Episode Thirty: Departures: Scene 1

Hopefully the kid had run.


Surtur, flanked by two giantesses, both of them armed. Both of them smiling at me in a way that did not put me at ease.




I wanted to ignore him. But being civil was also a weapon, of sorts, so I nodded.


“This has gone on long enough,” he continued.


“You didn’t bring enough to take me.” Bravado, perhaps, but…


“I have learned my lesson.” A bit of a smile. “I need you. My people need you. And so…” The smile became something else. “If you do not come with me I will burn this city.”


He could do it, too. “No.”


“You would…”


I smiled. “Call your bluff, yes. You and I both know you intend to burn this world.” My heartrate was elevating, though.


He could do it.


He would do it. But if I went with him, he would destroy the world.


“Ah, but…”


I cut him off. “And it would still be, in part, my responsibility. You know it as well as I do. Let’s not pretend.”


He lifted a hand. Flame came from it. I wasn’t afraid of his fire – I was far more afraid of my own.


Which wanted to rise in answer, and for a moment I felt it. A kinship. A bond to him. I forced the thought away.


“So, this is what your protection of them is worth?”


“This is what your honor is worth,” I retorted. “You had it, once. You’re throwing it away – and for what?”


“My people’s survival. You’ve seen our world. You have not seen that it is dying.”


I let out a breath. “These people are under my protection, but it has its limits. I can’t stop you and if I go with you it will be worse.”


“What if I showed you?”


Maybe he wasn’t going to do it. Maybe he was afraid to.


“You aren’t going to convince me. You might have convinced me to help you.”


“There’s only one way you can.” He looked at me. “You can give me an heir who has Aesir blood.”


So, that was, as I’d suspected, what this was about. “You could try…”


“I’m sorry. It’s too late for anything else.”


One of the women said something it took me a moment to translate.


“A demonstration, then.” He pointed at a random building.


I reached for my own fire, trying to counter his, but mine was a bonfire compared to a firestorm.


I could not stop him.


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