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Subj: The Peaceful Home of Skaddi and Njord part 3 of 3
Posted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 01:51:54 pm EST (Viewed 140 times)
Here's the conclusion -
â€œQueen Frigga, I have no fond memories of my last visit to this chamber but to answer your call, gentle Lady, I came with all the speed at my disposal.â€
â€œSkaddi Thiazzidottir, we share no blood or kin but I ask for your faith that I act on your behalf. Together we may find a balm to sooth your suffering.â€
â€œYour good will I do not doubt, Lady, but I have no faith that anyone can quiet the turmoil roaring within me.â€
Skaddi gazed across the court. Her eyes fell on Njord. Tears sprang from her eyes and she looked away.
Frigga raised her arms toward the giantess as if she held her in an embrace. The Jotun ceased her tears. A small smile lifted her lips.
â€œI thank you for accepting my invitation. Now I would ask a greater boon from you both. Though trapped in the net of your rage and sorrow, you must know that your torments have wrought great havoc on the world around you. The lands and seas of all the nine worlds have been battered by your anguish.â€
â€œHear me. You know my words are true. This cannot continue. My husband and the gods who fill this hall will not allow it. I also know the feelings consuming you cannot be calmed by threat or edict. We must find a way for you to be at peace.â€
â€œ I ask you both in turn to gaze on your sometime spouse and open your hearts. Cast aside your hurts and anger for these moments. Share the deepest feelings you have for each other. For this short time let those words touch your spirit. Then let us see where that leads us.â€
They looked horrified by the queenâ€™s request. Skaddi straightened her back, snorting and baring her teeth. Njord shook his head as if trying to wake from a nightmare.
â€œ You professed your trust in me. For these brief moments, I ask you to trust each other.â€
Njordâ€™s shoulders squared. His eyes locked with Skaddiâ€™s. He looked as if he found the balance to bear a great weight without strain. The sadness that bent his frame fell away. His royal bearing replaced it.
â€œSkaddi, when first I saw you, I was captive to your beauty and vitality. I did not see an enemy who threatened war. I saw an orphan like myself. I saw a daughter who missed her father as deeply as I longed for my Vanir kin when the peace my hostage state brought others cost me mine. I saw a stranger, as alone in Asgard as I had been. When others disdained your contentious spirit, I saw someone who was strong enough to endure the trials that marriage to a god entails. I dreamed that together we would rise above our losses to build a family from the love that still dwelt within our hearts.â€
â€œWhen my selection as your husband caused you misery, when we could not reconcile the discord of our wedding homes, I knew that life eternal held no promise of happiness for me. I love you but I could no more abandon my ocean realm than I could pull my heart from my chest. It is not a place where I dwell. It is a part of me. The waters of the world are the strongholds where my soul resides. I see no possible reconciliation between the wife who is my heartâ€™s desire and her disdain for the home that is my haven.â€
â€œI know that I will never wed another. I have ruled the seas for an eternity. My kingdom touches all creation. I have seen all itâ€™s peoples. I know that I will never find the like of you again.â€
Skaddi shook. She choked. For a moment it appeared that Thrymheimâ€™s Princess might lose her balance.
â€œNjord of the waters. You say you love my rough edged way. Then my directness will endear me to you further. I was appalled to see your face when that suitorâ€™s curtain fell. I dreamed of being the envy of the world. I imagined my fatherâ€™s pleasure when Thrymheim would be known as the home of beauty. I did not even consider you Njord.
I was concerned with the status of my fatherâ€™s house. I wanted to take Asgardâ€™s favorite son away from the Aesir just as they had robbed me of the only person who had ever loved me.â€™
â€œWhen we came to Noatun, you were so kind to me that I was enraged. I did not want to care for you Wave Rider. You were not the prize that I had sought. I did not want to see the kindness in your eyes and call you beautiful. Other women did not covet your favor so how could I find you desirable? I had only known the love of a father so I thought of love like a child.â€
â€œI showed you the ugliest aspects of my nature and still you sought my favor. I tried with all my strength to resist the charms of your generous soul but still your love touched me. You answered my petulant disdain with respect and patience. I would have to be blind not to finally see the merits of my new husband.â€
â€œEven though you breached my heart's defenses, I still knew that I could not make a happy home so far away from Thrymheim. I cannot breathe any air but from my mountainâ€™s winter winds without a painful sadness in my chest. When Odin ordered us to Jotunheim I thought there might be hope. I even exiled my beloved wolves, the playmates of my childhood, from the haven of my protection to help you find peace beneath my roof. Still, when I looked at you, I saw the same longing for your home that had gripped me. I knew then that there was no chance for us.â€
â€œ I baited you into arguments so that our ending would not hurt so badly . It did not help.
Now that we are apart, even the icy realm of Niffelheim cannot match the coldness of my heart. â€œ
â€œFrom Thrymheimâ€™s great height I too can see the breadth of the world, Njord of Vanheim. Though I have looked as far as the eye can see. There is no one my eyes wish to behold but you. â€
â€œGods of Asgard, I know that Friggaâ€™s heart is true and her intentions kind. I also know that this is a court of judgment. My husband and I are being tried. If you are not swayed that we can find peace and end our unruly behavior the consequences will be dire.
Spare Njord. His kindness reaches across the nine worlds and too many would lose too much if his gifts and protection were taken from them.â€
â€œNot so long ago I stood in this spot and called for war upon your people. I look around this hall and see many warriors who would gladly send me down to Hel. Do it! Let your sword songs fill my ears. Deliver me to Helaâ€™s realm. It is a less daunting fate to me than living eons knowing I cannot share the Sea Kingâ€™s love.â€
â€œDo you think that a kindness Lady, to leave me alone in the land of the living? Fighters of the Aesir, if you take my loveâ€™s life, know that there is one Vanir left with whom you will have no truce. I will show you how a Sea God wages war. I will throw my strength against you until you are forced to send me to Skaddiâ€™s side in the underworld. At least in death we will share our miseries as we could not share our joys in life.â€
Frigga stepped between the mountain and the sea, as their passions rose to a boil.
â€œBe calm. There may be no need for bloodshed. My husband, now you have heard these loversâ€™ torment. You have used the only method for divining the true nature of anotherâ€™s love. You have listened. Truly listened. I ask you husband, is this a problem that great Odinâ€™s wisdom cannot solve without blood and spear? Is there no solution for this dilemma but sword and sorrow?â€
Odin gazed at his spouse for a time then raised his head to address all assembled.
â€œGods of Asgard, friends of our realm, many times you have praised me for the wisdom of my choices. Know you now, that of those countless decisions, my choice of wife was the wisest of them all.â€
Then Asgardâ€™s king turned to the troubled couple.
â€œSkaddi of Thrymheim and Njord of the Vanir. I order you to return to your homes but I ask you to promise me that you will restrain yourselves from acts of grief or war for nine days. At the end of that time, I swear that I will have solved the problems that beset you.
Do I have your word?â€
â€œOdin Borrson, you have my word that there will be no storms from Thrymheimâ€™s peak for those nine days. You also have my word that I cannot hold my heart at peace one minute longer.â€
â€œLord Odin, I too give my word that for nine days the ocean shall not suffer any storm or tempest. Know also, lord of Asgard that I cannot live one second longer separated from my love nor can I live anywhere but the sea.â€
â€œ Go now. There is much to be done. Thor, come to my private chambers. Bring your friend, Litilli the Giant Heart. I have a mission for you two.â€
For eight days the peoples of the nine worlds held their breath. No snow crossed Jotunheimâ€™s border. The seas were as calm and welcoming as any sailor or fisherman could remember. Yet all the world felt itself teetering on the brink of some great catastrophe. There was a wary stillness as if land and water feared the slightest action might tip all into war and chaos.
The only interruption to this frightened peacefulness, was a distant booming. It sounded rhythmically night and day. No war drums from Noatun or Thrymheim were sighted. Many whispered that this was the beat of approaching doom. The sound counted down the dwindling hours before the lovers sought oblivion through battle.
During this time Thorâ€™s companion Litilli Hugraki, the resourceful dwarf, was never seen at a standstill. The Giant Heart was either rushing from one craftsman to the next picking out tools, reviewing draftsmanâ€™s sketches or driving Thorâ€™s chariot about carrying great baskets of food and stacks of lumber. No one knew his destination.
Thor himself had disappeared entirely. Great speculation sprung up about the Thundererâ€™s whereabouts. Was he on Midgard, saving humans from some new terror? Was he preparing for the war that was sure to come when Skaddiâ€™s truce ended? Where could Odin have sent him?
On the ninth day, Odin called Njord to Asgard.
â€œShall we make a visit to your wifeâ€™s home, Wave Rider?â€
â€œMy lord Odin, thank you for the gesture but we have already learned the outcome if I move to Thrymheim. If I could live there I would. It is not an option my king.â€
â€œNjord, the ninth day has not ended. Make the journey with me. Together we shall see what we shall see.â€
With many of Asgardâ€™s court accompanying them, Odin and Njord hailed Skaddi at Thrymheimâ€™s gate.
â€œSkaddi Thiazzidottir, Odin of Asgard brings your husband. I request an audience with you.â€
Skaddi came forth from her fortress clad in armor. Her great sword was strapped to her back. In her hand she held a spear as stout as Grungnir â€œthe spear of heavenâ€ itself. Her skin was covered with the strange darkly painted figures that the Jotuns wore whenever they went into battle. Many of the gathering stepped back in alarm. Njord clearly thought her the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Odin took in the scene. He suppressed a chuckle.
â€œImpressive is your martial suit, Princess. Look upon your visitor. See that I come to you unarmed. I bring your spouse and I hope an answer to your troubles.â€
â€œHe cannot live here Odin. Happy would I be if he could. Leave here and know that when next I see you, I will not stay my hand be you armed or not.â€
â€œDo not be so hasty lady. Did you not promise me a full nine days? We have hours to go before you are released from your vow of peace. Rarely have I visited Jotunheim. Never have I been given a tour of Thryheimâ€™s castle or itâ€™s mountain. Would you guide me to the bottom of your estate? Are you so mean a host that you would deny such an innocent request?â€
â€œOdin, if you seek to trap me, do not bother. I tell you once again, it is not death I fear. It is an eternity separated from my love that I cannot abide.â€
â€œI swear upon my lone remaining eye, Lady Skaddi. I mean you no harm. I only wish the company of you and your husband at the base of Thrymheimâ€™s mountain.â€
The couple exchanged a puzzled glance.
â€œ As you wish lord Odin. Our short trip can injure nothing. I can fight with you tomorrow as easily as today.â€
The crowd followed Odin and the couple down the steep trail toward the valley below the Jotun castle. Everyone wondered why Odin had insisted on this strange tour.
What could he hope to accomplish? Skaddi and Njord held hands as they walked. The giantess relaxed in the company of her love. She began to remark on the history of various points along the way. Before they knew it, the group reached the bottom.
â€œI have granted you your favor lord Odin. Thankful I am for these last few peaceful moments with my husband. Now we must part. On the morrow, look to....â€
â€œLady, I apologize for interrupting what I am sure would be a truly fearsome oath but I must ask. Have you ever seen that door there before?â€
â€œWhat are you talking about? There is no door....â€
Skaddi cocked her head. There was indeed, a great door where none had ever existed before.
â€œAnother Asgardian trick. I warned you....â€
â€œAh. Ah. Again I apologize for being so rude but I would call it more of a surprise than a trick. Why donâ€™t you go through the door and see where it leads?â€
Odinâ€™s twinkling eye and childish glee were disconcerting. It was rare to see the august king giddy with excitement. Skaddi nodded to Njord. The two stepped toward the thick oaken door braced with wide metal bands. The giantess found the handle fit perfectly in her large blue hand. The door in the mountain swung open easily.
Skaddi and Njord crossed the threshold. They stood on the balcony of a high staircase in a huge hollow cavern inside the mountain. An echoing roar assailed their ears. Looking over the side of the railing, they saw a massive underground waterway at the bottom of the steps.
â€œWhat is this? No river has ever run through Thrymheimâ€™s foundation. When? Where? How? Who?â€
Odin roared with laughter.
â€œHail Newlyweds! Welcome to your home!â€
A high pitched voice echoed from beside the river. There stood Litilli Hugraki, the Giant Heart. The dwarfâ€™s famous smile beamed proudly. Nearby Thor rose from the water. He had been washing himself. From the state of his jerkin drying on the rocks, it was a bath that was sorely needed.
â€œPrincess Skaddi, forgive my casual garb. We only just finished your homeâ€™s ah, um, hmm...â€
â€œHallway, my Lord.â€
â€œYes, hallway. We had only just finished the hallway between the wings of your estates before you arrived. Though Litilli and I have rarely enjoyed a task so thoroughly, I canâ€™t recall one that left us quite so dirty.â€
Njord saw that his bride was completely dumbfounded. In all of the turmoil their brief union had wrought, he had never seen Skaddi speechless.
â€œWhat? What is all this? Hallway? What are you talking about?â€
The Asgardians on the stairs were also voicing their puzzlement. The echoes of their voices went on and on. As the sound carried, the company was made aware of just how far back the cavern and the waterway extended. It spanned miles and miles until the distance prevented the eye from following it further.
The vastness of the excavation dawned on everyone simultaneously.
â€œLord Odin, does this hallway as the dwarf calls it lead all the way to the ocean?â€
Odin put his arm around the Sea Godâ€™s shoulder.
â€œLitilli is clever as well as brave, good Njord. This is indeed a hallway between your ladyâ€™s chambers and your own. We shall call this place â€œSjor Forstofa Fjallâ€, the Hall of Sea and Mountain.â€
â€œ No one else has access to this passage but the two of you. No hands but yours and Princess Skaddiâ€™s may open the doors to the mountain or at the other end, to the sea. There is no break between your beloved ocean and your brideâ€™s mountain home. There is one house now for Skaddi and Njord.â€
â€œHow was this done? It is no short distance between my castle in Thrymheim and the sea. The land is formed from solid rock. A tunnel that distance in eight days is unthinkable.â€
Odin smiled and gestured at the mighty Thundergod and his cheerful friend.
â€œ Litilli Hugraki was raised amongst the mines of Swartelheim. Thor wields the unstoppable hammer Mjolnir with the mightiest arm in all the nine worlds. Can you think of two better builders to craft this addition to your home?â€
â€œThey have not slept nor broke for rest since last we met. As often as they have saved Asgard from peril, this may have been their greatest effort for our peace.â€
â€œI particularly enjoyed not having anyone trying to kill me this time.â€
Everyone laughed at the dwarfâ€™s simple jest. Joy bubbled up amongst the company.
The coupleâ€™s arms encircled each other. Their kiss was deep and passionate.
â€œAre your hearts at peace my children?â€
â€œLord Odin, my heart may burst from happiness. How can my husband and I ever repay you?â€
â€œLive well. That is my only request. Live well.â€
That they did. Skaddi and Njord lived long and well. There were still occasional winter storms and sea tempests for every marriage has itâ€™s squalls and chilly evenings from time to time. Their twin children Freya and Frey were proof that there were also a great many warm nights between the Sea King and his giant wife.
Their love survived many challenges. As is so often the case, because Skaddi no longer craved the envy of others, her loving marriage made many jealous. Unfounded rumors about their family were spread in hopes of creating a scandal. One had only to look at Freyaâ€™s bravery as she grew to become the leader of the Valkyries to know who her mother was. One needed only to hear of the generosity that lead the elves of Alfheim to crown Frey their king to know who his father was. For those who knew this family, the truth of their happiness was obvious.
Skaddi and Njord were among the few who survived and helped rebuild when Ragnarok, the All Ending, swept most of the worlds away. The Sjor Forstofa Fjall made a peaceful home for the couple that endured throughout the ages.
This was the challenge that had lain so heavily on the All Fatherâ€™s shoulders these many days. The feasts and celebrations following the pairâ€™s reunion were over now. The crisis was past.
Odin sat in his great hall alone. He was exhausted. He sighed again.
The doors opened.
â€œIs the matter settled my Lord?â€
â€œThanks to you dear wife.â€
â€œThen come with me. Itâ€™s time for sleep. Friggaâ€™s word is law.â€
â€œIf you say so my darling.â€
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