Skadi lay back in the beach chair in the shade of a large umbrella. Florida was a great deal different from the fjords or beaches of her homeland, and she had to admit that the heat wasn’t exactly something she enjoyed. Goddesses of winter, she mused, did not mix well with the realms of summer. At least, not like Goddesses of fertility. She glowered over at Freyja, who was lounging next to her, wearing a was only a generous person would call a bikini. Skadi was beautiful, but hers was the beauty of winter and the hunt, which was different from the beauty of battle and sex.
Her rival smiled over at her, eyes hidden behind over large shades. Freyja said she picked them up as a joke. Skadi wasn’t sure she cared. Instead, the Bow Goddess looked over to the young man who was standing by the sea, in the realm of Njordr, Freyja’s father and her own former husband. Skadi reluctantly admitted to herself that she missed the Sea God. But it was the young man that had brought them here. Both she and Freyja had their eye, as did several others of the Norse Gods. Most of them were taking a wait and see attitude towards him, but Skadi didn’t feel like waiting.
And since she and Freyja were rivals, the Vanic Goddess was stepping up the action as well.
Skadi watched as he poured some mead into the ocean, an offering to his grandfather. He didn’t know the old rites, few if any did these days. Yet, after a thousand years, it was the thoughts and the deeds that were more important, than following rituals that were no longer known. Let what was known be done, but let what was not known not stop you from trying. If you didn’t know a certain kind of snare, didn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make a new one to do the same thing.
“It feels good, doesn’t it?”‘ Freyja asked, relaxing in her chair.
Skadi looked down at her swimsuit, an ice blue one peace, with a matching sarong about her shapely hips. Not exactly sexy, though not ugly, as such suits went. She was born a frost giant, regardless of what she was now, and didn’t feel like exposing more of her skin to Sunna than she had to. “You mean laying on here in this sun?” she asked, in reply.
“No,” Freyja said, “Not that such is bad, it too is nice. I meant seeing the young kin stepping up, paying their respects, giving offerings and trying to follow the Ways.”
“Yes,” Skadi said, watching the young man, “It does.”
“I wonder who he will chose?” Freyja mused, “If anyone.”
“I think he will,” Skadi said, “the only real question is what will inform that choice. He is like and unlike others. For some it is easy to pick. For some, they do not need to pick. For some, to follow another is hard, but partners they ever seek.”
Freyja made a noise of agreement. “Battle is his calling,” she said, “But that is not so strange amongst our kin. And there are so many kinds of war, who knows what he will seek.”
“Yet he hunts also,” Skadi said, “he hunts as much as he wars.”
Freyja nodded. “He is of many natures,” she said, “That is why so many wait, I think. And why so many are interested. Also why we try to stay close. Thor protects one of his lovers, I teach another, and you shoulder your way in one day and make yourself known.”
Skadi snorted, but didn’t deny it. Freyja was her rival, and rivals always told something about you. And she didn’t have fools or weaklings for rivals.
The young man was out in the water, pouring mead from a flask and saying words of offering and respect. “I doubt he will go with Njordr,” Skadi said.
Freyja let out a laugh, “Unlikely. He might like sharks, but his hatred of fish I think is too strong to love the God of Fishers.” the Vanic goddess said merrily. “And while our little black wolf might one day be a priest of us, he will never be a ‘fisher of men,”
“No,” Skadi said, “a hunter of men, even a killer of them, but never a fisher. He will not catch them, only lead them.”
Freyja nodded. “As it should be,” she said.
“I miss the mountains,” Skadi said, “And I miss your father.”
“I’m sure he misses you too,” Freyja said, “It seems odd the two of you would come to care about each other so much, and still do even after you split. But you’ll be back in the mountains soon enough. Our little black wolf will have finished his journey here and be returning to his home, and you can go back. His mountains are not our native ones, but they are good none the less.”
Skadi sat back and formed one of those icy cocktails so beloved in this realm of Midgard. The glass frosted in her hand. “It’s so strange,” she said, “That after a thousand years now we find ourselves traveling all over the world with them, when once we never had to wander so far from home, but for the rare trip. They’ve never been so numerous, so lost, and so threatened, all without knowing it.”
Freyja made a strawberry drink appear and sipped it. “Yes, but perhaps he, and others, will be able to save them. And if not them, then their children, and their children’s children. ” she said. “We will know, soon enough.”
Skadi nodded. “I just hope that it isn’t too late,” she said. “The last thousand years were bad enough. I do not want to lose them again, or have them lose us. So little remains now. How much more can we lose before all is lost, and there is no way back? Already they have destroyed one of the last temples. How much more will they and others destroy in the end?”
Freyja grimaced. “Who knows. But that is to the Wyrd, not to us.” she said, “We just find them, bring them back, and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” she said. “Right now I prefer to worry about the small things like if our little black wolf is going to get a sunburn.”
Skadi looked at the young man, where he was toweling off. “No,” she said, “He has learned that lesson.”
“Oh?” Freyja asked, sipping her pink drink.
“Not to play too long in this terrible sun,” she said, “And hopefully to stay where there are mountains and trees.”
Freyja let out a merry laugh. “Ja,” she said, “and fields and pretty girls. Now, I wonder if I can get him to one of these beach bunnies?”
“Unlikely,” Skadi said, with a slight smile, “He’s not a casual type, and he’s already got his eye to two or three women as he lives and loves now, best to let the poor boy alone. He gives to your fertility and passions so much already. Best to let him have some of himself left for other things. But no harm letting him look upon those you bless.”
“Skoal,” Freyja said, raising her glass, “to yet another fine young man of the kin.”
“Skoal,” Skadi said, and clinked glasses.