On the Gods of Yggdrasil

The first recorded name for the northern continent of Eä is ‘Aalvarheim’. This is a human name paying tribute to the masters of that age, the Aesir and the Vanir. Very little is known of this time, and what is, only through a cloud of myth and legend. Under constant threat of the Jotnar, giant humanoids native to the land, the Nord gods wanted their people to be warriors, strong and enduring, with brave hearts and ready hands, ready to prove themselves to their Valkyries so they can be taken to Valhalla and join the Einherjar.

All this is reflected in the early Nord civilization. Their crafts focused solely on weapons, ships and fishing, while their tradition was mostly oral, since their history and the hellish conditions of their land did not promote such activities as studying and record keeping. Their society revolved around raids and fighting, with minimal agriculture, tribal art and almost non-existent formal education, beyond the teachings of sagas that venerated bravery and the gods. As a result, their oral tradition was rich, richer perhaps than any other civilization of their time. They would be collected and put to paper centuries after their conception and through them, the facts behind the myths and legends would be partly revealed.

According to the sagas, the Aesir and Vanir were Gods. Once split by internal strife, they united to cast down the Dragons, which had in turn defeated the Giants, in order to subjugate their servants and rule over man from their seat of power, Yggdrasil, a vast tree that connected the bowels of the earth to the sky above. They were ruled by a god named Odin and bound by fate to die at Ragnarok. In preparation for this final battle they selected the most courageous and resourceful of the Nord warriors and took them from their tribes at the moment of their death. Their end would come in the form of Surtr, a being of fire and light of terrifying power, and his children, the fire giants. They would burn the land, raze Yggdrasil and slay countless men and gods before they were stopped.

Had they scholars of their own, or an interest in the history of their hated foes, today’s Nords would perhaps see the coincidences in history and timing as clearly as a scholar of the present day can. It would take centuries for the reality behind their myths to be collected, analyzed and, in the end, understood. Still, out of the many Nord sagas, recounting the deeds of both gods and human heroes from those ancient times, most are impossible to translate into historical facts, if indeed they reflect any. Their significance in the grand scheme of things seems obscure, if at all existent. Three major legends, however, can paint a very specific picture, one that would shape the image of history: the gods themselves, the Einherjar and Ragnarok.

It is safe to assume that the gods were in fact a powerful faction within the Exiles, powerful enough, perhaps, to have won the original conflict with the dragons. The source of this power seems to have stemmed from a civil war among them and, unlike all other instances, their subsequent reunification. Some scholars theorize that their veneration as gods and protectors from the giants, native to the frozen land of the north, could have also added to their power, in a manner similar to the ascendancy of Hazlia. The truth is, however, that there is little concrete evidence to support this and perhaps there is no need to make such assumptions. The Nord Gods were the only example of cooperation between what are known today as Exiles of the Spires and the Weavers. Considering their civilization had crafted the Ways and could travel between worlds, one can only imagine the miracles they could accomplish together. This unique cooperation lends credence to the distinction of Nord gods as “Aesir” and “Vanir” as well as the legends of Yggdrasil itself. After all, no other combination between Spire Biomancy and Weaver Life-Binding is known.

These gods of legend (Odin, Thor, Freyja, etc.) seem to have been kings or leaders within their community. Loki, powerful and dark figure within the Nord mythology, was possibly one as well, but an outcast of some sort. It is easy to imagine an alliance between the two races would have been based on some moderation of the use of Biomancy on behalf of the Spire lords. Loki’s appellation as the father of monsters and the roles those monsters would play in Ragnarok could fit neatly into a narrative as a Spire Biomancer who refused to accommodate his peers. Legends such as those of Fenris, Jormungandr, and even Loki’s own shapeshifting, suddenly take on a more disturbing aspect. 

Under this light, the promise of Valhalla and the legend of the Einherjar, chosen warriors of the gods, also take a very disturbing turn. If the gods were truly Spires and Weavers, what were they doing with those warriors that proved to be the best? Today, some know it to be the Einherjar Project.

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