For the most part, my heritage is American mutt, but my maternal grandfather came here from Sweden, and we have a strong tie to the Viking realm in our family mythology, yet when Rose appeared in the pages of Team Fear book 1, it surprised me that he was a Viking. Sure, he was from Iowa, but his family came from the Old Country.
My mother's step dad (her father died when she was 6) always said the following in his thick Scandinavian tongue:
When they got to this country, they traveled west until they found a land as miserable as the old country.
For Reuben, that was South Dakota and Minnesota and the rich farmland there, but for Rose, it's Iowa. Rose grew up in farm country, but he's a warrior at heart. As often happens with my characters, Rose evolved from the ether. I believe they become people, not characters, the more I let them have their head. I knew in the opening chapter that Rose had a tattoo, but I didn't know what it was. It's meaning was hidden from me until after the first round of edits when I searched for Viking tattoos. The Vegvisir (Icelandic, but Viking...we can't all be Swedes) is symbolic, the symbol to help the bearer navigate through storms, heavy seas, and other stormy weather. Other sites say it's the equivalent to "all who wander are not lost." Either way, the symbol of the Vegvisir is for travelers in a storm. A means of finding your way. Which is exactly what Rose needs. The Army used him to create a fearless fighting force, but Rose has more than a country to defend and protect. He has his mother and six sisters, which I pulled from my father's genealogy as he was the oldest sibling with six sisters (and also from Iowa). A warrior is made, not born, and some men could walk away from the responsibility. Not Rose (or my father, but that's a story for another day). Rose stepped up to protect his family, and in so doing, he opened himself up to experimentation by the U.S. Army.
Rose didn't have an easy life, so the Viking Compass--as the Vegvisir is also called--is a reminder to him. There is guidance in heavy storms, there is help along the way, and despite the way it feels inside, Rose is not lost or broken or forgotten. While Rose is willing to sacrifice himself for those he loves, Debi hopes he won't have to go it alone.
Rose is one of those "people" who changed me, because I understand his intense need to defend and protect. I would give my life to protect my children, and Rose would do the same for his sisters. The Viking Compass on his back is a reminder and a comfort. He is not alone.
For years, I have considered a tattoo, but never had a strong enough desire for one particular image or symbol to be eternally on my flesh. The Vegvisir (the Viking Compass) is a symbol of my ancestors that I would proudly wear. If you go to my Pinterest page, you'll see several examples of wonderful tattoos that I'm currently considering.
Do you have a tattoo? What is it, where is it, and what does it mean to you? :)
(this is a repost of an article I wrote for the old blog that mysteriously disappeared)
Funny story. During the Mercury Retrograde Incident in September 2016, Cindy's original blog disappeared. Five years, gone in a random act of chaos. Now she gets to repopulate her blog world one post at a time. Join her if you dare. :)
© Cindy Skaggs 2017