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Go Team Winchester! by War-Journalist
Go Team Winchester!
I've been thinking about putting something like this together for a long time now, and I finally just got the urge to draw it. So I spent a while putting it together, and I really like how it came out. Very minimalist to make up for my total inability to draw anatomy. 

I know this has been done already, and probably much better. But I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring for it. Enjoy!
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 beer was not an uncommon sight. And, as I've said before, magic does not do kind things when left unchecked. The main purpose of the design was to break up, ground, and otherwise diffuse magical energy. What any sane decorator would see as utter chaos, we see as a safe haven. The randomly-placed columns, the spinning fans, and the number thirteen were all set up to keep magic from settling and festering.

Of course, as a man over six feet, the low fans made me nervous. And as I sat down at the bar on one of the thirteen stools, I noticed that one of them still spun a little slower than the rest. It had a broken blade and a scar in the ceiling from the time Tiny the ten-foot billygoat had come in and challenged me to mortal combat.

Before I could call, a bottle of McAnally's signature microbrew landed on the bar in front of me. The owner, bartender, and cook at McAnally's was Mac, a spare bald man with a complexion that put him anywhere between thirty and fifty. I looked at Mac, knowing that it was only ten in the morning. And he looked back with is usual thousand-yard stare. He knew what was up. “Thanks Mac” I said. He grunted in reply, turning back to his grill. He was a man of few words. But I'll be damned if he couldn't make an ambrosaic ale.

But even Mac's heavenly beer wasn't enough to keep a wince from my face as I watched several of the other customers immediately head back out into the oppressive cold. Most people, even magically speaking, don't have a ton of power. Premonitions, maybe a spell here and there, but most of the magical community wasn't too talented. Only those with immense talent got noticed and appointed as part of the White Council. And even fewer still were given the grey cloak of the Wardens, their police force. The Wardens were the ones who got to play judge, jury, and executioner if they felt that the Laws of Magic had been, or were in danger of being, broken. While they were the image of magical law, they weren't much liked. There was a reason blood didn't stain those cloaks. I hadn't taken the title lightly, but when there's a secret war on against nearly half the monsters on the planet... well, Stan Lee said it best. With great power comes great responsibility.

While I waited and sipped my beer, I ordered some eggs and one of Mac's specialty steaks. He worked the grill like a master. A real wood-smoke grill, not one of those charcoal or propane jobs. He flipped, stirred, cooked and seared like no man I'd ever seen. And in the time it took to cook the food and bring it over to me, his white shirt and apron had remained spotless. I put my money on the counter, which Mac accepted with a grunt, and I set about my steak like a hungry dog.

About half an hour later, when I'd made it down to my fat and the toast, I heard the door swing open. I looked up to see two people coming down the steps. A guy of average height with above-average muscle and a five-o-clock shadow, and a tall willowy brunette. Both wore sweat clothes beneath their winter jackets. “Heya Harry.” It was Will and Georgia Borden, the married werewolves.

I'd known both of them since they were just teenagers, wearing bad fake leather and sporting more grease than a pizza chain. They'd been taught to shapeshift into enormous wolves by the genuine article, and formed a pack called the Alphas, dedicated to shutting down dark magic around their college campus. Of course, the years had taken their toll. The Alphas had mostly grown up and gone their separate ways, and the ones that survived bore scars of one kind or another. They'd been my friends and allies for years and gone through some rough stuff at my side. Not to mention a nasty incident with psychophagic fleas.

I waved politely and they sat on the stools beside me. Mac gave me a questioning quirk of his eyebrow, and I nodded. It was strange to remember that these two were already drinking age. Mac set two bottles down and returned to the grill.

“So what's up, Harry?” Will asked, stealing a bit of toast and trying in vain to twist open his bottle.

“Did you guys feel what happened this morning?” I asked, grabbing a bottle-opener from the other side of the bar and opening his beer for him.

Georgia spoke as Billy first sipped, then guzzled. “We didn't. But we got a few calls from around the ParaNet. Everything from spiritual headaches to... screams...” Georgia bit her lip. “We've been out most of the day checking up on people. We called you, but I figured you'd be out and about, too.”

“Any signs of something nasty?” I asked. The ParaNet was a sort of organization I'd help set up a while back. It was like a hotline for mildly-talented folks to call if they felt they were being threatened. While it was nice to know that the psychomancy wasn't directly targeting Molly and I, it was no easier to hear that it had hit almost everyone.

Billy finally put down his empty bottle, remarking on it's deliciousness. “There was nothing we could pick up. No sulfur, no spirits, and no leftover magic. Whatever it was, it was just passing through.” Billy put his hand up for another ale. Georgia berated him, and he begrudgingly handed over his keys. Mac nodded, sliding it over the bar.

I rubbed my own scruffy chin in thought. “Where were the furthest calls from?”

Billy looked over at Georgia, who was pensive for a minute. “The furthest was in... Berrien Springs, I think. An older woman.”

My burned left hand's grip on my beer tightened through the lonely black glove I wore to hide the scars. Berrien Springs was a few miles inland. On the other side of Lake Michigan. Hell's Bells. A spell big enough to generate that kind of magic, that much, would take an incredible amount of energy. Something on the scale of probably a dozen mediocre practitioners, a small-time god, or a few dozen other things way out of my weight-class. Which is par for the course. It never rains, but it pours.

I drained the last of my beer and gobbled down the rest of the plate. “Alright” I began. “Are you two done checking around?”

“We got the last one on our way here,” Georgia replied.

Will leveled his gaze at me. “What can we do here, Harry?” I looked back at him. It wasn't so long ago that I didn't trust people to look after themselves. I'd kept the truth from people who needed it because it would only put them in more danger. But it hadn't been my choice to make. As a wizard, one with great power, I'd taken on everyone as my responsibility. Even those who'd offered, nay demanded, to share the load. I'd learned my lesson since then, and Will had been the one to personally pound it into my head.

“I need you two to find out who got hit. Everyone who called, I need an address.”

“Like a crime pattern” Will smirked.

“Or an earthquake map” Georgia chimed.

I pulled an imaginary trigger. “Bingo was his name-o.” I dropped Mac a tip and stood up, looking at the windows. It was almost noon already, and night cam early in the Chicago winter. I wanted to be prepared. I told Will and Georgia to make me a copy of what they found and drop it by my office as quick as they could. It was time I did some snooping.
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 lead them in taking over the world. But even after all this time, I really wasn't any closer to figuring out where I'd come from. Or how to deal with my giant red hand. Did I mention it was the key to ending the world?

It was a mess. Thankfully, Harry took me in. Even gave me a new gun. Well, new being a relative term. An old, reliable .45 from WWII. Even gave me a left-handed holster. I kept it under the bed he'd lent me. I'd pretty much said boo to the whole business of fighting evil. Never brought me anything but pain. And as far as I could tell, hardly did the world any good. I was in a bad place.

One day, I was out getting some groceries. Paying the electric bill from beyond the grave was no small feat. I figured I'd chip in for food, considering I was the only one in the apartment who ate. Being bright red and sporting cloven hooves and a tail, I was a bit too eye-catching to shop during rush hour, so I waited for the snow to get bad. I kept a hat on my head, my big trenchcoat tight, and fit my big hand into a gym bag. The cold never bothered me, anyway. And the cashier at the local shop was a punk-rocker covered in equal-parts metal and hair gel. We'd had a working deal for a while now: he didn't care as long as I payed on my way out.

I was picking up my usual: microwave burritos, chips, donuts, milk and beer, when I heard the phone go off. The kid was usually playing some kind of rock or metal just low enough to not be obnoxious. The only reason he ever turned it down was when the phone rang. It did. He did.

When I put my basket of junk down on the counter (it's hard to shop when you're keeping one hand hidden in a gym bag), the kid just looked at the phone, and looked at me. “Uh...” he said dimly. “Uh, yeah. He's right here.” The kid, mystified, handed me the little cordless handset. “It's for you, mate.”

I took the phone, just as confused. “Hello?”

“Heya, Red. Long time, no see.” It was Liz. At first I was sorta relieved to hear a familiar voice. But that didn't last.

“How'd you find me?” I asked.

“You're a six-foot red monkey with a block of solid stone for a hand, Red. We may be stretched thin, but our London crew aren't idiots.”

I grunted, looked down at the nervous clerk, and turned back toward the coffee machine. “Alright. What do you want?” Liz isn't a sneaky, back-stabbing sort of girl. But I just kinda saw it coming.

I used to work for the B.P.R.D. That's the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Yeah, it's real. Basically we went around fixing curses, fighting monsters, and generally keeping the supernatural world out of sight of the “real” world. I lost my father and plenty of friends along the way. But the straw that broke the camel's back was the director, a spineless pencil-pusher named Manning. He had been willing to kill one of us, a good friend of mine named Roger, if something went wrong in the field. Roger may not have been human, but let's be honest, neither am I. And I wasn't sticking around to get fitted with my own self-destruct button.

Anyway, Liz said she needed my help. I politely said “No.”

“Look HB, I'm sorry about Manning. But it's been a long time. Things have changed since you've been gone.”

“How's Roger?” I asked.

Liz was silent for a moment. I thought I'd broken connection. But when she came back, her voiced quivered. “Roger's... Roger's dead.”

I sneered at the phone, nearly crushing the receiver. “Manning?” I managed to ask.

“No. It was Landis Pope. Corporate leader-turned psycho. Called himself Black Flame and led an army of frog monsters. You remember those.”

I scraped my tongue with my teeth to get rid of the sudden foul taste. “Yeah. Nasty.”

“Yeah. A lot of people have died since you've been gone.” I was shocked to hear a little scorn in her voice.

“That's not fair, Liz.”

Liz sighed and kept going, ignoring me. “The point is that we need you on this one. We're stretched thin, and something big just came up that we can't afford to overlook. At least, I think so.”

To be honest, I was on the verge of hanging up, up until that last part. “What do you mean? You're not calling under Manning's orders?”

“No” she said. “I'm calling because we miss you. And we need you.”

I stayed silent for a couple minutes, thinking it over. On the one hand, it'd be nice to see the gang again. And I had been feeling a little... bored, living with Harry. Yeah, he's a sweet old guy, and he never ran out of stories. But being stuck in his cramped flat (cramped for me, anyway) had been putting me on edge lately. On the other hand, I wasn't about to jump right back into something I swore to walk away from.

Finally, I said “What's the job?”

“We got some really weird, really strong psychic waves off of Lake Michigan about an hour ago. It put two of our psychics in comas, and one more in intensive care. We just want to check it out; scout some of the local hotspots and see what turns up. Manning's convinced it's just a side-effect of everything else going on. But I'm not. What do you say, Red?”

Honestly, it's nothing I hadn't heard before. I never did like psychics all that much. Too sensitive. But psychic waves are serious business. They're not too dangerous all by themselves, but they're like an air-raid siren for something coming. And if just the warning bell was enough to knock out three people, what was coming next couldn't be good.

“I'm in. You know where to find me.”

“Thanks, Red.” I missed being called that. Missed the camaraderie.

But I wasn't about to get drawn in. “One last thing, though, Liz. I'm not back.”

I hung up the phone, paid the confused cashier, and went back home to finish a card game with Harry and some of his friends.

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 armor, that symbol was not associated with him. And considering the age of the bag she had seen, it had been made quite some time ago and had not seen much upkeep.

Therefore, she concluded, Kratos must have gone to the Isle of Leuke. But why? With his duties here on Olympus, and his mortal life behind him, what could possible lure him to a shrine island? Surely he wasn't going against Zeus's wishes and challenging Apollo for the island... Perhaps that is why Apollo was laughing? And why Kratos was so sensitive? Could Apollo really have dissuaded him so easily? Part of her wanted to believe that Apollo had simply used the rules and bureaucracy to defeat Kratos; a type of combat he was yet unfamiliar with. This was a simple enough solution that addressed all of the factors.

However, she knew that if Kratos had gone up against Apollo in any fashion, Apollo would not have been quite so jubilant afterward. Which led Athena to assume something else brought Kratos to the island. The question was: what?

For this, her library could no longer help her. So she decided to do with her day what she had originally planned. Closing the secret gate to her sanctum, she returned to the elevator and ascended to the near-top of Olympus, where resided her friends the Muses.


Using his own agalma, a golden ram, Kratos had finally been able to locate the passage he had used to find Morpheus. The werelight of the chamber seemed as dreary as before, and the shadows surrounding the Sleep God's confinement, just as sinister and foreboding.

But unlike last time, Kratos could hear whispering echoing in the darkness. As he approached, he could see Morpheus twitching under the light of the strange plant. He was talking to himself. But as Kratos's sandal echoed on the rock of the cavern, Morpheus froze.

"I have returned, Morpheus" Kratos announced, in any attempt to stay the god's hallucinations and paranoia.

"Kratos?" he replied. "Kratos. The new god of war?" Morpheus began to giggle, as if the idea were amusing to him. "I'd actually believed you hadn't been real at all. Using you as a vessel for hope would have been Zeus's masterstroke."

Kratos looked upon the fallen, unwashed creature and felt pity. The idea of hope was so terrible and untrustworthy that it was not even considerable. But now was not the time for sentiment. "I've come to honor our bargain." He lifted the sack from the knotch on his belt and placed it as close to Morpheus as he dared. He opened the sack, revealing the skull within.

"I asked for a companion. Right? Yes" Morpheus muttered. "And you bring me a bag of bones? Hehehe." Morpheus's mad cackling rose again. "A clever joke. Creatures may age but bones never die."

As if on-cue, the ghost of Achilles emerged from the bones. His form seemed to glow with its own dim light, off-setting the depressing glow of the plant. "Ooooh" Morpheus cooed like an impressed child.

The form of Achilles circled the fallen god, evaluating him. "Well" he began, looking to Kratos. "When you said companionship, I wasn't expecting this. Though I am honored to meet the lord of dreams." Achilles gave a short bow.

Morpheus chuckled. "I would bow, Achilles, were I not chained to this rock. Indeed, Kratos, I had not expected this. Have you added grave-robbery to your list of sins?"

Kratos took the insult in-stride. "Achilles accompanied me by choice. He is a valuable ally, and a wise man even after death. I'm sure the pair of you will have much to talk about.

Morpheus's lips pursed, seeming to consider the arrangement while Achilles hung in the air. "A master of combat, and the god of dreams. Hmm." After a long, silent moment, Morpheus spoke again. "I think we will have much to discuss. I accept."

"Very good," Achilles remarked. "But I tire. I will leave you gentlemen to your business." He turned to Kratos and bowed, before dissipating into smoke, and returning to his skull.

Kratos could not help but smile. At last, the moment he had been waiting for. "Then you will speak to your brothers, so that they may free me from my nightmares?" Kratos fell to one knee and bowed his head. "Thank you."

Morpheus small laughter once again echoed in the cavern. "No."

Kratos's head snapped back up. "What?"

Morpheus made a gesture with his hand. "Rise, Kratos. For there is yet more for you to do."

Kratos's brows furrowed and his jaw clenched. "More?! We had a deal, dreamwalker!"

"Silence!" Morpheus's voice suddenly took on an edge Kratos had not heard before. "I am a prisoner here. You have nothing to use against me. You are helpless to negotiate, 'god of war.' You will not have your peace until I have mine! You are powerless to free me, so I will have here what I am denied out there!"

Kratos could only stand there, paralyzed by rage and control. Morpheus's fury glowed in his eyes. His hands longed to grip his blades, and his muscles nigh-demanded to make the familiar motions, and cut the trickster in twain. But he knew this was his only chance. An eternity of suffering, or a few more dark deeds. The choice was simple, if not easy. "What do you want?" he asked through clenched teeth.

Morpheus leaned his head back, against the stone. "Water. I want some of Poseidon's magic water. If I may not walk the earth, I will at least see it." Kratos could only glare at the fallen god, drunk on what little power he held over him. "You may go now. Bring the water tomorrow."

With that, Kratos stalked out of the cavern, rage plaguing his thoughts.


A small table covered in a white cloth held a jar of ash and burning incense, the smoke from which wafted bout the room in strange shapes, and changed the light from place to place. Deep red carpeting sat below identical drapes, which hung around the circular room, converging on a viewing window to the heavens directly above them. It gave the illusion that the room itself was the entire world. She sat on a large couch of fine white silk, surrounded by her step-sisters, the Muses.

Athena chuckled as Erato and Thalia concluded their latest tale of comical romance. Each of the nine sisters looked nearly identical, bearing the same dark skin and hair of their mother Mnemosyne. However they each held small things as their own. Terpischore danced about, with her individual curvaceousness, interpreting the story as best she could. Her hair flowed long from a knot in the back of her head, just another tool in her dance. Erato was also very well physically endowed, but preferred her hair to run freely over her shoulders. Thalia's personality and bright eyes were her most valuable traits, looking very different from the others with her long, thin frame.

Melpomene remained silent, as always. Though she smiled politely to respect her sisters, she always seemed to carry a weight of mind that the others did not. Euterpe and Urania were absent, as per usual. Stargazing was indeed Urania's godly duty, but Athena could not understand her reasons beyond that. She seemed to value her privacy very highly. Euterpe had been in and out of the room throughout the evening, consistently leaving to write more of her music and returning to consult with Polyhymnia, who had enjoyed the tale and laughed along with Athena and Calliope.

Athena enjoyed Calliope's company most, second only to Clio. Calliope was the opposite sister she wished she could have had. While Ares had been the war to her peace, and the instinct to her reason, Calliope opposed her on a personality level. She was cunning, spirited, and otherwise very expressive of her thoughts and opinions. Whether they are popular or not. She kept her hair cut short and, despite her childbearing frame, preferred the company of both women and men. She had collaborated with her to write Kratos's epic story. An odd coincidence that Kratos's daughter shared her name.

Clio at last returned, bearing a golden tray. "More wine, ladies?" And despite all of their little differences, each of them refilled their glasses. Even Euterpe and Urania emerged from the red drapes, which masked each of their rooms, to take a glass for themselves.

When the tray was empty but for two glasses, Athena stood and faced Clio. They each claimed their own, and Athena followed the muse of history beyond the veil into her own room. It was small, but tastefully decorated. The walls were simple stone with portrayals of the great events of history: the battle of the Primordials, the Titan War, and Zeus's establishment of dominion over mortals. Shelves of books stood from floor to ceiling in some places, while other places were home to stands, sporting open books yet to be filled.

With a flick of her wrist, two white silken chairs rose from the stone floor. "So Athena," Clio began, "what brings you to my chambers? Don't you have your own library?" Clio chuckled into her glass. Athena joined her. Spending time with the Muses was among the few occasions that Athena felt she could let herself go.

"Of course, dear Clio. But what is history before it has happened?" Athena quipped.

Clio smirked, curling a finger in her dark hair held up in a bun above her head. "Well, some might call it 'the present.' But we here call it 'gossip.'" The two descended into light laughter again, but the tone was more serious.

"Yes," Athena continued, holding her glass aloft. "That is what I've come to ask about."

Clio quirked an eyebrow. "I was wondering if you've heard anything about the Isle of Leuke recently."

"The resting place of Achilles, and location of Apollo's temple? Last I'd heard, it was going by Snake Island." Clio stood up, walking over to one of her many open books for consultation.

"Why such a dreadful title?" Athena asked.

Clio sipped her wine and set it down, focusing on her pages. "Apparently when your man Kratos..."

"He is not my man" Athena quipped.

Clio, however, gave her another flick of her eyebrow that made her blush only slightly more than her wine. "When he killed Medusa, the youngest of the gorgon sisters, it shifted the balance of their power. As you may remember, she and her sister Euryale had imprisoned their elder sibling Stheno in stone, so that they may share her greater powers. But when Kratos killed Medusa, Stheno awakened. She freed herself and escaped the Isle of Creation in search of a new domain. Leuke, abandoned and unguarded, became her new nesting grounds."

"That's terrible!" Athena replied. But what of Achilles's grave? "Has no one risen to strike her down? Stheno was quite a beast, if I remember Aphrodite's tales correctly."

"It IS Aphrodite," Clio remarked. "She does tend to... embellish things. Hahahaha." The two once more giggled into their glasses. "But, now that I think of it..." Clio trailed off, looking to another set of books. "Ah yes! The island was actually recently reclaimed. It was only last night, in fact. How the time does seem to fly and crawl."

Athena stiffened in her seat. "Oh?" she asked as simply as she could. "By whom?"

Clio flipped through the book she had stopped with. "Artemis and Hippolyta of Themiscyra. I remember her actually speaking of it last night and... oh..." Clio gave Athena a positively venemous smile before retaking her seat and crossing her legs. "Kratos was involved, as well. Seems he helped to slay Stheno, at the cost of Apollo's temple."

Athena's mind was ablaze now. Kratos had gone with Artemis on some bloody hunt for glory, and likely taken of Achilles's treasure as a souvenir. She thought he would have had more respect than that for a fellow warrior. She thought he had finally seen the futility of combat and had begun to come around to the way of Olympus. Clearly she had been wrong. However, Artemis had made no secret of her attempts to seduce Kratos. She would deal with her sister in time. She sipped from her glass, thinking deeply.

"I think I know what interests you so about Leuke" Clio commented, bringing her out of her revelry.

"I don't know what you mean" Athena said nervously, sipping her wine further.

"Oh come now, sister. The stones of Olympus themselves could not be blind to your affections for him."

Athena blushed hard, having run out of wine to sip. "...Do you think he knows?" she asked timidly.

"Oh my dear, Kratos is... a very special kind of stone" she smirked. "I'm sure he hasn't the faintest idea. The man may now have godly vision, but I think his heart is still blind."

Athena was both relieved and pained at the same time. She felt horrible, attempting to sway his affections while he still apparently grieved over his family. But at least she still had her freedom. The freedom to choose her moment, that was the important thing.

Athena stood, holding her glass humbly to her stomach. "Thank you, Clio. I can always trust you."

Clio nodded, smiling with a matronly air. "Of course, dear sister." Athena turned to leave. "However," Clio continued. Athena stopped to look at the Muse before she could pull back the curtain. "Do be careful to avoid Calliope. You know how Kratos's exploits... excite her." Athena smiled and nodded in thanks once again, before pushing away the curtain, heading back down to her hall.


Vile, traitorous worm of a man! Serves him well to be buried, Kratos thought as he stalked the halls of the castle. Morpheus had made a fool of him, and he was helpless but to comply. His every muscle ached to destroy, to rend something to pieces and pretend it to be the now flightless god of dreams.

But he suppressed it. Anger would solve nothing. Blood would not change the world, and Morpheus's death would not end his nightmares. He must focus on his task at hand. He was to obtain some of Poseidon's enchanted water from his prayer well and bring it to Morpheus. However, the hour was late. He would bring the wretch his tribute tomorrow.

As he finally returned to his hall, shoving the door open and slamming it closed, he began to tire of his rage. Each step toward his throne felt heavier and heavier. He could not even summon the will to craft a stone monster to destroy. And as he turned and sat on his throne, he sighed deeply.

"How far will this go, Kratos?" He asked himself aloud. "How much more will you take?" He leaned forward, leaning his chin into his laced fingers while his thoughts drifted back to the island. He had killed Aerim. In the moment, he hadn't had a choice. Kill or be killed. But he had harbored a hatred for her since their first interaction. And even before she had been possessed, she would have revealed his grave-robbing. Would he have killed her just for that? To keep the secret? Would he have killed an honest soldier to hide his own discrepancies? Achilles held a place of love or respect in the hearts of most Olympians. Disgracing his tomb would not go over well with the other gods.

No. He would not become the very thing Ares wanted of him to escape what he did to him. He would find another way. The question was, how?

Just as he thought this, a mighty knock came on his doors. The presence felt familiar, and he needed a break from his thoughts. He allowed the doors to swing open, revealing the Wine God in his usual attire. However is attitude was rather reluctant. "Kratos," he began with a mere shadow of his usual bravado. "How goes?"

Kratos himself felt dour as well. He had not been kind the last time they had spoken. "It goes, Dionysus." Kratos exerted a bit of will and summoned a chair from the stone. A comfortable, high-backed chair with a fur-like design. The larger god accepted it gratefully.

"You've been to see Morpheus, then?" he asked. Kratos merely nodded. "How did that go?"

Kratos snorted. "As well as could be expected. As you said, I offer him no threat. And now that he sees the depth of my need, he seeks to take advantage of me."

"But he can rid you of your nightmares?"

"Indeed. But he demands favors. And who knows when they will end." The two sat in silence for some time, seeming to stew in their own miseries. "I am sorry for my earlier behavior, Dionysus," Kratos said. "I have not had a good companion in what feels like a lifetime."

Some of the color seemed to return to the Wine God's usually cheery face. "Think nothing of it. You were desperate. I would have done the same. I did not want to allow you to destroy yourself, as I did with Midas. But you are a man, not a young billy growing into his horns. So I too, apologize."

Again, the two sat in silence. But it was a kind of peaceful, reflective one.

Kratos began again. "I consider joining Hades's tournament."

"Why? You'll pardon my saying so, but he is a monster. Even if it is just to feed your sense of adventure and need for combat, you know that he would set he odds ever against you. Inner peace is not measured in blood spilled or dreamless nights, but in yourself."

Kratos chuckled darkly. "The gods have been against me my entire life. And I have cheated Hades many times. I would expect nothing less." Kratos found himself smirking. But his thoughts drifting back down to earth. "And if I am to properly lead Sparta, I must feel combat. A dull blade and an unfit god have no place on a battlefield."

Dionysus leaned back in his chair, smiling and folding his arms. "Or as I always say, tis better to rend pride from self with a glass than limb from body with a blade."

Kratos could not help but smirk. "Perhaps that is true. But my duties are to conquest. The world must change. Just as the tides flow in and out, so the world must fight."

Dionysus gave one of his famous belly laughs, standing up from his seat. "Are you only this philosophical when you're brooding? Or am I to expect one or the other when next we meet: depth or fun?"

"We shall see" Kratos added, rising from his throne. He walked the enormous wine god to the door.

"Do let me know when. I'd very much like to know," Dionysus said with a smirk as he opened the door. "Good evening, Kratos."

He nodded in return as his friend left the hall. It had been good to laugh.

But before he could retire, another knock came to his door. According to the enchanted ceiling, the sun ha set long ago. Who else would be about at this hour?

Kratos once again opened the door, and found Hermes waiting for him. Did the messenger god ever grow tired of being denied? "Yes?" he asked the wing-footed immortal.

"Zeus's patience is running thin, Kratos. He'd very much like to speak with you on private matters. Three times have I been to you, and three times have you sent me away."

"And I'm afraid I must do so a fourth time, Messenger" Kratos said bitterly. "It is late, and I've had precious little rest."

Suddenly both doors to his hall flew open as if struck by hurricane winds. Kratos's eyes widened as Zeus himself stepped into his hall. "Then you will be pleased to know that this will only take but a moment." The great bearded go turned to Hermes. "Leave us." And as quick as a flash, the messenger god was gone.

Kratos backed up toward his throne, trying to keep a civil distance from the king of the castle. "Lord Zeus, had I known it was you who knocked, I would have been more inviting."

"Hmm" was all the god king said. With a flick of his wrist, the doors of the hall closed. Placing his hands behind his back, he stepped down the hall of the god of war, toward the throne. His empty white eyes examined the room once held by his treacherous son. His white beard seemed thick and powerful, like one of his muscular arms. Yet it bounced as he walked, like a thin layer of down. "You have done much with your time here, Kratos" he said, voice seeming to reverberate throughout the hall. "Athena has taught you well. And you seem to be adjusting... effectively."

Kratos's eyes narrowed. "Thank you, my lord."

"However, I would not have bidden your presence so often were this meeting not important." Zeus's hands came forward, and he tented his fingers before him. Thunder rumbled lowly in the ceiling-sky. "Very little happens in this castle without my knowledge and consent. I have become aware that you have been exploring the older areas of the castle, and some of the darker caves within. And I will stress to you now, Kratos:" Zeus leveled his white gaze on him and narrowed his brows. "Leave him be. I care not how you became aware of his presence here, or what your intentions are. Morpheus's crimes were heinous, and his punishment is just to them. You of all people should understand that."

Zeus stepped past the silent Kratos toward the door, lightening his tone significantly. "I am trying to make this a new era of peace for my kingdom. Help me do so." Zeus opened one of the large doors with his mind, turning to give Kratos another look and placing his hands behind his back once more. "Do not dwell on the dark days of the past. Instead, look to the future. If you do, it will be bright. For all of us." And with one last rumble of thunder and thump of the door, the king of the gods was gone.

Kratos scowled. Returning to his throne, he summoned up a writing stand with pen and paper.


He stood alone on his balcony, overlooking his damned kingdom in the bright light of the sun, having set for the world of men and Olympus above. He sipped wine from his own stores, crushed from the sweetest grapes and the hearts of the greatest soldiers. The Titans were riled, and their roars and bellows of pain echoed in his kingdom. And just as Poseidon had described of whales in his realm, he could almost hear a mournful song. Beautiful.

He felt a small presence behind him and turned. The hellhound at his side snarled, as a small servant man from Olympus stood before him. Mortals were such tiny, pathetic things. But it held out a piece of parchment. "A message from the God of War." Hades snatched the scroll from the mortal's frail hands. To it's credit, the servant did not flinch or cower, and himself or his beast. Though he did sweat, and that alone made Hades smile. He gestured with his hand, sending the small creature away. Had he bothered to watch, he would have seen the servant's steps hasten ever faster to the Hyperion gate. And had the mortal been able to see beneath his helmet, he would have seen an almost child-like glee on Hades's scarred face. He unrolled the scroll carefully, taking in Kratos's handwriting.

As he finished, he carefully re-rolled the scroll and handed it down to his hound, who wrapped his teeth carefully around it, and carried it away.

The King of the Underworld looked out over his kingdom of misery and pain, and laughed.
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!
  • Mood: Exhilarated
  • 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


War-Journalist's Profile Picture
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 :)

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WebbDoodle Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
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.
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.
CDL113 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

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

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.
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
Darkdarling98 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014  Hobbyist
Your welcome! =D
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.

ShadowEclipex Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I thank thee for faving "Lumiere Noire +"!!~
War-Journalist Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014
You're welcome :)
ShadowEclipex Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ArtBlacksmith Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks of the fave.
Rylverine Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014
Thanks for the fav. :)
rasaaro Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
Thanks for faving my broken teardrop!
War-Journalist Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
You're welcome :)
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.
War-Journalist Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014
I've thought about it several times, and I wouldn't be content with just one keyblade for the whole franchise. I'd need to make blades for Scott, Ramona, and probably all of the Ex's as well. Maybe someday I'll have the time.
Talongrasp Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Student General Artist
Hopefully, yeah. Still, it would be pretty awesome if they did.
ExusiaSword Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the Fave!
hotrod1985 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
thank you for the fav
War-Journalist Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013
You're quite welcome. Nice to see the classics are still out there
PsychosisEvermore Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you for the favorite
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