Author Topic: Judgment Day  (Read 713 times)

Ares of Olympus

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Judgment Day
« on: September 25, 2016, 08:23:11 PM »
Mount Olympus.

Fabled home of the Greek pantheon, birthplace of myth and legend.

It stood at the heart of all the stories from the Ancient World, yet it had been silenced for thousands of years, until the cycle wound around once more to awaken those who rested there. With their awakening had come a war that might have destroyed humanity, but for the intervention of a small group of remarkable humans. And it was to this place that Ares bore the raving Becky, as proof of the treachery of a sister he had detested for far too long.

When the God of War arrived with Clotho in tow, Olympus was in some disarray. The great hall where Zeus held court was at the center of that bustle, with many of the pantheon who had survived gathered there to witness what was happening. Zeus and Hera sat enthroned, looking down on two lesser beings - an archangel and a demon, neither one of which truly wanted to be there, and both of whom weren't getting away without conceding to the Olympians' demands. A short distance away, Artemis was slumped against a pillar, held up by a docile doe as her brother worked to heal her of the wounds inflicted in her fight with Hades. And in a niche to one side of the thrones, Hades' body lay in state. He may have been the cause of all the trouble, but he was family, and as such, he would be accorded honor in death.

Ares knew his arrival would only add to the confusion, but it was necessary. He knew, too, that his father might not be pleased to see him, especially given the fact that he had brought a human with him. Hopefully, his mother would be able to stay his father's hand until their son had a chance to explain. There had been a time when his father had not wanted to listen to what his son had to say, but Ares was no boy any longer. Centuries of banishment had matured him, until he was a force in his own right. He would make sure his voice was heard here today, and he would make sure that justice was at last served. Ares searched the faces of all those in attendance, noting that the betrayer was not present.

He offered a respectful nod to Artemis and Apollo, with whom he'd become unlikely allies, before he approached the dais where his parents sat enthroned, but it wasn't Ares who seemed to draw the Olympians' attention so much as the mortal woman he cradled in his arms who raving and rambling was his reason for this visit. He acknowledged the demon and angel with a brief glance. Though he was fond of neither, they were necessary to this latest drama - witnesses to what had most recently occurred on Earth.

"Father," he began, first greeting and appealing to his father, who was the undisputed King of Olympus. "I have come to seek justice and healing for the sake of this woman who was wronged by one of our own. A betrayer who pretends loyalty to you, but who has sought to cause discord and chaos amidst humanity and our own kind."

To say Zeus was angry was something of an understatement. "What is the meaning of this?" the Olympian King demanded, rising from his throne to scowl down at his son. "You dare to bring a human here?"

As Hera laid her hand on Zeus' arm to calm him, Clotho stepped forward, interposing herself between father and son. "He brought me, too," she informed the furious Olympian. "Have you forgotten me, Zeus? I spun your thread when first you came into existence. My sisters guarded your life when your foolish mistakes placed all our order in danger. And now, when your son comes to you seeking help and guidance, you behave like a spoiled child declaring a tantrum. Shall I expound on your mistakes, Zeus? Or will you bear witness and listen, like the impartial judge you were meant to be?"

For a long moment, there was absolute silence. Zeus glared down at Clotho, but there was more than a small measure of respect in his gaze. She might be mortal now, but she had once spun the threads of every person on Olympus. If he were to raise a hand against her, she would have defenders.

"I'll bear witness," a weak voice said, drawing his eyes to Artemis where she leaned on her brother. "The girl is Rebecca Hoffman, bound at heart to Samuel Winchester, the man out of time. What Ares has to say is pertinent."

Zeus drew in a slow breath, lowering himself to sit once again, ignoring the fact that his wife was smirking behind her hand at the way he had been scolded in front of his people. "Speak then, my son," the Olympian King commanded. "Tell us of the treachery you have uncovered."

Ares' lips twitched just slightly at his father's greeting. If it had not been for Clotho's intercession, he might have been banished once again before he was able to bring to light what had been going on behind his father's back. He found some irony in the fact that his father had addressed him as his son, knowing it was only because of his mother and Clotho's intercession that Zeus begrudged such a title on his estranged son. But Ares no longer cared what his father thought of him. He had proven his own worth time and again, and this was not the reason for his visit here today.

"There is one among us who has sought to undermine your authority and sow discord between humans and Olympians. For what purpose, I do not know. Perhaps only because I chose to defend humanity. She has betrayed your trust and is guilty of treason. She has sought for millennia to sow discord between us, yet I am not here to seek revenge but justice. I humbly beseech you to look on this girl with sympathy, who is innocent of any offense and who has been cruelly used as a tool to cause discord and chaos among those who seek peace. That is all the humans want, Father.

"They wish to live in peace and harmony, but how can they when there are those who crave chaos and strife? This woman was forced through no desire of her own to spill the blood of her beloved's mother, that of Jo Winchester, and upon accomplishing such a task, she turned her own hand against herself, seeking justice for a crime she committed through no will of her own, but because she was driven to madness and influenced by outside forces we all know as the Furies. And who commands the Furies, Father? We all know the answer to that."

Ares stepped forward once again and very gently set Becky down before the throne where his mother and father sat in judgment. "I come here not only to expose the guilty party for the traitor she is, but to plead for this woman's well-being, who is innocent of all wrong-doing." He did not bother to name the traitor or to argue his case further. He had said enough and wished to leave them to consider all he had said and reach their own conclusions regarding its implications.

As he listened, Zeus' expression darkened. He knew of whom Ares spoke, his favorite daughter, the one of whom he was most proud and in whom he had put most trust. Yet he also knew that no one would speak against her without proof.

Hera watched her husband with narrowed eyes, noting how reluctant he was to speak. "Artemis," she said instead, turning her head toward the twin Olympians. "Are you strong enough to draw the Furies from this woman's mind?"
"Homer was a poet, not a historian."

Ares of Olympus

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Re: Judgment Day
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2016, 08:23:32 PM »
The Huntress nodded, ignoring her brother's quiet protest. "I am strong enough," she agreed, limping painfully to where Ares had laid Becky's body down. She laid her hand on the mortal's brow, closing her eyes to reach deep into Becky's mind and pick apart the strands that bound the Furies there.

Hera glanced about the room, raising her hand to invite Hestia to her. "Fetch Athena to this place," she told the young Olympian who had been gifted the guardianship of hearth and home. "Do not warn her of what has been said. Her father has yet to hear the evidence and make his judgment."

Ares stepped back, leaving room for Artemis to drawn the Furies from Becky's mind. It would take more than that to bring her peace, but this was the start of her healing. He did not accuse Athena by name, nor did he say anything further. He was confident the truth would come out now that he had brought sufficient evidence of her guilt; and yet, he was not seeking revenge, so much as justice. He had long suffered for Athena's hatred of him, and he could not help hoping his father would at last see her for what she truly was.

As Artemis worked to draw the Furies and their disparate forms from Becky's mind, the mortal girl thrashed, crying out in pain. What coherency she had was lost in the brutal tearing of grasping fingers from her mind and soul, her screams echoing through Mount Olympus to torment the ears of those who could hear her. Apollo moved without being asked to kneel beside the suffering girl, reaching out to heal her as his sister pulled the Furies inexorably into the open. A flurry of red in the air, they took form - three female shapes, eager for justice and vengeance, to feed off fear and anger, held at bay only by Artemis' power as Apollo sent the mortal they had tormented into a healing sleep.

Ares frowned as he watched his half-brother and sister work to heal the mortal woman, her screams of pain and terror enough to melt even the coldest hearts among them. There was no more need for proof than that, and despite his warlike nature, even Ares was grieved by Becky's suffering. Perhaps he had changed, but he had spent centuries living among mortals, learning them and their ways, becoming fond of them, not only as one might to one's children, but as friends and allies, proven most recently by the fact that he had chosen a mortal woman not only as a lover, but as a wife.

Zeus rose from his throne, his gaze fixed with dull understanding on the Furies. The three beings snarled and recoiled from him, recognizing a power beyond their own. "Alecto," he greeted them by name, "Megaera, Tisiphone. Why have you tormented this child? Why have you urged her toward violence and stained her hands with the blood of one who would love her?"

Of the three, it was Alecto who spoke, her movements snakelike as she met the Olympian King's gaze. "It was ordered," she hissed, her sisters' echoing hissing an agreement with her words. "The wise one, Athena ... she ordered that justice be done. That Jo Winchester is the cause of all the evil in the world; that her death would bring an end to war. The child killed, and so the child must die. Justice, our purpose."

Zeus' expression hardened. Betrayal had been a way of life on Olympus since the day it had been created, but never had he expected to be betrayed by his favorite child. "There is no justice here," he informed the Furies harshly. "You have been used to commit treason and murder. You have acted in one being's selfish interests and you have brought pain to many. Release this child, and leave no trace of your presence behind. Be grateful you are not banished to the sealed tomb of Tartarus for your crimes."

Justice, Ares privately scoffed. What justice could be served by this misdeed? Becky was an innocent, used against her will, not to bring an end to the war, but to cause pain and grief to those who were humanity's only hope for freedom and survival. How ironic was it that Athena had chosen Jo Winchester as her victim - a woman Aphrodite had favored. What was it that had caused Athena's treachery? Did she really believe Jo's death would bring an end to the war? She, the Goddess of Wisdom, who had undermined Ares every chance she had?

Howling, the Furies did as they were bid, as angry as Zeus at the way they had been misused. A bad time, perhaps, for Hestia to return with Athena at her back. The Furies turned on their erstwhile commander, screaming insults and threats as Athena drew her sword against them. "What is this?" the Goddess of Wisdom demanded. "What have you done?"

Once more, Ares said nothing, letting the events play out as they might, letting Athena's own words prove her betrayal. Instead, he stepped forward to place himself in front of the sleeping Becky, as if proclaiming himself her guardian and safeguarding her from further harm. To those who might remember him only as a spoiled brat and a hot-headed warrior, he would seem very different. Perhaps the change in him would surprise even his own father, though his mother had known his potential and believed in him all his life.

Athena had spied the mortal girl, however, and it did not take much wisdom to realize that she had been revealed for what she was. With a yell, she swept her sword toward the Furies, chasing them away, and charged Ares. "I'll kill her first!"

Though he was the God of War, Ares had come to Mount Olympus unarmed. He had not come here to fight or to cause discord, but to heal Becky and unveil the truth behind Athena's lies, and yet, in face of Athena's attack, he had little choice but to defend himself. Theirs was an old conflict and an old hatred, one that dated all the way back to the Trojan War. "Are you still angry with me for choosing the side of the Trojans, sister?" he asked, as his sword appeared in his hands to meet her blows. Unlike her, he displayed no rage or bloodlust, and he took a defensive stance against her, rather than that of attacker.

"The world does not revolve around you, little brother," Athena spat, pushing his sword away to jab a punch toward his face. They had never yet come to blows personally, but it seemed as though she had decided she had nothing to lose.

"No, it does not," Ares agreed, easily sidestepping her fist, and moving to hook his foot around her ankle in hopes of making her stumble and lose her balance. "Upon what authority did you see fit to sentence Jo Winchester to death and what did you seek to gain from it? Did you hope that she would satisfy Hades so that he would not seek further vengeance upon those who sought to defeat him?" he asked, as the pair struggled with each other. She had fought him once before, but it would take more than a boulder to defeat him now.

"Wisdom does not need justification, little brother, and war has never been the realm of men who use their heads for thinking." She broke away from him, a snarl on her face, turning to look up at Zeus. "Father, you know me. Whatever Ares has told you, it is a lie. He has more to gain from discrediting me than I have to lose by standing against him. Banish him!"

But it was not Zeus who answered. Hera rose to her feet. "Does he really?" she asked with deceptive calm. "Your brother who wed a mortal, who will ask for her to join us when the time is right, has risked his place here to bring forward evidence of your corruption, and you believe that he expects to gain anything by it. He has asked for nothing. You are the one making demands, Athena."
"Homer was a poet, not a historian."

Ares of Olympus

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Re: Judgment Day
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2016, 08:23:51 PM »
"Where is the wisdom in what you have done, little sister," Ares replied, emphasizing the word, since he was the eldest, no matter what she might say otherwise. He had never been his father's favorite, but he had not come here to ask for favors or forgiveness. He had only come because of Becky and to once and for all settle matters between himself and his sister. He put up his sword as Athena turned away from him, listening as their mother came to his defense.

Though he had once wronged her, as he'd wronged his sister, he had asked her forgiveness and they had at last reconciled. Why, then, could Athena not forgive the wrongs of the past? Did she hate him so much that she had grown to revel in causing him shame and dishonor among his own kind?

"Why is it you hate me so, sister? Is it that I was born first and you came after, always trying so hard to best me? Or is it because I did not always agree to your every whim and fancy? What crime is it that I committed to so earn your hatred? I would truly like to know, so that we can put an end to this dispute between us once and for all."

The look in Athena's eyes was pure venom as she turned her head to Ares. "How can you not know?" she asked him in turn, her voice flat with dull dislike and jealous hatred. "There they stand. Your father, your mother. Around us, your brothers and sisters. Born of love, all of you. All but me, who was born of our father's paranoia and jealousy. He has measured me against you all our lives, Ares. He held me down to give you the freedom to make your choices. Hades offered me Olympus." She looked around at the staring faces, knowing she had burned too many bridges now. "So kill me. Because I will never stop hating you all for what I have been denied. Never."

For a God who had once been detested as a spoiled and hot-headed purveyor of violence, the Ares the Olympians saw before them today was very different from the Ares they had once known. In light of his sister's confession, instead of anger and rage, he felt only sympathy and compassion. Though he was in all truth the first and rightful son of Zeus and Hera, it was Athena his father had always favored. Why Athena should hate him for that, he did not understand, but he was starting to see that it was simple jealousy that was the real source of her hatred and nothing more.

"No matter what you think, you are my sister, and you will not die by my hand." He turned to face their father, spreading his arms wide in supplication. "Father, I would ask that you grant your daughter mercy. I, who was consumed with hatred for so long, have come to see the error of my ways. I would ask that Athena, too, be given the chance to ponder on her deeds and make recompense. Enough blood has been shed, and I do not wish to mourn my sister's death, along with that of my uncle."

A murmur of shock and surprise ran through the gathered Olympians at Ares' petition. The man they thought they knew would have cut Athena down without a second thought for her words, and yet here he was, asking for mercy on her behalf. Zeus raised his head, his expression dark with anger and pain. "Your words are wise, my son," he said heavily, and for perhaps the first time, there was genuine sentiment behind that epithet. Drawing in a slow breath, the father of the gods considered his options, of which there were very few. "Poseidon, my brother ... I would hear your thoughts."

Unnoticed by many until that moment, Poseidon straightened from where he knelt beside the body of Hades, turning to look at the company gathered there. He held no love for Ares, it was true, but neither did he care for Athena. His was an impartial voice here, one who disliked both sides in equal measure. "Banishment," he intoned, his own voice weighted with the sounds of the sea he loved so well. "Banishment to the mortal plane, to live out a mortal life where she can no longer threaten the humans we all care for. Let their laws deal with her if she breaks them, and let not one of us raise a hand in vengeance."

Panic spread across Athena's face at this pronouncement, her eyes turning to Zeus imploringly. "No, Father, please," she pleaded. "Don't send me away."

As focused as he was on his sister and her plight, Ares hardly noticed the reactions of those around him, unconcerned for now what any of them thought but for those who stood in a place of power. "Father," he beseeched Zeus further, not quite realizing the irony in his father's decree, which bestowed the same punishment on Athena that had once been bestowed upon him. "I would humbly ask that my sister be entrusted to Clotho for now, so that she can learn the ways of mortals," he suggested. Being mortal was no easy task for an Olympian who would have to learn how to survive in the human world without the use of her immortal powers.

"I have tasted the mercy of Ares, and I thrive because of it," Clotho added her voice to his. "I will gladly take Athena into my home and teach her to live as a human. What she does with my teachings will be her own concern."

There was a long pause as Zeus weighed the words given to him. "Let it be done."

He raised his hand, and with a screech of pathetic fury, Athena was stripped of everything that made her Olympian. Her powers, her immortality, even her weapons ... gone. She trembled, genuine fear in her eyes as she looked around at so many faces that now despised her.

"Let the name of Athena be struck from our records," Zeus intoned. "Let her live out a mortal life, a human, one of us no more. Should death find her swiftly, let no vengeance be taken on the one who gives it if they be human. And should it come to pass that she be used by heaven or hell for their own machinations, let it be known that the might of Olympus shall obliterate that plane in answer for such a crime." This was clearly aimed at Gabriel and Crowley, who had been somewhat sidelined by Ares' arrival in the first place. The archangel wasn't stupid enough to interfere, but no one quite knew how far the demon would go. "She is entrusted to Clotho, to learn the ways of humanity. After that, her life is her own. She is no longer our concern." He waved his hand, and both Clotho and Athena disappeared, undoubtedly sent back to Clotho's home on Earth.

Ares was frowning, as if he found Athena's punishment almost as unbearable as his own had once been. He had suffered through centuries - millennia, even - of banishment, separated from family and home. He hoped with all his heart that Athena would come to her senses far earlier than he had and that she would beseech their father for mercy and forgiveness before it was too late, but he would not speak another word of it to his father, who had already proclaimed her fate.

"I would ask your leave, Father, than I may take Becky home to those who care for her," he said, spreading his arms and bowing his head respectfully. "I would ask, though, that I might return to pay my respects to my uncle before he is laid to rest."

Zeus merely nodded, his head in his hands where he sat on his throne. Hera touched his silver hair, raising her eyes to her son. "Take her to those who love her," she told him. "And return. It will not be long before we give your uncle to the stars."

Ares' gaze darted briefly to that of his father, knowing he had unintentionally brought him grief once again. Would he hate him for it, or grow to understand why Ares had acted as he had? He backed away from the dais, dropping a nod to his mother before turning to retrieve his sword, which disappeared at his touch. He then went to the young woman who was as still as death but only sleeping, and took her into his arms with surprising gentleness for one who was known for his warlike demeanor.

"Thank you, Father, and I am sorry." And with that said, Ares and Becky departed Olympus for Greece.
"Homer was a poet, not a historian."