romance

My beloved sleeps

I am nearly too weary to tell the tale of how we came here. Where in the nine realms are we? Or are we somewhere beyond the realms? I do not know…

My beloved sleeps. I can scarce fathom it, but our fates are entwined now, for good or ill.

After that she-beast Gunnehilde tore her away from me, I was for a while cast down in spirit. Then I became angry. How dare anyone mistreat sweet Sigyn? I vowed revenge.

I engaged all the vast powers of my mind and all my magics, seeking to locate where she was being held. At last I had a vision of her locked away in a cheerless room. Summoning all my art, I forged a portal through the void from myself to her. Gunnehilde must have some powers of her own, for I was resisted by a wall of magic. Undaunted, I battled on and at last managed to breach the wards, take her hand, and step back into my portal, slamming it shut behind us. Knowing that I and my magic could be traced if I returned to my known haunts on Midgard, with the last of my failing strength I flung us out and away. Buffeted, we hurtled through fire and lightning, through darkness and nothing.

We landed here, but I do not know where “here” is. It appears to be a transport hub of some sort. It may be that we can seek passage on one of these flying craft. My magic is spent–I cannot carry us anywhere. In truth, I do not care where we go, so long as we are safe.

We are both weary beyond words, battered in body and spirit. I found us something to eat. Its name means “sustaining banquet” in one of the Old Languages, but it appears to be nothing more than a cold, sweetened dairy product. No matter. She is too tired to eat and barely speaks.

I, Loki, who answer to no man and have always done whatever pleased me, now wonder if I have done the right thing. I am unused to questioning my motives. Was it noble of me, or selfish? Will she thank me for rescuing her from an unwanted marriage, or hate me for taking her away from her sister and the life she knew? She rests now, with her head in my lap. What a strange thing it is, to be trusted even a little. Sleep, my love. I will not fail you.

The picnic, part II

I… I hardly know where to begin. The picnic was going so well. Sigyn liked everything, including the mug with her face. She approved of the flowers and the cheese. We both admitted a fondness for cookies.

She was properly respectful of the future King of Midgard, but she wasn’t intimidated by Loki, magician and warrior. She seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me. I am so used to my reputation preceding me–it was surprising (and wonderful) to have what amounted to a clean slate. For the first time I can remember, I felt no desire to punch someone.

And I learned so much about her! She likes music and fat novels and collecting glass paperweights. She has been in this realm somewhat longer than I have. She came to raise horses with her half-sister. (Imagine my delight upon learning that she is only partially related to that horned menace, Gunnehilde.)

I had just worked up the courage to try to hold her hand when the menace herself appeared! And with her words, my shiny new world shattered.

"Come, Sigyn," she said. "Leave this villain. Your betrothed is waiting."

Betrothed? My Sigyn is betrothed to another?! I have no doubt any man would love her, but it never crossed my mind that she might already have given her heart.

A battle ensued. I was tempted to turn Gunnehilde into a slug and apply salt, but I was reluctant to sadden my Sigyn. I could not hurt Gunnehilde, but she had no such limitations. I could but defend myself. Before I could formulate a plan, Gunnehilde had bundled Sigyn onto her horse, grabbed the reins, and towed her away beyond my sight.

In all of the confusion, Sigyn was able to gasp out one parting utterance, and upon this I have pinned my hope and sanity: The betrothal is not of Sigyn’s choosing. I may yet win her! My poor flower! Hold fast! I shall find you! And as long as I live, you will not be wed against your will. I, Loki, vow this…

The picnic, part I

I scarcely slept last night for thinking about today. I was up at dawn, fretting about the weather. It is not the sunniest day for a picnic, but spring is definitely in the air.

On my way here I found some wildflowers growing and picked them for my beloved. (The human female says they are called "ragwort," which is a horrible name, but they are bright and cheerful.)

I have laid out a nice little meal under the Courting Tree–fruit and cheese and crackers and a loaf of fresh bread. I have cold milk and some cute mugs to drink it from. (I magicked Sigyn’s lovely face onto one of them so she will know it is hers.) For dessert, I have an assortment of cookies. (I do like cookies. Why do we not have them in Asgard? Sometimes I think my life would have been very different if I had only had cookies growing up…)

I even have some grass for the horses.

I hope she will like all of this But… What if her taste runs to huge, meaty feasts, which is possible, since she is of the Aesir…? What if she is a vegetarian (rare in Asgard, but they do exist) or dislikes cheese? Should I change things? Should there be wine instead of milk? Would that be better? Do I need to go get something else?

Helmet on or off? Is my armor too intimidating? Should I have worn something else?

Oh, here she comes! What shall I do? What shall I say?! I was never so frightened facing frost giants or legions of berserkers. What if she doesn’t like me? What if…..

(later)

I needn’t have worried. She is perfection itself. It is all going very– Oh, no!

Glad to wake up…

I had the strangest dream this afternoon when I nodded off after lunch. I had *finally* met up with Sigyn under the Courting Oak and we were sharing an outdoor meal. Except there was no proper picnic food, only some large, fluffy, starchy objects. Sigyn pretended to be pleased, but I could tell that she, like me, was disappointed and at a loss how to eat such a thing. I was mightily embarrassed.

And then Thor showed up to spoil things further. Or rather, it was Thor and not Thor. He was in his usual black and red, but he was a small, crawling insect with a tiny voice. "Hail, brother!" he peeped. "Who is this delectable wench?" Then he sniggered suggestively. Before I could decide whether or how to squash him (my staff was somehow missing), I woke up.

Can you tell I’m nervous about tomorrow?

Found it.

I have ventured out again today in search of the perfect place for my meeting with Sigyn. “Meeting” seems such a feeble word for something so important. “Rendezvous” seems rather intimate for two people who are getting to know one another (although I am already sure she is my life’s mate.) “Tryst” implies sneaking and doesn’t really apply, since I think by now everyone knows. “Appointment” is too dry and “assignation” has connotations of illicitness. You may be sure that in this, if in nothing else, my intentions are honorable.

Fountains! Fountains are nice, and their splashing provides a bit of privacy for conversation. However, this site is a bit exposed and windy. I have been blown over twice while examining them, and the over-spray is a real consideration.

Ah… What is this? What a stupendous oak! See how it dwarfs even my mighty self! Surely this is a relative, perhaps even a direct scion, of Yggdrasil. Even better!–the human female informs me that this tree is a courting tree. Couples who venture under it are sure to be wed. Here! Here we shall meet!

I must go prepare a fitting repast and find some flowers.*

>: ]

* No. I am not skipping. Loki, the Norse God of Mischief, does not skip. I am merely hastening in a happy fashion.

Where?

Should I arrange the meeting with my dear Sigyn? I want it to be someplace special. There are some lovely spots on this campus. Not much is blooming right now, of course, but there are some interesting bits of architecture. Take these two buildings now. Tastefully ornamented with skulls–what more could you want? But perhaps she does not care for crania…. Hmm. I shall keep looking.

On the other hand, I may have a source of income that does not rely on larceny. I have caused such chaos in the human female’s workplace (disgruntled students, cancelled classes, misplaced goggles, tardy teaching assistants and the like) that yesterday I heard someone vow, “Loki, I will contribute to your girlfriend fund if you will just stop screwing with my life.” That…can be arranged…

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 Svaðilfari…

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

Tomorrow!

Yesterday I took a stroll in the garden. I found a convenient little throne and had a good think. (So much more comfortable than Odin’s golden monstrosity which is, frankly, a pain in the ass-gard. I know. I’ve sat it in it when no one was looking.)

I’ve been over and over my plan. Tomorrow I will meet Gunnehilde, buy my horse, and greet my beloved Sigyn for the first time. It is bitterly cold here today, and I hear that more freezing precipitation is possible tonight, but come Hel, high water, or Ragnarok itself, tomorrow is the day.

Oh, I am so excited! Finally, something is going my way! How shall I spend the hours between now and then? I suppose I could always walk around the campus some more and laugh at all the bundled-up Midgardians. What a weak and puny race they are.

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??