The stars pulled at me. What were they? Actual stars. “Are those your stars?” I asked Jorun.
“No. They’re…I’m not sure what they are.”
“They pull at me. They want something from me.”
“Are you sure it’s the stars,” the dwarfmaid said quietly.
I frowned. “I…think so. I had a vision. Stars and dead trees.”
“Then it is you after all,” she said, cryptically, but nothing further.
I did not push her for an explanation, but mounted the borrowed steed. He pawed the ground once then set off at a smooth gait that was faster than a walk, slower than a gallop.
Tolt, my memories supplied. Easy to ride, easy for him to keep up.
And we swept down a hill and were behind enemy lines.
A sentry stepped forward.
“You will let me pass. You will tell me where Surtur is, or have somebody take me to him.”
“Look up, fool. Do you truly want the world to end?”
He stepped out of my way, but did not tell me where Surtur was. He almost did not need to.
The horse walked into the camp, ears pricked. I tried not to think about certain awkward relationships.
You will never be one of my sisters.
It is you after all.
It is me for what? The stars burned down. Whatever they really were.
I felt on the edge of understanding something that, perhaps, only Odin and those at his level could touch.
Maybe Surtur understood something of it too, because I saw him.
Looking up at the stars. A sad, lonely figure. Were it not for the guards it would be the perfect opportunity.
I was not sure they would even stop me.
It was not my task. Instead, I dismounted, and walked towards him. “You see what you have wrought,” was what came out of my mouth.
“Not I alone.”
And he turned, and I saw terrible anger and fear in the back of his eyes, held by iron will.
I shivered, but I had committed myself now.
I had to try.