The Tree at World's End

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Thirty Six

Fjiorn spiralled upwards, conscious of Åsa‘s presence beside him.

He spun in the spiral’s flux, rising through dimensions of being that felt like separate dreams, each forgotten the instant it was left behind.

Is this what the gods feel? Ethereal and insubstantial, no obstacle or barrier too great… he wondered, and almost immediately felt himself descending into substance again.

With a vague sense of disappointment, he landed.

As his feet made contact with the ground, his senses registered a cacophony of disturbance.

Noises, voices, and strange inhuman sounds that he could not identify.

Åsa staggered into form beside him.

It was snowing and they were surrounded by a crowd of people clothed in strange attire, all of them moving, preoccupied with their own concerns.

Those who became aware of the pair scrambled away, desperate to avoid them, whilst others cried out in distress.

They soon found themselves in the midst of an empty circle.

Fjiorn was dismayed by the expressions of anger, disgust, and fear on the faces of the crowd around him.

Beyond the crowd he saw strange gleaming objects moving magically in a fast and constant stream. One flashed past in a blur of coloured lightning, accompanied by a strident wail that filled the air with warning.

Fjiorn looked up.

Only a small fraction of the heavily overcast sky was visible, distant, and fragmented by staggering structures that soared to incomprehensible heights. An enormous woman appeared to be caught inside one of these; she looked down on him with a disturbingly false smile.

Åsa seized Fjiorn’s hand.

“Fjiorn, where are we…?”

He wondered the same.

All he knew was that they had just emerged from the deepest connection either had ever experienced – so of course they were daunted by all of this.

He looked at his wife, his beautiful wife, and shook his head.

“I have no idea … but I’m sure that we’ve been guided here,” he said.

He then looked at the crowd of people gathered around them.

“We are here to stop Ragnarøkkr,” he said to them, but then saw that none understood his words. Some stepped back, some grinned as if they had just become aware of some trickery, some frowned, but none understood.

“Loki,” he said and looked around, expecting to see the god laughing somewhere amongst the sea of faces.

“Loki!” he shouted and spun around.

The crowd stepped back, but no god appeared.

Fjiorn took Åsa’s hand.

“Come, let’s go,” he said, and choosing a direction at random, he stepped towards the teeming crowd.

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