The Book of Warriors
"A warrior thinks of death when things become unclear. The idea of death is the only thing that tempers our spirit."
Thousands of years ago, the cry of a maiden rang out through the winding halls of Valhalla. Intrigued by the sound, Freyja flew to the source.
A woman, flanked by hundreds of men, flew down into a valley, colliding abruptly with the other army. The battle cry continued as the woman slaughtered the enemy. She fought with a courage that the Goddess had only witnessed in some of the strongest warriors.
This woman, this young maiden was strong, independant, and ruthless.
Another cry echoed over the battlegrounds.
The woman stilled abruptly, falling to the hard ground. One of the enemy, cruelly twisted the blade in her chest, ripping at the delicate skin. She cried out again, gasping for breath. Finally, the enemy pulled the broadsword from her breast and peered down at her.
The battle raged on around the woman, but the only sound Freyja could hear were her shallow breaths.
She was dying.
The enemy was soon pulled into another fight, leaving the suffering girl to die. Quickly, Freyja cut her left hand, watching as her silver blood pooled in her palm. Holding out her other hand, she summoned the light, watching as it thread itself in her blood. She raised her arms above her head, and threw the light to the ground, watching as it hit her target in the chest.
"Fear not, my child. You are in my care now. You are my Valkyrie." She whispered, smiling down at the young maiden.
My name is Dannika Black, creator of the Book of Warriors. These are the stories of the victorious warriors who died thousands of years ago. Freyja, the Goddess of War, Battle, Prophecy and Wealth, created the Valkyrie, "choosers of the slain", as her and Odin's personal death angels, so to speak. They would choose the most courageous of warriors killed on the battle field and bring them to Valhalla in Asgard, home of the ir. There, the warriors would be praised and welcomed with ale, and women.
But that was so long ago. Even in the 21st century, Valkyries walk the earth, fighting for their right to live.
These are their stories.
Mist the Chooser of the Slain
Midgard 3456 B.C.E
Too long they'd waited for this to come, somehow knowing that the longer they waited, the more disastrous the punishment would be. She knew this.
Mist, daughter of the late Saugrid, or otherwise known as Mist the Strong, fought proudly beside her father's army. It had taken her many years to gain their trust and respect, and now, the men would follow her into Hel itself.
She'd known when the oracle had told of the fall of Saugrid, and the great war that would strike fear into the hearts of even the strongest of warriors, that they would have to attempt a pre-emptive attack. How else would they win this. With her father gone, Mist knew that the army would be harder to control. Less likely to fight.
Now, to her despair, that day had come.
Her father had fallen, and the drums of battle rang out through the city.
She prayed, that Surt, the God of Chaos would smile down on them for a change. They would have a hard enough chance winning without the help of the Gods.
"My lady," Einar interrupted her thoughts. "They are not but two leagues from us. We must act now, outside of the city." Mist nodded. With practiced ease, she sheathed her broadsword behind her back, and wrapped another small blade around her thigh. She wore a small loincloth fabricated from the flax plant for flexibility, and a small handerock, that she'd cut in half, and tied around the back. Her long raven hair fell to her waist, curling around the edges.
"Find Geir and Finn," She started, pushing her hair out of her face. "Tell them to gather as many of the men and brief them on the situation. We are going to need fighters, but we cannot use them on the battlefield. If the enemy gets past us, we need warriors to protect the village. I want Geir and Finn to stay behind and make sure that every child and woman gets out and underground. Only when ever last child is out will they allow the men to hide, do you understand me?" She asked, her grey eyes piercing. He nodded once, whistling for his scribe. He said a few short words, and then the boy ran off to do as his master had said.
"Good luck to you, my lady," He said, his hand on his heart. She nodded, "And to you. It's been a pleasure, Einar."
She followed him out of the tent, peering up at the sky. It was cloudy, as usual, but the beginnings of a storm coiled to the north. Villagers were scattered throughout the street, purchasing last minute necessities, and saying goodbye to loved ones. Black smoke filtered out of chimneys, creating a dark and eerie setting to the city. To her left, the warriors were seated on their warhorses, waiting patiently for instruction. Some of the newer members seemed extremely nervous. Of course they would be nervous. This was their first battle.
And it was going to be the most dangerous battle of their lives.
To her right, priests sat, praying to the heavens. They were the only hope.
"Are we ready, my lady?" Lief asked. He'd always been the impatient one. I nodded, preparing to mount my horse.
"Mist!" A female voice called. The hysteria in her voice was obvious.
"Mother, you must go!" She ordered, turning to her mother. Small arms wrapped around her, holding her tightly.
"You cannot leave me without saying goodbye." Her mother whispered into her hair.
"I love you, mother," Mist whispered back, leaning her chin on her mother's shoulder. Her mother kissed her head, gently patting it with her frail hand.
"Your father would have been proud of you, my dear," She pulled back, stepping a few feet away from her. Tears glistened in her eyes. "May the Gods be with you," She whispered.
Mist nodded, pulling herself up onto her horse. She looked at her hands, curled into Hakan's mane, sheilding her face from her men. She could not show weakness.
"And with you," She whispered before kicking Hakan into motion. The army fell in behind her as they charged out of the city, and up to the top of the Howe. We slowed as we reached the top, eventually stopping completely. I checked the ground, out of habit, for holes or rocks. I heaved a sigh in frustration.
"My lady, we can't ride on this," Dustin said, riding up beside her. "The stupid rodents have taken this valley. We must go on foot," I nodded, slipping off of Hakan's back. He had been through too much to be hurt on the ride down. The other warriors lowered themselves from the backs of their horses. This put them at an even worse disadvantage.
The drums pounded across the valley, getting louder as they approached.
"Warriors," Mist yelled, her voice carrying over the loud sound of the drums. The men stared intently as she paced in front of them. "For many lifetimes this enemy has burned our villages, murdered our families, and destroyed our way of life. We die tonight, but with us we take hundreds." She unsheathed the sword at her back, raising it above her head. "Tonight we rest in Valhalla!"
Their warcry rang through the valley, silencing the war drums. Hundreds of warriors pounded down the valley, screaming, "Eulalia!".
The two armies clashed, an array of bodies, screaming and cracking.
Her broadsword in one hand, and her axe in the other, Mist battled with a lifelong fury that had waited years to be set free. Her father lay in the cold, hard ground because of these men. And there he would stay. Instead of seeking the afterlife in Valhalla, the once proud warrior would be cast out. He'd recieved his wound in battle, and yet, he'd died from a fever on his bed, with his wife desperately pleading with the Gods to allow him one more chance to die victoriously.
But the Gods did not often show mercy.
Another attacked her, this time from behind. She turned abruptly, blocking his sword with her axe, and plunged her own into his heart. Another attack. She twisted the blade out of the fallen warrior and spun on her heel, ducking low and avoiding a head-swipe. Her own blade landed just below his ribs, causing minimal pain. She pulled it out, and plunged it back in again, this time into his chest. The enemy attacked her, until she was covered in blood and sweat. Mist breathed hard, trying to concentrate on what was happening around her.
The sky opened up, pelting rain onto the hard ground.
Suddenly, a sharp pain rocked through her, causing her to gasp desperately for air. Her lungs were shattered, and her heart shuddered sickeningly. She looked at her chest, choking on her sobs. The enemy's broadsword had plunged straight through her heart, right up to the hilt.
"Not so strong now, are you?" The enemy taunted, twisting the blade. Her ribs cracked as they were being pushed by the sword's edges. By now she was sure her lungs were nothing but empty sacs. She could not get a single ounce of air in. Black dots appeared in her vision, threatening to blind her indefinitely. She gasped for more breath, as tears rolled down her cheeks, making trails through the blood. She wasn't sure how much of it was hers, and how much of it was the enemy's. Mist glanced up at the sky, perhaps to curse the Gods, but she noticed something amazing.
Far above her, a Goddess stood, her eyes blazing. She was hauntingly beautiful, with raven hair, and startling silver eyes. In her delicate hands she wove with lightning. Only her shadow was visible as she raised the lightning above her head. Her black shadow fell over the valley, stunning those around her. Mist smiled as she gasped for breath once again. Her last moments, and she had seen something unbelievable.
Suddenly, the Goddess threw down the lightning. Light blazed in Mist's eyes as she burned. The fire licked at her skin before engulfing her completely. It surrounded her heart, twisting it in it's furious grip. She cried out in agony as air filled her blazing lungs. Her whole body tingled uncomfortably as she arched from the pain.
Soft words flew on the wind to her ears like a soothing balm.
"You are my Valkyrie." The words whispered, intoxicatingly. Her eyes rolled back into her head, as her hands curled at the sides. The air pounded once again in her chest, and finally, the fire stopped.
Blackness covered her vision, bathing her in a relaxing haze. Unconsciousness over came her, as she heard one word on the wind.
© Copyright 2016 Dannika. All rights reserved.