Valkyrie leaned over the edge, situating her splinted, broken leg so that she could extend her head far enough to see all of Stigg’s body. She frowned. Fanndis eyed her, bewildered. Fanndis had no idea how her former master would be able to heal such terrible wounds. Arna had every ounce of faith in Valkyrie’s abilities. After all, the old woman had warned her of this incident years ago, had she not? When Valkyrie started to swing her body over the edge to climb down, both younger women protested.
“What are you doing? You’ve got a broken leg, Valkyrie!” Fanndis spat, exasperated.
“I’ll be fine. I’ve got two strong arms and a whole other leg. You just watch me.” Valkyrie stuck her chin out defiantly, nodding towards Fanndis. “I’ll be alright. Right now, it is very important that I reach Stigg.”
Fanndis only nodded, still worried to death about her son. Arna put a weak hand on the woman’s shoulder. Fanndis put her own hand over the girl’s and sighed.
“If anyone can do it, she can,” Fanndis admitted.
Despite their protests, Valkyrie ascended the rock wall with three limbs. It was an incredible sight to see such an old woman navigating scarce hand and footholds like she was a spry child. Fanndis wondered just what her former mentor did to keep herself in such spectacular shape. Fanndis wondered about a lot of things to keep her mind off of her son’s portentous death.
Once she was firmly situated on the rocky terrace, Valkyrie stretched her broken leg out and sat. Then, she scooted her body closer to Stigg’s and Soryn’s. Both men had fainted, though both were breathing. This was an encouraging sign, at least. Casting her gaze to either side of the bodies, she searched.
“What are you looking for!?” Fanndis shouted.
“That pendant that Fenris had. I’ve seen it before. I’ll need it,” Valkyrie replied, searching Stigg’s clothing in case it slipped inside.
Valkyrie smiled when she spotted it clutched in Stigg’s left hand—a hand that lay precariously close to the edge of the rocky shelf. Using all of her waning strength, she leaned over Stigg’s body and retrieved the round pewter pendant. Its weight was shocking for so small a thing, but Valkyrie remembered that its wealth was not in its weight but in its power. Her own master, a Seidh woman of great renown, had worn a similar trinket around her neck all of her life. Valkyrie wondered how Fenris had obtained something so impressive.
Fanndis, Arna, and Derik leaned over the ledge above and stared in amazement as Valkyrie placed the pendant on Stigg’s gash. It began to glow a dull amethyst color. Valkyrie waited, praying and hoping that the pendant would work. Fanndis gasped when Stigg’s color returned and he jerked up, gasping. He was shocked to see Soryn, fainted, across his chest. He looked over at the older woman in confusion.
“You’re out of danger.” Valkyrie patted Stigg’s leg.
Stigg looked at the blood pumping, more slowly, from Soryn’s side and watched in amazement as Valkyrie extended the pendant towards the open flesh. Stigg’s eyes grew wide when he saw the glowing light and Soryn’s skin begin to close, the flow of blood to cease. Soryn came to, coughed, and tried to right himself, disoriented. Both men turned to see Valkyrie smiling, looking off towards the sky.
“Just what is that thing, Valkyrie?” Stigg asked, his voice weak.
“This is an Amplifier—a magical trinket used to strengthen Seidh powers. My own master used to use one in her work. This is an especially powerful talisman. I have no idea where Fenris would have discovered such a thing. He must have had his own latent magic buried deep inside himself even to use this device. Still, he perverted its intended purpose. He used it for evil. I have used it to heal the two of you—not all the way, you understand. Just enough to get you home where we can patch you up. Perhaps it will heal my leg so that I can climb back up.” Valkyrie chuckled even as she placed the pendant on her broken shin and watched with satisfaction as the bone reconnected with itself and the pain eased. Her skin closed, though an angry red swath of skin still spread over the area.
“It’s amazing the amount of damage that wretched man was able to cause just from his misplaced rage,” Valkyrie grunted, her brows furrowed.
“Mm,” Soryn and Stigg muttered in unison.
They looked at each other and laughed deliriously before descending into coughing fits.
“Be careful, you fools,” Valkyrie warned. “The pendant has helped you along your way to healing, but you won’t be fully healed for a while yet.”
Up above, Fanndis and Arna held one another and cried despite their grins. Fanndis nodded her head in deference to her master and Valkyrie inclined hers in return. Near the mountainside, the wolves fidgeted and Ulf ordered most of them to leave. Nora and Derik stayed to help see to the removal of Fenris from their mountain. The man was still unconscious, but no one made to heal his head wound with the pendant—Valkyrie refused. He had far too much malice in his heart. It would have to heal the old-fashioned way.
Copyright © 2013 L.M. Sherwin
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