If there was a later. I realized how exposed we were a moment later. And then a voice. “Stop.”
“Somebody not fighting the war?” I couldn’t resist but say, although Thruor and Ebba were ahead of me.
“Somebody trying to protect what we have left. Who are you?”
“We have a plan.”
“Take your plan to the lowlands.” A bearded, wild looking fire giant…the entire mountain man thing was even more both intimidating and ridiculous at giant size.
“I can’t.” I couldn’t push past the others on the trail.
“Who are you?”
“The person who plans on stopping Ragnarok, if you will let me. Or help. Would you rather have these mountains denuded or restored?”
Hesitation. “Oh, come to my cabin. We will talk.”
We had him outnumbered. Heck, me and Thruor could have taken him. Possibly solo. But Thruor nodded anyway.
Maybe she figured he would be useful. I wasn’t as sure, he seemed like a crazy game warden.
Maybe that was exactly what he was. A game warden. The Muspelheim equivalent of a park ranger.
His cabin was of rough stone, with wood used only for the door and window frames. He had glass windows but no shutters. “So…” he said as he opened the door. “Why up here?”
“Because I had a vision telling me it was the best place.”
He laughed. “Little…” A head tilt. “Little goddess. Why not go running back to Asgard?”
“Because if this isn’t stopped there might not be an Asgard to run back to.”
He stopped. “A valkyrie, an einherior, a baby goddess and two dwarves. Perhaps that is strange enough company to do something.”
Or throw a ring into a mountain, I couldn’t help but think, although we had no hobbits with us.
I didn’t. Something about this guy was triggering thoughts in my head, thoughts I was not sure I liked.
Something about him. “We intend to do something. Or fail. And if we fail, then there will be no need to protect this mountain.”
I thought that he shuddered, under the furs he wore. It was hard to tell. Maybe this was cold for a fire giant. For me, with my mixed heritage, it was nothing at all.
“Perhaps you are right.” He fixed his eyes on me. “And if you succeed.”
“I’ll get out of your hair.”
He laughed ringingly at the human saying. “Perhaps.”
And I knew he had reason to doubt me on that particular front. Who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t assume I wanted power?
Perhaps not even myself.