The Growing Menace
At the beginning the creature scavenged along the ocean bottom for scraps of food. Occasionally it was lucky and the carcass of a whale, or a large fish, would sink down to the sea floor. Many times, however, Jormungandr went hungry. The serpent could sense that there was more to feed upon near the surface, but it feared the light, and remained hidden, and relatively safe, on the bottom.
Although Jormungandr' s diet was rather sparse, and its feedings infrequent, the creature began to grow larger and larger in size. As it grew the serpent began to hunger more and more, and to fear less and less. At first Jormungandr would rise to where the light filtered down just enough for it to make out the shadows of its prey. At this depth it could easily scoop up a school of mackerel or herring, and then quickly dive back down to the safety of the bottom.
Over time, however, Jormungandr became more and more confident, and each day it would rise closer and closer to the surface. Here it could catch and feast on the only sea creature that truly satisfied its hunger, the great whales.
Then one day, during a violent storm on the surface, Jormungandr spotted a number of creatures splashing violently in the water. Using its slithering body, and mighty tail, it propelled itself up and out of the water. As the creature hovered over its prey, the tiny creatures made loud screeching sounds that hurt its ears. To silence these annoying surface dwellers, the great serpent opened its massive jaws wide, plunged down upon the helpless little things, and gobbled them up several at a time.
Jormungandr was delighted ! It loved the taste of these little creatures. Their crunchy little bodies spurted out a salty red fluid that tasted very appetizing to the great serpent. Time and time again the sea snake rose up out of the water and scooped up the loud little creatures until they were all gone.
The great sea monster was not alone, however, as it fed on the surface. Ten pair of eyes watched in disbelief at the horrifying sight before them. Ran and her daughters would go hungry this night, because the humans that they were about to feast upon were eaten by a creature that the Sea Goddess and her nine children had never seen before.
As time went on Ran, and her husband, the Jotun Aegir, became more and more concerned. One of their main food sources, for them and their daughters, was becoming more and more scarce. The giant sea serpent was so much larger and faster than they were that by the time they reached a shipwreck all that was left by the creature was splintered wood, and the tantalizing taste of blood in the water. Finally, as hunger began to overcome them, The Sea Goddess and her Jotun husband decided it was time to act.
Aegir had to go to Asgard to meet with Thor about a drinking party the Aesir were planning , and told his wife to wait until he returned to confront the great beast. Ran, however, did not want to delay the inevitable any longer, and brought up from her underwater hall the largest net she owned. The Sea Goddess began to immediately patrol the twilight area where the darkness and sunlight met in the sea. Her daughters followed her at a safe distance waiting for their mother to call them to assist her. Ran' s plan was a simple one. Catch the creature in the net, and then, with the aide of her daughters, drag the creature to the bottom. Once they were on the sea floor they would place the heaviest rocks they could find on the edges of the net to hold the creature on the bottom where it could no longer bother them.
Day after day Ran went out with her daughters to track down the illusive serpent without success. Then, one evening, just before the sunlight disappeared completely, Ran spotted a dark shadow rising up from below while patrolling off of the coast of Iceland. Ran and her daughters followed the long dark slithering object for miles and miles. At first Ran was not certain that this was the creature they were after, but when she spotted three whales on the surface just above the slithering shadow, she knew for sure that it was the serpent on the hunt.
Ran used the serpent' s preoccupation with the whales to her advantage. Slowly she swam above the creature from behind. As she did she began to unravel her great net. Once Ran felt she was close enough, she held her position until the beast was about to strike its prey. Ran was greatly disappointed when the serpent did not go for the kill immediately. All she could do, however, was wait and watch.
Suddenly, when all three whales were at the surface at the same time, the great serpent wriggled its body and propelled itself to the surface. Ran, who thought herself the fastest being in all the vast oceans, could barely keep up with the huge serpent. But In the end they both surfaced almost simultaneously.
Jormungandr leaped out of the water, hovered for a moment, and then began to descend upon the closest of the great whales with his jaws wide apart. As his teeth ripped into the meaty flesh of the whale the serpent felt something hit its head, and quickly cover its body. The creature took only a few bites of the whale before it realized that it was trapped in something that was even larger than itself !
Ran had thrown the great net when the sea creature was at its maximum height. The back of the net quickly covered the tail of the serpent, while the front of the net sailed over the creature's head and hit the beast just under the nose. As the sea monster plunged back down into the water its great weight pulled the net down with it.
The moment that Ran was submerged again she called to her daughters. " The net ! Grab hold of the net !! " she screamed in a high pitched tone that only her daughters could hear.
Fearing the beast's head the most Ran grabbed hold of the net where it had cut into the creature's nose. Kolga took her mother's lead and grabbed the back end of the net where the serpent's tail was caught. On one side of the creature Himinglaeva, Drofn, Blodughadda, and Unn grabbed hold, while on the other Dufa, Hefring, Hronn, and Bylgja snagged the net to hold it down over the great beast. Then, when all was secure, Ran screamed: " Pull it to the bottom ! "
This was easier said than done ! The great sea serpent began to wriggle and squirm in the net, which in turn wrapped itself tighter and tighter around the creature. As it did Ran' s daughters were thrown around like krill in a whale's mouth. Her daughters hung on for dear life as they slowly tumbled with the creature into the pitch black darkness of the sea bottom.
Without warning there was a low rumble as the creature, and its passengers hit the muddy sea floor. Ran had never really known fear until she saw the red glowing eyes of the sea serpent right before her in the darkness. They did not remain there for long, however. The serpent opened its great jaws and grabbed hold of the net in its mouth. Then the sea monster began to turn its body in circles faster and faster, until the net, the strongest one ever made by Ran, began to tear apart by its head. Once the creature sensed the opening it swam through the hole it had made, and quickly swam away into the darkness.
While the creature slithered away, Ran and her daughters found themselves on the bottom hopelessly entangled in the net. Ran was the first to extricate herself, and then by using the sound of her children' s cries for help, she was able to locate them in the dark one by one and release them as well. When they were all free the Sea Goddess and her daughters swam back to the great depths off of Iceland where their hall sat on the ocean bottom.
When they returned home Ran was met by her angry husband. As the Sea Goddess and her daughters entered the great underwater hall Aegir demanded to know why they had gone after the beast without him, and what had happened. Ran, who was angry, and quite exhausted by their ordeal looked wearily at her husband and replied : " The great sea serpent has won the first battle, and I do not know if we will survive a second ! " she told her husband.
- End Chapter 2
- Next Chapter 3 : Thor Angers The Beast !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.