They sat on a tree trunk when Magni picked some dried bushes, piled them up in front of the trunk and squeezed them in his hand.
The bushes caught fire. He put them back to the ground.
Dag was staring at the landscape in front of him.
The purple sunset sky made it most evocative: the plants and the trees, the river, an eagle that flew on their heads. Behind him, the forest. Owls and crows chanted, and their voices echoed through the branches.
"Odin is watching us. He's focusing on you, maybe" said Magni, while he was warming his hands by the fire.
"Odin? How?"asked Dag.
"The crows. They're Odin's eyes. He can see everything and everybody through his winged disciples"
Dag remembered something. He already heard this story.
"Have you ever met him?" asked Dag
"Who? The Allfather? Hahaha boy, no one is worthy of meeting him! He is a God!" answered Magni
"This is ridiculous!" he continued.
"Sorry, Master, I didn't mean to offend you. I'm curious, that's it. From the Earth, where I came from, they forced me to believe in Xis' power as the only true power of the universe"
Magni puffed: "mh… Xis, ah? My Gods are more powerful than that alien scum"
Then he spat in the fire.
"Now, we've rested enough. Let's go" he concluded.
They put out the fire and continued on the road, bringing a torch each.
Dag was thinking about the Gods. He was convinced that the only real things were viewable ones.
He never believed in superior entities, with unnatural powers. But that bolt.
That enchanted weapon. They must've been derived from some divine strength.
Maybe the Vikings were right. Maybe the Gods could be a new, real start in his life.
They might help him to forget about the past, about the Xis.
He hadn't seen them for so long, for many years.
Xis never showed themselves on Skjold, they probably kept watching humans in some way.
But what about powers? On Earth, they knew about cultures, Gods, traditions. But they never mentioned powers, divine powers, powers that could change the fate of humanity.
What if Xis were actually weaker than humans? But why no one ever tried to counter them?
A sense of estrangement filled Dag's mind.
It was late at night, they arrived at the foot of Mount Torden.
"Well, we've arrived. On the top, there is the temple and the dormitories. C'mon, follow me, brother" said Magni.
Right when he was walking, he saw a fawn near bushes.
He stopped watching it, it was beautiful.
"Brother, are you okay?" asked Magni
"Sorry, Master, I never saw such a beautiful animal"
Dag continued watching the creature.
"It seems it's looking for his mother" answered Magni
Dag looked the animal into the eyes: something was weird.
His eyes were of an intense purple.
He felt a thrill running through his neck, an icy cold sensation.
He looked better, pointing his torch towards the fawn: those eyes seemed those of Xis!
He stepped back, paralyzed by fear.
The little deer fled back in the woods.
"What's wrong, Dag?"
Magni got closer to him.
"N…Nothing, Master. I must be tired, I'm hallucinating" answered Dag.
He was sure that wasn't a hallucination, it was real.
The Xis were watching them using animals!
They walked down the trail to get to the temple.
Dag was thinking about what he had just seen: were all the animals on the planet fakes? What about that Rabbit? Probably it wasn't Brann's spirit talking to him, probably Xis influenced his decision on purpose!
After one hour, they reached the temple. The moon glowed on its roof. It was a huge structure, with a row of columns at the entrance. On the right side of the temple, a massive statue rested on the ground.
A young muscled man, with bare chest and a proud look, aimed at mountains. Long hair and beard. In his right hand, a hammer.
"That's Mjollnir, Thor's hammer. The most accurate weapon of the cosmos, the most unfailing. He saved humans and Gods with his hammer when the Ragnarok arrived"
Also Magni was staring at the statue, plenty of admiration.
"Follow me, I'll escort you to the dormitories"
They walked along the right wall of the Temple Of Orn.
Behind the temple, they enter a horseshoe-shaped building. They walked along the corridor until Magni stopped:
"This will be your room. You can rest a bit if you want. In a few hours, at dawn, we all will meet in the central courtyard of the Temple"
Magni opened the door: the room has 4 beds, side by side. One of them was occupied. A young man, quickly stood up when Dag and Magni entered the room.
He stood upright with his arms on the sides.
"Don't worry, Lian. He's a new comrade" said Magni
"I will leave you now, see you at dawn for your training"
He walked away.
"Hi, I'm Dag, nice to meet you" said Dag extending his hand to the man.
Without a word, he got back into his bed.
"Okay…" sighed Dag
He went to sleep.
The morning after somebody yelled through the corridors:
"Get up! Get up! The masters are waiting!"
Dag opened his eyes: waking up people should've been some common practice in dorms.
He left the room and moved to the temple.
Through the halls, a lot of people, both adults, and youngsters.
Everybody was walking in the same direction, so he followed.
Nobody seemed to notice him. Their faces were focused.
He reached the central courtyard of the temple.
A big sculpture, representing a hammer with two wings on its side, was fixed on the main door's top.
That door led to a wide hall with a vaulted ceiling.
Everybody was carrying a weapon: swords, axes, shields, daggers. Everybody except Dag.
A group of warriors proceeded through the main door, another one stayed in the courtyard, waiting for the Masters.
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