Gods and Men, Ch. 8

March 31, 2008
By J.D. Cook

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8.   Valhalla

In front of Jeremiah stood a beautiful woman with long blond hair and bright blue eyes. She was dressed in armor, carried a large shield, and a long sword hung at her side.
“I am Pruor, daughter of Thor, a Valkyrie or chooser of the dead, and I am here to bring you to Valhalla.” Jeremiah could not speak. He was sure he had died but now he lived.

Suddenly, Jeremiah’s surroundings changed from a white nothing to a large forest. In front of him stood a massive wooden building inlaid with gold and silver. It was a thing of beauty. Pruor opened the door for him and Jeremiah walked up the steps into the Hall of Valhalla. Inside there were thousands of tables and men were drinking with each other. There were men far as the eye could see. There were Knights, next to Samurai, next to soldiers from World War II. All the greatest warriors of all time were dinning in Valhalla.

“Welcome to Valhalla, Mr. Dylan”, said an old man dressed in shining silver armor with a long white beard and missing an eye. He gave Jeremiah a large bear hug.
“I am Odin. Some call me the “Sky Father”, others the “Father of All”, but I prefer just Odin.” Jeremiah was in a total state of shock he had no idea what was happening.
Odin turned to Pruor and whispered, “What’s wrong with him?” Jeremiah looked around and began to wander among the tables. He stopped abruptly in front of him sat General George. S. Patton and Saigo Takamori talking like old friends. Patton noticed Jeremiah staring and looked him over.
“You! New kid! You look a little young to be here?” Jeremiah opened his mouth to answer but no words came out.
“Where are my manners? Sixty years here and you forget things. I’m George S. Patton, general of the Third Army of the United States of America.” Patton put his hand out and Jeremiah shook it.
Still in shock, he collapsed into the seat behind him. “Are you ok kid? You don’t look so good. Hey Odin! Something’s wrong with this kid.” Odin made his way over with Pruor, who leaned over and helped Jeremiah up.
“This is going to be a little hard to swallow Jeremiah, but you have died on what you call Earth.” Jeremiah collapsed again.

It wasn’t until many hours later that Jeremiah was able to speak. “What am I here for?”
Pruor smiled with his first words. “You died in battle and proved yourself to be a brave warrior. All brave warriors come to Valhalla. Odin has a plan for you.”
“I’m not brave or a warrior! I failed the people in New York!” Jeremiah put his head down.
“Who is and is not deemed brave is for me to decide.” Pruor raised Jeremiah’s head. “There was no way you could contend with Loki. He is a god of Asgard.”
“What is Asgard?” asked Jeremiah, confused.
“It is home of the Aesir, that’s us. Asgard is our world.” Pruor helped Jeremiah to his feet again. “You are an interesting human. Perhaps when we have more time, we can talk in detail. But I’m afraid we have wasted too much time already. We must act quickly to stop Loki.”
Jeremiah’s head rose. “How can I do anything? I’m dead!”
“Odin has a plan to thwart Loki, but we need your help.”
“I’ll do what ever I can.” Jeremiah still had a depressed tone but he was slightly more enthusiastic.
“Good! Then lets go see him.” Pruor led Jeremiah to Odin, who sat on a throne at the head of all the tables, which stretched to the vanishing point.

“Snapped out of your slumber finally, have you?” Odin said in a warm voice.
“Yes sir, I have. Pruor said you had a plan to stop Loki. May I help?”
“Help? My boy we need you to fight Loki for us!”
“If I’m dead, how can I fight someone who is on Earth?” Jeremiah asked perplexly.
“Oh, that’s an easy fix for me. I’ll have you down there in no time! But first I’d like to introduce my son, Thor.” A large man with bright red hair and an even brighter red beard, stepped next to Odin’s throne.
“Hello, Mr. Dylan.” said Thor.
“Thor can tell you what you need to do to defeat Loki and he’ll bring you up to speed on the full extent of what Loki is doing.” said Odin.

Thor beckoned for Jeremiah to follow him and led him to one of the tables where two ales lay waiting. Jeremiah could barely raise his mug it was so big.
“Loki is a mischievous Aesir. He has caused us trouble in the past and now he seeks to destroy us. He has used a sorcerer on Earth as a gateway to your plane. The sorcerer was working in black magic and summoning spirits when Loki appeared to him. The two struck a bargain and were joined together through Loki and the Sorcerer’s magic. Loki seeks to convert the humans on earth to his troops to use against us at Ragnarok.” Thor spoke with a booming voice that filled the Hall of Valhalla.
“What’s Ragnarok?” Jeremiah asked, intrigued by what Thor was saying.
“Ragnarok is the final battle, The Battle of Evermore, where Loki will lead his army against ours.”
“So that’s what all theses soldiers are doing here? They are part of your army.”
“Yes. We recruit the bravest and most honorable soldiers to help us fight Ragnarok.” replied Thor
“So how do we beat Loki?”
Thor’s face grew angry. “Loki did not just wreak havoc in your land he stole my hammer; Mjolnir, before he left Asgard and hid it on earth. Without it I can not defeat him. That’s where you come in. We are going to send you back to earth. First you must find my hammer. Then, and only then can you conquer Loki and send him back to Asgard where we will deal with him.”

“Ok! Lets do it! Loki won’t know what hit him!”
Thor laughed at Jeremiah’s sudden agerness. “There’s one more thing. You will need these to wield my hammer.” Thor pulled off his large gloves and handed them to Jeremiah. At first he was sure that they wouldn’t fit, but they remarkably adjusted to fit him. Then Thor handed over his belt to Jeremiah, and again it fit perfectly. Thor then lead him back to Odin.

“Are you up to speed now?” asked Odin sipping a large ale.
“Yes, I’m ready to travel back to Earth!” replied Jeremiah
Odin smiled; “Pruor. Lead Mr. Dylan to the Bifrost Bridge. He is ready.” Pruor crept up behind Jeremiah and nodded in recognition.

It took only a short walk to reach the Bifrost Bridge.
“Thanks for all your help, Pruor.” said Jeremiah.
“It was an honor to serve a warrior like yourself. I shall await your return. Hopefully it won’t be too soon.”
He turned to face the bridge. “So I just walk over this and it brings me back to Earth?”
Jeremiah looked around but Pruor was gone. In front of him stretched a rainbow that arched towards the familiar Earth. He looked at the rainbow, uncertain if he should take the next step. “Well, I’ve already died.” he thought.

Jeremiah stepped onto the bridge and was swept away.

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