Olympus by Night

Sass' adventurous day

Well today is turning into an interesting experience. Not only did I have to deal with Mr. Walkers P.E. class and suffer through a homophobic awards ceremony, I got to visit a distorted world. It seems my father lost an interesting bet and proceeded to get wasted and screw a mummy. The interesting part is that the mummy was named Seshat and screwed my father back. So my biological mummy is a mummy…(chuckles) Oh and I’m am destined to wed the new pharaoh who is supposed to be an elementary school student, that I “should” be able to identify. To start i will need to talk with Horace and see if he knows anything. Then I need to see if I can find my Mummies (chuckles) resting place, and if not find a way to get father to tell me if he knows where she is. Also while visiting my Mummy (laughs)… that will never get old… I seemed to pick up sowing fairly well, from re-attaching her arm. Lastly I need to come up with a list of a few questions to ask in the event that my mind fails me. I had my dead Mummy (chuckles) in front of me and I could not think of a decent question, like since I forgot what to ask does that become something she knows since she is the goddess of forgotten knowledge? And know I get to figure out what to tell my family since I disappeared with out warning… fun.

Valeria's Graduation

“Valeria Villanueva,” came the principal’s voice over the loudspeaker.

I smiled slightly, as was expected of me, then began to move out of my place in the line. Standing on the other side of the stage was my principal, Mr. Cosner, and one of my teachers, Mr. Tugwell, holding my high school diploma. So, all in all, I had all of about three steps and twenty feet to make the impression I wanted.

I want these assholes to remember this face when I leave. I want them to have an awkward conversation with their ugly children explaining to them that that weird girl they used to laugh at in high school was Valeria Villanueva. That name is going to echo around their heads in embarrassment and shame.

Luckily for me, unlike most high school outcasts, I happen to be hot as all hell, with a handy little kick from my divine blood kicking in just a few weeks ago. Before, I was stunningly beautiful, noticed even though I’m wearing secondhand jeans, no makeup and a baggy rock n’ roll t-shirt. Now, I’m not just noticed – I’m impossible to ignore. If I wore those slutty clothes that are popular these days, or a cheerleader’s uniform, I’d have any of these idiot boys licking my boots and liking it. But, today is about being remembered, so I’m bringing my A-game. I’m wearing one of Wynis’ old dresses that she lent to me – she’s more mainstream in style, and has enough money to buy some half-decent outfits. It’s black and tight-fitting, and since I’ve got a couple inches on Wynis, just a tad shorter than dresses are supposed to be. Add that to a killer pair of heels – not my divine ones, at least one of my classmates will try and steal those – but a pair of my mom’s that matched well, and a strategically torn graduation gown, so that just enough leg pops out to be enticing. As I ascend the first of three steps to the stage, I turn briefly at the audience to see if it’s working.

Yep, every goddamn eye in this place is on me. I think I see drool in a couple of the boy’s mouths. When I’m halfway across the stage, I’ll wink at one of them – let’s see how wet I can make his pants. Still, my control of the room is complete, at least for the moment, because I can see my mother getting up from her seat excitedly. In approximately a second, she’ll be standing, screaming at the top of her lungs. Wait, is that an airhorn? Two? Oh, mother. My greatest nemesis is my greatest supporter.

Right, time to adjust stratagem, I could pretend to stumble slightly and subtly open the top of my robes, giving the audience a glimpse of my cleavage or I could make a pose like a bubblegum girl, pop one of my calves into the air and give a big smile – that would more than compensate for the tremendous amount of noise and distraction that my mother is about to create. I take another glimpse at my mother – halfway up now, a face contorted into what is about to become some intolerable whooping noise. But, her eyes, bloodshot and tired – she had to work a double shift yesterday to make up for taking today off – are nonetheless full of joy and wet with tears. She never got the joyous graduation I did, I guess. I was already four years old, and, according to her, already demanding Shakespearean literature, so I can’t imagine being the easiest child to deal with. She was an outcast too – the high school freshman with a baby, but with none of my gifts to make it better – and Abuela Maria was a hell of a lot harder on her than she is on me. Plus, of course, being blackmailed into having sex with a giant jackal-headed skeleton at the age of fourteen can’t exactly be a pleasant memory.

Shit. Fine. New plan. I’m not going to these high school idiots ruin my mom’s big day. I’ll adjust my stance slightly to conceal as much of my thigh as possible in this already torn gown, smile widely, and bob my head slightly to appear more excited than I am. Let these people remember my girly girl attitude today, I’m still going to blow them out of the water in a few years anyway. Not what I wanted when I woke up, but dammit, I love you mom.

Right, second step ascended, and mom has finally reached her feet. Gods, this world moves so slowly. I’ll be to able to adjust my stance by the third step, but as always, my arms and legs don’t respond as quickly as I’d like them to. I was going to spend this walk, zoning in on the individuals in the crowd and seeing how much my new look was affecting them, but that was a whole two seconds ago. Now, I need a new train of thought to keep me occupied on what will otherwise be the most boring twenty feet in human history. Mom was telling me about how this ceremony was a momentous moment – how it will redefine me as a person, how it is a time to reflect and look back on my life so far. Fine. OK. Valeria Villanueva’s greatest hits – you’ve got one step and about twenty feet.

Earliest memory then – Abuela Maria’s pancakes, when I was two. She’d cut them into animal shapes and make me do all the noises before I could eat them. My mom would sit at the table with us, doing her homework and she’d smile at me and do the noises with me sometimes. I started waking up early to see how it was made and how she did it all. Then, when I was three, I woke up much earlier and tried to make them myself. My mother and grandmother woke up to find me crying and covered with milk and flour – I hadn’t been strong enough to pick up the gallon of milk and I’d spilled it everywhere, so I could only successfully make five pancakes. They hugged me until we all were all covered in pancake mix and we sat on the milk-soaked floor making animal noises and eating pancake mix off each other until Abuela had to go to work. We never had much, the Villanuevas, but we had each other and sometimes, that was enough.

I smile at the memory as I ascend the third step. My stance has successfully shifted; my mom is screaming so loudly that all of Nile Gulch can hear her. Everyone else is applauding, probably reluctantly, but the wolf whistles from the crowd mean at least a few people are still following my original plan. Not what I’m going for anymore, idiots, keep up. Dyani and Wynis are in the crowd too, on their feet, applauding. Unexpected, but nice.

Next memory then – well, there are lots, from this point on. The day I discovered poetry was a big one – Coleridge, Neruda, Blake, Faulkner and Dickinson were my rock stars. My family never understood my obsession – Abuela was too into her telenovelas, and mom, her reality television, so I walked alone to the library and read there. The old librarian, Miss Diane, was always so nice to me; she always gave me the adult poetry books, and didn’t point me in the direction of the Dora the Explorer section with the other eight year olds. I used to sit with her and, together, we’d analyze the big poems. One day, we were sitting in the library and she was reading from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and I told her that I was my family’s albatross – the freak that hung round their necks bringing them misfortune – and she held me and cried and told me I was the most perfect little girl she had ever met. She died not long later in the Catastrophe. I didn’t find out for weeks. I wrote a poem for her – The Modern Mariner, I called it – my tribute to her and Coleridge over two-and-a-half pages of iambic pentameter. I published it under her name. I hope she liked it, wherever she is.

Gods, the Catastrophe – it changed everything around here. The day when the sun blazed brighter than anyone thought possible and set the sky aflame. Everyone here suffered, and we got it better than most. Most of Europe went underwater – so much for my dreams of visiting the Globe Theater and the great cities of old; and so did California and New York. Here, in tiny Nile Gulch, it hit us hard too. Half of the town burned, most of the school, all of the old factories. Dyani lost her parents and got those horrible burns and I… I think I died. My father – Anubis, god of the dead, though he said that wasn’t true when I called him that – met with me in the underworld and guided me to back to the land of the living. When I came to, I was trapped in that endlessly black body bag for five hours… I screamed until my voice was hoarse and cried until my tears had rubbed my cheeks raw. When they finally found me, I was alive, with a killer set of heels, a severe case of claustrophobia and a million unanswered questions.

But, I was alive and so, so many people weren’t. No, I was more than alive – I was miraculous. I was already clever, but I quickly became brilliant; my body hardened – I remember recovering from the flu in only a few hours; my reflexes spiked. I could feel the warmth of divine ichor surging through me and I loved every moment of it. For the first time in my life, I felt like I wasn’t a cosmic mistake or a misunderstanding. I wasn’t the albatross; I was the Mariner himself, plunging into an ocean of the unknown, ready to face it with all of the gifts that were granted me. And then, less than a year later, my Abuela died on the day after my tenth birthday – an unexpected heart attack. The bargain my mother made on the day of my conception was for ten years of my life – Anubis had given her an extra day as a fatherly gift to me. The truth came crashing down once more – no matter what I could do or what I chose to do, the world would always be immutably cruel.

As I cried myself to sleep for the third night in a row, I begged that it was all a lie. I begged that I was still in that accursed body bag and these were the dying dreams of a little girl who did not yet want to die. As my mother held me, and we rocked together in the dark, our tears merging to become a single flood, I vowed to conquer death itself. A word of warning to the universe and its divine overseers – never put an impossibly smart tweenager through grief. I had the intelligence of a graduate student coupled with the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old who’d just lost someone she loved. Did you think there wouldn’t be consequences?

Eight feet to go. Principal Cosner’s smiling, but he has a look of insistence in his eye. Apparently I’m walking slower than I intended. In my peripheral, I see my mother waving and screaming still. Wynis is still applauding, though Dyani’s lost interest and is now just half-heartedly tapping her hands together. I spot Sass in another part of the audience – her cousin Tobias walked the stage before I did, but she’s clapping enthusiastically while whispering to one of her brothers, who looks like he’d assault her if his attention wasn’t fully captured by my enchanting smile. Nope, gave him too much credit, my mistake. He’s staring at my chest. Typical.

Right, now, where was I? Three days after Abuela’s small and criminally unattended funeral, I had decided to study medicine. It took me two years to gather the materials – the Catastrophe had pretty much wiped out the Internet, so I had to convince doctors at the local hospital to lend me textbooks and teach me the basics. I spent hours at the hospital observing through the windows, then began practicing surgical and injection techniques on my stuffed animals. Meanwhile, in order to help mom, I took on more responsibilities around the house – I cooked all of the meals, did most of the cleaning, while, in my head, I recited the bones, muscles and nerves of the human body and memorized the texts and diagrams of_ Gray’s Anatomy._

On my twelfth Christmas Day, my mother had to work at the grocery store, so I was cuddled up tight on the sofa, eating cookies I made that morning and watching a medical documentary on the television, a bird began tapping with its beak at my window. It was a hummingbird, a tiny little thing, smaller than the palm of my hand. I opened the window… and, to my initial disbelief, thanks to yet another divine trick, I could understand it perfectly. “Come quick,” it squeaked, then darted off into the distance. I threw on my scarf and mittens and followed it through the cold. It led me to a small colony of the little creatures. They’d migrated from the south in light of the Catastrophe, but they’d barely held it together. The last female was gone and the eggs in dire straits as they suffered in the wrong climate. I gathered them up – carefully placing each egg in a separate matchbox, packed with shredded paper, and ran home – followed by eight or so of the adults. I worked and I worked, skipped school for a week straight – so determined I was to prove that I had some power over the tolling bells of the deceased. I lost a few, and wept over them, but nine days later, right around the New Year, the first of the eggs hatched – a girl. I’d done it. I’d saved them. It was the best moment of my life. I’d won.

I was enraptured, captivated, ensnared by my own success. I refined the technique, hatched dozens more, then wrote down my findings in detail. My bedroom window became a garden, bustling with activity, filled with a dozen newly hatched hummingbirds – each named for a character from Blake’s Four Zoas: Thurmos, Ahania, Urthona, Vala, and many more. My mother thought me mad – dancing around, filling my bedroom with birds – but she always knew I was unique and, in her defense, she always encouraged my weirdness, even if she couldn’t possibly deem to understand it. By fourteen, I had switched my focus to veterinary medicine – particularly of the avian variety, and a few weeks before I turned sixteen, I published my first paper was published in as scientific journal – A Comprehensive Understanding of Avian Breeding: New Methods to Encourage Continued Procreation in Bird Species Affected by the Catastrophe. I couldn’t use my real name obviously, no-one would take seriously, so I used the pseudonym John Witsman – the whitest name I could come up with. It also had the added bonus of being partially named after one of my teachers at school – the racist son-of-a-bitch told me I’d amount to nothing, just like my mom… I kept hoping he’d bring up his namesake’s new paper in class and I’d smile inwardly with a silent victory, but of course, he doesn’t read scientific journals.

So, yes, I switched focus – people to animals. But, those birds gave me a sense of accomplishment that I’ve never felt before. They finally made me feel like I had a purpose in the world, that all of the trials and tribulations that I went through meant something. When I turned eighteen, I took all the money I’d managed to save from the odd-jobs I worked around town (oh, Nile Gulch Diner, how I have hated you) and had a little stylized hummingbird tattooed on my wrist – to remember what those birds taught me – that I was here for a reason – that I mattered.

Retrospective over. I’ve finally arrived. My teacher, Mr. Tugwell, is shaking my hand. We got to pick what teacher presented us with our diploma and I chose him. I owe him one, I guess – my mom freaked out on him a couple years ago for some reason; she scratched him pretty bad, but he never pressed charges. Also, he tries not to look down my shirt, which I appreciate – I mean, he still does every now and then, but you can tell he feels bad after he does it, unlike the other teachers. Hell, I had to flat out stop going to gym after the whole Coach Walker fiasco. He smiles at me, quietly says a platitude over the applause, then hands me my diploma. Principal Cosner shakes my hand too, then gestures for me to leave the stage. There’s only one kid after me, James Whitis, but it’s his turn now. I’ve had a thousand thoughts on this stage, and only now, I think that I might have wasted it. This is it. The end of my high school life – the beginning of something new, something different. Enough of the same endless, stinking monotony. Enough of being a prized filly in a town with no horse racing. Time to make what’s left of this blasted world know my gods-damned name… with a side-helping of screw you to anyone stupid enough to get in my way.

And, then, I see it. Him. A solitary canine, sitting in the back of the gymnasium, subtle enough not to be observed by the plebeians around me, but obvious enough that I couldn’t miss him. A jackal… Not native to here, but potentially a thriving migrant. But, it’s the classification that matters, the species Sass and Wynis both used on the day the sun blasted apart. They can’t have seen a jackal head on him. They can’t have. They’re not clever enough now to recognize a species of animal they’ve never seen before based on a disembodied and comically-enlarged example of its skeletal head, and they certainly weren’t then, but they both said it – separately, without influence or coercion. They both said jackal, because somehow, supernaturally, they knew… Just like I did. It was a jackal then, and it’s a jackal now. That thing, this emissary, keeps staring at me… Its gaze unbroken; its attention unwavering. Its fur is of a deep black, like unstoked coal, and its eyes gleam like the burning yellow suns of a distant system. They bore into me. Reminding me.

“You were always here.”

No. I fucking refuse. I refuse to be your instrument of choice with which to strum along to fate’s all-consuming melody. I’ve read the stories – all the stories, even ones that hadn’t been properly translated until I turned my eye on them – and I see the patterns. The ones who come back from the dead are never left in peace – they’re brought back for a reason, for a purpose. I have a dread destiny, of that I’m sure, some role to play in the coming tapestry. The question is what role? Because the divine play with patterns and history will only ever repeat itself. So, what role? With an ass like mine, probably the damsel in distress or the swooning princess or the hero’s prize after his long quest. Or, hells, even worse, maybe I’m the mentor or the crone or the matron… It won’t be the hero. No, women like me are destined to be a meager footnote in someone else’s grand sonata.

“You were always here,” he said. I was – am – always dead, he means. Returned from beyond the grave to scream inside a body bag and limp helplessly along with the shackles of destiny around my neck. I am a specter, a jiangshi, a lemure, a draugr… A revenant. Fuck.

I descend the stairs on the opposite side of the stage from which I started – my elation gone, my retrospective ended. My new beginning unfurls before me – with a jackal-headed skeleton standing at its end, just as he always has. What do I do? Do I reluctantly accept that I am little more than a pretty face with fate’s stamp on it? Or do I fight on, refuse to go quietly, battle ceaselessly and pointlessly against the tyranny of an inevitable future?

The jackal turns to leave. His message is delivered. I stare daggers at his back.

I’ll fight, of course. Fuck destiny. Fuck fate. Fuck all of it. I matter. My choices matter; my suffering, my pain, my trials, my triumphs – they all fucking matter! Even pawns can become queens if they reach the far end of the board, and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.

Your move then, universe. But, I warn you, I’m damn good at chess.

Sass growing up

After meeting Anubis during the solar flare Sass starting getting for lack of a better term “abilities.” Shortly after she also started drifting from her family, due to the kinds of questions she asked. For example when she was discharged from the hospital and was on her way home with her mom driving, she asked about the “Jackal headed” man, and her mom flatly denied his existence. When Sass and her mom got home the mom told Sass father what Sass said, and disagreement resulted between Sass and her father which ended up with Sass never speaking about it again and denying it happened for a couple years.
During the next 2-3 years Sass’ abilities increased dramatically compared to her classmates. While Sass still asked questions they were more pointed and sometime just rude. Like when she overheard Alice talking to another jock and claim that she was “too busy to go out with him” Sass chimed in as she passed that Alice was lying. which got her a nasty look from Alice. Which started a scudo rivalry between Alice and Sass. Sass always having the grades and Alice the sports.
As Sass got into middle school she started noticing that she would get easily distracted at random times and one time while she was “distracted” Horace passed and he “glowed.” The way he glowed reminded her of an event that she had repressed, and her memories returned. Unfortunately they hit her hard and she passed out. When she awoke Horace was there next to her saying she must have passed out due to the heat. Sass’ response was that he was like the Jackal man. After this Sass visited Horace often at the police station to ask him questions about the Netjer, and one day he told her she had to start “earning” her answers. So Sass started helping out at the police station. While she was not the best at anyone thing, she was proficient.
Once Sass started helping out at the police station she also started drifting from her family. While she still helped at the Synagogue she always seemed to have something else to do and left event early or skipped when she could get a way with it.

Creating a Galaxy Necklace for Dummies
Arthur's attempt to give his bond a gift

Step 1: You must decide what type of artifact this will be. Example (Weapon, Armor, Transport, Support, Other)

Step Two Purview: You must describe what you are making the relic out of.

Asahi's log 4

Sanctum – The main level is very open this is the only area most guests will see. It has a massive sky light that looks out to permanently dark clouds. If other Scions or Gods visit the strongest of them will affect the weather. The walls appear to be black stone work arcane symbols that radiate a faint flickering light. On one wall there is a cloth door that opens to a small room with 3 sets of stairs leading down. Taking the stairs immediately to your right when entering the room take you down to the Medical facilities. The door to stairs on the left take you down to the Asahi’s Office, and the stairs on the far right lead to Asahi’s room. None of the lower rooms seem very hospitable for anyone who has ever been to them.

Acquaintance – On the occasions that Asahi has to go to the mortal realm he is known as a religious doctor who always seems to insist that instead of being paid, those whom he has helped must make offerings to deceased relatives, friends and loved ones. Those that do not pay his price always seem to come upon misfortune….

Divine Bonds: Yozaro – Ever since Yozaro saved Asahi in Mililani Mire it seems that fate decided that they would have far more interactions. For Asahi he needs Yozaro’s combat ability, where Yozaro needs Asahi’s ability to communicate.

The Violet Bier of Sorrows – Most of Asahi’s time is consumed with convincing the dead that they are dead, or appeasing the dead so they can move on(and stop causing problem’s for Asahi). Most of the time Asahi can just talk to ghosts and convince them they are dead every now and then he has to fight and on rarer occasions he has to get help(mostly from Yozaro or Kai when he is home and not “busy”). Every now and then a spirit requires Asahi to go to the mortal realm to get its relatives to pay some kind of homage to it. Most of the time Asahi can get the family/friends to do something by providing free medical care (making them need medical care on occasion) or just guilt tripping them. Lastly Asahi tries to help Shicho by asking his help since he knows the Terrestrial Bureaucracy well, thinking that helping Shicho show his worth will help him get into a better situation. Unfortunately Shicho seems to avoid Asahi still due to Asahi manipulating Shicho into getting Kelly’s corpse for him.

Winter's Defender

Jenkins hated this shift.

It was the middle of the night and bitterly cold – not that you could tell since the base was still drenched in the Antarctic sun and it was always, always bitterly cold – but the graveyard shift meant he was alone with the research equipment and no-one but him could check the sensors if something went wrong with them. And, of course, because the universe hated him, something had gone wrong with the sensors.

He strapped on yet another coat over the two he already had on and opened the thick vault-like door of the research center. The Antarctic snows immediately blasted him in the face and Jenkins cursed aloud as the undeniable cold pierced through his clothing and covered his flesh with goosepimples.

In the distance, across the frozen sound, lay McMurdo Station. The army base had a small flurry of activity at the docks, but was mostly quiet – everyone was asleep. The research station was on the other side of the bay, however, so that the cargo ships would not disturb their work studying the sea level and, Jenkins thought, so that they could drive the researchers insane with loneliness.

He wandered down to the water’s edge and, with stiff fingers, began to tug on the rope that would bring the sensor to shore. It was a long, arduous process that made his shivering arms ache with cold, but as the device emerged from the depths. Jenkins gasped in the freezing air – the device was covered with octopi – dozens of them crawling all over the high-tech buoy. He bent down to examine in, when a voice from behind him made him nearly jump out of his skin.

“Huh, that’s weird, right, brah?”

Jenkins span around fast. Behind him was a massive and muscular Polynesian man, nearly a foot taller than him at the very least. Unbelievably, the man was wearing what appeared to be surfing shorts… and nothing else. The man had as much exposed skin than a bikini model at a photo shoot, and yet, despite the blistering cold, he showed no adverse reaction to the temperature. No gooseflesh, no shivering; just a genial smile on his handsome face.

“I’m Kai,” the man said in answer to Jenkins’ unspoken question.

“What are you…” began Jenkins, but Kai cut him off.

“Octopuses! Octopi!” he exclaimed excitedly. He squatted down next to the machine and reached out to touch the squirming sea creatures. “Only earthbound descendant of the Fey, did you know? Apparently, a fey thing raped a daughter of Susano’o way back in the day. Susano’o vaporized the fey, of course, but allowed the offspring to stay after his daughter begged him to let it live… At least, that’s what he told me very pointedly over dinner the other week.”

“Susan O? What? Who the hell are you? What the hell are you doing?” stuttered out Jenkins.
The man looked back in a simple, almost confused manner. “I told you. I’m Kai. Keep up, brah. And, as for what I’m doing, I was surfing and now I’m examining octopi. You see, they may only be distant ancestors, but they still share a connection. The behavior of these little guys lets me know what to expect from the big one who is fixing to pop out of the rift that’s forming a couple miles that a way.” He pointed out over the sound, towards where you could see South America on a clearer day. “These guys are searching out heat… So, fire fey. Probably. It’s not exact.”

“You’re insane,” Jenkins dismissed.

“Nah. You’re just educated,” Kai said, standing, still smiling. “Problem is you learnt the wrong thing and now that super smart brain of yours won’t let you believe anything but the lie.” He clapped Jenkins on the back – the older man nearly buckled under the weight of such a simple gesture. “I’ll catch you round, brah.” He wandered out towards the crest of the hill, grabbing a simple surfboard that he’d embedded in the snow.

Jenkins shook his head, in complete disbelief, but somehow his curiosity won out over the cold, and he followed the mysterious man through the falling snows. Luckily, despite his struggling eyes and the Antarctic winds, the man’s massive frame was not difficult to follow, though Kai moved considerably faster than Jenkins did and left only the shallowest of prints, even in the deepest powder. Eventually, Jenkins scaled the crest of the hill and saw the man enter an old hut a few dozen feet down from the top.

Outrage flew over Jenkins’ face and he stomped as fast as he could down into through the front door. “This is the hut of Robert Scott! This is a historical artifact! You can’t just barge in here and..!” Jenkins glanced around. Mixed in with the frozen possessions of the great explorer himself, from over a hundred years ago, were the scant possessions of a clearly modern man – two surfboards, a couple pairs of jeans, several empty bottles of protein shake, even a cellphone – though there was no sign of a charger. A box lay open in the corner filled with uneaten brownies, a magazine, and a small photograph rested on the top of it all. “No, no, please. Please don’t tell me you’re living here.”

Kai turned and smiled. He was strapping on what looked to be a full set of medieval plate mail made of black metal and stained with red. “It’s okay, brah. He don’t mind.”

“Just because he’s dead does not mean you can disrespect his property!”

“Nah, you’re not getting it. I asked a friend of mine to get a hold of him – that Scott explorer guy. He said it was cool that I crashed here.” Kai turned away and continued to don his armor.

“Insane… You’re insane…,” Jenkins muttered under his breath as he walked around the hut – he peered into the box into the corner. The magazine had a big picture of a long-haired man in gothic-looking clothing on the cover – the title read Divinity Weekly, while the main headline was ‘Hachiman: A one-on-one exclusive with the bane of the Theoi.’ On the top of it, along with some colorful socks was a picture of a stunningly beautiful, dark-haired woman in overalls, covered in what appeared to be thick black paint. Enchanted, Jenkins picked it up for a moment and stared.

With a final clunk of metal, Kai finished strapping on his armor. He turned back and smiled at his suddenly silent visitor. “Perfect, isn’t she?”

Jenkins stuttered before finally tearing his eyes away to look properly at Kai. “What’s with the paint?”

Kai laughed slightly. “No clue. You can’t say she’s not pulling it off though. You can stay in here; you should be safe. Though I warn you if any of my photos are missing, I will find you.” He flexed his neck and stepped back outside.

Jenkins shook his head to unfog his vision. “Wait, what do you mean safe? Safe from what?” He followed the man outside and was again quickly stunned into silence.

Across the icy water, the sky glowed purple and green – an aurora of dazzling light stained across the barely visible stars, but oozing out of it, like blood from a wound, was a creature – as large as a tennis court with at least three dozen octopi-like tentacles. Its skin was clammy and a fiery shade of red, and emanated so much heat that the air distorted and warped around it. Its head had no eyes, but rather was a writhing mass of spinning teeth and yet more suckered tentacles, all wrapped around a burning furnace at its creature’s center. From its great maw came a low hiss, followed by grunts, howls and sinister whistles.

“Not today, you’re not, brah,” said Kai as if answering the monster. Six tentacles lashed forward like whips as the creature emerged fully from the aurora. Jenkins screamed.

Kai was quick as lightning – he punched one, two, three tentacles out of the way with such force that the powder around the blows flew back from the impact. Another one of the monster’s appendages wrapped around his waist, but electricity leaped into it from nowhere and it twitched violently and recoiled. Kai grabbed two more tentacles, one with each hand, and span them around his forearms as ice crept from his fingers, up into the creature itself. Then, he flicked his wrists violently, and the tentacles shattered into crystalline dust.

“Get inside!” Kai screamed.

Jenkins bolted as quickly as he could, but the creature got one of its grotesque limbs around him. “Help me! Help me!” he cried out, and Kai was there, wrestling with the thing with an impossibly mighty grip. He wrenched it free, and then with his free hand, hit Jenkins in the chest with a bitterly cold open palm. There was no pain, but Jenkins felt himself thrown back and off the ground, flying through the air, before landing over a dozen feet away, deep into a nice, soft snowbank.

Jenkins needed a moment to recover from his fall. He struggled to the surface of the snow, his fear and adrenaline overpowering the cold and fatigue in his muscles. Kai was still fighting the thing – kicking at the tentacles that lashed towards him; sparks flew off his armor and steam poured off of him – the result of the extreme heat of the creature with the somehow cold skin of Jenkins’ protector meeting in mortal combat.

Kai was fast, impossibly fast, but the creature had dozens of tentacles. As Kai battled and wrestled with five or six of them, another slipped quietly along the ground, then shot out grabbed at Kai’s ankle.

“Watch out!” cried Jenkins, and Kai looked down, managed a curse, before the creature flung him hard and straight upwards, high into the endless sky, out of sight.

The gigantic maw of the creature let out several deep booms, like it was laughing deeply at having defeated its foe. It reared up. The teeth in its bulbous central head span and gnashed. Its tentacles reached out towards its surrounding: one big one wrapped around Scott’s hut; four reached towards the research institute ominously; more towards the mountain; some dipped into the sea, where octopi scurried up and onto it; a dozen more carried its vicious form towards McMurdo Station and its thousand plus occupants; and one small one plucked Jenkins from his safe little snowbank and dragged him into the air by the feet, upside down in front of the thing’s impossibly sharp teeth.

Then, from above, came a howl – not of fear or pain, but of sheer excitement. Jenkins squirmed to look. Far above him, a tiny figure, decked in black metal, was plummeting through the sky – his hands were outstretched in front of him and were spewing water at an outstanding rate. A long stream of water formed beneath him, spiraling downwards towards the creature. Kai flipped mid-air, letting his feet hit the stream, which instantly froze – then, it was simply surfing. Hundreds of feet up, skating precariously along a tiny stream of rapidly freezing water, which was somehow being supplied from his own hands, Kai’s squeal of delight echoed across the Antarctic horizon.

Jenkins’ eyes widened in amazement and shock. The thing that held him looked up ever so briefly, just in time to see Kai jump free of his skyward surf track with electricity sparking through his big black metal boots. He yelled as he plummeted boot-first, then like a bullet, he hit the thing in its mouth with tremendous force, passing straight through the gnashing teeth, through the bulbous head, and out the other side. He hit the ground, causing a small crater, sending cracks into the frozen earth. Above him, the fey howled in agony, then the flames in its mouth spread throughout its grotesque form and the whole thing turned into ash and black smoke that quickly dispersed into the bright night sky. The aurora faded with it… and Jenkins was suddenly released, fell to the ground and back into the same snowbank as before.

He scrambled to his feet. “Kai? Kai!” He rushed to where he had fallen.

The massive man was lying in the crater of his own making; the teeth of the thing had left long, thin scratches all the way down his armor and similar gashes into the exposed skin of his face. Jenkins knelt down next to him to check on him, but Kai coughed twice, then began to laugh loudly.

“Did you see that, brah?” he laughed. “That was awesome! Man, if only Cassie could have seen that! Or Asahi! Ha!” As he spoke, the snow around him, melted from the heat of the creature, snaked towards his face, seemingly crawled into the wounds and sealed them – Jenkins watched the man miraculously heal from truly serious gashes in the matter of seconds. “Oh, I just know Shicho’s gonna call naysayer on this one. There’s no chance you were recording that for your Instagram or anything was there?”

“Um… no, sorry,” Jenkins stammered.

“Ah, well. No worries.” Kai jumped to his feet, instantly looking completely perfect – no blood anywhere, the scratches on his armor gone, his skin perfect without a single blemish, bruise or scar. “Well, it’s been fun…”

“No, no, no! Explanation! I need an explanation!”

“Ah, come on, Jenkins…”

“I never told you my name!”

Kai sighed. “Sure, you did. The last three times we’ve done this.”


“Look, I told you. You’re smart, really smart… but your brain’s been programmed with the wrong version of reality, so every time you see something like this, you rationalize it away within a few hours. Well, that and the fey do something to mortal minds. You physically can’t remember the thing.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“Go on, then. Prove me wrong, brah. What type was it? What element?”

“Element? That’s…” Jenkins’ eyes batted. It was an answer at the tip of the tongue, but he couldn’t grasp at the thought, like a leaf caught in the wind – clearly there, but almost impossible to catch. He desperately tried to save face. “It didn’t use a…”

“Yeah, it did. It was a fire fey. I told you that. See? You’re already forgetting.”

“That’s not…”

Kai smiled at Jenkins – a friendly, pitying smile. “It’s OK, man. You did good. I’ll make sure your sensor thing gets back where it’s supposed to and that you wake up nice and cozy in your own bed. Sorry in advance for the headache. Come see me, y’know, in the off chance you remember.”

Jenkins stuttered out some complaints, but Kai grabbed him by the neck and held him for a few seconds. Jenkins unwillingly surrendered to the black as the air from his lungs was squeezed out of him.

Kai picked up Jenkins, cradling him like a child, and sighed deeply into the wintry air. He smiled deeply to himself and set about cleaning up the mess from this latest invasion. He laid Jenkins in his bed and tucked him in; he swam to the bottom of the ocean and reset the sensor; he scared off the octopi on the sea bed; and he covered up the misplaced snow and ice by creating new water to freeze in its place.

An hour or so later, Kai removed his armor, settled into a hundred-year-old bed, and pulled the thin lacy blanket, made of woven snow – a gift from his mother – up around his chest. He reached over and picked up Cassie’s latest letter and he read it over one more time, drinking in her words, and picturing her flawless face and honeyed voice in his imagination. He smiled to himself. “Two weeks ‘til leave, Cass. I’ll be home soon.”

He laid down the letter, closed his eyes, and surrendered himself to sleep.

Divine Bond Cassie

“It’s very…picturesque.” Michelle mumbled as she walked across the beach toward Cassandra and Kai’s sanctum. Most women wouldn’t try walking across the white sand in heels but the earth, even these water beaten grains of it, would never allow her to fall. So the auditor of the Golden Barque strode forward in her six inch hills with far better traction than most Hollywood starlets could get on a modeling runway.
The sanctum wouldn’t have been out of place on Oahu’s north shore, built almost right on top of the beach. The koa wood walls meshed quite well with the nearby forest letting the home stand out without being a garish. A lanai swept out onto the sand allowing easy access to the water and beach.
“Picturesque? Is that how you say poor?” Cassie asked, broom in her hand as she swept some stray sand off the deck. The taller woman having no trouble hearing Michelle’s muttering nearly thirty feet away. “Cause I’m pretty sure we didn’t actually spend any money on it. Kai did most of the lifting and hammering while I did most of the painting and putzing around.”
“Not poor,” Michelle ascended to the lanai, her heels clicking on the hard wood as she embraced her friend. The two held each other for a moment, perhaps a moment longer than most just friends before breaking apart. “Mellow. It suits you.”
“It isn’t finished yet,” the taller woman said with an eye roll, “I don’t think we’ll ever finish. Course Kai’s got the three rooms he uses done so he pretty much doesn’t care; bedroom, living room, and the garage. But I just keep finding something I need or want and pestering Kai when he’s home to trim back the forest so we can put another building up. I bet in a few centuries this place will look like a small town and I won’t know what half the rooms actually have in them.”
“It’s the same for me,” Michelle said, “I just keep digging down and polishing stones… it’ll be a real maze in the future. Wait, why do you have a garage? Neither of you have a car.”
“You know, we actually asked that after we spent the day building it.” Cassie grumbled, “But Kai basically turned it into his man cave. He keeps his surfboards and kick boxing magazines in there and who knows what else so everything turned out all right in the end.”
Cassie got up suddenly, “you mind if we move inside? I’m baking some brownies for Kai’s care package.”
“A care package?” Michelle asked, following her friend into the house.
“Just some stuff to keep him comfy in Antarctica. Brownies, magazines, a copy of the Divinity Weekly, new socks, a letter keeping posted on what all his friends are up to, a dirty pic. Mostly just little odds and ends stuff to keep his spirits up until he gets back.”
“_You_ send him dirty pics?” Michelle blurted out in surprise.
Cassie just shrugged as she pulled out a tray of brownies. “He asked for one. So I emptied a bucket of paint on my head and took the pic. I’ve no idea why he wants a picture of me dirty but whatever makes him happy and trust me you can’t get dirtier than covered in paint. Took me hours to get it out of my hair, and my overalls are a lost cause.”
Michelle just gave a mischievous grin. “I’m sure he’ll be delighted… but why didn’t you just summon a servant to do it? Or to bake the brownies, or sweep your lanai?”
“His mom said the same thing. She offered to give us a troupe of snow gnomes to keep an eye on the place. But, well, I guess we just felt it would be weird to have a gaggle of servants. We don’t really do the lord and lady of the manor you know.”
“…I honestly don’t know what I’d do without mine. Starve probably.” Michelle mused and Cassie shrugged.
“On the subject of servants,” Michelle said, “have you told him you’re a Nazi yet?”
“He knows I vote democrat.” Cassie mumbled, “I’m working up to it. It’s not really a big deal.”
“It’s a big deal. You’re not even just a fascist. You’re a born in Germany, goose stepping, jew hating, lederhosen wearing nazi.”
“What do you want me to do, wait for him to get home fix him a big meal and say, ‘oh by the by, now that we’re destined to be together for eternity you know I’m a nazi right? Hell’s bells I’m not even sure he knows I’m German.”
“How can he not know you’re German? Golden throne you speak German when you use your bedroom voice!”
“Shows what you know,” Cassie said, “Kai understands every language. He’s so good at it he can’t even tell them part. He uses English around the house, I use German, and he’s none the wiser.”
“Well what about the picture over there of the Neuschwanstein Castle? It’s hanging right over the TV!”
“He thought it was sweet that I wanted to hang a portrait of the Disney castle. Not my fault they look the same.”
“You have who knows how many pair of lederhosen!”
“Hanging right next to my nurse outfit. Surprise, he doesn’t think I’m a qualified medical practitioner either.”
“Your dining room table’s legs make a swastika.”
“It’s a novel furniture design that allows increased support in case of an awkward amount of weight placed on the table.”
“Your favorite food is bratwurst.”
“Kai fully supports my fondness for wieners. Good luck convincing him otherwise.”
“Your favorite song is Das Englandlied!”
“He just thinks I want to go on a sailing trip to London. And I actually think it’ll be really romantic.”
“You have a teddy bear in a Waffen-SS Uniform!”
“You leave Yurik Schaedenfreude Von Angst out of this! Besides, Kai is totally straight, I guarantee you he has put absolutely no thought about my teddy bear and he’s certainly never quizzed me about its name.”

Arthur's Log

Ever since my interview with Amaterasu, I have to prove to her that I can be a team player and have good work ethics. It is for this reason that I took the job my mother got for me as my step-father’s secretary. That and I did not want to “spit” on my moms attempts to help me out, I know she means well and I love her for what she does for me. I have to be able to put up with all these demeaning tasks to show that I can take it as much as I can dish it out. Hopefully this will earn me enough good karma or whatever passes for karma in this pantheon to show others that I am worthy or more than what I am doing. So begins day one of this job that will be a personal hell.

Day 1
Yup, this is exactly what I expected it to be: hell on earth. Or heaven… Still, as far as first days go, thank goodness I have a hakama and thanks and praise be to Amaterasu that I have a mastery over Illusions. I can at least wear whatever I want. Which gives me an idea. If I am supposed to wear such a degrading outfit, the least I can do is keep practicing my Illusions. I still have my dignity damnit!

Day 5
Pops doesn’t seem to suspect that I am using any magic to give the appearance he demands I have. And if he does, I wonder why he doesn’t say anything. Either way, I am looking forward to the weekend. I may be in heaven, but for my own sanity I will do my best to treat this like I was back on Earth. I found out that Cassie is staying close, and considering the Betrayal of my last group of friends, I could use some company. Maybe I can get Zach and Aoi to come visit as well.

Day 8
Son of the goddess of revelries indeed. Even if it was just us 4, it was still so much fun to relax and be amongst friends. Cassie told me about Kai’s post. Stuck in Antarctica, that must be boring. I kinda feel bad for being mad at him, well that and I am really mostly upset at Asahi. I should give Sam a call and see how she is doing.

Day 15
I never realized how routine and bureaucratic Heaven was. I admit I miss the hustle and bustle of Earth and being a Scion dealing with all the issues. I hope the Hollowed King isn’t causing too much trouble back home. At this point I wonder if I will ever get to face off with him any time soon. Also, I have a date with Sam tonight, looking forward to more… contact.

Day 33
Zach and I have been hanging out a lot lately. It’s nice to have my best friend back, even if he can be a royal pain the ass. Still, even if he isn’t the same guy from before anymore, it’s just nice that I am not alone. I cannot imagine myself without any friends.

Day 155
Found out I can make/have a Sanctum. This is genuinely fantastic. I now have my own little personal “godly” corner of heaven. This shall allow me plenty of time to hone my craft and seek safe haven. I am hoping it can grow as time and I progress.

Day 156
Found a decent apartment in the Commons of heaven. A small 1 bed/ 1 bath apartment. I am just glad I can have one inside the city. Better than being in the Outlands. All the spirits around will give me plenty of opportunities to practice my illusions.

Note to self: Need to find a perfect spot to always have access to the stars. I can barely use those powers with Amaterasu at the helm.

Day 165
So Amy’s “term” in office seems to have ended. I can use my star powers without limitations now. This is a welcome change to a degree. Still need to find an optimal location for when she is back in office.

Day 403
Been at this job for over a year now. Despite the demeaning tasks that my Father makes me do, I have met a lot of gods. Some as minor as river and road gods. Of all the people I’ve met, Wun Ja is one of the most important and certainly best connections I’ve made. She is the one of the minster’s of communication. She seems to have no presence of Earth but she is a very important person here in Heaven. I have also developed a rapport with Asahi’s and Kai’s “bosses.”

In short, I have met a very many gods and we know each other on a first name basis. In fact I have frequent lunch dates with Wun Ja. Seems like being a “go-to” man is a good opportunity for me. Even if it’s with my old man, his being an O-kami has it’s benefits.

more to come….

Plague in the Mililani Mire! Dr. Jackson Orders a Quarantine!

Plague in the Mililani Mire! Dr. Jackson Orders a Quarantine!

Day 3: Dr Jackson is currently working on a cure for the plague. Millilani Mire is still under a quarantine.

Asahi's new conviction

While Asahi was treating people from the school shooting he reflected on his actions and the future. As a Scion eventually he will have to cut ties with mortals and take on a divine task (or something). Looking rationally at the shooting and his normal out look what is the difference between the Hallowed King (Rory Rollins) killing someone and his mother killing someone. Asahi has already concluded that death is a part of life and has to happen so the world itself can survive. Life is not fair and sometimes you have to draw the short straw. After much thought He came to a conclusion. He would dictate the fate of those around him. He would decide who lived or died. For now he would grant Gods a pass since they are at a level he cannot yet reach, but Hallowed King did kill those around him, and without his permission. For that the Hallowed King must be destroyed. With the knowledge that Asahi has, he knows that he will need an army to take on the minions of his target. He is also sure that he can get Kai and Shicho to help enact his judgement based on their reactions.

Now that Asahi has the start of a plan he needs to make preparations. His first task is to acquire corpses to become his army. and the second task is to find the Hallowed King. For the first task Asahi will attempt to convince Kai’s sisters to give him their victims, and do some grave robbing, doing his best to avoid the Hallowed King’s minions since the may be protecting graveyards. As for hiding his army he will have them bury each other in the forest. The graves will be shallow so each can get up without hindrance.
For the second task Asahi will have to find some salamanders and convince them to keep watch for him and let him know if the hallowed king appears. Once a target is found he will point his army and claim the Hallowed King’s soul so he can send it to hell with a grin. After that… well doors are opening for him and more open as he gets stronger.


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