“The stars,” I said, simply.
“They are beautiful.”
“They are the answer. They can…bring energy into the system.” But at what cost? I suddenly wondered. Would we destroy another world?
“They sing, but they do not sing to me. Muspelheim sings to me.”
“You can do this. And then you can end the war, put things back the way they were.”
“And then will you join me?”
I shook my head. “No. But whoever does will be a woman who loves you.”
He looked up at the stars again. I felt energy, I felt tension, but I felt something wrong.
Something not right about what he was doing.
“Not that way.”
He stopped. “How do you know? You are not…”
“You wanted me to help you start the end of the world, because you thought it was the only way to save your world. Can you trust me now?”
“I’m talking to you, not trying to kill you.”
He laughed bitterly. “For now.”
Had he read my mind? “I’d quite rather not kill you.”
“You just don’t want my job.”
The energies shifted again. I felt something else, some pressure. Something from outside. And I reached out. “Oh no you don’t, whoever you are.”
“What is that?”
“A demon. Seeing their advantage. You would open the gates of hell, and they’re a crack open. Can we work together?”
It was not desperation. I wanted to. I did not want to wed him or bed him. I wanted him to find his honor again.
Because now I remembered everything, I knew we could be friends, if he allowed it. I could allow it. I wanted to forgive him.
Maybe I couldn’t, but I wanted to try.
And I felt the presence of Hell. “A demon I know. A demon I thought had been demoted.”
A harsh laugh from Surtur. “Is he a rival for your affections?”
I thought for a moment, then elected not to speak Tyz’vel’s true name. But I had it handy.
“It all boils down to you.”
“What does the prophecy say?” I demanded of him.
“I don’t know.”
So, he had not heard the words either.
But the skies were full of stars and the gates of Hell were opening here.
And on Earth.
And there was nothing I could do.