It would have been easier for him, way easier, if he simply kept using his sword hand. Sure, he had to cover up the brand; it would cause too many questions that even he could not answer. But anyone would welcome three swordspeople into their services, especially when all of them were as skilled as they were.
Maybe, in the end, it was simply because he could.
In the war, in the future he fought in, there was little time to study and learn magic. (Unless you were Laurent, but he would be happy living in a book). The amount of research he would have to do in order to start wielding a tome was, frankly, impossible. And, well, when he did pick up a sword, it felt right. So why change?
But then he followed his cousin, Lucina, into the future. And there he was, in a world which already had its heroes, where the sun still glittered in the sky, where darkness had yet to fall. He got to meet his mother.
More importantly, he got to meet Aunt Maribelle.
Aunt Maribelle was a formidable woman. He had heard the tales of her, of course, but all of them were but shades of the truth. She could probably kill someone just by looking at them. Aunt Maribelle didn't care that he liked to name weapons, or was overly dramatic at times. The only thing she cared about was if he acted like a proper prince.
She was the one who shoved books in his face, telling him to read them 'or else'. She was the one who tried to show him other ways to think and act. Odin never really understood why he should do that, but, well, he listened. You always listened to Aunt Maribelle unless you wanted to die.
But it was because of her that he picked up his first tome.
"Magic," she said primly, tapping the floor with her umbrella, "is something which requires a delicate touch. You cannot simply blast everyone away with no regards of your surroundings. You can, of course, try, but you would probably end up as a pile of ashes for this foolishness."
"You have the talent in your blood; after all, staves are just another kind of magic. But the real question is, do you have the skill?”
Aunt Maribelle was a great teacher. And magic was great! He could hit those annoying archers that he could never hit before! But Aunt Maribelle expected him to be a proper princely mage, and Odin was… not.
So that’s where Henry came in.
“Hey there, Lissa’s kiddo! Whatcha doing?”
Henry was weird, but in a way that Odin could kind of appreciate. He had the whole ‘I’ll smile while I dismember you’ look to him which made people actually respect him. Which is something Odin desperately wanted.
Odin gestured to the tomes splayed out in front of him. “Aunt Maribelle thinks I need more finesse than I currently have, so she’s making me read these books.”
“Why would you want more control? Blowing up things is fun!”
“I know, right? But she wants me to be a ‘proper prince’ or whatever.” Odin sighed. “I thought magic was supposed to be fun, but now it’s just annoying.”
“Well, why don’t I help out?”
Odin blinked. “What?” Henry never seemed like the teaching type.
“Yeah! I’ll just talk to Maribelle and we’ll be all set.”
“Um… what would I be learning?”
“How to blow stuff up! Like a proper prince! Or, that’s what I’ll tell Maribelle at least.” Henry gave Odin his trademark smile. “Trust me!”
Odin hoped he didn’t make a mistake.
Odin did not make a mistake.
Henry had a very different style than Aunt Maribelle, for a few reasons. First, he was Henry, and therefore had a very different teaching style. Second, he was from Plegia, which had a different magic tradition than Ylisse.
Third, Henry had no qualms about teaching Odin about dark magic.
“Magic isn’t inherently dark, you know,” Henry said one day, after they blew up a few barrels. “People are the ones who make it. Sure, dark magic has spells which can heal yourself or strike over a long distance, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. All of those spells have their uses.”
“Then, why are they considered dark?”
To Odin’s surprise, Henry’s smile dimmed. “Because it’s easier to bad things with them.”
That was the last time Odin brought the topic up.
Odin loved working with Henry. The flash, the energy, that he expected being a magician, what he felt like was missing when he worked with Aunt Maribelle, was here. Maybe he wasn’t as proficient with it as Henry, or Tharja, but he could handle a small group of enemies if he needed to.
But he couldn’t give up Missiletainn. And he couldn’t turn his sword hand into a tome hand! It would mess up every single legend associated with him. They would think that the new stories associated with him were a different hero taking up his mantle, and he couldn’t have that.
(But he still kept his favorite tome in his back pocket. Just in case).
And now, here he was, at a crossroads that legends could be written about, if they knew about this decision. And in front of him was a choice. He could stay as he was, a swordsman, bringing that legacy—even if no one knew it—to that new world.
Or he could start a new legacy. A legacy based off the people he came from. For his mother. For Aunt Maribelle. For Henry. For everyone else who taught him about magic, and showed him what it could be for him.
Maybe that wasn’t a legacy stories wrote about, but it was a legacy he was damn well proud of.
So he covered up his sword hand, hiding the Brand from sight, and left his sword at home. He pulled out his favorite tomes and stuck them into a well-worn traveling bag.
And he opened up his costume closet and picked out the most outrageous outfit he could find.
Man, it is so nice not worrying about practicality anymore.