The First Procedural

on August 13, 2011 in Fantasy


“Who?” Loki said, quirking an eyebrow.

“New boy,” the All-Father said. “Roman, I think… looks a bit Jewish.” He shrugged. “I like to keep up with the times. You know that.”

“A new Jewish god?” Loki said, shaking his head and clucking. “I know someone who’s not going to like that.”

“I didn’t actually bring you over here to gossip about the neighbors,” Odin said. He turned his baleful eye back towards the fast-cooling corpse, a tiny sharpened sprig of mistletoe protruding from the neck. “This is a bad business, Loki.”

“Is it?” Loki asked. “I thought it was the family trade.”


“Death, oh Gallows-God. Is that not what of you spoke?”

“I don’t mean death,” Odin said. “I mean this death. Baldur was the best of us.”

“Best-loved, surely,” Loki seemed to agree.

“The others are in a kind of shock-trance right now. They’re overcome with grief,” Odin said. “When they come to their senses, I fear grief will turn to anger, and the anger of a god is a fearful thing. Especially when it lacks direction. I’ve already removed his poor brother to a safe location.”

“Is that wise, if you fear undirected anger?” Loki said. “It seems the simplest course would be to allow the mob’s fury to be vented against the killer.”

“I fear this is no simple matter.”


“Hodur was the spear; he was not the hunter. Some hand, unseen by us, guided his shot.”

“Why are you telling me this, All-Father?” Loki asked.

“Because I must ask something of you,” Odin said. “Something new. Something that has never been done.”

“I have been known to do that, once or twice,” Loki said.

“I’ve often warned you to guard your cleverness, lest it get the best of you,” Odin said. “Remember that business with the dwarves? But now I would have you unleash it.” He gestured to the grisly scene beneath the tree. “Look. Seek. Find. Learn. Do whatever you must, but find for me these three things: who killed Baldur? Wherefore did he die? And how may his death be revenged?”

“You ask much.”

“You have done harder things for me before.”

“Yes,” Loki said, turning away and surveying the corpse himself. “I have.”

“He was beautiful,” Odin said. “Even among gods. He still is. Even empty as a mead-hall on Ragnarok, is not his body perfect?”

“Yeah,” Loki said. He shaded his eyes against the sun with his hand. “Shame about the little prick.”

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2 Responses to “The First Procedural”

  1. Burnsidhe says:

    *groans at the wordplay at the end* Well played.

  2. Heh. Chief Inspector Loki is on the case! Wonder who’ll end up taking the rap?

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