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  1. What’s this you say. A Nerd Fitness challenge about wanting to be a Librarian. Nonsense. But…ah ha! Not just any Librarian. I want to be a LIBRARIAN. See, one of those. Especially the axe wielding one. Okay well I’d like to have him and be him but that is neither here nor there. I want to be one of those Librarians. They kick ass, save the world and do it all with books and brains and bullets and fists. (Couldn’t find a B word for fists. Except big fists. I digress.) However I lack the skills necessary to be one. So while my aspirational goals are there my current goals do not meet with being a Librarian. But they will be. Oh yes they will be. Because a Librarian is my first step to Shield Maiden and from there to Valkyrie! (Girls got to have goals!) So my goals this challenge revolve around Librarian powah! Uhm. Working on gaining the skills to even be considered a Librarian some day. Yes, that’s what I meant and is much more eloquent. So Librarians focus for a bit as this will train my brain and body! And who better than Jacob to model myself after. (Eve was a close second but he’s pretty much Eve + Flynn is all I'm saying. And hot. And to be honest I’ve enjoyed the actor since the days of Angel in my much never discussed Buffy and Angel obsessed early teen years.) So how does one train to one day eventually be a Librarian? Body and mind? Its not just about reading books. Well to start I just got the okay from my cardiologist to start doing activities again. Ie exercise. Nothing too intense. (Crossfit is on hold at least another 6 months he said. Minimum. I go with the flow for now but will revisit this depending on how I feel in 3 months.) So goal 1 is to try out varying forms of exercise to get my body going again. This means I will try one new physical activity each week to try and decide which one works for me. To that end I have some fun stuff lined up. This week: Fencing class! Yes, I am going to learn how to use a sword. Or at least. Try the class and see what happens. Next week I’m debating archery or some rock climbing. After that some scuba class is a possibility or shooting classes. Nothing too strenuous. I’ve run it all by the doc and got his yes. So that’s my physical goals to becoming more like a Librarian. Goal 2 is to stretch the brain muscle to match the body muscles. This means learning new stuff. I had been prepared to head to Copenhagen to work on a PhD but that went to the wayside. So for now Ill just be taking Coursera courses online to stretch the brain in areas Im not used to. More than likely some art history to go in line with my history and maybe some astronomy or physics to go a new direction. My goal is to sign up and begin one new class and have a second as least signed up for by the end of this challenge. It’s not PhD level stuff but one of the side effects of treatment has been memory issues so trying to retrain my brain and stuff some more knowledge in there. I will also be re-reading all my old textbooks from classes to get back into the brain game. Can’t be a Librarian level expert if I forget my basic knowledge. Goal 3 isn’t really tied into Librarians (though I did try and stretch it into the theme believe me) This is simple. I will continue to prep my food for the week ahead at work on Sunday and meet my calorie goal of between 1650-1900 calories per day as recorded on MFP. A more personal goal is to just try and read some of the books that have been on my list for awhile. Not to learn new things but just to read to enjoy reading. Its not a hard and fast goal more an extra credit thing to keep in to and catch up on my reading. Ive been getting too much mental stimulation from Netflix. (Though let me tell you. Altered Carbon….Hell. Yeah.) So read some more books it is. Im looking at A Viking World edited by Stefan Brink and Neil Price. It’s a scholarly academic look at Viking Life and history but as a scholar and academic it’s my idea of fun. Seriously. It really is. For something full of information and not as scholarly and kind of heavy (I must admit) The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings by Lars Brownworth is a good one. Though it focuses on Vikings more war like aspects it’s a good place to start and jump in. Of course never fear. My list also includes some not so academically focused. I have some William Gibson, some Brandon Sanderson, some Glen Cook and some Genji Monogatari chilling by my bedside. Those will be read, again in many cases, this month as well. If I manage a B or better, or 80%, then I intend to reward myself. With this. So for people excited by Librarians and Level negative 10 shield maidens and wanna be Valkyr....here we go!
  2. Hello fellow Rebels. I am Valkyrie Rising and this will be my second challenge. Im still trying to figure things out, about myself and Nerd Fitness, so I figured this was a good place to start. I'm working hard on preparing for the year ahead but with not a lot of down time between X-Mas and New Years I had some issues trying to decide what my second challenge would be. What are my goals. What am I doing. I keep wanting to do all the things but I have to take it slow and easy due to some health issues I'm still working with and working on. So I'm keeping it simple for one more challenge to try and ingrain in my brain the habits my body needs. Main Goal: To return to the healthy state of being I was in 3 years ago. I don't want to lose a set amount of weight or be able to lift a certain amount of weight or run any races. (Yet) I just want my body back to feeling healthy as it was 3 years ago before cancer. This means getting back into eating healthy instead of just eating whatever is easy or quick or you can choke down without being sick. (Im pretty sure Im a giant mashed potato after 3 years of alot of mashed potatoes). Im barely into my 30's, I want my health back. I want to feel good walking up stairs and running and hiking and going back to Crossfit and eating good food that tastes good. But this is a process and it took 3 years to go from feeling good about myself to WTF BODY stop doing that to me! So to get to this goal here are my challenge goals. Goal 1: I will sleep a minimum of 6 hours a night. I learned the hard way in my previous challenge that if I don't get sleep it ruins my chances at achieving my other goals. Im a zombie, my body breaks down. I can barely manage to get through a work day because my body is still in recovery mode. I'm still recovering from anemia that put me in the hospital with multiple blood transfusions as a side effect of chemo and cancer. So not getting sleep when running on an exhausted body already just compounds the issue. So the key to making sure my other goals are met, which in turn works towards my main goal, is getting a good amount of sleep at night. I probably need 8 but Im not too horrible with this. However with finally being back at work Im noticing a pattern of not getting to sleep as early as I used to so want to keep that from becoming a bad habit. Goal 2: I will plan my meals and prep them ahead of time every week so I can bring them to work with me and avoid bad for me food and meals. I did this last challenge and it worked well once I got the hang of how it works for me. Im going to keep it up this challenge because I want to make it a habit and not a chore. Right now Im struggling to find delicious foods that dont bore me every week. Last challenge I think I had Harissa Chicken with chickpeas for 15 days in a row. So Im hoping this will help my branch out into new areas of cooking again while working to keep my calories and processed foods under control. I relied on convenience foods a lot during chemo treatments when I could eat and so I became too dependent on takeout, Grub Hub and stuff out of a box or can. Goal 3: Healthy Mind and Body needs a healthy environment. I need to clean my house. So my house isn't horrible. However trying to take care of myself and my home I had to make choices. At one point my closet rod fell and (Im ashamed to admit) I was too weak to lift it back up so alot of my clothes stayed laying on my closet floor. My clean laundry is piled on the guest room spare bed and when I need to get ready for work I go in there and pick through and run them through the dryer to get rid of wrinkles. My dishes get washed but sometimes I dont unload the dishwasher for a day or two. I have wood floors downstairs but upstairs is carpet and Ive been avoiding trying to drag the vacuum upstairs so the carpets are probably not in the best of shapes. In other words the house isnt a mess but its a mess. So Im going to clean one of the big rooms each week and one of the little rooms each week. Big rooms: Kitchen. Living Room. Bedroom. Master Bath. Little rooms: Guest room. Dining Room. (Just because I havent used it for anything in like..2 years so its clean just unused and dusty.) Guest bathroom. Half bath. Theres one room however that needs to see the light of day. It needs scrubbing from top to bottom, cleaning, airing out with fresh cold winter air. The computer room where I have lived for the last few years and existed. Its been my salvation. Playing games, talking to my online friends in games and through Discord. Wow, Destiny, Elder Scrolls. The fantasy world helped me forget the reality and made things easier but it needs to be returned to it's cleaner state. Bookshelves are empty from where I took books out and then let them pile on the floor. Cords are a mess from getting a new rig and not making it nice and neat behind my desk. New consoles means theyre all just stacked on top of each other, not good for heat issues and such I know. This is a big project so one week it will just be the computer room/3rd bedroom. So those are my goals. A little simple but with the start of the New Year my goal is keeping the healthy habits Ive started so they stay just that. Habits. Thanks and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. Oh, and just like last time.
  3. Good morning fellow Beginners, Rebooters and bewildered individuals. I am ValkyrieRising and have decided to dip my toe into the water and drink the Kool-Aid of Nerd Fitness. A little about me. I'm a history Nerd who had been working on being accepted to do her PhD overseas in Denmark when I got a rather unpleasant medical diagnosis. (No prizes for guessing my area of interest given my Nickname/BattleTag/Secret Identity/Hero Name etc) Im a 30 something years old and struggling with my health after that medical diagnosis and just the fact I'm not as young and sprightly as I used to be. I finally have the all clear from my doctor to begin the long road back to good health and good eating that was me 3-4 years ago before my diagnosis. Currently my focus is just on eating healthy again as during my fight with my body and the treatment I devolved into eating comfort foods when I was well enough to eat. I indulged in anything I wanted, telling myself I deserved it because I was going through tests/chemo/hospital stays/transfusion/whatever excuse I felt like using. So for my first challenge this is going to be my focus. Main Quest: To eat healthier and get my eating habits under better control by not gorging on whatever I feel like and sticking to a measurable goal of between 1650-1900 calories each day based on my activity. Smart Goals: 1. I will weigh and measure my food until I can re-orientate my brain as to what a proper serving size is. (A whole pan of brownies is not one serving.) 2. I will track my consumption and calories through an online Food Tracker. (I'm using My Fitness Pal since it seems easy enough.) 3. I will cut my sweet tea consumption out and focus on drinking water each day instead. I accept that this will be a struggle and I may slip but a small slip is no reason not to press forward in this challenge. 4. I will meal prep my food during the beginning of the week in order to ensure I do not eat mindlessly. I recognize this as a big pitfall of mine, sitting at home and being bored so grazing through the fridge for food. If I prep my snacks and food ahead of time I hope to graze on that and not overeat during the week. With all of this I am allowing myself 2 instances where I will divert from these plans. The first is on December 14th and the premiere of the next Star Wars movie. I've had tickets since October and intend to go and enjoy this occasion without worrying about myself and what I'm indulging in.The second is a Christmas party my friend throws that I am finally healthy enough to attend after missing it the last couple years. This is part of being mindful and accepting that constantly saying no to the things I enjoy will lead to me failing and binging. In my reading, here and other sources, I really grew to like the idea of the 80/20 approach. As long as I am doing well the larger majority of the time and don't let myself slip and keep on track then those small indulgences have less of an impact and value. I look forward to reading along and travelling with you all through this journey and hope to grow not only in my health, mind and body, but also in my challenges as I see how creative and all in many of you go. Its awing and inspiring! I leave you with the following words to consider in life.
  4. Last time on as the Vikings Burn....I mean last challenge which had to drop to the wayside as I acclimated to a new schedule and fun Kara moaned as she burrowed deeper into her sleeping furs, trying to hide the light creeping through the window from her eyes, struggling to find a comfortable place to rest. It seemed her sore muscles had sore muscles after the week that had just gone by. Even now, laying in bed and sleeping (or trying to), there was no way to get comfortable with how aching and battered her body was. Closing her eyes to try and snatch a few more hours she let her thoughts drift to the week. While she had managed to get up every morning before the Old Goat wandered in with another bucket of water to freeze her with missing that first morning had set the tone for the week. Punishment. Clear and simple. The whole body was beaten and wracked and destroyed to build it back stronger. She knew at this rate she was going to spend the next few weeks aching and exhausted. But she felt hopeful. Better. Mayhaps even....excited about what was coming. The training the Goat had pushed her through had been maneuvers and actions her body was not used to. She had lifted, ran, contorted, twisted and put her body through exercises she had never even heard of before. When she was done working her body he had pushed her weapons on her. The hammer normally wielded to devastate enemies everywhere had been used to make her arms to turn to jello. Twisting. Lifting. Turning. The hammer had been swung, held, cradled, twisted and even flipped at some points. Then the weapon had been turned to a pile of leather off casts, beating them as if they were Sutr himself standing before her again and again. All of that she could handle. But the running. Allfather watch over her the running was almost too much. Full armor. Weapons and shield on her back as she ran through the woods. Through the halls of Valhalla. Through the plains where the souls of fallen warriors practiced for Ragnarok. It didn't matter where it was Kara had run through it, often being pointed at and laughed at by those who saw her training with the Goat as he was called by all. She gritted her teeth and endured, ignoring the laughter and comments about a Valkyrie trained by a Goat. She noticed none of them said a word when he was with her. They knew better than to try and ridicule him. He would trounce them and leave them begging to be done. There had been plans to begin training her on how to train without weapons but the tutor he had promised had not been able to make it on the day planned. She had been hopeful perhaps that ridiculous idea could be overlooked but it was not to be. In the weeks ahead she would be taught by this tutor she had never met multiple days a week instead of just once. The young Valkyrie wasn't even sure how she was going to survive the running and the lifting and all the cross training the Goat made her endure. Throw in taking a beating multiple days a week was no doubt going to put her over the edge. She winced and burrowed her face into her furs at the mere thought. Blessed sleep was disturbed only a short time later as her whole body was shaken. The Valkyrie merely cracked an eye open, not even bothering to leap out of bed. If this was an enemy she would provide little fight. But, as expected, she found the Goat standing there smirking at her. "Wake up Curly One, time to get out of bed." "Go. Away. You promised me a day to sleep today." "Yes, I did and I will keep my word. But the All Father summons you." Kara shot to her feet immediately at that statement and she moved to put her armor and gear on. "You should have said so at the start, fool!" "I thought that's what I just did." "You did not such thing." She hissed at him, a whirlwind of movement as she donned her attire and then raced from her room still lacing up boots and strapping on weapons. She slid along, moving through the halls as fastly as she could move, soon entering the great hall and bowing before the Allfather, face and forehead planted on the floor. "Rise, Valkyrie." Odin's voice boomed through the hall, echoing off the tall ceilings and stone walls. Kara lifted to herself to her feet, face set stoically to hide the pain she felt as she moved her body about at his bidding. Her eyes turned upwards and she regarded the King of the Gods and Asgard it's self. There was no denying that Odin was an imposing figure to behold. Two dark shapes sat silently on his shoulder, beady eyes fixated upon her and watching her intently with a shining intelligence no normal Raven should hold. She knew Huggin and Muggin had probably been the ones to report her actions to Odin and her lips thinned as she regarded them. Without actively doing so her eyes shifted from the ravens gracing his shoulder to the ruined mass of one eye, the price for the knowledge granted by those creatures alighted upon him. Scars radiated out from the center, marring his face and disappearing down into his hair and beard. The puckered flesh was laid bare for all to see, no attempt made to hide it. Odin was proud of his bargain, for his knowledge, and for the price paid. He wanted all to see it. Only years of exposure to such let her observe it without a reaction, she had grown accustomed to the sight over the years. Beard and hair were white, the color of winter and ice. Kara often considered that they reminded her of water poured over a statue then frozen in place. Harsh and unforgiving as the craggy face they covered, Odin spoke of age and time and battle. The white on white on white of his face and beard and the stark blackness of the Ravens on his shoulder said something about the God himself. It was a statement of many things, even if he was not aware of it. Blacks and whites. rights and wrongs. His words and those who opposed him. With a shake of her head Kara cleared her thoughts, not wanting them to be ehard or seen by any looking her way. "Thank you, majesty." "So, I hear you have begun training with the Goat this last week." She fidgeted at his words, wondering how he would take this. "Yes, Allfather. I have sought out his wisdom to learn to be a better Valkyrie for you." "And why seek him out and not myself or another of our vaunted warriors such as Thor?" He eyed her darkly with his one good eye, the scorn for her actions clear upon his face. The Valkyrie must tread carefully here, the Allfather was...well...the Allfather. Anger him and she could find herself like Loki. "I did not wish to disturb you or your son with my simple request, Allfather. I sought not to waste your time or his with someone such as myself. I can get training from the Goat and not burden you in anyway. I only sought the basics of such learning, not to master such skills yet as you do." A little flattery never hurt, perhaps. Odin peered intently at her and she kept her eyes downcast,r efusing to meet his gaze and let him see the falseness of her words. She had her own reasons for what she was doing and neither Odin nor Goat were going to stop her from what she was about. She stood motionless, letting him weigh her words. Time ticked by, the throne room of people shuffling and moving as they waited for a response. "I see. How....intriguing." She nodded, as if agreeing with him about his observation. She said nothing still and let the silence continue before even the Allfather himself finally stood and strode from the throne to stand before her. "And why pick Goat for such training, Valkyr?" "I have long heard of his prowess on the battle field, Allfather. His skill with the hammer and shield. His ability to best many of our warriors. I felt he could provide me with much to learn if he was half as good as the stories say of him." "And is he? Half as good?" "Yes, my lord. He is." "And you think he has knowledge to pass on that would aid you in your duties to me." "Yes, Allfather." A large hand reached out and took hold of her chin, forcing her head back and her eyes up to his face to meet his gaze. "I think you're lying Valkyrie. I think you're hiding something from me." Kara stilled all thoughts. All observations, working to keep her face devoid of anything but her devotion to Odin and Asgard. This was no lie. She was devoted to the people, the realm, and it's survival. "My lord....I am not. I simply sought to learn more, fight better, and be able to do my duties." This much was truth. Best to wrap the truth around her actions as a shield against observation and examination. It would keep things from being discovered. "We shall see, Valkyr. I will be watching you." At this statement both the birds on his shoulder shifted, ruffling their feathers and fixing beady eyes on her. They reminded her of Loki or the world serpent, all slick and dark and full of secrets. She refused to look at them too long, instead bowing before Odin once more. "Of course my Lord, I live to serve." "So you say, Valkyrie. Leave my sight." At the dismissal Kara left the throne room, moving as quickly as she could without it being obvious she was running. Once she crossed the threshold and was back outside Goat fell into step beside her, turning his head to regard her with the same probing gaze Odin had. She scoffed some and looked sidelong at him. "What?" "You're hiding something, Curly One." "You hide everything Old Goat." "This is true. But you...you're hiding something from me and Odin and others." "Mmm. Perhaps." His hand snaked out grabbing hers and yanking her to a stop. She winced and moved to yank her arm free but found his grip like iron upon her limb. He forced her to look at him much as Odin had done in the throne room, trying to divine intentions in her gaze. "Tell me or we will ceasae this training." "No. My secrets are my own! I will find another to teach me then." She shook her arm again to try and leave but he held tighter, fingers digging in deep enough to mark her pale flesh. "What game are you up to, Valkyrie?" "None, I merely wish to survive, Goat. Nothing more." She let the partial truth of her words be seen, knowing that while he may realize she still kept secrets that much was truth. She kept her face still as his fingers dug in deeper and deeper, his anger at not knowing what she was trying to do expressed through that grip. Finally he shook her violently and pushed her away, letting go. "Bah. You lie and keep secrets like those damnable birds. But I will keep you close until I am sure you are no threat." "I am not a threat, Goat. I am a Valkyrie. I serve Asgard and Valhalla. Nothing more." This was utterly true, even if he chose not to believe her. "Hmph. I will pry your secrets from you Valkyr, even if I have to flay it from your skin in training. Be ready, tomorrow you will learn what it is to lie and defy me." "I do not fear you, Goat. No more than I fear the, Allfather." "We will see, Curly One, we will see." With that he stalked off, leaving Kara to return to her room to try and regain some of the sleep she had been pulled from. Sleep was not forthcoming for Kara however and the young Valkyrie soon dressed for the day and headed out to the practice grounds with her shield and hammer upon her back and her armor upon her body. She ignored the sidelong looks sent her way, knowing that many were whispering and discussing her after the debacle in the throne room. No doubt many would be eagerly spying for the Allfather, in addition to those two blasted nosy birds. Not only that but some would be angry at her for what they perceived to be a betrayal in the making. How little they knew or realized was truly happening. However for the moment Kara ignored them all and set to work focusing on her practice. She worked the same moves that the Goat had been teaching her, pounding into leathers with her hammer. Swinging it and letting her body growing acclimated to using it. Then a run through the woods with full armor and weapons upon her back. Escaping the whispers and stares was exactly what was needed after the abysmal start to the day. The icy grounds and snow covered trees however did not help to make her run any easier. More than once she struggled to move through small snow drifts and across icy slicked ground that was already uneven from rocks and dirt and leaves hidden beneath the snow. Still, Kara struggled forward to race through the woods and complete her training, opting to work out her anger with events instead of resting. Though resting would probably have been the better choice with the way the day was going. Her body already ached from a weeks worth of activities. Now she was pushing it further than she should. Still, they didn't call it braving the elements for nothing. Though more like stupidly crazy is what the Valkyr mumbled to herself as she moved along the woods. She continued on bravely stubbornly and soon circled back to the outer fields of Valhalla. Making her way through the stone edifice and into the small room called hers the Valkyrie collapsed, aching and soaked to the skin. She barely managed to strip herself of her attire and find her warm furs before sleep claimed her. Tomorrow she would have to start again, after failing the Goat in his eyes, and she knew it would be murder. Perhaps literally. So last challenge blew up. I rocked out my first two hardcore, did total win and then...real life. Bam to the face. School started. New job working 6pm - 3am. Working out 7am. All of it combined to keep me offline except for intermittent pit stops here and there. I managed to maintain my workout schedule but flopped on eating Paleo with a snow storm, err two inches of snow are a storm here in the South I suppose, and not having supplies in the house. What I learned? Make a schedule and stick to it to make time for what you enjoy. I enjoy this site and you guys so I've scheduled NF into my week every week. (This morning before Crossfit) Two, always have emergency rations in case a light storm...I mean snowmageddon....hits. And finally we don't always ace everything we do. The true test is if we pull ourselves up, move forward having learned and continue to go forward. Ranger up! Fortunately I had planned my last challenge to continue into this one. I wanted my challenges to span two months, with small adjustments, to build lasting changes and affects. So my goals are much the same. Goal 1:Strength- Being born with the strength of the Gods is all well and good but when the Gods and other beings of the 9 realms are your enemy and are stronger than you that must change. You need to build that strength up to stand toe to toe with Giants. For this challenge I will do 3 strength exercises a week, a combo of Maces and Crossfit. Goal 2: Endurance- Being strong and facing down Frost Giants or a handsy drunken Thor is only one aspect. Valkyries live on battlefields and collecting souls sometimes means taking part. Being strong doesn't help if battles are long and drawn out (or if you're running around tables to elude Thor until Sif can knock him cold and drag him off.) To be the best Valkyrie you need the endurance to withstand enemies in battle. I will do four endurance/cardio based workouts a week, any mix of Rucking or C25K sessions. Goal 3: Defense- Knowing how to swing a hammer and block a shield is one step in being able to fight. Learning more than one way of fighting and moving is useful along with improving agility and flexibility. One can never say when they may be stripped of their weapons in battle. To this end I will do one Krav Maga session minimum a week. Preparing for battle of any kind is the task of a true Valkyr! Goal 4: Buck Furpees! - Preparation is a key to battle. Going into a fight means taking care of yourself, your armor, your supplies. It means knowing what you may face and being ready for whatever is thrown at you. Being prepared for me means facing the dreaded Burpee head on. I will be doing the Spartan in June and Burpees will inevitably be a part of that. I must prepare, even as I curse them. Every week I will do Burpees before bed and when I wake up. Each additional week I will add on 5 Burpees until I can easily do those I need to in preparation to become a Spartan Valkyrie! I am on 25 burpees....kill me now. Goal 5: Nutrition- Swilling wine and mead and beer is all good for any Cup Bearing Valkyrie. But feasting and drinking until one is swimming in it is not. The body must be ready for battle along with the mind and reflexes. Stuffing my face is not part of that. The holidays are over. Time to Ranger Up! I will eat 2 primal meals a day every day of the week, allowing myself one day to eat Primal only once. The day is my choosing but it does not mean I will gorge. Only that I can relax and let myself embrace my inner Valkyrie with a little good food and good drink. Life Goal: Live- Winning a battle is all well and good but one must learn life is not always about the next battle, the next fight. One must enjoy and live. Fear must not hold back your life. So every challenge I will pick one new thing to do, one thing I am uncertain of or afraid of. I will do it and will conquer it. I don't know what it will be each time. It may be something small and simple. It may be life changing. But it will be done and I will post in my wrap up what I did each challenge. Last month it was starting Krav, even being nervous about going and my fitness level. I enjoyed it all and still doing it. This month.....we shall see. The next morning Kara was pulled from bed by the Goat, his hand yanking her by the hair and throwing her to the floor. It was hours before she was normally up. But it seemed he was eager to punish her for her "lies" as he perceived them. "Up traitor, time to earn your beating and punishment from me. Let us see how much you are willing to betray Asgard this morning." He threw her aside as he snarled and stomped out, making Kara wonder why he even bothered. If he was truly this angry why even continue teaching her anything. Why give her more skills to betray Asgard and it's people if he thought that is what she was up to. With a sigh and groan she stood and began to dress, adding the mystery of his actions to the growing pile of worries and questions plaguing her on the path she had begun.
  5. Kara gritted her teeth as she raised her shield up to ward off the blow of the sword arcing through the air. Metal met metal in a clang that resounded through the air and jarred all the way up through her arm and her body, shaking her with it's strength. A flurry of curse words flew past Kara's lips as she countered the attack, bringing her own hammer up and sending it crashing down on her enemy. He brought his shield up to deflect the blow then twisted in a maneuver she had not seen before that allowed him to block and attack almost simultaneously. The shield on her forearm was brought up to counter the swift attack and he simply shrugged the efforts off and continued to rain blow after blow at Kara. She struggled to protect and defend and find a way to attack herself, even as her strikes seemed to show little to no effect on her opponent. The young Valkyrie cursed and attempted to roll away from her opponent as he let loose a barrage of attacks swifter than she could anticipate or protect herself from. She let loose with a torrent of curse words as she put some space between the two of them and warily eyed the man moving after her. She had the strength of the Gods, she stood toe to toe with the denizens of the Nine Realms, and yet to him it was as if he was under assault from a fly. If not for the shield in hand there was no doubt that her body would be a mass of cuts and injuries. As it was head to toe throbbed, every slash and thrust deflected sending jarring pains and aches all over. The shield arm was suffering the brunt of it and Kara knew the next day her limb would be unusable and numb with bruising and pain. The rhythm of battle was interrupted by a sudden shift in tactics on the part of her enemy. A sword was brought up as if to attack and Kara moved to block it. Out of the corner of her eye she saw, too late, his shield coming up to be used in the attack as well, the dual attack shifting her focus to move away. But it was too late,. She had already moved her own block and shield and even as she turned to roll from both blows the shield caught her entire right side firmly across her breastplate. She flew back on to the ground and he followed her down. With one hand he slammed the shield down, pinning her weapon in place, his weight upon her shield and his sword brought to her neck. A sharp sudden motion and she felt the sting of the cut as the sword slid across her neck, leaving a shallow cut to mark his victory. “You lose Curly One†“I know. No need to state the obvious, you Old Goat!â€Expletives followed her comment and he managed to raise his brow even as he pulled back and stood up off of her. “I was not aware one could do that with a hammer, my face and a sheep. Perhaps you can demonstrate with your own at the next feast.†“Perhaps I can use my hammer on that tiny excuse for a manhood you claim instead?†“Such a violent young woman.†He reached down and grabber Kara's hand, yanking her to her feet with a smirk. “One would think you could channel that into fighting better yet I find you, once again, laying on your back before me.†She shot him a dirty look, practically snarling at him and his comment. “I fought fine you Goat! I would have had you in another few blows.†“Pah. You had nothing Valkyr. You're blows were like that of a gnat biting at a horse. You were exhausted swiftly, easily. You did not anticipate or react quick enough to my change in tactics, too stuck in the idea of hack and slash. No doubt you are still swimming in last nights mead. You are ill prepared for the battles ahead with the abysmal training you've received. How are you to survive battlefields the world over much less Ragnarok when you cannot even spar with me. You will take no souls for Asgard and Valhalla the way you are now!†“What shall I do then?†Her insults were gone, the bravado shattered with the truth. Her eyes shifted to her teacher seriously and he nodded with a smile. Finally she would take this seriously. “You will build up your strength. You will exercise your body. You will train in battle and defense. Stop filling your body with bread and booze. Being a cup bearer does not mean you have to drink enough to pass out every night, Curly. You will prepare. You will listen. You will rise as a Valkyrie, not a silly girl any longer.†Goal One: Strength "Come, Curly. Follow me and I will show you what you need to do with that hammer of yours and a few other items I have." Her teacher guided her through the practice yard and took her to piles of discarded leather from armor crafting cut offs. "Stand here. Hit the leather. Don't stop until I say." "You want me to hit....leather? Why?" He sighed and eyed Kara fiercely. "Do as I say Valkyr, or leave and let me find another student who can listen." Growling the Valkyrie lifted her hammer and began to slam it into the pile of leather over and over. Being born with the strength of the Gods is all well and good but when the Gods and other beings of the 9 realms are your enemy and are stronger than you that must change. You need to build that strength up to stand toe to toe with Giants. For this challenge I will do 3 strength exercises a week, a combo of Maces and Crossfit. Goal Two: Endurance "Keep running." "I haven't stopped, Goat!" "You're slowing down, Curly. Keep moving or they'll get you." "They haven't got me yet!" "Shutup and run or they'll bite you!" The gnashing of teeth as one of the hounds chasing Kara lunged at her calf reiterated the point and the Valkyrie turned to keep running, trying to ignore the pain in her side as the weight of her armor slowed her steps and burned in her lungs." Being strong and facing down Frost Giants or a handsy drunken Thor is only one aspect. Valkyries live on battlefields and collecting souls sometimes means taking part. Being strong doesn't help if battles are long and drawn out (or if you're running around tables to elude Thor until Sif can knock him cold and drag him off.) To be the best Valkyrie you need the endurance to withstand enemies in battle. I will do four endurance/cardio based workouts a week, any mix of Rucking or C25K sessions. Goal Three: Defense "Why don't I have my weapon?!" "Because I took it from you." "And?" He growled, turning to backhand her, the blow ringing through her face and ears, leaving her gaping at him. "Because if an enemy manages to take it from you it won't be a slap you'll be facing." Any further comment was cut off by a growl as Kara leaped through the air to land on him and begin pummeling him with her fists, making him laugh. "That's it, girl. Now you understand!" Knowing how to swing a hammer and block a shield is one step in being able to fight. Learning more than one way of fighting and moving is useful along with improving agility and flexibility. One can never say when they may be stripped of their weapons in battle. To this end I will do one Krav Maga session minimum a week. Preparing for battle of any kind is the task of a true Valkyr! Goal Four: Buck Furpees! He watched the young woman as she cleaned out not only her armor and weapons but even the sweat stained under tunic. He hovered, making sure every last drop of moisture was dried, that no rust would be forming on her gear. Then observed her sharpening her sword and checking over the mace for any weak points are cracks. "I would have thought hitting you with this would have made it crack, as hard headed as you are, Old Goat." "There you go, thinking again." She snarled but he merely chuckled, causing her to shake her head at him in disgust. She muttered obscenities under her breath but keep working on her gear and making sure it was ready for battle. Preparation is a key to battle. Going into a fight means taking care of yourself, your armor, your supplies. It means knowing what you may face and being ready for whatever is thrown at you. Being prepared for me means facing the dreaded Burpee head on. I will be doing the Spartan in June and Burpess will inevitably be a part of that. I must prepare, even as I curse them. Every week I will do Burpees before bed and when I wake up. Each additional week I will add on 5 Burpees until I can easily do those I need to in preparation to become a Spartan Valkyrie! I will start with 5 my first week. Goal Five: Nutrition Halfway through throwing back the cup of mead Kara found it wrenched from her hand and thrown to the floor. The young woman turned to face the einherjar she was sure it was and found her face to face with her teacher. The snarl that had been forming died on her lips and she stared at him pouting. "That was my mead." "What did I say." "To stop swimming in my food and gorging myself." "So..." She frowned and bit her lip but reached out and grabbed some meat and cheese and fruit to eat along with a tankard of cold, refreshing....water. Ugh. Swilling wine and mead and beer is all good for any Cup Bearing Valkyrie. But feasting and drinking until one is swimming in it is not. The body must be ready for battle along with the mind and reflexes. Stuffing my face is not part of that. The holidays are over. Time to Ranger Up! I will eat 2 primal meals a day every day of the week, allowing myself one day to eat Primal only once. The day is my choosing but it does not mean I will gorge. Only that I can relax and let myself embrace my inner Valkyrie with a little good food and good drink. Life Goal: Live Winning a battle is all well and good but one must learn life is not always about the next battle, the next fight. One must enjoy and live. Fear must not hold back your life. So every challenge I will pick one new thing to do, one thing I am uncertain of or afraid of. I will do it and will conquer it. I don't know what it will be each time. It may be something small and simple. It may be life changing. But it will be done and I will post in my wrap up what I did each challenge. Completing each challenge I will award myself a static set of stat points (subject to change with tomorrows release of more info) based on what my focus for each challenge was. At the end of everything if I have achieved all my goals I will reward myself with something from my list. My newest tattoo. Piercing. Massage. New athletic gear. Kara listened to all her mentor laid out for her and nodded with a sigh. She looked at the looming edifice that was Valhalla and watched those inside. The souls of countless warriors in battle taken before she had come along and there would be countless more she would add to the teeming mass. She could not approach this as casually as the others may. She was collecting souls for battle, for Ragnarok and she was determined they would not lose, no matter what the Norns and the prophecies claimed. Asgard would stand strong, she would serve the All Father. She would do what it took. “Let us train some more then, Old Goat.â€
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