Friday, May 15

Original Fiction by Xan (Part 6) "Twenty-five years later…"

The sun slowly crept into the mountains as Odur, the Asgardian sun god rode into the sky. The air was crisp and clear high in the Trulune Mountains, home to the Adalstein Clan, a clan of humans who believed the way of the hammer and axe and survival of the fittest was the only way to live. These strong and hearty humans lived a good life in the snowy peaks herding great sheep and hunting other snowy wild beasts. Some of the clan had also learned to farm the frozen tundra to provide some vegetation for the stocky villagers. Even the women of the clan were warriors and hunters. They lived a relatively peaceful life, except for the sporadic ogre raids on their village and attacks from frost giants.

On this day, chanting could be heard echoing smoothly across the frozen Blue Ice cliffs. In the largest building of the village housed the place of battle and worship for the Adalstein clan. Along the front of the building leading up to the doorway were grand sculptures of granite or bluish gray marble. The sculptures were carved of massive men and women, the gods of the clan. Father Odin; his son, Thor God of Thunder; Thor's wife, Sif; Loki, the God of mischief, as well as all the others. Each god has his or her own attendants and servants within the temple. The clan reveres them all equally, but each in their hearts worships one personally as a patron god. On this day, a new missionary-priest is being anointed to take his place within the ranks of Brother Othr’s militia, Brother Zander Adelstein. Although this inductee is not a full-blooded member of the Adalstein clan, his mother was a daughter of one of the High Priests of Othr, and his father was the chief from one of the many ogre raiders who had pillaged the clans’ home. His uncle took him in after his mother died giving birth to him. He was raised as a member of the clan even though he was only half human.

“By Thor's hammer I will bring his word to those who have no guidance. His thunder will echo through the world, and his vengeance will be visited upon any who harm his son’s and daughters!” Zander held a stone hammer above his head as he stood in the middle of a large circle. Around the circle stood four men with long braided beards of red, black, white and golden blond, all with their shirts off and covered only by a white sheepskin loincloth and large black boots. They stood on runes carved into the floor representing the four directions of the compass. Zander too stood in the center of the ring nearly bare, although along with the loincloth he had bracers on his arms with Othr’s hammer embossed into the leather. The men looked at him with glimmers in their eyes like wolves surrounding a sheep they pounced Zander.

The four men landed on the pale green-skinned giant in the middle, the furious wrestling match of strength and endurance could last well into the night. Arms and legs flailed about as the four men and Zander wrestled about within the compass ring. The rolling and flailing stopped near the southern end of the compass; the white haired man was positioned on top of Zander’s back, his bulging arms around the tree trunk of Zander’s neck. The blond haired man had Zander’s left arm, the black haired man held his right. Finally the red haired man stood in the middle of the compass and walked towards the mass, a tattoo of Othr’s hammer glistened on his chest.

“So, Zander, you think that a half-blooded ogre can become a priest of Othr?” He spoke spitefully.

“I may be half ogre, but I am also half Adalstein.” Zander struggled to get free of the three other initiatory priests. “You should know this better than anyone cousin, Atlus.”

“You are half Adalstein, but you still must complete the trial of strength.” Altus continued as he slowly walked up to the giant. Zander stood nearly a head taller than this man, even as the white haired priest made him bend over. Atlus doubled up his right hand and drove it into Zander’s stomach. “You need to feel the strength of Othr, cousin.”

Zander doubled over in pain, a glare began to form on his face. Zander tried to control his savage half as his uncle had taught him so many years ago. “I don’t wish to hurt you.” Zander growled, the rumble was like distant thunder in his voice.

“Then you are not worthy of the Adalstein clan or of Thor.” Atlus slapped Zander across the face.

The rage could not be contained any longer. Zander roared to life, a renewed energy seemed to surge into his body. He took the blond holding his left arm and threw him into Atlus; the two large men skidded across the arena floor coming to a halt over the large rune signifying ‘west’ on the ground. The white haired initiatory priest wrapped both arms around the giants’ large bulging neck and held on tight as the black haired man flew from Zander’s right arm and landed on the ‘east’ rune.

“You feel the power now, don’t you boy!” The white haired priest roared in Zander’s ear as the fought.

“I don’t… want to… hurt you!” Zander struggled to get the man off his back. Flailing his arms behind himself and over his head, but could not seem to get a good grip on the powerful priest holding tightly to his neck.

Without warning the white haired priest, known as Hektor gasped for a last breath and his arms went slack on the giants’ neck. Hektor fell to the ground; a thick arrow, the thickness of Zander’s finger, protruded from his back. Zander turned around to see his friend lying lifeless on top of the “north” rune, crimson liquid filled in the crevices of the rune on the floor.

“We are under attack!” Atlus roared as he hurried to his feet. Glass shattered from the stained windows high above the ground. Large ogres with even larger bows rained arrows over the three remaining priests and Zander. An arrow buried itself deep in Atlus’ shoulder as he stood.

“NO!” Zander roared as he found a stone hammer on a nearby altar. “Not again!” Zander hefted the heavy hammer and threw it at the ogre he figured just shot his cousin. The hammer missed the intended target, but smashed the ledge the ogre was standing on. The moss colored giant lost its footing and slipped off the ledge to come crashing down on a statue of Loki.

The doors of the temple-arena smashed open, a wave of ogres and frost giants moved into the temple arena. A large ogre covered in rusty armor and carrying a large mace hung back as the main wave moved into the temple. “Kill them all!” The leader roared in the grotesque giant tongue at his troops, a wave of ogres and white skinned frost giants burst through the door.

The priests rushed to the front door, knowingly going to their death. “Hallaval will have us all!” Atlus roared as he and his two initiatory priests ran after him towards the wave of ogres. The ogres flew as the priests gripped them by their arms or legs. Like great Greco Roman wrestlers the three remaining initiatory priests roared with the rolling thunder that crashed in the sky above them. “Othr will watch over us!” Another war cry roared from the priests as they cleared a swath through the first wave of attackers. Zander watched amazed as these three priests tore through the invaders with ease, the priests seemed to double in size as they roared with the power of Othr. Zander felt his blood boil as he looked down at Hektor his skin pale from the blood draining from his body by the poisoned arrow protruding from the middle of his back. Zander’s muscles became taught as they tightened and flexed with a new rage that boiled within him. He rushed to the assistance of his friends, facing down a large frost giant with his bare hands. The two mighty titans wrestled in hand-to-hand combat for only a moment until Zander found a moment of weakness and unbalance and picked up the white skinned brute and threw him into the second wave of giants working their way into the temple.

“We will kill them all; including the half-blood, especially the half-blood.” The leader ran intently towards Zander as the two walls of giants and human collided. The leader smashed through his army as he made his way towards Zander as he swung his large mace. Zander’s world went black; the last thing he saw was the face that made up the head of the mace, the half face of the ogre god Ethnyl.

I have to say that when I wrote this it was difficult for me to come up with a Pantheon to worship so I just went with an already existant one. - Xan

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