Blood Belt, historical fiction by James Hancock at
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Blood Belt

Blood Belt

written by: James Hancock



When black crows circle over rotting dead, and eyes of men seek Odin’s pleasure, his smile is more desired than all life’s blood; from Midgard to The Nine Worlds.

I am Skerid, daughter of Freyja. This is my tale, from the dawn of our homeland to my walk beyond the realm of mortals. A tale of blood and sacrifice.

The great jarls of our old lands put aside their differences and made a blood pact, uniting them as brothers with a common desire; to expand their reach and conquer. Their eldest sons and many clansmen sailed in a hundred ships, journeying in search of a new beginning. The gods rewarded them with ten days of calm waters and strong winds, and Dondak was the first upon the sands of the new land. With sword and axe, we made it ours. Claimed in Odin’s name.

Our village was built atop Odin’s Knuckle, an enormous hill in the green land of Dondamerk. My father’s father hammered in the first stake of its wall and Untagarde, our home, was born. My father’s father became the first chieftain, known as King Brecca the Discoverer, for he was eldest of the jarls’ sons and the right was his. This was the first age of our people, and the gods were pleased.

Gather to the banners of hillfort. Make strong the hearth, and keep ever watchful of the lands beyond our kinfolk.

Soon our village became a town, and its beasts were strongest and soil richest for a thousand miles. Plentiful were the gifts of Freyr; an abundance of life and bountiful harvests. We were the blessed folk.

Mighty kings from lands afar came and drank in the horn hall, and shared tales of deeds over many cups. The glorious days of Odin.

Jealous kings sailed from their homelands and tried to take Untagarde for their own, bringing hundreds of warriors and shield maidens. Fierce was their greed and relentless their efforts. Heroes were slain and legends born on the black fields of battle, but the hillfort did not fall. The blood ran thick into the great ditch that surrounded us; so named Odin’s Belt, for it spanned the entirety of lower Untagarde. It would become infamously known as Blood Belt, kissed by the blood of many champions.

My father, Thorkil, became the new king when Brecca journeyed to Valhalla in the last great struggle, and a second age was upon us. An age of peace. An age of suffering. With nothing to entertain the gods, they turned their gaze elsewhere and our lands grew sick. No longer the mightiest of kingdoms, in the blink of an eye, we were the forgotten children.

The blessed were now the cursed, and nothing grew; barren from beast to field. ‘The Great Sickness.’ My father’s people screamed at the gods, but the gods did not reply. We prayed to the mother, Frigg, but she did not heed our call. The elders consulted seeing runes to search for answers… and answers were found. Blood Belt called for offerings, and the response needed to be heard by all; from Midgard to The Nine Worlds.

Thorkil, King, must offer a sacrifice. A sacrifice to restore that which had been lost. An offering to turn the eye of power from across eternal oceans, and shine a light upon darkened lands, restoring Untagarde to its glory. And what greater sacrifice could a king make than his own beloved daughter?

In my thirteenth year, I, Skerid, willingly gifted myself to the gods at Blood Belt, and forever left the lands of men.

And Odin smiled.

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