Monday, March 19, 2012

Mjolner - Thor´s Hammer

A few days ago, I posted the story of how Thor got his hammer, Mjolner. I wasn´t at all satisfied with it and promised to rewrite the whole thing as soon as it was done. 

The plan is to write a whole saga on Norse mythology and when its finished, it´ll be available for purchase at and all of their retailer channels, such as Apple, Barnes&Nobles and Amazon. I´ve decided to make the first volume cheap, as in $0.99!

However, this first story about how Thor got his hammer will be available right here on my blog for free as long as it takes before I can publish the entire first volume.

So, without further ado:

How Thor got his Hammer...

A rending scream tore through the morning dew and woke the gods in their homes. "My hair! My lovely, lovely hair!" Sif was beside herself with rage and despair, as she stood pulling the sad remnants of what had once been her pride.

Thor flew in from the goats with a wild look on his face. "What is going on, my lo…" he managed to say before he saw how Sif's beautiful hair was now only a haystack of tufts here and there in uneven lengths. Thor was raging inside and he knew that there could only be one person who would even think about doing such a thing.

"Loooookeeeeeee!" it roared through Asgard all the way to Sky Mountain where Heimdal held his ears in pain. Of course, you can infer nothing much from this, since Heimdal's ears were so sensitive that he could hear the grass growing, but watching the bridge Bifrost, which connected Asgard to Midgard, you would clearly see the power of Thor's displeasure. The bridge shook, springing ice crystals in all directions and at the end of the bridge the quake resonated deep into Midgards underground and she opened her mouth to swallow the trees closest to the bridge footing.

In the other end of the world Thor's roar reached as far as the remotest parts of Utgard where Yetten of all sizes and shapes either began  preparing for battle or hid in their caves in the belief that Ragnarok was imminent.

Loke too heard his name being called, but he wasn´t in much of a hurry to talk to Thor and Sif. He suspected they wanted to confront him with some kind of mischief they held him responsible for and he thought that it might be better to wait a little. Let things calm down a bit first. Rumours have it that Loke even took the time to visit his Yetten half brother Byleist, but no one knew for sure, if this was true.

Eventually Loke decided to visit Thor and Sif to face the music and the moment Thor saw him, he dropped everything he had in his hands and jumped to greet Loke by throwing himself at him in wild fury .
"I'll kill you, you coward!" He hissed out between his teeth while squeezing his hands in stranglehold of Loke.

At the sound of Loke's stifled moaning he eased his grib in a temperament permitting paste.
"There must be something I can do to make Sif happy again," Loki whispered hoarsely. There was.
"Replace her hair," Thor answered with fury in his eyes, "But not just any kind of hair, mind you! It must be golden hair that grows on her head and can be cut and put up, just like ordinary hair."
"Well, Thor," Loki protested, "Such hair does not exist. What you ask of me is quite impossible. "

Thor stood up tall and threatened with both of his hands. "Either you provide the hair," he snarled, "or I will break every bone in your body and then you can say goodbye to your beauty and your charm and all the women running after you."

Loki blinked at the thought of getting his body mutilated, but then he lid up in a wry smile. "Did I say it was impossible?" he twittered, "I meant of course that it will be tricky, but that there is nothing I would love more than to see this through - for Sif. Oh yes, and for you too, Thor, mighty warrior ... "

Thor tilted his head in a strained grimace, staring viciously at Loke, who took it as his cue.
"I'd better run," he said quickly and ran backward down the hill with his eyes fixed on Thor, who still didn´t seem too happy, "I'll be back with the golden hair before you even realize I've been gone!" Loki shouted with one arm in the air before he turned around and sprinted away.

Brokk and Sindre, the son´s of Ivalde, where well known for their craftmanship. The magical items they had made were among the finest in the world. They lived deep in the mountains with their brethen dwarfs and this was were Loke was going.

Loki decided that since he was there, he might as well get the sons of Ivalde to make a few more items besides the golden hair, so he and the brothers agreed to a price for three items. After they finished Loki admired the work of the dwarfs.

”This is Skidbladner,” Brokk told Loke and held out a piece of cloth. ”What is it?” Loke asked, knowing he was in for a treat. ”It´s a ship,” Brokk answered, ”this is what it looks like, when you´re not using it. Fits right in your pocket.”

”Nice!” Loke nodded his head. ”That´s not all,” the dwarf proudly explained, ”no matter from where the wind blows, Skidbladner´s sails will always be filled.”

Sindre had been standing quite impatienlty behind his brother and it was clear, he couldn´t wait to show the third item. He handed Loke a spear. ”Gungner” he said. Loke took the spear in his hands and noticed right away the perfect balance of the weapon. Then he tilted his head asking for further information. ”Penetrates anything,” Sindre said.

Loki knew that the dwarves were proud of their work. For them it was important that their latest creations were always the best they had ever made. So he got the idea that maybe he could use their pride to get something extra for his money. After all, Sif and Thor weren´t the only ones being a bit discontent with his recent actions. Perhaps bringing a few gifts to Asgard would go a long way.

"What wonderful items you have made," he praised them, "No dwarf will ever be able to make something better! I am sure of it"

Brokk was pretty offended. "We take pride in always improving ourselves,” he protested, ”of course we can make something better."
Loke didn´t even look up. Just sat there stroking the golden locks. "No, I think not," he said slyly, "I would even bet my head on it."

Being offended and angry, this was a bet the dwarfs couldn´t let go. Loki and Ivaldesønnerne therefore agreed that Brokk and Sindre should make three more items and then they would go with Loki to Asgard where the Ases would decide which items were best.
If the gods decided on one of the latter three items, Loke could have all six items for nothing, but if they deemed one of the first three items to be superior, Brokk and Sindre would get Loke's head. "But it must be the whole head in one piece," Brokk demanded. He suspected Loke would cheat him given the chance and thought that if he took all of Loke´s head, the Ases wouldn´t be able to heal the no good Loke.

They gave each other their word that this would be the bet and Brokk and Sindre began their work. The dwarfs decided on three very different items. First, they would craft Goldenbrush, a pig with a skin so shiny that it could light up the whole world. Next, they would forge Draupner, a ring of gold that would multiply 8-fold every 9 days. Finally they would craft Mjolner, a war hammer with such a power, that nothing could withstand it.

Listening to their ideas, Loke began to worry. He knew these items could very well be deemed superior to the first three items and he was rather fond of his head.
Sindre, who was the most skilled of the two, placed Brokk at the bellows. He instructed his brother to keep working the bellows the entire time, Sindre was working at the furnace. If Brokk paused for just a little while, the furnace wouldn´t be hot enough and the items would be ruined.

This gave Loke an idea. He sneaked out and used his magic to transform himself into a mosquito, then returned to the cave, where the two brothers were working. Exactly at the most critical time of the crafting, he landed on Brokk´s neck and stung him. Brokk being a strong dwarf swallowed the pain of the sting and kept working and soon Goldenbrush was ready.

Again the dwarfs started working and this time, Loke stung Brokk even harder than before. His face twisted in pain, but he kept blowing and soon Draupner was forged. Loke realized he had only one more chance to win the bet, so at exactly the right time he stung Brokk again. This time he stung him in the eye with such a thrust, that Brokk began to bleed down his cheek. Not being able to see what he was doing, Brokk had to stop working the bellows to wipe off the blood. Soon Mjolner was done, but because Brokk had to pause the blowing into the furnace, the handle of the hammer was too short.

Sindre was furious at his brother, but since the sun would soon rise, they didn´t have much time left. That´s why they came up with an idea. Instead of a traditional war hammer, Mjolner would be a throwing weapon. They cast a spell on Mjolner and when Loke returned to the cave in his original form, the three of them began their journey.

Arriving in Asgard, Loke presented his gifts first. He gave Gungner to Odin, The golden hair to Sif and Skidbladner to Frej. They were very impressed with all of these items and applauded Loke for his endeavour.

Then it was the Brokk and Sindre´s turn. They presented Draupner to Odin, Goldenbrush to Frej and Mjolner to Thor.
It didn´t take much time for the Ases to decide. Their praise of Mjolner´s ability to always hit it´s target and always return to it´s owner was in fact so apparent, that Loke understood, he had lost even before they named the winning item.

He backstepped as quietly as he could and when the dwarven brothers turned around to claim their winning, he had disappeared. However, he wasn´t free for long. Thor caught him within a few days and brought him back to Asgard.

Realizing there was no escape, Loke accepted his fate and kneeled down before Brokk.
”According to our agreement,” Brokk said and drew his sword, ”you have lost the bet and I, Brokk, son of Ivalde, will claim my prize.”

He raised his sword and was just about to chop off Loke´s head, when Loke suddenly realized something, he hadn´t thought of before. ”Wait!” he shouted. Brokk paused, but still held the sword high. ”Are you not man enough to live up to our bargain?” Sindre hissed. ”But of course, dwarf,” Loke answered gratiously smiling, ”I just wanted to remind you of the details of our agreement. I lost the bet and my head is yours, complete and in one pjece.” Loke looked up and continued: ”The neck, however, is mine, so you might want to be careful where to strike that sword of yours.”

Realizing the implications, Sindre waved his hand at his brother to lower his sword. It would be impossible to take all of Loke´s head without snatching a small pjece of his neck.

Still, Sindre was determined not to let Loke off the hook.

”Okay,” he said, ”though I cannot separate your head from your body, it is still my head and I will do with it as I please.” Then he grabbed needle and threat to sow Loke´s lips together.

”Perhaps for a while, we could all use a break from that snake tounge of yours,” he said and all the Ases laughed.

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