We went our separate ways on the planet. I started with a few holy sites that I identified first, making a note of the Black Towers – literal towers created by the ancient Aevum – as I did so. I recorded what I found and moved on. I found my way to one spot, seemingly unremarkable in every aspect but I felt the energies pulling at me. Was it a hot spot, a place where energy pools? It was a grove of seemingly old trees, and I wondered if it was maintained by the inhabitants in the local area and used as a place of worship. It was so small that I wondered at its significance.
Curiosity overcame me and I descended from the upper atmosphere to stand within the grove. A change in perspective sometimes helped, for it was difficult to determine the importance of something when only considering one angle. I gazed up at the leafy foliage and noted its beauty.
“Fancy meeting you here.”
I started in surprise and looked about for the speaker, finding Ölrún standing in the grove as well. I gave her a wry grin, realizing that I wasn’t the only one that had been pulled to this place. “You feel it, too.”
She held out her hand, as if she could feel the energy humming about us. “The mana of this planet gathers here and in a few other places. The other sources are small in comparison.”
“Did you see the Black Tower network?”
“Yes,” Ölrún replied. “I made a record of it and noted that it would safe to say that the Aevum have been here. I did see a large desert as well, but no settlement.”
It was a curious thing, to be sure. Usually, when we find Black Towers we find Aevum settlements; those were often in the desert. We naturally assumed that the Aevum were a desert dwelling culture and not finding a settlement in the desert on this planet was unusual.
“There was a city with what looked to be a gate, but it was difficult to be sure. I’m surprised Kára isn’t here yet,” Ölrún mused aloud.
“She may be at one of the other places you mentioned.” I looked over at her. “I say we find out what we can about this planet: what the inhabitants call it, their most important holy sites, and the like. This grove is probably just one of many hot spots on this planet. We won’t be able to perform a thorough search of bigger places without help, though.”
“There isn’t time.” The Valkyrie put slight emphasis on the last word. Turning toward me, I saw that her eyes ad a distant look to them. It seemed as though she saw me, and something beyond. Loath to repeat my past mistake, I remained silent. “You need to find the Temple of the Moon on L’Main, Vaeramae. We Elder Valkyries are too closely tied to the Gods. You have chosen to be half divine, and thus are able to influence Miðgarðr. You can change things.”
“Is that why she chose me?” I demanded, forgetting what my questioning caused the previous time Ölrún was like this. “Of all the Valkyries Brynhildr commands, did she choose me because I chose to be half divine?”
In truth, I chose it because of a selfish wish. I couldn’t let go of my human nature so readily. Life had been kind to me, unlike the experiences of many others. I had been given the choice to be a shieldmaiden rather than marry. I died in a glorious battle and awoke in Fólkvangr. Kára chose me to become a Valkyrie. By being semi-divine, I could walk amongst the mortals and interact with the Fae without anyone discerning my true nature. Not unless I willed it. I figured that I wouldn’t be so lonely.
“The Norns did, not Brynhildr,” came the reply.
“Then it is the Norns I will speak to!” I cried. Outrage over my fate being played with and changed consumed me. How dare they! I was not to become one of their pawns! All everyone could think about was Ragnarök and fulfilling the prophecy. I willingly became a Valkyrie, but I would not actively participate in brining about its coming.
“You misunderstand.” Ölrún spoke quietly, and when I met her gaze there was a distinct impression that she was well aware of my every thought. “This goes beyond the affairs of the Gods, beyond any prophetic end times. I do not fully understand it, but there are magi that do.”
I choked back my protests and struggled to understand. How could this not be related to Ragnarök? If the All Father were to be believed, everything led to this, no matter how strongly we struggled against it. So, what was this that Ölrún and the Norns spoke of? Did they want me to speak to wise men or those that can use magic?
“Where are the magi that I need to speak to? Are they in the temple that you spoke of?” I finally asked.
I resisted the urge to swear loudly and profusely.
“But there will be answers to your questions in the temple. ”
“Who are these magi that I seek?”
“The Ancient Ones, who gave us technology and magic. Those whose dwellings that are always found in the desert.”
The Aevum? I was about to ask for clarification, but Ölrún’s otherworldly presence seemed to fade as I watched, and I knew that the message the Norns wanted delivered was over. There were only more questions and a thousand riddles for me to figure out.
Despite my earlier outburst at having my destiny chosen for me, my interest was piqued. Aside from that, Brynhildr did task us with finding out what the cause of the anomalies were. If this led to the answer, I would still be performing my duty.
“I did it again.” A statement of fact. Ölrún looked – not disappointed; frustrated. I wondered if she had little control over her visions.
“What are you to do?” Her question surprised me. I had been under the impression that she was unaware of what happened when her visions came upon her, but her question made me consider that perhaps she is aware.
I looked off into the distance as I replied, “Go to L’Main. I need to find the Temple of the Moon.”
“You realize that you don’t have to leave. We can search this planet instead.” She gestured around us as she spoke. “We can look as you suggested.”
“I know, but I believe your vision may help answer Brynhildr’s question.” I paused. “I’ve heard of your visions, Ölrún. They’re powerful and always presented to the ones who need them. You shouldn’t see them as a curse, but a gift.”
She shook her head. “You would speak of them differently if you had them, sister.”
I sensed some underlying darkness to her words and fell silent. Being privy to things can’t always be positive. Especially if one were aware of the visions as they came and not blissfully ignorant. “I believe in the strength of your visions, Ölrún. I will seek these magi out and find our answer.”
Ölrún frowned, but nodded. “Good journey, Vaeramae.”
At the time, I didn’t realize that those words would be the last I would hear from a Valkyrie for a long while. But all I did was smile, thank her, and make way for L’Main.