About the Book
Author: M.L. Larson
Jari, a young dwarf from an isolated kingdom, is sent out to find his trouble-making brothers. After being saved by a stranger from being trampled by a horse, Jari finds himself with a new companion in this strange land. As they search for Jari’s kin, they find more trouble made than either of them had anticipated. Soon, Jari’s missing brothers are implicated in the murder of a god, making their return home all the more urgent. But when they are finally found in a distant land, troubles only seem to get worse for Jari and the companions he’s picked up along the way.
ML Larson first started writing in grade school, and never stopped. There have always been stacks and stacks of notebooks cluttering up rooms ever since, full of meandering stories and complex worlds filling up the house. Soon, those notebooks became huge folders on his hard drive and in Google Docs. Right now, he’s in the process of taking many of those old stories and finding the hidden gems in them.
Miles reads just about anything, but it’s the Thor comics that gave him the idea for his current series, Lay of Runes. Norse gods with pizza and cell phones is an idea that amuses him endlessly. While that aspect isn’t part of Lay of Runes, a lot of the surrounding attitude about the characters has. The idea that gods are stories gave him the idea to approach the myths and characters from a different direction, as if the stories we know today are the result of word of mouth stores being twisted and exaggerated over time.
When he’s not writing, Miles enjoys doing needle and yarn crafts. He lives in Portland.
Mailing List: http://mllarson.com/mailing
Loki led the way on uneven legs, finally stopping in front of one of the doors. He took the key from Jari, being more easily able to reach the lock, and opened the door. The room beyond was small and cold, with two beds and little else inside, and smelled strongly of piss and who knew what else. The window looked out over the alley below, lit dimly by lightstone lanterns that had begun to fade with age.
"Same room every damn time," Loki grumbled as he tossed his bag to the corner. With some effort and the creaking of nails being torn from wood, Loki managed to shove the window open to air out the room.
"Won't something get in?" asked Jari.
Loki looked out the window. "What could possibly get through that? You'd barely fit," he said.
"You know why we dwarfs live underground, don't you?" Jari asked him, debating bashing him over the head with something if he didn't close it again.
But Loki did close it, rolling his eyes all the while. "Fine, we'll sleep in a pissy room," he muttered.
He waved an indifferent hand at Jari and turned his back to him as he began to undress for bed. He threw his shirt and boots aside with his bag, revealing the tattoos Jari had caught a glimpse of out on the street. His arms were almost entirely covered in black and red. On his left arm, Jari could see what looked to be a serpent curling and twisting around from his elbow up to his shoulder, with its head on Loki's chest. On his right arm was a wolf in the same position, its claws outstretched and reaching his neck. He had bands around both his forearms, and two ravens circling one another on his right side.
If he had any more than that, Jari never saw. He kept his breeches on and climbed into bed, falling face-down onto the hard mattress. Like everything else in the hall, the beds were designed for men, and were tall and long. Jari didn't trust the people around not to try to rob or murder him in the night, so he kept his clothes on, setting only his boots and sword aside before climbing up onto the bed. Laying in it felt like lying in the middle of an empty room. Looking over at Loki with his feet hanging off the end and one hand on the floor, Jari suspected the beds in the room weren't even particularly big by the standards of men. Until stepping foot in Four Rivers, Jari had not realised how far from home his journey had already taken him. Even sleeping in caves and empty dens felt familiar, but a city above the ground, visible to the sky wasn't something he had been prepared for. He had packed only enough to get him to the city, where he knew his brothers often wound up. In the morning, he would resupply for the journey home and set out into the city to find Fjalar and Galar.
"You'd better not snore," he grumbled as he settled under the thin blankets and rolled over to face the wall.
Loki, it seemed, was already asleep.
"That could have gone better," Jari said.
Odin glared at him again with his single eye, and Jari looked away. There was another giant across the street that glared not at Odin or Jari, but at Agmundr.
"Who'd you steal that pony from?" he asked before spitting on the ground.
"We're looking for two dwarfs," Odin said, ignoring the question.
"What the Hel would I know about dwarfs?" asked the giant before walking away.
"He said they'd talk to you," said Jari as he watched the giant leave.
"Talk, yes. He never said they'd be helpful."
Together, they wandered through the city, finding giants no friendlier than those they had met when they first started their search. Jari found himself spit on and kicked at while Odin ignored him and asked his single question again and again, receiving the same unhelpful responses from anyone he asked.
"I can't imagine they were ever here," Jari said after dodging a hammer to the head.
"Someone saw them. They're just not admitting it," Odin said, determined to keep pressing on. But Jari was done.
"You keep asking. But if it were me, I'd have got as far away from a place like this as possible. I think your brother has the right idea about this place." Jari turned his pony around and began making his way through the growing crowds in the streets, darting past the giants as quickly as he could. He didn't look back, even as he finally found the road that led back out of the city and away from the giants. Jari rode until he came to the spot where he thought Loki had left them, though he could see no sign of him anywhere.
"You in there?" he called into the woods.
He still couldn't hear or see Loki anywhere, so Jari got down off his pony and walked into the trees.
"I wouldn't go in there if I were you," Loki said suddenly from behind him.
Jari jumped at the sound of his voice and spun round to glare at him. "Why?" he asked.
Loki looked past him and frowned. "I think there's a bear in there." He looked around and frowned even harder. "Where's my horse?"
"Damned if I know," Jari said, going to fetch his own pony before it wandered off.
"Where's my ale?" Loki asked.
"I didn't get any," Jari said stiffly, ignoring Loki's obvious disappointment. "My brothers weren't here."
Loki looked back toward the city. "Are you sure?"
"They're not suicidal," Jari said as he climbed back into the saddle.
Loki laughed loudly. "That makes three of us," he said.