A LITTLE SOMETHING: THROUGHLY MODERN FILLY
Okay, I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is, “What happened when Aslaug Larsdatter, Sheildmaiden and Norse warrior, had to assimilate to modern life with the Latrans family? Believe me, it was quite an interesting time for the Three Amigos and their families. Oh, that’s right, they’re now the Scruffy Squad. Anyway, Aslaug Larsdatter is © Joan Jacobsen. Aramis Dagaz is © his player. Joe, Annie, and the Latrans pups © Silver Coyote. Tigermark, TL (or Tammy or Tammy Lynx) and the M’rega cubs © Tigermark. Prior permission is required to use any of these characters. All other characters, except those of historical origin, are the intellectual property of the author. This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental except where the author intentionally portrays or parodies himself, Aslaug, Joe, or Aramis. This story may not be posted to any website, mirror site, or reproduced without the author’s permission.
Many thanks go out to Joan Jacobsen for her help in putting this story together. Joan, glad I could make you laugh.
Annie was walking down the hall past the bathroom when a small sound caught her attention. She’d heard the shower running a short time before, and she was sure it was her houseguest. Joe had been up and out the door to work not more than a half-hour before, and the memory of his goodbye kiss still played at the edge of Annie’s thoughts. She and Joe’s pups were all out of the house, the youngest away at college now, so she assumed it was their houseguest in the bathroom. She listened carefully and the sound came again. A soft *grunt* and then some low muttering. She stepped over and tapped lightly on the door.
“Aslaug? Are you all right?”
She was met with a few seconds of silence, and then, “Yes . . . Ehrm, No.”
Annie waited for more, but only silence ensued. She didn’t want to invade the equine’s privacy, but something didn’t sound right. “Aslaug, Are you decent? Can I come in?”
“Yes, come on in, the door is, ah, unlocked.”
Annie opened the door, and had to pinch her own tail to keep from laughing. The muscular filly had showered and toweled off, and had managed to don a pair of blue jeans, but had become hopelessly entangled in the bra she’d tried to put on next. She’d managed to get one cup in the proper place, but the other, plus the strap, seemed about to strangle the equine, as well as leave her quite uncovered on one side. She had her arm up, but Annie could see she was quite ensnared, including her long blonde braid and some of her hair on that side. The filly looked very embarrassed, and not a little angry.
Annie managed to subdue her urge to laugh and asked in as kind a voice as she could, “Aslaug, would you like some help with that?”
“Only Loke himself would come up with such an evil harness! Are you sure all the females wear these?” Aslaug asked in reply, a look of exasperation on her face.
“The ones who don’t wish to be stared at do. Otherwise, with modern clothes, certain, ah, parts show through and attract too much male attention.” Annie saw the filly arch an eyebrow and take on a defiant look.
“Let them, then. I’m quite spoken for, if they ask. Why should I have to wear a harness to keep the males in their place? Any of them want to make a comment or attempt to mate with me, I’ll show them what a being a shieldmaiden means!” Aslaug‘s jaw took on a stubborn set, which didn’t look nearly as serious as it should, due to her state of dress and entrapment.
Annie sighed. Joe had said the equine could be stubborn, and that she wouldn’t understand modern mores at first, but she’d hoped to at least get her to understand that you couldn’t go around pounding everyone who made a comment or pass at a muscular and very attractive and well-built femme. This was Southern California, and attractive femmes were pretty common. The average male on the street wouldn’t think twice before approaching the blonde filly. Aslaug was not nearly as musclebound as some of the female weightlifters Annie had seen, but she was probably at least as strong if not more so. Hers were the lean, hard muscles of someone who not only worked out, but worked hard in her day-to-day life. Her muscles weren’t bulgy and bulky, but rock solid and able to work long and hard at both battle and daily living in the time she came from.
Annie stepped forward and turned the struggling equine around. Finding the clasp, she released the tension and Aslaug’s arm came down to her side. Annie then stepped around to in front of the filly. “Now, how about I show you an easier way to put this on?”
Aslaug looked dubious, but nodded in agreement. Annie took the strap down from the one shoulder Aslaug had it up on and then gently pulled the bra around to where the clasp was in front. She started to show the filly how to fasten it, but then realized she probably couldn’t see down to where Annie’s paws held the two ends ready to snap together.
“Put your paws down here where mine are. Can you, ah, see what I’m doing?”
Aslaug had craned her neck and looked down herself, and could see enough to watch what Annie was doing. “Yes, I can see your paws.”
“Good, snap it together with these hooks, like this.” Annie deftly attached the two ends. “And then grab it and pull the cups around to the front.”
Aslaug did, and found the cups in the right place. “Like this?”
“Exactly! Now put your arms through the straps, one at a time. There you go.” Annie had helped guide Aslaug’s arms through the right places, and now the filly wore the undergarment correctly.
“Thank you, Annie.” Aslaug said simply as she turned and retrieved a T-shirt from the back of the commode.
“A T-shirt?” Annie asked, an inquisitive look on her face. Aslaug had taken to wearing the civilian-available versions of the BDU tunic in the time she’d been there, calling it both practical and comfortable.
“Yes. It’s too bloody hot here.”
Annie nodded in understanding. Joe had said she came from the equivalent of medieval
“So, plans for the day? Joe didn’t mention anything,” Annie asked as she turned to leave the bathroom so Aslaug could finish dressing in peace.
“Joe said to be ready, that he and Tiger and Aramis might come home at about midday,” The filly replied as she managed to pull the t-shirt on and get it situated. She then pushed her twin braids back over her shoulders and ran a careless paw through the rest of her blonde mane.
Annie nodded. Joe had said he might be home for lunch, and that their friends Tigermark and Aramis would most likely be showing up, too. Annie hoped that if they were getting ready for a mission again so soon, that she would be allowed to go along on this one. Tigermark’s wife TL and possibly their two cubs, too.
“Well, now that you’re dressed, how about giving me a paw with breakfast? Joe just grabbed a cup of coffee on his way out.”
“Certainly. Do you have wood in or do I—“ Aslaug had begun, but stopped and shook her head. “Forgive me, I keep forgetting that you don’t use wood to cook. I’m so used to helping out wherever I am, and getting firewood was always a way to help whoever I was staying with.”
“Don’t worry about it. We still use wood a bit, but mostly for more, ah, recreational fires,” Annie replied with a wink. Aslaug gave her a blank look for a moment, and then just nodded. Annie had marveled from the first time she’d met the filly how anyone as attractive as she was could be totally oblivious to it. Most light, teasing innuendo references like she’d just made went unnoticed or unappreciated by the shieldmaiden. And compliments were either rejected or deflected as stating the obvious. Annie shook her head and led the way to the kitchen.
She set Aslaug to the task of slicing bacon for the skillet she was scrambling eggs in. As the filly worked at the counter top, Annie thought back to her arrival three weeks previous. Joe had been home from the last mission about a month, but had been gone a week of that doing what he usually referred to as “the damned IPF’s” business. He said it with more of a smile now than he once had. The Interstate Police Force had undergone a change that he’d helped bring about. The tasks he was called out for were now legitimate security problems, and not someone’s misogynic power grab or revenge. Joe was much happier now when he was called out, and also much happier in his work at the Southern California Water District. The only real melancholy she ever saw in him now was when Tiger would call or show up, and he found out that she couldn’t go on this or that mission with him.
Joe had been back from his IPF assignment only two days when there had been a sudden, continuous ringing of the doorbell. He and Annie had looked at each other, and Joe had got up to answer it, his pistol tucked in his waistband at the small of his back above his tail. He’d opened the door to find Aramis Dagaz trying unsuccessfully to get the tall equine to stop pushing the button. Annie smiled as she remembered the conversation.
“Aslaug, stop! I’m sure they’ve heard the bell,” Aramis had said, almost pleadingly.
“But how does it make the bell ring? There’s no rope or twine. What manner of sejd is this?” Aslaug had replied, still pressing the button, causing the doorbell to chime repeatedly. Then both she and Aramis had looked up to find the door open and a concerned-looking coyote and fox staring at them. Aslaug had launched herself into Joe and wrapped him in a tight embrace
“Joe! It is good to see you. I have seen and learned much since we parted.” Then she had looked at Annie and smiled. She’d let go of Joe, who’d barely managed a “hello” as the equine had squeezed him. She had extended a paw and gave a slight bow.
“You must be Annie. Joe was right, you are very beautiful” That had gotten Joe off the hook and Aslaug into Annie’s good graces. She’d been uncertain about how things would go ever since Joe told her that the filly from medieval Denmark, sort of, would be staying with them a while when she arrived. He’d had no clue as to when she’d arrive, but he’d been certain she would.
Annie glanced up at the clock and startled out of her reverie. “Yikes! We’d best get a move on, or I’ll be late for work.”
Aslaug looked up at the device on the wall. This modern world she was in seemed to live and die by the thing, but so far she couldn’t make heads or tails of it, even the so-called di-gi-tal ones that Joe had said would be easier to decipher. The numbers repeated themselves, so how could one know if it was morning or evening by looking at them? Time was kept in her world by the height of the sun and the grumble of the stomach, by the march of the seasons and the phase of the moon. She finished slicing the bacon, and passed it over to Annie. The sizzle and the delicious smell of frying bacon filled the air.
“What are you going to do between now and lunchtime?” Annie asked as she watched the meat curl and brown.
“That, ah, show? On the sejdbox, that is helping me with the language. It is on all morning. The one with the big yellow talking bird thing,” Aslaug said with a crooked grin. Annie nodded. Aramis had said that the spell he had used to enable Aslaug to speak modern English would eventually wear off, so she had wanted to learn the language. The easiest way they found was through, of all things, a children’s TV show. Joe was gratified that she was also learning a little Spanish along the way, too. Plus, the filly found the blue creature that loved cookies so much very funny. Annie had noticed that the shieldmaiden, for all her apparent strength and toughness, had an almost childlike curiosity and ability to learn. She also had a really good laugh, when something struck her as funny. Annie got the impression the filly hadn’t laughed much where she came from.
The bacon done, the two femmes sat down to breakfast. Both their thoughts had drifted on to the coming day, so neither spoke as they ate. Soon, the meal done and the dishes put in the dishwasher, Annie departed for work, and Aslaug departed to the living room and Public Television.
Tigermark eased the SUV into a parking spot in front of the Latrans home. Three sets of feline eyes looked eagerly toward the house over his shoulder as he shut down the vehicle. TL, Rachel, and Brianna were all eager to meet the newest member of the team. TL because Tigermark had spoken so vividly of her, and the tinxes because it would be someone new to make friends and play with. Tigermark had his doubts about how much playing the filly would do, but his daughters had a way of melting hearts.
“Okay, let’s go, but remember, don’t mob the femme,” he said as he opened his door.
“Oh we won’t,” the two cubs said in unison as they scrambled out. Rachel at ten and Brianna at seven were both bundles of energy, so much so that sometimes their parents were hard pressed to keep up with them. TL came around and grabbed Tigermark’s arm and they followed their cubs toward the house. Tigermark noted that the Latrans vehicles were gone, so only the filly would be home.
“Mark, I’m a little nervous,” TL said, looking up at her husband.
“Oh? Why is that?”
“Well, you said she was strong, and tough, and a bit stern. What if she doesn’t like cubs?”
Tigermark scrunched up his face, as if concentrating. “Oh, I think I heard her say she loves them. Roasted, barbequed, for breakfast, OW!”
TL had swiped a set of barely-expressed claws across his shoulder for his teasing. “Behave. You know what I meant.”
“Yeah, I know,” he replied, rubbing his shoulder. “We never really talked about it, but then we did have other things going on. Like battling the Germanic army.”
TL nodded as they reached the front door. Tigermark pushed the doorbell and they waited. After a few moments with nothing happening, he pushed it again. Then he remembered Joe saying he’d told Aslaug not to answer the door.
“TL, girls, hold your ears.” Tigermark then he reared his head back and let out a *roar.*
After a few seconds of stunned silence, they saw a curtain move in the window, followed shortly by the sound of the door unlatching. It opened and a blur of blonde hair and light fur pounced the tiger where he stood, knocking him back a couple of steps.
“Tiger! It is so wonderful to see you again!” Aslaug gripped the feline in a tight, friendly embrace. After recovering, TM returned the embrace, actually lifting the filly off the ground slightly. They released each other and Aslaug turned to TL.
“You must be TL. Tiger spoke of a very beautiful lynx waiting for him at home.”
“And you must be Aslaug. Mark said many nice things about you, too,” the lynx answered with a warm smile. She knew she had no reason to feel jealous, and accepted the embrace between the two for what it was. Aslaug turned back to TM with a questioning look.
“Mark? Oh, I see. Tiger Mark.”
“Yes. TL calls me by the shorter version most times. How are you doing?”
Aslaug winked and said, “Ah, ¿Estoy muy bien, cómo soy usted?”
Tigermark did a doubletake, and then grinned. “Muy bien, gracias. I see you’ve been using your time well.”
“Yes. I would be absolutely bored to death otherwise. In my world, the days are filled with either the tasks of living or training or battle. In this world, it seems e-lec-tri-city does everything for you. Oh! Hello little ones.” Aslaug looked down at the two feline cubs, who looked back with large round eyes. They had never seen a femme with quite the presence of strength and power the filly had. They had also not seen anyone who could almost knock their father over. Aslaug dropped down on one knee to get eye-level with the two.
“I am very pleased to meet you both. Your father has spoken well of you.”
Rachel rather shyly extended a paw and said softly, “The pleasure is mine, ma’am. Dad says you are a very good warrior.”
Aslaug smiled at this, and turned to the other cub. Brianna had recovered from her initial shock, and now shook the filly’s paw vigorously. “It’s nice to meet ya, Miss Aslaug. Gee you’re strong!”
Aslaug smiled again. “And you are too, for such a little one. Very nice grip.” Aslaug was suddenly bowled over by the two as their shyness broke and they grabbed her in a hug. TL held her breath, but to both her and TM’s delight, the filly let out a long, almost whinnying laugh as she hugged the cubs back.
“Daddy! Mommy! She’s really nice! Can we play with her some? Please?” the two said almost in unisom as they laughed too.
“Maybe later, girls. Aramis and Joe should be here soon, and then we have somewhere to go. After we get back, if Aslaug wants, y’all can play,” Tigermark said, grinning.
As the cubs and the filly extricated themselves and stood up, a small car pulled up in front of the house and Aramis Dagaz got out. He was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, his normal casual wear when they were “off duty.” He walked up to the group and greeted everyone. After all the pawshakes and hugs, he spoke up.
“As soon as Joe gets here, we can go.”
“Where to, Aramis?” TM asked. The others looked curious as well.
“The Museum of Natural History. I read online that there’s a traveling exhibit there now that I think we’ll find interesting”
Before anyone could comment, a large vehicle came around the corner. It pulled in the driveway of the house, and Joe Latrans opened the door and climbed down.
“Hey folks! TM, TL, Aramis, good to see you all.” Again pawshakes and hugs were exchanged.
“Okay Ari, what and where are we going? The Beast here can take everyone, I think, but I need to know where to go.”
“As I told everyone when you were driving up, the Museum of Natural History. You’ll see why.” Aramis was enjoying his mysterious act, so rather than pressing him for more, Joe simply shrugged.
“Sounds good, everyone load up. Rachel, Brianna, I think your folks are gonna need to lift you up”
Aslaug grinned and grabbed each tinx around the waist with a strong paw. “Just open the door.”
TM grinned and opened the rear passenger door for the filly. TL arched an eyebrow. The filly proceeded to one-arm heft first one, and then the other giggling cub up and into the vehicle, which resembled a semi truck cab with four doors and a cargo area behind, with a fifth-wheel hitch at the back. She then climbed aboard herself. TM helped TL up and in, and then grabbed shotgun in front beside Joe before Aramis could call it. The feline shook his head and then climbed up and in behind Joe. Once everyone was situated and seatbelts fastened, which took a bit of help from the two tinxes in Aslaug’s case, Joe started the engine and they headed out for the museum. They all small-talked on the way, but curiosity ruled their thoughts about what Aramis found so interesting.
The trip didn’t take over long, and soon the Beast was parked and the group went into the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. There were all sorts of interesting exhibits on dinosaurs and ancient cultures, but Aramis led them past all that and straight to a hall where the floor plan placards said visiting exhibits were to be found. As they approached it, TM grinned as he read the banner for the exhibit.
“The Vikings: Warriors of the Sea.”
Aslaug’s ears perked up as Tigermark read the title out loud, and she walked a little faster. TM, Joe and Aramis matched her strides, while TL and the tinxes slowed to look at the dinosaur exhibits. The exhibit consisted of various information placards, which the filly couldn’t read yet, and small, roped off tables displaying artifacts from the Viking era of history. In the center, a replica longboat resplendent with sail and oars drew the attention of most of the visitors and the spokesfur for the exhibit. Aramis beckoned them around the circle of displays to one in particular. When they looked at what was on display, they all gasped.
“Look, anyone recognize that?” Joe asked, amazed.
“Aramis, what does the writing say?” the filly asked in a strained way. Tigermark stood beside her, looking a bit amazed himself. Aramis only nodded, having known what was on display already. On the table lay a battered, rusty helmet, one of the cheekpieces bent and one of the eyeguards caved in. Beside it was a shirt of chainmail, rusted and with ragged holes in it, as thought it had been cut through in battle. It was quite obviously made for a femme to wear. What got Aslaug’s attention most, though, was a now rusty and pitted long axe, its handle partially rotted before it seemed to have petrified. All the items had dark stains on them, which looked like blood.
“It says, ‘These items, a helmet, mail shirt and long axe, were found along with many others on what is believed to have been a battlefield in northern
Aslaug turned away from the group. Her three fellow warriors closed ranks about her, knowing what she had seen was a shock. After several moments, she spoke.
“So Christians. Here, as in my world, the hedni fought the ones who followed White Christ. I see nothing different about them, except on my world, my sacrifice brought a victory, by your accounts. Here it seems I died nobly in battle, but the battle was lost. Where is the difference you spoke of?”
Joe was the one who spoke up. “Aslaug, we told you that there were those who used to act that way, but that was over a thousand years ago on this world. There are still a few around who don’t behave like what they try to call themselves, but they are looked at as an extreme element. The majority of Christians these days are appalled by what was done then. The main thing is, you did win on your world, so its history will not be as the one here is. The Aslaug Larsdatter here died defending her way of life. You did, too, remember, but you were called to live on to fight anew when the call comes.”
Aslaug took a breath. “As you say, Joe. I haven’t seen any other Christians but you three to base it on. But as you say.” She turned back to the display and laid a paw on the axe, unable to read the warning signs about not touching.
As her paw touched the relic, suddenly it changed. Gone was the rust and pitting. A bright, new, polished and clean axe head appeared, followed by a new, polished wood handle. Aslaug’s eyes lit up, and without a thought she hefted the axe in her paws, a huge grin on her muzzle.
“Hey! Put that back! You aren’t allowed to handle the exhibits!” came a voice from the end of the displays. The spokesfur, a bespectacled meerkat in a suit, walked rapidly up to them. “Put that back at once or I’ll call security!”
The filly’s jaw set stubbornly. “Mine!” was all she said. Joe, TM, and Aramis looked at each other. TL and the cubs were still looking at the dinosaur exhibits, and hadn’t caught up to them yet.
The meerkat was taken aback. “Young lady, it most assuredly is not! I was on the dig that found these items. They belonged to a Norse sheildmaiden that lived around 940 A.D. The axe could not possibly be yours.”
“Mine,” Aslaug repeated. TM stepped in then.
“Believe me, the axe is hers. Just look at it! You said it was from many centuries ago, but it looks new to me.”
The meerkat pushed his glasses up on his muzzle and looked hard at the axe in Aslaug’s paws. She held her chin up defiantly. If this didn’t work, Tigermark realized, Security would be in for quite a fight. Suddenly the meerkat’s eyes opened wide and his glasses slid down his snout.
“Oh dear! I believe I was mistaken. This couldn’t be the axe from the exhibit. But I could have sworn I saw her pick it up.”
Tigermark continued to follow the thread of explanation that had come to him. “Well, it belongs to her.” He glanced back at the display table and had to stifle a chuckle. “See? The axe on display is still quite there.”
The meerkat spun around so fast he nearly fell over. “Oh! My goodness! I am terribly sorry. You must be a re-enactor or something, come to compare your axe to the original. Please, continue to look all you want. Don’t touch, but please do look. By the way, very excellent replica you have there, Miss. It looks exactly like the way this axe would have looked when it was new.” With that, the meerkat walked quickly off to greet a new group of visitors.
Joe whistled softly. “Nice save, Tiger, but just how did that happen?”
Aramis spoke before the tiger could answer. “How do you think, Joe? The Boss said to bring you all here to see the exhibit. He appears to want our filly to be fully armed when he calls on her.”
“Well, someone does,” Tigermark said with a grin. The others looked at him as he looked to make sure the meerkat wasn’t looking, and then he reached down and ran a claw along something on the table. He brought the claw up and sniffed it, and then gave it a small lick. Then he laughed out loud.
“Okay, what’s so funny?” Joe asked. Aslaug and Aramis also were looking at him curiously.
“I noticed that the old axe, which appears to be exactly the one that was there before Aslaug lifted it, had a new stain on the handle. It appeared fresh, so I checked it out. Seems the stain is blueberries.”
Joe, Aramis, and Aslaug all blinked a second, and then all broke down laughing, garnering curious looks from the meerkat and the new group of visitors.
“Okay guys, y’all ready?” Tigermark asked as he, Joe, and Aramis got up from the breakfast table. Joe and Aramis acknowledged that they were. Aslaug stood up, too, but before she got two steps she found herself corralled by Annie and TL. TM looked back and grinned.
“See ya later, Filly. We’ll be back by evening.”
Joe and Aramis both grinned and the three males made a hasty exit. Aslaug looked both angry and puzzled at once. Before she could form a good tirade in English, Annie spoke.
“Aslaug, the boys are going to do a little four-wheeling, spend some males-only time. In the meantime, we are going to introduce you to one of the great pleasures of being a modern era female.”
Aslaug looked askance, first at Annie, then at TL. “Erhm, what would that be?”
The two femmes almost giggled as they looked at each other. “Shopping!” they exclaimed in unison.
In short order, they hustled the perplexed equine into Annie’s car, along with TL’s cubs, and headed to the nearest mall. They parked and walked into the shopping center. Aslaug looked about, slightly bewildered at all the shops, displays, and lights. The other femmes led her along, and slowly, almost methodically, from a clothing store, to a sporting goods store, even to a lingerie store, they showed her all the trappings of modern dress, and that she could be strong and tough, and still be feminine. In the end, she even wore some of their purchases home, opting for a nice halter top and shorts set, which fit the weather.
On their way out, they were all chatting happily, even the filly herself. As they got to the end of a row of parked cars, Aslaug suddenly stopped.
“Look, someone dropped a copper piece!” She exclaimed as she bent over to pick it up. Just then a low whistle sounded and the filly bolted upright. She spun around, grabbing a stocky, muscular wolf by the throat and lifting the astonished canid off the ground, pulling back her paw in a fist. Annie and TL both instantly understood the situation, and also knew that the wolf was in real danger.
“Aslaug! Stop, don’t hurt him!” Annie interjected. The filly only growled.
Tammy had guessed what had happened, knowing the reputation of many of the “Mall Wolves” she’d seen in SoCal during her visits. “Aslaug, listen to me. I know you’re quite angry, and you have a right to be, but he didn’t mean it as an attack. He was, in his own way, paying you a compliment. He thought you looked good.”
The wolf nodded desperately, starting to turn a little blue around the muzzle. He was trying to speak. Aslaug let the pressure off enough for him to get half a breath and wheeze out what he wanted say.
“Yeah, meant nothin’ by it! Didn’t mean any harm, Miss.”
Aslaug was still so angry the veins in her neck and arms stood out. “He bloody well patted my arse like I was some prize meat stock!”
“I know,” Annie said as she picked up on TL’s start. “Please, though. Yes, he was out of line, and yes, it was insulting, but in this society, you can’t go around pounding furs into the pavement just because they’re rude. He’s not worth soiling your paws on.”
Aslaug paused, seeming to both consider their words, and also calming down. She turned to look at them. Then she saw a frightened look on both Rachel and Brianna’s faces. For a second, she looked a bit horrified herself. Then she smiled slightly.
“He really thought I look good?”
Annie, TL, Rachel, Brianna, and the wolf all shook their heads emphatically yes. Aslaug stood a second more, and then smiled broadly. She lowered the wolf to where his feet were on the pavement again. She then pulled him up to where they were eye to eye, muzzle to muzzle. The near murderous look that came into her eyes belied the tone of her words.
“Thank you. But just because you think I’m attractive, doesn’t mean I’m available for you to paw. When I let you go, get out of my sight. Oh, and by the way—“ She released the wolf, and he spun around to follow her instructions and make good his escape, but he was not quite fast enough, the filly landed a devastating swat to his back side.
“You’ve got a nice arse, too!” she yelled after him as the swat and his own adrenaline propelled him out of control across the car lane and sidewalk and neatly into an open dumpster. The other femmes all looked aghast for a moment, and then Brianna said loudly, “COOL!”
They all laughed, TL in spite of herself. After a moment, the mom in her took back over. “Yes Bri, it was. Remember though, if anyone tries something like that on you, tell a teacher, or me or your Dad.”
Brianna looked up with eyes as innocent as a newborn. “Okay Mom.” Then she gave a rather wicked grin. “Right after I deck the guy that tries anything like that!”
They all laughed again, and headed on toward the car. Aslaug smiled to herself, but then frowned slightly. The youngest of the M’Rega cubs (She’d discovered that Tigermark actually had a last name!) was brave and brassy as could be at times, and she would grow into a strong fur. Aslaug now realized, though, that while she was just learning about this world, she was also an adult, and a potential role model for any youngster that she met. She would have to learn to control her temper. Maybe not to the extent of these so-called modern furs, but certainly enough not to scare the little ones.
“Annie, I really don’t think that’s such a great idea,” Joe said cautiously.
“Why not? You said yourself that she commented that she’d only met you three and now the families as examples of Christians. This would give her a chance to meet a bunch of them.” Annie’s eyes narrowed a bit, and her tail flipped back and forth. “Why, are you ashamed of the church? Don’t you think they’d handle meeting a real, live heathen well?”
Joe looked exasperated. “No, I know everyone would do just fine, you know that. It’s just that, well, Aslaug has warned us off of trying to convert her, and I’m afraid that some might go overboard and turn her off even more.”
“Nonsense, you know that everyone there is polite enough to accept a ‘not interested’ response and not badger her. Not even Phil Badger.”
Joe just shook his head, acknowledging defeat. “Okay, okay, I’ll invite her to come with us Sunday. I just hope nothing happens to cause a mess.”
Annie gave him her look. The one that would melt steel. “C’mon, Joe. Have a little faith.”
Joe just nodded, too lost in the look she’d given to protest any more. He stepped into her arms, and she nuzzled his ear for a second. Then she whispered softly, “Go on and ask her now.” Joe nodded dreamily, and then realized what she’d done.
“Aww, Annie! That’s not fair. You’ll burn my engine out doing that.”
She grinned and her tail wagged as she replied, “Not likely in your case, coyote. Now go ask. That way she can set out tonight what she wants to wear.”
“Yeah, sure,” Joe released his hold on his wife and walked down the hallway to the door of the filly’s room. Tigermark and family had departed for home the day before, as had Aramis also. It was up to Joe and his family to continue the equine’s orientation and education on the modern world. He really prayed they were all up to it, even though he’d seen the filly making progress by leaps and bounds.
Reaching Aslaug’s door, he knocked.
“Yes, it is unlocked,” came the reply. Aslaug still had a bit of a problem understanding the concept of locked doors, or even closed ones at times, on the inside of a home. Outside doors being locked she understood, as in her culture it had been the females who held the keys and locked and unlocked the buildings.
Joe stuck his head in, a smile plastered on his muzzle. How was he going to ask this? Then something Annie had just said came back to him, and the grin went from plastered on to earnest.
“Aslaug, hi. Ah, remember what you said a bit ago about not knowing any Christians except us three amigos?”
Aslaug was laying on the bed, reading a few books Annie had brought her from the library. Her reading skills were improving rapidly. “Yes,” she replied, wondering where Joe was going with this.
“How’d you like to meet a whole lot more? We’d like you to come to church with us in the morning.”
Aslaug gave him a cross look, but before she could speak Joe continued.
“Don’t give me that look. I’m not trying to recruit you, convert you, or anything else. You said you wanted to meet more Christians. There are plenty at church, of all different shapes, sizes, species, and temperaments. I won’t say it represents all Christians today, but it’s a fair representation.”
Aslaug thought a moment. She belonged, heart and soul, to Freja. What would She think of the filly going to a Christian worship service. Somehow, though, she knew. Gathering information wasn’t wrong. And, if what Aramis and Frigg had said was true, it was the Christian God who ruled over this world. Making up her mind, she looked up at Joe.
“Ask Annie to come help me pick out something, ah, appropriate to wear.”
“You bet. Talk to you later.” Joe heard the filly give a soft grunt in acknowledgement as she went back to her book. He headed down the hall to tell Annie of Aslaug’s decision and need for wardrobe advice. Then he’d make a call. No need to have the pastor broadsided unaware.
“Sure Joe, be glad to have her come,” Brother Jack Wilson said into the phone. The tall rabbit listened a moment. Joe Latrans had called him to say they would be bringing a guest with them. That was good. He always liked it when the Latrans family brought guests.
Now his eyes went wide. “She’s a what? From where? From when?” Brother Jack knew, at least a little bit, about what Joe and his two friends were called upon to do for the Lord, but what Joe was telling him sounded like science fiction. A Viking shieldmaiden, who worshipped the Norse gods, from a different past, and who would likely not be able to stop from challenging anything she didn’t agree with.
“Hmmm? Oh, sorry Joe, was lost in thought a second... No, don’t worry, it’ll be fine. We may not convert her, but we can still show her that not all Christians answer different views with a sword or gun…Oh, the sermon? I’m starting a series on the Ten Commandments. Tomorrow’s is on the First…yeah, I can see that could be the case. No problem though. Nah, no problem, you’ll see. Okay, see you tomorrow Joe.”
The rabbit hung up the pawset and sat back. Tomorrow would prove to be a challenge, he knew, but he was sure that the congregation wouldn’t embarrass him. He did know that he needed to pray for guidance in using the right words. After a short prayer, he went back to work on his sermon.
It was a lovely Sunday morning, and Aslaug had to admit she was made to feel very welcome by everyone. Even when a couple of furs had asked if she was a Christian, and she couldn’t keep the terseness out of her voice as she had said no, that she had her own faith (Joe had explained that in modern terms, heathen had quite a different meaning), they had still sort of smiled and said she was welcome. She shook her head at that. In her own time, a priest and armed guards would have been called, and she’d have been thrown out or forced to convert at sword-point. These Christians seemed to accept her for who and what she was. That made the words the three amigos had said to her over and again ring a bit more true.
Now everyone was seated, and the pastor, a tall lapine, was about to speak. Joe had called it “delivering the sermon,” and had explained a bit of what it meant when Aslaug had looked cross-eyed at him. Basically, he’d read a passage from the Bible, and then expand on what it meant.
“Today I will start a series of sermons on the Ten Commandments. The scripture for today is from Exodus chapter 20, verse2 and 3, and is the First Commandment.” Here Brother Jack began to read. ”I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.”
Aslaug had been listening intently, but now stood. She had a question, and wasn’t quite sure how one went about asking it in this kind of service. Brother Jack didn’t miss a beat. “Yes Miss? You have a question or comment?”
It had gotten absolutely still. No one moved, or even seemed to breathe in the silence. Aslaug plowed ahead, determined to ask the question that came to mind.
“How do the other gods feel about that?”
She remained standing, awaiting an answer. There were a few murmurs, but most waited to see what their pastor would do.
Brother Jack smiled. He’d thought about how to answer such a question. “Miss Aslaug, in this world, at this time, there is only one true God. There are legends of others, but in this world, and this time, they are myths and shadows, with no power. The God of Abraham rules this world, and for us, in this time and place, He has decreed that we should worship no other.”
“Isn’t that a bit arrogant?” the filly asked, causing a gasp from some.
Again Brother Jack smiled. “Well, put it this way. If you are a parent, would you be a good parent if you didn’t set any rules?” Aslaug shook her head no. “And one of those is to respect your parents, which is on down the list of ten. In this one, though, God our father sets the rule that we are to respect Him, and follow no other, because in this time, and this world, He rules. Some may find their way to him by calling him a different name at first, but in the end it is God that they find.”
Aslaug thought on this a bit, remembering her conversations with Aramis and Frigg in Valhalla, and decided that the answer was acceptable. “Thank you,” she replied simply, and sat back down. The rest of the congregation began to breathe again, and Brother Jack continued with his sermon.
As the sermon went on, Joe looked over at the filly. She was listening politely and he was taken aback at how she had changed in her time there. The rough-hewn warrior was still there, but sitting primly, and wearing a nice dress, was also a lovely young filly.
He looked a bit closer and saw that she also had on a very light application of makeup.
Smiling, he sat back and listened to the sermon. “Yep,” he thought, remembering the look some of the younger males had given her, “she’s become a lovely young filly, all right.”
And a thoroughly modern one, too.
THE END, FOR NOW