From The Author

Okay, so, I didn’t quite time this right. But this is actually the end. Or the beginning, depending on how you see it.


Anything that is not true to the lore is my own invention for the sake of creativity and telling a good story. Or is an accident. This is not a religious text, but a story that has its basis in the northern myths and then developed very much a life of its own.


I’d like to thank my husband, for doing his usual bang up job of proofreading everything before it goes out.


Also, Victoria, for spotting a few times when things got posted out of order (easy to do in WordPress) and the odd piece of critique.


And Jess, for hosting.


This is the longest thing I have ever written and it’s going to be very weird not writing it any more.


If you want more, check out my page on Amazon. Most especially check out Falling Dusk – which is not Norse-based, but is essentially a fairy tale, as well as a romance and a story about monsters, choices, and redemption.


I may or may not do another project like this in the future. I have a ton of novels to write, so…


Signing off, at least for now. As are Siglaugr and Kanesha. Might not be a happily ever after, because nothing in this world is, but definitely a happy for a very long now.

Episode Thirty-Six: Ragnarok: Scene 24

For the first time in centuries, fire giants stood on dwarven soil in peace.


We were wed under the open sky, for none of us would have fit well in the caverns, not any more. With Odin himself to witness and people not just from all Nine Realms but from beyond.


Coyote was a shadow in the back of the crowd, saying nothing, and whatever gift he brought was intangible.


Even Sarael was there, although the angel looked distinctly awkward and spent the reception as an awkward wallflower. Zaid, on the other hand, trying to dance with everyone they could, of both sexes and all genders. It ended, of course, with them leaving with Coyote.


I was not about to ask about that. Kanesha insisted on throwing a bouquet. It was, of course, caught by Clara, much to Sebastian’s chagrin.


Father Will, looking odd and never moving far from Sarael, gave his blessing. I did not mention to Kanesha that I understood from looking at him – that he had in fact died fighting demons, and Sarael had brought him here.


Yet, we were still able to accept his blessing. That meant more than I wanted to say. Mike refused to do any giving away, saying we both belonged to ourselves and each other and he could not claim either of us.


At which point Kanesha insisted that he was still going to dance with her. So we both danced with him, to dwarven music under a sky full of the normal kind of stars and hope.


I knew it was an interlude before the real work began. We stood, in the end, watching the dance.


“I always thought this would end with us being separated,” she said to me, softly.


“I thought that too, for a while. I thought I was going to die.” I turned to her.


“I…” She looked at me. “It had to be me. Because even Odin could not have brought you back.”


“I…” I tailed off. “Let’s not talk about it. Let’s talk about the future.”


“We’re not going to exactly get a honeymoon, are we.”
At which point Loki walked up. “Oh, I think I can manage that.”


“You can?”


“I found somebody good at time magic. And the perfect spot. Two weeks for you, five minutes for everyone else.”


I laughed. “We’ll take it.” And we did. But when it was over, we had a realm to manage.


And a life to build.


Episode Thirty-Six: Ragnarok: Scene 23

We were welcomed at the Spire – and any mopping up had either been done or was being pushed out of our sight. Somebody really had run or ridden ahead of us.


I was not going to fire anyone who didn’t give me a reason to. Although I had to be sure, absolutely sure, of the cook.


“Don’t worry about the cook,” Kanesha said, as if reading my mind.


I realized that our minds did touch a little. “Oh?”


“He likes me.”


I grinned. “You spent your entire time here subverting the servants, didn’t you.”


“I spent it subverting anyone I could. For you.”


She had not expected this. “Well. They don’t need to like me, just you.”
That was enough to guarantee we would not receive poison for dessert.


“Some of the servants left.”


I nodded. “Let them. We can replace them easily enough, I would imagine.”


A wedding. Then reaching out to every part of this realm, every single part, repairing, healing.


And finding those who would resist. That part I both looked forward to and dreaded. There would still be fighting.


Yet here, it seemed, we were being welcomed. It was Kanesha who got rushed with well wishers. I stayed back, still on my horse.


I was the distant one. She was the one they loved. It was right that way. Right for the realm, right for both of us, right for the future.


I knew I had never been easy to love and never would be. But finally we were inside.


Not the swan room. Not this time. The queen’s chambers.
A fine lady’s chambers. But neither of us wanted those memories. Nor did either of us want to sleep in Surtur’s bed. We opened another room instead, until both could be altered, refurbished, made the way we wanted them.


The clothes we had worn before no longer fit. A rush was made for a seamstress. Our armor did, somehow, but then Kanesha’s had come out of thin air.


I wasn’t going to ask on that. And I realized we were being stalled.


But it was okay. It was only to allow the cooks to prepare a proper welcome.


Episode Thirty-Six: Ragnarok: Scene 22

Not everyone would accept us right away. We knew that even as we rode, side by side, into the capital.


And were met by dwarves. Both alive, although both looked bloodied and battered. “We did what you asked, La…” Ebba paused, then grinned. “And you did it.”


“We did it.” I stressed the we. Not my task after all.




But I suspected I knew the content of the prophecy my father had refused to relay. I even suspected he had set us up.


Could I even blame him?


Set up the one person we could be sure of being able to restore. I was angry and grateful all at the same time. I was alive. She was…alive.


Definitely alive, her hand warm.


Her eyes flicked to Kanesha and she grinned. “I saw somebody run ahead to the Spire.”


“I’m going to be…”


“Mopping up for a while. Yes. Definitely. But the forges will need to be rebuilt. I think we can manage a better solution.”


I grinned down…a long way down given I was on a giant-sized horse, and she was a dwarf. “Peace, then?”


“Our father is dead.”


I smiled. “Then let’s leave it to the women to make peace?”


“Often the way of things.”
And maybe this cycle would go better, then. Maybe. Until next time, and I suspected next time would be the last.
There was that feel to it, but it might not happen for a long time. For a very long time indeed.


“Meanwhile, we have a wedding to plan.”
“Well, we’ll…”


Jorun elbowed Ebba. “I know the perfect gift.”


I grinned again at the twins. “Then I should wait and be surprised.”


“No. Not for this gift.” She looked serious. “A venue.”


I blinked.


“We are not making risky protective amulets…” Her eyes flicked to Kanesha. “For the entire contingent of your mortal friends. And for a certain frost giant I suspect will want to come.”


I laughed. “But if we don’t do it here…”


“Peace, remember. Let us sort out everything.”


And for the first time I truly believed in this peace. That between us we could do it.


Episode Thirty-Six: Ragnarok: Scene 21

She was right. I had not been thinking anything resembling straight. And I had…I knew now in a rush why I had never asked her. Because when the person with the power asks, the one with less power can only say yes.


That was why men proposed to women. But with her asking, with that look in her eyes, the knowledge that she was not only asking because it was, yes, the obvious answer.


“I…thought you would never ask.”


“Silly woman.”


Now I did offer her a hand up. As I touched her hand, fire washed over her, but it did not burn her.


Instead, it settled into her eyes and form. “Oh…wow…”


I grinned. “Welcome to Muspelheim…my queen.”


And this time the roar from the crowd was uncertain, but far less conflicted. “Will you accept both of us?”




Great. I was going to need a lot of advice. We were. But I stood with my hand in hers, feeling the land flow into me.


There would be a lot of learning, but we would learn it together. I did the only thing I could do.


I kissed her.


Odin smiled. “Well, I think that settles that. I think I will leave you ladies to your planning.”


“I was not sure he’d approve,” she whispered to me.


“Approve? That’s the god who gave up an eye so he could understand women and women’s magic better,” I murmured back. Meaning he wasn’t exactly a bastion of traditional gender roles.




And he had already turned away. The brief visit was, I knew, a statement.




It was a peace offering. From Odin. That might break the cycle more than anything else.


A peace offering, and I felt the tension flow out of me as he remounted and left. I could have sworn Sleipnir winked at me.


The two valkyries left with him. My mother, of course, stayed.


For right now, though, I was not about to release Kanesha’s hand to go to her.


Neither of us was willing to let go of the other.


Episode Thirty-Six: Ragnarok: Scene 20

What did we do now?


Two of them came forward. “That one killed the king. The mortal. By our laws she is our queen…”


“I will not accept that!” Another voice.


And then a clamor of voices. Some of them were calling my name.


They wanted me. Of course they did. I could keep the peace for now. Perhaps for a very long time indeed.


Their worst enemy was here in peace. They had just seen him help me restore the one who had stabbed Surtur in the back…which might be dishonorable, but they understood why. That she had done it to save me.


That made it okay. Some of them, somehow, were calling hers.


This was all falling apart. “Silence!” I yelled.


It was backed up by the valkyries – without that I doubt it would have been at all effective, but silence happened nonetheless.


“This is Kanesha.” I did not use her last name. Her father deserved no mention in this time and place. “She is a true hero. I will not have you place me above her.”




“She is the one who did what I could not, and she did it for me and for all of you. And I will not be the cause of conflict against her!”


I was angry. “We will not fight. I will leave before letting that happen.”


“Siglaugr.” Her voice.


“No. You deserve this, and you’re the smart one here.”


“Siglaugr. Shut up.”


She might well be the only person other than Odin who could talk to me like that. There were small pieces of fire catching in her braids and then going out again. She was more beautiful than she had ever been.


“Shut up and let me fix this because you, clearly, have lost so much blood you aren’t thinking straight.”


I didn’t really have that excuse.


Then, she knelt. Not on both knees, but on one. There was another noise from the crowd.


From people who thought. “You have…”


“I said. Shut up.”


Her eyes looked up at me. Full of fire. She had not forgiven me, not entirely, but the love was there. The love and the trust.
She knew what I had done. I stood there for a long moment, not even daring to offer her a hand up.


“Siglaugr Lokisdottir. Will you marry me?”


Episode Thirty-Six: Ragnarok: Scene 19

And the gateway opened. The rainbow bridge in full force, not just the slight shimmer I had seen before. On it rode an old man on a grey horse, a horse that made the steeds of the valkyrie look like the ancient nags a riding barn might keep around to teach the beginners.


I did not need to count his legs to know who he was.


For what might well have been the first time, Sleipnir’s hooves touched the soil of Muspelheim. They sent up sparks, sparks in multiple colors. Odin dismounted. He came alone, or perhaps trusting that he had enough of an escort here. The two valkyries that had come with Sigyn dismounted and moved to flank him.


Nobody moved.


I was not sure anybody breathed.


“I come in peace,” he said.


“Then be welcome.” I was not sure what I should do. This was the king of the gods, this was the most powerful being in the Nine Realms, and he came here openly.


Not in disguise, not this time.


I did realize the other figure that had been behind Sigyn on foot was my father. He gave me a sardonic salute.


Or us.


Odin stepped towards me. “Siglaugr Lokisdottir. A moment?”


I nodded.


“Give her to me.”


Did I trust him? I had no idea what to do. “Alright.”
“Trust me.”


I smiled. “I trust you as much as I trust my father.”


He laughed. “Which is to say that you trust within the confidence of our respective natures. Good.”


And then he reached out and took her from me. I sensed energies twist a little. And I knew I could have done this myself.


If I had known how. I did not.


But a moment later, Kanesha stood there. She looked around for a moment, and then turned around and hugged me.


And kissed me. I might have been embarrassed, but feeling her, warm in my arms. “Oh…oh….”


“I’m sorry. I was…too far away.”


“It hurt so much. What did he do?”


“Grabbed your amulet as he went down.” Removed her protection. But she was here now…here in the way Mike was.


Except that the connection between us was still solid. “Thank you.”


“A lesson,” he said.


And I knew why he said that. If something like this happened again, I would know, remember what to do. I held her a moment longer. Then I released her to face the giants.


Episode Thirty-Six: Ragnarok: Scene 18

She died in mercifully brief agony. I had…I had chosen…and there was nothing but ashes and an odd flicker.


I had not chosen to be a goddess. I trembled there, dropped to one knee, saw that flicker that I knew was her soul, her essence.


“I love you.”


And it was as if she rushed towards me. I felt her settle against me, a trembling light that I was not sure, in that moment, was even conscious.


Her soul was mine. I had no idea what to do with it. And I had caused this, it was my fault, I did not know if she would forgive me.


In desperation, I looked towards Thruor.


And the rift snapped shut like the closing of jaws, I heard the teeth come together. The sky began to return to normal, but there was one piece of light that fell from it.


Fell towards me. I smiled. “Thank you.”


Just energy. Nothing more than that, but I felt my wounds heal. I stood up. I was still cradling the light that was Kanesha’s essence against my breast.


The guards were still staring. Then, one by one, they placed their weapons on the ground and knelt.




My mother.


“I am sorry if my choice…”


“No. I quite approve. But I need your permission, now, to open the path.”


The barriers were coming back into place. The cycle was broken.
The cycle was broken, but Surtur had not been the only one who died, and it did not matter for a moment that she was in some sense still with me. Hot tears came to my eyes. “My permission? I…”


“Both of your permission.”


I nodded, squeezing my lids together. I could grieve later. I could maybe edit what I had seen out of my memory, except I thought I might need that memory.


That reminder to be even more careful of the fragile ones in my life.


“You have it…and whoever chooses to come…as long as it’s not an army.”


She laughed. “Not an army, no.”


I sensed something else. Ebba and Jorun. Their mission was complete, and that energy too was starting to be released. Surtur’s mistake.


My responsibility. Or was it?


They were kneeling to me. Or to her. Kanesha deserved it more.


Again, I squeezed my eyes closed.




Episode Thirty-Six: Ragnarok: Scene 17

It created chaos. The air was chill, not just chill by Muspelheim standards, but the temperature dropping as the rift opened.


I had thought it was the end before, but now I could feel the realm dying, and this was it.


This was a last gambit, I knew. We could still break the cycle.


I found myself having difficulty breathing. Perhaps it was the chill, perhaps it was the energy drain, perhaps it was the strain of the last few days.


It was all of those things and I stumbled back, Surtur’s blade cutting into me deep enough that I knew I would need healing, pain radiating from it through me, through the rest of me.




If this was the last chance I had to break the cycle, then…


I heard somebody scream “No!” as he raised his blade again, as I raised mine. I blocked him, but barely, feeling my blood fall to the ground.


I could not identify the voice or perhaps I did not want to, but no.


I saw her. Behind him. Rushing towards him, armored as a valkyrie, braids flying, the most beautiful sight in the history of the world.


Bringing the blade towards Surtur’s back. The amulet that protected her glinting in the fading fires.


Planned? I thought not. I thought even that I saw battle fever in her eyes, battle fever mingled with terror.


And her sword cut through wards and armor and flesh like butter, plunging into the king’s back, the tip emerging from his chest.


His eyes widened in surprise.


Not my task after all. Not my task…but he still had some strength in him, still that last moment, whirling towards her.


And hesitating. I could not see what passed between them, nothing spoken, nothing out loud.


With the last of his strength he reached for her throat, and then he fell to the ground, his body already beginning to dissipate into smoke.


Time froze again. I looked at her across him.


No glint at her throat. I started to stand, to move towards her, but I was slow.


I could only watch as the flesh of the woman I loved lit up like candle tallow.


The scream I heard was not hers.


It was my own.


Episode Thirty-Six: Ragnarok: Scene 16

His blade started to snake towards mine, and then there was a third thunder clap.


The air shimmered.


I sensed Bifrost open. Sensed, but did not see, whoever it was was being careful to hide the distinctive rainbow glimmer.


Maybe my father had sneaked out after all.


Maybe Thruor had called for backup at some point during the chaos and not told me in case they did not show up.


Either way, I had to hold Surtur off – and I knew the difference. Before, he had been playing with me. Now he was bent on my destruction.


Had Thruor not moved to my side, I would have been dead in a few blows. With her help I could stall, but I knew we were both going down.


It was only a matter of time.


The guards were closing in, but they still seemed hesitant to interfere. Maybe Surtur would take it as an insult. He was rather the type.


“Get rid of the Valkyrie for me!” he snarled.
Orders given, they closed further. And then they whirled.
Riders on steeds of Asgardian blood. The cavalry was, quite literally, here. And leading them, armored, was my mother.


I had not thought of Sigyn as one who rode and fought, but she was here nonetheless.


“About time you showed up!” I called to her.


“I had preparations to make.”
Those flanking her were valkyries. Kara, two more of her sisters.


Behind them two more, on foot. I could not see them to identify them.