Today we’re thrilled to welcome back Lyra Wolf for her second Storytellers event, and this time we’re showing her novel Chaos Rising a bit of love! If you’re a lover of Norse-inspired Mythic Fantasy, then you should really check out The Nine World Chronicles, a tale told through the eyes of everyone’s favorite trickster, Loki. I’m excited to hear what our hosts have to say in the coming days, so stay tuned for a fantastic week ahead.
Keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, to check out the entire first chapter of Chaos Rising, and to enter to win a signed paperback of this beautiful book of hers!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Chaos Rising. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
APRIL 14TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (@whispersandwonder)
APRIL 20TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
Let’s start Ragnarok, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.
Nothing pisses off a trickster god more than being imprisoned for five hundred years and not being able to annoy Thor. There are other reasons, secrets, and promises behind Loki’s rage, but that’s for Loki to know and the gods to find out—preferably painfully.
When the chance to start Ragnarok presents itself, Loki feels the apocalypse is as good a way as any to burn Asgard to the ground. And, it is, until the gods reveal their own teensy, tiny little surprise for Loki.
Suddenly, Loki has every reason in the worlds to stop them from ending. But this is Ragnarok, and one does not simply stop the apocalypse.
Chaos is all well and good, so long as Loki is in charge of it. Except chaos isn’t about to start taking orders from anyone, not even the god of pot-stirring himself, and it has a universe to destroy…
Lyra Wolf is an author caught between worlds. Ours, and those of the characters that won’t stop pestering her.
A lover of travel, Lyra has lived all over, from the cornfields of the Midwest, to the rugged mountains of Switzerland. Now, she calls the swamps of Central Florida, where “The Mouse” rules as supreme overlord, her home.
When Lyra isn’t at a theme park, listening to classic rock, or otherwise procrastinating, she writes about fantastical places and the complicated people who live there.
Lyra has earned a B.A. in History and M.A. in English.
Chapter One — Back in Business Again
I was back.
As if the gods could keep me down.
Bitch, please. It would take more than a little scalding snake venom to stop me.
The gods only achieved making me angrier with their pathetic attempt to trap me. To torture me. Every drop of liquid fire that slipped from that snake’s fangs branded my purpose deeper into my chest. Every second I endured lost in that darkness hardened my resolve to take their lives as they took the lives of my family.
A pure and exquisite wrath filled me. I starved for blood. For judgement.
For Ragnarok. The end of everything.
And I loved it.
I was going to burn them all to the ground for what they did.
This would be such fun.
As eager for the show as I was, I unfortunately had a to-do list a mile long. It didn’t help the world was nothing how I left it in 1526.
After narrowly avoiding getting struck by a growling block of metal on wheels, and then by something I later learned was a bus, and an old woman riding a bee-cycle, I realized it was far more interesting.
Car engines roared and trams rattled along metal tracks. Music blared out of white buds in ears, and people spoke into enchanted rectangles while other larger rectangles yelled back from shop windows and inside apartments.
Lives were no longer simple. They were much more complicated. Faster. Louder. Chaotic.
I even ate something marvelous called an ice cream cone.
I found it a shame to destroy this new world, really. But what can one do?
I took another bite of my pistachio ice cream and looked down at my plain black suit and grimaced.
The man in the Münster Cathedral, my first stop on my grand tour of the cosmos, did his best giving me some clothes after I’d shown up naked at the altar. But I couldn’t destroy the worlds in a poly-blend suit.
That would be the true tragedy.
I needed something new. Something fabulous.
I would make Ragnarok look good.
I caught humans chattering about a place called a “department store,” which seemed the very thing I required. And the best apparently was on Marktplatz, the main square in Basel’s city center. I headed there at once.
Doors of glass slid open and I walked across polished, white tiles that reflected the glaring lights from the ceiling. An odd place stuffed with clothes on metal racks, bins filled with merino wool scarves, and perfume bottles lining back-lit shelves.
I felt eyes on me. I turned. A woman stared at me from behind a glass counter. Perfect painted red lips. Legs for days. She twirled her brunette hair around a manicured finger. I understood. I had a certain effect on women. And men. And everyone.
I flashed her my most devastating smile. After a few words back and forth brimming with euphemisms, Elena offered to help me navigate these new Midgardian fashions.
She picked out a pair of black, tight-fitting trousers and insisted helping me put on a black t-shirt. She said it really showed off the hard definition of my chest. I enjoyed her perfume of jasmine as she clasped silver chains around my neck that matched the silver rings she stacked on my fingers.
To complete the look, an extravagant jacquard tuxedo jacket with red stitched floral embroidery caught my eye. Elena tried to talk me out of it for something more subdued. I never was one for anything subdued. Besides, the jacket reminded me of the heavy patterned fabrics I had adored in the 16th century. I was a sucker for embroidery.
Total damage amounted to 2,340.09 francs.
Now, this was embarrassing.
I had no money. Elena bit her bottom lip. What to do? Her eyes darkened and roved down my chest. Then lower.
I brushed the side of her hand with my fingertips. I could feel her quiver beneath my touch.
Perhaps an arrangement could be made?
The dressing room walls shook and clothes fell off hangers. We got quite carried away. Unspeakable acts.
She muffled her cries into a wool coat.
Can I be blamed? Five hundred years was a lengthy time to go without sex. Without food. Without light.
I pushed the dark and damp of the cave from my mind, forcing myself to focus only on the heat and sweat and pleasure of the dressing room.
Once finished, she stuffed a hundred franc note in my back pocket and whispered a “thank you” in my ear. A pink flush of complete satisfaction brightened her cheeks.
Leaving the store, I straightened my aviator sunglasses and walked out into the wind that howled through Marktplatz. Heavy flakes of snow fell from a gray sky, catching in the waves of my copper hair.
Winter in July. Fimbulwinter.
The first sign of Ragnarok.
My fault, I’m afraid.
I breathed in the rush of the cold and what I as the Destroyer promised. I held the fates of all living creatures in my hand like a small bird.
Such a thought sickened me when I learned what Odin had kept from me. The truth of what I was. What my destiny meant.
But certain events changed all that.
I took off across the cobblestones, dodging the green trams that slithered through the city like snakes. The massive red Rathaus spread the length of the square, looking the same as the last time I walked here.
Looking the same as the first time I caught sight of her.
Memories rose around me as I started up the steep alley of Totengässlein. I stretched out my arm and ran my fingers along the lime plaster homes as I climbed the steps. I could almost feel her beside me again. Her warmth. Her fidelity…
The noise of Marktplatz dissolved into stillness as I kept on, as if I stepped into the past. Into a hush where I could pretend I’d see her running to me after her day working at her father’s printing press.
I sauntered on, out of one memory and into another.
Into Herr Burgi’s apothecary, where she bought all her ingredients for the salves and medicines she made. To help others. To share her passion for medicine and science.
Gods I missed her.
I missed them.
I chased the ghosts I conjured through the streets that remained untouched by modernity. And in those seconds, the ghosts were real.
I had them back.
I had my family back.
I stopped. Clouds of hot breath rolled out from my lungs.
Sigyn’s home stood before me.
Nothing was straight about the house anymore, as if the entire structure had sighed and relaxed into the city.
I pulled out a votive candle I’d bought (bought, because Sigyn didn’t approve of petty theft) at a grocery store and placed it in front of the green door. Snapping my fingers, I ignited the wick. It burst into a beautiful flame. She loved prayer candles, and now I lit one for her as she had once done for me in the Münster Cathedral. When I knew I loved her.
I closed my eyes, thinking of Sigyn. Thinking of Narfi and Nari, our twin boys.
They had been born in this house. I thought my life whole.
And then everything shattered.
The gods believed our children the instigators of Ragnarok. All because some stupid prophecy said so. And Odin believed it. They all believed it. They would kill my family to stop my destiny. I couldn’t allow that.
I gave my life for theirs. What better deal could the gods hope for than the Destroyer himself? But they betrayed me. They murdered Sigyn. They killed my sons and ripped out their guts and used them to tie me to that rock.
Then there was only darkness. Suffocating pain.
That’s when I became what I never wanted to become. And it was their fault.
I made a fist and leaned my forehead against the chilled door.
“They promised you’d all be safe,” I whispered, as if this inch of oak was all that separated her from hearing me. “It should have only been me.”
I tightened my fist and cinders cracked between my fingers. Heavy snow melted against my cheeks and steam rose off my shoulders and arms.
“I will make them pay for their betrayal. And then, I can be with you. We will be a family again.”
I took in a shivery breath and stepped backward and into something solid.
“Watch it, asshole.”
Asshole? No one called me an asshole.
I swung around and stared down at a sniveling thirteen-year-old boy. He wore a slouchy knit cap that unfortunately didn’t hide enough of his scrunched, mean face. I would fix that problem.
I reached for his scrawny neck, but stopped.
He held a thin booklet jam-packed with colors and figures wearing winged helmets and red capes. At the top, written in bright, big, bold letters was the word THOR.
What the f—
I ripped it out of the boy’s grubby hands, ignoring his rampage of threats and curses. I flipped through glossed pages covered in images of Thor and Odin, of all the gods, fighting enemies and vanquishing foes with one mighty strike of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.
Of course, their likenesses weren’t exactly accurate, but where was…
A snarly looking figure clad in tights and wearing an impractical horned helmet stared back at me.
While Thor and Odin and the rest were hailed as heroes, they made me the monster of the story? After what they did?
A voice whispered in my mind.
Burn them. Kill them. Destroy them.
The boy and the street dissolved into a field of dead grass that stretched for miles around me. Hot wind blew through my hair, and that familiar stench of ash and death filled my lungs. I was no longer in Basel. I was on Vigridr, the battlefield of Ragnarok.
Twirling sparks snapped within the red haze, smothering this place. And there it stood. As always.
A figure covered in a shroud of white linen. The spirit of this place. At least, that’s what I assumed it was. I honestly didn’t know, and I didn’t care. Our tête-à-têtes offered me momentary escapes from the horror the gods had trapped me within.
“This is shameful fodder.” I pointed at the comic book. “I refuse to wait a second more for their blood.”
“Patience. You shall have your war.” Brimstone saturated its voice.
“Patience?” I snapped. “I’ve done five hundred years of patience.”
“Have I failed you yet?” it asked. “During your bondage, your suffering, I gave you purpose. I made you what you are. Ragnarok is here and you walk free because of me.”
This spirit never failed at being cocky.
I walked towards it, a fan of heat exploding beneath my every step.
“You? You seem to forget I’m the Destroyer. I’ve ignited Ragnarok, and it’s mine to command.”
It laughed. I wasn’t sure with me, or at me.
“Your position is quite precarious,” it said. “The gods will discover you’ve escaped. They will hunt you down and throw you back into that darkness and pain. Until you secure an army, you remain vulnerable.”
That thought sliced through my guts. I wouldn’t return there.
But only one army was formidable enough against Odin’s precious warriors of Valhalla.
Odin collected their souls like a miser collected gold coins. He cut down healthy men. Let the better side lose. Did worse to get what he wanted. All for a gambit to stop little ol’ me.
“I guess acquiring an unbeatable army just made my to-do list.”
I sensed it grin.
“Once the army is yours, once you are untouchable, you will complete your most important task.”
Now this part I liked.
My fire spiraled hot and wicked in my veins. It wanted out, and I would let it out in the most cataclysmic way. It was going to be amazing.
“I will wake Surtr.” Embers crackled within my words. “And the final battle will begin.”
Surtr. Fire giant. Pure darkness spat out of the bowels of Muspelheim itself. Paired with my chaos…my heart somersaulted imagining the carnage we would unleash together.
The spirit took a step closer to me. Molten points of orange and yellow light swept around us.
“And when Surtr drives its flaming sword into the heart of Vigridr, it will finish Ragnarok,” it said. “All will end and your destiny as the Destroyer will be fulfilled.”
Fire erupted behind my eyes. They were only fire, and soon would be all the nine realms.
“Now go burn them. Kill them. Destroy them.”
Each word swelled in my bones with the beautiful carnage I was about to unleash.
The figure vanished.
Vigridr shifted beneath my feet. The dried grass blurred within the crimson fog.
A jerk and a shove.
Something was shoving me.
“Give it back asshole, or I’m going to break your nose.”
I was back in front of Sigyn’s house and the teenager obviously wasn’t finished with me yet.
As I wasn’t with him.
I twisted my lips slowly into a smile as I met the boy’s gaze. His nostrils flared and his glare was pure menace. I loved it when humans challenged me. As if they stood a chance.
“Some kindly advice from me to you,” I said. “I’d start preparing that nasty, greasy soul of yours, because in a matter of days, you won’t be worrying over such trivial possessions as this drivel anymore.”
I fluttered his book just out of his reach.
He jumped for it, only an inch short of grazing the smooth pages. Pity.
I laughed and sent a rush of flames down the cover. Thor and Odin’s images blistered and peeled. The colors blackened into ash. It was all extremely poetic.
The menace in the boy’s eyes iced into fear.
A shrill scream burst out of his lungs and he took off running, his heels sliding across the slick cobblestone and arms waving to keep his balance. He resembled a very flabbergasted penguin.
Humans never could keep their wits when faced with divinity.
And I never could keep to a schedule.
With one final glance back at the house, I turned and left into the blowing snow. I had an army to obtain, after all.
But why did it have to be hers?
Enter to win a signed paperback of Chaos Rising by Lyra Wolf! One copy is looking to find its forever home!
INTERNATIONAL • Ends 4/21
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Chaos Rising tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2021/03/16/tour-schedule-chaos-rising-by-lyra-wolf/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!