Ode to the Norse god
Bitter wind whips cloaks and furs as the riders crest the final hill. A fist rises. A signal to hold. Horses wicker, a restless hoof stomps, Words, guttural, soothing and then the wind again.
Below, a village, quiet, silent even. On this, the eve of Samhain, there should be laughter, songs, merriment filling the air next to spiced mead and mulled wine, roasted beef and pork over an open flame, but here, nothing, the wind off the snow, the sound the trees would make if there were any left. The wind cries for the trees. The one with the fist. Removes his helm and hands it to his second, still atop his horse. He dismounts. Speaking soothing words onto its muzzle, guttural, like the purr of some great cat. The horse understands. It’s seen war before. Knows the cost. Riders. 4. Look on as they watch the one with the fist heft his hammer. And march toward the ruins of the town. Dark whispers. Things creeping in the shadows. Slithering. Watching. Nipping at heels underneath ruined houses and charred buttresses. The one with the fist and the hammer marches towards the middle where it must be done. Heavy cloak whipping. Furs against the winters wind. Back on the hill the riders watch their captain march his slow deliberate charge into the blackness of the mist that has since enveloped the village. It knows. Something is here. Back on the hill, eyes shift, under helms. One set looks on, sending silent prayers.
It happens quickly and in succession.
A burst of white-gold light, and a rumble of thunder that starts far off and grows. And grows and grows until the ground feels like it might crumble. Deafening. Then a roar part war cry, part god-like decree, echoes from somewhere deep. A shriek like the casting of millions of unholy voices. Thunder again. Overhead this time. Then the whoosh of great wings. Great raven’s wings on the body of a woman. His shield maiden. His Valkyrie. Gliding. Swooping. Finally grabbing. Clutching. Like lovers locked in lust. Gasping into the skies. Into that velvet swath of jewel encrusted ecstasy.