Skadhi : Allegiances
The council decided to send 10 heavily armed Jotun warriors to Thrymheim, to take Skadhi, alive if possible, and dead if they felt it was necessary. Chosen for this mission were Aurnir, Bjorgolf, Brandingi, Durnir, Fjolvor, Gangr, Herkir, Kjallandi, Ofoti, and Simul. They started out the morning after the trial, and traveled all that day until darkness set in, and they were forced to make camp. The Jotuns did not need a fire as they were accustomed to the cold mountain climate. They did light some torches around their camp so they could see to talk, and make plans. Herkir, who was appointed as their mission leader, was very confident that their mission would go well, and that they would be hailed as heroes when they returned to Jotunberg with their famous captive. Herkir was quick to point out that they had not heard or seen a wolf since they left Jotunberg, and that meant that they would arrive at Thrymheim unseen and unheard, to lie in wait for Skadhi' s return. Bjorgolf, who was not as strong a warrior as Herkir, but was a wise old Jotun, pointed out that if Skadhi' s wolves were not seen or heard, it was because they did not want their presence known, and that maybe they should proceed with caution. Simul, the largest, and by far the strongest warrior, made fun of Bjorgolf for being weak. He felt, as did most of the Jotuns, that all they had to do was to wait at Thrymheim for Skadhi and she would walk right into their trap. Only Bjorgolf had an uneasy feeling as they bed down to sleep that night.
The next day they walked to the edge of Thjazi' s ancient land at Thrymheim, and there Herkir decided it was better to make camp for the night, and then move on Thrymheim first thing in the morning. " Just in case !" Herkir told his warriors. Bjorgolf was the only Jotun who noticed that they had not seen, or heard, any wolves for the second day in a row. This time he kept quiet about his reservations. He did not want to be ridiculed, and belittled in front of the other Jotuns again.
As Sunna lit the morning sky the Jotuns slowly climbed the rocky mountain that Thrymheim sat upon. Most of the Jotuns were confident that they had reached Thjazi' s great hall before Skadhi had returned home, but they still moved onto the flat clearing, as quietly as possible. The morning mist hid their movements quite well, and Herkir was still very confident as they crept ever closer to the hall. Bjorgolf did not like the stillness ! It was in his opinion too quiet, and in that silence he sensed danger. It did not take long for his fears to become reality !
As Simul stepped forward behind Aurnir he heard leaves rustling violently, and then suddenly Aurnir was gone ! From what seemed like up in the clouds Simul could hear a Jotun yelling fearfully for help. From off on his right Simul heard a large crashing sound, and then a dull thud. What Simul did not see was Durnir's head being crushed by the hard flat end of a tree trunk. As Simul, now afraid, stepped forward he fell head first into a gaping hole. He tried to brace himself for the impact with his hands, but both were skewered by the sticks that Ullr had sharpened to a point. The last thing that Simul felt was a wooden stake as it penetrated his forehead, and exited through the back of his head.
Herkir, fearing that he was under attack, ordered his warriors to attack the great hall with all speed ! Bjorgolf made it only a few steps before he was pulled high into the tree canopy, leg first. Ofoti had a tree trunk smash him square in the chest killing him instantly. Gangr, who had to jump over a log, landed on a trip wire, and had wooden stakes driven into his knees, by a pulled back branch. Through the thick mist Herkir could hear that his plan was unraveling. If only they could reach the hall, then they would be fine !
Alerted by the Jotun' s death cries, and shouts for help, Skadhi and Ullr crept in opposite directions, heading for the sources of the screams. At the edge of their defenses they both set their arrows on their bows, and scanned the misty forest for any movement. Skadhi used a large tree as a shield, while Ullr stood partially behind a large boulder for protection. They both stood motionless, and waited for any movement on their fronts.
From up in the tree tops Bjorgolf could now hear the wolves that had been so quiet for the last several days. What he heard made him feel sick to his stomach. The wolves were on the attack, and even from his great height in the tree canopy he could hear the screams of his fellow Jotuns as the wolves tore at their flesh. By the sounds of their screams he could tell that it was Brandingi and Kjallandi who were being ripped to pieces. Fjolvor and Herkir were the only two Jotun warriors who made it past the defensive ring that the two mountain Gods had constructed. Fjolvor never had a chance to reach the entrance to the great hall. Skadhi put an arrow through the back of his head as he reached out for the massive doors. He fell up against the doors and then slid down into a sitting position with the doors supporting his back. Herkir, however, was played with by Ullr. He shot one arrow into his knee, which put the Jotun leader on the ground. He then pumped an arrow into each arm before putting one straight into his heart to finish him off.
After Sunna burned off the morning mist Skadhi and Ullr cut down Aurnir and Bjorgolf. Aurnir upon hitting the ground, and before either archer could reach their bows, ran as fast as he could away from Thrymheim. He went about twenty yards before he disappeared from sight. Skadhi, Ullr and Bjorgolf slowly walked over to where the Jotun had disappeared, and stared down into the deep pit. Aurnir was laying face down with half a dozen spikes sticking out from various parts of his body. Skadhi looked over at Bjorgolf and asked sarcastically : " Would you like to run also my Jotun kinsman ? " Bjorgolf gazed down into the pit a second time before replying : " No, I do not think so Goddess ! "
Skadhi looked the Jotun directly in the eyes, and said in a voice that quivered in anger : " I am going to let you live Jotun ! I want you to go to Hrym, and tell him what happened here this morning ! Tell him that I will kill any Jotun who comes to Thrymheim uninvited ! " Skadhi screamed the last few words. Skadhi grabbed the Jotun by his collar, and pulled him close : " What is your name brother ? " Skadhi asked. " Bjorgolf " the Giant answered meekly. " Tell my kinsmen to heed my warning Bjorgolf ! " Skadhi said as she released his collar, and pushed him away. As she finished Gangr awoke and groaned in pain from the stakes sticking into his knees. Skadhi in one fluid motion pulled out an arrow, set it on the string, aimed, and shot, before Gangr could even beg for his life. Skadhi looked back at Bjorgolf and said angrily : " If you come back , I will kill you all ! "
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.
End Part 5
Next : Humiliation, And The Call To War !