Publicada por Arith Härger / 4:17 PM /
Njord's Vanaheim home is, of course, on the eastern seashore, facing Alfheim and Asgard. (His Asgard home is directly opposite it on Asgard's westerly beaches, calculated to have the straightest possible shot over the ocean between the two.) Noatun, or "Shipyards", is a tall, white, arched building on the rocky outcrop of the largest northern bay. A small fleet of ships have their home in the bay, as Njord keeps all of the Vanir fleet under his protection, even when he is absent. The waters around Vanaheim never freeze, even in the winter, and fishing is always good.
Njord is currently single and solitary, but like the archetypal sailor he has had many wives and lovers. He is technically married to Nerthus - by whom he has sired Frey and Freya - but it is strictly a ceremonial marriage, to be reconsummated once a year for ritual purposes. He was briefly married to Skadi as a favor to Odin, but they did not get along and quickly divorced. He has sired eight more daughters by various Vanir women.
Njord himself has been described as a lean, vigorous, bearded man in early middle age, with hands calloused from ship-ropes and face somewhat windburned. One spirit-worker who honors him referred to him as "every inch the perfect sea-captain", and reported that a salt breeze seemed to move about him wherever he was. Anyone who is interested in ships and sailing will automatically find an ally to talk to in him.
Njord's ceremonial wife, Nerthus, is the high priestess/earth mother of Vanaheim. Njord is her husband in name, but they do not live together; their marriage is strictly a ritual affair for the magical mating of earth and sea, in order to bring fertility to the land. Their two sacred children are the twins Frey and Freya, who embody the fertility of Vanaheim and bring that fertility everywhere they go.
Nerthus is very old and very private, and surrounded by taboos. She is large and voluptuous, with a Venus-of-Willendorf figure, and eyes like deep swamp pools. Her skin is brown as the earth, and her long brown hair trails on the ground for many feet behind her. She is in charge of all human sacrifice in Vanaheim, and people willingly give their lives before her knife. She lives on an island in the exact center of Vanaheim - an island within an island - which is only big enough for her sacred grove, her temple, and her house. During certain times of the year, she will process through the various Vanaheim villages, bringing peace and fertility, and then return to her island. She is accompanied on her way back by a tithe of servants whose job is to bathe her in the waters of her lake, serve her every whim for a week, and then be drowned as sacrifices. Only seek her out if you are willing to pay a high price for her wisdom, and if you cannot get it elsewhere.
Frey is a god with many homes, as his conflicting loyalties keep him always on the move. When serving his time in Asgard, he stays with his sister Freya in her hall Sessrumnir, and keeps it while she is home in Vanaheim. However, his beloved etin-bride Gerda will not come to Asgard with him, so he is alone during his sojourns there. He also has a hall in Alfheim (elaborated on more clearly in the Alfheim chapter), given to him by the Aesir, and he spends part of his Asgard-time there. While Gerda will come to live with him sometimes in Alfheim, she really does not like it there either. When he comes home to Vanaheim, the two of them live together in his Vanaheim hall in the Borri Woods, the place of their courtship. While we do not at this time know the name of this hall, or even if it has one beyond "Frey's Place", visitors have reported that it seems to be made entirely of golden corn dollies of woven straw.
Frey himself is a very accessible and friendly deity. He is tall and blond and beautiful, and laughs a good deal. While he is quite welcoming to all who seek him, the hard part is catching up to him as he moves from stead to stead during the year. He has divine rulership over such things as fertility, growth, abundance, peace, and contentment. He is a god of love and sex and sensuality, but unlike his sister who values these things in and of themselves, Frey works with committed lovers who wish to build a home together, especially if they intend to own land. He is just fine with nonheterosexual unions (and worshippers), and his priests were often effeminate and cross-dressed. He is a god of marriage, but unlike Frigga who blesses socially sanctioned marriages, Frey blesses those which make people shake their heads and say "They'll never make it - they're too different," or "they're too strange". His own wedding with the giantess Gerda was not the most well-received of unions, and he is sympathetic to the lovers who flout convention and struggle across cultural differences.
As a god of peace, Frey dislikes violence in his hallowed places, not to mention his home. Starting a fight there is unforgivable, as is discourtesy towards other guests. While he seems like a jovial type, you would be surprised how fast you will be hustled out by his servants if you make him unhappy.
If you can get him to show you his ship Skidbladnir, it's worth seeing. It's a tiny model ship that can blow up into a full-size creation at a word. It was a gift from Aegir, commissioned of duergar-make. He is proud of it, and loves to show it off, and to take short trips in it, although he has little of his father's skill with ships.
Gerda, his etin-bride wife, is utterly unlike Frey. Where he is good-humored and expressive, she is reserved and cool; one might even say downright cold to those she does not know. She is tall and large-boned, like most etin-women, with pale skin and long dark hair that is usually neatly braided behind her. She tends to wear loose, concealing dresses, and she spends a great deal of time in her gardens.
At each of the households where she lives with Frey - in Vanaheim and in Alfheim - she has built a beautiful garden with high walls around it, heavily warded. When you are in her gardens, there is a stillness and a safe quality to the place that makes you feel as if everything except that small place has ceased to exist. If Gerda invites you to come walk in the garden with her, it is not because she wants your conversation and chatter. It is because she wants you to spend time with her quietly appreciating the beauty and the peace of it. She may speak of her favorite garden, which is in Jotunheim at the home of her parents, planted on the limbs of a huge tree a hundred feet in the air, in the canopy of a great forest where mists float among the branches. Bring her offerings of seeds, preferably flower or herb seeds for her garden. Plant a garden in her name, in some out of the way place, perhaps with walls around it.
At first glance, Gerda seems almost plain, and one wonders how this woman won the desperate love of gorgeous blond Frey. Then, when she warms up a little, her dark eyes flash and you realize that under her cold manner lies hot-blooded Jotun passion, and for that moment she is both frightening and shockingly desirable, as if a dull-looking tabby cat growled and for a moment became a sleek black leopard. Then it vanishes as quickly as it came, and she is back to her self-enclosed coolness. Remember that although she is Frey's wife, she does not take on the task of running his households, as they are apart for at least half the year. Those chores she leaves to Beyla, including the work of hospitality. She seems to consider herself a guest in her husband's home, except for her garden spaces; it's a strange way to run a relationship, but it seems to work for them, and there is no questioning the depth of their love and affection for each other.
Frey's personal assistant and man-at-arms is Skirnir, given to him by the Aesir as a token of respect for his rank. Skirnir is lean, sharp, and quick, with a penetrating wit and wry speech. He is clever, resourceful, coldly practical, and willing to twist arms and lean on people in order to fulfill his orders, though he never evinces this behavior in Frey's presence. He takes his vocation as Frey's manservant and bodyguard very seriously, and will not hear any untoward words about his master. Frey gifted him with his horse, Blodighofi, as a reward for aiding his courtship with Gerda. Skirnir wisely realized that this was a gift given in impulse that Frey would later regret, and discreetly returned the horse after a week, saying that it was too fierce for him. He is still allowed to use Blodighofi for errands and missions, however,
Frey's two Vanir servants are Beyla and Byggvir, a married couple who follow him from stead to stead. Beyla milks the herd animals and tends to the bees at each farm, and Byggvir tends to the various crops, makes beer, and takes care of the magical World-Mill, one of Frey's treasures. The World-Mill, when turned, will keep pouring out a steady stream of grain. The type of grain varies from day to day, and Byggvir is always trying to get it to make new sorts. Byggvir is quite approachable, and will gladly show off the mill that is his favorite hobby. Beyla is more reticent, but can be wooed into talking by offering to help her with her tasks. (Knowing how to milk dairy animals is especially useful.) Other members of the traveling household include Blodighofi ("Blood-hoof"), Frey's great red horse who is unafraid of fire, and Gullinbursti ("Golden-bristle") and Slidrugtanni, the great tame boars that pull his chariot.
Offerings to Frey include good beer (preferably homemade or craft beers), fine breads, good cheeses, and other well-made beautiful gourmet food.
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