The Myth Behind the Gard: Magni, Modi and Trolls!


Badaim joins us once again to cover the origin of Magnus, and the troll faction!


Magnus Thorsson is based on Magni, one of Thor's children. Along with Modi and their sister Thrud, the trio represent different aspects of Thor through strength, wrath, and might. While Thor's wife is the goddess Sif, like Bragi and many other Norse gods, Mangni may be the product of an extramarital affair between Thor and the Jotun Jarnsaxa. It is unclear, as Sif and Jarnsaxa are sometimes used interchangeably as Thor's wife, or 'rival to Thor's wife. In one version, Odin gets upset at Thor for gifting a magical horse to Magni nstead of giving him, suggesting that Magni is illegitimate.

Magni and Modi were renowned as a powerful gods, but little else is known about Modi other than that he and Magni survived Ragnarok. Magni is most notable in his role in the battle between Thor and the giant Hrungnir.


After Thor slew the giant, the dead giant's foot fell on Thor and he was unable to get up. At only three days old, Magni lifted the giant off of Thor and saved him from being smothered to death. As a reward, Thor gave Magni the dead Giant's horse Golden-Mane, which could run on land, air, and water.


Modi and Magi have had numerous depictions in popular culture, from antagonists in the God of War video game series, as the respective sons of Enchantress and Hela in Marvel Comics, to main characters in numerous young-adult novels.

Trolls are also a class of beings derived from Norse mythology that have seen numerous reimaginings and representations. Trolls originally dwelled in small communities within rocks, mountains, or caves, but as humans developed structures like bridges, they became inhabitants of those types of landmarks as well.


Like Joturn, Risi, and other Norse spiritual beings, troll appearances can vary widely. Sometimes they appear human or near-human, while other times they may be disfigured, ghastly, or take on a beastly form Sometimes they are small like elves or dwarves while others large like giants. Trolls in particular are considered magicians that are closely attuned to nature, and as such tend to be antagonistic to humans. As troll mythology developed, their reputation and characteristics also solidified. In these later myths, trolls generally were ancient brutish creatures that turned to stone in sunlight, kidnapped or ate humans, and had their disfigured form attributed to their ignorance of Christianity.


It was believed trolls and jotun were scared of lightning, which then weaved into stories of Thor fighting such monsters. This then worked its way into a means of explaining why they were no longer found as Thor had destroyed them all. Later, after christianity arrived, their absence was explained by the pealing of church bells. If a church suffered geological damage like a sinkhole or earthquake it was often attributed to trolls. Isolated rocks in an empty field were also believed to be the result of trolls hurling boulders attempting to strike churches.


In popular culture, the trope of trolls requiring a toll to pass over bridges derives from the fairy tale of the three billy goats gruff, which appeared in the 1840's. The 2010 film 'Trollhunter' offers an excellent representation of trolls within a modern setting that also gives off a mythgard feel. The Troll Doll is perhaps the most famous and recently identifiable iteration, first invented in the 1960's by a Danish woodcutter who could not afford.a christmas gift for his daughter. He soon marketed them as good luck charms and the toy line has since been licenced to Dreamworks studios that has resulted in major films based on the Troll franchise.

'Uncle Bragi! What a pleasantly unexpected surprise!' Magnus slapped Bragi's shoulder heartily.


'Magni? How did you know it was me?' Bragi tugged at his lucha mask to check if it had accidentally slipped off in the scuffle.


'Please; long blonde hair, a blue lightning mask, blistering fretwork on the guitar: I am not that naive boy you used to play with at family gatherings anymore. It's Magnus now.'


'I thought you were off...adventuring?'


'You can call it that if you like! Thought I would enjoy a bit of entertainment while the Skithblathnir was docked for repairs. It's good to see a familiar face, but isn't this place a bit of an underplay for you?'


'You could say I'm on a journey of my own.' Xin and the muses ran up to Bragi with hopeful looks, but Bragi could only pull off his mask and shake his head.


'I see. Looks like you've even managed to make a few friends along the way. You should consider yourself lucky: it is more than I could say of my own experience.'


'I have to admit, I didn't think meeting you again would be so…'


'Amicable? Neither did I. But I have had enough time between myself and the ocean to come to terms with surviving Ragnarok. I apologize if my absence left you to shoulder the burden of my father's death for so long, but along my journey I discovered it was never our weight to carry.''


'Nobody would blame you though.'


'I certainly blamed myself at first, just like how I blamed myself for Modi. I spent the first year on the Skithblathnir reliving that moment, wondering what would have been if that bolt had only arced the other way. The sea taught me that I had to let go if I wanted to find peace. You and I may have spent that time worlds apart, but our respective paths are much closer than they seem.'


'I'm still making my own way, but there are few things I have to take care of first. I'm not ready to let go like you have just yet.'


'Take as long as you need, but don't let looking back make you miss a chance at something standing right in front of you.' Magnus tilted his head discreetly toward Xin, tersely typing something into her cellphone. Shortly after another portal ripped open and Gywyn stepped out. He immediately began arguing unintelligibly with the muses over something about expense reports and teleportation travel points.


'I'm not completely sure what's going on there. Right now we need to find a way to Jotunheim. I don't suppose that ship of yours can scale mountains?'


'No such luck, but I did run into an old acquaintance, perhaps he can offer some insight.'


'Spectacular performance! I expected nothing less from one of my more proficient pupils!' Fossegrim approached with an approving applaud. 'Now, what is it tha- YOU!!!' Fossegrim's smile dissolved into a furiously pointed finger aimed directly at Gywyn.


'What!? Oh heyyyy long time no seeeee...I mean, ya know I have a twin brother, right?' Gywyn slunk defensively behind Leif sputtering nervous chuckles.


'Oi, danne drag mae innae yar mess! Ah canne due ye new gud enewei! Youse gat teh sart oot yer auhn lot.' Leif pulled Gywyn back out and shoved him forward.


'You have to understand! Times were tough and I had to make a few sacrifices!' Grim pretended to play the tiniest fiddle, that still forced Gywyn to start dancing uncontrollably.


'Not as tough as trying to tango with a pair of bloody stumps!' Grim upped the tempo, causing Gywyn's legs to bend backward and boot his own behind.


'You're, right, I totally deserve this! But don't let our personal squabble blind you to the bigger picture! If you don't help us out, Bragi and the muses will get done over just like you did! And this song they got: if we get it back, it's gonna be a hit!


'You haven't even heard it!' Pan pointed out.


'It HAS to be a hit! And once we get those dollars rolling I can get you your royalties back-with interest!'


'Can I get that in writing?'


'Against my own best interests you probably should.' Fossegrim scratched his chin and held a tentative creciendo.


'Then it looks like we have a deal-for now.' Grim released Gywyn.


'Wait, what about my lamb? No deal unless you get me a new lamb!' Pan folded her arms defiantly.


'Would you settle for your old one?' Grim pulled out a burlap bag of bones and fiddled a tune into a handheld recorder. The lamb's bones lept out of the bag into a jovial dance. Grim plugged a pair of earbuds into the lambs skull and attached the looping recorder onto one of its ribs. Pan gleefully squeezed her morbid companion tightly, pulling a clattery bleat from its loose teeth.


'We appreciate the gesture of good faith, but I hope you don't expect the rest of us to dance all the way to Jotunheim.' Xin arched a glowing eye skeptically.


'No need, but that can be arranged!' Only Psi appeared enlivened by Grim's prospect.


'Best of luck to you Bragi, but this is where we must part ways. I still have my own demons to wrestle, and unlike you it is something I must do alone. Cherish our differences Uncle.' Bragi and Magnus exchanged a hearty shake before Magnus disappeared back into the crowd.


---


'This the place? It's just a bridge!'


''It's not where that's important, it's who we will find here, or more accurately: what.' The graffitied under passage peeled back from reality. A bulbous troll with brickly skin unfurled from the wall and cracked open a pair of  eyes.


'We seek passage to Jotunheim my fellow trollkin. Does this mix I made satisfy your requisite toll?' Grim handed the troll an mp3 player. The troll  listened intently before giving an approving nod.


'I know the way.' The toll turned back into the wall a walked through, leaving a swirling tunnel in his wake.


'You're coming with us Grim?'


'Naturally! I need to make sure your elfish friend doesn't double-back on our deal!'


---


The winds of Jotunheim swirled bitterly around them, yielding no visibility from it's frigid countenance. Slowly, a dark form congealed through the blustery tempest. A skeletal snout huffed a growling mist. The wolf's equally undead rider pulled back at the beast's bit and looked over Bragi's retinue.


'Not dead yet? No matter. I'll take you anyway. There is still time. Follow me.'

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