The Bifrost, the bridge that carried the spirits of fallen warriors to the halls of the gods, was described as a "rainbow of three colors". Whether this applies to the Northern Lights themselves, or merely the Norse lacking names for some of the colors/shades that appear in a standard rainbow is up for debate.
So, this is written with a few creative liberties. I've never seen the Northern Lights in person, but it's on my bucket list...
There weren't always dragons in the valley. Most of the time they lived, ate and slept on their golden hordes, fearing to venture far lest a thief intrude in their absence. But for a horde to exist or grow, gold and jewels must be collected, so young dragons sometimes ventured out of their lairs to find trinkets.
A battlefield, once the fighting is done, is a place rife with treasures, and short on armed warriors, so dragons circle among the carrion-eating birds, ready to scavenge.
The night is clear and cold, bright stars burning against the endless canvas of the sky.
Those newly-slain on the battlefield have been given their rites and are ready for their final journey, sped and shielded by the prayers of their remaining comrades.
My sisters and I wander the newly-cleared battlefield, gathering the souls of those who died with bravery and honor. We are Odin's handmaidens, the Valkyries, who ride with the one-eyed bringer of wisdom. It is our other task that we attend this night; to ferry the slain warriors to the halls of the gods.
Half of those fallen will go to Fólkvangr, the hall where the goddess Freyja holds court, her necklace Brisingamen shining brighter than the stars. The remainder will be brought to Odin in Valhalla, to join the ranks of the Einherjar. There they will feast and train for the coming of Ragnarok, and the remaking of the world.
The bodies that once littered the battlefield are gone, but their spirits linger, waiting for my sisters and I to come for them.
I stop where one spirit lies, eyes closed, his weapon still gripped tightly in one hand. This one is a shieldmaiden, and… ah, yes, only a few feet away lies her brother, side by side until the end of their time on Midgard. They will remain together in Fólkvangr, too, until the End of the Age.
Another of my sisters is already approaching for him, and I lower my spearpoint to touch the spirit’s breast. The spirit opens her eyes, and takes my hand, and rises again. All across the blood-soaked plain, similar interactions play out.
Across the sky, there is the first shimmering of light, green and blue and purple, as Heimdall the ever-watchful opens the Bifrost, the trembling rainbow that forms the bridge between Midgard and the realms of the gods: Asgard, Vanaheim and Alfheim, where Freyja’s brother, Freyr, presides.
The first of the Valkyries and their passengers are mounted, and turn their steeds toward the bridge. They pass across, and the light flickers and fades, as if a dark fog were blown up among the light of the bridge. It soon passes, and the lights return as bright as ever.
I mount up, pulling my shieldmaiden onto the horse behind me, and we take our place in the ranks.
For as long as I have lived, no matter how many times I make the crossing, I never cease to feel wonder as I gallop across the Bifrost.
Light glimmers and sparks and flashes beneath thundering hooves, as if Ullr himself danced among the rays. Heimdall, standing vigil at the gates, nods a greeting as we pass, and I return it, shifting my weight to keep balanced as we transition from the trembling bridge to the solid stone that paves the roads of Asgard. I take the branch that leads to Freyja’s hall, where the cats who pull her chariot sun themselves at the windows.
I try not to cringe as we pass them. Nearly as long as I am tall, it makes for a very undignified sight when one of them demands food or attention. I am happy to provide either or both, normally, but my mount is less than appreciative of such instances.
The lady herself waits at the door, ready to welcome her warriors home.
For more mythological retellings, you can check out my other stories here, or take a peek at Call Me Les and Heather Miller, who also have a number of stories that deserve more attention than they have.
For more on the Halls of the Gods and which of the dead go where, I can't recommend this post enough as a beginner's introduction to Norse Mythology.
Until next time...