big city to the south

Posies vs. Pens

We have all had about as much museum as anyone can have in one day. I.e.: Head full of new information; no room for more. It must, therefore, be time to go shopping.

The humans, of course, have gone straight from the museum to the Purveyor of Pens. There are some new inks the human male wants to see if they have, and the female just likes to look. However, it has not been all that long since we were here, so you can be sure I’ll be bored the minute we get out of the car. And a bored Loki is likely to misbehave.

The human has suggested that, rather than open the display cases and mix the prices around on all the fancy fountain pens, I take Sigyn down the block and visit the nursery/florist on the corner. Given the way Sigyn is bouncing up and down, I think she likes the idea. Well, then, my petal, let us perambulate!

My sweetie has zoomed in, like a wee hummingbird, right to something showing some red coloration.

It looks like an open cabbage crossed with a rose. I’m sure the human female would say that’s “botanically impossible,” but she’s not here, so pffft!

Most of the outside display is devoted to spring bedding plants.

Sigyn, with your red outfit against those bright reddish-purple flowers and green leaves, you make a lovely picture indeed!

The Bacopa is not as bright, but still a nice foil for your red velvet.

I’d buy some, but I’m sure the human female could manage to kill it. For a botanist with a horticulture degree, she has a remarkably black thumb.

These little violets are a tiny bit purple, even if the tag says, “White.”

This reminds me—we should go out along the Neener Path sometime soon and see if the wild violets are up yet.

Looks like there’s a nice assortment of flowering bulbs, too.

Pardon me if I don’t stand any closer, Sigyn. Like the human female’s botanical rantings, the heavy perfume of hyacinths gives me a screaming headache.

>|: [

Musings, Part III: Sigyn Is Having Fun, Too

The humans seem to be enjoying themselves well enough. They are certainly taking lots of photos, and the female has even had to be told sternly once or twice not to get so close to the DLAs. Sigyn, though, is having the time of her life. I had no idea she was so interested in ancient cultures, but the squeaking has been pretty much non-stop.

Yes, my love. The kitty herding the geese is funny. No, I do not think we should get some geese for the Terror Twins to play with. Geese bite.

The jewelry seems to hold a special fascination for her.

Yes, my love, it is very beautiful. Do I think it would look good on you? Well, the colors in that collar certainly go with your outfit, and I’ve no qualms about getting you anything you might desire, you know that. However, those earrings are longer than you are tall, and the collar probably weighs at least eighteen of you, so I think you might want to explore some more petite options.

The Horus-headed collar, again, displays some exquisite workmanship, but it is still on the large side. The girdle would go around you six or eight times.

Perhaps I’m not making myself clear, my sweet.

Sweet Sif on a Cracker. Very well, my love. I will steal acquire this lapis, carnelian, and faience pendant for you.

When Sigyn catches on to the fact that it does not and will not fit her, she can always hang it on the wall. Or maybe I can come up with a miniaturization spell…

(The human female likes to make antiquity-replica jewelry for Yule presents, and I know she’s taking notes. Somehow I think she’s not going to be able to recreate anything here, which fills me with a mean sort of warm fuzzy feeling.)

Moving on.

Now, this bowl is also finely crafted and could make a useful addition to our home.

Who wouldn’t like to have something extra-fancy to eat popcorn out of? And see?

There’s a little gold pitcher for the melted butter! Beautiful and practical.

Great Frigga’s Corset! My ears! What’s Sigyn squeeing at now?

“Loki, come look! There’s a whole case full of ancient Egyptian stuffed animals! They’re so cute!!”

Oh, Norns save me… She must have been absent the day they covered mummies in school. Quick, Loki, think of a way to get her out of here before she reads the display notes!

“Um, yes, Sigyn! *So* cute! I guess all the plush has decomposed over the millennia, but absolutely you can tell that someone loved it very much once upon a time. Maybe there will be a stuffed kitty in the gift shop with all of its fur on. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Let’s go look!”

Whew. That was close. The gift shop, unsurprisingly, does not have cat stuffies—furred or otherwise—but there are plenty of books and ornaments and other overpriced gew-gaws. Sigyn is happily looking at everything and mentally redecorating our room in Early Pharaonic.

Wait, where’d she go? Oh. Oh.

“Oh, woe is me! Oh, I shall have to make a journey to the underworld, for my beloved has died and lies in a silver sarcophagus! Let me weep and shave my eyebrows off, for my sweet Sigyn rests now with Osiris!”

“You know, it would be a lot more convincing if you weren’t giggling.”

>|: [

Musings, Part II: It’s All About the Trappings

My little notebook is now full of good ideas for achieving total domination and being the very best God-Conqueror of Midgard I can be. By the looks of all the fancy trappings and de luxe accoutrements this Ramses fellow had, such a program of self-promotion and aggrandizement can be quite profitable indeed!

What do you think, Sigyn?

Shall I copy Ramses and build an enormous temple above the Brazos and put four monolithic statues of myself right there on the front? But twenty-one meters each, as these were, seems a bit small. I’m thinking thirty meters, minimum.

There is no need for a temple or palace to be dull or plain when it comes to interior decoration, either.

Larger-than-life polychrome murals create a very powerful ambience, as well as giving you more places to plaster your name. (Get it, plaster?)

Magnificent horns, my good sir. You are to be commended.

I plan to fill a whole swarm of temples and my palace with all things ornate and costly. This solid gold trinket box is rather nice.

Note to self: Consider manifesting with wings. They certainly make an impression.

Smaller, more personal, items are important too. Look at this beauty:

Bronze, gold, lapis lazuli, and colored enamel. I could slay in style with something like this. If I can deactivate the alarms and distract a few guards, I could slay in style with this very item. Come to Loki, my stabby, stabby beauty!

And—not that I have any immediate plans to shuffle off my immortal coil—when the day comes for me to take my place as rightful ruler of Valhalla as well, I shall leave instructions for my physical remains to be housed in something simple, tasteful…

…and solid silver. With separate solid silver caskets for all of my favorite organs.

Until then,

>|: [

Musings, Part I: I’m Getting Some GREAT Ideas

There is a particular exhibit at a museum in the Big City to the South that the humans are interested in seeing. Ancient people, artifacts, historical blah blah blah. Sigyn seems enthusiastic as well, so it looks like I will also be along on this jaunt, since I don’t trust the humans to make sure she arrives back home in one piece.

We are here now, having found a very good parking spot, thanks to my godly powers of fending off school buses full of very noisy small people. What is this exhibit even about, anyway?

Hmm. Apparently this is all about some ancient ruler, someone so powerful that they added “the Great” to the end of his name. He’s no longer around, so I won’t have to fight him for control of this rock, and perhaps I can pick up some good tips for my own conquest. Because “Loki the Great” sounds pretty good to me.

Many of the visitors are just looking at the DLAs (Dramatically Lit Artifacts) and sparing the accompanying text the merest glance. Ha! All the better for me, since I know that it’s the details I can really learn from.

(Taking notes furiously) That is a very sound strategy! I should try that. “The Loki Building.” “The Loki High Dam.” “The Temple of Loki at Lokiopolis.” “The Great Wall of Loki.” It’s not only good PR, it will save a ton of money on actual construction costs!

Oooh! Crushing my enemies underfoot. I like the sound of that, too! I can think of some people who desperately need crushing!

Perhaps I should be paying more attention to the DLAs. Instructions are ever better with illustrations, after all.

This sketch-on-limestone of this fellow riding in a chariot and holding the heads of his enemies by their hair is quite nice. Pity the lower half is missing.

The fellow on the left is a captive with a rope around his neck. I could do that! Rope is easy to come by, and I’m sure that technology has come up with some better rope options in the last few thousand years.

Tribute!

That’s what I want–an endless procession of conquered peoples bringing me presents and fancy edibles. Of course, they will have to bring the cute baby animals when Sigyn isn’t around, because that would result in less of a feast and more of a petting zoo.

And I suppose I will need someone to tidy up after all the headless enemies, the captives crushed underfoot, the feasts of tribute, and the petting zoo. Because I’m not cleaning all that up. How did this ancient fellow deal with it all?

An army of groveling servants, eh? I could go for that! “On your knees, peasants! Clean my palace! Bring me my feast! Fetch more presents for my Sigyn! Poop-scoop that petting zoo!”

Oh, yes, that sounds very good. I’m so glad I came today—I’m going to be the greatest all-powerful ruler yet!

>|: [

Happy Birthday to Me!, Part VI: The Traditional Final Stop

It is traditional, when visiting the Big City to the South, to stop at the Large Market the last thing before going home. In theory, this is because going home takes two hours or so, and there’s no reason to make any cold food we buy here spend any longer in the ice chest than it has to. I suspect, however, the real reason is that if the food purchases were made at the start of the expedition, the human female would graze on them throughout the day and none would arrive home at all. (She has certainly been known to commence depleting the population of sour gummy candy octopi before leaving the parking lot.)

The produce section is its usual bold swath of color. The heirloom tomatoes, if they also came in blue, would be a rainbow unto themselves.

(sniff, sniff) I know that they’re edible green, but it just doesn’t smell right.

I think there’s a stripey imposter in there…

There is some sort of Citrus Festival going on.

Everywhere you look, hesperidia!

The sign says these are “finger limes”.

The human female says they’re full of hundreds of tiny pink, yellow, or white juice sacs. She’s too cheap to actually buy some, but I think I’ll stuff a few into my pocket dimension and take them home to sample. Happy Birthday to me!

Now these look similar, but they aren’t citrus.

Tiny kiwi fruit. Tiny, baby kiwi fruit! Tiny, baby, BALD kiwi fruit! They look a lot less like seasick hamsters than the big ones do.

Oh, now wait just a minute! These can’t be real. Pink “strawberries” with red achenes? That taste like strawberry and pineapple and pear?

I actively disbelieve! Surely these are some kawaiI thing dreamed up by the Japanese. Special erasers or phone charms or something. At the price they’re charging, I’m not inclined to buy a carton and find out.

Moving on.

It wouldn’t be a trip to the Large Market if Sigyn didn’t stop and say hello to the critters in the porcelain menagerie. This time, it’s the penguins who are welcoming visitors.

I think they have made Sigyn an honorary penguin. Let’s see your cute little waddle, my love!

And here we are in Sigyn’s other favorite section–the floral department!

Some of the floral materials are distinctly vegetable-like:

Sigyn isn’t usually a big fan of purple, but she thinks these lavender-leaved ornamental cabbages make a lovely bouquet all by themselves. (And if you get sick of looking at them, you can plop on a little ranch dressing and you are good to go. Slaaaaaw!)

The local species of Veronica that grow around the house have tiny, single flowers. The flowers of this cultivated Veronica are still pretty tiny, but they grow in long, pointy clusters.

Sigyn wants to just nestle down among the flower spikes. I’m fairly certain the floral employees wouldn’t like that, but you know what? I don’t care. You go ahead and nestle all you like, my treasure!

Meanwhile, I’m going to check out this mysterious beauty.

I did not know that Scabiosa even came in nearly-black! With this and some really dark roses and some poisonously-green greenery, I could make the Lokiest bouquet ever! And I deserve it, because it’s my birthday.

It’s been a good day. I’ve seen some fun things— and some very weird things!—and had some good food and now I’m stealing myself some flowers. Tomorrow, though, it’ll be time to get back to some mischief.

>|: o <o–[}||| (blowing out birthday cake candle)

Happy Birthday to Me!, Part IV: 這裡有很多奇怪的東西…

After a conveyor belt full of sushi and a custard-stuffed fish, the human female is just about capable of waddling to our next stop. Luckily for her, it’s in the same shopping strip. I, of course, being possessed of a godly constitution, could eat six or seven more fish waffles and not think twice about it.

This store has a really strange name–99 Ranch Market. I don’t know where that comes from; I find that Midgardian naming conventions often don’t make sense. It seems to be a Purveyor of All Things Asian. I do like a good rummage through an Asian grocery, even when there aren’t any rice cakes to poke. Come, Sigyn, let’s have a good snoop!

The produce section is quite colorful! The riper persimmons are orange.

There appear to be a LOT of unripe ones, though. I’ve heard that the unripe ones are horrifically astringent and unpleasant to eat. I think I’ll buy some, take them home, slice them up, dry the slices, and mix them into the container of sliced dried mango the human female has for snacking… When she gets to stuffing her face, she often doesn’t pay attention to what she’s inhaling. If I can get her face to pucker up really tightly, maybe it’ll stick that way. (Couldn’t look worse than the current configuration of features.)

Odin’s Eypatch! Sigyn, look at the size of this pummelo!

You could really hurt someone if you chucked that at their head! I’ve always suspected that’s why they call them pummel-os. Supposedly, they’re a lot like grapefruit on the inside. Half the weight is peel, though, so I balk at spending the money on so much rind. Really, kumquats are more bang for the buck, since they’re entirely edible. They are also good for throwing.

And here’s yet another thing that would be good for lobbing at annoying people!

Big, heavy, and spiky! If someone were to hit someone else in the head with one of these jackfruit, there could be concussions and bloodshed and lamentation. I like that in a comestible.

這個市場非常適合您的所有彈藥需求!

It’s not all weaponizable fruit in here. There are also inexplicable packaged items.

It looks like blow-in insulation or poodle clippings, but if the label’s to be believed, it is very finely shredded, sweetened, dried pork. I believe this is also known as rousong or pork floss. Like cotton candy, but with more oink. I think it’s used mostly as a condiment or topping in situations that are too fancy for plain bacon, but I’m willing bet money the human male would eat this right out of the container with a spoon if allowed to.

Sigyn, predictably, has lost no time in finding the chocolate milk.

Do you really want the drink, my love, or do you just think the characters are cute? Hmm. I borrowed the human female’s phone to check up on these Gaspard and Lisa people. Wikipedia says, “Gaspard and Lisa are two fictional characters appearing in a series of children’s books… Gaspard (black with a blue scarf) and Lisa (white with a red scarf) go on various adventures. Gaspard, Lisa, and their family members are drawn as animals, but live among humans in Paris, with the titular characters attending an ordinary school alongside human characters. Officially, Gaspard and Lisa are neither dogs nor rabbits.” What are they unofficially? It’s all very suspect.

I think I will choose myself a birthday present. As long as we are in the beverage aisle, I can look for the Loki-est thing they have.

Found it.

Jörmungandr would be proud.

I bet it makes horrific burps. Possibly even lightable. There’s only one way to find out!

>|: [

Happy Birthday to Me!, Part III: Better Than Cake

Sigyn, I don’t know about you, but all of this shopping, pretend shopping, and bank heist planning has given me quite the appetite. Someone please tell me that it’s time for lunch! And since I’m the Birthday Boy God, I’d better get to choose where we eat.

I choose…Sushi Go Round! What with the current plague, Sigyn can’t ride on the conveyor belt anymore, but it’s still fun.

It’s always a good idea to start with some gyoza.

Of all forms of ethnic stuffed fried dough, I believe gyoza to be superior. I wonder how many I could eat in one sitting? Someday I shall have to find out. Experiment. For Science, you understand.

Avocado thingies make a nice second course.

Sigyn likes hers with cucumber, carrot, and lettuce, but I’m a purist. Just avocado, rice, and this fishy paper stuff, whatever it is. (It looks like old-fashioned carbon paper, but I’m reasonably certain it’s not–but only because I don’t believe it ever came in dark green.)

Anyone need some pickled ginger? Because they brought us two Sigyn-weights of it.

The human female is trying to remember what it was she had last time that was so good. Her memory is so defective, it could be almost anything. Eel, wasn’t it? You want the eel. Or, no! Get the salmon! Lovely fresh salmon. Who cares about allergies? I’m sure nothing too drastic will happen…

Are we getting fish waffles for dessert? Because all sushi-go-round meals should end with fish-shaped waffles filled with sweet beany goo. Especially if it’s someone’s birthday.

Great Frigga’s Hairpins! We seem to be leaving! I cry foul! I demand dessert!

Oh. We have moved the feast two doors down in the strip mall, into some heaven that serves only fish waffles! That’s all right, then.

And these taiyaki are customizable! One can select the filling–traditional red bean paste, custard, chocolate, etc.–as well as the ice cream that the stuffed fish waffle is upended in. Decisions, decisions… Standard beany goo or something more exotic? Vanilla ice cream or something daring? I want to eat it all!

Now this looks promising!

Custard-filled fish on sweet cream ice cream with toasted coconut and a raspberry beret. (And now that song will be stuck in my head all day. Rats.)

Mmmmm. Better than the fish at the sushi-go-round. Less greasy, more cakey. The only flaw I can find is that since the fish isn’t made with the custard inside (traditional taiyaki are cooked with the bean paste in place), they’ve had to rip its face off to have a hole to put the custard into the finished fish. Sigyn was a little distressed to find out her fish was faceless, but one taste drove out all thoughts but one–getting to the bottom of the cup!

I’m a giant and capable of prodigious feats of feasting, but prudence dictates that I stop after one fish, lest I have to be rolled to the next stop on this Birthday Tour. I shall remember that this place is here, though, because I’m sure that, given enough time, I could consume whole schools of delicious fishies. It’s a challenge I’m willing to take on.

Next stop: Weird market things!

>|: 9

Happy Birthday to Me!, Part II: I Say, Old Bean, Tally-pip Toodle Cheerie-ho, What?

The part of the Big City to the South where the Purveyor of Pens is located is called Rice Village. (I don’t know why. The Chinese restaurant moved out years ago…) It is famous for know why. The Chinese restaurant moved out years ago…) It is famous for (mostly overpriced) shops and shops and eateries.

One of the shops Sigyn and I haven’t been in before is one which sells all sorts of imports from the British Isles. The humans are more than a little “homesick” for London, so the human female has decided that we are all going to go see what they have today.

Ooooh! This place is fancy! Mortals, are you sure there’s anything in here you can afford? I shall have to mind my horns and cape so as not to knock over anything expensive. (On the other hand, if I break something, they’ll probably bill the humans, so maybe I should let loose and have some fun…)

The selection of china is quite impressive. Sigyn and the human female are squeeing fit to break crystal, because a lot of it is botanical.

Sigyn thinks it would be fun to eat off blueberry plates every day. That could indeed be fun.

The human female has made a bee-line for the Portmeirion.

Sigyn, do you want the little pansy cream pitcher? Because I could sell one of the human female’s kidneys and buy it for you.

And I think I’ll have this manchineel tree.

I’m not sure why they saw fit to decorate a plate that people will presumably eat from with one of the most noxious and toxic plants known to man. But I’m all for it!

There are more teacups and mugs here than I have ever seen in one place before. I may have to circle back and get this one for Sigyn. It has flowers, fruit, AND a fat little bird on it, which renders it pretty much perfect as far as she’s concerned.

Not all of the china is strictly botanical. Animals, as noted above, are well-represented.

What do you think? A fox plate for a Trickster God and snowdrops for my sweetie?

Or do we go all-out and buy the plate with the whole forest menagerie?

If I buy a cake plate, will they throw in a cake? It is my birthday, after all!

This talk of cake is making me hungry. There’s a whole room devoted to British/Irish/Scots comestibles. Shall we go see what’s to hand?

Sigyn is a big fan of fudge.

Looks like a Yule thing on post-holiday closeout, my dear. Best check that sell-by date!

Hmm. I think this bag may be following me home:

*I* don’t want to eat them, but the human male likes to try weird flavors of chips–pardon me, crisps–and I want to watch his face when he tries these.

We could spend all day in here (but my stomach is starting to growl, so I’m hoping we don’t!) I’m sure that Sigyn and the human female are trying to figure out a way to make the house look like the inside of this shop. Ladies, I don’t think it’s possible. Not on the humans’ pensions, anyway.

But if you really, really want some of the botanical china, just create a minor distraction…

…and I’ll break into Gringotts and abscond with the funds to pay for it.

>|: [

Happy Birthday to Me!, Part I: Predictable

Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to me! It’s my special day, the weather is fine, and there are no wet, blue emergencies today, so we are off to the Big City to the South! Objectives: Fun, mischief, presents, food, and a break from staring at the same walls. (February, as I have noted, is tough. My natal day provides a much-needed bright spot in an otherwise dreary month.)

Long-time readers and attentive minions will no doubt have guessed what our first stop is. If you said, “Probably the Purveyor of Pens,” you are correct! It is a very predictable thing. Mostly we are here because the human male has a pen that needs adjusting. I want it on record that HE was the one who dropped it. I just made sure it landed nib-first.

Looking at all the different colors of ink is always fun. I did not know there were this many shades of teal.

They all clash with my cape, so I will keep looking.

This is more like it!

The human female is looking for a light green (predictable: she’s a botanist) and can’t decide between Ink Studio #200 and #167. Silly mortal. Doesn’t she know that the deeper the green, the better?

Hmm. Maybe there is something better in the shipment that just came in.

I think there are some bottles of Noodler’s here that are going to go for pretty cheap! *I* didn’t smash them (already had my ink spill thrill for the week), but I’m having a good giggle at the thought of someone who isn’t me having to clean all this up and deal with the return/refund paperwork!

Sigyn is looking at the journals and cannot decide between the one with the fish and the one with the duck.

Colorful–but wouldn’t you really rather have plants on the cover? Or, look, what about this one?

Not for you, but I could steal it for the human female. It would be very appropriate for her to write down all her bull—t in.

I should probably get a blank book, too. Generations to come will want to know all the particulars of my rise to fame and domination. I should be more punctilious about recording my thoughts and pronouncements. There are plenty of blank books here to choose from. Different sizes, different papers. Ruled, unruled, dot grid…

Predictably, I want a green one. They have green, though it’s sort of an anemic shade. There are more different blues:

Which is patently unfair. Green is by far the superior color, whatever the shade. Ask any tree, shrub, lime, or little frog.

Oh well. While Sigyn looks at the greeting cards and the staff are distracted by the humans and other customers, I’m going to change one of these into the right color and slip it into my pocket dimension.

Birthday present? Check! Mischief? Check! Our work here is done…

>|: [

Well, All Right–If I Get to BURN Something

The humans are traveling to the Big City to the South today. The Knittery Friend’s two youngest children are being given a bath today. Or given names. Something everyone is dressing up and going to church for, at any rate. I have declined to attend, of course, but I am tagging along on this expedition because there are rumors that a) the reception is to be held outdoors in a large park, and “park” equates to “plants”, so Sigyn wants to go; b) there will be food, possibly including cake; and c) it is cold today and I believe I heard the word “firepit” mentioned. If I can eat and burn things while Sigyn chats and looks at plants, I shall consider the trip worth the effort.

(later)

I am given to understand that the church-y part of the day’s activities went well, despite the sleep-deprived father of the twins answering with his sons’ middle names when asked why he was present. Such a non-sequitur will be talked of for years. I almost wish I had been present to witness it. Almost. (I am allergic to pews.)

Now we are trying to find the park where the reception is to be. One might wonder why it is outdoors on one of the coldest days we have had this winter. The reason is because there are nearly a score of younglings among the guests, and no one interior venue seems sufficient to house such a large, active group. This way, they can run about and shout to their little hearts’ delight, while the older, wiser attendees get on with the eating and burning.

Is this the right turn? The human female says it is. The human male’s phone says it is not. We could still be meandering here next Tuesday unless–oh, wait. Both the female and the phone are correct–one can reach the park from either end of a long and rather wind-y road. Now, we just need to look for a large pavilion, a lot of cars, and–I hope–a fire of goodly size.

Success!

It seems large and empty now, but once it is full of food and people, I’m sure it will be cheerful and noisy enough.

Sigyn, while we await the food, let us explore the park. Though it is quite chilly, the sun is shining, and there may be Interesting Plants.

The woods in this park are not like the woods at home. The soil is acid and sandy, rather than alkaline and full of clay. There are a good many pine trees, and the understory is not yaupon holly.

Instead, it appears to be a plant I have heard the human female call Carolina laurel-cherry. She says one can recognize it “by the two small glands on the underside of the leaf, one on each side of the leafstalk.” Do you see any glands, Sigyn? I’m not sure I know what they’re supposed to look like.

There is also rather a lot of Spanish moss in the trees here.

I’m not sure who named this plant, but they did a terrible job, because it is neither Spanish nor a moss. Upon further reflection, I suspect it was the human female. It’s just the sort of stupid name she’d come up with. At any rate, the festoons are fun to swing upon.

What is down this trail?

More pine trees and more cherry laurel, probably. But no food and most likely no firepit. We would be wise to stick close to the pavilion.

We are now exploring the shore of the pond that is near the pavilion.

Careful, Sigyn! It may look like solid ground, but I have the feeling it is probably pretty squishy. One false step and you could be in mud up to your eyebrows. While you would still be adorable if covered in mud and decaying plant matter, I am sure you would be more comfortable if you were not cold, wet, and squelchy. In fact, you would probably be more comfortable now if you were warmer. Let us go and see if the promised fire has been achieved.

The verdict is–

More or less. Despite the presence of multiple boy scouts, it seems to have taken quite a while to get the blaze to catch. Everything has been tried–paper, fire-starter packs, twigs, pine cones, wood scraps–you name it. It is only thanks to the aid of one of my special inferno spells that it’s doing as well as it is. Where would you foolish mortals be without Loki, patron deity of pyromaniacs?

Now—show me where the human female is standing, so I know which direction to make the smoke go.

>|: [