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Parades' Beginning, Middle and End

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This is the story of how the Bifrost, also known as the Rainbow Bridge, and the biannual Bifrost Trans Pride parade came to be.

Although, admittedly, it may not seem like it at first. What with all the extraneous details and the random digressions about irrelevancies. Well, okay, it's actually only a little bit about the Rainbow Bridge or the biannual Bifrost Trans Pride parade.

But seriously, it does get there eventually.

Really.

Eventually.

In any case, Angrboda, the Jotun, was at the movie theater with her goddess friend, Kali, watching a romantic comedy about a mismatched young couple and their amusingly quirky friends; all of whom had a series of romantic hijinks as a result of all the characters' inability to accurately express or comprehend their emotional state.

It was extremely funny. Especially the bit with the thing.

However, wouldn't you know it, just as the couple were about to declare themselves in a public and unlikely setting, the serpent growing in Angrboda's belly wriggled and bounced around letting her know that he was ready to be born.

She poked Kali strongly in the ribs with an ice shard and staggered out into the lobby. She curled over her belly and the dam inside her internal glacier broke, leaving a pool of melted ice water at her feet. She growled at her knees, "It's time that I carve the little monster out."

Kali said, "Yeah. Yeah. Fine. The movie was about to get boring anyway."

Kali drove her to the Iron Wood, where Loki was lounging louchely in a blue silk suit. How exactly he'd known rom-com meant childbirth, she didn't really care because the serpent writhing around in her gut really wanted to get out.

Angrboda broke off a branch from the first tree that was in her way and, with Kali's help, she sharpened it into a blade. This was women's work. Loki was had no skill with edged weapons, unless it was the edge of his tongue, which was what had gotten Angrboda into this condition the first time when he'd wooed her by yanking off his own penis and using it as a prop for jokes.

He'd borne his share of children too in the Iron Wood. Still, Loki was of some use. He had his Troll daughters prepare a bed of fresh snow for Angrboda to crouch in.

His Troll daughters stood by and offered comments. "It's not sharp enough." "You need to put a wyrding on the edge." "Hey, Kali," this last was said with a sharp smile by Loki's smallest Troll daughter.

Angrboda ignored them. She had more important things to do. She was carving birth to new life here!

She could hear the sound of flames as Kali consumed the smallest Troll daughter in her embrace until nothing was left but the iron of her teeth. As a point of interest, Kali later buried those teeth, which grew into a simply lovely set of mountains. Simply lovely. This story highly recommends that if you are ever in Jotenheim, you go for a drive through them with the top down when the blood maples are in flower.

In any case, Angrboda shaved her son free of the ice mound curving from her belly with the blade she'd made. She carved the serpent off in a long blue and green and silver ribbon of ice. It took hours, so large was the mound at her belly. Loki's Troll daughters laughed and chattered with their iron teeth in wooden bodies.

Loki watched and kept up a stream of commentary. Silver tongued words that floated in the air of the Iron Wood and shattered against the trees.

When the serpent had been carved free, Angrboda had Kali grip her child firmly while Angrboda carved her child's long sides with the runes for strength and life and death and eternity. She named him Jormungandr, which meant mommy's little death bringer in High Jotun. In Low Jotun, it meant a rude word, which was unfortunate, because it meant little Jormungandr was doomed to a life of teasing as a young serpent until he learned to strike first, which come to think of it may have been what Angrboda was going for.

Because as she sat panting in the Iron Wood holding her child, the love that she felt in her heart was like the sound of gong on a mountain top causing an avalanche.

Loki smiled at his child and laughed at the little drop of poison that dripped from his fangs.

Then just like him, Loki left to go do something mischievous in Jormungandr's name. Let's just say that rumors that it was Odin who seduced Gunnlod to steal the Mead of Poetry are not precisely accurate. It would be more accurate to say that someone looking like Odin seduced Gunnlod to steal the Mead of Poetry.

Meanwhile Kali drove Angrboda home. She said, "I'll come back tomorrow with a freshly killed ox so you don't have to cook." Angrboda smiled at her friend, and gave her a hug, which was much easier now without a serpent coiled under the ice of her belly.

She went to wake her first born, Fenrir. He put his sensitive nose along the long line of his brother and whined. He said, "Mama, why did you make a serpent and not another wolf? I thought that women, and Father, went to the Iron Wood to give birth to wolves and Trolls?"

Angrboda shoved her son off of his leaping, because they had a rule that he was not to jump on her. In her house, she ruled. "That was not the shape I found in the ice of my belly."

She tended to little Jormungandr as a Jotun mother should. She left him out on the ice slopes at night. As the Jotun saying goes, "If you love something, leave it outside to see if it survives the icy cold of night. If it's still alive come morning, it's worthy of your love and you should let it live. If not, then it was better you killed it quickly before you really started to care."

Jormungandr was not only alive come morning, but he was sulking angrily over his mistreatment, which made Angrboda coo and tickle his little chin.

Many gods sent gifts in honor of the birth. Zeus and Hera sent a toaster oven, which Angrboda tore apart to make a mobile for Jormungandr to crawl around. Hearing that she'd given birth to a serpent, the naiads of the Hesperides sent her gallons of spiced milk, which Jormungandr loved to lap at while coiled around Angrboda's arm.

Loki came by one day with a bottle marked with the label, "Mead of Poetry." He very obviously did not pour any of this mead into Jormungandr's milk.

He so obviously hadn't done so that the clever reader will understand that he'd switched them entirely and little Jormungandr became completely drunk on poetry. He thrashed around on the floor shouting Kennings and Limericks and crying for his gold giver.

Angrboda was horrified. She said, "You've made a poet of him!"

Loki was entirely innocent. He said, "I have done nothing."

Angroboda repeated herself, but slower. "You have made a poet of our son. Now, I will have to work twice as hard to make him into a destroyer of worlds." She sent Loki away. Then she did it again when he returned in the form of a fly. She waved an electric flyswatter at him and sent him very far away.

Jormungandr sobered up from the Mead of Poetry, but he had been changed by it.

He grew into a very sensitive serpent. He was constantly tasting the air with his tongue. As Angroboda had feared, he became a poet. He knew the difference between consonance and assonance. He thought about onomatopoeia.

It was horrible, but she thought she saw a way to fixing the problem. Children should come in threes. If he had a younger sibling to torment, he might yet put aside his poetry and become a destroyer of worlds.

Also, Loki had been drunk sexting her.

She had one of Loki's Troll daughters keep watch so her children, mainly Fenrir, wouldn't eat each other while she went down to where Loki was living with his Aesir wife, Sigyn.

She said to Sigyn. "I need to borrow our husband. I want another child."

She had to ask Sigyn, because Sigyn had been victorious when they'd battled each other in the apple orchard of Idun. This had nothing to do with Loki, whose marriage to both of them came after. They had fought because Angrboda had come to freeze the apples and Sigyn had said, "Leave scaberous flapwhip of a Jotun!"

They were actually on much better terms now that Sigyn was regularly getting sexual gratification from a Jotun, which just to be clear meant Loki and not Angrboda.

Not that Angrboda would have be adverse, but Sigyn felt it would potentially be non-consensual what with having defeated Angrboda in battle.

At that moment, Sigyn was busy weaving on the star loom and not paying attention to what Angrboda had said. She said, "What do you think of this design?"

Angrboda did not care about the design. Still, Sigyn had defeated her and therefore Angrboda owed her an honest answer. Angrboda looked at what Sigyn had woven. She said, "There's a lot of red in it." She tried to think of something else. "I like red."

Sigyn sighed. There was too much red.

Now, Loki was standing by and he took the form of a fly and he buzzed all around the loom. He buzzed in Sigyn's face until she waved him off. Sigyn sighed. "Take him. Get him out of here. He'll only get himself in trouble if he stays."

Angrboda clapped her large hands together and captured Loki there. She kept her hands tightly shut until she was back in her home. Then she released Loki.

Now Loki had very much wanted to go with Angrboda, so he took his natural shape of a Jotun. He took up a man's shape with sharp features that would be pleasing to Angrboda. He unbuttoned his silk shirt. He said, "I haven't seen our children in some time." He idly touched his own nipple.

Angrboda sighed and took him to see their children. He played with Fenrir in the snow. He threw branches of ironwood that transformed themselves so Fenrir could have the pleasure of finding them. Loki tried to play with Jormungandr, but he didn't want to play. Jormungandr wanted to read aloud his latest poem about being trapped in a labyrinth within his own mind. It was a very serious poem and sure to be a great work.

Loki said, "Hmmm… kiddo, you should add at least three more stanzas on the monotony of existence." Jormungandr slithered off because he required complete silence for his creative process. Loki realized that Angrboda was right. The Mead of Poetry just perhaps may have turned their son into a poet.

An adequate poet.

Loki knew that Jormungandr needed to suffer for his art.

As he was thinking about this, Andrboda said, "I want another child."

Now Loki enjoyed making children with Angrboda, but perhaps because he enjoyed making children with her, he decided to play coy with her. He said, "Only if you get me a bed of fire and ice. Only then will I lie down with you to make another child." He unbuttoned his silk shirt further yet.

Angrboda sighed, because Loki was a very difficult husband to have. But then she looked at him with his hair of yellow-red flickering fire and his sharp features like carved snow, and her heart was a liquid sack in her chest. She said, "Fine! I will get you your bed of fire and ice! Look after our children."

Loki placed his hand where his heart might be and said, "I will guard them against any threat as long as the wind blows and the water runs in the streams." Which mean that he'd thought of a way to make the wind stop blowing. After all, in Jotunheim the rivers were always frozen and never did more than sluggishly trickle unless there was a lava flow. So, Loki was halfway to child abandonment.

Angrboda told Fenrir, "Play with your father until I get back." Loki sighed, because there was no escaping Fenrir when he was on a scent. Loki picked up a stick and said, "Let's find your brother."

Loki had a clever plan to think up.

Angrboda went out of Jotunheim.

She went down until she came to the warm lands where warm gods lived. She could have gone to the dwarves. For a price, they could make her a bed of fire and ice. The price would be too high. She didn't want them to know that she had to woo her own husband with a special bed.

She did what she had to do. She went to the other end of the earth. She went to Kali's home. When she explained what she needed, Kali stuck out her tongue at the shame of it. She said, "If you wanted your bed torched into a pile of ashes to be transformed into a forest, I could help you. But this…" Kali shrugged. "Maybe if you go up the staircase in the back of my house. They connect to all times and places. Maybe you can find someone else who can help you."

This seemed reasonable enough.

Angrboda climbed up the stairs. She went all the way to the top and paused for breath when she got there. The sky was orange and streaked with green. White skeletons of trees glared out of a red land like blood. White ash like snow gently fell on the red earth. She went west until she came to a pool. An ancient serpent with white hair and rainbow scales lived in the orange ringed pool.

Angrboda said, "I've come to the end times because I need your help in making a bed that is made of both fire and ice."

Now at first, Rainbow Serpent did not understand the problem. He said, "Why not just make the bed?"

After Angrboda explained about fire and ice, Rainbow Serpent said, "I don't understand. They're the same thing?" He paused to lick a trickle of water that sluggishly wound its way into the pool. "What do you mean the end times? This is the beginning?" He thought about that. "Perhaps. I think it's all the same."

Angrboda looked at her pocket watch. The hour hand was spinning wildly, while the minute hand was going backwards. The seconds were clicking back and forth between the hour of Windows and Plan like a metronome. She shook it and it stopped altogether. She sighed. Loki was a very difficult husband to have.

Rainbow Serpent suddenly exclaimed, "Oh. I helped you. Will help you. It's all the same." Rainbow Serpent flaked off a scale that had gone dull. "Take this to make what you need, but I will want something in return."

Angrboda shrugged. She was feeling very impatient. She'd already travelled a long ways and she wanted to get back to Jotunheim so she could make a child.

Rainbow Serpent closed his eyes and yawned a wide red mouth. "I'll want one of your children."

Andrboda paused. This seemed to defeat the very purpose of her journey. "Not the one I'm planning on making."

Rainbow Serpent huffed a twisting wind, which spun out across the red land. "No." Far away on lovely mountains weathered by years, it began to rain.

Angrboda thought about this. If Rainbow Serpent tried to take Fenrir, he'd be eaten for his troubles, so that was alright. "Fine." Angrboda knew wanting was not the same as having.

She took Rainbow Serpent's dull scale home. She made a bed with it and sure enough, one side was on fire and the other was full of ice. Loki lolled around naked on the bed the moment that she made it. His clothes melted away like the illusions they were. He shifted through some dozen of her favourite shapes while touching himself in a way that, it may shock you to know, were very suggestive of the activities required for the making of a child.

He was a very difficult husband to have, but at times Loki was worth the effort.

They made a child there in that bed. They continued even after they had made a child. They went on until Loki said, "I have a clever plan." She kicked him out of bed then. She wanted no part of his clever plan. At this rate, their new child would be a painter or a doctor. Angrboda wanted no part of that.

Now as it happened when her time came, she was watching a horror movie with Kali about a group of young people all whom died except one girl, who had saved her virginity to increase her righteous strength in slaying the monster, which seemed a lot of bother to Angrboda, but Kali laughed a great deal.

The girl had just slain the monster, when the daughter in Angrboda's belly knocked at the door to her womb. She didn't even make it as far as the Iron Wood. She only made it as far as the parking lot. It was too bad. If her daughter had waited, she would have come out all blackened and covered in sores, rather than only half of her body so marked.

Loki came when Kali called him. He brought a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Loki drank and smoked, because he was that sort of Jotun. It kept his mouth busy while Angrboda was carving the runes for death and misery into their daughter's skin.

When Angrboda was done, Loki gave their daughter a slice of apple to suck on. Angrboda held their daughter close and named her Hel, which meant mommy's little fear monger.

Then just like him, Loki left to do something really spectacularly mischievous in Jormungandr's name, which turned out to be tricking Sif in such a way that he saw her hammer tattoo, and used charming words such that she shaved her head. Not that anyone reading blurry pictures on page three in the Asgardian Herald doesn't know about both the tattoo and the hair cut. You'd think there wasn't a massive war going on between the Aesir and the Jotun with the way the Asgardian Herald kept running pictures of bald Sif and Sif getting fitted for a hair piece. But as previously advertised, this story digresses.

All that is so far from the point, the point can even see it from the scenic outlook in the lovely mountains that Kali grew from the smallest Troll Daughter's teeth. They really are lovely when the saber grass rattles in the autumn winds.

Kali drove them home through those mountains. She drove with the top down and the heat turned up.

Now when they arrived home and Fenrir saw little Hel, he let out such a howl of delight that it rocked the lovely mountains that Kali had made. He bounced around and jumped and circled on himself. He said, "I'm never going to let anyone harm you, little sister. Why if Mama tries to leave you in the cold wind to die, I'll sit next to you to keep you warm."

"She's nothing special." Jormungandr hissed. He turned bright green and refused to look at his sister until Angrboda seized his head in her hand and made him look. He bit little Hel, who wailed and hit him with her rattle, which made Fenrir laugh and try to disembowel Jormungandr.

Jormungandr didn't have a rattle. He wasn't that kind of serpent.

He sulked.

He brooded.

He wrote a poem about the misery of existence and how they would all one day be very sorry. He changed all his scales to the color black. He pierced his right eye ridge with a hoop ring. He had his tongue pierced. He got a tattoo of an ankh under his right eye. He drank absinthe and smoked clove cigarettes. He snuck out late at night to go to coffee shops and stare morosely at pictures of feet.

Jormungandr had no feet and never would.

He wrote an elegy about his bootless, footless state.

He suffered.

No one noticed.

That's not actually true. Loki in the form of an orange kitten with enormous sad eyes noticed.

Now, as it happened, Sigyn wanted to meet Loki's children by his other wife. She asked Odin to throw his blood brother's children a feast. Loki may have placed this idea in her head. He may have had a clever plan.

Odin decided that as this was a period of peace between the Aesir and the Jotun, he would throw this feast. Furthermore, he'd throw it in Valhalla, where the warriors who fell in battle waited for the final battle with the Jotun. Odin was certain that if Angrboda saw his vast army, she'd tell the Jotun that Odin was too powerful to face.

Now after the invitation came, Jormungandr brooded in his room. He tried to call his father, but as always, his father did not answer and everyone loved Hel best, and Fenrir was the largest, and it was all entirely unfair.

The entire way to Valhalla, he complained, "I don't want to go."

Angrboda huffed, because in those days there was no Rainbow Bridge and the way required climbing over giant pointed rocks, said, "You're going and that's final."

Perhaps if he hadn't complained so much, she wouldn't have forgotten her axes. As it was, when she got there, Loki was sitting next to Odin with a very clever look on his face. That had her worried.

They sat down at the table easily enough. Loki slipped away, and an old Volva with glittering eyes came up to the table. She said, "I have had a grave vision. These children of Angrboda and Loki will bring about the end of times. Fenrir will kill Odin. Jormungandr is going to poison the sky and kill Thor, and Hel will do something terrible." At that moment, Hel was trying to fit her hand in her mouth and blinking. The old woman paused visibly trying to see into the future as to what that thing would be. They all waited to hear her words. "She'll do something terrible. Terrible. Be warned, Odin. Be warned." As mysteriously as she'd appeared, the old woman with her glittering eyes disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Angrboda's heart was singing in her chest. Here she was surrounded by a group of pathetic mortal men, who were the entire substance of Odin's plan for the end of times, and her children would be the ones to bring about those end times. Jormungandr was going to give up poetry and poison the sky.

Meanwhile, Odin, who reasoned that surely the best course of action was to kill the three children then and there, went so far as to order them all seized and was about to have them cracked open like a handful of nuts when Loki sauntered back from wherever it was he'd been.

Loki said, "For shame, breaking the hospitality laws. But what can I expect from someone perverse enough to dress up as a wizard and wander around doing magic." He made a warding sign. "Magic is women's work. You're a sanguine womanish bed-presser."

This was a deeply shameful accusation. Odin was incredulous. "Loki, you've actually given birth, and you're more of a bed presser than I am. Who in this room have you not slept with?" A bear of a man sitting next to a bear raised his hand. He looked around and sadly lowered his hand. The bear patted his shoulder.

Loki huffed, "Now that's just slut shaming. Just what I would expect from someone who rewards the wrong people in battle. Why here my son Fenrir sits." He waved a fork. "He's a valuable potential ally. If you were to foster my son in your own hall, he would come to revere what I cannot." He cut a piece of meat from the roast before him. "He would run into battle for your name. He would sit with a yawning mouth at your right hand. His sons would lie at your feet as your ravens sit upon your shoulders. A pity to throw such an ally away like so much garbage, but I suppose you know best. You did throw away an eye and hang yourself on a tree to get womanish magic."

Loki ate the meat. As he swallowed, he leaned back in his chair. "And Hel is my youngest. She'll certainly never inherit anything from me. If you were the one to gift her with an estate of some worth, the underworld where I milked those cows for example, then she would owe you as she got it from your hand." Loki swallowed some mead. He swished it around his mouth. "But I suppose you know best."

His words infected Odin's mind like a mist. He struggled to find a flaw in Loki's reasoning. "But what of your middle child? He's going to poison the sky."

Jormungandr listened very carefully. He had been very upset to hear that his destiny was to poison the sky. The old woman had said nothing about being renown for his poetry.

Loki waved a hand in the air. "He is a poisonous serpent, it is true. But it's also true that his abilities are too infant like to act alone. Separate him from his siblings and any allies, and he can be of no threat." Loki shrugged. "But of course, you must do as you think best."

Odin decided to give Hel an underworld to rule. He ordered that Fenrir be kept at his court to be fostered by Odin. He flung Jormungandr into the deep ocean.

As Jormungandr fell, he said, "Typical. Just typical."

Angroboda did not have her axes, so she could not swing them. She thought about it. Sea life would do Jormungandr good. He needed to think about something other than the misery of existence and begin causing that misery. She was very pleased, so very happy that he was going to turn his life around and poison the sky one day.

She let Fenrir lick her face goodbye, and told him to mind everyone and not eat too many Aesir. She went to raise Hel in the underworld, until Hel was old enough to run things herself.

At the bottom of the sea, Jormungandr brooded.

He sulked.

He curled his lips over his long fangs and pouted.

He moped among the sea kelp. He wanted to write a poem and read it to the selkie, but what was the point! Without his art there was no point.

The selkie grew bored and swam away.

He huffed among the starfish and the currents of the sea flowed.

All in all, he was in a mood for a very long time. Through all of this in the depths of his hatred, and the very literal sea depths, he grew and grew and grew and grew. He grew until he was long enough to wrap around Midgard, which is quite large.

He tensed his coils and considered how best to go about poisoning the sky and cracking the world like an egg.

There was after all no escaping his fate.

He hoped that at least there would be a poem out of it.

In a sudden, but somewhat previously hinted at perspective shift, Rainbow Serpent sat at the end of time for a little while. It was soothing. He said, "Or was it I wanted one of your children? I forget." He looked around for Angrboda. "Oh, when did you go?"

He wriggled a bit more in the mud.

Now here's where it might be a little confusing, and this story would like to apologize upfront about that, but there's nothing for it. Because you need to understand that Rainbow Serpent is/was/will be a non-linear sort of being.

He was right, the beginning and the end were the same sort of thing.

From the perspective of Rainbow Serpent, he was wriggling in the mud at the end. He was coiling in the sky at the beginning.

Rainbow Serpent itched under his skin. He knew this was because he was actually a woman. This had happened before. Or perhaps then was the moment that had happened before. All time was the same to Rainbow Serpent.

Rainbow Serpent put aside his manhood and made an island with it. Rainbow Serpent peeled away her skin. She was a woman under the skin and she wanted it to show.

She danced in the sky and had an argument with Implacable Sun, who didn't like dancing, and didn't like Rainbow Serpent thinking he could just change genders like that. But she didn't care. She sang that song you like. The one that makes your feet tap and you sometimes hum when you're doing the dishes and no one else is around. That one.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but the Implacable Sun does not like that song.

The Implacable Sun did not like things changing. His favourite song is that song you hate. The one that makes you change the station on the radio when you hear it.

He felt that if someone had a gender, they should stay that gender and not go around raining on things and peeling off their skin.

Rainbow Serpent did not care some more.

Rainbow Serpent shook her boojum self in the sky and down came the rain. She was dancing and singing and making clouds fly through the air when she looked down into the sea and saw Jormungandr. It was the perfect moment to see him. That was why she did it then.

It was perfect.

He was perfect. Well, to Rainbow Serpent.

She looked down at Jormungandr's wide muscular perfect body with his perfect black scales in the dark green sea. She saw his perfect white curving fangs and thought, "Hello." Just that, Rainbow Serpent thought, "Hello." Also she thought, "I have, will, am wanting you."

Just then Jormungandr threw aside the poem about the end of the world that he'd been writing in poison, because it wasn't any good and the whales were avoiding him and he hated everything, and he should just forget about poetry and destroy the world already.

He thrashed at the sea. He writhed around and tossed waves. He heaved the ocean. He screamed his rage.

Rainbow Serpent loved everything about that.

In sort of answer, Rainbow Serpent let forth the rain. She let the rain fall as a greeting. She very much wanted to meet the beautiful serpent churning the waves.

Rainbow Serpent crackled with lightening. She was very excited. She thundered.

Jormungandr felt the rain on the waves. He looked up at the sky. He saw the rainbow around the moon. He saw the dark thunder clouds. He churned the waves even higher to try and reach the clouds.

He felt something other than rage.

He felt something that he had no name for.

Rainbow Serpent poured a monsoon down on him while dancing and singing and laughing at the sky.

These two, they stormed for quite some time.

When Jormungandr quieted, Rainbow Serpent quieted too. She slithered down into the ocean. She said, "Hello."

Jormungandr looked down. He felt almost shy after what had just happened. He said, "Err… hi."

Rainbow Serpent said, "Hello."

Jormungandr said, "You said that already."

"Hmmmm…" said Rainbow Serpent, who was contemplating supple green coils of muscle and thinking ahead. She danced around him in the ocean. She danced around and sang. She said, "Do you like honey? I love honey. Hi, honey. You are."

"I am what?" Jormungandr was, well confused would be the wrong word. Verklempt really captures the je ne sais quoi of it.

Rainbow Serpent took the opportunity to kiss Jormungandr. There was, if you will forgive the impropriety of the observation, quite a lot of tongue involved, and eventually a rift at the bottom of the sea that was formed out of the results of their vigorous thrashing about.

They lay together enfolded in this rift.

Jormungandr felt.

Because of this, he was worried. He didn't want to be hurt. He'd spent so much time planning on destroying everything and now there was this rift in the ocean and he was cuddling in it.

Rainbow Serpent was contemplating the confusing welter of when. She rested her head on a loop of Jormungandr.

Jormungandr looked up at the world above that always destroyed anything good and said, "This has to be a secret. If anyone finds out they'll try to keep us apart." The idea of a secret tragic love affair with as yet unnamed forces attempting to keep them apart was very appealing to Jormungandr. He said, "If anyone tries to part us, I will poison the sky." He liked the sound of that. It gave him a reason that was actually emotionally reasonable for poisoning the sky.

"Oh, what color?" Rainbow Serpent slid across Jormungandr in a very distracting manner. She whispered to him, "I like all of them."

"Then I'll poison it all the colors." Jormungandr let out his breath and they worked on widening their rift.

This super-secret affair was carried out in huge storms that spanned vast distances.

Rainbow Serpent would leave for some reason. She was the sort of being that disappeared sometimes. Of course, sometimes she'd just peeled off her skin and become something else.

Jormungandr would brood.

He would be filled with hatred for everything. He'd heave the ocean in great waves. This meant that he wanted to see Rainbow Serpent. He'd look up and there she'd be, raining down on him. He'd move the ocean so he could feel the rain crashing down onto him.

Sometimes, it was Rainbow Serpent dancing and singing in the sky and she'd want to see Jormungandr. She'd start a gentle rain and he'd peek one eye above the water, and she'd slip down on a raindrop to be with him.

He read her his poetry. He read it to her and said, "What do you think?"

She said, "It makes me think of onomatopoeia and orange blossom honey." She wriggled happily and danced. He read her poems and she danced to them.

One day after a particularly dense Terza Rima, Rainbow Serpent looked around. "I'd like some honey. Do you have any honey?" Jormungandr did not have honey at the bottom of the ocean. He'd only drunk the Mead of Poetry once.

He was about to write a lament about this fact when Rainbow Serpent said, "I'll get us some honey."

She devised a plan to get some honey from a hive. It was highly elaborate and involved many complicated pieces of equipment and a wild fire.

The Implacable Sun looking down said, "What you're doing isn't right."

Rainbow Serpent was in stage forty-three of her eighty-six step plan to get some honey. She said, "No, this will work."

The Implacable Sun, "It was bad enough that you think you're a woman, but this 'thing' with the world serpent. It has to stop."

Rainbow Serpent said, "I disallow the word stop. I've cut it out of all my dictionaries," and carried out step forty-four, which oddly enough involved buying honey at the store and leaving it on a log for the bees to find.

The Implacable Sun went to see Odin in Gladsheim. The Implacable Sun said, "You have to do something about Rainbow Serpent and Jormungandr. It's an evil thing they do. Rainbow Serpent put aside his manhood and pretends to be a woman, but he isn't. Now he's having sex with the world serpent and it's an evil thing."

Odin said, "Jormungandr is going to rise up and poison the sky one day, and you think the evil part is sex with a rainbow serpent"

The Implacable Sun waved his rays at this. "That doesn't matter. He thinks that he is a woman, but he is not."

Odin rubbed his head at the confusion of pronouns. "Jormungandr is going to kill my son, Thor, and I you want me to manage his love life."

The Implacable Sun waved his rays at this. "Fine. Yes, the problem is Jormungandr. He needs to be separated from Rainbow Serpent, who is a very powerful ally."

Odin thought about this. His entire plan for Jormungandr revolved around keeping him isolated. Not cavorting about with a powerful Rainbow Serpent, and a man at that."

Odin left Asgard in secret. He put on his disguise as an old wizard, because it was a little shameful for him to be doing magic. He didn't want anyone thinking he was womanish.

Loki snickered and went with him in the form of a burning dog. They went to where Rainbow Serpent was carrying out step sixty-two of her plan to get the honey from the hive.

Loki sniffed at her. He was very curious about his son's girlfriend, who he hadn't mentioned once. He said, "I thought you were a man."

Something itched inside Rainbow Serpent. She said, "Oh, I think I'm a woman, who is a man under the skin." She peeled off her skin. She picked up a stick and two pebbles and she was a man. He said, "Huh. Look at that." He waved his penis at the hive.

The bees sighed and gave up their honey. It had after all been the last step in the plan.

Odin coughed. "Thirsty work you're at. Would you like some mead?"

Rainbow Serpent had never had mead. He tasted it and his eyes became very wide. "This is honey." He laughed. "More. I want more." Odin poured some more.

Rainbow Serpent became very drunk. He became so drunk that when Loki said, "I thought you were a bridge," Rainbow Serpent didn't protest.

Instead he said, "I think you're right. I think I am a bridge under my skin." He peeled off his skin and became a bridge. Odin and Loki walked home on the arching back of the rainbow bridge.

Odin said, "A bridge?"

Loki chuckled and burned quietly as he trotted at Odin's heel. "We could use a bridge."

It was true. It was much more pleasant walking on the bridge than hopping around the pointed rocks.

Now Jormungandr grew to missing Rainbow Serpent. He heaved the sea and no one came.

Well, no. His father showed up with the bottle of the Mead of Poetry, and wearing a smoking jacket, which was never a good sign. He said, "Kiddo, have a drink."

Jormungandr edged away from his father. He said, "Why?"

"Have a drink and then I'll tell you," Loki smiled in a very innocent way. Little bells of innocence played around his head.

"What have you done with Rainbow Serpent?" Jormungandr became very alarmed.

He climbed out of the sea to look. Although, he'd never done it before, he'd had plenty of time to watch the Five Fingered Lung Dragons climbing out of the sea, not to mention staring at the curves of Rainbow Serpent's body. He knew how to climb into the sky.

Loki called after him. "Your girlfriend is a dude!"

Jormungandr climbed higher. He climbed high enough to see the Rainbow Bridge. He cried out, "What have they done to you?" Rainbow Serpent, who was now a Rainbow Bridge did not move.

Jormungandr resolved then and there to destroy all the things. He poisoned the sky in long looping lines that spelled Rainbow Serpent's name in a million shades of color. Thor came out of his home. He waved Mjölnir. Lightening raked the sky. Jormungandr and Thor set to rumble in the sky.

That's really what woke Rainbow Serpent's up. He yelled, "Keep it down." He curled his head into the cool earth. He said, "Why did I drink so much?"

Jormungandr abandoned his battle with Thor, who, yelled, "Hey, come back you womanish coward."

At which point, Freyja, who had been harnessing her cats of war to her chariot, stopped and said, "No, seriously, what? You did not just dis my gender."

Jormungandr cared for none of this. He came to where Rainbow Serpent, who was still mostly a bridge was resting his head. "You're alive." He paused. "Why are you a bridge?"

Rainbow Serpent thought about that. He was still thinking when Loki ran up along his back.

"Don't." Loki leaned down and put his hands on his knees. "Poison." He coughed. He coughed some more. "Quitting cigarettes today." He coughed again. "But don't poison the sky. It's… not… you don't need to."

Jormungandr had a suspicion then. He got as far as, "Father!" when Thor hit him on the head with Mjölnir and knocked him unconscious.

At which point, Rainbow Serpent turned Thor into a woman. Let's be clear here. Thor had great legs and looked incredible in the beaded flapper dress that he was for some reason wearing.

Freyja continued to not harness her cats of war to her chariot. She did fly up in her falcon cloak. She said, "Seriously, Loki, what the F."

Loki looked very nonchalant. He lit a cigarette, because he really was that sort of Jotun. He said, "What?"

Thor was contorting himself trying to turn invisible. Since he couldn't shape shift, that didn't work. Freyja did walk him home with Loki following, also in the form of a very sultry red head, because he wanted to be in on the action.

That, by the way, was the first bi-annual Bifrost Tran Pride parade. True, Thor always claimed that it wasn't his idea to be turned into a woman, but given his sizable shoe and ball gown collection, at a certain point that lost any claim to validity.

In the near term, Jormungandr blinked his eyes to see Rainbow Serpent looking at him. He said, "You're a man, or are you a bridge?"

Rainbow Serpent made an S of himself. "I don't believe in restricting myself." Then Rainbow Serpent curled a bow of color around Jormungandr. "Problem?"

Jormungandr swallowed for a very long time. "No." Then he demonstrated the truth of that statement in such a way that there could be no questions of secrecy from that time forward.

Although, they did keep up the periodic monsoons, punctuated by haiku and widening rifts beneath the sea. They were those kinds of serpents.