Valkyrie III: Song of Darkness, The Novel Edition

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Chapter Nine

“We’re supposed to be going left. You know, to follow the others?” Ahlexander hurried to catch up to her, but she just kept on walking.
Long legs, round and inviting ass, and a head of white and blue hair to rival the tallest white caps on the seas. If only he could keep her still long enough to find out what the hell was going on. So many changes over the last few days. So many, secrets…
“Where the hell are we going, Belvaya?”
“Rule number one about being a Captain is?” She stopped short, causing him to run into her.
He should have been keeping his eyes on the path ahead, not the path he wanted to be taking. “Never let the men see you cry?” He let out nonetheless, waiting for her to cut the shit and explain.
“Okay, second rule of being a Captain?” She rolled her eyes at him and he swore she hissed a little.
She was gorgeous, and smart too, but he didn’t remember any second rule. “Which is?” He blurted out, running a hand through his blonde hair.
In the whole three years they’d been at sea, she’d only ever gone off about the one rule. Never cry in front of the crew. They were never allowed to see you weakened for any reason. This second rule was totally news to him.
“Never trust said men with items of great value!” She grinned, making for yet another path up ahead.
He followed her, panting as he dodged knotted tree roots and masses of wildflowers. A few feet further and he felt the sudden cool breeze wash over him, his eyes pinned on the two, shroud covered males, emerging from the trees before them. Carrying steel in both hands, Ahlexander watched their eyes swoop up and down as if they were examining a piece of meat.
“Easy now, my friends!” Belvaya called to them and one at a time, their hoods were lowered. “That’s right, we’re all friends.” She wasn’t about to let just anyone handle her precious prize, and these two were the best at what they did.
“My Lady!” His words were harsh, but Ahlexander knew that voice all the same.
“Kordahn!” She replied as the male bowed his head and the long tendrils of black hair fell down across his chest. “I didn’t expect her to send you!”
She’d been hoping to meet with Kordahn, but she wasn’t about to admit that. He was a male like no other and had she the chance to redo all her training with the Guild, hell, sign her up now. Long, black hair that swept down his back and emerald-green eyes that seemed to peer into one’s soul, lay hidden beneath those darkened tresses. Sun-kissed skin and a voice like a God, he’d had her melting more than once. She would have mentioned the rather, large prize, that he himself held between his thighs, but seeing as Ahlexander didn’t need to hear it…
“The cargo?” She inquired instead.
There was no way she was going to lose focus now. Something was stirring in the Guild upon the hill, and she’d been summoned not only by Mist, but now Ashlyn as well. There was no time for sinful romps in the water below, with Kordahn or Ahlexander.
“Would you like to see her?” Kordahn asked with a smile, nodding towards a small hut, hidden away by the foliage.
“Her?” Ahlexander blurted out, only to receive a frown from Belvaya. “He’s got her now?”
“You knew this mission was for the Guild!” Belvaya reminded him.
“Yeah, but I also thought the cargo was on its way up the hill with the others, which is where we should be!” He frowned, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I have to make sure she’s alright. She’s been through hell, Ahlex!” Belvaya’s gaze turned back to the hut and he had no choice but to follow her in.
Smelled like shit and was dark as hell, but Belvaya could see the faint outline of the female nestled in the bed. Long black hair, just like Kordahn’s, but the markings up and down her arms were like no other she’d ever seen. She was said to be the last of her kind, and to hold many secrets the enemy didn’t want falling into the wrong hands. A fighter, with the knowledge to bring the enemy to its knees; if they could only get her to talk.
To do that, she had to feel safe and Belvaya had her doubts the poor female would ever feel safe again. The Guild was as good a place as any, but there were precautions to take, loose ends to secure. If the wrong people knew who she was and where she’d come from, she was just better off here.
“Any word on the brother?”
“Not as of yet, but as soon as I am done with Mist, the Sea Rose will depart from Harborview and pick up where we left off.” Belvaya replied.
“And if they’ve taken him off-world, or worse, killed him? She is the last of her kind, Belvaya.” Kordahn frowned as he led them away from the sleeping female and back outside.
“She can’t be the only one.” Ahlexander let out with a sigh and ran his fingers through his blonde hair. “The Shadows use people like product, if there is a profit to be made, I can’t see them turning away what they would call, perfectly good slaves!” He added, following them back down the path and all of them shuddered in unison.
“If there are any Ra’vyns left, we need to find them.” Kordahn bowed his head again and then vanished back to the door of the hut.
Silence followed. The air rustling through the trees as they both made their way back to the others. She knew something was up, she could tell he was pissed.
“Thanks for that!” Ahlexander shook his head as he followed alongside Belvaya.
“It had to be done!” Belvaya sighed, careful to watch the path ahead of her. “That female holds many secrets, Ahlex. Secrets that could topple whole empires, and that bastard who betrayed us was one of them. I had to keep her safe.”
“So, you couldn’t trust me?” His words hit her hard and she could no longer hear his footsteps.
“I’m sorry.” She came to a halt and hung her head.” I was under orders...”
“Yeah, orders!” He rolled his eyes and spun on his heels. “Her Majesty awaits!” With that, he hurried on ahead, his pace quick and steady.
Pissed off, was not the right term. He was furious and he had every right to be. She’d lied to him. Kept secrets from him. She was furioius with herself, too; but it had been for the good of the Guild.

***

Gil awoke hours later to find his wives dressing themselves before a large mirror. Looking over to the window across from their bed and catching the moon’s rays as they danced across the bare wood floors, he figured that it had to be at least, three or four o’clock in the morning. The mating ceremony was hours away. What the bloody hell were they doing?
Faces covered in masks of mud and hair in various stages of readying. It was a nightmare, waking up to see such a sight. Like the Mud Worms of Garanoa had somehow found their way to Samo’ana and infected the lot of them with their skin-melting parasites. Like battle paint, it was smeared across their cheeks and down their noses, Gil didn’t know whether to laugh or run and hide.
“What are you doing? This is a wedding, not the invasion of Normandy.” He let out with a long sigh and one by one they smiled at him.
“We are making ourselves beautiful for you!” Mist let out as Sif brushed her hair. “No peaking now!” She added with a giggle, and the soft blue light swirled from the tips of her fingers to the sheets across his belly, tossing them up over his face to block the view.
“Women!” Gil chuckled in jest, but he did as he was told, shaking his head as he rolled over to go back to sleep.
Before he knew it, Gil found himself dreaming of his beauties, frolicking in the mud, though it was good, clean mud and they were in his own back yard. It was a good dream, that is until he was awakened by the sun blazing in his eyes as it streamed through the window, a few hours later.
“Oh Gods, I hate mornings.” He groaned, pulling a pillow up over his head, only to hear Jack’s voice a moment later.
“On your feet, soldier. The end of your bachelorhood is at hand!” Jack said as he shook his grandson awake, then handed him a bottle of amber-colored liquid.
“You don’t have to sound so bloody cheerful about it.” Gil groaned.
“You do, my lad!” His grandfather grinned, the smell of liquor already present on his breath. “There are festivities to partake in. Females to woo. This is your last day to be a free man! Tomorrow you’ll be their husband and the day after that, we head for war.”
“You’re drunk!” Gil shook his head as he rose from his bed in nothing but what he was born with. “And I need a shower!”
“A quick one. They’re already setting up the first contest!” Jack shouted as Gil made his way to the bathroom. “There’s to be…. and a … and they want it done before she…”
Gil could no longer hear what Jack was saying, his head dipping beneath the cool waters of the bath. Today was a special day indeed, being the day that he and Mist, married Sif. Or was it, Sif and Mist, marrying him? Either way, they were all to be joined in a sacred union, here at the Guild House, before all of them set off for war. Gee, wouldn’t that be a splendid honeymoon? A splash of chaos as we lounge on the battlefield? Anyone?
His grandfather was still rambling on when he emerged a little while later. “When they return, we shall walk…”
“Return?” Gil looked up at Jack with confusion brimming in his eyes. “Where’d they go?”
“The bath before the wedding.” Jack chuckled. “The whole lot of them disappeared a few hours ago. We men have the castle to ourselves.” The male grinned wide and winked at Gil. “Now get dressed. We have lots to do before they return.”

***

The dark Valkyrie swung wildly as the miniature fighter-cat with wings, buzzed around her face again. As it continued its onslaught of annoyance, that same soothing tune echoed through her mind. Malice cursed the little creature as it fluttered for a moment longer, then landed as it had before, a few yards away.
The Cat’s song had a sedative effect on her, dropping her out of her near-berserker rage. The creature had thought itself sly when it had landed but Malice’s hand came up with fingers pointed right at the flying pest and an ominous, violet glow surrounded her hand. An intense ball of light had formed within her palm, in the center, a beating purple heart trimmed with black edges, swirling and buzzing with electrical currents.
“My patience with you is at an end. You want to help me? Answer my questions!” She hissed as the tiny, swirling heart began to pulse.
The creature didn’t move, appearing unconcerned, or was it unaware of how much danger it was in? Malice could not tell, nor did she care. The annoyance had grown past her limits and she had a battle to get back to. She was tired of playing games, so the Cat-thing had better start talking. There was no telling what her troops would think of this, being that she’d been here so long; wherever here, was.

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