Chapter Seven – Legends and Prophecies
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, or any of the Norse Mythology that I am about to mangle to suit my own twisted purposes. Frankly, if you recognize, I don’t own it. This work may not be sold or used for profit in any way shape or form for that very reason. Please don’t sue me because I don’t have anything worth taking…
-== Chapter Seven – Legends and Prophecies ==-
The walk from his home to the Doublemeat palace and then on to the school was surprisingly uneventful for Xander, despite his preoccupation. The conversation he’d had with his mother had been eerily fatalistic, as though she’d had some premonition of impending doom. Though, his fighting back against the abuse his father heaped on him for the first time in his life may well have had something to do with that. Tony Harris wasn’t exactly well know for being accepting of anyone or anything that didn’t fit his narrow little view of the world. For the very first time in his life, he had a way out, a place that he could run to if things really did get any worse.
Xander actually only vaguely remember his Uncle Jonathan, Aunt Martha and his cousin Clark. They had gone to visit them once, seven or eight years ago and something strange had happened involving Clark and Tony. Afterwards, when they got back from Smallville, Tony’s drinking had gone from bad to worse and they hadn’t left Sunnydale since. He didn’t really know the details of what had happened only that something about the youngest Kent had scared his father. Of course, in Xander’s book, that was actually a big plus in Clark’s favor. Anything that scared Anthony Harris couldn’t possibly be all bad. Besides, the trip to the Kent farm had been one of the best vacations Xander could ever remember having taken.
It was only as he approached the school and his ultimate destination of ‘Slayer Central’, as he had come to think of the library, that Xander’s thoughts finally turned back to the real issue at hand. Giles clearly disapproved of the fact that he had gone to meet with Eve this afternoon. The training session he’d had, however, had left him considerably more inclined to trust the self-proclaimed Valkyrie. After all, normal humans didn’t typically crush cars with their bare hands or lift objects that weighed several tons and hold them over their heads one-handed. And all of that was without relying on Mjolnir to boost his strength. Even as strong as Buffy was, she wouldn’t have been able to do what he had done today.
More importantly, at least to Xander’s way of thinking, Eve hadn’t attempted to influence him. She didn’t lecture him on the demands of duty and responsibility the way Giles often did Buffy. She didn’t try to put the weight of the entire world on his shoulders, despite the fact that he wasn’t entirely certain that he couldn’t have held it if need be… Instead, she merely focused on helping him come to terms with his abilities and trusted Xander’s own, innate moral compass to guide his actions.
As he entered the library, Giles immediately looked up from the relatively small pile of books and papers that was strewn across his end of the table they used for research. Before the Watcher could speak, Xander called out, “Hey Giles, still researching?”
“Oh, uh, well, yes,” the Englishman stammered. “Cross referencing and verifying what I’ve already found actually. The legends and myths that your ‘Eve’ made vague references to are, frankly quite obscure.”
“But?” he prompted as Giles paused.
“But I was able to find one reference to an old Russian story about Thor being cast out of Asgard to live and die as a mortal man,” Giles picked up a volume from the table and began to read aloud. “In his arrogance, the Thunderer angered the All-father. Odin’s wrath stripped Thor of his place among the Gods and drove him into Midgard. And then the All-father cast the mighty hammer Mjolnir into the world, that none might claim the Thunder-god’s mantle but the most worthy of warriors.”
“That sounds pretty much like the story that Eve told me today. Thor was punished for conspiring with Loki to usurp the throne of Asgard from Odin,” the teen related, taking a seat at the table. “But because Loki had tricked him into it, and because Thor willing stood trial while Loki fled, Odin showed what mercy he could.” Xander glanced over several of the open books. “Is that all of the story that you’ve been able to find?”
“So far,” Giles admitted sheepishly, “this text refers to a book that contains the whole saga of Thor’s trial, his exile and mortal life, but according to my sources the only known complete copy of the text was lost during the Russian Revolution at the turn of the century.” He took of his glasses and began to clean them as he continued to speak, a clear sign that he was frustrated with something. “What’s more is that the book is reputed to contain a prophecy relating to the claiming of Mjolnir.”
“And that book was the only place the prophecy was recorded,” the younger man added, filling in the obvious blanks in the Watcher’s concerns. “So, what do we do now?”
“The Watcher’s council library contains several fragments of a second copy of the text in question. They’re searching the pieces for any mention of the prophecy, but honestly, unless there’s some mention of the Slayer in it, they are unlikely to pass it along even if they find it.” He sighed as he put his glasses back on. “In the meantime, we need to talk about your mysterious Valkyrie.”
“You found a reference to Eve then?” Xander asked,
“There is indeed a reference to a Valkyrie named Yve mentioned in some of the Germanic sagas. She was a mortal woman, the daughter of a Jarl, and a shield-maiden… a female warrior, perhaps even a slayer judging by the descriptions,” Giles related as he referred to his books. “She was chosen to become a Valkyrie when she stood alone against an entire raiding party to defend her village until the men returned to route the enemy. She was mortally wounded, but before she could perish, the All-father himself healed her and took her to Asgard to serve as a Valkyrie. She was so formidable a warrior that she was sent with Thor on a campaign against the frost giants after which she was made one of Odin’s heralds.”
“Yeah,” Xander confirmed with a nod, “she also stood as the bailiff at Thor’s trial and carried him into exile. So apparently the old tales confirm her story?”
“Considering how obscure some of these myths are, she is either a Valkyrie or a scholar of ancient Viking and Germanic lore,” the Watcher answered with a glance at Xander. “And given her apparent ability to appear and disappear at will…”
“She can also fly, is strong enough to make Buffy look weak, and can teleport herself at will,” the teen added. “I got a chance to see her make use of some of her powers while we were training together today.”
“Xander,” Giles began, “I cannot begin to impress upon you just how extraordinarily dangerous these beings are. The Valkyries are the choosers of the slain in Norse mythology, an agent of death that carries the souls of the valiant dean to their final rest in the halls of Valhalla. They are minor deities in their own right and wield powers that no mortal man could match.”
“I get it, Giles, really,” he responded, forestalling the older man’s arguments, “but right now, she is the only one who can help me get a grip on what’s going on. So what do we know about the Aesir as a whole?”
“The Aesir and Vanir are two groups of Gods within the Norse pantheon. Both groups are incredibly powerful and grow even stronger from mortal worship.” The Watcher looked troubled. “Gods generally fall into one of two categories: those who are merely powerful supernatural beings that may or may not be worshipped by mortals and exist independently of that worship and true deities that draw all of their power from the faith of their followers. The Norse Gods, like the Greek and Egyptian pantheons, bridge the gap between the two categories. They are independently extremely powerful and grow even more powerful from the worship of mortals.”
“So what kind of powers are we talking about here?” the younger man asked, “Specifically, I mean…”
“Well it, uh, varies greatly between individual Gods,” the Englishman said. “All of them possess some degree of supernatural strength, enhanced senses, incredible reflexes and the ability to disguise their selves from detection. But aside from that the possible variations were nearly endless.”
“What about Thor then? Since I seem to have inherited his hammer, I should see what he could do.”
“He was the God of Thunder, reputed to be physically stronger than any of the other Gods. He commanded the powers of the storm,” Giles explained briefly. “Most likely he could fly, as could most but not all of the Norse gods. Beyond that, no one really knows, it’s all shrouded in myth and legend.”
“Giles,” Xander began when the Watcher stopped, “I’m stronger than Eve, physically I mean. Or at least, she says I am and I’m thinking she’s right. At the junkyard earlier, we couldn’t find anything that I couldn’t lift… so she took me to the Sunnydale rail station. I was able to pick up a diesel, freight locomotive, Giles, and it didn’t really take much effort.”
“Dear Lord!” the Watcher explained, “Locomotives weigh hundreds of thousands of pounds Xander!”
“I know. And I know that you don’t trust Eve, but she’s not trying to manipulate me… or at least not yet,” the teenager interjected, cutting off the Watcher’s protests before they could begin. “I trust her. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it rationally, but something tells me she’s telling the truth about what’s going on. She’s teaching me what I’m capable of, how to use the gifts I’ve been given and she’s not asking anything of me that I wouldn’t do anyway.”
“Xander,” Giles began more calmly this time. “I understand that you want to trust her, want to believe that you’ve been chosen for this destiny, but nothing comes without a price, especially power like this…”
“I’m not some naïve kid,” he replied, a hint of the frustration he was feeling in his voice. “I understand the responsibility that comes with power. I don’t need the whole Peter Parker speech. I’m not going to take over the world or open the Hellmouth. I just want to help people and maybe try and make the world a little bit safer.”
“Just be careful, Xander,” the Watcher finally relented, though not entirely happily. “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
“I know, Giles,” Xander answered with a goofy smile, “And I’ll keep you informed of what’s going on as I learn more. Eve said that most of Thor’s powers will develop later, as I get more mature physically, so it’s not like I won’t have time to get used to them. So far, I just have the physical abilities of the Aesir.”
“Well at least you won’t be changing the weather to suit your whims,” the older man muttered unhappily.
Xander just shook his head, exasperated with the Watcher’s unwillingness to trust him to know what he was doing. “Well, G-man,” he said, standing up with a sigh. “If there’s nothing else, I’m heading home. I’m supposed to meet Eve early tomorrow morning.”
“I’ll call you if I find out anything more,” the Englishman said, his voice missing some of its usual warmth in his displeasure with Xander’s choices.
Xander had barely left the school building when Eve’s familiar voice spoke up. “It’s not you that Rupert Giles doesn’t trust, Alexander, it’s me,” she said softly from her seat on the school’s steps.
“I don’t think he really trusts anyone, at least not completely,” the teenage Aesir countered. “It might help if you went in and talked to him though…”
“That, I cannot do,” the Valkyrie said as she stood up. “I am only permitted to reveal myself to you. Anyone else would defy the All-father’s orders, which I cannot do.”
He nodded, somehow not particularly surprised by that revelation. “You know anything about this prophecy that Giles is looking for?”
“I do,” she answered as they continued to walk toward his home in a leisurely fashion, “but I cannot say more than this: that prophecy’s time is not yet here. It will be revealed to you when the hand of destiny decrees its time has come and not before.”
“You know, I really hate prophecies,” Xander said with a sigh. “They’re always bad…or at least the ones we’ve run across so far have been.”
“Mortals put far too much weight on prophecies,” Eve said with a slight smile. “They are merely signposts along the way, not destinations in their own right.”
“That’s not what’s really bothering Giles though, is it? He thinks that you’re an agent of evil or something,” he said with a chuckle.
“He worries that this is some plot by the Gods to destroy you,” she corrected gently. “And, sadly, he fears what will become of you. He is right about one thing, though, Alexander.”
“Oh, what’s that?”
“Your life is destined to become far more dangerous than you are prepared to deal with just yet,” her tone turned hard and cold. “You have many enemies who will seek to destroy you merely for what you are. But you will also have friends and allies to stand beside you against them.” Her voice softened, “You will never be truly alone in this.”
They walked on in silence as Xander contemplated Eve’s words, finding the idea that he wasn’t really alone in this strangely comforting, despite the ominous warning of enemies to come.