Short Story: War of Gods Part 2

It is time for battle, the sun glowing a blood red, the field as if on fire.  Asalrek is home here, he is comfortable, behind him an army of Greeks, four thousand strong; in front stands another army, an army  greater in numbers as well as experience. Fools, thinks Aselrek, giving me so few men, but I refuse to die, I refuse to die now. With that he raises his father’s sword, Thor’s hammer carved into the hilt, lets out a mighty cry and rushes into battle. Left and right men fall to his blade, arrows pass him by, he is hit, only a flesh wound, the adrenaline has him now; he is home. How can this be the army of legend? They fall like children. He looks up as a spear breaks his shield, with a slice of his sword the soldiers head breaks as well. For a brief minute, nothingness, the fighting stops. Then, like thunder he sees the true foe. They are dressed in red and black, carrying weapons from all reaches of the world, strange beasts from strange lands accompany them. This, thinks Asalrek, is what I seek. Rushing the new army with what is left of his, Asalrek runs into the fold. Men and beast fall as Asalrek now stands alone against the foe. His army defeated, his wounds growing in number he shouts the warriors prayer. “Gods of War I call you, my sword is by my side, I seek a life of honor. Cover me with death, if I shall ever fail. Glory! Majesty! Victory!” In that instant time froze. Asalrek sees before him corpses of friend and foe, bodies of those he had slain, body parts littered amongst the field, soldiers in mid-swing ready to attack him, and with a bolt of lightning a man, not a man, but a god. “Not your Odin that approaches you Asalrek, not his son Tyr. They ignore your cry; it is I Ares, son of Zeus and God of War, which responds to your plea. They would see you die before unlocking your full potential. They are scared of you Asalrek, you are becoming too powerful. I can give you what you desire. I can give you ultimate strength, strength only rivaled by that of my half-brother, Heracles. Your gods would kill you, I give you life, all I ask is do not tell a soul what I have done, if word were to get out, the consequences could be of godly proportions. Do you accept power Asalrek; do you accept your potential?” “Yes Ares I accept! I accept power, I accept strength and I accept you!”

When the smoke cleared, Ares was gone, and Asalrek was filled with a power like that of the berserker rage. With his new power he stands, men fall not by tens but buy hundreds, by thousands. He could hardly be considered mortal; he had been blessed by the gods. He defeated the army of Ecoltes and ripped off the head of the commander with his bare hands. The head was brought to the Athenian king. Asalrek returned home.

Many years passed. Asalrek united his people and became the King of Kings. Armies were crushed by his hand and temples built to the Northern Gods. His meeting with Ares was secret, even to him. It is said that the great king became restless, a wild animal caged to long. The next battle he swore would be the battle of all battles; he would lead his armies once again, and rule all around him. There was a rising power in the south. The armies of Greece had become mighty. The only ones left to challenge their power.  He would defeat these people and their gods will be forgotten.

The armies are formed and the battle rages on, the Greeks against the Norse men. Many have fallen as the gods watch from both sides. The gods are vengeful. Asalrek must pay for the bond he made with Ares. No mortal knows his secret, but nothing is kept secret long from the gods. Defiant of his father gods, Asalrek kills men and horses alike, before finally falling to the many mortal wounds. He has finally fallen, finally he will face the gods, and dine in Valhalla, or so he thinks. The Valkyries come, take the away the souls of those fallen. None however come for Asalrek. Instead, Asalrek is brought before Odin and the gods. “Why, oh Odin, chief of the gods, have I not been taken to Valhalla with my brethren? Why have you brought me here before you?”  “You have betrayed you father gods,” Odin replies. “Your time came many years ago, at a time when you turned to Ares. You gave up your right to Valhalla and now I send you to Tartarus, cross the river Styx, a death fitting for a follower of Ares.”

Before Asalrek could protest his fate he is sent into blackness.

Look out for Part 3

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-Jack O’Lantern


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