Day 8, Niflheim "I have shed tears for the chained beast."

Niflheim3It was cold in Niflheim, and pretty cold in my world as well, and washing with cold water from the Indian pump was rather awful. I saw frost giants lumbering about in the distance, but they never approached me. The part of Niflheim that I wanted, anyway, was Lake Amsvartnir, which was near the part of it that's all water, not the part that's all frozen ice and snow. It's constantly foggy there, with cold mists that roll over you. At the lake's edge, I looked out across and saw the barren, mountainous island in the distance.

I poured a jug of water across the outer ring of the labyrinth, did the Laguz spell, and prayed that the lake would line up with the lake, and it did, just long enough for me to turn into a raven and fly across, while jumping across physically. I landed on the island's shore and wandered around a while, not knowing how to find what I was looking for. Then I heard a sharp voice behind me, and turned to see a small, skinny duergar glaring at me. He challenged me, wanted to know for what purpose I was disturbing his island. "I'm here to see Fenris," I said.

He rolled his eyes. "Ah, the wolf," he said. "Don't get any stupid ideas about freeing him. You won't be able to."

"I'm aware of that," I said. "But I'm supposed to see him, for some reason."

He pointed to the north. "Go to the other side of the island," he said, "and follow the rivers of blood." He started to walk away.

"Wait!" I called. "Are you Lyngvi?"

He turned back. "Of course. Who else would I be?"

"I have a message from Dvalin. He says you ought to come home for a visit. That it would do you good." The little duergar snorted and walked away, grumbling to himself. I wondered what had made him leave Nidavellir to live on a deserted island in Niflheim.

The lake's water on the northern side of the island was pinked by the two streams of blood that trickled over the rocks and into the surf. I followed the streams down into a cave, which took me in pathwalking terms to the western boundary of my property, where there are huge fallen stones. In the cave, in the dim light, I saw him, huge and chained. A wolf bigger than a horse, a sword thrust through his muzzle and pinning him to the ground. Bound with glittery chain no thicker than a necklace. His yellow eyes slitted in the dark, and I heard his voice in my mind.

I wanted you to see me this way, he said to me. I could come to you unbound, with the small part of me that is allowed to walk loose, so long as I wreak no destruction. But I wanted you to see this, because I knew you would understand.

I knelt beside him and wept. Yes, I understand, you who are one of the greatest creations of the Iron Wood. I understand both the hunger and the necessity. I reached out and just barely touched his pelt, near his shoulder. I knew that if he were free he'd eat me, no matter that I would willingly be his friend, and that those chains were what allowed me that small touch. It was his nature, and part of mine. I remembered that Josh had said something very similar about me once.

I had not brought any offering for him, so I let my tears drip onto him. It was all I could think of to do. We spoke for a short while, and then I washed my hands in the streams of blood and left. The air was very bright and cold outside, and the mists had cleared for the moment. Lake Amsvartnir sparkled in the sunlight, and my own world seemed very far away.

"....The Hag of the Iron Wood had three children, and the daughter was Death, the son was Destruction, and the third encircled the world....."

-Jotunheim children's rhyme