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Valkyrie Book I: Darkness Awaits

By Mark McQuillen All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Other

Blurb

Gil Swanson has been struggling with PTSD for years after the death of his comrades. When a mysterious woman from his past appears pleading for his help he jumps to her aid. Suddenly he finds himself in an epic battle between light and darkness.

Meeting

“This place gives me the creeps.” Gil Swanson mused out loud as he walked amongst the grave markers at Gettysburg. As a soldier, he had been on his fair share of battlefields. He could imagine the carnage and smell the stench of war. On this hallowed ground, one hundred and fifty years after the greatest battle of the Western Hemisphere had been fought; the locals believe the dead still walk.

Are you remembering when you fought here, Warrior?’ A musical female voice whispered behind him.

At the first syllable, Gil spun and dropped to a defensive crouch, his eyes narrowing when he saw nothing but empty air. His reaction seemed to pleasure his unseen watcher as a ghostly ripple of delighted laughter went through the air.

Well done Warrior, I see you have not lost any of your edge in the years since I saw you last.’ The disembodied voice continued.

Gil with his head on a swivel muttered to himself. “The docs back at the VA are gonna love this. Not only do I suffer from PTSD but now I have an imaginary friend.” After looking around to ensure his solitary presence, he stood.

He hadn’t been standing for more than five seconds when the ghostly voice whispered again.

While I’m gratified you consider me a friend, we have never been formally introduced. I have, however, been your companion on several of your campaigns.’

The ex-soldier kept scanning the area, making his way toward a copse of trees. If this unseen woman was a professional assassin, why hadn’t she killed him? He was in the open, easy prey. She didn’t even have to shoot him, just stab him and walk away. In this section of the park, it would probably be a couple of hours before a park ranger found him in the offseason. If he could keep the woman talking, he might even find out something useful. It was then the realization hit him. The voice wasn’t audible; it was inside his head.

***

Concentrating, Gil emptied his mind and carefully formed the question that he both feared and desperately needed the answer to. ‘Who are you? Oh Goddess, what are you?’

***

In response to the question a fog formed, coalescing into a female form. The woman was tall, black haired, with skin like new fallen snow, and green eyes that demanded all of his attention as she walked toward the stunned Gil with a predatory glide. She was dressed in a simple yellow sundress, looking like every other tourist.

“Who I am is Mist. I’m very pleased to meet you at last. What I am is Valkyrie.” Mist walked around the man.

From Gil’s perspective it looked like she was examining him in every detail. She was at least four inches taller than he. When she moved behind him she ran her fingertips across his shoulders. When she once again faced him, she was nodding as if satisfied with what she saw.

***

A shiver went through the ex-soldier as she touched him. It was as if his spine had been dipped in ice water. When he got his voice back, he couldn’t help but stammer.

“A V-V-Valkyrie, oh shit, how can I help you m-ma’am?”

When she smiled at his question his mouth went dry as his mind wondered what it would be like to kiss her. Mist’s right eyebrow lifted slightly. Gil went crimson to his ears. He felt like a teenager again.

“Fear me not, Warrior. I need your help with a grave matter. We have no one in Asgard with your skill set. I require someone who is both bold and exceptionally sneaky.”

Gil couldn’t help but grin at the word sneaky. When he was younger and thought he was invincible, there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do. Over the years he had learned a little caution but his reputation had been made on sneaky. Now that the initial shock of Mist’s appearance had worn away, he took on his professional persona.

“I’ll do what I can, Lady Mist. At least I can tell you where to start. What’s the job?

The Valkyrie’s eyes changed from green to steely gray, as if storm clouds crossed over her eyes. “We need to recover from NIflheim an artifact of great power. The hammer of Thor, Mjölnir.”

Gil’s eyes widened as the Valkyrie spoke, at her final word they were practically falling from his head. If he had ever wished for a challenge of a lifetime, this was it. This took crazy to a whole new level.

“Let me see if I have the details right. You want me to sneak into a realm from which, according to myth, no living man has ever returned and steal back Thor’s hammer? Where the hell is Thor?” Gil couldn’t keep the fear from entering his voice.

Mist looked down at the ground. Her last hope had been to get the warrior to help them. Then Gil reached out and gently raised her eyes to meet his.

“I didn’t say no. Actually, it sounds like fun. How do I get there?” He said gently, somehow it pained him to see her sad.

“This enterprise is going to take everything you have and to enter the realm of the Dark Elves will take preparations. As to Thor’s location, he was taken prisoner along with the rest of Odin’s court. Many were slain in the Dark Elves assault, but there are at least forty hostages.”

“Forty hostages? We need to rescue them.” Gil thought aloud as he strategized. “We could use the diversion the rescue causes to get Thor’s hammer back.”

Mist watched as Gil paced back and forth; now more than ever satisfied that she had chosen correctly.

Then the warrior stopped abruptly. “And with that in mind, there’s no way I can do this by myself. What kind of help can I expect?”

“Myself, of course, and any of my sisters that can be spared from the defense of Rihmsjalier. Some of the Aesir could be persuaded to come. Then last, but not least, the Eihnerjar, the honored heroes who died in battle; the legendary legions of Valhalla.”

Mist’s voice faltered as she saw the far away haunted look in his eyes. A lone tear slid down his cheek for his fallen comrades. She knew of at least five.

Gently placing her hand on Gil’s shoulder she spoke more softly. “They are treated with honor and want for nothing. You can pick them if you wish to be reunited.”

The ex-soldier’s eyes refocused on his companion at her words of comfort. Gil whipped the tear off his cheek as he sniffed and cleared his throat. “Really? Who exactly? There have been so many. I can’t remember them all,” Gil replied, lying rather badly. He remembered every single one, how they died, where and when. They haunted his darkest nightmares.

“One of them told me where to find you. He told me of your skills.” The Valkyrie continued with a gentle smile, remembering what Gil’s former comrade had told her.

Gil turned to face her with a look of apprehension. He hadn’t thought of the possible consequences of this quest. His voice shook with emotion as he repeated the previous question.

“Who?”

“Robert Morant. Actually some of the stories he told were really funny. Did you really run through an Arab Prince’s harem armed with a broomstick in your, how did he say that...”?

Gil mentally groaned as Mist struggled to remember what Rob had told her. Morant had been with him for almost his entire career until his luck ran out. “The word you’re looking for is underwear. Yes, I did, Rob and I both did.” Gil went scarlet as Mist’s face tried to turn itself inside out in an attempt to keep from laughing.

He even managed to sound a little aggravated as Gil found himself wanting to explain the circumstances of the event to the laughing Valkyrie. It included a previous long mission, many shots of tequila, and well-developed Arabian women. Long, leisurely sex surrounded by the aroma of jasmine was the plan. That’s not how it ended.

More like, grabbing their clothes and running full tilt for their lives. The only weapon they had found was a sawed off piece of broomstick. As funny as it sounded to the Valkyrie, you could do a fair bit of damage to a man with a four to five-foot-long piece of broomstick. The basis for an Oriental weapon called a Tonfa. You could kill in a heartbeat with one.

The fight degraded to a perverse reverse strip poker game. When you clobbered some poor slob, you got to put on a piece of clothing. The first man fully dressed got the next opponent’s weapon and Gil ended up with a Belgian FN-FAL. Then Rob got his, the same exact gun. By the time the festivities were over there were 13 dead and over 200 wounded men.

***

“How was I to know that the hottest Arabian woman I have ever known in my life, would pick up two of the men hunting her husband? Coincidence? I don’t believe in them! And that was my first mission with Rob Morant.” Gil explained finally.

By this time the Valkyrie was laughing and crying at the same time.

***

Fortunately for Major Swanson and Staff Sergeant Morant, the Pentagon states the incident never took place. They were never there. Gil had carte blanche to do whatever was needed. Though their commander, a tough old ex-paratrooper turned Brigadier General named Robert Norton Swift was less than impressed with their performances.

General Swift chewed them out for what seemed hours. Then he smiled slowly. The whole of dressing them down had been for show.

“How many of the enemy did you bag?” He asked finally.

“Thirteen sir!” Came the frank reply.

Then the old soldier stood up, waited for them to come to attention and exchange salutes. He waived Gil and Rob out of his office with a wolfish grin on his scarred face.

Morant just looked at him as they left and muttered under his breath, “The Brigadier must have been a terror when he was young and limber.”

Gil couldn’t do anything but nod in agreement.

From then on they were called in when a mission would take what the General called a little imagination.

Both of them had kept the Belgian assault rifles as a token of their first battle together. Afterwards that they had fought side by side with them in numerous skirmishes. They hung together on a wall in Gil’s home in Galveston. A remembrance of his and Rob’s days of glory.

***

Mist’s laughter had subsided by this time but had to fight the giggles when she looked at Gil as she rose from the ground.

“It wasn’t that funny.” Gil said ruefully.

The Valkyrie shook her dark head as she entwined her arm though the ex-soldier’s, smiling a knowing little smile. “After that story I knew I needed you. Dear silly man.” Mist replied as she squeezed his arm with surprising strength.

Her green eyes turned stormy grey as her voice took on a deadly serious tone. “Time is short; we need to get started.” The Valkyrie raised her right hand with a turn of her delicate wrist

***

Ten feet from them, a hole in the air formed, silvery around the edges, it rippled; on the other side it showed the foyer of Gil’s home.

“Wow, nice trick.” He admiringly surveyed and walked up to the portal experimentally poking his finger through the middle.

“Your people can’t do this?” Mist queried.

Gil shook his head. He could however think of some who would kill to know this trick as he stepped through the portal. The transition from Pennsylvania to Texas was startling, from the smell of green grass to the ocean. He could hear the surf outside.

Mist stepped through only to be surprised by a loud squeak as she stepped on the first floorboard of the old house.

***

The Victorian monstrosity had been in the Swanson family for six generations, a shrine to their military prowess that dated back to the American Civil War. The first thing she saw was an American flag immaculately folded beside a medal with a distinctive blue ribbon covered with stars. She reached out to touch the glass case that the artifacts occupied.

“My Great-Grandfather’s, he won that in the first World War.”

She next spied a rifle hung on the wall. The dark wood showed age but it had obviously been cared for lovingly. Robert Morant had told Mist of his partner’s long military pedigree. Even though she spent years with warriors she knew to be skeptical of what they told her.

Here in this house was the truth, enshrined as it should be. She took the ancient weapon down cradling it in her arms. Tenderly her sensitive long fingertips opened the breach of the gun. As she looked down the barrel she could see bright grooves until Gil’s voice interrupted her inspection of the weapon.

“A fifty caliber Sharp’s carbine from the 1870’s. Good choice, I even have ammunition for it. We’ll take it with us. I’ll teach you how to use it. Call it a gift.”

As the dark haired beauty lovingly caressed the stock of the carbine, the sandy haired ex-soldier couldn’t help but think how pleased his ancestor would have been at its fate. It was not every day that a weapon is chosen by a Valkyrie. Gil walked behind the bar in the living room and fixed himself a scotch and soda then looked up and offered her a drink.

Mist set down the carbine gently on the couch and settled into her seat on the other side. “I’ll have what you’re having.” The pale beauty lulled sweetly.

Gil couldn’t help but look at Mist sideways. Tonight’s going to be interesting. He thought as he mixed the scotch and soda. Looking at the Valkyrie her telepathy apparently was controllable. Another ability I need to learn.

The Valkyrie responded immediately. “You already know how. Though your shields could use some work… They leak.” Mist took an experimental sip of scotch smiling slowly.

“May the gods save us from leaky shields and other things. To our quest!” Gil toasted to which the Valkyrie replied seriously.

“May our enemies die without any kin to avenge them.”

The ex-soldier couldn’t agree more as he clinked glasses with the warrior woman. In this part of the world, female combat soldiers were rare. He had almost forgotten the deadly potential this woman represented. How many battlefields had she walked on since her creation?

Hundreds probably. Came the next sobering thought. Mankind had been killing each other since they crawled from the primordial goo. In later years they had used their ingenious minds to create more efficient ways of killing. All the way up the scale to thermonuclear weapons. Right now, she was a guest in his home, looking around and memorizing her surroundings. Mist did this by instinct, as did every soldier when surrounded by something unfamiliar.

Gil watched as she touched everything as if ascertaining the function of the object. When she got to the fireplace she looked up at the two Belgian FN-FAL.

“May I?” Mist asked as she reached up and gently brought down Gil’s FAL. She grasped the bolt and eased the breach open. When the breach locked open she hefted the weapon as she tested the weight. “It’s heavier than I thought.” She released the bolt and put the assault rifle back.

Gil could only nod as he watched her ascertain the operation of a weapon by touch.

“What I wouldn’t give to have a squad of Valkyries. Can all of you operate a weapon when you’ve never seen it before?” He questioned in wonder.

Mist nodded as she took another drink of scotch. “Yes, it is what we were created for.”

***

The next hour was spent showing her around the house. She seemed interested in everything. The artifacts that his grandfather had collected during World War II gave her pause. When they came to a small picture of Adolf Hitler, she grimaced.

Mist muttered to herself as she spat towards the floor. “Odious little… Foolish man. He tried to call us and bind us to his will. He paid the price for his presumption.” With that declaration she stomped off downstairs. Gil looked at the picture then down the hall after Mist.

“Well Herr Hitler, you pissed off the wrong women.” The ex-soldier said aloud as he put the picture face down on the shelf. He was very relieved that the Valkyries had not gotten directly involved in the war on the side of the Nazi’s. The dictator’s dream of a thousand year Reich might have become a reality.

Gil pondered that as he walked downstairs to find Mist back on her barstool looking at her now empty drink. The ex-soldier mixed them another as she turned and looked at the ocean.

“Let’s go outside. It’s a beautiful day.” He walked around the end of the bar and nodded toward the Sharp’s. After he set his drink down, he went back in, grabbed a bunch of shells and filled a gallon milk jug full of water.

By the time he returned, Mist already had the carbine in her hand with the breech open. Gil put a round in her outstretched hand ran out to the surf, milk jug in hand. When he got back, she had the carbine loaded.

In one fluid motion she settled the hundred plus year old weapon to her shoulder then squeezed the trigger. The carbine went off with an ear-shattering bang and the milk jug exploded, Mist beamed at him like a child with her favorite new toy.

“Well done, nice shooting Tex!” Gil exclaimed.

***

For the next hour they were shooting at milk jugs with various weapons, and all of the weapons in the house still functioned. The Valkyrie was good with the Sharp’s; she was beyond deadly with the FAL. No matter how far away he set the target the woman could hit it. It was a sobering thought about Hitler almost having a bunch of almost unstoppable soldiers as the Valkyries under his command. He wondered what the little corporal had done.

“He wanted us to kneel to him,” Mist said with some heat as she paused in her inspection of an M-1 Garand. “We kneel to no one except Odin and he never asks.”

“He doesn’t want his balls over his ears,” Gil said knowingly as he winked at the Valkyrie.

She laughed again as she put the weapon down and sat on a brick wall next to him. Then they set about finishing off the bottle of scotch beside them.

***

In that afternoon, they got to know each other. They talked about the wars in which they had fought. Their mission in Asgard, then they talked about more personal things. Finally as they drank, Gil got up the courage to ask, or so he thought, a rather daring question.

“Are you married, Mist? Do you have someone waiting at home for you?”

“No, I do not. I don’t have time beyond my duty to give to anyone else. The Valkyrie seldom marry, most men and women aren’t comfortable with our power. We overshadow them most of the time because of our fame.” Mist got up to grab another bottle.

Gil watched as she walked into the house. He was fascinated with the complex interplay of muscles in her backside. As she came back out with another bottle of scotch, he couldn’t help but think of what it would be like to be with her.

Mist sat the bottle down with a smile as if she had heard the whole thing. “What about you? Is there anyone you share this paradise with?”

“No,” Gil replied softly. Taking a drink of scotch to collect his thoughts. “Basically for the same reason you just stated. There was never enough time in the day. I’m not very lovable. Who would want to be married to a man who might not come back?” Gil’s face fell, his sorrow almost completely enveloped him.

Before he knew what was happening, Mist pulled him into a seemingly never-ending toe-curling kiss. The bliss went on and on. Her kisses were more definite than being married though they were a bit rough. Like being kissed by an affectionate tornado. As quickly as it began it ended. Leaving poor Gil, a little roughed up and slightly dazed.

“Holy...Crap! At least give me a little warning.” The ex-soldier exclaimed.

In response, the Valkyrie just gave her little smile. “Did it meet with your expectations?”

“Yes, it did; it exceeded them.” Gil replied with a goofy look on his face which made the Valkyrie giggle. If he had his wish, she would do that every day. The hard planes and angles of her face disappeared leaving her looking like a young woman.

***

Then the next thing he knew, he was draped over her shoulder like a sack of wheat. She almost ran through the living room and up the stairs with inhuman speed and before Gil could say anything he was on the master bed with her on top of him.

***

Mist stripped off the sundress in a single pull, revealing a body that most women would kill for. Her abs had abs! Her body was a long, lean complex of muscle that flowed beneath alabaster skin.

She started on Gil’s clothes. Ripping off his t-shirt, she ran her fingernails down his chest. Mist paused long enough to pin Gil’s wrists to the headboard peering into his eyes, nose to nose with him.

The ex-soldier didn’t struggle; he just smiled back at the Valkyrie. Inwardly he couldn’t help but feel a bit awed as her eyes filled his vision. They were glowing with an inner light that terrified him slightly.

“I have you in my power,” Mist said confidently into Gil’s ear as she licked it. She wasn’t so confident a moment later when Gil turned the tables on her. He rolled her up like taco and ended up on top, trying to unbuckle his pants.

“Minx, I ought to spank you good.” He managed just before she rolled them over back where they started and giggled like a fiend.

***

The Valkyrie got his pants off; then she lay on Gil’s thigh licking his cock like a popsicle. Gil couldn’t to do anything but groan as she swallowed it to the hilt. She licked and nibbled at it until he was nearly frantic. “No, you can’t come yet, oh no.” Mist murmured as though talking to herself. Without any ceremony, she positioned his cock at her entrance and slowly lowered herself down.

For Gil, he felt as if he was sucked into a vise. The Valkyrie had phenomenal muscle control. All he could do was hang on and squeal. Every time he was about to orgasm, she’d clamp down with vaginal muscles that were as well developed as the rest of her.

She rode on with abandon, with variations of rhythm, speed, motion. By the time she let him take control, she had orgasmed at least twice. By the time Gil came, they both collapsed in a sweaty, sodden heap.

As they lay recovering, Gil thought about all the stories he had read about Valkyries. They said the Valkyries were virgins, the choosers of the slain and served mead in Odin’s great hall of Valhalla. Myth he found varied widely from truth. The truth was that she excelled at both sex and warfare, both sides of the same coin.

I’m in serious trouble. Not that he particularly cared. He wondered what Mist had in store for him next. In all truth, he couldn’t wait.

***

Turning around, he found Mist was apparently asleep with a dark forelock covering one eye. Gently moving her hair, she looked so young, so vulnerable, not the ancient being of immense power at all. As soon as he touched her, the smile came back.

“I thought you were asleep,” Gil said simply

“That would be rude, when my partner is not.” Mist replied with a chuckle as Gil lay down beside her wrapping her in his arms. The two of them lay there for a long time drifting off to sleep. When Gil tried to get up the Valkyrie eased him back down.

“I thought you wanted to get this plan started?” The ex-soldier asked when she kept him pinned to the bed.

“The quest starts tomorrow; tonight is for us.”

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