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Laying in Wait

Far away, out of sight and mind, is a wolf. Time has nearly forgotten him, and today he is known only as a monster. The earth has nearly swallowed him so that if you found him, he would look to you to be only a mountain. But he’s there.


Long ago, when gods went by their true names and rode on rainbows, the wolf was cared for by the gods. Taken pity on by Odin, the All-Father, for being merely a puppy, he was fed every day by Tyr when the god still had both of his hands. Each day, the wolf grew in size, in strength, and in hunger. One-Eyed Odin grew fearful and hoped his nightmares about the wolf’s teeth were false. In his fear, he tried to escape Fate, but only wove himself tighter into the Wyrd’s tapestry. 


“Chain him up,” said Odin. The gods tried and failed three times. In desperation, Odin commissioned the dwarves to fashion fetters that could bind the wolf. From the magic that lies in the roots of a mountain, the spittle of a bird, the footsteps of a cat, and the sinews of a bear, they created Gleipnir. But Fenrir, the wolf, was suspicious of this.

“Tie me up? With that silken ribbon?” Fenrir scoffed as Gleipnir shimmered in the moonlight. Finally, the wolf agreed, “but on one condition.” None of the gods wanted to agree to the wolf’s terms, except Tyr. Bravely, he stepped up to the wolf and placed his hand in the beast’s mouth. When the truth of Gleipnir and Odin’s trick were revealed, Fenrir bit down and Tyr’s hand disappeared down the wolf’s gullet. 


Now, all this time later, Fenrir still waits. Every day his mind churns with more plans, more desire, and more hatred for One-Eyed Odin. It’s been millennia since then, and Fenrir’s hunger grows ever still. For the taste of freedom, for the taste of revenge, and for the taste of the All-Father’s flesh. 

 Deep, deep, deep in the ocean, where the blue of the water is as black as night, lies the brother of the Great Wolf. Slumbering in the cold of the abyss is the Great Dragon. All day, all night, he sleeps. The coils of his body wrap around the world with the end of his tail clenched in between his jaws. He sleeps, reliving the centuries-old memories when he was flung into the depths by fearful gods. Without a second for him to be told of his crime, he was abandoned and cursed. Each day, the serpent wakes, choking on his own tail, from the nightmares that plague him. In the depths, Jormungandr dreams of his release; he dreams of the Great Battle; and his dreams all end with the flash of lightning and a short-handled warhammer.

Hidden further than her brothers is a girl. In her realm at the deepest root of The World Tree, she is trapped. There she is tasked with ruling over and shepherding the dead. She plots too, using the souls of the sorrowful and unworthy dead to build the vessel she will sail into the Final Battle. Haunted by insomniatic visions, the half-dead queen of the underworld dreams of the day she will stare into the faces of all the gods and watch their world burn. Hel, the queen of the damned, will have her revenge.

And hidden so far that even the gods might not find him again, nor that the roots of Yggdrasil can reach is a cave. Strung up by his son’s intestines, with a venomous snake above him and his wife beside him, is their father. Immortal but 

but not free from death, Loki and his wife are there until the end of days. When she passes, he will alone and nothing will stop the venom from burning him. Loki, earth-shaker, silver-tongued and sly, will finally released when his shivering and his painful seizing finally rips the world apart. Alongside his children, he will have his revenge…when Ragnarok dawns.

art by Kim Holm (@denungeherrholm)

Text Copyright © Maximillion Almgren-Bersie 2023

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