I sing of he who is always a guest, never truly welcome,
wanderer from the Iron Woods and Odin’s blood brother,
son of Laufey Leafy-Isle and Farbauti Lightning-Strike,
mother of Sleipnir, father of Death, Serpent, and Wolf,
consort of the ruddy-haired Angrboda, and scar-lipped,
sly tongued liar, though he is cursed to tell the truth.
I sing of Sigyn Fetter-Breaker, Victory Woman, Mother
to Narvi and Vali, Child Bride, Keeper of the Bowl
that suspends poison from touching her dear husband,
the only one that could drink down fire and quench
the burning loneliness of Loki, steadfast wife of
the hearth and wildfire, blue flower of the sea.
Loki had flown in Freyja’s falcon cloak far and wide.
No woman pleased him, not Sif’s ample hips or Freyja’s
wily ways, Odin’s mead was bitter, his longing for
someone who did not smile then turn away whenever
he entered the room – be our fool, Loki, be our
friend, then we will spit your name like a curse.
Who in the Nine Kingdoms did not despise him when
his trickery caught the best of him? He laughed
through the pain of sewn lips and flytings, even
Odin could not ken the depths of his madness, it
ate away at Loki like acid that would someday drip
from Skadi’s snakes, but that was centuries away.
Loki was still young, still a wanderer, Angrboda
was fierce, yes, and he was proud of Hela, Fenrir,
and Jormungandr, but to have an etin-bride far
away in Jotunheim left his Asgardian bed cold
when rain pelted like hail and the girls and
boys had tired of his amusements, they said he
slept with anything that could move, horse or
hag, but truly, Loki did not want to be alone
when the darkness came, and silence reigned.
Fire fears the dark, and Loki wanted kindling.
And then past the edge of the Worlds, at Urda’s
Well, Loki saw a young woman picking cornflowers.
She had hair like wood, a body like a beautiful
supple violin, and her smile lit up the mountains.
Was she As or Van? Jotun or Alf? Human, maybe?
It is lost to time. But she sang, and she would
offer the flowers to the well, they are her magic,
you see – they broke Loki’s chains in the end, for
Sigyn is the Fetter Breaker, and do you really think
anyone else in Asgard but she who held the bowl
could set Loki free from his torments?
Where do you think she poured the leftover venom but
onto Loki’s chains, rusting them century by century
until her now broken husband was free, she stayed
sane for him, for their dead children, for All.
But that was a far away wyrd, and Loki wooed her
with the simple promise: I will make you my bride.
I will love you as the wildfire loves the forest.
I will devour all your fears and fructify soil, I
will give you my tongue, for I have no sword, and
please, oh please Sigyn, let me but hold you, for
I am so lonely amongst friends, so tearful behind
my smile, and your kindness is something that will
save me in the depths of my insanity, you will be
my answer to all the cruelties of a hard life, in
the end, I will have done it all for you, my wife.
And Sigyn held him, and comforted him, and she said
I will love you and bake you sweet bread, I will bear
you sweet boys that will never reach adulthood, but
we will love them nonetheless, in your kitchen I will
sing, I will hang the ceiling with flax and flowers,
I will spin and sew you clothes and secrets, I will
be your bride, sweet Loki, for I see past your silver
tongue a man whose heart is broken, and it will take
an eternity to mend, but I am water, I fit into your
cracks, I will whet your fire and ground you, husband.
And their love was the strongest of Asgard, and their
trials were the cruelest of all invention, but still
they love, and still Loki protects his humans with
utter warmth, wit, and humor, and still Sigyn lets
no hungry mortals come to her table, still she tends
wounds you didn’t even know existed, and they welcome
the outcasts, the mad, the wild who do not belong,
for in the hall of the Madman and the Fetter Breaker,
no one cries for long, and happiness plays like songs.