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Free Short Story - Odynus

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Odynus climbed down from his mount. The heat from the fire surrounded him. Searching through the burning wreckage, he waited for what was promised. Among the scorched earth and blackened trees, the crumbling wreckage of his village burned. Everything, the home he grew up in, the temples he’d worshiped to the god of war in, burned. Odynus had prayed he would one day earn a place in an Imperial Legion. If he’d only known then what that fate held for him, Odynus wouldn’t have run from this place. He wouldn’t have turned his back on his home, his family, or the way of his people.

The voices from the trapped villagers had long since quelled. Odynus only heard the crackling of his destruction. In the black smoke billowing from the blazing ruins, a shape appeared. Draconius, a god of war, had come to deliver what he promised Odynus. A fate that Odynus often questioned. Yet, if he wanted to see the empire he unwillingly served crumble, Odynus was willing to give anything, including his soul. It was in the wake of this twisted act that Odynus scorch the earth in his homeland, that Draconius would give Odynus a divine power; that of a demigod.

The dragon-god’s wings curled up from the flames, flapping and fanning the fiery destruction below. Curled horns sprouted from the fire and smoke, shape-shifting into a gigantic mixture of beast and human. Armored in dragon scale and wearing a crown of pointed bone shards, the dragon-god appeared before Odynus. Between the curling horns, Draconius’ face was hidden in shadow, showing only two glowing red eyes. Spreading his demon-like wings, the god addressed him, “You’ve done well, Odynus.”

“This war is not over. Burning their villages, the crops. This will not stop anything. They will gather, however weakened they are, and strike back,” Odynus said.

“You do not care what happens to these people. If you did, you wouldn’t have taken everything from them as I instructed.”

“I want what was promised. Give me your power,” Odynus said.

“HA,” Draconius bellowed. “You will not receive my power.”

“You made an oath, an unbreakable promise,” Odynus said.

“Your mortality is what was agreed upon, not my power,” Darconius said.

“Lies,” Odynus said, cursing himself for going against his better judgment. He knew dealing with a god of war was not wise. But he wanted revenge before he could restore his old way of life. Odynus needed to overthrow the Empire, but he couldn’t do it as a man. No mortal could hope to change the fate of the world, but a demigod would.

Draconius raised an arm, summoning a bright blue glow. The fire surrounding him flared as he formed a set of gemstones burning in a bright blue orb. “This is what I promised you, Odynus. Your soul for this.”

“Those contain your power?” Odynus said.

“In each of these five stones harbors your chance for divine ascension,” Draconius said.

“A chance? This was my chance,” Odynus said, motioning to the burning wreckage of his ancestral home.

Draconius bellowed another guttural laugh and sent the five blue gemstones flying through the sky. They disappeared in the black smoke, scattered into the unknown.

“Why?” he shouted at the god.

“Recover the stones and you will know what it is to have a fraction of my power and a life everlasting,” Draconius said.

“Damn you,” Odynus cursed, drawing his sword. It was too late, though, and Draconius disappeared into the smoke.

Cringing at the realization of what lay ahead for him, Odynus knew what he must do. He needed to recover the five stones, no matter the cost. He would overthrow the Empire, then he’d the first human to kill a god of war.

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