Well the response to my question was well-received and I am here to happily provide you parts 1 through 5 of the story The Wrath of Gaia, found on my main account athoughtfulj. I am, in fact, the one and only athoughtfulj and this will be the only other account I will ever make for my stories.
I am not on any other websites, so please I ask of you this: if you see my work found anywhere other then this account and the athoughtfulj account found only on sexstories.com, report them for plagiarism. These works our of my own creation and I will not stand idly by while someone else pawns them off as their own.
I will be posting the condensed version every 5 parts for those that feel my parts by themselves are too short. I have tried to come up with a way to fix this problem, and I feel this is the best way to deal with it. If you enjoy the series, great continue reading it every two days and I will attempt to keep you hooked on it. If you feel it is too short, this account is for you. I will post one post for every 5 on my main and that one will come out on the night of the sixth post, the goal for this account would be every 10 days (of course since this is the first one coming out on the 7 post it'll be 8 days before the second post.
It will hit a groove of 10 days afterwards though.) Hope you enjoy and keep an eye out for part 7 to come out on my main account some time tonight. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Of the many fables told about Apollo, greek god of music, one that was very prevalent was that Apollo was never seen without a golden laurel wreath, the laurel being Apollo's tree, upon his head.
It was even thought that Apollo wore it while he rested as well, so when it was not discovered upon his head one early morning, Apollo would search for the wreath. This wreath would be the reason the Gods would not find peace in the near future, if only they had known not to look for it, but pride is a hubris no God lacks.
At first, Apollo kept the theft secret, not wanting to seem weak Infront of the others, but as time passed, the absence of the wreath did not go unnoticed. Within a week's time Apollo had officially announced the theft, leading to a full search for Apollo's wreath, yet nothing had turned up.
With no leads, the task of finding the wreath fell upon Catarsus, daughter of Artemis and the only rival to Artemis' hunting abilities. If Cartasus could not track down the wreath, then it would be because it no longer existed. For 17 days, Catarsus traveled the Earth, searching for any sign, but to no avail. When all signs pointed to the wreaths destruction, a shimmer of light that could only be made by the wreath, shone through the canopy of a small forest outside a rural town inland of Poseidon's home.
Leaping upon her noble white wolf Catarsus descended upon the forest, but what she found was not what any of the gods could have imagined. The dull thud of my hammer pushing yet another nail into the beam of wood was all the sound I needed to know that my hard work was soon to pay off.
A look over my shoulder confirmed these thoughts as I watched the children happily playing outside of the garden. The children are not mine, nor is the house I am building, but that didn't stop me from happily working hard on finishing the roof of this bedroom today. This orphanage was going to shelter many children in need and help give them a chance at life that I never received.
Knowing this motivated me to work hard and over the span of a month I had put together a sturdy 2 story orphanage outside of the walls of the altar to help Agnis, the woman who runs and services the altar, take care of the abandoned children.
Putting the last nail in to place, I stepped down from my stool to admire my work. The children outside had stopped to rest along side the statue of Poseidon. "You have done a service that Artemis herself would be proud of.
Thank you Justin" the words coming from Agnis, only succeeded in making me frown while looking up at the roof. Agnis was a loving person, but her beliefs on the gods were simply too different from my own. I wanted nothing to do with these gods, and I was going to live a happy, good life without them.
"My hope is that every human would be proud of this" I reply, avoiding her obvious attempt to make me accept her belief. I would not falter that easily, not after the life I had lived. If there really were gods, then I must have killed one in a past life to make them hate me as they had.
Looking back at Agnis, she still held that soothing smile she always wore. It is hard to stay mad at someone so caring and gentle.
A single sigh left my lips before continuing," I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude, but you know my beliefs differ from yours. Look, the roof still needs to be sanded down and I need to collect more wood first so that I can start on that desk of yours before nightfall.
Could you do me a favor and keep the children out of the room until I return? I'd like for them to see it after its fully finished and I don't think the roof is completely safe yet.
I'll hopefully be back in a few hours". "Of course dear, but do be careful. If you spend all your time worrying about the children, you'll be the one to wind up in trouble".
Agnis handed me my bag before walking me to the door and watching me leave. I started a light jog, moving steadily towards the edge of town, and beyond, moving towards the forest that sat to the south of the town opposite of the ocean. The jog lasted around 20 minutes, and when I had reached the forest I had worked up a good amount of sweat.
Pausing by the river splitting the forest in half to catch my breath, I gazed at my reflection on the surface of the water. Being 19 years old I feel like I am not too far behind most athletes my ages in terms of fitness unless you count my lack of pure muscles.
I keep myself in good shape due to having to work so often, but I haven't once lifted a weight, leaving most of my exercises to just running outside of work. Standing at 5' 11", I doubt I weighed more than 190 pounds, but I still had close to a six pack without the overall definition of it.
A short, ruffled set of dirty blonde hair sat upon my head to go with my blue eyes and a pair of dimples that made most women like, even if I had no time for them. My work attire consisted of my only set of clothes: a simple pair of old, faded work jeans, a grey and black three-quarter shirt, and a pair of beaten down black work shoes.
While transfixed upon my reflection, I had failed to notice the woman sneak up on me, or maybe she had been there all along.either way, it was only once she spoke to me that I even noticed her. "What benefit do you get from helping others?" She asked with a loving smile.
She looked like no other woman I had ever seen before. She wasn't perfect in terms of being curvy, but she wasn't fat either. Every part of her body seemed to fit her perfectly. She was sitting upon a rock next to the water's edge wearing a robe-like toga that covered her figure, exposing nothing to the eyes between her shoulder blades or above her knees, but nothing about her said I was supposed to see more.
I felt more like my mother was talking to me than anything else. It was for this reason that I felt even more confused by her question. "What do you mean benefit?" I asked dumbfoundedly. "You built a house that you will not stay in for someone else. Did they offer you something to do it?" She asked almost as if she was genuinely confused by my act.
It was as if she had never seen generosity before. "Well, no they didn't offer me anything. I just didn't want to see them have to live out in the cold, so I wanted to help them." The grass around her seemed more lively and green than anywhere else for some odd reason, and while I spoke I watched a fawn come within mere feet of her without feeling threatened and even started to eat the grass. I couldn't quite grasp what was going on, but I felt as though I couldn't move.
This wasn't a normal conversation between two adults anymore, this was an adult telling a child what he should be saying, and I was saying exactly what she wanted.
"So you would help others, even at the expense of your own happiness, without any reward at all? Just so that others could be happy?" I gulped loudly, not enjoying where this conversation was leading, but still answered.
"Yes.yeah I would" Without saying anything, the woman turned her head to the left, and for the first time I noticed something shiny at the base of one of the trees.
"There are some people who need your help Justin. Will you help them?" All reason had flown out the window for me at this point as I moved towards the object. As I got closer I saw that it was what looked like a crown, made of golden leaves.
real gold, it felt heavy in my hands and I could even see the slight fingerprints my hands had left on the gold after picking it up "Yes.I will help them.How do I help?" As I looked up again, I saw that she was gone. The grass was back to normal, the fawn was gone, and all was like it should be, except that the wreath was still in my hands.
It was then that I heard her voice once more float across the treetops. "At the strike of 12, the equal will come to power.Remember my words and trust your heart for it will only lie when you let your brain deceive it". Her words slowly fell off and the forest was silent again. I held the wreath up watching the sunlight dance across the leaves, amazed at what I was actually holding.
One moment it was in my hands, the next I watched as a gust of wind flew by my face, carrying the crown out of my hands and against the trunk of a tree. The crown was held in the air by an arrow hanging from the trunk as I realized just how close to death I had just come.
Turning to where the arrow came from, what I saw did nothing short of make my blood run dry. Standing just on the edge of the forest's shadow was pure white wolf, and beside it, what could only be described as a women prepared for war. Her chest armor, leggings, and boots looked to all be made of fur, and her bow in hand seemed to glow at certain points in the groove without any light bouncing off it.
"You have been ordered to come in front of the council." These were the last words I heard before watching the woman charge and effectively swing her bow before I could even react. Her bow connected with the side of my jaw, and I had hit the ground before my eyes had closed, knocking me out cold with one hit. I awoke to the feeling of cold air berating my throbbing head, but as I reached up to rub my temple, I noticed that my hands were tied behind my back.
I start to look around, trying to patch together what has happened so far as I happen to look down and realize that I am looking down into a sea of clouds. Panic sets in almost immediately, but right before I start to move in my panic, I feel an arm firmly wrap between my own, holding me in place.
I look up to see none other than the woman who had hit me holding me down as we are riding what can only be described as the world's largest dog or a very large wolf. The headache only worsens as more and more questions seem to enter my brain, and they start to spill out. "Where are you taking me? Why are you doing this? Who is the council? What did I do? What is this we are riding?.HOW ARE WE IN THE AIR?!" I have no idea why that seemed to come out last, but as soon as I said it, the panic returned, but this finally broke her statue-like form as I hear her chuckle softly at my reaction.
She still says nothing to me and continues to stare in front of her, but as I follow her gaze, I start to see what it is she is looking at. A set of large, Golden-clad gates stand firm on what seems to be only clouds, and beyond the gates seems to lie a world of all its own.
The wolf continues its lackadaisical trot while seemingly running on thin air as it continues on right over the top of the gates; however as we cross I feel a pulling sensation come across my body that would have made me fall off, if not for her arm still holding me. The pulling sensation behind us I now start to look forward again, only to be shocked to find an enormous altar-like castle directly in front of us, even though it was not there before the pulling sensation.
The castle is magnificent, standing well over 100 feet tall, with the walls made of ivory with gold plating and stainless steel windows adorning every side.
Every window seems to depict a different god in triumph in some way, and as I move closer I can even make out one that shows somewhat looking just like the girl who has brought me here. As we reach the steps, the wolf stops and lowers his head, allowing the girl to drop off his left side, before suddenly shaking me off rather violently.
I hit the ground hard on my side, but understand very clearly that this will not be the worst of my treatment, so I suck it up and stand slowly before staring at the girl. She offers no signs of compassion of sympathy, merely grabbing the chord holding my hands together and pushes me toward the large doors from behind.
As I reach the front of the doors, they seem to open of their own accord, allowing us to walk in. The interior is set much like an altar would, with seating in rows in front of the doorway and a large opening in the center, but instead of a statue for a god, there Is a circular table, at which are seated 6 of the most intimidating people I have ever before laid eyes upon.
3 women and 3 men all dressed in various colored robes, except one who is dressed very similarly to the girl escorting me here with what seems to be wolf pelt armor. Sitting on a higher chair than the rest is a man with a light beard and an all white robe, but he is the one with the strongest presence of them all, to the point of even avoiding looking at him.
As I approach the circle, even though I have done nothing wrong, the sheer presence of these six is so powerful that I can feel my legs ready to give out under the pressure they exert, but I manage to hold it together and keep my head low. As we reach the middle, I suddenly feel the back of my knees give out as the girl swiftly forces me to kneel before pinning a diamond nail through the chord into the ground, thus locking me in place on my knees with my hands near my feet.
As I look back at her, she walks toward one of the males before dropping to one knee and presenting the wreath the woman had given me earlier that day. I start to put things together in my head as I realize that the wreath had been stolen and I had been made a martyr for an unknown cause, but what could I do?
I had no proof of this fact besides my own words, and I these people are very serious about this wreath. The man takes the wreath from her hands, before quickly putting it on, and it is now that I finally hear one of them speak. "Thank you Catarsus, you are a strong tracker, and a stronger niece", Cartasus, the girl who brought me here, simply bows her head farther before backing away to behind me once again, but this time it is her to speak.
"My lords, I have brought to you, after a perilous search, the thief of Lord Apollo's golden wreath. I have brought him here today to have a decision be made for the consequence of said action, that will be enacted by my hand as the prosecutor of his crimes." My eyes widen as I recognize the name of Apollo as being one of the gods worshipped by most. One of the gods that I didn't believe to exist. Without missing a beat, the woman dressed similar to Catarsus starts to click her fingers against the table in agitation.
"The answer to this is painfully obvious, he should be killed for having even thought of stealing from a god, let alone my own brother. The sheer thought that he would dare disrespect my bloodline like that infuriates me to no end." Watching her fingers click against the table makes me fear that she might break it with just her fingertips as she stares daggers through my chest.
Across from her another woman starts to speak. "Artemis you are acting purely off of emotions, please calm yourself down or we can find another lord to replace you, probably one with more wisdom", the woman said with a large amount of venom in her words.
This did not sit well with Artemis as she quickly stood to her feet, slamming her fist onto the table hard enough for even I to feel the shake on the ground. "If you would like to go another round Athena, I will break that fabled shield of yours, impenetrable or not, Do not temp me." Watching her speak reminded me almost of a wild animal preparing to strike and I naturally started to lean back so as to not get involved with this, only to be pushed forward again by Catarsus.
"Don't give me another reason to kill you human." I hadn't noticed up until now, but Catarsus seemed to be the most frightening of all, her gaze enough to make truly feel just how hopeless I was in this situation.
I looked back at towards the problem at hand to see a third person standing between the two. A man with a long, curly black beard stood between them with his hands extended trying to calm them down.
"This council shall not adjourn without resolving this issue and there shall be no fighting. Artemis, this issue may involve your blood, but that doesn't allow you to make an executive decision on it and I'd like you to remember that this council will not order a death without proper cause.
Athena, just because your area of expertise lies within wisdom does not mean you should throw it in everyone's faces and I would like to remind you that Aegis is not yours alone so it will not always be there to protect you.
If I have to stop you two from fighting like sniveling humans, then I will end your arguments for good, now be seated so that we may continue." The man spoke with such an elegance that I was mesmerized to the point of almost not noticing the amount of water flowing into the temple from seemed like nowhere as he continued to speak.
It only continued until he finally chose to sit down, at which point the water left as quickly as it had come, leaving the floor as dry as if it hadn't had water mere seconds before covering it.
The tension in here was only mounting and I was worried that that anger was now going to focused solely on me. It is at this point that Apollo stands and begins to speak. "Athena, you cling so strongly to claim of being goddess of wisdom and intellect, yet you have failed to even note key facts in proving that Artemis's decision is not needed." The look of confusion on Athena's face makes Artemis mockingly chuckle before being stopped by a gaze from Apollo.
As he starts to continue, he walks very slowly toward me, and as he does I can feel an unknown pressure building around the area of my neck, forcing my head towards the ground in a position of bowing. "How is it that this boy stole my wreath?" He asks quizzically looking over to Artemis.
"He broke in and took it from you in your sleep, you said you woke up to find it missing so that's the only time he could've taken it" This response was expected from Apollo as he smiles softly at his sister. "Then why is it that he can not even raise his head in my presence?" He looks over to Athena only to see her eyes narrow in as realization sets in.
"Yes, he had my wreath, but I'm afraid we have yet to find the real thief. I have already determined this, but this still leaves a question behind in my mind.
Why is he willing to die for this?" He moves towards me once again, but before he reaches me I feel the pressure on my neck starts to lift. I quickly move my head back up so that I may look at what is going on, but as I do so I am brought face to face with Apollo himself, and the look on his face can be described as nothing else than pure bloodlust.
He quickly grabs hold of my short hair, pulling back so that my neck is exposed before saying, "Tell me, how long do you think it would take for you to die after I have ripped out your throat? I like to think itll be faster than the clean up afterwards personally. How dare you touch my wreath you stupid human, do you know how many people would kill to even stand in my presence, and here you sit with that dumbfounded look on your face as if you are watching a play reveal before your eyes.
Before you die, you will tell me who stole my wreath, of that I can assure yo-" Apollo is stopped abruptly by a hand wrapped firmly around his own throat from behind. I am frozen in place and can only watch as the man from the highest chair slowly pulls Apollo away from me almost effortlessly before saying in a soft, calm voice," It is not polite to threaten guests, or have I raised you poorly Apollo." His voice grew to a thundering roar as he continued. "If you are to disrespect my temple once more, I will make you all feel the wrath of my lightning bolts, you insolent, bickering children." As quickly as it began, his voice returned to normal and he moved his gaze to me.
"Now that that is out of the way, please tell your story, but mind you that if you lie, I shall know." It takes me a moment to register that I am actually being asked to speak, and I have to stop to take a deep breath before starting out of fear of my voice shaking.
I start to recount the incident of going to get wood for the orphanage and running into the woman, but certain parts are jumbled up from the blow to head I received. With it being as unbelievable as it already is, adding missing parts to it guaranteed that None of them would believe me, but still the one from the high chair sat there pondering what I said as if he actually believed me.
finally he raised his hand to stop the light chatter going on amongst the five others and started to speak. "Catarsus, please escort him to one of the holding rooms while he decide what shall happen to him and how we will move forward. Make sure he his secured down as well so that if his accomplice returns, it will be difficult to rescue him." The gods all circled around this man as Catarsus pried the nail from the ground and started to push me towards a side door.
My head still hurts, but one sentence seems to sit just on the tip of my tongue but I can't seem to come up with it. Right before we reach the doors, it suddenly hits me and I stop where I am. "At the strike of 12, the equal will come to power." I said it out loud, but I heard it as if she had just said it. As the final words left my lips, a sudden gust of wind swept across the room, and all the gods turned quickly towards me. It is the strongest one to react first, quickly moving towards me to find an answer to what just happened.
I look up and quickly try to explain. "The.The woman, she said that before she left." "Is that exactly what she said? Word for word?" I could actually see a hint of fear on his face I nodded, suddenly I heard the soft chuckle of the woman from the river sweep across the wind in the room, only lasting for a few seconds before leaving, but doing enough none the less.
As it died down, Hermes burst through the doors flying quickly towards him in a panic." "Zeus we have a problem, Cronus was released!" At this exclamation, an audible gasp can be heard from the sixth and final god in the room. "The titans, they are being freed! It will be the Titanomachy all over again!" Panic set in amongst them all as they started to move about trying to decide how to react to this, but it is Catarsus who is the one to act first.
She quickly grabs me, throwing me against the wall, before pinning me there and looking me over. It is what she says that truly confuses me. "Who ARE you?" The question echoed in my ears a second time as I felt a sudden burning sensation in my left hand that started at my finger tips and travelled down to well up in my palm. The burning seemed to only increase as it felt like the skin was being melted away.
It became unbearable in a matter of moments and I yelled out in pain and kicked a foot off the wall behind me as hard as I could in what I thought was a feeble attempt at breaking free of her. I knew that she was stronger than me, with her being a god, but I was surprised to find that I had succeeded in knocking her a feet away from me, just enough space for me to slam back against the wall, desperately trying to scratch the rope in an attempt to free my hand so that I can stop the burning.
Catarsus saw this as an attempt to escape and quickly drew her bow, ready to put my life to an end. As she took aim, she was surprised to find Zeus himself lowering her bow softly before moving closer to me. He effortlessly turned me around and held me against the wall as he looked to see what was causing me such discomfort.
The burning slowly started to cool and in a matter of moments, my hand had felt fine again, but a gasp and a sharp intake of breath stopped any calm from coming over me, as what Zeus found on my hand would seal my fate. Lying across my palm was a tree with the earth woven into the bark.
The tree itself seemed to made by my own blood under the skin, but could be easily felt over the skin and before everyone's eyes a single leaf grew on one of the twelve branches. Zeus took a step back before quickly releasing my restraints and moving to Catarsus. "Take him far away from here. I want you to go investigate the release of Cronus and, if possible, recapture him, but I do not want you to let him out of your sight. Catarsus, this order shall be your right of passage and if you complete it, you will be honored as an official Deity.
Be careful though, for staying for extended periods of time on the land lessens are natural powers." He then turned back to me before continuing," I have not decided yet whether you are with us or against us human, but that choice has been taken from me.
I must now put my faith in you, go with Catarsus and deal with the Titan. You are no longer an ordinary human, that mark is the sign of Gaia. She has blessed you with what is known as the power of the oppressed, and this is the first time it has ever been used so do not take it lightly. You will head north of the grand city towards the tallest peak, this is where Cronus was imprisoned, and you will find out what has happened. If you fail us, I will have you smite you with the wrath of every god, do not test me.
If you succeed however, you will be forgiven of the crimes you were convicted of." With these final words, Zeus swiftly walked out of the hall and towards his own quarters, followed closely by four of the five gods, leaving only the last female in the halls with Catarsus and I. Catarsus for the first time seemed as shocked as I had been as she propped herself against the wall beside me trying to comprehend what was happening.
It was then that I noticed the final god approaching me with a soft smile. She seemed genuine and her smile reminded me of Agnis, which put me at ease as she spoke. "I have watched you protect and shelter those children for some time now human, you are a kind hearted man no matter how I look at it and I believe you when you say you had nothing to do with this.
If Cronus has really been freed, that means the Titanomachy will come to pass a second time, and I don't think we will prevail on this occasion. This is why I must ask a great deal of you. You must fight to stop the titans, if not, those children you so sought to protect will die just like we shall." Her smile remained, but the pain in her eyes was very real, but this did not stop the obvious concerns from coming up.
"How can I stop them I'm only a carpenter, I have never owned a sword, let alone used one to fight a fabled titan. I think sending me on this quest is the same as killing me without using your own hands." My concerns were very realistic, but this didn't hinder Hera, as she simply turned and walked back towards Zeus's desk.
She stood beside his deck and firmly pulled out a large sheathed sword before bringing it back and handing it to me. Unsheathing it to my surprise revealed a bluish-green, sword about 2 feet long with a 8-inch hilt and a single Amethyst gemstone in the middle of the hilt with a white lightning strike going across it.
The sword itself felt heavy in my hand, but as I brought it up to swing down once, it seemed to cut through the air effortlessly, going at a fast enough speed to leave a light green trail behind the sword as I swung. As I swung it faster in faster, it felt more like this sword had always belonged to me, and to my shock, even Catarsus seemed impressed with the natural swordsmanship.
This thought was quickly suppressed when she quickly pointed out how poor my stance was and that I'd have no chance against a real soldier with that form. Hera smiled and spoke softly once more. "That sword once belonged to Perseus, given to him by Zeus himself to fight the Gorgon. It is only fitting that you use it to fight the Titans. I leave my faith with you human, and hope that our paths may cross again." With these parting words, she took her leave as well, heading in the direction the others had went, leaving Catarsus and I alone once again.
I sheathed the sword once more, putting it across my back for easy access before gazing down at the tree that now adorned my palm. This was all so overwhelming for me, yet I felt calm and prepared now that this was here.
Something changed inside me when the first branch grew, and I feel like the path for my future has been laid out in front of me. Catarsus coughed softly to get my attention before turning and heading towards the doors. I followed closely behind and started to walk beside her as we reached the doors.
She opened them quickly and turned to me before speaking. "I would like to make this very clear to you human, you are not my equal and you never will be. You may have the sign of Gaia, but you will never be a true god. You and I have to work together to deal with this, but understand well that this is not a partnership.
You will do what I say when I say it." Her condescending attitude almost made me rethink going through with this, but I knew that Hera was right about the children. I couldn't let them die like this, so I will take in all the pain, all the hatred, I'll take it all so that the sun may rise another time.
I nod my head to let Catarsus know I understand, after which she whistled sharply calling to her wolf once more. As he came trotting up moments later she introduced us," This is Lukos, my companion for as long as I can remember. He is a rare breed of wolf that are natural hunters and he is one of the strongest animals alive.
If you so much as even look at him wrong, I will gouge out your eyes." She seemed very serious about this as she mounted Lukos before waiting for me, but as I moved closer my eyes met Lukos and I saw a sense of calm and happiness in them that made me smile. He truly was her companion and he lived to protect her. No matter how much I disliked how she treated me, seeing how happy she made him made me think about what type of god she really was as I mounted Lukos behind her before he quickly began his run towards the land.
As we descended, I took the time to actually look over Catarsus and noticed that she was actually a really beautiful woman, if you got past the ego. She stood only a few inches below me at 5'8" and had a great natural curvy form to her, but it looked like she didn't have a single strand of fat on her.
It was obvious that she took good care of herself and seeing her in this light made me wonder why she hadn't stopped to say goodbye to any lover before we left. We reached a small town about a 4 hour hike before the grand city where we stopped to get some food.
The hunger had surprisingly gotten to Catarsus more so than normal with it being her first extended stay on the land, so as we moved through the various stands offering food for sale, she saw many things that intrigued her pallet. This was the start of our problems however as I knew I didn't have much money as it was and wasn't sure how much she had brought with her when, to my dismay, I watched her pick up one of the freshest apples I had ever seen and take a large bite out of it before moving on without paying for it.
I was naïve to believe that she would understand she had to pay for this food and I watched as the owner of the food stand quickly charged after her yelling obscenities along the way.
He caught up to her quickly and turned her around to yell at her for stealing from him, but this being new to Catarsus only made her think he was challenging her authority as a god.
Just before she was going to berate this man about his belief in the gods, I was able to step in. I quickly apologized to the man and asked him how much that and another apple would cost, only to find out all I had would just barely cover it. I quickly paid the man however and grabbed the second apple, but put it in my pack instead of eating it, with Catarsus watching me all the time.
The apples looked large and succulent, so I was relieved to find that it had curbed her hunger as we started moving back to where Lukos laid in wait. As we approached, Lukos looked up, expecting to see Catarsus bring him food she didn't have. Catarsus quickly mounted Lukos ready to leave in the hopes of maybe hunting for some food for him before he gets too hungry, but to her amazement watched me take out my small pocket knife and begin to chop up the apple I had saved.
I cored it cleanly before cutting it up into 12 pieces, of which I fed them all to Lukos who ate them happily before licking my hand softly. I smiled knowing he approved before joining Catarsus atop him as he started his run once more across the landscape. It only took her a few minutes to ask about what had happened.
"Why did you pay for that man's offering? He should have been grateful that I chose his food to eat." "It doesn't work that way down here, they don't know you are a god so they only see you as an ignorant thief." My words seemed to get through to her a little as she nodded her head silently before continuing.
"Okay I can understand that, but then why did you buy Lukos an apple as well? He's a grown wolf who can hunt for himself you know." She said proudly, boasting her companions hunting abilities that she had perfected. "The same reason you chose to eat that apple instead of hunting for your own food. Receiving a gift you want but don't expect is a very nice feeling that people should feel every once in a while. I am glad Lukos enjoyed the apple." To this I actually heard Lukos bark once like an excited dog.
"Okay? So I'm guessing you have your own food in that bag of yours that you just don't plan on sharing with me huh?" Catarsus concluded as she rationalized why I wouldn't buy myself food. I sighed, tiring of these questions that she was genuinely asking, even though seemed sarcastic in their nature.
"No I don't have any food for myself. The reason I didn't buy myself food is much more simple than you are making it: I couldn't afford food for myself. You two are fighters, you will need your strength when the fighting begins, so I was more than happy to help." My answer was truly how I felt and after a few moments of silenced, she responded. "Cat." "What?" "My name, I don't like hearing Catarsus, it makes me feel old.
You can call me Cat okay Justin?" For the first time she used my name which made me smile. "Okay Cat, I like that." We stopped once more for a brief hunting break to get more food before reaching the outskirts of the grand city. We once again left Lukos hidden before moving towards the city gates.
As we moved closer I grabbed us both cloaks from some unsuspecting civilians. I made sure our faces were covered before nearing the gates where we were stopped by the guards. "Whats your purpose in Greece friend?" The guard ask kindly, but you could tell those words were lined with venom. These men were prepared to dispose of any threat. I tried remain calm being so close to my past as I spoke.
"Just passing through, we are heading for Mt.
Crone for our honeymoon." I lied hoping he would buy it, but it was to no avail. "Honeymoon to Mt. Crone? Whats your real purpose here, raise your hoods." He ordered with a serious tone, ready to kill us off.
I was left with no choice and unhappily raised my hood to reveal my face to the man. I watched as his eyes narrowed then widened in awe. "Justin.You've returned. Come with me now!" With that the guards quickly surrounded us and lead us inside the city and away from the civilian population. As we walked through the corridor hidden within the wall itself, heading to a place only the guards of the wall knew about, I couldn't help but worry about what would happen to Cat while we were down here.
This had nothing to do with her, yet I'm worried she will be caught up in my past. As we past a small crack in the wall that allowed the noises of the crowd in, I moved closer to Cat and whispered just loud enough for her to hear. "No matter what happens, don't fight them, and don't protect me." As I moved back over and continued walking, I could tell that my words had confused her. Why would she protect me? Why were they going to hurt me, and why didn't I want them hurt?
I couldn't answer these questions for her yet, and I hoped I wouldn't have to at all, but these thoughts were put on the backburner as we the hallway started to open up into a large circular room.
As we entered, I noticed three caged cells with a drain underneath each, and a drain in the center of the room as well. It looked like the floor was slanted inward moving towards the drain, except for near the front of the room to the right where the room leveled out with a desk sitting there with some paperwork on it. The guards moved us to the middle of the room before quickly confiscating our things. I knew there was a chance I'd be discovered when we came so I left behind Hera's sword and asked Cat to leave her bow behind as well, but the two daggers we did bring for protection only seemed to alert them more.
As the head guard pulled them out of our bags he smiled, knowing he now had a reason to treat us poorly as he so wanted to. he moved over to desk before putting the daggers inside one of the drawers, then began untying his iron bracers.
Once finished removing them, he moved back over to us and ordered the other guards to tie our hands behind our back, then leave. Once the guards were finished and gone, the head guards smile vanished and he began to speak while circling us.
"You know Justin, I never thought I'd get the pleasure of seeing you again. After you were banished from Greece, I thought I'd never get the chance to truly pay you back for what you did. Did you know my sister was there that day? Yeah, she was out picking up a few things for my mom when those men came running through the street.
Well naturally, she froze up when it happened, and one of them men pushed her out of the way as they kept running. Do you know where they pushed her Justin?" He moved in front of me now, wrapping his finger in the collar of my shirt and yanking upward to make me meet his glare.
"They pushed her into the street with horse drawn carts still passing Justin. She was ran over and the doctors say she will never walk again. Now most people would blame that piece of filth that pushed her, pretty reasonable if you ask me, but that's not how I feel.
No, I would blame the guy that stopped the guards from chasing after those bastards so that his friends could get away. So now that I finally have that man in front of me, let the blame begin." With that last word I watched him pull back before quickly connecting his right hand with the left side of my face, catching me right below the eye. Before I had time to prepare for the next blow I was being thrown across the room against one of the cages. My back hit the bars cleanly before my feet hit the ground, and as I felt the air rush out of my lungs, I watched him move in towards me.
As he got closer he took a single running step before firmly kicking me in the side of the chest. The burning in my chest was unbearable as I heard the soft crack of bones as he recoiled to kick me again. As the second kick landed in the same spot as the last, I couldn't refrain from coughing up a large glob of blood in front of me on the floor, but this only fueled him more. "Hurts doesn't it? You know that my sister's not actually paralyzed right Justin? Yeah, she felt every bit of pain that horse had for her and now she will live with that pain for the rest of her life.
I hate you with every bone in my body and I won't stop until that anger is gone." As he moved in to kick me again, he was suddenly shoulder checked by Cat from the side, throwing him into the wall near me. The guard wasn't expecting her to react, or for her to hit him so hard, but it his rage was not to be quelled so easily. He got up quickly and pulled a knife from the desk before facing her again. "Do you want to die you stupid bitch?
I was going to let you go after roughing you up a bit, but I think I might just end your miserable life now anyways." Cat might be strong, but her hands were tied behind her back and her opponent had a knife. I knew I couldn't let her deal with my problems, or take the beating that I deserved. It just wasn't right, so as the guard moved over to her I started to stand. The pain in my chest hadn't subsided and I let out gasps of pain every time I tried to breathe, but that didn't stop me from reaching my feet.
As I finally reached my feet I started to speak. "This isn't about her and you know that. If you kill her, you'll be no better than those men that hurt your sister. Now come on, I think you still have some anger left for me. Put her in a cell and finish what you started" I started coughing up a little more blood before staggering back against the cell. The guard smirked before quickly backhanding Cat to show who was in charge. "You think you're in any position to give orders you dumb motherfucker.
I'll kill this dumb bitch just because you said not to. Don't you get it Justin? I can do whatever I want to you two and nothing will happen to me. You better pray that I take pity on you, otherwise you'll beg for death." He grabbed Cat by the elbow and threw her harshly into a cell before locking the door behind her, but instead of putting the knife away, he moved toward me with it raised in hand.
As he got in front of me again he knelt and let the blade of the knife etch its away across my left shin moving toward my knee. "They said the horse pounced cleanly on her left leg first.right above the knee!" As he let out those last words, he embedded the blade deep into my leg, cleanly going down into the bone. The pain in my chest paled in comparison to the pain I felt in my leg as he twisted the knife once or twice before removing his hand from it.
The only reason I hadn't screamed out in pain yet was because I couldn't draw in enough breath to scream. As he moved back to the desk to retrieve a second blade, there was a harsh knocking at the door. "Sir, something is going on at the Assembly, all guards are ordered to report there immediately!" With that, footsteps could be heard leading away from the door.
The guard took a deep sigh before quickly grabbing me and throwing me into the cage with Cat.
He then grabbed his bracers and sword before moving to the door. Before walking out of it he turned sharply to speak one last time. "When I return you will die Justin, I promise you that." With that he slammed the door and left us in silence. I sat up slowly and grabbed hold of the knife, trying to desperately to pull it out. I was so absorbed in my own pain at that moment that I forgot that Cat was in the same cell as me.
While staring at the knife stuck in my leg, I watched Cats soft hand come over my own and assist in pulling the knife out of my leg. As it finally gave way and came out, a new sensation of pain was born as the blood seeped into the bone and continue to leak out of my leg.
Cat quickly pulled off a piece of the leather from her boot to wrap around the wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding, but as she did so, I could feel my vision getting blurry.
Taking hits like that is not something I'll ever get used to as I felt my consciousness start to go. Before I passed out I was able to make a small smile and look back up at Cat one more time. "I'll be okay, just need to rest." With that I finally passed out, leaving Cat to ponder over what she had just witnessed.
She had no idea what was going on, why was that guy attacking me? What did I do? Was I a bad person? All these questions swam through her head as something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. As she looked back towards me, she saw what it was that caught her attention.
My left hand, which had the sign of Gaia, was changing.
Cat watched as the branches of the sign grew much larger, crawling up my arm all the way to my shoulder before stopping and starting to glow. Cat quickly moved my shirt up over my arms and watched in amazement as the large bruises already covering my chest from the onslaught I had taken were starting to fade and go away.
She quickly moved back down to my leg and removed the leather strip only to find the wound was nothing more than a scratch at this point. "Amazing isn't it? The sign of Gaia is supposed to signal the end of days, did Zeus tell you that?" The words behind Cat broke her out of her spell as she quickly spun around to face Phtonus, the Greek god of jealousy, standing out of the cell looking in with an amused look upon his face.
"There are a lot of things Zeus chose not to tell you about what is going on Catarsus, how does it feel to be a puppet?" "Why are you here Phtonus, you know I said I'd kill you if I saw you again." Cat's anger quickly escalating at the sight of him, causing Phtonus to only smile more and put up his hands in mocking submission.
"I am just here to relay a message to you Catarsus.from Gaia. She says to be wary of who you put your faith in and to protect yourself. Zeus hasn't told you yet, but this boy will be the death of you, and he knows." Cat's eyes widened at the use of Gaia's name and in realization of who Phtonus was working for, but before she could react he was already heading toward the door.
"You two look like you need some privacy, and Catarsus, remember that nobody will know who used that knifed next to him. Have fun." With those final words, he left and closed the door, once again letting silence overcome it. Phtonus's words scared Cat to her core. Although Phtonus was the god of jealousy, he was not one to speak without good reason, and his words held a lot of power amongst the gods, so what did he mean that this boy would kill her?
She looked back down at Justin as he rested peacefully and couldn't help but notice the fact that, even for a human, he looked quite handsome. He wasn't an overpowering presence like that of Zeus or Apollo, but when his presence was felt, it made everything around him feel more warm. So why? Why would Justin kill her? The more that Cat thought about this, the more she started to worry about it, soon enough her hand was slowly drifting towards the knife separating the two.
The sudden cold touch of her fingers touching the steel blade sent a shiver down her spine as she realized that she was truly thinking about killing him. Her fingers closed around the hilt as she scooted closer to the still body of Justin, watching his movement carefully. Her eyes drifted from his peaceful face down his left arm, stopping at the sign of Gaia, which had retreated back down his arm after finishing the healing process.
She knew from watching that she would never get another chance to kill him like this, so if she truly wanted to protect herself, now was the chance.
She had used a blade before during hunting, she had even gutted quite a few animals in her time, so this would be no different. So why were her hands shaking? She looked down and saw that she could barely keep the blade straight, she didn't want to kill him. He had been kind to her when no one was on his side. When the gods themselves were ready to smite him down, he still showed no signs of hatred. He even protected her.The thought hit her hard as she remembered the fight minutes ago. Even while his life was being threatened, he had refused to ask for her help and he had even tried to protect her.
She threw the knife away from her quickly, knowing she could no longer bring herself to kill him, he had hit her in a place she'd never felt pain before, and she had to keep him alive to one day repay the favor.
The sounds of the steel blade connecting with the concrete floor before sliding into the wall made a scratching sound louder than Cat had anticipated. The sharp sounds succeeded in bringing me out of my coma-like state enough to open my eyes. My eyesight was still blurry and I had a massive headache but, to my surprise, my body otherwise felt normal. I felt nothing like when I fell asleep, but what happened?
Why do I feel so fine when I should be dead. I felt like I was going to die when I passed out, yet I am starting to sit up in the same cell I passed out in. As my eyes finally started to adjust, I panned across the room before settling my sights on to Cat, who sat mere feet away from me with a slight blush coming across her face as she turned away from me.
I didn't quite understand why that happened, but I shrugged it off to focus on a more important question. "Why do I feel fine? Cat, what happened to me?" I hoped that Cat, as a god would know something about what happened, but instead she simply shook her head and pointed at the sign on my hand. "It healed you, I don't know how, and I don't know why, but it healed you faster than I have ever seen, faster than Zeus himself could heal. All I know is that if it has that kind of power, its dangerous." She got very serious for a moment, turning to face me again.
"Before we get out of here, you have to promise you won't rely on that things powers. Nothing that strong works without a risk Justin, so please be careful." This was the first time Cat had ever spoken to me like this, which only seemed to give her words even greater meaning.
Believer or not, a warning from a god was not to be ignored, so I nodded my head reassuringly before standing. As I stood and stretched, I noticed that I didn't just feel normal, I felt better than normal. I felt stronger somehow, and I knew it had to be this marking. Cat stood as well and moved over to the cell door before taking off her leather boot and pulling out a small dagger from the heel.
"We need to wedge the blade between the bolt and the hinge on both pieces to pull the door off, but its going to be heavy so be prepared to help me." Upon finishing speaking, Cat quickly jammed the knife underneath the head of the bolt before quickly striking down on it with her boot, effectively knocking the bolt up off the hinge. She repeated this process with the second one, but before she had time to move over and help grab the door, I suddenly pushed forward with a minimal amount of effort and slammed the door into the opposite side of the cage.
The door felt so light in my hands, yet she had warned me that it would be heavy. Feeling my own confusion as I looked at my hands, I turned and looked over at Cat to only find the same confusion there as well. I knew that trying to understand what was happening was beyond my capabilities at this point, so I decided to shrug it off and moved quickly over to the desk to retrieve our bags and daggers, before quickly exiting the room with Cat leading the way.
We moved down the hallway quickly, but as we neared the crack in the wall again, the commotion I expected to come from it was never heard. We crept past the crack in silence as the moon's light pressed through the crack. The guard had said there was a problem, yet there is no commotion going on outside.
Something was up and I knew we had overstayed our welcome here. "We can't get supplies here Cat, we will just have to hunt for food, and make do with what we have, now lets just get the hell out of this city." A quick nod of her head let me know we were on the same page as we exited out of the hallway and out in open night air, outside of the walls once again.
We quickly made our way back to Lukos before mounting and making pace towards Mt. Crone. As we reached the base of the mountain, we decided to make camp and start the investigation tomorrow.
As we sat beside a small fire inside a small, hidden cave in the side of the mountain, a thought occurred to me. "Why haven't we seen any pandemonium?" My question caught Cat off guard as she pondered it for a moment. "What do you mean pandemonium? Over us escaping? I don't think they intended to make our illegal capture public in the first place, so I doubt they would bring up us escaping them." She replied still wondering what I was thinking.
"No Cat, bigger. Hermes said that Cronus had been freed. Where was Cronus held?" Cat's eyes widened as she started to realize what I had brought up. "Mt Crone." Both our eyes moved to the mouth of the cave as we thought about the meaning of this. "If he was released from here, then the entire city would be in a panic. This mountain itself wouldn't be here if Cronus was freed, so why is it still standing?" "I don't know, but I'm worried that we will find out tomorrow." A gust of wind pushed through the entrance, sending shivers up our spines, but before laying down to sleep, I quickly pulled out my old long sleeve shirt that I kept for morning jobs and handed it over to Cat.
"This should keep you warm tonight so that you can sleep better." As she moved out of the cave to change, I moved her pelt blanket closer to the fire so that she wouldn't freeze as I knew nights out here could get cold. I laid down close to the back wall of the cave to not only give Cat some space, but to also keep an eye on the cave, for I had no intention of sleeping tonight. Cat returned a few moment later, dawning the long sleeve shirt I had given her, but in her hands lay the leggings and boots she had worn the entire time I had known her.
The shirt was large enough to cover my upper body and worked perfectly to go down to just below the curve of her ample backside. I almost felt ashamed seeing her walk quickly over to her blanket before wrapping her it around her slender legs.
As she got comfortable again, she turned back to look at my set up for tonight and almost felt bad for accepting my shirt. She saw that I wore the same outfit as during the day, aside from taking off my shirt to get cold outside for tomorrow, leaving me in just a tanktop. I laid a top an old, ragged sheet that only succeeded in keeping my body from touching the various insects that crawled across the cave floor throughout the night. Seeing this made her heart sink as she pulled the blanket closer to her body, almost feeling how cold I will be tonight.
"Justin.you should get closer to the fire or you'll freeze. Come on there is plenty of room up here." Cat said with a soft smile motioning for the other side of the fire, but that spot didn't give me a good vantage point on the mouth of the cave, so I couldn't do it. "I'll be alright Cat, don't worry about me. I just want to make sure you are alright." I replied with a smile, hoping to fend off anymore help from her so that she will go to sleep.
This night scared me for no other reason then worry. Greece was too silent for everything to be alright and I had a really bad feeling about being this vulnerable.
Cat laid back down, feeling slightly confused. On the one hand, she felt warm inside because all that mattered to me seemed to be her, but on the other she felt like she was hurting me more than helping. I was constantly worrying about her and she almost felt like a child with a parent ever since leaving Mt.
Olympus, she wanted to be helpful as well and the only way she could help right now is keeping me warm tonight. After tossing and turning for a few moments, Cat decided to act on her thoughts. Without sitting back up or turning around, she started to speak to me again. "Justin? Justin.I'm cold still, do you think you could maybe come closer and keep me warm tonight?" I never expected to hear those words come out of her mouth and sat still for a moment or two, not sure how to react.
It takes Cat shivering for effect to break my spell and get my attention again. I slowly move closer to Cat, expecting her to ball up in the blanket, but instead she opened it up making room for me. I was struggling to keep my breathing calm as my heart raced at the sight before me.
I had never dated a woman as beautiful as Cat before, let alone had the pleasure of falling asleep with one and here she was offering it to me. I lay down on my side behind her and softly bring my hand to her waist to let her know I'm here. The warmth of my hand makes her feel more comfortable as she pulls the blanket it over us both before placing her hand over my own. As the flame slowly reduces to embers, all that can be heard now was the beating of my heart. This god, this woman had a way of making every aspect of me go rampant and I didn't know how to deal with it except bottle it in.
Cat sighed in contentment as she hadn't felt this warmth and safe in a very long time. As the last of the embers went out only one word could be heard carried over the wind. "Love."