Twenty-One: Heaven and Earth
was almost like an explosion.
screams of the damned shrieking around their heads,
bouncing off the walls, lodging in their ears—and
then no sound at all.
couldn’t even hear himself breathing.
then there was a light so brilliant and so beautiful
Sam could hardly bear to look at it.
up his eyes, he worked his jaw, trying to get his ears
to pop even as he attempted to shake Dean’s hand
off the back of his neck and raise his head enough to
take a look around him.
released his grip a little but didn’t let go,
and for that Sam was oddly grateful, the warmth of his
brother’s fingers grounding him, reassuring him
that he wasn’t dead and this wasn’t some
incredibly intense dream. Or vision. Or worse.
light was like nothing he’d ever seen before,
so pure, so perfect it was almost physically painful
to look at it.
blinked hard and it was nearly too much, but slowly,
very slowly, the blinding light began to dissipate,
retreating back up to the roof of the cave even as the
dark shadows struggling to escape the sinkhole were
sucked back down beneath the earth where they belonged,
the angry tendrils of flame receding with them with
a whoosh of oddly muted sound.
blinked again as his attention was drawn up to the ceiling,
not entirely sure what he was looking at and unable
to tear away his gaze, even to check on the wellbeing
of his brother or his friends.
grip slackened and gradually fell away from his neck,
fingers coming to rest loosely on Sam’s upper
arm. And again Sam was grateful. He didn’t need
to look at Dean—couldn’t look at
Dean—but at least he knew he was okay, that once
again they’d survived something they really shouldn’t
to this—this light.
light that was slowly descending toward them.
had gathered itself into a ball of pure brilliance,
too bright to look at, but no longer painful to the
eye and Sam couldn’t understand how he hadn’t
been blinded by the intensity of the illumination: he
was barely even having to squint at it anymore.
drew in a breath, swallowing hard and suddenly able
to hear every sound around him, from the stuttering
of his own breathing to the rustle of Dean’s clothing
as he pulled himself to his knees by his side.
wanted to check that Daisy was okay, but somehow he
couldn’t; all he could do was watch the light
as it gracefully made its descent toward the cave floor,
hovering a few feet from the rocky surface before gently
it did so, the light receded still further, gradually
coalescing into a distinct shape: the shape of a woman.
her foot gently touched the ground she became silhouetted
for an instant, the light seeming to draw itself into
her, enfolding itself within her as she stepped delicately
drew in another breath, unable to completely process
what he was seeing.
and graceful, flowing golden locks, smooth pale skin
and cobalt eyes….
as he said the name, he knew it couldn’t be so.
Valkyrie shield maiden had died, torn to pieces in a
dark, dank cave far beneath the Canadian tundra. Sam
knew because Dean had seen it. With his own
two eyes. He’d seen the gory destruction wrought
by the kikituk upon the young woman’s apparently
all-too-human body. His description had been vivid and
detailed, guilt that he had survived while she had not
causing him to be quiet and withdrawn for some time
after her death. That was enough for Sam to know his
brother had told him the truth; that the girl had fallen
in another dank cave miles and miles away from this
yet here she was, in the flesh, whole and uninjured,
alive and smiling at him.
as she walked there was a stiffness in her bearing,
as if it was with difficulty she held herself upright,
her features pale, her lips almost the color of her
was whole. But she did not seem complete….
the sound seemed to rush back into the cavern and the
light returned to its former murky dullness, Sam heard
the girl’s words, soft and gentle, pleased to
Dean. I think perhaps I missed you…”
opened and closed his mouth a few times in dumbstruck
shock, and out of the corner of his eye he saw Dean
do the same, his brother’s eyes never leaving
Gudrun even as he instinctively reached behind him to
help Daisy haul herself to her feet.
Sam heard the young archeologist whisper, and something
in him wanted to answer her, but somehow he didn’t
seem to have the words to make any sense out of what
he was seeing.
continued to smile serenely at them as she approached,
finally coming to a halt right in front of him, reaching
up and pressing a tiny hand gently against his cheek.
was so cold….
the girl supplied helpfully, and Sam nodded mutely,
causing her smile to brighten and her startlingly blue
eyes to twinkle mischievously. “Now now, Sam,
you know better than that.”
ripped you apart,” Sam heard Dean insist. “The
kikituk. I saw—”
patted Sam’s cheek again fondly before turning
her attention to Dean.
approached him soundlessly, merely reaching up to wrap
her arms around his neck and pull him into a heartfelt
Dean let her.
wasn’t your fault, Dean,” she whispered
into his ear, and Sam saw his brother shift uncomfortably.
“You did the best you could.”
didn’t reply at first, but his arm tightened around
her waist a little.
think I missed you too,” he managed at last, causing
Gudrun’s tinkling laugh to further banish the
shadows to the far corners of the cave. “But you
tell anyone I said that,” Dean added, pulling
away slightly, “and I’ll kill you all over
Sam hadn’t known better, he would have sworn his
big brother’s eyes looked a little shinier than
how are you—how did you…?” Sam wasn’t
entirely sure of the correct etiquette for asking someone
why they weren’t dead. “How did you get
shrugged dismissively, glancing over Dean’s shoulder
to where Jon stood watching, a puzzled expression on
were in trouble,” the girl said simply, her eyes
never straying from Jon’s face, and Sam got the
distinct impression the Valkyrie wasn’t talking
about either of the Winchesters.
my earthly body, yes,” Gudrun agreed, coming back
to herself suddenly. She pulled away from Dean a little,
her fingers lingering on his arms. “When I’m—”
she glanced around herself, “—here, my body
is capable of healing itself more rapidly than a human’s.
But I’m not indestructible.”
Sam hazarded, “—the kikituk damaged your
body beyond its ability to heal itself?”
nodded. “Yes. Physically, I died.”
my soul, Sam!” Gudrun turned her attention
back to the younger Winchester. “My soul is immortal,
remember? Sacrifice is the mark of the hero, and when
I sacrificed my earthly shell so that you might escape
the kikituk, my immortal soul was transported back to
Valhalla. There I was able to recuperate, prepare myself
for the battle ahead, recover my strength so that I
might once again take on the mantle of a human and return
don’t look so recuperated,” Dean commented
with a pointed frown, and Sam could see he wasn’t
the only once concerned by Gudrun’s disturbingly
girl’s gaze once again drifted to Jon. “When
those we love are in danger,” she said solemnly,
“we find reserves of strength and power we never
knew we had.” Her eyes slid to Sam, who fidgeted
awkwardly, suddenly aware of Dean’s attention
flickering in his direction.
never knew you cared, sweetheart,” the older brother
said, his focus shifting back to Gudrun as he typically
attempted to snark his way out of an impending chick-flick
moment of epic proportions.
Dean knew exactly what Gudrun was getting at, Sam was
certain of that. Just as Sam’s powers seemed to
manifest themselves when those he loved—up to
this point, namely Dean—were in danger, so Gudrun
had returned to Earth because she sensed Jon
was in peril. And from her unhealthy pallor, it appeared
she may have returned before she was truly ready.
course, Sam reflected, there were far more people in
danger here than just Jon Volsung. If Sam was right
about what Lucifer and his minions were up to, then
the whole world could be in trouble. Trouble with a
capital “T” and a side order of demonic
is this place?” he asked tentatively, jerking
his head in the direction of the murky pit, still steaming
and smoking ominously. “I mean, it’s not
an accident that you happened to show up here, right?
Is it a Hellgate? Is Lucifer trying to build another
didn’t answer, momentarily distracted as Jon began
to move toward her, Zach and Maynard in tow.
The little professor was blinking furiously, an unending
litany of, “That didn’t happen. It’s
not logical. I’m dreaming,” falling from
his distraught lips.
appeared no less nervous, pale and more than a little
shell-shocked, immediately planting himself at Daisy’s
side and quickly reassuring himself that she was unhurt.
however, seemed mesmerized by the Valkyrie, his eyes
never straying from her as he approached.
took a shuddering breath before breaking the hesitant
eye contact she had established with the big Norwegian
and returning her attention to Sam.
isn’t a Hellgate,” she pronounced finally,
seeming to mentally shake herself out of her reverie.
that to those demons trying to bust up outta there,”
Dean interjected. “If this place didn’t
have some kind of devil’s trap mojo goin’
on, we’d be knee deep in Hell’s Least Wanted
nodded. “You’re right,” she said,
and Dean blinked at her as if he must have heard her
Gudrun confirmed. “But it’s not a Hellgate.”
what is it?” Sam asked quizzically, his forehead
crinkling in confusion.
conduit,” the Valkyrie replied. “The
Conduit, actually,” she added.
Sam echoed. “Between Hell and Earth?”
blinked. “Just like, oh I don’t know, a
shook her head at his sarcasm. “Not exactly,”
she explained. “The Conduit has its mid-point
here—creating a connection between Hell and Earth,
yes. But it also serves as a gateway between Earth and
blinked again. “Heaven?” he burst
out. “You’re telling me this thing—”
he looked upward, eyes scanning the ceiling of the cave,
“—this thing goes all the way…Up?
To—to the Penthouse?”
nodded. “Yes. That’s how I came to be here.”
Dean held up a disbelieving hand. “This is—what?
A way for you guys to get in and out of the Pearly Gates
without Saint Pete giving you a hall pass?”
chuckled. “Something like that.”
if Earth is the mid-point,” Sam put in suddenly,
the full implications of what Gudrun was telling them
suddenly starting to burn a hole in his brain. “Then—then
this is also a gateway between Hell and—and Heaven?”
nodded solemnly. “Yes,” she confirmed. “A
gateway that has existed for millennia. But something
is wrong. Those demons you saw? They shouldn’t
have been able to get this far—nothing
is supposed to be able to escape from Hell this way.
If I hadn’t opened the Conduit from Above, casting
them back down into the Pit, then …” She
trailed off, shaking her head. “It can’t
happen. It’s not possible…”
Daisy suddenly interrupted. “Those—those
things…they were demons?”
looked at her quizzically, but didn’t respond.
believe in angels, right?” Dean asked the archeologist
glanced around herself, at the bones scattered throughout
the cave. “I—guess…”
according to the Bible—” Dean continued,
“and that old dead English dude—”
Milton,” Sam translated. “Paradise Lost?”
blinked at him blankly.
demons are supposed to be fallen angels,” Dean
concluded, his voice oozing skepticism. “If you
believe in that sort of thing.”
‘supposed to be’ about it,” Gudrun
interposed. “This Conduit has been sealed for
millennia. To keep them out. Ever since the Fall.”
gaze snapped to the Valkyrie. “Then…I was
right?” He sounded as shocked as Dean had
earlier. “This is the actual site of the Fall?”
nodded. “It was the greatest battle ever waged
in Heaven,” she confirmed. “Here, God’s
army held fast against Lucifer and his rebellious hoards,
battling them for many days before finally casting them
down into the Pit—”
nodded again. “At that time there was no mountain
here, only small islands surrounded by sea, water stretching
out from horizon to horizon. As the battle raged Above,
those who lost their lives—God’s faithful
and the Fallen alike—fell to Earth here. The remains
of those who gave their lives to protect their Father’s
house sanctified the earth and the water, creating—”
sea of holy water,” Sam put in. “Between
Heaven and Hell.”
Gudrun confirmed. “But it was more than that.
When Lucifer and his army Fell here, the water became
as fire, burning away their angelic aspect in preparation
for their descent into Hell.”
Lake of Fire?” Sam asked. “Like in Revelation?”
Gudrun agreed. “This is the place where Lucifer
and his followers took the form they bear today.”
Once their angelic countenances had been destroyed forever,
God finally cast them down into Hell to burn for all
eternity. The Conduit was sealed to ensure Lucifer and
his minions might never again threaten Heaven or Earth,
the remains of those who fell in battle sanctifying
the water and the earth for many miles around, creating
an invisible barrier that no demon could ever breach.”
why they couldn’t get out earlier?” Sam
the last line of defense,” Gudrun confirmed. “Should
they ever manage to escape the Pit. The mountain was
raised to obscure the entrance to the Conduit from curious
men, the bones left scattered around the entrance not
only as a further ring of protection from anything that
might find a way to escape Hell, but also to deter those
humans living nearby from venturing in further. Superstition
can be a powerful ally. Any man coming across the remains
would think twice before attempting to gain entry to
this seal,” Sam asked. “It’s held
has,” Gudrun confirmed. “The hosts of Hell
have never breached its threshold.” She glanced
behind her to the still-smoldering sinkhole. “But
Lucifer is mobilizing his troops. He has other Hellgates—that’s
how he came to be walking the Earth once more—but
he has nothing like this. The loss of the Gate in Leicester
dealt him a bitter blow, and the other Gates for the
most part have resisted his attempts to open them, except
at certain times of the year or when certain complex
rituals are performed. If he is to raise his entire
army from Hell, then he must find an alternative, more
convenient escape route, one that he may access at any
time and in greater numbers.”
this is it?” Dean put in, gesturing to the rocky
chasm behind them. “This Conduit?”
nodded. “Yes,” she confirmed. “The
Conduit is far superior to any Hellgate he might succeed
frowned. “Why? It’s still just another doorway
between Hell and Earth, right?”
Gudrun insisted. “It’s so much more than
that. Certainly, if Lucifer can open the Conduit he
can create another way out of the Pit and bring forth
more of his underlings to subjugate Mankind—”
not bad enough for you?” Dean asked.
sighed. “Dean,” she said. “If Lucifer
opens this Conduit, not only will he have created a
demonic escape route from Hell to Earth—”
blanched. “But he’ll also have created a
route from Hell to Heaven.” He blinked
wide eyes at Gudrun, his face paling considerably as
the ramifications of his words slowly sank in.
mouth fell open, but for once no words tumbled out.
“No, wait a second,” he managed at last,
gaze bobbing between the Valkyrie and his brother. “You
mean—you think that—you can’t mean…?”
swallowed hard. “Lucifer’s planning an assault
on Heaven?” He finished Dean’s
thought for him, looking to Gudrun for confirmation
that he was wrong, that this couldn’t be Lucifer’s
no such confirmation was forthcoming.
Valkyrie merely shrugged. “I don’t know
whether Lucifer has the temerity to attempt a full-frontal
assault on Heaven,” she said. “But he is
proud and willful, and his stated aim and that of the
Fallen has always been that they will one day return
to their Heavenly home and reclaim their angelic heritage.
If Lucifer can find a way back then there is a chance
he might find allies there—allies who could turn
the tide of battle in his favor.” She glanced
first at Sam and then at Dean, holding each of their
gazes in turn. “We can’t let that happen,”
she insisted. “It could be the end. It could be
the end of everything. Lucifer could control everything.”
was big. This was too big. Heaven,
Hell, demons and angels? What chance did any of them
stand if they got themselves in the middle of something
took a step forward, chin raised defiantly. “What
can we do?” he asked calmly. “How do we
stop this Satanic asswipe?”
sighed heavily, running a tired hand across her pale
forehead. “I’m not sure,” she admitted
at length. “All I know is that the Conduit must
remain sealed. Everything depends on it. Everything.”
do we do that?” Sam asked tentatively. “There
has to be a way, right? If the seal has held this long?
There have been earthquakes here before—”
on this scale.” Maynard was suddenly standing
at Sam’s elbow, his face almost as pale as Gudrun’s,
but a faint spark of acceptance lurking in his bright
eyes. “If these—these demons are
intent on destabilizing the fault line in order to break
this—this seal of yours, then I would say they
are going the right way about it.”
took a step toward them, nodding his agreement. “They’ve
already managed to raise the water temperature for a
hundred miles around,” he said. “The lake
of holy water has been boiled away. It’s only
a matter of time until the tremors dislodge the bones
and the sanctified earth. Then what would happen to
will break,” Gudrun admitted. “The Conduit
will be open and Lucifer and his hoards will have free
rein on Earth and—and direct access to Heaven.”
end of the world,” Jon muttered. “The Apocalypse.”
began to nod, a frown suddenly creasing her brow as
her eyes rolled back in her head and she stumbled as
if she was about to pass out.
Dean and Jon all lurched forward, Jon reaching the Valkyrie
first, catching hold of her and keeping her on her feet,
pulling her to his side and holding her there.
laughed weakly, eyes turning up to gaze into Jon’s.
“Opening the Conduit,” she said softly,
“requires a great deal of energy. Perhaps I just
need to rest. Coming here—driving back the demons—perhaps
it was a little ambitious for my first day back in human
continued to hold the girl upright, his mouth a tight
line as he considered her. “You do not look well,”
he told her. “Perhaps you should return to the
place from where you came—”
shook her head vehemently. “No,” she said.
“My place is here, by your side.” She stopped
suddenly, biting her lip before adding, “By all
of your sides.”
and Sam exchanged a glance before Dean suddenly said,
“Hey Frodo, you got the little lady?”
nodded at him, and Sam quirked an eyebrow. “What’s
got an idea,” Dean informed him. “Jon, stay
and look after Miss Indestructible here will ya? Me
’n Sammy gotta go check something out.”
do?” Sam asked skeptically.
elbowed him meaningfully in the ribs. “Sure
we do, Sasquatch. “C’mon. We got a world
to save and an Apocalypse to avert. Again.”
* * *
Volsung was not a shy man.
had no trouble attracting women, was never timid in
their company, and never struggled to string a coherent
sentence together whilst in their presence, particularly
when one of them was swooning in his arms.
was why, as he watched the Winchester boys head off
to explore the cavern, he was somewhat at a loss as
to why he had absolutely no idea what to say to the
young woman he was currently holding upright, the one
with the cobalt blue eyes who was gazing up at him as
if he were the only man on the planet.
glanced once again in the direction Dean and Sam were
heading, almost tempted to ask if they needed any help,
before Gudrun suddenly whispered, “I think maybe
I need to sit down.”
attention skidded back to the young woman, suddenly
aware of the unnatural size of his tongue in his mouth
and the way his palms were sweating even as he encircled
the Valkyrie in his muscular arms.
Of course. You should. Sit down. You should definitely
guided the girl to a large flat rock jutting up from
the uneven floor, easing her down gently before hesitantly
perching next to her. To his surprise, she leaned into
him, continuing to gaze up into his eyes while he fumbled
with his hands, wondering whether to release his hold
on her now that she was sitting and didn’t look
as if she was in imminent danger of faceplanting on
the cavern floor.
moved his arm slightly, as if to withdraw the limb from
its current position wrapped around her shoulders, but
she caught his fingers, keeping him exactly where he
was as she tentatively rested her head against his shoulder.
coughed awkwardly, eyes once again searching out the
Winchesters, who had disappeared from sight, while Maynard,
Zach and Daisy were caught up in examining one of the
disinterred skeletons near the rim of the sinkhole.
feel better?” he managed to ask, his knee beginning
to bounce nervously until Gudrun placed her hand on
it, stilling his involuntary movement with a soft smile.
she told him, snuggling further into him until he could
feel her heart beating against his chest. “I feel
much better now,” she added, averting her eyes
for a second, but not removing her hand from its resting
place on Jon’s knee.
held completely still, the warmth of the girl’s
fingers at once comforting and terrifying. “I—I
am very pleased to see you again,” he said lamely,
immediately rolling his eyes at himself and shaking
pleased to be seen,” Gudrun replied with a chuckle.
I’m glad you’re not—”
Yes, I’m very glad you’re not dead.”
turned away slightly, but could still feel her warm
breath on his cheek and his neck, his heartbeat quickening
in time with hers.
we’re agreed,” Gudrun said, a teasing lilt
to her voice. “We’re both happy I’m
laughed at that, his gaze returning to her pale face,
which slowly seemed to be regaining a little color.
“I—I don’t—” he began,
sighing before scratching at his chin with his free
hand and trying again. “I still don’t really
know what happened in Canada,” he managed. “The
Winchesters…they told me little, and I’m
not sure even they knew exactly what was going
on, why Lucifer held me prisoner or why—why you
gave your life to save me.”
Gudrun reiterated. “It’s sometimes necessary
when those we love are in danger.”
averted his gaze again, nodding slightly. “I understand
that,” he said quietly. “Now. At the time,
when Dean described to us what had happened to you,
what that monster had done… Back then, I didn’t
even know who you were. And—and I did not understand
how you seemed to know me…”
placed a soft hand against his cheek, turning his face
in her direction once more.
now?” she asked carefully. “What do you
understand now? Do you…” She paused for
a heartbeat before continuing. “What do you remember
glanced down at his left hand, the one resting on his
knee next to Gudrun’s. The one where he still
felt the ghostly echo of a wedding ring that he had
never worn. “You called me ‘Helgi,’”
he pointed out tentatively.
Gudrun said, blinking a little too quickly as her eyes
began to glisten. “He—he was someone very
important to me.”
nodded thoughtfully. “The trap. In Canada. The
place where Lucifer imprisoned me.” He took a
breath. “It wasn’t set for me, was it? I
was just the bait. For you. He knew you would come for
looked away. “Yes,” she admitted quietly.
“I believe so. Lucifer and I—had crossed
paths. In New Jersey. I… I ‘removed’
a handful of his troops from the battlefield. He was
can imagine,” Jon agreed. “He wished to
kill you? Or—or remove you from this mortal world?”
looked up at him, a hint of surprise ghosting across
her features. “What do you know about me?”
what the Winchesters have told me,” Jon informed
her. “That you are what they call a ‘Reaper.’
That you convey the souls of the dead to Valhalla. That
you have great healing powers and healed Sam’s
hand after he was tortured by one who had escaped from
the Underworld.” He took another breath. “That
you had lived for many hundreds of years. And that they
had believed you immortal.”
I ‘died,’” Gudrun interjected. “Yes.
All of that is true.” She paused. “Does
that disturb you?”
shrugged. “Much that I have learned since meeting
the Winchesters has disturbed me,” he told her.
“I have adapted my world view accordingly.”
laughed softly, tracing her fingers down his cheekbone
and along his jaw. “That happens to many who cross
paths with the Winchesters,” she told him. “They
are never the same again.”
withdrew his arm from about Gudrun’s shoulders,
taking both her hands in his own and placing them against
his rapidly-beating heart. “As I have not been
since meeting you,” he told her solemnly, swallowing
blinked again, exhaling a shuddering breath.
the cave, back in Canada,” Jon continued, determinedly
holding the young woman’s shimmering gaze. “I
heard you… as that monster killed you. You cried
out in my own tongue. ‘Helgi. Jeg vil elske
deg til evig tid, og når tiden ikke er mer, vil
jeg fortsatt elske deg, til universets slutt og videre.
Jeg er din for alltid.’” He lowered
his gaze again, translating the words but unable to
look at her as he did so. “I will love you forever,
and when time is no more, I will still love you, to
the universe’s end and beyond. I am yours forever.”
He shifted awkwardly, staring determinedly at his naked
ring finger. “Why would you say that to me?”
he asked. “Why would you say such a thing to a
stranger? Unless...unless we—”
we had met before?” Gudrun once more turned his
face toward her, running her thumb soothingly along
his cheekbone. “Helgi...” she whispered
softly, gazing up into his eyes.
lowered his face toward her, his forehead resting gently
she whispered again. “It’s been so long…”
knew me before,” he breathed slowly. “Before
I became Jon Volsung. ‘In another life,’
that’s what you said to me. En annen liv.
That’s when you knew me. In another life. When
I was—when I was—”
Gudrun confirmed. “My husband.”
took a breath, nodding slowly. “I had thought
I was going mad,” he told her slowly. “Remembering
things that had not happened to me.” He pulled
away slightly, looking deep into her eyes. “Remembering
nodded. “I couldn’t tell you. I had to let
you remember in your own time. It—it would have
been too much.”
ran hesitant fingers through her hair and she closed
her eyes, her cheeks taking on a rosy hue even as his
fingertips grazed her skin. “I don’t remember
everything,” he said softly. “It started
with a wedding ring… A cabin in the woods. Snow
on your eyelashes…” He trailed off, and
before he could utter another word Gudrun had turned
her face up towards his, her lips gently brushing his
she sighed. “I missed you so much.”
held her for a second, returning her caress uncertainly
before pulling away ever-so-slightly, still only a hair’s
breadth between them. “Who was I?” he asked
her. “How did I come to be here?”
took a deep breath, briefly closing her eyes as if composing
herself for the story she knew must be told.
took a breath too, unsure he wanted to hear it.
you died…” the Valkyrie began carefully.
“When you were human…and…and my husband…”
She swallowed, eyes downcast as her fingers laced with
his, her thumb gently stroking his empty ring finger.
“If I could have died with you, I would have done.”
She blinked up at him, eyes sparkling with gathering
moisture. “I could not let you go, would
not let you ago, and eventually my tears woke you from
your grave, raising you up so that you might accompany
me to Valhalla as Einherjar, one of Odin’s
army of the dead.”
inclined his head slightly, a puzzled expression etched
into his forehead. “I remember nothing of that,”
he admitted, his brow scrunching further. “Only—only
what happened before. When I was human.”
understandable,” Gudrun assured him. “You’re
human now—it’s only logical that your human
memories should resurface first.”
frown deepened. “Then—when I died—I
became no longer human?”
became—” Gudrun paused, obviously considering
how to phrase her response, “—more
than human. The Einherjar were chosen by Odin himself,
warriors who fell in battle, trained in the Afterlife
to stand with him at Ragnarok and defeat the enemies
of the gods and the forces of Hell.”
nodded slightly. “When the armies of the Underworld
began to rise once more and Lucifer again walked the
Earth, a number of the Einherjar were reborn as men
to continue the battle here, as an advance guard of
sorts: a last line of defense before Lucifer laid this
world to waste and took the battle to Valhalla. You,
Helgi—you were chosen for this honor. To protect
the humans inhabiting this world, to fight the armies
place,” Jon said. “Those markings on the
catacombs in Canada. The Winchesters said demons could
squeezed his hand. “You’re not a demon,
Helgi. The devil’s trap imprisons many other supernatural
beings, not all of whom are evil.”
works on you?”
Gudrun admitted. “That is why neither of us would
have been able to escape from that place had the Winchesters
not destroyed the markings. Einherjar are just as susceptible
to the magic of a devil’s trap as a demon—or
squeezed his hand again, looking up at him with sparkling
have something that belongs to you,” she told
him. “Something you will need in the coming battle.”
stood stiffly, Jon rising to his feet with her, supporting
her gently swaying frame as she tried to regain her
balance on weakened legs.
need more rest—” he began to protest, but
Gudrun waved off his ministrations with a dismissive
End of Days waits for no one, Helgi,” she told
him. “I will rest when you and the rest of this
world are safe from Lucifer and his hoards.”
she drew back the long animal skin coat she wore, revealing
a flash of silver at her belt.
was yours when you lived, my love,” she told him,
reaching into her coat and producing a gleaming silver
sword, the hilt plain but decorated with runes and other
markings while the blade itself was a lethal sweep of
finely polished metal. She held it out towards him reverently,
one hand supporting the hilt, the other the blade. “It
was yours when you were Einherjar.” She bowed
her head slightly, like a servant presenting a weapon
to her king, and Jon hesitated, his fingers reaching
toward the sword with an inexplicable familiarity.
raised her eyes to his once more, nodding slightly as
she continued to hold the blade out to him. “You
will need this in the coming battle against Lucifer
and his army. Take it, my lord.” Her gaze faltered.
again she bowed her head, and this time Jon’s
fingers closed around the hilt and the blade, lifting
the sword out of her hands and hefting it experimentally.
hilt felt strong and solid in his hand, fitting the
shape of his fist as if it had always belonged there.
As if it had been forged just for him. His fingers tingled
in the same way he thought he had imagined they had
the first time he touched Gudrun, when he caught her
before she could collapse to the cavern floor.
thought—” he began, eyes tracking the glittering
blade as it swooped through the air in front of him.
“I thought I was having visions, hallucinations.”
He lowered the sword, again meeting Gudrun’s gaze.
“Ever since your ‘death’ in Canada
I—I kept experiencing flashes of—of something—memories—that
I knew could not be mine. A different time, a different
place. Battles I never fought. Homes I never lived in.
A wife I—a wife I never had and a life I never
led. I thought I was going mad. I thought Lucifer or
one of his minions had done something to me while I
was their prisoner, put thoughts into my head to distract
me. Living a life with you, fighting by your side.”
He paused, looking away again. “Loving you. I—I
even recalled my own death. On a frozen battlefield
somewhere I couldn’t identify, lying there, waiting
for—something. Someone. Waiting for you. You led
me away to Valhalla. I saw your face as clearly as I
see it now. You were the one who transported my soul
to the Afterlife.”
was nodding, a single crystalline tear tracking down
reached out to her, wiping away the moisture with his
thumb, his large hand gently cupping her face. “I
heard you crying,” he told her. “I felt
your tears raining down upon me.”
drew in a shaky breath. “I couldn’t see
you in the ground, my love,” she told him. “I
couldn’t carry on without you by my side. I never
stopped loving you, never. Even death could not separate
us. When Odin chose you as Einherjar, it was the happiest
I had been since I lost you. But even that was temporary.
I begged and pleaded even though I knew it was a great
honor that had been bestowed upon you when you were
chosen for this dangerous mission—to be once again
reborn as a mortal. To protect the human race from the
armies of Hell. Still—” her eyes drifted
away to the middle distance. “You had been taken
from me a second time and I descended into a dark, dark
place, a place where all I desired was revenge upon
the evil that walked this Earth, the evil that had necessitated
your being ripped once again from my side.”
brushed another tear from her cheek, bending slightly
so their foreheads touched once more.
was forbidden to follow you here,” Gudrun continued,
seeming to take comfort in his proximity, the warmth
of his skin and his breath on her cheek. “But
just being here—inhabiting the same plane of existence
as you—brought me some measure of comfort in my
loneliness.” She blinked hard. “As did reaping
the souls of evil men, removing them from this world
and dispatching them to Hell.”
is why the Winchesters refer to you as a Reaper?”
Gudrun confirmed. “I became an instrument of vengeance,
eaten up by loneliness, anger and despair. Until I met
them. Until they showed me that this was not my purpose,
that I could use my powers for good in the fight against
the seemingly unstoppable forces of evil spreading like
a cancer throughout this world.” She paused, pulling
away a little and looking up at him, nothing less than
blind adoration in her eyes. “Helgi, this is why
I am here. I am sure of it. Now that you know the truth—you
know who you were, who you are, who you should
be—then I too can be who I was supposed to be.
Yours, my love. I am no longer forbidden to
be with you.” She placed her hand once again against
the side of his face. “We can resume our fight
side by side,” she told him. “As we were
meant to be.”
took a long breath, eyes averted to the rocky ground
on which they stood. He moved back slightly, Gudrun’s
hand slipping from his cheek. “This is—this
is a lot for me—to—to—” He shook
his head, running his fingers through his hair as with
his other hand he raised the glittering silver sword
and examined it thoughtfully.
Gudrun rested her fingers against his arm, stilling
his jerky movements. “It’s understandable
that you should be—troubled. Destiny is not something
that can easily be outrun or ignored.” She laughed
hollowly. “Just ask Sam and Dean Winchester. This
is a heavy weight that has been placed upon your shoulders.”
until a few months ago I was just a marine biologist,”
Jon pointed out with a shrug. “Now you tell me
I am a reincarnated Norse warrior who may be the key
to saving mankind from evil? ‘Troubled’
does not really begin to cover it.”
know this is a heavy burden,” Gudrun sympathized.
She caught his chin with her fingers, once again raising
his gaze to hers. “But we will carry it together.
You are not alone. I came back for you—to protect
you. To help you. I—I love you, Helgi! Time, death,
nothing will ever change that! Heaven, Hell, I won’t
let anything come between us again, not ever. You’re
my everything! I love you more than life! What good
is immortality if I can’t be with the one person
I love more than anything else? The one person I love
beyond time and death?”
squared his shoulders and raised his chin a little,
reaffirming his grip on the sword. “Who am I to
argue with Destiny?” he asked, a tiny smile flickering
at the corners of his mouth. “If this is what
the world requires of me—if this is what you require
of me—then we will face what Destiny has planned
for us. Together. If you will help me protect this world
from the armies of Lucifer, then somehow I will help
you find a way to seal the Conduit and protect Valhalla
from the Underworld.”
face brightened, the fingers of one hand entwining in
the hair at the nape of his neck. “It sounds simple
when you say it like that,” she told him, gently
leaning her head against his shoulder.
nodded, wrapping his arm around her and pulling her
closer. “It is simple,” he told her, kissing
her gently, that strange tingle spreading from his lips
to the tips of his fingers and the ends of his hair.
“Now that we have each other.”
* * *
at it, Sammy!”
sighed pointedly as Sam stared at the cave wall with
a blank expression on his face.
the younger brother shrugged his shoulders in defeat.
“It’s a wall, Dean,” he replied.
“Just like the last three walls you showed to
shook his head. “Y’know, for someone with
a brain the size of a planet, you can be really dumb
sometimes, little bro!” he told his brother irritably.
Sam continued to gaze at him as if he still didn’t
have the first clue what the hell he was talking about,
Dean grabbed him by the shoulders, spun him so that
he was facing the wall, seized his hand and slapped
it flat against the rocky surface.
grimaced at him. “Okay, so it’s a wall
made of rock,” he snapped, snatching
back his hand and jerking away from his brother. “Kinda
what you’d expect to find in a cave…”
rolled his eyes, rapidly losing his patience. “Sulfur,
Sam,” he said, enunciating his words carefully
as if he was talking to a four-year-old; pretty much
the way four-year-old Sammy used to talk to eight-year-old
Dean now he came to think about it. Sammy was so
gonna be payback’s bitch.
standing next to a Conduit to Hell, Dean. There’s
pretty much gonna be sulfur all over the place…”
bit off the urge to retort, “I’m not an
idiot!”, instead pointing once more to the cave
wall. “Sulfur and saltpeter, Sam!”
blinked at him.
this is what happens when you spend your entire childhood
in the library instead of blowin’ stuff up with
your big brother.”
raised an eyebrow.
huffed. “Remember that summer we spent with Caleb,
Einstein?” he prodded. “Y’know, when
he showed us how to make gunpowder…?”
blinked at him. Looked at the wall. Looked back at Dean.
Blinked again. “You wanna make gunpowder?”
he burst out at length. “Here? Now? Seriously?”
you got some C4 in that duffel I don’t know about.”
but…” Sam opened and closed his mouth a
few times like a demented goldfish before managing to
splutter, “But why?”
rolled his eyes again. “Isn’t it obvious?”
I doubt the little bit of gunpowder you might be
able to MacGyver outta whatever you can scrounge up
in this place would be enough to close the Conduit—”
Dean agreed. “But it might be enough to hold off
anything dark and nasty trying to crawl on out of Hell
while we figure out a more permanent solution! I’m
just lookin’ to buy us some time here!”
what?” Sam said. “Until Gudrun recharges
her batteries? Even she doesn’t know
how to close the Conduit!”
know that, Sam,” Dean huffed. “But while
we’re waiting for you and Gudrun and all your
big-brained Stanford buddies to think of a way to save
the world, this is the best my meager intellect can
come up with, okay?”
drew a breath and so did Sam, both suddenly unable to
make eye contact with the other.
scratched the back of his neck absently. “You
know you’re one of the smartest people I know,
right?” he said quietly.
looked at him, for a second unable to see the olive
branch for the trees. “Yeah, me ’n Paris
Hilton,” he shot back tightly.
took a slow breath. “Look, just because you didn’t
go to Stanford doesn’t mean I think you’re
stupid, okay?” When Dean didn’t reply, Sam
added, “Okay?” a little more forcefully.
Dean conceded grudgingly.
I’m just not sure the whole gunpowder thing is
gonna work, that’s all.”
not?” Dean demanded. “’Cause one of
your Stanford buddies didn’t think of it?”
contrary to what you might think I did actually
pay attention when Caleb was teaching us how to make
the stuff.” Sam sighed, raking a weary hand through
his hair. “You see any trees around here? Huh?
Charcoal? Where are you planning on getting your organic
thought about that, shifting awkwardly from one foot
to the other. “I’ll think of something,”
he insisted, casting his gaze around the cave thoughtfully.
“There’s got to be something we
and Sam both spun at the hail, Jon and Gudrun approaching
them at an unusually slow pace, the shield maiden leaning
heavily on the biologist’s arm, his free hand
clutching an impressive-looking silver sword.
raised an eyebrow in approval. “Like the silverware,
Frodo!” he burst out, stepping toward the Norwegian
in the hope of getting a closer look.
drew the blade away slightly, merely shrugging at the
almost affronted look that subsequently appeared on
Dean’s face. “It was a gift,” he told
the brothers. “From my wife.”
glanced over at Sam uncertainly before turning his attention
back to Volsung. “You—uh—get hitched
while we were off over here trying to stop the world
ending?” he asked casually.
was gazing up at the Norwegian like he was Brad Pitt,
George Clooney and that dead guy out of Grey’s
Anatomy all rolled into one. Gently, he cupped
her face in one large hand before grazing her lips with
a chaste kiss.
back up,” he insisted, taking a step toward the
couple. “I think I missed a chick flick moment
finally turned her gaze away from Jon, her cheeks coloring
as she smiled a little abashedly. “It’s
a long story,” she told the brothers shortly.
“And as you pointed out, the world may be about
knew each other didn’t you?” Sam put in
suddenly. “Before? Helgi Sigmundarson… or—or
Volsung…? That’s why you called him by that
name back in Canada?”
nodded slightly in confirmation. “He was my husband.”
mortal man who died in battle and was transported to
Valhalla to become Einherjar, right?”
seemed somewhat taken aback. “You know this?”
have you even met my brother?” Dean asked sardonically.
“Research Geekboy of the Year 2009!”
grimaced and elbowed Dean in the ribs, causing the older
brother to grunt in surprise.
your research is correct,” Gudrun said. “Helgi
was chosen to be reborn as a mortal in order to help
fight the forces of Lucifer,” she explained. “That’s
why he’s here. And that’s partly why Lucifer
captured him. But also to get to me. I told you I came
back to help those I loved—” she turned
her gaze back to Volsung, “—those I
have loved… Well that was the truth. Even
death couldn’t keep us apart.”
made a retching sound and this time Sam elbowed him
a little harder.
smile widened. “Pretend all you want, Dean Winchester,
I know you’re just an old romantic at heart.”
grimaced at her. “Less of the ‘old’
there, Mrs. Methuselah,” he snapped, trying but
failing to keep the affronted glare on his face for
very long. “So that’s what kept Jon in the
devil’s trap?” he asked suddenly. “’Cause
he’s one o’ these Ein—Ein—er—stein
Sam and Gudrun corrected him simultaneously.
Gudrun concluded. “Helgi—Jon—is human,
but he retains some of the essence of the Einherjar.
The devil’s trap does not differentiate between
a demon and certain other supernatural beings.”
nodded. “And you came back from Valhalla because
you sensed he was in danger?”
looked slightly embarrassed. “And because of the
you came back for him first?” Dean put in. “Just
like in Canada. That’s why you sacrificed yourself?
To save him?”
smiled lopsidedly. “Aww, I’m sorry, sweetie.
Did I hurt your feelings?” she cooed, her smile
widening mischievously. When Dean scowled at her, she
continued, “I didn’t particularly want to
see you and Sam being skewered by a Kikituk either,
straightened, grinning broadly. “I knew you loved
me really, princess,” he told her.
Gudrun agreed less than enthusiastically. “I never
could resist a man with dirty hands.”
glanced down at his fingers, which were covered in a
mixture of sulfur and saltpeter, which he’d been
scraping off the walls experimentally. “Oh, this?”
he said, shrugging. “Sorry, I left my manicurist
in my other jacket.”
are you doing exactly?”
to save our asses,” Dean replied, as if that should
Gudrun said. “Uh—how exactly?”
wants to make gunpowder,” Sam explained for his
brother, his skepticism clear in the tone of his voice.
“But there’s nothing organic here for us
to add to the mix, and there’s no way we could
make enough to collapse the Conduit—”
Gudrun agreed somewhat distractedly, suddenly catching
hold of Dean’s hands and examining them thoughtfully.
“No, you couldn’t…”
raised an eyebrow at her. “I know you missed me,
honey, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna let
you hold my hand…”
up for a second,” Gudrun snapped at him. “I’m
could take a while then.”
said shut up!” Gudrun repeated exasperatedly,
only half listening to Dean as she scanned the floor
of the cave thoughtfully. Suddenly she looked up at
him, an excited glint in her eye as she squeezed his
hands. “Use the earth from around the angel remains,”
she instructed him.
raised an eyebrow. “The—uh—why?”
the remains of those who fell decomposed—”
nodded suddenly. “Organic component.”
frowned. “Wait. You’re saying we should
use decomposed angels to make gunpowder?”
left of them in the earth, yes,” Gudrun agreed.
work?” Dean queried, squirming a little uncomfortably.
“It seems a little bit—I dunno—disrespectful
patted his hand. “Trust me, Dean, those who gave
their lives to protect Heaven and Earth will not mind.”
nodded uncertainly. “Yeah, I guess…”
he began, his eyes suddenly tracking over Gudrun’s
shoulder to where Jon had turned away slightly and seemed
to be stumbling toward the Conduit.
Frodo!” Dean called to him, causing Gudrun to
turn back in the direction of her former husband.
what’s wrong?” Gudrun asked, pulling away
from Dean and heading uncertainly after Jon. She swayed
a little on her feet without anyone to anchor her, and
Dean quickly caught her arm, steadying her as Sam made
to follow Jon.
are you okay?” Sam asked, coming up on the big
frowned, his hand raised before him, the sword seeming
to tremble in his grasp. “It’s…”
he trailed off, seeming as if he wanted to explain,
but unable to find the words. “The sword,”
he tried again. “It feels like… It feels
like it wants me to go this way…”
glanced over his shoulder at Dean, who was still hanging
on to Gudrun. “The sword wants you to
go that way?” Sam clarified, following in the
nodded. “Yes,” he confirmed. “It’s
almost like—like it’s pulling me…somewhere.
Like—like a magnet or…something.”
He stretched out his arm, the tip of the blade vibrating
followed him, Dean and Gudrun close behind, as he made
his way toward the edge of the pit.
Zach and Maynard looked up as he approached, Zach rising
to his feet and taking a hesitant step toward him. “Hey,
you okay man?” he asked. “Jon?”
didn’t appear to have heard him, still apparently
following the pull of the sword closer and closer to
the edge of the Conduit.
Jon, not so close!” Gudrun called after him
happen often?” Dean asked the Valkyrie. “I
mean, his sword kinda trying to get him to throw himself
through a doorway to Hell?”
glanced at him dismissively before trying to pull away
from him to get to Jon.
on there, sister—”
Gudrun shoved Dean away with a strength he would not
have thought she possessed in her current weakened state,
dashing past Sam and Zach until she neared Jon’s
stop!” she insisted. “Jon!”
continued forward apparently oblivious to her cries,
the tip of the sword seeming to drag him right toward
the precipice of the pit.
Gudrun cried again. “Jon, stop!”
this time he did, so suddenly he teetered right on the
brink of the abyss, the sword raised high above his
head and a somewhat befuddled expression on his handsome
he announced at length, the tip of the sword abruptly
plunging into the earth at his feet, as if of its own
Gudrun, Dean and Zach all converged on his position,
Sam catching hold of his arm and pulling him away from
the edge of the Conduit while Dean squinted at the soft
earth around the blade.
is that?” he asked a little uncertainly.
muted light revealed little but damp ground, still slightly
warm from the several hundred gallons of holy water
that had recently been boiled away from on top of it.
followed Dean’s gaze downward, frowning as his
eyes lit on the object Dean was pointing at, something
half-buried in the dirt just to the left of where the
sword had embedded itself in the ground. It appeared
to be of a dull gray color, a stick, or a stalk or…
knelt to examine the area, an inquisitive frown etched
into his forehead as he pushed at the warm earth with
his fingertips, gently digging away the dirt from around
is it?” Gudrun echoed Dean’s question as
Jon continued his excavation of the object.
Jon began, brushing away the last of the earth and holding
the object up in front of his face, his eyebrows raised
a little in mild surprise. “It’s a feather.”
Dean managed to whistle sarcastically. “Gee, a
feather huh?” he said, shaking his head. “I
can barely contain my excitement. That sword of yours
is a real find, Frodo.”
it’s not just a feather…” Gudrun muttered,
gingerly approaching Jon’s position and gazing
at the object in his hand.
far as Dean could tell, it looked like any other feather,
maybe ten inches in length, the vanes a weird shade
of gray that was almost a non-color. The barbs were
slightly darker toward the shaft and almost white at
the tips, while the shaft itself was the same mundane
gray color, becoming darker toward the calamus.
ran his finger over the hollow tip, his skin coming
away stained with a dark flakey substance that Dean
almost thought looked like dried blood.
rose to his feet as Gudrun continued to gaze at the
feather, and as she drew closer, one finger extended
toward the fragile object, Dean swore the thing started
withdrew her finger abruptly, obviously having thought
she’d seen the same thing Dean had.
the hell…?” Dean murmured, coming up on
Gudrun’s shoulder and squinting at the feather.
think—” Jon turned to face Dean, the feather
now laid out across his palm. “I think perhaps
this was meant for you and your brother.”
held the feather out towards Dean, his head bowed almost
reverently, and Dean took an involuntary step back,
shaking his head slightly.
don’t think—why would…?” Dean
stammered as he backed away. “I don’t understand…”
caught hold of his hand, turning it palm upwards and
stretching it out toward Jon. Dean didn’t resist,
but he wasn’t particularly happy about the manhandling
told Sam some time ago,” Gudrun began, “that
everyone has a purpose. I think maybe this might have
been one of Jon’s. To bring this feather to you
and your brother.”
blinked at her. “That’s a pretty crappy
purpose, honey,” he pointed out, shaking his head
in mild disbelief. “It’s just a feather…”
Gudrun nudged him with her shoulder. “Remember
where we’re standing! Remember what lies all around
us. You really think this is just a feather?”
wasn’t sure he knew the answer to that one. He
was having a hard enough time wrapping his brain around
angel bones, but angel feathers too?
had caught hold of his wrist and was pressing the feather
into the palm of his hand before he knew what was happening,
and Dean’s skin began to tingle where the wispy
object touched his flesh.
good care of this, Dean Winchester,” Volsung instructed
him. “I think perhaps it might come in useful
wanted to reiterate the fact that this was a feather
and what the hell was he supposed to do with a feather
other than maybe stuff a non-existent cushion on his
non-existent couch in his non-existent house with it?
instead he decided to keep his mouth shut for once,
taking a closer look at the thing as he raised it up
to eye level. Gently, he ran the tip of his finger over
the hollow point, but no remnants of any suspicious
substances stained his skin as they had Jon’s,
and the feather certainly didn’t glow as he thought
it had when it had almost come into contact with Gudrun.
Maybe he’d just imagined the whole thing.
didn’t get to ponder any further on the matter,
however, as a distant rumbling suddenly started to emanate
from the general direction of the Conduit.
again!” Daisy burst out. “This is getting
the ground beneath their feet began to vibrate, Dean
stowed the feather inside his jacket, catching hold
of Gudrun while Sam endeavored to pull Jon away from
the opening to the abyss.
think we need to go,” Sam informed them calmly,
the distant rumbling becoming a little more insistent—and
a little more rhythmic, as if someone was hammering
against the underside of the opening from Hell with
a battering ram.
think maybe that’s the understatement of the century,”
Dean returned, beginning to tug insistently on Gudrun’s
right behind us,” Dean assured her, pushing the
Valkyrie in front of him, back towards the entrance
to the cave, Zach, Daisy and Maynard all scrambling
in the same direction.
his reassurances, Dean glanced over his shoulder all
the same, intent on ensuring Sam and Jon were actually
following them, just in time to see a jet of flame shoot
up out of the pit, backlighting his brother and the
Norwegian in such a way as to make them appear as if
they were momentarily on fire.
he yelled out, caught between getting Gudrun and the
civilians to safety and heading back for his brother.
okay,” Sam cried back, Dean figuring he probably
regretted that reassurance when the ground shuddered
right out from beneath his feet and he and Volsung were
flung to their knees.
jet of flame shot up out of the pit. Then another. And
another. Huge fountains of fire interlacing with each
other as they licked hungrily at the ceiling of the
looked up at his brother, waving him away. “Dean,
get Gudrun out of here!” he insisted. “We’re
right behind you!”
that, an explosion shook the entire cavern, rock blasting
upwards from an area barely ten feet from where Sam
was kneeling, stone and earth raining back down on him
and Jon as a pillar of fire shot up from the new hole
in the rocky cave floor.
crap!” Dean cried out. “What the
Gudrun agreed. “They’re coming through!”
turned to her as the ground juddered once more beneath
their feet and another jet of fire burst through the
cave floor shooting rock, earth and angelic remains
up into the air before raining them back down onto the
humans currently attempting to scramble to safety.
the Conduit—” Dean tried to protest, somehow
managing to keep himself and the Valkyrie on their feet
despite the ground trying very hard to slide right out
from under them.
they’re using to blast through isn’t just
confining itself to the Conduit!” Gudrun yelled
at him, the noise of each successive blast of exploding
rock almost drowning her out completely. “They’re
going to take out this whole mountain if they have to!”
that’s just super!” Dean spat,
once again glancing behind him to ensure Sam had managed
to get to his feet and was following. “You couldn’t
have warned us earlier?”
not psychic, Dean!” Gudrun returned testily.
“You want me to get you next week’s winning
Lotto numbers while I’m at it?”
scowled at her. “As a matter of fact I would!”
he replied. “You may as well make yourself useful.
I mean, what good’s a friggin’ Reaper
if you can’t warn us when we’re about to
not getting reaped, Dean!” Gudrun assured him.
“Not on my watch.”
reversing their positions, the shield maiden made a
grab for Dean’s arm, beginning to drag him toward
the cave opening despite his protests.
have to go!” Gudrun reminded him. “Look
at this place!”
remains,” Sam pointed out breathlessly, as he
and Jon were flung in Dean and Gudrun’s general
direction by another fountain of flame breaking ground
behind them, covering them with a mixture of earth,
rock and soot. “The pattern’s being obliterated!”
circle of angel bones was being decimated by the eruptions
shooting up out of the earth, the remains tossed up
into the air by each successive jet of fire, pieces
raining back down onto the ground all around them.
Sam could say anything more, a loud crack resounded
around the cave, a chasm suddenly yawning open from
one side of the ring to the other, bisecting the Conduit
and breaking the circle completely.
destroying the devil’s trap!” Gudrun yelled.
“First the lake of holy water, now the bone circle;
soon there’ll be nothing to keep the demons trapped
us!” Jon insisted, attempting to rise to his feet,
the shining sword held aloft above his head. “We’re
the last line of defense!”
give him a sword and he thinks he’s Zorro,”
Dean muttered, as the ground lurched beneath him, throwing
them once again to their knees as more rocks rained
down onto their heads.
chasm across the center of the cave widened with another
ear-shattering crack, and an ominous crimson light emanated
from deep within its depths, bathing the walls in scarlet
and black until the whole cave seemed to be filled with
blood and fire.
rocks exploded from within the Conduit and tendrils
of flame reached up to claw at the ceiling, the sound
of screaming once again filled the cave, whipping around
them and bouncing off the walls, the sound of a million
souls venting their anguish borne on the hot winds escaping
Hell and spiraling up out of the abyss.
entire mountain appeared to be shaking itself apart
above them, great slabs of rock breaking free of the
burning ceiling and crashing to the ground all around
suggest a tactical retreat!” Maynard suddenly
bellowed from up ahead. “Quickly, while we still
followed the direction of the Professor’s stumbling
run, his eyes lighting on the tiny sliver of light still
visible at the cave’s entrance.
was falling all around them, one large, jagged chunk
breaking loose from the ceiling and landing with a crash
only a few feet away from the opening, smashing into
a hundred pieces and partially blocking their exit.
can’t stop a demonic invasion if we’re dead!”
Dean pointed out, managing to pull himself and Gudrun
to their feet. “We’ve got to get out of
here while there’s still an out to get to!”
frowned at him for a second. “That—almost
made sense,” she replied, grudgingly allowing
Dean to begin pulling her toward the exit.
all this falling rock will block up the Conduit?”
Sam asked hopefully, catching hold of Dean’s arm
as the older brother stumbled, the ground continuing
to slip-slide beneath them as it tried to shake itself
shook her head. “Maybe,” she echoed uncertainly,
casting her eyes back in the direction of the Conduit
and sucking in a sharp intake of breath.
followed her gaze, squinting in the crimson half-light
as shadows began once again to emerge from the Conduit.
coming,” Gudrun breathed, she and Dean taking
a step backwards, even as Dean’s eyes tried to
tell him something his brain didn’t seem to want
different,” Sam noted. “Not just shadows
drew in a breath.
were hundreds of them, like cockroaches crawling up
out of the Gateway to Hell, evil-looking creatures,
blacker than shadows, red eyes gleaming in the darkness
as they crawled up out of the Pit on their bellies,
black leathery wings slowly unfurling on their shoulders
as long claws cut into the earth.
Dean breathed softly.
demons,” Sam amended, his hand still clutching
at Dean’s arm as they began a slow backward retreat.
stood before them, sword raised. “Go now!”
he cried. “I’ll hold them off!”
Gudrun yelled. “Jon, no!”
Volsung wasn’t listening, despite the incessant
juddering of the ground somehow managing to make a charge
back down toward the Conduit, the sword flashing brightly
above his head, seemingly the only light in the entire
Gudrun screamed, and it was all Dean and Sam could do
to keep her from running after him, each grabbing an
arm and attempting to drag the girl to safety. “Helgi!”
ground chose that moment to lurch violently sideways,
Dean, Sam and Gudrun all thrown together in a heap on
the floor as a deafening roar was followed by a rumble
and a crash the likes of which Dean had never heard
he heard Daisy screaming. “No, this shouldn’t
shot a glance in the direction of the young archeologist,
who was kneeling on the floor, Maynard and Zach struggling
to their feet on either side of her.
a brief second her eyes glittered in the daylight streaming
in through the cave entrance, before all light was suddenly
extinguished, swallowed up by shadows until her face
was bathed only in crimson.
cast his gaze beyond her to the cave entrance, where
rock continued to crash down from the ceiling, completely
blocking the exit.
trapped!” Zach yelled, stating the obvious as
blind terror filled his dark eyes.
Dean yelled. “I think we might be in trouble here!”
Sam managed to return. “I think you might be right.”
was staring at the Conduit, the color draining from
his face, and Dean followed his gaze almost reluctantly,
not sure he wanted to see what his brother was looking
at in the encroaching darkness.
was no longer visible, the Einherjar having disappeared
beneath a writhing sea of black and red. Instead, demonic
eyes, tiny pinpricks of blood-red in the utter darkness,
were advancing toward them to the incessant accompaniment
of twisted screams and leathery wings beating against
the hot Hellish air belching up out of the Conduit.
was rising. And they had nowhere to go but Down.
the episode here