Travail of Chaos

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Travail of Chaos is a story of creation, of gods and magic, and a group of children who inherit the powers of entire pantheons. This tale contains great deal of real-world spirituality and
magic hidden between the lines of what looks like a fantasy story.

Submitted: August 20, 2018

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Submitted: August 20, 2018

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Travail of Chaos

 

 

Three spirits hung in the sky, two younger Titans and their primordial guide, there was an ocean below and an endless sky above. Before them, vast in the distance, was The First.

"Do you know what you see"? Asked the guide.

"Creation"? Responded the male, starlight dancing in his eyes, and his partners.

"Fool", spat out the guide, "now listen up".

"In the begining there was only void. Imagine cutting a disk out of the void and lifting it up from its surroundings, you would have a positive void, and below it a hole, a negative void, a shadow of nothing. This was the fluctuation in nothingness that resulted in Chaos above, and Oblivion below".

"What you see is Chaos, it is a sky of infinite nothingness, covering an oceon of infinite potential, its borders are the yawning abyss. In the centre you see the first".

"And the first"? Asked the male Titan, "I see a naked woman dancing on the ocean".

"I see two lovers", said the female.

"And I see a great man working on an anvil", said the guide, "it is all these things and more, you see what you need to understand, or what you can deal with".

The guide continued with a grin.

"Oblivion is devoid, hungering. Above all else it seeks reunion with Chaos. Its tentrils reach out and grasp at Chaos, trying to draw her close, but Chaos will not be caught".

"What about creation"? Asked the female Titan.

"Being infinite nothingness, Chaos was without time. Being without time, its potential was realised immediately, although maybe immediately took forever. From nothing, came everything. An infinity of universes, themselves and Chaos separated and connected by an infinity of spirit worlds. The process of creation was the formation of an infinity of gods, each was an aspect of the creative path, and thus each was a path to Chaos and The First. Those may have been your distant ancestors".

"Anyway", said the guide, "Chaos knew that reality would be greater that the sum of its parts, and thus lend her the strength needed to resist Oblivion".

"While the tendrils of Oblivion sink deep into the many worlds of Spirit, they can not enter into the universes of matter, for their reality is too deep. However, many in the worlds of matter hear them; cruel, clamoring, hungering, jealous, snarling, vicious, and named them demon, I think you have become aware of this".

The male Titan just nodded, his face grim.

"The greatest of them all manifested here, long ago", continued the guide, "a great serpent called Ophion, corrupted by Oblivion into the Leviathan. It attempted union and dominance over the first, and was banished to the lowest pits of spirit for its crime".

"And the lights"? Asked the male.

"What are they"? Added the female.

"What lights"? Replied the guide, "there are no lights"!

The two Titans gave each other a look then both turned to the guide.

"We don't need you any more".

The two Titans left the guide behind and drifted towards the first, it was surrounded by millions of tiny blazing lights. When they got closer, they realised that these were the souls of universes, or questing gods, or mortal travelers. They were all equal around the first.

The guide reappeared, now with a black eye.

"The walls are closing, the final fight comes. It is time to go".

 

Years Minus One

 

Battle raged throughout the underworld, Oblivion had breached the walls of Tartarus and manifest voices were pouring in. Slithering, creeping, oozing, charging. They lept from mind to mind and from skin to skin, and all they touched was corrupted.

Hades and his brethren, with champions from ages past, had fought for days. They held their ground, but the cracks in reality were widening. To bolster their numbers, the Titans were released and at last joined their Kthonic cousins, side by side in their battle.

Those primordial gods, weakened as they were from eons of captivity, fought to defend the portal to Earth. They had once overthrown heaven to defend Gaea, they would not let her be assaulted again.

They all knew that the underworld was lost.

The assembled deities retreated to behind the gateway to the Earth realm, and joining their powers, created a barrier that no force should cross. As the majority of the Titans and the Underworld gods climbed the path to Earth, taking with them all the great souls of Elysium, one stayed behind. Lelantos, rogue of the Titans, gave his life and sealed the barrier.

They reached the spirit world of the Earth realm. The Underworld gods knew what to expect, but the Titans did not, and a great wail of anguish went up from their number.

They expected to see the tranquil world of their past. They were met with strips of concrete and tarmac that scared the mothers body, the obliteration of forests, and sprawling cities that reeked of death. The valleys and rivers had fallen silent, their gods gone. Signs of battle in the spirit world was everywhere, although the voices of Oblivion had been mostly subdued.

The Kthonic gods had achieved their goals, the reinforcements of Oblivion had been halted, and the heroic souls of Elysium had been saved. Together they made their way to Olympus and Zeus welcomed them all.

Words were spoken that none had expected, a redemption and a peace that had been waiting for thousands of years.

"The Titans are redeemed", the great god announced, "honour them amongst us".

Old friends and old enemies embraced each other, past toubles forgotten. Titanic fathers and Olympian daughters were reunited, and a few old marriages rekindled.

Amongst them, the Titan Astraeus, god of dusk and the stary sky, greated his former wife Eos and their children. They had parted on good terms long ago. He then sought out his brother amongst the gathering deities.

"She is not here", said Astraeus, "I need to find my childhood friend".

"More than a friend", smiled Perses, "you two were always close, and we are divorced, you have my blessing".

Another Titan, one long-sided with the Olympians, pointed out where Astraeus should look.

 

Astraeus excerted his will, and with great effort, shifted his form into the physical world. He could have flown right there in spirit form, but he knew, he had to do this properly.

Tall and of strong build, he sported the traditional full beard and tanned skin of his ancient kin. His eyes were different, for they showed the infinite depths of space. Astraeus focused for a moment, creating a pair of sunglasses out of the air, and hid his eyes.

Litochoro. From there he thought the trip might take weeks, in actuality, it was less than a day, and the Titan was standing upon the island of Delos.

"Asteria", he called, softly, "Asteria", a little louder.

"Yes, according to mythology", said the tour guide, as if she had grown bored of the story a thousand tellings ago, "this Island was once a Titan goddess, she transformed herself into Delos to escape the advances of Zeus".

Astraeus could not resist. He removed his sunglasses and stared hard at the tour guide.

"I know, she's my cousin".

The tour guide reacted with belief, disbelief, and comprehension, all at once.

Immediatly, Astraeus replaced his shades, and continued on as if nothing had happened.

Walking through the ruins, he couldn't help but murmor, "Well this is all insulting".

"What is"? Two of the other tourists had joined him.

"We didn't live in ruins, we lived in nice houses, why was this never rebuilt"?

"We"? They asked.

With a grin he corrected himself, "they".

He stopped near the centre of he island and began meditating and praying, calling out to Asteria. Near midnight, the female spirit formed infront of Astraeus.

"I was slee, ASTRAEUS"!

Even though he was currently material and she was a spirit, she managed to throw her arms around him and give him a tight hug. After a few seconds she pulled away with a huge smile on her face. "My childhood friend"!

Even in just holding her, after all those years, her spirit felt like sparks upon his skin.

"What of my Husband Perses"?

The Titans eyes fell, then he looked into her face, her eyes reflecting the stars like his.

"On Olympus, Pallas too, and all the rest".

"He wouldn't come see his old flame", Asteria laughed slightly, then looked deep into the stary eyes of Astraeus, "but you came".

Astraeus put his arms around Asteria, barely daring to go further.

"Zeus chased me into the ocean", the female Titan said, "and I would not let him have me, my body became this island and none of them came".

"Not even your sister"? Asked Astraeus incredulously.

"Once, she came to give birth to HIS children, she asked for my premission, so that temples to her child would be made here. I almost said no".

"You're too kind for that"!

And with that, Asteria returned his embrace.

 

* * *

 

In the lowest pit of the underworld, a primordial god stired. The spirit of a dead god slipped down into Ophion's lake. For millenia Ophion had been devouring gods and spirits, and hungrily it swallowed down the divine soul of Lelantos. He had already feasted upon the three thousand rivers, and the majority of the three thousand nymphs, other lesser gods of hills and valleys, deities of mountains and springs. All found their way to the pit of Ophion and their doom.

The power of ten thousand gods coursed through his veins, such that even in banishment, the spirit of Ophion had become solid. He leapt upwards and after nine miles, landed upon the plains of Elysium.

All around were the voices of Oblivion, he took on the form of the vast serpent Leviathan, and upon inhaling, consumed them all, further bolstering his power. Surging forward he reached the barrier to Earth, and with a slight effort of will, shattered it.

Leviathon rushed headlong upwards.

He emerged though the river Acheron in north-west Greece, and returned to his human form, six foot tall, slim, and dark eyed. His body roared with the power of ten thousand dead gods and the hunger of Oblivion, he prepared to go on the warpath.

 

* * *

 

The gateways to Chaos had been closed, the souls of universes and gods and mortal travellers that spiralled around the first had merged with her form, and found peace.

Lady Chaos accepted the sky of infinite nothingness within her, in so doing, she emptied the ocean of infinite potential onto Oblivion, and the yawning abyss crashed down.

Oblivion was destroyed, as was Chaos.

One tiny shard of Lady Chaos remained, a spark nurished by her creation.

 

Year Minus One to Zero

 

Astraeus and Asteria sat in the spirit world of Delos, itself secluded from the other astral planes, seperated from other heavens and hells. During the night they watched the stars, and during the day they took comfort in each others arms. They were as childhood friends, who after a lifetime apart, had found each other again.

On the evening of the third day, they both assumed human shape in the physical world. Asteria had existed for many eons as the soul of the island, her powers dispersed. Rebuilding her body was not easy.

This time, Astraeus was a little more discrete, he made his body of average build, though he couldn't disguise his starlight eyes. He kept the curly brown hair and beard and tanned skin. For her part, Asteria made herself of pale skin and black hair, because she thought it looked cute. She was right.

Like Astraeus, she couldn't disguise her eyes.

The two star gods travelled widely, both effected sunglasses, and both used magic to sidestep the need for passports. They discovered that none of the voices had embodied into the physical world.

They deduced that they were not able.

The voices came from Oblivion, a 'place' beyond nothingness, perhaps an anti-reality. The physical world was undoubtedly anathema, maybe even toxic to them.

Yet Astraeus was worried, once in a while he believed he could still hear them. He dismissed these occaisions as flashbacks to the war in Hades, his guilt over the war with Olympus, or his concerns for Asteria.

Deep down, he knew this was not just his imagination. Fortunately it seamed as if the voices were growing quiet, though he did not know why.

On the Ivory Coast they knew that Asteria was pregnant, and they took a great gamble. Both Astraeus and Asteria had spent thousands of years without faith, and as weak as their powers had become, they made the journey to the source of creation, to Chaos. They needed to know where the voices came from, and personally, they wanted to know the roots of existence. The trip across spirit was arduous and cost them much of their life-force, and when it was done, they penned a letter to their unborn child.

They told him the nature of creation, the true history of his people, and of the dangers he would face.

In a cafe at the top of cumbria in the North of England, Asteria went into labour. With the dining room full of people, the two Titans revealed their identity.

For a few moments they did not know what the reaction would be. Maybe the people would fall to worship and reverence, or maybe to fear and screaming. The result was of near indifference. They simply wanted to Help Asteria.

A young medical student (and biker) named Sara stepped forward and helped with the delivery, while the rest of the room added what assistance they could, or waitied patiently, or filmed the event.

Asteria began fading out of existence. With each contraction, her body faded, and the childs too. She pushed more of her life force into the child, so that it would remain solid. It would not be enough. With tears in his eyes, Astraeus added his life force to hers. Their child would be something new, a god whose life-force was rooted entirely in the physical world.

Our child will inherit the power of the Titans'. He kissed Asteria, and then it was done. Sara held they baby, as Astraeus and Asteria ceased to exist.

 

Year One

 

Ophion raging throughout the spirit world, everywhere he went he found spirits great and small, and devoured them. From the lowest daemon and the vilest demon, to the greatest gods The Leviathon was relentless.

On Olympus, ten factions met. The Greek deities had opened their doors to the remains of the African pantheons, with them came the Aesir and the Vanir of the Norse peoples, the Oriental, and the Aboriginal gods. The Greek pantheon had divided itself into five factions. It was all that remained.

These factions included the remaining male Titans, another was the Titanids, a third was all Olympian deities, a forth the deities of the underworld. The final faction was called the sons of Gaea, including Uranus, Oure, Pontus and his three sons, the three Cyclopes, and the three Hecatoncheires.

All that was missing, was the twenty four Earthborn giants, and the Hell-god Typhon, who was alone the equal of any one pantheon before him.

These ten factions performed the spells of unification, shockwaves of light and darkness and divinity shook Olympus. When it was done, ten Overgods stood ready for battle.

Ophion flew in the air before the spirit world of mount Olympus and slashed his tail against the barriers, the columns and platforms shook, but the arcane barriers held. For thousands of years he had been devouring gods, now he was prepared to devour the rest.

He breathed a stream of toxic fire, it hit the barrier and was repelled, but Ophion kept the stream going. After several seconds, the barrier was breached. The Overgods of the world then rode forth, clad in silver and gold and bright blue, and robes of red and violet.

One by one, Ophion slaughtered them all. The Olympian Overgod had led the charge and was killed first, Ophion tried to devour the fallen divinity, but it vanished as soon as the deity fell. As each overgod died, its power vanished, and the rage of Ophion grew. In the end, the first serpent stood alone on the Ruins of the Olympian spirit world, and screamed in anger and victory.

Magic will take any path to work its power. The last wish of Astraeus echoed across the spirit world, "Our child will inherit the power of the Titans". The last wish of Astraeus latched onto the powers of the Overgods, and found their match in the children of humanity, for a Titan is a god, and all mortals are their children.

They would come again.

 

Year One to Eleven

 

Lady Chaos tumbled through the spirit worlds, broken tentrils of Oblivion and the voices of corruption reached for her, and she destroyed them with her mearest gaze. With every attack her mind fractured, like a pane of glass being struck with a hammer at every moment.

For ten years she fell. At last she crashed down upon the physical earth, falling like a meteor; lost, alone, and utterly insane.

 

Year Twelve, Day One

 

Terry awoke, and his hands went to his temples, a big grin spreading across his face. He clambered out of bed, taking only a moment to notice the spots of blood on his pillow. He was twelve years old today, but birthday presents were not on his mind. He dashed to the bathroom, and stood up upon his stool so as to see in the bathroom mirror.

Brushing back his tousled brown hair, he was delighted to see the start of a pair of horns growing from the sides of his head.

“MOM”! He yelled. It sounded like a shout of fear, he had meant it as excitement.

Sara appeared in the doorway in mere seconds, and then relaxed when she saw the smile on Terry’s face.

“Has it stopped itching”?

“I’ll say, look”

Sara stood beside her son and examined his face in the mirror. She gently prodded one of his horns, and then the skin where it joined the skull. She stared at the middle of his forehead for a few seconds. Sometimes, from the corner of her eye, she thought she saw a glowing inverted triangle there, and then it would be gone. She prodded the other horn.

“Does that hurt”?

“Not at all, just slightly tingly when you touch it, I think its healing”.

“I guess this means you’re a man now”.

Terry puffed out his chest, then relaxed and laughed.

“I guess it’s time for the bandana”? asked Terry

“Well wait till after you’ve opened your presents”, Sara paused for a second “you know, I still think it would have been better if we pretended to be Sikh”.

Terry threw his mother ‘that’ look, a look that said ‘are you mental’ and ‘not on your nelly’ all at once, and now it was her turn to laugh.

“You wash up and get dressed, then go on downstairs, and open your presents, I'm gonna start your breakfast”.

"Making it or eating it"?

"Both if you dont get a move on".

Terry hurried getting ready for school, and polished off his breakfast, was somewhat happy at his new bike, and very happy at the new gaming console, and after getting yelled at to finish getting ready, ended up sitting on the couch holding an envelope.

"What's this", he asked, waving the envelope a little.

"It's from your parents", answered Sara.

"Whoa", came the reply. He carefully opened the letter, and began to read.

 

A minute later he looked up from the letter.

"Mom, what do you remember of my parents".

"I remember they had eyes like stars, they used sunglasses to hide them, but your birth was too physical for that. Everyone in Hartside cafe saw them", she paused before continuing, "I know they loved you, they gave their lives so you could exist".

"How do you mean"?

"They faded out, it was like they gave their life force to you, I have no other way to describe it".

Terry nodded

"Do you want to know what's in the letter"?

"You can tell me if you like, but don't feel you have to".

"They were Titans, honest to, well, godness, Titans".

"Titans"? Asked Sara, bluntly.

Terry passed the letter to his mom, and she quietly read it. The letter told of the nature of all planes and realities, the hunger of Oblivion, and of Terry's parents and family. It said how they were sorry they could not be there as he grew up.

"You're a Titan"!

"Does this get me out of doing homework"?

"Hell no"! Said Sara, with humor in her voice.

"You know", said Terry, "I think my parents would have been proud of you".

The statement came out of nowhere and Sara wasn't prepared for it, she almost broke into tears. She stole her resolve and sat down next to her son.

Sara handed him a bright red bandana.

Terry was already five minutes late for school, yet he just sat there holding the piece of cloth for a full minute.

"I can't wear it mom".

"I know its not ideal, you said you didnt want people thinking you were different".

"It was different before, when the bumps started showing, I could pretend I was covering bruises or something, it wasnt so far from the truth", Terry took a deep breath, like he was on the verge of hyperventilating, "But now the horns are through, this would be a lie".

Sara put an arm around her son's shoulders.

"You know, ever since you could talk, you've been so wise, and not once have you made me doubt you. I'm not going to make you wear the bandana, but I am worried what will happen when people find out you are different. Could you try"?

Terry raised the bandana slowly. The shaking in his hand grew, so that he had to use both hands. His skin visably paled, and the moment a tear emerged from an eye, Sara grabbed the piece of cloth away from him.

"No bandana".

"Sorry mom".

Sara hugged her son and forced a smile, though she was on the verge of tears herself.

"No more of this, it's your birthday and you're going to be late for school".

"Right"!

Terry straightened his school tie, grabbed his backpack, and after a "Later mom", made his way out of the house to school.

 

Year Twelve, Day Two

 

Monila Monovar walked quietly homeward from school. She wore a short black dress embossed with light blue flowers, almost oriental in style, which perfectly framed her tanned skin and dark eyes. Monila loved school, except for the religious aspects. Her family had their own beliefs that she could never admit to. Azerbaijan was mostly muslim, but very tolerant. Still, thousands of years of persecution had taught the girls of Monila's family to be secretive.

For thousands of years, the females of her family had worshiped a pantheon of dead gods, the twenty four Earthborn giants. Their beliefs, and the powers it brought them, passed down from mother to daughter, or aunt to niece.

Today Monila had turned 12.

She reached her house, during the day the front door was unlocked, Monila walked in to see her mom sitting in her chair, waiting for her.

“So, I bet you think you're all grown up now Monila”, the face was stern and the voice cross, Monila couldn't guess what bad thing she could have done.

“What did I ”...

Monila broke off her statement as her mom started laughing. “You”! Answered the young girl, then both mother and daughter met in the middle of the room in a hug.

“Well dear, I guess its time”.

“The altar”? Asked Monila expectantly.

“Yes, follow me”.

A cabinet in the side wall was pulled to one side, giving the two women barely enough room to squeeze behind, and then down a set of stairs to the basement. At the bottom of the stairs, a spacious room opened up, and on the far side, a stone altar.

It was about three foot tall, almost like a solid marble table. The upper surface was engraved with twenty four sigils, each one representing one of the Earthborn giants.

“People misunderstand the zodiac”, Monila's mother glanced down at her daughter, “the scientists most of all”.

“Really”?

“They say there are thirteen zodiac signs now, and that's rediculous. If you looked deep enough, there would be thousands or millions of constellations. The band of sky is divided into twelve sections, and named after the most prominent signs in those areas”.

“Right”.

“More than that, its not about predicting your future, that's also rediculous. The twelve signs represent the different aspects and intelligence of reality, as percieved from this world”.

“So we know the truth huh”, asked Monila.

Her mother smiled, “Yes we do”, and hugged her daughters shoulder.

“Now this altar, its contains the souls of twenty four gods, children of the earth, killed by the Olympians. No male can use this, if they did, they would embody its power forever, and there is no telling what damage they would wreck. This knowledge has been passed down through the females of our family, for we ladies have wisdom”.

Monila reached out, and as her hand neared the altar, it was like a magnet, and in a moment it pulled her hand down solidly onto the cold stone.

Lightning flowed up her arm, her eyes glowed in bright white light, and her head arched sharply back. Power and knowledge flowed through her.

Her mother tried to pull Monila's arm free, and was flung back across the room by the surge of power.

“But you are my daughter”, she screamed.

Monila lowered her head and half-turned to face her mother. Her voice came as if from twenty four gods, and from somewhere within them was a little girl.

“Those scientists you disdain have a word for such as I, they call it Swyers syndrome, a broken Y chromosome. My Genetics are male, my body is female. I am Mosaic”.

Monila turned back to the altar, and a small voice escaped from her.

“Mommy I'm scared”

The pulse of power between Mosaic and the altar surged for a second, and then the altar shattered, its innert pieces crumbled and fell to the floor.

She reiterated “I am the Earthborn, I am Mosaic”, the sentance began as many voices, and at the end, had merged into one new voice.

The little girl was now floating a foot above the ground, and she was no longer a little girl. Her body grew to adulthood and her clothes disintergrated, the sigils of the twenty four Earthborn flowed around her perfect form in a bright cyan light. She turned to face her mother.

“Mom, I cant stop it”!

Her eyes flashed for a second, and every atom within the house converted into its pure energy form, and then reformed into random atoms.

 

Year Twelve, Day Three

 

Ashley Mashida was running in fear.

 

He was Japanese, born in Tokyo to rich parents. The family travelled all over the world, until they were both killed by their business partners. Ashley ended up on the streets in spain, and then went into care. He was fostered, again, and again, and again. His last family took him to Sicily, and then they uncovered his secret.

Although generally defining himself as male, Ashley was a hermaphodite, a genetic chimera. They tried to sell him to a crime syndicate, one that catered to the worst of humanities depravities.

 

Ashley Mashida was running in fear.

 

He was wearing cheap knock-offs of doc-martin boots, green combat pants, and a red vest. He had once worn a denim jacket, but he had thrown it into a ravine in an attempt to lure his persuers off his track. The trick had not worked.

He had been running for days, now cold, hungry, and exhausted, when he found the cave on the slopes of Mount Etna. At first he stumbled in the dark, feeling his way, half crawling, falling, crying. He didn't care anymore about how lost he was, he didnt care if he died in this hole in the mountain, just as long as he was away from his persuers.

Far below him, the cave became visible in an eerie red glow. The light was flowing from veins in the rock, like blood vessels. With nothing else to go on, Ashley followed them.

He trudged for what seemed like miles, always spiraling downwards. The veins in the rock thickened, the glow lightened, the light strengthed. Eventually, the tunnel opened up into a huge cavern. In the middle of the cavern lay the body of a man, where all the veins converged.

With the last of his strength almost spent, Ashley crawled over to the body, his one thought was to lie down beside it and die. As he reached the naked corpse, he fell forward and twisted, and landed with the side of his head resting on the body.

There was a pulse of crimson light, thousands of miles of veins immediatly withdrew into the fallen body. Ashley stood up as his clothes began to disintergrate. His lower half became that of a goat, and still hemaphrodite. His body expanded to adulthood, modest breasts formed. Ashley's neck doubled in length and his head became that of a dragon. Two more necks and dragons heads sprouted forth to join the first. His arms became serpent like, flexible along their length, while each of his fingers and thumbs ended not in a fingernail, but the mouth of a snake, fangs dripping venom. Wings of crimson smoke expanded from Ashley's back. All of his skin became tough and colored as grey and red marble, though smoldering, like newly solidified lava.

The three heads spoke as one

“I am Baphomet, I am Tiamat, I am Typhon”, and then, “I am Chimera”.

Chimera rocketed upwards, blowing a hole through the roof of the cave as he went skyward.

Those who saw Chimera and survived, saw him only from afar. He was the size of a man, yet as vast as a world, and it seamed like his wings could cover night and day all at once. He swooped down upon a clearing and let loose three streams of fire upon his persuers, and then took to the air again. He headed for a remote village in sicily, hovered above a particular mansion, and breathed a stream of molten metal upon the building and the grounds, obliterating everything in his path. When he landed, he caused fisures and ruptures throughout the ground, as he continued in his devestating wrath.

Nothing and nobody survived his onslaught.

“You know if you thought about what you're doing, you could probably just take the entire estate off the map”.

This new voice came from a young girl in a black and blue flowery dress. She was about a hundred meters to his side. Chimera turned to face her and began to run in what was obviously a murderous charge. He had covered half the distance when the girl raised one hand and clicked her fingers. Instantly the ground under Chimera, and about twenty foot around, was transformed into icy water.

After a few seconds Chimera emerged from the water, Mosaic had simply walked over to the new pool, and held out a towel. “This is not over”, his three heads growled.

"I felt you from across the world", Mosaic said, "we're kind of the same".

Another figure, a young Caucasian male with rams horns, dropped down from the sky.

“Where you really going to attack her”?

Chimera simply stood bewildered. The mouth on his right head gaping open.

“Who are you people".

 

Year Twelve, Day Four

 

Sara stood in the middle of the living room, facing down three children sitting on her couch. All three where looking a little sheepish. One was her adopted son, a Titan, the second was a middle eastern girl who apparantly had the power of twenty four dead gods, and the third was a Japanese lad who happened to be a hell-god.

“Do you know how much grief I'm going to have with the police, of several countries, and adoption agencies, and the gods only knows who else. It will be sheer luck or divine intervention if any of you arn't”, Sara picked her next words very carefully, “tied to recent events”.

“We know”, they said, not looking up.

“When you two moved in here, yesterday, you promised you'd be good, all three of you swore not to draw attention to yourselves”.

“We didn't think anybody would be watching”, pleaded Terry.

“Thats not the point”, scolded Sara, “Where did you get the beer from at your age”.

“We found it, fair and square”, stated Ashley.

“Oh really, where”? Demanded Sara.

“In a back alley, behind the shops, by a big bin, they must have missed it”, said Monila.

Sara sighed.

“Did you not think that at any given moment, there must be dozens of astronomers watching the moon, you left cans strewn all over, and how did you get that old ghetto blaster to work”?

“I made an air pocked around us”, said Ashley, with pride. A stern look from Sara quickly deflated him. Secretly, Ashley was jumping for joy inside, this was a proper Mom.

Sara sat down in her armchair “Well I can't just send you to your room, you three, in one room, thats not a punishment. Get out of here, go to the beach and think about what you did, while I decide on what to do with you”.

'Well, at least they're kinda normal', she mused, as they filed out.

 

The three children had not gone far down the road when Terry collapsed to the ground, something powerfull pulled at his stomach and he whinced in pain, it felt as if every cell in his body was being re-written.

One word sprang to his mind, 'Hyperion'.

"We need to fly", gasped the young boy, "need to move".

"We can't", whispered Monila harshly, we promised, "we fly in secret only".

Ashley grasped Terry's arm and tried to haul him to his feet, but he had suddenly become much more massive.

"Whats going on Terry"?

"The Titans are coming", groaned Terry, "we must fly".

There was another pulse of power, and Terry screamed, another voice filled his mind, and this time he murmured it out loud, "Krios".

"Who"? Asked Ashley.

"His real grandfather", answered Monila, "we have to fly".

The three children took to the air, to the gasps of all around them. Monila and Ashley held Terry's arms, and put out most of the effort.

"East", called out Terry, "Greece".

The three children began their flight east, they stayed only a few hundred feet above ground level, soaring over cities and mountains, down through valleys, following the contours of the land. They soon became big news.

At random intervals, it seamed, the soul of a Titan merged with Terry, and each time he called out its name in agony. After Krios came Iapetos and then Koios and Kronos. After those five, came Pallas and Perses, then Menoetius and Atlas, and Terry's own father Astraeus. Finally came those who had sided with the Olympians; Oceanus, Promethius, and Epimethius. Only one remained.

The three children reached the island of Rhodes, and hovered above Rodos itself. They hung in the air where once a great statue had guarded the sea port.

"Go big", pleaded Terry, doing his best to restrain the last surge of power from overtaking him. Ashley and Monila both assumed their divine forms, and waited.

It didn't take long.

Terry said the last name, "Helios', and the last Titan merged with his body and soul.

 

His form expanded, from a twelve year old boy, to a man of twenty one.

His body was the perfection of every athlete that had ever lived, at once both lithe and muscular, his rams horns were grown to full size, curling back behind his ears and around to point forwards. Lightning played around his form as starlight danced in his eyes, showing the infinite depths of space. His clothing had not survived the transformation, his denim jeans transformed into a strip of cloth that barely covered the inside of his legs from front to back, the sides being held taut by black cord. White wool grew from the sides of his arms and legs. In the middle of his forehead, an inverted pentagram blazed, crowned with a upturned cresent moon, the solar sigil in the center, and the other five occult forces decorating each of the five sections, Jupiter at the bottom, Saturn lower left, Mercury upper left, Mars upper right, Venus lower right.

Gold light poured out of his skin as he grew in stature. Had the boy grown to eight foot tall, twenty foot tall, or the size of a mountain. For a second, the world seamed to shrink in his presence. He knew the cycle was complete, he was now beyond dawn.

He yelled one word, "Hypereos", and whole island heard him.

 

"Well thats not fair", said Mosaic, "you get to wear pants"!

 

* * *

 

Atop Mount Olympus, Ophion awoke. He was in the border spirit world of the physical Earth, a place from which he could watch the world for divinity and magic, and guard his possession from other threats from the deeper spirit worlds.

He glanced deeply into spirit, the borders to Chaos seamed to be gone. Moreover, the voices of oblivion had also vanished. He knew he had absorbed most of them, somehow, the rest had been slain.

But something had disturbed his sleep. Ophion searched his dreams, and counted the three lights that had emerged, three gods had come back to Earth. He knew, soon there would be more.

He was the spawn of Chaos, he was the soul of Oblivion, it was his right to rule all realities. All he needed was the powers of the pantheons, and he would have them.

 

* * *

 

In Corinth, at the ruins of the fountain of Pirene, a man was showing his daughter the sights, and trying to explain the mythology. It was her twelfth birthday, and he thought this would be a treat. He had named his daughter after the fountain, a fact that annoyed her to no end. She was NOT a dusty old ruin!

The bolt of power came crashing through as the last wish of Astraeus found its mark, power surged through her body and rewrote her existence, right down to her genes. Her father, just to the side, was vaporized.

Pirene lifted off the ground and immediately grew to maturity, her body bright white and covered in deep green robes, her hair grew long and light green and shifted in the air like waves upon the sea. She raised her hands, and the ground moved like liquid in response.She felt connected, to everything.

She glanced at where her father had been standing and closed her eyes in utter sorrow. She fought back tears, and gritted her teeth.

Deep in her mind, the echo of twelve old gods formed a figure of a man who knelt before her, even as they spoke, they began to fade.

"We are the last sons of Gaea, we were the mountains and the sea and the sky, and the strength therein, this is now yours, you are now made goddess".

"What has happened, how is this possible"? Asked Pirene

"We fell before a great evil, there will be others, incarnations of the pantheons".

"You killed my father", screamed Pirene

The image of the god in the girls mind looked down to to the ground, "We are sorry, we are very sorry, this was not intended". Even as the image faded, it spoke one last time "As your power awakens, you must pick a name".

Pirene was about to speak the name her father had given her, and paused. She looked at her hands and arms, and her robes, she thought about the mother she had lost when she was only five.

"Panthea“.

 

* * *

 

Terry, Monila, and Ashley had returned to England, they stood upon the promanade, looking out to a wide beach and the north sea.

“She wont be long”, said Monila.

“She's flying in”? Asked Terry.

“Sure is”, replied Monila.

“How do you know”? Asked Ashley.

“Don't you boys think”, answered the young girl, and tapped the side of her head.

“Go on”? Said Terry.

“Like, we can all do anything, but I think we each have things that are easier for us”, Monila continued, “You're better at physical force, I'm better at knowing things, the twenty four Earthborn are like a storm of power and knowledge in my mind”.

“I think I got ripped off in the powers department”, said Ashley, disgruntled.

“Are you kidding”, said Terry, “You're just about the scariest thing I ever saw, you know Typhon could face all Olympus alone”?

“Well so did the Titans and the Earthborn”, replied Monila.

“Mind you”, said Ashley, “this new girls gods, they were allied to Olympus”.

“I'm not sure that matters anymore”, answered Monila, “also, the four of us, are all of Gaea's sons”.

With that, a young greek girl dropped down from the sky to stand beside them. She was wearing sandals and cargo shorts with a white blouse.

“Um, hello, I'm”, and then she stopped.

Terry held his hand out in a gesture of friendship.

“We tend to use our real names like this, and godly names only when we go big”.

“Then I'm Pirene”, said Pirene, “and sometimes Panthea”, she shook Terry's hand and blushed slightly. Both Monila and Ashley noticed the blush and smiled at each other.

“So you are a day younger than Ash, and you got your powers today”, spoke Monila.

“This can't be a coincidence”, added Terry, finally retrieving his hand, going slightly red himself. The touch of her skin was almost electric, and he knew she was somebody special.

“What do you mean”? asked Pirene.

“We're all twelve, just about at the same time”, explained Terry

“Can you use a fraction of your power as you are now”? Asked Ashley

“I think so”, said Pirene. She made sure nobody was looking, then focused upon a small section of the beach, and mentally willed the sand the form into a sand castle.

Monila turned to Ashley, “can you test her defences”?

“Okay Pie”, if this starts to hurt, say so and I'll stop, hold your hand out.

Pirene nervously put her hand out, while Ashley put his hand an inch above hers, and produced a flame.

“I can feel it, but it doesnt hurt”, answered Pirene.

Ashley stepped back and they all looked at her hand, there was not a single blemish.

“Immortal, like us”, said Monila.

“Are you thinking what I'm thinking”, Terry asked Monila

“That we fit four elements”?

“How does that work”? Said Ashley.

“Well”, answered Monila, “Terry is of the sky, his power is born of earth and heaven. I'm the Earth, obviously, being the Earthborn. You Ash are creative and destructive, thats fire, and Pirene is obviously water, she easily makes reality flow like, well, waves”.

“That could be just confirmation bias”, said Ashley.

“Hold on”, chipped in Pirene, “I have two questions”.

“Yeah”? they all answered.

“When did my name become 'Pie', and how come you all speak such good Greek”.

Terry, Monila, and Ashley all laughed, eventually Monila answered.

“Let me see, Pie”, she said pointing, “Ash, Tez, and I'm Muna, thats what my friends used to call me”.

“Then thats what we'll call you”, said Ashley, putting his arm around her shoulders, an action that made Terry grin.

“And the speaking Greek part”?

“We're not”, answered Terry.

 

Year Twelve, Day Five

 

In Spain, young Hugo awoke from a nightmare, and realised he could never call himself an atheist again. The power of the Olympian gods flowed through him. Power and glory radiated from his body as he grew to manhood in seconds.

His surroundings began to burn around him as holy power flowed, spirit energy was syphoned through his form, cascading out as purple, magenta, and violet fire and lightning. His own family tried to flee in terror, they did not get far. Even if they had lived, they would not have been able to tell if he was clothed or not, for the radiance from his skin was blinding. In that moment he named himself Dios.

Hugo looked around him, and willed the power to subside, he was a twelve year old boy, and this was supposed to be his birthday. Once again, he was a young boy, still in the shorts he wore for bed.

His house was a burned out ruin, as was the village all around. He could see where walls of spiritual fire had roared through the houses. His family, his friends, the old man in the corner shop, the woman over the road that would sit on her porch and play the vihuela. Only bones remained.

Hugo fell to his knees and choked back tears.

"This pain can soon go away sonny".

The young god looked up to see an old man walking towards him, greying skin, bald, thin. Sinister power seamed to emanate from the figure, and it took the boy all but a second to recognise the stench of evil. Somewhere deep in his cells, the memory of the Olympian gods called out the name Ophion.

Hugo began channelling astral energies, and fired a stream of fire and lightning at the old man. It had absolutely no effect. Gradually, the boy accessed his divine manifestation, growing back to adulthood, radiating power and increasing his output, it slowed Ophion only slightly.

There was a movement in the air, and the laughing figure of Ophion was sent flying across the burned out street and through a wall. There standing in his place was a man, who's stature matched that of Dios, almost as radiant, but with rams horns curling around the front of his head. The horned god hastily stepped towards Dios and held out his hand, which Dios shook in surprise.

"Terry", and "Hugo", they said in turn, before Terry continued.

"I may have knocked him over, but he's not hurt, we have to move".

Other children decended from the sky, and without knowing how, Dios recogized them by their souls, the twenty four Earthborn, the hellgod Typhon, and the sons of Gaea. The middle eastern girl that was the twenty four Earthborn spoke first.

"He can find us in holy form, we must stay small".

Dios reverted to Hugo, nodding his understanding, only the horned god remained in divine manifestation.

"What about you, Titan".

"Oh I'm just here to help", said Hypereos with a grin, "go with my friends".

The four children flew away as Ophion climbed out of the ruined house, his eyes squarely set on Hypereos.

"Twelve years I waited on Olympus, I knew your power had to be somewhere, and then four days ago, the lights came on. At first I wasn't sure, but sure enough, one by one, here you are".

"And I suppose you plan to eat us all".

"Well of course, I killed you all once".

"We were missing two of our number last time". answered Hypereos.

"It makes no difference", said Ophion, grinning as he began walking towards Terry.

"Hold on hold on", said Hypereos, putting one hand up in the universal sign for stop. Ophion actually stopped

"What is it"?

"Exactly why are you eating the gods"?

"Oh that, all the gods are aspects of the creative principle", answered Ophion.

"Okay", said Hypereos.

"So once I have all your powers, I will be as all creation".

"You're going to have to catch us first, bitch".

With that, Hypereos began to fly.

In moments he rocketed past the sound barrier. Still he accelerated, the atmosphere of earth fell away behind him, and still he accelerated. Planets passed by. He approached the speed of light, willed himself on, and ripped a tear in spacial dimensions as he passed it. Hypereos glanced behind him to see the Serpent not only matching his speed, but gradually closing the distance. He kept on accelerating, he was moving at thousands of parsecs per second, and still he kept accelerating. Galaxies hurtled passed him, he flew through expansive voids in moments. At one point, Hypereos flew through the black hole core of a quasar, and barely even registered the feel of the blazing energy on his skin. At last he turned, just as Ophion resumed human form and grasped him by the neck. Hypereos managed to croak out a few words.

"I am the irresistable force, I move as I wish, and nothing can stop me".

With that, the young god snapped his fingers, and instantly returned to earth, leaving Ophion to scream alone in the dark.

He appeared on mount Smolikas, the second tallest mountain in northern Greece. The other children were already there. Hypereos dropped down into the form of Terry and fell to his knees, rubbing his throat.

Hugo knelt before him, a big smile on his face, and clasped Terry by the shoulders.

"You are my friend for life".

"We have to look out for each other now", Terry nodded and returned the smile.

"So what can you do", asked Ashley, without any tact at all.

"Anything, I believe, I seam to have an awareness of the heavens. Producing that fire and lightning was easiest, a kind of holy strike".

"Like Zeus's thunderbolt", chipped in Pirene.

"Thats the one", replied Hugo, “going to have to practice that for Ophion”.

"Yeah we're fighting the devil", said Ashley, "isn't that ironic".

"Ironic"? asked everyone.

"Have you seen my divine form"? asked Ashley incredulously.

"Yeah, but you're sexy bad, not", and then Monila stopped mid sentance.

All five kids went quiet, some of them blushed, and then Pirene broke the silence.

"Muna loves Ashley", she sang.

 

Year Twelve, Day Six

 

In Parkersburg West Verginia, USA, a young black boy, James, not yet a teenager, was fishing the Ohio river, when something struck him in his core. For the first time in his life he felt his soul, and felt it hollow out and become a chasm that lead directly to the depths of the spirit world. Powers of death and darkness surged through him and he grew to adulthood, armed and armored and helmed, only his eyes, burning in blackness, could be seen beneath the plate and chain. It was as if he was as tall as the sky, and as massive as a world, whilst being seven foot tall, all at once.

Power cascaded from his body, seeping through the ground, infecting the river before him, creeping into the city behind him. the darkness killed what it touched, at first bugs and insects. Then the fish in the river, and the mice and other creatures scurrying across the land. Where it touched the weak and elderly, death took them. Stronger people felt paralysing pain, while a multitude of infections and curruptions rent their bodies.

The chasm within James spoke to his mind.

"We are Hades, Erebus and Tartarus, Persephone and Nyx and Hecate Cthonia, we are Charon and the judges of the dead, we are Thanatos and Cerberus, we are Elysium and all the forces of darkness"

As the gods that were fell silent, becoming as one with the young boy, James answered.

"I am Kthonios".

"Yes you are".

The voice came from across the river, it was spoken quietly, but James heard it clearly. There stood an old man, slim and dark eyed. James recognised him instantly.

"Ophion".

Ophion started to walk forwards, but as the darkness of Kthonios had crept through the river, it now inched up the opposing river bank. The moment it brushed the old gods foot, he stepped back as if stung. A hiss escaped from Ophions mouth.

"I figured you might require my full power".

Ophion assumed his serpent form, easily a hundred foot in length, scales glistening like the light upon a slick of petrol, and unaffected by the radiating darkness, headed at speed for Kthonios,

In response, Kthonios drew his aura of death and darkness back into imself, forming it into a cloak upon his back. In his hand appeared a weapon, a four foot staff topped with a four foot blade.

As Ophion closed the distance and opened his fanged mouth to devour the young god, Kthonios leapt to the side and swept his weapon around, cutting open the serpents mouth.

Ophion roared in anger, but not for long. A second young god had appeared. Ashley dropped down from the sky and assumed divine manifestation. A body like black marble, three dragon heads and multiheaded snakes for arms. With wings of smoke trailing behind him, Chimera landed on Ophions neck, behind the head, and he plunged all ten of his snake headed fingers into Ophions scales, each one clamping its jaws into the surface of Leviathons flesh. Venom poured forth as the three heads of Chimera breathed a stream of molten rock onto Ophions skull.

Ophion's roar became a scream, as Kthonios plunged his blade deep into the serpent's chest, and the Leviathon fell towards the river. Chimera leapt off Ophions back, and somersaulting in the air, landed beside Kthonios.

"Cool as shit", said Kthonios.

"Damn right", said Chimera.

"Shall we finish him"? asked Kthonios?

The boy within Chimera shook his head.

"He's not even hurt right now, just stunned, we can barely touch him, sooner or later he'll finish us".

"So what do we do man"?

Chimera looked back at the city behind them.

"You have family there"?

"Yeah, but, I may have already killed them".

"It happened to most of us, we have to go, now, and go small".

Both gods returned to child form, and took to the air, they were gone even before Ophion crawled out of the river.

He searched his senses, no divine manifestations could be found, his quarry had escaped him again. Ophion glanced towards Parkersburg, there was a good chance that somebody had seen him, and he couldn't have that. Returning to serpent form, he took to the air himself, and proceeded to breath his toxic fire upon the city.

 

* * *

 

Sara looked at the children.

"Theres six of you now".

"And more to come", added Monila.

"And this is a really small house", said James.

"Well it was big enough for two", scolded Sara, and James looked at his feet.

After several seconds of silence, Ashley spoke up.

"Does it help if I'm fabulously wealthy"?

Everyone looked at the hellgod.

"My parents were business people, but before they died, they put large sums of money in my account", Ashley then produced a bank card from a pocket, "they told me to keep this secret, and I've hidden it for years".

It was Terry that spoke up.

"What exactly do you call 'large sums of money'".

"About one and a half billion yen".

Everyone just stared at Ashley, eventually he clarified with a shrug.

"Thats about a hundred million pounds, or a hundred and fifty million dollars".

"Dude"! said James.

"What"! answered Ashley.

 

Year Twelve, Day Seven

 

In Ireland, young Moira had just finished her paper round when the powers of all the Titanids and the daughters of Gaea filled and rewrote her body. She panicked, but then a great calm came over her. Her bike fell away as she floated several feet off the ground.

Her form grew to that of a woman, robed in bright silver. Her hair, like wild straw, shone like the sun. Vines shot down from her legs, twenty foot to the ground, and then spread out. Wherever they touched, flowers emerged, followed by crops of all kinds. Vegetables grew within tarmac and concrete, trees shot up in moments, and with them came fireflies and butterflies, caterpillers and moths. Life spread out from Moira, covering roads and pavements and houses.

Wherever the powers of Moira touched, the sick and the dying were healed, illnesses vanished, injuries removed without a trace.

She saw them flying in from the east, six children, all about her age.

The two girls of the group approached her first, one was middle eastern, the other tanned, Moira guessed Greek. The four boys kept a little distance but circled around, they looked outward as if watching for something dangerous.

The Greek girl spoke first.

"You have to turn that off"!

"Oh really", questioned Moira, "and why is that"?

"Because Ophion can find it, search your memories", said the other girl. It was in Moira's nature to object, but something in the demeanor of the six children told her, this was no joke.

Moira looked within herself, she saw where the ghosts of the female gods had merged with her body and soul, and within them, their last fight and death.

"Oh crap".

Moira resumed her child form, scruffy jeans, t-shirt, and pink trainers.

"Lets move it to the countryside", she said, "I don't want that creep coming to my town".

 

* * *

 

Ophion had a plan. The incarnations of the gods were evading him, and so he had to bring them to him, he had to make them foolish.

Ten thousand gods became ten thousand avatars, Ophion placed a portion of himself in every town and city across Europe, and watched.

He watch as six children took to the sky from the English town of Washington, and flew to Ireland. Pinpointing the quiet little street where they lived was childs-play. Ten thousand avatars faded away, and Ophion reformed as the Leviathon above Washington.

He decended, and breathed his destruction upon the homes.

 

* * *

 

The seven children stood in the green pasture, and even in her child form, flowers where begining to bloom all around Moira, despite the presence of James.

"So we are now all the Greek deities", said Pirene.

"Mostly", answered Monila, "all except Ophion".

Moira looked around her and asked the obvious question, "Where exactly are you all from"?

There was a momentary pause, before Terry started them off.

"I'm Terry, North of England".

"Monila, Azerbaijan".

"I'm Ashley, Japan".

"Pirene, I'm Greek, Corinth to be exact".

"I'm Spanish Hugo".

"And I'm James, American, not a yank".

It was James that held out his hand, Moira just looked at it, and then to James.

"And what am I supposed to do with that"?

The hand was quickly retracted, but Moira was a girl of substance, and enjoying herself, she wasn't about to let James off.

"And what do you do then"?

James looked a little sheepish, this girl was just about the prettiest, wild eyed, willfull and scariest person he'd ever met, and he was smitten.

"God of death", said the god of death, "umm, also called Kthonios".

"Oh are you now, well I'm Moira, also called Moira, and you're coming with me".

"Where are you going", Terry asked with a friendly smile.

"This god of death is going to meet me Ma, and if she likes him, maybe I'll shake his hand".

"We can talk to each other through prayer", shouted Monila, as the two kids flew off.

The remaining five children took to the air to fly back to England, it was still early in the day, and Terry had school. As they approached Washington, they all saw the smoke rising from their street. Terry quickly flew ahead, for none could match his speed. The young Titan landed before his ruined house.

As the rest landed, Terry was shaking, and he was silent. They could clearly see that he was holding back his emotions and was on the verge of breaking down. Hugo put his arm around his friends shoulders as the two girls hugged each other.

The screams of Ashley shocked everyone to the core.

It was Pirene who looked up and said quietly, "He's up there watching us".

Ashley entered divine manifestation shouting, "I'm gonna tear his fucking guts out"! The hellgod leapt upward as his wings beat upon the universal forces. As he broke through the sky he heard Ophions voice in his head.

"Come and die child".

Monila spoke to Chimera's mind "His flesh is too thick, too strong, you can't break through".

But Chimera had a plan.

As the Leviathon opened its jaws to swallow the oncoming Chimera, he beat his wings back, holding position in space for a second, and then all three dragon heads breathed a stream of molten plutonium down the sepents gullet. Pushing forward again, both of his goats hooves struck the surprised Ophion in the belly, each one causing the equivelant of an earthquake of concussive shockwaves.

The explosion was vast, and for the most part, contained within Ophion. Still Chimera was knocked back. He fell through the sky, but was able to recover and land beside his friends.

 

* * *

 

Moira and James where both in divine manifestation, deities of life and death together touched down on mount Olympus, where the body of Ophion lay on the ground, horribly burned both inside and out. He seamed pathetic, a scared and scarred old man, injured to the point of death.

Brandishing his bladed staff, Kthonios took a step forward, but then stopped.

"I could kill you now, return your spirit in pieces to the void".

"And he really should, for all you've done", added Moira.

The God of Death glanced at the Goddess of Life, "are you sure"?

Moira nodded.

"Do you know who I am? Not just the Titanids, and the daughters of Gaea, I am Gaea, and Eurynome, and the primordial Nyx".

Ophion didn't even have the strength to talk, let alone move.

"We are life and death", began Kthonios.

"And if we choose it", continued Moira, "your existance ends"

 

Year Twelve, Day Forteen

 

A week had passed and the seven children met up upon Mount Smolikas.

“Good spot you picked here Terry”, said Ashley, hopefully, but Terry was still silent.

Everyone was worried about the young Titan.

Terry himself was watchfull, but he could not bring himself to speak. Ashley and Monila seamed to be together, while Moira and James were already a couple. Pirene and Hugo where flirting alot and had an obvious bond. Terry was a little sad, he kind of liked Pirene, but he did not hold it against them, they seamed happy.

As his six friends began construction of a fabulous new home, Terry fashioned a rock to sit upon. He sat facing the east, and looked to mount Olympus.

One day he would deal with Ophion.

 

Year Twelve, Day Seventeen

 

Miah heard the gunshots as she was adjusting her dress. Her family had been travelling from Perth to Sydney, taking in the great ocean road over a few weeks. The campervan was loaded up with water and supplies, it was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime.

Dusk had fallen, and the van had pulled twenty or so yards off the road so the family could camp for the night.

She had taken a simple toilet break.

Miah ran back to the camp to see a cloud of dust dissappearing into the east. Her parents lay dead. The money was gone, wedding rings and jewelry was gone, and most of the water was gone.

The aboriginal girl sat down beside the fire and began to cry.

 

* * *

 

At the campsite in the town of Noorden, Holland, a Norwegian family emerged from their tents. Mother and father began preparing breakfast while the two children where still getting ready. Today would be the girl Astrid's twelfth birthday, tomorrow it would be the turn of her twin brother Anders.

Anders was ready and out first, for Astrid was still opening the presents that her family had snuck into her tent while she was sleeping. Mother and father and son smiled to each other with each yelp of delight from Astrids tent.

Eventually the young girl emerged into the morning, and hugged her family.

This camping trip was a family tradition for the childrens birthdays, a week away from home life, school, bills, and responsibilities. They always had a great time, and so far, this day was no different from the others.

 

* * *

 

In her home in Ireland, all seven children where sitting, or standing, around the small living room, Moira's parents and older brother where there, as well as the local priest and a television camera (and camera man).

"You are not a goddess"!

Moira threw the priest a look, and immediatly he was covered in daisies.

"Maybe we should start from the begining", suggested Monila.

"Right", said Moira, she looked at Monila, who just answered "it's your house".

"There are two to four worlds, Chaos and Oblivion, the spirit world and the universe. Chaos and Oblivion destroyed each other, but not before Chaos created the rest. In this there are gods and goddesses, the original gods where the path of creation from Chaos.

"Now then, all these deities are generally equal, built of spirit and faith and stuff, this includes big gods and little gods, creators, angels, and all the rest, it even includes Ophion, at least, how he used to be".

"What about this Ophion"? asked Moira's dad, "sounds like bad business".

"Yeah, he was there in the begining with the other primordial gods, Eurynome, Gaea, and many others. They are the process of creation. Ophion was currupted by Oblivion and rebelled, and for it, he was banished to the depths of the underworld, the worst parts of the underworld".

She then addressed the priest, "Does this story sound familiar Father"?

The priest nodded, he was somewhat tired of being covered in flowers, which happened each time he objected to any of the seven children.

"Anyway, people forgot the gods, and so many died. When they died, their spirits fell into the depths of the underworld, where Ophion ate them. Eventually, he gained enough power to allow his escape from hell".

"This brings us to Terry there, he is an actual child of the gods, not like the rest of us. His dad Astraeus gave his life to make a wish, that the powers of the gods would be passed on to his child. The thing is, all people are children of the Gods".

"When Ophion escaped Hell, he went on the assault, he ate many in the spirit world. Eventually the remaining gods banded together to stop him. They failed".

"However, the last wish of Astraeus took hold, it passed the power of those gods onto us. Terry of course was the start of the inheritance".

"And you're fighting this Ophion", asked Moira's brother, "and let me get this straight, he's basically the devil".

"We where fighting him, until yesterday. Ophion killed Terry's mom, and so Ashley there went and kicked Ophion's arse, and I mean, major big style".

"Couldnt you have done that all those years ago son"? asked Moira's mother.

"The powers of Monila and I where not there, the other gods had burried them long before", answered Ashley.

"The gods might have won otherwise", said Monila.

"God is not a little girl", spoke the priest, quietly, but not quietly enough.

Pirene jumped to her feet and shouted at the man "And why not"?

The Greek girl accessed her divine manifestation, her skin became stark white and her clothes transformed into green robes. As she grew to womanhood, her hair became long and light green. Everyone except the other six children seamed to shrink in her presence.

Moira and Monila then stood up and followed Pirene's lead, Moira robed in silver, Monila naked with the twenty four glowing cyan sigils flowing around her body.

The powers of the three girls combined, and the inside of the small Irish living room grew to accomodate all that was about to follow. Hugo stood up and announced "You might want to shield your eyes".

The Spanish god grew to an image of Zeus and all the Olympian powers, violet light poured from him and spirit flowed through him, magnifying the magic of the three goddesses already transformed. Even with their eyes tightly closed, the mortals present screamed in pain, and Hugo willed his power to diminish.

James and Ashley exchanged a glance, and James spoke "our turn bro".

James grew to manhood, armed and cloaked in black, with eyes burning in Darkness. Beside him, Ashley became the hellgod Chimera, red marble body, dragon heads and all.

Only Terry remained unchanged. Terry had still not spoken since Ophions attack.

"Guys, you're scaring them".

"Maybe they should be...", Chimera didnt get to finish his sentance.

Terry finally accessed his divine manifestation, growing to his full mature height, rams horns grew to their full size. His muscular frame surged forward and he grabbed two of Chimera's dragons in his hands.

The remaining head of Chimera raged at Hypereos, "When we punished Ophion, where were you, where were you"?

"I could rip you in half now, it would be no effort", screamed Hypereos.

It was Dios that stepped between them.

"Terry, my friend, you are angry at Ashley, because he did what you where too hurt to do, do not blame him".

Hypereos cast Chimera away from him and stared at Dios.

"You're right".

Hypereos dropped down into Terry once more, and the boy fell to his knees. He steadfastly refused to cry, but his shoulders were visably shaking. It was Moira's mother that reacted first, in seconds she had wrapped her arms around the lad.

"Call yourselves Gods, or Angels, or whatever, can't you see when someone is in pain".

Panthea dropped down into Pirene, "It happened to me too, I lost my father".

Kthonios reformed into James, "My family are all gone, killed by my power".

Dios followed suit and Hugo said "Mine too, my entire village".

Mosaic became Monila "My mom".

Chimera became Ashley and sat down before Terry, "I shouldn't have said that, your mom, she was the best".

Finally Moira became a little girl again. She stood beside James and held his hand.

The silence persisted for a minute, before Monila broke it, and surprised everyone.

"The new god, its happening now"!

 

"We're taking them all", ordered Terry.

"Man I hate teleporting", quipped James.

"We all do", said Panthea, "thats why we fly, but time's short".

"Get out if you don't want to see a god being born", stated Monila.

"Oh I'm filming this", said the camera man, excitedly.

The seven children focused their powers, and all of them, including Moira's parents and brother, the priest and the camera man 'moved'.

They landed in a hedged off field in Holland, and immediatly the brother vomited. In the middle of the campsite, a young blonde girl was starting to float off the ground, while a blonde boy with similar features held on to her legs.

The seven children instantly 'went big', into divine manifestation, as he did so, Terry yelled at the young boy to get back, and they circled the floating girl. A wind was picking up, and despite their powers, the ground was beginning to shake. The blonde lad had the good sense to back away.

"What's your name", shouted Panthea above the roaring elements.

"Astrid, Its Astrid", she cried, "Whats happening to me".

"It happened to us too", shouted Dios, "You're going to be okay".

The girl glanced at Chimera, "Is that okay"?

"Everyone's a bloody critic", whispered the hellgod.

"Listen Astrid", continued Panthea, "You're about to become a goddess, and you need to keep all the self control you can".

"Do I have an option"?

"None of us did".

Bolstered by his actions earlier, Dios strode forward and held both of the girls hands.

"Do you know who I am"?

"Shiny face bloke"?

"Yeah, shiny face bloke, thats also the king of the gods, and I got you".

Kthonios called out to Hypereos, "Did I miss a vote or something", to which Hypereos, in his best Monty Python voice answered "You dont vote for kings".

As the other six children around Dios and the girl excerted all the power they could to keep nature in check, it started. The young girl grew to maturity as her clothes transformed into grey hardened leather armor, covering green cloth, and covered in a silver cloak. The norse runes lay emblazoned down the right side of her face. Her voice seamed to come from all around them.

"I am the magic of the wyrd and the path of spirit, I am VANIR"!

 

* * *

 

Most of the children had by now taken to chasing each other around the fields, that was until Hugo magicked up a soccer ball, and the game was on.

Moira was a little more practical. She focused on the concept of money that had been lost in back streets, in the middle of fields, and down the backs of chairs, and proceeded to hand her dad several hundred Euro's

"And thats just from nearby", she said, proudly.

After Moira and Astrids parents departed to a local pub for breakfast, Monila sat down on the grass with the camera man, while Moira went to join the other kids.

"What do you want to know then"?

"Okay, I guess the world will want to know, what can a god do"?

"Firstly, it's all about freedom", answered Monila, "For example, we are immortal, this means we wont age, and we can't be hurt, unless by magic or each other. This also means we can survive anywhere, we don't need to eat, drink, breathe, and all that".

"There's our senses, we can see as far as we want to see, or hear, although I'm a bit special in that regard, we can hear prayers and have no issue with languages".

"And then there's magic. We all have it, but it's natural for us to use it differently. We can fly and teleport, but like you know, we don't like teleporting, I think its the change in gravity, it really makes you feel sick".

"Do some gods have greater powers than others"? asked the camera man.

"Oh no, we're basically equal", Monila answered, "We do have our own specialities, take Terry for example, his physical strength is unstoppable".

"Speaking of Terry, him and Ashley almost came to blows earlier".

"Its been a hard time for them, if you'd lost what they lost, I'm surprised it didn't happen earlier, but they really are good friends".

"You children seam to have paired off"?

"I know, its funny. I think its part of who we are, why the wish of Astraeus chose us. Hugo and Pirene, Me and Ashley, James and Moira, there's just Terry and Astrid left, but I think she was giving Hugo the eye after he stepped up"?

"Will there be any more"?

"Four", said Monila.

"Four"? asked the camera man.

"Four new gods, you see there were ten factions that merged to fight Ophion, and if you include Ashley and Myself, thats twelve. We have eight right now".

"And these could be any four children, your age, anywhere in the world".

Monila looked across to the next field where the other children where playing football.

"Anders is next, it wont be long now, I don't know about the other three".

"I guess", the camera man was shocked into silence for only a moment, he quickly recovered, "will he be the Aesir gods".

"Thats right, you see I can know anything, but some things are difficult, knowing about other gods. However, once I knew to start with Astrid, the answer was there".

"Does he know"?

"Do you think I would tell the world and not him"?

"If you don't mind me saying, when I think of gods, I think of earth shaking power", stated the camera man, "and you lot seam a bit small".

"Well we're fairly deep in reality here, if we went into a void between galaxies, our power grows a thousand-fold and more. In the spirit world it grows again, Of course, in our big divine forms, we are far stronger again".

Monila and the camera man talked at length through the day, and one after the other the other new gods where introduced to the world. At some point Moira took her family home, after both sets of parents had exchanged telephone numbers and promised to keep in touch.

Anders could not relax all day.

Around six in the evening, screams around the campsite woke everybody up from their post meal snooze, screaming from the crowds that had gathered around the streets and paths to witness the birth of a new god. Anders burst from his tent, and saw the most horrific sight of his twelve short years.

Rivers of blood came in from the four cardinal directions, they slammed into the young lad and lifted him off the ground. A fifth stream of blood errupted from the ground below him and lifted him further into the air.

This was the blood shed from every fight, every war, from accidents and scrapes, it came from hospitals, and graves, from the living and the dying.

Anders grew to adulthood, his clothing became a suit of crimson armor, ring mail on leather, and he held a nordic longsword in each hand. His eyes blazed red under his helm.

At last the five streams where exhausted, and the new god dropped to the ground, drenched in blood, he growled under his breath, "I am Bloodlust".

He stared towards the horrified crowds, and with a grin strode twards them, again he growled a few words, "time to die".

Kthonios appeared in his way. "Stop brother".

This was all Bloodlust needed, he charged at Kthonios, who was hard pressed to block the incoming attack with his single bladed staff. Bloodlust took to the air with the intent of diving down and impaling his quarry, but Kthonios followed him and diverted the attack. The god of death realised that Bloodlust was fighting on instinct, that he was filled with rage and ferocity.

Kthonios knew he could not match that rage, he had to fight smart.

The fight between the god of death and the god of war raged in the air, while the other children accessed their own divine manifestations, and watched from the ground.

In the end, it was Kthonios that was momentarily victorious, casting Bloodlust down to the ground in a field near the campsite. He landed several feet away, and planted his bladed staff into the ground and took a step forward.

"Why do you protect those people"? growled Bloodlust.

"Because it is not their time".

"Mercy is for the weak", spoke Bloodlust.

In a moment, the twin swords had reappeared from where they fell into Bloodlusts hands, he leapt forward, taking Kthonios by surprise. The god of death tumbled to the ground, with Bloodlust sitting astride his chest.

"And final victory is all that matters".

Both swords came down, but they struck not Kthonios, for Moira had covered his body. He withdrew his swords and heaved the goddess away, and prepared to strike again.

It was Vanir that then sat down beside the prone god, and placed her hand on her brothers chest. Finally, Bloodlust stopped.

He saw his sister in that face, he looked at where Moira lay, remembering the games they had played only hours before. He fell back from Kthonios, who lept to his feet and almost jumped to Moira's side.

"Help me", screamed Kthonios.

Vanir was there then, and channeled her magic into Moira. Dios appeared at her side, and let his own power join hers. Moira opened her eyes and smilled

"I got this", easily she stood up, "goddess of life, you know". Her wounds vanished.

Bloodlust had returned to the form of Anders, he sat huddled on the ground, just repeating over and over "What did I do, what did I do".

Kthonios picked the boy up and placed him on his feet.

"Assume your divine form again".

"No"!

"DO IT", shouted Kthonios.

Anders grew into his divine manifestation once more.

"Who are you"? asked Kthonios.

"Bloodlust"! and the god of war began to manifest his twin swords.

Kthonios did not budge or flinch.

"I asked you your name".

"Bloodlust", growled Bloodlust.

"WHO ARE YOU"?

The twin swords vanished, and finally the divine form of Anders spoke without the growl.

"I am Aesir, god of the storm".

"Damn right you are"!

 

Year Twelve, Say Ninteen

 

In Porto Novo, Benin, Omolara sat under a tree amid the concrete and tarmac. She wore black, except for a bright red headscarf and a red cardigan. She was a city girl, but longed to be something else. The book she was reading told tales of another Africa, of tribes and hunting, of female warriors, of forests and deserts.

The young girl looked up to see a cheetah right infront of her. Nobody was screaming or yelling, and motorbikes went by as usual. Omolara's heart went to her throat, this was a cheetah, she was about to die, and nobody else could see it. Still she remained calm.

And then there was another, another cheetah appeared out of the air, and another and another. She did her best to count them, and failed, as they appeared too fast. Each of them did nothing but stare at the girl.

The first cheetah faded from existance, and as it did so, Omolara felt a power awaken within her. This cat had been a lesser spirit, a minor Orisha. The second cheetah faded, and a greater spirit passed its power to the girl.

One after the other, gods great and small gave themselves up, gods that had been slain twelve years before, their power passed through the last wish of Astraeus. The final cheetahs held the power of creation, known by many names, Olorun, Rugaba, Mulungu, Leza, Nyambe and Nyame, and many others.

When it was done, ninty nine gods had finally found peace, and Omolara was still sitting under the tree.

She put the book back in her bag and stood up. The new goddess marvelled at the land she could feel around her, where it met the waterways deep below, the soil under the stones, the dust on the ground. She felt the waves on the shore, and the wind rushing through the tops of the buildings. More than the land, she could feel all the animal lives for many miles around, and felt their passions.

Omolara focused for a second, and grew to adulthood. Her body became that of a 7 foot tall humanoid cheetah, while at the same time, being as tall as the sky and as solid as a world, her face both human and catlike. She was immediatly able to control the ground and the lives around her, and did so, to avert the gaze of any witnesses. She retained her divine manifestation for only a few seconds, and then returned to being the young girl she had been.

She was Dahomey, and she calmly walked home.

 

* * *

 

Moira, Astrid, and Anders teleported into Porto Novo, and immediatly Anders responded with a 'urgh, that really is horrible'. He didn't think he'd ever get used to teleporting. Originally, the girls had decided to come and find the new goddess, he had insisted on coming along.

He said he came to feel usefull, or to offer protection if needed. This was partially a lie, and they all knew it. The fact was that most of the others had paired off, and he couldnt help but be excited about who the new girl would be.

The three children trudged around the city for many hours. Eventually, they ended up back near the tree where they had begun their search.

"We don't even have a face to go by", said Moira, "I would have thought we could spot some sense of her spirit".

"She has more gods behind her than any of us", answered Astrid, "big ones too, to control that much power so thoroughly, it's staggering".

"I wonder if she's black", questioned Anders, before breaking into a big grin.

"You lunatic", replied Moira in a friendly manner.

From nearby, a new voice addressed them. "Yovo, I've been watching you for hours".

the concrete and tarmac, was a Benin girl in a red headscarf.

Omolara continued before any of the three children could say anything.

"Shouldn't there be more of you"?

"I take it you're the African gods", asked Astrid, appearing confident and proud.

Omolara was not the type to back down, "I thought it was good manners to introduce yourself before asking anothers name".

Astrid and Moira glanced at each other before answering.

"I'm Astrid, the Vanir deities".

"Moira, the Titan goddesses".

"Well at least they sent their best", said Omolara, "And what about you boy".

Anders, was suddenly nervous, and felt his face flush red.

"God of war", he said quietly.

"Maybe you're the god of picking flowers", she shot back.

Anders looked up and matched her gaze, "Bloodlust, god of war, and Aesir, god of storms, and we came here to ask you to join us". He had tried to sound confident, but in his shyness, it had come out almost as anger, and he instantly regretted it.

"You want me, you're going to have to catch me Yovo".

Omolara changed shape, becoming a cheetah, and even on all fours she was around twenty foot tall at the shoulders. Immediatly she ran north.

"What the hell is a Yovo"? asked Anders.

Both girls looked at Anders like he had just done something stupid.

"Are you going to chase her or not"? said Moira.

"Oh, right"!

Anders entered divine manifestation and extended his size, becoming a giant form of the Aesir. He started running north. It had only been a few seconds, but the African girl already had a lead on him of several miles. He was sure he could close the distance.

"You coming back to Smolikas"? asked Moira.

"Yeah, do you think Anders will catch her"? Responded Astrid

"I think she'll let him", said Moira

The chase was on, through Niger, and then veering west through Mali, they leapt over towns, cleared deserts in strides. They cut north cross Algeria, and then through Libya and on into Sudan. On the borders of Ethiopia he almost caught her, his right hand slapping her rear. Omolara laughed and growled at the same time, she darted too and fro unexpectedly, and before Anders knew it, she was bearing down on him from the side.

Now it was his turn to laugh, all shyness gone, he raced across Kenya with the Goddess of Africa hot on his heels. He zig-zagged down through Tanzania and Zambia, where the young girl swiped his legs from under him. He rolled for only a second, and was back on his feet without skipping a beat, but now she was again in the lead.

 

On Mount Smilokas, the other eight gods where busy, still pooling their powers in the building of the magnificent home of marble and diamond. Terry was looking south, over and around the earth to where the two youngest gods where chasing each other.

"What are they doing"? He asked.

"Flirting", answered Pirene.

"Yeah thats flirting", added Ashley, with a quick glance.

"Its more than that", added Moira, "Thats the wild hunt".

In Botswana in the middle of the makgadikgadi, Anders found his distance, he knew instinctivley which way she would dart next, and he dove forward. Omolara thought she was going to evade him one more time before she let the chase end, and turned directly into his grasp. The pair rolled across the salt earth and algae, Omolara reverting to the humanoid form of her divine manifestation. They came to a rest with Omolara sitting astride Anders, pinning his arms to the ground.

"I think you have caught me", she said, "I am Omolara, now Dahomey".

"Pleased to meet you", he replied, "I'm Anders, now Aesir"

"Are you going to submit", she said smilling, leaning down.

"Are you sure you want me to"?

With that, the war god exerted his strength and the pair rolled over, so that now he was above her. For a few seconds it was as if the whole world held its breath, then their eyes locked, and they kissed.

 

On Mount Smolikas, the other eight children, all stood in line, quickly turned away and back to their half constructed palace.

 

Year Twelve, Day Twenty

 

In Beijing, Chao got up and out of bed. Half an hour of excercise, then check his homework was done, the school, then chores, then homework, then bed. Somewhere in the middle of that he would get to eat. Day after day, year after year.

Chao went to the garden and almost slept through the various movements with his parents, he could practice tai-chi in his sleep at this point, and he hated it.

He would have been excited for the weekend, but the weekend was not much better. The only exception was for a few hours on Sunday. Chao had ditched a few of the classes he had been scheduled to take, and went to mixed martial arts instead. His parents strongly disaproved of MMA, though it was the only time he felt free.

He knew he would be caught eventually, he almost didn't care.

All of a sudden Chao felt angry. He was a kid, damnit! Why couldn't he play with his friends? Why practice this useless non-martial art? Why learn the clarinet? Why go to temple? Chores and homework were bad enough, but on top of everything else?

Chao stood still. He had had enough, it was his fucking birthday!

It was his mother who reacted. She grabbed him by the shoulder and began shouting and shaking him, and as expected the dreaded works 'respect' and 'honour' flowed from behind her foaming teeth, while she demonstrated none of the same qualities.

Reluctantly, he gave in.

He had almost finished the excercise when Chao felt something explode in his shoulders. A dragon force errupted on his left side, a tiger force on on the right. They surged down his body and met at his groin. The two powers merged violently and became one and then surged back up through his body. This new force spread through his skin and bones and rewrote every cell in his form.

Chao's parents gasped and stepped back as the young boy began to grow. His clothes disintergrated as his body became that of a humanoid dragon, scales, wings, tail and all. His coloration became that of a tiger.

At last the physical change was complete, the powers of every oriental god 'switched on' within Chao, and the explosion of power destroyed everything within a hundred foot.

The explosion did not end, and Chao ascended into the sky as a raging fireball.

Chao became vaguely aware of ten children hovering in the air outside of his fire.

"I cant stop the fire"! He yelled as loudly as he could, but they did not react. A voice appeared within his mind.

"Hi man, I'm Ash, I'm a dragon like you, and I got some bad news, and some good news".

There was a pause, and then the voice came again. "We can communicate with prayer".

'Prayer' thought Chao, 'screw that, I'm not praying to anyone'.

The voice came again.

"Look, we're gods, your a god, gods can hear prayers, so we can talk via prayer".

'Well I guess that's the good news' thought Chao. Still he refused to pray.

The ten children seamed to be in conversation for a few moments, then it was as if they picked one of their number. A clear tunnel appeared in his fireball, at the opposite end a pretty caucasian woman in silver and green armor floated in the air.

"Hay there, I'm Vanir, though my friends call me Astrid"

"Chao", he responded.

"Do you have a god name"? Asked Vanir.

Chao concidered his new shape, and the powers that surged within his body.

"Hu-Long", he shouted.

"Look Hu-Long, can you turn this fire off"?

"I don't think so", said the new god, "I'm not controlling it".

"Did you go big while really angry"? Asked the girl.

"Go big"? He then realised he meant his current form, "uh, yeah".

"Your powers are responding to your emotions, you need to drop it".

Chao focused on the child he should be, and immediatly felt his form changing, reverting to the twelve year old boy he had been. As he did so, he felt the raging fireball diminish. As he resumed his natural state, the woman who called herself Vanir transformed into a girl. He looked at the other kids around him, they were all about the same age.

"So, I'm a god, what's the bad news".

"You blew up your parents, some of us did too".

Chao shrugged his shoulders, right now, he didn't care. He guessed he would be upset later. The same blond girl flew towards him then held out her hand, blushing slightly.

"Hi, I'm Astrid".

"Chao", and Chao took the hand with a smile, "so how does this god thing work"?

 

Year Twelve, Day Twenty One

 

Miah sat beside her van, dusk was falling. She was scared. Her grandfathers teachings had eneabled her to catch some food from around the area, but the small amount of water left her was running out. Straying from the vehicle was dangerous, but sooner or later she had to move.

She had spent one whole day burrying her parents. Miah didn't think she would ever be happy again, but then her lifetime might not be that long.

Miah looked up at the stars. A few days ago she had heard on the radio about children that had become gods. The media called them angels, or superheros, and said they could do amazing things. She didn't believe it of course, but right now, something like that would be great.

'Terry, first of the new gods', she thought, 'any chance you could help me'?

Nothing happened, just as expected. Miah looked away from the stars and went to studying the cracked ground beside her feet, when a voice appeared in her mind.

"Okay, I'm in Australia, can you give me a clue"?

Miah jumped to her feet, and then thought hard.

"Terry"?

"Yeah, where are you? replied the voice., "I could find you, but a direction would help".

"South", she answered, "great ocean road, a few days from Perth by van".

"Hold on", came the voice again. After a few seconds there was a shimmer in the air, and a white boy with horns stood before her. He went to hold out his hand, but she had already jumped forward and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Thank you thank you thank you", she cried, tears streaming down her face. Her relief was palpable.

"Thats what I love", laughed Terry, "tears running down the back of my neck".

"Give me a minute", Miah blurted out, with some difficulty, "I never thought anyone would come".

Once the girl had regained her composure, Terry pulled himself away, and looked around at the situation.

"Oh boy".

He walked to stand beside the two graves, only a few feet deep. He looked through the soil at the girls parents, noting the bullet wounds.

"You had to bury them"?

Miah nodded.

"I'm really sorry, I know how this feels". Terry looked around him again, but this time he wasn't studying the ground. "There's something wrong here".

Miah knew he wasn't refering to the deaths.

"What is it"?

Terry closed his eyes, and instead focused on the spirit world. When he opened his eyes again, he could 'see' the spirit realm of Australia. There was a swirling energy vortex all around, the powers of gods and the last wish of Astraeus was tearing up the astral plane, and was at the point of fracturing reality. In the center of the vortex was the spirits of Miah's parents, holding onto their daughter.

The young boy turned to the girl.

"It's you"!

"Its me what"?

Terry held out both hands, and she took them. He focused his senses onto hers.

"Now", he called "Open your eyes"!

She was confused for a fraction of a second, her eyes where open, but then she understood his meaning. The vision of the spirit world exploded into her senses.

"Mother, father", called Miah.

In response, the two spirits clung closer to their daughter.

"You have to let each other go", yelled Terry over the astral tornado.

"But I don't want to"!

"Your holding them back", shouted Terry, "And its destroying everything".

Miah could feel the divine powers cascading and spiriling all around her, and she knew he was right. In both sadness and joy, she did what she had to do.

"Mom, Dad, I love you, its okay, I'm okay now".

"We're proud of you darling", said her father's ghost.

"We'll always be with you", came from her mother's spirit.

With that, the two souls drifted deep into the astral plane, and the last wish of Astraeus crashed down upon Miah.

Miah grew to womanhood in an instant, her skin remained dark brown, her bone structure was light, her features perfect. Her clothes became pure silver, pussum leather boots and trousers, and a shirt of leaves and emu feathers woven together. Sparkles of light danced in her eyes and throughout her hair.

In response, Terry accessed his own divine manifestation.

"Your the last pantheon", said the last Titan.

"Damn right", said Miah, "I'm the Dreamer of Songs".

 

Year Twenty One

 

For many years the twelve children lived and loved and matured. They flew around the world helping where they could. They learned to use their powers in great ways, and even Monila and Ashley learned to 'go big' while keeping their clothes on. Some called them angels, others superheros, most refered to them as the twelve pantheons, and the very word took on a new meaning.

Nine years after the month of their meeting, all twelve met up on mount Smolikas, as they always did at that time.

There on the top of the mountain, the gods had completed their home. Pillars of diamond rose out of the rocky ground, supporting platforms of marble streaked with smooth veins of ruby, emerald, and sapphire. Terry had insisted on a central hall with a round table, from this area the west wing consisted of sleeping areas for each of them. The east side of the building opened into a wide circular room, open to the sky, in the middle of which was a single tree that Moira had spent many days creating.

This tree produced apples of all colors, the colors denoted the flavour, and each one contained all the neutrients that a living body would need. Moira was very proud of it.

Omolara and Anders flew in from france, where they had been to a restaurant. Of course they did not need to eat, but it was romantic and fun, and they had a mission to try every romantic restaurant in the world. Sometimes Terry and Miah joined them, though france was taking longer than they expected to get through.

Dragon lake had also been transformed. Once Ashley and Chao discovered its name, they thought it their duty to transform it into the greatest swimming pool of holy water ever. It was now several huge basins of marble and diamond, with fountains throwing water up its levels, water slides bringing the crisp waters back down, and diving boards at all angles.

Terry thought they had gone overboard, but didn't complain.

All twelve children where now sitting around a campfire beside dragon lake. Although they were now all twenty one, or close to it, they had not aged. With them sat the parents of Moira and the Norwegian twins, and Omolara's mother, who Astrid had fetched earlier.

As usual, it was Monila that posed the intelligent question.

"Have any of you concidered what we are the gods of"?

"Well everything", answered Pirene, "each of us has the power of so many old gods".

"Except my James", said Moira, "he's all about the darkside".

"Well thats not exactly true", opposed the god of the underworld. Everyone looked at James.

"See, there were several light based gods in Hades, like Hemera and Aether, oh and the underworld had light areas, such as Elysium", James continued, "many of the underworld gods where creators too, its not all death and destruction".

"So you really can all do anything", asked Astrid and Anders father.

"Yes, but its not always easy", it was Hugo that spoke up, "the old gods where built of spirit, but we are built of flesh".

"What does that mean", asked Omolara's mother, her daughter answered.

"Our abilities are more anchored, less transient. Although we can each do anything, it is natural for us to each work in our own ways".

They sat in silence for a minute before Terry spoke up.

"About what Monila said, anyone thought about the pantheons we are"?

"What do you mean bro"? Asked Ashley

"Each pantheon of gods tended to represent a complete system", it was as if Terry was thinking out aloud, "gods of land and sea and sky, or goddesses that represent one each of the occult forces, where does that leave us"?

Monila smiled at Terry, "I knew you'd get there".

Terry asked the question directly, "The twelve of us, are we not a new pantheon"?

"Not for long".

The new voice came as a surprise to all of them as Ophion appeared behind Monila and Ashley. In the second it took him to enter divine manifestation, he reached out for the two children and grabbed them up, before they could react, he had bitten them each in two, and then tossed their remains down his throat.

Quickly the other ten children entered divine manifestation as the mortals present yelled and screamed. The toxic fire of the Leviathon silenced them permanantly.

Panthea was the first to gather her wits, she summoned the mountain to her will, drawing huge rocky shards to errupt from the ground and up into the Leviathon. His scales deflected the rock, and Panthea was next to be swallowed.

Kthonios pointed his bladed staff outward, allowing a beam of black destruction to arc forward, Dios stood beside him, and added his bolt of holy power to Kthonios's attack. Moira and Vanir and Miah combined their powers, vines filled with astral energies sprouted at high speed and entwined the Leviathon, cutting and growing into his scales and flesh. At the same time, Aesir, Dahomey, Hu-long and Hypereos launched a direct attack with swords, claws, and fists.

It was as if the Leviathon was laughing. One after the other, he swept up and swollowed down the children. First brushing aside the close combat attacks, he took Kthonios and then Dios. His body was regenerating faster than Moira, Vanir, and Miah could hurt him, and he ate them next. Finally, he simply grabbed Aesir, then Dahomey, and lastly Hu-Long and then Hypereos himself, and ate them whole.

 

* * *

 

Hypereos lay in the belly of Leviathon, and watched as the firey acids disolved the bodies of his friends, and felt as it coursed through his own skin. He saw their powers emerge from their crumbling cells, and become one with Ophion. His own forteen Titans disolved from his body and he lost his divine manifestation, and with it everything he had gained since becoming a pantheon. He reverted to being just Terry, a twelve year old boy.

But Terry was more than just a boy, he was the actual child of a Titan, and that part of him still held power. He struggled and fought, and would not give up.

Leviathon retched, and a pool of bile splashed down into the centre of dragon lake, within it, Terry lay broken and near death.

Leviathon reverted to the form of Ophion and looked down into the lake.

"All the primordial gods, and more besides, and what do we have left, an insignificant demigod that's hard to swallow".

Ophion spat into the lake, for added insult.

"Whatever immortality you have, adds nothing to the gods that came before you".

Ophion walked away, leaving Terry lying in the bottom of the lake.

 

Year Thirty Three

 

It had been twelve years since that evening on the mountain, and Terry had grown. Before then, he would never had aged, but that was all passed. Still, his aging had slowed since he looked sixteen, it had all but stopped, and he now looked little more than twenty one.

He sat at the counter of a biker bar, he wore denim and leathers, and apart from his horns and relative youth, blended in perfectly with the other costomers. Behind the bar was a mural of the twelve children, with a younger Terry standing on the far left. The twelve kids stood in a line on a mountain top, with their divine forms behind them.

Terry came here often, the mural was a comfort, and sometimes he wondered if it was the only way he remembered their faces. Those days now existed half a lifetime ago, but they still held a special place in his heart. He lingered on one adult figure in the painting and wondered what they could have been doing now, if they had lived.

Terry raised his glass, 'Miah', he said and knocked back his drink.

One of the regulars slapped him on the back. "You okay man"?

"Great when I'm not choking", he answered, almost spluttering up half his whisky. Terry still could not lie, his friends knew about his weakness in this area, and knew not to press personal questions.

Around the world, the cult of Ophion had grown into a religion, the faithfull being granted the power to weild magic. The order of the day was selfishness, 'taking care of number one' was their motto. Lavayan satanists had been quick to join, and almost the entire world of business. With proof of power, many converted from other religions.

Only a few in the fields of science had been swayed, most had good sense to know that while evolution was often selfish, humanity was a social species. With them, pagans and monotheists alike had enough sense to remember the television interviews with Moira and Monila, and found much common ground to share. They kept their spirits up with a greeting, "all for one" would say the pagans, "and one for all" would reply the montheists.

Even most of the atheists, who took the view that the gods where a natural process, and magic a new science, where not on board with Ophion.

However, resistance was dwindling, and bars like this were rare, located in back alleys and forgotten streets. The religion of Ophion was becoming more and more aggressive as the days went by. This would be one such day.

Three young businessmen had come into the bar while Terry was in a side room playing pool. They stood glaring at the mural while waiting to be served, and the barman kept them waiting Each time they thought they would be served, he moved to another customer. After thirty minutes they became impatient.

Their leader produced a bolt of fire in his right hand, and hurled it, burning the figure of Ashley in the mural. All around the bar came the sound of the safety being taken off firearms. The man shouted, demanding service.

Terry emerged from the pool room, beer in hand. He glanced at the damaged mural, and then to the three businessmen.

"What do we have here", smirked one of the three, "some kid pretending to be little Terry".

"Look at my face", said Terry, then changed his track, placing his beer down on a nearby table.

"Does anyone here know the story of when Ashley met Ophion"?

"Well it was on the day that Ophion killed my mom, you see, Ash thought the world of my mom, and he went nuts. He flew up and created a river of nuclear metal in the cowards throat, and then set him off. The oaf was left scarred and scared, a pathetic husk, broken on surface of Olympus. We could have killed him with ease, but we let him live".

The three interlopers stood fuming, undecided on whether to decry Terry's words as lies, or the past actions of the young gods as a mistake.

"Yeah, we gave him a chance, maybe he could be better, but no. He repaid us by attacking twelve children, he snuck up on Ashley and Monila and murdered those two children from behind, like the coward that he is".

"Shut your damn mouth", shot back one of the three.

Terry still had some power. In the blink of an eye he had crossed the bar. He placed one hand on the man's shoulder, the other on the top of his head, and twisted. There was a sickening crack, and the man fell dead to the floor.

The other two fell a moment later to a hail of gunfire from around the bar.

The bar manager nodded at a few of the trusted regulars, "Put their bodies in the furnace, I'll dump the ashes in the river by morning".

Terry turned to the mural. He walked behind the bar and passed his hand over the scorched figure of Ashley, restoring it with his own magic.

"There you go brother", he turned to the bar manager, "this can't go on Jack".

"Yeah well we're not giving up to that prick".

"I know", said Terry, "But something the girls said back then, and the words from my parents, its been playing on my mind".

"Yeah"?

"All gods are equal, that the creator was one and many at the same time".

"How much power do you really have though, you can't face Ophion".

"I think I'm weak", Terry looked hard at the bar manager, "only because I believe so".

 

* * *

 

Terry set off on foot from Detroit, walking across the land, and then walking and swimming across the depths of the atlantic ocean. He made land on Portugal, and continued his journey to Mount Smolikas.

He moved quietly, he kept to hidden tracks, never resting or sleeping. Ten thousand miles, all in all, it took the demigod seventy days.

Eventually, he reached the summit, the palace was still intact, though now overgrown and scarred by weather. The tree was still standing, the multicoloured fruit hanging on the branches. He was amazed that it had not been vandalised, but maybe that was not the way of hikers.

He picked one of the apples, and then sat under the tree and waited. Moira had told him of the secret she had woven into the fruit, that while they could be all flavours, and all goodness, they could also ferment into potent alcohol, you only had to wait one day.

Red for meat, green for veg, blue for sweet fruit flavours. All the shades and hues giving all the many variations. The apple he picked was a light purple, and he mused, maybe this would be like lamb cooked in a sweet sauce.

He would find out tomorrow.

That night he slept, for the first time in over a decade. He dreamed of twelve children and a carefree existance on the mountain, of sitting around the campfire and the love they shared for each other. He dreamed of Anders and Omolara, who could not be parted, of wild Ashley and bright Monila, the heart of their group. He dreamed of little Irish Moira taking charge of James, and then Hugo and Pirene with power over spirit and nature. Then he dreamed of Chao and Vanir, maybe the wisest of them. Finally he dreamed of little Miah, and wept in his sleep.

The next day he bagan his meditation. Never once moving from under the tree, he focused first upon tales of the apples of Idunn, and the garden of the hesperides, and even the tree of knowledge from Hebrew lore. Blending these tales together, he placed himself under the mythical Yggdrasil, for this was his starting place.

As his mind shifted into the spirit world, Terry ate the apple he had picked the day before, and did his best not to be distracted by the flavour of goat and pinnaple. Normally alcohol would not affect him, but this apple was the creation of a goddess, and so it would to a small degree.

The meditation soon took on a life of its own, he drifted between wakefullness and sleep, and still kept the visualisation going.

He saw eleven children, and then he himself joined them as the child he used to be. They stood together forming a great circle, and then they spoke.

First young Hugo, Terry, and Pirene spoke up.

"We are Olympus, the Titans, and the Sons of Gaea", they merged together, becoming a giant of a man with stark white skin, robbed in red, "We are the Ancient God".

Then it was the turn of Moira, Miah, and James.

"We are the gods of life and death, and the dream that joins them", they merged, becoming a giant female figure, like the primordial Nyx, she had jet black skin, robed in green, "We are the Ancient Goddess".

Then Chao, Anders, and Astrid spoke up.

"We are the God and Goddess of all that lies between Chaos and Reality, we are the passion of humanity", they merged together, becoming a Great God in dazzling white "We are the spirit worlds".

Monila, Omolara and Ashley spoke next.

"We are the intelligence of nature and the savage fury of the elements". They merged, becoming a Goddess with robes, "We are the natural worlds".

 

After twelve years, Terry finally understood their meaning, as another figure appeared on the mountain.

 

* * *

 

As the figures in Terry's meditation grew to a blinding intensity, merging into a single gestalt entity, a young girl crawled up onto his lap. Her skin was less tanned, than it was simply dirty. Her hair was wild and matted, she wore rags, and her eyes darted too and fro. Both her hands and feet were covered in dirt.

The girl whispered in his ear, her voice was harsh, like a crackling bonfire.

"God, Goddess, Spirit, and Creation".

Terry opened his eyes, and she leaned over to whisper in his other ear.

"Yod, He, Vau, He"

At this she clasped each side of his head, placed her brow on his, and uttered one final sentance. The words were long and drawn out, almost painfull.

"I am Chaos".

In the back of Terry's mind, the remains of his meditation exploded, and reality shattered.

As the universe fell away he tumbled through the spirit worlds. Heavans and hells, paradise realms and plains of torment spun past, but there was a resistance. Something was dragging him back into reality, and he felt a band of pain grow around his head. Terry was rooted in flesh, and spirit was not his natural world.

Still he pressed on, excerting all of his will power. He was now carrying Chaos as one would a sleeping child, and while her eyes had closed, arcane words flew from her mouth. Words of beauty and terror, in every language that had ever existed, or ever would. They at last reached the deepest depth of the spirit planes, and as Chaos opened her eyes, even the spirit worlds fell away.

 

Terry floated in the void. Below him was the endless sea of Chaos, the Chaos of infinite possibilities. All around and above him was the endless sky, the Chaos of nothingness. Surrounding both was the yawning abyss.

In the middle of Chaos, a female figure danced upon the ocean. Lady Chaos was whole again, reformed from the souls of the pantheons she had created long ago. Oblivion was no more, and she was free.

Terry floated in the air before her, a tiny light above her hand, filled with warmth and joy. Only one issue was left to be resolved, and Terry knew he now had the strength to face it

 

Terry opened his eyes, he was sitting under the tree on Mount Smolikas once more.

 

Year Thirty Four

 

It was a meeting of world leaders, and it was supposed to be all about environmental concerns, but Ophion had made his appearance. He had other issues, and was in the process of walking to and forth before them, preparing to speak.

"Gentlemen and slags, I do not care how you came into power, from now on, that power flows because I allow it. You can continue your petty rule, with my blessing".

Several of the world leaders made to stand up in protest, Ophion waved his hand, forcing them to their seats and closing their mouths.

"There is nothing to sign, and I do not need your agreement. It is done".

He was about to leave, then stopped himself, as if he had just remembered something important. In actual fact, this was the real reason why he had come here.

"Oh, you're going to have to make my religion your state religions, and outlaw all other forms of worship".

"We might have a problem with that". The voice came from a figure that had appeared at the back of the great conferance hall.

Ophion peered to where the voice had come from, and broke into a wide smile.

"Well if it isn't little Terry, all growed up", his voice was somehow both welcoming and dangerous, "you know, your friends once attacked me, without cause I might add, and I lived dispite them. I once let you live too, are you going to throw that in my face"?

"You murdered your brethren, you murdered children, you have been allowed freedom for far too long". Terry was striding down the great halls steps towards Ophion, "But before I send you to your own oblivion, there is something I must know".

"Then ask me, before you join your friends".

"Why did you never try to find Chaos"?

"What do you know of Chaos", spat out Ophion.

"I've been there, me and the Lady", and Terry held up crossed fingers, "we're like that".

Ophion leaned his head forward and let out a stream of toxic fire towards Terry, the youngest Titan mearly raised a hand, and erected a force-field protecting not only himself, but all the assembled politicians.

"Impossible", said Ophion, astonished.

Terry spoke next to the people around him.

"You guys might want to get out of here, its going to get raucous".

As the various world leaders fled not only the room, but the building (and the grounds, to what they felt was a safe distance), Ophion entered his divine manifestation.

Terry stood impassive on the steps of the great hall.

With the building starting to collapse around them, due to the thrashing tail of the Leviathon, the monstrous god let out another gout of toxic fire, this one thousands of times greater in power and intensity. The stream hit Terry directly in the chest and covered him.

When the flame ended, Terry was still standing, and other than his rams horns, still in human form. He assumed divine manifestation.

As tall as a giant, his body errupted from the convention building and at the same time, it looked as if he was arrayed across the universe. Stars played across his skin while galaxies and nebula lived and died and exploded in his eyes. While he was robed in mountains, seas and oceans swirled around his legs and clouds and storms covered his body as clothes.

On his forhead, what was once an inverted pentagram had become an upright pentagram, with an additional upright triangle framing the upper point. No occult symbols were present, but the whole image shone white and scintillated in all the known colours, and many beyond, reflecting the infinite depths of the spirit worlds. In the centre of the image, could be seen the gateway to the realm of Lady Chaos.

Leviathon made to flee, but Hypereos simply grabbed him by the neck, which was relatively easy given the serpent form.

Hypereos waved his other hand over Leviathon, and all the stolen power left him.

Over ten thousand spirits were freed, over ten thousand tiny lights floated around Hypereos. As one they flew into the portal to Chaos on Hypereos's brow. The ghosts of gods great and small, left to find their peace with the Great Lady.

Leviathon had shrank greatly, he lost his divine manifestation. In response, Hypereos released his divine manifestation, dropping down into Terry once more.

Terry was still holding the human form of Ophion by the neck, now looking like nothing more than an old man. Not only had all the stolen powers been released from him, but also his own power as a primordial god. Ophion was now mortal.

"Your crimes are vast, old man".

Ophion fell to his knees as world leaders, and many security and law enforcement officers, entered the ruined room.

"Do you think this has happened only here? I have looked through the eyes of Chaos, these events have transpired on every world, around every star, between atoms, it has played out between living cells, and between universes", Terry looked down upon Ophion, "and you think you can match HER! You are a broken spanner, a damaged tool that believes itself to be equal to that mind that made it and that hand that weilds it".

"If you can come back, so can I", shot out Ophion.

"No". At this, Terry threw Ophion across the air in an arc. The Titan made a pass in the air creating a gateway to Chaos behind the old man. With no power to resist his passage, Ophion fell through onto the ocean of Chaos, and was torn assunder.

 

Soldiers, security and police, politicians and lawyers, media and press reporters of all kinds gathered around Terry, some professing their thanks and others asking questions.

"Guys, guys", Terry waved them down, and after half a minute or so they eventually fell silent.

"Guys, as you know I am the last Titan", and then with some sadness, "the last of the pantheons".

A clamour arose again from the throng, and again Terry waved them down.

"The heavens and hells of this world have been shaped by the faith of humanity, you will give yourselves what you desire or deserve, you do not need the rule of Gods, and I do not need this power".

And then Terry let the power granted by Lady Chaos leave him, as a prismatic light it cascaded through the open gateway to Chaos, which finally closed.

It was then as if Terry shrank, although he remained the size of a man, his seaming vastness left him. The air seamed to buzz with life, for a moment, and then that too dispersed..

"I am now just a man, sure a man with horns and immortality, but a man nontheless".

Terry paused to take a breath.

"The magic of the gods, I have given it to us all".

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 Jason Young. All rights reserved.

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