Chapter 6 - Weapons, Allies, and Terrible New Enemies

Weapons Allies and Terrible New Enrmies
Trollstigen, Norway 202 - Wikipedia

“Have you noticed,” Ivar asked Ketel, “the three falcons that seem to follow us? Are they an omen for good or evil?” “They are better than omens,” said Ketel, “they are friends. They see where Skrogger and Raevi are, and perhaps they have seen Marja and which way her captors are taking her. They also have many friends who inform them.”

At this point, one of the falcons circled low around them and then landed near Ketel. At a signal from Ketel he flew up and perched on Ketel’s outstretched left arm. After some friendly noises from this magnificent great bird, Ketel said, “This is Skyrover, an old and dear friend.  With him are his sons, Skywatch and Swiftwing. They now know the way Gort takes and the lay of those parts near the Great Fjord. They and the foxes will guide us there, but we must form a plan of attack and rescue.” 

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Scruggs The Troll Sagas farseeing eyes 2107
A farseeing friend in the sky.

Chapter 5 - Ivar’s Saga—Search and Rescue

Ketel Flatnose, taking with him the boy, Ivar, and the little horse, Flicka, set out to rescue Marja. They were several days behind Gort and his motley crew. Their trail was at first easy to follow, for in their fear and panic they had dropped many things and left many signs in the forest and along the shore of the Romsdalfjord. Also, the little foxes, Skrogger and Raevi, were ahead of the little rescue team and following Gort as closely as possible.

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Chapter 4 - Grimhilda Svartslange

Grimhilda Freyja 2103
Grimhilda (Freyja) - [Public domain. James Doyle Penrose, 1890.]

Grimhilda continued to look intently at Marja and smiled. In a few minutes, another young girl, trembling with fear, came with a bucket of water and allowed Marja to wash herself, but she said nothing. Marja then began to notice her surroundings. Grimhilda sat gazing into a huge black cauldron sitting over a fire in the middle of the longhouse. She seemed somehow delighted as she stirred the great kettle. Marja shuddered when she saw Grimhilda reach in a basket and pull out two writhing blacksnakes and sink them into her boiling pot. As she stirred, she began to sing in a language Marja did not recognize.

Grimhilda was about the age of her mother and surprisingly beautiful. In fact, she was sometimes flatteringly compared to the Norse goddess Freyja, who was  often associated with magic, witchcraft, secret knowledge, and fortune-telling. Grimhilda had long dark tresses, haunting green eyes, and pale skin with no blemishes except a necklace of bluish spirals tattooed just below her neck. She was rather tall and linear with exquisitely refined features. Her nose was slightly prominent but perfectly straight. Her teeth were nearly perfect and white. Her voice, generally harsh and commanding, was soft and musical in singing. But when she smiled or spoke, you somehow had the feeling of being abused.

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Chapter 3 - Of Gort Blacktooth and Grimhilda Svartslange

The Troll Sagas 2090

Andalsnes on the Rauma River

Skrogger Returns

Skrogger, the little fox, was gone about one day. When he came back, he was excited and obviously anxious to get Ketel’s attention. After about an hour’s consultation between fox and troll, ending with a long foxly howl,  Ketel told Aelska that he would take Ivar, the little horse, Flicka, and Skrogger to rescue Marja. Presently, another fox named Raevi came and seemed to confer with Skrogger, with him was the gray squirrel, named Farear. Ketel then sang a little song and two enormous reindeer came out of the forest. A little while later, two huge gray wolves joined them. These would not normally have been welcome company to a young mother and her two youngest children about to be left on the farm alone with only a donkey—although  a very handy donkey for warning people of danger. By now Aelska was a little better able to understand some of Ketel’s gruff speech. She was reassured that the two wolves and two reindeer would guard them like their own children, and that other animals would soon be bringing them food. The names of the wolves were Visatus and Rokeus. The reindeer were called. Ukkonen and Saalman, and Ketel told Aelska that they were as strong as the white bear and as swift as the eagle. The width of their antlers was greater than the length of a sword. Ketel also told her that he expected Sigurd Magnusson and Trigg Rolfsson to come within three days with their wives and other neighbors to help them.

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Chapter 2 - Aelska’s Saga

The Troll Wall Norway

The Troll Wall, Norway - Home of Ketel Flatnose. 

The next morning, Aelska and the beautiful little twin sisters were greatly relieved and still  astonished that Ketel Flatnose had been able to heal Ivar’s head-wound and save his life with a strange mix of boiled tree-bark. Yet there remained a gnawing sadness that Margerda, who was usually called Marja, had been captured and taken away by dangerous scoundrels, who might already have plans to sell her as a slave. Ketel had already put some healing salve on Ivar’s wound. Ivar was up and eager to rescue his sister. While Aelska was preparing some breakfast, a gray squirrel approached Ketel, Flicka, and Barki, chattered for a couple of minutes and darted away into the forest. During breakfast, Aelska began to share her story.   

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