Annual 2018- Blood Red Oath

I’ve been called many things through the eons. Liar. Deceiver. Silver Tongue. Trickster. King. Father. God of Mischief. But there’s one title that holds a special place in my heart…Blood Brother. Yet few know how I’ve come to gain the honor. Most would tell you I’ve acquired it through treachery. How else could a lowly Frost Giant become a Æsir? Twas eons ago back when the Zero Pillar still stood. When the Disir were first split in half and realms of Aaru and Valhalla were created, putting us from Seven Realms to Nine Realms. The Bifrost Bridge connecting each of them back to Asgard’s hallowed halls. It wasn’t uncommon for the Æsir to venture out across the Realms. Some for pleasure and others seeking knowledge as guided by the All-Seeing Heimdall so they were never lost. That is all but the All-Father Odin, who could easily slip in and out of Heimdall’s gaze as required. Doing so allowed him the privilege of walking amongst the Mortals without fear. One such day he chose to visit the Ream of Jötunheim.

“So this is Jötunheim…” Odin thought to himself as arrived in the forests of Jötunheim. It’s trees tall as mountains and mountains that pierced the heavens. Despite being the land of the Frost Giants, the land was not entirely covered in snow. Although the portions that were covered in snow were cold to such a degree that few could withstand it.

Odin was still a young man when he came to this Realm. His muscles large enough to tear a golem apart with ease, a flowing scarlet beard, and mane that even Thor would be jealous of. But most notably, he still had both his eyes. It’d be some time before he became the cycloptic god we’ve come to know and love. He walked heavily and brandished the golden spear, Gungnir, proudly. I still remember what I thought when I first gazed eyes upon him…

“Is that truly Odin?” Loki thought as he sat on a tree branch. His straight black hair lay flat on his shoulders. A black goatee outlining his mouth and green eyes focusing curiously on the All-Father. Though at this point, Loki was still just an ordinary Frost Giant and was clad in a simple red tunic that went down to his thighs.

I still had no clue why Odin came to visit me but I was curious to find out. Tis not every day you see the All-Father on his own. So I followed him. His journey was taking him through Mímir’s Forest. He walked with purpose and seemed to know his way through the land. Guidance from Heimdall no doubt. I was no fool and took the initiative.

“Hail Odin.” Loki said as he appears kneeling behind Odin.

“You know who I am?” Odin asked as he turned to look at Loki.

“I know many things All-Father. I know you seek Mímir’s Well.” Loki bluffed. He had a suspicion this was the case. Mímir’s Well was a location of great magic. Being the exit point for the roots of Yggdrasil. A tree located realms away in Yggdraheim. Legend said that if one were to drink from its waters they’d be gifted with great knowledge and wisdom.

“Is that so? Rise and tell me your name, good sir.” Despite his intimidating visage, Odin was still formal and courtesy.

Loki does as he’s told and stood. “I am Loki, Son of Laufey, and a capable spellcaster at your service.”

“Tell me Loki, what reason do you believe would draw the All-Father to Mímir’s Well?” Odin squinted slightly.

“The same all men seek coming here. Answers to some great mystery they can’t solve on their own. Few would willingly brave Jötunheim for less. Especially one who came through the Bifrost.” Loki pauses when he noticed Odin’s ever so subtle tightening of his grip on Gungnir. “I offer you my services as guide.”

“I need no guide.”

“Surely not, I imagine Heimdall told you the path you’d need to take. I suppose he also told you the secret of Mímir’s Well.” Loki said almost passive aggressively.

“Secret?” Odin’s curiosity was peaked. “What secret do you speak of?”

“Forgive me All-Father, but I believe I’ll hold onto that information. Lest I lose my head in a fit of rage. But if you were to assist me then perhaps I’d be more talkative.”

“Hmph, if this will make you talk then speak your terms.” Odin was annoyed but had no other choice.

“Fear not dear Odin, I don’t bear you ill will. I have a very simple request.” Loki smiled and forms a finger pyramid in front of his mouth. “But I’ll wait till after our journey is complete.”

Odin was fearless, he had little trust in me. But he also was fully capable of striking me down with a thought. So he played along and followed me through Mímir’s Forest. It’d be several days of walking given our small stature. He was…not much of a talker. It was difficult to fill the time but I’ve never been a quitter. Mímir’s Well was truly a sight to behold. Though it was called a well it was truly the size of a massive lake. The equally massive roots of Yggdrasil bursting forth to the point one could barely tell they’re not trees. Destroyed trees visible surrounding the lake as if from a previous battle.

“Welcome to Mímir’s Well.” Loki bowed and extended his left arm towards the massive well.

“Your words rang true Loki. For that I thank you.” Odin thanked Loki and continued on ahead.

“That’d not be wise All-Father.” Loki explains. “Knowledge always comes with a price.” his words were simple yet Odin stopped in his tracks. “A wise leader seeks counsel from those with walked a different path than their own. Knowledge without something to temper it is like a flame. Raw untapped potential that can aid and harm depending on its use.”

“If I were to seek counsel from another, what would they tell me?” Odin asks without turning back to face Loki.

“I imagine that consul would tell you that the well isn’t what you believe it to be. That all you’ll gain from it is misery and death.”

Without saying the words, Odin could sense what I was warning him of. Mímir’s Well was a gateway between the realms much like the Bifrost Bridge. But unlike the sterling Bifrost, there were…other guests along this secret path. The wisdom one might gain from the Well was not of any natural Realm but of the Rift. Like a termite slowly eating away at the roots of a mighty oak tree, a singular Angel remained trapped between three realms. Forever torn between Jötunheim, Yggdraheim, and the Rift. Even I know not its name or even its form, but I’d seen its effects firsthand. The Frost Giants that drunk of the Wells water did, in fact, gain knowledge…but the knowledge broke their minds. Sending some into a murderous frenzy. Heimdall likely believed it to be simply being unable to handle the magic of Mímir’s Well . His all-seeing eyes unable to see the Angel hidden in three realms at once.

“If you wish for an alternative, the Norns are knowledgeable if vague.” Loki suggests.

“I am well aware, it was the Norns who sent me here in the first place.” Odin lowered Gungnir and faces Loki. “You’ve upheld your end of the bargain. What is it you desire as payment?”

“Nothing at all.” Loki replies casually.

“Heh.” Odin smiled at Loki’s reply. “Hahaha.”  he laughed haughtily. “Quite the peculiar creature you are. What say you to becoming my consul? I imagine one with a different path than my own would be quite beneficial for all the Realms.”

“If you insist.”

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