A Game Of War
A New Threat
Odin stroked his beard as he walked around his high-seat. Before he sat down he took a deep breath and tried to smile.
" If you must die, King Víðarr, for me to claim victory over Frigga,.... then so be it ! " he whispered to himself.
Once Odin was seated the porthole once again opened up and he could see the nine worlds in all their glory. With his mind he moved through the universe until his eye came upon the living blue world known as Midgard. As he focused his vision he narrowed the scope of his search to the southern half of the Northlands.
Odin grinned as he looked down upon the petty kingdom of Heinafylki. Some might have seen Víðarr's lands as a secure fortress, with mountains to guard its borders, and a waterway to provide access to the sea. The All-Father, however, viewed Heinafylki as a vulnerable kingdom, one ruled by a novice king, and surrounded on all sides by adversaries with an appetite for war who were eager to add new territory to their kingdoms.
" But whom shall I choose to be the new nemesis of the young King Víðarr ? " Odin asked himself.
To the west there were many kingdoms which might be useful pawns in his game of war. Valdres, Haddingjadalr, Numadalr, Telamork, Hringariki, and Hadaland were all prospective enemies of Heinafylki. To the north Gudbrandzdalr, and Eystridalr also looked promising. To the south only Raumariki offered any hope for victory over King Víðarr. But as Odin tapped his finger anxiously on the arm of his high-seat only one kingdom stood out above all the others.
" Hadaland ! " Odin said out loud as he pounded his fist up against his knee.
Odin searched among the villages and towns in Hadaland for a chieftain who was both honorable enough to impersonate, and powerful enough to have some influence over the king of Hadaland. A grin came over the Lord of Asgard's face when he spotted the perfect local ruler to serve his purpose.
" Chieftain Oski of Pengilstaðir ! " Odin blurted out with a hint of joy in his voice.
" Oski is a longtime friend of Haddr , who showed his loyalty when he fought side by side with the king against Jarl Loar who rose to oppose his right to rule over Hadaland. He is perfect ! " Odin assured himself.
Sleipnir was waiting for his master at the bottom of the stairs at the entrance of the great golden hall. Odin's mind was such that the moment he thought of traveling to Pengilstaðir Sleipnir knew that he was needed and came at once. After bounding down the stairs Odin placed his left foot into the saddle's golden stirrup, and stepped up onto his great steed's strong back.
" To Midgard ! " Odin shouted to Sleipnir after he grabbed hold of the reins.
Within moments the rider and horse had crossed the universe, and were flying down a rainbow made by the spray of an unnamed waterfall, on a yet undiscovered volcanic island.
" Someday you will be called Gullfoss ! " Odin yelled back at the roaring cascading water.
Sleipnir galloped at such a speed that his hooves never touched the ocean below, and soon they crossed over a much larger island which was once ruled by the people called Romans. And in what seemed to Odin a blink of an eye Sleipnir had reached Pengilstaðir.
Odin quickly transformed himself into the weary traveler to seek out the chieftain. The All-Father did not have to search long for Oski. Men of power give off an essence that the Gods can sense from a great distance. Odin quickly found the chieftain in the woods behind his great hall. He apparently had been hunting, and was dragging the deer he had killed back to his hall for dinner when Odin caught up to him.
Oski did not bother to drop the deer, nor did he draw his sword when he spotted the old man dressed in a dark cloak up ahead. When the wanderer did not move by the time he reached him, the curious chieftain stopped in front of him and asked :
" What can I do for you old man ? "
Odin smiled as he pulled something out of his pocket.
" You can sleep, Chieftain Oski ! " he replied as he threw the sleep thorn at his neck.
A moment later it was Odin who was dragging Oski back into the woods to hide his body. The All-Father covered the chieftain with the still warm body of the deer, and then hid them both under a covering of leaves and brush.
" There ! That should keep you safe and warm until I return ! " he told the sleeping human.
Odin, now in the form of Oski, rode Sleipnir down the Rykinsvik to a field near King Haddr's great hall. From here Odin walked to the hall and asked the guard at the entrance to announce his arrival. As the warrior left Odin considered that the way he was received by the king would determine how he would bring up the subject of war. When the king came to the door personally to greet him, Odin realized that this would be easier than he had at first thought.
" Oski ! Old friend ! What brings you to my hall !? " King Haddr bellowed happily as he hugged his old friend.
Odin smiled as he whispered in the king's ear.
" My friend, a wonderful chance for glory, and an opportunity to greatly expand your kingdom has presented itself us. And if we take advantage of this rare occasion it could make you the most powerful man in all of the Northlands ! That is what brings me to your hall this day ! " he explained.
King Haddr pushed his old friend away to arm's length, and looked at him with raised eyebrows, and a look of surprise etched upon his face.
" Come in old friend ! You speak words that interest me greatly ! " the king replied with a curious nod.
Odin grinned as he thought to himself :
" I believe I played that well. King Víðarr had better be alert, for there is a new threat coming ! "
- End Chapter 9
- Next : Chapter 10 : The All- Mother's Reluctant Move
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2018.