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Friday, March 30, 2012

Aesir Legal (V point V)

Part one of Today's adventure/episode is posted yonder at Mia's blog! Obviously there are zombies. And also DEBTS to be repaid along with the misuse of a possessive! Without further ado, I give you episode Five Point Five!

“In the name of all that is holy and good, for the last time, I am not Thor’s anything, thank you very much!”

Tyler ignored me, caught in a staring match with Thor, the most absurdly confident smile spreading slowly across his face, even while Thor’s expression had blackened. Bragi, however, was muttering an I-told-you-so in some kind of iambic pentameter. Baldur cleared his throat, catching Bragi’s eye, and shook his head just once, firmly, his mouth a hard line. The Shining God’s gaze flicked to Thor, and even in my irritation, I couldn’t fail to notice that the room had suddenly grown dark, all sunlight eclipsed by the green-black clouds filling the sky outside.

“You do remember the throw down with that frost giant, don’t you?” Tyler asked. “While you were busy tearing it to pieces, Mia and I whisked Amalia out of the middle of that glitter riot.”

Thunder did not rumble, it snarled, lightning flashing so brightly even my eyes burned. “And today you and Ms. Hayson sent her to be served for lunch to an assemblage of Vampires! The debt is paid!”

“Thaths Rithiculuths!” Adler said. “We were muth more intherestheth in sthpilling your blooth than herths!”

“Ah,” Baldur said softly. “Ms – Admiral Hayson, Thorsko – that is, Amalia, if you would both please step away from the windows. We wouldn’t want any blood spilled with a vampire so near, I think, and I fear a tornado seems to be forming just outside our last unbroken pane of glass.”

Mia clapped her hands. “Zombies to me! Quick like bunnies, snap, snap!”

The zombies began the shuffle to Mia’s corner of the room. Adam dropped the collected passports on Baldur’s silver desk as he passed, urging the straggling Glitterati onward in the process.

“Amaliaz?” Mia called, when she realized I hadn’t moved.

I crossed my arms and glared at the still-bleeding Adler. This was all her fault, and so help me, but I was about to earn one of my assault charges. Tyler might have had a point about my owing him, and I was more than happy to stick my neck out for the Glitterati in exchange, but Adler clearly wasn’t going to get down off her high-vampire-horse. Zombies PLUS Vampire-girlfriend was asking an awful lot.

“And you expect us to welcome you here, when you are so determined to cause us harm?” Thor demanded. “No. Even for Amalia’s honor, I will not stand for it!”

“Enough!” I said. “Tyler, if you want to call in a favor, with Baldur the Just as my witness, I’ll recognize I owe you one, but it’s between you and me.” I transferred my glare to Thor. “You have nothing to say about any of it, my honor included. Is that understood?”

Thor’s eyes had widened, the white fire draining from them in his surprise, and I took advantage of his silence. “Baldur, am I right in assuming that if Adler will convince her people to drop the charges laid against the Asgardian Embassy and myself, the Aesir will be willing to grant her access to Tyler and friends for as long as they remain under Asgardian Embassy protection?”

Baldur blinked once, eyeing me as if I had suddenly transformed into the Midgard serpent. “I believe that would be a fair agreement, yes. Certainly as long as there are legal charges pending or unresolved, it would be unseemly and inappropriate for any congress between ourselves and the vampires involved.”

“You cannot seriously be considering –” Thor began.

“Adler?” I prompted, cutting him off. “Unless you’d prefer Tyler to be deported immediately, of course, which from what Mia’s said, the moment they leave the protection of the Embassy, your love affair is pretty much doomed.”

“Zombies cannot live in Asgard!” Thor growled. “The trouble they would cause will be without measure!”

“Mia is an accomplished Zombie handler,” I said. “And no one is sending the Zombies to Asgard right now anyway, all they’re looking for is asylum until this treaty business is sorted out, right Mia?”

She nodded once. “Absolutely! Only until it is cleared up! Though, I must say, Golden Apples seem like they might be even more fabulous for distracting Le Zombies than hot dogs –”

Lightning cracked, tongues of flame erupting out of the ground outside in answer. “You and your Zombies will not so much as look at the tree, nor will you so much as sniff at Idunn’s apples!”

“Adler!” I called out over the thunder that followed. “Now or never! Before Baldur changes his mind.”

Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channels, to find out how Adler will respond!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Not Quite On Topic: Welsh is Endilega Bendigedig

Okay, so I cheated. Endilega is Icelandic for absolutely, and it is hands down one of my most favorite words to say, but Welsh is DEFINITELY Bendigedig and you can watch this video to find out what that means. Welsh might be my next most favorite language of all time (after Icelandic of course).

How can you not think a language is great, when the expression for goodbye translates literally as "big fun"?

And now we return to our regularly scheduled Icelandic/Mythology/ThorLove.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Aesir Legal (IV)

[When last we left our heroes, Mia really needed a shower, Zombies and Vampires were in LURVE, and Thor pretty much blew a gasket. Not necessarily in that order.]

The storm outside had died about the same time the zombies threw themselves in front of the glass shards, and Thor had jerked me out of the way so hard, I was definitely suffering from some kind of whiplash, but at least I wasn’t bleeding.

“Forgive me,” he murmured, brushing glass from both of us, though whether he was talking to me or to Baldur, I wasn’t sure. At least Baldur was invulnerable. Sand had sworn a promise to Frigg never to harm her son, and I was pretty sure that applied to sand-in-glass-form as well. But Baldur was staring over our heads, or at least over my head, because Thunder gods, generally speaking, are usually too tall to see over unless they’re crouching, hammer in hand, and ready to lay waste to some enemy – in which case, no one in their right mind is looking anywhere but at said thunder god, unless they’re running for their life in the opposite direction.

“By Odin’s lost eye,” Bragi mumbled, also staring in the general direction of the doors. Mia was looking at me with some kind of panicked desperate smile, and I turned slowly, tearing my eyes from hers with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, to see what fresh torment the zombies had wrought that might strike Bragi speechless for a second time.

I was not prepared. I could not ever have been prepared.

“Don’t look,” I said to Thor. “Save yourself.”

But I could already hear the creak of his knuckles as his fingers curled into fists, feel the sizzle of static in the air around us and the tingling of electricity, every hair on my body standing on end. Thor had clearly already seen the zombpire makeout session, witnessed the ill-disguised tongue action, and insult added to injury, the vampire part of this two-man liplock operation was the very vampiress I had been sent to meet this afternoon. For which foolhardy adventure, I had spent the last eight hours of my life handcuffed to a chair, with pending charges of assault and three distinct violations of the Supernatural Peace Treaty of Aught-Eight, plus assorted fines.

“At least tell me this means the vampires aren’t going to be pressing charges,” I said to no one in particular, my voice a little bit strained.

“Quite,” Baldur murmured, then cleared his throat rather loudly. “Excuse me. Miss…?”

“Adler,” Mia supplied, with another too bright smile. “They do make such a charming couple, don’t you think? I mean, if nothing else, at least they’re nice to look at! Even if it is, erhm, a bit odd.”

Thor made a sound very reminiscent of a strangled rhinoceros. Thunder gods are very good at rhinoceros impressions when they’re angry. Inadvertently, of course.

“Charming?” His tone was deceptively calm, but there was no mistaking the rumble of thunder beneath the word.

“Oh!” Mia said, her eyes widening with delight. “Do you have a menagerie at the embassy? I didn’t realize Asgard had rhinoceroses!”

Thor made the noise again, his eyes blazing bright white. A spark snapped between Tyler and Adler, causing them both to recoil with a yelp.

“We do not,” Thor said carefully, and it was NEVER a good sign when thunder gods took particular care with their enunciation, “have a menagerie.”

“Er,” Mia said, her gaze darting to Tyler where he was rubbing his chest absently. I hoped he hadn’t been scorched. Thunder gods were very good at burning things accidentally. And um, on purpose, really, too. At least you didn’t have to worry about the charcoal not lighting. “So, I don’t suppose you have a room or two where we might stay? Or at least somewhere to clean up a bit? I know how you all feel about glitter of course, and I wouldn’t want to be a bad guest, tracking it all around…”

“Guests?” Thor demanded. “You did not offer them drinks, Baldur, surely!”

Baldur cleared his throat again, looking rather less shining than usual. “You have, have you not, gone to Ms. Hayson’s assistance, and received assistance in turn from her… friends. The bonds of friendship and hospitality having already been forged, I saw no reason not to make them welcome.”

Thunder rumbled again, and when Tyler tried to take Adler’s hand, another spark lit between their fingers.

“Um,” I said as Adler hissed, fangs exposed, and Tyler sucked on his index finger with a sulking glare in our direction. “I don’t think there’s any reason to be shocking our potential friends and allies-who-might-yet-talk-reason-into-their-vampire-friends-and-drop-all-charges.”

I was a little short on funds from the last bunch of fines I had to pay for Thor’s treaty violations and whoever wrote the embassy reimbursement forms was clearly determined never to part with any Asgardian gold. My money was on Bragi, because they were absolutely the most nonsensical, overly elaborate works of skaldic poetry I’d ever seen.

Thor growled.

“Let me put it this way,” I said, raising my voice to be heard over Thor’s glowering. Thunder gods do not glower silently in the best of circumstances, and this was definitely not even close to the best. “If you throw away my chance to escape having to go to court for this latest brawl you started, I’m never bringing you to the invitation-only Festival of Mead again. And I’ll make sure you’re blacklisted from coming with anyone else.”

Bragi gasped, Baldur mashed his mouth into a line so flat I was SURE he was trying not to laugh, and Thor’s eyes narrowed.

“You wouldn’t,” he said.

I raised my eyebrows and crossed my arms. The art of hanging out with a thunder god is knowing when to out-stubborn them. And let me tell you, I have mastered my form.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Baldur as the Old Norse Answer to Jesus

Each arrow overshot his head by Elmer Boyd Smith
The Invincible, Shining Baldur!
I'm currently reading Robert Ferguson's The Vikings: A History (Penguin, 2009), and came across this passage, discussing the reasons behind the start of the Viking Age:

The threat [Charlemagne's active crusades to Christianize and conquer] may even have affected Viking Age poetry. As we noted earlier, many scholars believe that the Viking Age's greatest spiritual monument, 'The Seeress's Prophecy', was composed comparatively late in the history of northern Heathendom as a direct response to the threat of militant expansionist Christianity and the dramatic and seductive Judaic creation myths of the Bible (p 56).

The tumblers began to fall into place almost at once. The poem he refers to, The Voluspa, gives an account of the entirety of Norse Mythology, from creation to the events leading up to Ragnarok and beyond -- addressing the death of Baldur and his return to rule the new world, post Ragnarok. I'd never considered the story of Baldur from this perspective -- as a response to Christian ideals -- having always assumed it to be part of the lore before Christian influence, but once you start, the tumblers all start clicking together into place.

What if Baldur is the Heathen answer to Jesus? The only son of Odin and Frigg -- indeed, very possibly the only LEGITIMATE son of Odin and his wife -- Baldur is known for his essential goodness, his extreme beauty, his wisdom, and his sense of justice. The Seeress mentions the death of Baldur, and even tells Odin it will be the Mistletoe, thrown by Hod, which will kill him. She details the major events of Ragnarok, too, but the poem finishes with a vision of what will come after the death of so many of the gods:
59. Now do I see | the earth anew
Rise all green | from the waves again;
The cataracts fall, | and the eagle flies,
And fish he catches | beneath the cliffs.

60. The gods in Ithavoll | meet together,
Of the terrible girdler | of earth they talk,
And the mighty past | they call to mind,
And the ancient runes | of the Ruler of Gods.

61. In wondrous beauty | once again
Shall the golden tables | stand mid the grass,
Which the gods had owned | in the days of old,
.    .    .    .    .        .    .    .    .    .

62. Then fields unsowed | bear ripened fruit,
All ills grow better, | and Baldr comes back;
Baldr and Hoth dwell | in Hropt's battle-hall,
And the mighty gods: | would you know yet more?
And the second to last stanza, powerful, broken and corrupted, considered spurious by most academics, but which makes a LOT more sense if all of this (and Baldur's story in particular) is the response to the Christian ideas of the ever impending return of Jesus:
 65. There comes on high, | all power to hold,
A mighty lord, | all lands he rules.
Rule he orders, | and rights he fixes,
Laws he ordains | that ever shall live.
What if the peoples of Scandinavia, after they heard about Jesus responded with "Oh yeah? Well we have Baldur, and he does everything your god does, only better." What if Ragnarok as recounted by the Seeress is really just a metaphor for the Christianization of the world, resulting in the "death" of the gods, until Baldur returns -- until the PEOPLE return to their faith in the old gods and the old ways, even to the Golden Tables of the gods? What if Ragnarok was already happening when the Voluspa was written?

Maybe Baldur became the answer, the hope of a people who saw their way of life, their faith, their very cultural identity, being destroyed and replaced. Just hang in there, he says, Christianity is just a fad. Your gods are coming back, and they're going to bring you a better world, one where you'll be protected and everything will be even more beautiful than before. You aren't forgotten -- your gods are at war, fighting for your survival, and we're going to win.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Aesir Legal (III)

[This week, we have TWO parts! The first HERE, and the second YONDER at Mia's blog, to whom I give special thanks for approving my use of both her likeness and her zombies! So when last we left our um, heroes? Bragi had accused Amalia and Thor of being an item, a dangerous rumor likely to result in terrible, terrible things, if it got back to Asgard.]

Thankfully, we didn’t run into any Satyrs between the police station and the Asgardian Embassy. Thor punching one in the face would only have added fuel to Bragi’s fire, and we needed to do some serious smothering of those flames. Damage control with Z could wait until I saw him next – be that in the police station or at the embassy, but first I was going to make sure that Bragi’s lips were sewn shut. Literally, if necessary. After all, it wasn’t like there wasn’t a precedent.

“Straight inside,” I told Bragi when we reached the immense oak doors of the embassy. The building was roofed with round metal shields, and the rain pinged and chimed against them. I was soaking wet and the sooner we got this done and I could change into dry clothes the better for everyone. “We’re going to see Baldur and Forseti, and if I have to charge you with some kind of libel or slander or whatever label your kennings fall under to keep you quiet, so help me, I will!”

“Perhaps we should call you Thorskona the Humorless,” Bragi grumbled. Lightning flashed, and Thor gave him a shove forward when he wasn’t moving quickly enough. Thunder gods aren’t big on patience, and judging by the storm, Thor was somewhere between angry and furious. Bragi snorted. “And you Bilskirnir’s Grim Lord.”

“You may call me by whatever names you wish, Bragi, provided you keep your assumptions to yourself.”

“A wise man recognizes the truth unspoken, and only the fool believes what one man sees others have not already realized.”

“You’re looking so hard for a story to tell you're inventing things,” I said. “And I’ll swear as much in front of Balder and Forseti both! We’re just friends!”

But when we burst through the door to Baldur’s blindingly silver office, it was already occupied. Mia was sitting in front of the large, shining desk, and it was clear to me, if no one else, that Baldur was beginning to regret his association with sparkling precious metals. Drool, zombie fingerprints, and glitter were EVERYwhere. All three of us stopped dead, and even Bragi had no words but for a half-muttered, “What in the nine worlds…?”

Baldur cleared his throat, gently prying a zombie from his thigh. Of all the Norse gods to be trapped in a room with zombies, Baldur the Shining, Baldur the Bright! So beautiful and brilliant that light shines from his very person. Poor, poor Baldur, who had barely detached one zombie before another took its place. Feathers clung to his hair and clothing, and by the lines carved into his face, I could only guess that he’d been suffering this invasion long enough to try even his divine patience. And there was no one in Midgard with more patience than Baldur. Normally.

“It appears,” he said stiffly into the silence, “that my immunity to harm does not extend to deflecting zombies.”

Mia paused in her attempt to lure the zombies away from Baldur with a few hot dogs, and turned, giving me an overbright and enthusiastic grin. “Amaliaz! We are so glad you are here, finally and at last! We didn’t know where else to go.”

“Um?” I said.

“Well you must have heard,” Mia said, her eyes widening. “The Zombie Treaty is broken! They’re being rounded up as we speak! Something to do with the Satyrs who started rioting this afternoon after some guy punched one in the face. You know how excitable the zombies can get. It wasn’t their fault at all that some of the Satyr’s got bitten. It was poor zombie handling! If they’d just read my book –”

“Ms. Hayson,” Baldur interrupted, “has requested Asylum for herself and her zombies. She’s named you, Thor, as her sponsor, and Amalia as a character reference for her, ah, friends.”

That was when the storm outside turned abruptly into a hurricane. Admittedly, I wouldn’t have noticed, except for the tree branch that exploded through the window and sent glass flying into my face.

Klikk here for episode III point V!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Forbidden Nature of Love Poems

A twitter follower recently reminded me of the law against writing love poems in Old Norse society, and having just recently discussed Odin's Runic Superpowers, in particular those which relate to the seducing of women, I thought it might be worth covering on the blog here, briefly.

First, the Viking Answer Lady provides us with some background:
One reason why love poetry was so ill-regarded by the Vikings may have been due to the fear in pagan times of magical ensnarement of the woman so immortalized by the power of the verses (Foote and Wilson, p. 112).
If you believe that Odin has the ability to seduce a woman with a song/runes/poetry (see Runic Superpowers of Odin Part II), and the gods have been known to pass the magic of the runes on to mortals (Heimdall as Rig teaches Rune magic to his son Jarl), it makes absolute sense that other mortals might be concerned about magical ensnarement of their daughters in every day life. How can you be sure that a poem is just a poem, and not a spell meant to seduce your daughter and ultimately dishonor her? How can you even be sure that the person writing the poem isn't Odin, for that matter, or worse, Loki, who is also known for shape shifting, come to take advantage of your daughter/sister.

And I have to say, it makes absolute sense for love poetry to have been a much, much more serious concern to a culture with a god like Odin, and in particular, a god like Odin to whom poetry is pretty much the source of a lot of his wisdom and superpower via the runes. When Poetry is that powerful, it only makes sense that its use would be governed by law, and as defensive as Norsemen can be about their women, the law is there to protect more than just the female party.

It might seem kind of absurd to us, but poetry was magic according to Norse society -- we see that clearly in the Havamal when Odin talks about his magical powers:

An eighth I know: which all can sing
for their weal if they learn it well;
where hate shall wax 'mid the warrior sons,
I can calm it soon with that song.
WORDS have power over the minds of men. And it isn't just the gods who can wield them in persuasion. I think that's a lesson we, in all our practicality, seem to have forgotten.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Aesir Legal (II)

(When last we left our repeat offenders, Bragi, god of poetry had just arrived to spring Amalia from her hand-cuffed chair, and Z still had no idea what he was really getting himself into.)

“Thorskona!” Bragi smiled and clasped my newly freed hand in both of his as the police officer tucked the handcuffs back into his belt. “Safe mayst thou go, safe come again, and safe be the way thou wendest!”

“Ah, thank you, Bragi.” Gods of poetry never said one word when they could confuse you with five or ten instead. For Bragi, this was a positively forthright way of telling me I was free to go, finally and at last. I’d only been sitting around waiting for the last nine hours. “And it’s Amalia. My name, I mean.”

He beamed beneath his long, neatly braided beard. “The Allfather himself has five hundred forty names, if you only provide me with one, I must improvise where I may, but believe me, my dear, when I say, as surely as Skinfaxi brings daylight with him across the sky, you are Thorskona, Thorsvíf, Thorskván, Thors–”

“You can stop right there and back it up. I’m no one’s víf, and I’m absolutely not his kván.”

Bragi gave a dismissive flick of his fingers. “Better than being known as Thorsthrall or Thorsambátt, is it not?”

“No,” I said, all but grinding my teeth on the word. My knowledge of Old Norse and modern Icelandic was pretty basic and mostly curses I picked up from Thor, but one thing I did know, being considered Thor’s servant was a lot better for my health than being considered his wife. “It isn’t better. And if you’re saying these things in Asgard –”

“My brother Bragi is not foolish enough to risk the wrath of Sif, even for the perfect kennings,” Thor said, though how long he’d been listening, I wasn’t sure. He’d been talking to one of the other officers still when Bragi had greeted me. Thor placed one overlarge hand on my shoulder, squeezing gently. “You needn’t worry on that account.”

But I did worry. Thunder gods were fun to have around, and even better to have at your back in a fight, but relationships with any kind of god were a different kettle of fish. I rubbed my wrist. If Bragi had numbered my days with his kennings, I definitely didn’t want to spend any more time in the police station.

“Um,” Z said from where he still sat handcuffed. “What exactly does kvown mean?”

“Nothing,” I said, glaring at Bragi. “It doesn’t mean anything.”

“Ah!” Bragi said, smiling at Z. “Wise shall he seem who well can question, and also answer well. It is a word for a woman of hearth and home, hand-fasted and brought to bed, but Thorskona might better be considered Thor’s kvánarefni, his future wife, for they have not yet wed.” Thunder was beginning to rumble, but Bragi was ignoring it, along with his brother’s glower, and my furious blush. “The happy day will come as sure as Hrimfaxi brings night. Who is the man who speaks to me in this drafty hall, and wouldst he know more?”

Z just stared. It was a common problem when dealing with Bragi, really. By the time a god of poetry finished speaking, most people didn’t remember where they’d started. Hopefully Z was one of those people, because the last thing I needed was word getting around that I was Thor’s bride-to-be. When it comes to gods and monsters, the best solution is ALWAYS to draw the line at friendship, and it is never more important to stand firm than when the god or monster’s ex-wife happens to be a goddess of beauty, known for her affairs with a Trickster.

“Well, I guess we’d better get going then,” I said. Thor’s fist closed in the material of Bragi’s jacket. “Great to see you again, Z.”

“But –” Bragi began, and Thor clamped a hand over his mouth, muscling him toward the door.

“I think he’s had enough of your wisdom for one day, brother.”

“Good luck with the Satyr business.” I forced a smile and all but shoved Bragi and Thor both out the door.

Of course it was raining outside. I sighed. Thunder gods tend to forget that not everyone is immune to precipitation, and I’d left my coat at home.

“That could have gone better,” Thor said, striking out into the downpour without the slightest hesitation.

To think I used to worry about running into zombies and frost giants on the bus. Taking Bragi out in public was so, so much worse.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Thor vs. Odin in the Hárbarðsljóð (II)

Greybeard mocks ThorOkay, first of all, the Hárbarðsljóð might be the greatest poem ever written in the entirety of all poetry. Second of all, did this exchange really just happen?* (And you wonder why I say Odin doesn't ever use his Rune Magic Superpowers!)
Harbarth spake:
30. "Eastward I was, | and spake with a certain one,
I played with the linen-white maid, | and met her by stealth;
I gladdened the gold-decked one, | and she granted me joy."
Thor spake:
31. "Full fair was thy woman-finding."
Harbarth spake:
32. "Thy help did I need then, Thor, | to hold the white maid fast."
Thor spake:
33. "Gladly, had I been there, | my help to thee had been given."
Really Odin? Really, you just said you could have used Thor's help to hold the woman down? My friend, do you not remember Superpower numbers 16 and 17?! You can win the affection of any woman with runic magic! You don't need force! The fact that Thor is ALL OVER THAT makes me laugh, too. This is an exchange where you really feel like these are just two guys shouting about their conquests across a body of water talking about their conquests in a bar.
Odin: Yeah, I went out to Easttown and hooked up with this chick -- she was really wild in bed, man. It was crazy.
Thor: You let me know next time you hook up, I'll totally pick up the slack if she's too much for you to handle. Har Har.
But of course the camaraderie can't last. This is a flyting poem! And now things start getting downright mean:
  Harbarth spake:
48. "Sif has a lover at home, | and him shouldst thou meet;
More fitting it were | on him to put forth thy strength."
If Odin is testing Thor's character (he's already accused him of taking bribes to look the other way against the Aesir, told him his mother is dead, accused him of cowardice in the face of his enemies, and now this suggestion of his wife's infidelity**), he's hitting all the major notes. And in Thor's response we can see his loyalty to those he loves. But he does sound kind of distressed, if you ask me:
49. "Thy tongue still makes thee say | what seems most ill to me,
Thou witless man! Thou liest, I ween."
In the end, Odin refuses Thor passage across the water and Thor has to find the long way home with only Odin's insults and accusations for company. I have to wonder though -- if Thor had held his temper and given back as good as he got, would Odin have revealed himself and given Thor a lift?

More than ever, I think this was a test. And more than ever, I think Thor failed. Not only that, but this whole poem only reinforces my thoughts about Loki and Thor's relationship. I wonder how much Thor lived in Baldur's shadow -- sure he was powerful, and sure the PEOPLE loved him, but I'm not sure we see that love and support for Thor inside the Aesir family dynamic.
Related:  Thor vs. Odin (I)

*If you're wondering, I am in fact reading this poem for the first time, and these blogposts are essentially my "real time" responses to the text. Most entertaining Norse Myth ever, you guys.

**Loki, in the Lokasenna, claims that Sif took him to bed as her lover, also. Someday I'm going to have to revisit the character of Sif blogpost I wrote a while back to take this additional source into account. There are also two mentions of Thjalfi in this poem, where he's running around with Thor on various adventures for future blogpost fun!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Aesir Legal (I)

[You may remember Thor and Amalia's Adventures from The Wheels on the Bus AKA Thor in Zombie Land (and if you don't, no time like the present!), and you may even remember Amalia making mention of the Aesir Legal Defense in episode V point V. Well, today is your lucky day, because it is time to revisit our friends Thor and Amalia , and it is MORE than time we learned more about the Aesir Legal Defense, charged with making sure Amalia does not end up in jail for Thor's offenses, and taking care of all matters roughly ambassadorial at the Asgardian Embassy. Because it isn't just the Zombies with whom treaties have been signed!]
The trouble with associating with thunder gods is the terrible time they have controlling their tempers. As a result, you are inevitably involved in brawls, being charged with assault, and sitting around hand-cuffed to chairs by the desks of police officers while said thunder god, impossible to mistake for anything but a citizen of Asgard, and granted Diplomatic and Divine Immunity, is released free and clear to go on about his business. Needless to say I've been getting to know the other frequent offenders pretty well, so when one Z. Tringali dropped into the seat next to mine, nursing a bandaged hand and several bruises (as usual), I gave him a friendly nod.

"Satyrs hitting on your girlfriend again?"

"Stupid Satyr treaty never should have been ratified," he grumbled, slouching in his chair. It was just a formality to bring someone in after they punched a Satyr -- no one ever pressed charges for it. Inevitably the Satyr was too drunk to remember and didn’t care, even if he did. Z’d had at least a dozen run ins with them as far as I could tell. "What about you? Waiting for the Aesir Legal Defense to spring you?"

"Yup," I said, glowering as Thor ducked out of the interrogation room. He was too tall and too wide to fit through the doorway without turning just slightly, and when he grinned at me, I didn’t return it. He wasn’t getting off that easily. Not this time.

"Zombies again?" Z asked.

"Vampires,” I sighed. “Apparently he was smelling my hair or something. I didn't even realize the guy wasn't human until Thor knocked out his teeth, and then the other vampires in the bar got involved and it just kind of escalated from there. You know how it goes."

He nodded and flexed his bandaged hand. "Well at least the Aesir have your back, pro-bono. My legal fees are getting ridiculous. Hey!"

He sat up so suddenly the movement caught Thor's eye from across the room, and a growl of thunder rumbled through the police station. Thunder gods are kind of over protective, when they're not the ones getting you into trouble, and even more so when they're feeling guilty for having gotten you into trouble to begin with. Again. And unlike Satyrs, vampires ALWAYS pressed charges. Lucky me.

This was what I got for agreeing to meet a friend of a friend and show them around town without letting the Asgardian Embassy vet them first. But how should I have known said friend might be a vampire? Knowing Mia, I’d figured it would have been some kind of zombie, and I had plenty of practice dealing with them, by now. No sweat.

"Sorry," Z said, sitting back carefully, hands raised in surrender as he eyed Thor warily. The thunder softened to a purr and Thor turned back to the officer with my paperwork. "I forgot how touchy he can be."

"Don't worry about it," I assured him, waving off the semi-regular threat to others of thunder-god-beat-down that came with my daily life. "He's not allowed to start fights in the police station. You were saying?"

"Well,” he cleared his throat. “I was just wondering if you knew how a person could get in.”


“You know, to immigrate? I hear they have good health care. There." He jerked his chin up just slightly, as if to indicate somewhere above.

Technically speaking, Asgard wasn’t “above” anything, but I caught his meaning. Asgardian citizenship. Thor had been pressing me to start the process for myself for years, but I didn’t really want to encourage his tendency to rise to my defense, even if it would have made all these trips downtown go a lot faster. Z wouldn't have that problem at least, and he was a fighter, too. The Aesir loved fighters. But there were other reasons the embassy wasn’t overrun with applicants. The forms were impossible, for starters.

"It depends, really. But since you’re obviously not planning to marry a Valkyrie –”

“How do you know?”

I raised both eyebrows. “Valkyries don’t exactly let anyone throw punches for them. The Satyr would be pulp before you realized he’d said anything offensive to begin with.”

“Oh.” He frowned. “Point taken.”

“Exactly,” I said. “So, can you swing a sword?"

"Sure, why not?"

I tried not to look skeptical. "What about holding your liquor?"

He shrugged. "No problem there."

"There's just one more thing, then," I said.


Bragi had just walked in the door, and Thor hailed him, grinning. One thing you could say for thunder gods, they were never less than enthusiastic to see their family and friends, but Bragi wasn't exactly the Aesir's best lawyer, by any stretch. Sure, he was smooth, well-dressed in his business suit, and even mesmerizing when he spoke. Except he did this thing where everything he said was riddles and rhyming verse and used metaphors that were four steps removed from whatever the point really was, and the officer in charge was already getting that glazed look on his face that meant I was going to be here all night. At least I had company, and Z might as well experience the truth before he got involved.

"Poetry," I told him. "Not this modern stuff either. Skaldic verse or bust."

He laughed. “Yeah, I’m sure.”

I smiled.

Whether he believed me or not, he couldn’t say I didn’t warn him.

(An extra thanks to special guest star Z. Tringali, and special guest Mia-from-whom-all-calamitous-ideas-involving-zombies-originate.)