A Gift for a Gift

In today’s episode of “I Swear I’m Not Making Any of This Up,” I have a story to tell about a ring.

I’ve written before about the rings I wear to represent the oaths I’ve made with Loki. They’re a constant presence on my finger, and they mean quite a lot to me for a variety of reasons. They have, however, been replaced with a new ring this week. Well, new in the “new to me” sense. Their replacement is roughly 1,000 years old. And I still can’t quite wrap my mind about how it came to me.

Some time ago, Mortellus and I had discussed doing a silly little Yule gift exchange, nothing major, just like, a book and cookies. Nothing big, because to be perfectly blunt, I barely make enough money to pay my bills, much less do fun things for my friends (thanks to the series of chronic medical problems and surgeries I’ve had in the last few years, I can’t do full time mortuary work to support myself, so I’m working a job that accommodates my physical limitations and frequent flare-ups but, well. . . my hourly wage is less than what I earned when I was 23, some 15 years ago. So yeah, things are tough, as they are for far too many Americans). Imagine my surprise then when last month, Mortellus told me that Loki had been badgering them about a THING™. When they said, “Uh, no, because (a) it’s insane and impossible and (b) that’s above my Yule budget. Go bother someone else,” Loki took matters into his own hands. Mortellus swears that not only did a chance to acquire THE THING™ take a metaphorical swan dive into their life, a purchase was made on their shop that covered the exact cost of THE THING™ – including shipping from the Ukraine – down to the penny.

It’s obvious from the start of this post that THE THING™ is A Ring. An old ring. A ring that, according to the description on the listing, is a viking (possibly Rus Viking) “wedding” ring dating from the 10th century. A ring that, according the the description on the listing, bears a battered, scarred “Loki mask” engraved on it. They told me it was sized at roughly 8.5, which meant it wouldn’t fit me, but I figured I’d wear it on the chain my Loki and Sigyn pendant hangs from, which, like my rings, is a constant presence only ever removed for showers.

Image from the listing, sent to me by Mortellus

So Mortellus told me about the ring in mid-December because they were genuinely boggled by the series of events they’d just experienced, and they also wanted to apologize that they themselves weren’t sending me anything for Yule. They were kind of bummed about being a middleman on Loki’s behalf instead of doing what was originally planned, to which I replied, “You had to deal with Loki badgering you and messing with things in your life. You are NOT obligated to anything else. I’m sorry Loki got all up in your face to begin with!” Meanwhile, I had a nagging feeling that I wouldn’t actually receive the ring until 14 January, which was my deadline for getting the devotional to my editor.

See, the book is a gift for Loki and Sigyn. It’s something I said I was going to do for them back in December 2019, and within 12 hours of stating the intention, Mortellus and I were “introduced” via Messenger. This was the direct start to the chain of events that led to my signing the contract with Llewellyn Worldwide on 13 August 2020. It’s something I promised to my gods, and it’s a gift for them. To keep the gifting cycle going, I’m donating a percentage of the eventual royalties to charities and setting aside another percentage to help people in my community. I’d donate all of the (hypothetical) royalties, but I’m barely scraping by as it is, so I do hope to get a little something to help me pay utility and medical bills. But that’s neither here nor there.

Point is: this book is a gift to Loki and Sigyn, and part of any royalties I’ll earn will be gifted in their honor to people in need. So naturally, I linked this mysterious 10th century bronze ring with a so-called “Loki’s Mask” on its scar-laced surface to being a token of appreciation of sorts, an acknowledgement of the love and dedication I poured into the book. On Monday, Mortellus sent a screenshot of the tracking showing that delivery had been attempted but since I wasn’t there to sign, they left a notice instead. It was literally the one day my mail carrier somehow managed to hit my neighborhood before I even left work. I’m always home for the mail. I laughed and told Mortellus I didn’t get to claim the ring yet because the manuscript wasn’t finished.

I “finished” it on Tuesday, but the post office didn’t have the ring. On Wednesday, I noticed that there was something that still needed to be covered in the book, so I added it. Bam. Done-done. Got the ring that afternoon.

I shouldn’t be surprised, but it was still a bit shocking to learn it fit my left ring finger perfectly. It fits like it was made specifically for me.

ALSO, despite its age and the fact it’s made of bronze, it has not yet turned my finger green. I’ve worn it for over 72 hours at this point, removing it only to wash, and there’s not even the slightest hint of discoloration. In fact, wearing it and letting it get wet when rinsing my hands has improved it – the last of the dirt has been flushed out of the etchings, and the oils from my skin have imparted a soft, subtle sheen to the metal. The ring has come alive again, after who knows how many years and or centuries it’s spent in the dirt.

It’s baffling and humbling and incredibly strange, this chain of events. If the ring ever starts to show signs of compromise from daily wear, it will be retired to my Loki altar, but for now, it will be steady fixture on my hand. It feels like it belongs on my finger, finally worn again and cherished, restored to its original purpose. Just as I feel the intense responsibility of ensuring my bloodline ends on a good note, being the only grandchild with no children myself, I feel responsible for ensuring that this ring is cared for and used as its long-gone creator intended.

As Mortellus said, Loki wants what Loki wants, and he’ll find ways to make things happen. It’s something I’ve experienced myself many times over, most recently being with the book. The moment I decided to work on a devotional for him and Sigyn, they were like, “Finally, she’s paying attention! Let’s get this show on the road!” It doesn’t escape my notice that Mortellus was the vector for both the book deal with Llewellyn and the Loki ring, the bookends of this agreement between me and Loki.

Now I await the first round of feedback from the editors. In the meantime, go check out Mortellus’s shop and snag a copy of their book about pagan funerals and some emBalm lip balm and incense. After all, they had to deal with Loki throwing an absurd demand at them and have the proceeds of a sale commandeered by the twerp for said demand. Mortellus deserves a sale they can keep the money from to support their family!

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One thought on “A Gift for a Gift

  1. Pingback: The Book is Actually Happening! – A Loki Kinda Life

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