PGM- Chapter 3: Country Road

They were driving on a rainbow in space. Her mom, her dad, in an Impala. Maybe Robynne… or Raelynn was the Goddess of bat guano insanity. They had driven up and up, and the world look so small thru the rainbow bridge and the sky was full of more stars than she could count. She reached out and let her hand play over a cloud and she felt her body pull the lightning from it. It didn’t shock her it just… tickled.

Mom and Dad were back to looking like Sif and Thor. This was going to take a lot of adjustment. Mom looked over, “We’re almost to our cabin in the homelands. So you need to be aware, once you are there the rest of the ascendance will take hold.”

She turned her attention back to Mom, “What does that mean?”

“You’ll shed your mortal form. It doesn’t hurt and under the circumstances you’re probably less prone to freak out. Still you should be aware. We have a room set aside for you so you are welcome to have some privacy there while that happens.”

“Uh, thanks?” She really didn’t know how to respond to that. She looked forward and the rainbow was coming to an end on a snowy road. They hit land and drove for another 10 minutes until they came to a large home that in no way was simply a cabin. They pulled into the drive as Dad parked.

“Why don’t you show her, her room while I put this away? The rest of the family will be here soon.” He said with a smile.

“Of course, come on Raelynn.” Mom exited the car and Robynne followed she would already hear what felt like sparks on her as she followed her up. Robynne couldn’t help but look at her hand as it was giving off a faint glow.

“You said, this wouldn’t hurt?” She said following her mother absently.

“It’ll feel like washing off some dirt from your skin.” she stopped in front of a door at the end of a hall on the second floor, “This is you. Forgive me, I had to restock it in a hurry so it’s plain but it will have clothes that fit you and the bare essentials every heroine should have.

“Thanks, I’ll be down in a bit.” She steps past her mom and into the room. Which was enormous. A king sized bed a closet bigger than her dorm off to the side, a private bathroom, a desk with a full length mirror dressers and nightstands. She look at the glow that had spread to her whole body. She stood in front of the mirror and looked at the body she had become accustomed too. “Well, what’s one more change?”

It was odd as she didn’t really feel anything but it looks like polygons bursting off her body and revealing the skin underneath it happened in an instant from the tips of her hands moving back to the entirety of her body. Like that, it was over. She was left looking into the mirror of a new face, fairer then before. Her hair was the same length but seem to have taken on a metallic, copperish sheen to it. She was tall, taller than Mallory she figured, her body was athletic looking but her curves didn’t seem to change. If anything her chest and hips were a bit bigger and waist a bit smaller. Still wearing the clothes she was at the drive in they just seemed to fit a bit better or at least in a more flattering way. She marveled at how she looked when there was a knock on the door. “Um… come in?”

The door opened and in walked a very sheepish looking Taylor. No different than before except, he looked like he’s trying to gauge her reaction and judging from he’s probably been yelled at by mom. “Hey.”

“Uncle Taylor!” she rushed over and hugged him.

He returned the hug, “That’s going to be a weird habit to break,” she was much taller than him. That didn’t matter. He was here and with her. She had to try really hard not to break into tears.

“Just shut up and don’t ruin the moment.”

“Are you okay?” he asked cautiously, “Mom told me she let you in on everything. I’m sorry they didn’t tell me they were going to be here so soon,” he pulled back to look at her, “Wow, you’re tall.”

She smirked and did a perfect hair toss for dramatic effect, “Well… I AM a goddess!”

“Well hero, but I guess you know so…” he took a breath and her uncle grew. He got younger almost looking like her age. He was about 6’4, well-muscled with a neatly groomed beard and slightly longer bronze colored hair, “time to drop the pretenses.”

She frowned, “I thought you’d be taller! Dad’s like 7’6″!”

“We grow as our power does, depending on what our powers end up being.” He said looking slightly crestfallen then his face got a bit softer, “seriously though, how are you taking in all… this? This whole process can be… weird.”

“I’m…. so… why is this holy ground?” She needed to avoid his question; it just threatened to bring out more emotions that she wasn’t in control of.

“The place was built with prayer nails blessed by the all father himself. So it’s like being in Asgard,” he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “So… the whole family is showing up to greet you. The twins will be here soon, Eric too, Scale I think is around here somewhere already. Everyone is positively ecstatic.”

“I…. so… I know I should be more weirded out by… um… this,” gestured to her body “But really I’m more nervous about… I… I’ve gone from no parents, an uncle, and no siblings to both parents, no uncle, and like a dozen siblings” She leaned her head on his shoulder; he might’ve looked different, but this felt so very right.

“Oh! Well then I have good news,” He said cheerfully, “You have a ton of uncles. And aunts. And grandparents.” He paused and then said the next part quickly, “and now that this assignment is over… probably a sister in law soon. So, you know… Aces!”

“Wait… back up, sister in law?” she said giving him a look that was either disbelief or shock, “I haven’t seen you date anyone since that receptionist at your dental lab when I was 15.”

“Yeah her, that is my fiancée in human guise.” He said sheepishly “okay, so mom and dad had you and then around three were called to the hunt. I volunteered to stay on earth and watch over you, because I thought you should have family near; rather than fake parents who were just worshippers. Most of the time that’s fine but, I wasn’t doing anything at the time and Avery insisted, family first.” He trailed off.

“Avery? But… you… how have you continued to date her without me knowing?” She was still trying to piece together her uncle having any kind of social life in her mind.

“Well… I AM a god.” He said with a smirk.

She laughed. It felt good, but she had questions and this was the best chance to get those answered, “I… Taylor… I… So I know why you told me mom and dad died. They explained that. No one will tell me exactly how I became a magical cheerleader. Like, I was a God… Well a godling. Mom and dad have been vague, but they mentioned something about a game. Are you not allowed to interfere in the game?”

Taylor sighed, “You should call me Bjorn. Honestly, I’m still not sure what happened. I doubt Mom and Dad know fully what happened either but someone used a lot of magic and you ended up changed as a result. That’s… well.” He took another breath. He didn’t want to scare her but this was actually pretty serious, “It’s not easy to do for the first place, and for the second it could be seen as an act of war from another pantheon. I mean when they figure out who did this… someone is going to be in a lot of trouble.”

That was not what she expected to hear, “I… what kind of trouble?”

“Depends. If it was done maliciously and they don’t submit to conditions: war. If they do loss of status and a bunch of other things.” He looked over at her, “messing with a god’s child before ascendance is a really huge thing.”

“I… war?” She stammered, “This could result in… war? I… I don’t want to be the reason for war.”

He tried to back off it a bit, “Well that’s just the most extreme case. Right now, you’re just my little sister who can finally come home.” He really just wanted her to enjoy this first time here with the family.

Raelynn was already over thinking, however, trying to logic her way out of the bombshell that was just dropped. “I… well… it’s just… are we sure this isn’t an accident maybe? I mean… if I was um… god-coded to be a cheer god maybe I… attracted this stuff?”

“There are protections against accidental magic exposure you have. This was deliberate. Now they may not have known you were god-kin but this whole process was deliberate.” he replied.

“I… will my friends be safe?” she asked suddenly remembering the rest of the spirit guard back in the states, “do we… do we have anyone watching them right now?”

Bjorn just smiled and ruffled her hair, “They will be. They have the best watching over them.”

“Really? You’re… you’re not just saying that to make me feel better?” She asked looking up at him.

“No, Mom and Dad contacted a god-kin already attending the school to keep a watch over your friends.” He nodded, “Trust me. He’s Heimdall’s son. Watching is something they’re all good at.

It will be fine, WE are going to make sure nothing happens to your friends.” He wanted to emphasis that this was a family affair now and they all together would see to this whole thing.

Rae gave him another hug, “Sorry for being paranoid… I just… well… you know.”

“Yeah I know.” He chuckled. “The hugging is new. I like it.”

“Yeah… um… it’s weird… like… ever since… the old me… um… flaked off? No… That sounds really unhealthy,” she put her hand to her chin trying to make sense of it all, “I just… I feel different now. But not… like in a right way”

“Well you’re almost like a new person. Mom and Dad are very expressive and they rub off on all of us.” he said with a knowing tone to his voice.

She smirked then nudged him a bit, “Then why were YOU so reserved growing up?”

“Looking after you was my first real major labor to take on since becoming a demigod. Most would see it as babysitting but I wanted to make sure I did right by you.”

She laughed a bit, and then dropped her voice, “So um… is… the faking death thing typical? I mean… kind of… well… couldn’t have Grandpa Odin been able to get by fighting frost giants with just dad or just mom? And why did they have to be gone for… you know, like 15 years?” Sure mom and dad had already explained this but she wanted to hear it from him.

Bjorn just shrugged, “Time is weird to gods and this was a particularly aggressive advance. Dad brings the thunder, Mom brings the shield maidens.”

Rae just looked at him incredulously, then it softened back into a smirk, “I expected you to say lightning. Thunder and shield maidens isn’t exactly a phrase.”

“Oh really?” He asked sounding challenged. He turned to the doorway and yelled out, “I hear you by the door Scale. What do mom and dad bring to the table?”

Into view stepped this handsome blonde man about Rae’s height long golden hair clean shaven, in a button up blue shirt that was opened at the top and jeans. He had this air of being very relaxed, “Oh Papa brings the thunder and Mama brings the shield maidens. Is PB&J of Norse mythology.” he walked in, and stood in front of the pair. He wore a wide grin as he looks at Raelynn, “and YOU are mine sister.”

She returned the look to Scale. She examined him up and down, “You’re… I thought you’d be more… lizardy”

He waved dismissively, “Everyone says that. I have no idea why.” Then he scooped her into a big hug.

Bjorn piped up, “It’s helps to know it’s spelled with a K not a C.”

Rae, for some reason, understood that “What!? That is… why did no one mention that?”

Skale shrugged, “I figure is implied Skale sounds different then Scale.”

“They sound exactly the same.”

He waved his hand dismissively, “Anyway I am very excited you are here Mine sister. Have waited a long while to hug you and welcome you home. I have… the best mead saved for you.” He sounded very proud.

“I… I’m underage still. And you just said ‘Scale’ twice” she protested.

He sighed, “No, Skale. S-Kal-Uh. Not Sc-ale.” They sounded exactly the same to her, “and pssss. You already have mead on your breath. You are goddess. Timeless, mortal law does not apply to your drinking” he put a glass in each of their hands and then pulls one out for himself.

Bjorn leaned over and said, “We drink for the flavor. Anything brewed on earth would have just slightly more effect then water” he sipped his mead and nodded in approval to Skale, “Alcohol, Caffeine, you are pretty much immune to that.”

“I am? That feels… weird… given the story I was fed about how mom and dad died.” She said eyeing up the glass in her hand.

Skale waved her off, “It was a mortal story. We, cannot get drunk unless it’s made by another god or mythical creature. This is just very nice from Iceland. Lovely flavor. Eric is bringing the real stuff. Cheers!” he smiled and drank.

Bjorn finished his mead off rather quickly and gestured to their brother, “Skale is an upper tier Hero. Aid is what his domain is.”

Skale nodded “Yes you need help. I help.”

“What does “upper level” mean?” Rae asked before shrugging and taking a sip of the sweet substance. It was rather tasty, just like the Sweetwater Dad had given her.

Skale made a broad gesture, “it means I’ve worked my way up but I haven’t crossed over into being a Demigod yet. Which there is plenty of time.”

“Why do I get the feeling mother feels differently?” Rae teased to the two of them. That got the best reaction as they both rolled their eyes.

Bjorn just shook his head, “Mother just wants us to marry and have kids so she can have grand babies”

Skale followed up doing his best impression of their mother, “all you need is someone to complete you. Uuuhhhggg. I made her promise not to start today so we can enjoy… um. I know you were something else but what are you called now?”

“They said my real name was Raelynn.” She said between sips.

Skale nodded, “Well Raelynn, and good to finally meet you.” he hugged her again; she could feel the love her brother had for her in this hug. She got the idea he’d have accepted her no matter how she showed up. It was such a jarring but comforting feeling.

“Whoa… that… do you have like a hugging superpower? “It was really quite the experience.

“No, I think that’s my natural aura for aid.” He smiled and let her go, “The twins just got here so come down when you are ready for sisters.” he patted Bjorn on the shoulder and left.

“I… don’t think I am. Seriously. This is very bizarre,” She said following her brothers, “I mean… I go from nothing to… sitcom sized-family..” she had barely taken two steps off the stairs when she was tackle hugged onto the sofa by two curvy, brass haired girls. Both had large eyes and dressed rather modernly they flanked her on the sofa, arms around her.

“Rae Rae! You’re finally here!” The green eyed one said.

“We’re so happy to finally meet you!” The blue eyed one followed up.

They snuggled up on each side of her, “Gah… a warning would have been appreciated!” she wasn’t sure if that was directed at these girls or her two smarmy brothers that looked on about to laugh.

The green eyed one looked her over refusing to let go, “also how are you taller than us!?!”

The blue eyed one backed her up, “Yeah you’re supposed to be our LITTLE sister.”

“I mean… I’m in my… um… divine form?” She offered weakly unable to really shake the two off of her.

“So not fair. Anyway, I’m Thordis and this is Saffron. You can tell because I have the green eyes and she has the blue ones.” Thordis had a wide grin on her face.

Saffron also didn’t waste any time, “Annny way we have so much planned, like shopping trips and brunches and make up parties and all the fun things sisters do together”

Rae could only smirk, “You remind me a lot of my friend Stacy” The pair showed no signs of letting up, so Rae looked to Skale and Bjorn, “Have I been kidnapped? I feel like I’ve been kidnapped”

Bjorn laughed “No they’ve just wanted a sister really bad.”

Thordis looked up at her, “You don’t mind, do you Rae?”

Saffron mirrored her twin, “Yeah its okay right Rae Rae?”

“These are horribly leading questions,” Rae said in fake protest, “So… um… what are you gods of? Or… heroes or… whatever”

Both of them happily proclaimed, in perfect sync, “We’re harvest goddesses. We patron the mall!”

Rae just looked between the two, “… that don’t match my understanding of what a harvest is”

Bjorn backed her up crossing his arms looking down at them, “Or anyone. The Mall is not a harvest domain”

Thordis stuck her tongue out at Bjorn, “You’re just short sighted Mr. God of beautiful blondes that are way out of his league.”

Saffron held on tighter to Rae glaring across the room, “And we will thank you not to put your hippy dippy notions in our sister’s brain.”

“He sort of raised me. My brain is full of them. You are too late.” Rae was trying to get in on the riffing herself being trapped as she was. Only to have them release her and hop up to their feet.

“Well there’s one way to fix this.” Thordis announced.

Saffron nodded in agreement, “Yep! Fight to the death.” Then they both materialized maces in their hands. They turned towards Bjorn ready to pounce, before Rae got to her feet and in between the three of them.

“Please refrain from fighting to the death until after I have my happy reunion!” She said trying not to sound panicked.

Thordis pouted, “oh… not even a little fight to the death?”

Saffron mirrored her sister as they both lowered their weapons, “The tiniest of ones we promise.”

Rae just crossed her arms and tried her best to look stern, “No tiny deaths with your little sister around. I’m putting a hold on all fights to the death until we have one reunion with EVERYONE here.”

Both of them dropped their weapon and whined, “Fiiiiiiine” They both turned to head to the kitchen to help with the final dinner preparations. They stopped at the door and Saffron glared at Bjorn.

“Your day is coming. You can’t hide behind Avery forever.”

Thordis reiterated next to her, “We’ve got our eyes on you.” they both slowly back away into the kitchen.

Rae let out a sigh of relief and looked over at Bjorn who was very amused. “I didn’t expect that this whole magical girl experience would prepare me for that. It was like if Stacy and Vivian merged then resplit into two.”

“Yeah. They are really excited to have you around. I had to keep them from taking mortal form and enrolling in your college once you became a girl.” Bjorn said making sure they were gone before turning his attention back to Rae.

“It’s good thing they didn’t try. I was NOT in the mood back then” She hoped they didn’t hear, but it was the truth. She wouldn’t have been able to have handled all this back then.

“It’s why I kept that from happening. So, still not freaking out? I know they can be a lot. Skale in particular can be overwhelming at times.” He said giving her another once over. It was good to see old habits still died hard; even if he was called Bjorn the Taylor she knew was very much a part of her new brother.

“In comparison to the Twins? Skale is downright normal.”

“He was fussing over whether you’d want a brother or sister, I assured him brother was fine.” Bjorn said that in such a calm, casual tone that it took Robynne a second to process it.

“Wait… what?” she actually did a cartoon shake of the head to look back at him, “Sorry, I think… I think I may have misunderstood you. Were you talking about me or him?”

“Him. He is pretty genderfluid.” Bjorn just shrugged and gave her a small smile. “He wanted to make the best impression.”

“I… that… is not a concept I was prepared for today… amongst many.” Somehow she had a full glass of… it was stupid to pretend it was just Sweetwater. It was mead and she downed the whole thing.

“He’s very interesting. Mom had him with a human, but dad considers him like his own. Much like Eric who Dad had with a human but mom considers like her own.” Bjorn pauses and glance out to where they could see their parents BBQ like any normal parents would, laughing and flirting with eat other. “Mom and Dad are probably the most stable couple of all the gods.”

“I… they… have had kids outside of their… when they were… I’m very confused”

Bjorn sounded more perturbed by this then anything when he said, “We are expected to have relations with mortals and have offspring’s to continue the legend. That’s not just Norse, that’s all the pantheons.”

“Yeahhh… I hope they aren’t too offended when it takes me a few millennia to come around on that idea.” She said rather frankly.

Bjorn just shrugged, “Eric hasn’t had any kids and he… discovered America. So you have time.”

It was the casualness of how he said these things which kept throwing Rae off, “… I’m sorry, what?”

“Eric. Our older brother. As in “Eric the Red”.”

“You can’t just say stuff like that and pretend its normal,” she said with a throwing up of her hands and stomping of one foot.

“Well it is, for me, sorry.” Bjorn said with a sigh, “Yes your brother is Eric the Red.”

As if on cue, two strong arms wrapped around her from behind and picked her up, “Yes I am your brother!”

“GAH!” The day of surprises seemed like it would never end.

“And now dear sister I will take you away to Asgard so that we can marry you to a fire giant to achieve peace.” He announced walking towards the door.

Bjorn rolled his eyes and pointed at Eric, “Don’t joke like that she has no way of knowing your joking.” he looked back to Rae, “He’s joking he’s not going to do that. He hates fire giants.”

“I do, but I will take you to fight them some time.” He turned her to where he was holding her about the waist with one arm. Eric is big, long red hair, groomed beard. He was very muscular 6’8 in a leather jacket tee shirt and jeans.

“Gah! You ARE a fire giant!” She said trying the regain some measure of composure.

He was holding her up like nothing, “Ha. No but I can beat them like… three at a time. Wow you’re tall and you look great? The giants and titans will quake when they see you approach.”

She just shook her head, it just figured, “I uh… thought I was tall but… everyone else in this family makes me feel like my new old height is nothing

“Except the twins,” He finally puts her down. “Oh you like sports, yes? I heard that you do. This is great. We can go check out something professional sometime! Maybe American football? I do like that one.”

She still wasn’t off the height thing with him. This family was just all over the place, “I… that… this… you… you are built like a stump!”

He seemed pleased at the compliment, “I am. I AM a Viking. Technically you are too.”

“I’m really not. I’m pretty sure you have to earn something cool like that” she said trying to just put down some normalcy.

Eric gave her a look that clearly showed he was not buying it, “You are far too modest. You sacrificed your man hood for your friend and became a magical cheerleader. That’s is Viking.”

Skale pops his head out of the kitchen “It’s also super metal.”

Saffron and Thordis, who were setting the table outside chimed in, “People were talking about in Asgard.”

“Ja. Odin said it was an example of how a modern Norse should act.” Skale nodded bring something out to the table.

“I… wait… everyone was… watching me?” Seriously, today needed to stop.

Bjorn shook his head, “Watching? No… but heard about it? Yes. Lots of people are impressed.”

She just stammered looking between her five siblings trying to figure out which one to complain too, “But…. I… this… this is very… disconcerting. I’m used to a certain level of…. Anonymity”

Thordis laughed, “Gods know a lot. Everyone in Asgard knows you.”

Saffron nodded then added, “And the Spirit Guard. There was a manga.” she hadn’t even realized it but they both had guided her to a seat and then sat on either side of her. The boys sitting across from them…

“… Norse gods… made a manga?”

Mom came to the table with Dad before that thought could go any further. They had a whole pig and the biggest racks of ribs Rae had ever seen. “I… this is like something from a cartoon” She said sizing up the obscenely oversized food.

Dad grinned and puffed out his chest, “it’s dire bear!” Clearly trying to impress his youngest, “I beat it myself.”

As if she wasn’t impressed by everything since this afternoon, “… I um… father… I notice you said BEAT and not HUNTED. Did you get in a fistfight… with an animal?” An hour ago that would have been a joke, but she found herself seriously asking.

“A dire animal.” He said defensively.

“But definitely… definitely a fistfight?” Her eyes were wide just trying to imagine it.

“Yes. How do you kill a dire bear?” He said as he pulled out a knife and started to carve the meats.

“Well, I know traditionally people hunt with a weapon of some kind. You know… spear, bow… rifle.”

Eric scoffed “Oh sure… if you want to take the easy road.”

Dad nodded and chimed in, “How is the animal supposed to have a fair chance?”

“Well… normally,” she was really trying to figure out how to explain this to them, “I guess the issue is the other way around… traditionally the animal has the advantage. So the weapon makes it fair for the humanoid.”

Dad places some of the ribs on her plate and said what a large smile, “Does it count that a dire bear is 5 times the size of a regular bear?” Clearly he just wanted to impress her.

Mom cleared her throat sharply as this was a rabbit hole she didn’t care to go down, “This is the first time all my babies are at one table and I will not have us get into semantics about dire bear killing etiquette.”

Rae just smirked, “I mean… we really could though.” Pretty much everyone got a chuckle at that.

Mom just shook her head, “Now, Let’s give thanks to Odin for our dearest Raelynn finally getting to join us and become a part of the family.” The table was full of cheers. Mom looked at Rae and smiled, “We’ve felt your absence as you’ve been growing and nothing makes us happier than to have you here with us my love.”

She felt the storm again, her emotions bubbling up and threatening to come out again, “I…. this… mortality really didn’t prepare me for… this is just… I’m happy I’m here too”

Mom nodded, “Well then let’s eat, and enjoy this, the first of many dinners with us.”

Rae sat there and ate, and laughed and talked with her family. For the first time in longer then she remembered she felt… home. The insanity of the afternoon melted away underneath the banter of her two sisters, three brothers, and mom and dad. She dreamed of days like this. Sure she had to adjust to it all but right now, this made everything she had been through up until now worth it.