*These were the days when Mengell stalked the land…
…destroying farmsteads and homesteads, laying waste to the oak groves and ancient trackways, sowing the land with the blood of thousands.
Heroes came along the whale-paths and over the dread hills, through sodden marsh and wolf-filled wood, through field and across sweet valley.
All faced the creature, fought with strong arms and stronger hearts, hearts of oak and hearts of iron. All fell.
Bloodwolf saw the foul beast Mengell would not rest until the kingdom had become its midden, until every goodman was slain, every wife a widow, every child an orphan.
Bloodwolf knew what must be done. He would make himself the hunter and Mendell the deer. He would search the creature out in its lair, the Hell-mouth lined with the skins of the dead, the ground paved with lost souls, and there with its retched brood around it, Bloodwolf’s sword would have its way. He would slay foul Mengell and the land would return to the peace-times of before.
And so he sought Scyr the Cursed, a seer of dark-futures, a watcher of midnight-pasts. She would throw the runes in his favour, augur the paths of ravens and the bones of the nighttime creatures – she would show him where the days would lead.
Bloodwolf’s journey through the cold-lands was hard, the nights crushed beneath ash-frost and hoar-frost and the ice of the North Wind and the ice of the East Wind and many times his heart of oak, his heart of iron seemed it would fail.
Until the day he reached the cave of Scyr the Cursed. The way was clothed with the webs of a thousand spiders, be-dripped with the stench of graves and poison drained from the wounds of the dead.
The voice rang ancient, more ancient than the Far Hills and the kings laid beneath, sheathed in gold and silver and corals from the distant, frozen-seas.
‘Bloodwolf, son of Brun – enter.’
He stood before Scyr the Cursed, before the single scarred eye, the pin-stitched mouth and said…
‘Did you decorate this place yourself, because it’s totally EPIC? Like, with the webs and the spider-stuff and that. Amazing.’
‘I know, right? My Ma helped me pick the throws and the scatter cushions, but the rest is all me. Awesome, right?’
‘You’re sooooo talented – you could absolutely do this for, like, a living or whatever.’
Today’s Wednesday Word Tangle is brought to you by the word EPIC.
Before we all came round to the idea that writing was the best way to communicate stories, our ancestors passed tales of heroes and brave deeds and monsters slain through oral tradition. These were EPIC tales, told by master storytellers, around warm fires in longhouses, while the wolves still roamed the land and the forests were terrifying places of danger and mysticism, not just somewhere to build zip wires and go on team-building exercises.
These days EPIC (especially when linked with FAIL) has passed into the lexicon of words-that-used-to-have-power-but-have-now-become-pretty-lame-actually (See also AWESOME, FANTASTIC, SUBLIME etc, etc, etc.)
Next time you hear someone say they had an EPIC night out, or ate an EPIC pizza, ask them where their sword is and if they slayed Grendel on their way back from the pub…
*With apologies to the masterful originators and translators of Beowulf – in my kak-handed way, I salute you.
With thanks to Kitty-kat, as always, our own masterful originator of W4W.