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one last time.
* * * *
In Lord of Light fabulous technology makes gods of mortal men. In
Michael Stackpole s ironic tale, forgotten gods employ modern media for
their own ends.
ASGARD UNLIMITED
MICHAEL A. STACKPOLE
ASIDE FROM THE RAVEN-SHIT ON HIS SHOULDERS, ODIN looked
pretty good in the Armani suit. The matching blue pin-striping on the
eyepatch was a nice touch. Odin had never been a slouch, but even I was
impressed at how quickly he was picking up on the ways of this new age.
He looked down on me from a composite video screen taller than he
had ever been in life. He wore a smile that I knew was for the benefit of his
audience, but the specta-tors in Valhalla assumed the smile was for them.
If it pleased them to think so, I saw no reason to disabuse them of this
notion. I was feeling too good to indulge myself.
I stood in the Grand Foyer of Valhalla and smiled at what I had
wrought. Massive steel spears were bound to-gether to form pillars and
rafters, giving the grand hall the retro-martial look all the architectural
journals had raved about. In the old Valhalla the roof had been made of
shields, but I had them cast in lexan so they let light in during the day and
allowed people permitted into the upper reaches to see the stars at night.
Carefully crafted sword-shaped sconces hid halogen lights that provided
the lower levels with a constant, timeless glow.
The old, tired wooden benches, moth-eaten tapestries and well-worn
animal skins had been replaced with more modern Scandinavian
furnishings. Shields, swords, spears, and armor all still figured into the
motifs, but that s be-cause they were familiar to people. One of the special
aspects of the new Valhalla allowed everyone to see some decorations as
those things with which they were most familiar the Christers spoke in
tongues, we provided Icons-for-all,
Valhalla was a beautiful place no one would mind dwelling in for
eternity. The Valkyries were certainly strik-ing and one of our better
attractions. It took me a while to convince Odin that bringing in men to wear
similarly brief outfits would be a good way to offer something to the female
market. He finally succumbed after I convinced him that he thought up the
name by which the beefcake would be known.  Valiants were now one of
our more popular features.
Then again, Odin had not been the reactionary element among the
Aesir. At the very first briefing I gave the others just over a year ago, Odin
had already begun to adapt to the changed circumstances. The Perry Ellis
en-semble he wore had been a season out of date, but of a conservative
enough cut to enhance the patriarchal nobility that had long been his
trademark.
The others were a bit slower to adjust, but that was how it always had
been. Thor, wearing some urban commando fatigues, began to do a
wonderful imitation of a beached fish gasping for oxygen the moment I
walked into the room. Tyr noticed my entrance, but returned to studying the
biomechanical prosthesis replacing his right hand. He opened and closed
the fist in rough time with the opening and closing of Thor s mouth.
And Heimdall, well, that venomous glare took me back centuries.
Thor slammed a fist onto the conference room table, pulverizing
formica and particle board.  What is he doing here? Wood dust rose up in
a great cloud and lodged firmly in Thor s red beard.  It s his trickery that has
woven these illusions that mask Asgard s true nature.
Odin slowly shook his snow-maned head.  No, Loki is the reason we
are all here, hence his place with us.
Little lightning-bolts trickled from Thor s eyes as he glanced at me.  It
is a trick, Odin Val-father. This is the one who had Baldur slain. It was he
who caused the Ragnarok, in which we were slain. ...
 Is that so, Thunderer? I smiled and seated myself in the chair at the
opposite end of the lozenge table from Odin.  I triggered Ragnarok?
 Don t seek to deny it. Thor folded his arms over his chest, his
bulging muscles sorely testing the resiliency of his jacket s synthetic fibers.
 We know this is true. The serpent and I slew each other. Odin died in
Fenris s maw and Tyr slew the hell-hound Garm, but was slain by him.
Heimdall killed you and you him. This we know.
I allowed myself a little laugh and had Odin not smiled and nodded in [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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