A Friend In Need.....
Hrimgrimnir did not know if he would live through a battle with Thor, and therefore decided to kill Aurvandil first. He was greatly angered that a Jotun, who he had allowed to join him on his Midgardian raids, would betray him in such a vile way. He was determined that Aurvandil would pay for his treachery with his life !
Aurvandil's attention was concentrated on Thor's battle in the distance between the God and his former comrades. He did not hear, nor did he sense, that someone was silently moving behind him. It was not until a twig snapped directly in back of him that he realized that he was not alone. Aurvandil spun around quickly, but he did not have time to react to the sword thrust that entered his side just beneath the rib cage.
" You are a traitor to your people, and to Jotunheim ! Now it is time for you to die !! " Aurvandil screamed at the injured Jotun.
Aurvandil was not quick enough to stop the first sword thrust, but he was faster than Hrimgrimnir the second time. With lightning reflexes he grabbed Hrimgrimnir's arm just above the hilt with one hand, while placing the other hand around the Jotun's throat. At first both were of equal strength, but as Aurvandil began to lose his life's blood through his wound, he began to weaken. Hrimgrimnir soon gained the upper hand, and managed to throw Aurvandil to the ground. As Hrimgrimnir stood over the injured Jotun he glared down at him.
" Time to die you bastard ! " Hrimgrimnir shouted.
Hrimgrimnir placed both hands on the hilt of his sword, and raised it over his head to deliver the final killing blow. He grinned when he saw the terror in Aurvandil's eyes. Then, something caught his attention at the edge of his peripheral vision. As he looked up he saw Thor leaping at him with his hammer held high and ready to strike. Hrimgrimnir tried to re- position his sword to block the blow, but it was too late. The weak Jotun sun being blocked out by Mjolnir was the last thing that Hrimgrimnir saw before the hammer's head crushed his skull into hundreds of tiny bone fragments.
Aurvandil had to look away as Thor took the full force of his fury out on the Jotun's body. When Thor had finally satisfied his blood lust there wasn't enough of Hrimgrimnir left to identify. After a long moment a much calmer and more rational Thunder God turned and looked down at Aurvandil.
" Are you hurt badly ? " he asked the Jotun.
Aurvandil removed his hand from over the wound and showed Thor the bloody hole that had been ripped in his side.
" I am hurt badly, and I fear the wound may be fatal ! " he told Thor nervously.
Thor nodded, and handed Aurvandil a cloth to place over the wound to stem the bleeding.
" Cover the wound with this, and apply a gentle pressure ! " he told Aurvandil.
Thor then began to look around as if he were searching for something.
" The Goddess Eir has taught me how to heal wounds quickly using certain roots, moss, and other medicinal herbs that grow wild in the forest .... and I think I see all that I need right here to make you a healing salve. " he explained calmly to the injured Jotun.
Thor was not gone long, and when he returned he had a variety of strange looking roots, moss, nuts, and tree bark in his hands. Aurvandil watched through cloudy eyes as the Thunder God pounded these into a wet pulpy mush on a small boulder. The God then soaked up the mixture into the moss, and walked over to the Jotun. Thor bent down and picked up the Jotuns hand that was holding the cloth. He placed the treated moss over the wound, and then took off his belt of strength. Lifting the Jotun with one arm he worked the belt around him with the other. Thor then strapped the belt over the moss to hold it in place.
After the initial shock of the wet moss being placed into his open wound began to wear off Aurvandil felt the pain began to dissipate like fog before the morning sun. As the Jotun began to relax, he noticed that Thor had moved away again and was beginning to cut down a number of thick vines that were growing in the area.
" What is the Mighty Thor up to now ? " Aurvandil asked.
Thor grinned at the Jotun.
" Tomorrow morning we will begin the long journey to get you home to your wife. In your condition it is better that I carry you, then let you walk. I am going to weave a strong basket out of these thick vines to safely carry you home. " he explained to the inquisitive Jotun.
Aurvandil grimaced a little from a twinge of pain, and then lowered his head in shame.
" You are not the terrible being that I thought you were. " the Jotun told Thor.
Thor laughed !
" I am generous to those who reach out to me, and merciless to anyone who does me, or those I protect, harm ! " Thor replied as he stripped the leaves off of the vine.
Aurvandil smiled, but did not reply. The medicine in the moss had not only a healing property, but it also had the effect of making the injured person drowsy. The Jotun was soon fast asleep.
The next day Aurvandil awoke to what in Jotunheim would be considered a bright sunny day. As he looked up into the dull shine of their distant sun he could see the outlines of scavenger birds circling overhead. The Jotun knew that as soon as he and Thor left they would descend upon what remained of the bodies of Hrimgrimnir and his companions, and feast on their battered corpses.
After a hearty meal of oatmeal and dried herring Thor placed Aurvandil in the vine basket, and flung the Jotun over his shoulder. The Thunder God then began the long journey to reunite Aurvandil with his wife Groa at their home near the Jotun border with Midgard.
Thor tirelessly carried the Jotun over cold snowy mountains, and through dense woods. When Thor reached the river Elivagar he hitched up his pants, and waded across, carefully keeping the basket from sinking into the water. Once on the other side he flung the basket once again over his shoulder, and continued on his way.
The God of Thunder did not realize, however, that when he flung the basket over his shoulder the second time the Jotun's toe had stuck out from the blanket that covered it and was exposed to the frigid Jotun air. By nightfall Aurvandil began to complain that his toe was aching, and shortly thereafter he lost all feeling in the appendage. When Thor finally grew tired he placed the basket back down on the ground to make camp. It was then that Thor noticed that the toe had blackened and become useless. The God of Thunder broke off the useless appendage and threw it up into the air with such might that it exploded in the night sky and became a star in the heavens.
As Thor looked up at the new shining star he smiled.
" For helping me catch those who invaded Midgard, and killed my father's children, I have honored you for eternity with a star that will be forever known as " Aurvandil's Toe ". Even as dawn slowly breaks your star will shine brightly in the morning sky ! " Thor told the Jotun proudly.
" I am forever grateful ! " was all Aurvandil could think to say about being honored in such a spectacular way.
Thor smiled at the night sky as he continued to watch the star shine brightly in the heavens. Then, suddenly, Thor's smile disappeared ! The God lifted his ear up in the air as though he were trying to hear some distant voice. After a moment the Thunder God nodded his head, and then turned to Aurvandil.
" I am afraid that I must leave you now my friend. I have been summoned to my father's hall, and there is no time to waste ! " he told Aurvandil.
Thor shook his head.
" It seems that my father is having a slight problem with one of your kind ! " he added sarcastically.
Aurvandil laughed !
" Then go my friend ! In a fortnight I will be strong enough to travel on my own. So go and help your people ! " he told Thor with a smile.
- The End Of ' Aurvandil's Toe '
- Next : Thor's Duel With Hrungnir ( A Retelling )
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.