Ragnarok (Ver 1.0)

Chapter 5

It was when she opened her eyes, she saw nothing but white; it was too bright. There was strain in her eyes as she wanted to observe, and a blink or two she made to refresh her sore vision. And the next thing in a split second she saw a large head over her, casting a broad shadow that covered the light. A face of a man, spectacles over his eyes with support of a very large nose, examined her meticulously as if he was studying a spectacular organism. The typical features of a doctor hinted her that she was in a hospital, but she was clueless of why she was there and how she got there.

“How do you feel? Fine?” asked the doctor. Elyn just nodded. She felt too weak to speak. “Okay, she may pass. I’ll give her a discharge in two hours’ time. Mr. Stanley, please come to arrange the procedures afterwards.”

The doctor left the room with his nurse carrying his files and reports. Philip, who was sitting beside Elyn's bed all the time, bade the doctor a good off before turning to Elyn's attention. He helped Elyn upright leaning against the wall, and offered her a glass of water. Elyn drank, her dry throat was moistened after her thirst quenched. Her eyes watched Philip closely as she was confused about the whole matter.

“How’re you feeling, Elyn? Do you feel uncomfortable?” Philip asked worriedly as his eyebrows twitched. “I’m all right now, thanks for your concern, Phil. But what happened to me?”

“Don’t you remember anything that took place?”

“I… I recall smoke… thick smoke. Everything is blurred…” said Elyn, trying to recollect her past encounters. However, she was too lame to even work her mind, as her breathing went deep, she was gasping for air.

“Rest now, Elyn,” advised Philip as he laid her body down to the bed, “think nothing more of anything. Calm your mind and avoid stressing too much on yourself, you may need your energy to recover.”

Elyn cuddled cosily as Philip pulled the blanket up for her. “I’ll be going out for a while, so sleep well for now. I love you.” He kissed her forehead, and then quietly left the ward without disturbing the other patients in the same room.

Elyn secretly squealed with delight, smiling gaily to herself. Though ill fatedly landed in a hospital, hearing those loving words of Philip made her feel charmed and elated, a feeling of which she had owned the world, a feeling of contentment. She patiently waited for her body to recuperate and hoped that she soon would be up and about again to avoid losing any invaluable moments with friends.

Time seemed slow, but after the half-hour, two friends came to pay a visit.

A brown paper bag in the hands of Yvonne rustled with a bulk inside as she walked in, together with her accompanied the boy, Hewlett. Elyn gave a slight welcoming smile as a sign of acknowledgement. Yvonne sat down on the chair, which was unoccupied then, and greeted Elyn. Hewlett stood beside Yvonne, while looking on Elyn with a feeling of sympathy.

“How’re you doing, Elyn?” asked Yvonne.

“I feel much better now,” replied Elyn, assuring her friend.

“That’s good. You’ve us all frightened, Elyn. But now to learn that you’re safe, I’m more rested. Here, have an apple. I got these apples from my father’s store,” saying so, Yvonne pushed a fruit from the bag into Elyn's hand. “Thanks, Yvonne.”

“Oh, you’ll have to thank Philip a lot more than this, girl,” Yvonne playfully teased, “you’re in grave danger just now, but Philip risked his life to save you! I couldn’t have imagined him running into the flames and carrying you out like that – ”

“What? Phil rescued me from a fire?” Elyn was confounded, “what happened Yvonne? Please tell me what happen, I want to know!”

“You mean you know nothing?” Yvonne was surprised, “don’t you remember a fire broke out at the labs? You’re carrying Olsen’s files there at that moment, and suddenly a huge blast shocked everyone in the building. And to think you’re inside the blast almost gave me a heart attack!”

“Have I?” Elyn uttered, confused, “how come I have no memory about it?”

“Probably, your mind forgot it as you inhaled too much carbon monoxide. Rest assured, you’ll get it back sometime later. But it’s best you never recall it, it’ll be a terrible experience.”

“Is there any casualty?” questioned Elyn.

“No, fortunately. You’re the only person who’s trapped in the North Wing, which is badly razed. Lucky for you to survive, and I should repeat that Philip’s the hero. Ah! By the way, our hero wished me to pass this note to you. He said he had other matters to attend to.”

Elyn accepted the note. After reading the content, she nodded, as she understood the message. “Well, we’ll be accompanying you till noon when you’re discharged. Don’t take bother, rest you must, said Yvonne.

“Um, Yvonne, don’t tell my mum about it, lest she’ll be worried. You too, Hew, tell not!”

Both the girl and boy gave their promises. Elyn rested herself, while munching the apple on her hand, swallowing the succulent fruit with pleasure.

The midday sun was hung high in the centre of the sky, shining its glorious rays upon land. Spring apparently was nearing to an end, as summer heat was arising, but too soon the climate changed itself prompted a notion of abnormality.

The afternoon bus was spacious as few passengers were aboard in these hours; however still, it was warm enough to agitate perspiration. Elyn sat at the back row leaning herself to an open window, letting wind cool her. She was not feeling hot, yet somehow the weariness made her sleepy and drowsy.

She had had her lunch at a nearby stall alone, and it was due for her to be home. However the bus she took was not heading down south. The note in her pocket was still intact, and she read it again. The message went: “meet me at the same place. Sign, Philip.” She was all for certain that her red-haired teacher meant Starvane in the note, but his words were rather unclear; he was likely trying to keep their secret as secretive as possible, she thought. But no matter what it was, there was the sound of urgency in the penning.

The bus stopped at the final stand, where the Stop sign was seen tilted from its usual straight, vertical pole, probably crooked beaten by raging winds. Arrived the town of Starvane, farthest within the region of the Central City, belonging more to the countryside. Quite deserted the place was, resided only by those farmers of fishponds and a few shopkeepers maintaining the town’s nourishment and household supplies. A dead township was the best description.

“Yo, there Miss! Are you sure you want to get down from here?” the bus driver shouted in his husky voice (he had not drunk since morning, too busy with his work), “there won’t be any buses to pick you up before eight o’clock!”

Elyn jolted from her sleepy mood, then realising that she was the only passenger left in the vehicle. Quickly, she alighted from the bus and thanked the driver for waking her. The bus driver just shook his head, and a final advice before he drove back, “well, take care Miss. Few people come here, and I don’t know why you’re so eager to be here. ‘Heard a lot of strange things happening here, especially in the woods. Be careful!”

While oozing black fumes as the bus slowly returned, Elyn headed her way to the lake. It was not far away, but well concealed. The entrance was just a cut through the railings of the highway, and there were tress overgrown on the stretch of land, with only a small pathway leading to the interior part of a huge clearing, where the lake was in the middle. Well camouflaged, hardly anybody would realise its existence.

She knew her way in very confidently, for the area was like a second home of hers. Other than her little dwelling in Heimfirn, Starvane was next in her greatest place of attachment, a place where her memories of her father was as clear as crystal. She could not help thinking of her beloved father at the step into the woods, remembering the memorable moments spent with him.

After crossing the white stone bridge, she saw Philip in a pensive mode, his arms folded on his chest, his head drooped low with eyes shut. Elyn said not a word – she was not in the spirit. Lightly walking, she approached him.

The brushing against the grass as Elyn moved seemed to rouse him. Philip opened his eyes and stared at the company. When he saw her, immediately, his arms unfolded, and his head rose to welcome her. He was not at all surprised, but wore a serious face. “Elyn,” he said, and just that. The total silence made the situation rigid.

“Phil,” finally, Elyn did speak, “I know you saved my life from a fire at school. Thank you, Phil. I don’t know how to repay you.”

Philip kept silent. There was not even a smile on his face as though he had not heard Elyn. His lips remain pursed; his eyes stared at Elyn, but not a piercing stare. The tranquillity of the place was immense, as if there were no living things around, not even birds or ants parading. All but a squawking crow that flew by the trees.

“Elyn,” it was past a minute before he replied, “you must not repay me anything! Your safety is my responsibility, remember? And… I’m the cause of all your problems….”

“Huh?” Elyn was dumbfounded. All Philip had said did not make any sense.

A minor disturbance occurred as they sensed that someone was around. There was the rustling of leaves coming from the woods. As the figure appeared at the fringes, Elyn saw no other person than her little friend, Hewlett. She was astounded. “Hewlett!” she cried, “hoe come you’re here? I thought I told you to inform Mum about me!”

“I had. And I came here after that.”

“How?” Elyn asked.

“I flew here.”

“You what?” Elyn was taken aback by bewilderment. She thought she heard Hewlett wrong about him flying here. Absolutely he did not mean a helicopter or an aeroplane, so perhaps he must have bought a hover-board. However, even if he had a hover-board, he could not have reached Starvane in a few minutes’ time.

“Elyn,” Philip interrupted, “I was expecting Hewlett. Look, we’ve important matters to discuss with you.”

“Uh, okay. I’m ready,” Elyn looked earnestly at Philip. “Well, I’ve a question,” said Philip, “do you remember anything about the fire?”

“The fire, I….” Elyn closed her eyes into a deep ponder. Then suddenly, many details of her ordeal came back to her. She remembered the man, how the man shot fire from his hands and how he threatened to kill her. “The man, he tried to kill me!” said Elyn as she withdrew her steps, recoiling with horror. It was one too frightening experience that shook her greatly. She was utterly estranged.

“Elyn, how does he look like?”

“Terrible!” was the word Elyn could think of, “he’s got green menacing eyes! He isn’t human!”

“That’s him alright,” remarked Philip, “now I know what he’s up to. Elyn, I certainly must tell you the whole truth. The man you saw was none other than malicious Loki.”

“Loki?” yet another astonishment Elyn felt, “I heard this name before…. The history textbooks, I read about Loki in Teutonic Mythology lessons!”

“Yes, it’s him. And he had come back for revenge, revenge on all the Gods that once damned him into torture of eternity,” answered Philip.

“Wait,” Elyn was confused, “you’re not telling me that the gods are for real, are you? Loki must just be some criminal masquerading in that ghastly outfit!”

“No, you’re wrong Elyn,” Philip replied, “I know this may sound ridiculous and out of this world, but the gods are for real, there’s no myth or phoneys around. Loki’s powers, too, can be very destructive. You’re in very great danger.”

“If it’s real then,” Elyn started to believe, “but why me? Why he said that my death would be his victory?”

“Because – ” Philip stopped short at his words, trying to give a suitable explanation. He turned his back from Elyn, while looking to the ground as if he could find his answers there. “Let’s just put it this way,” he said, “I chose you to be my successor. I have chosen you to be my replacement. And Loki would want to wipe out anything that associates with me.”

Elyn started to get suspicious. “Who are you, anyway?” Elyn asked. “ME? Looks like it would be best if I disclose my real self. Listen, I – Am – Thor.”

Her eyes opened wide. She gazed at Philip, examining him from head to toe. “You’re, Thor? The god of Thunder?”

“I understand it would be hard for you to swallow so much fantasy in this short period, but never mind, I’ll give you time – ”

“No, I don’t need time,” said Elyn, “you can’t expect me to believe you unless there is proof. You’ll have to show me anything that proves you’re Thor.”

“Very well then, Elyn,” Philip said with a grin, “I’ve given it to you already.”

Elyn pondered perplexingly over his vague answer. What could Philip have given her, she wondered. Then, she recalled of the pendant Philip said to be a good luck charm. At once, she took out the locket and placed it on her palm, inspecting it carefully. “Take it off and put it in your hands,” Philip instructed. Elyn followed. “Now, close your eyes and free your mind from thoughts and woes. Let your body be restful, release all emotions you suppressed, allow the powers within you to unfold its might through the pendant I gave you….”

She felt a sudden surge of energy flowing in from her hands, like electricity current, which did not seem to shock; there was no pain at all. She opened her eyes to a blinding white light shone before her, perhaps emitted from the mysterious pendant, went on for a few seconds before dying down. She blinked her eyes with surprise – the pendant no longer lay in her palm, instead, a large object replaced it. “This…” with an enthralled look, she studied the thing in her hands, and thought it shaped a hammer; not any common maul she had seen in workshops, but a unique warhammer of medieval ages, with a huge head and two smooth faces on each side symmetrically that glittered under the sun, affixed on a short handle that was emblazoned with strange inscriptions, exactly like the runes she found on the pendant. In addition, the mallet glowed very brightly, like it was enchanted.

Elyn exclaimed, “this… this is a….”

“Hammer,” Philip finished for her, “not any type of hammer you have seen, but a warhammer magically forged by the Elfsmiths of Sindri. This is my hammer, my Thunder Hammer. His name is Mjollnir.

“Awesome,” she exclaimed, “but why you’re giving this to me? I can’t handle it!”

“Yes you can,” answered Philip, “you’re now his new master, and you have the power to wield it for a good course. After all, I have chosen you to be my successor, haven’t I?”

Elyn took the hammer in her right hand, and waved it in the air. “It’s lighter than I thought,” she remarked. “Try it, hit that rock over there,” Philip said, pointing to a big piece of slab lying on the grass. Elyn obeyed and struck the hammer down as hard as she could. Next, she saw the stone crack, and it shattered into a hundred of tiny pebbles. “Yes, I believe you now,” Elyn stated, then striking another blow, this time slamming it to the ground. The earth shook greatly as if there was an earthquake, and she saw tiny crack lines travelling a distance from where Mjollnir landed. Finally, she plunged the hammer into the lake behind her and a huge explosion sent cascades of water zooming ten feet high in the air. “I think that’s enough, Elyn,” cried Philip from aside, with a small frown on his forehead, “you won’t want to shake the whole planet if you continue doing this.” Elyn stopped her demonstration and turned Mjollnir back into a pendant that wore round her neck.

“There’s one more thing I will show you,” Philip said, and turned to Hewlett, “I want you to transform back into your animal form.”

“It’ll be done at once,” Hewlett replied as he covered his head with both arms. To Elyn's disbelief, a transmutation commenced when raven-black feathers started sprouting from the boy’s body. He shrunk in size as his body disappeared into fluff, then the arms, now transfigured into wings, opened and revealed a shiny beak of gold. The red tint on his eyes now glowed brighter and could be seen very clearly. All these differed him nothing than an avian creature.

“Enlarge yourself,” ordered Philip. The little crow that perched on the grass instantly swelled up to a size of a horse, making Elyn jump with fright. She exclaimed, “unbelievable! Hewlett, he… he… turn into a giant crow!”

“May I introduce him to you,” Philip presented, “Hewlett is just like me, a celestial incognito. His real name is Huginn, a servant to the Allfather Odin. His duty is to protect you from any harm by evil. This is his real embodiment, and please don’t call him a crow. He’s a jackdaw, or just say he is a raven.”

Elyn stared at the raven adoringly that seemed so cute, while reaching her hands for a pat on is head and a friendly rub on his beak, which was not at all black, but shining and glossy, beaming with radiance. The raven, in turn, bowed his head and snuggled up to Elyn's breast coyly. “He’s lovable,” giggled Elyn, as she felt tickled. “Indeed, when you seem like a kin of all the animals. Don’t forget also, you’re one of his masters now.”

“I don’t want to be his master,” she refused, “I want Hewlett to remain my friend forever.”

“He heard you,” replied Philip, giving in to her wishes, “you two will be the best friends ever. Now, do you want a ride on a raven?”

Elyn nodded, but did not perceive how was she to ride a bird. Philip went to her and helped her on Hewlett’s back. “Hold on firmly to his neck,” advised Philip, “now, off you go for a magical and wondrous ride of the time!”

Hewlett elevated himself slightly above the ground. Elyn clung tightly to him, same as she rode on reinless horses before. Then, with a strong flap of his wings, Hewlett soared high to the blue firmament, rushing very quickly until the girl squealed. When the condition was calm again, Hewlett spread his wings wide and glided gracefully around the sky. He let out a gleeful caw that shocked most of the birds around him.

Elyn had her eyes shut very tightly because of her fear of heights, but when she was slowly adjusted to her surroundings, little by little she peered through tiny slits and saw a glimpse of the incredible world underneath, where everything down there looked so amazingly tiny: skyscrapers were nothing to her than needles; the hill top was just a green pasture for cows to graze; and the sea, thousands of kilometres away, looked like a strip of blue fabric adjoined with the sky yet another strip of sky blue.

Hewlett made a dash through the fluffy white clouds, and then lowered himself for a better view of the city. Elyn, now with eyes widely opened, almost wobbled, stunned by the breathtaking scenery. “It’s terrific,” she cried, and when Hewlett made another swoop, she embraced the bird’s neck more tightly. The sensation was more thrilling than a roller coaster ride, she thought. As Hewlett passed trough another cloud, Elyn felt the iciness within, a special chilling experience one of its own. Everything was very surreal, and she thought that was only her imagination. However, when Hewlett swerved back to Starvane, making her nerves tremble, she realised it was not.

The serenity once again eased her nervousness. The flowing air carried her wavering hair; the mild wind blew her fluttering school uniform (without the coat which she took off earlier ago). Moments later, the air current roughened as they approached their return. Not far away from the lake, at the brink of the forest fringes, Elyn thought she saw a wild tornado whirling, with streaks of lightning circling the spiral mass. The breeze turned into a raging storm, shaking the trees till they nearly uprooted. Elyn was stupefied because she never saw anything like that before, especially when it was right in the middle of Starvane Lake. She hugged Hewlett closely for fear she might be blown away, however, even Hewlett had difficulty to maintain his flight, twisting and tunnelling when he neared the storm.

Hewlett let out a cry of distress. “What’s happening?” shouted Elyn, but went unanswered. Both of them spun in circles as the strong wind carried them into the whirlwind, but Hewlett managed to make a dive for the ground. He flapped his wings with all his strength to counter the opposing force that was pulling him in. Lightning continued to strike into the nerve of the tornado and followed the spiralling current. One bolt nearly hit them missing a few inches away, giving Elyn the utmost shock in her life. “Hurry Hew! Get us out of here!” she screamed, still clinging helplessly to the bird.

Hewlett heard her cries, and attempted a final dash to safety. His eyes flared brilliant red, and the muscles of his annexes flapped rapidly as though they were enhanced by raw energy. Fortunately, he succeeded, taking with his passenger out from the storm and swooped down to earth, ricocheting a distance before stopping. Elyn tumbled, while Hewlett, deprived of his strengths, changed back into his human form.

Philip ran to their aid when he saw them plummeting to land. After making sure that Elyn was unhurt, he went to check on Hewlett, whom he saw suffered some scratches on his face and limbs when he crash-landed, but the slight scathes was too meagre to pain him. Hewlett just stood up confidently; assuring Philip he was fine with a single nod. Elyn also recovered from her fall, and urged her friends to see the unnatural disaster that befell.

“Phil, do you think this storm will move to Heimfirn? It would be a tragedy if it does!” asked Elyn, worried about her friends and family still in town, unaware of the danger that drew near. “Nope, the whirlwind is not going anywhere,” replied Philip, “what I’m more concerned about is whatever should emerge from it.”

Elyn shook her head uncomprehendingly. Though not asking verbally, Philip caught her question, hence explained, “this is not a very common tornado you’re seeing, it’s actually a gateway that linked the ground and the sky together, or in other words, a pathway to hell and heaven. Someone is summoning upon something, that’s unquestionable. And I think you should know who was behind this.” Elyn pondered for a moment. “Loki?” she guessed. “Nothing coincidental, it’s him alright,” affirmed Philip, “and I have a hunch he’ll be calling upon the Dark Stalkers dwelling the dark planes, excellent trackers that never missed their hunt.”

“They’re after me?” Elyn shuddered at the thought. Philip just nodded solemnly, while still watching the rotating cyclone as though he was waiting, patiently he might seem, but in his heart suppressed great trepidation of what might happen, especially to a lame girl like Elyn. For once he was not afraid of any enemy, because no one could harm an almighty god, but previous experiences reminded him not to be careless, for the people and civilians around him deemed more than he could afford to sacrifice.

The expected turned out to be true. Several horsemen, altogether five of them, came charging out from the storm, each of them robed in black and hooded, riding on black horses. From the sound of the hooves they knew the Stalkers rode with great speed; their only intention was to destroy. Meanwhile, the whirlwind slowly receded, disappearing alongside with the lightning – the portal closed itself.

“I foresee trouble,” said Philip, feeling disturbed, and with a hand on the girl’s shoulder, he pushed her back, “Elyn, make a run for it, as fast as you can, as far as you manage. Don’t turn back, or you’ll die.”

“But… but what about you? What about Hewlett?” Elyn asked worriedly, reluctant to abandon her two friends behind. “We’ll delay them so you’ll have ample time to escape. Now hurry, go! Don’t turn back, don’t!”

Elyn was still hesitant, however, little options was there for her, and since it was a strict order, she brought her legs to flee, running along the forest bushes that would eventually lead her to the vast grasslands. She did not know where to go, but as long as she was safe from the approaching Stalkers, it was the place she ought to be. Yet, after the long run, the galloping horses still ensued. She stole a glance behind. The horsemen were on her trail.

In the meantime, Philip and Hewlett stood their grounds and confronted the enemies. Despite having no weapons, they were armed with magic, powerful enough to hold off the Stalkers for a while. Both raised their arms with flickering surges of energy at the tip of their hands, and then started unleashing electrical bolts towards their opponents. Still, the Stalkers advanced on their devilish horses without the slightest sense of fear – they were trained to be fearless of anyone and anything.

While Philip and Hewlett battled the horsemen into a deadlock, one of them, believed to be the leader of the other four, pursued their bounty. The black steed charged on with great fury, its thundering hooves quaking the ground. Elyn kept her pace, sprinting and hopping the large tract of land trying to elude, but in vain, as there were fewer and fewer trees to cover her as she progressed further and further away. Though quick-witted, her nimbleness failed to help her, for no person could beat the speed of a galloping horse.

Elyn was getting weaker and weaker every minute she continued her run. She would collapse anytime when fatigue overwhelmed her. The more she was gasping for breath, the more she felt dizzy. For a sudden she could see nothing, feel nothing – benumbed of her sensory systems, she entered into a state of pensiveness, where she was alone in the gloom, no sound, no activity, nothing. In the middle of the darkness, with no light to guide her, she thought about the choices she had made in life. “I have a destiny,” a little voice told her deep in heart. “I should not run away from it,” yet another feeling she somewhat understood but perplexed her. In contrast to what she was doing now, an inner sense told her to face her foe. “What have I done?” she asked herself, “no, since when I’m this timorous?” A mockery, but it was she herself who had scorned her own cowardice, and she really meant it.

As soon as the voice faded away from within her, the sound of the hooves rang into her ears again. At once she waked from her daze, and this time, instead of running, stood she just motionless looking determinedly towards the tracts she did not continue, ignoring the charging horseman. There was an air of courage and confidence that made her so calm. The Stalker who chased after her was taken by surprise to see his wanted halt and pulled the reins, forcing the rampaging horse to stop. He dismounted and pulled a hideous broadsword from within his robes, ready to carry out his task, anyhow, at the same time still wary of his victim. At last, when he was sure that the girl before him was absolutely powerless to retaliate, he raised the menacing blade upon her.

Meanwhile, the struggle continued between the powerful forces that showed might and severity, with the aggressors overpowering the duo by number, but still, Philip and Hewlett remained excellent fighters by strength and skill. Being dinky was the advantage Hewlett used to side step any moves made by the enemy, and counterattacked with swift bolts of energy. While Philip being the formidable Thor known the great strengths he possessed, easily pulled down two of the riders from their horsebacks and threw them to the ground with bare hands, and sent their horses wincing and braying. As the Stalkers regained themselves and unsheathed their swords, the skilful red-haired wrestled them down, not giving them a chance to attack with weapons.

Scared stiff Elyn was staring at the sharp blade levelled above her head, thinking of the throes should she endure if it was to cut deep into her neck. She prayed forlornly for help, her hand gripping the magical pendant tightly. Sweat trickled down her brow as she watched the macabre robed figure hissing through his hood and red eyes gleaming inside the clothes. Putrid air disseminate as the foul creature breathed, a stench of death decay. Elyn said silently to herself, (or perhaps more to the medallion), “protect me, Mjollnir, protect me as you did before….”

As it might be the magical words she recited, or the pendant really understood her, the blinding white light appeared again very rapidly till she was not aware of the hammer she held in her hands. Moreover, there was a sudden development of prowess as the exaltation underwent, rendering her limbs more agile and active. As the weapon cleaved down onto her, she acted through what seemed to be her natural reflexes and flinched, avoiding the blow. Confounded to see his attack missed, the Stalker again raised his sword for another slash, but Elyn reacted even quicker than him. She did not know how she did it, yet her hand lunged forwards at the Stalker, thrusting the hammer, slamming onto his body. Sustaining the hit, the Stalker was blasted off by the force travelling a few metres away from her before collapsing to the ground. Elyn watched on with amazement, wondering about her strength that became so immense. However, she wasted no time on the matter and hurried back to the lake to her friends’ assistance. She felt all the while that she was wrongful to leaving her companions behind while running away from problems. Cowardy was not her attribute, and she certainly would not want to inscribe that in her life record.

Rushing back light-footedly to the on-going fight, she participated in the skirmish to help her two friends who were striving to defeat their opponents. Hewlett had been wearied after draining his energy unleashing fire bolts, so was Philip when he had to defend himself against weapon-wielding enemies who were equally strong. Nevertheless, their spirits prevailed, and Elyn's return scooted the battle to an abrupt end. Her hammer sent the Dark Stalkers knocking the ground, as though she had gone berserk, swinging Mjollnir wildly striking anyone who came near her. The startled opponents floundered up from their fall and repositioned themselves, with swords still in hands parrying.

Elyn and her friends kept their distance from the Stalkers, while taking the opportunity to rejuvenate their stamina. As they looked on the sword-waving enemy with alertness, they prepared themselves to respond in case their foes should attack. But before the second brawl would start, behind them they heard thundering hooves of a horse galloping, and found the leader of the group, reinstated after being clobbered, rejoined the rest. Seeing their leader, the other clansmen remounted their horses, and seemed to be confident they would succeed the assassination. The robed horsemen regrouped in their formation, and the leader raised his hand with a sign, ready to amass their final assault.

The three of them watched with horror the enemy levelled their swords high in the air. In this disposition, even the horses looked intimidating when they winced and neighed. Yet Elyn remained steady, falter she not, her hammer clutched in her two hands, all set to face the worst. Then, as strong as she could, she crashed the hammer onto earth. The ground shook violently, cracks formed on the ground spreading yards away. The intensity of the rumble was even more than a major earthquake, the vibration was enough to topple anything that stood. As the horses brayed with terror, the leader saw no alternatives but to retreat. With a signal he flashed, the horsemen rode away back into the trees, disappearing from sight.

As soon as the Dark Stalkers were gone, the quake alleviated, the ground stopped its shudder.

Hewlett and Philip fell flat on their backs side by side, exhausted after the frenzy combat. While Elyn stood alone staring at the trees where the enemy once emerged, still wondering if they were for real. Finally, she paced away knelt beside her companions looking after their conditions, tending their wounds.

The place restored calm and peace.

She squatted at the edge, her pupils transfixed at the broad surface of the lake, which, when looked upon, the pristine water acted as a giant mirror, reflecting light. She saw her reflection of herself, which had not changed much, but the image of the girl in the water she saw was completely a different person – she was not her old self anymore, not since after the bizarre episode. She always had dreams, dreams in which she fantasised a lot of things, yet now fantasy had been drawn to reality, and with the extraordinary hammer she held, as well as Hewlett morphing into a bird she saw, in addition to the story Philip told which then turn out to be true when the Dark Stalkers showed up, she at last realised that everything was not imaginary.

Hewlett, who turned out to be a blackbird, just stood beside her, gazing the skies without a word, just as silent as he always was. As for Philip, he was the last person she expected to be a deity of the Norwegians, and some powerful god like Thor.

“Elyn,” Philip called as he came up to her from behind, and softly he asked, “have you got it all over already, my girl? I hope you’ve, or I’ll give you some time to think.”

“No,” Elyn declared, standing up and facing him eye to eye, “no, I don’t need to think further, I understand everything. I have an inkling in my dreams that all of these would take place, and it really happened. You chose me as our successor, and I would definitely not doubt it. It’s all like what I read in fairytales, special people do have special encounters. I’m just glad to be that special person… I’m just glad to have met you.”

“I’m pleased you believed me, thank you Elyn. At least now I know that I have chosen the right person to wield my powers, the one I can rely on to continue my efforts,” Philip smiled appreciatively. Elyn continued, “nonetheless, I don’t suppose I get all these powers for free, do I?”

“Yes, you’re right. For great powers comes great responsibility, there’re tasks for you to carry out when you’re given these powers. Generally, you must work out duties assigned to you by the God’s Council. And I hope you’re prepared to accept any missions requested from the Council without protest.”

“I’m ready. I’m ready to participate in the conquests of the Gods, and I assure you, I’ll work hard for them. But please, tell me what should I do?”

“I’m impressed by your determination, truly, Elyn. Never had I expected you to cooperate so keenly with me. As for your job, you’ve now the duty to watch over Norway, and keep it safe from all kinds of evil. Your role is crucial, for the dwellings of the dark have been active since all the Gods descended to earth to find each their chosen one, to pass them the duties of preserving peace of the world. Like them, your task is to prevent evil from disrupting life on earth.

Hewlett and I will be helping you in your task. We’ll be watching over your safety, so that not ill-purposed entity would try to harm you. Mjollnir is also at your side, and you must use him with care, only to vanquish evil. I’ve told you all you need to know for the time being.”

Elyn looked away and stared at the azure sky, trying to digest every word Philip said. Then when everything was clear, she asked her final question, “when do I start?”

“You start from now,” Philip replied.

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