Sea: Welcome to Saga Kraft. Myths, fairytales, legends. Stories, comfort us, inspire us and heal us. Please join us. As we share stories, both old and new. More than anything, we are open to the story and it's unfolding. At times, it may be one story told by one person. At times it's the same story told through three different voices.
In the end, we go where the story takes us and we invite you to follow.
I'm Sea, a writer, artist, and storyteller.
Betsy: I'm Betsy, a medium and teacher of mystery traditions.
Gabriela: I'm Gabriela, an artist and practitioner of folk magic.
Saga Kraft: We are magical fairy godmothers in training.
Betsy: I'd like to start out by welcoming Saga, and our stories today are about magical weapons.
The white chalk horse gleamed in the Moonlight on the late fall evening. The wind blew from the South making its way through the rolling hills and ruffling the leaves of the hedge rows, The sound of a lone horse cart, clopping, hoofs, and wooden wheel rims, creaking harness and the puffing of a horses breath could be heard from the ridge top road down in the homes in the small village.
Wives put their shawls over their ears. Husbands started fiddling with their pipes and tossing more logs on the fire. Children pulled the covers over their heads, tucked three and four to a bed. The huge man sitting lazily on the seat of the cart, pulled it to a stop once the road was level and jumped down, giving the horse a rest from pulling the combined weight of firewood, his blacksmithing gear, and himself.
He put his hands behind him, stretching out the muscles of his back and his broad chest Talking gently to his horse, a companion for many years, he checked its hooves for stones and offered a handful of oats. Almost there. Boy, my fine fellow, almost there. The horse grunted stomping, one hoof to the ground, indicating that he'd prefer to move on and get out of the wind.
The man laughed and pulled the reins to the front. Leading the horse and stretching out his long muscular legs for an ambling mile or so. Several miles later, having climbed back on the card, the wagon pulled to a stop by an ancient long barrow. The mystery of this place was perceptible. Trees, having lost their leaves, provided something of a windbreak around the ancient stones.
Wayland unhitched the horse, throwing a warm blanket over him for the time being. It would soon be hot enough. He jumped up into the wagon, hoisted up the anvile and tossed it to the ground in the direction of the long stone structure. The moon was coming on full and gleaming above the far off Hills in the distance across fields, lying fallow.
Wayland stood in the Moonlight, looking around and sensing for the closest living creatures. None very close, he thought satisfied. He had private things to do, and this was the best place that he could do them. He didn't like to be spied on. This barrow was one that was avoided by humans because it led into an opening into the realm of the old ones.
On top of that, the white horse gleaming in the distance was part of the province of the horse goddess Epona No one would dare to be out in the night here. After setting up the anvil in a place where the wind could reach it, the furnace was pulled to the cart's edge and heaved to the ground. He set that up in the windbreak area adjacent, humming to himself.
He conjured the fire with wood from nine different kinds of trees. He pulled out a great bellows and set to work some hours later with molten metal and the fierce firelight casting shadows on the sculpted planes of his face. He was sweating and smiling with satisfaction. Whatever came out of this night's work, it would be something very fine, he thought. He moved around to do his blacksmithing work, finding strength from the earth, and different qualities available at different times of the year.This place was accessible to old magic to Epona's strength and to the old ones. Unlike other blacksmiths, he didn't plan anything ahead of time.
He just felt the need to be in a particular place at a particular time,and some weapon or tool came out of that. Somehow the one it was made for always found him. He wasn't particularly interested in making that easy since he'd once been captured and forced to create. Now, trust didn't come easily and he preferred to keep moving.
Getting into the rhythm of making had its own reward. He pulled deeply from the earth working the old magic into the iron. He pulled down moonlight and incorporated the wind. The iron rods were piling up and he kept working. Whatever it was going to be, it was going to be big. A sword most likely, but what kind of sword and for whom.
Unlike other times, he had no clear sense of the requirements for this blade. Shrugging, he decided pattern welding would be ideal and set to work. He was at the moment where the long blade was beginning to take form when he felt a prickling between his shoulder blades.The sounds of his elvin blacksmith's hammer, beating the sword into shape, nearly muffled the arrival sounds of the lean woman on a dapple gray horse. Securing her magnificent steed near the blacksmith's apparently older cob, she observed wryly that the horses were likely to get along more easily than she and the surly Wayland.
Continuing his rhythmic beat on the anvil, he called out. "who's there?" Not a fae, not Epona, not human. Sky born? He edged around the anvil, massive hammer, still striking and rhythm. He saw her first out of the corner of his eye.
She stood, like a blade herself, absolutely still and lethal with cold smoke gray eyes looking out of a stylized winged helmet. Elvin manufacture, he thought automatically, but not an elf.
Certain of herself, but not of her welcome, she said "blacksmith, I have a need of you, or rather, of your help.", She amended when she saw his curling lip. She was heavily armed with a sword belt, two swords: one long, one short, and knives strapped in her iron shod boots. Not a fae. Her tabard, over gleaning mail coat, showed a vast tree with swans circling below on a pond. Valkyrie.
Wayland felt hot anger and cold loss looking at her and remembering nine years with a Valkyrie, who simply left one day, never to return. She looked impatient as she saw the shifting story moving across his face and in his eyes, and the abrupt silence when he stopped swinging the hammer.
"You dare?", he said coldly. "Or, are you here for me?". Another realization flashing across his face. "
"Of course, I'm here for you. But not to take you in any sense of the word, blacksmith." She said evenly. "I'm not here about what happened before. I'm here about what happens now and what unfolds in the future."
"Do you dare come here as a Valkyrie after all she put me through?"
" He asked scathingly Well, I'm a Valkyrie, but in truth I came here for a sword"
" from you?" She hesitated and then let her guard down Infinitesimally.
"I would love one of your swords, who wouldn't? But as you see, I'm armed with sky metal. No, I want a sword for a hero yet to be."
" At your own request? Or here at the will of the Allfather?" He asked, deciding the best path forward was to get down to business and get her gone.
"As the will of the Allfather, blacksmith. As you have never understood, or you would have cherished your Valkyrie and then let her go."
She had several tense moments of conversation with the blacksmith, understandable under the circumstances, before he nodded curtly in agreement. He resumed the pounding and beating of the sword. Already a pattern welded while she drew out her own hammer and instruments. He shaped the sword, working quickly and with consummate skill. She poured a flask of water into the cooling barrel, which changed the texture and color of the water, shifting it to luminous pale fire blue. When the sword gleamed silver, proud and deadly, he put it back into the flame and heated it up again. When it was malleable, but still holding its form , he pulled it out of the flames and onto the anvil. She took up her own hammer, shaped like a mini Mjölnir, and moved into place over the sword and began a complicated incantation in an ancient tongue while stamping cuts onto the length of the blade. Eerie currents swirled from the ground below wrapping her in a dark glow.
Occasionally peering over her shoulder and letting her know when the sword needed to go in the fire again, Wayland watched as letters appeared in what looked to be an ancient language. He knew not to interrupt her as she worked, but tried to puzzle out what she was writing. Hard to tell as it kept changing.
It seemed what she was doing was repeated three times in three different languages. When she finally completed what looked like a line of runes, she pulled another instrument out of the fire. This stamping tool allowed for less fine script. And with this, she hammered what were clearly large runes onto the blade that were bigger than the condensed and very fine script.
These runes glowed with an Eldridge light and Wayland recognized the victory rune of the god Tyr. She put the blade back into the fire and pulled out her boot knife, slashing her forearm and dropping her blood onto the blade. Magic poured from her voice, which grew loud and harsh, and magic flowed from her hands into the blade until the script glowed and the larger runes blossomed with fire.
Eventually satisfied, she passed the blade back to him and said "Sign it with your mark."
He complied adding his own charm in an elvin tongue and passed it back to her after flipping it from side to side, to see it in its entirety. She intoned another chanted charm and plunged it into the luminous water.
The rune script and solo runes all glowed, as did Wayland's Mark, and then went out, leaving the blades silver and quiet. She pulled a large crystal bead, carved with spirals and strung on a leather thong, from her belt purse. Wrapping the leather cord around the hilt of the sword, she breathed more charms over the crystal.
"Awaken, lifestone" where the only words that Wayland understood.
She looked up into Wayland's eyes and said "It's done."
"What happens now?" asked Wayland.
"We share some mead and I give you a bag of gold and a special gift. The gift is sky metal, which I saw fall to earth long ago. I thank you for your skill Wayland."
" Thank you for allowing me to watch your skill, Valkyrie. And the sky metal is appreciated as much as the gift of knowing the Allfather's will. What's your name?"
"Sigrdrífa" she answered.
"Lovely. Do you take this to your would be hero now?"
" Oh no. Now I throw it into the river to be found in a thousand years
Gabriela: Thank you, Betsy. That was really extraordinary and totally caught me by surprise too. The end really caught me by surprise. I love so many things about it. Just so many things. Especially the tension. The tension to make something is there just through the elements, but the tension of those two talents coming together and meeting in this way and how that infused the sword into something even more powerful. I love that. Thank you.
Sea: I also love the resistance Maybe I identify with the resistance. And of course, all of the descriptions were amazingly beautiful.
Gabriela: I love how, in some way we can look at these as opposing forces or complicated relationships between powerful beings. Powerful people, at certain times, have to work together for greater purpose. Which shows such a high level of consciousness and responsibility and duty.
Betsy: I was inspired, with the ending, by a real sword that was found, I think in the Thames, did have the entire runes carved into it. Having heard about that, I've always wondered how did it end there? What's the story of that sword?
Gabriela: And today we find out. I think, any sword that ends up in the Lake for that many years, for hundreds, thousands of you know, or a thousand years is, is magic.
Sea: I also love the idea that there's always something that we need to bow to the willingness to give over one's gifts. And there's something about wanting to show up and be in integrity. And do one's best while also negotiating what best is for others.
Betsy: One thing I liked about this Valkyrie is that she just had a superb command of herself and maybe by reaping all these different warriors over the years or decades or hundreds of years, thousands of years who knows, she could talk to a powerful creature like Wayland, who's also known as Woland as well. And for those who maybe have heard of him that way, the long barrow actually exists, as does the white horse. And that long barrow is known as Wayland's Smithy.
Sea: And what does her name mean?
Gabriela: Do you find yourself Betsy, resonating with Wayland or Woland, or with the Valkyrie herself or both in a particular way.
Betsy: I think with both, I love the feel of, of Wayland being untrusting because of having been captured before, um, to be on the move. But I loved his going where the impulses took him for the creations. That there was just such a sense of things flowing through him. And while he put his great skill towards things, he let the forces move him around too. And so, as you were saying for him to then find himself in this tense situation, I felt like it was good for him.
Sea: Yeah. It totally felt like it was good for him from listening. Yes.
Betsy: Good. I'm glad to hear that.
Gabriela: Well, it felt like it was a triumph for him to be seen, to be witnessed and to be unbound, but to be asked for his great work. So it feels like there's an element of liberation for him on some level, much needed healing and liberation.
Sea: Well, it feels significantly more vulgar. I think he was also liberated from the chafing thing that he was experiencing against his own ego.
Betsy: That feels true as well.
Yeah. Well, thank
you very much for listening.
Sea: Thank you.
Betsy: And now, Sea's story.
Sea: I have no magic weapon to bring to council today. I'm not sure what I was thinking I was content, or at least I thought so, ruling over the community, the land. Standing on solid ground. The moment changed, that much is clear. I forgot myself, tripping over my own dream. That in itself is a forgetting. I'm not usually one for dreaming.
It's my sister's department and she needs no help. I handle the waking world. I can only chalk it up to twilight. Or Dawn. It was both. A twilight that burst the day. So problem was in skipping the night, allowing myself to dream under the sun instead of the moon. I didn't intend to sit there. I went for counsel, guidance, but it wasn't there.
No one was there. How hard could it be? I didn't think. And in the absence of thought, absence of intention, I climbed the steps and sat down. Beauty. So much beauty. As soon as I saw it, I thought I should stop, but I couldn't, it wasn't so much that I lacked will, as that some unconscious part of myself had will had willed itself into action. an action, I could not take back. There she was in all her glory. A goddess of the liminal. She danced between the realms. I didn't know her then. I only knew I wanted her. It was and was not shallow. Clearly she was beautiful, but it was more than that. She compelled me in ways I could not describe, as if some part of my psyche had manifested her. That is within my power. Perhaps unthinkingly I believed that it did. That she and I were a foregone conclusion. When I think of it, I feel stuck.
I told my father and my friend, no, my not-a-friend, that I loved her. I didn't love her. I recognized her. They're different. Now I love her, but I built myself a prison of paradox, and I can't find a way out. Or, we've built us in prison paradox. I wish to give her credit, but not blame. The blame is mine. The credit hurts. I asked my, not-a-friend to go to her and propose. Impress he I said, bring her back. I said, she will love me, I didn't think. he'd asked for my sword. So I gave it to him. I thought he was going to offer it to her. No! No! He rendered a magical item, enchanted, to balance the essence of the upper and lower worlds while holding a stable and strong in the middle world. Worthless. He couldn't access it's power. He carried it around for a while, doing nothing more than impressing potential lovers. Then he lost it. He lost it.
I have been avoiding the council, but today I must go. I am needed for a judgment. I will have to tell them, explain that our downfall is, will be , my fault. That when the final battle ensues, I will be empty handed. But she will be with me on the battlefield. I hope she will. No. I know she will. I only hope she wants to. I would rather lose knowing she wants to be there than win having never known her. Or maybe it's that I would rather lose knowing the part of myself she awakened, then win, never having been fully me. For what can I know of her more than what she means to me?
My not-a -riend went, and returned, with her promise. Her promise to meet me in the forest in nine days. I've asked her what she did with those nine days many times. She will not tell me. The first time she lied, afraid not to answer. It was the dawn of my comprehension. I thought she came willingly, but she had not, I offered her her freedom of course, but she was afraid to take it. It was not me who had cursed her. It was not me who can reverse her curse. She has to stay with me, which means she can never want to. In sending him to fetch her, I rigged the game against myself. It pulled her from the numinous into the concrete, imprisoning her fluidity in my earthly stone. She is brilliant, pragmatic and strong. There are none with more rigor, strength or determination. To say she is beautiful is ludicrous, as beauty itself pales in comparison to her spirit. She can alter time, raise mountains and rule kingdoms, but can she forgive me? Can I?
And the council. The hall is lit up in a dim haze, mid...