Happy birthday to me and <a target="_blank" href="http://lillianstewartcarl.com/">Lillian Stewart Carl</a>! We credit being born on the cusp of magic for our fantastic imaginings. I think she's more fantastic than I am, though. In addition to all her other honors, she gets to read Lois McMaster Bujold's books before anybody else does and she gets cover quotes from Anne McCaffrey.
Cheers to us and another year! We'll be celebrating by posting our birthday mathoms over on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theonering.net/index.shtml">That Tolkien Board</a>, each of us providing a Tolkien inspired moment from our fiction. (Actually the Ring Cycle predates Tolkien, but let's not be picky.) I'll post mine here, too, and if you'd like to win a copy of The Gripping Beast, comment and I'll put your name in the drawing.
THE GRIPPING BEAST
Copyright 2005 Charlene Teglia
Samhain Publishing all rights reserved
There was a campfire in a forest clearing. Lorelei could see a man sitting by the fire with two large dogs, one on each side of him. She walked towards the trio and when she got closer, she realized the animals weren’t dogs at all. They were wolves. The man turned his head towards her. Firelight showed a patch covering one eye.
A man with one eye and two wolves could only be…“Odin.”
He smiled. “That name will do.”
Lorelei waved her hands in the air, too exasperated to be still. Even her damn dreams were full of riddles. Was it too much to hope for an escape when she closed her eyes?
“What next? Armbands that come alive when you don’t expect them to and don’t when you do expect it, Vikings, a Norse god and guardian wolves. Could this get any weirder?”
“That’s possible. You should be careful what you wish for.”
She stared at him. “What I wish for? What do you mean?”
He didn’t answer her. Instead, he asked another question. “What do you know of the Rhinegold?”
“Like in the story? Well, for starters, the ring made nine more of itself every…” Lorelei trailed off as an idea came to her that was completely outrageous. But then, not any more outrageous than having a fire lit conversation with an embodied myth. “You’re not telling me that some of the replicas got loose and you lost track of them?”
“I keep my eye on them.”
He was serious. Lorelei stared at him in disbelief, but there was no hint of humor in his face. “The designs in Erik’s armbands were made from a piece of the Rhinegold?”
Well, that made as much sense as anything else in this crazy dream. As much sense as anything else in her current waking life, actually. “And if they are, why aren’t weird things happening to him?” Why hadn’t anything happened to her when she’d taken one and put it on earlier, for that matter?
“By themselves they are inert. The wearer must have the key.”
“I don’t have any key!” Lorelei burst out. As she’d proven in her failed attempt to get back home.
“Don’t you?” Odin stood up and turned to face her fully. He rested one hand on each of the wolves’ heads as he spoke. “Be careful what you wish for.”
Then the trio and the fire all vanished, leaving her alone in the dark forest clearing under a starless sky.