Muspelheim. Fire is water. A dead apple tree.
What if the fire giants were losing their immortality? That would certain explain Surtur’s desperation.
But why? The chain was a weapon.
A war. A civil war. Or rather something factional. I’d already seen the edges of it. Maybe part of why he wanted me was as a way to not choose a bride from any of those factions, not to take sides.
But Angrboda might be right. He wanted apples, thinking that would fix it.
Lugh clearly did not want…or no, he had wanted to show me that. Unless Odin had interrupted whatever he had planned, moved me somewhere else.
Would Odin care if Muspelheim died. Yes, because then the fire giants, with nothing to lose, would start the final war.
And Loki might join in if he thought Midgard was dying too. And maybe…
Maybe if one realm died it would take others with it. Maybe Ragnarok needed to happen to restore them.
Would I start it if it was…if everyone was going to die anyway? I frowned, because part of me was saying that it did not matter at that point.
That rebirth was better than a cold decline into death under brilliant stars. Of course it was.
But stopping the decline was better.
Of course it was.
Assuming that was the way my thoughts should go, I had to make a decision. Stealing apples for Surtur seemed likely to start the war for different reasons, in a different way.
Maybe I could get dad to do it. It would be expected from him.
I wanted to ask Angrboda what gave immortality to the giants. It wasn’t the golden apples. But she had already left. I had to find out, anyway, from a fire giant. One of the nice kids I’d bumped into.
Kids who deserved a future. I frowned again.
Okay, what was the most likely reason why Muspelheim would be dying? A lack of fire. Fires going out.
If fire was water there, then that would be like emptying an aquifer.
And combat could use up fire, use up energy faster than it was supposed to. The slingshot chain.
To say I liked this idea would be wrong, like when Facebook only allowed you to like the news of your friend’s wife getting cancer.
Liked, definitely not the right word. Hated. But it felt right. It fit everything except the cold stars.
The cold star nymph.
Who was she? I’d find out one day, I suspected. Or maybe she had merely been an idea. A metaphor. Perhaps even an echo of myself.
“If Muspelheim is low on fire, how do I give it more?”
Kanesha frowned. “The apples increase…”
“…life force. He’s hoping they’ll supercharge some of the fire giants so as to add more energy back into the system.”
I wasn’t sure he was right, but it felt very much like a way that could be seen as working. By a certain logic. Then I frowned. “They’d die.”
Then I frowned more. “Not fire giants. Himself. He intends to sacrifice himself.”
“Which would solve the problem of him starting Ragnarok.”
“Not if Ragnarok is caused by him stealing the apples.”
It all fit together now.
All of it.
I felt sorry for him. But I was not sure how to help.