I write about valkyries. A lot. Based on old Norse myths, my variant of the archetype are ruthless, mortal and wingless female warriors who are engaged in an endless thirteen-sided chess match for global domination.
In Norse mythology, Odin had thirteen winged valkyries who served Odin All-father, circling the battlefields on swan wings, waiting to pluck fallen heroes and take them to Valhalla. There, these heroes joined the brotherhood of the einherjar, who got to eat and drink for all eternity, waiting for Ragnarök, the battle at the end of the world.
According to the 13th century Icelandic historian, Snorri Sturulson:
Hrist and Mist
I would have bear the horn to me.
Skeggjöld and Skögul,
Hildr and Thrúdr,
Hlökk and Herfjötur,
Göll and Geirahöð,
Randgríðr and Ráðgríðr,
bear ale to the Einherjar.
These are called the Valkyries.
(Prose Edda, book one, Glyfaginning, stanza thirty-six)
So while the Prose Edda is a classic, it is also writer-chow, providing fodder for new tales of valkyries and their einherjar. And so I write about a sect of modern-day valkyries, always thirteen in number, who dream in Old Norse of world domination. Behind every dictator, every revolutionary, and yes, every counterrevolutionary, there is a valkyrie. Like lawyers, they each take a side, for there is nothing a valkyrie likes better than a good fight.
But my modern-day valkyries, while super-humanly strong and long-lived, are mortal as well as wingless. So when a valkyrie does die, one of the remaining twelve has to mate with a hero to produce a valkyrie infant. The young valkyrie grows up fast to take her place as the power behind a future throne; the hero is granted the gift of the einherjar: near super-human strength combined with an uncontrollable urge to fight. Think General Custer, he was Sváva’s einherja .
The valkyries are coming
I have one novel and four short stories written in this milieu. The first short story, “Preschool War Games,” was published in April 2014 in Cicada Magazine. The other short stories–“How a Valkyrie Flies,” “The Einherja,” and “Riding Hel’s Horse”–as well as my mythica novel, Ragnarök Willie, are still being shopped. and more to come I am sure.