The Way of the Warrior - tactics
By Diana the Valkyrie
(C) Diana the Valkyrie, 1996
The skilled warrior learns more than how to swing her sword. She also learns battle tactics, ways of fighting that significantly increase your chance of winning.
Strength and stroke power are obviously important, and the answer here is to practice, practice, practice. But hacking away at a grove of trees is no substitute for practice with a real opponent. Obviously, you use blunt swords for this, as you don't want to kill her.
The four strokes of the sword are: thrust, cut, parry and feint. Thrusting (stabbing) is most effective in shorter swords, but if a warrior has a powerful arm and strong wrists, she can thrust even with a six foot broad sword. The cut takes longer to deliver, but can carry a lot more power. The weight of a sword helps the cut to succeed, and a six foot broadsword swung by a Valkyrie is almost unstoppable. But the slowness of the Valkyrie usually makes it possible to get out of the way of the stroke.
A parry is a dual-purpose stroke, used to nullify an opponent's stroke, and at the same time try to throw her off balance. A feint is used to mislead an opponent about the true target, and is followed by an aggressive stroke. Valkyries aren't really fast enough to use feints effectively, but it's important to be aware of the feint, because it takes too long to change your defence and stance; you need to be able to recognise the feint for what it is.
Distraction is a useful weapon where you can use it. That's why Valkyries often fight bare breasted, and why it's worth growing your hair long and leaving it unbound. Men are badly hampered by an erection. So even if you don't use those natural weapons explicitly, they will still impact the man you're fighting, and if you want to, you can cause a serious distraction while you deliver a destructive stroke. If you don't know how to use your natural assets to distract, it's time you learned.
You might argue that it would be better to face a blade wearing at least leather to protect your soft skin. This is a valid argument, but the value of the distraction is undeniable. You can try to get the best of both worlds by wearing a leather jacket, but leave it open at the front. You can get the same effect with your legs by wearing a split skirt (which also makes it easier to kick).
You're supposed to use a broadsword two-handed, but if you have got the strength to wield it in one hand, that's worth trying. Then you can use either a shield (if you're fighting as part of a shield wall in a battle line) or a short stabbing sword (like the Romans), or fighting knife (my preference). The fighting knife also doubles as a knuckle duster, making your punch really damaging.
It's worth keeping your fighting knife *really* sharp. I don't just use a sharpening stone for Castrator, I also like to strop it on my leather skirt, to really hone the edge.
I wear high heels in a fight, and it isn't just because they makes my legs look better. A good spike heel makes a fearsome weapon; a solid kick will drive it through even plate mail, let alone the ring mail that is the most you're likely to see. I also like to wear a pretty blue ribbon in my hair, which not only goes very well with my colouring, but also doubles as a garotte, in case I need to kill a sentry silently. Stand behind him, loop it round the neck, and his struggles will be feeble and short.
Before a battle, I like to give my hair a really good wash and go to a lot of trouble over my appearance. I think it's so important to look good at such occasions; people so often base their impression of you on how you look as well as how you fight, so I like to be feminine and stylish.
Singing and battle cries
A good, bloodcurdling scream tends to paralyse the opposition just before you hit him. If you adopt some word or phrase and use that regularly, then people will be able to know where you are by your war cry. Something intimidating with lots of vowels is the best, some guttural grunt is useless. Diana's warcry is "Diana Valkyrie", and when she screams it at the top of her voice, men stop and look at her.
She sings a lot. She sings to cheer up men who are hurt or wounded, and her favourite songs are Beatles songs, like "Yesterday" and "Hey Jude" for sad moments and "Sergeant Pepper" and "Yellow Submarine" for happy times. She has a Beatles song for every mood. She also sings Nordic lullabies.
Leather is fairly easy to take care of; sponge the bloodstains with soap and water before scrubbing the surface with a hogshair brush. Removal won't be perfect, but leather doesn't show bloodstains too badly.
Wool is a lot more difficult, as it seems to absorb the blood. You'll just have to accept the blotchy look, and maybe you should take this into account when the garment is designed in the first place.
But the worst problem is silk. Sooner or later, every warrior has to face the problem of how to get bloodstains out of silk. The fact is, everyone has their own recipe, and none of them are really satisfactory. My method is to first soak it in water with a little pure soap, overnight, and then a 50% mixture of vinegar and peroxide. I deal with brains the same way.
The other kind of stain happens when a man loses his self-control, either from fear (urine) or arousal (semen). Urine stains aren't too bad, soap and water plus an overnight soaking will usually shift them, but an inadvertent ejaculation can totally ruin your best blouse. Really, the best thing to do is if you can see that happening, is a quick knee in the groin, which ought to get his erection down before he messes up your clothes. Then you might have a bloodstain problem, of course, but that's a familiar problem.