Chapter X

The old tribes of the North who migrated to Scandinavia and eventually settled in England were Norse speaking people. When they migrated and established settlements they brought with them their traditions and beliefs including their mythology concerning the creation of the world and human death. Their myths are based from the Icelandic Eddas which were written by the chieftain poet Snorri Sturluson. These manuscripts dated back to the time of and prior to the thirteenth century. They described the birth of the world, the adventures and wisdom of the gods, and the inevitable fate for all humankind including the destruction of the world in Ragnarǫk.

It is within these ancient manuscripts that the cosmology of the world is revealed: the center of which, is the world tree, Yggdrasil. Humanity inhabits Midgard, the region in the center of the tree which is connected by the rainbow bridge, to the highest branch known as Asgard. It is within this fortress that the Æsir, one of the two main tribes of the Norse gods, call home. Odin (the Allfather), Frigg (the sorceress), Thor (the defender), Loki (the trickster), Baldur (the youthful), Heimdall (the watchman), Tyr (keeper of law and justice), Idun (keeper of youth), Bragi (the poet), and many other lesser gods and goddesses peacefully reside there. The most interesting of the lesser goddesses is Syn, a handmaiden of Frigg.

Frigg, whose name means “beloved”, is the highest-ranking of the Æsir goddesses. She is the only one other than her husband, Odin, who is permitted to sit on the throne and look out over Yggdrasil. She is a völva, a practitioner of Norse magick which focuses on the discernment and altering of destiny’s course by re-weaving its web. Being of such a high rank, Frigg possesses her own palace known as Fenislar. It is there that she is attended by her handmaidens, including she who is known as Syn.

Syn is ever watchful. She stands at the entrance to Fenislar guarding the doors of the hall and shutting them against the uninvited or those who are unworthy to enter. If Syn denies entrance there is no option for appeal; her decision is unyielding. She is the goddess of vigilance, truth, and justice and defends the oppressed or wrongly accused. She alone diligently presides over all tribunals and trials especially those held in the realm of Midgard to ensure that righteousness is unwaveringly served. She revealed to me that she is the goddess my people have worshipped since before we migrated to Wales and that it was she that took vengeance upon the Puritans who falsely accused my ancestors of being cohorts with the devil himself in 1692. The midnight whispers of the women of my bloodline verified her claims. They told me that Syn showed our ignorant tormentors no mercy and that neither should I. Without Syn’s attention, my family would have not survived that dark time in Salem. And it is only with her protection that I was born. It is this family history shared with me that encouraged me to listen to the goddess’ whispers. My actions today repay the old Williams’ debt to Syn. I vowed to the ancient handmaiden of Frigg to take the role of her hidden Valkyrie in Midgard. I have agreed to act as Syn’s human agent.

I, Angie Williams, am a secret of Syn.

The heels of the designer shoes worn by my Mother struck the hardwood floor of the upstairs hallway as she passed the antique oak curio cabinet filled with numerous pieces of Burmese glassware that she had collected over the years. The tempo of the clicks of her shoes indicated that she had an intended purpose for her visit to my private sanctuary. There was a brief hesitation before she softly knocked on the door. This was the beginning of the second movement of our symphony.

“Come in.”

I closed the book I was reading and placed it on my desk where a number of other books I had borrowed from the library were piled neatly next to the monitor of my PC.

I knew what Mother wanted even before the door of my room swung open and she appeared before me. As much as she wanted to believe the “good” things about me she was constantly reminded of the disappointment I was. My parents had great expectations for me: to graduate from high school with honors in order to attend a prestigious college so that I could procure a well-paying job and establish myself in a career to finally marry a respected man and start a family of our own, this is the life they wanted for me, however these were not the expectations I had for myself. While they may be the things that Daniel desired, they weren’t for me. Never me. Even when I was in elementary school I understood that I was different from my peers even if I never really understood what that difference was. I just wish that my parents would embrace my uniqueness and stop denying the obvious.

“Angie.” Mother lingered in the doorway with her right hand on the glass door knob. “I need to speak with you for a moment.” She paused. “About Josh.”

“What is it?”

This was going to be interesting. I was curious to hear what was being said about the occurrence at the hospital. What did they believe happened to Josh? What could be realistic explanation of what transpired? My Mother entered my bedroom and gestured for me to sit on the bed. She dismissively glanced at our surroundings then sat down beside me gingerly placing her recently manicured hands in her lap. It was easy to see that she was uncomfortable being with me in my room, sitting next to me, trying to have a conversation with me. I silently examined her face as she stared at the sterling silver ring she wore on the middle finger of her right hand. Her eyes tracked the delicate line of diamonds that encircled the freshwater pearl in the middle. I sat in the comfortable silence not willing to make this conversation any easier for her. She broke the hush with a deep nasal inhalation.

“Have you gone to visit Josh?” She rubbed the pearl with the index finger of her left hand as if it were a genie’s lamp. I couldn’t help but snicker to myself, was she hoping to be granted three wishes?

“Yes, I told you I would.”

She nodded still studying the ring on her finger. “Yes, that you did.”

I could have asked her why she was questioning me. I could have volunteered information. But I did neither. Instead I remained silent watching her facial expressions as she shifted from thought to thought grasping at what to ask next. Our strained exchange was interrupted by the chime of the doorbell. Jarred from her thoughts my Mother smiled at me, patted my denim-clad knee as usual, and stood from the bed.

“We’ll finish this later.”

I nodded and followed her to the door shutting it behind her. As I turned to retrieve the book I had been reading, I glanced out the window and noticed the police cruisier parked in our circular driveway. This was becoming even more interesting by the minute.