1964-03-16 - North by Valhalla
Summary: While in Valhalla, the Wolf Prince and the Midgardner experience a vision of a missing warrior…
Related: The Open Door
Theme Song: Lawless - Descent
rogue hrimhari sif 

Dusky nightfall creeps on soft lynx paws over the hamlet locked in winter's grip, the remnants of a Nor'easter blasted over the length of New York up towards Maine. Weather maps depict the chilly temperatures on the ground in shades of blue, an odd mirror for the crystalline shadows lengthening over lawns heaped in high, icy mounds and half-hearted attempts by the local authorities to clear the streets. In places the unfortunate blooms poke through a heavy crust, victims to the mid-March onslaught. Other victims sleep in their beds, barely aware of the cancellation of school awaiting them in the morning, while their elders tune into the television and mutter about Mother Nature being worse than any alien.

A ring of houses enfolds the green space stretching alongside the roadside, separating the sleepy village from the large man made reservoir that proves an appreciably large lake, behind an even larger cement dam, the likes of which would suffer if it fell. Which, arguably, is precisely why certain forces are about.

The Wolf Prince and the skald may have come on a lark, the purpose to flit through the trees and past the manicured lawns or wilder fringes of parkland. She skims over the snowy fields, the flurries dancing behind them blocking the stars and veiling their presence at a distance.

"'Tis nothing like Storm King Mountain," she murmurs, "though odd we should discover a place named Valhalla and the park. A number of others, of course, share a resonance to Asgard."


Coming up alongside his friend — whom he knows by more than one name: Scarlett, 'Lady Bloodcrown' (a reference to the hair, among other things), and even… 'Rogue'? (that one has always baffled the wolf-prince) — Hrimhari rests on his haunches and looks around the park, and the dam, with golden eyes.

He is in wolf-form at present.

"Numerous are the parallels between Asgard and Midgard," he replies in English, with an exotic, slightly-British accent. "It makes travelling between Realms much easier — compared to some others." He pauses, listening to the thoughts of every canine creature in the area for a bit.


Perhaps it is name, perhaps it is location, or perhaps there is simply something there that seems to bar the way to a desired location? Who knows. Within a copse of trees, there is a soft rustle of plants, the shaking of ice from sticks that try and yet live. (Begs the question, if a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it, does it make a sound?) Squirrels run and jump into trees, their chattering calls a warning that they will protect their nests, and what little food stores they have left.

Deep in a primordial forest, the *swish* of a blade hisses softly with deadly accuracy. A dancing spin gives weight to the blow as a pitched battle is waged; one verses many. Some have fallen, deeply cut, but there are those that yet stand. In the middle of this battle, many verses one, stands a bloodied and calm swordsman. Sword maid. Her eyes are cold and locked on, her temper held for the battle before her, and with a closing in on one, two foes, she sweeps and pulls her blow, only to run a third through as the being comes for her, thinking to close a small circle. "You had your chance!" is taunted breathily in a soft alto. "Now we shall do it my way."


"A deliberate one, perhaps. I believe very little in coincidence, for have we not perceived together the force of fate?" Lilting words carried in English leave a distinct impression the other speaker hails from vaguely the same part of the globe. The redheaded young woman concealed from the night in a jealously dark coat skims a fingertip along a snow-girded maple, dormant for the season. "The historians declare the name came from a German musician's famous performances," she murmurs. "Yet this very area holds some strong connection. Do you feel a thinning between the worlds, something that calls you here?" Scarlett tips her head in Hrimhari's direction affectionately, the vivid auroral-green of her eyes almost unnatural, common only to a rare few.

The bounding squirrels rattling in the trees may reach her perked senses, aided by the cold air transmitting noise, and very few atmospheric interruptions otherwise distract it. Fingers extend, as if she might touch the door in space, but tentative senses rise and fall away. "My lord?"


"Nay," replies the wolf. "Not something that calls Hrimhari here." His lupine features contort into a frown and he stands up on all fours. A moment later, he howls.

It is not a typical howl; this one would have been heard all the way to Asgard, and other places — and heard by the minds to whom it is directed. When he lowers his regal head once more, the prince looks at Scarlett.

"Something calls Hrimhari through." He motions with his muzzle toward random disturbances — branches moving where there is no wind to push them, critters chattering when there is no visible threat to vex them. "Branches of the Wyld Paths overlap here…" the prince continues. "This one feels as though aught is concealed… We shall need help."

As if on cue, a ghostly hound emerges seemingly out of nothing, and approaches the pair at a run. It almost resembles one of those large, Standard Poodles — except this beast is mighty enough to take down Bilgesnipe without breaking a sweat.

"My liege," says he. "This one hears and obeys. A Wyld Path may be opened here… but this one is unsure as to what we shall find."

"A Hunt, Havardr," the prince replies — grinning wolfishly.


A drop of snow falls from a bough, a shiver of breeze moves through but only as long as a heartbeat before the breath is gone. The rustle and chattering of squirrels diminish, but only for a moment. The 'unearthly' howl that comes from the Prince of Wolves sounds a chord of danger to the earthly animals; rabbits freeze, deer miles away stand in place searching for the dangers.

Snow falls lightly during the pitched battle, though Sif's footing is sure. One foe falls, another falls, but the battle is surrounded by trees and countess enemies that now sit and wait eagerly for their turn. Three against one, and they fall. Four against one, four fresh warriors that rise against one that has been holding her sword for countless minutes, hours, days perhaps? She's tired, wounded, but there is nothing in her battle stance that suggests that she is willing to give over to a loss.

Battle comes again, and with sword and shield against pikes and axes, the best thing for Sif is to close rapidly so there is no chance for a weapon to make yet another score upon her. She is in, then cutting low, she finds a spot and pushes one against another, and as she raises her sword for a cut up, there is a howl, a familiar sound to the swords maid, and in the hearing of it, she pulls her sword up after striking deep.


"You do cherish my companionship, o wild heart." Pricke'd lupine ears most certainly might catch the hitch to Scarlett's breath, the tumbling susurrus spilling rough through her lungs. Frosted plumes colour the air in a widening misty halo, whilst the staccato measure of her pulse surges and dips. Hope is a dangerous drug, injected straight into the mind, infinitely more potent than heroin or morphine piercing the vein. A grain can kill a man or woman, or restore them from the slow, poisoned death of despair.

The howl rolling through the Nine Realms brings her to a pause, nigh bracing for the outcome certain to arise. When one such as Hrimhari calls, something will come. She moves in closer to him, muscles tensing for a fight, though hers is so often a way of nonviolence, silken words, and cordiality. "For a certitude, we do that well. My sparring partner was son to the Olympian champion of battle." Nonviolence, then.

Scarlett speaks no more, tongue all but nailed to her palate.

Hope is rapture, and hope is infernal agony. For her there is no purgatory. Only that mirror of a sharp smile, and her gloved fingers landing upon the wolf prince's shoulder.


Hrimhari and Havardr both look toward Scarlett, their ears directed at her as well, and smile. "We have hunted well before, have we not?" the prince asks of his friend, although the answer is obvious.

Havardr, however, is frowning.

"What is it?" the prince inquires.

"This place," replies the hound of Valhalla. "Havardr knows… something is… Familiar." He goes trotting around the park by the dam, sniffing. "This one has chased phantom scents before, but…naught like this, Sire. This one hears… the ring of steel. The cry of battle — someone Hunts or is Hunted! Here… and not-here…"

The former poodle of Earth hangs his head and goes back over to Scarlett, leaning against her leg. "This one is so confused now…"

Hrimhari frowns. "What we are sensing is… blocked. There are… branches in the way. Lift up your eyes, Scarlett — Havardr — and behold what echoes about us…"

The Prince of Wolves howls again, this time having a much more immediate effect — and the landscape… shifts. Nothing changes, and yet does at the same time. The ringing of steel becomes clearer, and the air… colder.

They have not moved, and yet witness something far, far away…


The little hamlet is waking up; cars are pulling from their driveways after the initial rush to work. Children are making their way to busstops to take them to school. After the call from the Prince of Wolves, the animals slowly begin to move again, but they're going to those positions of safety. Hunters more deadly than anything they'd ever experienced are afoot, and even though they believe they're not being tracked, they hide.

And there, beyond most anyone's view, the deadly battle rages on. There are moments when Sif drops her sword for a push out with her shield, and as the pair finally find their vision, a lucky chance blow strikes her side, and she's pushed, causing her to momentarily lose her balance. That blow against the Vanir is seconded by another that comes up behind her. She is hit once again, and blood is shed, but only a heartbeat later, Sif brings her sword around to behead the creature that took a moment too long to bask in glory.

There is no fear in the warrior's crystal blue eyes, instead there is a resoluteness, but there is also the beginnings of fatigue. The sword catches, the shield is carried a little heavier; any who know her know the signs. For the moment, however, those she fights haven't yet realized. One blow, one death, and another falls before something, or someone, realizes there is an unwelcome audience.

A push, a shove, and all around, the hamlet once again appears.

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