It feels that way....
“The people have forgotten us,” demanded Ares as he walked to the back of the garden and rested his hands on a small pillar.
“The people have no need for us. They have not forgotten us, they have shrines with our likeness centered in their gardens. Our people believe us to be dead and gone because they are defeated,” insisted Phobos. “Yet, there are mortals who still believe in Gods. They are panicking because they feel some great war is about to begin. I have summoned you here because their panic gives life to me and it makes me wonder, father. We can be great again. We can silence the other Gods by taking their believers. We need only one follower who can perform magical works by way of us, and bring back the Greek Gods.”
“We are dead, Phobos, are we not?”
“We are not dead, we have simply been forgotten and left for dead for centuries. What if we can make new followers and bring people back to us, would it not be worth more than anything we have seen? I feel alive again, and I feel the need to thrive.”
Ares looked down at his dark trousers and picked up a small bug. “I know exactly what to do.”
“Wake up, my child. You are needed for the great Ragnarok, go now.” Hertha grabbed her torch and flung it around. “Who’s there? Come out!”
“Go back to sleep, you sackless girl. The men will be needing that torch soon. You better figure out how you plan to replace it before they figure out it is missing. We have a few more hours before the sky brightens up,” snapped Erica as she pulled the thick elk’s skin, over her shoulders.
“Nei, someone called out to me. The voice said I was needed for the Ragnarok.”
“The Ragnarok, and a twig of a girl, like yourself,” snorted Erica. “You are hearing things. What can a skinny twig of a girl like yourself, do in the great battle? You my dear, are letting all of the elders get to you with their Odin talk.”
“We all have a place in saving our people’s future. My slenderness makes me quicker than most. What about our ma’s vision? She said we were destined to be special. Do you not recall it? Besides, I know what I heard. I heard it in my own ears. I could even feel his cold breath on my neck,” whispered Hertha as she ran her fingers across the side of neck.
“Go back to sleep, Hertha.”
Hertha shook her head and put on a long dress with a thick brown cloak. “I know what I heard, and it pisses me off that you do not believe me. I’m not going to bed, I’m going for a walk.”
As the sun came up in the morning sky Hertha was able to take in an unbridled look at the land. The snow was ankle deep and the branches were covered with a heavy sheet of icy snow. The white blanket was so heavy that it bent the branches of the trees, causing them to brush against the ground. While the branches were cracking loudly underneath the heavy snow, animals were trying to escape with their very lives.
“Go to the river,” whispered a voice from the wind.
Hertha turned around and looked for the owner of the voice. “Who’s there? Say it again.”
“Go to the river, and stick your hand in the icy waters until your fingers start to burn,” demanded the voice.
“Why should I? Why would I do such a stupid thing? You wish to mangle my hand,” snorted Hertha.
The wind blew violently forcing Hertha’s braid to unravel and fall below her shoulders like a river of gold. Hertha held her cloak tighter against her body and held her head down. “Who are you?”
“I am your protector, your leader,” whispered the wind.
“Are you Thor? Are you sending me into battle, Mighty Thor?”
The voice was quiet for a few seconds. “Just go, Hertha. We are depending on you.”
Hertha moved faster through the thick snow until she came upon the river. “Nei, it’s frozen. I can’t do anything. It’s hard as a rock.”
A large boulder started to roll from the mountain beside the river. Hertha ran behind a large tree as the rock hit the icy river just adjacent to her body. “Go now, swim to the bottom of the rock and there you will find it.”
Hertha placed her cloak on the ground and mumbled a silent prayer. “Gods save me now.” She rushed down into the icy river. As she was swimming downward the waters started to harden. “I’m going to die.” She pushed forward until she made it to the rock. By the time she made it, the water was quickly turning back to ice. Near the ground she saw something shiny shimmering. With her strength fading, she swam deeper until she was on top of the long shiny metal. “It’s a sword.” She grabbed the sword and began her journey to the top of the river. With each movement she could feel her life slipping away. The sword was cutting away at the ice until finally she was near the top. Her body floated to the bank and her eyes closed.
“Now that you have found my gift, we must talk.” The tall man bent down and brushed his long dark cloak against Hertha’s face. “Hertha, hear me now. Listen not with your trained eyes, but with your heart. You are needed for a great cause. The Ragnarok will soon be upon us, and only the best of feigra manna, will make it to great Valhalla. I need a guardian like yourself. I will give you a gift of life and you will vow to serve us always.”
“Anything you say, Great Thor,” whispered Hertha weakly.
Ares held his cloak together and smiled. “You have been chosen to die a great death for your people, but you will be reborn. You will no longer be just Hertha. You are now be Hertha the Great Valkyrie and this sword will be your protector, it is called ULFBERHT.”
A wave of confusion washed across Hertha’s face as she slowly placed her hand around the sword's uniquely shaped hilt. The sword was longer than her arm with oddly shaped letters running down the fuller. With shaking arms, Hertha tried to hold the sword upwards in the air, but the blade was too heavy to maintain.
Ares took hold of the sword, and smiled. "Be patient, we are not finished yet.” Ares grabbed Hertha by the face and looked into her eyes. Before her head hit the ground, he was off once again.