The Nada Chronicles

part 18

Lyngstuven

 

Sequel to Plains of Honey, the Nada Chronicles, part 11 and Dorestad, the Nada Chronicles, part 14.


We are in the year Anno Domino 866. Vodo van het Wiel, a young basket maker from Dorestad has hid himself at the Viking ship ‘the Kolding’. He wants to free his sister Almina, who has been captured as spoils of war by captain Ragnar, alias the ‘Fork Beard’. After many wanderings they arrive in the town of Lyngstuven, in the north, where they have to work as serfs initially, but where they gradually integrate into the Nordic society.

Three months after they had left the Low Countries at the sea, the ship arrived in the Altafjord, the home harbor of ‘the Kolding’. Ragnar’s father, Halvard, was in charge here and was, unlike his son, an amiable man.

Both children like the man very much from the beginning and his wife Selma Gøstadottir, from the Great Island of Ice, took them in their home. Technically though, Almina and Vodo were part of the inventory of the Chieftain’s house and had to do all kinds of chores for the other inhabitants. They were also used to carry the meat during great hunting parties. Meanwhile they learned the language, so communicating went better and better. The house was a simple rectangular wooden accommodation, with higher beds clad with the skins of ice bears and reindeer.

One day in the fall they had to come along on a great hunting party. The road seemed endless, while they dragged themselves along in a long row. First they went along the edge of the fjord, later over a high plain. At the head of the line came the hunters with their sharp eyes, then the serfs, who had to prepare the reindeer in order to take these home with them.

The landscape was raw, barren and rough and the weather was grey and chilly and Almina expected a great big evil troll, of which she has heard so much talk to cross the path. It did not happen, but the bad path, with now and then a heap of piled flat stones to mark the way, caused much delay.

Now they were walking along the edge of the fjord again, above which the most beautiful formations of clouds unfolded. Diagonally some streaks of light crossed the skies and clouds in many colors played around the flat tops of the mountains. Rainbow-colors made the water change color and caused the most incredible effects. A group of whales was playing in the fjord, fearless for people. Further on there was a school of seals sunbathing on a big round rock that rose high above the water.

Suddenly a blinking glacier with its’ veiled face showed its’ beauty. Then it twinkled and mirrored the bright light of the sun. The mountains had the most whimsical forms. A nameless monolith that peeked into the sky many, many feet rose from the fjord almost vertically.

On the plain it was windy and bitterly cold, in which the miniature berks tried their best to become taller.

Thus time went on. Both Batavians integrated more and more and by midwinter of the year 870 their serf ship was released and they became officially part of the little community Lyngstuven. Every summer the midnight sun was there, while it hardly turned light for three months during the winter. Nature was harsh for the people of the small village. In 972, she was 18 years old, Almina married Rorik, named Idhammer, son of the chief and brother of Ragnar. Vodo had made a commitment to Eyra Vestfold a year earlier and after a few years already he had a strong posterity, because they had three sturdy sons. Rorik and Almina unfortunately did not have children, but after Jarl (chief) Harvald fell to his death off a rock during a hunting party, Rorik became chief. Thus Almina, though a foreigner gained prestige. Her pleasant effluence and her kindness to all members of the tribe helped cause that.

Rorik and Vodo built a new house together. Through the years Vodo’s sons were appreciated and seen as if they were sons of Rorik and Almina more and more, so the eldest, Himert was almost automatically destined to succeed his uncle Rorik as Jarl, so the peculiar situation arose that the crown princeship was covered by a Lowlander.

Not far from the village was a small plain. Steep walls of rock led to it and it was Vodo’s favourite place and it was excellent to temporarily seclude yourself. The first time Vodo had climbed this formation he had to think about the great formation of clouds he had seen when he was on the way to these lands. Although this plain wasn’t very high, it gave him a very special déjà vu-feeling and when he felt lonely, he used to look up into the sky with an unimaginable feeling of homesickness.

Once on a beautiful morning in the summer he felt that this plain was filled with a harmony he could almost feel vibrating. Of course his attention was drawn as well by the many bees that swarmed around and gradually he was filled by the warmth, love and peace of this high land. He was startled by a voice in his head. A voice with the same special timbre and of the quality he had heard when he was hiding on the ‘Kolding’. Memories flashed through his thoughts. Suddenly he knew that he had heard this voice much earlier already.

“Goddag Vodo.” He heard the nice sounding alto resonate in his head again. “We have spoken this way before, Vodo. You are very far from home now and have become a part of the small community in the high North here without striving for it. It is very likely that you will soon be chosen to lead this community. As chief you will have to make decisions representing that which you are responsible for in all goodness. Whilst maintaining these relations your fate will bring you back to Dorestad in due time, where you will see your family and former friends. Because you were part of that community and are a part of that of Lyngstuven, you will have the opportunity to make those decisions that make it possible to live in peace forever for both parties. That was the purpose of the story I told you when you were still a member of an entirely different community, that on the planet of Amadis.”

“Because of the possibility that you will be able to see everything from a higher perspective, Vodo, or should I say: Vodelm, as your name was on Amadis, you will be able to spread consciousness, spirituality, hope and love. You will have the choice to try changing the course of the politics by spiritual influencing – without interfering with their God-given free will - so there will be harmony between the peoples of the Northern - and those of the Low Lands. And that is my gift for you Vodo, the ability to do exactly thát.”

A few years later Vodo is indeed chosen to be Jarl, leader of the community of Lyngstuven. Rorik and a few of his men had chosen to try their luck in the land of the Anglon people, so it was not hard for the ones that stayed behind to honour Vodo with that position.

One fine day he and a great many of his attendants embarked on the new ‘Kolding’ to return to the Low Lands at the sea to try and bring peace there and to ask his former countrymen to allow his people to build a new life in the land of water, reed and willows. Vodo had convinced most of his attendants that the rough life in the high North could be exchanged for a better life with enough fish, grain and poultry to feed all people without much effort.

History has taught us that great groups of Vikings lived in the area of The Netherlands during several centuries and gradually mingled with the local people in the area that was called Frisia back then. Now part of it is called Friesland, which is a province of The Netherlands. In those days Frisia was covering a much bigger area than nowadays and was going from the mouth of the river ‘Rhine’ in nowadays’ The Netherlands until that of the river ‘Weser’ in what is now Germany. We can easily assume that the group of Normans under the leadership of Vodo van het Wiel, named Vodo af Hylr in what is now Norway has settled in what is now called Friesland. Scientists have proven that ‘the average Dutch person’ has genetic material from the Scandinavian countries.