Rune Magic Novel by Michael Conneely with Visionary Worldwide Runes Course
Michael Conneely reads and extract from the novel: Rune Magic, which is available on Amazon worldwide as paperback or kindle.
The book is packed with information about Norse Cosmology as well as being a cosmological cliff-hanger
And Michael also teaches a superb and long-standing Worldwide Runes course, see: www.rune-path.com
Here, Michael Conneely reads how Heimdall, the ever loyal Guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, sound the Gallahorn because the forces of chaos are invading Asgard, and Ragnarok has begun.
Several Moons later, they were all awakened by the sounding of a horn. They staggered out of the cave mouth in time to see, in shock, immense pursuing wolves close upon the sun: Hati, Skoll and Managarm – the wolves got by Loki on the hag-foul giantess, Angrbroda, and diligently fed by her for centuries for this very purpose, fed on the marrow of murderers’ bones, hidden away in the groves of Jarnvid Ironwood.
The four of them stood and stared upwards, speechless and stunned, overcome as the gap between the wolves and the staggering sun steadily narrowed. Horrified, they saw the wolves finally catch up first with Sunna, the sun, and swallow her whole; her blood cascaded from their hideous jaws and drenched the Earth.
Then the mighty distant notes of the horn sounded a second time. They were pure and summoning. The cliff-face cracked. The pool emptied with a drunken gurgling roar. The sky went black.
The Moon became visible in the sudden darkness caused by the death of the Sun; then the ravening evil of the wolves turned after him. He continued forward in his orbit but was far too slow. He was swallowed up in his turn by the monstrous brood of Loki and Angrbroda: his blood cascaded silvery from the closing teeth and, it too, showered the Earth.
Gusts of hail and snow now came at them from all four directions. Now, the only light to see by was the ceaseless lightning crashing across the ink-black skies and a strange sick eerie red flaring growing immensity of light coming up from the south. ‘Muspelheim,’ Declan murmured, pointing to the light.
The tragic purity of the horn sounded again for the third time. ‘It is the Gjallarhorn’ cried Magda – she was the first to realise what it was, so stunned they had been to watch the destruction of the luminaries. Magda was the first to actually break from the horrified trance into which the tragedy of the Sun and the Moon had drawn them all. ‘Heimdall has sounded the Gjallarhorn,’ Magda said urgently. ‘The forces of chaos are invading Asgard.’
‘Magda, sound your own ram’s horn,’ said Declan, shaking himself out of his reverie; ‘gather our weapons and our kit. We must call on the dragon you scryed when we first met, to take us to Mimir’s Grove. The nine worlds are ending. And they are ending fast by the look of it. They are finished,’ he declaimed tragically.
‘What about my mam and dad and Sunna and Ari and Bragi and Einar?’ Frithgeir cried out loud. ‘Mam, I’m coming for you.’ Frithgeir scrambled madly down the disintegrating cliff face and fought off Declan’s attempts to hold him back. Brosni joined Declan and they fought Frithgeir. Declan held his arms and Brosni held his legs and Frithgeir eventually gave up struggling and gave way to sobs, instead. The trees outside the cave crashed down. The roof cracked, and they only just made it back up to the ledge to drag their weapons and their gear to safety.
‘Sound your ram’s horn, Magda,’ said Declan urgently, clambering out of the cave, dragging their packs and weapons to the ledge as the roof fell in. ‘Call on the dragon.’ He drew the ram’s horn from Magda’s pack, carefully unwrapped it and passed it to her.
‘I’ve never blown a horn before,’ said Magda. ‘I do hope it works.’
‘What dragon?’ Brosni asked. ‘You never told us about this, Declan – another of your secrets?’
‘I was oath-bound,’ Declan told him briefly.
Magda put the ram’s horn to her lips and blew. A piercing screaming rasping unlovely note rang high and long. But it seemed it worked. The veil at the far side of the emptied pool suddenly dropped away and the four of them suddenly saw the aged Norns revealed standing silent, now, the Orlog ruined, their chant destroyed; their runes were lying strewn in chaos on the ground, the web in tatters. Declan, Magda, Brosni and Frithgeir stood there and stared at the Norns, appalled.
‘We must dress again in the clothes the High One gave us,’ Magda said. She somehow knew they had to do that. ‘The Ravens are telling us,’ she explained. Again, Declan shook his head to clear his mind and dragged his eyes away from the tragic prospect of the Norns. The two of them hurried into the barbaric magnificence that Odin wished for.
‘Two I agreed to carry and no more.’
The four of them looked up, startled, as, above the din, in the raging gale, the thundering roar of the white-winged horror and pale immensity of the dragon hovered on mile-wide pinions above the remnants of the pool.
The Gjallarhorn sounded again for the fourth time in far-off Asgard, its purity even more urgent and poignant than before. They saw the Valkyries stream across the sky, Herjan’s maidens riding over the earth, eagerly racing toward the final conflict: Skuld bore a shield, Skogul another, Gunn, Hild, Gondul and Geirskogul, all coming from afar.
The Ravens, Hugin and Munin, whispered in Declan’s ear. ‘I see a hall standing on the Shore of Death, sunless Nastrond, far from the sun.’
Declan spoke to complete the words he had never heard before. It was if another was speaking through him; it was like he was possessed: ‘and its doors face north. Venom-drops fall down from its roof and serpents’ spines entwine its walls.’
Then cried Declan in a great voice to the hovering dragon: ‘I shall not come with you unless you take all of us. You have no power to disobey me. You are Odin-sworn. You must take me to the grove.’
Declan’s vision widened; the swirling images he saw were superimposed on the surrounding landscape and becoming stronger. Again the voice spoke through him: ‘I see there, wading in heavy streams, oathbreakers, murderous outlaws, there the dragon Nidhogg corpse-tearing worm rips at Yggdrassil’s roots, causing the World Tree more anguish than men perceive. He sucks blood from the dead. The wolf rends men.’
Declan shook his head and shouted up to the dragon, again: ‘Would you delay to honour your Odin-oath at this time and make the Orlog falter at the roots of the new world’s time? It is foredained. You have no choice. You know it. You are sworn. You must accept my condition. Carry us all to Mimir’s Grove, or I shall curse you by your name and you will perish with all the Nine Worlds and you will live not to see the coming cycle. Fjalar crows in the birdwood. To the gods crows golden-combed Gullinkambi. A soot-red cock crowed in the halls of Hel. You cannot tarry further. Take us all, now. We must be off!’
With a roar of rage or forced obedience or hideous excitement, or all three, the spectral pallid dragon snatched the four of them up in its dreadful claws – packs, weapons and all, and bore them with a sickening swoop aloft, and headed away, flying low, towards Asgard and the field of Vigrid where the battle lines were forming for the tragic final conflict, beyond which lay Mimir’s Grove: Mimir’s Grove, apart from it all, awaiting Lif and Lifthrasir, the prophesied parents of the new race.
The land cracked further as he took off. He flew with slow vast immeasurable wing beats, surveying the ruin exultantly and belching huge gulches of flame to add his fierce delight to the dying of the worlds.
‘The Hell-hound,’ Magda pointed. ‘Garm, look, there!’
‘His fetters will break; the ravener will run free,’ the voice declaimed through Declan. Was it the Ravens using him? The Ravens were still chittering in his ear.
They looked down and they saw Loki, Fenrir and Garm renew their efforts to rend their chains asunder. Then, first, as Magda spoke, Garm broke free; he howled loudly beneath them with malevolent delight, then, arrowed from Gnipahellir to join the coming fight.
Towering Yggdrasil trembled further; the ancient Ash groaned as the giant broke loose, waiting for black Surt’s flames to engulf it.
Loki broke free next. He headed like a fireball for the storm-wracked coast to claim and head his ghoulish fleet.
With a shriek that echoed through all the planes of time, they saw the Norns turn in towards each other and sink into the ground.
‘How fare the Aesir now?’ the voice through Declan cried. ‘How fare the elves? All Jotunheim resounds. The Aesir meet in council; Wise dwarves groan before their doors of stone. Would you know more? And what?’
The vengeful dragon bore them higher ‘til they could see the surrounding world-ocean and they could see where dragon Jormundgand writhed in giant-rage. His serpent coils encircling the whole of Midgard, and churned the waves in fury.
Then they saw Loki’s hideous boat heading towards the shore: the boat, Naglfar, made of human corpses’ nails. Tidal waves raced across Midgard as the serpent thrashed and churned the oceans. Naglfar made its spectral landing and thence disgorged the sons of fiends who follow the ravening Wolf – Fenrir had freed himself and proudly, lovingly joined his exultant father, Loki, howling for revenge.
All the champions of Hel followed Loki. Also leading the army, they saw dark Surt, fire-giant from Muspellheim. Surt raised his mighty fire-sword. His sword shone brighter than ten suns, immensity of light, a flare of fiery power that discharged ever from the sword and seared the atmosphere around it and sent a mushroom cloud towering towards the affrighted devastated stars, who one by one fell from their immemorial places to the ground. Rocky crags crashed down; troll-wives fell. The hideous force of chaos rode over Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge, and onto into Asgard, and now on to Vigrid Field, Black Surt raised his sword in anger yet again, high in the south, brighter now than the explosion of a hundred thousand rising suns.
Now the white dragon hovered over Vigrid; suspended in his terrible claws the four of them saw the gods fare forth to face the coming fray. Noble, beautiful, brave – and doomed, the Aesir gods went forth. Magda started crying. Declan gave them brave salute. There was a terrible hissing as the serpent Jormundgand darted finally from the mountain waves and sought the beach. It undulated swiftly over the land, heading towards the destruction of the hated gods, spraying venom widely as it went. Loki’s monstrous warriors pulled back lest the poisoned venomed breath touch them; foul mist spread around Jormundgand ravening jaws.
Then, as if the present misery were not enough, then there came a second dreadful ship: the ship, Hrym, bound for Vigrid. It disgorged Frost Giants, armed to the teeth, vengefully now eager to destroy the Aesir gods who had always harried them pitilessly and unwarrantedly.
Then, still watching horrified from the magic dragon’s claws, the four of them saw Hel, herself, arise from out the ground, hideous and bi-faced, followed by her walking dead. Nidhogg flew ahead of her, bearing corpses in his jaws.
They looked towards Asgard. There they saw the goddess, Frigga, still grieving the death of Balder the Beautiful, her comely son. Now knew she must lose her husband, Odin, also. All her joy was gone.
Odin with brave anger took the field of war. Noble, magical, in command and brave, but weakened: now he must face the Fenris wolf with just one eye, and his Ravens he had lent to his heir in his secret plan to protect his heritage.
The god, Frey, father of Freyja, too, fared forth, second of the Aesir force; he must face Surt without his sword; he had lent it to his servant, Skirnir, for his wooing-proxy of Gerd, so he must face Surt without a weapon.
Third of the Aesir force came Vidar: Vidar the dependable, one of Odin’s sons, determined to avenge his father should Odin’s contest with the wolf go ill.
Next among the splendid Aesir gods, came Thor, Odin’s son by the giantess, Iord. God of Force, Thor, the renowned and mightiest war-god bore his magic hammer, Mjollnir, wrought by Dwarven skill and craft.
Next came Tyr, grimly aware that he must face the ultimate foe with but one hand.
Then came all the other gods, assembling in their armour and their weapons.
As the shining Aesir gods nobly issued forth to war in Asgard’s Vigrid Plain, in Midgard, now, all men abandoned their homes. Brosni covered his younger brother Frithgeir’s eyes, when he realised what was happening. He thought seeing the end of humanity and therefore their own family would kill Frithgeir.
Blue-cloaked and armoured, noble Odin paused with grim and splendid dignity, heroic before the stern and mighty god-host finally descended to meet the hordes of chaos on the plain: Loki with his off-spring Fenris, Jormundgand and Hel; Hel’s army of the dead, Garm, the motley host of Surt, the Frost Giants – all of these came screaming nearer.
And at that same moment, the High One, Odin, looked grimly up at the mighty pallid dragon that filled the skies and some dark command and warning filled the air that only the dragon could understand. Huge red runes more ancient in form than any Declan knew, flared and filled the air then melted smoking in the gale.
Then Odin looked steadily up at Declan and Magda. Declan and Magda alone could hear the voice of Odin, projected to their minds, blocking out all else; they alone, so none of the gods or hel-fiends, nor even their companions could know what passed between the tired magician god and the young man and woman.
‘I do not know how I could have averted this hour,’ Odin told them. ‘Necessity and fate and duty always drove me – and the love of magic. I could not but kill Mimir. Men and gods cannot live ever in the dream time. There must be progress. Life cannot be slept away. I could not but fight the giants. My mind will not be held back in Giants’ immemorial rumination: I have felt the prick of magic. And my people needed Law and Order. I could not but fight the Vanir. The Folk were growing in their numbers. More land was needed. And more gold! He who conquers not, is conquered! Oden told them. ‘Understand this!’ he commanded.
‘Loki is my beloved blood-brother, my clever, Trickster, other self,’ Odin continued, ‘but Loki’s fire burns too erratic for ordered society. Loki’s day is past!
‘Of myself, know this, Declan and Magda, my beloved adoptive son and daughter: that I did not want to do any of these things. But I was driven by fate and my necessity, and I had no choice. Understand that.
‘You two know full well the lengths I went to, to protect what I have created and what I have built up. To guard and protect the noble beauty that is Asgard, I ranged the face of Middle Earth and Jotunheim to discover prophecies and ways of magic that might have averted this, my ruin.
‘But Fate now proves inexorable it has caught up with me. I, Odin, find, finally, that I am doomed.
‘Yet, still, even at this late hour, in you two, part of my great hope lies. I raised the greatest Seeress from her grave mound. Now you have heard her words. Know, Declan, that you are Lifthrasir: and Lifthrasir means Life-giver: you are Life-giver. Your seed shall take root. Know, Magda, that you are Lif: and Lif is Life.
‘Lif and Lifthrasir they will hide in Mimir’s Grove. They will have the morning dew for food. From them the generations will spring.’
Odin’s voice rang even louder in their minds: ‘I shall live on through you and your issue. That is my plan!’
‘We know High Father, and I swear that in us and our issue you will live on!’ Declan shouted down to him
‘I have taken you for my son and daughter,’ Odin told them. ‘A son does not desert his father; a daughter does not desert her father, either.’
‘We will never desert you, All Father, This I, Declan, swear!’
Then Odin looked at Declan, only. Declan, alone, could hear the last words that shape-shifter, Odin, All Father, now spoke: projected to his mind, alone, so none of the gods or hel-fiends, nor the dragon, nor his companions, could know what now passed in final secret between the tired magician warrior god and the untried young man, his chosen hero son.
‘Know this, Declan, that as each age goes further from the Source,’ said Odin, ‘so every age must fail and be destroyed for new worlds to emanate. And they, in their turn, inevitably will become debased and be destroyed and re-created. The old order fails now. There is no hope left. The Nine Worlds fail. No order lives for ever. All things die. And death is just a new beginning. The scalds say that some Aesir may return. They say that some may come again and find again their gaming board in which they once delighted before the Nornir came. Some even say that Balder the Beautiful, my beloved son will return. The Seeress told me before she sank back in the Earth that the Nine Worlds will birth again anew, some time. But you, Declan, you are my wild card. You are my wild card, Declan. You are the dice throw. You are Peorth. I salute your courage, Declan. I salute your heroism, my son, in journeying thus far. For you are my secret weapon, Declan, and you are my hidden spell of immortality. I know you love me in your heart. I know you are a young man of honour. I know your heart will never bend. I know you are truth itself. And I have honoured you, as I have given you gifts beyond imagining.
‘And so you will honour me by making me live on. You have already seized the magic of my runes. Hear this, when you are ready, you, too, will drink of the Well of Wisdom. You, too, will one day fight through and drink the Mead of Poetry. Then you will be the bearer of my magic. You are now carrying my magic to your own world. That is the spell I wove. And so it is!
‘Now I must die. And I shall die a hero’s death! But you, Declan, you must bear my craft: my spell-craft and my shape-shifting, my fylgja and my rune-craft, my Seithhjallr and my Seithr, all back to the world you came from. A world that has lost its way.
‘Declan, my powerful son, I know that you thought you had further plans, to go back to your home. But do you not realise? That was what the prophecy always intended! I know that it is never in your heart to repopulate the recreation of the Nine Worlds, as the Seeress foretold you would. But no, you do not make her wrong. Because it is to your own world that you were fated to bring my magic. And the son your woman bears shall carry the magic forward into time. I would not have chosen you were you not heroic; I did not want a cipher; I wanted someone like myself! You will return to your own world, and I wish you fortune. You have received Fimbultyr’s old runes. To you has been given the secret wisdom of your father, Odin. The dragon is oath-bound: compelled to deliver you safely to Mimir’s Grove, otherwise he would eat you and think nothing of it. He will take you to Mimir’s Grove to expunge his debt to me.
‘Then Odin’s voice changed as he quoted again the ancient words of prophecy. ‘Lif and Lifthrasir they will hide in Mimir’s Grove. They will have the morning dew for food. From them the generations will spring’.