Monday, March 28, 2011

Ep. 8 "With Friends Like You..."

Note from Monica: We're BACK! Sorry for the massive plugging of old archives. I just wanted to start the Tuesday Serial T&L properly from episode 1. Thanks for bearing with me! Now I take up my pen — er — laptop again and continue with Episode 8. From here on in, it's news to me too!

Premise: Thoki and Lor have split up for the time being. While away, Thoki has discovered that the source of Ultimate Chaos (called Isfat) is in fact NOT the chaos of mere disorder but the primordial chaos that existed before life! In the wrong hands it could potentially destroy the world... that is IF the word of a hoard of trickster gods is worth trusting.
Lor is still at the youth hostel waiting for Thoki. By now he's forgotten how to tell time, how to tie his shoes and how to breathe regularly.


Thoki had met Eris once before. It was at the inter-pantheon softball tournament a few centuries ago that was held in Folkvangr “The field of the Host”. The Greek, the Indian, the Norse and the Celtic teams were facing off that day. Thoki had been relegated to the water table with the goddesses, while the more “macho” Aesir were on the official team. He’d wound up chatting with Eris, who was banned from game for obvious reasons favoring “fair play.”

 They’d hit it off, being of similar dispositions and hating friendly competition in general. There had been a long lull in the game which had been delayed while the teams argued over whose pantheon got The Fates. Thoki and Eris had used that distraction to escape under the bleachers for a few hours. It had all been going so well until Ganesh had stumbled upon them and pointed them out to everyone.

Everyone had laughed, none louder or more offensively than Loki. The only one who didn’t laugh had been Hnoss, daughter of Frejya, who’d burst into tears and run home.

Thoki ran as Eris tugged on his hand. The freezing cold rain pelted him mercilessly as his cheap shoes slipped on the slick cobblestones. He tried to discern where they were going, but the only thing he could see was Eris running ahead of him, laughing wildly at the black clouds and rolling thunder. Occasionally she’d look back and smile at him before encouraging him to run faster.

“C’mon!” she’d cry.
Thoki could only nod breathlessly as they pounded up the hills and skidded down the other side. Finally, they stopped at a Black Mercedes luxury sedan. Thoki only had time to say, “WOW,” before Eris tugged the door open and pulled him inside after her.

Something was wrong.

“Wait! Why are we in the back seat?” Thoki asked.
Eris grabbed him by his hoodie and roughly shoved until his back met the leather seats, and water droplets began to pool under his head. She shook the rain from her hair before grasping his slight shoulders and straddling his hips.
“Ohhh,” said Thoki, realization dawning.

                At the hostel, two German backpackers named Adam and Gunnar were discussing Lor.
                “So what’s he doing here?” Adam asked Gunnar in German.
                “I don’t know. He’s been sitting there for hours,” Gunnar. “I think he’s retarded or something.”
                “Maybe he’s just nuts, yeah? Like axe-murderer nuts. Let’s stay somewhere else. He’s creeping me out.”
                “There isn’t anywhere else. He’s not doing anything, so don’t be such a baby,” said Gunnar with more conviction than he felt.
                “That’s just it! He’s not doing ANYthing! He hasn’t moved in twenty minutes! I don’t even think he’s blinked yet!”
                As if in some response, Lor closed one eye, and then the other.
                “Do you think he understood us?” asked Adam nervously.
                The large red beard began to tremble on the giant’s mouth. “That’s one of the strange mysteries that’re revealed to you after death,” said Lor in perfect German. “You find out that all languages are basically the same.”

                The two backpackers stood rooted to the spot for a moment until Gunnar let out a paint-peeling scream. Adam followed suit and the two scrambled out of the youth hostel like it was on fire.

                “Oh my. I seemed to have frightened them,” said Lor sadly.
                “You did, yeah,” came a gravelly voice over Lor’s shoulder. It was accompanied by hot damp breath that smelled of halitosis and kielbasa.

                “Hullo, Jotun,” said the voice again and Lor, still seated on the edge of his bed, turned to see the owner. Reclining on the pillows, reading a copy of “Maxim,” was a man who could have been another Jotun for sheer size. He looked about seven feet tall and 300 lbs— 140 of those pounds appeared to be pure muscle. A shaggy head of unkempt hair framed a craggy, square face that looked like it was hewn out of granite. He leered at Lor and revealed a set of white, very sharp teeth.
                “Hullo, Fenrir,” said Lor steadily. He had just enough brain cells to be worried, but he was at a loss what to do about it.
                “You know me?” said Fenrir in mild amusement. “Good. It’ll save me a lot of trouble. Now I need you to talk to my little wiener of a half-brother.” As Fenrir said the word “talk,” he held up his magazine and punched a hole clean through the cover model's cleavage.
Lor looked unimpressed. “I’m afraid you just missed him. He’s not here now.”

Fenrir shook his head. “Nah. He’s coming back, alright. I know Thoki. Just you deliver a message for me, ‘kay? Tell him Isfat is in ‘the city of the sun'. Got that, Jotun?”
“Isfat is in the city of the sun,” Lor parroted dutifully.
“Oh, and tell him I said NOT to go there,” said Fenris with a grin.
“But you just said...” began Lor looking very confused.
Fenrir placed a friendly arm around the giant’s shoulder. “I’ve got to protect my little brother, don’t I?” he said in a friendly growl. “Wouldn’t want the wiener to get hurt, right?”
“So what are we telling Thoki?” prompted Fenrir in the manner of a Kindergarten teacher.
“Don’t let the wiener go to the city of the sun, ‘cause he’ll get hurt,” said Lor uncertainly.
“Close enough,” said Fenrir shrugging. “And you never saw me, got it?”
“I didn’t?” asked Lor. But there was no one there.

Lor bit his lip as he tried to recall what had just happened and what he was supposed to do. Only one thing was crystal clear to him:    He was waiting for Thoki.

A sudden impulse made Lor rise from the bed and stand by the range stoves in the corner. Only moments after he had done so, a Black Merceded Benz smashed through the lathe and plaster walls crushing the rows of beds. The engine expired noisily as the windscreen collapsed inward like a fallen cake. Two people were evacuating the car as its front wheels slowly stopped rotating.

“Whoo! That was awesome!” shouted Eris as she bounced out of the driver’s seat. She spun in circles while playing air-guitar and kicking over imaginary amplifiers. Thoki flopped out of the car after her, and lay flat on the detritus-choked floor. He lay there for some time, just to assure himself that he was no longer moving at Mach 3 towards a solid wall. The wail of police sirens was clearly audible now and growing louder the longer he lay there.

“Alright guys. Time for me to jet!” said Eris coyly. She clicked through the menu of her golden ipod for a moment.
“Sweet! I love this song!” she cried out as the guitar riff from “Barracuda” started booming over her earbuds. “Later, taters!”
Blowing Thoki and Lor a kiss, she vanished into the ether leaving the men alone in the trashed youth hostel floor with the sound of gendarmes smashing doors open.
“I’m glad you came back,” said Lor quietly, as he lifted Thoki over his shoulder and began shoving the policemen through walls and furniture.
“Yeah,” said Thoki in a weary voice.
“What did you end up doing?” asked Lor. He swung one officer around like a club to finish off three more.
“I’ll tell you when you’re older,” said Thoki, a rare flicker of a smile gracing his wan face. “Let’s just get out of here.”