Once there was a garden in Asgard that was sacred to the Norns. In anger Odin had destroyed their garden as punishment. He had punished them for giving Fenrir the great wolf, son of Loki and brother to the Great Serpent, sanctuary after the making of the worlds and before the Third Binding whereupon the noble war god Tyr lost his hand.
For a time after this devastation the Norns served Odin, but when their time of atonement was over so was their heartfelt allegiance to him and his dominion. Since the dawn of mankind the Norns had greatly desired to break with Odin for the destruction of their sacred garden. Never could they forgive him for his great transgression. They wanted to create a new world. A world free of Odin and his rule. So to ensure their autonomy the Sister Norns made a pact with the Allfather. They would continue to weave the threads and carve the runes for the lives of man, water the mighty tree, and tend to the wells beneath Yggdrasil’s roots for as long as Odin left their new world in peace.
The Aesir king agreed to the terms. He would give them leave to birth a new realm in the cosmos, for he thought what kind of rudderless, lost and ailing world could they build without him? Yet secretly Odin wanted to continue to punish the Nornir, so when the Norns attempted to restore the lost garden in the Aesir pantheon of Valhalla, he forbade them to recreate their sanctuary where it had once stood within the domain of Asgard. They could have their new world, but their vaunted place in the heavens with the gods would be forever denied them. Their tenure in Asgard would be finite, bound to the great ash tree Yggdrasil and the Well of Urd beneath it.
Undeterred by this decree the clever Norns then created the realm of Norngard from a hidden fourth root of Yggdrasil. As Asgard was to Odin and Midgard was to Thor, Norngard was for Verdandi, Skuld and Urth. Within Norngard they had created Nornfall, and Nornfall was a land of magic and myth and mysteries. And this is where the three Norns fashioned their new garden. They named this garden the Garden of Meru. And the garden was their Eden.
The garden was vast and verdant, teeming with the kinds of life that dreams are made of. Unicorns and dragons, the eternal phoenix and the fierce griffin, and hothouse flowers with blooms so large and fragrant that the air was filled with their intoxicating perfume. Other trees like giant willows and oaks, maple and ash and fir and spruce towered within the garden offering shelter and giving shade. Other trees were bursting with blooms or laden with fruit from cherries to apples to pomegranates and mangoes. Ferns and tall grasses and wildflowers sprinkled the manse and streams of such purity danced through the gardens. And always the garden was evergreen; evergreen and filled with the songs of the wind and wildlife, nourished by the golden rays of the sun and cooled by the silver kiss of the nighttime moon. When the rain fell it fell gently, whispering of renewal and growth.
In this garden they placed a grove of sacred ash trees. These were the first trees of the Nornfallen realm. These trees were the Tree of Life, the Tree of Death, the Tree of Truth and the Tree of Forgiveness, the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Gifts. In the center of the grove of trees was a well. Under the well was the veiled fourth root of Yggdrasil. This well was entirely more singular and powerful than all the other wells — Urðarbrunnr, Hvergelmir, and Mímisbrunnr — combined. This well held all the secrets of the cosmos, the wonder of birth and the burden of foresight, and it was known as the Meru Well. It was the life blood of the Garden of Meru.
Since the moment Norngard had burst out of the universe, shaped by the hands and hearts and minds of the Sister Norns, the Garden of Meru had existed. Surrounded and protected by a jagged ring of forbidding mountains known as the Teeth of Galaesir on all sides, hidden from the harshness of the rest of the worlds.
In this garden dwelled a young girl whose name was Meruself. She was friend and caretaker of all that lived within the paradise, tasked by the Norns to guard the sacred garden and keep safe the grove of trees and the esoteric well.
As the Keeper of Meru she had free reign over all within the peaceful and arcane utopia. The only rule given to Meruself by the Norns was that she should never seek to leave the garden lest harm or corruption come to it. But Meruself was young and new and constantly wondered what was beyond the barrier of mountains. She was not content to remain safe and hidden in the garden. She had an adventurer’s heart and a curious mind and wondered what could possibly happen if she left the garden for only one day?
So Meruself did something that she knew was forbidden. She did something only the Norns were permitted to do. She went seeking the foresight of the gods from the Well for herself. Meruself gazed into Meru Well, and when she looked into those enchanted waters of Meru they whispered to her, “A snake sheds its skin and rules are destined to be broken.”
She had drunk of the mythical waters even though she knew she shouldn’t. It was then that Meruself realized that those with too much thirst are always punished and punished greatly.