This story is one of my special stories. It’s one I want to get done, need to get done, but don’t have the time to really devote to it like I want. Lucky thing– I’ve already got it plotted out. I just need dedicated time to write it. I get to really play with the Norse/Teutonic mythology, runes, and more in this story which I enjoy doing. Noije is a lot like me in many ways, including the music soundtrack thing. Of all the heroines in my books, Noije is the most like me personally. But at the same time, there’s a part of her which I could be, but can’t because I’ve not gone through what she has. Her story fascinates me as it’s past, present, and future.
The stench of death wafted upwards, catching on the slight breeze tickling Noije’s nose. The scent didn’t offend her, but instead forced her concentration on the task that lay ahead. Walking past the fallen and dying, she silently saluted, commending each warrior to their deserved rest in Valhalla. These warriors fought a battle doomed to failure unless she was successful otherwise all of Nine Worlds would vanish forever. Let’s hope that what I do allows us to survive and that we never have to fear the coming of Ragnarok. She paused before stepping over one dead warrior, his face grimacing in finality. He was familiar to her, a warrior she had once chosen to serve Odin within Valhalla. She sighed as she continued forward. No doubts, Noije. You know that doubts can break the magick you wield. You were created for this as Odin told you—now go save Asgard, Midgard, and the rest, even if they want Ragnarok to come.
A single hand, coated with filth and blood shot up, grabbing her leg greaves, pulling her to a stop. “Go to Odin, fair warrior. You have been chosen.” She brought down her sword, sending the warrior to his reward once more, knowing that he recognized her at once by her battle attire. Without looking back at the carnage, she continued forward, letting the sounds of furious battle guide her. Nothing mattered but what was occurring before her. It had to end here, now. Gods only knew if what she was about to do would be enough, but she had no choice—she had agreed to this course of action once put to her. If she succeeded, then her reward would not only be her punishment, but those she loved would be protected. That’s all that mattered to her now. In her worry, she reached out to the god that had granted her strength and magick.
‘Odin, I hope you know what you’re doing. I know you said I’m part of this damn prophecy, but to send me, a lowly Valkyrie against a god—“
“You’re not just a Valkyrie, but more. You have been chosen. You’ve agreed to the terms and you will abide by them. Now go, save my son and deal with my old “friend”.’
‘I serve you, Odin. I only hope the rune magick is enough. I fear that not even it can contain a god like him.’
‘It will be. Plus you have your own abilities to ensure victory. Now go, no more stalling. Lead us all into victory and peace, Noije the Bold.’
Sword clanged against metal, the sound echoing upon the icy field. Even the air chilled as the two contestants raged at each other, oblivious to Noije. Up ahead, two gods fought, each one trying to destroy the other. One dressed in the greens and browns of nature, while the other was dressed silver and blue, the signs of rulership. She tamped down on the urge to call out to the blue-dressed god, though she ached to reassure him that he wasn’t alone.
Noije’s left hand regripped her sword as her free hand slid inside the rabbit fur-lined pouch that hung from her belted waist. The cool, smooth touch of the prepared blank rune stone slid against the palm of her hand, as if made to reside there. Confidence and determination to her course of action flooded within her as the rune exuded its cold power, reminding her of what must be done. She couldn’t fail now as long as she did exactly as she was trained. Her feet stopped at the edge of the circle where the two gods fought—the god of light, Balder, and the god of mischief, Loki. Their battle would determine if the end came or not. She listened as they cursed, swung their blades and continued the battle—the winner deciding the fate of the known universe. Ragnarok, the end of all things and yet the beginning of the new. Is it really as bad as the gods fear? What have the Norns told them that cause Odin to send me to a task that ensures my death? Yet, for all that’s been said, it must be stopped for now is not the time for the end.
She waited, judging the timing of each attack, seeking the proper moment to intervene. Just when she thought it’d never occur, the swords locked momentarily, both gods intent on killing the other but unable to take advantage. With a silent thanks to Odin, Noije stepped forward, her sword rose before the light of the setting sun, glinting blood red. Striking hard, the ringing sound echoed as the blade pushed apart the locked swords, sending both gods backwards to recover their balance.
Without a glance, Noije called out to the God of Light. “Hold, fair Balder.” Whispering arcane words, a shimmering border of magick and power surrounded her and Loki. Once it solidified in place, she knew that no god, not even the great Balder could penetrate it until the end came—her succeeding in her task or her complete failure.
Before Loki could react to the shield, Noije stepped forward to face him. Swinging her sword fully, she ripped Loki’s weapon from his hand. Her free hand withdrew the rune as she stepped forward. Noije pressed the blank Rune stone against the god’s chest, a surge of energy enveloping them both.
“You shall not bring Ragnarok, Loki! You have no right!” With swift words, she spoke the ancient tongue, binding the power of the god within the Rune.
“Tagr fast stene groen,
ringer hall inuti,
Loki sjaele goem fra sikte,
all tida ende fra jordn,
inna slaepp honom fri.
Take hold, stone of green
Inside your circle close!
Hide the soul of Loki from being seen.
Until the everlasting ends
Careful not to let him roam.”
“You’re only a Valkyrie, Noije. You will fail,” Loki spat out, trying to push her away. She stood her ground as she continued to press the rune past the battle armour that Loki wore. “Don’t think that this little spell of yours will do anything to me. Nothing you Valkyrie do has any major effect upon my deeds and abilities. I am a god and you are below me in power, child.”
An evil smile crept onto Noije’s face as she leaned into Loki’s personal space, showing him her own strength as she watched him grimace as pain hit him. The rune had finally hit its full mark. “Ah, but there you are wrong, God of Mischief and Deceit. You’re not the only one with secrets.” With a final shove, Noije sensed the rune come to life, enveloping the god with its special power and preventing him from wielding his. As far as she knew, nothing could defend against magick taken from the Tree of Life, Yggsdrasil. “I’m also one of the Norn, mortal, but still able to see glimpses of the future. You have lost, Trickster and your punishment is mine to decide. I want peace, not mischief. I want life and by Yggsdrasil’s power I shall have it! Tagr fast stene groen,ringer hall inuti,Loki sjaele goem fra sikte,all tida ende fra jordn,inna slaepp honom fri.”
Loki tossed his head back, his voice roaring with indignation and pain. “No! It wasn’t supposed to be like this! I was told there was none to stop the universe from being reborn!” His eyes glazed over, hatred searing into Noije as she held her position. “You will pay for this. For no Valkyrie can do this and not be punished.”
“I accepted my punishment already set in motion, just as you will accept yours.” Noije swallowed, concentrating on the next part. Without the binding finished, Loki might yet escape—something she couldn’t allow. The reward of her succeeding was the freedom of her sisters from being Valkyries or anything else—they would be allowed to live and do as they wish. She – her reward was also her punishment. Anything for you, my sisters. Anything to save you from the pain that I’ve had through the centuries. “You are condemned for trying to force Ragnarok. You shall remain in your prison until once again the gods are acknowledged and worshipped fully. When this condition is fulfilled, your freedom can only be gained by a mortal who accepts the deal you make with them. Until then, your influence is localized to wherever this rune is.”
“I curse you, Noije of the Valkyrie. You are not Brunhild, nor are you as important as the others. May your fate be never to have love, never to find peace. May you spend all eternity away from Valhalla, yet craving the peace it conveys. When I am free, only then can you pray I don’t find you. I will destroy you and yours if you don’t find the way back to Asgard.” Loki roared with pain as his essence and body was finally drawn into the Rune, leaving only his sword on the field.
Noije sank to one knee, cringing in pain at the god’s curse and the release of the protective bubble. Without much thought, she slid the rune into the fur-lined pouch, knowing her job was only partially done. Sharp agony seared through her body as she tried to stand, reminding her of just how much power Loki possessed. His words haunted her, but she knew that his curse would haunt her even while she did the bidding of the gods. Odin could only protect her so much after all. “Damnations and more,” she bit out as a wave of nausea and agony tore through her body, pulling away the peace that she associated with her link to Valhalla.
She felt Balder’s light touch on her shoulder and she stilled herself, not moving, though everything within her craved to find comfort in the arms of her lover.
“Come, Noije. You must report to Odin all that’s happened here.” Shaking her head, she said nothing. She didn’t want him touching her, not like this. Everything that she loved and found joy in was slowly wasting away in her heart. Loki was very thorough in his cursing and she knew that though she loved Balder, she couldn’t let him touch her core and see exactly the damage Loki had wreaked in his last moments. She turned from him, breaking his touch from her shoulder. There was much Balder didn’t know, so much that she couldn’t explain. How could she explain what was left for her to do, the knowing that he would do everything to stop it—including facing down his own father? She had to finish her duty to Odin. Otherwise his promise in regards to her sisters was null and void.
“Come, my Valkyrie, the one who owns my heart. Odin will need to speak to you.” His voice wrapped around her soul, soothing it with love and light that was his specialty. Noije allowed herself a moment to enjoy the healing before stepping away from the god. Her gaze went out towards the fallen, knowing that the Valkyries would soon arrive, taking the fallen back to Valhalla to celebrate. She had to be gone before then. That was the agreement.
“I cannot go, Balder. Loki banned me from Asgard as his final act as a god. Until his Rune is found, I shall never be allowed back across Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. Trust me; the All Father knows what has transpired here today.” Noije felt cold as the last of the curse slipped into place around her and in her. The god of mischief implanted his curse too well. Unless another god could revoke it, her freedom would only arrive when Loki’s did. “Loki exacted a high price, which we knew he’d do. Let the Norn know that all has been rectified. I must leave this place between the Worlds. Odin has won this day, and I pay the price for all of our lives willingly.”
Noije felt his hands grabbing her arms, spinning her around so they faced one another. One hand lifted, the back of it caressing her cheek in a loving gesture. Thoughts of their loving filled her heart, though sorrow warred with the pleasant memories. No more would she have the god’s loving touch and she knew it wasn’t just Loki’s curse responsible, though she would never get the chance to prove it.
“Where will you go?” He moved in closer, his breath brushing past her cheek.
“To Midgard, my original home. If Thor could live there in times past, so can I. I shall miss you, my lord.” Pressing her lips together, Noije forced herself to not speak the words of love that bubbled within her. Without knowing what such a declaration would do to her or Balder, she couldn’t risk it. She hoped that her expression alone could convey her full emotions to him.
“I will not forget you, Noije. When it’s time, I shall come for you. This I swear for always.” Determination laced his words, ringing with the clarity of a vow.
Noije violently shook her head, the silver and gold Valkyrie helm falling to the ground. She didn’t pick it up, leaving it where it landed. Where she was headed, there would be no need to draw attention to her. Life was no longer the joy it had been as a Valkyrie. Life would be what she made of it, and she hoped that it wouldn’t be as dour as Loki promised. “No. What is done is done. I shall have no more gods’ blood on my hands. The worlds we know are saved. Please tell Odin to hold his end of the bargain.”
Without looking back, Noije walked towards the ice cold mountains in the distance. The double rune markers marked where Bifrost linked this war plain to the other Nine Worlds. Each step away from Balder was painful, yet, there was a sense of release as well. Obeying Loki’s last words eased the pain inside, which irked. Finally, she reached the rune marked stones and calling upon the power of Bifrost, she whispered her destination. Before stepping onto the rainbow, Noije turned, taking one last look at Balder and the fallen warriors. She barely heard Balder’s words, until the minute before Bifrost surrounded her with light.
“To the fallen Valkyrie, I give love, life, and protection. Let she and hers be remembered as not just the Choosers of the Slain, but as the keeper of world. In time, let her be restored to us and be loved by the one who loves her completely heart and soul.”
The light of the Rainbow Bridge encircled Noije fully, but before she was transported to Midgard, her tears slid from her cheeks, crystallizing before they hit the ground. Then suddenly, the world before disappeared, taking her from everything she ever knew.
Balder picked up the tears and kissed them reverently. “I miss you already, love of my soul. One day, we’ll be together. I promise this to you.” He turned away from the mists that took Noije to Midgard, planning the day when he’d reclaim not only the woman who protected him and the gods, but also exact punishment from all who put her into this damning position.