The Fiction of Philip Kaveny
Her name is Freya Part V by Philip Kaveny copyright 2017
Just at that instant in time, twelve hundred years and two days, before the Byzantine Emperor Basil retired to his Imperial Library with his Varangian Guard and chorus of Harpists, these people were most important characters in his Universe. Then Ivan, the only Varangian who made regular round trips between Kathgartt And Byzantium and oversaw the Imperial orange tribute, realized that oranges really were worth their weight in Dane Gold. Further Byzantine ladies of only the highest rank were allowed to own these objects of stupefying beauty, which Scalds claimed had that the beauty of Dane and had even driven the Elven Queen’s handmaiden, Jonna the Wood Sprite, to take the Dwarf Snorri Sturluson to her Temple of Delta Venus, where he knew her and the trans mortal ecstasy she made him feel. She made him lust for no other mortal woman, and desire only her. The Dwarf Snorri Sturluson could only jones for Jonna and wordship at the temple of her body, and not be burned alive or turned to stones by the gods because he amused them. In a way they hated him in a way for the singular power of what he felt. He was allowed this because the old gods of silver myth has a cruel and brutal whimsy, perhaps like the mean little boys who throw rocks at the frogs, and the frogs are crippled and die in dead ernest.
Every coal Bitter who huddles around the raging fire in the long house in the darkest of winter knows this story, and every Viking who braves the Northern Sea can hear Snorri’s inconsolable rage and pain that drove him to bury Ffaldschaddar the dragon killer into the Dragon’s heart. The world knows the great treachery that the Dragon played on him. Even the ice bears have translated a version the Saga of Snorri and the Wood Sprite as it reverberated off the Hundred Year Hundred-mile-high mountain.
As the Ice Bears tell the story it goes like this; the Dwarf Snorri Sturluson stood trembling in front of Prince Rotta the Dragon waiting to be ignited. His ax was shattered like a banana that was dipped in liquid nitrogen and hit with a ball peen hammer. But this was not his day to die for Prince Rotta hated the smell of dwarf barbeque, nearly as much as he loved treasure. He bent down his majestic six-meter neck and as his cunning feline face came close to a smile, he produced a necklace of white gold, diamonds and rubies that the gods envied because it carried the shards of the first light that was spoken and called the Universe into being. He promised the Dwarf Snorri Sturluson the necklace was his to give Jonna the Wood Sprite to make him love her, but there was a stipulation. Prince Rotta would send Snorri on a quest and he would have to find his way back to give her this great gift.
Since his only choice was this or death the Dwarf Snorri Sturluson took the necklace and Prince Rotta cast the Dwarf to the walls of Isenguard. The return took trip took ten trips of the Earth around the sun, but to Snorri Sturluson the journey seemed like only a few hearts beats. When his journey was over then he would able be his to give his beloved Jonna the Wood Sprite the gift of first light. Prince Rotta also made this stipulation, Snorri Sturluson must tell Prince Rotta the words Jonna The Wood Sprite said in answer to his gift of light. But what was heart beats for Snorri as he circled the sun, was to Jonna the Wood Sprite a mortal lifetime. Snorri returned to Jonna the Wood Sprite with the gift of light only to find his beloved dying, a very old Woman.
She said to the Dwarf Snorri Sturluson, as she lay dying, “It was always you that I wanted, not the Jewels.”
It matters not what happened next, only to say that his oath was to say what were her last world to Prince Rotta, who had stolen that love and life. Snorri took the Sword Ffaldschaddar, fallen from the sky but forged in the fire of Hades, and clove Prince Rotta’s smile in half, watching his dragon’s fire extinguished in the vile green bile of Dragon’s blood and then fell on Ffaldschaddar himself. No one ever has seen ice bear cry, but they cry for Snorri and Jonna, and some say once a second in eternity their souls touch on the wing of the sparrow that touches hundred-year mountain.
Snorri’s inconsolable rage and pain that drove him to bury Ffaldschaddar dragon killer into the Dragon’s heart barred him from the gift and release of death, and the peace of emptiness. The story had great poignancy for Ivan, who had a special relationship with the Emperor Basil, because Basil’s daughter the Princess Zoe, who would come to be known in the chronicles as Zoe the Poisoner, had taken Ivan as a lover but was now married Ivan’s Father Igor. Yes, the Emperor Basil had a Viking son-in-law, Igor, nearly his own age whose son, Ivan, his daughter had taken as a lover, and who now came to be her step-son.
Why did Basil allow all this, he thought to himself, with Ivan so close to him, he could kill Basil more quickly than persistence of vision, which would make it invisible. It’s this same thing that makes a man with a knife and intention, deadly to man with a gun in less than a ten-foot circle. He could be dead before any other Varangian could come to his defense. Basil had learned this deep dark secret, that the future affected the past and that the future foreshadowing the past was only a shadow of what might be. For all of his darkness, Basil was Christian in what would become the Eastern way and he had an interest in the church, as did his predecessor Constantine, who called the Great Creed Conference in the year one thousand, in the city Aleppo, to agree on a Creed and Biblical text. Five hundred years later they were still discussing the question.
The thing was, the Emperor needed his Varangian Guard not so much for their physical protection, though Ivan at nearly two meters tall, weighing a hundred kilograms, light as a ballerina on his feet and never practiced martial arts or used weapons, but for protection against Ivan’s real weapons, the words that he carried concealed, his ability to read a room, not even knowing how he knew what he knew, that is to say, every danger in it. For that matter, how he could not so much translate the words of a language, but know the nuance that a native speaker took for granted. Ivan had the expert ability of every great systems analyst,
be it chess grandmaster or battlefield logician to concentrate on what was essential. Basil wanted to break the time shadow that foretold his beloved
Hagias Sophia the Jewel of Christianity would have minarets and prayers would be recited six times a day from them.
Basil gestured for Ivan to join him for the last vestige of the sun on the longest day of the year which lasted nearly seventeen hours. From the almost invisibly cloaked platform at the top of the camouflaged cylindrical observation tower that rested on the ivory breast-like dome of the great church of Hagia Sophia extending hundred yards into the sky, where if any of his subjects chose to look up, which people never do. They would only see the mountains and sky on one side, and the sea and sun on the other because Basil’s artists knew the art of blending things together so that figure and ground became one, as the tower directed all eyes to a vanishing point and away from itself. This was Basils reference point. And though the profound heart must keep its own council, Basil sense in Ivan presence another profound heart.
Sometimes he called in the greatest minds in the empire, who were heirs to the great Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and his greatest theologians, to ask the question, “Could it ever be an evil thing to do ‘God’s will’? And might one be dammed for eternity as a fulfillment of ‘God’s purpose’?, which was greater than any single soul. Or to put it more succinctly, did the great God of the Nicene Creed exit or was he simply an extension of the power of Basil’s forebearer, the Emperor Constantine the Great, founder of the city Constantinople, and, did he only use the Creed, which was to be the great truth that all Christians might share, to extend his own power, and divide the empire?”