Heroes to us all

The train ran fast through the thick mountain mist, cutting it like a knife with its bright lights that were the only thing visible in the veil that enveloped the high peaks. And what a feeling it was. You couldn’t see anything in front of your eyes, no matter how hard you tried. The front headlights of the locomotive were far ahead, and as you sat in the back, looking through the window, all you could recognize was the occasional flake that the wind blew, so it would get stuck among the rest on the window, creating a snow like puddle on it. And even if it stuck, it wouldn’t last that long, as the trained moved against the wind that would like a brush, sweep away all on its skin. The night made it difficult to see, even to those who knew the path of the tracks. You can focus all you want, have the best eyes of a beast, but all you will find is the cleanliness of the fresh snow that was still and unsoiled by humanity, resting on the near by peaks and backs of the strong mountain cliffs. But that image was familiar to him. But not as before. Before when he was going home, he would look out, and see the same picture of the snow, the rabbits that run away trying to swim in the white dust of it which proven to be high, running from the wolfs and foxes that hunted them.

And when the beast would carry that rabbit between its teeth, he would see a hunter, not a beast, he would see life that would be fed to his younglings, not just a dead rabbit. He would see the cycle or life and death, a hunter that hunted because he must, not because he could. What man saw the nature clear and true, now saw only his own reflection in the glass, facing the person that now stood in place where he stood, once a proud warrior, son of his father, now just an echo of thoughts, slurred and incoherent words that melt with the hum of the rails pulling the train behind, an invisible hand testing its resolve to prove the true worth as not all can run this path to the once unreachable mountain, that gave birth to such legends and warriors that even after generations were still remembered, always in dreams and songs, never forgotten.

The only sound between his thoughts and the train scraping the rust from the metal rails, was Nicklaus and his snoring. Somehow it seemed like in certain moments was above all sounds, as if the bear was doing it on purpose. But it didn’t bothered him, not a bit. Nicklaus offered to accompany him, or if you want to put it to words as he said, “You can say no, but then i would had to knock you out.” He was ever so lucky to have a friend like Nicklaus, and as he would often say, they are more than friends, they are brothers, family. Somehow he pitied Nicklaus, he know how difficult it was to find words to comfort, to find acts that would even come close to fill the gap between the anger and sadness he felt. But if one thing Nicklaus wouldn’t let him forget, was that they were family, that he wasn’t alone.

But as he sat back down in his seat, across his very musically gifted friend, he fell to the memories of his village, the houses that pulled from the bottom of the little lake building up as you climb. His house was at the very top, just bellow the lowest mountain, that like a little sibling, walked in front its bigger brothers, who were in some distance, being divided by acres of wood. In the middle of as you went down the steps, the center square resided. What matter of festivals, parties and celebrations were to be held, were so on the main square. But at the day, it was a market, for the locals sold their goods, fresh fish and meat, and occasional trinkets.

The frozen lake at the bottom once fed the entire village, now serves as a hobby to many drunken men to sit at the middle, drink while the midday sun burns the skin, so they can say to the wives it was not the ale that left the red marks. Sure when a life compared from a city one to his village would say the tale of two ways, one he was born in, a life of hunt, stories and glory, and the other was the life he looked in the city, of knowledge, of a new chance and forging his own path. His grandfather taught him to appreciate both, to take them as a learning curve that was his life. And he did. He took them as a whole parts, not judging or denying a single part of each, as he was taught to search of glory in all. Yea, to fight, and to see glory in all he did. Seek a good wife, may she keep you warm. A good ale to keep you happy. And a good friend that you have that ale and a song to share.

And all what he was taught he tried to do, to obey and even write his own ways. And he often thought at the old man, his words, stories and crazy ideas he had. He laughed and taught him to laugh. But there were moments when he would look in the point on the wall, that was not present in the plane of reality or that would shut all around him, making him the only living soul there. He would often catch those looks in the deep and endless nothing, often calling his name, that would require a few tries to get his attention. And he knew, the old man wondered off in his stories, the craziness that grandmother endured was his still wishes of glory, that call his heart couldn’t deny, not completely. He often wondered, would he go and seek glory, if he wasn’t his grandfather, a husband, a leader, a friend…

And when she died, they put her in the hole. And now he is gone. No glory, just as much it could be in a still heart. Heart, no a battle, not a scar… Heart was his end. But still he was a hero, he was a warrior, and that was the question that in this night begged to be fought, that answer he asked to find before he did anything, as he wanted to repay a last wish that was not asked. But who would allow such a thing, as they now have pyres for their lost ones, not for their fallen ones. Now they pray to none, but their dead still are laid in the ground. Even if the people never let the old ways to be forgotten, the gods and heroes of the past are kept in the present, but still out of disinterest or out of lack of honor that came from death in slumber, they just kept burying their loved ones.

“No battles, no more good deaths, now pyres are for the ones that moved away, no more pyres for the ones that died…”, he heard the old mans voice calling on to him as he looked away through the neatly laid snow, trying too figure out where he was. Somehow his thought became distant, alien, and same as before when he saw battles of his dreams play right there in front of him, he now saw his Grandfather, as he sat down next to him, on that log, in the night of the pyre, where the women with the blond light hair danced round the flames, seducing him with her blue clear eyes, making her moves call him to dance and grab her and hold her tight with a passionate kiss he desired so strongly. But he sat down next to his old man, next to his grandfather, who decided to be alone, sit in front of the flames and just watch. And as he told him the words that haunted him, he remembers something he forgot. Eyes. The old mans eyes as he told him how the flames are only for the lost ones, and that the ones who die get the same treatment as the rest of the world. Perhaps it was not the sadness his eyes spoke of the equality we had like the rest, as he thought before. No, it wasn’t the idiotic notion which he had, that his grandfather was sad that night that the authenticity of the way of life they had was invaded by the outside world. The stupid thought he had, knowing his grandfather too well, now feeling like he betrayed him, but in hindsight he realized that the fear of asking about his father made him oblivious to the old man’s eyes, eyes who suffered as he said about the end and how it differed. His father sought glory, his grandfather wanted it, but grandma kept him in one place, reminded him of the duty he had towards her, him and the village. And dad lost his anchor to this world, as mother passed away, so did the already thin lines between the worlds his old man walked and was often lost in. Is this the curse of the men in his family? To search for glory, but never able to realize how far it is in reality as they are destined to always search for it, walk the unknown planes until they ether die or finally find it. But what happens to the ones like his grandpa? The ones who are forced to stay, shove that feeling of wanting, that desire to search and go out, pull it deep inside and deny its calling no matter how hard it feels your heart tugging like its going to be torn through your chest, while your blood boils with the rage of doing nothing, and no matter how hard you try to do anything to kill your time, to fill the life you have with things, that feeling of not belonging, the hurt and pain your heart will feel as you deny its wish to go forth, will never go away. And as he remembers his grandfathers eyes from that night, he understood. He understood his suffering and his sacrifice, as he knew that he betrayed his heart, even tho it loved the wife he had, the son he raised and the village he took care of, the pain he felt was never lost.

Was that his destiny as well? To dwell on things he didn’t do? As he suffers watching in the distance and asks why did his life went this way and why is not out looking for his own glory? Is it all about this, settling for less while the fear of going outside and searching for it clashes with the need you feel to not dwell on one spot, but rather search for meaning and glory despite the crippling despair that the thought of venturing off can provide.

Last Viking of Norway coming on Amazon 8th of August, 2020

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