( Gna's Glory )
The Competition Takes Shape
Frigga said hello to her husband , and Hermod, and nodded politely to Skadhi. It was not that All - Mother did not like the Mountain Goddess, she simply was intimidated by her. Frigga could not understand how any female as beautiful as Skadhi could be feminine one moment, and be a lethal weapon as fierce as any male the next. The concept was strange to Frigga, and seemed somewhat unnatural.
Odin did not waste any time. Speaking mainly to the handmaidens he began to outline the competition step by step .
" Welcome handmaidens ! " Odin began. " I am sure that my wife has explained to you the reason you have been asked to come here today, so I will not repeat what she has already told you. " he said with a pleasant mile
Odin then looked around the room taking stock of each handmaiden with a serious look upon his face.
" You have all witnessed that the honor of being a messenger of the Queen Mother is a very dangerous business. If anyone among you wishes to not participate in the competition there will be no shame or loss of honor. " Odin told them.
" Will you compete ? What say you all ? ! " Odin asked forcefully.
" In unison all of the handmaidens answered a resounding : " Yes ! "
" Very good ! " he told them.
" I will now outline the events in the competition ! " Odin continued.
" Event number one is wrestling . Thor will officiate . Event number two will be spear throwing, for which I will officiate.
The third event will be axe throwing. Tyr will be the judge of this event. The fourth will be bow and arrow. Ullr will officiate this double event. There will be a winner chosen for both moving and static target shooting. The fifth competition will be sword and shield combat. The swords and shields will be made of wood of course, and Freyr has agreed to judge this event. The sixth event will be endurance running. This competition will take place in the rugged mountains and forests of Thrymheim. Skadhi will officiate this event. The seventh will be horsemanship. Hermod will be in charge of this competition. You may each choose any horse in Asgard for this race,.......that is except Sleipnir of course ! The eighth event will be swimming. Njord will officiate over this competition which will consist of a grueling twenty mile swim up the Fjorm river to its source at the spring called Hvergelmir. " Odin told the handmaidens before nodding to Skadhi.
Skadhi stepped forward and cleared her voice.
" A gold arm ring will be awarded to the winner of each of the competitions. At the end of Frigga's challenge the warrior with the most arm rings will have won the right to become the Queen Mother's messenger ! " Skadhi told the handmaidens.
Odin then pointed to his wife.
" Have you anything to add my dear ? " he asked Frigga.
Frigga turned and faced her handmaidens.
" As you are competing I would like you all to remember the wretched state that Fulla was in when she was carried into my hall. The honorable position that you are striving for is a dangerous one ! " she told them.
Then Frigga nervously cleared her throat.
" I do regret having to announce that Eir is to be excluded from the competition . I realized the other day, when she was ministering to Fulla's injuries, that she is much too valuable in her capacity as a healer to leave Asgard for any length of time. Her great skills as a physician honor us all here in Asgard, and we simply cannot afford to be without her. " she told the handmaidens, while nodding to Eir.
Frigga then added. " I wish all of you the best of luck ! " she told the remaining competitors before handing the floor back to Skadhi.
The Mountain Goddess stepped forward and in a cold tone spoke to the group.
" I have known most of you handmaidens personally now for many years, and I am familiar with many of your attributes. Unfortunately I feel that some of you are too gentle mannered for this competition. Those who will be excluded are Saga, Sjofn, Lofn, and Snotra. " she told them before giving the floor back to Frigga with a nod .
Frigga was slightly taken aback by Skadhi's announcement, but the All - Mother kept her composure, and after counting the remaining contestants, continued.
" Var, Vor, Hlin, Gefjon, Syn, and Gna, you will have one phase of our third moon to prepare for the competition. You may go now and begin your training. " Frigga told them.
After the handmaidens had left Skadhi strode over to Odin and looked him in the eye.
" Valfather, these games will show us who is strongest, fastest, and who has the best skills in each category, but it will not determine how they will perform under pressure. May I suggest that we invite everyone in Asgard and Alfheim to attend these games. I feel this will add to the pressure of competing, and simulate the tension and stress of having to perform under duress. " Skadhi explained to Odin.
Frigga and Odin both looked at each other with a pleased look upon their faces. Odin pointed to his wife and spoke first.
" This is my wife's competition, and therefore I will leave it up to her to decide. " he informed the Mountain Goddess.
Frigga smiled and nodded her approval .
" I think that would be a very wise thing to do ! " she told Skadhi .
- End Chapter 5
- Next : Chapter 6 : Let The Games Begin !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.