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Val'kyr

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Val'kyr
Askalti Darksteel.jpg
Faction/Affiliation Forsaken
Racial capital Undercity
Racial leader(s) IconSmall Sylvanas.gif Sylvanas Windrunner
Homeworld Azeroth
Area(s) Eastern Kingdoms
Primary language(s) Vrykul
Secondary language(s) Common, Gutterspeak

Val'kyr are a type of undead vrykul, and seem to be a recent addition to the armies of the Scourge and later the Forsaken. They act as the Lich King's agents in the spirit world, being described by Thoralius the Wise as being "fearsome creatures made of pure nightmare" that "now stand watch over the realm of the elements".[1]

Contents

Background

The val'kyr originate at an unknown point in time, but seem to pre-date the Lich King. The vrykul bard, Helgus, lived in the town of Nifflevar and wrote three sagas, one of which was the  [Saga of the Val'kyr]. This is ancient knowledge.[2] It is unknown if other mentions of the val'kyr in the Fjord are references to ancient details, or are direct references to the Lich King's then-current forces.

The val'kyr are "warrior maidens of old" and "each was the greatest warrior of her generation." They are sisters who "served the warriors of the north in life, and chose to continue [their] service in death." They were bound to the Lich King, though they did not have a choice.[3]

The modern val'kyr are a creation of the Lich King. They were created from the female vrykul of Valkyrion, who fought and trained to receive the Lich King's unusual "gift."[4] At least one example exists of a female vrykul being turned into a val'kyr at another location as well.[5] Those that were deemed worthy underwent the transformation from simple vrykul to val'kyr. It is said that the val'kyr serve to judge the fate of vrykul combatants, transforming the favored contestants to Ymirjar, and the failed contestants to the ranks of the undead Vargul.[1]

Beyond this, the Val'kyr Battle-maidens also watched the fates of the training death knights of Acherus, making sure the newly born warriors didn't fall in battle before their time. In fact, these val'kyr were acting much like the spirit healers of the undead Scourge. If they fell in battle, the val'kyr would return them to their unlife. During the Battle for the Ebon Hold shortly after the death knights are freed, they are level 60 elite enemies aiding Scourge remains.

The Val'kyr Annhylde the Caller is a part of the Ingvar the Plunderer encounter in Utgarde Keep. Upon Ingvar's death, Annhylde judged Ingvar and found him unworthy. Annhylde resurrects him as Vargul and begins phase two of the fight giving him a second chance. Fjola Lightbane and Eydis Darkbane are two very powerful Val'kyr that were originally sent by the Lich King along with their Vengeful Val'kyr army to disrupt, destroy, and terrorize the Argent Tournament and its citizens. But during this attack Argent Confessor Paletress comes to the defense of the tournament and battles the twins. Paletress is victorious, and Fjola and Eydis are captured. Their bonds are maintained by Priestess Alorah and Priest Grimmin. They later appear as the "final" challenge of the coliseum after the raid has defeated the Faction Champions.

Edge of Night

A Val'kyr in game

After the events took place within the Icecrown Citadel, and the death of Arthas, only nine val'kyr remained in the world. These nine, lead by Annhylde the Caller, were bound to the will of their new dormant Lich King. Imprisoned atop the Icecrown, possibly for eternity, they hungered for their freedom. To gain this freedom they need a vessel, one like them, a sister of war, strong, and who understands life and death. Someone who has seen the light and the dark. Someone worthy of power over life and death. Sylvanas Windrunner, after having just committing suicide off the Frozen Throne, was shown what would happen to her people and herself if she was gone, using this information they convinced her to make a pact with them. In this pact the val'kyr would be free of the Lich King forever, but their souls would be bound to the Dark Lady. Sylvanas will walk with the living once again, but through the sisterhood of the val'kyr. As long as they lived, so too will Sylvanas. All of them will have their freedom, life, and power over death.

Sylvanas agreed to this pact, if only to prolong her fate, which filled her with terror. Annhylde took Sylvanas's place in death as the pact was made and the remaining eight sisters were bound to their new leader.[3]

Part of the Forsaken

The Forsaken had one major flaw working against them; they could not reproduce. The Lich King was the one who created the Scourge, and now that the Lich King was gone, there were no Scourge left to turn to Forsaken. The val'kyr were her salvation and solution to her dilemma. Since the val'kyr could raise the undead, they were essentially the key to keeping the Forsaken "alive" as a viable race. After leaving Northrend, a few of the val'kyrs were sent to the Deathknell Graves to "recruit" any remaining corpses there into the Forsaken, while the Dark Lady made her way to Silverpine to prevent her people from being slaughtered by Garrosh's command. With her were the rest of the val'kyr making their presence known.[3]

After Garrosh backed down and allowed Sylvanas to take command of the campaign for Gilneas, Sylvanas had decided that her people would no longer be carelessly used or squandered away for some orc.[3] They would be used wisely and with a purpose, as a bulwark to safeguard her and their kingdom. A bulwark that grows stronger as the val'kyr raises the living's dead to bolster their numbers, even with former enemies joining their ranks. This is due to the fact those raised by the Val'kyr who die in combat or under extreme stress, enter into a violent, frenzied state. Undead in this state are easily manipulated and their rage is often directed at the foes of those who raised them. After the effects wear off, the remaining resurrected are given the option of joining the Forsaken or being returned to the grave.[6]

The val'kyr themselves have been deployed into several battles since their conscription, notably throughout Silverpine and Andorhal, both of which were sound Forsaken victories due to the val'kyr's input. However, the val'kyr were only able to reanimate human corpses as Forsaken.[7] The humans trapped in the conflict with the Forsaken sought to escape that fate by turning into worgen, and thus the surviving leaders and refugees of Hillsbrad Fields and Southshore were willing to take the worgen curse and became Hillsbrad Worgen to prevent the Forsaken from raising them into undeath.[8]

When Sylvanas was killed in Silverpine Forest, Agatha, Arthura and Daschla sacrificed themselves to revive her once more.[9] Then later in the battle at Andorhal, the Alliance would kill Aradne, thus leaving only four val'kyr in existence. It's unknown where they currently are, but they're likely in a safe area continuing to raise more Forsaken members.

The Nine

After the defeat of the Lich King nine Val'kyr remained. These nine bound themselves to Sylvanas. To seal the pact, Annhylde took Sylvanas' place in the Darkness. Later in Silverpine; Agatha, Daschla and Arthura sacrificed themselves to revive the Dark Lady once more. In Andorhal another one, Aradne, was killed by Alliance forces. So of the nine, there are only four Val'kyr left, who are strong enough to revive her.[10] Even so, multiple Lesser Val'kyr maidens were spotted in the skies during the Battle for Andorhal. These Lesser Val'kyr can raise new Forsaken like the original nine[11] but as pointed out during Blizzcon, these lesser Val'kyr are not part of the original pact and are thus not strong enough to revive Sylvanas. Though how exactly they are created remains unknown, Thassarian believes that the main nine Val'kyr have the power to sire these Lesser Val'kyr but if the original Val'kyr is destroyed, the Lesser Val'kyr will dissipate.[12] Where they dwell now is a mystery, but they are likely being safeguarded by Sylvanas.

Notable Val'kyr

Name Role Status Location
Horde  Agatha Assisted in raising the dead, gave her life for Sylvanas‎ Deceased Deathknell Graves, then Silverpine Forest
Neutral  Annhylde the Caller Leader of the val'kyr, gave her life for Sylvanas‎ Deceased Utgarde Keep
Horde  Aradne Commander of the Forsaken forces in Andorhal. Killable Andorhal, Western Plaguelands
Horde  Arthura Assisted in raising the dead, gave her life for Sylvanas‎ Deceased Deathknell Graves, then Silverpine Forest
Horde  Daschla Assisted in raising the dead, gave her life for Sylvanas‎ Deceased Deathknell Graves, then Silverpine Forest
Combat  Eydis Darkbane Deceased (lore), Killable (WoW) Crusaders' Coliseum, Icecrown
Combat  Fjola Lightbane Deceased (lore), Killable (WoW) Crusaders' Coliseum, Icecrown
Neutral  Geirrvif Judge of the Valhalas Tournament battles; quest giver Unknown (lore), Active (WoW) Valhalas, Icecrown
Combat  Hildana Deathstealer Rare Deceased (lore), Killable (WoW) Icecrown
Neutral  Olrun the Battlecaller Observer of the death knight challenges; quest giver Unknown (lore), Active (WoW) Death's Breach, Scarlet Enclave
Combat  Svala Sorrowgrave Deceased (lore), Killable (WoW) Utgarde Pinnacle
Combat  Sister Svalna Deceased (lore), Killable (WoW) Frostwing Halls, Icecrown Citadel
Combat  Vardmadra A high ranking judge of battles; Killed by the Lich King Deceased Icecrown

Types

Gallery

Inspiration

"Val'kyr" is an obvious reference to the Valkyries of Norse myth — minor female deities in the service of Odin. Their duty was to choose the most heroic spirits of slain warriors and take them to Valhalla, where they would serve at Odin's side in the Ragnarök.

Speculation

Questionmark-medium.png
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

Spirit healers

There are striking similarities between the Spirit Healers and the Val'kyr: Both val'kyr and spirit healers possess the ability to ressurect the dead. In the case of spirit healers, the dead are returned to life, in the case of the val'kyr, those raised are undead. Both val'kyr and spirit healers exist on the Spirit world, this much was shown in Wyrmskull Village. Both val'kyr and spirit healers possess wings and an ethereal glow, reminiscent of angels referenced in real life religion. Though both beings are similar in shape and in the actions they perform, they don't really have a connection with each other. Val'kyr are capable of moving between the spirit plane and the material plane - the spirit healers of Azeroth are either unable or unwilling to travel between the two. While both creatures can resurrect, there is a critical difference in how the mortals that are resurrected actually return to life.

See also: Know Your Lore: The mysterious connection between spirit healers and the Val'kyr

The concept art above actually mentions this.

Titan origins

As the val'kyr seem to pre-date the Lich King, and as certain titan structures have frescoes of angelic beings, it is possible that the val'kyr are a part of the unknown titan-intended functionality of the vrykul race. It may be related to countering Yogg-Saron's death-related sphere of powers.

Lady of the Sword

The Lady of the Sword[13] may be a val'kyr.

References

  1. ^ a b A [71] The Echo of Ymiron
  2. ^ H [71] The Enemy's Legacy
  3. ^ a b c d Edge of Night
  4. ^ N [80] Off With Their Black Wings
  5. ^ Combat Svala Sorrowgrave encounter intro.
  6. ^ Ask CDev #3
  7. ^ H [19] Lessons in Fear
  8. ^ H [13] No Escape
  9. ^ H [20] Cities in Dust
  10. ^ Blizzcon 2011 Lore Q&A
  11. ^ A [40] Val'kyr Incursion
  12. ^ A [40] Aradne
  13. ^ N [80] Revenge for the Vargul