“You dishonor your name, soldier.”
The numbing sting of frost swept up his sleeve, enveloping him a deathly cold. He lay on his back, pinned by the wind against the bed of snow. His bloodied hand still gripping the snapped hilt of that sacred treasure, palm torn by the sudden strike of the monster before him. She, a Valkyrie of divine protection, of allegiance with the gods.
Cheap tricks and swordplay were useless. Fruitlessly, he raised what remained of his pistol and aimed at the warrior's head. Her sword returned back around, cleaving through the thick leather gauntlets like they were made of straw. His nerves failed to transmit, and the weapon silently slipped away. Eyes locked again as he recoiled back from the tip of her enchanted weapon. Before he could react, her gauntlet swung, smashing into his right eye. The goggles snapped, and a spray of glass stabbed inward at his exposed eye.
It was a jarring pain, a shard stabbing into his retina before his lids closed. He tore them from his head, writhing in the snow.
“Valhalla welcomes only those that die in battle. Stand. Fight me!”
He made a grab for his gun, managing to snatch it a moment before the blade cleaved right through the deck. A shot went off, but even if the bullet had hit, it had simply passed through without even fazing the Valkyrie.
Suddenly, a hand snatched at his cloak. A forceful tug pulled him back away from the attacker. Lee came into view as he stumbled back away. When his grip left his collar, momentum carried the navigator the rest of the way back. A rush of heat filled the air as his flame-revolver spat a incendiary projectile. At the sight of the encroaching fireball, the Valkyrie's eyes flew open and she attempted to guard with her blade.
The bullet shredded through the air, and hit her upper left shoulder. There was a violent whistling noise as the being suddenly lit up as through drenched in oil. Arcebus shielded his one good eye and reeled at the sudden explosion of divine forces. The plain hiss of anguish could be discerned within the torrential noise.
The navigator stole a look over his shoulder. The light had subsided to a glow, the Valkyrie standing before him, still unscathed. Defeat flooded his mind for a moment, before he noticed the mar of charred upon her armor. Something was different, suddenly she no longer held the air of an ethereal monster, but appeared merely another living, corporeal human. She shook her head, plainly dazzled by what had happened.
A look of horror sprung up, as she suddenly looked to her sword arm.
“No! Damn you! Return me to my plane!” She yelled at the sky, her teeth clenched in fury.
Was she....abandoned? A simple flame dissipating the mystical protection about her? Arcebus stopped wondering as he drew his weapon back on her. Fully confident that the next shot would work.
“Surrender. We have the upper hand now!” Lee said calmly, training his opposite gun on the attack-ready wolf creature beside them.
“You're ours now!” Sparrow snarled with her knife barred toward them.
“I guard this place with my last breath, Midgarian thieves.” She hissed.
“Then return to guarding it, we'll leave this land and not return.”
“Dare you command me? A servant of the Allfather? I swear by all the souls of my hall, you will-” Silence cut in as her mouth curled down. For a moment she stared blankly at the ground, “you've killed another of my sisters.”
“You don't think Rayna and Simon?” Sparrow looked back over to her crewmates.
The wolf barked at the gun wielders, but it's master silenced it with a violent whip of the sword across the front of it's dripping maw. It whimpered and withdrew behind her.
“There is only one other that remains in this place. But to be fell by mortal children...” Her eyes looked back up, piercing each individual separately, “make a sacrifice to your chosen lord, warriors. You will live today.”
Her sword returned to her sheath, she solemnly signaled her beast to approach. A graceful jump mounted her upon the creature's back. She took one last look as the beast shot off like a rocket, met with only confused looks and quivering triggers. A moment after she'd vanished over the edge of the ship Arcebus's gun went off, knocking some snow from the distant trees.
“Little late.” Lee muttered, holstering his guns with a short twirl.
There was no reply. Only the quiet whimpering from the Navigator as he clutched his bleeding eye. Anger and horror kept his mind focused, he searched his mind for an answer; any would do at this point.
“Get that fucking physician up here.” He cursed, his voice husky from exhaustion.
“Never short of injuries it seems.” A voice called up from the hold.
Davrou's cloaked form emerged from below, his bag of medical apparatus slung over his shoulder.
“Where the hell were you?”
“It was three against one, I expected you to have it under control.”
A pair of arms encircled his back. He was walked to the main hatch, where it was up to him to descend down the ladder. He cringed, as the wound bled more with every step. Again, hands guided him down the row of cabins until he arrived at the doctors room. A spell of dizziness hit him as he was lowered into the soft embrace of a mattress.
His one good eye was unable to see the doctor, which made the metal scraping beside him all the more ominous.
“A Valkyrie. I never imagined I'd actually see one.”
“She probably coulda killed us all.”
“She said another had been slain. If a Valkyrie is corrupted by the violence and avarice of man, her soul must be returned to the Hall before she is trapped within Midgard forever as penance. Only one of her sisters can preform this ritual.”
He paused with his lips pursed for a moment, then added; “at least that's what the High Priestess would say.”
“I never doubted that magic existed, but to actually see it and survive!”
Arcebus had attended the High Runic Church in his childhood. But it was always something in the back of his mind. Never had he imagined the winged warriors engraved upon the temple stones to be real!
“Open your eye.”
It was an unholy spasm of pain and severed nerves that locked his eye open. Silence filled the room as they took in the damage. A prick of a needle pierced his neck, and the agent within took effect instantly. A web of cold, numbing paralysis set in over his entire head. The last thing he could make out before it became a whirlwind of colors and whispers made his heart skip a beat.
“Pin him down, this next part isn't going to be pleasant.”