In the north, it is the time of the forever night.
It is the time that the fruit of the labor of spring, summer, and fall is enjoyed.
It is the time of reflection, boasts, and rest.
Warriors who during the warmer months roam the mountain valleys protecting the Valley of the Wolf, spend their time carving, crafting, and even weaving.
“I’ve asked this question many times, but no one answers me,” states a small boy sitting next to his father by the fire. The boy is learning how to carve, but is more interested in listening to the stories his father tells.
“Child, if you spend more time listening your carving of a tree would look like a tree and not a snake,” the father says with a chuckle.
Before he can ask again, a large man approaches the fire. Padding next to him is the large black wolf that never leaves his side.
The boy looks up in awe. Here is the king.
Børæn at the age of 50, still is imposing. His thick muscles show no sign of age, and other than the streaks of grey in his hair and beard, Børæn still looks the same as he did so many year ago.
Sitting near the fire, Børæn looks to the child.
“Ask your question little one, and I will answer them,” Børæn.
The lodge grows quiet and wait to hear their king.
“I am not a Merkitä Muistiin, but I can tell you the lore…”
After Meesha’s words, I saw the goddess was true to her word, the rest of the journey passes quickly.
Within days I reached the winter home of the Wolf Tribe. Instead of the normal look of the tents, the animals gathered around the perimeter, the puffs of smoke rising from the warming fires — that wass all here, but so to were banners hanging from the tents, from poles and cord strung between them. All of them covered in symbols used by the medicine folk, shamans and witches. A great fire burned in the center of the camp, and I saw a ring of people surrounding the fire, meditating. Also in this circle was my mother and father.
I stopped my horse short, and dismounted. I led her back down the hill and told her to wait.
I looked at Talvi, and the bond we shared had her know what would come next: destiny.
We snuck to the top of the hill, and laid flat. Together we laid there, using the tall grass to hide us.
My axe wAs in my hand, and I remember feeling my manger simmer.
Feeling it, Talvi licked my hand as if to tell me, keep things in check. Whatever comes next, she and I will face it.
The chant was unlike anything I ever heard from the various shamen, witches and wise folk that I once interacted with.
The flame dimmed, and suddenly burst with a strange white and green color. The eldest shaman stood, turns and begins intoning to the circle.
One by one, the elders stood, steeping forward and thrust both arms into the fire! As they withdraw their arms, the strange fire remained on their skin, dancing and flickering until they sit back down.
Each shaman and witch did this , and then came my father and step-mother. With defiance they thrust their arms in, and backing away, the flames remained on their arms growing intensit!
The shamen, witches and elders watched impassively at the two writhing on the ground. The flames spread across their bodies, burning their clothes. The two rolled around on the ground, trying to beat the unnatural fire off. This lasted for a few moments and then the flames suddenly disappeared.
The oldest elder, the wise woman stands and pointed at your parents. She said a word and it echoed among the tents… “SATEESE” At that, others echo her word.
“Your old ways don’t interest me!” My father spits at them. “Your trickery won’t change anything, nor take away what is MINE! This tribe is MINE and I say NO. We will NOT join the Increpaytone!”
Seeing the scene below, I am a mix of emotions.
I am angry because I want to be the one to kill my father and step-mother.
I wanted to punish them for their evil.
I am confused because this was something I had not prepared myself for.
I look at Talvi, and we lock eyes. I feel her reassurance and her determination pass into me with that look.
“Come, Talvi, we have a task to face. Blade and claw. Tooth and fist. Together we face what is to come with Meesha’s name upon our lips, and her words within our hearts.”
Instead of my ax or my sword, I draw Lohikäärme Hammas. With this action, my life will be changed forever more.
I walk slowly into the village. I walk with confidence. I walk with purpose. I walk with my faith in Meesha.
As I enter the village I see those who I grew up with. Those who I hunted with. Those who I once had grudges with, but then became fast friends. I look at the ones who I considered my brothers and sisters, only to have them betray me in my moments of need.
As I walk closer to the fire I stand taller. The realization comes to me in a flash: whatever is to come will not be my end. It will be the end of the current path my people are on.
Now is the time I will show my goddess my faith in her, and my love for her.
With dagger in hand, I grip it tightly.
The crowd whispers my name, and my father’s eyes grow wide. Instead of anger in there is only fear.
I look to the viper whose actions poisoned my people. She glares in malevolence as if she wants nothing more than kill me.
I turn looking at the tribe. I speak:
“I am Børæn of the Wolf Tribe.”
“I am Børæn of the Axe.”
“I am Børæn of the Sword.”
“I am Meesha’s Rage.”
“I am Meesha’s Warrior.”
I am Meesha’s priest.
With each statement my voice grows louder; stronger. It reverberates around the tribe, and no one speaks."
I raise Lohikäärme Hammas above my head.
“This is Lohikäärme Hammas. This is the dagger of Aapo, the dagger of Elias, the dagger of Aku, the dagger of Jere, the dagger of Sakarias, the dagger of Valthjof, and now the dagger of Børæn.”
“This is the dagger that has been passed down from one chieftain’s eldest to the next. This is the dagger Aapo used to unite the Wolf Tribe, and it is this dagger which sealed the bonds of leadership and family, and cemented that his line would lead the Wolf till the sun is snuffed out, and the stars are no more.”
Not a sound is heard as I speak. Even the fire seems to have gone silent.
“This marks my claim. This marks my heritage. This marks my lore. Though my clan ties mark my birth, Lohikäärme Hammas marks my right.”
“You are weak and a coward. You are no son of mine. You stole Lohikäärme Hammas because you are nothing more than a thief!” Yells my father.
I spin, with dagger in hand, and plunge Lohikäärme Hammas into my father’s chest. In one swift motion, I remove his heart and hold it in my hand showing it to my father.
“You are not worthy of this tribe. You failed this tribe when you allowed the viper to corrupt you and our tribe. When you killed my mother…”
Hearing that, the death of his mother and his father’s responsibility for it, the tribe gasps.
“As a coward, you killed her and blamed me for your sins.”
My step-mother goes to speak, but Talvi silences her with a low growl.
“You are no longer of the Wolf. The name Arnbnjog, will be struck from our lore. No longer will Arnbnjorg be part of the roll of kings. Your name will never be spoken again. There is no place for you at Tapio’s fire. In death, you will walk the Lands of Shadow until the stars no longer shine, and worlds no longer exist. You are no longer of the Sword, you are dead to your clan. You are no longer of the Raven.”
Life leaves my father’s eyes as the last words are spoken. Throwing the heart into the fire, I turn to Ingvildr.
For the first time in my life, I see real fear in her eyes.
“Viper. Though my father killed my mother, it was you who gave him the knife. It was your poison that worked its’ way into the Wolf. It is your evil which marked me as a traitor. Your death will be but one step in cleansing my tribe. Your death will have no honor.”
With that, I cut Ingvildr throat and say no more.
“By rights of Lohikäärme Hammas. I am now king.”
Some try to speak out, but it is apparent that my statement is open not for debate. It is a statement of fact.
“By tradition, I say the following: those of the Raven Clan have safe passage until sunset to leave this tribe. If by the last ray of sun you are still here, you will be killed. No mercy will be given.”
With that, a few in the crowd begin to leave, and looks are thrown at them by the tribe. Looks of anger. Looks of vengeance.
“Merkitä Muistiin.” I said simply.
As if by magic Orpo appears. Seeing him I smiled.
“I see even you are too stubborn to succumb to age,” I laughed.
Orpo hits me with his staff, and the tribe laughs. With that laugh, all tension seems to lift.
“Be serious, now is not the time for the child,” Orpo stated.
Regaining myself I spoke: “As Merkitä Muistiin, Orpo, you are the keeper of our lore. On this day, you will strike the Raven Clan from our lore. From this day they will be known as the Clan That Will Not Be Named.”
“It will be done my King,” Orpo simply stated.
“From this day forward Arnbnjorg will be removed from the roll of kings. No longer will his name be uttered. Arnbnjorg is now of the Shadow. He walks alone and he has no lodge.”
“It will be done my King,” Orpo stated with a hint of happiness.
I looked around, as if I look at each member of my tribe separately.
“I am your king, and together we will cleanse this tribe of the poison which has festered. Together The Wolf will regain its’ honor. Together we will add to our Lore. Gone is our divisions. Axe, Sword, Boar, Horse, Eagle, and the Rabbit clans will be at peace. We will be united, and we will show all that together The Wolf will not be cowered.”
The crowd’s mood brightens with the naming of the clans.
“Unlike my father, I do not see you as tools to be used. I see you as my brothers and sisters. We are united, and together we will show the world who we are.”
“In Meesha’s name I pledge to you a new day has dawned.”
The room is quiet as Børæn tells his lore. When finished no one knows what to say.
“What happened next?” Asks the child.
Børæn chuckles, patting the child on his shoulder. “You will learn that when you are older. Little one. For now think on what you have heard.”
With that Børæn stands and leaves the fire.