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5 yrs ago
Current Going to a festival fellas! So for the coming week I won't be able to post.
6 yrs ago
When you marathon Rick & Morty S2 and expected laughs but the ending just slaps you in the face...
6 yrs ago
School's in full "consume all his time"-mode so no posts for just a lil longer. Sorry folks! I promise I'll make up for it in the weekend!
6 yrs ago
Going to take a small break on most of my RPs for maybe a week or so.
6 yrs ago
Not near an actual keyboard until 21/06

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location: Hotel
interactions: Isabel, Aphrodite
mentions: Ares, Pasithea



Isabel reckoned this would probably end up in Anubis’ notes when she went back. The video message her father had sent her didn’t make her world spin. It didn’t reduce her to a sobbing, desperate mess. At first she was panicking but then something else took over. She could never explain it. It was like some sort of drive took over. All the while she’d feel numb. That alone probably had some shrink explanation. The gun in her pocket as she casually strolled into the hotel lobby would probably be the second note point.

She almost whistled as she walked past the concierge of the big hotel chain as if she was a guest. With uncharacteristic patience she waited for an elevator. Her eyes were darting around though. She had seen every camera in the lobby. There was no way to get in unseen. She had her eyes on the cute, drunk couple beside her as well. It could all be an act. They could be waiting for her. Let them. She had her finger on the trigger in her pocket. The concierge picked up a phone. Isabel felt her heart beat faster. Was he calling his wife or a hitman?

Her father – no, Ares – would have recognized the slight jolt that went through Isabel for what it was: a sign of pure tension. She was strung like a violin cord. Still, she stepped into the elevator. The cute couple stepped up to get in as well. They looked at Isabel while laughing, stopped, and took a step backwards. Maybe it was because she looked like a racoon that hadn’t slept all night and really should’ve. Maybe it was because of the fresh blood on her pants leg. Or maybe it was because Isabel just really didn’t want anyone in that elevator right then.

She rode it upwards. The elevator ride was smooth. Smooth enough that Isabel didn’t feel the wound on her tight ache. Just as gently the elevator stopped at the designated floor. Isabel casually strolled out. The floor’s corridor was always. At this hour, most people would probably still be in their bed or getting into the bathroom to prepare for breakfast. Isabel made her way toward the door of her father’s room. It used a keycard but there was a regular lock too. Again, one of her more questionable hobbies came in handy. Hotel locks were so easy to pick.

Slowly Isabel opened the door and pulled her gun. Normally nobody should be in the suite. Still, she had her finger on the trigger. Like she was trained to, she began to quietly move through the suite to check the rooms. Most places were clear. The bedroom was last.

And there the mortal was met with the strangest of sights. A blonde woman in the bed. Immediately Isabel pointed the gun at her. With her free hand she switched the lights on. “You have exactly five fucking seconds to tell me where my father is.”

To say the light turning on was an annoyance, was a huge understatement. The ‘phone as Ares had put it when explaining its function had been useless, the contact of Pasithea getting an unknown voice as a reply. She didn’t call upon her children, wanting to surprise them in person and she was not one to let herself look like an embarrassed fool as she tried to get a handle on this new world. She didn’t trust to leave the safety Ares had provided so she had decided to stay. Now, an unknown mortal was with her and holding Hephaestus’s forge knows what while spattering on in an odd language. Ares really needed to keep better company. Was this the woman he hinted at? A mortal lover? That would explain the violent expression but one that held little in comparison to those she had seen before. Looking closer at the woman, she was indeed beautiful but it was sullied with an injury or what she would assume as one and the dark circles were telling.

She rose from the bed without shame of her nude form, trusting Ares was true to his word that the place was safe and she had never been one for modesty. ”Αγαπητέ μου, φαίνεσαι θετικά στενοχωρημένος. Αν ψάχνετε για τον Άρη, θα πρέπει να περιμένετε, αλλά κανείς δεν θέλει να επιστρέψει σε αυτό..” (My dear, you look positively distressed. If you're looking for Ares, you'll have to wait, but no one wants to come home to that..), she tutted and stepped forward to cup the mortal’s chin, tilting it to take a better look at her face. ”Φαίνεται ότι πέρασες ένα μονοπάτι. Μακάρι να μπορούσα να προσφέρω τσάι, αλλά ο Άρης φαίνεται να έχει έλλειψη υπηρέτες.” (Looks like you crossed a path. I wish I could offer tea, but Ares seems to be short on servants.), she stated as she let go of the woman, taking a seat back on the bed and leaning back a bit to lounge more comfortably as they waited.

This was probably the weirdest experience in Isabel’s whole life. And in the last twenty-four hours she had a lifetime of weird experiences. Her gun was completely disregarded, as was the threat. The woman’s nudity shouldn’t have taken the mortal off guard but it did. She was beyond beautiful. Yet she spoke Greek and mentioned her father’s real name.

Isabel barely understood most of what the woman said. It had been half a decade since she last learned Greek and it was beyond rusty. Slowly, she tried to talk while still keeping the gun at the ready: “Ποιος είσαι? Πώς... ξέρεις το... πραγματικό... όνομα του πατέρα μου?” (Who are you? How do you know my father’s real name?)

She blinked, confused by one of the questions but decided to at least answer the first. ”Ζητώ συγγνώμη, δεν πίστευα ότι έπρεπε να το δηλώσω όπως θα έπρεπε να είναι προφανές, αλλά κατηγορώ την απουσία μου στην άγνοιά σας. Επιτρέψτε μου να συστηθώ... Αφροδίτη, Θεά της Ομορφιάς και της Αγάπης.” (My apologies, I did not believe I needed to state this as it should be obvious, but I blame my absence on your ignorance. Allow me to introduce myself... Aphrodite, Goddess of Beauty and Love.), she replied, leaning to properly sit up in a regal stance and looked over the other woman again. “Και ποιος μπορεί να είσαι, εκτός από μια κόρη του Άρη?” (And who might you be, besides a daughter of Ares?), Aphro questioned.

The mortal felt her stomach twist again as she realized she was – again – facing off against a divine. The paramour of her father no less. Why was she here!? Control was once again slipping from Isabel fingers. She did not like that. There were too many questions and far too little answers. The grip around her weapon tightened. Her mind raced as she tried to remember anything and everything about the goddess she learned from myth. Aphrodite was never violent, but she was manipulative. Isabel did not want another thread twisting around her. She couldn’t give the goddess much. No, she couldn’t give her anything.

Was she one of the bad ones? The utter disregard for her weapon suggested so. That and the slightly unhinged feeling Isabel was getting from her. In myths, Aphrodite was never violent, but she was shrewd and manipulative. Isabel didn’t need another thread twisting around her. “Είμαι αυτός που κάνει ερωτήσεις.” (I am the one asking questions.) She sneered. “Είμαι αυτός που κάνει ερωτήσεις.” (Why are you here?)

Unimpressed, that was currently the appearance and expression she held after the comment. She looked at her fingernails as if in boredom before tucking her hand under her chin, crossing her legs as if thinking about the answer but instead cocked her head with a sweet smile. ”δυστυχώς, έχετε την τάση να μην απαντήσετε, οπότε νομίζω ότι θα κάνω το ίδιο και θα το αφήσω έτσι.” (Unfortunately, you've inclined not to respond, so I think I'll do the same and leave it at that.), Aphrodite replied. She didn’t see the need to keep talking to someone that wouldn’t give the same decency they were asking for. It was about respect and if the child was smart, she would be careful in messing with her. She might not be her father’s lover anymore but they still cared for each other and if she ruined the safety he provided, it would look worse on the child than herself. She had dealt with more stubborn and violent looking children than the one before her.

Isabel’s finger was on the trigger, ready to squeeze it. Then she remembered one of her father’s lessons. Aphrodite was no direct threat right now. At least not physically. She had the time. So she closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. If she knew anything about her father’s disappearance, she wouldn’t have just stayed naked in his bed. And she would’ve known all of his children for sure. That’s the least of what Isabel herself would do if she wanted to take someone down.

So Aphrodite was probably not involved. So what was she doing here? What was happening? How should she deal with the goddess? Again her mind harkened back to the myths she was so obsessed over when she was young. Aphrodite, what did she crave? Isabel’s demeanor shifted. With her thumb, she put the safety on and put it away.

“Σε παρακαλώ δέξου την συγνώμη μου. Ήταν μια μεγάλη νύχτα και δεν περίμενα να συναντήσω κάποιον σαν εσένα.” (Please accept my apologies. It has been a long night and I was not expecting to meet someone like you.) She said as she tried to calm herself further. “Είμαι η Isabel και σε σύγκριση με εσένα, δεν είμαι πολύ περισσότερο.” (I am Isabel and compared to you, I am not much more.)

“Η κολακεία θα σε πάει παντού γλυκό μου κορίτσι. Ποτέ μην φοβάσαι, δεν θα το κρατήσω εναντίον σου αλλά μην δυσφημήσεις τον εαυτό σου. Είσαι κόρη του Άρη ακόμα κι αν δεν είσαι δική μου.” (Flattery will take you everywhere my sweet girl. Never fear, I won't hold it against you but don't discredit yourself. You are a daughter of Ares even if you are not mine.), she replied, her posture relaxing once more before standing so she could gently try to guide Isabel to sit down as a mother would with a hurt child needing comfort. “Δυστυχώς, ο πατέρας σου και εγώ δεν είχαμε μια μακρά επανένωση. Μόλις πρόσφατα ξύπνησα από έναν βαθύ λήθαργο, οπότε με άφησε εδώ για τώρα, μέχρι να προσαρμοστώ σε αυτόν τον νέο κόσμο. Σχεδίαζα να επικοινωνήσω με έναν από τους άλλους αλλά άργησα. Την τελευταία φορά που μιλήσαμε, ήταν στην πραγματικότητα πολύ βιαστικός και είχε κάποια θέση που έπρεπε να είναι. Θα υπέθεσα ότι θα ξέρετε περισσότερα από εμένα για τις ερχομούς του.” (Unfortunately, your father and I did not have a long reunion. I have just recently awoken from a deep slumber so he left me here for now, until I can adjust to this new world. I planned to contact one of the others for assistance but it was late. Last we spoke, he was actually in quite the hurry and had some place he needed to be. I would assume you would know more than I on his comings and goings.)

She wasn’t a fool as most people might believe. She noticed the shift in attitude but as long as it kept things pleasant between them and offered no harm to her or those she cared for, Aphrodite saw no reason not to humor the girl. She didn’t mind sharing information and loved learning a thing or two from others but she was quite in the dark. She wasn’t sure how close Isabel was with her own children and if she was unaware of Pothos disappearance then she did not wish to further upset the woman. It was better to just reply to the recently asked question of her own arrival and skip on too many extra details. It did leave one question though, why was Isabel here? Did she live her as well? That would be rather strange. ”Δεν θέλω να παρέμβω, αλλά υπήρχε λόγος που έπρεπε να τον δεις; Ίσως θα μπορούσα να βοηθήσω ή θα μπορούσαμε να περιμένουμε την επιστροφή του. Θα χαρώ να έχω παρέα τελικά!” (I don't mean to intrude but was there a reason you needed to see him? Perhaps I could be of some assistance or we could wait for his return. I would be delighted to have some company afterall!)

“Δεν νομίζω ότι θα έρθει εδώ.”(I don’t think he will come here). Isabel said. She didn’t sit down though. Even though it felt so very alluring. Now that the intensity of the situation abated she started to feel tiredness in her body. Soon she would start getting slow. That would be bad. She still had to find her father. “Έστειλε αυτόματο μήνυμα λέγοντας ότι κάτι έχει συμβεί. Εξαφανίστηκε ή..." (He sent an automatic message saying that something has happened. He vanished or…) The words got stuck in her throat. Only now did she realize that her father could actually no longer be alive. She shook the idea out of her head. He wouldn’t die that easily. They’d need to drop a nuke on him to stop him.

“Ήρθα εδώ ψάχνοντας-“ (I came here looking for-) A knock on the door interrupted Isabel. She frowned. Immediately she pulled the gun again and walked towards the door of the hotel suite. Through the looking glass, she saw two big men dressed in suits with earpieces. “Shit.”

“Security. Please open up.” The men said as they politely but firmly knocked on the door again.

Her blood ran cold at what Isabel was suggesting before it started to boil over with rage. Vanished? Pothos and now Ares? She was starting to take this as a personal attack and if she found out who was behind this, they would be sorry. Her gaze darkened as she stood ridgid, placing a hand on the other woman’s shoulder as she was about to reassure her when they were interrupted. The knock on the door had her head snapping in that direction, her power building to defend herself as she had no weapon currently to protect herself. Aphrodite was still irritated by the weak amount of her power being tugged to the surface but it was more than earlier which was a plus.

She followed carefully after Isabel as she approached the door. There was that strange language again from both Isabel and whoever was on the other side of the door. She certainly didn’t trust it and the other didn’t seem too pleased by the arrival. Ποιος ειναι εκει? Τι είπαν? (Who is there? What did they say?), Aphro asked her curiously while looking towards the door. ”Πρέπει να χειριστώ την κατάσταση?” (Should I handle the situation?), her tone changing to something dark, sultry, and with a hint of anger due to the interruption.

“Μην τους σκοτώσετε!” (Don’t kill them!) Isabel whisper-exclaimed to Aphrodite. That would make a whole new mess she wasn’t willing or able to clean up right now. Still, she did pull her own gun again. The situation was bad though. Ares - the one who booked the suite - had disappeared. Instead, two women were crashing in it. One who didn’t speak English, and the other who looked like she hadn’t slept in a full week. “Προσπάθησε να... δεν ξέρω! Πείστε τους να φύγουν.” (Try to… I don’t know! Convince them to just leave.)

Aphro blinked at the exclamation, wondering who the child had dealt with in the past…well, besides her father. Okay, that right there was probably where that comment came from but she handled issues in another way. ”Το να σκοτώνεις είναι πολύ ακατάστατο για τα γούστα μου, καλύτερα να το αποφύγω καθόλου αν είναι δυνατόν. Δεν χρειάζεται να ανησυχείτε, είμαι σίγουρος ότι μπορώ να τους πείσω.” (Killing is too messy for my taste, better to avoid it altogether if possible. No need to worry, I'm sure I can convince them.), she whispered in return before carefully opening the door, not even bothering to fetch something to make herself decent.

”Γεια σας, πώς μπορώ να σας βοηθήσω και τους δύο καλοί κύριοι; Υπαρχει ενα προβλημα?” (Hello, how can I assist both of you fine gentlemen? Is there a problem?), Aphrodite purred, lust dripping off every word as she relaxed against the door frame, crossing her arms under her bust to make them more prominent while gazing over both of them as if wishing to devour the duo in a fit of passion. Her powers flowed freely, ready to entice the security officers and bend them to her will. It was hard to say with the new limitations what would happen but she was at least willing to try. Aphro was still unused to the world but mortal men could not have changed all that much. It would be surprising for sure if they had.

The two guards were taken by surprise when Aphrodite opened the door. Even though they shouldn’t have been. It wasn’t the first time they had to check in on a guest that opened the door naked like that. Yet with this woman they were stunned for a moment.

Isabel stood behind the door with big eyes. She couldn’t believe what was happening. The goddess just opened the door and spoke some Greek!? How was that going to help them at all!?

The men were looking at Aphrodite with a slight edge in their gazes. There was a feralness in them that wanted the woman. If both of them had still been in the marines things might have gone differently. But now they were married. One of the guards was reminded of his wife when he saw the woman. The other was reminded by the college girl next door. He had a tougher time holding himself back.

“Excuse me, ma’am.” The first said. “I’m afraid that we don’t really speak… whatever that is. Do you speak English?” He had his fair share of experience with beautiful foreign women. Though he was hoping she did speak English. If not this would require a lot of hand motions.

Meanwhile, Isabel, who was feeling the threads of the situation unraveling even more slowly raised her gun and put the barrel’s end against the door, approximately at the level of where the security guard’s head was. Just in case things went really south.

Frustration clawed at her again as it had earlier when trying to deal with Ares. Her powers were a failure, usually able to turn any head, desperate for her approval but now it seemed only a slight pull. On top of that, she couldn’t even twist her way with words as they understood none of what she had to say and she certainly couldn’t understand them. If Isabel’s body movement said anything it probably wasn’t a positive and the other woman didn’t seem in the best of moods to speak. She had a feeling if she left her to handle it, then it would end as well as letting Deimos run around with a knife and no rules. She tilted her head, debating on what the best course of action could be but she was at a loss. The closest thing she could do was let Isabel be her interpreter.

Aphrodite put on a smile, trying to cover most of her annoyance and spoke calmly, appearing to speak to the two before her but actually addressing the one behind the door. ”Απογοητευτικά, οι δυνάμεις μου δεν λειτουργούν όπως περίμενα. Τι λένε?” (Disappointingly, my powers aren't working as expected. What are they saying?)

Isabel turned pale. It wasn’t like she could actually say anything!

The second guard who was considerably younger spoke up. “Would you mind if we come in?” He didn’t wait for Aphrodite’s answer. He needed to get with her behind closed doors first. So he stepped forward and pushed the door more open.

Isabel had her finger on the trigger when she heard that. The door was moving. It pushed her aside. She wanted to squeeze the trigger but then remembered something her father once told her. An important lesson. She had shrugged it off at the time. Not now.

“We just have to check if everything is in order.” The younger security guard said as he walked in. His eyes were focused on Aphrodite still. How could they not be!? “We’ll be quick, I prom-“

With a hard hit on the back of his skull, Isabel tried to knock the guard unconscious. His head sprang back up though. So she wacked him again. This time he did fall forward. The older guard grabbed his pepper spray. Isabel moved faster. She pointed her gun at him. “Drop it.” He did as told. “Πιάσε το μπουκάλι - το πράγμα που του έπεσε.” (Grab the bottle- the thing he dropped.) Isabel ordered Aphrodite in almost the exact same way Ares would. “You, inside, now.” She said to the older guard again.

She did as she was told, feeling the urgency in the sudden request for this weird thing. Aphro felt bad for the passed out mortal as this situation that had become hell in a handbasket but at the same time, she hadn’t appreciated the unwelcome barging in of her space, whether it was egged on by their original purpose at the door or if it was because of her powers. She waited until the second man was completely in the room before closing the door, not wanting any prying eyes if things got overly violent. She at least remembered they would become groveling idiots or viciously angry while screaming at the one they blamed.

”Είστε σίγουροι ότι αυτό θέλετε να κάνετε? Οι θνητοί μπορεί να είναι άστατοι για τέτοιου είδους πράγματα και να ζητούν αποζημίωση με τη μία ή την άλλη μορφή.” (Are you sure this is what you want to do? Mortals can be fickle about this sort of thing and ask for compensation in one form or another.), Aphrodite asked, glancing up and down at the man before her, feeling more inclined to make sure he wasn’t harmed. He had been polite and unrushed, plus while it annoyed her he was able to resist more, something made her feel like it was because of something she held precious. Love. She couldn’t completely fault the man for that but at the same time, these two could have left them alone and the trouble wouldn’t have started. Mortals, how they left the feeling of contradiction with each action.

At this point the umpteenth time Isabel was running on little more than adrenaline. It kept her going but she felt it was wrong. She should rest soon. Except she couldn’t. “Δεν μπορώ να γυρίσω τον χρόνο πίσω.” (Can’t turn back time.) Isabel said to Aphrodite. Then she addressed the still-conscious guard: “Bind yourself to that door.” She motioned with the gun toward one of the interior doors of the suite. The guard did as he was told. Obviously, who would want to die in a place like this for what was probably only a little bit more than minimum wage?

Once the guard had tied himself up Isabel took his tie and made it into a gag. Then she turned towards Aphrodite. “Δεν θα υπάρξει καμία αποζημίωση για αυτούς.” (There won’t be any compensation for them.) She then looked around. They had bought themselves a few more minutes but the front desk would get suspicious. “Αυτό το μέρος είναι επικίνδυνο τώρα. Πρέπει να φύγουμε. Πιάσε ό,τι σου έδωσε ο μπαμπάς και μετά πάμε.” (This place is dangerous now. We need to leave. Grab whatever dad gave you and then let's go.) Her eyes were getting more wild. Her focus was getting blunt. It felt like she was forgetting something.

She nodded, moving back to the bedroom before placing the coat he gave her back on and slipping the phone as well as the… what had he called it? Card or something like that…the new money system for the mortals. It was a bizarre thing but she shoved both items in her pocket, regrouping with Isa in the main room. Isabel had her fathers instincts so if she said it wasn’t safe, she would believe her. Aphrodite wished Pasithea had picked up last night, it would have been so much easier. ”Δείξε το δρόμο.” (Lead the way.), she commanded, feeling on edge. She hadn’t liked being in the city area with all the watchful eyes and the carriage she had been brought here in was comfortable but strange. She wished she could get a handle on everything but it was overwhelming which is why the room had felt so nice. Hopefully Isabel knew of a similar place to go.

She didn’t.

Finding a new place was barely on Isabel’s mind right now. She couldn’t focus on thinking that far ahead. Right now she felt more driven by instinct and it was telling her to get out. She didn’t say anything to Aphrodite as the women regrouped. She just headed towards the elevator. A spell of dizziness hit her in the hallway. She stopped and put her hand against the wall to hold her up. She couldn’t collapse right now. After two deep breaths she kept on going.

In the elevator, her vision got blurry for a moment. At this point it was anyone’s best guess why. Blood loss? Fatigue? Emotional distress? The doctors would probably be able to say. Too bad she wasn’t about to go find either of them.

The elevator announced Isa and Aphrodite’s arrival in the main lobby. Again Isabel led the way forward. This time towards her car. With the press of a button she unlocked it. “Get in.” She said, before remembering that Aphrodite didn’t speak English. “Μπες μέσα.” The adrenaline was wearing off too quickly. Especially when she sat down behind the wheel. Her time was limited and she had nowhere to go. She hated that feeling of helplessness. It made her feel useless. Yet she had no choice now. She shouldn’t succumb to pride. Not now. “Σε χρειάζομαι... να μου πεις... πού πρέπει να πάω.” (I need you... to tell me... where I need to go.) She said. Only when she spoke did she realize how hard she was breathing.

Aphrodite had been silent, following instruction with worry at the woman’s declining health. She had tried to get her to rest earlier but she refused and now the concern was reaching high levels. Would she be able to be a stable driver? She couldn’t take control if needed. She bit her lip, pulling out the phone and looking at the screen again. Pasithea hadn’t answered yesterday no matter how many times she tried. Would this really work now? She had to try so instead of replying to Isabel, she hit the contact and prayed for an answer. The ringing sound entered her ear again, nerves frayed that she would hear the same unknown voice. Instead, she heard a voice she recognized but in a language she didn’t understand. Aphro heart lifted, pure joy and excitement overshadowing her concern for but a moment. ”Πασιθέα!” (Pasithea!)

There was a pause, just a moment of silence which made her fear she was wrong or that something happened where she could not hear. Had the magic worn off the phone? Relief flooded her as the goddess on the other side started to speak, “Αφροδίτη! Πως τα πήγες....που είσαι;! Είσαι ασφαλής!? Θα έρθω να σε πάρω.” (Aphrodite! How did you....where are you?! Are you safe!? I'll come get you.)

”Είμαι ασφαλής, αλλά χρειάζομαι ένα μέρος για να μείνω. Θα τα εξηγήσω όλα μόλις είμαι εκεί, αλλά χρειάζομαι οδηγίες.” (I'm safe, but I need a place to stay. I'll explain everything once I'm there, but I need directions.)

Στέλνω τη διεύθυνση στο τηλέφωνό σας. Απλώς δώστε το στον οδηγό και θα πρέπει να ξέρουν τι να κάνουν από εκεί. Φροντίστε να το λάβετε πίσω για να είμαστε σε επαφή. Πρόσεχε! Ενημερώστε με όταν φτάσετε.” (I'm sending the address to your phone. Just hand it to the driver and they should know what to do from there. Make sure you get it back so we can stay in contact. Be careful! Let me know when you have arrived.)

Aphrodite nodded, not really thinking about the concept that Pasi would not be able to see the gesture. The sound cut off and a ding startled her as something appeared on the screen. She showed it to Isabel like she was told to, hoping she would understand it. She didn’t really know how to work this thing and was afraid to do more with it. ”Πρέπει να πάμε εδώ. Θα μας φροντίσουν και θα είμαστε ασφαλείς. Ξέρεις που είναι?” (We have to go here. We will be taken care of and we will be safe. Do you know where it is?)

At this point Isabel barely registered the Greek. All she understood was “here” and “safe” when she looked at the address on the phone. It was enough. She gave Aphrodite a slight nod. Her wound was aching though. She rubbed it. It felt wet and warm. With bloodied fingers she slowly started to type in the address in the GPS. Midway she paused. Dizziness sent her vision spinning for a second. When it passed she finished it she put the car into gear and slammed down the accelerator.


𝐹𝒶𝓂𝒾𝓁𝓎 𝒮𝓆𝓊𝒶𝒷𝒷𝓁𝑒𝓈
𝐹𝒶𝓂𝒾𝓁𝓎 𝒮𝓆𝓊𝒶𝒷𝒷𝓁𝑒𝓈

location: The Olympic Club
interactions: Ares and the Cult
mentions: Tlaz, Deimos, Anteros, Phobos, Isabel, Macaria, Zagreus, Pothos, Hati, Thor, Sekhmet




The sun was rising.

The Olympus Club was empty. Police tap sealed it. Ares knew that the techs had already left the place. Athena would’ve used her clout to get every bit of forensic evidence as quickly as possible. That was more than a murder after all. It was family.

Ares crossed the police tape without a second thought. The low heel of his foot clocked on the tiled floor as he made his way slowly through the building. There had to be a thing that he missed. A splatter of blood, a sign, a lingering clue. Deicide was committed here. That could not have been done without a trail.

Just like in the morning he pushed through the two doors leading to the main hall. He remembered where everyone was sitting. Hati, Thor, Sekhmet. They were innocent of the deed for sure. Yet there was growing proof of a conspiracy. Were they really all innocent?

It wasn’t logic that made him walk towards the gardens though. It was the lingering memory of a smell. His feet carried him outside to the exact place where he spoke with Tlaz for the first time in far too long. That conversation had been far too short. A part of him, a very familiar part, did not want to be in the gardens right then. He wanted to be with Tlaz. Even if he knew he had so many wrongs to right first. An older Ares would’ve selfishly chased her. He could not be that man again. Duty had to come first. But after tonight he would return to her and tell her everything. That much she deserved at least.

With Tlaz still on his mind, he made his way back inside.

This time, he wasn’t alone. Just through the door, in what had been an empty chair only minutes ago, a man was seated, waiting for the god of war. His legs were crossed, his suit was pressed, and one of his lapels was missing. Calmly, with a voice warm as the flames he stoked, he said, “Brother. It’s been sometime.” Finally, Hephaestus had revealed himself. “I heard you were looking for me. Now, I am found.”

Something primal rose up from Ares. A heat he was all too familiar with. He felt that rage pushing to yell and shout, to break something and threaten Hephaestus until the Smithgod gave up his daughter.

Instead, he took a calming breath.

This would start as a war of wits and words. That always fell under Athena’s purview. Fell. Perhaps mortality could free them from the cages they lived in as gods. Ares had played with that idea some two decades now. The god of war kept his distance though. It was a trap, obviously.

“You have spun yourself a dangerous and extraordinarily messy web, brother.” Ares’ hand went to his pocket. He pressed a tiny button swimming freely there, and then pulled out a carton of cigarettes. “So what happens now? Where are your specters hidden?” What are you hoping to achieve? Ares’ eyes were trained on the forge-god, searching for anything. Any tell that might give away a glimpse of reason behind the madness he plunged the Heavens into.

Hephaestus could only chuckle wearily before pushing himself to his feet, clasping heat worn hands together, “All in due time brother. They have been so eager to meet with you. I thought it best we have our chat first,” there was a way about him as he walked forwards that seemed agile, almost serpentine. A presence about him that reeked of a higher divinity. That wayward smile of his only stretching further across his face, “Family issues must be discussed after all.”

Ares returned a forced smile. “Family? You want to talk about family?” There was an air of arrogance about Hephaestus. It stank. Everything stank right then. “Tell me, what role did you play in the tragedy of Macaria and Zagreus?” As he spoke, Ares’ hand lowered until it touched the handle of his pistol. It wouldn’t kill Hepheastus. It would at most slow him down. The lead wasn’t meant for him though. The Forge-God could never stand against Ares on his own.

“Don’t get all sanctimonious on me now, Ares,” Hephaestus said, slowly circling his brother. “You are, after all, the same brother who stole my wife away. Tell me, what has my family ever done for me?” The smith cocked his head. Despite his harsh words, the mask of calm he wore did not slip. “This plan was set in motion long ago. Knowing you, brother, you will kick and scream and rage against the infernal machine, like the petulant child mother raised you to be. You have not changed. You storm in here like you know something, but you are just a toddler, throwing a tantrum because he has lost a game.” Hephaestus looked at his brother and chuckled. It was clear that he felt no fear, standing across from the god of war. “What a wonder, it is, that she chose you.”

The war god’s expression darkened. It wasn’t the accusations or the insults that did this. In fact, that told Ares that his brother hadn’t been looking too closely at him. Ares had changed. Perhaps not enough to be worthy of Tlaz just yet, but he knew he had changed in the last three decades. What darkened him was something else. “Visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children?” He said, quoting the bible. “Is that why you took Pothos?” As he said the words he felt that ravenous beast that was his rage claw and trash at its cage.

“Oh no, dear brother, that’s not what is happening here at all. Your iniquity will be paid back unto you and you alone.” The brothers’ eyes met and Hephaestus’ crooked grin only grew. “You want to kill me right now, don’t you? You think you’ve changed, but deep down, the monster you were will always linger. It will always want back out. You are dangerous, a rabid dog that harms everything that comes near.” The dark eyes of the smith seemed to glow, lit with the fires of hate. His voice had grown sharper, crueler. Hephaestus had waited centuries to say these words.

“And you seem almost desperate to keep it that way.” Something snapped within Ares. The first chain broke. “Yet you’re wrong already. I don’t want to be here!” He wanted to be holding the woman he loved. “And I don’t want to kill you, my own brother!” He wanted to sit at a table, feasting with the children he was loving more every day now. Right now though, he just wanted Hephaestus to confess to his sins. Ares was no judge. There were other divines more suited for that.

“But you need me as you remember me. So you can stay what you think you are: the victim. The helpless sod. So whatever you do next is justified.” Ares pulled the gun from his pocket but kept it down, pointing at the ground. His finger hovered over the trigger guard. “So make your move.” The gun was a distraction. He had his other hand in his pocket still, holding his phone.

“Wrong again. Though what can be expected from a brute such as yourself.” Hephaestus eyed the gun, and turned his back to Ares in spite of it, calling out into the shadows of the Olympic Club, “Come get your toy, before he makes an even bigger mess of my face.”

Hephaestus’ call was answered with a low grunt, the rustle of movement, and the sound of footsteps. Two pairs belonging to two figures, moving closer to the pair until they were standing behind Hephaestus. The first, presumably the one behind the grunt, was a hulking figure, bigger than both brothers, and wrapped in muscle. His sneer was cruel, his eyes crueler, and his hair was streaked with grey. He looked cleaner than the last time he’d met Ares, but the strength he walked with was unmistakable. This was the titan who had held the sky; this was the great general, Atlas.

On Hephaestus’ other side, a slender woman slithered into place. She carried herself with the knowledge that she was quite beautiful, and with the poise of one who knows danger. Dark hair fell from her head in silken tendrils, and she eyed Ares with a predator’s intent. “You talk too much, Hephaestus,” the woman said.

“I was growing bored, listening to you children bicker,” Atlas said, eyeing Ares’ gun with vague, unenthused, interest. This was busywork for him.

Hephaestus scowled. “Take him, Atlas. I’m sure he will give you some entertainment.”

𝐁𝐚𝐧𝐠! 𝐁𝐚𝐧𝐠!


Two bullets left Ares’ gun. They were aimed at Atlas’ legs. Ares’ heart started sprinting. He squeezed the trigger again. Two more times. His blood started to boil. Bullets would at most slow a god down. More bullets flew out. Ares stopped aiming after the fifth. Fifteen cases fell to the ground. Then Ares’ tossed his empty pistol and pulled the knife on his belt.

Atlas flinched from the impact but otherwise returned to a standing position as if only accosted by a fly. An annoying, stinging fly. Rolling his shoulders back he cocked his head to the side and with a wide manic grin he charged towards the god of war.

The ensuing fight erupted. Atlas was unstoppable. Ares was relentless. Both took more blows than they dodged. The god had learned to be slippery in fights. He snuck around the titan again and again. When he took a hit, it mattered little. His blood burned. It wouldn’t allow him to stop. The furniture in the club shattered during the fight. Splinters of wood and broken pieces of plastic were thrown around the floor. Neither looked like they were about to give up.

Atlas kept up the pressure. Glass shattered and bloody wounds were drawn. Ares landed his own hits but the titan refused to yield any ground.

When the titan had thrown the god against the wall so hard it cracked a little, Ares considered running. He could make it out of the club probably. Though it was risky. Atlas was getting closer again. The god of war weighed his options.

Old him would’ve ran. He had done so before. Despite being the patron god of soldiers, he had never been one for self-sacrifice. When it came down to it he was a craven. His eyes met Atlas. The titan wouldn’t stop. That’s all he could read from him. If he ran now, the titan wouldn’t stop chasing him. Tlaz, Deimos, Anteros, none of them would be safe. He had to buy them and the rest of his family time.

So he rose up again. His ribs hurt. They were broken for sure and pushing into his lung. Forcing him to breathe ragged breaths through the pain. Most of his face was swollen as burning blood ran over his numbed skin. His left arm couldn’t move anymore. The bone was probably broken in a few places. It was a miracle he could stand even. Yet he still raised one fist.

Rolling her eyes the woman muttered under her breath for Atlas to, “Hurry up and finish the job,” it really was taking too long for her liking. But this was Atlas. He liked to play with his prey before dominating them. An eternity spent alone would do that to someone with divinity.

Atlas shrugged and stepped forward. He swung, Ares blocked. He swung with his other hand. Ares took the hit straight on his jaw. His mortal body was sundered. It couldn’t hold together, even if his spirit wasn’t broken yet. Time flowed slowly as he dropped. Darkness encroached from the edges of his sight.

And as he fell he felt regret. He left Tlaz alone again. Isabel wouldn’t be kind to her. Especially not now. He had failed her too. Then there was Deimos and Phobos. He wouldn’t see his daughter’s smile or his son embrace his love. And what would Anteros do other than despair?

Those were his last thoughts before the darkness took him.

The three other beings in the club stood over the body of the God of War. ”What’s there to do with him next?” she asked, eyes flicking up towards the God of the forge. If he didn’t know any better he would have believed her eyes to glow with a golden sheen with pupils like slits, watching him. Always watching.

Before Hephaestus could respond however, Atlas kicked at Ares’ arm just to be on the safe side before bending down to hoist him over his shoulder, “He is needed elsewhere. Come, we mustn’t keep him waiting.”
“The situation is… dire, my lord.”

The throne room was covered in dark and foreboding shadows. The Kingdom of Shen Chi was under siege by its neighbor, the Kingdom of Zhingha. Neither were particularly notable amongst the thousands of their kin in the region. Yet in this throne room they were the only ones that mattered. The brooding king sat on his jade-carved throne overlooking a carved map atop a table showing the local lands. Wooden figurines showed the armies of his enemies and his own.

“The river did not stop them.” Continued general Gonsun Yen. The grim, sweat, and blood - his own and that of his enemy - still clung to him. He had killed many but not enough. “They will be upon us within a few days.” Nothing more needed to be said. Their own armies were weakened by recent battles. Even if they held in the city of Shensing, they would eventually lose.

“Make the archers man the wall.” The king commanded as he sat back on his throne. He rang a bell and servants began to move plates up the dais.

“My lord, we must surrender!” General Gonsun exclaimed. “We cannot hold Shensing! We barely have the stores to survive the next winter. A siege would starve the people.”

The fat king looked upon his general for a moment as he chewed a piece of duck. “Seize him.” He finally said.

The guards looked around as they heard the order. None of them dared to move from their post though. Most of them had trained under Gonsun Yen. The general eyed all of them. None grabbed him. For a second he thought about ordering them to detain the king instead. Though he discarded that idea as well when he turned around and walked away. Shen Chi had lost. He had lost.

Outside the night time aurora was illuminating the world slightly. But then, before his eyes, every aurora started to coalesce. As if some unfeelable wind was pushing it together. It was a wondrous sight to behold as the colors came together, taking the shape of a great and powerful bird.

“Fear not mortal.” A voice said in the general’s mind. “Shen Chi is favored. Offer to me your bow and I shall grant you more than salvation.”

The general looked on wide-eyed and immediately rushed down towards the barracks. People were waking up and pointing at the skies with increasing awe. General Gonsun pushed his way through the growing crowd. The barracks were empty. Of course, everyone was outside. Staring at the wonder. He grabbed his bow, it was a sparse thing. His father gave it to him when he came of age and he had never used another bow.

“I offer you my bow! Please, I beg of you, help us.” The general proclaimed as he rushed outside and then fell to one knee, holding up the weapon. The aurora above shifted again. The bird’s flight changed. At first people did not know what was happening or where it was going. Until it became brighter, and brighter, and they realized it was coming down upon the city.

~


The Zhinghan army was approaching. Its conscripts were in an unusually good mood. Recent victories have come with a lot of loot. The war was also almost over. All they had to do was besieging the city of Shen Chi for just a few weeks. Their king was weak, and the feared general Gonsun had been defeated. So the army marched with a whistle across the hill. Beyond it was Shen Chi, basking in the dawn light. “Spread out. Setup camp.” The Zhinghan strategist ordered. The moves of his fan gave the order to officers further away, who could not hear his voice.

The army moved out. The conscripts knew their tasks. Some began to dig trenches or cut trees. Others were setting up tents. Oxen-drawn carts were being unloaded of their goods. And the siege began.

Halfway through its preparations the Zhinghan army suddenly heard a whistle.

Many of them looked up to see where it came from. They were well beyond the range of Shen Chi’s archers. So what could it be.

The entire army in the half-made camp got silent.

First the conscripts saw it: a rapidly expanding orb of just pure white. Then they felt the gale wind rushing over them, knocking some people against the ground. Finally they heard it: a thunder-like crack. It all happened in moments. A part of the growing camp was not just broken, it was erased. Vaporized in a mighty blast that seemed to have come out of nowhere. Then the whistle could be heard again.

~


“For Shen Chi!” Bellowed the general before he rushed through the gates with his bow in hand. It was no longer the sparse, wood-brown thing that he got from his father. It was fiery red with streaks of yellow. At its tips were burning feathers. His soldiers had the same red and yellow colors painted over their shields and faces. “For Fenghin! We shall erase these Zhingan bastards!” After his speech he stopped and fell to one knee again. His soldiers rushed beside him towards the enemy in a frenzy.

The general knocked his arrow, pulled back the string, and felt that heavenly power fill him. He said a small prayer to the great god Fenghin and released the arrow. With an unnatural whistle the arrow flew forward. Moments later the general saw the blast erupt a the enemy’s camp.

~


It wasn’t a battle. Not really. The Zhingan conscripts were already shattered before the Shen Chi soldiers arrived at their camp. That didn’t spare them though. With rage and hatred, the Shen Chians tore through the camp. They spared very few. Not even those who were already on the ground, coughing blood.

Those that were taken had their wrists roped.

That night the aurora showed again in its wonderful multicolored splendor and the general realized what he had to do. The exhausted, sleeping prisoners were rudely awakened as they were grabbed one by one. None of them knew what was happening as they were dragged through the city streets. The abuse was hurled from the streets, together with rocks. Most of them arrived at the central plaza in front of the gate already bleeding. They were put on rows and then, with a kick to the back of their knee, were forced to kneel.

“Zhingans!” The general bellowed. His voice silenced the mass of citizens. “Rejoice. You will released to the grace and the honor of Fenghin, the phoenix-god!”

For a second hope bloomed in the prisoner’s hearts before the first row felt the sharp sting of knives to their throat. Hope turned to horror and desperation as the first row fell down forward with their throat slit and their blood pouring. Then their executioners worked their way backward.

~


“I knew you could do it!” The fat king of Shen Chi said from atop his throne as more servants brought more food. “I had always known of Fenghin you see. He came to me in my dreams and told me he would deliver us from our enemies. It is why Î demanded the archers on the walls you see. Alas, your lack of faith is forgiven general. All is forgiven.”

General Gonsun stood before the throne with his bow in hand. It took an exceptional amount of self-control not to shoot the bastard through his throat right now. Yet he remained calm. The king was now nothing more than a useful idiot. A puppet, who would give legitimacy to the general’s next desire.

“But it is now time that Shen Chi’s, and Fenghin’s, influence is spread further out general.” Gonsun smirked as the king spoke. Conquest had never been on the royal’s mind until today. “There are hundreds, even thousands of kingdoms all around us Gonsun. And they are ripe for the taking. I hereby proclaim you [Warlord]. Now go forth! And make me Emperor!”

The general bowed but only to hide his own smirk. Conquest had never been on the king’s mind. But it had been the general’s dream. Without a word said he turned around and moved out of the throne room. The Thousand Conquests would begin!





An elf was running through the woods. Behind him, several of his own kind were chasing him with clubs and slinging insults. So far the fugitive elf had been faster. His breathing was getting ragged though. He didn’t expect his pursuers to chase him so far into the nearby woods. Normally they were quite content to let him have a few apples and a bit of bread.

Then again perhaps he shouldn’t have stolen a full pie. Did a pie really warrant such a chase? It did not matter. The elf – Resin – had no intention of getting caught. Bad things would happen to him if he got caught. The fact that he was only 5’5”, strangely short for an elf, did not improve his chance of not getting beaten once caught. He was one thing though: fast. Very, very fast. Living in the woods had its perks too. He knew every branch. Every root. Every-

Resin tripped over a broken branch on the ground. The apples, the bread, the pie, it all went flying out of his hands as he fell headfirst into the mud. For a second he didn’t understand what happened. He knew this forest like the back of his hand! How did he miss that branch?

A moment after that he tried to get up. He couldn’t do so in time. The villagers were on him. The first swing of the club hit him straight on his head, dropping him again. After that they beat him all over his body. Resin balled up and cried out in pain. The villagers had no mercy though. Not for a filthy, useless thief like him. He couldn’t help out anywhere, and he was weird. Too short. After a while he started to stink as well. In the end he became a total outcast.

Only a few minutes passed when Resin’s punishers started to walk away. “Stay out of Hackem.” One of them, a baker, said as he spat on the small elf. Resin stayed on the muddy ground a little bit longer. One time, when they had caught him before, they had come back a little bit later after he got up. When he was confident they wouldn’t come back he finally pulled himself up slightly and sat against the tree.

Dark clouds were gathering overhead. The first few drops heralded the rain storm. Resin looked at the soiled pie and apples. A crow had already started to eat one of the apples despite Resin being so close by. He tried to shoo the bird away. It just looked inquisitively at him, then turned back to eat the apple. Resin let out a weary sigh. His stomach grumbled. It had been grumbling for the last three days. “Might as well.” He thought to himself, as he reached for the pie.

When you’re hungry enough, even the worst bit of food tastes delicious. Rain started falling. Resin felt like he should find a dry spot somewhere. The canopy here didn’t offer much cover. If he got too wet, he could die. Yet as he was being drenched while sitting in the mud against a tree that prospect felt almost enticing now.

“You seem tired.”

Resin looked around him. Where did that come from? He couldn’t hear branches breaking. Only the hunters of the village didn’t crack twigs in the forest. They wouldn’t be out now though. Not in the rain.

“Perhaps you would want some… help?”

“Who goes there?” Resin said. The voice was coming from in front of him, and it sounded close. So very close. Then the crow landed right in front of him and opened its beak: “Who I am matters little.” That same voice said. “What I can do… now that is important.” The voice spoke softly, yet its words were drenched in sweet honey.

“You must be tired of how they treat you.”

“I am.” Resin answered. Perhaps he was hallucinating. Certain mushrooms could do that. Though he hadn’t eaten any in the last few days. Maybe it was the exhaustion or the onset of sickness.

“Do you want revenge?”

The thought had never dawned on Resin before. He had always been too meek to do anything back. Even in his wildest fantasies he just ran away and never had to see Hackem again. But he had to stick around. Hackem had food, he needed food. As much as he lived in the forest, he couldn’t forage. He’d be dead from a poisonous berry in just a few months. “Yes.”

“Do you have a possession on you? Something… personal?”

A price? Why not. Resin pulled off the wooden ring he had on his finger. It was something he had stolen a long time ago. He had it on for so long, it almost felt like second nature to wear it. He offered it in an open palm to the crowd.

“I offer you… an accord, Resin of Hackem.” The voice said. “I offer you power and guidance. In return, I only ask you to fulfill some tasks for me. Do you accept?”

The voice hadn’t talked about tasks before. In fact, Resin realized he still didn’t know with what exactly he had been dealing so far. Yet it felt so enticing. There was something about the crow and the voice that made it seem real. As if the power truly was literally at his fingertips. “Might as well.” He muttered to himself. “I accept.”

~

This power was awesome!

I have another idea. A hissing voice said in Resin’s mind.

When he first heard it he was deadly afraid of the Shadow’s voice. Now – laying atop a thatch hut surrounded by fruit pies, cakes, and fresh loaves of bread – he was used to it. “I’m all ears, Shadow.” He said out loud while stuffing his stomach full with cake.

We take some rotten bread, grind it up and mix it with the flour.

Resin knew well enough it would make a ton of people sick. Not to mention the baker would probably get punished for selling bad bread. A massive grin formed on his face. Of course, he was going to do that. The baker had beaten him so often so far, it would be good payback.

~

The boss has a job for you Resin.

The elf was looking into the hearth fire when Shadow talked again. Hackem was quickly becoming too small. First, he had stolen food until he couldn’t eat anymore. Then he had stolen items until he didn’t want anything more. Now, really, there was nothing left to steal. So he was getting bored. “What is it?”

He needs you to steal something significant from the village’s chief, a letter. You should get it tonight.

Getting into the central hall at night was easy enough. Especially when you can step from one shadow to another. This ability to move through the darkest of shadows unnoticed and even displace oneself had been invaluable. So far things had been too easy though. There was no more challenge in stealing mundane items. Got upstairs fast. “Where is it?” He whispered, knowing Shadow could hear him.

In the bedroom. Second door to the right. It’s on the desk.

Resin moved quickly. Despite his powers, despite Shadow’s guidance, he still felt somewhat vulnerable here. Back in the beginning, when he only just got his powers, he had made the mistake of stealing stuff in broad daylight and got beaten up again. He got his revenge after that of course, but he was not invincible. Slowly he opened the door. There was one person in the bed. Resin peeked inside. There was no one else.

On the desk.

Resin moved quickly. There was a bunch of clutter there like ink, a letter opener and was. But also the letter. “This?” He asked.

Yes. Take it. Also, kill the big one.

“Kill the big one?”

Resin felt himself getting grabbed and tossed over the wooden floor. His eyes were wide in surprise. He sank through his own shadow on the floor. Just in time, as the leg of a large, muscular elf stamped down. A moment later he appeared from a closet and came face to face with the chief of the village. “Shadow, I need some help here. How do I get out of here?”

Shadow didn’t react. The large elf charged at him. Resin dodged just out of the way and ran towards the desk. “Shadow!?” He yelled again. No response. He scrambled over the desk. There was a bunch of clutter there. His eyes caught the letter. He grabbed it. “Shadow, I need to get-“

A chair slammed into Resin. Again he fell to the floor. His back hurt like hell. Again he sank through his own shadow to get away. A moment later he fell down from a shadow on the ceiling. “Not there!” He yelled out. “I need to get out.”

“You’re not getting out, Resin.” The village chief said. “I got you now. I don’t know how you do it but I’ve seen you. And when I’ve got you for sure, I’ll bring you to Earthwall for a good reward from Celestine.”

Earthwall was not a prospect Resin was looking forward to. He and the chief began to circle each other. Resin was still waiting for some miracle to save him. Shadow wasn’t responding though. The village chief moved swiftly. Resin was caught and slammed against the wall face first. The big man’s arm was wrapped around his throat and squeezed. The air was squeezed out of the smaller elf. He was being strangled. With growing desperation, he reached for whatever he could on the desk. Until he felt a dull pang across his fingers.

He stabbed the elf chief in his tight. He screamed out in pain and released his strangle hold. Resin turned around with a letter opener in hand, a trickle of blood was running from his own cut fingers. But he had no mercy in his eyes. In one smooth motion he pushed the forehead of the chief back and stabbed down at the larger elf's throat.

~

The sun would rise in a little bit. Its light would illuminate the entire forest, including a blood-stained Resin. With a grim expression, he watched the letter burn in the small fire. “I thought I could trust you.”

It was a test. Shadow said. A useful one. You’re capable enough Resin. The boss likes that. So now it’s time for your next step.

“What am I stealing now?” A rather unamused Resin asked as he observed his own bandaged fingers and the wooden ring that had given him all these powers.

Magic.







SMOKEY REVELATIONS
SMOKEY REVELATIONS

Location: Random Seattle Bar
Interactions: Cliodhna
Mentions: Sekhmet, Tlaz, Hathor, Ares, Deimos


Isa was hiding in some dark corner of a mediocre at best hole somewhere in the nightlife of Seattle. The smell of smoke hung heavy in the bar. She was scrolling quickly over her phone. The internet was an amazing source of information. In one search she learned more about her father than she had in the last decade. Pieces of the great puzzle began to fall in place. She also found Sekhmet. Her legend explained a lot. Of course, it also showed some potential weaknesses. As for her ‘relative’, there were far too many to be sure of any. Then there was her supposed ‘sister’? That didn’t really make much sense either. Most of his daughters took after their mother. They were kind. That psycho was just deranged.

A glass tapped her half-hidden table. She jolted up. Her right fist was hidden but ready to strike. With wide, dreading eyes she looked straight at the waiter putting down a pink, strawberry cocktail in front of her. Then he just walked away without a care. At least, he would’ve. Isabel took a quick sip from the drink and shook her hand. “More vodka. Way more vodka.” She said as she wiggled the glass. The waiter turned around, rolled his eyes, took the glass, and returned to the bar. Isabel returned to scrolling through her phone.

“You nearly knocked him out, didn’t you?”

Isabel looked up again. She had barely heard the one other chair on her table move. Was she getting this tired? A woman, a blonde, sat down at her table with a cheery smile. Clearly, she did not have the same shit day as Isabel. Or perhaps she was hiding it better. Why else would she be in a spilled-beer smelling hole like this at 3 am? Isabel didn’t particularly care. She just looked down again at her phone. People quickly took the hint generally.

“You’re Markov’s kid, aren’t you?”

“What do you know about my dad?” Isabel snapped the words in an instant. Anyone who knew him seemed to know more than she did. Why would she throw away an opportunity like this?

A faint smile crept over Clio’s lips. Words could so easily spin a spider’s trap for mortals these days. The more high-strung they were, the faster they’d run straight into them. “I met him, a few times.” She said as she absent-mindedly circled a finger over her half-full beer. “In the nineties… and the seventies… and earlier.” For a second she flashed a knowing smile at Isabel.

“You… know who he really is?” Isabel leaned forward. She still felt guarded. Who was this random stranger that approached her like this? A friend of her father's? Family? A sibling? Something else. She tried to look at her eyes, to see if they had a resemblance to the crazy girl in the hotel room. But it was far too dark for that.

“Do you?” Clio whispered back.

Isabel leaned back again, immediately realizing what she had walked into. She had seen – and sprung – her fair share of traps in a courtroom. This was exactly the kind of thing she’d use. Something to bait a victim into revealing their own information. Still, she couldn’t let the bait go completely. There was something here for sure.

“You really are his kid. He used to be as guarded as you are. Wouldn’t even let his own heart in. At least, until recently I heard.” Again Clio shot another smirk at Isabel as she produced a carton of cigs. She pulled one out for herself, then offered Isabel one. The raven-haired girl waved her hand. A small flame lit up the woman’s face up for a second. Isabel squinted just a little bit. She could swear she recognized her from somewhere.

“So which one are you?” Isabel asked brusquely as she leaned back in her chair. “Why are you here? Talking to me?”

The woman just smiled for a second, before taking another drag from her cigarette. The crappy music playing in the background didn’t help the tension. Most of Isabel’s encounters with the divine ended with her getting wounded. She should get some sort of weapon to defend herself. It was clear that the gods were vengeful bastards. Perhaps this woman was one as well, just with a different kind of sadism. She loved toying with people. That much was obvious. Isabel refused to be her puppet though.

“I need you to send your father a message.”

“We’re not speaking terms.” Isabel snapped quickly.

“Of course not.” The blonde scoffed as she exhaled the smoke. “But you’re his child. You’ll talk to him, sooner than you think too.”

The way she said it was so confident that Isabel had a hard time doubting it. “What’s in it for me?” She wasn’t about to do some random goddess any favors out of the good of her heart right now. If she was going to do something, she wanted something in return.

“Clever.” The blonde remarked as she leaned in closer. “What do you want to know?” She whispered with an almost seductive voice.

“Who’s Lali.” Isabel immediately asked.

“You want to know who you pissed off at the Jaguar?” The blonde gave Isabel a teasing yet dangerous smile.

She knew what happened. It had only transpired a few hours ago. Even though Isabel felt like she had gone through a tough week, she still knew that factually not that much time had passed. Yet somehow this woman knew what happened at the bar at the start of the night.

“Her full name is Tlazōlteōtl and I’ll save you a search as well. She’s the Aztec goddess of filth and sin.”

Isabel felt immediate frustration boiling her blood. This was the woman her father wanted to get together with!? A goddess of filth and sin? Someone who ruled over worms and excrement. She would never have it. It wouldn’t happen. Her father would be done with a woman like that so quickly.

“And now for my message.”

The raven-haired girl let out a sigh as she calmed herself down. Then just waved her hand to let the woman continue.

“Tell Ares that Clio hasn’t forgotten about the debt he owes her.” The blonde said with a vixen smile. “He’ll know what that means.” Then she got up and grabbed her glass. A half-burned cigarette lay in the ashtray. The embers were still burning. A thin strand of smoke rose up. Her hand touched Isabel’s shoulder as she looked down at the girl. “It was nice seeing you again, Isabel.” With those words said she walked away.

Leaving Isabel alone, and questioning when the hell she had met the woman before.


“Miss Krogh.” The older doorman of the apartment complex at which Hel arrived greeted her with a small, almost grandfatherly smile. Hel returned it, though made sure to keep her distance a little. The night air felt chilly, but it wouldn’t be nearly as chilly as a handshake from her. That was not something she wanted to invite. “He is home.” The man continued before he opened the door for her.

“Thank you Oswald.” She said with a smile as she stepped inside. Expensive buildings had a way to make it feel warm without letting you feel a real transition from the outside. Unlike most, Fenrir did not have a front door you could knock on. That was a shame. There was something about knocking that used to make visits feel so much more personal. Though Hel really didn’t want to buzz her brother’s intercom and spoil the surprise like that. “Oswald, dear. Could you help me with something?”
~

Hel could barely feel the elevator slow down. It was such a smooth ride. The first time she visited she thought the thing was broken. Then she stepped outside and saw the view. A ding heralded someone’s arrival in Fenrir’s home. The goddess’ heels announced who it was.

---------------

"Suck on that J!" Fen smirked, nudging his sibling playfully in the side as King Boo raced across the finishing line, placing him firmly in first place. This was ignoring the fact that she had completely obliterated him in the previous two races and that, he suspected, was with her going easy on him. “Yeah, yeah, I’ll get you next time!” Jorm chuckled, a grin easily finding its way onto her face at his antics. Tossing the controller onto the opposite side of the large corner sofa, the wolf god was leaning to wrap his lithe fingers around a bottle of beer when the doorbell abruptly rang.

"Precisely on time as always." He winked at Jörmungandr before hopping up, taking a swig of beer as he strolled towards the wooden apartment door. It was a surprisingly lengthy walk, space being one of the things that had been a must when he'd been searching for somewhere to live. It just happened that spacious apartments also tended to be luxury ones. Pulling the door open, he immediately embraced the goddess with an enthusiastic hug. Though she was icy cold to the touch, he tended to run on the hot side, so it sort of balanced out...even if he did have to suppress a mild shiver. "Hel! Come in! Beer? Mario Kart?" He offered as he walked ahead of her, already heading to the fridge to look for more refreshments.

“Heya sis! Come take a load off!” she called out from her comfy spot, the controller having been switched out for a bottle though it was quickly discarded all the same in favor of hopping over the back of the couch and wrapping her sister into a constrictive hug. She knew that Hel wouldn’t hug her back but was determined to show that some touching wasn’t the end of the world. It was the hope that someday, she would stop being so afraid and go a little more on the wild side, take a risk. Jorm let go after a few seconds, practically leading Hel to the kitchen by keeping an arm around her shoulder as they walked. “Tell us how the shitfest went while we wait on the stew to finish! No one gave you too much trouble right?”

The goddess was – as always – surprised by the sudden embrace. She didn’t return it. Though in her heart it pained her. She just hoped, every time, that her brother would understand her own strange beliefs. Not that she truly had ever explained them to her siblings. They all had their strange quirks, a result of the injustice done to them. “Water.” She quickly followed up on her brother’s summing up. Helheim was not a place of beer or mead. There was no celebration there. Its denizens subsisted on fresh spring water alone. It wouldn’t make for a party, but then again they weren’t worthy of Valhalla or Fólkvangr. So fresh water would do.

She smiled at her older sister’s invitation to ‘take a load off’. Jormungandr always told her to relax. Not that the goddess of the graceless dead ever could. For millennia she was duty bound. No amount of time on earth could ever change that. None the less the invitation – given every time she and her older sister met – was well appreciated. It showed that despite how Hel was, her siblings still cared. After all, the goddess was well aware that the not returning of physical affections made her a hard person to like, let alone love.

Just like with Fenrir, Hel did not return Jorm’s hug. Though she did give her sister the biggest smile she could give. Not that it was very big, really. A colleague once told her that her smiles had something melancholic behind them. As if they had some deep sadness behind them. She never really gave it much thought.

Then her sister mentioned the luncheon. Her demeanor shifted ever so slightly. Few would recognize it, but her siblings would. Something made her deeply unhappy. “Macaria and Zagreus suffered the true death.” Hel said. She remained just inside of her brother’s apartment, near the front door. “They fell from the skylight but were dead before they hit the ground and… did not rise again. They are gone. Seemingly forever.” She said. The goddess of the dead did not move. She wasn’t sure how well her siblings knew either of the dead deities, but in times of grief it was best to give the information straight, correct and without too much emotion. So those who heard the information could freely feel their own emotions. Sadly, that meant that Hel had to hide and suppress her own feelings. Luckily enough she was very well practiced in doing so.

Unlike her sister, always one to control her emotions and suppress them, Jormungandr was the very opposite. She was an open book, everything written on her sleeve and her words sometimes punctuated with harsh truth so when she heard of the two immortal deaths, it froze her in place. She felt cold seep into her veins that had nothing to do with Hel’s temperature and everything to do with the rush of fear and concern. If someone or…something had killed immortals then none of them were safe. The two that she loved, that were in arms reach…could be taken from her again but this time no reunion to be had or looked forward to. The others that she cherished that were not present could be in danger. ”H-How could this have happened?! This shouldn’t be possible.”, she wheezed, horror and panic etched into every word as she began to shake as she held herself. She didn’t know the two lost but their names were definitely locked into her brain now. She couldn’t imagine what their family was feeling. Family. ”Where is father?! Hati?! Everyone? W-We need to call them. Are they safe?” Jorm might dislike the Aesir, some on the border of hate but they were still her pantheon.

Fenrir passed Hel a glass of water before leaning against the marble countertop, silently observing his two sisters as the news was broken. Sharp blue eyes, always intense even when he didn't mean to be, watched for the subtle or not so subtle (in Jorms case) changes in their body language.

"Dead Greeks. Well that's going to be a shitstorm..." The wolf eventually piped up, a small sigh escaping his lips. If it had been any other pantheon maybe there could have been a semblance of moderation in their reaction. But with the Greeks, he was sure that would not be the case. "Any god or goddess who thinks they're still invulnerable is mad. Even assholes like Odin barely have any influence now, beyond the small worlds we've created around ourselves." Fen wasn't trying to be cynical but his fall from...no it definitely hadn't been grace. His fall from one hellscape to another had left him under no illusions about how weak they all now were.

Moving over to Jorm, he clapped a hand on her shoulder, squeezing it gently. "But anyway, two dead deities does not a Ragnorak make." He shrugged nonchalantly, trying to hide his own uncertainties. If this was Ragnorak, it was better than the prophecies had stated. He for example, was by no means capable of consuming the entire world.

"So...how exactly did they die?" He asked as he turned back to Hel, shaking off thoughts of eating Odin before raising a questioning eyebrow. Fen didn't want to care, in fact he wanted to remain firmly planted in the shadows, but he couldn't help but feed that small well of curiosity that rose up inside of him.

Something inside of Hel – a more human side perhaps – wanted to rush over and hug her panicking sister. It hurt the goddess to see Jorm like that but there was nothing she could really do and a hug would only make things worse probably. So she kept her distance. As always. “Father is still safe when he left the luncheon. Though I couldn’t figure out where he would be going.” She omitted the fact that she had gone up the roof herself a bit later instead. And that she had visited the morgue instead of following Loki. Still, if there was ever a divine who could weasel his way out of a dangerous situation it would be her father. “Hati is working with Athena.” She continued to explain. “So he is safe as well.” Hel didn’t care for the rest of the Norse. Only the blood Loki counted for her.

As always Fenrir came out exceedingly cynical. Hel expected it. There was no point in engaging it. Not really. Then he asked his question. “They were cut down.” Hel said matter-of-factly. “After that they fell through the skylight of the club down to the floor. Everyone expected them to rise up again but.. well. That did not happen. Cuts could be seen. Though nothing that shouldn’t heal.” Her eyes darted over her two siblings. The point was easily made. “There is a weapon out there that can kill gods.” Just for a second, a moment, Hel’s heart quickened. Just the thought that such a weapon really existed made her excited. Yet she couldn’t show that. Not even to her siblings.

“That does leave the matter of the Ambrosia.” Hel quickly changed subject to what she thought to be more important in the moment. “Hera was smart enough to give everyone in attendance for the luncheon their apple. Persephone might be a bit preoccupied with giving them out now.” She removed the top of the whiskey tube and pulled out the Fruit of the Tree of Life. “I kept it for you.” She gently put it towards Fenrir. Then she turned towards Jormungandr. “You should probably ask Hebe for yours. Things are heating up, so don’t wait too long. Okay?”

Jorm nodded to her brother, feeling more stable with his hand on her shoulder. It was a physical reminder that she was not alone and they were in this together. ”As long as you are sure they are safe.”, Jorm replied, grateful that the people she cared about most were most likely out of harm's way. She didn’t like the explanation any better than when her sister had simply said other immortals had perished. A weapon? An actual killer of immortals? How was this even possible? She was fearful for who would be next or if it was someone close to them all out to get other immortals. The change in conversation was much needed and openly accepted, happy to just put that mess and fear behind until more answers became clear. ”I think the Greeks are probably gonna have their hands full for a while and a year added to my age isn’t gonna kill me. I’ll hit her up whenever I see her next if I remember to do so. I know she sometimes goes to Acropolis parties and I’ll be dead before I get caught going into Odin’s building or whatever.”

Fenrir took the apple in his hand, tossing it idly in the air before catching it once more. Was this a chain of sorts? He could never truly leave, never truly be away from the Aesir with their immortality threatened so easily. "You sure?" He glanced at Jorm, "I'd happily go give cyclops a visit." Fen grinned wolfishly, pointed canines bared as if in threat before they sunk into the apples soft flesh.

"But anyway, this talk of dead gods is boring me." He spoke up once he had finished his snack. It was boring him, that was true. And he had not failed to miss the almost imperceptible and brief change in Hel’s presence as she'd spoken of the weapon. She had no reason to kill any Greeks, though he was certain the keeper of Helheim would use it on Odin if she got a chance. Wrapping his arms around the shoulders of both his sisters, he pulled them closer. "I want to hear all about what my lovely sisters have been up to. I want tales of draugr Hel and the tallest building you have jumped off recently Jormungandr."

Hel managed to quickly free herself from Fenrir’s second embrace. She enjoyed them a lot, but it was better to not get used to them. It did worry her that Jorm seemed so nonchalant about aging a year. Well, she was planning to see Hebe anyway. Hopefully, the charitable goddess would give her two apples. If not well, Hel was the youngest. A year would do less to her than to Jorm she reckoned.

But then it happened. She turned her head towards the glass windows. There were whispers coming through. Only the goddess of the graceless dead could hear them. She stepped towards the window. The whispers became hoarse voices. Their words and meaning were just under the surface. A flat hand reached out towards the cold glass.

Hel’s eyes went wide in shock and surprise. ”I have to go.” She said. Her voice was shaking. She rushed over towards the hallway. “Jorm, get your apple!” She shouted at her sister before leaving.

”Wait!…And she is gone…..what just happened?”, she asked, looking at Fen utterly confused before sighing and shaking her head. It seems family time would have to wait, well, at least with all of them anyway. ”Oh nevermind, I’m pulling off the stew. Don’t know about you but I’m starvin’.”

Clarion Call

𝐋𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧: Hephaestus’ Workshop
𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬: None


Ares had genuinely looked forward to being guided through Seattle. The guide herself wasn’t particularly cheap either. Everything was supposed to be normal and in control. As he was driving through the streets with his own car he thought back to that plan. He’d slowly introduce Tlaz and Isabel to each other. Both women had a temperament. At first they’d clash, of course. After a while though they’d start to grow on each other. Before she’d know it, Isa would have the family she always wanted. After that she’d probably need a few visits from Anubis before Ares breaks the big secret.

Instead, he was zipping through the streets of this city in an effort to save Pothos. The plan didn’t need to be dropped entirely but it most certainly would need to change a little. That and someone was going to get nailed to a cross with rusty nails for even thinking they could go after one of his children.

After driving for what felt like hours he finally arrived to where his GPS told him Heph’s workshop should be. It wasn’t called that of course. Still, when Ares pulled up to the place, he was slightly surprised. It didn’t look at all like something a god would want to be at. It was in a dilapidated part of town, surrounded by hollow husks of factories. Broken glass and shattered windows were abundant. Nobody cared, clearly. As most of the broken windows weren’t even closed with something like cardboard. The concrete underneath Ares as he stepped out of his car was cracked and broken in places. Why would Hephaestus ever want his workshop here?

Unless there was a more sinister purpose. “What did you get yourself involved in brother?” He said to himself again as he approached the warehouse door. It opened without issue. The inside looked almost as abandoned, almost. But several years of war taught Ares to recognize the tracks of a hidden base. Often times the clues were right there: a somewhat clean, dry floor. Hephaestus was here for sure.

Ares heard a sudden hissing noise. He turned around. Two darts flew straight for him. Suddenly all his muscles tensed up as hundred volts of electricity coursed through him. His own nerves fought the overwhelming force of the electricity. He grabbed the wires with one hand. Then with the other, then he let the jolting shocks do the rest as his tensed-up muscles ripped the cords apart. “A taser? Really Hephaestus?” Ares shouted out. That wasn’t going to stop him.

But it did make him pull his pistol and made him regret not wearing his bulletproof vest. Those were things to worry about later. He kept going through the corridor. He tried to evade a few more tiles that looked a bit too loose. Then accidentally pushed against something to the wall. Again something hissed. Ares ducked. Scalding steam shot from a valve to the side. A second too late and Ares would’ve been seriously burned.

Two steps further and he heard the clanging of metal coming down. Ares never looked up. He rolled out of the way. Just in time. A metal cage fell down where he was just minutes ago. The god of war turned to inspect it. A small, knowing grin formed on his lips. He recognized the shape of the cage.

Eventually, he reached the end of the winding corridor though. It led to a locked door with no intercom. A fool might think the lock was something simple. Not to Ares. He saw the lines and connections. Hephaestus was always fond of his complex creations. Ares could crack it though.

The god of war had different ideas though. He went back outside to his car and popped the trunk. There was a reason why he took his own car. He rummaged through a few things. For a moment he pulled out a big sledgehammer. No, too slow. Crowbar? Not strong enough. Wireless electric saw? Decent, but he had something different. Eventually, he grabbed a small pot filled with grey dust in it. “I don’t have time for your games Hephaestus.” He said to himself as he made his way through the trapped corridor. He taped the pot to the door and lit the fuse.

Exactly thirty-five seconds later the fuse lit the thermite. 4.000°F heated metal burned through the lock like a blowtorch through butter. With a heavy thud the core of the puzzle lock fell down, drenched in molten slag. Ares waited patiently until the reaction ran its course. In the end the metal door had a decently sized hole burned through it. But when Ares tried the knob it opened up. Revealing a staircase leading down.

Hephaestus was nostalgic if nothing else. His workshop’s layout had some clear callbacks to the one he had back when he was a god. For Ares that was a good thing. He knew where to look and what to ignore. His notes were haphazardly strewn around but the God of the Forge always had a logic to his chaos. Ares was quick to piece the notes together. “Elysium steel.” Ares said as he picked up and puzzled together some of the notes. He didn’t know what it meant but it couldn’t be good. The god of war’s heart then dropped.

Tacked on a corkboard, almost hidden in plain sight, were two things that did not look like they belonged there. Ares took the first one.



“What have you gotten yourself into brother.” Ares said as he looked over the card. This reeked of a cult. He turned the card over.



A shiver went down to Ares’ spine. Until now he had hoped and wished Hephaestus was another victim. Perhaps his curiosity had gotten the better of him. Not anymore. He was invited to a cult. Humans could’ve figured out that the divine are real. Gears started to twist in Ares’ mind. They could hurt his children, they may already have. They could also hurt Tlaz and that was a thought Ares could not bear.

With a brisk, anxious pace he made his way back to his car. Once inside he pushed the pedal to the metal and started calling.

~

Ares called people across the globe from his car. Baghdad, Seoul, Brussels, New York, and Washington were all called. The call never lasted longer than half a minute. Within the intelligence community, it would not make ripples. It would make waves. Within a minute of being called, a highly trained and dangerous killer booked a charter flight to Seattle leaving within three hours. Bullets were bought along the way. Armories were emptied. Something was afoot. It was as if the Epilektoi were preparing for a war. It would worry many that almost all were clearly converging towards one place. Two operatives did not take a plane. Instead they got into a car and started driving to a particular address in Washington.
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