The Tale of Midmir the Golden's Second Journey
|The Tale of Midmir the Golden's Second Journey|
|Printer||Roddman and Brothers|
“The Tale of Midmir the Golden's Second Journey” is an old story dating back centuries to the original Proto-Velheim, who took the tale and adapted it from Ceardian myths about the hero Midir the Fine. However, the Velheim version seen here comes to modern Aloria from the Blekgeit Manuscript, and chronicles the second journey of the hero to lands beyond his own. This one is the most popular for many, as the first journey deals with raiding for a bride and thralls in a “western land” often depicted in modern retellings as Ithania, and the third and fourth journeys dealing with affairs much closer to his home in Hedryll and lacking conventionally exciting fantastical elements.
The Tale of Midmir the Golden's Second Journey
Midmir the Golden had taken his Sol-Kvinne Ansella, and his thralls of Hud, Søle, Stille, Lykke, and Vand from the western lands. Within his household, he was strong, and from his estate by the sea, great Skinnersund, he was content. From Ansella came two sons, and then two daughters, but then, a wiltborn. This seemed to rouse Midmir the Golden, and he saw the grasp of Nidda before his eyes and worried about his time upon the salt and dirt.
Thus when that spring came, he left to seek challenges and trials worthy of his title among men. With him came his firstborn son, Sigmundr, and his trusted crew of twenty. They headed to the south, past an empty island fit for settlement and raiding alone, and to a land unknown to many. There, they reached the tip of this land and came upon Ulvid’s Rest, the final port operated by a Hedrylli in these parts.
All dined on game, and Sigmundr got his first taste of living, and Midmir the Golden pulled their host aside to speak.
“What lies ahead for me and my band, is it death or life? Riches or poverty? Drought or drowning? Starvation or stuffing?”
Ulvid rested firm, scarred hands against each other and then spoke true. “You will find life, but also death. You will find riches, but also drowning and starvation. Yet if you believe in the gods, and keep your mane of sunshine uncut, you will all prevail.”
The next day, Midmir left with his band and son, who had to be half-yanked into the surf to rouse him from his enjoyment of the joys of life. They traveled to the south, past forests dark and foreboding. But then, in the distance, smoke rose and as they approached a rocky coast, they could see distant flames.
“It seems someone has a respite here, this far in the deep woods.” said his son, eagerly stepping out.
“Perhaps, but let us not walk foolishly. Come, the first ten, join me and my son.” Thus, ten of his crew left the ship in full leathers and furs, with wolf-born blades and bark-born shields to defend the family of the halls of great Skinnersund.
They walked into the woods and soon approached the fires. Dense brush obscured their sight, and pushing through the fronds, the party came upon a godly scene. No tree or plant grew anywhere near a smoldering pile of brittle grey-yellow rock that sat like a pre-man’s face, bulbous in this natural setting. Deep slashes of the substance radiated out, cutting into the greenery, and from bubbling pools of semi-green water came steam a-plenty. Every few moments, a burst of fire emerged from what looked to be the chimney of a hovel of stone at the center of the expansive slash of unmortal land.
Midmir took a step forward, and upon his leather meeting the yellow gravel, a rumble came as a stone was removed as the doorway of the hovel, and out stepped two strange creatures. Each appeared to be of the earth, with skin of stone and eyes of precious jewels, and a hunched appearance befitting one low and near the earth.
“What steps upon our spring?!” roared the male, before the female cracked him in his side and he said more calmly “So that we might, ah, greet you.”
“I am Midmir the Golden, and I bring with me my eldest son and a company of men from our boat, which is anchored near. We saw what we thought to be fires and a company of others like ourselves, but if we have disturbed you, we will leave.”
“No, you have not.” spoke the female, stepping forward. “I am Løg and this is Ner, and we have dwelt here since we were raised from the earth. Come, and bath in our springs, relax in our steam, the sea is rough but these pools are gentle.”
Midmir and his band did not judge on appearance, and so accepted the creatures’ offer. One by one, they removed their furs, their wolf-born blades and bark-born shields, and relaxed within the bubbling pools. A great sense of calm fell over all of them, and their bodies bathed in that sensation for a time.
But one of the band, Karl, had taken up a small pool close to the hovel of the two tenders, and he overheard a most vile conversation.
“Why did we not take them when they arrived?!” growled Ner in anger.
Løg cracked him over the head. “You fool, that is Midmir the Golden, never one to be trifled with. In this way, they clean themselves before our feast, and now they are disarmed.”
“I will cut his locks from his head now, and make him even more helpless!” grinned out Ner in glee.
Løg cracked him on his other side. “You fool, we can do so after we trap him in the springs, the man is not one to let his hair be cut!”
Karl snapped to and called out to his fellows as he started to rise from the heated spring. “It is a trap!”
But before he could say any more, the earth around the spring came to focus and sharply impaled his rising form. The same happened in every pool, but forewarned, his fellows escaped the devious intent of their now hostile hosts. The fight between them all was fierce, but the men still had their wits. The beasts called forth scorching fires, but these were dodged. Then, they called forth crushing rocks, but these were avoided. Midmir led the charge, and with his axe, each beast lost their limbs, and then their heads.
As soon as they fell, their bodies collapsed to pebbles and their home to rubble. Like some great change had come, the springs dried up and the vile yellow earth began to fade. Sigmundr reached within the pebble piles and produced the creatures’ bejeweled eyes, while his father took a smelling, vile rock from the place as a trophy for his estate, great Skinnersund.
They left that now saved place, and returned to their ship. Karl was carried with them, being wrapped and buried in the earth, with a stone place to mark his head. His name was to be remembered so that the site would be honored. Their Tall Ship pushed away, and Sigmundr came to learn far more than he had been before. They traveled further south, now intent to circle all of Forblåste, and the dense forests soon faded. Great plains emerged, dotted with trees, but six days from their deadly encounter, they came upon another horror.
A swirling maw emerged from the waters before them, unlike anything they had ever seen. It sucked at the air, and it ripped their sail, trapping them in a slow drift toward its waters. As the pull increased, the mast snapped and three men went overboard. Edvard, Ansgar, and Helge found the air ripped from their lungs as the torrid water instead filled them. Their deaths were quick, but enraged, Midmir dove into the throat of the maw. His broad hands came in and grasped either side of the swirling vortex, ripping it closed and crushing it into the dark sand. He then returned to his ship, and ultimately, directed it to shore.
His crew was worn, and the boat too rickety for a voyage, and so he was again forced to ground. But now they were in a land of sands, of arid rock and few to no trees. The animals were foreign to them, and unskilled in the hunt of them, the band failed. As for the waters, they were barren and harsh, the crushing of the maw leaving the water so uncertain of their place. Thus, the band failed to fish here as well. Starvation gripped them, and the barren grasps of Nidda and Bev played with them for nearly a week. But Midmir never lost faith in deliverance, his hair still shone, and as he had climbed to the highest dune near his listless people, he saw a plume of dust approaching from the distance.
Not to be caught off guard, especially from last he had seen a distant cloud, he readied his axe and shield with what little strength he had left. Strangers came to him from this cloud, dark in skin and sitting on tall, lugging animals.
“You are not from these sands, but you are of the north, correct?” spoke the leader, a woman wrapped in red with black hair.
“How do you know of my people, and where are we?” Midmir bit back.
“You are in our land, and we are the Sariyd. As for how we know of you, your kind has ventured sparingly through our territory.” she replied, already walking around him to see his people and their boat.
Upon seeing their condition, she uttered something in her own tongue and turned to him. “You have clearly had a hard journey, what might we do to help?”
“We are in need of wood and food.” Midmir told her, weapons never lowered.
“Then you are in luck. My caravan is carrying just such goods. Now, what will you offer in exchange?” the woman said, two men approaching with their beasts clearly laden with baskets of what was needed.
“Exchange?” Midmir queried, but then he looked back at his battle-band. All were exhausted. All were worn out. Their supplies gone, their souls tired. No raiding by sea would be had here and he begrudgingly offered the woman the precious jewels.
Her caravan creatures had their baskets dropped, and she moved on with a wave and a call of “If the gods will it, we will meet again!” They proceeded down and out of sight, toward the south.
Midmir dragged the baskets down to his people, and they were replenished. They dragged their Tall Ship from the sea, and set about repairing it. Soon, the timber supplied help make them strong, and the food was stored away. They reboarded their ship, and glumly asked Midmir if they might turn back home. The trip had been long, and for nothing but death, though perhaps a great victory or two. Even the son had his first doubts.
But the man looked south, and urged them forward because, if they trusted in the gods, they would have a great bounty soon. And so, his men and his firstborn son trusted in him and the gods, and they all sailed south.
On the third day, they saw the caravan camped by the sea, and they fell upon it with vigor. The woman was seized, their jewels were recovered, and other valued goods were taken. In addition to their major captive, three other men were seized as chaos filled the camp.
“How dare you do this to us? We helped you!” protested the woman.
“That you did. But as you said, the gods favored our meeting again, and you are not a people built for war. You should have cut me down.”
She was named Aisha, and eventually became his newest wife. Her fellow men, named Abd, Abdal and Hosni, were taken by his crew, with Sigmundr having taken Hosni for himself. The trip then turned from there, and there was plentiful fishing the whole way back to Ulvid’s Rest.
“What did you find, old friend?” spoke Ulvid, meeting Midmir the Golden at his dock.
“We found life, but also death. We found riches, but also drowning and starvation. Yet we believed in the gods, and I kept my mane of sunshine uncut, and we all prevailed!” the great man exclaimed.
All dined on game and fish aplenty, and Sigmundr got his first taste of control as Hosni served him throughout the night. Midmir the Golden had completed his second journey.
- The document of the Blekgeit Manuscript oddly appears to be Fridurfolk in origin, though it is currently in the possession of the Kingdom of Hedryll. Most suspect that the Skaggers captured a literate member of the Fridurfolk society, who was then traded to nobles in Hedryll, who made them document a number of local folktales.
- Midmir the Golden’s hair was a symbol of his strength. On his fifth journey, Aisha cuts it and leaves him to die in the presence of his enemies but despite this, he triumphs and kills them all, thus saving his home before he succumbs to his wounds. Aisha, for her part, is then burned alive by Sigmundr.