The wizened gatekeeper shuffled along at a maddeningly slow pace. With each churn of an arthritic hip. The keys jangled at his belt. They were ancient keys—both utilitarian and fantastical designs—all on an enormous ring. The cross-crossed paths on the university’s ground were coated in a light frost, making his journey even more perilous.
“By Odin’s beard, this is the last thing I need,” he muttered as he looked to the darkening storm clouds above.
When he reached the gate, he glowered at the ravens perched on its spires. They squawked in unison. The cloaked figure on the other side of the gate wore a broad hat and carried a well-worn staff.
The gatekeeper grunted as he fumbled with the keys. “Back from Midgard already?”
The ravens squawked again. The gate rumbled, and the cloaked man stepped through and onto the path that led to his home. “By my beard, eh? I’ll thank you to be quicker next time, else I feed your heart to the wolves.”
His hard, one-eyed glared still unnerved the gatekeeper, whose lips pressed shut and he placed the keys back on his hip again.