Dies Irae: A Book of Wrathful Days is sadly the last book of the ArM5 line and while I bought it a while ago, I’d been reluctant to open and read it out of mixed sense of grief and nostalgia at the official end of the line that I contributed to.
It’s an amazing work. Kudos to Ben, the two Marks (Lawford and Shirley) and Matt.
Two of the scenarios (“Fimbulwinter” and “Twilight of the Gods”) link together thematically and potentially sequentially, with the option of integrating a third as an extension or follow-up of the main arc. Any Saga would need to last decades to play through the combined plots presented, but each scenario provides details of the effects on the Order following the apocalypse.
There’s been a lot of talk about alternate settings for Ars Magica now the line has finished – a whole issue of Sub Rosa, Issue #16, was dedicated to these concepts and similarly, many of the Diedne articles from Issue #13 touched on this. The majority of concepts, except Mark Shirley’s “After the Plague”, deal with earlier versions of Mythic Europe, drawing on the history of the Order and it’s origins.
But I’ve been wondering about an alternate setting for Ars Magica set significantly *after* the Apocalypse or even the combination of two of the scenarios involving Ragnarok and the fall of Wormwood with some elements of Mark’s 1470 AD article.
“Odin took the head of Mímir, embalmed it with herbs so that it would not rot, and spoke charms over it, which gave it the power to speak to him and reveal to him secrets…”
Sounds like a particularly gruesome fate eh?
Except of course in ArM5 terms Mimir is technically a Jotun (an elder Daimon, effectively the Norse equivalent of a Titan) and Odin is the leader of the Faerie Gods of the Norse that claimed victory over the Giants in their cultural equivalent of the first Titanomachy.
Odin didn’t behead Mimir, that was due to an altercation between during the Æsir-Vanir War, but regardless of the precipitant one wonders whether this passage suggests Odin has effectively made a pact with the elder Daimon, drawing on his knowledge and advice by carrying around his head to consult when needed. After all an elder Jotun of wisdom and rune magic might have something useful to add on occasion…
Perhaps the embalming process and muttered charms Odin employs is meant as a mystical metaphor for an imprisonment similar to the other Jotun? Or Odin formed some sort of pact with Mimir – unlikely a formal Muspelli / Jotun patron relationship but perhaps something more akin to a Spirit Votary, allowing Odin as a Faerie to draw upon Mimir’s Magic Might and powers?
Variant Muspelli: Mimir as a Jotun Patron
Mark Shirley has suggested Mimir as a potential “benign” Muspelli patron in a 2015 forum thread quoted below, an idea he rejected originally for the Muspelli section of Rival Magic apparently, but the concept crops up again in the aftermath section of his Dies Irae section as a potential sponsor for vitkir and other rune magicians.
If I were to pick another benign patron I would go for Mimir.
He is Urdur’s brother and the Jotun who taught the runes to Odin. He is a patron of wisdom and magic. His gandur would be a severed head (or the carving of one), representing his fate after the Aesir-Vanir war.
There are some (obscure) sources which make him the father of the dwarfs, so the initiatory Major Flaw could be Dwarf. This would make the Etin-Mod all the more surprising! The dwarfs are the seven primal smiths of the Norse creation epic, and Mimir would be all about creative forces as well as wisdom.
Mimir‘s reasons for pursuing Ragnarok could be the same as his sister’s — it is fated. However, Mimir is concerning himself with the creation of a refuge (Hoddmimis holt) that will outlast the Twilight of the Gods, and he is responsible for building a new world once the destruction has taken place. His Muspelli would be interested in choosing who is worthy to survive.
So then Favored powers for a Muspelli of Mimir would perhaps then include Spadomur, Threads of Fate and Premonitions Virtues similar to his sister Urdur, but with say Sjonhverfing replacing Entrancement.
The proposed gandur form makes sense, although the Etin-mod of a muspelli serving Mimir may be less monstrous in appearance than most, although certainly remain Giant sized and powerful enough to inspire awe in a mundane human..
Dies Irae suggests that post the Second Titanomachy / Ragnarok, either “benign” Jotun sibling could also be appropriate as a patron for a vitkir so a Muspelli of Mimir may wish to forgo the two Major Supernatural Abilities usually granted from its patron’s allies in return for being able to use Rune Magic.
Alternatively, for a more high powered hedge magic Saga, a Muspelli could initiate into Rune Magic following their Muspelli initiation or an ambitious vitkir pledge himself fully to Mimir as a Jotun patron as a further intitiation or an advanced Mystery Script resembling Odin’s sacrifice…