A Game Of War
" I Still Have Many Pieces Left To Play ! "
Frigga smiled when she heard the doors to the great hall swing open. And it grew in size with every echoing footstep that her husband took as he walked towards the viewing room in Hlidskjalf. Her satisfaction, and to some extent joy, did not come from the troubles she had caused her husband, but from the fact that she had saved so many of the mortal Midgardians by thwarting her husband's plan for another war.
When the footsteps stopped the All-Mother did not turn to greet her husband, nor did she wish to be the first to speak. An awkward silence hung over the viewing room, like grief over a funeral, before it was finally broken by the Lord of Asgard.
" I am amazed at how well you play the game of war, my dear. To decimate King Haddr's cavalry by killing off his fine stable of horses was,...., sheer genius ! " he told his wife in a clear calm voice.
Frigga could not help but grin over the high praise that her husband had honored her with. Before she turned to reply to her husband's comment, however, she forced the smile from her lips. For she did not wish to seem to be mocking her husband by gloating too much.
" The king's horses will not die,..., well,... perhaps a few, but most will live. Eir has assured me that animals as healthy as King Hadddr's equine will recover in due time. " she informed her husband.
" That is a good thing. To deprive King Haddr of his cavalry would be most unfortunate. " the All-Father replied gratefully.
Frigga rose up off of her high-seat and walked over to her husband. With her right hand she reached out and grabbed hold of his left hand.
" Shall we end this game, my love ? " she asked in a hopeful tone.
Odin's eye lit up, like a star in the heavens, with anger at the thought of losing once again to his wife.
" I do not believe that our game of war has ended quite yet, my dear. I still have many pieces to play, and more strategy to use, before this will be over. " he told his wife before turning and walking out of the viewing room.
Frigga's head dropped as her husband's hand slipped out of hers. She stood there frozen until she heard the doors of the hall close, and then she sat back down upon her high-seat. As she lowered head, and gazed upon Midgard, she exhaled deeply out of sheer frustration and a sense of despair.
" If I could stop this by allowing him to win I would ! " she reassured herself.
" But he will continue this game of war with or without me, and the only true losers will be the Midgardians. Only if, and when, he admits defeat will he leave his human children to their own destiny. " she whispered to the empty room.
Odin's mind was quicker than Sleipnir's eight legs. By the time his great steed's hoofs were once again galloping on Midgard the God of infinite wisdom had already formulated his plan. Raumariki was the strongest kingdom in all the Northlands. With an army nearly twice the size of any of the other kingdoms they could easily take on the decimated Heinafylki army and defeat them. But there was one small problem with this idea. Raumariki and Heinafylki had been peaceful neighbors for many years, and King Guðbjorn and Viðarr's father Sigvaldr, had been good friends who had entered into a blood oath to protect each other in time of war.
Odin, however, knew many things about King Guðbjorn that no one else was aware of. The most important of which was that he loved only one thing more than the peace and tranquility of his kingdom. And that was his lovely daughter Guðveig. After his wife Bera died giving birth to their second child Magsefni, Guðveig was the only one who could make him smile, or lessen his grief. And Odin knew one more important fact about Guðveig, and her brother, that made him grin from ear to ear as he reined Sleipnir around and headed east for Raumariki.
The hall in Heinhof of King Guðbjorn's sister Raðgrið was small, and in need of some repairs. As Odin dismounted in the woods behind the hall he wondered why King Guðbjorn had been so stingy towards his sister when he had always been so generous with his friends and subjects. Then, as he hid himself behind a thick bush he heard the shrill voice of Raðgrið reprimanding a maiden for not doing her chores properly.
" Oh yes, that is why. She is a bitch ! " Odin whispered to himself as Raðgrið ranted and raged at the poor young girl.
Odin had not come here, however, to see King Guðbjorn's sister. And as he looked around the courtyard he spotted what he had traveled to Heinhof for. Playing just outside the doors to the hall were Guðveig and her younger brother Magsefni. And a short distance away, not paying much attention to the children, were the six warriors who were supposed to be guarding them.
Before moving out from behind his hiding place Odin transformed himself into Viðarr, and drew his sword. He could have taken the identity of almost any warrior from Heinafylki, but he wanted to make quite certain that Raðgrið recognized him in particular. And if she saw him she would surely remember him as the son of King Sigvaldr, a boy she had met many times over the years.
Screaming at the top of his lungs the false Viðarr ran towards the men guarding the children. Despite his best efforts his shouts were barely audible over the yelling of Raðgrið. By the time they finally heard the intruder who was bearing down on them it was too late for them to get the children safely into the hall. The warriors barely had time to draw their swords before they were engaged in combat by the intruder.
The Raumariki warriors fell quickly to the swift and skillful sword play of the Lord of Asgard. After the last one fell, Odin, in the guise of Viðarr, picked up the terrified Guðveig, and began to carry her away with him. Raðgrið, having no one left to assist her, drew her own sword and chased after the scoundrel who dared to take the king's child.
Viðarr turned when he heard footsteps closing in behind him. With a grin he easily defended himself against the feeble blows that she rained down upon him. The All-Father was careful not to cut or injure Guðbjorn's sister, for he needed her to tell the king what had happened. With a quick circular motion of his sword Viðarr flicked away her weapon, and placed the point of his sword up against her throat.
Raðgrið's eyes widened when she recognized the warrior who had killed her guards, and was attempting to run off with her niece.
" Viðarr ! ? " she shouted out in disbelief.
Odin tried to keep composed in his disguise, but he could not help but laugh at the stunned look upon her face.
" I am so very glad that you remember me ! " Odin told her just before he knocked her out with the hilt of his sword.
As Odin walked back to Sleipnir he heard little Magsefni crying loudly.
" Do not worry little one. I will not harm your sister, for she is just a pawn in our game of war. " he whispered to himself.
- End Chapter 12
Next : Chapter 13 : The Bringer Of Bad News
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2018.