Smoldering fire burned black in Evigrun, the infinite Firmament, far above Avgrun, the bitter and frozen Abyss. The great fire in the sky sparked and flared (as, of course, it still does in points of brilliant white), and great tongues of flame leapt across infinity to touch the very depths of the Abyss. At their meeting the flames were quenched, and the ice scorched; the smoke and steam that boiled away rose to a position of balance between the Firmament and the Abyss, and, coalescing, became Sletter, the Table, the Earth, hovering forever between infinities.
From the Abyss clambered Jormungandur, the Old One. His great hands tore at the rim of Sletter, and as the earth groaned and bent beneath his weight, it slipped towards the Abyss; but the heat of the earth scorched the Old One’s icy hands, and he bled water, rushing and filling the Sletter’s depressed rim. And the life that bled out into this new world, and took form in Vanir, Goddess of the Deep.
Finally Jormungandur clambered upon the surface of the Table, and surveyed his surroundings. His great feet crashed down upon the groaning earth beneath him, and water filled the imprints in lakes and seas, brimming and overrunning in streams and rivers, joining the great Deep at the edge of the world. At Sletter’s center the Old One raised a great Mountain, Åsåtru, and in its hollow he set a gash of living fire he tore from the Firmament. The fire sprang to new life, and gave thanks for his lordship over the domain he perceived: and this was Tennenur, Lord of Light and Life.
Jormungandur departed the world, having divided it between Peak and Deep, fire and water. But strife soon arose between Vanir and Tennenur, as his fire burned towards her depths, and her cold quenched his ambition to rule the entirety of Sletter. The two soon came to open conflict, and Tennenur cast a great bolt of flame at his adversary; her watery shield took the blast, but dissolved and rose into a whirling, roaring cloud of storm. A clap of thunder rent the sky, and from the cloud strode Jotnar, Lord of the Storm and the Waves. A mighty being, he pacified the warring God and Goddess, and restored peace to the infant world.
Jotnar took Vanir as his consort, and their union bore twin spirits: Heimdall, the laughing god of battle and fortune, and Bragi, the silent goddess of justice and retribution. In the light that filtered through his father’s mighty clouds Heimdall perceived a great bow of color; and as he watched, it drew into the form of the most lovely being the world has ever known, Rindyr, goddess of love. Their happy union bore Dellingur, Lord of Healing, and Var, who filled the earth with green and bounding life. Bragi remained alone.
Tennenur, the Lord of Light, resented the green life Var brought to the earth – a challenge to the primacy of his fire and the devouring spirit that lived within it. Grown vast and mighty in his halls at Åsåtru, Tennenur jealously guarded his power – he did not disperse it in new beings like the other gods, but hoarded it, growing both greater, and more bitterly distant. He unleashed his devouring fire on the creatures of Var, overwhelming the strength of the lesser gods, and pursued them to the edges of the world.
Jotnar battled fiercely, but was no match for Tennenur’s wrath. Seeing his father’s plight, Heimdall joined the fray madly – but even his strength could not overcome the explosive power of the Lord of Light. Vanir marshaled the might of the Deep, but creation had left her weak, and her power cracked and broke at the fury of Tennenur’s onslaught. All seemed lost for the foes of the Lord of Light.
But a being of air and mischief, formed in secret by Jotnar, crept down from the clouds to aid the gods in their hour of direst need. Loki he was called, Jotnar’s trusted aid, and cast a great shadow across Tennenur’s eyes. Dazed for a moment, the Lord of Light reeled wildly – and Heimdall struck a great blow in the instant of opportunity, felling the god. Vanir shackled him, hand and foot, with bands imbued with the power of the Deep, and Jotnar deemed the fallen Lord of Light Volundur, the Bound One. Never again would he arise in might, though he glowers still, waiting and hoping.
Jotnar, the leader of the victorious clan, rejoiced at the defeat of his enemy. He cast down Åsåtru, and scattering its remnants across the earth formed hills, cliffs, and mountains. And, for a time, Sletter knew peace.
But the balance of the cosmos had been upset, and Jormungandur, the Old One, returned from the Abysss to right it. He chastised Jotnar for his recklessness and disregard for harmony beyond the limited vision of the earth alone. To heal the world of the tumults that had enveloped it, Jormungandur brought two gifts, radiant beings devoted to the promulgation of good and order: Hodur, Lord of Craft, and Sigyn, Queen of the Harvest. They smiled upon the earth, and it blossomed again.
But Jormungandur knew that true harmony could not be achieved without the balancing might of a chastened, but restored, Tennenur. He strode towards the god’s dwelling place, intent on releasing him from his bonds and healing the last imperfection of the world. But Jotnar, perceiving Jormungandur’s intent, decided against cosmic harmony in favor of earthly power. He called to his shadow-servant Loki, and the laughing God of the Wind cast a great bolt of lightning – a secret melding of the cowed Volundur’s fire with Jotnar’s own element, that he had forged in the ruins of Åsåtru – at the Old One. As he cried out at the treachery, the bolt split him asunder. As he faded, betrayed and broken, Jormungandur bequeathed all the powers of ice and winter Bragi, the unsmiling Queen of Justice who had supported him in his tasks.
Hodur, otherwise occupied, did not witness the murder of the Old One. But Sigyn did, and the horror of the sight split her mind. While she remains, most of the time, the jolly Goddess of the Harvest she was meant to be, at times her mind wanders back to the evil she witnessed, so new to the world. Then she takes on her fearsome, wild, famine-strewing aspect Vali, and her most ardent acolytes themselves tremble at her might and wrath.
Vanir beheld the spectacle from afar, too, and could not stop the destruction of her father, from whose own blood she was born. But she departed from the earth forever, sundered from her consort Jotnar by his perfidy, taking refuge in the Deep. She visits only her great temple at Vanirheim in the far South, and communes only with Bragi, her daughter, except in circumstances of absolute necessity. In the ages since the battles of the gods she has faded into mystery, but her power remains as potent as ever it was.
These, then, are the deities that govern Sletter, the Earth, and all who walk its face. Heed them.