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An Unstable Flame

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  Many years ago, when Asgard was a less than peaceful place, there was a warrior. Rikka Garthdottir, a skillful Valkyrie, was feared across many realms and loved in her own. She fought to defend Asgard in its darkest hours. Rikka would have laid down her life for her realm without a second thought.

  But, of course, Rikka’s story does not have a happy ending.

  She perished in a land far away from her own.

  The night Rikka disappeared, creatures from another planet were sent to Asgard.

 

2

 

  On a distant planet, a king sat on his throne. His head rested on his fist as he sat, pondering, staring at the image before him, in a dark and seemingly empty room. A golden city, with blue skies and sunlight, was displayed for him. It seemed to be some sort of utopia, and he was ready to completely ruin it. With the wave of his hand, five alien servants approached the throne. Their skin was a greenish-yellow and had a leathery look to it. They had three eyes, two where eyes normally would be, and one eye in the middle of their forehead. The color of their eyes were vibrant reds or greens. Many say that their eyes served as a way to hypnotize their enemies, but that had never been proven. Four of them seemed willing to serve, the fifth looked terrified.

  The Cretian king ordered in his native language ‘Thrashelven!’; the portal. The servants simply nodded their heads and moved toward a large, copper-colored machine that seemed to have been rusting in the throne room for years. One servant pulled a lever, which prompted the many exposed gears to move. Above the machine, the ceiling opened, revealing three full, red, and angry moons in the dimly lit sky. The light from the moons flooded into the throne room, giving the already hellish-scape a more hellish glow. The king smiled a nasty, toothless grin.

  The gears turned more rampantly, and a glass tube filled with a strange, volcanic-looking liquid. The king sat back and watched as a servant reached up and grabbed the tube and stared at it fearfully. The servant looked to his king, who simply nodded, which prompted the servant to raise the glass tube with quivering hands to his lips. ‘Ieash!’; get on with it.

  The servant merely nodded once more and guzzled down the bubbling, magma-like drink. After the first few gulps, the servant stopped and clutched at his gut, dropping the glass container and falling to the ground. He coughed and coughed, losing control of almost every muscle in his body. Everyone stood and watched, anticipating what would come of this. Eventually, after several minutes of dry coughing and violent hurling noises, a pool of red poured from the man’s mouth and onto the stone floor, spreading out and yet still pooling bellow the man. He then collapsed beside the pool.

  Servants gathered around the pool of dyed guts in a circle, holding metal rods in their right hand. The king stood from his throne and slowly approached the circle. The servants banged the rods on the floor before shouting a simple ‘Craiine!’ There is no need for a translation of this phrase however, for it is a simple word; a name. More specifically, the name of their king. Craiine joined the circle and, with one hand, poured a boiling liquid on the body of the sacrificed man, with the other, he held up the metallic rod.

  “Dahnia, vietz chalih. Tranzvell autra Asgourd! Hieth, yon, frieth bonnz de lammenza! Frieth nu oggartz draht prefghage!” This was a simple incantation in their native language. Craiine was praying for safe passage, and he was hoping for more than just treasures this time. Oh no, he didn’t even want the city just yet. He wanted a bride. A queen.

  An orange hue emerged from the pool of guts as it rippled and became something else. Below the surface was no longer the stone floor of the castle, it was, instead, a back alley in Asgard. And it just so happened to be the back alley that Rikka Garthdottir would find herself walking down only a few moments after the portal is closed and the Cretians get in.

 

3

 

  Rikka found herself wandering the streets of Asgard late one night. Her head was fuzzy, and she was tired, but couldn’t bring herself to fall asleep just yet. She had a few too many drinks. She stumbled down an alley, her grace and agility were nowhere to be found.

  The streets were extremely quiet that night, with the only noises sounding distant and faded, muffled almost. The moon, much like the three on Cretia, was full and had a slight red tint to it. A blood moon for a bloody night. The golden city was lit up by torches in the night, with a few guards patrolling the main roads, but never the alleyways, and Rikka knew this. She planned on staying out for a few more hours before heading to her home, but of course the guards would try to take those next few hours away from her. She scoffed at the thought.

  Leaning against the brick wall behind her, she found herself unsheathing her sword and staring at the reflections of light in the blade, amused by the twinkling golden that was just out of reach. In her drunken state however, this did not stop her from reaching. Her bare hand, the left one, traced along the blade, which eventually came into contact with the serrated edge, thus cutting her left hand open. She hissed and withdrew both her hands quickly, dropping her sword in the process with a loud and heavy CLANK! She cradled the bloodied hand in her right hand and stared at the sword with intensity and confusion.

  “The beast bit me.” She stated, slurring her words but still keeping her bewildered and disappointed tone. She looked at her sword like a child who was bitten by their own pet dog. The sword stared up at her with twinkling eyes that tempted and taunted her.

  “You’ll… you will pay for that.” She then looked down at her hand, then back at her sword.

   “Stop staring at me… li…” She then giggles, forgetting her next sentence. Dreki Fang, her sword, simply sits in the alley as Rikka begins to walk away.

  Something up ahead had intrigued Rikka. A wall that glowed orange instead of gold. In her impaired state, she decided to walk toward it; unarmed, wounded, and drunk. The yellow, leathery, four-armed creatures stepped out of the wall, throwing Rikka off. The servants from Cretia observed their surroundings and kept their king’s orders in mind. They were hunched over and almost animalistic in their movements. They took breaths in giant huffs and their arms moved separately, making it seem like they had a mind of their own.

  The creatures’ appearances were enough to scare Rikka a bit closer to being sober, but not quite enough to scare her completely sober. She took a step back, still tripping on her own feet. Had she known any better, she would have called for help. Brought these things to the patrol guards’ attention. But she didn’t know any better. She was drunk and feeling ballsy.

  Tripping over Dreki Fang before regaining her balance and reaching for the previously discarded blade.

  “Hey! What do you think you’re doing? Coming… c… coming here… st… stepping o… out of our walls?” By the time she made this stupid comment, the Cretians had already noticed her. They had begun to advance, remembering their king’s command. He wanted a bride. To them, Rikka had seemed to be female, but what would they know? She was close enough to Cretia’s females, so this creature must do, right?

  Three of the servants approached her, one crawling up the wall in order to get behind her, the other two going on either side of her. The last one, however, stood far enough from her so she couldn’t immediately attack him, but not too far to where he could be seen. Rikka twirled Dreki Fang in her hand, loosely holding onto the handle as it spun dangerously by her side. The servant farthest from her took note of her wounded left hand and communicated with the other three silently about it.

  “Well?” She asked arrogantly. The Cretian servant to her left went to make a move, prompting Rikka to swing her sword to the left of her. Dreki Fang sliced right through the servant’s lower right hand. He screeched and held his wrist, in his pain, he seemed to have forgotten about Rikka, who then brought Dreki Fang down on his head, silencing the creature, but distracting Rikka long enough for the Cretian to the right of her to sneak up on her from behind. He grabbed her with all four of its arms, the lower two went around her waist while the upper two wrapped around her mouth.

  Rikka struggled in his grasp, thrashing in every direction imaginable to shake off her attacker. Of course, most of her attempts failed. She then thrust her head back, attempting to break her attacker’s nose, this failed but threw the Cretian off long enough for Rikka to back him into a wall, causing him to let go of her. She stumbled as the world around her began to spin. She knew she had to snap out of it, the Cretian was snapping out of his shock. Quickly, Rikka buried Dreki Fang deep in the chest of the invader.

  However, the third Cretian was sitting on the wall behind Rikka, ready to pounce. So when she drew her sword back, it did just that, landing almost directly on her. Rikka fell to the ground, scraping her knees and arms as she fell. The Cretian flipped back to the above, where it planned on attacking again. This time, Rikka rolled away from the creature as he leaped at her. She grabbed her sword and prepared to fight again, but this time, the Cretian was on top of her, not bothering to leap at her again. She used Dreki Fang as a way to block him from defeating her. Her wounded hand resided on the hilt, while her right hand—the protected hand—held onto the actual blade.

  Both of the Cretian’s upper hands were on the hilt, while the lower hands were being cut open by Dreki Fang’s blade. However, the servant seemed unaffected by the cuts he was now receiving. It was as if he had been through worse pain before. The pressure being exerted on the blade was almost too much for Rikka, but she was able to hold her own for the time being. That is, until the fourth and final Cretian servant revealed himself again. All four metal rods were held in his hands. The servant on top of her pushed the blade closer to her neck.

  “Tenchau.” He said to her through clenched teeth. Surrender. Even if Rikka could tell what he was saying, she would never surrender to them. She kicked the servant off of her and rolled onto him, holding the blade closer to his neck than he had put it to hers. By now, she was almost out of her intoxicated state, and could understand what was going on.

  “I’d suggest you leave while you still can.” She hissed. The Cretian below her suddenly went silent. And in those few moments of silence, the fourth Cretian had already snuck up behind her and hit her in the back of the head with all four metal rods in one hand, knocking her unconscious.

 

4

 

  The next day, the people of Asgard, mostly Rikka’s closest friends, had noted her absence. She would never be heard from again. The only remnants of her being her own blood on the alleyway street and the dust from the dead Cretians.

  However, during her time on Cretia, Rikka gave birth to a baby girl, Sygrid, who would be the last remnant of Rikka. Sygrid Craiinedottir, daughter of Rikka Garthdottir and, much like her mother, a fierce warrior who fought for Asgard.