This short story is part of the Norse fantasy novel-in-progress Flight of the Valkyrie The Tenth Rune. The cosmogony of Askrlim is similar in many ways to Norse myth here on Earth, but I didn't want to be constrained by thousand-year-old tales and outmoded concepts so I recreated the whole thing. This also gave me the opportunity to pare down the Pantheon to something more manageable and interconnected, as well as to reduce the sexism inherent in the myth. This story is about Thousand-face, a female deity inspired by the Loki of Norse myth. It will probably be included in the full novel, unless I break the cosmogony out into a separate resource. I hope you enjoy!

I was born in the frost and my mother hated me. She, a giantess that any form could take, changed to the form of the queen of the gods, and in this shape seduced the master of runes, the Allfather.

The motive of this giantess, none can say, but this is my origin. Half monster-giant, half god, I was born and her hate for me the moment I was born only grew with each sob I made in the cold. Only half frost it bit at my infant’s tears and blackened my face in streaks where they fell.

Before I was a week old she left me in the ice outside the great castle of the gods, naked and freezing and starving and too young to know what to do.

The first night I was outside the castle the great wolf Suneater looked at me as he chased the sun endlessly through the sky. Though I was but a babe, the wolf was filled with lust for me. Maybe he saw part of my mother, a facet of the infinite shapes like a shard of glass, and maybe the form that caught his eye was not a child but a great she-wolf there in the snow, with a coat that was long and red and as glossy as river ice. Great Suneater ceased his pursuit of the ball of light and came down to the realm of the gods, and mated with the tiny infant with a million forms but none of her own. This was the very first day since the world was made that the sun did not set. Every year, in the coldest of winter, he leaves the sky again, looking for his favorite bitch to mount again, and for these few days each year the sun can stop running across the sky and hiding behind the world.

Of this horrid union, before the sun even rose again, a baby was born from me, though I was still too young for solid food. It was a wolf like its father, and it wouldn’t leave my side. It killed a rabbit and brought me the corpse and I drank the blood and the blood sustained me and kept me alive for another day. It let me sleep in the warmth of its fur and its heat protected me from the cold that would surely have killed me.

The next day the men-gods left their fortress and there outside the gate they found me, a naked baby girl, half god and half giant, with the blood of my hymen and the afterbirth between my legs and the blood of a hare on my jaw, curled up in the fur of a mighty wolf. They say the Allfather, the king of the gods, knew immediately where I came from and why I was there. He was a good king, they say, and he wouldn’t allow any child of his -- even a bastard half-breed born of deceit -- to live in the frost to be raised by her own monster child. He determined that day to protect me and raise me in his domain alongside his own beautiful god children.

With his own hands and his own spear, Allfather came to me. But my wolf-son wouldn’t let him anywhere near. It didn’t know he was my father, or that he wanted only to help me. The beast was overcome with its instinct. It attacked the god king, and the god king threw his spear, a legendary weapon imbued with magick and power so mighty that entire poems are sung entirely about the forging of the blade alone.

The spear hit my son between the ribs, right over the heart, a shot that would kill any animal or giant or god. But the spear did not kill the beast. It stopped at his hide and fell to the snow. Some magic of its lineage -- one quarter giant, one quarter god, and the other half a celestial wolf that bites the sun -- it made my son impenetrable. My father spent the entire day trying to save me from my child, but at sunset he left with his spear and the wolf curled around me again to give me warmth.

I was too young to think but if I could I would have been sure that my future would be bleak, raised a wild child, mating with anything I could find and filling the world with freak beasts. I would have been wrong. My father was a better father to his bastard than any would have guessed, and he had not given up on his daughter.

During the night he visited the dwarves, strange men whose forges in the heart of the World Tree were able to make weapons and charms that could change the laws of the world itself, the same dark minds that had conceived his spear and all the weapons of the gods.

My father had the dwarves craft for him a special chain, a chain that could never be bitten through or broken no matter how powerful the attempts or how much time had passed. The legends say that the metal was an alloy of blood reserved from the father of the giants and the mother of the gods. Like me, the chain was the blood of both the great races.

Allfather returned at sunrise and used the chain to bind my son, and as they did they named him Stonepelt. They tied the chain to the base of the World Tree and the first monster of my loins, the child of two rapes, is there still, plotting his vicious revenge on the gods who took his mother from him.

Allfather stayed true to his intent, and brought me into the castle of the gods and raised me with his other children. His eldest son was only a few days younger than I, conceived the very night after Allfather returned from his journey during which that giantess seduced him.

This son you know and he was named Thunderer for when he was young his tantrums caused a great rumbling on Earth that accompanied the blackest stormheads of his mother Cloudspinner’s foul moods. Thunderer and I were fast friends.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I wanted to make women gods a bit more relevant in my pantheon than Norse myth provides (though personally I find that one much better than Greco-Roman). I also wanted the stories of the deities to be more interwoven. There's a lot more I've noted but not put into story form yet, so hopefully more will come like this!