Publicada por Arith Härger / 4:20 PM /
The giant Billing is the "Master of the Vanirs". He is Gilling's brother, Rind's father and Vali's grandfather. Although he is a giant, he has strong ties with the Vanir - one of his wives is a Vana - and he is in charge of handling the trade between Vanaheim and Jotunheim. He is mediator and bargainer, working towards the best deal for both sides, and both sides respect him for his fairness and neutrality. His hall is located at a large port on the Jotunheim-facing coast of Vanaheim; it is as much warehouse as living space. Although he is well-disposed towards human travelers, he is very busy and has little time for their questions.
Just off the coast of Vanaheim lies Aegirheim, the underwater palace of Aegir, the sea god (occasionally known as Hler). While Aegir and his folk travel the seawater in every land, and are familiar with the beaches that wash everywhere from Midgard to Asgard to Muspellheim to Helheim, their main base is in Vanaheim and they do tend to ally themselves with the Vanir. Aegir's father is Mistblindi, or "mist-blind". His brother, Logi, is a sworn man of Utgard-Loki.
Aegir was often shown as a vigorous man with a spear in his hand - one ancient term for the sea, garsecg, actually meant spear-man - with a long, flowing beard that he loves to decorate with shells and beads. His wife Ran, whose name means Robber, is the Thief of Ships. She is not nearly as nice as Aegir is, and is harder to please. She is tiny for an etin-woman, small and delicate with pale, blue-tinged skin, long fingers, strange sea-colored inhuman eyes, and black hair so long that it trails on the floor behind her. Her eyes are cold and flick from side to side like green-glass blades. She enjoys human guests largely for their entertainment value, so make sure that you are properly entertaining.
Aegir and Ran's daughters, the Nine Undines, take much more after their mother's temperament. In their natural forms, they range from startlingly ugly to strikingly lovely but inhuman-looking, although they can all take on illusory beautiful-human-woman forms if they choose. In the water they will always be tailed mermaids; in Aegirheim they switch to legs. They are a close-knit and rather bloodthirsty lot, as can be deduced by their names: Blodughadda (Blood-hair), Bara (Big Wave), Bylgja (Breaking Wave), Duva (Hidden), Hevring (Heaving), Himinglava (Sky Shining Through), Hronn (Sucking Wave), Kolga (Cool One), and Unn (Billow).
Sea-giants have several forms. They can look like pale humans, usually with long flowing hair nearly the full length of their bodies. They can take on the forms of fishes, dolphins, whales and other sea creatures, sometimes even floating clumps of seaweed. They can take on a form that looks like a transparent humanoid water-shape. They can also take on the classic half-fish mermaid/merman form that has so entranced sailors through the ages.
To get to Aegirheim, the best route is via Hlesey Island, off the coast of Vanaheim. Here you can rent a boat from the locals (or bring your own), go down to the shore and make the proper offerings, and ask to be escorted to Aegir's halls. If the offering is accepted, one of his servants (or daughters, if he thinks that you rate that kind of treatment) will come up out of the water for you. They will sail the boat for you - go ahead and let them! - and it will slowly sink under the waves. This is the frightening part for us air-breathers, but don't worry - ask long as you are close to them, you will be able to breathe fine. It's part of their magic. If you are rude, of course, they will throw you off the boat (or, later, out of the palace) and you will quickly drown as soon as you are out of range.
Aegir's doorward is an etin named Eldir. Like Fjalar, his favorite form is that of a giant rooster. He is fussy and difficult, and prone to turning rude people away. If he answers the door in rooster form, be careful not to laugh; he would not be above pecking or scratching you badly and then throwing you out into the ocean. Eldir is a bit self-important; humor him and make sure he knows you understand what an honor it is to feast at Aegir's table.
During the feast, Aegir will pass around the Rimkalk, or crystal goblet used for toasts. This is your cue to tell him how honored you are to be there, and to praise his hospitality. If you have a song or poem to donate, go ahead, but keep it short. The great feasts are cooked in a magic kettle a mile deep called Seaboiler. It was originally owned by the giant Hymir, but it was borrowed by Thor, never returned, and won in a game by Aegir, who uses it in his enormous feeds.
One thing that you may find notable when dining with Aegir is the number of human beings at the table who are actually dead. There will usually be a number of ghosts at the table, enjoying his hospitality, although these days there are far fewer than there used to be in the times of the great ships. These are people who were drowned at sea and whose souls were snatched by Ran, who holds the power to steal souls out of drowning bodies. She keeps them around Aegirheim, rather like pets, until they cease to be entertaining and then are summarily sent off to Helheim. The most entertaining ghosts, or the ones that Aegir finds the most engaging, have been there for hundreds of years feasting and singing and dancing.
Shiny coins and jewelry. Please make sure that the metal is actually real precious metal; they can tell the difference and will be as insulted by pot metal as any duergar. Sailors used to be given coins with which to pay off the sea-giants if they were "captured". Alcohol with gold dust in it is also much loved, especially if it is homebrew, which Aegir appreciates. In ancient times, sailors used to give human sacrifices to the sea-giants, throwing them overboard, and they still remember this wistfully. It meant a lot to them not just because of bloodthirstiness, but because the souls of those who drowned went not to Helheim or Asgard, but to their own halls, where they would feast and be entertained forever.
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