My friend Kelly McCullough has a new series launching this Tuesday with the book Broken Blade. (You can read the first chapter here, and if you’re in the Twin Cities, you can see the book launch events here.) Having just read the third book in this series, I can confidently say that I love how this series treats its gods. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Kelly’s always had an irreverent touch, as this story can attest.
“Excuse me sir,” said Slither, but do you have an invita–” Slither trailed off as the man turned his one eye on him. There was destiny in that gaze, or at least all the bad parts, and Slither changed his tack. “Er, that is… Um. We’d prefer it if no one brought pets.”
The eye held him for a moment longer and then the man bobbed his head once. “Hugin, Munin, wait with Sleipner.” The ravens leapt into the air and flew outside.
“Thank you,” gulped Slither.
He would have gone on, but just then he was distracted by the arrival of another guest. At least, Slither assumed she was another guest. He certainly wasn’t going to ask for her invitation. There was something menacing about her. He couldn’t really put his finger on what it was, but the necklace of skulls was high on the list. So was the feeling that she hadn’t got quite the right number of arms.
With the next arrival, Slither completely gave up on trying to screen the guests and fled to the kitchens. What, after all, do you say to a man wearing a jackal’s head. But the kitchen didn’t seem to be much of a refuge. Not with Eris dominating it. She was a beautiful woman with long golden hair and a very tight, very thin, white tunic. The bandage over her eyes was even thinner, and Slither would almost swear that she winked at him when he entered.
A few minutes of that sent him back out to the hall. He wanted to have a word with Thurible. It took a few minutes, but Slither eventually spotted the wizard. He was escorting an elderly bald man to a seat at the high table. The man was wearing a simple white robe, and his hands shook with a palsy of some kind. Slither pounced. The man was definitely not on the guest list. More importantly, he didn’t intimidate Slither in least.
“Here Thurible, what’s this. I want to have a word with you. There seems to be odd goings-on. But first, I’d like to see this fellow’s invite. I don’t remember-” Slither stopped in mid-sentence when the old man handed him a folded piece of paper. Slither opened it.
“Plato,” it said, “old dog of a philosopher. If you would see your thoughts embodied, come to my dinner. Eris.”
“What else did you want?” asked Thurible.
“Oh never mind,” said Slither. “I’ll be in the pantry. Send a page to fetch me when the meal is ready.”