Týr : The God Of War
The Final Choice
Here in Asgard, among the Gods, he felt more at home than he had ever been with the Rock Giants in Jotunheim. Here there was little or no conflict, and no pettiness. What ruled here in the golden realm was peace, tranquility, and of course honor. These were beings with a purpose, and a clearly defined mission in the cosmos, and Týr was proud to join them as an equal. Though some suspected, Týr never let on that Odin was his father, and continued to tell everyone that Hymir and Brunniþoka were his parents, and that Hvítrbrún was his nurse maid, and caretaker.
Peace became Týr's ultimate goal, but war is like a storm that looms just over the horizon, and the clouds of conflict are always building just out of sight. The first conflict he fought in with his Aesir brothers and sisters, was the Aesir-Vanir War. When Gullveig came to his great hall to teach Odin seidr, the Lord of Asgard saw it not as a cosmic force to be used for good, but an evil power to be cast against the innocent. The Lord of Asgard dishonored Gullveig, who he called a, " witch " , by casting the first spear at her, and then desecrating his great hall by burning her body right there in the sacred site. Three times he tried to kill the Vanir Goddess, but three times she was reborn. And when she returned to Vanaheim, and spoke of her treatment at the hands of the Aesir, it incited the usually docile Vanir to declare war on the Asgardians.
Týr fought well with Odin, Thor, and Balder, but the might of weapons such as Gungnir, Mjolnir, and Heiður were no match for the cosmic magic of the Vanir, and soon the sturdy walls of Asgard came tumbling down. If not for the untiring efforts of Odin's sons the golden realm would have fallen, and disappeared from the cosmos forever. As it was the war eventually ended in a stalemate, and a peace treaty was agreed upon after which each of the Aesir and Vanir spit a truce offering into a kettle. Týr, who had been hunted as a criminal only years before, was also allowed the honor of participating in this momentous ritual.
From this sacred mixture, which the Gods did not want to waste, arose a God named Kvasir. Týr spent much time with this wise God. There was not a question that he asked that Kvasir could not answer. When he inquired as to whether he should become a God of peace, Kvasir laughed and proceeded to tell him why this would not be the right path for him to follow.
" We are all born to a purpose, and to not follow that purpose would be to dishonor the fate that was weaved for them. You were born to be a God of War, and therefore you must fight for what is right with your weapon and shield. " he explained.
Long after Kvasir was killed by the Dwarfs Fjalar and Galar, Týr remembered these life lessons and became involved in more and more conflicts of war that raged throughout the nine worlds. Only now he was not the one who started these wars. Instead he was the one who ended them. Týr quickly became known as the protector of the weak, and as someone who would fight for those who could not fight for themselves.
His first intervention came to pass when Odin informed him that the Light Elves were being harassed by the Dark Elves, who are also known as Dwarfs. The Light Elves are a peaceful folk, and much like the Vanir they practice a type of magic, though it is not as powerful as their seidr. They spend most of their days planting and cultivating their farms, and living quiet lives. They see beauty in everything, and try to acknowledge the unique qualities of every being as it pertains to the totality of their worth in the cosmic collective. Over the years they had, unlike their Dark Elf cousins, amassed a fortune in gold, silver and precious gems. And now their jealous distant relatives resented their great wealth, and were moving an immense army to the border of the Ljosalfheim to take it all away.
The Dwarfs, with their furnace forged weapons, figured to make quick work of the Light Elves, who practiced their magic only for the good of all, and who preferred dancing and merriment to strife and armed conflict. When the Dark Elves reached the realm of Ljosalfheim, however, they were shocked to be met by not one, but two Gods !
Freyr, who had been given Alfheim as a toothgift when he was but an infant by the Vanir, stood guard over his lands with a magical sword that fought by itself. By his side, and with Heiður held high over his head ready to strike, was Týr to help the Vanir God protect the little Elves. This, " war ", was ended in a single battle. Together, not only did Freyr and Týr prevent the Dwarfs from entering Ljosalfheim, and causing chaos, but they chased them all the way back to Svartalfheim.
Týr, building on the lessons he had learned from Odin and Kvasir, met with Motsognir, the foremost of the Dwarfs, and proposed a peace treaty based upon trade between the two realms. The Dwarfs would forge metal goods and trade them to the Light Elves for the gold, silver, and precious gems, they wanted so badly. Both sides would profit from this commerce based alliance, and war no longer made sense for either realm. This agreement, which many said would never last, is now the longest existing peace treaty in all of the nine worlds.
The Frost Giants, who had allied themselves with the Rock Giants, and Woodland Jotuns, were the next to cause a conflict that rippled throughout the cosmos. Despite repeated warnings from Odin these cold blue Jotuns continued to encroach upon the realm of his human children. The Lord of Asgard sent envoys to Jotunheim, led by Kvasir and Balder, to try and broker a peace agreement between the Aesir and Jotuns, but Farbauti, who had now risen to be the leader of the Frost Giants, wanted the colder northern regions of Midgard, which like the whole of Midgard had been made from the Giant Ymir's body, for himself, and no words were going to change his mind.
Upon their return Odin immediately called a War Council and laid out plans to defend the realm of his human children. The Aesir were all in for this conflict, as were most of the Vanir, and Odin, after the votes were counted, made the formal declaration of war. The next morning, they would all journey across the Rainbow Bridge to Midgard !
That night Odin went to see Týr, and it was with a heavy heart that he spoke to his son.
" Týr, great God of War, Protector of the Innocent, and Defender of the Defenseless, I have come here to give you a choice. If you do not feel it right and proper to fight and kill those who you once numbered as your own kind, I will surely understand. " Odin told him.
Týr turned his gaze away from Odin for a moment to gather his thoughts. When he again faced his father he had a determined look in his eyes.
" I will not lie. I have thought much about this upcoming war. It is not easy to choose to fight and kill those who you once thought of as kin. And what if I were to come up against Hymir or Brunniþoka in battle ? I go over and over this most distressing possibility in my mind, but I keep coming up with the same conclusion. How can I allow any beings, even ones I once held an allegiance with, to kill a weaker race such as the Midgardians. " he explained.
" Then you will join us. " he stated rather than asked.
" Yes ! I will join my sister Jotun, turned Goddess, Skadhi, and defend the Midgardians from the alliance of Jotuns that threaten them. "
The war between the Gods and the Jotuns was a brutal affair that lasted for hundreds of years. Many were lost on both sides, but in the end the Midgardians were saved by the Gods, and the Jotuns were forever pushed back into the borders of their own realm. And although Odin had Freyja cast a powerful spell to help his human children forget these terrible times, like a blood-line passed down from one generation to another the stories of the Gods remained within the lexicon of all the northern cultures. From that time forward the names of Odin, Thor, Freya, and Balder, and many, many others were honored with ritual and sacrifice. And Týr is still known as, ' The God of War ', for his great exploits, and the third day of the week is known as Tuesday in modern times, through the use of his Germanic name Tiew, (or Tirsdag by the Norwegians), to honor him.
- End Chapter 10
- Next : Epilogue : The Truth Be Told
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2019.