The devotion of Invorri to Torvald is the stuff of legend. The Northmen have other legends... Behold the Valkyr, Shieldmaidens of Lashava, who are as fell in battle as they are fair to look upon.
- And so was Herogar, strong son of Torvald,
- builder of Hrottborg that shines in the North,
- Humbled in battle, within his very hall
- by that thin stranger with spear swift as lightning.
- Herogar cried: 'Fell-handed one!'
- 'Stay your spear, forgive half-hearted host.'
- Then asked the High Thane the stranger's name,
- whose son had bested him in the sight of Torvald.
- And Werthyld laughed, with voice like music,
- and doffed her helm for all to see.
- Red burned her hair, like sunset on the high peaks
- And the mightiest flinched from her bright gaze.
- 'No son stands here, oh oafish thane. Here is a daughter!
- Ken you not this face, so long departed?
- Werthyld I'm named, daughter of the High Thane.
- Your own blood you've offended though false courtesies.'
- And all the hall wondered, to see her fair face,
- pale and cold as the midwinter frost.
- Fair as she was fell was Werthyld Valkyr,
- favored of Lashava, the fierce sea's mistress.
- Then Herogar laughed, and rose to his feet,
- and praised the strength that flowed in his blood.
- So came the Valkyr to the halls of the Invorri.
- So ever after were shieldmaidens honored.
- ~ A fragment of the Werthyldr Valkyrensaga, as dutifully remembered by the Skalds of the Invorri
Why do you stare? Have you never seen a Valkyr, chosen shieldmaiden of Lashava? Look then, but beware! No, I am no Amazon, born to the hot jungles. My blood is of the North, anvil of the Invorri. You had heard Barbarian women were fierce, yes? You know nothing.
The Northman never tire of boasting of their father, mighty Torvald, who fought joten and alfar, who stole the storm fury from Frykka and cast down Jarngrimr, old Iron-mask the warrior-God who betrayed Vorrdan All-Father. Aye, all those tales they tell. It is as if they forget they had a mother too. But we women remember. Lashava was her name, and now she lives in the sea, spurned by all. Once the Invorri ruled the seas, but now they look on the deeps with dread, for always has Lashava scorned them. The roots of that quarrel are old and deep, and not even the wisest skalds know them all. Torvald knows, and Lashava, and Ardan, lord of the Danir, who Torvald once called king. No other ears heard that grievance, until the time of Werthyld.
By the time Torvald left the Danir behind in their shining realm and led the Invorri to the North, Lashava had been much wronged by her husband. Scorned and spurned, Lashava went into the wilds, where she tempered her strength and fury like a sword.
In due time Torvald left his people in their mighty halls. And so Herogar, first High Thane of the Invorri, came to rule the frozen North. His wife bore him a fine daughter, fair of skin with hair like fire. But the Thane was troubled. He went into the wild, and chained his daughter to a rock and left her to die so that his eldest child might be a son. And it was Lashava who found her, and saved her, staying the fury of cold and storm. Lashava took her, hid her, and raised her well. Werthyld was her name, and Lashava blessed her with the strength of the sea and the fell cunning of the wolf.
From Lashava Werthyld learned also of Torvald's shame. Lashava had borne him a daughter in the lands of the Danir. But Ardan's champion spurned the child, and swore it was not his. In his rage he slew the child, and so left the Shining Realm of the Danir. Lashava heard Werthyld's cries, and would not see Torvald's crimes repeated.
So Werthyld grew to womanhood, and grew mighty indeed. Werthyld learned the ways of battle from Lashava, and it is said that in battle her spear struck swifter than the very lightning, and never missed its mark. She was the first Valkyr, and many are the songs of her adventures when she returned to the lands of her father. Many wooed her, and sought to win her, but she spurned all her kin, saying she would marry only he who could best her in combat. In eighty years, not one man could.
In time Werthyld passed on what she had learned to worthy daughters, and now the Invorri fear their mother, and have learned to respect all those who bear Lashava's favor. You should be wise to do the same. Cease your staring, Southlander. You will lay no hand on me, and even the touch of your leering gaze shall be your doom.