The shudders had subsided, and with them all the cares she’d held, save one. Nashay’s words were foremost in Marena’s thoughts, even amidst the passion she’d lavished.
‘Set the Valkyrie free!’
Whatever her plans were, Marena knew the only way to get Malice away from their Masters, was to remove the Eno’tai Host within her. Marwolaeth was not going to like that one bit, but then, they’d would find her another. She could continue her reign of terror inside a new Hosted. A younger, less public persona.
Sated in their own euphoric dreams, To’llan and Marwolaeth spent their time in each other’s presence, completely oblivious to what went on about them. That was the problem with those two, giving the Council great concern when two of their pawns were too busy playing with each other to carry out their duties.
Marena couldn’t allow them to get too lost in the moments, for she knew just as well as the Council that once inside with Malice, there was no escape. She was like a drug, her touch an instant high that Marena couldn’t get enough of. Being apart for such long lengths was all but killing her, but here, now, she had to pace herself.
“Malice, my love?” She whispered as the Valkyrie’s hand slid up her inner thigh.
“Hmmm?” Malice replied, already lost in the bliss.
“What do you know of Nashay?” She let out as calm and cool as she could.
“She is the youngest of the Queens, said to be hated by all but their Queen Mother!” Malice groaned, then buried her face in Marena’s chest. “Why?”
“Is she, trustworthy?”
“She’s a Queen, so no!” Malice chuckled, making for a nipple with her lips.
“None of them...”
“Had we our Hosts, this conversation would not be happening!” Malice pointed out.
“And what if we didn’t have to live with them anymore? At all?”
“Where are you going with this, Marena?” Malice pulled back with concern. “You could be put to death for such talk!”
“It just feels so good to be free of all those voices!” Marena sighed, “And I thought, not all the Queens could be evil, right?”
“Does this have to do with your trip to Enote?”
“I just want to know what to expect!” She shuddered as Malice once again began laying kisses up and down her spine.
“We do, what we are told, to do. One Queen, or the other. We will kill them all if we are asked to.” She moaned against Marena’s belly, moving lower still. “If Nashay wants Pathen’s head, then she’ll have it. If she wants us to toy with him before she makes a move against her sisters, so be it! Just let me love you, a little longer...” Malice moaned again and disappeared between Marena’s thighs.
How could Marena rest with such pleasures erupting within her? She couldn’t, and she knew fine well that Malice knew it too. Each sinful touch, those shivers that shot through her body, this was freedom; and she’d see to it that they could both revel like this forever. They had to get back to Misthaven, and Marena had to warn Mist somehow of her plans.
The Valkyrie, on the other hand, lavished in Marena’s cries as they reached a crescendo, for what had to be the fourth time. Sated for the moment and free of Marwolaeth’s influences, she thought about Anaxa and Pathen, and now Nashay. Oh, the little devil was at it again. It had been Nashay who had started the last tiff between the almighty Queens, and Marwolaeth had felt, for a long time now, that the Council of Queens could do with a war within themselves; but how to start one, that had been the question. No one knew what happened in Shadow space, which is where Anaxa and Pathen had begun talks with the Shadows of this Verse. The war between Eno’tai and Valkyrie had raged for eons crossing over into places so innocent, so… If it had not been for Ashlyn, the Masters would have won…
That’s was as much as she could remember, as much as her Host and the whole damn Eno’tai Regime would let her remember, but she was eyeing to learn so much more. Malice looked at her lover’s face, even now that brilliant mind of hers’s had a plan and she was dying to hear it.
“Your dimples are showing, share with me the schemes you think of.” Malice said as she kissed a finger-tip.
“You are so…” Her words were cut short by that familiar male voice again and Malice grinned wickedly for a moment as she got up walked over to a large stand mirror.
“What is it, Malice?”
Marena watched as the Valkyrie unleashed a flow of magic into the mirror, which in turn made it shimmer before revealing a handsome, dark haired morsel. From Malice’s previous descriptions she knew very well who the figure was and she too, took an interest in his sudden presence.
“And what would Loki be wanting with you?” She teased, running her hand through her long, wavy, chocolate-brown hair.
“Such a beautifully evil and brilliant mind, in his more lucid moments. The ultimate bad-boy with a need to be spanked when his confidence gets the better of him.” Malice sighed, remembering the times they had spent together. “I cannot lie, I do miss his mischievous ways!”
Gazing into the mirror she found Loki in his compound beneath Misthaven, his forge burning bright as he crossed the bridges above. She missed that place, with all its nooks and crannies to explore. She could hardly contain herself and waited until his back was turned, then reached though the mirror’s surface which rippled like water.
“What are you doing?” Marena gasped as the currents escaped the mirror and made their way up Malice’s arms “Be careful…”
“He called my name!” Malice grinned, her hand catching the male’s color on the other side.
With one sharp tug, she felt the tension give and braced for the impact that would follow. Someone had to catch the bastard, but he’d come through with such force it sent them both tumbling backwards into an over-sized bathing pool.
Loki was the first to break the surface, splashing and cursing profusely as he bobbed about. “Malice, what the fuck was that for?” He growled, until Marena appeared at the side of the pool in nothing but a black satin sheet wrapped about her. “Uh, hi!” He muttered, running his hand through his shoulder-length, sandy-brown hair.
“Hello!” Marena eyed him with a smirk. “I believe you were looking for her.” She added, pointing behind him. “I would not betray her a second time.”
He turned to watch Malice emerge from the waters below, the droplets sliding down her naked skin. She glistened, brushing her hair back and wringing the water out, then smiled as she nipped at her bottom lip. The Valkyrie looked at Loki who kind of shrank in on himself.
“My, my, now what can I do for you?” He choked out, thankful to be submerged in the cool waters. “And where the hell, are we?”
“I’ve missed you!” Malice grinned, slipping back beneath the waters, her body gliding beneath the surface like a snake. “Did you miss me?” She inquired as she rose before him, again causing the shudders to flood his body. “Or has your new life erased all that we once shared?”
Loki had no idea how to answer that, but when her lips fell against his and he heard the giggle come from behind him, he knew it didn’t matter. He didn’t have to say anything at all.
The elder Swanson growled as he cleaned himself off and pulled up his pants before unlocking the door. Gil opened it for him slowly, eyeing his grandfather’s face. The poor bastard looked more embarrassed than hurt.
“Come on, old man, let’s see if we can make things better.” Gil tried not to chuckle as he helped his grandfather to a chair.
“I don’t need any help! I need a damn battalion to find her and fix her!” He grumbled back, reaching for his flask.
“Easy now!” Mist smiled and laid hands on shoulders, “We mean to reinforce your shielding!”
“I think a lady would do him some good!” Vanessa blurted out, eyeing a rather tasty looking male across the inn floor.
“Better?” Mist asked, leaning in to kiss his cheek.
From the look on his face the strain was less, but that didn’t make it any easier for Jack. Gil knew precisely what his grandfather was going through. He too, was constantly blocking the flow of emotions that sprang from Mist and Sif. It wasn’t rocket-science, but it was no trip in the bloody park, either.
“Bloody women,” Jack muttered before straightening his tunic and clearing his throat. “You think she’d let off some kind of warning, but nope. One minute she’s overcome with glee and the next, she gets so damn sinful and provocative…” His words listed off as he brought his flask to his lips.
“Malice, was gleeful?” It was Sif who’d spoken up, scratching at her head with a look of concern on her face. “In my experience, that is never a good thing!” She added after glancing the look of confusion on Morgan’s face.
“She could be celebrating!” Morgan chimed in.
“Or she could have just massacred an entire race!” Sif shook her head. “With Malice, it’s hard to tell whether it is her joy, or the Host’s!”
“It was Mal, alright!” Jack chuffed and shuddered some more. “Deep, dark and sinful, with a female we know all too well!”
“Marena!” Mist sighed, bringing her palm to her face. “What have they done?”
“I think she’s offed that worm.” Jack laughed, the only good bit of news to come out of the Shadowlands in a long while.
“The Goblin reject?” Sif piped in with a smile on her face.
“That’s the one!” Jack chuckled again. “Took him out with help from her new second. The asshole, Peiper!”
Asshole? Peiper? Gil was trying hard to remember, but then his memory kicked in. “There was a Nazi named Peiper? Joaquim Peiper, the SS Colonel slash psychopath?” He asked. “But he died hundreds of years ago.”
“That would be the one, boyo, but like me, he too was made Einherjar. After the fall of the temple, he vanished, only to resurface as one of Malice’s dark soldiers. He was given command to lead the legion of fallen.” Jack told them all. “He claims to be helping her, but he’s got a funny way of doing things. He is loyal only to her, and he’ll reign in more troops for her now that the Goblin is out of the way. Our best bet is to mount up, for this has just become a race.”
“Is he, her, Einherjar?” Gil inquired.
“He was her mother’s, my aunt’s, but when she disappeared…” Mist sighed, hanging her head. “He follows Malice now, for whatever reasons, and he is not to be trusted.”
“So it is a race? Against what?” Morgan chimed in.
“We know not what their plans are, but we do know that they won’t be expecting us to respond for at least a fort-night.” Jack chuckled and Gil cut in. “It will take them that long to reach Misthaven.”
“Might be time to annoy a certain colonel!” Gil let out as he made his way outside.
“That will be tricky.” Sif cut in.
“For we know not his true purpose.”
“Some would say he was the cause of Janice’s disappearance, that he betrayed her to the enemy he now serves.” Sif did her best, though all could see her dislike for the male.
“Well, others think that Janice left of her own accord, swearing Peiper to protect her kin; specifically, Malice.”
“Why Malice and not Mist?”
“Malice was born first. She is, or rather, was the heir to ancient throne of Valkyr and would have taken Ashlyn’s place as protector of Vash had she not fallen into darkness.”
“So, Peiper follows her around like a lost puppy, because your aunt said to?” He turned to Mist.
“That is the story. Mother thinks it’s preposterous, but that is usually what happens when rumors spread.”
“Regardless of what people think, that asshole is only going to make matters worse for us, as he tries to make them better for her. The people are not safe with either of them in command of such a force.”
The only option he had was in delaying action to give the non-combatants time to evacuate. It would be tight, but they had to try and lure Malice and her army away from Ghost Mountain. But where?
Back inside, Jack looked at Mist for a moment before she embraced him. The older Swanson had suffered greatly while the dark Valkyrie remained in the clutches of Anaxa and her darkened horde.
He’d made so many sacrifices, most of which he kept to himself, and Mist admired him for his steadfastness in face of the fear and the way he’d endured such ridicule with ease. He was, after all, an Einherar linked to the dark Valkyrie by blood; though not many were aware of his beginning. He wouldn’t tell them, either, not yet.
“We’ll make this right, Jack!” She smiled at him. “Now, go get your gear. We leave from the courtyard in an hour and make for the keep of Caliph, deep within the heart of Nasir. Those innocents need a fighting chance and we’re going to give it to them.”
“We’d like to help, if you think we’ve anything to offer?” Vanessa chimed in with an odd frown from Maeve, knowing her daughter would be the next to offer her services on this chaotic quest.
“Whether it be Peiper, or the bastard, Pathen, that tries to stand in our way, we will bring Malice home.” Mist smiled, offering what comfort she could.