Saga of The Sins: Pride
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"You were born to be more than any captain, rule over more than any king and stand above any deity" These words were what his mother always told him each night and he tried to live according to her wishes. Now with his parents gone and his only companion being his sister, Ozymandias swore to rise above all that stood in his way and prove that his parents training and hopes for him weren't wasted. However becoming king over everything won't be easy. But armed with his weapon, his armor and his sister at his side, there's no way he can fail. Right?
The fire cast its warm glow on a female figure who sat on a stool close to the fireplace, watching the flames with a distant look in her eyes as she got lost in memory. Stretching out her right hand towards the fire, she watched as the fire reached out towards her outstretched hand and made its way up her arm, enveloping her in its warm embrace yet leaving her skin and clothing unhurt. She stayed seated on the stool for several minutes, her hand wreathed in flames while she was lost in her mind and would have stayed for several more if not for the sound of trampling feet coming from outside the cottage that served as her home.
Snapping back to the present at the sound of the footsteps, she dispersed the flames that covered her hand as the front door was assaulted by a flurry of knocks. “We know you’re in there Ordria” a drunken voice said from outside. Anger flashed through her eyes as she identified the owner of the voice; it was Drowle, the villager that used to be her husband’s best friend until she came along and married him and their child came along. He personally spearheaded all the investigations into the matter of her being a heathen and he claimed that the potions she concocted-which had healed several of their sick and were cheaper than the ones the temple sold-were made from ingredients so foul that just the thought of them made her sick.
There was little that his ravings could accomplish alone, but then the priests of the local temple joined him on his crusade against her which led to a majority of her patrons and friends abandoning her. She could deal with the reduced amount of customers and income, but when the last of her friends abandoned her after the temple branded as a heretic, she began to hate him and the rest of the village. Unable to stand the villagers but unable to leave due to her husband and child, she managed to convince her husband to move to the outskirts of the village close to the forest where she could be closer to nature and her son could roam around and train with his father whenever he came back from his trips.
But they still wouldn’t leave her and her family alone. Whenever she went to town to gather supplies, she heard the villagers and her former friends whisper things about her that made her heart ache, and it got worse when they began to avoid her or worse; pick on her son. Drowle had even gone several steps further and spread rumors about how she was a heathen and that the magic she had used to heal those that had been fatally injured from accidents was derived from demonic sources and her potions were twisted and a perversion of nature, conveniently forgetting that it was her potions and knowledge of herbs and the human body that had healed several of their sick. They also forgot that she was the one responsible for the delivery of several children in the village.
Banishing the dark thoughts that came with the memories of Drowle and the villagers, she ignored his voice and took the iron poker from its resting place and began to stoke the fire, planning to ignore them until they either passed out into a drunken stupor or got tired and went home. “Get out here you witch, we have your Hel-spawn here with us” the voice said, getting her attention and causing her to drop the poker.
“Impossible” she thought as she got up from the stool and walked towards the door, pulling out a twelve-inch dagger from the center of the target painted on the wall and sliding it into the empty sheath that was strapped snugly behind her back “This has to be a trick, there should be no way he would get caught” she thought to herself, but she couldn’t risk the chance of her child being in the hands of the villagers; especially if they were as drunk as Drowle sounded. Reaching the door, she let her magic flow through her and directed it to her left hand causing it to burst into azure flames as she prepared to deal with the villagers in the worst-case scenario of them actually getting a hold of her child.
Peering through a crack in the door, she saw an assortment of men and women that formed a mob about twenty strong outside her home, all of them wrapped in fur cloaks in order to keep the winter cold out and Drowle standing in front of them, obviously enjoying the role of leader. Standing at the back of the crowd were three hooded figures that watched the mob activity impassively. The figure on the left was large; standing at a height of seven feet and four inches with broad shoulders and an incredibly muscular body that was visible to all, even with the hood covering their face and fur cloak covering their body. Strapped to their back was a large axe with two large, pitch black blades; the rune for the word “Hate” carved on the right blade and the rune for the word “Despair” carved on the left.
The middle figure was shorter at a height of five feet and six inches with a toned and feminine frame, her slightly larger than average chest pushing against the cloak, giving the figure away as female. Strapped to each of her sides were a pair of daggers, their hilts topped with black gems of unknown origins. The third figure was slightly taller, at a height of five feet and nine inches, a smooth, polished staff made of black wood gripped in their right hand. The figure had a feminine figure that could be seen even with the fur cloak that she had on, her large chest straining against the cloak.
Several of the villagers were holding an assortment of weapons in their hands; she spotted a few swords, axes, bows and even one or two crossbows. The only person without a weapon in their hands was a certain individual standing behind Drowle who was carrying something over his shoulder, but she couldn’t see what it was due to Drowle’s figure blocking her view. Drowle himself held a flaming torch in his left hand while his right hand rested on the hilt of his sword that was sheathed at his side “Not coming out witch?” he said as a wicked gleam appeared in his eyes before he turned towards the mob, or more specifically the person with the object on his shoulder and nodded. The figure threw the object on the floor, revealing it to be her gagged, battered and bruised son; Ozymandias. Quenching the flames in her hand, she unbolted the door and rushed over to her son and knelt next to him, tears running down her cheeks as she took the piece of cloth that served as a gag out of his mouth before running her hands over his body, her eyes scanning his body for injuries while a light green glow emanated from her hands, healing his wounds.
“Are you alright baby?” she inquired worriedly, motherly concern all over her face and voice. Receiving only a groan as a response, the green glow deepening in color as she panicked, “Come on, come on” she muttered under her breath as she watched bruise after bruise and injury after injury disappear from his body.
Once all his wounds were healed, she breathed a sigh of relief before turning towards the villagers with rage flooding through her body as both of her hands suddenly burst into azure flames. “What did you do to him?!” she whispered at first before screaming “What did you do!!!!” as blue flames suddenly erupt from her hands, causing the snow around them to melt from the heat. The appearance of the flames scares several of the people present and they look ready to flee, but the others kept them from running while the hooded figures watched the display with great interest.
“We’ve told you and your Hel-spawn to stay away from our village several times” Drowle spoke up, too drunk to feel fear from the display of power from Ordria, “And now we’ve taken the matter into our own hands. But as you can see, we aren’t heartless like you witches and we left your spawn relatively unhurt.”
“You call what you did to him unhurt?!” she yelled as she swung both her arms in front of her, causing the flames to leap off her hands and to the floor, forming a barrier of sorts between her, Ozymandias and the mob. Seeing the barrier of flames and Ordria’s enraged face, members of the mob drew their weapons while those with bows drew them and nocked their arrows, “Well, I said relatively unhurt. I mean we even left him alive for you” Drowle responded with a hint of fear in his voice before adding “Though that was more for your husband’s sake than yours and that can change in an instant” he finished off before turning around to leave, “Take this as your final warning, you and your spawn aren’t welcome here” and with that, he motioned for the crowd to disperse, leaving her to tend to her son. As the crowd began to leave, Drowle deliberately slowed his step as he prepared a final barb to add insult to injury; “Oh and one more thing. When Aldos comes back, I want you to undo whatever spell you did to him to make him fall in love with you. We all know there’s no way anyone would fall for something as disgusting as you, especially someone like him.”
Enraged by Drowle’s actions and words, Ordria prepared to lash out at the mob, the flames growing brighter and hotter in response to her rage, but as her eyes scanned the area, she realized that she couldn’t take care of the mob while defending her son from any stray attacks at the same time. Clenching her hands into fists out of rage and defeat, she quenched the flames that formed the barrier and the ones surrounding her hands and picked up her son, gently cradling him in her arms while he hugged her and buried his face in her chest. Turning her back on the crowd, she made her way back to their home as her mind thought of ways to get back at the mob and especially Drowle. Stopping on the porch of her house, a savage grin made its way to her face as a beautiful idea formed in her head which would let her get back at all those present. Turning to face the retreating mob, she put the idea into motion; “That’s right, walk away you cowards. Especially you Drowle, go back home to your wife, or is it going to be your mistress tonight.” That comment caused Drowle to pause for a moment before he turned around to face her with a mixture of shock and anger on his face, with the mob doing the same; expressions of shock and curiosity on their faces.
“I don’t know what are you talking about” Drowle denied as the look of hatred on his face melted away and was quickly replaced with a pleading one. Seeing that she had gotten not only his attention, but also the attention of the crowd, she continued; “Oh really? Did you honestly think that nobody would find out? That everyone would be blind to the looks that you and Sif exchange with each other?” her words began to cause a stir in the crowd as her words resurfaced the suspicions that they harbored towards the two of them.
“Lies! It’s all lies!!” Drowle yelled out trying to get the mob back under his control. “She wants us divided so that she can take us out at her leisure” but his words fell on deaf ears as the murmurs grew louder. “Ulfr, Ástriðr is your daughter and we have been married for the past nine years. You know that I would never do that to her. I love her too much to do that and I…”
“Would fall on my sword before I ever hurt her” Ordria finished with a devious glint in her eyes as she watched Drowle squirm, her words worming into the heads of the people present, slowly swaying them to her side. “That’s exactly what you told Sif when you took her to the grotto by the waterfall” she stated with a gleeful voice “I found the fertility necklace you gave her a bit too on the nose, but I guess that’s part of your charm. I mean it worked for Sif” Hearing her words, the murmurs increased and shouts of rage emerged from the mob from two male figures who were currently making their way towards Drowle. Getting to him, they cocked back their arms and sent their fists flying at his face. Shocked by their actions, he was unable to stop the two fists from connecting with his face and sending him to the floor. The two men began to kick and stomp his body while cursing him, causing the onlookers to grab them in an effort to stop them from seriously injuring Drowle.
“Heinrikr, Ulfr, stop this at once! Don’t you see that the witch wants us divided?" a woman spoke up from between the two of them.
“Stay out of this Ingrið! This worm is sleeping with my sister!” Heinrikr yelled out as he struggled to free himself from the arms of the people who were keeping him from reducing Drowle to a bloody paste.
“Screw your sister!! She’s probably the one that seduced him in the first place” Ulfr yelled as he too struggled to free himself from the people keeping him from reaching either Drowle or Heinrikr, “And you!” he shouted to Drowle “When I get my hands on you, you’ll wish you were dead!”
Seeing that she had gotten them riled up and focused on Drowle, Ordria opened her mouth to continue fanning the flames, but was interrupted by a bright light that filled the area, temporarily blinding her and the crowd. Acting quickly and instinctively, Ordria spun her body to back the light in order to protect her son in case the light was some sort of attack. A few seconds later, the light died down and revealed a stunned crowd and a slightly out of breath Ordria. Everyone looked towards the source of the light, which was the robed figure on the right of the three robed figures that had stayed at the back and had been watching the entire spectacle.
“That was an impressive display” the figure said, the voice giving it away as a female, “I must confess that when the Temple sent me here to investigate the rumors of a witch, I had really low hopes. But imagine my surprise when I got to witness such an amazing display” she said with excitement in her voice. “When you brought out those flames, it sent tingles down my spine” she squealed while rubbing herself all over as if she was trying to warm herself up while soft moans escaped her lips, “The way you brought those flames to life and commanded them so effortlessly had me on the edge. Though I have to admit that when you started talking to them, I was at a loss and somewhat disappointed” she drawled on, a tinge of sadness in her voice. “But when I realized that you had woven magic into your words and started manipulating them, making them turn on each other, I could barely contain myself” her voice got higher as her body trembled with excitement. “I wanted to see more, but my partner here” she gestured to the robed figure on her right “Started going on and on about how much of a heretic you are and how the magic you commanded felt wrong and honestly, I didn’t want to listen to her so I had to intervene.”
“And you are?” Ordria inquired from her position before placing Ozymandias on the floor behind her. She crouched down and whispered something in his ear before turning around to face the mob and the cloaked figures, her stance rigid, her fists balled up and ready to fight as smoldering embers of motherly rage and hatred burned in her eyes, but there was a hint of wariness which stopped her from attacking everything and everyone in sight.
“Oh, where are my manners?” the female facepalmed in embarrassment before taking off her hood revealing a woman in her early twenties with short dirty blond hair, light brown skin and storm grey eyes. She had a protection rune piercing in her right ear, a piercing in her left ear which had the rune for journey on it and on her neck was a necklace with the rune for the word home attached to it “My name is Guðrun, an executioner from the Temple. These are my teammates and friends; our healer Tryggr” she motioned to the incredibly large and muscular figure on the left who took off their hood revealing a man with a bald head, cold and unfeeling dark blue eyes and a stern face. He had fair skin with several black runes tattooed all over his body and stopped on his neck, leaving his cold stern face free of any markings “And our priestess Grid” the individual on her right took off her hood revealing a pale woman with snow white hair, blood red lips and a black cloth that covered her eyes. On the center of her forehead was an emerald gem which seemed to radiate with an inhuman power “Heathen scum” she whispered under her breath, but it was clearly heard by everyone due to the silence.
Slapping Grid on the back due to her comment, Guðrun spoke up “I must apologise for her, she grew up in a different environment and hasn’t learnt how to talk to people” she said while ignoring the death glare that Grid was giving her-despite the fact that her eyes were covered by the cloth. “Now that you know who we are, how about you introduce yourself?” she requested, pointing to Ordria.
“I am Ordria Heiðnir Sigrarinn, healer, mother, master alchemist, outcast, former warrior and magic user” she responded honestly, her right hand resting on the hilt of the dagger behind her back, her fingers slowly wrapping around the hilt while magic flowed to her left hand simply waiting for the command that would put it to use. “Now that we’ve gotten the introductions out of the way, I guess we should get down to business” she concluded while sliding into a fighting stance; her right hang gripping the hilt of the dagger, her left hand raised in front of her chest while her left leg was positioned in front of her right, her sharp black eyes scanning the people present while her mind racing a hundred miles an hour as it tried to calculate the best way to defeat the crowd and the three Temple members all while keeping her son out of the crossfire. Despite the frigid conditions, beads of sweat ran down her face, her entire body tense and ready to spring into action at the first opening that presented itself.
Seeing Ordria in a fighting stance, Tryggr and Grid got into stances of their own and the mob members did the same, their weapons at the ready. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! We don’t have to fight” Guðrun frantically waved her hands trying to defuse the situation. Noticing that everyone had their eyes on her, Guðrun blushed out of embarrassment and sheepishly scratched the back of her head “I wanted to offer you a position in the Temple.” As soon as those words left her mouth, shouts of anger erupted from the mob.
“That wasn’t the deal!!” one of the villagers shouted out “You were supposed to kill the witch and her spawn!!”
“Yeah!” the rest of the crowd yelled.
“Maybe they’re in league with the witch” another villager yelled out¸ causing a shout of agreement to rise from the mob. Soon shouts of “They’re working together”, “We never should have trusted them” and even cries of “Kill them all” filled the air as the mob changed their focus from Ordria and Ozymandias to the members of the Temple. As the mob advanced on the trio, Tryggr moved in front of his teammates, his large body moving at speeds that it had no right to possess, the tattoos on his skin glowing a cerulean color and his arms outstretched in order to protect his teammates. Intimidated by the glowing tattoos and the size of Tryggr, arrows were nocked, crossbows were loaded, swords and axes were held at the ready while torches were raised and ready to be thrown or used to light arrows. The two parties drew closer to each other while ignoring Guðrun’s cries for everyone to calm down all while Grid impassively watched-or whatever she did to be able to observe whatever went on around her- the entire situation.
Seeing that the situation had escalated beyond control and Guðrun was being ignored, Grid let out a tired sigh “Heathens” she muttered as she looked towards the porch where Ordria and Ozymandias were. Except they weren’t; well Ozymandias was, but his mother wasn’t. A feeling of dread washed over her, but before she could act on this feeling, she was hit in the side by a powerful kick from behind, courtesy of Ordria which sent her crashing into Guðrun’s side eliciting screams of pain from the former and surprise from the latter. Hearing the screams from his teammates, a look of worry briefly flashed across Tryggr’s face before vanishing under a mask of indifference.
Slamming his palms together, the tattoos rose off his skin and slithered out of his robes, forming five snake-like entities which surrounded the mob and bound them together, keeping them in place and their weapons bound. Seeing that the mob was restrained, he turned his attention to Ordria who was currently fighting with his two teammates. Seeing that he was needed, he took the axe off his back with his right and leapt into the fray. Closing in on Ordria who had just kicked Grid in the stomach, he stretched out his left hand towards her neck.
Oblivious to the approaching giant of a man, Ordria picked up Grid’s staff off the floor when Tryggr’s large hand grabbed her neck from behind, lifted her off her feet and then thrown towards the restrained mob. Twisting her body midair to correct herself, she landed on her feet, digging two shallow grooves in the snow as snow was sent spraying into the air. Coming to a stop a few feet away from the restrained mob, she sent a venomous glare at Tryggr as her right hand rested on the hilt of her dagger while her left hand tightened its grip on Grid’s staff.
“Are you guys alright?” Tryggr asked with a tinge of concern in his voice while his eyes scanned Guðrun and Grid for any injuries; Grid was covered with dirt and was short of breath but there was nothing wrong with her, the same went for Guðrun.
“I’m fine. The heathen just took me by surprise” Grid said, dispelling his worries. Getting up from the floor, she dusted the snow and dirt off her cloak, a frown on her face as she noticed her staff in Ordria’s hand.
“How did she get past you, big guy?” Guðrun asked Tryggr as she got up, her eyes never leaving Ordria’s, who was currently doing something with the staff and dagger. Placing her hands on her own daggers on her sides, she unsheathed them and held them in a reverse grip.
“She must have cast the spell she used on the crowd again when she was talking to us in order to turn the people against us and in the confusion, she made her way past him and towards me using them as a smokescreen. Clever, for a heathen” Grid explained and begrudgingly praised Ordria.
“You’re making a big mistake! If you drop your weapon and surrender, we can work something out!” Guðrun shouted out to Ordria, ignoring the looks of disbelief from Grid and the shouts of protest from the immobile villagers. Taking her hand off the handle of her dagger, Ordria twirled Grid’s staff for a bit with the experience of a master before slamming the butt of the staff into the ground.
“What’s the Temple’s policy on families?” the simple but important question rang through the area. The question shut Guðrun up as she could tell that Ordria already knew the answer to that question and lying to her wasn’t going to get her anywhere. “Why did she have to have a family” she cursed softly, feeling like her already dog shit luck had somehow become even worse.
“We are to renounce all familial bonds and we are neither allowed to have any contact with the family we came from nor are we allowed to marry or have any children” Guðrun stated with a hint of sadness in her voice as she knew that she was losing Ordria.
“Even if that wasn’t the case, what will you do when the Temple discovers that my magic is different from yours?” Ordria inquired “And even if we successfully fool them, what will you do about them” she pointed at the mob who were struggling against the bindings and hurling curses at the four of them. “We all know that the Temple forbids the use of force and magic with the exception of healing magic on those that haven’t been declared heathens or offended the Temple” she stated as she switched the position of the staff to her right hand.
Letting out a sigh of regret, Guðrun’s eyes hardened and with reluctance in her heart, she drew her daggers from their sheaths. The first thing one would notice about them was that though they were the same length; thirteen inches, they were different shapes. The one in her left hand was curved and silver in color, the blade on the inside of the curve gleamed wickedly in the sunlight while the blade on the outside was serrated.
The dagger in her other hand -in all honesty, it was more of a short sword- was a two-pronged blade with ridges running down the insides with the right blade a deep blue color and the left blade crimson in color. The weirdest part about it was the small orb about the size of a marble which was located in the center of where the blade met the hilt of the weapon. The orb was surrounded on all sides by arcs of blue and red electricity which originated from the blue and red blades respectively. Holding the curved dagger in her left hand, she raised it slightly above her head and she pointed the blade in her right hand at Ordria while Tryggr stood to her left, his axe resting firmly in his right hand and Grid stood to her right.
“It pains me to say this” she said with sorrow in her voice “Ordria Heiðnir Sigrarinn, you have been accused of witchcraft and heresy and have been found guilty. You have been sentenced to death, you have the right to die on your knees or on your feet” she finished off. “Get her.”
Hearing the command, a grin of excitement appeared on Tryggr’s face while a twisted bloodthirsty grin appeared on Grid’s face. Tensing the muscles in his feet, Tryggr took a single step forward, his feet digging into the ground and with a grunt he took off towards his target leaving a trail of dirt and snow in his wake in a burst of speed that one wouldn’t expect from someone his size. Closing the distance between him and Ordria in a flash, he swung down his axe to cleave her in two, only for her to twist her upper body, completely dodging the descending axe and getting into his guard, undisturbed by neither how close the blade had come to splitting her, nor the dirt and snow kicked into the air by the axe as it slammed into the ground. Not one to let the opportunity go to waste, she slammed the end of the staff into his exposed lower jaw with enough force to not only stun him, but also lift him off the ground before delivering a palm strike to his stomach with her left hand with en
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