Lightning flashed. Thunder boomed overhead. The wind’s speed increased, tossing Valkyrie’s hair about her as she stood, her gaze on the sky.
“It’s as if Thor’s wrath is here,” she said to herself. “Or is that you, Odin. Reminding me to believe in myself. To follow your command or your son’s command for that matter.”
She smiled. “The last time I saw you the sky looked just like this,” she continued bitterly. “You remember, Odin? You were seeing us off. Me and my Valkyrie. You told me to take the blessings of Asgard with me.” She scoffed. “What did that get me, hmm?”
Of course, there was no response but she went on talking anyway.
“What did it get me, Odinson?!”
Samantha, before the beginning of the mission, had been wrought with fear. Now she felt only a fierce determination. Hela was down there and the Valkyrie was going to end her.
They burst through the cover of grey clouds, clouds woven with patches of almost heavenly golden light. The ground was littered in jagged mountains of dark stone and there, waiting for them, was Hela.
Samantha didn’t have to yell “Charge!” She knew her Valkyrie would follow her and know what to do. They had been in many battles together and this could very well be their last one.
Samantha knew Hela’s tactics in war. She was a killing machine, wrecking armies with blades that burst out of her hands and feet like skin particles. This single ability of hers was going to be their greatest challenge in even getting to Hela. There would be immediate losses but if Samantha could get close enough they’d have a chance of defeating her.
“For Asgard!” she yelled.
“For Asgard!” the Valkyrie cheered in unison behind her, their voices combining into an undulating cry of defiance.
Hela’s teeth gleamed in a vicious grin between her black lips.
“Come to me,” Hela whispered. “Come to meet your death.”
Hela swung her right hand forward and just like that dozens of blades shot toward the Valkyrie in an instant. Samantha did all she could to evade the attack but it was futile.
Pegasi were struck, their whinnies filling the air with their dying cries as they plummeted from the sky, sending their riders to a grisly death crushed against the stone floor below. And the Valkyrie that didn’t meet this fate would instead be killed by the blades that pierced their torsos.
The chaotic scene was filled with death and Samantha couldn’t do anything to stop it. There was no time to retreat. She could only hope to kill Hela if she was to save any of her fellow warriors.
And then, as if she was struck in the heart herself, Destiny whinnied in great pain. He had been struck by two of the blades and was unable to continue flying, tossing Valkyrie from her place on his back.
She fell a hundred feet and her gaze momentarily took in the Valkyrie who was still trying to reach Hela only to be killed in the process, plummeting like stones all around her. She knew she should give up. That they had lost and that the end that she had feared was upon her but she was too stubborn for that.
She turned in midair, landing on her feet rather than her back. She then didn’t waste any time sprinting toward Hela as fast as possible, stepping over the corpses of the Valkyrie and the Pegasi that littered the black stone before Hela.
The Goddess of Death was currently preoccupied with the last remaining Valkyrie, most of which were still on their Pegasi while those who were grounded like Samantha charged the villainess with angered cries emanating from their mouths.
Samantha could get to her. She was just seconds away. Seconds from thrusting her sword through the heart of this murderous hag.
These seconds seemed to stretch like an eternity. Samantha was willing her body to move quicker than she ever had. Hela turned, having completed her annihilation of the Valkyrie in the sky, her eyes filled with a hungry gleam. Samantha watched as the warriors in front of her were killed one by one.
Samantha was so close now. So close to finishing Hela once and for all.
Priscilla was one of the grounded warriors. She knew there was no chance of defeating Hela as she watched her fellow warriors cut down in front of her like dandelions in a field. But she could save at least one of them and that was Samantha. She had to save Samantha or die trying.
She stopped charging Hela, turning to block Samantha’s way forward but Samantha was determined. She saw nothing but Hela’s cruel smile. A smile she wanted to end permanently. Priscilla had different intentions.
Hela threw a single dagger. It flew through the air straight at Samantha, its true aim destined to end Samantha in an instant, but Priscilla stood in the way, pushing Samantha back with as much force as she could muster just as the blade tore through her sternum.
It felt as if Samantha’s world had been cleaved in two as she fell back, her gaze frozen on Priscilla’s agonized one. She landed hard, the breath knocked from her as Priscilla crumpled to the ground along with the rest of her fellow Valkyrie.
And there, at that moment, Samantha laid on the stone floor of Hel as the last surviving Valkyrie. She didn’t move. She only stared at the sky filled with churning grey clouds patched with those distinct fields of light, tears leaking from her eyes.
The fate that she had feared had come true. They had lost. Surrounding her were the bodies of women she had grown to know and love, sisters united by a pact to their king and to Asgard, warriors who would literally die for one another if it meant the survival of the Asgardians. And yet, she was somehow still alive, unable to follow them to Valhalla where they could dance for eternity. What cruel fate was this?
She heard the slow footfall of calculated footsteps approaching but didn’t bother to stir. And then suddenly, she could see Hela’s horns appear in her vision above her followed by the grin of Death herself.
“You’re the last one,” Hela said.
Samantha didn’t respond. Instead, she kept her focus on the sky, awaiting the moment Hela’s blade would tear through her flesh and her existence would come to a miserable end.
“Hate me if you will, I am a true Asgardian and being a true Asgardian means that I do not wish to see the Valkyrie eradicated from existence. So, I’m giving you a choice.”
Samantha’s eyes flitted to Hela’s.
“You can either try to kill me where I stand like a true warrior or…” she bent down, her grin deepening, “you can run.”
Samantha’s heart pounded in her breast, the decision descending upon her like two bricks. To her right lied her sword. All she needed was a second and it would be in her palm. All she would have to do then was kill Hela. But Samantha knew better. The Goddess of Death would end her life before she got her hand around the hilt.
And then, there in the sky, was a single Pegasus circling as if ready to land. Hela’s smile became knowing.
“Good choice,” she purred.
She had run. Like a coward, she had run straight to Sakaar where she pretended to be something greater than she actually was. She drank the pain away, choosing to forget the past. A past that reminded her of the person she had become.
As Valkyrie stood on the cliff overlooking New Asgard, the storm rolling into full effect as a downpour added to the gloominess of the situation she knew she was facing another moment where she was forced to make a choice.
She could run and leave Asgard to fend for itself. And this time, she would never return. No matter who rooted her from the depths she had chosen to bury herself in, no matter how dire the scenario, she would disappear and live the rest of eternity the way she pleased.
Or she could do what she hadn’t done before. She tilted her head back, not minding the rain as she slightly smiled at the storm clouds.
“Well, Odin. It looks like running didn’t do anything for me last time. Let’s see what choosing to be a warrior gets me.”
With that, she ran to New Asgard to begin preparing for the Test of Valor.