We were watching the sunset on Long Island when it happened. Iconic, really. A sunset? What a perfect way to herald the beginning of the end of all things.
And no, we were NOT on that cluttered, overpopulated, and oh so gray and drab New Yorker Long Island those Greek demigods used to call home- I’m talking it’s northern little brother up in Boston. The calm and quiet farming island/abandoned missile silo left over from the latest dumb mortal war. What was it this time? Some sort of robot revolution, or, were they clones? I’m not really sure at this point. It’s been a long, long time since I was focused on mortal concerns. I guess… I just stopped caring all that much sometime after Samirah’s grandchildren stopped coming to visit? I’m not sure.
But yeah. Back to the island thing. Okay, it wasn’t the most interesting deserted island around for two einherji on their four hundred and thirty-seventh not-a-date-stop-calling-it-a-date, but when you’re giving your boy who’s a friend rides around the Boston Harbor as a dolphin? Sometimes you just have to make a pit stop or two. And yeah, you heard me right. I was a dolphin. I can transform into pretty much anything. Though I guess there’s no point in wasting time bragging about something like that at a time like this, so, let’s get right to it. My name is Alex Fierro, the probably very estranged and kind-of sort-of sixteen year old child of Loki, and this is the story of the worst and last day of my life as an einherjar, a soldier in Odin’s clearly not-so-eternal army.
But be warned, mortal. This story isn’t for the lighthearted. If you’re the type that cries at the drop of a hat, you’d better either grab some tissues fast or stop reading now. Whichever you prefer. But please, I hope you read on! This is a story I want people to hear. I just have to warn you, you know? What sort of guy would I be if I threw you into this totally unaware?
“Hey, Alex, you need to see this!” Magnus ran up to me wearing a green Property of Valhalla t-shirt, a slightly oversized black jacket (it’s summer, Magnus!), ratty old jeans, and a pair of even rattier old Spider-Man print converse that ‘weren’t coming off any time soon,’ as he put it. That was fair. They were a 21st century classic, a gift from my late sister and his late friend Samirah Fadlan. He could wear those old shoes as long as he liked- but I really did wish he would at least change shirts once in a while. Every day is a brand new day that deserves a brand new outfit, after all.
Though, I have to admit, it kept matching from ever being a problem. With him in green every day, I always knew he’d look good alongside me. And me? You’re probably wondering what I’m wearing on my last day alive as well, aren’t you? Well, let me tell you, if I had known in advanced I would be dying, I would have gone all out, but alas, my outfit isn’t half bad. It never is. A classic letterman, pink and green, a green scarf with some nice floral embroidery, a matching wide brimmed hat, a pink skirt, green leggings, and my very own ratty old converse from Samirah Fadlan.
“What’s up, Magnus?” His face had a concerned look on it. He had wandered off toward a meadow a while ago to see the flowers, so I can’t imagine what would be getting him so worked up. “Did you step on a flower?” Magnus rolled his eyes and gave me sheepish smile, I mean, he HAD done that before so it wouldn’t be shocking. But apparently that’s not what it was this time, because he got serious again really quickly. “Alex, you need to see this- it looks like a volcano’s about to erupt right under the water.” A volcano? Probably some fire giant who’d left Muspelheim to cause some trouble. Again. Though this little giant had some awful luck. Showing up on the very island Magnus and I were resting on? They usually knew better than to mess with us.
I took Magnus’ hand as he dragged me from my grassy resting spot. “Well, it’s been a bit since I’ve worked out my garrote arm, so I guess we can check it out. You’ve got Jack, right?” I cracked some knuckles in my hand that wasn’t occupied, and grabbed my garrote. “He’s not far off,” Magnus said as he dragged me along, “I tried introducing him to a nice pelican I was having a chat with and they did NOT get along.” Oh my gods only Magnus could say the phrase ‘a nice pelican I was having a chat with’ with a straight face, he’s practically a Disney princess. “Sounds like a time,” I responded. I hoped Jack would get back soon, for an annoying talking sword he really had his moments when it came to slaying our enemies.
Suddenly, Magnus stopped dead, and his grip on my hand tightened. I’ve never been a fan of people doing that, and normally I’d jerk my hand away if he squeezed it like that, having my hand suddenly crushed is something I’ll never get used to, but… just… wow. I looked out into the water. Or, what used to be water anyway. The entire harbor was slowly being encompassed in a dramatic red glow, and it wasn’t the glow of the setting sun. It was the glow of the flowing lava that now surrounded the coastline of our little island.
“This isn’t just any fire giant, is it?” I asked. “No.. no I don’t think it is,” Magnus replied grimly. Grim didn’t suit him. It had been a long time since I’d seen a look like that on his face. I think… maybe when Hearthstone died? Yeah. But this situation was certainly deserving of such a look. The power emanating from the bay before us could only be produced by one giant. Surt, The Black One, Lord of All Fire Giants and he who will one day claim Sumarbrandr (that’s Jack’s more dramatic and swordly name). “If it’s really him, does that mean it’s time?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Magnus said as a burning figure covered in lava and brimstone began to slowly rise from the sea of red before us. “It feels different this time, I really don’t know, but we need to try and stop him don’t we?” His grip remained tight on my hand. “Of course we do Magnus.” Surt’s form became fully visible in the distance as I spoke, and lava fell down his shoulders revealing his face, those glowing red eyes we both remembered oh too well bearing down on us.
And then Jack came back, flying his hilt right into Magnus’ hand and asking what he’d missed.
And then The Black One spoke. “Good evening, einherji. Thank you kindly for bringing my sword to me.” He spoke in such a booming, guttural voice, that was smothered in almost… a mocking sort of sympathy. And then he raised his hand, and bellowed “Sumarbrandr! Come to me!”