I’m very excited to announce that myself and six other up-and-coming authors will be releasing an anthology this November. It’s the first of two anthologies we’ll be writing together, and this one focuses on beginnings and change. We’ve all worked in different genres, and many of the 10K pieces are a part of a larger fictional universe for the author.
For my contribution, I’ll be examining the beginnings of Loki and Aphrodite’s respective marriages. Set centuries before The Maenad of Manhattan, ‘Til Death is a brief glimpse into the lives and loves of the two main characters of the Lovers and Liars serial.
For #TeaserTuesday, I’ve opted to share a little snippet featuring our favourite trickster. Oh Loki… Always up to no good.
L O K I
Odin. Chuckling, jötunn-born trickster Loki stood amongst the trees and underbrush, his hands on his hips, head tilted back. Above, the forest canopy paused for a moment, the outstretched branches and leaves of two great trees reaching and reaching for one another, yet failing to connect. In that opening, he spied two large ravens, circling him slowly, silently. Shaking his head, he set his cloth pack down and dug through it. As soon as he found what he was looking for, he straightened again, lifting a coin-filled sack to the heavens.
“See?” While he spoke no louder than a whisper, his voice crawled up the nearby trees and shook the leaves. “I haven’t spent it… Not a single coin. Fly back to your master and tell him. You’re making it hard for me to travel unnoticed.”
The ravens circled twice more, then disappeared on the wind.
“Have faith, brother,” he muttered, chuckling again while he repacked his things. Mighty Odin, All-father to all the nine realms and their multitude of inhabitants, had only recently taken Loki as his blood-brother. Their relationship was good—for now—but he could see why the old Aesir god might not trust him completely. After all, Loki dealt in mayhem, and had he spent all the gold meant strictly to appease a band of warmongering giants, it wouldn’t have been the first time he’d put Odin and his kin in a tight spot.
And so he’d sent his ravens to check in—Loki felt only just slighted. He did have a reputation, one based on merit and fact, and Odin would have been a fool to trust him entirely with so much wealth. His life? Of course Odin could trust Loki with his life. They were blood-brothers after all, bonded by the exchange of blood and the shared scars of battle. Odin had welcomed Loki in to his clan, to his elite tier of godly creatures—Loki owed him a great deal.
However, gold was such a common thing, and Loki felt no allegiance to that. He cared not for the grumbles about the giants, nor did he think a sack of trinkets would quiet the tribe’s battle-lust.
He should know, given his parentage.
But he’d volunteered to be the messenger, the delivery boy for Odin and his ilk. Fleet-footed Loki, momentarily praised by all in the feasting hall. There was no set time to deliver the coinage, but he vaguely recalled there being some sense of urgency.
Which was, of course, why he’d stopped to play cards with a band of elves he met along the way. Gambling with the cretins was too enjoyable an activity to pass up. His skills, however, were a little rusty, and he’d been forced to steal back all the gold he’d lost while the creatures slept the following evening.
Each coin was back in its rightful place now, however. All was well, and through the forests and mountains and valleys he’d go, beyond the fjords and glaciers, to deliver a gift from the Aesir to the jötunn tribe bent on destruction.
Feeling somewhat parched, Loki deviated from his path, traipsing over thick roots and around unpassable twined greenery, until he reached a gentle stream. The water was crisp and cold, slicing through the forest, determined to reach the sea. As Loki brought handfuls of frigid water to his mouth, he noted that the woodland on the other side of the stream was less dense, and rather than venturing back to his previous path, he crossed the water and traveled on the other side.
Even if the region was new to him, he prided his sense of direction—he’d reach the giants, one way or another.
Slowly, even the placement of the trees thinned, the sun finding his face more and more oft as he hiked. He paused when he noticed that the treeline was coming to an end up ahead, his path instead opening up into a sprawling valley. Squinting, he swore mountains loomed in the distance, and then gave a triumphant smile; he’d been taking the long way round before—this was more direct, surely.
Shoulders back, the trickster strolled out of the forest and into the field, only to be hit by the most pleasant array of aromas he’d ever had the fortune of smelling. It was so powerful that he actually dropped his things and turned, nose up and eyes scouring the relatively flat plane for the source of such beauty.
He found it eventually in the form of a garden. Pack slung over his shoulder, Loki advanced on it curiously, knowing that someone had to have planted it out here. The arrangement was too precise. His first thought was Idunn, but he knew the goddess had her preferred territory to sow her greens. It was unlikely she’d venture so deep into this region of Midgard. The colours were exquisite, vibrant and bright, like nothing he’d seen thus far. Browns and greens and greys and the occasional white had kept Loki company on his little adventure. But here there were purples and blues, pinks and oranges, reds and yellows. Some were native to the area, while others had come from the lands to the south, others the east.
Someone had an affinity for delicate flowers. They’d be a wanderer too, traveling far and wide to collect the necessary seeds.
A wanderer like Loki.
Gahhhh so beyond excited to share the rest of the tale with you. Stay tuned for more details on the release, and keep your eyes peeled for a chance to win a free paperback copy!