Archive for the ‘Jotnar’ Category

Knowledge out of Darkness
Name means “aware”

“The tenth is Vör: she is wise and of searching spirit, so that none can conceal anything from her; it is a saying, that a woman becomes ‘aware’ of that of which she is informed.” Her name is roughly pronounced “Ver” in Icelandic, ö sounds like the French “eu.” (1)

Vor’s Story

In the beginning, there were few giants after the flood that drowned Ymir’s kin. Vor a was daughter of Bolthorn, sister to Mimir and Bestla and aunt of Odin’s. Far from the refreshing ice of Niflheim, there was need of fresh water on the rocky shores of newly formed Jotunheim. It was Vor’s task as a girl to find it. Bolthorn made it a game, saying “I’ve hidden the water underground. Close your eyes and find it.” She put her small hands over her eyes and looked underneath the rocky surface to find the water, directing her father’s great footsteps as she rode on his shoulder. It was her brother Mimir’s talent to bring the water up through rock and soil, but it was hers to find where it lay hidden. (more…)

Women of the Armored Combat League

Chapter 19 – Torn Between

(Click here to read from the beginning)

Once more, twelve dead Asgardians in their finest armor made around us the circle of law. Shining Balder stood out in his pale tunic, one of the few men among many fallen shield-maidens. It was odd seeing the exuberant god of peace being so quiet.

Mordgud waited on my left, both of us wearing black. Hlin was across with white tabard over mail. Syn beside her had shrouded herself in the brown hood of her cloak, hiding eyes in shadow once more.

Will siding with Syn make things better, I wondered, biting my lip, or am I gambling away the last few friends who will have me? I clenched my jaw, glancing at Garm. No, these two watched me fail, without warning me to my fate, all for political gain. They are jailers and puppeteers, not friends.

Mordgud gave me a pat on the back, with a smile I refused to return.

“Cheer up,” she whispered, “you passed your initiation test with flying colors. Once we settle this affair, you can go visit your son William.”

What? I… she… (more…)

Chapter 18 – The Price of Murder

(Click here to read from the beginning)

I couldn’t move. I could barely feel my body as I lay there on my back, but there were voices.

“I’m sorry, all right?” a voice said. “I didn’t mean to kill her. She was my friend too.” Syn, that had to be Syn.

Silence. I could imagine Hlin’s disapproving look. Mothers have mighty power when it comes to making people feel guilty. Good! Let her feel shame, I thought.

“I was so angry,” she continued. “She wouldn’t yield, and after she used that hellish magic I… lost control. My old habits kicked in.”

I heard a deep sigh. “That may be, but we now have a corpse rather than a captive, and that friend is lost to us forever. So close to Helheim, we may not even be able to bring back the body for a proper mourning and funeral,” Hlin said.

“I’ll carry her back myself,” Syn answered softly, her voice cracking. “I owe her that much.” (more…)

Chapter 17 – Bridge of Blades –

(Click here to read from the beginning)

I was floating on fluffy clouds, eyes closed, enjoying how they gently rocked me back and forth. But as the winds rose, their motion shook me with rising violence.

“Stop shaking me,” I commanded, but they did not obey. I opened my eyes.

A giant face filled my entire view of the sky, that of a man more wrinkled and ancient than time itself. What manner of wind god is this? (more…)

Chapter 16 – Dance of the Munin –

(Click here to read from the beginning)

Grisella’s fish were long dead by the time we reached the front of the castle, and my wife was shivering in shock. The lower half of her green dress remained soaked, and despite my warming arms around her, I kept hearing the rattling of teeth.

Ganglati stood solemn before the great doors, barring our way. No torches burned in welcome, and only the moon illuminated her wrinkled face. All was quiet around the castle, the dead resting in their mounds no doubt.

“I’ll be taking those fish, miladies,” she said with unusual gentleness. “They need to be prepared for the feast. May I ?”

Reluctantly, Grisella’s hands parted from her chest. Still clutching the hem of her skirt as a basket, she left an opening for Grisella to reach in.

“Thank you, Milady,” said the maid with a smile, “I’ll be taking good care of them.”

My wife nodded, and we watched Ganglati head for the kitchen entrance to the left.

Mordgud stepped around us to grasp the door handles. “Now that this is settled,” she said grimly, looking down, “we have a funeral feast to attend.”

I nodded, bracing myself for hours of wailing. Surely there would be professional mourners, veiled in black, pulling at their hair and crying out the loss of those three who were sacrificed. Hlin would love to see how they do it here, I thought. It was likely around three in the morning and I was less than enthused at the prospect of staying up all night for this.

When Mordgud pulled open the fresh pine door and its rotting wood companion however, the sounds of a great of a celebration poured out. She gave a crooked smile and winked as she waved us in. (more…)

Chapter 15 – Down With The Fishes –

 

I was startled awake by the knock on the door, just one tap, repeated every few seconds. Ganglati I suppose…

My wife was still purring, head on my chest. How strange that I have a wife now, I mused, when not long ago I had a husband. For that matter, am I a widow if I’m the one who died? Or am I still married to him? I suppose it doesn’t matter, if Hela held her end of the deal, since Mary Arden’s body lives once again.

With a hand on her forehead, I pulled Grisella’s eyelids open. No response. The rapping at the door continued, so I lifted her up enough to free myself. As I walked past the iron frame mirror, I spied my reflection getting her own gambeson from atop the chest. Her face sagged as she slipped it on.

Is the other me good to my family in Midgard? Does she make little horses out of twigs to amuse William? I hope she has a kind soul. (more…)

Preparing to Prevail

Name means “Protectress”

The twelfth is Hlín: she is established as keeper over those whom Frigg desires to preserve from any danger; thence comes the saying, that he who escapes ‘leans.’ Her name is pronounced “Hleen” in Icelandic. (1)

 

Musings on The Hero’s Path

“Help me! Save me!” When you cry out for help to the Asynjur, when you need a hero, it is Hlin who hears and answers. You could see her as a Norse Kwan Yin, the one who “hears the lamentations of the world,” were it not for her also being a formidable warrior and weaponsmaster rather than a pacifist. She embodies the path of the hero and guides those who walk it, all of it, not just the parts people applaud. (more…)

Icy river

Part 6: Deals with Death –

 

Tightening my grip on Mordgud’s hand, I steeled myself for the stench of decay, but it was the scent of ripe apples that welcomed me to Helheim. On this side of the wall, the dusty Hel-Road became moist black earth, the barren ground around us a carpet of yellowing leaves, and dead trees were replaced by fruit laden ones. It was like I’d just stepped into Vanaheim on a peaceful Fall day just before Harvest.

“Not what you expected, I gather,” she said, bemused.

“Not at all. Where are all the dead?”

“They’re here, you simply cannot see them, and few come this close to the great wall.”

Over the tree line I could make out the black glassy spires of Elvidnir, twisting their way into the sky as if to pierce it. Even at this distance, Hela’s castle was an impressive sight – made as it was of shiny obsidian rock.

(more…)

Part 5: Hilt or Blade –

Blue gambeson

Blue gambeson.

A dark foggy path stretched before us as we rode, pierced only by pinpoint stars in every direction. Grey mane in one hand, the other held the Winds, sweat beading on my forehead from the strain. I felt foreboding mixed with hope, now that we were finally making progress, and glanced nervously behind us every now and again. This had been one of the most gut wrenching days of my life, and I feared more misfortune would befall me ere I lay my head to sleep once more.

Our trail ended at a shimmering wall, distorting the stars that seemed behind it. We followed the Deer through, and I got a mouthful of heavy snowflakes as I opened it to speak. Lit by the first hint of dawn, blown by blizzard winds, flakes froze the moisture on my scalp, settled in wet masses on my golden hair, and covered my blue coat with whiteness in mere minutes. I had no power to spare to calm the storm, and it wouldn’t listen to me anyway. The winds of Niflheim were always cranky but right now they were angry with me.

Trapped us, they howled. Free the Four Elders, their hoary voices demanded, their icy breath stinging my face. (more…)

Gefjon – Dancing up the ladder you made
Norse Goddess
Name means “The Giving One.”

Gefjun ploughing off an island with her four oxen sons

‘The fourth is Gefjon; she is a maiden, and women who die unmarried serve her.” Also spelled Gefion (anglicized) and Gefjun (Old Norse).
Note: It makes more sense to interpret ‘maiden’ as ‘unmarried woman’ or ‘independent woman’ than as ‘virgin’, considering she has four sons.

Gefjon’s Origin

Imagine you were a working class woman who dreamed of becoming a Goddess in a new land — a barefoot graduate of the “school of hard knocks” who’d left home with a single brown dress to her name, a strong lass skilled only in ploughing fields for a father who’d already promised you away in marriage. “Your dreams are impossible,” he’d tell you, “be content with your lot in life. You’re a farmer’s daughter. You’ll marry a farmer, plough his fields and bear him sons. Be reasonable.”

But what if you weren’t reasonable? What if you decided to leave home and walk all the way up to Asgard from your home in… Jotunheim. Ah yes, there’s the rub. You’re also a Giantess and the lily-white Aesir don’t care much for your proud race, except for a night of fun or to mother a son for Asgard. Those of the White Land atop the World Tree Yggdrasil have little interest in your big boned beauty, mighty shoulders and powerful hips envied by many women in your homeland — dark skinned from working fields in the sun, clever at the market, cunning in haggling, but possessed of no special powers aside from exceptional stubbornness. They seemingly prefer fragile fair-haired women that might break like saplings under a strong wind, strange as that may be. (more…)