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V is for Valkyrie 
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Hey everyone! I've been needing to step away from a few things, and decided that it is through literature that I might best accomplish this. This isn't really meant to be a novel, more of a comic actually, but whatever.

Synopsis: Emily Stanson was a fairly normal girl until the day she saved a blue-eyed cat. Upon taking it home, the cat revealed itself as the Norse Goddess Freya, and that Emily was the reincarnation of a Valkyrie, a fierce immortal warrior maiden. Tasked with protecting the Earth from the legions of the undead, Emily as Brunhilde, the flaming Valkyrie of Justice, must reawaken her allies, bring an end to an invasion of darkness, and stay on top of her schoolwork in V is for Valkyrie: The Dark Kingdom Saga.


Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

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Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:39 pm
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Prologue: show
Smoke blackened the clear blue skies of Asgard as its former verdant fields burned with fire. The battle cries of the Einherjar, the chosen of the gods, were drowned out by the unearthly howls of the undead and other nightmare horrors as they marched relentlessly towards the gates of Valhalla. Skilled as they were, and wielding the finest of weapons crafted by the dwarves, the warriors found themselves hard-pressed in their defense of the hallowed halls against the undead legion.

At the sound of a horn, the crystalline gates of Valhalla grated open and three helmed riders rode out from the great hall on magnificent horses. The first, bearing a giant sword in one hand while holding on to the reins of a black horse with the other, cut through the undead horde with a single swing of his blade, felling a considerable number through the sheer force of energy released from the sword. The second, riding a white horse and wielding a double headed hand axe, threw his weapon like a disk, carving a curved path through the horde of undead creatures as it whirred through the air before it returned to his hand. The third, also riding a white steed, rode with a sceptre in her hands, thrusting its ruby tip before herself as she released an explosive blast of energy into the horde.

Amidst the chaos of the changing tide in the battle, a second horn, a much more dark and twisted call than the prior one, reverberated across the field. The undead horde quickly responded, turning their attention from the gates of Valhalla as they began to withdraw from the battlefield. The Einherjar cheered as they slew the undead stragglers, running through the fleeing ranks with their bloodied weapons. Meanwhile, the three s**** sat upon their steeds stoically as they watched the enemy retreat from atop a hill.

*****


The inner sanctum of Valhalla was a majestic room, with golden walls engraved with ancient runes of protection and luxurious furs hanging from the wooden rafters above. A great fireplace burned brightly in the back of the room, illuminating the chamber as Lord Odin stood over a table covered in maps. His face seemed more haggard than usual and worry-pressed wrinkles lined his forehead. His wife, Frigg, placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, though she too looked worn. They both looked up as they heard the door opening. The three armoured s**** had entered the room.

"Well done," spoke Odin as he looked up from the maps "You have pushed back our foes once again." Njord, who had been sitting quietly by the fire stood up immediately and quickly strode towards the s****. The female horseman took off her helmet, revealing long beautiful blonde hair, and placed it under her arm. Njord grasped her shoulders tightly, before pulling the beautiful young woman into an embrace.

"I am glad you are alright, daughter" he said with great relief as he loosed her from his embrace to looked into her clear blue eyes.

"Of course father," she replied dismissively with a smirk, "But I grow weaker still. I do not know how much longer I will be able to fight as I do," she added with a frown.

"Yes, we hope your brother's journey into Midgard shall bear us the reinforcements that we need, Freya" spoke Odin as he walked towards the pair, placing a hand on each of their shoulders.

"Our time is running short," replied Freya as she turned towards Odin "We grow weaker by the day and your son, the mightiest of us all, is nowhere to be found."

"Freya-" cautioned Njord; Frigg nodded in the direction of the other two warriors and they left the room without saying anything, well aware that privacy would be warranted.

"Freyr has not returned for many moons and I fear that something has happened to him! How long until the forces of darkness turn their eyes to the realm of Midgard?! We can barely protect ourselves, let alone the defenceless humans!"

"What do you propose, Vanir?" asked Odin coolly, crossing his arms as he looked down at the girl.

"You know that my powers can be restored through the awakening of the Valkyrie. Not only will we have reinforcements, but I shall be able to defend us until Thor has been found."

"The Valkyrie are an unwieldy force" stated Odin while stroking his raven black beard lined with streaks of white, "I see merit in their duty, but often they have gone astray."

"They shall wholly by your servants, Lord Odin" Freya reassured "They shall not remember anything displeasing to you from their prior services."

"You have said this before, and on more than one occasion I had to seal them myself," he replied

"What choice do we have? Idun is gone! Our immortality is at stake, and with it, all the realms tip towards Ragnarok. Our perishing is imminent." All eyes in the room looked at Freya, knowing that what she had said was true. Only the crackling of fire could be heard as Odin thought in silence. Finally, he sighed in concession.

"Very well, Freya" he said "Go to Midgard and find your Valkyrie. Awaken them and then return to Asgard so that we may restore balance in our realms."

"Thank you, Lord Odin" she said with a bow "I shall do my best to return shortly."

*****


Alone on a cold mountaintop sat the fortress of Heimdall, protector of the gate between Asgard and Midgard. In a solemn silence Freya and Njord traversed up the mountains slopes, following the treacherous and winding path as it led them to the top of the mountain. It was an arduous task that had to be done without the aid of magic, for their reserves were well spent and they could no longer accomplish such feats. Upon reaching the top, Freya knocked on the door once, waiting for a reply. Without a word, the large doors swung inward allowing them entrance into the fortress.

"The Vanir return" spoke Heimdall from his giant throne as Njord and Freya approached "Freya, you seek passage to the realm of Midgard as your brother has before you."

"Yes, Heimdall," she replied with a bow.

"Bifrost, the path which leads to Midgard, is a treacherous road," explained Heimdall while lacing his fingers together and leaning forward "It will draw upon your own energies and consume you if you are not strong"

"These things I know, Heimdall," replied Freya calmly "I am ready."

"Very well," he replied while standing up from his throne and walking down its steps, "May your quest be profitable, shining daughter" Having said his last few words, Heimdall blew into a silver horn that hung from his belt, and the throne began to shift to the side revealing a large multi-coloured portal. Freya looked at her father who held her hand with a sad smile on his face.

"Be safe, my daughter" said Njord sadly.

"I will, father, and I shall return more powerful than I am now" she said while letting go of his hand. Freya solemnly walked towards the portal, the rainbow lights twisting about within, and she looked back at her father once more with a wistful expression. Taking a deep breath she stepped into the portal, unaware of the fate before her.

Chapter 1: show
There are those who believe in reincarnation; that life is a cycle of death and rebirth. It is said that the actions of a previous life affect the next one, both the good and the bad, and thus, one's destiny is shaped.
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Emily Stanson rolled out of bed, falling onto the ground with a loud thump, as she felt around her bedside table to turn off the buzzer of her alarm. Groaning, she unwound herself from her sheets and stretched. Emily sighed as she looked in the mirror, she had visible bags under her blue-green eyes and her shoulder-length auburn hair stuck out in all directions; it definitely did not look like she got any sleep last night.

"Emily!" called her mother from downstairs.

"I'm coming, Mom!" Emily yelled from her room.

"How many times did you press snooze? You're late!" she replied. Looking over at her alarm clock, Emily's eyes widened as she realized the time.

"OH NO!!" she screamed loudly, birds flying up from the rooftop in fright at the sudden shriek. Emily ran to her closet, pulling on the first thing she could find and ran down the stairs nearly tumbling down them as she pulled a sweater over her head. She ran through the kitchen like a whirlwind as her mother casually sipped coffee and her baby brother Sammy giggled in his highchair as he watched his sister's antics. Likewise, her mother's warm brown eyes twinkled with slight s**** as she watched her daughter struggle to swallow a slice of toast and a glass of orange juice simultaneously. She was a woman of average height, with a lean build and very sharp features. Even though she looked the perfect image of a housewife, wearing a floral apron, she was actually a legal prosecutor on maternity leave, an essence that made itself apparent in the way she carried herself.

"Have a good day, dear" said her mother dryly while holding up Emily's lunch bag for the girl to grab as she ran by her to the front door.

"Love you! Bye!" she yelled as she ran out the door, her mother's long wavy dark brown hair blowing in the wake of the breeze once she had passed by. Sammy cooed excitedly as the door slam shut, tossing the cereal that he had been eating into the air and placing the small plastic bowl onto the mass of curly brown hair on his head with a gurgle of accomplishment. Ms. Stanson chuckled to herself as she got up to attend to her child. It was never a dull moment with her children.

Outside, Emily could spot her best friend Abigail panting at the fence outside of her house, her face was flushed red from running, for she too had woken up late that morning. Nevertheless, despite their state of dishevelment, Emily couldn't help but feel jealous of Abigail's innate beauty. She stood a bit taller than Emily, with long slender legs and a petite frame. Her long hair blended with various shades of brown curling naturally into ringlets as they rested on her shoulders with a baby blue bow resting on the side of her head. As she saw Emily exit the house, she looked at her with bright brown eyes, which usually were filled with optimism, though at present, they seemed to emanate panic.

"We're late!" exclaimed the girl in a panicked and out of breath voice.

"I know, Abi! I know! Run!" replied Emily, running through the gate while maintaining her momentum in stride. The girls ran up the street in a state of panic, the ringlets in Abigail's long hair bouncing as she struggled to keep up with Emily, whose face had gone red from physical exertion.

"Ms. Torson is going to kill us!" wheezed Abigail as they approached the school.

"No...Talking..."panted Emily "Must...save energy...to run!"

They burst through the gates surrounding the school grounds and continued their sprint. The autumn festival in full swing, the school grounds were covered in colourful tents and booths as each class set up shops for fundraising. Their class in particular was tasked with the operation of a cafe and bakery, and all of the students in their class had been informed to arrive early to help set up, hence the girls' worry of being late. Their teacher, Ms. Torson, had a notable reputation for being strict and even a bit scary. They had witnessed it at first hand within the first few days of school, having gained a reputation for being late, mostly due to Emily's inaptitude to wake up on time. They both knew that their teacher would not hesitate to punish them for failing to show up on time.

Dodging the various colourful student-run booths, Emily and Abigail made their way to where their class's booth was located; finding it just as the school bell rang. They both leaned on one of the tables surrounding their booth, panting heavily as they regained their composure.

"Phew! That was close" sighed Emily, wiping the sweat from her forehead.

"Yeah," continued Abigail "It looks like Ms. Torson isn't even here yet." The stunned expressions from their classmates however immediately told them that they were very wrong.

"Unlike you two, I made sure that I was the first one here" spoke a familiar voice coldly. Slowly the girls turned around and saw Ms. Torson looking down at them with a displeased expression. It was an expression that Emily was quite accustomed to in the few days that they had been in her class. The woman crossed her arms over her navy blue business dress while wearing a black blazer, and tapped her matching black pumps threateningly as she looked down at the girls with piercing electric blue eyes. Even her blonde hair, which she militarily kept at a medium length and the ends curled upwards, seemed threatening. The woman had a very intimidating stature, to say the least.

"Now, since you two were so late this morning," continued Ms. Torson, "You two will have the pleasure of staying late this evening as you help the janitors clean up after the festival." The rest of the class immediately dispersed and returned to their duties, not wanting to be associated with the troublemakers in class and risk the wrath of Ms. Torson falling upon them as well. Truly, it made making friends this year quite difficult.

*****


The sun hung low in the sky ,and tinted it a brilliant shade of orange that afternoon as a slight breeze blew as some of the trees in the schoolyard showed signs of changing colour. The festival long completed, Emily and Abigail were sweeping up the very last of the remaining garbage off of the ground. The last janitor had left a few minutes earlier, seeing that everything had been nearly completed, and the school having been locked up for the night.

"Oh, I forgot to ask" spoke up Abigail, a lull having fallen over the pair as they worked.

"Yeah?" asked Emily, looking up for her sweeping.

"What happened this morning? You said you were going to call me at the crack of dawn."

"Oh, yeah" replied Emily while rubbing the back of her head guiltily "Sorry, I was so tired this morning, so I kept pressing snooze when my alarm went off. I've been having really vivid dreams lately. They've taken a lot out of me; it's almost as if I'm living them myself sometimes."

"Wow, that sounds like it must be exciting at least," replied Abigail with her eyes twinkling romantically at the notion of adventurous dreams.

"Ha, I wouldn't know," shrugged Emily as she resumed her sweeping "I don't really remember anything after I wake up"

Their conversation was cut short by the sound of cans crashing, a loud "MROW!" from a cat, and the barking of dogs. Immediately, Emily leapt into action with her broom in hand and ran around the corner from where she had heard the noise. Just as she suspected; standing on a garbage can, a cat hissed at two large dogs barking at it from the ground. She could tell by the appearance of the animals that they were all strays; the cat in particular seemed quite ragged and appeared to be wounded, bearing a few scratches on its body.

"Hey! Back off!" she yelled at the dogs, placing herself between the cat and the dogs with her broom raised in front of herself; but the dogs did not respond to her threatening stance. Instead they growled at her, as if to imply that they would attack her as well, "Alright then," she said as she winded up her arm "Guess you've given me no choice." Just as one of the dogs leapt at her, she swung her broom and grimaced as she felt it hit the dog with a resounding smack. The dog immediately fled with a frightened yelp, the other fleeing with it shortly after as Emily raised her broom threateningly above her head in its direction.

"Oh my god, Emily!" exclaimed Abigail as she ran around the corner, catching up to her friend "Are you alright?!"

"Yeah, I'm fine," she replied while dusting herself off "Those dogs were crazy."

"I know!" exclaimed Abigail , "What were you thinking?! You could've called animal control or something instead! What if they had rabies?!"

"I'm fine, I'm fine," she said dismissively, "Animal control would've taken too long, and this little fella here could've been hurt," she said while turning her attention to the cat that sat nervously on the garbage can behind her. The golden tabby cat had beautiful sandy apricot coloured fur, and eyed the girls intensely with wide bright blue intelligent eyes. "Hey kitty, you can come down now, it's safe," she said while crouched on the ground unthreateningly.

The cat focused its attention on Emily, before jumping down lightly onto the ground and walking towards her complacently. Emily was quite surprised that it had not run off, and watched it as it looked up at her almost expectantly.

"I think I'll take it to my dad's clinic tonight" said Emily while leaning down to pick up the cat "It has a few scrapes so I want to be sure it's alright." Again, to her surprise, the cat allowed itself to be picked up without a struggle, almost as if it were a pet, and it began to purr as it curled up in her arms.

"Hehe! It likes you" said Abigail with a smile.

*****


A small bell rang as Emily opened the door and entered her father's veterinary clinic with the cat bundled in her arms. As it was the end of the day, and near the closing hour, her father was unoccupied, preparing to close the clinic. He was a tall man, with squared features and a medium build. His hair was a light brown though slightly graying, with a hint of the red colour which Emily had inherited. He wore a thoughtful expression on his kind face as he pored over his files from the day.

"Hey Dad!" called out Emily cheerfully.

"Emily! What are you doing here so late?" he said with a smile as he looked up from his paperwork. His bespectacled hazel eyes widened as he realized what his daughter held in her arms "Oh! Where did you find this?"

"I found this cat today, it's a bit beat up, so I thought you should take a look at it," she said while purposely leaving out the fact that she had fought two feral dogs to save it.

"Let's see here" he said while putting on a pair of latex gloves, and placing the cat on the examination table "Well, she's got a few scrapes here and there," he said after a few moments of inspection "But it's in incredible health. I wouldn't be surprised if she has some very worried owners," he sighed "A shame she isn't collared."

"Well, I guess we should take her home for the time being until her owners start looking for her," suggested Emily coyly.

"Emily," started her father seriously as he took off his glasses to wipe them with the corner of his bleached white medical coat "You know I have a kennel where she can stay."

"But Dad! I found her, I don't want to let her out of my sight until she's found her home!" she protested while placing her hands firmly onto the examination table.

"Alright" he sighed with a smile, unable to withstand the demands of his spirited daughter, "You can keep her at the house for a few weeks."

"You're the best, Dad!" she squealed as she hugged her father tightly.

*****


"And last but not least, my room!" exclaimed Emily as she walked into the room with the cat in the pet carrier. Her room was still in a state of disarray from her panicked departure earlier that day. After kicking some of her clothes into a corner she opened the carrier and the cat walked out from it and into the room with her tail straight in the air, looking about curiously as if she were critiquing the new locale.

"I shall do with these lodgings" spoke the cat haughtily. Emily froze, and looked over at the cat, which in turn looked back at Emily impassively, her tail flicking about gently.

"Wow, I really need to get some sleep" she said to herself with an unsteady laugh, "I could have sworn the cat just said something"

"You shall not refer to me as the cat" replied the feline indignantly.

"Oh my god! You're talking!" she exclaimed while jumping away from the cat and pressing herself against the wall beside her bed in terror.

"While referring to my title is preferable, you shall call me by my name," stated the cat.

"Oh my god! How is this -?" she paused, "No, I've got to be dreaming. This cannot be happening" Immediately she began to pinch herself repeatedly as the cat continued to approach her.

"Ah yes," spoke the cat as it jumped daintily onto Emily's bed casually "I had forgotten how excitable the dwellers of Midgard were. Believe me, at present you do not remember me, but you and I are great allies."

"I think I would remember a talking cat" quipped Emily sarcastically. The cat sighed, clearly tired of her present situation. Meanwhile, the girl watched the cat warily from the far corner on her bed.

"Alas, typically I do not take this form, but we are in times most dire," replied the cat with a sigh.

"Allow me to reintroduce myself; I am Freya, goddess of destiny and leader of the Valkyrie. Amidst turmoil in Asgard, unholy creatures and the spirits of the dead have stirred in Midgard, seeking to harm the living and find passage to Asgard. I have come, my Valkyrie, in hopes of restoring my power and to defend humanity from the darkness that shall soon besiege you all." Emily looked at the cat with a blank expression, still not quite sure if she was awake.

"Come again?" she said, the entire speech having gone over her head.

"Ugh" sighed Freya impatiently "Let me show you!" The cat stepped towards Emily and pressed her nose against Emily's forehead. Suddenly Emily began to see a plethora of visions: in one second she was crossing blades with an unknown enemy, and the next, she floated over a burning city. Shortly afterwards she commanded an army of warriors and then in the next instant she wielded fierce flames around herself. The last image she saw was of her kneeling loyally before a throne.

"I-I remember those images, they were all in my dreams" said Emily mystified.

"They are but memories of lives passed. The reason you have been having those dreams is because you have been slowly awakening," stated Freya gently.

"Awakening? As what?" asked Emily, still in shock due to everything she had experienced in a manner of minutes.

"A Valkyrie," replied Freya "A fierce battle maiden of Asgard, and chooser of the slain." Emily sat on the bed cross-legged and mulled over what the cat had said. She found it difficult to believe that she was some kind of warrior, and yet, those dreams – those memories, proved to her that it was true.

"So then, what am I supposed to do?" she finally said after sitting in silence for a few seconds.

"Stand vigilant," commanded Freya as she stomped her forepaw for added emphasis "Now that you have been made aware of your legacy, your powers will only continue to grow as you reach your full potential as a Valkyrie. When darkness arises, you must be there to smite it before it causes harm to the dwellers of Midgard. Together, we shall awaken the other Valkyrie, and united, we shall defeat the evil that plagues both our realms." Freya felt quite heroic as she envisioned her triumphant return to Asgard.

"Nope. Nope. Nope. Still gotta be a dream" replied Emily while throwing herself onto her bed and pulling her pillows over her head.

"Odin, give me strength" sighed Freya despondently.

*****


Emily found it hard to concentrate the next day in school; plagued by the flash of images she had seen when Freya touched her forehead. What did it all mean? Was the entire world truly in danger? How was she supposed to defeat anything, let alone a great evil? Drifting from one class to the next and skipping lunch, by the time the school bell rang for the day to end, Emily had barely even noticed. It was only after Abigail slammed her palms onto Emily's desk that she snapped out of her stupor.

"Hey, wake up Emily!" spoke her friend firmly.

"Huh? Oh, sorry Abi," replied Emily with a troubled expression.

"You've been acting strange all day, Em'. Let's go for a walk." Abigail held out her hand to Emily, who with a smile took it. Hopefully this was what she needed to take her mind off of the news she had been given earlier.

"Alright!" said Abigail with a notebook in hand, "While you were daydreaming today, Ms. Torson gave us an assignment for our science class. We'll need leaf samples from a few different trees. So, we'll get to finish our homework and take a refreshing nature walk, ok?"

"Yeah!" replied Emily with a half-smile and false enthusiasm. The girls walked through the park taking samples of leaves from the different trees. They found oak, birch, and maple, taking a few leaves from the branches, putting them into a plastic baggie and writing down observations based on the formation of the leaves. Before long, they had a wide variety of leaves, though Abigail , ever the keener, wanted to find more.

"Ah! The branch of a willow tree!" exclaimed Abigail excitedly, as she spotted the tree leaning over a shallow pond. Her expression sobered as she looked back at Emily, who still seemed troubled, kicking a stone absentmindedly on the ground.

"Hey Emily," she said softly while putting her hand on her friend's shoulder "I can only pretend not notice that something is wrong for so long, what's up?"

"Sorry" murmured Emily, "It's just – Things are weird right now."

"Those dreams again?" asked Abigail with a concerned expression.

"Yeah, something like that," she replied but then she suddenly stopped before continuing further. She felt odd, as if every bone in her body was instinctively telling her that something bad was going to happen. The water in the pond beside them began to bubble and Emily sharply pulled Abigail away from its edge.

"Hey! What are you doing?!" exclaimed Abigail , surprised at the sudden brusqueness of her friend, though before she could say anything further, a serpent-like creature slithered out of the water. "Wha – What is that?!" she exclaimed in fright.

"How should I know?!" replied Emily equally frightened. Water dripped from the green scaled creature as it rose from the water. Its face was comparable to a lizard's, with a short snout filled with sharp teeth and orange eyes with predatory slits for irises. Webbing on either side of its face flared as it reared its head and roared, the black spines on the top of its head extending down its back and tail shining in the afternoon sun. It had no legs, much like a snake, though it held its body upright, bearing two muscular arms and long sharp claws. Looking at the girls hungrily, it growled threateningly and quickly slithered towards them.

Immediately the girls took flight, screaming and running away from the creature as it slithered after them. While running through the park however, Abigail tripped over an exposed root, falling to the ground with an audible thump. Quickly attempting to get up, Abigail saw that the creature was nearly upon her, and she fainted in fright. Emily froze, knowing that she was not strong enough to pick up and carry her friend away from the monster. She stood in front of Abigail with her arms raised, not entirely sure what she would do once the monster had come upon her.

"Valkyrie!" Freya jumped from a nearby branch onto the ground, "In order to protect your friend you must say these words, 'Flame of judgement'!" Emily was shocked by the sudden appearance of the cat, though the sense of urgency prevented her from questioning Freya. Again, she found herself desperately wishing that this was all a dream, nevertheless she did as she was commanded.

"Flame of judgement!" she yelled desperately. Suddenly white wings of light appeared from behind her back and enveloped her like a cocoon. Fire danced around her body, solidifying around her around her torso as red armour with silver trim and a stylized silver medallion with a red gem appearing in the middle of her bust. Her feet were covered in fire, rapidly rising up her legs until just below her knees, transforming into armoured boots with straight lines of silver running along each edge. A long and wide strip of white cloth unfolded from the front and the back of her waist, forming a loose and flowing skirt allowing her ample movement with red runes seared down along its front, spelling "flame" in Norse. The last pieces of armour appeared on her shoulders, her forearms and on her hips in explosive flashes of fire. A final spiral of fire surrounded her head as a helmet was formed, covering her head entirely, though leaving the area around her mouth open. Gradually the light began to fade as the wings dissolved in a flash of shimmering light, reappearing as much smaller representations on either side of the helmet.

"I am Brunhilde, The Flaming Valkyrie of Justice!" she said in a commanding voice, "Foul creature, your time on Midgard has passed and now you shall be expelled." A magnificent sword appeared in her hands as she said these last words. The blade was quite sharp, with the head of the sword flaring out slightly before tapering to a point, and a bronze cross-guard that curved outwards toward the sword, but also inwards around her hand, set with a red jewel in the middle. Along the length of the sword were glowing red runes spelling "justice" in Norse.

The monster froze, momentarily confused by the transformation, and then focused its attention on Brunhilde; the Valkyrie proved a more interesting target. It roared as it slithered towards Brunhilde, the Valkyrie jumping in the air and slashing over her head to strike at the monster. The monster however was prepared, quickly spinning around and catching the blade between its claws, only seeming to amuse the Valkyrie as she smirked and flipped backwards away from the creature, landing on the ground in a crouch.

"Valkyrie!" exclaimed Freya "Do not forget that you have dominion over fire and heat!"

"Of course" mused Brunhilde as she stood up, "Taste the flames of justice! Heat Wave!" yelled Brunhilde. The blade of her sword suddenly grew red hot, and as she sliced the air, it loosed a powerful wave of energy at the monster, too quick for it to avoid, and hit it in a fiery explosion. As the smoke from the attack dissipated, the monster uncrossed its arms having defended itself from the attack, though its eyes widened in shock as it realized that Brunhilde was already approaching again with her sword drawn. In a brilliant display of swordsmanship, she sliced at the creature rapidly, until it lay on the ground incapacitated.

"Foul creature" spoke Brunhilde sternly as she stood over the monster, "You have been judged unfit for this realm. Thus, you shall be purged." She pointed her sword at the creature as it lay on the ground and then yelled, "Eternal Inferno!" A ring of fire surrounded the creature and then from its center erupted a violent stream of fire, incinerating the creature within. As the fire ceased, Brunhilde fell to her knee from exhaustion, groaning as she hit the ground.

"Rest easy Valkyrie," spoke Freya as she walked beside the armoured woman "Your task is done" As this was said, the armour dissipated in a shower of red sparkles, revealing Emily in her civilian clothes once again.

"That was– That was amazing" she said breathlessly "What happens after it's gone?" she asked the cat.

"Its spirit shall depart from this realm, and is sealed away accordingly," replied Freya.

"So then, I guess this is it; this is what being a Valkyrie is all about," mused Emily with her head resting on her knees thoughtfully as she looked at the ground where the monster had been moments before. Miraculously, there was no sign of the battle, even the ground where the eruption had taken place was untouched.

"In part – oh," the cat interrupted herself as she heard the stirrings of Abigail , "I believe that is my cue for departure."

"Wait, but –" Emily wasn't sure how she was going to explain what had happened, but the cat had already mysteriously disappeared.

"Mmm...Ugh...What happened?" asked Abigail while rubbing her head.

"Well," began Emily "We were talking about my dreams until you fell asleep." It made Emily feel slightly better that she was telling a part of the truth, rather than a boldfaced lie. While it had never been expressly stated that her being a Valkyrie was to be a secret, she did not wish to worry her friend.

"Whoa, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep in the middle of your story," she replied hazily as she tried to recall the story that Emily was telling her.

"Oh, it's ok, I'm feeling a lot better now!" she said with a broad smile.

"That's good!" replied Abigail cheerfully "I think I'll pass on your next story though, I had a really bad nightmare!" she said with a slight giggle.

"Haha! Well, now that you've had your nap, let's see if we can finish this assignment!" laughed Emily as she stood up from the grass and held out her hand to help Abigail get up.

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Chapter 2: show
The cafeteria bustled with activity as students met up with friends or waited in line for the special of the day, the scent in the cafeteria led them to rightly assume that it was fish and chips. Emily and Abigail entered the room feeling mildly disoriented; there were always so many people inside. As it was still quite early in the school year, the girls had not had the opportunity to make friends in their new class, and so they looked for their friends from the year before. Abigail 's sharp eyes spotted Sonia's startlingly blue hair at one of the tables on the far side of the room.

"Emily look, Sonia and the others are sitting over there!" she pointed out. The two girls made their way over to the table where their friends sat. Katrina was the first to notice them, her gentle brown eyes twinkling as she looked up from her meal. As usual, her long dark brown hair was in a single braid resting on her shoulder and at her feet was a violin case. She was dressed formally, likely due to a violin practice session she had at the nearby private school, Sir Arthur's Academy. Beside her was Thomas, who smiled at the approaching girls. His startling green eyes exuded an overwhelmingly calm presence from the boy, translating into his fairly empathic demeanour. Sonia on the other hand was the epitome of an artsy student; she scribbled her latest fashion design in a notebook, failing to notice the arrival of her friends. She wore flamboyant and daring colours, complimenting her presently blue hair. Meanwhile James, did not notice their arrival either, his dark eyes focused on an advanced algebra textbook propped up on his lunchbox.

"Hey guys!" said Emily cheerfully as she and Abigail sat down in the last two remaining seats at the table.

"Emily! Abi!" exclaimed Sonia, suddenly realizing that the two girls had arrived, "What do you think?" she said while indicating to her electric blue hair.

"Wow Sonia! That's so cool!" exclaimed Abigail excitedly.

"Thanks! I did it myself!" she said proudly with a wink.

"It's been a while since we've seen you two," smiled Katrina, "How's your term going so far? What's it like in Ms. Torson's class?"

"I heard she's so mean!" said Sonia dramatically with a hand on her forehead.

"I'm pretty sure she hates us" shrugged Emily.

"Well, we've just have bad luck with her so far," spoke up Abigail "I'm sure she has a really sweet side"

"Oh Abi," said Sonia with a good-natured flapping of her hand in the girl's direction, "You always see the best in everyone."

"It's a shame that we're not all in the same class anymore" stated Thomas nostalgically as he bit into an apple.

"That doesn't mean we won't hang out anymore, Thomas!" yelled Sonia determinedly while slamming her hand onto the table causing the boy to nearly choke on his apple at the sudden violent display of emotion. "The four of us might be stuck together, but Abi and Emily will always be by our sides!"

"Hey! I know," said Abigail with a smile "Why don't we get ice cream after school today?" suggested Abigail .

"Sure, why not?" shrugged Katrina, "We might as well enjoy the last few days of warmth before the fall weather gets here"

"That's a great idea!" exclaimed Sonia raising her fist into the air excitedly.

"What do you say, James? Will you come as well?" asked Katrina, looking at the sole individual who had yet to speak. Briefly looking up from his book, James's dark brown eyes widened and he blushed shyly as he realized that everyone was staring at him expectantly.

"I suppose a pause from studying won't do me any harm," he said quietly.

"Yay!" exclaimed Sonia excitedly. Had the cafeteria been any less quiet, they would have attracted a lot of attention through the girl's outbursts.

"Alright, we'll meet up after school," confirmed Emily, which was met with a resounding "Deal!" from the rest of the table.

"Hey Emily," spoke Thomas while looking over her shoulder "Isn't that your teacher over there?" Emily cautiously glanced over her shoulder, and sure enough, Ms. Torson was in the cafeteria. Their eyes locked as they saw each other and Emily quickly turned back around, hoping to avoid her. Unfortunately for her, Emily was exactly who she was looking for, and the teacher made her way over to the table.

"Excuse me, Emily, could you come with me, please?" spoke the woman formally.

"Of course, Ms. Torson," replied Emily with false enthusiasm as she got up from the table. She waved at her friends as she picked up her things from the table, "See you guys," she said dismally and then turned to follow her teacher out of the cafeteria while her friends watched her leave.

They walked in silence down the school halls, Ms. Torson's heels clicking on the linoleum floor. Emily in the meantime racked her brain for anything she could have done that would have warranted a personal meeting with the teacher. Was she in trouble? Maybe she failed that algebra test from the other day? Her mind snapped back to attention as she heard the click of the door to Ms. Torson's office as it was opened and the woman stepped aside, indicating that Emily should enter, after which she sat down at her desk.

"Please sit, Miss Stanson," stated the teacher while directing Emily to one of the vacant chairs in front of her desk. Nervously, Emily sat down with her hands on her lap. The room was sparsely decorated, aside from a few certificates on the walls and pictures of whom she assumed were her family on her desk. "Emily," began Ms. Torson, "I knew your brother quite well before he went to university. He was much like you, spirited and quite bright. It was around this time, when he was your age, that he joined the Young Scholars Society. Therefore, with the consent of your parents' approval, I signed you up for this esteemed program as well." Immediately, Emily's face fell.

"You did what?!" she exclaimed as she rose from her seat up angrily.

"Calm down Miss Stanson," urged Ms. Torson firmly "I assure you, this is for your own benefit. You have about three more years of high school, and you need to think about your options. Don't you want to be as successful as your brother?" Ms. Torson meant well and while Emily truly did idolize her brother Eric, all her life she felt that she had been walking in his shadow. His departure for university was the first moment in her life that she felt she could make an identity for herself without his influence. And yet, before her sat another individual who wanted her, no, expected her, to be just like him. She had lived all her life being compared to him, and she could take it no more.

"Maybe I don't want to be successful!" she lashed out angrily "Maybe I don't want to go to university! I may not know what I want to do with my life, but I am not my brother!" she yelled as she slammed both of her hands onto the desk. Ms. Torson appeared unmoved by the emotional outburst, continuing calmly as if nothing had been said.

"Your sessions commence tomorrow after school at Sir Arthur's Academy" she stated, unshaken by the girl's outburst. It was only because the bell rang for class to begin that Emily stopped herself from protesting further. Ms. Torson looked at her watch idly "I believe you have gym now, Miss Stanson, good day." Emily did not bother to reply; instead she stormed out of the office and slammed the door behind herself as she made her way to the gym.

Upon arrival at the gym, Emily remained despondent as they started their stretches. Abigail, quick as always to pick up on her friend's bad mood, made her way to Emily's side to ask about what had happened with Ms. Torson.

"Hey, are you alright?" she asked while they both touched their toes.

"Fine" replied Emily sharply. It was quite clear to Abigail that something was wrong, but she did not press the matter any further. She knew that her friend would tell her about it after she cooled down. They looked up as Coach Hodgins blew his whistle to regroup the class.

"Alright boys and girls!" he said as the class crowded around him "Today, we're going to play a good old-fashioned game of dodgeball!" He said excitedly while holding the red dodgeball above his head in a dramatic fashion. Emily frowned.

"I hate dodgeball," she murmured to herself, today only seemed to be getting worse. After dividing the class into two, Coach Hodgins lined up the balls along the middle of the gymnasium and stood to the side to referee the game.

"Alright everyone!" he yelled "Three, two, one; go!" and he blew his whistle. Emily ran for the middle, a sudden passion ignited in her heart, and immediately grabbed a ball. She threw the ball violently, sending it hurtling towards one of her classmates who had gotten too close to the line. Quickly backing away from the line, she managed to get another ball, winding up her arm and throwing it with a resounding smack into another classmate's back. It was a fearsome sight to behold as Emily violently threw the dodgeballs at the other team. Eventually the game became one of cat and mouse, as the other team, terrified of Emily, began to flee from her vicinity whenever she had a ball. Even when the other team collected all the balls to fire at once, she effortlessly flipped into the air, dodging them entirely and awing the entire class, landing on the ground in a crouch.

*****


"And then whoosh!" exclaimed Abigail as she and the rest of their friends sat around a table at Chilly's, the local ice cream parlour, "She flipped right into the air like it was nothing!"

"Wow," said Katrina, visibly impressed.

"Hey, I would've been angry too if I were forced into some sort of program!" stated Sonia with a nod of her head.

"The Young Scholars Society is a great program" rebutted James. The rest of the table guiltily looked over at the boy who had been quiet for much of the discussion. In the fervour of Abigail's story they had forgotten that James had long been a member of the Young Scholars Society. In fact, most of his time after school was spent there.

"It's not the program that's the problem, it's being constantly compared to my brother," stated Emily sadly, as she broke the awkward silence, "For once, I'd just like to be 'Emily', not 'Eric's little sister'."

"I understand" replied James with a sincere smile, for he too spent much of his youth in the shadow of his much more athletic brother Darien. "At least you won't be there alone; I'll be there as well." He said reassuringly.

"That's true!" Emily smiled broadly for the first time that afternoon "It'll be a whole lot bearable with someone I know around."

"Oh my goodness you two are sooooo adorable!" gushed Sonia as she squeezed Emily and James together in a hug.

"Umm, I think I'll get back to my homework now" said James awkwardly as he pulled himself from Sonia's tight embrace.

"Yeah, I guess we've been out long enough" stated Katrina, stretching as she stood up and then picking up her violin.

"You guys go ahead, I feel like I need a bit of time alone," said Emily to the group as they threw out their paper cups and got ready to leave.

"Are you sure?" asked Abigail with a concerned expression.

"Yeah, I'll see you tomorrow"

After the group left, Emily stayed behind for a few minutes, looking into her cup of melted ice cream with a thoughtful expression. Ms. Torson's mentioning of her parent's approval in sending her to the Young Scholars Society made her wonder whether her own parents wished she were more like her older brother. They had always been so proud of him and he excelled in everything that he did, meanwhile she struggled with getting to school on time on a regular basis. It made her feel incredibly inadequate, as if she incapable of ever being good enough. Eventually, she got up from the table and exited the store, heading towards the park with her hands in her pockets. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon, the scent of fresh earth in the air as the leaves on the trees turned brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Even with all this beauty around her, her spirit remained burdened. At the sound of rustling bushes to her side, she froze.

"Who's there?" she asked anxiously, though her brief panic subsided as her new feline companion stalked out from the bushes lithely, her tail swaying from side to side slowly, as she looked up at Emily.

"Worry not Valkyrie, it is I," she said calmly. Emily crouched down and looked at the cat with a curious expression.

"How do you manage to appear everywhere?" she asked curiously.

"It is one of the few tricks I have left" replied the cat casually. Emily did not seem satisfied by the answer, and it only seemed to stir further questions in her heart. Her interest was piqued, though perhaps it was in part motivated as an effort to forget her own troubles. Nevertheless, there was so much she did not know about the cat. While it was true that she was a Valkyrie, whatever that was, she could not believe how this cat, albeit a talking cat, was a goddess. The memories which Freya had unleashed within her mind remained unclear; they were a jumbled mess of instances that she could not recall at will.

"I just don't get it" she stated, continuing her walk through the park "Why are you a cat?"

"In truth, I am able to take many forms," replied Freya "This one is what came to me however when I made my journey to Midgard. Presently, I am all but powerless."

"But why?" questioned Emily, pushing further. "What happened to you?"

"We were prideful and reckless," began Freya with a sigh "Feasting in Valhalla while our enemies plotted under our very noses. They started with the keeper of our orchards, stealing her away on the darkest of nights. We were conceited, forgetting that she tended to the fruit providing us with much of our energy and took little note of her loss. Meanwhile, they waited. They watched as we grew weaker until we were near powerless, and by then we had realised too late. That, was when they attacked. We could barely defend ourselves, and have since been locked in a war of attrition at our expense. The greatest of our warriors has not been seen for many moons, and my brother was sent to search for him, though no word has been heard of him since. Lord Odin allowed me to come to Midgard to awaken the Valkyrie and stem the tide rising against Midgard. Then, I will return to Asgard to defend the gates of Valhalla once more. For you see, as each Valkyrie awakens, I regain a bit of my powers."

"Which is why we need to find the other Valkyrie," reasoned Emily.

"Precisely," nodded the cat.

"But how do we find them?"

"In times of trouble, the powers of the Valkyrie begin to stir. I can sense these stirrings and then aid in the awakening by the time I have located the Valkyrie."

"So then, when I found you it was no coincidence."

"Correct, though those mongrels set upon me before I could reach you."

"But then, do we have to scour the world to find these Valkyrie?"

"Fortunately, destiny has an odd way of keeping you all together."

"Wow," breathed Emily as she took in the ramifications of what Freya had said.

"Destiny is a peculiar thing," mused Freya out loud "Even though I may read its tapestry, I cannot claim to weave it."

*****


Emily's chat with Freya served her well, and by the next day she found herself in much brighter spirits. Waking up early, Emily went for a brisk jog in the morning. She felt more alert than usual, most likely due to the fact that she was no longer plagued by vivid dreams at night. It was strange to her, the prospect of foreign memories in her brain, though she did not let the idea bother her. Even though the memories of her former life remained indistinct, she was glad that they no longer kept her from getting a full eight hours of sleep. Of course, if she did have any further questions, surely Freya would answer them. She returned to her home, just as breakfast was being set on the table

"Oh, you're up early!" smiled her mother while laying a plate of pancakes in front of her father who slowly sipped a cup of coffee. Emily didn't reply, and stood frozen in the kitchen entryway awkwardly, as she considered how she would proceed. On one hand, she wanted to be furious at her parents for signing her up to the Young Scholars Society, but on the other hand, she was in such a good mood and didn't want to ruin her day. Her father could read the tension on her face, and pulled out the chair next to him for Emily to sit down.

"What's wrong, honey?" asked her father gently.

"I had an appointment with Ms. Torson yesterday" spoke Emily as her mother placed a plate of pancakes in front of her. Her parents quickly glanced at each other with a knowing look. "Apparently, I'm going to join the Young Scholars Society," she looked down at her food sadly and poked her fork into her pancakes before adding softly, "Just like Eric."

"Emily," said her father gently, "We didn't sign you up for the program for you to be like your brother." They both knew that it was something with which their teenage daughter struggled.

"Your teacher Ms. Torson approached us," said her mother walking over to her daughter's side and placing a hand on Emily's shoulder, "We had no intentions of signing you up originally, but she really sold us on the idea of its benefit."

"We only want the very best for you, Emily" smiled her father warmly "And if we have the opportunity to give it to you, we'll do everything we can to do so"

"But if this is truly bothering you, we can withdraw you from the Young Scholars Society whenever you want," added her mother. A smile crept along Emily's face as she realized how much her parents loved her.

"No," smiled Emily "I'll stick with it. If you think it's for the best, then it's for the best. I may not have planned to join the Young Scholars Society, but since I'm already in, I might as well stay. It's just like a friend of mine said, 'Destiny is a peculiar thing'"

"You have a very wise friend, Emily" said her father while patting the top of her head. At that moment, Freya meowed as she descended the stairs and curled up at Emily's feet with a content expression.

*****


Her day at school was largely uneventful. Many of her peers in class were still quite astonished by her athletic display in dodgeball, some of them commending her on her dodgeball prowess. For the most part however, they seemed much too afraid to actually befriend her. At lunch she and Abigail ate with their friends as usual, the return of Emily's upbeat personality quite apparent to her friends as they conversed happily. In the afternoon, they presented their presentation on the leaf samples that they had collected, Abigail proudly showing off her prized willow tree branch from the fateful afternoon. As the school bell rang, she waited for James at the front of the school so that they could walk over to Sir Arthur's Academy together.

"Hey Emily!" smiled James as he walked up from behind her, "I hope you didn't have to wait too long"

"Not a problem, James!" she replied cheerfully while holding on to the straps of her backpack.

"Are you nervous?" he asked as they walked.

"A bit" she said honestly, "What if I don't fit in? You're a genius! I'm– Well, I'm me" James's brown eyes twinkled as he put a hand over his mouth to stifle a smile as his cheeks slightly reddened.

"Don't sell yourself short, Emily," smiled James sincerely.

They stopped as they reached the gates in front of Sir Arthur's Academy and Emily's eyes widened in awe at its splendor. The school grounds were incredibly well maintained, not a blade of grass out of place, or a hedge left untrimmed. In the centre of the courtyard stood a bubbling fountain depicting the namesake of the school. The school itself was built like a palace from the Renaissance era. The school had three towers; the tallest one, extended from the middle of the school right above the entrance, while the two smaller ones stood at either end of the school. Behind the middle tower, Emily could make out the shape of a dome behind the tower. Two sweeping staircases led to the entrance, large oak double doors, and right above the doors, at the apex of a decorative stone arch, was the coat of arms for Sir Arthur's Academy: a crowned stag.

"Let's go" spoke James, snapping her from her stupor, and the two walked through the gates and onto the property. Due to it being after school hours, students milled about the courtyard and in the hallways, each of them wearing the private school's navy blue and black uniform. They each wore blazers or sweaters of blue with black ties over a white shirt, with the boys wearing black pants and the girls having the option to wear skirts or pants. Emily felt that she stuck out as she walked through the halls without a uniform of her own, but the rest of the students paid neither of the outside students any attention.

Leading her to one of the classrooms, James opened the door for Emily to enter. A youngish man in his mid to late twenties stood at the front of the room with a marker in his hands. His hair was an unruly mess of dark brown curls, though it was clear that he had attempted to comb it into some manner of order and he wore an argyle sweater vest of various reds, greys and black. His light brown eyes lit up as he saw Emily enter the room and he immediately walked over to introduce himself to the girl.

"Hello, you must be Emily" he said cordially while sticking his hand out for her to shake, "I'm Mr. Cameron, welcome to the Young Scholars Society."

"Thank you" replied Emily with an awkward smile, she was relatively surprised at how young the supervising teacher of the program seemed to be. Likewise, she was impressed by the room itself, being much larger than she had imagined. Along the opposite wall were three study rooms fronted by a glass wall, each supplied with a table and chairs, a whiteboard, a computer, and a projector. The back wall of the room was also fronted by a glass wall though it was filled with advanced computer technology and a workbench with various unfinished projects. Oak tables were sporadically placed throughout the room where students sat working on various projects. Aside from this, there was a door which led to a small library. Inside were study tables designed for a single or a pairs of students to work at, and comfortable-looking armchairs.

The Young Scholars Society functioned much like a study hall, in which students were given the opportunity to work on various pet projects and assignments, take advanced classes, attend workshops, or do homework for the classes they already had. Emily was taken on a short tour by Mr. Cameron and then provided with a student card for Sir Arthur's Academy, granting her entrance to various locations on site, take out books from the library, and access the online archives. After the tour was completed, Mr. Cameron left her to her to choose what she would do for the afternoon. Completely overwhelmed by everything, Emily chose to finish her homework from the day.

As she completed her homework, she could not help as her eyes wandered around the room. Mr. Cameron was in one of the glass rooms with a bunch of students and pointed to a series of mathematical equations on the whiteboard. Another group of students seemed to be working on some sort of robotic device, while others were using multiple computer screens to translate an ancient text. Even James looked busy as he examined slides under a microscope. She was impressed and made to feel anxious at the same time by everything she saw. She resolved herself to finish her homework, and spent the next hour finishing her homework. Her work for the day completed, Emily waved goodbye to James as she left to go home.

Reflecting over her experience, Emily had to admit that the Young Scholars Society was amazing. Of course, she still did not forgive Ms. Torson, but she understood why her parents thought that it would be an amazing opportunity for her to participate in the program. She looked up as the streetlights flickered on, darkness was quickly falling as the sun set. Suddenly, she heard a woman cry out in distress.

"Ah! Get away from me you creep!"

"Do you sense that?" spoke Freya suddenly. Emily nearly jumped out of her skin at the sudden appearance of the cat, though she knew what the cat was referring to. A sickening feeling deep within the pit of her stomach, coiling about like a worm. She did not know what it was, though she knew that it was not good. Instinctively, she could describe the feeling as evil itself. "Quickly Valkyrie!" commanded Freya "Transform!"

"Flame of Judgement!" yelled Emily as white glowing wings extended from her back and enveloped her like a cocoon.

Down the street, a man with slicked black hair and sickly pale skin leaned over a woman as he pinned her against a building. His dark eyes glowed red as he licked his fanged teeth before he nearly brushed them on the woman's neck. His assault however was interrupted. The flash of light from the onset of Emily's transformation was just enough to distract the man so that the woman could break free from his hold and scramble away in fright. As the light faded, Brunhilde appeared, her ruby-red armour releasing heat as she stood in the middle of the street with her sword drawn.

"I am Brunhilde, The Flaming Valkyrie of Justice!" she said loudly "Your presence here is an insult to all who live, vampire." She raised her sword slowly so that she pointed it directly at the vampire from where she stood "How do you plea?"

"Get lost, Valkyrie!" yelled the vampire angrily, displeased that he had missed out on his meal.

"Very well" smirked Brunhilde, "Guilty." Immediately she ran towards the vampire, her sword heating up as she ran and she slashed the air. "Heat Wave!" she yelled as a crescent blast of red hot energy flew towards the vampire. The vampire, however, was prepared, effortlessly flipping over the projectile as it flew underneath him harmlessly.

"Alright, you wanna play?!" yelled the vampire angrily, and he flicked his wrists, his nails suddenly extending as they became sharpened claws. "Take this!" he said while running towards her at a superhuman speed. Brunhilde in turn ran at him with her sword drawn, both seemingly passing by each other in the blink of an eye.

"Ha! Not even a scratch," mocked the vampire, though seconds afterwards bits and pieces of his clothes fell to the ground, obviously cut. The vampire's expression darkened, the Valkyrie was merely toying with him. "You'll pay for that!" he yelled while lunging towards Brunhilde. Without so much as even a word, Brunhilde stepped to the side, spinning on her heel and slicing upwards and then jabbing the vampire with her sword in rapid succession. He fell to the ground with a loud "thump" covered in bruises and cuts, while she stood over him with her sword raised.

"The undead do not belong in this realm," spoke Brunhilde firmly "Therefore, your verdict shall be banishment. Eternal Inferno!" A circle of fire appeared on the ground around the fallen vampire and immediately a violent eruption of flames rose from the earth incinerating the vampire until nothing remained.

"Ugh..."breathed Brunhilde sharply as she fell to the ground, stabbing her sword into the earth to use as a support. Once again, her armour faded away in a shower of red sparkles as Emily's civilian form returned.

"Well done Valkyrie," commended Freya "You've done it again."

"This really takes a lot of energy," panted Emily.

"Yes," replied Freya, mildly concerned "Perhaps you shall grow accustomed to it in due time."

"I hope so"

*****


In an extravagant room of medieval splendor, four nobles reclined on elegant couches around a lone silver mirror. Each of the nobles had an ageless beauty about themselves, covered in lavish gems and wearing clothes of the highest quality. Their eyes seemed to glow red in the flickering candlelight as they casually sipped from goblets made of bone. The mirror, quite magical in nature, only showed them a scene of fire as one of the nobles, a female with red hair hissed angrily and tossed her goblet to the ground.

"I'll kill her! I'll kill this Brunhilde! I'll rip out her heart myself!" she screamed forlornly as she stood from her couch.

"Come now, Umbra" spoke one of the male nobles dismissively, his blonde hair tied into a short ponytail "Let's not be brash"

"It wasn't your sire that she destroyed, Noir!" she exclaimed while turning in his direction.

"You are quite right," replied Noir condescendingly "My children would never be fool enough to attack an armour-clad maiden wielding a blade of fire."

"Why you-" started Umbra while making her way towards Noir with her claws extended.

"Enough!" commanded the third noble, his hair was cut short, with a single curl resting on his forehead and glasses resting on his nose, "This creature intrigues me" he mused out loud, while pushing his glasses further up the bridge of his pointed nose.

"How so, Shade?" asked Noir with a sly smile as he took a sip from his goblet, eyeing Umbra as she too wanted to hear what he had to say.

"I have read much lore and the Valkyrie have been mentioned, though never in great detail. Clearly, she is an enemy of the undead, but we do not know if she is truly a threat to our endeavours."

"What do you propose?" spoke the fourth noble softly. Much younger than the rest, her long black hair shimmered in the darkness, her bangs hanging low over her crimson eyes, conveying an age much older than any of the others in the room.

"I'd like to conduct an experiment," spoke Shade with a bit of trepidation in his voice, "Test the extent of her abilities to assess whether we need to destroy her now, or save this sweet morsel for later. What do you think, Lady Dusk?"

"The Valkyrie you saw was merely a pale reflection of the warriors that once were" spoke Dusk with her eyes closed as she reminisced "She is a broken vessel, and shall be shattered," she crushed the cup of her bone goblet casually in her small hands, allowing broken fragments of bone and blood to fall onto the ground. "Nevertheless," she said markedly, her still small voice echoing in the chamber "I believe that you should conduct your experiment. A Valkyrie is a rare thing indeed."

"As you wish, my lady," nodded Shade.

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Chapter 3: show
Emily sat cross-legged on the floor in the library of the Young Scholars Society, and around her were a variety of books on Norse mythology. In truth, even though Freya had recounted the circumstances which led to her journey here, Emily still did not really know much about the Valkyrie, Freya, or anything else relating to Norse mythos. She took it upon herself to take out as many books as she could find in the library on the subject, and spent the rest of the afternoon reading, hoping that she would learn something of importance, or even possibly find a hint leading her to the next Valkyrie. As time went by, her eyes grew heavier and her head began to droop. Emily yawned.

"Just one more page, then I'll head home," she said to herself. She blinked slowly as she stifled a yawn while turning a page, her eyes fluttering as she struggled to stay awake.

"Wake up!" commanded a voice gruffly. Emily opened her eyes with a start and found that she no longer sat in the library. Her head was bowed forward, while her wrists were each bound with rope to wooden beams. She could barely see through her knotted hair, though she could make out the silhouette of a very intimidating man due to the evening light of the setting sun shining through the gaps in the wooden wall. The room itself seemed to be a barn, she could feel the cool earth and straw beneath her bare legs, and it smelled of dampness and farm animals. She shivered, her body barely covered by a ragged dress that provided no warmth. Emily struggled against her restraints, feeling confused and alarmed at her current plight.

"What's happening?" she asked, frightened, "Why are you doing this to me?"

"As if you do not know" replied the man sharply while crouching before the girl "You killed Halvar!" He hissed, the man's pungent breath stinging her nose.

"What?!" she exclaimed, recoiling slightly from the man.

"Enough with your games, Brunhilde!" yelled the man while slapping her face brusquely. Emily cried out in pain, much to the man's delight, as he smirked cruelly. It was that moment however, that something changed within Emily. Her body became very still as her head hung low, Brunhilde's name ringing in her ears and stirring something deep within her heart. Slowly, she looked up at her captor with cold eyes, her bruising cheek still warm in the cool air of the barn, and a resolute expression on her face as she stared into the man's dark eyes.

"Yes," she said steadily, her demeanour quite different from before "I killed Halvar, most treacherous and dishonourable man. He sought to usurp Jarl Thurston, and conspired with his enemies to kill him. I could not rest with that man as our leader," Her eyes narrowed into a cold glare "Such a shameful man would lead us all to ruin."

"Silence, wench!" exclaimed her jailor angrily, "How dare you speak ill of my brother!" he yelled while raising his hand to strike her again. He was interrupted however, for two armed men entered the barn.

"Olin," spoke the larger of the two men "It is time." Olin nodded, his fists clenching angrily as he watched the men unbind Brunhilde's wrists and drag her to her feet as they led her out of the barn. She struggled to maintain her pace with the two guards, having been held captive for many days, she was too weak to walk through the entire village.

A crowd amassed along the edge of the road and watched as Brunhilde was taken. The various faces seemed so distant to her, some of them seeming sympathetic while others seemed quite callous. What lies had Olin and his comrades spun about her? She bowed her head, conceding to her fate, no longer wishing to see the faces of those she had called friends and allies judging her.

Within minutes, they reached the far end of the village, a sole wooden post stood within a circle of firewood. A full moon had risen, hanging low in the starry sky, lighting up the field where she was to die. The crowd had followed her onto the field, circling around the pyre as Brunhilde was bound to the wooden post. She exhaled slowly, awaiting her fate. She spied a light approaching from the back of the crowd, and saw that it was Olin, who held a ceremonial torch in his hand. He looked at Brunhilde with cold, unfeeling eyes, who returned gazed unfalteringly.

"Brunhilde Thurstondatter," spoke Olin clearly above the murmurings of the crowd while they settled "You have killed Halvar Aldenson, my brother, whom it was foretold would rightly rule as jarl. Nevertheless, we shall try you before the gods, and you shall face the test of fire. Should you be innocent, the gods shall save you; should you be guilty, the gods shall accept you as a sacrifice. In this, justice shall be done."

"Justice?" laughed Brunhilde bitterly "You call this justice?! You, who has conspired against the jarl know no such thing. Halvar was a coward. He dared to kill my father while he slept. The gods allowed me, a mere woman, to best him in combat. I care not what you conspire to do, for I have already avenged my father."

"Silence!" snapped Olin, as the crowd began to murmur "Do you dare to speak of the gods?! Your unwise words condemn us all! Do not curse us for your own wickedness." He turned to face the crowd, "Where is the woman who bore this liar? A weary-looking woman wearing regal clothing was thrust from the crowd. She fell to the ground shaking, refraining from looking up at Olin as he stood over her threateningly with the ceremonial torch. He looked back at Brunhilde coldly "Perhaps the mother ought to join her daughter, so that we may appease the gods."

"Do not touch her" threatened Brunhilde icily "Let the trial commence, if you truly desire justice"

"Very well," replied Olin suavely, "Let the trial commence." He tossed the torch onto the pyre, and immediately the flames caught onto the wood. Brunhilde looked up to the sky, taking in the beauty of the last night that she would witness. She could feel the heat of the flames as the fire grew closer and began to burn at her clothing. Gritting her teeth, she closed her eyes as tears fell from her eyes and she accepted her fate. Suddenly a plume of fire rose up from the pyre, the crowd gasping in fright at the sudden explosion. It was a sign from the gods of Brunhilde's guilt.

"Brunhilde!" screamed her mother hysterically from in front of the fire. She got up to approach the pyre, but she was held back by two friends who tried to soothe the mother's anguished cries. The fire burned brightly, growing larger and flickering brilliantly against the night sky. The crowd had no choice but to step back as the heat from the flames intensified. Olin watched the fire with his arms crossed, the shadows of the fire dancing across the creases on his face as he smiled with a satisfied grin.

"Brunhilde Thurstondatter," spoke a voice. Brunhilde opened her eyes, fire and heat swirled about her violently, and yet, she remained unharmed. She looked down at her hands with surprise. Moments before, they were bruised and battered, and yet in the fire they looked spotless and supple, like a newborn's skin. Further still, she felt a growing power welling deep within herself.

"How can this be?" she said with awe.

"You have been found innocent, Brunhilde, daughter of Thurston and Magda, honourable and most just shieldmaiden." A beautiful blonde woman appeared in the fire before her, her blue eyes twinkling with approval. She wore a white dress with a falcon feather cloak resting lightly on her shoulders, and had a beautiful necklace bearing a large ruby. Immediately, Brunhilde recognised that she stood before the goddess Freya, and she bowed her head and crouched before the deity respectfully.

"Arise Brunhilde," she said with a smile. "Tonight, I offer you two choices. The first; you shall walk forth from these fires unharmed and you shall slay the villain Olin. Your sense of justice shall beholden your people to you, and you shall rule justly as a jarl in your own right. You shall bear an honourable lineage of jarls who shall conquer all who rise against your people. I shall also, personally, grant you the blade, flame eater, for all fires will subside to its edge."

"The second is much more particular. Lord Odin sees you fit to serve as a Valkyrie, a chooser of the slain warriors who fought valiantly and with honour, inviting them into the halls of Asgard, where they skirmish and drink merrily, until the days foretold of Ragnarok in which they shall fight alongside us in battle against the forces of darkness. Thus, you shall emerge from these flames a Valkyrie. You shall wield the fires which your enemies sought to destroy you with, and serve as a defender of justice. In your absence, your child brother shall become the next jarl, and he shall rule justly in honour of his elder sister. Now, the choice is yours; to rule in mortality, or serve in immortality."

The pyre still showed no sign of going out, the crowd watched warily unsure of what the omen meant. Magda, Brunhilde's mother, no longer wailed at the loss of her daughter, instead she watched silently as the fire burned brightly. She stood up shakily, tears still streaming down her face, and turned towards the crowd, her two friends following her closely as she returned to the group. Her nursemaid found her, placing the young child in his mother's arms, who held him tightly while they watched the fire in silence. It was odd, for while she could no longer see her child within the fires, she thought she could see movement from within.

It was then that Brunhilde walked out from the fierce flames of the fire and collapsed to her knees. She held her arms over her chest as her clothes had been burned away, though otherwise she looked completely unharmed. The crowd gasped, shocked that the girl had survived the trial after all. As she crouched on the ground, white wings of light suddenly extended from her back in a brilliant flash of luminescent feathers. The bonfire began to glow brighter as flaming tendrils extended from the pyre and began to swirl around her body. As the flames dissipated, Brunhilde was revealed, wearing beautiful red armour, her head yet covered. She turned her face towards Olin, who stood stunned at the sudden change of events.

"You sought justice" spoke Brunhilde with a smile "Here I am"

*****


Emily snapped awake, drool covering the side of her face, startling the girl who was just about to tap her on her shoulder. She was very pretty, with inquisitive hazel eyes, predominantly brown with flecks of green and gold that twinkled in the waning light of the setting sun shining through the windows of the library. Her bright eyes stood out in stark contrast to her dark caramel skin, and long wavy dark brown hair, with her curled bangs hanging just above her eyebrows. She wore the Sir Arthur's Academy school uniform, the skirt emphasizing the length of her legs over which she wore knee-high socks. Around her neck was a gold necklace bearing a cursive "M". The girl had an expression of curiosity, though she seemed at a loss at how to proceed, not anticipating Emily to have snapped to attention so suddenly.

"Oh good," she began awkwardly "You're awake."

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry!" exclaimed Emily, momentarily forgetting that she was in a library, "I wasn't snoring or anything, was I?

"No, it's alright, really" replied the girl with an awkward smile "It's not like the windows were rattling or anything."

"Great" replied Emily sarcastically, feeling quite embarrassed.

"I'm Michaela Mansfield," she said with an outstretched hand.

"Emily" she replied as she shook the girl's hand.

"Oh! You're the new member of the Young Scholars Society!" exclaimed Michaela surprised, "Well, that explains things a bit" she said under her breath, "I'm class president, and student ambassador of Sir Arthur's Academy. Welcome to our school" she said with a smile, "I would have introduced myself yesterday, but I was in a student council meeting. Anyways, Mr. Cameron has told me to make sure that the room was empty before the school closed for the night"

"Oh! Sorry, I'll start packing up now" replied Emily flustered as she began to pick up her books.

"Don't worry about it!" smiled Michaela "Everything will be here when you come back. You should head home and get some rest" she said while looking at the various books that were around Emily "– Maybe sleep in your own bed," she added quickly while glancing sideways.

"Thanks," replied Emily, definitely picking up on the subtle undertone of Michaela's questionably friendly advice. She stood up and stretched, picking up her backpack and quickly headed towards the door, not wanting to further inconvenience the girl. She left the school grounds and walked along the bike path through the park. The streetlamps along the path flickering to life, as a large full moon rose in the sky. The night time sky reminded her of the dream that she had in the library. It was odd knowing that what she had seen in her dream was actually something that had actually happened in a former life. At times like these, she found the prospect of reincarnation difficult to wrap her head around.

"Greetings Valkyrie," said Freya suddenly, as she walked out from behind one of the trees along the path.

"Gah!" yelped Emily, holding her chest as she was shocked by the sudden appearance of the cat once again. She was beginning to realize that Freya always seemed to have a habit of suddenly appearing while she had these moments of reflection.

"Really Valkyrie," chided the cat "You must be prepared for surprises at all times!" Emily, not in any mood to argue with Freya instead decided to change the subject.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

"I have an update on our mission" stated Freya while flicking her tail about.

"And it couldn't wait until I got home?"

"No, of course not," replied Freya incredulously.

"Alright" sighed Emily "Go on."

"I believe we should begin our search for the next Valkyrie," she said firmly.

"Ok, and how do we do that?" asked Emily, "I thought you said you had to sense their powers beginning to awaken before you could find a Valkyrie"

"Precisely! Which is why you shall bring all eligible females before me, and I shall sense whether the next Valkyrie has begun to awaken," stated Freya as if the notion was quite reasonable. Emily smacked her palm into her forehead.

"We can't just –" Emily stopped herself again, not wanting to argue with the cat, "Wait, I know! My dad thinks you've lost your owners. I'll tell him that we should hold some sort of adoption fair, so that all sorts of people from all over town will stop by and look at the animals and that hopefully your owners come looking for you there as well."

"Hmm" mused the cat "That seems acceptable." They were interrupted by the sound of approaching footprints in the distance from down the path.

"Shush! Someone's coming!" hissed Emily. A girl wearing a grey tracksuit was jogging towards them along with a small white dog that had black ears on a leash. Her hair was long and straight, predominantly black though the ends of her hair were blonde, probably from having it dyed formerly. It was tied in a ponytail with long bangs parted so that they framed either side of her face. She looked like she could have been Asian descent, though her skin was a few shades darker, a smooth light tan. Under the light of the lamppost, Emily could see that the girl's eyes were a rich dark brown, though they seemed to have a lively twinkle. The earphones hanging around her neck blasted a high tempo Spanish beat that could be heard from a considerable distance.

"Hello," said Emily casually, as she attempted to make herself seem very normal.

"Hey!" replied the girl friendlily " Great night for a walk, hmm?"

"Uhh yeah," replied Emily awkwardly.

"It's pretty cool that you walk your cat" added the girl, taking note of the cat that had curled itself around Emily's legs, peeking out curiously up at the girl.

"Yeah, umm, she likes walks," replied Emily, realising that there was no reasonable explanation for her to be outside with her cat. The conversation was drawing too much attention to Freya however, and she sought to change the topic, worried that too many questions would lead to Freya's interference. Taking note of the school name on her tracksuit, Emily found something to divert the girl's attention. "Hey, you go to Rowan High, don't you?"

"Yup!" stated the girl proudly, completely unaware that the subject had been changed quite suddenly "I'm a freshman this year!"

"Cool! I go there too! I'm a sophomore"

"That's great! The name's Akira, nice to meet ya!" she said while extending her hand.

"I'm Emily" she smiled while shaking the girl's hand. Before they could continue their conversation however, Akira's small dog began to yip loudly at Freya who hid behind Emily's legs while hissing at the dog angrily.

"Michi! Bad girl!" yelled Akira as she picked her dog up off the ground, "I'm so sorry Emily! Michi is usually great around other animals. I don't know what came over her!"

"It's no problem. I should probably head home now anyways, have a good night!" she said while picking her disgruntled cat from the ground.

"Yeah! See you around at school!" she said while continuing her jog down the path with the dog in her arms. Emily waited a few minutes, to be sure that no one else was around before she spoke to Freya.

"Are you alright?" she asked sympathetically.

"Dumb dog," snapped Freya "Take me home at once" she commanded. Emily cracked a smile as she walked down the path, though suddenly stopped mid-step. She looked down at Freya, who in turn looked up at her at the same moment. Once again, Emily could feel a powerful evil nearby.

"Excellent job, Valkyrie!" praised Freya "I sense it too." The cat bounded from the girl's arms, landing on the pavement silently and looked up at Emily who was quick to act.

"Flame of Judgement!" yelled Emily, not willing to waste any time.

*****


In a graveyard an elderly groundskeeper was raking leaves into a pile. He took great pride in the maintenance of the graveyard, making sure that the grass was always cut, and that no vines overtook any of the tombstones. Despite it being a place of the dead, the groundskeeper found that the serenity of the place made him feel at peace. He hummed a light tune to himself as he continued his raking. Suddenly, he heard a high pitch laughter coming from behind him, he turned around quickly, surprised that he was not alone, but there was no one there. From the corner of his eye he saw something quickly fly behind one of the tombstones. He gripped his rake and slowly approached the tombstone.

"Who's there?" asked the groundskeeper firmly, "This is no place for childish pranks. Come out now!" His demand was immediately answered. Two abnormally large skulls floated up from behind the grave. A violet fire burned around the skulls, and an eerie red light shone from the darkness within their eye sockets. They cackled hauntingly as the groundskeeper was stunned with terror, and then they rushed forward, knocking the man onto the ground. They lowered themselves over the body of the groundskeeper, and began to revolve above the body as blue spheres of light began to float from the man's body into the disembodied heads, effectively draining him of his life force.

"I am Brunhilde, The Flaming Valkyrie of Justice!" cried Brunhilde in full armour as she stood atop a church steeple with her sword at her side. "Trouble not this keeper of these hallowed grounds for you shall be burned, vile monstrosities." The ghostly wisps looked up at the Valkyrie and cackled, though they remained over the elderly man's body continuing to drain him of his energy.

"Very well" replied Brunhilde as she jumped from the roof to charge at the wisps. Suddenly two blasts of dark energy flew through the air to strike Brunhilde midflight, causing her to slide onto the ground as she defended herself with the flat of her blade.

"Who dares to attack me!?" she exclaimed while standing up.

"How fascinating" stated a voice from behind her. Brunhilde quickly turned around with her sword ready to face the unknown enemy. He was dressed finely, wearing clothes of regal status from the 17th Century. His hair was cut short with a lone brown curl hanging on his forehead, and he wore gold rimmed spectacles resting on sharp nose in front of intelligent crimson eyes. His skin was smooth and a pale white, like a marble statue, devoid of any colour. He smiled slyly, revealing fanged canine teeth.

"Who are you, vampire, to dare to attack me?" spate Brunhilde angrily.

"I am Lord Shade," bowed the bespectacled noble vampire "A vampire prince, you could say. I am humbled to meet a legend of such stature"

"The feelings are not mutual, vampire" replied Brunhilde coldly "You prey on the living so that your own unholy existence may continue."

"Quite feisty" smiled Shade, revealing his fangs "I expect no less from the 'Flaming Valkyrie of Justice'. Alas, our meeting shall be more than idle chatter. Let us make this experiment a little fun, shall we?" The vampire flipped backwards away from the Valkyrie and then charged towards her with his hands glowing violet with a dark energy while laughing maniacally. Brunhilde steadied her sword as it began to glow red hot.

"Heat –" The vampire had suddenly disappeared, Brunhilde looked around to determine where the vampire had gone. Suddenly she was hit in the back by two explosive blasts of energy, sending her flying onto the ground with a cry.

"Much too slow, Valkyrie" mocked Shade from the shadows.

"Coward!" yelled Brunhilde as she slowly got back onto her feet "Stand and fight!" Her attention was piqued as she heard the rustling of wind from behind her, and she spun around with a flourish of her blade defending herself as the vampire dodged her path and disappeared once again. Brunhilde focused as she tried to discern his location, turning around slowly with her sword readied, looking in the trees and shadows to see if she could spot him.

"Over here" she heard from directly in front of her, and suddenly a powerful blast of energy rushed towards her. The energy emanating from it was enough to tell her that she was in a very dire situation indeed. It was too fast for her to dodge, and too powerful for her to block with her sword alone. She opened her mouth as a final gasp:

"Blazing Heart!" she cried out. The explosion from the blast was powerful, leaving a cloud of smoke and dust that slowly dissipated, revealing a glowing energy sphere of fire and heat circling around Brunhilde as she crossed her arms over her face. She looked up in near disbelief and her face was awash with relief.

"Impressive" mused Lord Shade as he appeared from the shadows clapping. A sudden barking from the outskirts of their battle however, alerted them of the arrival of a second individual.

"Michi! Get back here!" yelled Akira as she ran into the graveyard after her little dog which growled in the vampire's direction.

"Well, I suppose I was due for a lunch break" commented Lord Shade while licking his teeth.

"Leave! It is not safe!" yelled Brunhilde. Akira's face screwed in confusion, not entirely sure whether she could believe what she was seeing, though she took the Valkyrie's advice and grabbed her dog. Taking the growling dog under her arm, Akira immediately scrambled into the forest in flight.

"Tsk" clucked Shade while snapping his fingers "Fetch my lunch" The wisps cackled as they floated away from the groundskeeper's body and chased after Akira in the forest.

"No!" yelled Brunhilde as she dispelled her shield to chase after the wisps. The vampire quickly moved after her and placed a firm hand on her shoulder.

"The experiment is not yet complete" he said with a sinister smile.

*****


Akira panted as she ran through the woods. Looking behind herself she could see the faint glow and hear the cackling of the wisps. She did not know what she was running from, but she knew that those monsters meant her more harm than good. Her heart pounded as she ran deeper into the parklands, nearly stumbling over roots as she hid behind a large ash tree to catch her breath. Akira tried to hush her dog as it continued to growl angrily, and peered around the tree to see if she had lost the monsters. Fortunately, she could no longer see them, and she hoped that they had lost her trail.

A sudden cackle of sinister laughter from behind alerted Akira's reflexes and she spun on her heel while kicking out. Much to her surprise, she felt the impact of the wisp as it was knocked against the tree and exploded in a puff of violet smoke. She had defeated it. Her eyes widened incredulously as she took in what had transpired, though her moment was cut short as the second wisp came out of hiding. This time, however, Akira was ready to take it on. She put her dog onto the ground and waited patiently as the wisp charged towards her. Once it entered her range of reach, she kicked her leg upwards in a crisp axe kick, sweeping the wisp violently upwards into the branches of the tree. Likewise, it too exploded in a puff of smoke.

"They're gone" breathed Akira with a sigh of relief while sliding to the ground beside her dog. Michi however, still could not be pacified and continued to bark profusely up at the tree. Wondering what was disturbing her dog, Akira looked upwards and spotted Freya looking down at Akira curiously with her bright blue eyes.

"Huh?" she questioned out loud "You're that girl's cat. What are you doing here?" She stood up to coax the cat from the tree, "Come down, I won't hurt ya! It's not safe here," To Akira's surprise, the cat enthusiastically jumped towards Akira and landed on her face. In that instance, the cat's nose touched Akira's forehead, triggering a series of images. Akira's saw many things: first she saw herself punching an enemy, and then she saw herself in a dining hall laughing heartily. She saw herself running at incredible speeds, her feet glowing bright yellow and crackling with lightning, and then she watched as lightning danced along her body lighting up her metal covered fists. The last image she saw showed her kneeling loyally before a throne.

"Wha –" spoke Akira hazily "What just happened? That felt like déjà vu," she said to herself while touching her forehead.

"I do not know what that means, but those were you memories" spoke Freya quickly "Yes, I can talk, we'll discuss this later, but now you must help your comrade in arms." Completely overwhelmed by everything she had witnessed in the last fifteen minutes, Akira did not bother to question how the cat was speaking to her and instead decided to listen.

"Um, ok, what do I need to do?" she asked while crouching in front of the cat.

"Quickly! Say these words, 'Storm of Laughter'!"

"Um, alright..." replied Akira skeptically "Storm of Laughter!" she yelled. Suddenly white wings of light appeared behind her and enveloped her in a cocoon of light. Lightning traveled around her body, solidifying around her torso as yellow armour with a silver trim, and a stylized silver medallion with a yellow gem appearing in the middle of her bust. Lightning concentrated around her hands becoming metal gauntlets, and then travelled to her feet becoming laced leather boots reaching to just above her ankles. Black shorts and leggings appeared on her body reaching up to her thigh as a strip of white cloth unfolded from her waist in front and behind her forming a dress with yellow runes flashing onto the front spelling "thunder" in Norse. Lightning began to spiral around her head as a helmet was formed, covering her head entirely, though leaving the area around her mouth uncovered. At last, the light began to fade as the wings unfolded in a flash of light reappearing as smaller wings on either side of the helmet.

*****


Brunhilde panted heavily and her armour was covered in scratches and burns from the energy blasts fired by the vampire prince. She loosely held onto her sword, though it was clear that she would not be able to withstand another attack from Lord Shade. Nevertheless, she would not give up, so long as she breathed, Brunhilde would destroy this creature of darkness. Lord Shade on the other hand, was quite amused by the success of his experiment; the Valkyrie posed no risk to their mission.

"Heehahaha!"

The Valkyrie and the vampire looked to where they had heard the laughter "I am Gunnar, The Shocking Valkyrie of Mirth" The new Valkyrie stood on a mausoleum with one hand on her hip as faint sparks of electricity ran along her armour while the moon shone behind her brightly. "Vampire, your actions bring about sadness and pain. I shall not tolerate this, and thus, you shall be vanquished!"

"Another Valkyrie?" gasped Brunhilde with a tired expression on her face.

"How interesting" mused the vampire "Now there are two. Quite fascinating!" Gunnar jumped from the roof, spinning in the air before she kicked at Shade, but the vampire dodged the attack with ease.

"Still too slow, Valkyrie" taunted the vampire "How disappointing, you're all the same"

"Oh yeah?" smirked Gunnar as she crouched on the ground "Storm Surge!" Thunder rolled as lightning coalesced on her boots, and Gunnar launched herself into a sprint. She moved as a blur of yellow and white, too fast for even Shade to keep an eye on the Valkyrie. She ran in a circle, disorienting Shade, and then she quickly reversed her path and turned to punch the vampire with her left fist. She quickly followed up the resounding hit with an uppercut punch, sending the vampire flying backwards onto the ground. Shakily, he stood up, mildly shocked by the speed of the Valkyrie, and he began to brush himself off as he looked to see where she would strike next. However he was not fast enough for the Lightning Valkyrie.

"Lightning –" started Gunnar while pulling her fist back as it covered itself with electricity "Fist!" she yelled, completing her move as she rushed forward in a blur of lightning and punched the vampire. The hit released a powerful bolt of lightning and a crack of thunder as Lord Shade crashed to the ground once again.

"Brunhilde!" called out Gunnar, signalling the Flaming Valkyrie to prepare herself to fight.

"Heat Wave!" yelled Brunhilde in response, as she released a blast of red hot energy from her sword at the vampire. The blast hit Shade squarely, a satisfying explosion of fire released as it made contact. Both Valkyrie approached the smoke cautiously as it dissipated, ready for the vampire to retaliate. However, once the smoke had cleared, they found Lord Shade on the ground clutching his side as he struggled to stand up. His glasses were cracked, and his hair was dishevelled, as he gritted his teeth in pain.

"It seems, further analysis will be necessary" coughed the vampire "Until next time," Suddenly a spiral of black smoke surrounded the vampire and he disappeared into the night. Both girls sighed simultaneously and fell to the ground, Brunhilde's armour disappearing in a shower of red sparkles, and Gunnar's armour disappearing in a shower of yellow sparkles. Freya leapt to the ground from the tree where she had been observing the battle as Michi cautiously scampered to Akira's side, licking her owner's hand consolingly.

"Congratulations Valkyrie" she said proudly "You've made the vampire retreat, and vanquished his servants of darkness."

"Emily?!" gasped Akira as she realised whom she had collapsed next to "That was you?"

"Yeah," smiled Emily "Thanks for saving me"

"How is any of this possible at all?" asked Akira feeling overwhelmed and confused "I mean, it's super cool and all, but this doesn't make any sense!"

"I am Freya," spoke the cat "Goddess of destiny and leader of the Valkyrie. Our enemies has stripped me of most of powers, but as each Valkyrie awakens it slowly returns."

"As Valkyrie we protect humanity from evil spirits," added Emily.

"Like that vampire guy" said Akira slowly as she pieced everything together.

"Those visions you saw were memories from your former lives as a Valkyrie" explained Freya "When you bravely stood up to those wisps, the powers within you began to stir enough so that I could fully awaken you as a Valkyrie."

"Once Freya's powers have been restored, we'll be able to defeat these spirits once and for all!"

"Wow" whistled Akira "I'm in! As long as there are monsters out there attacking innocent people, I wanna help protect them."

"I am pleased to hear that, Valkyrie" nodded the cat.

"Welcome to the team!" cheered Emily happily.

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Chapter 4: show
Emily once again found herself sitting in the library at the Young Scholars Society reading about Norse mythology. In particular, she was trying to find out as much as she could on Valkyrie, though she found that information about it was quite scarce. Her research thus far had only mentioned the names of different Valkyrie, her fingers traced over the names of "Brunhilde" and "Gunnar" in the book. She smiled to herself, happy that she now had an ally to fight alongside her. If Akira had not shown up, Lord Shade would have defeated her. The thought of being defeated, or even killed, was a scary one. She hadn't asked Freya what would happen if she died while a Valkyrie, but she did not want to find out. Nevertheless, two Valkyrie was a lot more comforting than one alone, and she could look forward to even more joining them.

Emily looked up as the door to the library opened, and watched as Michaela entered the room and made her way to where one of the other students sat. He was a sullen-looking boy, with short brown hair and deep blue eyes. A student of Sir Arthur's Academy, he wore the standard uniform, though his uniform seemed a bit disheveled in comparison to how many of the students kept their uniforms in pristine condition; the shirt was left untucked and his blazer was quite wrinkled. Michaela tapped the boy on his shoulder and whispered something into his ear, pointing outside. Immediately, the boy stood up and quickly made his way out from the library with a brisk pace. Michaela sighed, and then realised that Emily had been watching and walked over to the girl's table with a smile.

"Hello again," smiled Michaela while looking at the books on Emily's desk, "You're really into Norse mythology, aren't you?" she said while picking up one of the books and skimming through it.

"Yeah, I guess you could say so" responded Emily cordially, though she was more concerned about the sudden departure of the student from the library "Something must have been very serious to cause that boy to run out of the room."

"Oh Terry?" replied Michaela, looking over to where the boy was sitting moments before, "Yeah, his grandfather has been very sick lately." she said with a frown.

"I hope he'll be alright," said Emily sincerely.

"So do I," nodded Michaela "Anyways, I should leave you to your research" she said after looking at her watch. She waved and then quickly left the room, shutting the door behind her. Before Emily could return to her reading however, James entered the room with a shy smile.

"Looks like you've made a friend," he said, sitting beside Emily.

"I don't know if I'd call her a friend," chuckled Emily hesitantly.

"Oh, don't worry about Michaela, she's like that with everyone," he said reassuringly. He then noticed all the books that Emily was reading on Norse mythology. "Oh, this looks interesting! You're reading about the Valkyrie?"

"Yup!" replied Emily, feeling proud that James seemed impressed.

"I actually know a bit about Norse mythology" he said with a smile "For instance, the Valkyrie were demigoddesses who gave up their own mortality to become the servants of the god Odin." Immediately, Emily recalled the dream she had the day before of Brunhilde and the trial by fire. Even though she could not remember everything from her former lives, she was glad that she had a clearer understanding of the moment she became a Valkyrie. Still, Emily had trouble believing that she and Brunhilde were supposed to be the same person. Brunhilde seemed fearless and confident, while she was just a regular teenage girl.

"What do you know about reincarnation?" asked Emily, interested. James was quiet for a few moments as he took on a pensive expression.

"I don't recall anything," he said with a shrug "There was one story that involved a Valkyrie being reincarnated and becoming a Valkyrie again, but I don't remember hearing much of anything else. I'm sorry."

"Don't be!" said Emily with a smile "I was just curious," she got up from the desk and stretched her arms and legs. "I think I'll be heading home now, did you want to walk with me?" James' ears reddened as his face flushed.

"It's alright" he said shyly, "I have a bit more work to do before I leave, I'll see you at school"

"Alright," smiled Emily while packing up the rest of her things, and she left the room. She braced herself as a brisk autumn breeze blew by her as she exited the school. Taking out a scarf from her backpack she quickly threw it around her neck and walked down the steps of Sir Arthur's Academy with her hands kept warm in her jacket pockets. She was surprised to find the boy from earlier sitting on a bench, his head resting on his hands, with a forlorn expression on his face.

"Hey," spoke up Emily while tapping him on his shoulder, "You're still here?"

"I'm waiting for my driver to take me to the hospital," he replied without looking up at the girl.

"I hope he's alright," she said softly.

"So do I" replied Terry, his voice cracking as he spoke. It was then that he looked up at the stranger he was speaking to, and realised that he somehow knew the girl. "You're in the Young Scholars Society" he stated plainly.

"Yup!" she said with a broad smile "I'm Emily! I go to Rowan High, but I was signed up for your fancy club."

"I'm Terry," he said with a half smile; the girl's positive energy had an uplifting effect on the boy.

"Hey," began Emily awkwardly, "This is kind of weird, seeing as I don't really know you, but would you mind if I came with you? You look like you need a friend." Terry's expression was difficult to read, for he was not sure how he felt. It was true, he did not know the girl, but for the brief moment that they had spoken, he found her presence comforting. It certainly made the circumstances easier, since he had someone else to talk to.

"Alright" he said finally, almost unsurely. Emily smiled, and right on cue a black limousine pulled up to the school. A man wearing a suit and a driver's hat exited the car and opened the back passenger door.

"Sorry, I'm late Master Orwell," spoke the driver formally.

"It's fine Anderson" said the boy while standing up "My friend Emily will be accompanying us"

"Good day, Miss Emily," replied Anderson "It is a pleasure to meet you. Please enter the vehicle at your leisure" Emily quickly entered the car, smiling friendlily at the driver as she entered the vehicle, and then Terry followed her. Emily had to restrain herself from dropping her jaw at the sheer luxury of the vehicle; she had never been in something so elegant. Soon, the engine rumbled to life as the driver re-entered the vehicle and they began to drive away from the school. They sat in silence for a few moments, Emily looking out through the tinted windows to watch the scenery they passed. While she was glad to accompany Terry, Emily couldn't help but feel that she had yet again jumped to action without thinking.

"Thank you" said Terry, finally breaking the silence, "I'm glad I don't have to go alone."

"It's no trouble at all," smiled Emily sincerely "You looked like you needed a friend, and I was glad to be there for you. Even if we don't know each other all that while" she added with a laugh.

"I don't know what I'd do without my grandfather" frowned Terry "He raised me."

"I wish I knew my grandparents" replied Emily, "They died when I was a baby."

"I'm sorry"

"Oh, don't worry about it!" she said with a smile "Although I've never met them, I feel like I know them. My parents talk about them all the time."

"What were they like?" asked Terry.

"Well, from what I've been told, they were quite the characters. My grandmother on my mother's side was part of a circus, and her husband, my grandfather, was a judge. I always find it so amusing that those two opposing people managed to fall in love and have children. My grandmother on my dad's side was a military nurse, and my grandfather was in the navy. Supposedly they met in Guam."

"That's cool!" smiled Terry for the first time, "My grandfather was in the army too!"

"My parents say, as long as you keep the memory of those you love alive, they never die," she said "So, even though I don't remember meeting them, I feel like I know them really well."

"I suppose that's true," commented Terry, his expression unreadable. The limousine came to a halt, and they were parked in front of the hospital. Anderson exited the vehicle and opened the door for the children.

"Call me when you are ready to depart Master Orwell," said the driver, and Terry nodded before he turned to enter the hospital with Emily following behind him. It did not take them long to gain entrance to Terry's grandfather's room.

"Grandfather?" asked Terry while opening the door.

"Ah, Terrence my boy, what are you doing here?" asked an elderly man. The room was quite lavish, a private suite of the hospital. The walls were painted warm colours of pale yellow and the floors were polished hardwood, reflecting the light that came through the three large windows in the room. Comfortable looking armchairs were strategically placed beside the windows, were a low mahogany coffee table rest between them. A flat screen television was placed on a wall that was laden with shelves that were lined with various books opposite the hospital bed. The bed itself was quite large, looking much like one that would be found in a hotel, and beside it was a bedside table with a lamp. In the bed lay an old man, solely the wisps of his white hair remaining, and his body quite thin. Nevertheless, his blue eagle-like eyes were incredibly sharp, and he quickly took note of the girl who had accompanied his grandson.

"And who is this pretty young lady?" he added with a laugh and a cough.

"This is Emily" replied Terry "She's a friend from the Young Scholars Society"

"Ah! Pretty and smart!" interjected the old man, "You've done well, my boy!"

"Grandfather!" replied Terrence getting flustered.

"Come, come, you know I jest. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Emily" smiled Terrence's grandfather, "I must say, you have an absolutely glowing countenance about you."

"Thank you," smiled Emily "It is a pleasure to meet you as well" She felt uncomfortable under the old man's gaze, it was as if he were looking directly through her. She herself felt quite unremarkable, though he seemed to see something within her, like he knew that there was much more to her than meets the eye, it was unnerving. "I'll get us some water" suggested Emily, seeking to distance herself from the elderly man's inquisitive gaze, "I'll be right back" she said while heading out the door.

Emily walked through the hall while deep in thought as she made her way to the cafeteria. In all honesty, she did not like hospitals. They seemed sterile and cold, a place of sickness and death. Even now, her stomach had been quite upset since she had walked through the entrance. She had this sense of constantly being watched, but she never saw anything when she looked. It only served to further wind her nerves. In the midst of her thoughts, she failed to see a boy roughly her age, likewise occupied by his thoughts walking in her direction.

"Oof!" they both grunted as they bounced into each other and fell to the ground.

"Sorry about that" sputtered Emily while quickly scrambling to her feet. She offered her hand to the boy, though he only looked at her intensely with clear grey eyes. His blonde hair had soft curls and was medium length, brushing the nape of his neck. He wore a Sir Arthur's Academy uniform, and carried a brown messenger bag filled with books that had fallen onto the floor. The boy sharply broke his gaze and immediately began to pick up the books while Emily picked up one of the books and handed it to him.

"Thanks," said the boy gruffly, and he immediately walked away without any further discussion. Emily shrugged to herself, and made her way to the cafeteria where she got a water bottle for Terry and his grandfather. On her way back to the room, she noticed a lot of commotion coming from one of the rooms. Nurses rushed in and out of the room with various supplies and panicked expressions on their face. Emily took care to avoid getting in their way, though as she walked by the room she couldn't help but feel something strange emanating from within. On instinct, she wanted to enter the room, and turned to do so, though she was immediately stopped by a muscled and stern-looking male nurse.

"Excuse me, where do you think you're going?" asked the nurse, looking down at Emily suspiciously.

"I –um, sorry" replied Emily feeling quite confused, and not entirely sure why she had wanted to run into the room seconds before.

"Keep moving, little lady" said the nurse while pointing his thumb down the hall.

"Yeah, sorry" she said, while rubbing her head, feeling mildly dazed.

*****


"And then I left a little bit after that so Terry could spend time alone with his grandfather." Emily was explaining her experience in the hospital to Akira and Freya in the park. They sat on a bench, with warm cups of hot chocolate from the nearby cafe.

"Wow, that's so sad" stated Akira while taking a sip of hot chocolate "I don't even want to think about Abuela getting sick."

"Death is but an inevitable transition of existence," stated Freya candidly "What I am interested in however, is that grandfather you spoke of, and the strange presence you felt within the hospital." She sat curled up on the bench with her tail flickering from side to side as it hung off the edge.

"What do you think it was?" asked Emily.

"There are some humans who have the ability to sense Valkyrie and spirits. Often the elderly are capable of such feats as they are closest to death," explained Freya. Emily frowned, she hoped that Terry's grandfather wasn't as close to death as Freya made it seem. The boy seemed to have no other family and she would hate for him to be alone.

"Don't worry too much about it!" said Akira with a playful nudge into Emily's side, "I'm sure Terry's grandfather's gonna be perfectly fine! Those doctors'll take care of him"

"The fact that you sensed a malevolent presence in that hospital however is concerning," continued Freya "We must keep an eye on it." The girls nodded in agreement.

*****


Emily yawned as she sluggishly walked into the classroom well before the bell was going to ring for the beginning of the school day. She noted that a group of students were talking excitedly as they huddled around one of the desks. Emily wanted to ask them what they found so interesting, though an uncharacteristic shyness befell her. She hadn't made the best first impressions on her classmates: frequently showing up late for class, being a known target of Ms. Torson, nearly killing her peers in a game of dodgeball. She highly doubted they wanted to befriend her. Fortunately, Abigail sat at another desk on the opposite side of the room with a girl that she vaguely knew named Erica. The girl had an athletically toned body and had long black hair tied into a ponytail, wearing a grey tracksuit that reminded her of Akira. Her green eyes lit up as she saw Emily approach them.

"Oh! You're here early" said Erica with a false gasp, though quickly smiling to let her know that it was a joke.

"I've turned from my wicked ways of tardiness," replied Emily dramatically, causing the other two girls to laugh as she sat down beside them, "What's going on over there?" she asked while nodding in the direction of the small group.

"Apparently there's a rare contagious disease going around at the hospital" stated Erica. Emily's heart fell at the mentioning of the hospital. She recalled the scene she had witnessed from the day before as the nurses ran in and out of the hospital room in a state of panic. Now it made a lot more sense to her, and she was glad that she had not entered the room after all. Had she entered the room, she would have been exposed to the same sickness that was festering within.

"Yeah," continued Abigail "It was on the news this morning. Patients have been mysteriously falling into comas, and they don't know why. They've kept it a secret for a while, but last night the sickness spread to a large area of the hospital."

"They had to quarantine an entire ward!" exclaimed Erica. Immediately Emily's thoughts went to Terry 's grandfather. She sincerely hoped that nothing happened to him while he was in the hospital last night. The bell rang as Ms. Torson entered the room, and the students settled themselves, quickly returning to their seats as class began. Emily committed herself to visit the hospital after school to check on Terry's grandfather. Once she knew that he was alright, she would be able to carry on with the rest of her day.

*****


The school day had been largely uneventful, though the rumours surrounding the hospital had spread wildly through the school. Some of the students believed that the infected patients would awaken as zombies, other students believed that the brains of the patients had been abducted by aliens. All the talk of the hospital made it difficult for Emily to focus in class, which Abigail was quick to pick up on. In an attempt to take her mind off of things, Abigail introduced Emily to more of the students in their class. Revealing that everyone was not quite as afraid of her as Emily had originally thought, some of them even tried to invite her to join sports teams due to her incredible athletic performance in dodgeball. By the end of the day, Emily felt a lot better about herself as she walked to the hospital.

As she approached the hospital, Emily could see a crowd of journalists and news station vans parked outside of it like vultures. They pounced on anyone who was unfortunate enough to pass through the doors of the hospital in an attempt to get further information on the state of the sickness within. Not wishing to be harangued by the crowd of reporters, Emily avoided the main entrance of the hospital, and entered through one of the side doors. The atmosphere within the hospital was tense, nurses and doctors rushed through the hallways taking little notice of her as she made her way to the visitors' desk. She noted that one of the swinging doors leading to the next hospital ward was guarded by two men wearing suits that would protect them from viral infections. Logically she assumed that the quarantined ward lay beyond those doors. Three receptionists sat at the front desk, the phones ringing incessantly due to the present hospital scare.

"Hi," said Emily to one of the receptionists "I'm looking for a..." she paused, suddenly realising that she did not know the name of Terry's grandfather. She racked her brain trying to remember the last name that Terry's driver had mentioned the day before, but found that she could come up with nothing.

"Yes?" prompted the receptionist.

Emily's voice faltered as she froze, "I'm sorry," she said, and she immediately turned from the desk and sat down in one of the chairs of the waiting area. She felt incredibly foolish, once again jumping into a situation without thinking. She groaned as she buried her face in the palms of her hands. How was she going to find Terry's grandfather without knowing his last name?

"Miss Emily?" asked a familiar voice "Is that you?" Emily looked up, and sure enough Terry's grandfather rolled down the hall in a wheelchair towards her. Her eyes lit up with relief as the old man approached her. "Why yes!" he exclaimed excitedly "It is you! I suppose you heard about Terry from the others at the Sir Arthur's?"

"What?" asked Emily with a confused expression. All the relief she had at seeing the elderly man well drained from her body.

"You don't know?" he asked incredulously "I surely thought..." he paused with a grave expression on his face, "Terrence has contracted the sickness" Emily nearly reeled backwards as she was faced with this news.

"But how?!" she asked. The eyes of Terry's grandfather darkened as he looked up at Emily thoughtfully. It was clear that the man was deciding whether to tell the girl something or not.

"Follow me to the courtyard," he said eventually, and he began to wheel away. Her question left unanswered, Emily was curious as to what Terry's grandfather had to say. She wished that he would reveal the slightest bit of information, though by looking at his face alone, she knew he was going to remain tight-lipped. They went through the halls silently, until they came upon glass doors leading outside. Emily held the door open for Terry's grandfather and he rolled into the courtyard.

The courtyard was an enclosed area within the hospital, allowing those who were too sick to go far from the hospital to enjoy the outdoors within its confines. The ground was covered in leaves, crunching beneath her feet as she walked along the stone laid path. Many of the trees had already lost most of the leaves, and the planters, which would be normally filled with flowers were empty. They walked until they got to a stone bench, where Terry's grandfather indicated for Emily to sit.

"The doctors have said that Terrence has contracted a contagious virus that has been going around the hospital," he said slowly with his eyes closed "It makes sense, why else would so many patients suddenly fall into a coma?" He suddenly opened his eyes and looked directly at Emily. Once again, she felt unnerved by his piercing gaze, until he eventually sighed, breaking the tense silence that had risen between them.

"Understand this," he said firmly "I may be old, but I am still sharp. Do not think me to be a senile old coot." Emily nodded her head wordlessly. "Terrence spent the night at the hospital. He said he did not wish to leave me alone, though I knew the boy was merely lonely. It pains me to leave him alone, so I let him stay." He paused, his eyes clouding over as he looked down at this lap despondently. When he began to speak again, his voice was so low that Emily had to struggle to hear him.

"I woke up in the middle of the night, having heard something in the room, and that is when I saw it" his voice now shaking as he spoke "A creature, appearing much like an ape crouched upon my grandson's chest. At once, I yelled to attract its attention, and commanded it get off of my grandson. In that moment, it turned its head slowly and stared at me with devilish glowing yellow eyes, bearing a horrifyingly threatening grin. I suddenly heard scratching coming from beneath my bed, and another one of those creatures peeked its head from my bedside. I quickly grabbed my dinner tray from the night table and assailed that scoundrel before it could attack me. The creature howled an unearthly howl chilling me to my very bones before it fled from the room. I then prepared myself to attack the other creature, though it too had fled from the room." His eyes began to well up with tears. "I immediately got into my wheelchair and went to check upon my dear grandson, but he would not awaken. He has not stirred since."

Emily had gone quiet, and her eyes widened in shock as she processed the information that had just been shared with her. In the readings she had done of Norse mythology, she had not read of any creatures that put people into comas, though she knew that this was an attack of the enemy as expected by Freya. Unexpectedly, Terry's grandfather immediately grabbed Emily's wrist and looked directly into her eyes, his stern blue eyes meeting Emily's.

"Know this, Miss Emily, I am not mad," he said resolutely, "I am not mad," he repeated with a great emphasis.

"But, why are you telling me this?" asked Emily, breaking her gaze with Terry's grandfather.

"In truth, I do not know" said the old man, finally releasing the girl's wrist "I see something within you, Miss Emily. I noticed it within you from the very moment I laid my eyes upon you. There is something about you, something powerful, something good. I cannot explain it, but I know you believe me. I can see it in your eyes. Will you help me? Will you help my grandson?" Emily remained silent for a few minutes, not entirely sure what to say. While she was not going to reveal her status as a Valkyrie, she truly wished to alleviate the grandfather's worries. Her eyes softened as she crouched before his wheelchair and held his gnarled hands.

"I will try."

*****


"This is quite serious," said Freya gravely after hearing Emily's retelling of the experience of Terry's grandfather. The golden cat lithely jumped to the ground from a wooden bench where the two girls were sitting. The sun was setting, and the temperature was rapidly plummeting in the park as a half moon glowed in the darkening sky. Her tail twitching back and forth as she paced in front of the girls, Freya finally spoke "The creature described by the old man sounds very much like a mare."

"A mare?" asked Emily.

"Creatures who prey upon sleeping mortals, plaguing them with terrifying dreams and feeding on the resulting fears."

"That doesn't sound like fun," grimaced Akira.

"No, it is not, Valkyrie," replied Freya "What concerns me even more however, is the fact that there are so many in one location. Mares are not social creatures, and are too stupid to work together. Neither do I understand how they have managed to keep people in perpetual comas, as daybreak typically breaks the spell of a mare."

"But if we defeat the mares, that should awaken Terry and the other patients?" suggested Emily with hope.

"It should," nodded the cat.

"But how're we gonna get inside?" asked Akira "You said the place was crawling with reporters, and there were guards preventing anyone from entering the quarantined ward."

"I can help you in this regard," spoke Freya with a smile "Upon your awakening Gunnar, I have regained some strength. I do believe that I am able to teleport all of us inside the walls of the hospital."

"That's great!" exclaimed Emily "We should go now," she said while looking up at the darkening sky "It seems like the mares are more active at nightfall, so if we attack before they begin to move, then we'll have the advantage"

"Very well" nodded Freya in agreement. The cat began to stretch as she prepared herself to perform what she believed would be a rigorous use of her abilities. Her eyes began to glow a golden hue and she crouched onto the ground as if she were about to pounce. She then suddenly performed an impressive backflip while covered in a shower of golden sparkles. Instantaneously, a portal of swirling yellow lights opened up in front of the girls. Emily and Akira looked at each other and then at Freya, impressed. "Hurry Valkyrie" said Freya, her voice sounding slightly strained. Emily walked into the portal first, and was quickly followed by Akira. Freya then walked into the portal, the shimmering lights disappearing once her tail had disappeared within.

Inside the hospital, they stood on the other side of the doors that had been sealed off for the quarantine. Emily was quite impressed with Freya's accomplishment, though as she surveyed the scene before her, she realised that their situation was much more dire than she had originally believed. There were various members of hospital staff unconscious sprawled on the ground with various instruments and tools around them. It was quite clear that they had been knocked out while in the middle of whatever they had been doing. The entire ward was eerily silent, only the gentle hum of running hospital equipment could be heard within the halls.

"The mares are not even waiting for them to fall asleep" hissed Freya "Valkyrie, be wary" Emily and Akira looked at each other and nodded in unison.

"Flame of Judgement!"

"Storm of Laughter!"

The hallway was filled with feathers and light as luminous wings of energy spread forth from their backs and wrapped each of the girls as they commenced their transformations. A succeeding flash of light flew through the hallway as the cocoons of light were dispelled in a shower of sparkles, revealing Brunhilde and Gunnar glistening in their full armour.

"Attend to the mares," commanded Freya "That portal has left me feeling quite weak, I shall find some place to recover and join you two later" Brunhilde and Gunnar nodded as the cat bounded around a corner and disappeared.

"Brunhilde, look!" called out Gunnar "Energy from the bodies is being siphoned down this corridor." She pointed to the trail of glowing blue bubbles that floated from the rooms and the bodies of the unconscious hospital workers going down the hall. It was a peculiar sight, one that they were only able to see at present because of their transformation.

"Alright" nodded Brunhilde, "Let's go." Immediately the Valkyrie dashed down the hall following the trail of energy, though a sudden chattering alerted them of a foreign presence. The Valkyrie stood back to back as they waited for their enemy to attack, though nothing approached them. Brunhilde was greatly troubled by this; for while she could see nothing approaching, it sounded like more and more of the chattering creatures were assembling nearby. Suddenly, it hit her.

"Gunnar! To the wall!" exclaimed Brunhilde as she herself dashed towards the wall closest to herself. Gunnar did not question Brunhilde's command and was quick to react, dashing to the opposite wall just as small hairy ape-like creatures burst forth from the overhead air duct where they had been standing moments before. As they fell to the ground the creatures swarmed towards the Valkyrie like a great torrent of water from a spout. Brunhilde slashed at the mares with her sword while Gunnar punched at them with her gauntlets. The enclosed area of the hallway made it difficult to perform any of their powerful abilities.

"We have to move onward!" yelled Brunhilde over the chattering of the mare.

"You lead, Brunhilde" replied Gunnar "I'll dispatch a few of them with an attack." Brunhilde nodded and slashed at the mare as she tried to clear a path down the hallway where the energy was flowing. Once Brunhilde had gone out of her range, Gunnar somersaulted into the air, her feet covered in lightning and thrust her feet towards the ground while yelling "Thunderous Hammer!" Thunder boomed through the hallway as lightning surged forth from where her feet made contact with the ground and electrocuted the mare around her. Having knocked out many of the mare, Gunnar did not wait for any more to come scurrying out from the vents and immediately turned to catch up with Brunhilde, who stood waiting by the entryway to the stairwell at the end of the hall.

"The energy trail continues to the lower level," stated Brunhilde as she opened the door once Gunnar had caught up. Gunnar looked up the stairwell and realised to her horror that the blue phosphorous energy stream was flowing not only from their floor, but other higher floors down to the lowest level. It seemed to flow like a river of water down to the bottom floor of the hospital.

"Someone is collecting a lot of energy" said Gunnar, sounding concerned.

"I cannot imagine how many mares are lurking in this hospital," said Brunhilde in agreement, "We must remain on our guard." Her warning was well placed, for suddenly they could see the glowing yellow eyes of mare looking down on them from the upper floors of the stairwell. Their chattering echoed in the narrow stairwell as they took note of the Valkyrie's presence. They took to the walls of the stairwell and began to energetically scramble down its lengths in pursuit of the Valkyrie.

"Heat Wave!" yelled Brunhilde, her sword glowing red as she swung it over her head. The crescent energy blast flew upwards and exploded violently as it caught the falling mare in its wake. Having bought themselves some time, the two Valkyrie ran down the stairs to the bottom level of the hospital, the shrieking of the mare chattering behind them growing louder as they amassed in numbers. Following the trail of energy, Gunnar and Brunhilde ran through a doorway and shut it behind themselves quickly. The metal door clanged shut and they heard a "click" as it locked behind them. They could hear the muted chattering and scratching of the mares claws against the door as they struggled to get inside.

Separated from the mare, the Valkyrie had a moment of peace, allowing them to attempt to discern their surroundings. Aside from the stream of energy flowing deeper into the s****, the room was very dark. While there were overhead light fixtures, none of them were turned on, giving the room an eerie blue glow from the flowing energy. They could hear steam running through pipes and other machinery as well as the sound of generators humming with life as they cautiously walked. The heels of Brunhilde's boots echoed pronouncedly as they approached what appeared to be a very large pulsing source of light that shone out from beyond a corner.

Both Valkyrie froze as they saw a large sphere of blue energy floating in the centre of the room above a pool of collected energy. Brunhilde approached the sphere hesitantly, examining it with the tip of her blade. Its surface trembled like a gentle river, the energy rippling ever so slightly while swirling within itself as it maintained its spherical form. It was a beautiful sight to behold, though one that came at the expense of so many people. It had to be destroyed.

"How curious" stated a voice from the darkness. Immediately Brunhilde and Gunnar were on their guard and backed away from the sphere of energy. They stood back to back, facing the darkness that surrounded them. "Are you the Valkyrie that my master spoke of?"

"Show yourself, coward!" yelled Brunhilde. A very pale, dainty-looking woman suavely stepped out from the shadows and stood in front of the energy sphere while chuckling to herself. Her jet black hair was long and straight, and she smiled at the Valkyrie sinisterly as her crimson eyes smouldered in the dimmed lighting of the boiler room from behind silver-rimmed glasses. She wore a lab coat that made her look very much like a doctor. She smiled threateningly, revealing fanged canines.

"You see," said the vampire with her hands casually in the pockets of her lab coat "My master has told me not to confront you. I thought it was because you were legendary Valkyrie, but surely he has erred. I can tell that you are all but mere humans. Do you not think I have slain mortals with magic before?"

"Silence vampire!" yelled Brunhilde while raising her sword in her direction "By the power of my flames, you shall be purged, for I am Brunhilde, the flaming Valkyrie of Justice!"

"The thunder tolls your demise!" continued Gunnar while smacking her fists together sending sparks running up the length of her gauntlets "And I shall strike you down, for I am Gunnar, the shocking Valkyrie of Mirth!"

"So I've been told" yawned the vampire "Allow me to introduce myself, I am Lucretia, and I shall destroy you both." She raised her hands upwards and the energy sphere began to dissolve as it swirled around her violently, whipping the air and stirring dirt and debris. As she began to levitate in the air, one of her crimson eyes turned bright blue, the same colour of the energy.

"Heat wave!" yelled Brunhilde as she ran towards the vampire with her glowing sword. She swung her blade and loosed a crescent-shaped blast of superheated energy at the vampire. Reacting quickly, Lucretia raised her palm in the path of the blast and a sphere of translucent energy formed around her. The blast exploded violently against the energy shield, but did no damage to the vampire.

Running up from behind Brunhilde, Gunnar leapt into the air out from the explosion and somersaulted in the air. As she flipped in the air, her legs became charged with lightning as she yelled "Thunderous hammer!" and thrust her feet onto the top of the shield. Thunder rumbled as lightning surged around the sphere, but Lucretia remained unharmed within, and the shield showed no sign of weakening. Gunnar flipped from the shield and landed back on the ground beside Brunhilde as they regrouped.

"Is that all?" taunted the vampire "Alright, my turn!" she said while dispelling her shield with a powerful wave of energy. Gunnar flipped over the energy wave as it passed her while Brunhilde raised the flat of her sword to protect herself from the brunt of the blast. However, Lucretia was not yet done, she rapidly fired blasts energy from her hands at the Valkyrie. Gunnar was light and quick enough to dodge most of them, though Brunhilde had to call out "Blazing heart!" to summon her shield of heat and fire to protect herself from the onslaught.

"What's the matter Valkyrie?" smiled Lucretia wickedly, "Were you not going to purge me with your flames, and strike me down with your lightning?" Her face darkened "I am going to destroy you both! Ha!!"

Lucretia rushed towards Brunhilde on a burst of energy with two rapiers in her hands. Dispelling her energy shield, Brunhilde crossed her blade with both of the swords, and pushed the vampire away with a grunt. The vampire was not discouraged, spinning on her heels to slash out at Gunnar who was running to strike her with her gauntlets. She loosed a series of energy blasts and fired them at the lightning Valkyrie, who dodged them aptly, though was growing considerably tired.

Lucretia took note of this, she had bigger fish to fry, and returned her attention to Brunhilde. Sparks flew from their weapons as they clashed loudly. The blue light from the energy of Lucretia's rapiers lighting up her eyes, revealing a sadistic sense of glee as they fought. Brunhilde weaved her sword deftly, the blade glowing red and lighting up the area around them as she swung it about herself. While Lucretia knew how to wield her rapiers, she was no match for the refined skill and tenacity that Brunhilde possessed. Seeing an opening in Lucretia's stance, Brunhilde swiftly knocked one of the rapiers out of the vampire's hand. It clattered to the ground, before disappearing in a shower of blue sparkles. Displeased, Lucretia's eyes clouded with anger, and she loosed a powerful blast of energy from around herself. Both Brunhilde and Gunnar were sent flying backwards by the immediate explosion.

"Enough!" she yelled angrily "I am done playing with you two," said Lucretia as she approached Brunhilde threateningly, her hands glowing as energy coursed around her clenched fists "Foolish mortals, your magic spells and celestial armour are no match for me."

"Sun rune!" The room was filled with flight as powerful burst of energy shot forth from behind Brunhilde, hitting the vampire squarely in her chest and throwing her backwards with a dismayed screech. The stranger who had cast the spell stepped out from the shadows. He wore a brown leather jerkin with a furred neck that had a series of leather buckles going up along its front and Norse runes of protection embroidered along down either side of his chest. On his feet he wore furred brown boots that were tied with black leather in a crisscross pattern that went up to his calves. A leather belt bearing more runes rested snugly on his waist, with a silver buckle that depicted three interconnected spirals within a circle. Hanging from the belt was a leather pouch and a short thin metal rod. Most distinguishing was the heavy-looking grey wolf pelt cloak that hung on his shoulders and swept the ground, the hood that shadowed his face was topped with the head of a stag, the antlers bearing hanging trinkets that caught the light as his head moved in the Valkyrie's direction.

"It's true! The Valkyrie have awakened!" he said in shock and awe, "But how can this be?" His head snapped in the direction of the vampire as she groaned in pain. "Quick Valkyrie! Get up!" he commanded "You may be mortal, but you are strong! Your mortality is what made you Valkyrie. You are the daughters of Asgard and Midgard, born not only to choose the slain, but to protect the living."

Brunhilde and Gunnar shakily got to their feet. While they still did not know who this stranger was, he had helped them, and what he said was true. Regardless of the limitations that they faced as mortals, they knew that they had a duty to protect the living. If they did not defeat Lucretia, all those innocent people would continue to slumber, and the energy that was being collected would be used for whatever wickedness that the vampires had devised.

"Heat wave!" yelled Brunhilde, swinging her blade and loosing an energy blast at Lucretia. Once again, the vampire chuckled as she raised an energy shield around herself. Meanwhile, the stranger whipped the metal wand from his belt and traced an image in the air that looked like a lightning bolt as he weaved it quickly in front of himself.

"Sun rune!" yelled the stranger as the image solidified and a blast of white energy burst forth to strike the shield. In that same moment, Gunnar was also quickly approaching Lucretia's shield as lightning coalesced around her gauntlets.

"Lightning fist!" yelled Gunnar as she raised her fist to strike at the shield. All three of their attacks struck the shield at the same time. There was a loud "BOOM" shortly followed by a powerful flash of light as the shield shattered like glass. Lucretia fell to the ground, bruised and burned by the attacks. The eye that had been glowing blue returned to its natural crimson colour as she collapsed, and the orb of energy reappeared in the centre of the room.

"Vampire, you have been found guilty!" yelled Brunhilde while raising her glowing sword above her head "Thus, you shall be purged by fire! Eternal inferno!" A ring of fire surrounded Lucretia and seconds later a powerful torrent of fire erupted from the ground, completely consuming the vampire's body. Once the fire had ceased, there were no remains left of the vampire, her body sealed away.

"Valkyrie!" yelled a voice from behind the warrior-maidens. Quickly they turned on their heels only to realize that the stranger who had fought alongside them had disappeared. Instead, they saw Freya bounding towards them. The sighed with relief, though they had well spent their strength, and they collapsed to the ground with fatigue as their armour magically disappeared in a shower of sparkles.

"The orb!" exclaimed Emily, concerned that they would not be able to restore the energy to everyone without their powers.

"Do not fear, my Valkyrie," said Freya reassuringly as she approached the orb. She touched the orb with the tip of her nose, and it began to fluctuate as its borders fluxed and bowed unstably. Suddenly the orb began to dissolve like sand and the particles floated away into the air, returning to those who it had been stolen from.

"Excellent job, Valkyrie!" praised Freya "Once again, you have prevented the vampires from accomplishing their nefarious deeds."

"What happened to all those mares?" asked Akira curiously.

"When the vampire was defeated, the mares were sealed away with her as well," replied the cat, "Now that their energy has been restored, soon all the midgardians shall begin to stir from their slumber.

"So Terry will be alright?" asked Emily with a hopeful smile.

"Indeed," smiled Freya.

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Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:42 pm
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21-24 (25?)

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Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:42 pm
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i'll be your warrior

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Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:50 pm
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Nice read, you have a follower.

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Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:44 pm
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Thank you for the support!

I ended up writing a lot more than I intended to, but this is probably it until December.

Since Chapter 2 was very dialogue heavy, I threw in Chapter 3 where we meet our second Valkyrie.

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Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:40 pm
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Has this story been halted?

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Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:49 am
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RemPrower wrote:
Has this story been halted?

Only for a little while.

I actually went back and did some plot work to kind of give me a map of where I plan on going. For example, I'm going to beef up Freya and Emily's relationship, so it makes more sense for her father to let her keep the cat. I personally didn't think that they had become close enough between the first chapter and when Adoptapalooza happens that it had merited her father seeing a "bond" between the cat and the girl.

The plot working was a complete success, so now I know what the general plot for this book and the next 3 books are going to be. It's actually quite exciting progress!

Unfortunately, I forgot all of this work in my other home, so until I get back in mid-February, I won't really be able to work on anything.



.

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Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:24 pm
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Kiki wrote:
RemPrower wrote:
Has this story been halted?

Only for a little while.

I actually went back and did some plot work to kind of give me a map of where I plan on going. For example, I'm going to beef up Freya and Emily's relationship, so it makes more sense for her father to let her keep the cat. I personally didn't think that they had become close enough between the first chapter and when Adoptapalooza happens that it had merited her father seeing a "bond" between the cat and the girl.

The plot working was a complete success, so now I know what the general plot for this book and the next 3 books are going to be. It's actually quite exciting progress!

Unfortunately, I forgot all of this work in my other home, so until I get back in mid-February, I won't really be able to work on anything.

That's a shame. I'm really starting to like this story and I hope it continues to the very end!

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Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:53 pm
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Aww thanks!!

It will definitely continue

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Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:00 pm
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sooo, how's this going

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Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:54 pm
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lol funny you should mention. I was going to wait until I finished writing Chapter 4. Most of it has been rewritten

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Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:40 am
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