Back at the inn in the small village of Dundonnell, Sean Fraser set aside the beer glass he’d been polishing and moved to stand next to the window from where the misty mountain was just visible. He listened at the low rumbling noise that came from there, a sound existing only inside his mind, audible only to his ears. He heard the crashing of rocks and the snapping of bones and the inhuman scream that shook his head. He narrowed his eyes. The Goat spirit had done his duty as judge and jury, but now it was for the lesser and the savagery of deities to have their torture. It tickled his past this game they were playing, but he bit back the sensation. Sean Fraser was simply an inn owner, a beer drinker, and an old man. He had given the gavel over and now sat at the opposite side of the table. He only watched and listened.
As Sean swung the cloth over his shoulder and averted his eyes from the window and from the noise of angry gods and sacrificial humans the bell rung twice. The footsteps told him who the guest was. Sean spoke without turning.
“I hear you’ve been making family calls, brother. Well here I am, all ears and such.”
Sean filled the clean glass from the tap and set it aside for the newcomer. When he heard no response her turned around.
“Won’t you drink with me?” Sean quirked an eyebrow at the white haired man who only shook his head.
“I can’t celebrate this.” Snow melted off his shoulders and his wool hat. He shook it off and took a few hesitant steps looking around, taking in the colors and the false shadows playing on the walls. They showed truer colors, larger men.
“It’s not as if I am celebrating it, but then again why not? It’s a sacrifice after all, one to settle deals for the matter. We drink to that. Besides I warned the kid not to go. Climbing that wretched mountain only gives that filthy animal satisfaction. He would have ended dead one way or another, the poor lad.”
The white haired man pushed the drink aside his anger fuming.
“Many others before him had defied us and pissed on our names. None were harmed, brother!”
“Yes, they have, but we are Gods. And Latobius was a small deity, flare gone. He was balancing barely between his tarnished realm and this world here and if it weren’t for that old man looking after his symbol and worshiping him, Latobius would have vanished. That would be acceptable. But murder through thievery cannot be overlooked Freyr. It cannot be simply forgiven. You know there are rules, ancient and unbreakable.”
The white haired man named Freyr sat heavily on the stool. Sean didn’t remember seeing him this tired, his face worn out, skin leathery. He moved to sit beside him, offering a reassuring hand on his slumped shoulder.
“Going to either me or Hermóðr, that rabbid wolf won’t make a difference. Sure we can ask for a proper trial and have a meeting with all the angry Gods, but with what purpose – save one man? You know as much as I do that he is guilty. He was greedy and pathetic and he stole what wasn’t his. Freyr, forgive him in your own way, but let the others grieve in their fury. It is us before them, it has been for eons. We share only so little with them now.”
“It won’t stand with me,” Freyr spoke through gritted teeth.
“Don’t be foolish now, Freyr. Head-butting the damned Goyar is a pointless effort.”
Freyr shook his brother’s arm away.
“So I should instead pretend to be a Scot and run an imaginary pub, is that it Ítreksjóð? Did the boy even notice it wasn’t real, that he was just anchored here until the Goayr called? I know you were asked to do this less the boy tries to run. I don’t blame you for that.”
Ítreksjóð grinned, the boyish charm Freyr remembered showing in his features. It was gone soon enough replaced by the scold of an old man and his tricks, mischief glimmering in his eyes.
“It’s an inn. And you know what I mean. Did you ask this man what he believes in? He wouldn’t point to any of us; he would say he believes in his money, his well-being, his addictions, his fantasies. Don’t muddy the water, brother. Stay here with me till it blows over.”
Sean Fraser looked long and hard at his brother, pale eyes locked with an even paler pair. Neither blinked, but then Freyr took his eyes down and they suddenly looked old and worn. Sean crossed his arms over his bulky chest.
“Unless you’ve already done something.”
Freyr stood and made his way for the door.
“Answer me brother!”
Freyr turned one last time to look at his sibling.
“I did. And now I’ve had your answer too.”
“Odin’s pissing helmet, Freyr!”
The door swung open inviting snowy fumes from a place far away to glide inside.
“I will be watching, brother, from aside. You should too. It’s not too late,” said Itreksiod, the third son.
“I will not,” replied Freyr, the first son as he disappeared in the blizzard.
To be continued…