foreverwarrior: (Miranda (fearless))
When: Early First Century, AD
Where: Nærøyfjorden, Norway
Alias: Freyja Gundersdøttir



It isn't the birds or the spring sunshine that awaken her that morning, but the stench and incessant buzzing of flies. Her back is still to the unyielding granite escarpment, her legs tucked underneath her awkwardly. Slowly, she breathes, feeling life flow back into her veins. Her mind can't comprehend what's happened.

She should be dead. She had been dead. She doesn't remember anything of Valhal, only cold, all-consuming darkness. The gods had sent her to Hel. They had tested her, and she had been found wanting. She wants to scream at the unfairness. She had fought against at least six others. Hadn't that been enough for Oden?

She opens her eyes and pain rips through her. The bright sunlight is harsh against the small glen. Smoke rises up through the trees. A few paces away, she sees someone laying amongst the leaves. She stands slowly, the front of her dress is stiff with dried blood. Her blood. Her stomach clenches.

Her legs are unsteady as she stumbles over to prone form. She touches an arm, but the flesh is already cold. Flies feast on the exposed meat. The sound makes her cringe. She continues through the trees towards home. She is ill prepared for the carnage that greets her.

The feasting table has been toppled and chopped to splinters. The remains of the food litter the ground. Bodies lay nearby, cleaved and bloodied. She finds aunts, uncles, cousins. The Chieftain and his family are little more than charred remains buried under the soot and ash of the meadhall. She wanders among the wreckage of her life, numb and cold.

Her foot catches on something and she stumbles. It takes her eyes a few moments to see what lays upon the ground. A child, a girl, her eyes plucked from their sockets by a carrion-bird. Brynhildr was the first child she had helped from her mother's womb. This should have been her fifth summer, yet here she lay, broken and cleaved. Her stomach could not contain its horror any longer, but it has nothing to give. Dry retches wrack her body as she collapses to the ground.

She doesn't know how long she lays there, but she knows she cannot stay. She doesn't know where she'll go, but she can feel the pull of the sea. She gathers what supplies she can and even finds a reasonably clean change of clothes. After washing her face and mouth in the frigid waters of the fjord, she says one final prayer for the fallen, and begins her journey.

She never returns.


Quinnleigh Kincaid
Highlander OC
429 Words
foreverwarrior: (Miranda (looking down/soft smile))
When: Early First Century AD
Where: Nærøyfjorden, Norway
Name: Freyja Gundersdøttir



The blanket of glittering white cast a spell across the forest, but it was a spell that was quickly broken by boisterous, joyous voices. Tomorrow was Winter Solstice, a time of celebration on the darkest night of the year, and the traditions of her village held that the fathers and eldest, unwed daughters of each family would go into the woods surrounding the settlement to fell a tree for their Yule log.

The tree would be felled and then dragged by a team of four sturdy fjord ponies back to the mead hall. Each father would cut branches and sections of the trunk to bring back to their own homes with the largest part of the trunk to burn in the meadhall. Celebrations would continue day and night until the last of the Yule log had turned to ash. And, aside from nominal chores, no one worked.

So, on that night, her strawberry-blonde hair hidden by a reindeer-pelt hat, thirteen-year-old Freyja followed her father and the others through the darkened forest. The light from the fathers' torches glimmered off the snow-covered boughs as the other, older girls whispered stories of snow spirits who would capture anyone who ventured too far from the torchlight. Underneath her fur-lined cloak, Freyja could feel the comforting weight of the antler-handled knife her father had given her for her thirteenth birthday. Usually, such a weapon was given to the son of the house, but since Freyja was Gunder and Sigrùn's only child, she was treated as both son and daughter. And she was proving to be an avid hunter much like her father as well as a skilled healer like her mother.

A chill wind pinched her cheeks and brought her back to the task at hand. It was tradition that the youngest to pick which tree to use for the Yule log. She looked at the expectant faces of the others before roaming quietly around the sacred clearing where past logs had been felled. She took her duty very seriously, and did not want to disappoint the others.

Hearty firs could not be burned. Their soft needles stayed green throughout the long winter and were better used as decoration rather than fuel. Though birches made for good carving, they wouldn't provide enough wood to last two days, much less the hoped for week. Oaks were sacred, and no one wanted to encur Thor's wrath. Finally, she paused at the trunk of a great ash.

She remembered climbing through its branches during the bygone summers and was sad to discover that its outer branches were slowly dying. It was an old tree, and one that had spawned many offspring during its long years. It was one of her favourites in the forest and she would miss it come summer, but it was time the old ash served another purpose.

"This one, Fader," she said finally.

Gunder, a great golden bear of a man, approached the tree and ran his enormous bare hands across the rough bark. A faint smile played on his lips as he looked at the strange girl the goddess Freyja had chosen for his daughter thirteen springtides ago.

"I once played in its branches, too," he said softly, remembering his own childhood. "He was a grandfather even then. He has given many years to this forest and I do not think he should wither away like an old man."

Gunder rested a paw on Freyja's slender shoulder, and turned towards the rest of the group. The mindless twittering of the other girls as well as the gruff undertone of the men slowly died into silence.

"Freyja has made her choice," he started. "And it is a good one. Most of us have enjoyed this tree. It was here that Sigrùn and I met, and he has weathered many a storm as much a warrior as any of us. He should not be condemned to die an old man's death, but should have a hero's pyre."

The other fathers nodded in agreement and everyone moved to stand in a solemn ring around the trunk of the great tree as they all intoned the hero's prayer. Then, the daughters would all stand with the ponies to ensure they wouldn't spook as the tree crashed to the ground. As the men worked with their axes, they sang not the songs of Yule and the coming of warmer, brighter days, but warrior songs of battle and glory.

Finally, with a groan that almost sounded to Freyja like a sigh of relief, the great ash tumbled to the ground. They all then began to reduce the felled giant to smaller, more managable pieces. It would take them, all told, ten trips through the dark and bitterly cold night to bring the old ash to the village.

Each time they returned, more villagers ventured forth to watch them bring home boughs and branches for their individual homes. Everyone knew which tree Freyja had chosen, and all had fond memories of the ash, and knew it was time to celebrate the tree's great life.

Dawn was nearly breaking when they at last reached the village with the enormous trunk in tow. The fathers, the daughters and especially the ponies were exhausted from the long night trekking back and forth through the snow. A grand breakfast was prepared for the loggers, and after which, they all went to their respective homes to sleep until evening set in.

As the sun set on the longest night of the year, everyone gathered in the darkened meadhall where the families would bring a spark from their own home fires to light the great Yule log. Only after the log was fully aflame could the celebrations begin. This was Freyja's true test. If the log failed to catch fire, not only was it a bad omen for her and her family, but it didn't bode well for the rest of the village.

But she was soon rewarded as the wood began to smoke and then flames began to gnaw at the bark. Before long, the meadhall was awash in firelight and warmth representing the waxing days of sunlight to come. Everyone cheered as mugs of mulled mead were passed from table to table and the roast haunches of venison were brought forth.

To everyone's amazement, the log continued to burn for an unprecedented two weeks. Those who had been against Gunder and Sigrùn adopting this strange girl of unknown parentage, began to think differently. Some even wondered if she just might even be a child of the gods. But all agreed that there was something special about Freyja Gundersdøttir.



Quinnleigh Kincaid
Freyja Gundersdøttir
Highlander OC
1105 Words

Mun Commentary: This was one of those times when the muse takes the idea and runs with it. I have no idea if the actual traditions mentioned are true, but I'd like to think so. This is also one of the few times that Quinn Freyja has talked about her life before her First Death.
foreverwarrior: (Miranda (looking down/soft smile))
For years they had tried to have a child, but remained barren. Everyone in the small village took pity on Gunder and Sigrún. Most had known the pair since the two were children themselves, and all thought they were well matched. He was one of their best hunters and trackers and she was a gifted healer and midwife. All could see the joyful sadness in her eyes each time one of the other village women gave birth. All knew she wanted a child of her own.

It was her twenty-third springtide when she, along with healers and midwives of other villages, made their annual pilgrimage to a holy site dedicated to the goddess Freyja. As always, Sigrún felt an outcast. She was the only one of the women who had no child of her own. Nightly, she prayed that the goddess would favor her, bless her with a bairn.

On the last night of the pilgrimage, each woman entered the small, wooden temple alone to commune with the goddess. Some reported visions of Ragnarok while others said that the Freyja had appeared to them. For herself, Sigrún simply hoped that the goddess had heard her pleas.

The shrine was lit only by a small brazier of coals and incense, and she knelt in the flickering light, hoping to feel the presence of the goddess. She quieted her mind, and let her thoughts take her where they would. She was ultimately disappointed when no visions appeared, nothing of the goddess touched her. With a leaden heart, she stood to leave.

But something caught her attention. It was a sound so soft, it was easily lost in the rustle of her skirts. She paused a moment, waiting to hear the noise again. When she did, Sigrún looked around for the source. Placed just inside the door to the shrine was a small bundle. At first glance, it appeared to be a simple bundle of clothes, perhaps something left as an offering to the goddess. But when Sigrún picked up the bundle, she heard another soft noise. Instinctively, the midwife knew just what the bundle contained.

With hope in her heart, she carefully carried it closer to the light and eagerly peered inside. Swaddled in the cloth was an infant girl. Sigrún knew the child couldn't be more than a few days old, and none of the others had brought any of their bairns with them, much less one so young. This truly was an answer to her prayers.

When she emerged from the shrine with the child, the other women were wholeheartedly in agreement. Sigrún had indeed been blessed by the goddess. All hailed it as miraculous, and when asked the child's name, she answered "Freyja." It was the only name appropriate.

In time, the child grew into a young girl, and was both both her father's son and her mother's daughter. She would spend days with Gunder in the woods, learning to hunt and track. From Sigrún she learned small medicines and poultices. Though the villagers had been skeptical of the girl at first, they quickly embraced her as one of their own, and all knew that the strange, blessed child, named of the goddess, had a destiny all her own.

Freyja Gundersdøttir
Highlander OC
540 Words

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