It was either morning, or afternoon. Raelynn was in a different time zone so she wasn’t entirely sure, but it was light outside. She remembered eating more than she had ever eaten in her life, and then coming into the living room and listening to stories from her family. She had fallen asleep in between her sisters sometime around Skale recounting a surf contest against a Hawaiian surfer god. She was only now coming to consciousness, with the smells of breakfast type things rousing her. As her eyes opened she saw her father, the mighty Thor, setting a plate on the coffee table before her, “Good morning sweetheart. I figured you would be hungry.”
She sat up and yawned, “I’m starving actually. Man, I ate so much last night.” She sat up and smiled. Raelynn felt good, well-rested, if not still a little overwhelmed by everything. She looked over the large plates of bacon, eggs, sausage, ham, biscuits, grits and hot cakes and her stomach told her she would be eating every last bite. She dug in as her dad watched.
“Honey, are you really alright?” he asked her softly. She looked up from the already half-finished stack of pancakes. How absolutely insane was her life? Here she was, eating like she hungry bear and here in front of her was Thor; God of Thunder and War speaking to her so softly. He was a dad that wanted to be sure his daughter wasn’t drowning in the insanity that had taken over her life over the last day.
She smiled and placed a hand on his. It was so tiny in comparison. “Yeah, I’m wonderful. I’m still processing all this but I’m better than I have been in a while. This food is wonderful did you make it?”
He grinned proudly, “I’m not nearly the miracle worker your mother is but I can make something nice and hardy.” she couldn’t help but laugh as she kept eating, “We were just worried. You had a lot thrown at you yesterday.”
“I’m sure after I’ve had some more time I’ll be fine.” She looked around, “It’s very quiet around here.”
Dad nodded, “Yeah, everyone is off doing stuff. You, Skale, and I are the only ones around. Today we just want you to take it easy, and relax.”
Rae took a long breath and gave her father a more serious look, “I need to talk to my friends.”
He nodded, “I understand but we will send Skale to handle it. I imagine they will have a lot of questions for you. It’ll give us some time to figure out what happened down there and what this magical girl business is.”
She was surprised when she reached for more food only to realize it was all gone. She hadn’t realized she had eaten so much so fast. She focused, “I don’t want them in danger Dad. If someone is behind this…”
Thor was quick to hold up his hands, “We have someone very reliable watching them and investigating things on the campus side. We will absolutely take care of your friends.”
She considered, and if she was honest she wanted to know what this magical girl stuff was about too. “Promise me we’ll keep them safe.”
“I will, on my life, my dearest.” He gave her the warmest smile and she relaxed instantly.
Skale wandered in, “Hey Papa, Watcher is here to talk to you. He is in front.”
“Thank you Skale.” He took Rae’s hands and kissed them before getting up and walking the way Skale came. Skale for his part sporting a tank top and ripped jeans walked over and plopped down next to Rae.
“Wow you really conked out there. Like 5th hardest Wipe out I’ve ever seen.” Skale said with a grin.
“I guess you’d be the expert being a surfer.” She joked with him.
“Indeed. I like the beach. You should come sometime. Is nice life.” He nodded, “Plus you would go over well on beaches.”
She shook her head but the smiling continued on. “I don’t do well with people.”
“Didn’t” He corrected. “We Norse are a friendly bunch and mama’s children especially. You also have the spark of cheer in you. And it’s about time. I thought Mama was going to force it onto me.”
She looked at him quizzically, “What do you mean? She’d turn you into a girl and make you be a cheerleader.”
“Oh no I can do that on my own.” He snapped his fingers and the very muscular man, was a very curvy girl that bore a strong resemblance to Rae’s new look. Her chest straining against her tank top and the ripped jeans looking more like cut off shorts. Her voice came out like excited honey, “You see? But I think she was going to make me go to school and be a cheerleader.”
Rae should be used to this after the last day but she just shook her head, “uh… Could you change back? It’s a little much right now…”
“Oh!” With but a thought, he was back to normal, “I’m sorry, I forget how trippy this could be.”
“Was this as crazy for you? When… you know…”
He got a look on his face. The smile fell a bit and he inhaled sharply, “Oh, not exactly. I was raised by Mama and Papa because of circumstances.”
There was a part of her that wanted to get angry at him for the revelation that he was raised by them but something in his face seemed to show something more. She could actually feel the pain go off in his heart at the mention of it. She reached over and took his shoulder, “Skale? What happened?”
“Oh you know,“ He said quietly, “Mine father, is not Papa. And a long while ago I was with him and there was a blizzard. We was trapped so he used himself to keep me warm and you know… he was human. Mama found us the next day. Father went to Valhalla. It was a proud moment Mama said, a true Norseman. I see him every now and again, you know for lunch. But mama said there was really no going back after that. Bjorn and the Twins they held it against me for a long while.” He looked at her, the look clearly showed he was afraid of the same reaction from her, “If you are angry I understand. Is the way of things.”
She wanted to be. She really wanted to be. It wasn’t fair Mom and Dad raised him and not her. But she could only bring herself to smile for him, “How could I be angry at my brother?” It was then that she heard something in the front that caught her attention.
“… have all hunkered down in one spot, I thought this would be the best time to give you a preliminary report.”
It was a voice, all too familiar. Maybe it was a little deeper but that could easily be because she had only heard it thru a headset the night he freaked out on her during PvP. “No.”
“No?” Skale said looking confused.
She rounded the corner, not believing her ears. And there, standing in her doorway, talking to her father, was exactly who she thought she heard. “NightKnight!?” Seeing his face caused a storm to rage inside her. She swore her voice crackled with small thunder. “How could you possibly be… uh…”
Her trailed off and noticed that it wasn’t exactly NightKnight. NightKnight had been a bit shorter but a scarecrow. But this guy was built like a statue and had a broad chest and canons for arms. She took a step back and blinked. Had he just gotten a haircut? His hair was high and tight for some reason, and looked darker then the ginger it was before, more of a brown.
He looked back his face some mixture of annoyed and resigned. “Of course it was going to be you.”
Thor looked between the two, “You both know each other?”
Right. Why had she gotten so distracted? The storm returned to her voice, “Yeah. We know each other. This tool melted down at me on Aspect Realms. And apparently knows god stuff now?”
Thor looked a little confused as well. However, seeing his daughter was angry seemed to make him decide to back her up and he adopted a stern face., “Yes, I think it’s best to explain yourself Watcher.”
He looked between the two and sighed, “I had a…. bad day. I took it out on her verbally. That’s not an excuse, but you know that’s part of why I’m down there. I am sorry Robynne. “
“Raelynn. My name is Raelynn.” She said. Of course, her very logical side said, he had no way of knowing that, but the storm inside her was angry, and she found herself feeling less awkward about the attraction she felt.
Thor sighed and calmed a bit, “Well just see that you have additional bad days away from my daughter.”
“Of course sir.” He said.
Rae was still angry. However her father had seemed to think that should be the end of it. In her head, she knew it should be but… she still wasn’t as calm as she once had been. Something about the storm inside her just… it refused to fully settle. But if her Dad was pleased with that answer maybe she should be too. So, she just tapped her foot expectantly, “Well don’t stop on my account. You’re this person that was spying on my friends?”
He frowned and narrowed his eyes, “I wasn’t spying on them. I was asked to watch over them. I couldn’t figure out why people wanted me to watch your apartment for divine interference. I should have put it together that you were involved. Of course you would be.”. He shook his head and sighed, “I really should have figured that out. No offense, Thunderer but you and Lady Sif aren’t subtle. Why didn’t I connect those dots?”
Thor nodded, “We don’t try to be subtle. I do apologize for not giving you more intel going in. As you can imagine things are a bit hectic right now. Regardless, you’ve been there for a while. Did you not have information before?”
He nodded and crossed his arms, “I had been following the magical girl thing but I hadn’t gotten further then they were given powers and are fighting monsters. The monsters are really weak magical constructs which means they are probably produced thru an artifact of some kind and not directly from who is responsible. But it’s all connected, the monsters, the magical girls… even that weird magical dude but he’s a little different.”
“Different how?” Rae asked.
“He has his own power source. I haven’t gotten a good look but I think he’s divine.”
Thor smiles and clapped his shoulder, “Well it is a good start, Thank you for your help Watcher, can we count on your continued assistance?”
He nodded, “You paid my fee, so absolutely. I’ll keep poking around and report back.”
Oh no. She was not being kept in the dark. More importantly, she needed to figure out who NightKnight really was… if he was going to be protecting her friends that is. Rae looked to her father, “Could I talk to him for a few minutes Daddy?”
He nodded, “Of course. I’ll be out back.” With that Thor excused himself, leaving the two looking at each other tensely. Rae was trying to resolve her conflict of emotions. She was angry at him for his outburst way back when, but also; like with Skale could feel he was genuine when he apologized.
And there was how tight those pecs were… “So… what do I call you? NightKnight is just a handle and Watcher is FAR too cool a name so what’s your god name?” She said trying to put forth an air of control.
“Connor. Connor Gates.”
She gave him a look and frowned, “That’s it? That doesn’t sound very godlike at all. Isn’t that just your mortal name?”
He just shrugged, “Well it’s my name. Watcher was my designation in my unit, and Dad liked it so that kind of stuck as what the gods call me.”
“Unit? You were a soldier?” She hadn’t known that.
He nodded, “Yes Ma’am I was a sniper for force recon, I served overseas.”
“Don’t Ma’am me all of the sudden. That’s… weird. So when you said you were having a bad day…” she let the words dropped off as she started to piece things together. “Oh… so the soldier thing… was before this god stuff then?”
“I… would prefer not to talk about that,” he said with a tone that practically sounded like he was begging.
“I… sorry. I shouldn’t’ve pried.”
NightKnight nodded his appreciation, closed his eyes and sighed. “Yeah. But it’s not an excuse for my behavior. Not just that night but being a constant nuisance and insecure jerk in chat. I’ve been lashing out at everything for a while.” That wasn’t a complete answer, “So I stepped back from Aspect Realms. I’m doing better these days. Plus having tasks like this keeps me busy. Idle hands do Hela’s Work.” He offered a small smile at his very weak joke.
She sighed, “I guess in the spirit of new beginnings and all of this I could cut you some slack. But I have lightning now so the next time you snap at me like that…” The pointed directly in him and some sparks crackled along her finger.
“You’ll bring the thunder. I get it 4 by 4 ma’am.” He said.
She frowned. “I said stop with the ma’am crap. It’s weird. My name is Raelynn.” She sighed as she relaxed a bit and examined his square jaw. “Or just Rae if you prefer. Look this thing that happened, it affects my friends. I want to help. So I am glad that you will be keeping me in the loop, even take me along at some points.”
“Yeah… that wasn’t the deal your parents worked out with me, Raelynn. Though I can appreciate how you tried to slide it by as if it had already been decided.”
“I can handle myself.” She said in protest
His expression softened, he looked… Amused? Playful? It was hard to tell. “I have no doubt, but how much do you know about your powers? You’re new abilities. Once you get your shine on, everything about you changes. Also if I did take you along without your parents’ permission do you know what your mother would do to me?”
“My shine on?” She said making a face.
“It’s a fairly modern term that means you’ve ascended. The you, Waveform, that you were is still there but it’s a smaller part of the new you; Raelynn. Plus I imagine you can do more then thunder sound effects and lightning. I have no problem, keeping you in the loop, and certainly I would be insane to turn down help from a Thunderer if your parents agree to not flay me for it. But My skill set is all in stealth and perception so I want you to be aware of, and at least in reasonable control of your, I’m guessing, rather showy powers.” His voice was even, there wasn’t a hint of condensation or underestimation there.
Rae wanted to be mad but it was a reasonable request from him. “So, you want my parents to not kill you and you want to be sure I don’t ruin a perfectly stealthy entrance?” She smirked. “And you want to call she shots just because you have combat experience with this god stuff. You’re impossible to deal with, you know that?” Wait… that had come out more playful than she intended. Had she just flirted with him? He did have that barrel chest that she… this was a really new feeling.
He blinked in surprise but smiled. “You have made it clear that I’m difficult to deal with. Yes. ” He smirked at her, “And sorry, but yes, I would be insisting on calling the shots if you tagged along. I know it will be difficult for you as, if I recall correctly, you enjoy being in command.”
“You’re damned straight.” He was near the 7 foot mark like this so she still had to look way up. “So how do I get in touch with you?”
“Ah.” He turned around and he pulled out a small case that was behind him, he opened it and inside was a very advanced looking smartphone. “This is your new phone. Just put your old sim in and it’ll integrate. This will get signal anywhere on earth, and in more of the various divine realms. Except Niflheim. Fafnir’s scales absorb cellular signal for reasons that are just beyond me. I loaded you family and my contact cards on there so it should be easy.”
She actually laughed picking it up and turning it on, “Forget soldier, you’re a boy scout. Any other toys?”
He shook his head, “Not as such, but if you’re looking to head back to SAU I would definitely ask your dad for a crash course in thunder, and how to bring up your mortal guise.”
“Good tips. So you heading back?”
He nodded, “Yeah. I don’t want to be away too long. Just in case someone knows I’m poking about and was waiting for me to leave to do whatever.”
He started for the door and Rae grabbed his arm. He looked back at her. “Hey. They’re my friends. They helped me thru my bad days so….” She wasn’t sure what she wanted to say or how to say it.
He nodded in acknowledgement. “I understand. I won’t let anything happened to any of them.”
She let him go and gave a thankful nod. No. Too grateful. She didn’t want to give him the wrong idea. “Well then get to it. I have my own things to attend too.” Too strong? She wasn’t sure anymore.
NightKnight… or the Watcher as he wanted to be called smiled and gave a casual salute. “Yes ma’am.”
She turned to head back in and shut the door behind her. What was that? She couldn’t deny it. She had flirted with him. Sure, it was mostly business but… even stranger was it didn’t bug her the way she knew it should. She’d have to figure out what was going on there.
At any rate, she wasn’t just going to wait about for answer she had a need to go find them herself. It was time to start to understand what exactly she could do.
She stepped outside in the large backyard covered in snow and trees where Dad was chopping wood. It took her a moment to realize she didn’t feel the cold. Sure she knew it was cold but it didn’t bother her. No, she couldn’t get distracted. That was happening far too often. “Daddy. I need to get a handle on my powers.”
He looked over and down at her, “Already? I thought you were going to take a few days.”
Rae shook her head, “I would love to but I need to get to the bottom of this. Find out if my friends are in danger and protect them. I can’t just idly sit here.”
He put down his axe. “But… you just got here.”
Rae took a step back. Here was Thor, God of Thunder, War, and many other things; boisterous and brave, pouting. She stepped forward and gave him a big hug, “I know, but you said I can come back here right? So I’ll come back here to sleep and for meals. Believe me, I want to get to know you and mom and the others a whole lot more. But I can’t just leave it to others if there’s even a hint that my friends are in danger.”
He hugged her back and picked her up off her feet, “That’s the sound of a true Norsewoman. Alright but understand your going to have to take time to master it. From what I’ve seen you take a bit after me?”
She glanced curiously, “Oh? How so?”
“I have been known to be quick with my emotions and it seems the same for you now. The storm is raging and sometimes cannot be simply tamed. It must run its course. You are definitely a Thunderer like me and your brother Eric.”
“So that’s why I feel a bit… out of control.” She asked as he put her feet back on the ground. “I actually am known back at college for being very in control of myself. This whole burst of emotion thing feels… weird.”
“It can feel that way at first, but it’s because you personify what a storm is. It’s a part of you now. Now, you will have to ask mom for how to deal with the aspects of her that you inherited, but with thunder, sometimes it’s better to have a focus. Like I have Mjolnir, but that’s special. I guess I need to have something made for you.” He said lost in thought.
“Use this.” Skale was suddenly there holding a light hammer with some runes on the side of it, He looked at their father and before he could react he said, “I love this gift Papa, but is not suited to mine strengths. This would be better in Rae’s hands I think.”
“Oh Skale, I couldn’t…” Rae began only to be cut off.
“I am not a Thunderer. Papa here put a bit of the storm in here to see if I could be. It was very sweet sentiment, but I think maybe I was just holding it until someone who could use it properly came along. Papa can make me a shield. That is right up mine alley.” He smiled big and looked over at Thor.
“You are probably right Skale. Are you sure? I know with some practice you can wield a bit like the rest of us.” Thor said.
Skale nodded, “This is right. A new weapon will take a while to make. This will help her now. You know me, I help.”
“That you do my boy.” Thor smiled, and Rae took the hammer, she was surprised as to how light it was in her hands. Was it made from something special or was she just really strong now?
“Alright now Raelynn I want you to hold it out in front of you. Both hands on it and focus.” She did as instructed. Skale retreated back to the porch to watch on. It felt good in her hands like it belongs there. “Good, now I want you to feel the storm inside you, the lightning and the thunder and I want you to concentrate on pushing it into the head of the hammer. Visualize it in your mind’s eye.”
She stared intently at the hammer. A moment passed and nothing happened. Then another, and another. She made an annoyed sound.
“Relax, you’re trying too hard. Just feel the storm first.” She shook herself loose and then tried again. This felt dumb but she tried to look inwards. It took another moment before she could feel the storm again churning and flowing in the depths of her belly. It felt wild, raging, and untamable. Just merely focusing on it seem to overwhelm her a pink sparks arced from her body into the snow. It felt like she was going to get swept away. She used the hammer as an anchor to keep from getting swept off in the rush that filled her body.
“Good, good now remember, you are Raelynn Thorsdottir. You are a mistress of the Storm. Exert you will and force out the power to your hammer.” She took a sharp breath to steady herself further. She hadn’t gone thru all this just to be bested. The serenity in her was gone but she could best this storm. She gnashed her teeth and pushed the hammer out as the sparks focused. It pushed thru her body out thru her arms and into the hammer which lit up in a coalescing mass of pink lightning.
She pushed her hands up like some 80’s cartoon she had seen in SFEERS and the lighting arced from it upward into the sky. The clouds turned dark as a chain reaction of lightning and thunder went off. She laughed as it felt exhilarating. She took the hammer in one hand and pointed it to the sky, and she could feel the charge she had sent up . She arched it from cloud to cloud until snow started to fall on them. “Oh my God!” he voice was full of wonder and joy, “I’m a Goddess of thunder! I can freaking make storms.” She bounced happily, with a joy that couldn’t be contained. She turned and launched herself at her father and hugged him once more. “Did you see that!?! I made it snow!!”
Thor just laughed as he held her, “I did! You are a natural. You still need to practice but it took the twins a week to make it snow.”
Her mirth was broken by the sound of her stomach calling out. All that activity famished her. “Gods why am I so hungry?”
Skale laughed “When you are a child of Thor and Sir you tend to be an incinerator. We eat a lot and it can fuel our magic. So when we use a lot of our power we tend to be hungry.”
“That’s handy information.” She turned back to her dad, “Can I do it again?”
“Well if you are, I’m going to need to start lunch a little early. But have at it dearest.” He put her down and headed inside to prepare another feast.
Rae was all smiles but for a moment looked over at Skale, “You… sure you don’t mind me taking the hammer?”
Skale walked over, “It helps you, and as I said it didn’t suit me. It suits you very well.”
She hugged him tightly, “Is this what being a god feels like?”
“Sometimes. Is like anything. There’s good and there’s bad. The good is really good. The bad can feel like the worst.” the look on his face said it all, there was bad. Was it his dad or was there something else?
“Skale…” She said reaching out and taking his shoulder.
He immediately was wearing that bright infectious smiles, “Is okay. You make everything okay being here Rae.”
She made a note, to ask about this later, and turned and looked at the sky, “What should I do next?”
Skale’s smile turned into a mischievous grin, “See if you can light the grill with lightning!”
She grinned back, “That seems horribly irresponsible.”
Skale laughed, “I know. Why is fun!” The two spend the rest of the morning with him setting up targets for her to try and hit. It didn’t matter if she did or not it was just so much fun getting to do something with family.
Family. She could definitely get used to that.