Have you ever really loved someone even when you knew they were not good for you to be around? That’s exactly how my relationship with Odin has gone. We are blood-brothers and I worshiped the ground he walked on. He could do no wrong. This story is the beginning of my disillusionment.
“I want a place for gods to live. A place to call home, to gather and to separate ourselves from mere mortals.” Odin announced. “Who shall we honor with the right to build the fortifications around our Valhalla?”
When none stepped forward, Odin turned to me, “Loki! Surely you know someone with enough talent to create for the gods. Who shall offer their services?” “Njolderson is a wonderous builder who would easily do justice to the gods.” I replied. “So shall it be,” Odin said. “Call him here.”
I listened to the negotiations. Njolderson would settle for nothing less than Freyja to wife as payment for his talents. I could feel my heart begin to ache as the realization dawned that the gods had no intention of allowing Njolderson to marry Freyja, and yet they wanted to work to be done by Njolderson and no other after seeing his work. Finally they agreed. If Njolderson completed the work within three seasons without the help of any man, he would have Freyja to wife. Seeing how in love with Freyja Njolderson was, I suggested that he be allowed to have help from Svaoilfari, his magnificent stallion, and Odin agreed.
Njolderson worked from dawn to dusk creating an amazing fortification. As the seasons passed, I heard ugly talk in Valhalla. Many did not feel that Freyja should be given in marriage to any not a god. I began to fear for Njoldrson. Odin did not speak against him, but he also did not silence the dissenters. My fear grew with each passing day.
Finally, three days before the end of the third season, when Njolderson was nearly complete with the fortifications, the gods convened to determine who to blame. That was the day my heart began to break. After much wrangling, the gods all turned to me. They agreed that I should be the one to make the builder forfeit and if I could not, or would not, they would beat me. Through all of this Odin sat silent upon his throne watching. He spoke not one word in my defense…this man who had chosen to take me as a blood brother. In fear I agreed, much to my shame, to find a way to make Njolderson fail to achieve his fortifications in time.
That night, as Njolderson drove Svaoilfari to fetch stone, I transformed myself into the form of a mare and ran out of the woods causing Svaoilfari to tear his tack and chase me. I allow Svaoilfari to catch me so that I can at least give Njoldreson a foal to make up for the loss of Freyja and in recompense for his hard work. Sure enough, Njolderson was not able to complete his work because of my delay. He was incredibly close, but not complete.
Njolderson, upon realizing that he had not won his bride, went into a rage, threatening to destroy his work. The gods call for Thor pointing out that Njoldrson is jotuun. Thor brings Mjollnir around and I watch as Njolderson’s skull is smashed to splinters. I have to fight back nausea. Looking to meet my blood-brother’s eye for commiseration, instead I see him watching with a slight smile on his face.
I am at a loss. Who is this man? I have bound my life to his with sacred blood. Now it appears that I will have to defend the world from him and his ‘gods.’ And yet, I still love the man he was. Maybe if I keep trying I can get through to him. Maybe he can again become the man I knew.
When I gave birth to my child Sleipnir, the gray, eight-legged, best horse among gods or men, I gifted him to my brother Odin. “Odin, care for my child. Keep him close. He will take care of you always.” What I didn’t say was that he would also keep an eye on my dearest friend, my brother, and warn me when I may need to intervene to save innocent lives…