In the highest branches of a fictional tree, there live two types of gods: the Aesir and the Vanir. And, since they're Viking gods, they manage to get themselves into a good old-fashioned war.
Finally, the Aesir and the Vanir decide that they're tired of fighting, and they each send some of their people to live with the others. One of the hostages is named Niord, who is forced to live with the Aesir along with his two kids. It isn't all bad, though. They get to live in a nice little palace by the ocean, and Niord is tasked with guarding this section of the fictional tree from the bipolar sea god.
As time goes on, Niord realizes he needs a new wife to replace the one he had to leave behind. As luck would have it, the gods decide to hold a contest: there's a goddess who needs a husband, and she's going to pick whoever has the cleanest feet.
Niord easily wins the Clean Feet Contest, and gets to meet his new wife, Skadi. Good news is, she's hot. Bad news is, she's also the goddess of winter--and besides, Niord really didn't mind living alone with his kids. But, again, she's hot, so Niord accepts her, and Skadi comes to live in the ocean palace.
She doesn't like it.
One day, Skadi goes up to Niord and says, "Hey. I'm tired of all this sand. It's coarse, irritating, and it gets everywhere. And I've got my own house up in the mountains, so I say we go live there."
Niord agrees--reluctantly--and they set off for Skadi's cold mountain home. She loves it, of course, being the goddess of winter and all. But Niord really doesn't like it. The wolves howl, the wind blows, ice falls off the trees, and he can't sleep. At all. So, since he's a bit more patient than Skadi, he waits nine months and says it's time to go back to the ocean.
Back to the ocean they go. Skadi hates it. She hates the waves, the sand, and the noisy seagulls. She hates how hard it is to keep everyone's feet clean. So, three months later, she insists it's time to head back up to the mountains.
This arrangement goes on for a few years until they're both tired of it, and they decide the best option is just to split up and go their separate ways. Niord is able to enjoy his bachelor life again, and Skadi takes up hunting. Niord's children grew up and moved out and became gods in their own right, and everyone in the highest branches of the fictional tree was happy.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.