Good Witch, Bad Witch !
Evil Is Born
Utgard - Loki at first tried to charm the young Jotun, but the maiden was not moved by his less than subtle advances. Hefring, who was only 180 years old, was not ready to be tied down in marriage. Especially to a Jotun like Utgard - Loki, who had to be at least 3 times her age ! Instead of his overtures bringing her out of her self imposed shell, they simply pushed her further away, and made her angry, and resentful. Utgard - Loki wanted Hefring to love him for who he was, but when she turned him away time after time, he decided a little help was needed.
Utgard - Loki went to work at once on a magical spell that would make the fair maiden want him as much as he wanted her. The huge Jotun carefully mixed herbs and roots into a liquid mixture of his own blood, and let it simmer over a low fire for several days. He then took the powerful concentrated mixture, and poured it into a small glass flask. Utgard - Loki then cast a spell over the potion to double its power. The Jotun was not a very good witch . His great gift was as an illusionist, and magician of sorts. As he looked at the orange colored fluid in the flask he was not absolutely sure that his concoction would work. He knew, however, that there was only one way to find out if it would be effective.
One day, as Hefring was carrying two buckets back to her small hut from the spring, Utgard - Loki generously offered to carry them for her. Hefring agreed to let him help, but only if he left as soon as they reached her home. Utgard - Loki carried the buckets of water into the hut, and set them gently down by the fire pit. Then when Hefring was not looking he poured the magical potion into one of the buckets. The master illusionist asked if he could stay, but Hefring demanded that he leave at once in an angry tone ! As Utgard - Loki was leaving he said under his breath : " Soon you will be begging me to stay ! "
The next day Utgard - Loki greeted Hefring as she was picking herbs from her garden. Instead of the usual cold reception that he normally received from her, the fair maiden smiled at him, and invited the Jotun suitor inside. After serving Utgard - Loki a lunch of stew, and a few horns of ale to wash it down, Hefring could no longer control herself, and gave into his passions.
Utgard - Loki could not have been happier ! He had gotten the fair maiden that he so desired, and the potion he had concocted made their nights together very pleasurable. It did not take long for Hefring to become pregnant, which delighted Utgard - Loki to no end. Everything was going perfectly until one day the great illusionist noticed that Hefring did not seem to be quite as attentive to his needs as usual. Then slowly, over time, she began to once again hate the Jotun she shared a bed with. Utgard - Loki realized that his potion was wearing off. More importantly he understood that Hefring never did really love him. He thought about making another potion, but knew that this would only mask her hatred, and that she would never have any true feelings for him. The only bond left between them was their child. A brand new life conceived from hatred and deceit !
Utgard - Loki became very, very angry ! He decided that if he could not have her love, then she would never have the love of her child. While she slept he placed his hand on her belly, and chanted curse after curse on the child within that would make it forever hate its mother. Then Utgard - Loki gathered up his things and left. He was tired of being in a loveless marriage and thought it better to live on his own in a world of illusion of his own creation, than to suffer in this world of reality. He decided to travel forever throughout Jotunheim alone. He even changed his name to Skrymir.
The spell, however, did not work as intended. Utgard - Loki was not very good at casting spells, and more importantly he did not know that Hefring was carrying not one, but two children in her womb. He had cursed but one child leaving the other to come into this world unaffected by his awful spell. Well, almost unaffected that is !
When it was time for Hefring to give birth, a Jotun midwife named Amgerd assisted in the delivery. The first child came easily, and was a beautiful little baby. The second child was larger, and the birth was very difficult, and extremely painful. When its wide shoulders finally struggled free, the child slid out. The midwife, however, did not hold onto the baby, but instead let it slide out of her hands, and onto the floor. Amgerd stood screaming when she saw the hideous creature that lay wailing and writhing on the ground !
Hefring never had a chance to see the second child. She began to hemorrhage during the second birth, and bled out right after the grotesque misshapen child emerged. Because Hefring died it was Amgerd who named the children. The normal, pretty little baby, the midwife named Ulfrun, and the hideous little creature she called Eistla. Not knowing what to do with the children, because they no longer had parents, Amgerd brought the two babies to King Hastigi and Queen Imd, the rulers of Jotunheim.
Amgerd had never been to the great hall. As she walked up the center aisle that led to the royal high seats, she took notice of each and every gold cup, and silver utensil. Coming from a poor family she had never seen such opulence. The midwife was jolted back to reality when she reached the end of the great hall, and stood before the king and queen of Jotunheim. Amgerd became so nervous as she stood before the Jotun royalty that she began to shake. The midwife was embarrassed by her manner of dress. What she wore resembled mere rags compared to the fine clothes that both the king and queen were wearing . Amgerd gave the royal couple a half curtsy, which in itself was difficult while holding both infants, and then waited for permission to speak.
The king was the first to address the midwife. " I have been told that you have an important matter to discuss with me. " King Hastigi told her. Amgerd bowed. " Yes, my lord ! " she answered nervously. Queen Imd looked impatiently at her husband, and then back at the girl. " Child, one bow is quite enough ! Please tell us why you have come ! " Imd told the midwife. Amgerd without thinking bowed again. " Yes, my lady ! " Amgerd replied. " I was summoned to act as a midwife for the Jotun Hefring, my lord and lady, and the woman died in child birth ! Hefring has no relatives, and her husband cannot be found ! I have come before you because I do not know what to do with these children ! " she said holding up the babies.
Queen Imd's eyes lit up like a bonfire on a cold Jotun night ! The king and queen had tried for many years to have a child, but were unsuccessful. The queen' s first thought as she stepped down from her high seat was that if the children looked agreeable she would implore the king that they adopt them. " May I see the children ? " she asked the midwife. Amgerd curtsied and then pulled the blanket away from Ulfrun' s face. Queen Imd inhaled a deep breath when she saw the child. " Oh, how beautiful she is ! " she exclaimed as she glanced back at her husband. Then Amgerd slowly pulled the blanket away from Eistla 's face.
Queen Imd gasped in horror ! " What in the nine worlds is that horrible creature ! " she shouted . Amgerd apologized at once ! " I am sorry, my lady ! I should have warned you that the second child was deformed ! " she told the queen nervously. Queen Imd took a second look, and then recoiled at the sight of the horrific little monster. Amgerd quickly covered Eistla so as not to disturb the queen further, who now looked as though she might become ill .
King Hastigi, seeing the horror in his wife' s expression stepped down off of his high seat, and walked over to the now covered child. " Remove the blanket from this child's face ! " he ordered. Amgerd bowed her head, and slowly pulled back the blanket revealing the misshapen skull of the infant. The king winced at the child's ugliness, and then quickly threw the blanket back over the face of the creature. King Hastigi's body gave a small involuntary shudder as he turned his attention to the other child. As he peered down at the second, beautiful baby, the child smiled up at him and reached out to him with its tiny hand. King Hastigi laughed as he lovingly rubbed the child's nose with his finger. Then the king stepped back up onto his high seat. Imd smiled at her husband as she returned to her seat .
King Hastigi stroked his beard for a few moments in contemplation before speaking. " I proclaim that from this day forward the first child .... Ulfrun.... will be my adopted daughter, and princess of Jotunheim ! " Then he shook his head in disgust. " And I further order that this other .... creature.... the one named Eistla.... be left out in the cold woods of Jarnvid to die from exposure !
- End Chapter 1
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2014.
Next : Chapter 2 : Cast Out !