|The Valkyries, agents of the gods, ever seek the souls of great warriors. Heroes worthy of being called Einherjar. Only those who live true in battle... and die true in battle... will be allowed to cross Bifrost and dwell within Valhalla in Asgard. How did you fight... and how did you die? That's what matters.|
Valhalla (ヴァルハラ, Varuhara) is the 21st chapter in the series and the last chapter of Volume 3.
Thorkell and his men, who have taken Prince Canute, Ragnar and their priest, Willibald, hostage, march through the forest. The men are idly discussing religion when Thorkell stops the march and throws a spear, killing a man further down the forest. Another man steps out and claims to be one of Ragnar's, there with four thousand men. They demand that the Prince and Ragnar be released at once. Surprisingly, Thorkell releases them right away. With the hostages out of the way, he easily goads the men into fighting despite Ragnar's vehement protests. Nearby, Askeladd's men observe the fight and are instructed to carry out barrels and set up according to plan. Thorkell stops fighting when he smells charcoal in the air. He and his men turn and notice smoke.
November 1013 A.D. Thorkell, laying in a cart, marches on with his men through a forest near Marlborough and Bath. They discuss the merits of fall, English beer, food, and English women, before talking about religion, noting that many of their temples to the old gods have turned into churches and that many men are converting to Christianity. They argue about who would win between the Gods of Asgard and Jesus Christ, and Thorkell decides to ask a real Christian, the prince. Canute does not respond and Ragnar tells Thorkell to hold his tongue, telling him he's subjecting the prince to indignity. Thorkell tells Ragnar that hostage-taking is not his style, but that he had no choice to get King Sweyn to stop ignoring him. Thorkell dramatically says he is lonely and one of his men compares him to a dreaming maiden, which Thorkell and the rest find funny. Ragnar calls them all madmen and asks why five hundred men would dare face off an army of sixteen thousand. Thorkell tells him he's been converted for so long he's forgotten that Norman warriors pride in and long to live and die in true battle for the chance of being worthy of Valhalla.
Ragnar tells Thorkell he pities him because he is a child who knows only battle and nothing of the royal court or the king. Ragnar starts to reply, but he is interrupted by Willibald, who suddenly stands up in the cart and starts yelling about being able to see God and asking him to show him His love. Ragnar notes Willibald's drink has gone dry and asks for him to be given a refill. Thorkell laughs about seeing a friar so dependent on alcohol and asks him who is greater, Jesus or the Nord gods. Willibald replies that it is whoever created liquor, which sends the men into hysterics. The marching suddenly stops and Ragnar asks what is happening. Thorkell grabs a throwing spear and throws it into the forest, a scream confirming that he's hit a target and that they are being ambushed from the left side of the slope. A man steps forward and tells Thorkell that he and two thousand soldiers serving Ragnar and Prince Canute have him surrounded. He demands that the Prince and Ragnar be released and tells him they will be granted their lives if they do so. The man keeps talking, but stops when he realizes Prince Canute, Ragnar and Willibald have been released and are all walking his way already.
Thorkell says that with the prince safe and sound, they can now battle. Ragnar tells his men they must leave, but they are warriors and do not see a reason to turn from battle, which would make them cowards. Ragnar keeps trying to persuade them that the prince's safety is the top priority, but Thorkell provokes them further and they charge. Askeladd's men observe the fight nearby, hidden in the forest. Askeladd notes the wind is right and sends his men off with barrels, telling them to set up according to plan. Thorkell keeps fighting Ragnar's men, noting it seems there was four hundred of them, not two thousand. Ragnar laments that it is a repeat of London all over again. Thorkell stops fighting, smelling something. One of his men agrees that something smells like charcoal. They turn to see smoke rise in the air. Askeladd and Thorfinn observe from nearby, ash in the air.