I hope ou enjoyed Part 2 of the story. Last week, Northus, banished from Asgard, the realm of the gods, to mortal Midgard with a raging, divinely inspired toothache, made two failed attempts to pass his fearsome toothache to humans. Aware that he has only three such opportunities, what will he do now?
It was near unto dark before Nordus cautiously approached what appeared to be a small village. Realizing that hunger and thirst vied with his near-constant ache for attention, he determined to make contact with someone. A broad-shouldered man of pleasing form and features at the edge of a small thatched hut claimed his attention. Brawny arms, a waist as narrow as his own, and strong thighs sent a ripple of excitement down his back. The youth noticed his glance and flushed with an enchanting shyness. Nordus met the blue eyes with astonishment. This man was as fair as he, yet was a common mortal. And Freyr claimed to have given him unmatched beauty.
Pulling his attention away from the distraction of this fair, beardless Norseman, Nordus winced from the ache in his molar as he spoke up boldly. “I have traveled far and am thirsty. May a stranger beg a drink of cool water?”
The youth’s intelligent eyes swept him. “It will be my pleasure to provide it. Are you in discomfort?”
Nordus’s hand flew to his inflamed jaw. By Thor’s wrinkled stones, he had intended to hide his condition. “Tis but a twinge of the tooth. My name is Nordus, and I travel from a land far removed, a stranger in your midst.”
“Welcome then, stranger. I answer to Olaf. Olaf of Thurmingen.”
“Nordus of Alfheim,” he responded carelessly and extended his hand. ‘Ods balls! Was it Olaf’s beauty or the beastly toothache that rendered him a dolt? He must steal a kiss from this big youth and return to where he belonged before his brain was completely addled. Since touching had not rid him of his fearsome ache, surely a kiss was required. But such a man as this might object to the familiarity.
If the yellow-haired Norseman made the connection to the Land of the Light Elves, it did not show in his clear eyes. He merely offered refreshment, explaining as he had no goodwife, Nordus would have to suffer a meal of his own preparation.
“Gladly.” With his cap firmly in place atop his head, Nordus gave a broad smile only slightly twisted by pain. After being served a platter of steamng food, he ate, careful to chew on the left side of his mouth. Nonetheless, the accursed tooth flared fearfully, reminding him of his task. He glanced at his host; not an onerous chore.
He learned a little of the handsome Olaf as they sat before the small hut. The young man’s father, the village smith, had recently passed into the arms of Hel, daughter of Loki, Goddess of the Underworld. Olaf, an apprentice, succeeded his father as blacksmith. No wonder his lithe frame bore an overlay of hard muscle.
As darkness totally claimed the land, Olaf thoughtfully offered shelter for the night. Nordus seized on the invitation. Failing all else, he could place his lips to the Norseman’s as he slept, although he was wary of this comely mortal’s reaction to his ears. Well, he would keep them hidden. Maybe Olaf wouldn’t think him strange when he went abed with his cap firmly on his head.
Nordus found no fault with the inside of the small hut. Were it not for the confounded tooth swelling his jaw and filling his head with pain, Nordus could have found contentment in such a place.
The idea astounded him. It was nowhere as rich or grand as Freyr’s apartments in Odin’s magnificent Hall. Yet it was sufficient. That was a new idea…perhaps occasioned by the intensity of his discomfort.
“Come along.” The young man led the way into another room where bubbling kettles of water hung on hooks in the fireplace. “A wash up before taking to the bed, perhaps?”
Nordus assumed he would be left in private to complete his ablutions, but Olaf poured two large basins of water, laid out matching sets of towels and soap, and then proceeded to strip his jerkin over his curly-locked head. Nordus quickly stripped off his shirt, and in his haste, unwittingly pulled away his cap.
The moment froze…or so it seemed. Nordus’s eyes sought out Olaf’s gaze, which was fixed on his naked ears. Expecting expressions of horror and condemnation, his hands flew to his ears. “They’re malformed, but I assure you, they’re not the mark—”
“Malformed? Nay, they are magnificent. I’ve never seen ears like them before. They fit your face and form. I…I find them attractive,” the Norseman said.
Nordus’s smile became a grimace as the toothache struck again. He clapped his cheek with a hand, bringing an expression of concern from Olaf, who suggested he could remove it if Nordus wished.
“I think not. I am loath to pull it. There must be some other way of easing its anger.” He looked Olaf’s pink lips. Perhaps he should just walk over and boldly claim what he needed.
They finished bathing in silence and drew on fresh clothing. Nordus wore some of Olaf’s woolens while his own soaked in a pot of boiling water. Then Olaf went about preparing a concoction his mother used for toothaches. When it was done, the Norseman held out a small bowl filled with an oily paste and bade him apply it to the tooth. Nordus smeared the troublesome molar with the potion and then stood waiting.
“What say you?” Olaf asked.
Nordus’s hand, still greasy from the medicine flew to his jaw. The tooth gave a fearsome ache, as if in retaliation for the dosing. “Ow! Ow! By the god’s balls it hurts.”
Olaf expressed regret as he prepared to take to his bed. Nordus took encouragement from this. The sooner his host fell into sleep, the quicker he could snatch a kiss and disappear into the night, returning to be back among the gods, currying favor from his lord and master, dressed in silks and dining on delicacies this Norseman did not even know existed.
Olaf showed him to a straw mattress laid in the room holding his own bed. The ache settled into a steady throbbing, so perhaps he could get some rest before he performed the theft of the kiss. But as Nordus lay his head back on the bedding, the tooth stabbed him so sharply it brought him abruptly upright. Nordus knew he could wait no longer.
“I… I forgot myself,” Nordus said. “I had intended to render a small reward for your kindness.”
“Unnecessary,” Olaf scoffed. “I did not offer hospitality out of a desire for gain.”
“My reward is less venal…more personal.” Nordus rose and crossed the scant distance between them. “Much more personal,” he added, lowering his head to meet the open, astonished lips of the comely mortal.
Olaf responded, and Nordus laid aside his aches and pains in the sweetness of the moment. Then he drew away and lifted his arms triumphantly. It was done! The cursed ache was gone! Now, Freyr. Now you can bring me home.
He halted and exchanged stares with the handsome youth, no longer certain he wanted to return to Asgard. But would Freyr allow him the freedom to remain?
Success! But will success bring contentment or will Freyr demand his return? And if he permits Nordus to remain, will he be permitted to retain his present looks or will once again be a light Elf? Perhaps down the road, we’ll learn the answers.
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As always, thanks for being readers.
New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.