Okay, part two of that Billing's-Daughter myth I told you about. Sorry it's so short. Assuming nothing particularly unforeseen happens, I should be beck with part three tomorrow ;)
It was a week later that Odin found her asleep by a fire in one of the little rooms off the Great Hall. A birthing had happened in the small hours of the morning and she had been busied in its aid.
He'd slipped easily into the life of the dun. It was as common a thing for travelers to stay days as for them to remain years. Especially those who wandered with a sword in their hand. An extra hand at the plow or on the walls was always appreciated. Another voice in the evenings spinning tales, equally so. Odin had a strong arm, a steady hand and a good voice. He did not shy from any of the three.
He'd stumbled upon her by accident. And watching her, so beautiful as she slept, he knew all in one cold moment that he'd never felt this for another woman. And, just as surely, that he never would again.
Then she woke. Sitting up quickly and pushing away her sleep, she looked him up and down. She asked him how long he had stood there.
He told her he'd only just come.
She looked at him very directly. "And bound by my beauty," she said, a touch of mockery in her voice, "you stayed. Is it not so, Bolverk? You look little elsewhere when I am about. I am not blind." She gathered her knees under her and bent forward to tend the fire. "If it is marriage you've set your mind to, I would not be wed to a wanderer. You might as well be gone."
"If not marriage?" he asked her, drawing a pace nearer. "You could have killed me that day by the pool."
"And you ask this of me, too?"
She looked into the fire.
Then abruptly she turned her face to him again. "Meet me tonight," she said, a little smile about her mouth, "in the rushes by the river. My chambers are too near those of my sisters and the walls too thin. None will miss me in the night, and it would be death to you should any know of our love, so soon made known."
And I know, it has nothing to do with the story, but today's 9/11 and I remember what happened that day. I was just a kid, and happened to be watching TV with my mom. I watched the Towers fall, and that was when I knew for the first time that Evil was a real thing. Not just a bad guy from one of our Fairy Tales.
My heart and prayers go out to everyone who lost/is still losing someone to that tragedy and to those brave men and women still fighting to protect the rest of us.