An Uncivil War
( Part Two Of The Ítreksjóð Trilogy )
Motsognir Decides To See Odin
Durinn awoke and slowly pushed himself up into a kneeling position on the bed . It had been a little over a week since he returned from Asgard, and despite his use of liberal amounts of healing salve, his burns had only partially healed. Carefully, one at a time, he reached out and placed his feet on the stone floor. With his arms he pushed against the bed to straighten up, while at the same time bracing himself for the sharp pain that was sure to come from the burns on his back.
The leader of the Earth Dwarves would much rather have stayed in bed and rested for another week, but there were two important things Durinn had to do, and he had put them off for long enough. First, and foremost, he needed to go and see Motsognir to inform him of what had happened in Asgard. And then, Durinn had to do something he wished he could avoid doing altogether. He had to go and see Farbauti to try and explain what had gone wrong with their plan.
Durinn, as he had many times before, packed himself enough food for several days travel, and then rolled it all up in his bed roll. Normally, he would have slung the bedroll over his shoulder to carry it, but the pain of it rubbing up against his back would have been too much to bear. Instead he simply carried it in his hand as he left his house and started down the long path to the chamber of the wise one.
As Durinn left his rock house he passed several of his fellow Dwarves. Where a month ago he would have been greeted warmly, these days a polite nod was all he could hope to receive. Durinn tried to convince himself that this was because almost all of his comrades were dealing with one injury or another, related to their encounter with the dragon, and were in no mood for pleasantries. In his heart though he knew that his Dwarves harbored deep resentment towards him for leading them to Asgard, and they blamed him for the failure of the mission. All Durinn could do, however, was hope that over time their anger and distrust would heal along with their burns and other injuries.
The passages that led down to the dwelling place of Motsognir seemed darker than usual. At first Durinn blamed it on the bright flare of the dragon's flames which had affected the sight of some of the Dwarves, but the further he walked the more he began to understand that it was his new glow globe that was the problem. He had dropped and lost the one he brought to Asgard with him, and the new one he made was done hastily, and without the usual care he put into making one. As with everything else lately it was simply one more burden to deal with.
Every step in the darkness brought back memories from the cave in Asgard. Each time he moved forward he expected to hit a trip wire and hear the rumbling of rocks and boulders as they began to fall all around him. And in the stillness of the cave, where only the occasional dripping of water broke the silence, he could hear in his mind the cries for help from Heptifli and his warriors who were trapped in the second tunnel by the cave - in. Durinn knew that he would have to struggle with the memory of their deaths for as long as he lived. Not knowing exactly how they died made it haunt him even more. Did they die of thirst ? Starvation ? Or did the air they were breathing run out suffocating them ? These and many other questions about their mission weighed heavily upon him.
Durinn was relieved the next day when he saw a faint glow in the distant . He was not a Dwarf who was paranoid, or afraid to be alone, but every noise and echo in the caverns reminded him of their retreat from the dragon, and he could almost swear he heard the voices of his dead Dwarves accusing him of abandoning them in the silence.
Motsognir heard someone coming long before he was close enough to speak with them. This time, however, he did not remain seated, but rose up to greet his visitor.
" What is wrong my son ? " he asked in a worried tone.
Durinn was surprised to see Motsognir standing in the flickering light of his glow globe. His father had never stood up to greet him before.
" How do you know that something is wrong ? " he asked in turn.
Motsognir smiled briefly before answering.
" If the plan had gone well you would have come running in here, or at the very least entered at a much faster pace. The slow shuffling of your feet tells me that your mission to Asgard did not go well, and your somewhat labored breathing indicates that you were injured. " the wise one replied.
Motsognir sniffed the air before adding :
" And is that burn salve that I smell ? "
Durinn, if he weren't in so much pain from his long journey, would have been amazed at how his blind father used his other senses to " see " what others would surely have missed. All he could do in his present state of mind, however, was fall to his knees and tell his father everything that had happened.
" It was a disaster .... " Durinn began.
Motsognir listened intently, and when his son had told him all he needed to know, in what sounded like one long continuous sentence, he patted Durinn on the head and consoled him.
" Do not blame yourself my son. The plan was mine, as well as yours. How could we have known that the Asgardians had a fire breathing dragon. The Fire Giants,.. yes . The denizens of Hel,... maybe. But not the Gods ! That was something no one could have guessed . " he told his son in a calm soothing voice.
Durinn slowly rose up off of his knees, and placed his hand on his father's shoulder.
" What do we do now ? " he asked.
" Well ! You, my son, must go to Jotunheim and face Farbauti ! " he told his son forcefully, and then paused.
" Why I go and have a little talk with Odin. " he finished.
Durinn frowned deeply as he asked :
" Will Odin even agree to see you ? "
" Odin and I are men of wisdom and knowledge. Neither of us want war, or bad feelings between our two cultures,..... we will find common ground. " he assured his son.
Then Motsognir reached out and removed his son's hand from his shoulder.
" I will pack a few things and we will leave for the surface at once. " he told Durinn.
For a blind man Motsognir knew where everything he needed for the trip was in his chamber. In a very short time the old Dwarf was ready to leave and reached out his arm to his son. Durinn grabbed hold of it, and the father and son began the ascent to the land of light.
When they reached the underground settlement many of the Dwarves offered eagerly to be the one to escort Motsognir to Asgard. The old blind Dwarf, however, made his own choice. He decided on Ivaldi the Elder, who he had known for years. He did this for two reasons, both wise in their own way. First Ivaldi was nearly as old and wise as he was, and if something happened along the way he could complete his mission to speak to Odin. More importantly, however, Ivaldi's sons had made wonderful gifts for the Gods, and Motsognir hoped that seeing Ivaldi would soften Odin's angry heart, and allow them to speak to the Lord of Asgard more freely.
Modi objected to the three Dwarves leaving the cavern, but Magni, who inherited a little more of Odin's wisdom than his brother, disagreed.
" Motsognir and Ivaldi the Elder are going to see grandfather, and I see no harm in that. And Durinn is heading off to visit with Farbauti. He will either return,... or be killed by the Frost Giant for the failed attempt to steal our treasure which killed his Giants. " he explained.
Durinn shot Magni an dirty look before Modi spoke again :
" That may be,.... but I do not trust these little Dwarves ! " he told his brother angrily.
Durinn and Motsognir said their goodbyes at the mouth of the great cavern. Motsognir, who would act as a diplomat for the Earth Dwarves, was led down into the valley of the Lovarr by Ivaldi. As they left his son could hear them laughing over old times. Durinn, however, went in the opposite direction as he followed a path up to a nearby cave that led to the cold world of the Frost Giants.
The parting of father and son was not lost to the Rock Giants. Fjalar had stationed two Dwarves, Arkose and Chert, on a bluff that overlooked the entrance to the Earth Dwarves domain. When they saw the Earth Dwarves leave Arkose agreed to stay and keep watch, while Chert hurried back to tell Fjalar and Galar of the new development.
High above, in the Svartalfheim sky, two ravens rode the thermals that came up out of the valley. The moment the Earth Dwarves, and the Rock Dwarf departed, Hugin left Munin, and flew back to Asgard.
- End Chapter 3
- Next : Chapter 4 : A Change In Plans
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.