All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine

Sacrifice

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There was never any doubt.

No chain smithed by mortal man would hold the eternal hunger,

And so — as so many times before — we turned to the dwarves

For the fetter to bind that malicious maw.

They crafted it out of six impossible things,

And told us: It will hold.

We knew Fenris could not snap this bond.

 

But so did He.

 

And so the Ravener asked:

By what token am I to trust in this game–

That, once bound, you will free me?

 

All of us, Aesir and Vanir, knew without speaking that,

Once our word was given, we would have to break it.

He could not be freed.

And I could see in their eyes that none of them–

Not the one-eyed wanderer,

Not the red-bearded thunderer,

Not the lord of the fertile fields,

Not the keen-eyed far-seer–

Would do so.

 

No, there was never any doubt.

In my mind, there was only certainty:

I do this thing because it must be done.

I do this thing because the Hunger must be bound.

I do this thing because there is no one else to do it.

 

Without hesitation, I told the baleful beast:

I, Tyr, will place my hand between your jaws.

If you are not freed when the game of binding is ended,

Then my oath is broken,

And my hand is forfeit.

 

He accepted this, for were not my unbroken word

And my good right hand — my sword-hand —

Ample token of trust?

 

I thrust my sword-hand between the beast’s slavering jaws,

Felt those fangs — black with the rotting shreds

Of a thousand good warriors’ hearts — close about the bones of my wrist.

 

And so they bound him: with woman’s beard

And mountain’s roots; with cat’s footfall

And bird’s spittle; with bear’s sinews

And the breath of a fish —

Knowing beyond a doubt that it would hold.

 

And so did he.

 

I do this thing that must be done:

Let all men know by the hand I will lose that

          Tyr broke his oath.

I do this thing that must be done:

Let all men know by the hand I will lose that

          Tyr cared enough to make the sacrifice that had to be made.

I do this thing that must be done:

Let all men know by the hand I will lose that

          only by Tyr’s will was the wolf bound.

 

I stared into the wolf’s wild and wicked eyes as his fangs

passed through the flesh and bone of my wrist, slamming shut with a ghastly clash.

 

All the world could see the wolf’s woe: I had won.

 

I, oath-broken.

I, the sacrifice.

I, wolf’s bane.

 

The wolf howled in impotent rage and grief.

And I — bloody, broken, but not beaten — smiled.

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