01 August 2015

papersquare 003: Light on the water


An east coast girl is gold-limned in the morning; sunlight dancing on the water and playful.  Light and water have a natural affinity, turning drops into semi-precious glass beads. She is a gold limbed surfer and dances too.

The west coast girl has dark mornings, shadows from the cliffs by the sea make it darker still; swallowing navy waves with opal blue fringes.  She knows how to wait. Darkness and water have an affinity too. She is Sigyn and she knows how to sink.

The east coast girl is taken in thrall, by a dark lord, on a raid.  Transported away in the belly of his longship.  He is momentarily puzzled that she does not shine or dance on the boat like she did on the shore; more puzzled when back on dry land, his home shores, she fails to sparkle. She has grown sullen, and he uses her, hard and often to draw some reaction from her.

Sigyn watches.  Her mornings may be dark but her evenings end in a blaze, often gloriously red. Her lord is absurdly taken with the thrall, the dirty blonde woman from over the sea.  Her lord is foolhardy, always full of his own glory.  Glory in the raids, yes, in the year before last; but this year he did not venture abroad, choosing to relive past glories in sotted feasts and boastings.  The thrall is ever at his feet, and the less she likes his attention the more he lavishes upon her.

Sigyn whispers to Snorri.  One evening there is a fight at the feast, harsh words are spoken about those who are fit in body to go raiding, but do not, and her lord takes offence and is drawn into a brawl.  His wounds did not seem serious to the other shield men; but despite a wife's loving care, they fester, and within a fortnight Sigyn is lordless.

The east coast girl is chosen to follow him.  Sigyn tells her her fate. She will be plied with strong liquor, the shield men of her lord will take her, in honour of their former lord, so that she will tell him in the afterlife that they did this for love of him. All of them, one after the other, will use her to prove just how much they loved her lord. 

The east coast girl does not seem to be afraid.  There is an end in sight, and the west coast girl has the last hours, that is the way of things.  Gold burns on the water and she is taken down under the waves.





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