TITLE: GOD'S DAUGHTER
GENRE: Historical Fiction
The gods only accept what is valuable.
Gudrid kept repeating this, as she watched them hoist her mother into the tree. Her beautiful mother with the long shining hair, like her own.
Her cousin, Yngvild, touched her hand. Not a word was spoken, from anyone. No one could believe a young mother had to die this ninth year in the sacred grove. But the chieftain had spoken it. And the chieftain was her father.
Yngvild's parents sat nearby. Aunt Arnora, her mother's sister, was silently sobbing into her sleeves. Uncle Thorgeir, her father's brother, did not even look at the tree. Gudrid knew he was glad that he would have more control of her mother's family farm now.
Gudrid clenched her fists on her shift, bunching it so tightly she felt she could rip it apart. She longed to find a weapon and fight the men who would drop the ladder, breaking her mother's neck. But interrupting a sacrifice to Thor was punishable by death--the immediate death of hanging.
The sprawling, twisted tree looked almost alive against the grey Icelandic sky. The limbs seemed to clutch at the dead animals and people hanging from them. Gudrid imagined that the tree was holding
them back from dropping straight into Helheim. Truly, her mother should go straight to Valhalla for being a willing sacrifice. But only the men who died bravely in battle got to go there, to drink endless mead for eternity.