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New Release: Echoes of the Gods – Gaia Sol

Echoes of the Gods - Gaia Sol

QSFer Gaia Sol has a new MM mythological fantasy out: Echoes of the Gods.

Peace has endured in Yggdrasil since Loki, prophesied nemesis of the gods, was captured. And wardens, like Yngvi, are entrusted with the essential, but mundane, duty of ensuring he stays imprisoned. Seeking other avenues of excitement, fancy-free Yngvi sets his sights on a beautiful young stranger in Midgard. But when Loki breaks free, unleashing his ruin on Asgard, and Yngvi is framed for his release, the usually easygoing young soldier realises how fragile the peace really was.

Shara, the enigmatic stranger, appears to have a perturbing connection to Loki, and to the circumstances of Yngvi’s disgrace. Yngvi confronts Shara and learns that an insidious killer is behind the fall of Asgard, and that Shara alone may hold the key to redemption. Realising that they can help each other, the two men embark on a quest across the stars, onto strange new worlds and into perilous encounters with new gods, monsters…and their own conflicting feelings.

As they close in on their common enemy, Yngvi and Shara must face the frailty of their fledgling bond, and of life itself—because their choices have consequences greater than they ever imagined—as they unravel the shocking past that threatens the future of every world.

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Excerpt

Yngvi exchanged a tense look with Magne, whose knuckles were white around his spear.

Midgard’s army would soon arrive in Valhalla. Magne and he had trained their soldiers for this very day, putting them through drill after drill on horseback, on foot, with weapons, and hand-to-hand combat, and pushing them past the limits of their endurance until they knew their unswerving objectives on the battlefield as well as their own names: kill the enemy; protect your fellow soldiers; and if death were the consequence, make it honourable and make it count.

Outside, Heimdallr sounded the summons. Yngvi had expected Gjallarhorn’s blast to be a single extended note issued thrice at brief intervals, Asgard’s loud and urgent call to its allies among the nine realms. What he heard, instead, was a truncated burst; the clang of metal; a thunderous crash.

Odin and Thor were shouting out orders, but abandoning all regard for protocol, Yngvi ran to the doors. Outside, he stopped short beside Heimdallr, and saw what the Guardian god saw: that it was the summons that had been sounded too late.

Because the gates of Valhalla had been blown open. They hung like decaying teeth, held up by a single hinge on either side, swaying in the wind. Two lifeless bodies, slumped on the ground, formed small silhouettes against the dark plains beyond. The loss of lives had begun, and as it had in the first and second wars, it had begun with the Midgardians, with the two sentries at the gates.

The sky was pitch, churning chaos, moonless and starless, the hollow courtyard filled with the tormented wails of angry winds. Far beyond the walls was a diffuse, orange glow.

And Yngvi watched, aghast, as the breach in the high stone walls was filled by three unmistakable figures: Sigyn and Hel on massive war horses, and Loki’s writhing serpent son, Jörmungandr.

They parted to make way for another. And through the gap, astride his colossal wolf-son, Fenrir, came the nemesis of the Aesir himself. Loki.

“Come out, you cowards!” Loki’s cry reverberated in the quad. He tugged on his wolf’s fur, and Fenrir bounded ahead, followed by Sigyn, Hel and Jörmungandr.

Magne came up beside Yngvi, spear and shield in battle-ready position. The Aesir streamed out around them. Yngvi could feel the gusts from the Valkyries’ beating wings as they hovered above.

The two sides held, waiting to see who would strike the first blow. Although Loki had already struck, because the battlements showed no activity, no sign of the sentries who were presumably dead. And on the edges of Yngvi’s burgeoning horror at the situation was a moribund hope that their horses had saved themselves.

The Aesir’s high-strung mood was palpable, and Yngvi’s own body was taut with tension.

Odin descended the steps, flanked by Thor and Heimdallr, and stopped halfway between the tower and Loki. “How did you get out?”

“Did you really think,” Loki snarled, “that a blind god and a handful of mortals could hold me there for eternity?”

“Where’s Hodur?” Thor demanded.

Hel reached behind her saddle, pulled a burlap sack off her horse and flung it towards the Asgardians. It landed with a rattling thud, rolling to a stop halfway between her and Thor. The loose cloth had dipped here and there into the emaciated hollows of the body-shaped lump inside, which was seemingly stripped of its flesh, and unmoving.

Another dead immortal.

“He begged for mercy,” said Sigyn. “I gave him to your serpent for a while, then to mine.” Her lips curved when Jörmungandr hissed. “There’s very little of him left. Bones, perhaps—”

“He was your brother!” said Odin.

“My brother died,” said Sigyn, “the day he became the architect of my husband’s torment.”

“I’ll kill you!” Thor roared, splitting the dark sky with a loud crack and a blistering flash of white. He had begun to charge, but Odin flung out an arm, and Heimdallr and Magne bodily held him back, struggling to contain his wrathful might.

“This is the day you die, All-Father,” said Loki. “All of you. Starting with Hodur.”

But not Vör two weeks ago? Yngvi felt in his bones the cold certainty that today was nothing like Loki’s past attacks on Valhalla. The oddly vulnerable vigilance in Odin’s rigid stance seemed to have afflicted the rest of the Aesir.

“Is it?” said Odin, after a pause, his voice hard. “You come here with your family to destroy mine. Do you think I will allow that to happen? I have all of Asgard with me. The Elves and the Dwarves will be here soon. And the Vanir. And I will end you and your family where you stand.”

Loki shook his head, laughing. “They are not coming. I killed a few of their immortals and gave the rest a choice. They saw my armies, and chose to live.”

“Your armies?” asked Odin.

Loki turned his head slightly and called out, “Break the walls!”

An explosion of rock and dust, and moments later, the walls ruptured, and massive boulders crashed to the ground. More and more wall fell to reveal hundreds of giants standing almost as tall as the barricade, smashing bodily through the high stone.

Wave upon wave of Loki’s armies stampeded in, breaking through Valhalla’s soaring, purportedly impermeable defences as easily as through sand, pummelling with fists and shoulders and feet until all around was only flat land: the marble expanse fringed by a wide circle of detritus where the walls had been, the open fields of Asgard beyond. And as far as the eye could see, lit by the glare of fire giants, blue was interspersed with orange and black, as the giants of Niflheim and Muspelheim, and Hel’s shadow fiends bringing up the rear, bore down on the Asgardians.

“Kill every last one of them!” Loki shouted, and put his heels into Fenrir.

Yngvi’s stomach dropped.

Because this was Ragnarök.

And all of Asgard believed that it had begun on his watch.


Author Bio

Gaia Sol lives with her husband in Toronto, Canada. Her adventures in creative writing began with a 9K-word story in 2013, as a much-needed diversion from her day job in finance and technology.

Over the next three years, she wrote longer and bolder stories that explored her love of myths and legends—from Camelot to Robin Hood to the Holy Land—and even the parallelism of ancient mythologies. That last one eventually became Echoes of the Gods which she published under the pen name “Gaia Sol” to combine the Greek and Norse mythological equivalents of the Sanskrit meanings of her real name and surname (she was very pleased when she came up with it).

She’s now researching India’s myths, cultural past and heritage to plot her next story. If her muse cooperates, she will publish that novel sometime this decade.

Author Websitehttps://www.gaiasolwrites.com/
Author Twitterhttps://twitter.com/GaiaSol_writes/

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