Picking up exactly where they left off, the Scions plus Cynthia made their way back to the warehouse. Felicity called Frederick, letting them know of Rafiq’s death, and they cleaned up and went to sleep just as the sun began to rise.
Finally all waking in mid-afternoon, they headed to the kitchen to make some coffee, only to find a young man wearing Nike shoes marked with wingtips sitting on the counter, finishing off a fresh pot.
“You guys need more coffee.” Randal recognized the man with some surprise, and the man obligingly introduced himself as the God Hermes. He informed Randal that his father, Hephaestus, required his attention on Mount Olympus, immediately. Holding out his hand, he said to Randal, “Now you don’t want to keep him waiting.”
Randal was reluctant, however, to leave his Band behind in Chicago without him, so Hermes took a look over them and nodded. “Sure, they can come.” Thurston left to put on some pants, and Felicity shot a mass text out Frederick, Samantha, and Noel stating that ‘Parents’ required their presence and would probably be back in a few days. Holding onto Hermes, the four of them were teleported directly to Mount Olympus.
Gaping in wonder, Hermes urged them on, saying that they would continue on foot as Hephaestus disliked Hermes popping in unannounced. Passing through the main city of Olympus, Hermes pointed out various buildings and who they belonged to, even passing a few of the Dodekatheon themselves, such as Apollo and Hera. Greeting them, the Gods only smiled a strange, knowing smile and continued onwards.
Seeing a large, grey-black gate in the central part of the city that seemed out of place in the shining opulence of the area, Hermes explained to them that it was not only a physical gate, but a metaphysical one meant to help keep the Titans sealed out of the main cities of Olympus. Hephaestus had put it together in record time once the siege of Olympus had begun, and was constantly guarded by a God.
Asking Randal when the last time he’d seen his father was, he told Felicity that it was actually during his Visitation at his mother’s funeral, some two or three years previous, and looked nervous to see him again.
Coming to Hephaestus’ workshop, they witnessed strange gadgets from every period of history, up to the furthest reaches of mortal achievement at this point. Approaching the God, they saw him finishing up the craftsmanship on a small disk in front of him, and turned to face them.
Boisterously greeting his son, he expressed joy at seeing him again, and asked Hermes if he’d told them why they were here. Grinning, Hermes said he didn’t want to take away Hephaestus’ fun, and urged him onwards.
Hephaestus proceeded to tell the group of them that the siege of Olympus had let up for long enough to allow the Gods to decide to hold the Olympiad once again, a set of games the Gods held every few hundred years or so for their Scion children to compete in friendly events against each other. He also went on to tell Randal that he had a specific purpose in these games.
A few months ago, he had forged a powerful weapon for a son of Ares, who went on to win a glorious victory with that weapon. Ares had been greeted with congratulations in court that following day, and failed to mention any thanks to the craftsmanship of Hephaestus for his part in the victory. As luck would have it, this particular son of Ares, Nikolas Pavlos, was the son he had chosen to represent him in the Olympiad, and Hephaestus, wanting to have this slight avenged, had chosen his son Randal to represent him in the games, feeling him the most capable of his children for this task. He stated that he didn’t even mind if Randal didn’t medal, as long as he prevented Nikolas from winning as well.
Naming the events that Nikolas was going to participate in (Boxing, Equestrian, Discus, Throwing, Marksmanship, Wrestling), he asked Randal if he felt he could overtake him in any of those. Randal, uncomfortable, stated that he felt confident about Boxing and Wrestling, but was unsure of the others. Hephaestus looked at Takashi, Felicity, and Thurston, and proclaimed happily that the three of them could participate as well, as long as they got their Divine Parents to come for the competition as well. Hermes quickly named off Odin, Hachiman, and Bastet for confirmation, and went off to collect their parents. Assuring them that there wouldn’t be a problem, Hephaestus said that their parents would jump at the chance for their children to compete in an Olympiad.
Saying that they would be staying in the Champion’s Quarters for the duration of the Olympiad, Hephaestus led them there, asking them to pick their events.
Randal decided to go with Boxing, Discus, and Wrestling. Takashi signed up for Boxing and Fencing. Thurston signed up for Equestrian and Throwing. Felicity signed up to compete in Boxing, Racing, Jumping, and Marksmanship.
Shown to their rooms and leaving them to it, Hephaestus declared that it was a momentous occasion and hobbled away, in his own happy world, confident in Randal’s ability.
Greeted by the other Scions of various Gods of the Dodekatheon and the Dodekatheon’s God children, they met Willas, son of Hera, who seemed to give off a cocky attitude as his status as son of the Queen of Gods. Noting Randal’s parentage, he asked what he knew of the gates his father had forged, and quickly realized that Randal didn’t quite have the knowledge he wanted. Introducing Erin, a timid Scion of Poseidon as a son of one of the three great brothers, he excused himself as his mother had requested his presence.
As the crush of Scions began to dissipate around them, one young Scion went up to Thurston, and stated that his father was here and would see him.
Following the Scion to a dark room, he found his father sitting on a bench, head down. Raising his eyes to greet his son, the All-Father Odin expressed (if not in his body language) pleasure in Thurston competing in the Olympiad. Saying that it also gave him a unique opportunity, he commanded Thurston to acquire from the God Apollo a telescope that would help him see ahead and into the future. Going on about Ragnarok’s inevitability, he said he wanted this telescope from Apollo in order to find a way to prevent the disasters that were said to befall the Aesir during it. Expressing his desire to not rob his hosts during his stay on Olympus, Odin misinterpreted (or simply chose to ignore) his son’s protests as humility, and said that he believed his son was capable.
A moment after Thurston left, another Scion approached Takashi, announcing the arrival of Hachiman. Taking him to a secluded garden, Takashi greeted his father sitting underneath of a cherry blossom tree, the eight banners of Hachiman inscribed upon petals around him. Letting Takashi know in his own reserved way that he was glad for the work in Chicago, and glad that he was participating in the Olympiad, he said that he had a task for his son as well. Whaling was getting out of control in the oceans around Japan and otherwise, and Hachiman wanted his son to open up discourse with the God Poseidon to hopefully make an alliance to protect the waters of the world.
During this, Hermes reappeared to Felicity. Asking after her mother, Hermes told her there was bad news. Bastet was unable to leave, and she, along with the rest of the Pesedjet, were occupied with an emergency in their underworld, Duat. When asked what the emergency was, Hermes said that all he really got was that it had to do with “The Shame of Set,” and that her mother had given her formal blessing for Felicity to participate in the Olympiad anyways, and wished her luck.
Disappointed, Felicity went instead to see if Randal was available to have a look around Mount Olympus. Happy to do so, they walked around until finding a decline into a dark forest filled with life and game. Randal chased some deer for the fun of it, Felicity following close behind. Hearing Randal suddenly get knocked down, however, she found the Goddess Artemis standing over him. Admonishing him for scaring the game, she noticed Felicity and recognized her heritage. Stating that she and her mother were friends who would hunt together at times, Felicity continued to chat Artemis up, presenting Bubastis to her and so forth to keep Artemis distracted from her anger at Randal. Finally getting out of the forest, they headed back to the Champion’s Quarters.
As Thurston was leaving his father, he noticed the son of Hera pacing around the Titan-repelling grey gate, keeping a wary eye on it. Going to greet him, Willas excused himself quickly with some snipping remark about how his reason for being there was done anyways. Takashi was leaving his father and noticed Erin nervously pacing nearby, greeting the son of Poseidon while a plan began to form in his mind regarding his father’s task. Going up to him, Takashi asked if it were possible for him to get an audience with Erin’s father. Quietly stammering that he could certainly try, Takashi gave a letter from Hachiman to Erin for Poseidon’s perusal, and left him, meeting with Thurston and heading back.
The next morning was the first day of three for the Olympiad. The first event was Boxing. After a processional of the Gods and their competing Scions, and a word from Zeus himself, they began.
Felicity was first up against a son of Heracles, who was simply too slow for her.
Randal was next up, going against the son of a minor god, who couldn’t stand up to Randal’s blows.
Takashi then went up against the flowing blond-haired son of Zeus, who milked the crowd, and was quickly noted to be the only one wearing a toga. Zeus, a few cups in, boisterously egged his son on as the match began, and Takashi, irritated with the Scion’s ridiculousness, aimed his strike carefully and launched forward, cracking his sternum with one firm blow. The Son of Zeus went down, unconscious immediately. The crowd went silent, Zeus’ cup fell from his hands, and Hachiman gave his son an nearly imperceptible smile.
In the semifinals, Randal immediately went up against Nikolas Pavlos. They traded hits for a bit, Nikolas knocking Randal down, but Randal returning by throwing Nikolas clear across the ring, and getting far too many good hits in to recover from. Randal was declared the victor and moving on to the final round.
Takashi and Felicity were the next semi-final match. Takashi managed to get a hit in on Felicity, but backed away in horror when he realized that he’d hit a woman. Felicity, having no such qualms, returned fiercely and drove him into a corner until declared the victor of that match.
Next, Takashi was pitted up against Nikolas for the bronze medal distinction. Possibly angered at his loss to Randal, he was simply a bit too fierce for Takashi to handle, and was knocked out by a blow to the side of the head.
For the finals, Felicity went against Randal. Launching himself at her, hoping to get the drop, she got out of the way for a few of the strikes, but Randal, knowing a bit about how she moved, managed to get a hit in to her side. She returned by tackling him to the ground and hitting his chest with a flurry of punches, flipping off him. A little dazed, he didn’t quite recover in time for the bell to ring, and Felicity was declared the gold medalist, Randal getting the silver, and Nikolas Pavlos earning the bronze.
Next up was Discus. Randal was the only one of the four participating in that, and after each Scion had their throw, the Son of Heracles was declared the gold medalist, Randal the silver, and the son of Zeus the bronze.
Finally for that day was the Equestrian event, a race a few laps long around a track. Thurston summoned Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of legend with a great amount of flourishing and cape-tossing, and proudly mounted his steed. As the race began, it was obvious that the race wasn’t for the gold, but the silver medal as Thurston readily lapped his competition within moments. Thurston was declared the gold medal winner, Erin, son of Poseidon the silver, and Willas, son of Hera, the bronze.
That day of competition ended then, with a strong hint from Zeus for the Dodekatheon’s children to take a few more gold medals the next day.
Randal quipped with a grin to Felicity that he thought he actually had a chance against her in their final match, and they went off to a massive feast that was going on continually in Zeus’ palace during the duration of the Olympiad. Meanwhile, Takashi and Thurston both puzzled at how to accomplish their father’s tasks, no time to really join their friends at a feast just yet.
Thurston decided to try the direct approach, not wanting to rob his hosts and believing he could get the telescope from Apollo by simply asking. Approaching the Ampitheatre where Apollo made his home, he went inside and was immediately confronted by the God, demanding to know who was calling. Announcing himself, Apollo recognized the son of Odin and bid him come closer, curious. When Thurston carefully outlined his father’s wishes, Apollo scoffed and said, “What body part is your father willing to part with THIS time?”
At first trying the tact of “The world won’t end,” Apollo dismissed that and instead took a long look at Thurston. Finally, he said, “You are young, but Fate has you already tightly wound in its grasp. I find that fascinating. I will give you the telescope, but you must be ready to do a favor for me at a time of my choosing.” Thurston agreed, and as they shook hands, he could feel Fate binding himself to Apollo. Telling Thurston he would find the telescope in his room, Thurston left triumphant, but not quite feeling so as he headed to the feast hall.
Takashi on the other hand, received word from Erin that his father would see him. Going to a secluded pond area close to the central plaza of the city, Takashi spoke at length with Poseidon as Erin stood guard near the door, facing the grey gate. Hearing him, Poseidon asked Takashi if Hachiman would have him abandon the fishermen in this, who give worship to Poseidon. Buying a moment of time to ponder his answer, Takashi looked out the door to see Willas lurking nearby the gate, and staring into the small conclave where the three of them were located. Noting that someone else might want his attentions, Poseidon barked an order to Erin to see what Willas wanted.
Forming an idea in his mind as Erin stammered about, Takashi finally proposed to Poseidon that possibly helping to establish fisheries and breeding programs on a God-level scale would be beneficial to the both of them. Keeping the whale population up while not forsaking the men who would fish, he even proposed that Erin might be a decent hand in this task as well. Poseidon mulled over the compromise in his head, and finally agreed to meet with Hachiman himself and open formal discourse on the matter of keeping the sea balanced. Dismissing the victorious Takashi, Poseidon hollered for his son as he went to join Felicity, Randal, and Thurston at the feast.
The next day of competition consisted of Throwing, Jumping, and Running. First up was Throwing, with Thurston competing. Each had their javelin throw, with Thurston’s not quite being up to scratch.
Jumping was next, with Felicity competing. Each hurtling themselves as far as they could go, Felicity managed to get the bronze medal, with the son of Heracles coming in silver, and the son of Aphrodite taking the gold.
Finally for the last event of the day was running, with Felicity competing. The race was close, with Felicity’s main competition being the son of Hermes, but she managed to get the gold, with the child of Hermes getting the silver, and the Scion of Artemis getting the bronze.
Zeus announced a fervent desire for more Dodekatheon victories the final day, and dismissed them for the evening.
Takashi and Thurston both visited their fathers again, Takashi apologizing for not engaging Felicity in the boxing match with more enthusiasm. Dismissing his son’s apologies, he said that his intentions for his son being here were regarding the task he’d given him. Reporting his success with Poseidon, and the nature of the compromise, Hachiman nodded, pleased. Telling his son that he chose his representative wisely for this task, he asked to see Masamune, Takashi’s sword, for a moment. Fencing was still ahead, and with a wave of his hand over the blade, he stated his confidence in tomorrow’s event.
Thurston had the thanks of his father for the telescope, either not knowing or not caring about the implications of the price Thurston had to pay to acquire it. Congratulating his son on also winning a gold medal in the games, he dismissed Thurston to study the telescope.
Both coming from their father’s quarters, Takashi and Thurston found themselves in the central plaza, with Willas lurking suspiciously near the gates again. Erin retreated into his father’s conclave as they approached him, and Willas made some weak excuse to flee the scene as well. Instead choosing to chat up the minor deity guarding the gate, he gushed at Thurston over the games thus far, and at seeing Sleipnir. Then, asking who he’d be rooting for tomorrow, and stating that everybody would be at the games, Thurston and Takashi asked the excited diety who would be on guard duty for the gate during them.
“Why, nobody! Everybody goes to see the games! Anyways…nobody would dare open this, right? I mean, all the gods are here!” Both immediately sensing trouble, and recalling Willas’ constant need to be near the gate and desires to learn about it from Randal earlier, they ran to grab Felicity and Randal from the feast hall away from their ambrosia cups, and ran to Odin, the one who they thought would be most inclined to hear about doom and gloom on the horizon.
Listening to his son and his companions, he agreed that the games would be the perfect distraction in allowing the Titans to overrun Mount Olympus. Stating that he couldn’t allow that to happen, they laid out a plan. He would loan Hugin and Munin, his crows, to Thurston for scouting purposes. One would stay near the gate, and the other would watch the exits to the stadium to see if anyone was leaving the area. The Scions were instructed to behave as normal, competing in their events until such a time as they were needed.
The next day, the first event was Wrestling. The three of them cheered Randal along, who was handily making his way through the competition, as one of the crows landed on Thurston’s shoulder, alerting him that two Scions had just left the stadium. Thurston ran out, deciding that he wouldn’t be missed as he didn’t have an event that day, and Felicity sent Bubastis along for backup. Dashing towards the plaza, Thurston came upon Willas, lying wounded on the ground.
Willas revealed that it was Erin attempting to open the gate, he had been keeping a close eye on Erin the entire time during their stay on Olympus. The crow stationed at the gate landed by Thurston at this point, saying that there was someone opening it. Summoning Sleipnir and ordering the crows to alert his father, Thurston rode the rest of the way to the gate, seeing Erin on the mechanism to open it, forcing it just as he got there.
Trampling Erin with his steed, Thurston managed to hold Erin off just as he looked down, seeing Titans rushing up along the base of Olympus.
The crows, in the meantime, had reached Odin and were chattering in his ears just as the final Wrestling match between Randal and Nikolas Pavlos was going on. Standing from his seat beside Zeus and calling loudly for silence, the arena became still, save for the violent final CRACK of Nikolas’ bones as he slumped from Randal’s grasp.
Zeus was aghast that the leader of another pantheon would call for silence during his Olympiad, but Odin’s announcement that Titans were coming up the mountain and that the gate was open led to murmurs of panic, quickly confirmed by Takashi’s suggestion that Apollo use his ability to see wherever the sun touches to check the gate. At Apollo’s curt nod, Zeus bellowed, “Well what are you all waiting for? Defend Olympus!” With that, a surge of Gods flowed from the stadium, followed by the Scions.
Zeus and Poseidon arrived by Thurston’s side first, quickly assessing the situation for what it was, Erin having just raised a large trident to strike at Thurston. Spinning his Scion around, Poseidon said, “I’m very disappointed in you, son,” just as Zeus, enraged, grabbed Erin by the head and chucked him clean down Mount Olympus into the crush of Titans making a mad dash up the mountainside. Giving his older brother a cold glare, Zeus turned to the quickly assembling deities and said, “The Olympiad will continue! Competitors, return to the stadium,” and strode off. Sparing enough Gods to defend the mountain, the competition continued.
With Randal obviously having taken the gold in Wrestling, Marksmanship was next.
Felicity took her ten shots, making a straight bullseye with each. Taking the gold, she was followed by the Scion of Artemis in silver, and the Scion of Aphrodite in bronze.
Just as the marksmanship contest ended, a proud shout went up from the plaza that the Titans had been successfully driven away, the gate back up and running as normal.
Finally, fencing was the final competition in the Olympiad. Fencing was a term used very loosely, as competitors had Roman swords, epees, broadswords, and someone with an axe, along with Takashi’s katana. Slicing his way readily through his competitors with his father’s blessing, he made it to the finals to face off against the son of Heracles, the wielder of the large axe. Not quite able to figure out how to defend against a giant axe, he took a large gash to the chest and came out with the silver medal.
Two days of solid feasting followed the Olympiad, with Hachiman and Odin bowing out and heading back to their Overworlds, bidding farewell to their sons and giving them encouragement for their progress in Chicago.
During their final day, Hephaestus called the four of them to his workshop, where he congratulated his son for avenging his father’s honor, and for being the Dodekatheon Scion with the most medals, Randal having taken two silvers and a gold medal. Also thanking the others for their part in keeping Nikolas from gaining any significant honors (His two medals both having come at the expense of defeat at Randal’s hands, and his other events successfully blocked by the others’ successes), he gifted each of them with a special medallion he had been working on that would enable telepathic communication between them at will, no matter what plane of existence they were on at the time. Be it the Underworld of Duat trying to reach the Overworld of Olympus or similar, they would be able to communicate through these medallions.
Thanking them again, and bidding farewell to his son proudly, Hermes arrived and escorted them back to their warehouse home in Chicago.
Meeting them was a panicked Cynthia, who they’d forgotten to tell they were leaving. Takashi went to comfort her and explain what he could of the situation, while all of their phones went off. Checking their voicemails, they found a series of messages from Noel Backwater, each updating them on his progress in trying to infiltrate the Flame of Jehovah cult they’d been facing.
Finally expressing his desire to find other Scions, he’d found the Demigods that Thurston had led to Chicago, but they had seemed to go mad, and believed that Noel wasn’t just infiltrating, that he was actually a member of the cult. His final message was panicked, giving them his location and hiding place, a moonshine cellar near the lake.
Deciding that Felicity would get their fastest on her motorcycle, she went to go collect him. Upon entering the abandoned house, however, there seemed to be many signs of a struggle, and a broken wall leading to a secret cellar burst wide open. Entering the room, a horrifying sight greeted her. A single light was hanging above a dusty table, where the dead, dried husk of Noel lay. His beautiful harp lay broken on the ground nearby, and all Felicity could find was a bloody scalpel. Taking the harp and scalpel back to the warehouse, she told them of what she’d seen.
Randal took Takashi and Thurston there to further examine the scene and take Noel’s body, leaving Felicity to keep Cynthia company. Takashi’s examinations revealed that he had been cut on every major artery in his body, but no blood was anywhere at the scene of his death. He had simply been sucked dry.
Calling the Demigods in a rage, Thurston demanded to know of Isabelle what they had done. She replied hastily with a quiet, “…I didn’t want to do it!” before being forced to hang up.
Coming back to the warehouse, Takashi decided it would be safest for Cynthia to go stay with his grandparents under Yakuza protection for the time being, and she was escorted safely to the airport, while Takashi began delving into this new mystery the party had been presented with.