A girl is mistaken for a Valkyrie when she is mysteriously transported back in time.
Within a dazzling flash of lightning, upon an eight-inch ledge just outside the twentieth floor of a high rise apartment in New York City, the silhouette of an overweight woman is outlined against a drab brown building.
“I'm tired of being fat!” said the big-boned blond as she tiptoed precariously along the edge.
Peering down, she swooned for a moment at the height even as another brilliant discharge of lightning lit-up the sky and rattled the teeth in her head.
Harold Kravitz leaned out of the apartment window, his short, stocky arm reaching out as far as he could toward his girlfriend's portly leg. “Please, Val, come back inside! I didn’t mean what I said. Honest! You’re not fat . . . not fat at all!" Painted across his roundish face was a panic he had never experienced before; beads of sweat dotted his forehead and upper lip. "Come on, Val, please . . . this is stupid.”
“Get away from me, Harold, or I’ll take you down with me. I swear I will!” Val hugged the concrete wall of the building with both hands. “You said I was fat! I’d rather be dead than to live in a world that’s gonna guilt-trip me every time I sit down to eat. A person’s got to eat, ya know, Harold. Everybody's got to eat.”
“I know, I know . . . it was a terrible thing to say, Val. I’m sorry, so very, very sorry. But the way you were eating those ribs, I just had to say something. That was my mother’s antique tablecloth and . . . .”
“Your mother? See, that’s what I’m talking about, Harold! Everything’s about you. You, you, you! Who cares about your mother, anyway? She’s been dead for over ten frickin' years!”
“But I thought you liked my mother, Val. She always carried a kind word for you.”
“Yeah, sure she did . . . and the word was spelled F-A-T!”
“Val, please, if you come back inside, we can talk about it. You don’t really want to do this, do ya? You’re a successful woman. You’ve got everything to live for: a good job, a nice new apartment, a new car . . . me. You’ve got me, Val, and I’d do anything for you. What more could you possibly want?”
Her big blue eyes teared. “Not to be called fat, Harold, that's all. I don’t want to be called fat.” She moved closer to the edge.
“Okay, okay, calm down, will you? This is no way to handle the situation."
“It is for me!" She looked down again, bolstered her courage. "Oh, why hadn’t I been born in a time when big women were more appreciated? A time when there wasn’t a bunch of skin-and-bone models held out as the perfect example of womanhood; a time when a woman with a rubenesque figure could have ruled the world and was considered beautiful . . . perfect.”
“You are beautiful, Val! All of you! Now, please, come back inside, you’re about to give me a heart attack. You know I’ve got a bad heart.”
Val’s shoulders slumped in defeat as she choked back her tears. She wanted to end it all, but not at the expense of killing someone else. She moved toward the window. “All right, Harold, get out of the way. I’m coming back in.”
The lightning flashed again and stirred three snow-white pigeons from their roost, driving them toward an alternate perch. They moved quickly through the air in a noisy flapping of wings and brilliant white grace, and as they came around the corner of the building, they collided headlong into the over-teased blond hair that sat atop Val’s head.
“Aargh! Harold!” Releasing her hold upon the building, Val instinctively batted at the birds with both hands, flapping her arms as if she were trying to fly. This time the lightning struck astonishing close to her, and she sailed over the edge in an arc of a diver, screaming, “HAROLD!”
Then she was gone.
Val awoke with a tremble and a gasp. She inhaled deeply as if she had been holding her breath for a long time. The pure, cold air burnt her lungs and froze the back of her throat. "Where am I?" Her head pounded, and she felt sick to her stomach. Lifting herself slightly, she threw up, emptying her stomach of baby-back ribs.
Val lay naked to the world, her body sprawled awkwardly upon a large patch of snow that still clung to the icy ground. She grabbed a handful of the powdery stuff and shoved it into her mouth trying to wash the vile taste away. Her vision swam crazily as she rolled over on her back thunderstruck. A waving ribbon of color shone across the night sky. “Aurora Borealis,” she said, absently. Snowflakes fell like glitter and softly kissed her eyes. “Where the hell am I?”
Realization smacked her in the head like a downward plunge into concrete, and a chill ran through her with a jolt.
A surprised little shriek escaped her lips at the shock of discovering herself naked in a mountain forest, and instinctively, she tried to cover herself with her arms and hands, taking note of the fact that even the shock of her new surroundings couldn’t alleviate her self-conscious feelings of being overweight. Her nipples ached from the cold, and her butt cheeks formed an unforgettable impression in the patch of snow.
Val sat there shivering just as two Vikings ran out from behind a large boulder.
The two men stopped short, startled, plumes of hot breath exploded in front of their faces as if they had been running a great distance. They wore tattered cloth tunics with hammered ornaments, and helmets set with antlers, long broadswords hung at their waists, and they carried large wooden shields and spears which were now pointed in Val’s direction. One was blond and stood an incredible seven-feet tall; the other, shorter and more muscular, sported a flaming red beard.
“By the black bones! A Valkyrie!”
Val screamed as if a stranger had just pulled open her shower curtain.
“Valkyrie?” The giant man threw himself prostrate upon the snow and covered his face. “Ahhh . . . don’t look at her, Erik! She has come to gather us unto Valhalla.”
Val stopped screaming, mainly because the extremely tall man lying upon the ground and covering his eyes was screaming louder than she was.
The red bearded man kicked his companion in the butt and pulled him to his feet. “You are a brainless tree, Sven. Get up! We are not yet dead!”
The man scrambled to his feet. “Don’t look at her, Erik! It is said, that if you see a Valkyrie before a battle, you will die in that battle. Don’t look!”
But the red haired man was looking; he was looking hard. Finally, he spoke with the command of a leader, “Time is short, woman. Who are you?”
The dominant strength of the man’s voice forced her to respond. “Val...my name is Valerie King.”
“Aarrgh . . . I told you, Erik, a Valkyrie! She gathers the dead for Odin. We must flee, flee for our lives!”
Erik hesitated for a moment, then heard the approaching din of battle from behind them. “No matter. We will take her with us.”
He looked harshly into Val’s eyes, “Hurry, woman! Death approaches. Come now, or die.” Erik proffered his open hand. But even as he spoke, three heavily bearded men dressed in animal furs charged over the hill carrying crude clubs, and short, hand-sharpened branches.
The two Vikings met them head-on. Sven impaled the first with his spear even as he drew his sword. Slashing down, he delivered a crushing blow to the next assailant.
Erik ducked under a swinging club and stuck his spear deeply into his enemy’s belly. The man fell face down into the snow, blood pooling beneath him. In an instant, the skirmish was over. The three attackers lay dead upon the ground.
Val's eyes grew and her mouth fell open. The man with the red beard offered his hand again.
“Come, Valkyrie! Whether immortal or not, this is no place for a maiden armed with nothing but her charms.”
Val did not hesitate; she stood quickly displaying all her charms and ran willingly to Erik’s side.
He removed his forest-green cape and threw it over her shoulders. Looking into his face with a thankful expression, their eyes met and locked but for a moment.
“Hurry now, girl!” he urged. “Before it is too late!”
As they came up over a rise, Val saw the ocean, and below the hill, an honest-to-goodness Viking ship sat docked along the shoreline. An arrow whistled just over her shoulder.
“Run!” yelled Erik, spuring her on toward the ship. “Run, I say!”
He spun to face the enemy, screaming a violent war-cry that turned into a long piercing snarl of fury.
Val ran down the hill with Sven close behind, her legs hurrying to catch up with the momentum of her body as she stumbled down the mountainside. Her cloak, in a most unladylike fashion, flew up at intervals exposing her lily-white body and undulating posterior. To the men already aboard ship, she was like a goddess cut from living marble, running swiftly into their waiting arms.
As she reached the ship, she turned to look back for the red-bearded Viking. She saw him careening down the mountainside just as two enemy archers loosened their arrows.
“Look out!” she screamed.
Miraculously, he was not hit. Laughing, he ran to Val’s side.
“Are you all right?” she asked.
He gave her worried expression a look of bravado and smiled. As long as she lived, she would never forget that look. He was magnificent.
Laughing loudly again, he placed his hands upon her hips and lifted her easily to Sven, who set her aboard ship. “Cast off,” he yelled.
Val sat at the ship’s bow upon several large piles of stores. There were sacks of grain, fruit, and vegetables; barrels of mead and various weapons and tools. In minutes, the ship was in open sea and a strong wind popped and pulled the sails tautly. The chilling ocean breeze invaded Val’s cloak and bit at her reddened cheeks. She felt she needed three sets of hands to keep the flaps of her cape from revealing her inner most beauty. The sky hung low on the horizon, black as a cauldron and brewing up an ocean storm.
They sailed straight for it.
Erik noticed her discomfort and brought her a thick wool blanket to cover herself. “I will see to it that you are properly clothed once we arrive at our village,” he said.
“I don’t want to go to your village. I want to go home! This is all a bloody nightmare.”
“But you are a Valkyrie. How could one such as I, ever return you to the heavens from whence you came?”
“I am Valerie King, not Valkyrie. I’m from twentieth century New York City and don’t have the faintest idea how I got here, or where here is. But I’ve got the feeling I’m not in Kansas anymore.”
“It’s a joke,” she said, awkwardly. “An old expression we say back home.”
“It’s not very funny," he said. "Are you sure it's a joke?”
“Just forget it, okay? Where am I?”
Erik placed his hands on his hips as he had seen Val do and said, “Well, you’re not in Kansas anymore.” Then he let out a barrel of a laugh and slapped his knee.
Val looked at him curiously, but had to smile. “Yeah, right.”
“Did I not say the joke correctly?”
“No, no, you said it just fine. It’s just me. I’m scared and confused. I’m afraid that I’ve lost my mind. Who are you anyway?”
“I am Erik Herjulfsson,” he said proudly. “And you are aboard the Dragon’s Bane.”
“Where am I? I remember falling, and then . . . I woke up here.”
“I told you. You are aboard the Dragon’s Bane. We are bound for the coast of Norway.”
“Norway? This is all so unreal. Are you a pirate or something?” she asked, glancing at the bulging sacks.
He smiled at the question. “We are Vikings! But also, we are occasional pirates. The Dragon’s Bane was built for exploring, not pirating.” He slapped his hand on the smoothly hewed wood and looked out to sea.
“I’m sorry, did I say something wrong?”
“It’s the approaching storm. It stands between us and home. We will be sorely tested.”
Val followed his gaze toward the black sky in the distance. She ran her fingers through her windblown hair trying to make herself presentable. “I want to thank you for saving my life.”
“You are welcome, Valkyrie.”
“Why do you keep calling me Valkyrie?”
Confused, Erik shook his head. “Any maiden who becomes a Valkyrie is immortal and invulnerable as long as she obeys the gods and remains a . . . virgin.”
Val immediately blushed. “Well, I guess I got that part covered, although, I was engaged to be married.”
“So, you are spoken for?”
Val laughed. “Harold Kravitz never did speak much about anything, let alone about me. I guess I only liked him because I never felt threatened by him. He had a good steady job, you know, reliable, that sort of thing.”
“Job? This Harold of Kravitz, he is a mighty warrior?”
She smiled at the straightforwardness of the man. His cocksure attitude was natural, infectious. He was all man. Val could get lost in his brilliant blue eyes. She became aware that whenever he was near, she seemed to lose control of herself. The way this man looked at her made her feel attractive, desirable . . . sexy. She turned from his gaze, embarrassed of her thoughts.
“Harold isn’t mighty at anything except maybe accounting. In that respect, I suppose he is mightier with the pen than with the sword. I don’t know why I agreed to marry him. There was never a clear message of love between us.”
Erik smiled at that last bit of news, easing the tightness around his eyes. "Look," he said, pointing to the horizon behind them. “Valkyries are Odin’s messengers, and when they ride forth on their errands, the glint of their armor causes the strange flickering lights in the sky.”
“Oh, you mean the Aurora Borealis?”
“Aurora Borealis? Is that what it is called in Valhalla?”
“New York,” she said, determined to make him understand. “Not Valhalla.”
“Still, it is a strange name--Aurora Borealis.”
“Aye, I have heard this word ‘Latin’ before, from the Roman lands, farther south past the Isles.” He turned to leave.
“Thanks for the blanket,” she said, not wanting the conversation to end.
“Thank you for honoring me with answers to a warrior’s questions.”
“Of course,” she said, staring at his broad shoulders as he walked away. Under her breath she whispered, “Now that there, Val, is a real man. Hubba-hubba."
The short day raced toward night as if even the gods who govern the sun and stars grew impatient. The storm was upon them and the wind flailed at Val’s face until her eyes felt lacerated and her cheeks shredded. It continued to pound them, prolonging itself far beyond the point of being endurable. And then they were through it, and the lookout spotted land.
The crew busied themselves lowering the sails, and then sat down to the long oars. To the rhythm of a bawdy northern song, they rowed toward shore.
In the distance, Val heard the bellow of a giant horn, and straining her eyes toward the jagged and rocky coastline, saw a small watchtower built upon a forested mountaintop overlooking the sea. The crew sang louder as they approached, and Val could finally see the cliff face gave way to an open bay with large huts and houses dotting the shoreline. Campfires burned and Val saw the movement of people, cheering and waving. The crew sang even louder, the joy of returning home evident in their song.
The Dragon’s Bane slipped into port as ropes were cast to strong waiting hands that pulled her tight to the shoreline. Val heard the shouts of family members and sweethearts as they drove through the pressing throng to embrace the returning Vikings.
Erik approached Val. “Welcome to Folkvang, Valkyrie. Follow me and I will take you to shelter where you can prepare yourself.”
“Prepare myself for what?”
“Tonight the King will decide your fate.”
“Yes, of course, and it would do you well to attend and serve him.”
“Food and drink. In this way he may see you and make an honest judgment as to your worth.”
“Listen here, caveman, nobody’s gonna . . .” But Erik had already turned and walked away. Val scuttled after him tromping through the mud as swiftly as a spied crab.
She took note of the brawny, winter-hardened people all around her. She heard the sounds of splitting firewood, the pounding of hides, and smelled the odors of cooking meat, old smoke and sweat. They glanced at her and immediately lowered their eyes as if she were of exalted nobility. It made Val feel uncomfortable, and she half expected them to bow before her. She rushed to Erik’s side just as he stopped in front of a large wooden dwelling.
“This is the women’s lodge. I will have some clothes brought to you. Prepare yourself.”
She opened her lips to speak, then pursed them, deciding this was not the time for a confrontation, and then entered the lodge in a huff.
A pure white robe and scarlet corslet were presented to Val by a young, dirty-faced slave girl named Freyja. She explained that they were gifts from Erik.
Freyja helped Val dress and comb out her long blond hair, as she explained her belief in the Valkyries as goddesses of love, fertility, and beauty just as she was instructed to do by Erik. “In the great hall of Valhalla,” she continued, “the Valkyries exchange their armor for pure white robes, then serve the warriors they have chosen. Their primary duty is to choose the bravest of those that have been slain, gathering the souls of dying heroes or warriors found deserving of afterlife in Valhalla. They vigilantly scout the battle ground in search of mortals worthy of the Grand Hall.”
Their conversation was interrupted by a pounding at the door, and Freyja opened it to reveal Erik. “I am here for Valkyrie.”
“She will not see you,” Freyja said. “I was told to tell you to go away.”
Erik frowned, pushing past the girl and entering the lodge.
He saw Val dressed in the white robe, her eyes burning with anger. He strode forth squarely as if he was forging against her gaze. “We must talk,” he said.
“I am my own woman, and not even a King will tell me what to do!”
“You do not understand the seriousness of your predicament. The King has the power to accept you into the clan, or make you a slave until you are chosen by a clansman for marriage.”
“I’m the one who chooses who I marry! And, I am no man’s slave!”
Erik laughed. “As a member of the clan you would have that choice. But as a slave, you would not.”
“Well, you can tell your high and mighty King to go jump in the lake.”
Erik shrugged. “He also has the power to condemn you to death.”
Val’s anger quickly fled as she was confronted with a more imminent danger. “Death? You won’t let him do that will you, Erik?”
“I will be there with you, and my plan is to offer another choice.”
“What other choice?”
“That you are a real Valkyrie, and should be considered as an honored guest.”
“But I am not a Valkyrie.”
“So you say. But that does not mean that you are not. The gods could have taken your memory from you--cast you out for not obeying their laws.”
“Do you believe that?”
He touched the rare white fur of her robe, opened it to see the scarlet corslet. “These are the clothes of a Valkyrie, and you are very beautiful. I believe that if you honor the King by serving him tonight, he may spare you.”
Val stepped forward and clutched his arm. It felt as hard as rock and just touching him made her head swim. She forgot what she was going to argue about, then simply said, “I will try, Erik...I will try.”
“Good. I will be back soon. Freyja will educate you in the proper way to serve warriors and heroes.” And with that, he strode out of the lodge.
Sven was waiting for him outside. “You are smiling, brother. Tell me, will she do it?” he asked. “Did you tell her who you were?”
Erik laughed heartily, a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “Yes, tonight she will serve at my table to the amusement of all, but she does not yet know that I am King.”
“By Odin’s blood, you are bold, Erik. You better watch this one though, she looks like she could be a handful.”
“That is what I am hoping for!”
Later, inside the Great Hall, many men sat around large hewn trees that served as tables. Loudly, they talked and laughed as they drank from great pewter mugs and large hollowed horns.
Erik entered the hall with Val and Freyja.
“Erik!” they shouted in unison, lifting their mugs high in a greeting of respect and friendship.
Erik whispered to Val, “I will do all I can, but it is up to you now. May the Gods be with you.” He joined the men at the head table as Freyja led Val to the far corner where a smaller table was set with food and pitchers of strong drink.
“She is the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on, Erik,” said Hagar, Erik’s father. “Quite a catch, my boy. Will you wed this one?”
“Aye, Erik,” joined in Lief, Erik’s half-brother. “Or will you share her with us?”
“Quiet,” Erik warned, softly, touching the side of his nose.
That brought on another round of laughter from around the table.
Val tentatively approached them carrying a pitcher of mead. She wore her most charming smile that revealed her clenched teeth. She poured them each a full cup of drink as she had been instructed. The men silently looked her over, assessing her beauty.
“I would like to acquaint you all with Valkyrie. During our last raid upon the Irish shores, as the strange northern lights...the Aurora Borealis, danced across the heavens, this young maiden fell naked from the sky into my very lap. She has agreed to honor us tonight, as the brave heroes that we are, and serve us our victory meal.” He looked at Val and gave her a slight wink, then stood courteously and said, “Valkyrie, this is Hagard the Terrible, King and leader of our clan. And this is Ukkr the Undying, Lief the Souless, and you have met Sven the Snow Giant. We are all honored by your presence. You may now serve us.”
The men enthusiastically agreed between heavy guffaws and sexual innuendoes. Val returned their stares coldly, and if given the chance, would have gladly brained any one of them with her pitcher. Remembering herself, she gave a placated smile and strolled back to the serving table to gather their food. There was more loud laughter as she walked away.
Val brought forth large trays of a variety of meats, breads, fruits and vegetables. The men grunted their approval as they stuffed their mouths with food, continuing to talk even as the half-chewed cuisine fell from their lips. The expression, “you eat like a Viking” came to Val’s mind. And she realized it did not even come close to the reality of actually seeing Vikings eat.
The meal was interrupted several times as the warriors cried out for more drink. Val’s patience had run out and she began to feel as if she were the butt of some kind of joke between the men.
And then it happened.
“Dance! We want to see her dance, Erik!”
Erik walked to a large chest and opened it. He gently pulled out a folded bundle and carried it to Val. “Please accept this rare gift from me as a token of gratitude.” Setting the lightly oiled sealskin upon a table, he unwrapped it to reveal a dress made of a net of fine silver wires, from the intersections of which hung a myriad of tiny silver bells. “Put this on, and dance for us. Then the King shall decide your fate.”
Val’s jaw dropped. “You want me to wear this? You’ll be able to see right through it!”
“Is it too much to ask for your freedom? Dance for us, Valkyrie. Dance like you’ve never danced before.”
Freyja joined her and held a large blanket open as a privacy screen while Val reluctantly slipped out of her clothes and into the dress made of wires and bells.
She barely fit into the tight garment, and wrapping the blanket around her body to hide herself, she approached Erik’s table.
“Come! Dance, girl! We are waiting!" yelled the men. "Dance!”
Val stalled. “But there is no music. What shall I dance to?”
“We will make your music,” shouted Erik, now quite intoxicated. He clapped his hands and was quickly joined by the others, who pounded the table with their fists, or sloshed mead as they slammed their mugs to the beat. It sounded to Val like Queen’s, “We Will Rock You.”
“Aw, what the hell,” she said, dropping the blanket to the floor.
Erik sucked air through his teeth in an assertion of his desire, and momentarily stopped clapping as the rest of the men roared their approval at Val’s costume. She was awe inspiring. Her beauty surpassing any woman Erik had ever seen before. Open-mouthed and mesmerized, he watched as Val began to pulsate her hips. The tiny bells tinkled up and down her body. Val danced to the rhythmical beat, undulating and swaying to-and-fro like she had seen in all those music videos on TV.
Erik watched, spellbound and bewitched, as Val’s movements and footwork captivated his senses. She twirled endlessly, her long, blond hair whipping around her like a golden shawl, and then turned from them and began to shimmy her hind end at a remarkable speed causing several of the tiny bells to break free and shoot across the room. Sven pounded out a drum roll upon the table, faster and faster as Val worked her body to a fevered pitch. Suddenly, as the hammering stopped, she collapsed to the floor, breathless and panting.
Freyja rushed to Val’s side covering her with a blanket and coaxing her to rise. Heaving for air, Val stood upon unsteady legs and staggered to the rear of the room, where she sat heavily upon a small bench that bent under her weight. Tears ran down her face as she looked at Freyja. “These men are nothing more than male chauvinist pigs! I’ve had enough.” And with that she ran from the room and out into the cold night.
“Erik,” laughed Hagar. “Your Valkyrie has left the room.”
Erik stood, a look of worry crossing his face, but the glint of ‘the chase’ in his eyes. “My horse!" he yelled. Bring me my horse!”
Val ran through the village and into the woods, the bells on her dress tinkling uncontrollably. She was frantic, confused, lost in a world she didn’t belong. The darkness of the night was shattered by a brilliant flash of lightning, and the boom of answering thunder. She fell, tumbling down the hillside glittering and jangling like a glockenspiel just as Erik rode up on a beautiful white stallion.
He quickly dismounted and helped her to her feet. “Are you all right?”
“Yes, I think so.” She pulled away from him.
Erik moved to his horse, who was frightened by the approaching storm, and stroked its head soothingly.
Val looked at him, surprised at the softness in his eyes.
“You love your horse.”
“A horse is like a woman. Keep a strong hand on the bridle and pet them often, and they’ll stand up to most anything. But if you let them get a bit in their teeth, then they’ll make themselves miserable, and a man, too.”
“Women are not animals.”
“It’s a matter of viewpoint.”
“Some women don’t want a master.”
“Those are the miserable ones. They carry their heads high and talk about being free. It seems to me an independent woman is a lonely woman.”
“You are independent, are you not?”
“Different sort of thing. The sooner a woman realizes that men are different, the better off she’ll be. The more independent a woman becomes, the less of a woman she is, and the less of a woman she is, the less she is of anything worth-while.”
“I don’t agree.”
“I didn’t think you would. But a woman shouldn’t try to be like a man. The best she can be is a poor imitation, and nobody wants that, they want a real man. I believe nature intended women to keep a home and a hearth. Man is a hunter, a rover . . . sometimes he has to go far away to provide for his family, so it becomes his nature.”
“And where is your woman, Erik?”
“I don’t have one.” He easily lifted her to the back of the horse. “Until now . . . if you’ll have me.”
Val bit back the flood of tears forming in her eyes. “It would never work, Erik. I don’t belong here. You have no phones, no electricity, no bathrooms. Nothing that I am used to having.”
“Were you happy with these . . . things? Perhaps it is Harold of Kravitz you wish to return to.”
“No, no, please, not Harold. Harold is nothing more than the product of what independent women have made of him--just an imitation, not a man at all . . . not, like you.”
“Then, join me. Stand at my side, Valkyrie. I will make you Queen of the Vikings.”
Val could no longer resist the animal instinct that grew within her like a stoked fire.“Yes, Erik. Yes. Oh, yes.”
A blinding bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, and the horse reared and ran. Startled, and holding on for dear life, Val could hear Erik’s voice yelling to her, but what he said was lost in the following thunderclap that ensued.
The horse ran at full gallop, Val clinging desperately to its mane. The forest gave way as they sped up the mountainside that overlooked the sea. Another flash of lightening struck so close to them that she could feel the static electricity run up and down her skin. The white stallion never broke stride as it jumped from the ledge and out into open space.
In the time that followed, it is said that a dying warrior can sometimes see a gleaming chariot shoot through the sky pulled by a beautiful white stallion. A heavy-set woman stands within, her blond hair flowing long behind her while the glint of her armor causes the strange flickering lights in the sky that are sometimes called, the Aurora Borealis. It is also said, and I believe it to be true, that she desperately searches the battlefields for fallen heroes, and for a red-bearded man named, Erik.