The Last Flight of Odin’s Hundred by L. Jagi Lamplighter

by


OdinsHundred-Cover

THE LAST FLIGHT OF ODIN’S HUNDRED

L. Jagi Lamplighter

The hanged god stood on the bridge of the Dragon-class destroyer and gazed out from beneath his wide-brimmed hat at the starry vista. From everywhere else, space looked like a vast nothingness occasionally sprinkled with lumps of burning matter. Only from the living ships could the truth be seen: that the universe was a vast tree with stars, solar systems and even galaxies forming the shimmering twigs and branches, and worlds hanging like fruit.

From nowhere else could one see such a magnificent view of the World Tree.

Too bad it had so little time left.

“Most High! The 27th Flying Brigade has been lost!”

Odin turned away from the view and regarded his adjunct, Skirnir Lightfoot. “All of them?”

“I-I’m afraid so, Sire.”

The hanged god tilted his head, a gleam in his one eye like that of an old wolf sniffing for the scent of an enemy. “Another of great power is on Yonder. Is it the Dread King himself?”

“No, Sire. The Dread King has not appeared, but he has sent one of his high lieutenants.”

“The one they call Fortune, then?”

“Yes, Sire.”

The god’s lips quirked upward ever so slightly. “Let us see how Fortune fares against the Fortunate, hmm? Send in my Hundred.”

SciPhiSeperator

Leif the Fortunate executed a flawless maneuver through the debris that trailed like a comet’s tail behind the star serpents. The strange creatures curled before the Einherjar pilots like silk ribbons of living nebula, scattering darkness, stardust, and explosive mines.

Odin’s Hundred were deployed at the far edge of a lower branch of the great World Tree, just outside the orbit of a planet called Yonder. Leif could see the starry trunk in the distance, but it offered no aid to navigation. No matter which way he turned his star jet, the roots always seemed to be “down” to him and the branches “above”.

Leif spared a glance for the great tree of stars. It looked so peaceful. No sign of the fierce wars currently ravaging the many worlds. And even those were nothing compared to the violence “below”, where the roots were under siege from the gnawing wyrm Nihogg and the fires of Hell. Those powers had been growing for centuries, striving to fell the great old tree.

Above the branches, of course, perfect peace ruled in the celestial heaven of which Asgard was merely a pale reflection, but of what comfort was that to mortals?

“Commander, another pilot down.”

Damn.

“How many of us left?” Commander Leif Eriksson called back over the com-link.

“Sixty-seven, sir.”

Leif whistled. Sixty-seven of the Hundred… Good men. Good pilots. They had done everything right. They should not have lost so many.

He dove toward the next serpentine trail of stardust and blackness. Only the Einherjar could fight a battle such as this. No mortal could keep track of the sphere of information rushing toward them at high speed. Yet, keep track they must if they wished to avoid death at the hands of the Dread King’s star serpents. No computer could avoid being fooled and blinded by the reflective chaff. His Firedrake-class star jet responded to his every whim so swiftly that even the cursed space snakes could not surprise him.

Which was for the best, because if Murphy of Murphy’s Law were capable of taking sides, he must have been helping out their enemy.

Every possible thing that could went wrong.

The flying knights of Odin’s Hundred performed with precision timing and extraordinary accuracy. They moved like a thought. They maneuvered like a dream. They hit their targets, evaporating the space snakes with all-destroying flame from their living dragon-ships.

Victory should have been theirs.

Instead, jet-splines cracked; fire-heart engines unexpectedly overheated; hoses snapped. Weapons that should have obliterated the enemy impelled debris directly into the paths of oncoming star jets. With all of space at their disposal, superbly-trained pilots simultaneously moved into the exact same spot, causing a deadly crash and the loss of four lives—two pilots, two living ships.

They had lost four Einhenjar to the star serpents, and twenty-nine to ill-fated occurrences—which only meant on thing:

He was down there.

Fortune.

Leif cursed the damned Gypsy and his Dread Master. He cursed him in his heart and laid upon the scoundrel’s head the death of each and every good man whom the Hundred had lost today. But there was no time to brood over such things. Now was the time of the deadly dance of dragon and serpent to the music of the stars.

Leif danced.

SciPhiSeperator

The battle raged. Around him, so snug she could be mistaken for a second skin, Gandfaxi roared. They moved as one, pilot and ship, master and dragon. They darted. They dashed. They dove. Star serpents died—their dark centers bursting, their undulating motion ceasing.

Ahead of Leif, an explosion flared brightly. It reminded him of something…

He had once been…brightness. Terrible regret.

Leif shook his head to clear it. This happened to Einherjar from time to time, flashbacks to their former existence. Each of them had been someone else once, had lives, loved ones, farms perhaps? Each of them had been chosen by the Valkyries to become Einherjar, Odin’s Chosen. Often, they were picked up at the hour of their death and given the choice to serve or to go on to whatever reward (or lack thereof) might await them. Those who chose service were brought to the Mirror Nebula, a sacred place that connected spirit to flesh and brought the fallen warriors back to a stronger and more vigorous life.

He knew that he had had some kind of a former existence, but he tried not to worry about the details. When a stray thought crept through, he had the nagging impression that perhaps he had been of a higher station in his old life, rather than a farmer or a shopkeeper. Nobility? Or a prince? He did not remember.

He did not care.

His life consisted of the Hundred now and serving his god. He cared about nothing else.

Except destroying Fortune.

No human being should possess such power—the gift of granting good luck and bad. True, Leif himself was known for having chance go his way. His men even called him the Fortunate, but it was not because he bent the universe to his will. Rather, it was his nature, or perhaps a gift from favorable gods.

The Gypsy called Fortune was another matter. In the depth of his heart, Leif hated the man who so blithely robbed good pilots of the grace that should have been theirs. Solemnly, he vowed that he would rid the universe of this menace, if it were the last act he performed with his last breath.

SciPhiSeperator

Out here in the depth of Ginnungagap, which others called Outer Space, streamlined, air-catching wings offered no advantage. Maneuverability was purely a function of thrust over mass. Shape did not matter.

Upon leaving an atmosphere, the aerodynamic firedrakes rolled up like pillbugs. Their spiny back spikes spread out across their body becoming jet-splines—until the star jet resembled great, space-going sea urchins. The fireheart could send bursts of propulsion through any spline. So, at a moment’s notice, Gandfaxi could change direction, imparting more acceleration in the desired vector of travel than in her current one.

Inside the star jet, Leif’s body floated in a breathable liquid deep in the firedrake’s body. He was aware of this, if he made a point to think about it. Otherwise, his senses melded with those of Gandfaxi, embracing the vastness beyond. Images rushed at him from all directions: up, down, left, right, forward, backwards. All this was too much for many pilots, even Einherjar. Those from underwater worlds like Atlantia or Noatun often had an advantage, as they were already familiar with motion in three dimensions.

Had he been from…?

No. That didn’t feel right.

Brightness. Regret. Sorrow.

Seeing through the vision of the firedrake, Leif looked, and Gandfaxi responded, moving in the direction of his gaze. A flick of his finger, and the star jet fired. Its high-powered lasers struck the dark heart of the star serpent and fried it like morning bacon.

A glance. A flick. A flash.

One less star serpent to menace the universe.

SciPhiSeperator

“Commander. Things keep going wrong!” The voice of Ragnar Thorvaldsen, his second-in-command came across the com-link.

Leif’s expression became grim, but his voice remained calm. “Come closer to me, men, and maybe more of us can avoid another visit from the Valkyries today.”

“But, Sir, won’t…whatever it is…affect you, too?”

“Not me, Lieutenant. I’m fortunate.”


SciPhiSeperator

He was definitely down there. HQ had not confirmed it yet, but Leif could feel it. Even now, the Gypsy mocked him. Leif pictured him watching the skies scornfully from the safety of his base—safe because Lord Odin had given the Einherjar orders not to attack the planet Yonder directly. The dratted snakes could dive down there and hide, but the Hundred could not follow.

It was like fighting with one hand tied behind their backs.

Ahead of him blazed the searing scarlet-gold burst that marked the de facto funeral pyre of yet another of the Hundred.

Sorrow stabbed like a knife through Leif’s heart.

Which good man had he just lost?

Down to sixty-six.

That was another life for which the Gypsy must pay.

SciPhiSeperator

Ichigo Iro no Honoo, the star jet of Leif’s adjunct, Asger Kurohaku, shot forward into a clump of the enemy. Eternal Flame billowed outward from its jet-splines. The supernatural blaze did not need oxygen to burn. The great gouts of white fire moved through Ginnungagap as a liquid might, merging together to form globules and long columns. As soon as these columns grew greater than pi times the diameter, the Plateau-Rayleigh instability caused them to break into round blazing spheres.

These globes of holy fury—with the white flames on the inside and the golden fire burning around the outside, like a shining nimbus—did not resemble the scorching, fiery breath their dragon-vessels produced during air battles, but the flaming balls were just as effective at destroying the enemy.

The golden nimbus reminded Leif of the hair of his fiancée, Lady Trilby of Noatun, the brightness of which contrasted so charmingly against her dark skin. From a distance, she seemed to have the same soft tresses that graced the heads of land dwellers. However, the calf-length, writhing, sea locks that spouted from her head could stiffen to form a swimming fin—or to whack impertinent fiancés.

No one ever got away with being fresh to undersea girls.

Leif had met Lady Trilby at a dance during a cease-fire, when she had sneaked into a masquerade in disguise. He still remembered watching her, prancing along on her toes because she was not used to land and did not know quite what to do with feet that were not swimming. Her family had not been happy that she fell for a member of the opposition, but he was doing his best to win them over.

What a sweet and bright thing she was.

He had been…terrible, terrible regret.

He shook his head again, clearing his thoughts. There had been some tragedy. Maybe he had broken a young woman’s heart, or had his own heart broken? With this in mind, he always treated Trilby with utmost kindness and consideration.

SciPhiSeperator

To protect against the Einherjars’ lasers, the space snakes shed waves of metallic chaff that swirled through the emptiness like silver glitter tossed by a spinning ballerina. Enough serpent dust now spread through the void to refract the beams of their weapons, or, worse, reflected them back at the star jets.

The glitter and the glare made vision impossible. Two star jets slammed into each other, barely avoiding destruction. The Hróðirsdraken was crippled, however, and there was no way to ensure that the same thing would not happen again.

Spin. Fire. Flare. Dance.

Two more bright funeral pyres for men who should have lived forever.

Leif commanded over the com-link, “Weeping maneuver!”

The Alsvidir, the Glitmani, the Solbrudir, the Ichigo Iro no Honoo, and Gandfaxi spun simultaneously. Clear liquid erupted from their myriad of jet-splines, enormous gusts like geysers fountaining in all directions. The liquid, known as dragon’s tears, came out in a spray, as if from a hose, but then drew together into large balls the way water would have behaved in an environment without gravity. Only at the sub-zero temperatures of Ginnungagap, pure water would have boiled away into a flurry of snow crystals instantly. Dragon’s tears responded more slowly to the extreme temperatures. Undulating like waltzing hippos, these balls slowly sucked up the shimmering dust.

He had been…

No, it was gone again. He had done something wrong. He knew that in the quiet depths of his heart. But he had done it out of compassion. His motives had been good. That much he knew. Unlike the Dread King and his foul servant, who strove but to subjugate and destroy, he had been motivated by a desire to alleviate mankind’s suffering.

And in the long run, a man was judged by his motives, was he not?

Ahead, the surface of the jiggling globes of dragon’s tears began to roil, as the lack of atmospheric pressure in the vacuum around them caused the molecules to evaporate more quickly. The evaporating became so rapid that the balls boiled, emitting steam that instantly froze. The Alsvidir and the Glitmani and the other nearby star jets momentarily disappeared behind a flurry of snow. Farther away, where the rest of the Hundred fought, other balls steamed, forming other snow flurries.

All that boiling took energy, which was drawn from the liquid itself. Soon the extra heat was spent, and the boiling stopped. The undulating balls—some large enough to douse a ship—spun like lopsided spheres of polished crystal. The globules shimmered with swirling glitter-dust like gigantic snow globes. A star serpent collided with one and was sucked inside.

As the effect of the vacuum on the globes continued, the dragon’s tears froze solid. Maneuvering to escape a mine, the Glitmani slammed into one of the ice spheres, shattering it into a million, tiny, frost crystals. Leif vaporized a few of the frozen orbs with his lasers and got back to the business of killing star serpents.

More space snakes died.

SciPhiSeperator

Success!

The star serpents had been slain or driven to hide. Over the com-link, the remaining Einherjar pilots cheered. Leif cheered with them, but his heart was heavy.

Thirty-seven of Odin’s Hundred had died this day.

Somewhere, below on the planet, that Gypsy bastard was laughing.

SciPhiSeperator

Below, on the surface of the planet called Yonder, Stefano Lovari of the Romani wiped a tear from his eyes as he sorrowfully gazed up at the sky. His serpent-handlers had failed. The Einherjar were victorious. He would not be giving his master the victory he had promised.

It was his fault. The Space Viking! The Fortunate One! No one should be able to resist the powers of Fortune, and yet, time and again, Leif Eriksson resisted the gifts granted to Stefano by the Norns.

It was not right.

It was against the order of nature.

Stefano gathered his band together. So few survived. To his great relief, he saw his sister Aishe, his brother Yanoro, and his nephew Persha. It lightened his heart just a little to know that his closest kin were not among the dead. He spoke to the survivors for a few minutes, commending them on their effort and reminding them of the importance of their work and of their devotion to the Dread King.

Stefano’s nephew spoke up, looking shame-faced “I am sorry, Uncle. I made the star serpents dance better than I ever had before, but…I could not catch them. They moved faster than the flicker of a candle flame!”

“Do not fret, Persha.” Stefano lay a hand on his nephew’s shoulder, not bothering to hide his relief that the boy still lived. “Our master will understand. He…wishes us to succeed, but he knows our limits.”

Aishe tossed her black locks and glared at the sky, gold earrings clinking in her ears. “Brother, why do they fight? Why do they not welcome our king, accepting his rule with open arms? Is he not a fair and generous master? He keeps order. He protects the poor and downtrodden. It is only the selfish rich that he puts to the sword.”

“Not everyone is downtrodden, my sister,” Stefano replied. “Many who are not do not wish to see their order put amiss.”

“Then they are selfish and craven,” she spat. “Our king cares for the orphans and the elderly. He looks out for women and children. He conquers disorderly places and makes them safe and law abiding. It is compassion that drives him.”

“He is so awe-inspiring!” cried Persha, his eyes alight with hero worship. “He listens from stone ears. He can posses statues and make them move! He can move anything!”

Stefano nodded, smiling. He clapped the young man on the shoulder again and sent the small band off to make a meal of what supplies remained. Gazing after them, he murmured sadly under his breath, “Move anything…except his own body.”

Only Stefano and his great uncle Kak Ferka, the Dread King’s body servant, knew the truth, that the Dread King, this grim and admired conqueror was, in truth, a quadriplegic young man. As a child, he had been stabbed in the back of the neck by the evil knight who had killed his parents. The blow had snapped his spine.

With his mind, he could project his will out of his body. He could command automata to rise up out of the very earth. He could possess statues. By this method, he could keep watch on the many worlds he had conquered, protecting the poor and downtrodden, and raining vengeance upon any who broke the Dread King’s law.

But he could not so much as feed himself or even sit up in bed.

It was terribly unfair that this fierce young man, who should have been so magnificent, was reduced to such indignities. He could have given up. He could have spent his life as a helpless cripple bemoaning his cruel fate. Instead, he had dedicated himself to seeing that other innocent families did not suffer as his had.

Stefano admired his king tremendously—for his brilliance, his strategy, his cunning, his iron sense of law, his compassion for the poor, his indomitable self-control. He wanted so much to please the young monarch. In his foolishness, he had vowed that he could deliver the entire world of Yonder into the king’s hands with just his power over probability and several dozen star serpent-handlers.

Instead, now, all he had to report was failure. He had lost sixteen of the highly-trained serpent-handlers when they could not disengage from their beasts in time. They should have been able to disengage, because Fortune was on their side.

But luck had been against them.

Sixteen good people, killed by Leif the Fortunate.

But the Viking would pay. Oh, he would pay.

SciPhiSeperator

As Leif and the others flew back, they sang drinking songs, cheerfully anticipating the mead that lay in their future. Just as they reached their flying base, the wyvern-class frigate, Hrimbursti, a motion caught Leif’s eye.

Stars were…falling?

All across the sky, stars fell, forming long streaks of silver-blue fire. First a few, then dozens, then hundreds, then millions—as the branches, leaves, twigs, and fruit made of shimmering light that had existed since the world began, slid sideways and rained root-ward. It was as if a child had lifted the sheet upon which had lain a picture made of glitter, and now the silvery glints were careening down the page.

The World Tree was falling.

“Commander,” frightened voices cried over the com-link in shock and fear, “what does this mean?”

Grimly, Leif the Fortunate replied, “Ragnarok has begun.”

SciPhiSeperator

For nine days and nine nights—as measured by their ship clocks—the World Tree fell. Stars exploded into super novas, filling portions of the dark void with temporary brilliance. Planets, stars, whole solar systems flew suddenly away, either “rootward” or “branchward”, leaving streaming tails of comet-fire. Starry branches broke off and spiraled to a fiery death.

The fact that all this occurred with no sound at all somehow made it tremendously more eerie. They waited for the day when the destruction would reach them, but, so far, it had not come.

“So we are stuck?” Leif’s adjunct, Asger, asked finally.

Leif, Asger, and his first lieutenant, Ragnar, stood on the bridge of the Hrimbursti, gazing out at Ginnungagap wiped clean of stars. A last, precious few still clung to one remaining upright branch, where they now were. Leif did not know why it was that this one area had been spared when all the rest of the universe was gone.

Maybe it was because he was lucky.

He did not feel lucky.

“Yes. We’re stuck here. Headquarters is gone. And there is probably no home to return to,” Leif replied.

“Do you think they missed us?” Asger’s voice trembled. “The people we left behind?”

“Not anymore,” Leif said grimly.

Ragnar frowned and said no more, but the young adjunct, who was not much more than a boy, swallowed painfully. He was not a revenant chosen by Valkyrie, like the rest of them. He was a son of the Rhinemaiden and a tenshi. The lad remembered his family and keenly felt their loss.

Then, of course, there was Trilby. Leif had been forced to put away her picture to keep from tearing up. At times like this, it would not do to for the commander to show weakness before the men. But, privately, his heart ached, and he could not help hoping that his fiancée’s home was one of the few worlds that still remained.

It felt so odd not to be able to contact HQ for orders. They were alone, adrift, in an eternal midnight. Anger raged in Leif’s heart. Whomever had done this would pay, even if he himself had to kill Nihogg, the Fenris Wolf, and legions of demons from Hell. Unless it was the Dread King’s doing.

That would not surprise Leif, and he would enjoy killing that tyrant’s men even more.

Jerking around, he gripped the guard rail before the view screen. The planet they orbited hung before them like a bright jewel. There was no one left to give orders, true. But, then, there was no one left to countermand them either.

“Mount up, men!” Leif commanded. “We are going to Yonder. Let us rid ourselves of the Gypsy vermin once and for all! Who’s with me?”

The cheers of the remaining Einherjar of Odin’s Hundred rang out across the decks of the Hrimbrusti.

SciPhiSeperator

They dived toward the planet. As soon as they hit the atmosphere the firedrakes unrolled into their streamlined dragon forms: heads down, wings drawn in tightly as they dropped, their thick scales acting as ablative shielding. Heat billowed around them, causing some scales to burn white hot.

But it was nothing compared to the rage that burned in Leif’s heart.

He hated Fortune more than he had hated Hell itself. He pictured how the Gypsy’s smug look would change to surprise one moment before the cretin’s death. He pictured the cowardly servant of the Dread King bathed in Gandfaxi’s flames, burning, crisping, dying.

He did not care if it damned him in the process, he was going to kill Stefano Lovari.

A shout over the com-link. The Gypsies had been spotted. Leif and Gandfaxi accelerated, pulling ahead of the rest of the Hundred.

They dived.

Beneath him, Leif spotted him. Fortune! The startled Gypsy looked upward. Leif saw the whites as Lovari’s eyes widened. Leif laughed aloud, the oxygenated liquid gurgling in his forgotten throat. A gout of white-gold flame shot out before the star-jet as Gandfaxi laughed with her master.

Fortune knew his death was coming for him. He knew.

This time, luck would not save him.

Below, the Gypsy tribe was panicking, running wildly in random directions—as if they could outrun star jets. Fortune, however, stood calmly, staring upward. There was sadness in his face, but no fear, as he gazed up at his death.

And his death came for him.

Leif could not think of anything that could have made him happier, except perhaps if Stefano had also panicked. He would have enjoyed the chase—for the ten seconds it took to catch the fleeing Gypsy.

This is the kind of wrath that sends a man to Hell.

So what, Leif thought, laughing gleefully. It was worth it!

Something stirred deep inside him. He had been damned once…for compassion. Had he really fallen so low that he wanted to give up what little grace he had? And for what?

For hatred?

He pictured his enemy as he would be seconds in the future, lying burnt upon the ground. For this?

Could he really strike down an unarmed man and still say that his motives were pure?

“Stop!” Leif barked across the com-link. “Abort! Do not attack!”

He drew back. Gandfaxi spread her wings and spun into a roll. Time froze. The veil broke. He remembered.

Glory and wonder and peace that surpassed understanding. And joy—such as the joy of flying free while racing his star jet at full speed—only a million, million times more so.

Below, however, they were so helpless, so weak. How they stumbled and suffered! If only they knew just a little of what waited for them, a glimpse of what was to come. Feeling sorry for them, he had shown the suffering mortals just a few things, how to read the stars, how to grant a blessing.

What could it hurt?

Brightness, so terribly bright.

Before him had stood the Angel Who Was With God. He was wonderfully and fearfully made, fierce and brilliant and full of courage, which radiated from him like heat from the sun. He was splendid in his crimson armor, his enormous wings made of light, his feathers shining. At the center of each feather was a single crimson drop, like a ruby, like the blood of a lamb shed in the defense of others.

In all of Heaven, none but the Father Himself was more powerful than he.

Michael’s voice rang out in Leif’s memory. “Kokabiel of the Grigori, your post was to guard mankind. Yet you have instructed them in the secrets of astrology, in direct disobedience to our Father’s orders.”

“Lord Michael, I acted out of compassion. Out of love for them. These people our Father has made. They are helpless. How could they survive without knowledge of their future, of their fate? Without the knowledge as to how to bring luck to their side?”

“Our Father’s plan is seamless and without fault. Not to trust it is disobedience. For your disobedience, you will be sent to live among them until you understand why what you have done is wrong.”

With a gesture of his flaming sword, Michael had thrown the angel that Leif had been into the Mirror Nebula, where his being of spirit had become encased in flesh.

Now, in the present, the familiar voice spoke in all its majesty. “Have you learned your lesson, Kokabiel?”

Leif thought of the good men, lost to the fickleness of bad luck—bad luck that mankind knew how to manipulate because of the secrets he had taught them.

“Yes, Lord Michael.”

“Our Father’s plan is without fault. To act outside of it merely brings more grief to those who have strayed.”

“I see that now.”

“The Gate of Heaven is open to you again. You may return home. But know that, as we speak, Odin and the Dread King fight side by side to stave off the attack that has come from below. If you follow what is left of this last branch, you may arrive in time to aid them.”

Such joy overcame Leif as he had never before experienced outside of Heaven—as if the weight of a hundred planets had been lifted from his shoulders, leaving him feather-light. Resolving not to again make the mistake that damned him once, he prayed for guidance.

A sense of peace settled upon his heart. The right course lay clearly before him.

Leif woke to himself. Gandfaxi hovered in the air. Just below, Stefano Lovari stared up at him, puzzled. The thought came that he could fly away, right now, and leave the Gypsies here, stranded on Yonder forever.

But was it not thoughts such as these that had led to the felling of the World Tree?

He would have no part of such hatred.

And, besides, how were his crimes any different from those of the Dread King, who murdered based on his concept of compassion? Had they not both made the same error—not to trust God to care for His own? Leif suspected that the Dread King also thought his motives were sound.

Maybe, the time had come to forgive.

At his direction, Gandfaxi landed. Leif slipped from the pilot’s pouch, opened the outer hatch, and came naked from the ship, liquid sluicing about him. He grabbed his tunic from the outer compartment as he exited and threw it over his head. The rough cloth stuck to his wet body.

“Come, Fortune,” Leif called. “Our lords are fighting the real enemy. They have need of us.”

Stefano Lovari gawked at him. “Viking, you must be crazy! How could I trust you?”

For an instant, Leif was baffled. Then he laughed, a richer more joyful sound than he had made in years. “If I meant you harm, you would be dead.”

“Good point.” Fortune saluted him and climbed into the star jet.

Leif gave orders for his men to follow suit and gather the remaining Gypsies. Ragnar asked him to repeat the order, clearly thinking that he had misheard, but his adjunct, Asger stated reasonably, “There are so few of us left. It makes sense to band together. We have greater battles to fight.”

The Gypsies balked, but a word and a look from Stefano silenced their objections. All but three came forward—those few preferring to try their luck on this alien world rather than trust to the kindness of their most-bitter enemies. The rest of the tribe followed Stefano’s lead, however, and climbed into the star jets.

Leif led the way back to the Hrimbrusti. Then, together, Odin’s Hundred and the servants of the Dread King set off into the unknown.

About the Author

L. Jagi Lamplighter is the author of the YA fantasy series: The Books of Unexpected Enlightenment. She is also the author of the Prospero’s Daughter series: Prospero Lost, Prospero In Hell, and Prospero Regained. She has published numerous articles on Japanese animation and appears in several short story anthologies, including Best Of Dreams Of Decadence, No Longer Dreams, Coliseum Morpheuon, Bad-Ass Faeries Anthologies (where she is also an assistant editor) and the Science Fiction Book Club’s Don’t Open This Book.

When not writing, she switches to her secret identity as wife and stay-home mom in Centreville, VA, where she lives with her dashing husband, author John C. Wright, and their four darling children, Orville, Ping-Ping Eve, Roland Wilbur, and Justinian Oberon.

You can find more of Jagi at her websit, http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/, her blog http://arhyalon.livejournal.com/ and on Twitter, @lampwright4.

Downloadable Copies



EPUB MOBI PDF

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*