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Literature
Fire and Brimstone Chapter 4
Chapter Four
By the time I'd met Liz and Abe at the Michigan installation, it was half-past one in the afternoon by the clock. But I'd left London at almost half-past one, so by my watch, it was almost nine at night. But it was still the middle of the day. And I don't sleep well on planes, so the jetlag was killing me. Thankfully Liz and Abe hadn't forgotten that, and had a fresh stogie waiting for me. And while it was nice to see her after so long, I was sort of glad that Liz needed to prep for their next assignment. I wasn't in the mood to be around people, anyway.
Abe and I were given a boat and crew to sail out into the middle of the lake to find out where, exactly, the psychic energy had come from. Liz had used the Bureau's satellite to coordinate a rough latitude and longitude, based on where the base, and a few smaller outlets, had been hit around the lake. We cruised at a steady pace. The December air didn't bother me much, but I wore my big trenchcoat for the comfort. My breat
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Literature
The New God of War Chapter 23
Chapter
XXIII
Athena awoke, refreshed and prepared the following morning. After speaking with the dignitaries of Athens, she felt confident that her city would rise again as one of the great powers in Greece. This gave her good feelings for the day to come. And though Bubo was nowhere to be seen, he had left her a single feather at his perch by her bedside: a sign of good will from her favorite companion.
She filled her day catching up on all that she had been avoiding the past several days. News from the world below was ever-changing, and more wonders were born every hour. Athena knew it to be her place to catalogue all that she could. She read, wrote, and re-wrote through the long morning. And as the sun began its slow descent into evening, she laid down her quill and decided it was time to visit Dionysus.
As she dressed herself for the occasion, she wondered. Who was this man to her? Uncle? Brother? Cousin? What deference, if any, should she put to him for her purposes? After some t
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Literature
The New God of War Chapter 22
Chapter
XXII
At Kratos's acquiescence, the tournament was begun. Testing their might against the most savage of beasts, and most unyielding of opponents from across the known world and beneath it, competitors came from the four winds for glory, for victory, and the prize: one favor from Hades, Lord of the Dead.
But Kratos cared little for glory or favor. He wished only to prove himself. To Hades, to Olympus, to Sparta, and to himself, that he was still the great and noble warrior he had once been. And to Artemis, who had recently caught his eye. Her spirit was wild and cunning, her mothods tactful and precise. Her beauty was not a frail one, but a powerful, fearsome one. He admired her in so many ways, and it made her infinitely appealing. Her teases had been both annoying and intriguing, and Kratos could not keep himself away.
But first and foremost, Kratos was a warrior, a leader. And he would hone his skills so that he may lead Sparta to greater heights as its patron god. With his n
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Batman: Parade of Lost Souls Art by War-Journalist Batman: Parade of Lost Souls Art :iconwar-journalist:War-Journalist 1 0
Literature
Batman: Parade of Lost Souls
The Joker died tonight. He finally left us a clue to where Tim was. He'd had him at old Arkham, doing... something. He'd brainwashed him. Maybe driven him insane. Or both. The poor kid. Nobody should have had to suffer that.
I remember most of the fight. Bruce had chased Joker around while I dealt with Harley. We fought in the ruins of the asylum. Metal support struts and beams stuck out from the ruined concrete like bones sticking out of torn, rotten flesh. The demolition had revealed caverns under the asylum that went downward nearly a mile. Unstable minds over unstable ground. Fitting, I guess. Too dangerous even to tear down.
Harley must have lost an extra screw when she'd let him torture Tim. She'd brought her bazooka into play over all broken concrete and empty space. I tried. I really did try to save her, I swear. I hated her for what she'd done, but I'd grabbed her when she fell. I tried to lift her up to the ledge, but I ripped her costume. I mean, it ripped. And she fell. She
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Go Team Winchester! by War-Journalist Go Team Winchester! :iconwar-journalist:War-Journalist 1 0
Literature
Fire and Brimstone Ch. 3
Chapter Three
McAnally's is a real, old fashioned pub settled right into the city. Most people don't notice it, because it's tucked away between two enormous office buildings, and you have to go down a flight of stairs to reach the doorway.
An almost-physical wave of magical energy greeted me as I opened the door, blowing out like a sudden breeze. I basked in the spiritual heat, letting it melt away the physical cold I felt. I knocked my snowy boots off and stepped down to the floor. The whole place is set a few good feet into the ground, so that the thirteen high windows let in just enough light to tell you the time without breaking the atmosphere. The great long bar was crooked and uneven. There were thirteen columns carved with Old World fairy-tales scattered randomly amongst the thirteen tables, and thirteen spinning fans hung from the low ceiling.
McAnally's is one of the few magic-friendly places in the city, which means that an angry wizard or two grumbling in and looking for a
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Literature
Fire and Brimstone Ch. 2
Chapter Two
I've never been much of a writer. I don't really like to think about a lot of things in my life. Decisions are a pretty easy choice between good and evil. Being born a demon will do that to you. But here goes.
Harry Middleton's apartment was a well-kept flat in London. The furniture's nice and comfy, never dirty. Portraits are always clean and dusted. Fountain pens are rarely out of ink. And the electric bill is always paid. This is all pretty fantastic considering that Harry Middleton's been dead since 1984. He'd fought in World War II and lived to tell about it. He was a good man. One of those short, sweet, thin little balding guys that looks like the world's best grandpa. And his ghost was no different.
The past eight years had been hard for me. I'd left the only home and family I'd ever known. I traveled across the world, lost my big gun in the ocean, washed up on an island where a dead guy told me the origin of the universe, and was asked by the Queen of the Witches to
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Literature
The New God of War: Ch. 21
Chapter
XXI
From what the enchanted ceiling told her, it was only just into the dark of evening when Athena found what she had been looking for. Among the many different sun symbols listed in her library, she found one that matched the bags design perfectly. It was that of Achilles, the great fallen hero. It was strange that he chose the sun, considering that he had little to do with Helios, and Apollo had given Paris the strength to kill him in Troy.
But this only intrigued and worried her further. Why would Kratos have a sack with the emblem of Achilles upon it? It had been years since his death, and he was no longer a public figure. So the question also became how did Kratos find such a thing, and where?
Further investigation provided only more answers, and more worries. Achilles's remains were placed on the Isle of Leuke, nearby to the temple of Apollo. A final jab, apparently. There were no records of Achilles's wealth being moved elsewhere. And while his son was given his famous
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Adventures of Gligarman and Gligirl by War-Journalist Adventures of Gligarman and Gligirl :iconwar-journalist:War-Journalist 3 0
Mature content
The New God of War: Ch. 20 :iconwar-journalist:War-Journalist 1 0
Magikarp the Gray by War-Journalist Magikarp the Gray :iconwar-journalist:War-Journalist 0 1
Literature
Fire and Brimstone Ch 1
The world's a strange place. War, famine, tectonic plates, electric toothbrushes. The strangest things surround us every day. We see it, and just lump it into the baseline we call 'normal.' Some things just show up as a product of the times and get labeled 'progress.' Older things, like the tectonic plates, are filed under 'old news.' And sometimes we forget the classic stuff. We forget how things used to be, in favor of how things are. Ideas change, so the world changes.
Or so some people think.
But there are forces out there older than humanity itself that play around in plain sight. Things that nobody notices. And if they do notice, it's written off; buried. Things like magic. And I'm here to tell you, the world is a lot stranger than you think. My name is Harry Dresden, and I'm a wizard. Conjure by it at your own risk.
Beneath my heavy blankets in my basement apartment, I, the savior of Chicago many times over from nightmares, necromancers, vampires, and fallen angels, slept. In my
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Mature content
The New God of War: Ch. 19 :iconwar-journalist:War-Journalist 0 0
Fire and Ice by War-Journalist Fire and Ice :iconwar-journalist:War-Journalist 0 1
Literature
The New God of War: Ch. 18
Chapter
IIXX
Kratos stepped swiftly through the underbrush, again acting as a scout for his half of the amazon battalion. While his senses were keen to any sign of the gorgons or their queen, his mind wandered to Aerim. She held some grudge against him. Though it was not the grudge itself that disturbed him, nor the betrayal he anticipated.
It was the simple question of why he did not just kill her.
Why? Why not? She had affronted him in his own chambers, threatened him, even. She was an impudent warrior distracted by her emotions. She would fall in battle sooner or later; he would merely hasten the hands of Hades.
Kratos leaped from the jungle floor into the branches of a tree, pausing for a moment to get his bearings. The position of the moon told him that he was headed for the correct tip of the island, where Achilles's mausoleum was located. From here, he could not tell whether it housed the beasts or not; only that, without care, the jungle had begun to overtake it.
As he returned
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Chapter Four

By the time I'd met Liz and Abe at the Michigan installation, it was half-past one in the afternoon by the clock. But I'd left London at almost half-past one, so by my watch, it was almost nine at night. But it was still the middle of the day. And I don't sleep well on planes, so the jetlag was killing me. Thankfully Liz and Abe hadn't forgotten that, and had a fresh stogie waiting for me. And while it was nice to see her after so long, I was sort of glad that Liz needed to prep for their next assignment. I wasn't in the mood to be around people, anyway.

Abe and I were given a boat and crew to sail out into the middle of the lake to find out where, exactly, the psychic energy had come from. Liz had used the Bureau's satellite to coordinate a rough latitude and longitude, based on where the base, and a few smaller outlets, had been hit around the lake. We cruised at a steady pace. The December air didn't bother me much, but I wore my big trenchcoat for the comfort. My breath came out in great steamy clouds, which made the driver a little twitchy. He looked like a new face. There'd been a lot of those.

I'd left the wheelhouse a while ago and come up to the bow as a lookout. It was refreshing, getting out into the world again. London was cold, but this was... brisk. The beauty of the lake. One of the crew had told me that the lake had been formed millions of years ago when the ice age receded. All the water that had sunk into the ground had expanded and basically dug an enormous hole when it froze. Then it all melted, leaving the water in the lake. I stood there, just thinking about that. I remembered being concerned with the workings of warlocks and ancient monsters from the other side trying to destroy the world. It was calming to be thinking about the way this world naturally worked.

I heard the deck boards creak as Abe walked up behind me. “Quite a sight, eh chap?”

“Yeah.”

Abe, or Abraham Sapien, was a fish-man. He was found floating unconscious in a stasis tank underneath Washington DC. The only thing they found to identify him was a scrap of paper with Lincoln's date of death on it. Nobody knew where he'd come from, not even him. But he was a smart guy. Before the Bureau had let him go out on his own, he'd be cooped up in his room whenever Liz and I had missions. And he'd spent most of that time reading and listening to classical music. He was quite a philosopher. The only one I liked.

But since I'd been gone, it seemed like he'd found himself a little bit. Found the man he used to be, and the life he'd left behind all those years ago. I was happy for him. But these days he talked a little... old-fashioned.

For a minute more there was nothing but the thrum of the engine, and the water, along with the occasional chunk of ice, flowing off the hull.

“I hate to be indelicate, but it's been a long time.” Abe began. “Might I ask where you've been hiding yourself?”

I sighed through my nose, producing a big cloud of steam. “Away. Finding myself,” I said.

“Ah,” he replied, voice crisp. I felt a little bad. I'd been his first friend, and the one who'd saved him from being dissected when they couldn't revive him at first. I'd left him to find my own roots. I had good reasons to leave, but he was my friend. And now there was a block between us that I'd put there.

“I'm sorry I left, Abe.”

Abe came up and sat on the railing beside me, fish lip turned up in a little smile. “Don't worry, old boy. Roger and I had thought about it after you'd left. Indeed, we had. But the more we talked, the more we both knew: we had nowhere to go. I can't imagine you had much better.”

I sighed, another cloud of steam.

“Anyway, we've had our own lives. Our own problems. The former less often than the latter, sadly.”

I looked over at him as he turned around and looked down into the lake. Liz had told me on the way from the UK. Apparently their team commander, Ben Daimio, had been possessed by an animal spirit and lost control. A lot of agents had died, and Ben had run off. He'd been Abe's friend, and they'd spent weeks looking for him. That is, until they'd gotten the call for the mission that was waiting for them back at the base.

“It's good to see you again, Abe.” I reached over and put a hand on his shoulder.

He smiled back reluctantly. “You too, Red.”

Static came over the loudspeaker. “Here we are, gentlemen.” The boat slowed to a stop, and I could feel the turbines turn in reverse to keep us from coasting. The wind picked up, way up, until it was practically screaming. Abe and I both paused until the sound disappeared, and shared a look. In this business, you didn't shrug off omens.

Another fresh-faced agent came out of the cabin carrying a huge oxygen tank on her back, and two equally large guns in her hands. She handed one to Abe, which he took and clipped to the belt of his wetsuit. She nearly dropped the other gun, and I clipped it to my own shorts. Fancy little thing. First rapid-fire speargun I'd ever seen. Flashlight, blacklight, even a Geiger counter.

But without the guns, she had a heck of a time not falling flat on her back. She struggled to get the tank off, but I took it from her and slung it over my shoulder. She gave me a short, grateful nod and retreated back into the cabin. “She new?” I asked.

Abe made sure all the fancy bits of the gun were working. “Newer than most, but she's quite good with gadgetry. It's been seven years, you know. Nobody talks about you much. Liz looks quite normal, and I'm what they see on their first mission; old hat. But you're... well, a little bit scary before you get to know you.”

I mirrored Abe's movements, trying to check out my own gun. Until Abe frowned so awkwardly that I just handed it to him. He flicked all the little dials himself. “And are you really going to need that thing?” he asked.

I shrugged the oxygen tank to the deck with a thud. “Nah. I just didn't want her to fall.”

Abe smiled, handing me back the gun and making sure his own was secure. I did the same, and shrugged out of my trenchcoat, laying it on top of the tank. We both steadied at the bow railings. “Leaping into a frozen lake to seek out the source of unimaginable evil?”

“Just like old times” I replied.

Abe leaped in first, and I followed. The water was a bit chilly. My hooves didn't do much to churn water, so I swam with my arms. Heck of a workout for a normal person, I guess. Being what I am, I can do a lot of things that normal people can't. For example, holding my breath for several minutes at the bottom of a frozen lake. The tank would have slowed me down. And in my time on the job, I'd discovered that a lot of things are easier when I'm not breathing.

I followed Abe further and further down. He seemed to know where he was going. I stayed back a bit from him, keeping my eyes out. He was the fish-man, I was the heavyweight. I saw plenty of shadows down there in the dark, but I never found anything but seaweed, and moved on. I've seen a lot of scary stuff in my life, and it's never a good idea to panic. Harder to hyperventilate when you're holding your breath.

As we neared the bottom, Abe stopped and motioned me forward. I swam up beside him and he grabbed his gun, switching on the light. Down at the bottom, in the middle of a field of long seaweed, was an enormous hole. Not like a well or an impact crater, but like something had been ripped up from the bottom. Giant bits of rock and rubble that the seaweed hadn't claimed yet surrounded the hole. Most of the seaweed had been crushed, and even looked a little dead. I thought about that a little bit while Abe signed to me that he was going in closer.

I nodded and grabbed my spear gun. Abe wiggled down through the water to the middle of the crater. The hole must have gone ten feet down into the earth, but the shifted rocks had turned it into more of a deep divot. I turned my eyes upward for a moment, looking for the boat and making sure nothing was coming down on us. I made out the hull, and pulled my gun up when I saw other movement. I watched for a moment and calmed down. Just a patch of floating seaweed.

I looked down again to see Abe taking some samples from the inside of the crater. I looked around again for movement. There wasn't any, but I had this nagging feeling in the back of my head. Like I was missing something.

And then something reached out and grabbed Abe's leg. He didn't panic, but rather rolled on to his back and fired. I took aim and did the same. But down there in the dark cold water, if I hadn't seen the spear leave the gun, I wouldn't have thought we'd hit the thing at all. We did. I saw the metal glinting. But then I realized: the seaweed had moved.

I rolled to face the surface in time to catch a great big torpedo of seaweed in the chest. A pair of bright silvery eyes gleamed up at me as the little bits of weed wrapped around me. I dropped the gun and tried to push the thing away. My hand just sank through the damn thing and got me stuck even further.

The thing kept on squeezing, and I couldn't help but let a little air out. I tried to twist around and see how Abe was doing, but the weed-thing kept wrapping me tighter, staring into my eyes with those annoying little lights. Screw it. We didn't have time for this. I smashed the thing in what would have been its shoulder. It didn't work, but I didn't think it would. I grabbed the head of the thing between my stone fingers and crushed those little eyes into my fist. It didn't give too much resistance after that. I tossed it away and swam down to Abe.

The weed had slithered up his leg to his stomach now, and he was losing his other leg. I made it to the bottom and grabbed bits of the slithering seaweed in both hands, ripping the bit that had Abe off from the rest of it. The grip on him slackened, and he was able to skirt what clung to him.

I turned to him, rubbing my thumb and forefinger together questioningly. Abe nodded, but quickly reached for his gun. I flung myself to the side, with all the speed someone of my size can muster underwater, and Abe fired. I turned around to see a great big black shiny ball coming toward me, sporting two giant pincers. The spear had struck home inside that dark shell, but the thing was still coming. I dittoed the old grip-and-rip on its pincers when it got close enough. Dark blood flowed from it as it twitched and sank down to the bottom. I looked out over the seaweed, and thought I saw it move again.

I was wrong. Hundreds of shiny black shells cruised through the seaweed, making it shake like a jungle in a hurricane. I felt a harsh snap on my tail and tried to scream, letting out more of my air. I looked down to see the little crab-things swarming over the hole, trying to reach up for us. Abe grabbed my shoulders and we started for the surface. A couple of the things had grabbed on to my hanging gun, and I had to unclip it to keep us going.

I whipped my tail back and forth, trying to swing the damn thing off as we swam up. Trying to let go of what little air I had left on the way up was making me lose focus, but I assumed that Abe was guiding us to the boat.

As soon as we broke surface, I took in a big breath, swimming with my arms toward the boat. Abe was first on-deck, and reached down a hand to help me up. I took it and got a grip on the edge before bringing up my tail, black crab still hanging on, and punched it flat against the hull.

I hauled myself over the edge and sat for a moment, taking deep breathes. “You get what you were after?”

Abe pulled a vial of dirt from one of the pockets on his belt. “I did indeed.”

“What were those things?”

Abe stood up and headed at a healthy clip across the deck. “If they were what I think they were, I've got to get this analyzed right away.”

I stood up and shrugged into my trenchcoat to fight off the chill, following Abe as best I could. “What's the worst that could happen?” I asked as we went down the stairs into the cabin.

Abe never stopped moving. “If whatever was down there was enough to involve emissaries of both of the faerie courts, we could all be in considerable danger.”

“So we're screwed.” I said.

Abe finally looked back at me. “Yeah” he said. “We're screwed.”
Chapter
XXIII

Athena awoke, refreshed and prepared the following morning. After speaking with the dignitaries of Athens, she felt confident that her city would rise again as one of the great powers in Greece. This gave her good feelings for the day to come. And though Bubo was nowhere to be seen, he had left her a single feather at his perch by her bedside: a sign of good will from her favorite companion.

She filled her day catching up on all that she had been avoiding the past several days. News from the world below was ever-changing, and more wonders were born every hour. Athena knew it to be her place to catalogue all that she could. She read, wrote, and re-wrote through the long morning. And as the sun began its slow descent into evening, she laid down her quill and decided it was time to visit Dionysus.

As she dressed herself for the occasion, she wondered. Who was this man to her? Uncle? Brother? Cousin? What deference, if any, should she put to him for her purposes? After some thought, she decided to be simplistic and homely. She dressed in a muted blue dress that covered her well, with a translucent veil for her hair. She wore no bracelets or rings, merely her usual emerald tiara that held her veil in place. It would do better that he see her with more respect. All the more reason to draw his eyes to hers, and nowhere else. Who knew what debauchery lay beyond his doors. As the Goddess of Wisdom she was privy to many sexual acts, but she had no intention of seeing them firsthand.

She travelled the halls of Olympus, taking the normal, longer routes. She arrived at his hall perhaps three hours into the evening. Like some of the other halls, these doors were a mural to their owner. Dionysus's was a purely bronze affair. A great grapevine framed both sides and the top, with a single large grape protruding from above. A bull, carrying a large glass between its horns, stood beneath the grape, collecting its sweet juices. Gathered at the bull's hooves were several couples in various, yet reserved stages of coitus. And surrounding the scene was a vast audience of humans. Some wept, some jumped for joy, while others merely watched. And surveying it all, a single satyr played in the vines above.

Athena politely knocked, giving some thought to the mural. She waited for a few brief moments outside the hall, and was then greeted by the god himself, sticking his head through the door, as if to shield one side from the other. Her stomach took a turn. “Good afternoon, Lady Athena!” The eyes beneath his dark bushy brows lit up, along with his rosy cheeks, and he scuttled hurriedly the rest of the way through the doors. To her surprise, he was fully-clothed and seemingly quite sober.

Her stomach returned to its rightful place and she spoke. “Good afternoon Lord Dionysus. Am I interrupting something?”

The larger man quietly closed the doors. “Hmm? Oh, no. Just a new tragedy I was watching. Some fool named Dante has come up with a revisionist view of the Underworld. It's as meticulous as it is ridiculous. It will never last. But this is a pleasant surprise! What can I do for you?”

“I was hoping we could speak about certain matters.” She stood very straight and businesslike with her fingers tented in front of her.

The portly god scratched his beard. “And what matters might these be? You'll pardon my ignorance, Goddess of Wisdom, but our circle of friends and interests very rarely coincide.”

She returned his healthy grin with a small, amused one. “No, indeed they do not. Could we speak inside?”

Dionysus's eyes shifted, and his great arm reached to scratch at the back of his head. “Eh. Well. As you know, I'm not often invited to the Pantheon. And considering that I have been, I've taken several... liberties, to celebrate my occupation...” The large man stood there as his cheeks grew redder and redder before her. She avoided smiling, though she could imagine what he meant. But she took a small joy in watching him squirm. “I'm afraid we'd have no privacy in my hall. Are these matters... clandestine?”

She allowed herself a small smile. “No, not particularly. I wished to speak to you about Kratos.”

“Aah!” He pronounced. “Yes, Kratos. You were the one who appointed him the God of War, weren't you?” She merely nodded. “Well in that case, I was going to visit him after the play anyway. But considering its dismalness in comparison to my current company, may we walk to his hall and talk along the way?”

“That would be fine.” The two began walking. At first, Dionysus had looked toward the most direct route to Kratos's hall. But she had much to discuss with him, and nodded toward the opposite direction. He merely smiled and strode beside her.

“So, what exactly did you wish to speak about? Kratos is a fairly large subject.”

“Indeed. I know that the two of you have shared good times together, yes?"

The wine god laughed. “Oh yes. Such a short but sweet time we've had already.”

“That is good. But as his appointer, it is my responsibility to ensure Kratos's full ascension as a god, and that it goes as smoothly as possible.”

“Of course,” Dionysus nodded.

“Though I understand he has long been tortured, by those around him as well as himself. And I fear he may not be making the best decisions in his quest to become the god he will become.”

Dionysus placed his hands behind his back. “Perhaps. But you of all people should know that our tales of ascension are among the most important. We are who we are because of the mistakes we've made and the responsibilities we take up in order to rectify them. Perhaps Kratos needs to make a few bad decisions before he can become a true God of War.”

“I would be less concerned were all the eyes of Olympus not constantly watching him. Forever is a long time to live. And as you may know, a long time to hold grudges. Good decisions early on here will make everything easier for him.”

“Keeping an eye on your pet project, eh?”

Athena's brows furrowed beneath her tiara. “He is hardly a pet project. He has served Olympus well and deserved a just reward. Though I admit I was not aware of what a burden a life like ours can be, particularly to a man with so many regrets. So I took it upon myself to help... ease his transition.”

“Hmmm. So what do you want of me?” Dionysus asked.

“I'd simply like to know what he's been up to. He's fairly... coy with me. And I am afraid he may be damning himself without knowing. Since Ares's betrayal, the pantheon has been on-edge. And I do not want them to take preventative measures with him.”

“I understand” said the larger god. “Being one under such scrutiny, I can appreciate your intentions.”

Conveniently, Athena stopped before the doors to Kratos's hall. Dionysus seemed bewildered, but did not question her. “Then will you help me?”

He nodded, placatingly. “We will see what can be done.”

With one of his great hands, he pushed open the doors to Kratos's hall. Greeting them came the explosive crashing of stone and metal. The pair stepped through the doors carefully. Dust and rubble filled the air as though a war raged in its patron god's quarters. Dionysus threw an arm before Athena. “Stay back!” he warned. But with her green eyes, keen from scanning text, she could see through the dust: Kratos in battle.

She pushed past his arm and approached, covering her mouth to avoid the dust. Between the crashing of stone and iron, she heard Kratos grunt and roar as he attacked his foes. But who? Who would dare start a fight in the halls of Olympus?

As she ventured further, she saw beasts of all shapes and sizes emerge from seemingly nowhere to attack him. Snatching a lunging wolf from the air, he kicked the beast into the midsection of a minotaur with raised axe. From the dust an enormous club crashed down, forcing Kratos to roll to his left. A cyclops emerged behind the club, and Kratos leaped toward its eye, blades raised. The first blade was blocked by the beast's second raised hand. The second, however, found its mark. Kratos kicked hard at the creature's neck and vaulted himself back to his original position.

Athena began to step forward as the attacks seemed to cease. But as she was about to speak, an enormous barbed tail shot out from the dust like a bolt of lightning from the clouds. And just as quickly, Kratos sidestepped the attack, grasping the tail by its stinger as it attempted to pass him by. With a grunt of effort, he snapped the barb from the tail and grabbed the appendage with both hands. And with a mighty roar, lifted the beast from its place in the mist to crash agaist the right wall of the room, its other useless limbs flailing. And as it did, Athena witnessed the beast crumble into hundreds of pieces of rock.

“Stone!” she said, finally understanding. And as she spoke, she saw Kratos jerk toward her, as if expecting another opponent.

“Athena!” he said, surprised. He straightened, and made a lowering gesture with both hands. The dust seemed to seep into the floor, clearing the air. And as she looked, she saw that the stone from the giant scorpion merely melted back into the stone floor. He had used his powers over the construction of his hall to construct monsters to fight. She hadn't ever considered the application before.

“That was quite brilliant, Kratos.” She said as he approached, the exercise seemingly over.

“Thank you. I've been working on my technique.”

She sighed, almost disappointed, but retained an amused smile on her face. “No, not that. Your use of your hall. I'd never considered using it as a battle simulation. Very inventive. I am impressed.” He smiled sheepishly, but it disappeared quickly.

“Yes, splendid dislpay my boy!” came Dionysus's booming voice. His great hands produced echoing claps in the now empty hall. “For a moment I thought you were actually under attack, and feared for the many 'innocent' lives here in the castle.”

“A cold day in the Underworld predates that, I'm sure” Kratos smirked, wiping sweat from his brow.

“Preparing for another fight this evening?” Dionysus ventured.

“No,” Kratos replied. “I fought earlier today. I was merely testing my reflexes. My next match is tomorrow. Allow me a few moments to bathe, and I shall return.”

As Kratos disappeared into his own washroom, Athena exchanged glances with the wine god. “He seems quite enthralled in the tournament, as he has been for the past several days. The few times I've spoken to him since it began, he's talked of little else.”

Athena knitted her brows in thought. “I'd like to get him into a serious conversation about his godhood tonight. Would you assist me? Keep him from escaping into other avenues?”

Dionysus nodded. “Of course.”

Athena's concerns had abated some since entering the chamber. While she was still concerned as to Kratos's ascension, He seemed more comfortable than she'd ever seen him on Olympus. Perhaps she had been pressuring him too much to interact with the others. After all, a caterpillar must cloister itself in a cocoon before it can fly.

Moments later, Kratos returned, cleaned and refreshed. “Now to what do I owe your company?” he asked of them both.”

Athena spoke first. “We were hoping to check on you. It's been some time and you've been so entrenched with the tournament, we hoped you would consider a break and appreciate some simple conversation.”

Dionysus followed. “In short, we wanted to know how you're faring, my boy. Surely you've some time to relax, have a drink, and catch up.” Dionysus made a gesture with his right hand in the air, and suddenly he held a golden goblet. And as simply as if he were holding three of them, he handed one to each of them.

Kratos looked surprised, and a a sullen smirk crossed his ash-white face. “Unfortunately I keep no wine close by. Shall we call a servant?”

“No need” relpied Dionysus. From somewhere beneath his colossal robes he produced a flask of wood and gold. He poured from it the darkest wine Athena had ever seen into each of their glasses. When he had finished and the flask had vanished, they each raised their glasses. “To us,” he announced. She and Kratos followed him as they clinked their glasses together.

She spoke up, trying to start the conversation in Kratos's corner. “How goes the tournament?”

Kratos nodded as he swalowed his wine. “It progresses well. A few skilled fighters from here and there are participating. The rules of the tournament specify that an opponent is disabled, only killed if necessary. Although, between each round is a battle with several of Hades's beasts, and they all but require killing.”

Dionysus chuckled. “I heard Hercules was refused admission.”

“Oh really? On what grounds?” Athena asked, sipping her wine.

“Probably because the great brute gets enough attention!” Dionysus's loud laugh echoed in the chamber, drawing chuckles from Kratos and Athena as well.

“What is the prize, anyway?” The Wine God asked.

“A single favor from Hades,” Kratos replied.

Athena raised her eyebrows, surprised. “Ooh. That's quite a prize. Lord Hades hardly associates with us here on Olympus, much less offering boon to mortals. Have you thought about what you may ask for?”

“I had honestly not given it any thought,” Kratos said scratching the back of his head. “I participate primarily to sharpen my combat skills, and to acclimate myself to my powers. And, I had hoped that word of my victory would spread to Sparta.”

Athena leaned forward with genuine interest this time. “And how is that going? I know Sparta was very attached to Ares.”

“And not very fond of you in particular for a number of reasons,” Dionysus chipped in. “Last I saw, at least.”

“Indeed,” Kratos nodded sullenly. “But I have managed to reach one mind. And I am hoping that by proving that I am no longer a monster, I can regain their trust.”

Athena sipped some of her wine before offering a reassuring hand. “They are a hardy folk, but they are yours. They knew you once as a great general, and I'm sure you can win them again.”

“That is my goal,” Kratos replied, swallowing more of his wine.

“I hear that Poseidon is watching the tournament in order to find himself a new champion. The mystic waters do not sea into the Underworld, so he would be there in person. Perhaps this could be a chance for you to speak to him. You could strike a deal and earn his favor.”
“I was unaware of that” Kratos replied.

Athena realized that she was growing giddy in her explanations and sipped wine to accomodate her enthusiasm. “Is Sparta currently making any conquests? Surely Poseidon's influence could aid them in naval battles.”

“A fine idea. Speaking of which, did you still wish me to look over the scrolls of my adventures?”

Athena smiled. She'd completely forgotten. “Oh, yes of course.”

“The Life and Times of Kratos,” Dionysus interjected. “Now that's a tale I'd like to read.”

Athena gestured with her glass. “Shall we move this to my chambers, then?”

“I have no objections” Kratos said, smirking.

“On we go, then!” The wine god roared, standing. “Would anyone like a refill?” He once again produced the flask and offered it to the pair of them. Kratos gestured for more and, emboldened by how well the evening was going, Athena did as well.

The walk to her chambers was filled with merry revels. Dionysus regaled them with some of his lurid tales, though noticeably refrained from particular language. Likely for her benefit, Athena thought. She appreciated the gesture. The god of pleasure had surprised her today, and she had found a new respect for him. She also noticed that Kratos did not share any stories of his doubtless countless conquests. She could not tell if he were simply not in the mood to recount them, or if he was holding back on her account. A small part of her hoped it was the latter. While she herself had no such stories to share, she managed to draw the other two into a conversation about the intricacies of belief. Because of this, she intentionally led them a longer route around the castle, and subsequently the group refilled on wine more than once during their journey.

Kratos eventually began telling some of his own life story, and Athena raced to get them to her chamber before too long. The three passed through her doors laughing as Kratos recounted his clever use of an enemy soldier as a human shield. Normally, she would be mildly uneasy about the discussion of violence, but the wine was surely getting to her. She felt her cheeks burn, and more giggles poured from her mouth than she could remember.

Dionysus settled on a large circular couch in the main room of her chambers, sipping at his wine. Meanwhile, Athena led Kratos to her drawing room, where she only just kept herself from stumbling at her desk. “Now...” she said aloud to herself. “Now now now... where did I put those scrolls...” she trailed off as she checked each drawer, attempting to keep her balance. The wine had affected her much more thoroughly than she had anticipated.

As she reached down to check the bottom-most drawer, she lost her balance and fell to her knees with a small cry. She felt Kratos's body heat as he approached and knelt down, extending a hand. “Are you alright?” he asked.

She shakily lifted herself with his help, feeling foolish. “Yes, yes. I'm fine.” She turned to him with a small smile, brushing a bit of fallen hair from her face. She gazed into his eyes. His dark, beautiful eyes. He stared back with a small smile to match. And just as her sense of propriety caught up to her, he spoke.

“Athena, I've just realized something” he said, extending his hand to her upper arm. His touch was unexpected, and her normally stone-like civility crumbled instantly. She felt the heat in her face begin to burn though her.

“Yes?” she probed dreamily.

Kratos's smile grew larger. “The scrolls... we've left the scrolls in my chambers.” Her face twisted with confusion as he began to chuckle. “You... you delivered them to me some time ago, and I'd completely forgotten about them!” His chuckling descended into laughter. And as she remembered that evening, she could not help but laugh with him. Such a fool she was. But, if there was ever a night she would be glad to be a fool, this was it.
Chapter
XXII

At Kratos's acquiescence, the tournament was begun. Testing their might against the most savage of beasts, and most unyielding of opponents from across the known world and beneath it, competitors came from the four winds for glory, for victory, and the prize: one favor from Hades, Lord of the Dead.

But Kratos cared little for glory or favor. He wished only to prove himself. To Hades, to Olympus, to Sparta, and to himself, that he was still the great and noble warrior he had once been. And to Artemis, who had recently caught his eye. Her spirit was wild and cunning, her mothods tactful and precise. Her beauty was not a frail one, but a powerful, fearsome one. He admired her in so many ways, and it made her infinitely appealing. Her teases had been both annoying and intriguing, and Kratos could not keep himself away.

But first and foremost, Kratos was a warrior, a leader. And he would hone his skills so that he may lead Sparta to greater heights as its patron god. With his newfound pride in his warrior spirit, he no longer felt bound by the politics of Olympus, and he allowed himself to revel in the combat.

His blades split the air as he eviscerated another hellhound, one of many that had quickly multiplied from the original beast. He kicked another one, sending it crashing into several of its fellow clumsy spawn. The original, who had now grown to the size of three bulls, leaped at him. Throwing his blades though the air, he impaled the beast between its three heads. The creature landed at his feet, hemorraging blood. Using his godly strength, he whipped the creature through the air like a morning-star, crushing all of the pups to a bloody paste. And as the creature lay dazed, he stepped over to it and thrust the blades further into its body, making it howl between gouts of blood. He climbed over the creature on to its back, as if to saddle it. But with his strength, he pulled the chains of his blades and watched as the weapons cleaved the creature into thirds. And like the other creatures of Hades's domain, it vanished it a cloud of black smoke as it died.

Kratos hung his blades upon his back, where their magic helped them remain suspsended. “Is this all you have, Hades?” Kratos sneered under his breath. But he knew that this was scarcely a taste of what was in store for him. The tournament had only been underway for a few days. And as disappointed as he had felt with this challenge, he had barely slept. He was invigorated, his every sense ablaze. It had done him good to return to the fight. He had spent little time in his chambers, though. At least the meeting with Zeus no longer loomed before him, and that meant he would no longer have to suffer visits from Hermes.

A floating rock platform descended from above. Kratos stepped upon it and it lifted him out of the arena, which quickly bathed itself in flame to expel any gore or blood from the previous battles. As he reached the viewing steps, he saw the only watcher: Artemis. He stepped toward her, a slight smirk on his face. “Come to see the show, Huntress?”

She scoffed playfully. “Hardly a show, God of War. If such entertainment truly impressed me, I would have watched your exploits in Pandora's temple more thoroughly.” She stood, placing one foot on the next step up. Kratos thought it little more than an attempt to showcase her armor, or lackthereof. Her bracers and combat skirt were made of dark leather, edged with fur, and the calf straps of her sandals rode nearly to the back of her knees. The only metal to be seen was on her breastplate and tiara, both simple and inornate with a cold, bright shine even in the light of the fire below.

“Your tactics are quick and brutal,” she said coldly, calculating. “You rarely strategize and often take the head-on approach, wildly swinging your blades.”

Kratos had learned to keep his cool to the goddess's comments. Anger only seemed to fuel her. Instead, he smirked. “Any game is chaos to those who know it not.”

Her eyes and her smile narrowed, as if choosing which piece of his statement to pick apart. He had baited her well. “I know the game quite intimately, God of War. Perhaps we should each agree to battle unarmed and unmagicked from now on.” Kratos's blood heated at the thought of their wrestling on Serpent Isle. “Or perhaps that will be ample reward for if you defeat me...” she teased dryly.

With that, she stepped past Kratos and on to the platform. The arena below had been cleansed, and the flames receded. “When!” Kratos shouted to the descending huntress. She turned back toward him, quirking a brow beneath her tiara. “When I defeat you” he said.

In the time it took her to flash a glaring smirk, she had pulled her bow and fired an arrow from the quiver on her back. He reached up, using what Olympian speed he had gained. The arrow seemed to whisper in his ear as it flew past him, the steel embedding in the rising stone steps behind him and leaving him with naught but a closed fist. Artemis smirked and turned back to the arena as the platform met with it. She stepped down to face a pair of chimeras.

With Artemis occupied, Kratos opened his hand. In it, was a single feather from the end of the arrow. He was getting there. By the time the tournament came to an end, he would be ready for the Goddess of the Hunt.

Rather than take a seat and watch the battle, as she had undoubtedly done with him, he followed the rising steps to the top. He followed one of many pathways at the top of the circular arena that led out into the open air of the Underworld. The path continued forward, toward a glowing portal. At either side of the path were statues of Hades in his various forms, covered at their bases in vines and leaves of darkest black. Was it true that even in the Underworld, life survived? Or was it, like hope, an illusion of Hades's?

As Kratos passed through the portal, he thought of his hall. Upon passing through the light, Kratos found himself there. Instantly, he felt relieved. Not only did Hades's domain itself give off an aura of dismay, but Kratos had at last come to think of his hall as a home. He had decorated the walls with traditional Spartan drapery; deep crimson with golden trimming. He had remade the torches and the arms of his throne to resemble rams, his chosen agalma. Like him, they found their homes atop the treacherous mountain peaks.

He stepped up to his prayer well and twitched. Days ago, he had brought some of the water to Morpheus for his personal use. The former god of dreams had sent him away, claiming he would contact him when his next whim came to mind. Kratos did not enjoy thoughts of the conniver, but the water in his well now did not quite meet the edges as it once had, and it irked him.

But with a concentration of will, Kratos looked into the water to see the Spartan soldier from the night of the Sphinx. The soldier was training, matching against a fellow warrior in the glow of torchlight. Kratos merely watched for several moments as the boy disabled his comrade. He had potential, Kratos thought. “Boy,” he called through the waters.

The soldier looked toward the sky, and seeminly up to Kratos. “My lord? It has been many days. I am glad to hear of you.”

“How do your wounds fair?” Kratos asked.

The soldier rolled his shoulders and brandished his weapons, as if stretching for another session. “I am well again. The Sphinx left naught but a few scars. You impressed many people that night, my lord.”

Kratos gave himself a bitter smile. “The King was not among them, I assume.”

“No,” the soldier looked down. “No, he is not an easy sort to sway. But he has done us well. And I believe you can do us well, God of War.”

“Good. I will call upon you again soon.”

The soldier saluted and bowed, and the image in the water dissipated. The day had been long, and Kratos took refuge in his throne. The combat had been good for him. He felt fulfilled for the first time in months. He felt as if he could pass away peacefully into sleep. But Sparta worried him. He wondered if he could sway the king, and the kingdom. What could he do to earn their trust as a leader, or their respect as a god?

And of course, there were his nightmares. He had hoped Morpheus would makes haste with his demands so that he might be rid of the visions.

As he sat there, pondering, the doors of his hall swept open. Between them came Athena. She was as beautiful as ever in a fine green gown and her usual golden tiara. Though her walk and the chill in her eyes informed him that this was not merely a social calling. Though he was no less glad to see her. “Athena!” he called happily. “Come in. I only just returned, myself.”

Despite her eyes, she smiled softly. “Yes, it is good to see you again, too. We have had such little time together as of late...”

“My apologies. I have been busy.” Kratos said, standing and stepping toward her.

“It is not your fault. You are a new god, and you have many affairs to attend to.” The cold mask of business began to crack as Kratos approached her. Her cheeks pinkened as her mouth curled into a small smile. He could not help but smile with her.

But she blinked and shook her head slightly, as if reminding herself. “But I must speak with you on an important matter.” She tented her hands in front of her, walking past him. When she turned back, the cold had returned. “As I said, I know you are a new god. And I am glad that you have managed to shed your woes and begun exploring the possibilities now open to you. I really am.” Kratos's brows furrowed, and one rose. Athena had never acted this way. What was her intention?

“However,” she continued, approaching the red banner at his wall, “we must discuss your activities of late.” She sighed as she turned back toward him, eyes rising from the ground. “I know of your foray with Artemis.”

Kratos froze. How could she know? How much did she know? “Athena, I...”

She held up a hand, her eyes closed. “Please, allow me to finish. I know not the details of your quest beyond the defeat of the gorgon Stheno. I remember her. She was a cruel woman, and I fear the curse and her years of imprisonment at her sisters' hands did little for her temperament. You did well to destroy her.” Kratos's face evened, though her tone implied that there was more going on. “I saw the sack, Kratos.” He stiffened. The sack from Achilles's tomb. She had seen it. Worry rolled over him, but he tried not let it show.

“She closed her eyes again and rested her hands together over her lower body. “I'll not ask why or how it came into your posession. It is no longer my place to command you or cast judgement.” Her eyes opened again, brows knitted in a pleading, sympathetic fashion. “But you are among the gods now, Kratos. Your power comes not only from the magic of Olympus, but from the belief and respect of those below, and those around you. Should you let that slip from you... I fear you will never know peace. Eternity is a very long time to live, Kratos.” Once again, she looked down and turned away.

Kratos felt ashamed. Could she know of what happened in the rock face of Leuke? He had never intended to hurt her. Artemis was... something. But whatever she was, she was not what Athena was to him. He approached her, clenching and unclenching his hands, absently rubbing his bald head. “What is it that you ask of me, Athena?”

“She turned back to him, once again confident, but her chill had faded. “I want you to stop this foolishness. Stop looking below for your next quest. I have heard of Hades's tournament. But you are not a mere warrior anymore, you are a god! We are the shapers of the world, and thus we carry our responsibility amongst one another. If Sparta is where your heart lies, then speak to Demeter and bless their crops. Gain Poseidon's favor and let their warships sail uninhibited. You cannot hide from Olympus in petty distractions and games. If you do, they will forever hate you and call you pariah. Maybe even one day turn on you as they did Ares.”

Athena's words stabbed at him. He knew that Artemis's campaign had been less than he was worth. He knew that the gods would see it, and likely disapprove. And he knew that without the rest of Olympus, he would lead an eternity worse than death. He knew these things. “I wish I could change as the wind changes,” he growled, mostly to himself. He turned his back to her, putting his head down. “I wish that I could accept this way of life. But it is hard.”

He stepped over to his throne, looking over it and thinking on what it represented. “I was a soldier. A Spartan. From birth, I was trained to follow commands and concieve of strategy. To best an opponent. He looked at the throne, and up into the high ceiling above him. “But where is my opponent now? You say I have no need to fight, but I know how to do little else.” He turned back to her, and looked into her emerald eyes. “I agree. I have much to do before I am a proper god. But as the God of War, I am looked to for strength, and the guidance to use it. As a general, I fought many battles and claimed many victories. But here? I feel as a child would, wandering a maze. I must learn to guide myself before I may guide others.”

He stepped closer to Athena. At first he wished to hold her hands, but could only raise his own in gesture, hoping she would understand. “The tournament is not a distraction. It is an affirmation to myself. That I can still think as a leader. And to prove -to Sparta and to myself- that I am more than the monsters I have slain.” He looked down between them and closed his eyes, ashamed.

But as he felt her soft hands slip into his, his gaze lifted and eyes brightened. “You are, Kratos. You are so much more.” She stepped toward him, raising a hand to his cheek. Her breathing fluttered, while her cheeks flushed pink. Could this be the moment? She was so close. Could he lean in and kiss her?

Their eyes locked and he saw into her emerald pools. In them he saw the universe. And he saw her reluctance before her eyes could flutter and pull away. She turned away from him, and her statue-esque composure returned. “You are a good man, Kratos. Had I not seen it, I would not have made you a god. You can be a good Olympian, a true God of War. I know you will. And I will allow you to do it in your own way, and in your own time. But do not forget the odds and time that is against you. And do not forget that I am here to be your...” Athena's voice wavered for a moment. “To help you.”

Kratos stiffened, trying to match her once-again businesslike tone. “I will not forget. Thank you, Athena.” She nodded.

“Then I wish you good evening” she said lowly. At her will, the doors of his hall cracked open enough to allow her leave. And with her passing, the door closed, leaving Kratos to stand alone in his hall once again. With his body weary and his wits at an end, he retired to his bed, hoping for rest.

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Fool of a goddess! She cursed to herself as she closed and locked the doors of her hall behind her. Her tears flowed as she was finally safe in her chambers from prying eyes.

How could she have been so dull? He had nearly kissed her and she'd backed away! Stupid! What better timing could there have been than that?! She wept into her sheets, cursing her indecision.

She heard the flutter of wings and the clicking of talons on ivory. She opened her reddened eyes to see Bubo watching her from his perch beside her bed, a concerned chirp from his beak. “Oh, Bubo” she said, attemping to calm herself. “Why must love be so hard? How can I be laid low by such a simple emotion?” Athena sat up on her bed, looking out to the sky in her walls. “It frustrates me so. I want to tell him, but I cannot. Why? I have the clearest mind on all Olympus, but I cannot parse through this human emotion? It ties my words and splits my intentions so.”

Bubo hooted sympathetically, leaning toward her. She reahed out and stroked his golden feathers. His large, brown eyes remained with hers, comforting her. “Yes, of course” she said, wiping her tears. “My mind is my strength. So I must use it.”

She folded her legs and laced her fingers together, setting her elbows on her knees. She closed her eyes and focused. Bubo fluttered into her lap like an ordinary bird into a nest.

“Why couldn't I speak?” She asked aloud. “What held me back?”

Bubo shrieked, flapping his wings  as he settled into her lap. “Yes, fear. But fear of what?” She thought harder for a moment, pushing her emotions into rooms and boxes in her head. “Uncertainty? Perhaps Kratos does not see me the same way. Was his advance truly that? Or a trick of my emotions?”

She looked down at her bird, nestled gently in her lap. His eyes were cool now, and the horns of his feathery crown stood straight and unruffled. “Yes, of course. I cannot forget my role as his teacher. It would do no good to chastise him should I express my love.” Athena thought to herself. Even with her discipline, it would be too difficult to be both his tutor and his lover. The conflict of ideals would teach him nothing, and neither of them would be happy. Was his ascendance as a god more important than their love?

She did not need Bubo's aid for the answer. No. A clear mind puts the greatest good for the greatest number at the forefront. If Kratos were to slip in his evolution, or if the secrets of their past somehow came to light, it could be disastrous for the world, and perhaps Olympus. A few more fleeting moments of possible love were not worth that risk.

She knew now what she must do. She would wait. As he said, Kratos needed to learn to guide himself. Revealing her affections for him would be naught but a distraction, and possibly a hindrance. She must remain his teacher, a driving force.

As she breathed a relieved sigh, Bubo fluttered again and left her lap. His great wings carried him back to his ivory perch beside her bed and he hooted approvingly.

However, she thought, it would be best to cover all of the angles. This mortal love was a debilitating thing, enough to rattle her. Her perception of Kratos was skewed, if only just so. She would need an outside perspective to keep tabs on his development as a god, as well as his feelings. Clio's words were comforting, but she was her friend. And as such, her words were skewed as well. She would need someone else. But Kratos affiliated with so few people.

Dionysus. He and Kratos had shared many evenings. His eyes and tongue, while famous for their own journeys, would have to suffice. Standing up, Athena began to disrobe. A quick dip in her pool would calm her mind. And in the morning, she would go to Dionysus. She feared what debauchery might fill his nights. A second thought suggested that she approach him closer to mid-day. And with that thought, she lowered her body into the cool water, letting its magic bring her mind to peace.

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The Lord of the Dead watched as his messenger hound carried his writings through the Hyperion Gate to Olympus. From there it would find the hands of a slave, and finally make its way to Earth. Hercules, of all people, had heard of the tournament and demanded an invitation. After much time spent, Hades had managed to secure in writing his utter refusal and disdain for the demigod trash. He had not laughed so heartily in many a year. The legends might paint Zeus's brat as a hero and a good man, but he knew neither to be true.

The sounds of combat drew him to his Prayer Well. Though few mortals dared pray to him, he could watch the deaths of many, and the battles in his arena through the water. This day he was treated to the slaughter of a wave of satyrs by the warrior Ajax. A fool in life, Ajax had learned little in death. His disgrace over losing his right to Achilles's armor had caused him to end his life. Such a strong man with a weak heart and mind.

He thought back to the rounds that had already past. Perseus had lost, and escaped with only his life. Coward. The Fates would deal with him. The would-be amazon, Caenis, had shown little of her worth. But as a woman, and a daughter of the Lapiths, what little could there be to show? Hades chuckled to himself. Watching her face Apollo's other brood, the centaurs, had been quite satisfying. The grief as she slew them did his empty heart well. She would not win. But she would be entertaining.

As he drank deep the wine of his personal vineyard, Hades had considered the possibilities. But they all paled in comparison to his current plan. Kratos was right where he had wanted him for so long. And even his best-laid plans so rarely came to fruition. Should Hercules, or any other warrior, actually win the tournament and face Kratos, it would spoil everything.

No. He would wait. He would carefully tend the thorns of the path Kratos now walked, and watch him fall, bloody, into his trap.
Hello once again, fellow deviants! It's been almost five months since I last updated this thing. Weird! A third of the year is already gone.

The only art I've posted this year is the 18th chapter of The New God of War, so this post will be all life events. My roommate and I finally finished "Frasier." All of it. ALL 11 SEASONS. It was wonderful. I finally made it up the ladder and became an assistant manager at my job! And as a result, I'm making more money each month. And because of that, this coming July we are officially moving into a three-bedroom apartment. GUYS I FINALLY GET MY OWN ROOM IT'S BEEN LIKE 3 YEARS OMFG. I'm also deeper into tumblr now, in case you can't tell.

We got a new roommate. She doesn't pay rent, but she lends a needed female perspective and functions as our housemouse. Meaning while I'm busting my ass at work, she keeps the living/dining room and kitchen tidy, and makes dinner in exchange for free internet, video game use, and the opportunity to look for a job and get back into school.

I flew up to New York State as a surprise for my mom's birthday. It was nice to see the family, and the snow.

And immediately after that, we went to MegaCon! I cosplayed Harry Dresden from "The Dresden Files" book series, after working all year to get my costume together. It turned out really well, and I got a surprising amount of comments! I mean, it's a New York Times bestseller, but it's still the urban-fantasy equivalent of an 80's action series. I didn't expect it to have such a huge following! So many pictures. I was on Cloud 9 all weekend. In fact, James Marsters (aka Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Captain John Hart from Torchwood) was there at the Con signing autographs and taking pictures. Marsters being the guy who reads the audioboks for the Dresden Files, I decided to go see him. When my turn came, I stood in front of him for a moment, and he said "Harry?!" like he recognized an old friend. We talked about the series and how it deserves another shot at visual media. When I asked if he'd play Harry for a film role, he said "I'd do it in a heartbeat if I wasn't so short! Maybe if they hire a bunch of midgets or edit me in like they did for Ian McKellan in Lord of the Rings." But our time was running out, so he signed my staff and I went on my merry way very satisfied.
But it gets better.
On the last day of the Con, the security was run by actual cops, rather than just building security. And they said that because my staff was made of solid wood, it was considered a bat, and not allowed in. I was pissed for like a solid hour; I couldn't go inside the dealers room because I had nowhere to leave my staff. But I walked up and down the entrance hall all day and still enjoyed myself. I found a lot more fans, watched a March of the Doctors, and went to a Doctor Who panel. But when I met up with my new roommate to leave, she was talking to someone new. And this woman immediately asked "Are you cosplayng Harry Dresden?" I replied "Yes I am," and she said "can we get a picture? I'm so sick of Jim calling me at 3am complaining about how nobody would cosplay Harry." I did a double-take. "Jim?" I said. "Jim Butcher?" She nodded. I proceeded to freak the fuck out. But I gave a pose and they took a picture. After a while, I heard through my roommate (who now talks to her regularly) that Jim saw the picture and replied with "squeaky-voiced elation." I don't care what happens, that made my year.

Anyway, moving on. I still haven't made much progress with my book unfortunately, but I've been working on a Dresden/Hellboy crossover. It's been taking all of my attention (which is why I haven't posted for The New God of War) because I want to have it done before the 15th book comes out at the end of May.
I saw "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" in theatres, and it was freaking awesome. Easily the best Marvel film since "Iron Man" and "The Avengers." The dialogue is great, the acting is terrific, and it has the plot of an action-packed spy thriller.
I recently read "Fellowship of the Ring" for a first time. I figured it was about time I jumped into the grandfather of high-fantasy, since I enjoy the movies so much. And speaking of which, my roommate and I found the blu-ray extended cut collection of all three films for $45. Insta-buy! Just waiting to find a copy of "The Two Towers" to read.
And we're going to see "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" this weekend.

That about wraps up my year so far. Sorry about the lack of updates, but once I'm done with Dresden/Hellboy, I'll be back to my usual stuff. Hope your Spring goes well, fellow deviants!
  • Listening to: "Demons" by Imagine Dragons
  • Reading: Waiting on The Two Towers
  • Watching: nothing
  • Playing: Arkham Origins: Cold Cold Heart
  • Eating: Spaghetti
  • Drinking: Lemon-Lime soda

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War-Journalist's Profile Picture
War-Journalist
Shane
United States
I'm a nerd, a fanboy, a film critic, and that typical lazy artistic-type. Or maybe I'm just lazy...
I love to write. Having spent the past few years writing fanfiction for various things, I'm moving on to a book.

I like Rock music, but I prefer songs over bands. The only band I like more than a few songs for is AC/DC
I'm a huge movie buff, so don't even get me started on favorite films.
Favorite author right now would be somewhere between Stephen King and Jim Butcher (author of "The Dresden Files")

And that's pretty much me :)
Interests

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:iconcambion-hunter:
Cambion-Hunter Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016
www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMBC9J…

Happy Birthday to you, War-Journalist. :D
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:iconwar-journalist:
War-Journalist Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016
Thank you!
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:iconcambion-hunter:
Cambion-Hunter Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016
You are welcome, dude. :)
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:iconfurafura:
furafura Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2016  Professional
Thanks for the watch! ~♬
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:iconsaltsins:
saltsins Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for faving my keyblade uwu !!
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:iconkbfan:
kbfan Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
thanks for the watch!
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:iconshadoweclipex:
ShadowEclipex Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I thank thee for faving "Keyblades: Kill the Beast and Mother Knows Best Re"!!~
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:iconwar-journalist:
War-Journalist Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2015
You're quite welcome. They're both very inventive.
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:iconshadoweclipex:
ShadowEclipex Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks!! ^w^
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:iconwebbdoodle:
WebbDoodle Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Thanks...:)
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:iconwar-journalist:
War-Journalist Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014
You're quite welcome :)
It's a wonderful piece. I love the balance of light and. It adds weight to Dredd without making him seem Leifeld-ian haha.
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:iconwebbdoodle:
WebbDoodle Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Hahaha... erm, yeah I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. I think I owe the wonderful people at 2000 AD an apology. But I am flatted by your comment.
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:iconcdl113:
CDL113 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

Thank you for the Fave and or Faves! :+fav: :XD:

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:icondarkdarling98:
Darkdarling98 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist
:iconcolorfulsparklesplz: Happy birthday! :iconrainbowbummiecakeplz: :party: :iconrenarikaspinplz: Hope you have an really awesome day! :iconlovelyhugplz: :iconcolorfulsparklesplz: If this is either early or late, then please change the message accordingly in your mind.
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:iconwar-journalist:
War-Journalist Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014
Why thank you :)
I had to work, but the next three days will be pretty great :D
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:icondarkdarling98:
Darkdarling98 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014  Hobbyist
Your welcome! =D
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:icondazza1008:
dazza1008 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014
Welcome to Dreddheads, Citizen.

:bulletred: Introduce yourself here
:bulletred: A lot of Dredd art is in our faves
:bulletred: Since many praise the movie Dredd (2012) as a faithful adaptation and awesome movie, please make sure to sign the official petition if you'd like a sequel.

~:peace:
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:iconshadoweclipex:
ShadowEclipex Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I thank thee for faving "Lumiere Noire +"!!~
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:iconwar-journalist:
War-Journalist Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014
You're welcome :)
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:iconshadoweclipex:
ShadowEclipex Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
^w^
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:iconartblacksmith:
ArtBlacksmith Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks of the fave.
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:iconrylverine:
Rylverine Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014
Thanks for the fav. :)
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:iconrasaaro:
rasaaro Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
Thanks for faving my broken teardrop!
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:iconwar-journalist:
War-Journalist Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
You're welcome :)
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:icontalongrasp:
Talongrasp Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Student General Artist
Here's a suggestion, an interesting one at that!: If your not too busy, maybe you can try making a Scot Pilgrim Keyblade?

NOTE: This is not a request, just a mere suggestion.
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