Newly named norns, we are
unknown utterly, undying fates
though fewer, and far between as
population paroxysm proceeds apace.
Vanishing views of valiant Valkyries
belittled belief bypasses plight so
disaster is deferred and disguised.
We become of beginnings and births
to hazard of hereafter of him or her
like wide open windows to wonder.
So begins our Saga, if the bards ever see fit to include us. As the youngest Norns, we are rarely mentioned by name, and never get the plum assignments. The births we attend are almost universally of people with meagre destinies. Mistakes, however, do get made.
Not that we ever get a great leader, a great criminal, or a great victim. But on occasion, we get someone destined to shake the hand of a great leader, a great criminal, or a great victim.
On any visit, our job is to see through the window of fate, to glimpse the great tapestry, and to note the significant events in the pattern as woven. For those inflicted with greatness, the window is clear and broad, and usually standing wide open to our second sight were we lucky enough to see it from that perspective. For our typical case, the window is clouded, stuck in its jamb, probably not clean, and certainly not large.
But as surrogate fates, it is our job to perform the augury, place the client in their proper place in the tapestry, and pass the word if anything too unusual will occur. This job started out like all the rest. The pager goes off right after the barrista finally produced our coffee. You can’t rush good coffee, and drinking while on the run is never good. We usually just set our cups down and trust that we can bend the present just enough to return to them before they cool. Not so lucky this time, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The birth was difficult, unattended, in a cabin on a wind-swept point of land jutting out into the North Sea. While waiting, I began to set up my things, and was startled to find that the window was already open and waiting for us. “Sisters,” I called, “look here!”
“The window is clearer than any we’ve seen! ”
“I can see right into the well! The swans look happy tomorrow.”
As I had come to expect, neither the mother nor the father noticed us. We had only to await the actual birth, then pronounce our vision over the baby, which seemed likely to be easier than usual this time. I should know better than to tempt fate. After all, I work for her, or I am her, depending on how you look at it.
Finally, the birth was accomplished and we could complete our work. As I sought our client in the tapestry, I felt that something was off. “Sisters,” I said, “look at this. I can’t find him in the cloth.”
“I can’t find his thread at all.”
“I can’t see where it was cut, or where it ties in and out.”
“Does he… or she… did anyone check?”
“Does he have a thread at all?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Of course he has a thread….”