Valkyrie III: Song of Darkness, The Novel Edition

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Chapter Sixty-Two

Peiper waited patiently for Malice to finish dressing as he looked around the room. His normal stern face wore a ghost of a smile, gazing at her new amulet for a second with a raised brow. Malice sheathed her sword before kissing the Black Rose tattoo on the back of her hand for luck.
She had informed him of her plans, knowing fine well that Misthaven would win her yet another reward, but whether she’d be handed the bastard’s head or, still remained to be seen.
“Peiper, if I should die, I want you and a platoon of your best to return to the Shadow Tower. Your only goal is to serve and protect Marena.”
Peiper narrowed his eyes speaking in a soft voice. “Any particular way you want the vermin to die?” He was grinning like a mad-man.
“Break his back, if you can. A Hosted who cannot walk, will see themselves without a Host.”
“Of course, milady, but I do have to ask, if your kind truly die?” Peiper hung his head.
“I wouldn’t know, this is my first time. Let’s make sure I go out in a blaze of glory.” She laughed, but Peiper didn’t find it funny at all.
She meant to ask for Pathen’s head, and in turn, see both Marena and herself freed from his treacherous games. Problem was, she was still a traitor in the eyes of some; even among her own people. It had been damn near five-thousand years since her reign of terror had begun and she’d made many enemies.
As an Einherjar linked to her bloodline, and due to a certain promise he’d made his own Valkyrie before her vanishing act, he had to follow Malice, everywhere. He was her guardian, whether either of them liked it or not. Malice may not have known the whole story behind his loyalty, but she knew enough. He was her, Einherjar, regardless of who’d turned him.
Now, if he could only keep her alive long enough to see her and Marena both, free from this insanity they’d found themselves in.

***

Morgan stood to one side, listening as Gil bristled his annoyance at the almost deadly distraction, slowly levelling out. Vanessa, at least, had the decency to look ashamed and Gil once more looked questioningly at the small girl.
“He start...” Came her half-hearted answer, “Uh, sorry?” Vanessa murmured without raising her eyes.
Gil looked over her head to Morgan, who sighed shaking her head, and he gazed back down at Vanessa.
“Just sorry, young lady? You nearly blew this room off the map. If you cannot take an order, even if it’s from a giant buffoon, you’re of no use to us here. Jack is a seasoned warrior, trust me, he knows only too well what he’s talking about.”
Vanessa’s head snapped up, her eyes flaring. “I am not a child. Don’t treat.....”
“Van?” Morgan pleaded with her, “Just shut up!”
Morgan looked at Gil, who was crossing his arms over his chest.
“Look, Vanessa, you are still a child to some of us, you have to remember that we are far older than you and have experienced a great many things in our time; but if you cannot take a simple order from someone who’s trying to save your life, then you are no good to anyone.” Gil explained in a calm, reasoning tone.
The tension to lift and a sense of calm began to flow around the pair. Gil’s eyes looked over Vanessa’s head at Morgan who whispered sweet nothings as her eyes rolled into the back of her head.
“Morgan?” She heard Gil’s voice once more in her mind, slightly puzzled and mostly alarmed. “What are you doing?”
Startled, she turned her gaze on Gil, “Oh, ahh..... just cleansing the air, a little.” She smiled and waved her finger around in a circle before making a fist. “ I thought it might help.”
“Stop, the old man is as much to blame! They both need to learn a little tact when dealing with others.” Gil sighed.
Watching Vanessa rub her toe on the floor, her head down, Morgan knew she was starting to feel a little contrite.
“Well, Vanessa, do I have your word that you will listen, and do as your told? Because if you cannot I will send you back to the keep to stay with the others.” Gil spoke quietly to the red-head, hoping she had calmed down enough with the soothing magic Morgan spread.
The fiery Elf blinked, nodding her head, “I will behave, please don’t send me back. Morgan needs me...”
Gil eyed Morgan. “Uh, yes, that’s right,” Morgan choked out, “I need her, help. She is great at putting, out, the fires. I assure you.”
Gil’s eyebrow raised, but he didn’t speak.
“Gil, can you distract her for a little bit? I think I need to find Jack and apologize, without her.” Morgan asked, trying not to alert Vanessa to her query.
Gil nodded slightly and began to explain to Vanessa what he expected. Morgan drifted away looking for the soldier and spotted him standing by the open door, his eyes gazing towards the courtyard. She approached quietly, so as not to startle him, but found herself startled instead.
‘Lass, you sound like a stomping mouse. You can’t sneak up on me!’ Jacks mind voice chuckled.
“Well it was worth a try.” She chuckled
Jack turned to see the pretty, flushed face young female looking at him and he sighed.
“Look, I’m sorry for the way Van acted, she has a habit of flying off the handle…” Morgan began, “But she is really...”
“Enough, Lass. I know. I shouldn’t have pushed, but she has to know that I’m in charge. It’s my ass on the line if something happens to you both, and I don’t want to have to face Maeve, if it does. She will have my balls as earrings, I’m sure of it.” Jack chuckled.
Morgan started laughing, “Yes, I do believe she would.”
“Gil has told me that you’re staying, and Van… Well, I thinks she’s confused, untrained; but if you’re willing to do as I ask, then I’m fine with it. Just don’t tell little Miss. Fireball that. It’s just between me and you.” He chuckled. “You know, you’re quite a clever little thing? I think I’m going to like having you around, if your friend doesn’t roast me first.”
Morgan’s face burned bright red, “Come on, let’s join the others. I believe your grandson may need some help.”
Jack grabbed her arm and escorted Morgan back into the center of the room, if only to save Gil’s ass from the overly-flirtatious, Vanessa, who smiled at their approach.
“I will obey any commands that you have to give.” She told Jack with a bow of her head.
Mist chuckled, having watched her husband work his magic between the Einherjar and the fire-mage, from afar. He’d tousled her flaming locks and handed her a butterscotch candy, which Vanessa had accepted, slipping the candy in her mouth as her eyes closed blissfully. It was true love, and caused Mist to giggle away in the corner of the balcony.
“Is that how you get the troops to behave? We may need a barrel of those sweets to last us the night.”
“Tonight? Then, we go?”
“Now.” Mist replied. “The road is clear.”
“We all leave for Nasir, this very night.” He let out with a nod to the men who waited by the main doors, and with a nod of their heads, soon enough, everyone was armored and mounting their horses.
It would be a hard ride to the portal from Misthaven, and an even tougher journey to the tower of the Caliph, but with tower in sight, everyone was itching for a fight should one present itself.
“Everyone ready?” Gil called out and waited a moment to give the stragglers a chance to join them. “You need to focus on Mist, or miss your chance for victory.”
They would need the encouragement, for Goblins awaited them at the gates to the portal and even more hid along the trails to Nasir, hoping to ambush Mist’s entourage on route. It had been a last-ditch effort to get them all there, safe and in one peace, but the group transport had left Mist at half-strength.
Less than a heartbeat after her feet had hit solid ground, she felt Gil’s arms around her shoulders, helping to steady her as she walked. When her vision returned, she found herself in a bedroom, with one hell of a bed off to one side.
Before either had a chance to speak, their attention was diverted by the shrill screams of a female nearby. Gil was moving so fast, crashing through walls as if they were paper, coming face to face with not one, but four, nasty looking Goblins; and one very, frightened young female.
“She looks juicy…” Were the last words he heard before the first of them lost his head.
Mist stood back and watched as his Valkyrie reflexes took over, his senses tracking his targets for him. There was a sickening crack as one of the little monsters hit the floor with a thud, the black blood oozing from his skull; while another shrieked as the sounds of his ribs cracking, echoed through the room. Two remained, for only a few seconds, then it was lights out, or rather bodies, out the nearest window. With the chaos diminished for now, Gil took the young female from the corner and held her close as Mist set to work examining her.
“Easy now!” He cooed in her ear, running his hands through her short, dirty-blonde hair. “You’re safe now, miss.”
He didn’t dare ask what had happened, not right now. It was clear the young female was a victim in all of this, the shudders still rolling over her as she trembled against his chest. No, he couldn’t ask, but his mind was running wild with scenarios and he didn’t like any of them.
“How close are we?” He inquired when Jack appeared in the doorway.
“An hours ride at the most.” The old male replied with a grin.

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