Categories > Cartoons > Class of the Titans > Practice

Enter the Gods

by Lutrani 0 reviews

Hera appears and sets the course of the course of the heroes to reunite to protect themselves, because the Gods certainly aren't!

Category: Class of the Titans - Rating: G - Genres:  - Published: 2009-01-15 - Updated: 2009-01-15 - 3717 words

Sorry it's been a while, I've been stuck on a few parts that have been keeping me from posting. Particularly, the plot fillers that aren't very exciting. This is unfortunately one of those necessary chapters to set up plot and explain what is happening, and I haven't achieved enough wirting skill to do these parts without them sounding a bit strained. Rest assured, more is coming. Next -- Odie!

The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was a blinding light. For a second, he thought it was the light people saw when they died. Not that he was particularly religious, but it was a warm, comforting brightness; it made him feel at peace. But as his mind slowly became more aware, pain suddenly flooded his senses, and he became bluntly aware that he was alive. He started trying to move his body, subconsciously trying to get away from the pain, but he suddenly realized someone was holding him down. He thrashed even harder, but whoever was holding him was strong. Suddenly, like someone turning on a light switch, his eyes focused, and he realized he was staring into the bearded face of Chiron, looking somewhere beyond him. Seeing the centaur made something snap in Archie’s mind, and he abruptly remembered everything. Pan giving him back his memories, Atlanta on the wooden stake with Cronus, his fight with the God of Time, and his final moments before he blacked out. He also abruptly knew where the pain was coming from, Cronus had pushed on his ankle brace until the metal had shattered and pierced the flesh of his ankle.

He tried to find his voice, to get Chiron’s attention, but as he opened his mouth a croak came out instead of words. His throat felt raw and sore. He felt like he’d torn something open just trying to get that feeble sound out. It was enough however, to get the centaur to look down at him.

“Archie! You’re awake?” Chiron exclaimed, shock on the elderly centaur’s face. He looked up from Archie to a part of the room Archie couldn’t see. “Hera, he’s come to!”

Archie was shocked to hear the Goddess’s name and struggled to sit up. Surprisingly, he found that if he didn’t move his ankle, the pain was bearable, and in fact his ankle seemed to be the only thing injured. Chiron, as if sensing his wishes, removed his hands from Archie’s shoulders and let him rise completely. Looking around, Archie immediately realized that he was in Hera’s personal chamber. He’d only seen it a few times during his previous life, but he’d recognize it anywhere. There was no where else in the school that had the large open hearth and the walls of books. He had to admit that he’d often thought about sneaking into the room when Hera was occupied, he was sure she must have some amazing ancient Greek Poetry books that could be found no where else in the world. But as he looked around he couldn’t help but notice that the lights weren’t lit in the room. And as he looked further, he saw a stone chest had been dragged across the doors at the entrance. It raised a question mark in his head, but he didn’t have time to ponder it further, as the Queen of the Olympic Gods had approached his bedside.

She didn’t speak immediately, but he could read enough off the expression on her face. She looked tired. She’d always seemed a bit harried when the seven of them had been with the Gods, but right now she looked utterly exhausted. Archie thought briefly that if Gods could age, Hera looked like she’d aged a lifetime in the span since he’d last seen her. A slow smile spread across her face, and she seemed to be doing her best to hide her state of mind. But the attempt was haphazard, as if she didn’t even have the effort for that. The end effect made her seem weaker and more tired than ever. She sat down on a chair placed next to him, and took Archie’s hand in her own. “Archie, I’m glad you’re safe.” She said quietly. But then her smile faded, and she averted her eyes from him. “I’m sorry I couldn’t intervene sooner, but… things have been tense here.”

He slowly moved his bandaged ankle to the side of the bed, so that he could speak to Hera sitting up on his own power. He’d never addressed the Goddess one on one like this before, especially with the Goddess in what seemed like such a vulnerable state. He wanted to be able to face her, to be strong, especially when neither of them seemed to have any strength to speak of. A million questions had flooded his mind as Hera spoke. Things he’d never had a chance to think of since Pan had restored his memories, but things he knew now that he needed to know. The first one came to his mind without a second of hesitation.

“Where’s Atlanta?” His voice was still raw and sore as he spoke, but it was passable.

Hera looked up at him again, a knowing smile spreading across her face in relief, as if she was welcoming this normality. “She’s fine Archie, don’t worry. Cronus hasn’t appeared since his fight with you, and my wayward son’s signal jammer hides both him, and by extension Atlanta, from Cronus.”

Archie’s eyes narrowed immediately, he hadn’t thought about Atlanta and Pan together before, but now he realized that was the only scenario that made sense. Atlanta had her memories, and she’s been living with Pan. They’d been a couple when Cronus had tried to kill them in the arena the first time. But why should that bug me? This is a different life after all. Focus Archie!

Hera was looking up at him, neither expectant nor uninterested. As if this kind of mortal reaction had been anticipated, and now she was merely waiting for his mind to rejoin the conversation. He felt his cheeks redden a bit as he noticed her watching him. He took his hand back from her's, and looked down at his bandaged ankle.

“Hera, why is the door blocked?” He asked suddenly, trying to change the subject. However he realized after he said it that a part of him had been looking to hurt the Goddess for drawing attention to his relationship with Atlanta, but he immediately regretted it when he saw the shadow pass over Hera’s face.

She looked away from him, responding quietly. She didn’t reach for his hand again. “It’s to keep Zeus from finding that I’ve brought you here, and from anyone else as well. I mustn’t endanger anyone else than is absolutely necessary.” She looked up to Chiron then, and the centaur nodded as if trying to encourage the Goddess. “Chiron volunteered after I told him of your… injuries at Cronus’s hands. Without his help, I would not have been able to save you.” Archie looked to Chiron, who nodded in his direction as well, and then back to Hera who was still avoiding his gaze.

“Hera,” he said slowly, trying not to upset Hera. “Why was Cronus there? How did he escape, I thought we’d prevented that when we went back in time. Isn’t that why I didn’t remember anything?”

Hera looked up at him at his question, and smiled a faint sympathetic smile, as if she had expected the question. “You did. But my clever father apparently knew we would do this, so he used his time to gather his strength, until he had reached a point where he was powerful enough to escape Tartarus on his own power. And who has more time than the God of Time himself?” She signed then, looking down at her hands. “We think he waited until we let our guard down, or maybe until you seven were born, and then he threw off the bonds we placed on him, the shackles we believed so unstoppable.”

“What do you mean he waited? Are you saying he could have escaped before now?” Archie didn’t like the direction Hera’s explanation was going. He was starting to get a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Hera nodded. “Yes. In fact, even if we could catch him now, I doubt Tartarus would hold him. He learns from his mistakes, my father. In fact, that is why I believe he waited until now to escape. He wants to” she paused here, as if struggling to get over a difficult to grasp concept in her mind, “tie up his loose ends, so to speak. You seven foiled him in the past, I’m assuming he wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

She waited a second, watching for Archie’s reaction to what she was telling him. Or maybe she could sense the turmoil going on in his mind at the moment. Either way she held her story until Archie could make enough sense out of what he was hearing to formulate a question.

“He’s… he’s hunting us down, isn’t he?” Archie asked slowly, looking up at her. Hera nodded. “Yes, and I fear even my interfering might not be enough to keep you safe for long.”

Something clicked in Archie’s mind as Hera spoke, going back to the first moments Cronus had attacked him and Atlanta in the arena. “You’ve been the one giving us the armour and weapons, haven’t you?”

Hera smiled faintly and nodded. But then a shadow seemed to pass over her eyes, and she looked down at her hands away from Archie’s eyes. “But it’s not enough. Cronus has made his intentions clear, and unfortunately we’ve left you all unprepared to defend yourselves. I wish I could say it was something unpreventable on our part, but we’re entirely at fault.”

She paused as if she would continue speaking, but then seemed to get caught on what she was to say next. They sat in silence for a few moments, Hera still looking down as her hands clasped in each other, the papery thin skin looking more fragile than Archie ever remembered. He was sure he knew what Hera was trying to get at, but he was also painfully aware of how sensitive the subject seemed to be with the Goddess. He now knew that it had been Hera who stood by them when Cronus had attacked, when all the other Gods seemed to have abandoned them for some unperceived reason. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her, but the regretful silence was almost unbearable. “This has something to do with why that stone chest is across the door, doesn’t it?”

Hera nodded, and then sighed deeply, as if subconsciously trying to clear the words caught in her throat. “Zeus wanted to give you all a rest, let you live normal mortal lives. We all felt like we owed the seven of you that, for everything you’d done for us in our time of need- you have to understand that all this started as a good intention.” She breathed deeply again, trying to keep her voice level. “And when the time passed that Cronus could escape, and our bonds held him, Zeus made it an official decree that we were to leave you all alone to live out your lives, as much as it might pain us not to contact you. We wanted you all to live happy mortal lives.” Hera sighed again before she continued to speak. Her vice took on a sombre tone as she spoke. “However, then Cronus showed us that we were all fools; he broke free of Tartarus. To be honest, we all thought Zeus would insist that we contact you right away, restore your memories and bring you all under our protection. But my husband has never been known for changing his mind.” Hera paused, looking up from her hands and directly into Archie’s eyes. Her face was expressionless, but her eyes showed a kind of desperation Archie never expected from the Queen of the Olympic Goddess. “He threatened to take away the immortality of any God who chose to help you.”

Archie’s eyes went wide. “What?”

“Zeus is adamant that this is a problem for the Gods to solve. He still believes that you seven have done your service to the Gods, and should no longer be involved in the business of the Gods. Some of us didn’t agree. To be honest, it almost caused a mutiny among us. But the final decision is Zeus’. And he set a condition he knew no God would dare cross.”

The shock going through Archie’s mind nearly overwhelmed him. He’d never doubted that he- they, could and would defeat Cronus. The instant Pan had restored his memories, that seemed like the only conclusion possible. But Hera was telling him that the Gods had all but abandoned them, and that even the Gods didn’t believe in their own power to stop the God of Time.

“But… but the Oracle-“

Hera shook her head, and replied curtly. “The oracle hasn’t been seen since Cronus escaped. Most of us believe that Cronus has either captured or killed him. There was no prophecy this time Archie.”

As a person, Archie was used to solving his own problems. He was an athlete. Athletes overcame obstacles that others viewed as insurmountable. That was the reason why not everyone in the world was a professional athlete. But as that moment, everything he’d imagined he’d be able to count on to beat Cronus, had suddenly become unavailable to him. The Gods, the Oracle, his friends… he’d never felt so helpless in his life. “So…” he said slowly, feeling the weakness in his own voice, “what… what can we do?”

Hera looked up at him, and there was a quiet look of determination in her eyes. A look that gave him hope. “Chiron, leave us.” She said abruptly, keeping her eyes on Archie.

The centaur started at having his name mentioned. “But- Hera,”

“No Chiron, I don’t want you involved any further.” She turned to the centaur finally, and Archie sensed something unspoken between the gaze of the Goddess and the healer. Chiron stood his ground for a moment, his face determined, but one hoofed foot pawing nervously at the ground. Hera kept her gaze on him, and finally he snorted in frustration. “Alright Hera!” He walked over to the door still barred by the chest, and moved it as if it were made of Styrofoam. As he went to go out the door, he turned back abruptly and looked sternly at the Goddess. “You can’t do everything yourself, you know Hera.” And then he was through the doorway, closing the heavy stone door quietly behind him.

Hera sighed heavily, and turned back to Archie. Her eyes betrayed some of the will it had taken to push the centaur through the door. His look must have been questioning, because the Goddess suddenly said to him quietly, “If I get caught, I don’t want anyone else being punished with me.” Her ominous tone was not lost on Archie, but she gave him no time to question her. “Archie, listen to me carefully. I’m not satisfied to assume that the Gods can deal with Cronus. He’s clearly coming after you seven, and I don’t know if I’ll be there the next time to save you. You’ve all got to protect yourselves this time, that much I know. But I’m not going to let you do it without help.” Archie looked at her strangely, he wasn’t sure what she was getting at. “Archie, you have to track the others down, and restore their memories. Together you’re strong! You can protect each other from Cronus, at least until some progress is made up here.” Her words gave him a burst of hope, but at the same time her suggestion seemed almost unreachable without the help of the Gods. He was about to ask her to clarify, when Hera took his hands in her own and continued to speak. “I’ve already made arrangements for you Archie. Although I don’t know where the others are, I can tell you that I’m sure some of the Gods have been following their favourites against Zeus’ wishes. I wish I could organize things from here for you, but Zeus is watching us on Mount Olympus. Any action by myself would endanger whomever I spoke to, I can’t bare that. But I can tell you how to contact the Gods yourself. Mortals once came certain places on earth to contact us, places built by mortal hands for the Gods. These have not been used for millennia, but their original use has not been dulled with time.” Her voice was almost reaching a fever pitch as she spoke. She tone both scared him and filled him with hope. This is what he’d been hoping for, what he needed. He wasn’t a planner, what he needed were someone else’s plans to act on. A part of him suddenly reflected on the fact that this was probably why he and Odie were such good friends, and although he didn’t realize it, why Achilles and Odysseus had been such good friends millennia ago. However, things had seemed so dismal a second ago that he was afraid to give in too much to Hera’s claims. A part of him knew what it would cost him emotionally if Hera was wrong. “Once you find them, the God you’ve spoke to should be able to restore each person’s memories, as Pan did with you. Oh- and I can give you this.” From in the folds of her cloak she pulled out what at first appeared to be a gold arm bracer. It was engraved, and inlaid with one or two cut stones. And as Archie looked closer, he noticed the symbol of Hermes cut into the surface. “This is a teleporter which Hermes designed for mortal use. He made two, and first you’ve already encountered. It was stolen by my son Pan, so that he could escape out of our reach while he worked his mischief in the mortal world.” As Hera spoke, Archie was suddenly brought back to the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of Pan right when Cronus had appeared. At the time, he’d attributed it to just another part of Pan’s demi-god powers. Nothing with Pan is ever what it seems, is it? He thought to himself grimily. “This doesn’t replicate the power of the Gods however, it won’t take you wherever you want for nothing in exchange. This was designed for mortals, and therefore must function by mortal rules. Are you familiar with ancient alchemy?” Archie shook his head, although he was sure he’d heard some mention of it in his poetry books. “Well, this teleporter works along alchemic law that nothing can ever be created or destroyed, only transformed. When you use this, you must picture in your mind an object of similar mass to yourself in the place you wish to travel. Its magic works by literally transforming that object into your body, which would then be in the new location. Where your body has been, the object will then be. However, it does restrict you to traveling to places you’ve already been, and there must be at item of comparable mass for the exchange to work. But it is the best a mortal can use without the help of the Gods.”

She placed it in his hands before she’d even finished talking about it. The metal was unusually cool in his hands, as if the magic of it gave the gold some kind of ethereal energy. He examined it in his hands, tracing the carvings in the metal with the tips of his fingers as if his exploration might cause the gold to spring to life in his hands.

“But Archie…” Hera said suddenly, her voice subdued compared to her excitement only moments earlier. “This all depends on you. In a way, Zeus is right. Everything has started over now. Even though we may be Gods, we can’t just assume that you will help us, or that you even have to help us, just because you did in the past. This is your choice, it was always. So let me ask you Archie, will you help me?”

The seriousness with which Hera spoke made his automatic answer catch in his throat. He knew what she was saying to him underneath all her words. Everything was different. There was no prophecy now, and that meant to guarantee that everything would be okay in the end. Perhaps this time there really was no way to stop Cronus, maybe he’d even die trying. Archie found himself thinking of Achilles suddenly, his tragic ancestor who died young. Achilles has also had a prophecy concerning him. He’d been told as a young man that we could choose to live a humble life and die a happy old man surrounded by his grandchildren, or he could exploit his abilities to their full extent and be the most famous hero of all time, but die young. Achilles had chosen the latter, and paid the price. Now, Archie couldn’t help but feel he was making a similar choice. But he also felt that there was only one choice to make, and he thought briefly that perhaps that had been the way Achilles had seen it too.

“Always Hera.” He replied.

A wide smile slowly spread across the Goddess’s face. “Then we don’t have any time to lose, come with me quickly!”
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