Part 3: The Battle

It is not common knowledge that a summoned demon isn’t bound to this plane until he accepts the terms of the summoning, nor that once he accepts the terms, the summoning priest must complete the ritual for the demon to get its full powers.

It is, however, common knowledge to a Valkyrie, like the one that just materialized behind the priest, the one grasping the hilt of the golden sword now protruding from the priests’ chest, the one smiling at the beast.

The beast recoiled in surprise, taking the moment to evaluate his situation. The female standing before him was barely half his height, maybe five and a half feet tall. Her horned helmet, engraved breastplate and armored wristbands gave away her Viking heritage. In sharp contrast, she was wearing a short skirt and thigh-high boots that must have been the latest in hero fashion. But what drew his attention most was her namesake, the golden sword. It was nearly as long as she was tall and looked too heavy for her frail frame to wield.

From their hiding places, a dozen Longbow agents descended on the priests’ followers. They were trained men and women in the service of the Freedom Corps, Paragon City’s elite crime fighting team. Possessing either skills or powers that were useful for dealing with minor villains, thugs and followers, Longbow agents often accompanied heroes on missions such as this.

She had timed her attack perfectly, waiting until the beast accepted the terms, binding him to this plane, and before the priest finished the ritual, deigning him most of his demonic powers.

“Take care of his minions,” she shouted, “I’ve got the big, angry puppy dog.” Then she launched herself at the beast.

He knew her sword would be her strength and in her commands he thought he had found a weakness; over-confidence. It even showed in her smile as she came after him. He chose to defend against her initial attacks and wait for an opening to counter.

She wielded the sword as though it were weightless. Her attacks were a dance of speed and precision. No mortal with a lifetime of practice could have matched her skill. Indeed, fifty lifetimes and thousands of battles had honed this immortal’s talent with the blade. He thought he finally had a worthy adversary.

Her barrage left no opening for him to counter. Keeping him on the defensive, her footwork and array of combinations kept him guessing where her next attack was coming from. But her attacks were weak, not the powerful blows he was expecting from the mighty sword. His tough, demonic hide easily deflected the force of the blade. He began to wonder why he was summoned when suddenly an opening presented itself.

It was her compassion that gave him the opportunity he needed. For a split second she paused between swings to take a glance from the corner of her eye. A moment’s hesitation she surrendered to make sure her companions weren’t in need of her assistance. The moment he had been waiting for. She looked back too late to stop the powerful blow from a fist the width of her chest.

With all his weight behind it, the blow knocked her thirty feet through the air and left her sprawled on the floor, stunned and helpless. As he began to move toward her to finish her off, an exploding arrow struck him. Apparently, her companions had been keeping an eye on her as well.

The explosion should not have knocked him back, but it did, a warning that his power was fading. He would have to finish the Valkyrie quickly or be stuck on this plane for a long time.

A hurled boulder took out the offending archer. Another agent was dispatched by a crushing stomp. The beast breathed fire on the remaining three, sending them running to the nearest source of water. It was now down to the two immortals.

The Valkyrie had risen to her feet again, her form now bathed in a pearly glow. Seeing the destruction he had just wrought and the angered look on the demons face she nonchalantly leaned on her sword, confident she could ready the weapon before the beast could strike.

“Aw, what’s the matter? Dawg-face angwy ‘cause his widdle powers are fading?” she taunted, revealing her knowledge of his predicament.

A horrific realization came over the beast like a wave of arctic wind that froze him in place. This whole time she had been toying with him, waiting for his powers to fade. Her initial assault wasn’t meant to kill him, it was meant to kill time. Her arrogance and incessant grin, which he had mistaken for over confidence, were no more than her viking lust for battle. To her, fighting was a game she lived to play, was created by the gods to play, and she was a master at it.

“ENOUGH GAMES, GIRL, NOW I FINISH YOU” he hissed.

Without another word the two combatants charged into battle.

She moved forward, spinning 360 degrees with the sword extended to add momentum. Then, pointing the weapon toward the heavens, she let it pull her into the air. At the apex of her leap, she brought the sword behind her back and placed her second hand on the hilt. As she fell back to earth, every muscle in her arms and shoulders rippling with power, she aimed the weapon at the beasts’ head.

In a similar all out attack, he had pounded three steps forward. On his first step, he extended his right arm behind him. On his second step, he leaned back. He planted his third step so firmly that the ground surrendered a six inch burrow before halting his advance. His fist came forward behind the weight of his massive form with such force that the air itself screamed in agony as it passed.

In a thunderous explosion of unearthly power, the two blows struck their intended targets. Again the beasts’ hide protected him from the edge of the blade, but it could not protect him from the divine force of the attack. Stunned and off balance, he staggered back a few steps. The Valkyrie’s smile did not diminish. His demonic maul had been stopped inches before striking her. The full might of the blow completely absorbed by the magic surrounding her.

She was on him again before he could recover. Gone was the swordsman that so gracefully danced her attacks earlier. Now she released the native barbarian of her Viking heritage. Her attacks were slow and lumbering, but pounded the beast with the will of the gods of Asgard.

He tried to fight back. Hitting her wasn’t the problem. She didn’t defend herself any more than a lumberjack defends himself against the tree he’s chopping down. But the magic still protected her. She was unaffected by his attempts, even ignored them. She was unstoppable.

Seeing the end at hand, the Valkyie launched an attack she knew would knock him off his feet. “SIT DOWN!” she screamed victoriously.

His energy spent, the blow knocked him to the ground. Stubbornly he tried to lift himself refusing to accept defeat. A final blow stole the choice from him as he slipped into unconsciousness.

Standing beside him, the battle won, she pointed the sword at the demon one last time. In a final taunt, as though his helpless soul could still hear her, she said softly, “and stay down.”
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