Heart and Soul
Location: Asgard, Vanaheim
As always the mighty warrior woman known as Hildr was prepared for battle. Tightening her fingers into fists that could shatter lesser beings, the towering blonde bombshell stretched the leather straps that held her armor upon her breast as she took a mighty breath. Upon her brow, a glistening, silver winged helm sat low. On her hip, a long, two-handed broadsword was strapped tight and hung out behind her, pulling up her velvety blue cape as she let out that long breath.
It was time to approach the raging being on the other side of the massive, ornately carved wooden door and have, at last, a reckoning.
Grabbing the twin, golden rings, Hildr pulled, and the massive doors, easily 4 meters tall, swung open. Standing inside at the balcony overlooking the golden realm, was the former Baroness of the Artan Empire. The enhanced woman, empowered by her connection to her intended, Schwein Von Alcott was in a mood. And a woman with as much power within her as Schwein now did being in a mood was a dangerous thing indeed.
But as her chosen guard and confidant, the Valkyrie known as Hildr was honor-bound to do something about that. "M'lady, I have received word of some... beast... in the northern seas of Vanaheim. It has vexed the local fishermen and has caused quite a bit of devastation."
"Mayhaps... you seek some... diversion?" Hildr asked, the slightest hint of anxiety in her deep voice.
Turning her frown into a grin, the former Baroness turned to her friend and companion, tightening a couple of the straps on her own gold and leather armor and patting the lightning cudgel at her side, the royal blue cloak trailing behind her as she turned. "Aye, I could use a diversion. My mind is filled with worry and running in circles and if you have something that I can throw my fists at, I would much appreciate it."
It was odd that after all the years around pirates and Starfleet she had kept her accent, yet here in Asgard she now tried to pick up the local speech patterns. Her Germanic accent was still there, but she now had a distinct Asgardian twang to it as well. "Let us go dance with this beast that troubles our people so, ja?"
Relaxing a bit, Hildr had been worried that her not-so-subtle attempt to offer her lady a distraction would be received poorly. Standing up a bit straighter, the broad-shouldered woman stood a good head taller than her mistress and smiled. "Then... let us be off. To which we have only one decision to make. Shall we travel by rainbow bridge... or Rainbow Dash?"
The silver-haired woman nodded thoughtfully, assessing the situation. "We will likely be fighting over water so pegasi will be needed. However, Vanaheim is quite the distance. I believe it would be wise to use a combination of travel methods. Besides, I have not seen Heimdall since my arrival and would not mind seeing him again."
"As you wish, m'lady." Hildr said with a grin as she brought her fingers to her lips and let out a sharp whistle.
Moments ladder, there was a rush of air and the sound of mighty wings as a massive white horse descended upon the balcony, bright white wings carrying it down to a gentle landing just outside. Across it's back and up its neck, spirals of gold connecting a white, leather saddle to an ornate, golden bridle.
Stepping up, the mountain of muscle leaned in with a massive grin and gave the winged horse a hug around its thick neck. "Ah, good boy. Who is my good boy? Yes. Yes, it's you, yes it is."
Bumping Hildr with his head, the horse whinnied and clicked its gilded hooves on the marble of the balcony as Hildr put a foot in the reins and effortlessly lifted herself up onto the saddle, tapping it behind her. "Your ride, my lady."
"I was never very good with animals," Schwein admitted as Hildr helped her up. and they set off. "Thank you, my friend. It may be some time before I am able to ride unassisted."
With a mighty thrust of his massive wings, they were airborne with a force that would have staggered lesser women as the winged steed arc over the fabled spires of the land eternal that was known in legend as Asgard. "Rainbow Dash lets few ride him even as a passenger. You, the lovely mistress Ethel, and very few others."
"Ahh, there lies the great bifrost, stretching forward into the realms infinite." Hildr said as the horse swiftly dipped in between the gilded cityscape towards the rainbow bridge.
"Ja, it is a more elegant method of travel than transporters, yet I find myself missing starships, if I am to be completely honest. It feels lacking to go somewhere without the journey," the silver tressed woman explained.
"Well then..." Hildr said, patting Rainbow Dash on the side of his thickly cabled neck, "Tis a good thing that we only need the Bifrost to cross to Vanaheim. The rest of the way, we travel in style."
Opening his massive wings wide, the white steed reared back in the air and gently landed upon the shimmering surface, reflecting back upon them like a prism. In this case, a prism that refracted both light and those upon it between realms. Before them stood two massive, gilded arches that, they themselves, looked like sculpted wings that curved overhead. Standing between them, a massive figure cloaked in navy blue robes holding a broad-bladed sword, edge down, whose face and eyes were obscured behind the visor of an ancient helmet with arcs upon them that matched the gilded gateway he stood in defense of.
From the steed, Hildr bowed her head and spoke. "Lord Heimdall, the Lady Schwein and myself seek passage to the realm of Vanaheim."
"It is good to see you again," Schwein added with a wide grin.
The somber man, taller even than Hildr, barely reacted physically. His voice was deep and steady, and his golden eyes fixed and calm. And within the shadows of his face under the deep visor of his helm, one could see the stars of eternity stretching wide within him. "Indeed, Lady Schwein. I have seen the calamity in Vanaheim and saw your coming. Your intervention is most needed..."
"And I'm sure the diversion will be most welcome to balm your troubles." He finished, with the slightest hint of a smile in the depths of his resonant voice as he stepped aside and rapped the bridge beneath his feet with the tip of his blade.
As he did, the air between the gilded arches shimmered and the rainbow bridge they stood upon stretched into the ether.
"Punching my way through my feelings is a barbaric way of doing it, ja? Yet here I am, doing it again," Schwein smiled broadly up at the tall guardian of the rainbow bridge once more as they passed through the archway. "Thankfully, my punching my issues out is able to benefit others as well. Thank you, my friend."
The response from the guardian of the gateway was naught but a simple bow as, with a mighty flourish of his wings, Rainbow Dash was airborne once more and the travelers were through the gate.
With a flash of radiant color and a momentary swirling disorientation, they found themselves high above the realm of Vanaheim. VERY high, indeed, and seemingly a good distance from their destination along the shore where the villages were under siege.
Soaring over the clouds, the moonlight shone brightly up at them, reflected back by those same fluffy clouds.
"Heimdal does indeed see all. Including, it seems, the need for a slightly longer journey." Hildr said, hesitantly, not wanting to offend her mistress.
"It seems we have a few moments of time with which to discuss what troubles you, m'lady..." the broad-shouldered woman gulped slightly. "If you need an ear, that is."
"Ja, I do need to get a few things off my chest," replied the former pirate. In truth, she had concerns over her place here for a while now, yet had remained silent. She knew Thor had chosen her and that the people liked her... But it still felt like a dream or like she was tricking people.
In the end, she settled on a sigh and a simple question to start out with. "Am I really worthy to be here? Marrying Thor, God of Thunder, living in Asgard, all of this... It feels like a dream. I'm not in a coma somewhere and dreaming all of this up, am I?"
"Feel this wind in your hair. Taste that sea air blowing up from the sea far below." Hildr said confidently. "Not the tricks of a dream, are these, m'lady. But I do understand your fears. Thou were born mortal. A human of Midgard. Special. More than the others, perhaps. But mortal. Now, you find yourself on the cusp of something more than your imagination."
"You learned that what you once thought was only myth is our truth." Hildr said. "But is that not the way of your former fellows? To explore? To discover? Even before our scion chose you, did you not walk among greater beings? Does not the one known as Hera reside upon your former home? The Great Deliverer?"
"Ja, I have walked with Death in the literal sense as well as Hera among others as friends. I now walk with you as a friend and comrade and am now to be wed to the one I worshipped first before all others." With a wry grin, Schwein continued. "It is just a difficult thing to fully grasp, is all. As if Loki or another god of mischief is playing a trick on me. After all, I have lost much in my life - being tricked into willingly abandoning Enalia would be more believable given my past."
"Loki is a powerful trickster, but even he is not omnipotent, my mistress." Hildr said as they dipped below the cloudline, closer to their destination. "Were this an illusion... all of it... it would have meant that every encounter and experience you have had for... well over a year of your time was a fabrication. That would be... considerable effort for something with no evident goal."
"Though if it means that you somehow dreamed my time with the glorious Ethel Jablonski, then I would also say, dream on, m'lady." Hildr joked, turning slightly to her friend. "This is real."
The silver tressed woman couldn't help but laugh out loud for that admission, the tension relieved somewhat for the moment. "I was definitely not there for that, ja? In that case, I will count my lucky stars and consider my luck changed for the better."
As the kraken came into view below them, Schwein's voice softened slightly. "For those that have fallen while under me..." Then she saw the terror that the tentacled beast was wreaking along the coastline and she was once more fired up to wreak some havoc of her own. "I feel like seafood for dinner tonight! How about you? Let's show this critter to the afterlife!"
Unsheathing the massive gold-hilted blade from her side, Hildr held it forward and kicked the sides of Rainbow Dash gently but firmly as she shouted at the top of her lungs, "FOR ASGARD!!!!!
Tucking its long wings in tight, the mighty flying steed began to plummet down towards the raging, multi-tentacled beast half the size of a starship. Mere meters from the frothing, icy seas, the steed's wings burst open lifting them out of their dive underneath one of the Kraken's thick tentacles as Hildr swung her blade up, cleaving the limb off in one slice.
"Rainbow Dash, fly her TRUE! HYAAAAGHHH!!!" Hildr shouted as they arced up over the beasts roaring head, it's stump spewing a black bile into the waters. Turning slightly, the blonde behemoth had a mad grin on her face as she lept off of the flying steed down to the beast below.
Leaving Schwein on the saddle, now in control of the flying steed.
Though she wasn't confident in her abilities to handle an animal in the slightest, she trusted the noble steed completely and in that regard, she felt safe to just hang on and let the pegasus do its thing. Rather, she gave a pat to Rainbow Dash's mane full of confidence that she may not have felt, pulled free her mace, and started waving it in the air in circles, starting up a thunderstorm the likes of which would make Thor proud. As the storm built, lightning started to rain down upon the tentacled beast, searing its flesh as it did so.
As the bolts struck, Hidlr lept backward off of the head of the beast, flipping clear and taking another tentacle with her as she let out a loud, "HYAAA!!!"
As the assault from the elements faded, the great beast roared in pain, flailing wildly towards the source of its agonies. With one massive swing of multiple tentacles, it struck Hildr in midair, sending the mighty Valkyrie flying into the nearby beachhead as Rainbow dash only barely avoided the blow.
Twisting upside down, in mid-air, the silver-haired former pirate almost slipped free of the horse before the magnificent beast righted itself, coming in for another run.
Pulling herself out of the shattered rock face with a grunt, Hildr was slightly dazed, but grinning. "AHHH! I do love it when my calamari fights BACK!"
"It's always tastier once it's tenderized!" Schwein called out as she sent another lightning storm down, this one focusing on the head of the beast and causing the remaining tentacles to go crazy with writhing spasms. She was barely hanging onto the back of the mighty Rainbow Dash, yet something told her the keen pegasus was going easy on her.
Once the smoke cleared, the creature was writing weakly as the lightning attacks had taken their toll on it and, with the last of its strength, its limbs stopped flailing as the fell with a massive splash, into the roiling sea.
From the shore, Hildr ran over to grab on of the larger tentacles that was strewn across the rocks and grabbed ahold with her massive arms and started tugging. "Oh, no sinking into the depths for you, foul beast! You besieged this fair village for many nights, and your meat will feed many a child."
Patting the neck of the mighty steed, Schwein grinned and pointed her cudgel towards the shore. "What say we assist with the cleanup, ja?"
As Rainbow Dash came in for a landing, the former pirate hopped off and returned her weapon to her belt, heading towards the nearest pair of tentacles. With a mighty heave, she gripped them tightly and whipped them so that the body of the beast cracked up onto shore with a mighty thump, a distressed moan coming from the forlorn kraken. "Now you will not escape!"
With the beast subdued, Hildr walked over as the local villagers began to peer out their doors in astonishment. "So, m'lady? How do you feel?"
Stretching and grinning, the silver haired woman couldn't help but nod. "Better. Refreshed. Thank you. Just have to pass a few more days until the wedding now, ja?"
"Indeed!" Hildr said with a nod as she sized up how best to chop the beast up for cooking. "Thankfully, by how your fellows measure time back on that ship, our days stretch quite long by mortal standards. Plenty of time to prepare."
The former pirate narrowed her uncovered eye at her companion, trying to piece together what she had just said. She was fairly certain she'd read the calendar right, but the 3D thing was obstinate to begin with so there was really no way of knowing more than how many days on Asgard it would be. She knew time wasn't measured the same here as it was in the rest of the universe, but if it was even further off than she thought... "Quite long? Just how long is an Asgardian day on the calendar I have been looking at? How far away is my wedding day in Earthly time?"
"Many think us immortal here in the Realm Eternal. But it is but the realm itself that is everlasting." Hildr said matter of factly as she wiped some of the blood of the Kraken off of her sword with the leading edge of her own cape. "Though... I admit I am not the wisest woman in the realms in such regard. Here, you may live many hundreds... perhaps thousands... of human lifetimes while your form will age only slightly."
"In Midgard, we flow with time as it does for them. A life lived there even for an Asgardian is far more limited. But here, What is to us but a day is many months or more for them. I... believe it has been... SIX of their months since our grand party for thee on Risa last week."
With a slow motion facepalm, Schwein realized just how far removed from the rest of reality Asgard really was and vowed to herself to better understand the difference in not only the calendars, but the time scales and send a message to her friends explaining the issue. Her wedding may be a few Asgardian days away but for Enalia and the crew of the Hera...
"Ja, I will have to figure that math out later. For now, let us feast on fresh seafood."
"HO!!!" Hildr proclaimed as she turned and hoisted her sword high towards the small fishing village on the black rock shore they stood upon. "Come, good peoples! Bring your cooking tools and let us celebrate this..."
As some of the townspeople began to slowly linger out of their doors, Hildr was cut off as the massive creature began to moan behind her.
"Quiet, you!" The mighty Valkyrie said, turning and thrusting her blade deep in its head as it squealed and died. "There, that's better. Someone bring BUTTER!!!"