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I Bring the Fire Part I: Wolves

her out.
“They killed his sons...and Hoenir, Mimir and Sigyn,” the wolf says.
Amy looks up from where she is about to wipe Loki’s face.
She looks over at Beatrice. The hard lines in her grandmother's brow have softened.
The wolf settles down on the floor with a whimper. “Gone now like Aggie and Helen.”
“Helen?” says Amy.
The wolf stares at Loki, his voice far off. “You know her as Hel.”
“And Aggie...” says Beatrice. “Angrboða?”
Turning its eyes to Beatrice, the wolf snarls. “Her name was Anganboða, bringer of joy! Do not call her
by the name Baldur gave!”
Beatrice puts her hand to her mouth and steps back.
Snarling, the wolf says. “Baldur destroyed her! Called her a troll and a witch. Even Odin spoke ill against
her.” The wolf’s voice takes on a sing-song quality. “Because no one would ever gainsay the words of Baldur
the Brave.”
And then dropping its head down, the wolf that is maybe a figment of Loki’s imagination puts its paws
over his nose. “She saw Baldur for what he was. What she saw in Loki...” The wolf whimpers.
x x x x
The great hall of Odin’s palace is filled with golden firelight and the buzz of conversation. Loki stands
just to the right of the thrones of Odin, Frigga and crown prince Baldur.
Loki’s lips were released from the dwarf wire just a month ago, and he isn’t quite healed. Small circles of
white scar tissue dot his upper lip and chin. As proficient as he is with magic, the wire itself was magical; the
scars are slow to heal and difficult to cover with an illusion.
Odin has commanded he be here. Asgard is receiving King Frosthyrr from Jotunheim, land of the Frost
Giants. Loki has never been to Jotunheim — not since Odin rescued him as an infant during a campaign,
anyway. He doesn’t know Jotunn customs, and the scars on his lips don’t speak well of his treatment in
Asgard. He has no idea what his presence is supposed to accomplish.
Now as they wait for their guests to enter, Loki scans the hall. He catches Thor’s eyes. Thor smiles with
too many teeth and raises his hammer. Loki looks away.
He sees Sigyn in a distant corner and looks away again. Hoenir is standing near her in the shadows.
Mimir is with him. For the occasion Mimir has been mounted on the end of a long staff. Loki contains a
wince. Mimir loves being on the staff point. It gives him a better view. It also is a quite gruesome sight to the
uninitiated. Loki wonders how Hoenir convinced Odin to allow it.
Catching his gaze, Mimir smiles brightly at Loki and lifts his eyebrows. It’s a Mimir rendition of a wave.
Loki nods in his direction.
Horns announce the Jotunn’s arrival, and the hall goes quiet. Great double doors opposite the thrones