Forbidden Love :
A Story Of The Goddess Lofn
One Eye, Plural Vision !
" I am going to return to my bedchamber, my dear, to weigh my options before making my next move. " Odin told his wife before getting up from his high-seat at Hlidskjalf and leaving the viewing room.
Frigga, with a smug grin turning up the corners of her mouth, responded just as he disappeared.
" Yes, my dear ! Dwell on it long and hard because it may well be the most important move in our match. " she whispered under her breath.
Odin had no intention of retiring to his bedchamber. On the contrary, the All-Father had already decided on his next move, and was slipping away to implement his plan. Passing his bedchamber he continued on to the front doors of the great hall, and flung them open. Placing two fingers into his mouth Odin whistled for his great horse Sleipnir, which arrived before he could remove those same fingers. Odin walked over to the horse, that had been a present from Loki, and gently patted the neck of his eight-legged mount. He then whispered into its ear with a broad smile upon his face.
" To Midgard, old friend ! " was all he said before placing his left foot into the golden stirrup and mounting the great beast.
Sleipnir's ears pointed straight up when it heard Odin's command. And when he felt the rider safely balanced in the saddle its ears dropped and a puff of smoke wafted out of each nostril before it broke into a fast gallop. With all eight legs pounding the road to Bifrost at an incredible speed Odin had to hold onto the reins tightly so not to be forced out of the saddle by the horse's long strides, or the blast of air that violently rushed passed both horse and rider.
Heimdall could tell by Sleipnir's pace that the All-Father would not be stopping to chat with him at his post. The great stoic guardian opened the gates to the Rainbow Bridge, and then quickly moved off to the side to avoid being trampled. Sleipnir flew by at such a high rate of speed that the Guardian of Asgard barely had time to nod his respect to his lord and master.
Odin emerged from Gullfoss with a refreshing splash of fresh water upon his face. The Valfather pulle on the reins, turned his horse, and immediately headed east across the great ocean, kicking up a vast spray that fell as rain behind them as they went. Quickly horse and rider crossed this immense body of water and were soon back on the terra firma of the Northlands. Moments later they arrived in a dense wooded area just west of King Harjulf's army.
Odin slid out of his saddle and before his feet touched the Midgardian soil he transformed himself into the wanderer known as Grimnir. With staff in hand he made his way towards the Herjardalr army. When Grimnir heard the pounding of hoof beats coming his way, however, he hid himself behind a tree at the edge of the woodlands. And it was from here that he would begin to play the role of a defenseless wanderer.
Grimnir stepped out from behind the tree just as King Harjulf's horse was about to pass. Startled, the horse reared up and protested the sudden appearance of the intruder by kicking its front legs to defend itself. The wanderer pretended to protect himself by shielding his head with his arms as the horse's metal shoes flashed close to his face.
" Forgive me my lord ! I did not mean to frighten your horse ! " Grimnir explained humbly.
As two of the king's warriors placed their horses in between the king and the elderly man, Harjulf shook his head and waved them off.
" Why are you wandering around out here in the woods so close to the border with Jamtaland ?! " the king demanded to know.
Grimnir slid his hand halfway down the walking staff, and knelt on one knee before he responded.
" Again I ask for your pardon, my lord. I was trying to escape the clutches of King Vifinnr, and his army. That, my lord, is why I am out here lost and all alone in these dark forests. " he stated in a meek voice.
King Harjulf leaned over the neck of his horse and stared down at the man with a great look of concern on his face.
" Is King Vifinnr's army near ?! " he asked.
Grimnir grinned slightly despite his best effort not to.
" I fear, my lord, that he is only a few miles up ahead,...., and he is waiting for you on top of a great hill that overlooks the surrounding meadow. " he replied.
Harjulf straightened himself in his saddle and pounded his left hand against his leg.
" It is a trap ! " the king said to no one in particular.
Grimnir grinned a little more as he responded to the king's concern.
" Traps can be avoided, my lord. " Grimnir stated with a gleam in his eye.
The king frowned suspiciously at the prostrated man as he asked :
" What do you mean old man ! ? "
Grimnir pointed behind him, first to his left, and then to his right.
" There are narrow, but thick forests, that pass on both sides of that hill. If you were to split your army and quietly march through these woodlands you could get behind the Jamtaland army and cut off their incursion into your lands to the south. " Grimnir replied.
King Harjulf turned to Ramundr, one of his best scouts, and pointed southward.
" Ride ahead and see if what this old man says is true ! " he commanded.
" Yes, my lord ! " the scout shouted before kicking his horse forward into a swift gallop.
King Harjulf then turned to his warriors.
" Keep this man here until we find out if he is telling the truth, or if he is leading us into a trap ! " he ordered.
The king's guard quickly obeyed and surrounded the old man.
A short while later Ramundr returned and reined his horse up hard in front of the king.
" My lord !! King Vifinnr is indeed positioned in battle formation on a hill up ahead. And there are forests that pass the hill to the east and the west. " he explained clearly despite being slightly winded by the hard ride.
King Harjulf grinned from ear to ear as he reached into the pouch he had tied to his belt. He looked down at the old man for a moment before tossing the coin to him. The king was surprised, and chuckled slightly, at how spry the man was as he caught the coin in midair.
" You may go ! " he told the cloaked man.
The king was about to order his army into two divisions when he instead glanced back over at the old Herjardalr man who had turned to leave.
" What is your name ? " he suddenly wanted to know.
Odin, in the form of the wanderer, turned and looked up at the King of Herjardalr.
" I am called Grimnir, my lord. " he answered.
King Harjulf smiled and nodded to the man.
" Thank You Grimnir ! " the king responded with a rare sense of kindness.
Grimnir bowed his head slightly before turning and disappearing into the dark woods as quickly as he had appeared.
- End Chapter 3
- Next : Chapter 4 : Two Moves Are Better Than One
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2019.