The Gathering

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Chapter 36

“Just like old times,” said Richard, cutting an enemy soldier down with his sword.

“Define old,” said Mori, blocking a spear strike with his rifle. The fighting in the courtyard was brutal and violent. Soldiers from both sides of the battlefield suffered heavy losses. For every ten wendigos dead, another ten enemy soldiers followed with them. As for the champions, they were putting up one hell of a fight. Those with shields formed a small triangular barrier around Margret to protect her.

Amyntas, Decimus, and Tyra made sure no soldier got near her. The young spartan would be lying if he said he was not secretly enjoying the carnage. This was far better than the battle of Platea. While he hacked, slashed, and stabbed away, he was unaware of an archer aiming his arrow at him just above the ramparts. He was too caught up in the moment.

The soldier then looses the arrow, and with a zip, the arrow flies through the air. It would have killed the young soldier if he was not covered entirely in a suit of armor. The arrowhead taps the back of his helmet, causing Amyntas to turn around. Grunting in annoyance, he picks up a fallen spear and throws it at the archer. The powerful sends the projectile dead-center in the soldier’s heart as he then falls to the floor.

Though Amyntas had killed an enemy from behind, he had taken his gaze from the front. Just then, he feels someone grab his shield and throw him across the floor. On his back, he quickly defends himself as an enemy soldier lunges on top of him, trying to stab him with a dagger. The two men struggle, trying to take advantage. Amyntas then finds himself pin and sees the soldier ready to kill him. Just then, there is a feral growl.

“Get off him!” snarled Cynbel as she tackles the soldier off Amyntas. She then proceeded to bite down on his neck and rip out his jugular. The Celt spits out the piece of flesh and whips her bloodstain mouth.

“Thanks for the save,” said Amyntas.

“Someone’s got to watch your back,” replied Cynbel with a blood grin. The two then head back into battle. Back with Decimus and Tyra, they hold their own against the enemy. As a necessary precaution, the roman soldier tells Margret to find a place to hide. Before she could do so, the trio see soldiers, both wendigo and Kairos, go flying in the air.

Making his way to the humans was Hephaestus wielding his oversize war hammer. He was by far the largest of the warlords, measuring in over twenty feet. This burly, disfigured warlord slowly lumbered towards them and made eye contact with Margret. The warlord soon picked up his stride and swung his hammer up.

Getting in the way, Decimus raised his shield above his head. Then, with an earth-shattering strike, Hephaestus slams his hammer down. The sheer shock from the blow runs throughout his body and forces the Roman to fall to one knee. Despite his shaking, he still managed to block the strike. Taking the opportunity, Tyra escorts Margret back to the secret entrance. Suddenly, Hephaestus takes one of his tools from his belt and throws it at the ladies. The metal objects knock the two of them down.

“Tyra,” shouted Decimus. The Roman tries to get up, only to get kicked in the stomach. Decimus is sent back, flying to a wall. His armor managed to take some blunt, but he still had the wind kicked out of him. With him down, the war god continues his approach towards the two females.

Tyra was first to get and just in time, too, as Hephaestus reared his massive paw at Margret, who was still down. The shieldmaiden slashes at the hand. It did nothing except leave little cuts on the giant’s hand. While Tyra fended off the angry giant, Decimus had managed to recover somewhat.

Still reeling from the kick, he noticed something around the giant’s neck. It appeared to be an iron lock with a chain in the back. This gets an idea forming in his head. Grabbing his shield, he put away his sword and charge directly at the giant’s legs. Putting all his weight forward, he slams himself at one of the legs. In turn, this forces the giant to jolt a little bit, giving Tyra time to escort Margret away.

Decimus put his shied behind his back with the giant distracted and began to climb the lumbering tower. Narrowly missing the hands of the warlord, the roman reaches the last link of the chain. Propping his feet up against a section of the giants back, he began to pull. Hephaestus soon began to feel a tightness around his neck. Pulling hard on the chain, Decimus saw the giant hands approaching him. He dodges them as best as possible, but he knew it was only a matter of time until he was caught.

Back with Tyra, thanks to Decimus’s distraction, the Viking was able to escort Margret back into the cave. Once she knew she was safe, Tyra returned to the battlefield. Looking upwards, she saw the Roman.

“Decimus, what the hell are you doing?” she shouted.

“What does it look like? Trying to kill this bastard!” he shouted back. Because of the Roman, Hephaestus was stumbling backward, soon becoming a hazard for both armies. Tyra avoided the giant’s steps.

“This bastard is going to kill everyone here, you need to take him down,” said Tyra.

“What the hell do you think I’m trying to do? If you want to help, cut his heels and cripple this thing,” he replied. Using her sword, Tyra hacked away at the giant’s heels. However, the heels of Hephaestus were thick, and as hard as iron, it would take time to cut through the skin. That’s when she got an idea. Instead of cutting the heels, Tyra stabbed into the tendons.

Then, behind the leg again, she tore a piece of leather from her clothing and wrapped her hands in it before grabbing the blade’s edges. With her strength, she pulled the sword backward and tore the tendon apart. Her damage soon caused the giant to scream in pain and fall to one knee. She then repeated the other leg’s process, and soon the giant was down on both knees.

Yet even with both legs useless, the giant was still a danger. Decimus knew that one more strike to Hephaestus would do the trick. He then turns to his right and saw Mori and Kanatakon: ha fighting atop the ramparts.

“Mori, Sparrow, over here,” said Decimus. The samurai and Mohawk both look over and see the Roman.

“Mori, throw one of your bombs at its face,” he yelled. Reaching into his pouch, the samurai pulled out one grenado and lit the fuse. As he was about to throw, he soon realized that the bomb would not detonate in time. That’s when Sparrow said that he would fire at the bomb just before it hit Hephaestus’ face. Agreeing with the plan, the samurai aimed his shot before throwing.

With a mighty heave, Mori threw the explosive high into the air. Grabbing his rifle, Sparrow chambered another round and kept the bomb in his sights. Just before the bomb neared the giant’s face, the Mohawk pulled the trigger and fired off a shot. The bullet flew through the air and, with marksmen precision, hit the outside of the grenado, and in a sheer flash, iron fragments and fire went everywhere.

The explosion sent pieces of debris into the giant’s eyes as he was soon blinded. As he roared in pain, Decimus took his chance. With one last heave, he pulled hard on the chain. The iron collar pulled on the giant’s neck once again, but this time, Hephaestus was unable to react correctly as he was too preoccupied with his eyes in pain. Suddenly, the collar pulled tightly on his neck, causing the giant to choke.

Trying to remove the collar, the giant was too late as he began to lose consciousness. Decimus yelled excitedly, but that soon changed as he realized that the giant was suddenly falling backward. Looking behind him, he takes a chance and leaps off. His bet pays off as he lands on a company of enemy soldiers. As he looks up, he sees the giant falling like a mighty tree being cut.

“Look out!” yelled a soldier. Both sides soon disengaged, hoping to avoid being crushed to death. Then, with a loud boom, the mighty Hephaestus fell to the ground dead. With the giant slain, many wendigos began to cheer and believed victory was theirs, yet the battle was still young.

As for the remaining warlords, Zeus was furious. With Hephaestus dead, the warlords were running low on soldiers. That’s when Zeus called upon his Valkyries.

“Rain fire on them,” he growled.

“But my lord, our troops,” said a Valkyrie. Zeus glares at the soldier hard.

“Just do it!” he barked. Knowing best to follow, the head Valkyrie calls upon her sisters and soon flies high into the air. Once the past the roofs of the castle, the point their spears high into the sky. Back on the ground, Zeus raises his hands above his head, with sparks of electricity emanating.

Then, bolts of lightning shoot from his hands and up into the clouds. The lighting passes through the Valkyries as they began to absorb the energy. Fully charged, they transfer their energy into the tips of their spears and combine them to form one massive ball of energy.

This ball of energy began to hum loudly, and before anyone on the ground realized it, bolts of electricity started raining down on the soldiers below. True to his words, Zeus rained fire upon everyone, including their men. The bolts were random, and soldiers desperately tried to avoid them, only to get hit and vaporized in seconds. Fearing for their men, Amyntas yells out for everyone to raise their shields.

The wendigos and other champions obeyed the order and hid behind their shields. Decimus, Tyra, Richard, and everyone felt the pressure of the bolts bouncing off of them. After several lightning barrages, the battleground was covered in smoke and dust. With the dust soon settling, Amyntas asks if everyone is OK. They all tell him that they were.

Lowering their shields, the heroes soon realized that they were now surrounded. During the attacks, the warlords summoned their top enforces: Hera’s Amazons, Poseidon’s Atlantian’s, Hermes assassins, and lastly, Zeus’s Valkyries.

Stepping into view, the mighty lighting warlord bellows out an ultimatum to the champions.

“Spartan, tell you, men, to lay down their weapons.” Amyntas turns to his comrades and friends. Without saying a word, they gave him their answer. He then turns back to Zeus and replies.

“Come and get them!”

The battle re-ensued once more.

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