Dísablót - blót; sacrificial holiday that was held in honour of the female spirits called dísir.....
Deep inside the forest where the wild mistletoe grew, covering the naked birch trees like wispy gowns, August wrapped the cloak tightly around Yvette’s shoulders as they joined the other revelers. Fiery torches on long poles flickered as they drank the hot mulled wine in silver goblets. Her very first Ærra Jéola and she was excited. Everyone wore masks; her fiancé August’s was a realistic wolf with silver teeth and glittering whiskers, a family heirloom, Yvette knew, representing their crest and their name.
Yvette’s mask was pale gold set with tiny rubies, a stylized face, part human, part fawn, ethereal and fairytale like, a present from her soon-to-be husband. Jugglers and acrobats cavorted between the trees disappearing into the darkness and reappearing like mythical, shadowy creatures. At some prearranged signal the wandering musicians stopped playing and everyone gathered in a circle. Breaths came out as frosty vapor and the snow sizzled as hot ash fell.
Two stood in the centre, a hooded man with a menacing mask of twisted sticks and a woman all in white, from her hood to her boots, even the mask that covered her entire face, was dazzling white with gold and green whirling patterns. She was a Dís, the Goddess in the form of a wild snowstorm that covered the ripening buds of the trees as they slumbered, waiting.
She decided how long winter would last and if you would wake to breathe in the spring air.
They sang a duet, his voice deep and sonorous and hers, high and haunting. The language was archaic and although Yvette didn’t understand the words, she intuitively understood its meaning, sacrifice and love/life torn apart and trampled. Tears came sliding beneath the metallic mask and turned to ice on her skin.
As the final harmonies echoed into the night, a girl in a scarlet cloak carrying a white rabbit walked out and presented it to the cloaked woman. The woman held its struggling body above her head before pressing it to her chest, where it calmed.
Yvette was staring into its bright eyes when a crimson stain exploded across the animals’ body.
A blackened chalice caught the rivulets of steaming blood as it poured out. When the chalice was full the man began walking around the circle, Yvette watched in horror as the chalice was presented and each person raised their lips to it and drank.
“No.” She whispered.
“You must. You don't have a choice.” August’s tone was hard. “It's just an animal. You love rabbit stew. There is no difference.”
“I'll be sick if I drink it.”
“No you won't. It will just taste hot and salty.”
Now the two were in front of them and the chalice was against her lips, she reluctantly allowed the warm liquid to fill her mouth.
Yvette stared at the woman whose white robes were splattered scarlet.
Her white-gloved hand still held the dripping knife.
The night had bleached into ivory slashed wine-dark red.
Yvette felt herself spinning, falling.
She knew those amber eyes within that mask, August’s sister.
He’d not mentioned that she would be here.
Or that she would be in that role.
She looked at the other revelers, was it her imagination but they are all seemed to be staring at her?
Under the ancient juniper trees, August kissed her, his tongue inside her mouth; all she could taste was blood. Yvette couldn't get the animal’s eyes out of her head; it was as though it was trying to tell her something crucial.
In the middle of the night, waking her from her sleep, the meaning became icy clear.
As fast as you can.
Dísablót - blót, sacrificial holiday that was held in honour of the female spirits called dísir in pre Christian Scandinavia & Northern Germany.
Ærra Jéola – midwinter ancient German festival
originally published on Grievous Angel Poetry & Fiction/Urban Fantasist Website