The Book of Earth
3 - The Cheater
The prince cannot be beaten unless by the king, not even by his professor, so sat an early and young Loki, his whipping boy Lini, and his teacher, Arnwald.
Loki: "If you thirst for power you are not free, if war dost thou make ye will not be?"
Arnwald: "And when insurrection is taking the pattering of new feet?"
Loki: "It is not the first thought of action or the last action of thought."
Arnwald: "But who will make a king one day must know what of a slave?"
Loki: "That we are not born as slaves, without command we will become."
Arnwald: "Think more of the grain, it is not born our food but is consumed by the animals, and, the farmers."
Loki: "And that is why we must condemn the heathen father fights in the south!?"
Arnwald: "...why does he fight in the south?"
Loki: "Why does anyone?"
Arnwald: "why does Loki fight in the south?"
Loki: "For our protection?"
Arnwald: "The wheat does not kill itself, it propagates, such is life, yet we kill the wheat, the south is in confederacy only for the purpose to kill again. If I were to kill the first servant that I saw on the street what would you make of me?"
Loki: "I would have you dead and make quick about it."
Arnwald: "And if our rations were scorned by Hel, what then?"
Loki: "We would make as ants equal unto the light as says the city scrolls."
Arnwald: "What makes a servant different than a slave in the eyes of the heathens that would have us be slaves or worse?"
The young Loki's teacher Arnwald waited for a response, but Loki hesitated, aversive he requited his paucity by awaiting proper instruction.
Arnwald: "It is Succor to leave well enough alone, the temple would have us both remiss if I did not learn you indifference, take up your inks and parchments and write me a missive, connoting three places you have been where you were forced to make a choice, be sure to list the choices properly for me, I will return with your lunches post haste."
Loki sat with confusion only for a moment as he scanned his memories, then began promptly without an expression on his face. The pillars were white and beyond the grass green. A covered porch of sorts, marble with heavy roof, two walls, two sided rows of columns, in the second wall a door to the palace where Arnwald had retreated. They worked driven on their essays and soon Arnwald had returned with a platter of wine and red meat brazed and rare, in exchange for the letters they were given their meal. Arnwald looked over the message and scrutinized, expectations met and missed, until Loki was finished eating, then he put the letter on the empty platter.
Arnwald: "And now to prove it."
Arnwald waved his hand and Loki opened his eyes in a field of clouds. All that surrounded him was white, without boundaries above, beyond or below. From the distance a fighter in black fabrics ran at a steady pace toward Loki, soon he could see that the soldier carried a sword and was fierce and foaming at the mouth. The assassin attacked without hesitation or greeting or prayer, and Loki craftily ended his opponent's life by turning the sword in on the attacker, breaking the knee backwards, stepping on the back, and punishing his skull. Then came two from the distance alongside themselves, upon their attack they were mangled and wretched to intolerable limits and their necks were broken, one by hands, the second by swift kick to the face. Loki collected his nerves and pondered.
Loki: "What are your intents Arnwald; we have not played these games in many moons."
Arnwald and Lini watched without being seen or heard or felt. From the distance another assassin in black rushed toward him, but from behind another three in a row, as the assassins began to increase their numbers, they did not wait or hide in rows to begin their siege until another before them had died, they came in droves, as their ascension progressed their garb became lighter and clearer than the prior, the black-clothed were the fastest, but the fair cloth was ever treacherous to see, the shades of grey became tinctured of clouds and wind and Loki could begin to see through them. He choked them with their blades and disabled them so that they fell like sacks of grain, twenty enemies were felled before he was pained by a well-placed strike thrown to his side, but another ten before Loki could not commute his anger to hesitation or harder defense, fearing defeat he grabbed a weapon of the nearest assailant, and instantly the training illusion was done. He was back with his patient teacher Arnwald and an amused Lini, a smile to greet him and his wounds, his exhaustion apparent by the sweat on his brow.
Arnwald: "It is fault that separates a thief from a king."
Loki: "I took their life for mine."
Arnwald: "And yet you hold the blade you took, give it to me."
A profound shock and contemplation became the thoughts of Loki as he handed the blade to his instructor, the blade was glass, and water, and air, to make it invisible, as Arnwald peruses the magic contents that hex the blade itself. With inclination Arnwald gives breath to the sword and it became a sharpened steel blade with a wrought iron spine, a slightly curved sword with a lofty handle and light weight. Arnwald tossed it to the ground much to Loki's dismay and discontent heard in a sigh of disbelief and a slight movement of his hand as if a thought to have grabbed it as it shattered on the ground.
Arnwald: "If you would have known your wind spells, you would have been on to the rooks of the Avalon plane, eat, rest. I will send for you Freyja's daughters Hnoss and Gersemi to refresh your knowledge of the wind, until I return from hence a fortnight.