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  • Writer's pictureLaurel Knight

Valkyrie Fallen - Chapter 4



Of course, Odin had to have his fun. He made a big deal of selecting which outfit he planned for me to wear when he dropped me off on Midgard in the 800s. At first he thought it might be amusing to just deposit me in my modern clothes, but then he decided that might give me an advantage with the locals. It was bad enough I needed my sword to be somewhat human—the humans would likely take notice of its craftsmanship, even though they didn’t know how powerful it truly was.

In the end, Odin had a servant rustle up a basic rough spun gown in a dull grey color and a leather belt, then had me escorted to a chamber to change. The same servant accompanied me, likely to ensure I didn’t sneak away or hide any modern items on my person to take with me to the past. If I thought she was my only barricade to freedom, I could have taken her out; however, I felt the movement of air beside us—at least two valkyrie were posted outside my room, ready to entrap me if needs be.

When I returned to the great hall it was exactly as how I’d left, but my arrival spurred them to action.

The first thing I noticed was a great rush of air, as if all the valkyries took to the sky at once, their powerful wings pushing their bodies away from the ground.

Odin, Frigg, Thor, and Heimdall all stood, and with an escort of guards, marched down the hallway to where I waited with my escort.

Passing us, they led the procession back along the delicate winding paths toward the Bifrost. A simple stone structure was the only marker for the magical pathway to the realms. It had to be activated first, then Heimdall would select the destination realm, and only then would the rainbow bridge appear. A shiver of excitement wound through the dread in my stomach. Part of me was innately curious to see exactly how Odin would turn back time.

We entered the humble building, crowding in around the wide circular table that occupied the center of the round room. Heimdall glanced at Odin, who nodded, then pulled a giant brass key from beneath his shirt. When he inserted it into the hole in the center, the table jumped to life.

The magic rose like a vessel filling with water from the bottom. Glittering fragments of magic shivered into the air, pulsating with power as they formed ghostly renditions of the nine realms. They created a floating constellation of faintly glittering spheres, slowly spinning in the golden space above the table.

Heimdall nodded once more to Odin and backed away from the table. Odin reached for the sphere that represented Midgard, and I noticed a ring on his middle finger that sparkled with the same magical glow as the fragments on the table. He could encircle the ball with his fingers, and with an expression of intense concentration, he flicked one finger alongside the sphere, sending it spinning in the opposite direction.

Nothing else happened; everyone just watched Odin work a time reversal on Midgard like they saw it all the time. With a jolt, I realized I didn’t know how many times he might have done this already… if I were on Midgard, I wouldn’t even know it happened. I didn’t bother to ask how it worked, or how he knew when to stop; I knew I wouldn’t receive an answer. 

At no signal I could see, Odin stopped the magical mini Midgard from spinning and replaced it to float among the others above the table.

“Well, darling Brenna,” Odin smiled, resuming his paternal air, “it’s time for you to go. I’ll be in touch, of course, but I hope you like your new home. Heimdall?”

The other man appeared at Odin’s side and leaned in to allow Odin to whisper in his ear. With a nod, he stepped away, avoiding my desperate eyes as he focused on the magical representation of Midgard.

Raising a small, ornate horn to his lips, Heimdall blew a short blast to summon the Bifrost.

The table glowed with dancing rainbow colors that concentrated on Midgard. Waves of magic thickened and brightened the light until it was too bright and impossible to look directly at it. Then, with a whoosh, a beam of glittering rainbow light shot out of the magical sphere and enveloped me, dragging me into the Bifrost once more.

I hadn’t had time to panic. Truthfully, I’d felt more shock than any other emotion since Odin revealed himself.

But now, traveling the Bifrost over eleven hundred years into the past, panic rose in my throat and threatened to choke me.

I had nothing aside from the clothes on my back and the sword in my hand. I had nothing to barter with, nothing to trade or sell. I had no friends, no contacts, no one who would remember me at all. Odin had effectively wiped me and my memory from Midgard completely.

Even once I figured out where he was dumping me; even if I could reach the village, he’d banished me to the last time, they’d have no memory of who I was. I’d be starting anew there, just as much as I was starting over in a new place.

My heart, already a cold, withered thing, shrunk even more. I just couldn’t do it again. It was too much; I shuddered to think of all the things I had survived the first time around. I couldn’t live through those things again.

Valkyries were immortal, but not impervious to wounds. I had a way out through battle, if I was strong enough to take it.

Abruptly, the weight of my body crashing to Midgard hit me full force. My eyes closed, my hand gripping my only possession, I lay still for just a moment.

I was on my back, in a pile of something pokey that had a bit of give. Drawing in a deep breath, I sneezed. Yep, definitely hay. I was laying in a haystack.

I reached out with my senses, trying to glean information about my surroundings. I knew Odin wouldn’t drop me in full view of anyone, so I had at least a minute or two to adapt to my new reality.

The earthy, damp smell of mud and horse droppings filled my nostrils beneath the sweeter scent of hay. It was dark beyond my closed lids, the night chill and damp… I’d need to find shelter and better clothing soon, or risk freezing in a damp heap of hay for the night. Sighing, I pried open my eyelids and stared up at a thatched roof, the sky dark and cloudy beyond. Nearby, a horse whinnied and other animals, likely pigs, rooted through wet-sounding slop.

But then I heard it: the sharp, metallic clang of sword meeting sword.

Nearby, someone was fighting. And if I wanted to either earn my place, or find someone to end my torment, two fighting vikings were an excellent place to start.

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