“After defeating those undead you could be branded!” says Kotzell cheerfully, I’m not sure how branding works since I’ve never really looked into it so I’m not sure if he’s joking or being serious but my cheeks burn all the same. “Heimir the De-deadnator!”
“ah…I-I don’t think I can ever be branded…” I whisper it, almost a reminder to myself to not even think of dreaming of that.
“You can’t? Why not?” He looks truly confused
“Oh” he understands immediately.
I’m 16 years old when it happens, all my friends had talked about how important their rune casting had been and had bragged about what it had said for them after. The night before I had stayed up with them thinking of the most heroic things the runes could have predicted for me, all of the things we had guessed were only things teenage boys would have thought of as heroic.
The day is cloudy and miserable, I try not to read too much into it as I step in the elder’s room. Instantly everything is dark except for a few candles.
“Sit.” She instructs me and I kneel down in front of her, all of the sudden I’m not excited just very nervous.
A cold shiver runs through me as she casts the runes.
She doesn’t speak for the longest time, just stares at the runes turning them over in her hands. I can’t read her face and I refuse to look at the runes myself. Something in me tells me not to look.
She takes a deep breath and finally speaks. “From the beginning you were sure of who you were and where you were going. You once had the energy to cut away the old and un-needed. And it was that energy that led you to make the decisions you have made to this point. You are at a period in your life where you are opening up to something new. But remember, movement involves danger, while timely movement leads out of it. Your process will involve disruptions that will turn out differently that you had intended. Hoped-for outcomes will elude you and you will find yourself at a standstill. You will be harvesting the seeds you’ve sown, keep in mind which are thorns and which are beneficial. You may find life easier to find partnership and allies, but true friendship will elude you and you may lose what you hold dear to those undeserving. Your future is grim. You won’t see the growth that you once wished for, and paths that should have been open to you may be closed, disrupted by your past and what may come to haunt you.”
I am trying not to let tears roll down my face, I can feel her stare as I nod get up and leave.
Outside my mentor Ingvarr is waiting for me, my friends are there as well. Ingvarr’s face falls immediately as he sees my tears, I see him moving towards me to ask but I don’t want to talk to anyone right now. And so I run, as far away as I can from everyone until I don’t hear them calling my name again.
Of course the runes would say that about me, it was ridiculous to dream of other things.
I stay in the fields far away from the village, I know Ingvarr must be worried about me and searching for me but I need time to myself for now. This is the time where I grieve the image of myself that I had dreamt of.
It’s night time by the time I get back, Ingvarr is by my side quickly telling me how the runes don’t matter and that I make my own destiny. I nod to him and give him a soft smile, too tired to argue and too tired to think otherwise. The truth is that now the seed of fear has been planted in my mind, one that has to grow overtime waiting to bloom once the runes comes true.