A few notes before we begin our story: This was originally done many years ago as a piece for a halloween writing contest in my Champions Online guild. The idea was to create something creepy. I went all out for creepy and epic, and the story was a hit. The completed story spanned 13 chapters and about 80K words. It will need major editing also to remove game copyrighted references, clean up grammar, and remove white room syndrome (lack of needed descriptive details). Since I’m not doing that here, just try to roll with it. I’ll give readers key info on some characters though.
Jennifer Saunders, AKA Liberty Gold is 17 at the time of this story. She recently discovered that her powers did NOT come from chemical exposure as she thought, but from her mother being the Titan Metis of Greek myth. Jen is rattled at the start of the story and still trying to come to terms with not being human. Two matters add to her emotional upheaval. Her boyfriend left her after she criticized him for being reckless in a mission, AND the prophecy that this story focuses around:
Zeus was told that his second child by Metis would overthrow him. So, Zeus, being the stand up guy that he is, took a page out of his daddy’s play book and swallowed her whole after tricking her into turning into a bug. She was pregnant with Athena at the time, and that leads into the story of Athena popping out of Zeus’s head as a full gown woman. In my story, Metis, still in the form of a bug, escaped also, roamed the Earth in hiding for millenia and finally met a nice human and settled down. Thus, Jen is born. When Zeus becomes aware of Metis and Jen, all Hades breaks loose, literally.
Aside from Jen, other characters are Captain Incarnate and his sister Miss Incarnate. They’re tribute characters based on Captain and Mary Marvel. Psi Spider is another friend of Jen’s and is half psychic, half spider-man tribute character. Raised in a secret lab and brainwashed by them to be a spy, she has… people skill problems, as you’ll see. Missy Nova is a young chinese heroine with fire generation and control powers. Origami Man is a teleporting hero who dreams of being a dashing musketeer style swordsman. His name comes from a trademark Origami crane he leaves as a calling card. Then there’s Pinball, Jen’s sort of boyfriend. If you’re familiar with Marvel comics, he’s based on the character Speedball. He tucks himself into a ball and flies at opponents like a giant pinball.
The Greek gods I’m presuming need no introduction, nor does Cassandra the prophetess. That just leaves Takofanes, the ancient native american shaman turned deranged would-be god that torments Champions Online every Halloween. Affectionately known as Taco Face to players. There’s actually an in-game achievement for throwing a taco at him also, LOL. Anyway, just consider him a slightly crazed version of Samhain.
Lastly, most of the characters in this part of the story are members of a teen training team called Young Sentinels. Origami Man is a member of the adult team; the Silver Age Sentinels. The Story was also originally called “Liberty Gold of Three Worlds and the Dark Prophecy” for reasons that will become apparent.
Jen stood in a fighting stance in the training room of Homeroom Alpha, wearing her capri length workout pants and a sports bra, both dark blue with white trim. The look on her face was a mix of the intense concentration she had in combat, and frustration.
“I don’t want to talk about it, Kurt.”, Jen said, slamming two jabs and a hard straight into the heavy punching bag.
Captain Incarnate held the bag steady for her, grunting slightly as Jen’s fists impacted it. “Good thing these bags are actually tough enough to handle your hits”, Kurt said with a smile. He’d hoped the slight joke would lighten Jen’s mood.
“It’s all body mechanics and focused energy”, Jen replied flatly. “Any boxer will tell you that.” “If I had your strength, maybe I could get away with being sloppy”, Jen added with a teasing smirk.
“Well, I don’t know, you’re pretty…”, Kurt paused as he caught the dig. “Hey… I’m not sloppy!” he added indignantly.
Jen stopped and wiped the sweat off her head with the hand towel draped around her neck. “Compared to most, you’re not too bad”, she said with a smile. “You wind up on your punches too much though and have a bad tendency of rolling your shoulder as you set up.” “You telegraph like Western Union”, she added with a giggle.
Kurt stood there with his mouth partially open, searching for a retort.
“She’s got yah there”, Izzy sad with a knowing giggle, delighting at seeing her older brother flustered.
Kurt shook his head with a mildly annoyed look. “You’re changing the subject anyway, Jen…”, he said in a more firm tone. “Izzy and I are here because we’re worried about you, and we’re not the only ones.”
Izzy nodded quietly while trying to maintain a smile.
“I’m fine”, Jen replied flatly.
“Ever since your fight with Pinball after he was hurt, you spend all your free time alone training”, Kurt responded matter-of-factly. “It hasn’t escaped notice that you’ve been more moody also.” “We’re worried about you…”
“You said that already”, Jen said as she walked towards the locker rooms. She tossed her workout towel in to the towel hamper as she passed by it. Kurt and Izzy followed close behind her. Jen stopped, closed her eyes and took a deep breath, then turned to face her friends.
“Look, I’m doing the best I can, OK?” Jen said. She tried to keep her tone friendly, mindful that she was talking to two of her closest friends. It still conveyed a degree of frustration that was rare for Jen. “As for Pin, he was careless and made a mistake.” “It’s part of life… it happens… I can live with that.” Jen said in a clearly frustrated tone.
“Buuuuuttt…” Izzy said, almost wincing in anticipation of what might be coming.
“But he was a complete jerk afterwards and didn’t even care how upset and worried I was”, Jen answered angrily. Kurt started to open his mouth, but Jen cut him off. “And yes I know I was a little hard on him when I said over the comm that he was punching things with his face.” “What we do isn’t a game though.” “We screw up, people can die, including us.” “I can’t change him.” “I can improve myself though so I can shoulder more of the burden and keep others from getting hurt.”
Kurt nodded understandingly. “I get it Jen.” “Izzy and I have been there too; at your power level you’re feeling responsible for others.” “Sentinels do watch out for each other too, but even that can only go so far.” “You certainly can’t take on the burden of protecting the entire world from itself either.” “The stress will eat you up inside.” “We do what we can and hope that will be enough.” “If you can’t find that balance, you’ll end up imploding.” “Nobody wants that”, Kurt added with a slight smile.
Jen closed her eyes and slowly nodded, her head finishing in a looking downward position.
Izzy moved closer and wrapped her arms around Jen in a gentle, supportive hug. “We know you’re hurting too”, she said in a warm tone. “If he’s smart, he’ll come around” “Then you can work things out.” “If not, then we’ll find you somebody good enough for my BFF.”
“Thanks Iz”, Jen said in a calmer tone, briefly but warmly returning the hug. “You’re the bestest.”
“That’s what I keep telling Kurt”, Izzy replied with a giggle.
Kurt rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“I’m… kinda over it though, really.” Jen added
“Mmhmm” Izzy replied with a slight smirk.
“Look… I like him.” Jen retorted. “What happened showed me we’re probably not compatible on that level though.” “We… have different values regarding relationships.” “Accepting that does hurt but life goes on.”
“Alright…” Izzy said, dropping the subject. “Are you hanging in there with everything else?” she asked, concern showing on her face and tone of voice.
“Mostly…” Jen said in an almost exhausted sounding tone. “It’s only been a couple weeks since I found out I’m some sort of demigod.” “That’s a heavy enough reality check.” “Then my body can’t handle my powers and that nearly kills me” “Oh and then there’s the whole thing with my mom flipping out over a nonsense prophecy pitting me against Zeus.”
“What?”, Izzy asked, looking confused and a little concerned.
Jen shook her head dismissively. “You’ve got to be the only one who hasn’t heard, Iz.” “Metis’s second child, a child of Zeus who’s also male mind you, is supposed to overthrow Zeus.” “That’s why Zeus tricked mom into turning into a fly and swallowed her while she was prego with Athena.”
Izzy raised a concerned eyebrow. “And you’re this mythical second child?”
Jen shook her head. “No, I’m a girl and my dad is a human.”
Izzy, being sharp, immediately picked up what wasn’t said. “But you’re still the second born even after all this time, aren’t you?” she asked in a serious tone.
Jen nodded. “The prophecy is broken though, Iz.” “I don’t fit the criteria prophesized.”
“We had this talk before, Jen”, Kurt replied in an even more serious tone than Izzy. “Just because you don’t think so, doesn’t mean Zeus will see it that way.”
Jen let out an exasperated sigh. “You’re sounding like my mom, and I’m having enough trouble getting her to chill out.”
Kurt frowned and was getting ready for an exasperated counter of his own when Jen cut him off, gently holding a finger to his lips. “Look, I get it.” She said. “I’m being careful too, just in case.” “I refuse to live my life in fear over a silly, thousands of years old prophecy that doesn’t even fit me.”
Jen smiled affectionately at both of them. “I adore both of you for being such good friends too”, she said, hugging a surprised Kurt warmly and resting her head for just a moment on his shoulder before releasing the hug. “You two have made a really insane, upside down part of my life become bearable.” Jen moved to Izzy and gave her a warm hug, which Izzy immediately returned. “Right now I need more of that stability though, not even more people telling me my life is going to fall apart or end”
“Alright” Izzy said warmly. “We’re only here because we care though.”
“I know”, Jen said with a smile. “That’s why I love yah both.” “I really need to get a shower and get home to finish up my homework though.” “I’ll catch you both later.”
“…Alright” Kurt replied reluctantly as Jen walked off.
Izzy turned to Kurt with a grin “She’s a big girl, Kurt.” “She needs us to have faith in her.”
Kurt looked at her uncertainly, searching for the right words.
“Besides…” Izzy said in a slightly more nervous tone, “If Zeus himself does come after her, I’m not sure there’s anything any of us can do.”
“It won’t stop me from trying.” Kurt said in a resolved tone.
Izzy chortled briefly. “That’s my big brother’ always looking out for everyone.” “Admit it though, you like her.”
Kurt half smiled. “She drives me nuts half the time.” “It’s like having two of you around”, he laughed.
“But…”, Izzy said with a knowing smile.
“She’s growing on me”, Kurt replied with a slight chuckle. “Tell her that and I’ll deny it though”, he added with a grin.
Jen, now in the girls’ locker room, stripped off her sweaty workout outfit and stuffed it in her gym bag. She gave her bracers a discouraged look and tugged at the left one, trying to take it off. It only glowed with an eerie green energy and refused to budge.
Damnit, Jen thought to herself. Guess I am stuck with them until my body finishes morphing into an actual titan… half titan? She let out an exasperated sigh. Why I can’t I just be a normal girl? she fumed mentally. I hate this!
Jen’s frustration got the better of her and she hit the locker, leaving a two inch deep, fist shaped dent in it. She shook her head with a discouraged look. “Great… great self-control, girl.” “If your broken, can’t handle its powers right body doesn’t ruin everything, your temper will.” “It already did with Paul.” “Now I’m talking to myself too…” Jen shook her head and then grabbed her shower supplies out of the locker. I’ll feel better after a shower and a nap, she thought to herself.
Jen spent her shower silently pondering how to organize the mess she called her life. After showering, drying off, getting dressed and fixing her hair, she headed home. She made the walk in silence, still pondering everything. The only solution she was able to come up with was to keep pushing forward.
Arriving at her apartment building, Jen went through the front door and up the stairs to the third floor. She paused uneasily as a clap of thunder was heard outside. Again… and not a cloud in the sky, Jen mused to herself uneasily. Jen unlocked the door to her apartment, went inside and locked the door and deadbolt behind her. She uneasily looked out the north window of her place. Not a cloud in the sky still, Just people coming and going from Darren’s and O’Reilly’s Pub across the street.
“Mom’s nonsense is getting to me”, Jen said in an annoyed tone. “Maybe some food…”
Jen’s thought was cut off mid-sentence by a booming clap of thunder and a flash of light. Jen whipped around to face the living room area of her loft. There, standing in the middle of the living room was a seven foot tall, heavily muscled man in ancient Greek armor. The man was olive skinned and Jen could see a bit of wavy black hair protruding from underneath the bottom of his helmet. Even with the narrow T shaped opening in the front of the armor, Jen could see he had piercing hazel brown eyes that held a stare of intense hatred. His armor was heavy and metallic; a dark, almost Midnight blue and incredibly ornate, right up to the helmet, which was topped with a classic Greek blood red crest.
Jen could make out what looked to be a large shield strapped to his back, over a long flowing cape of blood red. As best she could tell, (since he was facing her), it was similar in shape to the ones used in the movie 300. At his side, hanging from a heavy leather belt, was a large, rather heavy xiphos inlaid with what looked to be bone and gold.
“It’s rude not to knock before entering somebody’s home”, Jen quipped in an annoyed tone.
The armored warrior only grunted and glared, his hand moving to the grip of his sword.
Jen dropped back into a fighting stance. “Who the hell are you and what do you want?”
“I am Ares, god of war… and I am your doom”, the warrior said in a deep voice that almost dripped with contempt. “Father has deemed you a threat to his rule and sent me to end your worthless existence.”
END of INTRODUCTION – TO BE CONTINUED
As folks can guess, this IS going to be a long story. Good ones usually are. I took longer than planned on this first part, BUT I thought it would help to introduce Jen to those who haven’t RP’ed with her yet and don’t know her personality or personal struggles. The story should move a bit faster from here. It will certainly get MUCH more Halloween-ish also.
LIBERTY OF 3 WORLDS – PART 1: Immortal Combat
Jen held her fighting stance, staring determinedly at Ares across the kitchen counter. “I realize if you live up to your reputation, you’ll only take this as a sign of weakness…”, she said in a firm tone, trying her best to sound confident despite the way her heart was racing. “But we don’t have to do this.” “I have no desire or intention to disturb Zeus’s rule in any way.”
“Don’t snivel, whelp”, Ares snarled in reply. “Zeus has ordered your death.” “Neither your words nor my indignity at being given such a demeaning task shall change that.”
“My word…” Origami Man said over the comm. “Milady, it is my fervent hope that you are listening to some sort of theater?”
Jen shook her head slightly. Quickly weighing her options mentally, she decided she couldn’t risk any of the other Sentinels against a god. “Sorry guys, private party”, she said grimly before shutting off her comm.
“A shame”, Ares remarked in a menacing tone. “I would have enjoyed spilling the blood of your friends as well.”
“Nobody’s dying today, especially by your hand”, Jen said determinedly. She banged her bracers together and her T-Shirt and faded Jeans were replaced by her crimson armored costume.
“Brave words girl but your death is ordained”, Ares growled as he drew his sword.
Jen moved from behind the counter, maintaining her fighting stance as she moved. “Alright, let’s dance”, she retorted in a firm voice.
Ares laughed cruelly. “You mock me, arrogant child?” he asked, incredulous. “Surrender now and I’ll grant you a clean death.” “Even I have little taste for slaughtering children.”
Ares started to laugh again, but was promptly met by a jumping kick to his chest. Ares staggered backwards three steps and fell into the couch behind him.
Jen back flipped out of her kick and landed on her feet near where Ares had originally been standing. She immediately fell back into her fighting stance. “Sitting down on the job?” “Tisk, tisk, what would daddy say?” she mocked.
Ares slammed his fists down on the couch, breaking it in both spots, and hopped to his feet with an angry shout. He then immediately drew his blade.
Holy crap… I scored on him, but it barely fazed him with that armor, Jen thought as panic began to set in. I’ve got to keep this monster away from innocent civilians. That means we fight here I guess…
Ares charged at Jen and brought his sword down, trying to cleave her in two. Jen instinctively threw up her arms, crossing them in an X block that caught the sword’s blade against her bracers. She circled her arms downward to the right while stepping around Ares to the left, then promptly fired a side kick to the back of Ares’ knee. Ares fell forward to one knee, and immediately countered by swinging his other leg around, trying to sweep Jen off her feet.
Expecting the move, Jen hopped over it and landed on her feet. Ares followed the attempted sweep by spinning himself around so he was once again facing Jen, and stood fully up as he did.
“All combat arts stem from me” Ares boasted. “You have no prayer against me.”
“I seem to be doing OK so far” Jen replied with a smirk.
Ares let out an enraged shout and swung his sword in a downward diagonal slice, which Jen barely managed to duck. Ares circled his move around and brought it back down diagonally in the opposite direction. Jen barely managed to dodge the move, but lost a lock of her hair in the process.
Ares next tried to take advantage of Jen’s balance being slightly off by stabbing at her with the blade. Jen ducked under the blade, spinning around as she did so her back was to Ares, and immediately tossed him across the room and onto the dining room table, which promptly shattered from the impact.
Ares was slightly slower getting up this time. He let out an enraged shout and charged Jen. Jen sidestepped the charge and got Ares in a leg scissor takedown. Ares sprawled out on the floor with an enraged snarl. Jen started to snicker, and have a glimmer of hope, when Ares kicked sideways, sending Jen flying into the brick wall of the apartment, cracking the wall with the impact. Jen fell to the floor on all fours. The pain in her stomach where she was kicked was almost as bad as when her growth power nearly tore her apart, and she was fighting to regain her breath.
Ares fully returned to his feet, and pulled off his helmet. “Where is you arrogance now!!!” he screamed in a borderline psychotic tone.
Ares flung the helmet at the wall next to Jen, where it hit with a loud bang. Jen involuntarily flinched at the impact and struggled to get to her feet. Ares stomped over and grabbed Jen by the hair with one hand.
“You will beg for death before I’m done with you” Ares snarled as he raised his fist.
“Not… today”, Jen coughed. Focusing every last bit of her willpower and strength, Jen fired a right upward ridge hand to Ares groin, then a left chop, and at the same time drew back her right fist and straight punched Ares in the groin. As the punch impacted, she opened her hand, grabbed Ares junk, and yanked back in an eagle’s claw tear.
Ares started to double over as his eyes partially rolled back in his head. Jen sprung to her feet, striking Ares in the throat as she did, causing him to gasp and choke. She immediately grabbed him by the ears and pulled him as hard as she could into a knee strike to the face.
Ares fell to the ground in a heap, blood pouring from his nose. Jen half doubled over, her hands on her knees as she tried to catch her breath and calm herself.
“Those shots to the groin… Parker Kenpo…” Jen smirked at the dazed Ares. “That’s also why I don’t wear a skirt” she chuckled. She weakly walked over and picked up Ares’ sword from where he’d dropped it.
“No… way you should have lost… this fight” she said, struggling against the pain in her mid-section. “You were beyond arrogant and sloppy” “I… don’t want to kill you… or have a war with Zeus” “All I want is to lead a normal life and make it to my junior prom”, she gasped. “Tell him that… please”
Jen dropped the sword to the ground and doubled over again, her hands on her knees. Moments later, just as the room had begun to stop spinning, lightning struck from out of the blue, striking Jen and causing her to scream in utter agony. She collapsed to the floor, writhing in pain and moaning.
“My son has even been a disappointment”, Zeus said as he stepped out of the shadows behind Jen.
“Father, I…” Ares responded weakly as he reached for Zeus.
“SILENCE FOOL!” Zeus boomed. “I will deal with your failure later.” With a wave of Zeus’s hand, Ares disappeared. “I suppose if I want anything done right I have to soil my own hands with the task” Zeus grabbed Jen by the neck and lifted her up with one hand, slamming her into the wall as he choked her.
“I’m… not… your enemy” Jen gasped weakly, barely above a whisper. “Please…”
“Prophecy states otherwise” Zeus replied in a completely remorseless tone. “I will have no threats to my rule”
Jen’s eye went wide with fear and she tried to focus all of her lightning, getting a weak spark storm between her and Zeus.
“Lightning, against the lord of the skies?” Zeus scowled. “I don’t know whether to be amused or insulted.” Zeus backhanded Jen, drawing blood from her mouth and nose, and shattering her already failing concentration.
“Go on, then…” Jen gasped weakly. “Get it over with and prove you’re every bit the monstrous abomination that mom always said… child killer”
Zeus paused for a moment, almost as if moved by Jen’s words. A stern look returned to his eyes after that and his spear appeared in his hand. “Nothing can be allowed to threaten the balance or my rule” he said firmly. With that, he plunged the spear through Jen’s heart.
Jen’s eyes went wide and then a blank, lifeless look washed over them. She barely managed a gasp before her life ended.
LIBERTY OF THREE WORDS – Part 2; Good Bye Jen
Zeus pulled the spear from Jen’s lifeless body and let her corpse fall to the ground. No sooner had he done so than Tokafanes appeared in a flash of sulfur and brimstone.
“Oh goodie… A new plaything, just at the start of my season” Tokafanes said with clear glee. “By right, I claim this soul as my property.”
“Be gone, nether spawn!” Zeus commanded. “This one is mine by right of her bloodline.” “I have plans to make sure she doesn’t trouble my rule even in death.”
“MINE!” Tokafanes screamed. “The mortal died during my season, it is mine.”
“I will not have you turn this whelp into a weapon against the gods.” Zeus boomed in an enraged tone. He raised his spear and lightning blasted Tokafanes.
“This… is NOT over, Olympian!” Tokafanes fumed. With that, he teleported away in another flash of fire and brimstone.
Zeus snarled as Tokafanes vanished, then reached down and grabbed Jen’s soul out of her body. “You will never trouble me again” he said flatly, then they both vanished.
A few moments later, the door to Jen’s apartment shattered into pieces and Captain Incarnate, Psy-Spider, Miss Incarnate, Origami Man and Missy Nova poured through the door. They immediately spread out, prepared for combat. Izzy saw Jen’s body first and immediately shrieked in shock, her hand covering her mouth.
Spider reacted faster than anyone; dashing over to Jen’s body and sliding into a kneel next to the body. She immediately put her hand on Jen’s neck searching for a pulse. She knew from the gaping wound in the chest and blood all over the floor it was most likely hopeless, but had to be sure.
“C’mon… c’mon”, Spider said in a quiet but urgent tone. After a few seconds of searching, her hand fell to her side and her head dropped. “She’s… gone” Spider said flatly.
Missy shook her head in disbelief. “Nononono… not cool.” Missy fell to her knees and began crying.
“Oh, spangles… what did yah do?” Spider lamented.
“We need answers here” Captain Incarnate said.
“It… appears that… quite the epic struggle took place here” Origami said, struggling to maintain his persona.
Before anyone else could say anything there was a flash of light. A six foot tall woman with tanned skin, curly light brown hair and deep blue eyes, wearing a light lavender full length toga appeared. She seemed to size up the situation and notice Jen’s body instantly.
“Noooooo! My baby!” The woman ran over, fell to her knees and clutched Jen’s body to her and sobbed uncontrollably. She rocked back and forth clutching Jen’s body to her chest as she cried.
Kurt was caught momentarily off guard by the arrival and was at a loss for words.
Izzy quickly put two and two together. “M… Mrs Saunders?” she asked gently. “Metis?”
“Ma’am…” Kurt said, speaking up. “We… we were Jen’s friends.” “I’m sorry…”
Metis studied her dead daughter’s body. “HE did this!” she blurted out on a mixture of pain and rage. “Zeus killed my baby!”
“Z.. Zeus?” stammered Origami. He nearly fumbled his sword, but quickly recovered. He circled in place uneasily. “It… would appear he has left the premises.” Thank God, he thought to himself.
“Are… you sure it was him?” Izzy asked gently.
Metis waved her hand and a globe of magical energy appeared. It sent out tendrils of energy around the room and then began replaying the events of the last half hour.
“…She tried to protect us.” Kurt said, shocked.
“Why?”, Izzy asked, dumbfounded. “We… could have helped.” Her eyes began to water. “We… should have been there” she muttered.
“No, we couldn’t.” Spider replied flatly. “She… did amazing against Ares.” “Mainly because he was so overconfident.” “He still nearly destroyed her with one solid counterattack, and he’s nowhere near as bad as Zeus.” “My guess is she kept the fight in here to avoid endangering civilians on the street too.”
“What did Zeus mean she’d never trouble him again though?” Kurt asked, concerned.
“Tartarus.” came a one word answer from the doorway. Everyone turned at once to see a majestic looking woman with chestnut hair wearing golden and white lacquered ancient Greek armor. Her eyes were piercing hazel brown. Her facial features and expression all combined to convey an aura of dignity and wisdom despite her appearing to not even be 30. She carried a large ornate shield on one arm and held a spear in the other.
“What?”, Metis demanded, incredulous. She quickly but gently laid Jen’s body on the floor and sprung to her feet. “He wouldn’t dare!”
The other woman only nodded solemnly. “Word has spread like wildfire across Olympus.” She replied grimly. “Zeus has locked Jennifer away in Tartarus to make sure she never threatens his rule.”
“Monster!!” Metis screamed defiantly.
“Mother, please… calm yourself.” The other woman said gently. “We need to find a way to right this injustice. “ “Anger will not help.”
“Mother…?” Izzy asked, a bit confused.
“Athena” Spider replied matter-of-factly. “Per myt… legend, Athena was the first child of Metis, and Zeus.” “But really, the armor should have been a giveaway.”
“My lady.” Origami quickly blurted out, dropping to one knee.
The entire group gave Origami an odd look before continuing.
“This bites!” a teary eyed Missy, now standing again, blurted out as she kicked a piece of splintered table across the room. She crossed her arms and her head drooped forward as she tried to keep from crying again.
“The situation is far more grave then you know…” Metis replied in the voice of a woman clearly still in shock.
“How so?” Kurt asked; his tone a mixture of curiosity and concern.
“In his paranoia, my former husband has forgotten the ancient pacts that govern Olympus and the realms.” Metis replied slowly. “They are so ancient I doubt many in Olympus itself still remember the details.”
“I’m afraid we still don’t understand, ma’am.” Izzy replied, doing her best to sound delicate and sympathetic.
“Hades was extremely unhappy with being bound to the underworld as his realm.” Metis answered. “He originally insisted on the earth as his realm.” “It almost came to blows between Hades and Zeus and Poseidon.” “Realizing he couldn’t overcome both Zeus and Poseidon though, Hades agreed to their demand on one condition.”
“What, pray tell, might that be, madam?” Origami asked.
“If a soul destined for Elysium was ever wrongfully imprisoned in Tartarus, then the gates of the underworld would be thrown wide open for Hades.” Athena replied grimly.
“Hades can march armies of undead into the world to claim what he was initially denied.” Metis added flatly.
“Woah…” Missy said, wide eyed. “Zombie apocalypse?”
“Worse.” Spider said flatly. “Tokafanes is on the rampage right now.”
“Which means a lot of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire between two undead armies.” Kurt replied, rubbing his chin.
“You’re missing a worse possibility.” Spider said. “Tokafanes and Hades both have a bone to pick with Zeus at this point.”
Izzy gasped. “If they teamed up…”
“End times…” Spider said flatly. “That whole mess with Therakiel in Vibora Bay years back will seem like a picnic.”
“Can we even be sure Therakiel won’t get involved?” Izzy asked. “There was another Quiphothic invasion recently after all.
“We’ll have to prepare for that likelihood also.” Kurt said matter-of-factly. “…Alert Rune and the Sentinels, the Champions, everyone we can.”
“Isn’t there a way to prevent any of this?” Izzy aksed, her frustration showing.
“There is a small possibility… if Jennifer were delivered from Tartarus before it started…” Athena said calmly. “That might reverse fate.”
“Hades will never let her go.” Metis replied, despondent. “She’s the key to his ambitions.”
“Then we’ll go rescue her.” Kurt declared.
“You seek to war against the same gods that give you your powers.” Metis replied flatly. “Either Zeus or Hades would take your power and burn you to ash.”
“We don’t burn so easy.” Spider said with a bit of determination.
The others quietly nodded in agreement.
“Your courage does you well.” Metis said. “I have an idea to help us determine the best path.”
“What?” Missy asked anxiously.
“We will consult the oracle.” Metis replied hopefully.
“whozwhat?” Missy asked, looking confused.
“Cassandra… Her prophecies are unerring.” Metis replied.
“But she was cursed so nobody would believe her also.” Spider interjected.
“After she died, Apollo felt remorse and lifted that part of her curse.” Metis replied. “She rests among the honored dead in Elysium now.”
Athena tapped the butt of her spear on the ground twice and a large oval mirror bordered in gold appeared before them. The mirror, initially foggy, cleared to reveal an image of an elderly woman in a toga with dark auburn hair with an almost haunted look about her.
“Greetings Cassandra.” Metis said warmly.
“I know why you’ve come.” Cassandra said dryly. “You want your daughter back.”
Metis only nodded.
“The heroes around you shall not suffice…” Cassandra said flatly. “They are strong and brave, but the fates are fickle beings. Cunning and luck may prevail where strength would not.”
“Please, tell me what I need to do.” Metis pleaded.
Cassandra paused a few moments. “I have advised the gods for millennia now, asking nothing in return beyond my place here in Elysium.” She said. “Much is at stake this time, beyond your child’s soul.” “I want something in exchange for my council this time.”
“What?” Metis asked. “If it even remotely in my power, I shall grant it.”
“I want the life Apollo took from me.” Cassandra replied matter-of-factly. “My entire life I was scorned and mocked because of his curse… Unloved and untrusted by men.” “I deserve a chance to live my life again and experience all that I was denied.”
“Done.” Metis said firmly.
“Mother, you cannot make such promises.” Athena interjected. “They are beyond your power to grant.”
“If it means the return of my baby and saving this world, I’ll move Olympus itself if need be.” Metis replied in a doggedly determined tone.
“Never underestimate the power of a mother’s love for their child, war goddess.” Cassandra added. “Your mother would do every bit as much for you as well.”
For the first time in record, the goddess of wisdom seemed taken aback; almost stunned by the reply. Metis only gave her older daughter a gentle, loving smile.
“The bargain is sealed.” Cassandra pronounced. “The best hope for your child is for her mirrors to free her and restore her spirit.” “Freedom requires Liberty.” She said in an amused, cryptic tone. “Remember your word, Titan.” She added before the mirror turned dark.
“What was she talking about?” Missy asked in a frustrated tone. “How’s a mirror going to bring Jen back?”
“Her final words were the key.” Athena replied. “Jennifer’s freedom will require other Liberty Golds.”
“My sister-in-law is 3 months pregnant and newly married.” Metis said. “As much as she loves her niece, she won’t risk her unborn child on an assault on Tartarus.”
Nearly everyone in the group nodded understandingly.
“What about alternate realities?” Kurt asked. “Amur told me she knew another Captain Incarnate from the world she came from.”
“You are brighter than my sister gave you credit for.” Athena said with a slight smirk.
Kurt stood there dumbfounded. Spider on the other hand, laughed briefly.
“Even dead, Spangles is still messing with you.” Spider said with as much of a smile as she could muster.
Metis smiled at the exchange. “I can weave the magic required to bring us the ones we need.” “It will take time to prepare however.”
“How long?” Kurt asked.
“Tonight.” Metis replied. “I can gather the reagents and do the preparation I need by this evening.”
“Ummmm, ma’am” Izzy interrupted in a squeamish tone. “What about… Jen’s body?”
Metis sighed and looked downward. “It’s not traditional among our people, but she always said if she died in battle she wanted a funeral pyre.”
“Oddly poetic…” Origami replied, finally finding his voice after the mind boggling things he’d been exposed to. “Appropriate as well.” “She was a noble and valiant warrior.”
Athena nodded silently and then removed her cape, covering Jen’s body with it.
“We’ll… make arrangements.” Kurt said quietly.
Spider shuffled uneasily as Jen’s body was covered. “i… gotta go… things… stuff… people.” She blurted out in a sad tone and then scurried out the door.
That night, as the sun set, Sentinels and Young Sentinels all gathered in the hills overlooking Millennium City. Jen’s body sat on a huge pile of sticks and logs. Everyone watched quietly as Metis lowered the torch to light the funeral pyre. Metis, and a few others cried as the fire grew brighter.
“My first time meeting her and it’s at her funeral.” Rune mused quietly.
“Let’s just hope we can get her back.” Kurt replied.
A teary eyed Metis approached them. “The summoning ritual is ready, and the stars and moon will be in ideal alignment within the next few hours.”
Kurt and Rune both nodded quietly.
On a hill overlooking the gathering, Psy-Spider stood alone, quietly watching the funeral. “We’re coming for you Spangles.” She said quietly to herself.
End Chapter 2