A Legend's Requiem

By Squall Strife

The solemn procession moved into the mountain, and it appeared a normal monk procession from far off. But up normal, any monkwatcher would have fled in terror…or, depending on their knowledge of the supernatural, stayed and watched in fascination.

A massive dragon led the ranks, and behind him one could see an ice woman, a horned humanoid with fire puffing from his mouth, a green rabbitlike creature with a ruby in its’ forehead, a giant sea serpent, and many other monsters.

As the procession entered the cave, small pieces of ice fell to the ground and shattered. Shiva made no attempt to stop her tears as the procession moved into the cave.

King Arthur sighed heavily as the group desended even further into the cave. He remembered when he lay upon the field of battle after slaying Mordred, his vision clouding with death-mist…and then clearing. A tall figure had stood over him and held its’ hand out. Somewhere within, he found the strength to reach up, and take hold of the mysterious figures’ hand.

Upon touching the strangers’ hand, an unbelievable surge of power coursed through him. He felt his body change, to grow to dimensions no man had reached before. He felt a fantastic new suit of armor permanently bond itself to his body as an immense power settled within him.

That was the day I changed forever…the day he came to me. And I couldn’t protect him…

“Don’t feel guilty, Arthur.” said Bahamut without turning around. Arthur didn’t know how the dragon king had read his mind, and he didn’t feel too inquisitive. “You and your knights couldn’t have helped him. It was Odins’ choice to fight Seifer. You couldn’t have known what would happen.” Bahamut hung his head. “None of us could.”

“But if we had been there…Seifer wouldn’t have stood a chance against the Knights of the Round Table! We would have annihilated him, and ended the madness before it claimed Odin.”

“The same statement has been said to me by Eden and Crusader.” said Bahamut. “How can any of us say how we would have fared against a mortal with the power to kill a summon? Perhaps if Odin had thrown Gungnir instead of swinging the Zantetsuken, he’d still be alive. But we cannot say, and we must let it rest lest it destroy us.”

His guilty feelings comforted somewhat, Arthur kept silent the rest of the way into the cave.

Finally, the group got to the center of the mountain, and gathered around in a circle in the large cicular cavern.

“My friends,” said Bahamut, “Today we honor the memory of our brother, Odin.”

Bahamut looked around at the assembly. Hades had his head withdrawn deep into his cloak, but Bahamut could see tears streaming down the dark beings’ cloak.

Amazing, he thought. Such a champion that he brings tears to one with no eyes.

“I knew Odin well. He and I were called to battle constantly, and we always delivered a quick death to the forces of evil. But Odin was more than a killing machine. He was a friend, a brother, a hero. In all the millenia of our existance, we have never suffered a loss in our ranks. I was a fool to think that would last forever.”

“Back on our sixth great adventure, I remember the feeling of being turned into Magicite.”

There was a general murmur of agreement in the assembly. That hadn’t been too pleasant an experience for any of them.

“I remember the shock as the beam from that lunatics’ Magicite Mother Lode encased me, and the loss of energy as I became a small green-and-red crystal. But then I remember the peace…the relaxation…the sensation of being free. I’d like to think that’s what Odin is feeling now.”

He wiped a tear away, and turned toward Titan. “Would you do it now, please?”

The huge creature nodded, and focused his eyes on the floor, staring at it hard. A stone rose up, and shaped itself into a statue of Odin on Slepnir, Zantetsuken in one hand and Gungnir in the other.

“Though Odin left us no earthly remains, this statue will stand forever in his memory.” said Titan. He then glanced at the sides of the cavern, and pillars shot up from the floor to the ceiling. “These pillars are made of the strongest stone in the area. They will insure that this sacred place never caves in.”

“I’m sure Odin appreciates it, Titan.” said Eden. Normally the size of a small planet, she had shrunken herself to her “social size” for the funeral. “I haven’t been here as long as the rest of you have, but I can’t say that means I didn’t know him. I remember the first night I arrived, and I was feeling kind of nervous. After I was freed from the inside of Ultima Weapon, I was alone inside of Zells’ mind. Zell hadn't junctioned any other GFs, and I was scared. My entire life had been spent as a power source for that horrible creature, and as far as I knew, I was a prisoner again. Then, Odin came to me. He explained how being inside of someones’ mind was actually pretty nice, that you could use their thoughts to create any kind of enviroment you wanted, even if it did cause the human some slight memory loss. Before I knew it, Odin and I were whitewater rafting together, and then skydiving! I never forgot that day. And when I heard about his death…I knew we had lost someone special.”

“Probably better than anyone here, I know the feeling of losing a loved one.” said the usually silent Maduin. “But in a way, I envy Odin. It’s like you said, Bahamut. No more being constantly summoned off to do battles. He can be at peace now…and reunited with lost loved ones…”

The spiky humanoid trailed off as his head drooped. Everyone knew who he was thinking of.

The assembly stood in silence for a moment.

“I suppose we should get going.” said Bahamut.

“Not yet.” said a voice from the back. “The memorial..it’s not complete.”

“Gilgamesh.” stated Alexander, recognizing the voice. “We were wondering if you would show up.”

“I’ve been here.” said the veiled, eight-armed swordsman. He looked up at the giant robot’s expressionless face. “Though I don’t deserve to be.”

“Gilgamesh-“ Alexander began.

“You should have been the one to catch Zantetsuken! I should’ve been left to rot in the Cleft of Dimension for all eternity like I deserved after….”

He fell to his knees. “Why did he throw it to me? Give me form again? Why aren’t I still a lost soul drifting forever? Why?!”

“He chose you. You were one of his chosen.” said Alexander.

“But out of the three humans he chose to become summons, with a choice of me, you and Arthur, why would he shoose to give Zantetsuken to me?”

“Wait a minute.” said Pandemona. He, Cactuar, the Brothers and some other newer summons were looking confused. “I knew about Arthur, but I didn’t know about you two. You used to be humans?”

“Long ago,” Alexander began, “Odin undertook a voyage to a place called Earth, to find three humans who had what it took to become summons. He travelled through several time periods, and arrived at the deathbeds of three great warriors. One was Arthur. I’m sure he’s told all of you the story.”

“I was known as Alexander the Great. I was the supreme commander of the mighty Persian empire, and conquered an enormous amount of land. Yet, like all humans, there was one enemy I could not fight. As I lay dying, I was not content with what I had experienced. I wanted to experience adventures beyond anything that man had ever beheld. And that’s when Odin appeared.”

“I knew not what to think of this huge swordsman with antlers that had materialized in my bedchamber. His six-legged steed fascinated me even more. My priests and advisors fled in terror, but I was so intrigued by this visitor I didn’t make a sound.”

“Finally I spoke. ‘Are you a messenger of the gods? Or one of the gods themselves? If you are, this city should pay double tribute for failing to worship a magnificent being such as you.’”

He laughed. ‘No, I am not from your world. I have come from far away to offer you power, and a place by my side.’ He held out his hand. ‘Do you accept?’”

“Needless to say, I did. And from the moment my body started to change, and become a mighty war machine, I knew I had made the right choice.”

His story finished, Alexander turned towards Gilgamesh. “You had a similar experience, did you not?”

“Yes.” sighed Gilgamesh. “I was hailed as the greatest Sumerian hero in existance. I slew the Great Bull of Heaven, Hunbaba and countless other monsters. But…I did it out of greed and lust for power. I cared nothing for adventure. I still don’t know why he chose me.”

“Because he knew of what you would do someday.” said Ramuh.

“What? Become a servant to Exdeath and nearly destroy the entire world?”

“No. What you did in your last moment. Odin had seen the future in the same vision that inspired him to go and fetch you three. He knew that without your noble sacrifice, the heroes would never have won the battle with Necrophobe.” The lightning elemental put a wrinkled hand on Gilgameshs’ shoulder. “What happened to you after you cast the explosion spell?”

“I…I remember floating upwards. I knew I was dead, and I was surprised I even still had a soul after the things I had done. I drifted for a while, and then a terrific explosion lit the place up as the heroes destroyed NeoExdeath. They sealed the power of the Void and left, while I continued to drift. I knew not why I didn’t move on to the afterlife, and realized that it must be my damnation to drift in the Cleft forever.”

“Then….I saw a field of mist, like a swirling cloud mass. I ventured into it boldly-the damned have nothing to lose. As I went inside, a sensation overtook me, one of pleassure, of relaxation. I drifted off to sleep, and the next thing I knew, Zantetsuken was in my hand, and I was revived, made flesh.”

He looked towards Ramuh with a look of shock. “Are you telling me Odin put that mist cloud there? So I wouldn’t go insane waiting for all those thousands of years?”

“He did more than that.” said the wise old summon. He snapped his fingers, and the ions in the air reconfigured into a drawing of Gilgamesh shown from the back. “Look at the back of your neck.”

Gilgamesh stared at the portrait. “There’s some kind of rune there!”

“It’s something Odin wanted me to make for him.” said Hades. “A rune that, once applied, temporarily detains the targets’ soul, so that on death it stays in the material plane for longer than usual.”

“I remember! The fight on the bridge! They called Odin against me! He appeared, winked, hit me with Gungnir, and slapped the back of my neck as he dematerilaized!” He stumbled back, aghast. “He-he set the whole thing up! It was like insurance!”

“Yes.” said Ramuh. “He wanted someone to carry on his work if he died, and chose you.”

Still in shock, Gilgamesh drew Zantetsuken and looked at it. “I came here tonight to give this back to, Odin,” he said softly to the statue. “But now I know…you wouldn’t want that, would you? You’d want your sword out there, slicing and destroying evil.” He knelt down, and tears fell onto the ground. “I will make you proud, my brother.”

No more words were said as the funeral procession walked back out into the moonlight and sealed the cave.

Gilgamesh was the last. After the others had gone around the curve of the mountain, he took a look back. Odin stood luminous and transparent at the cave entrance. A ghostly woman appeared beside him, put her arms around him and looked up at him lovingly. Who is that? he thought, and then realized it: the woman was Odins’ lover, the human queen from the sunken city. They were together again, for all eternity.

Odin turned to look at Gilgamesh. I’m proud of you, he said, and both he and the woman vanished.

Gilgamesh turned, and walked off into the moonlight. As he did, he looked up at the night sky, saying silently under his breath:

“I wish you peace, brother.”

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