ORIGINAL FICTION: "Twilight of the Gods" (Part 4) by Charlie Starr

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PLEASE NOTE: This is the conclusion of the story. Part 3 is online here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-twilight-gods-part-3-... Part 2 is online here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-twilight-gods-part-2-... and the whole story starts here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-twilight-gods-charlie...
We'll be starting a new story, and getting back to more traditional SF next week. Thanks again to Charlie Starr for contributing this!

“Deciding that the time had come for a showdown
between the pagan gods and Jehovah, he seized an
axe and in the presence of thousands of engraged
heathen and terrified half-Christians chopped down
the sacred oak of Thor at Geismar in Hesse. When
the huge tree crashed to the ground and Boniface
was left unscathed, the pagans recognized the
superior power of the Christian God and came in
droves to be baptized.”
—A Concise History of Christian
World Mission
Thousands of Norsemen gathered at the sacred site deep in the swamps of Geismar, gathered to watch the thunder god’s revenge upon the upstart Roman priest. In the center knelt the man in prayer, daring to do what Elijah had done to Baal. Boniface prayed to God for strength and courage. Beside him in the world of myth—just inside, just out of our own—in that world and our own stood the gods of the North, unseen.
“Do you understand now, Thor, do you begin to see? Men of earth envisioned the lie that we became every bit as much as we did. Their eyes must be opened as well as our own if the world serpent is to fall and the true King come.”
“I begin to see, Father. The hordes of hell amass to the South, chased by a tiny man and his giant faith. But where are the leagues of the true North? Do they not come?”
“They are hindered by the enemy, and so we must prevail for a time. But this man’s prayers and that of his companions are a beacon flame drawing the great army toward us even now.”
“Here then I take up my hammer and stand. Here in my most sacred grove will I watch the true King’s arm raise His tree above my own. And with his every blow I shall bleed and persevere while he cuts me. The very World Tree of the nine worlds, our worlds, falls this day.”
“Truly, my son. There was no other choice, for the King is coming. Zeus could not stay His hand, nor mighty Jupiter who fell beneath His peace but four centuries ago. The demon gods are dying before His armies, but we, Hammerer, we may now offer ourselves upon this tree as He did upon His own. Though the lowest hell awaits us for our sin, yet He is merciful in His justice and we will be remembered hereafter.
“Look there now among the men of earth. That war king’s anger blazes. Should the serpent move him to strike the man before the deed is done, all is lost, and we shall fall just as surely. And over there stand five lords of men who would not see their power diminished by the true church. And there wait wild men of the far, cold countries whose greatest lust is for blood. The Valkyrie ride on high, the warriors of Asgard guard all grounds around us. Tyr, Halfdan, and Frey are there. And ever watchful Heimdal raises his horn to his lips. Even Loki the trickster causes the world serpent hesitation in his attempt to out-lie the father of lies. He is weary of living and joins us gladly in our deaths. Now look, there in the North from the clouds come the host of heaven shimmering icy white while the flames of chaos draw near. We are their vanguard till they come.
“Raise up your arms all Asgard! We must stay the hands and steady the hearts of every human soul till the deed is done that their souls may be saved. Protect their minds and shield their ears from the fiery darts that come. Let their wills not be violated but let them choose for themselves.”
“Rise up now, all Valhalla!” cried Thor. “Fight for your deaths, and life immortal for those who have loved you dear. The pain that wracks your bodies shall be the proof of your success. As each blow unmakes their faith in us, so the halls break, the bridge shatters, so Asgard fades and we perish. But our people wake to new faith! To truth! Fight! And let each blow against the foe be felt in your own flesh. That is how you know you have won. Ragnarok is come!
And as the battle in heaven was taken up, Thor leaped with hammered hand at the serpent amidst his charging horde, a thunder that Odin let none on earth hear, nor see the storm raging about the sacred grove, nor hear the cries of hero and lie forger alike.
The battle in heaven taken up, on earth Boniface Thorsbain stood and took up an axe and struck the first blow.

Copyright 2009, Charlie Starr