Chapter 2 - The End of the World
The Training Room
“Again!” I shouted.
The shades in front of me picked up their fallen weapons and advanced. The others expended so much energy already that they lost the flesh that was given to them by my magic and they reverted back into the transparent, silver form of shades.
I stretched my hand and willed more magic to flow from me and into them. Silver shadows emerged from my fingertips and bonded itself to the shades. Slowly, they became flesh again.
When everything was set, I gripped my sword with both hands and waited for them to advance. They all did at the same time. I sidestepped the first thrust and parried with my sword the attacks from the right. I used by elbow and jabbed the nearest one behind me while I trapped his hand.
He went sprawling backwards and I found an escape route before the others closed in. I ran towards the nearest boulder and leapt on top of it. This way, I have a vantage point. I ducked and avoided my head being cut. Then, I crouched low and kicked. The shade fell and that’s when I buried my sword in his chest. His borrowed flesh disintegrated and from the corner of my eye, I saw his silvery form exit the arena to stand beside the closest wall.
For a few more minutes, I ducked, parried, attacked, rolled and everything else. My arms burned from the effort and I was out of breath. But I loved fighting. It was my greatest distraction and a way for me to fast forward time.
And then suddenly, none came towards me.
It was over.
I took a deep breath and exhaled. I ran my fingers through my hair and it came out slick with sweat. A servant approached me and handed me a towel and a glass of ice-cold water. I drank the water first and then wiped away the sweat from my face, neck, and chest.
Then, I faced my opponents. They stepped away from the walls and formed ranks. They bowed to me and I bowed as well.
“Thank you,” I told them. The training session was over. The rocky terrain vanished and it was replaced by the plain, marble walls of the training room. The shades also vanished one by one.
They were the best warriors when they were still alive. And in the afterlife, most of them were stuck in the Fields of Asphodel for they have to pay penance for some of their sins. Those were probably minor sins because those who commited grave sins were sent to Tartarus.
By fighting with me or responding to summons when we needed warriors, they were able to shorten their sentence in the Fields of Asphodel. Once they’ve served the necessary time, they’ll be sent to the Fields of Elysium and enjoy their afterlife there.
“My prince, your father wishes to speak with you,” the servant told me.
“Where is he?”
“Please tell him I’ll see him as soon as I finish my shower.”
The servant nodded and then vanished. I braced myself and teleported to my room in the palace. Then, I showered away all the sweat, dust, and grime of the day’s training session. My muscles ached and the pain was a welcome distraction. If not, I’d spend my time here thinking about her again.
And I can’t afford to devote all my time to her even if she was my fated. I am the prince of the Underworld and with it came so many duties. Everyone still thinks I don’t have any powers.
They don’t know that I have the power to control time. But with any type of power, it comes with consequences and limitations. First, the longer I travel backwards, the higher the toll on my power. Second, I can’t go forward and see the future. Probably because as the fates always say, the future isn’t set in stone. One small choice can change the future in the blink of an eye.
Also, consequences. I can go back in time but I have to be careful not to change a lot of things. One wrong move and I might end up not being born or some scary shit like that.
But hmm… Perhaps one day I could use this power to my advantage and get my fated.
I sighed and tried to clear my head from other distracting thoughts. Quickly, I got dressed. If there was one thing my father hated, it was being asked to wait. I prepared myself to teleport to the courtyard when I felt all my hair stand on end.
“Prince of the Underworld… we would like to summon you to our realm.”
My fists clenched. I know those voices. It was from none other than the fates.
“Why?” I asked. “I’ve paid my debt to you, Fates.”
I got in trouble with the Fates once.
I saved a friend from dying.
I went back in time to stop at accident. But the Fates found out. These old ladies know eveything, apparently. And they told me it was truly my friend’s time to die. By saving him, I altered a huge chunk of the future.
And for that I had to be punished.
I waited for quite some time about what punishment they were going to dish out. I was also nervous because I thought they would expose my powers to all the gods and goddesses.
But they just asked for a favor instead.
And that favor I already paid when they asked me to stop time so they could talk to Hera before her grand decision to bring back Zeus.
I actually thought it was going to be more than that.
“It is important. The fate of the world is at stake, Aidon. Come quickly,” they implored.
Were they always this dramatic?
Perhaps this won’t really last long. So I decided to go.
“Be with you soon, dad.” I sent these words telepathically to my father and then prepared myself to teleport to the Fates’ realm.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the relief on the tear-stained faces of the Fates. At seeing them like this, my brows furrowed. The aura of fear and desperation was thick in the air.
What the hell happened?
“Aidon we don’t have time to explain… But listen carefully. The gods… we are not alone in this world. There are others like us. They are also called myths but they are real.”
“Wait. What?” I said as he took a step closer.
This wasn’t what I was expecting at all!
I thought at first that maybe I fucked up their tapestry again and they had to ask me for another favor or something. And I wasn’t really keen on giving them any favors because of what they did to me and Helen.
But to get a mythology lesson out of the blue?
Suddenly, the room started to shake. I flung my hand and deflected a rock that almost fell on top of me. The shaking intensified and I saw that this cavern won’t be able to withstand this for much longer.
“Fates, we have to go!”
The Fates shook their heads. Their eyes were filled with tears and the look they sent me seemed like they were beseeching me to listen.
“Erebus… He’s found a way to eliminate us all! Without us he’d have nothing to stop him and his plans!” Clotho shouted.
Her voice could barely be heard over the room slowly collapsing. The ground continued to shake and the loom started to tip sideways. Several mortal threads snapped and I gasped. Erebus was wreaking havoc on the mortal world and a lot of innocent mortals were dying!
“Fates… I have to go! I have to help!” I shouted.
Three pairs of eyes were now watching the loom. I looked at the loom as well and it was just in time to see several threads snap. But these weren’t mortal threads. They were more vibrant and thicker. I knew at once that they belonged to immortals.
“What’s happening?!” I cried.
I teleported beside the Fates and waved my hand as a large rock fell from the ceiling. It smashed against the wall and broke into a thousand pieces. I channeled my powers and envisioned a small dome on top of us. It flickered at first and then solidified into a shield. Rocks that fell from the ceiling disintegrated upon contact.
“Aidon… Listen carefully,” Atropos said as she held my hand.
“There are other gods like us. There are other realms such as ours. We are only one of several. Erebus found a way to visit this other realms. We think he’s been able to get his hands on power the likes of which we’ve never seen.”
“Titans?” I hissed.
“No. Something older. More primordial,” Atropos answered.
Honestly, I had no idea what they were talking about. But every word they said felt heavy and somewhat… final.
“What is it? What can I do to stop it?”
“We know that there is another set of gods. Powerful. They exist in another realm. Erebus has found a way to tap into their power. We don’t know what. But he has the power to kill us now…”
I knew that. I saw the threads snap.
“...There exists another realm called Ilyia where the gods have the knowledge on how to kill each other. It may be an untapped power. It may be an artifact. We don’t know! We only see bits and pieces.”
As Lachesis answered, more and more threads were cut from the loom. She was now hysterical. She knelt on the ground as she wrung the hem of her gown. Her eyes were glassy and tears kept rolling down her cheeks.
“Fates, we have to go!” I shouted. I could feel the shield collapsing. It may vanish at any second.
“No. We’ll stay here. This is what’s been written. We are to die here. Today.”
“Find this knowledge, Aidon. Find a way to save us all. The knowledge is contained in a scroll. The last it’s been seen was during the Trojan War. Zeus and the others disposed of it. But there may be other copies. Erebus may have gotten his hands on that.”
“I don’t understand… And even if I could, I don’t know if I can go back in time when it’s thousands of years ago! I haven’t done anything like that before!”
“Focus, Aidon! We don’t have much time. Listen and listen carefully. You are the only one who has the power to turn back time. You can go back and set everything right. And take this.” Clotho handed me a bottle which had a clear liquid which was luminous.
I shook it and the liquid suddenly transformed to powder. It looked like white sand now.
“What is this?”
“Meddling with time brings enough damage as it is. Every one who will see you will remember and this will impact the future. A paradox will ensue and everything might go wrong. Don’t tell anyone too much about the future. Hide your identity,” Clotho instructed.
“If ever you succeed in finding the artifact and setting everything right, smash this bottle before you leave. It will make everyone forget everything about you and what happened when you were there.”
I took the bottle and placed it inside my pocket. Everything was still a blur right now but I will process all these information later. What was important was that I learned as much as I could.
Suddenly, I heard the boom of thunder. It was so loud that it shook the entire cavern again.
I stilled. From the corner of my eye, I saw more threads snap. This time it was the previously intertwined electric-blue and crimson thread. Those were the exact same threads that were intertwined at Zeus and Hera’s wedding.
Knowing they were gone felt like it was a severe blow to my chest. It left me feeling empty.
“Noooo….” I whispered.
The ground shook once more and I felt Hades’ power in the air. I had to help! I stood up and prepared to teleport but the Fates grabbed my hand. I could not summon my power to leave.
“Please. I have to help!” I shouted.
“It’s too late. They will all soon be dead. Go now, Aidon. You will be hidden by the past. Erebus doesn’t have the power to go back through time. Go! You are our only hope!”
For a moment, I was stunned.
My parents, gone?
No… Please no… This can’t be happening!
“Be strong, Aidon. If you don’t do what we ask… the destruction you see all around you will be the end of everything we know. You are the only one with the power to change all this,” Atropos told me.
I nodded to them. But by know, my own tears were falling down my cheeks.
“How do I know if I’ve succeeded?” I asked.
“Take this,” Lachesis said.
She pushed a sandglass in my hand.
The mirror of the glass showed what was happening to Olympus. My knees buckled as I saw the scene unfold.
Olympus was gone.
It was nothing but rubble. The green grass was stained gold with the blood of the immortals. I saw a flash of scarlet in the distance. He looked closer and saw that it was Hera’s gown. Beside her lay Zeus. His blue eyes stared straight ahead, unblinking. Hera’s were as well. They were holding each other’s hand as they took their last breath.
“No… This can’t be happening,” he whispered.
“If the scene changes, you’ll know you’ve succeeded,” Lachesis explained.
I couldn’t look away from the glass. I saw huge waves in the oceans as Poseidon fought. The ground shook and the skies were dark filled with lightning. The winds howled and a tempest was in their midst.
And suddenly, the waves calmed.
The scene on the glass shifted to the Underworld. My heart broke all over again as I saw my mother’s broken body lying at the foot of the throne. My father fought but like the others, he too, fell. The moment he fell, all the shades wailed. It was so loud that we had to cover our ears. The gates of the Underworld opened and shades poured out into the mortal realm.
The doors of Tartarus also opened and I could feel the Titans stirring from their prison.
The scene shfited again and I saw Eleftheria. There was nothing but blood and destruction as the last of our Titan allies tried to battle Erebus. The result was the same… they all died.
I stood when he felt Erebus’ power in the air. I prepared myself to fight but remembered what the Fates said. I would be no use in this battle. If Zeus and the others fell, then I didn’t even stand a chance.
The best thing I could do to help would go back in time and try to find those scrolls.
“Go now! Go back in time and find a way to end all this!” the Fates shouted.
With a heavy heart, I gathered my power—every single drop of it that was coursing through me.
Time was of the essence. Erebus was arriving soon. I teleported just in time to see Erebus appear from the shadows and plunge a silver dagger on Clotho’s chest. I heard a loud thud as her body hit the loom which then tipped sideways and broke into several pieces. More threads snapped.
“Find a way on..”
Atropos’ last words still echoed on the walls of the cavern as I left the realm of the Fates.
“…how to defy fate…”