Valkyrie Bestiary

Doing Our Best to Care for the Fae

A Hell Hound Tale

January 1, 2081

Happy New Year! I have been thinking a lot about hell hounds lately, and I thought I’d tell you a story about these amazing and often misunderstood beasts.

Once upon a time, a young woman left the only home she’d ever known to live in Asgard, the land of her ancestors. Valkyrie blood ran in her veins, but the Freya of the Valkyrie maidens refused to train her. At eighteen, the girl was too old to learn, and her formative years on Midgard had made her soft.

But the king of the Aesir had a soft spot for his granddaughter and he forced the Freya to teach her. The Freya obeyed her king, but grudgingly. She didn’t like to be told what to do. The Valkyrie were her greatest pride, and she didn’t want a half-human girl to tarnish their reputation. So she made the girl work twice as hard as other novices. When the girl failed to meet expectations, the Freya beat her. When she was too tired to raise her sword one more time, the Freya beat her. Nothing the girl did pleased the Freya. And even as she progressed, growing stronger and faster, the Freya set higher and higher standards, so that triumph was always just out of reach for the half-human.

The king kept a pack of beasts descended from Loki’s great wolf son, Fenrir. These weren’t regular hunting dogs. These were hounds that guarded the portals to other worlds. One particularly nasty beast had six legs, a mane like a lion, and the bowel movements of an elephant. Cleaning the kennels was a punishment given to the novice who displeased the Freya the most, and so the half-human girl spent many hours with the howling, snarling pack of hounds. 

After watching her struggle to control the beasts, the king took pity on the girl and taught her the words that would make the beasts obey. After that, the hounds became devoted to her, and she spent many wonderful hours running with them in the forest. She never let it slip that she enjoyed working with the hounds, and the Freya continued to use kennel chores as a punishment.

One day, as the girl and the hounds ran through the forest outside the gates of Asgard, they stumbled into a patrol of giants. These were in the days just after the king had signed a treaty with the giants of Jotunheim. They lived only one world over in the branches of the Yggdrasil, the world tree that connects many lands. The treaty forbade the giants to travel within the border of Asgard without an Aesir escort, at least not in any numbers, and certainly not armed. 

They would have killed the girl to keep their secret. And one young Valkyrie novice against six giants isn’t much of a match. Still, the Freya’s training made her brave. She was ready to fight the giants to the death. But one hound grabbed her collar and flipped her onto his back. All she could do was hang on as he ran. Snarls and shouts of pain behind them soon faded into the distance, and she understood the pack was protecting her. Of the dozen hounds that left with the girl that morning, only six made it home. The others stayed back to fight the giants, to make sure the pack had a chance to run. And to live. 

The king was angry about the giant incursion, but he was more angry about losing six good hounds. And after that day, the girl was no longer allowed to run free with the pack.


Comments (5)

Hell hounds are indeed misunderstood. They are majestic beasts. And like any dog, they are only as good or evil as the master that trains them. And a merry changing of the calendar to you too!
cchedgewitch (January 1, 2081)

Fun story! I wish I could visit Asgard one day!
HarperHays (January 1, 2081)

     Me too :)
     Valkyrie367 (January 1, 2081)

Great story! What are those power words? Would they work on a hyperactive black lab?
PercyH (January 2, 2081)

     Sorry, it’s just a story. You’ll have to find your own magic words.
     Valkyrie367 (January 2, 2081)