Known to the ancient Scandinavians as Helheim, this the land of the dead was a dark, grey and hopeless place. It was the home of monsters and the last destination for those who had revered the Aesir of old, yet had failed to fulfil the requirements for an eternity in Valhalla.
This was where souls lingered and languished in eternal despair, doomed to roam the empty corridors of Hel's Halls. It was the place so terrible that at first, the Christian Church had found no purchase with their warnings of flame and damnation, as the Nords of old knew no fear greater than eternal languish.
It was said, that Loki, the old god of trickery, subterfuge and deceit had once fathered the very queen reigning Helheim with a cold, rotten grip. The very same Loki had then manipulated the son of Odin, Hoeder, to kill his own brother, and sent Balder, the purest and most noble Aesir to ever have existed, to the depths of Helheim itself.
For a god to die, such a thing had until then been inconceivable.
Nevertheless, it had happened, and Balder was now chained to Hel, doomed as they say, to spend all time from then on to Ragnarok itself in the chambers of Hel. And yet freedom was promised the noble god when Hermod, brother of Balder, Hoeder and Brage, the god of bards, traveled to Hel on the back of Sleipnir, eight legged steed of Odin.
Freedom would be granted Balder, as would his return to life, if all the world would weep for him.
And so the world wept. Everywhere, everyone and everything from the skies to the stones, to the animals and the men, all wept for the noble Aesir, trapped as he was in Helheim. Yet one did not. Loki, the perpetrator and doubtless manipulator who had conspired towards Balder's death, had fled Asgard to lands unknown. He was found, nonetheless, by the least probable tracker, as Hoeder, blind and with cane, had walked the world to find the last soul yet to weep for his brother. Loki disguised himself as an old crone, seeking safety in his mastery of concealment and trickery.
"Tøk will cry dry tears for Balder, son of Odin."
Such was the answer, but Hoeder while blind, possessed hearing surpassing even Heimdahl himself, it was said. As such, he was not fooled by Loki's disguise, yet could do naught to force the traitor to tears. And so it was, that because a single man remained unmoved, Balder's destiny was set in Helheim, prisoner of Hel.
It was said that goodness had truly left the world that day, when Balder most kind and noble was doomed to death to the day Ragnarok would come upon the world.
Beyond that, it remains unknown what transpired in Helheim. Balder, no doubt, was subjugated to torture and evil deeds, for such was the nature of Hela, daughter of Loki and corpse-queen of the dead.
But then, one millennia later, in a world so very different from the one to see Balder fall, why could the joyful voices of children be heard in the halls of Helheim?
As you might realize, this is but the introduction to a project I have in the works. It will be a Blue Exorcist story, centered around the siblings Egil and Elise, the children of Hel. Circumstances force their mother's hand, and an old friend of their grandfather offers sanctuary. If anyone here ever read the old Valhalla Comics - not Marvel - you will know some of the foundation for the story already.
The story will, if I am able, go from start to finish - and maybe beyond? - of the anime, and contain my usual degree of character development, fluffiness and maybe even just a hint of budding romance.
I just want to hear if there is a "market" as such for a story like this. If not, we will forget I ever brought it up.