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Appearing in 1st story
- Hildegarde (Freed from her symbiote)
- Valkyrie (Dr. Jane Foster)
- Mirage (Dani Moonstar)
- Valkyrie (Brunnhilde) (Deceased)
- Unnamed Valkyrie
Races and Species:
- Ten Realms
- Realm Between
- Hell (Invoked)
- Klueth (Mentioned)
- Knull's Armor
- Knull's Necrosword
- Holy Threads of Ymja (Real name first revealed)
Synopsis for 1st story
As a symbiote engulfs her, Hildegarde gazes up at Knull, who triumphantly brandishes All-Black - oblivious to the thread of golden light poised to sever its connection to the Headless Celestial. In the Realm Between, Jane Foster and Dani Moonstar watch, powerless to save her. In Valhalla, Brunnhilde delivers a rousing speech pleading with her fellow Valkyries-turned-Einherjar to aid their still-living sisters-in-arms. The ancient Valkyrie Ivanir interrupts, scornfully saying that the dead have no duty to the living and what Brunnhilde proposes is a fool's errand... but that she is old, foolish, and spoiling for a fight.
In the Realm Between, Jane's musings as she grips the thread of light are derailed as the Headless Celestial manifests a colossal sword out of its corrupted essence. Telling Dani not to let go of the thread, Jane transforms Undrjarn into a large shield and flies to confront the Headless Celestial - sensing the Sentry among the countless tortured souls it has captured. As she strains to hold the Headless Celestial's sword back, the Unnamed Valkyrie charges in on Mr. Horse and smashes the sword with Jarnbjorn, shouting insults at it. Jane marvels that the Unnamed Valkyrie chose to return, and she remarks that Mr. Horse can be very persuading - Mr. Horse taking offence to Jane teasingly calling him insistent, infuriating, unimpressive, and hard to understand. Saying that if they're going to Valhalla they may as well beat the rush, the Unnamed Valkyrie leads the charge against the Headless Celestial, Jane catching glimpses of the lives lived by the souls it had imprisoned. Caught off-guard, she is engulfed by it and dragged into its afterlife.
Jane finds herself as a child in a classroom she remembers from her youth, turning to see Miss Anderson - a teacher who'd had a profound impact on her growing up. As Miss Anderson says they need to talk, Jane immediately realizes this isn't real - noting that he mother would never have let her wear that dress to school - and that she was fighting something, but can't quite remember what. Miss Anderson chastises Jane for fighting, but Jane recalls that the real Miss Anderson has been dead for years and that the woman before her is the Headless Celestial in disguise; reverting to her Valkyrie form. The Headless Celestial notes that the Unnamed Valkyrie must have told Jane things - annoyedly remarking that the Unnamed Valkyrie was stubborn and hard to please - before saying that it can give Jane whatever she wants. Jane finds herself in her house human form, wearing a labcoat, and the door opens to reveal her son Jimmy Kincaid. As Jane embraces her son, she thinks to herself that she can't take this and that Jimmy can't possibly be trapped here; the Headless Celestial saying that it's not evil. Determined to test if this is real or a memory, Jane recites the opening to "Humpty Dumpty" and is relieved with the vision of Jimmy finishes with "wall", telling the Headless Celestial that she's seen through its illusion again. As it asks how she could tell, Jane explains that Jimmy loved Humpty Dumpty but that as he got older he started changing "wall" out for other things like a rhinoceros or a Tyrannosaurus rex. Unimpressed, the Headless Celestial says it could make Jimmy be whatever Jane wants, but Jane refutes it.
In the Realm-Between, the Unnamed Valkyrie dismounts from Mr. Horse - who prepares to go charging after Jane as Dani conjures a bow of light and says she'll cover him. The Unnamed Valkyrie orders Mr. Horse to stay put, and when he ignores her grouses that she can't be shown up by him before brandishing Jarnbjorn and charging in alongside him. Sensing Jane's presence, the Unnamed Valkyrie grumbles that she's going to die only to be stopped by the trumpeting of the Gjallarhorn.
In the Headless Celestial's afterlife, it confusedly asks why Jane is dissatisfied. Stroking the vision of her son's head, Jane tells the Headless Celestial that she believes there are two afterlives - one being what happens to the deceased person's soul and the other being what is endured by the friends and loved ones left behind. Elucidating, Jane says that when someone dies the people who loved them miss them and cling to their memories of the deceased person, becoming different people as a result of having known them and finding meaning in their loved one's death even if there wasn't any. Jane states that she believes that is the truest afterlife, as it evolves and grows. Rejecting the Celestial's inner world, Jane says that it can't give her what she wants because what she wants isn't an echo dredged up from her memories, but the real Jimmy alive and well - something that no-one can give her.
As the Unnamed Valkyrie triumphantly proclaims the return of her sisters, Brunnhilde greets Dani Moonstar and then notes the connection between the Headless Celestial and Knull hasn't been severed yet - offering to help finish the ritual herself. The Unnamed Valkyrie informs Ivanir that Jane is trapped inside the Headless Celestial, the elderly Valkyrie retorting that the Unnamed Valkyrie had better hurry up and rescue her.
Inside the Headless Celestial's afterlife, Jane detects a note of urgency in its voice and realizes something must be happening outside. Discarding the form of Miss Anderson, the Headless Celestial offers her the knowledge and power to make the universe a better place. Turning Jane into her Thor form, it offers to make her a god again if she agrees to give it the one thing it lacks - life; summoning the soul of the Sentry, who begs Jane to accept and says that the Headless Celestial's hive could help vanquish Knull. Jane briefly considers its offer before saying that while she would gladly give her life to save Midgard, the Headless Celestial needs to stop and release the souls it has consumed.
In the Realm Between, Brunnhilde, Ivanir, and Dani complete the ritual and sever the Headless Celestial's connection to the Necrosword. Knull - who had been completely oblivious that the connection existed - senses the loss of the majority of his power and swears revenge on the Valkyries for inflicting it. Hildegard's symbiote-prison shatters and she watches as the divine needle returns to the Realm Between and stabs into the Headless Celestial's chest, the Unnamed Valkyrie vengefully driving Jarnbjorn into its armor and opening a hole into the Headless Celestial's afterlife. Reverting to its true form - a severed head floating over an armored body - the Headless Celestial's soul petulantly demands to know why it should relinquish the souls it has absorbed, Jane stating that doing so will determine where in the afterlife it will end up next. When the Celestial accuses her of being a hypocrite due to not letting go of her son, Jane says that she has in her own way, reciting the end of "Humpty Dumpty" as she lets the illusion of Jimmy fade. Surrounded by the spirits of those it absorbed, the Headless Celestial's soul collapses to its knees, Jane kneeling before it and gently saying that it's now it's turn. Dani marvels as the Headless Celestial's body crumbles and dissipates, while inside what's left of its afterlife the Unnamed Valkyrie is reunited with Alta - the two reminiscing about their long-lost romance. The Sentry approaches Jane and she asks if what she'd seen had really been him, asking if he'd meant what he'd said. The Sentry replies that it had been the part of him that had been angry and frustrated at having died, but that he's now whole and ready to pass on to the afterlife.
As Ivanir escorts the Headless Celestial's soul away, Jane asks where they're going and Brunnhilde replies that she's taking it to whatever afterlife awaits deceased Celestials; while they will take their own to Valhalla. Approaching Jane, the Unnamed Valkyrie asks who the child with her was, and Jane replies that it was her son Jimmy - who had died when he was eight. The Unnamed Valkyrie asks if Jane had found meaning in his death, noting that she's searched for meaning in Alta's but found none, and Jane says she hasn't yet but owes it to her son not to give up until she does. Jane offers the Unnamed Valkyrie the piece of advice to carry on living and focus on the good Alta left in her; the Unnamed Valkyrie remarking that Alta taught her how to throw an ax - among other more pleasurable things. Dani interjects to say they will need the Unnamed Valkyrie's ax skills along with all of their other talents if they are to overthrow Knull. As they set out to return to Midgard, the Unnamed Valkyrie asks if they can beat Knull, Dani responding that she doesn't know that the can't. Jane remarks that Dani's hope they can is enough for her, the Unnamed Valkyrie grumbling that fighting for hope is worth a shot.
THE LAST RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES!
Brunnhilde. Jane Foster. Dani Moonstar. Hildegarde. And the mysterious stranger who’s worn the title longer than any of them. The Valkyries are united, and at last they have a plan – but so does the King in Black. Every soul in existence is at stake – including the Valkyries’ own!
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