Dimension. A writer begins with a blank page. Like canvas. Empty. They add a name. A description is soon attached to the name. But the dark haired, lapis blue eyed female elf named Kallan is only just that. A name with a face. You still don’t care about her. You still don’t see her world.
I can tell you her mother died when she was seven and she held her father as he died in her arms. You may feel a twinge of pity. So I add the concept that she blames herself for their deaths.
“If I had been stronger, I could have stopped it,” Kallan says. Now you can hear her. You can see what kind of a person she is. “I will get stronger. I will learn,” Kallan vows. “I will get better.”
But more die, and Kallan can only study more. She pushes herself and holds another child in her arms as she watches him die. She is still unable to stop death.
“I can’t stop this,” Kallan weeps. She sees no other way. She feels despair and gazes at the corpses that litter the battlefield. “If I had been stronger…wiser…” She can’t stop the tears that fall. “I must get stronger,” She whispers. “I must…”
She would give anything to undo the deaths, but she can’t. She is too weak. And she can’t accept that.
I wanted to show you more. I wanted you to see the battle field. The dead that lay. No. More. I want you to see the steam rising off the bodies. I wanted you to see the crows that pick at the dead…because they do. The ravens eat the dead like scavengers. Sometimes, they don’t wait for the dead to die.
Now you see Kallan standing their, smelling the stench of blood and feces as she looks at the crows picking at the corpses. Now the scene has meaning. Now you see why…the bodies must be burned. You can smell the stench of burning hair and flesh as the pyres burn. Kallan throws up from the smell and she sobs. She gazes at the pool of blood on the earth. Blood doesn’t soak into the ground. It’s too thick. Her vomit mingles with the blood. This is war. I wanted to show you like the movies never show you. Where is this world? What is this place? I wanted to show you. I wanted you to step into 10th century Norway and see Scandinavia as it once was.
To do that I needed to show you more. Beyond the wars, and the characters…I could tell you about the climate. It’s cold and on mountainous tundra where the ground is forever stone there is frozen permafrost and the wind whips across the tundra. Wild plants grow over the rocky ground. The lakes and rivers riddle the land and so many pine forests cover the ground and the mountains…so many mountains. They rise right out of the cold black sea like giants. Now you see the tundra covered in Kallan’s dead.
I wanted to show you more. I want you to feel Ancient Norway. It was still missing something. It was missing culture. Who are these people? I shall show you the food they eat. The salmon. The cloudberries and bil berries. I will show you the ale and gruit they drink. The sausage and black soup made from the blood of reindeer. I will show you how they used to cook and what they would eat. No. It’s still not enough. I show you their holidays. Their spring festival Austramonath. I show you their winter solstice and their New Years called, “Disblot.”
Something was still missing. The clothes? The religion? I showed you more. Kallan stands wearing her apron dresses and cloaks of fur. I show her praying to Freyja. Still not enough.
I paused and I looked to the history books.
If I think 1940, what comes to mind? And that is when it hit me. The War. Politics. The Atom Bomb. Inventions. 1890? War. Inventions. Politics. 1492? Discoveries. Inventions. War. Politics. That…That is what I was missing.
995 C.E. Olaf Tryggvason, an Irish Prince, just invaded Norway to claim the throne. Denmark threatened war with England and took the land then implement Danelaw throughout Scandinavia. The king of Denmark married the Queen of Sweden after killing his own father. Discoveries? We had just found Vinland (North America) and Greenland. A new religion is taking over Europe and has moved its way North. I would be worried if I am next. So far Kallan has evaded the Empire, but Denmark has eyes on her city: Lorlenalin.
Trade is thriving. We just discovered new spices and paper is now available through the Persian roads. Saudi Arabia—not England, Russia, or the US—are the current World Power and are leading mankind ahead to the newest innovations with mathematics and literature. They just invented the Arabic numbering system we still use to this day.
So now Kallan stands, looking at the dead and the crows. A pyre burns and she cries. She remembers her father laying dead in her arms. She remembers her mother and the flames lick the sky as her warriors burn. And she couldn’t stop it. Now the Empire has moved in from the South. They will strike next and she can’t stop it. They too seek to destroy their gods and replace Odinn and Thor.
Kallan pulls her fur lined leather cloak tighter.
“Fools,” Kallan thinks, “But how many more will die? How many more will I fail to save as Olaf slaughters the sons of Odinn?” The pyre pops. The crows take flight clasping strips of flesh in their beaks. The smoke billows and fills the air.
“How many more will I fail to save this time?”
This is what I wanted to show you. This is where I wanted to bring you. To show you the culture, the news, the wars, the politics, the food of 10th century Norway. To show you this dimension through Dolor and Shadow. It took me seven years of research and writing, but I must say, I’m pleased with the results.