The Goddess Freya rarely despised being beautiful. Now was one such time.
Her dark brown hair hung in messy waves about her face. She wore no jewellery, only a simple blue dress. Still, she did not look ordinary. Her features were too striking. She was too extraordinary.
It was a miracle that she had managed to reach here unnoticed. She stood at the half-hidden cave entrance watching the setting sun paint the sky a fiery orange, willing it to set faster. Her task could only be completed in the dark of the night and she did not have much time. The war was about to begin; she could feel it in her bones. She must reach the battleground in time, for the war was dedicated to her, she who was the Goddess of War. By the end of the war her powers would increase tenfold, if she got there in time.
A soft rustle caused Freya to turn around. The baby had woken up and was sitting on his blanket, staring at her with piercing sea-green eyes. Just like hers. As she stared at the product of her latest bout of promiscuity she realised that one day he would play an important role in deciding the fates of the gods. Till then, no one must know he exists.
The sky was a black canopy above the forest, devoid of flickering starlight. But Freya could see as clearly as in day. She could see Ila waiting for her at the edge of Odin’s Cliff. Freya went up to Ila, handed her the child and said,”He has been given the name Skygge. Teach him to depend on no one but himself. Teach him to not yearn for a parental figure. Teach him the way of the gods- To fight like one, to think like one. That is all.”
With that, Freya turned her back to her son and his guardian and walked away.
Asgard- The realm of the Gods; their city in the heavens.
In the great hall of Gladsheim all the gods and goddesses were assembled- a sight unseen before. Aegir and Ran had left their abode beneath the waves and travelled to the sky city. The white-haired Skadi had arrived from her snowy mountains. Even Day had ceased his seemingly never-ending journey around the Earth.
Odin, the All-Father, the Creator of All, had summoned them to his hall.
In a voice that boomed and thundered he proclaimed, “Ragnarok, the Apocalypse, our End is upon us. Loki, the trickster, the traitor is spreading his evil into the hearts and minds of the humans. He will not rest till they forget us; till we are rendered weak and powerless without any belief to sustain us. “ Anger shimmered in his voice.
Frigg, companion of Odin, Mother of All continued, her voice soft and musical,” The humans created us, their belief sustained us and now, if Loki has his way, they will soon forget us. We must break free of them, if we wish to survive. And as we break our bonds with the humans we must take with us as much of their belief as we can so that our powers may persist. This is the only way we can survive. This is the only way to prevent our death.”
Urd, the controller of fate, spoke,” We will need a large magniture of belief and faith to sustain us once we break free of the humans. And it will take an extraordinary being to rouse such passionate emotions in the humans so that there may be war, death, destruction -dedicated to us- in plenty. “
The Goddess Freya stepped up. 20 years may have passed since that fateful night but Freya was untouched by age. She was still exquisite. “There is a boy, schooled in the ways of the gods, who will be able to accomplish this. He is loyal to the gods and has the charisma and the personality that is needed to bring about chaos on a large scale.”
“He goes by the name of Skygge. “
Chaos reigned in Midgard; the realm of humanity, the place between heaven and hell.
The tribes turned against one another, age-old alliances and treaties were broken. War ravaged Midgard, whole armies were decimated. Cities were toppled, kingdoms were destroyed.
The humans slaughtered each other.
The only colour to be seen was a bloody red. The only sounds to be heard were the metallic clatter of weapons and the cries of those dying.
Humanity had lost compassion. The wild animal inside them had been let loose.
And they dedicated their actions to the gods.
The Gods plan had worked. They were now strong enough to break free of the humans.
Asgard was no longer connected to Midgard
In Midgard, Loki stood at the edge of Odin’s Cliff watching the humans tear each other apart. He watched the perpetuator of it all, Skygge- tall, strong, devious and cunning and godlike- as he led an army into battle. He would live to fight another, but the soldiers wouldn’t.
The Bennu bird perched on a tree behind Loki spoke in a fiery voice,”That is a remarkable boy.”
Loki nodded, not taking his eyes off the boy. “Yes, truly exceptional, the way one is when they have exceptional parents.”
Loki lowered his voice to a whisper and the air grew still. It was as though the wind wanted to hear his words more clearly. Even the trees seemed to have moved in closer.
“Skygge- Son of Freya and Odin.”