“Tonight all of Ersnon will have a restless sleep. Wolves will be silent as they stalk, bears will awaken from their winter slumbers, and the feirguls (dead birds) will rule the skies for Njóla. For tonight belongs to her and hers to command. All that is natural will be corrupted tonight, so stay close to home and keep your fire strong. On Njóttla (Night of the Dead) even the Vándr Náttúra (evil spirits) hide, for they fear the feivakr (the undead) that may roam Ersnon tonight.” Old Gimli boomed the start of the tale so all the children across the Great Hall could hear. Although the children had heard the tale many times, it still was special to hear the tales of Njóla and Njóttla, which could only be told tonight.
Haakon (one of the main characters in the series) patiently sat at the head of the children. He was the strongest of all the boys his age, and a greater warrior than all, even those 2 cycles his senior. But the tales of Njóla were something that he still feared, and never tempted fate by roaming the blackness that She blanketed the stars and moon tonight.
Old Gimli continued Njóla’s tale “To understand Njóttla you must first know the tales of Njóla. Her story starts in Mærrlopt (their fortress heaven) and as the daughter of Ǫrvar (their creator). She was our Creator’s most beautiful daughter, and destined to be a goddess of greatness, but she chose a path of betrayal, evil and deceit. Our Creator gave her everything that she desired, she never went without. How did she thank Her father, Our Father, with going behind His back and trying to help the Vándr Náttúra to steal Mærrlopt.”
The children gasped at this revelation, for their whole life was centred around earning the right to enter Mærrlopt and defeating the Vándr Náttúra in an eternal war. The thought of assisting them was great evil, and she wanted to assist them in stealing Mærrlopt, the home of their Gods and warrior ancestors. Old Gimli paused a little as the children digested the evil deeds that she had undertaken.
“Our Father however was not blind nor deaf, and heard of her deceit before she could help them steal His home. As much as He loved His daughter, He could not let her actions go unpunished. Her level of deceit was unheard of, and Our Father was angered that His most treasured daughter had transgressed. He was going to be lenient on her, but she insisted she’d done no wrong and that the Vándr Náttúra were not that evil. This threw Him into a rage, in which He savagely whipped her across the back. He then took her sight, as she was never to be allowed to look upon the beauty of Mærrlopt again. Finally He banished her from Mærrlopt. She fell down to Ersnon, which at the time was only water. The salt water scarred her still bleeding wounds on her back. Yet she made no noise, for she did not want to give Ǫrvar any satisfaction and already the evil that she had allowed into her heart had quenched her pain.”
“She was condemned to spend her immortality in the depths of Ersnon’s waters, alone and blind. That was until Ǫrvar saw the strength that Ersnon’s water had in imprisoning His daughter. So He decided to cast the Vándr Náttúra into the waters too. It was too late before He realised that he had reunited Njóla and them. They both reach an amicable relationship in their watery graves, and it is said that the offspring of Njóla from the Vándr Náttúra would lead their fight against the Gods, when the dead moon rose.”
“Ǫrvar saw this alliance form and in His fury cast down His spear to create land and the people of Ersnon. It is said that Ǫrvar had however thrown the spear so hard that it had pierced the skin of Ersnon and opened a hole to Ofantún (the underworld). The warmth that escaped from this hole aroused Njóla‘s interest. She drew close to the hole, and was pulled down. In Ofantún She felt warm for the first time in centuries, and she was dry. She found her strength again and became the Goddess of Darkness and Death.”
To be continued …
Check out the Legends of Ersnon glossary for some descriptions of creatures, I have put quick names in brackets (the problem being that this isn’t the first chapter and the creatures would be explained earlier on in the book … however I haven’t written those chapters yet). I welcome any constructive criticism, as this is only a first draft and I want to improve on it for the reader. Remember the reader would be introduced to most of these names and creations prior to this chapter in the context of the full story.