The Myth Behind the Gard: Bragi Finds His Muse. Part 1: Family Reunion

Badaim joins us to discuss the origin of Bragi Runesinger, the Norse God of music and poetry, and the best Blue four drop in Mythgard.


Bragi is the Norse god of music and poetry. He is the son of Odin and either Frigg, Odin's wife, or Gunnlod: a giantess princess who Odin seduced. Bragi is the husband to Idun, the goddess of youth and apples. Idun carried a box of apples that when eaten, would grant eternal youthfulness.


Stories about Bragi come from the Poetic Edda, a collection of poetic stories from anonymous writers, and the Prose Edda, a compilation written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. Not only do these separate accounts occasionally conflict, but they allude to or reference stories that exist in neither, suggesting that there may be additional versions or texts that have been lost to history.


In the Poem Lokassnna, from the Poetic Edda, Loki barges into Odin's throne room to accuse the other gods of various immoralities that will lead to Ragnarok. Bragi tries to stop Loki, but is overruled by Odin. To try to make up for it, Bragi offers his sword to Loki, who rejects it on the basis that he considers Bragi a coward. Idun tries to calm Bragi after he challenges Loki to a fight, but Loki then accuses her of being sexually improper for marrying her brother's killer (with no other surviving references or stories, the context or veracity of this accusation is unknown).


In the Poem Haustlöng, from the Prose Edda, Loki is coerced by the giant Thiazi to lure Idun from Asgard so that he may kidnap her in the form of a giant eagle. With Idun and her apples gone, the gods begin to age. When the gods discover it was Loki who was last seen with her, they falsely accuse him of her kidnap to which Loki offers to rescue her to make up for it.


Taking the shape of a falcon, Loki flies to Jotunheim where he finds Idun and turns her into a nut so he could rescue her. When Thiazi gives chase, the other gods burn his feathers so he falls to the ground and they kill him.


Again, with the story told in several sections, there are inconsistencies that suggest different writers, versions, or lost components to the story.


Nowadays, Bragi is the name of a German tech company that develops wireless earbuds, app platforms, and the Bragi OS for smartphones.


'CAN YOU FEEEL IIIIIIIT?!!' The crowd answered in a surge of unified madness. Livid waves of arms twisted in outstretched grasps toward the center stage where Bragi stood alone: flanked by blaring stacks of monolithic monitors. His fingers hammered furiously down the neck of his smouldering guitar with shredding speed. The sparkling gleam of flashing cell phones glittered off the guitar's slick finish and Bragi's glistening brow.

Trolls moshed in rabid pits, sugar plum panties littered the stage, and elvish locks thrashed in wild headbanging bouts as Bragi bent and pulled the final note with a passionate tremolo. Bragi thrust both hands up in horns, glancing a high five at a swooping spirit twirling glo-sticks and covered in fluorescent paint. The Valkyrie bouncers strained to hold the line against the sheer magnitude of the teeming mass frothing for an encore. Bragi swaggered behind the curtain with his guitar slung off his back, giving a cheekish wave to the stomping chants that chased him off.

Technicians scampered in all directions behind the scenes setting up equipment for the next band. Sprites carrying coils of cable zipped passed Bragi sprinkling fresh fairy dust across his newly donned shades. The stage manager barked directions into his headset at the spirit crew resetting the lighting on the other side of the stadium. A smooth smirk sprung from Bragi's beard as a small retinue of backstage fans shrieked and squirmed through the gaps of his security detail. A quick swerve of subtly drawn permanent pen decorated the chests of a few forest maidens melting them into a fanatic stupor. With one final wave Bragi receded into his green room and shut the door, leaving him alone in a deafening silence that almost completely masked the hint of world that still crept through the insulated walls.

Bragi's smile sublimated as soon as he shut the door. His sunglasses clattered onto the side table to reveal aching eyes yearning for sleep, but the bag of pop powder and horn of mead stipulated on his rider sat seductively on the coffee table, beckoning him into their anesthetizing embrace. Bragi collapsed onto the couch and heaved his exhaustion out into his cupped hands. He fidgeted a tooter in his hand anxiously, almost wishing he could keep himself from leaning forward.

'It's such a shame father is gone, but perhaps it is best that he is saved from seeing you like this.' Bragi jolted back, A figure casually leaned against the wall behind him, nonchalantly checking his nails.

'Loki!?' Bragi bumbbulishly tried to collect himself, pushing the plate of vice aside. 'How did you…?'

'Oh, no need to get up on my account: Thor may have been father's favorite, but you were always mother's golden child. So where did that leave poor Loki, Bragi the Braggart?' The childhood nickname stung with a refreshing wound.

'What do you want Loki?' Bragi sighed and clenched his jaw, trying not to make his side eye to the powder and mead so blatant.

'Now, is that any way to talk to family? We're all we got left now, or has your libatious lifestyle robbed you of recollection as well? Perhaps if you were the warrior father always wanted you to be, Ragnarok would not be such a painful memory.' Bragi lost his cool and stormed up to Loki, burying a pointed finger into his chest.

'That's not fair, putting all of that on me! Thor was my brother too! What about you?! Where were you then, huh?!'

'Please, dear brother, where was this ferocity when we needed it? Maybe then, you would be telling this to him instead.' Loki raised his hands with a cunning grin. 'And you know me: I'm a survivor, just like you. We have more in common than you think. And where would I be without my dear brother to rely on?' Bragi sat back down on the couch, cradling his forehead.

'So that's what this is about, huh?...Alright, how much do you need this time?'

'Must you always think so low of me? I took the liberty of reviewing your books, and while your financial manager has done a good job of moving things around to keep up appearances, I wouldn't dream of putting you in such a bind given your current circumstances.'

'So...you know?'

'What kind of brother would I be if I didn't? It's no secret you haven't put an album out in years. You can only ride on the royalties from your hits for so long. To the untrained eye it would seem curious as to why you would choose a pop-fusion band full of muses as an opener for your thrash-metal style, but I have a knack for seeing beyond the veil. You know how father felt about associating with those mongrels; was losing Idun really such a blow to your inspirational flow or was it just a convenient excuse for your general lack of talent?'

'You!...I loved…' Bragi grabbed Loki's lapel.

'And you think you were the only one?' Loki shoved a stunned Bragi off with ease. 'Do you have any idea what it was like? To have to stand by and watch her run back into your arms? You never deserved her. That's why she's gone, and you know it. And now, without her golden apples, we grow old and brittle like those mortal whelps you seem to find comfort in. You have only yourself to blame.'

'At least I own that every day! Anybody could've loved her, and everyone did. But what did you ever do for her, other than make her the object of your infatuation? Not a moment goes by that my heart hasn't ached for her. You really want to know what I've been working on all these years? I'll show you!' Bragi stormed to a corner of the room and uncovered a slowly spinning data core from beneath a brightly patterned blanket with tasseled fringes. As Bragi accessed the data core's memory his face churned with a growing confusion.

'Where?...It was right here!'

'Oh I'm sorry, weren't you going to show me some sort of magnum opus that you have been working on for gods know how long? An epic rock ballad dedicated to the woman you love? Perhaps a Fey Plagiarist grokked it right out from under your nose while you were busy burying in pop powder.'

'How?...'

'You know, someone who really loved her wouldn't have been so careless. Don't worry, I'm sure whoever has it now would be a much better guardian to her memory than you ever could.'

'You bastard! Give it back!' Bragi took a swing at Loki, but the trickster puffed aside in an illusory shift leaving Bragi to stumble forward clumsily.

'Give what back? I've been here with you the whole time! There you go again: never taking responsibility for your own mistakes! If Bragi the Braggart was truly the musical master he claims to be, he would have no difficulty in rewriting the song all over again, hmmm?' Bragi collapsed onto his knees.

'Please Loki, don't do this...that's all I have left...it's all I have left of her.'

'You know I'm sure whoever's took it, whoever they may be, must have plans to pirate broadcast it from some remote location for free, maybe even pass it off as their own. I hope you weren't planning on making anything off of it, or use it to revitalize your career in some way. That would be really unfortunate.'

'Just...what do you want?'

'What more could I want dear brother than to help you in this trying time? You know, since it doesn't seem like you're using it all that much, maybe I can borrow that famous musical talent of yours to help you in your search?' Loki reached out with magic tendrils that snaked from his fingertips and wrapped around Bragi.

Bragi could sense a leaden cloddishness creep into his body. He could already feel that he couldn't even keep a beat on a tambourine anymore. Loki jovially hefted Bragi's guitar and effortlessly noodled an improvised riff from its strings.

'That should work! Well, I best be on my way.I'll let you know if anything turns up. You better stay here until I get back. For safety, you know?' Loki wafted into a dissipating mist, leaving Bragi in a defeated heap. Once again, the mead and powder's siren's song seemed to percolate through the silence.

An eternity seemed to pass for Bragi as he laid in a drained stupor before a low rumble slowly crept up from behind one of the walls. An explosion of concrete, drywall and insulation spewed fortg as a hulking Draugr charged through the wall with wild furious eyes.

'Are you Bragi?! The Bragi?' The giant zombie grunted gruffly from within the bellows of a heaving muscular chest. Bragi was so dumbfounded he instinctively nodded. Did Loki send this behemoth to finish him off? The Draugr laid a massive hand the size of Bragi's entire head on his shoulder before pulling him in for a crushing grapple.


TO BE CONTINUED...

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