Osku was beside himself.
He had awoken at first light to find Fjiorn and Åsa both gone.
The bed they had laid in for the past three days was empty, and as he himself had slept on the floor across the doorway, he knew all too well that they wouldn’t have just woken up, stepped over his sleeping body, and walked away.
Nevertheless, he searched inside and outside, calling their names, willing them to appear.
To no avail.
He had just gone back inside, sick with concern, when a sound made him turn around. He screamed.
Fjiorn’s ghost stood before him.
He knew it was a ghost because his former friend was glowing and normal people don’t glow.
He backed away, stuttering and pleading for forgiveness, which only seemed to confuse the ghost.
“Osku,” said the wraith, “Stop your babbling! What is the matter with you? Don’t you recognise me?”
It was a while before Osku managed to calm down enough to explain how devastating it had been to wake up that morning and find that they had vanished without a trace.
“Thank you, Osku,” Fjiorn said. “For everything you’ve done for us, and for Líf … I mean Åsa. Without you we would have been in trouble. But I haven’t come back to stay. Wait, let me finish…”
Lífþrasir summarised as best he could what had happened to them, about Loki and Ragnarøkkr and the gifts of the Yggdrasil.
“So, I’m here to ask you if you wish to come with us, to live with us in the new world that comes after Ragnarøkkr, or if you’d rather remain here.”
Osku blinked three times.
“What, and let you have a whole new world to yourself? Count me in!”
“I wouldn’t exactly be by myself; aside from Åsa there’s Einar and his wife, Eirdis, Tann and his brother, Gniós; although I’m not sure that he really counts, as he’s a goat – though he does speak, and quite a lot.
Ah yes, and then there’s all my goats, but they talk as well…”
Noticing his friend’s expression, Lífþrasir brought his explanation
to a close.
“You’ll just have to come and see for yourself,” he added. “Or not.”
Osku regarded him for a few moments.
“Brother, you talk as though you’ve taken a blow to the head, but I still say yes, because if what you say is true, I want to see it. If it’s all a dream you’ve conjured up, then nothing will come of it. I’ve no problem with either outcome. When do we go?”
“Right now,” Lífþrasir said with a grin and took hold of Osku’s hand. “Just one very important thing I need you to remember: we’re no longer Fjiorn and Åsa, we are now Lífþrasir and Líf. So, forget the old names, they no longer exist. Understood?”
Osku nodded firmly.
“Sure thing, Lífþrasir and Líf it is.”
“Good. Are you ready?”