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

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"It's alright, everyone is afraid of something. You managed to push through it anyways though, that's what counts."

If Andrew had been in his normal mood, he'd probably reply that she was wrong. He hadn't managed to push through it, not on his own, and that was all that mattered. However, standing up as quickly as he could without his legs giving in and him falling to the ground again, he looked at her, smiling carefully. "Thank you." Remembering that she had fallen down earlier, he checked her body for injuries, but she didn't seem to be hurt. He took a deep breath, then let go of her, somewhat ready to move on.

"Get that pussy up, there still might be something stalking about and he's no use to anyone if he's lying there messing himself"

Andrew felt more than a little annoyed. To have this guy mock him, the guy who had forced everyone into such a disadvantageous fight because of his lack of intellect, was insulting in more than one way. However, as much as he wanted to retort, he decided to ignore him, probably most of all because Aria spoke.

"Take a minute if you need to, No one seems to be hurt so no need to worry about that"

"It's fine," Andrew replied. "I'll get going now. Thanks, though." Honestly, there was still amounts of fear in him, no matter how he ignored it. Instead, he followed the rest of the group to that room, not only ignoring the angry guy completely as he did, acting like nothing happened, but mentally taking a note of not healing the guy unless it was lethal. It was negligence, really, when it came to his job, and when it came to being the group healer. However, Andrew would rather spare his energy saving the useful people, who he actually felt like acknowledging the existence of.

Before he entered the room, he checked his bow and arrows, both of which seemed to be
fine, if just as wet as him. Andrew readied the bow again, so he'd be ready for combat in an instance. He swept his wet hair away from his face, the last thing he needed was limited vision.

The room behind the door was full of corpses and books, and the only ones alive there seemed to be Dio and... that guy. The one from his dream, snarling and looking just as much as an animal as he had then. Andrew narrowed his eyes, but kept quiet, what he had seen was a memory mixed with his own sub-conciousness, not an actual conversation.

"Come in! Doors unlocked. Figured he wouldn't last too long."

Surprise attack? As if.

It wasn't surprising, really. The moment they had walked into the webs, Anansi could have informed Dio of it. Still, it made him wonder, did they even have a chance? Sadly, the arrow with the pre-made poison had been cleaned by the water, and Andrew wasn't sure if his arrow would even pierce Dio's flesh in the first place. However, like the other place they had met Dio, there was amounts of blood on the floor. Andrew dipped several arrows into the blood, and made them contain the same poison as he had made earlier.

"Concentrate all your attacks on his chest. Keep blasting at a single point, overwhelming the divine defenses worked on that physcho god with the mace. Keep him from that tattooed man, whatever he is doing. Don't get in a melee with him if you can. Be defensive if you are forced to fight at a close range."

Steven was yelling out tactics, and while Andrew agreed with a few points, the fact that the other had said them this close to the enemy rendered most of what the man said useless. Besides, there could be other ways to keep Dio occupied, right? He was underestimating them, or probably more correctly, gauging himself to be a lot stronger, having lowered his guard. Wouldn't it be possible to force him to stop working, though conversation, or other means?

We still don't know anything. Should we, somehow, manage to kill Dio... what happens then?

Andrew liked knowing things, to be sure. However, when Steven shot the bucket that Dio was using, all of those possibilities seemed to boil down to another fight. Rather than aiming at the chest -If he was going to use an arrow on really strong god, he would rather aim at the weaker spot, completely unprotected by bones. Therefore, he aimed at the god's stomach, hoping that his arrow would penetrate, and that his poison was strong enough to have an effect.

"O and Jap, If you can fire lighting from your arse, I'll be pretty impressed"

Shiro bit back a response at Jonathan's remark and followed the others through the door into a room where a Dio waited for them, with another man chained up.

"Concentrate all your attacks on his chest. Keep blasting at a single point, overwhelming the divine defenses worked on that physcho god with the mace. Keep him from that tattooed man, whatever he is doing. Don't get in a melee with him if you can. Be defensive if you are forced to fight at a close range." Steven warned them.

Shiro held his sword out in front of him, ready for anything. Here's hoping I don't screw anything up...

"Fenrir I presume?"
No time like the present
Prail moved quickly not sure why the other's focused on the bucket when the solution was so simple. A chained up god was hardly going to dodge or block she considered decapitation but to her it made more sense just to drive her point home by impaling Fenrir. The spear head was sharp and provided Prail put her back into it she should be able to make quite the impact running straight for the creature's chest.
It was a shame she had to put such a beast down.

Vera moved into the room. Upon seeing Dionysus, she wanted to charge in sword blazing. She resisted the urge with all her will power knowing that such an action would likely kill her. A few deep breaths and she'd calmed herself. This was it; the end. All they needed to do was kill Dio and his plans would come crashing down. All the owed vengeance would be paid. They could all ride off into the sunset and be done with this crazy adventure.

Just one more task; one more god to kill.

"Dionysus! Your game has gone on long enough!" She yelled out before moving forward in a calculated charge, shield forward and sword raised.

Nicole followed the others into the room above, which was littered with the corpses of Dio's victims. Dionysus himself stood in the center, working his way through a chain holding down a wild looking man, who she assumed was Fenrir. Steven shouted out orders, only to shoot a bucket Dio had been dipping his file into, Andrew fired an arrow and Vera and Prail charged, though at different targets.

She spread her wings behind her, and as quickly as she could cast a blessing on the others, drawing her own sword she flew into the air over the heads of everyone else, looking for an opportunity to strike, and focusing her attention on Dio in case she needed to hinder his attacks. This is it, the final battle, we have to win.

Runa took stock of the situation, the one with the spear was moving to strike down the man chained to the pillar, presumably Fenrir, which was disappointing, giant Wolf would have been much cooler to run into then some chained up crazy person. Vera on the other hand, was charging Dio. Andrew and Steven had both opened fire, she didn't know what the bucket was for, but it seemed important to freeing 'Fenrir' so destroying it was probably for the best, While Andrew seemed to aim for Dio.

Runa decided to not open fire right yet, instead she gathered her energy's and made ready to respond to the counter attack she knew was coming.

Steven's shot obliterated the bucket, sending what was left of it clattering against the wall. The dark liquid it held was now splattered across the God and the chained man, dripping off their clothes. While the bound one seemed to relish it, Dionysus frowned and dropped his knife. Scrunching up his mouth, he began to speak.

"You know, I didn't really consider someone might do that. Shame on me, I suppose - No!"

Prail struck, weapon aimed not at the Wine God, but at Fenrir, bound and helpless. Dionysus reaction was swift; leaping in front of Fenrir, he threw himself upon Prail's blade, gripping her forearms as it sunk into him. As they stood there, locked, Andrew's arrow hit home, sinking into the God's chest. A small trickle of wine flowed from the two wounds, yet that seemed to be the only effect. Wrenching her hands off the weapon, he threw her with a crazed roar, hard against the concrete wall, jarring her every nerve. Wrenching the arrow free, he threw it back to Andrew, laughing manically, Prail's weapon still embedded in his stomach.

"These? These are just toys. Show me something impressive!"

Pulling the weapon free, he snapped it across his knee, leaving the remnants to drop. With another roar, he released a wave of pure force, knocking back all save Vera, whose shield groaned under the weight, and Aria, who released her energy to repel it. Enraged, Dionysus produced a strange staff that oozed with honey and wine, and planted it hard in the concrete, sending spidering cracks along the floor. Pulling themselves to their feet, the group could see twisting vines of ivy beginning to crack the walls around them, as wine began to trickle in from above.

His voice heavy with malice and envy, Dionysus kept a careful guard over Fenrir, his hands loose and ready.

"You're lucky you are only half-God. Free to die a permanent death, never reborn as a servant! Lucky and useless!"

With another roar the building cracked again, letting more wine drip in.

In a short amount of time, it became very apparent that they were up against something completely different from the gods before. Neither his, nor Prail's attack had been very effective. Dio laughed, and spoke.

"These? These are just toys. Show me something impressive!"

Andrew didn't reply, though after seeing his arrow pierce through the god's skin without Dio reacting to the poison made it painfully obvious that there was a limit to what he could do.

Something impressive. Right, this didn't work at all.

That poison had been fairly potent too, he doubted he could create something stronger.

Enraged, Dio created some sort of wave, knocking them back with the exception of a few of the others. Andrew quickly sat up, only to notice the vines and wine, the first appearing on the walls, while the latter dripped from the ceiling. Andrew started examining both, subtly, pretending to be keeping low for time being as he got closer to a wall, standing up when he was close enough to touch the vines. He was careful, remembering what had happened to Aria earlier with the vines, while keeping an eye on Prail, in case she had gotten severely hurt from the failed attacked earlier. That was all he could do now, if he risked moving over to Prail without knowing if it was serious, it could make the whole situation worse.

Dionysus spoke again, this time sounding angered as well as what resembled envy, though Andrew couldn't tell for sure.

"You're lucky you are only half-God. Free to die a permanent death, never reborn as a servant! Lucky and useless!"

Andrew looked over at Dio for a slight moment, unamused, still trying to conceal that he was paying more attention to the vines and the wine. "Useless?" he asked, unamused. The fear that still remained in Andrew wasn't because of the god, regardless of how strong Dio was. It was also concealed.

"Is that why you sent gods to kill us? If we're really that useless, why not just send a bunch of creatures and be done with it? Or just ignore us all together? I'm honestly curious, please, enlighten me. If we're so useless, why were we involved in this mess in the first place?" He hoped Dio would get distracted by him speaking, and that the others would take the chance to attack. Even if he couldn't do anything... they should be able to.

"I have no idea if you're trying to taunt us, or trying to make some sort of statement, but why on earth would we listen to you either way?"

Let's hope the others keep calm too.

"You don't seem to see any real value in humanity, that alone means that you have no right to judge whether or not we are useless."

Why on earth am I criticizing someone as powerful as this?

Right. Pride. Even that could be troublesome at times.

Hopefully I haven't gotten myself in a horrible situation now.

He kept an eye on Dio as he went back to examining the vines, aware of that they could probably grab him rather quickly.

I'll have to get out of the way, then.

Shiro blinked. Why had he just frozen up there for a moment? Was it fear now that they were facing the Mad God himself?

Suddenly some of the group began attacking Dio, only for him to just laugh it off.

"These? These are just toys. Show me something impressive!" Laughing, he casually pulled out the weapons embedded in his body before hitting them all with a wave of force that knocked them back. Even as Shiro struggled to stand, he could see fingers of ivy growing through the walls and wine dripping from above. "You're lucky you are only half-God. Free to die a permanent death, never reborn as a servant! Lucky and useless!"

Not good...!

Now Andrew stepped up, ready to face down the mad god. "Useless? Is that why you sent gods to kill us? If we're really that useless, why not just send a bunch of creatures and be done with it? Or just ignore us all together? I'm honestly curious, please, enlighten me. If we're so useless, why were we involved in this mess in the first place? I have no idea if you're trying to taunt us, or trying to make some sort of statement, but why on earth would we listen to you either way? You don't seem to see any real value in humanity, that alone means that you have no right to judge whether or not we are useless."

Swallowing hard, Shiro stood straight up and pointed his blade at Dio. "I don't know what afterlife waits for you," he said, trying to sound braver than he felt, "But I do know you will pay for what you've done."

"You know, I didn't really consider someone might do that. Shame on me, I suppose - No!"

Steven barely was able to see the motion. He wouldn't of been crazy enough to kill Fenrir, who knows what could happen, but Dio obviously wants him alive.

"These? These are just toys. Show me something impressive!

Steven was blown off his feet. As he got up, he felt a drop fall on his head. Win was seeping down, vines were coming up from the ground. The only thing Steven could think of to take on the vines was fire, and setting fire to a room filling with alcohol seemed like a bad idea. Andrew started to speak. Two shells were ejected form the shotgun, Steven grabbed two more. A slug, a bird shot.

Steven took aim at the chest, where Andrew's arrow hit the God. He blasted the slug at the small wound. Without even taking the time to see if the first shot connected, he aimed at the monster's eyes, firing the birdshot.

Natural English manners were the only thing powerful enough from stopping a stream of profanity at the pain now coursing through her body.

"You're lucky you are only half-God. Free to die a permanent death, never reborn as a servant! Lucky and useless!"

"You should know your opponent better, I'm the persistent sort of..."

Then he snapped her weapon, its two ends falling aside and clattering on the ground.

"Shouldn't have done that, you see I've died a lot of times but only ever been one weapon able to do it." She'd mourn the loss of her friend later.

Her body was near shattered but she had an idea. Sure he could shrug off injuries but he was getting wounded. So the solution was clear. She drew her second blade, new to her but perhaps exactly what she needed. Gladius, if she remembered her history, a simple blade for a simple task.

Her target is before her gloating again, seriously, though she'd heard ego and endowment were inversely proportional but had to wonder if that could be true with how much he gloated and indivisibility of the plank length.

Nothing else for it, as far as she knew he couldn't kill her and that wouldn't be for long. Part of her wondered what came next on the food chain after humans, but no she had a job to do her life might be throw away to her but Dio was right some people didn't have the luxury of being cursed by the gods to keep reincarnating.

No time like the present, she rolls forward quickly closing the gap between her and dio betting on an unconventional attack to throw him off. Centre of mass was all wrong if he didn't care about bullet wounds or being run through, but a swing right above the knee, a single cleaving cut to his legs in one fluid motion, maybe just maybe she's cripple him or even if the gods were on her side (which would be the first time) she'd sever something.
Swish, she doesn't know what's happened too scared and blow away by her own daring to process anything past the execution of her plan, succeed or fail she was helpless now.

Runa deflected wave with her built up energy and redirected the section of the wave that would have hit her into the encroaching vines, laughing at the 'useless' comment, and was gonna bite into how laughably inaccurate that was given what they'd been through, but Andrew beat her to it.

Runa took note Steven's and the girl with the spears attacks on Dio, and waited till she was clear before firing a two handed blast at Dio, aimed in such way that if Dio tried to avoid it, Fenrir would take the hit. This attack, while still fired with the intent of doing grievous bodily harm, was a test. She was watching Dio and how he reacted to different attacks, information she'd need if she was going to get the most out of that lens.

The wave of pure force caught Nicole off guard and there was little she could do to defend against it as it launched her further upwards and for a moment blasted her wings to tatters. Driven by adrenaline though her response was near instantaneous in spite of her momentary daze brought on by the impact, by instinct she formed new wings to catch herself and rapidly pushed with them to halt her descent. It still left her thrown off balance though and by the time she was steadied again the others had already sprung into action.

She darted to behind Dio while Prail attacked him from the front, readying her sword and charging downwards hoping to catch him off guard from above and behind, swooping around to strike as she came around the pillar, aiming to strike a blow at the back of his neck. She pressed a small amount of her power into the blade, willing it to find its mark, though she wasn't certain that the tiny amount she was able to spare would be sufficient to affect it. She could only hope the others held his attention long enough for her to swoop in under his defenses.

Dionysus slowed in his assault, surprised at Andrew's outburst. The vines seemed to tense and curl as the group could almost see the cogs of the Gods mind turning. Narrowing his eyes, he kept an extremely close eye on Andrew, suspicious of any deceit.

"You're useless, but less so than those I sent to kill you. You're not prepared to do what is necessary for the good of humanity. In the long run. It's we're both too proud to compromise."

As Dio spoke, one of the vines brushed past Andrew; it was revealed to him that they were all connected, like tendrils, to a small flower, unnoticed near Dionysus' foot. Sprung from where his staff had knocked the ground, this fragile yet central plant was nearly completely inundated with wine.

As Prail dived forward, Dio's attention snapped quickly towards her. Ready to snap and break Prail, he was stopped short as he was forced to bat away Steven's slug as it homed in. Demonstrating an extraordinary perception of time, Dionysus was torn between deflecting the second shot, or dealing with Prail. Frustrated, he forced the bird-shot down, as Prail lodged her blade behind his knee. Sticking fast, he began to pursue her, only to quickly return to defending Fenrir. He easily dispersed Aria's magic, with one hand thrust forward, while another curled a vine around Nicole's arm.

Her will, however, was stronger, and her blade cut clean through the vine and sliced hard at Dionysus. Stepping back to avoid it, he quickly found himself back-to-chest with Fenrir. The man howled and attempted to bite Dionysus, before receiving a stern and extremely powerful punch to the chest, winding him.

Taking the offensive, Dionysus lowered his staff towards Andrew, before frowning and reconsidering. With a wide arc he traced a line in the air, which was followed by a rush of the pooling wine and reaching ivy; overwhelming with brute force Steven and Aria; as the ivy pricked their skin, they could feel a powerful anesthetic begin to seep in, before it retreated, as the god took a defensive stance once more.

Vera remained behind her shield throughout the attacks, waiting for just the right moment to make her move. It was mildly disconcerting that the only reason she'd remained standing - and only barely for that matter - for the initial attack was a divine shield. Still, that the shield had held was a good sign. She inched her way around to the divine beings left.

She remained ready to bolt in at a moments notice but hid her actions behind the shield; unready to tip her hand. Due to the nature of Dionysus's attacks, a single strike could put them out of commission in a hurry. Andrew had the power to heal the worst of it, but they couldn't depend on him for everything. As such, they'd need to finish the battle quickly and efficiently.

Vera watched from behind the shield as spoke with Andrew but made no move. She watched as Prail and Aria made their moves, but again remained static. She watched as Dionysus attacked Steven and Aria with a blast of wine and ivy. It was then she shot forward with all the strength her warrior legs could muster.

As he switched from his defensive tactics to more offensive maneuvers was when he was surely at his weakest. As she ran she kept her shield facing toward the god, her whole form hidden behind the plate of metal. At the last possible moment, the shield fell, clattering to the ground. Vera was gone, replaced with a massive, decidedly sharp look in its eyes and of its horns.

Steven couldn't even see Dio's arm as it batted away the bullets. This gave him information. For some reason, the Wine God is more vulnerable to kinetic attacks than he was at the church. Possible something to do with whatever he has been doing to prepare for taking Zues' throne.

Before Steven could try to capitalize on this fact, a blast of wine hit him. A vine pricked his skin. As he got up, his mind started to cloud up. He was feeling suddenly tired, and everything was started to go numb.

Steven went to his knees, but did everything he could to stay awake.

Shiro fought back as best he could, using sword swipes and blades of wind to keep the vines and wine attacks at bay.

"Kaze no Tsurugi!" He shouted, firing another wind blade into the vines, but more kept coming.

Damn it! I'm not getting anywhere with this. If only there was a way to keep them from coming... Suddenly, an idea came to him. That's it! Concentrating, he created another cloud overhead. This time it began to snow heavily, along witha n icy wind that froze both obstacles solid.

There... hopefully that will give us an advantage...

'Well, that's not good' Runa thought as Dio just swatted her attack away, and then countered with a wave of wine mixed in with vines, one of which stung her, a numbing feeling starting to work through her body "Oh for ... not again" She groaned as as she was once again being poisoned, controlled and generally fucked with. She was rather tired of that, still, wasn't much she could do but right her self and try to stay awake, and hope she could capitalize on an opening with the lens when it presented it self.

Epilogue

Outside

Prometheus swore as his spear was ripped from his grasp. The blue-skinned woman hissed and jabbed left and right as Prometheus backed away, only managing to slice at his sides, though he soon found himself with his back against the melee. He duck as she thrust square at his neck, though when he looked up, he found her standing, decapitated at the neck. Behind her stood an armed youth with the build of a Viking - wielding a rather large sword. He quickly pulled Prometheus to his feet, shoving his spear back into his hands.

"Who do I owe my life to?"

"Hymir, my Shield-Brother. Now help me cut a path to Loki!"

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Inside

The wolf-man licked his lips, blood dripping from his long fangs.

"I thank you for ridding me of that Drunkard. When I am free once more, I suggest you remain hidden, lest you meet the same fate."

Devoured by Fenrir. A fitting end for the Mad God; subdued by a handful of half-gods, nothing save a few scraps of hair remains. The group are alive. Bloody, beaten and near-broken, but alive. Though victorious, the group failed to prevent the damage to Gleipnir - the fetter that had bound Fenrir to his post for so long. With one link left in the chain, it is only one year until the God-Devourer is freed; released into the world, to devour the Supreme Deities, and bring about the fulfilment of the Ragnarok.

The group emerged from the prison to an empty, body-strewn battlefield. Waiting for them was Verathragna - the time-tested warrior was slumped against the concrete, nursing what looked like a broken arm. His hair was a mess of blood, dirt and snow; his eyes were tired, yet relieved at the sight of the group. There was no sign of Prometheus, or any other living deity - though Verathragna did nurse a letter in the crook of his hand. Standing up, he handed it to Nicole, though spoke to the group, motioning to the battle-field.

"Dionysus' followers fled as soon as he died. Prometheus left, though not without making me promise to give you all this."

A light chuckle escaped his bruised chest. He surveyed the group, his tone becoming far more serious.

"We can all breathe now, due to your sacrifices. What remains is unclear, but it is not your fight anymore. I can't thank you enough."

Giving them a weak smile, he then held his hand out to Vera, motioning for her to join him...

Arc 2: Prologue

The world in the wake of Dionysus is cold. Zeus has begun to consolidate his reign as supreme deity through acts of terror. As he sends his agents far and wide to hunt for Odin, Ares spear-heads the campaign against what is left of Dionysus' army. Isolated areas of conflict emerge and subside within days; month-long sieges imprison deities on both sides in bloody warfare, and the body count continues to rise. At the release of Fenrir, Zeus has adopted an extreme political policy. Join or die.

Those who wished to remain neutral; be it deity, demi-god or creature; now find themselves hunted by savage mercenaries. Faced with death or slavery, many choose bondage to Zeus in order to secure the safety of both themselves, and their family. With each day the Storm Gods proscription list gets longer as his power increases; with every enemy captured or killed he notes down several more. Witnesses attest to false treason in order to gain favour, brother hunts down brother, and the divine law of Zeus is enforced with an iron hand.

Under the heavy flow of unforgiving punishments rises a ruthless underground network of bodyguards, mercenaries, hunters and collectors. The mythical black-market is awash with powerful artefacts, swords for hire and, most importantly, information. Led by rival figureheads Hermes and Al-Kutbay, the market has dealings with members of all factions, and is willing to assist anyone, for the right price.

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Prometheus placed a small, mesh bag dripping with ichor on the grimy wooden table. The London Tube network had numerous small rooms shooting off from the train tunnels, and this particular one was cramped and stunk of rot. The man across from him grinned; his tattooed third eye blinking in the middle of his forehead. Snatching the bag, he passed a manila envelope to Prometheus, before forcefully kicking the Titan out of the shop and into the dark subway.

Grunting, he dusted himself off and began walking down the track as he opened the envelope. Pushing his newly grown hair from his eyes, he stopped under a service light. The list of names was familiar to him - though some had been crossed out. As he turned page after page, his breath was snatched from him as he reached the final page. Reading to check again, he quickly stuffed the paper into his pocket, and began running down the track, pulling out his phone as he went.

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"Hi, it's me, I mean, Prometheus. You need to get London, as soon as possible. Corner of James and King. I wouldn't call unless it was urgent. Drop everything."

A voice message, and nothing more. Left to each member of the group; wherever they may be. Unmistakably the grumbling tone of Prometheus, though the gravity of the situation managed to convey itself through the small speaker.

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The Titan cupped his hands over his eyes and peered through the Café window. The pouring rain ran rivers around him, though he spotted a familiar figure, waiting patiently for more coffee. Wiping his brown boots outside the door, he folded his sodden parker over his arm, before walking over to where Hymir sat.

"Shield-Brother!"

Prometheus' eyes widened as a few of the customers turned to stare at them. The Titan quickly laughed and clapped Hymir on the back, staring straight at him, hoping he would take the hint.

"You've nailed the line, well done. Just in time for the show tomorrow!"

Taking a seat, he quickly ordered two large, black coffees, and asked for several more tables to be joined to theirs, stating that he had a few more coming. The small TV perched in the corner was following global news - constant flooding in coastal areas continued to baffle scientists. Iceland has already begun developing retaining walls. It was not good news.

Pushing his hair from his face, Prometheus pulled the paper from beneath his shirt, careful not to damage it. Unfolding it, he placed it on the table, before looking at Hymir.

"I take it you haven't found Loki. I have a proposition for you..."

Epilogue

Somewhere up North

Andrew was exhausted. He read Prometheus' letter when he had the chance -for what it was worth, it felt good to know that the Titan had survived-, and made sure that no one else there was in worse condition than him. Much more than that was outside his capabilities, having thoroughly used the remainder of his powers. He got his backpack and changed into an outfit with a lot less blood.

His interactions with the others were limited on this point, his thoughts set on what he had heard. Fenrir's bond was breaking, and when he got out, what would happen then? Ragnarok? The words of the chained wolf still rung in his head.

"I thank you for ridding me of that Drunkard. When I am free once more, I suggest you remain hidden, lest you meet the same fate."

It's not over.

However, for now it was. He saw no reason to stay. Andrew knew that he was still carrying his own wallet as well as his of the odd passports Prometheus had told that one goddess to make. He would find out where the closest airport was and get on the first plane of many back to Denver. It would certainly be expensive, but he didn't want to call Apollo, and he did have some money saved up for an emergency. The last thing he needed was to owe the god a favor at this point. Some day, certainly. However, not yet.

He mentioned his plans to the others in case they were unsure of what to do -though, he didn't know how many of the others had the money to do such a thing- before saying his goodbyes. While he said bye to everyone, it was Nicole and Etna whom he said a little more to. To Etna he apologies for his behaviour at the start of the trip, while he thanked Nicole and gave her his phone number, asking her to let him know if something of importance happened. With that, he started walking, he'd sleep once he was on an air-plane. Or not, considering what had happened the last time they'd been on a plane.

Denver

More than 24 hours later, Andrew finally got home. However, apart from sleeping for a couple of hours and cleaning himself up -as well as letting his mother know he was okay with a phone-call-, he didn't spend much time there. Instead he went to Kirsten, to apologize. He was surprised to hear her apologize, and for her to forgive him. However, she needed time to think, to make sure he wouldn't do the same ever again. She also wanted something more, something beyond being boyfriend and girlfriend, to make it clear that it wasn't something broken off as easily as he had done. She moved into his apartment quickly after they got back together.

A month later, they made their engagement known, and started wearing the rings, her around her finger, while he wore his in a chain around his neck. Despite this, no wedding plans were made, at the moment it was more a symbolic gesture than anything else.

More changed for Andrew after the events back then. He started working on a request for the hospital to shorten his intern-ship. It took a lot of work, calling around and asking former professors and people he had worked under before becoming a doctor -as well as those he was working under now- for recommendation. Most of those he asked were happy to provide him with something, and together with his grades and current results, he submitted the request for a trial year. It would last one year, and, if they thought he was good enough, he'd be a surgeon.

It wasn't as much that he wanted to proceed, as that he needed to. He needed the experience, and getting tested like this would enable him to be a part of more operations, to learn more through actions, rather than words he had read and then read again for years. It went through.

While it certainly became more difficult, it benefited him and his powers. His spare-time was spent between his mortal life and his demigod one. When he had the time, he did some research on the myths that had proven to be real, and spent some time on his bow, practising to make sure he would be able to hit when it counted. He learned to play the guitar, and found that playing an instrument was more soothing than just listening.

Andrew didn't become more social than he had been before. Pleasant words were still nothing but a ruse most of the time, his smile was often just a tool; he needed to keep the deceit up in order to make sure it didn't all fall apart. However, Andrew found himself enjoying Kirsten's presence immensely, even relying on her when he needed it. He repaired the bond he'd had with his mother, something that didn't take long.

He contacted Apollo, occasionally, partly to be in touch with the affairs of the world, and partly to get some sort of connection to the god. What he told Kirsten about that side of the family was limited, he let her know what he was -and even just that took quite a while- but he didn't tell her about the state of the world, just told her to be careful and to not pursue anything of the sorts herself.

Months passed, and while things settled down -on the surface, at least- Andrew kept preparing for something he thought to be unavoidable; having to leave Kirsten, his mother and his career behind in order to help stop that which was coming.

With Dionysus dead, that should have been the end of it, but no, there was still more dangers ahead... at least that was how Shiro saw it. He knew that there would be more trials in the future, but for now, all he could do was to go back home. His mother surely was worried about him, and he could use the downtime after his adventure, no matter how brief it had been. After calling her to let her know he was alright, Shiro began making preparations for the long plane ride back, something which he wasn't looking forward to.

Flying home with a sword in his possession had been... problematic at first, but somehow he managed to pull it off. (Idly, he wondered if one of his wayward relations had helped him out there.) The flight back to Kyoto was uneventful, though Shiro's warrior senses wouldn't let him rest fully until he was back on the ground.

The airport was crowded and noisy, though people were giving him a wide berth due to both his size and the sword on his back. But that didn't bother him, he was too busy looking for someone.

And was his mother, waiting for him with all the patience a mother could have. Her gaze moved across the crowds, then it fell on Shiro, causing her eyes to widen with relief. "...Shiro? Oh Shiro!" She ran towards her son to embrace him in a grateful hug that he accepted readily.

"I'm home, mother."

---

Once things had settled back down, Shiro returned to his not-so normal life, including sword training and practicing with his powers until he had a better handle on them. In the meantime, he started doing research various mythologies, hoping he could get a better handle on what was to come.

Epilogue

Nicole was exhausted by the battle, but it was finally done, Dionysus was dead devoured by the beast he had sought to free. She wasn't sure if that was ironic or not, but it felt somewhat fitting, though another part of her felt horrified by the sight of it she couldn't escape the feelings of relief and triumph coursing through her tired body. Fenrir would be free soon though, so she knew their troubles weren't at an end but at least for now they had a reprieve.

Once they left the structure they were greeted by Vera's father who handed her a letter from Prometheus. Shame he couldn't see us off, I suppose we'll have to find our own ways back home now. She read it quickly before passing it on to the others, whatever Prometheus said about them being dragged into this, not understanding what was going on, was certainly true but she didn't feel as though she had been forced to this. Dionysus' actions had been horrible whatever his goal and she knew she would have tried to stop him regardless.

Andrew gave her his number before they left, and she promised to try to keep in touch with him and any of the others who might want to stay in contact. Then she started heading out to find a trip home, wondering how her dad would react to seeing her. If that vision the webs had shown her were true or not, what he knew about what had happened and how much she should tell him. She knew that whatever he had seen or heard he would greet her with open arms, and the thought brought tears to her eyes.

Epilogue

After a battle long and desperately fought, it was over. After the hour was up, Vera returned to normal and wiped the sweat and blood from her brow; something she'd been unable to do in Bull form. She retrieved her shield from the ground where she'd dropped it and made her way back outside the prison.

Where the inside of the prison seemed normal in most respects, the outside truly showed the massive battle that had taken place. Countless soldiers lay dead or dying on the battlefield; many of them demigods like herself. Most all present were of the Nordic sort based on their dress. She couldn't help but wonder how many lines of the Norse gods had ended to stop the end of all things.

Vera glanced at Runa; the line of Freya certainly still lived so not all the Norse demigods were gone. What more, at least some of the gods still lived. Her father was thankfully one of them. Prometheus on the other hand was missing entirely. Vera started to look for him before being informed he'd left a letter for them. After reading it, suddenly she knew it was over. At least for the moment, the world was safe again. There was plenty of cleanup to do and a greater darkness was on the horizon, but for the moment it was back to normal.

Vera couldn't help but worry - about Zeus and the bloodshed, about the World Serpent, about Fenrir, and about Prometheus and the other gods with whom they'd forged something of a friendship. Glancing at her father, she could see the strain upon him again. No doubt he'd have to chose a side soon and things would become very difficult for all of them. It was even possible that if their little group met again they might be in conflict with each other. Vera could only hope "neutrality" would be an acceptable option in the future.

After exchanging numbers with the rest of the group in hopes that they'd be able to remain connected and asking of their different plans, Vera began the next journey of getting to know all that was left of her family; her father. Building a relationship would no doubt be hard, but for the first time in her life Vera felt there was something in it to be gained; family.

As the pair left, Vera's mind drifted back to the adventure they'd survived. She thought of their first meeting, and the fight with Gaia. She thought of the plane and Loki, of meeting Nicole's mother, and of their trip to hell. She thought of lost friends with sadness and of the good they'd done with joy. She thought particularly well of they're destroying of Dionysus after all he'd done to them. Mostly however, she thought of the moments before the battle had begun. How many resolutions she'd made there under the pressure of immanent death for herself and those she cared for. She also thought a great deal of Runa and the kiss.

Many weeks passed as she learned about her father and his side of the family. She met some of the other gods of the Persians though such meetings were short given Zeus's warpath. Most of her time however was spent with her father as they tried to become a family. However, after nearly a month of this, Vera decided she had one other task to accomplish.

Taking wind form, she flew up into the jet stream and crossed the Atlantic. Once near her destination, she traveled several miles by bus and foot before arriving at her true destination. She walked up to the door, knocked, and when someone answered she asked "Excuse me, is Runa Valentine here?"

Vera End

1 Year after the Battle for Gleipnir Hold

Hymir

Hymir grumbled to himself as he sat in the strange little restaurant. What did the Mortals call it... a Cafe? Whatever it was, they served a pleasingly stimulating drink called coffee. It was little wonder Dionysus had gone mad with his mortal's abandoning alcohols in favor of such a wondrous drink. He was particularly fond of adding proper Aesir Mead from the halls of Valhalla to the coffee but he'd run out of his supply over the last year's hunt and had not dared crossed the Bifrost to get more. The risk of encountering his father was too great.

Of course, all the coffee in the world could do little to make his grumblings stop. He'd been searching for the traitorous Loki for nearly a year now with little fruit for his effort. 8 months ago he'd nearly caught the trickster's trail, but upon following it the trail ended abruptly. He'd always known the trickster god would be no easy prey, but he'd not expected to be thwarted at every turn.

Some good had come from the hunt however. Spending time with the mortals had allowed him the chance to learn some of their ways. Midgard was still a weak and lowly place with neither great halls of warriors or mystics to call upon, but their tools had become remarkably more complex. They might not have the infinite power of the gods at their finger tips, but the "Google" was proving a potent tool for finding information for his search. More than once, he'd spotted Loki (or a lookalike) in a photo and followed its trail back toward his prey. It did little to actually find the monster, but it allowed him to track the god's movements to some extent and start looking for patterns.

Learning to use the google had been time consuming - it took him weeks to learn the entire workings of Midgard's "computer network" - but it had payed off handsomely. Most of the rest of Midgard's technology still evaded him save the "coffeemaker" which he used to frequently to avoid some knowledge there of. Vehicles had proven more difficult to learn between their insistence of right of way and their extraordinary expense to learn. He could hardly believe the Mortals had abandoned gold and silver as money; were they mad?

In any event, Hymir wasn't quite thrilled with the state of things. For 1 he was out of coffee again, for 2 Loki was still as slippery as ever, and for 3 time was flowing toward the inevitable Ragnarok. Hymir could see even more signs. For the last year - since the battle - the waters in northern Europe were rising. It of course could have simply been a result of the Battle for Gleipnir Hold or even simple natural processes, but he feared it was signs that Jormungandr was awakening from his eon long slumber. Once the beast awoke, there would be no stopping Thor from facing the beast and Ragnarok would be upon them.

It was then that a man came up to Hymir as he surfed the internet. At first he believe the being to be another of the serving staff, here at last to refill his mug. Upon glancing up however, he realized the being was far to familiar for a waiter. "Shield-Brother!" Hymir said boisterously, drawing far too much attention to the pair. "How can I help a fellow brother-in-arms and servant of the gods?" he added, somewhat more quietly.

After covering up Hymir's indiscretion - why did he even bothered with the apocalypse rapidly approaching - Prometheus sat down, ordered some coffee, and unrolled a piece of paper. "I take it you haven't found Loki. I have a proposition for you..." he said, allowing Hymir a chance to speak.

"And what proposition is that Shiel... my friend?"

Epilogue

It was over. Dionysus the mad Basterd that tried to conquer the world was destroyed by the world ending beast; Fenrir. Looking at it, Jonathan thought it was amusing, or maybe it was slightly poetic that he was destroyed by something he tried to control. But it didn't matter in the end, the foe was defeated and the group could go back to whatever lives they had before they got roped into fighting the mad god.

A few of the group promised to keep in contact with one another, but Jonathan declined preferring to continue where he left off; traveling across Europe to perfect his fighting abilities. But once on the road again, Jonathan found it hard to go back to his old life of violence, the visions that he had during the final fight. Had left a lasting impression on him, and now and again he asked himself the question of whether he was a man or simple a beast, ruled by his desire for blood and mayhem.

As he continued to travel across Europe this question constantly came back to him and truth be told he didn't know how to answer it or find a solution for it. He at first simple tried to ignore it and flung himself fully into his training and the numerous fights that he found himself in. But this done little to ease his mind, and in fact it made the situation worse.

The visions he had witnessed, assaulted his mind when he slept and the numerous faces of those he had fought, hurt and killed haunted his dreams. He soon became agitated and got less and less sleep as the days went on, he was still haunted by his visions and this combined with the mental fatigue that he was suffering, nearly drove him to madness.

But despite this, he was still a well renowned and ferocious fighter, and when Zeus began his extreme policies he offered Jonathan treatment to the mental nightmare that he found himself in. Suffering from insomnia and nearly on the brink of madness, Jonathan desperately accepted Zeus offer, and became one of his mercenaries.

Being one of the men who pursued and completed Zeus's extreme actions, has scarred and deeply shamed Jonathan; he hunted, fought, executed and at times murdered people on the orders of Zeus. Jonathan knew himself that what he was doing was terrible, but still haunted by his visions and receiving treatment for his mental anguish, he continued to follow orders.

This continued for several months until eventually he just stopped what he was doing and walked off, preferring to suffer mentally than kill any more people who simple refused to bow to Zeus. He then returned to Ireland and attempted to find his mother who after weeks of searching could not find her. Still standing on the verge of madness, Jonathan travelled to the west of Ireland and sought out the few remaining fairy communities that existed on the island of Ireland.

The fairies recognising that he was the son of Nemain gave him sanctuary and helped him to ease his mental anguish. While with the fairies Jonathan also became better reacquainted with his mother tongue; Gaelic and learnt more of the old tales of Ireland.

---

Much time has passed since then, and Jonathan has found some measure of peace living in the wilderness of west Ireland. He is still haunted by vision now and again, but tries to lead a peaceful life and works in a local bakery in an attempt to find some sense of normality. He still continues to train in martial arts, but it is simple a means to try and help him control his anger that still troubles him.

Runa Epilogue

The batter was over, Dio devoured by Fenrir as he freed the beast, and the beasts words, for the a few moments, made her inclined to try and kill it out right. She might not care about most the Gods and Goddesses out there, but she could think of a few she thought enough of that made killing Fenrir a good idea, though in the end she didn't even fire a single shot, she just left with the others.

Outside Vera's father awaited them, with a letter from Prometheus. She frowned a little, she wanted to say good bye to him, but seems she'd not get the chance, least he was alright though. As a few others did she exchanged numbers with Vera and Nicole before bidding the group farewell. Runa head, not to the airport like the others, but back to her mother. partly to let her know she was OK and partly to find out something about her biological family. Freya was, unsurprisingly, swamped with wounded, but she did get the information she wanted after having to wait a bit not that Runa minded, she was kinda tired anyway.

A day or so later, Runa was back in Texas, with the promise of Freya coming to visit later. After cleaning up the house a bit and sorting through the pile of junk mail at the door. Runa took a day or two to just rest, she hadn't announced her return and frankly, no one would care anyway. After her couple days of rest, she set to work. She begun selling things off that held no sentimental value to her, while packing those items that did mean something to her. The citizens did as they always had when they noticed Runa had 'come out of her hole', Runa's reaction was not the same though. She was very open about her out right contempt for the town and the people that lived there.

By the time the police where called in Runa was already gone, the real estate agent on scene when the police arrived to arrest her for a few minor assault and destruction of property charges that had been leaved against her, said she'd been gearing up to leave practically since she got back, but didn't know where she'd gone to just that 'she'd found her biological family'. The town breathed a collective sigh of relief that 'The Witch' was gone, and with no intention of returning this time. Runa had left no stone unturned, all local accounts where closed out, what ever she couldn't pack into the back of and towed behind a larger U-Haul truck was sold, with the exception of her foster fathers 69' Shelby GT Cobra, she kept that beast in storage till she could collect it.

Runa moved north, to small town on the peninsula of Washington state. Freya said her family was there, and even if they weren't it was a good place to start over and make a new life. Runa didn't go looking for her family till she was settled in, and she'd collected her fathers car. She found them, or rather, they found her, at her fathers grave. Specifically it was her Uncle and Grandmother that she first encountered, though they mistook her for Freya. She naturally corrected them and they instantly clicked as to who she was. Runa wasn't sure at first what to say, so she just, awkwardly, said 'Hi..'.

The meeting at the grave site lead to the three going to Runa's Uncles place. There Runa learned she also had an Aunt who was a lawyer, though her Grandfather passed on a couple years prior. Runa in turn told them of her life and generally what she'd been up to, though to cover for how she meet Freya she said she'd simply gotten the urge to do a bit of traveling, and that she'd meet her real mother on the road in Norway, they didn't really need to know about the mad god that tried destroying everything. Runa also said that it was Freya who'd told her about them and that her being up here was no accident, though as to 'what happened' to separate them was still not clear. Runa's Grandmother didn't have any more light to shed on that subject ether, disappointing, concerning, but ultimately she didn't care what happened anymore.

Runa settled into her new surroundings, the people where nicer by far, though it was still a bit cold for her, she also got to know her family better, though most didn't know she was a Demi-Goddess and that was fine, there was no real need for them to know, and true to her word Freya started showing up for the most part to just catch up properly with her estranged daughter, though Runa could tell something else was up with the gods, but Freya never said anything and no one ever came knocking at her door demanding she 'pick a side' so Runa lived on blissfully ignorant of the witch hunts going on in Zeus's name.

A few months after settling in, to Runa's surprise, Vera showed up. Her Aunt got the door, she'd been visiting and talking 'Law' with Runa, who was starting to express an interest in it a bit. Vera showing up was a welcome surprise, and turned out to be the start of something else Runa felt was 'missing', she and Vera started dating, then Vera moved in and things between them became more serious as a little over 8 months after the final battle with Dio, Runa discovered she was pregnant. There was no question it was Vera's, but the prospect of motherhood still scared her, though funnily enough, the subject of ;marriage; never really came up

Now a full year after the final battle, Runa is happy. She has a family that loves her, real friends, and a partner she can see her self growing old with and a child on the way she intends to show the same love she was shown.

Runa End

Rias intro

Rias life had pretty much gone to hell.

Her mother had been one of many to side with Dio, but with the battle lost Zeus began is tyrannical 'hunts', demanding everyone fall in line or die. Rias, wasn't surprised by it, her mother had warned her before the final battle even started that Zeus might do something like this, still, it was a bitter pill to swallow, not because her side lost. Rias, like her mother, was all for the cycle continuing, she just wasn't sure Dio was the one to lead the next one. No, it hurt because 1) she couldn't go home. Going home would put her family endanger and she was not about to do that and 2) Sekhmet had to 'abandon' her to give her a chance at evading Zeus's hit squads. She did contact her family back in America though, but always by written letter and never with a return address, just in case.

Rias drifted through out Europe, never really staying in one place to long, though some times she wondered if she was running from the hit squads or her memory's. The things she'd witnessed, the brutality of real battle left an indelible mark on her, at the time she didn't think about it, but now, the memory's where starting to effect her sleep, but for now she just keeps moving. It wasn't 100% bad though. In an effort to keep her sanity in tact she generally took to hitting the spots in Europe she'd always wanted to go, which resulted in her current where abouts of London as there was a lot in England she wanted to see, even if she had to see it while constantly watching her back.

Prologue

Denver

It was difficult for him to worry when he had Kirsten next to him, sleeping. It was morning, and he didn't want to wake her up yet, so he listened to the sound of her breath as he laid next to her. Even though it was dark, he knew her features perfectly, a beautiful face with blue eyes, dark brown hair and light, but not pale skin. She had a small build, and a thin waist. Soft, bare skin. Andrew smiled as he thought about it, wanting to pull her in for an embrace and wake her up with a kiss, but letting her sleep. Then, the phone rang.

It wasn't an unusual occurrence for his phone to ring at this time -though, for some masochistic reason he still kept the thing in the living room- and he had to get up and into the living room. He slipped into a pair of boxers before doing so.

"Hello, it's Andrew M---"

"Hi, it's me, I mean, Prometheus. You need to get London, as soon as possible. Corner of James and King. I wouldn't call unless it was urgent. Drop everything."

Then the call was dropped. It took a moment for him to go through the information he had gotten, as it was... well, surprising. Sudden. Prometheus. London, Corner of James and King. Urgent.

Andrew doubted he was the only one who had gotten the call, and he somehow -if only enough to make him go- trusted in that Prometheus had good intentions.

It's time to leave, then.

Andrew wasn't sure if it was convenient or not that Kirsten had been awakened by the call, and that she was sitting on the bed, getting dressed as he entered the bedroom again. However, he knew that there was a chance of him not waking her up at all if she hadn't.

"Who was that?" she asked. "Not work, right?" He'd been on a temporarily leave for a couple of days now, it would be likely to last a week or two, while the hospital was getting the paperwork and such ready. Not long ago, he'd been informed of the board's decision, together with the surgical qualification papers, proof that he could practice surgery. Of course, he'd not gotten the chance to do any actual work as a surgeon, but that didn't matter much. He'd done it.

"No, it has something to do with my father's side of the family," Andrew replied. "I'm going to have to go." Kirsten looked at him. He could see that she was feeling unsure about this.

"Go where?"

"London. I can't really tell you more, I don't know too much myself," he replied, as he got dressed, and got the things he might need. Clothes, his wallet, his bow... Kirsten raised an eyebrow at the last one, but let it go, she probably realized that it was a -just in case- thing. While he'd certainly like to pack forever, the backpack eventually filled up, and he was ready. In theory, anyway.

"I'll have to go now," he said, voice sounding like that of duty. However, he hugged her, holding her tightly, not wanting to let her go. Kirsten embraced him back.

"I know, I wish I could go with you, but..." she kissed him. "I love you."

"I love you too." He then added; "I don't want to go." He knew that he could stay. Prometheus didn't hold any power over him, and if he was careful, then maybe... Kirsten let go of him first, and kissed his cheek.

"I know you don't," she replied, voice sounding somewhere between very sad and amused all at once. Probably because of how sulky he was acting. "Just don't stay too long."

"I'll try not to."

London

Andrew finally found out where the café was, after a direct-flight to London. Waiting and walking around without being armed with the knowledge of just where in London this "Corner of James and King", and even just what it was had taken some time as well. Not sure just what to expect, he entered the café -closing the umbrella he had gotten from the airport as well- and recognized Prometheus. He didn't know who the other guy was -from the looks of it, clearly involved in this- but he approached them.

Andrew hadn't changed much, his hair was a bit longer -though, that was because he'd let it become so, not due to a lack of visits to the hairdresser- and he'd gained a slight amount of weight, though he was fairly sure that couldn't actually be seen on him. Even if someone pointed it out, he'd not mention that he'd been a bit chubbier before starting to lose weight.

With a pleasant smile, he greeted them. "Hi," Andrew said, and sat down in one of the empty seats. From the looks of it, they were waiting for more people. "How have you been?" The tone, for anyone who had seen Andrew's real personality, sounded too sweet and nice, though he was in public and there was someone he didn't know in front of him, whom he turned to next.

"Hello, I'm Andrew Miller, it's nice to meet you." Andrew didn't offer his hand. Would this guy be bothersome to get used to? He wasn't sure, not at all. However, it was clearly either a demigod or a god, and hopefully someone on their side.

Which makes me wonder, what side is this?

Andrew didn't know. Then again, if he didn't like it, then he'd just leave, or, if things got difficult, call Apollo. However, that might put him in a difficult spot too. He touched the ring around his neck, and reassured himself, Prometheus certainly had his faults, but Andrew still thought the Titan would come with at least a reasonable suggestion. He ordered a cup of hot tea, and waited for either an explanation, or for someone else to get there.

Prologue

Nicole took a year off from school after she returned home, telling most that it was to train for athletic purposes which was actually not far off from the truth. She knew Ragnarok was coming and she wanted to be ready for it, to be able to do more than she could last time. So she trained, not just keeping up her running and swimming and such but working on archery (for which she got a few tips from Andrew from time to time), experimenting with a few martial arts, and even looking into sword-fighting as well as practicing with her powers. Of course a year was hardly enough time to become a master, but Nicole learned such things faster than most and made significant progress regardless.

She also kept an eye on the news, trying to watch for details of what might be happening hidden behind reports of climate change and killings, though all this really let her know was that things were happening not who was behind it or to what ends. The rising sea levels she could manage to attribute to the world serpent, though she could only wonder who if anyone was behind the various killings she occasionally heard reports of.

About a year later she received a call, she had been almost expecting something of the sort sooner or later though in truth the mundane nature of it surprised her somewhat.

"Hi, it's me, I mean, Prometheus. You need to get London, as soon as possible. Corner of James and King. I wouldn't call unless it was urgent. Drop everything."

She did just that, pausing only to say goodbye to her father, properly this time. He was of course worried for her and asked her not to go, but relented when she insisted that it was something she had to do. "Just be safe, and tell your mother I love her if you see her," he said as she packed her things and left.

It was a long flight but Nicole couldn't sleep through any of it, part of her felt terribly excited for this while another part felt terrified. It was happening again was all she could think, terrible things were happening and I'm going to have to help stop them, she thought, then replied to herself terrible things are happening and I get to stop them. She shook her head trying not to think too much about either side.

Once she arrived in London she sought out the cafe quickly, hiring a taxi to take her there and finding Andrew and another she didn't recognize already there with Prometheus. She smiled as she walked in and sat down next to them.

"Man I just flew in and boy are my arms tired," she joked as she sat down, giving a tired grin to the others before turning to face the new guy "Hi, I'm Nicole, its nice to meet you."

She turned back to Prometheus "Just so you know I don't think Vera or Runa will be coming, they've got a baby on the way."

She also glanced at Andrew, nodding briefly at him in greeting and smirking slightly when she noticed that he was still needing to keep up the diet and exercise plan she'd helped him make, though in truth it wasn't too obvious she'd just known what to look for.

Prail wasn't exactly one for planning ahead, if she was honest she'd little concept of time in the could be days could be months following the battle. Seasons had changed; Christmas with family was a high point, where the days divided into distinct entities she'd had some idea of what to do something to work towards, just the four of them.

But now adays without work or a schedule to anchor herself she was adrift in time, being on and off nocturnal didn't help only ended up leaving days and nights interchangeable. The was especially true on the long stints she spent camping barely seeing anyone human and never more than a couple at a time.

It was hard, coming back; she hadn't expected to and hadn't bothered saying goodbye figuring it wouldn't be her problem. But now she had to continue, long term had snuck up on her.

She sat out on the moors meditating, a habit she picked up from her time with other gods, wasn't something she was good at, against her natural temperament. It took a lot of practice to clear her mind and too just relax feeling the icy cool of winds brushing against her face.

*Deep breath*

Prometheus smoothed the edges of the paper in front of him, before taking a long draw of coffee. Turning the paper, he pushed it towards Hymir. The crude pencil scratchings formed letters barely legible as English, though a few entries were rendered useless by the hard, blunt strike through them. Prometheus drew the mans attention to the final section of the page, before resuming conversation, keeping one eye on the door.

"This is the most recent list of Zeus' proscriptions, as far as I am aware. It is these last names that concern me. They are close friends, and are most likely going to be hunted. They - we - need help. Especially from someone familiar with more than a few Gods..."

As he trailed off, Andrew walked through the door. Prometheus gave him an apologetic smile as he took a seat; he could guess there was a hundred other places the young man would rather be. The Titan made no effort to conceal the paper; though it was likely the group would need to know the context, he figured there was no point hiding what they would soon need to know.

"Hello again - I've been alright. What about you?"

Prometheus smiled as Nicole walked through, which quickly grew to a grin as she broke the ice. He was glad to see both of them; although he was the bearer of bad news, he figured that they would at least all be safer in a group; regardless of what was to come.

"Nicole - glad to see you. I - "

He quickly processed what she said, his eyes widening.

"Wait, what? A child? Well, I suppose that's for the best. I don't think they need to be concerned..."

Turning back to Hymir, Prometheus quickly summarized, matching the mans shining blue eyes.

"Not only can I help you find Loki, but you will have a far greater chance of subduing him with a handful of half-gods, rather than alone..."

Prometheus hoped he hadn't offended the Nordic Warrior - he left his point to settle with Hymir, before raising his eyebrows at Andrew and Nicole.

"What have you two been up to? I am sorry to drag you here - though it is...important. I hope the others get here soon."

Prometheus took another long gulp, before ordering a bowl of chips, offering them to his companions.

Kyoto, Japan

Carefully, Shiro put down the phone, mulling over the call he had just received. He knew that he would have to leave his peaceful life sooner or later, but considering what had been going on in the world... he also knew he couldn't refuse, especially if it meant doing it to protect his mother.

"Shiro?"

And speaking of whom...

Shiro turned to face his mother, who was standing in the doorway, looking concerned. "Do you have to go away again?"

Shiro bowed his head. "I'm sorry, Mother, but I have to do this. I can't just stand idly by and let all of this happen-"

He was cut short when his mother put a finger to his lips, smiling sadly. "I know," she said, "And I know I can't stop you, but please... try to come home safely. For me. And... if you happen to see your father along the way, tell him I said hello."

The young man could only nod numbly, and as he went to his room to prepare to pack, he couldn't help but think, At least I got to say goodbye to her this time.

---

London, England

Shiro held back a great yawn as he walked down the London streets, the long trip had given him a nasty case of jet lag. He knew the sword slung across his back was earning him some odd looks, but right now, he didn't care.

Eventually, he came across the café where everyone was to meet, and took a moment to steel himself. This is it... there's no turning back now. Shiro took a deep breath and stepped through the door, seeing that he was not the first one there.

"Hello", he said, "It's been a while, hasn't it?"

Hymir stared at the pages for a while. There were a few pieces of information there to take consideration with. The most important to him was Loki's name on the list. It wasn't unexpected - Loki had been working with Dionysus so it only seemed natural Zeus would want to deal with him. His presence on the list also suggested that Zeus had little idea where the most impressive of the trickster gods was. Of course, this wasn't much of a surprise; all the Nordic gods would survive until Jormungandr arose unless they were killed by a mortal or partial mortal. Loki wouldn't be caught by Zeus; destiny was on Loki's side.

Another interesting fact was the presence of Apollo and Triton on the list. If Zeus couldn't even control his own pantheon this close to Ragnarok then he would be truly desperate. No doubt that's why the demigods made the list. Speaking of the demigods, he recognized some of the names as those who'd finally brought down Dionysus. Hymir always knew the self-proclaimed "King of the Gods" was an arrogant, cruel taskmaster, but with all that was going on he'd always thought those neutral demigods who'd worked with him in the past would be spared his wrath.

All-in-all, it made the entire situation "upstairs" seem more out-of-control than when Dionysus had been killing gods left and right. The cosmic order of things was becoming dangerously unstable and even Midgard seemed to know it.

Before he could get any further into his thoughts, they were interrupted by the arrival of several more guests. Though he didn't recognize them by sight, when they introduced themselves as Andrew and Nicole, he knew they were among those who dealt the final blow to Dionysus. Looking at both of them, he smiled and held out his hand to any that would take it. "I'm Hymir Heimdallrsson; mortal-born son of the Watchman of Asgard. It's an honor to meet the Heroes of Gleipnir Hold, my Shield-Brother and Shield-Sister." he said, again far to loud for a London cafe. "Lines for a play." he offered, borrowing Prometheus's earlier excuse to set the mortals at ease.

Returning his attention to Prometheus, he nodded at the request thoughtfully. "The friend warns his friend of ill -" Hymir said gesturing to the paper "- and Bare is his back who has no brother they say. If it is Loki you hunt and you seek my aid for it, than I would be a fool to refuse. And let no man say a son of Hiemdallr is a fool. If even mighty Zeus can't find the God of Mischief, than what hope do I have with this... "Google". Besides that, I still owe your blood-brothers and sisters here for delaying Ragnarok."

It was then that a new person arrived; a Japanese man with a blade. No doubt he was also one of the Heroes of Gleipnir Hold. He waited for the new one to settle in before continuing. "Now Prometheus, I've heard precious-little news over the last year cut off as I am from Asgard. Has Zeus yet located the All-Father? I know these purges have grown large indeed, but I've not heard of his fall yet and maintain some hope that no minion of Zeus has found him. On another matter, It's grown clear from this list Mighty Zeus has grown desperate in this late-hour if he's targeting the Children of the Gods; what do you hope to accomplish - aside from the death of the foul progeny of Laufey?"

"What have you two been up to? I am sorry to drag you here - though it is...important. I hope the others get here soon."

"I've been training mostly, took a year off from school to do so," she replied "Knew I wouldn't be able to focus on classes with Ragnarok looming overhead, and I wanted to be ready for it."

"It's been a while, hasn't it?"

"Hi Shiro, good to see you," she replied, glad to see that yet another of their number had made it "Pull up a seat."

"I'm Hymir Heimdallrsson; mortal-born son of the Watchman of Asgard. It's an honor to meet the Heroes of Gleipnir Hold, my Shield-Brother and Shield-Sister."

Nicole was surprised by a few things about Hymir, the first being how oddly he spoke the second how he greeted her and Andrew as heroes. I suppose we are, just never really felt like it at the time. And with how he's talking about things, and being cut off from Asgard I wonder if he was raised by his father... It also seemed they were hunting Loki now, though Zeus was doing the same. We handled him once before, though Vera and Runa were with us then; and Able and Remus... No, we're stronger now than we were then even without them.

Of more immediate interest though was the list Prometheus had provided, and the fact that her name was on it. That bastard, after all we did for him? At least Runa and Vera aren't on it, though I'd hate to be the one trying to bring them in anyways. Even as that thought passed other worries replaced it, this was page four after all so who knew what gods were on the previous pages not to mention what if this brought danger to their families? She glanced over at Andrew, knowing that he would be worried as well. For one Apollo was on the list, and besides that someone could go after Kirsten or his mother to get to him. We have to handle it, I won't let harm come to others if we can prevent it.

"We're going after Loki?" she asked, turning to Prometheus "Why? I mean I understand there are a lot of reasons to take down that asshole, but from the look of things Zeus is the real problem here. Or am I missing something?"

She was genuinely curious on this matter, though perhaps a bit direct; but then after how they had been led around by the nose last time she wanted to get answers up front. We deserve better than being pawns in some divine squabble.

"Hello again - I've been alright. What about you?"

Andrew took a sip of the tea. "I've been fine," he replied -still in that false tone- not sure that he wanted to say more than that. This situation was odd, regardless of what he thought was Prometheus' likely intentions, and putting information out on the table just like that made him feel... uncomfortable. He'd do it, certainly, but the very least he wanted to make sure he was in the right place, that this wasn't some plot to get him on Zeus side again or something. Glancing over at the paper Prometheus seemed to be showing off, he noticed his own name, as well as Apollo's and part of the group that had taken care of Dio.

Nevermind. If this was a ploy, it'd certainly not be to recruit me. The fact that he made no attempt to hide the paper suggests that he has no intention of doing that.

He relaxed a bit more, though, only slightly so. He became more worried about the people back home than himself, and even for Apollo, though the latter could take more care of himself in this kind of situation.

"Man I just flew in and boy are my arms tired,"

Andrew turned to face Nicole, who had just entered, and smiled warmly at her as she sat down. "Hi," was all he said, Andrew wasn't sure more was needed. She looked him over, and smirked, she was rather upbeat for someone in this situation.

"I'm Hymir Heimdallrsson; mortal-born son of the Watchman of Asgard. It's an honor to meet the Heroes of Gleipnir Hold, my Shield-Brother and Shield-Sister."

Heroes?

Andrew's smile faded visibly at the word. He'd consider what they did back then a lot of thing, a "lesser evil", a "necessary deed", but never heroic. The word stung, almost, while he didn't doubt one moment that something akin to this mess would have happened had they not killed Dio, part of him still wondered if it was... well, the bad outcome. The wrong choice.

"What have you two been up to? I am sorry to drag you here - though it is...important. I hope the others get here soon."

Andrew waited for Nicole to speak before starting himself, carefully, though Nicole being there made it easier to speak. He'd always been... hesitant to share personal information, the only thing he'd mention one year ago was who his father was, and that he was a doctor. Everything else had been clever answers, replying, but putting no real information in it.

"I've gotten... well, engaged," he said, and held the ring out so that they could see it. It was a simple ring, nothing more but a circle made of silver, but it was precious to him. "Her name is Kirsten." His eyes portrayed a mix of joy and worry when he said her name, as the smile appeared again. Andrew brought the ring back to his chest and held it for a while, almost as if to shield it. He'd do a lot for that shielding to actually have an effect right now.

"I also asked for a few favors from some former teachers and such, and I managed to make an arrangement regarding my intern-ship. Well, former internship, I'm a surgeon now, I've been one since last week. Though, I've certainly been part of enough surgeries before that."

Andrew wasn't sure if there was anything more he'd want to share, keeping some things to himself was always best, even if someone was your ally/friend.

"Hello. It's been a while, hasn't it?"

Another familiar face said. Andrew thought the man's name was Toushiro or something similar -certainly something Japanese- though, that wasn't important, the other would mention it before that, and Andrew wouldn't address him by name before he was sure.

"Yes, it has," he replied instead. "Hopefully not too long. It's nice to see you, though, the more of us are here, the better off we are."

He glanced at the list, noticing that the other's name wasn't on the list. Had he gotten as hasty a message as Andrew had, then, or was he simply there to help?

I suppose we'll find out.

"We're going after Loki? Why? I mean I understand there are a lot of reasons to take down that asshole, but from the look of things Zeus is the real problem here. Or am I missing something?"

"We could be trying to put ourselves in a better light to Zeus. Though, I'll easily admit that I don't feel like putting the people I love in even more danger without it being worthwhile, and dancing for him certainly isn't," Andrew remarked, keeping his voice down as if they were in a room full of enemies. Glancing over at Hymir, he continued. "I would think the purpose has more to do with Ragnarok, especially so since we've got a son of Heimdall here."

While Andrew had only spent time with some topics within the mythologies -the rest wasn't as relevant- Ragnarok had been one of, if not the one he'd checked the most into.

"Regardless, it would be nice to know what side we're on -if we're even on one-, before we start talking purpose and targets."

Prologue

The large clump of dough landed with an audible thud on the floury work-board. Jonathan let out a sigh as he began to knead the dough. This is the twenty loaf of wheaten bread this morning he thought, a look of agitated anger crossing his face as he thought on his work related troubles. Why can't they just order something different he thought putting his effort into kneading the sticky dough into a ball. If more of them ordered interesting stuff like banana or potato bread that be nice, god I love potato bread.

With that last thought he then placed the newly kneaded dough into a waiting baking pan and fired it into the oven. Jonathan knew that although he grumbled and got angry over some bread related issues now and again, he had to admit that the job wasn't half bad. It calmed him, pay wasn't bad and also for the first time he had a job that wasn't illegal, which was nice, especially when so many people came into the shop to buy his bread. He gained a sense pride from it that he didn't find anywhere else.

But on slower days in the bakery and quite evenings his mind wandered on the fact that this job and his life now, were mainly an attempt to forget the terrible actions that he took part while he was working for Zeus. Jonathan knew that he done that stuff out of desperation, fear of having to accept the effect his violent and bloodthirsty life had had on people, friend and foe. That's what his nightmares were doing, showing him what an animal he had been. But even still it's not an excuse for what he done he thought trailing off. How many people did I kill and hurt, just because some prick was shitting himself?

Before he could answer his internal question the phone began to ring. Jonathan muttered under his breath and once finished rubbing his floury hands on his apron picked up the phone.

"Hello, Galway bakery how c-"

"Hi, it's me, I mean, Prometheus. You need to get London, as soon as possible. Corner of James and King. I wouldn't call unless it was urgent. Drop everything."

Jonathan put down the phone and began to take off his apron. Something must have gone pretty pear shaped if Prometheus sounds like he just laid a brick Jonathan thought tossing his apron onto the work board. Especially since he most likely knows what I've done, I wonder how many of the other guys got the call?

"Ava I'm away here...and I'm taking some bread with me" Jonathan shouted towards the young co-manage while throwing on his leather jacket.

"What do you mean going"? she replied "and you can't take the bread!"

"London" he shot back as he wrapped two loaves of wheaten bread, a pack of potato and soda bread into a brown box "and why not I made the stuff?"

"London...?" the co-manager asked bewildered

"Yeah, got some business with old partners of mine, tell your ma that I'm taking my two weeks holiday now. I'll send you a post card"

Jonathan exited the bakery before the co-manager could give any reply and began to walk down the street. Alright he thought to himself how in the hell, I'm I supposed to hitch-hike all the way to London?

London England

Jonathan stomped through the café's entrance, box filled with bread in hand although a bit dirty and worn. He scanned the room and saw the group sitting in the corner. I wonder if they'll recognise me? Jonathan thought as he walked towards their table, remembering that since last time his hair had grown pretty shaggy and he now had a rough full beard. But he put that to the back of his mind when he approached their table.

"Right lads? Been a long-time" he spoke sitting on an empty chair placing the brown box in front of him. "Made some bread at work...thought you guys might want some" he spoke gesturing to the box. "O and the names Jonathan" he spoke looking at the Nordic looking stranger.

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