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"Valhalla…the land of the warrior. The final destination that all great men and women yearn to enter upon their deaths…But that’s not where you’re going? Is it?…boy?"
Stonegit’s eyes open with a snap as he gasps for breath. He was dry…he could breath…he…he could see! Inhaling sharply, the young Viking felt his eyes, face and head, his mouth falling open. “I’m ok…” he breathed, and then smiled. “I’m ok! It doesn’t hurt!” he stood up turning in a circle, drinking in the sights in front of him…although not really registering what they implied. “My head,” he said, feeling the smooth dome. It without injury and uninterrupted, aside from a frock of thick duty brown hair . “It doesn’t hurt anymore. I can…I can actually think!” he laughed delightedly, trotting slightly with excitement. “I don’t feel so crazy anymore!” Stonegit called, turning in a circle. “My King @battleofthegroundeddungeon look!” he hesitated, his mind suddenly registering his dark grey surroundings. “Sire…?” he swallowed. “Haddock?” Then his memories returned, flashbacks of letting himself sink into the lake, bloodied, blinded, and crazy. “Oh my god,” he whispered, his voice strained. ” akkeyroomi…how could I have done that to you? I didn’t mean to…well I did mean it. But I was so desperate.” he slowly sat back down, pulling his knees up to his chest. “I thought if I could force Pitch to sacrifice himself…we all would have been able to go home alive.” he worked his jaw. “I guess Haddock thought that I was bluffing too, otherwise he never would have acted that way…Oh gods, I hope Akkey understands.”
He craned his head around, behind him was a towering wall of swirling black fog. Getting near it was like climbing up a mountain that stretched beyond the atmosphere. In front of him was a massive stone gate. The entrance to Hel. “So this is it… lostvox is out, with any luck treepelta113 is too. And I’m here…” he frowned. “But not for long…”
"Sure boy…that’s what they all say…"
The gate suddenly cracked open, the massive wall like doors pushing forward. Behind it was a wide, rushing river, and a twisted, horrifying shore lay just beyond it. Looming in the dark sky of the underworld was the deity of Hel. Stonegit cried out as his leg was suddenly caught by an invisible force, dragging him towards the inside of that terrible place. His hand reached out desperately, catching the edge of the gate, holding on with all his might. “No!” he cried. “No I can’t! I promised him I would stay by his side and protect him!” he gasped, grabbing on with his other hand, pulling and pressing his face to the door. “This isn’t right! You have to let me stay!” he begged.
The deity growled, and it was almost like Hel in all of it’s entirety was speaking to him, in a voice that he feared more than any other. "I’ve heard that time and time again boy…what makes you think you’re so special. You ungrateful bastard." Stonegit let out a brief scream, losing his grip on the door. His fingers dug into the cold, pebbly earth as he started to get slowly dragged towards the river."Death is death. You have to accept that. Now cross the river and find whatever peace you can here."
"Hel, the place where once the gates close, those that behind them never return."
Stonegit resisted still, trying to crawl back up the stone beach. The deity of Hel growled again, the large glowing eyes in the sky narrowing. "If you think you’re going to get of of here by your own mortal will power you are mistaken. Not even magic could help you, outside of a soul exchange. Sure…go ahead and crawl out of here, you’ll just become a ghost. Mindless, unseen, and useless."
"I don’t care!" Stonegit yelled back, wind howling around him. "I made a promise!"
He cried out again as he was jerked back. His feet brushing up against the water. "Flawed! Weak! Mortal promises are void in the after life! And you ought to care! What’s the use of being a bodyguard when you’re only a dumb ass ghost who can’t touch anything. You didn’t think this out when you came here did ya boy? You just had to go and sacrifice yourself for your King eh? You know I don’t get it, if you loved that man so much why didn’t you just tell him?"
"Arrgh! Shut up!" Stonegit yelled at the deity, a tear getting caught up in the wind and flying off. With another hard jerk, Stonegit’s legs where pulled into the water, and suddenly the wind stopped, dropping the Viking. Stonegit grunted, and then inhaled slowly as his body stood up on it’s own, and started trudging into the river. "No…" he whispered.
"Hel…the place where those that die of sickness and age go. The cowards…the weak. Those that refused to leave this world in the glory of battle."
Stonegit blinked, realization suddenly dawning on him. “No.” he said again, and his feet stopped moving.
"What?! Impossible!" The deity roared as the voice spoke in the Viking’s mind. "Mere human will cannot resist death. There’s no act of true love that can save you this time! So why have you stopped!"
"Because it’s not me…" Stonegit murmured. "This isn’t right…you have to let me go." he said again, only this time it was a statement, not a plea. He looked up at the deity, meeting it’s eyes. "It’s you."
"What do you mean?" the voice spat.
"It’s your fault I’m not going to Hel." Stonegit said. "You made a mistake."
"How dare you! You can’t speak to a being such as me like that! I will show you respect!"
"Not this time." Stonegit said firmly, pointing up a finger. "You see Vox was stabbed, that’s how he died, he had a funeral and everything. He died a warriors death…which means he shouldn’t have ended up in Hel in the first place!" The deity’s eyes narrowed at the man, but then widened. Stonegit cracked a smile, and turned around, walking back towards the shore. The doors to Hel began to close, but he strode forward, placing his hands between the sides, and pushing through. "I don’t know why Hel took Vox’s soul when he was supposed to go to Valhalla. Might have been because of the Warden, might have been because of the water. But in the end it doesn’t matter. Because you weren’t supposed to take him."
"This means nothing! You! Are nothing!"
Stonegit turned around. “I am Stonegit the Altered. I freed an enslaved dragon at ten and made him my own, I killed my first enemy at sixteen, I broke out of three prisons in the span of two years. I was there during the GD revolution! I know how fight, and I know how to be strong despite the fact that I have a bashed in head and a bad eye!” he hesitated, breathing deeply. “I am far from nothing, and my body is still somewhere up there, preserved, but alive. Meaning I have something to go back to. And I too died a warriors death, meaning that now, in no way shape or form, does this place have any rein over me! I belong in Valhalla!”
The deity roared again, the ground shaking as it became angry. Knowing that it’s authority over this stupid ass Viking was dwindling down to nothing. "You! You wretched beast! I ought to…oh…" Hel stopped shaking, the place becoming calm. The voice in Stonegit’s head was no longer similar to Orskaf, but now more benevolent, and regal. "I…must let you go then. You are right. Vox did not belong here, so by extension of that…neither do you. Go on…" A large tunnel formed in the swirling black fog, a bright yellow light at the end of it. "Valhalla is your rightful home…as a warrior. Be at peace."
Stonegit starred at the warm glow of the warriors land, glancing back once at the deity of Hel, and then slowly walking forward. “Thank you,” he breathed, a small smile coming to his face. “I never dreamed I would make it here.”
"You have done well…you’re family will be proud to tell your legacy. As will all of your comrades in arms." Stonegit closed his eyes, soaking in the words of reassurance, and feeling the peace that came with an accepted and fitting end. "Live on…in the seas of Valhalla son of Forgeron." Stonegit opened his eyes again, the smile growing on his face as his pupils dilated. But then, half way through the tunnel, the smile faded. Stonegit halted his walk to Valhalla, turning around. The deity growled quietly, cautious. "What is wrong brave warrior?"
"There’s one more thing you should know about me." he whispered. "The one thing, the one thing that makes me worth something more than any of the other reasons…And that’s that I serve fucking King Haddock of the Wilderwest!" He yelled, his voice rising. "And I will not go into Valhalla to stand beside Thor and Odin. Not when I can stand beside him!" with that he turned, reaching a hand into the black swirling fog.
"NOOO! You fool! If you go in there the air will be stripped from your lungs! You’ll turn back into that blind, dented freak! It’s not worth it!" But one smug glance from Stonegit showed that he had no intention to listen. "Stubborn ass!"
"I learned it from the best," Stonegit replied.
"Listen to me! @frostyvviking cheated death, now Vox, and now you! You aren’t the only ones, dozens have done it in the past. They made deals with demons and then cheated themselves out of the contract! They ran from the reaper himself! They preformed necromancy! Do you know what all that does! It tips the balance of the world! With every person that does this things get worse. And when the world is at the peak of destruction…"
"Ragnarok…" Stonegit whispered looking back at him.
"Yes…the war of gods will be upon us."
"But Vox being here was your fault." Stonegit reminded him. "So evidently you don’t care for the stability of the world as much as you would like me to think you do. If anything I’d say you’re ok risking Ragnarok if it means you get a couple extra souls under your control."
"Listen to yourself! This is the end of the world we are talking about! And by selfishly leaving the after life, a place that YOU CHOSE to come to in the first place, will only make it come faster…so please. Just go to Valhalla, accept your reward."
Stonegit thought about it, raising his head. “Well,” he said, glancing back at the entrance to Valhalla. “Since it would be the end of the world…” Stonegit turned back, his face grim. Then suddenly he smirked again, double flipped Hel, and dove backwards into the black mist of limbo.
The deity roared with fury, the land of Hel quaking again. "You selfish bastard! I’ll get you! I’ll send a legion of reapers! I don’t care what or how long it takes! But I’ll get you back! And when I do you’ll wish you had gone to Valhalla when you had the chance!"
The moment Stonegit entered the mist all the air left his lungs. Pain exploded in his head as he suddenly felt all of his old injures returned. He couldn’t see, he couldn’t breath! His mind screamed for oxygen. But none came. He felt dead, and cold. But he kept struggling, pushing himself through limbo. He didn’t know where he was going or what would happen. But just like last time…it didn’t matter.