The Allfather took one look at the serpent’s sister and banished her from Asgard. He threw her into the mist and darkness of Niflheim, the world beneath the worlds. As she fell, she heard Odin’s decree that she should look after the dead, all those in the nine realms who died from illness or old age. So, just as the Midgard Serpent waits at the bottom of the ocean, coiled around the world; just as Fenrir waits, bound and gagged under the earth; Hel rules her cold domain and waits for Ragnarok.

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