Greetings, I hope you all will like this chapter it is one the longer ones I have posted.Let me just say that this chapter gave me hell.I had rewritten it a hundred times. I couldn’t choose how i wanted this one to go. But as,usual my Beta is amazingly patient. ❤
There were only a few cars parked in the lot when we pulled up to the Museum. I didn’t want to wait for him to open the door so I slid out of the vehicle: He was at my side in seconds. “I would have gotten that for you,” he said, sounding slightly hurt.
I smiled at him, “I know. But if we are going to keep seeing each other, you are going to have to get used to letting me do things for myself. I’m not ungrateful, but I wasn’t raised to be so delicate.” He nodded and returned my smile.
“A niece of Octavia’s wouldn’t be so delicate anyway, but there is nothing wrong with letting a man treat you like a lady. Shall we, continue my dear?” I nodded as he offered me his arm and, like a sap, I took it.
“Yes, I am eager to see the exhibit.”
He chuckled. “As am I, my dear.” The reception hall was barely filled with people. Not many in these parts value history like I do: Most my own age don’t. Rick grabbed a pamphlet and handed it to me. On the front, it read, “This Exhibit is sponsored by Northstar Inc. Speaker: Mr. Alexander Skarsgård, a Historian on loan to us from New York.” I just nodded and smiled softly.
Did he know Octavia? I shouldn’t be so surprised, she is much older than anyone can know. Rumors even say she is one of the ancients. If he knows her, I wonder what else he may know? It would explain why she called me out of the blue.
“Is something wrong? I thought you would be happy coming here. We could leave…”
I interrupted him, “No, I am happy, I’ve just got a lot on my mind. Come on, I’d love to hear about your favorite part of history.” I was proud of myself for such a nice change of subject. I could think of the connection between my charming new boyfriend and the only mother I have known some other time.
They had the designs for real Viking ships on display, and not the ones you see in the movies. Next to them were pictures of houses and the camps, and mannequins dressed in the regalia of that time. I watched my date’s face as he stared at each item as if recalling a distant memory: Knowing how old he was, he probably was.
“This, Min Alskare, would have been something you would have worn back then,” he said as he pointed to a female mannequin
I smiled as I looked on curiously. It was nothing like you saw in the movies. I stepped back and took in the wonderful and neat artifacts hanging from the walls or plastic human statues.
“What language was that?“ I couldn’t help but incline my head to one side in interest.
“Swedish, it means my love. I remember much of the dialect from those days.” I was unable to contain my rising thrill at the possible chance to learn the language.
“Overwhelming, is it not, how time seems to shift and change? Yet so much remains the same. You would have been a shieldmaiden.”
I shook my head, “I don’t think so: I’m nothing like those women. They were strong and fierce.”
He smiled, “I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Come, I do believe the seminar is starting shortly.”
I followed him into a small auditorium: The red carpet was faded and the stage was brightly lit. I lead the way to the middle center row: I wanted to see our speaker. Rick sat next to me, his hand in mine. “I wonder if the speaker will meet with me after the show. I want to thank him for the chance to experience some of Sweden’s culture.”
The twinkle in Rick’s eyes is back. “I think I can arrange something. I could try to find Mr. Skarsgård and see if he would meet with us?” Elated at the thought of meeting the man behind this show I nodded. I folded my pamphlet into my purse and placed my hands on my lap, absently looking around the room. It was reasonable in size and was slowly filling up with people.
What should I ask Mr. Skarsgård when I meet him? I don’t want to waste such an opportunity to learn all I can from an actual Swede. One who may very well has had Viking ancestors. Dorky? I know, but there’s nothing like learning things you didn’t know before.
A buzzing in my pocket told me my phone was ringing: I pulled it out and the name on the caller ID was one I thought I would never see again.
My heart nearly stopped, my breath caught. Should I answer or let it ring? It had been a long time since I had any contact with my other family. He would only be calling if it was important. I sighed as I pressed the answer button, “Is everything okay? You haven’t called in years! How did you get this number?”
He sounded like he was his normal self, “Peaches, how’s it going kid? I’ve always had your number. We need to talk. Tonight. Where are you?” Oh no! This is not happening.”
“I’m not free tonight. Sorry, maybe another time?”
“Are you in trouble Peaches? You always have time for family.”
I rolled my eyes at his nerve. “Do not lecture me on family Aiden! It’s been what? Over ten years?! Tell me what is going on or what you need. And stop pretending you care about me.” I was done! If there is anything studying magic and Vampires has taught me it’s the past is best left in the past.
“I am not pretending Peaches; I have always loved you. You don’t know how badly I wanted to call.”
“Aiden, why are you calling now?” I heard him breathe out an unneeded sigh and mumble something about demanding. I didn’t care what he thought about me, my very hot date would be back and I didn’t want to explain things just then.
“Well, Octavia called us and said something about a party for a certain birthday girl.”
She didn’t! She wouldn’t?! “There is no party and you do not have to show up.” He chuckled. “I need to go now Aiden. If there is nothing else?” I wanted to end that phone call quick!
“Later Peaches.” I hung up and shoved my phone into my purse, I was going to call Octavia about calling Aiden. All those nights I cried? Wanting to be with Marco and my brothers. The memory of Marco’s soft eyes as he would sing me to sleep. The only father I ever knew. That was before he sent me away of course. I remember asking what I did wrong. Many nights after, when I would be alone at night living in a foster house, I would find myself asking the same question. Until Octavia found me. Before I could fall further into sadness the pair of perfect eyes came into view.
“Everything alright my love? You seem distracted.”
I hadn’t heard him return. “Yeah, I’m okay. It could just be all the different artifacts.” It wasn’t a lie, I had been drawn to a lot of the swords in the clear glass cases which were placed around the room.
“Yes, I can see how it would be exciting. We will get to meet the guest speaker after the program. Once I explained how interested you are in his historical culture he was more than happy to meet with us.” His eyes lit up with the happiness his smile portrayed. Before either of us could say more, our attention was drawn to the front of the room. A very tall, very blond and very gorgeous man was at the podium. His blue eyes were soulful and bright as they scanned the audience.
“Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for coming out tonight. I hope you enjoy the exhibit and the many different styles and culture of the Vikings through the ages.
Now, many know of the Gods and Goddesses of Norse Mythology. Figures like Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya though your comic books. There are many misconceptions of each individual. Thor was not the only son of Odin. He had many sons but loved none more than Baldur.
Everything in creation loved him. Odin, having gained the wisdom of the ages, knew his son was destined to meet an early end. Frigga, Baldur’s mother, went to every creature, every plant, and animal. Everything she could think of and made them all swear to never hurt nor kill Baldur. All agreed, they would not harm him.
Unfortunately, Frigga neglected Mistletoe. Loki, being ever jealous of others, tricked Hodor, Baldur’s twin brother, to throw a sprig of mistletoe at his brother. The sprig met its mark: Striking Baldur dead. This could be compared to the Christian story of Cain and Abel. Cain was jealous of the love and favor his brother was receiving from God. He took a rock from the earth and struck Abel dead.
While there were many different Viking villages across Europe, many myths varied according to the culture of the area which was being settled. From Denmark to Norway and Sweden, and even far as England: The Vikings were always in search of land to farm. Living up north it was always hard to find food and farmland, making it imperative that they go to the land far from the motherland as it is sometimes called.” I just looked on. I knew my excitement was barely contained on my face.
“After the spread of Christianity, more and more people converted from their ancestral faith. This was more common in those who came to settle in Ireland and England. However, Iceland has gone back to worshipping the old ways. Unlike most of the other Scandinavian countries, Finland has only adapted to the different beliefs around them: Adding to the beliefs of those who came before.
My eyes scan the crowd of mortals. Nothing I haven’t seen or dealt with since I was turned. I would much rather forgo giving a speech. It’s not like most of them actually care about what I am. Many are attending in order to garner my favor or offer me a business proposition. I wouldn’t put myself through this if it weren’t for my loving wife Sookie, though it would be fun to take a detour from the boring humdrum our lives have been. She is usually in Faerie, but she took a break from ruling them for a few decades, leaving her cousin Claudine in charge.
Suddenly my eyes settled on the pretty little curly brunette sitting next to my Maker. Her deep green eyes were intently looking at me. Her eyes held a look I had seen before, though not in the same context. She really was drinking in everything I was saying. I was curious the night Godric called to talk to Sookie. He has been feeling light and mischievously like the Godric of old, minus the blood lust. I wondered how my Maker had met this Nymph of his?
I would have to inspect her when I did the personal meet and greet with the girl. Her hand curled into Godric’s, sent a pang of jealously to my heart. I remembered the days before my wife when any affection he would show to anyone would have set me off. If he loved her, and she was worthy of him, I wouldn’t fault the Old man for loving her.
Her worthiness was my only question. “Questions so far?” A younger man, dressed in what looked like a cheap suit, stood, commanding the attention if the entire room. “ Now, on the show Vikings they sacrifice animals and people. Are the cruelty and horrible treatment of the animals true?” And weren’t Vikings rapists?”
FUCKING HOLLYWOOD! I tried to focus on the fact that the man was uninformed. Or rather I hoped he was. Before I could speak I felt a wave of calm and curiosity from Godric. I could feel a wave of calm coming from my wife as well. I hated when they teamed up against me!
A barely audible “what an idiot” Came from the lips of the girl next to him. Attitude? Maybe she would be good for the old man after all. I decided it was time to get on with the evening.
“You shouldn’t believe everything Hollywood tells you: The animals used were often livestock, not unlike those that are eaten today. The sacrifices were commonly stallions, and in some instances a human sacrifice would be called for: Usually in time of distress or war, unless you are referencing Adam of Bremen who wrote about the temple at Gamla Uppsala, a town just outside of Upsala, where he wrote that 72 corpses could be seen hung in the trees. While blood sacrifices were sometimes called for. in Gamla, most were hanged. It is also said the Swedish kings of old dwelled in Upsala.”
“So you would kill people? Kill innocent people and animals to appease your Gods? And weren’t Vikings rapists: You never answered that question?” I took a long breath. There was that grating voice again. Why did I do this again? Oh right, boredom. The same tedious feeling that’s making me want to kill the man in front of me. A soft clearing of a throat is barely audible, even with my vampire hearing.
The girl in question stood in place in front of her chair: This should be interesting. Amusement from my maker told me that I should call on her. ”Yes? The girl in middle row. Do you have a question?”
The man was less than pleased. “Um yes Sir, but it’s not for you.” Caution and amusement came from my maker and bonded who was standing at the back of the room. “Oh? Then who…” Before I could finish she turned her gaze to the man who was now shooting daggers at her.
“You in the front, the idiot who is willing to judge an entire culture based on its religious practices.
Are you a Christian man sir?” He nodded and I smiled, wondering where she was going to go with this.
“And you are affronted by the thought of animals and people being sacrificed? Do you realize a Christian’s faith is based on the fact that over 2,000 years ago God sent his son and had him sacrificed? Before Jesus, they sacrificed animals to appease your God.
So how can you stand there and condemn a group by the bloodshed? You find offensive yet your own religious leaders have slaughtered millions in the name of your God.
And judging by the barbecue stain on your shirt you eat meat, right? You probably came here from that all you can eat buffet not far from here.” The stunned man nodded his head and she smiled.
“So let me get this straight: You were just offended by the rituals of an entire people who would, after the sacrifice, set to a feast when you ate who knows how much beef tonight? Beef that came from an animal, an animal you feasted on. Are you familiar with the seven deadly sins? And would you consider those sins demons?” He thought about it for a minute.
“They are demons. Why ya wanna know?”
She smiled. “Well, by my calculations, sir, you just feasted on an animal slaughtered and used to appease your god Gluttony. So, I suggest you worry about your own religious practices.
Just so you know, rape was not accepted in any culture across the world. In most cases, women were revered. However, in war, there are things done that may not be considered culturally appropriate. You can not control every man every minute of the day.
So now, if your uneducated ass is finished, take your damn seat and let the nice Spokesman teach those of us with a brain.”
The man sat down. It looked more like his knees gave out than a conscious decision, and I just stared at my maker as he looked at me. What just happened exactly?
Her eyes were on me again. “I am terribly sorry for interrupting,” she apologized and took her seat.
I smiled, meeting her eyes. “Not at all miss. I hope you find the rest of my speech enlightening.” She blushed and took her place next to my maker. I wrapped up by telling them of one of my last battles. My maker’s human never taking her eyes off me.