Then we were surrounded. They came out of literal nowhere, the cold replaced by a sudden rush of heat. I drew my sword. “Mike. Run.”
I hoped Thruor would get there soon. Ten of them. I couldn’t fight ten of them.
“What do you want?” I asked, the firelight flickering off my blade.
“We’re done messing around. You will come to our King or the mortal will die.”
Mike gave me a shake of his head. A clear signal.
Let him die to save me? And if he did die, they’d still be able to take me. Or I could…
I lowered my blade very slightly. “I’m done messing around as well. I’ll send you back to your king with my message.”
“You’re outnumbered, Lokisdottir.”
“I know. You really think that bothers me?”
Raven wings overhead. I smiled. I wasn’t as outnumbered as they thought. I glanced at Mike.
He nodded. Unspoken communication. At the first opportunity, he would run.
I hoped it would be enough. If I failed to protect him, though, it would be sheer force of numbers.
They started to rush him. I spun, swinging my blade into the closest of them, trying to force them back away from him.
But they were targeting him, not me. And Loki had left. The only backup I had was the raven, and I could hope he and his brother would call my friends to my side.
Ten to two, and one of the two not properly armed for this fight, already tired. I had to fight for as long as I could. That was all I could even think to do. A blade caught me in the arm, I felt my own blood flow, hotter than it should be.
Fire against fire, though. I suddenly had a thought and murmured, “Angrboda.” The raven should hear. The giants should not.
The frost giantess liked me. Maybe, just maybe, she would come with some help. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw people fleeing. I wondered what they saw.
I wondered a moment too long, taking a second wound. I spun again and thrust the pommel of my sword into their face. Their jaw broke with a satisfying crunch.
None of the damage I did was permanent. That didn’t make it any less fulfilling to inflict. I wanted to hurt them. I wanted to have them come back so I could kill them again. My next blow took off the near incapacitated giant’s head. His body dissolved into flame.
Would mine? They were trying not to kill me.
They wanted to hurt me in other ways.