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~ By Courtesy of Others ~



The firelight flickered and danced across His old, weathered face. The cares of a million years 
or more were quite evident tonight. He took a swig from a black drinking horn...
Milk-white mead dribbled a little down his thick beard. He had had much to drink this night. 
I sat in respectful silence, waiting for Him to speak. 

Finally, he set his horn down, lit his pipe, and said, "I was so worried about my son, Balder. 
He had fallen into such a state of melancholy. The golden light of the Mid-Summer Lord had grown dim. 
He brooded upon his untimely fate, and he had dark nightmares...woke all of us in Gladsheim 
often with his screams. Frigga set about getting oaths of protection from all things in the Nine Realms...
I mounted Sleipnir and rode with great speed into the darkness of the Underworld.

There in the grey realms of Hel did I find the cairn of a great volva. I dismounted and withdrew 
a yew branch from my purse. Upon it I inscribed nine runes of necromancy, chanting them to the North. 
I drove the branch deep into the soil of her grave and incensed her to come out. There I hid my identity 
and ascertained Balder's fate...and his murderer...." 

I sit and wait for more...but he has stopped speaking. A tear runs down his scarred cheek...a strange sight 
for a war-lord to cry. Then he stands, and vanishes, his voice echoing in my head, 
"Until we meet again!"

2005 Justin J. Carlson

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