A deal is sealed

Another time Óðr was wandering through the Bosporus when he came across the idol of a deity he did not recognize. It was like a herm of wood, but the face had been covered in silver with a mustache of gold. Nevertheless Óðr took some bread from his traveler’s sack, carefully setting it before the idol with reverent words, and then poured out a large quantity of honey-wine from his magical drinking-horn that never emptied, crafted for him by the matchless Andvari. Óðr then sat down cross-legged before the idol and worshiped the unknown God in his heart, his mind and his soul.

A short time later the heavens grew dark and thick with clouds, wind whipped his hair and cloak about, sheets of rain fell and lightning like hastily sketched Runes lit up the sky. Then something shaped like a man stepped into the clearing; he was thickly muscled, with long hair and beard the color of flame and he carried a hammer that looked like a more primitive version of Thor’s.

“Greetings, Perun; it has been too long.”

“It has indeed been a long time since men have called me by that name instead of Saint Elias; longer still since they have given me proper worship.”

“I am only sometimes a man, but all that is divine deserves respect.”

At that Perun swung his hammer over his head and soon the two were engulfed in a cyclone. Then it was gone and Óðr found himself in royal chambers crafted entirely from oak.

“I have missed you, old friend.“ Perun said, pushing an overflowing tankard into the hands of his guest. “Are you here on the One-Eyed’s business or your own?”

Óðr drank deeply, for it had been a long journey. “I remember when we used to share our alcohol in bowls crafted from skulls of enemy tribesmen.”

“Times have changed.”

Óðr wiped foam from his beard and said, “And will continue to.”

“Do you still serve Óðinn?”

“Have you decisively defeated Veles?”

Both Gods answered “no” and smiled. Óðr added: “I remain on friendly terms with him, however.” Perun could tell much was being left unsaid. “With what’s coming, it is good to have allies in as many realms as possible.”

“Is that why you’ve come here?”

“No. I’ve already seen in a cannabis vision that you will fight beside me when the time comes.”

“But not him?”

“This is a war that will be fought on many fronts.”

“So why join you and not him?”

“Because I’ll be going after the one who harms Lada.”

“What do you say?” Perun’s eyes began to crackle and spark. “She had better be okay.”

“She is fine for now. That is not why I am here today.”

“Then why?” Perun finished off his tankard.

“Because you need one of these.” Óðr took one of three golden apples from his traveler’s sack and began juggling with it.

“What is it?” Perun demanded, and before he’d even gotten the words out Óðr tossed it to him across the room. Perun caught the golden apple in his large, calloused hands and immediately his eyes flickered open a couple times and then closed for good.

Óðr sipped his beverage and waited.

Finally Perun’s eyes opened and the God said, “I must have this.”

Óðr smiled. “What is it worth to you?”

“I would trade anything in my Kingdom for this treasure.”

“It is more than a treasure. I can teach you how to use it as a weapon.”

“With this I could finally defeat the dragon.”

“And many other dragons as well.”

“What do you want?” Perun asked, justifiably suspicious of his guest.

Óðr held up his tankard and said, “More brew.”

When foam was spilling over the sides Óðr added, “And for the apple, three boons.”