I hate being short; I hate it with all of my heart. Since I stand at the meagre height of 10 feet, I am both literally and figuratively looked down upon by almost everyone around me. It's just not fair at all. My brothers are some of the tallest giants around, standing proudly at a more than respectable 18 feet. They have everything. They get the girls, they get the praise, they get to partake in battle, while I just sulk in caves all day, all alone. Not that I mind being alone. Being alone is much better than being teased by the other giants for being so short and weak. It's not my fault. I tried so hard to be enough. All I've ever dreamed of was being a warrior, of fighting alongside my brethren once it was finally time for Ragnarok to take place. I laugh bitterly. No amount of training will make me good enough to take on a god of Asgard. I can barely hold my own against my two brothers, as much as it pains me to admit this. My dreams have long been shattered. I'll perish along with almost everything else when Ragnarok comes.
'Einar? Are you here?'
It's very dark inside this cave so I can't see who has spoken, but the voice unmistakably belongs to Rutger, my older brother. His voice is raspy and low, and is already unpleasant enough to listen to without him using that voice to demean me. I do not wish to be mocked, so I keep my mouth shut in the hope that he pisses off. Isn't he still supposed to be sparring?
I hear him moving closer to where I am crouched in the corner.Shit. I need to get away before he trips on me or something. That has happened before and let me tell you that he was not happy. I crawl deeper into the cave, feeling the walls to find a crevice that I may fit into. The only good thing about being so small is that I can hide better. Although, if I were as fearsome as my brothers I would have no reason to hide in the first place. This thought leaves me feeling dejected.
'Einar, uncle wants to speak to you!'
Eh? That old prune? I manage to find an opening in the cave wall and huddle inside of it.
My brother curses. 'I have better things to do.' he hisses, and then stomps away, much to my relief.
My relief doesn't last long, however, because the wall supporting my back suddenly gives way and before I can shout I'm already falling. I give out a small cry when I hit the hard ground. The pain I feel dissolves into nothing as panic seizes me. Although I'm very much used to darkness, wherever I am right now is pitch black. A string of curses escape my lips. This is not the sort of darkness you can get used to. Wherever I turn my head, my eyes are met only with nothingness. I might as well have my eyes closed. For a scary moment, I wonder if I'm already dead. Could it be that I didn't actually survive the fall? Is my body strewn on the ground somewhere, with its head cracked open and in a pool of blood? Wait, what if this is the underworld!
I take in a deep breath. I need to calm down.
Just take it one step at a time, Einar. This place must end somewhere. There is always a light at the end of a tunnel, and caves are full of tunnels...
I fill my head with these optimistic thoughts but my heart is still hammering in my chest. What if I'm walking towards the edge of something and I really do fall to my death? Now that would be a terrible way to go. I know I've been complaining about my life, but I really don't want to die right now.
Pain explodes across my face as I hit a wall. 'Eurgh...' I groan, rubbing my nose. Alright, well, at least now I have the wall to guide me in the dark so I guess this isn't all that bad even though I feel a nosebleed coming on. And so I trudge on, despite fearing death at every step. There's no telling what may lurk in here. I continue in this manner for what feels like hours before stopping to rest. I let my body slide down the wall into a crouching position. Okay, so now my fears are really beginning to get to me. What if I find a tunnel but I can't fit in? I know I'm small compared to the other giants but I'm freakishly tall compared to, say, a human. I sigh. Optimism was never natural to me. I'm so hopeless right now I could almost cry, but I'd rather die here right now than let a tear escape my eye.
Wait... did I just hear a -
I'm upright in a blink. I'm not imagining things. As faint as it is, I heard a cough! Grinning like a maniac, I take off towards its general direction, not stopping to think that it may have come from a large serpent or another vicious creature. My grin grows even bigger when I notice that something is emitting a dim light around the corner. Now I have a chance at navigating this cave!
I make it around the corner and not only stop in my tracks, but actually take a few steps back. What I see before me hadn't been what I'd expected at all. I'd been expecting there to be perhaps another giant with a torch, or even a luminous stone but not... this. I've never seen anything like it in my life. My heart begins to race again as I approach the unmoving creature but not because I'm afraid. In fact, I'm practically entranced. It has the form of a woman with a pair of delicate looking wings on its back. It's whole body is glowing like an ember and it's absolutey tiny. So much so that I could carry it in my hand. Hmmm, I wonder how it got so wet though? I get down to my knees so that I can study it further. Up this close, I can see that it has a beautiful face. Heat rushes into my cheeks and I snap out of the trance I had allowed it to put me in. This is not the time to be admiring strange, unknown creatures. It could be malicious... although, I highly doubt that.
Hands shaking, I dare brush my fingertip against its delicate wing. Wow. It's warm. I'm gazing at its face intensely when it opens both eyes. Warm, golden orbs meet my icy blue ones. When it opens its mouth to scream, my first instinct is to grab it lest it get away.