The Tree at World's End

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2.21

A month later – and they knew it was a month because a new moon now shone in the night sky, waxing and waning much like the old moon did – the new inhabitants of Erever found the ideal place to settle down.

It was a plateau, surrounded on three sides by mountains. To the east a dramatic land-drop provided a glorious vista of a forest-carpeted valley that extended all the way to the sea.

Three streams tumbled out from the mountains and merged to form a sizeable river that crossed the length of the plateau before leaping from the rim to plummet into the lower lands. Beneath this waterfall a deep caerulean lake rested, shimmering like a jewel against the dark-green hues of the forest.

Lífþrasir marked that there was abundant food for humans and goats alike, and wondered if Tann would enjoy taking on the role of goatherd.

When Lífþrasir took stock of their collective skills and resources he knew that, despite the abundance of Erever, life would not be easy.

Initially, most of the hunting and construction would fall upon his own and Osku’s shoulders. Líf was also highly adept at hunting and farming, but Lífþrasir knew that his wife had another indispensable role ahead of her.

The waters of Mímir’s Well had had a profound effect on all of them, and for the first time since their wedding two years ago, Líf was finally with child.

Both Einar and Eirdis appeared to be quite inept at most practical tasks, yet they had a depth of knowledge about the way things worked that was invaluable.

In addition, Einar possessed the most incredible knife Lífþrasir had ever seen. It was small, but versatile, and could be used for many different purposes.

He also had several small ‘fire sticks’ that he used to create an instant flame, which proved incredibly useful for starting fires quickly and easily. He had cautioned that they should be used quite sparingly, however, because once they were used up there could be no replacements.

Another boon was that the clime on Erever was much gentler than it had been in Midgard. The days were warm, and the nights were mild.

A handful of days after their arrival on the plateau, Lífþrasir and his pregnant wife strolled alone on the edge of the land’s drop.

“It has turned out far better than I expected,” Lífþrasir was saying. “I would have been happy if it had been just you and me, but now I’m glad that the others are here. Especially Osku, he makes an invaluable addition to our group.”

“You mean to our world, don’t you?” Líf corrected. “Because this is the whole world now. No one else has made it here from Midgard.”

“Not that we know of,” he mused in response.

Líf levelled a slightly concerned look at her husband.

“I hope no one has. There were many things that I didn’t like about the old world.”

“Things like Gunnel and Knut?” he teased.

Líf laughed. It was a beautiful sound.

She rested a hand on her belly.

“What do you think it will be?”

Lífþrasir shrugged, uncertain.

“Well, what would you like it to be?” she pressed.

“I’ll be delighted with either. We need both.”

Líf nodded.

“I suspect Eirdis is probably too old to have children,” she sighed wearily. “It’s probably going to be all up to me.”

“Not entirely, I’ll be glad to help in any way I can,” he offered with a mischievous grin.
“Anyway, I wouldn’t be too quick to give up on Eirdis,” he continued in a more serious tone. “Don’t forget that she too drank the waters of Mímir’s Well, and look what it did for you.”

“You might be right, husband. Even Einar is showing some signs of renewed youth. I don’t think Eirdis will have too much trouble in getting him to try. The one I feel sorry for is Osku. The poor man has no one.”
Lífþrasir nodded.

“Yes, you’re right. Just remember not to feel too sorry for him.”

Líf laughed.

“No, I certainly won’t, you rascal!”

She took his arm and leaned into him as they walked back towards their tiny encampment.

“I have just one husband,” she remarked. “And he’s already more than I can handle.”

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