His challenge this time is all about interesting fables and fairy tales...of a sort. We were asked to go to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the "M" section to be more precise, chose a phrase or name that struck our fancy, then write a Flash Fiction about it. It took me a while to pick one, but I finally did, and of course it's Norse Mythology. Gotta love those Vikings! Don't forget to check out the other entries. I intend to spend a few days this week enjoying the heck out of what they've come up with, because it's always entertaining.
So, without further adieu, here is my entry for Terriblemind's From Mab to the Mysterious Three Flash Fiction Challenge:
* Muninn Memory; one of the two ravens that sit perched on the shoulders of Odin; the other is Hugin (thought). *
He sat on the hard, rounded shoulder, claws dug into giving flesh. Golden hair rolled in the unseen wind, wrapping thick tendrils around his dark wings. His master gave him an absent stroke, dislodging the blond strands and focusing his attention on the small lake. The ripples of water cleared, slowly calming to reveal the sights which he, Muninn, had so recently witnessed.
“These were the warriors,” his master wanted to know. “These men cried out for me?”
Muninn’s caw rumbled in his throat, mixing with the expanded magic in his chest, until it emerged as a human voice. “They cried gloriously for Odin. They battled for the land, and asked for your favor.”
Odin nodded, his brow furrowed with the weight of the truth. “You bring me their memories, Muninn.”
With that, his master laid a gentle forefinger on his head, and Muninn felt the sudden rush as all the images were pulled from him. It only took a few moments for Odin to absorb all that the bird had seen.
“I worried for you, my friend. More than for your brother.”
Muninn tilted his head and eyed the god. “Hugin has not the nerve.”
Odin smiled, an amused grin of beauty. “I have given you that curse, Muninn. Bravery is too akin to stupidity if not used with caution.”
“What caution when they kill themselves?” Muninn blinked, puzzled by his master’s concern.
“Yes, indeed.” Another stroke of his feathers, then a long sigh. “They must fight, or be wiped from the earth. Strength is what I have given them, cunning is what they have learned, bravery is what they have fashioned. All these dead will have a place at my table.”
“Then will fight again.” He momentarily spread is wings, indignant. “They have blood lust that is never curbed.”
His master laughed, deep and sure. “Not all, my friend, but without it they would never survive. What you see has made you too cynical. Think you of the women, strong in their own way, of the children, pure of heart, of the joyous feasts and passionate songs.”
“They make poetry and then make war. Killing and pillaging what they praise.” A shake of his dark head showed disapproval.
“Perhaps I shall give you the soul of a human. Mayhap I shall conjure you into a great warrior.”
“Rather to be roasted over a fire.”
Odin’s laugh this time was a boom that rolled like thunder. “Then I shall send you to my table, and you shall feed the hungry horde.”
Muninn cawed, annoyed, understanding the god was teasing, but still perturbed by the idea. “You would only have my brother, Hugin, for company, and then only thought and not memory. You would see but forget.”
Odin plucked him from his shoulder, cradling him delicately in his monstrous hands. “You are too wise, my friend. Much too wise…or much too brave.”
A sound erupted from below, the call of a horn, the cry of crazed men, the clashing of steel. It was too loud to be a small skirmish; another bloody battle had begun. When the god slowly opened his hands, the bird readily stretched his great black wings for flight.
“Bring me their memories, Muninn.”
The reply was a rumbled screech as the bird glided toward the conflict, the sun of Asgard glinted on the tips of his dark feathers. Behind him the riotous sounds of Valhalla turned to roars of delight as the fallen warriors tumbled out of the doors of the great hall. More would join them today, and Muninn would gather their memories for his master.