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The Judgment of Loki
The end of the gods is near. I can see it each time the venom drips onto my face. While I scream in pain, I have visions of the great battle of the worlds, of my revenge and hopes. I will bring about this battle. The gods have turned on me, Odin’s blood-brother; a person from their number no less. Odin, ruler of Asgard and god of war and wisdom, swore that none of the Aesir (gods residing in Asgard) would harm me when I joined them in Asgard, the world of the gods. He promised.
They put their complete trust in me; I, Loki, god of mischief, watcher of the jotun race, the bringer of the end of the world. How could the old fool have not foreseen this? He certainly foresaw the feast that Aegir hosted in Jotunheim; he had sent Thor, god of thunder, and Tyr, god of dueling and combat, to help get the cauldron. My punishment had been brought on by that fateful banquet. That was when the judgment of the nine worlds had started…
Laughter and compliments filled the high arches of the golden hall of Aegir. This year, the hall was truly magnificent. The room was lit by a blazing bonfire in the hearth, causing shafts of light to be reflected off of the gold cauldron Thor and Tyr had won. When the gods and goddesses saw the mead brewing in the large, shining vessel, they gave great exclamations over Thor’s mighty achievement. As the food and drinking horns were passed around, more praise was given to Aegir about the hall and feast.
All the gods were drinking and talking, saying nice things about each other, yet I was kept out. My witty and snide comments were ignored by the company. Nobody was talking to me.
The servants were going around piling food on everyone’s plates. I eyed them warily as they were thanked continuously for their service.
There was a fire burning in the pit of my stomach, and I grew angrier by the second. As one of the servants came by me, I leapt out of my seat in a flash. I fell upon the servant. The obtuse jotun never even saw me coming. I snapped his neck and pushed his lifeless body away from me, feeling rather proud of what I had done.
Most of the Aesir immediately stood up. Some made a movement towards me, but remembered that Odin had made this occasion sacred with his presence; one could not harm another in such a place. They also remembered that I was his blood-brother, and was therefore untouchable. Had that slow-witted Thor been here, he would have attacked me on the spot. I grinned and gave a hysterical laugh, happy in the knowledge that I had let out some of the fire inside me in killing the miserable wretch. Unfortunately, I did not remember that they could make me leave, which was precisely what they did.
I trembled from head to foot, absolutely livid. How dare they make me leave! I, Loki, booted out of a grand feast for killing a mere servant! I listened outside the door for a while, trying to snatch a few words of the conversation. Not one nice word was mentioned about me. I silently fumed.
Putting on a spiteful smile, I kicked open the doors and walked right up to Odin, my vindictive expression never leaving my face.
“Brother Odin,” I sneered, looking down at him. “Have you forgotten the vows we made at the beginning of time?”
Odin hesitated and looked down at the table; nobody made a sound. “I have not forgotten them.” he said quietly.
“Why don’t you recite those promises now? In fact,” I turned towards the other gods, pacing between tables, raising my arms. “Remind all of us of the oaths you and I swore the day we became blood brothers.” I turned back towards him, a gleam in my eye.
He lifted his head, his one eye boring into me. “We swore to defend each other if one came to harm, to stand by one another through any disagreement or quarrel, and to never accept a favor unless the other was offered the same.”
“Then why did you accept a horn of beer from Tyr? I do not recall being offered any drink.”
Odin mumbled something to Tyr. Reluctantly, Tyr offered me the drink. I grabbed it from his hands and drank it all back, the liquid doing nothing to quench the fire within me or my thirst.
However, it did fortify my boldness. I started pacing the room, throwing mild insults at both the gods and goddesses, avoiding Thor’s name as the mere statement of it brought him running.
“Sif, do you not remember your ugliness when all your beautiful hair was cut off by me? And who else was astute enough to bring you back strands of gold to wear and bring gifts to appease the other god? It was certainly not your oaf of a husband.”
“Skade, was it not you who thought that handsome Baldur, god of joy and light would have legs shaped like yours? Was it not a foolish choice as you ended up pairing with the opposite side of yourself when you chose Njord, god of the seas? And who was the clever person who tied himself to a billy goat and performed a somersault right into your lap and made you giggle, giving you the right to make this foolish choice? Who was it who even fooled your father into following Idunn, guardian of the apples of youth, and myself back to Asgard and flying into the flames that protected it?”
I slowly went down the line, the goddesses first, and then moving on to the gods. Odin strained to silence me. I faced him angrily.
“Brother,” I started, eyes flaming, “you consider yourself the wisest and greatest among us, and you try in vain to make the rest of the Aesir believe this. Yet I have seen you giving victory to the people who flatter you and not to those who deserve to be victorious.”
“Will you not be silent Loki?” Odin’s expression turned into a scowl. “If it comes to what you are saying, I have a comment to add about your behavior. Who else has been doing things a female does other than you? Who but you gave birth to my horse, Sleipnir? Who was the mother of him? Tell me that, son of the jotuns.”
Whispers filled the room as I held back my gasp. Astonishment filled me. There was no worse insult than saying that a man had behaved as a woman. I turned a little pale, but quickly came up with a retort. “Well I know that you used to practice black magic and went about with witches!” I shouted, hearing my echo bounce off the golden walls. Frigg, goddess of marriage and Odin’s wife, stood up, hurt and irate.
“Be quiet! Loki, these things are events of the past and should not be brought up.” Infuriated, I turned to her.
“Allow me to tell you about the past! Do you remember Baldur and Hod? I was the old woman you spoke to about the mistletoe being your precious Baldur’s weakness. I was the one who gave Hod the weapon and guided the arrow into Baldur’s heart. I was Thokk, the elderly jotun who refused to shed a tear for your dear son Baldur. I sent your beloved twins down to my daughter Hel!” Everyone’s faces turned into a mixture of fury and shock. I began taunting them again, forgetting about Thor and his hammer.
A clap of thunder sounded and he appeared at the door. With him was Mjollnir, his hammer. I swallowed. I had been with Thor on many travels, but I feared his hammer; it was the only thing I could not handle. I simply could not stand it. I decided to make my exit, but I threw a quick insult at him.
“You think yourself so mighty do you not? You did not look so mighty to me when you slept in a jotun’s mitt; the very race of my people whom you hate and goad so much.”
He had had his hammer raised, but he hesitated, still letting the full offense sink in. I ducked under his arm and called back to Aegir:
“You shall never hold a feast for us, the Aesir, again. The Twilight of the Gods is near at hand and fire shall destroy everything you hold power over.” With that, I made my escape, laughing madly as I ran out of the hall and into the world of Jotunheim.
I hid in a cottage beside a waterfall. There, I kept all the doors open so I could see them coming. I knew the moment they went back to Asgard, Odin would look for me via the Lidskjalf, the chair from which one could see the whole of the nine worlds.
I made a fire and began to weave a net, making complex knots and loops in the strings. I heard a great thundering of feet, and I threw the net into the fire and went into the waterfall, turning myself into a salmon as I hit the water.
I was proud of myself for my quick thinking, and was confident that they would not catch me. I would not let myself be snagged on a hook and no one but me had ever made a net before.
In my haste, however, the net had not completely burned. The gods came, and saw the remains of the net and made one for themselves. I had no doubt that it was meant for me. They threw the net into the river, but I swam near the bottom and hid among the rocks. The net passed safely over me.
The Aesir grew wise to this fact, and made it stretch to scrape the bottom and float on the top of the water. They had Thor stand behind it and they followed me all the way to the sea in this fashion.
As I neared the shallows of the ocean, I noticed the predators lying in wait for the fish swimming down the river. I tried to swim in the opposite direction but Thor and the net were advancing towards me.
In anguish and desperation, I hurled myself over the net. As I sailed through the air, I thought I would make it. But when Thor’s hands wrapped around my tail, I knew I was done for.
The gods squeezed me back into my jotun form, having me shriek in agony as I was shaped and stretched. Once I was back into my regular appearance, they took me to a dark cavern and strapped me across three sharp ledges. Heimdall took great pleasure in informing me of the origins of the ropes, of how my sons Vali and Nari had been fooled into killing themselves, and how the Aesir had taken Nari’s entrails and made the ropes, using their magic to turn it into iron. The final torture was when Skade hung a venomous serpent above my face, its bright tongue dripping venom. They then left, none of them looking back.
And so I was left alone with Sigunn, my wife in Asgard, who was still grieving over the loss of our sons. I detested her, and although she knew it she refused to leave me and even helped me cope with the pain by holding a cup to catch the venom as it dropped. But alas for me when she had to turn away to empty the container. The venom scorched my face and left me screaming and writhing in pain, tearing hard at the bonds that held me down.
Sig tried to keep up a stream of conversation as she knew I could not stand being in silence, let alone being tied up, and she one day remarked that my face still looked as handsome as ever. Despite the compliment, I snapped and told her that once the end came, I would finally be rid of her. She began to cry, as she knew as well as I did that the end was nigh. Odin had allowed the Aesir to harm me, and he had broken his promise. I had been a bit mischievous, I admit, but what was Asgard built on other than honor and loyalty?
The Day of Reckoning is drawing nearer and nearer, and I shall fight alongside my children against those who betrayed me. I shall leave Odin up to Fenris, my wolf son, whose jaws shall swallow him and Sleipnir whole, whose chin scrapes the ground and whose nostrils brush the sky. Jormungand, or the Midgard Serpent as he is more popularly known to the Aesir, has met with Thor before, but I know that this time it shall succeed in killing that rash son of Odin.
I intend to deal with Heimdall, the watcher of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. I shall remark to him of Freya’s necklace, Brisingamen, and my sons, the entities we had come to blows over.
And who knows? If I survive Ragnarok, maybe I could lead the nine worlds to greatness, and heal Yggdrasil, the world tree.
That is, if the world is ready for my revenge.