She looked into the eyes of many of them as they passed away, like some sort of angel of death. Some were frightened, some relieved, most just confused. She served as the arbiter of their passage, an earthly Charon. Or perhaps a Valkyrie, carrying fallen heroes to Valhalla. But she'd seen no heroes, no one worthy of Valhalla.
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But we do not choose our deaths. The Norns do that at the foot of Yggdrasil and I imagined one of those three Fates holding the shears above my thread. She was ready to cut, and all that mattered now was to keep tight hold of my sword so that the winged women would take me to Valhalla's feasting-hall.
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Think of the glory. Think of your reputation. Think how great it'll look on your next resume." On my cenotaph, you mean. Nobody will be able to collect enough of my scattered atoms to bury. You going to cover my funeral expenses, son?" Splendidly. Banners, dancing girls, and enough beer to float your coffin to Valhalla." - Miles coaxing Ky Tung to agree to an almost suicidal mission
Lois McMaster Bujold
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As for the primitive, I hark back to it because we are still very primitive. How many thousands of years of culture, think you, have rubbed and polished at our raw edges? One probably; at the best, no more than two. And that takes us back to screaming savagery, when, gross of body and deed, we drank blood from the skulls of our enemies, and hailed as highest paradise the orgies and carnage of Valhalla.
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There are as many Africas as there are books about Africa - and as many books about it as you could read in a leisurely lifetime. Whoever writes a new one can afford a certain complacency in the knowledge that his is a new picture agreeing with no one else's, but likely to be haugthily disagreed with by all those who believed in some other Africa... Being thus all things to all authors, it follows, I suppose, that Africa must be all things to all readers. Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer's paradise, a hunter's Valhalla, an escapist's Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one. To a lot of people, as to myself, it is just 'home.
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I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom's realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer's Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.
Robert E. Howard
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