Thursday, October 14, 2010

FridayFlash: Homecoming

“Skál!" Balder said, raising his mug.
Thor smiled and knocked his cup against his brother's. The mead splashed over the lip, trickling between his fingers. "Skál!"
He quaffed his drink in one long draught and slammed it back to the tabletop just a moment before Balder. A cheer went up from the men around them, golden coins raining against the wood and stone. If there was any god in Asgard capable of out drinking him, Balder stood the fairest chance, though even then, only if Thor was already well into his cups. But in the relief after battle, no one had noted who had begun drinking first and the wagering had been fierce.
"More mead!" Balder called, and Thor laughed.
"Brave of you Balder."
"Bravery has little to do with it, brother. Mead!" He called again, and pulled one of the Valkyries into his lap. 
Kára shoved him backward off the bench before filling their mugs, winking at Thor. "Your wife sends word you must be sober enough to walk yourself to your hall, Thor, or she will find another god to take to her bed."
Thor grinned. "Balder will be drunk beneath the table long before my limbs are affected by my own mead. She need not go looking for any other."
"Ha!" Loki said. "And what other god can give her so grand a skáli as Thor!"
The gods roared with laughter, banging their fists and mugs on the table.
 "When will you build a proper hall, Thor?" Bragi asked. 
While the other gods had built immense halls, shining with gold and silver roofs, Thor had not improved upon the small cottage he shared with Sif since he had built it for shelter while he and Odin had raised Asgard from the earth. It had only two rooms, and a single hearth. Not that Thor had spent two days together at home since the war had begun. He grimaced.
"Surely you can not keep Sif in that hovel for an entire cycle!"
"Tomorrow Odin can send you to fight frost giants, and I will build a proper skáli for my bride." Thor raised his cup over the laughter of the gods. Bragi was god of poetry, and served better as messenger than warrior. "To victory!"
"To victory!" Balder called, struggling up and back to his seat. "And its rewards!"
"Skál!" the other gods shouted.
Thor drank, and drank again. And the third time that Kára came to refill their cups, Balder did not rise from the floor where she had knocked him for his cheek. The others would see that he found his bed, as they had every night their champions had returned from the fighting. Thor rose and made his way back home to his cottage on feet still steady, pleased to find his wife waiting at the door.
He took her in his arms, staring into her honeyed eyes, more brilliant than any amber. She laughed and framed his face in her hands, pressing her forehead to his. "Home at last. Though I suppose I should be angry that you only come to me after you've had your toasts and your wine."
"That I might come to you with nothing else on my mind, the grimness of battle left behind," he said, winding his fingers through her golden hair. She smelled of sunlight and fields of wheat, her skin beneath his calloused fingers smoother than water.
"I promise you, I am better than mead for forgetting."
"Skál," he murmured against her lips. 
And then he drank deep. 

25 comments:

  1. Give me more! More Thor, more mead, more all of it.

    I was caught up instantly. This is good stuff.

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  2. GAHHHH! I want more! You are so talented. Your writing always sucks me in, I can't wait to read an entire novel of yours! I could see the whole scene vividly. So are you going to do this every Friday now? *crosses fingers*

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  3. Yay! I especially love the innocence between Sif and Thor. And the teasing with the "hovel".

    Hehe

    :D

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  4. You made the Norsemen's biggest heroes seem cute. I enjoyed this - thanks for sharing.

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  5. What's that about not being able to write flash fiction? That is the sound of me being right and you being rad.

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  6. Ah those boisterous gods, showing off their drinking prowess!

    This vignette was so well written; really enjoyed it.

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  7. Very well done. I've loved mythology since I was young. You captured it very well. I enjoyed reading this!

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  8. Oh, that was wonderful! Loved the whole thing. :D

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  9. Love it!! It seems like a party I'd want to go to. You make mead sound so good! Cute the way Thor joked that Bragi, of all gods, should fight the frost warrios. And Thor... *deep sigh* The "drank deep" ending after all the mead is perfect. He didn't need mead, not with Sif waiting for him.

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  10. Thanks Saranna! I'm glad that you liked it! :)

    Kristen: I don't think so. Not EVERY Friday. But once in a while, sure :)

    Mia: Thanks!! I think it is even better in contrast with what you already know :P

    John: Thanks for commenting!

    Valerie: You are right, AND rad.

    Marisa: Thanks!

    Shelli: Mythology is one of my favorite things :)

    ganymeder: Thank you!!

    Diana: Mead IS good--as long as it is GOOD mead. If you can find a bottle of Chaucer's, pick it up, chill it well, and give it a taste. You can also mull it--sometimes Chaucer's comes with the spices to do so, even. Thanks for loving it :)

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  11. Nice stuff, humanising the Norse Gods. I'm kinda wondering about Balder and Loki left behind though. Doesn't something bad happen between those two? Maybe your next flash?

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  12. Absolutely marvellous!
    Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

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  13. What John said! I never expected to go "awww" during a tale involving Thor!

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  14. Nice, I always enjoy a touch of Norse myths. I liked the way you showed it and the ending finished nicely with the motif of forgetting.

    BTW, loved the bits of language in here (although pavilion was close to cheers and slightly distracting as a result... but the meaning made sense from context.)

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  15. Nice work using the Norse mythology. I was surprised at the intensity of the ending. You were able to create relatable characters out of these gods of old.

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  16. It had to have Thor in your debut, ha! Super welcome to #FridayFlash, Amalia!

    I loved to witness this festive moment with the gods, and the gentleness of the relationship between Thor and Sif. Great writing!

    I hope to see your stories more frequent than not. I love mythology too. ;)

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  17. A great read, and I loved the ending how such a big tough God can be so gentle and tender with his love...

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  18. I thought I commented on this? I guess not...you did a fantastic job! I really love the last lines. :)

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  19. Terrific tone and tenor in this piece reflecting the old Norse Gods so well. I have a soft spot in my heart for Norse mythology myself, so I really enjoyed this.

    Welcome to #FridayFlash.
    ~jon

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  20. Virginia: Thanks! And you're not wrong about Balder and Loki either-- though perhaps not THIS particular night :)

    Placebythefire, mazzz in Leeds, thank you!

    AidanF: Yeah, I thought about that too-- but it didn't seem right to have them saying Cheers instead of Skal, and the entire moment, in my head, was built around that use of Skali. Not much to be done, I'm afraid!

    Laura: thank you very much! That is exactly what I try to do :)

    Mari: Thank you!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I think I will try to participate once in a while, but I'm pretty hit or miss with my Flash :) The shorter forms are not my forte!

    A.S. Thank you! Thor is one of my favorites--there is so much to work with in his character.

    Sarah: Thank you :) :)

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  21. Thank you, Jon! I appreciate it! As you will probably see, I have a soft spot for the Norse myths myself :)

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  22. Very awesome. Even touching, in a way.

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  23. I love tales of Norse Mythology, and this was a fun take on that. Great job.

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  24. Lovely - especially the last two lines. There's a deep fondness and affection there :-)

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    Replies
    1. I think it must be early in their marriage, before the accusations about Sif getting in bed with Loki started flying around.

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