(AN: Last chapter, then we're on to the next story in the series. Hopefully this will wrap things up.)
(If you have any questions, please leave them. I'd be more than happy to answer them...at least give the appearance that people are interested in this story.)
(Anyway, here's the last of it)
The Warrior and the Witch
In a few short minutes, the city of Worms went up in flames. The Huns were making short work of the defenders, and those who surrendered were conscripted into Etzel's army.
Upon the hills, the last defenders were making their final retreat. It was to such a group that Fiyero and Nessa,with the wounded Elphaba on the back of the eight-legged horse, found someone they did not expect to see.
"Sigurd!" Elphaba weakly sighed.
On a bier, carried by two men, was Sigurd, lying broken and bloodied. At his side was Brynhildr, already having fallen.
"Elphaba?" he asked.
"Bring me over to him!" Elphaba said to Fiyero and Nessa. They led the horse over.
"I don't know why," Sigurd said. "But I know you. Though I can't remember when we..."
"Sigurd, what's happened?" Fiyero asked.
"The queen," Sigurd returned. "She betrayed us to the Huns. We fought, until we could fight no more..."
"And you're retreating?" Fiyero asked.
"Never!" Sigurd shouted. "These bastards took me, put me on my death-bed. I have not the strength to..."
"Go on, get!" one of the carriers of Sigurd's bier said to the Ozians, then continued on with the rest of the fleeing ones.
"Farewell!" Sigurd weakly called back. "I shall speak your names to Odin, when I come to Valhalla...especially you, green warrior-maiden."
It would be the last time they would ever see Sigurd Dragon-slayer.
Several miles she rode, after the fleeing figure in blond. Though Glinda was not accustomed to riding, and the saddle upon which she rode was making her sore beyond belief, she had to keep moving. Even though the sun was now on its way down beyond the western sky, half of its golden disc buried in the earth, she had to ride on.
Where was she going, Glinda asked herself.
They finally stopped at the edge of a river. Here Glinda's horse came to a halt and she threw herself off. Gudrun was now removing a heavy golden pelt filled with gold from the back of her horse.
"Gudrun, wait!" Glinda called out.
"Glinda, I'm sorry," the young woman said, with tears in her eyes. "I have to do this."
"Wait, what? What do you have to do?"
"I have to bury the gold in the river," Gudrun said. "That way no one can have it, not the Huns, not my mother, no one. The curse will die with me."
"Gudrun, please! You're my friend, you can't die!"
"I'm sorry," were the last words Gudrun said, before she tore the crucifix from off her neck, tossed it at Glinda's feet. She then took hold of the heavy golden otter skin and leaped into the river.
The eight-legged horse moved faster than any animal they had ever seen. Even Nessa knew that, as strong as she had once been, she could never run as fast as this monstrous horse. It also seemed to know which way they were going.
With a neigh, it came to a halt at the edge of a river. Standing there all by herself was the one they were seeking.
"Glinda!" Fiyero called out.
She turned around, and saw Fiyero with baby Liir upon his back, and Nessarose and Elphaba wounded. She let out a cry and ran towards them, wrapping her arms around each of them in turn.
The crucible had at last come to an end.
"Oh, Elphie!" she sobbed. "What happened to her?"
"Some creature attacked us," Nessa said. "It went after Liir, she was wounded trying to protect him."
"We have to do something!" Glinda nigh-shouted. She reached into the sack that hung from Elphaba's shoulders and pulled out the Grimmerie. Unfortunately, it remained open on a page with the title Gone with the Wind and would not be turned to any other page.
"It's not working!" Glinda cried. "Oh, we can't lose you, Elphie!"
The horse neighed again.
"What? Get away with that!" Fiyero said, trying to shoo what the eight-legged horse was trying to shove at him.
"Wait!" Nessa stated. "That's it!" The staff! It was the silver-headed staff that was Elphaba's wedding present, the one the old man told them over and over to put in Elphaba's hands.
Yet they ignored him.
Glinda picked up the staff, but suddenly stopped.
"What is it?" Nessa asked urgently.
"I think I've seen this before, or felt it..." Glinda mused.
"Come on, we don't have time!" Fiyero urged. He took the staff out of Glinda's hands and placed it in one of Elphaba's long-fingered green hands.
There was a glow of warm, golden light about the body of the green woman. Then a gasp, like the in-taking of much air.
Suddenly there was Elphaba, the blood from her wound was gone and she was looking rather well.
"Oh, Elphie!" Glinda cried, throwing her arms around Elphaba's shoulders. "I feared you wouldn't make it."
"Whoa, easy there, Glinda!" Elphaba giggled. "Nessa and Fiyero, they're likely to think there's more between us than just friendship."
Glinda laughed and cried. It was good to have Elphaba's old wit and humor back.
"Oh, I don't care!" Glinda continued.
Fiyero and Nessa simply stared at each other in awkward silence.
It was a long time before they could pull the two women apart. When they finally did, it was because the eight-legged horse had snorted loudly, then took off in a heavy gallop.
"Well, I guess we're stuck here, then." Nessa commented.
Then they noticed that the sun was almost down.
"Quick! The book!" Fiyero said.
Taking last minute stock of what they had, Elphaba made sure they had everything, then knelt down over the book, the other three (well, four including Liir) hanging onto her from behind.
"What are you waiting for?" the old man asked. "Do it! The sun is almost down!"
"How do I know it's really you?" Elphaba retorted.
"You don't," he answered. "You'll just have to trust me."
"How do you know so much about this book?" Fiyero returned. "I thought it came from Middle-Earth!"
"It did, but Midgard and Middle-Earth are but one and the same!"
"What?" Fiyero asked.
"Take the book with you and hurry!" the old man said at last. "The sun is almost set. And worry not, children, I will always be there to help you."
With that, he was gone again.
"Whoa, that was creepy," Elphaba stated.
"He's helped us more times than you give him credit for, Elphaba."
"Guys?" Glinda called out. "Can we hurry this up?"
Elphaba began weaving the spell, hands drawn over the Grimmerie, words speaking the ancient tongue. The magic began to form around her, manifesting itself in bright flashes of colored light. The violet pages were gleaming in the gathering darkness. Their hair began to fly in the steadily increasing wind. Nessa's own hair was blown free and Glinda would have had a nightmare if she saw her curls, now all in a mess.
In a flash, they were all of them gone from Midgard.
(AN: -sigh- Done with that!)
(Definitely felt good to get that off my chest! Any references to Tolkien are based off of the first three Another World... stories. [I also don't own Lord of the Rings]. That is my 'cover-up' for LittleGreenFae's 'anachronism' that the Grimmerie is from Middle-Earth. As Tolkien stated that Middle-Earth is just a very ancient Earth, that would still make it from Earth, though from a very ancient past. And as they say in Dogma, "No harm, no foul.")
(I think I got an idea for the next story of the series, though a name is going to evade the hell out of me. For now, ask me questions about anything you may have seen. If it won't give too much away, I will answer them. [though I kind of wish the Nordic aspects of this story had ended differently])
(See you around for the seventh installment, coming soon!)