Thruor opened the path between the Realms in its usual rainbow swirl. But we did not step into Asgard.
We stepped into what I at first thought was a trail in woods, with an odd scent. Then I realized the trail below us was not mud or dirt.
It was bark. I decided looking down too much would be a bad idea. “We’re on the tree.”
“Yes,” Thruor said. “We’re on the branch that supports Midgard.”
“I don’t think I want to look down.”
She laughed. “You can’t actually fall,” she promised. “We’re not in…it’s hard to explain, but you’d just float off and I’d have to toss you a rope.”
I grinned. “Alright. Where might we find the squirrel?”
“We just have to get his attention.” She then whistled.
There were words in the whistle, but I couldn’t catch them. Like she’d sped them up to something that would carry in pitch and frequency.
I examined the ash bark beneath me while waiting. It felt very solid. More solid. If anything, Yggdrasil was more real than anything else.
Perhaps the most real thing…or at least the most real being…there was. Of course, Sabriel would argue that point.
I decided it would be an interesting philosophical discussion for later, but then the squirrel came bounding down the branch.
Needless to say, Ratatosk was no ordinary squirrel. He was a red squirrel, of course, but he was easily the size of a small dog. And when he sat up I could see he had a belt with pouches around his waist.
“Hey there Thruor who did you bring with you who are you what are you doing here do you have any nuts?”
It took me a moment to put it all together, as Ratatosk did not appear to believe in pauses or punctuation. “I have nuts. And stories.”
He perked up. “Nobody ever brings me stories do they think squirrels live only on nuts?”
I held out the comics.
“Ooh!” There was a pause this time. “Squirrel person squirrel human is she a squirrel goddess?”
“No, she’s a completely invented thing some human came up with, but she’s a squirrel who saves the world.”
“Are there more?”
I had to nod.
Thruor laughed. “Oh dear. I think you just became Ratatosk’s comics pusher.”
I laughed as well. “I think there are worse fates.”
“What do you want?”
“I want information about…about creation and the energies of the realms.”
“Ooh deep stuff.”
“And about what’s going on in Muspelheim.”
The squirrel slowed down to normal speed. “Bad things. Very bad things.”
Did he actually use two sentences to say that?