I hesitate to post this because it’s purposely written in a rather disjointed fashion. However, we were discussing Viking settlements in America on the Books and Writers Literary Forum and I mentioned the saga of Freydís Eiríksdóttir, whom this is loosely based on. Someone there asked to see the story I’d written about her. This is supposed to be a journal entry of a man who is part of a secret society of men who battle dark beings and record histories of creatures such as vampires.
Name: Freyja Erikksdottir
Realm: New Hampshire
Damphyr Disposition: Indifferent
Annul notation: 2-21-2007
SOE 19893 David
Freyja Erikksdottir feared not man nor beast, nor even the gods at times, it seemed. She was tall and well made, with gilded red mane that glinted like treasure. Her true treasure was the settlement she and her husband had established in Vinland until the Natives wiped it out. It was divine payment for her betrayal toward her partners and the innocent families she murdered. She should have feared the gods who do not countenance such treachery. She lost everything . . . including her mind and there’s nothing more dangerous than an insane vampire.
According to legend, she collects the souls of her victims to repopulate her lost settlement. I now know it is no legend.
I was fortunate to be following Freyja when a most unusual thing happened. A film crew was shooting a commercial in New York City when she stopped to watch them. At 6’3″, as close as I can judge, she towered above most of the crowd. She stood there watching the pair of trained wolves they had on the set and they watched her just as intently. Large, brooding grey eyes locked on the golden-eyed wolves and I swear I could almost hear them communicating. I was not the only one who noticed. First the trainer stood mesmerized, and then he quickly motioned to the director. The director in turn was taken under her spell.
He sent an assistant to fetch her. I was astounded when she agreed as Freyja is not known for her agreeable temperament. I moved closer, anxious to get every detail, while still trying to remain anonymous. The model, who had already been complaining, was positively shrieking now, but the director paid her no attention. She and her entourage stormed off to her trailer leaving a path of discarded furs, armor and weapons, which made up her costume, in her wake.
The day was understandably cold, so it is small wonder the model didn’t want to stand around very long with her skimpy costume even though they had swaddled her in blankets. Regardless, she was soon forgotten.
The director asked Freyja if she’d be interested in screen testing for the commercial and mentioned a handsome price if she agreed to do the shoot. I’m sure he thought she would jump at the opportunity to be famous. She agreed in exchange for the pair of wolves, which the trainer declined. That was her price, she insisted.
While the director and trainer squabbled about the wolves, a team hurried Freyja into a trailer to do her makeup and outfit her. She insisted on fur-lined boots that laced up the leg to her knee instead of the ridiculous stilettos they were trying to cram on her. I was certain the director would not take her once he saw her costumed. She was well made, but muscular, quite unlike the rail-thin model she was replacing and there were noticeable scars from previous battles as recorded in the annuls.
She strode back out to the director, fur cloak flowing behind her and that luxurious mane of red-gold hair lifting like a banner in the breeze. If the cold affected her, she never showed it. To me, it seemed as if she had transported everyone who watched to another time. We were each of us bewitched. The camera crew had been filming her all this time and caught her triumphal entry to the set.
The role of the conquering Valkerie seemed made for her and she made it hers. She agreed to do two commercials in exchange for the wolves. By this time, even the trainer recognized he was witnessing something magical and agreed.
I watched her film both commercials. She required little direction and, indeed, seemed to have a feel for what was best, making suggestions to the director who nearly always agreed happily. I have procured copies of the film and the commercials for our records. I hated to see the filming end, as did everyone who was present. The last commercial was shot in a forest where she appeared absolutely natural. The primal woods towered above us while Freyja and the wolves moved effortlessly though the undergrowth. It was a moment out of time. This was her element and I wished with all my heart I could have been ill-fated Bragi, to have known her and loved her in happier days.
Surprisingly, she exhibited none of the madness I had been warned about. She was quiet and professional, spending most of her off time with the wolves. Near the last day on location, she asked to be allowed to take the wolves into the forest. The trainer reluctantly agreed and watched her and the pair disappear with much apprehension. We stayed up, waiting for them to return, but they didn’t until sometime in early morning. I doubt few of us slept much anyway. We heard the wolves and another one who joined with answering their night songs. It was enough to make me check the locks on my small camper several times. When I did dream, it was of a pack of wolves, two with golden eyes and one with strange, gray eyes. They ran through the night, taking down a deer and then running again in pure joy after the feast.
The commercials, of course, were wildly successful and won many awards. The director has tried in vain to find her again. That is probably to his benefit. She went on a killing spree not long after she finished, leaving three campers dead. Their souls, according to Freyja lore, are added to the settlement that still thrives in her mind. I wonder at times how many people it will take to repopulate Freydland.
I have added notes about the Freydland trials I discovered to her annul. While I did have them all translated, I’ve given a simple accounting of the events leading up to the massacre and the massacre itself.
As for me, though I will be happy to discuss anything I know about her with another brother, I can no longer observe her. I spend more and more time dreaming I am a Viking with her in Vinland. I long for sleep, just on the chance I may dream about her. I believe further contact with her would only finish unhinging my mind.
I no longer believe the thought she is collecting souls for her settlement is a fable. I have been there. Though the life is hard, I am never more content or happy than when I am in the settlement that grows more real to me each time I visit. I awoke this morning to an insistent raven on my windowsill. I felt an almost insurmountable compunction to allow the raven in. I resisted, barely, and drew the blinds and drapes. I will record every scrap of information I have about her while I may. I believe she is hunting me and I may not survive . . . at least not in this world.
The Freydland Trial records give us most of her early history. As the daughter of a respected chieftain, and a charmer when she wanted to be, she had considerable influence in Greenland. She determined to mount a trading expedition to Vinland and possibly establish a settlement after seeing several previous adventurers return with rich bounties of furs and various other items traded from the natives.
According to the records, Freyja betrayed her partners as soon as they landed and determined a place to settle. Though the men willingly killed the partners, they refused to kill the innocents, whereupon Freyja fell upon them with her own sword and murdered them even unto their babes.
The settlement prospered for three years, growing even larger as more people immigrated. Freyja prospered as well, marrying Bragi, a well-known warrior from the homeland. Expecting her first child, she was seen often, praying and sacrificing for a son.
It is said that Freyja feared neither man nor beast nor even the gods at times, but she should have for even the gods of war and destruction do not countenance treachery such as hers and she had a steep price to pay for her transgressions.
According to the scrolls, one day, Huggin, the messenger of Odin came to their village and sat above her door frame, watching as the local natives came to trade as they often did. Huggin sowed discord among the traders who had become friends and a fight broke out, leaving one of natives dead. His kin returned to avenge his death. The natives routed the village, leaving the dead and wounded lying where they fell and still they pursued the Vikings for this was Freyja’s fate to repay the blood debt with her own people.
Bragi was among those slain that day. Her warriors fled into the woods, but she, being heavy with child, fell behind. She called after them to stop fleeing like pitiful wretches, but terror was upon them.
The village caught fire in the first wave of attacks and burned brightly in the early evening sky. Freyja stopped, picked up a dead warrior’s sword and turned to face the natives. She threw her arms up and screamed at them, a terrible animal-like howl that carried on the gust of wind. A spark from the village ignited a tree behind her just as she screamed. To their eyes, it looked as if her red-gold hair that was flying free in the wind had set the tree to fire. Then she reached down and cut off one of her breasts, holding it skyward as if it were a sacrifice. The natives were so shocked by the sight, they turned and fled.
Huggin returned to Odin to tell him her blood debt had been satisfied, so said her followers in the trial.
Most of her followers returned to Greenland, but Freyja refused to leave. She had been nursed back to health by a wise woman who stayed behind. Although she delivered a healthy baby boy, her mind was gone and she didn’t realize she had a child. The wise woman took the child and returned also with the next ship, leaving Freyja alone. It’s believed she was turned during this period of time and rumor has it by the wise woman the village people feared.
The guilty followers were convicted of murder in the deaths of the partners based on information that came out in the Freydland trials and executed. Freyja was forever banished, though she never made an attempt to return. It is unknown what became of the child, but the wise woman walked to another settlement and returned home with him.
Freyja eventually regained some of her sanity, though the sane times are unpredictable. One of those sane periods resulted in the unusual liquor advertising campaign I have recounted.
In the times of madness, she collects the souls of mortals and enthralls vampires, believing she is recruiting people for Freydland or gathering her scattered people. Campers are especially at risk as she haunts the forests. Beware the raven and the wolf as Freyja is a shapeshifter and assumes the form of a raven to fly and search for victims or a wolf when she is on the hunt.