Freyja’s 8 Section 6
Letter ‑ K
Name ‑ KEN
Meaning ‑ A TORCH
Planetary Rulership ‑ MARS AND THE SUN (ARIES)
Gemstone ‑ BLOODSTONE
Flower ‑ GROSE OR WILDROSE
Number ‑ 3
Arthian ‑ ARTHUR
WEATHER ‑ WARM OR HOT SUNNY
ELEMENT ‑ PRIME FIRE
Energy, Strength, Power, Positivity, Recovery, Spring, Initiative,
Protection of valuables, physical well-being, self-confidence, positivity, fresh starts, stability in relationships.
Good health Recovery in all areas of life a gift given from the active partner in any kind of relationship. Strings on the gift are a possibility, A new emotional involvement, A period of protection from difficulties, Possibly a physical birth.
Imbalance in fire energies, loss of something important, brake down of relationships through growing apart. Old things.
Geldnir carried a torch in one hand and a water bucket in the other through the dark, great hall. The central dirt floor was hard-packed by years of passing feet. The smells of sickness filled the air, barely dulled by the cedar wood old Halla had had him throw in the central firepit which smouldered barely keeping the stew pot warm, adding to the unpleasant heat of the season.
The torch was a light in the darkness. A promise of the far-off dawn. Halla had said that fire helped drive off the spirits of sickness like a torch drove back the night.
“I’m sorry,” said a raspy whisper.
Gildnir stepped onto the wooden floor that circled the hall’s one, large room. Mounting his torch in a sconce driven into one of the roof’s supports, he moved to the blanket shrouded figure. He knelt beside Jokull and gently stroked his friend’s forehead. The contact made Gildnir feel odd inside.
Biting his lip, he closed his eyes and reached into his mind. This was something he told no one about, not even his mother, especially not his mother. After a moment, he opened his eyes and saw two transparent figures kneeling by Jokull.
“You took two years longer to become a Master Tanner than you had to. After all we did for you,” a quarrelous woman’s voice came from one of the shades.
“I’m sorry,” whispered Jokull.
“And now you’re going to suffer the straw death. I doubt you’ll even enter Bilskirnir. Mark my words boy, Hel will take you, and she’ll freeze your soul. You’ve been an evil man. Best we get it over with! Come along, boy.”
“You can’t take him. Jokull is a good friend and an excellent tanner, and an honest tradesman. It takes a lot of craftsmen a few tries to get their master’s status. He’s my friend. I won’t let you take him,” Gildnir’s voice was choked and tears leaked from his eyes.
“Who are you to speak to the dead?” demanded the male shade.
Gildnir hung his head.
“Who indeed?” remarked an elderly woman’s voice from behind him. “Be gone shadows of those gone before. Jokull is sick enough, but not that sick. I command you by Freyja and the Lord of Ghouls, leave the living to their time.” Hella gestured with a pointed finger, and the shades evaporated.
“Thank you,” Gildnir looked at Jokull who still writhed in a fever dream. The slightly older man had always fascinated him. If he had a friend, it was Jokull. Under his bluster, there was sadness and kindness that few others saw.
“It is the duty of a Seithkona. Your friend has much life left to live. But what of you. How long have you been able to speak to the dead?”
Gildnir hung his head. “I… As long as I can remember. My grandmother used to come to me when I was upset.”
“Your father’s mother, not a surprise. Asdis was a powerful Seithkona. It is always hard when one with the gift is born male.”
“Seithkona are women, it is woman’s magic. I can’t be a Seithkona.”
“But you are. Seithkona are a torch on the dark road of death. We cast our light, and that light is healing, new beginnings, for there is no birth without death, we offer protection from the hungry dead. Would you learn the ways of the dark road? If you do not, your torch will either wither and die, or the flame will grow to swallow you up as the dead pester you more and more.”
“How can I?” Gildnir wrung his hands in dismay.
The claw-like hand of the old witch fell to his shoulder. You must do as Great Odin himself did. Take the role of a woman while you train. When you have mastered your talent, you may choose to go back to being a man, if it is your will to do so, but as you study, you must dress as a woman and do woman’s work. You must be a woman.”
Gildnir bit his lip. “You would teach me to heal?”
“All I know of herbs, fruits and roots will be yours.”
“I… I will.”
“Very good, daughter. Do you know how to work a quern?”
“Yes. My mother taught me before I became a man.”
“Sad, but it serves us now. Change out of those boy clothes and grind some flower. We need to make gruel for the sick. There’s an old dress in my chest that should fit you. Oh, and what is your name, girl? We can’t keep calling you Gildnir.”
“The new girl smiled. Edda, yes, Edda is my name. I think it’s pretty.”
Edda carefully ladled some water from the bucket beside her and supported Jokull as he drank. She was strong, and the water was the gift of life. Somehow Edda felt a strength Gildnir never had, a centredness in the new role that suited who she was inside.
Halla smiled at the new Seithkona before turning to her other patients.
Gaut threw off the blankets covering him. Sweat dripped from his brow, and his lungs were raw from coughing. The firepit in the centre of his house smoked. His wife and unmarried daughter slept on the wood platform surrounding the dwelling’s single room.
A shiver ran through him.
“Jokull you ungrateful child. Why I ever took your parents silver to take you in when they died, I’ll never know. Deserting my family when we need you,” the old Tanner’s voice shook.
Levering himself out of bed, he pulled on loose, leather boots. Taking a torch from a stack by the wall, he thrust it into the banked coals in the fire pit.
The torch lit and Gaut held it high as he stumbled towards the doorway. A wave of dizziness hit him, and he staggered into the wood floor, measuring his length on the platform. The flaming torch fell over a pile of blankets, tipping upside down. The blankets caught fire.
When Gaut opened his eyes, flames licked up the wall of his house.
“Fire,” he rasped through a ragged throat. Mustering his strength, he lurched to his wife and daughter, shaking them awake. Together they grabbed what they could and staggered from the burning building.
A woman, they didn’t recognize, raced from the great hall with a bucket of water. Edda quickly checked on the Tanner’s family, then rushed to contain the growing inferno as best she could.