Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Heart of the Mountain: Valkyrie's Stand




The man clutching the Norn Stones clings for dear life, dragged across the cave floor.
“How darling, you should hold the hands of my mind,” she says to him, beckoning for effect with her repetitively curling finger. “Never let it be said, Amora has not love enough for all she deems worthy!”
Her eyebrows arch; her cheeks squeeze high and tightly; her eyes dazzle with the essence of desire.

”There’s really no further need for violence, guys,” says Iron Man, positively entranced. The features of the Enchantress soothe, even arouse, those assembled before her. “I propose a very different engagement,” she says coyly, “wherein I conjure sylphs and nature-perfumed wood nymphs---and a broad-shouldered, handsome and fair warrior for you, green one, if you wish to let bygones go by. This is our...special time, no longer burdened by the schemes of the wretches you’ve laid low!” She actually gets her arms around Iron Man’s neck, speaking as she dangles behind him. “Your armored friend ascertains the very different time we might share, and let this violent tableau burn away in the fires of our passions.”

"There's...so much good you could do...with your powers, Enchantress," says Captain America, earnestly.

"If ye wish our friendship," declares Thor, "thou needest turn thy restorative power upon yon fallen archer, for behold! His statue-like being hath born the ravages of battle as serious fractures!"

"Ah, geez, Hawkeye..." says She Hulk, let down at the sight of the seriously damaged stone iteration of the marksman of marvel.

"Tis a simple measure," replies Enchantress, who re-assembles Hawkeye's stone form. While her vaporous hands seek out the Norn Stones, she restores the Avenger, who begins to take on color, flushed of cheek. His uniform, however, remains humbly, yet greatly, shredded. The entire tone of the room turns in Amora's favor---as if it had never left.

The Grey Gargoyle stands, swaying from She Hulk’s attack, calculating some moment when he might reach an advantage...and attain the secrets of immortality that have drawn him into conflict all the days since the accidental discovery of his transforming stone touch. Only the coughing, ragged man gripping the magically summoned Norn Stones breaks the strangely tantalizing mood...while Sabretooth, dazed, crouches, scenting another figure, the man from the plane. He steps carefully into the shadows, laughing to himself.


Before the Norn Stones draw into the flesh and blood hands of the Enchantress, mighty Thor shakes off the ambient hypnosis of the cooing sorceress and takes one in hand. “There is---life within the stone!”
“N-no kidding,” says the battered and weary Steve Holt, who clutches the other Norn Stone to his chest. “I guess...if you’re gonna take these, kill me, lady. Least maybe I’ll die a warrior’s death...and this beautiful thing held inside will take me somewhere better.”

“There’s nothing there, my weary friend,” she answers, “save for some heart’s desire therein you see!”
Holt looks the impossibly beautiful woman in the eye, and realizes even HE must glance away to retain resolve. “Maybe...heart’s desires are too crystal perfect for this crummy world...refracted from other worlds we imagine inside us.” He holds the stone up to eye level. “But here’s a flash for ya. I’ve got the stones to do something about it, so too bad for you!”



She stiffens momentarily, but she engages, mystically and conversationally, her inexorable pull. “You know...I have understandings to unlock those desires of which you speak. I will be your passionate tutor...if you’ll only share now what’s coming to me.”

Then the warrior woman---the one who saved him on the most exciting day of his life, and the one of whom he’s dreamed in the bewildering nights since---Valkyrie emerges from the stones. “That he will, wicked one...that he will!!” Adorned in white and blue, regal in her bearing, her golden tresses hide one of her angry, peering, determined eyes, as she draws her sword Dragonfang and affixes the stone to its hilt on one side, and plucks the other from Thor’s hand to repeat on the other. “My thanks for your concept of me; perhaps the Eye of Odin lies not, and some past life together did we thread; and you,” she says, turning towards Holt as the Enchantress begins to gesture with malevolent sparks at her fingertips, “thank you also, whatever our connection...for the piece of me you have brought forth, as well.”


She turns to the Enchantress, and as everyone snaps out of the mesmerizing tone of the room, she brandishes her blade. “You betrayed me long ago, Amora, and from the shadows of some scheme in recent years did you cast a spell to capture me once more, as you did with the soul crystal of a thousand years past---when you made me your plaything, your disguise, even merging me with the body of lost Barbara Norriss * (Defenders #4, 1973) !”


Now strides the Grey Gargoyle towards the Destroyer, only to be bashed aside by the wary Captain America. “No you don’t, Stoney Face!”
From the shadows, the twins Dave and Nick grab Holt (their father?) and drag him out of the fray, as the Norn-enhanced blade of Valkyrie crashes down upon Amora the Enchantress’ phosphorescently manifested spells. The She Hulk comes quickly to her senses, and says, “Waaiit a minute! May I humbly present for the court a proposition: I owe somebody one SERIOUS birthday spanking!”
“Stand at ready,” says Thor, barring her way slowly, firmly. “This be a matter---by our watchful gaze-- which Brunnhilde herself, methinks, must resolve!”

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