A Tale of Runes: The Nied Rune

Read Part One of A Tale of Runes

Read Part Two of A Tale of Runes

Read Part Three of A Tale of Runes

Read Part Four of A Tale of Runes

Read Part Five of A Tale of Runes

Read Part Six of A Tale of Runes

Read Part Seven A Tale of Runes

Read Part Eight A Tale of Runes

Read Part Nine A Tale of Runes

Read Part 10 A Tale of Runes

Heimdall’s 8 Section 2


Letter ‑ N

Name ‑ NIED


Planetary Rulership ‑ SATURN ACTIVE (CAPRICORN)


Flower ‑ KROKUS

Number ‑ 7



Association words

Necessity, Patience, delay, hardship, lack, perseverance, genetics

Magical Meanings

All situations calling for prudence or circumspection. Good for patience. Determined effort. Long term goals. Common sense and practicality. Also used in love magic to ginger up a relationship that is taking too long to get off the ground.

Divinatory Additions

Delays. Ill-health and hardships are all part of Nied, but it also calls for perseverance and intimates that victory will come in its own time and councils against change. Nied usually indicates a learning situation and also symbolizes the game of hard to get that is played.


You’re doing the wrong thing. Negative patterns. A guilty conscience demanding restitution. A comeuppance. KARMA!!! Advise querent to be moral as he or she won’t get away with any other course.

Story upright:

Sweyn pulled on the oar, welcoming the warmth that the exertion lent his chilled body. His eyes strayed to the three members of his crew who lay wrapped in blankets shivering on the centre deck. The storm had wet them clean through, and the cold had taken its toll. Eight, skinny Bullocks were tethered just behind the sick crewmen then crates of wooden bowls, iron cauldrons, jewellery and such other treasures as the people of his village could spare.

“Ice forward port,” called the watchman from the front of the ship.

“Ice forward port, Aya. Hold starboard oars.” Hovi, the man on the tiller oar at the back of the ship, called out.”

Sweyn lifted his oar from the cold sea and waited as the ship pulled to starboard away from the threatening ice.

“All clear,” bellowed the forward watch.

“Resume stroke,” called the steersman.

Sweyn dipped his oar with the rest of his crew.

“Captain,” asked the man behind him as they rowed.

“What?” Sweyn tried to keep the frustration out of his voice.

“How long ‘till we make port? I don’t want to malinger, but I’m not feeling me best.”

Sweyn grit his teeth. “We should have a day ago. I hate winter sailing! The winds are all wrong, and we’ve spent as much time dodging ice as moving forward. We do what we need to. If you can hold on a day, Bjorn, I’ll have you in a warm hall. Just hold on.”

“It were a mistake to brave the seas so early,” observed the man seated ahead of Sweyn. Sea chests formed rows up both sides of the ship’s deck, each with an oarsman wrapped in a heavy cloak seated upon it pulling on an oar.

Norse Sea Chest

“I’d agree, but we need the seed grain if we’re to have a wheat crop this year. That hail came at a bad time. What we managed to glean was too wet to keep. Mould wiped it out. Necessity demands we ride a winter sea.” Sweyn then yelled, “Hold.”

The rowers all stopped. Sweyn shipped his oar and stood up. “Pull.”

The oarsmen drove their oars into the water as Sweyn made his way to the steering oar at the back of the ship.

Steering Oar

“The men aren’t happy,” remarked the large, blond man at the steering oar as Sweyn settled himself at the stern of the ship.

“Over half of them are farmers, Hovi. The sea is new to them. What do you expect? It can’t be helped. If we don’t get seed wheat back in time for planting, we’ll lose the wheat harvest for this year. We can’t change what the Norns have decreed. I just hope we can trade for enough to plant the fields.”

The Norns

“Aye, It were a smart stroke to get them to take their wages in grain for their own planting and buy their portion of the cargo to boot.”

“They’re as desperate as we are. If we can pull this off, come harvest, I’ll be able to pay off the ship from the tithe I’m charging for supplying transport.” Sweyn sighed then took the tiller oar. “I’ll be happy to get home to Inga. Winter is supposed to be our time together. Though.”

“Though,” asked Hovi.

“I love her, but a little time away doesn’t hurt. You know what it’s like, all cooped up together, and the baby doesn’t help.”

“You’ll get home, and it will be like the first day you saw her all over again. Trust me. Twenty summers and I still see me Katla fresh and new like the day we wed whenever I get in from a trip.”

“You’re a son of Freya or Bragi. I’m not sure which.” Sweyn smiled, then sobered. “This could go very wrong, if Tuborg comes in with seed grain before us, our market could dry up fast.”



“Tuborg’s father has him taking thralls to the market in Ath Cliath. That’s slow, dirty work. Tween you and me, the third skeid ain’t fit for a winter ocean, dry rot. Best it’s got is another summer maybe two of easy hauling.”

“That I know. When I bought my boat, Tuborg tried to make me take that one. I’ll admit, he was good enough about it when I told him no.”

“Landing starboard,” called the bow watch.

Sweyn passed the steering oar to Hovi and stood up. In the distance, he could see a fortified village.

“Pull for Port.” Sweyn sank down by the steering oar and directed his ship forward. “Now I can only hope we have enough trade goods to get the grain. I’ve spent all I own.”

“You just need time. Be patient,” advised Hovi. A week later Sweyn and his crew, of mostly farmers, set out on their return trip. Containers of seed grain were piled on the deck, and there was barely a silver coin aboard. The wind was against them, but Sweyn knew if he could do what was necessary to get the seed planted in time, there would be a rich harvest. He just had to be patient, hold his course and work for his goal.

Story Reversed:

Tuborg stared dissolutely at the thralls as they were marched off his ship towards the market’s slave pens. He’d known some of the men and women that were now ripped from their families and sold to the foreigners.

“Better this then starving when the food runs out,” he muttered. The words sounded hollow to his conscience.

“They don’t be much,” remarked a redhaired man with missing teeth and a wiry build as he approached up the gangplank.

“They’re hard workers. Good solid thralls in the field,” countered Tuborg.

The redhead spat. “Not much call for field thralls. Now if you bring a comely lass or two next time, they’re fetching scatt a plenty.”

Tuborg looked at the shallow river that flowed by his ship and felt sick. “I’m sure they are. The thralls will be fed and housed?”

“Oh, aye. Cargo’s not worth nothing if they’re dead, though it comes out of yur portion until they be sold.” The redheaded man spat again and walked away.

Tuborg felt sick. Thralls were a part of life, but he’d never before been involved in the buying and selling of human property. The family his father kept had always been just that. A family, thralls yes, but together and cared for. With the food running short, the village had sold thralls that had been with them for generations. How’d they get the planting done was anybody’s guess.

Shaking his head Tuborg made his way onto the dock and walked up the plank. He’d heard of the city of Ath Cliath and its wonders, but all he could see was the stink and despair of the slave pens.

Ath Cliath

“It’s better than starving,” he muttered to himself. Coming to a street beyond the market he saw a man in ragged clothing with a barrel on wheels. “One skatt to dip your horn.”

Tuborg felt his thirst come upon him and handed over the coin. He drained the horn of thin mead, then another, then another.

The light was painful. Tuborg tried to roll away from it.

Someone kicked him, and he sat up.


“Be quiet,” snapped an unpleasant voice.

Tuborg looked around. He was in a wooden cage with straw in its bottom. Four other people were with him, all dressed in ragged, grey clothing.

“Got a fancy one, do you?” asked a woman’s voice. Tuborg forced his eyes to focus against the pounding in his head. The voice came from a fat, middle-aged woman with dark hair and a pale complexion.

“Aye, Fjola, found him passed out in an alley. Nice clothes. Figure he’s one of those north men. Don’t know whether to sell him back to his ship or auction him off,” said a muscular man in a fine tunic and trues.

Tuborg pulled himself up as best he could and tried to speak with authority. “I am Captain Tuborg, and I am a free man. You had best let me out of here right now.”

“Oh, a captain, I’m so scared,” replied the large man. “You shut up, Captain, if you know what’s good for you. I haven’t made up me mind about what to do with you, so you best stay on me good side if you want to see your ship again.” Turning to Fjola, he motioned her out the door. “Well, let’s see what yur have for me this time. Could use some good field thralls for the planting. Big demand for that type this time of year.”

Tuborg tried to think past the pounding in his ears.

“Are you really a captain?” asked one of the thralls in the cage.

“Yes.” Tuborg scanned his companions two were skinny women with scabs on their arms and missing teeth. One a girl barely old enough to bleed and the man.

The man moved close and spoke in a whisper. “I can get us out of this cage if you can get my daughter and me out of Hibernia.”


Tuborg bit his lip. Stealing a thrall could cost him his life. Should he wait and see if his crew would ransom him? His eyes stole from the girl-child to the older women. The girl was pretty. A fire pushed up through his hangover as he thought what would become of her. “Done.”

The male thrall moved to the door of the cage, and instead of touching the lock, he lifted the hinge side. The joinery hinges slid up and out of their brackets. He set the door to one side hanging from its latch.

“Why haven’t you escaped before if it’s so easy?” asked Tuborg.

“And go where. They said they’d sell my daughter away from me if I tried to escape. Until now, getting away would have been imposable.”

Tuborg rushed to the door of the building they were in and looked out. The slave trader was inspecting a cage of people as if they were cattle.

Tuborg glanced back into the building. On the far wall, hand shackles hung from a hook. “I have an idea.” He began searching the room opening a box he found his cloak, purse, dagger, bronze Mjolnir pendant and eating knife.

Dawning his possessions, he held out the wrist shackles to the male thrall and his daughter.

The male thrall nodded. “Cara, Saorise come with us.” he motioned to the two women.

They shook their heads and shrank away from him.

“Hurry,” whispered Tuborg

A moment later, Tuborg strutted through the slave market with his two new acquisitions trailing behind him in chains. Reaching his ship, he saw that the cargo of dried foods that would see his village through the rest of the winter had been loaded and his crew were lounging on the deck awaiting his arrival.

“Cast off,” Tuborg commanded then as an afterthought took the shackles from his guests and threw them overboard. “Not again, father. Never again!” Tuborg moved to see to his ship as the current drew him down the River Liffey to the sea.

Stephen Pearl

Stephen B. Pearl has studied metaphysics for over thirty years focusing on Pagan beliefs, primarily the Egyptian Path though he is eclectic in his views and practice. He considers himself an Egyptian path Pagan Wizard-priest. Which is all to say, he’s tried to make sense out of the craziness that is the universe and has probably made an even worse muck of it. He has read Tarot and Runes professionally on and off for about twenty years. In addition, he created and ran the You the Psychic and Divination the Mystic Eye courses at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. As part of Divination the Mystic Eye, he instructed people on the use of Runes as a divinatory medium. Stephen is also a fiction writer with many works that dip into the paranormal and draw on his personal experience for inspiration. For more on this aspect of his life please visit: www.stephenpearl.com

Recent Content