Pyrrha was in a daze. Her head felt light and dizzy, like a feather caught in a tornado. Her vision, blurry as if in salt water. She struggled to stand, feeling her knees get scratched at by what felt like some branches. Stumbling backwards, she felt her back thud against a cylindrical shape. Using her hand to steady herself against it, she felt cracks, dry, rough bumps of what was unmistakably a tree.
"Patroklos!" she cried out. "Where-"
Her stomach protested her talking, she felt the acids pound at her throat, demanding a way out. Closing her eyes, Pyrrha grasped her stomach, leaned to the side of the tree and threw up. After emptying her stomach she panted, sliding down the tree trunk and resting there. Pyrrha opened her eyes again, her vision was less blurry now. She could now make out the forest floor, tall trees with dark wood and leaves dominated the forest, with huge branches and trunks that were thicker and much longer than usual, leaves the size of fans and roots that spiked out of the ground. It was a miracle sunlight could hit the ground. Whimpering softly, Pyrrha scanned the area for anyone, anything familiar.
"Patroklos!" She tried to shout, in fear of something unpleasant finding her. "Patroklos!"
Something shined and caught her eye. But it wasn't what she expected. In the sunlight, the broken, red sword laid. Soul Edge greeted her with its red glint. Pyrrha remembered.
After she and Patroklos defeated the spirits within their swords, they tried to destroy them. The moment Soul Edge pierced Soul Calibur, Pyrrha had been sucked up by a tunnel of colors, and passed out from there. She exhaled in anger. Stomping towards it, though almost tripping and tumbling down a couple times, she growled.
"I thought you would do no more harm!" She howled, not caring if anyone heard her. Grabbing the accursed sword by its' handle she hurled it, spinning, into a nearby crevice.
A roar responded from the crevice. Pyrrha felt the ground vibrate beneath her and prayed it was just because she was dizzy. A huge, scaly claw with shiny black talons shot up from the crevice and scratched against a nearby tree, leaving gashes that went into the tree's very core. Pyrrha didn't want to find out anymore about the creature. Pyrrha took off running in a free sprint. She felt the rumble of the creature's roar behind her. Pyrrha dashed with even more speed, narrowly avoiding roots and other crevices, where she feared more monsters laid. Jumping over a smaller crack in the earth, Pyrrha managed to see a mountain through the trees.
"Somewhere, anywhere... I need a place to hide!" Pyrrha thought as a root untangled from her ankle.
Sprinting towards a doorway of sunlight, Pyrrha found herself in a clearing of dry grass, right before the tall, dark mountain. Quickly scanning the base, she noticed a circular shadow, a small cave.
"What if there's more?" She thought and hesitated.
Bad move. She felt cold, rough scales encircle her waist, her feet no longer touched the ground. Pyrrha was turned towards the beast, sharp, swirled antlers almost hit her in the head. But just after, she felt four of the talons dig into her side, she didn't know how deep. The animal was reptilian, that's all she could tell, with four arms and four legs with hooves. A gleam drew her vision to the side. Soul Edge had pierced one of the eyes of the creature. It roared at her with all its might, leaving Pyrrha's hearing numb as well.
"No... I'm sorry!" She shouted, feeling tears at the corners of her eyes. "Please!"
She grabbed onto one of its' cold fingers. It threw back its hideous head, knocking Pyrrha out of its hand with hit's antlers. Pyrrha wondered what happened, and felt wet on her hand. Looking down quickly, she still had her malfested arm, now covered in thick, blue blood. The creature glared at her, and growled lowly. Pyrrha didn't hesitate this time, she turned and ran into the cave. It was wide at first, but narrowed down. And, luckily, didn't have any monsters. Pyrrha went as far as she could until she couldn't fit into the cracks. The monster paced outside, smashing into the mountain wall once every now and then. But it stood firm, and protected Pyrrha. She heard it huff, and then a loud crash. No footsteps. She knew it waited for her. Swallowing hard, she felt her bleeding right side. Pyrrha tore off one of her socks to the nub and hastily wrapped her side with it.
"Please God," She prayed. "If this is retaliation for what I've done, I'm sorry. I promise I'll be good."
Kenna felt the wind whip past her as she rode her Pegasus, Oddr, as she scanned the ground with her fellow Valkyries.
"Any sign of Bilge Snipes, yet?" One asked.
"If you see any fallen trees tell me!" Kenna yelled. "And make haste, we must beat the Royal Family and Asgardian Army to the Alpha, lest' our victory be naught."
"We'll show them the Valkyries are a force to be reckoned with, on the battlefield and on the hunting grounds!" another shouted.
"Aye!" they all cried in unison.
"Lady Kenna." One spoke up. "I see a row of fallen trees towards the mountain."
"Then there we shall search." Kenna smirked. "Towards the mountain, to victory!"
She and Oddr lead the way as they soared down towards the clearing. There, a large, pale green Bilge Snipe lay, fixated with a crack in the mountain.
"For the Valkyries!" Kenna shouted.
She hurled her spear towards the Bilge Snipe's head. With a squish and an out pour of blue blood, the spear pierced the Bilge Snipe's neck. It roared in pain and faced the Valkyries.
"What?" Kenna spoke.
A red blade, gleaming like an uncut ruby, had been lodged into one of its' large eyes. She would've gotten a closer look, if her team had not barraged the creature first. A silver flurry of spears, arrows, knives and swords rained upon the beast. It hissed, howled and screeched in pain, swatting helplessly at the Valkyries, who dodged with ease on their Pegasus. Kenna drew her long mace and leaped off Oddr, right between the antlers. With a battle cry, Kenna mace shattered the Bilge Snipe's skull. It gave one low cry, before it rolled on its side and laid still.
"Victory is ours!" One cheered.
"We cannot be so certain, sister." A Valkyrie interjected.
Kenna ignored them, and plucked the red sword from it's dead eye. Examining it, it was beautiful, but rough at the same time. She noticed the end had been broken off, and parts of it were missing. Touching the end slightly, a cut had gently found it's way on her finger.
"What is it, sister?" her fellow asked.
"A powerful blade, that does not seem like that of Asgard, Alfheim nor Nidavellir." Kenna spoke. "So, where did it come from?"
"Hel-Hello?" a voice called. "Is... Anyone out there?"
The Valkyries all unsheathed their weapons and faced the direction of the voice, the cave.
"Please, I'm unarmed and need help." The voice cried.
"If what you say be true, come out with arms up and head down." Kenna demanded.
"Yes... Ma'am." The voice spoke.
A tiny figure slowly emerged from the cave. A young woman with shoulder length blond hair, a black an red dress, and one long sock and one short.
Her head was down and arms were up. But her right arm was covered in thick layers of what seemed like red rock. She and the other Valkyries stepped back.
"What is that?!" Kenna shouted. "That, on your arm?"
"A disease?" The girl answered. "It's not contagious... Please." She got on her knees and bowed before them, not looking up even once. "I have been injured by that creature. I promise I'll do anything if you help me." She stopped, and took a deep breathe in. "Please, I don't want to die."
Kenna glanced at her team, at the Bilge Snipe and the girl. She sheathed her weapon and the others followed. Walking towards the girl, she knelt down next to her.
"Look at me." She said.
Two green orbs managed to find their way to Kenna's face.
"What's your name?"
Kenna stood up and turned to the Valkyries. "Take the Bilge Snipe back to the camp to be measured, I'll go ahead and get Pyrrha some help."
"But, Sister Kenna-"
"Yes, sister." They replied.
"Stand Pyrrha." Kenna said, offering her hand.
Pyrrha, tears in her eyes and dirt on her cheeks, shakily took her hand and stood up next to her. Kenna could see where she was hurt now. A dark liquid damped the side of her body, blood seeped through her shirt and down her stomach.
"Come with me." Kenna spoke. "I'll help you."
"Thank you." Pyrrha smiled warmly.
Kenna smiled back and nodded. Whistling twice, Oddr flew in front of her. Pyrrha stared at him with eyes aglow, like a child. Kenna swiftly mounted him, then, once again, offered her hand to aid Pyrrha.
"Hop on, but be careful." Kenna spoke.
Pyrrha nodded, cautiously and slowly she put her legs around Oddr and held onto Kenna loosely.
"Let's go, steady boy."
Oddr neighed and with a loud flap of his feathery wings they took off. Pyrrha yelped a bit and held onto Kenna's shoulders and neck tighter. Kenna lost her breathe for a second but quickly regained it.
"Let's be off!" She said.
Oddr neighed and glided west, towards some smoke in the distance.
Pyrrha couldn't believe her eyes, her mind, and her ears. Was this really happening? Was she just attacked by a monster? Was she just rescued by an army of women? Was she really flying on a Pegasus? The explosion of questions in her mind made the pain fade away. She quickly snapped out of it to enjoy the view. It was sunset, the sky was red, fading into pink and orange. The golden glow reflected in rivers and highlighted the forest and made the pillar of smoke glow gold.
"Where are we?" Pyrrha shouted.
"Alfheim, home of the elves. Well, not here, this is the Forest of Snipes. The beast that attacked you was a Bilge Snipe, nasty creatures. Fun to hunt though, we make a competition of it every year." Kenna explained.
"You hunt them?" Pyrrha shouted.
"My guess is that you aren't from the Nine Realms are you?"
"What's the Nine Realms?"
Kenna eased her Pegasus down into the clearing where the smoke was at, which came from several large fires, and a bunch of tents of varying sizes. She noticed that it was populated with many people, almost like a small town. It had men and woman, the elderly, and even a couple children. Several waved at Kenna, some continued with their work. Pyrrha observed them, they all seemed happy and friendly, much to her relief. But they wore odd clothing, it was in the shapes she was used to but with odd designs with drapes, beads and leather. As the pair touched down a woman, beautiful, even aged, with blond hair, blue eyes and a white dress with gold beads smiled at them and waved.
"Lady Kenna." She spoke, her voice soft and warm.
Kenna hopped off Oddr. "All-Mother." She bowed.
Pyrrha, out of respect and fear she might do wrong, bowed as well.
"What brings you here so early, did something happen?" The woman asked.
"Yes, injury on the field."
The woman's face softened into a face of distress. "How serious?"
"Hopefully, not too serious." Kenna replied somberly, but she leaned in closer to her. "But she is an outsider, not an elf, I believe she is not of any of the Nine Realms."
The older woman now looked worried, leaned in closer to Kenna. "I'll take care of her for now. Don't let anyone know until I get this sorted."
"Yes, All-Mother." Kenna bowed once again. "I'll go seek out my squad."
"Come dear." The woman said walking towards Pyrrha, gently clasping her hand. "To the healing tent."
Helping her off Oddr, Kenna mounted him and took off. The woman helped Pyrrha toward a tent and sat her down on a bed in a small, closed off area.
"What's your name, child?" The woman questioned.
"I am Queen Frigga, wife of Odin. But you may call me All-Mother."
Pyrrha's eyes turned into discs. "Qu-Queen?" Pyrrha bowed once again. "Your Grace."
"If you must have formalities, dear girl, I would save them for later. You're hurt. I am your healer today, not your leader." Frigga smiled at her warmly. "Now, where were you injured?"
"On my side." Pyrrha lifted her shirt to reveal the poorly wrapped wounds.
"You poor thing." Frigga murmured. "And your arm?"
Pyrrha looked down. "A non-contagious disease, non lethal but... Strange. I don't know what to do about it."
"We'll leave it for now." Frigga decided. "Remove your clothes, I'll have another servant clean your wound and I'll come back with medicine and some new clothing."
"Thank you, All-Mother. I'll find a way to repay you." Pyrrha said with a smile.
Frigga smiled back at her and nodded, then left. Pyrrha removed her clothes and another female servant came and removed her bandages and cleaned her wound with warm water. It hurt at first, but the pain went away. When she was done she took her clothes and left Pyrrha for a couple of minutes. Frigga later returned, a round bottle filled with blue liquid in one hand, a pile of cloth in the other.
"Lay down Pyrrha, I'll take care of you."
Pyrrha nodded and did as she told. The blue liquid was poured over her gashes, making them warm up quickly, then cool down. Frigga hovered her hands above the cuts. Astonishingly, a white glow was emitted from her palms, and her cuts began to fade. Pyrrha gasped and tried to sit up and get a better view of the miracle.
"Please stay down, I want you to be healed quickly." Frigga scolded softly.
"Yes, All-Mother." Pyrrha sighed lying back down.
After a couple minutes of healing, Pyrrha felt the pain disappear altogether. The light disappeared and Frigga withdrew her hand with a grin.
"There, luckily the wounds were not deep." Frigga announced looking down at Pyrrha, she took the bundle of cloth and put it on a nearby chair. "These will be your new clothes, and wrap your arm in these bandages," She held up strips of cloth. "You'll pass as an injured servant for now."
"Thank you, All-Mother."
"Of course." She turned to leave, but turned around and faced Pyrrha at the entryway. "Dinner should be soon, please come and join us."