Valkyrie III: Song of Darkness, The Novel Edition

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Chapter Thirty-Eight

A kitten? What was that supposed to mean? Clearly, she’d had a little too much to drink and totally heard that wrong.
“It was no mistake, Belvaya, she has taken an Einherjar!” Ashlyn assured her.
“And that’s a good thing? Or a...”
“I was hoping you could tell me. Do you know of any Feline type Gods?”
Belvaya shot her a look. Something between frustrated and slightly amused, with a dash of fucking seriously? “Contrary to popular belief, I don’t know everyone!”
“Could have fooled me!” Ashlyn teased.
“For real, I’ve never met a Feline...” She paused, “...that wasn’t a shape shifter!”
“See, and you doubted yourself!” Ashlyn laughed again and handed Belvaya another drink.
“You’re insane, you know that?” Belvaya shook her head, downed the drink and handed it back. “Now, what makes you think this new Einherjar is a Cat? What did you see?”
“A large, colorful Feline, or perhaps it was just the light behind it. I could barely make it out, but the feeling of warmth, the sound of purring, and the plain fact that she’s chosen another, Belvaya. She trusts this kitten!”
“And you think we should too, if she ever shows herself to us?” Belvaya cocked a brow at her.
“We may have already met her. If she is a shifter...”
“Is she even a she?” Belvaya cut in, and both began to laugh.
“Just, keep an open mind if it ever does grace us with its presence!” Ashlyn smiled, leading Belvaya back to the feast at hand.
“Yes, Ma’am! Make friends with the Kitties!” Belvaya raised her hand for a salute and made for the door.
Ashlyn had gone mad. That was the only way to explain it, the bloody fool had gone mad. A Cat as an Einherjar…

***

The surrounding Goblins jeered and jabbered as Zander frantically looked for an escape route. A large, gnarly looking oak tree loomed to one side and Malice watched as the bastard tore off towards it.
“You cannot condemn me without a warrant from the Queen.” Zander protested, his back against the tree. “I demand a trial!”
The Valkyrie threw her head back and laughed maniacally. When she turned back her eyes shone like Amethysts. “A trial, you say? Well, then, we shall let your peers decide your fate.”
Zander looked up, as if thinking he was going to escape, eyeing them all as he studied them. His own kind would never condemn him…
The Valkyrie looked around at the horde that surrounded them, catching a few snivels among the nodding heads. They remembered well the abuse they’d suffered under his command. He was ruthless, vulgar and vile; his own men snickering his secrets as he huddled beneath the tree.
“Let’s put it to a vote, shall we?” She grinned, turning to face the Goblin troops. “How many of you have felt the sting of his whips? Who here, has gone days without feasting, while he sits in his war tent stuffing his face?”
“Here, here!” The crowd shouted out.
“How many of you have lost your families? Your sons and brothers, marched off on his orders, never to be seen or heard from again? Your mates and daughters, how many more of them will fall victim to his lustful ways before you stand up against him?”
“Here, here!” They shouted, louder this time.
“I, myself, have felt his hands upon me, ordering me to do the most heinous of things…” She eyed him with a sly grin. “The abominations he’s committed, the horrors he’s unleashed, even I cannot stomach it!”
That was saying a lot, for being known as the Hand of Death, your stomach doesn’t normally tend to turn so easily. It brought her joy to watch them squirm, their minds trolling with her words.
“Hang him up!” One called from the back lines.
“Gut him, like a fish!” Shouted another “I’ll have his armor for all the Hogs he’s…” The male didn’t finish his slur of words, but Malice got the visual, and kind of wished she hadn’t.
Zander was a sick and twisted bugger. His fantasies and fetishes numbered in the thousands.
“Kill him, flay him alive. A hanging would be too good for him.” She heard the voices rising and chuckled as she made for the Goblin Commander.
“I don’t think they like you very much!” She teased, relishing in the fear in his pasty gray eyes.
“What are you planning, Malice? I know you, and if this is another one of your sick jests…”
Malice shook her head, baring her fangs in a sinister smile. “Do I look like a gal, with a plan? Everyone knows I’m crazy, that I chase windmills and never know what I’m doing. There is no time to plan when chaos is about, I just, do things.”
Malice blinked mid-sentence and when she reappeared, she spun in a circle, her foot slamming into his shoulder. The hit sent him cartwheeling across the ground and before he could move from where he’d landed, the Valkyrie was on top of him, her fist reuniting with his smug scowl. Savoring the moment, her blows ceased for but a second before his hands came up to defend himself.
Swatting them away, she wrapped one hand around his throat, laughing as he struggled for air. His eyes were popping out of his head and drool fell down the side of his dirty green cheek, still she held on a little longer. She had dreamed of this moment for more than three thousand years and though her Host begged to see the life leave his eyes, Malice couldn’t let it end so quickly.
“Peiper?” She shouted and heard the male call back on the double. “You brought your toy, right?” She grinned, still eyeing the Goblin whose face now resembled a battered melon.
“Never leave home without it!” He chuckled in reply and a few seconds later Malice was atop the Tiger tank, her hand held out to the trooper who trembled before her.
“What, what are you doing, Mal?” Zander managed to choke out, rising to a half-assed stance before her. “Malice?” He shouted again, only to be ignored.
The soldier in the turret wasted no time in handing his weapon to her, without question, and turning around she found the Goblin fool running for the rock ledge. Staggering about with blood dripping down his face, Malice laughed as she cocked the man-made gun, chambering the first round.
“You better run faster, worm.” Was all she said, firing off a few warning shots.

***

Malice’s newest little sister was sleeping soundly on a full belly. Happy and content as her dreams carried her further into the Valkyrie’s subconscious. Still, amidst all the memories, something else nagged at her. A presence, in her dreams. A female and an elder male, both concerned and both discussing a Feline. Curious, the Feline meandered up to the images, studying them closely.
The female, tall and strong, looked like Malice, save for the locks of ebony replacing the sun-kissed blonde. Like another she’d seen drifting past in Malice’s memory warehouse. Her mother, perhaps? And a sister? But what about the male? Elder-like, with salt and peppered hair and an accent the Feline couldn’t quite place.
Nonetheless, his presence seemed to stand out in Malice’s mind. Could he be one of the honored as well? Chosen, as she was, by Malice herself? No, someone much older? It would explain his presence and the need that Malice had to see him again.
So many questions. Not enough answers. She needed more time to work, to figure things out. She needed to hurry.
‘If you can hear me, I will help her. She is not alone!’ She called out best she could, her mind and body exhausted.
If they could hear her, perhaps they could have some peace of mind? If they could hear her, perhaps they could help her?

***

Ashlyn had returned to the great hall and stood amongst her kin, discussing the mysterious Feline. None could believe that Malice had taken another, not even Jack, though he felt the bond clear as day. Whoever this creature was, they were linked, whether they liked it or not.
‘She is not alone!’ The voice rang out in his mind, his hand coming to his forehead as the pain followed suit.
“What the fuck, was that?” Jack asked, gasping for air.
“That, is what I’d like to know!” Gil piped in, not particularly caring for such a wild and unknown element to be added this late in the game.
“Well, get it the hell out of my bloody head!” Jack snapped, but Mist held up her hand for silence.
“Malice chose this entity, for whatever her reasons. She would not have done so had she not trusted her.” Mist replied and closed her eyes to an image that didn’t match that of the Feline.
It was younger and yet ancient, all at the same time. It puzzled her, a distinct shape that she recognized, but could not place. A thing, no man had seen since the dawn of time. Closing her eyes, she cleared her mind in an attempt to communicate with the being; for it was no Kitten.
“What is she doing?” She could hear Gil’s inquiries, those his words disappeared, replaced by mumbles she could not make out.
‘Little Sister, I would speak with you!’
If there was anything out there, anyone with information on her sister, she had to try.
‘My name is Mist, you may know my sister, Malice!’

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