Tuesday, October 11, 2011

23: The Fire Thief

“Do you know anything about Isfat, Eris?” asked Thoki, grabbing her by the shoulders and staring intently into her golden eyes.

“Ooh! I like it when you’re forceful,” she purred, and gave him a saucy look.

“In a minute,” he said, dismissively. “Let’s try to stay on the subject for a little, shall we? Where is ISFAT.”

“At the beginning of all things,” said Eris simply.

“What’s that mean?” asked Thoki.

“It’s not a WHERE, Thoki, it’s a WHEN.”

Thoki only made a choked sound of utter incomprehension.

You’re not thinking fourth dimensionally, Marty,” Eris quoted, making her voice gruff like Christopher Lloyd’s.

“So you’re saying that Isfat existed in the beginning… and that it stayed there?”

“That’s one way of putting it. I frankly don’t understand all of it myself you’ll have to talk to him if you want to get the whole long boring speech.”

“Him who?”

“Look, I’m trying to help you. Let’s just get you, your giant, and your horse—”

“Brother,” interjected Thoki.

“—your brother out of here first. Then I’ll take you to see him.”

“HIM WHO?

“Who do you go see if you want to know about The Creation?”
“God?” asked Thoki paling. “I don’t want to see Him.”

“NO, stupid. You go see a creator god.”

“Okay. Now I’m really confused.”

“Just shut-up and hold my hand,” said Eris rolling her eyes.

Thoki placed his clammy hand in hers and she briefly sighed, “Men!” before the room swirled around him like it had been dumped in a washing machine tumbler.

When Thoki’s eyes straightened out, he was blinded by a field of white. He shuddered suddenly and wrapped his arms around his shivering body. As far as the eye could see was rocks and snow.

“Where the hell are we?” cried Thoki. “Are we! Are we!” echoed the looming rock faces.

“We’re in Georgia,” said Eris nonchalantly. She didn’t seem to be bothered by the cold.

"What like the Appalachians?" cried Thoki.

“Georgia the country, stupid, not Georgia the American state.”

“Oh.”

Lor rumbled throatily behind them and Thoki spun around. “Oh, God! Lor is still sick! We got to get him out of this!”

Eris shook her head. “You’re forgetting that Lor is a frost giant. He was getting overheated in Cairo, which was why his wounds wouldn’t heal. Trust me. This is the best thing for him.

In confirmation, Lor stood up and took in a deep bracing breath of freezing air. He then let it out in a jolly roar, grinning as the white flecks caught in his beard and tickled his face. He seemed totally at peace in himself. Slepnir’s ears flew backwards as Lor’s voice shattered the silent landscape, but he tramped in the snow and rolled in it, glad to be out in the open again.

Thoki managed a tiny grin. “I wish the cold was doing me that much good,” he said through purple lips.

“Here,” said Eris making a heavy black parka appear out of thin air. “I forget that you’re not divine anymore.”

“Nope. I’m one-hundred percent meat-puppet now,” Thoki stuttered through chattering teeth as Eris pulled the warm coat over him. He gazed up longingly at her impish face, but she simply kissed him on the nose and skipped through the snow, whistling.

“Come on!” She called after a few feet. Thoki shook his head and stamped the snow off his feet before following her. He struggled to keep his footing on the uneven terrain, slipping into hidden holes and falling face-face first into the snow. Lor trudged behind at his steady stride, and Slepnir had taken to the air to avoid tangling his legs in the rocks. Only Thoki was beleaguered as the snow attacked his legs and stung his face. The plus side was that the snow was too cold to soak into his jeans and socks. The down side of this was (of course) that it was fucking cold.

His only comfort was watching Eris’s skirt being buffeted in all directions by the chilly winds, revealing a taut round bottom in a teeny magenta thong. He wondered she knew what she was giving away for free.  Knowing Eris, she probably did. Thoki shivered and reasoned that it was a moot point since his testicles were currently trying to climb back inside his body for warmth. He hoped that was reversible.

“What mountains are these?” he shouted over a gust of wind.

“We’re in the Caucasus mountain range!”

“Why does that ring a bell?” Thoki asked rhetorically.

“You’ll see in a minute, we’re almost there!”

“If you have the power to zap us anywhere, why didn’t zap us there directly!”

“I like snow!” shouted Eris with a wide grin. “Besides, he doesn’t like people just dropping in on him!”

“Him who?” asked Thoki for what seemed like the millionth time. “Why are you dancing around this question?”

“What?” called Eris, putting a hand to her ear. She might have been toying with him, but the wind was making it hard to hear anything.

“WHO ARE WE SEEING?” cried Thoki.

As if in answer, the ground suddenly shook and the powdered snow jumped like water on a hot skillet. Thoki looked back at Lor to see if he were the cause of it. Lor only shrugged and, still a little weak, raised a hand to point skyward. Thoki followed the hand and looked up.

“Holy shit!” he cried out.

“Yeah, that’s him,” said Eris.

“A titan?” shouted Thoki. “You’re taking us to see a titan?”

His wide blue eyes took in the long golden hair, the massive shoulders, the powerful legs and the sculpted brow, all fifty times the size of a normal human. “Gee, no wonder Zeus feared these guys.”

“Shh! Ix-Nay on the Eus-Zay!” said Eris as loud as she dared. “He’s still a little touchy about it.”

“About what?” asked Thoki.

“Look closer,” said Eris, guiding his vision.

Squinting against the whirl of snow, Thoki saw that the man was naked, his hands bound behind his back with very tight manacles. The manacles were chained to the enormous rock face where they were driven in tightly. The chain was very short, making it necessary for the titan to kneel or sit. He was currently kneeling, his muscles pulsing with the pain of ages stuck in the same frozen pose. The titan was very handsome despite the lines carved in his face from constant torment. Constant exposure to the elements had left him bronzed and ruddy.  His hair, though long and unkempt fell like river of gold from his head. Thoki eyed the prisoner warily. He was getting an odd sense of déjà vu along with an annoying inability to remember who this was.

It was when he saw that the titan was deep in conversation with a gigantic eagle that Thoki remembered. He was in the presence of the very first trickster god — creator, deceiver, fire thief, protector — who sacrificed his freedom so that Man might live.

“Prometheus,” breathed Thoki.

3 comments:

FARfetched said...

Um… Mon, I hate to break it to you, but there are mountains on Georgia the planet (or nominally the American state). They start climbing just 2 or 3 miles north of here. Not a whole lot of snow, though. We can get a few inches in Feb. or Mar. but it's usually gone in a few days. Mountains being what they are, they do get a little more snow & it hangs around a little while longer.

I'll put it down to Eris glossing things over. She's much too classy to come around here anyway. :-P

Monica Marier said...

I'm going to fix that right now. Nuts. I thought the peidmonts ended at the Carolina border. So much for my "extensive research."

FARfetched said...

Nope, they ripple all the way across to Alabama. :)

This is, as always, a really fun read though. I think I'm starting to feel the endgame is coming though. Too bad, but I'll be happy to see how it ends. (Hopefully, with Thoki schtupping Eris happily ever after.)