Chapter 1: An Ill Wind Blows


01 1.5 The Binding of the Wolf2A swift patch of darkness sweeps over the surface of the Black Sea, swooping left and whirling right. Soon, another shadow flirts with the first, appearing beneath the rays of moonlight and coyly hiding in the mist. Above the shadows, mirroring their wan cousins, two great ravens frolic beyond the reach of the sea spray. The ebony duo are known as Huginn for Thought and Muninn for Memory.

All seems well and good for the Raven brothers until a cold wind rushes in, whispering secrets in their ears that portend of coming disaster. They listen to the tale of the Wind and grow much distressed. Their caws and screams crash through the silence, dissolving the chilly peace. With fevered beating of their wings, they race up, up, hastening toward the stars, urgent to bring the news to their Master in Asgard.

On and on they fly, into the streaks of brilliant orange marking the edge of the world. The sky reddens as the great fire ball soars upward, and still they continue on, pounding the air beneath them in much haste. A cloud envelops them and soon transforms into a raging thunderstorm, ripping at their wings. The sharp bite of hailstones pummels their light bodies and rolls off the oily sleekness of their obsidian feathers, but they take heart as they’re almost home.

Out of the violent storm they fly, racing to the center of the murky waters, into the middle of the world. Jutting straight out of the sea a tall mountain peak rises so high, it’s unreachable by even the most heroic of men. This glorious place, set among the clouds, glistening in a golden haze of sunshine, is known as Asgard, the home of the Norse Gods. And on the terrace of the looming stone castle, in the middle of the rocky island, stands the most powerful Norse God of all, Odin.

Now Odin isn’t a peaceful God or even a moral God; in fact, there’s little to recommend him except his cunning. But in this wild age, cunning is most needed. Upon seeing the brother Ravens, Odin raises his arms to greet them, where they land with much relief. Muninn, being known as Memory, jumps to Odin’s shoulder to recount his secrets.

“Master,” Muninn gurgles in his ear, “Wind carries ill news.”

Odin notices the Raven brothers are jittery with fear, but then they’re a dramatic species, prone to devilish pranks and raucous arguments. Odin, who is also the Master of Wind, knows well her capricious nature. After blowing steadily South for days, she might suddenly change direction and blow North for the sheer joy of hindering seamen, making them sail into the wind. In the middle of the clearest day with azure colored skies, she relishes ushering in the rain while shrieking her laughter through tree branches and whistling her delight through rafters. Wind is indeed fickle, and news from her can never be trusted. Still, Odin listens avidly to Muninn.

“What did sister Wind tell you, my son?”

Muninn shifts his feet up and down in agitation and gurgles, “Wind says that the great wolf Fenrir is destined to bring you death.”

Huginn loudly caws his turmoil, “Death! Death!” in Odin’s ear.

Odin winces at the loud noise and turns to Muninn once again. “How did Wind say Fenrir would end my existence?”

Muninn rattles deep in his throat, “He will eat you, Master.”

Huginn screams again, “Fly away! Away!”

Odin gravely nods his head and says, “Thank you Brother Ravens, you have done well to bring me this news. I will see what can be done. Now go, and let me consider this matter.”

Muninn and Huginn feel great relief on divulging the ill news of the Wind and depart easy of heart, their duty done.

Odin strokes long fingers through his snow white beard and thinks how foolish the brothers are to listen to Wind. Still, Fenrir was born of the union between the Demigod Loki and the Giantess Angrboda and is indeed an enormous wolf.

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Chapter 2: Unsettling Conquest


01 1.5 The Binding of the Wolf2As time passes, Odin observes Fenrir on the island, romping and playing with all the exuberance you’d expect of a young pup. He spends his mornings catching salmon in the Don River. In the bright afternoons he silently stalks the luminous butterflies of the prairie lands, unaware of how undignified this is for a pup of his massive size. Fenrir appears innocent enough and Odin tries to persuade himself the warning was one of Winds many tricks. Still, he feels unsettled as Fenrir grows larger and more powerful day by day.

One day Odin stands on his terrace entertaining guests as they watch the sun drift over the Black Sea painting the sky in bloody red. Fenrir naps lazily far below in the long shade of a majestic oak when from the edge of the forest, a massive boar streaks after a hare. Fenrir lifts his head upon hearing the boar, and in a mighty bound takes the chase. The boar is a large beast, covered in mud, with prickles of black hair standing every which way. With his thick, curved ivory tusks bent to the ground he continues his raging pursuit, unmindful of Fenrir. The hare slips into the hollow of a log which the boar immediately pummels, rolling it over and down a slope.

Odin and the lesser Gods watch this in amusement, as the day has been rather long and the entertainment uninspiring.

Fenrir, thinking it a game, runs to the log and snatches it up in his enormous jaw, shaking the entire trunk to and fro. The boar, finally taking note of Fenrir, is less than thrilled with his new playmate. He turns to him and gives his stiff legged posture, grunting and groaning in warning. Fenrir just shakes the log all the more, attempting to entice the boar into wrestling for it. The boar, thoroughly enraged now, opens his foaming mouth and dips his head low to the ground, ready to attack. Fenrir drops the log and executes a similar bow, sticking his rump in the air and wagging his tail. Unable to handle this final indignity, the boar charges.

The boar, large as he is, is nothing compared to the size of Fenrir. The mighty wolf pup leaps over the boar in an easy bound, landing on the other side, still swishing his tail irreverently.

This display greatly amuses Odin’s guests and the merry chime of laughter surrounds him. Some of the more boisterous guests wager on the outcome of the exchange.

Meanwhile, the infuriated boar turns, and with a burst of speed lunges at Fenrir again. Fenrir leaps to the side, giving a low playful growl as if to taunt, “Catch me if you can!” By now, the boar is insane with fury. Foam pours from his mouth as he shakes his head from side to side, eyes squinting at his target. He storms Fenrir once more attempting to impale him with his deadly tusks. Fenrir leaps up this time and lands on the boar, rolling him over. He keeps his paws on the boar’s chest and not knowing his own strength, he crushes the boar’s rib cage.

The boar squeals in anguish and Fenrir, who understands the sound of pain, licks his new playmate’s face, trying to comfort him. Alas, it is just a few minutes before the boar takes his last breath and leaves the island of Asgard forever. Fenrir, much saddened at the loss of his new playmate, sits next to the boar and howls his grief at the moon.

Odin’s guests, still highly entertained, applaud loudly as though they have just watched a game of sport. They exchange notes for their wagers and settle back down for more wine and dull music. But Odin runs his fingers through his great white beard and struggles against the feeling of foreboding. A friend who doesn’t know his own strength, he thinks, is worse than an enemy who does. Something must be done.

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The Binding of the Wolf – Excerpt

(Not on Audible)

The Binding of the Wolf

Bluebell Kildare Series, Book 1.5

by Lilo Abernathy

This excerpt includes chapters 1 & 2 of 5.

August 23rd, 2015|Excerpt|Comments Off on The Binding of the Wolf – Excerpt