Astrid was the youngest daughter among three brothers, born to a famous wandering couple who had settled in a great village by the sea. As a child, Astrid was a dear little thing, with her fiery red locks always dancing in the wind. She grew up learning from her brothers how to be fearless in the face of danger.
She always sought impossible dreams and never shied away from hardship. While other girls her age were learning how to knit and weave, she was practising sword fighting, and soon became a true “blade-dancer”, as her brothers liked to call her.
“Tireless sword arm! Unbreakable shield!” – They would cry in laughter, whenever they had a friendly spar and were defeated by their younger sister. She and her brothers were always up to something, for adventure was in their blood. They were very close and happy together, but when they came of age, her older brothers, free spirited as they were, each left to find their own path and adventures.
There was not much sorrow upon their departure, because that was the spirit in which they were raised. For them life was always in motion, always searching for the next great endeavour. But Astrid now found herself alone in the village and as she grew older she realized she wasn’t going to become a settled down housewife. And, like her brothers, she decided to carve out a path of her own.
So she strapped on her chainmail, grabbed her sword and shield and set off, on the open sea in a sturdy long ship, looking for adventure. Ever since she was a little girl, she had heard the legends of a magical sword forged by Thor himself on his mighty anvil. A sword that Thor threw into the sea when it was complete, so that anyone looking to prove themselves worthy, would set out to find it.
It was said that when Thor threw the sword, it fell with such a force, that it parted the seas for three days, creating a giant storm that soaked the land in a rain that glowed a pale color of green. And when the storm cleared, in the place where the sword had fallen, an island stood, with a mountain in the middle. And at the top, the sword placed on an altar of stone shaped like an anvil, just like the one it was forged on.
Astrid set off in the quest for this legendary weapon, with her head full of hopes and dreams of glory. But alas, after months at sea, she returned empty handed, with a heavy heart and a crew who was more than eager to be rid of their failed adventurer captain.
On the way back to her parent’s house she came across an old, one-eyed beggar (#totallynotOdindoinghisdesguisething) who she took pity on, and gave him her last piece of silver. The old man smiled and thanked her for her kindness, and told her she must not abandon hope. That she is fated to find the island and the mystical sword, but in order to succeed, she would have to prove herself worthy of Thor’s call. And that if she ever heard it, she would have to brave the odds and show the will and strength to follow the path that would be revealed to her.
Astrid was still a young girl who, some thought, was maybe too naïve for her own wellbeing. But, for some reason unknown to her, in that moment she felt the old man’s words rang truth. She felt her luck was about to change even though she didn’t understand too well what the beggar’s words meant. After much convincing, her former companions agreed to give her another chance to lead them to glory, and soon they set off again in their mighty long ship.
They sailed as far as the wind and the waves carried them, away from all known stretches of land, away from everything familiar to them. After two months, Astrid and her crew found themselves in the middle of the ocean without a gust of wind, and clear blue skies as far as the eyes could see. For all intents and purposes, they were lost and her crew was growing restless. Many of them wanted to row the ship back home, tired as they were. Their morale was low and they all thought Astrid had, once again, led them on a crazy voyage where, this time, they would surely meet their end. A very inglorious and unremarkable end.
But they were too far away from land, and Astrid knew that they would never make it back. She remembered the old beggar’s words. “Do not lose hope, you must prove yourself worthy of Thor’s call.” And so she waited there, in still waters, for seven days, with a crew that was losing faith in her with every passing moment. Things were looking grim, with little chance of improvement.
By the third day, all the fish in the area had left and they could no longer catch any food. Hunger was gnawing at their bellies. By the fourth day their water ran out. Thirst was clawing at their throats. By the fifth day Astrid’s patience turned to anger and, in a fit of rage, she climbed next to the dragon shaped figurehead, in the front of the ship, and started shouting Thor’s name, over and over, as loudly as she could.
Her companions looked at her baffled and terrified, as they had never seen her act in such a manner. They all thought she had lost her mind. For two whole days she kept shouting Thor’s name, over and over, until finally, on the seventh day, with her breath waning, she cried for the last time. “Thoooooor!!!”
To be continued…
Join Astrid in her adventures in Asgard Run.
“Astrid’s Legacy” – Part III of The Asgard Run Chronicles