God Complex

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Monsters

Several carriages travel along a multicolored bridge. Freya sits in her coach, drumming her evenly cut nails against the window. Her brother sits across from her, though she pays him little mind.

“That’s annoying, you know,” Freyr says in his usual, brief way.

“What is,” Freya responds, purposefully unaware.

The siblings look to one another. Not a night between them in age, both share the same frosty, sky colored hair, same bushy eyebrow and same long pointed Vanir ears. Even with half his face lost to a flame, Freyr is still a very handsome deity. Though his attitude could make one think otherwise.

“You are,” Freyr says.

Freya’s lips curl upward, and her eyes deviously search her brother. Her drumming becomes louder, more frequent.

“Am I?”

“Yes.”

“This is to be a long trip brother. The queen will likely have us share a room, and you will act as my bodyguard, as always. We’ll be inseparable for the entirety of the weekend.”

“Point?” Freyr’s lips press together in a gradually souring look. Freya drums on the carriage with both hands now.

“If you are annoyed by my presence already it will make these three nights feel like a fortnight.”

“Is that a threat?”

“No threat, dear brother, just postulation.”

“What do you want?”

“You and I both know,” Freya says, leaning forward.

“You want to feed the cats,” Freyr replies, crossing his arms.

“I want to feed my cats,” Freya responds, mimicking his gesture.

Freyr, with a sigh, reaches into a sack at his side. Out of the sack, he pulls a pouch, and out of that pouch a tiny white mouse.

“For each,” Freya instructs, palm upturned toward her brother.

He groans and fishes out another mouse. He passes the mice to his sister, who instinctively pets and chirps at the helpless things.

“Try not to get too attached between here and the cats. You have a soft spot for poor, defenseless animals.”

“Is my fondness for you really so apparent, brother?”

Freyr belts out a sarcastic sounding laugh.

“Just feed the damn cats.” He slides over in his seat, making room for his sister. Freya climbs onto the seat and opens a small window at the front of the coach.

The coach is drawn by her two cats, larger than any Midgardian lion or tiger. She glances to the Aesir holding the reins. A glance back and a well-placed nod from him grants Freya the permission she needs to toss the mice forward.

She watches as the cats speed up and leap in perfect time with their prey. The bounce will no doubt send Freya’s tall brother’s head crashing up against the coach’s roof.

“Freya!” he shouts from the back of the vehicle, causing her to wince and choke back a laugh.

“Just a bump. You know what they say about Alfheim. It is as beautiful as it is treacherous!”

“Who says that? Nobody says that.” Freyr sighs.

She takes her seat again and flashes her brother an apologetic little smile.

“My apologies, brother. Just a bit of fun. The change of scenery is quite refreshing. I was growing tired of the sights and sounds of incessant repair. Construction is now on my list of least favorite things.”

“Where do wolves fall on that list?”

Freyr’s question earns him a harsh glare from Freya. The siblings can jest about many things, but that isn’t one of them.

“Sorry, sorry. That wasn’t funny. I shouldn’t have- ...I don’t know what I was thinking,” he says, no doubt noticing her look.

Freya sighs.

“It’s okay, brother. There’s a reason I’m the funny twin.”

There’s a pregnant pause between the siblings. She catches Freyr’s quick glances, which seem uneasy, with good reason. It looks as though he’s searching for some escape from her gaze inside the coach, but there’s very little else for him to look at. A soft grunt or two later, he finally speaks.

“I’m sorry, again, you just seemed in high spirits. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen you smile so much in one sitting. I didn’t mean to take that away.” Their eyes meet. “Will you be okay?”

“Probably not,” Freya says. “I’ll never really be okay, but this can, and should, be talked about. About what went wrong and what can be done to prevent it from ever happening again.”

Freyr fidgets in his seat, the corners of his mouth creasing downwards.

“That’s not-” he begins to say, but seems to think better of it. He glances out the window. “That’s fair I guess,” Freyr says, not looking at his sister.

Freyr brushes his gloved hand along the varnished wood of the windowsill before it clenches into a fist.

“But wasn’t it preemptive measures that got us here in the first place?”

“No,” Freya whispers. “A fool tried to bottle fire. His problem was that he thought himself too good to be burned.”

Freya traces her digits along her torc. For just a moment, the jewel in the center flashes a cool blue.

“Well, hopefully, this meeting will change things. We’ll know the extent of the damages and what all nine realms will do to move forward.”

Freyr leans across and puts a hand on his sister’s knee. He locks eyes with her, his touch immediately serving to ground her, to let her know she’s not alone in this. As Freya breathes out, the light of the jewel at her throat recedes, assuaged along with her grief. At least for now.

“And justice will be served,” Freyr finishes, smiling.

“Eden inbound, approximately fifteen minutes til arrival.” The coachman’s hoarse voice reaches the twins. Freya finds herself back at the window, drumming on the sill yet again.

She watches as sparkling gold-plated streets, thick golden forests, and perfect blue seas rush by, all beneath a sky that shows every other realm as though they were close enough to touch. Soon they will be in the capital of Alfheim, called Eden by the Christians, the meeting place of the gods.

Sprawling ivory castles with gold accents kiss the mirror smooth sky. Most are perfect, their towers and walls uniformly straight, with little variation between them. Only the main castle, offhandedly referred to as ‘The Garden’ by most, offers any more grandeur than the rest, extending out in every direction with a sweeping roof that soars across the sky like the canopy of a tree with all its leaves in full bloom.

There was a time when these sights still moved her. Now the novelty of Paradise has worn off. Even though the streets still glow when she walks across them, this realm will never shine like the day Óðr proposed to her. They pass the gossamer gates of silver that seem to give off their own shimmering, pale light and lead right past Paradise towards Eden. She thinks about how she cooed soft promises to two little girls, and how that beast made her a liar.

“We’ll all go to Paradise together when your father returns,” she remembers whispering as she kissed the foreheads of those impressionable young darlings and shut off the lights with a snap of her fingers. Different thoughts come to mind suddenly, and she’s briefly lost within herself.

Cut him.

Stab him.

Break him.

Drown him.

Choke him.

Tar him.

Skin him.

Fry him.

Flay him.

Kill-

“Milady.” The coachman offers a knotted old hand to Freya after setting a small step ladder down before her. She forces a smile and reluctantly reaches for his hand only for Freyr to grasp it in her place. Her thoughts were better left for the execution itself.

“Don’t mind if I do,” Freyr says as he pushes by Freya.

Freyr steps out and descends the ladder before turning to offer his hand to his sister. Freya smiles, rolls her eyes, and takes her brother’s hand. He pulls her from the carriage with ease, and together the Vanir twins step around the side of the coach. Freya stops by her cats, taking a moment to nuzzle her face into the calico while scratching behind the ears of her tabby.

“Freya?”

Freyr catches her attention, and with a slight nod convinces her to bid her pets adieu. She holds the hem of her dress off the ground and scurries after Freyr. It becomes clear that the two are lagging behind the rest of their house as they walk, and Freya suspects that Freyr blames her for their late arrival.

“It’s your fault, you know,” Freyr says.

He has no problem confirming her suspicions as they await the painfully slow descent of a drawbridge. Freya glances back to the carriage from the bridge settling in place.

“Wouldn’t we normally take our cart through the main entrance,” Freya asks.

“Eden’s weird. Their entire philosophy is that life works in mysterious ways. I think it’s just an excuse to be difficult.”

This isn’t Freya’s first time in Eden. She has been here twice before, back when she was younger. That was before Odin tried to bottle her fire. Back when she was her own woman. Back when she was Vanir.

Several guards in gold armor with feathered white wings greet the twins. There are enough of them to carry all the barrels of rainbow-colored dust without anyone else lifting a finger as they escort the two deities and their goods into the castle.

Silence lingers as the twins follow the armored angels down halls adorned with more gold. A place clearly untouched by battle is welcoming, yet upsetting when she thinks of the many things, the many people, lost by the rest of them. As they get closer to the main hall Freya can feel her power diminish, even more so than in the past. She’d been told in advance that everyone felt the same when entering Eden. Due to its function as a common ground for all pantheons, the atmosphere of the realm worked to level everyone’s power, acting as a great equalizer.

They enter a ballroom brimming with deities. There isn’t a place Freya can look that doesn’t have a god or goddess of some level gracing her sight. There are flashes of smiles, perfectly straight white teeth, and barely there nods each time she makes eye contact. They are all familiar gestures from unfamiliar faces. Many of the people here know her for what she’s done, but not one of them had ever been around to help her, not even after.

“Look Freyr, we’re fashionably late,” Freya says as she motions to the extravagant party before them. “Never be the first to arrive, nor the last to leave.”

Cherubs and lesser angels wait on hand and foot for guests from each of the nine realms. Creatures of various shapes, sizes, colors, and ranks have all gathered here. Freya can count the pantheons she actually recognizes on one hand, however. She first sees the Egyptian gods and several Olympians. From what she can tell, they lost the least number of gods in Ragnarok, quite understandably. Unlike the Aesir, neither family has many warriors to speak of, and those that were among the fighters had been tasked with the lesser threats and disasters, so most had returned home unscathed.

“Do you recognize that banner?” Freyr asks Freya, stealing her attention.

Freya looks to her brother as he snatches several hors-d’oeuvres from a passing cherub, then looks over at the banner in question. A proud emerald flag is being carried by gods dressed in clothing that seems to come from the far reaches of East Asia. Their sigil is reminiscent of the Midgardian ‘yin-yang’, but the interlocking halves of the sphere are instead shaped like the heads of dragons, one black, and one white.

“I don’t know.” Freya steals an hors-d’oeuvre from her brother.

“Well, whoever they are, they’re also fashionably late.” She pops the appetizer into her mouth and sticks her tongue out at her brother, though she has the decency to at least swallow her food beforehand.

“Alright, I’m bored.” Freyr stretches. “How’s about a wager? You think I can bed that cutie over there with the scorpion tail?”

Freyr points out the girl in question and sure enough, she’s got a large scorpion tail dangling behind her.

“I don’t know aren’t you still a bit, raw,” Freya asks, thinking of Gerðr.

“Pft, don’t depress me. At least say my chances are slim because of the burns. I’m not so desperate I’d start playing the widower angle.”

“Sorry. We all mourn in different ways.”

“You make me sound like some kinda monster.”

“Maybe you can start off smaller.” Freya looks around. “What about her, with the hippopotamus head?”

“Now you’re just being mean.” Freyr exhales. “Maybe a drink or two will make me a bit more willing.”

Freyr starts towards the open bar and Freya plans to follow when a familiar voice calls out from behind them.

“Brother!”

The voice is old, loud, and ugly. It’s the voice of an Aesir.

Freya turns and recognizes Tyr pushing past the many cherubs and angels. Freya had thought Tyr was long dead. She hadn’t seen the brute since the better part of Ragnarok before the beast got loose, but it had to be him, no mistaking it. The matted blue beard, the chest as wide as a barrel, and that perpetual squatting walk inform her that it is indeed Tyr. Though he’s different now, short an arm and an eye. He looks quite worse for wear, but then again the Aesirs see things like these as improvements. Battle scars are like trophies to them.

“Dammit,” Freyr muters then turns around in time for Tyr to swoop him up off his feet.

Tyr twirls Freyr, before setting him down.

“Hi Tyr,” Freyr says, deadpan. “I thought you were dead.”

“Everyone did,” Tyr shouts, laughing about it in the same breath.

“You’re looking lighter Tyr. Have you lost weight?” Freyr arches an eyebrow. Tyr bellows out another laugh in response.

“You could say so! Fenrir took my hand, and then another bloody beast, Garm, took the rest. But you’d best believe he choked on it. Last meal he ever had,” Tyr says, parking his remaining arm on Freyr’s shoulder. “How’s about you? You’ve got quite the trophy yourself.”

Freyr reaches up and runs his fingertips along his right cheek and over his burn. The result of his fight with Surt, one of the many flames Odin had tried and failed, to bottle.

“Yeah, the Jötunn bastard gave me the slip when he burned my face. He’s lucky I didn’t have Lævateinn on hand, or I’d have pierced his heart the moment I locked eyes with him. I’ll taste his blood yet, though, so if he knows what’s good for him he’ll stay as good as ‘dead’.”

Tyr can laugh about their injuries because these scars act as trophies of victory so long as their hearts still beat. Freya can see it in her brother’s eyes, though. It still burns. He hates it. He can’t stand it. But he smiles anyway. Pretends his hunger for battle is no different than theirs. It’s how he survives. It’s how they both do.

“Ah, Lady Freya,” Tyr says, turning his attention to her. “I wanted to congratulate you. You and the Valkyries did an excellent job holding down the home front for us. I can barely recognize you as that little girl who used to do magic tricks. Now you’re a full-fledged general in your own right. You’re probably better at my job than I am.”

Tyr laughs and Freya laughs, too, just because it seems like the right thing to do. She glances at her brother and notices Freyr isn’t laughing with them.

“Ah, I also wanted to, you know, give my condolences. To both of you. For your losses.”

Suddenly, Tyr’s boisterous voice becomes little more than a murmur, and he holds his fat, heavy head low.

Neither Vanir sibling says anything in response, but Freya vaguely acknowledges Tyr with the slightest of nods in his direction. Tyr’s head rises and with it comes that loud, grating voice again.

“I bet you’re excited for what comes next, aren’t ye? If it were up to me, I’d say you should do the honors. Make it slow. Keep itpersonal. Don’t let him die until you’re satisfied. Hear me? Get your justice. Get.” He points two fingers at her. “Your.Justice.”

Freya feels a hand on her shoulder. She looks to Freyr, the sides of her smile quivering. Freyr turns and looks back to Tyr.

“Hey, let’s grab a drink. Catch up, you know, Recount our war stories? I wanna hear every about the Garm battle.”

Freyr escorts Tyr away, and Freya’s uneasiness subsides. She owes her brother for that one.

Tyr’s words linger, as does his obnoxious laugh, still audible even from further down the large hall. She could, she should get her justice against the beast. If it is anyone’s kill, it is hers, right? But no, so many had been taken by him. As far as most of those involved are concerned, the ones she lost were just more numbers in his body count. To every other realm, they’d just be a statistic exploited to hasten the execution. Would she really be permitted the long, intimate kill she owed her family?

Cut him.

Stab him.

Break him.

Drown him.

Choke him.

Tar him.

Skin him.

Fry him.

Flay him.

Ki-

Freya exhales softly. Her fingers reach for her torc. Just as they are about to brush against that central red gem, a hand touches Freya’s back, startling her.

Freya turns to see Sif, her queen. An Aesir who now looks like a truly aged beauty, she hadn’t always appeared so worn, but her weariness does not manage to dim her radiance. Dressed in the Nordic garb of their former worshipers, flowing blue tresses rest along Sif’s shoulders. It’s assumed that her wisdom lines were from smiling, but Freya knows those creases were brought about by much frowning instead. But even with crow’s feet tugging at the corners of her tired eyes, Sif still surmounts all other Aesir with her beauty. Ragnarok left her bruised, but not beaten.

“Freya,” Sif greets. “I was beginning to wonder if you and Freyr were going to show. It wouldn’t feel right discussing Ragnarok without those most affected by it present. We are all Aesir. We are all family.”

They aren’t family, not truthfully, but Sif’s smile convinces her for a moment that they are.

“It was hard to leave, honestly, after getting to stay in Vanaheimr again after so long. Even if it goes by a different name. Olympus. Vanaheimr, whatever. I was just... I was just happy to be home again, is all.”

Reluctance twists Freya’s expression as she looks to Sif, though she manages to offer her a small smile. Hesitance gathers more and more as the pause in their conversation lengthens. Is it okay to call Vanaheimr her home? For so long she had been forced to think of herself as an Aesir rather than a Vanir.

“It’s okay,” Sif replies. “That’s why it was my first act as Queen. I believed you and Freyr would recuperate fastest there. Now that I see you here, smiling even after all that’s happened, I can confidently say I’ve made the right decision.”

Freya’s expression softens and she embraces the older woman. It might be foolish to let her guard down with an Aesir, especially one as close to the previous conflicts as Sif, but then again, everyone had been made a fool by Ragnarok.

“Tell me, child, are you okay?” Sif inquires, pulling away from Freya.

“Are you?” Freya asks, their gazes locked. Tears gather in both their eyes, though they don’t fall, not here, not now.

“No.” Sif gives Freya a sad smile and shakes her head.

Freya shakes her head as well. “Neither am I.” They embrace once more.

Their brief conversation ends when they are approached by a man Freya vaguely recognizes from her stay in Vanaheimr. His skin is dark like ash, and his hair is the color of a starless night. He wears an ebony toga with a dark violet sash, and golden sandals peek from beneath the hem of his clothing. Adorning his back is a cape like Freya has never seen, one made of writhing, living darkness that never stills even as he comes to a halt before them. He bows his head and offers a bottle to them, Olympian in style.

“Greetings Lady Sif, Lady Freya. I am Erebus, God of Darkness,” he introduces himself. His eyes focus on Sif, flashing briefly like dying stars. “I present to you a gift from the Olympians, courtesy of our queen, the goddess Hera. Some of the finest ambrosia in all the nine realms. Our... condolences for those lost in Ragnarok.”

The Olympians lost so little in the war that they still had gifts to give. Sif’s hand grasps at the bottle’s neck, her fingers vise-like on it as though she is trying to strangle the object, and she rips the wine from Erebus harshly.


“What good is this gesture-” Sif looks beyond Erebus as she speaks. “If not given directly?”

Freya follows Sif’s gaze and her line of sight leads to a woman at the far side of the hall. Her skin is quite fair, and there is a mature beauty about her, but it is far different than Sif’s. Age is shown in her posture rather than her eyes, for her skin, no, her whole being, radiates perfection. Thin, well-manicured eyebrows arch from behind a gem-adorned chalice, which she soon pulls away to reveal a slim, angular visage. Bright violet hair flows freely over her shoulders and down her back, framing her hourglass figure. A tight white toga accentuates her curves, exaggerating them even more. The smile she gives Sif disarms Freya, for even by divine standards this woman is gorgeous.

The goddess reaches for the hand of a child with pink hair, a girl who looks even younger than Throoth, who is now the youngest Aesir left after Ragnarok’s devastation. Freya’s fingers trace her torc. The scene is as reassuring as it is depressing, for it reminds her that there are mothers out there who hadn’t lost it all that day.

The Olympian queen walks up hand in hand with her rosy-cheeked child. Erebus steps out of her way and takes a knee, his eyes meeting the ground and his head bowing obediently. Freya’s gaze lingers on Erebus for some time. She doesn’t recall him being this loyal to the main Olympian family before. In fact, she clearly remembers him being opposed to Zeus’ rule. With a careful look around the room, however, she sees that Zeus is nowhere to be found. There’s much Freya needs to learn about the world after Ragnarok.

“You know, you aren’t the first noble to disdain one of my gifts.” Hera narrows her bright emerald eyes as she stops before Sif.

“Oh? Who else would have the gall to deny the infallible Hera,” Sif asks, a hint of sarcasm in her voice.

“The Jade Emperor, apparently,” Hera responds with a coy expression. “The fool had the nerve to tell me his empire’s peach based ambrosia is better.” Hera leans in conspiratorially. “Though, between you and me, I gave everyone but you the cheap stuff. Only the finest in the nine realms for the Aesir Queen.”

“How many others have you used that line on? For all, I know this wine could very well be poisoned.”

Freya hopes Sif was being sarcastic, and her eyes search Hera. It’s probably a joke, for there’s no way such a tactic could ever be employed in Eden. It is a sanctuary to gods of all pantheons and there is a peace treaty among all who come here. It is, in fact, a law from the King of Kings that is enforced by his Archangels. Try as they might, not a soul alive can deny the King of Kings.

The closer Hera gets, the more apparent the smell of aged ambrosia on her lips is. Thankfully the smell itself is pleasant enough, merely that of fermented honey, so it doesn’t bother Freya in the slightest.

“How many,” Sif asks, tilting her head and narrowing her eyes just a touch at Hera. Apparently, the smell did get to Sif.

“Just a teensy bit. I like sampling the offerings from the other pantheons,” Hera whispers after a small laugh, before declaring her judgment of those other offerings by sticking her tongue out and shaking her head. “It’s all rubbish, by the way.”

Sif and Hera share a long gaze. Silence breaks beneath a chuckle. Then the space between them closes with a touch, Hera’s elegant fingers moving to caress Sif’s shoulder.

“I’m glad you made it,” she murmurs. “It’s important that you’re here. It will mean a lot to your people.”

Hera’s hand lightly dances up the edge of one of Sif’s braids, inching ever so slightly towards her face. A brief smile crosses Hera’s own.

“It means a lot to me, too. I’ve missed you, Sif.”

“I didn’t really have much of a choice,” Sif says with a weak laugh. “I’ll act as queen until my daughter comes of age. Or my son decides to pull his head out of his rear. Without Thor around someone will need to set a good example for them. They need to see what a good leader is like before taking on the role themselves. Odin was anything but that.”

“Throoth’s on Midgard, right? Well, if she got in touch with Athena then she’ll certainly learn some manners at the very least, hm?”

Personally, Freya worries about Throoth. The girl is only a godling, yet she’s on Midgard, where the brunt of the destruction was, without anyone watching over her. She fails to find a good explanation as to why so many godlings were down there. She’d heard excuses ranging from it simply being a good experience for them to live on their own, to a theory that because the mortals were extinct, the best chance any of the godlings now had for growing stronger would be through osmosis of whatever potential worship remained in Midgard’s atmosphere. Freya didn’t believe that. These are the centuries in which the godlings were supposed to grow into full-fledged deities. There was still so much they had to learn before on taking on their own godly responsibilities. But with Ragnarok having occurred already, leaving so many of the nine realms devastated, it just seemed easier to ignore the godlings for a bit. Right now the gods themselves didn’t even know what they were going to do without the mortals, their biggest source of power, let alone how the political climate was going to be affected by so many rulers losing their lives in the catastrophe.

It is easier to let the godlings have their freedom for now, however dangerous it may be, rather than answer their many questions or tell them hard facts they might not be ready to hear. Freya has to wonder, though, if not now then when? Given her position within her pantheon, she’s in no position to make any suggestions. Maybe Sif will be a better leader than Odin. In time, perhaps Freya can tell Sif how she feels, for in time, Sif might be able to make a difference.

“How is Athena?” Sif asks. “I know she’s a little older than Throoth, but these are her formative centuries as well. Have you heard from her at all? I’ve gotten word from Throoth. Ragnarok got to her. She’s been...different. Quiet. More so than before.”

“I wouldn’t know,” Hera responds quickly. “We don’t have a little squirrel running word back and forth from Midgard. And even if we did, I’m sure Athena wouldn’t want to talk to me. She has always been her father’s daughter more than anything. We’ve never been close.”

“I see.” Sif nods. “I’m sorry, I have a feeling you don’t want to talk about Zeus right now.”

“Exactly right,” Hera says before picking up the girl at her side. The poor little thing had been fidgeting about, trying to be patient. Without Throoth or Athena present, there weren’t many godlings around, after all. She must be lonely.

“Shhh, Hebe, it’s okay. We’ll get something to eat soon. Mommy just wants to finish talking,” Hera coos, trying to soothe the little one. When the girl’s soft murmurs become a quiet whine instead, Freya steps forward. She stops herself when she realizes she’s moved towards the little girl without thinking, and inches back slowly.

“Maybe you can let Freya hold her,” Sif suggests, casting a quick glance at Freya. “She’s amazing. She basically helped raise Throoth. In fact, she was her teacher up until Ragnarok.”

“Oh, Freya, the Vanir girl,” Hera asks, wide eyes now on Freya. “Look at how beautiful you’ve become. Last time I saw you, you yourself were a godling and now you’re-” Hera pauses. “You’re sobraveand sostrong.”

“Thank you,” Freya says, much as she disagrees. It didn’t take bravery or strength to do what she’s done. Freya felt her actions during the war should’ve been second nature to all. But even she knew that once a direct order from The King of Kings was given, no one could disobey.

“You’re both so strong,” Hera continues, earning a sigh from Sif.

“No.” Sif shakes her head. “If I were strong then everyone would still be- My husband would still be-” Sif covers her mouth. “I”m sorry.”

Freya reaches for Sif and sees Hera do the same, but both of them halt as a horn sounds from the center of the dining hall. It’s angelic, almost harp-like. There’s shuffling throughout the hall as many others move towards the sound.

Standing dead center is an angel. Her hair is like honey and runs from the top of her head in a series of dramatic luscious curls. Her pristine face is marked only by a beauty mark over the corner of their lips. She wears very little armor, only a chest plate and a single pauldron. In the center of her white top is a blue cross that extends down towards a sash that’s the same color. She wears a feathered dress which obscures her nylon stockings and golden high heels. Freya recognizes this angel from her youth to be Gabriel, the Messenger of The King of Kings.

“Good,” Gabriel says in a soft voice. “Now that I’ve gotten everyone’s attention. Could I please direct you all towards the stadium?”

Gabriel practically sings her words as she gestures with the grace of a dancer towards the arena’s entrance. “Raph believes it’ll be best for morale if we start by bringing The Apocalypse’s biggest criminals to justice first. Then all the boring talk can come after. Don’t worry, you’ll all be back to partying in no time!”

“It’s called Ragnarok,” Sif whispers, low enough that Freya is sure only she heard her. “But I guess this is just another thing the Christians want to take away from us.”

“Come now everyone, chop chop! We mustn’t keep Mikey waiting. He’s been itching to swing that sword of his all day. I know he’s going to have an attitude if he doesn’t get to relieve himself pretty soon,” the angel sings as she lead all the deities towards the arena.

Freya doesn’t follow, not immediately, waiting behind with Sif instead.

“Shall we depart, Queen Hera,” Erebus asks as he rises. His eyes flash like fading stars once again as he fixates his attention on his queen.

“Just a moment, Erebus,” Hera says with a nod and Erebus takes his leave.

Freya watches Sif and Hera exchange one last long look before Hera carries Hebe away. She probably has to catch up with the rest of her pantheon for the main event. As Hera departs, Freya sees Tyr and Freyr approaching.

“You guys ready? Cause I know I am!” Tyr shouts. The large man laughs as he stops before Sif, but Freyr stops short in front of Freya. He takes her hand.

“Think you’ll be okay in there?” Freyr looks to Sif. “Both of you, I mean.”

Freya also looks over at Sif, who nods.

“I just want to see justice served. It’s one of the reasons I agreed to even step foot on Christian soil.”

“I hope those Archangels don’t think they’re entitled to Aesir kills,” Tyr grunts, then looks to Freya and inclines his head.

“Freya,” Freyr whispers. “I’ll ask again. Are you going to be okay in there? We’ve talked about it, but seeing him in there, it’s... Well, it’s gonna be completely different. If there’s any doubt you can handle this then you don’t have to go through with it. You don’t owe anyone anything.”

Freya stares at Freyr, parting her lips as though to speak, but nothing comes out in the end. She simply nods as her fingers find their way to the torc once more. She fiddles with the neck ornament mindlessly for a moment. Words that don’t dare cross her lips flood her mind, fill her veins, sing for violence through her hands and fingers.

Cut him.

Stab him.

Break him.

Drown him.

Choke him.

Tar him.

Skin him.

Fry him.

Flay him.

...

...

...

Kill him.

“After he’s gone there won’t be any more monsters.”

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