Gangleri watched as the rider galloped up to the field and quickly dismounted. He observed from a distance as the human began to walk over to where the snow had begun to accumulate into a drift, caused by the swirling winds. Suddenly, the snow began to rise up and assemble itself into a distinct form. Odin' s eye narrowed in anger as he recognized the being. " A Jotun snow maiden ! " he whispered to himself.
As the rider passed his position Gangleri was able to glimpse the stranger's face. The man's features were familiar to All - Father, as though he had seen them somewhere before. In an instant Gangleri' s mind drifted back to the wedding ritual. He remembered the ring falling off of Princess Aldisar' s sword, and he saw in his mind' s eye the man who picked up the ring, and placed it back on the tip of the blade. Gangleri opened his mind further, and then it came to him . " Lambi ! The Chieftain of Saurby ! " he thought to himself.
From the shadows Gangleri took in every moment of the secret meeting. He could not hear what they said when they embraced, but their kiss told Valfather everything that he needed to know. A Jotuness would never lower herself to be with a human unless she wanted something from him. Gangleri narrowed his eye, and whispered to himself : " You will tell me everything you know you foolish human ! "
Drifa and Lambi spoke for quite some time. With each burst of laughter that they shared Gangleri became angrier. And when they embraced again and kissed it was almost too much for the God, who prided himself on his restraint, to take ! After one long last kiss Gangleri watched as they parted. The snow maiden walked to the edge of the forest, waved goodbye to her lover, and then dissolved into countless snowflakes, which were then carried away on an unnatural breeze .
Lambi blew her a kiss, and then turned to leave himself. A few feet from his horse the Chieftain of Saurby stopped when he heard a noise behind him. In one fluid motion the warrior drew his sword, and spun around, ready to defend himself from whatever danger awaited him . Lambi frowned when he saw standing before him and old man with a walking stick, and he lowered his sword slightly.
The Chieftain of Saurby stood frozen for a moment. He stared at the odd looking man trying to decide whether he was a friend or foe. The man appeared to be very old, and yet he seemed quite fit for his age. The stranger had long gray hair, and a beard of the same color that was carefully braided on both ends. The dark hood the man wore on his head partially covered his face, but Lambi could see that he wore a patch over one eye. The Chieftain lifted his sword and pointed the end of the blade at the stranger's head. He then took a deep breath. " What is it that you want old man ? " he asked suspiciously. The old man smiled, and studied Lambi for a moment before replying : " My name is Gangleri, and I wish nothing more than to have a word with you . " he told him.
The old man motioned with his walking stick towards the woods. " I have a nice warm fire burning at my camp. " he told Lambi. " Why don't we go there, and have a drink, and talk a while ? " the old man asked. Lambi looked over to where the stranger was pointing . Suddenly he saw a plume of smoke coming from the trees that he had not taken notice of earlier. He also began to smell the burning wood. Lambi thought it strange that he had not seen, or smelled, the fire when he passed this way the first time. The chieftain found himself becoming very curious about this mysterious old man. " Lead the way stranger ! " he told him as he placed his sword back into its scabbard.
Gangleri stopped near the fire and pointed to a fallen tree. " Sit my friend. " he told the chieftain. The disguised God filled a horn with ale, and handed it to Lambi. The chieftain took the horn, and watched carefully as the old man named Gangleri walked around to the other side of the fire and sat on a tree stump. Lambi studied the old man' s every movement as he poured himself a horn of ale . Although the hood covered most of his features, Lambi became fixated on Gangleri' s eye. He noticed that it did not blink, and that the flickering reflection from the flames of the fire danced around in his black orb like a comet racing across the heavens. Lambi thought to himself that the eye reflected much more than the flames. It reflected anger !
" I ask you once again old man, what is it that you want from me ! " Lambi asked more impatiently this time. Gangleri leaned his horn carefully on the ground against the stump without taking a sip. " I seek the truth ! " the old man replied with a hint of fury in his voice. Lambi placed his hand on the hilt of his sword before he inquired further. " And what truth is it that you seek Gangleri ! " he asked. The old man narrowed his eye, and pounded his fist against his knee. " I want to know what part you played in the deaths of King Sigtrygg, Prince Viglund, and Princess Aldisar ! " Gangleri shouted back at the human. Lambi move his hand from the hilt down to the grip and drew his sword as he stood up. " I am sure that I do not know what it is that you mean old man ! " the chieftain yelled back. Gangleri laughed sarcastically. " I suppose that you do not know that the maiden you have been secretly seeing is a Frost Giant either ? ! " Gangleri fired back.
Lambi held his sword out in front of him as he moved around the fire. " It is time for you to die old man ! " he screamed at Gangleri. The " old man " grabbed hold of his walking stick. In the blink of an eye it changed from a mere wooden stick into a mighty spear. The hooded man also transformed right before Lambi. As Gangleri pulled back his hood Lambi' s eyes widened, and he took a step backwards. " ODIN ! " Lambi cried out through trembling lips.
Lambi had only a short moment to decide what to do. Should he run ? Should he beg for mercy ? Or would it be better to fight for his life ? In the blink of an eye Lambi chose to stand and fight. It was a mistake ! Odin caught the first sword stroke in between the triple blades of his great spear Gungnir, and with a quick turn of his wrists broke the human's blade in half. Valfather then swung the other end of his spear at Lambi, catching him just below the chin. The blow knocked the Midgardian off of his feet, and dazed him. Odin slowly walked over to the barely conscious human and placed the point of his blade against Lambi' s chest. " If you will not tell me what I want to know while you are alive, then you will tell me the truth in death ! " he shouted at the prostrated human. Slowly, and to inflict as much agony as possible, Odin very slowly pushed Gungnir through Lambi' s chest until it pierced his heart. Valfather showed no emotion as the human screamed, and writhed violently in his death throes.
Odin slowly walked over to the stump by the fire and sat down. As the human' s blood dripped off of the tip of Gungnir' s blade he began to chant an ancient spell. Over and over again he spoke the magical verse until slowly the dead body that was once Lambi rose up, and once again sat across the fire from him. Odin pointed the tip of his spear at Lambi' s corpse and commanded that it speak. From the blade a red mist floated across and entered the human' s mouth. " What is it that great Odin wishes to know ? " the body asked without emotion.
Odin smiled and picked up his horn of ale, which still rested against the stump. Valfather took a sip from the horn, and then spoke in a soft, but forceful voice. " First I wish to know who was responsible for the deaths of Prince Viglund and Princess Aldisar ? " he asked the lifeless form. Lambi's body remained perfectly still as his mouth replied. " I do not know who they were killed by. I believed that they were to be captured and held for ransom by the Jotuns. " the body told the God.
Odin took another small drink of ale. " Who was the Jotun who arranged all of this treachery ? " he asked more forcefully. " I was contacted by a Jotun snow maiden named Drifa. It was she who acted as a messenger between myself and a Jotun named Spellvirki. " the dead body said slowly. Odin took a long drink of ale, and then threw the empty horn onto the ground. " And what was your role in all of this treachery !? " Odin demanded to know.
Even in death Lambi did not want to admit that he had betrayed the Gods. As a human, however, he did not have the strength to resist the All - Father's iron will. Reluctantly he obeyed the God's command. " I was Spellvirki's spy here in Norway. I gathered information for the Jotun's about the humans that I thought would be of use, and then I passed it along to Drifa. At Prince Viglund's wedding ritual I overheard that the prince and princess were traveling to Uppsala to meet with King Sweyn of the Swedes. I relayed this to Drifa, who in turn gave it to Spellvirki who acted on it. " Lambi' s corpse told Valfather.
Through dead eyes Lambi looked over at Odin through the fire. Slowly his blue lips opened and he spoke once again. " I swear to you great Odin that I did not know that the Jotuns were planning to kill the prince and princess. I thought they were going to capture them and hold them for ransom. " As the spark of life once again drained out of Lambi' s body he asked one last question. " What will become of me great one ? " Odin looked through the dead man' s eyes and into his soul. " You will suffer an eternity of pain in Nidhogg' s den ! " the All- Father told him without pity.
Suddenly a Valkyrie appeared on a winged white horse, and landed near the fire. She quickly dismounted and walked over to Valfather. " What is your command my lord ? " she asked with a slight bow. Take this waste of a human life to Nidafjoll and throw his soul to Nidhogg ! " Odin ordered in a fierce tone. The Valkyrie looked at her lord and master with a surprised expression. " You do not wish him to walk through the gates of Hel on his own ? " she asked. Odin gave her an angry stare. " Are you questioning my command !? " Before she could answer Valfather addressed her in a softer tone. " I want him to suffer now ! " he told her. The Valkyrie nodded, and without saying another word she reached into Lambi' s dead body and ripped out his soul. With the human laying over her shoulder she mounted her horse, nodded at Odin, and flew off into the distance.
End Chapter 3
Next : Chapter 4 : Kvasir The Wise
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.