Monday, 27 June 2016
Out In The Weather
"Presences moved in the night, but they were not men -" (The Broken Sword, p. 20)
We expect other supernatural beings but the presences turn out to be a wolf, a wildcat and small animals which:
"...were aware of the elf-earl's passage and shrank deeper into the gloom." (ibid.)
Animals would sense what most human beings would not.
In the elven castle, which looks like a tor, flutes have "...voices like mountain brooks..." (p. 21) and a troll-woman's voice is "...like a thunder..." (p. 22) Again, supernatural beings merge with natural phenomena. The troll is a prisoner and there are dwarf thralls. We can safely deduce that in this narrative every kind of mythological being exists.
"Mountainous in the east, with runes of lighting scribbled across, a storm stood on the horizon." (p. 23)
"...lighting..." should be "lightning"?
We have become very familiar with wild winds in Anderson's works and, sure enough, in the next sentence:
"Wind hooted and howled." (ibid.)
Shortly after that, thunder is:
"...boom and bang of great wheels across the sky." (ibid.)
No sooner have we thought of Thor than:
"Imric urged his horse to yet wilder speed. He had no wish to meet Thor out here in the night." (ibid.)
Gods also exist and an elf fears a god as the animals feared the elf. After stealing a human child, Imric sees Odin leading the Wild Hunt. A bad sign...
Finally, at the beginning of Chapter IV, the stolen child, Skafloc, begins to grow up in Alfheim where elven lays are:
"...like sea and wind and soughing branches." (p. 26)
Skirnir, messenger of the Aesir, attends Skafloc's naming-feast.
Sprites, dimly seen, inhabit waterfalls.
Gnomes live under trees.
Goblins live in caves.
Skafloc meets an exiled faun.
In the south:
Pan is dead;
the priests of the new god cut down the sacred groves;
exorcisms have killed dryads;
temples are empty and crumbling;
nymphs and Olympians are no more.
One world culture is being imposed.
Meanwhile, Skafloc, bridging the realms of men and elves, also learns from foxes and otters which might be kin to elves.