Valkyrie II: Darkness Rising

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Chapter Four

“Shit, I am so sorry!” He was grumbling, over and over again. “Your mother is going to kill me! And your father…”
Loki was in a panic, trudging through the forest with Tisiphone in his arms as he searched for the others. It had been hours since he’d seen Khor and Lithia and who knew where they’d gotten to by now. He never should have stopped. He never should have attempted to train her, himself.
“Fuck, this is not going to end well!” He sighed, holding her closer to his chest as he picked up speed,
The others were heading for the moon pools, but which ones? Vash was littered with them, being the new home-world of the Valkyrie and many other, light-bearing beings. Those moon pools were a source of regeneration for them, and hopefully Tisiphone too. He had no idea how his plan had backfired, she just, wouldn’t wake up. She couldn’t defend herself or hold an illusion. People would see them and word would surely reach the Null of a madman carrying the Dark Lord’s daughter like a sack of potatoes through the damn forest…
“Come on, Tis!” He stopped in a small clearing and sat down with her in his lap. “Wake up!” He rubbed her cheek with one hand, then lifted her lids to find her eyes rolled into her back of her head.
Nothing, not even a whimper. If not for the heartbeat he could feel within her chest, he’d have thought she was dead. Unsure of what would be worse, he rose to his feet again and hurried off towards the north. There was one place he could take her, a place secluded enough that she’d go unnoticed, but getting there would be hard. They’d have to pass right through Seldan.

“Concentrate, Gil. Think of an inverted cup, or fish bowl. Fill it with your power, throw the bowl, then allow the bowl to dissipate.” Vanessa showed him how to do it one step at a time, making it look so much easier than it was.
She herself had been learning for years and could command an orb to detonate, days after it had been launched. Like little mines or a booby trap, she held the switch that would ignite the chaos packed up neat and tight inside. It was a fundamental spell she’d explained, though he found nothing fun about it; mental, sure, but there was no fun to be had. He’d made three attempts to harness his power in a tiny little ball, all of which, dissipated in midair with a fizzle.
“What if I, uh…” He mumbled, unsure of the power tingling in his fingertips.
“There are dangers in all the tasks that we do. A Smith knows that the embers will burn, yet he still uses them to craft his goods. The baker knows that some pies must be baked before eating, he also knows, that his son is not old enough to understand this, and keeps those pies in a safe place as they await the oven.”
“Yeah, yeah. The butcher knows the blade is sharp, but he needs it to cut the meat. I get it.” He shook his head and tried to focus once more.

Reaching deep into his mind, past the emotions that shadowed his every move, he allowed the rage within to feed on an image of Malice. It rolled in his belly, his heart began to slow, and no sooner had he thought about the ball in his hands, the bloody thing appeared. Holding it up before him, he willed it to hover as he distanced himself from the scorching mass.
“Now, fill it!” Vanessa cheered him on, ever so careful as she circled him.

The orb began to glow, a yellow color at first, then orange and red, such colors captivating to the eye. Deeper still, he gazed into the swirling light, searching every last crevice in his mental inventory and watching the orb grow darker still. It resembled a deep violet sea, its waves washing over his hands with the exotic hue.
“By the Gods…” He whispered, his words blowing the orb from the tips of his fingers
It sailed like a leaf in the wind, dancing a good five-hundred yards, before touching down on the ground. What had once been an orb, had exploded into a massive bloom and the fireball that followed lit up the sky; knocking both Gil and Vanessa on their asses.

Nothing remained of the small shed across the field, in fact, the house, the field and part of the creek were missing too. As if contained in a bubble, the blast stopped just short of the city walls. Gil couldn’t believe the huge crater he was looking at it. He’d done that? His, inner light, had blasted a whole farm off the map?
It was then, he looked up to a pair of ice blue eyes, hiding behind long, chocolate brown hair that fell freely about her waist; and what a waist it was. He wasn’t going to lie, the adrenaline rush had left him a little aroused and his Valkyrie looked pretty damn tempting; even with her hands on her hips and frown on her face as she examined the wreckage.

Vanessa wasn’t helping his case any, clasping her hands before her as she grinned from ear to ear. “You did it.” She squealed and rushed to his side. “Well, you sort of, over-did it, but that’s the first violet aura I’ve ever seen.”
“Is that a good thing?” Gil inquired, still able to feel his Valkyrie’s glare upon him; but she stayed her ground.
“The color of your orb is determined by the aura you put into it, and each color lies on a scale of light to dark. The darker your orb, the greater the power within it. Those who use the orbs to heal, do so with the purest of light for it harbors the properties needed to mend one’s wounds. No color, no impurities, as they say, to cloud the blood.”
“I don’t understand.” He sighed and rubbed at his eyes.
“Your emotions deep within, harbor what we call, the gifts. The deeper you pry, the darker they get. If you wish to heal someone, you would not want the darkness to fester within them…”
“Right, right. Okay, so the deeper you go, the darker it gets.”
“The deeper you go, the harder they are to control.” Vanessa smiled. “One must be careful with their emotions, even when not using their gifts. They tend to controls us.”
“So, purple is, good?” He turned back to the field and the farmhouse, the remnants of which, to his surprise, were already being cleared to rebuild.
“You are stronger than I expected.” She replied, turning to find Mist and Sif, standing behind her. “My lady!” She bowed her head and smiled at the Valkyrie. “He is even stronger than I am. He could hold one of those in his hands and Malice would be scared half to death!” She grinned.
Mist, didn’t look so impressed as she waited until the mage’s excitement had died down. “What in name of Aesir do you think you are doing?” She let out, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Giving Gil his lessons.” She replied, still smiling as she looked over at the pile of ashes.
“You could have killed us all!” Mist ranted at the mage. “You have no idea what hides inside him. He must learn to control it, before, he goes playing with it and you go and show him something like this? Have you gone mad?”

“He is learning!” Vanessa replied, winking at Gil and she turned away and made for the stone steps.

Gil looked and Mist and knew he needed to calm her down. The worry was written, clear across her face, the anger, like fire in her eyes.

“I did it.” He let out, having the good graces to look sheepish as he began talking his way out of his mess. “I held the spell for too long.”

Both Mist and Sif looked to each other, then to the massive crater in the ground. Freya arrived next with a look of awe on her face.
“What has that crazed, harridan of a mage dreamed up now?” She choked out as she took in the site of the smoldering remains. “Please tell me no one was in there?”
“It was abandoned for the season.” Sif assured them, eyeing Gil up and down one more time for good measure.

“Sorry. That was me.” Gil muttered and held up his hand, but from the looks the three were giving him, he felt like he was five years old again and just got busted playing with Papa’s medals.

“You did it?” Freya eyed him in disbelief and pushed a lock of silver hair out of her face. “What color was the sphere when it was thrown?” Her eyebrows raised in kind with Mist’s.

“A dark purple.” He muttered, looking at his feet as he twiddled his thumbs before him.

“That’s impossible!” She shook her head. “You’ll have to do it again.”
“I’ll what?” He choked out, looking from one Valkyrie to another. “But I…” He stopped and stared off at where the farm had once been.
“I want you to harness it, not use it.”
“Uh, how?” He inquired, “We haven’t covered that part yet. What if it explodes in my face?”
“Then you’ll become Einherjar.” Freya shrugged her shoulders as if ending his current life for one of servitude, meant nothing. “Just, hold it in your hand, like this.” She smiled and held up her own glimmering ball of pure white light, spiraling at her finger tips. “You, control it.” She added, spreading her fingers wider and watching as the orb grew larger. “You, are the master. It, obeys, you!” The orb grew to the size of a small cow, hovering over their heads like a balloon.
“Jeebus…” He managed to get out.
“If you control your emotions, you can control your orbs, no matter the size…” She paused, the orb shrinking back into the palm of her hand before changing from white, to a dark, luscious red. “…color or power. It is there, or it is not.” She closed her hand and made a fist, the orb leaking out from between her fingers like juice squeezed from a fruit.

Gil did what she asked, watching his palm as the little ball of light grew by the second. Freya looked on in awe, for never had she seen a male who could control the orbs as Gil could.
“What’s all the fuss?” Rob asked as he appeared at the edge of the charred field.
“It’s purple!” Gil chuckled, only to catch the fear in Rob’s eyes. “I know, I know, be careful with it.”
“I was going to say, that you should concentrate more on the color, than the size. Bigger, isn’t always better.” Robert shook his head and Gil let his orb shrink about an inch.
“Says who?” Senna piped in, standing next to her Einherjar.
With long, autumn colored hair, rosy cheeks and a smile that could light up the night sky, it was no wonder his old friend had chosen her.
“Excuse me, I chose him!” Senna snipped back at Gil, who in turn lost control of his orb, hearing the thing explode a few hundred feet above them.
“Crap!” He grumbled, shaking his head as the others burst out laughing.

Tisiphone watched on as her Uncle Gil and Aunt Mist made their way towards the stone steps and then up to the battlements atop the wall. Freya, Sif, Rob and a few others were close behind them, lost in the current plans for Ghost Mountain. There was much to be done, much to celebrate. Oh, how the Valkyries loved to celebrate, everything; but there was one among them, more or less clinging to their cloak tails, who didn’t look in the mood to celebrate at all.
In the back of their entourage, hidden in their shadows, it stood just close enough to see and hear what they were saying; but it was clear to Tisiphone that it was up to no good, never letting any of them see its face. It made its way along the walls behind them, ignored by the guards and the cheering crowds on either side. Who was it? What was it? Why hadn’t her Aunt and Uncle noticed it?
Tisiphone had sure noticed it, creeping about and spying on the people of the realm? At the thought, her head began to spin and her chest ached, though she dared not move and disrupt the story. She had to know who shadowed her kin…

‘The Dark Mistress must be warned.’ She heard the voice, so familiar and yet so twisted, it was hard to be sure.

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