A Game Of War
" There Are No Winners In War ! "
When the king of Raumariki could take it no longer he stopped in front of King Viðarr and pointed his finger at him.
" When Sunna has reached her apex I will wait no longer ! I would rather die a thousand deaths then wait another moment for my daughter ! " he told the Heinafylki king in no uncertain terms.
Viðarr shook his head in disgust, but said nothing. For no words could quell Guðbjorn's anger, or convince him that he had nothing to do with the abduction of his daughter. And so they waited.
King Ormarr was sitting on a rock sharpening his sword with a whetstone when something caught his eye. In the distance, at the edge of the forest which bracketed both sides of the valley, the air seemed to move like rippling water on a lake, distorting the images behind it. As the King of Þelamork stared at the strange phenomenon a shape slowly appeared in its midst. Without looking away the king placed the whetstone back in his pouch, and put his sword back in its scabbard, before rising up and pointing his finger at the forming image.
" Something,....., someone is coming ! " he told the others as if he were not quite sure what it was.
The five kings who had not witnessed the appearance followed his finger and saw two figures coming towards them in the distance. One wore a brown hooded garment, and walked with a staff, presumably because of her hunched back. Walking next to this decrepit figure was a child of youth and much vitality.
The Northland kings who had come to stop this carnage did not know the little girl, but Viðarr and Guðbjorn recognized her immediately.
" Guðveig ! " King Guðbjorn yelled as he threw out his arms and ran to her.
Guðveig began to cry as she left the crone behind and ran to meet her father halfway.
" Father ! " she screamed as she jumped into his arms.
Guðbjorn kissed his daughter repeatedly as tears of joy filled his eyes. They hugged for a long moment before the king picked up his daughter and walked her back to where Viðarr was standing. The two kings stared at each other for an uncomfortably long moment before Guðbjorn asked his daughter a simple question.
" Is this the man who killed your aunt's guards and took you away ? "
Guðveig looked at the man briefly and then shook her from side to side.
" No ! I do not remember that man well,..., but he was much older,.... and larger than he is father. And I think,....., yes,.... he had only one eye. " she explained haltingly as she tried to remember what the witch allowed her to recall.
Guðbjorn's piercing wide eyes stared at his daughter.
" Are you certain !? " he asked in disbelief.
" We just left him a few moments ago father,...., he rode off on a beautiful white horse. " she told him.
The crone had walked up behind Guðbjorn so silently that he was startled when she spoke.
" He is long gone, and I do not believe that he will return again. " she told the king of Raumariki in a hoarse shaky voice.
Guðbjorn lowered his daughter to the ground and pointed to the forest.
" But we must find and kill such a scoundrel ! " he stated angrily.
The old seeress slowly shook her head from side to side.
" No ! You must all go back to your kingdoms and let peace reign over these lands ! " she told them with a hint of anger in her tone.
And then the old woman said something that all the Northland kings found quite odd.
" This game of war has ended ! "
The seeress pounded her staff into the ground twice, and in a flash of light, and a puff of smoke, she was gone.
When the shock of her departure dissipated Guðbjorn looked over at Viðarr and nodded.
" You will come to my kingdom for a great feast,...., and we will speak of compensation for the loss of Alboðr. " he told Viðarr with a look of embarrassment on his face.
Guðbjorn reached down and grabbed Guðveig's hand.
" Let us go home now ! " he told his favorite child.
Then, with a quick glance back at King Viðarr, he whispered :
" Your aunt is a crazy old bitch ! "
Frigga smiled as she watched the Northland armies leaving the valley to begin their long journey back to their petty kingdoms. The terrible war she had so feared had been averted, and no innocents had paid the price for the hubris of the Gods. The All-Mother was especially gratified when King Guðbjorn and Viðarr agreed to meet at a later date to renew their alliance and their friendship.
The Queen of Asgard was so absorbed in the events taking place on Midgard that for once she did not sense another presence in the room.
" You played well my dear. Not only did you win the game, but you reversed many of the moves I made. " Odin told his wife with a begrudging sense of pride.
Frigga looked away from the porthole and stared at her husband with pleading eyes.
" I did not win this game, nor did you lose. There are no winners in war ! I know that you are a wonderful God, one who cares deeply for his children. I saw it in your eye, and heard it in your voice, when you spoke to the child Guðveig. For the Midgardians, and especially the sake of all children like Guðveig, I ask that you not play such games in the future. These humans are violent enough without the help of the Gods. " she told her husband with tears welling up in her eyes.
" Agreed ! " the All-Father reluctantly replied.
Then, as if he had suddenly remembered something important, he waggled his finger at his wife.
" And I ask that you never again seek the help or advice of that witch Gullveig ! " he quickly shot back.
Frigga could not help but grin a little as she replied.
" To save even one child I will do everything and anything within my power. " she told her husband defiantly.
Odin could not help but chuckle.
" I know you will my dear,....., I know you will ! "
- The End
- Next Story : The Temptation Of Balder
- Glenn Bergen ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2018.