In the Beginning...All was fire and ice. As the fire from Muspelheim met the ice from Nifelheim, the jötunn Ymir and the cow Audhumla were created. Ymir's foot begat the race of Jötnar. As Ymir slept, he sweated in the intense heat, and thus Surtr, a jötunn of fire, was born. Later, when Ymir woke, he drank from the cow Audhumla while she licked on a salt stone. Her licking revealed Búri, and with a jötunn female he fathered Borr, the father of Odin, Vili, and Ve.
The three brothers killed Ymir and created seven more worlds using Ymir's body. His flesh became earth. His blood became the oceans, lakes, and rivers. His bones became stone. His brains became clouds, and his skull, the sky. Later, Odin, Vili, and Ve were walking along a beach, and came upon two tree trunks. The brothers fashioned them into human-shape. Ve gave them the ability to hear, see, and speak. Vili gave them mind. And Odin gave them life (literally: wode, meaning the frenzy in which a poet writes masterpieces and in which a berserker fights). To protect humanity from the Jötnar, Midgard was surrounded by a fence made of Ymir's eyelashes.
A God by Any Other Name...Odin is described by Snorri as the chieftain of the Æsir. Foremost, he is a god of death in all its many forms, though not a god of the underworld. He is most concerned with the coming Ragnarök, and spends tremendous effort preparing for that day. The bravest warriors spend the afterlife in his hall, awaiting Ragnarök, when the gods will need their help to ensure the rebirth of the world. He is a god of wisdom and magic. He has endured much pain and hardship in the pursuit of knowledge. In order to drink from Mimir's Well, in which all wisdom lies, Mimir demanded he cast an eye into the Well. He hung from the World Tree for nine days and nights, pierced by a spear and pledged as a sacrifice to himself. Given no bread or mead, he peered down, took up the runes, and fell screaming from the tree. After Mimir's death at the hands of the Vanir, he preserved Mimir's head using spells and herbs and he talks with it to gain its knowledge. He is the leader of the Wild Hunt, leading a host of the slain across the land in the dead of winter, and leaving the living with the promise of new growth. In this way, his true nature is seen: An (often cruel) god most concerned with preserving the knowledge of the past and ensuring the cycle of death and rebirth.
...May Not Be the God You're Used To.Or: In Which The Author Takes Liberties For Fictional Purposes. The Germanic gods are described as mortal, aging and dying as easily as humanity. The goddess Idunna is the caretaker of the apples of youth, which she distributes to the gods to maintain their immortality. When Loki's pranks cause her to be taken from them, they grow old, and she must quickly be rescued. Odin, however, contradicts this. He is described as an old man, bearded and one-eyed, with a hat pulled low to cover his eye, and a cloak of blue-black (the color traditionally associated with the dead). He drinks only mead or wine and he feeds the food given to him to his two wolves, Geri and Freki (both meaning "the greedy"). He has been "killed", sacrificed to himself to learn the runes. The god whose eye is forever looking to the future, forever preparing for the final battle, is more of the dead whom he communes with and claims than of the living.
He is blind in one eye. Around his neck, marks can be seen where the noose dug into his flesh. Above his heart, a brutal scar marks the place he was impaled with his own spear, in his quest to learn the runes. The death-god is often seen with his two wolves, and his two ravens, carrion-eaters and the scavengers of the battlefield. He is more of the dead than the living, and while he has fathered gods and great kings, he does not eat and his heart does not beat. As belief has waned in the Germanic gods, and others have risen to take their place, so too has his power waned. No longer is a mere word from him enough to seal the fate of his chosen mortal. Men worship other gods, now, and other gods claim that right. He retains the wisdom he sacrificed so much of himself for, but his search for more wisdom is difficult and dangerous, and he gives up ever more of himself with every spell he casts. While the landscape of Midgard is safe, though fraught with turmoil and ravaged by decay, the landscape of the other eight worlds has suffered horribly in man's disbelief and his quest to master his world, and the journey between the worlds is a dangerous one. The Jötnar grow restless as the body of their father, Ymir, decays. The restless dead gather in the hall of Hel and make ready to sail while Nidhogg gnaws at the roots of the World Tree. And from the south, Surtr waits in Muspelheim to consume the nine worlds in fiery oblivion. The wise god believes, now more than ever, that Ragnarök is at hand.
...And In the End, Life Begins Anew.The roosters crow, the Hound Garmr howls and breaks free of his fetters. Strife descends upon the worlds. Man wars with his brother, and his wars consume the world. Heimdall blows the Gjallarhorn and rallies the gods to battle. Odin converses with Mimir's head. The Jötnar march to war on the gods from the east, while the Midgard Serpent stretches its jaws wide. Surtr marches from the south, consuming everything in his path in fire. The old gods meet the invaders in battle, and both sides slay the other. The Wolf Fenrir devours the Sun and the Moon, and he begins to devour the earth before Odin confronts him. Odin is devoured by Fenrir before Odin's son, Víðarr, avenges his father's death. The worlds are consumed by fire and slip into the sea.
But the new world is born out of the old. The earth reappears from the water, and the children of the old gods meet to discuss old times. Fields grow without being sown, and two humans, Líf and Lífþrasir appear from the World Tree to repopulate the world. Baldr and Höðr are ressurrected and return from Hel, and together with the other gods, they rule the new world. This is the outcome for which Odin continually fights. Not for his own power or comfort, but for the rebirth of the world after Ragnarök.
Alias: Einar (One Warrior - from same root as Einherjar) Skollvald (ON: Ruler of Treachery) Borsson (Anglicized: Son of Borr)