Highlands Keep Publishig
Military History Research Center
Ragnarok: Song of the Valkyrie, is a military fantasy based in legend and reality. It presents a full dose of action and adventure, with a heroine and supporting cast of characters that is colorful and believable.
With a magical blend of characters, Ragnarok: Song of the Valkyrie, Episode II presents a world reminiscent of Norse legends and revolutionary Europe, rife with conflict and loyalty, treason and unconditional love.
In Episode II, Angelica is washed ashore in the kingdom of Cambria. This episode takes the reader into a new world for Angelica and the Blue Colt. Shipwrecked alone in a strange land with only the Colt, her swords and her damaged torq, Angelica must contend with weapons that far surpass her own in firepower, and a language barrier as well. In the midst of this world and its people, she maintains her straightforward code of honor with courage and integrity.
C.R. MacPhadrick has woven together a fictional world with such attention to detail that it transports the reader to a time that could be either our past or our future. From meticulous descriptions of the dress and designations of the Valkyrie and their Destriers and Death Bringers, the chivalrous Cambrian Knights and King’s Heavy Cavalry, the traitorous Baron Chandos and Warrior Priests of the Deep Woods, to a precise recounting of weapons, tactics, and strategy, he has created a fantasy grounded in reality.
Angelica forced her opponent's actions from her mind and, having seen enough, she tossed back her hood and leapt to her feet, sweeping her cloak behind her. A collective gasp came from the surrounding men when they saw her bronze skin and coal black eyes.
Her battle braid was laid over her right shoulder and tied securely to her harness. The braid's dyed white bands shone starkly against the camouflage tunic and trousers she wore.
Balancing on the balls of her feet, Angelica drew her longsword in one fluid motion that continued into a sweeping cut, before drawing the hilt to her and grasping it with both hands. She had not drawn a blade in several months, but decades of constant drill and battle were never forgotten. Besides, any mistakes she made, although condemned in Vigrid, would be lost on the Cambrians.
Without a break in her motion, Angelica continued through a complex series of cuts and thrusts, her sword's sharp edge hissing as it sliced the cold air. Her style was one of continuing attack, usually with the edge, but employing enough thrusts to keep an enemy ever guessing. Even the defensive moves ended with some manner of cut, high or low.
Progressing into the next series of movements, Angelica combined rapid kicks and elbow strikes in perfect unison with the movements of the blade.
Her body warmed as her blood flowed hotly. Angelica entered into the third set of movements, integrating leaps, spins, and rolls flawlessly with the kicks and strikes. Her continuously cutting sword never lost speed, power, or balance. Despite the wet ground, only the back of her cloak and her trouser knees were wet.
Angelica entered into the fourth and final series of movements so quickly that not even Warwick saw when she grasped the longsword in her left hand and deftly drew the short sword with her right. The two weapons flashed and hissed, each one conducting a distinctive separate cut or thrust, but somehow always complementary to the other. The swords became a whirling blur of motion as Angelica added leaps and kicks in combination with the slicing blades.
The fact that a mere woman could wield a longsword in either hand was impressive. All present had seen a few knights fight with two weapons. However, they had used only one weapon at time, attacking with either the left or right hand. None had ever witnessed two weapons being wielded as one.
So dramatic was her display of sword work that, when the end came abruptly and Angelica stood motionless before them, many watching from the slopes shouted in protest. Breathing hard, steam rising from her breath and sweating body, Angelica looked about defiantly, at first thinking the men were shouting against her.
Looking at Warwick, Angelica saluted with her longsword, then slid both weapons back into their scabbards. Bowing briefly at the waist, she approached the Arms Master.
Warwick stared at her, a look of wonder on his face. His good eye gleamed with praise. In all his years, the Arms Master had never thought such swordplay possible. Angelica had just completed movements that Warwick still found hard to believe. What he had suspected before, the Arms Master now knew for sure. There was not a knight in the land, perhaps no five knights combined that could defeat Angelica in the play of swords.
Warwick glanced at Tammerson and almost laughed. The knight stood where he was, his sword frozen in guard position. He had become so engrossed with watching Angelica's movements that he had completely forgotten his own drill. His mouth was slightly agape, and he watched Angelica apprehensively as she stepped to the center of the drill ground--watched as if vipers were likely to spring from the area around her.