Odin' s Revenge
Spellvirki rose from his ice throne and shouted down the length of his hall. " Who dares to enter my palace unannounced ! " The Jotun intruder who stood in the doorway pushed the warrior, who was guarding the entrance, out of the way and yelled back. " I am the Snow Jotun Snaer, and we have no time for pleasantries, Lord of Jotunheim ! " Spellvirki took a deep breath, and with a wave of his hand summoned Snaer forward. " Tell me why you have disturbed me quickly before I kill you ! " he commanded the father of Drifa. Snaer walked directly up to Spellvirki, and placed his face so close to the Jotun leader's face that their noses touched. " I have heard my daughter's death screams blown to Jotunheim on the cold winds ! " Snaer told him. " And I believe her killer is coming here after you and the Jotun who you are protecting next . " he added angrily.
Spellvirki fell back onto his high seat, and rubbed his cold blue chin. The Jotun leader became so lost in his own thoughts that he did not hear the words that Snaer kept yelling at him. By the time he came out of his stupor all he was able to catch was : " I demand that you protect my remaining daughters Fonn and Mjoll ! This is all your fault ! Why did you have to involve my girls in your evil scheme ? ! " Snaer shouted at the lord of Jotunheim.
Spellvirki waved his hands in front of Snaer' s face. " Quiet, you imbecile ! We have bigger problems than the death of your daughter to worry about if Drifa was killed by Odin ! For if it was the Lord of Asgard who killed Drifa, then he now knows the whole truth ! Asgard' s king will soon be at the Jotunheim frontier with his warriors ready to once again go to war with the Jotun race ! " he screamed into Snaer's face.
Snaer did not back down from the Jotun leader. He put his face almost against Spelvirki' s and asked again : " Will you protect my daughters !! " Spellvirki shoved the father of the snow maidens out of his way as he walked to the doors of his ice palace. " I am going to gather my army and put it on high alert ! Bring your daughters here Snaer ! They should be safe within the walls of my palace ! " Spellvirki shouted back at the Snow Jotun. The Jotun Lord then turned, and shouted towards a dark corner of his hall : " Skjalfti, you are with me ! " From out of the shadows came a large Jotun who followed Spellvirki out the doors of the hall. As Spellvirki left Snaer shouted after him : " Thank you, my Lord ! "
Odin did not greet Heimdall as he approached the gates of Asgard. The All - Father merely glanced at the stoic guardian and commanded : " Blow your horn Heimdall ! It is time to assemble our army ! " he told him. Heimdall, as calm as ever, asked : " And whom are we at war with great one ? " Odin stopped, turned, and narrowed his eye angrily. " With the Jotuns of course ! ! " Heimdall could not help but grin as he placed the Gjallarhorn to his lips.
Heimdall' s horn could be heard throughout Asgard, and echoed up and down the great world tree Yggdrasil. One by one they arrived at Odin' s great hall brandishing every weapon they could lay their hands on. Vali, Vidar, Freyr, Sif, Nott, Delling, Tyr, Skadhi, Dagr, Idunn, Njord, Gefjon, Bragi, Odr, and Heimdall were among the first to come. Freyja and her very powerful daughters Gersemi and Hnoss magically appeared out of thin air shortly thereafter. Forseti, Hermod, and Magni, and Modi arrived with their sister Thrud. Ullr came alone, and was quickly followed by Syn, Sjofn, Eir, Fulla, Hlin, Gna, Vor, Lofn, Snotra, Saga, and Var who all came with All- Mother Frigga.
Once they were all gathered in his hall Odin stood before his fellow Asgardians and told them why he had called to war the Gods of Asgard and Vanaheim. " In the past we have had to make war against others for reasons that turned out to be both good and bad. Today, however, I am absolutely sure that we must take action against the Jotun King Spellvirki, and the Frost Giant named Skjalfti ! These two Jotuns have not only broken my sacred decree of non interference in Midgard's affairs, but they have also tampered with the future, by changing events here in the present. NO ONE !! Not even we Gods have the right to change that which shall be ! Therefore, we will ride like a pack of wolves to Jotunheim, and avenge what has been done by these evil Jotuns, so that no one will ever dare to change the future again ! " he shouted to all those assembled. A great roar rose up from the Asgardians as Odin finished his speech .
Suddenly, the great doors of the great hall flew open, and everyone went silent as they turned toward the entrance way. Standing in the doorway, with eyes glowing bright red, and sparks of anger shooting from his beard, was the Mighty Thor in all his battle fury. " Who are we going to destroy, and how many shall I kill ? ! " the God of Thunder shouted to his father. Odin smiled. " We are going to attack the Jotuns, and kill their leader Spellvirki. We are also going to kill the evil Jotun named Skjalfti, who the Jotun Lord is hiding in his Ice Palace. " Odin told his son. Thor raised his mighty hammer high over his head, and yelled out a war cry. Mjollnir in flash after flash sent bolts of lightning throughout the great hall, to show all those assembled that it was he, Thor, who was the strongest of Gods. Odin shook his head, and calmly raised Gungnir high in the air. Suddenly, all of the lightning bolts came to his great spear as though attracted by a magnet, and disappeared within its blade. " Enough ! " Odin shouted at his overexcited son. The Mighty Thor was amazed by Odin' s great display of power, and quickly quieted down. Sif rolled her eyes, and pinched her husband. " Why do you always have to show off ? " she asked in a whisper. Thor shrugged his shoulders, but did not answer his wife.
Odin pointed his finger at the Goddess Freyja. " During the Aesir - Vanir War you, Vanir Queen of Seidr, produced a fog so thick that it almost lost my people the war. I would like you to do so once again. Only this time I would like you to cover all of Jotunheim with a mist so thick that I can bring our entire army into the land of the Giants without be detected. " he commanded the Vanir Goddess.
Freyja nodded and then motioned to her daughters, Gersemi and Hnoss. " That will take immense power ! I believe, however, that with the help of my daughters we will be able to blanket Jotunheim in such a thick fog that the Giants will not be able to even sense our presence. " she told the Lord of Asgard. Then she looked around until she found Njord. " Father ! " she called out. " I know that you are able to calm the winds, but could you also bring forth a breeze strong enough to blow the fog we produce all over the Giant' s land ? " she asked. Njord smiled before proudly replying. " It would be a pleasure to assist my daughter, and my granddaughters, in such an endeavor. "
" Then mount up everyone ! For we ride at once for Jotunheim ! " Odin shouted as he pounded his fist in the air. Odin mounted his horse , as did most of the Asgardians. Thor, however, jumped into his golden cart that was pulled by his mighty goats. Freyja jumped on the back fo her great bristled boar, thereby letting her daughters ride in her cat drawn cart. Gna, from atop her flying horse Hofvarpnir, circled overhead as the entire army began to move out of Asgard. When the great Gods rode across the rainbow bridge, the noise was so great that it resounded throughout all of the nine worlds.
Spellvirki and Skjalfti were out inspecting their defenses when they heard something faint building off in the distance. It began as a faint rumble, but soon became a loud roar. Spellvirki turned to Skjalfti, and with great certainty, told him without emotion : " They are coming ! " The Lord of Jotunheim pointed in the direction of his ice palace. " Go back to the ice hall ! Protect the snow maidens , and yourself, from the Asgardians. I will meet you there shortly, but first there is someone I must go and see ! " he told him. Skjalfti reluctantly returned to the ice palace. As he reached the doors of the ice hall he turned and saw an ominous fog begin to roll in across the Jotun landscape.
The Asgardian army, led by Odin on his swift horse Sleipnir, met little resistance as it entered Jotunheim. The Frost Giants simply could not fight what they could not see, and the few Jotuns who were unfortunate enough to stumble upon the Gods were quickly disposed of. Several times Odin had to halt his army, and have Modi and Magni go after their father, who seemed intent more on killing every Jotun he could find than helping them reach the ice palace undetected.
The fighting did become more intense the closer they came to the Jotun palace stronghold. This was unavoidable because Spellvirki had stationed more of his people around his ice palace than at the frontier. With the more war - like Gods Odin, Thor, Tyr, Heimdall, Skadhi, Ullr, Vali, Vidar, Modi and Magni, leading the way, few if any of the Jotuns made it to the second line which was lead by Njord, Forseti, and Hermod. Not one Jotun made it all the way through to the third line anchored by Freyr, Sif and Thrud.
Spellvirki sat quietly and calmly on his ice throne as the fighting made its way up his steps to the doors of the ice hall. Skjalfti, on the other hand, gripped his ice club with white knuckles, and held his ice shield out in front of him with a shaking hand. Snaer, meanwhile, stood defiantly in front of his daughters with his ice sword in hand. All expected the doors to implode at any moment !
The doors bulged once, twice, and then they exploded into a thousand shards of ice that flew all around the hall. Several pieces skidded across the ice floor and did not stop until they hit the ice throne itself. The two guards, who had been protecting the door, were blown halfway across the hall, and now lay writhing in pain on the floor of the great palace. Skjalfti and Snaer recoiled at the sight, but Spellvirki remained very calm, and did not seem to be affected by all that was going on around him.
Odin, Frigga, Thor, Vali, Vidar, Tyr and Heimdall entered the ice palace, and approached the Jotun throne, while the remaining Gods protected the outside of the palace, and guarded against a counterattack. Spellvirki smiled as he rose to greet them. " My this is an unexpected pleasure ! " he told his guests happily. " If I had known that you were coming I would have prepared a feast for you Asgardians. " he added with a laugh.
Thor was not as wise as his father, but he could sense that something was not quite right. While several Jotun warriors stood ready for battle, the Jotun king seemed not to be intimidated by their presence at all. Thor looked the palace hall over carefully for any kind of threat. The walls, tables, and chairs were all made of ice, and were clear allowing the Thunder God to see that no one was hiding under them. The ceiling of the great hall had great decorative stalactites of ice hanging from them that could be regarded as weapons, but they only protruded from the ceiling over the Jotun king's throne area, and therefore they were not a threat to the Gods as far as Thor could tell. Behind the high seat was a huge tapestry that ran from one end of the hall to the other and hung from the ceiling all the way down to the floor. As The God of Thunder was studying the tapestry he noticed that it moved slightly !
Thor raised Mjolnir high in the air, and summoned forth the lightning. The Thunder God then directed the lightning bolts at Spellvirki. The lightning reached the throne of the Jotun king in a blink of an eye, but just before the lightning reached Spellvirki a bright light appeared in front of the Jotun. Suddenly, there was a sound ten times louder than thunder itself as two great energies struck one another with full force ! And then everyone in the hall was blinded by the great flash !
When the room returned to its normal illumination, the combatant's eyes slowly began to adjust to the lower light level. When Odin regained his vision he rubbed his eye, for he could not believe what he was seeing ! " Surt ! " Valfather shouted with surprise. There, standing in all his glory, was the protector of Muspellheim , his red glowing face smiling behind his great flaming sword. " Odin ! We meet at last ! " the Fire God exclaimed happily. As Surt spoke a dozen fire Giants came out from behind the tapestry, and stood defiantly by his side.
Spellvirki rose up, stood in front of his ice throne, and laughed. " Not even Thor's mighty hammer can defeat the white hot terrible sword of Surt ! " the Jotun told the Asgardians confidently. Angry, Odin did not address the Frost Giant, but instead asked the Fire Giant a question instead. " Why have you come to help Spellvirki ? ! Do you know that he has changed the future with his evil actions ? ! " Valfather asked.
Surt placed his blazing sword back into its holder. The sword sizzled at his waist as he spoke. " Why should I not come to the aid of one of my brother Jotuns ? " he asked. " A better question to ask yourself great Odin is do you really want to go to war against both the Fire Giants and the Frost Giants over a few insignificant humans killed by a silly angry Frost Giant ? " Surt asked.
Before Odin could answer Frigga grabbed hold of her husband's arm. " You have said that changing history is wrong ! We both know full well that we are not destined to battle the Fire Giants at this time ! " she explained to Odin. " Will you break your own oath not to change the future my husband ? " she asked. Odin screamed in frustration, and then lowered his mighty spear. " No ! I will not try to change that which has been fated by the Norns ! We will leave.... for now ! " Odin shouted at the Giants. " But I warn you Spellvirki, if you ever interfere in Midgard again, or tamper with the timeline that has been woven by the Norns, I will come back ! " he screamed at the Jotun king.
Surt smiled. " Great Odin, if my Jotun brother ever does anything like this again you will not have to come back ! For I will kill him myself ! " he explained. Odin looked at Surt suspiciously. " Is your word as good as an oath ? " he asked. Surt nodded. " Like you, Odin of Asgard, my word is my honor ! " he replied. Spellvirki gave the Lord of the Fire Giants a surprised look before siting back down on his throne. Odin took a deep breath. " Then we will leave now ! " he told the Jotuns.
Thor stepped forward angrily. " No, Father ! We must not allow the Frost Giants to get away with this ! " he shouted as he pointed his hammer at Spellvirki, and his new fiery friend. Odin gave his son an angry glare. " You WILL obey me ! " he told Thor as he walked by his son on his way out of the hall. Odin was followed quickly by the rest of the Asgardians.
Thor was so furious that he was trembling as he reached the remnants of the shattered ice doors. Then the God of Thunder became quite calm. Thor waited until all his fellow Asgardians had exited the ice hall, and then with a mighty blow he struck his hammer against the floor of the ice palace with all of his might. As the hall shook from the blow Spellvirki whispered to Surt : " What a childish act for the son of such a wise God to perform ! "
With all eyes fixed on Thor's " childish act " the Frost Giants did not see the ice stalactites begin to sway on the palace ceiling. A few had time to look up as what were in essence ice spears broke off and began to fall, but few had a chance to react. Skjalfti was struck down first, followed quickly by a sharp ice point that pierced Spellvirki' s head killing him instantly. Snaer, realizing what was about to happen quickly turned himself and his daughters into snowflakes, saving themselves as the stalactites rained down on them. Surt reacted quickest of all. He drew his sword, and placed it over his head. The intense heat melted the multitude of falling Ice spears before they could harm him.
Thor turned around to see the chaos and havoc he had created, and prepared to do battle with Surt. The Fire Giant, however, surprised Thor by tipping his sword to him. " Well played ! " Surt shouted with a laugh. Thor nodded, then turned, and left the ice palace. As Surt looked over and saw the bloody mess that was Spellvirki he whispered to himself : " Well, it appears the Frost Giant' s will be in need of a new king ! " When Surt looked behind him, however, he was less amused ! In back of the throne were several of his Fire Giants lying on the floor injured and dead. Surt took a deep breath, and shouted : " I will burn Asgard to the ground for this ! "
Odin was about to mount Sleipnir when he heard a deafening boom, and felt the ground shake. As he turned he heard loud noises coming from inside the ice palace. As Thor emerged from the wreckage of the ice hall Odin ran over to his son and confronted him. " What have you done !? " he screamed at Thor. The God of Thunder placed Mjolnir back into his belt before replying. " You sought out justice and failed father ! Today, however, I was both the judge, and the executioner, in your service. For I am the son of your blood, and the ultimate instrument of justice ! " he told his father before walking away.
Frigga ran over to her husband, and grabbed his arm. " What has happened ! " she asked frantically. Odin did not look at his wife as he replied : " Thor may have doomed us all ! " he told her.
- The End
Next Month : ' Forbidden Love ! "
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.
Odin' s Revenge
Odin led Kvasir to the forest at the edge of the clearing where he had killed Lambi, and nearly captured Drifa. Here he found the camp that he had made, and with Kvasir's help they gathered up wood to make a fire. Kvasir watched in amazement as Odin reached into his pouch and pulled out a small wooden tile with a symbol etched upon it. Odin carefully placed the tile under the firewood that they had stacked within the circled rocks, and then the Lord of Asgard began to chant a magical spell. Before long a puff of wispy white smoke rose up from beneath the stacked wood. Then moments later the wood burst into flames, blowing a few of the smaller logs off of the pile. As Kvasir threw the displaced wood back onto the fire he smiled at Odin. " You must show me how to do that sometime ! " he said with a chuckle. Odin nodded, and replied matter of factly : " It is simply a fire rune brought to spark by a ancient spell. "
Kvasir felt uncomfortable helping his old friend to harm another being. As he sat across the fire from Odin he was torn between his sense of justice, and the oath of peace that had given him his form and purpose . Kvasir the Wise took a long drink of the ale offered to him by Odin before speaking. " What do we do now my friend ? " he asked. " Do you have a plan ? " he added.
Odin took a sip from his horn before replying. " For now we will wait. In the morning I will kill a small animal and drench myself in its blood. I will then shape change into Lambi, and lie on on the ground at the edge of the clearing calling for Drifa to come and help me. When, and if she comes, the snow maiden will approach cautiously to make sure that I am actually Lambi this time. When she bends over to care for me, you my friend, will throw the net over the Jotuness capturing her. " he explained to Kvasir.
Kvasir looked into the fire and away from Odin. " And then..... ? he asked Valfather. Odin grinned. " And then my good friend you will ride Sleipnir back to Asgard. What will come next is not something that concerns a God such as yourself. " he told Kvasir. " Besides, my old friend, I am sure that the children of Asgard are missing you. Your place is with them ! " Odin told him almost as a command. Kvasir nodded, and said no more before bedding down for the night. For the teacher was wise enough not to question All - Father.
Kvasir awoke to the sound of something large being dragged through the brush.The wise God jumped up just in time to see Odin pulling a rather large wounded deer into the camp by its antlers. " Good afternoon ! " Odin told him with a hint of sarcasm. Kvasir rubbed his eyes, and yawned before replying. " I did not realize you were going hunting so early my friend. Had I known I would gladly have joined you ! " he told Odin. Odin dropped the deer at Kvasir' s feet, and smiled. " It is of little matter. " Odin told his friend as he handed him his knife.
Kvasir took the knife from Odin, who then prostrated himself on the ground next to the deer. As Odin looked up at his friend he commented : " Try to get the blood to flow from my chest down if you would please. " Kvasir grabbed the deer by the horns, and lifted its struggling head over Odin' s chest. The God of Peace then plunged the knife deep into the deer's neck slicing it all the way through its throat. Odin laughed as the blood poured out of the animals arteries and all over him. " Not bad old friend. I think that this much blood should convince almost anyone that I was severely injured ! " he told Kvasir. When the blood slowed to a trickle Kvasir threw the deer' s dying carcass back onto the ground. The Peace God then went back over to the fire and poured himself another drink of ale. Kvasir looked at Odin , who was now dripping with blood from his neck down, and drank the entire horn in one quick drink.
Odin did not want to wait ! He wanted the blood to appear fresh when the snow maiden saw him, so he put his plan into effect immediately. Odin turned himself into Lambi a second time, and lay on the ground at the edge of the clearing. He positioned Kvasir with the net behind a large boulder that had most likely been deposited there by a glacier from the last ice age caused by the Jotuns. And then Odin / Lambi began to cry out in pain. " Help me ! Odin has struck me down ! Help me ! " he shouted over and over again.
Drifa was walking in the ice sculpture garden at her father's hall when she heard her lover's faint calls for help. She felt that this might be another of Odin' s tricks, but the love she felt for Lambi made it feel as if she were being torn apart inside. At first she tried to ignore his pitiful cries for help, but her desire to help her human lover overwhelmed her, and she decided to go back to Midgard despite the possible danger. Like a puff of smoke she disintegrated into tens of thousands of individual snowflakes, which were instantly lifted by a phantom wind and carried toward Midgard. As she flowed along in the wind she thought to herself. " If this were a trick, I could still escape Odin. I will simply fly away, for no one can capture the blowing snow ! "
Odin / Lambi smiled as he heard the unnatural breeze begin to blow through the forest. He knew she was coming ! When the trees began to bend near their camp Odin whispered to Kvasir : " She is near ! Be ready Kvasir ! " he told his friend. Kvasir grabbed hold of both ends of the great net . " I will not fail you my friend . " he replied in a soft tone.
Drifa reformed herself at a safe distance from the pleading figure, who lay upon the ground at the edge of the clearing. The human certainly looked like Lambi, and the voice was that of her lover, but as she moved closer Drifa continued to carefully look all around her for anything that looked like a trap. Step by step she slowly approached until her heart strings broke at the sight of the one she loved covered in blood, and crying out in agony. " What has Odin done to you !? " she yelled as she ran the last few feet over to him. Lambi lifted himself up on one arm to meet Drifa' s eyes as she knelt down beside him . " Odin tortured me to make me talk, and then he left me out here to die ! " he told her. Drifa reached out for Lambi' s hand, and then the world went dark !
Kvasir waited until the snow maiden passed his position before silently edging out from behind the rock and into the open. When Drifa knelt down beside Odin / Lambi he stretched out the net with both hands, and threw himself on the unsuspecting snow maiden. As the net came down on Drifa, Odin / Lambi rolled out of the way, and helped Kvasir secure the ends over their captive so she could not escape. The Gods held on tight as the Jotuness thrashed around violently within the net. Drifa kicked and punched at the fabric with her feet and hands with all her might, but the Dwarves had made the net too strong, and she could not escape in her present form.
" You fools ! Do you really think you can capture a snow maiden ?! " she screamed. Then the movement stopped from within the net, and the Gods heard an odd popping sound. Suddenly the net became much lighter, and almost floated off of the ground. Odin and Kvasir checked the net from one end to the other to see if any of the snowflakes were escaping. They saw nothing ! Kvasir nodded positively to Odin who had changed back into his God form. " Fjalar, and Galar have truly made a wonderful net for you my friend ! Nothing can hope to escape this device ! " he told Odin. Valfather smiled. " It is indeed magnificent my old friend ! " Odin replied.
Kvasir helped Odin to carefully tie the ends so they could release their hold on the net. Then Odin turned to Kvasir, and placed his hand on his shoulder. " Your work here is done my friend ! " he told Kvasir. " You should not be here to witness what follows ! " he said more sternly. " Take Sleipnir and go back to the golden realm. Tell my sons that I will be returning to Asgard soon, and to be ready for war ! " he added. Kvasir nodded. " I wish you well my friend ! " he told Odin. Then Kvasir turned and began to leave. Valfather watched Kvasir until he disappeared into the distance before he picked up the net off of the ground. " Now it is just me and you snow maiden ! " Odin shouted at the net.
When Odin reached his camp the net suddenly became heavy again. " Decided to reform snow witch ? ! Odin shouted angrily at the net. The Giantess kicked with her feet in protest. " You can keep me a prisoner for as long as you want, but I will not tell you anything that you want to know ! " shouted the muffled voice from within the woven prison. Odin threw the net on the ground by the stump. " Then you will die Drifa ! " he told her. Drifa laughed. " And how will you kill a snow maiden, Odin of Asgard ? " she asked sarcastically.
Drifa received no answer to her question, as she listened carefully to what was happening outside her prison. She could hear Odin' s heavy footsteps moving through the snow, and then she heard pieces of wood banging off of one another. Moments later, with her ear pressed up against the net, she heard Odin begin to chant words she did not understand. Then she heard a much more ominous noise. Drifa heard a sound that no snow maiden ever wanted to hear ! She heard the crackling of a fire !
Odin scooped up snow into a great cauldron and placed it on a metal rod that hung over the fire. When the snow had melted and begun to boil, Valfather went over, picked up the net, and flung it over his shoulder. " Oh, I think you will tell me everything I want to know !! " he told the maiden who had begun once again to struggle in the net. Odin let the net slide off of his shoulder, when he reached the cauldron, and held it in his hands just above the boiling water. " Who killed Prince Viglund and Princess Aldisar ! " Odin asked angrily.
As she felt the hot steam against the side of the net, Drifa knew that if she did not answer, she would die. When the first drop of her water - blood evaporated under the intense steam she began to scream ! A scream that not even the tightly woven net could contain ! " No ! No ! NO!! " she screamed over and over again as more and more of her snow body melted and then evaporated away in steam.
Odin lifted the net from above the cauldron and asked again : " Who killed Prince Viglund and Princess Aldisar !? " Though she was crying hysterically Odin made out her answer. " Skjalfti ! It was the Jotun Skjalfti who caused the avalanche that killed them ! " Odin lowered the net a little more to influence her further. " And where will I find this Skjalfti ?! " Odin asked her. The intense heat made her scream once again in agony ! When Odin lifted the net again she answered in an exhausted sobbing voice. " He is at Spellvirki' s ice palace, and he is under the protection of the Jotun lord ! " she screamed.
" I knew that you would tell me all that I wished to know snow maiden. " Odin told the writhing figure in the net. " I have given
you the information to you desired. Have mercy ! Please let me go ! " Drifa screamed pleading for her life. Odin narrowed his eye. " Did the snow that encased Princess Aldisar, and her child let go of its grip and show mercy as she slowly died ? " Odin asked calmly.
Drifa screamed when she heard Odin ask this question. For she knew what was about to happen. As the net slowly sank into the boiling water her screams became more shrill, and much louder. Even after she was completely submerged Odin could still hear her wailing with each air bubble that reached the top of the pot and burst. That is until the bubbles stopped !
- End Chapter 7
- Next : Chapter 8 : A New Adversary
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.
Odin' s Revenge
Drifa was in a state of panic. The snow maiden had too many questions, and not enough answers. " How did Odin find out about what I have done ? Why did Odin come to me in Lambi' s form ? Does this mean that Lambi has been killed ?! " she whispered to herself as she paced back and forth in her father's ice hall in Jotunheim.
She had agreed to to help Spellvirki only to avenge what her people perceived as the God's crimes against her folk. Over time, and after many countless liaisons with Lambi, she had grown to love the human despite his many faults. And now...... now she did not know what had become of him. The love that she felt for him burned stronger within her than her fear of the Gods, and because of her feelings for Lambi, she had decided that she soon would risk going back to Saurby, on Midgard, to find out exactly what had become of him.
Snaer had been watching his daughter carefully. He had not been in favor of his daughter's participation in this whole affair, but he felt that he could not go against the wishes of Spellvirki, the king of the Jotuns. Now as he watched his daughter anxiously staring out of the ice windows of his hall he could not help but feel feel that something had gone awry. He had questioned Drifa several times, but she denied that anything was wrong. Now he, Snaer, the father of the snow maidens, was debating whether it was appropriate to go and see Spellvirki to find out for himself exactly what had happened.
On the way to Midgard Odin mentioned to Kvasir how much he had enjoyed the wonderfully sour taste of the apples that he had purchased from the old woman named Hrund in Saurby's square. Kvasir, who like many of the Gods had only ever tasted the sweet golden apples that Idunn handed out to the Aesir and Vanir, was intrigued by the way Odin went on and on describing the delicious flavor of the Midgardian fruit, and asked if they might stop on the way to let him try one. Odin was anxious to capture Drifa, but he could not refuse his old friend's request to sample one of Midgard's delights. As the Gods dismounted at the edge of town, Odin turned himself back into Gangleri the wanderer. Kvasir, however, was not in need of a disguise for he was not as well known as Odin, and he had many human like features, including a small build for a God . When they reached the town square Gangleri turned to Kvasir. " Wait until you taste these Midgardian apples. Not only are they sour, but they are red my friend ! " he told him. Kvasir gave Gangleri a look of surprise. " Red !? " That is quite unusual ! " he exclaimed.
Once they were in the middle of the square Gangleri looked around, but no matter how hard he looked he could not find the old woman, or her produce cart. Perplexed, Gangleri walked over to another vendor, who was selling baked goods and asked : " Excuse me my good man, but could you tell me where the old woman is who brings the produce cart to the square ? " Gangleri asked in a very meek human voice. The middle aged man looked the hooded stranger in the eye, and shook his head before answering. " You must mean Hrund. She was a brave woman, that old maiden was. Hrund was eaten up with consumption, and yet every day, right up until the day she died, she came to the square to sell her fruits and vegetables. Needed the money she did ! Her family needed the money badly. Poor old woman ! Brave as any warrior I ever met she was ! " he told the stranger. Gangleri thanked the man, and then asked : " Where is she buried, may I ask ? " The baker pointed to the woods just outside of town. " She was laid to rest near an old oak tree by the edge of the clearing. You'll see the fresh dirt I am sure my friend. " he told the stranger.
Gangleri nodded to the baker, and walked back to his friend. Kvasir could see at once that something was troubling the disguised Odin. The saddened God looked at Kvasir and took a deep breath. " I am sorry my old friend, but there will be no apples today. " he told him. Kvasir grabbed hold of Gangleri' s arm. " What vexes you so my friend ? " he asked concerned. Gangleri did not answer his question. " I am going just outside of town for a short while to visit an old friend. " he told Kvasir. " May I come as well ? " Kvasir asked. Gangleri nodded, but said nothing. The walk out to the field was a quiet one.
When Kvasir saw the fresh grave he held back and allowed Gangleri to visit the mound alone. He watched with great interest as Odin, in his wanderer disguise, raised his walking stick high in the air, and chanted words that not even he understood. Suddenly, from above the trees, there appeared a winged white horse with a helmeted female rider. The horse reared up, after landing, as a salute to Valfather, and then the Valkyrie dismounted. " What is your command my lord ?! " she asked. Gangleri pointed to the grave mound. The Valkyrie nodded that she understood. Valfather's maiden walked over to the grave mound and thrust her arms into the freshly packed dirt. As she stood up the Valkyrie pulled out the essence of the occupant of the grave. But when the Valkyrie saw the person she had extracted from the grave she gave Valfather a questioning look. " This is an old woman . " she told him in disbelief. " Does Valfather want me to take her to Valhalla ? " she asked.
Odin' s eye glowed red with anger ! " That is the second time that you have questioned me maiden ! There will not be a third ! " he added angrily. The Valkyrie involuntarily took a step backwards. " I am sorry my lord ! " she said quietly. As the Valkyrie mounted her steed, and flew away Odin spoke softly. " I promised I would not forget you old woman, and now the name of Hrund will never be forgotten ! "
Kvasir walked over to the disguised Odin and placed his hand on his friend's shoulder. " A wise man is as compassionate as he is ruthless. " he told Odin. The Lord of Asgard turned to Kvasir. " They are my children. I do for them what I can. " he replied softly. " But now my friend we must capture a snow maiden ! " he told Kvasir in a much firmer voice.
Hrund awoke from her eternal sleep to find herself lying in the doorway of a great golden hall. As the doors slowly opened she saw inside a great number of tables. And on both sides of these tables sat fierce looking warriors on golden benches. The moment the doors opened the loud warriors went silent. As Hrund picked herself up she felt a hand on her back gently guide her through the doorway and into the great hall. When she turned around Hrund saw behind her a large maiden wearing a winged helmet. " You..... you..... you are... are a Valkyrie ! " Hrund stuttered. The Valkyrie nodded. " Yes and by Odin's decree so are you also ! " she told her in a commanding voice. As Hrund passed over the threshold, that divided the hall from the outside world, her wrinkled hands became young and strong again, her weathered face became beautiful once more, and her gray hair turned back to golden blonde. Hrund stood shaking in disbelief as she looked down at her young soft hands. Then she placed her hands on her tight unwrinkled face and began to cry.
Another Valkyrie walked over to Hrund, from across the hall, and grabbed her hand. This valkyrie, as beautiful as the first, led her to the far end of the first table. As she pulled out the bench for Hrund to sit upon the Valkyrie spoke gently to her. " I am the Valkyrie Mist. Tomorrow you will take up your duties as a serving maiden here in the halls of Valhalla. Today, however, by order of Odin himself, you are an honored guest, and will sit in Odin' s seat ! " Mist told the confused maiden.
A large warrior suddenly stood up and broke the silence. He lifted his golden goblet high above his head and shouted for all to hear : " All hail and welcome, Hrund, serving maiden of the einherjar, and honored guest of Valfather ! " Everyone in the hall stood, and raised their goblets and horns and replied almost as one : " All hail the Valkyrie Hrund ! " The hall then erupted into cheers and whistles for their newest member !
- End Chapter 6
Chapter 7 : The Executioner
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.
Odin' s Revenge
The next morning Odin summoned his swift eight legged horse Sleipnir, and with Kvasir holding on tight, they began their journey to Svartalfaheim. Along the way they tested their wisdom, and knowledge against one another, but neither could out do, or out think, the other. In his contest of wits against Vafthrudnir Odin felt the need to defeat the Giant by asking him a question about his son Balder that only Odin himself could answer, but when challenged by Kvasir, the All - Father was content simply to speak to someone who had reached the same intellectual level as himself.
The journey did not take long, and soon the Gods were dismounting at the mouth of the cave that led down into the dark damp world of the Dwarves, also known to some as the Dark Elves. Odin never truly understood why the realm was called the dark world. As the light from the mouth of the cave entrance faded it was replaced by the luminescence produced by a moss that grew on the cave walls. It was not nearly as bright as Sunna' s glowing rays, but it certainly was not dark as they descended deeper and deeper into the Dwarves realm.
As the tunnel leveled out it opened up into a huge cavern the size of a Midgardian kingdom. It was here that Kvasir took the lead. " A few years ago when I was traveling through Svartalalfheim I came upon these two magnificent craftsmen named Fjalar and Galar. They have a knack for mixing together potions that can do wonderful things. " he told Odin. " Making a net is not the difficult task at hand my old friend, it is shrinking the weaving to such a size that not even the smallest of snowflakes can escape that is the problem. " he added with a smile. Odin nodded thoughtfully. " I look forward to meeting these friends of yours ! " Odin told him.
Without the sun as a reference, time had no meaning in the enclosed environment of the Dwarves underground world. It may have taken a full day or possibly several to reach the stone hut in the middle of what appeared to be a rather large village. Kvasir led Odin, not up to the front door of the little hut, but instead took him to the rear of the dwelling where two Dwarves were busy mixing various items into a large bubbling cauldron. Kvasir motioned for Odin to stop, and then quietly came up behind the busy Dwarves.
" And how are my good friends Fjalar and Galar on this fine day ?! " Kvasir bellowed in a loud booming voice. Fjalar immediately dropped the spoon that he had been stirring the pot with, and Galar was so startled that he jumped up and ran back into the hut through the back door. Fjalar narrowed his eyes as he picked up the spoon and wiped it off with a rag.
" Kvasir ! Must you be so loud ! You nearly scared my brother half to death ! " Fjalar told him in a scolding tone. Galar was not so kind as he peeked out of the doorway. " You are a dragon' s ass ! " he cried out. " Are you trying to kill me ! " he asked half joking. Kvasir waved his hands in front of him as he laughed heartily. " No ! No ! I assure you that I was not trying to harm either of you ! " he explained.
When Kvasir gained his composure he told the Dwarves that he had come with a friend who needed their unique skills. Fjalar looked over at the hooded man, who he had not spotted earlier, before speaking. " We do not know you all that well Kvasir." the Dwarve told him. " So why would we do a favor for someone who we do not know at all ? " he asked. Kvasir smiled and walked back to his friend. " Because this is a very special someone ! " he told them. Odin looked at Kvasir and then slowly removed his hood to reveal his true identity.
" ODIN ! " Both Dwarves shouted in unison. When the shock wore off both Fjalar and Galar kneeled before the All - Father who had helped create them from the creatures that squirmed like maggots in Ymir' s flesh. Galar spoke first. " What can we, as humble servants, do for the great Odin ! " Fjalar then chimed in. " Yes ! Yes ! " Whatever you need we will try our very best to make it for you ! "
Odin smiled at the Dwarves, and nodded. " Thank You ! " he replied gratefully. " But first you must get up off of your knees. Such displays are unnecessary ! " he told them emphatically. Fjalar turned his head sideways slightly and asked : " What is it that you command us to create great lord of Asgard ? " Odin placed his hand on the Dwarf' s shoulder. " I am asking that you make for me a very special net. " he told him. Galar gasped in surprise. " A net ! My people are afraid of this device ! Our cousin Andvari was captured by Loki with one of those contraptions ! " he told Odin with a voice filled with fear. Fjalar stepped away from Odin, and the All- Father's hand fell from his shoulder. " And why does the great Odin wish for us to make him a net ? " Fjalar asked suspiciously. Odin came closer, bent down to their level, and whispered : " I want to capture snow flakes with it. " he told them.
Fjalar and Galar looked at each other with eyebrows raised. They then responded almost simultaneously : " Snowflakes !? "
Odin then added : " Well not just snowflakes, but all the snowflakes that make up a snow maiden ! " he told them. Odin and Kvasir both chuckled when they saw the startled faces of the Dwarves. With a smile Kvasir then asked. " Do you think that you can make such a device ? " The Dwarves looked at each other again, and then they looked up at the high roof of the cave while stroking their chins in deep thought. Fjalar then pointed his finger in the air. " It would have to be very tightly woven . " he said to no one in particular. Galar turned to his brother and exclaimed : " Yes ! Yes ! And very strong as well ! " Odin stepped forward. " Yes ! It would have to be very strong, for I wish to capture a large snow maiden with it ! " he told the brothers.
Fjalar scratched his head. " Let me see ! Let me see ! Our folk made a fetter for you a while back. " he told Odin. " What was it made of ? " he asked his brother. Galar snapped his fingers. " I remember brother ! It was made from the noise a cat makes, a woman's beard, the roots of a mountain, a bear' s sinews, the breath of a fish, and ..... and .... Before he could finish Fjalar chimed in : " And bird spittle ! Yes, definitely bird spittle ! " he yelled proudly for having remembered .
Suddenly it was as if Odin and Kvasir were not there . Fjalar and Galar became lost in how they would make such a wonderful thing, and totally ignored the Gods. Galar turned his back to the Gods and asked. " But how will we make the weave tight enough to capture something as small as a snowflake ? " Fjalar ran over to his brother, and with an excited expression shouted. " We don' t ! " He then smacked his brother on the forehead. " Remember that formula that we used to shrink that dragon to the size of a mouse ? " he asked. Before his brother could answer he told him. " We will simply make a net with as tight a weave as possible, then dip it it into that same potion, and shrink it to the size that we need ! " he told his brother proudly.
Galar jumped up and down. " Perfect ! " he shouted joyously. " I will get the magical materials to make the net, and strengthen it, while you make the potion that will shrink it to the proper size ! " he told Fjalar. Both brothers went in separate directions leaving the Gods alone. Odin looked over at Kvasir. " And what do we do ? " All -Father asked . Kvasir lay down on the soft moss that covered the ground. " I believe the wise thing to do is rest and leave the Dwarves to their work. Odin laughed and lay down across from his old friend. " Good plan ! " he told Kvasir.
The Dwarves moved to and fro like busy beavers making a dam. They each would throw ingredients into one of the two cauldrons, stir it, and then scurry away to find the next item they needed for their magical potions. Odin and Kvasir quickly became bored and fell asleep watching them as they worked frantically in the dim light of their world.
The Gods were awakened from their sleep by the Dwarves loud shouting. " It is wonderful Galar ! " Fjalar exclaimed. " It is better than wonderful Fjalar, it is perfect ! " Galar shouted back at his brother. Fjalar looked at his brother proudly. " I believe that we are the best craftsmen in all of Svartalfaheim ! " he told Galar with a grin. " You will not find me arguing that point brother ! " Galar told his brother with a giggle.
When the brothers realized that the Gods were awake they rushed over to them with the net. " Fjalar held up the net in front of the Gods, while his brother pulled out one side to show its ample size. " Isn't it magnificent ! " Fjalar shouted. Odin and Kvasir turned and gave each other a questioning stare, before returning their gaze back to the Dwarves. What they saw made Kvasir angry, because what he saw was nothing at all. " All this time and you have nothing to show for it ! " the wise God shouted at the Dwarves. Fjalar was hurt and stunned by the God' s comment, and he flung his arms at Kvasir. Suddenly, right before Odin's eyes, his old friend disappeared ! Startled, Odin stepped backwards. " What have you done with Kvasir ?! " Odin demanded. Galar placed his hands on his hips and told the God angrily. " My brother has covered Kvasir with the net, which by the way is not only very strong and tightly woven, but is also invisible ! "
Odin rushed over and threw his arms around the little Dwarf. As he picked up Fjalar he said over and over again. " Thank You ! Thank You ! Thank You ! " Galar gave the All - Father a disappointed look, and was about to walk away when Odin reached out and picked him up as well. " And of course I thank you as well my little friend ! " As Odin was bouncing the Dwarves up and down joyously he heard a muffled voice coming from the ground behind him. " I am afraid I am in need of a little help here. This net is incredibly strong ! " Kvasir told them from inside the net with a pleading voice. Odin laughed as he placed the Dwarves back on the ground. " Do you think we should let him out ? ! " Odin asked without trying to hide his pleasure.
Odin was very pleased with the net that the Dwarves had made for him, and the God in turn was very generous with his payment for their fine work. Odin gave the Dwarves so much gold that it trickled out of their hands as he poured it from his pouch. So full were their hands that as the Gods left they could not wave, but instead nodded gratefully. As the Gods headed toward the cavern's exit Fjalar turned to Galar and held up the many gold coins that Odin had given him. " There is much gold to be made from these Gods my brother. " he told Galar. Galar nodded. " Yes, Fjalar ! And the next time that Kvasir comes to visit I know a way for us to become very rich ! " he told his brother with a sly grin.
As Odin and Kvasir approached the cave's entrance Sunna' s rays painfully blinded the Gods. As he shielded his eyes Kvasir suddenly understood why sunlight could kill a Dwarf. For if being underground for such a short time, as they had just been, could cause such discomfort when exposed to the solar rays, then living a lifetime in the dim light of their realm would surely make the light of day fatal.
Odin mounted Sleipnir first, and then gave Kvasir a hand up onto the tall eight legged horse' s back . Before Valfather commanded his great steed into a fast gallop he turned to Kvasir. " I thank you for your help old friend, and I will ask of you but one more favor." he told him. Kvasir nodded. " If it is within my power I will be more than glad to help you old friend ! " he replied. Odin looked his friend in the eyes. " Help me to capture Drifa ? ! " Odin asked Kvasir forcefully. Kvasir paused for a moment before answering. " I will assist in Drifa's capture old friend, but I will not do anything to harm the snow maiden. For I was born of peace, and will not be a party to violence. " he told Odin adamantly. Valfather smiled. " I understand completely my old friend, and again I thank you for your assistance . " Odin replied as he kicked Sleipnir into flight.
- End Chapter 5
Next : Chapter 6 : A Compassionate God
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.
Odin' s Revenge
Odin poured himself another horn of ale before sitting back down on the tree stump. As he gazed into the flickering flames that danced before him Valfather became lost in his thoughts. Odin remained motionless by the fire throughout the day as Sunna made her daily trek across the Midgardian sky. Though his body remained static his mind was a fury of activity. With the human out of the way Odin could now concentrate on the next cog in the evil wheel that had changed forever the future of his human children. Valfather had never considered Snaer, or his snow maiden daughters, as being dangerous to either the humans or the Gods. However, if what the Midgardian told him was true, and the dead under his power had never lied before, then his perception of good Jotuns and evil Jotuns would now, and forever, be changed.
Odin looked away from the fire and gazed up at the sky as Sunna made her way over the horizon, and dusk fell over the Midgardian world. As Odin stood his great spear became a sword, and the Lord of Asgard slowly transformed his shape once again. The All- Father placed his shining blade into its scabbard that hung at his waist, and laughed. Drifa would never come to him while he was in the form of a God, but Odin was certain that the snow maiden would be more than willing to meet with her human lover Lambi.
Odin walked out of the forest and into the clearing. In an exact imitation of Lambi' s voice Odin shouted : " Drifa ! Drifa ! Where are you my love ? " At first Odin received no response to his call, but then slowly from off in the distance, he heard a wind begin to blow through the forest in his direction. A few moments later a gentle snow began to fall at the edge of the clearing. As the snowflakes began to accumulate they took on the shape of a beautiful snow maiden.
Odin, in Lambi disguise, walked towards her and raised his arms to embrace her. As she hugged Lambi tightly she whispered in his ear: " I am always glad to see you my love, but why have you called me back so soon ? " she asked her human lover. The false Lambi kissed her on the cheek, and in turn whispered in her ear : " You took something very dear from me, and now you are going to pay for your indiscretions ! " Odin told her in his own voice.
The image of Lambi began to distort, much the way a reflection in a pond does when ripples appear on its surface. When the image before her became clear once again Drifa saw that she was caught in the clutches of none other than the All- father himself. She screamed as she struggled desperately in his tight grip. When the snow maiden realized that her efforts were futile she closed her eyes and let her body go limp. In an explosion of wind Drifa turned herself back into snowflakes, which rose up and blew away from her captor.
Odin grasped desperately at the individual flakes, but to no avail. There were far too many, and they were flying off in all directions. As the snow squall reentered the forest Odin cried out in his fury : " There is no where that you can hide ! I will find you snow maiden and you will pay for what you have done ! "
Odin had learned many millennium ago that anger was without purpose, and quickly calmed down. All - Father went back into the forest, poured himself another horn of ale, and contemplated his next move. " If only I had something to capture the individual flakes in ! " he told himself out loud. " A device that would not allow even the tiniest of her crystals to escape. That is what I require ! " he added. Odin stared into the flickering flames and became mesmerized by them. He allowed his mind to journey through his vast store of memories. Slowly, images began to appear before him in the dancing flames. Odin saw ashes in a fire. Watched as Kvasir determined their meaning, and made a strange device out of narrow cord. Suddenly, he saw Thor at the base of a falls capturing Loki, who had taken the shape of a fish, in Kvasir' s invention. Odin stroked his beard and smiled. " Tomorrow I will travel back to Asgard and see Kvasir. He will know how to make that device again so I can capture Drifa. " he said to himself. Odin then went deeper into his memories. " A net ! That is what Kvasir the wise called it ! " he shouted out loud.
It did not take Odin long to return to Asgard. The great wanderer had traveled the nine worlds for many millennium, and he knew the best and the quickest paths to each of the nine worlds. The All - Father was also very familiar with Kvasir, and his ways. He was certain that he would find the, " God's Token ", in the fields of Idavoll.
After the great Aesir - Vanir War ended each of the Gods from both Asgard and Vanaheim spit into a great cauldron a "peace token " as their pledge to forever maintain a peace between the old Gods and the new Gods. Later the Gods felt that this peace offering was too valuable to waste and formed it into a being, who they named Kvasir. He became a very wise God, and a wonderful teacher. The Gods sent him out to spread his wisdom throughout the nine worlds. For thousands of years he taught the Elves, Dwarves, and humans. Even the Jotuns were not immune to his great charm and knowledge. The great enemy of the Gods would sit and converse with Kvasir for an entire cycle of the moon to learn some of his great wisdom. Such was the power of Kvasir's teachings.
Kvasir had recently stopped his wanderings, and had for the past few seasons begun teaching the children of the Gods each day in the fields of Idavoll. And it was here, among the lush green grass, and beautiful flowers that were always in bloom, that Odin found his old friend hard at work.
Odin sat off in the distance and listened to Kvasir speak. His voice was as soothing as his words were wise. All - Father smiled when he saw the joy on the faces of the children who were gathered around their teacher. Odin thought to himself that as horrible as the Aesir - Vanir war had been two wonderful things came out of that epic conflict. First of course was the great friendship and alliance with the magical Vanir beings. The other was Kvasir ! Not only was he a monument to the peace that was forged between the Gods, but he also stood as a testament to what the Gods could create if they so desired.
Odin sat and watched patiently until he heard Kvasir tell the children that the day had grown late, and that it was now time to end the lesson, and for them to return to their families. As the children of the Gods went their separate ways, Odin rose up and called out to his old friend. " Kvasir ! Kvasir ! he shouted. " May I have a word with you my old friend ? " Odin asked with a smile. Kvasir turned, and as soon as he saw the All- Father he rushed over, and locked his hand over the forearm of his friend. " It is good to see you once again great Odin ! " Kvasir exclaimed with a huge grin. Odin grasped Kvasir' s forearm, and patted his old friend on the back. " And it is, as always, wonderful to see you Kvasir ! " he told him.
Kvasir' s grin turned into a frown when he saw the look in Odin's eye. " I sense that you have not come here merely to exchange felicitations and salutations my old friend. " he told Odin. Valfather stepped away from Kvasir. " Your power of perception is as well developed as is your great wisdom old friend . I need your help Kvasir ! " he told the wise one. Kvasir nodded. " Then let us not waste our time on trivialities. Tell me what it is that vexes the greatest of Gods. " Kvasir told Odin.
Odin explained everything that had transpired from the beginning right up to the moment that Drifa had escaped his grasp. Kvasir, without Odin mentioning the device he hoped to use to capture Drifa, interrupted the All- Father. " What you need my old friend is something similar in make to what we captured Loki in when he took the form of a fish. " he told his old friend. Kvasir thought for a moment. " However, it would have to be woven much tighter than the net we used in that instance. " Kvasir said stroking his chin in deep thought.
Odin' s eye widened. " Can you make such a device ? " he asked with a hint of excitement in his voice. Kvasir smiled. " No ! But I know others who can ! " he told Odin. Odin's hopes were instantly raised. " Who is it that can weave such a complex contraption ! " he asked. Kvasir nodded as he answered. " Tomorrow we will travel to the land of the Dwarves. " Kvasir then laughed. " But tonight we will drink my old friend ! " Odin clasped Kvasir's hand. " Thank You ! " All - Father told him emphatically.
- End Chapter 4
- Next : Chapter 5 : Fjalar And Galar
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.
Odin, disguised as the human Gangleri, was deep in thought as he felt a cold breeze blow through the trees above him. All - Father was sure that this wind was not a natural occurrence here in Midgard, and quickly found himself a place to hide behind a large pine tree that had a good view of the open field beyond. Gangleri watched as the cold wind began to circle and a brief snow storm began to fall at the edge of the field. Off in the distance another sound slowly rose up that All - Father knew very well. It was a sound from this realm.
Gangleri watched as the rider galloped up to the field and quickly dismounted. He observed from a distance as the human began to walk over to where the snow had begun to accumulate into a drift, caused by the swirling winds. Suddenly, the snow began to rise up and assemble itself into a distinct form. Odin' s eye narrowed in anger as he recognized the being. " A Jotun snow maiden ! " he whispered to himself.
As the rider passed his position Gangleri was able to glimpse the stranger's face. The man's features were familiar to All - Father, as though he had seen them somewhere before. In an instant Gangleri' s mind drifted back to the wedding ritual. He remembered the ring falling off of Princess Aldisar' s sword, and he saw in his mind' s eye the man who picked up the ring, and placed it back on the tip of the blade. Gangleri opened his mind further, and then it came to him . " Lambi ! The Chieftain of Saurby ! " he thought to himself.
From the shadows Gangleri took in every moment of the secret meeting. He could not hear what they said when they embraced, but their kiss told Valfather everything that he needed to know. A Jotuness would never lower herself to be with a human unless she wanted something from him. Gangleri narrowed his eye, and whispered to himself : " You will tell me everything you know you foolish human ! "
Drifa and Lambi spoke for quite some time. With each burst of laughter that they shared Gangleri became angrier. And when they embraced again and kissed it was almost too much for the God, who prided himself on his restraint, to take ! After one long last kiss Gangleri watched as they parted. The snow maiden walked to the edge of the forest, waved goodbye to her lover, and then dissolved into countless snowflakes, which were then carried away on an unnatural breeze .
Lambi blew her a kiss, and then turned to leave himself. A few feet from his horse the Chieftain of Saurby stopped when he heard a noise behind him. In one fluid motion the warrior drew his sword, and spun around, ready to defend himself from whatever danger awaited him . Lambi frowned when he saw standing before him and old man with a walking stick, and he lowered his sword slightly.
The Chieftain of Saurby stood frozen for a moment. He stared at the odd looking man trying to decide whether he was a friend or foe. The man appeared to be very old, and yet he seemed quite fit for his age. The stranger had long gray hair, and a beard of the same color that was carefully braided on both ends. The dark hood the man wore on his head partially covered his face, but Lambi could see that he wore a patch over one eye. The Chieftain lifted his sword and pointed the end of the blade at the stranger's head. He then took a deep breath. " What is it that you want old man ? " he asked suspiciously. The old man smiled, and studied Lambi for a moment before replying : " My name is Gangleri, and I wish nothing more than to have a word with you . " he told him.
The old man motioned with his walking stick towards the woods. " I have a nice warm fire burning at my camp. " he told Lambi. " Why don't we go there, and have a drink, and talk a while ? " the old man asked. Lambi looked over to where the stranger was pointing . Suddenly he saw a plume of smoke coming from the trees that he had not taken notice of earlier. He also began to smell the burning wood. Lambi thought it strange that he had not seen, or smelled, the fire when he passed this way the first time. The chieftain found himself becoming very curious about this mysterious old man. " Lead the way stranger ! " he told him as he placed his sword back into its scabbard.
Gangleri stopped near the fire and pointed to a fallen tree. " Sit my friend. " he told the chieftain. The disguised God filled a horn with ale, and handed it to Lambi. The chieftain took the horn, and watched carefully as the old man named Gangleri walked around to the other side of the fire and sat on a tree stump. Lambi studied the old man' s every movement as he poured himself a horn of ale . Although the hood covered most of his features, Lambi became fixated on Gangleri' s eye. He noticed that it did not blink, and that the flickering reflection from the flames of the fire danced around in his black orb like a comet racing across the heavens. Lambi thought to himself that the eye reflected much more than the flames. It reflected anger !
" I ask you once again old man, what is it that you want from me ! " Lambi asked more impatiently this time. Gangleri leaned his horn carefully on the ground against the stump without taking a sip. " I seek the truth ! " the old man replied with a hint of fury in his voice. Lambi placed his hand on the hilt of his sword before he inquired further. " And what truth is it that you seek Gangleri ! " he asked. The old man narrowed his eye, and pounded his fist against his knee. " I want to know what part you played in the deaths of King Sigtrygg, Prince Viglund, and Princess Aldisar ! " Gangleri shouted back at the human. Lambi move his hand from the hilt down to the grip and drew his sword as he stood up. " I am sure that I do not know what it is that you mean old man ! " the chieftain yelled back. Gangleri laughed sarcastically. " I suppose that you do not know that the maiden you have been secretly seeing is a Frost Giant either ? ! " Gangleri fired back.
Lambi held his sword out in front of him as he moved around the fire. " It is time for you to die old man ! " he screamed at Gangleri. The " old man " grabbed hold of his walking stick. In the blink of an eye it changed from a mere wooden stick into a mighty spear. The hooded man also transformed right before Lambi. As Gangleri pulled back his hood Lambi' s eyes widened, and he took a step backwards. " ODIN ! " Lambi cried out through trembling lips.
Lambi had only a short moment to decide what to do. Should he run ? Should he beg for mercy ? Or would it be better to fight for his life ? In the blink of an eye Lambi chose to stand and fight. It was a mistake ! Odin caught the first sword stroke in between the triple blades of his great spear Gungnir, and with a quick turn of his wrists broke the human's blade in half. Valfather then swung the other end of his spear at Lambi, catching him just below the chin. The blow knocked the Midgardian off of his feet, and dazed him. Odin slowly walked over to the barely conscious human and placed the point of his blade against Lambi' s chest. " If you will not tell me what I want to know while you are alive, then you will tell me the truth in death ! " he shouted at the prostrated human. Slowly, and to inflict as much agony as possible, Odin very slowly pushed Gungnir through Lambi' s chest until it pierced his heart. Valfather showed no emotion as the human screamed, and writhed violently in his death throes.
Odin slowly walked over to the stump by the fire and sat down. As the human' s blood dripped off of the tip of Gungnir' s blade he began to chant an ancient spell. Over and over again he spoke the magical verse until slowly the dead body that was once Lambi rose up, and once again sat across the fire from him. Odin pointed the tip of his spear at Lambi' s corpse and commanded that it speak. From the blade a red mist floated across and entered the human' s mouth. " What is it that great Odin wishes to know ? " the body asked without emotion.
Odin smiled and picked up his horn of ale, which still rested against the stump. Valfather took a sip from the horn, and then spoke in a soft, but forceful voice. " First I wish to know who was responsible for the deaths of Prince Viglund and Princess Aldisar ? " he asked the lifeless form. Lambi's body remained perfectly still as his mouth replied. " I do not know who they were killed by. I believed that they were to be captured and held for ransom by the Jotuns. " the body told the God.
Odin took another small drink of ale. " Who was the Jotun who arranged all of this treachery ? " he asked more forcefully. " I was contacted by a Jotun snow maiden named Drifa. It was she who acted as a messenger between myself and a Jotun named Spellvirki. " the dead body said slowly. Odin took a long drink of ale, and then threw the empty horn onto the ground. " And what was your role in all of this treachery !? " Odin demanded to know.
Even in death Lambi did not want to admit that he had betrayed the Gods. As a human, however, he did not have the strength to resist the All - Father's iron will. Reluctantly he obeyed the God's command. " I was Spellvirki's spy here in Norway. I gathered information for the Jotun's about the humans that I thought would be of use, and then I passed it along to Drifa. At Prince Viglund's wedding ritual I overheard that the prince and princess were traveling to Uppsala to meet with King Sweyn of the Swedes. I relayed this to Drifa, who in turn gave it to Spellvirki who acted on it. " Lambi' s corpse told Valfather.
Through dead eyes Lambi looked over at Odin through the fire. Slowly his blue lips opened and he spoke once again. " I swear to you great Odin that I did not know that the Jotuns were planning to kill the prince and princess. I thought they were going to capture them and hold them for ransom. " As the spark of life once again drained out of Lambi' s body he asked one last question. " What will become of me great one ? " Odin looked through the dead man' s eyes and into his soul. " You will suffer an eternity of pain in Nidhogg' s den ! " the All- Father told him without pity.
Suddenly a Valkyrie appeared on a winged white horse, and landed near the fire. She quickly dismounted and walked over to Valfather. " What is your command my lord ? " she asked with a slight bow. Take this waste of a human life to Nidafjoll and throw his soul to Nidhogg ! " Odin ordered in a fierce tone. The Valkyrie looked at her lord and master with a surprised expression. " You do not wish him to walk through the gates of Hel on his own ? " she asked. Odin gave her an angry stare. " Are you questioning my command !? " Before she could answer Valfather addressed her in a softer tone. " I want him to suffer now ! " he told her. The Valkyrie nodded, and without saying another word she reached into Lambi' s dead body and ripped out his soul. With the human laying over her shoulder she mounted her horse, nodded at Odin, and flew off into the distance.
End Chapter 3
Next : Chapter 4 : Kvasir The Wise
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.
Odin' s Revenge
Odin had been traveling for some time when he came to the world known as Midgard. To a human the distance would have been too much to even fathom, let alone traverse. To a God, however, the concept of distance had little meaning. As Odin approached the village of Saurby, in the land known as Norway, Odin smiled. He had made all of his fellow Asgardians swear an oath not to interact, or interfere, with his human children, and few had ever gone against his policy of non - intervention. Odin himself, however, seldom if ever followed his own edict. The All- Father felt that in his disguise as a weary traveler he was not bound by his own oath. As a God it would be wrong to intermingle with these humans, but as Gangleri, an old man, he could speak to his children without them ever suspecting his true identity.
Gangleri slowly made his way through the little village of Saurby to its center, where in a place these Midgardians called the , " village square ", the local folk gathered to sell their produce and their wares . As a God Odin had tasted some of the sweetest of foods, and after a millennium had grown tired of their rich flavors. In Asgard he only drank ale and ate Idunn's sweet golden apples. The rest of his food he gave to his wolves Geri and Freki to eat. Here in Midgard, however, the food was not quite as perfect, and often had a bitter, or sour taste to it. And when he traveled as Gangleri eating these foods, that were a bit off in taste, had become a treat for him that he enjoyed very much.
As the God, in human form, made his way to a large cart that sat at the edge of the square, he reached into a pouch that hung at his waist. Gangleri pulled out a flat stone, and rubbed it slowly in between his fingers. Within moments the stone transformed into a shining silver coin. With Midgardian money now at hand the weary traveler walked over to the produce cart ready to make a purchase.
Gangleri smiled at the Elderly woman who stood at the side of the old rickety wooden cart. " Good morning to you maiden ! " he said as he looked over the various fruits and vegetables that were on display before him. The old woman turned her head slightly as she looked the stranger up and down. " My ain't you a big one ! " she told her prospective customer with a toothless grin.
Gangleri could not help but smile. In Asgard he was always treated with great respect, and his fellow Asgardians were always very careful in what they said, and how they said it to him. But here in Midgard he was treated as an equal, and his children said whatever was on their mind to him. And the disguised God absolutely loved it ! " Yes, my dear. I am still large in proportion, though I have lost some of my vigor over the years. In my younger days I would have swept a lovely maiden such as yourself right off of her feet, but alas now I have barely the energy to buy some fruit from such a beauty as yourself. " he told her with a pleasant smile.
The old woman blushed for the first time in many years as she shyly looked down at the ground. " And in my younger days, when I was a shield maiden, I would have rushed into your arms ! " she told him with a little giggle. Gangleri looked up from the fruit and asked : " You were a shield maiden ? " The old woman pouted a little before replying. " I was a very good shield maiden in the old days. I had dreams of dying in battle and being swept up by one of Odin's valkyries, and taken to the golden halls of Valhalla. Dreams, however, turned into reality, and now I stand here an old woman with a hunched back selling produce in the village. " she told him sadly. The old woman took a deep cleansing breath. " Choose what you desire. I promise I will give you a fair price charming one ! " the old woman told him trying to not show her disappointment at how her life had turned out.
Gangleri looked the produce over very carefully before choosing. " I would very much like to have a dozen of those strange red apples . " he told the old woman as he picked one up and studied it. The old maiden gave the stranger a surprised look. " Did you expect them to be made of gold like the one's that Idunn gives to the Gods ? " she asked with a little laugh. Gangleri looked at the old woman and could not help but chuckle himself. " No, but I am sure the Gods would like these almost as much as Idunn's apples. " he replied.
The old woman carefully chose twelve apples for the hooded stranger, and then with a smile picked out four more for the gentleman who was being so kind to her. After placing them in a small sack she turned and handed the apples to him. " I put in a few extra for you. " she told him. Then she leaned over the cart and whispered. " But don't tell anyone, or you will ruin my reputation as a hard bargainer ! " she added with a wink.
Gangleri laughed at how funny his human children could be. " What is your name child ? " he asked. The old woman looked up at him as if he had suddenly gone mad. " My name is Hrund my friend ! " she told him. Then with a flirting smile she added. " It has been many many years since anyone has referred to me as a child. " Gangleri returned her smile, and reached out and placed his hand upon her chin. " I can still see the youthful beauty that once radiated from you. " he told her as he offered the coin to her with his other hand.
Hrund could not take her eyes off of the strange old man whose kind words had made her feel fifty years younger. When she finally looked down at her hand she saw the shiny silver coin in her palm. " Oh ! " she stated in a startled voice. " I am sorry, but I do not have enough coins to change such a large amount ! " she told him in a flustered tone. Gangleri kissed the woman on the forehead . " I will remember you shield maiden Hrund ! " he told her. Then he turned and walked away. A tear welled up in Hrund's eye as she watched him disappear across the square. " And I will never forget you either ! " she whispered.
Gangleri walked out of the village and found himself a place at the edge of the forest to make a camp. He was careful to make sure that he was far enough inside the cover of the trees and brush not to be seen, but close enough to hear any and all activity coming from the clearing. The old wanderer gathered up as much dead wood and twigs as he could find in the surrounding area. He then placed them in a pile and surrounded them with large rocks. Gangleri reached into a second pouch that he had tied around his waist, and pulled out the stones that it contained. He sifted through the stones until he came to a kenaz rune stone. Gangleri blessed the stone and placed it beneath the piled wood. He then chanted an ancient spell over the stone. After a few short moments a flame sprung up from the stone, and the wood was soon ablaze.
Gangleri sat warming himself by the fire as he drank the ale he had brought with him from Asgard for his journey. All there was left for him to do now was wait. If the Norn had been truthful in what she had told him, then it was here at the outskirts of the village of Saurby that he would find the answers that he so desperately sought. As he sat drinking from his horn he reached into the sack that the old woman had given him, and pulled out a red apple. Gangleri smiled as he bit into the Midgardian fruit, and tasted its slightly sour flavor. " Yes, Hrund, I will remember you and your wonderful apples ! " he said quietly to himself.
- End Chapter 2
Next : Chapter 3 : The Interrogator
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.
The sons of Odin stood by quietly as their father sat upon Hlidskjalf in deep contemplation. Vali and Vidar were born for revenge, and had inherited the gift of patience from their father. Thor, however, was a God of action, and paced back and forth about the great hall. Finally, when the God of Thunder could no longer contain the frustration of his inactivity, he spoke up. " Father ! You mentioned that the battle was over, and that it was now time to begin the war. Explain to us the meaning of your words ! " Thor demanded. " Who will we be going to war with ! " the God of Thunder added loudly.
Odin had his head bowed, and his hands pressed up against his forehead in the shape of a roof on a longhouse. He did not react immediately to Thor' s words, but instead kept staring off into the distance. It was almost as if the All - Father was looking through time itself for the answer to his son' s question. Slowly Odin lowered his hands, and looked over at his sons. " With anger comes war ! " he said softly. Vali and Vidar glanced questioningly at Thor, and then all three turned their attention back to their father. " Once, a very long time ago, I accused a member of the Vanir of using witchcraft against us. " he told his sons. " I consider myself to be a wise and sensible God, and yet it was I who cast the first spear that struck her down. My rashness led to the great war against the beings of Vanaheim. It was a battle between Gods of magic, and Gods of might, but it was a futile battle that neither side could win. Since Balder's death I have held within me much anger, and I have allowed this powerful emotion to cloud my judgement. " Odin continued. Then Odin turned his attention to Thor. " For the moment I will quell my fury, and seek the truth before committing to another war . " he told the Thunder God.
Thor shook his head back and forth in disgust. " If you will not be in need of my help father, I will take my leave of you. " Thor told him. The God of Thunder then turned and walked away. As the loud pounding of his steps echoed through the hall Vali called to his brother. " Thor ! Do not leave like this ! " Vidar looked at his brother and shook his head. " Let him go Vali ! Thor is built for war . He seeks battle, not the truth. " he told his brother with a smile.
Odin looked over at his two remaining sons. " Yes, let your brother go for now. When he hears the trumpet of war resounding in his ears he will come back to us. " he told them. Odin slowly rose from his high seat, and placed one of his hands on both of his sons shoulders. " You two are also free to go for now. " All - Father told them with a little smile. " But stay close ! I may be in need of your might very soon ! " he added as he walked away.
Frigga walked into the bed chamber as Odin was changing. The strong and powerful God, who only moments ago sat regally on his high seat in Hlidskjalf, had now transformed himself into an old Midgardian man. As he put on his cloak, and placed the hood over his head, he turned to his wife and smiled. " How do I look my dear ? " he asked. Frigga narrowed her eyes a bit as though she were studying every detail of his appearance. Finally she spoke in a gentle, but worried voice. " Where is my husband going in the guise of the wanderer Gangleri ? " she asked.
Odin reached out and brushed back a lock of hair that partially covered his wife' s face. " I will travel to Midgard to seek answers to the tragedies that I have witnessed. " he told her. " But first I must travel to the Well of Urd to speak to the Norn Skuld. For only she knows by who's hand the future was changed ! " he added with a hint of anger. Frigga kissed her husband on the cheek. " Then I will leave you to your work, and wish you all the best in your endeavor my love . " she told him.
Odin waited until his wife left, then reached over and grabbed hold of his mighty spear Gungnir. Gently he tapped the tip on the floor three times as he chanted a magical spell. Slowly the great weapon of war transformed into a crude walking stick with runes carved upon the sides of its handle. Odin spoke to the stick as if it were an old friend, or at the very least an acquaintance. " Come Gungnir we have a long distance to travel, and not much time to work with. " he said out loud to the inanimate object.
From a window Frigga watched as her husband slowly disappeared into the distance. She had experienced the loneliness of watching him leave so many times that she had become numb to its effects. With a deep breath she turned away from the window and silently went back to her spinning. For there was no telling when her husband would return, and keeping busy made the time seem much shorter.
Yggdrasil' s root was as big as an entire world, and as long as the entire universe. Odin followed it slowly down to where he knew the Well of Urd lay. As the root began to taper, the All- Father suspected he was getting close to the end of his journey, and when he heard the soothing sound of bubbling water he realized that he had reached his destination. Ratatosk did not stop to speak to Odin as he passed, for he was carrying a message from Nidhogg to the great eagle who sits on the highest branches of the world tree. The inquisitive squirrel did take note of the All - Father's presence though, and decided to tell the eagle as soon as he arrived in the tree top.
Skuld did not turn, nor did she stop weaving as the uninvited visitor came up behind her. " I know why you are here, but you should not have come. I cannot, and will not, divulge the name of the being who stopped my hand and tore apart the fabric of time that I had weaved. " she told Odin without ever turning to acknowledge him.
Odin slowly walked over to Skuld, and place his hand on the Norn' s shoulder. " Of course you know why I am here. This, all of this, was weaved by you. Every moment has been carefully and precisely crafted by your skilled hands. " he told her. " I am surprised, however, that you are not angry. " he added. Skuld wriggled her shoulder, and Odin released his hand. " I do not know of your emotions. I weave with a steady unbiased hand, Odin of Asgard . " she told him. Odin stepped to the side to see the Norn' s face, and for a moment Odin's eye met Skuld' s eyes. " I commend you on your restraint. For I myself would be very angry at the perpetrator of such a bold act as changing the future....... the future that you, and you alone are responsible for ! " Odin exclaimed. The All- Father then watched closely to gauge her response.
Seeing no reaction, Odin took a deep breath. " Well then ! It is obvious that there is no knowledge to be gained from staying here, so I will be on my way. " he told the Norn as he began to walk away. Skuld looked up from her weaving, and without any hint of emotion spoke. " I am ....... concerned...... that someone would have the audacity to change that which I have weaved, but my oath prevents me from naming those who did this......, but the answers you seek can be found in a field on the outskirts of a village on Midgard called Saurby. " she told him.
Odin stopped for a moment and partially turned his head back towards Skuld. " Thank You ! " All - Father shouted to her before resuming his journey. Odin grinned to himself. " Saurby on Midgard ! I know of that place. It is in the land known as Norway. "
As she heard the God's footsteps slowly disappearing off into the distance, Skuld stopped weaving for a moment and turned to where the All - Father had stood behind her. " Do not thank me high one . No one has the right to change the future. Not even one of my own people. " she whispered.
End Chapter 1
Next : Chapter 2 : The Old Woman
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.
332. One Of Many
I am the portal, an open gateway,
A connecting bridge between worlds,
I am a receiver, and a transmitter,
A conduit between humans and Gods.
I have become an interpreter of dreams,
At times a spectator in my own mind,
I am but a tool of the mighty Gods,
Carefully fashioned to meet their needs.
I am a speck of dust in a vast dark universe,
And yet their shining light somehow found me,
Now I glow in the night sky like a burning star,
And have taken my place among my people.
I am not a priest, I do not preach to anyone,
It is my place only to honor, not to be a judge,
I am less than I should be, yet more than I wanted,
I am one of many of our folk who speak to the Gods.
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.