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Sun Quest - Part 2

by Ruwen Rouhs

Chapter 4

Aegir and Buri wanted to walk straight up to the altar and the tall pole. "No, no! This is the place for the shamans and the elders. Look they are worshipping the deities, they are praying and chanting!" Cantu's voice held them back. "Later, after the sunrise ceremony we are all allowed to go to the altar, present our offerings and ask for Sol's blessing."

Hermo, Cantu's alter-ego added. "Meanwhile we have to wait under the roof of the shelter. The rays of the sun have to touch the pole first and make it shine. Only then we are allowed to bathe in the warming rays of Father Sol." Pointing around, "Look all the pilgrims are waiting under the roof for Sol to come up on the horizon."

Aegir searched the Holy Circle with hawk's eyes. "People are everywhere! Look Buri, they are hiding under the roofs. Some are hardly visible in the darkness of the shelters." Turning around he asked his new friends "Where did all the people come from?"

"Didn't you know that more than a dozen villages belong to our clan and many, many scattered farmsteads too. All the people will be here today. But I told you this before, didn't I?" Cantu told him, taking his hand to hold him back.

However Aegir and Buri didn't have to wait for the sunrise to reach the altar. Three men left the group of praying shamans, came walking over and the smallest of the three, apparently the High Shaman himself bowed and addressed Buri, "Man with the dark face, you were born where the sun burns down all year long! Welcome to our country!" Then he turned to Aegir, "And you red-head with the pale face, you are from the icy north, where the sun hides for weeks and months during the cold wintertime! Welcome to our country! Your presence honours our people. Please join us in prayers at the altar so that the sun will bring more fertility and greater prosperity to our country than ever before."

Feeling honoured Aegir and Buri bowed before of the shamans. Then they left their new friends to join the group of priests awaiting the sunrise at the altar.

Just one moment before sunrise the treetops in the south-east stood out dark against the pale grey sky. Only one moment later the sky changed colour first to a watery yellow, then the tint of red grew stronger and suddenly the blinding rays of the rising sun painted the treetops red.

The priests were raising their heads with closed eyes to catch the first rays from the glowing disc rising into the pale morning sky. Suddenly the pole became a golden finger pointing to the sky and time seemed to stand still for a moment.

This was the moment everyone had been waiting for through the whole winter, the shamans the elders around the altar and the folks sheltered by the roof of the sanctuary. Ah and Oh resounded in the Holy Circle of the Sun Henge and the shamans began to sing the sun song:

"Beautiful is the first light of dawn
at the far blue eastern horizon.
Oh, living Sun the creator of life,
when you appear in the eastern sky
You fill the land with your beauty,
You are big and glimmering.
High over the earth is your path
your beams embrace the lands
and everything you created on earth.
You are our Sol, conquering everything living,
binding us together in embracing love.
Even far from us
your beams keep caressing the world.
Even when you are high in the skies
the brightening day follows at your heel."

Arvakr and Alsvidr, the sun's never-tiring servants, pulled the cart with the precious burden higher and higher into the sky. Sol, the glorious, shot his golden rays and set ablaze the wide round of the sanctuary and the coats of the High Shaman and his followers looked as if they were on fire. The people were filled with wonder and praised the life-giving Deity:

"You lighten the world when you rise again.

Oh Sun, again you lighten the day.
Now darkness gives way to light,
now is feast in our lands.
You waken the people,
make them rise on their feet,
wash their limbs, put upon clothes,
praise your dawn with raised arms.
Then going to daily work
and the world continues labouring."

And the shamans continued

"You created changing times

completing all your deeds
Winter gave us cold
and summer gave us health
You created the distant heavens
for your journey to look
at the creation of you alone
Forth you wander, living Sun
give lights from far and disappear
always coming back again and again."

But suddenly the burning ball of the sun stood still! The golden rays seemed to trace the sanctuary as if in search for somebody or something. When Sol touched Aegir´s red hair with his golden rays and it went aflame. When Sol's rays touched Buri's lips and they turned red, red like blood.

When the sun touched his hair Aegir's head began to spin. Aegir tried to reach for Buri. "I feel dizzy, hold me!" But Buri´s head were spinning also. He groaned and staggered. He stretched out his arm to support Aegir, but he couldn't keep upright. Both lost consciousness and fell to the ground. In that moment the sun continued to climb up into the morning sky as if satisfied with her impact on Aegir and Buri!".

Later neither Aegir nor Buri remembered what had happened in detail. They were told that they had fainted, fell to the ground and stayed unconscious for a long, long time.

The folks in the Holy Circle got frightened. Small children started whimpering while old women groaned and mumbled prayers. Most people however became silent and just stared at the two strangers stiff on the ground. After a long, long time the High Priest bent over and tried to shake Aegir awake. When he didn't succeed he took a feather and began to tickle Aegir´s nose without success. Then one of the other shamans wetted Aegir's forehead with a damp cloth, while another opened his shirt. Others cared for Buri in the same way.

When Aegir and Buri finally opened the eyes they found the shamans gathered around them and Kester, Hermo, Ver and Cantu kneeling at their heads, while the elders of the clan held back the people. When they both were back in their right senses the High Priest addressed them quietly, "What happened? You both fainted as the sun rose above the horizon and bathed you in her rosy light. When the sun touched you, she stood still as if to greet you. I never witnessed an event like this before!" Sighing deeply, "My late predecessor however told me of a miraculous episode that happened long ago in the past. Watch out son! My dying father told me on his death-bed, The glorious Sol, the one who has created everything on earth, sends his friends once in a while for a visit to us humble beings. Their visit means happiness and good fortune to all who love them! Treat them well! Then he died!" Coming very close, the old priest asked, "What have you seen, while you were away? What did the sun tell you? Are you Sol's emissaries?"

Aegir looked at Buri and Buri looked back to his friend. Then both shook their heads. "The dazzling brightness of the sun went directly into my head! I don't remember anything more!" Aegir answered and Buri added, "The brilliance of the light made me faint! I don't remember anything till the moment my forehead was cooled."

The old shaman wasn't sure how to explain the incident, but he was certain something special had happened today. He rose up his arms and continued with the praise of the sun:

Beauty through you alone

in hamlets, in ports, in other places,
upon the hills, down at the rivers.
Everyone's see you before the eyes
the lightening Sun on earth.
Glorious Sol!

Not one of the people present had ever witnessed such an event before neither the oldest fisherman nor the oldest woman. Deep down in his heart every person present was convinced that the miraculous appearance of the strangers announced great changes for the fishing hamlet as well as for the whole country. After the first moment of surprise everybody wanted to touch the flaming hair of Aegir, everybody wanted to kiss Buri´s lips.

"If you touch that red hair you will be rich all your life!" the boys told each other.

"If you kiss dark-skinned man's lips you will be lucky all your life!" the girls told each other.

"If you touch that red hair and kiss this lips you will find the love of your life!" the girls and boys told others.

But there were some wicked boys around too. They teased the innocent girls: "If that red hair touches your pussy, you will have a red-haired baby and if that the dark-skinned man touches it, your baby will be black, but if both make out with you, you will have a spotted baby with curly red hairs!"

The eventful day passed next to no time and everybody was pleased with the day, with the miracle at the celebration, with the feasting of roast deer, wood grouse and fat carp, with a bewitching soup of mushrooms, with an intoxicant brew made of honey and crab apples. Even the small ones were happy and drifted off to sleep satisfied after sucking their mothers breasts. Only the High Shaman was slightly displeased when Aegir and Buri declined his invitation to spend some time in the convent of shamans. However he was reconciled when Aegir explained his reasons, "We need to go on, Holy Father! Tomorrow we have to depart because the journey to Ta-Seti, the country of Buri´s mother is arduous and long, and!" he paused for a long moment, "Remember the sun is calling us, the sun is calling us to Ta-seti! She called us today! Remember! Never forget us, the Sun Seekers!"

On the way back to the fishing village Cantu and Hermo tried to monopolize the two friends. Cantu took Buri by the hand as if he had to walk his little sister, something that in reality he never did. Hermo did the same with Aegir and tried to hug him all the time. Ver and Kester, a little bit jealous of their brothers, hooked up with the four together with their young wives, Ailis and Molis. The young wives were also drawn to the strangers and her hearts started to beat faster as soon as one of them gave them a smile. They showed their admiration in the special way of women and tried to worm every detail of their lives out the guests. But neither Aegir nor Buri went into details about their past or their marital status, but they outlined their plans for the future.

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