To Váli

Hail Váli, whose eyes are cold as ice,
whose heart is hard as stone,
and whose hands can be destructive
as an avalanche, except when you’re angry –
then it’s much, much worse.
Oh Váli who bears the magical sword
that once belonged to Höðr the Blind,
you who were born of a loveless union
between Óðinn the Binder and Rindr the Giantess
beautiful as a Ruthenian princess,
for a singular purpose your father foresaw
after eating a bunch of amanitas.
Oh Váli, daring in battle and excellent marksman,
it is said that your first kill occurred
on your first night after birth,
before your hair was combed,
before you were even bathed in fact,
you had sent Baldr’s adversary to the funeral fire.
Oh Váli who wanders the wintry wastes alone,
on your second day of life they say you held Loki tight
and made him watch as his son Nari was torn asunder
by his other son, your namesake, who had been
transformed into a wolf. Then you took his son’s entrails
and bound the lie-smith to three large stones with them,
the gut-threads becoming iron so that he could not escape
until the going dark of the Gods is upon us.
Oh Váli whose back and shoulders are strong enough
to carry the burden of the destiny you were cruelly conceived
to fulfill, you have spent every day since training
and preparing for the battle that is to come,
during which your reason for being will be manifest.
Until that fateful day and after I shall say
hail to the son whose father couldn’t be prouder,
Váli the valiant defender of Ásgarðr!

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