Another week, another folder of research notes. The Bookburners seem to have finally calmed down in Camden, so at least I have a bit of free time for now; still waiting on a response from Locke about rest of the stuff we got back from that storehouse. I hope she’s okay. For that matter, I wish she’d apply as much enthusiasm to everything else as she does to the tasks I specifically ask her to do. In any case, I have the one book now, and it seems like it’ll most definitely tide me over until the rest come in – although I’m eager to get a look at that old níðstang they mentioned, if that is indeed what it is. Anyway, without further ado, I’ll get to translating.
Excerpts from an Unmarked Book recovered by the Serpent’s Hand in Camden Town, London, translated from the Old Norse and with Annotations by J. Älgstein.
…I have been in this land1 for many months now, and I do not feel safe in the slightest. Even the other Danes I have met seem remarkably unconcerned by the creeping threat that has consumed much of this island, and looms over the North like the shadow of the Wolf.2 My task as a priest3 is the hardest it has ever been, due to the presence of these desecrators; I came as a hunter, and have unwittingly stepped into a den of wolves.
There is still hope, however; the desecrators have not yet overtaken the island as a whole, especially in Galloway4 and much of the Danelaw. My concern is not so much with their spread as with the apathy of the remaining followers of the Old Ways5. They seem content to coexist with these southern heretics,6 not realising that they fully intend to wipe us out. Given the chance – and we are giving them that chance! – they would burn our temples, shatter our statues, tear our banners to shreds. They must be stopped.
Thankfully, I have found what I believe to be a way forward. Great Thor hurled his lightning down into a forest near my camp, and a tall pine with two long horizontal branches caught fire.7 This was clearly a sign of our coming victory over the invaders from the south, and their false god. I went to the base of the tree, and in that forest I found a group of local people who venerate a god they call Woden or Herla. He is said to have the horns of a deer or elk,8 and to lead a Wild Hunt through the woods each night. Although communication was not easy – my British9 is poor – I managed to ascertain that they have met men of the Old Ways as I know them, and that one of them engaged in witchcraft10 and saw this god. He was awed by the sight, and said that the Lord11 told him that the god was a manifestation of one of his kind – the Vanir.
I myself am not experienced with the folk of Vanaheim, but this previously unknown Vanr of incredible power – enough to shock an experienced priest of the Old Ways – has most definitely caught my attention. I plan to seek an audience with him tonight, performing witchcraft under the guidance of the native folk to see how I might better fight the desecrators.12
Well, that was certainly eye-opening. I haven’t found anything about antlered figures in Nordic sources before, let alone previously unknown Vanir. It’s pretty clear that by “desecrators” and “heretics”, the writer was referring to Christians, and he raises an interesting point. Why wasn’t there more resistance to the Christianisation of the north? What heathen secrets might have been
Shit, L’s calling the emergency stafur line. I’ll have to continue this later.