Keeping Watch For Vali

I was originally holding this piece back until such time as a friend of mine could have a look at it first, but as wyrd or whatever happenstance would have it I’m not sure just now if I’ll ever have the chance to talk to that friend again. Such is the way of things sometimes, for good or for ill. Still, there are promises that remain and need to be kept. I had made one to Vali the Son of Loki, to do something for Him. To tell a story that follows after what has been written.

Nota Bene: I know that no where in any lore or even any commonly accepted UPG is it written of a pack of hunting wolves or dogs in Valhalla. I also have nothing of my own to back up the idea. Only that when I set my mind to write for Vali, this is the tale that came to me. Make of it what you will, and I hope everyone who reads it is able to enjoy it in their own ways. Now… on with the tale!

Keeping Watch For Vali

Here I am Vali
Here in the Ironwood,
Where Mani and Sunna’s light trickles down through the trees
On the edge of the Deepwood
Where the trees are older, and no light ever shines
Waiting, until You welcome us in

I remember that day
When all was madness and grief
We were all called out
The hunting dogs and wolves of the Aesir
To hunt beside the Gods, the Valkyries and Einherjar
For Loki, Your Father
To bring Him to answer for the death of Baldur, Odin’s son

When at last Loki was captured
We were sent back
It was not our place to stand judgement
Nor to witness judgement carried out
Only to hunt and to fetch
And so, our task done
We returned to the empty lonely hall
And waited

Odin returned alone
His hair was askew
His hands were bloody
There were tears in His eyes

We rose to greet Him
Terrified to see Him so
Geri and Freki stopped us with a snarl
And together They followed Him to His chamber

Time past
Anxious and afraid we waited
Till Geri and Freki returned
And They told us the horrible news
How Odin, the Lord we loved
In His grief and rage
Had turned you Vali
Whom we had once played with
And with your brother Narvi
Into a wolf like us
To make you do the unthinkable
And slay your brother, Narvi
All to bind Your Father, Loki
Who’s playfulness and merry jests
None of us could ever forget

We were shaken
Some wept
Some howled in anguish
Some bared our fangs and snarled
Some cowered trembling on the floor

“ENOUGH!!!” barked Geri, and bared His fangs at us
All ceased and were at attention
Geri looked to Freki and She spoke to us
“Vali is one of us now
Send word out to all the wolves of the Nine Worlds
Find Him, and extend Our comfort to Him,”
We heard but were slow to move
It was so much, so soon
Geri snarled and barked at us
“You have your orders, now get you curs!”
He howled, his voice shaking the shields and spears
That hung above us in the hall
We got

The wolves of Asgard already assembled
We split in eight directions
And gathered all we could
First were our brothers in Jotunheim
With whom many were close kin
From Vanaheim came wolves of the plain
With tawny coats the color of wheat
From Alfheim came the golden wolves
Small in size but with the brightest eyes
From Svartalfaheim came the shaggy coated ones
Eyes wild, tongues panting, ready and eager
From Midgard came the youngest of us
Little they understood, but gladly they came
From Muspelheim and Niflheim came the oldest
Shining black wolves and hoary coated wolves
Their wisdom most welcome in this hour

The wolves whom with Garm guard Helheim
Did not come
Rather, Garm sent this message:
“Narvi is here with us
He grieves for Vali
Whom He could never hate
We will keep watch here
Until Vali is ready to see Narvi
The Brother who forgave”

So we all assembled
The elders met and the search was organized
Each was given land to search
Throughout all the Nine Worlds
For days, for weeks, for moons
We know not how long it took
Till at last one of us spied You
Just for a moment
On the edge of the Deepwood
Then You were gone
Fled to the place where no light ever shines

Geri and Freki came then
And told us what to do next
“We will wait for him here,”
Said Freki, her eyes kind, her voice stern
“Take it in turns, and keep watch.
One day, Vali will call out to us
When He does, we shall go to Him
Geri spoke next, his voice hard as stone
“No matter how your heart aches
Let no dog or wolf pass into the Deepwood
Until the day Vali calls out to us
Let Him have His peace
Let Him have His grief”

Many thousands of times
Have Mani and Sunna passed over head
Since that day we found You, Vali,
In this Deepwood, where no light ever shines
And now it is my turn
To keep watch and wait for Your call

Here I am Vali
Here in the Ironwood,
Where Mani and Sunna’s light trickles down through the trees
On the edge of the Deepwood
Where the trees are older, and no light ever shines
Waiting, until You welcome us in

First draft written on the 18th of August 2013, by James Grimswolf
Inspired by a friend who taught me about Vali
First published at on the 30th of August 2013.


14 responses to “Keeping Watch For Vali

  1. Pingback: Promoting Lofn’s Bard! | Grim's Wolf

  2. This touched me deeply because in the past few months I’ve developed a deep bond with Vali. I’ve had a close relationship with Loki for most of my life, and for whatever reason, Vali finally came to me, snarling and not really willing at first to trust, but for whatever reason, He finally did. The experiences I’ve been granted to see and to feel what He’s suffered have changed me. The lessons I’ve learned from Him have been hard and sometimes devastating in their power. This is a beautiful and tragic reminder of His suffering. He teaches us about loneliness, longing, and true suffering, but we can only grow stronger with these reminders of His pain and loss. Hail Vali, and thank you for sharing.

  3. This is a fantastic poem- love your depiction of the wolf pack. I found the last few verses particularly powerful through your repetition of ‘Deepwood’ and ‘light shines’ and your depiction of the succession of time and sense of endless waiting.

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