Heimdall tells a tale

Read Part One of Today’s Double Bill Here

Hastings – 1844

It would’ve been nice if I could’ve turned up, presented Heimdall, and get Rache sorted but nobody seemed to know where she was.

‘I don’t like this plan,’ Josef murmured, eyeing Heimdall who was giving him an equal eye back.

‘So you keep saying,’ I said.

We’d stopped off at home and picked him up and Jax had stayed with the children. Apparently, Agape wouldn’t have taken kindly to turning up with two powerful Fae, one was bad enough, and I couldn’t say I’d blame her, it sounded threatening.

Bran opened the hotel door and held it for everyone, he looked much better since we’d come back from the other side but I was still a little concerned. I’d never seen someone without Fae descent go between worlds, I wasn’t sure if he was putting on a brave face, our bond was resolutely closed. However, he might’ve locked the door between us so his worry didn’t seep over to me and get distracting, which could happen.

Agape was sitting in the breakfast room by the window as if she’d been waiting for us. Perhaps she had, I was sure a woman as powerful as Agape had spies everywhere. She took a sip of tea, looked at each of us and said, ‘I heard about Marly’s ill-conceived attempt to gain favour.’ She put the delicate cup down with a soft clink. ‘Sad, if he’d simply come to me and discussed his feelings like a reasonable adult it might all have been avoided.’ She tutted. ‘I take it you’re The Rider of Wodan.’

‘Heimdall Deacon.’ She took Agape’s hand and kissed her knuckles. ‘You can call me Hem.’

Agape smiled and shook her head. ‘You don’t need to tell anyone you’re related to Freyja. I met your namesake, good man.’

‘Mother said he was a cunt but she always liked the name which was generally a resounding endorsement of anyone.’ Heimdall pulled out a chair, sat down and gestured at the teapot. ‘Mind if I?’

‘Help yourself.’

‘Cheers, I’m gasping.’ She poured herself a cup of tea and helped herself to a slice of seed cake while we all stood staring and wondering what had happened. She took a big bite of cake and closed her eyes in ecstasy. ‘Oh, my Gods, humans know how to cake.’

‘This really isn’t going how I expected,’ I said.

‘Things rarely do,’ Heimdall said around a mouthful of cake. ‘And I’m really quite personable if you’re not a shit.’

‘Nobody has ever accused me of not being a shit,’ Agape said.

‘Aye, but you’re a pretty one.’

Agape blinked. ‘I think that might make my list of strange compliments, and there I was thinking nothing else could.’

‘If you want to know strange hang around with my family for a while.’

‘I’d rather not.’

‘Can’t blame you. People are currently taking bets as to whether Aunt Freyja and Grandfather will actually kill each other this time. Seems unlikely, they thrive on the chaos they create.’

Agape inclined her head then looked at Bran, Josef, and I. ‘Aren’t you going to sit down?’

We all sat as if her wish was our command.

‘So, this Rache woman.’ Heimdall took a gulp of tea. ‘She summoned me to get rid of Lot here, because she’s jealous and seems to think The Riders are assassins.’ More cake. ‘But she spins a good yarn about Lot here being, as previously mentioned, a shit. She didn’t mention that Lot wasn’t a regular vampire, nor did she mention…’ She clicked at Josef. ‘What’s your name these days? Ah yes, Josef, who as it happens I have a bit of an issue with.’

Agape took a slow sip of tea. ‘You’ll understand if I’m… surprised that the nearest rider to be summoned was you.’

Heimdall cleared her throat. ‘Less said about that the better.’

I leaned forward. ‘No, I really think I’d like to know more about that.’

‘Well, there’s a rumour I’m not actually a hybrid and Heimdall was my dad.’ She tapped her temple. ‘I can peek but my Grandmother is The Oracle so that’s not hardly conclusive.’

‘At?’ I asked.

‘Not what you’re thinking. It’s called remote viewing, I may have occasionally been peeking and plotting my revenge.’ She smiled at Josef. ‘Bygones?’

Josef had his lips pressed together as if he was trying very hard not to throw some insults in her face and nodded stiffly.

‘Look, if I hadn’t peeked over the years Lot’s whole argument that you’d changed wouldn’t really have worked so maybe you shouldn’t complain because if I still wanted to kill you it’d be easy.’ She shrugged. ‘If Lot hadn’t got in the way and caused feedback you’d already be dead so I wouldn’t complain.’

Bran stared at the table taking rigid sips of tea as if he was wishing he was somewhere else entirely.

‘I think we’ve side-tracked,’ Agape said.

‘So, your woman Rache wants Lot out the way so she can go up the ranks or whatever you vampires do and I find myself inclined to be in the area so I thought “hey, lets have a shot”. Problem is I can’t kill Lot because she’s got a bit of the rider in her or something and is out of my jurisdiction. Can’t be helped. Now the one I can’t countenance is taking out a family leader. See, you may be a shit and all but that’s just too political for me to be messing with and I’m not an assassin.’

‘I’m sorry, what?’ Agape said, tea halfway to her lips.

‘She says, as you’re here and mighty powerful you might as well get another problem out my way so I can be in charge. I says, I’ll consider it but, naturally, I don’t for the aforementioned reasons.’

‘She wanted you to kill me?’ Agape slid a look Josef’s way. I’d had a theory that once Rache got going she wouldn’t stop at just getting rid of me but I’d thought I was being a tad paranoid.

‘You and what’s his face, Josef. Didn’t I mention that?’

‘You mentioned how you wanted to kill him,’ I said.

She stared out the window for a moment. ‘I did get a bit side-tracked there but she did put him on the back burner, I don’t know why.’ She paused. ‘Hm, I suppose she won’t be best pleased I tried to kill him. I do hope she tries something, I don’t appreciate being made a political pawn.’

Agape sat back in her chair. ‘You consider this and Marly’s demise suddenly looked well timed.’ She snapped her fingers and a slim man the colour of clotted cream appeared. ‘We need to check on every vampire in the family who pre-dates Rache, it’s a short list, and get people out there looking for her. I believe Miss Charlotte wants to issue a challenge and I don’t want Rache to miss it.’ She looked at me. ‘That is what you came for, isn’t it?’

I glanced between them, I’d been hoping to avoid challenging Rache, I was going to have to rejig my plan. ‘Yes.’

Josef’s chair creaked as he shifted. I grab his leg and gave him a slight shake of my head. He glowered but sat back.

She nodded. ‘If Rache puts up too much resistance I don’t mind if she doesn’t make it back but will require proof.’

The man nodded. ‘Yes, my lady.’ He disappeared in a blur.

‘Hm, a play for power, Rache wasn’t high on my list of potential rivals.’ Agape sniffed and lifted the teapot. ‘More tea?’

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Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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