The Temptation Of Balder
A Crowded Seat At Hlidskjalf
For hours Loki paced back and forth, in the cave he was sheltering himself in from a gentle rain, trying to think of some way to bring down the Shining God. But how do you besmirch the reputation of a God who has proven himself to be as pure as mountain water ? Loki knew that Balder would never steal, and other than a small white lie, ( named after his white light ), to protect someone's feelings from being hurt, the purest of Gods would never knowingly tell an untruth.
" So,....., what is there left, as a moral virtue, for me to trip up Balder with ? What is it that his fellow Asgardians hold in the highest regard ? " he asked himself.
Suddenly Loki stopped his pacing, and pointed a finger in the air.
" That's it ! " he yelled.
His words were so loud that they echoed through the cave many times before they finally dissipated into the deepest caverns. With an evil grin on his face Loki folded his arms against his chest and leaned up against the cold damp stone wall.
" An oath ! Nothing means more to these pathetic Aesir than an agreement between two parties to do something, no matter whether it is important, or trivial. " he said out loud to himself.
Loki frowned, while in deep thought, as he tapped a single finger up against his chin.
" It would have to be a pledge made by Balder to one of the mortals on Midgard,....., for the Asgardians would never ask Odin's favorite son to do something seedy. " he continued as he tried to devise his plan.
Then Loki stomped his feet on the floor of the cave in disgust.
" It would take a very long time to find just the right circumstance to trap Balder ! For years I could walk among the Midgardians and never find the perfect oath to force the Shining God to break ! " he told himself.
Then, suddenly, Loki's frown turned into a wicked grin.
" But, from Hlidskjalf I could see it all,....., and the portal probes your mind and knows exactly what it is that you wish to see ! " he thought out loud.
After what had happened to him at Breiðablik Loki decided that a fly might not be the best disguise to keep himself hidden from the Asgardians. Instead, once he reached the golden doors of Odin's great hall, he used his great ability as a shape-shifter to transform himself into an ant.
With all six legs splayed out as far as he could spread them, Loki squeezed himself under the golden door, and into the shining hall. Although the Trickster was in a hurry, he stopped for a moment to look up the skirt of Syn, who as always was on duty guarding the doors to the hall, and who often denied entrance to those who may not come in, before moving towards the viewing room at the other end of the hall.
" Nice legs ! " he thought to himself as he scurried along the cold floor.
To a two legged being the great hall was long, but to a creature as small as an ant it seemed that the journey would never end to cross it to the viewing room . What would have taken a God a matter of moments to reach, took Loki, in ant form, almost the entire day to accomplish.
When he finally did reach the doorway to Hlidskjalf he then realized, to his great dismay, that he had yet another great expanse to cross before he reached the high-seats. And then he would have to climb one of the great legs of the hallowed chair, as if it were a mountain, to finally sit upon the seat to open the portal. None of this would be necessary, of course, if the chamber was empty, but as he often did, Odin sat glued to his high-seat watching as events unfolded in the cosmos on the floor below him.
Loki looked left, and then right, as though he were checking for carts and wagons, on a busy a dirt road, before proceeding. He was just about to scamper forward when he realized that something that he had seen to his left, out of the corner of his eye, did not seem quite right. As he craned his little black hairy head back that way he screamed inside his head at what he saw. For there, coming down a white silken thread, was a big black spider that was looking at him hungrily with its multiple eyes.
Loki's first instinct was to run,..., if that is what you can call what ants do when they move as fast as they can. In a flash the disguised Jotun took off for the leg of the chair that now seemed a million miles away. He did not get very far when he turned to see that the spider, which had longer, and much hairier legs, was gaining on him quickly. For a moment Loki's mind went blank and he could not decide quite what to do. If he reverted to Jotun form Odin would surely see him despite his great concentration on the portal, but if he remained as an insect the spider would make a meal of him !
Finally, Loki's mind, in a moment of clarity, knew exactly what it must do. The shape-shifting trickster turned and faced his attacker. Using the magical spells that his mentor Utgard-Loki had taught him, he turned himself into a preying mantis and stood his ground. The spider, realizing that he had now become the prey, instead of the predator, tried to stop. It was too late ! Loki, with his massive jaws, bit off the spider's head with his pincers. As the spider rolled over on it's back, with its legs still twitching in the air, Loki spit out the spider's head.
" Oh my ! That is terrible !! " Loki thought to himself as he continued to spit out the spider's blood, and rid his mouth of its vile taste.
It took Loki a long moment to collect himself before he could resume his journey to Odin's high-seat. The Trickster, using his huge front legs was able to get the taste of the spider out of his mouth quite quickly, but he knew that the image of the spider's decapitated head lying in his spittle would remain with him for a very, very, long time.
Before attempting the climb up the leg of the chair Loki turned himself back into an ant. As he began his ascent the Jotun could not believe how his six legs adhered to the near vertical surface of the golden leg of the high-seat with such ease. Despite the sense of safety his grasping legs gave him, Loki was relieved when he reached Odin's shirt and scampered up the less slippery material to the God's shoulder.
Once he was safely perched on top of the Lord of Asgard the portal knew exactly what he wanted to see, and showed him, and only him, the images that would allow him to discredit the Shining God and bring him down.
" Now I have the weapon I........."
Loki never had a chance to finish his thought. A great hand reached up and flicked the disguised Jotun into the air. As he fell to the floor Loki did not have enough time to contemplate all of the painful possibilities of his landing. With eyes closed, and hoping for the best, he hit the floor hard. To Loki's great surprise, and relief, his six legs withstood the punishment of the landing, and he felt little or no pain from the harrowing experience. After a short moment to reflect on his near demise, Loki scampered out of the viewing room, and began the long journey across the floor to the doors of the great hall.
Along the way he slowly and carefully formulated the developing plan in his mind, and by the time he reached the exit he had the whole devious scheme worked out to perfection. So confident was Loki of its brilliance that he did not forget to look up Syn's skirt as he left.
- End Chapter 3
- Next : Chapter 4 : Þǫkk
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2018.