WILD CARD – Kyri the Steampunk Valkyrie

As a note, you’re going to want to play this, as it was my inspiration for this opening scene. Just a warning, though, that it is a song from a (as described by Wikipedia) “Russian Pagan Metal” band. Now, onto the show!

(We open with a burnt, orange landscape, dusty and desolate, nothing to be seen for miles but a basin of dry rocks and parched, cracked clay. As we get our first establishing shots, hearing nothing but the howling of a hot wind, we see a heavy, booted foot step down in the foreground, looking like a massive gray, steely mountain was dropped before our eyes. The camera tracks up as the wind continues to howl, past the steely, fur-topped boot which ends halfway to the knee. we see a shapely, but muscular pale leg emerge from the boot, up to about mid-thigh where we see the hem of a gray, fur-trimmed skirt, heavily studded with metal and rivets like the boot. The skirt gives way to what can only be described as either a “battle bustier” or a “war corset” all leather and steel with fur accents. The arms, strong and wiry, are clad in heavy gauntlets to the elbow, and the right hand holds Tordenoks, the immense “Thunder Axe” passed down through generations. The camera finally pans up to her long, flowing, redder than red, that blows in the hot breeze over piercing blue eyes, Scandinavian facial structure and set, resolute jaw of a perpetually young woman. She is at once beautiful and terrible, violent and fair, soft and brutal. She appears to feel no adverse effects from the heat, despite her heavy garb, but her thin upper lip curls into a sneer as the wind suddenly rushes away from her to the far end of the plain, where a suddenly ball of white light appears and, with a crack not unlike thunder, another being is standing where the light had flashed. He is your typical “evil sorcerer” type, in a long black robe, nasty facial hair, wicked, crooked staff, and so on. This is a duel, and the two combatants stare each other down, waiting for the first move. It comes as the song begins. In the first whistle line, we see the warlock prepare, getting into a battle stance and starting his conjurations. When the guitar kicks in, we see our Valkyrie dig in her boots and push off, trying to close the gap between her and her enemy. As the accordion hits, the warlock begins to conjure up spires or orange rock to slow her down, forcing her to jump and leap to avoid impalement. After about four bars, the warlock, undaunted, begins throwing rocks at her, some sharp, some simply boulders. Again, she dodges effortlessly in some amazing art or animation, all the while dragging that massive axe behind her like it weighs nothing at all. As we see her finally set upon her quarry as the lyrics begin.)

Во святу чреду, в Лелину седмицу
Кружит духов пляс голову девицам
Во Русальи Дни, во лесных хоромах
Славу воздаем Яриле младому
(She brings the massive axe down on what she wanted to be the wizard’s head, but he teleports away just in time. During this first verse, she tries a few more times, missing each time. We see in her eyes the adaptation under fire, and as the verse comes to an end she is able to anticipate his movements and strike him slightly with a backswing following his teleportation. This draws a small amount of blood from his  cheek under one eye, and during the musical interlude between verses we see him react in shock and her, down to one knee in a fighter’s stance, plan her next move with a wolfish grin. He knows he can’t teleport again, or she may get better at guessing… and destroy him.
Ой, да, Ярило! Ярило, Ярило!
Небо хмурое вновь тебя явило
Гой, ты, младой бог!
Гой, к тебе взываем!
В сердце цветня
Песню воспеваем
(As the growling vocals launch forth, our Valkyrie launches herself at the sorcerer with a face made frighteningly ugly with rage. She swings the massive club easily at him over and over, mimicking the pounding drumbeats as it is barely all the warlock can do to throw up a desperate forcefield to deflect the blows. After four bars of the song, the sorcerer switches to throwing pillars of rock between him and the Valkyrie, which she smashes easily with her massive axe. We get a slow-mo pan, during the small interlude that sounds kinda like “horta vorta vorta vorrr!” of his panicked face, teeth gritted, brow furrowed in concentration as another pillar is smashed, rocky shrapnel flying everywhere. We also pan to her face in a similar situation, except the is frozen in mid-leap, her axe buried in what was once a pillar, a brilliant and psychotic smile framed by red hair cutting through the chunks of jagged rock and pulverized stone.)
В сердце цветня
Песню воспеваем
(Fearing the battle is too great, the warlock takes to his heels, riding a wave of bucking and flowing earth at a fantastic speed, trying to outrun his superior opponent.)
Покатися, покатися
По небу, по светлому
Да гони ты хмуры тучи
Да к Семи Холмам, хэй!
Да к Семи Холмам могучим
Что стоят во тьме веков
Поверни ты Время – Коло
По своим следам!
(The music rolls as the earth rolls, and the sorcerer hopes it will speed him away. The Valkyrie gives chase, however, bouncing from rock outcropping to outcropping, plateau to plateau, her feet heavy and powerful yet moving lightly and nimbly over the dusty ground. On the long, sustained note, she hurls the enormous axe at the ground directly in front of the warlock, who effectively trips over it, a tidal wave of clay sending him flying forward on his face. As the music calms back down to the simple repeating string melody, we see the Valkyrie walk proudly to wear the sorcerer lies prone, retrieving her axe and going for the kill. Right before the lyrics begin, the warlock throws a handful of dirt and grit into her eyes, and feebly tries to scrabble away on foot.)
Ой, да, Ярило! Ярило, Ярило!
Небо хмурое вновь тебя явило
Гой, ты, младой бог!
Гой, к тебе взываем!
В сердце цветня
Песню воспеваем
(She quickly recovers and pursues WITHOUT running, with her strong and furious steps seeming to catch up to him at a dead sprint, miraculously.)
Ой, ты, гой еси! Гой еси, Ярило!
Время Коло вспять поворотило
Ты катись, катись до Зари-Зарницы
Только не забудь к утру воротиться!
(The black metal growl returns again as the Valkyrie, her teeth stained a horrid orange-red with the dust, grit hard, her face a mask of ugly and righteous fury as she levels Herculean blow after blow down on the sorcerer with her axe. He holds his staff out in front of him feebly, his forcefield getting weaker with each concussive strike. Finally, as that last prolonged note is sung, his staff shattered and he lies there, at her mercy. She lifts up her huge weapon to finish him off as the last few notes sound, but the song comes to an abrupt end and so does the fight, as a gigantic, rusted, spidery metal foot drops down from  out of the sky and crushes the warlock easily. Four more feet drop in the basin, each attached to a large, cobbled together Steampunk airship of sorts, putting down guidelines for a landing. The Valkyrie, who previously had been so malicious in her expression, suddenly adopts the face of a curious kitten, baffled at the sudden change of events. She pokes and prods at the iron and steel crudely, as if afraid it might bite her. Her face, with the war drained from it, is once again beautiful and almost cute in its timidity at seeing the highly advance technology. The cuteness is only magnified as a bright yellow light shines down on her, and begins to raise her, outside of her own power, off the ground in a tractor beam. She is completely caught off guard by this, and more than a little bit unhappy that her sudden weightlessness is causing her skirt to billow uncomfortably. Suddenly, the voice of a chummy Liverpudlian comes over a loudspeaker… but to the Valkyrie she is suddenly poleaxed by what seems to be the voice of God… or maybe Odin?)

“Right then, dearie. Just you hold tight, we’ll have you up here in a jiffy!”
She’s pulled up into the stomach of the metal spider and, after a flash of light, the entire ship blinks out of existence… for this dimension, anyway. The next thing she knows, our Valkyrie is in the massive hold of the metal beast, crouching in an attack stance, afraid and cornered like a wild beast. On the far end of the hold, double doors slide open with a whoosh of steam power, and out walk two curious creatures. At one point, they may have been men, but now they are made mostly of mechanical parts. One is clad in mostly orange-brown metal, burnt sienna, and the other in a dull, silvery gray. They clank and hiss a bit when they walk, but what is left of their faces look round, ruddy, and friendly.
“Cor, blimey, Link! Lookarrer, then!”
“Aye, she’s quite a sight, awright.”
The two took a few steps forward before the one called “Link” was obliterated by the Valkyrie’s flying axe. His friend didn’t seem to mind much, which confused the female warrior, until a few errant bits of what looked like steam started to coalesce and then, as if by magic, all the orangey bits and pieces of metal snapped back into place into the form of Link again.
“Oh ay…” the silvery one frowned, “That weren’t too nice now, was it, luv?”
“Yeh,” Link said, readjusting a few of his valves, “Th’ gel’s fair off ‘er bonce, disintegratin’ a feller like that. Got a fair cob on, eh?”
“Aye, that she does,” the other said, “Must not like the look of your face, Vergie.”
“Har har,” the one named Vergie pulled a scowl, “Look who’s talkin’, steelbeak!”
The one named Link did indeed have a metal nose.
“Now, now, Vergie. Let’s not fight in front of our new guest, eh?”
Link took a step foward, extending a human hand that was supported by a mechanical wrist.
“All right, luv?” He asked, a smile of real teeth shining beneath the metal nose.
She regarded him heavily. All her life, she had been taught two things: to destroy those that are evil, and to be wary of any who believed themselves to be good. She spoke then in a voice she was not accustomed to using, a speaking voice, a voice that had no place on the battlefield.
“Why do you not die when I strike you?” she said, flatly and plainly. Her voice was cultured, with the accent of someone who learned a language, not lived it.
“Oh ay, I bet you’re popular with the lads, sayin’ a hello like that,” Vergie rolled both his eyes, one of them making a strange whirring noise.
“Don’t be a nob!” Link shouted back at his partner, still extending his hand to the Valkyrie, “Sorry bout him, luv… he’s got a drip pan where his heart ought to be.”
“You are strange,” she spoke again, rising to her feet without taking his hand. At her full height, she was towered over by the spindly cyborgs, causing both of them to look down in wonder.
“Fuck me!” Vergie whispered, “an’ she puts so much power in them thick little legs!”
“Easy, Vergie,” Link said with a small chuckle, “we’ve seen what she can do with that bloody church steeple she’s swinging… best not to go gawking straight away.”
“Where am I?” the valkyrie asked, looking around the massive, riveted-steel cargo hold.
“This is the good ship Rachne, luv,” Link said with pride, “Our home and livelihood. Vergie and I built it ourselves, back when we were both still living and flesh.”
She turned suddenly, aghast.
“What was that?”
“Well, technically speakin’, Miss,” Vergie took a walk forward, making awkward motions with his metal hands, “we’ve both been dead for years. Decades, really.”
“But you still are flesh.”
“Mostly, yeah,” Link nodded, “But the important stuff was gone a long time ago. We keep it going with this and that, spare bits and such, with a ghost of us holding it all together.”
“You are made of metal,” she said slowly, reaching out slowly to touch Link’s shoulder, “it is most strange.”
“Given what our scanners told us of this world, we figured as much,” he replied, “you’re living in a completely post-industrial dimension, looks like.”
“Your words are as strange as your bodies,” she said slowly, uncomfortably, her brow furrowed. This was the most she had conversed in years.
“I suppose it would be, coming from a different world,’ Vergie offered with a metallic shrug.
“A different world?”
“Now you’ve gone and done it, Vergie,” Link sighed heavily, “That’s too much for her right now, we’ve got to introduce it slowly, over time, let her get used to us little by little.”
“Why would I do that?” She asked, her fingers still tracing the bolts and rivets of Link’s implants curiously.
“Well, we crushed that guy you were fighting… who was that puff, anyway?”
“A powerful geomancer,” she said softly, still marveling at his body, “My strongest of foes. With him gone, my world is at peace–”
“OoooOOOOhhhhh….”
Her hands had strayed from Link’s mechanical parts to one of the remaining human bits, causing a pleasurable sensation to suddenly rocket through his nerves and circuits. She immediately removed her hand.
“My apologies,” her blue eyes were wide, “are you well?”
“Oh, yes…” The organic parts of Link’s face went scarlet, “I just haven’t been touched like that by a woman in some time… you’ll have to forgive me.”
“You’ll need a right oil change after that’n, eh Link?”
“Piss off!” Link shot back at Vergie, before turning back to the Valkyrie, “Anyways, luv… we took out that bugger so you’d have, well, a hole in your schedule, so to speak. We traveled from our… world into yours by means of this ship, and we need you to come along with us back to our world, because we need someone of your power to help us.”
“There’s a powerful man in our world,” Vergie continued, walking forward, “More powerful than we could ever dream, but we’ve seen you fight, we saw you today… and we know you could bring peace to our world as well.”
“Please…” Link’s eyes, both of them still organic, held a deep well of soulfulness as he begged her, “will you help us?”
He reached out to put a comradely hand upon her shoulder, and out of instinct she tore it off savagely. Amid cries of “Bloody fuckin’ Hell!” Link set about trying to use his spiritual energy to reattach the arm before his hand began to rot.
“My apologies,” she offered again, “I am very confused.”
“We understand that, gel,” Vergie said with a small smile, “and we’re sorry about the nature of this meetin’… but we do need your help.”
She took a moment then to look them over hard. Finally, she said slowly.
“I have been a defender of the weak for all of my days. When I see your eyes, I see the weak who need my help. I will do all I can for you and for the peace of your land, but be warned… those who have made to fool me in the past have regretted it.
“I don’t doubt it, luv,” Link said with a sarcastic snort, finally reattaching his arm, “and as you can see, we certainly are weak. Without our machines, we’re fucked, ain’t we Vergie?”
“Oh yeh,” Vergie nodded hydraulically, “proper fucked.”
“Perhaps I will use your…” she turns the word around a bit in her head before trying it, “machines myself, so I may be even stronger. You defeated my foe so easily, I am at the mercy of your machine power.”
“We’d be happy to obliged, luv,” Link said with a grin, “and pleased as punch to have you aboard. I’m Linkoln, and this here’s me mate Vergenbor. Might we have your name then, miss?”
She looked at them strangely. She had never known a name.
“I am a Valkyrie. It is what I am called, but there are many like me.”
“Try having a name like ‘Link,’ luv. There’s half a billion of us,” Linkoln gave another grin, “So it’s Kyri then, eh?”
He extended his arm again. This time she took his forearm in her hand in a traditional warrior’s greeting, taking care not to dislodge the arm again.
“In a way, yes.”
“Well then, Kyri,” Vergenbor stepped forward, extending an arm himself, which Kyri also took, “Welcome aboard.”

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