The Barbarian Bard

Tales and Musings by Michael A. Espinoza

Yggdrasil

Whence come my roots, no man may know. Where reach my branches, know man may tell. But into all of the nine worlds do I reach, and over all do I spread my shade. At my feet there lies a feral beast, a roaring monstrosity who gnaws, endlessly at my living flesh. Far above, there sits a mighty eagle who sees all the worlds spread out before him.

Oh but I have seen lives come and go, whole nations rise by blood and then fall by flame, collapsing into history’s forgetful chronicle. I have seen mighty folk take up arms to fight and defend alike. I saw the brave warrior leap through the ring of fire to claim his Valkyrie bride. I have seen the shining God fall, slain by treachery, into the depths of Niflheim. And upon my branches has hung the One-Eyed God, the Allfather, the Lord of the Gallows, a sacrifice of himself unto himself. Pierced in the side by his own spear. I watched as silently he brooded, for nine days and nights alike, his body hanging still in the whispering air. Then, as revelation struck him, I watched him writhe in the sudden agony of realization and fall from my branches, renewed and gifted with unending knowledge of his sacred runes.

I have been called Yggdrasil, Irminsul, the World Tree. From my roots, nine rivers spring. From my branches, creatures feed. By my trunk, the Gods keep their counsel. And over Midgard, I watch in silence, and shall stand unyielding until fire scorches every leaf from my frame.

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