“Kendania?” A low male voice in the cool evening air reached her ears and Kennedy turned, spying… “Magn- …Magnus. What brings you out here?”
The man approached the location where she’d chosen to sit, a low stone wall near the tavern where all sorts of plans for battle and plans for treason were occurring. She’d come out to escape both the increasing warmth of every body crowding around and the almost accusatory glare of Alexa. She watched as the man who was this world’s version of her fiancé chose a spot nearby and settled down with a low sound. He shifted a moment, getting comfortable, before looking in her direction. “I’m but a simple man and I don’t exactly understand this talk of how you’re someone who inhabits the body of a friend, who’s from another world, but I am interested. What is your world like?”
Kennedy cocked her head to one side, considering. Would it harm or help? After a moment, she told him of how they’d harnessed lightning, using it to light, heat and cool houses, of automobiles and architecture that rivaled that of Libertas. Magnus asked intelligent, insightful questions when something caught his interest, which she struggled to answer, as well as she could, but she was no engineer.
Finally, he asked the one question she both anticipated and dreaded – “You said you were my betrothed in your world?”
She nodded, smiling ruefully. “Yes. But you can rest assured that I have no designs on you and you can tell your lady that you are safe.”
Magnus nodded, seeming to have a weight lifted from his shoulders. She laughed at the expression on his face, shaking her head. “Oh, don’t tell me you were afraid of that?” At his silent nod, she continued to shake with mirth. “You’re cute, but not mine.”
Magnus had enough manners to wait until she recovered before asking ‘What is he like, this other me?”
Kennedy smiled again, though only a sharp observer or someone who knew her well would have seen the small hint of sadness in her eyes. “He’s…hmm, well, to start with, he’s taller than you, perhaps a bit broader in the shoulders, and stronger. He’s a musician and owns a bar, which is where we met.”
Magnus nodded and she continued. “He’s, he’s a god. A god of strength, of all things, but I suppose every pantheon has them.” Magnus frowned but she kept talking. “It’s complicated, I guess, in our world. We have months named for the Greco-Roman pantheon, along with a few of our weekdays, but three of our days are named for the Norse gods. Wednesday, for Wodan, the All-Father of the gods. He’s a nice guy, enjoying his retirement. Then there’s Thursday, named for Thor, Magni’s father – he’s the god of lightning, among other things, and all a protector of mankind. And Friday, named for Freyja or Freyr – it depends on who you’re talking to. Freya is a fertility goddess, much like Aphrodite, and about as vain, while her brother, Freyr, is a god of peace and fertility as well. But I think that every time we say those names, we keep them alive, the belief in the gods that still exist. But like all gods, they walk among us, meddle in the affairs of mortals.”
“Aren’t you a goddess? From what I hear of you and your friends, ah, talents, you rank up there with the ones they talk of in myths, legends.”
Kennedy could have sworn that at that moment she heard Mercury’s mocking laughter on the breeze and his words echoed in her head before she shook it. “No. Not gods, just normal men and women who are a bit more than mortal, less than a god.” That was her answer and she’d stick to it.
“I see. You sound as if you’ve been asked that before.” She nodded and he smiled slightly. “Do go on.”
Kennedy nodded. “As I said, I met him at his bar and he took an interest in me. An actual mortal that he couldn’t break easily, I guess. I suppose it’s true, as I’ve felt the same way, as if I live in a world of paper, where the slightest move from me might irreparably hurt someone I know or love. We kept crossing paths and he started to court me, I guess you could say. Then we had an adventure in what you would consider yet another world, Magni’s home, and during that time I guess I fell in love with him. He says he’s in love with me, but I have to wonder how long it’ll last.”
Magnus frowned. “What do you mean?”
“Just like every other god out there, they meddle in the affairs of men and often mate with them, resulting in demigods. It makes me wonder how long this marriage, when I get home, will last. I’ll fade; age, die, and at most I’ll be nothing more than a fond memory, or worse, forgotten.” Her voice grew tight with a combination of anxiety and anticipated grief, hands clutched tightly around one another. “I wonder if any children I’d bear would follow in the path of others before them, becoming rulers, heroes, or worse.”
“I’m sure you’re just borrowing trouble, thinking like that. I’m sure that this man you love is waiting for you back home and will greet you with open arms, eager to make you his wife.” Magnus placed a warm hand on her own, urging her fingers, which could possibly crush his skull, to uncurl. Kennedy smiled crookedly. “Thank you.”
“Not a problem, for a friend.” Magnus glanced back over his shoulder. “We should go back and I shall have to soothe Alexa’s feathers.”
Kennedy rose to her feet, glancing up at the dark sky. “Apologize profusely and she’ll consider forgiving you.” Together, they walked back to the tavern, to friends and plots.