I Bring the Fire Part I: Wolves
styles from only the last century or so, displays more variety of architecture in a single block than the whole
city of Alfheim. And Alfheim’s city is so small. It is only a few miles wide and the tallest tower can’t be over
“Like a fairy castle,” says Beatrice, her voice awed.
Loki snorts. “Well, technically — ”
“Are those dinosaurs?” Amy says, looking out at the fields.
Loki follows her gaze. A few hadrosaurs dot the pastures, and two are being ridden in neat formation
along the city’s main wall. From afar they look a lot like the velociraptors Loki hatched so long ago. They
have powerful hind legs and smaller forelimbs. They do not walk on their hind limbs exclusively though, and
their mouths are beak-like. They also get much larger than velociraptors — up to the size of a bus.
“Yes,” says Loki.
He blinks. He’s a bit surprised English has a word for dinosaur. Loki doesn’t know English particularly
well. He uses magic to translate languages. On Asgard they call it “The Gift of Tongues.” Humans might call
it a “spell,” but it’s more a state of mind. Loki doesn’t fight the magic that flows through Amy and Beatrice
that wants to interact with the appropriate neurons in his brain’s speech centers.
The trick has its limitations: if there is no corresponding word between languages, translations become
difficult. But now there is a common English word for dinosaurs! Fascinating. Staring at the creatures, he
realizes there is even an English word for specific dinosaur species. “Specifically, hadrosaurs, harmless
herbivores,” he adds. Harmless unless they step on you, of course.
Tensing at the wheel, Amy looks nervously to the dark forest still on their left. “I don’t have to worry
about T-rexes or velociraptors, do I?”
Loki’s mouth drops open. “You know what a velociraptor is?”
“I’ve seen Jurassic Park,” says Amy. Voice rising tremulously she says, “Are there velociraptors here?”
“No,” says Loki. “No....nasty creatures though, I’ll give you that.”
Amy turns her face quickly to him. She doesn’t look relieved for some reason.
Puzzling over that, Loki looks out at the road and his eyes go wide. “Look out for the hadrosaur dung!”
Amy hits the brakes and they screech to a halt just in time.
“It’s the size of a dog!” says Beatrice.
“It looks like bird poop,” says Amy. “White...but really lumpy. I wonder if I could get a sample and take it
back to school? We have a thermos, don’t we? I have a friend from undergrad in the micro lab at UIC. We
could compare the genome of the hadrosaur dung bacteria to the bacteria in bird guano. If elves were on
Earth at one time, there is a possibility that the bacteria might share a common ancestor!”
“We probably don’t have time for that, Dear. Right Loki?” says Beatrice.
Loki stifles a laugh at Beatrice’s conspiratorial prompting, but he’s more impressed than repulsed. It’s