Episode Thirty-Four: Barriers: Scene 24

We chose our best route to Muspelheim, planning it using a map. It would lead us to the capital by a route that avoided other towns.


Thus, we hoped, it avoided collateral damage. We wanted the fight to happen somewhere where there would be few civilians to be hurt, little property to be damaged.


We wanted to hurt as few people other than our target as possible. That, I supposed, was what honor we could keep in this. A surgical strike.


Except we had no smart bombs. And nothing like that could be made magically. I asked.


Yeah, I had to ask. But there was no way to do it without risking a lot of damage.


Back to plan A. Back to just beating the guy down. Defeating him in an unfair fight.


Well, he might have bodyguards to make things more even, but we already knew that he could not be beaten in a fair fight and did not respect his own laws.


We would make it, thus, as unfair a fight as we could. We set out at dawn, or what the dwarves claimed was dawn. As before, we went into deep passages, leading the horses, to make our exit.


We did not see the sky. It was a slightly longer route, intentionally, than they had rescued me by.


When they had come before they had been concerned about proximity to medbay. Now, apparently, this route would position us better for surprise.


Not right into the Capital. That might have been better surprise, but we knew we would be dogpiled and arrested or killed before we could do anything.


I really needed to find out whether the city had a name, or whether, as I suspected, city and realm were named the same.


I was pretty sure that was the truth. Should have asked Surtur, I thought wryly, while we were exchanging barbed civilities.


Through the corridors, then, and then ahead of us I saw fire.




Thruor swore rather more profusely. “I think they thought of this route too.”


Fighting off an army was not what we were prepared for. Jorun and Ebba looked at each other, then headed down a side route. “We should not try to stop them. This should loop us back behind them.


“At least they’ll be having to duck.”


Both dwarves grinned at me.


But this was it. The war had come here, come to the hall, and it was my fault. Every death would lie at my feet.


I would work out later how to live with them. If there was a later. If I did not survive then perhaps it would be justice.


Still, I had not done this intentionally. I had thought I was doing it right.


A mistake, though, could cause as much pain as an intentional act. Sometimes more.


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