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The atmosphere was tense. The two combatants stood alone, facing off against each other, their stances stiff as each sized the other up. The house was silent save for the low drone of the small television that shared the room with the two warriors, heedless of the going-ons around it.
The older of the two females narrowed her violet eyes, her younger opponent doing likewise, a scowl on her youthful features. "The usual?" Urd asked, her hands curling into fists at her side, an arrogant smirk playing out on her lips as she gazed down at her younger sister.
Skuld, unconsciously mirroring her sister's actions, nodded, baring her teeth in an action that was a little too hostile to be an honest-to-goodness-smile. "You know it. Best two out of three." She said, raising a gloved fist into the air with her older sibling following the action to a par.
"Ro-Sham-Bo!" The duo shouted, pumping their fists into the air three times before laying claims to their 'weapon' of choice. The result was the younger of the two's eyes lighting up, her palm held out flat in the universal sign for 'paper', Urd's hand still clenched in a tight fist.
"Looks like I'll be watching Seijuu Sentai Gingaman after all, Urd." Skuld boasted, her face growing triumphant even as Urd's expression darkened.
"We'll see about that, Brat." Urd muttered, her eyes narrowing at the jibe even as a smile spread across her features. "After all, it's only the first round. One victory isn't worth a damn in this game."
The smile left Skuld's face. "Don't call me a brat!" She shouted. "Fine, lets go again!" Her hand curled once more into a fist, her sister quickly following suit. "Ro-Sham-Bo!"
Once more, the action was repeated, though the results had changed. "Yes!" Urd crowed, giving her sister a toothy grin as she registered the dissapointment on the younger girl's face.
The dissapointment was only temporary though. "Heh, one win doesn't mean anything Urd, you should know that." Skuld said, throwing Urd's earlier words back in the woman's face.
The dark-skinned woman paused, glaring at her younger sister. "Of course it doesn't." She muttered darkly. "It's only the final round that really matters."
Skuld returned the glare with an equally dangerous one. "Of course." She said. "Just you watch. After this, you won't be able to watch T.V. for the rest of the day."
Urd grinned recklessly. "Oh, believe me, I know. I'll thouroughly enjoy watching the You're Under Arrest marathon when I beat you."
Together, their fists once more flew through the air.
It was another day in the Morisato Residence. Keiichi and Belldandy were not present, having left earlier that day for The Whirwind. As such, Urd and Skuld were left with no one but each other for company. And so it was that the two did as was expected of all siblings stuck inside with little to occupy themselves.
They fought over television rights.
A victorious cackle filled the room, traveling through the house and moving outside where, if one listened carefully, they might hear it on the gentle breeze. They might also hear the angry, defeated scream that followed it as Skuld stormed out of the room, not even bothering to slide the door shut behind her as she marched down the hallway with plots of vengence already seeping into her mind.
It was obvious who currently owned the television for the next couple of hours.
Urd watched her sister stomp off gleefully, snickering lightly to herself as she redirected her attention to the small colored television. "Music to my ears." She chuckled, her sister's rage now muffled by several walls. "Now, lets see here…" Extending a small bit of her magic, she lifted herself off the ground and floated in front of the T.V., flicking through the various channels with a flick of her wrist. "Ah, here we are…" She murmured, settling on one channel, reclining in the air, and propping her hands behind her head, for all the intent of loosing herself to the idiot box for the next several hours.
Skuld, meanwhile, had settled for fiddling around with one of her newer creations in a futile attempt at distracting herself from her latest defeat. Needless to say, it was not going well, and with a frustrated growl, the young goddess threw the screwdriver in her hand into a nearby wall, where it promptly buried itself several inches into the plaster.
The goddess of the future took no notice, one dark eyebrow twitching ever so slightly as she silently fumed. Stupid Urd. I bet she cheated some how. The child thought, letting out a frustrated moan before crossing her arms across her chest.
Normally, such actions on both parties parts, whether it brought victory or defeat, would not have left the young Skuld so enraged. But as it was, Skuld had been looking forward to one particular show all week, and the knowledge that she'd be unable to catch it as she'd originally planned angered her to no end.
"I'll make her pay for this." Skuld muttered angrily, bolting to her feet and sending the various equipment and tools balanced on her lap flying. A smile that would have made the Daimakaicho proud appeared on her face. "That's it! Operation Payback, Version 3.6, here I come!"
Her plan for vengence quickly formulating in her mind, the girl slid open the door to her room and queitly left it, closing it gently behind her. Not that she needed to be stealthy or anything like that. It would take something short of Hild appearing or the initiation of Ragnarok to distract Urd from her t.v. time. At least for right now.
Still, Skuld found herself tip-toeing down the hallway, past the closed room Urd was in and up to the door that led into Urd's room.
"You're going to wish you never messed with me, Urd." Skuld whispered, opening the sliding door as carefully and quietly as possible, sneaking in and quickly sliding the door shut behind her.
Various vials and containers lined the multiple shelves that protruded from the walls, the lables coaded in indecypherable hyroglphs. Skuld found herself shying away from the various ingredients. Urd had not been kind the last time she'd messed with her ingredients, one of which happened to be of the more rare and expensive variety. No amount of revenge was worth the punishment that had been dished out from that incident.
Instead, Skuld redirected her attention to the dressers in the room, all of which were piled high with yet more ingredients. The girl ignored them, instead squatting down and pulling open one of the drawers. Various clothing and other fabrics lay folded neatly within, and the young goddess grinned victoriously. "Bingo." She giggled, her imagination running wild with pictures of Urd being forced to where anything from a favored outfit that had become several sizes too large, to a dress that looked like it had been dumped in a batch of prismacolor paint.
"I wonder what else I can find…" She murmured, a curious, mischeivious smile on her face as she rifled through her older sister's possesions. The first one she opened as well as the two after that, held nothing but her sister's various outfits and undergarments, some of which held so little fabric that Skuld could only blush at the thoughts of what they were used for. All useful for revenge, however would most likely be used as a last resort.
"Come on, only an amature would mess with clothing." Skuld muttered to herself. Clothes were a good start, but anyone and their three-legged dog could ruin an outfit. Skuld wanted to do something creative to Urd. With an annoyed growl, the girl shut the dresser cabinets with a little more force then nessisary, gaining a rather satisfying 'thump' as wood hit wood.
"Hmph. Maybe I'll have better luck with the next one…" The girl murmured, moving to pull open the next drawer when she caught the glint of light hitting metal. "Huh? I don't remember seeing this before…" She picked the object up from where it rested half-way underneath the dresser. "I wonder if I accidently knocked it loose." Skuld whispered, examining the object carefully.
It appeared to be made of some sort of metal, but judging by the faint magical pulse it was giving off she doubted it was of any of the Earth's metal. It was shaped in a crude circle, as though it's creator had grown weary of crafting it and had rushed through it's creation, leaving the objects with various lumps and deformalities around it's outer ring. Various runes where engraved into the metal, radiating forth an unnatural heat the Skuld could feel when her fingers grazed their surface, glowing a bright blue for a brief second before fading back to obscurity at her touch.
The girl's dark eyes widened as the dawning realisation of what she was holding came to her, and a smile grew on her face. "I know what this is." She whispered excitedly. "This is a Keystone!" The young Norn held back a giggle that threatened to tear out of her throat and instead focused on the runes carved into the metal's flesh.
"Oh…I wonder what Urd has in here that is so important to require a Keystone." Skuld murmured, watching as the runes activated at her touch. "I bet she has a whole bunch of illegal potions and ingrediants and stuff." A smile worthy of the Chesire Cat on her face, the Norn of the Future set the now active Keystone down on the small table in the center of Urd's room, taking several steps back as a precaution to any traps Urd might have placed within the stone's holding space.
The light brought forth from the runes grew in intensity, slowly expanding to fill the entire room and temporarily blinding Skuld. The goddess shielded her eyes, her ears listening for any sign that the light had been noticed by her older sister. However, as the light faded and the spots slowly cleared from her brown eyes, she heard no signs that her sister had noticed and with a quiet, victorious giggle, Skuld made her way over to the small table, now covered in items of various shapes and sizes.
"Wow…I scored big time on this." Skuld whispered, observing the various items with a critical eye. As she had suspected, there where various bottles and vials, no doubt containing some forbidden potion or illegal ingredient, but there were also a great deal of other miscillanious items, some of which she'd never have suspected Urd to even consider owning, let alone actually care enough to hold them in a Keystone.
Carefully, to avoid any unneccisary damage to any hidden fragile items, Skuld picked up the first thing that caught her eye-an item wrapped securely in a cool, multicolored fabric. It felt fairly light, and Skuld was slightly surprised to see it's shape change as she lifted it from the table, a sure sign that whatever the cloth held, there was more then one piece to it.
Skuld slowly unwrapped the cloth from the treasure inside, blinking in surprise at the fabric's contents. "Teeth?" She asked aloud, before quickly clamping a hand over her mouth and remembering where she was.
The girl quickly looked over at the door, but once again, nothing could be heard from Urd that would have warrented the girl getting caught. Skuld sighed in relief before returning her attention to the small cluster of ivory in her hand. Upon closer examination, she realised that the teeth-for the most part all canines from various preditors-also contained matching claws, some of which were as long as her middle finger.
"What would Urd be doing with a bunch of fangs and claws?" Skuld whispered, before rewrapping the fabric that kept them together and setting it down once more on Urd's table. "Weird. Maybe they're supposed to be ingredients or something." She muttered, her eyes roaming the table once more before picking up another cloth-wrapped item.
The young goddess gasped in surprise as she unwrapped it. "A unicorn's horn!" She whispered excitedly, the girl's brown eyes growing wide in shock. "But…I thought you could only get one of these when you're actually present to witness the death of a unicorn. And everyone knows how private those things are. It's hard enough meeting one alive, let alone when one is actually dieing."
She quickly re-wrapped the parcel and placed it back on the table, Skuld's eyebrows furrowing together in confusion. The animal teeth were one thing, but the horn of one of the greater sentinet beings in Heaven was quite another thing entirely. "I wonder what else Urd has been keeping from us." Skuld murmured, carefully picking up a box with gold etching around it's perimeter.
The Norn held back a gasp as she picked it up. While no genius when it came to magic-at least, not yet- even she could feel the heavy magic radiating from the box. The box itself was deceptivly plain: it appeared as little more then a wooden container made of Oak. It's only decoration being the gold etching, and even that seemed somehow unremarkable. "I wonder what's inside." Skuld murmured, searching for the latch that kept the small wooden box's contents safely inside.
After a few seconds search, the latch was located and quickly pried open, the container flipping open on well-oiled hinges.
And it was only through sheer force of will that Skuld didn't drop the small box. As the lid was opened, the magic Skuld had felt when first picked up grew in intensity, taking the young goddess by surprise as a wave of power surged unhindered through her being.
Skuld stood stiffly, her heart racing in her ears as the magic raced through her, unwilling or perhaps incapable of moving. After what felt like an eternity, the magic slowly abated, and Skuld found she could breath once more, and with a strangled gasp, the Norn fell to her knees. As the magic released the girl from it's powerful grip, Skuld glanced down at the box, dimmly aware that her knuckles had gone white with the force of her grip on the container.
The inside of the box was covered with various seals, some of which Skuld recognized, and many which she didn't. It explained the overwhelming power surge when she'd opened the box. All that magic had been gathering inside the container, just waiting for someone to open the lid and release all that excess energy.
And with the sheer amount of energy that had been released, it was obvious that the box hadn't been opened in a long time.
As for what the item in question actually was, Skuld was more then a little confused to see a rather ancient looking blade resting within the box's confines. A knife, or maybe a dagger, it rested upon a black wooden stand connected to the inside of the box.
Easing herself into a more comfortable position, Skuld rested the small box on one knee, taking a moment to simply inspect the blade and treasure the fact that Urd seemed to have various seals located inside her room. The older woman had yet to make any sign of detecting Skuld's presence in her room.
Propping her head up in one hand, brown eyes carefully examined the weapon, for there was little doubt in Skuld's mind that the blade in front of her was used any anything but that. The handle of the blade was made of some sort of bone, bound tightly in leather that had seen better days. The blade held a unique design, the flat half of the metal covered in various runes of power. Various nicks and scratches covered the metal, yet the surface caught and reflected the light of the room as if it had never been used.
"Huh. Why would Urd have some old thing like this? I never thought she was one for weapons. It's not like she's a Valkyrie or anything." Skuld muttered, lifting her head off of her hand and, after a moment's hesitation, moving to grasp the weapon's hilt.
She easily lifted the blade from where it rested within the box, somewhat surprised by how heavy the object was. It was heavier then it appeared. She tilted the blade to and fro, watching as the light caught and danced across it's surface. "It's so old. I wonder what it was used for…" She trailed off as she caught her reflection in the blade.
Urd was standing behind her.
And then the singing began. The girl yelped in surprise, her hand still clasped tightly around the handle of the blade, whirling around and…
And she wasn't in Urd's room any longer. She was standing on a battlefield. The child looked upwards, staring in horror as a woman garbed in the traditional Valkyrie uniform screamed, her angel impaled on a spear. The Norn watched as the unknown goddess clawed at her chest, the same area where the weapon had impaled her Other Half, before her eyes rolled up in the back of her skull and she fell from the sky.
The owner of the spear yanked the weapon out of the angel's chest, blood flowing from the wound and onto the spear, sliding down the pole and covering the hand of the demon who held it.
Skuld averted her eyes, her body trembling at having witnessed the death of one of her own kind. But it seemed that, no matter where her eyes shifted, the young goddess was greeted to more of the same sight. All around her, demons and Valkyries attacked one another, holding little back at they slaughtered one another.
And still the singing continued. Where was it coming from? It was like a keeing, high-pitched and screaming in her ears. And then Noble Scarlet was at her side, the young angel's face agitated as she grabbed Skuld's arm, her intention's unclear and her thoughts jumbled in the young goddesses' mind. Only one thing was clear to her. They needed to leave before someone took notice of them.
Brown eyes darted in various directions. But where could they flee to? Nothing but death surrounded them. Fear laced the girl's form, and suddenly both Norn and angel were bathed in shadow. Skuld froze in fear, ignoring the constant pull from her angel. She turned, looking up at the tall woman who seemed to tower of them. Her back was to the sun, bathing her face in shadow, but Skuld could still make out the violet eyes that stared down at the duo with malevolence, peering down at Skuld under thick, platinum bangs. She could make out the cruel, sadistic smile, teeth bright against the woman's dark skin.
Her smile only seemed to grow as Skuld cowered away from her, laughing in delight at the apparent 'prey' she'd stumbled upon. "What's this?" She cackled. "A little Valkyrie without a weapon? Why, this simply won't do." Her voice had an eerie resemblence to that of Belldandy's, and Skuld shivered reflexivly.
The woman took a step closer and Skuld took a step back, keeping the distance between them. "After all, it's know fun when you don't fight back."
The woman reached behind her back, pulling out a long, slender blade. Skuld's eyes widened, recognizing it as the old blade from Urd's room. The high-pitched cry-song erupted from it,louder then before, and the lass placed her hands on her ears in a futile effort to drown out the noise.
The woman noticed Skuld's reaction, and her smile widened. "Can you hear it, Child? The Angel Biter is singing for you, Little Valkyrie. It wants to taste the blood of your little angel." Skuld watched as a notch appeared on the sharpened edge, the notches deep and lined with inverted teeth. They held a creepy resemblence to a gaping mouth.
The woman laughed once more. "Come Little Valkyrie. Let me taste the blood of your angel."
The woman lunged.
The blade embedded itself within Noble Scarlet's chest.
Instinct took over as a fire assulted Skuld's chest, the child doubling over in pain as she called upon every ounce of magic that dwelled within her.
A tidal wave of water manifested around her and Noble Scarlet, surrounding them, moving as a liquid barrier against the woman. What was she doing? She wasn't sure anymore, wasn't sure of anything since coming to this awful place. All she knew was that she wanted one thing. And that was-
"GET AWAY FROM ME!"
The Norn wrapped her arms around herself, and the tidal wave exploded outward, slamming into the woman with the force of a wrecking ball. Her energy fading fast, the last thing Skuld remembered was the woman's laughter haunting her as the battlefield melted away, replaced with her sister's room.
Urd's face-or was it that woman's?- was the last thing she saw before that too, faded into oblivion.
From where she hovered in front of the television, idily flipping through various channels, Urd suddenly gasped, the small part of her that had been concentrating on keeping her afloat dissapearing and sending the goddess on a rather painful reunion with the floor. The woman barely noticed, instead scrambling to her feet, her violet eyes wide with alarm. A couple of seconds ago, a wave of undirected magic had swept through her, and as Urd bolted out of the room, she found it only grew stronger and more identifiable as she grew closer to the source.
Skuld. She thought, her gut tieing into a knot as she identified the source of the magic's power. The knot only grew as she realised it was coming from her own room. "Skuld?" She cried out, tearing open the door and freezing at the sight of what awaited her within.
Skuld was curled up in a tight ball, resting on the balls of her feet in a crouch. Her eyes were wide and in constant movement, as though she was observing something only she could see. Both hands where pressed firmly against her skull, one of which held tightly the knife Skuld had found, her knuckles white where she gripped the hilt and fingers entangled in her thick dark hair. Her magic swirled around her like an angry hurricane, threatening anything and everything within range.
Hovering over the girl Noble Scarlet floated, the angel's arms wrapped around her chest as if in pain. Like Skuld, the angel appeared to be lost in the throughs of a vision. The little angel's back arched, and her mouth opened in a mute scream.
Skuld's eyes came to a focus on Urd, and the concentration of magic around the child went wild. Sensing what was about to happen, Urd broke from her position, sprinting to the girl with a shout on her throat. But it was all for naught, as the small Tsunami her sister had created was unleashed, a wave of magic-imbued water slamming into Urd and knocking her out of her room and into the hallway wall.
The water flowed over Urd and through the hallway, flowing into the various rooms located in the Shrine and surging outside, flooding the courtyard. Locked down by the force of the water, Urd could do nothing but wait for the water flow to stop. Spreading her senses, she sought out her sister, feeling out her sister's aura and focusing on the slowly diminishing glow that was her sibling's magic.
Slowly, almost agonizingly slow, the surge of water lessened, and Urd was able to push herself up. She coughed and hacked up the liquid that had entered her lungs before stumbling into her room once more, carefully making her way to her sister, who now sat kneeling on the ground.
"Skuld?" The girl was panting, one hand clutched to her chest, her eyes wide and scared, darting about after some phantom versus the next. The hand clutching the blade lay at her side, and gently Urd moved to pry the weapon away. Noble Scarlet was no where to be seen, most likely having dissapeared once more into Skuld.
The blade now held securely by Urd, the woman kneeled down beside Skuld, gently bringing a hand under the girl's chin and lifting it, raising her chin to meet her eyes. "Skuld? Can you hear me?" She asked, noting the terror that still dwelled within her brown eyes.
Said eyes focused on her face, and Urd watched as they traveled over her, as though searching for something. She could feel where her sibling's eyes wandered, sensing them focus in on the emblem on her forehead and the two under her eyes. Something changed in Skuld's demonare, and the girl relaxed, leaning into her sister with a choked sob.
Urd released a mental curse before wrapping her arms around Skuld, mindful of the weapon she now resting in her left hand. "Shh…it's okay….your safe now." Urd murmured, listening dimly as Skuld's sobs intensified, and recalling another time, many, many years back, of her doing the same action with another girl. One with chesnut-brown hair and gentle blue eyes.
Comments of a Madwoman: Decided to go back and do some much-needed editing to the chapter as of 2011.