. As he turned to run down to the brook he suddenly fell backwards from the shock of seeing something only inches from his face.
" Were you coming to rescue me ? " Alva asked with a huge smile as she flew above him.
For some reason, unknown to him at the time, the Shaman blushed as he answered the little fairy.
" I,... I thought you might be in trouble and need help. " he replied nervously.
Alva smiled even wider as she flew up to his cheek and kissed him gently.
" You do not have to worry anymore. I am here to protect you. " she assured him.
Naddoður frowned and pointed towards the brook.
" But what about the Nøkken ? " he asked.
Alva's smile disappeared.
" The Nøkken is gone ! He will bother no one tonight. " she told him sternly.
Then just as quickly as her smile had vanished, it returned.
" Now take off your boots, and go back to sleep. I will protect you tonight. " she told him the way a mother would speak to her child.
Perplexed by what had just happened it took Naddoður a little while to fall back asleep. When he did, however, he saw in his dreams what had happened to the Nøkken. As he stood overlooking the brook he watched as roots, pond lily flowers and a red mud floated by, all of which had once made up the Water Spirit's body. The image startled the Shaman back to the real world, and he lay there for a few moments waiting for the waking fear to pass. When he calmed down he realized that he was not sleeping alone !
Naddoður slowly lifted his head off of his canvas bag that acted as a pillow. A female human, and a naked one at that, was sleeping up against him with her back toward him. The Shaman slowly took his hand off of her waist and pulled back her gold - yellow hair to see her face. As he did he caught sight of of the pointy tips on each ear.
" Alva ! " his mind shouted.
As the Elf, who was not so tiny now, began to rouse herself from sleep, Naddoður quickly placed his head back on his pillow, put his hand down at his side, and closed his eyes as if he were sleeping. A moment later he heard the familiar buzzing of the Elf's wings in fairy form, and opened his eyes.
" Well ! Good morning sleepy one ! " Alva told the human.
Naddoður looked up at the little shining fairy that hovered above him, and smiled.
" Good morning, little one ! Did you sleep well ? " he asked, already knowing the answer.
Alva put her hands on her hips and gave him a cross look.
" How could I sleep ? I was protecting you all night ! " she said proudly.
Naddoður had to force himself not to laugh.
" Oh ! That is right. You watched over me all night. " he agreed with a grin.
The Shaman quickly put out the camp fire and rolled his things in his blanket. Naddoður wanted to fill up his water container in the brook before they headed south into Numadalr, but Alva would not let him go near the brook.
" There is a wonderful source of clean fresh water just over the border in Numadalr. " she assured him before they left.
By noon they had crossed over a clear mountain stream, just as she had predicted, where he stopped and filled his containers. From here they entered into a beautiful valley of streams, waterfalls, and small farms. Along the way they passed by a farmer who was planting his fields. From a distance the Shaman called out to him.
" What is this place stranger ? " he asked.
The farmer looked at him oddly before answering.
" It is I Olnir ! Do you not remember me Naddoður ? " he asked in return.
The hairs on the back of the Shaman's neck stood straight up when he heard the man's words. He had never been to Numadalr, so how could he know this man ?
" And how did he know my name ! ? " shot through Naddoður's head like a bolt of lightning.
With his curiosity up, the Shaman walked up a path that led to where the farmer was planting wheat.
" Have we met before, sir ? " Naddoður asked.
The farmer scratched his head.
" My friend it was just yesterday that you passed this way. You asked my name, and inquired what this land was called. " he told the Shaman.
Then Olnir quickly added :
" Do you not remember ? " he asked in a befuddled tone.
Naddoður shook his head.
" And what did you tell me the name of this place was ? " he asked the farmer.
The farmer put his hands on his hips and frowned deeply.
" Fossdalr ! " he replied, a little annoyed about being asked again.
Naddoður nodded and tried to hide his concern behind a smile.
" And is there a farm market nearby where I can buy some provisions for my journey ? " he asked.
The farmer seemed to be getting rather upset with him as he replied :
" As I told you yesterday the farm market is on the other side of the valley. It is run by the widow Ranka. "
Naddoður tipped his hat to the farmer before leaving.
" Many thanks ! " he shouted back to Olrin.
As he walked through the valley everyone he passed greeted him as though they knew him. And when he reached the market stand the woman who could only be Ranka greeted him just as strangely.
" Decided to come back already ? It is a very beautiful valley isn't it Naddoður ? " she asked in rapid succession.
The Shaman carefully told the woman what he needed, but instead of filling his order immediately, she stood and stared at him for a moment.
" This is exactly what you asked for yesterday. Did you eat it all in one day ? " she asked.
Naddoður, who was beginning to feel extremely uncomfortable, quickly made up a story.
" Yes ! I met some friends along the way and shared it with them. " he lied to her.
When Ranka had filled a sack with his provisions and handed it to him, she smiled at the Shaman.
" I hope that you make it to your destination this time Naddoður. " she told him.
Naddoður quickly paid the woman and hurried out of Fossdalr. Once he was outside of the village the Shaman looked over his shoulder at the fairy that only he could see and asked :
" Do you understand what is going on here ? "
Alva buzzed around in front of him.
" Yes ! Unfortunately you have been proceeded here by a Vardøgr.
" That is my thinking also. The inhabitants of Finnmark call it a Etiainen, but here in Norway they call it a Vardøgr . We must find out how this happened, and stop my double from continuing to proceed me wherever I go ! " he told the fairy with a concerned look upon his face.
- End Chapter 7
- Next : Chapter 8 : Two Is Too Many !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.