Gallant Heart: Story of Odin Chapter 1
Mortal Warrior, Immortal Peril
By The RPGenius
Simon's Notes: Far back in time, farther than any recorded history in Ivalice, possibly farther than most recorded history for any world, there was a world known as Spillara. Spillara's people were as any others are. They had wars and they had periods of peace. They developed many separate ways of warfare, some of which resemble the ways of Ivalice's peoples, others completely different. From what I can gather, some of their warriors were skilled in arts of destructive power, perhaps like the Wizard. Others were comparable to Summoners, yet they only seemed to summon a small number of monsters that ours can, not nearly as many as Summoners today in Ivalice.
But I digress. The warriors that we should be concerned with are like the Knights and Lancers of Ivalice. They wielded swords, spears, and sometimes both. They rode on strange, eight-legged animals called horses. There is no mention of chocobos in any part of this tale, and thus I believe that the world did not have any. Certainly none were used as steeds for these warriors.
The story begins by telling of one of the greatest of these warriors. His name was Odin. This manuscript is about him
Odin walked through the halls of Vallana Castle. As he passed each guard, they respectfully changed their spears or swords from one hand to the other, as was custom to do whenever someone of high rank passed by. Each wore a relieved smile on his face while doing so. This was the great warrior, here to save them from the horrible new threat.
Odin walked with pride, but with dignity. He knew he was the greatest warrior ever to roam these halls. He knew full well that his portrait would one day join those of past warriors in this hallway leading to the monarch's chamber. He did not have to suffer from an enhanced ego to know these things. He simply was. There was no doubt in anyone's mind about it.
As Odin stood before the doors leading to the throne room, he tightened his grip on his heavy spear, the mighty Gungnir. He had forged it himself at the age of nineteen. After only one year of training to become a knight for his king, he had been ready to create his own weapon. Such a feat was nearly unknown outside of legends, as almost all other men taking up the noble profession of knighthood had to wait until at least their third or fourth year to be deemed far enough along in their training to be able to create a weapon of their own. And his creation of his own attack technique, Zantestsuken, named for his personal curved blade, at the age of thirty-six was unheard of even within legends. No master of the blade or lance had ever developed new techniques until well into their retirement from the profession of knight, especially not one so effective. The mastery that Odin had with his weapons already far surpassed the mastery that even lifelong knights had. Odin was a warrior among warriors.
The doors were drawn open, and Odin strode into the brightly-lit throne room. King Idno the Seventh sat on his throne. The crease of worry on his face did not entirely leave as he saw his loyal knight stride forward.
Odin thrust Gungnir into the soft tile floor in front of his majesty and laid his shining blade into the ground. He leaned upon the Gungnir in the ancient stance of showing loyalty to the royal family.
"Odin, I will be blunt. You are my greatest warrior. Our kingdom is in great peril."
Odin's deep voice responded. "I have heard of this peril, my lord. There are rumors in the city that the kingdom of Ganne has enlisted the aid of a new breed of warrior to conquer us, and that they approach our borders. It does not bode well."
King Idno sighed wearily. "You have heard rumors that I have had started for the good of the country. Those rumors are not nearly as bad as the truth of the matter, my servant. Our long enemy of Ganne has no blame in this new disaster."
"On the contrary," came a voice from the shadows of the room, "we are in a bad position ourselves."
Odin sharply turned and gazed at the man who had spoken. His red eyes widened as he recognized the speaker's identity. "My liege! Why is this cowardly cur in your chambers?" he blurted out.
The king frowned further. "I am afraid that the answer will not please you. The ambassador of Ganne is here because his kingdom needs help."
Odin barely stopped himself from spitting at the thought. "Ganne needs our help? What trickery is this?"
The king sighed once more. "No trickery, I fear. A few weeks ago, some thirteen beasts attacked our northernmost border. And they completely destroyed the fort that we had there. No one was left alive, not even children. We only received news of this attack thanks to a guard who had left his post. He was returning as these monsters attacked. They did not see him, and he thus witnessed the entire ordeal. He has described the massacre to me several times. These beasts seemed impervious to any attack; they wielded powerful magic and unheralded strength. Everyone they came in contact with they destroyed. When I sent a small group of soldiers to investigate a few days later, they told me that all they found were the ruins of the fortress and the twisted, bloody bodies of those that had defended it."
Odin spoke up. "The tale seems ridiculous, majesty! No monsters have magic, nor that power! To overrun the fortress so would require an army of men an army that Ganne could create!"
The diplomat spoke up angrily at this point. "Odin, hated warrior of Vallana, you speak without knowledge of the destruction there. Our country was taxed too far by the recent war with yours, and we could never create an army strong enough to leave a fortress in ruins! More sorcerers would be required to destroy it than in all our lands!"
King Idno continued. "I, too, would have thought it was Ganne. However, days after the attack, my spy network received news that the western border fort of Ganne had been similarly eradicated. Again, no one survived there. Then, days later, these monsters struck again, before I had decided what to do. This time, a mere six of them attacked. They spared one man, ordering him to inform his king that they had arrived. At the same time as this slaughter, the other seven were destroying a town of Ganne's."
Odin spoke up once more. "What would you have me do, your majesty?"
Idno gestured to the messenger from Ganne. "In the span of the last four days, a total of sixteen more towns of ours and twelve of Ganne's have been obliterated. The beasts are pushing toward this capital and toward the capital of Ganne. They move very, very fast, covering incredible distances within hours. They seem to be circling the capitals of our two kingdoms, with an easy pattern to recognize. The monsters will be hitting the city of Ganoon soon. I want you to take your finest troops there and stop them."
Odin needed but a moment to digest this information. "You mean, majesty, that you want us to defend a city of Ganne!? To preserve the life of our foe!?"
Idno spoke sharply to his warrior. "Odin, this is an emergency. These monsters are a far greater threat than Ganne. If our two kingdoms work together, we may be able to overcome them. If we don't, we may both perish. You have an order. Gather your greatest men and assemble at Ganoon by noon tomorrow."
With that, Odin was dismissed. He stood, picked up his weapons, and left the chamber, and walked to the knights' quarters. His mind was still reeling at the thought of joining forces with the reviled Ganne armies.
Odin was nothing if not loyal to his king, and by noon the next day, he and the ten men that he had chosen were riding into Ganoon on their steeds.
Odin looked about, his lip curled in disgust at the sight of this city of the Ganne kingdom. These people were his sworn enemies, and he had to cooperate with them. From the glances of the citizens as they went about their lives, they clearly didn't like the idea of the greatest warrior of Vallana living amongst them.
Odin and his warriors reached the barracks for the town's guards. They dismounted and went inside. The people of the town were quite busy, with many, many soldiers and sorcerers of the Ganne forces milling around. Odin even caught glimpses of an occasional caller, the newest kind of soldiers. They could call powerful entities to do their bidding. Odin had seen them in the field of combat, and grudgingly admitted that they were not to be taken lightly. The four beings that were known of that could be called, an old man with the power of lightning, an immense sea serpent, a gigantic machine of power, and an awe-inspiring dragon, could leave entire battlefields destroyed.
The commotion died down as Odin stepped in, and all eyes focused on him. Some were fearful. Some curious. Many filled with hate.
Odin didn't care. He strode forward and stood before the knight with the insignia of a captain. "I am Odin. I have come to assist you with my knights."
The captain was a man made of stern stuff. Even while facing the warrior that had taken the lives of more Ganne men than could be counted, his voice and gaze did not waver. "I see only half a score with you. Surely your kingdom is not weakened so far by the wars against ours that it could not send more."
Odin let an edge of cold anger into his voice. "I am worth as many warriors as you need. These men I bring are worth a dozen of yours. You will accept this number or none."
The captain looked at Odin with distaste, then turned away. "Prove it tonight. We are expecting an attack then."
With that, most of those in the room got back to their business. Odin and his men were left to find somewhere to make camp in the streets.
The sun had set, and most of the people in the city had been evacuated. Guards were everywhere, gripping their many weapons tightly. Users of magic and callers walked here and there, waiting for their moment to take revenge on the monsters that had decimated their neighboring towns.
A small fire blazed in the streets, and Odin and his men sat around it, eating the rations they had brought along and warily watching the Ganne troops in all that they did. They did not trust their new allies for one instant.
As a cool breeze filtered through the streets and caused the flames to bend slightly, Odin frowned and gripped his sword tightly. As a natural warrior, he had a set of instincts that had yet to fail him. And they were telling him right now that something was about to happen.
Lan, one of the men that Odin had hand picked to come along with him in this most dangerous mission, noticed that his leader seemed tense. "Is something wrong, sir?" he asked.
Odin nodded curtly. "Get your weapons out and get on your horses. Quickly."
Without asking questions, they did as they were told. Each got on his separate steed, and prepared his sword or lance for combat. Odin had brought along no sorcerers or callers. Though he recognized their power, they lacked one quality that he demanded from all those who followed him: the heart of a knight and the code of morals that came with the profession.
Odin sheathed Zantetsuken for the moment and held his Gungnir. For him, the sword was a weapon only if the spear of his own making were lost or taken away from him. He quickly mounted his steed, Sleipnir.
Sleipnir had been a present from Odin's king once he had completed his training as a knight. This boon had been specially bestowed upon Odin for his extraordinary abilities as a protector of the royal family and the people of the kingdom. Sleipnir was perhaps the only living thing in the world that Odin cared for with affection and tenderness, and Odin was the only rider that the horse would allow onto his back.
Mere moments after Odin had mounted Sleipnir, the sounds of an explosion of energy rocked the previously quiet night. Near the entrance to town, flames now engulfed a building. Guards began pouring to the scene of the attack, and a bell began tolling to sound an alarm.
Odin turned to his charges and barked out orders. "Lan, Thur, Cival, Wain, you set up a perimeter around the town. If there are any other foes preparing to attack from another angle, it will be your responsibility to alert the soldiers to that danger and to fight the monsters there. Odys, Ules, round up any civilians that are in danger and see to it that they find somewhere safe to stay during this battle. Lear, Let, Oth, and Meo, you will follow me; we will be heading to the fray!"
No further words were said. Each man rode to his separate mission, and Odin led his four warriors to the fray.
Upon reaching the scene of the disaster, even the experienced, hard Odin was sickened by what he saw. Soldiers were everywhere, so numerous that Odin could not even make out what the monsters they were fighting looked like. The corpses of dozens of troops already littered the scene, their bodies twisted, bloody, and misshapen in death. Odin could see that his foes not only killed their victims without weapons, for nothing but hands with enormous strength could do such horrors, but they took pleasure in the killing. None of the brave warriors could possibly have died such hideous deaths unless through malicious glee in slaughter.
A soldier went flying overhead, tossed by one of the demons, and the small opening created in the mad flurry of soldiers fighting allowed Odin a glimpse these monstrously powerful and ferocious foes. To Odin's shock, there were but three enemies attacking, yet they were wreaking havoc on trained soldiers.
They were the design of nightmares. One had four separate arms branching out of a muscular, blue, humanoid body, and a head like that of a demonic ram. The second was even more hideous. It was a fat and bulbous monster, with a head like a murderous fiend. Its body seemed almost as though it were held together by stitches on the front of it, being far too obese to hold itself in without them. The third was worse yet, if such a thing were imaginable. It seemed fairly humanoid in shape, much like the ram-headed first. However, where its hands and wrist should be were long, sharpened stakes of bone, creating two natural broadswords, which seemed to be every bit as deadly as the true weapon, if not more so. Atop this monster's vivid orange human body was a nightmarish head, like that of an ant's. Where its pincers would be, though, it instead had a nightmarish protruding circular mouth, with gnashing teeth on all sides within. This nightmarish mouth most resembled that of a leech.
These three seemed unstoppable. The first two grabbed swords that were thrust at them with their bare hands, then snapped them apart as easily as twigs. The battle was too close now to use spears, so the soldiers were left only with their useless blades to fight with. Occasionally, a spell of fire or lightning might hit them as the sorcerers tried to take these creatures down, but spell casting was limited to less powerful spells for fear of injuring the soldiers that were crowded around the intended victims. The monsters seemed to shrug off these spells as little more than nuisances.
Odin called to his knights behind him, "You four, attack with your spears when you see an opening. Do not tarry, but retreat as soon as the blow has been dealt, for battling these monsters in close quarters means certain death!"
The chance for their attack came swiftly. One sorcerer, realizing that the battle could not be won if it continued thus, cast a more powerful fire spell. A fiery explosion rocked the area around the monsters, and several soldiers were caught in the friendly fire of the sorcerer's attack.
The attack did not seem to deter the beasts for more than an instant, but it was all that was needed. Now that the immediate vicinity around their adversaries was cleared of Ganne soldiers, Odin and his warriors galloped in for the assault.
This new attack was completely unexpected by these foul creatures. Lear and Let struck the bulbous monster head on, impaling his enormous girth twice with so much force that they lost their grip on their lances and rode past with the weapons still protruding from the monster's abdomen. The blue, ram-headed beast managed to grab Meo's spear and threw it aside before it stabbed him, but he did not escape Oth's attack. Oth's spear thrust into the monster's side and ripped the flesh there to ribbons. As Oth rode on, still clutching his spear, the beast roared in pain as blood began to seep from the heavy wound.
Odin was charging alone at the last monster. While Sleipnir galloped toward the foe, Odin lifted Gungnir high. With a burst of strength, he hurled it at the hideous beast. The spear flew true through the air, and drove itself into the chest of its foe and victim. The beast staggered back from the force of the attack, and Vallana's greatest warrior could see that the mighty weapon's head was protruding from the monster's back.
Before the monster could even react to the spear lodged in its chest, Odin had reached him. In one swift motion, he drew his sword and performed his deadly Zantetsuken slice. It was only by the fastest of reactions that the monster managed to raise an arm to block the curved saber. Thanks to this, it was the monster's upper arm, and not his torso, that was severed cleanly. As the now owner-less left arm dropped to the ground, Odin grabbed his spear, violently drew it out of his foe, and rode to regroup with his comrades.
As the gallant men regrouped a distance away, the bulbous monster growled and reached down to the two spears jutting out of his immense girth. With a grunt, he grabbed both and yanked them out of him.
"Dorleeg! A recovery power would be appropriate, don't you think?" it growled, tossing the spears aside as blood began seeping unrestrained from his two deep puncture wounds.
The orange, ant-headed monster responded with a hideous voice, sounding more like a tiger sharpening his nails against a chalkboard than of a voice. "My pleasure, Quecklain. Dark Aura!"
The monster known as Dorleeg lifted his remaining arm. A black light glowed about him, and sped to touch his ram-headed companion and then the bulbous monster known as Queklain. As it encountered each of them, their wounds began healing at extraordinary rate, and when the magic was done, both had no more than crusted blood to show for wounds, and the gaping hole in Dorleeg's chest that Odin had caused was almost completely healed, with only a small scar to remind the warrior that he had ever attacked. Thankfully, Dorleeg's arm did not regenerate, though it did cease bleeding and begin to scab over, but such a fact was of little consolation.
It was then that Odin began to fully realize how bad the situation was. He had expected these monsters to be dead from his troops' and his attack, or at the very least, mortally wounded. Instead, they had had the strength to continue standing and cast a spell. Not only that, but they had used magic to recover themselves. Odin, like all the other warriors present, had never known that magic could be used for curative purposes.
Before another action could be made, a voice rang out among the Ganne troops. "Ramuh!"
Obviously having seen that the monsters were preoccupied with healing, a caller had begun concentrating on summoning the fierce old lightning monster.
The skies clouded over in seconds, and a bolt of lightning struck the ground. From that lightning appeared the fierce deity of Ramuh. Raising his staff, the lightning flew from him to the area of the monsters. The strong magical attack forced the monsters to stumble back a few feet as electricity coursed through their hideous bodies.
When the bolts of lightning stopped, the monsters roared angrily. It seemed that the fierce bolts of Ramuh had done little more than force them back, and no lasting damage.
Before Ramuh disappeared, he seemed to turn his head to fix his gaze at Odin. His eyes pierced Odin's with their intensity. Then, without warning, the old man was gone, leaving Odin wondering if he had imagined the stare of Ramuh.
Odin shook his head and forced it out of his mind. Whatever had happened, it did not matter now.
He looked at Quecklain, Dorleeg, and the other monster, trying to form some strategy before they recovered enough to attack once more. Ramuh's attack had forced them to move back, and now they were no longer so closely knit together.
Suddenly, Odin knew what must be done. "Warriors!" he cried out. "Attack now, before they can regroup!"
Realization flickered in the eyes of Ganne's soldiers as they understood Odin's words. So far, these beasts had been nigh unstoppable together, where they had the advantage of allies to watch their backs. But if they were separated, perhaps there would be a chance to beat them individually.
Forgetting their hatred for Odin and his kingdom, the troops swarmed the monsters, preventing them from joining together again. The loss of life was still horrendous as the monsters began wreaking havoc once more against their foes, but this time, there were many roars of anger and pain heard from the beasts.
Odin prepared to urge Sleipnir into the fray when he realized that Dorleeg was still unaccounted for. Soldiers and the four knights of Odin's surrounded Queklain and the ram-headed monster, but the last beast was nowhere to be seen.
Odin turned his head sharply at the cry of a child. Dorleeg had found a group of civilians that Odys and Ules were attempting to lead to safety. With two quick chops, Dorleeg sliced both men in half before they had a chance to prepare themselves. As the corpses fell from their steeds, Dorleeg turned his attention to the group of women and children that were running away.
Odin's blood boiled and rage filled his mind. Those had been two of the finest troops of Vallana. But more infuriatingly, these monsters had no respect for the rules of war. How dare they attack innocents!? Even the mighty warrior of Odin had never taken the life of a Ganne civilian; to do so was evil and malicious!
"Dorleeg!" he roared. "Coward that you are! Leave the helpless alone and face me, if you dare! Or do you only attack those that cannot fight back, hideous wretch?"
Dorleeg turned and saw Odin. As an agonizing laugh of amusement came from his head, a long, slender tongue darted out to lick the blood from his arm-blade. "You wish to challenge me, Dorleeg, Zodiac Monster of Aquarius? Fool mortal, I will drink deep of the blood you stain my blade with! You dare to challenge one of Lucavi's new order? You are insane indeed. I accept your challenge, madman."
Odin rode forward, gripping Gungnir tightly and calling out, "Odin does not make the vows of a madman, beast, he makes the vows of a warrior, the vows that hold true!"
As he reached attacking distance, Odin hefted his mighty weapon in one hand and drew his sword in another.
He thrust his spear forward with all his might. Unfortunately, he had underestimated the Zodiac Monster's speed, and his spear flew through the air where Dorleeg had been moments ago. The monster, dodging to the side, swept his blade down in a deadly arc, and Odin only just managed to raise his sword to meet it. Dorleeg drew his blade back and prepared to attack once more. Odin, hoping to throw his opponent off-balance, urged Sleipnir to go forward.
Dorleeg sliced at his opponent again, but only grazed the back of his horse as Odin rode out of the way. The wound, however, panicked the poor creature, and it reared back on its back four legs.
This gave Dorleeg an easy shot at Odin, who was desperately trying to keep his grip on Sleipnir. He thrust his long blade at the warrior's flank.
Odin saw the attack coming, and even as he tried to make Sleipnir put its other legs back on the ground, he blocked the attack with the only possible tool he had to do it with: his arm carrying Gungnir. He brought his arm heavily down on Dorleeg's blade and forced it south, sustaining only a minor cut to his arm where it touched the deadly arm-sword. However, he had inadvertently caused disaster for his faithful steed.
Dorleeg's arm was knocked downwards, and it continued its thrust into Sleipnir's third set of legs. With a sickening sound, the first was entirely dismembered and fell to the ground, and the second was very nearly cut off as well.
Sleipnir shrieked at the pain and fell to the ground from a lack of balance. Odin was tossed off a few feet away. The warrior was cold and not known for crying, even at the loss of comrades, but when he heard his horse's wild screams of pain, his heart made a similar sound and tears came to his eyes.
Dorleeg chuckled and prepared to bring his blade down on the lying figure of Odin. A deep hatred filled him as the monster's attack came plunging down on him. This beast had injured his loyal horse, perhaps the only being that Odin totally trusted in battle. This monster, this demon, would pay.
Screaming with rage, Odin rolled to avoid the attack. As Dorleeg's arm-blade met the soft ground and lodged itself there, Odin sprang to his feet and grabbed his Zantestsuken blade. Crying a roar that would have done the monsters he faced proud, he plunged it downward and completely severed Dorleeg's remaining arm. As blood pumped out of the gaping wound, Dorleeg seemed to attempt to cast a spell, but was caught short as Odin snatched Gungnir from the ground and plunged it into Dorleeg with all the strength of an enraged legend.
Almost before it was done going through the flesh of the Zodiac Beast, Odin ripped it out and kicked Dorleeg to the ground. He savagely stabbed him again and again with the powerful Gungnir in a berserk rage. The helpless Dorleeg howled in pain and fury, but could not escape the warrior's wrath.
Suddenly, Dorleeg ceased his noise, and in a bright explosion, he was gone.
Odin leaned upon his spear, breathing heavily, as he heard the other two monsters shout to one another. "Velius! Dorleeg is it can't be!"
The ram-headed beast now known as Velius roared a response. "There are too many of these irritating humans! We must go for now!"
With a small beam of light, Velius disappeared. The soldiers who had been attacking him swarmed to battle Queklain. The Zodiac beast shouted, "This is not the end, humans! We will crush you all!" Then he, too, disappeared in a beam of light.
The sounds of battle suddenly stopped, replaced by heavy gasps of exertion and a few ragged cheers. The only sound that remained from the battle was that of the pained screams of Sleipnir.
Warriors rushed over to Odin, clapping him on the back, praising him for his strength and tactical genius. What were half an hour ago foes had suddenly become friends through a common enemy.
Odin walked slowly to Sleipnir and knelt by the bleeding horse. As some soldiers began rushing the few warriors who had been lucky enough to be wounded rather than killed to the hospital building, Odin took a long look around him. Blood was everywhere. The crushed bodies of soldiers and their steeds lay strewn about everywhere. Odys and Ules were dead, and Odin spied the corpses of Let and Meo, as well. The victory of this battle was nothing to celebrate. This was not the end of a battle, but the beginning of a horrible war with these new foes known as Zodiac Monsters. Three had been able to cause this wreckage, and there were thirteen altogether. Twelve now that Dorleeg was dead.
Straining himself, Odin's mighty muscles bulged as he slowly lifted Sleipnir from the ground. Several soldiers helped him with the effort. They then brought the brave horse into the hospital as the human soldiers had been.
Simon's Notes: Thus begins the tale of Odin. These monsters of the Zodiac leave me with an uneasy feeling, even though these events happened so long ago, and on a different planet.
I am tired now. I will continue this tale tomorrow.
The RPGenius' Fanfiction