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Hel, also known as Hella, Holle or Hulda, was Ruler of the Underworld, which was known as Niflheim, or Helheim, the Kingdom of the Dead.
Loki had a relationship with a giantess named Angraboda, and it was from that union that they produced three children.
The first child was the devouring Lupine, Fenrir (who was a wolf), the second child was the wyrm, Iormungard, (which was the Midgard serpent of the ocean that encircled the Earth), and the third child was simply known as Hel.
In Asgaard, several prophecies had been handed down to the Gods, warning them that three unique siblings would appear who would bring such terrible disaster, that nothing but evil would come of it.
Since there was no doubt that the children were Loki's, Odin decided that the best thing to do was find the children and then bring them back to Asgaard. That way they would be raised as Aesir.
Sadly, Hel had been born with the bones on one side of her bod fully exposed. Her appearance caused the other Gods to feel so uncomfortable that they avoided having anything to do with her.
Being avoided and having no friends was very difficult for Hel to deal with. She went to Odin and explained to him how difficult her life was there, and then she asked for his permission to leave Asgaard. Odin sympathized with Hel, so he granted her wish. He also gave her the World of Niflheim to rule. He even went so far as to name that place after her, calling it Helheim or Hel. That was how Hel became the Goddess of the Dead.
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