Valkyrie II: Darkness Rising

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Chapter Seventeen

“That is not, how it happened!” Loki growled. “What sort of lies does this story tell?”
“It tells Gil’s story, and I for one would like to hear more of it.” Markhon glared at him as they sat outside her door. “It’s getting, interesting.”
“Only because you think I will stay locked in that jail cell, but clearly, as I live and breathe here now, I didn’t.” Loki crossed his arms over his chest. “Just watch. You will see that this is not how it ended.”
“Oh, I will watch and I will see all the chaos you created. I was actually thinking of starting a book. The Rise and Fall of the Late Lord Loki.”
“Wait, late?”
“There is so much data to collect, so many facts to set straight, I fear, you may be dead and buried before it’s ever published.” Markhon laughed. “But, that is what happens when you engage in so much bullshit.”
Loki was not impressed. This was not how he imagined this trip would go. They were supposed to be unlocking secrets and rescuing Malice from some Gods-forsaken dump. Where were the answers? Where was the dump? Where the hell was Malice?
“Just shut up and watch.” Loki growled.
“I am watching, but that, doesn’t look like Gil.” Markhon stopped a moment. “Is that…?”

As Rihmsjalier lay seemingly asleep, a stealthy figure moved across the courtyard between the watch fires. She paused for a moment looking at the sentries, they were as blind as the Valkyrie fools. The night was her element, this is where she hunted. She paused, listened, and sniffed the air. She would know the hated Aesir scent no matter how much he disguised it. Moving with the speed of the shadows and as silent as death, she made her way to the cells to where the traitor waited.

“Whoa! Uh, Loki…” Markhon let out. “That is Malice. Why are we seeing Malice? We’re not supposed to be able to see Malice’s memories…”
“No, we’re not!” Loki grinned at the sight of her and put his fingers to his lips to silence Markhon. “Watch.”

Two guards died without a sound as the poison of the great mother found them, blood gelling in their veins and seeping out their pores. She used the keys to open the door, and as the traitorous vermin roused, she put a needle in his eye. She then smiled and blew him a kiss before disappearing into the shadows.

“Okay, that made no sense.”
“You are the worst to watch a movie with, I swear.” Loki shook his head and groaned. “Can’t you just watch in peace?”
“Would be easier if I knew more about what was going on.” Markhon shot him a look, but Loki ignored him and laid his head against the wall.
“This is going to be a long night.”
“Wait, there’s Gil….” Markhon added in excitement.
A very, long night.

Gil moved out of a shadow of his own, with his hand over Loki’s mouth until he had made sure it, she, or whatever it was had gone. The dead bodies on the floor dissolved; an illusion made with Loki’s erstwhile help. It seemed the God of Mischief had decided to go with an enemy he knew rather than the rabid creature who had come for him. How could he not, now that the cell walls and floor were coated in blood and the mutilated carcass of a pig remained for all to see.

On the wall across from them was what at first seemed to be a Human’s tongue staked to the stone, but again Loki’s illusion fell and it once again resembled that of a pig’s; and beside it hung a note.
“What does it say” Loki mumbled, the fear blurring his vision as Gil ripped it from the wall.
Written in blood was a single word. “Traitor.” Gil replied, shaking his head as Loki shook in his boots.
Were those tears that threatened to fall down his face? Was that, sadness? Perhaps knowing the one you love had used and abused you would be enough to make Loki turn against his mistress?
“How did you know she would do this?” Loki stammered.
“Even in Midgard where you’re believed to be a myth, you have a, how shall I put this? An unsavory reputation. There are many who wish to see you dead; even Malice. Though, I have to hand it to you, Loki, you are a survivor.” Gil chuckled, “I knew you’d make the choice that would give you the best chance and that was with me, not her.”
“How did...” Loki started to say, but the emotions were too much for him, choking the words in his throat before they even hit his lips.
“How did I know? Because I’ve had to make similar decisions when my neck was on the line. The soul wants to live, my friend, and mine wants to make sure you live; which is why you still breathe.”
“But why?”
“Who knows, I may want a favor one day. Or perhaps I want that favor today?” Gil glared at the male who now stood beside him, smoothing out his shoulder length, brown hair.
“I told you, she wanted you, dead.” Loki laughed, a smile crossing his face, but Gil raised his hand and settled it on the bastard’s shoulder.
“This time, tell me what she really sent you after.” He grinned; his grip so tight that Loki began to bend at the knees as he tried to get away. “As soon as you tell me, you can leave. No one here will stop you.”
Loki managed to let out a laugh but Gil wasn’t letting go. “What makes you think I would trust you?”
“Because when I make a promise, I keep my word.” Gil’s eyes narrowed and he released his grip just enough to turn the tall, blue eyed bastard around to face him. “All I want to do is stop this war before too many are lost. She cares for nothing, not even you…”
It took Loki less than a heartbeat to decide and the male nodded his head. Gil was aware that this could be some sort of trick, but he was banking on that freshly broken heart to guide Loki in what Gil called, the right direction.
“There is a small, unadorned case laying on the table along the northern wall of the armory. Inside you will find glass vials…” Loki sighed and rubbed at his eyes. “I was told not to open the vials for any reason and when I asked why, she merely hinted that they contained a deadly poison.”
“You sure they’re still there?”
“I had not gotten that far…” The trickster admitted. “May I go now?”
Gil nodded his head, his mind on that case.

“Wait, you mean to tell me that you actually flipped, right then and there.” Markhon blurted out.
“She killed that pig like it was nothing, like I was nothing.” Loki grumbled and shook his head. “I knew if there was any chance of saving her, and myself of course, I couldn’t do it from within that cell.”
“It wasn’t Malice though, it was Ashe.”
“Had I known that then, I never would have…” Loki let out but stopped short.
“Never would have what?” Markhon inquired with a raised brow, but Loki was lost in his own thoughts. “Hello?” He tapped his finger across the male’s forehead, but he was already back to the story.

As Loki disappeared, Gil ran out of the cells and down the corridors, praying that the case was still there. He made no move to pause as he went through doors of the great hall and down the back steps to the armory. His eyes darted all around for that little case and soon enough he found it. Gil thanked every God he knew that they had succeeded is stopping Malice from her current course of madness.
Turning it about in his hands, he inhaled deep and let his magic go to work on the lock. He eased it open, very carefully, lifting the lid to reveal two rows of glass vials, three-quarters full of a strange white powder. To his relief there were none missing and all of the caps looked intact, then he gently rolled one of the vials over to read the label. It was written in English and Gil damn near dropped the case when he read out the name.
“Tabun?” His eyes grew wide. “She’s bloody crazy.”
“Is that what Malice was after?” Mist asked as she and Sif entered the small armory.
“Yup.” Gil let out.
“What is it?” Sif inquired.
Gil closed the case as carefully as he opened it, exhaling the breath he’d been holding. “A deadly poison, indeed.” He shuddered. “A neurotoxin so virulent it would kill everyone and everything for miles.”
“It has been here, for forever.” Mist sighed and shook her head. “We did not know what it was for.”
“Now you do, and it belongs somewhere far beyond reach, preferably a volcano.” Gil chuckled, tucking the case beneath his arm as if he were guarding it.
“Will a lava lake do?” Sif grinned.
“Show me this lake.” Gil replied with a stern look upon his face and Sif took his hand, closed her eyes and the next thing he knew he was surrounded in warmth.
Fires burned all around them, smoke and soot billowed into the sky, and far off in the distance Gil could see the outlines of a mighty fortress. “Where are we?”
“It is called the Null, but we will not be going there.” She smiled and pointed to a large lake of magma boiling before them.
Gil did not hesitate. He hurled the Tabun, case and all, as far as he could and watched until the case disappeared. When it was gone, Gil finally let himself relax and looked at his females, shuddering at what had almost happened.
“But it didn’t happen, Gil. You have saved everyone from her vile plan.” Mist tried to get him smile as they blinked back to the fortress and made for the stairs to their room.
Half way up they heard a voice call to them from the bottom and Gil almost host his lunch as he turned around.
“I take it our deception was successful.” Ashe grinned wildly, still dressed as Malice in all that black leather.”
“We were very successful, Ashe.” Gil replied, but then shook his head. “But we should have found those vials when we took an inventory of all the armories. It leaves me wondering what else we missed? We’ll to do another inventory tomorrow to make sure there’s nothing else she can use to kill everyone.”
“Tomorrow, right? As in, not tonight.” Mist smiled and Sif let out a giggle.
Then Ashe started to chuckle and her grin spread over her face. “Did you see Loki’s face? He was petrified!”
“He was certainly, impressed, with Malice’s performance.” Gil continued, joining in the glee he sensed from his females.
“It was worth the wait he’s probably still running.” Sif added, holding her belly as she laughed.
“Congratulations, you’ve scared Loki, making him a pest for life.” Mist added which made him shake his head.
“Not what I had in mind. If he’s smart though, he won’t go anywhere near Malice for a long while.” Gil grinned and slid his arm around her waist.
“And if he does?”
“I hope its for a damn good reason.” Gil sighed.

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