Sigyn woke to see the exposed beams of the servant's quarters. She glanced over to the small window. It was early, the sun had not yet risen and it must have been about 5:30. But it was time for her to get up and begin work. Awkwardly she rose, dragging herself out of the pile of old rags that acted as her bed.
She ached all over from the hard stone floor that was hardly softened by the tattered cloth that formed her mattress. But she was used to it. Sigyn ached every morning and it was no worse than any other day.
She changed quickly and walked over to her tiny wooden cupboard that was the only furniture in her small room. From it she took a stale half eaten loaf that she had saved from the scraps of lord's feast the night before. She ate quickly, there was so much to do before the Jotun lord woke.
Before she left the room she paused to kneel before a small drawing that graced the top of her cupboard. It was a child's drawing. Sigyn had drawn it herself when she was just 7 years old. It was the last drawing she had done of her mother before she died.
It wasn't a very good likeness but it was the only thing Sigyn had to remember her gentle mother by. As she knelt before it a solitary tear trickled down her cheek as it did every morning.
It was 5 years since her mothers death but the loss had not lessened in Sigyn's heart. She was all alone in the world. She never knew her mother's parents and the identity of the father had never been revealed to her.
With a sigh Sigyn stumbled to her feet, grabbed her scrubbing brush and headed for the kitchen where her day of work would begin. Each day she scrubbed a different set of rooms and over the course of a week she would clean the whole of the castle.
There were many servants in the house and all were better paid then little Sigyn. But still she was grateful to the Jotun lord. When her mother had died she would have been sent away from the hall. But the Jotun lady of the house had taken pity and agreed that Sigyn could stay so long as she worked for her keep.
They barely paid her anything. Since she was small they reason she could not work so hard as the other servants and so she was paid less. But she had no where else to go and no one to look after her. So Sigyn had to work hard and was always grateful for what small mercies she was given.
She had been scrubbing kitchen floor for several hours when an older servant approached her. All the other servants knew of her sad plight but they rarely spoke to her. All had their own families to worry about and hadn't the money or time to help her.
“Sigyn, you are wanted in the main hall. There is a king who wishes meet you.” The servant was staring at Sigyn with a mixture of curiosity and envy. Sigyn stood up silently and dutifully headed for the main hall.
As she walked she passed a mirror and paused, wondering if she should tidy her self up before meeting this king. Her long black hair had a dishevelled scruffy look. Her grey dress was worn around the knees and far to big for her. She had to fold the dress around the waist to stop it trailing on the floor and tie it in place with a plain off-white apron.
Her eyes were a brilliant turquoise but their brightness had been dulled by a long hard life. Sigyn sighed, there was little she could do about the dress but she removed her hair tie gathered her hair and retied it neatly. It would have to be enough.
She had no idea why a king might want to see her, but was too tired to speculate. So she entered the main hall not knowing what to expect.
She fiddled nervously with the woven bracelet her mother had given her as she looked around the room. The Lord and lady were sat in their throne and Sigyn gave them a quick curtsy before turning to look at the king.
He was a tall man, nobility seemed to be built into him. His clothes were not particularly fine but something about his baring made him look like a king. His hair was the same jet black as Sigyn's but cut short and made messy by wind. He wore no crown and had a fairly relaxed cheerful smile. He looked Sigyn up and down curiously and without waiting for the Jotun lords to introduce her he walked over to her and took her hand gently.
“You told me she was just five when her mother died. Don't tell me she has been working since then.” He said with a slight frown.
The lord looked nervous, Sigyn had never seen him afraid before. “Well you know most people would have cast her out to starve, really we looked after her. And she is the daughter of a servant it only seemed right to put her to work. We didn't know. And she likes top work, don't you Sigyn?” Said the lord quickly.
Sigyn nodded dutifully. It was a lie but Sigyn saw it as her place to agree and she was nervous of speaking in front of this strange king who had the power to scare the Jotun lord.
There was a sudden sharp caw from the hall's rafters. Sigyn started and looked up, surprised, to see two ravens were sat in the beams of the roof. Sigyn stared at them wondering if they were pets of the king. The king too watched the raven and gave a small nod. “True you did not cast her out but you have hardly treated her with kindness.” Pointed out the king sternly.
He turned back to Sigyn and looked her squarely in the eyes. “Tell me child, do you know who your father was?” He asked in a gentle voice. Sigyn shook her head mutely. “Have you heard of Bor?” He asked. Again Sigyn shook her head. “He was a great man, and I am his son, the king of Asgard. I am Odin. Have you heard of me?” Sigyn nodded, her eyes wide.
The other servants had spoken of Asgard often. They spoke of how well the servants were looked after and what a great and bountiful land it was. A small hope fluttered in Sigyn's chest for the first time in years. If her father was one of the people of Asgard they might ask her to be a servant there.
It was common enough for illegitimate children to be taken care of as well looked after servants. Perhaps her father had heard of her plight and had sent the king of Asgard himself to take her away. Her heart soared at the idea of having family still. Family that cared for her even. It was more than she had even dared dream of.
“I am sorry to tell you this, but your father is dead.” Said the king in a gentle voice. Sigyn's hopes shatter in an instant. She felt an echo of the pain she had felt when she lost her mother. She had never known her father but knowing she now never could was a blow.
Seeing her pain Odin felt a rare pang of sympathy. On an impulse he hugged the small startled girl tightly. “I am alone.” Whispered Sigyn in a faint voice.
“No child.” Replied Odin he held her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. “After your father died I read through his old diaries. He had found out about you just before his death. He was planning to you bring you to Asgard and raise you as his own.
Sigyn, your father was Bor. My father. You are my little half sister. And I plan to honour his last wishes. I am here to invite you to come to Asgard, I will give your own hall and servants to look after you. You will never have to work again.” Declared Odin.
Sigyn stared at the great man, unable to take in what he had said to her. “I have a brother.” She muttered. Odin smiled gently. “Yes, my little sister.”
“I really do still have family?” She asked, her hopes rekindled.
“Yes.” Replied Odin. Sigyn hugged the older man tightly as if she thought he might evaporate at any moment.
“We can leave immediately. If you like.” Said Odin, smiling.
“I have to grab my clothes.” She muttered her head still spinning with excitement.
“Oh you shall be given new clothes, fine clothes as befit a lady of your standing. You won't need your rags any more.” Said Odin cheerfully. Sigyn stared at him.
“Oh I couldn't accept expensive clothes.” She muttered.
Odin laughed. “You shall have much more than that. Our father wanted wanted you top have his hall and all his wealth. His servants are well looked after and they are waiting to meet you. My dear sister you are now the second richest person in Asgard. But I am going to pay for your new clothes, it shall be my gift to you my dear sister.”
Sigyn felt vaguely dizzy as she tried to take in the enormity of what was happening. “There is one thing I have to get.” She said and turned and ran down the corridor toward her simple little room. She reverentially lifted the drawing of her mother from the cupboard. “I have family mum.” She whispered. Then she carefully folded the drawing into a pocket and ran back to the hall.
She stopped when she reached the door gripped by a sudden fear. What if she had imagined it all. She shook herself, and entered the hall once again fiddling with her bracelet. Odin was waiting for her with a gentle smile. He took her hand and led her to his chariot.
Sigyn shivered as she left the warmth of the hall. It was mid winter and her ragged clothes were little defence against the freezing winds of Jotunheim. It was very rare for Sigyn to go outside at all. She worked from the moment she woke until the moment she crawled back into bed. But everything would change now.
As they rode towards Sigyn's new home Odin gave her a searching look. “You know that Jotun lord was taking advantage of your situation, it will take two servants each paid 3 times your pay to replace you.”
“I am just grateful they did not send me away.” Muttered Sigyn softly. Odin frowned slightly.
“Aren't you angry? I would be seeking vengeance. We could play some kind of trick on them to pay them back. We could dress as beggars and ask for a job then once we are in we steal everything they own and leave them destitute.” He suggested with a grin.
Sigyn looked shocked. “Oh no I couldn't. They need their home and the other servants need their jobs and it would be wrong.” She replied in a worried tone. She couldn't help but notice the faint hint of disappointment in her brother's eyes. He wants some one who will join in with his schemes and tricks, she thought. But I can't do something like that.
She wondered if she was letting her new brother down. “Did you never play any kind of trick on them?” He asked her. “I would have at least stolen better food or something.”
“But that would get the cook it trouble.” She whispered feeling almost guilty for not being the person her brother wanted her to be. “Sorry.” She whispered in a barely audible voice.
But Odin either didn't hear or ignored her.
They had arrived and the shining land was everything Sigyn had dreamed of. She gasped as she saw the beauty and grandeur of the halls and Odin led her straight to one of the largest. “This is your new home. Your servants are waiting within. I will send a tailor round shortly to sort out your new clothes. Enjoy little sister I shall leave you to settle in.” He said.
Odin handed her the key to the hall and walked away. He's already bored of me, she thought sadly. No new family after all.
She turned to look at the hall. The door was open and she entered quietly and walked in the find the main room had been freshly swept and the servants were lined up within, awaiting her arrival. The moment they saw her several different servants approached and welcomed her to the hall. She smiled and was about to ask their names when they began to turn away and return to their various jobs.
One, an older woman with a motherly face, gave her a quick tour. She was friendly but in a respectful, even reverential way and Sigyn had no idea how to talk to her. Once she had finished the tour the woman hurried off to return to her work.
Sigyn was left alone in her new and far grander room. She sat on the bed feeling very small and lost. Her new home was magnificent but she felt so out of place. She was so far from the only home she had ever known. Carefully she took out the drawing of her mother. “Do you see where I am mum? Its my father's hall. Its wonderful, but I'm still alone.” She whispered sadly.
Sigyn placed the drawing on the bed side table. She felt ready to burst into tears. “I should get that framed if I were you. You have the money now.” Said a gentle voice. Sigyn turned to see a tall, beautiful woman. She had loosely curled long brown hair and warm golden brown eyes softened by a gentle smile. Her dress was fine but not overly decorative and slightly scuffed in places. It was the most practical sort of a dress available to a noble and was a rich purple in colour.
Sigyn had never seen anyone so beautiful. She wondered who the woman might be until she saw the crown. It was a golden circlet with a clear blue stone set into it where it curved down to a point in the middle of her forehead. Sigyn curtsied. “Lady Frigg.” She mumbled, astounded to be meeting the famous queen.
“There really is no need for that. I came here to welcome you properly. We are family now and I thought perhaps you might be feeling a little lonely, so far from everyone you have ever known.” Said the queen kindly. Sigyn's lip trembled as she held back tears. “I'm fine.” She muttered nervously.
“Sigyn, there really is no need to be so brave. You are not alone any more. I will always be here for you.” She said carefully. The queen seemed already to know Sigyn's whole life story. The queen walked over to the confused child and wrapped her arms around her. “We are sisters too now. We are family.” Said the queen. Sigyn hugged her back tightly as tears ran down her face. She finally had family again.