— a weave of Scandinavian folklore

Runfrid Hildrisdotter


“Runes.” Runfrid rested her hand on the leather bundle. “Bones from a fallen enemy, carved with a knife dedicated to Freja, Our Lady of the Slain.”


Forgive and forget
Iron Age
Old faith
Hildri Gormsson, father (deceased)
Arna Korisdotter, mother (deceased)
Snöfrid Hildrisdotter, sister
Mór Bjalfisson, husband (deceased)
Ragna Mórsdotter, daughter
Bjalfi Mórsson, son
Yngvi Mórsson, son


What's your name
Runfrid Hildrisdotter
How old are you
I have seen twenty-five midsummers
What do you look like
Strawberry blonde hair down to my lower back. My eyes are mis-matching, with one sapphire blue and one pale grey
Where were you at the start of the story
Visiting my husband's memorial. It had been six months since he threw himself into Rán's embrace
What did you want, when the story started
I wanted to forgive him for what he did to me, to his family, to his children
Who are your parents
Hildri Gormsson and Arna Kórisdotter. They died in a fire three years ago
What was your education like
I think quite normal. I learned all the things I needed to keep a household, and when I was fourteen midsummers, I married Mór Bjalfisson. Of course, my grandmother also taught me runes and the art of magic
Do you make friends easily
Yes, I am good at diplomacy. I had to, to handle the household after my father-in-law died and Mór was out on Viking
Do you have a best friend
My sister Snöfrid, but she moved to the other side of the country, so I rarely see her
Can you get people to do what you want them to? If so, how
As I said, I am good at diplomacy
Do you have scars? Where did they come from
None I wish to speak about
Can you navigate without getting lost? To what degree
It has never been something I needed to do
Can you bake a cake
Quite a few different kinds
Do you know how to perform basic maintenance on a car
I am not sure what that is
Is there something you do that most other people don’t
I practice runes in secret, so my brother-in-law does not find out. Mór never minded, but Leifr is Christian and does not like the old faith
What is the most formative moment in your past
Holding my daughter in my arms. That something so precious could come from me and Mór
Do you have any phobias
What are some of your bad habits
I talk to myself
Do you have a moral code? To what extent are your actions dictated by this code
Honour and family above everything


1st draft

Runfrid knelt by the rune stone, lighting the incense she had brought with her. On the flat granite surface in front of it, she lay down three locks of hair bound with copper threads.

“Six full moons have passed since you choose Rán’s embrace to mine.” She whispered the words, closing her eyes as hot tears trickled down her freckled cheeks. “And I still do not know if I still love you, or if you killed my love.” Grief wrecked her body, with sobs forcing themselves out despite her best efforts.

“Cry not, mistress.” The melodic voice, with a broken accent, of her husband’s thrall broke through her grief. The woman lay a tanned hand on her shoulder.

Runfrid straightened, shielding her emotions with her pride. “I was not crying.” The discomfort flittered up her spine, and again she wondered why she had not sold her when Mór threw himself off the cliff.

At the rejection, Esti’s face stiffened into a mask of hurt. “Of course, mistress.” Her hand resting on her swollen belly stung in Runfrid’s heart, and tears flooded her eyes again. She sank to her knees, unable to stop herself, sobbing against the ground. The thrall knelt with her, taking her hand and holding it, while the storm washed over Runfrid, until the grief ebbed away and left only the emptiness she was used to.

She met Esti’s grey eyes and read only sympathy in them. “Why are you comforting me?” She pulled her cloak around herself.

Esti shrugged. “You not sell me.” She smiled lightly. “You not hate me, despite …” She gestured at her stomach with an awkward movement.

Despite. The thought bit into Runfrid as she rose again, hoping she could wash the redness away before anyone else saw her. She stalked into the low house, her head bowed, leaving Esti by Mór’s rune stone and memorial. The only one they had, as his body had not yet washed ashore.