Thursday, May 18, 2017

Freyr’s Toothache – A Fantasy (Finale)

I intended to end the Freyr fantasy last week, but some of you asked what happened to Nordus and Olaf once they discovered how to get rid of Lord Freyr’s divine toothache. So I decided to provide a finale today. Sorry if it runs a bit long, but….

A Fantasy

          Even as Nordus—now free of the toothache—stared down at the sturdy Norseman, Olaf’s hand flew to his mouth and a cry of pain escaped his lips. It took but a moment for Nordus to realize his toothache had not disappeared. It had merely been transferred to another… as Freyr had predicted. It took a bit longer for something foreign to swell within his breast. Nordus almost failed to recognize it. Regret. Sorrow that this likeable young man had inherited his pain. Unaccustomed to such selflessness, Nordus hovered over Olaf helplessly.
          “Your...toothache,” the boy moaned. “I have your toothache.”
          “Oh, my love,” Nordus cried. “What can I do?”
          “Pull it! Pry the cursed tooth from my head.”
          “That will not do,” Nordus answered slowly. “This is not a usual toothache.”
          Holding his jaw, Olaf squinted up at him. “Nay! It’s a fierce one.”
          “It is more. It is a curse…a spell,” Nordus blurted. Then, anxious to be of comfort, he dropped to his knees beside the Norseman. “Mayhap we can take your mind from it. When I kissed you, I forgot about the ache. Kiss me, and perhaps it will do the same for you.”
          Seeming fearful, Olaf uncertainly drew closer and planted his lips on Nordus’s. A moment later, he drew back with a smile.
          “Ah,” Nordus said, “you are cured. Ow!” He slapped his cheek as a pain suddenly stabbed him. Freyr’s Toothache! It was back. The wily God of Fertility had outsmarted him, ensuring that Nordus would not abandon his master for a handsome piece of mortal flesh.

           Nordus endured horrible pain and a deepening love for his handsome mortal for an entire fortnight. The two smitten youths passed the divine toothache back and forth, each accepting the agony out of love for the other.
          In time, Nordus realized he had to reveal all to the man who willingly shared his agony. They could not continue as things were. When he could speak again, he slowly and patiently explained the entire situation to his lover. Then he sat and shivered in fear as Olaf withdrew to his forge without saying a word.
          As Olaf moved around in the other room, Nordus felt the darkness close about him…not the dark of night, but the dark of his soul as he traced the events that had brought him here. He had schemed to gain the favor of Freyr. He traded himself in exchange for a handsome face and a beautiful body. And what had physical perfection gained him? The jealousy of Thor, which gave him these ears. His outrageous conduct provoked Freyr into banishing him and giving him this infernal ache of the tooth.
          He sat up straight and sucked in air, which added to the pain to his mouth. But that had brought him here to Midgard…here to Thurmingen…here to Olaf.
          He started at the sound of Olaf’s voice. He hadn’t heard him enter the room.
          “Can you eat?” He set a platter of food on a small table beside the bed.
          “Nay. I have no hunger.”
          “Nor I. But we must eat. We need sustenance for what we must do.”
          Nordus looked at him sharply. His heart thudded…with hope. “And what is that?”
          “Freyr wants you back in Asgard. So that is where you must go. And I will go with you.”
          Nordus jerked around to look at Olaf. He saw a handsome young man with a look of determination on his features. “Nay. This is your home.”
          Olaf’s face fell. “You…you do not wish me to accompany you?”
          “Not at the cost of your home and your forge.”
          Olaf gave a sad smile. “Mean things when compared with your loss.”
          “I-I’m not certain you can accompany me.”
          “I don’t care what happens, Nordus. I will not be parted from you until Hel calls me to Niflheim.”
          “But that may be the result,” he protested. “And her hall, Elvidnir, lives up to its name in full measure. It means Misery, you know.”
          “Then I will wait at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge until you return for me.”
          “You are determined upon this course?”
          “I am as certain of this as I am that I love you.”
          “And I, you.”

          The following morning, as they stepped out onto the road and embarked on their journey—with Nordus bearing the burden of the toothache—he was uncertain of the proper pathway to the Shining Plain of Asgard.
          When he voiced this doubt, Olaf proclaimed in mortal innocence, “Simply return the way you came.”
          “Were it that easy. Things are visible from the firmament that are imperceptible here below But I will try harder to find the way. And you will pass into Asgard with me.”
          “How shall I sneak past Heimdall? They say he never sleeps. He can see in the dark and hear sheep’s wool growing.”
          Nordus drew himself to full height. “We will not sneak over the Rainbow Bridge. We will walk onto The Shining Plain as if we belong.”
          “You may belong there, but I am a mere mortal,” Olaf sighed.
          “Freyr will not deny me,” Nordus declared proudly, wondering if perhaps the ache in his head were not rendering him silly.

          Nordus woke at dawn on the second day of their journey, disturbed by the sound of a fleet ship parting the waves. That could not be; the sea lay far to the east. And then he understood. Freyr had sent for him.
          Filled with excitement, he shook his companion awake. Olaf, groggy from fitful rest because of the toothache he nursed that night, was slow to rouse. By the time he rubbed the sleep from his eyes, a majestic ship appeared on the horizon and bore down upon them rapidly, the crewmen’s long oars biting into the wind.
          “Magic!” the young mortal cried.
          “Aye. A god’s magic, Olaf. That is Freyr’s ship, Skidbladnir, made for him by my own people to sail the seas, the land, the very air above the gard.”
          “It is huge.” Olaf gasped.
          “And yet he stores it in his knapsack when it is not in use.”
          “Magic!” the Norseman repeated in awe.
          Nordus wondered who Freyr sent for him? Loki, the trickster god? One of the Valkyries, the women who determined which warriors fell in battle? He hoped not.
          The two young men stood straddle-legged, arms on hips, as the great craft drifted to a halt beside   them, hovering in the air above the ground, bobbing gently as if riding the ocean’s waves. One pale face appeared at the rail. A second. And then a third.
          Nordus’s heart thudded. Freyr’s messengers were the Norms, the three fates—supernatural women who determined the direction of a man’s life. He muttered as much to Olaf, who swallowed his terror and remained steadfastly at Nordus’s side, a measure of his love.
          “Hail, Nordus of Alfheim,” a raspy voice called. It was Urd, Fate.
          “Has there been a mistake?” Skuld, Necessity, inquired. “He has not the appearance of a Light Elf. In fact, he looks quite delicious. Including those magnificent ears.”
          “Stop playing the fool!” snapped Verdandi, Being. “You well know Freyr transformed him. That’s what got the beauty into trouble in the first place.”
          Nordus ignored the byplay. They were always fussing among themselves. He concentrated on the eldest sister, Urd. “Has my Lord Freyr sent for me?”
          “In a manner. He dispatched us to see if you have recovered your senses. Are you rid of Freyr’s ache?”
          “For the moment,” Nordus answered, glancing at the handsome youth beside him.
          “Then you are ready to return to the bosom of your master. Good.”
          “Only if Olaf accompanies me.”
          “Impossible,” hissed Skuld. “You know better than that. This handsome handful is mortal. He belongs here in Midgard.”
          “It is not for you to say,” Nordus cried indignantly. “I am ready to return to my lord, but he comes with me. I demand it.”
          “You demand it?” Verdandi laughed. “You, a Light Elf, make demands of your divine master?”
          “Nay, Nordus,” Uld shook her head. “Freyr permits but two choices. Come to his bed or return to Alfheim. But he gives you the right to decide your own fate. Unless,” she added archly, “you cannot make up your head. Then it becomes our decision.”
          “But if I return to Alfheim, I will once again be an elf,” he protested.
          “Just so,” Skuld smirked. “And it would be criminal to cast off such beauty as you possess. Criminal.”
          Olaf nervously cleared his throat and overcame his fear. “Wherever he goes, I, Olaf of Thurmingen, go as well. This I swear.”
          “Take care of what you swear, you beautiful man.” Verdandi gazed down upon the two of them. “Are you certain you wish to go to the Land of the Elves?”
          “I will accompany my love anywhere he goes in whatever form required,” Olaf announced stubbornly.
          “You may go, but only as an elf, fair Olaf. We would not want you stomping the little dears with those big feet, now would we?” The Norm called Being laughed.
          “Then I will be an elf,” Olaf declared, struggling to sound as if he meant his words. “Provided,” he added, “you rid me of this accursed toothache.”
          “So be it. Climb aboard so we may get underway,” Urd ordered.” Tis a long trek, even for this fine vessel.”
          Nordus laid a hand on Olaf’s arm. “Think on it. Are you certain you wish to be transformed? You are a handsome man without the artifice of the gods… as was required for me.”
          “I cannot believe you were much different in your other form. And if you are willing to give up your present stature for me, can I do less for you?”
          “Then it will be so,” Nordus said with a tremble in his voice. No one had ever sacrificed so much for him. Nor he for another, come to think on it.
          As they climbed aboard Skidbladnir, each of the Norms struck Olaf smartly on the right cheek. Startled, the young human rubbed his jaw.
          “It’s gone!” he declared. “Freyr’s Toothache is gone. Oh, Nordus, now I can love you without distraction.”
          “You can love me any way you wish,” Skuld simpered before her sisters drew her away.
          In the privacy of their cabin, the two weary young men dropped into a deep sleep. It was morn before they woke. Nordus opened his eyes to find Olaf sitting beside him, staring down the long expanse of a gigantic mattress. The bed, Nordus knew, had not grown; they had shrunk.
          He turned to his lover. Elf he might now be, but Olaf had lost none of his fair beauty. The limbs were straight and layered with firm muscle. The nose was snubbed, the mouth and ears, well formed. And his eyes yet held the wondrous blue of the sky.
          Nordus glanced at his own body, still straight and slender. He understood from his companion’s adoring gaze his features remained comely. Freyr had been generous. Tiny they were, reaching but to the knee of the men they once had been, but the great God of Weather and Fertility had allowed them to retain their beauty.
          The two handsome, shapely elves fell upon one another to prove all of their parts were in good working order. Absent the divine toothache, they functioned better than ever.

And there you have it… the price of true love: Sacrifice. Which they happily made and reaped its rewards. Hope you’ll let me know what you think of the long story.

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