Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 13 Excerpt.

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Nick, having dispatched the ‘Crispy’ report, had spent much of the last two days gathering more information on Wyndwrayth, for his ever-growing file on the old house.

“Knowledge is power,” he self satisfactorily told himself, as he opened a lead furnished by The Druids Handbook, a title that made him smile as he clicked on it. “Handbook, online? Brilliant!” He declared and read the A to Z of topics running all the way down the left-hand side of the page. He was beginning to lose faith in the thoroughness of The Handbook, when he spied something which read, ‘The Lost Scrolls.’ His waning interest piqued almost instantly.

“I’ve got to see this!” Nick feverishly clicked on the tab. “Oh yes, now we’re getting somewhere,” he murmured happily, when he saw what the search engine had thrown up for him. The Lost Scrolls were the collected history of amongst other things, Ynys y Niwl and the Granite House, that sat upon it. Initially, the accounts were very sparse and they were rarely followed up with any concluding evidence. It seemed, that from their inception The Lost Scrolls, hadn’t been intended as a blow, by blow account of life on the island but more a catalogue of the processes involved in setting up a new Norse colony in Wales. An inventory counting the numbers of bails of wheat for making bread, the gathering of a corresponding numbers of cattle, goats and fowl, made up the bulk of the entries, complete with the cost of everything. The debts and the payments were all intricately logged, it looked like there was a link which said, ‘Complete Register.’ Nick took a quick look and it was many pages of such lists running from the start of the colony up until it’s abandonment in 1939. It wasn’t exactly a page turner, ‘could be useful for proving provenance though,’ he mused and bookmarked it. Then flicked back to the Lost Scrolls and carried on reading.

In 1298 Sigurd Olstrom was appointed as the new scribe. In that year, around the lakeshore and the island, there were thirteen residences; including The Leaders House, or Den Ledere Huset, Wyndwrayth and more were being planned. All appeared to be going quite well around the lake until in 1302, when there was a murder, which really disturbed the colony. Sigurd noted the accusations and mistrust that developed.

However, for the next ten years, until 1312, there was peace on Ynys y Niwl. Then one stormy night, Rolf Larasonn went missing. His disappearance was easily explained away by the Chieftain, who decreed that Rolf had succumbed to the natural feelings of homesickness and returned to The North. At this point, Sigurd Olstrom seemed to become a little obsessed with the population numbers and Nick noticed that during the next thirty years, the population had noticeably diminished. By the year 1342, the number of Norsemen on and around the island, had fallen from 136 to 87 and that wasn’t the end of the decline.

Nick noticed that during this period, mentions of something which Sigurd referred to as, ‘The Pale Wanderer,’ grew in frequency. What or who this Pale Wanderer was, never seemed to be explained. There were many more tales of ‘something moving silently,’ or alternately, of ‘something creeping about, in the light of a full moon.’  All these later reports, relied on hear-say and solo sightings, so Nick had no choice other than try and discern the one, or two grains of truth from within the fields of chaff displayed before him.

One report submitted by Helga Gudronsonn, caught on the briers of his excited imagination. It mentioned her seeing a goblin lurking in the undergrowth around The Glade, during one moonlit night in the early winter of 1346. Five weeks later, Helga is reported missing by her husband and nothing more is heard of her in the remaining Scrolls. Nick’s understanding of this situation, was not helped by the untimely death of Sigurd Olstrom, from what is called in the Seventh Scroll, ‘The Black Pestilence,’ which hit the area in 1349. So, to make matters worse, the settlement had to find a new scribe to keep a reliable record of the happenings of the colony, during this pestilence.

Unfortunately, from the angle of continuity, the two-year delay in appointing a new scribe; a certain Bjorn Svaldrom, lead to unfortunate gaps in the records, which nobody fills in until at some later date, which appears to be 1382. Then, there was a brief entry, which spoke of “a haunting,” by some spectral presence. After that, the accounts became strangely dark and slightly mythical in the telling of what became, “The Legend of The Black Lake.”

Nick frowned as he scanned the left-hand side of the page. “O.K, so where’s that then?”

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