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Gods Among Us: The Godslayer

Vasta City

12.75 INK

a part of Gods Among Us: The Godslayer, by Venuskyy.

None

Venuskyy holds sovereignty over Vasta City, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

87 readers have been here.

Setting

A large city that hosts the largest population of supernatural creatures in the world. It is known for being the entrance to the pocket dimension where The Pantheon exists. Many of those working for and around The Pantheon live in this city and use it as their base of operations.

On the flip side, this City is also a known hotbed of criminal activity. The east side of the city has been under the control of the mafia-like Jonsdotter Vampire Clan for several years now. The violence in that section of the city higher than in any other and is constantly featured in the news.

Meanwhile, in other sections of the city civil unrest has begun to stir at the influx of new people migrating in.

Even The Pantheon itself has begun to feel the stirrings of bad omens coming their way.
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Vasta City

None

Minimap

Vasta City is a part of Gods Among Us: The Godslayer.

3 Places in Vasta City:

7 Characters Here

Destiny Ribiera [4] Rio, a lesser river god
Arsen St. James [4] Major God of the Dead
Catarina De La Cruz [4] Nemesis, god of revenge, balance and consequences
Isla Adan [4] The God of Prophecies
Theo Sverre [3] The God of Beasts
Oswald Stone [1] The God Of Blood Feuds
Gregory Henderson [1] Horseman of Conquest

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Oswald Stone Character Portrait: Isla Adan Character Portrait: Alan Sanders Character Portrait: Joanna Kurtz Character Portrait: Gregory Henderson Character Portrait: Ahya Edola Character Portrait: Catarina De La Cruz Character Portrait: Theo Sverre Character Portrait: Arsen St. James Character Portrait: Pranav Bandara Character Portrait: Destiny Ribiera Character Portrait: Josephine Jonsdotter Character Portrait: Cherise Viole Nijima Character Portrait: Seo Daeyoung
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ImageImage
Past, 21, March, 2020…

Begin At An End


Blood streaked the cracked marble floor. Still slick wet but certainly not fresh. Bernardo bent to get a closer look. Two fingers touching the vicious mess as if it were imagined. It wasn't. He brought the fingers to his face, inhaling deeply the scent of copper. It wasn't the usual smell that greeted him. No. This blood had run afoul of something other. A looming presence that twined its way through each cell. He could imagine the source. An overburdened body carrying a light not meant for this world. And there it was, in the barely present light cast by his flashlight, the sheen of molten gold in the red that he hadn't noticed at first.

"Fuck, God's blood," he wiped the blood off onto his khakis and stood to face his partner. Atticus Wallace seemed disinterested. But Bernardo knew better than to assume there was nothing stirring behind that carefully made mask.

"Think it's still kicking around here?" Atticus swept his flashlight, first over the blood streaked floors and then up and over the rows of rotting pews. This church had been out of commission for decades at this point. A molding shell of half rubble that clung heavily to the remnants of its infrastructure. Most churches had long since become defunct. Though some still believed in their hearts that the Gods walking among men were heretical demons. Bernardo thought that strange, that people were willing to accept werewolves, vampires, and all manner of spirit but the moment the Gods descended onto earth they shuttered their doors and boarded the windows.

Bernardo's history with the Gods was just as sordid as anyone else that fell beneath their purview but it stayed just that. Purview. A distant connection based on a professional thread. His job was to take these cases because nobody else could. He could count the number of actual Gods he'd ever managed to encounter in this job.

It was a fact though that Gods didn't just up and die. No matter how much blood was on the scene. The closest neighbors had reported what sounded like fighting coming from the abandoned church and Bernardo had fully expected to be greeted with the sight of strewn bottles, needles, and whatever the fuck else but there had been no trace of drug activity here. Not a smidgen of violence to be heard. All was quiet, a hushed peace that was only interrupted by the blood.

Gods didn't die. Therefore if it weren't miles away by now then it was still here. Perhaps wounded though more than likely it was simply healing away from prying eyes.

"Might be, better start looking." Bernardo answered at long last. Beginning to trace the sinewy blood trails through the dark.

They didn't have to search long or hard for that matter, just on the other side of what would have once been the Sacristy they found the stomach churning remnants of the God. Half tucked underneath a freshly overturned cabinet. One that still surprisingly seemed to have been holding on to the moth bitten and tattered robes of its former inhabitants.

The body was cut in several places. Threads of shimmering blood having dried to the skin around the wounds that were visible. The heaviest of which centered around the Gods gut. Bernardo thought if he looked close enough he could see organs. Twisting intestines poking out through the torn flesh. He couldn't stop himself from running through the facts in his head.

Caucasian Female, Early Twenties, Multiple wounds…cause of death....evisceration? She had been run through with something. Something sharp and deadly enough to render a God helpless. The only things that killed Gods were other Gods, but that hadn't happened in quite some time. The Pantheon made sure of that.

Yet here the body lay twisted under this broken down, decades old cabinet in a church thats likely been untouched for just as long.

He noticed that the Gods mouth was half open in an enraged scream still. Pearly white teeth stained red. Bernardo shuddered at the depths of the Gods wide open eyes. They hadn't retained any humanity in those last moments, the entirety of the corneas had gone a molten lava-like red gold shade that reflected their flashlights back at them. Just like the blood, the essence of the God attempting to spill out.

Bernardo had never seen it for himself, few had, but like any other he had heard Ghost stories aplenty about what it looked like to stare into the face of a dead God.

"Shes young," Bernardo felt compelled to say out loud. He carefully, without disturbing the body examined the corpse. It was disconcerting to say the least. Most Gods emerged into youth of course but that didn't stop him from feeling nauseated at the thought of who this young woman might have wound up being without Divinitys interventions.

"Lets call it in," Atticus spoke sharply, just over Bernardos shoulder where he too gazed at the body. There was something in his eyes when Bernardo looked up. Not nervousness, no, something closer to revulsion.

"Something wrong Wallace?"

"With me? No," Atticus snorted, gesturing wildly. "But the Gods can clean up their own messes, we don't need to be here doing -"

"Our job?" Bernardo cut in snidely.

Atticus laughed.

"Our job is God related crimes. Not 'clearly murdered' Gods themselves. The Pantheon won't let anyone within a foot of this once they hear about it and by all means too, they should be the ones to get a leash on whatever new Holy terror has cropped up."

Bernardo hummed under his breath. Atticus made a great point. But something about this felt off. Like an itch too far too reach. He felt the haunting echo of this one raise the hairs along his spine. He wasn't scared. Nervous perhaps. He didn't want to deal with another Szen if thats what was happening.

"Alright," he nodded at last. Preparing himself for the long night of relayed reports, red tape, and press avoidance that would follow. He prayed that once he made it home tonight Selene would be there waiting for him just this once and not wasting her time trying to spin light into the Gods media presence. He missed her, and the sight of the young girl that could have been something so much more than a dead God rotting in a church made that all the worse.

He needed a drink. Or 20. Enough to drown out this ragged itch of wrong in his mind.




ImageImage

Present Day, 25, May, 2020

The Pantheon


Filigree and baubles.

The Pantheon couldn't seem to ever get everyone together in one place unless burdened by loud music and fanfare. Isla hadn't felt the need to attend the party but when the call came in the night, a dream within a dream that could only have been a message of death, she did her best to get to the Pantheon before the urgency could be swept beneath the rug.

Alan had been meant to meet her there, but as usual he had been absent. Likely having forgotten about her completely. And instead Isla had been met with the overbearing audience of Gods that seemed to have very little to do other than waste away in hedonistic pleasures.

She could only try her best to gather the sober ones together long enough to get someone to figure out where any of the Major Gods were. It looked like Alan at least had already gotten the news of the newest addition to the growing list of names in the Gods personal obits.

By the time they managed to shuffle off into the meeting hall there was very little left of Isla other than nerves. Frayed and ready to snap at any moment.

The facts of the matter were given in precise detail. Quick and to the point.

Another dead God, cut to pieces. Isla felt hollowed out, gutted still by what she already had known. Her dreams were always right. Whether she wanted them to be or not.

"Two dead Gods could have been a coincidence. But three certainly isn't," Isla muttered and paced.

She couldn't stop moving despite the fact that nobody seemed to be giving her any mind. The frantic muttering under her breath as unhelpful as the bedraggled way she had appeared. She hadn't had the time to look presentable in front of her fellow Gods. Not at 3am and not when the third body in two months popped up in the city.

Each time she had strode the length of the room her thoughts seemed to unravel further. A knot of connections pulling loose from one another until she felt clear enough to stop. To wait. Her voice when it shuddered through her wasn't Isla. Not entirely at least.

"I told you all there would be death, damned bloody death, and its hunting us all!" Blythe was center stage, more than the God ever seemed to be and completely unrepentant about it.

"Come off it Blythe!" Crowed another God dismissively, "every vision you have is of death, can't bloody well expect much else."

"Fool! This isn't just death this is more than that. This is more than the approaching storm!" Blythe raged.

But even as strongly as the God gripped onto the forefront of Isla's conscious mind there was still cracks in the surface. The bleeding of Isla into Blythe that let the human push the God back. Regain her rationality. For a blistering moment she felt the embarrassment of tears prickle in her eyes but she knew better.

"It's all shadows in here," Isla tapped her head "I see things I can't begin to describe, things that even the Fates refuse to see. How long has it been since any of us have seen them anyways? Ever wonder if there's a reason they've abandoned ship?"

Disgust laced her every word, they were all in danger and couldn't see it. Even Alan, as sympathetic as he was to her plight would rather hide behind fake smiles and strategic statements released to the press. He stood at the head of the room as plastic and serene as ever. Isla bit back her frustration, wanting nothing more than to shout that this wasn't fair.

Why did she see the gaping maw of darkness at all times. The shadows that bled into her mind an ever present inky blackness that would leave.

"We understand Isla," Alan began, ready to plaster a bandage over the gaping wound that was Isla. "We're sorting this out." It wasn't any sort of promise or pledge. Just more words to placate.

Nobody else seemed all that concerned. Alan mostly looked disconcerted to be there at all. It had been years since any God had stepped foot into this hall. But times of peace always came to an end, and Isla could see the flickering of tension striking like a lightening storm in her head. The coming storm. Death haunting their steps.

"I know this is hard for all of us," Alan stepped forward, mouth set in a hard line. Standing impossibly rigid in his tailored suit. He looked every bit the part of a God in that moment. Domineering the space he took up.

"Then what's being done about it? Are we supposed to live in fear of a threat that we don't even know anything about - other than of course the three eviscerated Gods it's left behind." Isla knew she was poking at something that none of them ever spoke aloud. The glaring beast in the room made up of those that could and could not.

There had always been a line between the gods. Major, minor, lesser and even further than that went the Gods that were capable of wreaking havoc and those that weren't. Isla, Blythe, whoever existed in this body of hers was nothing more than a Glorified fortune teller. She was defenseless. As were many others.

She could see the discomfort on some of the faces in the crowd but none were so brazen as her to raise their voices in this fight. She had been afforded her stance by the ever thinning ounce of respect that her Dominion afforded to her.

"We're doing everything we can." Alan assured.






Image


Present Day, 25, May, 2020

The Gilded Cage


He'd been more clear in these past few months than he had ever felt in a lifetime of inhabiting this body. But that didn't stop the flooding anger from washing its way through his brain everytime he opened his eyes and still saw that he was here. Stuck in this Gilded Cage below the Pantheon proper. Stuck in this mindlessly endless boredom that pervaded every inch of his mind until the dull ache of anger roared into a blazing fire.

It had been easier when he was smaller to find exploitable weaknesses in this prison. It had been built for adults. Not children. And Oswald had been particularly imaginative in his desperation to escape this place. But it had been many years since he he last saw an opportunity to free himself and truly, he didn't much mind it anymore. He took a perverse sort of pleasure in watching Silva's face twist when he came to see what damage Szen had done to Oswalds body now. He'd scared off most of the other Gods that Silva sent to check in on him - all but Nemesis of course but he valued her company unlike any other.

They spoke as equals, two War Gods that saw the injustices of this systematic oppression. Their Domain had always been one of violence, there was no denying that,, and Gods like Silva certainly saw that fact. Its why Szen was here in the first place. Locked away for crimes he committed while crazed and lusting for blood.

He could still feel the blood on his hands. Could see the rivers of it running in his mind. Could feel and taste the heat of flames and smoldering ash as he took his fledgling anger out in the humans that had wrought agony on his body for years. Often he recalled the feeling of hands at his throat, squeezing the life from his body until specks of black covered his vision. Szen cant remember the point in which he emerged into this body well, can only see the moment that he popped Oswalds stepfather head like an overblown balloon.

He shuddered, and pushed away those memories.

Szen resented Silva for he seemed more invested in human welfare than that of his fellows.

It was pathetic.

He missed Catarina.

He wondered if she would visit soon. Or if she was busy with whatever seemed to be stirring up the energies of the Gods above. Szen could feel it, just like he suspected any of the War Gods could feel it. There was something brewing like a storm. He could easily imagine the strife that would be befallen the Gods and relished at the thought.

It served them right.

But that wasn't the only thing that Szen could feel. Even as caged away as he was there was a very distinct pull that seemed to echo from somewhere nearby. The presence of a God that Szen had not seen nor heard of in quite some time. He wanted badly to go out there and see for himself.

Had gone mad with the thought the first time he felt it. Thrumming with an energy that didn't feel like his own at the time. Admittedly, the body he wore had become a bit more damaged from his compulsive self battering than he usually allowed. His maddening habit of throwing himself against the enchanted barriers of the prison taking its toll.

Things were finally getting interesting. And here he was stuck.

Incapable of witnessing it.



ImageImage
Present Day, 25, May, 2020

The Pier


Josephine lifted the bloated body of a rat by its wormlike tail. Watching in morbid fascination as the creature chittered its dismay to the air. Struggling against her steel grip even as she swung it up and let it go, watching it disappear down the endless maw of a beast that wriggled in delight. Its limbs endlessly twisting and turning over and under and through each other until the maddening tangle became too much to look at. It made her sick, but excited, and very much giddy to be so near to it.

Petra loved her abomination and Josephine could understand why.

Its proportions fascinated her, the impossible nature of its very being mind warpingly unpleasant. Josephine wondered if this was how the world saw her. An unpleasant thing, a blight on nature that hurt to look at. It felt good to be faced by another nightmare even if she could not place a name to it.

She would also very much like to feed it anything other than Rats but Petra forbade Josephine from even coming near the beast let alone feeding it. As if she could or would stop Josephine from doing as she pleased. Besides, the beast hardly moved at all other than to undulate its limbs.

Since her emergence Petra had begun to take Josephine more seriously. She wasn't this meek little creature that clung to their mothers leg anymore. Though she had admittedly not been that for a very long time. Even with teeth as sharp as razor blades on display as Josephines grin there had always been a blanket of familiarity that allowed Petra to paint Josephine as a Saint. Incapable of running drugs, people, or guns the way the family wanted.

That was okay. Josephine, and to a larger extent Minerva, thrived on the deception of seeming less than.

It was a game they played well.

It had brought them all the way from Russia to here. To this city that seemed to never sleep with all the activity it saw. Josephine had been in the city for less than a few days but already she could tell that things were going to be exciting.

"Your sister isn't gonna like you being down here."

She didn't startle at the voice, but she did turn around. Mouth already half quirked into the beginning of a smile. "Bold of you to assume she'll find out."

"Bold of you to assume I won't tell her." The man stepped into the light, revealing the face and body of a man that Minerva would be delighted to just eat up. Atticus Wallace, Petra's personal project and Josephines babysitter - at least. When he wasn't working alongside mangy mutts.

"Bold of you to think I care " she countered back, unable to contain her laughter as she dramatically flipped her hair over one shoulder. He rolled his eyes, though she could see the fondness in the action. But once he glanced over her shoulder at the beast just beyond her he seemed to shudder inward. It was an understandable reaction to the shapes that seemed to have no english equivalent description.

Josephine took pity, looping her arm through his and giving it a tug. She'd like nothing more than to squander her time in the basement but hiding away never did anyone any good. She was excited to see the world beyond The Pier, if even just for a moment as she accompanied Atticus to the Musée De Vries.

Though she was excited to be involved in some small part with the business it was clear that this wasn't about that for her. Minerva's plans revolved around something much larger than some vampiric pseudo cartel operating on the edge of a city bustling with bigger fish. Those plans began with Aristotle and his endless collection of trinkets.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isla Adan Character Portrait: Alan Sanders Character Portrait: Catarina De La Cruz Character Portrait: Theo Sverre Character Portrait: Arsen St. James Character Portrait: Pranav Bandara Character Portrait: Destiny Ribiera Character Portrait: Josephine Jonsdotter Character Portrait: Seo Daeyoung
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Imagecatarina.xxxoutfit. 1.xx2.xxxsong.x.xxxhex. #de9e47
destiny.xxxoutfit. 1.xxxxsong. x.xxxhex. #a8a8c0
navi.xxxoutfit. 1.xxsong. x.xxxhex. #b3832f

The Gods had always known how to throw a good party, that much Catarina was willing to admit. Free flowing sprits and decadent sweets, overstuffed and oversized seating to accommodate as many bodies as they desired. Catarina had carved herself a piece of heaven beside Death himself, bodies splayed out across one of the chaises his hand gripping at her thigh hitched over his midsection.

Revenge and death, a cycle that lended to itself - stains on humanity they’d spend a lifetime trying to outrun. It’s like they say, misery loves company and she was fond of his. She enjoyed the others looked at her when she was curled up beside him, basking in the glow of his power. Most of the other living major gods were worried more about making themselves palatable to mortals than letting gods be gods. Catarina controlled others by fear, Arsen did so by divine right. Kindred souls in this over-polished world.

“Mhm, why don’t you take me to one of your little pocket dimensions and we can play.” Her tongue ran along his jawline, nibbling his earlobe gently. She had been chasing oblivion more than usual lately, pressing herself closer to the edge preferring to leave her life in death’s hands than her own. She could see a shift among the gods along her peripheral, Isla parting a path before her as she walked through. Isla's eyes darted side to side with an erratic sort of desperation that wafted off of her, Catarina turning to adjust herself to block Arsen and herself from their line of sight. The last thing Catarina wanted to deal with was the ramblings of an unhinged god.

ImageDestiny watched from the far side of the room, recognizing the signs of Isla unraveling but bound by social obligations to linger. She was in the presence of Ra, the sun god. Rio held great reverence for the god. Without the sun there was no moon, without the moon - no tides. Ra played a part in the natural order, his wisdom itself an ancient relic - but when Theo introduced Destiny to the major god of Sun, Navi, all she saw was a child.

His vessel couldn’t be much younger than her own, but Rio could tell that Ra’s presence was dim. Rio had beheld the Sun god before, knew what his presence felt like. There was a radiance that emanated that no vessel could contain, no matter how removed Ra might be. She could sense it once she was within reach, a warmth that surrounded him - even if he couldn't.

“Destiny - this is Navi, Ra God of Sun. Or as I like to call him, my own personal heater.” Theo joked, one arm around the slight boy who’s cheeks flushed at the introduction. Destiny smile, her head tilting to take in the little Sun god. He had a look in his eyes that was rare in the Pantheon, that sort of naivety that gods sneered at. Destiny understood why Theo had taken such a liking to the boy, despite him being so pitifully human. “Navi this is Destiny, a river goddess and a dear personal friend of mine.”

“It’s an honor and a privilege,” Destiny offered her hand, bowing gently. His hands felt like he’d never worked a day in his life, like she might just crush them beneath her grip. She’d never seen a major god so frail, a sudden urge to protect the little god washing over her.

“Oh, you’re too kind.” Navi insisted, cheeks flushing with color. Destiny exchanged a look with Theo as if to say,
‘Okay...I get it.’

ImageDestiny wasn’t interested in the politics of gods. She avoided the Pantheon except for rare moments that Yongmul would call to her, which was rare. She came and went from the city as she pleased for the most part, using the Bath House as a place to lay her head when she was around. Theo had insisted she make it to this party to meet Navi, the shapeshifter had taken a shine to the sun god. Destiny could see why now, he was precious.

“Theo says you travel through the rivers most of the year, is that right?” Navi asked, his English mannerisms disallowing him to let the conversation end there. Smalltalk was essential to British culture, something that had always evaded him in his youth.

“Yes, I like to visit my acolytes and answer their prayers.” Destiny nodded, folding her hands in front of her when she spoke. “There hasn’t been a River Goddess for several generations among the naiads of the rivers so they are all eager to be visited by their lady.”

“But there was heard among the holy hymns A voice as of the waters, for she dwells down in a deep‐ ” Navi quoted, his eyes drifting elsewhere as he spoke as if he were reading the words out of thin air.

“- calm, whatsoever storms may shake the world. Alfred Tennyson….” Rio said with a nostalgic sort of recognition, her lips upturned.

“Oh, have you read his work?” Navi asked, his ears perking up.

“Not exactly,” Rio answered semi-truthfully, “At least not any of his published work. He and I were friends in a previous life, some of his musings were inspired by my stories.”

“Unbelievable, you have memories from your previous lives?” Navi marveled, his eyes glittering with curiosity. “How did you connect with your god’s consciousness, if you don’t mind me asking.”

His sheepish expression made her heart melt, Destiny looking over to Theo with a pleading expression. Someone had to help this little sun god, he was floundering. The adjustment was always a lengthy one, but for a god of his size he should have been more lucid than he was now.

“Well, it’s different for everyone. No two emergences are the same. Same is to be said about the relationship between gods and their vessels….” Destiny’s sentence trailed off, her eyes following Isla as she herded what gods she could into the meeting room. “I’m sorry, I need to check something.”

She walked away with a look of concern, Navi looking back at Theo with his brows knitted together. “Should we follow them?”

______________________________

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Catarina watched as gods followed Isla into the meeting hall from the corner of her vision, preferring to keep herself preoccupied with the designs needled along the slope of Arsen’s neck. Her hands had ran along their lines enough to commit them to memory. She loved the way his skin puckered beneath her nails when she squeezed. His muscles flexed against her fingers, her grip a collar too weak for its wearer - but that didn’t stop her from trying. As much as Catarina was enjoying herself, Nem wouldn’t allow her to savor the moment - drifting their eyes back to the meeting hall. The sinking feeling reaching out around her to pull her from euphoria. Alan must have gotten word of Blythe gathering gods in the hall, only a flash of color in the corner of her eye as he flew into the hall. Catarina huffed with annoyance, pushing herself upright.


“I’m afraid that’s my cue.” She pouted, sliding a hand from around his neck to brace herself against his weight as she leaned in. Her lips brushed against his briefly, exhaling heavily between them. Self restraint was exhausting.“To be continued.”

Navi noticed the goddess of revenge enter the hall from the corner of his eye, her body moving with the sunken grace of an apex predator. A shudder ran down his spine, looking back to Alan who was already working his way towards Blythe. Catarina leaned against the far wall, watching as Blythe paced. "I told you all there would be death, damned bloody death, and it's hunting us all!"

Catarina rolled her neck to look over to see that Arsen too had decided to come bear witness. She laughed under her breath, folding her arms as she shook her head. “Always with the death, this witch.”

ImageBlythe found no audience in Catarina, she was preaching to the choir. While Blythe waited for a dream to wake her in a frenzy, Catarina had been walking around with the sinking sense of dread that just seemed to become heavier and heavier. She quickly learned the gods that resided within the Pantheon preferred their chosen realities, living in worlds where they could tickle their fanciful desires happily in denial. Nex had never been the sort to involve himself with the petty squabbles of the gods and though Catarina knew that should she ask Arsen he would endorse whatever she put forth, she’d never been the type to rely on a man to fix her problems. Besides Catarina preferred to collect the favor of the gods, be it through merit or debt she didn’t care. Since their emergence the sulfuric taste of war had been on their tongue. Lately it had been so heavy the only thing that could wash it out was a couple bottles of wine and gluttonous hedonism. Minerva had returned, which only meant one thing - it was end game.

"We're doing everything we can."
Catarina was unable to control her reaction, scoffing at Alan’s assurances, the sound carrying to the front of the room. Gods glanced back at her, their looks laced with fear. She was used to others looking at her in such a way, but this was different - something bigger.

“Are you serious?” She rolled her eyes, too drunk to care about mincing words.

The crowd parted as she walked forward. Catarina looked at each of them as she passed, little sheeps gaping at the big bad wolf. Every syllable she spoke reverberated with the sort of wrath only gods of war could articulate, showing all her teeth as she spoke.

“Do you all really not feel it? Does it really confound you?” The murmurs had dulled, the sounds of her heels clipping across the polished stone echoing through the hall. She paused to pivot herself towards Alan, repeating the same thing she’d told him many times before. “War is here.”

Navi’s eyes widened with concern, looking around to the others in the hall. Expectant faces looked back to him, the same one people had been giving him since he arrived in the Pantheon - pleading for Ra’s wisdom.

“Am I supposed to say something?” He whispered to Theo, panic settling in. Theo reached out to rest a reassuring hand on Navi’s shoulder, sorting through the generic pieces of advice he could recycle in that moment for the god - saved by the grace of another.

“The gods of war are hardly impartial,” A voice called from the crowd, snapping Catarina’s attention.

“Of course not,” She turned, beholding the great dragon who had spoken. Yongmul had never shown favor to the gods of war, this life hadn't changed that. Nem's lips twitched with contempt. “It is our domain, we don’t need a vision to tell you when it’s coming. All the more reason to listen to us.”

Destiny had gone to Isla’s side as Catarina bickered with the other gods, wrapping an arm around the goddess of prophecies to give her a reassuring smile - just so she knew she had someone who believed her. Each life cycle of the god came with exponentially more knowledge than any other, the effects intensifying with each vessel ever; changing, expanding, compounding. Her prophecies took a toll on her mentally but that didn’t mean she was an invalid.

“With all due respect to the gods of war - as long as there is life there will be war. You all are meant to endure such adversity, many of us are not.” Destiny spoke from Isla’s side, pleading for compassion but all the goddess of revenge heard was a challenge.

“So then what would you suggest, little river goddess?” Catarina stepped towards the naiad, her head tilted to the side to take in Destiny all at once.

Destiny pressed her lips together into a fine line, Rio washing her over with a wave of calm. The naiad ceded to the river god, a serene vignette softening her features. She released Isla to step forward, bringing her hands together in a plea towards Catarina.

“In my humblest opinion, I believe preparing for war is a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Destiny could see the faces of those who agreed with her, watched as the lines of worry faded for a moment. That brief moment of respite between the ambiguous what if, and reality. “Of course, I am not in a position to consult in such matters thus I defer to the knowledge of those who are.”

Catarina considered striking the river goddess in that moment, just to remind her who she was talking to - though Nem never allowed them to get their hands dirty. Wouldn’t want to end up like Oswald, locked away like some animal. She knew many of those in the room wanted to do the same to her. It was lonely being the only god of war with a voice in the pantheon, her voice only carrying weight by the work of years of manipulation to amplify her influence. If this was end game the establishment was a ticking time bomb.

“Well there're three dead gods and nothing to say one of you are next, so…” Catarina pointed a finger over the crowd, shrugging as her face twisted into a look of sick amusement. “I’ll be fine. It’s as the little river goddess said, the gods of war are meant to endure such adversity.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isla Adan Character Portrait: Alan Sanders Character Portrait: Joanna Kurtz Character Portrait: Ahya Edola Character Portrait: Catarina De La Cruz Character Portrait: Arsen St. James Character Portrait: Pranav Bandara Character Portrait: Destiny Ribiera Character Portrait: Josephine Jonsdotter Character Portrait: Seo Daeyoung
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hex: #a87c5f
attire: x
location: Onyang Funeral Hall ➔ The Pantheon
song: screw face


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he wears woe as others wear velvet; sorrow flatters him like the light of candles; tears become him like jewels
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"i'm sorry! i'm so sorry! please- forgive me!" the man was not. ahya watched him from behind, unseen by the eyes about her; even without her presence being transient, they likely would not have seen her. all attention was on the kneeling, sobbing, apologising wreck in the middle of the funeral home, and his attention was on the little girl standing in front of him. she showed a rage too calm, too serene, for a child still living. her life had been stolen to her by the same hands that had stolen her autonomy, again and again, many a night preceding her end.

the man wailed more apologies.

she knelt beside him, looking about at the concerned crowd forming. the child's father was front and centre, a familiar expression on his face. the brewing awareness of a reality one does not want to acknowledge. the stone that forms in one's gut, when suspicions long since pushed away come rushing to the surface; finally, and terribly, confirmed. a lot of confessions were met with these faces. so she had seen a lot of them, in her time.

they still ached to see, a bit.

she whispered in the man's ear, devoid of sympathy in the face of his terror. "and what, exactly, are you sorry for?". the ghost-child echoed her whisper, as well as her merciless expression. put in into words, you sinful creature, the god demanded. confess, and be done with yourself.

between his sobs, he did. desperate for the child to go away; for his guilt to fade. by the time the child finally allowed herself to fall into light, his hands were bruised from cuffs, his face bloodied from grieving fists. but it was not retribution she had wanted. she was just a child, after all. she just wanted to comfort her dad with the truth.

"will daddy be happy, again?" "one day. it will always hurt, but his heart is lighter now."

as the child, Min-hee, left the mortal plane, Ahya, her job done, left South Korea for the Pantheon.

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through months of shame and humiliation i have come to love my solitude. i no longer seek help from the outside world. i no longer answer the doorbell. i live by myself, in the turmoil of my own fears. trapped by my own phantasms. i wait for the flood to rise and drown me out
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she caught the dourness in her hands, and let it leak through her parting fingers. the room was drenched in it- this sense of dread. the refusal to accept reality was back again, but with far more bite than what she had witnessed on the father's face days before. this refusal was rooted in arrogance. it was idiotic.

so, in character, for many of these gods, really.

she watched the show from the corner, back flat against the cool marble, one foot tucked lazily around the ankle of the other. she wasn't fond of the drama and feuds; the endless bickering among the gods. every meeting ended with the same resounding feelings. the major gods were unyielding, the lesser gods were dissatisfied, the war gods were angry (as always). even the events leading up to these feelings tended to be the same; some god would complain, the major gods would insist nothing was wrong, other gods (usually war gods. usually Cat) would beg to differ. the majors would reiterate that the topic was not up for discussion, and everyone would go home wondering what the point of the meeting was in the first place.

this one, though. its bones were similar, but the beast was different. the gods were playing their roles like usual, but there was less certainty- the plague of higher stakes brought maleability to an event that, in the years before, had always played out like clockwork. Ahya felt a pang of sympathy for Isla, a true Cassandra, complete with dark prophecies and disbelieving listeners. never mind that her warnings of death had never been more supported by evidence. three gods dead, and still, they thought themselves invincible.

Cat was no different, as she volleyed with Destiny, no, with Rio. the calm and the fury engaged back and forth, Ahya's own opinion on the matter dancing between them.

“I’ll be fine. It’s as the little river goddess said, the gods of war are meant to endure such adversity.” Ahya scoffed, lightly and lazily, her insouciance becoming her, her sense of justice (and spite, definitely spite) compelling her to speak.

"Endure war, yes. But not death. No god, not even a war god, is made to endure death. Regardless of what some of you may believe about your own immortality. And definitely regardless of, ah..." Her smile turned teasing, "... Death's endurance."

she turned to the major gods, many of whom clustered together. like a single body. a hive mind.

"on the other hand; 'you're doing everything you can?' What does that even mean? with all due respect, you lot are so terrified of rocking the boat, you wouldn't dare save a sinking ship." she looked at Dae-young, half-heartedly adding, "... metaphorically."

she could feel the swirling emotions of the gods around her, their trepidation, as they too surveyed the opinions exchanged. many of them agreed with her, that neither option was especially appealing. loathe to step out, she did so nonetheless, compelled by the thought of her own corpse joining the dead, be it as a victim, or a soldier.

"are these seriously our only two options? either wait to be added to the divine body count, or prepare for a war on an enemy we have yet to actually identify?" she sighed, her Weltschmerz reengaging. "if that's the case then maybe it's about time we gods clocked out, hm? we're clearly not qualified for critical thinking, let alone whatever sacred responsibilities we've been relegated."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isla Adan Character Portrait: Alan Sanders Character Portrait: Ahya Edola Character Portrait: Catarina De La Cruz Character Portrait: Theo Sverre Character Portrait: Arsen St. James Character Portrait: Pranav Bandara Character Portrait: Destiny Ribiera Character Portrait: Seo Daeyoung
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Nex doesn’t hate their parties, but fuck if he didn’t wanna be somewhere else right now. Music and spirits and perfect, pretty meals never impressed him much, easily content with his work and the paracosm of an underworld that he’d tended to like a child. Slinking shadows and swaying nymphs and every desolate creature in between, the waters slowly lapping away at his rocky shores, a ceaseless reminder of the years that really aren’t years. just eons of time that pass as easy and impermanent as grains of sand. worn away into nothing; replaced by more of the same. Monotonous. Yet unyielding, the way he’d built up that land of death, placed it upon a pedestal of gold and metal, said nothing that comes here may leave, and made it so with nothing more than a look. A word. Arsen can feel Nex’s discomfort like a second skin. Shoves it away with practiced ease. And Nex won’t give anyone the satisfaction of his discontent (as if most didn’t already know about the recluse of a god, his commitment to death), so he resigns to stay tucked away, smug and snug behind Arsen’s display. Bides his time until he could go home.

Arsen thinks he might indulge Nex on a better day but as long as he had rope to spare he’d always take a chance on the god’s patience not wearing too thin. He’d felt his icy presence all day, and Arsen never really minded the grind of the underworld, but it wasn’t as if the days ever really changed anyway. There’s a lesser god for every passable task and they come when called, loyal to himself or the god within him. didn’t really matter that Arsen sometimes liked to skip every audience requested of him or run off to the mortal world for too long (insanity, the way he always gravitated towards the recoil of a decision made in haste). He still knows he and Nex were running a tight enough ship. So fuckin’ relax.

But could he really? Most didn’t know that even in the deepest hell flowers still grow. Nex doesn’t like for anyone to know this, doesn’t like to share his domain on a whim, always a cold chill dragging down Arsen’s spine when he brought Cat down, practically writhing at the sentiment. He’ll never forget him showing her that. Now she was in his face. But death knows it’s kind and Nex wasn’t one to make a show for something petty. Forever the picture of measured restraint. Besides, Nemesis was always good for a soul sans a body. He supposes he could say the same of his host as well. The ability to shut mouths was one thing; the willingness to do it was another, and Nex could always appreciate that.

Arsen’s known her since before he knew her. Known her in every life, he thinks (if not through flesh than the sheer brutality of natural law, the fact that all things must end eventually), knows her the way war knows bullets, the way minus forty knows frostbite, the way grass just knows to curl and part and get away when Arsen slinks through. But Cat never did pull away from him, did she? All swaying hips and dark machinations and carob eyes that stared back at him with a hunger he’d already seen in himself. Homey, the way their names and death decorate the same sentences. “Mhm, why don’t you take me to one of your little pocket dimensions and we can play.” He grips her tighter then. Heavy possessive and so amused when his eyes pass over the crowd and her teeth meet his ear, like she just knew the sadist in him always stirred at the barest mention of a manic whim. “I guess I could,” he teases, hands sliding up to her waist. Fingers trailing over soft skin and edging underneath the too-thin fabric of her top. There’s a moan lodged so deep in his chest that it hurts, comes out in the hot breath of a chuckle against the underside of her neck when he pulls her closer, canines against flesh, says, “but I haven’t heard you beg for it, yet.”

Arsen doesn’t pay the other gods any mind, partly because only a handful ever caught his attention and mostly on account of Cat’s hands working along his neck, chipping away at any self restraint he might’ve had. Nex, however, was never off the clock. Quiet but restless nonetheless when the atmosphere took a turn for the serious, clashing against the sheer black heat that crawled through Arsen’s insides with the icy press of his own urgency. “F-” Arsen almost curses, but it doesn’t matter much when he feels Catarina shift, nothing but cool air and the ghost of her fingerprints against his neck when she pulls away. All he can do is sigh, really. From the looks of it everyone could sense something was amiss in the room. Hanging heavy in the air. When she leans in to kiss him he catches her neck, holds her there for the briefest second before letting go, knows this kind of shit was interesting to her anyway and he’d never tell her what to do even if he could feel something malicious stirring inside him.

If there’s anything Arsen and Nex agree on, it’s that most things in the pantheon – the gods, their drama, the gossip – didn’t matter at all. Only difference was Arsen had demons to sate and Nex preferred to creep low like a strange animal, minding his business and attending to his affairs in the underworld. Besides, it was always the same pony show with these gods. The majors made a decision and the weak links complained.

“Let’s leave.” Arsen’s mouth curled around the words in a scowl, not his own but imposed upon him nonetheless and he snatches a drink off of the nearest tray. If Nex was speaking… for a second Arsen thinks he might agree until he reminds himself that few things satisfied his god, least of all gatherings, meetings. Of course he’d have reservations. Not that Arsen could blame him.

But things did seem different.

Arsen found a spot next to Catarina, swirling the drink in his hand and dismissing the situation with a careless flick of his wrist. He never cared much for witches nor the art they practiced. "We're doing everything we can." That makes him laugh. When did majors bend to the minors, the lessors, the weak and the helpless, huh? Hell, if they planned on doing anything, it would’ve been two bodies ago. Still, what was a little death to the god of the dead anyway? Maybe he’d catch the more human parts of them in his keep, if he cared, if he wanted. Arsen barely turns his head, ready to make a joke but Cat’s already left. Carving her way to the front with little effort.

He feels like maybe he should care about the dead gods; for Catarina and the power she cultivated, the fear she commanded, the respect she earned; for Ahya, who’d done more for him than he’d done for himself in some respects, steady and present and warped in all those familiar ways; for the other deities he’d found some kind of amusement in over the years. But when he listens to the little river goddess speak, when he sees Navi’s wide, stupid eyes dart through the crowd all he can think is maybe we don’t need them at all. He smirks and folds his arms across his chest, pleased in that cruel kind of way. He wouldn’t advocate for their sacrifice or cast them off as casualties of war, but if it happened… who would sing their elegy? Not Arsen, you could rest assure. He’s got a short list of people he’d kill for. Everyone else was just a matter of time, a matter of how soon he could wrap his hands around them, a matter of offense and mistakes turning into something you can’t return from.

If death was coming it wasn’t coming for him and his.

“I’ll be fine. It’s as the little river goddess said, the gods of war are meant to endure such adversity.” There’s a sick sense of pride that wells up when he catches the look of pure amusement on her face and the murmurs of dissent that welled up in the meeting hall. Figures, though. The same minors and lessors that cry for a solution shrink up when it’s time to put in the work, expecting the majors to just jump up and do something. And here was Cat, offering the beginnings of a plan. Perhaps she could shock the rest of them into feeling something other than sorry for themselves. Either that or point out the enemy so they could end this shit before it could eat up anymore of his time.

Ahya’s comment does coax a smile out of him though, so he tips his glass in her direction before downing the rest of it. The problem still remained the same. They didn’t want war. They didn’t want to wait and see. They wanted the strong to carry the weak to the finish line and as much as he respects the goddess, he can’t help but parse words. if that's the case then maybe it's about time we gods clocked out, hm? We? Or just the ones who couldn’t stand up for themselves?

Arsen peels himself off the wall and listens to the chorus of opinions volleying back and forth. He supposes that most of them wouldn't be shocked to know that he’d stand on top of their dead bodies if it made him just a little bit taller. Allowed him to see farther. There’s not much in it for Arsen or Nex except their lives, and they’d have to believe they were at risk to even care that much (regardless of what others had to say), so he focuses on the war Cat offers to lay at their feet if they want it. The thought makes him smirk. He’d cross that bridge in heartbeat.

It's too soon to talk about war, yet you can't afford to wait for the enemy to attack... gods, what can you all do? he wonders, eyeing the room for more drinks because they had to be somewhere while tallying up the minors' grievances. That's the thing about them; they never had real ideas, just problems that the majors and more proactive minors were supposed to just deal with. Then again, Alan's words did ring hollow even for someone like Arsen. For someone so media savvy he couldn’t placate his fellow gods to save his life. Still, no matter how flimsy his 'plan' may have seemed, Alan was still far more powerful than others who'd decided to grace the hall with their presence. "It sounds like some of you want to do nothing because you have nothing to offer if war actually showed, which isn't a surprise, we've all known each other for a while. You even said it yourselves,” he almost laughs, “some of us just aren't built to see adversity, yeah?” Which calls into question why some of them were even allowed in on these kinds of meetings, but he decides to save that one for a later date.

“Maybe all the pacifists in the room should put their heads together and use that critical thinking to come up with a solution they’d actually be comfortable with,” Arsen cracks a smile, gestures to the lot of them, degradingly kind when says, "and by all means, don't be shy. speak up.”