Bragi Finds his Muse (Part 6): Lamia's Kiss

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Welcome back and thank you for your patience everyone for another episode of Myth Behind the Gard! Last week, Bragi and the Muses had to make a sacrifice in order to convince Fossegrim to teach Bragi how to play in time for the battle of the bands. Now with his musical talent restored, what could possibly stand in his way? To answer that, we must first take a look at some powerful female figures ranging from Lamia, Vampires and Valkyires!

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The Myth Behind the Gard:  Lamia, Vampires,  and Valkyrie's (Oh My!)

 

In Greek Mythology, Lamia was the daughter of Poseidon and one of Zeus' many mistresses. As punishment for her infidelity, Zeus' wife Hera made her kill her own children. Stricken with grief, Lamia transformed into a creature that hunted the children of others, and became the inspiration of many bogey-man style myths, along with some vampire traditions.

 

Along with being compelled to kill her children, Hera also cursed Lamia to be unable to sleep, so that she would have no rest from her grief. In some myths she tore out her own eyes, while in others Zeus allowed her to remove her eyes and keep them in a jar to sleep. He also gave her the ability to shapeshift and take ghostly form.

 

Vampires stem from a number of cultural traditions, and originally encompassed many different types of myths regarding undead creatures that consumed the blood or flesh of the living, and were originally just attributed as demons or evil spirits.

 

Lilith is a demon from hebrew traditions who was Adam's first wife before Eve, but was banished from Eden for refusing to be subservient to Adam. Lilith may also have roots in Mesopotamian and Sumerian traditions as a bird footed seductress demon that drank babies' blood.

 

Strigoi are Romanian vampires that may be derived from the Greek Striges, which were owl or bat-like creatures that drank blood. They also were said to squirt foul smelling milk on babies lips, so an amulet of garlic was prescribed to ward against them.

 

Valkyries are another set of female mythological figures that are believed to originate from Norse mythology, but may also have originated or gained influence from Anglo-Saxon pagan traditions. Valkyries are female figures that choose who lives and dies on the battlefield. Half of the slain are taken to the fields of Folkvangr, while the other half are taken to Valhalla where they prepare to fight in the final battle of Ragnarok. They are often depicted as riding steeds and are sometimes accompanied by ravens or taking the form of swans that flew over the battlefield in search of worthy warriors to choose for the afterlife. 

 

 

Bragi Finds His Muse: Lamia's Kiss

 

Bragi looked down at his trembling fingers with acerbic satisfaction. Rivulets of blood streamed through the stinging cuts on his fingertips and down the canyons created by the creases of his cradled hand.

 

'Here, this will hurt, but it should help a little.' Xinyi gently wrapped her smouldering hands around Bragi's to slowly seal his wounds. Bragi winced weakly, but did not pull away from her heated touch. Xinyi's gaze danced across the ground, her eyes unsure where they could find firm footing. Bragi scarcely noticed that the other muses had discreetly gone ahead of the pair.

 

'Hey, thanks again for...not being weird about...or, least not making it weirder...' The words stumbled with cumbrous tonnage from her lips.

 

'What? This?'

 

'No, I mean...back there.' Xinyi tilted her head back toward Fossegrim, who waved causticly at the departing group while patting his belly full of mutton. The fire Xin used to roast the poor creature with merciful speed now carefully cauterized Bragi's cuts and charged the air between them in a sizzling glow.

 

'I might seem ancient to you, but that old-style of letchery belonged to my father and his time. His mistakes aren't what define me.'

 

'I might seem young to you, but I'm over twenty-six hundred years old! it's just that since we were all reborn after Ragnarok, I feel closer to twenty-six.'

 

'Well, I guess that makes you older than me then!' 

 

'But you've never been reborn. You know what it was like before the cataclysm.'

 

'Things may change, but they're really not that different.'

 

'So what's different now?' Xin brought her eyes up to hold his gaze. They stood transfixed in each other before Bragi broke the moment by clearing his throat.

 

'Sorry, I…it's just that…'

 

'You still miss her, don't you?' Xinyi let go of his healed hand. Bragi nodded somberly.

 

'She was...special.'

 

'You're lucky, you know what it's like to have had that.'

 

'I dunno, you seemed like you were having plenty of fun before we met.' Xinyi's cheeks flushed slightly.

 

' Fun is fun, but even though the rest of the band and our fans are dear to me, there is still a certain kind of loneliness that comes with the territory.'

 

'Surprisingly enough, I think I know exactly what you mean.' Xinyi grabbed Bragi's hand and the pair paused to turn to each other again.

 

'Then i guess you're right: we aren't really that different, are we?' The fire from Xinyi's hand crackled purple as it mixed with the sparks of Bragi's azure arcs. The surrounding static seemed to draw them deeper into their amorous entwine.

 

The sizzle of a thick sticky liquid dripping onto their hands snapped the tension between them. The route they had been taking to the venue transformed the once open street into a darkly scaffolded alleyway. As they both looked up toward the source of the offending fluid, several sets of glowing eyes and glistening teeth drooled hungrily from the rickety outcroppings.

 

'Let's feed!'

 

The pack of strigoi flew down from their perch and landed between the two, swiping wildly and gnashing with rabid fervor. 

 

Bragi managed to loose a burst of lightning that rendered his attacker into a pile of cinders, but could not stop a second that scuttled toward Xin.

 

Just as the pup was about to overcome Xin, it froze with a curdling shriek. The strigoi's eyes crossed to focus on the tip of a bloody blade that stuck out from its forehead.

 

'Don't leave me out! Misery loves company!' Mel yanked at the ribbon and pulled his dagger back from the dead strigoi's skull. The other vampires hissed before receding back into the shadows of the scaffolding to regroup.

 

'Where are you going? Dance with me!' Psi strummed her lyre and pulled a jaunty tune from its strings. Several strigoi fell from their perches and began break-dancing on their heads with such speed their necks snapped.

 

'Aye, ye cannae ave ah proparh row wit oot 'ol Leif!' Leif charged into the scrum, swinging his gigantic fists with such force that each strigoi he. connected with was pulverized into a fine mist.

 

A distant rumble sent the remaining creatures skulking back into the surrounding darkness. One of the assailants made the mistake of trying to flee down the alleyway, but was met with a single headlight that blocked its escape. The rider revved her motor before she charged down the pup, ensnaring the beast with a heavy chain around its neck. She hopped off her bike and bludgeoned her mark with a series of crude hacks from a common hammer.

 

The Valkyrie wiped the blood off her weapon on what could barely be called her shorts. even Cal's blindfolded gaze seemed to walk up her legs as she approached.

 

'Show me your throat!' The Valk said sternly, pointing her hammer at Xinyi. She pulled away Xin's hair with the claw of her hammer to reveal an acute cut. 'You have two choices before you start to turn: I can make it quick, or I can make you one of us.' The Valkyrie pulled down on her leather choker, brandishing a worn scar.

 

'What's the difference?'

 

'The difference is turning into one of those mindless freaks, or keeping a small sliver of your former self. You should consider yourself lucky: The Daughters of Lamia aren't always this open to new members.'

 

'I didn't know I was so special?'

 

'You're not. Vampire hunting tends to have a high turnover rate, and Lord Ixion is not known to be forgiving of so-called traitors.'

 

So you're vampires that hunt vampires?

 

'Sometimes it takes a monster to fight a monster.' Xinyi grimaced and doubled over as she felt her gums peel back from her sharpening teeth.'

 

'Fine! Do it already!' Xinyi's voice twisted with an uncharacteristic rage that steadily consumed her soul.

 

Bragi could see a flurry of agony and ecstasy cross Xin's face as the huntress's fangs sunk under her skin.  He watched who she was disappear with her eyes as they rolled back into her head. He did not recognize the glowing amber that glared back at him with ancient determination when they opened again.

 

'Xin?'

 

'You don't have to speak: my blood can hear each whisper of your heart and the scentl of your soul sits upon your sleeve with the essence of all your secrets.' The certainty in her voice dragged a sharp icicle across Bragi's spine, making him cautious of her curling grin. 'Is the drink still satisfying now it has lost its sweetness?'

 

'I just wasn't expecting you to be so different, but I can appreciate the aged taste of a good wine.'

 

'I told you: you don't have to say anything!' Xin side-eyed him coyly. 'Don't we have a show at midnight?'

 

'You'll never get there in time now, not on foot anyway.' A roar of riders pulled up behind the Valkyrie who had now transformed into a war-painted fiend. 'They need a lift to Elysium, make sure to watch out for ambushes.'

 

'Ill ride ahead!' One of the Valks sped off as Bragi and the Muses climbed aboard their respective pillions. Leif squeezed precariously into a sidecar that strained under his weight as the rest took off into the night.

 

---

 

'Sorry, you're too late. You'll have to pay the cover if you want to get in.' The Valkyrie at the door folded her arms firmly.

 

'Sorre mates, ye shouda gon aheed. Ave gat nuttin' bat ah bet o' wee shrapnel.' Leif jangled the few coins he could scrounge from the folds of his kilt.

 

'It's all right sister: she is one of us, and they're all with her.' The enforcer's eyes shimmered as she nodded and stood aside. 


 

'And what am I supposed to?' Pan pleaded. Cal handed Pan a mariachi maraca.

 

'Rattle for the baby?' Cal jeered.

 

 'Seriously? That's degrading!' Pan tossed the maraca and pouted.

 

'How about being the backup dancer? Think you can handle some Capoeira?' Psi drummed rhythmically at her lyre.

 

'I can work with that.' Pan grumbled begrudgingly.


 

'Let's get into character everyone, we gotta make this look good. We can talk after the show...if you'd like.' Xin smirked at Bragi as she pulled down her libre mask before walking through the door.



 


Submitted: April 25, 2020

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