The Valkyries are an elite group of female warriors from all species. They are better and braver fighters than the Illyrians.
Valkyries were wiped during the War five hundred years ago. According to Cassian, there is speculation that the few survivors of the war made themselves cease to exist to avoid the shame of their loss. The history and training of the Valkyries was passed down orally, so any accounts we have come from what passing historians, philosophers, or traders wrote down. However, the Valkyries legacy has been revived by Nesta Archeron, Gwyneth Berdara, and Emerie.
Valkyries were fearless and brilliant individual fighters. But their true strength lay in being a highly trained unit.
They used their shields as weapons.
One Valkyrie technique was "mind-stilling". They used it to calm their minds and emotions. Some of them did it three or four times a day. But basically, it is the act of sitting and quieting the mind. It requires constant practice. It involved deep breathing and becoming aware of one's body and then learning to let go. They used it to stay calm in the face of their fears, to calm themselves after a hard struggle, and to fight the inner demons they possessed.
They found heightened emotions distracting in the face of an opponent. They trained their minds into a weapon as sharp as any blade. Being able to maintain their composure, to know how to reach that place of calm in the midst of battle, made them imperturbable opponents.
They did these exercises multiple times a day.
- Get into a comfortable seated position. Alert, but at ease. (The spine touches the cushions/floor, feet flat on the floor, hands lightly resting on the knees.)
- Now take three deep breaths, in through your nose for a count of six, out through your mouth for a count of six. After you finish the third breath, close your eyes, and keep breathing. (Don’t overthink it, just close your eyes and keep breathing. Take five breaths.)
- Now let your breathing steady, and focus on the sounds around you. Acknowledge them, then let them fade away.
- Now survey your body. Starting at your head, slowly working down to your toes, assess how you’re feeling. Note if there are sore spots, if there are spots that feel good.
- Now, you should assess how you are feeling. Don’t dwell on it, but just acknowledge it.
- Now we’re going to work on focused breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Do ten of them, then start over. If a thought pops up, acknowledge it, then send it on its way. Tell yourself, "I am the rock against which the surf crashes." Your thoughts are the surf. Let them crash over you. Start over if you lose count.
- When you finish your next set of ten, stop counting your breaths and just let your mind do as it wishes. We’ll do that for a few heartbeats, then stop. The goal is to work up to longer and longer periods of this. It should feel like this: The mind lingers. Doesn't wander. It's just sitting there. Contented. Resting. Like a cat curled at her feet. Stilled.
- Begin to sink back into your body. Mark the sounds around you. Mark the feeling in your fingers, your toes.
- Open your eyes.
- Tanwyn †
- A book is being written about Valkyries by Merrill, which includes Valkyries from days past, and a chapter of their revival.