The Favored of Odyn
Tales of the greatest vrykul that ever lived
Honor in Remembrance
I dreamt of heroism. I wanted to stride into battle as a warrior, blade in hand, and remove the enemies of Odyn from this world.
But that was not to be. I was not born the strongest or the fastest. I was not attuned to mystical power. I could never rise to glory in war. So instead I resolved to chronicle the actions of those who could. I began with Odyn himself, telling the stories of his greatest battles and achievements as he cleansed the Black Empire from Azeroth.
Now I will record the actions of his followers. Countless vrykul have sought Odyn's favor through acts of heroism. They deserve to be remembered in this life and the next?. and if I can help them achieve immortality among the living, perhaps they will invite me to join their number in the Halls of Valor and tell their tales for all eternity.
His Name is Dragonblood
After the dark masters of the Black Empire fell before the might of the titan-forged, the aqir were silent for centuries. But they were not idle. They rested in their underground burrows, plotting, scheming, building their numbers, believing that the Old Gods would rise again one day.
They hid themselves well. They made their warrens deep below the ground. Few vrykul could track them beneath the deserts of the southwest.
A vrykul warrior named Oktel resolved to learn their secrets. He spent years wandering the barren sands alone, studying the ways of the aqir. Slowly, carefully, he identified their habits, their territory, and their weaknesses. His observations were recorded and distributed among other vrykul, greatly aiding them in their raids. If given enough time, he was certain he could uncover the aqir's hidden labyrinths of burrows.
The aqir refused to let that happen. They laid a false trail, waited for him to follow it alone, and then struck. They rose up as a swarm, filling the sky, attacking him from all directions. They tore Oktel near to pieces and left him to die slowly in the blistering heat, meaning his fate to be a warning to the rest of his kind.
For three days and nights he suffered, lacking the strength to move. Yet he lived.
On the fourth day he was found by a red dragon. Wondrous, massive, and powerful, she circled above and called out to Oktel. "I cannot imagine your agony," she said. "Why have you clung to life for so long?"
"I have too much left to do," Oktel replied.
"I can return you to the care of your people," the dragon said.
"My work is not done. Lend me a morsel of your strength, and I will return to my people on my own, with a collection of aqiri heads in my grasp," Oktel said.
The red dragon stood beside him and opened one of her veins. Her blood mingled with his, and Oktel felt his might returning. "I am the Life-Binder. I lend you this power not to take life, but to protect it," she said. "The aqir will kill many creatures if left unchallenged. Go on, warrior, and finish your quest."
Oktel stood and walked deep into the deserts, finding the aqir's biggest warren. He kept his word, destroying the aqir that had attacked him and crushing their countless clutches of eggs. He returned to his people with the skulls of insect lords strung together around his neck. The vrykul called him a new name: Oktel Dragonblood.
In time he would be the thane of his people, a fierce warrior in battle but a compassionate cultivator of life in peace. After his death, he was honored by vrykul and dragons alike.
May he now have the relief he so richly earned.
The Last Words of Asgrim the Dreadkiller
"You see it, yes? We must have driven Helya to true fury. That is her prize on the horizon, sailing for us now.
"Let there be no doubt: we will die this day. That is the dread ship Naglfar, and it will blast our vessel into splinters. And then what will happen? Its crew will pluck us from the waters and slit our throats, and the Naglfar will ferry our souls to Helheim, where Helya will strip us clean of all that makes us mighty and great and free. She wants nothing less than to force our servitude and obedience for eternity.
"Let her try! Let her Kvaldir puppets rush to oblivion! Together we have sent thousands of those cursed, befouled creatures back to their hell. We have saved countless vrykul souls from her clutches.
"We will die, but we will bring their crew down to the depths with us! Keep death's song in your heart and a blade between your teeth, even as your blood rushes free. If a single one of their crew is left alive, all of our souls are forfeit. But if they die with us, the Naglfar will sail on and return to Helya... empty of our souls and theirs. Let our dying breaths rob Helheim of its faithful.
"Here it comes. I expect to see each and every one of you in the Halls shortly.
A Shieldmaiden's Creed
Shieldmaiden Iounn was her name. Her raids took her to the north, to the east, and to the west. Never did she flinch from battle. Countless enemies fell before her. But while her comrades celebrated each victory, she did not.
"That is in the past," she would say. "Let us look forward."
Years passed. Her travels took her across Azeroth. Her battles begat great tales of bravery and power. Yet she still did not celebrate. Looking forward, not back, was her eternal creed.
When Ashildir began her quest to form the Valkyra, she called upon the mightiest women among all the vrykul to join her. Dark forces were working against Odyn and the Halls of Valor. The future of their people was at stake.
Shieldmaiden Iounn answered. "Ashildir has set her sights past this life and onto the next. I will help."
Iounn became a stalwart defender of the Valkyra, a thorn in Helya's side. Time and time again, she thwarted Helya's plans to destroy the Halls of Valor.But all of it was nearly for naught. Ashildir herself died in battle. Helya's minions sought her remains, hoping to snatch her soul for Helheim. None but Iounn stood against them. Bravely she fought, ignoring wounds and fatigue. She carried Ashildir home to Stormheim, where she was laid to rest. Her spirit ascended, and she would forever serve as the queen of the Valkyra.
Iounn had been badly injured. She lay next to Ashildir's grave and waited for her life's end. She raised her shield one last time in salute, and passed away with a smile on her face.
And when her spirit was raised, she joined Ashildir's side once more to continue her work as a defender of the Valarjar Valkyra. Iounn had rested enough. She was looking forward yet again.
The Prophecy of Rythas the Oracle
Our world is young. It sleeps, troubled with dreams.
I have known its slumber. I have felt its heart beat.
Darkness seeks to claim it.
Beneath the land, chaos. Beneath the sea, patient menace.
Our hope lies in the sky. Odyn's refuge must stand.
The world's soul is weak. It will one day be strong.
Only the worthy can protect it.
Do not fear death. To live as a vrykul is to know danger.
A glorious death will not be the end.
The second life begins in the sky. Odyn's refuge must stand.
The Halls of Valor will one day close. Its gates barred, its heroes spurned.
A champion will rise and break them free.
The champion's face is hidden; their name is cloaked. What power will this creature hold?
It will arise in time. It will save us all.
It will ensure that Odyn's refuge will stand.
The Lessons of the Blackfist
Vrykul defend this world. It is our duty, our task, our solemn vow. Yet we share this world with many other creatures, lesser mortals of diminished power and strength. Most are selfish, insignificant beings. Some have a sense of order and honor. A rare few have the fortitude to achieve true might, wielding the powers that drift in and out of our realm with skill and cunning.
A vrykul warrior, Heimir of the Black Fist, took it upon himself to seek out native creatures as he traveled. He was driven by curiosity. Most vrykul dismissed these outsiders as worthless. Could any of them rise to something more?
Most creatures fled the moment they saw him, and for good reason. Even among vrykul, Heimir's size and stature were formidable. But sometimes, they would come back, observing him from a distance. Heimir did not mind. With every sunrise, he would rise from sleep and practice with his sword and shield. The visitors watched him carefully.
Heimir showed them the rudiments of battle. He demonstrated the forms and techniques that would lay the foundation for honorable warfare. And then, weeks later, he would stop. He would sit in a clearing, his sword on his lap, waiting alone. For days he would wait. Weeks. Months, at times.
Eventually, one of the curious mortals would approach. Sometimes they had made primitive blades-or if they lacked metalworking knowledge, they had chopped trees into heavy wooden practice swords. That was always a good sign. Those who made the effort were rewarded.
Heimir never knew their language, and they knew not his. So they communicated the only way they could: Heimir would raise his blade, wait for them to raise theirs, and then begin sparring. Did any of them rise to the skill of even a novice vrykul? No. But that was no surprise. They were primitive mortals, not titan-forged warriors.
Heimir would remain there, training, until they showed that they had truly developed a warrior's spirit. Then he would leave. He would not return until generations had passed.
And in that time, the warrior tradition grew. The students would continue their training. They would become masters and instruct new acolytes in their ways. Heimir no longer needed to teach them the basics. He would train them in new, advanced techniques. Then he would leave. Generations later, he would build their knowledge yet again.
Heimir's dream was simple. Perhaps these outsiders would become mighty warriors in their own right, equal to any vrykul. But for as long as he lived, none ever defeated him in sparring.
And yet he never despaired. It is the duty of the vrykul to defend this world. How better to spend his time than to teach its weakest the ways of strength?
Power can be earned. It can be created. It can be lent. But when it is stolen, there will always be a price to pay.
Heed the tale of Volund the Hoarder.
Brave and clever, studious and wise, he was an astonishing force on the battlefield. The enemies of Odyn quailed before Volund. His blade, his bow, and his spear secured many victories and earned him much honor. His attentions were drawn to the ancient and mysterious leavings of the Black Empire. The war between the titans and the Old Gods had left countless fragments of power scattered across Azeroth. The instruments of the Old Gods were too dangerous to touch, so Volund destroyed them wherever he found them.
But the artifacts of the titans were valuable treasures. They often imparted incredible power to Volund on the battlefield. He had been skilled before; he was unstoppable now. He moved faster, struck harder, and carried vastly outnumbered warbands to victory. Any artifacts he couldn't use himself, he would lend to other warriors, granting them marvelous abilities.
Yet he was not satisfied. Once he had collected enough of the titans' power for himself, he could single-handedly destroy every enemy on Azeroth and ensure eternal peace. So he believed.
Volund eventually located something that might have made his dreams come true. An ancient titan construct, built for war against the Old Gods' most powerful abominations, was resting beneath a mountain range near Stormheim. If it were awoken, Volund believed it would roam Azeroth on its own, eradicating all traces of evil and chaos. Volund studied it for years before attempting to raise it back to life.
He succeeded. The construct awoke, and lashed out at all living creatures. This was why it had been destroyed and buried in the first place: the Old Gods' minions had corrupted it, turning its purpose against the allies of the titans.
Though Volund survived his first contact with it, the construct seemed to be unstoppable. It turned toward the nearest bastion of the titan-forged, Stormheim itself, and marched to destroy it. It might have succeeded. Volund collected all of his treasures, all of his artifacts, all of his hoarded instruments, and brought them to bear against the construct.
There was a great flash of light, and then a great silence. The construct, along with Volund, was no more.
Volund had saved Stormheim from his folly. And may we all learn from his errors. Power must be respected, guarded, and carefully curated.