Chapter 2: Evil Grows
Tyr, God of War, Son of Odin
"Did you ever think it would happen brother?" Tyr asked as he stood on guard outside Odin's throne room.
"I thought I'd never see the day.." Tyr continued "When our father would sit down with Ymir, King of Frost Giants slayer of thousands. But I suppose Ymir doesn't quite know why there's a treaty being struck does he? hmmm or mayhaps he does? either way I'll be happy once all of the nine worlds give up their swords and I can go back to chopping up wooden mannequins instead of defenceless, untrained..."
"212,972 men" Balder stated.
Balder, God of Light, Son of Odin
"What?" Tyr asked in confusion.
Balder pointed his sword towards the courtyard "That is the number of men we have in our army, so tell me this brother how by Odin's very beard did she sneak past all of them?"
Tyr scratched his head as he scanned the empty hallway "brother has Hela disillusioned you? there's no one there but flickering candles."
"That is where you're wrong" a mysterious voice whispered across the hall.
"I...I hear it" Tyr yelled.
"Congratulations...you have ears" the mysterious voice mocked.
Balder peered his eyes back as he struck out his sword "Take off the cloak, Enchantress"
The mysterious figure whipped off her cloak to reveal her long golden hair "Awww you ruined all my fun, your older brother here nearly wet his Asgardian boots"
"FOUL WENCH" Tyr roared as he lunged forward.
"Not now brother" Balder stepped in as he tried to decipher what Amora was after.
"I don't have the time of day nor the hour for you Amora so spit out what you are here for or you can swallow Tyr's sword."
"of course your highness" Enchantress grinned with a bow as she leaned in whispering "I'm here to save Asgard since as you know, it's only a matter of time before we're all dead. But shhhh don't tell poor Ymir."
"What are you suggesting?" Tyr caught Enchantress by the throat.
Enchantress yelped "ack...What I'm suggesting is instead of running away scared we...fix the problem. Rumor has it Eir had a daughter"
"Which is all it is" Balder announced "merely rumors"
Enchantress rotated her eyes towards Balder "Yes, but rumors are rumors until you reveal the truth. Besides you won't have to travel far she is hidden in Valkyrior home of the Valkyries, please warrior help me."
Tyr gritted his teeth at Balder "ugh...go, I do not believe this witch for one second but it is better to go looking rather than covering our eyes and hoping all will be well. Besides if she does try anything I know you will gut her and feed her to the boars."
Balder nodded "Aye brother, I'm placing you in charge of guarding Odin while I'm gone please serve him well."
Enchantress slowly clapped "Good, good you are much more helpful than those other four."
"I DON'T WANT TO DIE" Fandral screeched as the four made their way down the hallowing steps of Valhalla, the home of the dead.
Volstagg picked up Fandral "Hush now brother you will worry Lady Sif"
"Something tells me she's not worried Volstagg" Hogun muttered back as he watched Sif march down the steps with her torch swaying in the pitch dark atmosphere.
"I hate long descending staircases especially ones where you can only see two steps ahead of you” Fandral remarked.
“'Tis a warrior's duty not to complain Fandral, even if he hasn't ate for two whole hours. I know! let's have a game of echo friend, who ever's echo doesn't respond... loses, and who ever wins gets dibs on the next maiden we see, aside from Lady Sif of course because well... you'd sooner see her blade cut places we wouldn't like than her...affection” Volstagg announced patting Fandral on the back.
“Forgive my brothers” Hogun whispered to Sif “they tend to speak in riddles to hide what they truly feel.”
“I know” Sif responded “I suppose after walking 32 miles you're probably wondering why we're in Valhalla”
Hogun let out a crooked grin “it crossed my mind”
Sif smiled “Well the truth is I didn't go to the to the tavern to save you three, I was meeting someone.”
Hogun stroked his beard “Who, a friend?”
Sif's eyes drifted ahead as she recalled the events of earlier that night.
“Not quite, in Asgard it is secretly whispered that there are a select few witches that can discover where a person's blood lands before they die, I never investigated it since I never had any use of it up until now.”
“Did the witch find who killed Eir?” Hogun asked with a cringing look as he began to grow tired of the other two's game.
“She's not sure, she says the person she thinks killed Eir is inconceivable but a lock of Eir's hair would help convince her of who truly was responsible.”
"I've won Fandral" Volstagg said cheerfully "Your echo didn't respond."
"Strange" Hogun declared.
"What is it Hogun?" Sif whispered back.
"An echo requires a place large enough, unless you reach the end of the stairs, we haven't reached the end yet which means..."
Sif chimed in "which means there has to be something big enough blocking the way."
"Hellooooooo?" Volstagg roared in a hope of a returning echo.
"Hellooooooooo?" Fandral squealed in assistance.
"Ahhh there's my echo, I must say it sound very mysterious and gruesome" Fandral smiled.
"That's no echo warrior" Sif hissed back.
"It's a dragon"
"Greetings Balder" a blonde woman addressed as Balder made his way towards the Valkyrior camp.
"Hello Brunnhilde" affirmed Balder.
Brunnhilde placed her hands across Balder's chest "Before we go any further I have two things you must acknowledge, number one in here I am not Brunnhilde I am Valkyrie as are all of my sisters. Number two, I know who you seek but what do you want with her?"
Balder's eyes widened "How did you know?"
Valkyrie cautioned "as you know more than anyone friend, everyone has ears in every corner of Asgard."
"Is she real?" Balder asked with a curious stare.
"Yes, but she isn't ready." Valkyrie dismissed.
"What do you mean?" questioned Balder.
Valkyrie remembered with a hint of sadness "As you know only a select few know that the gods are no longer invulnerable, she had to learn that the hard way. This little girl was cast away from Eir with no recollection of her in order to protect her but when I found her she was laying down in a mixture of dirt, blood and tears as her adopted demi-god family that had protected her for years were slaughtered by frost giants over a piece of meat they were eating."
Balder looked back in shock "Then that means the frost giants know we're weak, Odin is in trouble."
"Odin already knows" Valkyrie replied "I informed him a week ago."
"Then why leave Ymir in our home?" Balder asked.
"Because we're all done fighting, which is why I've to ask you is this little girl necessary?"
A cold look swept across Balder's face "my father once taught me to never make decisions for others and to always ask. so I will ask her the question does she wish to be a Goddess"
"Yes" a little voice excused from above.
"Wonderful" Balder said with a hint of a smile as he looked up to find a little valkyrie on the tree branch that extended over the gates of Valkyrior. "What's your name?"
The Valkyrie leaped down "people tell me my name is Althea, but I prefer what my mother and father called me, Julia"
"Hogun may I ask you a question?" Fandral asked.
"Yes Fandral" Hogun responded.
"That is a dragon correct?" Fandral asked.
"Yes Fandral" Hogun replied.
"Then why aren't we running?" Fandral asked.
"Yes Fandral" Hogun responded.
"RUN WARRIORS" Sif yelled as the four clip clopped their way back up the steps with the large beast roaring and chomping behind them.
"I'M AFRAID I CAN'T CARRY YOU ANY MORE FANDRAL" Volstagg cried as he flung Fandral forward.
"IT'S OKAY MY BEARDED FRIEND I FORGIVE YOU, JUST DON'T DIE ON ME"
Hogun could feel the beasts fiery breath exhaling down his neck with just an inch between life and death."ENOUGH WE MUST FIGHT, FIGHT FOR ASGARD" Hogun let out a battle cry as he flailed his mace through the spiked teeth of the one hundred foot monster.
"NO HOGUN" Sif screamed as the dragon clasped Hogun between his teeth and shook him from side to side like a ragdoll before flinging him towards the edge of a never ending fall.
"TAKE MY HAND" Sif rushed forward as the dragon flew upwards.
"NO, KILL HIM OR ELSE HE'LL KILL THOUSANDS." Hogun begged as his fingers began to slip.
"I DO NOT CHOOSE WHO LIVES AND WHO DIES." Sif stated as she grabbed Hogun's hand.
"So..." Fandral said silently rubbing his arm "who wants to tell Odin the bad news?"
Julia's eyes dwindled back to her last words with Valkyrie as Balder's carriage carried them back to the Throne of Odin.
"Farewell Julia, do not forget your sisters once you sit next to Odin's throne" Valkyrie exclaimed.
"I won't" hailed Julia.
"are you okay little one?" Balder inquired.
"Yes I'm fine, just a little worried." Julia insisted.
"Worried about what? you'll be treated well as a goddess and you'll help protect all of the other gods too." Balder motioned.
"Not that, I'm worried if I made the right choice, being a Goddess is a lot of responsibility and all you do is sit on a throne and watch others fight your wars for you, it'd make me wonder if I'd still have a heart at the end of it all." Julia snapped from her daze to notice Balder's head drooped towards the floor "uhh sorry I guess it just slipped out" Julia explained with a cheerful smile.
"It's fine" Balder dismissed "I sometimes worry about that too, but the one man who always reminds me of what it's like to have a heart is my brother Thor, so I think you'll make a suitable replacement for now" Balder chuckled as he saw the girl smile for the first time.
"HALT" a Frost Giant bellowed.
"What is the meaning of this?" Balder protested.
The Frost Giant let out a cold grin "The girl you have in your custody is of blood Jotunheim, our blood. Which according to the treaty struck by Ymir and Odin is a violation. Congratulations Asgardian, you just declared war on Jotunheim."
"What was that thing?" Hogun asked as he stared up into the sky that was so dark, it was as if someone had thrown a moth-eaten blanket over the earth, and the stars were the little holes that had been eaten away by the insects.
"Fin...Fang...Foom" a mysterious woman's voice hoofed.
"It's you" Sif pointed "you're the woman I was speaking to but why are you here?"
"My lock of hair goal was merely one of many tricks that have happened tonight" the mysterious hooded woman explained.
"But why is it here?" Sif questioned.
"Since the passing of Eir something of equal power must take her place, that would be the dragon Fin Fang Foom. I don't have much time other than to tell you this. Fin Fang Foom is merely a tune in a symphony orchestrated by one man I know this because I am one of five oracles, we see the thousands of different paths to the future and up until now we did not need to interrupt. But this time for good to prevail it requires everyone to play their part and to stop the...God killer"
"What do you want us to do" Sif asked.
"You're not actually believing this are you?" Hogun interceded.
The hooded woman crackled "Simple, build an army for no one can stop..."
A tear rolled down the woman's cheek.
"What is it?" Sif inquired.
"I'm sorry I always tear up when I see that which comes next."
Next time: WAR IN ASGARD.
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