Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 10 Excerpt



Nick reached for the gate latch and turned it.  The gate swung open easily, like it had just been oiled, to reveal the pathway to the imposing front entrance of Wyndwrayth.  Nick frowned momentarily as he looked down the path. ‘It looks like it’s been brushed clean,’ he thought, ‘I’m sure it wasn’t like this the other day……’

At this point, Alan pulled out his iPad and rustled up a copy of the layout, that Nick had sent to him in the last e-mail. “I showed this, to Phil Drake, a history bod who I’ve known nearly as long, as I’ve known you. I met him at Magdalen College during my student days and we’ve kept spasmodically in touch, ever since. He’s now a professor at Christ’s in Cambridge, ‘n he reckoned he’d only seen one other place honeycombed like this, located on The Hebrides, up there in ‘Jockland.’”  Alan paused as he realised Nick was moving towards the house, before following. “He thought, that if we could find the hidden route, from the lowest to the highest point of the house, then we would have cracked the mystery, of Wyndwrayth,” he said, while studying the layout of the place on his pad. “Cool name by the way. It’s Viking, you know and the best translation, into English, is ‘Ghost Wind’ but that hardly covers it. In ‘The Saga of Hummolt,’ it’s described as ‘a supernatural wind from hell, that carries all before it.’ In Norse mythology, Hel, with just one L, was Loki’s daughter, whose upper half resembles a human while the lower half is a rotting corpse. She was assigned to receive the souls of the dead who died of sickness, or old age. However, in Norse mythology, evil doers and oath breakers were sent to some place called Niflheim, where the dragon Nidhogg will gnaw on their corpses. I just thought you’d like to know that,” grinned Alan.

Nick, for his part, just kept on nodding his head, more to disguise his ignorance, as anything else. The silence only encouraged Alan to carry on with his insights, into the history, of what his friend knew as Ynys y Niwl, or Fog Island.

“Here’s another thing for you to contemplate,” he proffered, as Nick, just looked at him askance. “This dot of land was known as The Isle of Niflheim, or the island of fog, for centuries and in Norse Mythology, it was the door to what we would call, Hell, with two L’s. According to the legend, there’s a creature who lives here, who eats the souls of the dead, how cool is that?”

Alan’s information, somehow rang slightly true in Nick’s mind, what with the fog thing and the inescapable fact, that the lake was formed in the crater of a long extinct volcano. “Hmm and I suppose, that it wasn’t too great a leap from all that fire and brimstone, to Sto-vo-cor,” he said and laughed.

“Well, only as distant as Klingon is from actual ancient Norse mythology,” replied Alan.

“Shall we go inside, then?” Asked Nick?

“You bet,” came the response and they both reached for the enormous brass ring, that hung directly above their heads.


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