She cleans her sword and wipes a smear of blood from her boot. The grotesque body lies still in the hot wind, a pool of blood furthers into the soil. Weapon sheathed, the shield-maiden placidly steps over the monster’s decapitated head.

Some would keep it as a trophy, but to her, it doens’t even deserve that honor. Swinging into the saddle of her horse, her eyes scan the horizon.

Beyond the distant line, the sun is rising. But before that hope can be claimed as a new dawn, more creatures are lurking. They revel and gloat in the destruction and degredation of the Earth and her inhabitants. Their fangs feast upon Man’s sins, bellies engorged upon his meat.

She sighs as more await slaughter–yet the shield-maiden submits to the hunt willingly.

Her stallion picks his way gingerly over the bodies of those who were defeated. These failed warriors were once the maiden’s kin, however the pair remain indifferent to their butchering.

For the purpose of their quest does not reside in the success of comrades, but in the defiance of evil.

The monsters of hate, bigotry, ignorance, and pride loom ahead–mourning the death of their ally, injustice.

For her steed, and for herself, she lightly hums as she draws her weapon again, “…though life be wrenched away…”

Gleaming eyes catch sight of the sword, fangs are shown and snarls are adminsitered. A foul shadow postpones the daylight and stifles the air. Her horse snorts nervously, his tail swishing with anticipation. The beasts slink forward, edging around the shield-maiden.

Her eyes narrow, grip tightening around the blade’s handle. Sweat slides down her temple and drips off her chin. Or is it blood?

“…they cannot win the day…”

She feels no fear. She feels no horror. She feels peace, propelled by righteous anger. A presence is there with her, of what she cannot say. Perhaps that of her ancestors, her kin, or maybe of something else entirely. Whatever it is, it protects, it comforts, and upholds. It is a presence that has already defeated death, so none can touch her now.

The shield-maiden raises her sword, its tip reflecting the faint light of the coming day. She screeches a primal war-cry, and her stallion charges ahead into the teeth, the claw, and the fray.

It is the time to kill.

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