"The mythical beings of swan maidens and valkyries got merged at some point thanks to various stories. As a swan maiden, Eira has the ability to turn into a swan at will as long as she is in possession of her swan skin. Because of their mythos, while immortal like other Solifidians, swan maidens are typical stuck in their mid-twenties at the oldest. A serious wound can be healed by simply changing shapes, but that's about the only magic that they have (annoyingly, hair regrows too). Perhaps to make up for it, they are all notoriously fierce warriors. A single swan maiden can defeat three men with little concern for her own safety, which is why when a man gets it into his head to steal her swan skin, he has to be sneaky about it and have LOTS of back-up. Swan maidens are considered prizes by some human men for brides...unfortunately, keeping them tends to be a bit of a hassle. They also always breed true, even with humans, so the kids tend to side with their mama.
Despite the misleading name, there are male versions of this race, they are just rarely seen outside of the villages--most male battle units serve as guard for the various villages scattered across the globe. The females are the ones who explore the most outside of their small settlements. Units are always gender-segregated. A single village is around 200 couples on average, not counting single adults and children. All species of swan exist, though usually a village is home to only one kind. The exception is a village that serves more as a trading hub than anything else, referred to as the Lake. Only swan maidens or other Solifidians are allowed to visit, and it is considered the home of the Champion and their Guard. It's location is top-secret, so only a few Solifidians who aren't swan maidens even know about its existence. Perhaps because of this, it is one of the safest places for them to live. Some families choose to live outside of the villages to have farms, leading them to be considered "country."
The swan maidens are valued by the Celestial archetype due to their innate connection with the sky due to their ability to fly, while at the same time they are able to freely interact with humans, much like the light of the sun or moon. A swan maiden's first chance to shed her skin to take a human form can only occur on the water lit by moonlight, perhaps because of this link. The Archetype itself is a bit...bipolar due to the mixed-batch of mythos it represents. Sometimes it will even have arguments with itself if the sun side disagrees with the moon side. As a result, it has long since left the choosing of the champion to the swan people themselves. It has developed into a challenge of single-combat with the current Champion, with the winner either killing or banishing the loser. Banishment among the swan maidens occurs when their skin is taken away and destroyed, rendering them forever mortal.
The Champion's Guard are elite fighters, said to be the best of the entire race, who serve alongside the Champion. Currently, there are ten of them, all female: Brenda and Herdis, both Whooper swan-types; Gersemi, Jordis, and Rowen, all three Tundra swan-types like Eira; Iduna, a Mute swan-type (and literally mute); Vigdis, Sigdis, and Signe, all three Black swan-types like the previous Champion, Kari, and the latter two being twin sisters; and Tore, a Trumpeter swan-type. Gersemi, Iduna, and Tore all served under Kari, with Tore even being her old second in command, a position Eira kept her in. Jordis and Rowen came from Eira's old unit, with Rowen previously serving as Eira's second and now as her third in command.
And of course, Eira serves as the current Champion. A bit demanding of her troops, she is still capable of being free-spirited and having fun. While her singing voice isn't amazing, she is a graceful dancer and won't hesitate to circle-dance with her troops when they take a much-needed break. She hates impracticality, so she is rarely in full-Champion garb outside of ceremony and meetings where it is required, but on the same note she also doesn't relax easily, so only her closest friends have seen her without armor (and those are few and hard to come by). Despite her physical age, Eira is nearly sixty years old. She has several younger siblings, and as a result many nieces and nephews, but she's never had the desire to settle down, at least not yet. Her father, Egor, trained her in the use of as many weapons as she showed interest in, which was an impressive array, and while her embroidery is awful, Eira's mother, Senta, at least managed to teach her eldest how to sew, which Eira will do to help relax after a battle."
Huh. I'd never even heard of the Knights of Dol Amroth before. XD Yeah, I was just being a medieval NERD. I saw valkyrie and swan maiden were linked in stories, and I went flipping through my two source books on vikings (one needs corrected, stupid horned helmets that didn't EXIST!). I'm part of a re-enactment/performance/education group dedicated to King Arthur and medieval Europe, so I took bits and pieces from all over the place. :P