NaNoWriMo submision excerpt
Hati stared at the sea. He hated it. He hated water in general, the memories of his prey still in his mind, even if the nightsky laid empty and the oceans no longer rose and fell with the tides. One brief glimpse of awareness illuminated him about his hypocrisy, for this was more than probably the end result of his once endless hunt. He scoffed and growled, his mind returning once again to his turmoil of animalistic emotions and drives. He hated water, and the hated the Moon, and he hated the sea, period.
Yet he felt more and more driven to scour the blue and grey horizon, to stare into the aquatic realm hiding his ancient, serpentine uncle, searching for something. He knew that the Moon wasn’t dead, that he still lived, hidden somewhere like the ergi he was, but he might as well had been, his scent long gone from all nine realms. Hati still remembered the last time he felt that scent, some 16 years ago, still fresh in his rhinarium.
Wounded from a battle with Dagr, the wolf had gone to Vanaheimr, rebuilding his light-burned self on tree sap and on the sacred flocks of aurochs and elk so beloved to the Vanir. The scent then flared on his nostrils, just a sliver of the Moon’s essence in the everlit air, but enough to propell the wolf furiously out into the Tree again, his maw anticipating the divine flesh with drool that created oceans and seas in all worlds. Reduced to a pure, murderous frenzy, Hati was led to Midgard, entering it’s skies with a hunting pounce, like a fox upon a dormouse.
And his jaws closed into the nothing of the nightsky, as is Máni had been erased from existence.
Hati snarled at the memory, at the injust disappearence of his victim, at Nótt’s cold air in his gums. He did chase the goddess in murderous insanity, he did bite at Hrímfaxi’s legs and, in turn, received fatal blows from the pitch black hooves, before the ancient night exorcised him from her domains, erasing his body from existence, and most of his soul as well. What little remained to regenerate had been infused with a dire truth: Máni was not in the heavens anymore.
His fated prey, his divine lure, was gone forever. The sole reason Hati was even allowed to live in the first place was now as real as his conscience, denying him both his fate and his function on the grand scheme of things. He would eventually consume the fiery-one, the tidesmith, would eventually cause this on his terms. This mockery, this parody of his destiny was beyond unacceptable, was beyond all measures of just and righteous. His place in the universe was stolen, as was Máni’s scent and flesh, the alluring white light on the gorgeous form no longer crossing the darkness of the heavens.
Hati had survived these 16 years hidden, away from the other jötnar, away from the wrathful eyes of the gods. He did just that, survive, left to an existence of discrete, yet exceptionally violent murders, punctuated by brooding over his stolen destiny, over the injustice of it all. He contemplated suicide multiple times, to join his prey in the void, and decided against it just to spite the gods, obviously laughing at his misfortune. To die like a coward when Asgard and his father alike are mocking him would be unthinkable, at least not until he had their blood shed on all corners of existence.
More importantly, however, a part of him knew that Máni was not fully gone. Even if his nose no longer felt the Moon’s scent, these drives, these impulses to look at the dreadful seascape, to search with his eyes for something, were too unusual and strong to be mere delusions of his weary mind. Máni was still there, was still influencing the vast, dark waters, and wherever and however he was, the instincts grew stronger every year, leading the wolf here, to the most repulsive of the seascapes, the North Atlantic.
“Fine day to stare at the sea, is it not? Funny, I thought you hated it.”
Hati snapped out of his brooding. He turned towards the thick boreal forest, where the voice had come, instantly reduced to a snarling, pitiful wreck, just a couple of negative impulses away from jumping at the white-suited man before him.
“My my, we haven’t seen each other in a while. You might want to show some respect to your own dear brother.”
“Then do not provoke me, Sköll. Your guises are dishonourable.”
“Oh, you mean this? Pity, I thought I’d win you over if I showed up in my sexiest.”
Before Hati could fully give in, the white-suited man’s skin ripped, a perfect cut bisecting his face, as if a zipper had been opened. The skin then peeled off like a banana, revealing a white mass of fur, punctuated by two golden, feral eyes. The form shook and twisted violently, the sounds of bones rearranging and cracking quite loud, punctuated by blood stains. The skin didn’t even reach the midsection when the now much more elongated torso fell forward, exposing too powerful forelimbs that cushioned the fall. The rest just slid off, revealing the now perfectly digitigrade hindlimbs and the tail, which shook off the remainder of the skin away. At some point in this display, Sköll’s face had converted into that of a wolf, and for some reason Hati couldn’t recall exactly when or how it happened, as if his own mind had been cleansed of the visage.
“Better?” retorted Sköll, showing ff his tongue in a playful manner.
“What do you want?”
“Why, to realise our destiny, of course!”
Sköll’s tail was now passing under Hati’s neck. Once again, the wolf felt as if there was a blank space in this mind, and that began to seriously unnerve him.
“I hear that you’ve been quite depressed, dear brother. You have my full sympathies, of course.”
“Does Máni live?”
“Why, of course he is. You know it to be true. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be staring at the lake.”
“Get to the point.”
“Why, isn’t it obvious? I will help you find him!”
“You were never too weak to aid others, you will never be. Again, get to the point.”
“Eh, nothing special, just some help in starting the beginning of a new era.”
“The Ragnarök does not need help to unravel itself. Again, get to the point.”
“‘Get to the point this, get to the point that’, ueh! You know, it’s dishonourable to be this ungrateful.”
“You always have thorns in your promises, Sköll! You do not have honour, so do not dare to provoke me in these matters. Again, get to the point, or I shall see your end.”
“Eesh, lighten up a little. Since you asked, I have made a deal with a kindly benefactor of ours, whom I am pretty sure you have met just before this mess happened. He will aid us, he is positively thrilled about helping us finishing the spawn of Mundilfari, to kill those pests for good, to have your pretty teeth sunk into Máni’s calf! All he asks in return is that we help him, bring fourth the true new era, the replacement for the Ragnarök!”
While always cautious, Hati began to be genuinely intrigued by this promise. A benefactor? Certainly none of the jötnar, not even his father or grandfather. And, truth to be told, he was that desesperate go with whatever Sköll had in mind. Máni had to be alive, and Hati had to fulfill his destiny.
“Show me this “benefactor” of yours, and I will aid you.”
“Hear that boss? He’s on board!”
Suddenly, a bright light flooded Hati’s eyes, filling his sight with a blinding, ever white blank visage. He recalled that light, that over 16 years ago had burned his flesh on all directions, a light not hot like Sunna’s, but far more intense and vicious, trespassing the whole of the wolf’s body from the eyes in. This time, it was still very intense, but the intent was not to kill Hati, simply to bind him to this contract, to prevent him from darting off and evade in cowardly last second opinion shifts.
“Greetings, Hróðvitnisson. We have last met in Odin’s terms, so enemical to each other. But I am willing to raise you, Hati, to priviledge you in this new era to come. You will have Máni dead, and you will have power. All I need is your cooperation.”
For a moment, Hati thought about scoffing it off, to have himself offed by refusing to serve the god before him. But his grudges were never actually that strong, and especially not now, when he was desesperate as he was.Now, he had the chance to make things as they should be, and not matter how much he wanted to, he would not spit on the “benefactor’s” face, let alone have himself killed.
“Yes, son of Dawn. Guide me to my prize, and I am yours.”