Destruction: Book 9 of Thor's Dragon Rider Series
Coming 13th of July
- Chapter One -
Spear in hand, Odin approaches the growling hound. Fenrir lurches, pulling at his lead and stretching it farther. The hound seems to have grown even since Hildr and I removed the stick prying open his jaw. His vast array of teeth is fully displayed as his mouth spreads wide and he hovers only a few feet away, towering over Odin. Fenrir’s matted fur stands on end down his spine, and his tether thins. The hound is nearly twice the god’s height, yet Odin seems undeterred.
Still hiding behind the boulder, I watch, assessing the situation taking place on part of Asgard’s large rocky plain surrounded by boulders. The brilliant blue sky contradicts the mood playing out before me. I thought Odin was coming here to check if Fenrir was still on his lead. Fenrir remains secured by Gleipnir, leaving me wondering why Odin continues to approach the hound, tempting his fate.
Fenrir’s lips retract farther, and he jerks harder against the lead. Slobber cascades from his mouth, and he shakes his head, flinging drool in all directions. Some lands on the boulder next to where I stand. My nose screws in distaste, but I refuse to let this take my focus away from the god and the hound.
“Behave, you monstrous beast,” Odin cries then swings Gungnir, striking Fenrir’s snout with the spear’s shaft. Odin’s two ravens circle around the hound and descend to land on Odin’s shoulders as he brushes the gray strands of hair from covering his one good eye.
The hound pulls at his lead, growling and snapping, desperate to get at the god. His paws slip slightly on a few small stones scattered on the hard surface between them. Odin remains just out of reach and adjusts his black eye patch as one of the ravens snuggles close to his ear.
“Why don’t you come closer?” Fenrir taunts the god. “Or are you too chicken?”
Odin beats the hound across his paw. “I am not afraid of you. You need to learn how to behave. That is why I’m here.”
Lifting his injured paw, Fenrir chomps and tears at the lead before pushing forward, stretching Gleipnir to its limits. Despite being infused by dwarven magic and made from special ingredients to prevent breaking, the restraint stretches so thin, I’m not sure it’s going to hold.
Holding back a gasp of shock, I remain hiding behind the boulder. The way Odin is going, he will be responsible for Fenrir’s release all because he aggravated him too much. A small bird swoops past, surprising me by narrowly missing my ear before landing on a nearby boulder. I would think the bird should be put off by the commotion between the god and the hound.
Blind to the danger, Odin doesn’t relent. He laughs at the hound’s attempts, annoying the hound more. My cheeks turn clammy. The situation is no laughing matter.
Odin’s ravens, Huginn and Muninn, take flight and attack Fenrir. Their efforts disturb the hound more, distracting him. He writhes and snaps at the ravens, snatching some of their black tail feathers between his teeth. The hound shakes the feathers from his mouth and shifts, ready to try again.
Odin whacks the hound again across his snout to distract him from the birds. “I’m going to stop the prophecy. I’m not going to let you destroy Asgard and bring on Ragnarok. You will fall before you get the chance.” His wrinkles fold on themselves as he scowls deeply and wallops the hound again.
Fenrir stops attacking the ravens and stares at Odin, a deep growl rumbling up his throat. “I’m not interested in Ragnarok. I’m only interested in ending your life and anybody else responsible for trapping my father.”
I attempt to swallow the lump in my throat. Surely Odin will listen to the hound and leave him alone.
The god slams Gungnir’s shaft across the hound’s foreleg. “Don’t you lie to me! The prophecies are never wrong about your intentions. But I will change the result of their prediction. You won’t be my downfall. I’m too mighty to be brought down by a mere hound. You don’t stand a chance to bring on Ragnarok.”
Fenrir growls. “I told you I’m not interested in starting Ragnarok. Although I promise you that you are definitely in my sights. You have a lot to pay for.”
Odin’s actions are not only barbaric, but also stupid, and it makes me wonder how he is called the wise god. He sacrificed his eye in exchange for a drink from Mimir’s well, which gave him wisdom. And the rumors say he carries around Mimir’s head to continue to seek his knowledge. Still, Odin has the potential to be quite stupid.
“What’s the matter? Are you stuck on your restraint, you poor little hound?”
Fenrir reels forward, dragging the immense boulder securing his restraint. Gleipnir is stretched to the utmost limit. I don’t know how it hasn’t snapped already. Odin is here under the pretense of stopping Fenrir’s escape. Instead, he may be the reason for the hound’s freedom.
The god moves quickly, swiping his spear shaft up underneath Fenrir’s chin and knocking his teeth together. The hound’s head tilts upwards briefly, and when he lowers it, the hatred in his eyes is far more than I’ve seen before. It scares me to imagine what this hound is planning. He is intelligent as well as ferocious.
Facing the glaring hound, Odin simply laughs as though he’s mocking him, making him angrier. “Do you think you’re going to be able to scare me with a simple growl and fire in your eyes? I am the god of all gods and leader of Asgard. You cannot scare me like that. It will take a lot more than that to worry me.”
I want to intervene, but Odin doesn’t listen to me. Nearly every time I’ve suggested something, he’s dismissed it or belittled me. Yet I can see the danger in the hound’s eyes, and it causes my nerves to fire. I edge forward, and the same tiny bird swoops in front of me, startling me into a halt before disappearing out of sight.
Odin swings Gungnir again, narrowly missing Fenrir, who dodges the strike. The god brings his spear back again, smacking him across the chin. The ravens caw and attack Fenrir’s ears.
The hound snaps and pulls, growling and hissing, drool coming out everywhere. The boulder restraining Fenrir inches forward. Odin takes a couple of steps back, but the hound doesn’t relent. He has gone beyond his patience, not that he had any in the first place. His attack on Odin intensifies, and his fury shines through. Each of the god’s attacks stokes the hound’s ferocity, and he drags the boulder forward. The lead slowly creeps underneath the boulder.
I hate the cruelty that Odin is giving this hound, causing me to think he will deserve whatever punishment Fenrir prescribes him. I’m about to approach Odin when Fenrir pulls again, causing the boulder behind him to rock precariously. It’s about to tip and release the hound. I hold back, not wanting to succumb to the hound’s jaws along with the god. I would be useless to Odin if the hound devours me first. Just then, Fenrir rears back then lunges forward with enough force to topple the boulder, releasing the lead.