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I Bring the Fire Part I: Wolves

But then at the top of Hoenir’s roof, there is a burst of flame. A swarm of butterfly snakes take to the air,
birds with lizard heads take wing. New flames lick at the foundations; Loki doesn’t know how they even got
there.
Thor turns and tries to rush into the hut, but Heimdall and Odin hold him back.
Loki’s eyes widen. “What is happening, what is happening!” Loki shouts. In the scene in the pool Thor
holds up his arm, and Loki sees the sky darken. Thor’s calling rain. Loki has never been so grateful he gave
Thor the damned hammer.
The queen chants more quickly. The scene in the pool is smoky and obscure, but Loki sees the flames
leap, even as the rain begins to fall. The flames surround the hut like a curtain. He can’t make out doors,
windows or chimney. Odin pounds Gungnir into the earth in front of the hut and leaves it there upright.
The scene is moving incredibly fast. It’s early morning there in the pool...and the curtain of flames is
falling. He sees the downpour is now a drizzle
Gungnir is gone...and Hoenir’s hut is not there. Where the hut stood there is only charred ground.
Loki stares at the pool, not really seeing it. He feels as though a weight was briefly lifted from his body
and then hurled down upon him. He puts his hands to his head, runs his fingers through his hair, scraping his
nails against his scalp with such force it hurts.
As though from a great distance he hears the crackle of fire, and screaming — his mind supplying the
details of Valli , Nari, Hoenir, Mimir’s and Sigyn’s brutal ends?
And then another sound comes. Loud and insistent — the sound of a car calling for its master. Loki
blinks...Amy and Beatrice...he has an oath to keep to them.
He wants to stay, he wants to fight Odin and his legions — not to win, to die. Helen, Aggie, now Valli,
Nari, Sigyn, and even Mimir and Hoenir. He squeezes his eyes shut. It’s because of him, somehow it is all
because of him. Loki knows there is no afterlife, no Valhalla for the valiant, no Hel for the meek. And that is
good, he wants the release of nothingness.
The car calls again — it sounds so close, and the way its call echoes through the palace it sounds almost as
though it is inside. Taking a sharp breath he opens his eyes. He doesn’t break oaths.
That thought is the thread of strength that makes him stand up. He looks around. To one side is the
receiving room he entered by last night, to the other side is the elf queen’s bedroom, now in flames. She
stands in front of him, haloed by the fire, her face calm. “Once again you leave me for a mortal,” she says.
Loki has no time for her games. Narrowing his eyes he says, “How long do I have?”
“I will give you five minutes to leave the palace grounds before I send the guards after you. After that
you’re on your own.”
Loki tilts his head. In the receiving chambers he hears the crackle of more flames.
“I cannot afford to let Odin think I allowed you to escape,” says the queen.
“Of course not,” Loki hisses. For a moment the air between them shimmers. Loki wants to see her smooth
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