Friday, May 17, 2013

Legend of Sigurd, by Nancy J. Cohen author of Warrior Rogue

Mythological structure anchors many stories told throughout time. My Drift Lords paranormal series is based on Norse mythology. I got interested in this topic on the Maelstrom ride at Disney’e Epcot theme park. It’s in the Norway pavilion and employs a magical spell by trolls to supposedly send guests back in time to Norwegian history. I loved the idea of evil trolls, and they became the villains in my stories. I call them Trolleks, and they’ve invaded Earth through a dimensional rift in the Bermuda Triangle.

One of the Norse myths I use in Warrior Rogue, book #2 in the series, is the legend of Sigurd. My hero is the Drift Lord warrior Paz Hadar. He’s dropped in unexpectedly on fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr when she’s in the middle of filming a video game commercial in Tokyo. The lead actor has called in sick, and a replacement is on his way.

When Paz turns up stark naked and with an American accent, Jen assumes he’s the substitute actor. He turns out to be a lot more as he displays skills in battle when they’re attacked mid-air on their way home in her private business jet. Once convinced of her destined role to play in an ancient prophecy, Jen reads up on the legends. Here is what she tells Paz when they have a quest involving a dragon.


“In Norse mythology, Fafnir was a giant who disguised himself as a dragon to defend his treasure. One of the items he guarded was a magic ring that brought its wearer unending wealth. However, the trickster Loki had taken that ring from the dwarfs who created it. The dwarfs were metal workers who made magical items for the gods.”

“Like our friend, Smitty?”

She nodded. “The dwarf who originally guarded the treasure cursed the ring that Loki took. Now instead of creating wealth for its wearer, it would bring death. A descendant of Odin named Sigurd killed Fafnir and stole his treasure. Sigurd bathed in the creature’s blood to become invulnerable except for a spot on his shoulder. He was in love with a Valkyrie named Brynhild. The Valkyries were virgin warriors of the god Odin. They could fly and carried the souls of dead warriors to Valhalla.”

He scratched his jaw. “What is Valhalla?”

“It’s Odin’s hall where dead warriors lived in honor while they prepared for Ragnarok, the end of all times.”

According to the prophecy, Ragnarok was coming again. Loki wanted to bring chaos and destruction to the multiverse in revenge for the gods banishing him.

He kept his dark thoughts to himself. “You’ve certainly done your homework.”

Jen beamed at him. “Listen to the rest. To mark his engagement to Brynhild, Sigurd gave her the magic ring he stole from Fafnir without knowing he’d been cursed by possessing it.”

“So what happened?”

“He set off on a journey to a foreign court. There a magic potion made him fall in love with the king’s daughter. When Brynhild found out he’d betrayed her, she persuaded one of the king’s sons to kill Sigurd. The fellow pierced him at his weak spot on the shoulder. Brynhild repented and killed herself on his funeral pyre.”

 

If you want to see a movie about this epic legend, rent Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King with Benno F├╝rmann, Alicia Witt, and Kristanna Loken. They change the name of Sigurd to Sigfried in the film but many of the mythical elements remain the same.

 

How is this legend relevant to my story? When Jen and Paz get trapped inside a cave with a descendent of Fafnir the dragon, the fire-breathing beast gives them a test.

 

“The dragon blew a thin flame at the knot holding the netting in place, burning it through. Suddenly [Paz] was free, tumbling to the earth. He landed with a thump on his side and a jarring bump to his sore leg that left him breathless.

“Thank you,” Jen said to the dragon, giving Paz a quick concerned glance. She scrambled to her feet.

“I will merely eat you alive, human, rather than roasting you first. But you may take my test like all the others.”

His large tail swept by as he turned to retrieve something from behind. The smell of sulfur in the air made Paz’s nose wrinkle. He pushed himself upright.

The dragon whipped around to face them, holding two small gold bands in its claw. “One of these will bring you all the wealth you’d ever desire. Choose the right one, and you live.”

Paz remembered the story. A dwarf had cursed the ring stolen from him so that its wearer would suffer an early death.

He leaned forward to examine the gold bands. One of them shone brightly like the nuptial rings he’d seen in jewelry stores. The other was dull with a dent here and there.

“The humble person would choose the dull ring,” Jen pointed out, “like in the Indiana Jones movie with the chalice. You know, the Holy Grail.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The greedy person would probably choose the shinier ring.” Straightening her spine, she pointed to the dragon’s claw that held the dull ring. “That one.”

The dragon grinned, its pupils dilating and its nostrils flaring.

“No.” Paz grasped Jen’s wrist. “It’s the other one with the polished surface. Think about it. The wearer is doomed to die. No one wears it for long. It’s the shinier one.”

“Choose, humans.” Steam spouted from the dragon’s nostrils. It stamped its feet in impatience, and the ground under them trembled.

Paz locked gazes with Jen. Her expressive brown eyes changed from doubt to trust.

“Very well. I agree with my partner.”

His heart warmed. He liked how she referred to him. More than that, he liked how she trusted his choice with her life.

The dragon snorted and clawed at the dirt. Paz’s pulse jumped. Had he been wrong? Would they be swallowed into its great mouth or fried to a crisp where they stood?



As you see, I’ve adapted this legend for the purposes of my story. Many characters in Norse legends appear throughout the Drift Lords series. Paz’s mission is to seal the rifts and prevent further Trollek incursions, but will he escape the dragon to meet his goal? Using myths as the basis for our stories gives us a wealth of riches to plunder, better even than the gold ring that can bring its wearer unending fortune.

What myths are your favorites?

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Warrior Rogue
The Drift Lords Series Book Two
Nancy J. Cohen


Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: April 26, 2013

Trade: 978-1-61217-739-7
Digital: 978-1-61217-740-3
ASIN: B00AU62NQS

Number of pages: 410
Word Count: 100,688

Cover Artist: Tamra Westberry
 
Amazon Kindle    The Wild Rose Press

LONG BLURB

When fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr loses her lead actor for a video-game commercial, a replacement literally drops from the sky. Reluctant to let him leave, she hires him as a model for her studio. But when terrorists attack their flight home, Jen must awaken powers she didn’t know she had to protect them both. Will she be able to keep her heart safe from the sensual man beside her?

When space ops warrior Paz Hadar falls through a spatial rift onto Jen’s set, he soon realizes she is essential to his mission. Not only must he protect her, his success depends upon her special powers. But as they struggle to stay one step ahead of the enemy, he discovers that fighting his attraction to the lovely Jen is as much a challenge as keeping them both alive.

SHORT BLURB

When fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr loses her lead actor for a video-game commercial, a replacement literally drops from the sky. Reluctant to let him leave, she hires him as a model for her studio. But when terrorists attack their flight home, Jen must awaken powers she didn’t know she had to protect them both.

Book Trailer: 
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About the Author:

Nancy J. Cohen is an award-winning author of eighteen romance and mystery novels. Her humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several of these titles have made the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association bestseller list.

Shear Murder is the tenth and latest title in this series. Nancy's imaginative romances have also proven popular with fans. Her paranormal romance titles have won the HOLT Medallion Award and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews.

Warrior Rogue, #2 in the Drift Lords Series, is her latest title from The Wild Rose Press.

Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.

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