The First Age

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The mid-6th Age
In the realms of the far northern pantheon of the Norse


The sleight woman, Hjalmfinna, drew herself carefully across the wooded thicket. Her armor was light but her pauldrons scratched at pine needles loud enough that she cringed. She was lighter on her feet than this, and opted to untie and discard the awkward metal before proceeding further. She'd cleverly evaded injury thus far. Now was the time for stealth.

In honor of the All-father's Day of Acceptance, the anniversary of his acknowledgement of his birth, and thus acceptance into the family, the Æsir and Asynjur commissioned a series of games that drew competitors from far across the land. The victor of this final game was to be honored at the All-father's right hand at the following Feast of Courts in Valaskialf: the high seat of Odin himself.

Hjalmfinna intended to be such a victor. How she wanted to see the look on his face when she was presented before his court.

Beyond the ridge of trees were mounds of the Ancestors: burial tombs of a long forgotten family. Wight spirits protected the mounds from the passage of unwanted men, wards which Hjalmfinna studied carefully from her hidden outlook. Positioned deep within the protected ring of mounds was a spear mounted upright like a monumental trophy. She gleamed with mischief to simply look upon it. The spear could kill a man if ran clean through, but it was so much more than a weapon. With a deft hand, it rendered the user immune to light. Invisible: so claimed the runestone mounted in the shaft. Hjalmfinna licked her plush lips, practically tasting the prize already.

The wight spirits were not easily disabled, she knew. Then there were the guardians themselves. Some called them sorcerers, they were used for their effective methods, yet many viewed them with disdain. Hjalmfinna held a soft-spot for such outcasts. She knew what it was like to be judged for being what one was born to, but it did not mean she was incapable of manipulating them. They were men like any other, after all.

After evading the spirits and disarming the guardians there was the small matter of the laying hands upon the Runespear itself. It was an incredibly dangerous feat, more so than the journey that brought her to this point had been. Hjalmfinna valued victory, but not at the cost of her life. If only there was someone else-- yes. She saw something. There.

Opposite her position, across the mounds, a female figure sprinted. Her armor lacked the crest of Asynjur, thus likely why Hjalmfinna did not recognize her. A short blue cloak was mounted to golden shoulder rings and billowed on the wake of powerfully running legs. A helm covered her face, but golden braids flowed from beneath. She wielded a finely crafted short blade in one hand, and with a roar, met the defenses of two of the sorcerer guardians with flashes of light and pulses of wind before pushing through the first wall of defenses.

Hjalmfinna sat straighter, a sly smile on her face as her competitor streaked through the Guardians, cutting them down like wheat in a field. Immaculate to behold. As she reached the Runespear, Halmfinna's breath caught in her lungs. Would she survive stealing it?

The warrioress jumped from the highest mound, reached for the Runespear, and the moment her hand curled on the shaft, immediately disappeared. Hjalmfinna smiled broad. "Bravo, my lady,"
she whispered to herself. In response, the wight spirits coalesced, guided by the forces of the Guardians, and the lady warrior had only one path she might take to escape. And Hjalmfinna waited to greet her.

In the intervening moments, she casually went about the process of rearranging her own appearance. The round breasts of her armor became scuffed and scorched. Her helm now dented and her cloak freshly ripped. She touched her face and found the sticky tangle of injury. She was, by all appearances, the opposite of a threat.

When she laid herself aside, she made ready to clutch her side and wince in pain at the nearest sound of approach. There was no fooling an expert in clandestine mischief like her. When the woman with the Runespear passed, she would hear it, visual confirmation or not.

Sure as the sun, panting breath cautiously approached. The maelstrom on the mounds had scattered, seeking the thief in their midst for the game was not won until the victor presented the Runespear to the All-Father.

"Is someone there?"
Hjalmfinna called out. The sounds of breathing were immediately smothered, but there were no sounds of flight. The lady warrior was still there. Likely watching Hjalmfinna even as she spoke. "Please?"

From a few steps away, a chilled feminine voice broke the silence of the leaves. "Go to the Guardians if you are injured, warrioress. They are honor bound to call the Healers."

Hjalmfinna struggled to sit up, but fell aside even as she tried. When a strong, but invisible grip, wrapped itself around her arm, the seemingly wounded competitor struck out with a roar of conquest. Suddenly, the warrioress dropped the Runespear in the clash, falling backward, tricked by her own honor to aid the fallen. Curses ensued.

She and Hjalmfinna threw themselves toward the displaced Runespear, and when each clasped hands on it at the same time, the universe attempted to tear them apart. Two female gods should be able to share its power.

But one of them was not female.

Loki clamped both hands on the spear, literally trying to wrestle it away from the mighty warrioress. Both of them flickered in and out of this world as flashes of light phased the two dueling gods.

When the goddess combatant's elbow struck, Loki yelled his surprise, and found himself falling backward, clutching his face. The force of the ground knocked the wind from his lungs, and he coughed. In his truer appearance, trying to catch his breath, a weight straddled his chest, pinning him down, and the point of the Runespear pricked the flesh of his throat.

Grinning, panting, and impressed, he splayed his arms in defeat. "I yield to the mighty goddess of the Asynjur."
The speartip pressed firmer, but the sparkle of his gaze only grew when the goddess drew the helm from her head.

A crown of golden braids fell free. The sight of the woman behind the armor gripped his heart wild while his eyes slid up and down her form.
"I am no Asynjur."
She declared proudly. "My name is Sigyn of the Halls of Alfheim."

Of the mysterious and legendary Land of the Light, as they were called in the east! She was one of the Álfar, considered the most beautiful people of all the realms.

Loki balked but certainly without attempting to free himself. "Will you be taking one of the Aesir prisoner, my lady Sigyn?"

She leaned forward, twisting the spear tip against his throat, voice humming with the promise of powerful convictions. "I know who you are. And you are no more Aesir than I am Asynjur. But I would be proud to present the All-Father the Runespear and the one who stole it in the first place, Loptr of jötnar."

She even knew his parentage. How he felt himself grin. "I see my reputation proceeds me."

Sigyn lifted her head, barking a victorious laugh. "Only the reputation of your doom, Loki."

Loki didn't even resist when she bound him. To be Sigyn's prisoner? There were worse fates for a man. And she was a worthy trade for the Runespear. Besides, he could always steal it from her later. It would mean a good reason to travel to the lands of the light. He looked forward to the prospect of beholding her people for the first time.

And if he enacted her wrath again? Such better fortune could not be had by a man.