Many people know how Odin gained wisdom -- the loss of an eye, and hanging on the tree of life for nine days and nights. But the gaining of knowledge and wisdom aren’t all pain and sacrifice.
What if Odin did more while hanging from Yggdrasil than just receive visions of the world?
"Níðhöggr incinerates the seed you spill into their pool," Ratatoskr cries, spoiling my rhythm. The pleasure ebbs. "And Mimir sips it along with the water from his. Will it grant him your favor? Your power? Your love?"
I open my eye. The rodent sits above me on the branch around which my rope is secured. The fur on its ears forms horns that curl in the breeze.
"I will grant you a swift death if you do not leave now," I say through gritted teeth. My erection burns. After eight days, everything burns. I am reaching exhaustion, but there is something just beyond, something building inside me. Each new orgasm more intense than the last, every screaming pleasure more unbearable. The world blurs at the edges, the darkness an old friend knocking at the door, but I will not let it in.
"What secrets are you delving for, All-Father?" Ratatoskr asks. "Shall I tell the Eagle that you are pleasuring yourself so thoroughly to discern nir hidden name? Shall I tell Níðhöggr that you seek to feed the serpents that coil in wait below the world? Or maybe you know that Heimdallr is watching from his lonely post in Asgard, covered in his own ejaculate, sore and hungry but unable to look away? Does the thought of being watched arouse you, One Eye?"
"Peddle your scandals elsewhere, rat of the eagle's ass," I say. "Odin serves no other, and you will have no secrets from me."
The rest of the world, the rest of the Tree, is just a shadow now. What do I care about Heimdallr in his endless vigil? Or the worms that slither far below, gnawing at the roots of time? What do I care for the Eagle and its knowledge, or Níðhöggr and its hungry patience? My hand builds up momentum again. I hold a vision in my mind, of me on the tree, the noose around my neck. My whole body naked, streaked with blood and sweat and semen. My other hand squeezes my nipple, then the other, hard enough to pierce the aches and pains and encroaching darkness.
"Whatever your reasons, Spear Shaker," Ratatoskr says, "the whole of the Tree is watching, and most are hoping that you'll die here, your body food for ravens and worms."
I don't respond. Let them hope. Let them think what they will. A noose is all that connects me to the world, my body bleeding, weak -- let them think that I am trying to escape it all, the knowledge of the end of the world, the looming shadow of Ragnarök.
I imagine my body again, the bruising around my neck, the muscles straining. People misunderstand. They see only what they fear, death waiting for them at the hands of a brother, at the jaws of a wolf or a serpent. This has nothing to do with death, nothing to do with destruction or punishment. The darkness creeps in a bit further, and it's like I'm stepping outside of myself.