Penalty Kill – Chapter 3: Serpent

Below will be the last chapter posted for Penalty Kill.  It features one of the most important characters to the story, Jormungandr (as he is featured on the cover).  He is the last of Loki’s children to be introduced, as he was banished to Midgard by Odin.  In mythology, he has the title of the Midgard Serpent due to the legend of him being so long that he wrapped around the realm and bit his own tail.  So with a little bit of perspective, let’s get on to Chapter 3: Serpent.

BOOK_COVER3b

Chapter 3 – Serpent

The oceans were my home on this realm. It had been so long that I could not even remember my place of birth, Jotenheim. I wondered how many beings even remembered me, Jormungandr. I had given up all hope that either my brother or sister would be able to save me. Who knows what awful punishment the Allfather had doled out to them?

The Aesir had feared me from the moment they discovered my existence. Was it my fault that the union between an Aesir and an ice giant produced such monsters? Did I personally choose to be a giant serpent? Of course not, but as always, the consequences of others actions was forced upon the innocent.

Despite all of this, I harbor no ill will towards the Aesir. Had it not been for their fear, I would have never discovered this beautiful realm and all that is has to offer. Due to the magic that Frigga placed on me before my exile, I could not breach the surface of the water, but that did not stop me from exploring and seeing everything I could.

However, I had to be careful how close to land I got. A few times in my earlier years on Midgard, I had gotten too close and the humans had tried to hunt me. Without a way to breach the water’s surface, there was little I could do. Of course, I could sink their ships and sentence them all to death, but would that make me any better than the ones who sent me here?

Lately, I have felt this strange pull to travel north and west. I generally prefer the warmer waters that the central part of Midgard offers, but I am going to answer the call. Maybe the prophecy is coming true and my role in the Ragnarok is about to be played.

Jormungandr was a name that inspired terror. I was the one who would do battle with the Thunderer on the beach of the endless sea. It was foretold he would kill me, but that I would also kill him. The ice giants of my mother’s tribe thrived on the belief that I would be the one who would best him in mortal combat. Cycles earlier, I had come very close, but that was another life.

Before my banishment to the Midgard waters, I lived and yearned for that moment. My bitterness and anger both had been soothed away, replaced with more logical thinking. When Ragnarok comes, nothing would survive, all the realms would be burnt to the ground. On top of that, my entire family was destined to die. I may have been ready to perish for eternal glory, but the thought of Fenrir and Hel being killed tore at my heart.

Still, the pull to the colder waters was calling me and I would make my way there. My thoughts turned to my father, Loki, and his role in events. His fate was also unknown to me, but something told me it was even more cruel and soul sucking than what befell me. If the time ever came where my father asked me to do my part, it would be very hard to say no.

I hold no love for the Aesir, but asking all the realms to suffer for their incompetence is a fate I do not wish to participate. I looked around as I made my way further north, taking in all the fish that had the courage to swim by me. I was the apex predator in the ocean and most creatures at least respected my presence, if not downright feared me. The endless waters were my domain, and even though they feared me, I protected the water’s inhabitants as best I could. This was my home and they were my makeshift family.

I felt something wrap around my tail and start to pull. I looked back, thinking I was caught on some aquatic plant, but that was not the case. It was one of the few creatures of this realm that would attack me, a mammoth squid. I turned around and reared my fangs, showing this creature that only death waited if it continued.

It did not take my warning and it snapped its beak into my flesh. Tentacles continued to wrap around my body, trying to squeeze the life out of me. I reared back and brought my jaw down upon its body. All the tentacles went slack and two more bites, the battle was over. Never one to waste a kill, I took my time and feasted upon the squid carcass.

As I ate, I paused to think about what else could be pulling me in. Could it be a trap or some being wanting to test their strength against mine? Maybe that was the case, but they would do well to remember just who I was. My mother, Angrboda the Griever, had named me Jormungandr. Here on this realm I had another name; I was the Midgard Serpent.

****

“That is enough Freyja. You need not put so much power into the enchantment, he will come. I can sense the serpent’s presence. It is far but closing in.”

I took my hands out of the water. The humans had named this large body of water the Lake of Eerie and my master assured me it led to the ocean. With the right amount of coaxing, we could bring Jormungandr right to us.

“As you say master.”

We walked back into the abandoned storehouse that the humans had used as a fishery. It was now the base of operations. Here is where we hoped to put a new plan to the test.

We continued to walk until we came to the open area at the back. When we entered, there were thirty humans gathered looking at us. I hated the species so much, but we needed help. Between the failures of Skadi and Fafnir and then my own at my brother’s hand, a different direction was to be used.

Everyone stopped talking when I approached. “Greetings and welcome. I am sure most of you are curious what you are doing here and allow me to explain. All present have a skill that I am in great need of and that is the ability to kill.”

The creatures started to cheer amongst themselves. It was rather amusing how easily I could pull their strings. These were the perfect puppets to use.

“Now to business, we only have need for two of you for the tasks at hand. Whoever is selected will be compensated handsomely at the completion of the tasks given.”

“If you only need two of us, then why are there so many here?”

I could not tell which ape asked the question, but it mattered not. “That is simple, in order to find out whom the two most skilled amongst you are, we are going to have a little test. I will return in exactly one hour and the two of you who are still alive will be the ones I select.”

As expected, the protests began. I paid them no attention though; I knew exactly what they needed to see. “If you do not wish to participate, then maybe I mistook your abilities. However, to the winners go the spoils…” In front of me were three chests that I opened. I had forcibly taken from the dwarves enough gold and precious gems to make it very worthwhile. As expected, the protests stopped.

“If there are no more questions or complaints, I will return in a half hour. May The Norns guide the most skilled.” Rejoining my master, we turned around and left. We did not even exit before the first sounds of death filled the room. I was quite sad that I would miss this spectacle.

My master and I made our way to a room that was adjacent to the open space where the humans were slaughtering each other. He closed the door. “Freyja, you must make amends for your mistake. The blood of Fenrir must be obtained and we need to make sure Freyr is dead.”

“As you wish. As soon as I have my new servants, I will open a path back to that village and finish the tasks I have started.”

He dropped his hood and eyes that were so familiar looked back at me in a body that was completely different. “The day of reckoning is close at hand. Ragnarok cannot be stopped.”

-Jeremy

http://www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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