"This is an urgent report from Yggdrassil's fall." A young, dark-skinned man in a neat looking suit said from the other side of the television screen.
"Approximately forty-five minutes ago. The previously shorn branch of Yggdrasil that hung above the small town of Yggdrasil's fall seemed to come to life as it pierced the ground. As most of you are aware, all but one branch of Yggdrasil was decommissioned several years ago as new information came to light about the—" A loud thunderclap startled the young reporter, and forced him to spin around to see what was happening.
While his back was turned a twenty-foot tall, and a twenty-foot wide rainbow portal opened and began to spin quietly in place. However, the thunderclap was caused by the massive human that stepped through the portal. Electricity sparked between the long brown locks of his hair, his eyes glowed with an ominous blue light, and the hammer he carried in his left fist was easily larger than a grown man's torso.
Following shortly after the first man, came a veritable army of heavily armored humanoids led by four odd looking humans. Their strides caused the camera to shake and fall onto its side as they came completely into frame.
"I know you're out there, devourer!" The massive man at the head of the army said in a guttural voice as he swung the hammer at his side, causing lightning to split the ground and send chunks of earth flying into the sky. Then, almost as an afterthought, he lightly swung his hammer in the direction of the young reporter and the cameraman. What happened to them couldn't be seen due to the angle of the camera, but bits of gore and flesh splattered the ground in front of the camera. "And I'll not stop until I find ye!"
"Any word from Ayla?" Torga asked after shutting off the television.
"I just got a text from her. She said they'll meet us at the battlefield."
"Us? What do you mean us?"
"You heard me. I know you're going to face them, and I'm coming with you." Reina replied as she stood up and left the now quiet room. However, before she could open the door to their bedroom, Torga was suddenly standing in front of her.
"You're not going with me."
"Yes, I am." She replied as she stepped around him.
"So you plan to leave the girls here alone?"
Reina stopped at that and glared at him.
"I'm not letting you go out there by yourself."
"I'm not giving you a choice." He said seriously. "Our children already lost their mother once... I refuse to let it happen again."
That caused her to come up short, and she stared at him.
"And what about their father, huh? If you go out there and get yourself killed, what am I supposed to do!?"
"Live on." He instantly replied. "As I did all those years ago."
Her eyes widened as he spoke, and she couldn't help but stare at him... This wasn't how this was supposed to go. He was supposed to argue with her for a few minutes, then he was supposed to give her that cocky grin that never failed to make her heart flutter...
It was almost as if he truly believed that this would be the day his luck finally ran out.
"You don't think you can win." She didn't bother to phrase it as a question, because she already knew the answer.
"I believe I can kill them... But I doubt I can do that and keep the humans alive."
"To hell with them!" She yelled.
"You don't mean that."
"No, I absolutely mean that! If I have to choose between you living and coming home to us, or the earth surviving another sunrise. Then I'll pick you every time! To hell with this planet, and to hell with the rest of Yggdrasil!" She screamed at him. "The only thing that matters to me is this family..."
Torga stood stoically by the door as she vented at him. He didn't flinch away from her anger, nor did he bat an eye at her words.
"Could you really make that choice?" Torga asked seriously. "The Sarah I know, and have known for two lifetimes, wouldn't be able to live with herself if she'd made such a selfish choice."
"That's just it, Ken. I'm not that Sarah anymore! That Sarah was weak. That Sarah was naive to the ways of the world... And That Sarah died when that bitch of a goddess decided to reincarnate me... I'm Reina now, and Reina is more than able to live with that choice. Especially if it meant our kids didn't have to grow up without their father." After saying her piece, Reina didn't notice that she'd unconsciously placed her right-hand protectively above her stomach... But Torga did.
"Well, then. I'd better come back alive." Torga said with a weak smile on his face.
"You're goddamned right!"
"Well, everyone, I'm off. Wish me luck." Torga said jovially.
"Hold up, snake-face. I'm coming with you." Fenris said as he climbed to his feet and stood in front of Torga.
"Think you can handle yourself against a god?"
"Definitely." Fenris instantly replied.
Torga looked into his eyes for a moment before nodding his head in agreement.
"Well then, are you ready to go?"
Fenris looked over his shoulder at his family... At his daughters, his son... His beautiful wife.
"Yeah, I'm ready."
"Don't worry," Torga said quietly as he placed his hand on Fenris' shoulder. "I'll make sure you come back to them."
They vanished in a flash of light a second later.
Torga and Fenris appeared alongside Ayla and Lokir in what appeared to be the scene from a disaster movie. The setting sun was hidden behind pitch black storm clouds as thunder and lightning raged to the beat of some unheard melody. The landscape of the previously serene Scottish countryside was filled with craters, blazing fires, and the screams of those unlucky enough to be caught in the massive man's sights.
"Any idea who we're facing?" Torga asked the group as he stepped forward and shifted into his much larger snake-man form.
The first one to speak up was Ayla. Since the last time Torga saw her, she'd cut off most of her long blond hair, leaving it to hang slightly below her ears. The dark-green robe she wore and the seven-foot-tall staff she had resting on her right shoulder told anyone in the know exactly what she was.
"Thunderhead~" A deeply pitched voice hissed from inside the lapel of her robe.
"Or so he says." Ayla finished with a shrug.
"He's been in a foul mood since this morning." Lokir pointed out.
Torga lifted one of his scaled brows at that. He lifted the lapel with a finger and greeted the small snake resting inside. It's pitch black scales had grown considerably thicker over the years, and its eyes had shifted from red to a light amber color as it aged.
"Old man." The little snake greeted.
"What's got you all pissed off?"
"An old feud between my line and their's." He hissed. "My instincts are screaming at me to tear the large one to pieces."
"I hate to say it... But the runt has a point." Fenris growled as he shifted into his beastman form. "I'm starting to feel it too."
"Then don't hold back on my account."
Fenris scoffed. His eyes glowed with a blood-red light and he gave Torga a wolfish grin.
"As if I needed your permission."
"And yet, you waited for it..."
Apparently deciding to ignore him. Fenris leaped into the air with a mighty roar and slammed into a group of warriors wearing dazzling golden armor. Though they were in the process of slaughtering a group of U.N soldiers, a few of the golden warriors managed to get their shields raised in time to block Fenris' initial attack.
Unfortunately for them. Fenris was just getting started.
"Can I join in, mother?" Noodle poked his head out to ask.
"... Sure. Just be careful, okay?"
"Of course~" He flicked his tongue and gently 'kissed' Ayla on the cheek. Then he began sliding down her outstretched arm. With every inch that passed the threshold of Ayla's fingers, noodle's body grew... And grew... And continued to grow.
"So... that's what that looks like." Torga commented offhandedly as the now several thousand-foot 'Noodle' barreled into a group of golden warriors. Their blades bounced off his scales, their fists flailed uselessly against his hardened body, and their bodies were quickly reduced to paste under his assault.
"Yes, Jormungandal," Ayla made sure to emphasize noodle's real name. "Went through a bit of a growth spurt recently."
"So it would seem."
"I still can't believe all this crap happened during our honeymoon!" Lokir groaned. "And it was just getting good, too..."
"I'd advise you to stop talking."
"Why? We're married now, right? I should be able to talk about how—" An arrow slammed into the ground a few inches from Lokir's left leg.
"As much as I'd love to hear about my daughter's sex life. Maybe it can wait until after this calms down?"
Torga turned his head in the direction of the voice and saw the massive man knocking golden warriors and human soldiers alike aside as he made his way towards him.
"You killed my son, you bastar—"
"Thunderhead!!" Noodle roared as he slammed the full weight of his massive body into the god.
The god reacted with millennia's worth of experience and skill. He quickly raised his hammer and used it to redirect the colossal snake's momentum away from his body.
"So, Angrboda's spawn yet lives?" He began to rapidly spin his hammer by the leather strap attached to its oddly short handle. "I'll have to rectify that mistake!" The god roared. He released the hammer and sent it flying into Noodle's face, cracking his scales and sending him crashing into the earth.
However, before the god could relish in his 'victory', a colossal tail slammed into the god's side and sent him skipping across the landscape.
Noodle raised his massive head from where he'd fallen, and before everyone's eyes, he seemed to double in size.
"Just try it, Thunderhead!" Noodle's body began to coil in on itself as he spoke. "I was getting hungry anyway."
"Did he just—"
"Imitate you?" Ayla finished for him. "Yeah, he does that sometimes."
"Of course he does." Torga sighed. "Alright, the two of you need to get out of here and find somewhere to hide while I deal with this mess."
"Right." Lokir agreed as he took Ayla's hand and began to pull her away.
"Wait!" Ayla said. She pulled her hand free and walked up to Torga. She pulled something out of her pocket and held it out for him to inspect.
It was a small acorn that glowed with a faint blue light on a simple string necklace.
"I didn't have time to give this to you before the wedding, and well, I might not get another chance... So..."
"What is it?"
"It's a druid's bond necklace." She replied as she gently set it in Torga's hand. "It's customary for a druid to give one to their parents on the day of their wedding. You're supposed to plant it, and according to legend, it'll bless the couple with a happy marriage for as long as the tree exists."
"If I'm supposed to plant it, then why is it on a necklace?" Torga asked as he flexed his right armed, and a group of golden warriors who'd gotten a little close for his liking was reduced to dust.
"Because this one is for you to keep. I already planted one by granny's grave, so... I wanted you to have this one."
"I see..." The necklace sunk into his hand and vanished into the swirling ocean of lights that made up his body. "Thank you. Now, get the hell out of here."
"An excellent suggestion! Ayla, honey, it's time to go!" Lokir pulled her into his chest, then vanished in a flash of dark blue light.
"That's... new." Torga mumbled.
A blast of purple energy slammed into Torga's head and did... absolutely nothing.
"Oh, right. I was supposed to be killing people." An explosion of energy origination from Torga's body caused the ground to shake, the clouds in the sky to evaporate, and every golden soldier in a seven hundred foot radius to disappear in a cloud of dust. "Thanks for reminding me.
Torga turned to the four odd-looking humans that led the army through the gate and began advancing on them.
"Not quite." replied the tall, stick-like man at the head of the group. He lifted his right hand into the air and placed his thumb and index finger together. " I think it's time we had a talk."
A simple click was all Torga heard as his entire world went white.