Disclaimer: I own nobody, but the characterization of Valfreyja. She belongs to the Norse mythos.
Rating: PG
Summary: Cerdic dies and is visited by the valkyries. (A companion piece to the 'Forest of Eternal Slumber') ENJOY!
Feedback: Welcome (extremely welcome!)

Curse of the Valkyries

All was black.

Through the darkness Cerdic heard the great pounding of hooves, the bellowing of steeds, and the shouts of battle. When the Saxon opened his eyes he gazed upon the field of battle; fire blazing and men strewn about the plain made the sight memorable. Cerdic smiled at his deeds and then heard the great snort of a horse from behind him.

Turning around, Cerdic saw a group of women warriors riding through the fires unharmed as their ornate horses gleamed with gold. Each of the women were dressed in fine clothing made of expensive crimson cloth and wearing decorated breastplates. All of these warriors had long, blond hair, armor to suit and compliment them each, and the best of war horses that snorted and pawed at the ground.

The horses were huge, muscular, and coming straight for Cerdic. The captain of the warriors shouted a halt and all the women did as they were instructed. Dismounting, the leader came to Cerdic, her horned helmet gleaming in the flames, and her blue eyes never leaving his form.

As the woman came closer, Cerdic saw that she was nearly as large as the horse herself. Standing as tall Cerdic, or possibly taller, she had great width as well as stoic face that looked as if it had been carved from stone.

Gracefully, the beautiful woman approached and freed her hair from the helmet, placing it beneath her arm. Next to her sword, the contents of a large horn tied to her waist sloshed from within. "I am Valfreyja." She introduced herself, her voice strong and deep. "I am the commander of the Valkyries, for I am the first."

"My lady," Cerdic fell to his knees before her and closed his eyes as he bowed his head, "am I so worthy a man for your realm?"

To that Valfreyja hesitated in reply, scowling down at Cerdic. "You were a good warrior, Cerdic, for I have seen all of your battles and I have awaited the time to come to you. Your accomplishments are astounding—there are little men who would be so worthy as you in war, but I have little faith that, as a man, you are worthy for my realm."

Cerdic was not disheartened, but as he looked up to the woman he felt her eyes burrow deep into his soul. "I have not only seen your battles, but I have seen all." Valfreyja said and her voice was not in praise, but condemnation. "You are the wickedest of all men. You hold barely any sanctity for women. You kill for spite and pleasure, for revenge. You do not honor your family. You turn your son away and routinely discount all his victories while dwelling on all of his faults. By far, Cynric, was far more a man than his own father."

At this Cerdic felt his heart twinge slightly, but the woman's harsh words hardly meant anything. "To forgive you for your sins and refuse you passage to Valhalla, only to send you Hel with her inglorious underworld would be no kind of punishment. Instead, I will deny you any afterlife and you will wilt in the world of mortals for your cruelties until you discover that your loneliness and cruel fate is your own doing."

"Wait!" Cerdic said desperately, but the woman had already begun to leave him. "Valfreyja! I ask you for forgiveness!"

Just as Valfreyja commenced to mount her horse, she looked back with those burning sapphire eyes. "No amount of begging can save you," Valfreyja replied, her proud head held high as she put her helmet back on, "you have one last chance, Cerdic. Show me you are worthy for the realm of the gods and you will be invited with open arms."

With that, Valfreyja got on her steed, cried out a retreat, and the valkyries, with their horses snorting in defiance, rode off into the blazing fires of the battlefield.

Cerdic awoke to smoke…his body pounding in pain. Valfreyja's words echoed in his mind as he thought of his son Cynric's fate. A small ounce of pity entered Cerdic's heart, but it was only for himself. Cynric would receive the afterlife and not he.