|I Bring the Fire Part 1 Wolves
Author: StarTrekFanWriter PM
Loki wakes up imprisoned, and just can't for the immortal life of him remember what he's done wrong-this time, anyway. Thor is lying, Odin is hiding something, and on Earth an old evil is growing. Amy Lewis just wants to get home in time for dinner. Myth rewrites and redemption. Hat tips to Marvel and other modern myths. Loki/OC Odin, Thor, Hoenir, Mimir, Sigyn, and MoreRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Loki - Chapters: 3 - Words: 15,661 - Reviews: 29 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 30 - Updated: 09-21-12 - Published: 07-31-12 - id: 8379902
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do own, and I hope to sell the rest of Part 1 ~ Wolves on Amazon Kindle, iBook, and Nook very soon! (13 chapters / 66 k) (I'll publish a bit of chapter 3 though too - thanks to everyone who is looking at this story; it means so much to me!)
Thanks to my beta Notes. Thanks also to Newhillbilly, and LuvMeAGoodMrE
Amy lies on the ground, one side of her face pressed in the dirt, the other side with the cold end of a gun to her cheek. She can hear her breath in her ears, or is that his breath? The guy's knee is on her back. He's silent. The hand is trembling. In fear…or…she swallows…or excitement.
Closing her eyes, she tries to remember her self defense courses she took with Grandma. The first rule was to verify that your attacker's weapon is genuine.
Licking her lips, she says, "Is that a…a…real gun?"
He laughs. "You want me to take it away from your cheek, don't you? Don't you?"
He pushes the muzzle more tightly against her, and Amy screws her eyes shut.
From the grass towards the road there is the sound of a high pitched growl punctuated by occasional whimpering.
Fenrir! Screwing her eyes tighter, Amy desperately thinks, Fenrir, please, just distract him…
From the direction of the man's van comes another voice. "Fenrir?" Amy's heart stops. There's two guys? Oh, no.
"Who's there?" shouts the man that's holding her down. The trembling of the gun's muzzle stops and steadies.
Amy hears the snap of a twig close to her and Fenrir's pathetic growl and tiny yips a little further off.
"I'm not moving this gun from her face!" the man says.
The whimpering disappears. The high pitched growl changes and deepens.
"What the…" her captor stutters and pulls the gun away. Amy darts into the car, rolls over and tries to yank her keychain out of the ignition, but it's jammed in. Fumbling, she manages to detach the pepper spray.
She hears the sound of gunshots and the man cursing. Looking out the window, she sees an enormous wolf the size of a small pony, muzzle white with foam, crouching as though about to spring. The bullets seem to have no effect on it, and Amy draws back further into her overturned car.
And then there is a shadow over the window, a dull thudding noise over and over again, and then the sound of a crack. The deep growling is gone. There is just Fenrir's pathetic whimpering.
The shadow moves away and Amy blinks in confusion. And there, just visible in the indirect light of her headlights, is the man who was attacking her. He's face down on the ground. The white hair on his head appears slick, black and shiny. Just beyond him is Fenrir, licking her tiny jaws, and wiggling forward on her belly.
A new face pops too suddenly in the window, younger, clean shaven, with sharp features. He's wearing a fedora. "It's going to be alright —."
It's the fedora that freaks her out. Amy fires the pepper spray. In slow motion it arcs towards him in a long stream.
The stranger throws up a hand just before it reaches his face. He blinks and then screams. "Aaauuuggghhhhhh!"
Jumping back from the window, he shouts, "That stings!"
Unable to bear the sound of Fenrir's whimpering, Amy scoots forward and out of the car. The man is shaking his hand. He seems to be shimmering. It looks like he's wearing a fedora, a white shirt and dark, well-tailored pants that are sort of retro looking. And it also looks like he's wearing a suit of weird armor, a sword waving at his hip.
Shaking his hand, he turns to her, "That's how you reward someone,anyone, who saves your life? Firing snake venom at them?"
He slumps to the ground, still shaking his hand. The fedora and the white shirt and black pants seem to solidify around him. "I don't know why I bothered."
A shape wriggles towards him on the ground, whimpering and wagging its body.
"Fenrir!" Amy says.
Looking in the little dog's direction, the man says, "Fenrir," his voice sounding a little far off. Still shaking his one hand, he holds his other out to Amy's dog. Fenrir tries to lick it.
Running forward, Amy holds up the pepper spray. "Don't you dare hurt her!"
The look he gives her. It is such a look of what-are-you-some-kind-of-idiot that it actually makes Amy think he really won't hurt Fenrir – or her. Also, Fenrir is licking his hand. Fenrir doesn't lick men's hands.
Fenrir is limping, actually almost crawling. Forgetting all about the stranger, Amy goes into full diagnostic mode. The angle of her leg, the way her hip is jutting…"Fenrir," she says, "You've dislocated your hip. Oh, poor Baby."
Fenrir turns to Amy and pants. She was trying to save Amy a few minutes ago…with a dislocated hip. Sitting down next to her, Amy says, "You are the best doggie in the world, thank you, thank you, thank you." Fenrir wags her body and whimpers again.
"I am so sorry about this," Amy says to Fenrir. She looks at Strange Man. "She likes you. Would you hold her front steady?"
He raises an eyebrow. "Aren't you going to thank me?"
"Hold her," says Amy, her brain going into fix-the-injured-little-creature mode.
Sighing, the man wraps his hands around Fenrir's torso.
"I'm so sorry about this, Fenrir," Amy says. "She may bite you," she says to the stranger.
Before he can withdraw his hand, Amy's already got her hands on the dislocated joint. It takes only seconds to relocate Fenrir's hip. The dog yelps pitifully, but amazingly doesn't bite. As soon as Amy's done, she wiggles and jumps into Amy's arms.
"That was well done," says the stranger.
"Thank you," says Amy. Her eyes fall on the man lying prone in front of her overturned car. The enormity of what has happened suddenly catches up to her. Looking down, she says, "And thank you."
"Do you have any food?" the man asks. "That would be thanks enough."
Clutching Fenrir to her chest and rubbing her sore neck, Amy looks towards her car. She has a cooler in the back seat if she can get it out, but…her eyes fall to the man on the ground.
"I don't think you have to worry about him," the stranger says.
Amy's eyes widen and she squeezes Fenrir a little tighter.
The stranger is silent. Somewhere an owl hoots.
"Your first time to see a corpse," says the stranger softly. Amy looks quickly at him. "No," she says, "I've seen plenty in the anatomy lab."
He stares at her a moment. His face is young, he can't be much older than her, but his expression is weary. "Do you have food in your automobile?" he says.
Amy blinks at the non-sequitur. "Yes, in the back seat. In the cooler."
"Cooler?" he says.
Nodding her head towards the car, she says, "Just the cheap Styrofoam white box you get at the convenience mart…"
The stranger stands up quickly and goes to her car. Amy's not really paying attention to what he's doing. She thinks she hears a car on the road. Running up out of the ditch she just catches sight of a car's retreating rear lights. She almost swears. They didn't even stop!
Putting Fenrir down, she goes to the car and crawls through the window. The stranger is already pulling the cooler out of the backseat. It takes a while, but Amy finds her iPhone.
She tries to dial 911 but gets the no-service message.
Scowling in frustration, she stares at the man on the ground. She doesn't want to stay here, not with the dead or dying man – oh, God, should she check if he's dead? Will she be charged with manslaughter if she doesn't? Will Strange Guy be charged with murder?
Crawling out of her car, she feels for a pulse. She can't find anything and is both relieved and disgusted by the fact that she is relieved.
She has to get out of here. She begins frantically patting down the dead man's body.
"What are you looking for?" Strange Guy says.
Amy glances up to see him sitting up the bank of the ditch, a box of Life cereal between his knees, Fenrir sitting in front of him. He throws a handful into his mouth and tosses a piece to her dog.
He looks so much calmer than she feels, and it's not fair. She begins patting down the man again.
Not finding what she's looking for, she murmurs, "They're not here."
"What?" Strange Guy says.
Amy looks up at the minivan. Getting up from the ground she runs around the corpse and out of the ditch. She lifts the latch on the passenger side door. It's open. Maybe his keys are in here. She can drive the minivan to findhelp.
Stranger's voice comes from close behind her. "I don't think you should go into that man's automobile."
Ignoring him, Amy opens the glove box. There's a narrow folio in there, long and leather bound.
"Don't," says Stranger, and his hand hand is suddenly coming from behind to grab it from her. But it's too late. Amy's already opening it and pictures are spilling out. There are pictures of women in there, but mostly of children. For an instant the pictures shake in Amy's bloody knuckles, and then she screams.
The man behind her says something, a curse or a swear or an exclamation. Whatever, it sounds shocked and horrified and the photo album bursts into flame.
Amy drops it and the man says, "I'm sorry…I didn't…"
Some sense finally coming back to her, Amy begins to stamp out the fire with her foot. The people in the pictures…Their families will need to know.
When the last of the flames are out she backs up – right into Stranger Guy's chest. He feels weird, too hard. She's in shock. Obviously. He brings a hand to her shoulder; it is warm and comforting and normal.
In the distance she hears sirens – maybe the car that drove off didn't belong to an ass after all. Stranger starts to pull his hand away. "Don't," she says, turning to him and looking up. He is really tall, maybe 6' 3" or 6' 4". She's not afraid of him anymore. She presses his hand more tightly and wills him not to go.
His jaw goes tight. And then he says, "All right, I won't."
When the man had a gun on her, she was terrified. But now, after seeing the pictures and what she almost did not escape…Her whole body trembles. The sirens in the distance get louder. Clutching Stranger's hand to her face, she begins to cry. She's safe now, she knows it. The words, "I am so afraid," are on the tip of her tongue, but she doesn't say them.
"I know. I know," the Stranger says. And in the pit of Amy's stomach she can feel it. He does understand. He does know.
Loki is about eleven years old. He is in Asgard. Odin is off on a campaign in the realm of the dwarfs and Loki's snuck off to play with Hoenir – Odin discourages it when he is home. He claims he doesn't want Loki disturbing Hoenir while he works. Hoenir never seems to be disturbed by Loki. In fact, Hoenir always seems happy to drop whatever he is doing when Loki comes about.
At the moment Loki and Hoenir are squatting in the grass outside Hoenir's hut. The hut is in a meadow between a copse of trees so high they completely shield the rest of Asgard from view. The trees are a gift from Frigga, Odin's wife and Loki's adoptive mother. She calls Hoenir's hut an eyesore.
Unlike all the other dwellings, buildings, and monuments in Asgard, Hoenir's hut isn't touched by any illusions that would make it conform to the current fashion for Egyptian architecture from the Old Kingdom. It looks as it always has. Made of rough wood, it leans slightly to one side. The chimney is made of natural stone and is crumbling slightly. The roof is thatch, and there are always little creatures peering out from the straw. Sometimes the creatures are recognizable, sometimes they are Hoenir's own invention – squirrels with bird beaks and peacock tails, snakes with butterfly wings, and birds with cat faces. These creatures are real, unlike the illusions created by Loki and Odin.
The hut normally has a glow about it, golden white, the color of Hoenir's magic. All magical beings have a color to their magic, but one can never see one's own color. Loki's told though that his own magic is white, blue, orange and red — like a flame Mimir says. Or, as Odin says, because Loki is too fickle to pick a shade.
Loki isn't thinking about magical color at the moment, or paying attention to the denizens of the thatch at the moment. He is looking at the magnifying glass, a magical device Hoenir is holding over a small twig.
Hoenir, like Odin, doesn't look particularly youthful. He is balding and is a little round around the waist. Next to them is the severed head of Mimir the giant, propped up on top of an overturned crate. Like Loki, Mimir is wearing a wide brimmed hat to shield him from the sun.
Since Hoenir is mute, Mimir speaks for him. "Now you see, Loki, the magnifying glass captures and concentrates sunlight and turns it into heat."
Loki bends closer to the ground. He can see the concentrated beam of light Mimir speaks of. He waves his hand through the beam but feels an only disappointingly faint amount of warmth. The normal yellow golden glow of Hoenir's magic isn't present though, which means the glass needs none of Hoenir's magic to work. That is something, Loki supposes.
"The way a magnifying glass captures, concentrates and transforms sunlight is very much like how magical creatures capture, concentrate and transform magic," Mimir intones.
Loki nods at Mimir's head. Loki knows about magic. Most men of Asgard don't deign to toy with it, believing it makes them unmanly. But Odin and Hoenir are both powerful magicians, and Odin is king, and Hoenir is — Hoenir is Hoenir. Loki respects him as much as Odin. And he wants to be like them. At eleven he sees and feels magic everywhere, and is nearly as good at creating illusions as Odin. Loki gets the feeling that most people are uncomfortable with that, but Hoenir and Odin encourage his ability.
Looking back down to Hoenir and the magnifying glass, Loki asks, "May I try?"
"Ummmm…" says Mimir. "That might not…"
Hoenir hands Loki the magnifying glass.
Just as Loki takes the worn wooden handle in his grasp, he hears a loud shout, "Loki! Loki! Loki!"
Standing up in shock, Loki sends the concentrated beam of light dancing across the grass and the overturned crate Mimir sits on. In its wake, flames flare to life.
"Helllllppppppppp!" shouts Mimir.
Dropping the glass, Loki jumps over and pulls Mimir from the rising flames.
"Wow," Loki says, momentarily forgetting the shouting that distracted him. "That magnifying glass has powerful magic!"
"Ummm…no…" says Mimir. "Thank you, Loki. Turn me so that I face Hoenir."
Loki does as he is bidden and instantly regrets it.
"Hoenir, you had to expect that would happen if Loki touched the glass!" Mimir says, his voice so accusatory Loki feels pain on Hoenir's behalf.
Stamping out the flames, Hoenir just raises an eyebrow in Mimir's direction.
"What? He should know!" says Mimir.
Hoenir shrugs. Mimir says, "Pfffttt to what Odin says."
"Loki! Loki! Loki!" come the shouts again. Dropping Mimir on the ground, Loki spins around. "What was that?"
"What was what?" says Mimir, eyes staring at the sky.
"The voices calling my name!" says Loki. He doesn't recognize them. They sound almost like a chorus.
From Mimir there is silence. Loki looks to Hoenir. A quiet look is passing between the man and the severed head on the ground.
Blinking, Mimir says, "I suppose we might expect you to hear them early…"
"Hear what?" says Loki.
"Close your eyes, Loki," Mimir says. "What do you see?"
Loki tilts his head. Magic. He smiles. Closing his eyes, he finds he does see something. "I see the village by the lake from our camping trip this spring."
"Are you sure?" says Mimir.
How could he forget the place? Odin, Hoenir and Loki had gone camping on Earth. Their trip had been interrupted by some humans. It was the first time Loki had seen the creatures. In person they were smaller and more pathetic than he could have imagined. It seemed horribly cruel that Hoenir and Odin hadn't gifted them with magic.
The humans had spoken to Hoenir and Odin at length, and then Loki had been sent home under the watchful eyes of Hunginn and Munnin, Odin's ravens. Nothing more had been said of the incident.
Now Loki gasps. He sees something more. "I see a man with skulls around his belt!" Loki swallows. The skulls are too small to belong to adults.
"Do the voices in your head…do they say anything else?"
Loki's eyes open. "Yes, they say the giant's body has knit itself together, and he has sent a messenger from his fortress. In the morrow he will come to claim his sacrifice."
Hoenir's jaw drops. Mimir's eyes go wide. Swallowing, Mimir says, "Loki, the giant calls himself Cronus. I don't think he is the Cronus; he was Greek, and Odin, well, Zeus, well…Odin sort of…"
Loki's brow knits together.
Licking his lips, Mimir says, "Anyway, Cronus is not Aesir or Jotunn, but something other. He has been terrorizing humans for generations. Last fall, Hoenir hid the boy that Cronus chose to be a sacrifice as wheat in a field – and Cronus found him. Odin disguised the boy as a swan, and Cronus found him yet again. Fortunately, Odin was able to kill Cronus."
Loki nods. Of course, Hoenir wouldn't have been able to kill Cronus. Hoenir can't kill, or even maim.
Swallowing, Mimir says, "Or so we thought. If what your peasants say is true, Cronus was able to reassemble himself and seeks to claim his sacrifice again."
"Odin must come back!" Loki says, looking to the skies. He was sure he saw Hungin and Munnin earlier. If he gets their attention they can alert Odin.
Mimir sighs. "Loki, Odin is busy saving multitudes of children. He cannot come back for just one."
Loki swallows. In his head the voices rise again. "Loki! Loki! Save our son! Save our children!"
Loki starts walking to the Center and the world gates. "I have to go." He feels as though the voices are pulling him by a thread.
"You won't be able to use your tricks of illusion against him!" Mimir says.
"I'll think of something," Loki says. He has to. The voices in his head…
He hears footsteps, and then Hoenir is at his side, Mimir in his hands. "You always do," Mimir says.
Loki blinks and Mimir winks at him.
Loki arrives at the village well after nightfall.
Even though Loki is only eleven, he is nearly as tall as the tallest man in the village – though that man is broader in shoulder, and probably stronger. The humans smell…less than pleasant. Their clothes look like rags. Many are missing teeth, and some have horrible scars. He is horrified by them, and at the same time when they look at him their hope is palpable. It makes Loki feel older, wiser, and more powerful, than he has ever felt before.
And the boy that is to be sacrificed, Jonah…he is so small, he hardly comes up past Loki's waist. His eyes are so wide, frightened, innocent and trusting. Loki simply has to succeed.
Loki scans the horizon. As he does so, the old man who talked to Odin and Hoenir says, "We have tried to fight him, but our weapons bounce off, and he is terribly strong."
Loki blinks. Loki can't make weapons bounce off of him, but he knows it takes immense concentration. So. A surprise to break Cronus' concentration is needed.
A boathouse on the bank of the lake catches Loki's attention. He looks at the small stature of the humans and, to his own wonderment, he does think of something.
"Jonah," Loki asks, "can you swim?"
The boy nods.
Standing taller and trying to look important, Loki begins to tell Jonah, Hoenir, Mimir and the assembled villagers his plan. When he is done, Jonah is quaking with fear.
Loki bites his own lip. He is very nearly a child himself, and he can relate. Kneeling down, he puts a hand on Jonah's shoulder. "Don't worry. All the time you are with Cronus, I'll be there with you."
Next to him, in Hoenir's arms, Mimir says, "Wait, now –" but Hoenir slaps a hand over his mouth.
In the morning before Cronus arrives, Loki casts an illusion over Jonah so he looks like a fish and commands him to go swim in the lake. Loki knows that Cronus will eventually see through the illusion, but he needs to buy the village men some time to enact their part of the plan.
As soon as Jonah is in the water, Loki goes off to meet Cronus. Cronus isn't tall for an Aesir, Vanir, or Jotunn, but he can see why the villagers think him a giant. Compared to the humans, he is immense. He has white hair and a face that is disturbingly pleasant, almost babylike in its roundness. It is in stark contrast to the belt of children's skulls that hangs at his waist. The belt is terrifying, but what is more frightening is the blanket of magic that hovers over him.
Cronus doesn't get angry when the villagers don't bring Jonah forward. He just smiles. And then he says, "I think I will go fishing." With that he turns around and walks to one of the boats on the shore. That was faster than Loki anticipated. Racing after Cronus he shouts, "Wait, I'll come with you."
"Of course, Little Giant," Cronus says with a laugh.
When they get in the boat, Loki says, "Let me row for you, Sir."
Narrowing his eyes, Cronus says, "Very well, Little Giant."
Loki takes the oars and proceeds to row in the wrong direction…as slowly as he can.
Smiling again, Cronus says, "You'll have to row faster than that, Little Giant, if you want your death to be an easy one."
Loki sits bolt upright and nearly drops the oars.
Laughing, Cronus says, "Oh, come now, you're a little bigger than I like, but you are very pretty. You don't think I'd let you get away?"
Fear unravels in the pit of Loki's stomach; it's all he can do not to quake in his seat.
With a wave of his hand, the oars fly from Loki's grasp and fall at the bottom of the boat. With another wave, Cronus sets the boat in motion again – this time in the right direction. Loki swallows. The sun is bright, and its cheerfulness feels like a mockery of Loki and Jonah's plight.
Loki tries to confuse Cronus by illusioning schools of fish beneath the boat, and it does work somewhat. Cronus sees the fish, slows the boat, and drops the net that sat at the boat's stern. But after a few empty hauls, he sees through Loki's scheme. He weights the net down and dredges along the bottom.
By late-morning he has Jonah in the net, and as soon as he lifts him into the boat, the illusion drops. With a gasp, Jonah runs to sit by Loki. Taking the smaller boy's hand, Loki squeezes – not sure who he's trying to reassure.
Cronus just smiles at them, waves a hand and the boat heads toward shore. As soon as the boat hits ground, Loki waves his hands and an illusionary wall of flame rises between the boys and Cronus. Pulling Jonah from the boat, Loki yells, "Run!"
They tear as fast as they can through the shallow water, out of the bright sunlight, into the boat house. Cronus, in a frenzy, follows right behind. He is nearly on them when his head runs straight into the trap Loki had the men set for him, a spear at just the right height to hit a full-grown Aesir, Jotunn or Vanir squarely in the head.
Dazed, Cronus takes a step back. "Now!" screams Loki. From the shadows village men come forward with axes. One presses an axe in Loki's own hand.
Loki has received a warrior's training. And he has killed animals in the hunt. But now, when he needs it most, he seems unable to fight. He just stands frozen. The human men do not hesitate. They begin furiously hacking at Cronus' limbs with their axes, and the boathouse fills with the thick smell of blood. Loki sees a leg separate at the knee. Almost instantly it reattaches. Loki's eyes go wide and Cronus laughs.
"Think you're clever, Little Giant? I disguised how quickly I can heal from your brother, Odin! But I don't want you to get away."
With a roar he heaves one of the villagers through a wall.
Loki's mind uncoils. He doesn't know if it is fear or bravery which sets him in motion. "Keep going!" Loki shouts to the remaining villagers, running to the wall and grabbing several iron nails.
A villager separates the other leg, and this time, Loki stabs the nail into the severed knee, preventing a clean bond the severed flesh. Cronus gives a cry of rage and tries to bend down to remove the nail, but the humans sense his weakness and redouble their efforts. An arm falls away, and again Loki is there, stabbing another iron nail into the wound.
They can't get to the head before all the limbs are severed and the joints secured from reattachment. Cronus is unaffected by loss of blood, and he manages to throw a few more villagers off him with the power of his mind alone. But at last, when he can barely move, when he's just a torso and a head, he looks at Loki and his eyes open wide. "You," he says. And then he sneers, "Plan to flush me down the river like you did your brother?"
Loki feels like he's been struck. He wants to demand to know what Cronus is talking about but then a villager's' axe falls down on Cronus' neck and his eyes go blank.
Loki falls back gasping. He starts to shake; he's not sure why. He's safe now…safe…
© 2012 Copyright C. Gockel