The Protectress Centurien
© 2008 Guardian Associates
VALKYRIEN SAGAS SAY the air shrieked as it ripped asunder. They tell of Fire Mountains erupting and rock mountains collapsing, while others thrust upwards where none had been before. The legends speak fearfully of the sea, forced from its aged bed, surging over parts of the land, wiping them away forever.
To the Valkyrie, Ragnarok, the great battle at the end of the world, had come and an ax and sword age, was at hand. None knew its cause. Not since the dawn of creation had such titanic forces been unleashed. The sagas also say that, as dim light spread across the dangerously altered landscape, the Terrible Winter gripped the earth and the sun, moon, and stars disappeared from the sky.
Valkyrien myths whisper of the clans’ struggle to survive the frigid cold and the coming of the Grim Destrier, a horrible disease that killed many Valkyrien men, which still threatens. To save themselves, the Valkyrie formed legions, each legion jealously guarding one male. It is to her legion and its single laird the Valkyrie owed her allegiance unto death, and around these legions was built their beliefs and code of honor. Thus, the Order of the Staff and Sword – the Order of the Valkyrie – was formed.
Ancient legends recount a Time of Troubles, four hundred winter seasons after the beginning of Ragnarok, when a traitorous cult, the Followers of the Sun, formed within the legions. The Followers believed in the sun as a symbol of strength, and in themselves as the only rightful power. Seeing all men as lowly things fit only for demeaning tasks, the Followers pledged to destroy the Valkyrien Order. These legends also tell of the terrible blood feud that pitted legion against legion. In the end, the Followers were destroyed, purged to the stake and fire; however, the cult is rumored to secretly exist, waiting for the day when they can once more strike down the Order of the Valkyrie.
Almost one thousand winter seasons have passed since the beginning of Ragnarok, and the Valkyrie have survived many trials. They form a strong confederation of legions in their land of Vigrid and have reached an alliance with several City States to the south. None of the ancient knowledge remains, although rumors of it persist in Valkyrien myths.
Many times the Valkyrie have defended Vigrid and the Cities against barbaric invaders from the east. These battles have served to form the Valkyrien legions into a strong, disciplined cavalry using sword, ax, lance, and crossbow to lay waste their enemies.
Unknown to the Valkyrie, two other civilizations exist. The tiny Kingdom of Cambria lies north of Vigrid and across the towering forbidden mountains, the High Ranges. The Cambrians retain much of the ancient knowledge, but they are a peaceful people, believing themselves the only ones to have survived the world’s destruction.
Far to the south of Vigrid, across the dead poisoned sea, a powerful people, the Akian Empire, is conquering. Akian armies in the hundreds of thousands fight for glory, pillage, and plunder. Using fearful thunder weapons spitting fire and lead, the Akia have devastated all before them and are sending forth their vast fleets to find new lands to crush and subjugate.
In the late harvest season, just before the legion gathering at Beltain, a prophecy of forbidding portent came true. To the Night Guard Legion was born a colt of a rare black color, a color so dark that those who looked on him swore the young horse was blue. This Blue Colt, so the prophecy foretold, was an omen that the final battle of Ragnarok was at hand. This prophecy also foretold that all was not lost and that this colt would become the Destrier of a great Valkyrien laird, one who would lead his legions to victory in the final battle at the end of the world.