Origin of the Valkyrie

In the blood-splattered snow, the lone warrior fell to one knee and shuddered with weakness. Still, an arm shot out to raise a sword against the oncoming legion.

Her dented breastplate swallowed her small form.

Though the winds howled, whipping her hair, she heard the twang of a bowstring. She screamed in fury when an arrow punctured the center of her armor, the force sending her flying back.

The arrowhead had pierced through metal, then barely through her breastbone, just enough that her heart met the point with each beat. The beating of her own brave heart was killing her.

But her scream had awakened two gods who’d been sleeping through a wintry decade. They stirred and looked down upon the maiden, seeing courage burning bright in her eyes. Bravery and will had marked her entire life, but the light ebbed with death, and they mourned it.

Freya, the female god, whispered that they should preserve her courage for eternity because it was so precious.

Wóden agreed, and together they gave up lightning to tear through the ether and strike the dying maiden. The flash was violent and slow to fade and made the army tremble.

When blackness descended once more, the healed maiden woke in a strange place. She was untouched, her human mortality unchanged. But soon she would bear an immortal daughter who possessed her courage, Wóden’s wily brilliance, and Freya’s mirth and fey beauty. Though this daughter enjoyed the power of lightning for sustenance, she also inherited Wóden’s arrogance and Freya’s acquisitiveness, which merely endeared her to them more.

The gods were content and the maiden adoring of her new baby. Yet after an age had flickered past, the gods heard another female call out for courage when she fell in battle against a dark enemy. She wasn’t a human, but a fury, one among the Lore—those clever beings who have convinced humans that they exist only in imagination.

Scarce moments had the creature; her breaths were no longer visible in the freezing night.

“Our halls are great, yet our family is small,” Freya said, her eyes sparkling so brightly that a mariner in the north was briefly blinded by the stars and almost lost his way.

Grim Wóden took her hand, unable to deny her.

Those surrounding the dying fury saw lightning tear through the sky once more.

In the coming years, it would strike again and again, until female warriors—be they human, demoness, siren, changeling, or any brave creature from the Lore—knew to pray for it as they died.

Thus the Valkyries were born.

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