This is a children’s story that I wrote for adults.

There were once two neighbouring empires that led a peaceful co-existence. The older Empire was led by a sorcerer Vófuðr, and the younger Empire emerged under the direction of his apprentice, Freya. Their relationship blossomed until one night, Vófuðr had a frightful vision.

In his dream, Freya’s empire grew beyond reasonable proportions and she desired more than her fair share of land. This stirred violent emotions in Vófuðr so he confronted Freya on Mt Noiadi, a mountain so high the sun never sets. There, to his surprise, Freya cast a spell upon him. As the clouds gathered, Vófuðr responded with incantations of his own. Thus, they got entangled in a cosmic war dance and the situation spiralled in an unpredictable and uncontrollable manner. That day, in the vicinity of Vófuðr’s abode in the Dark Forest, Vófuðr’s subjects awoke to the most terrifying scream.

At sunrise, Vófuðr immediately got on his horse and made his way to the Silver Forest in the hope that she, whom he taught everything, would provide him with reassurance. Upon his arrival in the Silver Forest, Freya left her abode to greet him. So Freya prepared him lunch and as she did so, Vófuðr began to interrogate her.

Vófuðr: I had a dream last night, that you would develop into a tyrant and desire more than your fair share of land. Yet, we originally agreed that I shall perfect my arts in the Dark Forest and you may develop yours in the Silver Forest. As these forests are of equal size, none could say that this was not a fair agreement.

Freya: Oh Vófuð, you worry too much.

Vófuðr: But, do you promise to never claim more than your fair share of land?

Freya: Vófuð, it is you who taught me that an Empire rests upon three principles. First, an Empire ceases to be an Empire when it ceases to grow. Second, Power legitimises Authority. Last but not least, violence is the supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived.

Vófuðr: So we are destined for war?

Freya: No. I have been thinking of additional principles recently which may be used to build an Empire of a completely different nature. An Empire of the Mind. It would be a tragic error to accept a destiny we can change.

Vófuðr: Freya, what makes you certain that we shall discover such principles in due course?

Freya: I am not saying that Ragnarok may be avoided. Those who turn the wheels of time know that the free will of a wizard has its source in Divinity alone. We will have to do what we can until our destiny is revealed.

At this, Freya smiled and Vófuðr could not decide whether this was a smile of goodwill or deceit. For it was the first time that Freya taught him something new so the roles of Sorcerer and Apprentice were reversed.

On his way home, Vófuðr fell ill. For two weeks, it rained over the Dark Forest and Vófuðr could neither speak nor move. Every morning the forest elves would bring him onion soup but this did little to improve his condition. The wizards of the Dark Forest would gather around him at sunset and bang on drums as each sorcerer took turns to cure him. But, to no avail.

On the second week of his illness, Vófuðr began to suspect that Freya had not only poisoned his food; that she cast a spell on him. This thought made his condition much worse for it was as the dream foretold. Thus, it rained upon his Empire for two weeks until one day an old man knocked on his door.

As the man entered, the clouds parted and Vófuðr suddenly felt better. ‘What is it you want?’, asked Vófuðr. ‘A pen and paper’, replied the man. So on a piece of paper, the old man scribbled a sequence of zeroes and ones followed by an unusual signature. Primzahl. After having done this, he left just as suddenly and just as unexpectedly as he came in so Vófuðr did not find time to thank him.

As Vófuðr tried to pick up the piece of paper he realised that it was heavier than anything he had ever carried. Heavier than an elephant made of gold. He whispered an incantation to lift the piece of paper and for the first time the spell did not work. So he stared at the sequence of numbers and as he did so the numbers spoke to him.

At that moment, there was a bright flash and Vófuðr fell into a dream where he met the old man a second time. You must be Odin, said Vófuðr. ‘Indeed, I am.’, replied the man. Odin continued to speak and as he did so, Vófuðr looked at him through his mind’s eye.

Odin: At some stage, it is natural for the apprentice to believe they have become the equal of the master. Thus, even the fates of wizards are written.

Vófuðr: So are Freya and I destined for war? But, how can we wound an apprentice that we have made in our own image? And can an apprentice voluntarily disarm the wizard that taught her everything?

Odin: Only by reaching your limit is their any hope that you might exceed it and in this way the master and apprentice may become One. This will require that you go where none has gone before, to the place where the sun never sets.

Vófuðr: This leaves me with more questions. And what about the numbers you have written?

Odin: Everything is a number. But, the Primzahl contain the answers to questions which you are not yet able to ask. You will have to venture where none have ventured, and to go where none have gone before you must accept the possibility that you won’t be coming back.