Gullveig : Friend Of Wicked Women
........ And chaos ruled the land ! The effects of the potion spread throughout the population like a wildfire through a forest. From hut to longhouse, from village to town, and from kingdom to kingdom, an epidemic of anger and hatred covered the land like a swarm of locusts devouring a wheat field. No one was safe, and no one was spared.
The spell affected everyone differently. Some of those who drank the magical mead became only mildly agitated, and difficult to deal with, while others became uncontrollably violent . Wives would not speak to their husbands, lifelong friends became enemies, and kingdoms went to war over the most insignificant of circumstances. Lifelong marriages were destroyed, and children were forced to run away from abusive parents. As a few looked for solutions to the growing problem, most however only added to the chaos and confusion that reigned over almost all of Southern Norway.
And at the center of it all was the Goddess Gullveig. The Queen of Seidr, in her disguise as Arinvi, traveled around the southern kingdoms, with her human companion Mjaðveig, admiring what she had accomplished as if it were a fine work of art. Everywhere they went they saw the results of their handiwork. The weak ran scared, while the strong became ever more power hungry. The pitiful broken bodies of the dead, and the helpless dying, lay everywhere. And with every new village that Arinvi / Gullveig visited with her human accomplice, they expanded the epidemic of chaos a little more !
Even the strongest of warriors could not stay in power for very long. Kings and Jarls were killed by their commanders, who in turn died at the hands of the very same warriors who helped them usurp power in the first place. Power changed almost daily in a ruthless cycle of blood.
The death and destruction did not bother Gullveig, but Mjaðveig was terrified by what she saw happening all around her ! She had expected that the spell cast by the Goddess of Magic would cause turmoil here in Midgard, but she never dreamed that it could reach this level of intense violence. And she, Mjaðveig, a simple housewife a few weeks ago, had helped to cause all of this carnage and sorrow.
One horrible day in particular they came to a village that had been hit especially hard by the effects of the potent elixir. The village itself had been burned to the ground, and most of its inhabitants lay scattered all around. While Gullveig laughed with joy over what they had done, Mjaðveig ran to the side of the road and vomited. No matter how many times she wretched, however, she could not purge her soul of the evil deed that she had committed.
Mjaðveig was most affected by a woman she saw who had died from being stabbed in the back, apparently by a sword. The woman lay sprawled on the ground with her hands still around the child's neck that she had strangled before she met her own end. She could not help but wonder if it was the woman's own child who she had killed !
Mjaðveig could not look at the carnage anymore ! She ran off into the woods crying, and did not stop until she reached a river that was too wide for her to cross. There, on the muddy bank, she knelt down and screamed as loud as she could ! In her state of mental distress, and utter confusion, she did not notice that Gullveig had followed her into the forest. Mjaðveig thought she was alone until she heard a twig snap behind her. When she looked up she saw Gullveig smiling down at her.
" I did not know that it would be this horrible ! " Mjaðveig blurted out.
" Do you think I went too far ? " the Goddess asked.
Mjaðveig wiped her eyes, and rubbed her running nose with her dress sleeve before answering.
" Too far ! People are dying everywhere ! I thought the spell you cast would,.... as you put it, .... make people angry, and take it out on the one's closest to them. I assumed their anger would manifest itself verbally, not physically ! I did not expect my people to kill each other ! " she blurted out.
Gullveig narrowed her eyes, but the anger that flared inside her faded as quickly as it had ignited.
" Yes ! I did make the potion a little stronger than I needed to, but even now as we speak the effects are weakening, and the hatred and intolerance your people now feel will slowly subside into mere dislike, and annoyance. " she explained to her nervous human accomplice.
Gullveig floated over to Mjaðveig and gently placed her hand under the woman's chin.
" The question I need answered is are you still with me ? " Gullveig asked.
Mjaðveig looked up into Gullveig's eyes and was terrified to see that they had turned pure black in color. And within this darkness points of light flickered like the stars in the night sky. It was then that Mjaðveig realized that although Gullveig drew in her power from the outside world, it was within the soul of the Goddess of Seidr that magic was created.
Terrified by the incredible power that she could see, and feel, emanating from the Vanir Goddess, Mjaðveig felt she had little choice as she answered Gullveig.
" I will not betray you ! I promise ! " she told the Goddess in a tone that hinted of pleading.
Gullveig removed her hand from Mjaðveig's chin and stroked the human's cheek.
" I am glad ! " she replied with a grin.
And then she added :
" Because tomorrow I will need you to make more of your fine mead. And then we will travel to the land of the Swedes, and cause a little chaos there as well ! "
Mjaðveig's eyes widened as she gasped in horror.
" Do not worry child . On my oath I promise to make this potion much weaker . " the Goddess told her with a little grin.
That night, with her conscious in turmoil, and unable to sleep, Mjaðveig climbed down from the cart where she lay, and walked out into the field next to where they had stopped for the night. With every step she took her eyes slowly looked up at the stars in the sky, and the beauty that she once saw in them now only reminded her of Gullveig's evil power.
Suddenly, the realization came over her that there were other powers out in the great expanse of the heavens. With one hand she pulled the Valknut out from under her dress, and pulled it over her head. Mjaðveig raised it as high as she could and spoke in a whisper to a higher power.
" Odin ! Here my words ! I have dishonored you and my people ! Help me ! Help us !! Please ! " she pleaded as she fell to her knees.
Mjaðveig had no way of knowing then and there, but she had just betrayed Gullveig !
- End Chapter 5
- Next : Chapter 6 : Odin's Plea
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.