Hecate prepared herself to approach the threat that faced the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus. Their immortal lives were in danger and no one knew the source of the threat or how to defeat it. Their children were rising against them. The cyclops, the humans, the gorgons, the centaurs, even the minotaur taking turns attacking Olympus. The demi-gods were attempting to protect their home and parents, but slowly even they were being turned against them.
Hecate had finally tracked down her wayward cousin and Circe had admitted to casting a spell. The same admittance she had drawn from Medea, the Telkhines, and even a few of her faithful worshippers. They all cast the same spell, for the same reason. A powerful being who had threatened them with one story or another.
Hecate was furious. She was the Goddess of magic among other titles that she shared with other goddesses, but magic was one she alone possessed, and this being dared to ask her followers to cast a spell? They would face her wrath, they would pay for the threat they have created, and they would pay for their disrespect.
“The lovely Hecate, how may I help you today?”
She gave a smile that bordered on cruel and took a step forward, “I have come for an apology.”
“Hecate?” The questioning voice served to fuel her ire.
“You have chosen those beneath me to serve you. You have overstepped your bounds and betrayed me.”
“My dear, dear Hecate. I would hardly deem myself worthy of your notice, I have honored you above all others. To have offended you was never my intention and I appeal to your sensibilities to allow me to correct this mistake.”
She raised her head and took a moment to think, she settled her weight onto one side. After a long pause she allowed her eyes to fall upon the other figure in the room. She eased forward slightly and levelled her gaze upon the being.
“A grave mistake, but one you may be able to take upon yourself. I will allow the magic to continue. And you shall search for a way to repay my kindness. My person and the persons of all my followers and those loyal to me shall remain unaffected by the curse you have created.”
The figure gave her a knowing smile, “Your kindness shall not be forgotten. When my mission is complete, you will stand before me as you do now. You will be as you are and those loyal to you will remain as such.”
Hecate gave him a nod and turned to leave the room, her mission complete. A thought ran across her mind and stood still for a moment before speaking, never turning her eyes back to the other occupant. Heard or not her words would ring true and eternal.
“Your curse will serve the purpose you intended. The Gods and Goddesses will fall from their immortal thrones. The laws of the Gods will be forced and bended. And your name will be forever known.”
She stepped from the room, leaving the figure and lowering her voice. Knowing the room was empty and her words unheard she spoke again. Her voice carrying the hurt and anger that still raced through her body.
“But the Gods and Goddesses shall once again be mended. Their power and knowledge will have ten-fold grown. When they rise and join together once again, your reign shall be ended. This tapestry shall be finished, and your final thread cut and sewn.”
With a final, scathing for the now empty room, Hecate finished her curse with a slash of her hand. Her cloak folded close to her once again, she stood silently as the skies rumbled, the earth quaked, and the seas roared. She had a hold in every corner of the world, and no one would dare to betray her again.
Athena stood before the Gods and Goddesses. She carried with her the knowledge and magic that would save them from the threat before them.
“We have battled this unknown threat and we have struggled to overcome. Soon, we shall fail. The children of our blood have turned against us. We will fall and the threat will take over.”
The voices of the Gods raised themselves in anger, the horror of surrender or defeat clear upon their everlasting faces. Athena waited with patience until the cacophony came to a simmer and her voice could once again be heard.
“If we stay, if we fight, we will fall. I have, however, been assured that we have a chance. Before each of you, I have placed an amphora. These have been charmed to be unbreakable, eternal, and to serve a specific purpose. Should you choose, you have the option to preserve your essence.”
The voices raised again, but they were over run by a single voice, “Is this preservation supposed to save us? Will we still reign as the ruling force of this universe?”
Athena shook her head, “My apologies, Zeus, but I’m afraid that is no longer a possibility. Preserving our essence will give us a chance to try again. The chance to come to form again as a mortal and reclaim our home and world. This is Hecate’s blessing upon them and ourselves.”
Zeus raised his chin and shook his head, “I refuse. I am an immortal, no matter how are children betray us, I shall remain as such. I refuse to abandon that for a supposed future as a mortal.”
Demeter stood, “I would rather be able to influence the world as a mortal in the future, then lie helpless in pieces. If Hecate assures us of the reality of this charm, then I shall be willing to abide by her rule.”
Hecate gave her assurance, “The charm is as Athena has stated. The amphora’s are unbreakable, unaffected by time or touch. The liquid inside can only be released by the original donor and nothing else shall affect it. Every few generations there will be an alignment of stars and worlds which will enable the rebirth of all who donate their blood.”
All eyes turned to the goddess and thoughts echoed in the silence as the Immortals faced their fate and chose their destiny.
“Be warned that your memories will not follow easily into your new form. You will be raised as a mortal and you will die as a mortal. Athena has chosen a mortal to carry your secrets. Each Amphora that is filled will be added to the record. The mortal who carries the burden upon your rebirth will be tasked with finding you, protecting you, and teaching you of who you are. Should they succeed you will have the option of drinking your essence and restoring your immortality.”
Athena raised her own arm after the silence had overstayed it’s welcome. Drawing a dagger from her side she sliced her wrist and spoke.
“I will spill my own blood first. Courage is fighting through your fear, wisdom is choosing the battle ground, and strength is accepting that sometimes the best strategy is to retreat. I have made my choice.”
As her ichor slowed she waved her hand and healed her wrist, “When everyone has chosen, we are all to hide our amphora’s. Tell no one of your hiding place. There you will allow your ichor to flow until it ends and you shall disappear to be reborn at the next opportunity.”
She placed the lid on her amphora and stood tall looking out among her peers, “Who will join me?”
Demeter was the first to stand and the first to join Athena, “I will follow your judgement and continue to watch as the seasons change and the crop harvested.”
Persephone stood and her husband followed with only the slightest hesitation, “We will also join you and continue to watch over those who have passed.”
Heracles stepped back from the table and moved to stand by his father, “I fought long and hard for my immortality. No threat will prevent me from remaining so.”
One by one, the Gods and Goddesses chose their path. Athena looked sadly out among those who had chosen to stay and fight. Brothers, sisters, family, and those she had fought with all stared back at her. Many of the deified mortals had chosen to stand with their King. Only Psyche had joined her husband in slitting her wrist.
Next to her stood only a scant few in comparison. She nodded to the friends and family that she would most likely never see again and gripped her own amphora in a strong grasp and rose.
“I sincerely hope that none ever come to regret the decision they make today. Hecate as assured me that her magic is true. I will see all of those who join me soon. Together we shall rise to defeat this unknown enemy, in a better time, at a better battle field.”
With a few well wishes to individuals the gods and goddesses gripped their own amphoras and lifted them from the table. Without hesitation they moved towards the far corners of the earth and hid their treasures. With deep breaths they all raised their knives. Lovers shared last looks and final breaths before they allowed their ichor to flow.
In the land of the Gods a single figure raised his face to the heavens and let out a long, echoing laugh.
The Gods and Goddesses had fled, the remaining had fallen or chosen to align themselves with the new order. And without much fuss the law of the land shifted, the many deities were forgotten and placed to the side, practiced in secret and without mention.
Eventually only a handful of people worshiped those who had fallen, hoping endlessly for their return and an end to this insanity.