© Copyright 2007 - Darqside - Used by permission
Storycodes: FM; mythology; goddess; fantasy; cons; X
Author's note: This story was mostly inspired by Norse Mythology and a certain videogame I like to play by the name of "Valkyrie Profile", there are a few hints at it in the story, but mostly I did it for fun. Hope you like it!
It’s been so long since I was alive; I think I may have forgotten how it was I died.
But considering my personal experiences after that, well… you could say my life paled in comparison.
I was in a war, a war with guns and bullets and bombs. I forget why, maybe because I believed the president would actually do something good for the world, I don’t remember.
After a bright flash and an instant of pain, I met her.
She was unlike any woman I had ever seen.
Bound head to foot in the most elegant silver armor, and laced with the softest white silk, she wielded a golden sword. She had the face of an angel, with golden hair and the softest most solemn smile. Her head was graced with a kind of garland adorned with black feathers.
“Your soul has passed beyond into the realm of the gods… and you have been chosen to fight.”
She was very serious in tone. But her voice was soft and rang clear in my ears. My spirit seemed to glow with every word she spoke.
At that point I recall becoming enveloped in light, and walking toward her.
She took me inside of herself… her arms wide open like some great gate that lead to an even greater hall.
I literally went inside her body!
It was definitely the strangest way to get drafted I had ever felt.
My spirit seemed to linger at this point. My eyes were looking through her eyes. I could see every inch of her body as though it now had become my own.
Yet I could sense I was not part of her body, as I felt her powerful golden spirit, like a large warm flame, surround me. Her feelings were my feelings, and the emotions that drove her, drove me as well.
She was a maiden of battle.
It was the duty of the Valkyrie to balance and correct any spiritual aberrations in the world. Be they evil spirits, dark feelings, and other things unseen by the living.
And I had become her sword.
It was the strangest feeling to be summoned by her at the brink of my first battle. I felt like I was waking from a deep slumber, and yet my mind was always thinking and drifting.
When my body formed for the first time… I didn’t recognize myself!
“What… what’s going on?” I asked.
“This will be your body for the duration of your many battles to come.”
I remembered back then I was just a skinny kid at the age of 22, barely out of basic, and just learned how to clean my gun.
Now instead of a gun, I held a sword… a very large sword at that, the kind you might see in some great hall where old aristocrats collect armor. In fact I was wearing armor too. Not to mention my body felt stronger, livelier, more adept, than I think I’ve ever felt before.
I lifted the large sword and it felt light enough in my now strong arms to might as well be an extension of my own arm.
“It is your duty as an Einherjar, to fight with me and destroy any darkness in nature. I hope you understand.”
“I didn’t know why I was fighting back when I was alive, but now at least I have some reason why here.” I said, somewhat disoriented.
When I finally hefted that large sword over my head, I felt a mysterious power flowing from my arms and, truth be told, that power also seemed to flow directly into that woman.
Before me stood the most grotesque looking creatures I had ever seen. Nothing in basic had prepared me for what I was looking at now. They looked almost human, but the spikes and armor and other more grotesqueries spoke otherwise.
I had only one thing to do.
The first time I swung my sword, I felt I was doing it out of fear, but as the blade struck home and the blood poured on the ground, I could feel the wrenching swing of the edge dig in and bite through bone.
I had learned long before that in war you either kill or get killed.
But the creature I had hit with my sword somehow still stood there, gore and foul gunk pouring out, and began to hobble towards me, unfazed.
I swung again.
The second cut split the creature in two, and although still alive, it was now incapacitated and faded into light as a soulless scream cut the air as my sword purified its remains to dust.
My arms felt taut with energy, but it wasn’t the thrill of the battle that gave me that second wind.
It was my desire to protect her.
She of course held her sword with much poise, and every blow she struck on the other foes always hit their marks.
When all our opponents were defeated, she looked at me with an almost feral glance.
“Do not fear killing these creatures. The flesh they bear is false, and they would soon feed upon innocent living beings had we not defeated them. That is our task, as we must protect those who yet live from such a fate.”
“What are these…things?”
“They are twisted Souls corrupted by their own hatred and jealousy towards the living as well as their own despair at death. They are unreasonable and their thirst for death is unquenchable unless we purify their Souls, your sword is the means to do that.”
It was a difficult thing to understand at first. People who were once human, once normal died for something, and ended up like this. And the only way to fix things was to obliterate any remnant of what remained?
“The sword you carry contains a special rune that gathers up the remnants of shattered corrupt souls and purifies them. The souls are reformed and transferred to Valhalla where they can live out their afterlives in human dignity, or if they are chosen…to be reborn.”
“Reborn? You can do that?!”
“Only if it is the soul’s desire…and even then, the soul must be strong enough to withstand the reformation process, which is why you were chosen. You need to be strengthened to be reborn.”
“You mean, I’m going to…” I wasn’t sure what I thought of the prospect of rebirth.
“You do not wish to be reborn?” she asked, almost reading my mind.
“I don’t know… I mean, when I lived, I was always being demanded to do something by other people… not that living like this is much different…. but.”
“I do not choose a soul unless they are willing.” She said confidently. Her voice was like hot fire, then, enough for me to realize the doubt in my own heart at my own feelings.
“Yours is a very unique soul, I think.” She said, once again reading my feelings. “Your desire is to be useful to others, yet you feel guilt over death. Understand that death in this world brings rebirth, while death in your world is a severance from soul and body, which is all part of the cycle.”
“What’s…what’s your name?” I asked her.
“I am called Randgníð. But I understand that is difficult for you to pronounce in your native tongue…so you may call me Raven for short, as that is the sigil I bear on my wings…as one of the Ravens of the dark sky.”
Something in my memory clicked, and I felt as though I had known her from long ago. It was a foggy day and I was staring up at a tree where a large black crow was perched. Its dark eyes looked at me and didn’t even squawk. It was watching me.
She was watching me then.
“Was I fated to join you?” I asked.
“Fate no longer has any meaning to us. Odin once reigned but now that role has passed on to the three sisters of fate, for it is they who watch over the World Tree to prevent its growth from being stunted. It is no longer the goal of the gods to pursue war and battle, although it would seem otherwise. Einherjar are now the means for strengthening and purifying souls for the rebirth cycle.”
With that, she opened her arms in a welcoming embrace, and I was once again dwelling within her body. It was truly a unique experience. But I felt something else there…something more than the immaterial experience of not having a body.
Was it…her desire?
It was a faint glimmer, but the glimpse I had was that she felt lonely. She hid behind her strong determination, but I was beginning to suspect that she held feelings of regret for something.
Time passed like a whirlwind, I don’t recall how many battles we fought together since then. The sensation of being bound and immobile inside her immaculate body was strangely comforting to me, and when she summoned me…along with many other Einherjar…it felt very much like my soul was lit ablaze.
Many enemies fell before my sword…and I had never carried a sword before in my life! I was an average marksman at best with my AK-47 in life…but this was extremely invigorating. I felt stronger with every swing. And even though I felt I was killing an enemy just as I had done in my life. I knew the end result was that of a pure soul.
I began to ponder how I ended up an Einherjar…was I just simply chosen, or were they looking for one such as myself.
Raven didn’t speak much after the battles, and at some point it felt as though she were hurting for brief moments.
One particular day she stood silently in a field of flowers waiting for the next wave of corrupt souls to appear, and I felt the tinge of sorrow in her heart.
In my thoughts I decided to finally ask her what it was that she was in pain over.
She stopped for a moment, frozen by my question.
“Many eons have passed since I was human. And every time I battle them…I think about how my life ended up.” She said.
It was Odin who had ‘created’ her as she now existed. He referred to the process as the ‘Rite of the Sovereign’. The process through which he bound the soul of innocent maidens and molded them into ‘Warrior Slaves’ of his own design, dedicated only to battle and the choosing of the slain.
Innocent maidens who died the most cruel and tragic of deaths (either by accident or triggered by Odin himself, as he had the power to alter fate) were chosen for the Rite of the Sovereign. A special insignia was branded onto their souls, making them to only obey Odin as their master. Their bodies would still remain alive, but of a hollow substance that meant their souls served as containers for Souls he had them gather. Souls that Odin would sometimes dismember and use for his own sustenance, as despite being a god, his own soul was corrupt and addicted to the narcotic scent of lost life and of war.
Like worker bees in a hive that gather sweet nectar…the Valkyries were bound to only fight battles with any enemy Odin directed them to fight. They would never question their roles, as they were dead to emotions. Some were chosen to fight each other to the death in front of his throne, the survivor then executed and resurrected for later battle, death having little to no meaning for Odin. Of course, battles were not the only things Odin had them do. Many of his Battle Maidens served as his own personal harem to pleasure his fancy as he saw fit.
The three Maidens of Fate were also Valkyries of his own design once. The secret behind them was that their lives were orchestrated to be so tragic that they had no choice but to become his slaves. His cold heart desired a desperate maiden who would only live for the battle, for him.
Somehow those three managed to escape the control of his brand, and thus were able to usurp the mighty Odin. Through their strength, they reformed the darkness wrought by Odin’s warmongering and brought an end to many meaningless wars.
Raven was a victim and a participant in those many wars. And now that things had ended, she felt she had nothing to go home to. She was still a Battle Maiden without a master. So she felt it her duty to restore order to the cycle of Souls along with the three Maidens of Fate, as it was within her power to do so.
But she hadn’t counted on being this lonely…even though her body was a vessel for warrior souls…she felt alone. Her only solace was the defeat and purification of lost souls she encountered at the heights and edges of the world.
I couldn’t help but feel the pain she felt. It was inside me, just as I was inside her. I could feel ancient memories in her heart trying to break free, but would not come. It seemed as though her own memories of her life among the living were sealed up as well.
“Don’t…don’t probe so deep.” She said. “It hurts.”
I stopped and didn’t ask any more questions.
“I’m sorry.” I replied.
A month or so later, and we were fighting a particularly resistant group of undead creatures ‘zombies’ I referred to them playfully.
We were holding our own for a while when I discovered she was breathing heavier than usual. It was then that a spike of pain seemed to form at the base of her forehead. My empathy towards her was strange of course, but I had gotten used to the sensation by now.
A memory was being triggered in her mind due to something, it was forcing its way out of her.
It was caused by the image of a little girl, mostly dead, still trying to survive on the remains of the undead creatures we had just defeated.
Raven collapsed in pain as the memory tried to force itself into her mind…but the seal held. And she herself received a lot of pain as a result.
I ran up to find she had fallen unconscious, and therefore was in danger. So I decided to pick her up and carry her to some place for shelter (I had no idea where I was, but at least we had a place to hide).
I hid in the trunk of an old tree nearby, with her light body in my arms. I was surprised she was so light to carry. I had not gotten to know her this up close before, and so in many ways this was a new experience for me.
She was the most beautiful woman I had laid my eyes on…even when compared to the other maidens of whom she described to me on days when I felt like asking questions. It was strange that she was never bothered by my incessant need to ask questions about the world and its state. She felt almost relieved when I asked her questions…perhaps comfort that I was even talking to her.
But now she was collapsed and in pain due to a distant memory that tried to push itself beyond the prison in her mind formed by that wretch Odin.
I had no choice but to sit and wait for her to wake up. I held her gently in my arms and waited. In fact, she was bound more than she described to me, as a Battle Maiden is locked inside the armor she wears, and despite its weight, she cannot take it off for whatever reason, bound body and soul The armor was seamless and molded across her lithe body like a thick epidermis. Her dress draped over her body like a second skin, but looser.
When she finally awoke, her splitting headache could be felt by her and all the souls, me included, inside of her.
“Valkyrie Raven, are you alright?”
“I’m fine for the moment.” She sighed. It was obvious to me then that her voice was trembling.
She glanced up at my spiritual body in somewhat alarm.
“You carried my body to this tree, didn’t you?” she said. “Souls who are strong enough to become reborn are only able to make contact with the physical realm. Why did you hide your power for this long? I could have released your soul back to your home world?”
As she said this, some of the residual energy I had used previously to carry her to the tree solidified me. I was no longer a dead man…but a living breathing being.
“Your soul is strong, it seems…” she commented. “So why do you remain here?”
My mind was torn, I didn’t really think about it before. I was summoned to be an einherjar, a warrior under the Valkyrie…and now I was able to be released, just like that?
“I don’t want to leave.” I said.
“You question a goddess?” she suddenly became defensive for whatever reason.
“You were in pain just now. If I had left, what sort of guarantee would I have that you would be safe?” something inside me took hold… something I hadn’t felt since I was alive.
“My…memories…Odin sealed them after I became his Battle Maiden so they wouldn’t affect me in battle, but…it’s painful.”
I couldn’t help it, I had to comfort her. I took her in my arms and had her head lean on my shoulder.
“Pain is a fact of life, even for a Goddess it seems. But when I look at you now…”
“…Your soul is strong enough to leave… you should leave me here… I will recover.”
“Stop saying things you know aren’t true.” I scolded her. I couldn’t believe I was scolding a goddess!!
“Do…do you think I’ll ever escape my station… as a Valkyrie?” she asked. Apparently not herself it seemed.
“I’ve been a soldier for a long time… and fighting has been all I’ve been able to do. If there is some way for me to do something far greater… well I’d do it. If it only meant being with you.”
“I…I never asked your name.” Raven was feverish and drifting into sleep.
That night I swore I would never leave her. No matter the danger, and that I would help her escape her hellish-heavenly prison as a Battle Maiden.
During the time she slept, many of the other Einherjar spoke with me… they asked me what would become of her, and some even asked if I had grown deep feelings for her.
“I’ll protect her.”, is all I was able to say.
The next day she seemed to have recovered enough to pick herself back up. Her sword was definitely heavy in her hands.
“Are you alright, Lady Raven?” I asked.
“I’m feeling better now. I think I overdid it with that last battle. I am in your debt.”
She began to walk away, seemingly like the night previous had never happened.
“So you wish to protect me.” She said, “Your heart would do better to find one who wasn’t a slave under the gods…”
“I meant what I said, Lady Raven.” I replied, “If it means hellfire or crossing dangers I have yet to comprehend, I will protect you.”
“My memories…” she turned and said, “Were very painful, and my death just as sorrowful. If I could be freed from this fate, I would, but Odin’s brand on my soul remains strong even after his demise.”
“Do you think…” I asked, “That the three Maidens of Fate might know of a way to free you?”
“Perhaps, but the duty of gathering stray souls will always be a necessity. You may be strong enough to protect me as you say… but I still have many souls who need to be strengthened yet. It is my duty.”
Months passed and I still remained an extension of her sword. All I could think of was how I could protect her. She gathered the souls of the slain, strengthened the other souls, and continued her role as a Valkyrie… yet something was different.
She no longer chose anyone to become einherjar, no matter how powerful.
One particular day she found a slain soul and was about to send him to Asgard, but he posed a question to her.
“Lady Valkyrie, I am worthy to become your Einherjar! Why do you not choose me?”
She was taken aback by the man’s words… he was very strong. In fact he looked like he was a Marine in the Military back when he was alive.
“Because wars should not be fought by the gods… it is not their place. Nor is it their place to choose the fallen like one picks a flower or draws a sword.”
He was still insistent upon wanting to fight.
She silenced him, walked up to him briskly and kissed him on the cheek. This surprised him, but she put her finger to his lips before he could protest.
“Many warriors are chosen, but do they ever get to choose? Your soul was forced into battle such to the extent that battle is all you know. Fighting when that is all you know how to do is not the way of a warrior; it is the way of a battle slave.”
He glanced at her, somewhat astonished. Then he bowed his head, somewhat sad.
“Your life, although ended, still continues on in the world thereafter. You would do well to learn the ways of a man of peace and love.”
With a wave of her hand, his soul was transferred.
“I’m curious, what stopped you from choosing him like you chose me?” my voice drifted into her thoughts.
An otherworldly wind picked up from the sky she was drifting in. We were so high up; it was always amazing to watch her fly from one place to the next.
“I did not choose him because I wish to lighten my load, to relieve myself of the burden of carrying souls. Is that selfish of me?”
“No, hardly. Any burden one carries for a long time is going to get heavy. Maybe someday you’ll lighten your load enough to be free.”
More time passed, and I continued to exist inside her body and summoned to battle upon her whim. Eventually she began to release the souls she had harvested as they matured and strengthened. I was already overdue, but she always seemed to linger on the thought of releasing me.
Then one day…I was all that was left.
“You’re the last Einherjar to serve me… never again will I choose a Warrior Soul.” She said as though it were a solemn oath.
She was floating among the deep clouds and blue sky now… just above the highest peak. Her body was impervious to the cold of course, but still she couldn’t help but let a shudder pass by.
“Now…I’m almost completely alone.” She said, a single tear fell from her eye, dropping from the sky down some thousands of feet or more, that drop would most likely freeze into a snowflake and drift towards the mountain.
“I said I am here to protect you. I meant what I said.”
Her voice was trembling, and her eyes were streaming with tears.
In a moment of sheer willpower… I materialized in front of her.
We drifted among the Ether for a few moments…then I felt compelled to kiss her.
“I love you, Randgníð.” I said holding her floating form in my arms.
What began as a kiss as I enveloped her, then turned into holy passion.
She embraced me with a gentleness I hadn’t felt in many years, or perhaps eons, I didn’t know how long it was since I was last alive. I used my power as a soul to reach inside her armor… to become both material and immaterial.
I managed to stroke her breasts ever so gently. She could feel the warmth of my hands through the armor that bound her ever so tightly. She moaned at the very presence of my touch. I entered her body directly after that… plunging my essence deep inside her senses. Her body was now my plaything, and she began to writhe in ecstasy.
In response to my bonding with her soul… she began to dance among the clouds, this beautiful goddess of grace and nobility.
“No one has ever…this would have been forbidden but…” she struggled to keep her mind from getting lost in the current of pleasures that washed over her.
“Your body may have been a container for Souls…but it is still your body.” I responded, extremely pleased with myself. “How long has it been?”
“I don’t remember…my memory was sealed.”
That’s when I found it… on her back under all the armor was a powerful insignia… something that apparently bound her to the duties of a Valkyrie.
“Is this…your seal?” I quietly asked.
I touched it and it began to resonate with my immaterial body. Her entire form began to tremble… her body rocked with all manner of sensation.
The two of us then drifted down to earth. She was breathing heavily as we landed, as though I had caused her to orgasm multiple times as a result of simply touching the seal.
“Odin did that to you, didn’t he?”
“The seal grants us the power of the Valkyrie…it seals our memories and also is a means for Odin to control us.” She managed between heavy breaths.
For a moment I was sad, but then in light of inspiration an idea hit me.
“If the seal resonated with me, does that mean I might be able to break the seal?”
“I’m not certain.” She said, “Only a powerful soul can break a seal like that.”
“Let me ask you this then… do you want to try and become free?”
I don’t think she ever considered the possibility. No soul, let alone an Einherjar had ever even asked her such a question… let alone knew of the secret. She was forced into slavery by Odin against her will… and thus bound to him. She wasn’t even sure if a seal he formed could be broken.
“You’ve been my Einherjar for a long time. And I feel as though I’ve fallen in love with you…whether you have the power to set me free or not I cannot say. But would you be willing to deal with any consequences if the result of breaking the seal were it not to your liking? I would lose all my power as a Goddess and become as a human once again.”
“I love you, no matter the consequence. Even if I never see you again…I can be happy as long as I know you’re free.”
We drifted for a while after that…looking for a place to hide ourselves from any prying eyes that might spot a stray goddess and want to have her all to himself (I of course would never let that happen).
We came upon an abandoned house, torn down by weather, yet still standing to the point it could still pass as a shelter. We were miles away from a distant village, and the weather was warm enough so that we wouldn’t have to worry about any intruders or dealing with the problems or mortality (i.e. getting cold).
She sat down on what remained of a single bed, long abandoned, but the mattress still remained. Her eyes glanced at mine, as though she were weary and longing for becoming a human once again. I honestly couldn’t blame her.
She turned her back to me, and I began to concentrate. Focusing my energy through my hands, they became transparent and passed into her back. Slowly I drifted down towards the seal. As my spiritual hands came in contact with the seal…it lit up the entire room and she began to shudder once again… her body now out of control.
I focused and using my hands I grasped the ring that formed around the seal. Using all the strength in my arms I pulled… I could feel her back begin to buck as she screamed in what appeared to be a form of absolute pleasure at its zenith. This seal was indeed her hot button… and I was going to break it.
My arms felt like they were straining hard against the powerful seal…but I continued to pull, and with a sound like crashing thunder… the field around the seal was broken. The light from the seal faded and was silenced.
Withdrawing my hands, I could feel my body turning completely solid. My skin was starting to feel the warmth of the sunlight, and breath began to return to my lungs, followed by a steady heartbeat.
I was alive again.
Raven stood, turned and glanced at me…the most astonished look on her face. The armor that had trapped in that cage of war and bondage now began to crumble around her body and dim from the light blue it had once shown to ashen black.
Soon, she wore nothing and stood completely naked before me. Her skin dimmed to a natural tone as apposed to the holy light it had shone before.
“I’m free…” she glanced at me. A twinge of pain struck her forehead, but she recovered quickly.
“And your memory?” I asked.
“It is…in the past.” She smiled.
I took the cape of my armor and wrapped it around her body like a massive shawl and took her hand.
The world around us was warm and alive, and so were we. We had a grand future ahead of us.
“Thank you…but I never asked you your name.”
“Why don’t you give me one?” I replied, generously, “My older name is in the past.”
“Maybe someday, but for now all I know is that I love you, heart and soul.” She said.
And we walked in the warm meadow down the hill to the village.