Declaration

As the Director left the stage, the newly graduated Cohort slowly began to gather themselves to leave the auditorium. All, that is, but one. A tall blonde woman (they were all adults now in both senses of the word) wearing a full set of studded leather armor and weapons, slipped out of her seat on the aisle and strode forward, leaping onto the stage with ease. Before most of the assembled students noticed, she turned to face them and, using her heel like a gavel, stomped her foot three times.

“My fellow graduates,” she began as the crowd turned towards her, “we are all Adults now, in age and Name. There is no one responsible for what we do but ourselves - no Mentor or mother to shield us from consequences. And so I say: be careful.

“There are monsters in the world - the Nedetakaei, yes, but not all monsters forsake the Law. Some use it, hide behind it… And some of you know this very well.”

The murmuring through the rest of her Cohort settled into an uncomfortable silence. The blue-winged teacher standing by the door was frowning - but he was always frowning, so that meant very little.

“I say again: be careful. For I am the Valkyrie: the one who roams the battlefield and says who is to live, and who is to die. But I am not the Valkyrie of old.” She paused for a moment, staring levelly out over the twenty-odd ex-students. “There is no Valhalla for me to bring the worthy. So I will choose by different criteria: not the brave and the heroic, but the villains, the depraved. The monsters. So again.”

She raised a hand, pointing imperiously at them. “Be careful. Do not become one of the monsters, or I will find you. And you. Will. Die.”

She stood on the stage for one moment longer, giving her words time to sink in - but before any of them could react, she stepped off the stage and strode directly to the exit.

“Sigruko.”

She stopped just at the door, turning to her father’s Mentor and briefly inclining her head. “Luke.”

He frowned - but he always frowned. “We need to talk.”