Crap, I had to get up out of bed and work again this morning even though I didn’t want to. Nevertheless I had three ideas far too good to lose. So I just got up and started working them.
They occurred to me as I was reading Tolkien’s reworking of the Lay of the Völsungs – Sigurd and Gudrun. Specifically the section just after Sigurd slays Fafnir and he and the dwarf Regin are discussing the outcome which has some of my favorite Tolkienic lines of the Lay.
“Nay, blame not thyself, Backward helper! Stout heart is better Than strongest sword.”
“Yet the sword I smithied, The serpent’s bane! The bold oft are beaten Who have blunt weapons.”
I love these lines, especially the ones I have emboldened and italicized as both are true. For different reasons yet both true.
Then the poem goes on to speak of Regin cutting out the heart of Fafnir and encouraging Sigurd to cook it so that Regin can eat it and gain the dragon’s magical powers. Sigurd does so but accidentally burns his fingers and touches the cooking blood to his tongue to cool his finger and he gains the magical power to understand the languages of beast and birds.
Thereafter Sigurd learns of Regin’s treachery, slays him, and takes the Rhinegold for his own only to later learn of the tragic curse upon the treasure.
This gave me three related ideas to use in my own novels. The first is of a group of Lorahn (a powerful but more rural and rustic and primitive fairy people distantly related to the Sidhs, the Lorahn remain basically a wilderness or frontier people while the Sidhs have over time become more urbanized and moved to the interior) who go about the inhabited parts of Iÿarlðma hunting down and slaying any Korreupt (a monster created by exposure to Elturgy, or magic) they can find. After slaying them it becomes a common practice for these hunters to eat various parts of the monsters they kill thereby temporarily (not permanently) gaining their powers (The Blood of Uncanny Monsters). Only later do they discover that some of these monsters are actually their own people who have been transformed by exposure to Elturgy. Therefore these hunters have been practicing cannibalism unawares. With later drastic and disastrous consequences.
Secondly thinking about both the Cursed Gold of the myth and the forging of Gram by the dwarf Regin I had an idea for a large Hoard (treasure trove) of powerful and ancient artefacts and items that is also cursed but one that is cursed in a very peculiar way. The discoverer of the hoard can take any object he wishes from it without harm, any object he likes or desires (and some of the objects evoke an almost lustful desire to be possessed) but only one (that is the first nature of the curse) and the hoard itself often tries to lead the item-taker in particular choosing-directions. Often a hoard-object seems the perfect item for a given individual to possess but later on the hero or item-taker discovers that the object taken was the entirely wrong object, or an object that is as much a burden as a boon. The hoard also never seems to appear in the same place twice and furthermore if one intentionally goes looking for it then it can almost never be discovered. It is almost always stumbled upon by seeming accident. How the curse of the single-item will work I have yet to precisely decide but I have a couple of ideas about how it might function. I call this treasure trove the Harrowhoard, that being a play on words meaning both, “the Hoard of Suffering,” and the “Harrowed, or Plowed-under, Hoard.” Because the hoard is both often found underground or in harrowed lands, and for the habit of the hoard in suggesting false choices thereby “plowing under” (burying) the item taker with his treasure.
The third idea I had, and the second for a hoard, is not what one would typically think of as a hoard at all but rather is more like a shrine containing hundreds of powerful relics smuggled away from their original hiding place on our world by secret Eldeven agents who steal the powerful relics of various Saints and take them to their own world, that of Iÿarlðma. The Eldevens (mostly Sidhs, but others as well) build a hidden and Elturgically concealed and protected shrine to house and store these relics. Occasionally though someone will stumbled upon this hoard or pierce the elturgical enchantments protecting it and make off with a relic only to find that within a short period of time, although they still possess the relic, they have no memory of the location of the hoard. Also not knowing what the relic is or what it is for these relics are often as obscure to the owner as they would be to anyone else who knew not what they possessed. I call this hoard the Hallowhoard. For obvious reasons.
I still have to devise the proper Eldeven and Sidhelic terms (in those languages) for both Harrowhoard and Hallowhoard but I’ll do that later.
Anyway it is nearly 2:30 AM now and I must get back to working to integrate these ideas into my novel.
Thank God my wife is off work tomorrow and I can sleep some during the day. I’d like a few hours of uninterrupted sleep at least.