Cold was the chill that gripped the nose of the Ettin Queller. From his long sleep from the Yule Feast, he stirred. His wife, worry struck, had went to wake him. “Husband, you can sleep no longer! To wake you cannot be done! Our cows are gone! Taken in the dark of night. Not even Hama saw it!”
“Does Hama not see all, dear wife? It is like them to stay together if they are cold. Might it be that you did not look long enough?”, Thunor spoke to calm his wife, but his words did not do this. They made it worse! Her face was becoming a hot red not unlike his own in anger. “I trust you, my dear.”, he spoke swiftly. “Let me speak to Hama, and see if he saw anything.”
Thunor stepped out to look over the fields. His wife was right. It was now he who burned, and he made his way to Hama. “I saw nothing, Thunor. Your hot heartedness is more a burden than it is worth, at times! We must sit, and think.”, Hama spoke. “Nay, Hama! We must do!”, Thunor sharply said.
“Do what about which you know nothing?”, Hama did ask. “Aye. The Wyrd Sisters may know!”, Thunor had said, now he would be swift getting to them.
“We saw your coming.”, the Wyrdæ spoke. “The Deep Dweller, Foul Hoarder, The Wyrm under the Worlds. Under Hell.”, Thunor knew tales of his misdeeds. He was not a foe that Thunor, even, was wanting to fight. He could wend shape, and it was thought that only the Wyrm was his true body. “What you must do shows itself, son of Eorthe. Go home, ready yourself. We worry not. We were, are, and will be. He fears us, and wisely so.”, the Wyrd Sisters spoke all at once.
Thunor bristled with anger. He took leave of the Wyrd Weavers. There is a bull in Thunor’s care that even the Hellwyrm dare not take. That is the ox who pulls his cart, Grindgrista. Steadfast and loyal, he is. “Come forth, and let us go down the Irminsul, my friend!”
They went wind swift, and in a short time they were in Midyard. What they saw was a most saddening sight. The land was teeming with Ice Ettins, and Eorthe was hidden amongst them. He would look to find her, as all Men hid in their homes. She was unwell. “What has happened here, in this place that was at one time so green? How have Ice Ettins come to hold so much ground since my rest?”, Thunor asked Eorthe when he saw her. “Ice Ettins have hold over the land. To keep your oxen hidden, the Hellwyrm lets them have lordship.”
“They shall have lordship no longer!”, Thunor bellowed with a war cry! His goats went forth, wind swift, and with the might of Heavenfire, he smashed into Ettin lines! They came forward to meet him, but met their end. They yelled and howled, cursing his name! Without fear, Thunor kept going. Stout Hearted onward, and Ice Ettins yelling as they were caught in the horns of the goats, and were in the path of Thunor’s hammer.
The Ice Ettins fought back. Their lord would not back down without a fight. They shoved Thunor back, and he shoved forward. Back and forth, Thunor and the Ice Ettins fought. A woman watched the fight, and called Thunor’s name. She had for him a vat. “Come, Thunor! Take this, and drink!”, she shouted. “The sweet smell of mead, I’d never turn it away! But who are you, lady?”, Thunor asked her.
“I’m a friend of your wife’s. They call me Hrethe. I’ve come to give you this to help you fight. My sister, Eastre, will not come home until these Ettins fall.” , and Thunor picked up the vat, and drank the golden brew. Warmed and readied for war, he stepped forth again to meet his foes. He swung Heavenfire with all of his might, and the Ice Ettins fell all about him.
As he made his way, one Ettin, so great that even Thunor in mead love had second thoughts about fighting him, stepped in his path to meet him. “So, it is you who have slain my children? How dare you! Foul and ugly swine!”, Freoriga, the Ice Ettin King, yelled.
“Your home is atop the stone hills, and far in the North. You have no right to be here!”, Thunor shouted back. Freoriga picked up Thunor’s bull, and hurled him a furlong away. This made Thunor more angry than before, Freoriga struck Thunor, and Thunor hit the ground. However, Thunor gripped his heavy ice arm, and twisted it, and then with Heavenfire, smashed his head! Freoriga was shattered!
What he saw after this was what he knew was coming. From a hole that went deep into the ground came the World Bane himself. The noises of Thunor’s bulls could be heard. They were in worry, but Thunor stilled them. They could hear him from high above.
The Hellwyrm spoke. “You take a world away from me, Thunor. I try to lord over this world, and you will not allow it.” “You have neither the right to be lord of anything, nor the good deeds to your name! You have no right to this land, nor right to anything of mine! You have my herd of bulls and cows. If you do not give them back to me, you will die here!” Thunor bellowed, and had no wish to hear anything else the Hellwyrm had to say. For the Great Outlawed, Eormensyl gnawer, lord of Wyrmsele, spoke, atter breathed, when his mouth was open. He of foul deed.
The Hellwyrm was so long that he could wrap himself around all of Middangeard if he wished! His eyes were like looking into death, trapping his foes. Only he had the Mægen to match Thunor, ill Mægen though it was. His skin was hard as stone, great horns like that of a ram, bewitching eyes, atter breathed, and fangs as sharp as spearheads. This, the only foe that did not at all fear the World Warder. Thunor, though, had no room for worry.
He struck Thunor with his tail, and Thunor struck it with his hammer. Then he tried to grab it away with his fangs, and Thunor struck his hand! He thrusted, clipped his mouth shut to bit off Thunor’s head, but Middangeard’s Warder held it open! Then the Foul Wyrm closed them, but too late! Thunor backed away, and they looked each other in the eyes. Thunor spun and struck at the Hellwyrm!
Around and around he went, and just as he stopped for but a moment, the Hellwyrm tried to clamp his teeth again, but Thunor backed away, and struck the top of the Foul Wyrm’s head with all his might! Heavenfire struck true! The Hellwyrm was dead!
Thunor pulled his body away with all of his might, and his oxen ran to him! Thunor felt weary and tired, he went to his cart, and his ox pulled him home. Behind him, the birds that once filled the land with their song were flying back! The Dawn Maiden, Eastre followed them, and even Sunne looked to be coming back from her wayfaring south.
With Eastre came the worts that brought health to Men, that Woden taught them long ago how to use, and many more. Thunor made his way through, and they followed. He made his way home to a gladdened hall. He ate a few his bulls, and drank many vats of mead. He then went into the arms of his wife, and together they went to their bed. All was hale and right again.