- February 7, 2021
Raydorn: The Valkyrie & the Frost Chapter 1
“The child of the Frost, her child may bring fire and destruction. Her child may bring about the very end.”
– The Prophecy of Knight, 1328 After the Coming of Almulan
Osera is not what one would call likable, anyone who disagrees can ask her sister, her brothers, nieces, nephews, jilted friends, jaded business partners, or any of the trillions of dead souls she controls to explain why it’s true.
Yes, she’s that one. The mean one, let’s not talk around it, that would be dishonest.
Most call her rude and obnoxious, and her sister would have even ruder first choice words for her.
But there is one thing everyone can respect about Osera, she’s loyal to those who are loyal to her, and right now one of them needs her help.
She’s very upset about it, but not more than him.
“Just give me more time, Rud,” she says, again banging her head against the barrier that separates her from her brother.
Some people might think being separated by someone by a wall is worse than glass because you can’t see them. They’re wrong.
Being able to see them is much worse because you can see how they’re falling apart at the semes. You can see the pain in their face and you can’t do anything about it.
As much disdain as gods and mortals have for Osera, watching her crumbling to her knees is not as cathartic as one would think. Watching her brother remain locked away, able to do nothing but moan in the loneliness of the darkness, his own domain, both breaks her and puts her back together.
Uselessness breaks her down, but rage builds her back up, and she tries to give that to her dear big brother.
“Just hold on a bit longer,” Osera tells him, “I almost have, just a few more years, a few more-”
“Years?” he says.
“Years?!” he yells the second time.
Osera, Goddess of the Dead, develops a quiver in her lip hearing her brother yell, most of all at her.
As quickly as he yells, just as quickly he cries. “You have no idea how lonely it is, to languish here… in the dark… it was once my friend… it was mine… but now…”
Osera’s hands clench against the translucent barrier between that twists and turns her visions of his ghastly form for her own torture.
“Please, Rud, brother, hang on,” she begs him, “please hang on just a bit longer, I’ve almost done it, I’ve almost freed you, I’ve almost taken our vengeance upon the sister that put you here.”
“Vengeance? Vengeance?! What will that do for me?!” Rud questions her, his form smacking against the barrier knocking her to the ground. His form swirls about and around behind the glass, growing as does his festering rage, and as he does so, she dips her head.
The brother she calls Rud stops. He stops growing, controls himself, and shrinks down for the one and only one who comes to visit him, who has fought to even keep him company.
He comes down to her level as she struggles to keep form and self. He places his hand against the glass as he tries to warn her, “What will vengeance against her do to fill the hole in us? If were not so consumed with the idea of punishing a goddess who refuses to be judged, do you think you could have freed me by now?”
Osera lifts her head, and she bores into him with disgust in turn. “That’s. Not. Fair.”
“It’s not about fairness,” he tells her, “it’s about being free. Maybe it’s time you stopped.”
Osera crawls back to the glass, and says, “No.”
“You’ve wasted how many centuries trying to free me?”
She bangs her fist against the barrier and mutters, “Don’t say it.”
“It’s time you stopped.”
Then she slams against the barrier. “No! I’ve-I’ve… figured it out, I just need to trick someone into the Tower, where the other fucking cowards keep you, Rud, please don’t give up… please.”
Rud’s can barely form into a face and an eye, an eye that looks into her with droplets of shadow falling from it.
“Don’t come back here again,” he tells her, before he turns away.
She screams for him to come back, “Rud! Rud no! Don’t give up! Don’t give up on me! Rud, please! Please come back…”
The realm of his prison, the darkness, it falls away leaving her in the mortal plane, the only place where she can communicate with him.
In this dying land called Seca, in its landmark plateau called the Beacon, Osera sits in the cavern alone. She wraps her arms around her, as the crystals that bring light to these caves glow red. It draws out the willowing dead in her hair, and leaves her alone to listen to the screams of the souls she controls.
They are in her very tears, black swirls that drip down her cheeks, decrying her face with a horror that would break mortal men.
But not her.
“I won’t give up, Rud, even if you will-”
“You must remember to be careful with the tablet,” she hears someone say, an old man’s face she thinks from the condescending tone.
They always sound like that, she tells herself.
Their footsteps grow louder and louder as she sits in her fetal position, stricken by rage and tears. They have no idea what they walk into as they step foot into the cavern, and they’ll never know.
Osera has dissipated before they walk in, old men of this land, not hers. Her chosen people live across the sea from this one. These people are of dark skin, evolved withstand the deserts of northern Seca, sitting on the planet’s equator.
The old man wears a headdress, made from the few plants that grow only out of the plateau, and the young, strapping men following him have adorned their faces with red paint in the adoration of the Beacon.
Despite their appearance, they don’t seem quite so serious to the goddess watching.
“We’ve carried the tablet a hundred times before, old shaman,” one of the young men tell him in their language different from her own.
Osera twitches hearing it. No mortal language is indecipherable to the ears of a god, but when it can sound as if on chalkboard when listening to the chosen mortals of another.
“You’re getting lax,” the old shaman tells them, “just like the Frost child, you all are too lax, and you’re going to break something.”
Frost child? Osera thinks to herself. Ah, yes, my nephew.
Vengeance is empty he thinks, but that’s only because we can’t find her, we can’t hurt our dear sister. But I can’t hurt her in other ways, I can’t hurt the only thing she loves.
Osera watches the strapping men lift the stone tablet, the size of a table, full of power and likely to destroy the ground if dropped. They could never break it from the short height they lift it.
Osera slithers through the shadows, the domain of the gods of this land, and hides within the shadow of the tablet. From there, she reacquaints herself with its words. ‘The child of the Frost, her child may bring peace and prosperity. Her child may bring the end of suffering.’
How hopeful, Osera thinks to herself, how arrogant her child must have become.
Osera stays in the shadow of the tablet, as they carry from the caverns of their sacred landmark, their unnaturally large plateau.
She is their shadow, their poison as they take her to their tribe in midst of their celebration and prayers.
The people here, the ones other lands call Tribal, had the inspired thought to make prayer a celebration rather than a chore, or a chain. To celebrate their prosperity, to celebrate the water surplus they have thanks to the Frost child, they paint themselves white as ice, and they dance.
Osera watches as they have her sister’s child, her dear nephew, barely 6 years old in the middle of their circle. They dance and they chant as he claps and giggles, his father his guard.
His father, the war chief who seduced or was seduced by the pale foreigner as they know his mother. He has the same look of violence as all the men she fornicates with, and leaves behind.
The boy doesn’t look much like his mother. He doesn’t have her eyes. He’s just paler than the others around him. The foreigners would treat him better opposed to the others of his tribe just for that.
Then Osera sees why they pray to him, as if she would have forgotten.
His father helps him as the boy struggles to lift the axe his mother left him. It’s an axe that only he can use, made of foreign steel, foreign trees, and foreign runes. Most others would throw it away, but not this one with the power it has.
His father helps him lift it by holding his arms, but only the boy’s hands may grip it without pain. The boy has grown a strong grip, and as he raises it over his head, it gives off an icy steam.
Then his eyes glow gold, just like his mother’s.
The small pond from which they have place their tribe around starts to freeze, and then rise.
As if from nothing, a chunk of ice, a storage of water and cold in this hot desert forms again. It’ll last them a week before he does it again, and they won’t have to trade with any slavers or merchants for water again.
Then they start chanting, they bring the tablet and set it between the boy and the desert locked glacier he has created for them.
They chant the tablet’s prophecy now.
“The child of the Frost, her child may bring peace and prosperity! Her child may bring the end of suffering!”
And peace and prosperity he has brought them, their Frost child.
They treat this little boy like he’s a god, just his mother would want, just as his mother expects everyone to treat her.
Well, he’s no god, this won’t do, this won’t do at all.
Osera smiles in the shadow of the tablet, for a flicker in the torchlight, the old shaman sees the face of death, the Ruler of Hemel and Hedone. He says nothing.
As they chant, her dark, disgusting, long finger reaches up high towards the words as she struggles to remember how to write in their language.
Still, as the others dance and celebrate, as they praise and gift this boy with love, only the old shaman sees what Osera does, and he says nothing.
He says nothing until she is done.
“Look at the tablet!” he says, before Osera can trick them herself.
All look at the tablet, but they cannot hear the Goddess snicker and laugh to herself.
They are horrified by her work as she slips away from shadow to shadow.
They look on at the words, and they turn to the boy they have immediately grow to fear.
They chant together, “The child of the Frost, her child may bring fire and destruction. Her child may bring about the very end.”
They chant this at him, until all the happiness he knew is gone, and he is cowering in the arms of his father.
How quickly mortal love and adoration can change to hate, and how petty how the gods who make it that way.