Day 2, Muspellheim: "I am a skald before the Great Fire."

bonfire1Everyone talks a lot about the terrible Myrkwood, and how it is inhabited by evil monsters and wild animals, but the first thing that I noticed when I entered were stone shrines with carved spirit-figures that seemed to be waiting for propitiation. I made offerings to them immediately, and it was like a weight was lifted off the forest. I could feel them saying that I was free to go, and that no one would bother me. And no one did. So, important point: the key to getting through Myrkwood is to pay respects at the shrines of the tribes that inhabit it. Make nice to their local gods and you'll get through easier. Of course, I only skirted the edge.

I had asked Julie to come down and make a fire for this day, to anchor Muspellheim, and I spent most of the day around it. They came out to see who this intruder was - I had one moment of terror while they circled me, because they're so damn big - and then I showed them my tattoo and explained the situation and they settled back with grunts. They squatted around the campfire and began to cook their own breakfast - apparently there are so many random fires among the hot black sandy shores of Muspellheim that they just pick one at random and cook over it. So I shared my breakfast with them as well - Josh had sent down a huge amount of scrambled eggs and OJ. Knowing that they don't get much fruit here, I gave them the fruit that Jess had enchanted to feel like little babies. Yum, yum, crunch, they liked that.

One fire giant - older, blacker, not as tall but with more presence, came up and asked if there was a message from Her Ladyship. I knew at once that it was Surt from the way the rest of them treated him. No, no message, just me passing through. He saw my guitar and asked if I could sing for them. I said that I likely didn't know anything that they knew. He replied that they'd heard everything they knew a hundred times; they wanted to hear things they didn't know.

Fire giants are laconic, if they like you. Nasty if they don't, I expect. Their hands are blackened with soot. The place burned my eyes and throat and I craved water. But I had promised to stay and sing for Surt. I told him about my plans to go to Asgard the next day and he laughed at me. I told him that I was going to Asgard over the Thund Thvitr. "Do you have a boat?" No. Boat? I thought I'd shapeshift and fly in. "Sharpeye will shoot you down. That's what he's there for." Don't Hugin and Muninn fly in and out? "Yah, but he knows them." I hadn't wanted to go into Asgard with fanfare, but apparently there's no speaking into that world. "Those borders are guarded," Surt says. There's no way in? "If there was," he says with an ugly grin, "we'd have found it." He says I have to go up Bifrost. "You have Her Ladyship's mark on you, they'll let you in. They'll not like it, but you'll get by." He calls Hel "Her Ladyship" or "fair cousin". So I go back to Midgard tonight.

The fire giants tell me that wherever I go, a blast of cold air follows me, and I assume that's a wind from our world leaking through. They don't like to stand too close to me. And I found out from Surt that he is not technically related to the Iron Wood clan - he's Loki's godfather, and that of his children. He says Loki was born here, although he won't say why. Perhaps his ma knew he would be a fire spirit. Maybe being born here did it to him.

Things I've learned about superimposing worlds:

Distances are deceiving, especially in the dark, where the second world shows up clearer. I keep trying to go right instead of left from the hermitage because there is a path there in the second world - both Midgard & Mirkwood. You can only go down paths that appear in both worlds. You can force two paths together magically - Raido works good for that - but if they're too far apart you feel like you're leaning over sideways as you walk.

Time is deceiving. Things take too little or too much time. It gets distorted. After dark it gets worse, because you don't have a sun to watch. Rainy days are bad too.

You bring a little of your own world through, and people can feel it and smell it. It may creep them out.