The Sea - Draugr : A Tale Of The Undead
Morning broke over Asgard just as Bragi finished telling Aegir about the Battle of the Hjadningar. When he was done Bragi looked over at the weary Jotun, Aegir, who appeared to be ready to leave. " My good friend Aegir, I have spent the entire night telling you tale after tale of the Gods, and it now appears that you wish to leave without relating to me even one story ! " he told Aegir with a little smile.
Aegir glanced back at Bragi nervously. " I am afraid that I am not the glorious skald that you are my good friend. But if you insist, my wife once told me a wonderful story about Midgard, and the walking dead. " he told his drinking companion.
Bragi' s eyes lit up ! " Well, if the story was told to you by Ran, then I must insist that you tell it ! " Bragi replied excitedly.
As Bragi poured out another horn of ale for each of them Aegir began. " Well............
" Asmund was a little, petty, insignificant man. He was small both in stature, and in his achievements. He lacked strength, courage, and honor, in an age when these traits were all important.... And Asmund' s heart was cold and empty, while his soul was filled with anger. For several years he had been watching a beautiful maiden named Rannveig as she sewed sails with the other women on the docks. Over time Asmund fell in love with the pretty little maiden, but he had not the courage to tell her of his feelings. Asmund was a simple ship' s carpenter who felt he had little if anything to offer such a fair maiden as Rannveig, so he contented himself with loving her from afar.
Rannveig was a pleasant young maiden. She was the daughter of the local chieftain, a man named Bardi, which gave her a certain status within the community. Rannveig, however, was neither socially aware of her stature, or vain in her dealings with others. She cared little for her father's court, and when she was a child she would often disappear from her father's hall and venture down to the docks to watch the great dragon ships as they came and went from the Vest Agder Fjord. As a little girl she dreamed of becoming a fine seaman who sailed to far off lands, but she realized, even at that young age, that she was not the type to be a warrior like a shield maiden. As she grew older she longed to, in some small way, be involved with the great sailing ships.
Then one day the head sail seamstress asked if she would be interested in learning the trade of sail making. Rannveig jumped at the chance, and without hesitation, or consulting her parents, agreed to come work at the docks making sails. Despite her mother Ingibjorg's objections, Rannveig came down to the docks faithfully every day since to help make sails for the ships she loved so dearly.
Thorir was everything that Asmund was not . He was handsome, strongly built, and considered by all to be a great warrior and a fine leader of men. He was a veteran of many battles, a ship' s captain, and he had grown quite wealthy leading his warriors in raids against the towns and villages along the Irish and British coasts. Thorir was also very outgoing and charming with the ladies, and they in turn enjoyed the handsome captain's company. And that is where the paths of the valiant sea captain, Rannveig, the beautiful seamstress, and Asmund, the little ship' s carpenter crossed.
Everyday, for several months, Asmund was forced to watch as the woman he loved more than anything else in the world became slowly and inextricably involved with his beloved Rannveig. At first the little ship's carpenter would catch a glimpse of them sharing a brief word together. This quickly turned into much more intimate conversation, which often included them sharing a laugh together. And then, right before Asmund' s very eyes, he caught them holding hands as they walked from the docks into the village.
At first the timid little ship's carpenter denied what he was seeing was true. But Asmund, despite the fifty yards that separated the shipyard from the docks where the women sewed, could tell that something was developing between the two of them. What worried him most was the loving way they looked at one another !
Asmund held out hope, as the months went by, that the captain would disappear back out to sea, and never return again. The carpenter often fantasized that Thorir' s ship would sink with all hands, and that he would then be the one who comforted Rannveig in her time of great loss. When he saw them kiss for the first time, however, his heart sank down into his stomach, and he realized that he was quickly losing her.
Asmund considered many times that he should go over and tell Rannveig how he felt. " If only she knew how much he loved her she would understand and come to him . " he told himself over and over. Several times he began to walk over to the sewing hut, but Asmund was a coward at heart, and turned around each time.
Then one day Asmund heard a rumor that Thorir and Rannveig were engaged to be married. It was at that moment that this shy, simple ship' s carpenter, began to become as warped as the planks that he fitted on the ships he made ! "
- End Chapter 1
- Next : Chapter 2 : Jarl Vigfus Of Agder
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.