Though through mists and night is covered, the future is written, the Fates are set. But a destiny is forged, not offered. Such is Mannheim. Such is life. Such is our burden and our task.
Mannheim is no stranger to turmoil and violence. This has traditionally been the case due to necessity, in a way. The limited resources, the monstrous threats, even the displays of strength between members of a society that venerates bravery in war, they all contribute to a tumultuous life, on top of the struggle for survival. Lately, however, the power struggles in the North have a deeper foundation. Traditional positions of influence have been shifting hands between different groups and there is a war being waged on the very hearts of the Nords, no less bloody than any other conflict of Mannheim. Osesigne Dormdottir is considered a key figure in this new war.
While the Volva do not have an established hierarchy, at least not one that is seen by outsiders, Osesigne is widely considered as a mover of pieces among their numbers. She will often visit a Hall, paving the way for another Volva to be accepted as an advisor there, but she will also be seen to any Hall that already listens to the honeyed words of these seers, spending hours with her sister Volva in private counsel. From wherever she appears, however, Osesigne will not leave alone. Her words may vary but their result is the same. Be they passionate speeches on the market, entranced prophecies before the Hall, whispered counsel in the ears of leaders of even gentle, private words of comfort to a mourner or of courage to a fearful young warrior, Osesigne inspires and captivates, reigniting the faith to the old gods and a belief of their return. While she denies many, those that end up following her are not few.
Such passion and inspiration is rare in the North… and not often welcomed in a land were even fishermen and women can fight proper if sufficiently roused. Many are those who speak her name with anger and contempt for the chaos she has sewn but few in her presence. Her wild beauty matched only by her sharp wit, fierce passion and demanding disposition, Osesigne knows how to wield all of these tools with skill and few end up denying her in their Halls. Fewer still would dare if they wanted to. There are stories about what happens to those that do, from sicknesses that decimate an entire village, to bouts of particularly bad weather that don’t seem to acknowledge the seasons and even of lightning storms filled with the angered moans of the dead gods. Most rational men readily say that these are, of course, simply tales.
There are, in fact, many tales about Osesigne, both grand and simpler; about her life and deeds, about where she was born and raised, who she was before her destiny was revealed to her and she followed the Volva. Never dismissing or correcting any of them, Osesigne Dormdottir prefers to leave such tales unaddressed and if herself is asked, she replies with a single word: Åsespa.
The Åsespa, the Prophecy of Ose, is an epic, an edda known to all the Nords. While it revolves around the words of a single legendary seeress, it is considered a tale about all Volva. In it, Ose, one of the original mortals to be offered the power of the Vanir to see through the mists of both past and future, is brought back to life by Odin, in order to consult her and benefit from her wisdom and powers both. Most of the edda is the words of Ose herself, who speaks of the future to Odin. Events both greater and lesser and of both gods and mortals in Mannheim’s history, are revealed to Odin by Ose, leading to Ragnarok which, however, is never described. The edda instead recounts how Ose sees she will have to face trials at the hands of Loki, and goes on to number them and describe how she will overcome them yet on the same breath she adds that she will fail to the one that matters most. Odin then scolds Loki for his future plans, offers his sympathy to Ose but he bids her take heart for a destiny bright and prosperous for gods and mortals, despite her own; words filled with tragic irony, as the audience of the edda understands how the trials are to be a distraction by the God of Mischief so she would not see his betrayal during Ragnarok and reveal it to the Gods on that day.
Many are those that rush to claim that Osesigne is none other than the seeress of the edda herself, thus her response when asked about her life. But her allies, and her enemies, see more to her answer. Ose’s response to Odin in the edda is that the burden of her failure is not hers to bear. Her very last words in the edda call for her daughters to carry it and repay the gift that was given by the gods. Those who have spoken to her even once see that Osesigne Dormdottir carries that burden with fervor and speaks of a gift repaid and the Gods’ return.
Instigator of violence and turmoil or leader of a new era that rekindles the old faith, Osesigne Dormdottir has led both the Volva and Mannheim as a whole into a new world. Words and prayers long forgotten echo around the frozen lands of the North once more; old places of settlement, long abandoned since the rule of the Jotnar, have been revived and filled with those who follow her and some say enjoy better crops and gentler weather, tempting more to settle there. For a living person, it has hard to say which of the things told about her and her followers are true and which are tales. Harder still seems to guess what her next step will be. While it is doubtful that the shamans will allow their influence to be idly offered to the Volva, and many are those Jarls that saw good, strong men and women leave their side for hers, Osesigne seems undeterred; and there are some who claim that a boat was seen sailing, named Åsespa and carrying her south…