— a weave of Scandinavian folklore

Helga Yngvesdotter


“I am Helga Ramn, daughter of Yngve Agrarsson, chieftain of Håkeby.” She held his gaze steadily, trying to read him, but he kept his features controlled.


Out of Ocean and Ashes
Last Priestess of Ran
Helga Ramn
Helga Ransdotter
Helga of Ran
Iron Age
Viken, Norway
Yngve Agrarsson, father (deceased)
Svaneblau, mother (deceased)
Torun Hildingsdotter, stepmother (deceased)


What's your name
Helga Yngvesdotter, though also sometimes Helga Ramn, which means raven
How old are you
Seventeen years
What do you look like
Curly black hair with bleached ends, dark skin and grey eyes. A blaumann
Where were you at the start of the story
Preparing to address my people. The King's men called me a changeling and threw me into the water after they executed my father and my stepmother. Joke's on them, though. I will get my vengeance
What did you want, when the story started
In the long term, I want to avenge my father. Short term, I have been tasked by the deity Ran to recover an important artefact that will help me gain what I need. As her priestess, I will have power
Who are your parents
My father was Yngve Agrarsson, a chieftain in Viken. He bought my mother in Constantinople, and called her Svaneblau—the Black Swan, as her given name was too hard for him to pronounce. He loved her so much that he married her. And she loved him
What was your education like
My mother taught me songs from her homeland, and my stepmother Torun Hildingsdotter taught what I would need to know as my father's heir. I think it hurt her that she could never bear my father a son, but she never took it out on me. I think she loved me like a daughter
Do you make friends easily
Yes, I do
Do you have a best friend
Saga. She was born a thrall on my father's estate, and is a year younger than I am
Can you get people to do what you want them to? If so, how
Yes, I can talk people into a lot of things
Do you have scars? Where did they come from
Above my left eye. I fell from a horse
Can you navigate without getting lost? To what degree
Decently. My father thought it was important I knew how to
Can you bake a cake
Yes. The one I prefer is blueberries
Do you know how to perform basic maintenance on a car
I am not sure what you are asking me
Is there something you do that most other people don’t
I have more ambition, but it is necessary for my survival, and the few of my people who still look to me
What is the most formative moment in your past
Two things. A diplomat who suggested to my father that he sell me, and my father's dismissal. That was the day I recognised that I would be underestimated, and that I had my father's trust. The second moment was my father's execution. He refused to bow to the King, and he paid for it with his life
Do you have any phobias
What are some of your bad habits
I snap my fingers when I think
Do you have a moral code? To what extent are your actions dictated by this code
Yes, I am very careful with who is affected by my actions. Honour and family is more important than anything else


1st draft

Helga sputtered and coughed, clearing her lungs from water. She flailed, before freeing herself from the shawl and loose dress ensnaring her. Hard rocks dug into her back and algae twisted around her bare legs, but she was out of the water.

“Mistress, are you alright?” Saga, her short blonde hair messily tucked behind her ears, looked down at her. Her undyed shift was gathered at the wrists, and both sleeves and the bottom of the skirt were wet.

“Yes.” Impatiently Helga sat up, pushing away a black curl with a dark hand. “The estate? I saw my father and Torun, but …” Her brown eyes narrowed and she clamped her mouth shut.

Saga shivered, closing her eyes. “They burned it. The shut everyone inside, and they, they, they burned it to the ground.” She tugged at grass growing in a crack in the bedrock. “I hid, and I saw them drag you.” She hesitatingly reached for her mistress’ hand, and Helga squeezed it gently. “I am glad you are alive.”

“Not for long, if they get their wish.” Helga frowned in concentration, pushing away the grief at the death of her father and step-mother, not to mention the destruction of her home. Without plans for the future neither she nor her thrall would survive longer than a week, if even that. “Curse them. They have shown their true colours now.” She glanced over at Saga. “Or are you interested in converting?” Her question was honest, and the thrall furrowed her brow as she considered it.

“No, I do not think so.” She rested back against a rock. “The missionaries spoke of peace, of all being equal.” She looked down a moment, wetting her lips. “Of everyone being free. But this was not peace. They murdered your father, the chieftain, for refusing conversion.” She shook her head. “No. If those are the men that represents White Christ and Christianity, I want no part of it.”

“Good.” The water itself spoke, and Helga leaped to her feet, standing between Saga and the being that rose out of the ocean. The deity was female, her green hair tipped with the white of waves, and her body glittering with gold. “And you, dark child, known as Helga Ramn, raven born.” Her voice stormed and sang as the wild ocean. “Will you cower before your betters, these men of Christ, to save your life?”

A flash of anger danced in Helga’s eyes, her back stiffening. “I bow to no one. They will bow to me.” She was young, she knew this. “I swear this to you, Ran, Aegir’s wife, that I will have my vengeance, and my father will not have died in vain.”

“I feed on your rage and retribution.” The deity embraced Helga in her watery form. “What you lack in power, you have in ambition. Serve me, and we will both find vengeance.”

“Serve you … how?” She wet her lips, meeting the deity’s black eyes. “What is it you want from me, and what do I get in return?”