The four appeared out of thin air as the handsome man brought Fujin, Raijin, and Seifer to the blessed grove that they stood in before by a spell no one ever heard of, Teleport. The vertigo was far too much for Fujin and Raijin to handle before they vomited to the side, which caused the handsome man to shake his head. He only wanted to bring Seifer here but his posse didn't want to be left behind on the Island Closest to Hell or what his society called Helheim's Gate.
"Okay," Seifer began, trying to reorient himself. "What's going on here?"
"My father believed a great battle or possible Ragnarok would occur some time from now. He was afraid that the power of a sorceress named Ultimecia would bring disaster to his people so he began preparing to defeat her. He waited until a chosen group that held the knowledge and strength that could defeat him so he may join them in that final battle," the handsome man paused and turned to Seifer. "Squall was in the right and thus he joined him. However, he couldn't foresee you, Seifer, wielding a Rune Blade."
"Hold on. I didn't kill anyone from Squall's group. I managed to easily dispatch one of their Guardians…" Seifer trailed off, shaking his head at that impossibility.
"Odin was not some Guardian Force that you could just summon. He was a god. King of the Norse Gods," the handsome man said.
"Right a god. If he was a god, that would make you—"
"A god, yes. I am Baldur, God of Beauty and Light in the Norse pantheon. Some would call me the Bright One."
"Now I've heard everything. I've never even heard of that religion."
"Our followers have gone into hiding but there will come a time when their prayers will be the loudest that anyone can hear! As you surprisingly held a Rune Blade, we gods thought you destroyed Odin. However, the blade drain Odin's life essence and infused what little was left of him into you. That's why the Zantetsuken came to you in your time of need against Tyr."
Seifer couldn't believe what he was hearing. Squalls manage to recruit a god to fight for him and he was able to kill that same god. The ex-mercenary shook his head. Even with a magical blade he couldn't have destroyed a god but yet, why did he feel that it had to be truth? Did he really have a god lying in dormant within him? All he wanted after his defeat was to be left alone.
"I can't be a god," Seifer simply said.
"On earth, you are just a mortal. In our forest you will learn to grow your powers and lead us against the forces of Ultimecia and eventually Ragnarok," Baldur began while leaning against a mighty tree and tipping his chin over to a well. "We will not chance another king's life to fate. Drink from the Well of Knowledge so you may have the foresight to see the future to prevent your death."
Seifer looked to the pool of water that seemed far too clear for water. It seemed more like air than liquid. Stepping up to the well, the ex-mercenary felt the water, and it was water against his fingers, cool to the touch. Power was no longer something he wanted and these people, or gods rather, wanted him to become something he wasn't. After three years he knew he was a disgrace and to make him a god was something beyond him.
"What if I don't want to drink this water or for that matter, become a god?" Seifer asked.
"Then you will continue to be hunted for the rest of your days. Even with Zantetsuken you can't hope to fight off the gods forever," Baldur said matter-of-factly.
Seifer sighed. Cupping the water in his hands, he pursed his lips to drink. A crack upside the head a second later, the ex-mercenary dropped the water back into the well. Turning to regard the god, Seifer rubbed his head giving Baldur a very confused look.
"The Well of Knowledge demands a sacrifice. Why do you think Odin never drank from the well?" the god stated. "To receive the 'sight' you must rid yourself of one of your own physical eyes."
That sent a shiver down his spine. How he wished Odin would've had the nerve to take his own eye out so he wouldn't be in this situation. Placing his hands around the bowl of the well, he flinched more than once. Closing his eyes, Seifer fidgeted in his pockets for his combat knife.
"Don't do it, Seifer. You don't need to take your eye or whatever, ya know," Raijin said, quickly taking a sip of the water. Fujin quickly followed the taste test.
Nothing happened. With a confidant grin, Raijin folded his arms across his chest. Turning to Baldur, Seifer saw the handsome god shaking his head. Baldur tipped his chin back to Seifer's friends. A crunch sound brought him quickly around.
Fujin and Raijin howled in pain as their bones continued to crack and break, reshaping and reforming, shrinking in size and stature. The howls eventually became squawks as the pain intensified as foreign objects began poking out of their skin and covering their skin in a coat of black feathers. Seifer flinched over and over again as his friends legs became bones and then scales with their knees snapping around and backwards. Finally, their faces stretched out in a sharp beak.
"Fujin… Raijin…" Seifer stuttered as the transformations were complete.
Both Fujin and Raijin took flight under their feathery wings, flying and cawing in the sky. Seifer turned back to the treacherous god who only shrugged. With a growl, Seifer squatted down, ready to spring on the one who brought him here. Before he could spring though, both Fujin and Raijin perched themselves on either of his shoulders.
"Don't do it. It wasn't his fault but our own arrogance and of course our devotion to you," a raven said, sounding feminine.
"Fujin? Is that you?" Seifer asked. The raven nodded.
Things seem to go from strange to stranger every passing moment. Fujin always stated what was on her mind with a single word but it seemed that the transformation healed her of the speech impediment. He shook his head in denial. It appeared that the fountain did demand a sacrifice, one way or the other. Seifer stood straight before the god.
"Can you change them back?" Seifer had to ask but he knew the answer before the last word left his mouth.
"No. I'm afraid they will remain like that. I'm surprised that the mortals survived at all. They may have even received the gift of immortality but is the life of eternity of being a raven even worthwhile?"
"Yes," Raijin cawed out immediately. "Seifer, we would be happy to remain this way as long as we are with you. Right Fujin?"
"Well, drinking of the water you gave up your old lives for a life dedicated to wisdom and service for Seifer or should I say Odin. Are you sure about that?" Baldur asked both the birds. His answer came in two small nods.
"Very well, than. Fujin, you will be known as Munin or 'Memory' from this day forward. Raijin, you will be known as Hugin or 'Thought'. Now Seifer, you need to go through with this task since your friends made the ultimate sacrifice for you."
Seifer nodded again, turning back to the well. Taking out his combat knife, the ex-mercenary began steadying his breath and hand from quivering. Seifer shook his head, moving his knife quickly to his right eye without thinking. He knew calming himself wouldn't work, he just needed to do it and quickly without thinking. In went the cold blade, digging the soft tissue out of his skull. The pain was blinding but Seifer reached up and pulled the eye out while severing his optic nerves. Gripping the eyeball in his hand, Seifer grunted through the pain, tossing the organ into the pool. Fighting through the agony and dizziness, the ex-mercenary thrust his face into the water, drinking as fast as he could.
The socket began to mend immediately as the fluids began filling the void. Knowledge of things he couldn't even begin to know assaulted him as well as a new outlook on things around him began to make sense. Coming up for air, the new born god looked with his one good eye at Baldur and he couldn't believe that this was the world Fujin known for several years. Seeing through her eye, he admired her even more for she had to adapt to the lack of depth perception and she once was an excellent shot with her Pinwheel. As time will go on, he knew at once, he'll need her experience and knowledge to help him through the years without an eye. Baldur pushed himself off of the great tree to stand face to face with the new Odin.
"Before Yggdrasil, you Seifer have accepted your new destiny as Odin, King of the Norse Gods. And as king what is your first order?" Baldur asked.
"We need to prepare for the battle with Ultimecia and if it is Ragnarok, we will need the greatest warriors we can get our hands on. We will build a mead hall, a sanctuary and training ground for them," Seifer stated, already in the process of formulating a plan for the fallen worshippers and home for his new family. Gods needed something similar to heaven and he will make sure that they will get one.
"What should we name this hall?" the handsome and wise god asked. Pulling out his locket, Seifer looked at the picture and back to Baldur, who he expects the young god to be a great confidant as time grows on.
"I want it named after a friend of mine. Her name was Valerie," Seifer softly said before returning the locket underneath his shirt.
"Very well. We will begin the construction of Valhalla as soon as we return to our forest haven," Baldur began, walking pass his new king.
"Wait," Seifer gently commanded, which turned Baldur around in a second. "We need something like angels to deliver the souls of the brave to us."
"Already done. Tyr has some hefty warrior women who have already brought some of the best and courageous heroes and warriors to us. Tyr may not like it but we will have to name them with the hall to keep them intertwined. I think Valkyries will work. Now let's go," Baldur finish, waving his arms about.
"Leave without me. I wish one more day amongst the mortals before heading to the forest haven," Seifer began, looking into the upcoming dawn. "I wish to say good-bye to my former life."
The handsome god nodded and disappeared in a flash. With a snap of his fingers, a wild beast emerged from the ground, rearing up with four of its eight legs. It was instinct, Seifer knew, to summon his stead Sleipnir since the horse was also a part of him. Mounting the horse, the stead accepted its new rider with grace. Fujin and Raijin remained on either of his shoulder, never leaving their friend's side. Seifer needed their comfort for he was truly scared. He knew that his craving for power cost him dearly and now he knew he had to be vigilant with his great power so he wouldn't fail again. Taking the horse's reins in hand, the three galloped off to the world of man, following the sunrise and their hearts.