Episode Thirty: Departures: Scene 2

I could send out a mental call for help stronger than any I’d sent before, reaching into whatever connection held us together.


Surtur heard it. He laughed. “Think about it.” And then he and his bodyguards were gone in flames.


I ran for the burning building. Maybe I could get some people out.


I really was going to kill him, consequences be damned. I wanted to in that moment. But I’d also felt that connection.


It wasn’t my task.


It wasn’t my task. But I wasn’t going to acquiesce to him either. If what I’d felt was fate, then I was going to make my own.


I had choices. And I could feel those, too, for a moment, perhaps a sense of the edge of the web the Norns wove.


Which wasn’t about taking away choice. It was about consequences.


I ran into the building. I took precautions against the smoke, of course. It wouldn’t hurt me, but it would slow me down. I was determined to get people out.


I managed to save three before the professionals showed up. It was an office building, which meant, at least, no kids. Then I stood back and let the firefighters do their job.


Thruor showed up. “Surtur?”


“He’s now changed tactics to threatening the entire city if I don’t go with him. Of course, if I do…”


Her eyes darkened. That’s not usually literal. In her case it was. “I’m going to…”


“Kill him for me?” It almost sounded like a request.


“It’s tempting.” She let out a breath. “Very tempting. Odin can’t intervene in this directly without starting the war.”


“I know.” I looked at the flames. “I tried to stop him, but…”


“Your fire magic is not going to be as strong as his. No chance. Don’t feel bad about it.”


“I’d rather not have fire magic at all. It…the more I use it…”


“Can you stop?” she asked, almost thoughtfully.


“I don’t think so.” No, I knew I couldn’t. And I knew it was drawing me, pulling me, closer to other sources of flame. “I haven’t…until now I don’t think I really wanted him dead except as the only way to make him go away.”


“Be careful. Hating him…”


And I understood. “…can forge a bond as easily as loving him.” I shook my head. “I don’t think I can help it, though.”


“Then we need a council of war.”


Odin couldn’t interfere directly. Heaven wouldn’t. Neither would Zaid’s alien, desert gods.


We had to find out who’s task it was to kill Surtur.


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