My Ranking Points
“So, Daniel,” Hel’s voice sliced through the clock’s ticking. “I’ve heard you’ve been having some…issues.”
I scowled. Of course. Now that I’m causing trouble for other people she’s concerned. Storian forbid she actually care about any of my problems.
“What are you now, my therapist?” I said, my lip curling.
Hel drummed her skeletal fingers on the armrest of her lollipop chair. “No, you’ve already got one of those,”
I blinked, taken aback. Hel smiled.
“You forget that I am a god, Daniel. I know everything.”
I felt my stomach sink. This was not going to go in my favor.
“I’m also your mother,” Hel continued. “And I understand that I need to explain some things to you.”
I snorted. “Are you just coming to this conclusion?”
Hel’s gaze pierced mine. “I can’t tell if you’re more like your father or your grandfather,” She said, peering at me. I frowned back and shifted in my seat. “Hmm…your father, I think. You look like him, that’s for sure.”
Hel leaned in a bit, her eyes scanning my face before locking onto my eyes. “But you have your grandfather’s eyes,” She smirked a bit at that. “Pretty, but cunning. And definitely not trustworthy.”
I looked away, turning my gaze to a mural of Oz on the wall behind her. This version of Oz was nothing like the one I had been to; bright villages, dancing munchkins, beautiful forests, and a generally happy vibe. I snorted. Lies. My gaze moved to a ridiculously detailed likeness of Clarise. Perfect for me to glare at.
“I believe you may be a bit smarter than you let others think, Daniel.”
Oh, Is that so?
“Perhaps not all those emotional outbursts were as real and strong as you made them. Perhaps they were planned, planned to serve a purpose. A way to bend others in your favor? Pity you? Underestimate you? Feel intimidated by you? Keep them away from you? Or were you truly as angry and hurt as you seemed to be?”
Well that took a different turn than expected.
I still avoided her gaze, but felt my body tensing as if getting ready to flee. I focussed on Clarise’s smug smile.
“What’re you on about?” I growled at her.
Hel laughed, a low, rich sound that vibrated deep in her throat. “Of course, I could be wrong, but I’d reckon you’re a rather good liar too; after all, it runs in the family on both sides.”
I remained silent, refusing to speak.
“Of course, Will’s side was always more emotional and headstrong than mine, so naturally he had some trouble keeping his mouth shut, but he had his moments,” She mused, her nose scrunching.
I raised an eyebrow. “I don’t see how this is helping anything.”
“Oh Daniel, I’m just getting started,” Hel grinned, the dead side of her face stretching in an unnerving manner.
“Oh great,” I sighed, slouching into my seat. “Go on then.”
“Well, first of all there’s a family reunion on Saturday at 5,” Hel tapped her chin. “Dress nice.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes. Wear a clip on tie and I’ll clip your face on a dead guy.” Hel said, adjusting her dress.
I made a mental note to get rid of all my clip on ties.
“Alright, back to the topic. Where to begin?”
I raised an eyebrow.
“Ah, I know. Your little drinking problem.” Hel smiled brightly, as if she were talking about rainbows and butterflies rather than her son being an alcoholic.
“I’m not an alcoholic,” I snapped.
“I never said you were,” Hel said, raising her eyebrows. “I was just guessing.”
“Alright, you know what? I’m leaving.” I snarled, leaping up from my seat. “This is such a waste of my time. If you aren’t going to tell me anything to help me, then I don’t care,” I glared into her eyes with a sneer and let my anger build before delivering the death blow. “It’s not like you do.” I felt my eyes well up, but I spun around and stormed towards the door.
“That one was fake,” I heard Hel’s voice chuckle behind me.
I froze in my tracks.
“I must admit, you’re quite the actor. But you can’t fool me, Daniel.”
I swallowed my panic, focusing all my energy into trying not to run out the door.
“You wanted me to feel awful, guilty even for abandoning you, yes? You wanted me to feel as bad as you do.”
My mind was blank. I struggled to find something to say.
“I understand. Revenge truly is sweet, and although that is a rather common way to achieve it, you execute it well. I’m sure some of your outbursts have been real, but I’m not sure if those were intended to balance out the exaggerated ones or if you truly felt them as strongly as you expressed them. If the former, I applaud you for that—it’s really quite clever. It adds a little personal twist to a basic human feature.”
My eyes scanned the room. Where did the door go?
This wasn’t going as planned.
“You’re not going to be leaving until I’m done,” Hel said, materializing at my side.
“Now, you may want to make yourself comfortable,” She steered me back towards my chair.
“Because this could take a while.”
I sat down with a sigh.
“But it would go faster if you would cooperate, agreed?”
“Fine.” I said, crossing my arms. The sooner I got out, the better.
“Now, I believe you are just as emotionally unstable as you seem, probably even more. That part is real. You seem to keep it all bottled up so that you can just channel that emotion later into an explosion. Is that correct?” Hel said, clasping her hands.
I went to argue, but then bit my tongue. “I guess,” I said, my jaw twitching.
“Good. So you are aware of yourself,” Hel said, nodding to herself. “On to the topic of your heritage,”
“You have been referred to as a few different things: hybrid, impurity, mutt perhaps? Most prefer the term demigod.”
“I’ll take hybrid,” I said, narrowing my eyes.
Hel smiled. “Of course you will. You are—technically speaking—a god-giant-human hybrid. Well, if I was being even more specific, you’re 50% human, 31.25% frost giant, 6.25% jötunn—another type of giant—and 12.5% god. I myself am only 25% god, as Loki is half god, a quarter jötunn, and a quarter frost giant, and my mother was completely frost giant.
“What?” I said, my brow furrowing. “I thought I was a god hybrid?”
“Technically, you are, but only by 12.5%. You really have more giant blood than godly blood. Probably also the reason why you’re so tall. What are you, 7 foot?”
“6’ 9” and getting taller. I grow about an inch a week now.”
“Pray you don’t grow too much taller then; I doubt you’ll be able to shrink down to human size like I do. Usually I’m around 12’ 5”—most giants are around 13 feet—but you probably won’t reach that height.” Hel said, motioning to herself.
“You don’t seem to have retained any physical godly or giant-ly traits other than your height. Only in personality, which I think may actually be worse. Actually, no. If you had both physical and psychological traits from your godly side we’d be in trouble. So I guess we got somewhat lucky with that. That would’ve been a complete disaster.”
“So I’m literally harmless?” I asked, not sure whether to feel insulted, relieved, or disappointed.
“Well, I wouldn’t say that. Everyone has potential to be dangerous. You may still have some minor enhancements. I’m fairly sure you have a stronger recovery system than the average human, as you should probably be dead by now and that’s usually a trait that godly hybrids retain.”
“But I can’t destroy the world?” I asked, definitely feeling a little bit disappointed now.
“Is that what Clarise told you? She knows nothing of us.” Hel snapped.
Good to know I’m not the only one who hates her guts.
“If I had to guess you might not show signs of aging past 21 or 22. You may or may not age internally, that tends to vary a bit. That’s pretty ordinary for godly hybrids.” Hel continued, calm once again.
Maybe this wasn’t as bad as I thought.
“Unfortunately, you seem to possess more inherited weaknesses than strengths. I’ve noticed you stay away from fire. You most likely are affected in warm settings with exhaustion and fatigue, breathing problems, and pain. That’s because I’m mostly frost giant, so I thrive in the extreme cold and suffer in the heat. If you stay in the heat too long, most of your insides will melt, so be careful of that.”
I frowned at her. “And you’re just telling me this now?”
Hel shrugged. “If that was the reason you’d died I would’ve just sent you back to life. Anyway, the dead may try to speak with you because they know that you’re my son. They are desperate, and will do anything to get into Valhalla. Do not trust them. It is in your best interests to ignore them entirely, but it’s your choice. They are also completely harmless, so their threats are empty—they can’t do anything but whine and go through things. Some will follow you though, because you are the only one who can see them and have the power to help them because of your connection to me. But they’ll go away eventually, just keep ignoring them. I myself can’t see them outside of Niflheim, only sense the souls. But you can see them. Understand them.”
Ah. That explains a few things.
“Of course, you were already aware of that, weren’t you Daniel?” Hel said, tilting her head at me.
“Yes.” I replied, tone clipped.
Hel looked at me for a moment. She paused, then spoke again.
“Can you see the one behind me?” Hel asked, her voice soft.
My eyes flicked to the shadowy figure in front of the Oz mural. Her blank eyes stared back at me. Hello, Mae.
“Yes,” I said, tone even as I looked back at Hel. “I can.”
Hel pursed her lips.
“Does she follow you?” She asked.
“I’m not a stalker.”
“Do any of the others follow you?”
“Do any of the others follow you?”
Mae was now mocking Hel.
“Does she speak to you?”
Mae rolled her eyes.
“Do you listen to her?”
Mae giggled. “Why wouldn’t he?”
I paused. “Yes.”
“What type of things does she say?”
I glanced back at Mae. She stuck her tongue out at me.
“I see.” Hel nodded, looking more suspicious than ever. “Now that we’ve covered that, try to keep your distance from the other gods and beings that you aren’t related to; they all hate us and will probably try to kill you.”
Holy Cow you are a really good writer! I am really diggin this story!
Wow, this is cool! I love Hel as a character and as a god. I had no idea that this was related to the Norse myths!
Can I ask: are you going to add any more Norse characters or characters from other myths and legends? It’s just that I’m really interested in things like that, especially Norse, Greek and Roman.
Most likely. I do love mythology—I know Greek the best, but Norse fascinates me—and folklore (the more absurd the better!), and try to work it in when I can to a lot of my stories. (I’ve been on here for 4 years now, so I’ve had a lot of opportunities to 😉 ). Yes, I believe more references to Norse mythology will be made, especially during the “reunion” if that ends up actually happening. But I believe a majority of them will be cameo appearances, as Norse mythology is not meant to be the focus of the story, only a part of Danny’s heritage and a way of creating some conflict in the plot earlier in the story because it was one of the things that drove Danny and Westina apart and also continues to affect their relationship/interactions now. However, I am playing with the idea of Loki showing up to cause some issues and more plot conflict later on. But then again, I might not, because then I might end up going too deep into the Norse mythology piece of the story, and that’s not the goal here! (As you can tell by how long this reply is, I get off-track and rambling easily!)
Also, if you would like to read the entire story, it can be found @bostonhorsez2 under favorites! (The newest ones are at the top, and all the chapters are in order)