Bifrost

byIrian©

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact author through profile.

*****

Aztrit let the cape hanging off of her armour flow behind her as she stepped over muddied bodies soaking in their own blood. As the rain came down harder on to their blue flesh, she said a prayer to the Gods, "Freyja let them join you in your afterlife to rest. Let my chosen, Odin, serve faithfully in Valhalla to await Ragnarok." She pulled longswords and arrows from their bodies as she prayed and blessed their bodies. When they were no longer defiled, she lifted her hands above the field and set the bodies aflame. The eternal flames didn't waver from the water falling from the sky. She had done this ever since the creation of slaughter. When men discovered the gruesome sport of merciless murder, they took to open fields, crowded cities, any place they could to utilize death as a strategy of negotiation. She pitied those left behind as their family burned, only to serve forcefully for the Gods' armies when it was time for this world to come to an end. Good men that had only dreamed of returning to safety. She was torn. As a Valkyrie, she knew death was not personal. Battle was honorable and necessary, but a part of her that she rarely cared to listen to, pitied those who took pleasure in it.

A bright light descended in front of her, shining so intensely that she felt it force her pupils to dilate. It formed itself into a ball and levitated closer to her face. She reached out and touched its top, causing it to speak to her, "Odin's request." It repeated over and over until she grasped it in her palm. Light engulfed her and she began to feel wind whipping harshly around her. Unafraid, she waited for the feeling to pass and opened her eyes. The porcelain throne room that now stood before her was more welcoming than the bloody gray field she had just left. The silver torches lining the walls shone as the blue flames in them danced in their holsters. Portraits of her family, decorated the ceilings and walls made entirely out of shining graphite. She didn't have a portrait of her own, and none of the subjects in those pictures looked like her. Her complexion was far from alabaster, like theirs. Like her fathers. She had never known her mother, but it was not off putting to assume she had skin just like Aztrit's. Smooth and brown with deep red undertones.

She removed her gold embroidered helmet and let her thick straight black her fall down her back. She held the metal to her hip as light swirled around the empty silver lined throne. She bowed as she saw Odin's body materializing. His scraggly blonde beard hung to his belly and his dark green armour rattled against the throne as he sat in it. He looked happy, just as he usually did when she come from collecting troops from their resting places. His laugh boomed as he got up just as quickly as he had sat and moved forward to embrace her. His white teeth and blue eyes shone as he called to her.

"Aztrit!" His arms wrapped around her and lifted her off of the ground. Even in his humanoid form he towered over her. But most pure gods did. "What a wondrous battle. The warriors are very talented from this day. I'm very pleased."

"I'm pleased you're pleased father, but I'm positive you have summoned me for something else." She patted him on the back as he put her down. His blonde eyebrows furrowed and nodded in agreement to her statement. His gold cape swept the floor as he retreated back to his throne.

"Firstly, I am glad you could pick the warriors at Haverslhab. This battle was very important to me. And as the lead of the Valkyrie, I could entrust this to no one but you, my daughter. I am continuously pleased with how strong you have become." He reclined and motioned for her to come closer. He took her hand in his and looked into her whiskey eyes. Her mother had the same. But Aztrit's lacked the innocence that her mothers had glowed with. A fact he was happy for. She had trained and fought valiantly over the centuries, building his repertoire and her own resilience. She was still young by immortal standards, but her ferocity was unmatched. She followed orders with no qualms and protected Asgard like he had seen no other do. She was different from his other children, and had he not have had sons, he would undoubtedly make her ruler when he left this world.

She squeezed his hand back and knelt by his feet. "I am honored." Her father always had kind things to say to her. Odin was always willing to aid and shower her as she requested in return for her fealty. She had never questioned him. But something was amiss. He was usually more direct with her summonings. Never wanting to miss an event that could turn the tides of their standing before Ragnarok, when they would eventually use the souls they've placed in Valhalla to fight for the continuation of their society. "What is it you really need father?"

"There is a matter that I wish to ask of you. Something different then your typical tasks. A lord was at Haverslhab. He was not fated to die today, or ever, on the field. He is fated to live to old age and die naturally. But his efforts today were unmatched. He was more glorious than I have seen in quite some time. I want him for our army." He said easily, not expecting her to look so horrified.

She pulled her hand away and stood. "If he is not fated, I would have to kill him personally. His death will not be honorable. Such a warrior will have earned a long life. Those I pick on the field are strength enough." It was unthinkable to take a life just for the purpose of coveting it. True, she did choose fierce warriors on the field, but she only took them if they were bested. A man who was never beaten did not deserve to be ill fated.

Odin stood along with her and continued, "Try not to be so unforgiving. We have prepared for eons. His life will help us in in our time of need, and there is no greater honor than that of serving Valhalla. Just as you fight, so must others."

"But he is not fated. You said this. Who am I to steal his life from him? We take who is offered, it would be unjust to take who is not. Their souls would be tainted, unloyal, wavering. Why would you wish for someone who may not fight for you?" How could he ask her this? To be so deceptive to the fates and to take greedily? This was not inline with what her father valued. But she grew quiet as she thought about it. If he was asking her, he might have his own reasons. It was not her place to question what he asked, only to do what he wanted. "What would you have me do?"

Odin laughed again with pleasure, "That's my girl! Kirk Verdulke. Lord of Grothen. His lands are central in Karth. However, He is preparing for a war with The Elicit west of his lands. I do not want him until he has finished this. He will grow stronger because of the massacre and I want him at his peak. Live among them as a healer and continue to send soldiers from the battles."

She nodded in agreeance. "And what of the fates? If he was destined for something greater, they'll surely intervene."

"This, you will not be worried about. Your brothers will take care of it. You just bring me my treasure." He smiled broadly as he began to dematerialize. With the gust of wind and light, he was gone.

*****

The sun was bright in Karth. The human countryside was always beautiful. The people were diverse and flourished from trade with the dwarves and elves. Here at the marketplace in Grothen, the people bartered over fruits and farm animals, trading gold and silver for their purchases. She was always grateful to walk among them. In Asgard she was different, in Karth she looked just as a quarter of the people did. Most were anglo-saxon, but the people were balanced and peaceful. Humans of dark, light, and medium skin spoke amiably. When elves and dwarves were among them, peace still reigned. After the banishing of The Elicit to Froit, the kingdom to the west, prosperity became contagious. Clans of all origins still fought, but never again continent wide suffering.

She had long since changed from her Valkyrie Armour. She adorned traditional Grothen attire. Her dress was cream. The side was laced intricately like a corset from her hip to the crook of her arm. The slit in the side showcased one of her smooth sable legs and the gold bangles on both her arms matched the thick gold plate necklace hanging from her graceful neck. The dress hung closely to her curvy body, displaying her large hips, her slim waist, and her large bust. She was thankful she was no longer wearing the heavy armour.

Aztrit was greeted copiously by vendors offering her spices and perfumes. But she was uninterested, she still had to do what would disgust her. Others in the marketplace looked mournful as she came closer to the large stone castle at the end of the long row of carts. Children clung to their crying mothers and others spoke quietly to each other in comfort. She reached the heavy wooden double doors and pushed them open. The hall was filled with warriors laying on cots and tables. Most were bloody and bruised. Others coughed and gasped for air. The smell of their combined blood was unbearable and concentrated in the large hall. She looked at the table closest to her. A man was hanging haphazardly on the bench, seeming to be choking on his own blood. His eyes were wide from fear and his beard was matted from his fluids. This was the part of war which she hated. The suffering. The inevitable repercussions that came from facing your enemies with blades.

She glanced around the fire lit stone hall, seeing no one, she began praying over the bodies. She prayed to Frigg for their healing and safe keeping. As soon as she began the hall seemed to move and sway with her words. Healing was moderately new to her. Space around her would contort making it difficult for her to breathe as she healed. To do so on such a mass skill was also new to her, but it was a power she wanted to implement as much as possible. The tables shook as she choked on her words until she was no longer able to speak. She could heal without praying, but giving grace to the Gods for her gifts was always a priority for her.

She gasped for air as she finished. Thanking Frigg again she closed her eyes and took deep breaths. She suddenly sensed she was being watched. As soon as she turned her head to the right, an axe came flying from behind a pillar towards her head. Her gold shield materialized on her arm and blocked it. Her attacker wasted no time continuing to swing heavy blows at her that she blocked with her shield. She jumped back through the tables to put space between her and her assailant to look at who challenged her. He was tall. Staggeringly so. Taller than her human and Valkyrie form. His dark hair hung around his ears, and his silver eyes glared at her beneath a heavy scar marking his face from his temple to the top of his lip. His beard was well formed around his face and neck. He still wore his black armour as his chest rose and fell heavily. His shoulders were broad and his chest expansive. She could tell he was well muscled underneath his beaten armour. What interested her the most was that his blows had actually been heavy to her. She had barely deflected the axe before he had moved in again. If this wasn't the warrior her father wanted, she would be tempted to take him if he ever fell.

"Kirk Verdulke?" She questioned lowering her shield. He ignored her and advanced again. She could have stopped him. But after witnessing his technique she was intrigued. She held her hand to the sky and with a flash of light summoned Hurink, her beloved onyx blade trimmed with gold. Her display did not cause him to waver he only continued and swung outwardly as she blocked him again. He swung with his long sword while she blocked and swiped Hurink down his chest as she stepped to the side. She had only cut his armour off to spur him on. She wanted to continue. It did anger him. She dodged his parries as he dealt them skilfully. If she wasnt Valkyrie, she might have died by his hand. But she sensed the warriors laying in the hall would begin to wake soon. So she cut to the chase. This time when he circled her and advanced she cut his bicep in one swoop. He fell to his knees in front of her as she held Hurink to his throat. He dropped his sword in defeat as he bled profusely.

She bent down to his face at her midsection and put her weapons away. She took his face in both her hands and looked deeply into his eyes. He was dying quickly from the blood loss. "Kirk Verdulke?" she repeated.

"Aye." He breathed out deeply. He could feel death rising in his throat. But her whiskey eyes soothed his pain.

"You are not meant to die today. Listen quickly. I don't know if you can tell, but you're dying much quicker than I intended. My name is Aztrit. I don't know how closely you know beings of Asgard, but I am-"

"Valkyrie." He finished with a wheeze. His eyes began to flutter.

"Shit." She said hastily. She hadn't meant to cut him so deep. She was enraptured by their battle. She brought her face closer to his, close enough for their noses to touch gently. "Hold still." She whispered against his lips and she kissed him softly. His lips were full and thick, and for a second she felt him kiss back. She tasted sweet mead on them. She was more enticed by the heat they were sharing then she expected. She pulled back when she could no longer breath.

The color began to return to his face as the blood backtracked into his body. He coughed and held his chest as she peered down at him. He had seen her on the field as his men rode away. They hadn't lost many, but many were injured. To see the power she held over the bodies as they burned angered him. They had not chosen to fight for Valhalla, but they all knew in battle they were offerings for Odin. "Why, are you here?" he managed to cough out. When he was feeling more balanced he stood.

"We need to talk somewhere else. Your men will wake momentarily. Before they know i'm here, we need to discuss our roles to each other. Is there someplace we could go?" She looked around the hall as the resting bodies began to move.

"You didn't take them? For Valhalla?" He was confused. He had never heard of a Valkyrie that would heal, only the type that stole lives away. When she motioned no, he nodded towards the stairs behind the banners on either side of the great hall.

She followed him as they moved quickly. They hurried up the stairs and down the long cold hallway, following the deep blue carpet to the end of the hall. He pushed open the wooden door and let her come in before shutting and dropping the latch to lock it. The room was grand. Banners of different hues of blue hung for the cities in Karth, With the Grothen Royal blue hanging the largest over the bed. The bed nearly stretched the entirety of the wall it was against. Book shelves lined every other wall and a desk sat close to the fireplace that reached all the way to the ceiling. It wasn't luxurious like Asgard, but it was the finest human room she had been in.

"Explain what the Valkyrie want with my men." His voice was calm. Unexpectedly so. She had just come close to killing him. She broke from her admiration and faced him as he sulked by the door.

"Odin has favoured you. I had heard you were quite impressive to him. This I could tell to be true from our battle. The short message, Lord Verdulke, is that I am to help you with your war against The Elicit. To make sure the war goes in your favour. If that doesn't hurt your ego too much." She walked closer to him and put her hand near the slowly healing wound. "Sorry about the gash. I got caught up in the moment."

He raised his brows, "That kiss? It healed me?" Her head only came to his chest as she looked closely at it. She was more beautiful than anyone he had ever brought to his bed. Under different circumstances, he would take her too. But she was something dangerous. And she was undoubtedly keeping things from him.

She smiled up at him. She didn't need to kiss him to heal him. She just found that it worked better with physical contact. The kiss had been because he pleased her with his skills. "In a way yes. But I didn't heal it long enough. I need to close it completely or you'll probably still die. It works better if it's reciprocated."

At first, he was hesitant. But her eyes coaxed him on. They drowned him in her heat. She saw him fighting it. His eyes turned into a darker steele as he relaxed his shoulders and bent his face to hers. She let him lead this time. Allowing him to feel her lips as he took her hair into his hands. She felt her body melt closely to his warmth. There the spark was again, fluttering in her stomach as his tongue dipped in between her lips. She placed a hand on his injured arm to find the wound sealed. Still, she allowed him to continue.

He knew his wound was gone, but he couldn't find the strength to pull away from her sweet plump lips. She was proving to be passionate for a murderess. She moaned softly on his tongue as he gripped her hair. He pulled away quickly, needing to put space between them before he forgot what she was. "Do you make a habit out of kissing your victims?" He said smoothly as he held her.

She stepped away and laughed before taking a seat on the desk. "Only particularly handsome ones." She hadn't engaged physically with humans for a long time. But he was drawing her in much faster than the others.

He took a seat close to her at the desk. "So what is it you're looking to do while you're here? If Odin believes I need assistance, I will not protest."

She sat up straighter and fingered her necklace, "Ideally, I'll be under the guise of a healer you'll travel with." She opened her eyes wide as she remembered what had happened. Humans never remembered they were even injured after she healed them. None of the men would remember how they suffered. She had healed Lord Verdulke twice, and he remembered. "Your men won't remember that they were ever injured, and they won't be aware of the powers I have. Do you identify as human My Lord?''

"Yes." She caught the lie as it left his lips. But she would let him have his small victory. She would find out eventually.

"Of course." She said to him knowingly. "What are the beginnings of your plan? You've already fought elicit today at Haverslhab. But you sustained a lot of damage. Surely you'll be gathering support from other countries?''

"In two weeks time, we'll be traveling to Vertan to gather elvish support. King Derkot has already sent his approval back to me. But we need to meet to make it official. Until then, we rest. It was going to be time to heal, but you've taken care of that for us. We'll focus on training until then." He frowned as she stared deeply at his lips. "Are you listening Valkyrie?"

The way he said her warrior name made her anxious to sit on him instead of the desk. "I'm being as attentive as possible, I assure you." She smiled through her words. "While i'm in Grothen, I obey you. Two weeks is quite a bit of down time. Is there anything I could help you with while we prepare, My Lord?"

He knew she was teasing him. He had read that Valkyrie had the capabilities to manipulate emotion in order to soothe their chosen as they die. But he would not succumb. She crossed her legs as he eyed them and leaned forward to let him admire her body.

She was teasing him. But she didn't believe in manipulating emotion. Everything had to be raw. It would be unfulfilling otherwise. She read his eyes when they met hers again. His voice poured over her like a hot bath, "Are Valkyrie allowed to do this?"

"We have a tendency to be a little overly passionate with others. It comes from the same place we passionately fight." She could usually control how she felt, but his smell was intoxicating, pine and sweat. She slid off the desk and unbarred the door, "Care to show me where I'll be staying?"

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