Our Bard: Book Update
"In the nineteen hundredth and eighty fifth year of the nailed god a child was born. As he came into the world lightening flashed through the sky, the old gods were aware of his wonder and almost decided to claim him back to them that very night. Although they let him remain on this realm, they marked and tasked him. It had been a great time since one such as he was born, and they were curious.
His father in the military and his mother a carer of others, they provided the perfect mix to encourage both adventure and creativity in equal measure. As they travelled across the world with this boy they saw the impact he would make. At first people would marvel at his glowing white hair and shining blue eyes, but this would turn into continued admiration of his ability to befriend them regardless of their culture or creed. If he was with you he became one of you, once even going as far as rescuing a family's religious offerings from an errant goat, an escapade that not only earned him praise, but also a full belly.
Although his sense of adventure was growing fast, unfortunately his sense of wisdom didn't quite keep up. Once when scaling a climbing structure he was delighting in asking his father from which height he believed he could safely jump. Each time climbing slightly higher than before, shouting, “Can I jump from here?” before leaping and landing gracefully. However, our young hero, being as enthusiastic as he was, then climbed to the very top of the structure. He looked down at his father and gleefully shouted, “Can I jump from here!?” His father began, “Yes...”, but did not get a chance to finish with, “... if you let me catch you.” before our young hero leapt from the great height with joyous abandon. Alas, he was unable to walk for a few weeks following this, but it wasn't long before he was back on his feet.
As he grew into a young man, so did his adventures grow. Whether he was stopping military exercises due to poorly planned camping locations, destroying swimming pools by helping his friend make explosives with a basic child's chemistry set, or having his mother called from her work due to him using his face as a make shift brake in his skate park antics, nobody could ever be angry at his misadventures for too long.
At a certain age he became very aware of motorised carriages. Now our hero, being our hero, was not content to drive them at any kind of conventional speed, or in any kind of conventional manner. He became very dedicated to making them go sideways as quickly as possible, and as with everything he excelled. He was named as the fourteenth fastest-sideways-person in all the land. It was not that title that he treasured though, it was the friends he made amongst that craziness, and often talked of their antic filled pilgrimages to the hallowed ring of Nuremberg.
It was also around this age that the old gods, who were much entertained by their decision to leave one such as him in this realm, started to make themselves known to him. Their stories were not told as often as they once were, and they knew within this man of joy and adventure, of creativity and empathy, they had an opportunity.
Though our hero was now grown and slowly learning the ways and tales of the old gods, his sense of adventure did not lessen. He soon found himself called to the mountains. He revelled in the snow, hurtled down slopes strapped to a board, something he was so skilled at he once did it in his country's name. He scaled peaks, he loved being in the mountains. As always he had a few misadventures along the way. He bore a round scar on his forehead from the time he confidently struck an ice-axe into the side of a cliff, only for that particular piece of cliff to decide it didn't want to be there any more. As it decided to detach itself from the mountain, it led the ice-axe to acquaint itself rather intimately with our hero's face.
After much adventuring, with his love of the old gods growing, he returned to his home isle. He began to seek out others that shared his love of the old ways. On the eve of Ostara he found such a gathering. There he met a woman, the one leading the ritual. Although they did not know it at the time, the gods and the fates wove them together there and then. Although occasionally his adventures caused distance between them, they never left each others hearts. Within a few years the woman became his wife. His wife brought with her two children, and although he did not beget them, they were his. To the boy child he gave his curiosity, his wit, his ingenuity and, his love of stories, and he was his son. To the girl child he gave his sense of adventure, his determination, his joy for creativity and, his ability to master practical skills, and she was his daughter.
Over the years that followed his love for the old gods, the ancestors, and all that they did became ever more present. He began to tell their stories. Not only would he tell them, but people would listen. They would gather in halls, around fires, in fields, and listen to him tell tales of gods and heroes. They would ask him to tell more, and he would. He would tell them over and over, until they sat in peoples' memories and hearts, and they themselves could pass them on to others.
He worked with the tools of his ancestors, with leather and horn... and sometimes blood, for his enthusiasm occasionally bested his mastery of tools. He created tangible images of those that had gone before, and because of his work and his creativity, he brought them into our lives and homes.
His love for this was infectious. He implanted in others the desire to honour the old gods in the ways craftsmen had centuries before him, through their art. Although he was not a jeweller, many trinkets were made because of him. Although he was not a weaver, many garments were produced because of him. Although he couldn't sketch, many works of art came into being because of him. Although he was not a brewer, many a bottle of mead was created because of him.
Amongst the listeners of tales, and the admirers of crafts many friendships formed. However, there was a particular group of people that also shared a love of the warriors of old. A group of people that under our hero's encouragement, started to try and bring the ways of warriors passed, and the world in which they lived, into our present day. They were known by a few different names over the years, but what they called each other was most important, the way they referred to each other. Family. They delighted and educated, always with our hero out in front.
Our hero was truly happy.
Then followed his battle.
It was not a battle with a sword, but with his own body. The enemy was cancer. He fought. With his wife, his family and, his friends by his side, he won. He thought that battle was the whole of his war, he was unaware it left the seed of something else within him.
He went on. On with his stories, on with his craft. His love of sharing the skills of warriors passed grew, and with it the number of people in that group. In that family. They ventured north to see others from around the world test their skills against each other, and he was so very proud that come the end of that tournament, he was counted among them.
By now that seed that the gods had planted was growing without anyone able to see it. It was growing into the branch of Yggdrasil that would bare him back to the gods. The gods who graced us with him, but wanted him back with them. No one saw it growing until it was fully formed. Though they fought when he was called, it was too late. As his family carried him on their shoulders to rest, with songs, mead, and tales, the gods carried him home.
Like all great heroes his story does not end. He is part of the tale of every person he inspired, and they are to numerous to count, and still growing in number.
His name was Gordon. Husband to Lily. Son to Val and Graeme. Father to Jenson and Scarlet. Friend to many. Family to the lucky. An athlete. An adventurer. A bard. An artist. A warrior.
He is part of many tales, and many tales yet to be written... but those are stories for another day."