Longing for Freya: A Bedtime Story

On the ninth day, as night was growing dark, he could bear his disappointment no more. Slipping out a door, then down the steps, he found his way along the streets and past the many halls, each like no other.

The hall he sought was still. The doors were closed. The bolts were set. He knew no power in all nine worlds could open them without their mistress's consent.

He pounded on the doors. There was no answer. He did again, and once again there was no answer. Nine times together he did this, and then something changed. The bolts drew back. The doors swung open. The hall was empty, all except one woman, standing.

She was clothed in smoke and vapor, yet through which her shape could still be seen, and sharply. Every curve, the lines of ankle and her neck, the curves of bust and waist and hips, so fine. And then her face: yes, he had seen her in a dream, and this was her indeed, but more than any dream could show.

This is She: the Vanadis, the root of wanting. Freya.

She approached him, saying:

"Will you go now?"

He could barely speak, but still he spoke.

"No, I want more."

She flicked her fingers in the air. A crystal goblet soon was there.

"The mead is my own, made from honey of the bees in my own garden. I offer it in honor of what you'll do at Ragnarok in the ranks of Odin."

He took it, drank it, knew no other mead would ever be as good, or even good enough.

"Will you go now?"

His voice worked not so poorly now.

"No, I want more."

She murmured runes upon the air. A laden table soon was there.

"This meal is my own, made from growings in the ground of my own garden. I offer it in honor of what you'll do at Ragnarok in the ranks of Odin."

He took it, ate it, knew no other food would ever be as good, or even good enough.

"Will you go now?"

His voice returned, and he used all of it.

"No, I want more. You owe me."

She stood still and silent. No workings did she wield with voice or hand. But then he saw a bed behind her, and she lay upon it. Smoke and vapor cleared away, one wisp, and then another. Soon he would see all of her, as clear as crystal dawn.

He could wait no longer, and he leaped upon her.

The landing was a flash that shot him through and blinded all his sense. When he could see again, he saw that she had turned to smoke and vapor, all of her, and he had never touched her. His embarrassment was plain upon the sheets beneath him. Freya's form was nowhere to be seen.

He stood again. The smoke and vapor pushed him out. The doors swung shut. The bolts were set. He knew no power in all nine worlds could open them without their mistress's consent.

To Valhalla he returned, and slipped inside, and tried to sleep.

Come morning, there were food and drink, which tasted bad to him. The headman of the hall called all to arms, and all did arm. But when the doors were opened, there upon the steps was Freya, with her retinue. So Odin held his hand to stop the march, and then went out to talk with her.

The lady's voice was smooth and low, and what the words were, none could hear but he to whom she spoke: the one-eyed one. He reached to touch her face; she brushed the hand aside and kept on talking. Then, when she was done, she turned and left, her ladies coming after.

Odin turned. He walked along the line of men to find the face he sought. He stopped and looked at one, and for that one, the world went dark again.

When he awoke, he found himself back on the battlefield, broken. He knew that, drop by drop, his life was leaving. Looking up, there was a shimmer in the sky, and then a tear, but this was like no dream. Through that opening they came: beautiful women on heavy horses, charging, screaming. They grew near him. One reached down. Yes, she reached down for him. But then another yelled over to her:

"No, not that one!"