Skadhi : Allegiances
Skadhi Returns Home
After several months in the cold fresh air of the high peaks region, accompanied by her wolf friends Swift Runner, White Paw, their wolf packs, and of course her furry little bear friend Little Growler, she suddenly became restless, and had the feeling that it was the right time to go home. On the way back to Thrymheim, White Paw and his wolf pack broke off, howled their goodbyes, and went back to their home range on the other side of the mountain. Skadhi was sorry to see them go ! They had been an invaluable ally against the Dwarves, and she was saddened as she watched them disappear over the next ridge.
Skadhi sensed the presence of someone as she approached Thrymheim. She motioned for Swift - Runner to split his pack, and sniff out the intruder. Skadhi, knelt, took out her bow, set an arrow on the string, and scanned the treeline that surrounded her great hall. Although Swift - Runner, and his pack, tried to be as quiet as possible, Skadhi, with he sharp ears, could hear them as they spread out into the forest, through the dead leaves and brush around the hall. Skadhi spotted Little Growler standing up, and looking in the direction of the faint sounds that the wolves were making as they tracked their prey. Skadhi gave the bear a dirty look, narrowed her eyes and motioned for the little bear to get back. Little Growler hung his head low, and walked back to Skadhi, and layed down at her side.
Suddenly Skadhi heard wolves growling and readying themselves to attack ! Then all went quiet ! Skadhi, staying low to the ground, ran at full speed to where she had last heard the wolves growling. She kept the arrow on the string as she navigated her way through the low limbs and thick brush. When she came to a small clearing she pulled the bow back and readied it for firing. The wolves were at the edge of the clearing, behind a large tree. She could see two legs on the ground sticking out from the edge of the tree trunk, and moved slowly to the side to see who it was. She dropped her bow the minute she saw her wolves jumping up and down on Ullr, and licking his face. As she placed her arrow back in her quiver she asked : " What are you doing here my friend ? " " Being loved to death by your friends Skadhi ! " Ullr answered with a laugh. After a moment Ullr stopped playing with the wolves and stood up . Ullr then spoke in a more serious tone : " We need to talk Skadhi . There is a storm coming and it is directed at you ! "
Around a warming fire in Skadhi' s great hall Ullr recanted Hrym' s crusade against her. He started with the council meeting, and ended with the court becoming dangerous, and Syn' s warning to leave. Skadhi, who already felt weary over recent events, began to feel as though she was under a mountain of rock that could crush her at any moment. When Ullr finished Skadhi asked him two questions. She wanted to know if Syn was alright, and when he thought they were coming to get her. Ullr told her that he had good news and bad news. " The good news is that Syn was given Odin's horse Sleipnir, and passed us on the way back to Asgard. The bad news is that as she passed she told me that they were coming for you at once my friend. " Skadhi looked long and deep into the fire before speaking : " Then in the morning I will prepare defenses around Thrymheim to meet my uninvited guests ! " Skadhi said with anger in her voice. Ullr smiled, and asked : " Can I help ? " " I would appreciate that very much my friend ! " Skadhi replied. Skadhi stared into the Ullr's eyes for a moment before realizing that she wished it had been his feet she had chosen instead of Njord' s. The thought made her do something she almost never did, blush ! Ullr offered to watch over the hall during the night, but Skadhi politely reminded him that her wolves could cover more ground and could see better in the dark than he could. Skadhi threw a bear blanket on the floor and said with a flirting smile : " You can sleep out here next to the fire. "
The next morning Ullr was awakened by the sound of an axe chopping wood. He dressed quickly and hurried outside. There, silhouetted against Sunna rising over the mountain peak, stood Skadhi with axe in her hand making short work of a tree. He caught himself staring at her shapely outline for a moment before something nudged his leg. Ullr looked down, took a deep breath, and said : " Yes, I know Little Growler, she needs help ." Ullr walked over to Skadhi, and shading his eyes said : " My you are an early riser ! " Skadhi gave him a quick look , and then went back to her work. Ullr quickly realized that this was not the time for joking or small talk . " What do you want me to do Mountain Goddess ? " Ullr asked. " Sharpen those pieces of wood over there to a razor sharp point. " Skadhi replied.
Skadhi and Ullr worked the entire day on various defenses around the great hall. They set hidden nooses on the ground, that when stepped on would propel the unfortunate invader upside down into the canopy of the trees far above her hall. Covered pits were dug that the intruders would fall into and be impaled on sharpened wooden stakes. They made several trip strings that when sprung would launch an entire tree trunk at head level at the one who had triggered it. There were also thick tree branches that were embedded with sharp stakes that when tripped would spring forward into the knees of the trespasser. At about midday Swift - Runner returned and told Skadhi that the Jotuns would arrive the next morning . Little Growler looked up at Skadhi with frightened eyes, and rubbed up against her. The Goddess smiled and patted her furry friend on the head : " It will be alright. I promise ! " As Sunna began to retreat behind the mountains Ullr looked over at Skadhi and asked : " So what is next ? " Without any expression Skadhi replied : " Now, we wait ! "
Skadhi and Ullr remained outside that night, with the wolves spread out on both sides of them to protect their flanks. As the chill of the night set in Ullr grabbed a deer skin and placed it around Skadhi' s shoulders. Skadhi could not help but notice that Ullr left his hands on her shoulders a little longer than was necessary. Something was developing between the two of them. They both could feel it ! This, however, was not the time, or the place, for such things. The Jotuns were coming, and they did not have much longer to wait !
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.
End Chapter 4
Next : Chapter 5 : The Uninvited