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Growing Pains

Growing up in Asgard isn't all fun and games.

By Marie SinadjanPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 5 min read
Growing Pains
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

This flash piece is a rough draft of scenes from the prequel novel of The Prophecies of Ragnarok, a Norse mythology based new adult series I'm currently writing with Meri Benson. It may or may not end up in the final version of the novel. This was also written in response to 8Letters' #31Letters challenge, an invitation to write every day for the whole month of January.

Here are the shorts we've written so far for the prequel, in chronological order:

Hotel Fen, the first published book of the series, follows after this point.


In Norse mythology, Hel is said to preside over an underworld realm where she receives a portion of the dead. She is referred to as a daughter of Loki, and is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. Her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-colored, and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance.

Hodr is the blind son of Odin and Frigg, who is tricked and guided by Loki into shooting a mistletoe arrow which was to slay the otherwise invulnerable Baldr, his twin brother.



"Stop moving!" Geiravor shouted from across their corner of the training yard, holding a knife by the blade. At ten, her hair had grown long enough to be styled into two thick braids, which were pretty to look at but were also definitive combat hazards. Still, she was a princess and strove to maintain the appearance of one, even if she had to be in training gear most days. The Aesir valued one's fighting prowess above all else and, because she lived among them, they held her to the same standard.

She'd been training with the twins, and while Baldr had gotten over his whining about having to train with a girl, she preferred sparring with Hodr, anyway. They were more evenly matched, for one. He hadn't bulked up in the way Baldr had — though not for lack of trying, merely genetics — and that actually allowed her to remain on her feet longer instead of being disarmed in seconds by a few sword swings, which taught her nothing but frustration and resentment. He also wasn't so serious that he would get upset when she'd occasionally cheat her way to winning a match.

She didn't think it was cheating, of course. It wasn't cheating to take advantage of your opponent's weaknesses, was it? It wasn't her fault that he'd grown his hair out, too. And he certainly started the whole hair-pulling thing. Crying foul when he'd done the same to her would only make him a hypocrite. And he wasn't that.

Arriving behind her to stand with arms akimbo, Baldr surveyed the scene and tapped his foot impatiently. "Oh, get on with it. You can't possibly miss that big a target."

She glanced over her shoulder at him. "I'm not aiming for the shield."

He scowled. "If you harm a hair on his head..."

"Relax." She rolled her shoulders, squinting at her target. She was grinning. "That's why he's holding a shield."

"Are you two done making eyes at each other?" Hodr called out irritably from across them, setting down the shield he'd been holding up. The sudden shift in his mood surprised her, since the game had been his idea. Though she would be surly too if someone was going to throw knives at her head, especially under this blistering heat.

"I said, stop moving!"

But he only scowled at her, letting the shield fall to the ground and plucking off the apple from the top of his head. He bit into the fruit without even offering to share with her, which almost never happened.

"Spoilsport," she sniffed, nose wrinkling. Not that she left him alone at that, no. Sheathing her knife, she walked over to him, grabbed the apple, and took a bite of her own. He pouted some more, but he didn't really complain.

- ✵ -

At thirteen, Geiravor began training with the Valkyries. She was great in hand-to-hand combat and, in fact, had a nasty right hook, but she wasn't as skilled with bladed weapons, which did a number on her reputation as a fighter. Knives and daggers just weren't as impressive as swords. Plus, she was the daughter of the Trickster. They did not consider a blade hidden beneath her sleeve smart, but underhanded.

She wasn't the only one who struggled with training, though. Odin had deemed the twins old enough to join their brothers, and the transition had gone spectacularly well. Being the youngest and physically the weakest, Hodr had, of course, gotten picked on. More than that, however, the bullying and the hazing had, at some point, ended up with him lashing out and using... magic. Their father had been furious.

"You missed dinner," Geiravor said as she slipped into Hodr's room, closing the door quietly behind her. She carried a small basket in one hand, filled with bread and roast pig and apple slices she'd carted off from the kitchens.

His room was dark and cold, illuminated only by the moonlight from out the windows and a lone candle. "You're not supposed to be here." His voice was muffled; she supposed he'd buried himself among the pillows and had no plans of emerging from them.

"I know. But you missed dinner." She walked over to place the basket on his nightstand. "They said that you—"

"I don't want to talk about it."

She huffed, clearly annoyed by his display of self-pity, but said nothing to it. Instead, she lifted her hands, and, focusing on the candle, started muttering something under her breath. A small ball of flame split from the light of the candle and flew into the space between her outstretched hands. She whispered a few more things and flexed her fingers and wrists about, and the flame further splintered before scattering. They were so tiny, so many, they filled his room like fireflies.

He peeked out from under the blanket. "How did you do that?"

"Magic." She sat on the edge of the bed beside him, plucking out one of the tiny flames from the air and holding it out to him. "I know you don't like it, but... I'm glad I'm not the only one anymore."

He didn't say anything to that. But he rested his head on her shoulder and held out his palm, letting her place the flame there.

Together, they watched it dance.

Short Story

About the Creator

Marie Sinadjan

Filipino author, singer-songwriter and theatre actress. Loves writing fantasy short stories, composing songs for books, and reading SFF and YA. Also writes romance, horror and scifi. Married and based in the UK.

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