THERE’S A DARKNESS WITHIN YOU
While the fighters of the great hall of Valhalla hooted and hollered, cheered and cried, Ryan knelt on the balcony that he discovered through an exit to the left of the enormous hall.
The balcony overlooked a courtyard that shadowed itself in trees whose leaves was a deep shade of green.
The courtyard itself overlooked the supposed Endless Sea, leaving a faint cream marbled seat near the edge of the courtyard’s Cliffside.
Ryan looked out onto this sea as his left hand ran along the balcony’s own marble and his right hand held a cigar that a drunken Elf had given to him in passing.
“Made from the finest leaves on Alfheim!” Said the Elf that towered above Ryan.
The Elf had stunk of brew and smoke and sweat. Ryan had taken the cigar from him just to move him along.
Ever since seeing Eira up there, Ryan felt queasy and needed to find a source of fresh air.
The worst part was that he didn’t know why he was feeling queasy. What was it to him that she was enjoying herself up there in front of everybody?
As Ryan looked out across the courtyard, he searched for the answer, any answer, but couldn’t find what he was looking for.
“Ryan.” Came a voice so soft from somewhere behind him.
Ryan turned to look and saw the woman Eira mentioned was the All-Mother.
The first thing Ryan noticed about her was her eyes. They were dark and piercing but at the same time, there was a kindness behind them. They expressed concern.
The All-Mother stepped toward him and Ryan sensed something else from deep within: This person exerted grace.
The thought made Ryan frown. He was tired, he knew, and this all must be the thought of an overwhelmed mind.
The gown that Ryan thought was Silver-White from afar was now ashen-grey. It seemed to ripple in the wind as it curled down the All-Mother’s figure.
Around the All-Mother’s neck was a white collar, bound together at the front of her neck by a silver band.
She came to rest against the balcony next to Ryan and for a moment, the two stood in silence as they looked across the Endless Sea.
“I am sorry about what happened to you, Ryan.” The All-Mother said. “I want you to know that.”
Ryan turned to her and the All-Mother turned to meet his look, her eyes studying him. They seemed to smile before her face expressed the action.
“How did I know?”
Ryan could only nod.
“I know about each and every person in that hall. The Elves, The Giants, The Dwarves.”
The All-Mother paused before continuing. “The fallen.”
She turned back to look out over the balcony. “Which is why I have come before you now, Ryan. I can understand why you aren’t celebrating. I too come out at night to be alone. It helps me think about what I have seen.”
What I have seen. The words skipped on repeat in Ryan’s head.
“Will you tell me why Eira is not beside you?”
“All-Mother…” Ryan began.
“Ye Gods don’t call me that.” The All-Mother replied, waving her hand in the air in a gesture of dismissal.
“Call me by my name – Frigg.”
Frigg? What kind of name –
“Ryan.” The lady named Frigg spoke up, cutting through Ryan’s mind. “Eira plays her part, as do we all. I can see there’s darkness within you, Ryan. But also a kindness. I hope you play your part as well. Playing our parts in this…is important..”
Frigg looked to Ryan with those brown impenetrable eyes and smiled.
Ryan watched as she turned to leave, mulling over what she meant for him to play his part.
Frigg moved with certain elegance, a certain sway to her, as she moved back into the great hall.
Darkness within me? What did she mean?
Surely Frigg did not simply mean Ryan should allow Eira to please him. But what is Eira doing by playing her part?
Eira stood in the entrance to the balcony, redressed in a sheer-white gown that did nothing to hide her form beneath the fabric.
Is this what we’re supposed to do, Frigg? Ogle these women? Do they really not care? Was this what Frigg meant when she said to play my part? To ask these questions out loud to Eira?
“All-Mother told me where you were.” Eira said quietly, her head bowed. “I didn’t want to disturb you. I didn’t know how, even if I wanted to.”
Eira stood before Ryan, her eyes that were cast down as she held her hands behind her back, were sullen.
“The souls so far…I can figure out. Men, Women. They tell me. There’s something different about you. Which makes this one wonder if there’s something wrong with her.”
The sudden transition from first person to third in Eira’s speech did not go unnoticed by Ryan. Before he could respond, Eira spoke again.
“Was it the order the All-Father gave? This one couldn’t turn it down..”
Ryan began to speak but realised he had no idea where to start.
Its true that seeing this beautiful woman, that guided him through the forest, masturbate in front of an entire room of people, not to mention the actions of the other Valkyries shook him a little. But Eira was right, this is their life.
“Eira” Ryan started to say.
“You don’t like this? Or what the Valkyries provide?”
“I am just not used to it is all. It’s…an adjustment..”
The words were failing him. He grunted in frustration and turned from her, looking back over the courtyard.
Eira was beside him now, leaning in front of him to look in his eyes.
He turned back to face her and saw that hurt was appearing across her face, her lips seemed to curl down, her eyes lost their light.
She was beautiful, even when expressing pain.
“If Odin is your Father, for want of a better word…”
Eira cocked her head.
“Your all-Father…what does that make me? Especially if you bring in new souls? Is that us done? Are you all Polyamorous? I don’t –“
In one swift movement, Eira snatched the still burning cigar out of Ryan’s hand, lifted up her gown, revealing her pale ass, and stubbed the lit end against her bare flesh.
“Eira, what the hell?” Ryan cried as Eira winced.
She flashed her eyes back up at Ryan and he saw her then – a flash of anger, a trace of shame and hurt. She held the gaze just as she held the cigar to her flesh.
“Each Born Again Valkyrie undergoes training as part of their new life. This includes managing pain, controlling it, minimalizing it. We are taught, we abide and we serve. That is who we are..”
“Okay?!” Ryan said, his hands rose in shock and confusion, just like his voice. “But what the hell is this? What are you doing?”
“I’ve offended you, Ryan. I am punishing myself.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa – No. Not necessary.”
Eira flinched as she removed the cigar from her flesh. She put the stub of it on the balcony railing.
As she let the gown fall back down around her knees, Ryan saw the black ash creased into her now raw skin.
“If you’ll follow me to your designated chambers…”
Still in shock, all Ryan could do was say “Sure..” quietly.
Eira led Ryan down a hallway of grey stone and lanterns. They crossed rows and rows of doors, some still partying into the night, some filled with symphonies of moans and others quiet.
Eira spoke only to speak of her own experiences of Valhalla – meeting Thor, speaking to Ravens, swimming in the Endless Sea.
All Ryan could do was nod, his mind stuck on the image of her raw skin left with the ashen trail where the cigar kissed her buttocks.
Conflicted and aroused, despite his reservations, he followed her quietly.
At last they came to his quarters and Eira pushed the wooden door open to reveal a wide room. Its floors and walls were made of stone, polished smooth.
The candle that sat on a table to the left was already burning, while the wooden bed, populated with rich cotton sheets and a luscious feather quilt, looked made and fresh.
Eira stepped in, swaying as she went, and Ryan saw she was moving to the back end of the room, towards the double glass doors with wooden frames.
When she opened the both of them, Ryan felt the breeze outside creep up on him.
He stepped forward, huddling himself as he went, and saw that outside lay a wooden balcony, complete with a wooden table and chair. The view that came with the room overlooked the Endless Sea and the Cliffside below.
When Ryan stepped back inside, he turned to look on the bed.
Given that his surroundings looked like something out of the dark ages, he wasn’t expecting to find that there were a fresh towel and a fresh change of clothes for him.
“Should you chose, another Valkyrie can greet you on the ‘morrow.”
“You, Eira.” Ryan finished for her. “I am happy as it is..”
When he turned back to face Eira behind him, Eira was completely nude, just as she was before in the great hall. Her gown was down around her ankles.
“Eira, what are you-?”
“I know I hurt you, Ryan. I know I punished myself with the leaves but”
Eira lay across the bed on her stomach.
“I feel in my mind, I need to ask for a punishment from you.”
Before Ryan could react, Eira shot out her right arm and grabbed at Ryan’s hand. Her grip was surprisingly strong, he noted at first, and then disregarded his first observation because – well, of course Valkyries were strong. They are trained warriors.
Did Eira train in fighting too?
“Eira, this isn’t –“
She rested his hand gently on her bare ass.
“Please” Her voice was strained.
Just hearing the desire in her voice, the need, was what drove Ryan to his decision to smack her initially. He didn’t think she needed it, but Eira did, and if he helped ease her mind, helped to convince her she didn’t wrong him, then he would do it.
His first smack on her bare ass was gentle. Eira didn’t react, Ryan saw, she only stayed quiet, with her head buried in the crimson feather quilt on the bed.
She did, however, move her hand to raise his again, and when it came down a second time, the smack let out a harsh clapping sound that reverberated off the walls of the room.
By the time Ryan struck her a third time, Eira let out a small whimper as hand connected with flesh.
Something burning hot and wild slid over his mind, over his skin, oozing across his chest and arms, tickling the hair on his body.
Ryan struck her. Again and again. The sound of her ass being struck, her skin becoming pink under his hand, drove Ryan to a place he’s never tapped into before. Something about this was satisfying him, fulfilling him. Feeding off of him. It was her cries, this place, this room, and her snow-white skin.
He thought of everything in that moment. His death, Asgard, Slave customs, Eira, Ragnarök, his family back on Earth. It all came back to him in a flood of memories.
He struck her for the umpteenth time and she let out a cry that was both cleansing and primal.
Eira let go of his hand, panting in the dark room.
Ryan let her hand go and sat on the edge of the bed, his chest heaving.
Neither of them spoke for a full minute.
“I’m sorry…I don’t know what that was..” Ryan asked, feeling shame burn his entire body.
“That was you, Ryan.”
“If that is me… I don’t know if I like that…”
Eira rose to her feet and Ryan’s instinct was to look away still.
“We have ways of understanding the darkness within us here…remember that.”
As Eira reattached her gown and brushed the hair from her eyes, she said “We can harness that energy here.”
Ryan looked at her and Eira looked back, serene.
“Get some rest. I will find you tomorrow.” She said quietly, before departing the room.
To be continued
© Tall, Dark and Dominant 2018