The Children

It was the wind-age, the wolf-age. The end of the days of Gods and men. Fenris the Wolf, unleashed, engulfed the sun and another, his child, seized the moon. It was the time of Fimbulvetr, the terrible winter; and, without hope, the face of Hel reflected in every pool, beckoning with the dish called Hunger and the knife called Famine.

Out of the depths came the dragon Jǫrmungandr, the Miðgarðsormr, Serpent of the Middle Earth, who was cast into the sea and there grew monstrous; encircling, grasping his own tail, containing all within himself. His was the fate of humanity: releasing his grip, that which was called the world would fall, disperse, and so, end. And at the rising of his siblings, he spewed forth the venom of ages, rending the sky and the earth.

I stood before the world’s sad ruin.

“Why do you tarry?” asked the Wolf, who would defy the tyranny of the heaven. “Can you not see how the Gods, even now, assemble a brilliant host that will end us, just as we shall end them?”

“Why do you tarry?” asked Hel, who, hobbled by the Gods, would comfort the suffering of life with the sweet oblivion of death. “Can you not see Naglfar there upon the waves of my brother’s creation? It is the ship that is built from dead men’s nails. So desperately do Gods and men fear it and the one it bears!”

“Why do you tarry?” asked the dragon in the shuddering of the earth. “Can you not see that none shall remember us? That even now the shadow of what we were passes away with the tide?”

I made no answer and the children of Angrboða turned at last to face their bitter enemies upon the Plain of Vígríð. There I saw the sundering of the world and the last breath of hope.

For even as the children of Angrboða fell to their enemies, their enemies fell in turn to them. And the children of the fallen Gods would flee to the field of Iðavöllr, there to await the renewal of Power and the repopulation of the world from its two remaining survivors. The waters would recede. The fields would return to green. The Tree of Life would flower, even fruit. The last hope of Ragnarökr.

But they were all of them mistaken; for out of the deserts of the East rose a new Power. One who would countenance neither rival nor friend, who would cover the earth in a final darkness and desire only submission to His Authority, and against whom only one would ever dare bring a light in all the long ages of the world.

But that is a story for another time.

Now I looked upon the slain children of Angrboða, the dead upon the fields, and the mirror that was broken.