Odin's Eyes :
A Story Of Hugin And Munin
The Air War
Odin awoke to the sounds of an animal invasion ! And it seemed to be coming from right out in the courtyard ! As he lay on his bed, half asleep and half awake, he heard the high pitched cries of a hawk hovering high overhead. Mixed in between these cries were the familiar caws of his ravens. He could also distinguish other animals as well. The unmistakable grunts of several wild boars, the baaing of goats, and the meowing of what sounded like hundreds of cats all mixed together to form a strange chorus. Then from inside his own hall he heard Geri and Freki begin to howl, and Odin knew it was time to get up !
Odin quickly dressed and went out to the courtyard. There standing among their pets were Thor, Frey, Freyja, and Balder.
" Well father, we have brought our prized pets here for induction into your army ! " Thor told his father with a hint of comedy in his voice.
Odin was not amused !
" Does my son think this to be a joke ? ! " Odin asked in a perturbed tone.
Thor's smile disappeared when he saw just how annoyed his father was.
" No father ! " But you have to admit that this is a very unusual situation ! " he offered apologetically.
" Unusual problems require unusual solutions my son ! " Odin replied sternly.
Odin then looked around and addressed his fellow Asgardians :
" I thank you all for your patience, and your assistance in this matter. If all goes well your animal friends, and mine, will return to us unharmed. If not, take comfort in the knowledge that these beasts did not die in vain, but honored both themselves, and their masters in battle ! " he told them with fire in his eye.
Fully aware that it would take considerably longer for the earthbound four - legged creatures to reach Yggdrasil's roots, than the feathered ones, Odin sent them on ahead without delay. After his fellow Asgardians left Odin, from his high - seat at Hlidskjalf monitored the progress of Thor's goats, Freyja's cats, the boars, and of course his great wolves as they slowly made their way to the base of the great World Tree.
Days later, when Valfather felt that they were close enough, Odin went out into the courtyard and transformed himself once again into eagle - form. In Valfather's mind he had an animal that matched up well with each of Farbauti's evil beasts. That is of course for Hraesvelgr, the Frost giant in eagle - form. Only he himself, also in eagle - form, could stand up to the eagle that sat at Heaven's End !
Odin made a great " screech " and Hugin and Munin took to their wings and flew towards the Rainbow Bridge followed closely behind by Habrok. Odin flapped his massive wings and joined them acting as their rear guard. Even in eagle - form Odin had only one eye to scour the land below, but once transformed that one eye was a hundred times more powerful than his God - eye. As he slowly scanned to his right and left, from such a great height, Odin saw exactly what he expected to find far below him. The evil beasts that lived in the lower regions of the World Tree were heading from the opposite direction towards Yggrasil's trunk. When he arched his neck around he caught a glimpse of the God's cherished pets arriving from the direction of Asgard, led by the illumination of Gullinbursti the golden boar.
When Odin panned his neck back around to gauge the distance between the two forces, Valfather saw something that he did not expect to see. Partially hidden behind the great bulk of the dragon Nidhoggr was the fierce, and still growing wolf Fenrir !
Totally lost in his own thoughts concerning the dangerous wolf - beast that Tyr was supposed to be caring for, Odin was startled back to the reality of the moment by a warning screech from Habrok. Odin quickly scanned the skies and saw off in the distance the reason for Habrok's alarm. Coming over the horizon was another great eagle flapping its golden brown wings. It was at that moment that Odin also noticed that the eagle, which had to be Hraesvelgr, was heading straight for his ravens !
Odin cursed himself for almost being caught off guard !
" Hraesvelgr ! " Odin shouted in his God mind.
" This began with you and it will end with you !! " he thought to himself.
Habrok was the first to react to the situation. With wings folded he went on the attack. Just as it began to dive on Hraesvelgr, however, Habrok suddenly was hit by something, and sent spinning towards the ground. Vedrfolnir, who was very proud of itself, screeched in delight at the downward spiraling hawk that it had just knocked out of the sky. As Habrok fell towards the base of Yggdrasil, Vedrfolnir thought to himself :
" The best of hawks ? I think not ! "
Vedrfolnir did not hold that thought for long however. For what he witnessed next amazed the evil hawk.
Habrok folded its wings, and dove for the ground, which stopped it from spinning out of control. Moments before it would have struck the ground near Yggdrasil's roots, Habrok extended its wings and quickly pulled out of the dive. And just in time too ! Nidhoggr had been watching the little aerial display, and was waiting below with its jaws wide open waiting for a tasty morsel to drop in. It was so close in fact that the great hawk could feel the dragon's hot breath on its tail feathers when the dragon snapped its jaws shut.
Odin, who was watching the attack was relieved that Habrok had escaped death, and now the Eagle - God was doubly angry, and out for revenge !
" I will deal with you Vedrfolnir right after I take care of Hraesvelgr ! " Odin told himself.
Valfather quickly worked his way around and above Hraesvelgr, who seemed to be oblivious to anything but the ravens in the sky. When he was in position, he flapped his wings to gain speed and then folded them to dive down upon the great eagle.
Meanwhile, Vedrfolnir was certain that it would take quite a while for Habrok to once again reach his great height, so he used this time to help Hraesvelgr, and go after the now defenseless ravens .
Hugin and Munin had also witnessed it all ! From high above they spotted a great eagle coming their way, and from just above them a hawk was diving down upon them. There was not much that they could do to defend themselves ! They were not as fast as the hawk, or the golden eagle for that matter, so they decided to take the only course of action they could. The ravens split up and flew in opposite directions.
Vedrfolnir saw that the ravens had gone separate ways and chose to continue chasing the raven that seemed to be favoring its one wing slightly. The hawk was sure that this had to be Munin, who he knew had been injured by the serpents not long ago.
The great hawk quickly caught up with the injured raven, and was about to grab the bird with its sharp talons, when suddenly it caught sight of a massive shape overhead. Out of self preservation the hawk took its eyes off of the raven for a moment and looked up to see what it was that was hovering above it.
Habrok, in the meantime, was straining as hard as it could to regain the height it had lost in its free fall, to help the ravens, but sadly the hawk knew it would not reach Munin in time to save Odin's pet. Then, suddenly, Habrok saw something in the sky that simply should not have been there. One.... two..... three.... eagles ? It counted in disbelief.
" How can this be ? ! " Habrok asked itself as it slowly gained on the hawk.
With a yellow claw that was larger than Vedrfolnir itself the great predator that sat atop Yggdrasil scooped up the little hawk, and imprisoned it in its claw.
" This is not our fight ! We must return to the top of the World Tree and stay out of this conflict . " Eagle told Vedrfolnir with a loud screech.
Odin wished that he could smile as he was about to strike Hraesvelgr from above. Valfather often wondered why the Norns, who seemed not to like him very much, favored him against his enemies time after time. And now, with the help of Eagle, once again the situation had swung in his favor.
Hraesvelgr screeched in pain as he felt the dagger like claws penetrate his back and wings. He tried to fight back, but whatever had him in its grip had just enough of both wings to forbid him from flapping them. What concerned the Jotun - eagle most was not the searing pain it felt, but the fact that he was now in a steep dive, and headed right for the massive trunk of the World tree.
Odin flapped his wings harder and harder as he guided the helpless Hraesvelgr toward an open section between the many branches of the great body of the World Tree. Just before impact Odin shaped changed his head back into God - form and shouted :
" This is for Hugin and Munin you evil bastard ! "
It was the last thing Hraesvelgr heard before he smashed headfirst into the thick unyielding trunk of Yggdrasil.
The unconscious body of Hraesvelgr, quickly turned back into Jotun form as it lay upon the large branch that jutted out from the main body of the World Tree where it had fallen. No longer intimidated by the Jotun - eagle, Hugin and Munin landed on top of its body, and began to violently peck at its cold blue body.
Odin was glad that his head was still that of a God, because it allowed him to smile.
Revenge is a wonderful thing ! " Odin told his ravens as they pulled, and ripped, at the injured Jotun's flesh.
But Odin had no time to enjoy the moment ! For he then turned his attention back to what was about to happen below. Valfather changed his head back into eagle - form to better utilize his keen eagle sight, and circled high above Yggdrasil's roots to watch was about to take place below. The air war was over ! Now the land battle would begin !
- End Chapter 9
- Next : Chapter 10 : The Ground Battle !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.