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It was time.

The hall was bedecked in the finest of silks, banners hanging from the ceiling between each window of stained glass. On the right, midnight violet, with the crimson and black hel orchid, its petals open as if to embrace. On the left, a black lotus, on a field of gold, petals pointed to the sky and branching out.

The tables had been cleared from the great hall of Hela, filled instead with long benches, each tilted to face where the high table normally stood. Between ran a long carpet of bloody crimson. The room was filled, as it had been during the Yuletide, but this time beings from all the nine realms, and those beyond were seated or stood upon the raised dais at the front.

Odin stood before all, his grey robes the finest in all of Asgard, stitched by hand with ravens and wolves and runes of silver. His spear, Gungnir, rested easy in his hand. His single eye roamed the assembled Gods and Spirits.  All was as it should be, though not as it could have been. Some faces were missing, made missing by their own deeds, the deeds of those they had trusted, or by their wish to avoid all that was the Aether.

He looked to the young god on his left, framed by his son Thor on one side, who was trying to hide his emotions by an ever more bristly beard, and Susano’o no Mikoto on the other. A poor substitute, Odin thought, but a valuable one. The former wore armor polished till it shown like Sunna’s smile, while the latter wore robes that were the equal of the All-Father’s. Ever prideful, was the god of the stormy sea, thought Odin. But then, this was truly a day for pride.

The young god’s armor was neither as fancy, nor as shiny as the Odin son’s, but it had been forged well and shown as much love, with its black and gold. He held himself tightly, as if to hold off nerves, but the Allfather saw the steel in his heart. The oath he was about to make would be held, held tighter than anything among the stars. This was a boy whose faith and trust, once given, would be held through fire and pain, broken only by the most heinous of wrongs. He would do well, Odin thought. That was why he had made him a God, after all.

Well, part of the reason, anyways.

“You can do this my boy!” Thor said as softly as he could, clapping his hand on the young god’s shoulder. It boomed like thunder, making people start and it took all the young god had not to fall over. Odin hid his smirk. Huginn and Muninn did not hide their caws of laughter.

“So much like us, long ago,” Frigga whispered to him. “I remember a smooth talking god that was made nervous by his oath on a day like today. Odin grunted. He could not argue with his wife, for she knew all things.

But he didn’t have to publicize she was right.

“It is time,” Baldr said, from the side. The most beautiful of gods smiled. “She is ready.”

There was music, soft and lilting. It brought to mind alfs skipping through meadows, though played by far more modern instruments. The descendant of a waltz, thought Odin, though his thoughts cleared as the doors opened to reveal three Gods.

Mordgud came through first, and while her golden dress would be considered skimpy for such an occasion, the Allfather was glad to see that she had dispensed with the Hyberianesque armor she normally wore. She walked smoothly up the carpet, flowers scattering from her hands to the ground below, great sword polished and glinting rainbows upon her back. She reached the dais and bowed to Odin, before shifting to his right, clearing the way for the other two Gods.

Loki, his oath brother, greatest friend and greatest enemy walked in, dressed in armor all too familiar. As was his face. “Don’t tell me…” Thor muttered darkly.

“Can you think of any other face the trickster would wear than his greatest known?” The young god said, “It’s fine by me, if he wants to look like…himself.”

“It’s just a rumor he’s that actor!” Thor hissed, but Odin made a sharp movement that silenced them both.

And on Loki’s arm, was his daughter, Hela. Her dress was simple, but each beam of light showed hidden designs and embroideries in the white silks and velvets. It bared her shoulders, and what Odin thought was a generous, but not shameful, amount of her chest. Her skin was blue and white, her hair done in braids and tails. She moved with the grace befitting a queen, but his sharp eye saw the hidden, young woman she was, eager for this day as all young women were.

The pair moved slowly, allowing all to see the Goddess and her beauty. Even his prattling birds were silent, for once, for which Odin was grateful. He found himself captivated, and wondered how the young god of this realm was handling himself.

It was one thing to swear this oath in one’s temple in Midgard. It was another to swear in the full majesty of Helheim, before it’s most beautiful queen.

Then she was there, Loki slipping to the left and the Goddess smiled at her young god, who stepped up beside her. Each drew a sword, holding it point up in their hand.

“These blades,” Odin intoned, “Represent the promise of protection, given between husband and wife, between king and queen.” He gave a nod and the Goddess and God placed a ring on the tip of their swords. “And these rings, represent the oath they share to each other. An oath of love, protection, support, kindness, and hope.”

He took the young god’s face in his hands, “Do you swear to the gods, Svartwulf, that you wish to marry this goddess?”

“I swear,” Svartwulf said, his eyes full, “I swear to the Gods!”

Odin smilled and nodded, then took Hela’s face in his hands, “And do you, Hela, swear to the gods you wish to marry this God?”

“I swear it.” Hela said, her voice filled with love.

“Then it is sworn,” Odin said, and the two crossed their swords, each taking the ring offered. There was a spark of magic, a rush of power, as the oath bound them. Carefully they reversed their swords, presenting them to each other, accepting the gift at the same time. The newly wedded couple sheathed their new blades, then turned and slipped the rings on each other.

“Behold, the husband and wife, Svartwulf and Hela!” Odin proclaimed, “Long and happy may their marriage be. Let none sunder what has been created this day, by love and honor!”

He smirked as the pair kissed each other, then turned to face the assembly and bowed slightly. The room began to range with the applause, the cheers, and then the assembled Gods and Spirits were up, and there was dancing and shouting as the different marriage celebration customs of many peoples kicked off at once. But Odin alone saw the happy couple vanish away, as the benches were cleared and feasts were brought forth.

The would be back, Odin knew, even as Thor began to wonder were his almost boy had gone, and Susano’o called the thunderer an oblivious idiot. The Allfather smiled.

There was something special about one’s first time after one’s wedding.

 

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