Juramentrum #AtoZChallenge (Part 2)

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Juramentrum – oath

Siegfried breathed deeply and smelt the nature drifting his way. It was mid spring and everything was waking up after the long dark winter. He could smell something sweet, maybe flowers hidden from sight in the grass that covered the rocks. There was a damp earthy smell from soil that had found its way into the cracks of the rocks.

The river smelt of nothing but has he dipped his fingers into the water, Siegfried felt the coldness and smoothness of the flow. Removing his hand, he took a few sips of water from the waterskin.

He didn’t have to worry about steering the boat, it was making its own course as if being pulled along by unseen hands. The boat was also small enough to pass by and over any threatening rocks. It was a good boat. His brother, Hrothgar, had done an excellent job.

One of the old dogs yawed and Siegfried twisted to look at them. They were settling down again. Grey heads resting on the edge of the boat and their bodies curled together for warm. They looked peaceful and not worried.

Siegfried grabbed one of the furs and threw it over them. He could trust his dogs sense of things and if they weren’t worried about any danger then nor should he. It was growing colder though.

Grabbing a fur for himself, Siegfried drew it around his shoulder and noticed how dark it was getting. The height of the gorge was blocking out the warm sun and casting everything into darkness the further you entered in. Soon, he wouldn’t be able to see.

Searching in the boat’s hull, Siegfried found a lamp and lit it. Carefully and slowly, he crawled to the front of the boat and placed the lamp into its place. Going back to his seat, he found another lamp, lit it and placed it beside himself. Clutching the oar in one hand and his sword in the other, Siegfried was swallowed by darkness.

An icy wind swept down and Siegfried smelt snow in the air. It was normal of winter to hold on has long as he could and he found hiding places where the sun couldn’t find him. Siegfried hoped the river was frozen and that it didn’t start snowing. Just in case though, he threw another fur over the dogs and pulled a large one onto his head.

Siegfried might be a mighty Viking but he was old now and felt the cold stiffen his bones more and more.

Perhaps, I should have waited till the summer? he thought.

Shaking his head, Siegfried got the oar back out and began paddling again. He’d rather meet the ice sooner rather than later. A few small flakes of snow landed in his beard and boat. The darkness pressed deeper down, everything had been blocked out above him as if the gorge had a roof.

Not stopping, he rowed faster, not liking the darkness and the gathering cold.

‘This can’t go on for much longer,’ Siegfried muttered, ‘how you doing back there dogs?’

There was a muffled moan and Siegfried glanced over his shoulder but he couldn’t see the back of the boat. The light from the lamps was hardly anything but he was grateful to not be in total darkness.

He turned his face up, looking for glints of blue sky. His oar hit something hard, probably just a rock, he felt the vibrations going through his arm. Nothing to worry about. He padded faster, not liking this at all and feeling uneasy in his gut. Telling himself there had to be an end to this soon spurred him on.

There, was that a hint of blue above? Did the path ahead look lighter? Siegfried concentrated on that patch of blue and slowly came out into the light once more. Sighing, he stopped rowing and blew the lamps out. He took a few deep breaths and let the furs slip off him.

Blue sky angled it’s way into the gorge, filling the gap above the rocks. Sun cast light on green things and grey surfaces. Warm slowly tricked down to the river and soon the way widened. The river burbled along as if happy to be out of the darkness just as Siegfried was.

Pulling the oar in, he let the boat drift again. The river lapped against the wood and the shore in a calming way and carried the boat along its course. Siegfried settled back, watching more and more of the sky open above him. He could tell the gorge was coming into an end.

Shutting his eyes, he rested, feeling the cold leaving him and warmth filling him up. He dozed then when the boat slowed and began bobbing against something, Siegfried opened his eyes and saw he had arrived at the gates of Valhalla.

 

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Juramentrum #AtoZChallenge (Part 1)

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Juramentrum – oath

Siegfried stopped paddling the wooden long, narrow boat and looked up at the rising landscape around him. It was quiet. Too quiet he thought. He could hear the far cry of birds, the wind playing through trees and long grass, the flow and lapping of the river but that was all.

He pulled the oar half in and watched water dripping off the neatly shaped paddle. There was nothing smoothing about the steady sound, just reminded that he was alone out here.

I hate this, he thought and lowered the oar again.

There was nothing for it but to get through the gorge and hope nothing attacked him.

‘I’m tried of fighting and that’s saying something coming from an old Viking!’ Siegfried spoke then chuckled.

He paddled swiftly, with years of experience, his eyes watching his surrounds and not his oar or the front of the boat. He could trusted the craftsmanship of the vessel his brother had built it and there was no finer ship building then Hrothgar.

Siegfried wished his brother was here with him now, instead his traveling companions were two old hunting dogs who never left his side. Still though, this journey was Siegfried’s alone to take.

The gorge rose up on either side, blocking out some of the afternoon sun. Solid multi-coloured rock with bits of green plant life sticking out seemed to stretch endlessly to meet the blue sky. Rocks jutted out of the river, covered with moss and worn smooth. Boats still had to be careful though as there was no telling if some of those rock edges could still break through wood or not.

Entering the gorge would mean no going back. It was a long way to the other side. Most people tried to avoid going through, preferring the other, longer route the river divided into further back up. This way was favored by bigger boats because in some places the gorge forced the river to narrow far too much.

Siegfried stopped rowing and let the boat drift as he went inside the gorge. He knew being quiet as much as possible would help if anyone or thing was listening above. He picked up his shield which he had rested in the bottom of the boat and lifted it over his head.

Only arrows or rocks or other things could be rained down on him from the gorge’s high cliffs because nothing would be stupid enough to jump down and try to get him. No, if a wild animal or monster wanted him they would track him to a more suitable place.

I’m being over cautious, Siegfried thought, this too dangerous journey is getting to me.

He lowered the shield and studied the view above. Nothing was moving up the clouds and he could hear the river singing along. He looked at the two dogs, both now awake and looking around as if they sensed there could be danger.

Siegfried looked down into the hull of the boat once more and gripped his long sharp edged sword. The weapon comforted him even though it was no use currently. In the boat was also some daggers, a bow and arrows which he hardly used anyway, some food, water and other useful items. He had packed well for this journey, not sure what he might need.

Siegfried shook his head then ran his hand through his long plaited grey beard. He felt uneasy and wished things were different. But he had made an oath to his brothers, wife and children that he would do this. He would go first….

To Be Continued…

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Choice #WritePhoto

I don’t know what had driven me outside in this weather. Maybe, the argument with my wife was to blame? Still, it was the choice I had made and now I was paying for it.

Laying on the hillside just above the small river, I tried to get a grip on things. Pain was shooting through my left leg in only the way a broken bone can do. Somehow I had slipped on the wet grass, tumbled down the slope and hit some rocks. My head hummed with confusion and the pain was also making it hard for me to think.

I took in some deep breaths and contracted on the flow of the water. The small river seemed so loud as it bumped and splashed against the moss covered rocks. It was higher then normal because the bad weather and the snow from the higher land.

A few minutes later, my head cleared and I got on to the emergency services. Search and Rescue were on their way. It took them over an hour and whilst I waited, I watched the river and the wind in the trees. I was cold and wet, though my waterproof and winter hiking clothes helped.

I thought about how things might have been different. What if I had died out here?

I phoned my wife and told her. She flew into a panic and it took me an age to calm her down.

‘I’m fine. Everything is going to be okay,’ I spoke, ‘I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it, you know that. I love you.’

Through the sobbing, I heard her reply, ‘I love you too.’

‘The rescue team is here now. I see the search dog!’ I cried out then added, ‘Darling, meet me at the hospital as soon as you can.’

‘Yes, yes,’ she burbled into the phone, ‘see you soon.’

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/06/thursday-photo-prompt-choice-writephoto/ with thanks.)

River #whatpegmansaw

The sun shone on the murky mud river, heating it up but leaving the depths cool. Ripples caused by fish and the boats crossed the surface. I watched and saw fish jumping.

Sipping my coffee, I lent on the railing of my cousin’s houseboat and wished I could have this life. He had moved to Luxon, South Australia as a child, leaving England behind. Our twin mothers had been close and we had visited each other often.

Now though, I had lost everything and had come here seeking an escape but perhaps, I could stay here and begin again?

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/blog/ with thanks).

Burning River #WhatPegmanSaw

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The waters of the Ganges lapped at the edge of Varanasi city’s western bank. Fires rose on the burnt ground, the flames reflected in the river like the rays of the setting sun. The smell of burnt flesh, cloth and wood chocked the air making the mixed spice fragrances of the markets seem lost in the past.

From the distant boat, I watch men bring my relative’s body down to wash in the river. I wasn’t allowed to go because it was believed women make the event more sorrowful but I had want to see this ancient tradition.  

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2019/05/25/varanasi-india/ with thanks).

A Penny Wish #CCC

Girl on Bank CCC25

She sat by the river, playing with the one pence coin in her hand. She had found it on the walk here and it was good luck to pick up money. The penny wasn’t worth keeping though, instead she kissed the cool copper surface, made a wish and threw it into the river.

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/05/01/crimsons-creative-challenge-25/ with thanks).

Tranquil #WritePhoto

Lily sat down on the grass next to the river bank and began mediating. She was new to  to the activity but had so far found it useful for calming down everything. Normally, Lily would sit on her bedroom floor in the morning and the evening, shut her eyes and try not to think about anything other then her breathing in and out.

Today though, with the weather being so nice and herself feeling restless and depressed, Lily had decided to walk around her local park just for something to do and to get away from the house.

With no real direction, Lily had let herself drift, avoiding the busy playground areas, football field and popular dog exercise spots. That’s how she had ended up in this quiet, hidden area close to the river. It seemed like a good place to take a break.

Lily breathed, trying not to think of anything. All around, nature was singing her song this afternoon for anybody who cared to listen. Lily want with it, letting the sound of the river and birds carry her away.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/03/07/thursday-photo-prompt-tranquil-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

Hidden #WritePhoto

It seemed too peaceful in the woods for anything dreadful to lay underneath but that  was what my instincts kept warning me of. For nights, I had been dreaming about this little girl in a pink ballerina dress dancing through these trees and calling my name. I had tried to ask her who she was and why she was here but she didn’t answer me.

I followed the river downwards, watching the chopping water tumbling over large rocks and small waterfalls. The sound of the water smoothing the edge off my worries. Birds were twittering away in trees which had almost lost all of their colourful autumn leaves. The chill of winter was settling in between the slate grey sky and muddy ground. My breath was misting in the late morning.

Huddling in my red Parker coat, I tried to recall the place the little girl seemed to be leading me too. I had never walked in these woods before and it was only because of her I was here. In my dreams, she had made letters of out sticks. I had looked it up on the internet and been directed to here. It had taken an hour and half driving, I had set my Saturday aside for this but even if nothing came of it, I had explored a new place and enjoyed a pleasant walk.

The river bent away and the path I was on spilt in two; carry on or go further up into the woods. Digging my hands into my pockets, I shut my eyes and finally opened spirit sense. I let the natural sounds move away and listened underneath them at anything that could be supernatural. It was always harder to do this outside as there was so much going on but the little girl was strong and she came to me in my mind.

She was dancing in her pink dress with frilly underskirt, ballet slippers ribboned up her legs, her dark hair up in a tight bun and her skin was milk white. A giggle and twirls along the second path and into the trees she vanished.

Opening my eyes, that’s the way I headed. The path wove around the trees, going up at a gentle pace for some time. The sounds of the river faded, more paths joint my one leading to other unknowns but I stuck with the one before me which soon became less trod on as it ran further and further above the woods.

‘Is this right?’ I whispered, pausing at a fallen oak tree covered in moss.

The feeling I was getting somewhere grew and I sent my sense out. The little girl appeared, not dancing now just pointing me on. I followed her fading form around a corner and came to bridge crossing a small stream. Leaves and twigs had blocked the flow of water but there was something else too….A flash of pink.

The breathe caught in my throat and I crept over. I didn’t look fully, didn’t need to, I knew she was there.

‘It’s okay, Sweetheart, you’ve been found now,’ I spoke.

I took my phone from my pocket and dialled the police.

The little girl smiled at me then faded into a mist which the winter wind carried through the trees.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/11/22/thursday-photo-prompt-hidden-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

Let It Flow #FridayFictioneers

Stepping down into the river bank, I found a large rock and began taking off my boats and socks. Late November wind made my skin tingle with cold. Abandoning things, I placed my feet into rushing water.

I gulped down cries that rose in my throat and shut my eyes. Underneath, I could feel smooth stones and ice cube like water sliding up my ankles. I thought about all the ‘bad’ currently in my life, pushed it down into my feet, wiggled toes and let the river carry it all away from me.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/11/21/23-november-2018/ with thanks).

Calm #WritePhoto

The trees had lost all of their leaves and winter was growing in the air. I walked beside the bending river, listening to the water moving and the hidden birds singing. It was too cold to stop today as I would normally have done, to admire the landscape and the sounds of nature. My heart badly wanted to though.

At a rough wooden bench, huddling in my long coat, I sit down. It was mid-afternoon, too late for lunchtime dog walkers and schools would be out soon, so there wasn’t anyone walking this corner of the countryside. That’s the way I like it, nobody asking if I’m okay, saying it would pass and get better. It was just me and the river with it’s calming flow.

It felt like I could fall asleep and dream safely here. The insomnia and the nightmares couldn’t get me, I could be at peace. I sighed and looked up at the sky. The clouds were drifting lazy, I wish I was up there with them, no worries.

It was getting too cold, I had to go. I got up and walked slowly, trying to delay my return home. Back there all the anxiety and depression was waiting for me. Out here though, I was free.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/11/08/thursday-photo-prompt-calm-writephoto/ with thanks).