So I did some of that thinking stuff, and I realized that I'm being a prick.
I mean, in all fairness, I'm still pretty convinced that Harlan was the only one who *could* have made me see what I did in Nieflheim, but even so the visions or hallucinations or whatever didn't cause any real harm, and I shouldn't really be so pissed. It just kind of crossed a line in my head between shit I could deal with and shit I couldn't.
That's, uh, for later. Story time Mr. Journal, and good gods do I hope no one ever reads that I wrote the words "Mr. Journal" in here.
So, for the sake of keeping myself on track here--since I keep getting so F'ing side-tracked otherwise--I should probably recap what's going on. The world is ending. Laurel is pregnant with our twins. We went to Helheim to ask Hel to give us Marie's body (so we can put Marie back together and hopefully get a new way to approach defeating Kane). Hel told us she wanted us first to find out why Loki had frost giants steal the Black Feather Shroud from her. So we had set off to talk to Utgard-Loki, king of frost giants who I was about 99% certain would give us the information we wanted.
Now, I had gotten a letter from my dad saying something about frost giants pulling one over on him and that he was going to be in Norway. So I figured this was a pretty damn good place to start looking for frost giants. One look at a map of Norway and I notice there's a gods-damned "Jotenheim" mountain range. I mean, it's freaking called 'giant town,' how much more obvious can you get? But still we head up to check it out. But on the way there Laurel does something absolutely amazing.
So we're on a ferry, and I'm kicking her ass at poker. Harlan's doing a crossword. I don't blame him really, even with Laurel winning every hand of poker is only so much fun. Then cupid shows up. Apparently Orlando Bloom is cupid. He may have claimed that he just looked like him, but I'm calling b.s. Cupid was in the Pirates movies, and you can quote me on that.
Anyway, that's not what was involved with Laurel reminding me why I love her. So, with the three of us out on a boat, naturally it gets attacked. Apparently by Shinobi and a big-ass shark. Not quite as enormous as the shark from the Guinee trip, but still pretty big. We are trying to fight the shark when some kid, thrown off the boat, gets swallowed whole by the freaking shark. So I know that Laurel has this thing about kids. She does not let kids get hurt around her, and certainly doesn't let them die. So knowing that she's going to do something awesome, I grab the axe out of her hand so that hopefully I can finish murdering this shark once she's done her amazing feat--and she didn't disappoint.
She grabbed the side of the boat, half threw herself and half parkour'ed along the side of the boat until she landed right in the middle of all the stranded people, and then she just... she just made a giant invisible force-field in the water. It kept the ship from sinking down any more, kept the people from getting sucked under, and beached the freaking shark. So I cut it's tail off, and she shoved her bare hands down its throat and pulled the kid out, pouring her heart and soul into making sure he didn't die on the spot.
After a second or two when people managed to figure out what the fuck just happened they sort of started applauding her. Like you would applaud a firefighter who just pulled a kid out of a burning building... except this was a woman who had just pulled a ferry full of cars, and about twenty people out of the dangerous November waters of the North Sea, not to mention extracting a child from a great-white shark's gullet. An idea struck me, but by the time it did Laurel was busy swimming everyone to shore like fucking superman flies the airplane full of passengers to its final destination and sets them down without a bit of turbulence.
When we got to the town on the far side this huge crowd got around her and was trying to get photos and videos with their phones, and get statements from her and all sorts of stuff. Luckily I had an idea (this thinking stuff is starting to pay off.) I stepped forward and started passing out business cards and telling people to call me, leave me a message, and if they were with the press maybe we'd be able to schedule a time for her to meet with you. But more so they were asking who she was and stuff and so I told them "She's The Doctor." Apparently this tickled Laurel more than a bit when I told her what I'd said to them (she doesn't speak Norwegian.)
One of the other things I said to her though was "I have two words for you--endorsement deals." Seriously. All I have to say is that if Calel didn't care so much about being normal, all he had to do was wear Nike brand spandex and he'd never need to work another day in his life.
We eventually got to the national park with the mountain ranges and after sort of tricking this park ranger into thinking we were a bunch of horny twenty-somethings off to have a romp in the forest we set out looking for giants. It took a little while to find them, but Jack Frost helped out. He seemed like a cool dude (no pun intended.) Except the way he was dressed just seemed... ...cheesy. He was wearing an un-buttoned hawaian shirt over a wife beater with surf shorts and flip-flops, and he was sun-bathing on top of a mountain inside the arctic circle in the middle of winter. But he was pretty smooth. He pointed the way to the giants. Seems like a nice guy.
So we make our way over there and find out word travels fast out of Nifelheim, so we were expected. We go down a hole, find some guard dogs, I give Laurel a look when she nearly strands herself in Jutenheim while five months pregnant, and Harlan and I set off to talk to Utgard.
While on the way though I had the realization I mentioned earlier, and so I told Harlan. I basically told him that he seemed like a good guy, and I really ought to trust him more, and that he said it wasn't him, and so I was going to decide to take his word on that--but that if it was, just sort of for future reference, it crossed a line. But I made it clear that I didn't want to make an enemy of him. Not entirely sure what sort of impression I really made. He can be hard to read sometimes.
We met Utgard. He is a jerk. By that I mean he's incredibly manipulative. He told us what we wanted to know pretty easily. That wasn't so bad. It was afterwards, when he asked us a favor that things got messed up. He said he had one of Loki's hairs--something with some serious magical power if used properly--and would be willing to give it to us if we saw to it that Cook Inc. fell back into his hands instead of into Kane Taoka's. Well, I'd been planning to kill Kane for a while, so I had little qualms with this.
But when that forsty footed two-faced son of a fucking--...
But when Utgard-Loki wheeled my father out, practically pin-cushioned in place by icicles, and said that this was the *other* possible trade, and offered Harlan a half-share in the fate of a god, I swear I wanted to do a great many rather unpleasant and ill-advised things. But I didn't. I just glared at him, and as I was leaving I told my dad I was sorry.
The second we got back out I prayed to Odin. He should know where my dad is, whether or not he was ready to do anything about it. Then we started driving. And then I got a call from Brendan.
"Gunnar, hi, it's Brendan."
"Hey, what's up?"
"Well, uh, we just dug up Loki in Mag'Mel. Like the real Loki. And we need to contact Odin. And we figured you might know how t--" and about there I hung up, full-stopped the mustang on an icy country road, and started praying to Odin.
"Dear Odin. Loki is in Mag'Mel"
Lightning bolt = Odin appearance (or Zeus, but we won't go into that.)
"Mag'Mel is in Ireland!" I said in exhasporation.
"I know that! This is the second time in such a short period that you and your freinds have claimed to have found him. If he isn't there, you're paying the price. You're coming with me." So he grabbed me by the collar, and then I was in Ireland.
My first thought when I found myself in Ireland? "I have got to learn how to do that."