Episode Thirty-Four: Barriers: Scene 7

That settled that. I wasn’t her owner, I wasn’t going to be her “superior.” If she said no, then no was the answer.


As I digested that (and my sausages), I heard hoofbeats. It was not a valkyrie’s steed.


It was something bigger. And then she rode into the clearing. Helgr, on a black horse with a red mane and tail. “Found you.”


“Could you have been less discreet? That horse has to stand out…”


She grinned. “He’s a fine beastie, isn’t he.”


He was that, and he wasn’t that huge in proportion to fire giant sizes. “Still, were you seen?”


“Who do you take me for?” She dismounted. “You might still need practice at concealment, I don’t.” Then she…nodded to Kanesha. “You have caused quite the stir, mortal.”


She grinned a bit up at the fire giant then stood. I was on my feet too.


Thruor frowned a bit. “Helgr. What do you have in mind?”


“Surtur’s raging, he’s sent fyrhunds and men to hunt you, they’ll close the net soon. Why haven’t you left?”


“He’d just follow us to Midgard.”


She nodded. “Point.”


“Got a good place to hide?”


She shook her head. “We’re past the point of hiding, kid. He’ll find you.”


“Then I’ll have to…”


She sighed. “Did you mean it about not wanting to end up queen?”


I nodded. “Absolutely.”


Did I? Yeah. I did.


“Then I will try something, but I make no promises.” She smiled. “Challenge him to single combat.”


“Why didn’t you do that before?” Kanesha asked.


“Because I still had hope that things could be salvaged. I fight him. If I win, I become queen. If I lose…” She shrugged. “You guys run. Quickly.”


“You’ll need a second,” Thruor said, grimly.


“Yes, I will.” She considered.


“I’ll do it,” I said, finally. “If I’m your second, that gives me some protection, right?”


“He certainly can’t do anything to you until the fight is over…or for a day and a night afterward. Smart.”


Had I known that?


Part of me had. Or rather, it felt so right to me that I wondered if the Aesir had the same rule, or if it was my own fire giant blood speaking.


I knew. And I knew that this might work…and if it did not, we still got a head start. “Does that extend to people under my personal protection?”




“Well then. If you…if you’re sure.”


She could die.


“I am. He is no longer fit to be my king.”


She sounded so serious that I knew she would rather die than continue with this. But I did not think Surtur had the honor to be fair in this duel.


I said so.


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