The Aesir, Vanir and Alfar sat together in one area which was by the front of the stage area. The Ogres, Jotuns and Witches, were seated just behind and to one side. The Dwarves who had not arrived yet because there was still a speck of daylight left, were to be seated way in the back by the treeline. Dwarves tended to be rather loud and obnoxious, and the Aesir did not want their behavior to disrupt the festivities. Gymir and Aurboda were the exception to this seating arrangement. They were seated at the Aesir table directly across from Thor and Sif. Thor and Gymir would occassionally give each other cold stares, which was not missed by Odin. Odin, who sat at the head of the table with Frigga by his side, placed his hand on Thor's shoulder and said softly , but sternly, " Not tonight son ! Remember they are Freyr's family now. " Thor's eyes lost their fiery glow, and he nodded in agreement. After Odin made a toast to the wedded couple, Thor even went so far as to toast Gerd's parents, which made Odin smile with pride.
The feast was marvellous ! There was more than enough food to satisfy even the hardiest belly. The Dwarves, who had arrived at dusk, were the hardest to please, but agreed that the meal was adequate. They felt they had a right to expect more than the other guests because they brought the finest handmade gifts for the couple, some of which had magical properties.
After the feasting and toasting were over the tables emptied and while some watched the dancers, jugglers, or magicians, some simply enjoyed the musicians who played their stringed instruments. One juggler in particular caught everyone's eyes. He could juggle any object given to him including weapons such as knives, swords and axes. Loki tried to distract the performer but his concentration was unflappable.
In one corner of the banquet area, over near the woods, Ullr and Skadhi were locked in an archery competition. Those who had gathered to watch were amazed by the accuracy of these wonderful marksman. Skadhi and Ullr playfully smiled at each other every time they hit their target dead center. Njord watched from a short distance with only mild interest. When a servant walked by with a tray of apples Skadhi tracked him with her keen eye and shot one of the apples right off of the moving tray. Not to be outdone Ullr then took aim and shot the next apple off before the servant even realized what was happening. When he did understand what happened he put the tray down on the closest table and ran away. Everyone laughed heartily at the servants discomfort.
At the other end of the clearing, by the Dwarves tables, Balder proudly bared his chest to any Aesir, Jotun, Alfar, Dwarf, or even Einherjar, who would then take all manner of throwing weapons and hurl them at him. He laughed as each sharp weapon bounced harmlessly off of him. The small crowd that had gathered cheered each and every time ! When Gerd and Freyr passed the line for Balder's game, Balder asked everyone in line if they would mind if the fair Gerd could be next to test his great strength because she had never seen this before. The line parted to let her in, and a Dwarf waddled up to her, handed her a very sharp axe, and said in a gravely voice, " Aim for the heart. " . Gerd, nervous, but in the spirit of the occasion, took careful aim and threw the axe with some force. When the axe struck Balder, he grabbed his chest and fell to the ground . Everyone gasped in horror as Balder lay there on the ground motionless ! Balder then smiled, jumped up laughing, and ran over and kissed Gerd on the cheek. The crowd roared at this, and even Gerd started laughing ,and playfully punched Balder in the chest. In the darkness by the edge of the woods, Loki watched all of this very intently.
Thor sat playing drinking games with the Aesir, and some of the Jotuns as well. No one could out drink the Mighty Thor, thought Sif, who was sitting at another table talking to Nanna, Frigga, and Eir. At the other end of this table Aegir and Bragi were testing each other's knowledge in a game of wits. The Dwarves spent most of their time at their table gambling with each other, and playing games, and were actually much more subdued than usual. Even the usually stoic Jotuns were getting into the spirit of the occasion, and were laughing and singing drinking songs.
The Einherjar played an especially unusual game that drew quite an audience around them. One warrior would kneel and make a muscle with their arm. Another warrior would stand above him, and drop a sharp knife, point first of course, onto his flexed muscle. If the knife bounce off he went on to the next round, but if he bled he was disqualified. Each round saw the knife dropped from a higher and higher height until finally only one man was left unscathed. Everyone toasted this brave man !
Early in the morning a great light appeared behind the golden arches. The Dwarves at first panicked thinking it was the rising sun. Eitri, who realized it was just Gullinborsti pulling a golden cart, quickly calmed down his comrades . This signaled the end of the festivities, and meant it was time for the newly wed couple to leave and start their life together. Their first stop would be to the land of Gimle. The Light Elves had invited them to enjoy their first few weeks of marriage as their guests in the beautiful land of Gimle, and the couple was more than happy to accept.
The couple waved to the well - wishers one last time before entering the golden cart. Then Gullinborsti and the cart lifted off the ground and into the air. Some in the crowd waved until Gullinborsti's light disappeared into the distance. Everyone agreed it was the most beautiful wedding they had ever been to !
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2012.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !