The Little Ani That Could

By: Anicka Swan

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 21st Nov 2021

When Howling Wolf One finally landed in Norway, Anicka Swan was still asleep in one of the smaller bedrooms on the plane and she didn’t wake until the door was thrown open and the room filled with the sound of giggling children, who all dove on the bed with her. VooDoo’s brood was heavy with an extra Black with Ripley. Ani was dressed, she expected this, there have been many times in the past this has happened at the Compound in South Jersey where she had a small house built, too. Anicka sat up and put her hands to both sides of her head like pointed dog ears, or should we say wolf, four out of five kids did the same.

Baby Wolfpack! Ani howled into the air, it didn’t matter what last name the family decided to use, the kids would always be the Baby Wolfpack to her; the four kids followed suit. She stopped mid howl when she saw that Ripley didn’t howl too. She looked over at Ciara. No one taught her Baby Wolfpack?

We didn’t think there Ciara looked at Rose.

…would ever be a gathering with us all. She finished for her.

Parents, right? Ani didn’t talk about hers, they were dead to her before they actually died. Explain Baby Wolfpack. Ani’ll wait. Ciara and Rose did just that. It’s something they’ve been doing since the kids were old enough to do it. It didn’t mean anything to the rest of the world but her Ani and the kids, it was just their thing. Let’s try this again.

And they did it all again, this time, Ripley joined in. Another thing that didn’t matter to Ani was who the parents were. It was at the end of the howl that Le’Andra Fury waddled in. She was dressed in her viking gear, instead of shirt and pants though she wore a gown. Her cousin, Brandt, who followed behind her was also dressed and he carried with him Anicka’s gear.

Ani’s gotta wear that? She groaned, she hated it. It was too heavy, it scratched her skin, there was too much material. Maybe if she used the “chaffes her nipples” clause she wouldn’t have to wear it? Nah, wouldn’t matter, Le’ would force her to wear it.

Of course, you do. The family and the leaders of the Clans are waiting for us. She looked at the kids. The cars have arrived and cloaks. It’s cold and raining outside so go get changed into something warm.

So, that’s why Mom said pack warm clothes. Callan said as he got up from the bed.

Aunt Le’s going to have us all outfits made for Clan Wars. Ciara was more excited this time around; maybe it was because she knew Le’ better or maybe it was because she realized that her uncle actually did love this one; they had never seen him with the same woman twice unless it was Ani.

Indeed I am. Which means we need to get a move on, first fitting is tomorrow morning after breakfast. There’s a light meal waiting for us when we get there and Mother has the executive floor VIP off for the family only.

Do we get to stay the night in some of the cabins again? Rose turned to Ripley. The sky is so pretty here, wait until you see it.

Except tonight. Le’s cousin told them as he held open the door for the kids and followed them out explaining to them about the aurora borealis. The rain and the clouds affect whether you can see it or not.

That was supposed to be L2’s name. Le’Andra said as she sat down, while Anicka got up and stripped off her clothes. He had teased that everyone would call her a Disney Princess. I mean, technically she IS a princess, but Rusla ditched that title to become a Pirate. She just wouldn’t be a Disney one.

Wait a minute. Anicka stopped struggling into the shirt and looked out of the neck hole at her. You’re a Viking Princess Pirate? How the fuck does that happen?

Rusla was mad. She shrugged her shoulders. The women in our family do some crazy things sometimes when we’re mad.

Like threatening to throw people off balconies that you kidnapped and forced them to fight with you? She smirked as she got her head through the shirt then her arms and shimmied it down her torso.

That contract was not my idea, that was Xavi’s, and I did give you a pretty room. Besides, you were acting crazy.

Ani was trying to assert dominance. She said with a haughty tone to her voice.

It failed miserably.

Do we really have to do all this before the heads of the clan tonight? She put on the pants and then sat on the bed and began pulling the boots on and buckling the straps.

Afraid we do, Ani. The heads of 12 clans and my Mother await us. She looked at Ani thoughtfully for a moment. You’ve got a lot going on your plate this week. You are acting as Firstborn, fighting in Clan Wars and have a match with Paul Montuori this week. I am sorry for this.

It’s okay, Le’. You know Ani would do anything for you. This is huge important and Ani doesn’t want to fuck it up. Ani, you perform in front of huge audiences every week. You fight people for a living. It’s different this time, Ani can step in the ring any day of the week and pound on people like PMont and Enforcer, hell, Ani and X have faced off a bunch of times. But this is different, this is your family.

You will do just fine. She stood up. Come on, L2 is hungry.

L2 is always hungry.

You and Xavi’ are both aware that I won’t be pregnant forever and these slick remarks are adding up. Without another word, she turned and left the room.

We’re banking on it.

 

۩۩

 

Thirty minutes later, the deluxe coach bus that Le’Andra’s older brother, Mattias Fury sent for them was pulling in front of the hotel and came to a stop in front of a young man who was dressed like a viking. As soon as the doors opened, he came up the steps, he immediately went to his sister and hugged her tight.

By the Gods, Le’, you’re huge. He exclaimed with a smile that got larger as her eyes got more narrow and caused Xavier to grimace next to her. She balled up her fist and punched him in the gut, doubling him over and knocking the wind out of him for a moment. So.. wor…rth… it. After a moment, he stood up and addressed everyone. Mother, the clan leaders and their Firstborns are waiting in her office and dinner is waiting for everyone else down in the banquet hall. Staff will be taking your bags up to your rooms. He motioned to his sister. We’ve roomed everyone up according to Le’s instructions. Le’ if you and Ani will follow me.

Everyone filed off the bus and into the main lobby of the hotel as the staff began unloading their bags to be taken up to their rooms. They wished Anicka good luck as they were ushered to the dining room while she followed behind Le’ and her brother. Anicka wasn’t paying attention to them as they both prepped her once again for the world she was about to walk into, she was lost in her own thoughts.

Ani’s got this. Ani can do this. Ani’s been training for this for weeks. You’re going to do just fine, Ani. Just remember the speech that you gave me. Make sure to hold your head high and your back straight. Don’t worry about impressing them or anything like that. This is merely for show. Everyone knows that Le’Andra has chosen you as her proxy. Nothing you say or do will affect that so don’t be nervous. Just be yourself. The elevator doors opened on the floor where Ylva Av’Ulver’s office was, Le’Andra was the first one out, with Anicka following behind. Bjorn, her mother’s assistant, was waiting just outside the double doors just past the receptionist desk, he carried with him two swords and leaning against a ficus tree were two shields painted in the clan’s colors.

Whatever you do, don’t mention her size. Mattias said with a smirk.

And have her punch me? No thanks, I will pass, she did it enough while growing up. He handed Anicka one of the swords and Le’Andra the other. Anicka quickly strapped hers around her waist; Bjorn watched her, studying her movements. He remembered her from last year with the bride run at the wedding; she had speed he couldn’t deny her that, but did she have what it takes to lead the family to victory, he guessed they would find out soon enough. He handed her the shield and again watched as she put it on her left arm and got it tight in place.

For fuck’s sake. Le’Andra grumbled under her breath as she struggled with the belt, the other three turned and looked at her; there was a look of defeat on her face. I am too big.

Immediately, Anicka raised the shield up over her face to laugh quietly while Brandt turned around and hid his smile, Bjorn on the other hand did not. He called the both of them assholes and walked over and pulled a dagger from a sheath at his waist and quickly put a hole in the belt and helped her strap it on.

Ready? All eyes turned to Anicka and with a deep breath she nodded.

Bjorn turned around, grabbed both of the knobs on the door and pushed the doors open and stepped aside. Everything that had been Mother’s office had been removed; the white leather furniture accented in gold trim, even her desk was made of the same marble as the floor just to make room for the twenty-five people standing inside that were all dressed as if they had just stepped from the 10th century. They formed two lines of six each with the Head of the Clans and their Firstborns, each bearing shields in their families colors; at the head of the line was Le’Andra’s mother looking as radiant as ever. Le’Andra was the first to walk in, she held her shield arm to one side and the other hand on the hilt of her sword, there were nods among the other men and women in the room; indeed the Firstborn of the Av’Ulver Clan was carrying her Firstborn. Anicka came in behind her; she did as Mattias had told her head up proud, back straight. She had this. Anicka came to a stop beside Le’Andra and kept her eyes locked on Le’s mother; she ignored the murmurs that came from the others in the room as they talked among themselves. She listened as Le’Andra made her speech telling of her bravery and ability to fight, and requesting Anicka to be able to stand in her place; not that there were any doubters in the room, because they had seen first hand on TV, pretty much all of them have been following Fight NYC since it first aired. Once she was done, she took her place at her mother’s side as her Firstborn, leaving Anicka standing before them. Anicka removed her sword from its sheath and went down on one bended knee and the tip of her sword pointed side down on the floor. Ani comes to you on bended knees to swear an oath of loyalty to you and the Av’Ulver Clan and to fight to the death in your family’s name, until her last breath. Her words came out in their native Norwegian tongue; every syllable was correct as if she had been speaking the language since birth, this shocked everyone standing in the room, no one knew that Anicka had called Angelique Wolf, Kal X’s wife and asked her to help her. Mother stood there and studied the woman before her; her daughter had been right about her husband, she was sure her daughter would be right about this one, too. Rise, Anicka Swan and stand one with the Av’Ulver Clan and fight with us with honor.

Anicka stood up and put her sword back in her sheath and as she did so, it was Harald Enberg, Le’s old flame who thought he was speaking with a quieter tone than what he was when he said the words “this year is going to be easy.” Anicka turned and looked over at him, then walked over. She stood there and smiled at him for a moment causing him to look around at everyone else and when he looked back at her… she punched him in the mouth. He said nothing as he made as if he was getting ready to strike her back, but his father placed his arm in front of him.

Already acting like a woman from my clan. Mother chuckled and then looked at the Enberg Firstborn. Save it for the field. Tonight, we will eat and drink like our ancestors who came before us.

And with her words the tension was gone, as everyone started towards the doors, Ylva turned to her daughter and burst into tears and hugged her daughter tightly to her; it was the first time she had seen her in person since she conceived; her last trip being the actual date of conception. She released Le’ and smiled before she turned to Anicka. Anicka, I want you to know that I have all the faith in the world that you will represent the Clan tomorrow with honor on the field and if by chance we do not win, it will be because it is what the Fates wish. Not because of your lack of skill in fighting. Thank you, Ylva, Ani will do everything in her power to make sure she wins. I know you will. Come, it’s late and we have to be up early in the morning for the blessings. The three women made their way out the door the others had and went to join them in the night’s revelry and tomorrow was the Clan Wars.

 

۩۩

 

The next morning, just as the first rays of sun began to hit the sky, the first thing that Anicka became aware of was the sound of the door to the bedroom in her suite opening and the overheard light was turned on. She groaned and rolled over and pulled the blanket up over her head. There are better ways of waking Ani in the morning.

This I know, but this is not one of those mornings. Le’Andra walked over, dressed in a white plain white gown for the morning’s blessing ceremony. She took a seat next to her on the bed and looked at the lump under the blankets. I know I must have said this a thousand times since you said yes, but I want you to know how much I appreciate you doing this for me. When I realized that I wouldn’t be able to fight in the Wars this year, my first thought as Firstborn was who will fight in my place. My first thought was of you. I really want you to know… Anicka came out from under the blanket and sat there naked from the waist up and looked at Le’, it took her all of about a minute before it hit her before she scrunched up her nose. …you smell flammable

Ani’s mouth tastes flammable, too. She looked at Le’Andra. Maybe Ani should drink a bottle of this before the match and breath on Paul? Bring a lighter and be a human flamethrower.

By the Gods, woman, go get a shower. She got up waving her hand in front of her face. You smell like you slept in a vat of Fury Wine.

Ani can’t help it if you all made that stuff 500 proof or some shit.

Just get a shower and be quick about it. Le’Andra got up and made her way back out the door leaving Anicka sitting there on the bed. She had this. She kept thinking about that story about the “Little Engine that Could” that she read growing up and it’s “I think I can.” motto. Ever since Le’Andra asked her to do this, she’s had her motto of “Ani’s got this”. She chuckled as she got out of bed, hearing Samuel L. Jackson’s voice in her head, “But Ani was far from having this.” She made her way to the bathroom, scratching her ass cheek with one hand, walking to the shower. She turned on the water and waited a few moments for it to heat up and did as Le’Andra told her. If it was one thing that Anicka has learned since meeting Le’s family, was that her mother was in total control, really no question where Le’Andra got that trait from. With a quick wash and a scrub, she was back in the bedroom, dressed in a white thong and getting dressed. Ani’s been knowing good ol’ Paulie since forever it feels. Literally the first time Ani ever saw him, he was walking in WfNW at his brother’s side while JMont was sprouting lies about him being the father of VooDoo’s twins. Was a fucked up move, just like it was a fucked up move with what they did to Allie and Dane. He was right there, cheering his brother on. She paused for a moment as she picked up the dark blue tunic and slipped it over her head and shoulders and smoothed it down her body. Ani wonders what he’s thinking about his brother right now. Especially with all the lies that have been coming out. Ani wonders if he feels like she used to before she met VooDoo and her family, all alone? Actually, there are a lot of things Ani wonders including why in the Hell didn’t he and Ani hook up? Been a couple of times really since she and John-John parted ways but he always went in the opposite direction. Maybe he was looking for love and didn’t think Ani was capable. She stopped for a moment and thought about her past and history.

Okay, maybe THAT wasn’t a good example. She chuckles and grabs the pants beside her. She goes through men and women like most women change underwear. Ani also can’t help but think what he must be thinking about knowing he’s stepping into the ring with Ani. Ani’s known as being a beast in the ring, and for the first season, the beast was caged up like a mother fucker and now she’s ready to show the whole damned world what she can do. Ani’s almost positive that they won’t ever be hooking up after she beats him, but she could be wrong, she had been wrong about Roger Wright, too.[/color]

She stood up and buttoned the pants up and sat back down to put on the boots. Let’s face it, Paul, we’ve both been eating loss after loss. Yeah, Ani, too. And it’s tough, it hurts you inside because this is… fighting in the ring and winning titles, is something that you love to do. But Ani’s tired of it, she’s tired of losing, she tired of people not thinking that she’s good enough or that she’s lost her ability to do what she used to do. Win. Make people dread seeing their names across from hers knowing the battle and fight they faced was going to be the most difficult one that they will ever have to face. There was a time when the name Anicka Swan meant something and was something to fear. She stopped talking and nodded her head. Maybe it’s time for Ani to make some people remember? Maybe it’s time for some people to learn? Season 2…

 

Better get a condom for your heart
...Anis about to fuck your feelings...
And we’re talking one size up from JMont’s size.

 

Anicka stood up and made her way out to where Le’ and Brandt were waiting, Le’ stood up with a smile on her face. The other Firstborns aren’t going to know what hit them.

After last night, they might. Brandt reminded them of Ani’s striking Enberg.

This is true. Come, let’s get going, you know how Mother is.

It took them about 20 minutes to make it from the hotel to the Av’Ulver Clan’s ancestral home, one of seventeen star forts that was still privately owned, out behind it was the arena where the War Games happened. The car finally came to a stop inside the gated area and the three of them got out. They made their way through the gap that had formed for them to pass and closed back around them once they had. The arena itself was the size of 6 football fields side by side. On each side stood six tents, each flying it’s clans’ colors. The outer edges of the field had bleacher style seating except for the private boxes where the heads of the clans sat and in the center was a crop of stones built up in a 25 foot tall rock hill with a red flag at the top and below it a dias where one of the fattest sows ever seen had been tied down, unable to move.

When they stepped onto the field, Anicka took a deep breath and again thought, Ani’s got this. She followed Le’Andra, making sure to keep her head held high and her back straight, despite not turning her head, she could see all of the other teams and they sized her up and judged her. Let them judge Ani, she’s going to show them, just like she’s been showing mfers forever. At the dias, stood Le’Andra’s mother, along with Xavier and Rose, VooDoo and Vincent’s daughter, she was holding the wooden bowl and dressed as a maiden in white. She did it previously and she begged and pleaded with everyone to let her do it again this year. Le’Andra came to a stop beside Xavier, who stood in front of the dias and Anicka continued on until she was standing between Mother and the pig and began putting on some leather gloves. Once she was in place Ylva began speaking. She gave honor to the gods and asked them for their blessing and for them to shine down on this day and this couple and all those who battle today for them once she was done, she looked at Ani and gave a nod. Ani can do this. Remember what Le’ had told her, she stepped forward and straddled the sow, locking her legs behind it’s front ones. She looked over to Rose who had taken her place, kneeling with the bowl in place. She asked her if she was ready and Rose gave a nod. Ani can do this. She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath to calm her nerves, it wasn’t every day that she did something like this. She opened her eyes and looked at Le’ and Xavier, then without thinking she reached down with her gloved hand and grabbed the sow up under her chin, pulled it back as far as she could and with the calmest look on her face, like this was something she did everyday, she brought the blade across the sow’s throat, she did it just like Le’ said and there wasn’t even a squeal. Once it was over and the pig removed, Anicka stepped aside as Le’ took her place where the pig once was. Rose handed the bowl to Mother, who then held it up high. Again she called upon the Gods asking them to bless the child being carried in the womb and to carry the spirit of the one still trapped back with them so he may take his place with the ancestors who have passed before. She tilted the bowl, and began pouring the blood from one shoulder to the other and handed the bowl to Rose who went to each of the clans teams and began to flick blood on them.

I welcome into the Av’Ulver Clan, Lexandria Sarah Black, heir to the Firstborn.

The arena became a deafening roar of cheers; it might be every day a woman gets pregnant, but here, it wasn’t every day that a woman gets pregnant with a Firstborn. Inside the Av’Ulver Clan’s viewing box, there was stunned silence among Xavier’s side of the family. First was the fact that she was given Sarah as a middle name, especially with everything that has been going on with her and the family, as a matter of fact, she wasn’t even here. And the second was…

Leave it to those two and their egos to give her both their names. Kal X said and shook his head.

Leave it to those two to give her both their names and it looks like her name is eating his just like… VooDoo said nothing else but the adults knew what she was talking about. Just like L2 had “ate” X2.

Just like what, Aunt Voo? Marie asked.

Didn’t I say all we need is some flying broomsticks and it’s a Quidditch match? Vhodka quickly said, drawing the kids attention from the convo just long enough for them to hear Mother’s words echoing through the arena with “Let the Games begin.” and all five of them were out of their seats, kneeling at the front banister watching the games below.

 

۩۩

 

It was nearly 6 hours into the games, and out of the 130 men and women that started out, there were just six left on the field and one didn’t count because it was Le’Andra playing the Angel of Death, who tapped out warriors who were “dead” collecting their souls, unlike her mother, she didn’t dance and prance around, as pregnant as she was, she was lucky was wasn’t riding a pony and them having to fight around horse shit. It was down to Enberg and two members of his Clan and Anicka and Xavier for the Av’Ulver Clan. All five were bruised and bloodied, no one carried shields. Ani doesn’t know about you, but she’s really tired of playing. She wants to get something to eat and smoke. Best thing I’ve heard all day. Plan?

Ani’s just going to walk right up to them and fight them. She shrugged her shoulders and started towards the three alone, the bold move was enough to send the arena into a roar. Ani can do this.

Sounds like a good plan. Call me if you need me. Ani never looked back but gave him a thumbs up as she continued to talk. I’d prefer it if you didn’t though, because I am really tired. Her thumbs up turned into a middle finger which caused him to laugh.

Seeing her coming, Harald Enberg motioned for the man beside him to walk out and meet her as both him and the other man moved the other way. Although he loved the thought of taking out the proxy, he had his eyes on Xavier, payback for what happened the last time. Ani can do this. She finally started to run and her opponent did, too. They met in a dance of parries and ripostes, circling each other and hitting as hard as they could with the solid wooden swords. The crowd cheered the two on and Harald decided to make another move. He motioned for the other man beside him to go after Xavier. He would keep an eye on both fights and join the one that started to lose.

Ani’s getting really hungry. She told her opponent as they circled each other. All she wants is some food.

Then all you have to do is play dead for me. Ani stopped in her tracks and looked at him, which caused him to do the same. She placed her hands on her hips and smiled at him; he followed suit and did the same. But that’s where the game of Follow the Leader ended. He wasn’t used to silent attacks, he was used to someone yelling out before they struck, what he didn’t expect was for Anicka to drop her sword and jump on him. She caught him off guard and before everyone knew it, he was down on his back and she was straddling his chest and punching him in the face. Each time she punched him she would scream out a word.

All. Punch. Ani. Punch. Wants. Punch. Is. Punch. To. Punch. Eat. Punch. Ani’s. Punch. Hangry.

When he finally stopped moving, she stopped punching and sat there for a second making sure he stayed down before she got up and turned around. Harald turned to find Xavier and the man he sent after him battling it out. Xavier’s back was towards him, he looked over at Anicka who was picking up an axe from the ground and was coming his way. Harald was now faced with a choice of going after Xavier or facing off against the “Firstborn”. From behind Ani, her fallen opponent managed to get back to his feet, struggling to remove the axe from his belt, as he started walking behind Ani. From the other side of the field, Xavier’s opponent began to wear down to where his last ditch effort was to try and run him through. Xavier stepped to the side while grabbing the dagger at his side and “stabbed” it through him, holding the man’s sword hand high above them. The man grabbed onto Xavier and held him tight, as Harold began to pull the axe out from his belt, Anicka had thought it was to come at her, that was until she noticed the shift in his view, it went past her. She looked over her shoulder to see the man behind her raise the axe back behind his head. Fuck. Ani can do this. Anicka turned back around to Harold and drew her own axe back and let it go. Anicka went down with the axe hitting her dead center in the back, she looked up in time to see hers clock Harald up side of his head and crumple to the ground… but not before he could throw his axe…

Is she out of her mind!?! Almost everyone in the family’s viewing box said at the same time.

Le’Andra seeing what was happening was unable to stand on the sidelines anymore, grabbed the wooden axe from her guardian beside her and ran fifty feet onto the field as fast as she could holding the bottom of her belly with one hand. She stopped, got in a throwing stance and let the axe fly. Xavier dropped the man’s body and turned around to see where everyone else was, and was met with the loud sound of a thundering crack and splintered wood… Le’Andra’s axe caught Harald’s midthrow, both broke on impact. The arena went wild in another deafening roar.

Not on my watch. She mumbled as Anicka came running over to her.

Are you crazy, Le-Le? She wrapped her arm around her waist. Are you okay?

Le’Andra said nothing to her, but burst out crying and hugged Ani to her, seeing this, Xavier was no longer walking slowly, but running full speed. He wrapped his arms around both.

What’s wrong? He said out of breath. What happened?

Ani doesn’t know?!? She just started crying like a girl for no reason.

Is the baby okay? Are you okay?

We’re fine. She finally said and pushed herself away from them. I’m just so happy. We won Clan Wars. Thank you, Ani. She hugged her again.

Ani told you she would. She smiled. Can we go eat now? Ani’s starving.

They made their way off the field as medics came out to help the other men, who were now laying in heaps on the field, too tired to move on their own. There would be a celebration tonight, for the seventh year straight in a row.

 

۩۩

 

It was in the wee hours of the morning and the feast was slowly starting to die down, with family’s all leaving to go back to where their clans had set up their camps. Anicka is sitting over at a table with a single place sitting and another empty chair.

Ani did it. Ani thinks you would be proud. Ani wishes you had been here. Ani thinks… Everyone wished you had been here. There haven’t been too many people that have been proud of Ani and what she can do, but you were one of them. Even when we faced off against each other, Ani could tell by the look in your eyes that you still loved her. Granted it was some tough love right then. She chuckled. Ani’s going to keep on making you proud. She’s going to make everyone proud. Then she smiled a wicked little smile. Ani’s gonna make ol’ PMont proud, too. Proud that Ani kicked his ass.

Ani, are you talking to yourself? Le’Andra said as she and Xavier walked up.

Something like that. We’re headed back to the hotel, would you like to ride with us?

Sure, Ani’s got nothing better to do. She cast them a sideways glance as she took a drink from her cup. Since you won’t let Ani do anyone in Norway.

Last thing we need is an International Incident with you. Anicka laughed as stood up and took the chair she was sitting in and moved it away from the single place setting. No one was allowed to sit at that table. That table was in honor of one person and one person alone… the Blacks’ estranged sister, Sarah Wolf. The three of them walked away, each of them thinking back on happier times before everything with the family seemed to go to hell in a handbasket.