Odin' s Legion
The Frost Giant' s Revenge
Princess Aldisar sat angrily brushing her hair as her husband washed himself from a basin. The princess was not happy with having to travel all the way to Uppsala in Sweden the day after her wedding. When she tried to refuse her father - in - law, King Sigtrygg, reminded her that as a princess of both Romerike and Varmland she now had responsibilities that far outweighed any minor inconveniences she might experience while performing her royal duties, Aldisar was, however, able to make her father concede that the almost three hundred mile mile ride on horseback would be too strenuous for her, and the king ordered that a much more comfortable wagon be made available for the journey.
Prince Viglund, however, was looking forward to traveling to Sweden. The prince had heard so much about the great hall, and the wonderful temple that were located at Uppsala. The story, as it was usually told, was that near a town called Sigtuna the Swedes had built a great temple that was " adorned with gold ". Outside the temple stood a large evergreen tree with branches that grew out to great lengths. Near this great tree there was a sacred well, and around the temple itself there was a great golden chain. Inside the structure there were placed three thrones. The middle throne was for a statue of Thor, while Odin and Freyr were seated next to him on either side. And Viglund would soon, very soon, get the chance to see it all !
The entire town came out to see the newlywed couple off, and to wish them a safe journey. Even the weather, which just the day before had dropped a foot and a half of snow on the ground, greeted them this late autumn morning with temperatures that rose well above freezing. The villagers lined the road that lead east out of the village and waited for the procession to start out. Most were there because of their great respect for the royal couple, while others came out because they feared that not supporting their leaders might put their loyalty into question.
As both queens said their tearful goodbyes to Aldisar, King Ogmund walked over to Prince Viglund and pulled him aside. Ogmund grabbed the prince by the shoulders and looked him directly in the eyes. " I love my daughter with all my heart. " he told Viglund. " It is now you who are responsible for the safety of Aldisar. If anything should happen to my daughter I will hold you personally responsible ! " the king told him sternly. " Do you understand !? " Ogmund asked. Prince Viglund had never seen this side of his father- in - law. He fully understood the love of a father for his daughter, but the look in King Ogmund' s eyes was disturbing. After a long moment Viglund nodded. " Yes, I understand completely father ! " he replied.
The departure from the town was not only watched closely by the residents of Varmland, but by two other worldly beings as well ! From up on his high seat Odin proudly watched as Prince Viglund and Princess Aldisar left the town, and headed out on their long journey to Uppsala. Odin often felt great pride when watching these humans, whom he considered to all be his children, but he had a special love and appreciation for this human family. As they headed off toward the border with Sweden, Odin turned to Frigga, and with the pride of a parent told her : " King Sigtrygg trusts his son Viglund, the way I trust my son Thor ! I am so glad to see that he has allowed Prince Viglund to travel to Sweden as their emissary ! " Frigga smiled back at her husband as she wound thread on her spindle. " And I am sure that you are looking forward to the offering that the young couple gives you in the temple at Uppsala ! " she told him. Odin nodded to her with a smile, and then rose up and left Hlidskjalf.
While one onlooker left another remained and watched from his frozen throne in his ice palace in Jotunberg. Spellvirki followed the royal couples every move as they headed out of the valley, and across the first of many mountains. By his side stood the massive Jotun, Skjalfi. Spellvirki nodded as he pointed to a deep canyon surrounded by two very high mountains on either side. " There ! That is where I want you to go, and await the arrival of the humans. " the king said excitedly. Skjalfti grinned from ear to ear as he walked away from the Jotun king toward the ice doors. Spellvirki suddenly sprung up off of his throne. " You do know what I expect from you ? " he asked as the Giant reached the door. " Do not worry King Spellvirki ! Odin will be very angry with the results of my actions ! " he told the king. Skjalfti then turned and left.
To mask the movements of Skjalfti as he moved through the Midgard world, Spellvirki sent Snaer's daughters, Drifa, Fonn and Mjoll, to conceal the massive Jotun in a blizzard so severe that not even great Odin could see him through the blowing and shifting snow. Skjalfti kept himself, and therefore the great storm the snow maidens were causing, to the high mountain ranges so as not to force the humans to detour around the bad weather. The valleys that the Midgardians were traveling in were as pleasant as a warm fall day, while Skjalfti had to fight his way step by step through white out conditions to reach his destination. Although he was not pleased by his hardship, he was able to overcome his discomfort with the thought that what he was doing would avenge his fellow Jotuns who lost their lives fighting in the Frost Giant War.
Halldor stopped his men at the entrance to a deep valley. They had been traveling for a little over a week now, and the weather had favored them greatly. Up ahead, however, Halldor spotted something that he thought was very strange. The mountain range that towered over the valley on their left side was experiencing a rather tumultuous snow storm, while the valley and the mountains to the right were clear with only a coating of previously fallen snow. The Swedish emissary decided to send his warriors ahead into the valley to make sure that it was safe to pass through. As they waited Viglund rode back to his wife's wagon and informed her of the situation.
Aldisar was pleasantly surprised at how well the journey had gone so far. It was much warmer than she had expected, and the fall foliage provided a very nice backdrop to the monotony of hour after hour of being tossed around on the wagon. The princess, much like her husband, had begun to see this not as an inconvenience, but as a pleasant adventure. So much so that she was slightly annoyed when they stopped at the beginning of a long valley.
Viglund pulled his horse next to the cart, and placed his hand on the side panel as he bent down to speak. " The Swedes have gone ahead into the valley to make certain that it is safe to traverse. " he told his wife. Aldisar smiled up at her husband. " Do you think that there is time for a glass of mead, and a quick bite to eat ? " she asked. Viglund looked back at the valley before answering. " I would think it would take at least part of the afternoon to go through the valley and check it thoroughly." he told her as he stepped down from his horse.
Aldisar and Viglund had just finished their third horn of mead when they spotted the Swedish warriors returning from the valley. A few moments later Halldor rode back to them. " The valley seems to be untouched by the storm that is raging off to the north. But I do recommend that we hurry through the valley in case the storm changes its direction. " he told the royal couple. Aldisar quickly packed away the food, and the utensils, while Viglund mounted his horse. It took only a few moments for them to resume their journey.
Up on top of the highest peak, in the very center of the mountain range, Skjalfti watched with squinting eyes through the wall of snow that the daughters of Snaer were making to mask his movements. The Jotun looked down into the valley and saw off in the distance riders coming his way. Skjalfti smiled as the humans slowly approached his position. In the freezing temperatures of the peak the Giant readied himself for action. " Revenge truly is a dish best served cold ! " he told Snaer' s daughters as they floated all around him.
Viglund and Aldisar were discussing names for their child when they heard a low rumble off in the distance. Up ahead Halldor felt the earth move beneath him, and stopped his Swedes in the middle of the valley. Their skittish horses sensed the danger long before the humans realized what was about to happen. Three of the Swedish warrior's horses bolted forward at a fast gallop, while a fourth threw his rider before joining the others. Halldor, looked off to his left, and to his horror, saw a wall of snow heading in their direction ! He turned his horse around to warn the royal couple, but quickly decided that there was no time ! He shouted above the growing roar of the avalanche to Viglund, and pointed to the approaching danger before riding away as fast as he could.
Viglund, who was always someone who could think quickly, jumped off of his horse, and onto the wagon. The prince ripped the reins out of Aldisar's hands, and whipped the horses repeatedly to make them go faster and faster. Their escorts from Varmland and Romerike, who were guarding the rear of the column, scattered in all directions in an attempt to avoid the wall of white death that was drawing ever closer ! They were sent to protect the prince and princess, but this was one time when they could do not do anything to help. It was every warrior for themselves !
Aldisar watched her husband gallantly try to save their lives with all his might, but as she watched the Swedes exit the valley, it became obvious to her that they would not make it. Aldisar placed her hand on her husband's shoulder, and yelled as loud as she could : " I love you ! " Viglund looked over at his wife, but before he could respond the wall of snow hit their wagon with such force that it threw him, and his wife thirty feet through the air before the wall buried them under 20 feet of snow . Viglund was killed instantly. Hours later Aldisar' s last thoughts were of her baby and her husband as she slowly froze to death.
Odin was watching the great battle between the forces of King Ogmund and Sigtrygg, and the army of King Harald of Viken, when he felt something ripple from the future back to the present. It had changed ! Somehow the future had changed, and been re - written outside of the Norn' s realm. Odin quickly shifted his gaze to the Swedish Kingdom and was horrified by what he saw ! As he fell to his knees he shouted : " By what power has this evil deed been perpetrated upon those who I have chosen ! "
- End Chapter 6
Next : Chapter 7 : From Anger Comes War !
Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.