A chilling wind danced across his heated cheeks; flames swayed upon the tops of torches which sat at each point of a wooden octagon platform. A solitary drum beat low and steady in the distance now, but slowly moving nearer. Two wooden pillars stood erect in the center of the platform; a limp hand attached to each by an abrasive blood tainted rope. A bead of sweat trickled down the temple of the man as he sat on his knees with hands attached to the pillars, the beat of the drum gradually getting louder; his doom neared. Silent and still was the man. Too weak, too frightened, and too ashamed. His muscles stiffened, he kept his head hung low with his back flat and open to the sky. He had a soft shimmering layer of sweat from the heat being spread from the eight torches of Hel which surrounded him. He could now feel the beat of the drum in his chest. He thought to pray but dare not speak, for not even Odin could save his soul from this fate. The drummer was to his right now, he shifted his gaze to sneak a look and found himself staring into the black empty eye sockets of a rotten corpse dressed in gold. Six more materialized between each flaming torch, their soulless gazes all on him. Riddled with terror, he returned his gaze to stare at the ground beneath him, large wet spots forming from the sweat which dripped off his face. He then felt a chilling sensation crawl from the heels of his feet up to his fingertips. She had arrived. Her presence alone made even the strongest of warriors feel weak and dead inside. Wherever she ventured, darkness and death followed.
Did he dare look up and stare death in the face? Tis what a true warrior would do. He gritted his teeth and slowly tilted his chin upward, what he saw caused his soul to drop, and his skin to grow paler than the Goddess Skadi herself. Before him The Goddess Hel, Queen of the Dead floated in a murky fog, arms stretched outwards and piercing eyes drilling deep within his skull. She said not a whisper, nor did he. He knew why he was here; he knew his fate. He lowered his head in defeat, the chill of death moved behind him. The drum kept its’ steady beat as the Lady Hel lowered to ground level, her headpiece was removed by a corpse guard while her armor dissolved in the wind and left in its place, a white robe. She grasped the dagger which was stabbed into the wooden pillar and held it determinedly in her hand. Pressing her free hand against his shoulder she sunk the blade to his flesh and began to carve. Deliberate and deep her sharp blade lacerated his skin, blood exuding from the cavernous wounds and trickling down his arched back, spreading onto the bare flesh of Hela as she sustained her pace in creating a work of art on his back. He did not move, nor make a sound. The agony was beyond any wound he had received in combat, beyond anything he could have imagined. Hela took her time to finish her carving when she did, she dropped the blade and stepped back; dark red pools of blood formed into the shape of an eagle spreading its’ wings across his back. She proceeded to the next step, she dug her fingers into the wound and grasped onto a thick piece of his skin and she peeled away that layer of flesh, so her eagle was an embedded image. Once the carved outline was removed a corpse came and placed the eagle shaped skin flap on the ground in front of him so that he could see. She then took her blood saturated hands and painted down her cheeks and neck, inhaling the rich metallic scent. His body hung low, dazed eyes gazing at the puddle of blood in which he sat in, seeing the thick chunk of his skin laying before him, he choked up. The easy part was now done. But the legends foretold what came next is when she took the soul from the body.
Hela now held in one hand an ax, while her fingers traced down his damp back, the wound now bleeding profusely. Raising the ax back Hela found her mark, where the rib connected to the spine, she then smashed the ax against his vertebral. There was a loud crack and blood sprayed across her, he winced and lurched frontward but she seized his shoulder and drew him back as she hit her ax against his back again; more cracks and blood which emptied from him like a river. Hela swung her ax once more then dropped the weapon into the puddle of red. Taking both hands, she stuck them into his body and grasped his ribs, which she had separated from his spinal cord. She kept pulling them up and out until his ribs were laid upon his back like wide wings spread open for takeoff. His eyes rolled back, he sputtered and groaned, he was once sweating from the heat of the fire but now he felt so cold and lifeless. Blood stained his burly body and leaked from his parted lips; he was slowly sinking into darkness.
With his back open and ribs in wing position, Hela reached her hands into his body once more and tenderly grasped his warm lungs in her hands. Her touch to his lungs caused a wheezing sound to expel his lips. She proceeded to pull his lungs up from within the ribcage prop the organ gingerly against the wings of the eagle. Hela stood, her body dripping in the blood of her victim. She walked with her bare feet across the puddles of blood to stand in front of him, he was barely alive with his eyes half closed but could still make out the face of Hela leaning in towards his, half her face a corpse the other a beautiful woman. She grabbed his chin and pressed her lips against his bloody mouth. Deaths’ kiss. He sputtered and gasped as he felt the last bit of warmth being sucked away. A frigid numb overcame him then his eyes rolled back, and his body completely fell limp. Hela elevated a hand and from the body she pulled the soul. She turned and began to walk towards the black fog, the soul floating behind her, going and going until they vanished into darkness leaving behind the blood eagle for the Midgardians.
You're in my realm now.