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They Call Her Sword Miranda

by on April 22, 2013

Last time, in a very special episode of the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had given birth to twins, safely within the walls of Shmirmingard Castle. Meanwhile, back at Evelyn Spaceport…

Krystelle was vexed. Irate, even. She had just succeeded in getting the apricot vendor to confess that he had been ordered to poison the Earthling Catrina with time-shifting puce apricots, when suddenly Thrud, the daughter of Thor, had whisked Catrina away without so much as a by-your-leave. Krystelle could understand the emergency, sure; Catrina was about to give birth, and she didn’t mind Thrud zapping her away to her own castle. What Krystelle objected to was being left behind. She stood alone on the off-white tiles of the spaceport’s walkway, with only her dwarf-boyfriend Smudge beside her. “Sure, let’s just forget about the elf,” Krystelle complained to Smudge. “I get the confession, I help rescue the princess, but do they take me with ’em when they start bouncin’ round the galaxy? Noooo. I get no respect!”

Smudge nodded grimly. The question, of course, was what they were to do now. Krystelle wasn’t precisely sure where, or even in what time, Catrina had gone. She debated going back to Earth, but Earth was a relatively big planet, and it wasn’t like she could just plop down in a big city and demand to know where Catrina was. Then she paused. Why couldn’t she just plop down in a big city and demand to know where Catrina was? “Right,” she said, dramatically flourishing her sword Miranda, “to the ship!”

Smudge pulled at her elbow and gestured towards the apricot vendor, who appeared to be trying to sneak off into the shadows. “Good point,” Krystelle said, and went for him. He broke into a run, but slipped on one of his own apricots, and before he could recover and make his getaway, Krystelle had reached him. “Okay, then, where were we? Ah, yeah.  You said something about someone ordering you to make trouble for Catrina. Who was it? Miranda really wants t’ know.”

There was a sudden massive thud from behind Krystelle, and the very tiles shook beneath her feet. The apricot vendor smiled. “That would be him.”

Slowly the rogue elf turned. She looked up, and up, and up, until her neck almost hurt, like someone who has the misfortune of sitting in the front row seat of a movie theater. Before her stood the tallest giant she had ever seen, and she’d seen a fair few, being an elf. The giant wore an immense beard, and his huge dark eyes looked down solemnly at her. “Hallo,” rumbled the giant, his voice sounding vaguely German. “I was disguising myself as a skyscraper and saw the commotion. What is your business with mine associate?”

“Oh,” Krystelle said, still gaping. “He’s your friend, is he? I didn’t know.”

“I thought so. Otherwise you would not have been pointing your puny little sword at him.”

Krystelle, outraged, momentarily thought of demanding that he take it back, as Miranda was a very nice sword and not puny at all, but then she decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to make demands of a giant the size of a building. “Yeah, well, that was just for, um, fun, you know? Fun. And now the fun’s over and I’m gonna go now. See you around.”
She started to back away, but suddenly a plume of smoke appeared in the walkway, resolving itself into Edmund, the prince of Character Hell. “Oh, crap, not you too,” she swore.

“Yes, me,” Edmund said, his alien minion Sludgepipe gurgling on his soldier. “And I’d very much like to know where my charming sister has gone to.”

“I think I have first claim on the princess,” boomed the giant. “My plot against her was in motion before yours was even conceived.”

Edmnd snorted. “And who are you supposed to be anyway?”

The giant drew himself up to his very impressive height, his head rising into the sky and startling a small flock of birds very badly. “I am Loki, ruler-”

“You certainly are not,” Edmund interrupted rudely. “Loki’s the brother of Thor, gets beaten up by the Hulk, and wears a pointy helmet. Who’s ever heard of you?”

The giant looked hurt. “I am Utgarda-Loki, master of magical delusions, ruler of the castle Utgard in Jotunheim. Surely you have heard of me? I know the other Loki, the brother of Thor, has been much talked about in the world of men, but surely Utgarda-Loki is still held in remembrance?”

“Nope. Just the other one. And he’s quite popular. The Internet loves him.”

Utgarda-Loki growled, sounding like an aggrieved thunderstorm. “Mein Gott. It is as I feared. No one remembers the mighty Utgarda-Loki. It is all the other one. Well. I shall make them remember me.”

Edmund smiled. “And I’d love to help, I really would, but I’m rather occupied right now with tracking my sister, so-”

“I am interesting in tracking your sister as well. I had kidnapped her husband, in hopes of forcing her to bring me Mlrning, the Shovel of Thor. But he was magically spirited away from me by the energies of Thor’s daughter. I tracked the magic to this place. I can track it again to where they went.”

“Perfect,” Edmund said. “And I shall raise the armies of Character Hell. Wherever they’ve gone, we will hunt them down and destroy them. You can have your bloody shovel. I only want revenge!”

“Drama queen, much?” Krystelle said. “Anyway. Catrina’s my friend. I saved her from gettin’ laser-rifled.” She raised Miranda, the spaceport lights gleaming off its shiny blade. “And if any of you wanna track her somewhere, you’ll have to do it over my dead body.”

Edmund gestured at Utgarda-Loki. “You realize he can just step on you? Your threat doesn’t exactly deter him much.”

Krystelle moved in a flash, darting forward and aiming her sword right at Edmund’s heart. “Yeah, but now he’ll have to step on you to step on me. Standoff. Boom.”

The Prince of Character Hell’s smile didn’t even waver, as his hand flew to his belt, and suddenly he had a plasma blaster pointed at Krystelle’s head. “All the villains are carrying them these days,” he said. “No more worries about leaving bullets behind and having ballistics trace them to you. And it has a certain panache. Now then, drop the sword, or die by plasma explosion. Your choice.”

“You think you can pull the trigger on that thing faster than I can run you through?” Krystelle pointed out. “All I have to do is give Miranda a little flick, and you’re done. I repeat, standoff. Boom.”

To be continued….

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. For a fascinating Wikipedia entry about Utgarda-Loki, go here. For a copy of Catrina in Space in print or e-book form, go here. Thanks for reading!

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