Born Immortal Chapter 21

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Astyr made her way down the wide stairs in the rotunda of the Falkor's house and tried to ignore the nervous knot in her stomach. She had just learned that her father was in the house and now she had to face him. She wasn't sure what to expect; she had seen his name in the book of Norse mythology she had read but knew that most of that was from a human perspective and had to be taken with a grain of salt.

Also, she was afraid of what he might think of her. She was scared that he might be disappointed in her. She had, after all, been raised to believe she was human and had no real idea how an Aesir should behave. She decided that she would just be polite and hope for the best as she was led into the dining room.

The formal room was filled with an enormous carved wood table with chairs for twelve people although only nine of them were occupied as she entered. She stood with Grima and waited as Frey introduced the two of them to the council members. After that Frey turned to Astyr and started to give her the names of each of the elders to whom she would be speaking starting with those closest to her. He introduced Vidar, Hoder, Heimdall and Bragi, the four men sitting across from each other at the near end of the table and Astyr nodded to each in turn and then Frey continued with the four people further away. The woman was introduced as Frigg and Astyr was astonished when Frey named her husband as Odin. She nodded and gave her attention to the other two who were called Njord and Thor. She had a very hard time keeping her mouth from opening in surprise but somehow managed to nod politely and turn her attention to the remaining member of the council of elders.

She spent several long moments taking in the sight of her father, looking for anything in his appearance that seemed familiar. He was tall and powerfully built and had smooth tanned skin that gave him a youthful look that was somewhat ruined by the full head of pure white hair. His eyes were shaped like Astyr's and had the same ring of thick dark lashes around them but the color was a dark blue that reminded her of the sea. He was wearing a dark suit that looked expensive to her although she didn't have a lot of experience with designer suits so couldn't be sure. But the thing that drew her attention the most was the air of sadness that seemed to hang around him like a cloud. He wasn't smiling and he didn't look like it was something he was often in the habit of doing and it tugged at her heart to think of him alone and sad for all these years.

He was staring at her like he was seeing a ghost and all of a sudden Astyr wanted nothing more than to comfort him. She walked quickly to the end of the table and he stood as she approached and threw herself into his arms. It crossed her mind that this might be against the protocol but at that moment, she didn't care. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him as tight as she could not caring what anyone might think. This was her father and he needed her and everyone else could keep their opinions to themselves for now. She felt his arms come up as he hugged her back and she felt a surge of emotion and had to swallow hard to keep from crying in front of all these strangers.

They stayed that way for several minutes until finally Tyr put his hands on her shoulders and pushed her away so that he could look into her face. He studied her features and a small tug at the corners of his mouth betrayed how pleased he was to see her.

"You look just like your mother." He said to her. Those words brought a small warmth to her heart. She didn't know her mother but she liked to believe that she was a woman who was loved and respected and being anything like her was something that Astyr very much wanted.

"Thank you." She replied. She didn't know what else to say and the silence started to drag out as they stood there looking at each other. They were finally interrupted by Thor addressing Grima, "You have done well, daughter." Astyr turned to Grima in surprise. "Thor is your father!" Grima gave a small chuckle and looked kindly at her. "Of course, that is what Thorrsen means, more or less."

Astyr looked from Grima to Thor and noticed that they shared many similarities in appearance like the once dark hair that had turned silver in places and the shape of their faces were the same. Thor was even giving Astyr the same warm look that his daughter was. That welcoming smile wasn't shared by many of the rest of the council members and Astyr was reminded again that this wasn't just a family reunion. She was reluctant however, to leave her father's side to go and take a seat. He seemed to share her feelings and he asked Frey to bring a chair for Astyr so that she could sit beside him at the head of the table. When Frey and Grima took their seats at the far end of the table, a silence fell once again over the council as nobody wanted to be the first to open the subject of Astyr with her sitting there.

Bragi once again started them off, "Astyr, it is a pleasure to meet you and I am happy that you have recovered from your recent ordeal. I am sure that the last month has been very difficult for you and that recent revelations may have been overwhelming but please know that we have your welfare first and foremost in our thoughts and that we are going to do everything we can to provide for your safety."

Astyr made a murmur of thanks for his speech but she had a feeling that the words were meant more for her father than for her. This was confirmed when her father spoke up. "And how exactly do you plan to protect her?"

Heimdall answered first, "We could move her to your estate and post guards until Frey has finished speaking with Queen Elianna. We will have a much clearer picture of the nature of the threat against her after that." There were a few voices of agreement with this but Tyr cut them off. "My estate has been unoccupied for too long and it would take too much time to make it habitable again. Plus the movement of large numbers of Aesir would make it clear what is going on."

Grima added to this, "Also, Astyr is a ward of the state and it will take time to get the paperwork done that can have her moved to her father's custody. For now she must stay here."

Astyr was surprised to hear that. She hadn't given a thought to being put in her father's custody but now that it was an option, she realized that it was something she really wanted.

"If she must remain here then I will be here with her." Tyr looked to Frey as he said this and Frey was quick to reply to the implied question. "It would be an honor to have you as a guest, my lord. I will have Gerda arrange for the last guest room to be made ready for you."

"Thank you, Frey," Tyr said before going on, "Now we need to discuss Astyr and the attack by Elianna."

All eyes turned to Astyr and she was at a loss as to what they could possibly expect her to say. She knew even less about what was going on than anyone at the table. Grima came to her aid and drew everyone's attention down to her end of the table. "I have a theory about what has happened but it is only conjecture at this point and I would need to do some tests before I can say with any certainty that this is in fact correct." She looked from one council member to another to make sure that they understood and then went on. "Both Tyr and Arianna were the firstborn children in a long line of firstborn. That alone would be sufficient to endow Astyr with abnormal abilities to process energy but in this case there is a secondary consideration. We have known for a long time that the longer we wait before having children; in other words the more our own capabilities have advanced, the more those advanced capabilities are passed to our offspring. Both of Astyr's parents were well over 25,000 years old when they had their first child and both of them are unusually powerful to begin with. We have to assume that Astyr has rare abilities to process energy, even in its rawest forms. A child like this has never been seen before and I must do tests to see the extent of her ability. If she were pure Aesir it would be easy enough but she is also half Alfar and I am not sure anyone even knows the full range of Alfar capabilities. She may need help from Queen Elianna."

The council members turned to Tyr to see his reaction first. He put his hand on Astyr's arm in a gesture of reassurance before addressing the council. "It will take Frey some time to see Elianna; while we are waiting we'll do what we can for Astyr. Odin, you can start tonight on your mission and we'll all meet here again when Frey returns. We'll be able to form a plan once we have all the information we need."

They all recognized the dismissal in his words and everyone who wasn't staying in the house took their leave.  


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