Hello, it’s me. I swear there is a meme opportunity hidden somewhere around here. Well, perhaps for an another time. Anyway, I am still pretty much alive, even if I feel far from it (really far from it) and I am trying my best to keep the site at least alive. I gave my best shot to keep at least this segment on a tight weekly schedule, but with work every damn day and the blasted heat I think I can be forgiven, at least a bit. But I promise you I am still hard at work on my writing stuff behind the scenes, even if I now occasionally pop by Twitter and say hi, I assure you the new book is being written and the old one edited. Let just say I had my best intentions and even a clean plan to make content weekly for the Word Den, but the limit of the human body kept me in place as it seems so easy to pass out every night when I come back. So at least I think I owe one POW even if I don’t have a recurring theme to talk about. Kinda planned POW to be constructed like that, think of it as an episode of the Simpsons, it starts with one event that somehow leads to a whole another one that becomes the theme of the episode. Jesus, I really must be done and dusted if I am starting to compare this to a cartoon. Well, be it that I am reaching the limit of the human body and the soreness of the muscles is slowly making its way to my brain or the lack of rest and sleep fuled my insanity even further and I am really beyond saving. But enough of rambling let’s do this!
I said perhaps now more then a dozen times I wanted to not just use this segment as an opportunity to connect, but to try and share, become more personal, not just as a writer but as a human being in general. So for this rare appearance on the site, I want to talk about fear. They say fear is the great motivator. Who the fuck even thought of that? Yea perhaps when you are trapped in a death binding situation where all is down to fight or flight, but how can fear be the great motivator if it is occurring in more then just a moment? What happens when it fills the entirety of our days, when it sleeps and wakes up, spending every waking hour next to our already near broken husks who really don’t need any more motivation to slow or completely shut down? Fear ain’t the great motivator it is the greatest set back in life that like a bully, you let it push you far enough, it shall never stop kicking you around. And lately it doesn’t let me stand up. I know it is the product of my mind, the depression followed now with constant anxiety where I fear even the sound of the passing car on the street, but combine it with work everyday which doesn’t just take a toll on you physically but mentally, you end up getting a jumpy depressed lad who is scared of his own shadow.
I can’t make excuses. I won’t. I am aware of my absence from the site and from twitter and Instagram and what not (follow me there, shameless plug), but I assign that level of absence on the crushing work schedule I have. Believe me when I say and I do not exaggerate, I come every night from a 10 hour shift just to pass out on the sofa, waking up just few hours away from my shift. But I reckon this unhealthy life style will last for maybe few weeks, till the end of the month tops. But faced with that kind of life I am living right now, barely eating one meal a day, combined with the anxiety and paranoia I feel, it makes things even harder. Concentration is gone, motivation withering and the only thing that I have left to fight it is to essentially forget about it. Forget that fear, just leave your mind blank. And that my friends is dangerous. Why? Simply because, if you manage somehow to leave your mind empty, not think about the things that break your mind and pull your soul down, sooner or later you are going to find yourself in a moment of peace, alone, where everything you managed to forget till then, that day comes crushing down on you. All of those bad emotions that you avoided hitting you simultaneously. And that leaves you down, without any hope of pulling yourself up. Fear is not the great motivator. Fear is the absence of hope that keeps us locked in a very dark corner of our mind. All we can do is push through it, in hope tomorrow will be better then yesterday.
The harder the life…
It says something about us writers. We need to be in a place of creativity, in a good feeling or even bad to suck that motivation to put those words down. I bet lot of you like me used those melancholic days as tool to write something that really needed to sound so bleak in the first place. But what happens when motivation is outclassed by other factors. Time, fear, anxiety, imposter syndrome and what not we face that prevents us to even write a single word? Motivation is the key in this line of work. I believe it is not being the best that will make you a great writer. It is purely hunger, wanting to do it, to do more, that divides the greats from the rest of us. Sheer and pure willpower is the key factor that is required to reach the upper level. Sometimes it is hard to keep that hunger. Other factors wave in, trying to persuade you to take it down a notch. And for the few months, especially after my work got too much to handle even for my writing and editing, I can’t stop thinking should I do it? Take a leap of faith, quit that job and pursue the thing I am passionate about? Don’t get me wrong. I have been working since I was 17. Worked quite some shitty jobs for even worse bosses, so I am no stranger to working like 14 hours shifts with no day off for months. But this, writing, is something I know I am good at, or at least that I have the ability to offer something to this community, to the readers, something of value. I guess after you make so many mistakes in life, on a personal level and business, one really gets to know himself. But then again stands the question we all asks ourselves at some point. Is it worth it? Will my leap of faith be survived? Or shall I just go plummeting down in the ground?
Last few words of wisdom
I leave you with this. You know. Deep down in yourself you do know. Same as depression or anything that wavers heavy on your heart, you can talk to so many people, even professionals, but it’s you who knows the size of your strength to go through it. Same as this. Just, from my experience, nothing is worth doing quickly and over night. Be ready for that. Change won’t come tomorrow, it needs to be in the making for a while. So even if fear bothers you, even if life is uncertain, stop. Breathe. We came this far, right? Night will go down, the sun will rise and we will still be here. And tomorrow is a new opportunity to try again. Won’t say till next week, but hopefully so,
Sometimes I think it is all a bit too much. With anxiety and depression, I often ask myself have I bit more then I can chew. I became a friend of inconsistency and doubt. But lately, one exercise helped to ease my mind. Only forward. That’s what I keep telling myself. Whenever a panic attack occurs, whenever anxiety gets the better of me, I just repeat in my mind, “Only forward.”
What it can be and what it should
Why do we always put the burden of what it can be? Throughout our life, every decision even before it’s made, is presented by our mind running all viable possibilities. How often we don’t even make the first step in our journey because we tend to overthink and focus on the 14th step of that same journey? Do we plan for the future too much that we neglect the present, our time to act? Like the stories we write, isn’t it better to focus on our current process, never focusing on the whole structure, caging the narrative, but knowing the basics of it, tucked somewhere in the back of our mind and let the story flow through its natural course? For life, for writing and for pretty much everything, shouldn’t we jump in the river and let the current do its thing, rather then overthinking what could happen and find ourselves left behind on the shore?
Why to write?
This is something I often ask myself. The doubt is always there, but somehow is the self criticism that gets the final nail. After writing “The Lonesome Road” (coming 2022) I found it hard not to “not” write, but to get behind what I wrote. Maybe it sounds crazy, I really don’t know (not overly sane myself so how should I know) but I wrote 5 WIP all to chapter 4 or 5, after I “temporarily” abandoned them. It’s not they are not good, but I found them lacking that “something” that kept me writing the damn 90k+ words for “The Lonesome Road” and to be honest it pisses me off. But I am grateful for it, as all of those attempts were 5 times I learned something new and started a WIP that I am passionate about.
“The Lonesome Road”
Like I said before, I never started writing because I wanted to become a writer. All of this was a project to fight depression that somehow ended with two written books and a blog filled with poems. Strange is how life turned out sometimes… (that’s kinda the letting go for the flow thing) But my first work is special. Not just
it’s my first and like some writer-mom I find the first always special (love all of your books equally, that’s what my mom always said for us kids even if we knew she loves the youngest the most), but yea the first one started as a commemoration of sorts. A book that is fantasy, that depicts a tale of a man who finds himself in a barren wasteland, alone, in a world that is ridden of all life, but yet looks so familiar. He seeks the remnants of his kind, faced with solitude and the heavy questions is he the really the last human left alive… But this man does not remember anything. Not his name, not how he got here or how the world ended. So this journey really is about finding himself, finding answers to hard questions of mortality and life most of us don’t dare to even ask. But one night, while taking shelter from the in an abandoned house, the last man on Earth gets a knock on the door. But like I said, it’s not just a fantasy book with good storytelling, unpredictable twist and a bleak yet beautiful world filled with memories and secrets. It’s a tale of depression, meaning of life and love, quest of finding ones humanity and inner strength that can make you stand on your own two feet when the world abandoned you. I wrote it for the sole intent that whoever felt or is feeling like me, broken, misunderstood and alone sees there are still us who fight the hard battles within ourselves, that even though these wars are hard, they are not always lost. That for the thousands of those who don’t understand, who tell you to just be damn happy, stop being sad, it will pass and all that crap, there is at least one of us who is going through the same thing you are. And trust me friend, one person who understands what you are going through, is worth a lot more then a thousand fools who don’t.
The inevitable process of writing
I am making a habit of sharing the advices I got and passing them on here, so why disappoint this week? For us as writers to grow we should do two thing: Read, keep on reading, because that’s how ideas get born, by fuelling the creative furnace and to learn how to write in the first place. And to learn how to write I want to share what one of my fellow writers said to me.
“Just write. Each day. Each week. Each month. It doesn’t matter how often or how much. But just start. Don’t be afraid to suck at the beginning. We all had a beginning and sucked. But to get further and progress, don’t be afraid to start what can be a magnificent journey!”
My friend J
Yea, even though it pains me to admit, because of his ego, he is right. We all have a beginning. We shouldn’t burden ourselves with things that can be or what will become. If we don’t focus on the moment, we might just lose it. Till next week,
I solemnly pass the shield, Bending the knee, From the burden heavy, To the capable warrior. Let not innocence be your decree, But pain you carry, Use the weapon mighty, The one given, The one never lost.
Use the words they throw, Test your metal with the wits of your own thoughts, Never with fists punching, Because they do not understand, It’s the spoken truth that leaves a legacy.
You who come in my place, Walk on where my step ended. And know this… Life is a culmination of choices, Where one mistake is remember more then a thousand good deeds done. And those deeds we do, Always remember, We do for ourselves, not others… From the legacy of pain, Hope is born…
I feel grateful, firstly for the opportunity to be in this position to pursue writing passionately. Secondly seeing the first part of this series being greeted so warmly, can’t stress enough how good it made me feel. So decided to make this a weekly thing, a series not just about writing but about battling depression and anxiety.
What they don’t tell you
You might heard the expression “You never defeat your demons, you just learn to live with them.” But they don’t tell you, it never goes away. That feeling of guilt, that anxiety of the constant pressure from the smallest of things that presses your heart and contracts your mind, making the breathing inconsistent, putting you down so much you just find yourself on the bedroom floor crying, unable to find the reason to get up. The harsh truth here is, it never gets better. One day you will get up, go by your day, make coffee, go to work and perhaps you will just find yourself sitting down and realising you haven’t thought about the crap that puts you away in that tiny box of thoughts. But some days… It will come creeping behind the curtains of a sunny day, deceiving the perception of potential happiness. So the harsh truth no one dares to tell you? It never gets better, but you do…
Pity instead of understanding
You heard the stories. Some of you knew the tales from first hand, be it personal experience or losing a loved one. It’s difficult to open up, even to someone we love, trust or know for a long time. I did the same mistake, opening myself to disappointment. You expect not a shoulder to cry on, but someone to have your back, someone to listen, someone to understand. How many of you, like me, got the whole known response of pity, heard the good ol’ “depression ain’t real, just don’t feel sad all the time!” The world and the people in it can often be disappointing. What you have to understand is… There are us who been through what you might be feeling now, you ain’t alone, don’t be afraid to reach out… Because we do understand…
You can’t please everyone
I talked about the imposter syndrome, how it always keep coming, making you doubt every written line and it’s quality. But haven’t touched on one thing. When you start this journey, becoming a writer, you post your work (be it a book, a blog or a tweet) for everyone to see. You expose yourself to everyone and their feedback. Sure, you are well aware that the negative words and connotations are inevitable. But you never are really prepared for its impact it can have on the already broken mind. I spoke before about my good friend and one of the first things he taught me is this. You can’t please everyone. If hundred people read your work, be ready that at least tenth of that won’t like it. The most important thing is this. Whatever you write, write for yourself, not for others. If you are proud of what you wrote, people will rally behind it, they will see the soul and heart behind the work you left. And feedback? As authors we need it to grow, take it to heart, correct your mistakes and grow. But distinct real feedback from malicious words of ill intent.
If you are just starting or even if you are as me for quite some time in it, rally behind this amazing community of writers. I got to admit I was sceptical, afraid and somewhat hesitant of reaching out to my fellow writers. As a depressed introvert I still find it hard to reach out and talk to people. But believe me, they will not disappoint. These people are the most amazing and supportive you will find. You will find friends and allys in your journey. And they know well what you are going through. Same as with the struggles of depression and life, the struggles of the writing path you don’t need to walk alone. There are always people willing to help.
A note of gratitude
I enjoy this, perhaps I am using it just to vent out, say the words I couldn’t usually say out loud, but I want to believe it’s more then that. A manifesto, a note to all that might feel same as me, that they ain’t alone and perhaps they can find solidarity in these written words. I want to thank you for taking your time to read it, the support you provide and the amazing work you do. I found joy in poetry that I wrote often here, joy that battles hard with the heavy thoughts that come knocking. It’s a daily struggle, but realise this. If you have the strength to survive those thoughts on a daily basis, you have the strength to fight back. All of you have the immense strength inside you and never forget that.
Getting through the huge cracks in the external barrier made Hellnar think even more about what could had caused that kind of damage. Was the Bone Crusher right all along? Did the gods punish them, exiling them from Midgard? The walls were huge, it would make one think only giants could manage to build such monstrosities. But whoever did put them there, what happened to them? Where are they now? Did someone kill them all? Perhaps whoever could brake these fortifications proved to be more then a match. Whatever dwells here now might be their reckoning.
The land beyond the wall was different. Even if it was mostly covered in snow, it reeked of death. The chilling embrace was not caused by the falling temperatures, but rather by the dreary feeling that enveloped these lands. It was filled with questions that they did not know how to answer. The high snow fell on most of the structures that were beyond the wall, burying them down, creating a graveyard of a once great nation. What little that was left, stuck out from the white dust, soaring into the air. It seemed no matter how harsh were the elements in their effort to erase this place, it still fought back, as some structures were intact from the snow, still accessible from land. The group looked in awe to the sunken city of ice. Beyond the wall, as far as the eye could reach, a clear view that this was no mere city, but a proud and advance nation that held this area. Strange pillars with spikes and cords struck out of the ground, soaring high into the air. Surrounding the group as they followed their curiosity inland, were these massive rubbles of steel and all sorts of unknown metal. Feki, allowing his curiosity to get the better of him, broke off from them, running away towards the few buildings that they could get in. “Where does this fool go now?”, Orm said getting the attentionof the party as everyone turned towards Feki who got lost beyond the metal pillars that stood in front of a giant building that was half sunk into the snow, but still revealing its door to all. “We shouldn’t split up. Not now. Aldur! Stay with your idiot of a brother and make sure he doesn’t get himself killed. Yet… Rest of you lets move on forward, perhaps we will find some luck and some supplies. Night is bound to find this place as well. No matter how much this land is lost. Shelter would be nice too. And don’t touch anything, for Odin’s sake!” Hellnar shouted at the Bone Crusher, who laid his hand on a metal chunk that fell to the ground, but as soon as Hellnar raised his voice, the mountain of a man pulled his hand back to himself, as if he wasn’t twice the size of his leader, rather feeling like a small child scolded as if his mother caught him eating her fresh apple pie.
While others were bickering about what to do next, Feki marveled in the architecture of this place, daydreaming what wonders lived here, how this place was in its prime. He strayed far enough, finding a perfectly preserved ruin. With half of it missing, the other half was in pristine condition, allowing the young warrior to enter. He found it strange, as there was no furniture, the half building that was missing resembled a sword cut, as if a humongous blade cut it in half. As Feki dwelled further in, all he could find was a big white boulder just sitting in the middle of one room. The stone was strange, as it was cold on touch, feeling more like a cold metal than if you would put your hand in snow. On it just a small black curricular mirror in which Feki saw his reflection. It amused the young pup, as he watched himself in it. As he touched it, the black mirror suddenly turned bright red, the boulder released a dreadful sound, as if someone blew the war horn and it moved. The stone was alive, it stretched and four legs came out of it and before Feki a metal beast with legs and a mouth appeared.
It was hard to explain, a wolf in metal armor was the closest thought that went to his mind, as firstly it moved its head, observing him. Feki pulled his sword forth ready to defend himself, but the iron wolf just stood there, moving only his head back and forth. Feki’s heart punted so fast, as calm left him, being replaced by panic and fear. His left foot fumbled, making him almost fall on his back as he wanted to gain distance from the beast. As his leg suddenly went down, the wolf moved with astonishing speed.
A loud cry could be heard through, filling the chilling air. “What was that?”, Orm asked as he looked around for the source of the cry. “Where is Feki?” As soon as Helnar asked, Aldur rushed sprinting. The rest followed closely behind and as they made just few yards from where they originally were, a gruesome shight greeted them. The metal beast, with a glowing red eye, bright as the sun itself, slowly stepped forth, holding the top of Feki’s mutilated body. The blood was still fresh, dripping on the cold snow below. Aldur’s eyes filled with rage and tears, seeing his brother’s body desecrated. He released a piercing battle cry and without thought, with his axe held high, charged the beast.
As he lunged forward, the beast without too much effort evaded him, quickly moving to the side. It dropped its trophy, as the torso rolled down its mouth, now with all focus on Aldur, it circled around him. The rest just watched in shock, not understanding what has happened. The beast was something from stories, but no moment was wasted as they all went to aid their comrade. Aldur went forth once again, now successfully hitting the beast. But as his axe touched its cold skin, it just broke in pieces. The iron of the wolf was much harder then their steel, rendering their weapons unless. The beast tried to bite Aldur, but before it could even reach him, the others engaged, just to be greeted by the same outcome. Their blades cracked and broke as the wolf pushed Orm away, sending him flying into the air. Its sole focus was on Aldur, as it slowly stepped forward to his pray. But the giant of a man he was, the Bone Crusher clenched the beast, grabbing its jaw. But it knocked Olaf down to the ground and bit off his hand. As it came to finish the job, it bit the stump of the bleeding arm, holding it and while it was in the wolf’s jaws, Olaf with all his might punched the red eye, embedding his fist into it, pulling the strings that were inside.
As he retracted his fist, the wolf released again the sound of a horn, tumbling to the side and withering away, becoming lifeless and motionless. Olaf held his bleeding wound, where once his arm was, as the others came. Helnar quickly made a fire, commanding his men to hold the Bone Crusher as he burned the stump, stopping the bleeding. Olaf didn’t even flinch as his breath was deep.
Aldur mourned and cried over his dead brothers body, or what was left of it. Orm grabbed him, trying to pull him away. “NO! Let me be with him! Let me be with my brother!”, he shouted, fighting the old man se he tried to escape his grasp. “It’s all right lad… He is gone… Your brother is gone..” Orm tried to condole the young warrior. But he just knleeded on the bloodied snow, crying. Fear filled Helnar’s heart, as he was now sure… This is not Midgard, only death awaits him and his men here.
As the men gathered around, lifting Olaf and Aldur, through the land a sorrowful sound pierced the air. Same as the wolf’s, as if someone blew a horn, but now louder and bigger. One after the other it continued to blow, shaking the ground, vibrating it, moving the very snow beneath the Vikings feet. As the fearful sound came closer with every other horn, there, in the distance, a big shape could be seen, a shadow beneath the fog.
Now all poetry and later down the line the collection of short stories that I am currently working on (Live, Die, Repeat) will be available all on one place on Wattpad. Right now you can go check out “Restful Night” the poetry collection! Tomorrow as promised the second part of the short story is coming here! Hope you are all having a great day!
Sleeples night, My soul lies awake, Remembering mistakes, Hope yearning… But it’s not the past sins that keep my mind up, But the eternal question that binds the suffering, Is happiness deserved by all?
The ship couldn’t last much longer. The last punch that the ice made almost broke the hull, making the weary and tired men dump the excess of water out. Hellnar knew the old bucket won’t float for much longer, and that land should be imminent. If not they will meet their fate at the cold grip of the sea and by Odin, that was no good death. Many moons had passed since they set out to find the rich lands of the west, but instead they found a storm that destroyed four ships that were with them, and what was left of his men, the cold took already. 40 they were when they had set sail, now only mere 5 remain. The brothers, Feki and Aldur, the old man Orm and Olaf the Bone Crusher. And him. Son of a great warrior, wanting to fill the shoes his old man left, desperately needing to escape his shadow, he accepted to lead them to glory, towards new lands, new riches, new glory. But look how it all turned out. He lost most of his army, and what’s left of his ship is barely hanging by a threat. “Land!” Someone yelled. Finally they will get rid of this snowy terrain, escape this ice, and seek glory among the green pastures of the western lands.
All of the remaining men came to the bow, standing in excitement, as they broke through the thick mist. The land of the green shall be theirs, shortly after so much loss and suffering, their blades shall bask in the blood of the enemy, taking the riches of the unknown land, shortly the long journey shall be over. But as the bow of the ship had cut through the mist, another cloud would appear, then again another. As if the uncovered vail was infinite, never ending. But they didn’t despair. They were certain of their destination, as the dark smudge of the land was still on the horizon, even if they couldn’t see it clearly. Their patience prevailed, but still after so long on the open sea, some of them were eager to embrace the hard solid soil. “Come on, come on…”, young Feki nervously tapped his feet on the wooden floor, wanting the ship to sail faster then it already was. But Feki spoke what everyone was thinking. They were all anxious, nervous and eager to get off this wooden coffin, knowing it was by sheer luck and by the choice of Odin, that they were picked to live while watching their comrades drown and die from starvation and winter. Even if they wanted to shout and scream, they were warriors, leaving the nervousness to the younger pups. As the ship finally broke from the thick mist, to their dreadful surprise, they were greeted by something completely different then the promised green lands they were told about. A land of ice and snow, stretching far as the eye could see, with hills steep and unforgiving, making them fall to their knees. “No…”, Feki sighted under his breath. Another struggle after the already hard fought journey. There was nothing left but to pull the ship on the uninviting shores.
The wind blew chunks of the ice from the surface, carrying it to the sea. As the ship gave its last efforts , the crew jumped out, knowing there was no going back. Hellnar, leader of now what was left, stepped first on the frozen ground of the new shores they would suppose to call home. Knowing that they would only find their end here, no riches or glory, he got down on his knee, holding his blade to the ground. “Allfather, the one who shapes worlds and holds our destiny, please hear my voice. My men had suffered great loss and pain, only to be greeted by a land even harsher then our own. Even if the gold and silver we were promised elude us, don’t let these men die in vain like their brothers. I beg you. If all fails, don’t take the destiny from these people, my people, to earn a chance to sit by your side…” As Hellnar prayed to the Allfather, his men strolled around these strange land, looking around in hopes of finding life. But to no avail. It was an uninhabitable land, only filled with ice, snow and rock. Most of it was flat to the side, so they easily saw in the distance the nothingness that it had to offer. All except few hard rocky hills that stood before them, only ice was their companion. Ice and the death it brought with it. Orm stood by his leader, waiting for him to finish his prays so he could advise with Hellnar about their next step. Aldur, the more mature and calmer individual out of the two brothers, tried his best to calm his hot headed brother who out of sheer rage took his sword and swung it around hitting the snow. “In the name of the Aesir, what are you doing?”, he asked his younger brother. But Feki, with steaming blood in his eyes continued to hit the ground in sheer rage. “Would you stop it? Stop!”, Aldur held his brother, hugging him, preventing the young warrior to continue his fight. “We will die here…”, Feki said, “After that fucking storm, eating the maggots that infested our food and watching our friends die out of the unbearable cold, we will meet the same fate. For what did we endure? What did we do to earn this… this cruel joke? Shouldn’t we fight the westerners by now? Being bothered by the hot sun on our face, the smell of fresh grass? Not shivering by this fucking cold!” As he finished he broke form his brothers grip, looking at the ground for a few seconds, then like from the dream, he quickly broke concentration, focusing on Hellnar, who was still kneeling, holding his sword. “You…”, Feki pointed at Hellnar as he walked to him. “This… all of this is your fault. You were suppose to lead us to the new lands. But you disrespected the Gods and now we are all being punished for it!” He came close to Hellnar, when Orm pulled out his sword, ready to fight the much younger man. “Watch your tongue little boy… one more word out of you and I will make you mute!” Feki just laughed at the sight of the elder, not seeing him as a threat. “Really now old man? What are you going to do about it? You are the one who should watch it! I am not sure your hips can handle a proper sword fight!” But Orm just laughed at the boy, being amused by his words. “Aye. I might be old. But if you do not fear a man who watched young fools just like you die all his life and most I had cut down myself, then you will indulge me by teaching you that even an old wolf still has teeth sharp.” Feki was furious, allowing his anger get the better of him, as he pulled his sword high, ready to strike Orm down where he stood. But even before Orm could act, Feki’s sword was blocked by Hellnar, who in two swoop moves disarmed Feki in such speed and strength, that the boy was left stunned and shocked. Knocking his blade to the ground, Hellnar looked at the shocked expression of the kid who just couldn’t believe what had happened, as he met Hellnar’a fist, putting him on his behind into the thick snow. “Get up.” Hellnar extended his hand to the kid who held his nose bleeding, being angry and humiliated. “Yes this is unexpected. Yes we endured much of the pain that was put in our shoulders. But at the end of the day we are warriors. Fighters! And we won’t squander and argue like bunch of children! Do you understand? DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” Hellnar shouted as all of them nodded in silence, as Hellnar told Aldur to help his brother. “SETTLEMENT!” A thunderous voice came crackling from above the hill. The Bone Crusher made it on the top of the steep and sharp stones, managing to climb above while they were all fighting. As soon as they heard, all of them ran up the steep hill.
The Bone Crusher stood up tall, being built like a mountain, tough as steel, he was the strongest of them all. A man of few words he was, but the few he spoke they all listened. Hellnar stood side by side with all of them, looking at the horizon. “What do your eyes see, old friend?”, Hellanar asked the warrior. Silence was his manner, even in battle, so it wasn’t surprising when his leader asked him, that he firstly let no words disturb his gaze. “Walls, there, few yards ahead. Look down, behind the snow and wind, you can see the interrupted line. Walls, definitely, most likely destroyed. Perhaps the inhabitants are long gone, nothing to steal, no one to fight. But at least it will provide good shelter from the storm.” Hellnar looked down the never ending snow planes, seeing the image his big comrade spoke off. It would be a one way trip, as the wind that carried the heavy flakes grew stronger by the minute. Either they camp here, risk that the wind won’t make graves of ice for them, or they take a walk across the white planes to the unknown dangers that laid ahead, behind those walls. Hellnar knew his men, he knew the sheer amount of their collective strength. He knew what they were capable off, being raised in harsh and unforgiving land, he knew they would probably make it through the night if they camped on the shore. But unworthy death of the elements that they saw take their friends during this journey made them on edge. Nerves were thin, hands twitchy, eager to grab swords. He feared of the heavy toll that it would take. So in his mind there was no way but forward. He looked around at them, seeing his men all looking down the icy planes. “We move. If we stay here the snow will bury us. Perhaps behind the wall we will find cover. So, steel on the ready, if there is anyone left living, be ready to send him to the land of the dead.” The rest just nodded, looking back and forth to each other. They were all that was left of the great raid and now with the same fear they had looking at their friends die on the ships, they walked down the hill, towards the distance, not intending to make their deaths in vain.
The elements tested them. Walking on the planes of snow proved to be more difficult then they imagined. The uneven terrain was unforgiving, as with one step they would fall through the ice, the other would hide spikes of sharp stones. But holding together, picking up their brothers and going against the blowing wind, they managed to carry one another to the large walls that with every step they took towards them, grew larger and larger. No one really expected it to be so big, as the horizon hid the lie of their size when they looked ahead from that hill. But now standing below them, they could see the sheer size of it. It was bigger then anything they came against, as the walls stood higher then any building they made. Twice as big then the tallest house in any of their city, build with a strange material, they looked in awe to the colossal walls. But something broke them, as when they came to it, they clearly saw a big hole that was carved in the walls, interrupting their perfection. “What people build this kind of thing?, Feki asked shocked. Orm took his glove off, feeling the strange material. “Steel? No…”, he said. The rest followed his example, except Aldur, the smartest of the bunch, who took his axe and gently hit a part of the wall. As he did, the axe vibrated from the impact, shaking his entire hand. It took a second for him to realize his braking though. As the second he needed to gather his thoughts passed, he took his axe and swung it with all of the strength he had in his body, striking the wall. The axe just chipped the wall, sliding, easily braking the weapon in half. They all stood speechless, witnessing Aldur’s actions. “No… not steel. Something much stronger.”, said Aldur looking at what was left of his axe. Hellnar touched the wall, looking at the top of it that was caught in frost and snow, asking in what land did they found themselves in. “What matter of men could build such things?”, Feki asked. Orm looked around, not being sure at what to make of it. “I was in France, England, I saw the settlements of the westerners. This is no work of the unbelievers. They had stone walls, but steel or whatever this is, no…” They all basked, looking at the unknown, with a certain dose of fear being present among them. “Men? No, men did not build this…” From behind them, the Bone Crusher spoke, keeping his distance, looking down at the snow. “What are you speaking of you fool? If men did not build this then who did?”, Feki’s arrogance spoke. “Who said we are still in Midgard? The storm spun us around the sea for so long, months went by without seeing any land. And the first land after that while we see, is this?” As the Bone Crusher spoke, he got the attention of everyone, as they all collectively turned around to him. “What bothers you old friend?”, Hellnar asked his comrade. Something spooked the big man, making him nervous all of the sudden, as he turned around, looking back and forth, expecting danger. “This land, filled with nothing but snow and ice, it reeks of death. After this long, perhaps we are further from home then we think. And seeing this walls, bigger then anything we ever saw. Makes me wonder, if we left Midgard in those treacherous waters.” All of them respected what the Bone Crusher told, except Feki, who just laughed at him, provoking him further. “Are we seriously going to listen to the ramblings of this dim wit? Fine, I’ll indulge you. If not he westerners, then who build this massive walls?” The Bone Crusher looked at the boy with rage behind his eyes, not really wanting to say it. “Giants…” It all just make Feki laugh even harder, almost falling to the ground. But he was the only one who did that, as the rest took the Bone Crusher seriously. Feki realized he was the only one who found it amusing, looking at them asking if they were serious. “What makes you think of that old friend? Giants are things of old, things of legends. Things that belong to Jotunheim , not here in Midgard.” Hellnar came close this his friend, showing his support. “The land of snow, ice and death we find ourselves in, sounds like the folk tales our parents told us. The land of the Frost Giants. And the wall that stretches so far in the air, only one could build. Ymir and his children…” Fear was present among them, as the theory the Bone Crusher had sounded very plausible. But perhaps seeing the biggest of them all shake of fear was the tipping point that made them scared. Hellnar looked at them, trying to figure a way to keep his men straight, as straying away, being consumed by fear would be the end of them. The wind grew stronger exponentially, blowing snow in their faces. “Right now it is still uncertain where we are or who was here. But what is certain is that a storm is brewing. Shaking form fear in the open is the last thing we can do right now. We continue with our intent. All of you! Gather your steel and your strength, sheath your fear away, as Lord Odin does not welcome any cowards at his table. Move!” Hellnar’s words provided the required nudge they needed as they all got in the huge hole in the wall, proceeding further in the unknown. As they went in, he stood a bit behind, taking a final look at the wall. “Do you really believe that? That we are in Jotunheim?”, asked Orm who waited for his leader. Hellnar looked with eyes of dread, not really sure what to make of it all. “I do not know brother. Right now it is not my concern who built the thing, rather what did make the giant hole in the impenetrable wall.” As they both looked at the giant hole that broke the wall, they gathered their belongings and marched on, catching up with the rest.
The Word Den reached 500 views! Thank you all for it! Just recently I have been taking this blog more seriously and I promise the best is yet to come! My book “The Lonesome Road” is coming next year, and while I slowly (but surely) work on the next, I am also working hard on the blog.
I will try to post at least three times a week here. Posts will be published on Monday, Thursday and Saturday (I hope, maybe sometimes not on those days, but definitely three a week at least!). I will try to maintain the schedule and you can expect poetry (once or twice a week), perhaps something new (I will try, have few “good ideas” I wanna give a shot) and something I want to announce today. One of the posts will be my project that I named “Live, die, repeat”, something I was working on for a while but had put on hold due certain circumstances (my inconclusive mind started 5 damn WIP so I disregarded everything else)
In the upcoming weeks I’ll be releasing “Live, die, repeat” A culmination of several short stories. Starting with this Saturday, 15th of May, first part of the first story will be out.
First story, called Ymir’s legacy will follow a band of Vikings, who on a path to the new western lands, are whipped away from course, getting in a massive storm that destroyed all of their ships and let only the five of them alive. As they arrive in a barren land of ice and snow, they will have to move forward, investigate an unknown and strange city, discovering the dreadful and dreary secrets it holds.
It is a new approach, but I feel confident i can manage few projects at the same time. So stay tuned for Saturday and get into a new journey. Follow the Word Den and all of my socials! ( links are on the main site, just click the icons!)
Your words carry weight, With glass eyes staring deep in my soul, Wondering, How to fix the broken pieces, To make whole what was once shattered… But your task, the severity of your will, Does not lie in words, But beneath my arms, My heart on your heart, Heals the wounds of time….