Gullveig : Friend Of Wicked Women
Unwanted And Alone
As she walked slowly through the cold damp forest known as the Jarnvid, or Iron - Woods, Gullveig glanced up at the distant face of Mani. The great glowing eye in the sky was partially blocked by misshapen tree branches, which looked much like arthritic fingers reaching up to strangle the night God. While she watched Mani ride across the night sky the Vanir Goddess wondered if this evil place appeared as uninviting from above as it did from where she was standing. The only comparison she could think of to describe this damp wet place was Niflheim, or possibly to be buried alive in a grave mound.
Although the forest seemed dead, and unoccupied by living creatures, Gullveig's ears had a different story to tell . The leathery flapping of wings high above let the Vanir Goddess know that bats had invaded the forest to feed on the great multitude of insects that had hatched and were flying throughout the deep woods. An occasional hoot from an owl told her that the silent winged predator was on the hunt for creatures that scurry along the forest floor in the dark. And in the background, like a chorus of evil laughter, was the constant chirping song of the unimaginable numbers of crickets.
As she walked among the eerie shadows, formed by shafts of Mani's light filtering through the thick overhead canopy, Gullveig thought back upon the circumstances that had left her a Goddess who was unwanted and alone. Thoughts and memories flew around in her head like a swarm of swallows constantly changing direction in the sky. She remembered the trial, the accusations, and the verdict. She felt the pain as she was pierced by the many spears that were hurled at her by the Aesir in Odin's hall. The first being thrown by the Valfather himself. She cringed as she recalled their bitter laughter !
Condemned as a witch who cast evil spells to control the minds of others, she shivered as she remembered the touch of the cold hands of the Aesir as they placed her bleeding, but still living, body on a pile of dried wood. Then they set it on fire ! She could still feel the flames as they licked at her body like a thousand knives cutting into her flesh. And even after all this time she could still hear her own screams as life slowly left her. But as the fire died, and the embers cooled, her seidr allowed her to rise up from the ashes and defiantly stand once again before these lesser Gods.
Her anger grew as she recalled how they killed her two more times in the hall that was not to be desecrated with murder by Odin's own decree. Then the memory flooded her mind of how each time they burned her the Aesir made sure that the funeral pyre grew in size and ferocity. Every time, however, the cooling ashes revealed a spark of life, and the Seidr Goddess was once again reborn.
The one memory that stood out in her mind the most, and the one she would never forget, was the look on Odin's face when he finally realized that she could not be killed. Gullveig could still see in her mind's eye the Aesir as they parted and allowed her to pass as she walked to the door of the great hall. And she could still hear their collective gasps as she walked through the door and disappeared into the darkness of the Asgardian night.
The look of anger and indignation upon the faces of her fellow Vanir Gods and Goddesses brought a smile to her face as she recalled their reaction when she told them of how she was treated by the Aesir Gods. As Gullveig carefully made her way among the many exposed tree roots on the forest floor she pictured herself, with the rest of the Vanir, once again on the plain outside the great wall that surrounded and protected Asgard. She laughed as she saw once again how they breached their impenetrable walls, and entered the golden world. Her smile turned into a look of anger and dismay when she recalled how the God of Thunder, with fire in his eyes and a lightning hammer in his hand, beat back her comrades and saved Asgard from complete destruction.
Gullveig stopped by a gnarly old tree and leaned up against its trunk. She physically shook as she remembered how she was betrayed by her own people, many of whom she had called friends for over a millennium. And when she would not spit an oath token into the vat as a treaty of peace with the Aesir she was ostracized by both the Vanir and Asgardians alike. Her fury grew to new heights when she thought of how her own people had cast her away like an old spell that no longer had any use.
The Queen of Seidr pounded her fist hard upon the bark of the tree when she remembered the time she found out that Freyja had taught Odin, her bitterest enemy, the beautiful art of seidr that was so sacred to the Vanir Gods. She fumed as she pictured in her mind that beautiful bitch who had betrayed not only her, but all those who had fallen at the hands of the Aesir during the great war.
" You will pay for your deceitful ways, Love Goddess ! All of you will pay !! " she whispered loudly into the night air.
Suddenly the crickets stopped chirping, and Gullveig knew that she was not alone.
" Some accidentally venture into the Iron Woods without our permission, but few if anyone ever leaves here alive ! " said the coarse voice behind her.
Gullveig, using her powerful seidr, could see in her mind's eye the number of beings behind her, and judging by the pitter patter of tiny feet upon the dead leaf matter on the forest floor, she surmised that there were several wolves with the beings.
" I do not need, nor do I seek, the permission of anyone to do anything ! " Gullveig told the being who had spoken to her.
The Vanir Goddess reached up to the heavens and summoned a power few realized existed, and fewer still knew how to harness and utilize. Using her powerful seidr Gullveig reached out with an invisible hand and ripped the tree she had been leaning against out of the ground and let it fall in the direction of the beings who had dared to speak to her in such a manner.
Gullveig smiled when she heard the screams of ogre women, and the frantic yelping of their terrified four legged offspring. When the dust had cleared she turned to see a dozen of the Jarnvidjur lying on the ground with looks of terror upon their dirty unwashed faces. And in the distance Gullveig could see several packs of wolves running away with their tails between their legs.
As she always did when confronted by lesser beings Gulveig strutted forward defiantly with the confidence of someone who was almost indestructible.
" Oh ! I do believe that I will be able to leave these Iron Woods whenever I so choose ! " the Vanir Goddess replied confidently.
It was then that she felt another presence. This being projected a force of energy much stronger than the others, and Gullveig did not sense fear from this creature.
" I should have known that you were not one of those weak timid human creatures that Odin gave life to. " Angrboda told her in a calm voice.
Gullveig turned her gaze slightly to look upon this newcomer. Dressed in a gown of black, and with limbs that resembled the twisted branches of the trees in Jarnvid, stood and old Ogress with a huge wolf on a leash. The Giantess did not smile as she continued :
" Why does a Goddess, and a Vanir Goddess at that, roam the dark corridors of my forest home ? " she asked.
" So you are the one the Gods fear. The one who breeds chaos and destruction ! " Gullveig replied with a hint of admiration.
The Giantess turned her head to the side, much the way a canine does when it is not sure what it has heard, before responding.
" Yes ! I am Angrboda and this is where I dwell with my brood. " she told the Goddess without emotion.
Gullveig grinned from ear to ear.
" And I am Gullveig of Vanaheim ! " she told the ogress.
Angrboda stood motionless glaring at Gullveig, with a stare that almost had a feel to it, until finally the Goddess answered her original question.
" The Aesir Gods wish to kill me, and the Vanir Gods have cast me out of Vanaheim. I am here seeking a place of refuge to hide while I plan my revenge against those who have wronged me, .....like Freyja,..... and Odin. " Gullveig explained.
Angrboda's face contorted into what some might deem a smile before replying to what she had just been told.
" An enemy of Odin is a friend of mine ! You are welcome to stay as long as you wish here in the Jarnvid ! " she told Gullveig happily.
Then she added :
" The Jarnvidjur will not bother you. My word you have on this ! " she added.
Gullveig sighed loudly.
" Unfortunately it may take me a while to devise a way to get revenge upon Odin and his children who have dishonored me and my people. I am powerful, but I am one God up against many. What chance do I have to succeed ? " she asked.
Angrboda began to walk towards her, but instead of offering a solution to her problem, she and her wolf pet kept going past her. Before she disappeared into the shadows, however, the ogress had one more thing to say.
" Not all of Odin's children are Gods. Revenge sometimes can be achieved through a round about way ! "
Gullveig nodded that she understood.
" I like that ! At my bidding I will scatter anger among these weak Midgardians..... and it will spread like weeds in an untended garden ! " she shouted back at Angrboda.
What she said next she whispered under her breath.
" Just as I cast a spell over the Dwarves to kill Kvasir, who was made from the peace token, I will get even with Odin through his Midgardian children !
- End Chapter 1
- Next : Chapter 2 : The Midgardian Accomplice
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.