"Kjrr, do you see them pressing on the right?" Kim asked her sergeant. "Think we can pull off a nutcracker?"

Kjrr looked at the battle line and nodded. He was an older, grizzled warrior who had been willing to support her 'fancy, highborn, girlie idea of practice and drill.' The giants were pressing on a narrow path on the right. He had taught Kim the idea that allowing an opposing warrior to break through your line could work if you made it a trap. Especially in this environment where giants didn't fight shoulder to shoulder.

A warrior defending a battle line with sword/axe and shield was weak to the sides and strong in front because his shield could only protect one side. Usually, that meant that the warrior that broke through had the advantage because he could turn and attack the defender's weak side.

Kjrr told Kim that if the breakthrough was allowed with a few extra defenders behind the line, you could have people attacking the intruders from both sides. Especially with giants because they tended to move straight before turning.

"Thrasi! Take ten men and go to the right side. The giants are trying to break through. LET THEM ADVANCE ONE BOAT LENGTH AND HOLD THEM THERE! NUTCRACKER!" Kim shouted to one of her lieutenants. "Hrolf!" she shouted to a runner, "Go tell the people on the left to get ready to shift right to cut off the giants pressing through the line!"

The battle was a hot mess. Oh, her troops were fierce fighters but had little discipline…or common sense. They would much rather drink mead than do drills, but Kjrr had knocked a few heads together allowing Kim to get in a few exercise sessions with them. They were stopping an assault on Sessrumnir, Freya's hall in her small land of Folkvang. The terrain was Kim's best advantage in this battle, as she was trying to turn a narrow pass, maybe fifty yards wide into a defensible chokepoint.

Kim had been arguing strategy with Thor, futilely trying to convince him that there had to be smarter ways to fight than "run screaming to attack the nearest foe." Currently, Thor and Loki were off to the East with most of Freya's fighters stopping the main body of giants, she and about one hundred fighters were halting this end-around assault. It was a testament to the power of Thor's smile and his blue eyes that he was able to convince her to try out being a captain of troops for "only a couple of weeks." Now, here she was, standing on a twelve-foot-tall mini-watchtower, directing her troops instead of fighting herself.

When Kim got back to Midgard, she swore she was going to study small unit tactics. Her previous knowledge of tactics was mostly learned from watching Ron and Felix play Zombie Mayhem Bronze Age. An odd comparison, but zombies and most giants seemed similar to how they fought. She thought it strange that she had no fighters with bows or slings. Heck, for that matter, she would have expected some of the warriors to have firearms. She dragged herself back from woolgathering to watch her defenders.

Kim cheered with triumph when Thrasi and his twenty-five troops stopped well short of the line and let the giants push the defenders back to them. OK, maybe Thrasi wasn't the best at counting, but he did stop short and let the defenders in front of him fall back. The rest of Thrasi's warriors struck the giants from the side. Unable to block attacks from two directions with their shields, her troops crushed the giants that were trying to break through the line.

Her triumph was short lived when a pair of giant champions blew through the weakened left side of the line and started to rampage in her rear area. It was time to commit her reserve. As Thrasi had taken the fifteen warriors that Kim was saving for her reserve, she was now the reserve. Kim jumped from her little wooden watchtower and charged, leaving Kjrr muttering about idiot commanders while picking up his axe and shield.

Kim leaned back against a tree and munched on a slice of magic yellow apple. In the end, a single champion and a few surviving giants had withdrawn, and Kim almost failed to get her fighters to hold their line and not pursue them. They had held the pass and then she made sure that the Valkyries had taken care of her wounded and fallen. The pain in her abdomen was easing up a little bit. The apple was surely healing whatever their champion had damaged. However, something else was broken in her, and she knew what it was.

In what seemed a lifetime ago, she had killed a Lowardian to save Ron, and that action had almost destroyed her. Now in her role as "Lady Kim, the Hand that Holds the Hammer" she was a ruthless freak of death and destruction, and she thought it should bother her more. She held up Mjöllnir and spun it. Maybe the hammer was affecting her mind as well as her body.

Her forces today were fighters who had already fallen in battle at least once. She suspected that her fallen troops would appear back in the halls in the next day or two. She wondered if the Giants had their halls of the hallowed fallen. Was this just a pointless conflict where the fighters were recycled to fight over and over? Maybe Zombie Mayhem was the proper game to study…

"Lady Kim, are you well?" A tall, beautiful woman pulled up in a small chariot pulled by two house cats. Kim blinked, not lions, tigers, or panthers; they were two ordinary looking brown tabbies.

Kim stood, brushing the grass off her steel and leather skirt. "Well enough, thank you. I'm sorry, but have we met?"

"I am Freya. You defended my home. Thank you for that, my husband Odin is on a walkabout in some realm or other, or he would be here to thank you himself."

"You are welcome, goddess," answered Kim. The scuttlebutt among her troops was that Freya was the "party girl" of the gods and liked to thank her fighters "personally" when Odin wasn't around, and apparently, Odin wasn't home that often. She was also said to be a powerful sorceress second only to Odin in magic. Supposedly better than Heimdallr at prophecy. Odd that the fact that she used two house cats to pull her chariot never came up. Asgardians sometimes were strange in what they thought was reasonable.

"You don't look well, my lady, at the very least I believe your spirit is troubled, join me and we will go have tea and chat." Freya stepped back a little to give Kim room to step on the chariot in front of her. When Kim hesitated, she added, "Come, come, you are recovering from having just fought a battle and shouldn't have to walk to the hall. Smokey and Misty won't mind a bit."

Kim found herself riding Freya's chariot with Smokey and Misty quickly pulling them up the hill toward the great hall. Freya had one arm holding the reins and the other arm around Kim. Kim at first thought it was to steady her, the little chariot had no sides or handholds for her to hang onto, but the goddess's hand seemed to wander a bit…

The chariot stopped not at the magnificent great hall, but at a small cottage off to the side. Getting off the chariot, Freya reached down and unhitched the two cats who trotted off toward the great hall. The goddess ushered Kim into the little one-room cottage, guiding her in with her hand on Kim's back. Very low on Kim's back.

Freya bade Kim sit in a heavily cushioned chair while the Goddess walked over to a little sink and stove and started heating a pot of water for tea.

"Lady Kim, I fear that you are getting out of balance and that is troubling your spirit," Freya said, rummaging through small boxes in a cabinet.

"How so, goddess?" replied Kim. Kim's friendship bracelet felt warm, and there seemed to be a slight glow appearing in some of the gems in a beautiful necklace that Freya was wearing.

"Call me Freya, please. You are not normally a fighter on Midgard are you?" Frey sprinkled tea leaves into a golden teapot and added hot water.

"Not really, I mean, I have fought villains, but until this one time recently, never to the death," admitted Kim.

"I am a goddess of War, Sensual Love, and Fertility," Freya declared, "Half of the chosen dead come to my hall and the other half to Odin's Valhalla. I am involved in the death of harvest time and the new life of crops in spring. That gives me balance. Some of us like Thor can be all death and destruction, but I think simply having the potential to create new life causes your spirit and mine to become unbalanced if exposed to too much death and destruction and not enough sensual love."

"So, my problem is that I need to get laid?" Kim snarked. (a small amount of snark, she was talking to a goddess after all)

"No! Listen to yourself!" Freya poured tea into two cups and placed one on the little table in front of Kim's chair. She sat in a chair across from Kim. "Get laid! Really! You make it sound like you're a brick or a piece of tile!" Freya scoffed, "Where is the pleasure? The joy? The fun? The intimate and spiritual connection to another being?"

"Do you really get all those things every time?" asked Kim earnestly.

"Sometimes I make do with pleasure, fun, and joy. Sometimes a goddess has needs, you know. I could demonstrate how good three out of four can be if you like."

"Uh, no thank you, I'm not that needy at present." Kim found herself tempted a little, Freya was amazingly attractive.

"I have a twin brother if your needs run to something more masculine." Freya offered.

"No, I'm fine, really," Kim insisted, thinking, 'Whoa, a twin brother? Must be out modeling for romance novel covers or something.'

"Very well. I cannot think of any of my kin who do not possess a capacity for war and battle. Perhaps your spirit lacks that capacity. Maybe that is why you are so out of balance."

"Then how can I take the hammer into battle at all?" asked Kim.

"Part of nurturing is protecting. My son tells me that the first time you used Mjöllnir, you thought that you were protecting what you thought was a normal Midgardian. From actively defending a person you know from monsters to becoming a Battle Leader leading men into war to defend a land is an easy slope to go down."

"So, I'm doomed to be caught up in death and destruction with only taking breaks for dealing with my sensual needs?" Kim wondered aloud.

"If you don't like where the slippery slope has dumped you, find another mountain to live on. Asgard is a violent land. Perhaps you need to go home to Midgard." replied Freya.

'Go home,' Kim thought, 'I need to go home to Ron.'

"Kim, your little bracelet, do you know what it does?"

"It signifies friendship between myself, the dwarves who made it, and I have a fourth one to give to my lover back on Midgard," Kim answered.

Freya closed her eyes a moment. Opening them, she said, "It also blocks things that would influence or deceive you, things like magic."

"How do you know that?" Kim asked.

"I'm Freya, and it's my business to know things. That we are talking and drinking tea instead of helping each other take care of our sensual needs is another indication." She held up her necklace. "This has a magical attraction on several levels."

"It doesn't seem like you would need any magical help attracting lovers, if you ask me," pointed out Kim.

"Why thank you, dear heart. You are most kind to say that," Freya said then added with a slow smile, "Even if it is true."

"May I ask you for some advice?" asked Kim.

"Certainly. However, be careful about taking advice from Asgardians."

"Who should I give the hammer to?" asked Kim.

"Take it with you when you leave. Best to give it to someone, but not anyone from any of the nine realms." Freya replied.

"How do I get my balance back?" asked Kim.

"Give the hammer away and then have your Ronald Stoppable lay you like a piece of tile," smirked Freya. "Seriously Lady Kim, I know that Heimdallr has said that you don't appear in his prophecies. I am stronger than he is. I see many paths that lead to your getting your balance back and many paths that have you remaining unbalanced and becoming joyless. The path with Ronald in it has a lot of pleasure, fun, joy, and an intimate and spiritual connection that can return your balance. Also, some pain, sadness, and worry; all paths have that. That is the path I believe will work the best for you."

Freya looked thoughtful, "Kim, why are you here?"

"I don't understand the question," replied Kim.

"OK, let me be more specific. What were you doing at the pass earlier today?" asked Freya.

"Fighting the giants that were trying to slip through unnoticed," replied Kim.

"Why did you care if the Giants got through?" asked Freya.

Kim frowned, "Thor said they were attacking your great hall. I wanted to protect you and your people."

"Kim, in addition to taking care of half of the chosen fallen warriors, I also care for women who commit suicide. So, my people are made up of chosen dead warriors plus my Valkyries and the dead women who take care of them. I believe that you would say that giants attacking my great hall would be about as successful as a robber holding up a police station on Midgard."

"No other servants? Farmers?" Kim asked.

"My cats Smokey and Misty are the only truly living creatures here. Besides you and me of course. Farms are in the green lands of Hel."

Kim protested, "So why did Thor ask me to lead a small group of warriors to defend the pass?"

Freya sighed, "He sees this as practice for Ragnarok. I believe he is considering offering you a position here on Asgard. Try to ignore the death and destruction for a moment. Did you like leading warriors into battle?"

Kim thought for a moment. "Having people take my commands and fight successfully was exciting. I liked having their backs. However, I think the constant violence would wear me down," she admitted.

Freya asked, "Why haven't you gone home already?"

Kim replied, "Well, when I first got here, I was caught up in a battle and had to heal, then I went to Jotunheim thinking there was trouble there, and then Thor asked me to help defend your lands."

Freya pointed out, "You could have said 'no.'"

"It was nice to be needed, to be in someplace new and exciting. I guess I saw it as an adventure." Kim admitted.

Freya looked pleased. "So, my dear Lady Kim, what is your plan? Say the first thing that comes to mind. You can refine your plans daily if you wish."

"Go home to my Ron, have an adventure with him while he makes sure that I get laid like tile!" Kim laughed. Finishing her tea, she put the cup down. "Thank you for the tea and the advice, Freya. I need to talk to Heimdallr and see about getting home."

"I will walk you to the path," said Freya, "I need to go to the hall and interview for a new captain of guards."

"Oh, one last thought on your plan," said Freya opening the door, "Have you thought of an adventure that both you and your Ronald Stoppable would both enjoy?"

Kim pondered the question with a frown on her face as she walked out of the cottage. Did this time apart to 'discover themselves' mean that they might find that their ideas of adventure had become incompatible? Could Ron be growing apart from her? She decided that she needed to get back to him.

Stopping at the path, they said their goodbyes and Kim started walking down the road that led to Asgard. Freya looked at a raven watching from a tree branch. "Make yourself useful and go tell Eir that she needs to come and claim Lady Kim." As the bird flew away, Freya watched Kim crumple to the ground. Turning to the great hall, she pondered, "Egil or Cort for my new captain? Perhaps I could try them out as co-captains…"

Kim drowsed in her bed wrapped in golden sheets. She had received a severe butt-chewing by Eir on the need to get checked out by a 'Real Healer' and not to depend on magical apple slices. Eir said her spleen was shattered and took her hours to put it back together. Eir claimed that had it been Thor or Loki, she would have just had the dwarves make a replacement organ. She said, that since holding Mjöllnir caused such drastic changes to her body, that repairing her original organs seemed to be the safest.

Kim had drifted in, and out of sleep, forever it seemed. She would wake up, start to get up and then Eir would walk in, help her walk to the bathroom while complaining of 'idiot warriors,' then lead her back to her bed, touch her forehead, and Kim would be asleep again.

Mostly it was a sound, dreamless sleep. However, once she had a dream…

Strong fists pounded down on her shoulder armor, ensuring the pieces were set correctly in place.

"How's that?" asked the young Priest of Rama.

Kim did a cartwheel and a backflip. Feeling that everything stayed in place, she replied, "Much better. Thanks for helping me adjust my armor, Rob." Oops, what was his name? Rob? Roger? Ralph? Ron? That was it, Ron.

"Sorry, I meant Ron," she apologized.

"No problem, Lady Kim." the Priest grinned, "Usually people just say 'Necromancer' and then spit on the ground."

They had gotten up to find that their traveling companions, a pair of Zakarum Crusaders and a Sahptev Monk, had set off without them. They left a note explaining that for this last push against a Prime Evil, they would be more productive without having to watch over an 'Archer and her little Necromancer friend.'

Ron had looked hurt, and Kim looked angry. To be honest, these days she always looked angry. Coming home from a stint of service as a castle guard to find her village burned and her mother, father and two brothers slaughtered had given her a goodly supply of hatred.

Although most sane people would rather deal with an attractive young warrior woman than a Necromancer, in this case, the permanent glare on her face made Ron the best choice for dealing with the townsfolk. Checking with the innkeeper of the inn where they had all spent the night, Ron found that she had no idea which direction their missing companions had gone. She did, however, beg the two to hunt to the north for a group of demons that had been attacking farmers the last few days, repeating the tales she had heard from survivors that had fled to her inn looking for safety.

After collecting a few supplies for the trip, the two headed off to the north. Once out of the village, Lady Kim whistled, and a large, dirty-gray colored wolf trotted up, walking between the two. Drawing her sword, a medium length, curved blade with a lotus blossom engraved on it, she held it up and the gleaming steel split into pieces. Steel bolts appeared and flew into her crossbow and quiver as well as daggers that flew into sheaths on her belt.

Walking down the tree-lined road, they came across an old bridge crossing a small stream. On the other side, the travelers walked by to a cemetery. Ron paused and held out his hand. A half-dozen graves erupted, and skeletons carrying swords appeared and fell in behind them.

"Ron," Kim asked a question that she had wanted to ask him after their first battle, but it was too awkward when they were walking with holy warriors, "Have you ever raised a skeleton from someone you knew?"

There was a long pause. "My little sister," he softly replied, "I was going home to visit, and she snuck out to meet me on the road. She ran into a bandit raiding party. I don't know why they didn't hold her for ransom. I can't think of any reason for them to kill a young girl. I didn't take time to ask them, I killed them all, and she provided the first skeleton warrior."

"I'm sorry," said Kim, adding his grief to her vast supply of hatred and lust for vengeance.

Kim walked on, her head swiveling as she scanned for threats. She saw the wolf bump up against her companion's leg. With a grin, he reached down to give it a scratch behind its ears. He had told her that he became a Priest of Rama to help restore balance to the world. That there would always be both good and evil, but now evil was getting help from demons. Kim thought that keeping a balance sounded nice in abstract, but in reality, she couldn't stand by and allow the kind of evil that had so brutally destroyed her family to survive. She had told him that she was powered by hatred for sin, and that was true; even becoming Vengeance Incarnate for short periods. Ron had seen her do that, and she thought that scared him. Supposedly, few things scared a Priest of Rama. This Priest has several odd fears. For example, he was afraid of tiny spiders but oddly didn't blink an eye the time they cleared a cavern of spiders the size of ponies.

They continued walking north, the trail they followed now leading them past pastures and unharvested fields. Getting close to noon, the Priest insisted on a "snackage" break. When she started to protest about the delay, he retorted with a grin, "Hey, I can't restore balance on an empty stomach, and I bet that it's hard for you to keep that ball of hatred rolling when your stomach is growling."

They sat under a tree eating bread, cheese, and smoked sausage. The wolf could recognize a soft touch just as well as the evil dead. Watching the wolf staring with big, sad eyes at the Necromancer's food until he relented and gave the wolf some of his lunch, made her smile and pushed her hatred down to a quiescent level.

Her companion seemed like a nice person, slow to anger, quick to find humor in, well, pretty much anything. She wondered if there was another road that they could have taken, a path that didn't start with the death of those she loved. A way where they could have been friends and maybe even partners in life instead of partners in destruction.

No, she decided, she didn't pick this life any more than she could imagine her teammate with his child-like sense of wonder and joy picking to be a Priest of Rama. Evil had stolen their choices in life and set them both on this road. That thought brought her hatred bubbling back up. Taking a drink of water from her bottle she stood up, brushing off crumbs from lunch. Looking at the young man scratching the wolf's belly, she said, "Come on, let's be about it."

"Evil can wait another day, demon hunter," an oriental man had appeared out of nowhere. He was medium height, had a rusty blondish hair with a short beard that went up high on the side of his face. He leaned on a black staff, engraved with some lettering and had two gold bands on each end.

"Vengeance waits for no man or no monkey," she said, wondering why she said that last part. She had no reason to insult him, but somehow it seemed right. She felt a touch of vertigo, and when the world stopped moving, she found herself alone with the stranger in a forest at night, a full moon shining through the trees.

"Let the angels get off their butts and handle part of this mess that they created, For now, you should greet the moon and run with your mate," he said with a huge smile.

Having had enough of this stranger's monkeyshines, she reached for her dagger and promptly fell over; she had no hands or even arms!

Scrambling to her feet was easy; she had four of them. Turning to the stranger, she saw him holding a large mirror on the ground that came up past his knees. She looked in the mirror and saw a beautiful she-wolf with sparkling green eyes and covered in reddish fur changing to brown on her feet and tail.

"Stop admiring yourself," the stranger chided her, "and look at the moon."

Pulling her vision away from the magnificent looking wolf in the mirror, she looked up at the white, shining orb and felt her blood sing. Raising her head, she howled at the moon. Not a howl that declared territory, or a call to call her pack for a hunt, her lonely call echoing into the evening declared, "I know you're out there. I love you. I miss you. I need you."

The answering call came not from far in the distance, but from right beside her. A blond wolf with golden highlights in its fur looked at her with warm chocolate brown eyes. The wolf poked her with his nose and then shot out into the evening like a bolt from her crossbow.

Snorting a wolfish laugh, she waited for a few heartbeats (didn't want to catch him too quickly) and then raced after her love, her mate, her Ron.

Sun Wukong climbed a nearby tall tree to watch the pair race across the hills playing their version of wolf tag until they had run off their crazy. But not their passion and desires, they spent time working out their desires; they were a mated pair. The Monkey King watched until the couple, their passion finally spent, curled up together and fell asleep.

Watching over the pair until the glowing in the east announced the coming dawn, Sun softly said, "Sorry kids, but there will be other nights for just the two of you, I swear it." and dissolved their world.

Kim sobbed in despair as she slowly awoke to a naked aloneness, no fur, no Ron, just bare skin and golden sheets.

"KP? KP? Wake up Honey; you're having a nightmare."

Kim struggled to full consciousness. She was drenched in sweat and opened her eyes to see Ron holding her shoulders looking concerned. Kim blinked her eyes. No, it wasn't Ron, it was Loki!? She rubbed her wrist; her friendship bracelet had gotten uncomfortably warm.

"Loki, what are you doing here? Is there an emergency I need to help with?" Kim mumbled, not fully awake yet.

"But it's me, Ro…" Loki started to say something but then smoothly changed topics, "I was walking by on the way to the dining hall, and I heard you crying out in your sleep. I just came in to check on you and see if I could offer assistance or comfort."

"Thanks, but I'm OK, it was just a dream," Kim replied.

"Maybe I could help take your mind off the nightmare…" Loki smoothly began.

"Loki, leave Lady Kim alone," Eir, walking into the room, interrupted, "I just spent hours putting her insides back together, you mess that up by poking her before she is fully healed and I will rearrange your insides. With a dull spoon."

"Very well, Eir. Call out if you need anything, Lady Kim," offered Loki, "If I am in the great hall, I will hear you." Loki patted her shoulder and left the room slightly annoyed that this didn't go as planned.

"Did I hear Loki say you had a dream?" asked Eir.

"Yeah, he said I was screaming, but I don't remember screaming in the dream," replied Kim.

"Let me help you to the bathroom, and you can tell me about it afterward," said Eir. After helping Kim walk to the bathroom to relieve herself, sponge off the sweat from her skin and slip on a fresh nightshirt, Eir brought Kim back to her bed. Standing by the bed was a woman that she didn't recognize.

"Eir, I put fresh sheets on her bed," said the woman, "Lady Kim, my name is Sigyn, Loki is my husband. I decided I should drop in and say hello."

"Lady Sigyn," replied Kim, "Pleased to meet you, but you just missed Loki. He said he heard me crying out in a dream and came in to see if I needed help."

"Call me Sigyn, child. Also, yes, that sounds like my ever-helpful Loki," Sigyn replied, "Did I mention that he was my husband?"

"Yes, my lady, you did," replied Kim missing the fire in Sigyn's eyes because she was looking at the goblet of cold water that Eir was handing her.

"Tell us about your dream," Eir wisely changed the subject. "Sometimes they are more than just the mind making up stories."

Kim told the two about her dream

The two women were excellent listeners, only interrupting occasionally:

Q: "Do you often forget your boyfriend's name?"
A: "No, people who don't know him well sometimes get his name confused, but I don't. The scary part was that I was so focused on Vengeance that I didn't care enough about him to remember his name."

Q: "Where is the Lotus Blade now?"
A: "I think my sister has it."

Q: "Did your boyfriend lose his sister in real life?"
A: "No, as far as I know, she is fine."

Q: "Did you recognize the innkeeper?"
A: "No."

Q: "Did you recognize the man in the forest?"
A: "No, but I think he knew me."

Q: "Are you sure the wolf was your Ron? Wolves probably all look alike in the dark."

A: "Yes, I'm positive that was Ron. It was a full moon plus I had wolf night vision."

When Kim finished, they asked one final question: "What do you think the dream is trying to tell you?"

There was a pause, and Sigyn was sure that Kim had fallen asleep when Kim mumbled, "I think it is telling me that if I am not careful, I will lose everything. That Ron loves me no matter what and is my true mate. I mustn't waste that precious gift."

Eir bent over her patient saying, "Sleep now, my Lady." and touching Kim on her forehead sent her back to sleep.

"Well," asked Eir, "What does all this mean?"

"My husband cheated on me with this hussy!" hissed Sigyn, "and if she hasn't already, she soon will!"

"Maybe, maybe not," replied Eir, "give me your hand." She took the goddess's hand and placed it on Kim's lower abdomen.

Sigyn looked at Eir, "Did you make a mistake? Are you positive she wasn't pregnant when she was brought in?"

"Positive, I swear that she wasn't pregnant when I was repairing her spleen. I wouldn't have made that rookie of a mistake. Besides, given the number of yellow apples, she's been eating since she arrived, there's no way she could have gotten pregnant without serious help."

"Like some help from my husband?!" the wife of Loki snarled.

"I don't think that he has that power. I intend to keep Lady Kim here for another week; it appears that the only way she will take time to heal is if I force her to sleep all the time. Can you find out what happened? Is your prophecy dreaming strong enough?" the healer asked.

"Not sure," admitted Sigyn. "I will go talk to Freya, and if she doesn't have an answer, I'll go find Verdandi and Skuld [2]. We need to get her back to Midgard and far away from my Loki! Let Midgard deal with her!"

Early in the day, twelve days later.

Not quite awake, Kim gave an experimental wiggle of her body and found that everything moved without pain.

She decided that as soon as Eir released her, she was going to say her goodbyes and go home to Ron. Smiling, she remembered Freya's advice and was going to have Ron 'lay her like tile'. She was going to trust in the contraceptive qualities of the magic apples, and if they failed, then that was OK also. She was so sick of battle, death, and destruction that right now, an eighteen-year-long break from it sounded more than acceptable.

"How are we feeling this morning?" a bright and cheery Eir was at her side.

"Just fine," the redhead answered, "Seems like I've been in bed sleeping for weeks. Can I get up today?"

Eir gave her a thorough examination. Lady Kim's unborn became medically distressed three days into her forced sleep, and Eir was only able to save two of them, and that required taking Kim to Mjollner and wrapping her hand around the handle to trigger the change in her body. That change strengthened her body and stabilized her two remaining unborn. Eir removed the three dead and cremated them on a private funeral pyre.

Miraculously, besides her and Sigyn, the fact of her pregnancy was known only to a few. The general population living in Asgard took no notice of yet another Valkyrie toting around an unconscious body. Kjrr knew because Eir had to take her to Sessrumnir because that was where her hammer had fallen when she collapsed. The grizzled old sergeant was worried about his young captain and demanded the Eir talk to him when he spotted them. Freya knew, well because she was Freya. Heimdallr knew because the old busy-body had made it his business to watch over Kim whenever he could. Heimdallr had personally built the funeral pyre in a secluded spot; he and Kjrr had wept and sobbed at the loss of Lady Kim's potential offspring. Verdandi and Skuld undoubtedly knew, but they tended to stay out of the business of mortals.

Holding her patient's face in her hands, looking into her eyes and feeling the lymph nodes under her jaw, the healer wondered just when she should talk to the young redhead about her 'condition' and what her reaction would be. Freya was unsurprised, of course, but seemed ambivalent. Heimdallr considered the young Midgardian a favorite niece; he was pleased. Kjrr surprisingly was ecstatic to find out about his captain's condition, muttering something about how this might prevent her from rushing headlong into battle. Sigyn had pushed hard for Eir to terminate all the unborn, declaring that no god had the right to force any woman to bear a child. Eir decide to talk to Lady Kim tomorrow about her condition and options tomorrow, to let her mind recover from the effects of the long forced sleep.

Eir eventually declared the Midgardian as "mostly healed" and cleared for "light duty, and no fighting." Eir told her charge in no uncertain terms that she was to return to sleep in the infirmary; then turned her loose. Kim wandered down a hallway towards the dining hall, suddenly feeling ravenously hungry. She had a massive lust for a stack of roasted meat and a pile of fried root vegetables of all things. Turning the corner, she heard…

"Lady Kim! Good to see you up and about."

"Hi Loki, Hi Thor, I'm feeling much better, just hungry."

"Join us for breakfast."

1) Kim's dream is inspired by Blizzard's Diablo 3 with the new Necromancer Expansion.

2) The Norns of the Ah! My Goddess anime are pretty straightforward. Urd is concerned with the past, Belldandy (Verdandi) is concerned with the present and Skuld is concerned with the future. Sort of. In reading Norse and Germanic references on the Norns and Yggdrasil, things get pretty strange when the concept of cyclical time turns them from corresponding to the past, present, and future to the past, present, and "necessity." Let's stick with the anime version as cyclical time seems to mess with my concept of destiny and prophecy. Google "YGGDRASIL AND THE WELL OF URD" and look for a page from "norse-mythology DOT org " if you want to see what I am referring to.


All the Kim Possible characters belong to Disney.

My thanks to CajunBear73, Sentinel103, and daccu65 who have inspired me, provided plot hole detection, and performed valuable editing on parts of the original story.

All the Kim Possible characters belong to Disney.

My thanks to CajunBear73, Sentinel103, and daccu65 who have inspired me, provided plot hole detection, and performed valuable editing on parts of the original story.

Fun Fact: The grey wolf has a gestation period of 63 days, and litters of 3-5 pups are common.