Odin Wanders Inn (Fiction)

The New Time Chronicles- A Historical Account of Antietam from the Day of Silence

Authored by Ivy VonReynard, reluctant historian Written in the Historic Odin Wanders Inn
(Because no one else wants to do this and Elder Bob is Too Busy Again…
He owes me catnip bug spray for this: *Documented*-IVR)

One day, the internet failed….well, that was the least of humanities problems, really, most electronics spontaneously died one day, and most of them did not return- memories wiped and an inability to reform decades of coding and technologies from the foundation up again.   The resources we relied upon were too diverse and too reliant on digital storage- and to save on paper, print-outs, copies and physical writing had long ceased to be taught in schools by at least a decade.

Some people speculated it was a solar flare, others and EMP, or some sort of Anonymous technology that was developed by anarchists or some petulant nation, economy; perhaps a corporation with nefarious attempt to cease control of all profits.  HARP?  I am not sure.  Speculation is something we usually do evenings over a fire after the mead horn has gone around a few too many times.  I had no idea we had so many beekeepers, nor vinyards-  I am pretty sure the entire population of this town is lightly buzzed at any given time on either distilled spirits or dried herb;  if I lived around people this upbeat and well, Happy prior to the Day of Silence (DOS) I would have been convinced they were insincere…but I always was a pessimist.

For a few weeks after DOS,  things held together pretty well.  It was just a power-outage, a surge from vague natural disasters that could not be verified for there was no way to do so.

Cars, initially, would not start- their circuitry blown.   On that day, approximately thirty thousand people died of strokes, and countless more of heart attacks. We know because the hospitals manually counted- and Philadelphia has a glut of them within a pretty easy two day walk.  Faster if you can ride.

Newspapers, the very few local that existed, paired up with former military, long distance runners, and equestrians at first to form a network of regional communications.  Then- those who owned boats powered by steam.  Hospitals were operational- but those who required mechanical interventions for survival died with the generators.  Almost Instantaneously.  Nothing could hold a charge.  Something happened to the atmosphere- that was clear…but also, I must acknowledge the air is literally clearer as well.

Steampunk became relevant.  Nothing could hold an ELECTRIC charge for very long- however, nothing stopped the force of steam from turning gears into energy- combustion was still pretty reliable as well- but not quite so desirable.

Libraries, the few left that had not liquidated their “How-to” sections became more sacred than any place of worship- and librarians like the sages of Delphi.  I always warned people about digital books. I never trusted them.

Magnets seemed to work in strange, unpredictable ways…but well, locally we really had no resources to determine why.  Suicide became endemic in direct relation to population density; riots destroyed every city on earth over food shortages and the inability to truck in relief.  Eventually- it either calmed down or we just stopped hearing about it out here.

However, in the countrysides like this one- the strange, formerly ‘backwards’ places filled with the disparaged poor and the strange no-media antisocialists- after a few rough starts, began to thrive.

People with home gardens expanded to farms- and abandoned homes that had spent years under the yoke of the former market were now free to be occupied- it was easier to live near family and friends to sustain ourselves.  Our counties here had been used as farmland since prior to the time of the Empire of the United States- the soil was fertile, well watered, and had been smoothed of rocks centuries before.   We were fortunate- and sparsely populated after the Great Recession destroyed our old economy which once relied on factories, railways, and metal foundries- leaving the cities abandoned and the towns prior to the New Times, a sea of “for sale” signs as the locals left for other states or countries seeking desk-servitude in exchange for the right to access goods and services instead of working honestly for it.

It truly is amazing how primitive people once were- unable to grow a single, edible carrot or even kill and dress a chicken without gross incompetence.

What was truly interesting were the Odinists.  Indigenous to Pennsylvania and other states- the Pa Deitsch denominations blended easily back into the fabric of land-tending with the greatest ease- our records, both written and oral of the cycles of our local seasons and the peculiarities of our homelands in each of our counties was substantiated by the existence of the Indigenous Nations whose records we shared though hundreds of years of cultural and romantic intermingling.

Locally, accord was sought to reconcile the Urglaawe and the Amish Anabaptist out of a sense of brotherhood and mutual assistance.  The Hexerei had been the black sheep of both communities as long as anyone could recall- but black sheep still produce the same quality of wool, and occasionally- lampchops-  Now, all that mattered is the relief in being able to communicate auf Deutsch and have even greater access to knowledge;  the greatest resource.

Each language known by a person gives them a metaphorical key to libraries of knowledge those without such learned abilities could not otherwise access;  for the first time in years I revisited my notes from college written in Pars;  but for practicality sake- one could live pretty well here in my town with three languages:  English, Deitsch, and Espanole.  Those with talent or knowledge of other languages were highly sought after.  There were no longer translation programs to do it automatically for us.

My thesaurus I bought in high school decades ago has become one of my fondest treasures; without it, this hempbook would be empty.

In a village of stone homes between two foot hills stood a grand and welcoming building; called Odin Wanders Inn- and inside was a place for travelers to stay, work lightly for a meals and board, and decide if they wished to stay or wished to journey onward seeking other survivors who found other ways to adapt to the new circumstances.  I work here when I write… I like being able to walk away from the pages and do something productive so greeting travelers and strangers works well for me.  Also, it gives me more to write about.

Here in Antietam, well- mostly it was just us Germans, several people who were descended from Latin nations who could do simply amazing things with food and making the most of  once-limited agricultural spaces, and random folks of every possible hereditary background who had found a useful niche and were welcomed with relief and open arms- especially now Asi, the guy from Liberia, turned out to be a lens maker/optometrist… we bribed him to stay with a beautiful house with its own pond.(We have four stone masons) 

Before he arrived, all we had was former EMT’s, a family doctor, a few herbalists, and some people with experience in the mental health profession.  People still needed glasses.  He has two apprentices.  Thank Gods. Racism takes a back seat to common sense.

Eyesight is improving in the young people, though- except for those with outstanding book obsessions.

Some in town, in the beginning, proved to be unethical- regardless of how wonderful their family members; narcissists and sociopaths still existed- however, they were immediately visible by their lack of contributions. Their manipulations were only tolerated for brief periods until the community census basically declared them Verboten, to the relief of pretty much everyone.

I have been living here for a couple of decades- yes…prior to New Time.  My family is from here going back longer than written records.  This land has been part of my bloodline for so long that we know the same iron that is in that blood is that which colors the rocks on the quarry walls nearby.  Other places where we used to live weren’t sustainable.  Before our intuitions became clearer again, I felt a pull to move back here.  It was where most of my family was born in this country- and out of country travel to lands of languages I do not speak would be impractical at this time.

Richland was always a inhospitable wetland and Merion was too close to the city during the Riot Wars that ensued within a week after the DOS to be safe to clean up anytime soon.  In my opinion- let nature have it.  The broken glass and bullet shells will eventually be covered with dirt.  Maybe the tires will stop burning someday.

Nothing like that ever happened here- we are a hairline crack of a valley that looks like a lake from above.  I know- Tom taught me how to glide off of the Pagoda terrace- it was rough convincing Joy and her father to move here; but Richland was sinking and living here is a heck of a lot easier than a week away in Derry which snows most of the year.  They still might go North- the rest of their family is up there.

It would be incorrect to say that a place is its people…but rather, more correct to say people become part of the breathing organism of their location- if they are given the freedom to- and people come and people go-  just like freckles.  Some stay, some fade, some are new- some are with you from the day you are born until you burn your way to ash on the funeral boat in the lake.

Land will either accept you or deny you- acceptance is found in Glimpses of beauty and lack of desire to leave;  as my grandma would say- in Luck as well.  A place that brings you Luck is not one to leave lightly; when everything is going so well, why leave a great thing?

Travel was highly encouraged as the chaos died down and people settled into sustainable routines.  Humans are very adaptable.  My friends sent me a message from Tsa-La-Gi by writing a really catchy tune that migrated up the musicians like lightning:

“Ivy this is Tsa-La-Gi
Safest place you’d ever see
and crazy bird, we implore
All us cats who you adore
Want to hear from their Ivy

Grab a ticket, grab a train
We got you shelter in the rain
Come on home girl,
Life is great, girl
Everybody gonna keep on shining”

Well,  that was the version when I heard it-  Jimmy, Jaime, and Matty wrote it better than the version that reached me- but close enough- and it just made it’s way up from jam sessions at rainbow gatherings all the way to our Wednesday sumbel fifty days walk a day. Humans are amazing.  Honestly- the song was good when they wrote it…but i think it got a little weird with all the passing-up the continent.  “For Ivy Von Reynard” is a pretty catchy title, no?

When we could still drive practically- it took about 5 days to get from here to Tsa-la-gi if we wanted to…but we never did.   After the tracks were cleared off by each community and new engines installed- I offered to escort mail out west in exchange for a rail-pass to get to Muskogee-  I stayed about six months.  Tsa-la-gi is a lucky place for me as well.  The problem with travelling old style is it becomes very easy to see how stories of travelling salesmen could live two complete but entirely non-intersecting lives at once in two places-  I am proud to say I kept my integrity, and although tempting, I am more useful up here.  Augery is the most reliable weather prediction we have- good thing I stuck to birding as a hobby before New Time.

Speaking of which,
“Freebird” was and will always be popular- so will “Stairway to Heaven”, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Purple Haze”.  I really had no idea we had so many talented instrumentalists until there was no longer radio or a means to play back recordings easily accessible.  Oddly enough- people prefer this, calling the prior two hundred years “The Canned Era of Music”- it had its classics,

“Smells like Teen Spirit” and “Nothing Else Matters  was the “Ode to Joy” and “Greensleeves” of my own time: the mid-canned music generation.

I exchanged local recipes for random pickled things and passed on a shit-ton of light quilts (and high quality medicinals), and they gave me instructions for recipes of their own and also how to use honeysuckle to make baskets as well as a standard cornucopia of Give-Away.  Antietam is covered in honeysuckle and the local knowledge of our own was lost.  It is a good thing to have friends in other places.  Other people have spent years travelling between here and towns in Oregon with plant hybrids.  Trade pacts between distant communities have become essential.  It astounds me to this day to think the world once seemed so small with all our distortion of technology.  The world is vast when you aren’t crippled to an interface watching it from inside of a box.  Inside of technology, we have the illusion of freedom as the walls suffocated us.

It used to be that one wouldn’t think twice about moving away for a better wage-master or a larger house.  But, it makes no sense now, to explain the past to children perplexes them.  Moving away hurts if you love people, but it feels great if there are not people near you who love you.  Some people are still looking for a place to fit- I think if there is a time to find it, it is now.

If you want a bigger house- you can build it; it just takes a lot of work and a lot of favors called in.  It is easier to get a bigger house if you need one- like if you have a lot of kids or own a way-inn (like this one), or maybe expand your dining room if you host dinner often.  That usually isn’t a problem- it is pretty much a given that if you are willing to cook and open your home to the community, we as a community are more than eager to give you every resource to do so… especially if you can cook well.

Sure… I can grab an egg from the coop and cook it on the stove every night if I truly wanted to- but why would I when Mark and Arielle are working together to throw some complicated guinea-fowl concoction with like fifty ingredients that tastes like my tongue is being stabbed with unami spears?

Leftovers go to anyone who helps them clean it up.  Usually, the kids volunteer- they are easy enough to bribe with strawberry pie to do any simple tasks, really. Corn starch, sugar, strawberry….something for crust.  Even I can manage that much- I’ve been making one a day with preserves even in winter just to keep the pathways shoveled, the garden weeded and the outdoor animals in clean spaces.

I think they would rather clean after a thousand chickens than listen to my lecture on EurArabic War that ended on the DOS.  Fara usually takes care of history, but spends most of the time travelling between libraries.  I have the notes and I took the classes.  Parents want me to teach topics that they were forced to sit through for years…and I do, but also- I try to figure out what the kids want…  Jasper is showing a real interest in Theology and keeps pretending to be Azrael everytime I cook a chicken.

It is adorable and slightly unnerving.  I wish I could interest the kid in Idunna and get him obsessed with orchards, but nope.  He is fascinated with death.  He will make one hell of a funeral priest one day-I dread having him as an apprentice to trip over when the next round of people pass away.  The medical people handle the gooey details of preparing the bodies and such.  I just handle the ceremony arrangements and help transition the family to new resources and sources of the niches once filled by the deceased in the lives of us all.

My life is not without challenges or conflicts- but overall- there isn’t that much actual “work”.  I teach, I write…and if someone barters with me something nice I might be willing to sew for them- I HATE sewing, but I can make any tear invisible.  Sure, we have a ton of people who are skilled at making great clothing or other textiles….but I am a sucker for fixing the accidentally ripped plush animals for the local kids.

I think the main difference, that I can perceive “now” verses “then” is that I am no longer limited by labels.  I think we misunderstood labels, we became crippled by them before DOS  crashed us all

My brother runs a knitting circle.  Chelsea has an exchange going with some friends of mine near Portland for textiles and seems to keep them rather organized…however,  I do not really know how to tell all of them that if their crew keep knitting scenes based on video games he will accidentally create a new mythology for future generations.  I swear, if my brother keeps hailing Donkey Kong at sumbel I will Hail the time I hung his superhero underwear out on the front porch when he was ten.

We aren’t just Heathens out here-  our best teacher is a secular humanist, we have a cabal of Messianic Jewish folks collecting for a second library upground from the river- and there are so many pagans of all varieties learning their respective ritual greeting, much less their rituals, which I end up memorizing when one of their own clergy is indisposed.

There are few Christians- but the ones that are here are the “Jesus Loves You” type, not the “Inquisition” type.  We tolerate their monotheism, but their children are exposed to other viewpoints.

In the grand scheme of things- my life has not changed much in what I or anyone else is as a human- all of us did these things before DOS crashed, but as hobbies…things we did to relax.  Heathenry was a great idea- but I really believe it did not reach the potential it has seen now in sustainable living.

There are still going to be ‘Racist’ communities  of every conceivable category as well as ‘Utopian ones;.  We are an honest community, we don’t care what you look like- the main thing is, what skills do you have?  How clever are you?  …and if you can not manage to be either clever or skilled- at least try to be entertaining or sweet.

Most of our population is Heathen, Odin worshipers. We lived here for centuries, so this place drew out like seed for sparrows.  As for other cultures- we are polytheistic.  In most of our cultures there is some metaphorical story about wolves raising the children of others’ as their own… Usually, people who are here who were not born into Heathenry posses similar ethic to us, but in their own faiths.

I think as humans we just do the best we can in explaining the unknown- each religion is simply a perspective.  Of course, I find some more interesting than others.  People who still fear us or have misconceptions about our ethic do not stay long.

Schadenfreud is helping an asshole pack a nice, stubborn horse and mutually parting ways with a smile.  I cannot say I have not said “Good Riddance” under my breath more than one occasion of departure. On the otherhand, people I could not stand prior to DOS are now some of the people I cannot imagine life without.  Brennen was a really creepy cat before DOS- but now he’s out in the fields and bringing in the craziest exotic foods for those who cook, who can complain?

I don’t know what that weird purple tomato thing is- but it tastes like a mango.  That is more than enough justification to keep weird, staring Brennen around in this book. (since I am the one stuck writing it).

Now I am expected to write several tiresome pages on the residents and common travelers coming through Antietam.  This will be tiresome, so I believe this will be all for the day as far as chronicling goes.

As much as I respect Bob and all he does, flitting around, making medicines, being nice- I believe we are destined to be constantly exasperated by the other.  But- the Land itself wanted us both back here- he’s old, he’s family, and I am glad he finally found his life’s desire he never knew he had in a time most of the rest of the former first world would easily classify as Ragnorak or the End of Days.  The county never died, the township never died.  It just waited.

I am about as friendly as a thistle bush, I count myself fortunate the local children do not call me “Poison-Ivy”….or at least, have yet to think to do so.

If you are editing this- please use a separate book to do so, so I can figure out the best way to make clear corrections.  I hate wasting good hempbook paper on elementary red cross-outs and corrections.  It just looks terrible.  I know what ink I used here and I know how to erase it.  It takes about three days to set.   Read this, write your corrections on scrap, and I will rewrite as needed (and remove this part, of course).

I would rather the future generations assume that I had a poor understanding of vernacular than to vandalize perfectly legible penmanship.  This copy will remain the official chronicle of this year unless someone else thinks they can do better.

The Odin Wanders Inn is a friendly place- I meet travelers here and help them where I can with directions…or if came to stay, I find their loved one’s in town for them.  I know a lot of people- Loki has friends in every realm- and Odin Wanders where he will.

I am fortunate to be here- in this time, there was once so much emphasis on war.  Our reputation is borrowed from the angrier Odinists, but we ourselves have peace in ways I never experienced prior to the Day of Silence.

It is best to show hospitality to all stranger-

The person we turn away could solved a problem we had no solution to- and the person we force to stay against their will could literally desire to poison the water supply.  Caution means a new thing in an new era I suppose.  It has been proven in my mind, at least, that the Gods are inscrutable- they all exist, and they can take any form.

But, I’m rambling… I think Rachel put pure grain alcohol shots into my mead again, damnit.  I will need to see Badger or Ravenna to sober up with whatever anti-histimine they have in season right now.

Kindest Regards to Future Readers,
Ivy

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5 Responses to “Odin Wanders Inn (Fiction)”

  1. I absolutely love this. I know that the small group here is working toward a collection of skills. We’re all good shots, know how to raise and butcher a lot of livestock, know how to save seed and preserve garden harvests. We have an assortment of medical, crafting, repair, and mechanical skills. The problem we face here is a much larger population and a proximity to DC and a major research base. Those things scare me. Perhaps we shall pack up our skills and lead the goats on an overland trek to the mountains…

  2. this is a wonderful piece of speculative fiction. i really enjoyed your choice of narrative style and pacing. 🙂 i find myself hoping that we’ll get to see another dispatch from Ivy in the future.

    • Thank you so much- I received more positive feedback than I anticipated. One gentleman actually believes the New Time Chronicle was a real publication I reposted. I suppose that is a good thing…?

      Again, thank you for your support! 🙂

  3. […] Read the first part of the story here. […]

  4. […] (One small multiverse reality step over from Odin Wanders Inn (Fiction)) […]

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