The Spirit Tamer
Two Is Too Many !
Alva, who had flown onto his drinking horn, laughed when she heard Naddoður's hypothesis of how he had split himself in two.
" You are not the spiritual Naddoður ! The one who proceeds you is the phantom ! " she corrected the Shaman.
" Then how did my spiritual self get out in front of me ? " he asked.
Alva fluttered her wings to balance herself as Naddoður moved the horn slightly, and then replied.
" What is it that you do after contacting the spirits in their world ? " she asked.
Naddoður shrugged his shoulders.
" Nothing ! I am usually to spent by the process, and have to sleep afterwards. " he replied.
" Exactly ! Your spiritual self more than likely did not re- connect with your body, and while you slept it moved on. " she explained.
Naddoður had to admit that there was a certain logic to her thinking. As he brought the horn up to his lips Alva stared at him from the edge of the drinking vessel.
" Do you know how to re - connect us ? " he asked.
Alva jumped off the horn and flew around to his ear.
" There are two ways to re - unite your body with your spiritual self. You can either pass yourself in time, or you can make your spiritual self see your real self which will make it realize that it is not real, and it should disappear. " she told him.
Naddoður nodded that he understood and agreed.
" Then at first light we must journey fast and hard to catch up with my Vardøgr ! " he told her.
Naddoður was up long before Sunna lit up the eastern horizon with her wonderful glow. He packed his things, rolled them in his blanket, and tied the ends together. As he extinguished what was left of his campfire he noticed that Alva was still sleeping peacefully on a leaf near the fire.
" Time to get up my little fairy friend ! " he said softly as he gently rocked the leaf.
Alva rolled over and ignored him.
Naddoður laughed at her stubbornness.
" Well ! If you are going to be difficult then I will have to take matters into my own hands. " he explained to the tired Elf.
With gentle hands he picked the leaf up by both ends, and placed it into his pocket. At first Alva protested, but the pocket was warm, and she soon fell back asleep. Naddoður, with his friend now along for the ride, threw his bed roll over his shoulder, and headed toward the distant horizon to find his other self.
By noon Sunna's rays had made Naddoður's pocket a humid sweat box for the tiny Elf, and she was soon asking to be let out. With one hand he opened his pocket and the little fairy flew out into the fresh air and sunshine.
Alva looked all around her.
" Where are we ? " Have we traveled far ? " she asked in rapid succession.
Naddoður pointed to a farmhouse that they were fast approaching as he answered her question.
" I have been walking twice as fast as I normally do. So I hope that I have made up at least half of the distance between myself and my Vardøgr. I am going to call upon the inhabitants of this farm to inquire if they had seen me pass this way yesterday. " he explained to Alva.
The farmer, who was called Ambi, seemed to be surprised to see Naddoður as he walked up the path to speak to him . Then to the Shaman's surprise the farmer drew an axe from his belt, and held it up in a threatening manner.
" Why have you come back ? You were in such a hurry yesterday ! Do you wish to rob me ? Is that why you visited me yesterday,... so you could find out that I am all alone here on my farm ? " he asked nervously.
Naddoður stepped backward and placed his hands up in the air.
" I assure you I mean you no harm ! I simply want to know what time I visited you yesterday ? " the Shaman asked.
Ambi looked at the visitor strangely.
" What ?! " he asked, not understanding why he would want to know such a silly thing.
Naddoður repeated the question.
" About the same time as today. " the farmer replied as he checked the position of the sun in the sky.
Naddoður thanked the farmer, then turned and walked back to the forest road.
As he left the farmer behind the Shaman looked at his shoulder where Alva was perched, and said in a disgusted tone :
" I have walked as fast as I can all morning and apparently have not made up any of the distance between myself and my Vardøgr. "
Alva smiled at her human friend.
" Nor will you ! " she told him.
Naddoður stopped, picked up the little Elf between his fingers, and placed her in front of his face.
" What do you mean ? " he asked.
Alva narrowed her eyes at the rough treatment she was receiving.
" Let me go and I will tell you ! " she said angrily.
Naddoður, who had not realized he was hurting Alva, released her immediately. As she flew in front of him she explained.
" Your Vardøgr is your mirror. If you walk fast so does it. And if you run, then it too will run ! " she explained to him.
Naddoður's shoulders slumped.
" Then I will never be able to catch up to my spiritual self. " he replied dejectedly.
Alva grinned as she buzzed over and gently hit him on the nose.
" But there is one thing that your Vardøgr cannot do,... and that is fly ! " she informed her human friend.
" Well, ... neither can I ! " he responded angrily.
The tiny fairy laughed as she began to grow in size. When Alva reached a point where she was twice as large as he was she fluttered her huge wings for him to see.
" No ! But I can ! " she told him as she picked him up and got a running start to fly.
Carrying Naddoður was an arduous task for Alva in flight. All the more so because she was exerting every last bit of energy with every wing beat to go as fast as she could to help the human that she had grown so very fond of. She was even willing to die for him if necessary.
Naddoður could not help but notice that Alva was struggling greatly to fly with him in her arms. As her face turned red, sweat began to pour from her brow, and run down her face like tears. When her wings began to make an odd sound he became extremely concerned.
" Put me down ! You are going to hurt yourself ! " he cautioned her.
His concern for her made Alva push ahead even harder.
" If we do not catch up to him by nightfall he may be lost to us forever ! " she warned the Shaman.
Naddoður's eyes widened.
" How so ? " he demanded to know.
Alva looked straight ahead as she answered.
" A Vardøgr mimics, in the future, the footfalls of it's follower. Because you have not been on foot for most of the day it will now find it's own way in the world. " she told him.
Naddoður looked ahead to the far horizon.
" It may already be too late ! " he said as he pointed to the darkening horizon up ahead.
Just then Alva screamed out in joy and agony.
" There it is ! "
Naddoður saw a silhouette in the distance.
" Are you sure ? " he asked.
Alva replied quickly.
" Yes ! But I will not reach him in time carrying you ! " she replied as she let go of him.
By the time the Shaman hit the ground Alva had almost reached the Vardøgr, but she knew that she would not make it to him before the sun set. She had to make it turn around and see it's double. But how ? ! Then it suddenly came to her. What would make a lonely traveler turn around.
" Naddoður ! I love you !! " she shouted as loud as she could at the phantom.
As the Vardøgr turned she veered off to the right, and crashed hard into the ground, leaving a clear sight path to the real Naddoður. Injured, and in pain, Alva watched as the phantom saw itself. In a puff of spiritual smoke the Vardøgr understood that it was not real and disappeared.
Naddoður witnessed it all ! For years it was he, the wandering Shaman, who saved those in need, but now he was once again being saved by another. Despite his age, Naddoður got up and ran as fast as he could to where Alva lay in a heap on the other side of the field.
When he reached her he was appalled by her condition. Her hair was a mess, her face was bruised badly, and her left wing was crumpled underneath her. As he knelt down he carefully hugged her close and kissed her on the cheek.
" Please tell me you are alright ! " he whispered to her as he gently kissed her on the forehead.
Alva looked up at him through fluttering eyes, and forced a small smile onto her face.
" Oh my ! That really hurt " was all she could manage before she fell unconscious.
- End Chapter 8
Next : Chapter 9 : Dead Men Are The Tale !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.