Children of the Gods: Arc 2 [Game/Closed]

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"So ... what happened? You seem pretty pissed off about something."

As Aria said it, Vera - who had been staring out the window - frowned. Or rather, she frowned more. To be frank, she wasn't in a very good mood. Not that this was in someway untrue BEFORE the argument - she'd been in a bad mood since the trip had begun; this was just a particularly worse mood.

Initially, she felt the desire to just... explode again. To continue to vent. Vera clenched her hand hard enough that her knuckles turned white and her joints screamed out in pain. A moment later; she let it go. It wasn't Aria's fault and it wasn't like this was Andrew and his false empathy. What more, she could hardly complain to her; from what she'd heard the first day Aria had an arguably worse relationship with her mother than Vera did with her father.

With a slight sigh, she began to speak. "Just my dad... as usual. He acts like he's.. well a god, but doesn't really care about anyone or anything but himself." she said, trying to remain calm about the whole thing, still burning up inside.

"Just my dad... as usual. He acts like he's.. well a god, but doesn't really care about anyone or anything but himself."

Nicole heard Aria ask what was troubling Vera, and her friend's reply, she already knew of course having been there when Vera yelled at her father and had been meaning to ask her about it later. She remembered quite well Vera's opinion on her father from all their talks at college, but even so she wondered if Vera was misjudging Verathragna or not. She knew Vera had very legitimate reasons to be upset but at the same time it seemed like her father had really been trying to reach out to her.

She stood up and walked over to Vera and Aria, struggling over what to say to her, Vera likely did not want to hear any statements in favor of her father after all.

"How many times have you met him?" Nicole asked "I remember you mentioned how he told you that he was your dad, but did you ever talk to him after that?"

"Just my dad... as usual. He acts like he's.. well a god, but doesn't really care about anyone or anything but himself." Vera replied

Aria pondered this while Nicole joined them, and it didn't seem to match up in her head. "He didn't seem like such a bad guy to me, but then, he and Nike are then only ones so far that haven't been a massive dick so some degree, so my view of them is a little better then the others we've met so far" Aria said after Nicole asked her question.

As the group passed along the paper and chatted, it began to rain heavily. The clouds covered the mid-day sun, and the pelting rain rattled on the roof of the van. Prometheus smiled, enjoying the calming rain. He wound down his window and let it blow into him, water catching in his hair and beard.

Glancing over at Andrew fiddling with the radio, he looked down at the CD's given to him, before asking.

"Have an acquired taste, Andrew? Do you play anything?"

His mind drifted to the youths father; he had many memories with him, both inclined to follow somewhat intellectual paths. Yet he was always somewhat...removed. Aloof. Arrogant. Amoral.

Prometheus' thought back to the Trojan war, a thought striking him. There had been distinct sides drawn then; the children of Leto pitched against Zeus. And if Zeus was with the group...

A deep sigh. Vera and the others were talking about her father, and judging from her expression, he thought it best not to get involved.

Steven had decided to keep arguing for using the duct-tape, and Andrew shrugged in a: "Do whatever you want," way. If Steven messed up, he wasn't going to clean up anything. Besides, it seemed like everything Andrew could say would be argued against, unless he agreed, which he was not going to do. They would be stopping at a town soon, to pick up supplies, and the toilet couldn't be used before that either way.

Not my problem, though.

Andrew leaned back, wanting to actually just listen to the music, when Prometheus spoke.

"Have an acquired taste, Andrew? Do you play anything?"

"I prefer classical music. Chopin, Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and such. It's..." He thought about an appropriate description. "Richer. More established, in a way. You know you can find talented performers performing the pieces, and the compositions on their own have survived for a reason. I don't hate modern music, I just have no reason to look through piles of garbage to find something I can actually listen to, when I can easily find something better within the classical genre. I have a keen sense of pitch, so I pick up on a lot that others don't seem to." He glanced over at the titan, who had decided that this was the time to open a window and get soaked.

"As for your other question, no, I don't play any instruments. I've considered picking one up, but I don't want to do that until I know I have time left to spare so that I can master it."

After all, Andrew didn't see the point of doing something without doing it well. For fun? Perhaps, but something like an instrument wouldn't be fun if he kept making mistakes.

"Why are you asking?" Andrew asked the titan. "Don't tell me you actually liked that other song?" He was curious, really, and his tone conveyed that, rather than the haughtiness the words seemed to convey.

Raising his eyebrows, he nodded along as Andrew spoke. The boy was being honest and genuine; rather than being simply elitist.

"Fair points all, though I find it's always good to branch out now and then. Gems under rocks and so forth."

The saying was lost in translation, though he was sure he got the message. Verathragna was far from a connoisseur of classical, though he did have some works of Rachmaninov. The titan passed it to Andrew, gesturing for him to play it.

"I didn't mind the other stuff. It was easy-going, relaxing. Nice to catch a break, you know? Also nice to play an instrument. But, each to their own."

As the rain increased, he wound the window up, though his face and shirt were flecked with water already. The road ahead was covered in fog, though the headlights of oncoming cars cut through it with ease.

"Weird weather..."

"How many times have you met him?" Nicole asked, adding "I remember you mentioned how he told you that he was your dad, but did you ever talk to him after that?" A moment later, Aria chimed in, saying "He didn't seem like such a bad guy to me, but then, he and Nike are then only ones so far that haven't been a massive dick so some degree, so my view of them is a little better then the others we've met so far"

Vera turned briefly to Nicole. "We've met 3 times including today." she said offhandedly. "All on his accord and schedule of course." Turning to Aria, she continued. "With my father, it's always about him. He spent my entire life off wherever the Persian gods hang out, ignoring anything to do with me until I happened to wake up one morning with some of his powers. He shows up out of the blue whenever it suits him and now acts all "proud father" when I've spent more time with everyone in this RV than with him; like he has ANYTHING to do with how I am." she finished, venting more than she'd intended.

After stuffing the back of the vehicle with foodstuffs, Remus had climbed onboard with the others. As they drove, slumped against his seat and groaned lowly, rubbing his head still as he fought his most brutal enemy yet - a hangover. The others were talking about all sorts of things he could pay little attention to, music and repairs and Russia...he did happen to overhear one conversation though. That of Nicole and Vera, who were talking across from him.

"With my father, it's always about him. He spent my entire life off wherever the Persian gods hang out, ignoring anything to do with me until I happened to wake up one morning with some of his powers. He shows up out of the blue whenever it suits him and now acts all "proud father" when I've spent more time with everyone in this RV than with him; like he has ANYTHING to do with how I am."

"Good on you for telling him off." Remus said, pulling his hand away from his head for a moment. "You don't have to tolerate that sort of bullshit." Though initially not too fond of Vera, Remus was finding himself respected her more with recent events, first her slaying of Ahriman and now how she stood up her neglectful father.

Remus then turned to face Nicole. He picked up the new sword he had been gifted, holding it out by the sheath. "Care for this Nicole? I don't think I'll have any use for it myself, and I'd rather not have it weighing me down in battle."

"Fair points all, though I find it's always good to branch out now and then. Gems under rocks and so forth."

"I suppose so. But a lot of it is wasted effort. And I don't trust someone else to recommend me decent stuff, they're practically deaf when it comes to stuff like this. They certainly act like it, at least."

Andrew didn't disagree with what Prometheus had said. However, he enjoyed being able to just lie down and relax, not having to think about a thing. Too bad he didn't always have time for that. He put the CD the titan had handed him into the car stereo, having removed the other one. The change in music made him feel more relaxed.

"I didn't mind the other stuff. It was easy-going, relaxing. Nice to catch a break, you know? Also nice to play an instrument. But, each to their own."

"The other song had a guitar that sounded like it had been smashed into a wall a couple of times," Andrew remarked. "You have to have heard that at least. And I didn't say I didn't want to play an instrument, I said I don't have the time to start learning. This trip has been the most idle I've been for more than just a couple of years. Of course," Andrew sat further back. "Feel free to buy me an instrument in the next town, I certainly wouldn't mind using the next couple of days for something more than sitting around and wasting time doing nothing." An instrument would actually be kind of nice. It'd have to be something like a guitar, though, anything more difficult than that would just be annoying. Of course, he doubted he'd actually get one, the suggestion had been more for the sake of proving a point.

He looked out the window, it had very suddenly started to rain even more, mist accompanying it.

"Weird weather..."

"Yeah..." Normally, he wouldn't have cared. However, considering all that had happened before, he wasn't about to dismiss the chance of this being an enemy just yet.

"Is there any gods that would be likely to do something like this?"

"With my father, it's always about him. He spent my entire life off wherever the Persian gods hang out, ignoring anything to do with me until I happened to wake up one morning with some of his powers. He shows up out of the blue whenever it suits him and now acts all "proud father" when I've spent more time with everyone in this RV than with him; like he has ANYTHING to do with how I am."

Aria listened, she could hardly fault Vera for feeling that way, so it took her a minute to come up with a reply "I'm not saying your not justified feeling the way you do, but maybe this sudden 'proud father' thing is a response to Nike getting hurt bad as she did, and the death of two thirds of The Morrigan, and was trying to patch things up a bit cause he might not get another chance due to he or you not surviving this little quest we're on." she finally said after a few moments. "Course, depending on what my biological mother says, I might just end up joining up on the 'I hate my divine family' train."

Prometheus chuckled at the thought of Andrew plucking a guitar for the whole trip. Though it would keep him somewhat distracted.

"I'll keep an eye out for you."

Looking at the weather, he began to slow the van down. Prometheus doubted it was the work of a God, though he wasn't about to play the fool.

Speaking again to Andrew, he kept his voice low.

"I don't know. It's not a storm from Zeus; of that I'm sure. Could just be freak weather. Not taking the chance."

He could no longer see, or hear for that matter, any other cars on the road. The clouds were dark, and the fog had grown thicker. Even if this was not some magic, he didn't feel it was safe enough to keep driving. They had traveled North, and they would soon have to choose either east or west; east into Russia, west across the black Sea.

Bringing the van to a complete halt just off the side of the road, he checked the clock, as the sky gave no indication of time. Calling out to the group, he spoke.

"So, the weather is far too bad to drive, and could even be thrown against us. Have you lot made a decision yet? I'm not driving anymore until this clears up."

A strong torrent of wind buffeted the van, howling outside. He got up and made sure the doors were shut tight, before turning off the van to conserve fuel.

"Good on you for telling him off." Remus said, pulling his hand away from his head for a moment. "You don't have to tolerate that sort of bullshit." Vera turned to Remus, rather surprised by comment. She'd never expected Remus to comment on much of anything. "Glad you approve" she said before returning to Nicole and Aria.

"I'm not saying your not justified feeling the way you do, but maybe this sudden 'proud father' thing is a response to Nike getting hurt bad as she did, and the death of two thirds of The Morrigan, and was trying to patch things up a bit cause he might not get another chance due to he or you not surviving this little quest we're on." Aria said after a long minute

Vera replied quickly. "I doubt it. He didn't seem to care all the other times it's been hard and, if it is because he's afraid for his own life, well... that just proves my point. He only acts how it best serves him." she said indignantly. She didn't like where the conversation was going. Her father certainly didn't deserve being protected.

Vera had to bite her lip to stop herself from saying more. She knew Aria didn't get along with her mother much so she couldn't fault her for ignorance. Fortuitously, she didn't need to wait long as Prometheus brought the RV to the side of the road. "So, the weather is far too bad to drive, and could even be thrown against us. Have you lot made a decision yet? I'm not driving anymore until this clears up." he said, bringing the matter up for questioning. "I don't care which way we go, but I'd rather we avoid cities. Nothing personal, but I'd rather we keep the body count small. Being on that plane was bad enough; I don't want the weight of Moscow on my mind if some god decides to go Old Testament on us."

Aria, seeing Vera wasn't having any of it, decided it was best to change the subject as Vera seemed dead set on looking for reason after reason to hate her father, she thought that was kinda sad, but didn't say so. Fortunately Prometheus provided the segue they needed. "Quickest and safest is my vote" she said to the Titan.

"Care for this Nicole? I don't think I'll have any use for it myself, and I'd rather not have it weighing me down in battle."

Nicole took the sword, weighing it in her hands, she didn't have much practice with swords aside from a bit of fencing in high school. This blade of course was not at all suited for fencing, but was weighty and of fine make, it wasn't a ranged weapon but it was certainly better than nothing.

"Thanks," she said with a quick smile, setting the blade aside "I'll have to do a bit of practice to figure out how to fight with it, but it should help a lot."

"I doubt it. He didn't seem to care all the other times it's been hard and, if it is because he's afraid for his own life, well... that just proves my point. He only acts how it best serves him."

"Maybe he's more worried about you than about him?" Nicole replied, turning back to Vera "Then again it seems like he only shows up when its something involving him, your powers starting up and now this whole war thing."

She paused for a moment then spoke again, she did sympathize with Vera a great deal but at the same time she didn't like seeing her friend being so angry about something. "Maybe you should try to talk to him about some of this next time, it might help, then again it might just be more frustrating."

"So, the weather is far too bad to drive, and could even be thrown against us. Have you lot made a decision yet? I'm not driving anymore until this clears up."

"I wrote my vote in the book, I think some other people did too, we could count those up to figure out which way is best," she replied

Prometheus got up and found the piece of paper; it was clear people wanted to stay clear of cities and potential casualties. A noble choice, though the Titan was somewhat sad he wouldn't be meeting up with old friends.

There's always next time...

A flash of lightning followed by the roar of thunder overhead made the contents of the van shake and tremble. Raising his voice over the din of rain and wind, he spoke.

"Looks like we'll be going through Russia! Though not for a while if -"

A huge volley of wind slammed into the side of the van, sending the tail end skidding, spinning it near 90 degrees. The fog was thick; though the flashes of lightning illuminated shadowy figures, waiting in the shroud. He cursed loudly.

"There are...things, outside. They don't seem to be advancing..."

Another flash, more thunder. They were still out there; they surrounded the van, about 20, maybe 30 of them. No way of telling how far, or how large they were.

Picking up the shield Vera threw so aggressively at him, he failed to put forth any confidence. This was foreign land, with foreign gods; old gods, of whom some were bound to be aligned somewhere in the war. He was truly out of his depth.

"I'm going to go investigate. Any other volunteers?"

Thunder roared, and the Titan flinched.

The wind spun the van, the wind, spun the van. Aria sighed at this, "Welp, so much for a peaceful trip" she stood up and tossed her hat aside as to not lose it in the wind "I'll go" she said after giving her powers a quick check, they seemed stable again, she made a mental note to really, never, ever do that 'super nova' thing again, does a lot more then just hurt like hell it seems. "If anything else I can warp us away if things get unpleasant"

Remus tried his best to ignore the lightning and weather, trying to focus on fighting down his headache. When the van was hit spinning by a gale of hard wind he felt his head spinning. The blow would have knocked him onto the vehicle floor if he hadn't been wearing a seatbelt. As his senses slowly came to, he heard Prometheus speak.

"I'm going to go investigate. Any other volunteers?"

An audible growl was Remus' response. After unbuckling himself, readying his shotgun, loading some shells in, he walked over to the van door and slammed it wide open with his hand. Remus climbed out and began scanning the area with a vicious look on his face, full of simmered rage.

"I'll keep an eye out for you."

Andrew wasn't completely sure if Prometheus was joking or not, but he nodded. "Sure." After that, the titan went on to answering his question about the weather.

"I don't know. It's not a storm from Zeus; of that I'm sure. Could just be freak weather. Not taking the chance."

That's probably best. It seems to get worse too quickly as well.

Andrew had to admit that he didn't like this at all, and kept an eye on what happened outside, as Prometheus asked the others what they had chosen as a path, having stopped the van while waiting for the weather to get better. However, it didn't look like it was going to clear up at all.

This can't just be freak weather. It's too much of a coincidence. Not to mention, there's thunder and lightning.

Just great.

"Looks like we'll be going through Russia! Though not for a while if -"

Suddenly, the wind caused the van to flip around, and they were surrounded. By what, Andrew had no idea.

"There are...things, outside. They don't seem to be advancing..."

Apparently, Prometheus didn't know either. Andrew tried to figure what they should do, this whole situation was weird. Everything before had been straight forward, this seemed almost like a horror movie.

"I'm going to go investigate. Any other volunteers?"

Just as Andrew was about to answer, the sky lit up again, and he looked away from the window, awaiting the sound of thunder again, counting in his head to check how far away it was. It wasn't that he was scared of lightning, but he did have the habit of not going outside whenever there was a storm. His mind started finding all the reasons he shouldn't go outside, and he spoke.

"I'm going to stay here," he said. "It's not like my powers would be very useful out there, it'd be hard to heal anything when we have to worry about not blowing away. Nor is a bow and arrow fit for such weather either, and I lack both the combat experience, and a weapon for melee."

Another bolt of lightning. It seemed to be pretty close this time.

"Have fun, though."

"I'm going to go investigate. Any other volunteers?" The titan said as lightning flashed and thunder roared.

Vera unbuckled her seat-belt and started to get up. "So which God did Dionysus turn against us this time? I bet Thor." she commented sarcastically while secretly hoping the universe didn't have a sense of humor. As she got out of the RV however and spotted the first of the figures still hidden in the fog she could only worry that it was going to be more difficult than she'd feared.

"Can we help you?!" she called out into the fog, trying to avoid a fight if she could.

Steven was tired of Andrew's know it all attitude, but the weather distracted him. It could not be a coincidence, to much has happened.

The van stopped, he found them surrounded. By to many to easily fight.

"I'm going to go investigate. Any other volunteers?"

Steven pulled out his gun. He looked through one of the cabinets and found an old silverware table knife. HE took it in his left hand.

"I'm going to stay here..."

"Of course he would stay..." Steven thought.

"Then take the wheel, and be ready to start driving at a moments's notice." Steven said, trying to hide his annoyance.

He followed Prometheus, "I will help, but I only have a few shots left. If we have to fight, we should just take the ones in front of the RV, I hope we can outrun them."

Prometheus nodded at Andrew, respecting his choice.

"Good choice. Know your strengths."

As they began stepping out, he addressed both Aria and Vera.

"Please keep your snarky comments inside the van. I don't want to piss them off if we can avoid it."

The Titan shrugged the shield onto his right-arm; traditionally he would have had it on his left, with a spear in his right, but he figured it was more useful offensively on his better arm.

They stepped outside; Remus, Steven, Aria, Vera and Prometheus; all of whom became decidedly soaked. Slamming the door behind them, they fanned out in front of the van. The figures seemed some 20 metres away, though it was still difficult to tell.

Speaking softly to Steven and Remus, the Titan kept his voice low.

"If this goes poorly, get to the door and keep these things out of the van."

Vera called out.

"Can we help you?!"

A deep, booming voice shuddered out from the fog, seemingly above and around them.

"You are the chosen few of Zeus...correct?"

The shadowy figures lurched forward. Still barely able to be picked out, a dim glow from their chests became visible; a flickering orange and yellow that beat like a heart, and ran like veins across their bodies.

Prometheus shouted above the roar of storm. There was no way to deny who they were; whomever stopped them knew where they had come from, and perhaps where they were going.

"That's correct. Who are you?!"

Lightning flashed and a deafening clap of thunder made the group cover their ears, but no reply came forth. Instead, the creatures rounded on the group outside the van; seemingly ignorant that there were more inside. One of them made a dash at the Titan; as it passed, it's details became clear.

It was a creature of black smoke and rocky fragments, held together by a hot flame. It's eyes were small flames, and it sizzled in the rain. Standing at about 8 feet, it both hovered and ran; putting all it's weight into what could have been it's shoulder. Prometheus threw his shield up, and the creature smashed into it, fragmenting and reforming behind him, returning to the fog.

Prometheus yelled to the group, keeping his shield up.

"I think we need to get out of here. Now!"

Nicole didn't speak up, but she wasn't about to volunteer to go outside in this weather, all she'd manage to do flying around would be to get struck by lightning and she could bless the others from in the van if needed. Figures of fire and stone strode out of the mist and spoke briefly with Prommy before attacking. What monsters are these? I can't think of any myths that match, must be something Russian.

"I think we need to get out of here. Now!"

Nicole nodded and got up to a window where she would be able to see outside, so long as she could see some of what was going on she would be able to help, though she didn't want to bring too much attention to the vehicle.

Her wings unfolded invisibly behind her, while she couldn't fly in such a confined space having them out boosted her powers which might prove invaluable. She prepared to throw blessings out at those outside the van, when a new idea struck her. Her new power let her interfere more directly, or so Nike had said, and as she tapped into her powers she felt the difference. The little things in a fight, the flight of an arrow the swing of a sword, she felt that with a little push she could influence their outcome ever so slightly in her favor.

The sky flashed with lightning, and she prepared herself to focus on diverting the things attacks, given how easily the first one had reformed it seemed defense was the best strategy, especially since they would want to protect the van. It would likely be much more draining than her usual blessings but still it seemed the best option, especially since the glow of her blessings could draw attention to the van. Thunder rumbled overhead and she was struck with a new idea, it probably won't work, and just leave me exhausted, but if it does work... she could probably even guide projectiles like Aria's energy blasts, why not lightning? She reached out towards the rumbling sky with her powers, trying to find the next bolt before it struck to guide it at the monsters outside, she could only hope that it would work. She would also have to be careful to keep it as far back from the group as possible, so that she didn't hurt any of them with it.

The power surged out of her, leaving her gasping for breath for a moment as the lightning streamed down from the sky, it was more than just guiding or directing it she felt as though she was a part of it for a moment steering it into its target. The bolt struck the furthest away monster in a brilliant surge of heat and light, the force of the strike kicking up bits of rocks and earth, Nicole could only hope it at least had some effect on the thing it was hitting.

"Good choice. Know your strengths."

Andrew had no problem accepting that he wasn't going to be useful in a situation like this, not as a fighter, at least. If someone got hurt, he'd be pretty much the only one there able to deal with that.

And, this means I don't have to go out.

He had to admit, he hadn't expected Prometheus to tell him that he was making a good choice, most of all he had thought the titan would just shrug and reason that it was how Andrew was. He glanced outside to see if anything was happening. At that moment, there was a strong flash of light, and loud thunder accompanying it, it couldn't be that far away. It startled him, a lot, making him close his eyes and cover them with his hand, almost in appearance, it would simply look as if he had a headache.

A car is the safest place to be when there's lightning. If it strikes, the frames of the car leads the electricity to the ground. It's safe.

He certainly didn't feel safe, though. Although he remained calm, obviously, there was a certain unrest in him.

"I think we need to get out of here. Now!"

Andrew should have been paying attention to the situation outside by looking out the window, trying to determine who the enemy was. Since it sounded like they were being attacked, they were probably hostile. But he couldn't really do anything either way, and it would be risky opening the door to the RV. Hopefully the others in the van got that as well. Someone, Nicole as he found out when he glanced over at the others, was moving to a window, looking out. Right after that, lightning struck even closer than before, and he instantly stood up, and walked away from the front seats, as well as the largest window in the front.

That's it. I'm done.

He walked back, past the others, climbing over what he had to climb over, to one of the beds. He went under the cover, and laid face-down. If someone needed healing, they'd have to get over there to be healed. No questions asked. Andrew had to admit that he had been a little unsettled before during thunder and lightning, but this was far too close for his liking. He didn't even care about keeping up a somewhat dignified calmness, he just wanted it to end.

"I think we need to get out of here. Now!"

"EVERYONE! GET IN!" Steven yelled out to everyone, opening the door behind him.a blast of Lighting hit one of the creatures.

The light gave him a clear view of the nearest creature, seeing it is some horrible combination of rock, smoke, and fire. "ANDREW, GET..."

Steven looked behind him to the EMPTY drivers seat.

"Oh for..." Steven started when he noticed that the creature's eyes were sizzling in the rain.

Seeing that the concussive force only made it reformed, Steven guessed shooting it wouldn't do much good. However...

Steven jumped at the creature, grabbing at two large rocky fragments, found a good leverage point, and pulled the fragments apart, trying to let the rain pour onto the fire within.

A wicked bolt of lightning smote four of the Djinn in a blinding flash, incinerating their physical chunks, rendering them powerless. Aggrieved, they sizzled and howled in the rain, before fading from view. The thunder from such a close strike shook the van and the occupants inside.

Steven grabbed hold of what he could, and proceeded to wrench a sizable chunk of it's body, smoke pouring from the hole. Though painful, it did little to stop the Djinn, who grabbed Steven's hand and plunged it into the wound, straight into the blazing heat, unaware that it was contending with the child of Hephaestus.

Several Djinn spotted Vera and roared, charging her full pelt. They came at several sides, quickly engulfing her, the heat from their flames and the weight of their fragments bearing down upon her.

A figure unlike the Djinn was spotted in a gap in the fog. All that could be made out was a strange, triangular hat and a glowing bolt of light. Poised to throw at Remus, Prometheus leaped in front of him, forcing them both down, crouching under the shield. The bolt slammed into it, sending both Remus and the Titan sprawling, though relatively unharmed. The shield had a black scorch mark in it's dead center, though still held firm.

Prometheus barked at Aria and Remus.

"Out in the mist! Stay alert!"

Seeing Vera becoming engulfed, he ran to her, smashing a few off her in a wild shield charge, though more poured over them, both becoming immobilized.

Steven was kind of glad the creature pulled his hand into the flame, at least it made part of him no so cold and miserable. Still, this was a terrible position to be in. Steven stuck his knife into the beast's eye. With his trapped hand, Steven reached around inside the , trying to find the source of what ever this flame was coming from.

Nicole had to shield her eyes as the lightning struck but when she lowered her hands at least four of the monsters were just gone, bits of smoking rock remaining of their physical form as their burning presence faded into the mist. They didn't seem to be dead but they were out of the fight, she almost felt like cheering but then the exhaustion hit her and she stumbled. She caught herself against the van's wall and started to catch her breath when she noticed Andrew walk past, he was walking quickly and looked as though he just wanted to be somewhere else, is he afraid of thunder? Might have to check on him after all this is over.

Outside Steven yelled at the others to get back to the van, dammit what is he thinking? I don't think we'll be able to drive far in this and drawing attention to the vehicle might just make them attack it and leave us stranded out here. This concern was swept aside though when a number of the things piled onto Vera.

I have to help her! Nicole thought, not sure if Vera could handle so many of the things at once, but as she tried to reach out with a blessing she felt another wave of exhaustion hit her and she nearly collapsed. I'll need to catch my breath more before I can throw out another blessing, she thought, for now all she could do was watch helplessly and hope her she could gather enough strength soon enough to make more of a difference.

Things snow balled quickly, Prometheus was hit, then Steven got grabbed and now Vera was seemingly pinned under a pile of these things, which became her priority. Aria turned and started blacking the stones off Vera, or trying to, if they came after her fine, she had the best evasive ability of anyone here, she'd deal with it, right now, her concern was getting Vera free enough for her to grab her and get her out or give her the crack she'd need to escape via her wind form, or what ever other form she had that would be useful here.

He was going to die. Andrew was sure of it, even though he knew how idiotic it was to think like that. He was very aware of that it was more dangerous to even just sit in the van while someone was driving, and a lot more dangerous to attempt to fight against a mad god. At this very moment, there were people outside the van, fighting creatures, and they could get killed at any moment.

That didn't matter, he still couldn't stop shaking now. A very short moment after the lightning had struck, the whole van had shook due to the following thunder. Steven spoke, told people to get into the van, and seemed upset that Andrew wasn't in the driver's seat, before... he didn't know, Steven hadn't said anything more, and Andrew had burried his face in the pillow. He covered his ears to block out the thunder.

How pathetic.

He was stronger than this, right? Andrew couldn't remember the last time he had been this... frightened. Andrew wanted someone to tell him that it was fine, but not any of the people there. No, there was only one person who he wanted to comfort him.

Her.

Kirsten. There was only one person he had ever been able to depend on, if only for these situations, where he needed someone. He normally disliked admitting that she had ever existed. But now the mere memory of her made him feel slightly less alone. It had been two years, and in the end, when he was this low, it was her name that appeared in is mind.

I cut her off.

Flawlessly, he had fooled himself to believe. He had ended the fight on his own, telling her to get out, given her all her belongings. Never called or even seen her again. She had been crying, he had felt like doing so as well, although he had never admitted that to himself.

I'm so pathetic.

And now, when he needed her, she was gone. Andrew wasn't sad about it, after all, he wouldn't have wanted her somewhere like this anyways. However, he still found himself thinking about her.

"You're not alone. I'm here. It's going to end soon."

It was some comfort, where he had previously had none.

All at once, the monsters of fog and fire moved in, crushing her in heat and fog and weight. As the flames seared her skin, she screamed out in pain, struggling against the enemies surrounding her. Between the pain, the weight, and the distorted worldview, Vera found herself lost.

A moment later she felt a rush of power flow into her. Vera used her new-found strength to punch her way out as best as possible. For a moment, it seemed to work. She was pushing them away and crawling to freedom. The next moment, they were reacting to it all; pushing her back toward the center of the burning fog. She was nearly about to give up when she spotted the van through a hole followed by a hand reaching in; a human hand. Not thinking twice, she grabbed it and tried to pull herself free; hoping against hop it was the hand of an ally.

Aria shot the stone out away from Vera's extended hand a bit more before going in, grabbing her hand and pulling her free then porting them both to the RV "You ok? " she asked, more on reflex then anything else, she figured the answer was 'no', but felt the need to ask anyway.

Aria pulled Vera free of the swirling fire, fog and rock, still in her regular form. Seeing this, the Djinn reared up, as one swirling mass, and began moving towards the two, intending to engulf them. At the head of this swirling mass, a mouth of fire grinned, the heat causing the air around it to ripple.

"Nowhere to run, little girls. We deserve our place among the new gods!"

Roaring, they broke apart, circling Vera and Aria, inching closer and closer.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Prometheus watched on in horror as the Djinn engulfed the two, blocking them from sight. Spotting Teshub in the distance again, an idea sprang to mind, and he went and slammed open the door to the van. Andrew was hidden out of sight, though he called out, his voice booming through the van.

"Andrew! Grab your bow and come with me!"

Spotting Nicole somewhat slumped near the window, his brow furrowed, remembering the lightning strike. It had seemed somewhat...convenient.

"Are you okay!?"

A heavy object slammed into the other side of the van, followed by a second.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Steven's hand clasped at a small, impossibly smooth stone at the center of the flames, vibrating and impossibly hot. The Djinn squealed and tried to squirm away, though it was clear that Steven had grasped it's core. It began to speak, screaming a horrible sound, bargaining.

"Please! Please...I can help you! Your mark! I know someone who can help! Don't kill me!"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

As Prometheus spoke to Nicole, Remus charged into the mist, eyes keen. He caught glimpses of the God, though it flitted in and out of the fog like a ghost. It's voice rumbled, coming from everywhere.

"You face death with honour. For that, you have my respect."

Remus spun and slashed, coming just short of the God, who stood smiling not a few feet away. He wore grey, plain robes and a strange, three-cornered Grey hat. His beard was long and bushy, and his eyes were deep, striking blue. In one hand was a gleaming pole of light; in the other, a short mace.

As the God raised the mace, Able charged from the mist, spear raised. With a wild lunge he speared at the God, catching him between the ribs. The wound erupted in flames, and terrible flashes of lightning erupted among the three.

Furious, eyes blazing, the God struck Able with the mace, wrenching the spear free, before twirling the lightning in his hand.

"Give your regards to your mother, son of Mars!"

With that, wicked forks of lightning struck both Remus and Able, smiting them all the way back against the van. Dead.

Steven found the core, the creature started to squirm. Steven was ready to rip the core out...

"Please! Please...I can help you! Your mark! I know someone who can help! Don't kill me!"

Steven stopped for a second, shocked that the thing speaks English, it knew about the mark, and it's claim it could help him. It could just be a desperate lie... but could he take that-

"Give your regards to your mother, son of Mars!"

Steven turned to the sound, just in time to see Remus and Able smash into the van, dead.

Remus, the one guy he liked among all of them, the only one he could call a friend. After all the stress, all the arguments, all the frustration, Steven finally cracked. The forge god's son only saw RED.

Without another thought, Steven ripped the core from the creature's body, throwing it at the God with all his might. Not even seeing if it hit, he pulled out the colt, grabbed the knife from the rock creature's eye, firing every shot as he ran to towards the God.

Although muffled, Andrew heard what the titan yelled through the hands covering his ears.

"Andrew! Grab your bow and come with me!"

There was a great sense of urgency in Prometheus' voice, and Andrew knew that he had to do what the titan said. He had to, yet he was struggling so much with just looking up. It didn't help that there was another close flash of lightning, followed by two objects crashing into the van. That couldn't be good at all. However, he forced his body up, and dried away the mix of sweat and tears that covered his face. He then, still shaking, forced his way over to Prometheus, picking up the bow and quiver, and readying it.

I can't act like this now. It's an emergency.

He was less frightened now than he had been before, although definitely still too scared to do anything. However, he didn't have time for emotions like this anymore. Andrew couldn't afford being afraid.

If I can't calm down now, I could just as well throw away any sort of ambition of becoming a surgeon. If I become frozen each time there's lightning... I'll put more people's lives in danger.

And this was more important, there were more lives hinging on this. Andrew knew he couldn't force himself through a phobia. Not even he, who thought himself more logical and collected than that, had any chance of overcoming it this easily. However, he knew how to do two things very, very well. One was forcing any emotions down, make them impossible to spot from the outside, and the second was keeping his arms from shaking.

I've always had steady hands.

Imagining Kirsten's presence seemed to make it a lot easier as well. By the time he had gotten over to Prometheus, facing the outside of the van through the door, he had stopped shaking, although it was clear that he had been afraid. Probably that he still was. He lifted his arms and the bow, steadily, and got ready to take aim.

"What do you need me to hit?" he asked. "I'll hit it."

Andrew didn't look around, try to assess the situation, because he had a feeling that he might see something that would distract him. Instead, his eyes were trained on Prometheus, pride and determination mixed with uncertainty and fear.

Aria shoot away a few stones that tried to pelt her and Vera, before she just grabbed Vera and warped away again, appearing again in time to see Remus and Able slam into the van, she didn't need to ask, even from her bad angle she could tell both where dead.

Aria was fixated on them for a second, a calm rage sweeping over her as the Djinn continued to pursue them. Aria simply turn toward them as the broke apart again to stone the two of them to death, she raised her hand and fired one bolt, that looked less like an arrow and more like a pillar of light, how ever, the coloring was off, instead of the normal white they usually where, this attack was dark red with an obsidian colored core, reflecting the hurt and rage currently burning in her.

The pursuing Djinn where totally obliterated, the beam also parting the fog all be it briefly, this got the attention of the other Djinn who turn to ward her to attack, Aria fired again, wiping out several more before she found her true target, this nameless god whom and had slain Remus and Able, the mere sight of him only pushed her anger to greater heights. With out giving any thought to what she was about to do, or what it would end up doing to her, she teleported off to the side of her 'prey' and took every once of energy she could muster in her enraged state, compressed it into a beam faster then she'd ever been before, "Die" her voice was twisted in a mix of pure rage and sorrow as she spoke, firing the mass of energy at enemy god with both hands, the beam an even darker color then before.

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