PYRAMID POWER – snippet 44:



            Wisdom in the world of Scandinavian mythology was not something that was kept conveniently in the Library of Congress, Lamont was discovering, with his new Norse reading assistant, Jörmungand, and Ran’s large collection of water stained manuscripts.


            Or from an online encyclopedia.


            It had to be gleaned in some very bizarre and unpleasant places. Lamont Jackson wasn’t going to shy away from that. But it did seem that Odin was the repository of a lot of it, which was more than a bit awkward, as he wasn’t likely to be co-operative.


            From what Lamont could gather, Jerry was hanging out where Odin was supposed to have acquired a lot of it. Then there was Kvasir’s mead of inspiration, fermented from Kvasir’s blood mixed with honey, which Odin was supposed to have stolen by drilling a hole in the mountain-side and seducing the giantess guard. And the water from Mirmir well, the price of which had been his eye. Wisdom appeared to be something you drank around here. Lamont had known a few folks who’d tried that method, like Emmitt’s mother.


            Thor… The big guy was a few sandwiches short of a lunch-pack, but he was flinging heart and soul into “training” Emmitt. It might just be the making of both of them. Lamont had to smile about Liz’s addendum to the way of the warrior. Her actual knowledge of Japanese culture was probably contained in two words—”sushi” and “sayonara”—and her tea ceremony was two sugars, thanks. But she was working on Thor and the art of Ikabena, as well as tisanes from elderflower, rosehip and raspberry leaf.




            Liz found that getting daily reports that Jerry was alive helped. Not enough, but they helped. Her coping mechanism was to get busy. Very busy. And of course to mislead Thor a bit on culture, refinement and good taste. It was for his own good, really, besides being fun. She was fairly sure that she was driving all of them mad, but that was just the way it had to be.


            They were gods. They held out for two days, before Loki turned and yelled at Thor. “Go and look for that hammer—and take her with you!”


            Thor rubbed his hands together awkwardly. “I don’t remember too clearly where I last had it.”


            Loki looked at him, coldly. “I’m preparing the greatest war. You may even be my enemy. But if you ever were my friend, take this woman and make her run across all the hills and valleys of Midgard and Utgard, from the wet gravel plains of Aurvangar to Niflheim. Maybe you will find Mjöllnir. Maybe you won’t. And maybe I won’t ask Ran to take her into an embrace.”


            “She’s anxious to do some explaining. And worried about him. He’s quite frail,” said Thrúd, defensively. She and Liz had, perforce, done a fair amount of talking.


            “Ratatosk says he is as tough as old dragon-leather,” said Loki tersely. “Go along with your papa. Just keep away from too many handsome young Jötun along the way. I don’t have time to come and get you out of trouble too.”


            Thor had walked off by this time, his brow knitted, obviously deep in thought about when last he’d had his hammer. Thrúd rounded on Loki. “You make more fuss about me than my father. It’s not as if you were a saint, Uncle Fox,” she said crossly. “I heard the Lokasenna flyting. Just back off. It’s bad enough living with one father.”


            Loki cleared his throat awkwardly. “If you know the flyting from the Lokasenna, you know that what I said was true.”


            “Yes,” said Thrúd. “Parts of it I know were true.”


            “True about your mother too,” said Loki, his voice quiet.


            “I can believe that, now,” said Thrúd sourly. “I saw what I saw in Valhöll.”


            Loki cleared his throat again. “I am sorry I treat you as if you were my child, but you see, I never was too sure—when you were little—if you were my daughter or not. It became pretty obvious that you were Thor’s child by the time you were a toddler. No one else’s child could possibly break so much. But I’d gotten used to looking out for you by then. And I’d gotten to like… and respect your father. Far more than your mother, to be unusually honest. So, looking after you is a habit by now, and very hard to break.” He grinned at her. “Besides, you were as lovely a little girl as you are an annoying young woman. But I still love you.”


            Thrúd blinked. “I love you too, Uncle Fox. But I’m grown up now. I can look after myself.”


            “It’s a matter of opinion,” said Loki, raising an eyebrow.


            “Coming from you, who never thinks of consequences until it’s too late, that’s a bit rich.”


            Loki chuckled. “I’m an experienced expert on bad decisions. Besides, I always was better at looking after others than myself.” 




            Thor still had no idea exactly where or to whom he had sold his hammer. It had been in an alehouse somewhere… that had burned down. At least he was sure that it had burned down. Almost sure anyway. He did remember an alehouse burning down, but was less sure if it had happened around the time he’d sold the hammer.


            It was probably in Midgard. Possibly. Anyhow…The taciturn giantess Ran had given him a chest full of sea-jewels to redeem it with. Now all he had to do was to find it.


            “You might have lost it in Midgard,” said Thrúd practically, “but something of that value would end up in Jötunheim or among the dwarves. What would a Midgarder do with it?”


            “Use it in a smithy and break the anvil,” said Thor, thoughtfully. “Loki would have got wind of it if were in Jötunheim. He might not tell us that, of course.”


            “Right,” said Liz. “Let’s go and visit some dwarves, then.”