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"I will not be captive to another man's gaudy design. My destiny is mine to weave."
―Eivor Varinsdottir, 870s[src]

Eivor Varinsdottir (born 847), also known as the Wolf-Kissed, was a Viking from Norway who raided in what would become England against King Alfred the Great during the late 9th century.[3] She was also in possession of a Hidden Blade, using it in combat against the Anglo-Saxons.[4] She is also the reincarnation of the Isu Odin, who in mythology came to be known as chief of the Norse Gods.

Biography

Early life

Eivor was born in 847 to Rosta and Varin in Heillboer, a small settlement in Rygjafylke. During her childhood, Eivor accidentally spilled ink on her father's throne, much to the latter's anger. She also had fond memories of sitting around the hearth of their longhouse listening to her mother's voice.[2]

Raid of Heillboer

In 856, at nine years of age, Eivor attended a feast organized by her father to honor King Styrbjorn of Fornburg, where she and her family and clan were to pledge allegiance to the king. Eivor presented King Styrbjorn a gifted armband at the behest of her parents but before the celebration was finished the settlement was raided by Kjotve the Cruel. Eivor watched as her father Varin put down his axe at Kjotve's insistence that his family and clan would be spared if he gave his life willingly, leading to both his and Rosta's deaths.[5]

Kjotve immediately broke said promise and ordered his men to kill the rest of the village. Eivor, however, was rescued by Styrbjorn's son Sigurd, who managed to clear the immediate village area on horseback before being separated from Eivor after a tumble caused by one of Kjotve's raiders. Finding herself in the middle of a frozen lake after a hard fall down a cliff, Eivor was accosted by a wolf that saw her as prey. As Eivor crawled towards a fallen axe in the middle of the lake, the wolf attacked her, eventually biting down hard on her neck, causing her to hallucinate a partial memory of Odin, and cry out in pain, calling two ravens to distract the wolf, allowing her to reach the axe and strike the wolf dead.[5] Following these events, Eivor came to be known as the "Wolf-Kissed" and was subsequently adopted by Styrbjorn, who raised her as his own.[6]

Meeting Geirmund

Around 867, eleven years after her parents' death, Eivor accompanied King Styrbjorn as he went to meet with Hjorr Halfsson in Avaldnes. While the two kings discussed the growing threat in the north that was King Harald Fairhair, Eivor became acquainted with Hjorr's younger son, Geirmund Hel-hide. The discussed philosophy and the realities of their lives with Eivor imparting some words of wisdom on the younger boy.[7]

Raid in Rygjafylke

Eivor cutting Roscoe's legs in half

Around 870, Eivor alongside her clansmen Dag and Tora witnessed Kjotve's raid on a settlement in Rygjafylke, on the edge of Styrbjorn's territory. Seeing this as an opportunity to endear her adopted clan to the village, Eivor rushed in to stave off the raiders, disregarding Dag's suggestions of a more measured approach. While fighting, Eivor confronted a raider named Roscoe, who taunted her with the death of her father, claiming he died like a coward. In response Eivor cut his feet from under him and refused to kill him, depriving him of a warrior's death and entry to Valhalla at her hands. Leaving him bleeding and cursing, Eivor went to help Dag, who had been cornered by the raider Taras.[8]

Eivor presenting Gull to Styrbjorn

Upon the end of the skirmish, Eivor went to the head of the village and claimed the land in the name of her adopted father. Incensed, and believing Styrbjorn no better than Kjotve, the elder attempted to attack Eivor but was cut down before even managing a swing of his sword. Claiming the old man died a warrior, Eivor demanded tribute from the remaining villagers while her and her clansmen helped gather the dead. Returning to where she left the bleeding raider, Eivor found only blood. While searching the area Eivor heard noise coming from within a building and proceeded to investigate it only to be ambushed by a pale woman in robes covered in tattoos and wearing a collar. Eivor easily fended off the woman whom she identified as a slave and skald. The woman revealed herself to be Gull, one of Kjotve's, and claimed she was also a slave "to Sökkvabekkr, Sága and Idun's bounty", before calling Eivor the "Slayer of the Wolf", begging to accompany her. Believing the woman mad but perceptive, Eivor decided to take her back to Stavanger, where her adopted father held court, to present as a gift to Styrbjorn. Upon their return, the praise and adulation Eivor expected from her adoptive father was nowhere to be seen, as he berated her for incurring Kjotve's wrath by taking Gull back to Stavanger.[8]

Ambush at Feiknstafir

Eivor listening to Gull and telling Tora to keep a secret

Some time later, while training with Tora, Eivor vented her frustrations at her humiliation at the hand of adoptive father, as he rejected her tribute of Gull as a thrall. Upon hearing Eivor's desires to prove herself, Gull tempted her, claiming she could lead Eivor to bounties and treasures, the same treasures she had granted Kjotve. Claiming that since, unlike Kjotve, Eivor did not torture Gull, she would lead Eivor to the "Æsir's hoard". While Tora expressed her doubts, Eivor heeded Gull's words, to Tora's dismay. Eivor then asked Tora to keep her location a secret, while she followed Gull into the mountain tops of Feiknstafir mountains.[9]

Eivor stabbed in the back by Gull

Days later, upon the mountain ledges of Feiknstafir, Eivor and Gull climbed under Gull's directions. In a particularly treacherous ledge, Gull nearly fell to her death but was saved at the last second by Eivor. Impressed by Eivor, Gull recognised Eivor as a friend, and Eivor jokingly remarked that if the treasure trove were to be real, she'd marry Gull in celebration. Shortly thereafter they arrived at the ruined Temple of Heimdall. Once inside Eivor recognised the place as having been picked off and looted long ago, and soon found Kjotve's men inside, led by Bjarke Broadside of the Wulfing clan. Before Eivor could do anything, Gull screamed for them, revealing her intention of luring Eivor to this place as a present to Kjotve. Eivor managed to fend off most of the group's attacks, but was felled by Gull, who stabbed her with a knife in the back. On the ground bleeding, Eivor claimed to Bjarke that she would not be a prize and that, by the end of the day, any riches of Heimdall would be hers, on Styrbjorn's name. Laughing, Bjarke informed her that at that very moment, Styrbjorn was already dead as a result of a raid in Stavanger.[9]

Hunt for Kjotve

Eivor captured by Kjotve

In 872, Eivor and her crew pursued Kjotve to the west of Rygjafylke. While Eivor herself was captured, her crew members were scattered and hunted by Kjotve's men in Avaldsnes. Before leaving Eivor to be sold into slavery, Kjotve taunted her and displayed the very axe that he had taken from, and used to kill, her father seventeen years prior. Eivor, however, was able to free herself and locate Dag, who had managed to free himself as well. While Dag headed off to the beach to reclaim their longship, Eivor headed towards Avaldsnes, where Kjotve departed from. Within the longhouse, Eivor defeated and killed Rikiwulf, Kjotve's follower, and freed the crew members. After retrieving her father's axe, she was met with a confusing vision featuring a cloaked greybeard and a wolf. The Vikings then eliminated the remaining of Kjotve's men while en route to their longship. Having reclaimed their ship, Eivor and her crew set sail and returned home to Fornburg. Upon returning, Eivor was greeted by Sigurd's wife Randvi, who informed her of Styrbjorn's displeasure for her raid against Kjotve. Eivor also learned that Sigurd would be returning soon after a two-year journey across Europe and Africa.[10]

Eivor is conflicted by Valka's prophecy

Wanting to make sense of her strange vision, Eivor consulted the local seer Valka. Upon entering her hut, Eivor saw Svala, Valka's mother, in a near-vegetative state. When questioning Valka about her mother's wellbeing, Valka feared it was her last winter. Valka then brewed an elixir for Eivor to drink, it would induce the dream state again. After Eivor consumed the concoction, she collapsed. Waking up on Valka's floor, Eivor thought the elixir did not work. As she exited the hut she saw the silhouette of her brother. She called out to him but he moved further up the mountain, the voices of the Nornir Skuld and Urdr filled the air, they called her "Havi". Following the path her brother took, Eivor spotted the wolf from her previous vision. She then saw the Nornir weaving fate, Eivor continued up the mountain, meeting a wolf guarding a doorway. She entered and heard Sigurd scream in pain. Walking through a blizzard, Eivor followed her brother's voice, when the storm partially cleared it revealed an armless Sigurd. Eivor reached out to Sigurd only for him to be yanked backwards by an invisible force, then the wolf Fenrir emerged from the fog, hungry and ready to strike. Eivor then awoke from the induced vision, explaining what happened in her dream to Valka, the seeress deduced that the meaning behind them was Eivor's future betrayal of her brother. Eivor, shocked and conflicted at this answer, left with more questions than she had answers.[11]

When Sigurd returned from his long voyage to Constantinople, he introduced Eivor to the Hidden Ones Basim Ibn Ishaq and Hytham before gifting Eivor a Hidden Blade he had acquired during his travels. Keen that the traditionally stealth-based weaponry should be visible to her enemies, Eivor wore the blade over her forearm, much to Hytham's disagreement.[12]

Settlement in England

In 873,[13] Eivor and her clan of Norsemen, under the direction of Sigurd, fled from Norway in the face of its unification at the hands of Harald Fairhair. They arrived in the southern part of Great Britain, establishing a new settlement[14] of Ravensthorpe.

Death in Vinland

At some point, Eivor traveled back to Vinland, near the modern city of Concord, where she would ultimately be buried.[2]

Legacy

In 2020, Eivor's memories were relived by Layla Hassan through her Animus HR-8.5.[15] Due to the high level of Isu DNA belonging to Odin embedded in Eivor's,[16] the Animus would, at times, represent Eivor as a male based on Odin's real appearance.[15]

Personality and characteristics

Eivor was a devoted and confident Viking clan leader, who was not afraid of dying to protect her people. Despite her deep love for her clan, she was a lone wolf. Indeed, driven by her dream to prove her courage, she preferred to take on all tasks and risks herself. On top of being a fierce warrior, Eivor was cunning and was a great strategist, as could be proven from her alliances.[17]

Eivor also had a poetic side, speaking with eloquence and often describing events in a manner that resembles skaldic verse. Although Eivor held Hytham and by extension the Hidden Ones in high regard, Eivor kindly declined to join them as it meant keeping her victories and glory quiet, something which went against her culture's nature.[18]

Eivor seems to possess some fragments of Odin's persona and memories. As is evident by their shared disdain for wolves, and how she recognised Odin's spear Gungnir when she discovered it within Goinnhellir.[2]

Equipment and skills

Eivor fighting with a flail and light shield

Growing up alongside Sigurd, Eivor learnt to fight as a drengr. By her twenties, Eivor was capable of wielding a variety of weapons including; swords, bows, spears, bearded and Dane axes, hammers and flails. Her usual armor was the Raven Clan's armor and could also use both light and heavy shields. Using her combat prowess she could easily overwhelm multiple opponents.[8] She could also effectively dual wield, and was strong enough to dual wield two heavy weapons, and even unconventionally two shields. She had sharp reflexes and could dodge, parry, and block incoming attacks.[2]

Usually keen for up front confrontations, Eivor was also highly adept at stealth and was able to silently assassinate her targets undetected in addition to being able to remain hidden from her enemies in shrubbery and haystacks. After gaining the Hidden Blade, Eivor was taught how to use it by Basim and quickly mastered it. Eivor was also able to emulate the Hidden Ones' ability to hide in plain sight.[2] High-diving was another of Eivor's skills, and under Hytham's tutelage she learnt the Leap of Faith.[19]

A skilled freerunner, Eivor was able to scale Evinghou Tower as well as natural elements with relative ease. She also proved to be a strong swimmer whilst searching underwater ruins and was capable of holding her breath for a relatively long period of time. A heavy drinker, Eivor could hold her liquor and would occasionally participate in drinking competitions.[2]

Eivor shared a symbiotic relationship with her raven, Sýnin, which aided her in reconnaissance thanks to her Eagle Vision. Unlike later generations who possessed the skill, her Eagle Vision was far more literal in the sense that activating the ability allowed her to see through the eyes of Sýnin. Eivor also possessed the ability known as 'Odin's Sight' which was more akin to later iterations of Eagle Vision in which it allowed her to release a brief pulse that would locate and tag nearby enemies and points or objects of interest, even through walls and floorboards. Eivor could also tame wolves and taught them to fight with her.[2]

Behind the scenes

Early concept art by Even Amundsen

Eivor is the main protagonist of Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, a main installment of the Assassin's Creed series First revealed in the reveal stream as male, according to Ubisoft, their gender is customizable,[14] a feature carried over from Valhalla's immediate predecessor, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (2018). However, lead writer Darby McDevitt affirmed that both gender options were considered canon in a way that made logical sense.[20] Conversely, the comic book Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Song of Glory[21] and prequel novel Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Geirmund's Saga[22] featured Eivor as female exclusively. Eivor's appearance, including clothing, hair, and war paint, is also customizable.[23] Eivor's male voice is provided by Magnus Bruun,[24] while the female voice actor is Cecilie Stenspil.[25]

Name etymology

The name Eivor, Eivør or Øyvor is a female given name derived from either proto-Norse auja, believed to mean 'good luck', or *warjaʀ, meaning 'defender'. It may also come from the combination of Old Norse words ey- or øy- (meaning 'island') and -varr (meaning 'careful').[26]

When he tweeted how the name is meant to be pronounced, Valhalla's then-Creative Director Ashraf Ismail transcribed it phonetically as "Ay-vor".[27]

Varinsdottir means "Varin's daughter" (Varins + dottir). In Scandinavia, surnames were still used together with primary patronyms—the father's name and an affix denoting relationship—which were used by all social classes. This meant that most families until modern times did not have surnames. Scandinavian patronyms were generally derived from the father's given name with the addition of a suffix meaning 'son' or 'daughter'. Patronyms (and matronyms) are still in use in some countries, most notably Iceland.

Appearances

References

Animuslogowhite.svg An image gallery is available for
Eivor
  1. Assassin's Creed: Rebellion – Bios
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Assassin's Creed: Valhalla [citation needed]
  3. Nedd, Alex (29-04-2020). Ubisoft confirms 'Assassin's Creed Valhalla' after an 8 hour BossLogic livestream. Mashable SE Asia. Retrieved on April 30, 2020.
  4. YouTube.png Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Cinematic World Premiere Trailer on the Ubisoft YouTube channel
  5. 5.0 5.1 Assassin's Creed: ValhallaPrologue
  6. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaFamily Matters
  7. Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Geirmund's Saga
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Song of GloryIssue #1
  9. 9.0 9.1 Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Song of GloryIssue #2
  10. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaHonor Bound
  11. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaA Seer's Solace
  12. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaThe Prodigal Prince
  13. YouTube.png Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Developer Commentary Trailer on the Ubisoft YouTube channel
  14. 14.0 14.1 Assassin's Creed Valhalla – Become a Legendary Viking Raider. Ubisoft. Archived from the original on May 1, 2020. Retrieved on April 30, 2020.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Assassin's Creed: ValhallaModern day
  16. Assassin's Creed: Valhalla [citation needed]
  17. Assassin's Creed Valhalla - Eivor The Wolf-kissed. Ubisoft Store. Archived from the original on June 18, 2020. Retrieved on May 5, 2020.
  18. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaBreaking the Order
  19. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaTo Serve the Light...
  20. Twitter.png Darby McDevitt (@DarbyMcDevitt) on Twitter "Both choices are canon, but we're not going to spoil how we managed that trick until you play the game." (screenshot)
  21. Dark Horse to Publish Comics Prequel to Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Dark Horse (13-7-2020). Retrieved on July 13, 2020.
  22. Twitter.png Matthew J. Kirby (@writerMattKirby) on Twitter "I've been asked many times whether Eivor will be male or female in my novel. Truth is, I was given the choice, same as a player will be in the game, when @DarbyMcDevitt told me in a meeting both are canon. My Eivor is a woman. #AssassinsCreedValhalla #AssassinsCreed #ACSisterhood. PS – I made that decision back in January." (screenshot)
  23. Juba, Joe (30-04-2020). 25 Things We've Learned About Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Game Informer. Retrieved on May 11, 2020.
  24. Twitter.png Magnus Bruun (@Magnus__Bruun) on Twitter "I'm very excited to announce that I play Male Eivor in Assassin's Creed Valhalla! 🔥🔥🔥 I just can't seem to get enough of these sexy bloody vikings! ⚔️ #assasinscreedvalhalla" (screenshot)
  25. Twitter.png Darby McDevitt (@DarbyMcDevitt) on Twitter "And for our Female Eivor, introducing Cecilie Stenspil ... not on Twitter but everywhere on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/p/B_nTCgBAgIK/" (screenshot)
  26. Wikipedia.png Eivor on Wikipedia
  27. Twitter.png Ashraf Ismail (@AshrafAIsmail) on Twitter "Its spelled Eivor and pronounced Ay-vor" (screenshot)

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