Six days we had been at Stronghold. I was getting tired of teaching elves to fight. They were all better than me, they didn't actually need training. But I was there to help them anyway.
I flashed back to the first day, when I had been humiliated by the young General, who's name was Opal. She had the charming smile of an adorable introvert child, but the wit and skill of a masterfully trained warrior. I had helped pair up the Valkyrie, basing each pair off the similar fighting styles. As of right now, Saoni and Fergus were soaring through the air, facing off against a tricky training opponent with a series of flips and twists. Arvid and Glycon were also helping the Valkyrie who were prepared to start in some battles while some other pairs were just catching up.
To Saoni's great delight, Lolinami had successfully rallied fifty Pegasi to fight. The other ten elves were to stay on the ground with swords or bows and play their part from there. I watched approvingly as one of the youngest elves, who I was teaching, managed to disarm Goizu, my short friend whooping with joy as he finally completed his training. All he had to do now was to keep that training in shape.
A dwarf rushed up to Stronghold on a sturdy looking stallion, the beast multiple times taller than the tiny man. "The... the humans," he planted out of breath. "They're nearly... at Tsubi... dragons, dwarves, giants and hyklix already rallied... Valkyrie are all left..."
I hollered into the crisp morning air. "VALKYRIE AND ALL REPRESENTATIVES! MOVE OUT! HEAD TO TSUBI!"
They didn't need a second reminder. As we all hurried away from Stronghold, I pondered the results of the battle. The Valkyrie were our main line of defence... if they got past that, it was the turn of the ground combatants. But if they did get past the Valkyrie, it would mean the end for Fergus, who had become a part of our Gang in the short six days we had been together.
I voiced my concerns to Arvid. He looked solemnly at me. "Yes, Fergus will be gone. But..." he glanced over at Saoni, who was travelling on the ground with everyone else before taking off as the fliers would when we got closer. The violet flames burned bright in her concentrated eyes.
I had always thought of Saoni as invincible, a bright lantern of hope and friendship with plenty of love to give. The thought of her leaving the world was almost unthinkable for me. She was a Valkyrie for sure, and I thought of her as the very best. At that moment I knew; if she went down, we'd all fight even harder, to avenge our best friend, who had to go first.
We slowed as we neared where our brave pegasus warriors would take off. Saoni had a sad smile plastered on her face. She exchanged goodbyes with all of us, giving me a wing hug. She walked over to Goizu and nodded at her small friend, a confusing mix of joy and sadness in her eyes. I heard him say, "she'll live. There's no way she's not going to survive."
The saddest of her farewells went to Glycon and Arvid. She placed herself between them and wrapped her wings around them. She smiled, channeling her bravery into her best friends. We all knew what would happen; either the Valkyrie would win and she'd survive, or she'd die and we'd have to fight in her place.
As Fergus finally finished saying his goodbyes to us, the Valkyrie were called to take flight. Fergus reluctantly got on Saoni's back, and Saoni reluctantly let go of Arvid and Glycon. She walked over to where Nanoria and Lolinami were standing, preparing to leap into the air. She gave us all one backwards glance before taking flight, Fergus's hands holding tight to the roots of her mane. Glycon breathed in a shaky breath. "The Valkyrie are stronger than any army. They'll make it through, don't worry," he reassured us.
Arvid gazed longingly at the horde of warriors on the horizon. We all followed suit.