Aspictis ran through the night toward the looming shadow of a temple, his surroundings all but obscured by the down pour. The seer's had sent word that the oracle would give a prophecy as Lacedaemon fell to the Roman legions. If
this prophecy was not witnessed and sent to the goddess of love the world would perish consumed by the fires of war. Aspictis, chosen because his mother was Aphrodite herself, was set to guard his mother's temple and her oracle within
until she could give the prophecy. Aspictis looked back over his shoulder at the glow of fire in the distance. The Romans had breached the city walls and half the city was aflame not even the falling rain could put out the blaze. He
slowed his pace as he approached the temple and held out his hands to show he held no weapons as he moved forward.
"Halt," a voice rumbled from his left and a sword blade was suddenly pressed to his throat. Aspictis peered through the corner of his eye at the sword but didn't move knowing that he would die if he so much as twitched. He had
recognized the voice of his second in command, Fides, and he was not worried.
"My lord," Fides greeted when he got a look at Aspictis's face. He sheathed his sword and stood straight waiting for orders and Aspictis lowered his arms.
"The Romans have taken the walls and are pouring into the city like a flood; it will not be long till they arrive here. We won't be getting any reinforcements either, has the girl given her prophecy yet," Aspictis asked as he
moved toward the temple. The temple was a huge square building raised on a platform of marble with columns spaced at regular interval all the way around the build. The only door in or out of the temple, a massive set of wooden double
doors that swung outward and was covered in intricate carvings of roses and couples in various erotic positions, stood open and guarded on both sides by what remained of his forces. He looked over the fifty-three warriors left of his
original force of two hundred and saw the knowledge of their deaths in their eyes. Every one of them stood relaxed and fearless even knowing that they would not live to see the dawn of a new day. He stopped in front of them and
mesmerized their faces so their bravery would not be forgotten. Even in death he would remember and their sacrifices would be honored even if only he remembered.
"The Romans have taken the wall and soon will take the city. It won't be long until they are upon us, Fides, Mors, Dolor, Poena, and Invictus will enter the temple along with me and bar the door. The rest of you will stand
guard here do not let a single Roman mongrel set foot through that door while you still breath. We'll see if you can match the number of Roman dogs I've killed before we meet again in the Underworld," Aspictis said. His words were met
with laughter, jeers, and calls that no one could possibly match their number of kills. The men grinned with anticipation and bloodlust as Aspictis and the five he had named walked into the temple. The men outside strained and shoved the
massive doors closed and the six of them struggled and strained to lift the large wooden beam into place to bar the door. When it finally fell into place they were sweating with the strain from the heavy lifting. The antechamber of the
temple took up half the temple. Front and center straight across from the door stood a towering statue of Aphrodite, the base ringed in flickering candles. The walls of the room were evenly spaced with niches containing statuettes and
artwork in honor of the goddess. Aspictis felt a closeness to his mother here that he never felt anywhere else and he stared at her likeness with adoration for a moment before he headed for the door leading farther into the temple. It
was set into the wall to the left of the statue of Aphrodite and led into the Priestess's chambers. The priestess's had all been evacuated hours before so he saw no one as he passed through this room into the oracles chamber.
The oracle was a small woman not long past the age of eighteen. How long golden hair fanned around her head she lay on a large bed completely nude covered only by a translucent cloth. From the side of the room came the cooing of
a dove that would carry his message to the goddess. He watched the oracle as she breathed slowly and deeply with the rhythm of sleep. The faint sound of battle reached his ears through the window set far up in the wall, covered by a
stone grate built into the wall it was not a potential entrance so he ignored it. He stood and waited as the minutes ticked passed and the sound of battle outside died and then was replace with loud booms as the Roman's sought to break
down the heavy doors into the temple. An hour and then two passed and just when the oracles mouth opened the crack of the outer door breaking open sounded. The sound of furious battle rang through the temple and Aspictis prayed that
there would be enough time. The oracles mouth didn't move it just hung open but a raspy voice issued forth from the gaping mouth.
"After the third war when death falls from the sky like rain humanity will be driven to the brink of destruction. They will turn once more to the forgotten gods and the balance of all that is will shift. Immortals shall walk the
world once again among the mortal races. Human kind will face the legends of old and deities will once more mettle with mortal affairs. The gods will attempt to alter their fate and only bring annihilation to everything that exists.
There will be one, the Twice Born son of the goddess of love who can balance the scales. He will be blessed by many and hated and cursed by many but feared by all. If he succeeds he may become the master of fate and the existence of the gods will hang on the whims of a son of man. These words are for the goddess and her ilk alone no other may know them," the oracle’s mouth shut with the click of teeth and she fell silent. Aspictis hurriedly moved to the desk and hurriedly scratched out every word exactly as oracle had spoken them. He stuffed the papers into a tube and attached it to the dove, which immediately took off and flew out the window when he was done. With a sigh of relief he turned to the door and drew his sword from his hip and rushed back out into the antechamber where the sound of battle still echoed. Aspictis rushed into the antechamber and ran his sword through the back of a Roman who was engaging Fides by the door to the priestess' chamber.
"Welcome to the party," Fides said with a grin then spun and ran back into the fight. Aspictis ran forward to engage another Roman while he took in everything. Poena was down, lying in a pool of blood, with a spear through his
neck but he was ringed in the corpses of Roman legionnaires nearly knee high. Invictus was fighting back to back with Dolor and one of his arms hung limp and useless at his side. The Romans were bottle necked at the door and were having
trouble getting past Mors, whose sword struck again and again ending the life of Roman after Roman with ease. Aspictis sidestepped a downward slash and cut the Roman's arm off just above the elbow. The Roman reared back screaming in pain
as more Romans circled Aspictis. He whirled in the middle of a ring of enemies dodging, blocking, and striking never stopping his movement to keep his momentum going. Legionnaire after legionnaire met their death under his glinting blade
until they backed up and he got a reprieve from the fight. Aspictis panted and stood ready for the next onslaught and he saw Mors fall to an arrow. The legionnaires seeing its effectiveness turned their bows on the others as well and soon Dolor and Invictus also lay dead pin cushioned with arrows. A legionnaire to Aspictis's left fell and Fides stumbled into the clear space surrounding him. An arrow was embedded deep into Fides's side and blood pour from his mouth he
stumbled in front of Aspictis just as the archers fired again and took four more arrows all meant for Aspictis.
"See you on the other side," Fides croaked and with a grin dropped to the floor dead.
"Roman scum," Aspictis screamed and the ring of legionnaires around him flinched back.
"Mother I ask for your blessing in this, my final hour," Aspictis prayed and then leapt forward to meet his death. He swept his sword across the first Roman's throat and the man fell gurgling to his knees as Aspictis flowed forward without pausing. Aspictis’s next swing took a man's head from his shoulders and embedded his sword in the spine of the man standing next to him. The body fell dragging the sword from Aspictis's grasp and he had to leap back to avoid the thrust of another soldier. Aspictis slammed his shield into the man's face and ripped the spear from man's grip and then stabbed him in the heart with it. An arrow slammed into Aspictis's chest causing him to stumble but he felt no pain from the wound. He began to laugh knowing his mother had answered his plea for aid even as he tasted blood in his mouth. He launched the spear at the archer who had shot him. The spear pierced the Roman's eye and continued through his skull to embed itself in the wood of the temple door pinning the Roman's corpse in a standing position. Two more arrows hit Aspictis and he stumbled but didn't fall even though he was beginning to feel weak from the blood loss. He grabbed a sword and dropped his shield to the floor and began hacking at the Romans that came into reach. Finally an arrow hit him puncturing his heart he dropped to his knees as if he were a puppet whose strings had been cut. His grip on the sword went lax and it clattered to the floor of the temple. He watched the Romans cautiously close in on him as the edges of his vision blackened.
"Thank you mother," he prayed in his mind, his body no longer having the strength make his mouth move to form the words and he died still kneeing. A sudden wind whipped through the room so violently it howled like a scream of rage and the temple shook. Lightning flashed across the sky and then slammed in the temple, again and again lightning flashed down hundreds of bolts rained onto the temple so fast it looked like a single continuous bolt. When the strikes ended there wasn't a single trace left of the temple of Aphrodite.
Mount Olympus 146 B.C.
Aphrodite screamed in fury and lashed out with power destroying her temple in Lacedaemon. Aspictis, her last son, was dead at the hands of the Roman invaders. Her rage shook her temple and the mountain side as her power rebound
with no actual target to strike at. Suddenly one of her messenger doves from one of her high priestess's appeared before her and cooed. She nearly lashed out at the bird but she refrained from turning the bird into a pile of ash and
marched over to take the message. She opened the tube and pulled the two page message free unrolled it and froze, her anger dying, as she read the first word scrawled in a messy script.
Mother, I don't have much time to write this the Romans have entered the temple already and my five best warriors are holding them at bay so I may send you this missive. Your priestess's have all been taken to safety, only your
oracle remains with us in the temple. With this message I have fulfilled my final duty and will go to meet my death. I am now and always have been proud to call you mother even if we have never spoken. The following page is a prophecy
written down word for word as I witnessed it and for your eyes alone. Your devout son Aspictis.
Tears rolled down Aphrodite's cheeks as she read the final words of a son she had never met and regret filled her. She read the prophecy from the second paper and shock shot through her at the words she read. She started pacing as she read the words again and tried to puzzle through the less obvious meanings. She jerked in surprise when the booming sound of someone knocking on her temple door sounded. If she hadn't be so absorbed by her thoughts no one would have been able to get this close to her temple without her being aware of them. With a thought the message vanished from her hands and the door swung open to reveal Hephaestus, her husband.
"Yes," she asked him neutrally.
"The Moirai have a foretelling that affects the gods, all are being summoned to Zeus's temple," he said and then vanished. Tension knotted her stomach but she flashed to Zeus's temple at the very top of Olympus. The antechamber
due to being so large wasn't cramped even though the entire Greek pantheon now stood waiting to hear what the fates had to say. The gods stood in clumps murmuring quietly as they discussed what the fates might have foreseen. Aphrodite
stood off slightly away from the others and was given a wide berth since most knew of her tantrum earlier though not the reason for it. The vast room was created from marble shot through with golden swirling veins and extended for a long way both upwards and outwards. Statues honoring the god king stood in niches along each wall and a painting depicting the fall of the Titans and the rise of the Greek pantheon stretched across the ceiling.
"Quiet down," Zeus said standing on a dais with the Fates standing next to him. The soft talking around the room died as everyone turned to face the raised platform expectantly.
"You all know why we are here so let’s get this over with," Zeus said after everyone fell silent and then stepped back to give the floor to the Fates.
"After the third war when death falls from the sky like rain," said Clotho. Aphrodite relaxed thinking this would be the same prophecy she had been given.
"Belief in the gods will rise from the ashes of war. The immortal shall walk once again among the mortal and impose their will," Lachesis continued. Aphrodite froze hearing the difference from her prophecy and fear coursed
through her at what the final fate might say.
"Human kind will rise up against their deities in rebellion and war will rage anew. Gods will fall at the hands of mortal weapons and some will fight on the side of humanity against their brethren. In this time there will be one
born of a goddess. The twice born demigod shall rage against the gods and bring them to their knees seeking his vengeance. He shall rise up and take hold of his birth right and rule the gods absolutely," Atropos finished. There was a
silence as every Greek god stood frozen in shock.
"What," Zeus's roar of outraged wrath shook the mountain itself. Many of the lesser gods flinched away from his anger but Aphrodite barely even noticed the outburst. This second prophecy while not disagreeing with the prophecy
given to her would set almost every god against her child. She snapped out of her daze as Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades began to discuss the prophecy.
"So the humans will turn back to us after this third war," Poseidon mused. All of the gods had notice the lack of followers and as their believers diminished so did their ability to effect the mortal realm.
"That isn't important humanity will rise against us when we once more walk among them. We cannot allow such insolence from such pathetic being," Hades said.
"Neither of those points is important. Humans cannot defeat us but apparently this demi-god, the Twice Born son of a goddess, he could stand above us. Although I don't see how that is possible, something must be done to avert
this outcome," Zeus declared and the other two nodded. The other gods watched in silence as the three debated what to do and Aphrodite stood immobile with the rest. Outwardly she remained calm in intent on the conversation but inwardly
she quivered with tension.
"We could keep all of the sons of the goddess under watch until one shows signs of being this Twice Born. Then kill him before he can become a threat," Poseidon offered.
"There are too many sons and other descendants of each goddess for that to be a viable option," Zeus argued.
"We could just kill all of the sons born between a goddess and a mortal," Hades offered and every goddess in the room stiffened at the suggestion. Zeus opened his mouth to immediately shoot down that suggestion but paused to
consider it. There was no fool proof way to avert the prophecy but Hades suggestion had the highest probability of success. He looked out over the mass of assembled gods and the intent faces watching and waiting for his decision. With a
sigh he stood to his full height and looked down at the gods before him and strengthened his resolve.
"That is the best option. By my decree all the sons from a union between a goddess and a mortal shall be put to death," Zeus declared. A feminine outcry rose at his words and drowned out the few males that tried to speak.
"Husband you can't do this," Hera said approaching Zeus.
"It must be done. Olympus will not bow to the will of a mortal and I will bow to no one," he declared his voice rising in anger. She knew that Zeus was powerful enough to force her and the other goddess' to give up their
children. Hera's mind raced for a solution to the problem but the look on Zeus's face showed that he would not relent. Making a decision she looked out over the audience at the female faces of her family and straightened in pride. She
didn't have enough power to fight her husband but she knew of one being who did.
"I charge you to watch over my children in my absence she charged the goddess' watching her," and she spun and seized Zeus's arm. With a thought she flashed them into the depths of Tartarus to the chamber where Cronus was
imprisoned. Zeus tried to pull from her grasp but she clung to him with a desperate strength.
"Father aid me," she called out to Cronus, father of the gods. Imprisoned as he was he could do nothing alone but with a goddess' body to use as a conduit he could reach out of his prison and aid her. Hera continued to cling to a
struggling Zeus as time stopped. Cronus laughed in his prison knowing that his revenge on one of his traitorous sons was done. Zeus would stand bound in time until existence ended or he released them, so he settled back to wait
patiently. Hades and Poseidon arrived moments later but it was already too late they flashed back to Zeus's temple to inform the others. The gods in temple had separated into three group’s gods, goddesses, and the Fates and Hermes who
stood midway between the two groups.
"Zeus and Hera are trapped outside of time by Cronus. However the plan remains the same, all of the goddesses are to bring their demigod children here," Hades declared and Poseidon nodded his agreement.
"No, we will do no such thing," Athena declared and agreements were sounded from those that stood with her. Hades narrowed his eyes at her and took a menacing step forward trying to intimidate her but she stood her ground
"You will or we will force you to do it," Hades said motioning toward the group of gods that were beginning to move toward the smaller group of goddesses.
"Retreat is a sound battle strategy," Athena declared with a smirk. Hades lunged but his fists closed on empty air as every goddess in the room vanished with the exception of the Fates and he howled in rage. Aphrodite summoned her demigod daughters and sent them to find Hera's mortal born children along with any other male demigod with a goddess mother.
With this a rift formed between the gods and goddess of Olympus. The goddesses fled Olympus to hide in the mortal realm with the waning of human belief they could not interact with the mortals or their realm but they could hide and wait for a time when they could find the Twice Born and aid him in overthrowing the gods’ seat of power. Hermes declared himself neutral and refused to hunt down any of the demigods but also refused any sanctuary in his temples and the Fates followed his example. Aphrodite's daughters took Hera's sons into hiding and form the Pugno Deae, or Fist of the Goddess. The other goddesses sent their children in search of the Pugno Deae and though many died at the hands of the gods before reaching the safety of the sanctuary that the Pugno Deae called home some managed to make it swelling the numbers of demigods. The gods sought the hiding goddesses but found nothing and though they hunted down many of the demigods they knew that some were still alive. Time passed the silent war between the divine beings raged on even as humanity all but forgot their existence.
The not so distant Past.
Aphrodite watched as the humans readied for war and felt that the time would soon be at hand. Pugno Deae was now a secret society who worshipped her and they had spread across the globe and were still loyal after millennia of service. Terrorist attacks were occurring all over the world with increasing frequency and the world leaders were rapidly growing tired of the countries that harbored the criminals. On May 15th of 2004 a terrorist cell bombed a football stadium in the middle of a game. Thousands died or were maimed and the US government finally had enough. The terrorist cell was based out of Iraq and the United States demanded that the people responsible be handed over at once. Iraq's government agreed but several weeks after the attack still no prisoners were forth coming and when pushed to step up their efforts Iraq finally refused saying they would not hand over their citizens to a foreign government. Three months after the bombing of the stadium the United States declared war on Iraq and invaded. By the end of 2007 Iraq was almost entirely under American control with only a few hold out groups using guerilla tactics. The holdout groups appealed to their neighbors for aid. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey all fearing that the US would continue on to conquer their nations if they got a firm hold on Iraq sent troops to secretly aid the rebel forces.
In an attack on a rebel compound a leader was taken captive by American forces and bartered information for clemency. He told of the rebels receiving aid from the surrounding countries and the army sent out scouts to the meetings
he had knowledge of. The scouts returned and verified that he was telling the truth so he was released and in November of 2010 America demanded an explanation of the surrounding countries actions at a UN summit meeting. The ambassadors for the three countries denied any knowledge of aid to the rebels. The US demanded they cease their hostile actions and pay reparation to a fund set up to take care of the families of fallen soldiers. Five days after the meeting Saudi
Arabia, Turkey, and Iran declared war on the United States and marched across the Iraq border. The US incensed at their actions launched a massive volley of ICBM at three hundred and twelve strategically chosen targets.
When asked at a UN conference for explanations for their actions the US ambassadors declared that the United States was tired of people taking pot shots at them and would react accordingly. When the United States invaded the three weakened countries the rest of the middle eastern countries and Europe banded together and attacked. Their missiles were already in the air before the US realized what was happening and launched and answering volley of missiles. Nuclear payloads were not used in any of the attacks but the destruction was bad enough. Japan, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and Scotland all refused to take sides in the conflict and escaped from the conflict with little or no damage at all. Over forty percent of the American population died in the fighting or due to missile strikes on cities. Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey suffer a ninety percent population loss. The rest of Europe and the middle east fared about the same as America. The US was pushed from the middle east in 2012 and in January of 2014 a cease fire was called on both sides. They called it the Third World War and a year later a peace treaty was signed but the damage was already done and the economy of most of the world plummeted. Many decided that this was the beginning of the end of the world as famine began to spread and people panicked. They turned once more to the gods and their power to effect the mortal realm grew. Aphrodite who already had a following that began preaching her praises was the first of the gods and goddesses to once again have the power to appear to the mortals. Her first appearance was at a gathering of her followers who were inducting new members to her order. The witness' spread the story and soon a steady stream of new members joined her followers expanding her abilities. She went to the head priestess of Pugno Deae, still a secret society even from the other followers of Aphrodite, and had the priestess bring a man to her. He was a guard who was to be executed for betraying the Pugno Deae to outsiders and getting several of the members killed.
Aphrodite instead offered him a choice, he could serve her in whatever capacity she required for eternity and she would spare his life. He accepted her offer and she named him Inpietas and she joined with him. Once she had his seed she branded him with the chains of obedience across his chest, a black chain that wrapped all the way around his torso. She set him to guard her high priestess's two year old daughter and to obey her absolutely with only two exceptions. He was never to follow any order that could lead to harm coming to the girl and he was to preserve her virtue until Aphrodite's son arrived at the hidden city, Civitatem Amor. Aphrodite, being the goddess of love, could see that the girl had the potential to be her son's soul mate. She fed him three drops of ichor to make him almost invincible, decapitation being his only weakness. She explained to her high priestess what she had done and why and told her that her son would bear the her sigil, a seashell that all the members of Pugno Deae had tattooed to the back of their necks, over his heart. She swore the woman to secrecy about this portent so that any who came claiming to be her son would be able to be immediately known for imposters. She then departed and hid in a temple hidden by the edge of the sea that still remained hidden from the mortals and hostile immortals. Nine months later she gave birth to a son and called him Sophos. He had straight blonde hair that shimmered gold as bright as hers and eyes the color of the sea, constantly shifting from green to blue or a mixture of the two. She placed a kiss on his brow blessing him with charisma and beauty, she then called out for the other goddesses to come to her. When they appeared she asked them to bless her son and they agreed hoping that this would be the child that would return balance to the world. Athena was first and blessed him with wisdom and insight, Hestia came next and blessed him with patience. Aletheia, Artemis, Hecate, and Nyx who gave the blessings of a sense of the truth, master skills with a bow, proficiency with magic, and the eyes of a cat respectively. Nyx's blessing of cats eyes caused the pupil to change from a perfect circle to more of an oval but it wasn't noticeable unless you watched the babe’s pupils contracted in sudden light, when they narrowed to slits like a cats. Lastly Enyo stepped forward and blessed him with a talent for war. Then after one last kiss to her son's chest leaving her sigil behind where her lips had touched him she handed him to Hestia.
"Please take him to a good family where he may find happiness for as long as it can last. He will have a hard life ahead of him," she implored the goddess who nodded and vanished. Hestia took the baby and placed him into the womb of an already pregnant mother who was about to give birth. She blessed the woman and her daughter with safety and luck and vanished without being noticed by either.
On February 29, 2016 Lily Andrews, only nineteen years old, gave birth to a squalling baby girl that she named Sabina and, much to hers, her husbands, and the doctors surprise a son who, made not a peep, followed soon after. The nurse checked to make sure the child was breathing but he was so she handed him over to Lily. Having a son was a surprise and she didn't have a name picked out for him but right then she decided to call him Ethan the nurse then took the babies away to be cleaned and so Lily could rest. Her husband John stood beside her, holding her hand and staring down at her lovingly. Time flew by and as the years past and Sabina and Ethan grew older the gods gained more followers and greater power and started to once again walk the world among the mortals. February 28, 2033 the day before the twins birthday Hades appeared in Time Square, which John Andrews was crossing, and demanded that all kneel to him and when nobody listened and those close enough to hear his demand laughed at him he killed every person in the square.