Born Immortal Chapter 27

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Astyr was sitting in a comfortable leather chair in the billiard room waiting for Glin to show up for their lesson. She was holding one of the balls from the set that were neatly arranged on the polished wooden pool table and was trying to practice passing her hand through it. This was supposed to be working towards being able to walk through solid things like walls, but it was difficult to get the molecules in the ball to vibrate at just the right frequency so that there would be room for her hand to get through.

Glin had only mentioned this briefly at the end of the last lesson but Astyr was too curious to try it to wait for him to get back from dropping off Jenny. Jenny had become a regular fixture at the house over the Christmas holiday and had practically begged to come over today, two days after Christmas, since she hadn't been able to come for the previous three days. Frey had insisted that it was a family holiday and that Jenny should be with her parents, but the fact was, Yule was a special time for the Aesir people and Jenny probably would have run screaming for the hills if she had seen some of the things that had gone on with no humans around to witness them.

Thor and Njord had come for the festivities as well as many of Frey's sisters and their families. The house had been full to bursting with roving groups who moved around from one area to another where there were all kinds of activities going on; from singing and dancing, eating and what Frey liked to call feasting, storytelling reliving great events from the past for the delight of younger family members, gift exchanging which seemed to happen randomly as recipients were found in the melee, to some activities which were wholly Aesir.

These involved a hunt through the woods around the house, which for them meant bare-handed combat against great bucks and boars which had been growing in the forest for years, slaughtering a goat out on the patio and passing the blood around for everyone to take a small drink of before the animal was dressed and sent to the kitchen to be cooked, and a ceremonial drinking of what the humans in ancient times had called the mead of the gods; human blood.

The hunt had been great fun for Astyr. She had never run through the woods trying to catch an animal before and she had no idea how to track one or sneak up on it, but that didn't seem to be necessary. There were so many of them running around in groups of friends, crashing through the undergrowth and treating the whole thing like a big party, that a couple of magnificent animals were soon herded into a clearing and surrounded by everyone all too quickly. Frey was offered the first chance to take one down but as the host, he let Tyr take the honor.

Astyr's heart almost stopped beating as her father walked into the clearing where the wild boar and a full-grown, white-tailed deer were frantically looking for escape. The boar would charge viciously toward the wall of family members encircling the scene, but finding no opening, would angrily stamp his hoof into the ground and shake his head from side to side with his yellowed tusks dripping with saliva.

The buck was no less dangerous; the top of its majestic, eight-point rack of antlers was even with the top of Astyr's head and the animal weighed no less than three-hundred pounds. He was nervous and angry and could have easily taken someone down in his bid for freedom but the bystanders were making sure to put up a shield of energy whenever he got near the edge of the clearing. That was only making him frantic and Astyr wanted to cry seeing her father in the ring with the desperate creatures with no visible means of protecting himself.

She was the only one who seemed to be concerned for his welfare, though; everyone else was making jokes and shouting encouragement to the animals. She tried to take heart from that but the fact was, she had only just found her father and the thought of anything happening to him tore through her like a ragged wound.

Her brain tried to step in with some logic; her father was an ancient Aesir, he could recover from most injuries before Astyr would even have time to notice them. He had even lost his hand once in a fight with Loki's son, who was in the form of a wolf at the time; when Astyr had asked him why he now had two hands, he had laughed and informed her that it had taken a couple of thousand years, but it had finally managed to grow back, although it had itched beyond belief the entire time.

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