The Temptation Of Balder
The Birth Of Forseti,... And Loki's Hatred
The great leaders from the realms of the Jotuns did not come themselves to Asgard, but they did send envoys to represent them. The great Fire Giant Surtr refused to leave the realm of Muspell, the borders of which he guarded against any and all threats. Instead he sent Logi, the son of Fornjot, to pay his respects to the proud parents of the newborn named Forseti. Farbauti, the Lord of Jotunheim, would not come, and he did not want to send anyone in his place. His hatred of the Asgardians, after the many wars between the Giants and the Gods, had made him bitter towards them, and he wanted nothing to do with the grandson of his old enemy Odin.
His son Loki, however, being the blood-brother of Odin, convinced his father to allow him to represent the frozen realm. The one known as ' The Trickster ' to many told his father that his presence would be seen by the Gods as a conciliatory act to help soothe over angry feelings brought about by the Aesir - Jotun Wars. The 'Purveyor of Lies' added, to further convince his father, that he could also spy on the Asgardians while he was there.
No one was happier than the grandparents of this newest addition to Asgard. Odin spent most of the morning greeting guests warmly before ushering them over to the golden cradle, where the blessed child lay blissfully sleeping, and totally unaware of all the fuss being made over his arrival. With a hard slap on the back of those looking upon the child the All-Father proudly would tell them how the little boy was named.
" My son, Balder, chose the name 'Forseti', which means chairman, because one day his judgement will be second only to my own ! "
Frigga stood on one side of the cradle, while Nanna was stationed on the other, as they listened to Odin's boasting. Frigga, after her husband had gone to fetch another guest, would apologize for her husband's overzealous behavior.
" You will have to forgive Odin, for he cannot contain the great joy he feels for his new grandson. " she would tell the guests.
If you looked closely at the two women standing on either side of the golden cradle you would have suspected that the glowing child, who was sleeping peacefully, was the offspring of Frigga and not Nanna Nepsdottir. The All-Mother's face beamed with a radiance as she gracefully and politely addressed each visitor. Nanna, on the other hand, after a difficult birth, remained relatively quiet as she nodded to the guests and forced a smile on her face for those who praised her newborn.
Balder played the role of the proud father, and host, to perfection. He greeted every guest, whether they were glistening Light Elves, or the dirtiest dwellers from Svartalfheim, as if they were honored kings. He made each visitor to Breiðablik feel most welcome, and ordered his serving maidens to attend to their every need. Those who spoke to him were amazed at how he made such wonderful conversation without being vulgar, or long-winded. The women found him especially charming, though they knew that a God as pure and virtuous as Balder could not be tempted by any amount of flirting.
Balder's brother Thor was as loud and boastful as ever as he mingled with the guests. Although the God of Thunder began each story praising his brother and his wife over the birth of their child the conversation always evolved into one of his many exploits against dragons or Jotuns. Unlike their pleasant experience with Balder, many did not care to stay and hear a second story, making excuses instead to see the child, or greet someone they claimed to know in the crowd to escape his company.
Thor's wife Sif felt uncomfortable as she approached the cradle flanked by Frigga and Nanna. The golden haired Goddess had always had a good relationship with Balder's wife, who was very friendly and kind towards her, but her mother-in-law was a different story altogether. Frigga, who was not actually the Thunder God's mother, for Thor was the son of Jord and Odin, blamed her for Thor's infidelity with the Jotun Jarnsaxa, and the birth of his two illegitimate sons Magni and Modi. The birth of their own daughter Thruðr sid not seem to do much to quell the All-Mother's disdain for her.
" If you had been a better wife to Odin's son he would not have found comfort in the arms of a Giantess ! " Frigga would often tell her.
Although the exchange of pleasantries with Frigga at the cradle were tense Nanna interjected many kind words to her friend to counter the All-Mother's cold politeness. When she was able, Sif broke away and was pleasantly surprised to find that another of her good friends, Sigyn, the wife of Loki, had arrived. She spent the rest of the day in her company and avoided further uncomfortable encounters with Frigga.
Loki watched it all from a distance. While most, who came to Breiðablik to see the child, had transparent motives for being there the Trickster's mind only became more and more disillusioned as he looked around the great courtyard of Balder's home, which was known as the Broad-Gleaming Hall. Each kindness and compliment offered to Balder and his wife, over the birth of their child, grated on Loki's soul and made him angrier and angrier as the day went on.
The one who infuriated Loki the most was his blood-brother Odin. Each time he praised his son and daughter-in-law, and of course their beautiful, and perfect, new child, it was like a knife being thrust into his back. He could not help but remember how cruelly his children had been treated by the All-Father. Not only were they not accepted by the Gods, but Odin, the one who he had mixed his blood with, had called them monsters and abominations. Hel, he had exiled to Niflheim, and given dominion over those who died of old age and sickness. His poor daughter was forced to share what little she had with all those sent to her morbid realm.
Worse yet, Jormungandr was cast out into Midgard's deepest seas to live its life alone and in darkness ! And Fenrir fared no better ! He was incarcerated by the Gods, and although he was cared for by Tyr, Loki feared what would become of his son once he became full grown.
Much like Sif's circumstance with Frigga, despite having two "normal" children with Sigyn, Vali and Narfi, he and his wife were shunned as undesirables, and seldom if ever invited to the God's halls, or to Aegir's abode to feast and drink. As Loki watched his beautiful, and oh so kind wife Sigyn conversing with Sif, he began to wonder if there were some way to change the opinions of others about his family by perhaps lowering the status of the great and pure Balder and his wife Nanna.
Loki's wonder turned to intense contemplation when Balder was asked to become a target to any and all weapons thrown at him. Balder, who was normally a God of great restraint and humbleness, could not resist showing off his incredible ability of deflecting any weapon thrown at him. To Loki's utter disgust he watched as even the meekest of guests shot arrows, darts, or even threw spears and axes at the Shining God. But when Thor flung his great hammer Mjolnir to no effect, and then Odin threw his spear Gungnir at his son without harming him, it was all too much for the son of Farbauti to accept.
As the cheers of adulation rang in his ears Loki whispered to himself :
" If weapons cannot bring down the Shining God, then maybe,...., just maybe,... a little temptation can kill the reputation of the 'Purest of Gods ! " he told himself with a sarcastic grin pasted on his face.
- End Chapter 1
- Next : Chapter 2 : Greed
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright 2018.