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„The blue raven“

The incessant wars against Christian Europe are making the thanes more powerful. And the ancient traditions are changing...

According to ancient Baltic custom, when a person of standing died most of his wealth had to be distributed. The gods received a share through sacrifices and funerary feasts, a large part was offered as prizes in the contests held in honor of the deceased, and only a third was passed on to his heirs. This ensured that no family acquired too much power, and a rough equality was preserved. But war imposes a harsher reality. Wealth is not personal anymore; it is necessary for fortification and the maintenance of armed men. The death of the powerful is no longer a new beginning, it is merely a change of military leaders.

But old traditions change slowly. At the time of Thane Algimantas’ death they still exert a fateful influence. There are two claimants to his estate, and only recourse is tradition because the issue of succession has not been settled. The situation is further complicated by the local pagan priest’s interpretation of the omens sent from the netherworld, and murder follows attempted assassination. The Council of Elders is called to sit in judgement, and its most far-sighted member is a blind man. It is a strange and tangled thread the Laimos, fate-weavers of the Baltic lands, have spun. It is unraveled in this tale by the harsh light of flaring funerary pyres.