Friday, March 14, 2014

A day trip to Asgard

Odin disappeared to Asgard as soon as it was clear there was no chance Ragnarök would happen and left me with a disgruntled god of mischief and a hurried promise to pay for Loki’s stay. Since gods are, as a rule, exceptionally tight-fisted, I didn't believe a word he said. And true to his nature, he didn't pay me so much as a dime of the deposit, not until I made a trip to Asgard to remind him of his promise.
The are two ways to get to Asgard: using the Bifrost, the so-called Rainbow Bridge, but that path is not safe, it hasn't been safe for centuries I've read ancient accounts of past Barrows, and apparently the Bifrost was once a sight to behold. It was smooth as ice, hard as stone and it shimmered with all the colors of the rainbow. But since the Norse Parthenon's powers started waning, there wasn't enough powers left to keep its magnificence intact. Today, its surface is a dull gray, the surface rough and jagged and liable to crack under your feet as you walk.
The other is to walk directly upon the branches of Yggdrasil, the world's tree. The view's great and it makes for excellent romantic date material, at least according to Sir Hughes Barrows, who lived in the Victorian Era and was a notorious rake, but getting lost and ending up in the wrong world is very easy, and considering the different options the nine realms offer, like freezing to death or burning to death or being smashed to bits by angry giants, getting lost there isn't something I particularly want to do.
So I took the Bifrost, even though it's creepy as hell and my sister and I have a bet going on when it'll finally break down.
I rode there by on my Nightmare, Tina. I dreamed her up when I was five and she's a total sweetheart. I know some people find Nightmares unnerving, because they are huge, they look like they are made of black smoke, have burning red eyes and sharp teeth and some accounts report them breathing fire, but they are just big, misunderstood softies. Just wear iron gloves when you feed them and you're in the clear.
The way to Asgard is long, and I was tired when I finally arrived. It's completely understandable that I face-planted in front of Heimdallr, the guardian of the Bridge, who's wasn't understanding at all - and who's a terrible gossip, so I'm sure he'll let everyone in all the Parthenons know before the week is out. Had Ragnarök happened, I would've missed him least of all.  
The upside is that getting Odin to pay me wasn't that hard: I just waltzed into the dining hall during a meal, when all the gods are together at once, and threatened to drop all the mead in the Inn down the drain if I wasn't paid promptly. Then just sat back and let peer pressure accomplish the rest. 
Not only did I have to go through a lot of trouble to get payment for Loki’s stay, his behavior is also pretty creepy. He never leaves his room, he doesn’t even open the door, not when the staff can see him, and you can hear weird noises coming from his room at night.
Since the dark wizard fiasco that ended with us having to scrape black goo from the walls and since then we have a policy against guests keeping the sort of behavior Loki's been keeping. Tenants have to leave the room at least every three days, so that the staff may clean it and make sure they haven’t been trying to bring people back from the dead in there.
In light of that, Lily, the maid, forced Loki to go spend some time in one of the common rooms and unfortunately suggested the Tea Parlor. It was a big mistake on her part, but now at least we know that all he had been doing in his room was fruitlessly trying to punch a hole in the wall and make his escape.
I’m not going to fire Lily for what happened. She’s new, after all. Newbies are allowed a few paltry mistakes. I’m pretty sure I informed her of the potentially fatal thing happens in the Tea Parlor once a month, but there’s always something potentially fatal happening at the Inn. She can’t be expected to remember everything by her second week. 
Alright, I do blame her, but do you have any idea how hard it is to find personnel? None of my employees are even fully human. And how little time it takes the staff members I do find to run for the hills? I'm not going to start sacking people to make matters worse. Even if she did cause the destruction of one of our nicer common rooms. 
Stay tuned for more tales from the Inn!
With love,

Friday, February 28, 2014

Getting Started

I know one thing for sure, and it’s that death won’t stop my mother from nagging me. Us Barrows are hard to kill off, and if our corporal forms are destroyed, well then we’ll just come back as spirits. And annoy our descendants into an early grave.
Now that both my parents are dead, as the firstborn child it’s my job to take on the family business, as in to run the sprawling, probably sentient building that we simply call “the Inn”. The Inn is home to the ghosts of my dead relatives, various deities and more folklore figures than I can count. I’m pretty sure not every lodger is registered, some of them just slunk in before writing was invented and haven’t moved since. Aunt Jane, for one, was devoured by a monster from a time before time itself, which we had no idea was there. She’s very fond of reminding us of her misadventure.   
It’s my job not only to make sure everything runs smoothly, but also to keep adding to the family archives. You see, every Barrow who has had the honor to be the director of the Inn in their lifetimes has detailed their experience in whatever form they found most suitable. That’s why I’ve decided to start up this blog.
I’m off to a promising and exciting start, since there’s the Ragnarök situation to deal with. Granted, it’s only been a year since the last apocalypse, but I didn’t get to witness the round table for that one. Damn you, mom.
Yes, I know you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but it’s hard when they’re right next to me and keep peeking over my shoulder to see what I’m writing. Don’t lie, mom, I know what you’re doing. 
A high council of old gods has taken over my living room and is currently discussing how to deal with the Norse apocalypse and whether or not the Norse Parthenon has the right to destroy the planet. The general consensus is that they don’t, because it would extend beyond their sphere of influence.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s just delusions of grandeur, none of the old gods have had a sphere of influence worth of that name for centuries, all those who still have a decent number of worshippers have better things to do than sit around and fight with their colleagues about Ragnarök.
Even if they let it happen, the Norse apocalypse wouldn’t bring about more than a few out-of-season blizzards.
And of course, I would have one less pantheon to deal with. But that would be too good to be true, wouldn’t it?
Anyways, I don’t think the discussion will last long, I’m pretty sure Odin’s just being contrary to prove a point. I mean, he dies at the end of Ragnarök, I don’t see why he wouldn’t seize the occasion to get out of it. A couple of pints of mead paid by dear old Zeus (or Jupiter, I’m not sure which one of them is the head of the council this week) and he’ll be fine.
I can’t wait until they leave and take Loki with them. Guess who has been given the important task of babysitting the god of mischief? Yeah, that’s right: me. The council is scared he’ll take it upon himself to resolve the situation and go rally the frost giants.  
If you’re female, you may be wondering whether or not Loki is quite as dashing as Tom Hiddleston. I hate to disappoint you, but he’s… not. He just looks unsettling. And I really would prefer it if he stopped staring at me like that, I’m afraid he’ll try to murder me and make a run for it.
Not that he’d succeed, of course. all those centuries chained in a cave must have done terrible things for his muscle mass and I’ve gotten fight training by my great-grandmother Giorgiana, who used to be a mercenary when she was young. I know how to handle aggressive costumers, even godly ones. But my laptop would end up as a casualty of our sparring match, and I’ve had this one for just a month. I really wish one would last at least six months.
Stay tuned in for more tales from the Inn!



This is a work of fiction and none of it should be taken seriously. However, I wouldn't want to upset some beings better left undisturbed by denying their existence. Make of that what you will.