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Backstory

        “What did you say, jerk?”

        “I’m saying that you are coward who doesn’t even dare have a drinking contest with me!”

        Two soldiers pounded their glasses of wine onto the desk furiously, splashing the wine all over. They started grappling with each other, as a full-blown fight about to break out. Inside the pub, customers who were soldiers as well were watching the fun from the side, cheering for the duo’s battle.

        Pow! Pow! Two strikes with a tray punctuated by the loud bangs none present had seen coming hit the two soldiers on the head. A valiant woman with scarlet hair held her tray high, shouted as if in admonishment, “If you want to fight, go do it outside. Don't do it here in the pub where you are going to be breaking things!”

        The two warriors could only sit back down and continued drinking, albeit sullenly. Seeing that, the enthusiastic customers echoed the woman’s admonition, and even raised their glasses in an ovation to her, “Skeg, well said!”

        “It’d be much easier for me if you boozers can stop causing troubles here!” Skeggjald complaint with bared teeth.

        “Don’t be that stern, Skeg. No man would want someone like that. Haha!” An old soldier yelled, setting off a roaring laughter from the soldiers nearby.

        Most of the pub’s customers were soldiers. Skeggjald had long grown accustomed to these "quarrels", with her bond to these warriors as close as family.

        “Captain, Lord Odin is choosing valkyries for the army, isn’t he? Let's nominate Skeg? What do you say?”

        “Aye, lad! This way, Skeg would finally be wanted. Hahaha!”

        “Well, I love being single. Why should I care if anyone wants me or not? Still, what does a valkyrie do?”

        “A valkyrie possesses Odin’s power, and fights against the enemy for glory. How does it sound to you? Interested?” The old soldier explained.

        Skeggjald nodded her head in determination. To her, the soldiers in the pub were as close as her family. She did not actually want to leave the pub. Yet, wars had frequently broken out in her country; for this, she wanted to go into battle for the glory of the Northern Alliance. Seeing the determination in Skeggjald’s eyes, the old soldier turned serious, and asked her sternly.

        “Are you certain? This is a trip of no return. Once you set foot on this journey, you will have to stay loyal to the alliance, even in death. Think carefully. And if you decide to join us, find me at the military camp tomorrow at dawn. Lads, let’s go!”

        The old soldier put down money for the drinks before leaving with the soldiers in tow. Skeggjald held her tray tightly, and gazed fixedly at the shrinking figures of those soldiers; in her mind, Skeggjald had already pictured her own valiant and spirited look as a valkyrie.

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