Balmung? Gram? Who can say?

Get Your Balmung Today!
Siegfried or Siggy
Siggy, back in the day. Man, he loved that sword. He used to say "Man, I love this sword."

Whacky Jeffry
Siegfried's modern descendent "Whacky Jeffry," back in the 70's before rehab took the fire out of him. He's always been a bit less reverent, perhaps, but Balmung's still kickin ass.

Snorry Sturluson
Snorri is always a trip.

Balmung, throughout the ages has really been the "go to" dragonslaying sword. Ever since Siegfried's day, really. I think he's the guy who REALLY made it famous, slaying ol' Fafnir and all. It's hard to believe how old Balmung is, and how it still stays in shape. It can totally transform its body, just from doing enough sit-ups. Or whatever, who the hell knows how swords do it.

The sword itself has been passed down from generation to generation, going by different names, such as "Gram." However, since the family killed the last dragon back in 1935, people have seen less need for it. People nowadays, Norse and otherwise, prefer their violent distractions in the form of wars and poorly-written television. Nowadays, it makes its living at a circus, trying to guess what two halves of a person weigh, just based on looks. Hey, what can you do?

I was asking Snorri Sturluson about all this the other day. He was saying "Aesir, Vanir, Jotunn, to Hel with all of them! Always plotting, screwing, fighting, never with the helping people. Who in Mannheim needs them? Ragnarok, bah! Just proves my point!" It was a little weird, since I asked him about Balmung/Gram, but he's getting on in years so I let him talk. He went on to say: “You want to know how all this started? Makes as much sense as any of the rest of the story. None, that is! Ok, ok, the Creation of the World. There was the void Ginnungagap, with the Muspelheim sparks and embers on end, and Niflheim ice shelves advancing across it on the other. One day, the ice got close enough so the sparks warmed up Niflheim and all the crazy mist came out and somehow created the giant Ymir. Don't ask how, I've never made a giant. He was fine for a while, but one day he got too hot and collapsed. A man and a woman came from his armpits. This is why people aren't so great. Then his knees had sex, creating one set of gods, then his feet had sex, creating other gods, and then its even more unclear how the other giants and Jotunn spirits were created, but they pop up, the ambitious bastards. The gods rip Ymir apart and form the world with his body and the clouds with his hair and Midgard from his eyebrows. Not too good against the heat, this Ymir, but apparently he's full of useful odds and ends if only you can lift them. Then this super-cow Auohumla creates the waters of the world from licking the Niflheim icicles, and makes rivers of milk that never go bad because they look like water, and we have Mannheim, the world, with the first 2 people already there, and too many gods that end up with too many names each. Later on, all these creatures came about with no good explanation I can find, the Dwarves, the Trolls, all this greedy pests that could tear your arm off. For some reason one of these Dwarf kings had 3 kids and one of them was a dragon, Fafnir. His brothers, Regin and Otr were normal annoying Dwarves, maybe his mother had an affair with a crocodile, who can tell? This smith name of Wayland decides he has lo love for this Fafnir, but he don't fight so good, he only makes the swords, so he gets up one day and says 'I don't fight so good, I'll make a sword.' So he does. A good Norse smith always does what he says when he talks about making swords, that's how you tell he's a smith. Out of the forge comes a bouncing baby Balmung sword, and he names it Gram. Only later, did Wagner figure out this mistake and call it by the right name in that opera the Nazis misinterpreted. Nobody said smiths were bright, just that they do what they say. So, this king Volsung, great-grandson of Odin, some say he has the sword, some say he doesnt, but he gets murdered and his son and daughter get so upset that they marry each other. Or they avenge him, I forget what they did first, but they did both. It's been so long, who can remember? Gram, as it was known gets destroyed, and then reforged well enough that the smith cuts his own anvil in half with the thing. Of course, his kids fight over who gets the bigger half, but the important thing is the swords gets passed down to Siegfried and he goes and kills Fafnir. After all these years, Wayland says 'Ah, THIS is why I made the sword!' Odin, though, he got all strange about it and decides to find a tree to stick this Balmung into, (only he called it Gram, as well), so he goes over to Barnstokk, the tree in Volsung's courtyard and jams it in so far nobody can get it out for years. Nobody can figure out why, but when Odin gets something into his head, it sticks there. Sometimes I wish he'd get something sharp stuck in there, but I'll finish the story already. I'm finished.”

Snorri is always a trip. He's no magus, but he's good with words.

Balmung is a master of self re-invention. For a while, after all the dragons were killed or went into either hiding or into movies, he even got into the lumberjack competition scene. I'll try and remember to include a pic of Jeffry “Whacky Jeffry Marzzalanissimo” Marzzalanissimo, his Canadian wielder in the 70's. Funny dude. I remember this one time, he got to drinking, and, heh, how's this one go?... Um... It was a drinky night for the rest of us too, Jeffry just had the best sword-be-chainsaw. Shit, I don't remember, I just remember laughing. This was the days before cell phone cams and such, you see. I think that's the real reason they were invented. Anyway, Balmung felt kinda bad, because while Jeffry was fun, he was a really fucking shitty lumberjack. But anyone who used an immortal slayer sword against a living thing, whether a dragon, tree, what have you, would win outright every time, even hung over. The lumberjack being hung over, not the tree. So, one fine twilight it got to thinking. Balmung, being the nice sort of metallic pal, wanted to give other people a chance to win the competitions. It recommended a good rehab for Jeffry and set out to find another gig.

It tried being a prop in various movies, stage shows, and even a few books. Tried being a lightsaber in a fanfic, but the kid was no Luke Skywalker. Hell, he was no Mark Hamill! David Prowse, even! It was fun, and a nice distraction for a while, but our swordy pal felt there was something missing. It tried religion, reading Apolonius of Tyana, Osiris, Dionysus, Horus, Mithras, and no matter, none of it made any sense. It was like an infection on The World. Balmung always ended up feeling more like Sisyphus and Tantalus than Pythagoras. But then, reading about Aion, it found a link to an interesting anime and manga, I forget what it said, it eventually found something some dotted hack wrote about a sign, maybe? It didn't matter, Our friend just wanted something to do. All the years of being stuck in a damn tree make a metal mind sick of sitting in one place for too long. Off to Japan for a career in anime! The job required it to be recorded playing this strange computer game on Nippon.hack.audience. Signs of struggle were everywhere, this was fun! Anime was easy! Manga easier, if you didn't mind posing 15 different ways so the damn artist could figure out what to do with a panel. Balmung would jump at the first sign of a chance. That was fun, chivalry, good framerate, working with a nice blademaster, and all the oil it could wear. It was like the times of legend. The World was a fun place. Most of it, anyway.

Gram's old rival Fafnir came down out of Niflheim the other day, called me up. Turns out he never really died, just got sick of the sword games for a bit. That and all the people and swords with too many names! I'm a dragon, not an elephant! We met at this place he will remember on a trip to the future. Yeah, I know. He had some people to talk about, mostly stories about a smith here and there who tried to forge this and that sword to kill him. But when I told him what Balmung has been up to, he got quiet, and a bit misty. He said .Games and anime are all good, but at that point it sounds like he's feeling like he's missing something. I'll remember that lumberjack on my future trip, but for now all I have to say is that the world is a big place, with a lot of people. He needs a dragon to fight again. Hanging with a lumberjack? Come on! A man like that? He shoulda came down to Niflheim, there's a lot more stuff there now! Lotsa people came in, and all KINDS of monsters! Another dragon, too! And not even one borne of dwarves! Lumberjack... Gram, what the hell? I don't think he gets it. Swords, they need fun!. Fafnir went on like this for a while. He's not used to giving interviews, I guess. Still, I'm glad he came. Nice to interview a guy with so much history and yet so few names! I think i'll try to set up that fight. It will be better than anime...

Our sword buddy needs it. And without all that crap from the Gods. I call him up the other day (Don't ask me how he uses a phone, seriously) and he's all worries that his manager gets too much of the money from the show and the games, and all this and all that, stuff that swords shouldn't really worry too much about. He says .Nobody has generosity like the old days. I know Lagom is boring, but it's at least nice! Remember? But no, nobody. What? Fafnir? Of all the people in the world? Yeah, I know he's not REALLY people, but neither am I, remember? Niflheim? Why am I repeating everything you say? Gimme a damn break, I've been in a sound booth for a week with no damn oil! Yeah, let me know when. Man, I could use a hundred years rest in that tree again, where in Hel is Thor when you need him? I'll send you a Gram-gram in the mail, who said swords don't have a sense of humor? Hah! Later, stay sharp..

Back to people. Snorri said he'd take care of the details, be a participant and not just a chronicler. .He's a sword who don't fight! That damn smith musta put him back together wrong! No fun! Gods! Lumberjack? Bah! We'll have TV this time. Freyja has some deal with the BBC management, I think, I'll call her up. She can get some sets built for Fafnir to burn down, maybe get that other dragon he's been talking about, too. Regin and Otr miss the guy anyway. They're in and out of jail for the last 300 years, they don't know what to do with themselves. I'll have Thor go consult with the Vanir, I don't really want to go there.... Who should we get to wield Balmung?.

I didn't know what to say, that's the one thing I didn't think of. Jeffry's too old now, and his kids are all lawyers. There must be someone charismatic and whacky enough to fight a dragon or two. Well, I'll come up with a list eventually. Call around.