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

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How did I get myself into this? Shiro thought numbly to himself. He and the others were now charging into battle,

The sounds of battle raged all around them, but he forced himself to focus on their destination, even if he had to duck every now and then from a stray arrow. Lightning flashed somewhere nearby, making him wince. Unbidden, thoughts of his father sprang to Shiro's mind. Where was he now? Was he fighting in the war, or had he hidden with the rest of his kin?

"Make for the gate! Now!"

The sudden voice made Shiro jump in surprise, but son he sharpened his focus and fllwoed the rest of the half-gods towards the relative safety of the fort. There was no way he was going to die now.

Make for the gate! Now!" Verathragna called out, drawing her attention.

Vera glanced back at her father as he was overcome by the centaur. She wanted to run back and help him but knew she couldn't. The only way to truly help him was to keep moving and kill Dionysus before they lost anyone else. That said, when Prometheus jumped into the fray, she certainly felt better.

"Mental note: I own him one." she thought before rushing toward the gates. She carved through enemy after enemy who got in her way; killing more than she counted as she pushed further toward the gate. With each strike she thought made a note, "1 less strike before it's Dionysus"

Step by step, she moved toward the gate and what lay beyond.

"Make for the gate! Now!"

Etna run, swiping blindly with the knife at whatever got in the way. Though in some cases, she dodged out of the way of things were probably trying to kill her, given the situation. First, she had been dragged through a storm to some bar down under, after that it had just been a rush of encounters with gods familiar and unfamiliar, mythological creatures, items of power, tokens and oaths. And here all of those threads had come together and had created a garbled mess. It seemed somewhat inevitable that it had came this: a massive battle between the gods. Still, there wasn't any time to ponder whether going along with the whole deal of stopping Dionysus and apparently saving the world by doing that was worth it.

She had a gate to get to, after all.

Steven saw the others were going. There was no escaping this fight. He got up from the forge, grabbing the shotgun and the ax.

"Let's hope we live to see the day the Gods move on with the rest of the world," Steven said grimly, silently following the others. Two empty shells were ejected, two fresh ones were inserted.

He got into the wedge, keeping up with others.

Whatever reason, they were the important ones. The Wine god shrugged off their previous attacks.

"Make for the gate! Now!"

He charged forward, trying to ignore all the death surrounding.

The group, sans Prometheus, moved swiftly towards the imposing iron gates. Upon their arrival, they were rammed open by Ganesh; his colossal, Elephant frame slumping in the snow after the effort. A large wound in his flank was searing and burning with unseen flame, though the God didn't writhe as the others did. His eyes simply seemed large and sad.

The gate led to a small courtyard with a small, concrete archway opening into the building. With no light coming from inside, it seemed a doorway into blackness. They could all feel a deep pull; as if the world was somewhat heavier in that darkness; it called to them. Ares rounded what remained of his warriors behind him, encircling the group once more; effectively walling them closer to the entrance.

"Alright, they're inside! Get the wounded and reclaim the dead!"

With a forceful shove, Ares pushed them all in, before he was obscured in a melee of bodies. The dark tunnel echoed with their footsteps, and the depth seemed to call them onwards. With little light, they could only see a few feet in front of them. The walls, the floor, the ceiling; they were all made of a deep, black stone; held together with tiny, twisting roots. Faint traces of spiders web seemed to fall from the ceiling, though once noticed they seemed to vanish. Everything absorbed both light and sound; it was a truly crushing dark.

Arriving in a small, semi-circular room, they couldn't be sure if they had walked for a moment or an hour. The sounds of the battle outside had vanished; only the sound of their breathing filled the room. Made of the same deep stone, there was a small, hanging lightbulb from the roof, flickering yellow and white. Behind them was the tunnel whence they came, ahead, a similar opening, though with thin-cut stairs heading down.

A shrill, pleased voice welcomed them; it's origin unknown, it seemed to ring inside their heads, rather than being heard as a sound should. It teased memories and visions into thought; painful memories, though warped and twisted, the feelings changed and manipulated.

"I think perhaps you should hear the Wine Gods case, before making any...rash judgements. Those stairs are awfully narrow..."

The light-bulb flickered out, and each person was lost in a sea of twisted thoughts. The spider-threads seemed to hang down again from the ceiling; somewhat more tangible now, with each slight brush of skin they sent them further and further into their thoughts.

Andrew and the others made their way to the now open gate, and through it. He saw that the Elephant God who had forced the gate open was hurt, but, as with everyone else there, he couldn't stop to help, both because of that they needed to move, and that he still wanted to get inside, to "safety."

The group was pushed ahead by Ares, and what met them was darkness, a stone tunnel leading one way and one way only. All fear had vanished, being replaced by something he wasn't sure he knew was. Andrew walked, concentrating on moving ahead safely instead of talking or what happened behind them, and soon -or perhaps not so soon, he wasn't sure- they reached a room, with a small light-bulb to light it. Ahead was stairs heading downwards, he took note of the fact that he'd have to be careful down them.

"I think perhaps you should hear the Wine Gods case, before making any...rash judgments. Those stairs are awfully narrow..."

He didn't know who said that, or where the voice came from. The voice was shrill and what it said could be important, but that didn't matter much, as his senses were quickly overtaken by the memories appearing in his thoughts.

A familiar scene took place in his mind. Him being home early, only to find Kirsten look through some of his stuff. Not important stuff, not at all, but still. His stuff. She apologized, but the damage was already done, and he got upset. Kirsten had tried to explain herself, but he had refused to listen. He had been in the right, or so he had thought back then. However, something was different about all of this. Rather than feeling his own feelings of being betrayed, being unable to trust her anymore and himself denying the stronger feelings, he felt a lot sadder. So sad it hurt, physically. Each time he heard his own, angered words and hurtful accusations, it stung.

"You just showed me that I can't trust you."

Those words caused a great deal of pain, so much it brought tears to his eyes. Why would he say that? Why did hearing those words make him feel so sad now?

"Why? Why do you have to understand me? Why can't you just let it go?!"

Didn't Kirsten have a right to understand him? He realized now, that was what it was. Her pain, her emotions through the whole incident. That was what he was feeling. And it was terrible. What she was feeling, it was so much more than he ever could feel. Andrew wanted to look away from this, he didn't want to go through this anymore, but he couldn't. He was forced to live the pain he had caused her.

"You're just a crazy, controlling bitch, so shut up!"

He had said that so coldly. He had been pushing away everything by then, all his emotions, even his love for her, he had wanted her to stop talking, he had wanted to be alone, and never have to go through that again. Now, he couldn't stop the tears from running down his face, the same way she had been unable to. This was the first real fight they had ever had, yet, at this point, he could still feel that the thought of the two of them parting ways wasn't one that Kirsten even considered. She had no reason to suspect that it would be either, they were both upset, this was painful and hurtful, and it was a side of Andrew she didn't like, but that was all. By the next morning, the fight would be over. Kirsten tried to calm herself and Andrew down, suggest they went to each separate room, and relaxed for a bit.

Andrew had made his greatest mistake at that point.

"I want you gone. I want you out of my apartment. Now."

If only he had listened to her. He wouldn't have caused her that much pain, he'd be together with her now, he was sure of it. Instead, his chest hurt so much that he had difficulties breathing, his knees weak. If he could speak, he'd tell himself to stop.

Stop it, Andrew. Don't hurt her anymore, don't talk anymore. Just don't do anything. Don't you dare tell yourself that everything is fine.

However, this was a memory. What had happened, would happen again.

"I have no longer any reason to keep you around."

Those words had crushed her, and she had nodded, slowly. Hands shaking, holding the box he had put all her things into. The memory continued to the end, he had held the door open, and she had walked through it. Without saying goodbye, he had closed it.

Then, he saw something he hadn't been prepared for, a part of the whole fight that he hadn't seen before. Kirsten hadn't left instantly that day, instead she had stood outside his apartment, her head against the door, her tears seemingly endless. Andrew couldn't stop his tears either, he couldn't even bring a hand up to dry them, because he was so lost in the memory. She had muttered to herself, whispers that he hadn't heard, begging him to please open the door, to let her back in.

"Don't do this Andrew, don't do this to me," she had whispered. "Please, don't shut me out."

How long had she stood there? To her, it had felt like an eternity, listening for his footsteps, hoping that he'd stand up any moment and realize his mistake. He loved her, she knew he did. That was why this hurt so much, she knew what he was trying to do. Already back then, she had known it wouldn't work, shutting everything out like that, protecting himself from any further pain. Kirsten had stood there, because she hoped he'd realize it himself. However, Andrew never had, and, heartbroken, she had left.

As they made their way into and down into the structure, a shrill but pleased sounding voice welcomed them, asking them to hear Dio's side of things, all while dragging up unpleasant memory's.

Or where they? the images flashing before her eyes 'felt' genuine, but there was something about them that didn't feel right, some more then others, and them the subject of her foster family was brought up and that feeling of something being wrong grew.

It was a sunny day, few clouds and a nice breeze, near perfect day at the ranch

'Wait, why am I seeing this now?'

Runa saw her foster family, but the seemed angry about something, and yelling at her like the people in town, calling her a witch, 'Aria' tried to defend her self, saying she didn't ask for these powers, she was born with them and they all knew that, and pleading with them to stop, but they just changed the insult from 'witch', to 'demon' and 'hell-spawn'.

As Runa watched the scene play out that feeling of unrightness was hanging heavy on her, something was wrong here ...

The yelling and insults, and pleading continued till her mother went to bury a knife in her, 'Aria' teleporteed out of the way but her grandfather pulled a hand gun on her, firing and hitting her in the shoulder.

'... I've never been shot ... have I? I don't...'

'Aria' fell to the floor clutching her shoulder, blood soaking her clothing, as she lift her other and and fired on her grandfather, the blast burning through the gun, his hands, and bore a hole in his chest. She watched in horror as he just feel to the floor, lifeless. The expression of surprised horror on 'Aria's' was painted face, and tried to stammer out it was an accident, and that she just wanted to knock the gun from his hand, but it didn't matter, her mother still came at her, while her grandmother collected the shot gun off its place above the fireplace and loaded it. Her mother rared back to stab her, and 'Aria' swung her arms up to protect her self as the knife came down, only to have the knife deflect off a barrier, and bounce out of her hands and into her gut, just below the ribs.

'This isn't right ...'

Her mother fell away from 'Aria', as her grandmother took aim at her with the shotgun, and 'Aria' threw a mush smaller bolt at her, to knock the shot gun away, it knocked it up as her grandmother fired, the kick and odd angle cause the elderly woman to bash her head into the stone fireplace and fall to the floor silent as her grandfather, while her father gone out side and had started the truck and started to back away, only to stop and ram the house. 'Aria' just teleported to safety as the truck crashed into the house. 'Aria' just sat down, crying, it was an old truck, and had the type of steering wheel that where known to impale people in crashes. Every one she cared about, and thought cared about her, lay dead, and she just cried.

Runa was beside her self, something was wrong with what she'd just seen. It felt real, and felt like it was what had happened, but there was doubt in what she'd seen, she didn't know what it was but she could not shake the feeling what she'd seen was false.

Steven walked into the room, shotgun raised. The room was wrong, besides the bulb, all light seemed to vanish. Their footsteps didn't make a single sound. For instant, he swore he could see thin lines every where.

"I think perhaps you should hear the Wine Gods case, before making any...rash judgements. Those stairs are awfully narrow..."

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

*Crack*

Remus's body flew across his sight.

"Wha-"

Steven turned, surrounded by the road, the forest, and the rain. Able and Remus were slumped against the RV. Dead.

"This can'-,"

Steven stumbled back.

Teshub laughed.

Steven turned towards the God.

He raised the shotgun, yelling, every thin drip only enhancing the raise.

His finger started to move down on the trigger...

When she woke up in snow drift half buried all memories of wherever she'd been vanished. She sprang up but there was scarcely any difference between the drifts bellow and blizzard above. Her fur coat was a close as it could be but she'd rather it had been skin tight. Her spear helped as support, letting her keep stable as the wind rocked her. It was odd though, she felt herself shiver as her skin turned tinged blue. Funny, had it been night time before? The swaths of silky studded sky swayed above her, stars and snow intertwined indistinguishably all around her.

It took a while to focus through the seen before her she was on a hill overlooking thick forests, odd, she couldn't smell it. But how did she get here? She looks for footprints her own or anyone else's, but finds none.

The steep slope proved too much for her to scale and so she stumbles of slippery ice landing face first in another drift. And there we're the trees, looked bigger from bellow and on your knees, why. Her eyes couldn't pierce the dark between them but she heard something come from within, she recognised the voice.
Woden?

The next thing she heard was more disquieting a cacophonous choir, a mix of so many different calls, she could scarcely pick the individual beasts apart but she knew it was trouble. She needed to get in, save Woden.

Now if you've ever tried running through a pitch black and tangled forest while snow is battering you from seemingly everywhere and you've got to follow a single voice while avoiding more rabid beats that you can comprehend you'll understand just how inevitable her failure was. Even in the clearing she cut with her weapon the light was dim and only made the slinking shadows more obvious. A second later and a the jungle cat pouncing at her would have been the last thing Prail saw, but the huntress was quicker, and the pussy was bisected the top half sailing off into the darkness trailing entrails while the hind quarters slumped before her.

One down and she'd nearly died, lost all sense of place and didn't even dent their numbers.
Drenched in blood and without any sense of smell she'd attract every predator around.
Lunging out of the forest burst a beastly bear Prail knew the worse thing to do would be to make herself small but she had no choice. She ducked, and the bear lunged, run right through by her spear. She didn't look up until she felt the slump and rolled out of the way of a final guttural growling swing. The panting Prail just made her way to her feet.

"That's my girl. You always had a knack for the big ones." The man standing before her, wearing a red suit and beaming despite their surroundings opened his arms.

"It was a fluke, but glad to see you. We need to get out of here."
"Sure I know I parked somewhere around here."

"I don't think that'll do, this isn't a safe place for deer. And anyway why are you this far south, aren't you on holiday, more than 99% of the time."

"I have a very active role, the elves don't do all the work."

"Yes they do, that's why you use elves. And why you're twice as big as you used to be. Now I believe we we're getting out of murderous forest."

"Good plan."

"Do you still remember how to fight or have the pies and campaign got to you."
The older portly gentleman cracked his knuckles.

"Reckon I can do still know a thing or two."
And so the pair did it, together countless creatures fell to them even as countless rose up again. The blaze of blades and blood cut through the forest, finally she had a sense of purpose again.
They found themselves in a clearing, a full moon had risen since she'd entered.
In the clearing were to figures. One stood silhouetted in the lunar light, the woman with a silver outline wrapped around her flowing hair and highlighting every curve.
"Ah glad you could make it. It's been so long since I've had a good hunt."

"Artimus! You bitch."

"You really don't get hypocrisy do you Prail." The voice harmonised with itself. There was a chime to it. "Now let the adults talk run along and play. Your father and I have a score to settle?"

"You're not killing us today, or ever."

"You've died so many times tonight already. Did yourself. I can't have been that long. After all you've the only one with a weapon that'll work on these beasts. You've done me a favour Prail. "

Prail was taken aback, as the goddesses' words hung there. Paralyzed she couldn't move as Art drew her bow, but drew was an understatement working the moonlight with her hands shaping it, working the curves out forming a perfect bow, and then plucking the last beam of moonlight from the air and pulling back. The shot sailed through the air, it's impact into Woden was quiet, only his groan gave any indication of the hit, he slumps forward as so many of Prail's past lives enclosed on the fat man.

Only now does Prail stir, trying to get to her divine parent. But Artimus speaks again "Now, now dear, I'd reconsider helping him, someone else needs you."

Only now does Prail notice the second human in the clearing, a little girl looks underfed and terrorised. This time Prail recognises her.

Without thinking Prail runs, with a single motion sweeping up the whimpering child who's too weak to resist. They don't look back as she bolts for the cover of darkness moving too fast to make tracks. Weather the others ignored them or they were just going to fast Prail and the child she was carrying made it through the darkness only just dodging every branch and root that tried to trip them.

It felt like they ran forever, and neither believed it when they'd finally stopped. Out the other side of the forest, and collapsing needing rest. For the first time the little girl speaks

"Are the monster's gone?"

"Yes, it's ok they're gone now."

"I'll never see them again."

A short pause before Prail get's the words out. "Yes it's ok, you'll never have to see them again."

"Who was that pretty shiny lady?"

"Don't talk about her....Sorry for snapping." The little girl had flinched. "Are you ok?"

"Yes, mummy say's I'm going to save the whole village tomorrow."

So this was her last night on earth.

"Whatever happens remember, you'll end up with people who love you." Prail wasn't going to cry, not in front of herself.
The little girl soon slept and Prail left her back in the village, after all this time she still knew where to find the right house.

Walking away into the moonlight Prail knew one thing

"I'll have your Fucking Head!"

She shouted at the silvery orb in the sky.

"I think perhaps you should hear the Wine Gods case, before making any...rash judgements. Those stairs are awfully narrow..." a voice said from parts of the room unseen. Search though she did, Vera couldn't find the source.

As she searched however, something strange began to happen. At first, it was just a sound; barely loud enough to hear. Specifically, it was the sound of distant thunder. For a while, she thought it was just some god outside using their powers and thought no more of it. However, the more she moved around through the thick web, the louder it got. At the same time, she started to hear voices. Her father, Remus, Able, & her own voice.

The sounds were only the beginning. Before long, she started to see them. Images flashed before her eyes of her arguments with her father, of Remus and of able and their tragic death. Vera closed her eyes, holding her shield hand up to her head and cradling her forehead. Her mouth twisted into an asymmetrical frown. She stopped her search.

These were her memories. The memories for which she felt guilt and regret. The times she'd failed or been wrong. with each passing second, the memories dug deeper into her, driving the feelings home. Guilt and regret were all she felt. Yet, the monster had made a grave miscalculation. Guilt and regret; those weren't what her holding her back.

They were the forces driving her forward!

She moved her hand and opened her eyes, no aflame with the purest form of hatred she could summon. She opened her mouth let loose a low grunt of barely contained rage. Regret? That was nothing. She had the chance to fix it and she'd taken it. The only thing she'd have to regret was stopping because some monster got in her way. And guilt? Remus and Able had died because she failed sure, but they had a more direct cause of death; Dionysus and his minions. No, the images of Remus and Able only drew from her more will to fight and bleed and maim and kill ANY who got in her way.

And first in line was whoever thought they knew her or the way she thought. Raising her sword, she began cutting through the strands of web a dozen at a time, clearing her way to the monster she had every desire to slay.

Shiro caught his breath as they finally entered the fort, but he knew it wasn't over yet. The group walked through the dark tunnel, Shiro could feel the hairs on the back of his neck standing straight up. The lack of light didn't help either. Finally, they reached a small room with a downwards staircase. But before they could go down, a strange voice spoke up out of nowhere, bouncing arund inside his head. "I think perhaps you should hear the Wine Gods case, before making any...rash judgements. Those stairs are awfully narrow..."

Without warning, they were plunged into darkness. For a moment, Shiro couldn't see anything, but then an image formed in front of him, of a young woman being thrown out of an opulent-lookung house into the snow. A woman he recognized.

"...Mother...?"

"Please," Suzume begged, "Why are you doing this?"

From the doorway, a tall, stern man Shiro assumed was his Grandfather sneered down at the young woman. "You know why you little tramp. I give you everything and in return you go and get yourself pregnant? You are a disgrace to this family. I never want to see you again." And with that, he slammed the door shut in her face.

Suzume sat there for a moment, weeping pitifully, before getting to her feet and slowly walking away from her former life.

From there he saw her raising him mostly on her own, smiling to his face, but silently weeping whenever he thought she wasn't looking. Shiro could only stand there, eyes squeezed shut and tears streaming down his face. He knew perfectly well the sort of strain his birth put on his mother, but had always tried not to think about it. Now that he could see exactly what sort of things she had gone through

It would be so easy to just let himself die and save his mother from her pain... but then she would cry anyway, and Shiro could not let that happen. She had already cried enough, and that was more than enough already.

Mother. I swear I won't make you cry any more...

"I think perhaps you should hear the Wine Gods case, before making any...rash judgements. Those stairs are awfully narrow..."

A flood of images overwhelmed Nicole, she found herself in her home sitting on her fathers bed and staring down at a picture. It was from shortly after she had been born, her father standing there blissfully happy his arm around Nike, who looked some mix of happy and confused holding her. Then she felt thoughts, her fathers thoughts, and realized she was seeing through his eyes.

He was tired, looking at the picture brought a small smile to his face but little more. He had been waiting so eagerly for Nicole to come home from college for the summer, he worried for her all the time even when he knew he shouldn't. When she had started getting into sports he had worried she might get hurt, though he didn't discourage her, and now she was off on some errand for the gods instead of home.

He heard a car stop outside, stood up and went to the window, Nicole felt her breath shorten as she realized what he was about to see, trying to wish it away. His eyes widened and the picture slipped from his grasp as he saw her get out of the car, wearing that black dress. A number of emotions welled up in him, confusion, happiness, worry, and others. Worry over who she was with and why, why she was dressed as she was, confusion for the same, happiness just to see her. Only the last of those mattered though he knew that, he wanted to rush down the stairs and embrace her, tell her he loved her and was glad she was home, but something held him in place as though part of him knew it was too good to be true.

He watched as she went up to the door, and then as she turned and left, all the while Nicole herself struggling, trying to pull herself away from this memory. Its not mine, I don't, I don't want to see this! But it didn't help, her father watched as she went back into the car, helpless and alone. He began to weep and she felt herself crying as well, Nike's absences even the longer ones had always been tolerable because he loved Nike, and because he had Nicole to look after, but now he was helpless and alone. He sat back down on the bed, staring down at the broken picture and cried.

Nicole felt herself crying as well, felt guilt and pain, and understanding. Tears still on her face her expression became more determined, I have to make it back to him, I knew if I talked to him I wouldn't be able to make myself leave, but this has to be done. I need to keep going, to get through this and make it back to him, and I'll bring mom with me so we can be a family.

Her wings exploded into visibility, their golden glow shining all around her as she swept them out to push away the webs, trying to struggle free of the vision. She wouldn't, couldn't, forget what she had seen, but she remembered what she was fighting for, and it gave her strength.

Vera

Vera's sword sluiced through the webs, rendering them still and powerless, falling to the ground. The more she cut, the more seemed to fade in; the previously unblemished walls and floor seemed to grow more and more webs, until the whole room seemed to be steeped in white-grey strands. As Vera freed herself, her mind was rid of the visions, and the voice that echoed in her head seemed to fade away.

"I'll have your fucking head!"

Prail's cry was loud and piercing, and she whirled her blade fast in front of her, preventing Vera from reaching her temporarily. Nicole had backed herself into a corner, and was caught fast in seemingly hundreds of strands.

Now standing in a room covered in webs, she finished freeing all but Steven, Nicole and Prail. As she turned to cut Steven loose, she was confronted with the business end of his gun; his eyes glazed and far away. His finger was pressing down on the trigger, his eyes streaming with tears.

Nicole

In an attempt to free herself, Nicole's wings caught more and more of the webs, sending her further into madness. The webs were now tensile, and held her wings fast. The vision was gone, and she was now back in the strange, stone room; though now alone, with no evidence the webs were ever there.

A voice came from behind her, and she turned in the vision to see Prometheus come strolling through the tunnel. He was clean shaved and freshly washed; wearing a casual grey suit and a steel watch. Smiling, he came over and patted her on the back.

"You did well, kiddo. Come on; everyone's waiting outside! Don't you want to see your family?"

As he beckoned to her, Nicole heard Prail's battle-cry, and Prometheus seemed to shift slightly; in place of the Titan, for just a moment, seemed a collection of black spiders. Flashes of Prail and Steven, both still stuck in their visions, appeared in the room. But then they were gone, and though she didn't forget, she felt a deep want to live in the fantasy, and to follow the Titan out of the jail.

Prail

As Prail screamed out, her arms caught more strands, and the vision blacked out, replaced now with the empty stone room; devoid of both webs and companions. A stream of tiny black spiders flowed out from the stairs that descended further into the prison, rising up in front of her, piling more and more into the writhing mass until it took the silhouette of a man. His voice was high and shrill, and seemed to pierce her ears with an uncomfortable pitch. She saw in the corner a flickering image of Nicole, and opposite her the enraged Steven, his gun seeming to point nowhere.

"Dionysus only wishes to continue the cycle of the Gods. It is only natural, and has been put off far too long. You must understand; you of all people. Death and rebirth; the natural cycle. Just as one gods fall, others rise, and then they too will fall. Will you not listen?"

Steven

Steven narrowed his sight on Teshub, now standing in front of him, lightning leaping from his fingers. His voice seethed through his teeth, hissing with anger, a reflection of the rage that boiled within Steven.

"Do it! Prove yourself a man!"

The voices of Remus and Able competed to be heard as fog enclosed both Steven and Teshub; the clamor of their pleas rising to unbearable volumes. The desire to pull the trigger was so strong; retribution for the murders, for the hardships he had been through; in the face of the storm god was everything he had ever hated.

Steven's memory pervaded the warped vision, and Teshub now stood bleeding from his eye; tortured and in pain. He had clearly already suffered. As the vision attempted to correct itself, he saw flickers of the group, freed from the webs, and Vera; frozen in front of his gun.

Everyone Else

Freed from their visions, the group was now confronted again with reality; the room was now covered in webs, and Steven, Prail and Nicole were clearly still in their dream-state. Flickers of light came from the stairs to below; and the high-pitched voice sounded again, persistent.

"Zeus gave you no protection! Zeus hid the truth from you! This is nothing to do with protecting the people; he only wishes to tighten his grip on the throne! It is not his to hold; it belongs to the cycle. It stagnates and is polluted under his reign; we only wish to do what is natural!"

Though his words sounded sincere, their friends were still held fast in their visions, becoming more and more agitated.

"You did well, kiddo. Come on; everyone's waiting outside! Don't you want to see your family?"

"What... I..." she was confused, this seemed unreal it couldn't be over could it? Yet Prometheus was here congratulating her, He didn't come with us though, she thought and another voice answered of course he only just came because the battles over! It sounded so like her, yet off somehow, too excited too eager to accept this. She felt a tightness on her back that she couldn't place.

Things shifted for a moment, spiders ran across her vision and she saw Prail and Steven, held in visions, Prail yelling fearsomely. The tightness on her back increased slightly and the flash of vision faded. Her eyes widened, startled by the sights this isn't real is it... No it can't be, we never fought Dio... the other voice spoke again, feeling more like a part of herself maybe one she hadn't been aware of before Its ok you've been through a lot, it'll come back to you, don't worry you did it, you kept anyone else from dying!

Had she really? She didn't remember that either. She felt the pull strengthen on her back again, were her wings caught in something? Why would she even have them out? Don't worry, just follow Prommy out, you can work everything out later, the voice suggested, and she felt herself agreeing with it, after all this won't it be nice to just relax? She shook her head, whether it was in disagreement or she was simply trying to clear it she wasn't sure, but she looked up at Prometheus and took a step towards him, whether she meant to follow him out or approach him for answers even she was divided on, but the pull strengthened, tightened around her wings, trying to pull her deeper into the vision. She grimaced and made them break, twisting under the pull of the webs and splintering into rapidly fading strands of golden light.

The webs wrapped around them fell away from her and the vision began to unravel. No, why didn't you just stay? It would have been so much easier. The other voice protested, but it was fading as well, spiders swarmed across her vision as it pulled away and she found herself back in the room with the others. She gasped and steadied herself, looking over at Vera who seemed to be hacking others free of the webs. The webs, had they been what caused the visions? Was she still in a vision, just another deeper layer? It might be impossible to ever be certain.

"This is real right?" she said mostly to herself, tightening her grip on her sword trying to reassure herself, it has to be, this is where we were before I remember I know I do. With a mixture of anger and fading regret she swung at the ones that had bound her, severing them so they fell to the floor.

She turned back to the others, Vera had freed most but some were still bound, and... she saw Steven holding his gun, seemingly prepared to fire and her eyes widened in fear. She reached out with her power, still weakened from having only recently escaped the vision, and weaker still without her wings extended. She concentrated on the gun, if he fired she would do her best to stop anyone from getting shot, though still unsteady and unsure of reality she wasn't sure how much she'd be able to do.

"Do it! Prove yourself a man!"

The finger was applying more and more pressure...

The god started to bleed from the eyes, in pain.

For an instant, the God was replaced by Vera. The rain was gone, the group was there. It was gone as soon as it came.

"No, where..." Steven said, slowly releasing the pressure on the trigger, and slightly lowered the gun.

"I thought, the rain had stopped... the god... what..."

His elbow bumped against the ax.

The ax he built in his father's forge.

This couldn't be right...

He pointed the gun at the ground, grasping his eyes, trying to remember what was real.

When Andrew came to it, he found himself standing, together with the other people in the group, in the same round room he had been in before. However, he could still very clearly remember what he had just seen, and his whole face felt wet. He turned away from the others, quickly, and started drying his face, though he had a hard time stopping crying in the first place.

Kirsten.

He thought of her crying face, and about what he had just felt. It was fading, of course it was, but he still felt a little of her sadness.

Kirsten, I want to see her. I need to see her.

Andrew wanted to see her right now, apologize. Hold her. Even if the situation right now didn't allow something like that, he didn't particularly care, not now. However, that shrill voice from before snapped him out of it.

"Zeus gave you no protection! Zeus hid the truth from you! This is nothing to do with protecting the people; he only wishes to tighten his grip on the throne! It is not his to hold; it belongs to the cycle. It stagnates and is polluted under his reign; we only wish to do what is natural!"

I'm not supporting Zeus either, though.

Andrew calmed himself down, quickly, drying the last of his tears. He didn't want them to notice that he had cried.

I shouldn't be this weak. It's not important now.

He told himself that. It wasn't that he thought of Kirsten as weak, even though she could be rather sensitive. When she cried, it was normal, she was sad, and she needed to express it. However, Andrew was different. Not stronger... but different. More logical. He had no reason to cry, nor did he get sad. Showing emotions was something he did when he lied, right now it was just pathetic. Risky. Ridiculous.

Even now, I can't trust them enough to drop my guard.

He hoped no one had realized, and turned back to the rest, noticing that the situation wasn't too good. Nicole had managed to get herself out of whatever she had been in, but both Prail, and Steven still looked... lost. Steven was pointing his gun at Vera, though he suddenly brought it down. The tension disappeared somewhat, though Andrew kept his distance. He then looked to Nicole.

"Are you okay?" he asked her. He had no business asking any of the others, after all.

"I think perhaps you should hear the Wine Gods case, before making any...rash judgements. Those stairs are awfully narrow..."

Almost instantly after the voice had spoken Jonathan was thrown into darkness. At first nothing happened, but soon images of those he had fought and defeated appeared in front of him. Many of them were injured and even a few moaned and groaned before eventual kicking the bucket. Jonathan just watched in a nostalgia silence as the images appeared in front of him. He could recall some of the faces of those in the images, although this was only because they put up a decent enough fight and deserved to be remembered, several of his scars were a testament to that. The others however he couldn't remember and instead Jonathan just shrugged the images of them lying wounded or dying as a worthy result of them entering combat against him. As the images continued to roll Jonathan's anger soon began to grow until eventually he grew tired of the situation.

"Is that it" he shouted into the darkness "you try and convince me to join your side by showing me the faces of those weaklings I've defeated? You're wasting your time arsehole"

Jonathan then tried to move but his limbs were held in place with what appeared to be rope. He pulled against them trying to break their hold over his limbs but they didn't budge, he continued to try but he made no progress expect the fact that his anger continued to grow as he struggled with his restraints.

"Struggle all you want, you'll never break them" a voice spoke its words ringing in his head "It's what an animal like you deserves anyway... to be tied down"

"Fuck you" Jonathan grunted as he strained under the pressure of trying to break the rope "I'm not an animal"

The voice laughed at Jonathan's comment "Say what you want boy but we both know that you're just a slave to your anger, and the truth is your scared of that aren't you?"

Jonathan said nothing to the voice's mocking words; instead he put every ounce of his strength into trying to break the ropes that held him. But as he done this the voice continued with its onslaught of insults

"You're scared because you know that you can't control it, instead all you do is appease it, because that's the only way your know how to deal with it. You vent your anger like an animal and the truth is you've always wished for something to hold you down, isn't that right Jonathan?

Jonathan's anger reached boiling point and as this happened he could feel his godly ability flow through his body and overtake him. His mind started to be overcome with pure rage and out of the madness that was overtaking his mind one goal rang out; kill.

His eyes opened and he was greeted with the site of the stone room and his companies. The ropes which had tied him down were gone and replaced with webs which he easily broke through, but he didn't care he had to kill this God and every fibre of his body ached for it.

"Zeus gave you no protection! Zeus hid the truth from you! This is nothing to do with protecting the people; he only wishes to tighten his grip on the throne! It is not his to hold; it belongs to the cycle. It stagnates and is polluted under his reign; we only wish to do what is natural!"

"I don't give a fuck what Zeus did "Jonathan shouted his enraged voice easily drowning out the other noises in the room "I'm going to rip out your spine AND THEN BEAT YOU TO DEATH WITH IT!!"

Jonathan then let out a blood thirsty roar and charged down the small stone steps, prepared to kill anything or anyone that might get in his path.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah... I think so at least," she said, relaxing somewhat as Steven lowered his gun. She moved slowly to him and cut down the webs holding him, hopefully freeing him from the vision. There wasn't any point doubting her reality at the moment she had people she needed to help, or is that the trap in just another layer? No there's no other voice it has to be real. She thought, trying to reassure herself again.

She had moved over to Prail and was cutting her down when she heard Jonathan tear free of his binds and give an enraged battlecry.

"I'm going to rip out your spine AND THEN BEAT YOU TO DEATH WITH IT!!"

She hurried up her freeing of Prail, hacking quickly through the remaining webs and turned to the others as Jonathan ran down the stairs. What did he see to make him so angry? Or... I think he's been angry this whole time, but especially now.

"We should go after him shouldn't we?" she said "he won't stand a chance on his own."

She paused slightly to give the others time to follow before she moved towards the stairs after him, sword gripped tightly in both hands.

Spider's really was that supposed to intimidate her?

"Dionysus only wishes to continue the cycle of the Gods. It is only natural, and has been put off far too long. You must understand; you of all people. Death and rebirth; the natural cycle. Just as one gods fall, others rise, and then they too will fall. Will you not listen?"

"Dio I presume, I know it's a cycle, doesn't mean I'm not sticking out for my own. And a word of warning for next time, don't pretend you know what I feel. I might still surprise you."

She'd made a special effort to keep composure. All in an effort to make the next split second count. She took a swing cutting is a wide arc aiming straight for the standing shadow. It was at that very moment she felt herself falling, the hypnic jerk was an awful feeling, giving her barely enough time not to fall on her face.

"We should go after him shouldn't we?" she said "he won't stand a chance on his own."

"Yes, he needs to die now." Prail was already on the move though too angry to know exactly what direction.

Shiro blinked as the world came back into focus. Suddenly, the whole room was covered in cobwebs, and it looked like some of the group was still in a trance.

"Zeus gave you no protection! Zeus hid the truth from you! This is nothing to do with protecting the people; he only wishes to tighten his grip on the throne! It is not his to hold; it belongs to the cycle. It stagnates and is polluted under his reign; we only wish to do what is natural!"

Eyes narrowed, Shiro drew his sword, but before he could say anything, Jonathan broke free, roaring, "I'm going to rip out your spine AND THEN BEAT YOU TO DEATH WITH IT!!" Then charged down the stairs .

Yikes. I feel sorry for anyone who gets in his way...

By now, the last few members of the group had broken free. "We should go after him shouldn't we? he won't stand a chance on his own."

"...Sure, Hopefully he won't get started without us."

"Zeus gave you no protection! Zeus hid the truth from you! This is nothing to do with protecting the people; he only wishes to tighten his grip on the throne! It is not his to hold; it belongs to the cycle. It stagnates and is polluted under his reign; we only wish to do what is natural!"

Runa heard as the vision faded, and immediately checked her shoulder for some indication she'd been shot, and found none. " I couldn't give any less of a fuck what happens to Zeus or the rest of the assholes in his pantheon. You want him dead? Fine, go for it, I'm not here to save his worthless ass anyway, I'm here for revenge and for the small number of people I care about." Runa shouted back.

"But you ... When I find you ..." Runa started, her tone darkening to one of pure malice "There will be no 'cycle' for you to return to, When I find you, I am going to tear your soul from your worthless carcass and shatter it like a wine glass" Runa continued down the narrow stairs, following in the path Vera and cut, and unusually 'calm' given what she'd just said.

"Yeah... I think so at least,"

Nicole replied, and Andrew smiled, slightly. She was busy cutting the last people loose now, but he was glad to hear she was okay. His eyes glanced over at the others, checking them for injuries and such, he was the doctor, after all. They seemed to be fine, and he smiled a bit more, though he didn't express it further. They needed to get ahead.

"I don't give a fuck what Zeus did. I'm going to rip out your spine AND THEN BEAT YOU TO DEATH WITH IT!!"

I'm fairly certain even a god would be dead if you ripped out his spine.

The tall guy who had been brought along, the rather angry one, had apparently forgotten that they were supposed to do a surprise attack. He was yelling, angrily, before racing ahead, running down the narrow steps without any consideration of what might be down there.

Dio probably knows we're here too. Even if he didn't before, he certainly does now.

They had to reason to stall, then, even if they turned back now, they probably wouldn't be able to get out.

"We should go after him shouldn't we? he won't stand a chance on his own."

Andrew nodded, and followed Nicole, listening to the others speak as he did.

"Yes, he needs to die now."

I assume you're talking about Dio.

He hadn't thought that Prail would be such a violent person, she had appeared to be a bit strange, but fairly normal earlier. Still, the others probably had seen things they didn't want to see too, so perhaps people was just pissed off because of that. Still, it was a bit too much for him to relate to, getting worked up to this point was useless.

Not that they can help it, I suppose.

"...Sure, Hopefully he won't get started without us."

Andrew agreed with that. There was no use in stalling now, if Dionysus already knew they were there, they probably wouldn't be able to get out anymore. Not to mention, if the the god wasn't alerted to their presence yet, which he doubted, but still, this was the best chance they had to do something. A surprise attack with only one person wouldn't do much good, so it was better if they managed to reach the angry guy before he got to Dio, else Andrew suspected they soon would have one less person in their group.

"But you ... When I find you... There will be no 'cycle' for you to return to, When I find you, I am going to tear your soul from your worthless carcass and shatter it like a wine glass"

Surprised, Andrew turned to look at Aria/Runa. He'd seen her annoyed before, and she was certainly an emotional person, especially from his perspective. However, the coldness she seemed to possess now was different from that, and while he didn't comment aloud, he couldn't help but feel a bit... wronged. It wasn't important now, and he shouldn't care, but why did he have to change, if someone like the angry guy, or like Aria, loud, entitled and now, outright violent, could just act like they wanted to?

No, this really didn't matter. He shook his head, and looked at Nicole again, walking around in silence was well and all, but in case Dionysus did wait at the bottom of the stairs, discussing what they could do might be a good idea. "Nicole," Andrew muttered, walking closer to her. The others would probably hear him speak too, though he made sure to speak quietly enough so that people outside the group wouldn't. "We should be prepared for that Dionysus is waiting for us now. If you hear anything, or see anything, please make sure to act. If there's a chance at surprising him, take it, even if it's just stepping out of the way so that I can hit him with an arrow, okay? If we get there, and the guy who ran ahead is seriously wounded, I need to get to him as soon as I can, so it will be up to the rest of you to prepare an opening, or bring him to me, whichever is faster and safer."

"You torture yourself enough, Child. Though the fate of your friend...perhaps I can illuminate you..."

"What do you... Aaugh!" Etna yelped as she felt something pierce her organs, suddenly stopping in her tracks. Just what was mother dearest doing? Nevertheless, the demigodess felt another twist in her stomach, a pang of hunger. Beset by pain and hunger, she slowly walked on to find Steven chained to a rock, surrounded by black birds - their eyes betrayed their desire as they looked down at the imprison demigod. Etna would make a joke about a bad Prometheus impersonation if the situation wasn't so serious. The pain, the hunger, the pain, the hunger, the pain, the hunger... She couldn't figure out which was worse. Or what exactly Badb was trying to tell her - the method of 'illumination' was somewhat cryptic, as per the trademark.

But there was only Etna and Steven in the little scene now.

"Gotta... try and... get you... outta here..." She said through clenched teeth as she managed to bring herself nearer to the rock the poor guy was chained to. She looked up to the obscured sky and yelled, "Whaddya trying to tell me?! If you're trying to tell me something... just spit it out already!"

There was no answer but the cawing of the crows.

Through the pain and the hunger, there wasn't sadness. There was anger. This was a stupid situation, all because she had gotten dragged into the stupid war with the stupid gods which was being fought for supposedly stupid reasons. Well, at least they knew one of them: Dionysus. What was the point of it, anyway? Apart from the obvious trio of power, wealth and prestige. What were they doing? Wait... What was she doing? Stuck in the middle of foggy nowhere with no-one but potato head onna rock and some stupid birds for company, doing nothing but yelling at the sky in the vain hope that her mother would hear her - just like a little brat crying out for Mummy. Speaking of Mummy, did she do this to Steven? Because of that mark?

She bit down some more, 'Get it together, Etna.'

How did she get here? The twentysomething frowned as she concentrated... There was a voice, something about hearing the Wine God's case, and narrow stairs. Yes! The stairs! With that realisation, there was another: she and Steven had get to out of here. An idea popped into her head...

"I'm... going to try something, okay? Don't blame me... if it hurts." Etna mentioned to Steven.

She thought of wings and beaks and pecking. Soon enough, the bunch of birdies dived down onto the imprisoned man and began to peck and peck and peck at the chains. With each peck, the vision faded more and more, until reality took over.

"Zeus gave you no protection! Zeus hid the truth from you! This is nothing to do with protecting the people; he only wishes to tighten his grip on the throne! It is not his to hold; it belongs to the cycle. It stagnates and is polluted under his reign; we only wish to do what is natural!"

"Give me proof and not cryptic ramblings." She muttered in response as she cut herself free.

As for the rest of the going-ons? Fuck 'em. If Dionysus was down there, well, it would be interesting to finally meet the deity.

Jonathan charged down the stairs at full pelt, stumbling and scraping himself on the narrow walls, blind to the pain in his rage. The staircase itself led straight down at a steep descent; no twists or turns, nor railings for any support. As they descended, the stone became more and more refined; to the point where it was as smooth as polished marble, and just as difficult to grip.

Crack.

A great and powerful sound resonated from the depths of the building. It was followed by the muffled rustling of chains, before the silence returned. Emerging at the bottom of the staircase, they arrived at the far end of a large, vaulted hall. Along the ground was a long, thin pool of water, of which mist rose off. On either side of the pool stood three levels of cells, connected by various gangplanks and walkways. Only small, hanging lamps between the two rows lit the way to the end of the hall, where a pale, white light spilled out from underneath a wooden door.

As soon as the entered, low moans came from the cells. The silhouettes of arms stretched out, their hands cupped as beggars. Thin spider-webs encompassed the grates, indicating that those housed were permanently under the waking nightmare. Jon's charge was put short as he tripped on a thin strip of web, and was promptly hoisted up, strung up from the ceiling by web. Rapidly, he was engulfed in tiny spiders, that quickly spun his hands and feet together.

The silhouette of a man quickly leaped from the shadows, clinging to the hanging Jon, his face meeting his face. Only Jon could make out his features; near-black skin, with wide, white eyes and sharp, gleaming teeth.

"You want my spine! I shed my spine when you were a glint in your fathers lecherous eyes!"

Dropping from the dangling Jon, he effortlessly landed on his feet in the pool, where the water only covered his ankles. Sprinting, kicking up water as he went, he skirted in front of Etna and Aria, and laid his hands upon their heads. The arms from the cells reached for him, trying to get his attention; the wailing increased.

"Here is your proof. I'll let your friend down when you turn around."

With that, he took a running leap, grabbing the walkway of the second floor, and hauled himself back into the shadows. Voices became audible from the cells; though they spoke in many languages, a few uttered small snippets of English.

"Water...please..."

"Enough! Kill me!"

"I daresay you haven't the faintest clue who you're dealing with!"

Prail took a deep breath, her anger was still there but had changed from explosive to seething. She needed to close off for a little. She couldn't care about her allies that would send her chasing after them and head first into danger. She moved with purpose but managed to keep the balance between determination and recklessness keeping her footing on the stairs. Her eyes quickly adapted to the dark as her pupils dilated allowing her to take in every detail. There were too many prisoners trapped down here but in her current mind set Prail's only concern was not joining them, not that she'd be beyond mercy once business was done.

But there was one question she couldn't shake, if Dio was behind what she saw did he control that or did it come from her. But now wasn't the time for personal issues, she could analyse psychology after she'd killed her prey. After all best not cure her psychopathy while it was still useful.

Runa watched the scene unfold after making an attempt to stab the 'creature' in where she assumed the gut would be.

Being inside some one elses head while they talked was weird enough for her but she didn't trust the vision. "You expect me to believe any of your illusions as 'truth' after that monstrous lie of that first one?" she fired back after shaking it off "And even if it is true, that means what? My mother thinks Zeus is a dick to? Not exactly breaking news there when he's abducting people off the street and forcing them to fight his battles while his spawn are no where to be seen. So I'll say it again; You want Zeus dead, fine, I won't stop you. Your methods, however a threat to the few people I do care about, and to the family I've been denied knowing for to long, its for their sakes I'm here, and no one else!"

"Here is your proof. I'll let your friend down when you turn around."

Andrew hardly got the chance to raise his bow before the man was gone, and sighed, running into the room in order to get a better understanding of the situation. Etna and Aria seemed to be experiencing the same kind of thing as they all had before, a memory or something similar to that, however, there was no threads attached to them. Even so, they appeared unhurt, and, if the strange man was speaking the truth, he'd want to keep alive too, since harming any of them would just give them less of a reason to listen. Would be hard to try to persuade the group that they should leave, and that what Dio was doing was just, if someone from their group was killed as he did the persuasion.

The hall they were now standing in was rather long, prison cells on several levels filled with prisoners, connected by a web of planks and ways to walk on. The reason for those was most likely the water on the floor, it seemed off, and not only because of the simple reason that it was there, or that mist seemed to rise from it. The whole room had a dark atmosphere, the sound and voices of the prisoners, the lack of light, and the webs on the cells, most likely putting the prisoners under the weird man's control.

Should we get the angry guy down? Would that be a bad idea?

Some of the others would probably do it. Right now, Andrew was keeping his eyes on the water, wondering just what purpose it served.

I wonder if that really is water. That guy wasn't harmed by it, but that doesn't mean it's safe either. It could be a poison.

In any case, perhaps it could be used to their advantage. He got closer, making sure he wouldn't slip and that the prisoners hands couldn't reach him, and examined the water as best he could without touching it. He even dipped an arrow into it, carefully, making sure that it wouldn't be ruined even if the liquid turned out to be some sort of magic acid. He stayed alert in case someone approached, not even trusting the people in the group enough to relax when they got close.

Nicole followed cautiously after Jon, her pace only slowing when they entered the room with the cells. Who are these people? Why are they here? She almost didn't notice Jon's predicament, but the increased wailing and the arms reaching towards the strange spider like man brought her focus back. Him, he must be the one who trapped us in visions, or maybe I'm still... no no time for that.

The man, or more likely god, darted away before they could do anything though, leaving Jon strung up in webbing and the prisoners wishing for water and death. She looked to the others and at the cells.

"We should help them shouldn't we? There's water right here we could give them..." she said, knowing it might be a trap. We need to free Jon too, before visions trap him again, how are we going to cut him down though?

Jonathan began to howl with rage as the stupidity of his action buried itself within his mind. In his mad rush for blood he had been caught unaware by the enemy and was now dangling helplessly from the ceiling of building. Hands of unlucky fools who had become trapped within the nightmare reached out to try and grab Jonathan, but he paid little attention to them. He was putting every effort into trying to break the webs that bounded his hands, but like the ropes in his hallucination they wouldn't budge, despite his godly rage fuelled strength.

"You want my spine! I shed my spine when you were a glint in your father's lecherous eyes!"

Jonathan tried to reply to the creature's comment with a swift head-butt to the face, but unfortunately the creature moved onto the others just before Jonathan could land his blow. He glanced down and saw that the rest of he group was beginning to file into the room, still tied up there was little for Jonathan to do, except try and spur on the others and boast morale.

"Hey guys" he roared "kill this creepy bastard and then get me the fuck down, I think one of the spiders has crawled up my butt hole!"

As Steven pointed his gun at her, possible courses flashed through her mind. If he fired, she'd likely need to take wind form. While she didn't have a problem with this per-say, preserving her transformation ability for as long as possible seemed to be the best course. That's why she was so thankful he lowered the gun of his own volition.

Well; that and the whole "not being shot" thing.

After that, she finished cutting the others free and followed them into the cell room. Needless to say the spider person wasn't exactly a welcome sight but at least his appearance let them take the offensive. Unfortunately, as Jon demonstrated, a more cautious approach was in order.

She moved forward step by step - shield at the ready - careful to avoid any potential webs.

More visions. But was it a memory or a fantasy?

Either way, the demigoddess certainly didn't appreciate the sensation of raw flesh in her mouth, especially after the nightmare the man had trapped her in. Etna scowled, fact or fiction, the visions were somewhat tiresome. Sure, it could be the most direct way to communicate memories between others, or give the evidence she'd asked for, but couldn't talking do the same job? Though, she had to admit, finally getting a decent answer to her questions was somewhat satisfying. Regardless, she couldn't let that alone blind her to the other facts - or at least - shadows of facts.

"And just who do I side with? You or my mother and my aunts?!" Etna yelled at the shadows.

As Andrew dipped the arrow into the water, a small droplet landed on his hand. There was a familiar feeling in that water; it had the same dark draw that the river into Hades had. The water seemed to slide straight off both the arrow and his hand, rejoining the dark pool. As Vera cautiously approached, their combined footsteps drew the attention of those imprisoned. Their unintelligible wailing ceased, and they simple held out their hands, cupped, and pleaded for water.

From the shadows across the room, further answers greeted the group. A silhouette could be seen blocking the blueish light that radiated from underneath the door; the voice was calm and level.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In the grand scheme of thing, we are all on the same side. We all want what is best. So turn around. Return to what normality you can salvage, let things play out as they were meant to. For I am not moving from this door."

The room remained still save the swaying of the outstretched arms. As Vera approached the edge of the water, she could see flickers of tiny movement on the walkways; hundreds of spiders seemed to teem all directions to coat the pathways across the room.

"Hey guys, kill this creepy bastard and then get me the fuck down, I think one of the spiders has crawled up my butt hole!"

Andrew ignored the man for the time being, his mind set on the task at hand. While it wasn't necessarily important, or even useful, it might be. Besides, he might have been placed there as a trap, anyone who got close enough to cut him down could get grabbed or taken hostage, used as a bargain chip to make the rest leave. He kept examining the water on the arrow. A droplet fell on Andrew's hand, he'd been careless. However, nothing happened, so if it was a poison, it was slow-working. That probably wasn't the case, though, he figured he would be able to tell if it was. The liquid felt familiar though, and it didn't take Andrew long to figure out why.

It gives off the same feeling as the river in Hades, as if it's trying to draw me in.

Acknowledging that made him stand up, quickly, as he didn't want to see what happened if he actually touched it. He doubted it could be altered by his powers, even the droplets were quickly drawn into the pool again, sliding off as if the arrow had a hydrophobic surface.

"I'd stay away from the water if I were you," he said, warning the others. "It's unsafe, I don't know exactly what would happen if you fell into it, but it wouldn't be good."

Begs the question why this would be here, though. Not to mention, what is this place, and why are all of these people here? It was a prison even before Dionysus arrived, or at least, it's been a prison for a fair amount of time, considering what it looks like. How long have these people been here?

The prisoners were holding out their hands, cupping them and wanting water. However, they would have to wait. Andrew didn't want to risk giving them the water, and instead looked towards the door on the other side. That was where they had to go, right? The walkways didn't exactly look appealing, especially not with what he had figured out about the water, but they had to take the risk. However, suddenly a silhouette -he wasn't sure if it was the same guy as before- blocked the light that shone from underneath it, refusing to move.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In the grand scheme of thing, we are all on the same side. We all want what is best. So turn around. Return to what normality you can salvage, let things play out as they were meant to. For I am not moving from this door."

Andrew used the arrow to cut a small cut into his right own thumb, drawing blood, before making the blood into poison -burning pain, fatigue and paralysis- and smearing part of the arrowhead with it. As it was just a small amount, it didn't take much of his energy, though he made it noticeably stronger than he had done before. Regardless of if it was this guy, or Dio, or someone completely different, whoever it hit would certainly feel it. He then readied the bow, and aimed, the whole motion taking merely a few seconds. Andrew noticed the spiders crawling on the walk-ways, and spoke to the others first.

"Be careful about moving on the walkways, I have a feeling the spiders are there for the purpose of not letting us get over." That was all he said, the others should be able to figure out ways of crossing themselves, and he had no reason to state the obvious -apart from what he had already told them, he supposed- even the less intelligent people of group should be able to figure something out. He addressed the silhouette instead.

"I won't miss," he started, completely calm. He already had his aims set up, all it took was to let go. "But you seem intent on talking, so please, tell me who you are, and what you are talking about, because so far, you've given us no reason to turn back. We're here for one reason, and one reason only, and that is to hinder the deaths of more humans."

I won't miss...

The silhouette of the man didn't shift, seemingly undeterred by Andrew's threat. A low, deep grumble came from behind the door, accompanied by a ferocious roar; cut off swiftly, it devolved into the whelps and whines of an injured canine. The building shook somewhat once more, sending small ripples across the surface of the water.

One of the many spiders from the walkway descended on a small web, landing neatly on Andrew's shoulder. The mans voice accompanied it; originating from both his form near the door, and the mouth of the spider. As the spider's web trailed on his bare skin, what was said was accompanied by a transference of knowledge; it seemed that the man was simply reminding him of what Andrew already knew.

"My name is Anansi, though soon to be Nyame. The world is sick, Andrew; the death and rebirth of my kind has been halted. Our interactions with humanity have stemmed to a trickle. Dionysus takes the lives of a few, to prevent the future death of many. The power he wields is simply to dispose of a tyrant; it will then be redistributed as it should be, and the world will return to normal."

Breathing deep, he exhaled, sending further waves across the small pool.

"Is that explanation enough?"

Steven blinked, finally able to focus and see where he was. That was troubling.

A man ran past them. For a second, Steven thought he was falling back into the dream. But only a moment.

He followed Andrew. Obviously all the spiders were another trap.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In the grand scheme of thing, we are all on the same side. We all want what is best. So turn around. Return to what normality you can salvage, let things play out as they were meant to. For I am not moving from this door."

"I won't miss.

Steven raised his shotgun towards the figure as well.

"My name is Anansi, though soon to be Nyame. The world is sick, Andrew; the death and rebirth of my kind has been halted. Our interactions with humanity have stemmed to a trickle. Dionysus takes the lives of a few, to prevent the future death of many. The power he wields is simply to dispose of a tyrant; it will then be redistributed as it should be, and the world will return to normal."

"The lives of a few?" Steven said, "All those who drank themselves to death, all those monks in that church, all those people on the AIRPLANE? This is what you call a few people? You expect us to believe that a God so drunk on power would simply stop this blatant slaughter?"

"You want to know why humanity doesn't talk to, pray to you, or believe in any of you anymore? Humanity no longer needs the gods! The power of scientific knowledge has created a better fed, healthier, and safer world than anything any God provided. There were barely 500 million humans when any of you got worshiped. Now there are 7 billion of us."

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