The angel, Netzach, was on Earth for the express purpose of meddling in mortal affairs, as angels sometimes do, like in the form of a burning bush, etc. Netzach was just “killed” in a Viking duel and is now at his own funeral. He wasn’t really dead, because angels can not die, but since he was playing the part of a human, in this case a Viking named, Wulf, he needed to see it through to the end. In attendance at the funereal on the island of Bornholm, was a small audience of Danes and an English monk named Thomas.
Netzach was placed on a pyre that was set up on the beach by two young Danes, who were just barely old enough to be considered men. The Viking Chieftain was growing a little impatient; he wanted to get started with the funeral because the gray sky was foreboding rain. Thomas, an English monk was standing next to the Chieftain. It wasn’t the first Viking funeral he had witnessed, having been there about a year already, but he still found them fascinating.
The chieftain raised his hands and said some words that Thomas could only understand in bits and pieces. “May Odin give you knowledge on your path and may Thor grant you strength and courage on your way.”
He still wasn’t that good at translating but thought the Chieftain also said, “Stop your coughing, Torhild, or we will be having two funerals this evening.”
Wulf the Viking as he was known here, and Netzach the angel as he was known in heaven, opened one eye just a slit to see what was going on. He had no idea why they had put him on a slab of wood, but he was looking and waiting for his chance to slip away.
“Bring up the offerings,” the Chieftain said.
One by one, everyone put something beside the dead Wulf. The Vikings believed in giving gifts to the dead, so they could take them with them on their journey to Valhalla. The Chieftain wondered about giving gifts at all. Surely Wulf would not be going to Valhalla, but to Helheim. Wulf’s death wasn’t a very noble death, dying at the hands of a foreigner, who was barely able to swing his sword. Netzach opened an eye again admiring all the gifts.
Oh my, what a beautiful tunic. I like that color. What craftsmanship on these weapons. It’s too bad I won’t be able to take any of this with me.
He watched as the two young Danes who had put him on the wooden slab, were arranging the stones into what the Vikings called a, “stone ship.” After burning the body, the ashes were buried inside the stone ship, along with all their gifts. Well—most of them—every now and again, someone stole something from the dead.
Netzach was becoming irritated. He was wondering when everyone was going to leave so he could disappear. He had not had a private moment since his, “death.”
The two young Danes who were holding torches walked towards Netzach; when something clicked in his mind.
Wait, I’m dead which means this is my funeral. They aren’t going to burn me, are they? I won’t stand for it! I won’t stand for it … again.
Netzach had been “killed” before by fire, hanging, crucifixion and he once drowned trying to save a badger that fell down a well. A disguised angel was never supposed to reveal himself to mortals but he didn’t care. Netzach jumped up, determined not to be burnt alive.
“I’m terribly sorry for all the trouble,” he said and pushed one of the young Danes carrying a torch. He dropped the torch and it fell on to the pyre setting it ablaze, but Netzach was no longer on it. There was a collective gasp at seeing a man rise from the dead. Knut, who had been drinking all throughout the ceremony, let out a loud belch.
The Chieftain was the first to speak, “Odin, forgive us. We did not know it was you. Surely we did not offend thee with anything improper.” Had it really been Odin, he most likely would have been offended by the whole thing.
“I will forgive all of you, but only if I can have this,” Netzach said and picked up the tunic. “It’s exactly what I wanted.” He no longer cared about the rules of not bringing earthly possessions into heaven. He no longer cared about anything.
“Of course, oh great one. Please take our humble—”
Netzach did not hear the Chieftain’s last words. He snapped his fingers and disappeared. The collective gasp was heard again at the sight of the angel Netzach, who was pretending to be a Viking named Wulf, who was pretending to be Odin, vanish into thin air. Out of all the Viking funerals from that day forth, none would ever compare to the funeral with the vanishing corpse.
A Dane named, Freydis, was grinning from ear to ear. “Odin favored my tunic,” she said. Freydis became very prosperous from selling her tunics and by the time of her death, she had amassed a small fortune. After all, if Odin were willing to come to Earth just to get one, they must have been glorious.
A revised excerpt from the Gnostic Keepers.