Fenris the Wolf

Told By Darin Morgan

The wind howled almost as loudly as the cub Fenris did. The young cub was no older than one year, and already he was larger than any of the other wolves his age. He knew not who his parents were. He had been adopted by a small pack of mountain wolves before he could remember and had traveled with them ever since. Fenris's life began by being protected by the pack, but even at the age of one, he was more like their protector. He ate no differently than the rest, was no different in any regard that could be seen, and yet he grew twice as fast as they did; and he was nearly as strong as the full grown wolves in the pack. Once they had been feasting on a deer that the pack had brought down the day before when they were attacked by a troll. Three of the older wolves launched at its throat, but the huge troll merely swept them aside with a tree trunk that it swung as a club. One of the wolves that Fenris had learned to call "brother" latched onto the trolls back leg. Fenris howled in rage and grief as he heard his brother's back snap when the troll brought its hand down on the young wolf. Fenris dug his back legs into the ground and leapt with tremendous power. He struck the troll in its chest and it toppled backwards, loosing its weapon. The troll brought its fist to Fenris's ribs, but they did not break. It hit him again and again, but Fenris did not break his hold; he merely sunk his teeth in deeper and deeper into the wretched creature's throat. The troll's arm finally sunk to the earth as the life ebbed from his body. Fenris released his grip, black blood dripping from his hairy muzzle, running down his neck, and staining his paws. Fenris let loose a mighty howl that shook the very ground. The other wolves regarded him in fear, a wolf of only one year old, and yet today had proven stronger than any wolf that had ever been written about in legend, maybe that ever existed. Not even the wolves of Odin could kill a troll by themselves. Fenris tried to live among the pack, but they all feared him, and none thought of him the same. Fenris left the warmth of the pack and slowly walked into the cold black night, the snow swirling around him. Fenris wandered the hills for many nights, never finding rest. When his body growled for food Fenris started putting his nose to the ground sniffing for a trail. Ahead in a clearing he caught site of a rabbit nibbling on some grass that was sticking through the snow. As Fenris crept toward it though, it seemed not to see him but to sense him and it turned to face him. It however did not run, it stared at him, seeming to almost smile. Fenris growled. He smelled the change before he saw it, but the rabbit did change. It leapt forward, and in mid leap became a man, clothed in a garb of different shades of grey. The man had a black beard and mustache and dark shifty eyes. Fenris not so much saw, but felt, or smelled, the dishonesty and deception that seemed to hang on the man thicker than his grey coat of animal skin. Yet, there was something about him, a familiarity.

"Hello, Fenris. I have been waiting for you. You're a hard wolf to find despite your many differences from the others of your kind."

The hair on Fenris's back stood upright, and he growled, "Who are you? What differences?"

The black-haired man laughed, "I am Loki, and you are blind if you see no differences between you and the mere wolves of these mountains."

"I am the same--" Fenris' words were cut off by the sound of a third person suddenly speaking.

"Enough Loki! We do it my way."

Fenris had a sudden thought of anger toward himself for not detecting the second man in the trees to his left. He managed to turn his head enough to catch a glimpse of a splendidly dressed man in golden armor. His red beard hung down to the top of his breast plate and was neatly braided into two thick braids. This was all he saw before a spinning hammer struck him in the side of the head. As he slipped into unconsciousness he heard the two strangers talking.

"You never did have much patience, did you Thor?"

Thor laughed, "We don't have time for you to talk him into unconsciousness, we're only immortals"

Fenris slipped into darkness. He had a foggy memory of being carried through the woods. He also remembered dimly seeing a castle and more people gathered around looking down at him. When he finally awoke he looked around and saw he was being kept in a cage. He howled with anger and growled as he looked around his prison.

One day Odin came to pay him a visit. Fenris growled through the iron bars, "Why am I here? How long are you going to keep me?"

Odin laughed, "You are here because it was seen that you and your family would destroy the world, if something was not done."

"So you plan on keeping me here for all eternity?"

"No, we will only keep you here as long as it takes us to figure out how to kill you. Unfortunately you don't die as easily as the rest of your pack."

Fenris who had lain down to show this one-eyed man he wasn't afraid of him, now lept to his feet. His words were almost intelligible from a growl, "What?"

"I sent the troll, and when it failed to kill you I sent Thor and Loki. It was seen that your family would also be part of the destruction of the world, so they all had to die."

Fenris saw his brother's dead-yellow eyes staring at nothing and heard the words of Odin all too clearly in his head again, ‘They all had to die.' Fenris leaped forward, the bars bent like butter as he thrust his head through, snapping his jaws at the man's head. Odin drew back in astonishment and was just saved. There was a gaping hole in the bars, but they still held. Fenris launched again, and again at the bars. Odin turned and hastily left the room, locking the door behind him. Fenris lifted his head and howled.

The days passed, and he was moved to a stronger cell. The only one of the Norse men and women who dwelled in this fortress however that were brave enough to feed him was the one they called Tyr. Fenris never tried to kill him, and never had a desire to. He almost liked the young Norseman, except for his coarse jokes about wolves that he seemed to come up with overnight. Fenris spent most of his time thinking about Odin and how he could kill him. One day as Tyr was opening the door to feed him, Fenris caught site of Odin out in the courtyard. The two inch metal bars snapped as the giant wolf thrust himself against them. He made it to the door. Tyr tried to close it, but the wolf rammed past him. Tyr was head and shoulders taller than any mortal man, but the force by which Fenris hit the door sent him flying backward as if he weighed nothing. The door was burst into splitters. Odin was accompanied by Thor, Balder, and Skadi. Skadi saw the wolf first and her spear of ice appeared in her hand as she yelled a warning to the others. She then hurled the spear with the accuracy of a goddess. Although the spear could normally pierce any metal or stone, the speed with which Fenris ran and his shear strength shattered the ice spear upon impact. Fenris growled at the pain and launched forward again. Thor had his hammer in hand and dealt a earth shattering blow to the massive wolf's side. Fenris rolled to the side, got up, shook it off, and walked straight for Odin. Fenris was now large enough to look at Odin at eye level. Loki, watching from the wall, jumped off and in mid-air his arms molded into great wings. By the time he reached the fight there was nothing human about him, only the form of a great hawk, who closed its talons around the shoulders of Odin lifting him off the ground and to safety. Thor had his hammer raised, Skadi had produced another spear, and Balder had his sword drawn. All were waiting to strike. Fenris ignored them all he kept his gaze ever on Odin.

Tyr ran toward Fenris a massive chain in hand. Fenris was yelling after Odin, "I will sink my teeth in you before I die! That I promise you!"

While Fenris was distracted Tyr through the chain around the wolf, but Fenris shook and pulled and the chain split at every link. All stepped back none wanting to face this beast.

Dropping Odin upon the wall Loki swooped back to earth, landing a few steps in front of Fenris.

"I am sorry, my friend. I have always been on your side, but alas...Odin is a companion of mine so I was indebted to help him. I do believe that you are the strongest of all creatures, and could easily break any chair or cord fashioned to hold you, but I happen to have a cord fashioned by the dwarves. They claim that it is unbreakable. Now if you will allow me to test their words, and if you will allow me to bind you with it, I will make you a deal. If you break the cords, then you are indeed worthy of doing battle with Odin, and you may face him in combat. However, if you fail to break my dwarven- made cord you must leave this place and never return, not to seek your revenge on Odin or to trouble us ever again."

"How do I know you will release me if I cannot break your cord? I will agree to your test if one of you will place their right hand in my mouth. That way if you go back on your word..." Fenris snapped his massive jaws to finish the sentence.

Loki was a bit aggravated at being outwitted, and was about to try to dissuade the wolf, when Tyr stepped forward and pulled his sleeve back from his arm.

Loki looked Tyr in the eye and shook his head ever so slightly, but Tyr only nodded in answer and held his hand out, steady and unflinching.

Fenris had a pang of regret. He had not thought that anyone would take him up on the offer, least of all the only one that he liked, but Fenris knew he had made the deal and he could not go back on his word. So he firmly placed his jaws around his caretakers arm. Loki pulled a cord from his cloak. It seemed to change colors in the sun, shifting from blue to green and back again. Once the cord was securely fastened, Loki stepped back and nodded for Fenris to attempt to break free. The great wolf flexed, pulled, struggled with every ounce of energy he had. He struggled all night long. His hate for Odin was strong enough to push him to the edge.

Finally, as the sun rose Loki again spoke. "You can not break free?"

The great wolf shook his head, ever mindful of Tyr.

Then I am sorry my friend, but you are to never be freed."

Fenris is his rage then bit down till his teeth clacked together and Tyr writhed in pain.

Balder and Thor grabbed Fenris and hauled him to a great rock chaining his now helpless body to it. Fenris opened his mouth wide attempting to bite one of the two. It was then that Balder took his sword and lodged it in the wolf's mouth. If he was to bite down he would end his own life.

Loki was the last person to leave the rock. As he left he said, "Worry not my Fenris, you will not be chained forever. I may have need of you when Odin has outlived his usefulness. In that day you will howl once again." With that Loki left, his dark grey cloak turning pitch black for a split second.

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