Sowilo the Seeress watched with anticipation as first Laguz and then Eiwaz climbed up into the longship Freya. General Algiz turned to Sowilo, her mail armor jingling as she interlaced her fingers to give Sowilo a leg up. Sowilo put her foot into Algiz’s powerful hands and felt herself lifted up high enough that Laguz could help her into the ship. The sailor greeted her as he swung her over the gunwale and onto one of the benches, then he turned to help Kenaz up.
Sowilo looked around, and saw Eiwaz the Archer inspecting his arrows. His nimble fingers darted to a pocket in his yew-green tunic and she saw him pull out a small tool of some sort. He began to sharpen the arrowheads.
Sowilo heard a thump, and turned to see that Kenaz the Cook was aboard. Kenaz immediately went to the front of the ship to check the oil in the lanterns. Sowilo realized that It would be dark where they were going, and she was glad that Kenaz was thinking about it. They would need light.
Sowilo realized that she was still standing on her bench and sat down. Perthro the Gambler came and sat next to her. “Are you excited?” he asked. “This is our first adventure since we landed here! A cave that devours a river! I can’t wait!” The rough spun blue wool of his tunic brushed her arm, contrasting with the smooth, black silk of her own dress. She wished Kenaz had sat next to her instead.
Sowilo smiled and looked up at him. Her stomach was in knots. She was excited, but nervous to be back on a ship. The last time she had been on one, it had been because her home was being destroyed. The voyage had lasted for weeks, making her fear that all the land in Midgard had been destroyed. Even the inside of her own mouth tasted like smoke.
“Yes,” she managed. “Yes, I’m excited.”
She became even more nervous as she watched Raidho the Traveler climb onto the deck of the ship, and a light began to shine behind his head. Oh no.
The light behind Raidho’s head faded slightly as his fine blue cape caught on the edge of a bench, and he tripped. Sowilo was surprised that the cloth wrapping Raidho wore in his head didn’t fall to the deck. The silly thing must be completely wrapped into his hair.
Sowilo noticed another light, and this one coming from the starboard of the ship, where her brother Thurisaz was climbing aboard. The light did not reflect off his swords or axes or armor, so Sowilo knew it wasn’t real. She braced herself for what she knew was coming as Thurisaz settled himself into the back of the ship.
More light appeared off the edge of the ship, and a pair of horns appeared over the top of the wale, followed by a hat made out of a complete bull’s head. Sowilo saw the light frame the face of Uruz the Smith. Before he could climb all the way onto the ship, her eyes fluttered, and words began to flow out of her mouth.
“Raidho, Thurisaz, and Uruz,” she said.
“What was that?” Perthro turned to look at Sowilo, but she was not listening to him.
“Raidho. There will be a journey.” Sowilo kept speaking in a trance while Perthro snapped his fingers in front of her blank eyes. “We will explore a dark place. The journey will not be smooth or easy.”
Perthro wasn’t sure what to do. He didn’t know how to write, but he wanted to try to remember what was being said. He looked at the others expectantly, and saw that many of them were watching Sowilo, enraptured by her speech. Laguz and Kenaz were the only ones not listening, as they readied the ship for departure.
“Thurisaz.” Sowilo kept speaking. “There will be conflict. The brothers will not agree. The ugly ones will have an ugly war. The woman will die.”
Perthro decided to do his best to remember, and to talk it over with the others later.
“Uruz. The unrealized and untapped potential will be given form. That which was out of control shall be shaped. The war will end with the birth of the raging bull, and the death of a god.”
Perthro looked up at the sound of Algiz’s boots hitting the deck of the now-moving ship, and almost forgot about Sowilo’s prophecy. He looked past Algiz’s powerful form and saw that the cave was already coming into view. It was even closer to the village by ship than he had realized when he had found it on foot.
Then he was distracted when he saw that Sowilo, still vacant-eyed, had stood up. “Uh uh,” Perthro said, trying to pull her back down into her seat. “You’ll hurt yourself when you’re like this.” She pulled away from him and kept walking.
The ship entered the cave while Sowilo was walking slowly toward the fore of the deck. Algiz saw her and gently put her mailed arm out to stop the slender woman. “Come here, my doe. I’ve got you.” Sowilo ducked around the general’s reach and continued foreward. “Kenaz!” Algiz shouted to the cook at the front of the ship.
Kenaz turned in time to see Sowilo walk up behind her, but not in time to stop her from walking right up to the bow. They rounded a corner and the sun went out of sight. Before Kenaz could reach out and pull Sowilo back, the ship bumped into something beneath the surface of the dark water, and the seeress fell into the fast-moving river below.