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The Lost Valkyries

“No warrior can hope to equal their skill. And, only the grandest of powers dare stand before them. Battle is the reason for their being. War is their playground. Death is their gift.” – Amadeus Hyth on valkyries.

The Great War saw many great and terrible things walk the surface of Terra. Giants, dragons, angels, demons, gods, and titans were among the most formidable and even they learned to fear the might of the valkyrie…

Although it’s believed they were wiped out during The Great War, this seems to be because they engaged in more battle than essentially any race. Amadeus seemed to have hit the nail on the head when he said that battle is the reason for their being, as according to the records they dove headfirst into countless conflicts, especially those against stronger opponents.

Valkyries were often mistaken for angels, and the reasons for this are fairly obvious given that they’re winged humanoids of immense power. But, after going through what few records we have, it’s very clear that they were definitely not angels. They did, however, engage in the battles between Heaven and The Hells, but it seems that was more for their own enjoyment than anything else.

Many have a code of honor, but beyond that, they don’t seem to have cared much. They fought on both sides in The Great War. Even against each other.

All valkyries, like dryads, were female. And, all were maidens of battle.

Going by the records, they don’t seem to have relied much on magic. Rather, it appears that they simply achieved such high levels of skill and raw power that there was very little that could stand against them.

There is even a gripping encounter described by a scribe whose name has been lost to time detailing how a valkyrie held off an archdemon with nothing more than a kitchen knife.

Whether that tale is to be believed or not is a matter of much debate, but one thing is clear in all the records describing valkyries. Their skill was mythical. It’s said that they trained endlessly with all weapons and even that they have an innate sense for any weapon that outstripped even the greatest heroes.

And, yet, they didn’t rely on their innate skill. They trained and trained and trained. Endlessly. And, in doing so, they somehow shattered the boundaries of what should be possible with even an ordinary blade.

Not only were they at least as swift as angels, with the raw strength to shatter mountains, but they somehow defied much of what we know to be possible. From killing werewolves with but a single ordinary arrow to ending ghosts with their bare hands.

They were even thought to be capable of seeing into the future at one stage, but the popular theory now is that they were simply so gifted in battle that they knew what their opponent would do through skill and experience rather than magic.

And, the feathers of a valkyrie were said to be razor-sharp. Though, they rarely used them in a fight, unless it was against something they considered worthy.

They’re also said to have performed physical feats that sound a lot more like magic to me than anything else. Being in multiple places at once, leaving illusionary images, swatting aside all but the most powerful magical attacks with contempt…

I wonder if they weren’t more gifted with magic than people thought…

Given that all valkyries were women, the natural question is how they reproduced. And there, they are fairly similar to dryads.

Valkyries would apparently watch battles between other races and select great warriors or heroes as mates. They would then swoop down and steal them from the battlefield. Usually, the warriors returned some time later, but not always.

It was thought that those who did not return either died in valkyrie lands or lived out their days there. Perhaps as husbands to the fierce warrior maidens.

So, I spoke earlier about the code of honor valkyries live by. Now, this seems to be something unique to each valkyrie. But, there are definitely some commonalities between them all.

For one thing, they saw weaponsmiths and armourers as artisans. Almost holy in a way. A few of them forged their own weapons as well, but regardless they had tremendous respect for any who forged good quality weapons and armor. Making a valkyrie better weapons and armor than she had would be a fast way to gain their protection for life. Although, being as they were so powerful, earning their respect required a great deal of skill and craftsmanship.

Many of them also abhorred doing battle with ‘the weak.’ Which, included basically anyone or anything weaker than them. Although they did frequently engage in slaughter, this was usually when they could get entire armies of weaker creatures to face them all at once. And, even then, they were often provoked in some way.

And, they’d still kill weaker creatures. They just didn’t gain any great enjoyment out of it. More likely, they’d do it out of disgust or irritation. Like how you might be disgusted by a fly and kill it just to get rid of it.

So, one can hardly call them paragons of virtue. They also expected others to follow the same code if you can call it that. And, frequently killed those who persecuted the weak without provocation. But, this seems to have had less to do with them caring about stopping evil acts than it does to do with them finding it pathetic to seek out unprovoked conflict with weaker creatures. But, what they considered a worthy provocation could be a simple slight at times.

But, the weak generally had less to fear from valkyries. After all, while they might kill weaker creatures on occasion, if they came across a being of equal or greater power, they almost inevitably sought to battle or spar with it.

I’d love to know what caused such a strange behavioral trait in valkyries. After all, almost any creature would avoid something that threatened its life. But, valkyries enjoyed a kind of fanatic pleasure in facing such beings. Even when they were beaten or killed.

Perhaps it is this trait more than any other that made valkyries such a thing to be feared in the ancient world. Even though it likely led to their extinction. After all, while they may have been powerful enough to be awe inspiring for us, I can’t help but imagine it in the perspective of human society. Something my mind can put into greater context and sympathize with.

Even just looking out across the university grounds, I see how the students avoid the bullies or anyone they see as a threat to them. But, what if they didn’t? How horrifying would it be if they sought them out instead? Even if I were nine feet tall with rippling muscles, I think I might still be terrified of the idea of someone attacking me with a kind of demented pleasure. Smaller or not, there’s just something about that that raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

And, how much more intimidating would that be if I weren’t human? Few creatures can hope to contest with the likes of angels, demons, or dragons. Surely, they must be rather used to that? complacent even?

Now, imagine the shock of being hunted down for a fight by something of such power and skill. And, for no reason at all except that she wants the challenge. Should you try to intimidate them, or bluff your way out of the fight, you’d only make them all the more eager!

They lived for battle and would gladly bathe in your blood as they carved you limb from limb. To them, there was no greater pleasure…

I find myself rather glad they’re gone. They may not be one of the more evil or horrifying entries in this compendium… but there’s just something about them that makes my blood run cold.

- Nicholas Wolfram, Professor of Monsterology at Lestria University

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