Posts Tagged ‘Norse Goddesses’

Women of the Armored Combat League

Chapter 19 – Torn Between

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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…)

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Chapter 18 – The Price of Murder

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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 –

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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 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…)

Part 11 – A Great Hitch –

I was still pacing when I heard her steps. I turned and saw Grisella in the doorway, hands clasped and looking down.

“Sundered spirals!” I exclaimed, “What did Hela do to you?”

Brows wrinkling, I rushed to my companion’s side to lead her in.

The dead woman looked away. “She… she made me the age of my death, old and ugly.” Her hair had turned to a dirty blonde, its straggled edges laying limp on the green of her dress.

Eyebrows lowered in confusion, I asked: “What are you talking about?”

“I be fourty-two when I died,” she said with a frown. “You met me looking the way I was at twenty-two. I’m not the pretty thing you wanted to share a bed with anymore.”

Taken aback by her words, I then leaned in to inspect her more closely. Sure enough, there were more wisdom lines on her face, the kind that came from loss and anger.

“Oh, that,” I said. “I suppose you’re right. I hadn’t noticed.” (more…)

Part 9 – Looking Up From The Mud –

Calm yourself Grisella, I told myself, don’t be giving them the satisfaction of seeing you cry.

Face down in the dirt, I took a breath. I’d been so intent on ignoring Bertha that I had not seen her trying to trip me. Whatever heaven you be in Father, I prayed, please give me strength, send me help.

“Go back to your mound,” she said with scorn. “We don’t want your kind touching our food.”

I gathered the onions, avoiding eye contact with my tormentors. It had been getting worse of late, since they’d seen my mark on the Day of Bathing.

The old gods were little good to me here, and the new god was no better. Maybe I’ll try being a good Christian when born again to Midgard, I thought, then made a sour face. There be little difference between the followers of either faith, I reminded myself. No matter what I did, I’d be alone if I could not mould myself to be like them.

Brooding in misery, that was when my dark angel appeared.

She was the first in a long while to take interest. Clearly a goddess, yet she was awkward, with a haunted look in her eyes. Like me, she seemed lost, alone.

Then to my surprise she acted like lads did – the ones who found my looks pleasing. Well, this at least I understood. It was something I could give, in a place where none wanted anything to do with me.

I’d not lain with a woman as one does a man – it being a sin and all – but then none had asked. Being already as damned as I could get, there be nowhere lower for me to sink. So, I thrust my chest out and put on my best smile for the lady. Being a whore for a goddess, that be better than what I had so far. Well, until she found someone prettier, less boyish, as the lads always did.

“Perhaps we can be friends? I am Gna, messenger of Asgard, or was until recently.”

Friends? Is that what they be calling unnatural relations these days? I can do that… (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…)

Pleiades_large

Part 3: The Empty –

 

Hooves pounded behind as I jumped off the Cliff of Heaven, finally free from Heimdall’s Seven. Air became solid under my feet, for I ran as only Sky Maidens can[1].

I looked back to my steed following in my escape. But sky ran out and solid air failed as I sped across the border of the Aesir world. Blue sky changed to fog and I lost my footing, only to start slowly spinning out of control. Still I could see Hoof-Tosser behind as I spun; feel him in my head and heart. But when he too crossed the boundary from blue to gray, it all went wrong.

He screamed and struggled as I saw his shape shrink and fold, the ancient curse taking hold once more. Our mind-link was painfully ripped from my chest, and without it he returned to the form in which I first found him: a wide flat drum without voice to speak words, deprived of limbs to direct his motion.

“No! You are free! Hoof-Tosser return to me,” I commanded, knowing full well he had no way to comply.

I extended my arms as far as I could, to catch the rim and re-kindle our link, but he was too far away.

The drum merely tumbled, as did I, deeper into the thickening mist. (more…)