Family Tradition

Orvar's totem

POSTED: Tue May 27, 2014 12:02 pm

He's a whittlin' man.

The soft, silky sound of the blade against the wood was all that occupied his mind. His fingers deftly handled the small blade and the chunk of apple wood, curlicues of shaved wood forming where he stroked the blade against the surface of the wood, falling to the ground when he finished a cut. His footpaws were covered in wood dust and the curls that resulted from his carving, his tan toes dusted with the lighter wood, pale specks visible on his charcoal fur, a curl or two tucked into his thick coat. Cerulean eyes focused on the figure that was taking shape in his fingers; the little boar was nearly finished, he just needed to finish up the miniature tusks and add a few details to it before he could present it to Florina. He wanted it to be perfect, it was supposed to be a gift to her, something to help their fractured relationship, and anything less than perfect was not good enough. He had thought long and hard about what he could do to fix their relationship and this was what he had come up with. Someone had had to take over the whittling and carving duties that Saul had left behind, they always needed more Frithr pendants and beads, so he had started on that.

It had been while he was carving his first mini mjölnir that the idea had come to him; the Stormbringer animal charms also now needed a new whittler. What better way to say that he considered her family than by presenting her with a Stormbringer animal charm? The charms were something specific to the family, something that Saul had started, and that he would now carry on. The flowers could have been his daughters once, if things had gone differently, if they didn't dislike him so much, so they could have been and could still be Stormbringers. That was all the reasoning he needed. He had started on carving the animals straight away, though the charms for the flowers had evaded him until now; their animals had not come easy to him. He supposed that he had feared to label them. He was still scared; he worried that Florina and Farina would take offence to the animals he had chosen for them. So their animals had been left til last, he had carved many animal charms before theirs, one for each Stormbringer without a charm, their wooden bodies making odd little lumps in his beat up old satchel.

He allowed his eyes to move from the almost finished boar to the bag in question; it lay beside him in the grass at the base of the apple tree. He found that Idunn's meadow was the perfect place to whittle; it was quiet and peaceful, and the tree very obligingly provided the perfect wood for the creation of the charms. He hadn't wanted to take wood from the White Walnut for the carvings, it seemed somewhat blasphemous, but he had wanted to tie the carvings in with Vináttan culture so the tree in the meadow was his next choice. The tree was miraculous in itself, obviously a gift from the Gods, to be standing alone and to provide apples of such a startling golden colour. He figured that it could do no harm to use a little of the Gods gift and had taken wood from the tree, offering the appropriate thanks and prayers in return.

Deft fingers suddenly cramped and he wrenched his blade hand away from the carving before the spasm could ruin all of his hard work on the boar. He took a deep breath and glanced down at the wooden animal; no damage done. He sighed in relief and chuckled wryly to himself. It seemed his body had decided it was time to stop whittling. He tucked the sharp little blade back into its battered leather sheath before putting it and the boar into his bag. He stretched out his fingers in an attempt to stop the cramping, but the pain persisted, now that he was not focused on the work he could feel a dull ache in his lower back and his neck as well. Wincing, he heaved himself to his footpaws, bending creakily at the middle to pick up his bag, swinging the single strap over his shoulder. His back protested as he started to walk and he whimpered quietly to himself, but he knew that he would just have to soldier through it until he got home, then he could relax into his soft bed, preferably with Coli to curl up beside him. He hadn't told her of what he was doing, he wanted it to be a surprise for her too. Hopefully it would make her smile, that special smile that she reserved only for him, the smile that she didn't even realise she used half the time, the smile that drove him mad. Thinking of her smile made him decided that tomorrow would be the day he finished the charms, and then he could hand them out.

He had not counted on running into any of the Stormbringer kids on his way home and so was presented with a problem when a familiar dark coat came into view. It seemed he had let his mind wander once again; he hardly remembered walking from the meadow to Jordheim, but apparently his paws had almost got him home before his brain woke up. His blue eyes took in the newly upright figure of Orvar. The shift must have been recent because the boy didn't look entirely comfortable in his new body yet, though he seemed to be getting the hang of it. Niernan smiled as Ascher's son greeted him, "Hello Uncle Nier." The boys voice ringing clearly between them. Niernan was fond of all his nieces and nephews, but Bel and Orvar had special places in his heart after Coli had nursed them. He reached out to the boy and patted him on the shoulder when he drew near enough to do so, "Good afternoon Orvar, how are you? Your shift went well then, I see." He grinned and moved his hand to ruffle the boys mane playfully. Orvar simply smiled and chuckled quietly in response, nodding once his head was released. "I'm glad of it, the first shift can be difficult." His own had been fine, he remembered clearly the way his body had suddenly changed one day, with little fuss and pain, but a deal of panic on his end until he had figured out what was happening. It was Teagan's first shift that caused him painful memories; it had come on suddenly like his own, though hers had been long and painful, he had had to coach her through it. He now feared for his other children, he hoped that their shifts weren't as bad, but the Gods would decide that.

Despite not fitting in with his original plans it seemed the perfect tome to award Orvar his animal charm. Nier held up a hand in a stopping motion and dug in his bag with the other, "Hold on a second Orvar, I've got something for you." He pulled the applewood mouse from his bag, the leather thong he had attached to it trailing from his fingers. He dusted the little carving off, removing remnants of his whittling before holding it out to the boy. "I don't know if your Dad ever told you, but we Stormbringers have a tradition, Saul started it and I'm carrying it on. All Stormbringers have an animal totem, it's supposed to represent the bearers personality or traits." His hand moved to touch his own carved otter, gifted to him by Saul, his grin softening to a slightly sad smile at the memory. "Mine is an otter for my playfulness, Bran's a raven for the same reason, your fathers is a doe because he is gentle and kind, while your Aunt Shiloh has a cat because she can be proud and fussy, but also fierce and unbendingly loyal." He placed the necklace and pendant in Orvar's outstretched hands, watching as the boy examined the wooden mouse, obviously confused as to why Niernan had chosen such a creature for him. "Orvar, you get a mouse because you're quiet and often shy, but mice have other traits; they are busy and fastidious animals and they always work hard. I know you'll live up to your totem Orvar. Congratulations on your shift."

Orvar smiled at his uncle and Niernan felt his heart leap as the boy passed the loop of the leather thong over his head, settling the mouse against his chest. "Thank you Uncle Niernan. I'm going to go show Dad." Niernan laughed as the boy hurried off, "Tell your sister I've got one for her too!" He called after the fleeing figure. He laughed to himself, glad that Orvar liked the little mouse enough to want to show his father. He hoped Ascher liked the carving too. He smiled all the way home, thinking of how he was going to enjoy handing out the charms now.

tl;dr: Niernan does some reflecting while whittling, then he runs into Orvar and gives him a mouse pendant. +1,513 words


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