Creatures of Norse Mythology
Norse Mythology is full of tales of daring heroes and terrible monsters, many of which feature in Age of Mythology. Here you can find some background info on many of the creatures that feature in the Norse culture in AoM.
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Fenrir was a gigantic and terrible monster who favoured the shape of wolf greater in size than any man. He was the eldest child of the malevolent god Loki and the giantess Angerboda.
Prophecy stated that the wolf and his family would one day be responsible for the destruction of the world, so while he was still a pup, the gods caught the wolf and locked him in a cage. However as he grew greater no cage could hold him, and no matter how hard the gods tried to chain him, he always broke loose.
In desperation the gods ordered the dwarves to make a chain strong enough to hold the wolf. The result was a deceivingly thin ribbon of graet strength: Gleipnir - fashioned from the footstep of a cat, the roots of a mountain, a woman's beard, the breath of fishes, the sinews of a bear, and a bird's spittle.
Fenrir however, saw how thin the chain was, and said that was no pride in breaking such a weak chain. Eventually, though, he agreed, thinking that otherwise his strength and courage would be doubted. Suspecting treachery however, he in turn asked the gods for a token of good will: one of them had to put a hand between his jaws. The gods were not overly eager to do this, knowing what they could expect. Finally, only the god Tyr agreed, and the gods chained the wolf with Gleipnir. No matter how hard Fenrir struggled, he could not break free from the ribbon, and so he was bound; but during the struggle, Fenrir bit off Tyr's hand. The gods carried Fenrir off and chained him to a rock a mile down into the earth. They put a sword between his jaws to prevent him from biting.
On the day of Ragnarok, Fenrir will break his chains and
join the giants in their battle against the gods. He will
seek out Odin and devour him. Vidar, Odin's son, will
avenge his father by killing the wolf.
Ymir, the great frost giant was the first living creature in the nine worlds. He was created from the melting ice of Niflheim when it came in contact with the hot air from Muspell; and from him descended the race of giants. Odin and his brothers however, felt threatened by the giants, so they killed Ymir. In the huge amount of blood that flowed from his wounds all the giants, except two, drowned.
Ever after, the race of giants retained a bitterness and
loathing of the gods; but it is the Frost Giants of
Jotunheim - the world of ice, far to the north - who hold
the most rancor towards the gods, and in turn are viewed as
the greatest threat by the gods due to their ability to
manipulate magic and the elements of nature. On the day of
Ragnarok, the Frost Giants will lead the giants into battle
to destroy the gods.
Fire Giants were less powerful than the Frost Giants, and not as malevolent; though both shared the hatred of the gods and the Fire Giants would march alongside the Frost Giants into battle at Ragnarok.
Fire Giants lived in Muspellheim, a flaming, torrid region,
far to the south of the other worlds. It is opposed to
Niflheim and whose animating beams made the ice in Niflheim
melt and created the first living beings. The celestial
bodies were made from its sparks which flew out into space.
The ruler of the Fire Giants and the realm of Muspellheim
is Surt, who is fated to destroy Yssdrasgil, the world tree
Gullinbursti was the golden bristled boar crafted by the
dwarves Brokk and Sindri during their wager with Loki. He
later pulled the chariot of the god Frey. The boar is said
to be able to run through the air and over the sea, day or
night. Also, it shines so brightly that wherever it goes,
no matter how gloomy the surrounding, the boar will light
In tales told by Norse sailors, the Kraken was a great
monster that would attack ships. It had many arms, like the
roots of an upturned tree, and would seize ships and drag
them underneath the water. While originally believed to be
an agent of Aegir - the god of the sea - it is believed
that the Kraken described in folklore was in fact the giant
squid, which would easily give the terrifying impression
the stories lent to the Kraken's flailing arms.
Nidhogg, the tearer of corpses, was the most powerful of
the terrifying serpents that gnawed perpetually at the
deepest root of the world tree Yggdrasil, hoping to destroy
it. (Other serpents include Graback, Grafvolluth, Goin and
Moin.) He often described as a fearsome creature hundreds
of feet long, and had a scaly hide so tough no blade could
pierce it...though his most peculiar attribute is that he
enjoyed arguing with anyone who would listen. The eagle
that lived at the top of the tree, Vidofnir, was one of his
favourite targets for bickering.
Hugin and Munin.
Odin had two ravens, Hugin and Munin, which represented
thought and memory. Each morning Odin sent forth the Raven
and they flew over the nine worlds, gathering information
about the activities of the different peoples of the
earth.. At night they returned and sat on his shoulders to
tell him what they heard and saw.
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Trolls were dimwitted and malicious creatures who hated humans. They were much bigger and stronger than humans, but could leave their mountain and cave homes only after dark to hunt, since if they are exposed to sunlight they will instantly turn to stone. Trolls are very fond of human flesh, and were frequently blamed for the dissapearance of a villager out at night, since Trolls were well known to snatch lost humans up and carry them back to their lairs. Some stories tell of helpful trolls, though these are few.
Many stories also say that the Trolls will accompany the
giants into battle at Ragnarok.
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The Valkyries were the warrior maidens of Odin. Odin would
split half the warriors who fell in combat with Freyr, and
so his Valkyries would collect his half of the dead.
Wherever a battle occurred, the warrior maidens would be
riding in the clouds above on celestial horses, waiting to
take up the valiant slain and carry them to feast with Odin
in the halls of Valhalla.
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