Episode Thirty-One: Roads: Scene 16

The news said it was a race riot. The news said it was about cops killing black people.


Maybe it was. Maybe Surtur had used that as a subtle cover.


He’d threatened to burn this city. He’d threatened to destroy it. I knew he would not carry out the full threat.


Then he would have no threat left. But thirty people had died in the fires, many more left homeless.


A small thing in the grand scheme of things. Enough to build the growing anger. If leaving did not work…then what would?


Maybe he hadn’t noticed I’d left.


For now, though, I was doing what I could. Helping where I could. Showing people who thought that was really what had happened that not everyone thought they were animals.


Not everyone thought they were beasts. Certainly not me. Not all of them wanted my help, though.


They didn’t trust white people.


Kanesha came over and handed me a bottle of water. “They’re talking to me, if not you.”


“Find anything out?”


“Several people are pretty sure they saw a white agitator starting fires. The cops don’t believe them. A redhead.”


“Couldn’t be bothered to darken their skin. Or couldn’t.” Maybe whoever Surtur had sent hadn’t been that good at shapeshifting or glamor, whichever they were using.


After all, it didn’t take much in the way of smarts to drop a bit of fire where it would do most good. “Thanks.”


“At least one said he’d recognize the guy again, for what it’s worth. But no wonder they don’t trust white people.”


I let out a breath. “We can’t fix that right now.” I was frustrated enough to hit something. No, not something. Somebody.


Frustrated enough to do some real damage, and I knew it. What could I do, though?


Fix the problem. Pull the rug out from under Surtur. If somebody else did it, though, would they… “We have to fix the real problem.”


“And if we do, what happens?”


“We put off Ragnarok for a while.”


“And Surtur ends up dead,” she said, softly.


“I thought of that. But what’s the alternative?” A civil war in Muspelheim, a coup, would kill far fewer people.


“I don’t know.” She found another bottle of water, chugged it. “I just don’t know.”


She was so beautiful in that moment, but I myself still…did not know.


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