" Well ! Where to begin.? " he asked himself out loud. " I joined King Hallkell's army, along with my good friend Thord, about ten years ago. My friend and I have fought in many battles together, and we have both risen through the ranks to lead our own men in the More army. " he told her. " More recently I was attacked by three warriors at once while we were fighting by the Harbard Fjord, and was stabbed through the chest by a spear. That is where you found me ! I was dying, and if not for you I would not have survived. " he added.
Skogul laughed. " Spoken like a true warrior ! " she told him as she lifted her head off of his chest. " Have you no mother or father ? " she asked. " No brothers or sisters to speak of ? " she added before he could answer.
Kolskegg smiled and rubbed her shoulder. " My father, Egil, was a blacksmith. And a very good one at that I might add ! My mother was Gersemi..... her parents named her after Freyja's daughter. Like the Goddess she was a beautiful woman. Even after her hair turned gray, and her face wrinkled, you could still see how pretty she was. " he told her, and then paused. " They are both gone now, taken by old age and disease. I have no brothers and sisters. " he explained sadly.
Kolskegg cleared his throat. " And now it is your turn my pretty little maiden ! I wish to know absolutely everything that there is to know about Skogul the Valkyrie. " he told her in a somewhat demanding tone.
Skogul took a deep breath and placed her head back on Kolskegg's chest . " I am not sure where it is that I came from. I was " born " by the side of a lake, and my first memories are of swimming in its clear water in my swan skin. I was raised by Brynhild who too me under her wings, and when I was old enough I was brought before Odin, swore a blood oath to him, and was honored to be accepted as one of his maidens. I have served Valfather faithfully for many years now ! " she explained. Skogul then lifted her head and smiled at Kolskegg. " Oh, and by the way, I have met both Freyja and Gersemi ! " she told him with a giggle.
Kolskegg and Skogul became very quiet as they gazed upon the heavens. Only the crickets, and the pond frogs, broke the silence. First Skogul, and then Kolskegg, succumbed to their desire to sleep.
Kolskegg awoke to the early morning sounds of an army camp. In the cold morning air he could hear what was known as the " camp cough " being expelled from the throats of hundreds of warrriors. A woodpecker kept time off in the distance, as a multitude of chirping birds completed the early morning symphony. The warrior was debating whether to lay his head back down, or get up, when Sunna' s first rays came streaming over a distant mountain, and made up his mind for him.
" Wake my love ! It is time for us to leave this place. " Kolskegg told Skogul as he gently shook her. The Valkyrie placed her arms around her lover' s neck and kissed him on the cheek. Slowly she opened her eyes and saw the dawn breaking over Midgard. " Oh, my ! " she shouted in a hoarse whisper. " I must be going ! " she told Kolskegg as she jumped quickly to her feet.
" Do I not even get a last kiss before you leave ? " he asked with a cute pout. Skogul smiled and knelt down bedside Kolskegg. " A quick one my love, or I will be in trouble with my sisters ! " she told him before she kissed him on the lips. As Skogul ran to her horse Kolskegg picked up his bearskin coat and shook it in the morning breeze to clean it of debris. Then the great warrior placed it on his shoulders and headed back to camp smiling from ear to ear.
Kolskegg had barely reached his tent when he heard footsteps behind him. " Where in the nine worlds have you been my old friend ? " Thord asked suspiciously. Kolskegg grinned. " I spent the night making love to a Valkyrie down by the pond ! " he told his friend. Thord did not appreciate the humor as he replied : " Very funny ! The king will have both of our asses if we do not have our men ready to move out by sunup ! " he shouted as he stormed off to see to his own men.
Skogul did not bother to use the stirrups to mount her winged horse, but instead leaped onto the saddle from behind. As she settled in her saddle she kicked Harbinger into the air : " Ride like the wind my friend, or I will be in for a world of trouble ! " she shouted to her winged friend.
Skogul continued to kick her mount all the way back to Valhalla. As Harbinger landed by the lake she noticed that the horse had become quite lathered, and was panting profusely. She also became aware of something much more alarming as she dismounted. Coming toward her from the lake shore were two of her sister Valkyries..... and they did not look happy !
" What is this ? " Skogul asked nervously as her sisters approached. Geirahod, who was leading the way, spoke first. " You lying bitch ! " she shouted at Skogul. You disloyal lying bitch !! " Geirahod repeated as she stood only feet away from Skogul's face.
Skogul tried to remain calm. " What do you mean Geirahod ? " she asked innocently. Geirahod shook her head back and forth violently. " Save your lies for Gondul ! " the angry Valkyrie screamed at Skogul. Radgrid, although much calmer, stepped forward and spoke sternly to her sister. " Your lies no longer hold any weight sister. I was with Geirahod in Midgard, and I saw you with your human lover ! " she explained loudly to her sister Valkyrie. Skogul lowered her head, for she no longer had any answers for their accusations.
The shouting reverberated around the lake, and its surrounding forest. Slowly, one by one, all of the other Valkyries gathered around Skogul and her accusers. Although they did not hear the whole story, they had heard enough to want an explanation from Skogul about her recent actions.
Geirahod spun around and addressed her sister Valkyries as if she were in Forseti' s court preferring charges against a defendant. " Sisters ! Please gather round, and let me tell you of our dear sister Skogul's deceit and lies ! " she told them. She then paused dramatically to allow them to gather. " Our sister, who we trusted, and who like all Valkyries took a blood oath to abide by Odin's laws, has broken her sacred pledge to Valfather, and in turn to us, my loyal sisters ! " she told them with an angry stare.
Geirahod turned and pointed at Skogul. " I, along with my sister Radgrid, have seen with our own eyes why Skogul has been inefficient in her work ethic, and at times derelict in her duties. Our sister has shifted her loyalties to a lover ! " she shouted. " And the worst part of all this is that he is not an Elf, or a God, but a human being ! " she screamed shaking her fist at Skogul.
Geirahod placed her hand on Radgrid' s shoulder. " Please, sister, tell them what you have witnessed ! " Geirahod instructed her. Radgrid stepped forward, and in a calm voice spoke to the gathering : " Sisters, yesterday I traveled with Geirahod to Midgard where I witnessed a vile act of betrayal on Skogul's part. I saw Skogul being intimate with a human who is named Kolskegg. They embraced and kissed..... and obviously we can assume that her tardiness this morning was caused because she spent the night with her lover ! " she told them.
A gasp rose up from the gathering. " Is it true ? ", " Has Skogul betrayed us ? " , " How could she do such a thing ? ! " were just a few of the discussions that were taking place between the Valkyries. Geirahod stepped forward and pushed Skogul. " You no longer belong here in Asgard ! Odin has no need of the likes of a lying bitch like you ! " she screamed as she pushed Skogul a second time. Then from the crowd one of the Valkyries shouted : " Is this true Skogul ? " Geirahod pushed Skogul again. " Tell them ! Tell them the truth !! " she screamed only inches away from Skogul's face.
Skogul was confused by all of her conflicting emotions. She felt love, pain, humiliation, betrayal, and now she was becoming angry ! When Geirahod pushed her once again Skogul screamed : " Yes ! Yes ! I love the human Kolskegg !" Geirahod smiled in triumph. " Then you must leave Valhalla forever ! " she shouted as she pushed Skogul yet again.
This time Skogul could not contain her anger any longer, and she rushed forward and pushed Geirahod with all of her might. Geirahod flew through the air for several feet before landing hard upon the ground. The Valkyries gasped as Skogul in her fury drew her sword and screamed back at her sister : " Yes, I love him, and I am not going anywhere ! "
Geirahod immediately jumped up and drew her sword as well ! " You dare to threaten one of Odin' s maidens with harm ! " she screamed at Skogul in disbelief. Skogul stepped forward menacingly and shouted : " I will kill for the man that I love ! " Hearing Skogul' s hateful words Radgrid ran away from Geirahod, and all of the other Valkyries stepped away from the two combatants.
Skogul was furious and attacked at once. She slashed and stabbed with her sword like a shield maiden possessed by a berserker ! At first Geirahod was able to block all of her sister's wild blows, and was even able to counter with a few strikes of her own. But Geirahod had not anticipated the strength of Skogul' s anger, and she was slow in responding to a particularly vicious sword stroke which cut her hand. Skogul followed this up with a lunging stab with her sword that caught Geirahod in the right shoulder. The injured Vakyrie fell to her knees, and dropped her sword. When the realization hit her that she had actually been stabbed she placed her hand over the wound. Her hand quickly became covered in blood which she showed to the other Valkyries with a stunned look upon her face. Then she turned her gaze back to her opponent.
Skogul stood above Geirahod with an angry look upon her face ready to strike down her sister Valkyrie. Skogul raised her sword as her sisters let out a chorus of, "No ! " As the sword began to descend upon her Geirahod instinctively raised her arm to block the blow, as she awaited her death, suddenly, and unexpectedly, there was a loud clang as hardened steel met hardened steel !
Gondul had been swimming in the lake when the shouting began. It took her a little time to swim to shore and remove her swan skin. Then she quickly drew her sword from its scabbard and ran to help her friend Skogul. When she arrived, however, it was not Skogul who was in trouble, but instead it was Geirahod who was in danger of losing her life. Gondul pushed her way through the ring of Valkyries that surrounded the two combatants, and swung her sword just in time to save Geirahod from Skogul' s death blow !
" Have you lost your mind ! " Gondul screamed at Skogul. " The penalty for killing one of Odin's maidens is death ! " she reminded her friend. Skogul looked at the friend she had known since childhood and screamed as she began to cry. " For the first time in my life I am happy, and I will not allow anyone to take that away from me ! " Gondul' s eyes watered as well as she lowered her sword. " Please Skogul ! I am begging you to let this go ! " she pleaded. Skogul screamed in frustration, and placed her sword back in its sheath. Skogul did not say another word. She walked back to Harbinger, mounted her steed, and flew away.
Geirahod, who now felt the full throbbing of pain from her wound, yelled after her : " This is not over ! Odin shall hear of this ! " The other Valkyries quickly gathered around their wounded sister to aid her. Hrist suggested that she be brought at once to the Goddess Eir, and all agreed this to be a good idea. Hlokk agreed to take her wounded sister, and quickly ran to fetch her horse. She then carefully helped Geirahod onto her mount and flew away.
Gondul stood not knowing what to say as she watched Hlokk fly off with their wounded sister. She was startled when she felt a tap on her shoulder. When she turned Herfjotur stood before her with a worried look upon her face. " Sister, what shall we do about Skogul ? " she asked nervously. Gondul shook her head from side to side. " I am afraid that this matter is now out of our hands ! " she replied sadly.
- End Chapter 5
- Next : Chapter 6 : Geirahod Tells All !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.