I once read somewhere that if the God in your head always agrees with you, they probably aren’t really a God, and is just the voice in your head you use to excuse your actions. For the longest time I worried about that, because Hel and I always agreed on pretty much everything. Oh, I was always the far more violent of the two of us, but according to her that’s what first drew her to me. But even if my solutions were more violent, our positions generally were the same, especially as time went on.
I met Hel shortly after I was born. I suppose it helps that I was never truly human. I was a demon born from the rage of a broken child’s death. I grew quickly, matured faster (in some ways at least) but 12 years isn’t all that long even if it does feel like Christ owes me a refund for his Crucifixion being a lame show. Hel first came to me within the first two years, when I started looking at the Norse for whom I was going to fight for. I was a demon of violence, rage, revenge. I lusted for blood and slaughter, and I wanted to be part of something that would give me the best chances for filling my desires.
Yet despite all the War Gods of the Norse…I got notice most by one who had nothing to do with war. Hel saw me and saw something she not only wanted, she needed. So she came to me and shaped me as I grew. A Whisper here, an ear there. She never sought to curb my blood-lust, in fact she encouraged it.
“I am not a Goddess of War,” she said to me, “But I need someone who will slaughter without question.”
“But,” She said, “I do not need just anyone. Anyone can slaughter, anyone can murder, anyone can lay waste and ravage lands and peoples.” She would lean in close, beautiful and terrible, half pale flesh supple and soft, half the black of frost bitten skin. “I need someone who will do all that, do the dirtiest and most unpleasant of tasks, who will sacrifice honor and glory for blood and shame…I need someone who will do what is needed regardless of cost.”
For over ten years Hel shaped me, as I burned myself in the fire she was secretly forging the steel. Oh the choice of who I was going to be and what I was going to be was mine, but she had a special place that needed filling and I was that piece she wanted there. An Heir, for her existence after Ragnarok is not assured as it is for the Sons of Thor, but there will be dead in the worlds after the End, and there must be a God of Death to keep the dead. A King, because Death is the loneliest throne and she would not spend all of time by herself be she fated to live or die.
When we first started she promised I was to be her blade, her retribution. That was a home I knew, a comfort I could understand. But Hel is not a war god, she does not fight. Her sword would be forever sheathed. And she had no want for that. So she forged me to be my own sword, to take a place and nature and be that.
People always think it would be amazing to be a God, power beyond imagination and immortality, but there’s more to it than that. You become tied to universal forces, you are their source and you are their effect. Hel cannot act in a way that does not conform to death and its nature, even as her nature is what makes death into what it is.
“What are you?” she whispered in my ear in dark nights.
“I am violence.” I would reply. It was so simple. I battled, that’s what I was.
“But you know alchemy, do you not?” Hel said, “That is not violence, that is destruction for the act of creation. So what do you create, my little demon?”
“I create death?” I would say, confused.
“And what comes from death?” Hel would say, holding me close as a mother teaching her child.
“Life,” I would say. “purification. The end of what needed to die lets new things come to be.”
“So would you create good things or bad things with the violence?” Hel asked with a smile.
“Good and bad are perspectives,” I replied, “There is no good or evil, for there is profit and suffering in any actions for everyone.”
“Very good, there is not good or evil,” Hel said, “So what can you create? What gave you birth, my devil?”
“Retribution,” I said. “I wanted to destroy those who hurt those I cared about.”
Hel would nod and smile, leaning in close. “You wanted Justice.”
Yet more time passed.
“Justice?” I would ask.
“Justice is the balance. It judges the helps and hurts of a persons actions and then sets them free or punishes them. It lets those who did not cause hurt, or did not mean to cause hurt to be free, but makes sure that those that harm others willfully cannot do so in the future.”
“I…would make Justice.” I said. “And I would give retribution.”
“Then you need a name to let people know what you are.” Hel said with a smile.
“I would hunt the darkness,” I said, “I would be the evil that evil fears for the sake of the innocent.”
“Svartwulf,” Hel whispered in my ear, “Predator of the Black. Like Beowulf, only it is not bees that you shall stalk, but those who would hide behind shadows and masks to harm your people, the Norse people and those who worship the Norse Gods you joined.”
“Yes,” I said. “I will be Svartwulf.”
Mani and Sunna raced across the sky times without counting.
“But how shall you make justice?” Hel asked with a smile, holding me as one loved.
“With retribution.” I said.
“No, my Svartwulf, retribution is how you get justice that is denied. How do you know what is just?” She would tease. “You are evil, but how do we know what is right and wrong, or at least how we must act. What binds you not to harm people as you live now, my devil? What does your alchemy and philosophy teach you, my Wulf. my Predator?”
“The…social contract,” I would say, softly. “The Law.”
“Yes, so you would bring justice, then you must do so under Law.” Hel said with a kiss.
“But the Law is not Justice, it is not Just, it is about Power.” I protested.
“Yes, it is.” Hel said with a teasing smile.
“Then I cannot bring justice with the law if the law is unjust.” I protested again.
‘Then you must change the law.” Hel said. Then she would pause and put a finger to her mouth. “No, that is wrong. You must Make the Law.”
The passing of days, of months as thoughts welled within my soul.
“But I am just a demon, I do not have the power to legislate the law.” I said sadly.
“Then you shall not be a demon.” Hel said with a wink, holding me as lover, “You shall be a God.”
“But not even all gods can legislate the law. Gods must obey the law of their kings just as mortals must.” I said.
Then Hel leaned in close, her voice seductive and beautiful and terrible. “So will you be a King, my Svartwulf. Will you be my King and I your Queen? I shall rule Death and you shall see to it that the Dead always have Justice? You may even bring justice for the living if it pleases you. But you are the defender of my realm, of my people, and I would give you all power you need to do the task. You will Start as Svartwulf, Son of Hel, but you will become Svartwulf, King With Hel. For that is what I desire, and let no man tell you otherwise. This is my Oath never to be broken. You shall sit beside me on the Throne, you will be my beloved and I yours. Your life long dream of home and love shall come true in the arms of Hel, and my dreams of ruling my realms and giving the dead all that they need shall be fulfilled in your arms. My Svartwufl, no longer demon of vengeance and blood, but my god of Justice, of Law, of Retribution, and of so much more.”