Jormungandr Attacks !
But the years did pass, and the creature marked time by allowing its anger to reach new heights, while its lonely mind slipped into a state of mental instability. Like any animal that has been caged and abused for too long, Jormungandr's sanity snapped, and all the great beast fixated on was killing anything that might harm it . And during this period it continued to grow larger and larger. By the time the creature had lost most of its fear it had tripled in size, and doubled its confidence. The sea serpent that most saw as a monster was about to live up to that name.
Jormungandr hated everything and anything that floated on the surface. The memory of Thor dragging it up to the surface and nearly killing it, was burned into its memory. The hatred it felt for Thor, or anything that was a surface dweller, ate away at its soul until it had no remorse for what it was about to do. The sea serpent decided that it would never again be caught by surprise. It was then that Jormungandr began to hunt the hunters !
The sea monster swam to where the great land masses rise out of the ocean, and submerged just below the waves, it waited patiently for a surface dweller to venture out of the protection of land, and enter into its watery domain. Jormungandr vowed that anything that floated above the water, and all that swam beneath the waves, was now its prey to satisfy its ever growing appetite.
The first ship the great sea beast attacked was a small vessel of only twenty oars. The ship, named Wave Walker, was heading east on its way back to Norway when Jormungandr began to stalk it. The serpent waited until the craft left the coast and sailed out into deeper water before it attacked with a ferocity seldom shown by any creature in the oceans.
The Icelanders never had a chance ! Their first hint of trouble was when one of the sailors spotted a large mass of bubbles rising to the surface off of their stern. Moments later the Kraken, as the sailors called it, rose out of the disturbance, opened its mouth, and plunged down on the small craft, cutting it in two with its massive jaws. A few of the sailors, the lucky ones, were killed instantly, but most splashed around helplessly in the freezing water waiting for their turn to die.
Jormungandr picked the flailing surface dwellers off one by one. The great sea serpent enjoyed listening to their pitiful screams, and held them tightly in his mouth for a long time to prolong their agony. When he had heard enough he snapped his jaw shut, and cut the creatures in half. As Jormungandr swallowed the struggling creatures, one after the other, it imagined that each one was Thor. It made them taste that much sweeter !
The great sea monster patrolled the waters between Greenland and Iceland until the ships no longer ventured out of the fjords. Then the Midgard Serpent swam east, and began to hunt in the waters between Britain and Norway. It was here in this cold blustery sea that Jornmungandr grew fat on the many ships that traveled these busy waters.
While Jormungandr grew both in length and weight, in the rich waters of the North Sea, Ran, Aegir, and their daughters, found less and less to feed upon. Ran became suspicious and searched the depths for the creature. When she could not find the great beast, the Sea Goddess realized that the sea serpent was once again feeding on the surface, and stealing food from her family' s mouths.
Then, one dark and stormy night, Ran sensed a large ship on the surface. Using her massive tail to propel her through the water, Ran quickly caught up to the ship and threw her repaired net over the rudder of the great wooden vessel. As the storm intensified, Ran called to her daughters to help her drag the ship to the bottom. With twenty hands pulling with all their might the ship began to go down at the stern.
Suddenly, just as the ship was about to go under, a black shadow rose out of the sea and hovered over the sinking vessel. It hung there for only a moment before plunging down upon the ship, and splintering it into a thousand pieces with its great weight. While the creature fed on the humans splashing around on the surface, Ran and her daughters began to flee. As the Sea Goddess took a quick count of her daughters she noticed that one was missing. It was then that Ran became aware that among the splashing figures on the surface was one of her daughters !
With the instincts of a mother to protect her child, Ran swam over to her daughter and grabbed hold of her. As she placed her injured daughter on her back she sensed more than saw the creature hovering over them. With a flick of her massive tail Ran dove into the water, and swam as fast as she could for the bottom. The great serpent chased after her, snapping its jaws at her tail for a while, but soon realized that this prey was too fast for it. The great monster quickly returned to the surface, and fed on the prey there that was much easier to catch.
When Ran could no longer feel the creature breathing down her neck, she stopped to check on her daughter. The Sea Goddess did not have the time to see which of her daughters was injured when she rescued her on the surface, but now as she looked into her daughter's terrified eyes she saw it was Himinglaeva that she held in her arms.
As her other daughters gathered around her, Ran inspected every inch of her daughter's body. The Sea Goddess started at Himinglaeva's head, and carefully checked every part as she worked her way down. She seemed fine until Ran noticed her badly bitten tail. The Sea Goddess gasped in horror when she saw that half of the right side of the tail was missing, and that blood was pouring into the sea from her daughter's ripped open flesh !
Ran acted immediately ! She sent Bylgja, and Unn to collect as much seaweed as they could to bandage the wound. Then she ordered Blodughadda and Dufa to rip apart her net so she could use the strong rope as a tourniquet to stem the bleeding. As Ran was tying off the main artery to her daughter's tail, she yelled to her remaining children to keep a sharp lookout for the predators that would surely come once they tasted Himinglaeva's blood in the water.
While Ran wrapped the last seaweed bandages around Himinglaeva's tail, her daughters fended off a school of sharks that circled them like buzzards around a carcass. Ran had taught her daughters when the were very young to slap the sharks in the snout with their powerful tails. This always seemed to disorient, and discourage the toothy beasts, and this time was no exception.
When Himinglaeva was fully bandaged and stabilized they began the long journey home. The Sea Goddess held her injured daughter's head, while Dufa and Unn held their injured sister by the shoulders. Hefring and Kolga braced her back as they slowly swam to their underwater hall, and were careful not to further injure their sister's tail. Other than a brief encounter with some pesky killer whales the Sea Goddess, with the help of her eight daughters made it safely back home with Himinglaeva.
- End Chapter 4
Next : Chapter 5 : An Angry Jotun !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.