Origin of the Valkyrie Part 4
Rythe stood absolutely still for a moment, totally shocked at the scene which just occured. Then, she was over Licec's fallen body in a second, weeping the tears of one in mourning.
"No! It can't be!" She screamed at the world between sobs. "Licec, please! Tell me you're allright!"
I don't remember the few seconds I took to walk over there, but before I knew it, I was kneeling in front of the lieutenant's unmoving body, searching for some sign of life. I had just given up hope, when I heard a faint breath from his outh.
"Rythe, he's alive!" I shouted in surprise and overwhelming relief. "He's still alive!"
Robyn, do something, then!" She screeched at me, still upset. "He needs aid, or it won't matter! Can't you help him?!"
"I... I can't, Rythe," I responded slowly. "He's beyond my help."
That's when it hit me. after weeks of not thinking about my mission or what was the cause of it, I remembered the owers of clerical magic. And I couldn't use it! Oh, Odin...
"- I'll go get help, Rythe," I stammered, trying to hold back tears because of my failure. "Maybe Ventarbre can help." I got to my feet, and charged off to find the elder, before I could give Rythe any chance to respond.
I ran, ran like a force trying to beat death, which I was. I knew that Licec had a matter of maybe half an hour before he finally passed on, and it would take me a lot of that time just to find Ven. was in the middle of the main bulk of the battle, all of them unaware that the battle was over already.
"Hey, stop!" I called to one soldier who was nearby. "The war's over, we won!"
"Nice try, spell-less whore!" The soldier- a Laubholz one, I could see now- spat at me. "But you won't fool me!" And with that, he raced off to fight some more.
"You can stop now!" I tried again- this time, with a Jade soldier. "We've won! There's no more need to fight!"
He answered with a glare. "Are you mad, Lady? THose Laub bastards are still a thousand strong! We need to wipe them out, and fast!" And like the first one, he ran off to face more combatants.
I was amazed. I had always had a passion for fighting, but THIS!... Thise wasn't glorious battle, it was senseless bloodshed when the cause was disposed of. It filled me with a feeling I had never really experienced before: Rage. I could feel the anger welling up inside me, the knowledge that they fought for no reason, and I just couldn't take it.
I dropped my lance with a resolve unknown to these people, and slammed my fist down into the Earth. At that moment, a show of my true power, the fury that even I never knew I had, came into being, and I shook the countryside with the force of my punch. Every soldier on the battlefield stopped fighting, and did all they could just to keep standing upright and not fall down.
"IDIOTS! EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!" I screamed at them all, still in the position I was in when I slammed the Earth. "THIS WAR IS OVER, THE GENERAL DEFEATED, YET STILL YOU DESIRE TO FIGHT!" I could't take the pressure anymore, and I wept. I, the one who had killed so many, had seen so much destruction, wept for those poor souls!
I felt a gentle hand touch my shoulder. I looked up, and saw the sad, knowing face of Master Ven looking down at me.
"War is never a rational thing," he told me. "Even when the cause is won or lost, still it will continue, for the anger will not subside so easily. Never let the anger dominate you, Robyn." e had seemed like a fool at times, not taking anything too seriously, but when I looked into his eyes- the eyes which had seen so much- I knew he was right.
"Ven-" I choked out. "Ven, Licec's dying. He needs help, or-"
"I understand," He sad with such a quiet tone. "Lead me to him, Robyn. War will not take his Anima today." I nodded silently, and walked off to lead Ven to Licec. And it was at that moment, that I vowed I'd never let another soul die when it could be avoided.
It's funny how easily it is to forget such promises.
"No, Rythe. You're staying here."
We were in Ven's tent back in the encampment, the four of us. After Ven healed Licec, we brought him back here to rest, while I went out to quell the fighting still going on in some areas. After I finished that up, and both sides finally agreed that the war was over, the defeated Laubholz army met with the Jade representatives to work out a new treaty. But that's a different story.
After it was all done Ven decided that it was time to bring me to the one known as William Knights. We were going to spend the night here, preparing for the journey, then leave in the morning. And I didn't want Rythe to come.
"Listen to me, sister," Rythe insisted, "you need me to come with you. My powers-"
"Have been dwindling since you've found happiness," I cut her off. "Rythe, I would love to have your company on this trip, but can you honestly look me in the eye and say you could leave here," glanced at the still unconscious Licec on Ven's bed, "so suddenly?"
Rythe blushed. "I- I have to, Robyn. You need-"
"Sister," I said gravely, "I may need your powers at some point. But he needs your love. I will return soon, but you must stay here by his side."
She just looked at me for a minute, then looked away in a huff. I just had to smile at that. My sister, acting so... feminine.
"Well, now," Ven clapped his hands as he arose from the chair he was occupying, "if that touching little family spat is over with, we have some preparations to make, Robyn."
"I guess," I sighed. "Now, where is my real armor? And for that matter, my pack?"
"Umm, your pack is in your tent. I placed it there so you could find it easily." He said all this with a nervous edge to it. He was hiding something.
"And my Armor?"
"Well, you see, Robyn, you have to remember that there are sometimes mistakes in campaigns like this, and-"
"Ven, where's my armor?" I asked again, suspicious about it's state of being.
"Well, some of the soldiers got out some wine to celebrate their victory over Laubholz, and... they got a bit cold at some point."
"Ven," I stated in a slow, deep voice that suggested that Ven would face a very painful experience, possibly involving fire, if he didn't give me a straight answer. "I will ask you one last time. Where is my armor?"
"...It was burned," He said so quietly I almost missed it. But I didn't, and I didn't like it.
"WHAT?!" I screeched. "What do you mean, burned?!"
"Now, I told you, Robyn, they were drunk, and cold!"
"So they burned my armor?!" I was still screaming. "Now what the hell am I supposed to do for armor?!"
"We could get you some more," the wizened master supplied, trying to alleviate my anger. "I'm sure that the shops in Wide will-"
"Ventarbre," I said, using every fiber of my being to keep from killing that poor man, "I can't use the armor here! It's way too bulky!"
"Now, now," he responded, "you should know that Wide is especially known for it's smithies, and their armor will certainly be a better fit.
"Robyn," he went on, "you know you don't have much of a choice. That's your best bet, so you should take it."
He was right, I was stuck for it. I'd have to settle for what I could get, even if it is far inferior to what I need.
And of all the places I visited, of all the worlds, none made me so irritated as as the world of Animia.
The next morning, after all the goodbyes, Ven and I left on our journey. It was a good week's trip to Wide, and there were plenty of perils along the way. Since I was without my armor (which I would constantly grumble about), I had to be extra careful around beasts and the like. And Ven- I never knew an elder could be so spry! HE was well into his 60's, yet he fought like a man half his age! And he certainly taught me a few things about my spear techniques... but I digress.
When we reached Wide, I immediately searched out the armory. I found it fairly quickly, and I wasn't dissapointed. They had so many diffeent types of armor! They didn't have anything similar to my old set (I guess that leatherworking never caught on here), so I settled for a set of full steel body armor. It was a bit heavy, but I could manouver surprisingly well in it. These people knew their steel!
After paying for my new armor (Of course, there were a few complications, like I had none of their currency), found Ven patiently waiting outside, and after apologizing for making him wait, he led me to the House of Knights.
The house itself wasn't very impressive; It was just a simple cottage, obviously needing repair in certain areas, and the door was weathered with age. But this didn't concern me. What mattered was that I got the Kris, and soon.
Ven approached the door, and rapped on it. We waited a few moments, and a young woman opened the door for us. She was pretty, with her Long, dirty blonde hair tied into a ponytail, and there were some obvious muscle on her, strength aquired only through fighting. But this lady, who seemed no older than me, showed all the innocence of a newborn babe.
"Ven!" she cried when she saw who it was. "Oh, it's so good to see you!" she hugged him with the affection one might show an uncle, or grandfather.
"It's good to see you too, Ginny," Ven responded, patting her back, "but could we talk inside? It's a bit chilly."
"Sure," Ginny said. "And who's this?" she asked Ven when she saw me. "A new apprentice? What happened to Meythia?"
"Ah, I'll explain in due course, my dear. But we need to talk to your grandfather first. Is he in?"
Ginny's smile dropped, and she put on a very grave face. "He's here, but we don't know for how long. He's got this wierd disease, the doctors don't know what to do. He's dying, Ven."
"Let me see him," Ventarbre said softly, barely above a whisper.
Ginny nodded, and led us to a room in the rear of the house, sealwd by a heavy wooden door. She knocked gently on it, waited a moment, then opened the door into the Chambers of master Wil.
I have seen the huts of several shamans in my life, but this room held even more talismans than any of them combined! Items of every type lined the walls, from a carving of a small stone dragon, to a chalice seemingly formed of tree roots, to a pendant the color of the darkest midnight. And the weapons! Swords forged from animal bones long dead, a bow that seemed to be made from a harp, and a Lance made from an icicle! This man, whoever he was, had seen the world several times over!
I heard voices, so i tore my gaze from the walls to look at the bed in the center of the room. In it lay the oldest man I have ever seen. People who lived past their fiftieth year was rare in my world, and this man seemed to be almost twice that! His face was marked with the signs of weariness and age, his frame so thin, I believe I could have broke him in two, not that I ever considered it. This was a man who had seen it all, and oe I had the utmost respect for.
"Robyn," I was pulled from my thoughts by Ven, "Please, come here." I did. "Robyn, this is William Knights, World-reknowned Digger. And this, is the Valkyrie Robyn."
"So," the great Wil Knights whispered, "you are the one who seeks my aid. What can I do for you, my dear?"
"Sir", I said with the respect due to him, "I am on a quest, and I seek a weapon known as the Kris Knife. Do you know of it?"
"The Kris Knife..." he responded, his eyes glazing over in some memory long forgotten, "It was the first quell I ever found. But why do you seek it?" he asked as he returned to normal, looking at me. "It has no strength in it at all. I have had a hard time cutting butter with it!"
"It doesn't matter," I responded calmly, hiding the doubts growing within. If this was a mislead, and it wasn't the real Kris... "I would like to see it."
It looked like he was going to say something, but a great coughing fit came over him. Ventarbre looked worried, and I heard Ginny, staying by the door, choke back a sob.
"Allright," Wil finally managed to say. "I will let you have it, but I have a request first."
"What is it?"
"For the better part of my life, I have been searching the megaliths for quells," he said, not quite answering my question. "In fact, it was these excursions that lead to my downfall. Megaliths are highly attuned creations, and house many things unknown to man. I fear that I have found a disease like this. Or maybe it was the Egg's final work," he quietly mused, again thinking of memories I had no knowledge of. "But it's a moot point, anyway.
"I have seen the world, and have witnessed many things. I have killed, and watched my friends be killed. Cordelia..." he trailed off, a single tear sliding down his face. I feared that his constant breaks would soon lead him totally away from my inquiry. "But, for the last year, I have been too sick to move. I can barely walk now, and I know that I will soon die."
"Grampa!" Ginny cried, racing over to his side, tears flowing freely from her deep brown eyes. "Don't talk like that!"
"Ginny, it is the truth," he said gently, patting her hand with one of hs own. "I know that I will not see the end of this week, maybe not even this day. And I wish only to have one last adventure, before I pass. Robyn," he turned to me again, "I ask of you, give me one last adventure, one final story before I go."
I blinked. He wanted a story? But I had never told a story to anyone in my life! I couldn't!
But then I remembered my own childhood, before all this happened. After night came, mother would tell us all so many stories, and with such detail. I always wanted to be able to tell a tale like her, and this was my chance to follow in her footsteps.
"I... I guess I can try," I stumbled, still rather nervous about this request. "I just- just need a moment to think of one."
A million ideas raced through my head, and a million rejected. I could not think of any I could tell that would be good enough! It had to be perfect, or the Kris Knife would be forever out of my grasp, and redemption a hopeless cause.
"Robyn," Ven said as he clapped a hand on my shoulder again, "relax. It will come to you, just let it."
I breathed out slowly. All at once, an idea appeared, and I knew the perfect story to tell.
"Once, many years ago, a Boy was born. This boy was of Noble birth, but was fated to be shunned by his own father, and forced to leave forever. His name was Gustave."
But while I was regailing Wil with the exploits of Gustave the Steel, another person in another world was also listening intently to someone else.
It was a dark room, that's all it could be described as. It was all done in the same shade of black, with tiny sparks of light scattered about to give visitors the feeling of floating through space. Coupled with a slanted, slowly revolving floor, the illusion was very effective.
But sitting at a table, reading a book of arcane magic, the inhabitant barely noticed it at all. he did, however, notice when the chamber door opened, and a servant approached him.
"This had better be important," the owner of the room growled. He wasn't handsome, exactly, but he would be called Striking, instead. He wore only a black shirt, set against charcoal grey pants, and a similarly black cape hung around his neck, held by a clasp in the shape of a serpent devouring it's own tail.
"My lord," the poor servant stuttered, "I bring news about the hunt."
"Well, get on with it, man!" the One referred to as "Lord" barked. "I haven't all day to waste with the likes of you!"
The servant gulped audibly. "Th- the scout has just reported in, and says that the Dragon Kaisers are already lost, and the Kris Knife is being taken as we speak."
"What?!" the Lord shouted as he jumped up from hs place, rage burning in his eyes. "How in the nine hells did you lose them?!"
"I- it wasn't me, Lord!" The terrified messenger cried, honestly afraid for his safety. "We just recieved word that a Valkyrie has been gathering up the items!"
"A... Valkyrie?" the "lord" asked, unbelieving. "Are you certain?"
"Yes, my lord, we are certain. She matches the description of the most recent member, and-"
"I said, go. Leave me, now." He turned to glare at the servant with an intensity that made him all to eager to follow that command. He left immidiately.
"So, Odin's getting involved now," The Lord spoke quietly to himself. "He must truly be worried, to gather the Weapons now." He started to chuckle, then laughed, and soon he was roaring with insane laughter. "Oh, this is perfect! Soon, Robyn! Soon your time shall come!"
And the Lord Myst flexed his glove at the thought of ripping out his "dear" sister's heart.
"-His sword, driven into the earth, and standing straight and majestic. And no one ever found a sign of Gustave the Steel."
After almost two hours of recounting the exploits of Gustave, I was finally done. Wil was a good audience, although he sometimes interrupted me to point out mistakes in my story and personal insights. And now, I had to see if he would accept it.
"Robyn," he finally said after a long moment, "I have to say, that that was one of the most mediocre stories I have ever heard. But," he added before I could say anything, "it was enough for me. The Kris Knife is yours. You can find it over there, on top of the dresser." He coughed weakly, and turned to Ginny, who hadn't moved from her grandfather's side the entire time.
"Ginny, I'm sorry. You're the last Knights, and you must carry on the Knights Legacy now. I'm sorry." He closed his eyes then, and turned his head to the side. And those eyes never opened again.
"Grandpa!" Ginny shrieked hysterically. "Don't leave me, you can't die!" She fell down, sobbing on her fallen grandfather's chest, not caring about anything in thw world. Only feeling sorrow for the loss of her grandfather, the most important person in the entire world to her.
Not wanting to disrupt her grief, I quiely slipped out the door, into the parlor, where Ven was also waiting.
"So," he asked when he saw me, "He is dead."
"Yes," I responded somberly.
"He was a good man," Ven said with a sigh. "We shall miss him."
"Is that all you have to say?!" I shouted at him. "Wil, a very close friend, is in there, dead! Don't you feel sadness in your heart, the dagger of pain in knowig that?!"
Ven looked at me levelly. There was a quiet sadness in those eyes, and I immediately became quiet. "I was there when they found Gustave's sword, Robyn. We all thought him dead, and for all we know, he probably is. I loved Gustave like a father, and when he was gone, I cried. I cried away all my tears that night, and I haven't been able to cry for anyone since."
We sat there in the following uncomfortable silence for a few minutes, until Ginny came out, wiping a few remaining tears with her sleeve. "Go ahead, Robyn," she said, trying to choke back more tears. "You can get the Kris Knife now." As I walked past her, she whispered, "And thank you." I walked a little bit faster, not wanting to start crying, too.
When I returned to Wil'sroom, he was covered in a white bedsheet, And I thankfully didn't have to look at his body again. I had seen hundreds of corpses felled by my own hand on the battlefield, but I could not bear to see his.
I made it over to the dresser that Wil had mentioned earlier, looking for the Knife. He said it was on top of the dresser, but I didn't see it. I checked the drawers, to, but still I din't see any knife.
The Kris Knife was missing!
I try to calm myself. Maybe it's just hidden, I try to tell myself. And, after a second search, during which I pull the dresser out, I see that it had fallen behind thwe crack and landed on the floor.
'Oh, thank Odin' I kept repeating over and over again as I bent to pick it up, and examine this legendary, cursed weapon.
As Wil had said, this did not look like a great weapon at all. Instead of a fine metal edge, the blade was splotched here and there with crusted-on blood and dirt, and over the years, it seems that the blade lost it's edge, and now was too dull to be able to cut anything. This surely could not be the legendary weapon whose wounds would stay for eternity?
But on a quick thought, I try to look into the spirit of the knife and see if anything is amiss with it. Every wepon has a spirit in it, something that makes it a great weapon or not. But this one... it's odd, it's like there's... two spirits in it...
Before i could question this oddity, I hear a scream from the Den. That was Ginny's voice!
Without hesitating, I slip the Knife into the pocket I have in my boots (I've learned over the months to keep things in places where people won't look because it's so cliché), grip the Aura Lance on my Back, and charge out to face the menace in the Knights Household.
I burst into the Living room, expecting to see something like a demon or an assassin. What I wasn't totally expecting, though, was my travel pack, glowing with a celestial light, which told me one thing already.
I was holding the true Kris Knife.
I approached the pack slowly, not out of worry for my personal safety, but rather in dread of what lay in store for me. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Ginny was backed up against the wall farthest from the pack, and Ven had gone several shades paler. But this wasn't of importance, so I returned my attention to the pack.
As soon as I opened it, the Scroll Floated up to eye level, and unrolled itself. The Bright, glowing Runes of Master Odin were there, different from what had read last.
Robyn, you have succeeded in retrieving the Second weapon of Yore. The Kris Knife, the Blade of Agitated wounds, is one of the deadliest weapons ever created.
Despite the gravity of the situation, I had to silently scoff at this. The thought of this small knfe being of any danger to anyone was an exaggeration in the highest sense of the word.
But now, you must move on. The next ordeal lies ahead, and you will face many trials.
The Bow of Dawn,
The Archer's bane against demons from their pasts,
Seek it in the World surrounded by impenetrable mountains and guarded by a sacred relic of the Goddesses.
After the last pat was written and I had it memorized, the scroll clattered to the ground once again, beut before I put it back in my pack, Odin's Voice echoed from the Scroll, in a voice like he was just talking about the weather today.
"By the Way, Robyn, have you found your faith yet?"
The magnitude of that statement hit me with enough force to make me take a step back. I had forgotten. How could I forget?!
The whole reason I was sent on this quest was to redeem myself. How could I forget that my lack of faith in the thought that my Lord, Odin, was the true God of all, was what started me on this search across dimensions to retrieve the weapons?
I almost jumped when Ventarbre put a hand on my shoulder, interrupting my thoughts. I recovered quickly, though.
"Yes, Ven? What is it?"
"Well," he started, "From what I can gather of that... interesting display, you need to leave, and soon?"
I nodded in confirmation, trying to keep my sadness in check. I was on a mission, I couldn't become too attached, I had to move on!
"Well, umm, I realize that you need to get to your sister soon, so I was thinking of arranging some transportation for you. Ginny," he turned to the young girl, "Is he still in the stables?"
She looked confused for a second, then realization hit her. "Oh, Skippy? Yeah, he's still here, but he's been kinda restless lately..."
"Perfect. Robyn, if you could follow me, please?"
Ven left the room, and could only follow him. He soon came out the front door, and headed towards the back, where I could see the stables they mentioned. Ven opened the gate, and motioned for me to enter.
Once we were both inside, he closed the gate. "I'll be back in a sec," he explained quickly before running over to the other side of the building. And when he came back, he was holding... something by the reigns and lead it to me.
"Robyn, this is Skippy."
Skippy was an... interesting animal. He seemed to be a relative to the squirrel, but he was almost the size of a horse. His face was rather angular, and he walked on two legs (although I somehow knew that he could run just as well, and probably a lot better, on all four). But what really interested me were his eyes, a deeo brown color, which shown with some intelligence.
"Umm, he looks nice, Ven, but why are you showing him to me?"
Ven grinned. "Because I thought that he should meet his new owner."
For some reason, I was not so surprised by this. After all, why else would he lead me out here?
"Ven, you've done more than enough for me already. There is really no need for-"
"Robyn," he interrupted, "shut up. I'm not gonna pretend to understand the severity of your quest, but know one thing: you need to see your sister." He shrugged. "And I figure, why not let you keep him, since he should be of use to you?"
I couldn't really argue with his logic. "Alright, Ven, I'll take him." I grasped the reigns of "Skippy", when another thought came to me.
Umm, Ven," I asked sheepishly, "could you... teach me to ride him?"
He just grinned in reply.
After spending the rest of the day learnng to ride Skippy and some useful information about him (like what he eats and how much), I decided to spend the night with Ven and Ginny.
The next morning, as I was saddling up Skippy, Ven approached with another of Skippy's kind. He quickly explained that this was Stella, Skippy's mate, and was to be Rythe's steed as well. Not wanting to argue, I accepted the gift, and went off towards where I knew Rythe was waiting for me.
The journey was not as long this time around, thanks to Skippy. In truth, we were already becoming fast friends. He was affectionate, and certainly bright. After riding only two days, I had learned about using Skippy in battle, using my Aura Lance to skewer or slash my opponents. I was also able to teach Skippy a few basic commands, like come, stay, and "claw it's face off."
After three days of riding, made it back to the encampment. Many of the soldiers had left, returning to their homes and families, but still, a number of them were still around. After asking a few some questions, I was able to find Rythe's tent. I walked right in, not really expecting to see anything.
What I found was Rythe, completely "liplocked", as some would say, with Licec. They hadn't even noticed my arrival until I cleared my throat loudly, then they broke off immediately.
"So, how long has this been going on for?" I asked calmly, trying to raise an eyebrow, but failing. Never did figure out how to do that. But I digress.
"It's not what you think, RObyn," Licec statrted quickly. "You see-"
"Save it," I waved him off. "I honestly couldn't be happier for you two, but we don't have time for congratulations. Rythe, we're leaving. I have the Knife."
Rythe looked at me, surprised and dismayed at the same time. "We're... leaving? now?"
"Yes, now. This is important, so we hve to get the next Weapon."
She lanced at Licec after hearing this. "But... What about..." she trailed off.
"Go ahead, Rythe," he said consolingly. "I'll wait for your return."
"But we might never return!" she shot back, on the verge of tears. "For all we know, we will never meet again, and I can't let that happen! I love you!" This time, she really did cry.
I sighed heavily. My quest was important, but Rythe's happiness was worth the world to me. We might have never gotten along so well, but she was my sister. And I saw only one clear route to take.
"Grab your stuff, Licec. You're coming with us."
Once I said that, they didn't waste any time. Rythe grabbed her pack, stuffing everything she'd need in it (except her staff) and hurried out to meet me.
Licec, however, took a little bit longer. After heading to his own tent, he grabbed everything he would need and could carry. After that, he ran down a friend of his to send word to his mother he was alright, but wouldn't be coming back yet. Sch a sweet boy, really, making sure his mother wouldn't worry about him like that.
I suppressed the guilty memories this brought back of my own mother.
After about an hour, he finally finished what he needed to, and met up with us. He seemed surprised to see Skippy and Stella, and I asked him why.
"It's nothing much," he explained. "it's just that Bushtails are usually used only by those in high standing. Only Noblemen and wealthy merchants are able to breed and ride them."
I figured that this was an adequate segue into my story, so I quickly explained to them about Tycoon Wil, the Knife, the Story, and how the two "Bushtails", as Licec called them, came into my- er, Rythe's and my possession.
After this, we were about to leave, when all the soldiers that hadn't left yet lined up in a military formation, and stood before us.
"Lady Robyn," the one at the front of the formation shouted, "It has been our greatest pleasure fighting by your side. May your travels take you back through these parts again someday!" And with that, they all raised their weapons in salute.
I just blushed at all this attention. "Please," I sort of mumbled too low for any of them to hear, "I don't deserve this..."
"I think you do," Licec grinned, patting my shoulder with one of his hands. "You DID win the war for us a lot more quickly than otherwise."
I couldn't argue this, so I just stayed silent until everyone was done saluting me. Then I realized they were waiting for me to speak. I was terrified. I wasn't a public speaker, I was just a fighter. But still, they were waiting.
"Umm, Fellow warriors," I stammered. "It's been, umm, a great pleasure to fight amongst such... err, great men. I... wish you the best of luck. May Odin guide your ways through life."
A resounding cheer erupted, despite how utterly pitiful my speech sounded.
While they were still cheering, I signaled to Rythe and Licec to follow me. We were getting out of here, and NOW.
As we rode away from the celebrations (very quickly), Rythe and Licec finally got around to asking soem questions.
"So, where's the next Weapon, Robyn?" Rythe asked.
"The scroll said to look for the Dawn Bow
'in the World surrounded by impenetrable mountains and guarded by a sacred relic of the Goddesses.' "
"And where is that?"
"I have no idea."
"I have a question," Licec chimed in. "How exactly are we going to get there? I mean, I know you two are supposed to be from a different world, but you never said how."
"I'll explain in a minute, Li. But first, Rythe, we need to return to our homeworld."
"What?!" Rythe shouted, apparently surprised. "Why? We only have two weapons so far!"
I sighed heavily. "Rythe, you remember that dream I told you about a few weeks ago? With Lenneth dead?" She nodded. "I'm worried. I need to see she's okay. She was my closest friend in Asgard, and I- I-" I start to falter here.
But Rythe understood. "Okay, little sister, we'll go."
"Good." I was relieved beyond ost words. "Besides, I have to check in with Odin about the Kris. I think he might have been mistaken."
"Odin? Make a mistake? How?"
I tried to look for the right words, failed, then just pulled the Kris Knife from my boot and tossed it to her. "Notice anything about that knife?"
Rythe inspected the knife closely, with a puzzled look on her face. "This is the Kris Knife? The Knife whose wounds will never close?"
"If that's supposed to be a quell, it's a pretty crappy one," Licec added, taking the Knife from Rythe to give it a more detailed observation. "I mean, I can sense some sorta Anima in it, but this knife is so dull and rusted, it'd be useless in battle."
"Exactly," I agreed. "But that's not all of it. IT seems as if there's something inside that Knife, like... like a soul trapped within it."
"A soul?" My older sister asked. "You mean, that thing is alive?"
"And for all we know, this could be a problem. Tha's why we need to see Odin. he should be able to explain it better. So come on, we need to leave."
But as we were preparing for our return trip home, my brother was giving a report to his superior.
Lord Steele was mad. Not that that was a surprise, since the incarnation of rage and hate was always like that. But this time, he had good reason. And that's reason enough for anyone to run.
'"Are you telling me," he snatrled at the boy before him, "That not only was our army defeated, but the Kris Knife was taken, too?! BY A VALKYRIE?!" he nearly screamed at the top of his lungs. he accentuated his feelings by slamming his gauntleted fist into a nearby wall, creating a giant hole in the wall.
"That is correct, my Lord," Myst confirmed quickly, getting ready to run at a moment's notice. While the young warrior was confident in his ability to best most in battle with just a swing of his sword, no one in his right mind (and very few in their wrong mind) would want to try their luck with Steele. "We've recieved reports from several of our spies that a woman matching the description of one of Odin's servants, the same one seen in Gaea VI, was observed in battle with the Jades, and again entering the house of Knights. I regret that we were not able to discern the whereabouts of the Knife in time, Sir, but I'm sure that-"
"SHUT UP!" The Master of anger bellowed, backhanding Myst's face with enough force to spin the man in mid-air before hitting the ground. From there, he started stomping on his back and continued beating him for several moments, before letting up. But not before Myst had several broken ribs and an arm bent at an angle God never intended.
"Do we know the identity of this Valkyrie?" he said with more self-restraint than he'd used in years.
"Her... Her name is Robyn." It hurt with every breath he took, but he knew if he didn't answer, he would suffer. "We- We are trying to find her, but... so far, the trail is cold."
"No, it's not," Steele said with a grin. It was the grin of someone who was utterly insane, knew he was, and was ready to prove it to anyone who thought otherwise. "It's just too weak for you to find." he turned his back to Myst, and stared at the mural on the wall depicting the torture and horror of the Demon forces having their will with a small village. It was Steele's personal favorite. "Send for Iante. Tell her she's needed."
"Iante? But Sir, is she really-" One glare from Steele was all it took for Myst to remember who he was talking to, and shut up.
"She is needed, boy. This Robyn," he said with obvius distaste for the word, "could grow to be a real problem. I want her eliminated. Go."
Without another word, the Lord Myst left, ready to seek the aid of a healer to mend his wounds.
After he found Iante.
We landed in the middle of a forest. Rather hardly, as was beginning to be the norm.
"Robyn," Rythe groaned as she rubbed her sore hip and got off of Licec (who didn't seem entirely displeased with having Rythe fall on him, but I digress), "You have GOT to work on that spell sometime."
"Sorry! In case you haven't noticed, I'm rather new at this!" I grumbled as I dusted myself off. Of course, it was around this time that I finally realized that I had no idea where we were.
"Well, anyway," Licec gasped out, still rather breathless from having Rythe fall on him, "where do we go now? Where's this Odin guy live?"
"Well, umm," I hesitated, "I think we're gonna need to have someone come get us."
"What? You mean to tell me," my ever-loving sister demanded, "that you don't know the way to Asgard, the plce you trained to be a warrior of Our God Odin? Are you serious?!"
"Rythe, I never really knew the way there alone! Lenneth was always the one who helped me travel there! Yell at her if anyone for not teaching me!"
"Hmph. A fine way to speak of your mentor, Robyn."
I stood absolutely still, nto daring to turn around to see the origin of the voice. "Umm... L-Lenneth?"
"It's good to see you once more, Robyn," the cool voice said drily. "Though it would help if you were to actually look at me."
Timidly, I turned around to look her in the eye, realizing I was just delaying the inevitable. There was Lenneth, fitted in her personal armor and helm, leaning against a tree with her arms folded across her chest, giving me a look that made me take a very sudden interest in the ground I was standing on. I even dug my toe into it a little to study it a bit mroe closely.
"Umm, Hello, Lenneth," I say meekly. "It's... good to see you, too." I could see, out of the corner of my eye, Rythe and Li staring at me. Not that I paid much attention to them at the moment.
I heard her take in another breath, and I instinctively winced, knowing that I was due for another one of her infamous tongue-lashings.
"So, you're Lenneth?" Licec interceded hastily. "Robyn has said a lot of good things about you." Bless the man, he was kind.
"I'm sure," she said in the same tone as before. "Well, that's immaterial, anyway. What are you doing here, Robyn? Have you completed your quest?"
"I, well- no," I stammered out quickly. "But I have need to see Lord Odin."
"Hmph, I'm sure. Well, come, Robyn, we'd best be heading out." She grabbed my hand and prepared to start flying to Asgard.
"Wait, what about them?" I asked before she could leave. "I can't just leave them!"
Lenneth glances at the both of them appraisingly. "Fine, then," she decided, "they can come too. Now, make haste. It's best not to leave your Lord waiting."
We appeared in Asgard in a flash, all six of us. (counting the Bushtails.) It was an area I was all too familiar with: the Valkyrie Quarters.
"Lord Odin is busy at this moment, Robyn," Lenneth explained. "I feel this meeting shall take up much of his time, and you may not get the chance to see him this day. In the meantime, I thoguth that you would liek to take this chance to set your equipment down, and rest from your journey. Surely you must be tired, having been away these two long years."
"Well, Yeah, I guess I am a bit-" I stopped immediately as the last thing Lenneth said caught up with me. "Two YEARS?! What do you mean, I've only been gone fro two cycles!"
Lenneth looked at me with a raised eyebrow, then sighed. "I thought it might be like this. Robyn, I apiologize, but I failed to mention this before. Each world progresses at it's own pace. Some worlds might move faster than here, whiles others, A century could pass with every day you spend there. As it stands, I believe you are lucky. Pray to our Lord that your luck holds up in the future."
I just stopped listenign then. The magnatude of it all was just crushing me. Two years, I have been gone... but I was not here to notice it. It was... it was jsut too much.
Without addressing Lenneth or the others, I ran to the portal that lead to my room, charged in, and slammed the door behind me. After this, I threw myself on the bed, and just started to cry, finally releasing all the horrors and tension I have faced since I started this Odin-Damned journey.
It was at this point that Valhalla started to look rather good to me...
Shrotly after, I heard thedoor open and shut as someone entered. I didn't look up from my crying to see who it was, btu I felt him/her sit down opposite me on the bed.
"I understand how this could be a great shock to you, Robyn."
"G- go away, Lenneth, please." I tried to uppress my sobbing, but iwt wasn't working. Too much had finally crashed down on me.
"It's always hard," she went on as if I never said anything, "when you return home after a quest that takes you through another World. I didn't cry, but then, I had some warning about what may come of it."
I didn't say anything, since nothing I could say could do anything.
I felt her hand gently place herself on my shoulder. "But, you live on," she said with a softness adn gentility I hadn't thought possible in the battle-hardened Messenger of death. "Loved ones grow older while you stay the same, Enemies stay in their youthful prime while you age years. I know you may have trouble understanding, but, if you let it, this perversion of time can be good."
"How?" I ask bitterly. "What good comes of the thought that I may live to someday bury my children, my grandchildren?"
"The knowledge that you shall live to see and hold them, to laugh and cry with them. Robyn, Think about your travels, the people you have met. Would you honestly say that you'd be happier if you could forget all abotu your friends? Or your sister?"
She was right. Everyone I had met had been so nice, I loved them all. Edgar and Sabin, The Knights', venerable Ventarbre... Still, it hurt. I said as much to Lenneth.
"The scars shall heal, the pain go away. Time will heal all wounds, Robyn, if you let it."
"...At least, I'll have plenty of time, if I keep plane-jumping liek this," I chuckle weakly. I then leaned over, and hugged Lenneth. "Thanks, Len. You're a good friend."She started to recoil, but awkwardly returned the hug.
"Now," sh pulled away from me to look at m tear-stained face, "You are to sleep now. I get the feeling you have been going far too long with too little sleep."
I laughed. "Okay, MOM."
"And later," she added in her usual dry voice, "we are going to see if we can do somethign about your horrible way fo talking. Try to remember who you are, and what we expect of you, Valkyrie." She turned on ehr heels, and left me to sleep of y embarasment.
It was good to be home, I guess.
I slept soundly that night, and woke up much calmer. As I just got my battle armor on, Ry and Li walked in.
"Robyn, where's the feasting hall?" Rythe asked over the growl of her stomach. "I don't want to wander around here by myself, it'd feel... I dunno, sacreligious or similar."
Now, I love my sister, and so, I REALLY wondered if it would be wise to bring her to the Einherjar. But, she's got to eat, I suppose. "Alright, I'll show you, but promise me you'll stay close."
I soon lead them to the Feastign halls, where the Einherjar were all eating and quaffing their drinks. (From what I've seen, Quaffing is similar to drinking, but it misses the mouth half the time. But I digress.) I saw so many familiar faces: Erik Thunderfists, Bjorn Hjalmur, Iorek... and servign them, I saw the other Valkyries; Catla, Katryna, Daliah... It was nice to be home, I thought to myself once more.
"Oi! Robyn!" Erik hailed to me. "Bout time you got back, wench! Go get me soem more mead, would you?"
"Sorry, not this time, ThunderFists," I laughed. "I'm on a quest, and you know what that means."
"Aww, c'mon, Rob! ...Well, if you won't sate my hunger, maybe we can go and take care of another thing I'm craving," he said with a very lecherous wink.
Licec had stayed silent up to this point, but I could tell that he was livid at Erik. As much as I appreciate honor and chovalry, I knew he would be crushed, so I stopped him before he did anything.
"Don't worry, Li, Erik's harmless. Sure, he acts liek he is the greatest thing in Valhalla, but he's easy to handle. Head's as empty as a bride's nightgown," I said with a smirk.
"Shut, up, wench!" Erik cried with mock outrage. He turned to Licec, and jabbed him in the chest with his finger. "And who's this little twig, huh? Doesn't look like Odin's Chosen to me."
"I am Lieutenant Licec, commander of the Lancer second Unit, under his glorious majesty the Duke of Jade. I am pleased to meet a... warrior of such obvious skill." He stuck out his hand in offerign to Erik.
"Well, now, this guy's alright," Erik decided as he clasped Licec's Arm in friendship. "Here, join us, Licec, and tell us abotu yourself. I can see you're a soldier yourself, eh?" As they walked off discussing battle tacitcs and such, I lead Rythe to a secluded area of the Hall, away from anyone who felt a bit too bold for my likings.
After we had both eaten our fill, Rythe decided to start asking some questions. "Robyn, how come you aren't serving the others?" she asked. "I though that Valkyries-"
"I'm on a QUEST, Ry," I interrupted. "As such, my quest is more important than all other duties, save any Lord Odin demands himself. Lenneth is not here because she is the Lead Valkyrie, and is servign Odin himself right now. Which reminds me, I need to go see Odin now. Head back to your room, and avoid the Einherjar. If there's any trouble, tell them you have odin't protection about you."
"But I don't have his protection."
"But they don't know that. Liek I said, heads emptier than a bride's nightgown." I punctuated that last word by getting up and headign to the Throne of Asgard, to seek counsel with my liege.
"Enter, Robyn," the Voice of the All-Father commanded from within, "And explain yourself."
Hesitantly, I entered the Grand Gates, and knelt before my Lord. He migth not be my God, but I still was in his service.
"Arise, Valkyrie Robyn," Lenneth called from beside Odin. "State your reason for appearing once more in the Halls of Asgard, and not continuing the quest bestowed upon you by the All-Father Odin."
"Valkyrie Lenneth, my liege," I said as I stood up, "I bid you greetings, and I seek Odin's wisdom and guidance, for I-"
"Robyn," Odin said bluntly, "speak normally. This is private counsel, there is noo need for formality."
"Very well, milord," I accepted. Odin always was one for acting like yourself, I thought. "I need help. I have just acquired my second Weapon of Legend, but I am puzzled."
"Then tell me, Robyn, what you have, and why you are puzzled."
I reached to my belt, and grabbed the three weapons and placed them on the ground in front of Lord Odin. "Glorious Odin, I have successfully claimed the Dragon Claws, "whose blows will fell the demons of the Vanir", and the Kris Knife, "whose woudns inflicted shall never close". But, the Kris Knife shows no sign of power. It is just a poorly made knife."
Odin sat still fro a moment, seekign the answer, then smiled. "Bring the Knife to me, Robyn." I obeyed, then stepped back.
"Long ago," he explained, "The Weapons were scattered to the four Winds, and then even further beyond. To help secure their safety and to prevent any from collecting them all, should the forces of evil intercept them, many precautions were taken. Some weapons had copies made, powerful weapons that held the same name, but weren't the true originals. Some had been assigned false names, and disguised as ordinary weapons of war.
"But the Knife," he held up to show me, "Was too powerful to keep in mortal hands. So the one who was charged with hiding it had a brilliant notion. The word of Saga VIII, or Animia as some decide to call it, has many similar weapons called 'Quells'. You knwo what gave these items their powers?"
He closed his eye, and seemed to focus on the Knife. It started to shine with such brilliance that I was blinded momentarily. Almost immediately, the light stopped.
"These items," I heard Odin say, "Were infused with human Souls."
My sight came back, and I behled the knife, and gasped. What had been a rusty and dented knife was no more. What was there was a dagger, it's blade of the purest metal, which shined when the light struck it just right. It's hilt, I could see, was of a strange alloy, the color of gold, yet with a strange aura, like it had a mind of it's own...
" 'And behold, the Blade of the Last Resort'," Odin intoned. " 'It's blade shall never fail, it's enemies ever fall, it's wielder always damned.' This is one of the deadliest weapons ever made, Robyn. But it is not without it's price. it is a cursed weapon, it derives its power from the wielder. it takes your life away from you, and takes away a year of your life everytime you use it. You are safe to use it, but others are not."
"But... Why did it change so with the soul within it?" This was all moving too fast for me.
"Because a soul is a pure thing, Robyn," he said in a tone you'd use on a retarded child. "This weapon is cursed, and with that pure essence within it, it nulled it's power."
He gestured to Lenneth, who took the knife ad gave it back to me. "Your quest is not over, Robyn, so keep these weapons with you until it is time."
"Yes, Milord," I bowed deep to him.
"One last thing, Robyn: Do you believe yet?"