Chapter 102 – The Light

Even though your light is fading, you can still shine bright. I told myself this again and again.

Things were not good. I confess that I was at a loss at the world crumbling around me. It had not occurred to me that I might be without power, the feeling was alien and though it drove me to my writings, it also distracted me.

Hallveig was not well, stricken with mysterious humors and maladies that were immune to all potions and poultices. I sat with her. Read to her and told her the things I was writing. She was lucid mostly, but in those episodes where she travelled to unknown places in her mind, it scared me. She was like a different person and even the look on her face was different, as if she were transformed, possessed so that her face became sallow, dark sacks beneath her eyes and her pink skin turning pale bluish, like a corpse. She often gasped from the pain in her belly. I was afraid for her and for myself. She was my only real confidant.

“Good people attract many intent on harm. They are jealous of what you have, who you are, your power and riches,” she said to me. It was as though her voice was from another person, though the words were hers.

My soul ached to see her that way and I wept silently and then I cursed because I knew that I wept for myself and not for Hallveig. It was agony to watch her slipping away from me with no skill of the apothecary or alchemist strong enough to arrest her decline.

“They are coming for you,” she said. “Leave this place before they come.”

I had no will to flee, especially if my flight would be without her. My only questions, would they surround my house and burn me in it like Njal, would they take me to the tree to hang by my neck or perhaps sever my head from my body. Maybe they would creep upon me like cowards in the dark and knife me in my bed while I slept unawares. In any case I was certain my death would be brutal. I made many attempts to speak to God but he abandoned me. There was no direction, no solace, no answers to questions to guide me. I prayed to empty air; the same sensation was in my belly that possessed me when my father abandoned me to Loftsson to be fostered as a child. But now instead of being given to a teacher, a mentor, a second father, I was given to nothing, stripped of hope and my only real love.

I was no stranger to violence, it was our life but I had great fear of being hacked upon like a wild boar, my flesh split open or perhaps a spike plunged through my neck so my life blood pumped out of me with no means of holding it in. Hallveig spoke comforting words but as her life faded, so the comfort she gave me faded.

“Do not go placidly into death,” she said to me.

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