Odin's Eyes :
A Story Of Hugin And Munin
The Watchers Are Being Watched
The air was made frigid from the bitter winds that lowered the temperatures well below freezing. To most creatures, especially an eagle, this climate would have been intolerable if not indeed deadly. However, the eagle that sat at the end of heaven was no ordinary eagle ! This creature, perched on the highest, windiest, coldest place in the cosmos, was not in reality an eagle at all. Nor was it truly a bird of any kind. This creature, this being, that sat high atop the universe was a Frost Giant in eagle form. And not only did the freezing temperatures not hamper this Jotun in disguise, but he actually felt quite at home in this frigid environment.
The Norns had long ago given this creature a purpose. For it was this Jotun - eagle's fate to sit at the world's end, and with his mighty wings make the winds that swirl around the nine realms. The Norns also gave this therianthrope, or shape - shifter, a name. They called this unique creature Hraesvelgr.
The Norns may have weaved its fate, but to some extent Hraesvelgr was able to bend the future slightly with his will. It was his duty to make the winds blow, but as he did so he was able to also look down upon the nine worlds, and with the sharp eyes of the largest eagle in the known universe, take in everything that happened below. And what he saw he did not like !
Everyday as the first rays of Sunna's morning light broke over Midgard, Hraesvelgr, from his high perch watched as two ravens flew out of Asgard and over the Rainbow Bridge. As they left the golden realm they traveled down the great World Tree, called Yggdrasil, pausing from time to time to land on its massive branches to rest. Once revitalized the ravens would fly into the human world of Midgard through a rainbow caused by the mist of the waterfalls known as Gullfoss, in the land of Iceland.
From observing these ravens, named Hugin and Munin, closely he soon became aware that much like himself their will was not entirely their own. Their master, however, was not the Norns, but was instead a God known as Odin, the King of Asgard. To Odin these ravens were his ears and eyes, and every morning Valfather sent out Hugin and Munin to the nine worlds to collect information for him. Generally these " spies in the skies " as Hraesvelgr liked to call them, concentrated their efforts on the Midgardian world, but occasionally they would venture to Jotunheim to spy on the Frost Giants. And it was here in the land of his folk that the ravens clandestine spying was making Hraesvelgr very upset.
Hraesvelgr may have been forced by fate to take the form of an eagle, but at heart he was still a Frost Giant. He felt the anger grow within him as he watched day after day the ravens flying back to Asgard with the knowledge they had gained. His fury grew exponentially as they flew through the open window at Valhalla, and landed on Odin's shoulder. For he knew that they were telling the Valfather all of their secrets.
The great eagle often would become so angry at these little black monsters that he would flap his mighty wings as hard as he could, creating such a strong wind that the birds could not fly and would have to land, and hunker down in thick trees to avoid being blown away. However angry he was Hraesvelgr would eventually tire, and the winds would diminish leaving the ravens free to continue their journey.
It did not take long for Odin to catch on to Hraesvelgr's little game. The All - Father traveled to Noatun and elicited the aid of Njordr, a God who had the innate ability to dissipate the winds, and make the air calm once more. This cat and mouse game went on for months with the giant eagle bowing the winds into a frenzy, and the God Njord stopping them to a dead calm. This silly " game" had no winner, and always ended in a stalemate. Finally Hraesvelgr decided it was futile to try and stop the ravens this way and gave up.
Odin was not the only one who had spies. Hraesvelgr had a spy of his own. Everyone in the nine worlds knew that the biggest gossiper in the universe was the squirrel Ratatoskr. Everyday he ran up and down the World Tree relaying messages between Nidhoggr, and the great eagle who sat in the highest of Yggdrasil's branches. Along the way he would speak to the harts, serpents, birds, and other creatures that used the World Tree as their pathway to the nine worlds, or as a food source, and pick up gossip from every corner of the known universe. Some even believed that Ratatoskr knew what was about to happen even before it took place. To gain this valuable information Hraesvelgr made a pact with the hawk Vedrfolnir ( Stormpale ) , who sat in between the giant eagle's eyes. After Ratatoskr had relayed to the eagle everything it had learned, Vedrfolnir would fly to Heaven's End, and tell all that it had heard to Hraesvelgr.
One of the most disturbing bits of information that Vedrfolnir passed on to Hraesvelgr was that Odin, through his ravens Hugin and Munin, was keeping a close watch on the new settlements that the Frost Giants were building on the border between the Jotunheim and Midgard worlds. Hraesvelgr knew that this " settlement " was merely a precursor to an invasion of Midgard, and if the ravens kept watching this Frost Giant village Odin would soon discover why it had been built so close to the border. Concerned for his kinsmen Hraesvelgr decided he needed to do something about this precarious situation.
Then one day a dead calm fell over the nine worlds. The perch high in the cosmos at Heaven's End was unoccupied for the first time since the great creation. Hraesvelgr had risked angering the Norns, and destroying fate itself, by leaving his perch and flying to Jotunheim. The great eagle felt he had no choice but to go and warn the King of the Frost Giants Farbauti about the looming danger !
- End Chapter 1
- Next : Chapter 2 : " Kill Those Damned Birds ! "
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.