And so another of my first two characters goes. She has mellowed a bit in her old age.
March 11th, 1138
To Eyvind Nidarson,
from Anja Sigridsdatter,
As you know, I departed Norway in some haste, and with little good will.
Anja paused, snorting to herself with weary amusement. The way these soft-spoken Georgian strils rubbed off on her was nothing new, but that was surely her finest understatement yet. She dipped her quill again and wrote on carefully; parchment was expensive. But this was one missive she wasn’t entrusting to any clerk, shaking hands or not. Besides, none of them spoke uptime Norwegian.
I still believe that we could have got duels into Norwegian custom 200 years early, and that Geir was wrong to oppose me. But that is water under the bridge, and past; let it go.
Anja stopped again, expecting her hands to tremble with the memory of old rage; but they were steady. It was, after all, long ago; and she had done well enough for herself. She had not thought of the hard years of her exile for a long time now; and somehow, while she wasn’t looking, her bitterness had healed. Her lips quirked in a smile. So she was taking her own advice now; surely she was getting old.
I have built a life for myself here, and for my children; and I am satisfied with it. I write to you now, and send my grand-daughter to you through this dark Europe, because I have information you need to know: There are Communists in Russia.
I do not know how they have done it, but I am convinced it is true: Even here, we have not escaped our ancient enemies.
Anja stopped once more, and this time she did tremble, with rage and a sick hatred. Even here, the Communists had followed them, to thwart their plans. All the work, the sacrifice of a thousand years of proud history, and it wasn’t yet enough. The smarmy, hypocritical strils had come downtime, and all the hopeless history was to be played out again, barren mountainous Norway armed only with pride and courage against a rich world and all the peoples thereof. It was a long minute before she could bring her hands under control again.
My evidence for this is twofold. First, I have seen the Russian army; it is organised in ten-man squads, ten squads to a company, ten companies to a division, ten divisions to an army; and the words they use for these units are uptime Russian, as are the ranks of the officers. Second, an embassy came to Abghazia last year, and the ambassador’s eyes were genemod purple – it’s unmistakable. No unmodified human has that eye colour.
I have made a life for myself outside Norway. But I still love the old country, and the family; and so I give you this information, and were I a Christian, I would pray you can make use of it. As it is – I think the Ynglings must once again go to war, without enough weapons or industry or soldiers; and Loki help us if we fail. Do what you can, Eyvind; for we will all suffer what we must.
She breathed a deep, shuddering sigh; she had gotten through the worst part. The rest would be much easier.
I turn now to happier matters; what good is being an Yngling, if you cannot brag of your family? I have children, and now grandchildren; my grand-daughter Zemfira leads the embassy that will give you this letter. They are good children, strong and deadly, although they have not the name. Still they are sound breeding stock, and I have taught them to fight. So I ask that you do not treat them as strils, but as national comrades of the Race; and they will extend to you and yours the same courtesy. It may be useful in the future to have Ynglings among the ruling family of Georgia.
I have yet another request for you. I have made a life for me and mine here, in the Caucasus mountains. Yngling armies came this far once, in the Final War; it is a good land for fighting in, strong and clean as only mountains can be. But still, it is not my land. I feel age in my bones, and the night creeping into my blood. The injury I did to Norway’s rulers was long ago, and in another country. I ask, therefore, that my bones may come home, to lie among the fiords, where the summer is long, and even the deepest midnight may be touched by the aurora. As we share blood, and in memory of that Norway which only we remember, I ask that you grant me this favour.
I remain, your kinswoman and comrade,
Anja Sigridsdatter Yngling.