Ragnarok


'Ragnarök' by Emil Doepler


It began with the Fimbulwinter, the great winter; three harsh winters that followed each other without end. Cruel ice and bitter winds overtook the world. Everything was plunged into chaos. It ushered an age of violence. Brother slew brother, father slew son. The stench of death permeated the air, and rivers of blood ran through the streets.


The earth eventually began to quake. Trees were uprooted, and mountains crumbled. The two great wolves, Skoll and Hati, finally swallowed the sun and the moon. Then, the sky was set aflame and ripped in two. From the tear spilt an army of fire giants. In the destruction, the oceans began to churn, and waves crashed over the land. The longboat of the dead rose from the depths of the sea. It was captained by Loki, and its crew was an army of Frost Giants. Now that the land was engulfed in water, the Midgard Serpent slivered up from its lair to join the battle. Then, the Dread Wolf broke free of his bonds to join his brother on the battlefield.


The gods gathered in their golden halls for one last time.

‘Our time is now,’ Odin yelled. He wore a glistening golden helmet and held his spear, Gungnir.


His armies roared and clanged their weapons together. Amongst the ranks were the Aesir, the Vanir, and scores of battle-scarred warriors from Valhalla. Vidar stood at the front. Beside him was Thor with his hammer, Mjolnir. At his other side was Heimdal with his gleaming sword.


Odin marched his armies out of Asgard and to the fields of Vigrid. Facing them was an army like they had never seen before. Hundreds of fire giants led by an enormous giant with a flaming sword named Surt. The Midgard Serpent. The mighty Dread Wolf. The black dog, Garm. Even the great betrayer, Loki, was there leading his army of frost giants.


Loki grinned at Heimdal, and the two armies charged at each other.


They collided at the centre of the battlefield. Metal clashed, and bones cracked. The warriors of Valhalla fought the giants. Heimdall headed straight for Loki. Thor bravely chased down the Midgard Serpent.


Vidar peeled off from the fighting and prowled around the battlefield, looking for perfect opportunities to strike. He killed more than a dozen giants without receiving a single blow. Across from him, Frey dodged a deadly blow from Surt’s fire sword and, in retaliation, killed him. But as Frey tried to regain his breath, a fire giant came up behind him and hewn him in two.


Vidar ran over to the giant and avenged his friend.


Across the battlefield, Heimdall was fighting Loki. Heimdall was overwhelming Loki with a flurry of sword blows. Finally, he landed a fatal blow, and Loki fell to the floor. As Loki lay dying, though, he managed to take out a dagger and throw it at the exposed skin on Heimdall’s throat. Vidar looked away. He had always admired Heimdall and did not wish to watch him die.


He turned to see Thor landing blow after blow on the Midgard Serpent. Then, Thor leapt into the air and landed a mighty hammer blow on the beast’s head. The sheer force of the blow killed the serpent instantly. It spewed black venom all over Thor and thudded to the ground. Thor wiped his eyes. He charged toward a cluster of giants to continue fighting. But, as he ran, he began to wobble, and then stagger, and then finally, he dropped to the floor. He had been poisoned by the Serpent’s venom.


Vidar turned to see that Odin was battling the Dread Wolf. Odin thrust Gungnir at Fenrir, but the wolf evaded his blow. He lunged at Odin and swallowed him whole. At witnessing his father’s death, Vidar’s blood boiled. He rushed at Fenrir, kicking the wolf in the jaw and stabbing him in the throat.


The Dread Wolf thudded to the ground.


Vidar stumbled backwards and looked around the battlefield. Both armies had suffered heavy losses. The warriors were exhausted. Instead of fighting each other, they were merely exchanging deathblows.


There was nothing Vidar could do but watch this mindless violence play out.


Epilogue


Once the battle is over, after the sky burns and the highest peaks of Asgard are submerged by the sea, the world will be calm once more. After many years, the earth will emerge from the sea. It will be even more beautiful and alive with nature. Where Asgard once stood will be the emerald fields of Idavollr. Vidar and his brother, Vali; and Thor’s two sons, Magni and Modi, will rise up. They will have no choice but to start again. Baldur and Hodr will be released from Hel to help them rebuild. Eventually, two humans, Lif and Lifrasir, will come, and from them, life will begin anew. In the shadows, though, there will be a new threat. A monster from the old world, Nidhogg, still lives. He has grown strong from feeding off of the fallen, and he has grown lustful from drinking their blood.