“I have a present for you,” Hel said with a smile. She drew me through the halls of her castle to the main feast-hall.
“Oh?” I asked, trying to keep up. Despite being “dead” Hel always seemed to have more energy than me. Working two jobs meant that I hadn’t been able to do much for Yule on the mortal plane. I was feeling bad about that, and then Hel said she had a gift.
We came into the hall and there was a great shout. I was overwhelmed by the smell of all kinds of roasting meat and mulled wine. Baldr and his wife sat upon the high table, to the right of two thrones. The tables were filled with the highest of Helheim society in their finest of garb. My five generals sat to the left of the thrones, each raising their horns or goblets to me with shouts of joy. It felt like so long since we six had truly gathered between our duties. Hel gave me the sweetest smile at my look of pure joy. The halls were decked with golden holly and silver tensile, and things I did not know but whose beauty could overwhelm the senses. The flags of every Teutonic nation were hung in little chains off of everything.
Olaf, the first of my generals, stood up and shouted, “Hail to Svartwulf! Son of Hel, Lord of the Armies of the Dead! Hail the Oncoming Storm! Hail God of Justice, God of Law, God of Justice!”
“Hail!” roared the gathered citizenry, “Hail the hero of Helheim! Hail the beloved of the Queen Eternal!”
I felt a tear in my eye. On the mortal plain, in the Aether, I was not widely known or regarded, but here, home, I was as beloved of the people as I was my queen.
“Here is your gift, my love, my demon child,” Hel said in my ear, “My gift of family.”
“It is the greatest gift I could hope for,” I said, my voice choked with emotion.
“Then prepare to be surprised.” Hel said, spinning around me in the most elegant dress I had seen. She grasped my right hand and raised it into the air. “HAIL!” she roared “HAIL TO SVARTWULF, KING WITH HEL!”
And then she spun again and kissed me under the mistletoe that hung over the door as the room went wild.