I know a sixteenth [rune]: If I see a girl
With whom it would please me to play,
I can turn her thoughts, can touch the heart
Of any fair-armed woman.
I know a seventeenth:
If I sing it,
The young girl will be slow to forsake me.
-- Words of the Most High, from the Elder Edda, c.800-1000 A.D.
* * *
The bars in Reykjavik aren't notably different from the bars in Brighton, or Boston, or Berlin, or Bali, or Bombay. Sure, everyone talks about the joys of taking in the cultures of other lands, and in the day-- at work, at play, on a beach-- it's possible to see differences in attitudes, mores, taboos. But alcohol and a sizzling dance beat are the great equalizers, and no one pays enough attention to what the deejay is saying to care about what language he happens to be speaking.
That was Ada's train of thought as she returned from the restroom to the poorly-illuminated table she shared with her friends. It was evident from Callista's slightly bored look that she shared this unspoken revelation; the redhead was looking around the club for something vaguely unique. Brandy, on the other hand, was oblivious to these kinds of thoughts. She'd started early by consuming the small bottle of Finlandia in the hotel room's mini-bar and was smiling broadly at several gentlemen in the establishment she would never have even glanced at cold sober. They were staring back. Evidently they liked blondes.
Ada's lips quirked. Same club. Different country.
"How's the loo?" Callista inquired.
"Cleaner than the one last night. Ick."
Both girls looked to Brandy for comment, since it had been her overconsumption which had ruined the aforementioned ladies' room the night before, but Brandy had stood up and wandered in the direction of the bar, where two average-looking guys awaited her.
Ada was hardly shocked. "Again?"
"Shouldn't we stop her?"
"Nah, it'll be fun to give her shit about it in the morning."
"If we see her in the morning."
"You don't think she'll go off on another unscheduled ski trip without us, do you?"
"I don't know what to expect on this holiday, really. When we're back in London, she never acts this... overt."
"No, but she doesn't drink much there, either. She's been quite the greedy one on this trip. In more ways than one."
Brandy had her arm around one guy's back, and was giving the other a "come hither" look.
"I can't watch!"
"Darling, we have to!"
"No," Ada replied, knocking back the rest of her drink, "I'm going to go off on a trip of my own. Just around the club, is all."
"My feet still hurt from the hike today and these bloody pumps. See if you can't scare up some gents for us, dear." Callista looked almost wistfully toward Brandy, again. "Preferably better-looking ones than that lot. Or else a few more drinks so we're like her and don't care so much."
The American girl chuckled at that, then stood up and left her companion nursing a cocktail.
It had been a fun trip, if perhaps a bit more on the relaxing side than on the exciting, for her. Unlike Brandy, Ada and Callista had spent each night in their own beds, unaccompanied. Not through lack of opportunity, of course-- Ada's curvaceous figure and creamy complexion got her hit on in nightclub after nightclub, and tall, leggy Callista was no slouch either. For whatever reason, however, neither girl had found what she was looking for in the selection of men they'd been granted. Brandy had been less choosy and, when Callista had made a not-quite-joking comment about her promiscuity, had replied back, "I've just spent three months slaving away at physics and maths, and I'm damned well going to have a rutting good time before we have to jet back to London. And when I say 'rutting', I mean plenty of it."
Her friends had smiled and shaken their heads, and expressed mild disapproval... but it was hard not to admit that after nine days of seeing Brandy hook up at every possible occasion, the other two were starting to feel a bit left out of the game.
Ada passed the second dance floor (there were three)-- fairly empty, though somewhat respectable for a Tuesday night. Certainly no one... er... nothing interesting, though.
On the other hand, sitting alone at the bar with a martini glass in hand (sans olive) was a broad-shouldered blond man with a big smile and wire-rims. She liked his look and sat down next to him.
"Hello," he said to her as she took her place on the barstool, crossing her legs. He very decidedly did not look her up and down (or at least did it surreptitiously enough that Ada missed it). She found this refreshing, and the Texas drawl was something else she hadn't encountered in awhile. Not too many Dallas natives in London, let alone Iceland.
"Hi," she replied, flashing her teeth at him. "What's a corn-fed boy like you doing so far from home?"
"Buyin' you a drink, darlin', what else? What'll it be?"
"A Red-Headed Slut."
Instead of the expected Had one of those. I asked what you'd like to drink... the gent offered a no-nonsense, "That's cranberry, Jaeger, and Peachtree, right?"
Ada nodded, deciding she liked this man. "What's your name, darlin'?" she inquired in a decent emulation of his accent.
He took no offense, of course, and after ordering for her, he replied with, "Zeke Rutledge. And yours?"
"Zeke? Your parents not like you much?"
"Hey, it beats 'Ezekiel' all to hell. And my cousins Nebuchadnezzar and Ahasuerus never cease to express their envy." He grinned.
It was infectious. "Ada," she replied, to his unrepeated query.
"'Ada'. I like that." The bartender took the cash he offered and set the drink down in front of her.
They talked and flirted for a while. He was on a business trip for his father's company, where he was a regional manager; she told him about school in England and her concentration, world history. His glasses did not hide his beautiful brown eyes from her, nor did they conceal his obvious admiration for her. She was about to ask him if he'd like to go someplace more private when Callista showed up, clearing her throat.
"Um... hi, Callista. This is Zeke. Is everything okay?"
Callista nodded politely at Zeke. From Callista's look, everything was not okay. "That tart has done it to us again!"
"Brandy? What did she do, now?"
"You know those two blokes she was throwing herself at?"
"She left with them?"
"No, that's the worst part. She can't even stay that faithful. She left with a totally different gent, and the other two apparently decided I was the consolation prize."
"Did she at least tell you where she was going?" Callista cocked her head and inclined an eyebrow. "Hmmm... apparently not. Cell phone?"
"Voice mail, dammit."
"Maybe she just went back to the room?"
Callista looked unconvinced, but hopeful. "Maybe. Could we go check? We've got those reservations for midnight golf tomorrow, and she's the only one who even likes the sodding game. If she's not there, we can get our money back and not have to endure the tedium."
Ada looked despairingly at Zeke, but he smiled and gestured that she should go. "I would like to see you again, though, darlin'."
What a nice guy. "I'm so sorry!"
"That's okay. Do you have a phone number with you? We can have dinner tomorrow night. It sounds like your plans may be canceled."
Ada used a pen from her purse to write her cell phone number on a cocktail napkin, then gave him a hug and a kiss on he cheek, waving goodbye.
Callista complimented her on her selection on the way back to the hotel. "I should have known you'd snap up all the quality ones for yourself!"
"He is pretty cool, isn't he?"
"He is pretty, anyway. Blond is my favorite flavor."
Callista giggled. "I'm just joshing you, dearie. But find out if he has a chum or something for me, all right?"
* * *
There was a knock at the door, and Ada, with a last glance in the bathroom mirror, slid on her pumps and went to answer it.
The door opened to reveal her new friend, Mr. Rutledge, decked out in a sport coat and one of those ridiculous string ties. Somehow, on him it managed to look good.
This time, Zeke was unable to refrain from looking her up and down-- though he tried to make it seem casual-- but this only served to give Ada a secret inner thrill. A girl liked to be rewarded for her efforts, after all, and she'd spent more than an hour and a half getting made up for tonight.
"If I were a man o' less culture, I'd whistle at you, Ada. You look great."
She dimpled. "You look quite dashing yourself, Mr. Rutledge."
"Ah, it's that formal, is it? Or is 'Zeke' too goofy for you? Can't say as I blame you."
She blushed. "It's not that. It's just that I've been at university for three years now, and I'm used to seeing boys, not men. I guess it's had an effect."
"I'm only twenty-five, darlin'. 'Mr. Rutledge' is still my daddy, not me."
"I'm sorry, Zeke. It won't happen again. I reckon."
"Are you making fun of a Texas boy, now?"
"No sirree, nohow. Um... yee haw?"
They shared a laugh, then she grabbed her purse and took his arm as they let the door close behind them.
"How'd things fare with your friend last night?"
She's been a whore all week, why should last night have been any different? she didn't reply.
Brandy had, unsurprisingly, not been present in their room, but she had returned the following afternoon, ranting and raving over Ellis, the man she had met last night. Despite Callista's best attempts to make her feel terrible or even a teensy bit guilty about abandoning her friends, Brandy had steadfastly defended her actions by describing the sexiness of her companion. When they had told her that they'd canceled the golf reservations, she had laughed and commented that she would be doing something much more exciting tonight than playing golf... though it would still involve balls and long hard objects.
Callista had wrinkled her nose at Brandy's crudity, but Ada'd thought she sniffed more than a little bit of jealousy there.
"You lot should come with me tonight when I go back there. Ellis has a friend named Dorian, and one of you could hook up with him. Or both of you could." She had grinned like a Cheshire cat.
Callista had looked interested, despite herself, but Ada had replied that she already had a big date planned.
Ada'd waited for Brandy to make some semblance of a polite inquiry about the guy she would be with, but Brandy had ignored that particular revelation other than to utter a snide, "Good! More for me!"
Callista had decided to go with Brandy, then; Ada, annoyed with Brandy for being so self-centered, had bid them both a cool goodbye and had hopped in the shower to get ready. By the time she'd turned off the spigot, they'd been gone. And good riddance.
"She'll be okay. I'm just glad I didn't have to go golfing."
"Yeah, I'm not a fan myself. Golf, to me, is like bein' a queer: a lot of people do it and seem to like it okay, and I'm very happy for them, but it just doesn't interest me very much."
"Well, that's okay. I like you just fine, even though you're under par, in the queer sense. Your clothes, for instance, could benefit from a Queer Eye. The string tie has to go. It's way too 80s to be seen out of the Lone Star State."
"Ma'am, I am insulted by your disrespect for my cultural heritage, and you will definitely pay for that by eating whatever it is I choose to order for you. And since they probably don't even have rattlesnake where I'm taking you, it's bound to be something even scarier."
"It's a deal, Texas. Now show me the way."
* * *
In the end, he refrained from ordering the singed sheep's head, though it was a near thing. He did not let her escape unscathed, though: he interviewed the waiter in an effort to find something disturbing. After eliciting blank looks when he asked about rattlesnakes and "gators", he ultimately asked if there was anything on the menu "which eats people", then watched in glee as she sniffed tentatively at the cured shark meat appetizer he ordered as a result. She found it a little tough for her taste, but not at all bad.
The main course was some roasted fowl she'd never heard of (ptarmigan?); she found it delicious, and Zeke described it as tasting "like chicken should taste". Dessert was some yogurty stuff called "skyr", and they shared it out of the same bowl. And the same spoon.
When he started popping blueberries into her mouth with his fingers, she decided it was time to go somewhere more intimate, though she hadn't yet decided whether to take him to her room or go to his. In the end, because he was too polite to ask, she made the invitation, hoping Country-Boy wouldn't find this too forward. Indeed not, as he smiled broadly and called for the check in response.
He was an utter gentleman the entire walk home, and she very much hoped that he wouldn't continue to be so once they were in the room.
She needn't have worried overmuch. As soon as the door closed behind them, he grabbed her with his muscular arms and crushed her mouth to his own. She threw off her jacket and wrapped her hands around his neck, tongue wrestling with his-- sometimes probing into his mouth, more often accepting him into hers.
"Accepting him into hers" became the theme of the evening, actually; he put his hands on the backs of her thighs, and began sliding them upward. She tried to assist by hiking her dress up higher, but he grew impatient and yanked it up with a ripping motion that tore seams. His hands entered her panties from behind, and she gasped into his mouth when his fingers entered her and started slowly, deliciously, rhythmically to thrust in and out. She felt her dampness wet his palms and the silk of her underwear, and he deftly used his left hand to unclasp her bra through the back of her dress. I could love a man who uses his hands... came her inner soundtrack album, and she shushed him as he asked why she was giggling.
He responded by suckling her breasts through the dress, and eventually she unbuttoned the top so he could access her more directly. Yes, there... Between the fiery invasion of her pussy and the nipple stimulation, she melted in her shoes and began fucking back at his fingers as she came.
She couldn't see his face in the dark, but somehow she knew he was grinning at her. She pulled him back on the bed and demanded that he take her, now. He was happy to be her guest, pulling her panties down with the same fervor he'd used to yank the dress up. With a minor pause to add protection-- she was thankful; she'd been too aroused to even remember to ask-- he was inside her, his powerful thrusts teaming up with the solidity of his cock to make her breath come in sharp bursts. She felt his weight on her hands as he held her down for his use, and when he slowed, stopped for an intake of breath, and then really started pounding her in his own orgasmic fury, she met him all the way with a screaming climax of her own.
It wasn't until he got out of bed in the morning that she saw the claw marks she'd made on his back, but she'd liked the look of them. They looked like ownership. Mine... she thought, and sank back into a sated slumber.
* * *
He'd left her a note on the table: "Tried to wake you, but you were kinda tired for some reason. Want to see you again tonight. Texas."
She smiled fondly and laid back on the bed. She wasn't sure how serious she wanted this to be-- they weren't even living on the same continent, after all, and long distance relationships sucked bigtime... but for now she was just reveling in the excitement of someone new... someone wonderful... someone who wanted her a lot. She stroked her body lightly, remembering last night, and her arousal started to resume--
The door opened, then, and she covered up with a sheet as her roommates entered.
Both were somewhat bleary-eyed; apparently they'd not gotten much sleep, whatever they'd been doing.
They weren't too shy about discussing it, either. "Well, look what we have here!" Brandy declared. Looks like we're not the only ones who got royally shagged last night."
Ada reddened as Callista picked up the bottom of the tangled sheet and peered underneath. "I'll say. And from the aroma, I'd say she enjoyed it a lot. And still is. Should I smell your fingers, dearie?"
Ada leapt out of bed, the sheet wrapped around her torso. "What's gotten into you two?"
"And Dorian." Brandy shuddered with the memory.
"You simply must come with us to meet them, Ada darling!"
"Yes. The backwoods boy is pretty enough, but you just don't know what you're missing with Ellis and Dorian. Why waste your time with a man in a cowboy hat?"
"Because I fancy him, that's why! Look, just because I haven't gone from normal college gal to playing the tart for a couple of two-bit pickup gents--"
"'Fancy'? 'Tart'? 'Gents'? I do believe she's been in London too long, Brandy. She's even talking like us."
"I do so hate when 'Merkins try to sound British."
Ada was repulsed, and she was sure it showed on her face. Brandy she would expect this from, given the past week's example, but Callista was just as bad, if not worse. "Sure, Brandy, whatever you say. Look, I don't want to meet the men who've made you into fucktoys. I'll be even more British for you, now: bugger off! I'm getting in the shower."
"Shall we join you?"
"Right! I smell like rut."
"No, thanks." Ada nearly ran into the bathroom, locking the door behind her and leaning against it, freaked out. She heard the two giggling through the door, and then a hushed conversation which she felt certain contained her name several times. Finally, she shook her head, turned on the faucet, and waited for the water to get warm.
When she emerged a half hour later, her girlfriends were asleep, mutually entangled in the remaining sheets. And naked. She hurried to don a pair of slacks and a blouse, grabbed a pair of shoes, and fled.
She didn't see the face of the man who seized her outside their room and dragged her, hand over mouth, down the hall into an executive suite.
* * *
After gagging her with a torn slice of bedsheet and binding her to a chair with leather cords, the big bulk of a man left her to sit alone in the living room. He made a hushed phone call, but she didn't understand a word of it. It sounded Icelandic, but it could have been anything Germanic; Ada was not big on languages. And she was terrified; she didn't know if he was going to rape her or kill her or both. Nor in which order he was going to do them.
The fellow hung up the phone, and approached her slowly. He looked at her, not unkindly, and wiped away her tears with one of his hands. His words were possibly meant to be soothing, but all she could think of was where his hands might go next.
Across the room, evidently, along with the rest of him. He sat at the kitchen nook and sipped at a glass of water while he watched her, and after more than a half hour of this behavior there was a knock at the door. Ada didn't know what horrors to expect next, and the door swung open to reveal...
... a dark-haired woman. She was tall, looked to be in her early thirties, and was quite pretty, really. She spoke to the man in the same language he'd used before, and then started... singing to him. He swayed a bit in rhythm with her music, then slowly bowed his head and walked out the door, leaving the two women alone together.
"I'm sorry for the way you were brought here, but there was no good way to do this and be sure of my safety, so I had to use the large oaf who just left. I've released him, and after he gets back to his room and drops off into a mid-morning nap he will forget all of this ever happened.
"You won't, however. You're going to help me get what I want." She caressed my face, and I flinched. She smiled into my eyes. "Don't worry, I promise you'll thoroughly enjoy it. One way or another."
The woman, who was wearing a shift dress that belied the temperatures outside, sat on the sofa opposite her. Glancing down at her watch, she sighed. "You know, I could wait another hour or so to be sure, but I have never been very patient. Besides, the extra seidh I just gave him should still carry enough power to get him to his pillow, even if he's released in all other ways.
The brunette began humming an almost familiar tune, but Ada couldn't place where she'd heard it before, unless it was moments ago before the man left. But it was so much more complex than that, using unfamiliar notes too subtle in differentiation to be found on the keys of a piano. To Ada it sounded vaguely Indian-- it wasn't harmonic, but it did have a certain melody of its own. She was a bit fascinated by it, but the bound-and-gagged state she was in was hardly conducive to music appreciation.
When the woman opened her mouth and the tones had actual words, Ada lost all those concerns.
The words were meaningless to her; they were not English, but even if they had been she wouldn't have been unable to decode them on a conscious level. No, these words spoke directly to her soul, to deep parts of her brain which weren't accessible under normal conditions. She felt her heart soar, and her mind bend, twist... Anger, fear, even confusion all faded, replaced by peace, sweet tranquility, and love.
Love for this woman who sat before her, an undying affection striking to the core of her being. Desire to make her proud, to make her happy, to seize some of the same love from this woman in return. And suddenly Ada knew her name, it slid into her and made her sigh: Gullveig. Many other names danced in that song, but the only other than Ada could feel was appropriate was "mistress".
The song went on for hours, days... but probably really only minutes. When it ended, Ada wept at its absence. She'd never known anything so beautiful.
"Now, my pet, I'm going to remove this so we can talk together. I know you'll remain very quiet so you can learn what I need to tell you. Isn't that right?"
Ada nodded vigorously. She wanted to taste her mistress's name on her lips, and this makeshift gag was preventing that.
As lovely hands twisted the knot loose behind Ada's head, welcome air rushed into her mouth. She sucked it in, and panted out, "I love you, Mistress Gullveig. I will do anything for you."
"I'm sure you will, pet, I'm sure you will." Gullveig said to her, caressing her cheek. "And that is my truest name, indeed, but I prefer 'Heidi' right now. It's less conspicuous, even though I've used it before, too."
"Mistress Heidi, I--"
"Enough with the 'mistress', love. I know it's there, you've no need to say it aloud. Simply 'Heidi'. If it makes you feel uncomfortable to be so familiar, you may downcast your eyes. But I would prefer to see them. They are quite lovely and green. You remind me of a pet I had a thousand years ago, and thrall by the name of Lin. Her eyes were the color of yours, and it gave me such a thrill to make her mine. Tell me, girl, what is your name and how do you feel?"
Ada gave this vision of beauty her name, and would have followed with a long personal history if she didn't feel it would be boring for her mistress. "I feel great love for you, but... scared. You... you had me dragged here, against my will, and I don't think that's right. But, in my heart..."
"In my heart, I know I can't help myself. I'm weak for you, mis-- Heidi. I know what I want, but I know that I should not..."
Heidi sat down on her lap, smelling delicious, and Ada struggled not to sink into the black, shoulder-length hair. She knew she should be exerting every ounce of her being to resist this woman's touches, holding her breath to ward off the woman's perfume, closing her eyes to blot the woman from sight. She knew she should be doing all these things, but in truth she didn't... want... to. And Heidi could tell.
"Yes, my pet, you're feeling it, now. I can see it in your eyes. You couldn't stop wanting me even if I asked you to." She leaned in. "But I won't ask you to, Ada, darling. Desire is where I want you to go, and that is the path you're on, now." Then Heidi's mouth was upon hers, the taste of the tall woman's tongue fresh and moist, breasts crushed to breasts as the kiss went on and on.
"Indeed," whispered the cajoling voice as lips parted, "if I were to let you loose right now, you'd not even run, would you, my pet?"
Ada's answer was an urgent attempt to reclaim Heidi's mouth with her own, and the moan she emitted as she did so left no doubt what her answer was.
In a moment, the cords which held fast her wrists and ankles were severed by Heidi's knife. True release, of course, was not to be so easily obtained, even after the worship of her mistress's body commenced.
* * *
"The song I gifted you with is my seidh, my spellsong. Its secrets lie far back in time's depths. I have forgotten when or where or how I knew it, but known it I have for countless lives of women. Woden I gave this gift in years past, the gift of magic in the voice, and in return... well, that is the entire point of this discussion, isn't it?"
Ada propped her chin up on a pillow, trying to follow every last word Heidi threw out to her. It was difficult to concentrate when what she really wanted to do was take her mistress into her arms once more and shower her with orgasmic bliss once more, as she had in the hours before. Heidi sprawled atop the mattress, nude, relaxed, restful, but alert to her thrall's attention.
"The seidh was my bargaining chip, but what I am missing, now, is far greater. And my loss has been the gain of two useless men who do not know what they carry. It is both tragic and amusing.
"Your friends are enslaved by the men they just met, by..." here she paused, searching for words.
It struck Ada as obvious, when she thought about it, "You mean Ellis and Dorian."
"Ah, is that their names? I hadn't gotten that close, yet. Interesting."
She was filled with joy, knowing that she'd helped her mistess in some small way.
Heidi continued. "Long ago I lost the totem, and I had no idea it had come to Iceland else I might have recovered it. But now it has been found, and its first use called to me like a lover. And so I came here, and watched, and waited. I know much seidh besides the love-compulsion, and soon your friends became known to me, and their plight, and their masters-- at least from a distance. And you, also, my pet." She stroked Ada's hair.
It felt delightful, but Ada was still confused. "Heidi... Love, I don't understand. About seidh, about totems, or what Ellis and Dorian are doing. Or Woden...? Wasn't he a Norse god or something?"
"He was that, darling, and the best of them. I could tell you such tales... You have heard some of them, corrupted by the ages. The Norse told many tales of my time, but as with any oral tradition, things went awry."
"I promise, nothing will ever go awry with my oral traditions."
Heidi grinned in mirror-image to Ada's own lascivious expression. "I don't know what you mean, precious, but I trust you'll show me. Later, though. There are things you need to know, now, for the task ahead.
"The Norse poems were eventually collected into the Edda, but by then they were so garbled that they had long lost any real historical worth. My first death, as Gullveig, was closest to the truth, and when I arose again as Freyja, Hoern, Mardoell, Syr--"
"Your first death?"
"Pet, I am of the Vanir, the Eldest. I can die, but I am reborn into a direct-line female descendant by the next sunrise..."
Ada was fascinated. She had known her beloved was long-lived, but hadn't realized the form the immortality took.
"...which was troublesome back in the early days, when plagues could take hold and eradicate entire populations of my descendants, and I was reduced to a mere disembodied sprit. Now it is much different. Better. Most of the world is descended from me in some way. I don't like dying, but at least I don't spend as much time dead as I once did."
"The Aesir... killed you?"
"Dozens of times. Sometimes rather painfully. It was an age of misogyny, but Thor was the worst of the lot. I could tell he actually enjoyed it.
"Anyway, I don't know where Woden got his runes, but at some point he found a pair that were very potent when placed together, and the girls all flocked to him. Needless to say, I was very intrigued by this, and I offered to teach him my magic in exchange for the runes. The runes were all fine and good for controlling mortals, but his fellow Aesir weren't affected. Seidh, on the other hand... seidh is universal.
"So I taught Woden seidh, and he forged for me the runestick, Od." Ada watched Heidi's mouth as she said the word. She pronounced it "ode", with perhaps a hint of a rolled "R" at the end. "And for a long time the Aesir watched as I bent womankind to my will."
It excited Ada to imagine this, hordes of womanflesh worshipping her mistress, the sounds, smells, tastes... She began squeezing her thighs together slowly, subtly, rhythmically.
"Eventually it was Thor who was my undoing. He was angry with Woden for accepting my bribe and decided to take matters into his own hands. He found me in my temple, making love to my worshippers, and bludgeoned me to death with a metal club. Years later I returned to Sweden, dug up the corpse where my followers had buried it, and searched desperately for Od, but it was gone... Gone, and nowhere to be found, by gods or men. Thor was gone, too, damn him, and I was never able to wrest the secret out of him before he was... killed..."
"What happened to him? I thought you could never really die."
"No, pet, the Aesir are truly immortal, but they don't die and come back the way I do. They heal, though it can take a long time depending on the damage. And the damage can be extensive. The Aesir aren't as casual about death as I can be, so they've adopted a somewhat mortal existence. Last I heard, Woden was the top executive of a law firm in Berlin. Loki owns a string of used car dealerships in California."
Heidi looked conflicted. "I'm not sure. The Inquisitors couldn't kill him, so they just repeatedly tortured and mutilated him. It was an ugly fate, even for someone like Thor."
She shook her head. "At any rate, back to the matter at hand... Od has... limitations. The men who are using it on your friends have likely figured out that its power doesn't extend very far. Not even a mile, really."
"But... Brandy and Callista have been farther away from them than that. How is that possible?"
"Your friends don't know they are enslaved. They probably just think the men are somehow the most arousing people they've ever met, and want to do everything for them, even when not under Od's direct influence."
"Are you saying they're in love with Ellis and Dorian? Even when they're far away?"
"Love is probably too strong a word, too complex an emotion. Od is limited to unbridled lust, but within that space, its effects are much, much stronger than seidh."
"Impossible, my love."
Heidi smiled at her and touched her cheek. "You only think so, now, pet. Wait until you've felt its presence. Truly, it is hnoss, as the old songs said." She sighed, but Ada looked blank at the reference, so Heidi explained further. "In the poetry traditions, it was said that Freyja was wed to Od, and that they had a daughter, Hnoss, 'delight'. Which was close to true, in a way-- I brought much delight to the world of women when I possessed Od. And will do so again, when you've retrieved it for me."
"Me? Mistress, how? What if they use Od to... to..." Ada couldn't finish out loud. To take me away from you? "Couldn't you... use your seidh on them, as you have on me?"
Heidi shook her head. "I have considered it, but it's too dangerous, my pet. My seidh cannot own more than one person at a time-- that is the rule-- and I don't know which one of them has it. Also, if you try and fail, I can send another minion and try once more. If they take me... all is lost."
Something deep inside Ada felt hurt to hear this callous disregard for her, a replaceable "minion", but she wanted to please her mistress in any way she could, and if that meant self-sacrifice, then so be it. Imagining her wonderful Heidi at the whim of those men... She shuddered.
The other woman went on. "Od is not seidh. Its enslavement is entirely sexual in nature. The body is subjugated to Od, and the mind is subjugated to the body's wants, the body's needs. In days long gone, I would use the runestick to reinforce my hold of the mind using bodily lust, and augment the body's feelings with seidh. The end result was that my control was not limited to one slave, and distance from Od became irrelevant. The mind and body were tamed and the will was malleable in my hands." She was lost in memory, and her breathing grew deeper and faster. She broke her reverie. "And it will be so, again, my pet. Soon you will see. And feel."
Heidi discarded her gown, and Ada nearly wept with joy at the sight. "Pet, I believe you were going to illustrate your oral traditions for me?"
Ada didn't respond with words because her mouth was otherwise engaged.
* * *
"I want to talk to them."
"I thought you didn't want to meet either one of them. You were pretty adamant about it."
Ada was back in her room now; Brandy was gone already, presumably off servicing Ellis and Dorian or whoever else was in their little fuckhut. Zeke had stopped by to visit and make googly eyes at her; he rested on the couch and observed the exchange. Callista was staring into the mirror, putting on eyeshadow that made her look like a whore. Ada thought it was entirely appropriate... and something deep in the recesses of her libido now found it exciting, too.
"I've changed my mind."
Callista looked mischievous. "Good. I know you'll like them. A lot."
Ada looked as skeptical as she felt, but she knew what she had to do. "Maybe. Right now I just want to tell them that I don't appreciate them treating you and Brandy like pieces of meat and ruining our vacation."
"I'm sure they wouldn't mind hearing that from you, darling. They're very... open-minded. And they've been wanting to meet you, too."
Sure they had.
Ada turned to Zeke. "Zeke, I'm going to go and have a chat with these guys. I should be back tonight in time for our dinner date."
He frowned, grabbed his coat, and pulled her aside to the door. "Ada, I don't think this is such a good idea. Your friend seems... I don't know... drugged or something. And you don't know anything about these guys. I'm worried about you."
She smiled mildly at him, grinning internally at how right he was. "I'm sure everything will be okay. I can take care of myself, and I'll be back before tonight."
His expression read "unconvinced", but Ada shrugged, kissed him on the cheek, then shooed him out and gently closed the door on him. She focused on Callista as she heard his retreating footsteps.
She could smell her friend's arousal from here, and it made her think of what her own face had smelled like before she'd showered: Heidi. That thought was getting her horny again, and she resisted the urge to throw Callista on the bed and tongue her into submission. If all of this worked out to her mistress's satisfaction, Callista could easily be hers. Heidi's, that is... but she hoped her mistress would be generous in sharing cuntslaves. Ada refrained from acting on her desires and allowed herself to be led out of the resort, to the street, and into the rental car.
Callista knew the way well, evidently. She drove like a native, though Ada was soon lost amid the maze of streets. They left the city and headed east on the open road, and about fifteen minutes into the drive they turned onto a secondary road, then to a gravel side street. Callista parked the car in front of a largish house whose windows gleamed with welcoming yellow light, and Ada noticed Callista's nipples solidly poking forward through the tight nylon of her blouse. Her eyes were shifty, too; she looked agitated and distracted, and she tried half-heartedly to conceal from Ada the hand that she pressed against her mound through the stretchy skirt material. "Come on," she said to her friend. "They're waiting."
They left the car and approached the front porch, where a door opened on a luxurious wood-paneled space. Hunting lodge style, with a large hearth and a roaring fire. On an overstuffed sofa sat a blond-bearded man of about twenty-five years, his shirt casually open at the neck, a leather thong disappearing into it. Ada had a pretty good idea what was hanging there. She gulped.
Callista was thrilled, and ran toward him ecstatically. "Ellis, Ellis! I brought her! She's here!" She seized his face in her hands and kissed him, molding her body to his, trying to touch as much of him at once as possible. She hiked up her skirt urgently. "Will you fuck me, now? Please?"
Ellis mumbled soothing words to Callista, and she smiled and calmed down. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?" he asked, turning to face Ada directly. Callista stood slightly in front of him, her ass against his upper leg, and he affectionately stroked her belly as her breathing quickened. She moved her body upward in an effort to get his touch lower.
"Ellis, lover, I want you to meet my best friend, Ada. Ada, this is Ellis." Ellis didn't wave, since his hands were now in the depths of Callista's panties. The girl cooed. "You are going to like him soooo much."
Ada didn't think so, and evidently the reaction had shown on her face, because Ellis noticed and gave a wry smile. "Perhaps not now," he admitted, "but soon."
She saw him thrust his hand hard into her girlfriend's panties, and Callista emitted several squeals of delight. Hnoss, Ada thought absently.
Ellis removed his fingers from their playground, and Callista slowly licked them clean, staring at Ada all the while. Her arousal intensified at this display; after Heidi's seizure of her sapphic virginity, the way she looked at girls had changed profoundly, and her own panties grew damp while watching her friend devour her own juices. This was not at all according to plan, and Ada tried to ignore Callista completely and strode forward to this man who held the reins of her libido. She intended to reach down into his shirt and rip her goddess's rightful property from the neck of this usurper, and something in her eyes must have warned him, because he snatched his hand out of Callista's mouth and wrapped his fist around the bulge inside his shirt.
Ada felt it seize her, felt Od's effect, seething on the edges of her mind, filling her with a lust she'd not known before. Her excitement at Callista's antics was nothing, not a ghost of arousal compared to this. Every heartbeat pulsed in her cunt, every breath in and out seemed to tantalize her nipples with the brief stretch of her skin.
Ellis's Cock beckoned even as she sank to her knees and gently pulled down his trousers. She wanted it inside her, in her pussy, in her ass, in her mouth, everywhere, invading her. Pervading her. Her tongue made love to it with a fervor, hoping that if she made this Cock pleased, if she could get it to spurt down her throat or on her face then maybe, maybe, Ellis might put it in her slit for an encore.
That looked plausible at the moment; Ellis was pleased with her efforts, and his hands tangled in her hair even as she gripped his ass for traction. He'd doubtless have come already from her oral ministrations, but it was evident from the taste on the Cock that he'd been fucking Brandy or Callista or both today-- who knew how many times? The thought made her excited, and she wondered if she'd get to fuck them, too.
Ellis paused, and Ada felt the cheeks of his ass stiffening, and she plunged the Cock as deep into her throat as she could. He went over the edge, then, grunting and snarling, and fucking her face like he was doggy-styling her pussy. Which, in Ada's imagination, he was. She came once from this vision alone, hard, without even touching her clit, and swallowed what he offered her in a fit of bliss.
Ellis smiled down at her, sated and elated, like a benevolent deity, as she cleaned him off and lovingly licked the sweat from his balls. He sat down on the sofa and watched her work, patting her hair as he would a prize bird-dog. "You'll be a welcome addition to the crowd," he giggled. "You give seriously great head, baby. I think you'll be my special girl."
She got a little thrill from that, but she wanted more. She intensified her "cleaning" efforts in a no-so-subtle effort to entice him into trying one of her other openings, and it seemed to be beginning to work when a voice rang out from the other room.
"Ellis, dude. It's my turn."
Ellis looked momentarily annoyed, but then shrugged and nodded. "Yeah, okay. I'll send her in. You send out Titty-Fuck?"
"I was planning on keeping Titty-Fuck for the event. I want to make them cunt-munchers like last night."
"That can wait. The deal is you get her right after me, not that you get to do everything you want to her immediately."
"The Redhead, then?"
"Aw, all right. Just send her in."
"Okay." Ellis put his hand under her chin, looked into her eyes, and told her to go and serve Dorian. "If you're good, I'll fuck your pussy."
Ada was reluctant, but hopeful. Would he, really?
He answered the unasked question. "Hard."
The muscles in her womb clenched with eagerness, and she found the will to stand up and move to the door to the adjoining room.
There she met Callista, clothes discarded, curly auburn locks unruly, everywhere, enhancing rather than concealing her nude form. She kissed Ada deeply, providing an enticing taste of herself, and stroked Ada's ass as she passed. "Later," she promised with lust-glazed eyes.
On the other side of the door she met Brandy, who was clad in nothing but a thong and a smile. The space between her breasts was red from friction, and her face and neck displayed evidence of lotions L'Oreal would not sell. She hugged Ada and said, "Welcome to the family, dearie!" then rushed through the door to get to Ellis.
Dorian was on the bed, the covers a tattered mess, an adult video playing on the television. "Come 'ere, bitch. Let's figure out what to do with you."
She longed to flee, but knew that if she satisfied this man, Ellis would fuck her. Hard, she heard him say again in her memory. And that was more than enough for her.
Ada strode, excited, to the bed. "Anything you want, Dorian. It's my pleasure."
* * *
Ada's nipples sent tingly bursts cuntward as Brandy gently but insistently twisted and pinched them, and the taste and smell of Callista's steamy pussy filled her senses. She could barely breathe with the other girl astride her face, but she wouldn't have it any other way, for Ellis was inside her at last, reaming her ass for all he was worth. Dazzling light played in her brain and her fingers played in her snatch, all of her senses raw and excited at the pleasure she was feeling, and as he squirted into her she sighed her muffled climax into her girlfriend's muff.
Ellis lay back, momentarily satisfied, and watched Ada finish Callista off while Brandy sank to her knees to service them both with fingers and mouth. Places switched several times, and the tangle of bodies pulsed together once or twice more, then lay spent across the sofa. The air was full of the smell of sweat and sex, and Brandy and Callista smiled contentedly and want to sleep. Only Ada was left to talk to her wonderful Ellis.
He smiled and beckoned to her, and she came and sat at his feet, massaging them. "Thank you, my little slut."
The word was wrong, but despite that (or perhaps because of it), it gave her a tiny thrill. "Anything to give you pleasure, Ellis. Just please use me."
"I will, kid, I will. A lot. And for a long time. Can't imagine getting tired of doing you, but my cock is sleepy for the moment, so we can talk."
"I... I have questions..."
"Oh? And what are they?"
"I've never felt... the way I'm feeling with you. Have felt with you ever since I got here. What is--"
"Why do you feel like you need to fuck me and will do whatever I say in order to be allowed to do so?"
She blushed, and when she heard the word "fuck" she glanced down at his Cock, which was, alas, still recovering. "Yes. Why? When I first saw you, I didn't feel that way at all, but things are so different now."
He looked thoughtful. "I'm not exactly certain myself, babe. It has something to do with this." He pulled the thong around his neck, slowly revealing what hung on its loop. The revelation of Od was relatively anti-climactic-- for all of its power, it looked like a terribly old clay idol with a couple of marks scrawled in it. "Me and Dorian found this in a cave while we were spelunking in the fjords a couple of weeks back."
"What... what is it?"
"I don't know. It's pretty ancient, I know that, and I thought I'd sell it to an archaeologist or somebody, but it became pretty obvious that it's much better than a quick source of cash. See, soon after I started carrying it around, women started doing whatever I wanted. Begging to fuck me. Literally begging. I know it's hard for you to believe right now, but I've never really been much of a ladies' man-- Dorian's more successful at that."
Ada was dumbfounded. If she thought about it hard, tried to distance herself from her libido, Dorian was objectively a little better looking than Ellis. And he was certainly very kinky and creative in bed. But the way he treated her, the way he acted when he knew the girls in his bed were a sure thing... he was a total asshole. Ellis had Od, and there was no question it had an impact on his attractiveness, but he looked at all of this from a different perspective, and Ada could appreciate the difference even from a non-sexual standpoint.
"Anyway, when I figured it out, I told Dorian, and it was his idea to see how far we could take it. We... um... switched off on one of the local girls, then a couple others... but they had too many ties, here, and there were problems with family and friends. Nothing I couldn't handle, of course, but I don't enjoy controlling angry boyfriends or fathers very much."
Ada noticed he said nothing about angry girlfriends or mothers. She thought there was likely a good reason for that, and the image of him taking her mother made her uncomfortably horny. The more disgusted she became with herself, the more she juiced. She tried to ignore her feelings and listen to him talk. Such nice lips, and tongue...
"Eventually, we decided to move out here to the countryside and to limit our pickups to tourist gals. And you're the first set. I haven't yet decided whether to send you back to London or to keep you here to recruit some more hotties for us."
"Oh, please keep us!"
He chuckled. "We'll see how good you stay. This thing," he indicated Od, "doesn't work too well the farther away you get, I've learned that much. But I do like to have you here, and I can think of a couple of occupations for you girls which will ensure you're able to help support the household." She shuddered and imagined herself fucking people for money, and giving it all to Ellis. "I'm an old-fashioned guy, and I think I'll make everyone contribute to the household upkeep. Except for Dorian, that fucking freeloader." He wrinkled his forehead.
"If you're so annoyed with him, why don't you take control of him as well? Make him be less annoying?"
"Nuh uh. This thing is all about sex. When I made the banker get me loads of cash from the vault, the guy spent most of the time begging to suck my cock. Which I'm very not into. Creeped me out. Plus, I just wouldn't do that to Dorian. We've been friends since the second grade! He pisses me off now and then, but he's still like a brother to me. Someday, if I get bored with girls..." He shrugged. "Well, never say 'never', I guess.
"But that day's not going to be soon, hon. You are fine, and smooth, and clean where it matters and dirty where it's best, and I am going to fuck you again, in your pussy this time. What do you say to that?"
Intense thrills danced in her synapses. She spread her thighs astride him in the chair and begged, "Oh, please! I've been hoping and waiting soooo long..."
He was happy to oblige, and the shock to her clit as his bulk filled her sent her into instant paroxysms of joy. Her body thrust of its own accord, hard, fast, pulling him deeper, wishing she could take his entire body into her, every centimeter of his skin a source of pleasure. He had been doing little else but fucking for days on end, so he was hardly on a hair-trigger, but the passion with which she seized him and the desperation in her eyes as she plunged him into her over and over again... It was mere moments, rather than tens of moments, before he gripped her shoulders for leverage and pushed up into her in his own thrilled climax, and as his come entered her it was as if a chime went off in her head. It sounded like her mistress's chime...
His breath was ragged, smoothing into exhausted pants, and then drifting him into slumber atop the table surface.
Ada, sated and giddy, crept across the room to the sofa, where she collapsed beside her friends. She was almost asleep, herself, when she heard, distantly, the sounds of a parking car. The front door opened and Heidi stepped inside.
"Mistress!" Ada was embarrassed to see her lover, partly because of her own disheveled state (and what it revealed about what she'd been doing), but also because from the moment Ellis had invoked Od she hadn't given a single thought to Heidi or the love they shared. She felt shame. "I-- I'm sorry, mistress. I-- Od-- it felt so wonderful, and..."
Heidi paid her little heed. "Is that the one?"
"Yes." She was embarrassed at her betrayal, but wanted to be honest. "I... fucked him. And the other one, too."
"I don't care who you 'fucked', little fool. The spell I cast on your womb last night was potent enough to exhaust ten men, let alone two men. Or women," she remarked absently, with a glance at the unconscious girls on the couch. There was something cold and distracted in her tone. "Is he the one who holds Od?"
"Oh... oh! Yes! He is! I will get it for you..."
"NO!" snapped Heidi, or Gullveig, or Freyja. Whoever she was right now, she didn't seem like the caring woman who had caressed her soul for the last several nights. Without touching Ada physically, the tall woman pushed her aside with a hand wave. Ada tripped back and fell on the sofa. "You'll not touch Od. No one again ever will. No one but me. And all the world will once more dance to my seidh."
Heidi strode to the center of the room, slowly, deliberately, as to her coronation. She whispered to herself in a long-dead tongue, but no translator was necessary to understand the meaning of her words: Finally, and once more, Od is mine! She neared the table, already extending her arms across it toward the man sprawled opposite her.
With a buzzing noise and a thwok, the feathers of an arrow sprouted from the table in front of Heidi, who froze, poised in the midst of reaching for Ellis's neck. The source of the arrow was evidently Ezekiah Rutledge, who looked mildly ridiculous in a snowsuit and a longbow. He may have been aware of how he looked, as he was grinning, but the smile never touched the brown of his eyes.
"It's really a damn shame I couldn't bring my Glock, but, gun control, you know? This'll have to do. Get away from that man." A new arrow was nocked and poised to spring. "I placed fourth in the national championship, lady. Don't play games."
She smiled, glancing toward Ellis, calculating timing. "I can't be killed that easily, pet. Whatever threat you offer, believe me, it's been done. The burning was the worst, and they tried that three times." She was pensive. "Yet I am still here, and they are not. And now I will have Od once more." She reached for Ellis and the thing he held.
"Step the fuck back, lady. I'm warning you."
She ignored him and got her hand pinned to the table with an arrow. Zeke was indeed a hell of a shot.
Heidi grunted, trying to free her hand so she could reach Ellis. The pain didn't seem to bother her at all: just the annoying reduction in mobility. She glared up at him even as she tried to loosen the arrow in the oak.
"I will recover it. I have always recovered it, regardless of the cost. Once, I pleasured four dwarfs for several days in order to get it back."
"On the contrary, Ada. They were very creative. I highly recommend it, should you have the opportunity. In fact, I can arrange--"
"This is all very amusing," Zeke interrupted, "but I think it's time for you to get away from that nice gentleman, there. Now."
The uncertainty in Heidi's eyes was evident-- could she get to the runestick before the archer hammered a shaft into her chest, or would his aim be true and fast? And would it matter if she got the precious thing in hand, only to have her heart pierced by an arrow before she could use it? Finally, her shoulders sank in defeat. She waited calmly, ignoring her jagged mess of a hand on the table as Zeke took the stairs down, his eyes never leaving her body. Her eyes never leaving his.
It was Ada who realized what was happening, who heard the alto hum coming from Heidi's chest, microtones sounding alien in the warm firelight. She grinned at her mistress's cleverness, seeing Zeke come slowly, deliberately under her thrall. It wasn't until the seidh had escalated to actual speech and Zeke's eyes were becoming half-lidded that Ada felt the reins on her mind loosen, fall away, disappear.
In that instant, Heidi was no longer an object of worship, the emotional and sexual center of Ada's universe-- she was a dangerous and power-crazed madwoman whose plans for the rest of the world were to make them all her eternal servants. Worshipping her as Ada had, selflessly and adoringly. And while Ada had enjoyed it at the time, was still enjoying looking at Heidi's tight ass and horrendously turned on by the fact that Zeke's arms were lowering slowly in an obedient sleepiness... she knew it was just the tattered remnants of seidh clinging to her brain.
And that was why, as Gullveig triumphantly thrust the Texan aside and leapt for the thing around Ellis's neck, Ada took a two-handed swing at the other woman's head with the fireplace poker. The feelings for her mistress had not fully subsided, and tears streamed down her cheek as she whispered, "Forgive me, mistress," and hit Gullveig/Heidi again, this time square in the forehead. The tall woman dropped to the ground, motionless, without so much as a groan, and Ada wept hopelessly into her fists, refusing to look down at her once-lover, mistress, goddess. The pain was still too great.
Zeke had collapsed into smiling slumber, and Ada let him rest as she stepped over him to climb atop the table. The thong Ellis wore broke easily with a yank, and he barely paused in his snoring. She paused to smack him (Hard! she thought to herself), and was about to pocket the totem when fingers gripped her ankles from behind.
In horror she shrieked, spinning around, Heidi's ruined face jabbering at her in a futile attempt to speak, to threaten, to demand. No seidh could be pronounced through the destroyed jaw, but the light of intelligence and fury still shone from those eyes. The clawing, grasping hands that caught at the table legs in some incoherent fashion, trying desperately to pull closer to Od, promised rending torment of the girl who had stymied triumph, and it was this image that shook loose Ada's last filaments of sympathy or affection for this woman. Raising the iron rod once more, twice more-- a third and final time-- she completed in anger and fear the work she had neglected moments before out of sentiment. And the witch finally lay dead. Again. For now.
* * *
Mount Hekla loomed ahead of her. Use of Od had permitted her to dominate one of the patrolmen stationed at the "safe limits", and he'd not only bowed at her feet, begging to serve, but had told her the quickest and safest means of getting to one of the lava flows.
She gagged on the sulfurous fumes long before felt the scalding heat on her face. Figuring she'd regret it later, she removed her jacket and hat. She was sweating profusely, now, and it would only get worse. But what else could she do? It was imperative she destroy this thing; otherwise, Heidi/Gullveig would eventually find it and submerge everyone in her thrall again.
But would that be so bad? a voice inside her chanted, almost musically. Lulling, the rhythm matching her steps, and...
She stopped, shaking her head to clear it, recognizing the voice.
"Ahem. Aren't you supposed to be entering some poor woman's birth canal right now?" she thought at the disembodied spirit, wherever it was now.
Alas, my pet, this time I'm to arise in a great-granddaughter from Norway, and it will not be daybreak there for another week, now. I really hate that sunrise stricture in the northern latitudes.
"I'm so sorry you're inconvenienced. Look me up in twenty years or so and you can tell me about it over a beer. I'll let you know how Od looked as it melted into slag."
Ada, darling, do you really want to do this? Just to get back at me?
"I'm not doing this to get back at you, you self-centered bitch, I'm doing this because no one should have this kind of power. You just especially shouldn't. And I know that no matter where I put it, you're eventually gonna find it again, so it's time to destroy it."
Dearest, I am not infallible. It's entirely possible that I will never find you-- I mean, it-- again. And you would be throwing away a very interesting lifestyle, no?
Images filled her head, then, of a life of opulence, hedonism... powerful orgasms delivered constantly by the world's most beautiful people. Zeke was great... but why not more? Of both sexes-- Gullveig had already had that effect on her preferences, her experiences with Callista and Brandy having been mere icing on the cake. Her nipples tightened, but she still dismissed the pussy-dampening thoughts with, "No."
"Because it would be wrong."
You are deceiving someone, pet. And it is not me.
Sigh. "And because you'd eventually come for me and take it away. I'm no match for your seidh and I know it. I learned that in the chair a week ago. I won't give you that chance."
I can still reach you with the seidh, dear, even if Od is gone. The tone was threatening-- the voice of a woman who'd been clobbered from behind with a long piece of metal from an erstwhile servant.
"What purpose would that serve? You're gonna spend the rest of my life tormenting me because I torched your little trinket?" She thought of Heidi's half-dead body, clawing its way up the table leg, trying desperately to touch Od before collapsing... "Okay, so maybe you would. I'll take my chances."
There is another way, you know. We could share Od.
"Huh. I don't think so. It would only be a matter of time before you took it and I ended up worshipping your cunt day in and day out."
That's not what I meant. Although I admit you do paint an arousing picture. When I said "share", I meant... There is no reason we have to be in two different bodies, pet.
I don't have to be born again tomorrow.
Whatever. I can take permanent form in an adult, but it has to be consensual. I have done it before. Several times. I think you would like it. I could teach you seidh.
"I think I would hate myself. Plus, I don't trust you." Nonetheless, she was tempted.
I can't blame you for that. Gullveig was getting singsongy again, and Ada knew that was why she was weakening.
"Cut that out."
Why, pet? Your decision has to be free-willed, I assure you. The ancient codes are clear: you cannot be coerced into saying, "Gullveig, I invite you inside me." It must be what you want. Humming, now, while the witch-spirit paused. You told me you're interested in the world's history.
"It's my major, yeah. What's your point?"
Would not a person who has lived for thousands of years prove an insightful resource for a first-hand account of that history? I have seen many lands beyond this one.
Wow. Now that was an offer that had teeth. Fascinating teeth. (Or did it just have seidh?) "How do I know you won't just take me over once you're inside?"
Do you think the Aesir would have allowed such a thing, darling?
"You taught Woden everything he knew about magic. Who knows what he would have allowed?"
More silence. Ada trudged onward, the air growing less palatable and more dangerous.
I will let you subject me to Od.
Ada stopped walking. "What?"
You can use Od on me. Right now. I will teach you how.
"But you... can that work? On someone who's not even alive?"
It can. That way you will be sure of my allegiance.
"What do you get out of it? Slavery for the next umpteen years?"
Until you die, pet, yes. But then I will have Od forevermore, and I would pay the price of a thousand years' slavery for that.
Fucking ghoul. But... this was now something to consider. Enslave the witch, learn all she could teach... and then the fame, fortune, and fucking imagery to come true? Oh, and the history stuff. That was important, too.
Did she really care what would happen to the world after her death? Well, of course she did, but...
"I can't decide right now. This air's getting me nauseous."
Ada, precious, you don't have to decide now. Just sometime in the next week. But you can't do that if Od is destroyed.
And there was the capper. If she went back to Reykjavik now with Od intact, would she have the will-power left to make this trek to the volcano again? She thought not. But was it even probable she would make it there today, anyhow? She could barely breathe the foul air, and if this was how hot it was two hundred yards away from the pit, what would it be like standing throwing-distance from the lava? What if she missed by a couple feet-- could she get closer for another throw? Suddenly, this bright idea didn't seem quite so clever...
"I'll need to think about it, Heidi."
That is all that I ask.
"Okay. You win. For now. There will be no melting, today."
Good, pet, good. I'll be in earshot any time you wish to talk. Just don't wait too long, all right?
"All right. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a long hike to go. And possibly a patrolman to service." She was only joking. Wasn't she?
Farewell, pet. I just know you'll make the smart decision.
Or the wet decision. Ada found her hat and coat where she'd left them on the way out, noticing as she put them on that, while her sweat was freezing to ice on her shoulders, her panties were far from cold and dry.
* * *
The war I remember, the first in the world,
When the gods with spears had smitten Gullveig,
And in the hall of Hár had burned her,
Three times burned, and three times born,
Oft and again, yet ever she lives.
Heid they named her when she came to the house,
The wide-seeing witch, in magic wise;
She performed seidh where she could, worked seidh in a trance,
To evil women she was always a joy.
-- The Prophecy of the Seeress, from the Elder Edda, c.800-1000 A.D.