Du Miht Wip
AN: Just a oneshot about Obie and runes. I chose to go with the Elder Futhark alphabet, as I'm most familiar with it : ). For Batsu Simisu-Chan, who is holding a lovely Tymmie x Cassandra fic hostage XD Also, for anyone that reads DOTM fanfic, be sure to check out the nominations for the first annual DOTM fanfic awards!
There is a curse on him, and should the fire ever falter, his life will be forfeit.
The Mouth; Naming
Lisha rubbed the small swell on her abdomen thoughtfully as she added some kindling to the fire, a pot of venison over it and the smell of sage drifting through the air. Her long, blonde hair was tied back carefully as the hand that wasn't patting her unborn child drifted towards the pouch at her side, the gray stones being passed in between her fingers like water.
"Let's see about your fate, little one," she said with a smile, and her fingers clasped around a smooth stone, slowly pulling it out. Her eyes widened momentarily when she saw the signal, but they soon creased in happiness as her smile widened and she patted her large stomach again.
"Omer, is a good name for you, isn't it, my little boy?" She asked her protruding abdomen. She felt a slight kick and giggled, "Fine, fine, I'll call you Obi for short."
"Obi, my child, come here," Lisha instructed softly, her long blonde hair falling over her shoulder as she gingerly removed something wrapped in cloth from underneath the pile of the family's furs.
Omer, ungraceful at the age of five, something that would be remedied by the age of ten, made his way across the tent to where his mother sat, curious eyes fixed already on the item in her hands, "Yes, mama?"
"Tomorrow you begin the way of the sword," Lisha said softly, her pale, fine fingers making their way through her son's unruly mop of hair, "But tonight, you begin the ways of wisdom, because a king has to know both."
Omer frowned; he didn't like the sound of this.
The corners of the cloth moved as they were tucked away by Lisha's careful hands. In light of the fire, stones glistened, and if Omer were to look carefully, he would see the haze surrounding them.
His ears, however, were careful enough, and he could hear the whispers.
"Þat er þá reynt, er þú að rúnum spyrr inum reginkunnum, þeim er gerðu ginnregin ok fáði fimbulþulr, þá hefir hann bazt, ef hann þegir."
"That is now proved, what you asked of the runes, of the potent famous ones, which the great gods made, and the mighty sage stained, that it is best for him if he stays silent," Lisha smiled, the ancient words sounding warm from her mouth instead of menacing, "They call to you, don't they my son?"
Too nervous to do anything else, he nodded.
"These," she said, lifting up a rune, one with nothing on it to Omer's eyes, "Will give you far more strength then a sword ever can, if you will allow them to teach you. Do you want to learn?"
The whispers continued, louder and louder, and even Omer the child could see that there would be no avoiding the call, so he nodded again, taking the blank-faced stone from his mother.
Lisha smiled proudly, "Very well. The first incantation I shall teach you is the easiest, for honesty and truth to light your way as leader. Repeat after me."
And he did, he repeated the words until he couldn't say anything else, his voice hoarse and scratchy. The words became embedded into his mind, something that would never leave him for the rest of his days, even if it chose to hide.
"Du. Miht. Wip."
Odin's Rune; Heritage, Estate
Omer was ten when he received the most important lesson from his father. It wasn't how to use a sword, or to show no fear. It was how to protect.
The leader of the Visigoths gave Omer his own sword, "This is yours. You are not allowed to use it in battle."
Omer's nose wrinkled in impatience, "Then what's the point of my weapon?"
There was a grim line to his father's mouth, "It isn't your weapon. It is my weapon, and your mother's, and the warriors' who fight at your side. If you are lucky, it is your weapon last."
Omer's frown this time was not due to impatience, but rather confusion, "…then I don't want it."
It was strange to hear the stoic man laugh, but he did, and for a while, until he was holding his sides, "No one wants a weapon, at least no one who knows what they're for."
Omer fell silent as his father left him alone in the field, taking a very long time to finally lift the sword up in both hands.
Ulcer; danger to children
He is instructed by his mother and father to never, under any certain terms, be left alone with his aunt. He does not understand this, but he makes sure to be the obedient son they wish for. And when Shatri offers to teach him magic, or asks for help with skinning hides, he makes excuses or disappears.
Sometime, in the future, when she is all that is left of his family, Obie can see the wisdom, and foolishness, on his parents' reasoning. And in his mind, he cannot find the strength to prevent himself for cursing them for it.
The God Ing; Holy
Lisha takes on a new apprentice.
Her name is Inna.
And he doesn't like her.
The little girl with her long, fair hair and bright blue eyes is a nuisance, someone who is robbing Omer of the precious little time he has with his mother. And she's stubborn, and won't do whatever he says when he says it.
Omer is not accustomed to that, especially by a woman.
Omer is twelve years old, which makes him a senior to that wretched ten year old girl. So she should know her place and be worse at the ancient magic than he is, because that's just how things should go.
Except she isn't. She's exceptionally exceptional and it's driving him crazy. When he complained to his mother, Lisha had only cuffed him on the ear, told him to respect the power of women, and then forced him to be tutored by that insufferable brat Inna. He had missed the laughter in her eyes.
So now he was forced to spend his time learning runes not with his mother, but with her protégé. Who he didn't like. At all.
"It's Omer." Only Mother called him Obi.
She sighed, "Omer, you're reading it wrong."
"I am not, the signs clearly say that-"
She giggled, and it was not musical or bell like or fascinating or any of those things, "Idiot, it's upside down."
He did not pout or sulk or any of those things, "I knew that."
Inna stared at him, something far too wise and severe on her ten year old face, "You do know, Lord Majesty Omer," there was something about how she said his title that made Omer find it insincere, "That the runes don't judge someone based on their title, gender, or status, but on how thin the walls are surrounding their heads." She brushed off her skirt while she stood, her nose turned to the air, "And you, my most revered Prince, have quite a bit of work to do."
And she stormed off.
And Omer had plenty of time to reflect on her words as he struggled to make out the rune's messages before his mother returned from her duties as healer to his father's warriors.
Lisha said nothing when he failed to produce a lesson learned. Only a disappointed, knowing frown was on her face as she said quite simply that she obviously could not teach him anything.
The next day, when Inna sat with him to help him learn, Omer was silent. He listened without interruption, and at the very end, he quietly muttered an apology.
It was the first time Inna smiled at him, though it would take the third time before he could smile back.
The day that Omer allows himself to stop disliking Inna is the day that Inna allows herself to kiss him.
As Omer grows older, into the successor and warrior his father hoped for and the honorable, intelligent son his mother desired, he begins to realize that there is one set of eyes always on his back.
It is Shatri, and there is something dangerous in her glance, something deadly about how she studies him like something about to break.
He doesn't realize that the cloud that surrounds his aunt is a cloud that will soon be coming over him and his loved ones, a cloud that will change his life forever. Something that will force him to become one of Four instead of one unto himself.
He hides in the trees and does not leave, the day that the whole world ends for him. Her blood still coats his hands; his sword is clean of her killer's. All he can think of is smiles, and sunlight and his mother and times that seem far away. He sinks to his knees and tries to breathe, and tries to go out there to avenge but he can not move from underneath the darkened canopy.
There are shadows growing in his heart long before his aunt sent monsters to put them there.
For someone who was arrogant and haughty as a boy, Omer makes good use of his imprisonment in Nefandus. He learns quickly the ways of servitude, a quick study as that is what Inna has taught him to be. But as his humility grows, so does his temper; and he can't even think of vengeance because his thoughts no longer belong to him.
Under Hawkwick's merciless ownership, Omer the warrior prince becomes Obie the bitter servus.
Giant; Anguish to Women
She is one of the first things he forgets.
Because for Omer, this isn't a land where things that are beautiful can live. This is a land where nothing grows, where nothing can smile. And Inna was beautiful, and Inna was smiles. And when she wasn't either of those things, she was an innocent victim.
In Nefandus, Omer can't allow for those sorts of memories, because those who dwell on victims become victims themselves, and those who miss smiles break. Omer is a barbarian, a giant among men, and he knows that he can't break.
She is the first thing he forgets, because he needs to survive.
He will always remember her smile, though, despite himself, and he thinks that even if he doesn't break, there will still be pieces left behind.
It flashes before his eyes, and he can't really see anything. All he remembers is the distinction of falling, falling and hitting something soft and warm.
Sluggishly, Omer manages to remember where the palms of his hands are, and uses them to press himself in a sitting position. The texture of what he landed in runs through his fingers, and Omer spends his first hours in this strange land full of technologies he never imagined not running in fear, or attacking those odd beasts of metal and wheels but relishing the feeling of having sand on his skin for the first time in centuries.
Ice; a challenge
He hates this place, with its ties and useless rules. He doesn't want to be here. He wants soft furs instead of slick, unnatural sheets, the warmth of a fire instead of the overbearing sun, the sound of swords clashing and not cars honking, and the comfort of his mother's voice to the nagging of his self-proclaimed guardian who is older but far more a boy than Obie ever was.
He wants to go home, which is somewhere this place is not.
An Invocation of the God Tyr; the sword
"Obie, what is that racket?" Kyle said in his typical grouchy fashion as he stormed in the room, pajamas wrinkled and hair mussed.
He couldn't help the smile that crawled up onto his face, which caused Kyle to shiver as Obie's smiles always fell on the more feral than friendly side, "I bought this today."
Kyle wiped the sleep crust away from his eyes, "A guitar? Why?"
Obie just continued to smile, his hands running over the instrument as if they didn't quite know what to do with themselves.
His perpetually neurotic roommate managed a small sigh, "Well, it's cool and all, but why don't you wait until after four in the morning to test it out?"
"A warrior doesn't distinguish between day and night," Obie said flatly.
Kyle rolled his eyes, "A warrior might not, but a musician should. Especially one as…" he cringed, "…inexperienced as yourself."
Obie stared flatly at him, waiting for a more elaborate explanation as he was obviously not pleased with the one offered.
Kyle groaned, giving in, "Fine, whatever. Just make sure it's unplugged, okay?"
Auroch; a wild ox
It takes Obie about a week to notice the squeamish look that their newest roommate gets whenever he eats his dinner. It takes him about another week to care.
Samuel turns green every time he watches the barbarian inhale the raw steak, not bothering to use cutlery as he tears the meat from the bone, occasionally blood will even dribble down his chin.
It takes several subtle, and a few not at all subtle approaches from Kyle before Obie understands that Samuel can, in fact, talk to or maybe even become the animal before it turns into food, and it would be great if Obie could stop practicing his really freaking gross dietary habits in front of the sensitive shape shifter.
Obie decides that Samuel is far too soft-hearted, but he does start using a fork for their once a week 'family dinners'.
The Horse; moving towards positive change
"What?" Berto said, his outstretched hand shaking the motorcycle helmet at Obie again.
"No," Obie said flatly, the thrumming of the…the thing's engine sounding like Thor's hammer hitting the earth.
"It's perfectly safe," Berto said, revving the engine just for the full effect.
Obie's eyebrows furrowed, arms crossed over his chest as he watched the machine shake and sputter every few moments, "I prefer to walk."
"Obie, my man, you have got to get with the times," Berto said, this time actually tossing the helmet at his roommate. Obie's warrior reflexes responded faster than his mentality as he snatched it out of the air before it hit his head.
Berto snorted, "That's half the fun. I thought you barbarians knew how to party?"
Obie stared at him, the corner of his mouth lifting into a smile despite himself.
"C'mon Obie, Kyle said you've been afraid to get on the bus-"
"I'm not afraid." He was a warrior. Warriors were never afraid.
"Fine, hesitant then. Don't you want to prove him wrong?" Berto was smiling now, his dark eyes glittering with mischief.
Obie thought this over long and hard, before his own smile spread, fastening the helmet's strap underneath his chin, a long-forgotten nursery rhyme that his mother used to tell him coming to mind, "Eh byþ for eorlum æþelinga wyn, hors hofum wlanc, ðær him hæleþ ymb, welege on wicgum wrixlaþ spræce, and biþ unstyllum æfre frofur. (1)"
"Glad to see you're coming out of the past," Berto said dryly, before he kicked the stand on his bike.
Domestic cattle; wealth
It doesn't take long for Obie to realize that facing an army of barbarian warriors is preferable to dealing with the hundreds of screaming teenage girls that practically swallow him whole after he finishes a show with the band.
The Lot Cup; feminine mystery
Kyle's mooning over a Daughter of the Moon is something that is entertaining to the rest of his housemates, but to Obie it has always been something of a puzzle. He can't fathom why someone would willingly subject themselves to a relationship when they have been cursed in the way that they were cursed, doomed to cause pain to any of their loved ones. Obie has experienced this one too many times in his life.
However, a certain rock princess starts to open his eyes. Allison is something familiar in her attitude, and her beauty, and her smile is so bright to him that it hurts.
But that's the problem, it hurts. And so Obie gradually leaves her behind.
Yet not even Obie can run forever, and he finds himself going to a different kind of show than his own in order to catch a glimpse of long, blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a smile that doesn't hurt him at all.
Man; The Self
Obie is not Omer anymore. It should affect him more than it does. But it doesn't, because as time drifts in this strange world that is not his own, he begins to realize that he is not an individual, but a component. A part of a four piece puzzle that is not complete, nor functional, without him.
He has lost some pieces, but he is getting new ones. And the ghosts finally begin to fade away as lives take their place. A fire that he had long ago thought died begins to kindle in his chest.
He has always been a warrior, but now he is finally learning what it means to be a man.
1- The horse is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors. A steed in the pride of its hoofs, when rich men on horseback bandy words about it; and it is ever a source of comfort to the restless.