Battling The Beast
When all was ready, and everything was double checked, they swam off to the rich hunting grounds off of the coast of Norway. Aegir and Ran agreed that it was here, in this busy shipping lane, that they were most likely to find the great beast on the hunt for its prey.
At first Aegir did not want Himinglaeva to come with them. She had recovered somewhat from her injuries, but was not as nimble as his other daughters due to the loss of part of her tail. Ran, however, overruled her husband. If they were going to die then they would die together ! " Besides ", she explained, " We will need all the help we can muster to subdue such a beast as this ! " Aegir finally relented, but he secretly told Himinglaeva to stay in the rear, out of harm's way.
Ran had to wait several days for a ship to pass by, and even then she was not sure if the vessel sailing above her was large enough to attract the sea serpent. Aegir convinced his wife to give it a try anyway. Unsure of the results, the Sea Goddess swam up behind the ship, threw her net over the stern, and began to tighten the net over the vessel.
Ran normally would have pulled the ship straight to the bottom, but to help attract the great sea serpent she allowed the small wooden craft to flounder on the surface, as the crew tried in vain to save themselves, and their vessel. As the ship slowly began to sink by the stern some of the crew were spilled into the cold waters of the North Sea. Aegir and his daughters stayed away from these Midgardians as they splashed around in the ocean swells trying to stay afloat. If the serpent was coming it would be attracted by them first.
While Ran stayed near the drowning Midgardians, holding the ship in place with her net, Aegir and their daughters placed themselves along the perimeter of the sinking ship, and quietly scanned the sea for the great Midgard serpent to show itself.
Suddenly Bylgja cried out : " Over there Father !! "
Aegir turned just in time to see a massive shadow slither by him in the water. The Sea Jotun immediately warned his wife that the beast was coming with a high pitched squeal. Alerted, Ran quickly propelled herself out of the water, and jumped over the ship pulling her net off as she went. As soon as Ran hit the water on the side she swam a safe distance away as fast as she could.
Thousands of bubbles came to the surface as Jormungandr slowly swam up to where the ship floundered on the surface. With little warning a giant snake - like head rose up out of the water, and with jaws spread wide apart showing its poisonous yellow fangs, it plunged down upon the vessel tearing it in two. In the process it swallowed the crew that had managed to remain on board.
Jormungandr was well pleased with itself. From below it could see its prey splashing and flailing helplessly at the surface, as he slowly circled deciding which one to eat first. The beast was preparing to go after an especially large surface creature when suddenly something flashed by drawing its attention away from its prey at the surface.
As their father had instructed them, Kolga and Dufa swam rapidly in front of the great beast's head in an attempt to distract the serpent. Aegir' s plan worked ! Jormungandr immediately changed direction, and in a fit of anger, began to chase the sea maidens. The sea serpent, however, had grown so large in width and length that it could no longer swim at great speed beneath the surface. This forced Kolga and Dufa, in turn, to slow down their pace to keep the great beast' s interest.
With Jormugandr' s attention fully focused on the sea maidens, Ran, and her remaining healthy daughters, began to close in on the creature to attack it from behind. As Odin had advised they aimed for the neck, just below the head of the wriggling beast, as it slithered through the water. Aegir swam just ahead of them, but closer to the surface, waiting for his opportunity to join in the attack.
A final burst of speed allowed Ran, and her daughters, to reach out and grab a hold on the unsuspecting water dragon, who was still fixated on the sea maidens it was chasing. With long nails that extended out from their fingers like sharpened daggers they thrust them into the meaty flesh of the great beast, and then held on with all their might. The Sea Goddess had told her daughters that the beast would try to shake them loose, and if they became dislodged from the creature's back they all knew that the serpent would pick them off one by one.
Jormungandr felt a sudden in pain just below its head. It turned around quickly to see what it was that was attacking it. As the creature spun around Aegir saw his opportunity, and dove down onto the creature' s head. The Sea Jotun wrapped his free arm around the creatures snout, holding its mouth tightly shut. With all his might Aegir squeezed down on the creature's massive jaws while at the same time stabbing the creature with his razor sharp trident.
Ran and her daughters bit and stabbed at the massive creature's relatively stable neck while the midsection and the tail lashed out in every direction. Kolga and Dufa swam back to try and help their father hold the creature's head, but it was no use. The serpent was thrashing its body so violently that his daughters could not grab hold of the creature's slippery flesh.
Suddenly, after an especially vicious stab to its head, Jormungandr went into a fit of rage ! It began to spin its body in the water as fast as it could. The Sea Goddesses' daughters were thrown off of the beast one by one, by the force of its fast rotation, until only Ran held onto the great beast. But try as she may the Goddess could not maintain her grip on the serpent, and with her nails ripping through the creature' s flesh, she was thrown off as well.
Aegir held on for dear life as the creature spun ever faster. The Sea Jotun felt he had a firm grip on the creature's head and jaws, and he was even able, to his great surprise, to stab at the serpent several more times. Then, unfortunately, the sea snake suddenly stopped spinning, and the force it generated threw the Jotun off Jormungandr despite his strong hold.
The sea monster turned back into the churning water, and faced his tormentors. Across from the great beast eleven of its worst enemies stared back at it angrily. The sea monster remained immobile as it tried to decide whether it should fight or flee. It was uncertain because for the first time in its existence it had been physically injured. As the creature floated motionless in the water it felt alone. Very, very alone !
Ran, Aegir and their daughters prepared themselves for the final battle. Each and every one of them was fully aware that this was a fight that they might not win, and that several, if not all of them might be killed by the Midgard serpent. As they stared into the great blazing red eyes of the beast they each contemplated their fate as one does in such moments. Then out of the corner of their eyes they saw something move forward toward the creature.
" No ! Himinglaeva, No !! " Aegir screamed at his daughter when he realized what was happening.
Himinglaeva spotted something in the creature's eyes that the others had missed. What she saw in those great red eyes was the fear of a child abandoned and in pain. Slowly she swam over to the beast with her hand outstretched in a non threatening manner. The injured daughter of Ran and Aegir heard her father's shouts, but she ignored his warning, and gently touched the sea serpent' s nose. as she moved her hand to stroke the beast's cheek she noticed out of the corner of her eye, that her family was coming to her rescue.
" Stay back ! The creature will not harm me ! " she shouted over her shoulder to them in the form of squeals.
Heeding Himinglaeva's warning her entire family stopped where they were, and anxiously waited to see what would happen next !
Himinglaeva reached down, and pulled up her still injured tail with her other hand to show the creature. Then she moved the hand she was stroking the creature with to the top of its head where her father had wounded it. The creature cringed expecting to feel pain, but the sea maiden did not touch the creature. Instead she made a sad face, and began to speak to the beast in a voice that a mother would use with its child.
" You do not have to fear us. If you go back down into the depths of the ocean my sisters and I will bring you food and care for your wounds. You will then no longer have to come to the surface to feed, and we will not be competing for the same food. " she told the creature with a smile, as she continued to stroke the serpent's cheek.
Jormungandr understood much of what the wave Goddess was telling it. The little one that floated before it spoke in a calm soothing manner which reminded it of Angrboda, the mother it had not seen in such a long time, and who it missed so very much. For a moment the creature remained docile. Then one of the other little sea creatures approached, and it tensed up again as if to defend itself !
Aegir slowly swam up beside his daughter, and looked deep into the great beast's eye. The orb was so large that the sea Jotun could see his entire family's reflection within the eye. It terrified him, but he remained calm.
" What will it be, spawn of Loki. If you go back down to to sea bottom my family and I will no longer bother you . " he told the creature. " But if you would rather continue the fight, we can battle until we are all dead. " he added as he lifted his trident in front of him.
Himinglaeva placed her hand on the blade of her father's weapon, and lowered it as she continued to stroke the serpent's cheek. The great beast looked away from Aegir and gazed at the tiny sea maiden that swam before it. Jormungandr' s eyes slowly turned from fear and anger, to love, and with a great breath Jormungandr blew out a mass of bubbles which made the little maiden rise up and twirl around in their midst.
Himinglaeva giggled as she was gently rolled around by the air bubbles. Aegir, however, stood ready in case this was a trick of some sort by the creature. After a few moments it became apparent to Aegir, Ran, and their daughters, that the beast was playing with little Himinglaeva.
When the bubbles had dissipated, Jormungandr slowly turned, and began to swim away into the great depths of the vast ocean. The last that Aegir and Ran saw of the Midgard Serpent was a flash of its tail as it headed for the bottom.
- End Chapter 6
- Next : Epilogue
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.