© 2000 by Els 'Cygny' Rombaut

This page was last modified: 2000/03/10

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Alberich was running through the woods, laughing. His father and mother were watching him with a smile on their face. It was as if the trees themselves were bending over to watch over the boy. His parents didn't believe it the first time Alberich said that he understood what the trees and plants were saying. But after close observation, they decided that it could very well be that he said the truth. It was as if there was a happy rumour between the trees every time that Alberich was here.

"Do you think we made the right choice not to mention this to her royal Highness?"

Alberich's mother looked at her husband who just asked this in a very serious tone. Then she turned to her son and saw how happy he was to be here.

"I'm sure we made the right choice. Look at him. The Princess would take him away from us to make a warrior out of him. You know what that means. You were a warrior yourself when we met. And you were the first in line of your family to decide not to fight anymore. Your father himself was killed before your eyes." She stopped walking and took her husband by the hand. "I don't want that to happen to our son."

"You're right, of course. I just hope that we can protect him from any harm."

The man looked at his wife with loving eyes. She had saved him from the world of violence he lived in. She looked so beautiful with her long, soft, pink hair and her clear green eyes. Their son had exactly the same hair and eyes. And he had the same joyous character. She was right. It would be wrong to have their son undergo the harshness of a warrior's training.

"Alberich, come here, son. We're going home. It's almost time for dinner."

Alberich turned and started running towards them. But suddenly he stopped, with an expression of horror on his face.

His mother and father wondered what happened when suddenly they were both struck down from behind. The woman died at the first blow but her husband succeeded in turning around.

"You! You bastard!" And after those final words, he fell down, and a large red spot slowly formed in the snow.

"What shall we do with the boy?"

"Leave him here, he'll die soon enough. Hahahahaha!"

Alberich watched the two men who killed his parents when they turned and started walking away. He screamed "Nooooooo!!!!"

The men turned towards him and were struck by a sudden fear when they saw all the trees starting to move. They blocked the sun and in the darkness, they slowly approached. The men tried to run away but it was too late, the trees were everywhere. The murderers were transperced by branches and swung through the air. It only took seconds before the lifeless bodies were thrown onto the ground. Alberich looked at them with a cool expression on his face. Then he walked to his parents and knelt beside them.

He didn't know how long he sat there when he was found by his uncle, Aldar. He hadn't seen him in years because after his father gave up on being a warrior, they got into an argument and never spoke again. Alberich did't wonder what his uncle was doing here but went silently with him when he took the boy by the hand.

After a couple of days of staying in his room and mourning for his parents, Alberich decided to go out. He still had some friends left, he remembered. He left the house and went for a walk in the woods. These trees were strangers to him but they were of the same wood where he used to live and it appeared that they had heard of him. They were very friendly and his grief was relieved a bit.

A couple of hours later he walked back to the house and saw his cousin fighting with another boy. He watched them silently for a while. When his cousin beat the boy to the ground Alberich decided he did not want to see this anymore. He turned and started to walk away when he heard a small cry. He looked in the direction where the noise came from and saw his cousin stepping on some small flowers. Suddenly Alberich was overcome with rage, ran towards Alderan and pushed him on the ground. He sat down beside the flowers and gently pulled them straight. He sighed, relieved that they weren't dead, but suddenly someone took him by his collar and pulled him off the ground. It turned out to be his uncle.

"What do you think you're doing? You aren't serious about this flower thing are you? That's for girls and you're a boy. You will never become a man like this."

Aldar threw Alberich on the ground a bit further. He bent over, pulled out the flowers and tore them apart. Alberich cringed at the deathcry of the flowers. But he did't dare oppose his uncle. He was really afraid at the moment. Aldar turned to him and let the dead flowers fall in front of Alberich.

"That settles it. It is time I took your education in hand. You're not going to turn out to be the coward your father was."

"My father wasn't a coward!" Alberich cried out, suddenly forgetting his fear and angry that Aldar dared call his father that.

But Aldar took him by the collar again and walked around the house. There was a small training area. He called the large man who was working out there.

"Jakob, I'd like you to meet Alberich. You know that my brother died and left me to take care of his son. Well, this is him. I want you to teach him the basics in combat training. Just as you did with Alderan. And don't be fooled by his weak appearance. He's tougher than he looks."

Aldar more or less threw Alberich at the man's feet. Alberich looked up at the huge figure standing in front of him. He knew that his worst nightmares just became truth.

In the following months Alberich was taught man-to-man combat. He became an expert in following someone without being noticed and attacking from behind. Jakob was very hard with him and beat all the gentleness out of him. He became tough, as he thought his father must have been in his fighting days. But that was an appearance. Inside he was still the boy who loved the nature and who took care of flowers. He learnt to hide that and had to sneek away in order to be among his beloved trees.

One day he got into an argument with Alderan who hadn't stopped pestering him and ordering him around since Alberich pushed him to the ground. But suddenly Alberich just couldn't take anymore. He decided to stand up for himself.

The two boys were standing in front of each other in combat stance.

"What are you waiting for little one? Do you really think you can beat me?"

When Alberich didn't answer and just kept watching him, Alderan shouted.

"Wait a minute, little brat. I'll show you who's boss here. You should consider yourself lucky that my father was good enough to take you in. If not, you'd have ended up in an orphanage. And I can assure you that you wouldn't have to take that attitude there."

Alderan ran toward Alberich and wanted to punch him in the face. But Alberich was very quick and ducked without being touched. Alderan, who didn't think this would happen, got off balance and Alberich took advantage of this to give him a push in the back. Alderan fell flat on his face.

The other boys who followed the training started to laugh. They were usually sons of servants and had all been mistreated by Alderan at some stage. But finally someone dared stand up for himself. And he was doing a good job at it, too.

Alderan slowly got up and faced Alberich again. His eyes were filled with rage and his face was a mask of fury. Alberich got in defence position when he saw this but just when Alderan was about to attack again, a voice shouted "Stop!"

The boys turned to see Aldar standing there.

"What the hell is going on here?"

Alderan ran towards his father and said, half in tears "Father, he pushed me to the ground. You should have him punished. He humiliated me in front of the servants."

Aldar frowned at these words.

"That would surprise me, son. I've seen how you have been bullying everyone around. And now finally someone stands up for himself. And you're not strong enough to defend yourself. But as far as I can see, you have called this upon yourself, so it's your situation to deal with."

Alderan cringed at the harsh words and more tears welled up in his eyes. He wanted to say something but his father gently pushed him aside and went to Alberich. He knelt in front of the boy and attentively looked at him. Could he be the one, the next in line? He had secretely hoped that Alderan would follow in the family line as the next great warrior but he just doesn't seem strong enough.

Aldar had seen cosmo in Alberich today. It was hardly noticeable but it was there. That settled it, he would teach him the secret attack of the family.

"Alberich, from now on, you're not training with the others anymore. I will take you to the training place of our ancestors. I had hoped that Alderan would follow in my footsteps but he just hasn't got the character for this. You will be taught the secrets of the family."

"No, that's not fair. I'm your son, I should deserve this honour."

"Silence! You esteem yourself worthy of this honour? You must be kidding. You soiled the family honour by being a coward. I should punish you for this but I'll let you be. The fact that Alberich is the chosen one should be punishment enough for you."

And with these words, Aldar turned away from his son, took Alberich by the hand and walked to the house.

"Get your things, Alberich, we're leaving in an hour."

In the years that followed, Alberich trained alone with his uncle. Aldar was very hard with him, even harder than Jakob was. But Alberich felt the power grow inside of him. He became even tougher than he was. Here he was at the far north of the country. There were not a lot of trees and definitely no flowers here. Alberich started to forget his bound with nature. Aldar often left him alone here. In the beginning he often talked to the few trees that were here but as his training grew harsher every day, he had less time for other things. And he just didn't feel like it anymore either.

One day his uncle asked him to come with him into the big dining room.

"Alberich, come here, I want to show you something. Sit down next to me."

Alberich did as his uncle said but he didn't feel very comfortable. In the years they had been here, Aldar had never said a gentle word to him. In fact he didn't say anything if it wasn't an order how to do this or that.

"It's about time I tell you about the family. You must know that the Alberichs are an old family and a family of warriors. Since the beginning of time we have served the rulers of our country and we are estimated among the strongest warriors on this planet. In fact only one of us has ever been beaten. He was Alberich, the thirteenth in line. He had heard about the Saints of Athena. Athena is the protector of the Earth and her saints are warriors like we protect the territory of Asgard. It was said that the Saints were the strongest of the earth. And on one of his voyages Alberich encountered one of these Saints. They fought each other and Alberich was defeated. But he was very young in those days and only knew one technique, the Spirits of Nature."

When Alberich heard this he jerked his head up in surprise.

Aldar saw this and continued his story.

"Yes, it was a technique that was forbidden in our family, but Alberich had a special bound with nature. But that cost him the fight. He hadn't learnt our secret attack because he thought that the Spirits of Nature would conquer everyone. But he was taught otherwise. After that fight, he came back to Asgard and his master taught him the family's secrets. And after that it was sworn that the Spirits of Nature would be forbidden to all and if anyone would disobey, they would have to be killed."

Alberich was deep in thoughts thinking about all this. So these Saints claimed to be the strongest warriors on this planet. He wondered if he would ever see them. He was curious what they were like. How could they think to be strong when they could live in the sun and did not have to endure the every day struggle for life.

Aldar was watching Alberich with satisfaction on his face. He thought he saw the Spirits of Nature in this boy but now they had completely gone. During the past, it has proved to be dangerous to all members of the family. But now he esteemed that Alberich was ready to learn the Amethyst Coffin.

"Come. Now it is time for you to start the last part of your training. After you have finished that successfully, you will be the next great warrior in line of the Alberich family. You see, you even have the honour to bear the family's name."

Alberich knew that his uncle was now proud of him. His father must really have been a disappointement to the family. After all, there was nothing wrong with being a warrior. And strength meant power. He heard his uncle tell a friend of the family that Princess Hilda was not worthy of being their leader since she was too soft. She would never lead their people to the sun. They must form an army to overthrow her and claim their right to live somewhere else than this godforsaken land. And it was only by uniting warriors, that they would be able to do such a thing. Alberich was not yet sure that Hilda was evil but he would certainly keep those words in mind.

Over the next months Alberich was taught all the techniques that belonged to the family since centuries. The most important of these attacks was the Amethyst Coffin. It consisted in making amethyst around the enemy in order to paralyze him and eventually let him die of suffocation. It was a complicated technique but Alberich learnt how to use it in less than three months. His uncle was really impressed.

"Show me again if you really manage it well."

Alberich crossed his arms in front of him, then stretched them above his head. His eyes started to glow with a green light and small pink sparks formed around him and enveloped him. Then they streamed to the enemy and formed the amethyst coffin around him.

"Your father was already quick but it still took him almost a year. And eventually it didn't serve him because he was killed by two of my weakest..."

He stayed quiet and it came to him that he probably said too much.

Alberich just stood there for a moment and then slowly turned to his uncle.

"Two of your weakest what?"

"Alberich, son ..."

"Shut up! I'm not your son! It was you! You killed my parents! I should have wondered why you suddenly showed up there. Why? Why did you kill them?"

"Alberich. He was a disgrace for the family. If we had allowed him to live, he would have been able to counter our plans to take over the power in Asgard. Remember what I said, strength is power. And he gave up on that power."

"You were afraid of him, that's it. And I don't believe anything you say anymore. You lied to me all along."

"I showed you all the secrets this family holds. You should thank me. You're the next Alberich in line. This is a great honour for you."

"I know my father was the great warrior you thought you'd be. You just wanted to take his place. And you wanted your son to take my place. But unfortunately I wasn't dead. And it would have been difficult to kill me because of the Spirits of Nature."

Aldar held his breath when he heard this. Alberich laughed an evil laugh which made Aldar shiver.

"Did you think I didn't realise you knew that I possessed the Spirits of Nature? When you told about our ancestor, I knew. You recognised the signs on the dead bodies of your men. You knew I was the one that killed them. Oh don't be surprised, I did some research on my own when you left me here. I found some old manuscripts. It was explained in there that the Spirits of Nature only manifest themselves in our family every few generations. And now it was my turn. It is a dangerous attack both for the enemy as for the person using it. But don't worry about it, I know what I'm doing."

Alberich raised his hands and called out "Spirits of Nature, come to my help and punish this traitor. He almost made me forget about you. Kill him."

He pointed at Aldar, who tried to run but was captured by the branches of the few trees around the house. He tried to launch an attack but it was too late. His body hung high up in the trees and Alberich whispered to his new-found friends "Leave him there until he rots."

One tear was slowly running down his face but he wiped if off with an angry gesture.

"No, I will never cry again. And whenever someone is guilty, they will be punished immediately." His eyes shone with a red glow.

When returning to the house where he was brought after his parents were killed, Alberich found Alderan waiting for him.

"Where's my father? I thought he was with you."

Alberich answered coldly "He was. But now he's gone." He smiled at Alderan icily.

"What do you mean, gone?" Slowly it dawned to him. "No, that's not possible... You killed him?"

Alberich just kept smiling without saying a thing.

"You bastard! You will pay for that. I will kill you."

"Think about it, Alderan. You don't stand a chance. I'm here to tell you that I'm leaving. Your father payed for having my parents killed. I will never come back but I expect you to leave me alone."

Alberich turned and walked away. He was already a couple of hundred meters in the woods when he heard running feet behind him.

"No, I will not let you get away so easily. Die!"

"Amethyst Coffin!"

Only a couple of seconds later, everything was quiet. In front of Alberich stood a big Amethyst with Alderan inside. His face was full of fear. Alberich looked at him without any pity.

"I told you to leave me alone. And now you pay for it. You are the one who's going to die. Enjoy your last minutes. Goodbye Alderan."

He returned to the house, threw everyone out and started tearing it down with his bare hands. It didn't take him long before the whole house was in ruins.

"Spirits of Nature, I give you back what is rightfully yours." The trees and plants started growing over the ruins and shortly after there was no more proof of any house ever being built there.

Alberich returned to the house where he had found the manuscripts and decided to read them thoroughly. After he was finished a strange light glowed in his eyes. He whispered "Seven God Warriors, seven gems, Balmung!"

The next day he went to the palace and demanded to speak to Princess Hilda. When he was in front of her, he boughed deeply and introduced himself. He said that his whole family was killed by strange warriors and asked if he could put himself in her service.

Hilda was impressed that a warrior like one of the Alberich family was so eloquent and offered him to stay on as her advisor. Alberich bowed before her and walked away. An evil smile appeared on his lips.

In the following period Alberich was challenged by many warriors. Without any effort he defeated them one by one. And he always locked them up in his Amethyst Coffin. After a while he had gathered many coffins and he proudly called the place where they were gathered, his Amethyst Cemetery.

Hilda heard about this and asked to speak Alberich.

"Alberich I am very disappointed in you. You promised to be a very intelligent man but this behaviour doesn't suit one from my following. If you can't change, then I beg you to leave this Palace and never come back."

Alberich walked away full of anger, but Freya ran after him.

"Alberich please, Hilda is saying that because she only wants your well being."

"You're wrong, Princess Freya. Your sister hates me!"

Alberich decided to keep a low profile. He tried to keep from killing people but started following Hilda. He had to find a way to kill her. But from the manuscripts he discovered that there was only one way to kill her and that was with the Balmung sword. But before that, the seven God Warriors had to awaken.

One day when Alberich watched Hilda praying, he suddenly heard a voice talking to her. He hid and listened to what they were saying. He didn't react when Hilda was taken by the waves. And still he didn't react when Hilda was ordered to summon her warriors and defeat Athena's Saints. This was it, the opportunity he had been waiting for. The God Warriors, they were finally going to awaken. They were the most powerful warriors of the land and they would certainly defeat Athena.

Suddenly Alberich awoke from his thoughts when he heard his name.

"Awake, oh Alberich, and put your Divine Cloth of delta at the service of your people. And with your sword, defeat our enemies!"

Alberich ran to the place that called him and found an armor in a hollow tree. He put it on and pulled out the sword that went with it. He put it in the air and flames roared around it. The power he felt going through him was incredible. If there was still a spark of love in his heart, it was gone now. Power took over.

He went back to the palace to kneel down beside six other warriors. When he looked up at Hilda, he saw an evil glance in her eyes and noticed the Nibelungen ring around her finger. He smiled. This shouldn't be too difficult. He would manipulate her and after defeating the God Warriors as well as Athena's Saints, Balmung would be his. He would kill Hilda and he would rule the world.

The End

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