The Death of BalderWithout question, my favorite character from Norse mythology is Loki, the trickster god, a mischievous imp whose likeness has found its way into so many culture’s myths. Can we not see him also in the guise of Kali of Hindu Myth, Lucifer of Christian myth, and Apep of the Egyptians? The mystery behind evil and the way we as humans try to explain it can take on many forms. In doing so we try to cover up the true essence of wrongdoing by masking it with a scapegoat. We blame our mistakes on a fallen deity, and in doing so, try to take away our own responsibility.
In the second book of The Zeke Proper Chronicles, The Serpent’s Ship, the Sly One, Loki, takes center stage as he seeks vengeance on Zeke and his little brother Devon for the demise of his daughter the Korrigan. We become aware of Loki’s past and the dark evil that he committed that caused his own downfall.
The story is epic, taking on many twists and turns. At first we are introduced to Balder, the beloved god and the son of Odin and Frigg. Loki becomes jealous of Balder, his goodness, his radiance, and his subsequent popularity. But there’s nothing he can do. His silly acts of mischief only bring him trouble, they don’t bring him the attention he so fervently desires.
That is until Balder has a dream.
In his nightmare Balder dreams of his own death and wakes with a start, screaming and thrashing at all that he sees. Frigg, his mother, terrified that the dream would come true, rushes out into the nine worlds and gets each and every substance to swear an oath that it will not harm Balder. Every substance, every living thing did…everything but a small bush that Frigg thought so small and so young that it could not possibly do any harm, the mistletoe. Loki, of course, discovers her mistake and takes full advantage of it.
Entering the great hall with a mistletoe stick in his belt, where the gods are amusing themselves by throwing rocks and launching spears at Balder, knowing full well that nothing can harm him, Loki makes his way to Hod, a blind god and brother to Balder. Whispering in his ear Loki begins his taunt: “Why don’t you join in? Why don’t you throw darts at your brother?” Loki asks
“Because I can’t see where he is and I have no weapon.”
“This is not as it should be,” answered Loki. “They do wrong to ignore you - and you his brother.”
Great laughter arose from the crowd of amused gods as they continued to pelt Balder with their arrows.
“What was that?” Hod asked.
“Only more of the same,” said Loki. “ A dart well aimed. But now it’s your turn, Hod.”
“But I have no weapon,” Hod repeated.
“Take this twig then,” said Loki. “I’ll show you where he is standing and guide your hand.”
Hod grasped the mistletoe and lifted his right arm. Guided by Loki, the dart flew through the hall and struck Balder. The branch struck him and passed through him. The god fell on his face and was dead.
At first there was great confusion. No one knew what had happened. How could Balder have died? But soon the mystery was revealed. The culprit was none other than Loki, and soon the hunt was on to find the murderer and bring him to justice.