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Author Topic: Valhalla Calls  (Read 6980 times)

Offline Archdemon Stu

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Valhalla Calls
« on: April 08, 2013, 01:41:25 AM »
Quick Notes:  In my creative writing class a quarter or two ago, I took a little shortcut on my first assignment, and altered Fiorin's (Fjorin in here) history.  While most of it is a modified rewrite with some corrections and improvements and a few key elements for the later chapters to make any sense, the biggest changes are around the end; though I kept the idea of the "death wound" around, I have too much respect for Faidth's writing to even try to write an alternate Legion Immortalis world, so I created my own based (loosely) around Norse mythology.  I also made some alterations so some things would be more in context for my classmates (who seemed to like it and demanded I write more after the quarter was over, but they're not as good as you guys).  The second chapter is entirely its own, and I'll post it when I get one more quick moment. :P

Valhalla Calls

  The warring tribes of the north were constantly at war.  For women, wealth, land, honor, old grudges, or even boredom... the reasons mattered little.  Battle was what made a man strong.  After having slain their foes, they would return to their wives filled with mead and birth more warriors for the never ending wars.

  Fjorin Halvar, a massive young warrior with hair as black as the ashes of the battlefield was the son of his tribe's warlord; he was the sole heir to the Ebonmane Clan's throne.  Morale was high as their soon-to-be leader continued to grow in strength, and cut down unspeakable numbers of men.  Banquets were held in his honor after battle, having made more progress as a tribe than they had made in decades.  Drunken songs filled the taverns with stories of Fjorin's blade cleaving a hundred men with a single stroke and belching thunder.  Though his comrades would always celebrate with song and drink, Fjorin did so only by custom.  He was hardly jovial after these seemingly meaningless battles; it was simply a natural part of Viking life that came to him as naturally as breathing.  Without a thought, it just happens.

  However, one by one, other powerful clans were being overcome by a newly formed tribe that called themselves the Thunder Callers.  Though rival clans of the Ebonmane were being torn asunder by this new tribe, it was of little comfort.  Surviving warriors of the defeated clans babbled on madly about the opposing leader.  They spoke of a hammer the size of a man's body, being swung effortlessly with one hand by a shamanistic warrior, said to command the frozen seas and summon storms from the clouds.  They spoke of him as an angry god.

  The Ebonmane Clan prepared for what they knew would be their greatest battle yet.  It would not be long before they would find out if the tales were true or not.

  The day of battle against the Thunder Callers finally came. Even on their own doorstep, the Ebonmane Clan was easily destroyed.  The number of banners that united with the Thunder Callers was too great.  For every man in the Ebonmane Clan, there were twenty of the Thunder Callers.  The waves of the ocean crashed against the land violently, lightning illuminating the watery destruction that brought good men, women, and children in the village to their watery graves.  The strongest of the Thunder Callers made it to the hills, where a fierce battle ensued at the castle.  Lightning blasted away the barricades and gates, leaving the warlord defenseless. Now, only a handful of the Ebonmane Clan remained, having barely survived the battle within the castle.  One out of that handful was the invincible Fjorin Halvar, his right arm clenching his favored claymore tightly, and on his left shoulder, his dead king and father.  It was no surprise that he took no time to mourn.  Fjorin had always seemed emotionless and cold, so much so that few men in the village had seen him smile, even as a child.  In a way, it was what made him the ideal warrior, and what made so many follow him as they did now.

  "What are we doing here, Fjorin?!  We should have died in battle with the warlord!" Bjornfir, Fjorin’s right hand man, sparring partner, and friend shouted above the torrential downpour.
  "Death will come to us soon enough."  Fjorin replied calmly.  "Until then, we give our king a proper burial."
The other warriors looked to one another.  Some smirked, some raised a quizzical brow, some nodded, but all were ready for one last glorious battle, in the name of their king's honor.  From the castle, they made their way down the cliffs and to the beaches, where they would find a proper ship to send their king off to the afterlife.  The warriors of the Thunder Callers quickly gave chase.
  The voice of the Thunder Callers' leader echoed across the cliffs as he raised his legendary hammer victoriously, "Let no man rest until I have their king's head!"

  As Fjorin boarded one of the ships, his men remained on the beach.  "He was a great king, Fjorin." Bjornfir stepped forward, and pressed two gold coins into his left hand.  "It's not much, but it should buy him a nice home in the hereafter."
  "No.  It will be a good home for us all." Fjorin looked at them proudly as they pushed the ship off to sea, and turned to face their foes at the shore.  As Fjorin prepared the pyre, the sounds of metal clashing and men screaming their last could be heard from behind him.  However, he needed not look back at them; he knew they would fight well.

  An overhang of animal skins partially covered the king's body from the rain as his body lay on the pyre.  With some effort, Fjorin was able to find flint in order to properly light the oil upon his father's armor.  Though the shore was gone from Fjorin's sight, he hoped that if any of his warriors remained, they would be able to see the faint flicker of flame from where they fought so bravely; fought to ensure their king's honor remained intact.  Though they'd lost everything, they had at least scavenged this one small victory for the Ebonmane Clan.  Fjorin bowed his head in reverence as he laid the king's blade ceremonially across his body.  His father's flesh burned, and slowly turned to ash, cast to the raging winds.

  Suddenly, lightning flashed, and as the light faded, a figure as massive as Fjorin appeared, clad in silvery armor and blue drapery.  He had gray hair and a full beard, with an eye patch that only partially hid a deep scar in his left eye. In his right hand he held a warhammer that was comparable to a normal man's height, etched with glowing blue runic markings and sapphires.  It was the leader of the Thunder Callers.  Fjorin picked up his claymore as quickly as he could, but he was too late.  The hammer of the Thunder Caller smashed into his chest, nearly sending the young warrior off the ship's bow.
  "The Ebonmane fought well.  These words are the most I can do to honor your bravery I'm afraid."
  Fjorin gasped for air, "You... won't take him!" he reached again for his blade.
  "Save your words, lad." the thunderous hammer crashed through the sword and the wooden boards beneath it, blasting a hole in the ship and sending the claymore to the sea below, intending to crush any hope Fjorin had of winning.

  To the Thunder Caller's surprise, Fjorin did not hesitate with his weapon gone.  He lunged forward, tackling his foe with all his might, and grabbing his father's sword.  The Thunder Caller's back was thrown against the wooden railing, the brute force of the young warrior's charge having caught him off guard.  In this brief moment of disorientation, Fjorin drove his father's blade deep through his assailant's ribcage, impaling him through the heart, and into the bow of the ship.

  The Thunder Caller lay still, bleeding heavily through his fatal wound.  Fjorin spit on the body, hardly having regained his composure.  He reached for the king's sword in order to return it to the burial site, and just as he grabbed the hilt... laughter came from the "dead" body of the Thunder Caller.  Fjorin quickly drew the blade in a startle, expecting the body to fall. But, it did not.  The Thunder Caller stood as though no harm had been done, the wound closing up beneath his armor.

  "Cocky pup." the once fallen 'shaman' chuckled. "You are indeed Bori Halvar's boy.  Did you think yourself the first to have 'killed' me?"
  Fjorin had seen many men get up from things they should not, but this was unlike that.  This man should have died instantly.  "By the depths of Hel… what are you?!"
  "They call me many things.  Allow me to say this though... your blade will never kill me, mortal..." lightning lit the skies as the immortal being standing before Fjorin grabbed hold of his favored weapon once more,  "...and I will have your father's head!"

  Fjorin charged forward once again, intent on taking the immortal's head.  He had never encountered anyone – no, anything like this.  No man had ever matched Fjorin’s strength, and never had he seen one rise after a killing blow.  The sorcery was beyond anything the village shamans had ever preached of; he'd faced hundreds of men and slain them with ease... "Why will this one not fall?!" he thought.

  The barbarian's thoughts were interrupted as the hammer once again smashed into his torso, smashing the young Viking against the thick mast of the boat.  This time was different though.  Electricity ran through his veins, forcing him to lose muscle control.   He couldn't move... he was helpless as the Thunder Caller approached him.

  "It's a damn shame lad, but your strength is only great amongst mortal men." he said as he pressed the hammer's head against the body of the stunned warrior.
Thoughts rushed through Fjorin's head.  His memories were flashing before him, and his mind fought to find an answer to what was happening before his eyes.  In this chaos, a single glimmer of hope... the wound from the immortal's body healed nearly instantly.  "Why does an immortal whose flesh heals instantly bear scars on his left eye?" Fjorin asked himself.

  "It was fun, lad.  Farewell."

  It was too late.  Lightning from the Thunder Caller's hammer coursed through Fjorin's body, burning his insides mercilessly.  With one last scream of pain, the heir to the Ebonmane throne went silent.  His body went limp, and the Thunder Caller withdrew the hammer with burnt flesh upon it.

  The deed was done, and now the mere mortal could no longer hinder the Thunder Caller from taking his prize.  But, as he turned to the pyre and reached his hand to the Ebonmane’s warlord, a shadow caught the corner of his eye.  The fallen warrior was already upon his slayer.  Though smoke continued to pour off of him, his flesh miraculously mended.  Though his internal organs were burned, there he was, charging head first yet again into battle.  Before the surprised Thunder Caller could ready his hammer, Fjorin let loose a kick to the stomach so fierce that it launched the immortal backward... without his precious weapon.
Fjorin grabbed the old man by the throat with his left hand, and forced his right thumb through the Thunder Caller's left eye socket, scrambling anything past the eye patch.  His foe screamed and writhed in pain as he tried to free himself, bleeding fatally through his eye socket.  Fjorin withdrew his thumb, and reached to his father's flaming pyre, deciding to end the struggle once and for all.  With a torch in hand, Fjorin violently stabbed the eye socket of his foe once more, this time with the burning oils of his father's burial.

  The screaming of the leader of the Thunder Callers tribe had finally ceased, and the torrential storm calmed.

  Fjorin returned his father's sword to the burial pyre.  Though the ship would soon sink from damage the Thunder Caller caused, Bori Halvar's journey to the afterlife was secured.  As for the new king of the Ebonmane Clan... he had nothing left, and had not expected to survive the night.  Whether he should let the waters carry him way, or if he should avenge the death of his clan, he knew not.

  What purpose remained for him?  All he was certain of was that of all the hundreds of men he had slain since he was a boy... this was the first time he truly felt victorious.  He looked toward his father's burial, and though nobody would see it... Fjorin Halvar smiled.  "So this it..." he looked to the clearing sky in relief, "...this is why men fight."

  As Fjorin pondered why he still remained, the waters began to twist once again.  He stood in a startle, and turned to the Thunder Caller.  Fortunately, he was still most certainly dead – but it was of little comfort.  A new being held the fallen shaman in its arms, floating above the ship with its spread wings of metal – battle worn swords and axes.  Though it held the shape of a human, beyond the strange entity’s thick armor adorned in glowing runes, one could see no flesh.

  “Fjorin of the Ebonmane,” it spoke, the voices of a thousand women converging into a single fluid and calming voice, “you have been called to war.”  As the soothing words left her, a violent whirlpool began to draw the ship toward it, the spectrum of color shifting and warping around it.
  “What are you?  Are you a friend of his?” Fjorin had many questions, but he could only find the words for these.
  “I am Valkyrie.” Her hands began to glow with an intense light, and the body of the Thunder Caller was torn asunder by flame, quickly evaporating into nothingness.  “And that man you fought, a deserter of Valhalla.” The storm began to draw the ship in quicker as reality itself seemed to tear apart, revealing a wide array of lights as the stars shined through the vortex. “You must have many questions, but we have little time warrior.” What remained of the ship began split and shatter in the wake of the Valkyrie’s power.

She raised a blade toward the vortex, the lights blinding the young warrior.  “Come now. Valhalla calls.”
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 01:52:26 AM by Archdemon Stu »

Offline Archdemon Stu

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Re: Valhalla Calls
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 01:06:28 AM »
Valhalla Calls - Threshold

   Sailing on Valkyrie’s light through a sea of stars and worlds unknown to Fjorin was like a dream; although he could see all these things around him, it was difficult to understand.  The unanswered questions were without number as the journey went on, and he had a feeling more awaited him.

   After only a brief time among the skies he once thought untouchable to man, there was another light that clouded Fjorin’s vision.  As his sight returned, he came to behold a city of steel and fire.  Impending constructs encroached on the smoke-filled and reddened skies above, patched together from various metals, covered in shields and spears.  The stones that covered the streets were made of obsidian, and molten steel flowed through the gutters from the countless forges of the blacksmith shops.  Statues of fallen warriors decorated the paths and pillars throughout, runes branded into their cores to honor their memories.  It was clear from a single glance that this city was built with but one purpose: war.

   Valkyrie interrupted Fjorin’s confused thoughts, “This will be your new home.  Walk its pathways, and learn it well.”
   Fjorin knew of Valhalla from legends – a land ruled by the war god and the Alfather: Odin.  It was a celestial place reserved for only the mightiest of warriors to call home in the afterlife.  He wondered if he should feel honored; however, the battle lust was still fresh in his mind.  “Send me back, Valkyrie!  I do not belong here.  I should have died a true warrior’s death, along with my brethren!”
   Valkyrie turned to face Fjorin. “You did.” She stated bluntly, the shock of the truth becoming apparent in his eyes.
“I have little time, Fjorin of the Ebonmane.  Go to Valaskjalf, and receive your orders.” She pointed her shining sword to the center of Valhalla, toward a castle that pierced the swirling black clouds.  “It is there that you shall meet the warlords.  It is there that your fate will be decided.” As if a candle’s flame in the wind, she vanished into nothingness.
   Before long, Fjorin found himself obediently making the trek to the castle.  What more could he do but seek answers?  Each step weighed heavily on him.  Was it not an honor to be chosen for Valhalla?  Was it not what every warrior dreams of, to serve in the hereafter?

   “You ought to slow down, lad.” A voice pulled Fjorin out of his daze.  “Fresh blood still stains your armor.”
   Fjorin looked up from the obsidian road to find a figure in a well-traveled black cloak.  His beard was haggard and gray with lone strands of white.  Behind the wrinkles that told a story of a man who has seen many years beyond his time, were eyes as blue as the calmest seas.
   “Mind your own, old man.  I’ve answers to find, and a war to fight.” He ignored the man – no doubt even Valhalla has its share of drunkards.
   The old man chuckled jovially.  “You truly are of the Ebonmane Clan.  You are so busy being a warrior, you forget what it is like to be human.”
   Fjorin instantly pivoted and grabbed the old man by his collar and pinned him against the nearest wall.  “What do you know of my clan?!”
   The old man seemed undaunted by the sudden show of violence, and smiled warmly.  “I know you lost them, lad.  Women, children, comrades… your father and king.” He gently put his wrinkled hands on Fjorin’s.  “Take it from an old man, take your time… and mourn.  There is a hill not far from here, where you may lay a runestone to their memory.”
   Fjorin dropped the old man, and scoffed.  “A runestone will do nothing for them now.” The young warrior began to walk away toward the castle once more.
   The strange man dusted himself off.  “It’s not for them, lad.  It’s for you.  You cannot fight a war while one already rages in that thick skull of yours.” From his cloak, he drew a warped walking stick, and thrust it toward the young warrior’s neck, “If war is all you understand, then I will lecture you well in terms you can understand.”
   Having been threatened, Fjorin answered.  He grabbed a still-heated longsword from a nearby forge, ready to cut the old man’s walking stick in two… but, something was strange.  His movements began to slow as the sword closed in.  The fires of the furnaces became still, and all the bustling and noise of Valhalla ceased.  The old man slammed the butt of his staff on the ground… the wood burned, the flames twisting and churning as they revealed the branch’s true form: a spear, made of metals Fjorin had never seen, with adornments that were impossible to craft by any conventional means, and a single rune: “Gungnir.”

   The old man pointed his spear to Fjorin’s throat; the very world around them seemed to shift as it swung.  Try as he might, the young warrior could not move.  His feet slowly levitated from the path.  “You walked life as a wolf in a rabbit’s den; now lad, you tread among dragons.”
   Fjorin’s flesh began to split, blood pouring from the torn wounds.  Gritting his teeth, he attempted to fight back, once again to no avail.  His armor began to turn white with heat as each plate of metal cooked him slowly.  His flesh gave way, his muscle tissue escaping from the bloody crags – unraveling along with his very blood vessels and nerves.  His entire being began to burn, allowing him to do nothing but scream in agony as his existence was slowly erased…
   “Know this, lad:  you may be ‘immortal,’ but, another immortal can still end you, just as you did the Thunder Caller after you fell.  Look…” The old man pointed his spear to the left of Fjorin’s abdominals, his armor disintegrating to reveal a scar – it was a brand, left by the hammer of the Thunder Caller.  The runic marking translated to “hand of the gods” or “lightning.”
   “…This is your death wound.  It is the same as the Thunder Caller’s eye; the one you used to destroy him.” The spear’s tip began to glow, electricity surging through the point. “And this, young warrior, is how one would destroy you.”
   The pain disappeared.  Fjorin was staring at the ground.  He looked at his hands in a panic – they were still quite intact.  His armor was unscathed, and even cleansed of the blood that previously covered it.  The city was bustling once again with the clanging of steel and stone.

        “Who are you?” Fjorin asked the cloaked man standing over him, kneeling while he gathered himself.
   “Wanderer, Concealer, Ancient One, Fetcher… I’m afraid don’t recall my own name anymore.  The Ebonmane Clan however, what did they call me...?  Ah, yes... I remember now… they call me Odin.” With a warm smile, Odin laid his hand on top of Fjorin’s head. “Now, go… mourn your loss, lad.  Our wars can wait for something as small as a single runestone.”

   With guidance from Odin, Fjorin found a suitable hill just outside the boundaries of Valhalla.  Out here, the skies were blue, and the fields were green, just like the mid-summers back home.  A stone worthy of the Ebonmane Clan, with some effort and a small amount of ingenuity, was raised in honor of his fallen comrades.  Fjorin carved all the names of those he knew painstakingly, and set the golden coins atop the stone – mementos from his best friend and rival; a man he left at the shore only a night ago.

   A warm and familiar light emanated from behind Fjorin.  “Fjorin of the Ebonmane,” Valkyrie spoke, “the warlords are waiting on your presence.”
   Fjorin knelt before the monument to his people.  “They are immortal, are they not?  They have time to spare.”
   Valkyrie did not argue.  She stared at the stone for a moment, looking it over… “The runestone is flawed.” She drew her sword, and after a blinding slash above Fjorin’s head, cut a small piece from the rock.  “Make your way to Valaskjalf on the morrow.” She disappeared once again.
   Fjorin was once again confused by Valkyrie’s antics.  He looked to inspect any possible flaws on the stone and its positioning.  It was perfect, except for the single slash that she left across a single name… “Bjornfir.”
   A sensation Fjorin was not familiar with welled up within his body, as though a great weight was taken off of him.  His eyes moistened as he looked upon Bjornfir’s scarred name on the memorial, laughing as he hadn’t since he was a boy, tears dripping from his cheeks.

   “Bjornfir… it can’t be!” He smiled, “You made it… you live!”

Offline Kitharsis

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Re: Valhalla Calls
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 03:32:50 PM »
Well done!

I like your interpretation of the Legion Immortalis into Nordic mythology.

The depiction of the Valkyrie is pretty dang awesome, metal wings composed of weapons.  Really paints a slick picture for an angel of war.

Offline Archdemon Stu

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Re: Valhalla Calls
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2013, 12:25:45 AM »
Thanks!  I had a ton of fun writing it, Valkyrie in particular.  I had a whole lot of other stuff planned for the story, but it didn't really come to fruition since I have no real drive to keep writing it aside from my own enjoyment, and it's already in my head.  As you put it, kind of like putting a toy on the shelf. :)