Word count: 263
She raises the bowl. Her arms and back are strong. Her feet learned the path to the riverbank long ago. She can walk it in her sleep; she has. She holds the bowl up and hears the drip of venom. Splish. She watches the tears roll out of his eyes, washing out the poison. She hears his breathing slow, his sobs quiet. Splish, splish. She tells herself that this won't last forever, even in timeless Niflheim. The ship will be built, and he will be steersman.
She holds the bowl in one hand and gently takes the rag from his mouth. They think she gave it to him to save his white unbroken teeth. Splish, splish. She couldn't let Odin hear him screaming, couldn't chance a lover's pity growning in his heart. Splish. She couldn't stand to hear him, fevered and delirious, calling out to her sons' murderer with love in his voice.
She tends him carefully, nursing his wounds and nursing his hate. She settles the bowl into both hands, rolling her shoulders, flexing her knees. "Narvi took his first steps on a day like this," she reminds him. Splish. "Remember how Vali always loved to watch the sea birds?" Splish.
The bowl fills. Tenderly she gags him. She steps the path to the riverbank while he jerks and howls under the serpents. Across the plains of Asgard his wolf son howls with him and in the halls tales and conversations stutter. They tell each other how loyal she is, how pure. She empties the bowl and returns.
She raises the bowl. Splish.
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