Odin' s Revenge
A Compassionate God
She had agreed to to help Spellvirki only to avenge what her people perceived as the God's crimes against her folk. Over time, and after many countless liaisons with Lambi, she had grown to love the human despite his many faults. And now...... now she did not know what had become of him. The love that she felt for him burned stronger within her than her fear of the Gods, and because of her feelings for Lambi, she had decided that she soon would risk going back to Saurby, on Midgard, to find out exactly what had become of him.
Snaer had been watching his daughter carefully. He had not been in favor of his daughter's participation in this whole affair, but he felt that he could not go against the wishes of Spellvirki, the king of the Jotuns. Now as he watched his daughter anxiously staring out of the ice windows of his hall he could not help but feel feel that something had gone awry. He had questioned Drifa several times, but she denied that anything was wrong. Now he, Snaer, the father of the snow maidens, was debating whether it was appropriate to go and see Spellvirki to find out for himself exactly what had happened.
On the way to Midgard Odin mentioned to Kvasir how much he had enjoyed the wonderfully sour taste of the apples that he had purchased from the old woman named Hrund in Saurby's square. Kvasir, who like many of the Gods had only ever tasted the sweet golden apples that Idunn handed out to the Aesir and Vanir, was intrigued by the way Odin went on and on describing the delicious flavor of the Midgardian fruit, and asked if they might stop on the way to let him try one. Odin was anxious to capture Drifa, but he could not refuse his old friend's request to sample one of Midgard's delights. As the Gods dismounted at the edge of town, Odin turned himself back into Gangleri the wanderer. Kvasir, however, was not in need of a disguise for he was not as well known as Odin, and he had many human like features, including a small build for a God . When they reached the town square Gangleri turned to Kvasir. " Wait until you taste these Midgardian apples. Not only are they sour, but they are red my friend ! " he told him. Kvasir gave Gangleri a look of surprise. " Red !? " That is quite unusual ! " he exclaimed.
Once they were in the middle of the square Gangleri looked around, but no matter how hard he looked he could not find the old woman, or her produce cart. Perplexed, Gangleri walked over to another vendor, who was selling baked goods and asked : " Excuse me my good man, but could you tell me where the old woman is who brings the produce cart to the square ? " Gangleri asked in a very meek human voice. The middle aged man looked the hooded stranger in the eye, and shook his head before answering. " You must mean Hrund. She was a brave woman, that old maiden was. Hrund was eaten up with consumption, and yet every day, right up until the day she died, she came to the square to sell her fruits and vegetables. Needed the money she did ! Her family needed the money badly. Poor old woman ! Brave as any warrior I ever met she was ! " he told the stranger. Gangleri thanked the man, and then asked : " Where is she buried, may I ask ? " The baker pointed to the woods just outside of town. " She was laid to rest near an old oak tree by the edge of the clearing. You'll see the fresh dirt I am sure my friend. " he told the stranger.
Gangleri nodded to the baker, and walked back to his friend. Kvasir could see at once that something was troubling the disguised Odin. The saddened God looked at Kvasir and took a deep breath. " I am sorry my old friend, but there will be no apples today. " he told him. Kvasir grabbed hold of Gangleri' s arm. " What vexes you so my friend ? " he asked concerned. Gangleri did not answer his question. " I am going just outside of town for a short while to visit an old friend. " he told Kvasir. " May I come as well ? " Kvasir asked. Gangleri nodded, but said nothing. The walk out to the field was a quiet one.
When Kvasir saw the fresh grave he held back and allowed Gangleri to visit the mound alone. He watched with great interest as Odin, in his wanderer disguise, raised his walking stick high in the air, and chanted words that not even he understood. Suddenly, from above the trees, there appeared a winged white horse with a helmeted female rider. The horse reared up, after landing, as a salute to Valfather, and then the Valkyrie dismounted. " What is your command my lord ?! " she asked. Gangleri pointed to the grave mound. The Valkyrie nodded that she understood. Valfather's maiden walked over to the grave mound and thrust her arms into the freshly packed dirt. As she stood up the Valkyrie pulled out the essence of the occupant of the grave. But when the Valkyrie saw the person she had extracted from the grave she gave Valfather a questioning look. " This is an old woman . " she told him in disbelief. " Does Valfather want me to take her to Valhalla ? " she asked.
Odin' s eye glowed red with anger ! " That is the second time that you have questioned me maiden ! There will not be a third ! " he added angrily. The Valkyrie involuntarily took a step backwards. " I am sorry my lord ! " she said quietly. As the Valkyrie mounted her steed, and flew away Odin spoke softly. " I promised I would not forget you old woman, and now the name of Hrund will never be forgotten ! "
Kvasir walked over to the disguised Odin and placed his hand on his friend's shoulder. " A wise man is as compassionate as he is ruthless. " he told Odin. The Lord of Asgard turned to Kvasir. " They are my children. I do for them what I can. " he replied softly. " But now my friend we must capture a snow maiden ! " he told Kvasir in a much firmer voice.
Hrund awoke from her eternal sleep to find herself lying in the doorway of a great golden hall. As the doors slowly opened she saw inside a great number of tables. And on both sides of these tables sat fierce looking warriors on golden benches. The moment the doors opened the loud warriors went silent. As Hrund picked herself up she felt a hand on her back gently guide her through the doorway and into the great hall. When she turned around Hrund saw behind her a large maiden wearing a winged helmet. " You..... you..... you are... are a Valkyrie ! " Hrund stuttered. The Valkyrie nodded. " Yes and by Odin's decree so are you also ! " she told her in a commanding voice. As Hrund passed over the threshold, that divided the hall from the outside world, her wrinkled hands became young and strong again, her weathered face became beautiful once more, and her gray hair turned back to golden blonde. Hrund stood shaking in disbelief as she looked down at her young soft hands. Then she placed her hands on her tight unwrinkled face and began to cry.
Another Valkyrie walked over to Hrund, from across the hall, and grabbed her hand. This valkyrie, as beautiful as the first, led her to the far end of the first table. As she pulled out the bench for Hrund to sit upon the Valkyrie spoke gently to her. " I am the Valkyrie Mist. Tomorrow you will take up your duties as a serving maiden here in the halls of Valhalla. Today, however, by order of Odin himself, you are an honored guest, and will sit in Odin' s seat ! " Mist told the confused maiden.
A large warrior suddenly stood up and broke the silence. He lifted his golden goblet high above his head and shouted for all to hear : " All hail and welcome, Hrund, serving maiden of the einherjar, and honored guest of Valfather ! " Everyone in the hall stood, and raised their goblets and horns and replied almost as one : " All hail the Valkyrie Hrund ! " The hall then erupted into cheers and whistles for their newest member !
- End Chapter 6
Chapter 7 : The Executioner
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.