Book Five – LOKI’S GAMBIT
With the promise of the First Mage not to act against him, Loki now accelerates his plans. A plot millennia in the making, spanning the length and bread of Adar. Like a spider spinning its web, the trickster god now puts the finishing touches on an audacious scheme. A revolution to change the balance of godly and mortal power in the world.
The disgusting slurping sounds continued from inside the room. Loki shook his head and walked several feet from the receiving area of the cavern, towards the entrance.
Finding he could still hear the repulsive feeding, he went out of the cave into the inner chambers of the temple. He gave a cursory look at the two guards watching the door. Armed with long spears, only the upper torso and the head were clad in red full plate armor, the lower part of the body being in bulbous spider form. The soldiers were perfectly still, and their full faceplate thankfully precluded a look at their facial features.
Good. I would hate to look at spider faces this close. Spiders. Uuggh. I had my fill of them coming here, thought the deity.
As soon as the large stone double-doors closed, Loki found he couldn’t hear the revolting sucking noises anymore. The deity looked around the large room and saw the walls were filled with carvings. Looking closer, he found they unexpectedly portrayed stories. Ordinary stories. Mortal ones. The trickster god had assumed the etchings to be of a dark and forbidding theme. He was mistaken, to his irritation. The deity hated being wrong. Loki had not been in this part of the great temple. Meetings with the owner were usually held outside in the forest or on the top of a mountain peak. But he had brought a promised present this time and wanted to discuss matters of significant import.
The stone space also apparently served as a special receiving area of sorts. Stone benches were present, though one, in the middle of the room, had hand and foot manacles. He looked up and saw several magelights, giving the chamber unrivaled illumination.
Nice. Though the décor appeared to lean towards the primitive style. Too bare for my taste, thought Loki as his eyes roved over the entire chamber, examining the place, as was his wont, for weaknesses, traps, and wards. The deity continued around the space, the sound of his boots disturbing the eerie silence of the room.
He was already seated on one of the benches, thinking about his next destination when the massive stone doors were suddenly flung open.
“Ah, Loki. That was exquisite! Such an evil man! Punishing him would be a great pleasure!” exclaimed the newcomer.
The Norse deity stood up and smiled.
“I do keep my promises, Anansi. Evil won’t begin to describe that mortal. How long will he last?” he asked.
“Two years, if I am greedy. Five years, if the punishment warrants it.”
“Do make it five years. That human deserves it,” replied Loki.
“Then five years it will be,” said Anansi as he sat beside Loki. The being then waved his hand.
“There! We’re all by ourselves now. No unwelcome ears or spying mind,” said Anansi. “Though it’s the first time you’ve come here. I guess you’ve got important matters to discuss?”
“Could be. I am nearing the end of my preparations. I thought you would like to know.”
“Informing me in person? That’s thoughtful of you, my friend.”
“I admit I am still wrapping up several loose ends. I did manage to get the First Mage to promise not to act against me. It was a stretch considering he had a powerful deity giving him advice, but it’s done,” said Loki.
“Strange times indeed, Loki. A mortal as a First Mage. Those Aztecah acting up. The restless undead in the north. Was that your doing?” asked Anansi.
“I wish it was, Anansi. But no. The magic to do that is one which even exceeds the power of the head of a pantheon. Even Hela has her hands full. So I guess Hades is also hard-pressed. That’s an unknown factor I am worried about. We don’t know the who and why of such an event. But I will find out. Before we start our little drama, of course.”
“Good. I am tired of being a runner for those big mouths. All these millennia and not a whiff of deitihood,” commented Anansi. “All I get for hard work are ‘good job, Anansi,’ or ‘here’s another task for you, Anansi.’ Makes you puke or want to shove the goodness up their collective asses.”
Loki laughed. After a few seconds, Anansi joined him.
“So, you want me to get my people ready?” Anansi asked after the laughter subsided. “You do have to arrange matters with the others in this part of Adar. I can’t stand some of them. Others, I wouldn’t get caught dead in their presence.”
“I’ll take care of that, my friend. Just ready your delightful Onini, the marvelous Osebo, and the wonderful Mboro. I know you also have a huge menagerie of pets. Though I might have a job for your sasabonsam.”
“The ogre or the vampire kind?” asked Anansi.
“Both, I think.”
Anansi – An African mythological being. The root word of the name means “spider.” The entity is usually depicted as a spider or half-man, half-spider. Though credited in African folklore as the father of all stories, he is also considered as the exemplification of cunning and trickery. However, Anansi was never regarded as a deity.
Onini, Osebo, and Mboro – African mythological beings. They were part of Anansi’s quest to become the father of all stories. He was required to catch Onini the Python, Osebo the Leopard, and the Mboro hornets.
Sasabonsam – African mythological creature. They are said to have blood-shot eyes, iron teeth, and iron hooks for feet. There are two kinds of the monster – one with vampiric characteristics and the other being similar to an ogre.