The Gathering

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Chapter 34

The road to Castle Olympus was long and treacherous. The Champions and their army had to take several different routes, hoping to avoid any detection for Lord Kairos spies that might be in the area. After navigating through dangerous rocky paths and windy ravines, they finally reared the base of the mountain. As Amyntas and his allies look up, they realized their journey to the castle was just beginning.

The caste stood high above the clouds, and there was only one way up and down the fortress, a narrow walkway that wrapped around the mountain. To prevent any casualties along the trail, The Spartan ordered that everyone from a link, one after the other. They all then tie a rope connecting them and their mounts. With the link formed, they all began ascending upwards.

Halfway up the mountain was relatively easy; the path was full enough for everyone to walk. Yet as they climbed higher up, the road was gradually receding. Soon it got to the point that they could no longer continue on the trail with their mounts.

Amyntas told everyone to dismount. While everyone was grabbing their gear, the Spartan looked to his left and saw nothing but sky. They were 10,000 feet in the air. The Spartan dared not to look down as he feared the sheer height would paralyze him. Not only that, but the atmosphere was getting thin, and Amyntas realized that many were not use to such conditions. He called Richard over to discuss their next plan.

“The road is getting narrow, and I fear too narrow. Walking on foot will take to long. We need a quicker way up,” said the Spartan.

“I may have a solution.” Richard then pointed to the side of the mountain.

“Climb it?” said Amyntas.

“Its the fastest way up. Plus, I know of a hidden cave that leads into the courtyard.” Amyntas thought it over. It was risky. The risk either falling to their deaths or continue walking the narrow path. Seeing the rock climb as the lesser evil, the Spartan shouted once more.

“Listen up. Change of plans, we are going to climb the rest of the way up. Tie your gear to your backs and make sure you have a firm grip. If one of us falls, it could jeopardize the mission.” Following the order, the rest of the champions and the army gathered up all their material and tied them around their backs and waist.

Then, with everyone ready, the spartan told everyone to climb in unison. Slowly the climbed, step by step, inch by inch, always making sure never to look down and never stop. The freezing winds added another level of difficulty for the heroes. Its cold sting hit their backs as they climbed.

“How much farther,” shouted Decimus.

“Still ways to go. Don’t worry; we’ll make it.” At the far end of the line, Margret was having difficulty keeping up. She was not used to the cold wind, and her bones were becoming stiff. As she reached for a rock above her, she accidentally glances down.

The sudden realization causes her to lose her grip and knock into a wendigo soldier. Suddenly, she then lost her footing and was now she and the soldier were dangling in the air. This suddenly caused a chain reaction for everyone else as they began to feel their rope tighten around them. Amyntas grunted in pain; he felt his line pull on him.

“What happened?” said Amyntas. As he looks over the line of people, he sees two bodies dangling. He then yells to Avalon.

“Avalon, see if you and Vortiger can help those two.” Slowly moving across the mountainside, the two wendigos reached the far end of the line. Extending his hand, he grabbed Margret line and tried to pull her up. However, he noticed that her line had entangled itself around the wendigo soldier’s chain.

This added additional weight and caused a strain on Avalon’s arm. The more he tried to pull up, the more pain he felt in his arm. This did not look good. Just then, he heard a voice coming from the soldier.

“My lord, let me go,” said the soldier.

“No, I can get you both, just hold on,” replied Avalon.

“My lord, there is no time. Please, let me go,” repeated the soldier. Avalon did not want to sacrifice a life unnecessarily. Then, he felt Vortiger’s hand on his shoulder.

“Sometimes, the most difficult choices require the strongest wills,” he said.

Avalon looked back down. He knew Vortiger was right, but he still could not bring himself to do it. Just then, an idea popped in his head. Loosening his grip a little, he began to swing the rope back and forth. He planned to create enough momentum to swing his friends back onto the mountainside. As he began to pick up speed, he looked back down at the others.

“On the count of three, I going hurl your both back on the wall. When that happens, try to get a firm grip. Okay?” Margret and soldier both nod. They both held onto their rope tightly.

“Get Ready! 1,2,3!” On three, Avalon swung both of them with all his strength. The momentum he had made help propel Margret and the soldier back onto the mountainside. Then a split second, they both latch on and get a hold on the rocky edge. Margret felt her heart beating furiously in her chest, but she was alive. Seeing Margret and the wendigo soldier back on the mountain, Avalon yells back to Amytnas that all is well. With everything back to normal, the climbing resumed.

After an hour’s pass, they finally reached the cave entrance. Amyntas got up first, followed Richard, then Decimus, and then everyone else. To their surprise, the cave was reasonably large, able to accommodate them. As everyone back to unpack, the champions, along with Avalon and Vortiger, went over the plan once more.

“Alright, this is it, the big moment. Do we have all we need?” said Amyntas. Avalon handed Richard the “moonstone.” The copy looked precisely like the original. They just hope that Kairos would be easily fooled. Placing the stone in his pocket, Richard unpacked his bag and handed the other champions black monk robes.

These robes belonged to Lord Ares men, and that was exactly who they all wanted to pretend to be. Besides, they also help cover their armor and weapons. As they got dressed, Richard was breathing very heavy and felt sweat all over his face. Saying he was nervous was an understate. He was terrified. In the past, he was often able to lie and cheat European lords, and even escape certain death. However, Kairos was no European lord. He could spot a liar very easily. Soon thoughts of doubt begin to flood his mind.

“What if things go wrong? What if....what if he knows about the plan? What then?”

“We improvise,” said Amyntas. Before he had a chance to respond, he then felt Mori’s hand on his shoulder.

“You have gotten us out of worse situations in the past. I have faith you can get us out of this.”

“Thanks,” said Richard.

“And if things do go wrong, Tyra will blow her horn and call in the cavalry,” said Decimus.

After the pep talk, they were ready to enact their plan. Avalon and Vortiger stayed behind with Margret and the others.

“Be safe,” Margret said to the champions. With a deep breath out, Richard, accompanied by Mori, Kanatakon: ha and his “escorts,” began their walk into the cave. They followed Richard to the secret passage, which then led them to a natural stairway.

Walking up the spiral steps, they found an iron gate with a lock-in their way. Pulling out one of his knives, Richard picked at the lock until he managed to open in. Removing the rusted item, he pushed open the door.

CREEEEEEEK went the door. The noise echoed throughout the cave. Richard grimace and hoped no one from above heard them. Pushing the door out of their way, they continued their walk. After a while, they see what appears to be light towards the end of the cave. Richard explained that they were about to enter the courtyard.

“Here goes nothing,” said the Englishmen. With a few more steps, the champions exited the cave and were right in the fortress’s dead center, where a host of enemy soldiers soon greeted them. They were all armed to the teeth and pointed their spears at them. Amyntas wanted to draw out his sword, but Richard told him to trust in the plan. Letting go of his sword, Richard tried to play off his cavalier attitude.

“What the hell kind of welcoming is this,” he said. “Is this any way to treat a friend of the crown?”

Just then, a massive individual emerged from the crowd. He towered over the mercenary and stared at him with a cold glare. It was Zeus.

“You are not a friend Richard, let alone welcomed here,” said the mighty warlord. Richard simply looks up and gives Zeus an uncaring expression.

“Well, this friend would like to speak with Kairos.” He began to walk past the winged individual when the shaft of a spear blocked his way.

“What’s ruffling your feathers,” sneered Richard.

“You are overstepping your limits human. You do not order anyone here.”

“Not unless I have something he wants.” Richard reached into his pouch and pulled out the stone. Zeus’s eyes widen.

“Hand it over,” he barked. Richard wagged a finger in front of him.

“Uh uh, first take me to Lord Kairos. I would like to have a word with him.” Growling with irritation, the warlord orders his men to stand down and escort the human to the throne room and inform Lord Kairos. So far, the plan was going well. Now they were in.

Walking ahead of the large company of soldiers, Richard and the others saw the two mighty marble doors in front of them. They knew behind those doors was the man they were summoned to defeat. Knowing he could not show any fear, Richard pushed the mighty the doors inward and walked in the throne room.

“Oh Kairos, I’m home,” said Richard in a high pitch voice.

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