The Way of the Raven

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Their world destroyed by raiding Portuguese slavers, a handful of survivors escape from the doomed Medieval Norse settlement on Greenland. The Greenlanders' fate is sealed when their ship, blown off course, is wrecked upon the far shores of the Western Lands, leaving them castaways in the new world. Befriended by the Beothuk, a local Native American tribe, they make a new life for themselves in the place they come to call Vínland. But when one young Greenlander, obsessed with returning home, embarks on a misguided adventure in the hopes of gaining passage to Greenland, he sets in motion a series of events which will echo across time, setting the scene for dramatic present-day events.

 

Author’s note: Like its predecessor, THE WAY OF THE RAVEN is a carefully crafted story that takes place in two parallel timelines: 15th century Norse/Native America, and current-day Norway and Canada. For the sake of creating a succinct and understandable overview, we have chosen to outline each timeline separately, whereas, in the actual story, they are tightly interwoven into a single, organic narrative.

 

THORMOD EIRIKSSON, son of EIRIK THORVALDSSON, the last chieftain of Norse Greenland, lives a troubled life in Stórslysflói, a tiny village of shipwrecked Greenlanders living on the coast of what will one day be called Newfoundland. While his fellow landsmen have accepted their fate, coexisting together with the Beothuk, a local Native American tribe, Thormod can find no peace, obsessed with returning to Greenland, to find his parents and learn what has become of his people after their settlement was invaded by Portuguese slave traders. When a visiting tribe recount stories of outlandish ships reportedly spotted to the south, Thormod sees his chance. Going against the wishes of ODDGRIM, the village chieftain, Thormod strikes out with his close friends BALDR and AHANU on a fateful journey, in the hopes of finally being able to return home.

 

Traveling south in search of the purported Norse ships, Thormod and his friends are ambushed along the way by marauding Naskapi warriors. Although they kill most of them, Ahanu is seriously wounded, causing them to seek help from a nearby Mi'kmaq tribe. While Ahanu is being healed by CHOGAN, the tribal shaman, Thormod falls in love with KANTI, Chogan’s headstrong daughter. MATCHI, the Mi'kmaq chief’s arrogant son, is jealous, having claimed Kanti for his own. In a rage, he attempts to murder Thormod during an intertribal wrestling tournament. Because of his treachery, Matchi is outlawed from the tribe and leaves with a group of followers.

 

Promising Kanti his return, Thormod, Baldr, and Ahanu, accompanied by Chogan, set off towards the coast, finally encountering a group of Islandic sailors, who have sailed to the Western world for timber and furs. Shortly after arriving, the camp is attacked and overrun by an overwhelming force of Naskapi warriors, the same tribe that ambushed Thormod’s group earlier. To Thormod’s great surprise, the attack is led by Matchi, who had joined forces with the Naskapi, with both he and the Naskapi chief bent on revenge against the Norsemen. Although Thormod’s group, together with a handful of Icelanders, manage to escape on one of the ships, Thormod is severely wounded by Matchi, and is not expected to survive. One of Matchi’s men, TOMBA, defects to Thormod’s group. He confides to Baldr that Kanti is being held captive by Matchi, who kidnapped her while she secretly followed after Thormod to the coast. Baldr swears Tomba to secrecy, fearing that if Thormod should survive and find out about Kanti, he would immediately race off to save her, ensuring his death in his weakened condition.

 

The Icelanders sail north along the coast, preparing to make their way back across the Western seas back to Iceland. Thormod finally awakes from his coma, his wound healing thanks to Chogan’s knowledge of medicinal herbs. He tells Chogan of bizarre dreams, where he encounters a woman, somehow familiar, bound in a strange cave situated between two enormous standing columns of stone. Chogan recognizes the cave from Thormod’s description as a holy place further up the coast, not far from where they are now sailing. Convinced that Thormod’s vision is a message from the spirit world, Chogan and Baldr convince the Icelandic captain to stop there. Upon arrival, they find the cave empty, but Chogan believes that Thormod’s vision might be of future events concerning Kanti, his kidnapped daughter. He secretly buries Thormod’s beloved flint knife in the sand of the cave floor should she be brought there later, to help her escape. The Icelanders set sail for home, taking with them Thormod and Ahanu, promising to make to port on Greenland, while Baldr, Chogan, and Tomba head back to free Kanti from her captors.

 

*

 

Oslo, present-day: LEONARD KOLL, the shamanic physician who guided JULIA RIPSSKOG and MAGNUS FOSS through their troubled lives using the ancient Tibetan Wind in the Blood technique, has come to suspect that he was young Thormod Eiriksson, their supposedly murdered son, in their Norse Greenland narrative. Leonard begins to have troubling vision-like dreams of Norse Greenland, which combined with resurfacing memories of a broken romantic relationship from his own past, lead him to believe that these visions are possibly connected to something happening now, in the present.

 

When Julia comes for a visit, Leonard agrees to help her with her latest case, a high-profile lawsuit against Stercotec, an international pesticide conglomerate, concerning OmniKil, a pesticide a suspected carcinogen. In a debate taped for Norwegian television, Leonard cleverly lures Stercotec’s Norwegian representatives into publicly make fools of themselves, causing them to abruptly leave, giving Julia a temporary media win. Shortly after, Leonard travels to St. John’s, Newfoundland, where he studied as a young man. He has decided to visit his former Wind in the Blood mentor, Native American MIKE PICTOU, seeking help in understanding his ‘visions’, which are becoming more frequent.

 

Newfoundland, present-day:

We meet KATHRYN DOUCETT, a Canadian of Native American background, who works at the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as a product research scientist. Due to the ongoing lawsuit, Kathryn has been assigned to travel to St. John’s, Newfoundland, to confirm that the OmniKil trials performed by Stercotec ten years earlier were properly conducted. She is accompanied by a data-extraction expert, 24-year-old ALICE SIMARD. Kathryn confides to Alice that she is apprehensive about returning to St. John’s, where she studied in her youth at Memorial University, due to an incident she is hesitant to discuss. The CEO and owner of Stercotec, THOMAS FRASER, was a fellow student at Memorial who had a ‘thing’ for her at the time, adding to her uneasiness. Thomas turns out to be amiable and they have a smooth reunion. The two women begin to review the trial documentation.

 

One morning at breakfast, Kathryn tells Alice that she’s been having a series of strange, lucid dreams about a love affair between a ‘Viking’ and a Native American girl. Later, while searching for news of the ongoing OmniKil court cases, Alice comes across a YouTube video featuring Leonard’s Norwegian TV debate. She shows Kathryn, who is shocked to see Leonard, also a former Memorial student, and the long-lost love of her life. Kathryn finally breaks down and tells Alice that she was raped as a student one night in St. John’s, which led to her and Leonard breaking up due to a tragic misunderstanding. The rapist, whose face has hidden from her, was never caught, and she found herself pregnant, unsure if the pregnancy was the result of the rape or belonged to her and Leonard. Traumatized, unable to properly care for the baby, she gave it up for adoption and then went into seclusion. She hadn’t seen or spoken to Leonard since that night.

 

The day after Kathryn’s confession, Alice discovers encrypted files that show Thomas buried several long-term trials that reveal OmniKil caused cancer in lab rats. Fearing how he might react when confronted with this duplicity, Kathryn and Alice download the incriminating data and hastily book a flight back to the mainland. However, Thomas finds Kathryn alone at the office, and observing her nervousness, guesses what they’ve discovered. As he confronts her, Kathryn suddenly registers the odor of Thomas’s cologne and sees a mark on the back of his hand, both identifying him as the rapist. A scuffle ensues as she tries to get away from him, and he strikes Kathryn, knocking her unconscious. Panicking, he binds Kathryn and takes her in his private boat to a small, secluded coastal cave just north of St. John’s. He then plans to lure Alice into meeting him at a St. John’s dock, and then drown both women, making their deaths appear like a boating accident, thus keeping his secrets intact.

 

When Leonard is put under the Wind in the Blood by Mike, he finds himself caught between two worlds: the distant world of Thormod Eiriksson and Kanti and what appears to be a reflection of his own past, his ill-fated relationship with Kathryn Doucett from thirty years earlier. He experiences Thormod’s vision of the cave, with the shadowy presence of a bound woman, who somehow brings Kathryn to mind. When describing the cave’s peculiar outside appearance, two massive sentinel-like standing stones, Mike wonders if it could be a sacred Native American cave just north of St. John’s.

 

Alice becomes frantic when Kathryn doesn’t return. Unsure whether their own workplace is complicit in the cover-up, she sends an email to Leonard instead, unaware that he’s also in St. John’s. Having heard Kathryn’s story and watched the OmniKil YouTube she is—against all odds—hoping that Leonard can somehow help them.

 

There is momentary confusion when Leonard receives Alice’s SMS, but he and Mike intuitively understand that Kathryn’s unexpected reemergence is where Leonard’s dreams and memories have been leading him. After contacting Alice for more details, Leonard strikes out to find the cave from his Wind in the Blood vision, now certain the woman he saw there was Kathryn. Upon finding the cave, he is confronted by a gun-wielding Thomas, who is taken aback by Leonard’s sudden appearance. In the meanwhile, Kathryn has found Thormod’s flint knife buried in the cave floor and has secretly cut through her bindings. As Thomas threatens to kill Leonard, Kathryn leaps up from behind and plunges the knife into his shoulder. Thomas is then restrained by Leonard, and he and Kathryn have a moment together for the first time in over thirty years. As former feelings resurface, they warmly embrace, promising each other to resolve their misunderstandings from the past.

 

Author’s note: As we conclude the second volume of The Lost Viking Saga, Thormod has set sail for Iceland via Greenland, leaving behind him Kanti, who, unbeknownst to him, has been kidnapped by his archenemy, Matchi. In the modern world, Leonard has come together once again with Kathryn, whom he had also once left behind, unknowing at the time that she had been raped by Thomas.  In the third and final volume, THE WIND IN THE BLOOD, Thormod and Kanti’s fate will be resolved, Baldr’s story will come to the forefront, and all the diverse threads of the saga will finally come together in an unexpected and dramatic ending.