Ítreksjóð : The Guardian Of Asgard's Treasure
The Dwarves Infiltrate Asgard
As soon as the Frost Giants began to make a commotion on their side of the Ifingr river, Durinn sent Igni to work on installing the suction hooks in place under the Rainbow Bridge. One by one the strong little Dwarf set the suckers firmly to the bottom of Bifrost. The Dwarves watched in amazement as their comrade moved hand over hand under the bridge, at almost the same pace as someone would make if they were walking above on the bridge.
When Igni reached the top of the curve, and began to descend, Durinn motioned for his Dwarves to begin the treacherous crossing. Each Dwarf in turn grabbed hold of the rings and began to swing themselves across the bridge. Durinn waited until half the Dwarves in his ranks had left before he too swung himself out. Here, from the middle of his little band of warriors, he felt that he could see both the front of his line and also the rear. And from there he could better judge their progress.
As the Gods looked down Bifrost's curved path they saw ascending the great span hundreds of angry Frost Giants . The sight of their distorted blue - gray faces would have terrified any other race of beings into fleeing for their lives, but these were Asgardians and the Vanir. Fear never entered into their thoughts as they waited for the signal to move forward.
Odin sunk his spurs deep into Sleipnir and the great steed reared up before galloping at full speed down the blazing slope. Despite being covered in heavy protective armor the great eight - legged beast easily outran the other Gods' horses. Heimdall, mounted upon Gulltop, ran a distant second, while many of the other Gods preferred to fight on foot. Much like the Frost Giants, a few shouts grew into a loud roar as the Asgardians began their descent into battle.
Thor's family was most impressive. The God of Thunder had his son's Magni and Modi on one side, while his daughter Thrudr ran on the other with his wife Sif. Sif and Thrudr held shields in one hand, and razor sharp swords in the other. Thor, of course, held his hammer out in front of him, while Modi used a weapon in battle that was half axe and half hammer. Unlike his other family members, Magni held neither shield, sword or axe, preferring instead to kill with his bare hands.
Tyr led the second line of Gods, and Goddesses. Those who followed him forward included Hermod, who was on foot for once. Bragi, Forseti, Vidar, Vali, Hoenir, Meili, Syn and Gna, were also close behind. The final line contained the Vanir Gods Njordr, Freyr, and Freyja. Njordr, much like Bragi, preferred the calm and tranquil moments of life, but when provoked, the Vanir God, who could make strong winds cease, was more than able to fight with the best of Asgard's great warriors. And Freyja, who looked as beautiful in battle gear as she did in a dress, was quite possibly one of the most powerful of the Gods. For few if any could stand before her seidr.
At the rear of the Asgardian army stood Frigga, guarded on one side by Skadhi, and on the other by Ullr. At the onset of the battle the two archers would occasionally let loose an arrow or two at the enemy, but once the battle was fully engaged it was too dangerous to fire into the crowded ranks for fear of hitting one of their own.
Farbauti saw the one - eyed God barreling down upon him and he braced for the impact behind his shield. The leader of the Frost Giants blocked the first blow, but a hot blast from Sleipnir's nostrils melted the shield, and left him almost defenseless. Just as Sleipnir reared up and Odin was about to plunge his sword into Farbauti's stomach, Vindsvalr, seeing that his Lord was in trouble, jumped in front of his leader, and took the wound himself.
The father of Loki had little time to show his gratitude to his dying comrade. Farbauti, angered by his near death experience, pushed Vindsvalr out of his way, formed another ice shield and began to pummel Odin with blow after blow with his ice hammer knocking him off of the eight - legged horse. Before the situation could get out of hand, however, Vali stepped forward and with a mighty blow from his sword knocked the Jotun over the edge of Bifrost. For a moment it looked as if Farbauti might fall to his death, but the Jotun leader grabbed hold with one strong hand and was able to pull himself back up.
The battle soon turned into a fierce struggle for every inch of Bifrost. While the Frost Giants normally had an advantage in battle because of their great height, the fact that they were on the slightly lower part of the Rainbow Bridge made it seem as though the Asgardians were almost of the same stature. It was also an advantage for the Gods to fight downward because it gave their weapons more force, whereas it took more energy for the Jotuns to swing their weapons upward. The battle soon bogged down into a stalemate in which it appeared no one could win.
Above the din of battle Heimdall, who had dismounted, thought he heard some very strange sounds coming from a great distance. The odd noise was hard to hear for even his great ears to distinguish because they seemed to be almost muted by some great barrier. Heimdall could not concentrate for long, however, because a Jotun was about to take his head off with an ice sword. Heimdall ducked below the arc of the weapon, then rolled under the Frost Giant's legs. Before the Jotun could react and spin around Heimdall cut off his foot at the ankle, and the Jotun fell sideways plummeting over the edge of Bifrost to his death.
When Durinn reached the highest point of Bifrost he stopped and looked behind him. The next Dwarf in line was Nain, and he seemed to be struggling mightily, and was not keeping up with the others. Worse yet he was holding up his comrades who followed him. Durinn was about to motion for him to hurry when Nain missed the next ring ! Durinn's eyes widened with horror as he watched the Dwarf dangling by several fingers on the hook he was already on. Then Nain slowly looked up at Durinn and the leader of the Dwarves was suddenly overcome with a sick feeling. Moments later Nain lost his grip despite the efforts of the Dwarf behind him who tried to save him. The Dwarf fell screaming all the way to his death. Durinn closed his eyes for a moment before signalling to the others to hurry up. As he turned around he was glad to see that Igni, the Dwarf who had put the rings in place, had almost reached the other side of the bridge.
Heimdall's ears perked up once again as a sound, much stronger this time, rang in his ears like a bell. It was obviously the sound of someone falling to their death, but what disturbed the Guardian of Asgard most was that it came from behind him !
As quickly as he could the White God fought his way over to Odin, and when he was within earshot, he shouted over to the All - Father, who was engaged in battle with two Frost Giants.
" Dwarves have gotten behind us, and will soon infiltrate Asgard ! " he yelled across to Odin.
Odin smiled as he stabbed the larger of the two Jotuns in the chest with Gungnir.
" Dwarves ? Well, I know what they are after ! Do not bother yourself about them ! My son will take care of the Dwarves ! " he shouted back.
Heimdall looked across the bridge to where Thor was battling several Jotuns at once, and wondered how the God of Thunder would be able to disengage with the enemy, and get back to Asgard to stop the Dwarves before they entered the golden realm.
The Dwarves dropped off of the hooks one by one and landed safely on Asgardian soil. Durinn, once he reached firm ground, hurried his men along because he knew that the Jotuns could not fight the Gods forever. Durinn, however, waited at the bridge until all the rest of his Dwarves made it safely across before running to the cave entrance to join his comrades.
Before going into the cave Durinn pulled a glow globe, filled with luminescent moss, out of his pouch, and held it up in front of him to light the way. As they entered the cave Durinn could almost smell the gold and silver ! With each step the leader of the Dwarves began to imagine how he would spend his share of the God's treasure. A new sword hilt, shining jewelry,....
In an instance his dreams faded into the darkness of the cave as a scream rang out from behind him. Durinn held the glow globe over his head and warily walked back to the cave entrance. Bombor had been the last Dwarf to enter the cave , and it was obvious to Durinn that his comrade had somehow tripped some sort of trap. For Bombor was pinned up against the far wall with a spear through his chest.
Durinn handed the globe to Thekk and pulled the spear out of the wall. Bombor's body slumped to the ground in a heap. The Dwarve leader then removed the spear from the dead body and handed it to Heptifli .
" Here ! We may need this ! " he told the Dwarf.
Durinn then retrieved the glow globe from Thekk, and motioned for the Dwarves to move forward slowly.
" Watch where you step ! " Durinn warned his comrades.
- End Chapter 5
- Next : Chapter 6 : The Cave Of Death
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.