“I hope this is worth it,” Loki mused.
“Well, what do they want other than me getting mauled by a bear?”
“And to be remembered by you favorably.”
“That’s not a problem.” Even if they had got me mauled by a bear, I liked Ebba and Jorun. And although they would not fight with me, it seemed worth having allies here too.
“And something I’m going to steal for them.”
I lifted a hand. “If I don’t know about it, I won’t get yelled at by anyone about it.”
He grinned. “Exactly.”
They gave Kanesha her blade first, in the forge – which was so abysmally hot we were both sweating.
“It has no great power, but it will stand up against anything the mortal world…or fire giants…can throw at you without breaking, and the edge will not need to be sharpened.”
And then the king turned to me. “I know who you are, Lokisdottir. I know what you might yet achieve. This is Balgefa, the Firegiver.”
I reached and took the blade…and it felt right in my hands. “This was forged for me. How long ago?”
“Does it matter?”
Before I was even born, I thought, was the answer. “So the thing with the bear.”
He laughed. “We actually rather did need help with the bear. But I also wanted you to meet my daughters. Whatever path you lead, you will have their friendship.”
Whatever? “And if…” The blade flickered, casting him in an odd light.
“Now I have known you, I trust that you will not.”
Cause Ragnarok. But I had already been reminded it wasn’t the end. “All things come to an end and are reborn.” It felt right.
“Yes, but not yet.”
I smiled. “Not yet.” It was a promise I felt I could reasonably make. A shiver ran through me.
And then I remembered. I would not kill Surtur.
That was another part of the prophecy. I would fight him. I knew it would come to that.
It was not my task to kill him. And I didn’t know who’s it was.
Not the dwarven sisters. This was their place, under the hill, forging blades others would take into combat.
I wondered, suddenly, how old they were.
I wondered exactly who had created this blade for me.