Zenoska, photographed by OctavianEarth
by A. Octavia
I still remember a time when the fjords were teeming with life. The winds often carried the songs of Midgard across the seas. We danced to them, and we sang along. The world of men was a shining jewel among the branches of Yggdrasil. But that was such a long time ago...
The winds are hollow now, cold. They're filled with the sound of mechanical hearts beating in time to the chattering noise of mortal hives. The world tree withered, and even Nidhogg refused to open his maw. This age of men rose from Ragnarok's ashes and with them came the end of the old ways.
We stayed on as long as we could, but the reach of men grew so strong so very quickly. We did the only thing we could--we ran. Some took to the other realms, some assimilated into the stretching void, and those like me vowed to keep our relics safe from harm. All of us knew we'd never see each other again.
I chose Mimir's well. When the All-Father fell to his grandson in the end of days, I mourned as all of us who survived did, but a small part of me, the smallest part that I never dared speak of, secretly rejoiced. It meant I was free. The hunt was over, and the baying of his hounds, and the thunder from Sleipnir's hooves would never haunt my dreams again.
But he was still the All-Father, and his eye still rested at the bottom of the well. I could never see it through the mirrored surface of the water, but I knew it was there. I could feel it staring up at the heavens as if asking why the worlds would abandon us all.
I've had to move the well three times. Each step a little further away from the crossroads of where men and gods meet. First, I moved away from Yggdrasil's roots to a nameless place within the Earth's heavens. Years later, it became a star with a name no one could pronounce. It was eons before men came to me.
When I moved the well again, it was to a massive comet that tore through the universe in muted silence. I watched men evolve, changing as easily as I could at a whim. They built ships that could breathe fire, and eventually, they were able to catch up.
Now, the well and I rest on the very edge of Niflhiem. The winds howl in barren rage, but I have enough power to keep them at bay. No mortal or god would dare enter this world but to die-- but that didn't stop them all. Every year, the limbs of the world tree creak a little louder at the sheer weight of Midgard's obesity. Men cannot control themselves. That was part of their allure.
Odin never wanted the Huldes chasing after the mortals. He never said why, and we didn't obey him anyway. There were countless men and women we preyed upon. The forests were thick with men in those days. They were naive, pure, and unadulterated. They were wanton and coarse, but eager to please.
It's easy to fall into your memories when they're all you have left. The lines between fiction and reality blur together and turn in on themselves along the edges. That was where my mind was when I heard the sound of voices. How I could have missed the thunder of the retro-rockets or the streak of crimson flames as a ship tore through Niflhiem's night sky is still beyond me.
But I heard the voices first. They were choked with fur and gasping breaths against the cold air. They came closer, following their computerized gods in front of them, a north star in the palm of their hands. Seven of them, hearts beating fast, breath pluming in cold bursts. I thought about killing them. There was no one to argue with me, no one to plead their case--except for the silent eye on the bottom of the well.
My forest extended for miles in all directions. I never bothered to count how many. I knew the perimeter, though. Every centimeter of it out to where it pushed back against the frozen wastes. I knew exactly where they were the moment they crossed into my world. Oh, I could have killed them, but they had a ship waiting for them, one capable of finding me here. If they never returned, another ship would arrive, and then another, and another until I either ran out of room to hide the bodies, or I'd have to move the well a fourth time.
They spoke among themselves in a language I'd never heard, but the tones were the same. The man leading the others had a harsh, unforgiving voice. He was one used to telling others what to do, and being obeyed. I let my mind coil around him like a serpent. He would have to be the first to break. Without him, the others would be lost.
There were two interesting things inside him that I felt stir at my touch. The first was his abstinence. He was a widower of nearly two decades, and he blamed himself for his wife's passing. Mortal vanity at it's finest, always thinking they were the center of power in all the nine realms. The second buried secret he held was his desire for his research assistant. This revelation carved an icy smile across my lips. I seldom think of myself as cruel, but his view of her as more a daughter than a colleague was something even I couldn't resist. Yes, breaking him would be easy.
From there, the others would fall like dominos. The research assistant had a lover in the expedition, too. A hulking man, walking sixth in line. He had a great respect for both the professor's command, and for his lover. He didn't think for a moment that she was anything but loyal to their bed. When he shattered, he was either going to explode, or implode like a great all-consuming vortex; I could feel it in the air.
There was a cartographer among them. He was tall and lean, but he had a submissive streak he wouldn't ever reveal, even to himself. The medic, a full-figured blonde woman, liked him. She kept making subtle advances to him that he never picked up on. One of the guards, a woman carrying an assault rifle, noticed it, though. She doubled as the cook, and every time the medic found a reason to be alone with the mapmaker, she started counting the bullets in her magazines and any number of ways to poison her food. It wouldn't take much to feed that jealousy until it broiled.
The last man, the one following the woman with the assault rifle, was a much more intriguing specimen. He had an average build, average height, and an average libido. He didn't think any better or worse for any of the men and women he marched with. He carried himself with a kind of determined grace.
When I probed his consciousness, I didn't sense any hidden desires for the women he was with, or the men. If they all fell into oblivion, he would simply watch and wait. I probed deeper. Something had to tick in his mind, or deeper in his soul. Was he a fetishist, a rapist? His thoughts didn't twitch at the suggestion. I plied him with one vision after the next, scrambling to find something that would open him up to me. I tried homosexuality, bisexuality, sodomy, oral, aural, animals, everything I could think of…
I began to throw things at him so fast I almost missed something. Almost. I felt his mind twitch at being treated like a god. I hadn't meant to give him a hint of omnipotence, only to see what he would think of being in the center of an orgy. I presented his psyche with a flash of every member of the expedition bent over him, pleasuring his mouth, nipples, hands, cock, and ass; it rang true, but only peripherally. He wasn't aroused by being the center of attention so much as being the one to command that attention.
I often loathe having to fend off visitors to the well, but this time, I felt something twinge inside me, a fire that hadn't been stoked in decades. I couldn't wait for them to stop for the night.
It was hours before they did, and I was almost panting in anticipation. I shadowed them all day, taking every opportunity to slow them and impede their progress. It was going to be so simple, so beautiful, like a snowflake on a mountain peak that started an avalanche. Their leader, the professor who secretly longed for the touch of his assistant stopped them near the heart of my forest. They’d never know how close they were to Mimir’s well.
Most of the group had a few minor cuts and abrasions from stray branches and loose rocks, so the medic started making her rounds. She saved the map-maker for last. The two guards posted themselves at either end of the campsite with their backs to the others. The camp was little more than a handful of erected tents and a small fire. I watched them from the shadows, willing myself to remain hidden from their eyes. It was easy enough to do after centuries of practice. If they stopped long enough to think about it, they would have realized that nothing else lived in my forest; it wasn’t that I didn’t like animals, I just didn’t like to be distracted.
When the cook’s rifle was set aside in favor of a rotisserie, the light banter started to flow. I watched the group settle into what looked like an ingrained routine. The cartographer entered one of the tents and worked under a lantern. The medic finished dressing a cut on the professor’s forearm in his tent while the other guard sat with the professor’s assistant by the fire. Her boyfriend was gathering wood along the edges of the camp.
I drifted into their camp like a damp fog and hugged the ground by the fireside. My muse, the guard with the god complex, didn't even notice. I drifted up the edge of his boot and hugged myself against his sock, then let myself slowly settle along his bare skin, just below his knee. He felt warm, and I could almost taste him. I planted a single suggestion in his head, a spark of inspiration and a fleeting knowledge that he had a power here, beyond mortal comprehension--my power, but only for a short time: hours, maybe less. It would be here and now, and nevermore.
I retreated before he became aware of it. I darted back into the shadows and coalesced in time to watch his body react. The glow of the firelight radiated off of his face and I saw his pupils dilate. He blinked and looked around him, as if seeing the world in a whole new light. His gaze drifted from person to person in the camp, lingering on them for a moment longer than necessary, reading their souls like a pictogram.
The assistant asked him if something was wrong, and he smiled. He placed his hand gently on hers, and his smile widened. In the firelight, it looked almost hideous, obscene. I felt myself moisten between my legs. He leaned closer to her and whispered in her ear, a handful of words that made her gasp, and a rose color flushed into her cheeks. She didn't pull away, but looked over her shoulder toward her boyfriend as if he might sense her thoughts.
My mortal god nodded at her, then toward the woman cooking at the other side of the fire. He whispered something again, and the assistant covered her mouth to stifle a short gasp that no one else noticed. His hand rose steadily, and he cupped her breast openly in the middle of the camp. He eased into his powers, my powers, gently.
She startled at the contact and recoiled, staring down at his hand on her chest, then looking at the others as he moved to unbutton her heavy shirt. He kept whispering to her, speaking in tongues, moving his hand into her shirt to grope the flesh of her breasts through her bra. She tilted her head back and sighed. Her shoulders slumped as she licked her lips.
He suddenly pulled away from her and stood. He looked energized and eager. His gaze darted around to the others, and his eyes fell on the cook. He left the assistant sitting with glazed eyes and a half-open shirt and circled the fire to inspect the meat roasting at the fire's edge. The cook smiled up at him, but her smiled became fixed as he leaned in closer to her. He touched her arm, just above her elbow, and she glared down at his hand. He smiled again. He spoke softly and even faster that before. The woman glanced nervously around at the others, but no one seemed to notice. The cook looked over at the map-maker's tent, at the silhouette of the man inside hunched over his charts, and she started to breathe heavily.
I watched my little god reach up to the back of the cook's head, his fingers slowly sifting through her short-cropped hair, and finally finding purchase near the top of her head. His fingers clenched, and she gasped. Her eyes never left the man's shadow on the wall of the tent. My little god hissed in her ear, then pulled her off balance against his chest. My nipples hardened.
Just as quickly, he left the cook standing at the fire's edge, teetering on her heels with her mouth hanging open. The assistant's boyfriend was next. The little god stopped him with a tap on the shoulder. The little god spoke, and the hulking boyfriend listened. He watched his girlfriend stand up, her shirt half open and turn toward the professor's tent. I watched the confusion play across his face, and it suddenly changed to anger as his realization settled in. He started to move, but the little god stopped him. He held his hand up against the man's face and cooed into his ear as if soothing a child.
The boyfriend stopped cold, and his anger was flushed away, replaced with a longing I shared. My little god, much more patient than I would have been. He left the boyfriend to watch his girlfriend disappear into the professor's tent. No one noticed that the cook left the food to burn while she sought out the medic repacking her supplies at the far side of the camp.
I didn't know which scene to watch first, and my attention kept shifting between them. The little god just stood next to the fire and folded his arms across his chest, smiling wickedly. The shadows playing across his face danced with the flames.
There was a sound from the professor's tent, a shout followed by a soft cooing from his assistant. Something was knocked over, and I saw him appear between the tent flaps. He held one side open and pointed to the outside world, dismissing her, but I saw the look in her eyes. She didn't move. He told her again, louder, but she only drew in closer to him and sank to her knees. He startled, tears in the corners of his eyes as he tried to back away and was met with the edge of his tent post.
She gazed up at him, and when their eyes met, he looked away, slamming his eyelids closed. She reached for his belt and opened his pants, running her fingertips up under his shirt. I saw his stomach quiver at her touch. She bent her head forward, rutting her face against his underwear and breathing hotly against his cock. She worked her mouth against him, over and over until the professor nearly sobbed. She used her teeth to pull his underwear down enough to expose his skin, and she swallowed him in one swift motion.
I heard the wet gulping of her throat as she bobbed up and down, trying to claim him, to make her father-figure and mentor proud. To make him want her as much as the little god told her he did. When he finally responded, it was with a subtle shifting of his hips. He thrust gently up at her sucking mouth, and she moaned against him, redoubling her efforts. She steered him back into the tent without ever taking her mouth off him, unbuttoning her shirt completely and leaving it in her wake. Her bra followed, and the last thing I saw before she turned her back to me were her beautiful pink nipples-- almost as hard as my own.
The boyfriend watched them without a word. His eyes were fixed on the opening of the tent, on the back of her head as the professor gripped her head and helped guide her bobbing mouth up and down on his cock. The boyfriend took a trembling step forward, and then another until he reached the opening and watched them. They shifted, and the professor pulled his assistant up from her knees to kiss her hungrily. He pawed at her breasts, fulfilling a fantasy he hated himself for having in the first place.
He growled and turned her over. He nearly ripped her pants down before pushing her onto her hands and knees. He hesitated long enough to look at her sex, dripping wet and pleading for him to fuck her. When he entered her, the boyfriend quietly reached into the opening of the tent and picked up her panties. He stroked himself through his pants as he watched her being taken,. They all thought of him like a father, and they both groaned when she howled like a bitch in heat. Her boyfriend freed his cock and wrapped her panties around his shaft. The wetness on his tip mixed with the dampness of the cloth. He stroked himself in time to the bucking of their hips.
My own fingers were playing with my nipples, pulling on them gently while I watched the professor fall to his inner demons. The little god didn’t notice, though. He was watching the cook talk to the medic. The two women reach the peak of a heated argument. The cook pointed toward the mapmaker‘s tent, and the medic shook her head. She moved to walk away, but the cook grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back. They grappled for a moment, but the cook's skill quickly overpowered her. The cook shifted her feet and circled around behind the medic, pinning her arm behind her back.
They walked to mouth of the tent, and the cook shoved the medic inside. I saw the shadows collide, and before they could pick themselves up from the ground, the cook followed in after them. I saw her slap the medic across the face, knocking her down as she tried to stand. The mapmaker leaned over to help her, but the cook slapped him down, too.
My little god moved closer and pulled back the tent flap so he could see them clearly. When the light spilled out, we saw that the cook had the cartographer's head in her hands and was kissing him savagely. The medic whimpered with tears in her eyes, pleading, but the cook seized her by the wrist and pressed her hand against the mapmaker's crotch and held it in place. Shock register on the medic's face, a sudden realization that the mapmaker was intensely aroused. When she looked down at his pants, she saw the outline of his cock under her fingertips. The cook grunted and pulled the medic’s mouth to hers. At first the medic resisted but softened as the cartographer’s cock throbbed under her hand.
The cook pulled at her shirt, ripping it open to expose one of her breasts, and she broke away from the medic long enough to suck on her breast. The woman resisted again, but the medic’s nipple rose to meet her mouth. She only stopped long enough to bark orders to the mapmaker. He cowered, and then started to undress the medic, mewling helplessly under the assault.
With the medic stripped bare, the cook ordered the same done to her, and both of them were ready to obey. I smiled. It was even better than I hoped. I slipped out of the shadows and stepped lightly so that my little god wouldn't sense my approach. When I touched him, his skin felt like it was on fire. I slipped my hands down over his chest and pressed my breasts into his back. He tried to turn to face me, but I turned his head back to watch the cook who had her foot pressed against the man's clothed cock. The medic was lapping at the cook's labia while her fists curled against her blonde locks.
My other hand reached around to the front of him and pressed against his throbbing cock. He'd already started to soak through his pants with precum, and I breathed softly against his neck, taking my power back. I soaked his influence back from everyone in the camp and let them run on their own volition even as I opened my little god's zipper and pulled his cock into the open.
The medic was sitting on the cartographer's face now, moaning into the cook's pussy while the moans from the other tent reached a crescendo. The little god spun around and looked at me, at my heavy breasts, and the sheen of moisture between my legs. His cock bobbed in time to his heartbeat as he dropped to his knees and began to run his tongue up the insides of my thighs. He savored my essence, slowly reaching up to my core where I opened for him like a flower at dawn.
He was easily the most skilled lover I'd had in a hundred years, and I came almost instantly. I gripped the back of his head to hold myself upright and let him draw me to the ground where he could keep licking at my center. His tongue kept moving from my clit to my ass, circling both at each pass, then thickening like a tiny cock to press into me. I let him devour me, and I came for him again.
I could still see the silhouettes of the cook and the medic, each riding the mapmakers face and cock, kissing above him where he couldn't see, pinching each other's nipples. When my little god lifted himself up, I reached down to wrap my hands around his cock, and pulled him into me. I felt him spread me open, filling me slowly before he retreated again.
I felt so full, so ready for another orgasm that I simply lost myself to the sensations. I let him take every ounce of pleasure from me he could. Before long, he began thrusting harder and harder, the groans from the other tents became muffled distractions in the farthest edges of my existence. I held onto the moment of his orgasm, I clenched and took everything from him, milking his cock for every ounce.
He collapsed on top of me, and I rolled him onto his back. His eyes were closed, and his chest heaved. I lifted off of him and slid down his body until I could take his cock into my mouth. I licked us from him, savoring it, leaving nothing. I did it slowly, and his body twitched before settling into my rhythm. His gently undulations slowed, and finally, he fell asleep. The boyfriend watching the assistant and the professor had slipped inside the tent, and she was stroking his cock while riding the older man. She kept repeating some phrase between mouthfuls of his cock.
The cook was equally distracted by the mapmaker and the medic who were alternating between the cook's labia and ass. I smiled again as I stood and blew out the campfire like a birthday candle.
By tomorrow, they would all be so confused by their desires, their quest of discovery would be forgotten. They might even stay for another night in awkward silence while they tried to sort out what happened, or they might not. I would watch them, of course, and I could always kill them if I had to. It wouldn't be the first time...