"Freja, I gotta go..." His words fell on deaf ears as his wife cut him off.
"Baby, come here! You've got to see this!" Shaking his shaven head, he gave a rue smile and went to his angel of a wife. "Lookatthat!" He looked out the circle window to where her long, delicate finger pointed. On the water was a longboat with a dragon head at the prow. "Just like the ones from that show we watch! Vikings!"
"Freja, Baby, I really have ta..."
"Goseeit? Metoo!" Hurrying her excited words, she took his hand and pulled him to the door. "Come on, Óðr! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!"
"Freja!" She stopped short at his shape tone. Hurt and confusion warred in her eyes. "I can build ya one when I get back."
"But...But this is the real deal." Her blue eyes clashed with his grey ones in a battle of wills. Unrelenting, he shook his head. "Baby, come on. Just a quick peek! Think! We could meet our ancestors! The Vikings are our heritage!" He stuck his tongue in his cheek.
"Freja, I really have ta go." He pulled her against his toned body, pressing her against the material of his combat uniform. He kissed the top of her wild, blonde head. "Next..."
"Your plane leaves in two hours. We've got time."
"Time." He sighed. Something they never had enough of together. "Freja, my ride takes an hour. Then, there'll be the long line at the port and baggage lines. I have ta go. I love..." He never got to finish his sentence. Suddenly, the sound of clashing axes pierced the air. "Shit! Tell me this is a dream!" He grabbed his wife and pulled her behind him while grabbing the shotgun off the rack.
"Ohmigawd! This is happening!" She was nearly bouncing on her toes. "Viking fight! Gottaseeit!"
"No!" He yelled, louder than he meant to, and she became stock still. "I cannot lose ya! We don't know these barbarians! Heritage be damned! If ya die because ya thoughtlessly go off n watch a Viking fight that shouldn't even be in our time era, I will not be able to live without ya!" She seemed to think about that for a minute before her eyes, now serious, met his again.
"From the window?" She asked hopefully. "Wait, we can speak their language! Maybe we can learn something from them! Barter something! Trade!"
"And have them take modern inventions back to their world?" He set down the shotgun so he wasn't just wildly waving it around as he used his hands while speaking. "Mess up history completely? We wouldn't be here if they had our technology back then! They had their cultures for a reason, which is why we keep some of their practices alive today in our home! Now, I have ta..."
Crash! The back door came crashing down as he jerked his wife away and sent her into another room. "Damnit! Just when life was complicated, we've got old Norsemen in our home!" Suddenly, he heard his wife scream. "Freja!" He bellowed as he ran into the other room. Suddenly, he realized he was no longer in their home.
He could hear the haunting echo of her scream, but she was nowhere to be found or seen! "Freja!" He spun around and realized where he was. "Shit, this isn't possible!" He whirled around as he heard a language, dying in the modern world, behind him. A woman with half-shaved, wild blonde hair, and stormy blue eyes stood there brandishing an ax.
Suddenly, she put it down, confusion in her eyes. "Óðr?" She looked at him from head to toe. "Óðr? What are ye wearing?"
"Freja?" He knew this had to be a dream. She nodded. His wife would never shave her head and would die before being seen in old Norse battle armor. She loved fencing, ax-throwing, archery, horseback riding, shipbuilding, sailing, and farming. She could wrestle almost anybody. She could stand for her own. But she'd never be caught dead in Viking armor, as much as she loved the look of the clothing. The woman before him impatiently tapped her foot while waiting for an answer. Such a Freja thing to do. He sat down on the grass mat and rubbed his temples.
"Does thy head hurt ye?" Her confusion changed to worry, like a mother hen clucking about her peeps.
"No at the present moment, Freja." He stood, finally realizing what must be going on. "Freja, where is the Seer?" Confusion tinged her eyes once more, but she gave him directions. "I will return. Good..." A crash came from outside the small house. Sighing, he shook his head. Can't tell my wife goodbye and I can't tell her past life self goodbye either. Well hell! He weaved among the Vikings that were stopping to stare at him. Across the fields, around the longhouses, and through the dirt lanes. Finally, he came to the seer's longhouse. Wooden planks stood upright, attached under a thatched roof. Entering the building, he stepped into an entirely new world of bones, skulls, and mystery. A blind woman sat in the middle of the barely-lit room.
"Óðr, of the future, what seek ye?" He smiled at her odd way of speech and sat down. "Many things ye have need to do. Little time have ye left to use. Make sure thy love and self is true. Ye must be tried and tested soon." She stopped, pursing her lips, then spoke again. "Óðr, of the future, what seek ye?"
"When will I be able to return ta my own time? Ta my wife, heavy with child? Ta my life centuries inta the future?"
"Ah. A traveler, Odin has sent our way. The first in nigh on five-score years." She shut her piercing blue-white eyes. "When the time is right and Odin calls. Ye will know when our people cease to fall. When ye return to thy own time, no change will happen for all will be right."
"And what of the men left with my wife? What will they do ta her?" His eyes darkened at the thought of another man, even if it was a past-life version of himself, with his wife.
"Worry not, oh Óðr the Slayer. Narry a minute will pass in thy life when ye will be done here. All ye do here will be forgotten from thy mind, like a dream ye cannot grab hold of. All ye do, will be thus put into the AllFather's mind to reward ye in Vallhalla and in our Óðr's mind and thoughts." He stood and she spoke again. "The sooner. The better."
"Thank ya. Good..." She cut him off and pointed to the door.
"Go. May the gods favor thee."
No sooner than he stepped out of the longhouse, he was met with an ax. "Who are thou?" The gruff voice behind him demanded. "What is this garment ye wear?" He cursed under his breath, reminding himself to ask the old, no, same-aged past-life Freja for some Viking garment if he was able to return to the longhouse without winding up decapitated.
"Óðr." He ignored the second question, hoping the man wouldn't ask it again because how did you tell an old-time Viking about combat uniforms for a country they've never heard of in a time wherein they do not live? The ax moved away from him as he received a clap on the back.
"Welcome back, Brother. What riches and plunder did ye take from the neighboring tribes?"
"None yet, Brother, none yet." He felt weird discussing topics such as this so openly, especially when he had no partaking in them. "I must get back ta Freja. Good..." He stopped as two swords clashed in front of him. "What is the meaning of this?" He motioned to the man and woman locked in arms. "What dispute do they have?"
"Has the voyage addled thy brain? Practice, little brother, practice. Tis the meaning of that." Laughing, he went off to meet another man coming out of a house. Shaking his head, he made his way back to Freja.
"Óðr, come lay with me, my love." He watched as she went farther into the structure. "Come, my love."
"I cannot, Freja." She turned to him, her eyes wide with surprise. The way she acted and looked like his Freja tempted him sore. If he laid with her, would it be the same as laying with his Freja? Would it be cheating if they were the same person centuries apart? He shook his head to clear his mind. "Not today, Freja. I am tired." She nodded and walked into another section of the home.
"King Óðr the Slayer has returned!" He didn't know who was yelling it, but the cry picked up throughout the village. What've I been thrown inta? I'm no king! I'm not even a general in the Marines! He shook his head, praying to Odin that the people would give him time to rest before expecting him to assume the duties of a Viking king.
Hours rolled into days which whirled into weeks and spun into months. He grew accustomed to their way of life, however much of a change it was. Battled fought, victories won. He rose in respect before their eyes. When they weren't at war with a neighboring tribe of Vikings, he managed to keep peace on the homefront. Only he and the Seer knew that he wasn't the true Viking called Óðr, but he slipped so easily into the role that nobody questioned his authenticity. With every victory, he couldn't help but wonder how much longer until he reunited with his wife in the twenty-first century. His love burned ever brighter for her the longer they were apart. Surely, the Seer's riddled prophecy must be close to being fulfilled!
"Freja!" He called to the shield-maiden he'd had to reside with. "How many more tribes must be battled?" She shook her head, her big blue eyes meeting his.
"No more, Óðr. The gods have indeed favored ye in thy voyages." He nodded and she turned on her heel, her simple green dress flowing out behind her as she left. He knew she was bitter because he continually refused her, but he would not sleep with her when his Freja waited at home. The words of the seer came back to mind, "Make sure thy love and self is true. Ye will be tried and tested soon.....Ye will know when our people cease to fall."
He sighed and kept sharpening the ax on the whetstone. "The people have ceased ta fall. They've been victorious in their every undertaking. Both my love and self have been true to my Freja. I have been tried and tested many times, both in battle and by the Freja of this time. I have had much time and have done much. Yet, Odin has not called me home." He shook his head, knowing that the musings would get him nowhere. He stood and went into the longhouse. Weaving around the wooden items and metal weapons, he made his way to a bedroom, if it could be called such. "Freja, I must leave again soon." She looked up at him, her eyes still filled with confusion and some kind of desire.
"Why? Ye have no battles to fight. No places to raid. No plunder to bring back to our people. Why must ye go."
He didn't have a clear answer, but then, almost as surely as he was alive, he saw him. A man in a straw hat was hunched over in an earth-colored cloak with a shepherd's staff in his hand. One eye was missing as he looked directly at him. A raven was on one shoulder as another flew over him. A long white beard flowed in front of him.
"Munin and Hugin." He breathed out just barely audible.
"What say ye?" Freja looked at him like he'd gone stark mad. Maybe he had, but if he'd ever had any doubt before, he now knew the gods were real beyond a shadow of a doubt. Oh, wouldn't his Freja be jealous!
"Odin has called me away for a short while. When I return, I will lay with ya." Her eyes lit up.
"Truly?" She didn't wait for an answer. "Go ye. Make haste and do that which Odin has called ye to do. May the AllFather be with ye."
"Good..." Once again, he'd not been able to finish his sentence as he'd been whisked back into his proper time era. He looked down at his clothes. "I think the Seer was slightly wrong this time."
"Freja!" He looked around, seeing what had changed. "So, not completely," he muttered. No time had passed. The back door was still broken down and there was an ax on the floor. Swiftly, he picked it up. He heard his wife, turned around in the doorway, and ran to her. "Freja!"
"What are you wearing?" Her eyes widened in shock as she took in his clothing. "Where's your uniform? Where did you go?"
"Long story, Baby. I'll tell it ta ya some time." He looked towards the door as a man came in. He laughed as he realized it was the man that he'd just been thrown into the role of for several months. "Óðr," he greeted. "I think ya should go back to your time and lay with your wife." The man's wild appearance was utterly confused. "She's eagerly awaiting your return. Your job here is done." He caught the eye of a raven he knew all too well. "Odin calls ya home. Go now before ya anger him." The man turned and went at the thought of angering the gods. He barked a few short commands at his fellow Vikings and they boarded the longship still sitting in the river behind their house.
He turned to his wife, who was watching everything in confusion and wonder. "Freja." He pulled her tightly against him, holding her like his life depended on it. "I've missed you so much." He breathed in her scent of vanilla and spice. "We've got an hour, right?" She nodded. "Good. If there's one thing I've learned, it's how much I love you. How vital you are to me." He kissed the top of her head. "Let's go."
An hour later, he drew her into his arms at the front door. "Call my brother ta fix the door. He'll think something different happened than what did and therefore won't ask." He laughed. "I love you, Freja. Never forget that. I'll be home soon. Hopefully, before Gersemi and Hnoss are born. Good..." He sighed as he was cut off once more, this time by his brother running up the dirt pathway.
"Óðr! Wait! Don't go yet!" Freja laughed lightly as her brother-in-law breathlessly ran to the porch. "Frigg had twins! Thor and Loki!"
"Congrats, Brother. When ya get the chance, my wife needs ya to fix the back door. I must be going." Confused, his brother went into the house to investigate the back door. "Now, where were we?" He kissed her long and slow. "Until we meet again. I love you." He walked off in a clean combat uniform, his memory crystal clear on all that had happened in the world of Vikings and the notion that they were centuries apart.
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