Episode Eighteen: Tricksters: Scene 15

“I want to know what the politics really are,” I said, finally. “And order what you want – I’m buying.”

Her lips quirked. “Alright. You want to know who your rival is.”

I lifted a hand. “As far as I’m concerned, she can have him. I have absolutely less than no interest in being your queen.”

“Her name is Geirfridur. She has been courting power for centuries.”

I nodded. “So, she just wants power.”

I wondered if she intended to stab Surtur in the back on his wedding night.

“You don’t want her in charge. She’s worse than Surtur.”

“Worse how?”

“Surtur is honorable.” The woman let out a breath. “Not many of us like him, but he keeps his word.”

I nodded. “And Geirfridur is…let me guess, unpredictable?”

“Put it this way, I don’t want to be her personal guard. My survival would likely be…questionable.”

It did put a twist on things. “But you don’t really like Surtur.”

“Very few of us want his war. And if he marries you, he’ll step it up to the next level. But if he marries her…she’ll probably kill him, take over and then destroy us. Of course, he could also…”

“Then maybe we need to find somebody else. Somebody who he might listen to. A good influence.”

She sighed. “There isn’t anyone. The only thing we respect is strength. If he marries Geirfridur and she kills him…” A pause.

“Somebody will have to assassinate her.” I paused. “He could also what?”

“Marry both of you, of course. Geirfridur doesn’t like that idea, but it wouldn’t have to stop him.” She didn’t give me time to digest that before continuing. “In our tradition, if you kill the king, you become the king. Believe it or not, it actually lessens assassination attempts.”

I laughed. “You’re implying nobody wants the job?”

“I believe humans have a saying in this language. Herding cats?”

I laughed again. “Well…I don’t particularly want it either.”

The conversation very much put the idea of saying yes to Surtur then murdering him off the stove. “If he dies without anyone directly causing it?”

“The throne would pass to his younger brother. Who would last maybe a month.”

I nodded. “Thanks.” I thought I understood the situation. They didn’t like Surtur, but nobody wanted his job. And if they made it look like an accident – they’d probably have civil war.

I did not want his job either. But the only way I could see to deal with this part of stopping Ragnarok was to replace Surtur with somebody more friendly. Somehow. And it would have to be somebody they would accept, or that person would be assassinated.

Somebody they would accept…

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