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Sun Quest

Part 1 - Southbound

by and © Ruwen Rouhs

Chapter 15

Their feet went numb when Buri and Aegir entered the water in the small cove to the left of the Eagle-clan's dwelling. It was still dark and fog covered the water. It was the best time to cut loose the dugouts and let them drift with the current into the lake. As the boats didn't move at first, Aegir and Buri pushed them out into the open water. But in vain, there was no wind and the water was calm. So they tied the boats together and used poles for punting. Halfway out the current was strong enough to disperse the boats. They untied them and set them adrift. With one of the smaller dugouts Aegir paddled ashore and walked back to the Eagle-clan's dwelling. Buri however concealed himself in the largest of the floating boats, waiting for the people of the Eagle-clan to appear in the cove.

The evening before Aegir and Buri had discussed the best ways to increase the pressure upon the Eagle-clan and their shaman. "I told you already I want to get the crescent back without being forced to hurt the shaman or even kill him." Buri explained, "Let's try to annoy the clan first, for example by cutting loose their dugouts. This will not harm the clan, because they will be able to recover them later."

"And if this doesn't work?" Aegir asked back.

"If we need more we should try to inflict a slight loss."

"You are right, maybe we should empty their fish traps or damage some of their fishing nets."

"Accepted!" pondering a moment, Buri asked "But how can increase the pressure in the next step?"

"We probably have to destroying a facility of vital importance, like a storage shed or a smoke rack!"

"And then?" Buri racked his brain, "Sheds and smoke racks can be rebuilt! We have to damage something of greater importance to the clan and especially to the shaman!"

"Let's steal the clan's idol. This really would be a blow to the shaman's reputation. His strength would seep away like water in a wicker basket! But we have to make sure that every single action has to be attributed to the slaying of you, Buri."

As soon as the rising sun was melting away the morning mist three men and two teens came walking down to the cove to go spearfishing. "Damn; somebody has taken away the dugouts!" turning to the giggling youngsters one of the man asked, "Hey, what's funny? Why are you laughing, you rascal of a son? Did you hide the boats it in retaliation for the slaps you got yesterday for losing the fishing spear?"

"No father, no! I didn't do it, nor did he!" pointing at his friend, "We were laughing about his sister Fjörgyn! She is still sitting at home trembling! She doesn't dare to walk to the beach! She afraid the two-headed grundylowwould grab her with his cold arms and drown her!"

The other boy joined in "It is not the water-spirit my sister is afraid of, it's Buri! She is confident Buri has turned into an undead and wants to abduct her and take her cherry in his underwater cave!"

"Stop this silly talking!" one of the other men interrupted the teen, "Don't provoke the water-spirit! We need his help!"

Just then one of the teens spotted the dugout boats out in the lake drifting towards the outlet of the lake and began to shout, "Father! Father look there! The boats! There in the middle of the lake!"

This was the signal for Buri. He rose in the boat. He had taken off all his clothes, so that his dark body was clearly visible to everybody. He was screaming off his head! "Murderer! Murderer!" shouted, "I get you all! Murderer! Robbers! I get you all!" He was beckoning with his arms as if to summon the eagle clan to follow him into the dark water.

The echo of his accusation alarmed young and old. They gathered at the beach. Startled cries arose, turning into terrified clamour. Aegir, who was hiding in the reed belt close by, could hardly discern the different voices screaming across each other:

"Buri! That's Buri's spirit!"

"It's an apparition."

"Buri is back! The black boy is back!"

"God help us!"

"Fjörgyn and Whurg were right! Buri is undead!"

"Look, look, he tries to lure us into the abyss!"

"Get the shaman! He has to ward off the undead!"

Finally the shaman arrived with a wand in one hand and a holy rattle in the other. The wand was made to impress the people. It was about two feet long, made of carved wood and decorated with colourful feathers. The most impressing thing about it was its tip of semi-translucent rock crystal. The people made a way for the limping shaman and went silent when he positioned himself at the lake's edge. Directing the force of the wand with the crystal tip at Buri he raised the rattle menacingly and began to recite magic spells with shrill voice:

Father of life,
Father of sky;
Father of dead!

Father of tongue;
Father of eye;
Father of ear.

Father of brain;
Father of feel.

Urd, Verdandi and Skuld:

Keepers of Yggdrasill, the world tree

Around which the nine worlds existed!

Almighty Lords:

Take back Buri;
Take him to Niflheimr;
The Mist World;
The home of the death;
Deliver the Eagle-clan from evil.
Black to blue
Blue to grey
Grey to white
White like ice!
Niflheimr is where you dwell!

Hel, take Buri back;
Keep him forever!

Then the shaman recited the names of the magic spell again, first forwards:

Wuitan - Lodur - Hönur - Urd - Verdandi - Skuld- Leh!

then backwards, to make sure that the spirits take Buri back toNiflheimr:

Antwiut - Urdol - Rinöh - Dru - Idnadver - Dluks - Hel!

And then the crowd repeated the words, becoming louder and louder:

Antwiut - Urdol - Rinöh - Dru - Idnadver - Dluks - Hel!
Wuitan - Lodur - Hönur - Urd - Verdandi - Skuld- Leh!

Antwiut - Urdol - Rinöh - Dru - Idnadver - Dluks - Hel!
Wuitan - Lodur - Hönur - Urd - Verdandi - Skuld- Leh!

Antwiut - Urdol - Rinöh - Dru - Idnadver - Dluks - Hel!
Wuitan - Lodur - Hönur - Urd - Verdandi - Skuld- Leh!

The incantation seemed to work. Suddenly Buri disappeared either because the boat swayed, he stumbled, and fell over or because he ducked down and hid inside the boat.

The clan applauded: "He is gone! He is gone!" they cheered! "Hel, the goddess of Niflheimr, has taken Buri back to the Mist world." They attributed the sudden disappearance of Buri to the magic power of the shaman and his wand! Slowly the women and children returned to the village, while the men went to borrow dugouts in the neighbouring villages to get their boats back.


Meanwhile the current took Buri's boat to the outlet of the lake. Buri left the dugout as soon it entered the creek leaving Lake Fjäder. He hid the boat in dense undergrowth and began to make his way back to their hideout in the bear's den.

Close to his destination he ran into some kids playing hide and seek in the woods. The oldest of the girls saw him first. "The undead, the undead Buri! He is still living!" she yelled with fear, peed herself and bolted head over heels down the steep hillside towards the lake dwelling. The others followed her without thinking. Speeding down the steep hillside one of the boys tripped over a root and sprained his ankle. Sitting on his butt he looked wide-eyed up to Buri in front of him. "Bb'bad man? Are you the bad spirit, the revenant?" He stuttered frightened. "Please don't take me with you! Please!" When Buri was too perplexed to answer, the boy shook his head in doubt. "You are not bad! Sure you are not bad! Please tell me that you are not an undead, not a spirit as the others say!" He encouraged himself and then a smile of recognition crossed his face. "I know you! You are Buri! You are my friend! Remember! You always fed me hazelnuts! You always helped me when I was in trouble!"

Buri recognized the boy also. "Kian!" he smiled and couldn't help patting the boy's head, "Yes I am Buri. We are friends, Kian, remember! Do you want some nuts? Have hurt your ankle?" While Kian was crunching the nuts, Buri asked about the news in the village and kneaded the sprayed ankle. "Your ankle sure will be fine soon! Remember I always had healing hands!"

The shrill voices of women interrupted their chit-chat. "Kian! Kian! Where are you! Don't be afraid! We are coming! We rescue you!"

Buri knew it was time to leave. But before he hastened away, he told Kian his request, "Tell the others, Kian! Tell your mother! Tell your father! Tell everybody of the Eagle-clan: Buri wants his property back! He wants back the crescent of moon-stone! Tell everybody the shaman has attempted to murder me because he wanted my sacred amulet!" Then he vanished into the dense shrubbery.


Buri and Aegir decided to step up the pressure that night. Around midnight they left their hideout. Dense clouds were concealing the moonso it was difficult to find their way down to the shallow bay where the eagle-clan's fish traps were kept. At the wharf on the other side of the point of land a small watch fire was burning.

"Look yonder, the clan is keeping guard! These people are stupid! Do they really expect we will take away the dugouts a second time?" Buri whispered to Aegir.

"We are lucky that nobody thought of the traps." Aegir took a long stake and punted the small boat from trap to trap while Buri let the fishes escape.

Before dawn they were back at the bear's den. Frozen to the marrow they cuddled up like cubs and slept till long after sun up. While Buri still slept on, Aegir went down to village of the heron's clan to fish for new information.

Down in Heron-eyrie he met Whurg. The cheeky guy had a black eye. "What happened to you, has somebody beaten you up or did you run into a fist by chance?"

"Forget it!" was Whurg's first answer. But then he explained, "My uncle hit me for blowing the secret of Buri's killing." Eager to provideinformation, he continued, "Yesterday morning our boats were missing. We saw them drifting in the lake. That could have been a prank, the sort of thing I like to do. But it wasn't! The undead had taken the boats. Buri had taken away the dugouts! I encountered him before, I saw him first, me and my girlfriend Fjörgyn."

"Did you catch him?"

"Me? I am not weary of life! I was just on the way to have a nice fuck with my girlfriend and wasn't looking to catch one of the undead! He spoiled our fun and now Fjörgyn doesn't dare to leave the house for fear of the two-headed water-spirit!"

"Are you really sure you had an apparition of a ghost, of the water-spirit? And how do you know its Buri? Who is Buri anyway?"

"It was not just me Fjörgyn saw the wraith and recognized him too. When he took away the boats all our people of the clan recognized him. He must be undead, a very lively undead however. Even our shaman wasn't able to exorcise the bad spirit with his magic wand, because later in the afternoon some children met him. The spirit even questioned Kian, fed him magic hazelnuts and treated his sprained ankle. The ghost's hands were hot like fire, Kian told his mother later. However Buri's magic hands worked, because the pain in Kian's ankle grew weaker. And, as if that were not enough, today all our fish traps were plundered!" Whurg looked around to assure himself of listeners, "I tell you Redhead, he sure rose directly out of Niflheimr hell."

Aegir tried to interrupt Whurg's flood of words, "So tell me, who is Buri? Why did he become undead? Why is he wandering between our world and thenetherworld?"

"Buri? I can tell you! I grew up with him! He was a dark-skinned dirty smelling lad, a stinker. His father Hödur always insisted that Buri is a prince and his mother the princess of the Moon-Stone-Clan! Imagine, a dirty stinking guy being a prince! The shaman decided to....." Whurg suddenly stopped talking, gulped and continued, "Buri died by an accident. He broke his neck."

"But why was Buri transformed into one of the undead?"

"I don't know, but Kian fantasized that Buri wants back his amulet, the crescent of moonstone; the proof of his kingly descent."

"Do you know where the amulet is now?"

"Me? No! But the undead Buri claimed the shaman took it! He wants it back! He had instructed Kian to tell everybody the shaman had taken his royal badge!"

Now Aegir was sure the message had reached the addressee, he tried irritate Whurg. "I never met a spirit or one of the undead, but I have heard of some terrible incidents with them. The shaman had better return the crescent of moonstone to Buri. If the shaman doesn't do that the whole clan will suffer. The clan will be doomed to perish! The undead's vengeance may be fatal for the clan. You better tell the shaman to take the crescent to Thunar's oak and place it upon the holy rock. Maybe Thunar will accept the crescent, return it to his rightful owner and keep away the disaster from the clan!"

Aegir went back to the hideout while Whurg took to his heels to report the alarming news to the chieftain of the Eagle clan. The headman wanted to summon a meeting immediately, but the elders didn't trust Whurg.

"Let's wait. It's surely just a wise guy trying to give Whurg a run-around. Who can trust a red haired stranger?" one of the elders said.

"Does anybody know about the whereabouts of the crescent?" another of the men asked, "Is it really true that our shaman took the crescent from the dead body of Buri?"

The men of the Eagle-clan were undecided how to proceed further and finally decided to wait for the shaman, who was visiting another village.

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