Astrid had wandered the shores for three summers now, begging for him to come. She had seen him in her dreams and, longed for what she knew only he could give. He could complete her. He could make her feel alive, although it seemed ironic under the circumstances. She didn’t know what more to do than wait for him. She felt him there, a sense of dark that pulled her in, ever closer to him, drawing her to the rugged coastline on the wildest of days. She had read about his type and had studied his kind as far as she could, huddled in the corner of the little village library. She knew that these myths were cast out as nonsense these days, but her grandmother had told her tales that made her believe in the truth.
She had always known that she was different. She hadn’t ever fitted really and this made sense. And so she walked the wave-crashing stretch of land, jet hair whipping across her face, and she sang the Song of Giving, from days long past by. Her voice carried in a way which was magical, harmonising with the gulls who sang from high overhead. Despite her preparations and imaginings she was astonished when eventually she saw him transform in front of her. Her eyes were drawn up and their bodies seemed to pull together, as she was gathered into some sort of electromagnetic field around him.
“Master?” she said, falling to her knees.
“Yes, Astrid,” he said, with a voice that was made of rock, and sand, and the whispered lilt of the sea. “But first I must ask. Are you ready?”
“Yes, Sir,” she replied, her eyes fixed to his, as she was swept deeper within.
“And you know what this means?” he continued. “You know what to say? You know what I need from you?”
Without pause she told him then. “It means I am yours. It means I say yes. It means all of me: forever.”
And with that they were gone from this world, plunging deeper and deeper down. Her lungs burned with fire as she clung to him, and she felt a heat like nothing she had ever been touched by before. On and on it went until she could feel no more. She seemed to float, then, in the timelessness that her life had become, and she became anchored only by him. He devoured her as they drifted on through the emerald darkness, until he roused her and pointed out the effervescent light ahead. Nothing her Grandmother could have told her would ever have prepared her for this.
The palace of Finfolkaheem, was beyond beauty. The crystal walls sparkled and twinkled behind their seaweed gardens, ornate and splendourous, meticulous manicured, and yet flowing gently with the moving current. The way was lit by the soft phosphorescent glow of tiny sea creatures, who were there to welcome Hagen and his new bride. She felt woozy and weak as he moved forward, still carrying her in his arms. She looked up at him, uncertain, suddenly aware of her nakedness. He carried her onward, through the corridors to the great hall, where he would present her to the Finfolk.
Astrid felt her cheeks burn bright, although in reality her pallor changed little. He smiled as he noted the discomfort she felt in adapting to this new way. He felt her embarrassment at the simple fact that she was disrobed among the opulence before her. He had chosen well. Her spark of enjoyment, brought about by the humiliation of her initial display, was something he could build upon easily. Her eyes looked pleadingly at him and spoke a question which he could answer.
“This is the beginning Astrid. I know that you find this hard, but you will do this for me, because I desire it.”
In Orkney folklore, Finfolk are sorcerous shapeshifters of the sea, the dark mysterious race from Finfolkaheem who regularly make an amphibious journey from the depths of the Finfolk ocean home to the Orkney Islands. They wade, swim or sometimes row upon the Orkney shores in the spring and summer months, searching for human captives. The Finfolk (both Finman and Finwife) kidnap unsuspecting fishermen, or frolicking youth, near the shore and force them into lifelong servitude as a spouse.
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