Þrívaldi : The Nine-Headed Jotun Beast
The Dense Forests Of Thrymheim
" Tonight I will tell of the Gods journey through the dense forests of Thrymheim. " he explained to the warriors, who had grown in number since the night before.
" Neither Thor nor Hildólfr had ever been to Thjazi's woodland hall at Thrymheim. Both Gods stopped for a moment to marvel at the great size of the structure, before they continued on to the edge of the forest that began just past the clearing that served as the hall's courtyard. Hildólfr especially was impressed by the thickness of the beams that held up the huge turf roof that covered the building.
" Thjazi may have been an evil Jotun, who kidnapped Idunn, and tried to steal the Gods golden apples, but I am most fascinated by his skills as a carpenter, and craftsmanship as a woodworker. " Hildólfr commented to Thor.
Thor wished to get on with the business of killing the dragon, but he too could not hide his interest in the hall's construction.
" Yes, brother ! The carvings of deer and other forest creatures, under the edge of the roof, is very impressive, and as ornate as anything in Asgard. " Thor added in agreement with Hildólfr's statement.
As he studied the carvings Hildólfr nudged his brother in the ribs and grinned.
" Of course in Asgard they would be covered in a thick layer of the finest gold ! " he noted.
Thor could not help but laugh at his brother's observation.
" Well,...., that goes without saying ! " he told Hildólfr.
When the Jotun hall no longer held their interest the brothers left the abode built by Thjazi behind and began their search for the creature they had come to Jotunheim to destroy. After a hundred yards, or so into the forest, that only moments before had been a sparse woodland, however, the trees and other flora began to close in around them. Paths that had once been wide enough for the brothers to walk side by side through, now narrowed to allow only one at a time to pass. It seemed to the Gods that with every step the trees grew closer and closer together. And despite the thick canopy, that allowed little or no light to reach the forest floor, thick bushes, with thorns and prickly branches, grew here which further hampered their progress tearing at their clothes and scratching their flesh to the point of drawing blood.
Thor's irritation with their slow progress rose to such a level that the Thunder God began to use his mighty hammer Mjolnir to try and clear away the brush that impeded their every step.
" I almost wish I had brought a scythe instead of my magic hammer ! " Thor told his brother as he whacked at the bushes to make a path between the trees.
The Thunder God then added with a disgusted smirk :
" Or at the very least an Atgeir ! "
Hildólfr understood his brother's frustration over their slow progress. Thor was not used to having to deal with such impediments that delayed his journey. He, on the other hand, was all too familiar with the intricacies of a dark and very thickly overgrown forest. Having lived, and survived in such an environment his whole life, he had become quite adept at moving through a dense woodland, like the wild animals that live there. It was one of the reasons he was said to be like a wolf,...., though it was not the only reason.
Hildólfr could not help but laugh a little as his more famous brother, and next in line for the throne of Asgard, beat at the bushes like a child trying to kill a bug with its toy.
" Allow me brother ! " Hildólfr told his brother as he removed the long shaft of his axe from his belt.
With a gleam of fury in his eyes, and the axe handle firmly in his hands, Hildólfr raised his great weapon, and tool of the forest, over his head and took a mighty swing at the tree next to the bush that his brother was trying to hack apart. With a great, 'thwack', that rang out throughout the surrounding area, the tree's trunk was cleaved from its base. And there it hung for a brief moment before a great cracking sound announced its ultimate demise. The brothers watched with great anticipation as the tree slowly tipped on its base and finally fell forward hitting the forest floor with a sound that echoed through the woodlands like an explosion.
With a smug smile on his face Hildólfr pointed to the felled tree and exclaimed :
" Follow me brother ! "
As they moved forward along the trunk of the tree, safely above the cutting branches of the bushes below, Hildólfr cut off the limbs which stuck out of the tree barring their way. Thor, who followed closely behind his brother, grudgingly had to admit to himself that he was glad that Odin had forced him to bring 'War Wolf' along on this venture.
The brothers made slow, but steady, progress through the dense forest of Thrymheim. They followed the path of trees, felled by Hildólfr's mighty axe, to a meadow clearing where a wide river, lined by huge boulders, and fed by a high mountain lake, raged across their path. Once again it was Hildólfr who felt he had the solution to the obstacle that blocked their way. Using his razor sharp axe he cut down the largest tree he could find, stripped off its branches, and threw it across the great river. To his dismay, however, the tree was not nearly long enough to stretch across the body of water, and once the current of the river took hold of it the tree simply floated away.
Thor tried not to embarrass his brother, for his effort was a noble one, but he could not help but laugh as the great length of timber floated down river and disappeared in the distance.
" Forgive me Hildólfr, but it was quite a humorous sight ! " he explained to his brother.
Hildólfr, not seeing the same humor in his wasted effort, narrowed his eyes, and pointed an angry finger at the Thunder God, before addressing the insult.
" And what is your solution to our dilemma brother !? " he shouted bitterly at Thor.
Thor's outright laughter changed to a small grin as he took into consideration the hurt feelings of his brother.
" Your solution, despite being a good one, looked at the wrong parameters when trying to solve this equation....." he began to explain.
Hildólfr, who did not like his brother's condescending tone, quickly interrupted.
" You may try to sound like Odin if you will, but I doubt that you have the mental capacity to achieve even a small portion of the great wisdom of our father,....., so just tell me what your great solution to our problem is ! " he insisted.
Thor raised his eyebrows, and smiled at the discomfort he had caused to his brother's ego.
" Well,...., as I started to say,...., you brother have only looked a the width of the river. I, on the other hand, have been carefully gauging the depth of this water and I feel that if we were to throw those huge boulders, that lie along the shore, into the river we could use them as stepping stones, and thereby cross this stretch of water safely and dryly . " he told Hildólfr.
War Wolf gave Thor an annoyed look before walking over to the edge of the river. To his chagrin the depth of the water, though being too deep to wade across, did appear to be shallow enough for the large boulders to rise above its surface if thrown into the river. Hildólfr pursed his lips, as though he did not wish to say the words, before finally admitting that Thor could be right.
" Yes ! It might just work ! " he reluctantly told the Thunder God.
The placement of the boulders soon became a contest between the two brothers to see who could sink the huge chunks of rocks close enough together for them to jump from one to the other as they attempted to cross the raging water. To their dismay the game wound up in a tie as both placed ten perfectly, but also missed their mark twice each.
The fun and sport of the boulder competition came to an abrupt end when they each jumped off of the last boulder onto the far bank of the river and peered off into the distant forest which had obviously been recently ravaged by fire. Thor, after carefully looking around, turned to his brother, and pointed to the blackened woodlands.
" This must be where Skaði fought Þrívaldi and was forced to retreat when the creature spewed forth a fiery inferno ! " he told his brother.
As he looked out at the scorched forest Hildólfr quickly forgot his rivalry with his brother and he began to consider only the battle that lay ahead of them against the vile dragon.
" We must tread most carefully from this point on ! " he reminded his brother. "
Rauðskeggr could wait no longer.
" My lord ! My apologies, but before I can continue I must relieve myself ! " he told the king with a great sense of urgency.
The warriors, who had now grown in number to over a hundred, laughed heartily at the skald's discomfort, and shouted their support for the skald :
" Let him pee ! Let him pee !! "
King Thorgest, who was trying to maintain his sense of honor, was laughing as hard, if not harder, than his warriors, simply waved to Rauðskeggr to let him know that he had permission to take care of his business.
Only one warrior did not see the humor in the actions of the skald. Magsefni, the angry berserker, in his mind, had already decided the fate of the old storyteller.
- End Chapter 5
- Next : Chapter 6 : The First Battle
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart), © Copyright, 2018.