Light, Drapes, and Pen Names
Happy Birthday and other News
Map of Worlds
At the Gates of Valhallaby Ellen Million
The valkyries made no explanations, only left Islof beneath the golden tree of Glasir outside Valhalla in a swirl of gay laughter and long hair. Islof took himself to the doors, marveling at the scope of the longhouse of death.
When Islof arrived at the doors, the guards looked as surprised as he was.
"Has Odin made a clerical error?" one of the bearded men asked, exchanging looks.
"You are no warrior," the other said gruffly.
"No," Islof agreed. When they were silent, neither inviting nor intimidating, Islof added, "I am a fisher. I lived in the Lofoten Islands."
"How did you die?" the first guard asked, rolling his spear around in his hands.
"Heart attack," the norseman replied tersely. He had rather have died on the sea, the way he preferred to live, but few men in modern times got to choose their own deaths. Beyond the guards, he could see that golden shields were layered on the underside of the roof like scales of a fish. The rafters of the hall were thick spears and shining swords.
"I'm... just not sure you are allowed here," the second guard said. He seemed genuinely apologetic. "You have to die in combat to come to Valhalla."
Islof smiled then - a slow, Norwegian smile. "I was married," he explained, and the guards laughed and nodded, and welcomed him into the hall to drink mead and wine with the vikings of eons past.
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