Gripping the hilt of the sword that rests at my hip, I stepped across the threshold and into the great god’s domain. In the middle of the deepest black of space, the wheelhouse shone like a beacon, the columns that mark the corners of its octagonal shape a potential doorway to the other eight worlds.
Heimdall stood across from me. Before him a portal glowed with all the colors of light—from where I stood it looked like a prism imbued with the golden glow of a sun. For Heimdall, it was a window into a world. It was knowledge.
I opened my mouth to speak, but his deep voice rumbled through the wheelhouse before I found my own voice.
“There is nothing.” I saw him in profile, saw his downcast eyes, felt his regret. But he didn’t look at me. The conversation was over. He knew I would be back and we would repeat what had become a sort of ritual for us both.
In the time immediately following Desi’s disappearance, I traveled to all the worlds—all save for Helheimer, to which I was forbidden entry. In every kingdom it was the same. Desi could not be found. I bowed my head, fighting the shame that clawed at my insides. If only . . .
As I turned on my heels to leave, my eyes rose to the lintel again. Heimdall is the greatest of us all. His power allows us to exist, allows the worlds to keep their orbit, allows Gardians to travel to Midgard.
And yet, even he could not help me.
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