Here's a little something that's more in line with the old sagas. Needless to say, this is some brutal shit. Also non-canon as hell.
Storywise this is a direct continuation to >>7966. Sensitive readers be warned.
[ ] Keep your promise from earlier. Gift her the wings of the blood-eagle.
You can feel your pulse pounding in your throat. The warm blood flows through you, fire-feeding the madness in mind, that rage-gift of Odin's chosen. Now it fills you, burning bravery of battle, berserker-nature nurtured, gift and will of
Raven God. Calm and caution here have no home. By his will and to his glory you shall make this gift, proper payment for power provided.
The wailing cat-child is merely a minor annoyance. You grab her by the arm and contemptously toss the little one aside. Her cry of grief shifts into a pained one as she crashes hard to the ground.
Beneath you the golden-tailed one rages impotently at this display, anger and hate filling those yellow orbs as you meet her gaze. But even with a ferocious fury of her own, she still seems to recognize that something has changed, that the selfsame song-weaver now is something else. Well do her instincts serve her, but save her they will not.
You kneel down beside her and roughly flip her over. The dagger in your hand is sharp and true, easily slicing through the back of her white dress. You can feel the fox-spirit trying to struggle beneath you, but futile is her fight. Nothing will halt you now, not in this moment of sacred vengeance when life and blood will be offered to Odin.
"Watch, High One." You softly whisper as you stab down with your steel-fang. The fox-woman's rib meets the metal, the hallowed blade splintering bone and mangling flesh.
"Draugadróttinn." You continue your invocation accompanied by the roar of pain emanating from the wounded wizard fox.
"Tvíblindi." You say as the next bite of steel strikes, blood and war his gifts today.
"Báleygr." You next name him, inviting Odin's fiery gaze to watch the torment you wreak upon this hated foeman, pity and mercy unknown to the ones who drink Allfather's battle-draught.
"Faðr galdrs." You call out, summoning the magic he created, the songs of war and death he learned.
"Rúnatýr." You invoke, calling the rune-lord who suffered so long, who then knew the power of death and blood.
"Gagnráðr. Fjölnir. Hangadróttinn." You name him, lord of Life and Death, as your dagger rises and falls. This life shall be his, as shall this death.
"Fimbultýr. Biflindi. Váfuðr Gungnis" You shout in rage, a maddened prayer to the god of war as the final rib on her left side shatters.
"Veratýr. Bölverkr. Dorruðr. Sigföðr." You chant as your work progresses. Far away you can hear the howling of wolves, the sacred song of the hounds of Odin.
"Geirtýr. Glapsviðr. Grímnír. Gunnblindi" You scream to the heavens, the sky now dark with stormclouds, the air filled with power divine.
"Arnhöfði. Ásagrimmr. Hangatýr. Hrafnáss." You roar in incoherent rage as the final rib is broken. You strain your muscles and with your bloody hands bend and crack open the mangled flesh and bones. Somehow the fox-woman still is conscious, still screams in terror and agony as the red wings spread across her back.
You stop for a moment to admire your work. The wound-water has flown freely, sacred substance coating the stone and earth, hallowing it to the Hanged God. But all that is found here is not spilled blood and sounds of pain. They are subtle at first, but for every moment the caws of ravens echo louder and louder, the black birds now seated on every tree and rooftop watching intently.
The screams of the fox are cut short as you again reach down, now for the final time. With a mighty heave you tear out her lungs and raise them high above you. The blood runs down on your face and chest, your mouth filling with its iron taste. Grimly you stride to the closest tree and nail the organs to the living wood with a dagger-thrust, completing the sacrifice to the God of war and madness.
"This death do I dedicate to the one I name." You roar amidst the raven-sounds filling the air. You feel the power around you, the sacred presence and the holy name carried upon the song of his servants. You throw your head back and join your mighty voice to the chorus of caws.
The world is still for a moment, and you can see all with perfect clarity. The cat-child's face is numb with utter horror, as if something within her refuses to accept the reality of the situation. The forest witch's face is likewise shocked, but for other reasons. She now looks at you with something in-between revulsion and attraction in her eyes.
And then there is the Third One. The man slowly walks towards you, long-bearded, long-cloaked, his one eye burning with power beneath his wide, blue hat. He stops at the corpse of the wizard fox and looks down on it for a moment, smiling without joy as he utters a sharp word over her body. From the shadows two great wolves leap forth and tear into the spirit fox's corpse, savaging the mutilated thing even further. The flock of ravens swoop down, tear flesh and rend sinew.
Satisfied that his servants are well fed this day the hooded one continues his walk until he meets you face to face. In his eyes you can see wisdom and wrath, might and madness swirling in the terrible one's unblinking sight-orb.
The old man reaches out and touches the bloody hilt of your dagger. The metal shifts beneath his touch, as if melting and flowing into a new form and function. No longer a dagger but a gleaming sword is lodged into the living wood, blade born from death and baptised in blood.
"May one who is worthy draw it." The ancient one commands, his voice kingly and strong. Then the wanderer turns around and leaves the square, wolves and ravens following on his heels as he returns to the shadows.
Far away you see light flashing across the sky. Thunder roars as you grasp the hilt of the sword and effortlessly draw it from its living sheath. The earth itself trembles as you raise the unasked gift to the sky, that drawer of wisdom's blood, that once-broken blade forged for your hand.
Vengeance is half-fulfilled. Now remains only the other one, that daemon of borders. The Chosen of Odin awaits her.
>>16241 Look at Owen's scene where farmer had to rip out his eye.
The breaking of the ribs was mechanical and boring. "He cut a rib and praised a God. Cut another rib and praised another God." Details such as Ran's cries of pain and agonized face would have helped quite a bit.
Less Nordic pantheon wankery, more actual writing.
While i like it and would like to read some more scenes like that i wouldn't like to see it in the actual story. It is too dark and brutal and makes me dislike Sigurd.
Dr. Doujin !6zq1qwwMaI2009/06/29 (Mon) 19:10No. 16248▼
>>16244 Were you expecting guro levels specifics? I agree it could have been more detailed, but don't know how much I would have enjoyed reading it.
This scene is intriguing and I wish to learn more, especially about Marisa's reaction and the change of Sigurd's path with the Gods, but I'm glad the story did not turn that direction. I just can't take it easy with blood rage Sigurd.
I actually tried to cut down on the descriptive gory parts because I thought that describing the blood & gore too much would make the scene mechanical and boring (not to mention somewhat off-putting), but it seems like I may have gone too far in the other direction. I'm not too familiar with writing guro, so this may be a good learning experience.
There actually was a point with the list of names, but I may have made it too subtle. My intention was to symbolize the breaking of each of Ran's ribs with the invocation of one name (note that Sigurd liste 24 names as he's doing the carving), but I guess I forgot to make the connection.
And as for Norse Pantheon wankery, that is the heart and soul of GLS. Though Sigurd only addresses one god in the story, so the pantheon part may be rendundant.
Basically I tried to convey the ritualistic meaning of carving the blood-eagle as a sacrifice to Odin rather than merely a form of torturous execution, but I may have failed in conveying the significance. Or perhaps descriptions of old norse human sacrifice isn't interesting in the first place?
What do I know, I'm just the writefag. It's up to you to point shit like this out.
In any case, negative criticism is the best form of criticism, so for that I thank you, noble Anonymous.
Well, the story would have taken a different turn, that's for sure. First of all, offering a life to Odin would create a slight snag in any natural reincarnation of the one whose life was offered. Einherjar Ran would have been fun to write though.
As for Marisa, depending on how you'd handled the aftermath she could end up hostile or as the newest convert to the Will of Odin. You'd probably have to kill Chen though, and Yukari would have been flagged as so hostile that I really can't see how anything short of pure writer's fiat could realistically have been able to save Sigurd from being gapped into the sun or something equally insta-death.
So now when I think about it, going old school Viking in Gensokyo would probably make for a really short saga.
>Basically I tried to convey the ritualistic meaning of carving the blood-eagle as a sacrifice to Odin rather than merely a form of torturous execution, but I may have failed in conveying the significance.
It's both, so convey it as both.
>Or perhaps descriptions of old norse human sacrifice isn't interesting in the first place?
If you're good enough at writing, you can make anything interesting.
>My intention was to symbolize the breaking of each of Ran's ribs with the invocation of one name
I understood that. It was boring.
>(not to mention somewhat off-putting)
I actually facepalmed at this. You are writing someone brutally, painfully, and slowly murdering a woman in front of her surrogate child, and you worried about it being off putting?
>And as for Norse Pantheon wankery, that is the heart and soul of GLS
Yes, but it's not usually just a namesheet with a short job description.
I had thought that the symbolism would be varied enough, but apparently I may have been mistaken. Anyway, long-ish attempt at an explanation follows.
My intent was the emphasize the various aspects of Odin, beginning with the High One, i.e. the ruler of the universe, and thus over the still living sacrifice, then naming him the god of the dead, symbolizing his dominion over the valiant dead (or the valiant soon to be dead, as the case may be).
From there the names have to do with Odin's mastery of magic and the runes, symbolizing his power over the supernatural world (to which Ran belongs), and after that various names for his aspect as the war god, i.e. bringer of death and violence, to sanctify the sacrifice (i.e. to differentiate it from mere revenge).
There are the names that have to do with Odin as the god of madness, these are directed more at Sigurd himself. You may notice that Sigurd slips in and out of bloodrage as the story progressess, the times when does scream in maddened rage are preceded by when he invokes Odin as the bringer of rage and twister of minds.
And then the invocation ends with other names that brand Odin as the lord of death and as the lord of the ones beyond death's door. Then there is the final invocation that again names Odin as the Allfather, i.e. the lord of the world and invites him with a blood sacrifice offered to him as the lord of gods and men, thus calling Odin in his full power to the mortal world to collect his sacrifice and bless his champion.
And god, all this sounds far too pretentious when I read it. I'm also an idiot for apparently assuming that people would be able to figure out the symbolism in a long list of names, but that's another matter.
In retrospect I'm also slightly disturbed that I took the time to think this deeply about something that's basically brutal murder of the worst sort. But there it is, for all to see, the unvarnished truth.
Well I liked it. I enjoy the story precisely because of the pantheon wankery. There's enough horror in brutal ritualistic murder in front of a surrogate child. Sigurd as a norseman does it ritualistically because that's precisely what it is. He's not doing anything that would make him flinch, just carrying out his duty.
Though, if someone else found it boring, perhaps you could've interspersed Marisa's and Chen's horrified reaction to Sigurd's business-like demeanor to the whole scene.
Didn't we earn Odin's blessing? I'd say that makes Yukari be proper fucked.
Anywho, I think the side stories are awesome, and hope to see other "alternate scenes".
I'm sort of interested in seeing sigurd armed with the sun-sword fighting Yuyuko in full form in what would be a fight to the death. It would be.. What's the word.. Glorious?
Also on the scene; it was well done. Both norse mythology and the epics they wrote were brutal. You conveyed that properly, though not to the extent to make this an actually revolting scene. I'm happy this didn't happen, but it easily could have happened. Critics always exist.
This one is next. Has been in the works for slightly longer than I thought, but that's tthe vagaries of fate for you.
[ ] Lend your will and anger to the inferno. Let the fires take her.
Fire whispers in your ears, fire and the voice of its cunning, silver-tongued god. Long have men known fire to be one face of anger, that unfettered, destructive fury that consumes what it touches with its flaming fingers.
So do you now know this aspect of fire, so does your anger guide your actions towards the suggestion of Laufey's Son. Power surges within as you join your mind to the divine flames rushing through you, Trickster God's flames now guided by mortal champion's will. This day you shall end her, the golden-maned daemon of all borders, this day shall you have your vengeance and clear the stain on your honour.
The fires are glorious, dancing before your eyes like a vision of ever-bright Muspelheim brought to Midgard's soil. The flame is of Loki, but also of you, man and god working in concert, this realm where even the rocks themselves are filled with sorcerous power feeding the ancient, brutal spells of the Jötnar of fire and the anger, the wounded pride and the sweet taste of vengeance directing it towards your hated foe.
But even so, even faced with the power vested in the son of giants, with the strength of the one even Allfather Odin calls blood-brother, the Daemon of Borders resists. Though fire flows around and through her body, though her face is twisted in pain and though her fair skin and golden locks are slowly charred to ash, she resists. You can feel Loki himself straining from this strange battle, this duel between ancient sorceries of Jotunheim and Gensokyo, and likewise can you feel your own will and stamina draining fast from the channeling.
The son of giants invokes the runes of power, he sings the spell-songs and draws strength from the shades of Hel, all this and more he employs, every scrap of sorcery he can muster is funneled through you while the Lady of Borders burns. Her skin charred to coal, her tears cook away as soon as they are formed, her very bones burned to ash in your iron-hard grip, and even then do you feel her fury and spirit directing back a tide of ancient power against you and the trickster acting through you. But no thought do you have of faltering, no doubts about your path. The rage of Odin leaves no room for these.
And finally, it ends. The very spirit of the gap daemon burned beyond recognition, truly dead or so close the distinction in meaningless. The fires die down, the fury fades. All around you there is a moment of stillness before the storm, marred only by the triumphant, weary sound of the trickster's laughter.
You know not why the storm now comes, you know not why the earth itself suddenly trembles and heaves, you know not why the sky itself cracks and why lightning crackles in the sky, the cause of Thor's rage this day hidden from your sight. You know not why this storm comes, a raging storm that makes even the God of Fire fall silent in fear.
You know only sudden darkness and a deep sleep.
The Slaying of Yakumo Yukari, Part 2Norseman!Mt7GrRaEMc2009/07/27 (Mon) 21:21No. 16955▼
A long while of darkness passes as time marches onwards, until your consciousness is returned to you at last.
The first sensation is the pain, the second the weariness, both deep and aching, cutting to the bone like a well-honed sword, biting deep like the northern wind flowing down from an ice-crowned mountain.
You somehow manage to drag yourself to a seated position, and with weary eyes try to look around you.
"Awake at last." The familiar voice speaks. You turn your head in the direction of the sound and see the speaker. As told in the tales he is of medium length, his hair red like flames, face handsome and slender, and clad in fine clothes. The Trickster God walks over to you and kneels down beside you.
"Do not try to move, mortal warrior." He instructs while scrutinizing you. "You are too frail for the sorcery of Jotunheim, mortal, so I shall employ other ways." The trickster then adds as he summons his powers.
"A second rune I know, which the son of men must sing, who would heal the sick."
The Son of Laufey calmly chants, his power bound and shaped by the spell Odin found after his ride on the ashen tree. The strength flows into your body and mind, restoring much of that which you had lost. Still you are weary, but not overwhelmed by it.
"What happened, O son of giants, where are we?" You wonder, for now you clearly see that you are not where your last memories placed you. Rather you are on a windswept plain at the foot of a low hill.
"Somewhere, mortal." The God of Fire wistfully replies. "I know not."
"You know not, Loki Fire-God?" You ask with venomous voice, "I know one thing, Loki Liefather, and this is that we are no longer in the realm of spell and sorcery, we are no longer in Gensokyo."
"That realm we have destroyed, have we not?" You accusingly ask the Wizard of Lies, though the barbed words tear as deeply into your own heart as they could do into his. For if Gensokyo has ended, what about your fair friends?
"No, mortal warrior, returned it is to the circle of Midgard is what we have done." Loki replies. "That woman, the ruler of borders, must have powered the sorcery and spells of the wall of sorcerer's realm."
For a moment you feel profound relief, for if nothing else the dear dollmaker and fair forest witch must still be alive. Then you consider the second part of his words, and feel your mood sour.
"Why then, cursed giantspawn?" You roar at the Trickster God, your earlier relief turned into newfound rage.
"Why did you slay the daemon of all borders if the spell-wall shattered because of this?"
"That the realm's spell-wall would shatter was unknown to me." The Son of Giants spits back. "And as I recall, you asked for aid." He adds with a sarcastic smile, then he turns away. You find yourself unable to reply even if you had any wish of doing so.
"Now, mortal warrior," The Trickster adds after a moment, his voice regretful. "We both are lost."
The first days were the worst, as they had to be, when the sudden reemergence of mighty sorcerers and beasts of legend threw the world into confusion. And unknown to the world, the collapse of the border and the end of over a hundred years of sheltered existence, caused even greater confusion in Gensokyo.
You saw this strange world you had been cast into turn into one more familiar, a world where power and might mattered, yet these were unbound by honour and Odin's law. Good men fought, evil men fought, and victory went as Odin's will and the hand of Urd willed.
But as with all ages marked by strife, this was a good time for storytellers. Many a tale was crafted, many a song born from the madness that gripped Midgard.
There was the grand tale of the Slaying of Yuka Kazami, where cities and countryside alike burned in the flames unleashed by mankind's greatest inventions, the fires deemed a small price to pay for stopping the red-eyed flower-horror after thousands upon thousands of warriors had been massacred in battle with the beast. There, among shattered stone and sterile earth, there beneath clouds of smoke and ash, there where every living plant had been scoured from the earth for miles upon miles did she finally fall.
There was the epic cycle of Máni's Fall, where the princess born of Mundilfari's son fought alongside the living Phoenix against foemen not of this world. The war scarred both the heavens and earth, from thereon all men could see Máni's chariot burned and torn by the fury of the immortal ones as it flees the jaws of Háti.
There was the Scarlet Night when death itself visited many of the great and powerful of the world. In a short time, driven by desperation shared with their new mistress, millions again knew the rule of the House of Tepes.
There was the Wizards' War, where sorcerers of the outside world felt the might of the seers and mages born within Gensokyo. A battle less destructive than the others, yet perhaps of greater consequence than the others, it saw the mages of the world united beneath a Triad of sorceresses.
Many were the tales, many the battles in this dance of magic and might, this festival of deamons and deities, and among them there were many stories and rumours of the tall wanderer bearing tales of deeds from age-old and recent times alike. Prophet they called him, this ancient vision that suddenly appeared among them. Prophet they called him and many other names as his own tale grew.
And high above, high in the halls of the noble slain, many brave warriors joined the feast of the fallen. There in Valhalla, the High Lord Odin sips his mead from a golden goblet, his one eye glittering with satisfaction.
>There was the grand tale of the Slaying of Yuka Kazami, where cities and countryside alike burned in the flames unleashed by mankind's greatest inventions, the fires deemed a small price to pay for stopping the red-eyed flower-horror after thousands upon thousands of warriors had been massacred in battle with the beast. There, among shattered stone and sterile earth, there beneath clouds of smoke and ash, there where every living plant had been scoured from the earth for miles upon miles did she finally fall.
Oh god, you really have to write this. Reading alone this 2 short sentences is epic.
Dr. Doujin !6zq1qwwMaI2009/07/29 (Wed) 07:10No. 17005▼
All I can say is "fuck yeah, sounds awesome." I'm curious as to how the tales work out, but plot is plot and we can only explore so much.
>>16990 Hell, all of the events described in the conclusion sound awesome enough to get their own stories. Mokou vs. the moon, Remilia rules the world, Heaven's Feel as ran by everyone's favorite love triangle; you really should write one of them.
> There was the Wizards' War, where sorcerers of the outside world felt the might of the seers and mages born within Gensokyo. A battle less destructive than the others, yet perhaps of greater consequence than the others, it saw the mages of the world united beneath a Triad of sorceresses. Somehow, I find this intriguing.
There is nothing keeping me from writing one or several of these scenes, though some of them would warrant a story in itself.
The basic idea of progression from this True End always was the choice between New Saga and Norsified Mad Max, something that I thought would be a new and interesting thing to write. Since then though the Fallout story has covered the niche of post-apocalyptic adventure, so I don't have to write that anymore.
That scenario basically started as an idea I had one day involving a grand battle of wits and sorcery between everyone's favourite love triangle on one side, and a rowdy bunch of outsider mystics on the other. After I imagined Marisa Master Sparking Aleister Crowley in the face I concluded that this was either too awesome or too silly to write.
I would race you to it if not for the fact that I'd certainly lose.
But anyway, as requested I shall begin producing the Saga of the Slaying of Kazami Yuuka. It will be done when it's done.
U. N. Owen!MqTkhp80TA2009/08/01 (Sat) 12:00No. 17074▼
>>17065 I won't race you to it, because of the fact that I'd certainly lose. Minimal free time these days, and good writing isn't something that should be rushed for the sake of a silly race. But I wish you luck on your own short nonetheless.
The Slaying of Yuka Kazami; Part 1Norseman!Mt7GrRaEMc2009/09/04 (Fri) 23:54No. 17702▼
Here is something I wrote up during this enforced absence, as per the earlier requests of Anonymous. Anyway, here are parts one and two.
Yuka, was a great beast named, born of fairest flowers and raised in dream-realms drowned beneath a lake of blood. She was known to be pleasing to the eye, so fair that men of old would have likened her to Sessrumnir's lady in countenance and grace, and no less warlike than the lady of Vanheim could she be called. Allfather's eye had long lingered upon her, for she was known to be one of great strength and daring so that none could match her, many mighty mages and worthy warriors had she bested in honourable holmgang; in battle she was a berserk.
Dusk was approaching that eve, flowers turning towards fading sun. The red-eyed woman watched it alone from her garden, for few were there who dared approach it. Deep did those flowers drink of wound-water when daring men did, this was well known to all who were called wise in the realm of Gensokyo.
A day like most others it seemed to be, as are all days of destiny. For the moment came when wily Loki's flames slew the daemon of all borders, it was then the trickster summoned sky-searing storm, though his part in that play was unknown to the lady of flowers.
It was then that Urd's hand touched the life of this greatest of beasts, for all in the nine realms all men, giants and gods, even Allfather Odin himself, must heed her hand of fate.
On the first day Yuka watched the sky scorch and shatter.
Magic that had stood for over a century withered and died with the slaying of Yakumo Yukari, spells that all within this realm had thought and hoped would last forever. Yet if the lady of flowering field shared the terror that most of Gensokyo's inhabitants felt, or the shock and unease that gripped those too mighty to feel fear, no man shall know. Only a small frown came over her fair features as ancient sorcery unraveled before her eyes.
"She is gone," The beast's soft voice stated, a hint of disappointment colouring her voice. "One less to play with."
The flowerborn lowered her gaze as silence fell over her realm. Calmly she walked through her garden and listened to the wind-whispered voices of her dear children, her expression growing more and more melancholy every moment. As she reached a small and delicate sunflower she halted her stride and kneeled down on the soft ground beside it.
Some of her children were afraid. Some more than others, she knew as she watched this little one tremble in the wind.
"Don't worry." She whispered as she softly stroked the petals of the flower, her touch gentle like a lover's.
"I'll protect you. I'll protect you all." She assured the golden plant, and carefully, always so carefully the fingers that could shatter mountains wrapped around the stem of the sunflower, pulling it into her embrace.
Her lips curled, forming a blissful smile as she felt the response to her feelings. Her eyes grew moist as she held it to her breast, for not by pain and sorrow could one make that beast weep, but by joy.
"I love you too. All of you." She answered the silent flowers, trembling lips brushing the sunflower's stem, the lightest of touches showing her heart's answer. Hesitantly she withdrew, the beast born of flowers rose to her feet once again, her joyful duty done.
"Now it's time for sleep." She softly told her children as the last glimpse of Skinfaxi's mane dipped below the horizon. "I'll sing for you so you won't have nightmares."
And so the day ended as it had begun, a sweet, soothing melody flowing from the garden of the sun.
On the second day the warriors came. Borne by wings of forged metal they rode the winds, like swift-footed Sleipnir's hooves their steeds shook the firmament as they passed.
With swiftness and daring unknown to even the greatest heroes of old they leapt from the bellies of their sleek sky-steeds, upon wings of white did they descend, weapons in hand and eyes bright as battle approached.
"Spread out." Their chieftain bade as they reached the ground, for a great man he was, one who held faith and favour of the mighty, king's baron in all but name, for in these late ages the brave no longer grew powerful by favour of highborn lord, in other ways the heroes had to seek fair fame and fortune.
The warriors acted swiftly, hard men and well trained. Like high king's hirdmen of old, they were the deadliest killers, the firmest on field of battle. Men worth five lesser fighters each, as such they were famed. On this day they moved silently, they moved unseen until they found themselves at the edge of sunflower field, unknown to them all, their gateway to song and saga, their path to the side of the gods and heroes of old.
Whispers were the sounds they made, two of them traveling on the small path leading towards this garden's heart, others stalking through high field of flowers, the only mark of their passing a few flowers trampled, a few stems snapped, blooming life slain.
The lady of flowers felt her children's pain. No other scream scarred her heart like the cry of flower's fear, that lingering sound of her dear ones dying in darkness, and clutching her burning chest she fell to her knees.
"Don't cry. Don't cry, I'll protect you. I promised." She lied with a pained whisper, though to whom no man can know.
Such was the beast that she set out to seek those slayers who had come to her home. Swiftly a beast such as her could find them, though she was pained in both bosy and mind, these men who had come for no reason, these men who had coldly slain her beloved children. There they met, slayers both, as the first of the warriors saw his doom.
"You..." The green-haired woman whispered as she staggered closer to the first man she saw. "Was it you?"
"Found a civilian. She seems drunk or drugged." The lead warrior called out to his chieftain as he raised his weapon.
The warband's leader slowly moved forward, his sight sweeping over the scene in front of him. A woman had no place here, especially not one who looked like this. But he knew little of this place, strange were his jarl's commands, and no wise warrior lightly faces battle in unknown place against a foe whose strength he knows not, thus he had to learn, and learn he would, for life and death was the prize of this game he played.
"Take her in." The fateful command was given, swift, silent like serpents three of his men surround the green-haired beast, like mere mortals walking towards Hrodvitnir's jaws they were, though she was wracked with pain and grief, brave men who in their ignorance sought to bind this beast with shackles of forged steel.
The Slaying of Yuka Kazami; Part 2Norseman!Mt7GrRaEMc2009/09/04 (Fri) 23:55No. 17703▼
Yamagata Katsuo was a man named, a leader of men, long had he served his land and emperor. Courage burned in his heart, brave pride and loyalty was why he was chosen for this mission into realms unknown, he had few peers among the warriors of the eastern lands, and even among the heroes of old would he have held a place of high esteem.
There he watched the crying woman before him, that strange, green-haired, red-eyed woman so obviously not of the people of his homeland. Tears freely flowed down her cheeks, and for a moment he felt a tug at his heart-strings when his men unflinchingly shackled this weeping beauty. But such thoughts had no place within a warrior's mind, even less in that of a leader of men, thus they were cast away.
"It was you." She suddenly told them, the weeping woman's accusing voice stinging the ears of even the hardened warriors with its intensity.
"You killed them." She hissed, and the great chieftain could see the unease of his warriors, strangely twisted expressions, tense muscles, all these showing an emotion no true warrior should feel when spoken to by a woman bound and helpless.
It was then that the gaze of red-eyed Yuka met the one of honurable Katsuo. It was then that courage of man wat truly tested, for flower-field's fierce mistress seldom showed the rage and madness within, few were those among men or gods who could meet her eyes when fire born of grief burned within them, when her soul screamed for blood to wash away the pain and rage.
Steel shattered as she tore apart her bonds. Shock and fear halted the men for a moment, speed and rage sealing fates, sending brave souls to Hel's halls.
"Was it like this?" She asked as the neck of one brave warrior snapped beneath her touch, the flesh of mortals too frail to stand against the beast's rage and power. Two other men died as swiftly when the flower-beast rent them apart, never were there wolf-fang nor bear-claw that tore limbs so swiftly, no beast so strong as the dark daemon of flowers.
Fire flared in reply, warrior's virtue and skill they owned, these soldiers acted without delay, fierce storm of steel tearing into daemon of flowers at their command.
Deep wounds bloomed, met by a roar of rage. With her life-blood spilled, the beast lashed out, sorcery of old seared and killed another man. It was now that the steel in their minds faltered, that moment when men's doubt and fear wear away their courage. This their noble leader saw, this he knew, for even he felt the cold touch of fear that moment.
"Fall back!" Katsuo roared to his remaining warriors, for a man like him understood when a battle is lost. And a man like him knew that even if he should fall this day, his men must live. At least this he owed them, at least this he could do, so he thought as he hurled himself at the red-eyed daemon before him, his weapon spitting steel at the merciless slayer and her mocking smile.
The blood-curdling scream behind him proved him wrong. Iron discipline and will cracked by the pressure of fear and concern, for though the warriors of later ages battle like the heroes of old, no gift of Odin is theirs, no rage that sharpens the mind to only him and his hated foeman.
Behind him, his last companion staggered back, the sockets of his eyes now home to beautiful flowers, petals stained red by blood. They bloom in his mouth, they sprout from his skin, the flesh of mortal man now transformed into soil, as the flesh of old Aurgelmir was remade by the sons of Bor.
He staggered, he fell down dead, the horror of his slaying seared into the sight-orbs of noble Katsuo.
"Do you want to run? To hide?" Yuka asked, slowly stalking towards her prey. Anger fed by mocking words flared, fire kindled in noble Katsuo's heart, fire flowing from his weapon as he sent a shower of steel tearing into his hated foe, yet even this storm was not enough to end the greatest of Gensokyo's beasts, inhuman swiftness sending her to his side in a heartbeat.
"Do you want the nightmare to end? To wake up and find that all is well?" The voice of the fiend echoed in his ear. With strength born from her inhuman blood his weapon of finest steel shattered, with fury born from deepest sorrow he was hurled to the ground.
"Pathetic. You led your men to their deaths, you killed so many." He heard though his mind still swirled by the impact, his mind still confused, still wondering what he was facing, still screaming in terror, telling him to run and hide from this great beast.
"And now you want to run." She told, her cruel smile and empty gaze burning though his dizziness, the sight feeding horror and anger within, but little could the flame of fury do when faced with such a beast.
She shivered slightly as she saw his expression, pure panic and true terror stoking the joy held within Yuka's heart. But she tired of this mockery. She could have broken him, crushed his body in the most painful ways possible. It would not be enough, for a rage such as hers needs a crueler game to be satisfied.
Graceful she was, she kneeled down beside him, she reached out and pulled one of his slain comrades into her arms, cradling the warm corpse with alien gentleness.
"All dead." She softly told him. "Because of you. It has to hurt to have so much blood on you hands, doesn't it? When you could not protect them?"
Slowly she raised the broken corpse, flower-beast's fingers crushing the throat of the dead man. With grace born out of madness she brought that red ruin to her mouth and drank deeply of the wound-water before the warrior's horrified eyes, the red stream running down and mixing with her own blood.
Trapped, powerless, he could only strain and writhe as the flower-beast leaned closer and locked her lips to his, iron taste of blood filled his mouth. The blood of his friend, the blood of his warrior, one who fought and died at his side, one who was his to protect.
The fury of noble Katsuo was one that men would hear about in the sagas of old, yet what man can match the strength of one who has slain gods in her rage? Like fetters of iron her arms held him fast as her merciless tongue swirled the crimson liquid for an unbearable moment, red eyes filling his world, turning all his rage into terror as he finally understood what his fate at her hands had to be.
"Tell me." The daemon of flowers gently asked. "How did it taste?"
"The flowers loved it. I did too." Yuka calmly told, her features blissful, thrill of sweet vengeance swiftly beat in her chest, that drum-like thunder roared in her ears. "It tastes sweet, the blood of a killer."
"Now, let me taste yours." She sneered, grin of red-stained fangs widening, red like her eyes.
High above the sky-steeds soared, they spied and searched, they saw slain men and bloodied beast, and this knowledge that passed on to their faraway lords. And what they thought, these men of power, no man can know, yet never could they have suspected that this small realm, this suddenly sighted land of Gensokyo would send so many good men to the gates of Valhalla.
Thus they pondered, they sought advice and summoned their soldiers, they prepared and armed their warriors, for now they knew that greatest caution was the only wise path.
Yet in Yuka's garden there was only silence at the end of that day, no song of soothing, only soundless tears falling, fouled with blood.
This made me wish there were more stories that dealt with the aftermath of the border collapsing. Of course to milk it for all the fun possible, the minor problem of youkai not being able to survive in the outside world needs to be waived.
>>17757 That of course assumes everyone didn't just die horribly right away. I imagine all of Gensokyo suddenly becoming superimposed upon the 'real' world, would probably cause something rather catastrophic...
If this is all wrong you can correct me, but as far as I've understood there's magic on the outside, it's just that much of it is concentrated in Gensokyo (there pretty much has to be, as lots of former outsiders have powerful magical abilities).
But in any case the Norse gods live outside Gensokyo, so in my little universe magic is doing quite well outside the border.
There probably will be one or two parts after this one. I'll try to crank them out sometime soon-ish.
On the third day the sacred maiden of Hakurei shrine came. Skinfaxi´s mane had not lingered long above the horizon when she sped to the garden of sunflowers, her heart gripped with unease. Shattered was her duty, failed at long last had her line. Great guardians glorious no longer, but marred foever with the shame of failure.
Worse was that she knew not why or how this had happened. Could Yukari, that dark daemon of borders, have done this she first wondered, or could something have happened to her, strange as the thought was? All day and night had she searched and worried, to no avail nor comfort. Calming others, waging battles, calling allies and dealing with those from outside.
It was such a weary-eyed maiden that fluttered down from the sky that day, to one she in her mind knew she should have sought out earlier. So she arrived and saw the carnage, so were her worries confirmed.
Death all around her. Dried blood and unseeing eyes, greedy flowers drinking deep of spilled wound-water and rooting themselves in the fresh soil. The maiden of Hakurei flinched as she saw the dead. Outsiders, she knew from their strange garb, but mortal men nonetheless. Mortal men, and dead.
With anger welling up withinthe maiden stalked through the garden until she found its mistress. Regal and tall, though her clothes were stained, though her hair was unkempt no one could doubt the power and majesty of the lady of blossoms even in this moment.
"Yuka!" The maiden divine snapped at the great beast, a fury few would dare show directed at the red-eyed mistress of flowering garden. "You promised you wouldn't kill any humans, didn't you?"
To this accusation, no reply. The lady of blossoms still stared silently ahead, the maiden of paradise now saw, her face marked by dried blood and tears.
"Yuka, goddammit." The maiden growled again, though for a moment her heart hesitated at the sight of the beast of flowers. "You know you can't kill humans. Not anymore, especially not now."
"Why did you do this?" The shrine maiden again demanded, her voice rising, anger renewed at the silent, menacing figure in front of her.
"It hurt too much." The green-haired lady then answered, her voice flat and dead.
"What did?" Hakurei Reimu asked of the blossom-beast, and her heart suspected and dreaded the answer.
"To let them live." The dry voice whispered, all emotion drained from the words.
"What's wrong with you, Yuka? You're not acting like yourself." Red-White Reimu replied, her voice now carrying hints of both wariness and concern.
The lady of blossoms closed her eyes, trying to avoid the pleading gaze of the maiden of Hakurei. Of all in this realm, she well knew in her heart, only the sacred maiden among mortals was her equal. Only for one child of Ríg did the great beast feel real respect, and only her eyes seeing such unworthy weakness could shame the lady of sunflower field.
The shrine maiden's gaze wandered lower, where she saw the red, half-healed wells of wound-water that the weapons of mortal men had inflicted upon the great beast of Gensokyo.
"Yuka, you're hurt." Reimu whispered, all emotion except shock and concern now gone from her voice.
'Don't pity me.' A heart whispered back without sound, desperate like no other.
"We have to get those wounds treated." Reimu told the lady of flowers, for while anger still smouldered within her she now knew that her judgement had been hasty. Weary she was, the maiden of Hakurei, yet never could she leave this red-eyed beast in grief and pain.
The blossom-beast felt a hand brush against her shoulder, this small gesture sending a pleasant shiver down her spine. "Yuka," The pleasant voice of the maiden called her. "Please, won't you talk to me? Let me help you?"
The lady of flowers felt her numbness fade, she felt the silence and the emotion around her. Turned inward, cut off from all around her, she had forgotten all but the cold grief gnawing at her heart. Now she felt again, she heard her children call out to her. Worried. Afraid. Crying.
And she had shut them out, them and the warm, kind maiden standing beside her. And that maiden felt surprise for a moment as she saw the glistening saltwater sliding from the red eyes of the lady of flowers.
"They killed my chilldren Reimu. I felt them die, felt them crushed and broken and the killers didn't even care." Yuka softly said. In the maiden's ears only sadness sounded, an emotion that seeped into her own heart. Somehow she understood some of this pain.
She reached around the great beast, careful not to touch the plentiful wounds and drew the green-haired flowerborn into her arms.
And high above, vengeance was coming. Death is paid for by death, brother by brother as honour demands. High above they soared, warriors sent to avenge their fallen.
Sky-steeds swiftly sped to their target. Weapons with fire bound within fell like thunderbolts, like Mjölnir's all-shattering strike.
And the field of flowers was torn asunder in that moment.
From the flames and smoke came a roar. The sky shattered once again, spells of rage tearing down the steel sky-steeds, the bound flames within them igniting into infernos. Moments only and all life and movement in her sight was scoured from the sky.
Next where the hills and mountains. They shook and cracked as anger was freed again, the red-eyed beast shattering stone and earth alike with her bright beams of power.
All this she saw before her, the divine maiden watching in horror from her fantasy heaven. Unchained at last was Hródvitnir's equal, and no god of courage stood before this beast to offer his hand and no chain from Nidavellir was there to bind her.
"Sir!" A young man called out, a soldier still unblooded who knew not war. "Lt. Inoue here to deliver the report on operation CSFO-23."
"Report." The old warrior answered while leaning back into his chair. A jarl of honour he was, his name wide-famed in this land of rising sun. Now he would at last know if the spirits of his warriors would rest avenged.
The young one took a hesitant step forward and handed the old chieftain what he had brought.
"Sir, we have lost contact with both assault squadrons." The young man told, then, hesitating slightly, added the worlds he could only half-believe himself. "Our reconnaisance planes report that several detonations were sighted in and around the target area after the loss of communications. Estimated TNT equivalent ranges from oh-point-five to two kilotons per detonation."
The grim-faced jarl studied the pictures caught by sharpest eyes, those of the swiftest sky-steeds. Like Máni's chariot he thought the scene was, bare stone scarred by power only the greatest weapons of mortal men could surpass. But surpass it they could, he noted with grim determination, unleash fires even greater if needed.
"Very well, Inoue. Dismissed."
Young he may be, but this tone on the old warlord's voice was one any man would recognize. The boy gave a swift salute, then turned around and left the office of General Yoshida. The grizzled veteran studied the documents again, thinking and pondering about what to do. How does a man fight a beast? How does he fight something he does not understand?
Reluctantly he lifted the reciever and called a number he always had hated using. Strange were these times when old legends stalked the earth, and strange when men of valour and honour had to face terrors such as the green-haired woman framed in one of these pictures. But duty and honour were above all, and he would not fail his people or emperor.
> Like Máni's chariot he thought the scene was, bare stone scarred by power only the greatest weapons of mortal men could surpass. But surpass it they could, he noted with grim determination, unleash fires even greater if needed.
I'm getting the feeling that a nuke is in the future.
You don't fuck with Humanity
The Slaying of Yuka Kazami; Part 4Norseman!Mt7GrRaEMc2009/09/29 (Tue) 23:20No. 18232▼
I'm on a roll it seems. This would be the second-to-last part, with the final one in the works.
The lights were dim in the strange room, the only true brightness shining down upon the large table in its center.
Old warriors, veterans bloodied many winters ago sat there, studying the maps and reports that had been gathered at great cost in blood and gold.
"Yoshida-sensei." One of the men respectfully addressed the elder of the gathered chieftains. "Do we truly not have the resources to handle this situation? Why should we turn to the americans?"
"We have no choice." The grizzled, gray-haired jarl replied. "Gaijin bastards they are, but useful nonetheless." His expression twisted, much like the one of a man biting a lemon, for these words stung with their sourness. "And the Prime Minister has already requested their assistance."
Outrage followed, silent and venomous. None of these men enjoyed what this action implied, for what warrior's honour could remain without blemish when told that he could not defend his king and kinsmen?
But this anger was carefully chained and hidden behind grim masks. No matter their thoughts, no matter their stung pride, these men knew well that the greatest dishonour was to fail their duty.
A sharp knock brought this dark silence to an end. The young one at the door, that unbloodied aide swiftly opened it and stepped out. A moment later he returned and walked to his mentor.
"Sir! The american liaison is here." The young man told with a swift salute.
"Very well, Inoue. Let him in." The great jarl answered, barely keeping the irritation out of his voice. Better to get this matter over with, for though he wished not to admit it, the strength of his own warriors perhaps was not enough to contain the ancient powers returned to the world of mortal men.
Yet not only he was surprised at the one who entered. Few would have expected a woman as an ambassador, yet such things were not unheard of in this later age. Standing tall in her uniform, her short, flame-touched hair framed her features. Sharp they were, though not without beauty of an old and savage kind, marred only by old scars cutting across her right cheek and down to the left side of her chin.
With confidence in her step she walked forth next to the table and met the gaze of old Yoshida, matching that iron gaze without flinching. For this, though a small thing, a seed of repect was planted on the old jarl's heart.
"General Yoshida, I am Major Mary Larsson, United States Army." She spoke, her accent immediately revealing her western origin.
The old warrior calmly rose from his chair, carefully scrutinizing the woman standing before him. Slowly and deliberately the old jarl while pondering whether this was some new slight from the gaijin. Or perhaps, he wondered this woman was of harder breed than most, one who had won her position by besting all men she had competed with. Her cold blue eyes and the scars showed that she had some steel in her spine, at least.
He halted his stride in front of the woman and offered his hand. Her grip was surprisingly strong as she shook his hand, and again the respect in the old jarl's chest grew a little.
"Welcome Major. I trust you are aware of the situation?" He told while watching her for any sign of surprise or hesitation.
"I am privy to all information that USFJ has recieved, sir." The major replied, her gaze unflinching. Confident, he deemed this flame-haired woman. Too confident by far to be only an officer of the army when old beasts of legend had reared their heads without warning. But naturally the wily gaijin would not have sent just anyone to oversee this operation. Inwardly he cursed the americans and their tricks to the lowest depths of hell.
"Very well, Major. Have a seat, we have planning to do." The old jarl replied, again wordlessly cursing the fates.
Hours later they stood in another place, another room built deep into the depths among Ymir's bones. A plan had been forged, a plan no one had preferred, yet a plan all had accepted.
Strange it was the grizzled jarl thought, for this woman standing at his side here in the control room was truly either kami or demon to be able to persuade even the most stubborn of his subordinates to agree.
So simple, yet so effective. There had been voices counseling caution and voices counseling diplomacy. There had been additional intelligence gathered, and more knowledge of this hidden land had come to light.
Old Yoshida looked down at the picture in front of him, on the green-haired devil they had to battle. The Youkai, an old wives' tale come alive, who had already torn asunder two airfields in her rage, slaying all who she had found.
He now knew that the name of this monster was Yuka Kazami, and that she had come from a hidden land called Gensokyo. His men on the ground had made contact with some miko who had claimed authority over the land, who had told them of this beast and cautioned about her powers.
Indeed, the priestess had even gone so far as to offer her aid in subduing the flower-beast, if only they could wait until she had sorted out the problems within Gensokyo. Colonel Akamatsu and Brigadier Eto had suggested this course of action. Let the Onmyoji chain the Oni, they said. Better to fight the supernatural with the supernatural, they reasoned, for even the oldest veteran was as a green recruit in face of Youkai.
To this only one had replied. He still remembered clearly how the flame-haired woman softly had asked how many men and women they were willing to sacrifice, how long it would take until the green-haired killer chanced upon a city or town? Could they as warriors stand idly by and wait for salvation brought by some strange priestess who they knew nothing about? How long until she arrived, how much death and destruction would the price be?
There had been arguments, of course. Almost all of his officers had shown their outrage at this real or percieved slight, citing breach of protocol and various other complaints. But slowly and surely she had won them over, even for the most outrageous part of this plan. She had spoken of honour and of duty, hers and their, for had not her own country made the wow to protect this land of the rising sun? No, her arguments and her exhortations had prevailed, the battle would be joined without delay.
"General, my strikeforce is ready." The woman's voice called to the old warrior.
"A battalion of marines, as agreed?" The old jarl asked in answer, for he had learned to be thorough the hard way.
"Yes, and a second at standby. As soon as the airstrikes are finished we'll strike." She replied with determination filling her voice. "Or after the deployment of the special warhead." The major added, her voice grim.
"Excellent. Then we attack."
This was the third place of killers. Third place, two thousand eight hundred and fifty-two killers now. Five for every one of her children made three thousand and twenty-three more.
"A fair price, don't you agree? Maybe even a bargain?" She asked of the killer squirming in her hands. "Not that you wound know about fairness, would you?
A sickening crunch was heard and wound-water streamed down her face. The killers were many, and their weapons stung and annoyed her. This was too slow. Too slow if she were to savour her vengeance, too easy if she didn't. No challenge.
The great beast of blossoms raised her parasol and pointed it at a nearby building. A great beam of light, and it was no more. Too easy. What was vengeance worth if it was only wiping away worthless chaff like this?
"Where?" She roared. "Where are you? Where is my challenge? Who among you sniveling cowards will kill me?"
There was no reply, save for the blare of sirens. The great beast looked around her, wondering, thinking. Her face twisted into a sneer as she saw all cowards around her run away. Then she gazed up into the sky and saw the white trails in the distance.
If any man saw her smile that moment he would have ran even swifter.
Yuka danced in the sky, she duelled the sky-steeds of the killers with confident grace. Now her heart beat and her limbs quickened with the thrill of battle, now she smiled in satisfaction when these great knights swept through the air around her. She ripped them to pieces with scathing spells, she smashed them with beams of power. Though they fought like heroes, though their weapons tore her into pieces and though there was many a time when her shattered body smashed into the ground, this was for naught.
She was the lady of flowers, the lady of life, and as long as Aurgelmir's flesh itself teemed with living things, she had power. Thus her body rose again and again, wounds knitting together and severed limbs attaching themselves once more. Strange it was, and terrible to behold for the riders of sleek sky-steeds, for they still were mortal men. But duty had to be done, and so they fought and died for their people and their honour.
"General, this clearly isn't working." Major Larsson commented, for even at this distance it was obvious who would be the victor of this battle.
"Indeed. Inoue, relay the order to retreat." Old Yoshida agreed. Grim was his visage, for while he told himself he was prepared for what had to come, the truth was that the unthinkable necessity weighed heavily on his shoulders.
"It appears as if the information we have recieved was true. If the enemy can regenerate when near plant life, we have no choice but to sterilize the soil." Harsh words, and harsher action hidden behind them.
"Still, this is not an easy decision." The old jarl replied. There surely would be casualties, and what about the political consequences? Even though it was a necessity he wondered if he was dooming himself by this action.
"Indeed not. However, if this threat is to be contained it must happen before it reaches areas of greater population density." The red-haired woman answered. "She is moving closer to the Greater Tokyo area by the hour.
"Yes she is." The General replied, and for the first time in a long while he felt the weariness weighing upon him. "I give my approval for the deployment of the special warhead."
The announcement did not go unnoticed by anyone in the command room. Heads turned and hearts grew heavy, but they also knew why this had to be. Slay one to protect a hundred, sacrifice a hundred to save one thousand. So had Master Sun taught long ago, and so it had to be.
"Then I shall relay your approval to the commander the USJF." The major answered, her voice warm with sympathy.
Fled they had, the few knights that remained. Cowards all.
Sickened by this the lady of flowers declined to pursue. These killers grew more and more boring, but still she would have her vengeance. If they could give her no challenge right now, then she would let them wait and prepare. Perhaps then would someone worthy stand up to her.
For a while she strolled through the ruined buildings of the killers' hideout, observing and studying. Metal, metal and molded stone all. Weapons of metal, buildings of metal, great machines of metal that spat fiery shells from their guns. Metal all, dead and silent.
These killers and their metal, it sickened her. How could they make and honour all these dead things and yet so callously slay her dear children? Even the humans of Gensokyo were infinitely better.
Again she raised her red eyes to the sky. It was so blue and so pretty, not a cloud nor one of the sky-steeds could be seen. Or was there something up there, something far, far away?
"Are you peeping at me, up there? How rude." She asked with a short giggle escaping her lips. "Don't you want to play anymore? I'm not finished either way, so I'm fine."
She decided to dismiss the watching eyes. Let them look if they wished, it would not matter, so the great beast thought. She would leave again, she would hunt down the killers and punish them all, three thousand and three now.
She did not have the time to understand how wrong she was, she could not see the flames born in the sky with her eyes blinded by impossible brightness.
Mankind's greatest weapon once again returned to this land, once again scorched the heavens and slayed the earth. Forty kilotons blossomed into fire and force, charred all things into ash and crushed everything around it into gravel.
And from one thing to another, here we go. Five parts, and now we're at the end. Hope it has been worth the wait.
The men in the control room were grim. Many were the horrors they could imagine, but few as powerful as the sight of the fireball in the sky now hanging before them. Old tales from the survivors of the last time this weapon had touched the isles of Nippon had been told time and again. Cities destroyed in an instant, tens of thousands dead, poison and fire seeping into the very soil. Now they saw the cloud rising, and soon the stormwinds would rush in to the void left by hungry flames and stone-shattering shockwave.
There were the assurances that the thermonuclear flames would not poison the earth, nor would they destroy more than this sparsely populated area of land. Still the terror was there.
"It is over then." Old Yoshida grimly stated. "We have won though the price was great."
"Perhaps not yet." The major at his side cautioned. "I'll give the orders to send in the green berets in three hours, then we shall know for sure."
"Your men are brave then." The old jarl said with an approving smile. "I wish them well."
"As do I, General. I intend to accompany them." The hard-faced woman replied, her lips curling into the first smile the old jarl had seen so far. For some reason he found that he had grown to respect this one, he concluded as he turned to the flame-haired woman and offered his hand.
"May Bishamonten watch over you, Major." The old general said as she took his hand, for perhaps this old superstition would prove true as well.
For a moment the major smiled again, then she replied. "And the blessings of Warfather Odin upon you, General. I shall personally see this threat to your country vanquished."
Fifteen minutes after this parting, an uniformed woman walked out of JSDF headquarters. She smiled widely after passing the gates, the scars over her lips visible to all who saw her, yet who would pay heed to such a detail?
Swiftly she then headed into a small park near the great hall of war and sat down on a bench in one secluded part.
She gazed up into the sky, watching the skies and clouds for a moment, a toughtful look on her features. Another moment of pondering, then she spoke in a language truly strange to any man who may have overheard it.
"In truth it seems that men always are enchanted by flickering flames, aye, even in this late age of the world." She wondered for herself. "Why else would they build such a weapon, one that is a match to Muspelheim itself, a shrine to old Surtur's fury?"
"Do I not, within my thought-hoard find a verse truly appropriate for this observation?" She mused while a wide grin spread across her features.
A sharp laugh rang out to the heavens, and a clear voice called out into the sky; "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"
It was only minutes later that a falcon took wing from the park, to great wonder of those who saw it. Wings beat with great power, and off it sped into the distance.
Two hours did pass. Two hours where the warriors prepared for their mission. Few of them had thought that they would ever do battle in the aftermath of nuclear detonation. Fewer still that they would hunt a creature of supernatural legend. But prepare they did. Forty-five minutes to go.
"So what do you think about that chick? Who's she?" One of the warriors wondered as they waited next to their steel steed. Hard men, called best of the best, ones who won victory though they fought fiercest foemen.
"Lessee, shows up out of nowhere with two battalions of jarheads, browbeats the colonel into letting her tag along and walks around in goddamn spit-shined boots? A fuckin' spook, that's who." His comrade replied, then spat on the ground.
"Shit, man. sometimes I get sick of all them CIA bastards. Didn't earn my beret just so that some damn spook could boss me around." The first one replied with all the disdain only a seasoned warrior could muster.
"Don't know about that." A third warrior objected. "Looks like she's seen some action doesn't she?"
To this no one could object, for her scars and her confidence proved that this woman was no mere official, not one who had lived a life of leisure, but who had tasted the gift of Odin.
"And what do you all think of that guy?" The third one again asked, pointing at the woman's bodyguard.
"Looks like a motherfucker you don't wanna fuck with." The first man laconically concluded. "Big as an ox, probably a mean motherfucker too."
"Shit, with that beard dude looks like some kinda viking or something." The second replied, then spat on the ground again.
"Probably a crazy fucker too." He continued while gesturing towards the huge bodyguard. "Who the hell lugs a sword around? A crazy fucker, that's who."
"Think he's some kinda Mad Jack Churchill?" The third asked with a smile.
"Better hope so. Could use a mean motherfucker where we're going." The second answered. Silence fell on the group of battle-hardened men. Where they were going they did not know, save that it was somewhere that had required power greater than any other battle they had ever seen.
So the time came. So the lord of these hard men gave his orders. Swiftly, led by the flame-haired woman along with her silent, giant, shadow they went into the wasteland.
The earth was charred, nothing alive remained after the flames had done their work. Like black Surtur himself would have swept over this land with all of the sons of Muspelheim, so he deemed it. Great spells had he seen woven, star-shaping sorcery and a pyre to scorch the heavens themselves, but a mere weapon, forged by men of Midgard, that was of such power?
Truly terrible, truly impressive.
"Fire, fierce-flowing, like swiftest stream, Fenrir's fury-fang flashed forth, Fallow fields fill once-proud plain, Fimbultýr's foe freed from his fetters."
His powerful voice called out these staves, yet no reply was forthcoming. Spread out was the command, and these warriors of later age had obeyed without question, leaving only him and his charge, if he could be so called. Or perhaps calling him 'she' would be more appropriate for the moment?
"Indeed, mortal warrior. Fine work, was it not?" A woman's woice called out as she appeared from behind a half-toppled wall, half-obscured by the fine dust still flowing through the air. Flame-haired and dressed in strange clothes, an uniform they were called.
And then she shifted. Not morphing, not changing, yet in one moment a woman, in the next a red-eyed man, lips scarred and hair of the same burning colour as she had.
"Why, I must ask, would great Loki Laufeyson disguise himself as a woman?" The song-smith wondered, his lips curling into a half-amused smile.
"Ever are warriors more easily shamed into action by a woman's voice, Sigurd Daemonslayer." The God of Fire replied with a chuckle. "And besides that, it is refreshing on occasion."
"Always seize every advantage, mortal warrior." The trickster god then told as they forged onwards through the wasteland. "And even though men are easily tricked, this was one of my finer moments."
"That high Odin's eye watched the plans and plots of Midgard's mighty lords I knew. Thus you knew their minds, and so you shifted their scheme to your own ends." The great song-smith replied. "Yet how did you trick the mighty men in two places at once? Both these men of the east, and those of the west you misled."
"Let us say that I had help." Loki replied, another smile coming over his lips. "Though few are as skilled, the changing of shape is not known to Loki alone."
This explanation seemed to satisfy the silver-tongued warrior. In silence the two then disappeared into the dust, for this hunt had to be swift indeed.
She had never felt such pain. She crawled, dragged herself forward with bloody, half-healed fingers. This power, this fury. Never had she imagined that the lowly cowards, these merciless killers, would have possessed the power to kill all life in such a large area.
A few strands of scorched hair fell down on her face, the acrid smell of burned hair filling her nostrils. She didn't care to brush them away, for too weak she was this great beast of legend. Without life, without the warm sun and the all-present plants, she had no strength to spare for such matters. They were so far away, but still she had grasped what little life remained in this scorched desert and the faint threads of power flowing from outside the destroyed area, and painfully drawn her body together.
To be Youkai was to be life. And as long as she had the will to live, no enemy would lay her low.
It was then when she heard the voice calling out to her.
"Here you lie, great beast of flowers. Helpless like my own son in his chains, fettered by weakness and laid low by blazing flames." It told, the hint of mockery within the words igniting the embers of rage within her chest.
Slowly she drew upon her own reserves of power and staggered to her feet. Though burned and battered she still was an impressive sight, though her clothes were in tatters and her hair blackened, she still was regal with her parasol in hand, a queen among all beasts of this world.
There she met the gaze of the Trickster God, one with eyes filled with fire, like hers were the colour of blood.
"Chains, O flowerborn, are ever evil things, yet sometimes necessary." The Son of Fárbauti told her, bowing respectfully to the great beast of Gensokyo. "As I well know, for I am Loki Laufeyson, God of Fire and Trickery."
"Charming." Yuka replied, her voice coming out as a hiss from ruined lungs. "What do you want?"
The fire-god gestured towards his companion, the great, bearded man with his steel-grey sword bared, then smiled widely and addressed the flower-beast once again.
"This is my associate, Sigurd Daemonslayer. He is here to kill you."
For a moment the flowerborn beast watched the mortal man standing in front of her, then she smiled weakly.
"You? Will you kill me?" She wondered, voice half-mocking though it was strained. "I'm weak, but not so weak that this boy could do it, slayer or not."
To this the God of Fire did not reply, merely shrugged his shoulders as the song-smith stepped up to the challenge.
He met the gaze of the great beast, and his powerful voice spoke.
"Grey blade drawn, deathbringer, Great beast's bane, famed foe-bane, Gram, bears it, a name known to all."
For a moment he fell silent, then raised his sword in salute.
"I am Sigurd, Odin's chosen. Let our battle be one that shall be remembered for ages to come."
His sword whistled though the air, only to be met by the parasol of the flower-beast. She parried, and then, swifter than the eye could follow, her sharp claw slashed forth.
Swifter than any mortal Odin's champion dodged her hand and swung down again with his blade. Blow was traded for blow, for no strength for spells had the flower-beast left, and in this dance Sigurd song-smith had the advantage.
She thrust with her trusty parasol, too far and too fiercely, for grey Gram whistled down upon her wrist and it was over. Wound-water welled forth from the stump to the great surprise of the beast of flowers. For a moment she stared at the red ruin, eyes not quite believing what they beheld.
"No need to look," The silver-tongued warrior told her, "It is as you think, the hand is gone."
"So it is. A flesh wound." She replied, and filled with the joy of battle she leapt as the warrior, her good claw flashing forth towards his heart.
But his fang of sorcerous steel was longer. Grey Gram pierced her heart, and his weight behind it knocked down the beast of flowers. Again the blade flashed out and in, severing her spine at the waist. Warrior's duty done, he stepped back and let the sorcerer begin his work.
"This..." The beast of flowers said as Loki Laufeyson stepped forth. "Is of no consequence."
"No matter how much you hurt my body, it will regenerate eventually. This is no victory for you." She wheezed forth, a pained smile spreading across her bloodstained lips. "Tell me, God of Fire, who will have the last laugh?"
"Ah, O beast of flowers, true you speak." Loki calmly replied, his own smile growing even wider. "No God of Fire could slay you, for your spirit is far mightier than any other, aye not even the other daemon could match it."
"But is Loki only the God of Fire?" He asked with a wicked smile, "Is he not blood-brother to the lord of battle, and is he not the father of death's mistress?" With this question posed, he raised his voice and called upon the powers taught to him by Odin himself, that wise master of runes.
"A twelfth I know: if I see in a tree, A corpse from a halter hanging, Such spells I write, and paint in runes, That the being descends and speaks."
The power of the runes rumbled within his mind, the power over the dead that Odin won by his sacrifice his to wield this day. Yet runes alone would not be enough, this he knew. How fortunate then, to have other powers to call on.
"Dark is the hall, cold the hearth, in the realm below Svartalfheim's soil." He chanted, delving down into the sorcery of the netherworld.
"Hear me, for Loki calls, hear the words of your father." He called again, conjuring the shades of death's mistress, those cold wraiths who all men fear, aye, even that great beast felt the dark touch of fear graze her heart in that moment.
"Death, I ask for, a death for the deathless! Answer me, answer my voice." Dark was the spell chanted before song-smith's eyes, darker than any other he had seen, for this power no man or god dared call, none save Loki himself.
"Wield now thy curse of death, hear me O Hel!" His voice roared, shadows swarmed, and great beast screamed in rage as her spirit was taken by Hel's hand and bound by Odin's rune-spell.
Then the magic faded, and she lay still. So was the great beast slain, so ended the tale of the Slaying of Yuka Kazami.
Loki staggered towards the song-smith, the confident and powerful god now truly at the end of his strength. The song-smith understood this well, for no spell had he yet seen of such power.
"Now, mortal, this matter is out of our hands." He told Sigurd Daemonslayer in-between laboured breaths.
"Is she truly slain, her spirit shattered and destroyed?" He asked of the exhausted god, for ever is caution the way of the wise, and what if the corpse lying there on the ground was not as dead as it seemed?
"No. I doubt anything could kill a spirit so strong. She is merely bound for a time." Loki replied, his lips curling into another smile. "Let us hope the rest goes well, shall we not?"
"There is more then?" The mortal warrior wondered while cleaning his blade. "Is not our part in this tale over?"
"In this tale, aye." Loki replied, then sagged down to sit against a large piece of rock. "Yet not our troubles." He added with a laugh.
"How so, O son of Laufey?" The song-smith asked, half-dreading the reply he would get.
"As far as I can tell, three armies of these mortal men still surround us. And as you see, I will weave no spell of illusion in some time." The trickster answered the question, the threw his head back and laughed for a moment until his strength failed him.
"A fine mess." Silver-tongued Sigurd said with an ironic smile, for somehow he had expected this.
"Ah, mortal warrior, did you not know that the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and greatest enjoyment is to live dangerously?" Loki Laufeyson wondered, then laughed again, the merry sound echoing though the air.
"And this was the tale." The storyteller said, as the two men strolled through an ashen grove. "And now we shall see if another Saga is to be be forged."
"I still don't like it." His companion grumbled, scratching his long, red beard. "It would have been better if she had died in honourable combat, not tricked and trapped by Laufey's Son."
"Perhaps so, perhaps so. Yet could mortal man and fire-god prevail against such power? And is it noble to crush those too weak to resist?"
"Still, she was brave." The redbeard objected, his voice half-indignant. "She deserved better."
"Perhaps she shall have it?" The storyteller mused with a small smile on his lips.
Silence reigned as they completed their trek. There, waiting, was a tall, fair woman, her locks flowing out in the wind.
Mounted upon a horse white as snow she waited, spear in hand and clad in finest mail. She spoke not a word as the two men approached, the old one cloaked in grey and his huge companion.
"I thank you for this service, my fair Skalmöld." The storyteller said, bowing deeply to the armoured woman. She answered him with an enigmatic smile for a brief moment, then off she went upon her mighty steed. The storyteller looked down upon the ground and smiled again, then turned to the red-bearded one.
"Now, let us see what this meeting shall bring about, shall we?" He spoke with a hint of amusement and satisfaction in his voice, then he raised his long staff.
Something poked her ribs. Again. Why did they poke the dead, she wondered. She was dead, wasn't she?
She tried opening her eyes, only to shut them again as soon as she had glimpsed the first rays of the sun.
Then they poked her a third time. Thas was quite rude, wasn't it? Ignoring the pain in her eyes, she forced them open and sat up. The first thing she saw was the green of the forest around her, the fresh smell of life flowing into her nostrils. The strands of grass beneath her fingers whispered their greetings, the towering ash trees hailed her in their rumbling, age-old voices, nature itself in this strange place spoke to her, welcomed her as a long-lost friend returned at last.
She felt... at peace. Not even the memories that now returned to her, the visions of her death and the curse that had been lain upon her by the trickster's magics managed to ruffle her serenity. She looked down and saw that her clothes were whole again, not the scorched rags she had worn when she died. Her hand was whole as well, though whether it had been regenerated or restored some other way she could not say.
This was strange. She had been dead. More dead than ever before. She remembered only deepest darkness and
brightest light, both blinding in their own ways. But now she was alive again? At her side she now saw her trusty parasol, the faithful friend of hers returned to her side.
Her fingers wrapped around its handle, the voice of the living flower filling her mind as it told her of its happiness that she was well. The lady of flowers smiled kindly in reply.
Then she was poked a fourth time, now in her back. Despite her calm and content feelings she began to find this annoying. With grace she arose and turned around to confront the source of her irritation.
The two before Yuka's eyes were a quite remarkable pair. One old man, his light grey beard and long, dark cloak giving him a somewhat unkempt appearance. His face was half-obscured beneath the brim of his wide hat, and in his hands he held a long staff. But even with his face hidden she could sense that this one was both powerful and wily, perhaps even a wizard of some sort.
The other was a red-headed and haired man, a huge one as well. His clothes were strange yet simple, but the flowerborn's eyes were drawn to his wide, gold-studded belt and the iron gauntlets he wore on his hands. In contrast to the other one, this man looked like a regular simpleton, perhaps a bodyguard to the grey-cloaked mage.
But in any case, these men were of interest. They should know where she was, and perhaps the old one was even worthy of her attention.
"Hello, I am Yuka Kazami. Who might you be?" She inquired in her most pleasant voice, smiling widely at the two men.
Beneath the brim of his hat she could see the old one smile, and with a small bow he replied in a "I am a wandering storyteller, to some known as Gangleri."
The red-headed man, on the other hand, simply gaped at her enchanting appearance. Finally he caught hold of his wits and spoke up.
"I'm Thor." He told, this and nothing more.
"I'm pleased to meet you Gangleri, Thor." The lady of Flowers told the two wanderers, "Could I perhaps ask you where I am?"
"This is the realm of Asgard" The grey one replied, "Though it is strange that you are here if you do not know this. May I ask how you came to end up here?"
"I believe I died." The flower-lady answered, "Or at least it felt like I did."
"That is strange indeed." The old man answered, a hint of surprise entering his voice. "Perhaps you should seek out the ruler of this land? He will surely know what fate has befallen you."
For a few moments the green-haired woman scrutinized the old man, seeking signs of whether she should trust him or not. But to her slight surprise she found the old man's expression truly inscrutable, as if staring at a blank mask.
"I suppose I should." She finally replied, for this man was starting to interest her. Maybe, just maybe this mysterious situation would prove to be interesting?
"Perhaps you would accompany us? Thor and I are on our way to his court." Gangleri answered gesturing towards
his great companion who nodded in agreement. For a brief moment the lady of flowers whispered in her mind, and to her satisfaction heard of the trees and grass that this old man was more than he seemed, indeed even by the least of plants she asked his name was honoured.
"It would be my pleasure." Yuka then replied, curiosity now filling her mind, the call nearly irresistable.
"Then let us go." Gangleri told, gesturing for her to follow. Thus two wanderers became three as they went through high Asgard.
They walked through the forest while the old storyteller spoke of this realm of Asgard and the sights that could be found within. The lady of flowers found these tales amusing, though the exaggerations the old man did strew through them seemed to hint at a certain hubris. Perhaps, she thought with a smile, she would test their truth when they reached the lord's court?
Out of the forest they came, reaching a wide, beautiful plain. Grey Gangleri led them towards a high hill through this vast land he called Idavoll.
"Behold, my lady, for from atop this mighty mound we shall see the shining hall where the lord lives." The old greybeard told her in a melodic chant.
"Interesting." She replied with a small smile. She wondered what the lord of this realm would be like if the stories she had been told were true.
"Careful, lady." The grey one laughed, "Or the sight shall steal your breath away."
And then they crested the hill and another hall came into view. Before it stood a great, golden-leaved tree, the most beautiful she had ever laid her eyes on. Its deep, rumbling voice calling out in greeting, welcoming the lady of flowers and bidding her to enter the great, gleaming hall.
And if the tree was great, the hall of the slain itself took her breath away. Higher than golden Glasir its roof reached, thatched with shining shields. The great gate dominating this side of the hall seemed huge even at this distance, an majestic eagle perched above it, crying out a shrill cry in greeting.
"What is that building?" She asked with wonder in her voice, for even the greatest halls of Gensokyo were as nothing next to the halls of the slain.
"Valhalla it is named, the hall where valiant dead fight and feast until the end of days." Gangleri replied, smiling at the great building.
"Behold!" His booming voice called out as the great gates slowly opened and a great host of men marched out, the noblest and greatest among all warriors, Odin's Einherjar. Before the fascinated eyes of the lady of flowers the mass of men arranged itself into two sides along the mighty plain, two shieldwalls offering up mighty cries of war as the heroes began their charge.
"This is the fate of the Einherjar." Gangleri told the flowerborn as the armies clashed, as swords sung and shields shattered, as spears were cast and axes reaped a bloody harvest. Blood filled the vast plain, and the warcries sang like voices of sirens in the ears of Yuka Kazami.
"Each day they battle unto victory or defeat, then they rise again to feast through the night. Battle eternal, greatest glory granted to the valiant when they march at their lord's command." A voice told her, grey-robed Gangleri's words awakening a strange eagerness within Yuka's heart. Again, suspicion was born. Something was not as it seemed.
Slowly she turned and faced the old wanderer. There he stood, no longer clad in the grey robes, but in a king's clothes. Finest mail he was armoured in, sword hanging in a bejeweled scabbard at his side, and a great, golden helm adorned his noble brow.
Her gaze was met by a single, burning eye and his features were calm and majestic. Upon his shoulders perched two great ravens, and on his sides Freki and Geri guarded him, low growls rumbling from the wolves of the Allfather.
"It is my hall you have come to, for I am the Lord of Asgard." He told her, voice charged with power and regal authority. "I am the Allfather Odin."
The lady of flowers watched him with mixed emotions. Little did she like to be tricked, but this old lord's powers were impressive to be able to decieve even her. And still all living plants around her respected him above all others, whispered his name with reverence. Perhaps she should not tear him limb for limb just yet?
"And why have you brought me here?" Yuka asked, for the moment keeping her voice calm and pleasant.
"I wish to have you in my service." Wily Odin replied. "For one such as you, both noble and mighty, is one who deserves eternity of battle and a place in my high hall."
To these words the lady's smile grew wide and mocking. A laugh escaped her lips as she marveled at the arrogance and foolishness of this god standing before her.
"Do tell me, oh great god, why I should lower myself to serve you." Yuka asked, her voice scourging with its scorn.
"I have two poor reasons, and one good." The High One told her with a grim smile. "First, your death was dedicated to me. By rune-craft and authority divine I hold power over your soul."
At his words the lady's eyes narrowed, the embers of rage reigniting within her heart. Whas this old god the reason for her death? She vaguely remembered the mortal whose sword had stung her, and she remembered him calling on the name of Odin.
"But this is a poor reason." The grey-bearded lord concluded, ignoring the anger on the flowerborn's features.
"What king would seek to keep men in his service by force? What fool would hand a sword to a man who does not serve of his own will?"
"And why shouldn't I kill you and free myself?" The green-haired beast wondered, a wide, warm smile now on her lips. Yet no man who could see her eyes would be tempted to call her expression friendly.
"Because of the second reason." Old Fimbultýr answered, Raven God's expression unchanging in front of the flower-beast "If you shall seek Odin's doom, Thor Thunderlord shall be your foeman." The lord of Asgard told, gesturing towards the great giantslayer.
"Hail, great lady." The god of thunder greeted her in his booming voice. He was now changed as well, clad in an intricately embrodiered red tunic, a long wolfskin mantle hanging from his shoulders and his trusty iron hammer strapped to his belt. He laughed jovially as he unfastened his hammer and raised it in gauntleted hand.
"Come, join the feast in Valhalla, as Odin has invited you." The red-bearded god told her with a wide smile.
"But first, for insulting Asgard's ruler, you shall taste the touch of Mjölnir and the wrath of Thor the Thunderer!" He added in a grim voice, hefting the great Jötun-smiter above his head.
"What's this?" The flowerborn one laughed at the great giant-killer, then turned on the gold-helmed lord with her spiteful tongue. "You call yourself lord, but you send this oaf to fight me? What a joke."
"Why would the lord fight when his champion still stands?" The grim, one-eyed god asked of the mocking flower-beast. "If you cannot even defeat Thor, what chance would you stand against Odin?"
The green-haired beast laughed again, then turned back to the God of Thunder. "Hah, let's see what you've got then." She mocked, raising her parasol and summoning the power of her sorcery.
A bright lance of magic cut through the air towards the Thunderer. It was met by Mjölnir's cast, the iron hammer, the living thunder tearing through the great spark. To the sudden surprise of the flower-beast the crackling iron mallet smashed her shoulder, tearing off her left arm completely.
While this wound was a momentary annoyance at worst, it showed that this red-bearded man perhaps was worthy of some respect. Again she invoked spells of power and sent a storm of sorcerous bolts against the Thunderlord.
Lightning from the skies answered her, thunderbolts raining down upon the hilltop. She saw that her spells had scored some hits on Thor, yet these attacks seemed not to bother the bane of thurses, his hammer again raised high.
Once more Mjölnir lashed out, smashing into the flower parasol that Yuka used to shield herself with, and though the beast of flowers was knocked back, the unbreakable shield did what scant few barriers could and deflected the hammer of Thor.
"Impressive!" The Thunderlord shouted. "You might yet prove worthy to challenge Thor."
The only reply Odin's son recieved was the redoubled fury of Yuka's spell-storm.
The lady of flowers finally regained consciousness again. Her head still hurt, for the skull-splitting strike of Mjölnir is not one that even one such as her simply shrugged off. She slowly dragged herself in her feet, and again faced Thor the mighty. Compared to herself the Thunderlord seemed to be in better shape, for though wounded he still stood as strong as ever. Indeed, she could not deny that this man perhaps was stronger than she was, or at least that they were evenly matched in might.
"Again Thor has proved his power." The one-eyed god's voice told her. "You cannot defeat Asgard with your might, yet that is another poor reason for you to pledge yourself to my service."
"And what is the good reason?" She wondered, for this had turned out to be truly interesting. Gold-helmed Odin smiler grimly in reply, and his powerful voice echoed over the high plain.
"In service to Odin shall you find purpose." The lord of Asgard told her. "Every day shall you slay or be slain when testing your mettle against Valhalla's Einherjar. Every night shall you feast in Valhalla's honoured seats."
"And then, at the end of time, after an age of battle and joy, shall you stand at my side upon the plain of Idavoll."
The God of Battle's strong voice proclaimed as he swept out his hand towards that famed plain stretching out before Valhalla. "There shall you in battle meet beasts and giants, greatest and grandest powers in the nine worlds."
"There shall you meet your greatest challenge, and there shall you triumph or finally fall." Old Fimbultýr told the lady of flowers, his one eye shining like a burning star.
"Tell me, Yuka Kazami, will you try your might against this fate?" His voice boomed as the fateful question was spoken.
At these words the lady of flowers smiled. Wider and wider did her grin grow until her razor-sharp fangs were fully bared, then she answered Asgard's lord.
"I want something." She told the god of battle, evoking a grim smile from the grey god.
"Name your price." Odin answered without hesitation, for though few are brave enough to bargain with the Lord of Asgard, those who do are held in great respect by him.
"Sunflowers." Yuka told the lord of Asgard. "A great field of sunflowers."
"It shall be yours." Odin Fimbultýr replied, and if this request puzzled him, he did not show it.
"Then I am at your service." The lady of flowers replied, "Do not disappoint me, my lord."
The lord of Asgard smiled with satisfaction as he heard these words, his ravens cawing loudly where they perched upon his shoulders.
"Follow me, Yuka Kazami, and take your place among the heroes on high." He told, then strode forth towards Valhalla's gates.
"Indeed you are powerful." Thos Thunderlord said to the lady of flowers as they followed the grey god down the hillside. "A match for any of Jötunheim's lords." He concluded with a loud, rumbling laugh.
It was not long before they stood before great Valgrind, that famed gate of glory. At the approach of the lord of the slain it swung open, revealing the great hall within, where the heroes waited.
First in strode Odin, regal lord of heroes, and took his place before the assembled throng. His voice boomed forth, rising up to the spear-shafts that were the rafters of the great hall.
"Hear me, my Einherjar! Today we welcome another hero to these halls, one who has earned a place among your number!" The Allfather told, sweeping out his arm towards the gates and the one who strode through them.
"We welcome her, noblest of the noble dead, Yuka Kazami."
And so the green-haired flower beast entered the hall of heroes, the cheers from the noble dead thundering throughout all of Asgard.
There, it's done and finished for real. I haven't kept any wordcount, but personally I'm quite satisfied with both the final length and the story itself.
As opposed to the other stories this actually has something to do with the main Saga. So here goes:
The wanderer walks through green sea of wood this day, heart unburdened, mind without worry. Where forest-walker's spirit wills no man can say, perhaps not even the one who strides through spruce-grove and beneath birch-branch.
Those who live in the forest see not the wanderer, and if they do, they pay little mind. A slow-running river appears, and there the forest-strider settles down and lifts a rock from the riverbank. It bounces away over the waves and sinks into the deeps, followed by a steady gaze.
"I could get used to this." The wanderer's voice tells to the slow, sleeping spirits of the wood. Another stone skips across the water, then a third. "Would it be so bad to lie down here and let the world do as it pleases for an age or two? What do you say?"
The wind weaves through bough and branch, ten thousand green tongues giving reply to strider's speech.
"Oh, I am old. Older than you even." The wanderer laughs, "You hear that bird singing so sweetly there? How many hundreds of generations of those tongues have you heard spinning their songs? I've seen as many of your kind grow from acorn to their full might and witnessed new life growing from their seeds again and again. Do you realize how I must feel?"
The voice falls silent, and the wind makes no reply. Only the voices of stone skipping on water are heard for many long moments.
"I am sorry, I did not mean to offend. Yet perhaps it is in my nature to do so."
"You see, sometimes you can't speak at all without giving offense. But I even if that is the case I don't think anyone should remain silent forever, that doesn't solve anything."
"I would like to see myself as a wheel, did you know?" The voice then tells, whisper through green tongues again speaking in answer.
"Oh yes, I see your point. If I'm a wheel, I admit my turning slows nearly unto stopping at times, and there is a certain pleasure in that." The wanderer sighs at the wood's whispers. "Yet I would never want it to halt completely. Do you understand?"
The wind answers, and the wanderer's voice turns into a merry laugh rising high above the green roof.
"Ha! Yes, maybe it is strange that I haven't found peace after all this time, but it is the truth."
"Thank you then, well-spoken spirits. You are wiser than many I have met."
The wanderer stands, gazing, spying with watchful eyes. So the stride resumes, stride away from the sea of green. Far-stretching fields appear and with them the halls of men, standing strong in the distance. Sól's chariot has ridden far since forest-walker stepped into wildling wood, her rays shifting red as field-strider seeks the gates.
"Time for rest is past, unfortunately." The wanderer's voice tells to the air, a soft laugh slipping out after speaking, a smile spreading across fair features.
So spoken the strider of fields walks into the realms of man.