This is the second and final part of Astrid’s story. You can read part 1 here.
Astrid felt her voice being silenced. Thor was punishing her for her insolence and taking away her voice. She could no longer speak and soon she could barely stand. One of the crew saw her losing her balance and wanted to help her climb down from the figurehead. But just as he stood up, a shattering thunder came down with a force so great that it made the ship tremble beneath their feet.
All of a sudden, waves as high as mountains rose around them and the sky turned black with rain heavy clouds. Astrid raised her eyes towards the sky, unimpressed by the chaos around her, and waited. A terrifying lightning crackled down from the heavens, drawing a jagged line above their heads. She turned to her companions and pointed to where the lightning’s tail had scorched the horizon. In that moment they all understood, Thor had finally acknowledged them and he was showing them the way.
With a new found hope, they quickly raised sail and chased after the storm. For seven days and seven nights they endured the awful sea trials. They were on the brink of death but no one faltered. For now, the God of Thunder was watching them closely! And who in his right mind would dare to shame himself in the eyes of the Gods?
After seven days, just as swiftly as it began, the storm had ended, leaving in its wake only a deep mist, as quiet as Astrid’s extinguished voice. Everyone was waiting, listening, wondering what terrible challenges lied ahead. Then, suddenly, the sound of the ship’s wooden hull bumping gently against the rocks made everyone jump to their feet. They had found land. But not just any land… They had found the place of legend, where Thor cast the magical sword. Soon enough they were all digging their feet in the sandy beach, grateful to stand on solid ground once more.
For a brief moment the mist seemed to be clearing away. In the distance they could make out a road leading to the mountain described in the legends. But just as they were about to press on, they realized they could not move. Their feet were rooted in the sand and no matter how much they struggled to break free, it was impossible. They all looked at Astrid and saw the mist around her disappearing.
She looked back at them and immediately understood. “I must go alone” – she said. It seemed Thor had granted her a moment to speak, but as soon as the words were uttered she was once again forcefully silenced. Her companions watched helplessly as she was quickly swallowed by the returning mist. Alone in her silence, Astrid made her way up the mountain. After three days or restless climb, tortured by the thoughts of her companion’s fates, she found herself above the mist on a flat patch of ground. In front of her was the great Stone Anvil, and sure enough, on it, a sword of untold beauty, a Viridian glowing blade made by Thor himself.
There was no time to dwell on the beauty of swords when her companions’ lives were in peril. Tired as she was, she ignored aching limbs and slowly approached the anvil, but as soon as she wanted to reach for the sword she was violently thrown back by a powerful force. When she regained consciousness, she looked up and saw the tall figure of a man, laughing uncontrollably.
It was obvious to Astrid, this creature took great pleasure in her anguish. A terrifying thought had briefly crossed her mind. She wanted to ask this being who he was, and what his purpose was there. But her words were still and her voice silent. The creature looked at her with a devious smile and said. “Did you think it would be that easy? How dare you, a mere mortal, call upon the mighty God of Thunder?!? Behold, the price of your transgression!!!”
In that moment, the mist cleared away and as she looked down from the top of the mountain she could see her friends on the beach being approached from all sides by hordes of ghostly fiends. With their feet rooted in the sand, unable to defend themselves, they would surely perish! Astrid looked at the man in front of her and could not believe she was standing in the presence of Thor. She could not believe that after so much hardship, Thor would prove to be this vengeful and unkind, when she and her companions had shown nothing but strength of will and character. No…She could not believe it, because it was a lie!
Once more, she looked down, towards her friends who were about to be helplessly devoured by the shadowy fiends, and a great anger drowned her entire body. A rage was burning in her little heart, a rage so great that it defied the will of the gods themselves. She turned towards the entity standing before her, cringing with pain and trembling lips, and uttered a single word. A name, finally given to that face that was the lie in front of her. “Loki….”
He growled, disgusted and amazed at how, through will alone, Astrid broke her bonds of silence. Now, back on her feet, she started walking menacingly towards Loki, whose expression was quickly changing from amazement to despair, as he could no longer control her. Not knowing what to expect, he fearfully stumbled backwards, out of her way, as she firmly grabbed the Viridian blade from the Stone Anvil.
Just as she was about to swing for deceitful Loki’s head, he vanished, leaving behind him the sight of Astrid’s companions who were desperately trying to stay alive among the vicious spectres that were tearing away at their very souls. Her anger soon turned to despair, as she realized she was too far away to come to their aid. She could only watch, helplessly from the mountaintop, hoping that, at the very least, it would end quickly. She dropped to her knees, looking at the Sword, for which she was unwillingly sacrificing her friends, and whispered in agony: “What good is your blade, mighty Thor, if I cannot use it to rain vengeance upon my enemies?”
In that moment Thor struck his mighty anvil and his voice was heard in thunder. “Show me your strength, little one!” With a shimmer of hope in her heart, Astrid got up, gripped the sword firmly in her hand, and swung the glowing blade at the sky as hard as she could, as if to split the heavens open. Thunder and lightning shook the mountain as a shower of rain and magical blades poured from the sky over Loki’s minions.
She swung again…. and again, every time harder than before and sure enough the blades poured from the clouds, and wave after wave of enemies fell to the ground and turned to ashes. When there were no more fiends to slay, the blade’s glow faded and the clouds cleared. Her companions stood there in the sand, with their bonds finally broken. Not a single one was touched by the blades that fell from above. It was a miracle. Astrid had saved them. As she climbed back down the mountain toward the beach, her companions were still having trouble grasping all that had happened.
When she finally arrived, they all stood in front of her in complete silence. As a sign of solidarity towards her trials, not a single word was spoken. They looked at her and simply nodded their heads, one by one, in gratitude and respect to the one whose will defied a god and gained the favor of another, to the one that saved them all. Their adventure had finally come to an end. After replenishing their supplies and a few long awaited days of rest, Astrid and her crew were ready to head back home. But before they left, she buried the Viridian blade in secret, somewhere she was sure it would never be found again.
Her quest was never about power, and she knew that such a weapon in the hands of mortals would do more harm than good. Astrid lived a long, exciting life, full of adventures, each more wondrous than the other. Stories of Astrid and her companions were told, in song and poem, throughout the land, for generations.
On the day of her death, she entered proudly in the halls of Valhalla. There, the great Thor himself welcomed Astrid, and asked her to take her rightful place among the eternal defenders of the Asgard Watch, for her will, determination and righteousness would forever be unmatched in the face of danger and injustice.
Join Astrid in her adventures in Asgard Run.
“Astrid’s Legacy” – Part IV of The Asgard Run Chronicles