Laid down for an afternoon nap. The past couple nights have not been kind to me, and I needed a quick recharge. I laid down in my bed, alone in the house. The sound suddenly shifts around me, the air becomes cooler, and I get the sense I am not alone.
I reach out and feel I am laying on a bundle of freshly cut branches, covered with a cloth. I didn’t remember falling asleep. I merely closed my eyes and I was no longer in my home.
Opening my eyes, I prop on one arm to see I am laying on a green cloth, but with my pillow and my blanket with me. I hear a noise over me and turn towards the source.
His face is covered, but the antler headdress tells me who it is. He gives me space to look around. I’m laying on a mound, in the middle of a clearing. The clearing is edge with young birch trees all around. Past the young trees, I see older birch trees, and beyond them, trees approaching ancient of ages. Above me, the young birches have woven into each other. I know there is sunlight, but the canopy has created a ceiling of green over me. I see in places, however, where the coming winter months have already shaken leaves from them.
I turn around in my inspection. He is very patient with me. Finally, I turn back to face him. He is crouching an arm’s length from me. Leaning somewhat on a large staff. It is his cloak I am laying on. I see he is wearing layers of clothes, leather, cloth, and furs. The cowl obscures his face. I am not surprised. I have never seen his face. Just as I am never sure if the antlers are a mark of who he is, or are truly a part of him.
“I did not mean to come here, Sir.” Despite his face being in full shadow, I know he is smiling at me.
“I know. I brought you here.” He stands fully before me. I scramble off the mound and stand as well. I’m only five feet and a few inches tall. He stands easily a foot and a half taller than me.
“What would you have me do, Sir?” I’m not afraid of him. But I greatly respect him.
“You have something to return to me. You spoke of it earlier to your peers.” He holds out his hand. “Pour the water back into the river.”
With a shock, I realize he is speaking of the bindrune I have been playing with over the past couple of days. When I put it together, the Ingwaz rune had never crossed my mind. It was only when I sat back and contemplated it, did it reveal itself. I had actually used it to power an endeavor over the weekend. More power than was necessary was raised. Now the endeavor is completed, and it was time to deconstruct the edifice.
“With your permission, Sir, I would to call the bindrune forth.” I know when to push my luck, and when to be prim and proper. Never mind how I got here, in this grove, mind the p’s and q’s.
He only nods at me. I bring up my hands, about a foot apart, and call forth the bindrune. It manifests in the air between my hands, written there with my mind’s eye. Glowing lines of radiant heat, intense just as I had intended. At first each rune that composed it pulsed in turn. Ansuz. Sowilo. Kenaz. A bright pulse as each rune was highlighted. The rate quickened until my eye was no longer able to make out each individual rune. The bindrune glowed as a complete entity.
I look up at him. A little proud at my youthful achievement. I feel him smiling at me. Then he nods. I return my attention to the bindrune. My first attempt to grab it with my hands, rewarded me with scorched fingers. I licked them whole, then reached again, but not to touching. I reached out, and worked my will over the bindrune. Claiming it. Owning it. I had empowered it, I will control it. I felt resistance at first. A flash from the glowing lines. The heat ceased and I was able to pluck the triangle from midair with no harm.
I know that I was not manipulating all instances of this bindrune. Having released it to the wild, I’m sure someone, somewhere, was playing around with their own instance of it. I was only dealing with what I had personally empowered.
The triangle felt as if one solid piece. I saw no seams or joints where the three runes had overlain each other. The excess power was still there, just, quiet. Locked within the bindrune, there appeared no way to release it.
I looked around the grove to give my eyes something to look at while thinking. The birch trees stood as silent sentinels. I knew they would soon give their leaves to the ground. Wait. Birch. Berkana.
I had forgotten my deconstruction. Where I found the two hidden runes. I turned the triangle so the longest side was down. So the longest side was ground. Tracing the Berkana rune, laying upon its longest line, I called not the warmth of spring, but the cooling of autumn. The bindrune glowed a brilliant, icy blue where I traced it. I then traced Ingwaz on the remaining lines, adjacent to Berkana. The entire bindrune flashed a brilliant blueish white, and I heard a noise from it much like the cracking of ice.
The bindrune glowed brilliantly blue in my hand. And its temperature reminded me of the coming winter. He still had his hand out. I held the bindrune with both hands above his outstretched palm. Holding it upright as I originally had drawn it, I grasped the point with the left hand, and the base with the right. The two runes did not want to separate at first, but with a firm grip, I was able to pull the bindrune apart into Ingwaz and a reverse Berkana.
As the runes came apart, something like fine dust fell from the fissure into his waiting palm. The runes spent, they disintegrated in my fingers, the breeze taking up the residue like pollen from late blooming flowers. He closed his fist on the dust and squeezed tightly. He opened his hand and showed me what the dust had become. Seeds.
“Perhaps, in time, you will find what grows from these.” He tucks the seeds into his clothing. “Do you understand what you have done?”
“Somewhat, Sir.” I feel him smiling again.
“Do you understand why I had you do this?”
“To hoard power is a wrong, Sir?” When he smiles, it’s like being in sunshine.
“That is correct. But not why I had you do this.” He walks over to me, places his hand on my head. I am unable to move, rooted to the spot. “In time, you will learn. Do not forget what you have done here.” He raises his staff and with great force, pierces the ground at my feet. A chasm opens up and I fall through, feet first.
I wake up in my bed, the scent of damp dirt in my face. I sit up, look around, and see nothing out of the ordinary. As the scent leaves, I remember the entire dream. I’m more tired now, than I was when I laid down, so I return to the pillow, fall back asleep, and dream of other things more suited to afternoon naps.
Several hours later, the dream won’t leave me. It demands to be recorded, and so, here it is. Perhaps now, I can get to today’s NaNoWriMo installment.
Make of it what you may.
P.S. I have a name for him. But I’m not sure if it is the right name. And I am hesitant to use it publicly, for fear of being wrong. I’ll say this, I do not call him Cernunnos. He feels… older.