Good Witch, Bad Witch !
Utgard - Loki's Return
Eistla, feeling that she had honored her mother by killing her evil sister, began to slowly walk back to the Jarnvid forest. When King Hastigi and Queen Imd saw that she was leaving they ran over to Eistla and stopped her. The queen gave the good witch a hug, and whispered in her ear : " Won' t you please stay with us here in Jotunheim ? " she asked . Eistla stepped back, and was about to answer when seemingly out of nowhere a large Jotun approached them. " Who are you ? " Eistla asked suspiciously. The Jotun stopped, looked her over, and then gave her a pleasant smile. " I am your father Utgard - Loki ! " he told her.
Eistla stood perfectly still for a long moment in total shock. It took the ugly young witch some time to find her voice, but when she did all she could think of to say was : " Why have you come to see me now ? " Before Utgard - Loki replied he placed a hand on each side of Eistla's head, which seemed to paralyze her, and placed her into a catatonic state. Then he spoke gently to her:
" I have come back now to repay a large debt,
One for which I have had many years to regret.
Ancient magic I have combined with sacred water,
I remove the curse that I placed upon my daughter ! "
Utgard - Loki reached into his belt and took out a small flask. He pulled the top off with his teeth while holding one hand on his daughter' s face, and then sprinkled the contents of the container onto his daughters head. Eistla recoiled and began to moan in agony as her skin began to melt away from her body ! The little witch fell to her knees, and screamed as her flesh dripped off of her face like rain drops off of leaves. Both King Hastigi and Queen Imd took a step back as they watched the ugly witch dissolve before their very eyes. And then ..... then .... she turned into a beautiful young Jotun maiden.
" What have you done to me ! " Eistla cried out. Utgard - Loki picked up his daughter, and looked deep into her beautiful blue eyes. " I have simply made amends for a wrong that I did to you many years ago. " he told her. Utgard - Loki kissed his daughter on the cheek and then stepped back to admire his little daughter. " Beautiful ! " he said with a huge grin. Then Utgard - Loki clapped his hands together twice and disappeared in a flash of light.
" Now you must stay ! " Queen Imd exclaimed. King Hastigi placed his hand on Eistla's shoulder. " Yes, my dear, please stay with us ! " he said echoing his wife's sentiment. Eistla wriggled away from King Hastigi' s grip. " When I was an ugly baby you left me to die in the Jarnvid forest. And as a child you believed me to be an evil witch because of my ugliness. But now, .... now .... that I am acceptable in appearance you want me to stay here in Jotunheim with you ! " she told them as she lost her struggle to hold back the tears. " I am still the same person I was before, and I will always be the same person ! You did not want me before ! And I do not want you now ! " she told them bitterly.
Queen Imd had begun to cry as well as she asked. " Then what will you do ? " Eistla looked at Imd through red swollen eyes. " I will go back to Jarnvid, and live with the only parents I have ever known. " she told the queen. Imd shook her head in agreement. " Would you mind if I accompanied you back home ? " the queen asked hopefully. Eistla managed a little smile. " I would not mind that at all. " she replied. Imd turned to her husband, and asked : " Does my husband mind ? " King Hastigi, who was feeling very ashamed, answered slowly : " No, it would only be right for you to see her off. "
King Hastigi ordered a horse handler to bring Queen Imd's horse, and his own horse, to the place where his great hall once stood. The king himself gave Eistla a hand in mounting his great steed. When they were ready King Hastigi stroked Eistla's hand, and with eyes that were welling with tears spoke softly to the child, who was now becoming a young woman. " We are very sorry for all the pain that we have caused you over the years, and we, all the folk of Jotunheim, sincerely hope that you will live a happy and long life. " he told her. Eistla reached down and placed her hand over his. " I do not hate you. I fully understand that this was not a situation of your making. In the future though, you should judge everyone by their deeds and not by their looks. " she lectured the king as she looked directly into his eyes. King Hastigi gave her a weak smile. " A lesson now well learned ! " he told her.
The ride to Jarnvid was nice. Eistla and Imd spoke to each other like friends. Queen Imd never realized how intelligent a young woman Eistla was. The more the queen spoke to Eistla the more she was sorry that they had not kept her instead of Ulfrun. Eistla would have made an excellent ruler of Jotunheim. Her wisdom and knowledge expanded well past her years. Queen Imd also discovered that Eistla liked the Jotun Ondud, who she had saved on the way back to Jotunheim. The queen promised to bring the young messenger with her the next time she visited the Jarnvid forest.
Queen Imd actually felt sad when they reached the edge of the forest, for she did not want the journey to end so soon. Both dismounted their horses, and left them tied up outside the forest, while they walked the short distance to the troll' s hidden underground home. They were still giggling like children when they reached the entrance to the cave home. When they spotted Branmir sitting outside of the entrance with his head in his hands crying, however, their laughter stopped !
" What is wrong father ?! " Eistla asked excitedly. Branmir looked up at the young woman who stood above him, and asked in a surprised tone : " Eistla ?! Is that really you ?! " Eistla knelt down beside her father. " Yes, it is me father ! Now please, please, tell me what is the matter !? " she asked nervously. Tears rolled down Branmir' s face as he spoke : " Your mother is dying ! Her heart could not take the pain of your leaving, and she collapsed right after you left ! " he told his daughter.
Eistla ran down the stone stairs, and into their cave home. Queen Imd followed closely behind, while Branmir slowly, and with heavy legs, walked down into the cave. " Mother ! " Eistla screamed when she saw her mother covered in sweat, and laboring for her next breath. Amvid could not respond in her weakened condition, and lay there on the straw bed with her chest rising and falling rapidly as her damaged heart and lungs tried to keep her alive.
Queen Imd lowered her head in shame. " If only we had not asked for your help, you would still have your power, and could heal her. " she told Eistla in a sad voice. Eistla did not hear what the queen had to say. The young woman placed her hands over her mothers heart, and began to push up and down with a pumping motion against her chest. As she did so Imd placed her hand on Eistla's arm. " What can you do without your magical power ? " she asked. Again Eistla did not respond. Suddenly the room became filled with the same type of particles that rained down on Jotunheim after Ulfrun' s demise. These magical particles seemed to be attracted to Eistla like a swarm of bees to honey. After a few moments Eistla began to glow the same color as these tiny fragments.
Then there was an explosion of light that made Imd and Branmir cover their eyes ! Eistla was lifted off of the floor, and hovered over her mother. As the light faded, Eistla reached out her hand to her mother . " Rise up mother. Your daughter has returned ! " she said with a smile. Amvid opened her eyes, and gulped in a huge breath of air. When she saw her daughter above her she leaned up off of the bed and hugged her daughter tightly. As Amvid held her daughter she whispered into her ear : " What has happened to you Eistla ?! You are as beautiful as a flower ! "
Branmir ran over to his wife and daughter, and joined in the hug. Imd was so touched by the moment that she began to cry. Then something occurred to her, and she became very curious. Queen Imd did not want to interrupt, but she asked anyway : " How did you do that ? " Eistla looked back at Queen Imd and smiled : " I am a witch ! I can do anything ! "
- The End
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2014.