Valkyrie III: Song of Darkness, The Novel Edition

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Chapter Twenty-Nine

Malice fell silent for a moment as she considered the kitten’s plan. In theory, it could work; but how was she to enact her plans from in here?
‘You need to be very careful. If the Host inside of me gets a whiff of what we are attempting, she will, slay us all.’ She sighed, her head beginning to ache.
It was in this moment of pain that she saw the rose and heard the voice, an echo of a male calling out to her; lovingly. That last time she’d heard it, she’d been with…
‘The male I heard when you brought me the black Rose, who was he? Would he help us, too?’ Malice let her mind wander a little.
The Valkyrie wasn’t sure why she felt the need to trust him, but as she curled around the kitten protectively, she thought harder. There had to be a picture of him in her mind somewhere. Something that would give her a clue as to who, or what, he was.
The kitten wrapped herself tighter, purring louder to help ease her concern.
‘There have been many battlefields, so many I couldn’t save.’ Malice replied to the compliment, feeling a slight sorrow in her chest.

***

“How do you feel?”
“Like I’ve been hit by a bus!” Jack replied, opening his eyes just a little. “Where are we?”
“On the balcony, we have not moved!” Mist chuckled.
“Feels like I’ve ridden on horse-back, clear across the country and back.” He grumbled, massaging his thighs.
“You ready for some more?” She grinned at him. “We’ve finally gotten to the good part!”
“How so?” He cocked a brow at her and took the drink she offered him.
“Malice had just arrived! We can see if there is anything in your first, moment alone, anything that could help draw her back to you.”
Mist was talking crazy, but Jack was fluent in the language and he’d do just about anything to get Malice back. They had been friends once, family even, but that was a secret he could never share. That closet, needed to stay closed. He’d made promises and he wasn’t about to break them.
“Alright, do your thing!” Jack closed his eyes again and felt the pull take hold of him.
Mal had let off a few jokes before she sat down on the bed beside Jack. He handed her the flask out of habit and had to chuckle when she put the thing to her lips and made a face. Scotch, of course, and Mal took another swallow, grimacing slightly before passing it back.
“So, what do you want, lassie?” He blurted out. “You tested me, didn’t you? With your little stunt? You maybe immortal, but I’m bloody not!” He frowned and took another swig. “All I want to do is survive and go home, I don’t have time for games!” He snarled.
Malice raised an eyebrow at his tone, he wasn’t intimidated by her at all.
“I want you, to be my Einherjar.” She let out.
“Your what?”
“It’s like a companion. I need someone I can trust to guard my back, someone to stand up to me when I’m about to make the wrong choice.” She sighed, and Jack sat back, completely blown away.
Stunned, to say the least. She was offering him immortality, a chance to travel the universe with her…
The Marine looked at the Valkyrie, who’s eyes now resembled a pair of dark-blue, bottomless pools of memory.
“C-can I think a-about it?” He stammered after a moment.
Jack was keenly aware of just how dangerous this woman was. There was no telling how much offense she would take at an outright refusal of her offer.
“Certainly, Jack, but is the idea of sharing eternity with me, so disagreeable?” She asked with an arched eyebrow.
She was teasing him, her words spinning in his mind as he fought to comprehend them. She wanted him to be her, companion? Was that like a lover? Or side-kick? And wracking his brain for his mother’s voice, her stories of old, what had she said about Einherjar?
“No, ma’am!” He replied nervously, which made Malice smile.
Talk about a question you never want to answer. It was right up there in the ranks with, does this dress make my butt look fat. There were some things, you had to lie about; and even then, you ran the risk of a moody temper.
Which brought the marine’s mind to Malice and her muscular form. She was covered in a one-piece suit, black, silver, and gold armor protecting her chest, back and arms. Elegantly sculpted and wrapped in the cloak of a Tiger, how could he not say yes?
“Ask yourself this question, Jack, you’re here fighting for your country…” She paused or a moment and drew closer to him. “…I’m asking you to fight for all the people, on your world and beyond; to do some actual good. What do you have to lose?” To punctuate her question without any further preamble, Mal leaned in and kissed him hard.
Jack’s body felt as is flames grew within it. Fire sparked in his toes and spread out along his veins where it had settled at the base of his skull. Lost in the moment, he forgot all about the flask in his hand, letting it fall to the side and spill all over him.
“Bloody hell…” He choked out as she pulled away, the Scotch forming like drops of dew across her lap.
“I’ll be awaiting your answer.” Malice whispered in his ear, just before she disappeared, leaving him alone and wet in his bunk.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God.” Jack finally let out a sigh of relief.

***

Gil had to blink several times, focusing on his grandfather while Mist played with a sphere, her eyes closed and her thoughts merged with Jack’s. He knew what it was like to surf the neural currents and after experiencing his first Dreamscape, he’d spent three days in bed with the spins.
The Valkyries shared memories like Human’s shared drinks. It allowed them to share their experiences, like you were actually there; in the scariest action movie ever. Malice was a pretty scary female. She’d roamed the Earth for unknown eons, worshipped as a Goddess at least four times, according the Valkyrie archive of memories. Ask any archivist to look up Malice and find a look of concern upon their face.
She was bigger than a mystery, mentioned in more legends and fire-side tales than he could count. Sekhmet, Nemesis, Morrigan, Kali; he’d even found stories of Malice amongst the desert natives of old Earth. She’d been everywhere. Some trembled in her presence while others rejoiced in her name; and this was the Valkyrie who’d wanted to take his grandfather, Jack, as her first Einherjar? Had he agreed?
“There’s one other piece of news you need to know, boyo.” Jack finally let out, his eyes still closed and his voice, hoarse.
“And what’s that?” Gil chuckled, relief exploding from his chest.
“The truth!”

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