The watcher smiled, stood from his hiding place as the couple rode away. He finally could burn his nemesis. The untouchable, almighty Commander made a mistake–a dire one. And not just any mistake, one to cause an uproar of perpetual misery with the king and the gods.
After being in Sigvarðr’s shadow for so long, Sigragi finally had something to devastate that immaculate career. Now was his time to rise above, take his rightful place. Giddy with elation, he planned to beg for audience with the council in hopes of having his brother banished into slavery.
A pang of conscience stole his thunder.
His brother gave him a position when none other would, overlooking substandard skills. Sigvarðr also protected him on many occasions. Sigragi knew deep inside, his brother deserved all he had received, yet the jealousy never abated. And he wished no harm to the goddess, who had the most to lose.
“You deserve the glory, me friend.”
Startled by the raspy voice, Sigragi turned to find a snake of sorts levitating beside him.
Ormer had gravitated to the deep hatred and resentment the man harbored.
“You have waited long for thine bounty. Think of all the comely young maidens who shall fawn over you. Think of all the riches and merit you shall receive. I know what you want and now ’tis within your grasp. Methinks I shall aid you in ridding the world of him, and you…you shall assist me with the goddess.” The creature undulated with excitement, changed shape to dragon, and as quickly back to serpent.
Sigragi stumbled in stunned horror. “W-what do you want with the goddess?”
“She betrayed me,” Ormer snapped, shifting again to dragon, breathing fire. “I was a demi-god for Odin’s sake, and offered her marriage. Had she stood with me, I would be invincible. But she shunned me, caused me to be banished to the Underworld. And now to choose a mere mortal for an affair!” Fire roared from its throat. The flames extinguished as the being slipped into its serpent form, once again composed. “Should you assist me, then I assist thee. The benefits are over many.”
“You shall let me enter your body. I have need of physical form to complete our task. I shall guide you in addressing the council, see that you receive your rightful place, become a better strategist and warrior than ever he was. All you crave will be yours, if you agree to help me,” the asp cajoled.
Sigragi thought of the fame and fortune he would receive. His mind filled with images of being worshipped and celebrated, of all the women he could have. Contemplation made him smile.
“I agree,” he said. “When…?”
The snake jammed itself down Sigragi’s throat, catching him unawares. The man dropped to his knees, panicked, grabbed at the snake-like creature, tried to no avail to pull free. His face reddened. Blood vessels bursting in his eyes spread in a spider web effect. He slumped to the ground, clawed at his throat, lost consciousness.