mead-hall

You are Odin: Its a normal day in Valhalla when an haggard looking angel runs into the mead hall saying heaven is being overrun by the forces of hell and they need help.

Jorrvaskr apple pie

Jorrvaskr, the famed mead hall at the centre of Whiterun, is home to the Companions and as a result, their feasting table is now laden with much more than just mead to feed these hungry warriors! This age-old recipe was passed down to me by Jorrvaskr’s caretaker, Tilma the Haggard, and is a favourite of the Companions and can always be found at their tables. With a crumbly, buttery crust and an irresistible spiced apple filling, I am proud to share this secret recipe with the rest of Tamriel! (Don’t tell Tilma though!)

You will need:
Pastry
250g plain flour
25g caster sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
125g butter, very cold and diced
2 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
Medium sized pie tin

Filling
315g red apples, peeled and diced
1 stalk rhubarb, diced
1 egg white, beaten
45g soft brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tbsp caster sugar
45g butter, softened, plus extra for brushing
1 shot spiced rum
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla essence
¼ cup pecans, chopped

Method:
To make the pie crust, put the flour, sugar, salt, and butter into a food processor and blend until a breadcrumb consistency is reached. Add the egg yolk and whizz again for a moment, and finally the milk. Once the dough has formed, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and work until it is smooth. Wrap in cling wrap and chill for half an hour minimum before using.

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F and place the pie tin in to heat up.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the filling ingredients except for the egg white and mix thoroughly.

Dust your work surface with flour and roll out your pastry into a circle to fit your pie tin, leaving aside a small quantity of dough to make the top lattice. Fit the pastry to the tin, then spoon in the filling evenly. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar.

Using a roller cutter or knife, cut out a lattice with the last of the dough and secure to the top of your pie. Brush all over with butter and the egg white to glaze.

Bake for 30 minutes on the middle shelf. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tin. Serve hot with a drizzle of custard or vanilla ice cream.

Don't keep the Gods trapped in the past!

You know what I want to see more of? Images of our gods in the modern age. They’re not just our ancestors’ gods, they’re ours too.

I want to see Freyr blessing migrant farmer laborers. I want to see Freyja watching over sex workers. I want to see Odin camped out under an overpass, swapping stories. I want Tyr marching with protesters and Thor fighting tyrants. I want Frigga as a high powered lady executive or attorney, Eir as a nurse in an overcrowded and underfunded inner city hospital

Our gods our more than gleaming steel and mead halls. Humanity has grown and changed, and of course the gods have come along with us!

youtube

You open the front door to the Bannered Mare, the feel the chill of the cold night air begin to melt off your face as a wave of heat from the fire pit greets you with its warm embrace.  It’s taken you days to travel from Solitude to Whiterun, and you can’t wait to lay down your heavy pack full of treasures, and enjoy a hot meal and some good Nordic mead while listening to the songs and tales of adventure that will surely be told tonight.

After paying for your room, having a quick wash at the wash basin, and changing out of your armor into some more comfortable clothes, you join the merry circle around the campfire, and one of the bar attendants calls out that they’ll be over to take your order in just a minute.  You find yourself sitting next to an Argonian merchant and a Nord warrior, who are busy discussing the latest dragon sightings in the area, and how they are confident that the legendary Dovahkiin - whoever they are - will surely appear to do battle with them should one attack tonight.

You smiling knowingly, but decide against chiming into their conversation.

Instead, you turn your attention to the bard across the way, who is singing songs about the great warriors of old, and the triumphs and tragedies that befell them.  As you place your order for a hearty beef stew and some Honningbrew Mead, you can’t help but wonder if any songs may be sung about you one day, and all of the adventures you’ve encountered in this harsh yet beautiful land of Skyrim.  You entertain the thought a little bit longer as you take a sip of mead, briefly wondering whether such songs would end in victory or tragedy…

But you shake yourself out of such thoughts.  No need to spoil the mood with such serious thoughts tonight.

Instead, you focus on finishing your hot meal, and taking in the atmosphere of a hall full of cheerful voices and merry music, grateful for such a change after the lonely nights of camping out on lonely, snowy hilltops, with only your horse for company.  While you do admit that there’s nothing quite like falling asleep under a starlit sky, with the northern lights streaming overhead, there’s also something very comforting about being in a bustling mead hall such as this on a cold winter’s night.

Eventually, a mysterious stranger takes a seat next to you and strikes up a conversation, inquiring about the adventures you’ve had thus far.  You have the sneaking suspicion that this conversation will somehow end up in another adventure of its own, but so long as you haven’t taken any arrows to the knee, you won’t turn down the possibility of another one.

And thus you begin to tell your tale…

If It’s What You Want

Read It Here

He couldn’t help himself. He’d been testing Alec. 17,000 was everyone. All of them. Any relationship, by any measure.

If a vampire had asked him for a number, he would have given them a ball park of 10,000. Vampires were visceral and had a… fluid thing. To a vampire, a number was about sex. A seelie or a werewolf would have been asking about connection. People that, for a century, or a decade or an afternoon, had overwhelmed him, linked themselves with his mind or his spirit in some way.  Maybe 8,000.

But warlocks…

There is a parable about a sparrow flying through a mead hall during a storm, written back when they still had mead halls, and way before they had window screens. The sparrow flies through one window, and quickly back out the window on the other side. For a moment, he is warm, and safe, and there is light. But the storm rages on outside, and he slips out of it, and then back in, with a nearly meaningless moment of safety and warmth in between.

That’s what love, real love, is when you’re immortal and alive. A moment of light in an unknown eternity. What number would Magnus have given if a warlock had asked him?

He doesn’t know.

Read It Here

Witchy Real Talk: Stagnant Gods

So this is something that has been showing up a little bit in my life lately. It’s something that some might find controversial (so… warning on that front), but it’s also something that I think is rather important to address. After all, it’s part of what makes paganism tick in the real world.

Where am I going with this? Well, I want you to think of any god or goddess from a pre-Christian pantheon.

Really, Josh? Really? Making us do imagination drills again?

Too late. After I told you to do it, you did it, didn’t you?

Damn it!

Right. Anyway, I’ll use Odin and the Morrigan as my two examples. Odin because he features prominently in a post that I recently shared, regarding modern souls entering Valhalla. The Morrigan is my other example because she is one of my patron deities, and because she provides a nice alternative deity to reference.

Originally posted by warinfinities

When either of those names are mentioned, there are variations that come to mind, yes, but they’re all variations on a theme: Odin, a larger than life bearded warrior wearing leather and chain, seated on a massive throne in a mead hall singing songs of glory and warfare while partying it up (let me not go into specifics about how Valhalla is not the stereotypical party lodge we think of with the Norse and is actually a place where warriors rest and save their strength for the coming of Ragnarok). The Morrigan in her single form (rather than her triple aspects) dressed in armor and tattoos and wielding a spear as she walks through the battlefield with a crow perched on her shoulder, collecting the heads of those who have fallen in battle (no, not as grim as it sounds… the Celts believed the head to contain the soul of a person - she collects the heads/souls and takes them to Tír na nÓg - the Otherworld).

And in thinking about these images, I couldn’t help but to stop and think for a bit. Could it be that in our desire to learn who these gods were, and what our ancestors believed, we have frozen the images of the gods that we hold in our minds?

Originally posted by emreozcan

Now before I move any further on this topic, I want to get something clear. This is merely food for thought. If it does not resonate with your faith, spirituality, or tradition, then that is perfectly fine! But it is something that has a certain level of importance in my personal faith and tradition, as I feel that paganism - generally speaking - is based around change and growth. Why should our gods be any different in that regard?

Where was I? Oh, yes! Could it be that our notions of what the gods were like may be outdated?

Part of why I was thinking of this is because of how far humanity in general has come, both in standards of living and in technology. Prior to the arrival of Rome and the Church (and even during and a while after), Celtic society was heavily dependent upon whether or not cattle could survive through the winter. Cattle was essentially one of the most important resources a family could own (along with land, which could be farmed and grazed). When battles were fought, it was often in an attempt to gain both land and livestock. Some of the major rites performed throughout the year were dedicated specifically to cleansing and protecting one’s herd (a huge part of Beltane, for instance, was ensuring that a herd be passed between two large bonfires - the flames, smoke, and ash cleansing disease and bad luck from the cows in the process). The Norse weren’t too different, relying upon the health of crops and livestock throughout most of society, and the acquisition of riches from raids so as to promote honor and wealth for one’s leaders and gods.

The Morrigan was (and is) a goddess whose domains - generally speaking, for as I’ve mentioned before, she’s a triple goddess - include magic, honor, warfare, the cycle of life to death to rebirth, and courage. Odin was (and is) a god whose domains included knowledge, wisdom, honor, and prophecy (while he was definitely a warrior, he was a warrior in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom… Thor and Tyr were easily more warlike than Odin… but since combat and battle could be waged for varying reasons, it makes sense that multiple gods had a role to play in a warrior’s life). How can these two gods be seen in the modern world, but still hold their original roles?

I’m not going to go citing American Gods here - in either the book or television formats. Instead, let’s take a look at what these gods represent in a modern context.

First: Conflict. Both the Morrigan and Odin are called upon in moments of conflict. Both are asked for blessings prior to battle, and both are asked for the wisdom that can ensure survival. In some circumstances, both are also asked for prophetic inspiration so as to see possible outcomes. It pains me to say that war is still a very real part of life today, and therefore the gods continue to maintain their warrior aspects. But for those of us who either aren’t or can’t be soldiers, what role do these gods play?

I see both gods being less about strictly war and more about conflict in a general sense. For instance, it could be something as simple as a game (remember, in my article about technopaganism I addressed the fact that one could dedicate their game or even their in-game avatar to a deity so as to try to win in their honor) or something as complex and stressful as a court case. I mean, think about it! I can easily see Odin tearing the defendant apart in the court of law without having to lift a finger - knowledge is power, after all!

The post I shared a little while ago regarding the souls entering Valhalla is another wonderful example of this. No struggle, no matter how visible or invisible, is something to take lightly. Addiction, abuse, depression, anxiety, illness… even just trying to make it day by day in a society rife with corruption… all of this can be seen as a battle. Sometimes the battle is waged against one’s body (addiction, illness); other times, it is waged against one’s own mind (depression, anxiety); and still other times, it is waged against outside forces (abuse, society). Would the Morrigan or Odin ignore someone who is fighting every day of their life in favor of someone who takes up a gun or sword?

Honestly, I don’t think so.

But if I were to give a more extreme example, let’s take a look at modern religious practice in comparison to the corresponding practices in their original time-frames. Both the Celts and the Norse practiced ritual human sacrifice.

But that doesn’t make sense! You can’t compare that aspect of religion to the past!

Actually… I can. See, while my comparison is not one of derision, it is one of observation. The difference here is that I’m not trying to describe these ancient cultures in a bad light. At the time, it was not uncommon for human lives to be offered to the gods for the sake of blessings or appeasement. Quite often, these individuals were volunteers. If not, then it wasn’t uncommon for these sacrifices to be criminals or prisoners of war.

Today, we view ritual human sacrifice as monstrous and unnecessary so long as our intentions are made clear, and our less violent offerings made with love. 

Originally posted by whatsaftertheparty

So… are the gods starved because of the lack of human sacrifice like Supernatural makes them out to be? Or have they, like us (or have we, like them…) moved on to see things differently?

Personally, I don’t think the gods are stagnant in their ways of antiquity. I do, however, see Odin welcoming the souls of those who have lost their fight to cancer into the halls of Valhalla. I do see the Valkyrie guiding the souls of our soldiers and law enforcement to the afterlife. I see the Morrigan sending her crows and ravens to remind me that each day is worth the effort and struggle, even when depression tells me it isn’t worth it and anxiety tells me to flee or shut down.

In Conclusion…

While the two gods I’ve focused on are fairly similar in that they were seen as deities of knowledge, wisdom, and war, this does not apply solely to warrior deities. Perhaps Aphrodite’s domain over beauty now encompasses the beauty of heart and soul, in addition to physical beauty (in all of its forms). Or, perhaps Bast continues to be a protector goddess of magic and motherhood, making her presence known through perfumes and acts of compassion.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is this: the gods speak to all of us in different, unique ways. If they appear to you in their “archaic” forms, then that is all well and good. But if an aspect of a deity resonates with you and clearly has that deity’s name on it without necessarily being recognized by the older stories, don’t cast it away immediately. Think on it and meditate on it. It could be that the deity has changed and grown over the centuries in ways we don’t necessarily understand. Follow your heart and your intuition. Faith is not something that is taught, but is something that is felt.

All of this is food for thought, as I mentioned before!

Originally posted by craftiestbeer

Blessed Be! )O(

e--wills  asked:

Hey AvannaK! I'm genuinely curious what you would've liked to see in a canon-consistent bridge series between HTTYD/GOTNF and HTTYD2? Do you have specific "should haves" and "would have been nice if..."? Sorry if you've answered this before. 😕 I'm not around as much. Take care!

Heya!!!

This is a really fun ask and it led me on a journey through a lot (a lot) of old posts. Some I’ve quoted, some I’ve linked to, but hopefully I’m managed to peace together a readable summation of things/events I like to imagine happened in between HTTYD/GotNF –> HTTYD2. Thank you!

Hiccup’s awakened to a whole new world; in the span of a month or so his entire life has been flipped and he’s got no choice but to hit the ground and run with it because, as of now, he’s at the forefront of Peace. The village is not only paying him positive attention (for being him) but also looking to him for direction. He’s lost a leg. He seems to have gained everything else.

In the following months, years even, his father does a lot of directing within the village, as Hiccup learns to lay out a plan. It’s not long after Hiccup awakens that Stoick sits his son down and says “Tell me everything”. Stoick wants to know Hiccup’s history with Toothless, his desires, his personal thoughts on where Berk is and move on from here and, to Hiccup, its a moment he’s been waiting for his entire life. His father has always loved him, but its felt like years since he’s openly valued his opinion. Stoick wants to be a team with Hiccup, because Hiccup is Berk’s first and only step into this new territory, but Stoick has the pull.

Stoick is openly impressed with his son after hearing the full tale; he says as much. About how brave Hiccup was, to make himself vulnerable like that, purposefully, and to come out victorious. The sort of bravery few vikings show anymore. The sort of bravery his mother had.

Hiccup and Stoick’s relationship had started to take a dive as Hiccup grew out of childhood and into a disappointing vision for a viking. It’s being restored, heftily, as they walk an entirely new path together (though, not at all without disagreement; both will continue to claim the other “doesn’t listen” until the very day they part ways).

Right from the get-go, Hiccup struggles with his leg or lack there of. There’s heavy frustration with limb loss and the adjustments Hiccup has to make around it leads to flares of temper – moments where he snaps at his father in misplaced anger, or Toothless, before he’s struck by reality and apologizes. Sometimes he pushes himself too far, insistent on maintaining independence, and Astrid, or Toothless, need to help him back, and he’s left sweaty, and angry, and embarrassed. Hiccup would have periods where he felt so helpless and it killed him because losing his independence for a time makes him feel like he’s Hiccup the Useless all over again. Phantom pains and feverish nightmares plague him often at first; times when he grows testy and stressed as this burning sensation runs up his leg like its still on fire, and Gobber has to sit him down and help him work through it. These episodes manage to crop up again and again in the following years no matter how comfortable he’s become on his feet.

In fact, late winter of that year, not long before Hiccup’s 16th birthday, when he’s just begun to feel physically normal, a common sickness is taken to an extreme for him. He can’t shake it, he loses weight, his leg pains him constantly. It has his father besides himself and Toothless acting out and Astrid furious with the gods.

And then there’s the growth spurts. He’s just sixteen when he gets a new leg fitted by Gobber. And then sixteen and a half when he adjusts that same wooden leg. Twice more before his seventeenth birthday he makes even more adjustments and it’s when he’s 17 and four months, after a fortnight of an aching back and pinched calf that Hiccup fashions himself a full new prosthetic of his own design. He happily braces it to his stump, sighs in contentment, and stands to look directly over his girlfriend’s head… who had merely come to accompany him to the Mead Hall and not be ridiculed for height disparities.

Gobber’s relationship almost immediately starts to transition from Uncle-figure/Blacksmith-master to confidant and therapy guide. Every other viking on Berk seems to have lost a limb, but Hiccup feels safest around Gobber to be open and vulnerable and actively seek help. Gobber teaches him the tricks to fastening a prosthetic, the mental and physical exercises to better deal with limbloss, holding his hand through the hardest of times and listening to his rants patiently. Limbloss is a way of viking life, but that doesn’t make it any easier watching a familial child go through it. At the same time Hiccup’s being pulled out of the forge more and more, and Gobber, like a distant, proud father, will both needle him about it and be supportive all the same. Gobber takes on another apprentices from time to time — capable young’ns, a few old hands with good experience — but he’ll miss the back and forth banter, and the exasperating ingenuity, of his honorary nephew.

Toothless takes it upon himself to get Hiccup into shape on his leg. He pushes the boy to exercise, to be physically stronger, just as Hiccup pushes him to tolerate silly human manners (like to not nest on Stoick’s bed or help himself to any fish netting in sight). Hiccup and Toothless have, by far, the best human-dragon relationship yet to be seen on Berk, often and unwittingly acting as ambassadors to their respective species with the goal of making cohabitation as seamless as possible. They also are still learning about each other, and the differences in their behaviors as humans and dragons; where they’ll compromise and where they simply won’t. The subject of Toothless’s tail come up between them. Hiccup has it confirmed that Toothless knows… he knows it was him. Just as Toothless understands, as well as any dragon could, that Hiccup’s learned and accepted that he too took his foot. It’s not instant forgiveness. Not when Toothless still bears the scars of the bola canon, and not when Hiccup is still freshly relearning how to walk, dealing with a new upheaval of emotion and pain, but both find the results well, well worth their suffering, and finding each other even more so. They forgive each other. They communicate through touch and two different, one-way, verbal speech habits until they’re able to make “we got even” jokes about it five years later to some rando, feral dragon lady.

Hiccup’s relationship with his peers is another thing that takes an immediate 180. Much like the village in its entirety, Hiccup finds himself saddled with their positive attention and respect. It carries a past of longing, heartache, and anger. Hiccup can’t find it in him to hold onto his resentment; not when they’re so willing to learn, so sets aside his unease and pushes them. He pushes them to fly, and to bond, and to listen to their dragons. He’s barely aware of a protective element building between the teens and himself; a rapport born from fighting a battle unlike any other. He doesn’t stop to question if its out of guilt for their recent past, or if they’re that singularly minded. Whenever he stops to think about it he starts to get overwhelmed by the reality that this is all happening, he’s “one of them” (or they’re one of him?), so he tries not to. …Even though they sit with Hiccup in the Mead Hall, and hang out with him beyond dragon training, and pull him into battle spars when just months earlier they would have shoved him down a knoll first. The twins show up at the forge from time to time, seemingly just to mess with him. Fishlegs will spend hours with him pouring over text discussing dragons, gushing about possible revisions to the Book of Dragons. For once, Snotlout gets to laugh along with Hiccup’s biting, witty retorts as they’re finally directed towards others: stubborn, withered old vikings set in their ways and still battling dragon integration.

Ruffnut quickly figures that her attention to Hiccup is hitting a stone wall, and her interest that came so fast and hard is easy to shrug off almost as quickly (though losing to Astrid, even in a one-sided, unacknowledged battle, still smarts). Instead she keeps up with the uncomfortable attention a while longer simply for her own amusement. Snotlout too learns to let go of Astrid. She so easily rolled into this new life (not that he’s fighting it), and, perhaps, she was never the ideal woman for him in particular. Still admittedly hot, though.

And then there’s nights in the Mead Hall. They grow older, stay out later, test the limits of Mead and foreign ales. Engage in drinking games they’ve only seen older warriors participate in. There’s a streaking incident. Brawls. Hiccup finds himself pushing to ban drinking and flying (because if vikings want to be idiots, then fine, but don’t endanger the dragons). Stoick enforces it (someone needs to look out for his idiot vikings). A more sober variation comes of it over time: Dragon Racing.

Debates within the tribe about spreading peace break out almost immediately. For the first year of peace, well into late summer, the tribe was nearly unanimous about focusing on integrating dragons: learning to fly, acclimating to the benefits (and drawbacks) of sharing space with dragons, and loose plans on altering the village to fit their new needs. As they grew comfortable Hiccup, and a few others, started to push towards communicating with their distant neighbors about bringing on this way of life. Frienemy tribes (the Meatheads, the Bogs, etc) were opening communications once more, and all Hiccup sees is an opportunity. Hiccup’s on a high over many platforms; he wants to expand peace, knowledge, and understanding between dragons and humans. People are listening to him and he’s good, really good, at what’s passing for impressive these days. He’s ready for more. But this is one area where the older generations has more experience, more assurance. It is almost unanimously agreed to keep the pro-dragon lifestyle secret, and it’s not to punish Hiccup, or dragons around the world that still battle humans, but to protect their own, very new way of life. Especially as it develops, and they’re left vulnerable, off-footed, all the while very much aware of how tribes once were long before violent dragons had forced humans to keep a united front.

It’s confirmed in HTTYD2 that Berk keeps their dragon lifestyle a secret from other tribes. Berk manages to shirk hosting an annual Thing year after year, claiming repairs for being the most devastated by the dragon war, that they’ve had to travel for timber and food given the ruin dragons laid upon them before the war mysteriously ended. Instead they travel, by boat, to meet old allies, testing the waters of old friendships, waiting for a time when an opening will come forth to bring dragons into their lives as well…

Hiccup must go to these Things, and does so without his dragon, often wary at familiar faces, nervously making up stories about his leg, wishing he had Toothless with him. Snotlout goes as well, meeting up with old playmates, but shocking them with a more protective attitude towards Hiccup. Astrid starts to accompany him when he’s seventeen; both having decided their relationship is concrete enough to make known outside Hooligan territory.

Following the events of HTTYD, Astrid (and the others’) focus is on learning to fly dragons ahead of the curve so that they can continue to master and teach. Beyond number one priority, and beyond keeping up with traditional physical tasks (as she’s still Very Viking, thank you very much), and a bit beyond helping out her village adapt to dragons, is Astrid’s interest in Hiccup. Yes, a lot of it has to do with him being the best and first dragon rider. He’s actually impressive. He’s impressed her. He has a future as a chief, and not just any chief, but the chief. The one that changed everything. And, it turns out, he’s pretty funny (and frustrating) and incredibly ingenious (but impractical at times) and he genuinely cares about her (but he’s probably being as impressed and disillusioned by her as she is him). She’s learning a lot about Berk’s heir, and she intends to continue to do so.

Astrid starts out by planting a kiss on Hiccup’s cheek from time to time. Sometimes in front of others as she tries to subtly secure a claim she’d thrown down in a moment of rapture. Sometimes in private, where she actually feels embarrassed, and vulnerable, because its more intimate than some public decision.

They get into arguments. Their priorities don’t always align. Astrid challenges Hiccup on his dragon knowledge (but it’s not just knowledge like Fishlegs has, where it can be categorized from books, but a silent empathy that can’t be taught. It takes her years to truly figure that out). Hiccup gets irritated when Astrid chooses Vikings over Dragons (as he often views it, but it’s not so black and white). There’s miscommunication. And Guilt.

Astrid goes through her own self reflection, and acknowledges that the man Hiccup’s becoming is worth her respect, just as she reaffirms that the boy Hiccup was, or who she knew him as, was not. She can forgive herself. Same as Hiccup gets to really know Astrid, beyond the shallow crush he had on her (which had been all but driven from him in the throes of discovering a life’s purpose).

They’re juggling a relationship (that didn’t have the most wholesome start) in the background of readjusting their worlds and taking on tasks and roles most adults wouldn’t be asked to. But they’re giving it a try, and it’s harsh at times, and sweet at others, and they “take breaks”, sometimes unhappily, and they meet other people (not court, or ‘date’, but there are other heirs who look at Hiccup as potential alliance material, and other Vikings, many other vikings, who are impressed by Astrid).

But through it all, as they learn about each other as people (and not crushes, or heir figures) they discover that they are a team. They were a team the moment they were forced to work together, and they remain a team throughout the rest of their lives.

Hiccup’s at the cusp of 16 and Astrid well already when Hiccup initiates a kiss with her. Kissing becomes more casual, but still soft, and sweet, from there on out. He fumblingly asks her on a “date” of sorts shortly after (having to insist that, no, this doesn’t involve the rest of the gang. Just her. She has an ‘oh!’ moment).

Hiccup’s 16 and a half, it’s the anniversary of the Death’s demise, when he allows Astrid to see his stump for the first time. She’d helped him through leg pain in the past–supporting his limps, staying by his bedside through fever–but this time he willingly removes his prosthetic and bares a scarred and ugly part of himself to someone who’s opinion matters. Astrid reacts to the breathtaking moment of trust and exposure with tender hands and speechless assurances, and Hiccup relaxes in her presence. I imagine it wasn’t sexual or humorous, but a terrifyingly intimate and vulnerable experience that launched them into a deeper level of their relationship. He allows her to touch the hard tissue, and to ask questions he hadn’t felt comfortable answering before. 

A couple months later Astrid learns of the scars on his back, the ones she’s never considered before, from when he fell backwards into the explosion.

Not long after that Hiccup’s allowed to see her hair down, and to touch it. They grow more interested in each other as budding adults, and make more time for each other. Kissing intensifies. Groping and exploring follows. Sometimes they take things a little too far and it ends in giggles or, on occasion, an older viking yelling at them.

Astrid takes to grooming Hiccup. She braids his hair. Comments on his scruff. Gets involved with his wardrobe.

The flight suit is in development and Astrid finds it ridiculous; both a point of hilarity and something that scares her (though she’d never admit it outright) and Hiccup learns to hide it in one of the few white lies they’ve picked up in regards to one another.

They’re 18 the first time they exchange “I love yous” and the intimacy of their relationship continues to rise from there.

At just shy of twenty, and after much needling from his father and not-so subtle hints from Astrid’s family, Hiccup proposes.

The entire village is on a high in the following weeks. Heartened, Stoicks makes a weighty decision.

Roles of an Old Norse Queen

This post will focus on the historically attested roles that Old Norse queens were expected to fulfill. I will note ahead of time that some of the evidence is drawn from Anglo-Saxon heathen queenship examples, namely Beowulf, but there seems to be corroboration for this in women’s traditions in Scandinavia as well so I’m not hugely concerned personally with using this as evidence especially when the scholarly works are strongly informed by Anglo-Saxon traditions as well. However, some likely will find this an issue so I’m putting this disclaimer up.

With that said, Norse queens were expected to fulfill a number of roles including but not necessarily limited to healing, peace-keeping, secret keeping, providing wise counsel, divination, gift-giving, and hospitality. In addition, while so far I’ve found no evidence that the queen historically had duties to the land, she likely embodied the land symbolically so I will discuss her ties to the land as well.  Furthermore, I will also discuss the act of cup-bearing as it was an important rite tied to many of these roles.

It’s also worth noting that unlike the study of kingship, studies on queenship are far less developed. Women were overlooked as passive objects with little to no real power. While it’s true that queens lacked the explicit powers of the king, they wielded some powerful influences that shouldn’t be overlooked. These influences ranged from subtly manipulating the court through her charisma to explicitly using what powers she did have to alter the turn of events. I wish I could expand upon this topic fully and give extensive examples of the ways in which queens utilized their powers to show that they were truly powerful and interesting figures in their own rights, but that would take a full length paper so for the purpose of this post I’m sticking to the barebones of what roles were notably linked to queenship in the Old Norse construct of it.

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Has it hit you that Vox Machina's souls won't be together when they die?

I know I just posted a long thing about the library, but I’ve been thinking: if the pearls on Sarenrae’s beach are her followers and the spirits in the garden of Pelor are his followers and Ioun’s followers are tending to her library, won’t those be the “heavens” each champion will go to?

Pike will be a lovely pearl (like she already is, inside and out) talking with Sarenrae for eternity. Vex gets to spend her afterlife in and among trees, like she spent much of her life. I’m guessing Vax will be stuck in the dark with threads and pools of blood, but maybe not. If Percy does become Ioun’s champion, he’ll spend his forever in her library, getting to organise the books that hold people’s lives and being where he feels most at home. I’m guessing Grog will join Kord, and I’ve got no idea what that’ll be like, but I’m excited to find out. Keyleth will likely join Melora. Again, we don’t know what Melora’s realm is like, but if you ask me, I’m sure it’s beautiful. Keyleth will fit right in. As for Scanlan, I don’t know who he’ll end up with or where he’ll go when he dies, but wherever it is, it’ll be with some other god or goddess.

Overall, what I’m saying is that they’ll all be apart. At least with most (at least most Western) views of the afterlife, souls are generally all together. Whether it’s in Hades (as in Greek mythology), even though Hades is split into three according to deeds done in life, or it’s Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory in the Catholic tradition, souls are mostly divided in very few locations.

But here, with Vox Machina, they’ll all be separated. No more twinnies. No more team tall and smalls. No more Vaxleth or Perc'ahlia or Pikelan or Grogleth or Perc'ildan or Vaxlan or Pikeleth or Vexleth or what ever other ship you can think of. There won’t be any grand mead hall like Valhalla where they can all spend their days just as they would, drinking and recounting the good old days.

We can only hope that their ends don’t come too soon and that their heavens are all they could have wished for.

When he first saw you

Ralof:
The wagon ride to Helgen had been long, stirring up a feeling in the pit of his stomach that made him want to vomit. On top of that, you, the unconscious passenger, only made him more concerned. The imperials had picked up two complete strangers during the ambush, it only made him less able to discern where they were headed. You stirred, grabbing his attention as he welcomed you back to the plains of Nirn. A series of bickering later, the walls of Helgen passed over head, his attention drawing to the sight of General Tullius and the Thalmor. He was placed in line for execution, watching you, an innocent of war, be kicked to the block. As if the thought of being beheaded wasn’t enough, the sudden arrival of a dragon was surely going to make him taste his breakfast again. In the panic, his binds snapped, and he called you to the tower. You’d climbed the stairs together, though when he’d lost you through the inn, it was a relief to be rejoined by you through the keep. The trek through the fort had been tiring, so the open road to Riverwood was a welcomed sight, especially with you at his side. He’d reminisced about his childhood days, eventually bringing you to his sister, offering you a place to stay and a heap of supplies. It was not long after that you parted ways, a promise left that you’d meet again, not as prisoners, but as Stormcloaks, together.

Hadvar:
Regret had swept over him as he watched you, face shoved against the freshly bloodied wooden block. From the moment he couldn’t find your name he knew you were an innocent, another refugee attempting to cross the border and pushed head first into Skyrims civil war. He looked down to you, sending Talos a silent prayer, but was instead answered with the clap of the sky tearing. A dragon, black as pitch landed atop the keeps tallest tower. He’d ran to help the civilians, the briefest glimpse of you entering a tower was caught from the corner of his eye. You became the least of his concerns, his mind set to ushering the people out of the dragons fire, at least until you came running from the burnt up inn. You’d followed him obediently, pressed shoulder to shoulder as he watched as the dragons talon nearly grazed your face. He’d been surprised to see you enter the keep before him, after all, he expected trusting an imperial soldier would be the last thing you’d do after the previous events, but nonetheless, escaping the fort had been pleasant, in its own way. The walk to Riverwood was awkward to say the least, in fact he’d tried his best to be rid of you, and yet you were persistent in staying with him, though once Riverwood had been reached he’d introduced you to his uncle and family. He filled your pack with numerous supplies, watching you head off on your journey to Whiterun from the porch.

Vilkas:
His conversation with Kodlak had already put him on edge, so your interruption had only angered him further. He’d snapped at the idea of you joining the companions, stomping down the hallway, mumbling beneath his breath that he had to be the one stuck testing you. It had been a year since their last try out, all others being no match for the companions and putting their place into the army instead. Vilkas liked it that way, it meant less whelps to babysit and have gawk over him, you were no different and he expected this over quickly. He’d drew his sword and readied his shield before you’d even opened the doors of Jorrvaskr and stepped into the training yard. He watched as you eyed up his gear, along with the stabbed and shredded dummies that dotted the wall behind him, you drew your weapon, giving him no time to deliver his usual lines before you’d landed the first blow against his shield. You hit hard, harder than he had expected. His knees buckled, his foot supporting his weight and only just catching him from falling flat. He glanced behind you for a second, seeing the racket from your first hit had attracted the attention of those sat outside the mead hall. He braced, pushing himself against the hits you made before you swung hard, again nearly knocking him to his feet. As he attempted to steady himself, you gave no warning and delivered a final blow to his shield. Vilkas coughed the dried dirt from his throat, picking himself up of the floor and glaring as hard as he could muster. He shoved his sword into your hand, ordering for it to be taken to Eorland for a sharpen. He approached the doors, refusing to look at those that had witnessed his defeat at the hands of a whelp, and sulked back to his room.

Farkas:
This had been the fifth time a giant attacked the Palagia farm this month, they’d been getting bolder and becoming more of a threat. He watched his companions race around the beast, Aela firing her arrows from a distance as Ria stabbed the skin of its thighs. He levelled his long sword against the ground, rolling back up to his feet and swinging all his weight into a hit. He sliced the beasts skin, sending it whirling and knocking him back into the soil once again, the wound bled heavily, the stench of iron filling his nostrils as it thundered closer to him. He covered his face, tensing to take on the heavy impact of a direct hit. One that never came. He felt the ground shake, sitting up to see the Giants limp body, collapsed face down in the cabbages. He looked over to the others, expecting to see their blades bloodied and quivers empty, but instead ended up following their gaze and landing on your figure. He gawked as you sauntered past, Aela catching your arm and thanking for your assistance. He picked himself up, joining the others to make the walk back to Whiterun, turning back only to watch you walking in the opposite direction.

Ondolemar:
He’d been pacing as usual, back and fourth on the top floor of Understone Keep, the neck of his goblet held loosely between his fingers. He did this often, surveying the area, watching how the staff, and even the Jarl diverted and stopped in their tracks in order to let him continue his walking, it made him feel powerful, knowing he still held his place as a superior mer even in this barbaric land. He was so self assured, at least until you’d shown up. You’d marched up the steps, cutting him off and sending him reeling backwards to avoid getting hit. His guards went for their swords, their hands grabbing the hilts before being stopped by their commander. He approached the steps, watching you speak with the jarl and analysing you. He’d never seen a person such as yourself, the way you held yourself, the way you spoke out, he would’ve noticed you from the rest of the rabble. You turned to the steward, receiving a slip of paper and made your way back down the stairs, Ondolemar refusing to break eye contact as you passed, cutting off his path once more. You didn’t look back as he moved to the ledge, watching you disappear beneath the stone archway.

Aicantar:
He hadn’t been paying much attention when another adventurer had arrived, seeking admission to his uncles dwemer museum. He’d glanced at their figure as they’d pushed open the doors to Nchuand-Zel, the heavy metal grating against the stone floor, and echoing out across to where he stood at the alchemy desk. He’d dotted around the study since then, reading multiple books and mixing multiple potions before taking a seat on the stone bench, opening his book on dwemer law. He squealed in an extremely undignified major, flinging his book over the edge and into the running water below, from the torn and bloodied giant spider legs that had been thrown down in front of him. He looked up at the stranger, his golden face pale as you sauntered over to the enchanting table where Calcelmo stood. A quick conversation later, he watched as the golden key was placed in your palm. You passed by him, your eyes meeting and a small smile being flashed his way. He stared after you as you left, his heart beating faster in his chest, you were brave, bold, gruesome, and enchanting, and the young elf found himself deeply smitten.

Vox Machina as Lines of Poetry

Grog
“How many times have my men,  
sworn to stay after dark
And stem that horror with a sweep of their swords.
And then, in the morning, this mead-hall glittering
With new light would be drenched with blood, the benches
Stained red, the floors, all wet from that fiend’s
Savage assault-and my soldiers would be fewer
Still death taking more and more.”
-Beowulf

Vax
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”
-Wild Geese, Mary Oliver

“They say you are made of clouds, they say you
are made of feathers, they say you are everywhere
or nowhere—we know you are both.”
-If This is Your Final Destination, Nick Flynn

Keyleth 
“the last tribute of a daughter, I thought of something
I remembered
I heard once, that the body is, or is
said to be, almost all
water and as I turned southward, that ours is
a city of it,
one in which
every single day the elements begin
a journey towards each other that will never,
given our weather,
fail—”
-And Soul, Eavan Boland

Pike
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!“
-The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus

Scanlan
“Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!”
-Wild Nights (249), Emily Dickinson

Vex
“No, no, not that,—it’s bad to think of war,
When thoughts you’ve gagged all day come back to scare you;
And it’s been proved that soldiers don’t go mad
Unless they lose control of ugly thoughts
That drive them out to jabber among the trees.”
-Repression of War Experience, Siegfried Sassoon

“My petty greed has often been met
by petty donors
Twice or so I was saved
by the God on my shelf
After safe escape I gave a smirk.”
-My Petty Greed, Choudhuri Sukumar

“Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew –”
-High Flight, John Magee

Percy
“No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.”
-The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S Eliot

Trinket
“[Animals] do not sweat and whine about their condition, 
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, 
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, 
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, 
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, 
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.”
-Song of Myself, Walt Whitman

Vox Machina
“The anguish of the earth absolves our eyes
Till beauty shines in all that we can see.
War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise,
And, fighting for our freedom, we are free.

Horror of wounds and anger at the foe,
And loss of things desired; all these must pass.
We are the happy legion, for we know
Time’s but a golden wind that shakes the grass.

There was an hour when we were loth to part
From life we longed to share no less than others.
Now, having claimed this heritage of heart,
What need we more, my comrades and my brothers?”
-Absolution, Siegfried Sassoon

BONUS - A FEW CR SHIPS 

Vaxleth
“i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”
-[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in], E.E. Cummings

Perc’ahlia
“She took my head between her fingers,
squeezing till the birds began to stir.
And then from out my eyes and ears
a flock came forth — I couldn’t think or hear
or breathe or see within that feather-world
so silently I thanked her.”
-After the Disaster, Abigail Deutsch

“My darling turns to poetry at night.
What began as flirtation, an aside
Between abstract expression and first light

Now finds form as a silent, startled flight
Of commas on her face — a breath, a word …    
My darling turns to poetry at night.”
-Darling Turns to Poetry at Night, Anthony Lawrence

Vaxilmore
“Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.”
-Seperation, M.S. Merwin

Pikelan
“I have to tell you,
there are times when
the sun strikes me
like a gong,
and I remember everything,
even your ears.”
-I Have To Tell You, Dorothea Grossman

9

literature moodboard Beowulf

“I had a fixed purpose when I put to sea.
As I sat in the boat with my band of men,
I meant to perform to the uttermost
what your people wanted or perish in the attempt,
in the fiend’s clutches. And I shall fulfill that purpose,
prove myself with a proud deed
or meet my death here in the mead-hall.”

anonymous asked:

histrid anger bad upset argument fight fic? basically them in a very anger fight but making up anyway because their histrid. (:

Here you go. Get ready for some OC Hiccstrid. :D

Argamaid’

Hiccup stormed through the landscape, shoving past bushes and shrubbery as he blindly made his way to the cove. This visit to Berk had been a disaster. But what did he expect? A treaty renewal with a tribe who’s chief has a muscular and very “Viking-like” heir is bound to bring trouble. If not not for the tribe, then for Hiccup himself.

And Astrid. Although she didn’t seem to be the one in trouble.

His prosthetic tripped over a tree root, and he slammed to the ground. He didn’t move for a moment from the spot, merely rolling over and breathing heavily from the run he’d exerted himself with for the last fifteen minutes. Finally catching his breath, he stumbled to his feet and began making his way, having long since passed the cove and trying to find his way to the cliff side. The cove was the first spot she’d look, and today… he didn’t want to be found.

Upon reaching his destination, he slid to the ground and leaned back heavily against a tree, staring blankly at the calm ocean and sunset. This scene reminded him of the event only a few months ago, only he and Astrid had been sitting together at Dragon’s Edge. They’d shared there first “officially a couple” kiss then.

He shivered, and reflexively looked to his side. Astrid wasn’t sitting next to him like he longed for her to be doing. For one horrible moment, he wondered if she’d ever sit beside him again. Would she even want to speak to him after today?

“You want him!” he’d shouted, waving his arms madly towards Laidir. “You want someone with muscle- someone with two legs! Someone who can support you! Someone who actually has a chance…”

“Hiccup, stop.” Astrid had shouted equally as loud, stomping her foot and waving her finger. “Stop it, right now! You’re overacting. This is nothing! It’s not even me! He keeps-”

“I saw you two.” Hiccup hissed. “I saw you two kiss. I was there. I was in the stables. I saw you two… behind Stormfly. Don’t even try to tell me that that wasn’t you too.”

Her eyes widened, and she shook her head madly. “No- no, Hiccup, you don’t understand-”

“I’m not dense!” Hiccup shot back. “No matter how stupid you think I am-”

“STOP THAT!” Astrid shrieked.

“What!?” Hiccup exploded, stepping closer. Astrid’s eyes widened again, and she involuntarily took a step back until her back was pressed against the table edge. “Stop telling you the truth!? That what you want me to do, huh?”

She blinked and shook her head, mouth gaping in shock a she whispered a word too soft for him to hear. He leaned forward closer, their face mere inches apart as he whispered. “I gave you… gave you everything, Astrid.” His words came out deep, and a bit sharper then he knew he was capable of. “Gave you my heart- my trust. Is this what you do in return?”

She stared back, terrified.

Hiccup breathed heavily. “Fine. I-I don’t… this… this is it. Go with Laidir. He’s got the muscle, he’s got the leg, he’s got the Viking attitude that you deserve. I should’ve known you wouldn’t want this one-legged twerp.”

Astrid continued to gape, before her hand shot out and she grabbed Hiccup’s shirt color, pulling him even closer. “Hiccup. STOP.” she whispered. “What you say isn’t true- just let me explain…”

“No.” Hiccup growled. With that, he shoved away and pushed past the others standing open-mouthed in the doorway, staring on in utter shock and confusion. No one had ever seen Hiccup so angry before, and if he’d been in his right mind he would’ve apologized. But right now, he was much too furious to think of them at the moment.

He ducked out, and dashed towards the woods, not even bothering to explain what was going on to his confused father whom he passed in the street. He was just… just so angry.

Hiccup sighed, and the burning feeling in the pit of his stomach faded away, until all that was left was an aching tightness in his chest. What had just happened?

He lowered his head and bit his lip, trying to stop himself from crying. The tears came regardless, and once again he was reminded of the fact that he and Astrid were no longer together. They might not even be friends anymore, he thought despairingly.

“I’m sorry. Thor, I didn’t mean-” Hiccup muttered, feeling like a fool. She’d wanted to explain, and he hadn’t even given her the chance. But… but he’d seen her and Laidir kiss in the stables. Sure, Laidir had moved first, but Astrid hadn’t even struggled. It brought a fresh bout of pain to Hiccup’s already bleeding heart.

“Hey.”

He nearly jumped off the cliff he was so startled. He swung around, staring in confusion at Astrid’s form, noting how she didn’t stand two feet away. He blinked, gulping before turning back around, hoping that if he ignored her this conversation would hold off.

She silently moved forward until she stood by his right side, before she slid down and let her legs dangle over the edge. She was surprisingly close- but not as close as she’d been that night not so long ago. Hiccup swallowed again, fingers playing with the grass as he waited for her to say something.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered, eyes staring downwards. “I-I… it was all my fault. I was an idiot.”

“I just don’t understand.” Hiccup breathed. He turned his head, staring at Astrid with wide and pain filled eyes. “Why, Astrid? Why?”

She winced at his pleading tone, but swallowed thickly before beginning softly. “He told me it was a good feeling. That it would be fine. So… we stopped at the Hall. Went to the Mead Hall with some of his friends.”

Hiccup stared, already guessing where this was going. But was she telling the truth? Was this all a lie?

“I didn’t even realize I’d had so much until it was too late. I still don’t know what I did- I didn’t even know I kissed him until you told me.” She fidgeted nervously, not meeting his gaze. “I’m so sorry, Hiccup.” She whispered. “It was my fault- I was an idiot. But… his sister, she’s amazing. Did you see the way she wielded that sword? I just wanted… just wanted some tips. She told me that that was the only way.”

“Scum.” Hiccup huffed.

Astrid jumped a bit, head swinging around to stare at him in panic. “Wh-what?”

“Those scum!” Hiccup exclaimed, left leg swinging out angrily to click against the cliff face. “How… why- that’s just low.”

Astrid stared at him, remaining silent. Hiccup took that time to calm down some, but the image of Laidir’s face kept playing in his mind. How he wished he was there, so he could give him a harsh punch to that smug face of his and put him in his place.

“We have to tell the chief.” Hiccup finally said, calm yet still with a hint of anger.

“Do you forgive me?” Astrid whispered.

Hiccup paused, and twisted till his right leg was resting on the ground, left still swinging over the cliff. He leaned forward and grasped her hands, smiling slightly as he let his thumb rub her fingers.

“Absolutely. But only if you’ll forgive me as well. I overreacted-I should’ve known you would never do anything like what… um, drunken-you did.” He blushed. “I’m sorry. Forgive me?”

She nodded and let out a laughing sob, leaning forward to wrap her arms around his shoulders. “I’m sorry, Hiccup- s-so sorry. Remind me never to touch mead again.”

Hiccup laughed and pulled her against him, rocking back and forth while pressing little kisses to her hair and cheeks. “Will do.”

“Mm.” She hummed when he pressed his lips against hers, beyond relieved that his fears were quelled. What he feared wasn’t true- and he should’ve known. Now that he thought about it, Astrid had not been herself in the stables. She’d giggled at one point, and even slurred a string of words. He’d thought it had been the distance that had made her slur, but in truth, it was the liquor.

How could he be so stupid?

“I love you.” He said, although the words had never been spoken between them before. They weren’t needed, but right now, he felt so overwhelmed that the words merely slipped out. “I-I love you, and I’m sorry.”

“I love you too.” She replied quietly from his arms. “M’sorry.”

He kissed her again, intent on going back tot he village and punching Laidir and his sister first thing. But for now, he had a lady to comfort.

(Sorry for any mistakes, I didn’t have time to edit this. :)