When Magic Ruled The Worlds
The Coming Together
As she leaned back against the wall next to the fire pit Vidolf sank down into a fetal position. With her arms wrapped securely about her the Jotuness gazed deeply into the flickering flames and allowed herself to remember the nightmare that had awoken her. In her mind's eye she watched as a sea creature with eight long arms, and with an enormous eye on either side of its grotesque head, broke through the ice sheets and attacked a group of Jotun hunters who were tracking a herd of wild oxen across the ice flow. She shivered uncontrollably every time a Jotun was grabbed hold of by this aquatic creature's sticky arms, and tears filled her eyes as each was pulled into the freezing water, and ultimately under the ice.
Another of the flames quickly drew her attention and her mind shifted to the sky, in a different time and place, where a flock of fire breathing dragons were circling over the the cave dwellings of Jotuns who were being held captive by their very presence. For these monsters of the sky knew that eventually one of their meaty prey would have to venture forth for food or water. The lead female was the first to spot the young Jotun boy peering out of the cave opening. As she pinned her wings back to dive the youngster made a beeline for the snow that lay just a short distance from the cave entrance. In one hand he had a spear and in the other he had a bucket. As he reached the snow he slid down on one knee and scooped up some of the frozen water into the bucket. Once the bucket was filled he immediately turned and ran as fast as he could back to the safety of his home.
The dragons, with their golden eyes gleaming brightly in the dim Jotun sky, followed their leader down the moment she went into her dive. Like an avalanche coming out of the sky a dozen dragons streaked towards the ground with their sights set on the terrified prey that was scurrying back to its hole.
Vidolf watched in horror as the Jotun mother implored her son to hurry. And when she spotted the dragons falling from the skies like meteors she begged her son to run faster and faster. As the little Jotun appeared near the entrance the mother reached out her arms to pull her son into the sanctuary of the cave. The moment their fingers touched, however, a hot blast of searing fire came over her, and she felt her son being pulled away. As she looked up she saw that her son was burned from head to foot, and that his skin was still sizzling like an oxen over a fire. Shocked by the horrific sight she dropped to her knees and sobbed uncontrollably as she watched the largest dragon scoop up what was left of the child she had given birth to not so long ago.
Vidolf began to scream !
" No ! No ! No !! This cannot be my fault ! " she told the woman who existed only in her dreams.
Then Vidolf began to cry. For she knew that her dreams had always been a portent of things to come. And she was certain that this would all be her fault if, as in her previous dreams, she refused to go to Midgard to help destroy these creatures before they multiplied and made their way to Jotunheim to spread death and destruction.
" Yes ! I will go ! " she assured herself reluctantly as a cold shiver ran up her back.
" At first light I will travel to Midgard . " she whispered to the grieving woman in the flames.
The terrified Dwarf ran through the caverns as fast as his little legs would carry him. As he scurried for his life the stubby Dwarf could not believe that another one of his magical spells, known as galdr, had once again not worked quite as he had intended. Just days before he thought for sure that he would make for himself a small fortune by taking a single diamond and turning it into many of these purest of gems. As he peered over his shoulder, at the distant torches of those who were chasing after him, he realized that once again he had failed miserably.
Two days before Mod Sognir, the King of the Dwarves, had summoned one of his subjects to his cavern hall because he had heard of a Dwarf who claimed to be able to make diamonds multiply through the use of magic. When the Dwarf, whose name was Vilmeid, knelt before him the king pointed to a table filled with hundreds of diamonds of all shapes and sizes.
" I have heard that you can turn one into two, and two into four, with your powerful magic. I command you to double the amount of diamonds that I have laid out here in my hall on that feasting table ! " the king ordered.
Vilmeid's hands shook as he reached into his bag. They trembled even worse when he pulled out a number of sticks and began to examine each one closely. Mod Sognir squinted his eyes to try and see what Vilmeid was looking at, but all he saw were sticks which had strange symbols carved upon them that held no meaning for the Dwarf king. He began to frown when the process seemed to be taking too long. And his frown became even deeper when the Dwarf carelessly dropped the sticks on the floor. The king's confidence further evaporated when Vilmeid looked up at him nervously as if he had no clue as to what he was doing. Finally, the wizard, as he called himself, reached out and seemed to randomly pick up one stick from the pile jumbled on the floor of his hall. The king watched with great suspicion as the Dwarf rose up and walked over to the feasting table where his precious diamonds lay.
Vilmeid tried to act confidently as he stood over the diamonds with the stick held out before him. His trembling hands made it difficult for him to read the runic magic spell that was deeply carved onto the shaft of the stick. Nine times he read the spell, mispronouncing different words each time, before he closed his eyes tightly and waved the stick out over the table. In an instant there was a flash of light that blinded everyone in the cave hall whose eyes remained open.
For a moment Vilmeid thought that his spell had actually worked, but when he opened his eyes, and they adjusted to the dim lighting of the hall, he glanced down at the table and gasped in horror at what he had done. Where moments before hundreds of diamonds had glimmered in the light of the many torches in the hall, they now had been replaced by thousands of pieces of coal that lay on the table dark and dirty.
Vilmeid ran over and picked up his rune sticks, threw them into his bag, and immediately sprinted out of the hall as fast as he could. Ironically the fear of failure that had caused him to shut his eyes as he cast his spell, also saved him, and had given him a head start in his race for freedom. For all those who had closely watched his magic spell were temporarily blinded by the intensity of the flash, and did not recover their sight until he had exited the hall. Despite being outside the cavern hall Vilmeid learned of the moment they discovered his bungled magic by the shouts and screams that echoed from inside.
Holding a torch he had grabbed off of the cavern wall Vilmeid ran deeper and deeper into the earth despite knowing that there was little chance, if any, of alluding King Mod Sognir and his guards. Tired and out of breath the would be magician looked about to surrender when he stopped at what was known as the forbidden junction. To the left the tunnel made a slow turn and returned to the great hall, and from there the surface. On his right was the entrance to the cavern that was seldom if ever used any longer. By royal decree Mod Sognir had forbidden anyone to enter this tunnel years ago after the brief but extremely violent Dwarf - Jotun War. Now it seemed to be his only chance of getting away. With a deep breath Vilmeid pushed his torch out in front of him and ran down the tunnel to the right, which led to the land of the Jotuns.
Svarthofdi stood before the Council of Elders in Ljosalfheim with a confidence he had never felt before. In his hand he held the magic Elf wand that his teacher had presented to him when he had reached the point where he was ready to move onto the next level of sorcery, and be sanctioned by the Council of Elders as a Sorcerer of the Highest Magnitude. Svarthofdi had already passed two very difficult tasks with ease, and he did not see quite frankly how the Elders could possibly find a test that he could not accomplish.
The apprentice Sorcerer became a little apprehensive, however, when the Council of Elders continued to debate his next task for an unusually long time. It made him proud of himself that the Elders were having such a difficult time finding a test for him to complete, while at the same time he began to worry that they might choose an assignment that was nearly impossible even for him. Finally, after much discussion, they motioned for him to come forward. The Low Elder spoke first.
" After much deliberation we have decided that your final challenge will be to prove to us that you are strong enough to defend Ljosalfheim from attack. " he told Svarthofdi.
The High Elder spoke next.
" As you know our realm has no monsters, or evil of any kind within our borders, and yet with the Jotuns, Dwarves, Aesir, and Vanir all around us their remain good reasons for us to be concerned. " he explained.
Finally the All-High Elder addressed the student.
" There is a new realm, one that was formed by the Gods from the body of the Jotun Ymir, which they call Midgard. Here in this primeval world there lurks every form of danger and evil imaginable. Your task is to go to this realm and prove that you can kill each of these horrific monsters. When, and if, you return to Ljosalfhem you will be officially sanctioned as a Sorcerer of the Highest Magnitude ! " he told Svarthofdi.
Svarthofdi, with an air of innocent confidence, bowed to the council.
" I am greatly honored that you have given me a task as momentous as this. I promise my teacher, the Elves of our great land, and of course this High Council, that I will succeed and return here to receive the honor that I am due. " he said in an arrogant tone.
The All-High Elder placed his hand on his forehead.
" Go with the strength of the millions of our kind who will be watching you. " he replied.
Svarthofdi placed his wand in the air and closed his eyes. In a flash of light he disappeared. A second flash announced his arrival in another world. As he looked around, however, the sorcerer immediately recognized that something was very wrong. Rumor had it that Midgard was a warm humid realm, and whatever this place was it was far from from being hot and steamy. This world was both frigid and icy, with a wind that blew up his spine like the cold feel of a sword upon his spine. Svarthofdi quickly began to wonder if the Elders had lied and sent him here to further test his abilities.
Suddenly, with a six sense that all sorcerers possess, Svarthofdi felt a presence behind him. With his wand stretched out like a weapon before him he quickly spun around to confront the threat. Judging by the elements, and the terrain, he had expected to be looking up at a Jotun, but what stood cowering before him was a Dwarf who was only slightly larger than himself.
" Don't hurt me ! I mean you no harm ! " the Dwarf spat out fearfully.
Svarthofdi lowered his wand and frowned at the stubby Dwarf.
" I will not harm you. " he assured the Dwarf.
" What is your name, ......, and what are you doing here in what I suppose is Jotunheim ? " he then asked.
The Dwarf stopped cringing the moment the Elf lowered his wand.
" My name is Vilmeid,...., and I am a wizard from Svartalfheim. " he replied graciously.
The Elf looked over the ' Wizard ' suspiciously before addressing the Dwarf again.
" I am the sorcerer Svarthofdi from Ljosalfheim. " he then proudly told the Dwarf.
Then Svarthofdi, realizing that the Dwarf had not answered all of his question, asked again.
" And why are you here in Jotunheim ? "
Vilmeid rolled his eyes.
" That is a long story best left for another time. I think that we should first seek shelter from this frigid cold. I believe I see a cave opening up ahead. " he told the Elf to avoid the question.
Svarthofdi nodded that he agreed.
" Perhaps you are right my friend. " he replied.
Still wary of each other the Elf and the Dwarf entered the cave side by side. What they saw inside took them both completely by surprise.
" I have been expecting you both ! " a large but rather pretty Jotuness told them.
Svarthofdi could not hide his curiosity.
" Are you the one who has brought me to this cold realm ? " he asked.
Vidolf's laughter echoed through the cavern and out into the mountains.
" No, it was not I, Vidolf of Jotunheim, who has brought you here. Instead it was the power of fate that has brought the three of us together.
- End Chapter 2
- Next : Chapter 3 : A Harrowing Beginning
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2019.