horse

Help Wanted, Part IV: The Third Interview

I am by myself this morning. Sigyn is out shopping.

Wait–I’m not expecting anyone about the job today. So who’s banging on the door?

Oh, no! It’s that fiend from hell who bit my hand off last year! Begone, foul nag! Flee, or we’ll be feasting on roast horse this eve!

badhorse.jpg

Whew! I just managed to shove him out the door! What unmitigated gall! I know I advertised for heartless brutes, and truly, he is vile and vicious, but I am not THAT desperate!

>|: [

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At last!

The ice melted enough for me to keep my long-deferred appointment with Gunnehilde.

What a venal hag she is! Her customary frown turned into a gap-toothed leer of unfeigned avaricious delight when she saw what I had brought her as payment. I swear I saw a trickle of greed-drool. (I know, I know, there will be just a bit of trouble with the Midgardians over what I found to bring, but who *cares* whether they are annoyed?)

So now the valiant black steed is mine! What a noble-looking creature he is, and not half so bad-tempered as his white brother. I shall have to think of a good name for him. I’m leaning towards SvaĆ°ilfari…

But even the horse could not hold my attention for long when I beheld my beautiful Sigyn. I greeted her. She responded demurely. I asked if she would meet with me. After Gunnehilde (the old bat!) nodded, she sweetly agreed. How dulcet her voice! How rosy-blushed her cheek! All too soon, she was whisked away by her sister. (I do hope that she-wolf allows my dear Sigyn to have some of the treasure for her own. I shall be sure to bring her a gift when we meet!)

My face feels very odd. I may have broken something. Oh. It’s a smile. I know who put it there! If I am not careful, I shall turn into the biggest moon-calf that ever there was. (If Thor hears about this and makes kissy noises, I shall turn him into a rotten turnip and pitch him in the compost bin. Grrr. See? I am still evil and heartless!)

>|: D

Oh, no! Where’d she go?! (the full story)

I confess it. I have become obsessed. I arose at what the human female calls "sparrow-fart" this morning and went in search of my beautiful maiden. A King needs a consort, does he not?

After hours of fruitless traipsing through dew-spangled grass, soaking my cloak, boots, and armor, I at last located the herd of horses and their caretaker.

But instead of my chestnut-haired beauty, the equines were being minded by an armed and helmeted giant of a besom! I knew at once–she is of the Aesir, like my dear foster mother, Frigga, and that strapping warrior Sif. The air of assurance (or in Sif’s case, smugness) on top of the muscles is unmistakable. Whatever is she doing in Midgard?

Hiding my disappointment, I marshaled the silver tongue for which I am justly famous. I greeted her politely and introduced myself. She was unimpressed. Keeping one eye on the vicious brute who bit me (I could indeed pick him out, and I swear he bared his teeth at me and licked his lips) and another on her sharp-looking broadsword, I inquired whether any of her horses were for sale. She sneered! At me! It took all my self control not to twist her ugly horned head from her lumpish shoulders and invent a new fieldsport with it.

When she was finished looking down her potato nose, she named a price so presumptuous I near slew her anyway. But if there is one thing at which I excel, it is biding my time. I pretended to consider and casually asked who it was I had seen minding the horses the other day.

What? That vision is the sister of this battleax? This harridan, Gunnehilde, is flesh and blood of my chosen, who is called Sigyn? Oh, fair Sigyn, how well I know what it is to have truly lamentable relatives!

In the end, I agreed to purchase one of the horses–the black looks a likely beast, with no taste for man-flesh–on the condition that Sigyn be present when I bring the payment as proof that she agrees to the sale. After all, how am I to know that Mistress Cow Horns is not busy selling someone else’s property? It is something I would do… (But I did not say all this out loud.)

So now I have but a few days to raise what amounts to a king’s ransom. But by Heimdall’s helm, I will have steed and maiden both!

Now what?

I saw that thrice-blasted horse again this morning. To be more accurate, I saw a small herd of horses. There were four white ones, and from a distance I couldn’t be sure which beast was the miserable wretch who savaged my hand. I’m sure, though, that I would recognize that foul nag if I could look him in the beady, bloodshot eye.

I kept my distance and cloaked myself with a concealing glamour, however. Not out of cowardice, you understand, but because tending the horses was the most beautiful creature I have ever seen. The early sun on her chestnut hair and lovely features quite dazzled me.

I have always scoffed at those who prate about love at first sight, but I begin to understand now. I, Loki of Asgard and Jotunheim, god, warrior, and mighty magician, found myself utterly at a loss.

I might have only one chance to win her, and I suspect my usual tactic of ordering people to kneel and submit might not be the best approach. What in the name of Odin’s eyepatch should I do??