The three friends walked through the Door and went from the pleasant temperature on Olympus to a temperature so hot that James and Aislinn nearly passed out as the exited the swirling portal. The room they were now in wasn’t like any of the other places the three had been to so far. They were in sort of cave system. The floor and walls were rounded and smooth and shone orange with the glow from the light that was coming up through the numerous vent-like holes in the floor. At the back of the room was a large coal-burning furnace, an old blacksmiths furnace. Along the back wall on the left were racks of assorted weapons and other instruments of the wound inducing variety.
As soon as he had made it through to the other side, James immediately started tugging on the collar of his short-sleeved blue shirt. “Have we stepped into a volcano or something? It’s boiling in here.”
“Yes actually, you have.”
James turned towards the voice and saw tall muscular man with a pronounced limp, walking towards them. His face was rough looking and red, but friendly. He was bald, but had a thick black beard. Intelligent green eyes shone out from behind a pair of goggles. He wore a short purple tunic with no sleeves, and black pants. The right leg of which had a slit running up to just past the knee to allow room for the metal brace that was on his leg.
“Hey H. How goes the business?” Drake immediately made for the back wall to the weapons rack; he looked but didn’t touch. You didn’t touch anything in Hephaestus’ forge without permission, not if you wanted to keep all your limbs intact.
“Hello Drake, Nicole. Business, as you say, is well. I haven’t seen either of you in quite awhile; to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit? And who, may I ask, is your friend?”
Aislinn grinned at on of her oldest – and favourite – cousins and introduced him to James. “Hephaestus, meet James Morgan, another Godling we’ve met in the past week. James, meet Hephaestus, god of Craftsmanship, Fire, and Volcano’s.”
“Nice to meet you,”
“And as to your first question, big guy, we need a couple of weapons capable of harming a god…or three.”
He levelled his gaze at the two smiling friends, knowing their habits and personalities. “This isn’t for some form of prank that you plan on playing on one of your brothers is it, Nicole?”
“Of course not. Hephaestus, I’m hurt that you’d accuse me of such a thing.”
“I know you too well, little one.”
“No, no pranks this time H. We need weapons to go and take down a couple of gods who are trying to rise above their station.”
“Oh what’s happening?”
“You need to get out more, cousin. Thanatos and his brothers are trying to take over the world, by turning it into one giant Underworld. Since you guys can’t interfere directly, Zeus has asked us to get rid of the problem before it gets out of hand.”
“We haven’t sent anyone out on a quest in many, many years.” He paused in thought for a minute, and then strode briskly towards the back well. Drake quickly got out of the way, “I didn’t touch anything, I swear.”
He just gave the young god a reproachful look before pulling on an unlighted torch that was hanging on the wall. A piece of the wall rolled aside to the left of the weapons shelf, revealing a hidden hallway. He grabbed another torch that was next to the opening, as soon as he had removed it from its sconce it lit up. Hephaestus had to duck down to fit through the door; he motioned for the three to follow him. Aislinn went first followed by James. Drake brought up the rear, a ball of blue fire hovering in his upraised right hand.
The walls were just like the outer room, round and smooth, but there were no vents or torches to light up the slightly cramped hall, and they had to rely on the light from Hephaestus’ torch and Drake’s fire. After walking for a five minutes the tunnel-like hall opened up into what seemed to be a large, spacious room; their footsteps echoed around them. The room was dark until Hephaestus said something in another language – James was guessing it was Greek – and all around the room torches lit up, lighting up the room. Instead of being round like the previous rooms and halls, this room was all angles; there wasn’t a rounded edge anywhere, if only for easier storage of the multitude of weapons that were on the walls.
James hadn’t even known that that many weapons existed. He had no doubt that some of them were of the Smith gods’ own invention, but there were still a heck of a lot of weapons.
“Pick what weapon you wish, each of the weapons in this room is capable of harming a god.” Aislinn immediately walked over to a shelf that held smaller swords looking at each one carefully. Drake went to talk to Hephaestus, and a few moments later the older of the two gods created his own Door and disappeared through it. James, not really knowing what to do, wandered up and down the walls of weapons, looking for something that felt right to him.
After wandering up and down the shelf full of swords, Aislinn stopped in front of a shelf that held different designs of dual swords. She regarded them all carefully, but her eyes kept being drawn to a particular pair. The blades, like all of the blades, were made of bronze, fired and worked till it was practically indestructible. The hilt was made of bronze as well, and upon closer inspection Aislinn realized that the hilt and blade of both swords were one piece of metal. The hilts were wrapped with black leather for a comfortable and non-slip grip. The only intricate part of either sword was the pommel; there was a circle of metal with a stone set in the center, though it didn’t go through to both sides. The opposite side of the pommels was plain except for a cloud and a lightning bolt.
She grinned at took both blades from their places on the shelf to test their balance and how they felt in her hands. Her smile widened as she held them. They felt like they had been made for her. She went through a quick pattern dance testing out how they might feel in a combat situation. The dance ended with a downward slash with both blades. They bit into the ground chipping away some of the stone, but with no damage being done to the blades themselves.
“I thought you’d pick those ones.”
Aislinn looked over her shoulder and up at her tall cousin, “When did you make these?”
“A few years ago, I decided to make weapons that would work with each god’s, or goddesses, different ability. These would work just as well for your father as they would for you. The stone on the pommel is a Pietersite stone, the stone of the storms. The blades have been tempered in the most violent storms I could find. They will conduct electricity very well, which should be helpful for you.”
Aislinn could see the pride that Hephaestus had in each of his weapons. “They’re beautiful swords Hephaestus, thank you. I’ll make sure I use them well, and that I return them to you in one piece.”
“That would be appreciated, little one. Here,” he held out a hand and two scabbards appeared which he handed to Aislinn. “Now, let’s go help young James locate a weapon that will work for him, he seems to be having some trouble.”
Aislinn attached them to the belt that was around her waist, the hung down in an X behind her legs, she took a few experimental steps to make sure that they wouldn’t hamper her movement, before turning to Hephaestus with a grin. “Well this is all new to him; I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t know what a third of these weapons were, let alone that they existed.”
“I heard that Aislinn.”
“I know what most of these are, I’ve just never seen them for real before, only in books.” He was still wandering the shelves, but Hephaestus noticed that his gaze kept wandering back to the shelves of Bows.
“You should go with your instincts when picking a weapon, young one.”
“Huh?” James looked over at the god in confusion.
“You wander, but you keep looking at the Bows. Go with what your instincts are telling you, they will rarely if ever lead you wrong.”
“Unless you’re Ares,” Drake said drawing a laugh out of Aislinn, which she quickly turned into a cough when she met Hephaestus’ gaze.
He turned his stern look on Drake, “I would not insult the god of War, young Prince, especially if you are preparing for one.”
“Ah, good point H.”
James picked up a rather simple looking bow, turning it over and over in his hands. He looked back up at the shelf as if looking for something. Hephaestus reached into his pocket and handed James what he pulled out of it; it was a braided black string. “Here, this bows string is made from the hair of Balius, one of the immortal horses of Achilles. They will not break.”
James nodded his thanks, and then to the astonishment of his friends, strung the bow as if it was the easiest thing in the world. He looked up at the two of them and gave a slightly embarrassed smile. “Four years of Archery lessons when I lived in Toronto.”
Hephaestus summoned the quiver and arrows that went with the bow that James had picked out and handed it to him. The quiver was made of soft animal hide that had been dyed a silvery-blue. The metal around the top and bottom edge – holding the quivers shape – was silver and engraved with the moon in its various phases. “This quiver never runs out of arrows, you will always have at least five arrows in there at a time. So do not worry about being conservative.”
“Thank you. I’ll take good care of it.”
“Excellent. Now that you have weapons, will you need armour as well? Actually, wait one moment I will return.” With that he disappeared through a Door and vanished.
Drake stared at the spot where Hephaestus had vanished for a few moments before saying, “Well I hope so, because I can’t create a Door out of here without your say so.”
Fifteen minutes later Drake, James, and Aislinn were once again in the Underworld looking for Thanatos, Hypnos and Moros.
Hephaestus had gone to get some special cloaks that he had been working on. They were a special fabric, you put it on over what ever you were wearing and it conformed to it, making itself look exactly like what you were already wearing except that it was armour. It would block arrows, and dull the blows of swords.
They returned to the place where they had been attacked and that Diana was kidnapped; to look for clues as to where they may have gone.
They searched around the immediate area first, retracing their footsteps and what had happened during their, severely, one sided scuffle with the three gods. Then they checked the surrounding area. Drake even went to check out the three brothers homes in the Underworld.
“Not a thing. Hypnos’ place looks normal, same with Moros’, but Thanatos’ place looks like he hasn’t been there in weeks. How long have they been planning this anyway?”
“I don’t know Drake. We’ll ask them when we find the sneaky buggers.”
“Right, you two keep looking, I’m going to call some Shades and that Hellhound, see if they can tell me anything.”
James and Aislinn nodded and wandered off to the far edge of the clearing, towards the banks of the river Styx.
Drake gave a sharp whistle and then using his blue fire spelt out the words “summon” and “shadow” in Greek the air in front of him, twice.
The Shades arrived first, followed seconds later by the Hellhound that had bitten him up in the Upper Realm. The hound flopped himself at Drakes feet and rolled onto his back, showing his stomach in a sign of submission, and to beg for a belly rub. He crouched down and idly scratched its stomach. He looked up at the two Shades; one was one he usually called when he needed information. The other was a newer Shade. He was dressed in the uniform of one of the US’ military divisions, Drake wasn’t sure which one, but the name on the tag read “Spec. J.L Stiles. Other than that Drake didn’t know much about them, and he doubted neither of them remembered their names. After drinking from the River Lethe Shades remember nothing of their life on earth.
“Have you two seen Thanatos, or his brothers, around here anywhere in the past few hours?”
They turned and spoke to one another for a few seconds, in whispering nonsense, before turning back to Drake and answering in tandem, “Nope sorry, haven’t seen ‘em.”
“Didn’t think so but I’d thought I’d ask. What about you?” He turned to look down at the ‘hound, which was enjoying the belly-rub.
He whimpered mournfully, upset that he couldn’t be of any help. Drake sighed in annoyance, having run out of leads, and ideas.
He looked up when one of the Shades tapped him on the shoulder. Once they were sure they had his attention the Shades once again spoke in unison, “Maybe you should ask Charon if he’s seen his brothers. Wouldn’t he have some sort of idea where they may be?”
Drake stared at the two Shades in shock for a few moments. “Okay that’s got to be the third time in as many hours that someone has pointed out the obvious to me. Thank you. Dismissed,” He waved a hand through the still burning words dispelling them. The two Shades bowed then vanished.
Drake stood up giving the ‘hound one last pat. “Come on, pup. Let’s go get Nike and James and pay Charon a little visit.” The hound rolled over and clambered to his feet, barking in excitement.
The three companions quickly made their way to the main crossing of the river Acheron. As they walked around the cliff they came within sight of the Gate of the Dead and Charon’s Ferry.
The ferry was a long, wide, flat skiff with five rows of benches for the Shades to sit on. There were ramps at the front and at the back of the skiff that could be lowered so the dead could get on and off the boat. At the part of the boat that was closest to the bank was a lantern on a staff that could be moved to either end depending on which way Charon was going.
The Ferryman himself was leaning back against the post that the skiff was tied to, taking a break from his assigned task.
“Hey Charon, can we talk to you for a second?”
Charon looked up when he heard Drake call out to him. He probably would have stayed where he was, if he hadn’t seen the weapons that the two Godlings and the young god were carrying. Drake had never seen the feeble looking immortal move so fast. He was on his feet and untying his boat before they could even think of stopping him.
In a brief moment of brilliance and stupidity all rolled into one James called out to the large hellhound, who had been eyeing Charon hungrily, “Cerberus! Sic’em!”
Cerberus just looked at the young Godling – whom he didn’t even know – like he was insane and was trying to decide whether or not he should eat him, and put him out of everyone’s misery. In the end he decided that he hated Charon more than he wanted to eat James, and in two large bounds he reached the escaping immortal. He reached down and the middle head carefully picked him up in his mouth. Then he trotted over to where the three friends were currently laughing their heads off using each other and the gate as support.
Cerberus sat down in front of Drake and with little ceremony let Charon drop the twenty feet to the ground. He fell and landed with a sharp crack, and before he could even think of getting away the three headed hound of Hades placed one massive paw on Charon’s back, effectively pinning him to the rocky ground below.
“Let go of me, you overgrown, walking throw rug!”
Aislinn tapped him sharply on the head with a fist, not a punch more a rapping of knuckles, but it still smarted. “Now, now, Charon, that’s now way to speak to a creature that could use you as a toothpick, now is it?”
He raised his head and glanced up at the evilly grinning Aislinn and Drake, the hound Drake had summoned was crouched low next to young god, snarling.
“Now, Ferryman, we have a few questions we want to ask you, and you’re going to answer them if you know what’s good for you.”
“Good job, Cerberus.” Drake scratched the giant ‘hounds left leg as Aislinn bodily moved Charon into a sitting position. In the hand that wasn’t scratching the large canine Drake had a ball of blue fire ready to throw at a moments notice, next to him James was covering Aislinn, one of the arrows nocked on his borrowed bow and trained at Charon.
“Now we only have a couple of questions to ask you, then we’ll let you go.” Aislinn explained as she took a couple of steps back, lighting curling around her right hand and arm, up to her elbow, the hound moved from Drake’s side and over to Aislinn’s. Since Drake was closer to Charon he didn’t want to risk getting electrocuted.
“Wh-what kind of questions?” He eyed the three warily, trying to keep an eye on the arrow pointed at his chest, the lightning bolt, and the ball of fire all at once. His eyes darted around rapidly looking back and forth between each teen, Cerberus, the small ‘hound, and their surroundings.
“Just a few simple questions, oh and Charon,” he looked up at Drake. “Don’t even think of trying to escape, or I’ll have Cerberus eat you and explain to Father why he has to get a new Ferryman later.”
“Right, no-no escaping. Questions, you have questions. Ask away!” They could see that they had made the elderly looking man nervous now, which they were hoping meant he was now more afraid of them than he was of his brothers. While his brothers may be stronger than they were, they would hesitate to kill their own brother. Drake had no such qualms.
“Good, first question. What are your brothers up to?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He glanced over at Aislinn when the lightning dancing up and down her arm became more intense. “I-I mean they’re up in the Upper Realm redecorating.”
That wasn’t what he had meant, but Drake decided to let it go for know. “Question two. What have they done to the Underworld?”
“Wh-what do you mean?”
“Why are Shades appearing up on earth?”
“I don’t – I don’t know how they did it.”
“You’re not lying to us now, are you Charon?”
“No, why would I lie to you?”
“To cover up for your brothers, I’d lie for my family. Are you sure you’re not lying? I’m only asking because Nike here is very upset right now. You see your brothers kidnapped a very good friend of ours, and since we can’t find your brothers…well you make a very good outlet. At least until we find your brothers.”
Charon looked between the two angry friends, seeing the calm detached expression on Drake’s face, and the extremely livid one on Aislinn’s. “They managed to change the flow of the River Styx. The Underworld and the Upper Realm is connected now, though I’m not entirely sure as to how they did it. The Shades have been showing up because the lines were getting blurry.”
“Good choice Charon. Now, we only have one more question.”
“Do you know where they are?”
“I haven’t seen any of my brothers in weeks; not long enough to talk to them anyways. You know how busy they are what with the wars going on; I hardly ever see Thanatos or Moros. And Hypnos is, well he’s Hypnos.”
“So if we were to ask you if you have any idea where they might be right now, your answer would be….”
“I have no clue.”
“None at all?”
Drake sighed, “I was afraid you’d say that. You want a crack at him Nike, or should we just let Cerberus have some fun?”
Aislinn seemed to think about it for a few seconds, before giving a dismissive wave of her hand. “I’d rather save my energy for his brothers, let Cerberus have him.”
“Right, you heard the lady Cerberus, shake him up a bit and see if you can’t jog anything loose.”
Cerberus’ tails wagged eagerly as his left head bent down and picked up the elderly immortal. “What, heyheyhey! Wait a second. I answered your questions, what are you doing!”
“Yes you answered our questions but we think you’re lying about something. Shake him up Cerberus.”
The two heads with nothing in their mouths barked and then the left head proceeded to shake the immortal violently in every direction.
James glanced up at Cerberus then over to Drake and Aislinn. “You guys aren’t going to actually kill him are you?” He asked his question quietly enough that it wouldn’t reach Charon’s ears, not that he would be able to hear it over his own screaming anyways. But he thought it was better to be safe than sorry.
Aislinn looked over at him, “No we won’t kill him, besides Zeus wants all four of them alive so he can punish them himself.”
“I still might let Cerberus eat him, though. Or at least let him use a leg as a chew toy.” He winced when Aislinn punched him in the shoulder, hard enough that it started to bruise immediately.
“As long as we’re not going to kill anybody, I didn’t sign up for that.”
“Don’t worry so much, Morgan. We may be extremely pissed off right now, but we would never kill anyone in cold blood. Hell I probably wouldn’t even kill someone unless they were trying to kill me.” Aislinn watched as Cerberus tossed Charon over to the far right head, which caught the back of his cloak easily and continued shaking the god mercilessly.
After watching the three heads of Cerberus enjoy themselves for another ten minutes Drake looked over at his two friends, “Think the old guys had enough?”
Aislinn and James watched the fun the ‘hound seemed to be having, reluctant to interrupt, but in the end nodded.
“We need him conscious so we can ask him some more questions Cerberus, can you put him down please?” Aislinn called up to the extremely happy canine.
The middle head of Cerberus stopped shaking Charon and all three heads looked down at the three teens. He contemplated the request for a few moments before the middle head opened its mouth and let Charon fall to the hard, unforgiving, ground below.
Charon lay there for a few seconds then scrambled to get to all fours and get away from the large dog. He paused when the tip of a sword was pressed under his chin. He looked up the bronze blade, and at the face that he could make out behind the silver and bronze hilt.
Drake tilted his head around the hilt so he could look Charon in the eye better. “Now we’re going to ask you once more Charon,” he raised the tip of his sword a little higher, forcing Charon to do the same or risk having his throat cut. “Where are your brothers?”
“You sure he was telling you the truth Drake?” Aislinn was leaning against the stern of Drakes boat as they floated down the River Styx, letting the current take them to where they needed to go. Drake was standing at the bow of the boat, making sure they didn’t run into any of the pillars of rock that dotted the river. James kept to the middle of the boat and tried not to look out over the sides.
“Positive Nike, he didn’t know that Zeus wanted him alive, so he probably believed that I would have killed him if he lied to me.”
“If Zeus hadn’t told us to bring them to him alive, would you have killed him?” Drake and Aislinn looked at James in surprise at the question.
“Didn’t we cover this already?”
“I’m just clarifying.”
“I’m nearly 600 years old James. I’ve seen more battles and deaths than most four star generals. I’m the son of the King of the Dead. Death, causing it or living in it doesn’t bother me. You seem to be forgetting I’m not human. But to answer your question, no I wouldn’t have killed him. I’m immortal, not immoral.”
“You’re 600 years old?”
Drake blinked then looked over at Aislinn, “He didn’t take in a word I said after I told him I was almost 600 did he?”
“Doesn’t look like it.” James was staring at the space in front of his feet, trying to fully comprehend that his friend was not only a god, but also practically six centuries old.
“Oh well…hey is the current getting stronger or is it just me?” Drake grabbed the prow and leaned out over the side of the boat carefully, one hand on the gunwales for balance. He looked down at the bow’s keel and noticed that the water was indeed passing by the boat faster and faster.
Drake tried to ignore the barely concealed panic in his friend’s voice as he pulled himself back upright. “Hold on to something, I think we’re nearing the place where Thanatos changed the flow of the River. The ride may get a little bumpy.”
“Oh god, oh god, we’re all gonna die?” Drake had a deadpan expression on his face as he dropped to the floor of the boat and braced his back against the bow and his feet against his seat. Aislinn was doing the same thing at the stern of the boat and James was trying to figure out if he could fit under his seat. He settled for sitting in front of it and bracing his feet against the brackets that held Drake’s seat in place.
“Do we know if Uncle Poseidon has any Godling kids or not?”
“I don’t think so, but I see where you’re going with that. And yes it would be helpful, but since he doesn’t we’ll just have to make due on our own.”
James was about to say something about them being screwed but the boat lurched to the side suddenly, so he just concentrated on not throwing up or falling out of the boat.
“By the gods, what did they do? Use a backhoe to dig a hole between the Underworld and ours?” Aislinn cursed again as another jump caused her to bang her head against the boat. “If dad hadn’t made us promise not to kill them…” She left the threat to hang in the air, the two young men knew what she meant, and they were thinking it too. Or at least Drake was, James just wanted off the boat and back on solid land.
“Are we there yet?”
“No and if you ask again Aislinn, I swear to Zeus that I will end – ahhhh!” Drake screamed and the others echoed him as the boat suddenly dropped about thirty feet. It landed with a crash and a spray of water that soaked the three teens and tossed them about the boat.
They just lay were they had landed for a few moments, to stunned to move, glad they had survived, and wondering what the hell had just happened.
James was the first to move. He pulled himself up and leaned over the side of the boat, letting his eyes stay closed as he had a stern conversation with his queasy stomach. Once he no longer felt like he was going to toss his lunch he looked around. “Hey I can see that big Hotel that’s downtown.”
“Yeah that’s the one.”
“Wait…so we’re back on earth.” Aislinn had by this time gotten off the floor of the boat, and was straddling her bench facing the opposite way that James was.
“Looks like…wait a second. If the Underworld is under why did we fall down on our way back up to earth?”
James and Aislinn looked over at Drake who was just getting to his feet. The fall had tossed him about so much that he had ended up upside down, with his feet over the bow of the boat and his head under the seat. “I don’t know. I think it’s one of those unexplainable laws of the universe or something.”
“But…you’re a god…”
“Yes, but I was born in 1449, I wasn’t around when the world was created. Hell my father wasn’t around for that. I just accept the things I can’t explain. If you want actual answers, talk to one of the Primordial gods, like Gaia or Chaos.” He looked back to where they had fallen from and saw a waterfall made of the black water of the River Styx, falling into the South Saskatchewan River, tainting and changing whatever it touched.
Since the water was a part of the Underworld Drake could, to a certain extent, control it. He used what water had seeped into the river so far to move the boat to shore so they could get out. They docked the boat on the southeast bank, underneath the house that housed the Deans of the University of Saskatchewan. The scenery around the bank wasn’t what the three were used to seeing, not up on earth anyway. Instead of being the usual green leaves changing to the colours of fall, the trees and plants that grew along the banks and up the side of the hill looked like the ones that dotted the Underworld; skeletal and dead looking.
The three Godlings pulled the boat up onto the bank so it wouldn’t float away, and then begin the steep trek up the side of the hill. They thought that maybe the water hadn’t spread over the top of the hill and it was just the banks that were, for lack of a better word, infected. Their hopes were squashed as they crested the hill.
The infection had spread a lot farther, and faster, than Drake had originally anticipated. Not only was the Dean’s house reminiscent of Hades castle in the Underworld, so was the Hospital, every building, statue and decoration that made up the University Campus, and everything around it.
They could also see that it had spread further down along the river and also up river towards Broadway and was working its way towards the Victoria Bridge. The bridges themselves didn’t look like they would support a feather so changed was their appearance.
As the three friends made their way to the nearest main thoroughfare – College Drive – they could here the screams of terrified people and the wails of some sort of unearthly creatures.
“What the hell was that?” James asked in as quiet a voice as he could manage, he did not want to draw the attention of whatever the heck that was. He glanced around the area they were in, which had at one point been the intersection of College Drive and University Drive. The streetlights and lamp post had rusted and fallen to the ground, the road itself look like it had been through a major earthquake the cement was cracked and extremely uneven, making the road a miniature Grand Canyon.
“Those are Death-Spirits, also known as Keres.” Drake explained as he held out his hands, his left out in front of himself and the right down by his side. In his left a ball of blue flame erupted allowing them to see slightly better, and in his right his sword appeared. It was a three foot long bronze blade with a foot and a half long hilt. There were no jewels or adornments on the hilt, just a simple plain sword.
“They’re sisters to Thanatos, Moros, and Hypnos. There are thousands of the infernal things, so if you have to kill them don’t feel bad about it. As long as there is death there will be Keres.”
As he glanced around James noticed that there was very little light, even though he knew that there was supposed to be a full moon out that night. He reached into the back pocket of his black jeans and pulled out a milky white stone that fit snugly in his palm. Hephaestus had given it to him before he had followed Drake and Aislinn through the Door into the Underworld that he had created for them. He imagined it being filled with moonlight and a few moments later it shone brightly lighting up the area around him. It glowed bright enough that he could almost make out the opposite side of the street. He placed the stone into a special cradle that was at the top of his bow.
They searched around the streets near the University Campus for a while before coming to the conclusion that the three gods they were hunting were no longer in the area, if they ever had been. With no leads or hints on which direction they might have gone in, the trail was once again cold. Drake gave two sharp whistles and soon afterward two hellhounds came running up to him. Unlike Cerberus, who looked like a cross between a Rottweiler and a Doberman, these hellhounds looked only like Dobermans. The skinniest, meanest Dobermans you ever had the misfortune to come across “Do you two know where we can find Thanatos, Moros, and Hypnos?”
The two hounds seemed to think about it for a few seconds before the larger of the two threw his head back and howled; the sound echoed eerily in the night air. Three minutes later another ‘hound came loping into view, this one much larger than the other two. It came to a sliding stop in front of Drake; its ears back flat against his skull, teeth bared and hackles raised. The three ‘hounds had a quick conversation consisting of yips, growls, and odd chattering sounds, much like the sound a cat makes when it’s hunting birds. The newly arrived ‘hound turned and took a few steps back in the direction he had come from, then turned and looked back at the three teens. He took a few more steps then looked back again.
Drake nodded getting the ‘hounds meaning. “Come on he knows where they are. Try not to get separated.”
The ‘hound led them along the river bank towards the dilapidated form of the Broadway Bridge. When they crested the bank and arrived at street level they were greeted by complete and utter chaos. Cars were over turned and people were running around, like decapitated chickens, trying to find a safe place to weather out whatever was happening to their world. Keres chased the panicking people until they either escaped or collapsed in a heap on the ground, having passed out from terror. Because the people weren’t dead the Keres couldn’t do anything to them, but they enjoyed causing terror and general panic amongst the masses.
Aislinn and James were torn between continuing to follow Drake and the hound and staying and getting rid of the Keres in the area. Or at least distract the creatures long enough for the remaining people on the street to get to someplace where they could hide.
Drake looked back and saw that they were hesitating. “Hey!” The two Godlings looked over at him, confused. “I know you want to help, but the best way to get rid of the Keres is to stop the three stooges from completing their plan. Now come on, he says we’re almost there.”
Aislinn and James gave one last look to the fleeing people in the street, before turning around, nodding at Drake, and followed him across the bridge.
The three friends and the ‘hound walked down a cement path that made up part of Saskatoon’s Meewasin Trail. This part of the trail ran through Kiwanis Memorial Park, and ran right behind the Delta Bessborough Hotel, which was where the ‘hound had led them. The gate that separated the back Gardens from the Meewasin Trail was like every other bit of metal in the city, it looked like it was centuries old and a good gust of wind would destroy what was left.
Drake scratched the hell-hound’s ear affectionately before dismissing it, telling him to go and harass some Keres. The hound nuzzled the Prince’s hand before silently loping off, leaving the three friends to deal with the gods with delusions of grandeur.
The three Godlings watched as Thanatos, Moros and Hypnos enjoyed their handy work as the water from the Styx that had seeped into the earth, groundwater, and pipes changed the landscape drastically. The three minor gods even added their own touches here and there; benches, statues, and other such things.
James eyes glided across the garden from one end to the other and at the far North-east end of the garden was Diana, slumped over near some hedges, unconscious. He tapped Drake and Aislinn on the shoulder, and once they glanced at him he pointed over to where Diana was. Their eyes darkened when they saw their best friend lying there.
Drake took a deep breath to calm himself down before addressing his friends. “Okay we need to get Diana out of the way before we try and fight those three morons.” He looked over his left shoulder and grinned wickedly at Aislinn. “You want to do the honours Nike and announce our presence?”
Aislinn’s green eyes were nearly black they were so dark with anger and hatred. When she answered it was in little more than a snarl, “Gladly.” She made sure that the three gods were facing away from where she and her two friends were hiding before stepping out from behind their cover. She glared at Thanatos and the lightning that had been sparking along her arm on and off all night, now flared to life, climbing nearly to her shoulder.
She raised her arm and aimed at Thanatos’ back, she let the power build up a little bit more before letting it fly, directly at the god of Death. Unfortunately Hypnos noticed the lightning as it approached his twin. “Thanatos move!”
Than didn’t bother to question his twin he just dropped flat to the ground and the lightning flew over head, causing the hair that wasn’t tied back to stand up on end.
The three brothers looked back to where the lightning had come from to see the three rescuers standing there. Drake had his arms crossed his left hand resting on his right arm, blue fire burning in his hand, James had an arrow nocked to his bow and had it aimed in the three brothers’ direction, and Aislinn still had her arm outstretched in their direction, lightning once again crackling around her arm.“Oh damn, I missed.”