2019-10-23 - Valkyrie Profile


Hilde comes for a counselling session with Jimmy.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Oct 23 22:56:59 2019
Location: Brooklyn

Related Logs


Theme Song



The counselling services of Doctor Victor Yendez and his associates come highly recommended, including or especially for more exotic cases. SHIELD often sends agents their way, or write referrals for others. One time, they forwarded on someone who'd spent subjective years in Limbo. They can handle people who've had odd experiences.

Yet, Brunnhilde's appointment today isn't with Doctor Yendez himself. Instead, she'll see an intern at the office, someone who's studying and practicing to become a full-fledged counsellor. Jimmy Baxter.

The office itself is a modest suite of rooms on the second floor of a shared building, with a small waiting room and a hall lined with private rooms. The receptionist will see Brunnhilde to one of the rooms, and Jimmy stands waiting by the door, dressed in a simple, dark suit.

It was an Avenger who pointed Brunnhilde towards Dr. Yendez's office. Or more correctly, gently badgered the ex-valkyrie to to talk to someone, something that Hilde stubbornly resisted for a time. She was not born in a time when people talked about their feelings, or their weaknesses, to anyone but the most trusted of family or friends or lovers.

But the Avenger in question was relentless, reminding Hilde pointedly of the hole in her wall brought on by a bout of temper, something Hilde still feels a bit sheepish about. And she does care about Carol's opinion on things.

Thus, she finds herself warily entering the room she's directed to, frowning deeply. She's dressed in dark, ripped jeans, with a Winterborn concert t in black with the band logo and tour dates on the back, with black leather biker style boots, to go with the bike outside, and the bike helmet she sets down on the floor out of the way as she sits down with the air of someone waiting for a predator to pounce on her if she lets down her guard.

Jimmy does his best to present a warm and welcome air. Not a smile, but just open body language: hands at his sides, one gesturing inwards to invite her in. And, the Asgardian may notice, a complete lack of weapons. Not that she would have expected a counsellor to come armed, but… old habits die hard.

"Please, have a seat, Ms. Brunnhilde." He has her name from the file, at least. Once they're both seated — with a table between them, providing further separation. "My name is Jimmy, and I look forward to working with you. Now, I have a little information from the entry file, but I'd like to hear your perspective: what brings you to us today?" Starting off by giving her the reins. He may or may not have heard that there's PTSD to deal with, but this stranger isn't going to dive in with 'now tell me about your traumaz'.

"Hilde." the towering woman grunts, as she sits down, frowning a bit, her dusky skin and fiery hair unusual looking, to say the least. "I was…asked…to come and speak with someone about past events." she allows, a little grudgingly. "Because someone close to me feels I am repressing things and it is causing 'self-destructive behavior'." There are air quotes put about this.

If Jimmy finds her look unusual, he doesn't respond to it. There's no staring at her face tattoos, no questions about her heritage. Nor does he intensely stare into her eyes; his gaze shifts about, looking at her eyes sometimes, or down at his notes as he scratches down a little more, or at her hands while she makes the air quotes.

Internally, his brain is probably buzzing with screaming self-reminders about all the individual micro-skills that go into even talking with someone. But he manages to keep that anxiety off his face.

"And so, for the sake of that certain someone, you're here to at least talk things through," Jimmy says. "I may ask more about what you're repressing later, but I'm not going to ask you to tell me about it straight away. Instead, let's focus on those behaviours. So, what are these 'self-destructive behaviours' that you would most like to tackle?"

Hilde hmmphs, folding her arms across her chest as she leans back. "…she thinks I drink too much and for the wrong reasons. I am Asgardian though. Midgardian drinks don't affect me nearly as much. And that I have….a temper that is because of these things that happened." She shifts a bit.

Scribble scribble. Jimmy keeps it in short-hand, the better to be done without leaving Hilde feeling like she's just under a microscope. "I see. From what I understand, it would take an impressive amount of alcohol for an Asgardian woman to even come close to 'substance abuse'." She found a liquor store… and she drank it. "Hilde, could you describe for me an instance of when she was worried by your temper?" Couching it all in Carol's interpretations; it's Carol's concerns that have brought Hilde actually through the door, after all.

The dusky woman frowns a bit, thinking. "…I…punched a hole in her wall, when she first spoke about how she felt about my drinking. She was not afraid of me, but she felt that I should not have…reacted as strongly as I did." She looks a bit sheepish. "I thought she was…that she thought I was weak."

Jimmy nods. There's no sense of judgement, of fear. He's sitting in a room with an Asgardian who has temper issues, and he's not worried. The counsellors in this office must have balls of steel. "You thought that her concern over your drinking was, on some level, an accusation of weakness, and thus an affront to your pride. And that got you angry enough to punch the wall?" No sense asking 'so how did that make you feel' when it's self-evident.

"Yes. It was…she had gone through this. Drinking too much. So it was not…." She frowns. "It was more…fear she felt it was weakness, than truth." Hilde shakes her head with a faint growl. "It just…I do not want to be looked down on."

Jimmy sets his pencil down, moving a little closer to the edge of his seat. Making himself more present with her. There's much to unpack there, but he sticks with one particular detail. "You say she's gone through this before. As in, she has struggled with drinking, herself? And, may I ask her name?" It'd be easier to talk about her if he had something more than pronouns, but it's up to Hilde to decide how much privacy to insist on, too.

Hilde hesistates. "I…don't know if she wants her name. Call her, um, Katie." she says after a moment. "And yes. She says she did, fo ra while. Better for a long time though. I have never seen her drink or want to drink."

"Katie," Jimmy echoes, scribbling it down. Aliases are especially common at this office. "So, if she's dealt with it herself, then she would know how hard it is. A struggle with addiction is hard for anyone. It's not just a physical thing, but psychological, and as difficult for an Asgardian or othre goddess as it is for anyone else. Since Katie has faced it herself, I think she would be the last person to look down on you for having those difficulties, right?"

Hilde huffs. "…yes. She pointed this out. When I calmed down enough to talk to her again. She was not…upset, just she waited until i brought it up." she adds. She frowns a bit. "She thinks that I drink because i have not dealt with things that happened to me in the past."

Jimmy nods. Okay good, so 'Katie' has shared some of that logic already. But now, the topic comes back around to the big, dangerous elephant in the room. "And would you feel up to talking about those experiences?" He doesn't ask her if she wants to. Of course she wouldn't want to.

Hilde fidgets a bit, muttering as she croses her legs, resting her hands on her thighs now. "I…suppose." she says after a moment. "It is not something I enjoy discussing."

"It never is," Jimmy says, his voice soft. "Just like you never enjoy pushing a dislocated joint back into place, or pulling a knife out of a stab wound. Sometimes, you need to face some pain to make healing possible. Where would you like to begin?"

The ex-valkyrie rolls that around in he rhead a bit, considering the words, then grunts. "…do you know opera? Der Ring des Nibelungen? Or Ring of the Nibelung. The Ring Saga." she says after a moment.

Jimmy shakes his head, looking a little embarrassed. "I have heard the name, but I'm afraid I don't know anything more than that, sorry." He's all under-cultured and kicking himself.

Hilde waves off the apology. "It's not my music either. All German patting on the back and trying to build up some heroic history that they didn't really have to show how great they are. But Nibelung is based on something that really happened, but in Asgard. Not on Earth." she explains. "It happened thousands of years ago. When I still lived there."

Jimmy's eyebrows do lift a bit at that — it's not every day you meet someone who's thousands of years old. But neither is it his first time, so he bruhses past it without lingering too much on the awe. "Would you prefer to tell me about it? Or, if you'd like, I could familiarise myself between now and our next session, to… take some of the weight off you."

Hilde mmphs. "…I have never been one for not ripping the bandage off." she admits after a moment. "Better it be done quickly and the pain pass than draw it out." She hesistates, then says. "What do you know of Asgard? Of the stories they tell of it, and the people there? You know of the valkyries?"

Jimmy takes a breath, nodding as he moves closer to the edge of his seat. He sets the notebook down on the table. He'll just hold things in his memory to record later, and for now, give her his full attention. "I know some of the Asgardian people were worshipped as gods or otherwise held in mythological esteem by ancient Norse humans — the peoples now considered Scandinavian. And Valkyries, according to the legends, were psychopomps who elected those who would die in battle, and among them, who would come to Valhalla." He may have Some Interest in mythology.

Hilde wrinkles her nose. "If psychopomp means chooser of the slain, then yes. The Valkyior were chosen by Odin to find those who fell bravely in battle and take them to his hall to become one of the Einhejar in Vahalla, the enternal warriors who rise again in the days of Ragnarok to battle the forces of Chaos. They were also heroines of Asgard…the ones who went to fight monsters who threatened its people, or to do battle with invaders." She shifts a bit in her chair. "This is a story when Odin…" and there's a sour tone in her voice. "…was yet young, and newly married to his wife. And less faithful than he became later."

Jimmy hadn't wanted to use the exact same term that always pops up. Paraphrasing is an important micro-skill! He just nods to her: yes, psychopomp essentially means 'chooser of the slain'. He nods to her slowly. "A long, long time ago. Please, go on."

Hilde mms. "Yes. I will…I will give the basics, so you understand. I don't know that you need to know all of it. There is…years." she admits after a moment. "I was a valkyrie. I worked hard to become one. I was trained by an Asgardian hero named Sigmund. He was a good man, but he had a dark fate, thanks to the cursed norns. He was the child of Odin from one of this affairs. As was his twin sister Siglinde, whom he did not know about as they were separated as babies."

Jimmy nods. "Tell me everything you feel I need to understand, for the core context. I'm most interested in what happened to you." Not these bigger, grander heroes, but the one sitting in front of him.

Hilde quirks her lips, then leans back again, her fingers idly starting to knead into her thighs as she talks. "Very well. Sigmund met his sister, and did not know she was his sister, or she that he was her brother. They fell in love. She was married, there was a fight. I was told to intervene by Odin, Freya told me not to. Odin intervened and tried to arrange that both his bastard children would die. I intervened to protect my mentor. Odin sent the other valkyrie to hunt us down, and Sigmund died taking an arrow meant for me."

Jimmy winces with empathy, slowly nodding his head. "That… is awful, Brunnhilde. Truly awful." He doesn't know what else there is to say, but at least he doesn't apologise to her. So many people apologise when hearing about traumatic experiences, as if they're somehow responsible. After that, he watches her face in silence; is there more to the story for him to hear?

"…he died in my arms. But Siglinde escaped. I defied Odin, to take Sigmund to Vahalla, but Odin felt I lacked respect and loyalty, so he stripped my title of me, my immortality and strength. He raised a great wall of fire around me, but enspelled me that the first warrior who braved the fire to reach me could wake me, but I would be his."

Jimmy's eyes widen. "You did what you thought was right, and you did the best you could." He lays his hand on the table. "Can you tell me about the warrior who found you?" Because clearly, she isn't still trapped.

Hilde's lips twitch slightly, the dusky woman's eyes getting a bit far away. "…Siglinde was pregnant with Sigmund's child. While I slept, she gave birth to Sigfried, who was every bit as heroic as his father. No blade could he wield that would not shatter after a single blow with his strength, until he reforged Sigmund's sword and slew a dragon with it, Fafnir. There he found a magical ring. The Ring of the Nibelung, which gave whoever bore it unlimited power, as long as they cared for nothing. Though he had no idea. He found me, and wed me. I had little say in it." She frowns. "But I came to…care for him. Even loved him."

Jeez. The Valkyrie's misfortunes just don't stop, do they? Jimmy's transfixed, nodding quietly as he listens. No more questions for the time being; she's tearing off the bandage and laying the whole story out for him.

"The ring is what destroyed him."

Hilde pauses for a long time, then shakes herself a little. "There was a king, and his sister. The king wanted me, the sister wanted Sigfried. They gave him a potion that made him forget he'd married me. He didn't know me. I thought…I thought he wanted to trade up. A princess, over me. And I…I couldn't do anything to stop the king from taking me." Her fingers bunch in the fabric of her jeans as there's a faint betraying 'rrrrip' as some of the fabric separates slightly.

Jimmy winces at the misinterpretation, at the only thing which Hilde could have thought without knowing about the potion. To be traded like a commodity, and helpless against it… he shakes his head. "I can understand how hard it must be to talk about all this, or even to think about it." He pours a glass of water for her while he still listens; there's still more.

Hilde's nostrils flare slightly. "It is what happened." she says, neutrally. "Siegfried was murdered by a dwarf who desired the ring. Treacherously stabbed, so he could not even go to Vahalla. Odin did nothing…NOTHING!…to save him. And I…I learned the truth of the ring. I knew I could not protect it or hide it, so when Siegfried's pyre was raised, I threw myself into it before the evil king could stop me. I…would have died. Should have died, but Odin intervened and restored me. Named me a defender of Asgard for destroy the ring, gave me my armor. Siegfried's sword." She spits. "As if I would honor him again! Obey him!"

Jimmy shakes his head. "Thoughtless and insensitive," he agrees. "After all the ways he had let you down, he had no right to your service, your honour, no matter how powerful he is. What happened then?"

"I threw it back in his /face/!" Hilde says, her voice getting agitated. Angry now at the memory. "I told him he was a coward who turned on his own blood…too weak to deal with the ring himself, for fear he'd use it! I would not serve him, or his ilk, again! I left. I took my lover's word and named it DRagonfang to remember him and came to Midgard, and I have never left since."

Jimmy nods slowly. That sounds like the end of the story, and thus time for his response. "With everything that's happened, you've every right to be angry. At Odin, at that king, at Freya and all the others who'd hurt you and let you down. That's a kind of anger that can't be denied." There's a 'but', though, isn't there?

Hilde bares her teeth for a moment, her fingers curling against her jeans, before she takes a deep breath. "it is done." she bites out. "Millenia past. And I am…exiled. Asgardians who know of me look down on me for my 'betrayal'…as if it was /MY/ honor that was broken!"

"And that is bullshit," Jimmy says — and then blanches. He's not supposed to use coarse language during counselling sessions, is he? That's enough to make him pause, watching Hilde cautiously to see how she responds to it.

"YES!" Hilde booms, bringing down a fist on the arm of the couch.

The couch arm just…shatters, the couch shifting as Hilde stands up, tilting over with a groan of broken wood and fabric as Hilde blinks at it, then mmmphs, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. "…sorry." she mutters.

Oh good, she's not offended. The swear word just sort of matched her energy. He laughs behind a hand at her apology, and… still doesn't seem afraid, not even with that display of strength. "It's fine; all the furniture here is insured." It kind of has to be. "But yes. I think you have every right to be angry at all those circumstances. And I'd like to help you find… constructive ways of managing and channeling that anger. Putting it to use, rather than letting it use you, if that makes sense?" He's not going to tell her to just Not Be Angry.

Hilde mmphs, flexing her fingersinto fists as she starts to stalk back and forth a bit, trying to work off her energy. "Constructive? LIke what? I channel it. I fight monsters, human or otherwise. I bring them to justice. I hunt them no matter where they go…"

"That is good," Jimmy says. "I'd also like you to try learning some techniques for managing it, when you can't let it out immediately. Right now, I'd like you to focus on your breathing. Deep breaths in and out; as much as you can, put your attention on that cycle of inhaling and exhaling." The simplest form of meditation.

Hilde's nostrils flare a bit as she breathes in and out, shooting a look at Jimmy, then her eyes close as she inhales deeply, then lets out a breath. At least trying to follow it. Though her fingers continue to curl and squeeze into fists, then uncurl again as she breathes in and out.

"There we go," Jimmy encourages. He sees the change in her fists, but he also has other angles for noticing how the breathing exercise affects her. "In… and out. In… and out." Spoken with the words keeping time with a good slow, steady pace of breath. "And try to relax your muscles. Lower your shoulders; lay your hands flat. How does that feel?" It's not a magic cure-all, and the core of that anger is still there. But it can help to pop the surface bubbles.

Hilde calms down after about a minute, then rests her hands flat against her thighs. "…like I am less likely to start breaking things. I need a fuckin'…" She cuts herself off, frowning slightly, then looks back at the now listing couch, apparently deciding she'll stand.

"A fuckin' beer, right?" Jimmy finishes, smiling. Hey, it's just matching her energy and wording. Probably better than if he stayed formal and stuffy while working with her; you have to adapt to the person you're talking with. And there's no judgement in his tone. Yeah, that's something they'll want to deal with, but Rome wasn't built in a day.

Hilde folds her arms cross her chest. "…something stronger, but yes." she allows, begrudgingly. "Or several somethings stronger. It is…Asgardians do not refuse to drink, we drink mead when we are children, it is practically mother's milk!"

Jimmy nods. "Right. It takes a lot more to affect an Asgardian person. A whiskey double doesn't mean the same thing to you that it would mean to a human." He doesn't say '…would mean to me', for a couple of reasons. One: he doesn't drink anyway. Two: he's not human, though that's not been terribly relevant yet. "So, what do you tend to have, and how does it tend to affect you?"

Hilde looks unsure. "Usually whatever is worth the drinking, in bulk. Hard liquors. I rarely have mixed drinks. Good meads or ales. Rarely beer here, at least, it's like water…" she says, shaking her head.

"I've heard that about American beer," Jimmy says. Because clearly that's what she means, and not Midgard beer in general. But he gives her an expectant look; he'd also asked her how it affects her.

There's a faintly annoyed look now. "The same way it would affect anyone else when I drink enough of it. Though I rarely have hangovers for long the next day."

Jimmy shakes his head. "I don't mean in terms of physiological effect. I mean personal effect. How does being drunk affect you, specifically? What do you do when you've been drinking?"

Hilde frowns, thinking a bit as she starts to shift around, pacing a little. Needing to move now to work off some energy. "I dunno. I don't think about things."

Jimmy rises to his feet. If she's staying upright, so will he, hanging by his seat rather than pacing. "Do you remember what happens?" he asks. "The next time, I'd like you to just… jot it down, whether as it happens, or what you remember or find out the next morning. Then we can talk it over more in our next session."

Hilde makes a rude sound, folding her arms over her chest again. "I seldom remember precisely what I did when drinking." Meaning she usually gets blackout drunk or something, apparently.

Not that Jimmy's going to point that out to her. "Then just write down what you do remember, or what you find out from others." People who can answer the question, 'oh gods what did I do last night'. "That way, we can look over the kind of behaviour that pops up from your drinking, and we can determine whether it is as much a worry as Katie finds it." That's the other angle: hey, it could be an 'out' for her.

Hilde hesistates, then nods slightly. "Alright. I will try to remember to write things down."

Jimmy nods. "Thank you. We've covered a lot of ground already, with getting to the heart of where that anger comes from and what happened to you. Thank you for speaking openly with me about that. And that breathing exercise seems like it helped, at least a little. Is there anything else you'd like to talk about today, Hilde?"

Hilde frowns faintly, looking unsure. "No. Not right now." she decides, a bit curtly. "That's enough for now." She pauses, as she heads towards the door. "But…I will be back again." she adds slowly.

Jimmy nods to her, getting back into his chair. "Definitely. I'll look forward to seeing you next time, Hilde." He picks up his notepad; he's going to need a lot of notes for this one, given the time he'd spent not taking any.

Hilde nods firmly, then turns to head out the door. She'll have to…think about how she feels about this. But first, punching things perhaps!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License