Skadhi : Allegiances
The Defense of Skadhi
The Great Judgement Hall buzzed with the echoing voices of thousands of Jotuns as everyone impatiently waited for the trial to begin. The main topic of their gossip was the arrival of the Goddess Syn. They had all expected that Gerd would show up to testify on the behalf of Skadhi, but no one expected a full blood Aesir to be in attendance. They were not surprised, however, to see Grid sitting next to Syn on the benches for the defense. She was known throughout Jotunheim as a Giantess who helped the Aesir, and many knew how she helped Thor by lending her staff, and iron gloves to him to use against the Jotuns. Some went so far as to call her a traitor !
Few noticed when Hrym walked into the hall, and sat down on his high judgement seat. They were all too busy locked in conversation among themselves to care. Hrym quickly got their attention, however, when he pounded his stone gavel on the small table in front of him. The boom that echoed throughout the great hall was deafening and stopped everyone in their tracks. Hrym started by clearing his throat, and then thanked everyone for coming. Then he formally stood up and read the charges : " We Jotuns, descended from the great Ymir, on this the day of his tragic death, hereby bring the following charges against the Jotun now known as the Goddess Skadhi of Thrymheim." Hrym then cleared his throat a second time, this time more for the effect than out of need, and proceeded : " Charge One : You are charged with not defending the honor of your father when he was killed by the Aesir. Charge Two : You are charged with being a traitor to your people by marrying Njord of Noatun, one of the Gods who helped kill your father. Charge Three : You are charged with killing your own people in the Frost Giant War. Charge Four : You are charged with the killing of our cousins the Dwarves, who sprang forth from Ymir's body, in your private little war against them. " Hrym looked around the great hall very dramatically, and then continued : " Skadhi does not appear to be present, so I will ask you Syn, as her counselor, how do you plead in her absence? " Syn looked up at Hrym and answered in a clear and confident voice : " We plead not guilty judge ! " Hrym nodded his acknowledgement, and then proclaimed : " Then let us proceed with the trial. You may give your opening statement counselor. "
Syn stepped forward, and then turned to face the audience that had gathered to watch the trial. " I will address these charges one by one, with witnesses giving key testimony, and show that Skadhi is innocent of any wrongdoing on each count. " Syn said most confidently. " The first witness I will call this day is Idunn. " Syn added. Hrym nodded and commanded that Idunn appear at the witness stand. The courtroom buzzed with anticipation as the great golden doors opened, and the Goddess Idunn walked into the great hall, and up the golden stairs past Syn and stood before the assembled Jotuns. Hrym let his gavel crash down a second time and the courtroom went silent. Syn walked over to the witness stand, and then turned back around to face the Jotuns before asking : " Skadhi has been charged with not defending her father's honor after he was killed by the Aesir. Do you agree with this charge Idunn ? " Syn asked. Idunn replied with an angry tone : " Her father, Thjazi, had no honor ! " The courtroom erupted the minute they heard what they considered to be a great dishonor to one of their own. Hrym smashed his stone gavel down several times and shouted : " I will have silence ! "
It took a moment, but after the hall finally quieted down Syn asked Idunn what she meant by such a bold statement. " Thjazi was not an innocent party in the events that led up to his death. He tricked Loki into enticing me out of Asgard and into a barren wooded area. Loki told me that he had found some apples that I might be interested in, and he asked me to bring mine along to compare them with. Then, one moment I was comparing apples, and the next I was being carried by Thjazi, who was in the shape of an eagle at the time, to his mountain home in Thrymheim. " Idunn told the court. " So Thjazi in fact kidnapped you to steal your golden apples of youth so that the Aesir would age and die. " Syn said with a sarcastic tone in her voice. " Yes, but when the Aesir began to age they found out that Loki was the last to see me and threatened him with death. Loki decided it was in his best interest to go and rescue me, and bring back the magic apples to Asgard." Idunn replied. Syn nodded in agreement and then asked : " The rescue did not go perfectly though did it Idunn ? " Idunn looked up sharply : " No ! Loki borrowed Freyja' s falcon coat, and was flying me out of Thrymheim to safety when Thjazi spotted us. " Idunn stated. " And then what happened ? " Syn questioned. " Thjazi turned himself into an eagle and tried to catch us so he could kill us ! The Gods saw Loki and I being chased so they set fire to some plane shavings. Loki avoided the fire but Thjazi's eagle feathers caught fire, and he fell to the ground inside of the walls of Asgard, and the Gods killed him there for his evil act ! " Idunn answered. Syn thanked Idunn for her time, and her honesty, and then dismissed her. " Well, there you have it ! How could Skadhi defend her father's honor when he had none to defend. Thjazi clearly tried to kill the Aesir by kidnapping Idunn and robbing them of their youth sustaining apples. " Syn clearly explained with a flair. " So much for the first charge against Skadhi of Thrymheim ! " She stated defiantly.
" To refute the second charge I call to the stand Njord of Noatun. " Syn shouted. Hrym nodded and called out : " Njord will now come to the witness stand. " As Njord walked slowly to the witness stand he gave Hrym an evil stare. Njord did not like Hrym or his evil ship Naglfari, that was at times anchored in the harbor at Noatun. Njord's stare was only broken by Syn' s words : " Njord your wife is accused of being a traitor to her own people because she married a God. What do you say to these charges Njord ? " Syn asked. " Skadhi did not betray her people ! In fact she was defending her father, and her folk when she came to Asgard outfitted in helmet, coat of mail, and carrying weapons of every kind. To be honest she impressed us very much with her dignity and determination. We Gods held council and decided to offer her compensation for the loss of her father, even though we believed that his death was justified ! " Njord responded. Once again the Jotuns yelled and cursed when they heard such revolting words, and only after repeated pounding with his gavel did Hrym restore order.
When the court quieted Syn continued. " And what did that compensation consist of Njord ? " Syn asked. " Skadhi was allowed to choose a husband from among the Aesir. " Njord answered. " And she chose you ? " Syn asked. " Well ", Njord said hesitantly, " she chose us by our feet, and mine were so pretty she thought I was fair Balder, and she picked me. " The courtroom erupted in laughter, which lasted until Hrym once again banged his stone gavel. This time, however, when he asked everyone to be quiet he chuckled a little. Syn also had trouble hiding her amusement as she continued the questioning. " Was there any other compensation given to Skadhi at this time. " Syn asked with a big smile. " Yes ! " Njord answered a little annoyed. " Odin took Thjazi' s eyes, and threw them up into the sky to honor him forever at night in the form of stars. " Njord finished.
Syn turned away from Njord and faced the Jotuns as she said in a respectful tone : " Compensation is a valid form of gaining honor for a loved one who is wrongfully killed. This unwritten law is observed in all the nine worlds. Not only was Skadhi given a husband to compensate her for the loss of her father Thjazi, who was in fact a kidnapper, Thjazi was honored by having his eyes set in the heavens for eternity. It sounds to me to be fair and honorable compensation my friends ! " Syn said over the grumblings of the Jotuns.
Hrym gave Syn an evil look, which grew even angrier when Syn called in succession Gerd' s mother Aurboda, and father Gymir, who told of the happiness their daughter had experienced since marrying Freyr and moving to Asgard. When Gerd herself took the stand most of the Jotuns were so mesmerized by her beauty that they hardly took notice to what she said. Grid was next and she told of Odin' s kindness, and defended her decision to aide Thor. When the hammer wielder's name was mentioned the entire courtroom let out a collective groan. Groa told of Thor's kindness in helping her injured husband Aurvandil, and she shed a few tears when she recalled how Thor had carried her husband to safety in a basket to save his life. When Jarnsaxa was put on the stand she also told of Thor's kindness, and how she cherished the child he had given her. When she mentioned the name "Magni" the Jotuns became angry again. Jarnsaxa, however, was not like the other witnesses. She took a few menacing steps off of the witness stand, and looked as though she might attack the crowd. When the Jotuns backed off, Jarnsaxa said sarcastically : " You better shut your mouths, or I will send my son after you ! " All the Jotuns had heard the story of how only Magni could remove Hrungnir's massive leg off of Thor's neck, and they knew better than to anger Jarnsaxa !
After a short recess Syn called to the witness stand Ullr. As he turned to face the mob of Jotuns before him, he could feel the cold stares of the Frost Giants that he had fought against in the great war. Syn redirected his attention by asking him if it was murder to kill the Jotuns in the Frost Giant Wars ? Ullr leaned forward and said in a clear voice : " Skadhi did not want to get involved in a war against her own people, but after the Frost Giants wiped out an entire village of Midgardians, she decided it was time to act !" " And what do you say to the charge that Skadhi started a war with the Dwarves and murdered many of them ? " Syn asked. " Those who die in battle are not considered to be murdered, but are instead casualties of war. The conflict was caused by the Dwarves killing Skadhi's wolves. She was simply defending her friends and their territory. " Ullr replied. " So there was no real malice shown towards the Dwarves then was there ? " Syn asked. " No, the conflict ended by a truce brokered by Odin, and there has been no trouble from either side since. " Ullr said in conclusion.
After Ullr stepped down, Syn addressed the court : " My Jotun friends as you have clearly heard the defendant Skadhi is innocent on each of these charges that have been brought against her. She did not dishonor her father. She did not dishonor her Jotun folk by marrying a God as compensation for the loss of her father. And she did not " murder " innocent Jotuns and Dwarves, in conflicts that she had no control over. " Syn took a deep breath before continuing : " In conclusion, and after hearing an overwhelming amount of testimony in favor of my client, I feel that there is no other verdict to be handed down in this court except a verdict of not guilty on all charges ! " Syn turned back to Hrym, nodded, and then said " Judge Hrym the defense rests ! "
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.
End Part 2
Next : Chapter 3 : The prosecution attacks