Names are such fickle things in this life. No one ever pays attention to what a person’s name actually is. Parents choose names for their children all the time, and mostly they do so based on what they like and not what is actually appropriate for the child.
I know, I know. You’re wondering why this is important, the naming of a child. What significance does a name have, anyway?
Names are powerful in their own right. Names can determine how a person will behave later in life. You wouldn’t dare name a child Loki, the God of Mischief and Lies, now would you? Many of you even hesitate on names like Damien and Lucifer for all of their so-called evil connotations, thanks to how your Bible and modern pop culture references have skewed your way of thinking. After all, the mocking that would ensue, the trouble you fear such a child might cause . . . No. You put more effort into names than what you realize.
Still don’t believe me? Let’s look it this way as well: a dog named Wolf tends to act like a wolf. Or have you failed to notice such things?
And never forget that names have power. Imagine yourself working in one of your local convenience stores, and you are the only one there. It’s well after midnight and someone walks in and you’re suddenly nervous, on edge due to this person’s vibes, if you will. You’ve never seen this person before. There’s something not quite right about him. Then the person then smiles and proceeds to greet you by name. Remember, you have never met this person before but you have oh so foolishly worn your nametag. That person now has power over you, trying to create a sense of familiarity and putting your life in danger.
You think I’m talking nonsense. I can see as much in your eyes.
Oh, is that a flicker of surprise? Yes, I can read you better than you think, dear human. Way better than you think.
Who am I, you ask? You mean you haven’t guessed it already?
I am Loki of Asgård, the God of Mischief and Lies you humans have so foolishly demonized over the long, long centuries.
However, I digress. I’m not here to talk about you and the power your name has over you. I’m not even here to talk about the injustices done unto me. Rather, this is about Marcus Anthony James, that poor child.
Who is Marcus Anthony James, you ask? And why am I, the God of Lies so interested in him? Well, you see, I’ve been given a very specific task by Odin in regards to this child, one of which I’m not about to tell the likes of you. That is between the two of us. However, I can tell you that part of this task is seeking out the children born to the Gods of Asgård.
What? You weren’t expecting that? Well, you should have! We still exist. Ragnarök has not come upon us. Yet.
Anyway, yes. We still exist, and many of the Ǽsir and Vanir like to, ah, how shall I say, mingle with the mortals. They can’t help themselves, really. There are just so many qualities about mortals we find so endearing and attractive. If not for my wife, I most assuredly would be dallying as well.
Again, I digress. I’m here because of Marcus . . . what? Is Marcus my child? Silly mortal, no! As much as I wish I could say he is, he is not. I said it before, I am most loyal to my wife, despite what your so-called myths might say about me. And, for the record, Sigyn is my third wife, the one who has claimed my very soul.
Forgive my outburst, mortal. It is not your fault that most of the lore no longer exists as it should. Things are the way they are for a reason, but we of Asgård still mingle with the mortals. We can’t help ourselves, which brings me back to where we are about Marcus. I will remind you he is not my child. Rather, Marcus is sired by another. I was sent here to find out who the lucky father is, but there is something most strange in the air tonight. I can tell by the way the child cries, this Samhain Night, or, as you mortals have taken to calling it, All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween. It is a sound I have heard many a time amongst the half-blood children of the Ǽsir. Though he is only a few hours old, he sees Yggdrasil, the World Tree, and his life is to be cut so very short because of it. The poor child. It is something most mortals are unaware of, the most wondrous thing of seeing Yggdrasil in all of its glory. Adults who see the tree are not destined for death but for something greater than anyone can imagine. The same is true for children, but for those of demi-blood, well, it is both blessing and bane for them.
Oh, do not fret, my dear mortals. That is the other reason of why I am here, to make sure Marcus truly does not die. All of the Ǽsir and Vanir know of my soft spot for children. I truly adore them and so have no troubles of finding them and caring for them. Usually, it takes some time for a demigod child to see the World Tree, but it would seem that Marcus is among the very rare few. One could speculate it’s a sign of who his father is, someone most spectacular like Thor or perhaps even the Allfather himself, but, trust me, this matters not to the Norns and Yggdrasil. They are not picky in their choosings. A blessed child is a blessed child, no matter who the divine parent, and even a mortal can see the weavings of fates and the illustrious branches from time to time.
However, it is different for a child of both mortal and divine blood. It is a sign that either the child needs a new name in order to survive, something that Yggdrasil and the Norns will accept, or to be taken to where we live and train our young.
No, I will not be taking dear Marcus to Asgård. I don’t take children away from their mothers, not at this young and tender age. Make no mistake, the mothers are never happy to see me when I come to call, something that is expected when they know the truth of everything, but they also know it is my sworn duty to all of Asgård and the Nine Realms to at least be sure the child need not leave just yet.
And here we are, the room where Marcus and his mother are staying. See? The mother has flinched upon my arrival into her room. Perhaps it’s because I’m wearing all black like a specter of Death, which truly is not my domain . . . she looks to be too young to know the truth about the Gods. Norns, she looks no older than sixteen! I know back in my day that was of no issue . . . Hel, she would already be a mother of three or four children by now if we were back in ancient times, but you modern mortals are such sticklers about propriety and ages.
Do not get me wrong. There are times I agree with your notions, based on how things have changed over time. One would think the father would know better, especially considering how some mortals feel about young girls engaging in sexual activities. However, that isn’t always the case. Attraction is attraction, consequences be damned from time to time. Ah well. What is done is done. And I can tell there is more to her story than what you can truly see yourself, mortal. She is scared. From the way she watches me and hovers close to her babe, I’m most certain her parents have disapproved of her actions, have probably threatened to disown her, but the babe is more important to her.
How can I tell? It’s the way her eyes glitter, of course! She has the eyes of a Valkyrie and a mother. She will do anything and everything she can to protect this child. Now. Pay attention. I have work to do.
Ah, here is the little bundle of joy I’m here to see. I love holding children. Odin does, too, but he’s more the grandfatherly sort anymore, if you know what I mean.
Such an adorable little boy dear little Marcus is! Oh Norns, what a sweet-looking child! And there . . . there is the sign I was sent to look for . . . What? What is that mark on the bottom of the child’s foot? Ah, I see what you mean! The little star there towards his heel. Yes, that is the sign of who his father is . . . Who is his father, you ask? Perhaps you’ll find out at another time. I’m really not going to say, hehe.
Such a sweet little child . . . Yes, he’s going to be a strong one. The magic radiating from this child is intense, powerful, like the sun . . . and it is burning him up, the poor thing. Fear not, I know the way for him to live. I may not like Daddy Dearest all that much, but that is no reason for me to punish the child.
There, there, Marcus. No need to cry so, child. The pain will go away, I promise you. I just need for you to tell me one thing, sweet child, just one little thing. I will speak it, I promise you on the roots of Yggdrasil.
What is that, child? That is your true name? I see . . . Oh dear, a flash of light in his eyes, and he still shivers in pain. The new name is not going to be enough. He is being actively hunted. I can smell the enemies closing in on him.
Here. I must return him to his mother. I will tell her what to call him, if only in private, but the child will not be able to stay with her for too much longer. Frigga and the Allfather must be prepared for this child’s arrival to the camps, though she surely knows already. This is going to be heartbreaking. And I need a little magical defense. Asgård is not without enemies, even in these modern times.
Here we go, little darling. Here is your mother. That’s a good boy. Nice and easy, as always . . . you have your new name now, but it is only going to delay your untimely demise . . . Fortunately, I already know what his new name is going to be. Like him, like the Allfather, I, too, can see the branches of Yggdrasil, am her warrior in my own right. Marcus, now Little Wren, will not only be a mighty warrior but a mighty magic-user. But remember . . . you are only to say this name when there is absolutely no one else about, lest you seek to destroy the child before he has a chance to live.
See? The new name is helping! His cries are lessening now, and sleep will come a little easier to him. His fever is dying out, too. A relief! But it is still quite worrisome. A charm will do the trick, a little bracelet only you, I, his mother, and other Asgårdians will be able to see. It places him under my protection until I can get him to the camps.
I shall return for him, for them both, in truth. I know she does not wish to be parted from him, and I don’t intend to leave her behind myself. I do need to speak to Odin and Frigga about this. Maybe our queen will allow some leniency for her . . . but then we shall see. If it were up to me, I’d take them both, this night, but it is not. She still needs to recover from giving birth, and me taking them would cause more of a ruckus than the Allfather would care to have at this point in time.
Poor child, to be born with that gift so soon.
I must be gone. Remember, mortal, to keep this a secret about Marcus Anthony James to yourself. If not, well, let me just say I will not be so kind to you at our next meeting, and I will know if you cross me or this child.
Until the next time we meet.