Monday, 4 August 2014

Blue Monday

Every Monday I post a naughty excerpt for your entertainment.

Well, this weekend I had a great time meeting up with a bunch of SF/F fans and doing a reading from Cover Him with Darkness - which seemed to go down well :-) So I'm now all geared up for the forthcoming Nine Worlds Geekfest. Coincidentally, I wrote a story about the Nine Worlds once! 

What are they? Well, in Viking cosmology the material, human, realm (Midgard) was only one of many  - if you knew how to travel you could also reach (*takes a deep breath*) the primal realms of Mist (Niflheim) and Fire (Muspellheim), and the realms of the Aesir warrior-gods (Asgard) and the Vanir nature-gods (Vanaheim). And there are two sorts of elves: Light Elves who live in Alfheim and Dark Elves or Dwarfs who dwell in Svartalfheim. Finally there's a mountainous land of the Giants (Jotunheim) and a dreary underworld of the Dead (Hel).

In my M/F/M romance story The Grief of the Bondmaid, which is set in Norse times, my witchy heroine takes two male companions on a trippy shamanic quest through all the Nine Worlds in order to slay the undead priest of Odin who is her master.
Here they are in Midgard:

Thorkell loaded the fire with more wood, sending sparks whirling up into the deepening dusk. "Do you need me to sing the trance-song?" he asked. "I learned it when I was a boy - we all did in my family. My aunt was a seidr-witch, too. I think I remember the words."

Sjofn smiled, warmed by the offer. "No, thank you. I’m used to working on my own."

He nodded, brushed his hands off against his thighs, sighed down his nose, and then strolled away from the camp, too. His gait looked casual, but he set his course in the same direction as the other man, and in a moment, Sjofn was alone.

She slipped easily into the spirit world. All it took was to unfocus her eyes and look into the fire, rocking back and forth as she hummed the trance-song under her breath. As her eyelids drooped, she stared out into the red darkness under her lids, watchful for spirits, denying the instinct to doze off. She saw Kot arrive, catching a glimpse of his hooves pawing the boulders first, then a flash of his antlers and the dewy flare of his nostrils.

"Come on," he told her.

She climbed on the reindeer’s back and they galloped upriver, all the way back to the meadow under Hammerfell. Nothing had changed there so far as Sjofn could see. The land seemed empty of spirits. When they reached the walls of the Grimsgarth, Kot took to the air and ascended the ladder of mist. Sjofn buried her fingers in the deep fur of his neck and clung on tight. Below her, she saw the concentric stone walls, and then—suddenly—all the Nine Worlds revealed in their entirety, not as the poets described, but wrapped like the layers of an onion around Yggdrasil, the World Ash, at their heart. She felt dizzy. As they swooped closer to the great tree, she peered up among the branches and saw Vegtamr hanging there, as she had left him, but not quite the same. On either shoulder sat a huge raven, their heads tilted to keep a black sardonic eye upon her approach. Even Vegtamr himself was changed. When she’d last looked, he’d been nothing but a corpse, the ember of his spent life only a dull glow in his chest. That ember had gone. In its place was a rift, a hole, a lambent blackness like nothing she’d ever seen before, an emptiness that seemed more solid than any object. And it was growing, filling his torso. Soon it would consume his whole form, and then his body would be nothing but a gateway into darkness.

"Go back!" she shouted in Kot’s ear, and they fled all the way back to the warm glow of the campfire. She slipped off his back. "What was that?" she cried.

"That was the Ginnungagap." Kot shuddered all over. "The void that was, before the creation of the world. It is reaching into him even as he reaches into it."

Sjofn stamped her feet, chilled by the journey and by what she’d seen. Casting about, she looked for the spirits of her two companions, but they were nowhere near the fire. The circle of her footfalls widened to a spiral.

"Where are you going, Sjofn?"

"I’ll just check they're safe," she muttered, walking away uphill, toward the trees, and letting Kot follow at a distance. She found them not far into the dense shadow of the firs, standing face-to-face - and in a moment, the curiosity to which she’d not dared admit met with all the answers it had been seeking. Bjarni had his back to one of the trunks. Both men had loosened their clothes, and each was holding the other’s erect cock in his hand, caressing it from root to crown.

Sjofn felt the blood flare up to burn in her cheeks.

They were almost the same height, Thorkell perhaps a fingerbreadth taller. It meant they met easily mouth-to-mouth, sharing breath that was coming shorter and shallower to both of them, sometimes kissing, but then drawing apart, only to kiss and bite softly once more. Red and dark stubbles rasped together. Scarred lips touched with both hunger and tenderness. Their eyes were hooded, unfocused, as if there was no world beyond their embrace, as if there was nothing but the other man in all the night, known by touch and taste as much as by sight. Sjofn stared. Their hands moved with familiar sureness, and with a firmness that—to her—looked punishing. Two cock-heads nudged together. Two thick shafts were enfolded together by weapon-hardened fingers. There was no speech, just a mutual urging of the flesh that became increasingly fervent, hands blurring as they stoked the flames.

Recalling Vegtamr’s cold and perfunctory impositions upon her, something in Sjofn rose up in rebellion. Was this how it should be - this melting confusion of skin and breath and intent?

Then Bjarni’s head thunked back against the tree’s bark, his hips shifting as his legs grew taut with strain, his eyes watching Thorkell’s face from under half-lowered lids. His throat worked, but he grunted only once as his sea-spume burst between the other man’s fingers. His own tugging grew ragged, and then suddenly imperious. Thorkell’s brow knotted into a frown, and his eyes screwed shut. He jerked his head as if in immense effort, and his own seed gushed out in response and overflowed Bjarni’s grasp.

"Yes," he whispered.

For a while they clung together, gasping a little. Their hands mingled the semen, lazy now, rubbing that spend into their hot and swollen flesh.

Sjofn walked away, her legs shaking and her heart pounding hard. She returned to the fire and sat down, brooding into the darkness. When Kot came up and nuzzled under her hand, she pushed him away.

"Why are you angry?" he asked.

"I’m not."

"Oh no, of course you aren’t," he huffed. "You’re just...?"

"Unsettled," she complained. "I know that a witch must be all things: tree and stone, bird and beast, male and female. We’re shapeshifters. But those two are warriors. It’s unmanly."

"From what I saw, they were both very much male," Kot said with the nearest approximation a reindeer might make to a smirk. "Didn’t you think so?"

"I don’t want to think about it."

"Sjofn... you’re jealous."

Jealous? Sjofn felt like she’d been slapped. That was the trouble with spirits: they had a habit of telling you things you didn’t want to hear. "Which one of them am I jealous of?" she blustered.

"Both of them."

"What? That’s ridiculous!"

"Is it?" Kot put his head down and cropped at the summer grass, rolling a dark eye at her. "Which is better: two big patches of moss under the snow or one? Two juicy apples or one? Twin calves or a single? I never saw a case where two good things were not better than one alone."

She felt flustered, but she couldn’t deny that watching the men had an effect upon her. It felt like a pot of tallow embedded between her thighs had warmed from solid to liquid.

The Grief of the Bondmaid appeared in Cast the Cards (Storm Moon Press)  which is up on Amazon US  but "currently unavailable." Sorry!

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