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Three at the Beginning

Title: Three at the Beginning
Author: ciaranbochna
Length: 2064
Rating: G

Characters: Loki, mention of OC and two other characters I have borrowed for my own purposes.
Warnings: None
A/N: I once wrote a poem based various archetypes meeting one another, and now this.


First, there is the fire. It burns blue, and cold. It consumes, but gives off sound and no spark.

Then, the desert appears. It wavers like a mirage, though there is a moon overhead, and stars scattered like powdered glass across the sky. For a moment an antediluvian jungle eats the desert, but red/orange sand and rock scour the towering growth away.

A man appears on a rock before the fire. He has long black hair tied with a leather thong and skin dark as the weathered stone he sits on.  His chest his bare, and pointed red-gold ears part his hair as he turns to reach behind him. He holds a stick with a skewered lizard over the cold flames, and it begins to cook. He lets go of the stick, and it hovers in the air as he reaches into a pouch attached to the deerskin pants around his waist. He pulls out a tuft of tobacco and paper, rolling the cigarette tightly. He leans in to touch the tip of the cigarette to the fire. He sits back and watches the lizard sizzle and pop in the flames.

Just as he reaches for the lizard another man joins the fire.

“You always arrive just in time for the food.” He stares over at the new arrival.

His skin is the colour of iron wood, and there is a flicker of noon-day sun in his black eyes.

“You know I don’t cook Coyote.”

“Yes, but you could at least bring something to roast Anansi. You’re such a great hunter.” Coyote smirks. He breaks the stick, pulling the lizard free. He flicks his fingers and the cigarette in his left hand disappears. He takes a bite of the lizard and chews, staring at Anansi.  After a moment he breaks the lizard in half and passes the lower half t to Anansi.

“Giving me the ass-end of things again.” Anansi eats the tail in one bite.

“Hey, you wanted to live where the sun is the least of the things that can kill you.”

“You know nothing can kill me.”

“Yes, but it makes you really irritable.” Coyote grins at Anansi and pulls another lizard out of his pants pocket and skewers it on a new stick. He moves to push it into a fire.  Something black, armoured, with too many legs crawls down the stick towards Coyote’s hand. He drops the stick and conjures a knife, stabbing the thing before it touches his foot.

“If you wanted to eat trilobites, you could have just told me.” Coyote examines the trilobite for a moment – it changes back into a lizard and he puts the stick back in the fire.

Anansi laughs and the ground shudders beneath them. “No, that was more entertaining.”

Coyote tugs on the top of one ear as Anansi pops the last bit of lizard in his mouth.

Anansi chokes and spits out a mouthful of sand.

Coyote laughs and bounces on his rock. “So was that!”

“I can see that this is going to devolve into mud-wrestling, apocalypse and rearranging the cosmos again.”

Coyote and Anansi shiver. The new voice moves under their skin. It stops their breath, which pours out of them in a cloud of icy fog.

Coyote rolls his eyes. “Loki. Always the grand entrance.”

“Not always. Sometimes I choose to remain unobserved.” Loki creates a chair of obsidian, smoothing his hands over black leather pants as he sits down. His chest and arms are covered in armour that slides around him, emerald runes and symbols moving against material that sucks in the light. His skin is pale, with blue hollows beneath his cheekbones and eyes. Loki leans back, watching the fire with eyes green as chromium diopside. His hair curls slightly over both sides of his forehead, like horns.

“So we’re having lizard tonight, since Anansi vetoed the trilobite. Do you want some?” Coyote breaks the stick and pulls off the second lizard. He holds it out to Loki.

“Unless you turned some unfortunate into a lizard, I will refrain.” Loki stares down at the ragged edge of the chair he has created. Light flickers within the stone and he smiles, whispering “Borghild.”

“I thought we came to this place out of time to distance ourselves.” Anansi waves a hand at Loki.

“Oh yes, we are all so fond of following the rules.” Loki snorts and looks up, studying the fire. “I am watching from afar. I cannot see them as I do the two of you. Not without endangering them.

Coyote pulls the thong from his hair, scratching behind his ear. “One of your children.” He grins at Loki.

“Yes. I may not have as many as either of you, but I still need to watch over them.”

“Having more children just means more trouble.” Anansi draws a circle in the sand beside him, brushing his palm over it. The sand fuses into glass. He watches a boy chasing a hyena, grabbing its tail and slamming it to the ground. The picture changes and glows red before disappearing.

“Some of us are not as popular with women as others. It takes more effort for them to see us.” Coyote laughs and shares a look with Loki. Coyote’s smile fades and he digs out another bit of tobacco, rolling the paper tightly.

There is a sound in the sky above them. The groan of forced paths, free will tearing apart. The stars vanish and a web of light breaks the night sky.

“Just a moment Coyote. I have a better offering.” Loki reaches into the side one of his knee-high laced boots and pulls out a bundle of leaves. He pulls three of them free and rolls them together with his finger and thumb. He pulls thread from his other boot. It glimmers like it has been soaked in silver. Loki wraps the thread along the rolled leaves and touches the tip of his tongue to the end of the cigarette. The smoke curls around his head, tendrils burrowing into his hair. Loki takes a sharp breath, taking in all the smoke, and blows it across to Anansi and Coyote. He leans his head back and exhales the last of the smoke upward. The web disappears, and the stars return.

“And who was spying on us this time?” Anansi asks, resting his feet in the fire.

“The Norns.  They spy on everyone quite enough. I took a few leaves from Yddrasil, and stole some of the Norns thread from an unattended spool. You just need to give the thread a purpose, ask Yddrasil for one of the Norn's spells, and voila. A little peace.” Loki smiles and a crease above his lip deepens.

“Somehow I doubt they leave anything unattended. Fate never does.” Coyote touches his finger to his forehead in a salute to Loki.

“Perhaps not. But they were distracted. My fate is my own.” Loki digs his hands into the obsidian arms around him. The stone cracks faintly.

Anansi pulls his feet from the fire and lays back, staring at the sky. “Nyame may think he knows every story I collected for him, but I kept a few. You never know when you might need a fork in the path, or a hidden name.”

“I made a deal with Raven. Whatever he steals, he shares a piece with me. Could be that a bit of the sun might be useful one day.” Coyote rolls another cigarette and picks a bit of lizard from his teeth.  He snaps his fingers suddenly. “You know what we need?”

“More respect?” Anansi grins.

“A new world order?” Loki leans forward, watching the sky suspiciously.

“I was thinking of something much more fun.” Coyote waves a hand. A large tapered glass bottle appears in his hand. The bubbles within the glass betray its age. “Tequila. My own recipe. Not fit for mortal consumption – they tend to keel over from the fumes. I have a special grove of Agave hidden in a pocket of the 13th century - or maybe the 12th. Whatever, not one else can find it but me.” Coyote puts the bottle down beside him and conjures three red clay cups from the air.

“I think we should all bring something to share.” Loki twists his wrist. The exposed skin on his hands and face becomes blue, and raised glyphs appear briefly before vanishing. He holds a black bottle, stoppered with a jagged piece of ice. Snow falls from the bottom of the bottle, creating a small pile at Loki’s feet. “I will pour. You cannot touch the bottle unless you are of Jotunheim.”

Coyote and Anansi notice Loki’s hesitation on the last word, but let it pass.

Loki pulls carved crystal glasses from his boot and places them beside the bottle on the sand.

“Is there anything you don’t have stashed in those dimensional boots of yours?” Anansi laughs.

An expression shivers overs Loki’s face, but he smiles brightly. “Well, at the moment I don’t have a star. But one never knows.” He raises an eyebrow at Coyote.

“Nope, only have the one piece. Not sharing.” He passes Loki a cup of tequila.

“Disappointing, but I will suffer in silence.” Loki pours some of the blizzard into the two crystal glasses, passing them to Coyote and Anansi.

“This is made from berries that grow over the graves of frost giants. The roots drink of the dead, so the wine gives you a glance beyond the veil. Drives mortals mad of course. They have a fear of such things apparently.”

“Imagine that, a mortal that fears death.” Anansi says dryly. He takes a sip of the tequila in his right hand. His eyes widen. “Brother that is…” Anansi falls back and starts laughing hysterically.

“Coyote knocks back the entire cup and looks over at Loki. “Is it just me, or does he sounds like a 12 year-old girl?”

Loki winks at Coyote. “Oh, I don’t know. I have it on good authority you have spent time in a female form, as have I. So I wouldn’t throw stones.”

Coyote coughs, and scratches under his chin. “Yes, well. I couldn’t get what I wanted any other way, so…Wait, weren’t you a mare once?”

“Yes, and a woman as well. Not something I wish to repeat.” Loki shakes his head and takes a drink straight from the black bottle.

Coyote opens his mouth, and closes it. He stares at the crystal glass in his hand. “Did you make these?”

Loki lowers the bottle. “Mmm? Yes. Ice from the cavern where a relative was buried. It is the only thing that can hold the wine without distorting reality.”

Anansi sits up, gasping. He wipes tears from his eyes and takes a sip from the crystal glass. Shadows flicker up his face, settling under his eyes. “Was it your father’s grave?”

Loki’s face twists into something sharp enough to wound “No. He lives.”

“For now.” Anansi finishes his cup and bares his teeth.

“Indeed. Now, I think I will have a lizard. Coyote?” Loki waves his glass at Coyote.

Coyote lifts his head from where it hangs over the swirling snow in his glass. “Right. He conjures a lizard.

“Is that – plaid?” Anansi asks.

Coyote frowns at his hand. “Err. I can fix this.”

There is silence a moment, and then Loki starts laughing. He fumbles the ice shard into the black bottle and pushes it away, doubling over in his chair. The sound rises higher and higher, until he appears to laugh silently, but the fire dims and the air shivers. He stops and leans back.

“Oh, that was marvellous. Thank you. Don’t change the lizard. I quite like its irreverent nature.”

Coyote blinks and then grins at Loki and Anansi. “In that case, I have an idea. But I am going to need a few more drinks to reach for the chaos. You can only see it in the spirit world.” He slaps his leg and pushes the red/green/black lizard onto the stick.

“And I have a bottle of acacia whiskey that I left in the Stone Age. I think we should try it.” Anansi pulls a stone jar from the earth beneath his feet.

***
And the fire never sleeps, the laughter never stops, and time is yet to be, and has passed on into the night.


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lurkingwombat
Nov. 16th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
This was so very cool!
ciaranbochna
Nov. 16th, 2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you:)
caffienekitty
Nov. 23rd, 2012 08:40 am (UTC)
There ain't no party like a trickster party! :-D
ciaranbochna
Nov. 23rd, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
'Cause a trickster party don't stop;)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )