In honor of the depths of winter, I grabbed an excerpt from the final battle scene from my work in progress mythical novel, Ragnarök Willie. Without giving up any spoilers, imagine it’s just after midnight on Midwinter’s Day, hundreds of kilometers above the Arctic Circle. You’re young Lasse Nordberg, college dropout, with your back to fiery portal to Muspelheim, surrounded by thirteen feuding semi-mythical valkyries, trying really hard not end the world.
I wedged the mouth of the horn into my chapped lips until they bled, filled my lungs with the icy air and tried again. A harsh note at first but, the sound clarifying as I kept blowing until my chest ached. The lead trumpeter for the Kiruna Philharmonic had no worries, at least if the world made it to the next concert date. “Twice more and the world ends,” I shouted weakly. The valkyries stopped their convergence, staring. As I had planned.
Despite being nearly midnight, a false dawn broke over the ruins, the billowing snow reflected the light. It was almost daylight: Mallorca daylight, not just Kiruna daylight. And really blue. I spun around to see blue flames bursting through Micke’s blasted-out hole, rock melting away at the edges. Not as planned.
“Odin seems to think it is Gjallarhorn,” I said as loud as I could, improvising now.
“You’re bluffing.” Mist.
A throwing axe whistled through the frigid air, spinning end over end. Straight for my forehead. Too frightened to duck, I merely raised the horn, two-handed, open palmed. The axe shattered against the horn like an ice cube against a brick wall. The second throwing axe struck a second later, also splintering. Skuld raised her serrated sword overhead, and cocked it back like a javelin hurler. I brought the horn to my lips and blew again.
The blast from the horn knocked down every person within fifty meters and flipped an armored car. Only Kim and I were left standing. Lightning crackled across the surreal sky, followed a heartbeat later by a rolling thunder that lasted a full minute.
“Tor doesn’t think he’s bluffing,” Reginleif said in the hush that followed, as she struggled to her feet.
Hard and the Americans evidently agreed, as he and Sean threw themselves in front of Crazy, who had crawled to the overturned crate she had brought on the plane. A crate the size of a backpack nuke, or so I assumed. Comforting in an infinitesimal way, as a mushroom cloud did beat global calamity. Sort of.
A roar, as loud as a jet engine at point-blank range, sealed the deal. The nearest section of the ring wall shattered in an even louder explosion. Out of the dust plume stepped …
All for now. Back to that dreaded query letter.