Valkyrie III: Song of Darkness, The Novel Edition

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Chapter Forty-Four

“You, sit him there!” Maisure ordered, and Ahlexander felt the chair hit the back of his legs before his body sunk into it. “Get me the Medicus and ensure the arena is sealed!”
“Really, I’m fine!” He choked out, but the fluid in his lungs begged to differ.
He was in a bad way, beyond his own abilities to heal himself and the world was getting darker by the minute. Those hadn’t been ordinary balls of light, no, those had been some sort of advance hyper charged doomahick-ickies, with pretty lights and sparkles...
“He’s going under!” Were the last words he heard before waking up in a place he’d only ever heard of in taverns, and usually by drunks who claimed they’d been there.
He’d called bullshit, considering you had to die, to get through the mighty white and gold gates. Nonetheless, he was here now, which meant he’d bit the bucket back there. He didn’t think it was possible, being that he was already dead, but then, he’d never really read the rule book on whether an Einherjar could die a second, or third time. Guess that’s what happens when you Ass-ume...
His head ached, his body ached and there was something about the lighting, as if there were no roof at all and the sunlight itself was healing him.
“It is!” Came a voice so soft and pure, he swore he’d just heard an Angel; because you know, they lived here, in Sanctuary.
He was dead, he’d just heard an Angel and he’d fucked up his mission. What a day, at least he wouldn’t have to worry about disappointing anyone else. You could do any wrong in Sanctuary, or so the story had gone.
“I am not an Angel!” She laughed, still hiding behind a pillar by the door.
“Could have fooled me!” He choked out, “Water?”
“Of course!”
It were as if the light followed her, dressed all in white and practically floating, his ass she wasn’t an Angel. She smiled at him as she handed him the glass, then folded her hands before her and waited. She was beautiful, with a fine porcelain face and eyes that glimmered like diamonds. From beneath the sheer hood she wore came locks of long white hair, the tips as if dipped in blood.
“Fuck, me!” He let out, and immediately brought his hand to his face. “Oh Gods...” He blurted out next and shot up in the bed despite the surging pains. “I am so, so very sorry, Ma’am, I mean, your Grace...” He couldn’t seem to catch himself. “Shit...” He sighed, shaking his head in the end.
“Ahlexander, son of Dogal, you must calm yourself!” She spoke to him. “There is no need for concern!”
“But I, and you, and we’re hear... Bloody hell! It’s true, I’m dead!”
“You are Einherjar, my friend, you are already dead!” She laughed.
“Then how am I here? Wait...” He was so confused.
Was he dreaming?
“Your wounds required a special touch, one that only Sanctuary could provide, so your Valkyrie brought you here!” She tried her best to explain.
Mist, had brought him here? She’d seen him, like this?
“You must rest now, and know that you will return to your normal self in a few days!”
“Thanks, I mean, thank you, your Grace!” He managed to get out.
“I am far from royalty, my friend!” She smiled at him and turned from his bedside. “Now sleep!”
He couldn’t argue with her, even if he wanted to. As if she’d placed some spell on him and wanted him to forget. She may not have been royalty, but that there, was a Goddess, and he’d bloody well sworn in her presence...
“Ahlex?”
He hurt all over, but the pain meant he was alive.
“Ahlex?” He heard his name again. “Wake up!”
“Mai?” He grumbled, his throat parched and on fire.
“There you are!” She smiled down at him. “It’s good to see those eyes!”
“Where are we?” He groaned, afraid to move.
“In my room, where else would you be?” She let out with a sly smile.
No, that hadn’t been a dream. No way.
“We thought you’d be out for days...” Came another voice, one he recognized from aboard the Sea Rose.
“Ahlexander, I am told you know Nephrami, quite well?” Maisura grinned and went to stand at the male’s side.
“He’s a good cook.” Ahlex grumbled and closed his eyes; he’d seen enough and wanted something to ease the pain that shot up his side and across his chest.
“I am glad you think so!” The male chuckled, “Don’t think the Captain likes me very much at the moment!”
“Why’s that?” Ahlex raised a brow, the subtle mention of Belvaya sending shudders through his body.
“He is my mate!” Maisura laughed, laying her head upon the dark male’s chest. “And now she knows.”
Her what?
Okay, this was a little too much to take in, so he was just going to pass back out, right about now. Mai, with a dark Angel? This was the dream and he wanted to go back to the warmth of Sanctuary. Just the thought of Maisura having a spy in Belvaya’s midst was enough to make the waves in his gut rise.

***

Belvaya muttered away to herself as she followed the torches down another set of stone steps. She’d never ventured this far down before but there was no time like the present. Mist and her followers were in the halls above discussing Malice and her eventual rise from the darkness, but Belvaya couldn’t concentrate, her mind filled with other things. Not, that Malice wasn’t important, but they’d been trying to get her back for decades now; what was one more day?
She was stressed out, her thoughts scattered. She needed space to breath, or rather, a lonely dark place where the only thoughts she could were her own. She had lied to Ahlexander. Outright lied to him, and for what? A female she’d never see again?
No one was supposed to know what was in the hold. No one, was supposed to care. They’d been raiding up and down the coast line. A true Robin Hood act, stealing from the mighty, and stealing from the mighty. She couldn’t say they were giving it to the poor, for the Guild was far from it...
“Fuck!” She shouted as her foot slammed into something hard and her voice echoed off down the tunnel before her.
The torches were lit but lacking in oil, their light so dim, she could barely make out the boxes and crates that lined the passageway. She hated to waste it, but the liquor in her hand was going to have to do. No sense exploring if you couldn’t bloody well see where you were going. She wanted to get lost, not die; but then, who wanted to get lost with no drink?
“Who goes there?” The voice came out of nowhere and a moment later she felt the end of a sword at her back. “And what are you doing with that bottle?” He added quickly, frowning as he moved to swipe it from her hand. “Wasting a bloody good bottle of poison like that, are you mad, female?”
“Hardly!” Belvaya replied with a hiccup, feeling the fuzzies wash over her. “Now, if you don’t mind...”
“You will not pour that out in here. Bloody wasteful, you fool!”
“I need to see?”
“There’s torches all around!” He argued back, stepping closer still until she could see the whites of his eyes beneath the cap of salt and peppered hair.
“A Dwarf?” She blurted out. “You’re a Dwarf?”
“Aye, and what’s it to you?” He snipped back at her.
“I’ve just, never, met-t one!” She hiccupped again.
“Well now you have! The name is Albrecht, and this here, is the forge!”
“Charmed!” She smiled and then rolled her eyes. “Can I have my bottle back now?”
“I knew Vampires liked to drink, but this is...”
Belvaya flew at him so fast, the poor male had no idea what had hit him. “What, did you just say?”
“You’re a Vampire? And you like to drink like a fish?” He mumbled as he fought with her hand at his shirt.
“I, am no Vampire!” She hissed in his face, but the sudden blur had her stumbling back. “Fuck, not, here...” She let out, falling to her knees as the waves started in.
She heard the male call out to someone else. Floki? Moki? Dopey, Hokey and Pokey? Fuck, this was bad. She’d done drunk herself stupid. The darkness followed soon after and all her muscles went limp. The feel of the cool stone against her back and the pain that seared through her body told her she’d fucking passed out; too bad it was just her body that felt the drunken wrath, for now she was stuck in a fog with no one to talk to, and no way to defend herself.

***

The Feline, sensing some rather illicit behavior in the near distant future, slipped out of Malice’s mind, leaving only the smallest link between them. It was one thing to be curious, quite another to lurk about like a peeping Tom.
Out on the grassy hill she wandered, sniffing the breeze and enjoying the sunshine. Peaceful and serene, a big change from her recent surroundings and looking towards the sky she meowed softly.
‘Babylon!’ She heard the word but could not see past the emotions that ran high.
Malice was enamored, impressed, but the reasons eluded the Feline. So out of sorts, as if a wish had been granted…

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