Friday, May 12, 2017

Brothers in Jotunheim

Brothers in Jotunheim
Bobby Derie

Snow fell in Jotunheim. Fat wet flakes came from the west, blowing in off the sea. Somewhere in the darkness grey waves broke on jagged rocks, and sailors prayed as serpents uncoiled from the depths.

"Loki! Come, sit by the fire." One-Eye called.

"The cold does not bother me, brother." Loki said. "My people were born of it."

"We of the Æsir do not mind the cold either," he handed a brimming horn to the little giant, "yet we do not like ice in our mead." That brought a smile to Loki's face.

"It cuts the sweetness." The little giant said, and sipped at the horn.

Standing next to him, One-Eye cast his gaze at the shapes in the darkness - the blinded moon, hidden by cloud and craggy peak, the dark things that fly by night. Hie eye was as a piece of the darkness.

"You see much," Loki noted.

"But not all. What ails you, brother? If there is a burden on your heart, let us share it."

"It is no light weight." The little giant sighed. "I am cast out among my own kind, a bastard child of a bastard race. Welcome neither among gods or jotunn. Can you know what that means, One-Eye?"

"I, too, have been counted an outsider among my people. The hanged man, learned in woman's magic. You are not alone, brother."

"For now," the little giant stared out into the night. "Yet I know my heart, and the joy I get in the suffering of things, and my own cleverness, grows. One day I know my mischief will turn too dark for the Æsir and Vanir. One day I will sleep with the wrong wife, or insult a god past amends; I may slay one of your own sons in a duel over some petty affair. Then what shall be my lot? We have been heroes of many stories together, brother - but what then when I am a villain? Shall I be any less the villain than the hero? And worse, shall I enjoy it more."

One-Eye drank deep of his mead, and he turned that terrible eye on Loki. The little giant felt the weight of his gaze, and sipped from his own horn.

"Many brothers have turned against each other. It is the nature of family to gather together in defense of each other, and yet familiarity and strong wills lead to struggle. Well do I know this, for I have wrestled with my own kin, aye an drawn steel against them in anger. Yet I call you my brother, and when I made that bond with you I did it not as a child does, who knows only his mother's belly grows and then he has a new playmate. I made you my brother knowing how much we are different and alike, that you may heal my heart or break it, that you would ever have my back as I would have yours - and if one day we come to enmity and blows, I will yet always treasure that kinship between us, and hold it as the jewel of my treasured memories. For there is no-one else in this world I would have as my brother. Now come!" He offered his hand. "The mead grows cold - and as I said, we Æsir care not for ice in our mead."


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