Valkyries: Choosers of the Slain

The air rings with the loud clangs of shields clashing together in a test of strength. Swords meet with fury, as their steel sizzles through the blood and bones of the enemy when one has gained the upperhand. Gruff cries of men defeated roars through the sky every once in a while. The battle still rages on…

The ground is covered with the blood of the fallen and the sweat of the still struggling, it’s rigid surface ridden with the tramplings of the men fighting above it. The sky has taken a grey metal sheen, as if projecting the sorrows of the warriors whose brothers-in-arms have fallen before them.

Suddenly the air starts to sizzle with electricity and the sky turns a multitude of colors called the Aurora Borealis. Loud shrieks can be heard from afar, female shrieks. Not of pain and sorrow but of something wilder and immortal— an incessant battle cry.

The soldiers still standing strong pause mid-strife and stare at the sky with awe in their eyes as it is pierced by lightning bolts. Something huge is flying towards them and approaching fast. And then they see it.

A golden chariot draw by horses with raven black wings flies over them. On it stand tall nine women in steel and chainmail, their spears and shiels held menacingly in their hands as they shriek out war cries. A pure white flag with a still raven drawn on it flies over the chariot. And then they fly into the horizon…

The battle begins again but this time their is a new zeal in one team that hadn’t been there previously. The valkyries have spoken. They have weaved the name of the victor in their white silk. Now all that remains to be done is fight bravely and hope that one is chosen for Valhalla, to fight and feast forever…

In Celtic mythology, Valkyries are demigoddesses of Death who choose the bravest of the warriors slain on the battlefield for the halls of Valhalla, where the chosen can fight through the day and feast through the night.

The name “Valkyrie” is a derivative of the name valkyrja in Old Norse, which literally translates as “Chooser of the Slain”. Valkyries are related to the Celtic warrior-goddess Morrigan, who can assume the form of a raven. They are usually depicted as blue-eyed, blond-haired, beautiful women garbed in armour and weilding shields and spears. But they give up their armours for pure white robes in Valhalla, where they serve mead to the warriors they have chosen.

Valkyries are the messengers of the god Odinn and direct the course of a war and the victors of a battle. They scout the battlefields and choose the souls of the bravest slain-warriors to grace the halls of Valhalla. It is said that if you are deemed unworthy by a valkyrie then your soul is sent to the underworld realm of the goddess Hel after death.

Valkyries are also connected to the legend of the Raven Banner. According to the legend, valkyries weave a flag of pure white silk, which remains unmarked till the time a battle begins. At this time a raven is woven into the silk. If the raven is seen with its beak open wide, its wings spread out and its feet restless, then the Danes would be victorious in battle. But if the raven is still then the other side wins.

So if you wish to see a valkyrie…don’t. It’s is said that if you see a valkyrie before a battle then you are fated to die in it. And you never know whether your soul will be chosen for Valhalla or forever chucked to the underworld!

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2 thoughts on “Valkyries: Choosers of the Slain

  1. I’m glad I found this blog on Empire Avenue – I’m really enjoying the theme and not just because Halloween is on its way!

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