Loki’s Wager by Ian Stuart Sharpe (Vikingverse #2)
English | 2020 | Children/Young Adult | ePUB | 2.2 MB
Midgard is a funeral pyre. Ragnarök, the doom of the gods, has brought the Empire of the Heavens to ruin. For some, the harrowing promises a new beginning. Mother Jörð will rise again, and new gods will return to the golden tables of old.
But Iðunn Lind, keeper of the great World Tree Yggdrasil, no longer believes in ancient prophecy or the hand of fate. Across the veil, Churchwarden Michaels is stuck dealing with his own personal Ragnarök – and just how to save his neck now that three Viking crosses have appeared overnight at St. Mary’s.
When the boundaries between realities fracture, the two guardians discover that the gods not only play dice with the Vikingverse, they are rolling snake-eyes.
In this new chapter of the Vikingverse, the tapestry of time unfurls in deadly new ways
And death. The Ormr inn Langi was a hulk, long since designated as the imperial tomb, preserved just to be blasted off into the Gap. It was easy to imagine the blue sphere of flames engulfing the ship’s crown, flickering in the vacuum, a votive offering to a silent void.
She wondered whether the Empress was aware of the irony of having survived an extinction-level event in her own mausoleum.
Odin himself had decreed all dead men should be burned, and their belongings laid with them upon the pile, and for the ashes to be cast into the sea or buried in the earth. Everyone would come to Valhöll with the riches he or she had gathered about them. A woman of consequence like Trumba would have a mound raised to her memory, and for each of her distinguished warriors, a standing stone, a custom older than the Empire itself. Until now, Iðunn reflected. There were so many dead down below, it would take a whole new Stone Age to carve the memorials.
“And the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together. If you look closely, there, do you see? That. That was my Winter Palace.”
Iðunn glanced over at Trumba, mouthing her prayers in the dark. She’d seen the Empress on sightbands before, been lectured by her lawspeakers in the Criminal Courts, but she’d never seen her in the flesh. The volcanic glow of the planet played about her face, the contrast of the veil making a harlequin’s mask, her quizzically arched eyebrows accentuated by the wrinkled material. The effect was of catlike sensuality and slyness.
“Difficult to tell…” the Empress continued. “Every mountain and island moved out of their places. The Board of Ordnance won’t be amused.”
Iðunn’s own body was shapeless and drab by comparison. Her dress looked funereal in the twilight. It was unadorned, with a heavier veil than that which the Empress wore—a handmaiden’s, no doubt. She’d need a new vehicle, given time. This one was a thin disguise, but it had been the only occipital lobe available to hijack onboard. Iðunn was amazed she had gotten so close, so quickly, but in truth it was a mixed blessing. A servant would only see so much. She’d need to follow a Varangian to circumvent security. Come to think of it, where were the guards?
“I could never stand Miklagard, you know. All those stinking Serkir, effete Grikkir, and greedy Gyðingar,” the Empress said, now focused on the fragments of the Imperial capital. “Still, melting pot never seemed a more apt description…” she cackled. She didn’t really seem to care whether her handmaiden was listening or not. Like a child, she should be seen and not heard.