Abizona

Shoo!

The little machines beeped and whistled at us for quite some time, but even with my cunning and code-breaking skills, I simply could not fathom their meaning. I tried asking them questions: “Where is the nearest town? Where can we find water? What is the name of this place?” but received only electronic babbling in reply. Switching languages did not help. Thinking perhaps they have some telepathic abilities, I fixed in my mind an image of them leading Sigyn and myself to a crowd of welcoming friends.

Nothing.

My next idea was to look them over for a communications device or some recorder that would play a message back to their maker and lead someone to us. The little ones were easy to catch but revealed nothing. The largest one gave out a mechanical growl and gave me a mild shock. Searching the medium-sized ones was likewise unrewarding.

My patience is not infinite. Realizing that we can expect no help from these things, we have resumed our trek.

Blast it, the machines are following us. For what purpose, I do not know. We have tried doubling back, veering sharply, and trying to outrun them. They are sticking like glue, trailing along like so many metal ducklings. It is as if they have decided we are their leaders. But what good is a small army if it won’t follow orders?

……

Just when I thought they could not be more annoying, they have proven me wrong. Sigyn likes to sing to herself as she walks, and the whole idiot lot of them have begun*humming* along with her. The two littlest ones have come up with a descant that is not unpleasant, but the one with the long arms is a half a tone flat and it is driving me MAD…

Um…?

Sigyn is too good-natured to complain, but if she spent as uncomfortable a night as I did, she must be truly miserable this morning.

It was cold, our perch was hard and poky, there was no way to get comfortable, and that cursed tree dripped sap on us both. I think it even tore a hole in the back of my cloak.

After we climbed gingerly out of that nightmare, stiff and groaning, we set out walking again, breakfastless. We are definitely heading slowly downhill. Downhill means river or ocean eventually, and shoreline means ports and cities and someone who can help us. Or at least a decent meal.

<Later…>

Miles and miles of nothing. Sigyn likes to stop and look at unusual rocks. I am trying to be patient, but I have seen enough rocks. Is there anything in this desert that *isn’t* a rock or a noxious weed or an animal that wants to gnaw our bones?

<Still later…>

Now those *are* unusual rocks. And are they… moving? Sigyn, do those rocks look as if they’re moving?

Odin’s toothbrush! They ARE moving. And they aren’t rocks. They appear to be mechanical devices. The small ones are almost amusing, but the larger ones are disturbing.

And now they have us surrounded and are beeping at us unintelligibly. They do not appear to be hostile. They almost appear…expectant. What on earth could they want?

Safe, for now.

By the crumbs in Volstagg’s beard, that was close! We escaped only because that hairy, multi-legged beast didn’t like it when I took off my helmet and thrust it in its fangy mouth before it could bite my Sigyn. Simple chemistry, really. The helm is metal and, apparently, the creature’s venom is some sort of acid, because there was a nasty, fizzing, electrical sound and it recoiled in shock and disgust. I was then able to drive it fully away by pelting it with pebbles and urging it along with a few well-placed jabs of my staff to its bulbous behind.

If I ever get my magic back, I can take the scorch marks out of the helm.

It took quite a long time to comfort my darling. She was quite understandably a bit hysterical. First her hair becomes full of cat spit, then an armored terror nearly bites her in half, then the grandmother (father?) of all leggedy things tries to make a meal of her.

You know, she’s a sweet, pretty thing, and I love her dearly, but she does take a rather a lot of rescuing.

I think we will just climb up into this weird, poky tree to spend the night– and hope we are out of reach of whatever other marauding terrors are roaming this wasteland.

Sleep, my flower. Loki will keep watch.

Utterly exhausted…

I don’t know what that carapaced behemoth was, or why it wanted so badly to eat us. I’m just glad it’s gone. When it opened that cavernous maw to eat my Sigyn, I stabbed its tongue. I didn’t do much damage, but the beast turned its head inside out, or something to that effect. Anyway, the head went back into the hard part and it pulled its legs inside as well, leaving just a bony boulder which, two seconds before, had been poised to make my beloved its lunch.

This is a very strange world. I do not care for it at all. I would almost rather go back to Midgard and face down Gunnehilde the Grumpy than stay here. But without my magic, I don’t know how that’s going to happen.

Right now we need to sit down and rest for a bit. This is a nice patch of turf. We are completely worn out and…

….By Tyr’s missing digits! What in the nine realms is that?! That is even uglier than a bilgesnipe and has more legs than any creature ought to have. Sigyn, back away slowly. No, forget that! Run! Go! Too late!

One d__n thing after another.

That was close. I have been missing my magic powers, but never so much as when I saw that hell-cat with my dear Sigyn in its clutches. I was able to frighten it away with pokes from my staff, a lot of very loud yelling, and a few well-thrown rocks. Poor Sigyn is a bit scratched and sore, but otherwise whole.

Great Frigga’s corset! Here comes something else, and it is even larger than the cat! It looks like an armored mountain. It is ponderously slow, though, so perhaps we can outrun it… Run Sigyn!

Augh! It’s slow, but taking massive strides! It’s gaining! And it is obvious it means to eat us! No, teeth, but look at those jaws–they could snap us in half. And it seems to be attracted by Sigyn’s red clothing.

We must turn and fight or it will trample and devour us…

Talking and walking

It’s later in the afternoon now, and the berry-headedness has *finally* worn off, except for some faint blue shadows under our eyes–but then again, that might just be sleeplessness.

We have been walking all day, talking as we go. I have learned more about Sigyn. For example, her favorite color is red. (I could have guessed.) I did not know, though, that she is only half Asgardian. Her mother was Midgardian, Gunnehilde (on whose head may there be fleas innumerable) and a half-brother, Harrnir, are full Asgardian, the children of the late father’s first wife. Sigyn has lived back and forth between the two realms. When she was just a little lass, her parents betrothed her to a wealthy Asgardian merchant. She says she has met him several times and has found him cruel and cold. She seems glad to be free of the entanglement. I have myself been called cruel and cold (among many other things), but I find myself wanting to be kind–and even honest–with this gentle being. May my life be forfeit if I ever cause her one moment’s grief.

Blinky was her beloved childhood pet, a small brown rabbit with floppy ears. I gather he met an untimely end, but she did not divulge details. Best not to dwell.

I have shared a little about myself, though of course my fame (or infamy, if you insist) precedes me. She already knew about the dysfunctional collection of larger-than-life personages that make up my foster family. I counted for her the times Thor and I have tried to kill one another, in jest or in earnest. That and my Jotun heritage did not seem to shock her overmuch. I hope this means she can see “past my past” and learn to like me for myself, and not just as a means to escape an arranged marriage.

We have discovered a mutual loathing of modern Midgardian music and a shared enthusiasm for libraries and pudding.

So although we are tired and footsore, it has been rather a good day.

Wait… What is that? This is the first sign of any creature we have seen. By Heimdal’s horned helmet, whatever it is is rather large–and closing fast. No! Sigyn! Sigyn, wait! I do not think the “kitty” wants to be friends!

> : O

Some days it doesn’t pay to crawl out of the cave.

Some days it doesn’t pay to crawl out of the cave.

We passed a restless night last night. Pretty purple crystals are not very comfortable to sleep on. Also, the desert cools off pretty rapidly at night. (On the plus side, Sigyn apparently likes to cuddle when she is cold, though she talks in her sleep. I must remember to ask her who “Blinky” is.)

That is the least of my worries, however. First light revealed some deeply disturbing side effects from last night’s dinner of dark blue berries. Sigyn screamed when she saw me, which puzzled and hurt me, since she has become somewhat used to my presence and, while I dare not hope she has come to love me yet, I had not thought that she finds me alarming. When I beheld her sweet face, though, I uttered an oath of my own.

We can still see and hear and speak, but even if we find help today, who is going to want to come anywhere near us?!

The end of a very long, very confusing day…

*Yawn* It is hard for me to believe that just day before yesterday I was on Midgard. All the magic, the transport center, the traveling, the hiking through the wilderness, the eating of strange foods–it all seems so unreal.

Through it all, Sigyn has been most brave and uncomplaining, but she cannot go on much farther. Neither, truth to tell, can I. We must rest.

I have found a small cave in which we can pass the night. The opening is small enough to defend against marauding beasts, if there are any. (I do not know whether to be relieved or nervous that we have not seen any so far. What does tomorrow hold?) The inside is lined with beautiful purplish crystals. If I can chip one loose, it might be worth something, someday, somewhere.

So now we are tucked up as safely and comfortably as we can be, given that we have no blankets save my cloak, no food, and nothing to start a fire with. All we can do is make the best of it.

The unfamiliar stars are pretty.

The fates have an odd way of granting wishes. I dreamed of holding my Sigyn close and falling asleep with her head on my shoulder, but not like this.

This is better.

Luckily, before we had to eat the dubious red berries Sigyn found, I was able to locate some friendlier-looking blue ones. They much resemble the ones I had back in Midgard. (I must admit that, as much as I used to sneer at the boringness of Midgard and its food, I could do with some boring right now.)

Mmm. They are quite delicious. We are lost, we have no transportation, we have no shelter, and I have no magic, but we have berries, and Sigyn is smiling, so I am, for the moment, content.

(And see how good I am being? I took the one with the iffy little brown spot.)

>| : ]

Dinner?

Ah, here are some more plants. Sigyn, trying to be helpful, has picked us some bright red berries, which do, in fact, look quite appetizing. However, I recall all too clearly what happened last time I ate some appetizing red berries… I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I think I’m going to look for something else.