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

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"Steven! Can you bust open the gate?!"

"Certainly," Steven said, getting out and grabbing the lock. It was a simple tumbler, the combination wouldn't be that difficult to crack. Using a few pieces of metal and a screw driver, Steven quickly unlocked the padlock, threw off the chains, and opened the gate.

Prail inspected the lock, not sure why. She knew about as much about mechanical things as you'd expect someone whose most advanced tool was a weapon more than 1000 years old. To her the lock looked small and fragile. It took her less than a second to sweep the blade around her body and raise it over her head and bring it down onto her prey.

"Certainly"

The blade came down just left of where Steven now was the axe head embedded in the ground fairly deep.

"Sorry, didn't see you there."

Pulling her weapon out of the ground she was just where she wanted to be, leading the charge, spear forward. Then she could feel the power flowing into her clearly she was in good company, there wasn't time right now to make sense of all the powers around her.

She certainly felt like whoever was in her way was going to have a bad day.
It wasn't hard to find where she was looking for, the blood smell was so obvious at this point she could have been blindfolded and drunk and still got where she was needed.

Steven managed to open the lock easily. While it was certainly impressive, Andrew didn't comment on it, just nodded in some sort of acknowledgement. He wondered if the best thing to do was to just run inside, or if they should plan. Then one of the new people -it seemed that was the help they had received from that contact of Hermes'- started running ahead, carrying her weapon akin to how a warrior would. Andrew decided to follow her, holding his bow and placing quiver on his back, leaving one arrow in his hand so he could arm the bow.

For some reason, this is giving me a bad feeling.

The sound of something breaking could be heard, and not far from the door, he started smelling... something. It smelled almost like iron.

Blood, is it?

Whose blood? If he could smell it, then it wasn't enough to be just Aria or Vera's. He headed inside and saw the cause... it was literally a bloody mess. He leaned down and soaked the tip of the arrow in the mess, before making it into a poison causing fatigue and pain, and aiming it at the first enemy he saw, a tall god with a purple robe. "Don't move," he said, as his eyes scanned the room. He saw Aria bound by ivy, and Vera in her bird-form- among broken pots and jugs of blood. There was another potential enemy, a young girl from the looks of it, and monks were being bled out. The room was filled with strange women, and he made note of that he should be wary of them. If Andrew hadn't been as apathetic as he was, he probably would have commented on how fucked up it was, or at least reacted to it.

Then again, I've seen similar things on this trip before.

He kept pointing his bow at the god, and added. "State your name. If you move, I'll hit you, and this arrow is poisoned." Andrew didn't add that there were several others on their way, he figured the god would just have to find out that on his own.

Arai heard a crash then saw a falcon dive bomb the stack of jars, and cawing 'heroically', since she figured it was Vera in her under used bird form, but before she could warn Vera about Dio, Andrew, and some one she'd never seen before burst

"SHOOT HIM!!! THAT'S DIO!!!" Aria shouted from her vine prison "And watch out for the vines! They have a toxin that lets him take control of your body!" Aria added, wanting to warn them about what had gotten her caught. Aria did have to sigh in relief though, If Andrew and Vera where here, so where the other, though she figured Prometheus would have a few choice words for her.

Jonathan getting forcefully expelled from the old hag's shack only served to increase his already high anger levels. When he first laid his eyes on Prometheus, Jonathan had to fight an unnatural urge to not punch the titan in the face. The titan wasn't much to look at. In fact in Jonathan's mind Prometheus looked like weakling and the fact that this runt of a Titan was responsible for his abduction only pissed Jonathan off the more he thought about it.

But despite his rage and need for blood lust, Jonathan stayed in the background, content to watch the actions of his fellow abductees and those of the Titan. When it was time to move out, Jonathan boarded the bus and took a seat at the back, still wanting to remain out of the way. His anger was still high and breaking noses for receiving a strange look wasn't something he wanted to do, at least not yet.

"You handy in a pinch"?

Cracking his knuckles Jonathan just nodded at the titan's question. There wasn't much to say, you can talk all you want but Jonathan knew that when the shit goes down, that's when a persons fighting ability is properly tested.

The bus ride continued for a while and before long they had arrived at what appeared to be an old monastery. Jonathan got out of his seat and move to the front determined to get a better look at the old building. Obviously the building was old as hell, but what was more interesting was the overly large gate and the fact that it required Prail and Steven or some shit, to open the damn thing.

Jonathan just grunted at the scene and turned to Prometheus "does it always require a small group of you to do basic tasks"? But before he gave the titan any chance to respond Jonathan spoke again hints of violence in his voice "Tell yeah what, how about we all march up into that chapel, kill everything in our paths and rescue your fucktard of a friend. You save your friend I get to kill...names Jonathan by the way".

Suspecting danger, Shiro drew his blade and cautiously stepped into the church. In front of him looked like something out of a horror movie, with monks being bled out, strange women, and blood everywhere. And standing over it all was a man in a purple robe, as well as a young woman wrapped up in vines.

She shouted out a warning, and Shiro was instantly on the alert, despite his reservations. What have I gotten myself into?he wondered, but refused to let his nervousness show. Whatever would happen, he would not let anyone get hurt... Well, maybe the evil god would.

Steven went into the church, and had to hold down the vomit. The sight and smell of so much blood was horrible. A brief flash of Remus and Able, corpses slumped against the van, flashed before his eyes. Steven shook his head.

He saw the figure in purple. Who ever it was, what ever it was, seemed to be in control here. Steven was betting it was another God.

"State your name. If you move, I'll hit you, and this arrow is poisoned."

Shouldering his shotgun, he stood besides Andrew.

"If that's a god... we need to aim at the same spot," Steven said, ignoring his dislike of Andrew, "Go for the chest, the last God-"

"SHOOT HIM!!! THAT'S DIO!!!"

Without thinking, Steven fire both rounds of buckshot into the center of mass of the God.

Dionysus listened to Aria while humming incessantly, carrying the bound deity to the altar, and pulling forth a ceremonial knife from the basket. It glistened with Aria's blood.

"Fenrir?! No no no, I couldn't set him free. Not yet. That's why I'm here, I need a little help. And why?!"

He pinned the goddess down with one arm, the younger girl restraining her head. His eyes were full of wicked madness.

"To restore the natural order! Old men sit atop their throne and prevent the cycle, and nothing is done about it. Nothing -"

The God was cut short, as Vera flew into the jars, toppling and smashing them, blood and wine flowing out and into the crowd of monks and maenads. The women revelled in it, smearing it across their faces. Dionysus was silent, dropping the dagger back into the basket. He then broke out into laughter - terrible, malice laden laughter.

"Isn't it funny?" He said, approaching the bird, "That the best laid plans of Gods and Men, should be toppled by a damned bird!"

He grabbed Vers and grinned, staring into her eyes. His grip was ironclad, pinning her wings to her body. Opening his mouth, he could have taken a bite if not for Andrew and Prail, bursting in through the door. Hurling Vera inna fit of rage, he screamed orders, spit bubbling up in his fury.

"Kill them! All of them! And you!"

He pointed his finger at the youth, whose interest had now sharpened. She cracked her neck and gripped her spear. Stevens buckshot made no impact upon the god, though clipped the youths side, red blood tricking down. She was hurt, but still lethal.

"Prove yourself worthy you spoilt infant! I shall find more in the meantime!"

With that, he simply fell back in a gesture of fainting, winking at Andrew, and vanished. The ivy around Aria remained tight and poisonous, though was now free to be destroyed from the outside.

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

The Titan got out of the van and inspected the gate, before turning to the previously silent Celt.

"If you can break into intricate mechanical devices, please, feel free in the future. You want to kill? Make sure its not any of our guys."

The Titan followed Prail into the building, arriving just as Dionysus vanished. The Maenads turned, growling, staring at the intruders. The monks were weeping in fear.

The building was literally full of blood, wine and frenzied women. They came down from the towers and quarters to completely surround the group, trapping them amongst the monks. Only Vera and Aria were out of the circle, both up near the altar.

With a cry from the armed youth, they charged, claws ready. The youth stayed calmly atop the altar, spear poised to throw. Prometheus shored up his shield and began to endure the battering, pressed up against the group, words muffled by the incessant screaming.

Apollo was glad to see Nicole enjoying herself. The boat turned a bend and the pair were greeted with the sounds of laughter and music - a street performance was being given by some local musicians, and the folkish tunes broke the silence between the two.

Following suit, he began eating, though he was clearly more interested in Nicole than the food.

"I brought you hear to have a lovely night. That's all I want - just a nice night. They're good for you, every now and then."

He drank his champagne in one swift action, and began pointing out buildings and naming them, exploring their history between small bites of food. As he spoke, the boat began to pull into a small jetty, Peter coming out and tying it up. Apollo stood and took Nicole by the hand, leading her off the boat and into the city, waving goodbye to the boatman.

As they walked towards a large, sandstone building, he spoke, still holding Nicole's hand.

"I know you must be hungry, but I thought you'd like to experience as much of Paris as possible. And also maybe bring something back to remember me by."

The entered the building, which itself was a lavish, high end shopping complex. The most expensive stores were all lined up, with fountains in the middle and marble floor, gilded gold rails and fashionable clientele.

Sweeping his arm in a large gesture, he chuckled and spoke.

"You can have anything! The world is your lobster! Gifts for you, for your friends, family. I shall simply follow and chat."

He kissed her hand once more, so eager to please, almost desperate for her to be happy.

"SHOOT HIM!!! THAT'S DIO!!!"

Andrew didn't shoot, if only because Steven fired his shotgun, and that seemed to have no effect. Andrew was very well aware of that a bow would be even less successful when it came to piercing the skin. Perhaps it was because of all Dionysus had done, offered more and more people for the purpose of power. And now he was angry, not to mention, completely crazy. As chaos followed, Andrew kept calm. As an archer with a very limited amount of arrows, he had to be able stay that calm, and hit with each shot. Dionysus looked as if he fainting for some reason, only to... wink at Andrew, probably as a reply to his question, and disappear.

Was he mocking me?

It was a simple thought, and that was all the attention he gave the act, instead he looked for something to shoot. He found it, for some reason, the young woman had been hurt by Steven's shots, if only grazed by it. Andrew aimed at her and fired the poison arrow but before he got the chance to see or hear the effect, he, like the others, were surrounded by the crazed women. And there were too many hurt monks, and too much danger ahead, for him to do anything about them. As regretful as it was, Andrew found himself trying to fight rather than help them, if they were killed here, then he definitely couldn't save them. That was when he had an idea that probably wouldn't work, however, it was still something.

Even though they are like this, didn't they smear blood across their faces earlier? And even if they don't this time, this might work.

He bent down, and gathered an amount of blood in his hands. It wasn't pleasant, but hardly note-worthy. With it, he created a poison a little unlike the other, it would be painful, but more importantly, it could be absorbed through the skin. The effect of it wouldn't last for long, instead each of the drops of poisoned blood would cause some pain, a couple of drops would be enough to make them flinch, but only lasting for 30 seconds or so. He threw it out, hitting several in front of him, watching as they started reacting. Obviously, he felt the effects of it himself, and when he had gotten rid of as much as he could, he removed the effect, managing to reduce the amount of pain he felt himself.

If this opened any sort of opening, enough for him to move through, he would. For now, it was far too crowded.

Not one to let numbers get the better of her Prail turned her weapon flipping it between her hands so it was axe end forward, there were too many enemies for stabs to make much difference but she could cleave them us like no one's business.

It was simple enough really, just a case of a wide arcing swing, stepping forward to avoid her allies and carry extra momentum. It would give her a good meter at least on any of her prey since they were stuck with short claws. Didn't look like they were in the right state of mind to doge.

"Oh well here goes nothing."

She roars as well growling at the nearest of her targets, locking amber eyes. She knew the look of madness well from her reflection and wasn't going to let some random groupie for a Greek God out intimidate her.

Looking into the feral stare might even make you feel sorry for which ever one of the girls pail had set upon.

"I brought you hear to have a lovely night. That's all I want - just a nice night. They're good for you, every now and then."

Nicole smiled "Well I'm having a wonderful night so far," she said, glancing at the street band and pausing her eating to listen to them for a few moments. Apollo began to point at and explain the history of various buildings while he ate, and Nicole listened attentively.

The boat came to a stop and Peter tied it up at a jetty, Apollo took her hand and led her off the boat, she still felt like eating more but happily followed him, wondering what he was going to show her next. He led her to a large sandstone building.

"I know you must be hungry, but I thought you'd like to experience as much of Paris as possible. And also maybe bring something back to remember me by."

Nicole nodded and followed him as he led her into the building, which was a shopping complex unlike any she had seen before. Her eyes widened somewhat as she looked around, expensive stores showing all manner of wares were all about, as were visibly wealthy customers, the floors were marble and the railings looked to be gold.

"You can have anything! The world is your lobster! Gifts for you, for your friends, family. I shall simply follow and chat."

She stood astounded, taking in everything, as he kissed her hand. Everything looks so expensive and he's offering to just give me whatever I want? This is unreal... then again so was the plane ride and everything before now. She started to wander through the stores looking over wares.

"You'll just give me anything I want here?" she asked, still astounded by the offer even as she started to pick items out.

She picked out a pair of matching necklaces to give to her parents, and an elegant silver bracelet for herself, before turning her thoughts to what to get for the others. She wasn't certain what everyone might want, but she grabbed a couple boxes of expensive chocolates figuring they would want a nice treat after the food they'd been having lately. For Vera she bought a number of CDs of music that she thought she would like, the van even had a CD player so they could listen to them while driving. For Andrew she bought more CDs, this time of classical music, remembering that he had claimed to like such, and for Aria she bought a number of metal CDs remembering that she had mentioned liking those as well.

She was less sure about the others, she knew Steven liked guns and mechanical things so she grabbed a mechanical watch for him, not the most expensive one at the store as she didn't want any one gift to outstrip the others, it was still quite nice though. She had hardly spoken with Etna in the past, and had little idea of what the girl enjoyed, though she remembered that the girl wore a number of bracelets and so got a gold bracelet for her. She nearly forgot Prometheus but ended up grabbing a bottle of expensive bourbon for him.

It felt very strange to her being in such a place and being able to buy so many pricey things, she ended up picking out a handbag to help carry everything she was buying, and a silk scarf for herself that she spotted while wandering between stores. She wasn't even normally as into shopping as some people she knew, but having a blank check handed to you made it hard to resist.

"Isn't it funny? That the best laid plans of Gods and Men, should be toppled by a damned bird!" the enemy god said; marching closer to her.

As Vera tried to regain her footing, the god she'd tried to hit with the jugs grabbed her. He squeezed her hard in an iron grasp; forcing the air from her lungs. "SHOOT HIM!!! THAT'S DIO!!!" she heard Aria scream out from somewhere nearby. The go - now identified as Dionysus himself - opened his mouth wide, coming closer to her. Vera struggled against the bonds, but was unable to move. She tried to make a noise or scratch him wither he bloodied beak and claws, but she had neither the lung strength to speak or the strength to move. For a moment, Vera thought it was all over.

Thankfully, it was at that moment, Dionysus's focus shifted to the rest of their little group. His attention shifted, he merely threw her hard toward a wall. Vera was very thankful he'd apparently not realized she was actually a demigod else she'd probably have become a hostage.

As Vera crawled up to her feet, she saw him disappear; leaving the battle to his minions and allies. Vera was, for once, truly thankful for the turn of events. They were fighting with at least three of their group out of commission - with Nicole on a date, Aria contained, and her own body beaten and weak.

Still, weak though she was, there was still something she could do. She fluttered as best she could toward Aria; if she couldn't fight herself, at least she could free someone who could. Using beak and claws, she tore into the ivy with wild, reckless abandon; unaware of the poison. Not that she was unaware for long. Even when she felt the poison in her veins, she kept clawing at it; hoping either Andrew could fix whatever terrible thing she did to herself or the time limit on her transformation ran clean and she could take a more poison-resistant form.

Dio didn't even seem to notice the blast. The last go they faced was at least hurt by the pistol rounds.

"Kill them! All of them!"

The monks were on them. Without time to reload, Steven flipped the shotgun around and smashed the butt against the nearest cultist. It stunned the maenad, long enough for Steven to kick the thing into another charging creature. He took the second to drop the shotgun, and pulled the empty pistol and crowbar.

Shiro swallowed hard, seeing the approaching cultists. Suddenly, he realized what he was in for... all the same, he couldn't stand by as the others fought for their lives.

Father... please watch over me. He closed his eyes and focused energy into his blade, which began to glow a light blue as a sudden wind blew back his hair and clothes. "Eat this! Kaze no Tsurugi!"

With a single swipe he released blades of wind that sliced through the vine and managed to well some of the cultists.

The armed youth spun with her shield, the arrow bouncing off harmlessly. The maneuver looked more trained than natural, as if drilled into her relentlessly. The maenads that were spattered with blood immediately recoiled in pain, though kept slashing blindly at where they thought he would be. A small opening was made to the side of the chamber, near a large stained glass window.

Prails halberd swung effortlessly through the dense pack, cleaving several in half and injuring many more. However, more and more were pouring in from every angle, and began to fill in any gap rather quickly.

Steven threw the maenads against each other, knocking two unconcscious.

Vera managed to destroy the ivy around Aria, though the poison left her weak, so all she could so was hop about. Still, Aria was freed, albeit somewhat poisoned.

Shiro's wind slammed into the maenads, sending several head over heels and creating a large gap towards the youth. Prometheus moved forward into the gap, shield up, grunting as he fended off the hundreds of claws.

"Forget the armed girl! We need to get out of here!"

The goddess was still tied by ivy on the altar, the armed girl standing atop her. She gripped her spear between her two fingers, ready to throw as soon as she had a clear opening. Red blood trickled down her side.

Apollo grinned and shrugged, a playful smile replacing his eager and earnest smile.

"Its nothing, honestly. Anything your heart desires."

Following Nicole, he watched her as she picked out several gifts, ranging from expensive jewelry to rock CDs. After each store, he went to the counter and cleared her purchases with a flashy black credit card.

After her spree, he helped her carry the bags back to the boat, chatting as they went.

"So where are you from? What did you do before all this? What do you want me to do after it? Tell me everything, youre a very interesting woman."

They arrived at the boat, where the table had been reset with crystal glasses and silver cutlery.

Helping her back onto the boat, they both took their previous seats, setting the bags down beside them, and Apollo stretched and cracked his hands. The boat continued its slow journey around Paris, the clock coming up to 9pm.

"So Nicole. What can I get you for dinner?"

His original charm and confidence had come through again as he was sure that Nicole had warmed up to him. Rolling his shoulders, he watched her, meeting her eyes and winking.

"Its nothing, honestly. Anything your heart desires."

I suppose it wouldn't be for anyone who owns a jet like that... Still it was a reassuring comment and she continued shopping, Apollo paying for each purchase and even helping her carry the bags. True to his word he chatted while she shopped, and as they walked back out to the boat he asked her a number of questions.

"So where are you from? What did you do before all this? What do you want me to do after it? Tell me everything, youre a very interesting woman."

"I'm from Iowa, Des Moines specifically," she said at smiling at the compliment and at memories of her home, her smiled faded as she remembered her father again, I wonder how he's doing, probably worried about me. She shook the thought off though, resolving to call him up soon, if it was safe.

"Its not the greatest city, but its home," she said, considering the next question "I'm currently a college student at Michigan, went there for the sports," she continued, smiling again as she thought back on what she loved doing, and hoped to do in the future, "Track and swim team mostly, I plan on trying out for the next summer Olympics."

They arrived back at the boat and set the bags aside to take their places at the table again. The boat began its meandering journey down the river once more, and Nicole glanced up at a clock. Just short of 9? Wow, the nights practically just started, she thought, though she actually felt excited about that, after all it had been incredible so far.

"So Nicole. What can I get you for dinner?"

"Hmm, I'd like to try something authentically French," she said "do you have any recommendations?"

She was certainly hungry but at the same time this was Paris, and Apollo clearly knew the place and its culture well. He seemed to be brimming with confidence and winked at her as he met her gaze. She smiled back at him, and felt a slight tingle of blushing in her cheeks.

With one final cut, Aria was free. Of course, this all came at great cost. As it was, her body was numb; so numb she could barely move. She managed make a few halfhearted hops up to where Aria still lay. She took a moment to scan the room; taking stock of the situation. Things weren't looking terribly good. Dionysus's servants were bogging down the rest of the group, giving the girl with the spear ample time to ready her shot when the time came.

What more, she was guarding the mos important goal of this battle - the Goddess. Though Vera had made her distaste for all things divine clear, that didn't mean she wanted them killed. What more; if she wasn't freed; Dionysus's plan was only delayed by their actions. They needed to stop the ritual for good and find out just what it was supposed to do.

That meant freeing the goddess. Surreptitious means were now far beyond their ability; that left the direct approach. Turning her head to look at Aria, she made a head motion toward the goddess; hoping to get across her point; "Can you blast the spear girl?". There after, she started hopping her toward the broken jugs of blood; hoping to find a piece sharp enough to cut through the Ivy without poisoning herself.

Charging through the door, Jonathan almost immediately a punch straight to the face of the cultist closest to him, the sound of a breaking nose and teeth informing him of the damage that he had just inflicted. The cultist went down like a pile of bricks and with one enemy despatched, Jonathan landed a turning kick on another cultist's head; killing it instantly.

With two kills already Jonathan began to laugh at the cultists attacks. "Is that it?" he shouted as he tore the throat out of an assailant, it's blood spurting forth from its open wound "your god must be a fucking idiot if he calls you lot warriors. Come, I'll show you pusses how to properly fight!"

Not one to let an advantage go to waste Prail took another step forward all the while twirling her blade on a stick. Ready for another slash, this time it was a full 360. Making sure she was clear of her allies so the strike would have space for the full wind up and would hit enemies on all side.

Of course this would leave her surrounded but half of fighting is giving your opponents apparent advantages. After all to take advantage of her exposure they'd need to get close, and right now Prail was being orbited by her blade. Just hope she was able to maintain the circular motion long enough.

The repetitive motion helped, it was less mentally complicated to keep the swing going letting her build up a rhythm and freeing her to observe. She saw the woman with the spear and no doubt Prail looked like a prime target. After all who'd think someone turning on their own axis so many times would be paying close attention to anything?

Aria crumpled on to the floor, not good, and she felt really numb and weak to, less good. Aria pushed her self up and came face to face with Vera in bird form "We gotta stop meeting like this" she snarked as Vera was motioning toward the youth with the spear, then set out to get a jar shard "Your fucking insane you know that" Aria said with a light laugh to her tone "sounds fun." She began to push her self to her feet.

"You go, I'm not done here yet" She shouted back to Prometheus, not wanting to give away the plan just yet. Aria took a quick stock of the situation, the girl with the spear was bleeding and had an arm raise ready to throw, she seemed to be waiting for an opening. Aria had no need to wait and fired from her position, her first bolt ripping through a couple cultists before threatening its intended target, the girls raised arm. She fallowed that bolt up with 3 more just like it, one aimed her her head, knee, and two for the shield to knock her off balance, she hoped that would be enough cause she didn't have much more to expend.

Apollo looked thoughtfully at Nicole, deciding on a dish, before snapping his fingers in an expression of epiphany. The waiter came round once more, and Apollo ordered for the two of them.

"The lady shall have the tender bourguignon, and I'll have the lobster. Thank you."

The waiter nodded and self silently, leaving Apollo to muse upon Nicole's answers. He had caught her blush, leaving him all the more confident, his voice playing out like a soft melody.

"Nothing can replace home. Somewhere safe to return to st the end of the day. With people that love you..."

He took a long drip, finishing the glass in one.

"What more could you need? Though I suspect you'll have to travel regardless for the Olympics. Isn't there another among you that lives for sport?"

He was soon interrupted by the arrival of their meals. The quick procurement indicates that they had nearly every dish already cooking; a sign of exuberant plenty. Nicole received a bowl of incredibly slow-cooked, red-wine beef stew, the likes of which shed never had in her life. Apollo poured her another drink as the boat began to drift down a narrow canal adorned with candles and pale coloured flowers.

There was so much red.

Dionysus was there as well, right within their grasp. The taunting bastard had disappeared before anything could happen. 'Damn it.' She cursed. Now there was just fighting and chaos and just general pandemonium. Etna was the daughter of a goddess associated with such things, by a leap of logic it could be said that she was in her element right now. But no. She hated it. She hated how useless she felt despite the knife, despite her powers and despite her heritage. There was only one thing she could do, or was one thing she wanted to do? Even Etna didn't know. There wasn't time to think about that.

There was only madness.

Sure, with the plane incident and everything else, Etna should have grown used to the gore and death. But no. Why would someone even want to grow accustomed to that?! Besides, from the very start, she was nothing but a scared little girl. Scared of her strange mother, scared of the other schoolkids, scared of herself. So, Etna did what scared little girls do - she ran away up one of the staircases near the main entrance. She didn't care which. The scared little girl was too busy running and slashing with the damned knife at whatever was in her way, raving women worshippers of Dionysus or not.

Prail

Prail cleared a wide circle of maenads, their bodies crumpling like dolls under the whirling arc of her halberd. Yet more still leapt, and their numbers closed in around her, cutting her spin short and beginning to claw at her skin.

It was now that the youth let fly her spear. With a short grunt, she teetered forward on her feet as the bronze shod missile flew towards Prail. Despite being surrounded, her sharp, animal instincts, drove her out of the way, the spear merely grazing her shoulder, yet landing fast in Prometheus ankle, below his shield.

Aria

As soon as she let fly she was hit by Aria, the energy scorching and smouldering her skin, red blood bubbling up. Dodging the last at her head, her shield took them rather well, merely scorched. Her chest and leg, however, was badly burnt. Oddly, the bound goddess let out a scream.

"No! Please don't!"

Injured, the girl managed to draw her sword, swaying and crying with pain, stepping down to face Aria. She was young, younger than Aria, and her tears sizzled as they fell on her chest.

Vera

It was time consuming work, as the goddess was covered in literally hundreds of vines, each taking time to saw through. The deity barely noticed the bird, focused instead on the going girl. Up close, the goddess was incredibly beautiful, near flawless in her visage. Vera, however, was making slow and steady progress, the hour of her transformation nearly up.

Jon

The maenads fell with ease to Jon, his eyes frenzied with bloodlust. Taking life after life, he and prail were about halfway towards the altar. Maenads fell right left and centre with ease, his strength and training trumping their reckless abandon. Sustaining only minor scratches and bites, he revelled in his element.

Prometheus

The Titan watched as the two newcomers tore shreds through the enemy, one with a silent dance and the other with unstoppable beserk. Yet the numbers kept pouring in from behind, and he feared to be trapped with what could be a powerful goddess. Then the spear came. Impaled straight through his ankle, he let loose a roar of pain, followed by his demands. He was not leaving anyone behind.

"ARIA! GET OUT OF THERE NOW! GOD DAMN!"

In a fit of pain he threw his shield hard against the women, knocking a few out, and began rythmically knocking them back, somewhat immobilized.

Etna

Etna met few maenads on her ascent, most having gravitated down. Those that she did meet were promptly eviscerated, her knife bleeding them on the dark stairway. For a fleeting moment she thought she heard the caw of a crow, but then it was gone, and she arrived at what appeared to be the quarters. A few monks lay slumped on the ground, arrows in their chests. All doors were closed and locked, save one which was ajar. The sound of a shower could be heard, and through the gap Etma could see a large suitcase brimming with silver coins, sitting atop a bare wooden bed, the only furniture in the room. The sound and steam of the shower filtered through a narrow archway across the room, where candlelight threw a figured shadow on the wall.

Vera was surprised by the goddess's words. "Does she WANT to be sacrificed?" was all she could think as, one-by-one, she severed the vines entrapping the deity. With her words, Vera began to question the act. What did they really know about the ritual and the attendees. The hurt woman with the sword was clearly working with or for Dionysus; yet the bound woman clearly cared something for her. "She's probably a demigod daughter of whoever this goddess is" Vera silently concluded.

Speaking of the woman, she was remarkably attractive; even by divine standards. [i]"Aphrodite? Isis?... Hopefully not Freya." she thought as she continued to cut away at the bindings. Vera shook her head free of the thoughts for the moment; they would do little to help. For now, she focused on cutting. Cutting and planning.

Clearly, they needed to change tactics. The goddess AND the sword girl were important. Important enough to warrant capture over kill in the very least. Who knew what Dionysus was capable of; what kind of mind control he had at his disposal.

Vera cut another vine.

But it didn't matter; the poison combined with the bird body were preventing her from making a move, and her inability to speak left any plan she came up with pointless. Even if the time ran out, the only form shes she had which could stand up to the poison were likely the Horse, the Bull and... she had it. If Vera had lips she would have smiled. She cut another vine; one to go.

Vera felt her divine power flow back into her; she could transform once more. Vera cut the final vine around the goddess, looked at her for a moment longer to make sure she was safe (and because her divine beauty was... ahm... impressive), then transformed once more.

Vera was the wind; and she was going to suck the wind out of that enemy and put this whole fight to an end with a proper K.O.

"ARIA! GET OUT OF THERE NOW! GOD DAMN!"

Steven turned to Prometheus, seeing the spear in the God's ankle. Steven holstered the pistol and picked up the shotgun. The crazed women seemed to be concentrating on the others, and not many had come after him. Steven ran to the Titan, only having to smash one cultist on the way.

"Keep them off me," Steven said to the Titan. He grabbed the shaft with both hands, slamming his foot between his hands. The spear was still in his ankle, Steven knew that pulling it out would only make Prometheus bleed out.

Shiro had resorted to hacking and slashed at (almost) anything and everything in his path, trying to get to the altar to help the others. Already, the bird had managed to free the woman bound to the altar by vines, only to vanish... though Shiro could suddenly sense another wind spontaneously appearing.

With that already taken care of, Shiro turned his attention on helping Prometheus, as the crazy lady with the spear had stabbed him, only to send her reeling in return. As another of their number helped the Titan out, Shiro turned towards another group of cultists approaching, sword at the ready.

As much as he disliked having to actually cut people with his blade, it was clear there was no other choice...

Aria for the moment, ignored Prometheus, and instead, pooled a bit of her remaining energy into a small ball, probably couldn't kill her out right, but she could probably knock her out. Aria took a step to the side as she detonated the ball when the girl got close enough, the blast wave extending out a good 3 meters around her and powerful enough to toss Aria away from the girl, coming to a rolling stop by the door and just kinda lay there, the blast hurt and that coupled with the poison she was just to exhausted to get up, but she did check to see if the girl was actually down or not.

When the new people -the oddly bland woman, the really tall guy, and the Asian guy- had started fighting, Andrew had found himself taking a step back so they could get room. It seemed everyone apart from him could fight, but Andrew did not have the right weapon, nor skills to actually do something at this point. The effects of the poison had not been enough for him to actually do something beyond still standing there, and attempting to loosen a couple of arrows into the crazy women seemed wasteful considering how the others were much more capable than that.

Not that Andrew really minded stepping back, he knew his role, and for now, it would be to examine the situation, trying to pick up details. Vera and Aria had both been hurt, but he couldn't see much more than that. He realized that what he could do at most would be to save his energy so that he could heal both of them when he needed to. Then, the girl on the pillar threw her spear, it piercing Prometheus' ankle.

I need to do something about that.

However, Prometheus just continued fighting, he seemed unapproachable at this point. For now, Andrew realized that he would have to let it be, else he'd risk being hit by the titan, and that wouldn't help anyone. Then Steven came along, and made Andrew act, as the guy kicked the spear, still in Prometheus' leg.

Wait, you aren't...

Oh yes. He was trying to break it or something. Did he completely ignore the fact that such an act was very much likely to increase the pain and the seriousness of the wound? What if the spear was touching bone? Or worse? Andrew felt his body move on its own, approaching the two of them, and pushing Steven away. "Don't. Touch. A thing." He was annoyed, more than that, probably. Andrew was as furious as he could be, although he was certainly still calm.

He leaned down, and, hoping Prometheus wouldn't accidentally hit him or something, he started dragging it out the way it had entered. Andrew very well knew the problems with the spearhead being shaped as it was could cause, but he did it in a careful and swift manner, the way only a surgeon could. As he did so, he healed Prometheus's ankle, and soon enough, the titan's ankle was fine, possible added damage included. Andrew threw the spear towards Steven. He obviously didn't throw it at him, and the guy could grab it if he wanted to, but he certainly wouldn't mind if the shaft hit Steven in the head.

"Don't you dare get close to injured people," he coldly stated, glaring at Steven. "Never." As he spoke, he noticed Aria getting thrown across the room. She seemed to be in a horrible condition, and needed help. He tried to do so, looking for any sort of opportunity to get through the crowd. Andrew noticed that he was getting tired, very much so, perhaps even enough for him not to be able to completely heal her, but if everything else failed, he still had the newly given power from the ambrosia.

"The lady shall have the tender bourguignon, and I'll have the lobster. Thank you."

Bourguignon? Well it sounds french whatever it is, should be interesting. The waitress left with the order, and Apollo turned to her, replying to her answers. His voice sounding smooth and musical.

"Nothing can replace home. Somewhere safe to return to st the end of the day. With people that love you..."

He paused to down his drink, Nicole took another sip of hers, though she still hadn't finished an entire glass.

"What more could you need? Though I suspect you'll have to travel regardless for the Olympics. Isn't there another among you that lives for sport?"

"Yeah, Vera's an athlete too, we actually both went to Michigan for sports," Nicole said, pausing as the food arrived. Bourguignon as it turned out seemed to be some sort of beef stew, it looked and smelled delicious, and trying a bite of it confirmed what her other senses were telling her.

She made herself savor each bite, a meal of such quality would be wasted if she just wolfed it down, and she spoke to Apollo in between bites.

"I know I'll have to travel for the Olympics, and really I don't miss home that much when I'm at school, it's just the whole quest thing makes me worried," she said "If it weren't for the quest I think I'd really enjoy all the traveling we do, seeing the world, trying new things."

As she spoke she noticed that the boat had drifted into a narrow canal, the sides of which were decorated with candles and pale flowers. It was a pretty sight and Nicole let her eyes wander along the sides of the canal taking in the sight. It certainly created a romantic atmosphere, something Nicole actually didn't mind.

Her shoulder would need to be dealt with but it could wait, more pressing was how the assailants had closed in and were screwing up her swing. Short range made her uncomfortable even more so than the claws now digging in.

Shaking trying to get them off she needed out, up and out to be precise.

She thrust the spear end of her trusted weapon into the ground and clambered up it, her feet making the most of slight imperfection in the bark. This wasn't exactly a long term solution especially when she tried doing a one handed hand stand just above the axe head. Her balance was impeccable but temporary at best. Still while the blood hadn't quite rushed to her head she could think, surprisingly calmly and clearly. She had 10 seconds if she was
lucky and it would feel far longer.

The most calming thing right now would be an itemised list of observations.
1- She was currently suspended upside down on the dull tip of a double ended sharp thing that wasn't particularly stable.

2- Just out of arms reach bellow her were people who very much wanted her dead in unpleasant ways.

3- She almost blacked out just then, must be all that blood.

4- If she jumped instead of letting herself fall then assuming she was able to aim the axe head she could potentially get two kills by leaping onto another one of them.

5- If she got two kills or even just disables then that would only leave... a large amount of killers minus 2. Ok so that was risky but her current situation rather implied risk was her sort of thing.

6- If she leapt really hard maybe she could clear the crowd, she'd only have to leap, never mind even as vision blurred further she knew there was no landing the jump and walking away afterwards.

7- Doing so would also disarm her and she wasn't abandoning her old friend (regardless of how many time she'd been killed by it).

8- But long weapons weren't going to cut it were they. She needed something more intimate.

9- Slipped again if the women below were a little faster they'd have grabbed her. She was screwed and she knew it. But wait, something had been dredged up by her power, she could barely think straight with the stress.

"TASUKE!" With less than a second to go she called out as she began slipping one last time didn't even know why or what she said meant, it wasn't even English as far as she could tell. After all this time her powers still surprised her.

Maybe she'd get lucky, so far she'd only ever (well all but one time) been killed by her halberd, maybe she was destined to die to it, then all those razor sharp claws might as well be feathers.

But those thoughts sounded delusional even to the person she was trying to delude with them.

"Tasuke!"

Shiro spun around, hearing the other girl - whose name he didn't think he got yet - about to fall into a pack of cultists.

"Hold on, I'm coming!" He shouted, and charged into battle, exclaiming "Tsurugi no kaze!" (He knew he didn't actually have to shout the name of his attack, it was just something ingrained in him for years of watching TV).

The mob parted slightly, allowing him to rush in (in his haste, not noticing the spear thrown by another ally) to her aid, hopefully not too late.

Shiro

Shiro's blade swung with just the slight sound of wind, the honed blade cleanly ripping through the crazed women. However, lacking a halberds reach and swing, he had to precisely chop down each individual assailant, his reflexes growing faster as more and more poured in. So focused on his attack, he barely noticed the spear that Andrew threw landing behind his ankle, tripping him, sending him sprawling to the ground blade up. The Maenads followed, one falling upon his sword, the grizzly corpse coming unsettlingly close...

Andrew

Andrew healed the Titans foot and stood up, searching for a gap. He could see far less women to one side, and a small ledge that ran along the walls and up unto the altar. It was narrow and made of angled marble, but possible.

Steven

Steven snapped one end off the spear, immediately shoving it in the face of a particularly large opponent, feeling the shards of wood scrape against bone. He too saw the gap Andrew was looking at.

Aria

Aria, still poisoned, detonated the ball and was sent flying. The girl, however, had crouched behind her shield, though received a rather large shard of pottery in an exposed shoulder. Burnt and bloody, she could barely stand, instead rolling over onto her back, coughing blood.

Prail

Prail was quickly knocked off her perch as the frenzied women clawed for her. Shiro, however, arrived in a flurry of steel, clearing the area before being tripped by an erant spear. Prometheus shored up to them, the trio now somewhat separated from Steven and Andrew. Prail felt her halberd land at the tips of her toes.

Prometheus

"Aaarrrgghh!"

The pain of Steven snapping the spear shot through his leg, though it gave him the legroom to batter another wave of women away from him. With his leg quickly healed, he made a note to thank Andrew before charging to Shiro, slamming the women away and giving him a chance to move.

Venus

The goddess, freed, stood up and threw herself between Aria and the youth, raising her hand at Aria. She was beautiful, though somewhat tattered. She was wearing a ceremonial white robe, her light brown hair falling in waves. Her image struck, strangely, desire in Aria, though her words were full of hate.

"Touch her again and I will end you, infant."

Andrew's only way out of the crowd was up onto the altar, and to move from there to the door. However, when he stepped onto the altar, he noticed the girl who had been carrying the spear, now badly injured. Upon closer examination, she not only appeared to be mortal, but also young, very young.

Who is this?

A human? A demigoddess? Something else? He didn't know. However, she was coughing up blood, a large piece of pottery in her shoulder. And, she was severely burned.

Is this Aria's doing?

He supposed he understood why she had done it, she had obviously attacked them. And, he had aimed for her vitals when firing his bow. However, he couldn't help but feel sorry for her.

"Touch her again and I will end you, infant."

That was the goddess that had been tied up, right? She was stunningly beautiful, but more so, she was furious at Aria for harming one of her captors. Odd. There were similarities between the two, were they related?

The point is, she cares. And I would rather not have to fight yet another god.

Well, goddess. Still, he stood up, pointing the now loaded bow at the girl, but without bringing the bowstring back. Anyone could see that it was nothing but a show of opportunity, he could hurt her, but he wasn't about to.

"Hey," he said, loudly. "Goddess! This one is in a really bad condition, but I can help her! I have the abilities needed to do so! I need you to bring the girl you're talking to over here, though, I need to make sure neither of them will die." If he could inspect Aria, then he would know how hurt she was. He wondered if he was going to actually heal the young girl, but he added:

"I will do everything I can as long as I can help the members of my team as well, and as long as you can guarantee that this girl won't attack us if she regains strength! I'm willing to make it a deal, a promise, if you can accept my terms, no one in this group will harm her."

Hopefully, that was enough.

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