Two Can Play That Game !
Loki, in his seal form, was not in control of his faculties. His only thought, and purpose, was to swim out to where that beautiful voice was calling to him. It rang in his ears, and soothed his thoughts, as he swam ever closer to the source of the melody. And the nearer he came the greater became the ache and need to reach his destination.
Heimdall, using the powers he had inherited from his Jotun mothers reluctantly transformed himself into a seal, and dove into the cold ocean. Heimdall, however, was not as familiar with shape changing as was Loki, and at first he floundered in the water like a wounded fish. It took the silent sentinel several trips to the surface to catch his breath before he was able to get his flippers to work in unison. First he would steer right, and then he would overcompensate and veer left. By the time he finally was able to swim in a straight line Loki was well out in front of him.
Loki had not seen the rock from the shore that jutted up out of the ocean like a small island. The force that was calling to him in a seductive whisper was drawing him to what Loki could only describe as a singasteinn. Despite the constant singing that drew him ever nearer, Loki became wary as he came closer to the skerry, and slowed down to take a better look before climbing up onto the rock.
Heimdall could not understand why Loki was heading out into the depths of the ocean.
" The deceiver of Gods would have been better served if he had hidden himself in the mountains, or among the trees of a deep thick forest. " Heimdall thought to himself as he began to gain a little on Loki.
After doing an unintended complete spin in the water, Heimdall saw what Loki was heading for out in the ocean. Up ahead a rock rose up out of the vast sea like a large mushroom towering over a field of grass. Heimdall wriggled his long nose, which tickled his large whiskers, and whispered to himself.
" I have never seen a skerry this far out in the ocean. How unnatural ! " he thought out loud.
Loki slowly circled the great stone, which seemed to almost magically float in the middle of the sea. The Deceiver of Gods noticed that on the back side of the rock it had a level edge that was fairly smooth. With no one in sight , and the melody seemingly coming from this location, he decided that he would rest there to decide what to do next. Loki circled around the singasteinn first and picked up a little speed using his large flippers, and then swam rapidly towards the rock. As he saw the lip of the rock just ahead he launched himself into the air. Just as Loki felt his blubbery little body leaving the water he was tugged back into, and under, the water from behind.
The force was such that the Brisingamen necklace did not follow Loki back into the water, but flew off of his neck, and landed precariously close to the edge of the rock. Here a wave of almost any size and strength could wash it off into the depths where it would be lost forever.
As he sank deeper into the ocean, Loki circled his body around to see what had gotten a hold of him. What he saw shocked him ! A seal had grabbed a hold of his tail with its teeth, and was forcing him under. Loki was unsure what he should do until he decided that two can play that game. Loki curled his seal body all the way over, and bit the attacking seal's tail !
Heimdall screamed inside from the intense pain as Loki's teeth sank into his tail. The Guardian of Asgard could not believe the incredible silliness of it all. Here in the middle of the ocean, on Midgard, two Asgardian Gods were biting each other's tails in the shape of seals !
" Not even Bragi would dare tell such a tall tale ! " Heimdall thought to himself.
But there they were twirling around in circles under the Northern Sea, neither one willing to relinquish their hold on the other, as they sank deeper and deeper into the cold dark water. They both knew that this was not a contest to see who could hold onto the other's tail longer, but a struggle to see which of them could hold their breath the longest. In that regard Heimdall held the advantage.
Before grabbing a hold of Loki's tail Heimdall had inhaled a huge breath of air that filled his lungs. Loki, on the other hand, was surprised when he was caught, and was only able to take a short breath before becoming submerged. The trickster held on for as long as he could, but when his lungs began to burn for oxygen the trickster let go of the other seal's tail, and pulled himself away as hard as he could. The force of Loki's sudden movement ripped off the end of his tail causing intense pain, but it released him from his enemy's grip.
Heimdall felt relieved when the intense pressure of Loki's grip on his tail subsided, but a moment later his opponent swirled his body around in a circle and Heimdall was left with only a bloody stump in his mouth. When the shock of what happened wore off Heimdall spit out the bloody chunk of tail and swam after Loki, who was headed at full speed to the surface.
Loki could feel the pressure and pain of holding his breath for so long in his lungs, his eyeballs, and even in his head. He felt as though his chest would explode at any moment, and yet as he looked up at the surface it seemed so far away. Loki used his front and rear flippers in such a way as he had never swam before. Then, just as he was about to involuntarily inhale, he shot out of the water as though he were pumice being expelled from a volcano.
Loki landed on the singasteinn hard, and immediately shape - changed back into his natural form. Unable to move as he tried desperately to inhale enough air, all the trickster could do was lay flat on the rock and gasp for what his body so desperately needed. Heimdall surfaced at the edge of the rock and took a long deep breath. Unlike Loki, however, he was not incapacitated by his lack of oxygen. As he bobbed up and down for a moment in the water he saw the Brisingamen necklace hanging off of the edge of a pointy rock. Ignoring Loki's plight Heimdall put his neck through the necklace, and then dove back into the water taking the Brisingamen with him.
Loki saw the seal take the necklace, but at first he could not respond. Finally, when he felt reinvigorated by his intake of oxygen, he rolled over and was about to shape change back into a seal when he felt a sharp pain in his rear. As Loki contorted his body he saw the blood running down his legs, and his eyes narrowed and his anger grew.
" That son of a bitch seal bit me in the ass ! " he said out loud.
Loki shape changed once again into a seal and dove back into the ocean. He had seen the other seal swim away with the necklace, and he knew that it would be weighed down as it swam back to the shore. As he turned to swim around the rock Loki was very confident he could catch the little thief. Then, once again something grabbed a hold of him, and he could not move !
Heimdall was struggling with the necklace as he swam back to the beach. As he peered behind him he heard a splash and moments later he saw Loki as he swam to the side of the rock. Heimdall began to swim with renewed energy, but he was fairly certain that he could not out swim Loki. When Heimdall looked back at the rock again, however, he saw Loki go under and not come back up. From time to time he continued to peek behind him to see if Loki had resurfaced, but he was now nowhere to be found.
When Heimdall reached the surf he immediately shape changed back into his God form and walked to the beach. As he emerged from the sea water he whistled to Gulltop, who obeyed his command instantly and came running to its master. As Heimdall mounted Gulltop he realized that he had been wounded by Loki's teeth in the behind. For Heimdall it would be a long and very painful ride back to Asgard.
Loki shape changed back into his Jotun form as soon as the creature threw him violently onto the rock. The beast had the head of a water serpent, with a massive set of teeth, and the tail of a common fish. As Loki lay there preparing to fend off the creature it suddenly changed into a beautiful maiden.
" You are lucky, one called Loki, for Odin has asked that your life be spared. Of course when Valfather is done with your punishment you may wish that you have stayed with me ! " she told the land creature with a sly grin.
" When Odin arrives we will see if your life is worth three nights of pleasure ! " she told Loki as she began to laugh like a mad woman.
With one hand the water maiden lifted Loki off of the rock, an then she began to sing another song. This time she was singing to Odin himself !
- End Chapter 9
Next : Chapter 10 : The Necklace Returned
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.