It seems it’s all coming back to me now….
He kneeled there, bound by chains forged from the hearts of a million stars. Hephaestus the godsmith had made these bindings, and for eons, they have restrained his might without faltering.
When his fool of the youngest son had turned his brothers and sisters against their father and lord by making war on an entire generation of gods, Cronus knew that this deed and the deeds that would follow would sow the seeds of creation’s undoing. Events and fate would follow the law of causality, and the great finale slowly rolls into motion.
In the deepest pit of Tartarus, it is hard to hear of what happens on the surface of Gaia and in the Aether, where the Olympians reside on their abominable mountain. Cronus had been bound here, at the furthest point from the “light and glory” of Olympus, for not Zeus or one of their ilk could destroy him. When they ordained his indestructibility, they harvested the life of uncountable solar systems for the star material to build him an indestructible prison. He had not heard from his fellow Titans since the great war with the Olympians, even if he could reach them through the void they may have forgotten their sentience after all this time and returned to mother Gaia and father Uranus in the firmament.
He, however, had after Aeons of silence and meditation come in contact with the great old. The Great Un-creation, the immense absence where there is nothing, but yet there is. Khaos. What was first in creation and from which it all sprang forth, and what he now knows will be last.
Through the actions and destinies of the Olympians and their offspring, chaos has been sowed into the realms. Cronus has felt the Khaos changing in unfathomable ways, as a mere Titan he could never discern the truth even if he meditated on it for the rest of eternity. With the waning of Luna in the night came the visions of what caused these changes. Whether they were brought on by millennia of being exposed to the void, barely contained beneath Tartarus, or his mind was returning to the Aether, as he was plagued with visions of the doom.
The Olympians had created life. They had made a race in their image but gifted them nothing but the knowledge of nature, so that they may walk upon Gaia at peace. Prometheus, however, taking pity upon their lowly nature, rebelled against arrogant Zeus and gave them the power of fire. With this action the Great Undoing was set in place and the strands of fate were woven thick. No other race could summon the power to sow so much raw Khaos energy into creation, all the while the Olympians just observed in disapproval. They know that they would be powerless should the humans courageously decide to one day rise up and embrace their true nature yet unknownst to themselves.
The fools knew not the nature of Khaos, the inescapable void. The Olympians and their bastard demigod offspring saw it as constant, contained, and to be used to slowly drive Cronus and other Titans mad. Arrogant children atop their little mountain. Khaos must be held in check by the most powerful sentient entity in creation at all times, otherwise, it would start seeping, slowly at first, into all the realms until all was consumed in a torrent of pure non-existence.
The Olympians think the raw energy contained in these starlink bindings weaken him, but if not for them he would not have the power to hold Khaos back alone. He cannot move, ever, or risk unleashing the great void upon creation. He was, after all, on the front line.
The void had started speaking to him, though it uttered no words and had no voice. It was seeping into his mind through visions. The void showed him things. It showed that there might be a way in which he could save all of creation, as his father had done when he intervened in the First War between the Light of Aether and the shadow of Erebus, and banished that race or dark ones to the underworld. It spoke of laying waste to Olympus and humanity to restore order, but if only he could break these bindings without setting Khaos free!
This was the end of his meditation, and he rested another few millennia.
When again he delved into his mind, the void revealed more. It spoke of one who could ensure the fall of Olympus and humanity. Hyperion, the One Who Came Before, the strongest of all Titans. He knew he had to be in Tartarus, for these two brothers were the greatest of the Titan war-chiefs and would be contained far away from Olympus so that they may feel eternal torment. But to set that mad marauder free upon creation would end with a different kind of undoing, a much more violent kind. These Olympians are feeble in war. Although many in number, they will have grown fat and lazy in their hubris. With this thought he once again emptied his mind and rested.
He snapped back with a fervor that he had not felt since the distant days of war and realised there is a way out of Tartarus and back to his star-throne at the summit of creation, way atop the firmament. The void had revealed more. It could be undone, the great non-existence itself can be undone. Khaos can cease to exist. He would need to consume the stolen power of all Olympians to be strong enough, and although it would be set free he would be able to destroy it eventually, he realized.
With a mighty roar and clatter of chains he bellowed his rage and fury into the walls and pitfalls of Tartarus, for now after Aeons of torment, he knew what must be done. He would raise the old armies. The Hecatonkeres, the Cyclopes, his brother Titans, the Furies and Giants. Every clan that marched to war with Olympus in the time long forgotten by creation. But first, he would raise the banners and blow the war horns of the Old Ones. He would free Erebus. The First War is long over, and a new threat looms upon the Old Races. After all, the shadow hides many secrets, ones that even the void could not reveal.
With that, the eternal Khaos guard broke his bindings and set off on the warpath, and Gaia wept, for the final war for creation had begun. The Fates wove the last thread, slick with her tears and ceased to be, for there was no longer a future to weave.
She awoke on a golden field, where there was no sound but the gentle rustling of the grasses amidst a slight whispering breeze. From where the breeze came, she knew not, for there were no directions in Elysium. When the Olympians created this cosmic oasis in the Aether as a haven for all the beings they favoured to one-day rest eternal, not even wise Uranus foresaw that it would merely be a heaven masking a very hospitable prison. But she awoke not because of her starlit dreams, she awoke because she sensed a disturbance in the cosmic winds. She sensed a great imbalance in the grand cosmic scale; the power of Khaos was in turmoil. She was still confused as a side-effect of her long slumber but started to remember the events that had led to her falling into this deep slumber in Elysium.
When she had first gained her sentience thousands of star-lifetimes ago, she awoke to find only darkness and an inescapable emptiness. Only one goal was driving every action she took: to create. She dreaded the utter nothingness, for she had of old knew that its very nature was the absence of anything, but yet it contained something. Her ancient senses had long been dormant, but when awoken she sensed a great, old and impossibly powerful sentience behind the Void from which she and her fellow Primordials were birthed. She dubbed it Khaos, and thereafter de/YOdicated her existence to keeping it at bay.
She had after much searching found the other Old Ones in the void. Tartarus, Eros and Uranus had agreed that the Void must be filled by creation and Khaos held at bay; but Erebus and Nyx, the progenitors of the dark race, could not be counted on to work against the very source of their power. Tartarus had warned her that his powers of creation could only be used in their entirety and only once, so he would save his primal power for when it was needed most. And so, Gaia the Cosmic Mother set to work with Uranus the Star Father, forging creation itself.
Together they had created the beauty of the known universe, and set up barriers against the spreading of Khaos, containing it beneath Tartarus’ realm; for he was the Eldest and would stand against the void and hold it dormant until one would come who could drive it back. They created Pontus; the great Sea, Ourea the Mountains, Aether the Firmament and Hemera the day, bestowing upon each the power and majesty of the Firstborn of Creation itself. They set them to work governing their respective realms and all sentience therein, but also with the task to keep improving upon the Great Work. They then set to work creating non-omnipotent sentient life, for the purpose of experimenting with creating a race strong enough to keep Khaos at bay should the Old Ones eventually start their eversleep.
From the ocean were born myriad minor races, but only two beings can truly be named divine in nature. Echidna the first of the snake-haired Gorgons, Aphrodite in all hear beautiful splendour and with passion flowing from her hair. From the Earth came the towering races of the Cyclopes with their brute strength and lack of foresight, the Hecatonchires with their many arms and fury, the Giants with their endless war-lust. From the sky, the brutal Furies and soothing Meliae, the nature and very existence of each in contrast with the other. All of these were strong in some aspects, but lacked the true combined strength to hold back Khaos. These secondborn races quarrelled with each other unceasingly, for they were born of the different fractions of creation and thus completely different in their very nature. The second generation of divines had thus far been a failure.
Through an unexpected will, Uranus came to Gaia with a plan. He had for Aeons meditated and mentally designed what the perfect race of divine ones should embody and how they will manifest power more than sufficient to drive Khaos back to the deepest pit of the void. He had shared with her that he knew Tartarus’ power could not last forever, even if he was the eldest Old One. Together they designed a race of great strength, wisdom and majesty that would rule over creation in their stead, a race to act as the cosmic guardians and custodians. They would be named Titans.
First came great and mighty Oceanus, who would rule over the dominion of the seas and father the race of Oceanids. Then, with a great cry that shook the firmament, was born Hyperion, mind and body already fully developed as a babe. He Who Came Before, would be the main Titan warchief if ever any race chose to be foolish enough to face them. Ten other Titans they birthed, last yet greatest among them being Cronus, prophecied as being the King of the Universe and the holder of utmost divine might. Gaia was glad in her heart when these children, these mighty Titans, took the thrones of creation and ruled it justly and with great adoration for the continuing of the Great Work. Khaos could finally be stopped.
Or so she had thought. Many Aeons after Cronus first sat atop the starlit throne, the Titans had done what Gaia strictly forbade. They had birthed offspring of their own. Forth into creation came a new generation of divines, who would choose to dwell on the holy Mount Olympus. But these divine children were arrogant and brash, quick to challenge any who would doubt their might as the third generation of divines. The Titans could not bind them to their will, for they had wills of their own drawn straight from the Void. And so, their hearts full of vanity and pride, the Olympians decided to challenge the Titans for the thrones atop the firmament. Arrogant Zeus, mighty Poseidon, clever Hades and their fellow Gods, as they called themselves, set forth on the war-path with the keepers of Creation.
Of course, Gaia had known War before. The First War with Erebus and his ilk was brutal and devastating, nearly destroying all races if not for Uranus unleashing all the power he had left after co-creating so much alongside her, and furiously driving the race of Dark Ones back to the border between Creation and the Void. Cronus gazed upon this feat in awe, fully realising that there was only one being more powerful than he. Was. She will never forget how close Creation came to being undone, and the great and binding peace treaty that was then agreed upon with the Dark Ones. Since that last battle, Uranus has been weak, unable to even ward off a fruitfly.
She could not feel hate for her grandchildren, for it was the way of all things. The new must replace the old. When the war became one of such violence and savagery as Creation had never seen before or since she ceaselessly wept for millennia. Then, fearing the End, Tartarus came to her. He told her this war would see all the Great Work end if he did not enact his plan and sacrifice all his power and enter the eversleep. And so together they created the Father of All Monsters, the great Dread Beast. Typhon. From East to West his serpent hands stretched, fire in the eyes of all 100 his dragon-heads, fire in their maws. They hoped this creation could be strong enough to destroy the Olympians, but alas, as Gaia created it without hate towards the Olympians it could not differ friend from foe.
The Titans were decimated by this beast, as their number was few already from the onset of the onslaught of vast numbers of Olympians, and they fell into disarray.
Zeus smote Kronus with his crackling lightning and bade him kneel in the lowest pit of Tartarus, where they bound him with star-chains so that he may forever suffer in his exposure to Khaos. The other Titans were either killed, turned to eversleep or bound in their own prisons, Gaia knew not. She merely trembled with shock, and as she trembled she grew weary. During her half-sleeping state, Zeus invited her and the other Old Ones to a place that the Olympians had apparently created especially for them, a place they could “retire” and rest from the strains and duties of Creation and the Great Work. It was a trap, for as soon as they entered Elysium, they could not leave. This is when she started to turn to the Eversleep.
But now, awoken from the slumber that sees no waking, she knew there was fierce disaster to be had in the cosmos. Khaos growing more empowered could only be due to one thing; Cronus escaping his bindings and abandoning the sacred duty he had unintentionally inherited from Tartarus; directly holding back Khaos. But even that could not have caused such a great surge in power she sensed from the Void. Unless… the Olympians created life.
Contemplating this possibility, her tears flowed and flooded the ocean as she realised it had to be fact. For any race created by the Olympians would be the raw stuff of disorder, the imperfect children of imperfect children. Gaia screamed till the sky of Elysium shattered and the grasses blazed, for the final undoing of her Aeons of toil was set in motion, while she was utterly trapped. So perished the mother of all creation in the blazing heaven.
As the ethereal tide carried him out of the throne room of Olympus, Poseidon started to strategize in his cunning. The younger Gods and brash demigods have no idea the sheer odds they face with this coming battle, Zeus in his arrogance had forgotten that the power of a single Olympian alone was nothing compared to the power of a Titan or, Uranus forbid, an Old One who had taken to the shadow. They would need to steel themselves and fight as a unified force, without seeking individual glory through combat, if they were to survive this. Their numbers had grown considerably since the previous war, true, but the vast majority of those that reside on Olympus in this current Aeon have never seen true divine combat outside of the Gods’ arena. He knew they would possibly die first, pawns to be used by Zeus to slow the advance of the coming destruction.
The rising of Khaos, however, put sheer terror into his mighty heart. This, he knew, would be a foe all of creation would need to stand against. How could Cronus be so brash as to allow Khaos the chance to gather strength and slip free of the Wall of Night which separates the void from Tartarus’ deepest reaches? That is where Zeus begot his arrogance, he supposed. But Poseidon, as the eldest son of Cronus, would do his utmost to curb the destruction and bring about peace, even if he had to sacrifice himself and all he held dear in the process. He had already lost his beloved brother Hades, whom he knew better than anyone and could never resent the way Zeus did. As the wave bore him to the shore, he could hear the drums sounding in the deep reaches of the ocean. Atlantis was welcoming it’s Lord home. As he entered the water and sped towards his sunken home, all manner of life he encountered gathered to his side. The ocean creatures, the mer-people; those myriad demigods who many Aeons ago forsook the soil and chose to live in peace in the ocean, even in the deepest reaches he could hear the mighty sea-leviathans stirring upon sensing their Lord’s return to the deep. There was one creature however, he would not allow to be awoken. The Kraken. He and Hades created this creature in secret to fight the Titans in the previous war, but it had proved too rogue to control. It had attacked Atlantis once before, but Hades begged and pleaded for it to not be destroyed as he loved it like a child. Strange one, Hades was. It was locked and binded in the deepest trench of the deepest reaches of the ocean, awaiting the day it’s pure destructive power might be needed to defend the seas. Poseidon hoped it was not needed.
As he and his entourage of ocean-dwellers reached the gorgeous coral spires of Atlantis, the gates of his grand hall of glowing stone were thrown open in welcome. All living things celebrated his return, with a cacophony of sound that could only be heard under the surface of the waves. As he took his seat atop his alabaster throne, his beautiful robe of green and gold kelp swirling about him, he tapped the butt of his mighty trident on the ground thrice. He knew if it came to it, he could rely on this weapon. It was forged by the same enslaved cyclopes that had made Zeus’ lightning and Hades’ mask of terror before they were put to the sword. The hall and the entirety of Atlantis grew eerily quiet, awaiting the words of the ruler of the sea realm.
“We are at war”. Upon uttering this short sentence, a gloom seemed to creep into the hall. The glowing stones dimmed, and Poseidon sensed a growing unease amidst his subjects. “But be not afraid, we are allied with Olympus itself against our enemy, if we keep heart; fight well and steel ourselves in the ways we always have when defending our waters, we will percevere.” After these sage words, the hall once again erupted into cheering and the noises of ocean dwelling creatures. He pitied them, for they thought it was only their ancient surface enemies marching against them. They knew nothing of the coming storm. Poseidon knew they required an even greater host to aid Olympus than he could currently muster. They required the aid of the Oceanids.
He sent forth mer-heralds mounted on dolphins to summon these distant cousins of the Olympians that were forever bound to the sea. In the deepest and most far-lying reaches of the oceans they dwelt, where none may disturb their stoic neutrality and desire for peace. When the heralds returned, they came bearing a broken giant abalone shell; an ancient sign of war known only to the ancient culture of the ancient dwellers of the ocean. Inachus, Melia and their ilk would come to his aid in this battle. The fear in his heart started to subside as he envisioned a return to eternal peace in his realm, with the flowing waters washing away his stress.”
When the Oceanids arrived in his hall, it was with the grandest spectacle he had ever witnessed in his ocean realm. They came astride leviathans, the greatest of ancient sea-beasts. They bore spears of pure jade, armor of blackest obsidian, holy relic materials of the sea. For the first time since his birth, Poseidon felt a surge of pride and glory as the Oceanids bowed before him and pledged their loyalty and fealty to him until the end of days. He was, after all, the one doing the greatest effort to keep the surface and heavens at peace with the earth. Long had he waited for this day.
Quite some time passed as Poseidon, his generals and the Oceanids discussed their war-strategies and decided upon the divisions of new fiefdoms to each leader in the sea-army. While bickering over a minor peace of the Agean sea with a minor Oceanid lord, they heard a great screech which resounded throughout their bones and the entire sea. Immediately, Poseidon knew what was coming. The Kraken had been loosed.
The defenses of Atlantis were ready, every living being in the sea was poised to defend the great and glorious capital of their realm. Poseidon donned his armor and sharpened his trident, awaiting the arrival of the coming dread in front of his gates made of purest pearl. When at last he sensed the currents lay still and the waves subside, he spied a great mass across the seabed.
The kraken, with it’s grat maw and many tentacles, was creeping in slow advance towards Atlantis. But why would such a primal rogue beast move so slowly towards a mass of beings it saw as mere prey to be devoured as quickly as possible, to feed it’s never ending hunger? Poseidon readied himself for the coming clash with this beast and as he levelled his trident to stop it’s advance, he looked back to the coral walls of his great sunken bastion, brimming with ocean-dwellers ready to defend it.
He was ready to face this doom and die for them if need be. He knew Uranus and Gaia would greet his spirit with pride and joy, for he was the only Olympian not consumed by arrogance and warlust. His mighty weapon hummed with power and sheer anticipation of the coming clash. After all, most of Oceanus’ stolen power was contained in this weapon.
But then, just as he was ready to charge the beast, he saw why it was advancing in such a slow fashion. Astride the beast sat the one from who Poseidon had usurped the seastone throne, the original ocean lord, the strongest lord of waters to have ever existed. Atop the beast, clad in blue lapis lazuli, radiant as the day he was bound in Tartarus, stood Oceanus. The Sea Titan.
Poseidon nearly lost his footing and dropped the trident. He had not expected this. He thought Oceanus would march against Olympus itself with the rest of the host. Was this merely a distraction? Was Oceanus here to hold him back and stop him from aiding Olympus while the main host marched against his brother Zeus? And if Oceanus was here…where was Echidna the first Gorgon?
When he turned to see if his host was still ready for battle, the trident was dropped from his hand into the seabed. The entirety of the host that had gathered around Atlantis, was turned to stone. They did not move, they could not speak or see; Poseidon could not sense their life-force eddying through the waters. He was now the last remaining defender of the seas against whatever was assailing it. But how could this have transpired? Slowly but steadily, the Oceanids trod through the decimated host as they advanced towards him. So, they had decided to betray him and stay loyal to the original rulers of the cosmos. He could not blame them, all was peaceful and stable in creation before Zeus rose up and gathered arms against the Titans. As his trembling hand grasped the trident off the seabed, Poseidon saw Echidna slithering through the army of stone statues towards him, behind the line of Oceanids. Treacherous snake, she must have been freed by Oceanus as well and snuck into the city by the Oceanids to eviscerate his army with a simple glance that could turn even Olympians to stone. Realising this would be the hardest fight of his existence, Poseidon removed whatever armor he had. He would face his doom without being weighed down, without being slow, he would face it as he did in the first Divine War, when he still had to prove himself worthy of the seastone throne.
All at once, both fronts halted their advance. Oceanus spoke with a booming voice from atop the Kraken: “Poseidon, neither I nor the other Titans hold any animosity against thee. We know thou seek only to preserve peace and balance in a world in which the other Olympians sow so much imperfection and instability. Join us, and let us march against Khaos after retaking what divine power your foolish kin hold. Cronus knows of the coming great cosmic undoing; the only way to possibly face it is by retaking the power you Olympians stole.” Echidna laughed with a despicable gurgling and readied her fangs for Poseidon’s flesh. She had hungered to devour him since time immemorial.
Poseidon did not respond, he only spread his battle stance further. An indication that he was to throw the trident. His opponents readied themselves to charge him as soon as the weapon left his hand, hoping it would miss them. Poseidon would stay loyal to his kin, above all else, to the very end.
When he pulled back his hand and aimed at the Kraken, Echidna and the Oceanids rushed forwards to attack his rear. But, at the last moment, he turned a full 180 degrees and hurled the trident straight at them. With an immense surge of power and bubbling water surrounding it, the almighty weapon pierced Echidna’s flesh and slew the great Gorgon. Upon impact, the weapon started crackling with divine power. Poseidon charged through the line of Oceanids, sensing the Kraken and Oceanus had sped up considerably as they pursued him. He would die this day, he was sure of it.
Beating back the Oceanids with his fists, he relentlessly battled to reach his weapon where it lay embedded in the Gorgon’s corpse. Cracking skulls and breaking spines, the Sea God fought with a vigor that only one seeking a glorious death by combat could. His fists wet with divine blood, and a host of dying or unconscious Oceanids surrounding him, he leapt and swam with all haste towards the trident. But just as his hand closed around the shaft of the weapon, he felt the kraken’s clawed tentacle close around his legs, sinking hooks deep into his flesh. He heard Oceanus laugh as the beast wrenched him closer, pulling him into it’s great maw. Desperately thinking of a way he could slay the two with one fell stroke, he realised there is only one way to win. The ultimate sacrifice.
He ceased struggling against the tugging of the beast, and let it pull him into it’s maw. As he disappeared between the manyfold rows of sharp teeth into the pitch black of the beasts gullet, he heard Oceanus speak: “So dies Poseidon, the Sea-Usurper, the only Olympian not consumed by arrogance. A pity, you would have made a great vassal to me.” Just as Poseidon mustered all his remaining strength for his last move, he shouted from the beasts maw: “I will die, aye old man Oceanus! But not by your hand nor the hand of any other. I, Poseidon, Lord of the Deep, will end all power struggles for the ocean here and now! From this day forth, the seas will rule themselves! Wild and Free! Wild and Free!!!” With that, Poseidon snapped his trident in two over his knee, releasing all the divine energy he had built up and contained within it throughout the Aeons. With a huge crackling of divine power, a great explosion ripped the Kraken to pieces and utterly destroyed Oceanus.
Washing up on the shores of some unknown land, Poseidon struggled to make his last few breaths ebb and flow out of his broken and dying body. At least he would die seeing the sunset over a calm, serene sea. As he started to close his eyes, a figure of a man stepped in front of his view. Red his tunic, Red the crest on his bronze helm, Red the blood on his cuirass. “You have seen better days Olympian. Allow me to put you out of your pain oh Poseidon.” With that, a blade pierced Poseidon’s chest. “H-h-how?? You are a mere mortal!”. “Aye, but with the current situation at hand in the cosmos, your kin will also soon discover we mortals have the power now.”
Eurystratos slid his blade out of Poseidon’s chest and with one strike, severed the head of a God. Watching the divine golden blood drip from his sword, he knew that he could now finally march on Olympus. The seas would be ruled by Men now. This was the first step in taking back their own destinies.
“Hermes! Hermes where in Tartarus name art thou?!” Zeus hollered after stumbling over a comatose Aries on his way to slake his thirst from a glittering fountain atop Olympus. He and his fellow Gods had feasted and emptied lakes-worth of ambrosia all the while the humans had held the festival of Carneia in their honour, as they had done annually for many millennia. In the beginning, they always get drunk solely off praise and worship, but when Dionysus the God of Festivity (and wine) breaks open the kegs of well-aged ambrosia, the Gods themselves indulge in a festival of cosmic proportions. Thank goodness the stern and stoic Titans were either dead or securely locked in Tartarus, otherwise they would all have faced an unimaginable level of rebuke and punishment. But almighty Zeus, King of Olympus, ruler of the Gods and the highest of the divines, had awoken from a deep slumber atop his throne with a shock. He had not known a sense of sheer dread such as this in countless millennia and had to know what was amiss in the realms of Creation. He would send the swiftest God, Hermes the Herald, to tour through every corner of the cosmos to find what was awry and report back to him.
Hermes heard Zeus summon him from the higher echelons of the palace, but he was embroiled in an extremely strenuous game of tilia with Hades, whom he had snuck into Olympus during the festivities. Hades was, after all, banned from setting foot atop Olympus by his brothers and bound to remain in the underworld to keep the souls of the deceased in check. But Hermes had a score to settle, he would win back the 5 million mortal lives he had lost to Hades on a wager placed on a falcon race. But the next he knew, he was being picked up by his winged sandals while hearing the crackle of lightning. After severely rebuking Hermes and commanding the sneering Hades to return to his realm (only to see him silently disappear into a cloud of shadow), Zeus bade the Herald to go about his duty of reconnaissance. After seeing Hermes disappear down the face of Olympus, he went to the great hall and summoned all the other waking Gods. First came his brother Poseidon, ruler of the oceans, the only God in Olympus who refused the pleasures brought on by ambrosia and feasting. He had silently sat and watched the fish swim in a silver pond in a far-off corner of the celestial palace all night, ever deep in his pondering. Behind him came Hera the Goddess of Fertility, Artemis the Goddess of the Hunt, Hephaestus the Divine Blacksmith, Aries the God of War (who had haughtily boasted of being able to consume the most ambrosia), Apollo the God of the Arts, Dionysus, Athena the Goddess of Wisdom and Foresight, Helios the Sun God always astride his blazing chariot along with his sister Silene the Moon Goddess. After them came the myriad other Olympians and the countless demigods whom had been given the gift of ascending onto the divine mountain. With his entire divine court gathered with every divine he could muster, Zeus awaited the return of Hermes.
With a loud clap and skid of his sandals, Hermes broke the sound barrier as he entered the hall and came swiftly to the side of Zeus. He was drenched in perspiration, although this was strange to Zeus. Hermes could outrun the light of Helios, yet he never so much as tired. After Hermes had relayed what he had gathered of the disturbance in Creation’s fabric, Zeus realised he was drenched due to pure fear. His father had broken the celestial bindings and left Tartarus. Zeus went cold and the lightning in his eyes faded upon hearing this, as those star-chains were the strongest of the creations of Hephaestus. Now, for the first time in countless Aeons, he was afraid. But that was not all. Cronus had freed Hyperion, Oceanus and Coeus along with all the other Titans that had survived the War with Olympus.”
“Not only that, but he had gathered the rest of the powerful second generation of divines to his side to march against the Olympians. His presumption that subjecting them to an eternity of torment in such close proximity to Khaos would weaken Cronus and his ilk, had proved incorrect. He was not looking forward to fighting a Hecatonkeres again, of that he was sure. What news rocked him to the very core, was what Hermes reported next. He had seen the tendrils of Khaos slowly slip through the cracks at the very lowest pits of Tartarus, as well as countless burning shards of Elysium fall from the firmament and wreak ruin on the world. Zeus could see the burning pieces of heaven plummet through the many-coloured stained glass in the door of the great hall and this only deepened his fear and worry. So, the Old Ones he had caged in Elysium must be dead. Gaia and Uranus, the great creators of all, had perished in a paradise aflame. Khaos, that which he thought dormant, the blind idiot divine, had arisen to claim the cosmos. He could not let the other Gods sense his fear, for that would throw the entire Olympus into a crazed pandemonium. With a mighty bi-strike of lighting at his feet, Zeus rose from his great throne and spoke with a voice like roaring thunder.
“Olympians, hear me! I have called you here on urgent tidings. The thrice-damned Titans have arisen to march on our mighty bastion again, but know this: we will beat them back as we did all those Aeons ago and this time, no mere binding in Tartarus will be their fate! No! For now, after receiving what mercy they deserved to be showed, they have once more gathered their strength and sallied forth to attempt to wrest us from our rightful destiny as rulers of the cosmos! No longer will we feast and make merry, for now, is the time of WAR!!! Go now, make ready your armaments and empty out the divine armoury, summon every mortal loyal to us to the foot of this indomitable mountain, steel your hearts and be ready to settle the dispute for divinity once and for all!” And with his final words he threw a mighty bolt of lightning against the doors of the great hall which tore them asunder, allowing the entire host to issue forth with a mighty war-cry. “For Olympus, for Creation, for our Divine Will!”. However Zeus bade Hermes and Poseidon stay, for he sensed there was yet more dread to be had and prepared for.
Poseidon stood silent next to the throne, the only sound to be hear the waters rushing about his feet. Hermes addressed Zeus: “My lord, when I did my tour of reconnaissance I went to Hades’ realm last. It was there that I truly saw what made me come back with such haste. Hades was sat in his throne, aye, but he had no eyes. He was hollow, as was Persephone his wife. And where for Aeons the underworld had been filled with the screams and lamentations of the damned, it was utterly silence I witnessed. When I ventured to the deeper and darker parts, it is there that I witnessed unspeakable horror. Cronus, Hyperion and all the rest of the second generation had devoured the last few remaining souls contained in Hades. The power emanating from them set my bones to shivering. But that is not all. Among them stood pale entities clad in robes of billowing shadow, clutching long black blades in their hands. I saw Erebus, Nyx and all the old inhabitants of the Underworld, the Old Ones who took to the shadow rather than follow Gaia and Uranus. Erebus took Hades’ soul and with it the obsidian throne that rightfully was his. Lord, with his damned blade Erebus cut a path through the very walls of Hades itself and created a cosmic gate. They are much closer than we would like to hope” …
Upon hearing this, Poseidon sighed while the lightning in Zeus’ eyes flickered and died. “Hades…dead? But how? He was the wisest between the three of us brothers, how could he not see this coming? And how could they move so swiftly without detection?” Poseidon broke his silence and spoke with a voice akin to the sound of a flowing stream: “Brother, you forget the older generations of divines know ways of bending the fabric of reality we could never dream of attempting. If it was not for our sheer superiority in numbers during the previous war, they would have annihilated us. But I know how to stop them, I will return to my realm and gather the few loyal Old Ones that still sleep beneath the seas. Some of the Oceanids, those spawn of the second generation that chose neutrality, also still dwell there. If told that the whole of creation might be undone, they could be coerced to take our side.” Zeus bade him travel swiftly, and with a tap of his trident he was carried away by a mighty wave towards the border of land and sea. Zeus steeled his heart and bade Hermes one final task: “Hermes, my faithful herald. If, during this decisive battle, the titans seem to be winning in the end, you are to go to where Typhon sleeps and tell him of the death of Gaia. If we could set that beast loose, we might still be able to capture Cronus when he is weak and bind him in Tartarus again. He cannot be killed, and binding him is the only way to stop Khaos from destroying everything. I choose the monster I know, above the one I do not”
Hermes reported that the mortals on Earth had started to feel the effects of Khaos energy seeping into reality. According to what he witnessed, all across the land temples and holy places once built in the honor of Olympian deities and for their worship were being desecrated and destroyed. There was one leading this endeavour, a powerful man with many followers. He was a common soldier, but he has been endowed with a strange kind of power since the human uprisings began. He wears a bronze cuirass, a bronze helm adorned with a red crest. Eurystratos was his name, a Spartan commander of note. Aries had always boasted how the Spartans were fine warriors, but that this mortal man could best any demigod. Zeus laughed aloud at this, for it was pure folly leading these mortals, not a great warrior. He would smite them all once the divines assailing Olympus are dealt with and create a new race, one free of contamination. Zeus bade Hermes to arm himself and man the walls, while he walked to the very summit of Olympus and harnessed all the energy Uranus had put into the skies with it’s creation. He filled himself with such raw power that he feared he might be torn asunder, but his divine Olympian body held fast and contained this power while lightning shot from his eyes. Now, Zeus would show them what a real Divine can do.”
The day had finally come. After slicking his blade with Poseidon’s golden blood, he knew that the Olympians could be beat. He marched at the head of an army numbering in the millions, his red cloak and crest billowing in the wind as storm clouds gathered. It seems Zeus and his kin were expecting them. Giving the order to hold fast, he surveyed what would be the field of battle for the last war ever waged. Something was amiss however; the voice told him of another force marching upon Olympus. One much, much mightier than he or the Olympians could muster. What could this be? Before he could answer himself, a great host of demigods raced down the mountainsides to face the humans. Half-breed traitors, they would die like all the enemies of man. Eurystratos gave the order to charge, and so the bloodletting began. If not for humanity’s great number of warriors, they could never hope to win. Every demigod was worth at least 30 mortal men in battle, but they fell all the same when set upon by the humans’ new weapons. Hacking and slashing his way through the host to try reach the foot of the mountain, he knew he must move ahead of the host to slay the Olympians as soon as possible. But just as he reached the foot of the mountain, his armour and blade wet with blood, the sounds of battle suddenly stopped. Looking back, he saw his host and all their enemies staring at a distant point on the horizon, obviously awestruck. When Eurystratos looked in that direction, his heart started to quake. This was now truly the battle for dominion of the cosmos.
Ahead of a great host of divine monstrosities and ancient entities of the shadow, marched Cronus and his Titan kin. Hyperion shining like the morning sun with his leauges-long spear in hand, Cronus with his scythe that could rend spacetime itself, Erebus the chief Dark One with his billowing black cloak and shadow-clad blade. The Hecatonchires, giants, furies and cyclopes marched in a great unorganised mass behind them, howling for Olympian blood. Cronus levelled his scythe at the mountain, and without even sparing the human and demigod hosts so much as a mere glance, gave the order to charge with an eminence that rent the minds of all mortals to their core. Lightning started crackling and hitting the ground, Helios’ great golden chariot sped out between the pillars on Olympus, hundreds of blazing divine arrows started flying from the ramparts as Artemis gave the order to fire at will, all in the direction of the Titan host. Seeing this, the humans and demigods regarded eachother for a few seconds and then began to slay eachother feverishly. This was much more than a mere fight for supremacy now. This was a primal fight for survival. Divines and man, fighting tooth and nail to survive this great Cosmic War. Eurystratos knew not what to do, for he could never hope to face a Titan or any of their host in battle even if he should succeed against the Olympians. He felt hopeless for the first time since gaining his strange, newfound power. The voice was silent. But wait, there, in the distance, sped a figure faster than any mere mortal could perceive.
Speeding across the plains and the very surface of the oceans itself, Hermes reached Mount Etna where Typhon was contained. This was the only way, he had spied the Titan host and it was much, much too powerful for the Olympians to hold back. Even Aries had looked terrified upon sighting it. They could only delay the inevitable, as he sped away some Hecatonchires were already ascending the ramparts. Going to the golden summit of the mountain, he spoke the incantation Zeus had taught him to undo Typhon’s bindings. Upon uttering the final words, the mountain shuddered with such a fury that Hermes sped down to the foothills to avoid the rockfall. Once there, he could finally comprehend the horror he had just unleashed. Typhon, the great Dread Beast, rose from the rubble of the immense mountain, great gouts of fire shooting from its 100 dragon-heads. No matter how fast he ran, Hermes could not outrun the fury of this monstrosity. The fires consumed Hermes, and the Herald died not knowing what would become of his kin or Creation itself.
Eurystratos gained his resolve again as the voice returned to him and compelled him to keep ascending the mountain, avoiding the army the Titans had brought. He obeyed, the voice had never been wrong before. Upon reaching the lower battlements, his eardrums nearly shattered after hearing a great roar resound throughout the entire battlefield. Charging to the closest army, Typhon was eager to satiate its hunger for destruction. Cronus and Hyperion ran to face it, Zeus redirecting his thunderbolts at the beast’s 100 heads. Eurystratos had only ever heard very old tales of Typhon the Dread Beast as a child, he could never have imagined it was a real creation. But now he understood why the Gods and Titans stopped fighting eachother. This beast could undo them all. Looking back at his human army, he could see their battle was in the final stages. Thousands of armed humans kept rushing over the foothills, with only a small contingent of Demigods holding them back. Eurystratos was eager to see the looks of his men as they ascended the holy mountain, proclaiming their dominance over the Divines. He rushed ahead, reaching the lower battlements.
The first to face him was Aries, the God of War. Greatsword grasped in hand, he bellowed and charged just as Eurystratos came atop the walls. Great power surged through him as the voice became a deep resonating hum in his mind, and he dodged the first few blows delivered by Aries, shattering the God’s kneecap with a well-placed kick. Madly swinging his blade about, Aries attempted to hit Eurystratos but to no avail. “DIE YOU HUMAN FILTH!!!” shouted the greatest of Olympian warriors right before Eurystratos cleaved him in two with his blade. ‘Well, that was much easier than anticipated’ thought Eurystratos as he kept running to the summit, where he assumed Zeus would be. Killing him would end it all. Typhon would surely decimate the Titan host before reaching the mountain. But Eurystratos had no idea how he would deal with that monstrosity.
Cronus and Hyperion ran about the feet of Typhon; hacking, slashing and stabbing the beast and avoiding its claws and flames. Hyperion misjudged a step however and was struck by a lightning bolt from Zeus that stunned him long enough for Typhon to incinerate him. Cronus fought with renewed fervor as the agony of losing his brother nearly overwhelmed him. He cleaved off many of the beasts heads and luckily they did not grow back like the heads of a Hydra. As he leapt to try slash at , the monster’s heart, an arrow from Artemis’ bow knocked him to the side mid-air. “FOOLS, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH!” said Cronus with a voice that boomed across the battlefield, “KHAOS IS COMING, IT IS RIGHT UPON OUR HEELS!”. ‘Khaos? What is that?’ thought Eurystratos as he reached the entrance of the great hall of Olympus. ‘Could that be the voice? A power older than divinity?’ The voice in his mind responded not. As he slowed down his pace, he saw Zeus standing in front of the great doors of the hall hurling lightning in many directions, trying to provide divine artillery support to his Olympian forces. There were not many of them left, the Titan host led by Erebus was already inside the walls. Zeus sensed him and faced him, blue lightning crackling from his eyesockets.
“So you are the foolish mortal who would dare rise up against me? HOW DARE YOU! WE CREATED YOU, YOU BLOODY MONGREL!” and with that Eurystratos felt another surge of power as the voice hummed once again. He dodged lightning bolt after lightning bolt, feeling the prickle on his skin as the electricity amassed in the air around him and Zeus. The voice told him that his innumerable host was advancing up the foot of the mountain and would start fighting with the Titan and Olympian armies soon a bloody 3-sided battle that would see nearly all of them wiped out. Eurystratos and Zeus battled for what felt like ages, Zeus hurling bolt after bolt and Eurystratos dodging and parrying them as best he could. Eurystratos managed to get close to Zeus and punch him backwards with the butt of his sword, but as he did this Zeus placed a lightning-laced punch on his cuirass; shattering it and sending him flying in the opposite direction. After hitting a pillar and spitting out blood, Eurystratos got up and quickly surveyed the battlefield. It was the stuff of utter chaos; 3 armies facing each other beneath the walls and battlements, Cronus fighting Typhon alone, and a mortal man facing Zeus the God King atop the summit of Olympus. Eurystratos felt empowered upon sighting the disorder and chaos of the battlefield, and charged Zeus again. The voice inside his head was humming loudly now, almost as if it had been coming closer to him over the course of the battle.”
KHAOS ‘It is good that they fight each other. The more they quarrel and bicker only empowers it. It is the source of all power, and now is the time for It to reclaim it. It goes now to consume’ emanated Khaos to itself just as it broke through the walls of Tartarus, flooding over every realm on It’s way to Olympus. Every realm and world succumbed, becoming part of the utter nothingness and madness that is Khaos. It had regarded much of Creation with disdain during it’s brief time existing. It had slept and meditated for time immemorial before an anomaly occurred. When It came out of it’s meditation, it found Itself blocked off from this thing that Gaia and It’s other unconscious manifestations had created. This made It curious, for It could feel this sphere of existence containing power that had been leeched from It. But after long last, It managed to influence this sphere in subtle ways. Humans had sowed much of the energy It required to strengthen during their brief existence, with the Olympians also empowering It through their wars with the Titans. But all the time It’s first manifestation, Tartarus and later a Titan named Cronus, kept It barricaded from creation. It started influencing many humans in subtle ways. To some, it came as a benevolent God which they had believed in. To others It was an evil entity. Either way, they always followed It’s will throughout their servitude to it. And when It had done all it could with a certain mortal, that mortal became dispensable. This newest mortal, the one It whispered to as it lay dying on a battlefield, bent like all the rest. It empowers this mortal beyond his wildest dreams. It speaks to it, and the man obeys. It can now finally use a mortal to sow enough chaos and anarchy; destroying the whole Divine system of order known for Aeons. It knew this was the finale in It’s never-ending plan to only allow Itself to exist.
It started humming loudly in the man’s ear as It neared the mountain, swallowing up the horizon behind It. It saw in the distance a great monster, Divine hosts warring with each other and humans. This empowered It; such chaos and discord feeds It. It chose to manifest mid-air in a humanid form, before it approaches It’s human puppet.
Eurystratos could barely hear anything as the voice hummed loudly in his ears. He was so focused on this fight with Zeus that he barely noticed the horizon go black to the one side of the mountain. ‘Have we been battling so long that it is turning to night?’ he thought right before he dodged a lightning bolt flying from Zeus’ hand aimed at his head. He managed to get a few good sized cuts on the God King’s torso and arms, but if he could only find a way to incapacitate him. Eurystratos underestimated Zeus. No wonder the Olympians chose him as King; arrogant he may be but this entity was surely a warrior willing to fight for his ilk. Eurystratos could respect that. Their melee continued, sending wild lightning bolts flying from the top of Olympus, confusing all combatants on the battlefields below. Eurystratos found an opening and lunged, but Zeus, having been worked into a unstoppable battle-trance, countered with a lightning sword and severed Eurystratos’ hand. Eurystratos fell back, feeling the voice leave him once again. Now, and only now, he started feeling the actual effects of Zeus’ blows. He howled in agony whilst staring at the stump of his sword hand. As he bent over and screamed, Zeus lifted a bolt of lightning and aimed to strike Eurystratos down then and there. The Divine regarded the Spartan for a moment, actually feeling a small amount of pride that he could have created something that could prove such a worthy opponent.
Cronus saw the humanoid form in midair before everyone else. He recognised it immediately from how Gaia had always described how it would, one day, attempt to take all of creation and how it would manifest. It looked like the starry night sky contained in a humanoid vessel. Now Cronus had to think fast; save himself or save all of creation, as Gaia would want? He could ally with Khaos, to grant himself enough time to rend a hole in the fabric of space time with his scythe and escape to a new reality. Only he knew of the multiple realities beyond the borders of this one, he surmised Khaos did not either for it only sought out this reality. But should it eventually become aware of this truth then it would surely come for him. He looked at the dead Typhon beneath his feet, the greatest enemy he had ever slain, and fell to his knees. He was spent, the difficult battle with the beast draining him of all the strength but that contained in his scythe. He could feel his wounds bleeding profusely from the beast’s claws, and smell the smoke of his burnt lorica due to it’s flames. Even if he wanted to, he could not gather enough strength quickly enough to deal with that major threat and still subdue the Olympians afterwards. The Olympians meant nothing now, he realised. With the arrival of Khaos, they are like insects to an elephant. The humans, barely noticeable. This was all of their problem now. He resolved that whoever was fighting Zeus atop the mountain must be powerful indeed, perhaps if he had Cronus’ scythe he could take Zeus’ power and face Khaos.
Cronus, with all the strength that remained in him, hurled his scythe towards the palace of Olympus and the centre of the lightning storm emanating from within. He stood there a moment, feeling all his life-force leaving him the further away the scythe went, until eventually he faded into dust uttering “I come now, mother Gaia and father Uranus. Wherever you are; I come now. My burden is done” Just as Zeus was about to land his final blow on Eurystratos, he stood and looked at the human for a little while. He was curious as to how it had begot such power, strong enough to face him. He never remembered creating a human like this. But now it seemed weak, as if the power had left it. Nevermind that, it must die so order can be restored. He raised the lightning spear again, hearing it crackle and vibrate with power. Just as he bent his arms for the lethal blow, he was pierced in his chest and pinned against a tall marble pillar, sending stone tumbling from the roof of the palace.
Eurystratos looked on amazed, as the dust cleared around where Zeus had hit the pillar. It was the most magnificent weapon he had ever seen. A silver scythe of unimaginable beauty and intricacy, this must have been Cronus’ staff of office, it had travelled mid-air from that direction. As Eurystratos tried to figure out what was going on, silence fell on the battle outside as all the daylight disappeared. He and Zeus, who was barely able to move, were both shocked when a humanoid entity aglitter with the stars entered the palace. “So. You are the last two. I must say, thank you for supplying me with such wonderful empowerment through your deeds. If not for your human and Olympian races, I would have strengthened at a much slower pace. Do not be afraid of me, I am inevitable. I am the end. I am Khaos. I will give both of you the chance to die as warriors, but just know I carry the power of all of what creation existed besides the two of you. Realise the futility of any tactics you would employ, and face your death bravely. This would entertain me. The armies outside proved very incapable of entertaining me and now their power bolsters my own”
Zeus knew the Spartan would have to finish this alone. Of all the damn weapons that would mortally wound him, his father’s scythe was by far the most powerful and the one Zeus had always feared the most. He knew he would die soon, this weapon’s damage could not be healed like how he would heal from lesser weapons. “Manling!!! Grab the scythe! DO IT!” He shouted and gathered the last bit of his remaining power. He closed his eyes with tears streaming down his face as all of his divine energy gathered in his body and was channelled into the scythe. He thought of everyone, his Olympian family that he had loved, the wars he had thought to defend and ascend them, how strictly he had to rule them, but especially he thought about how he would have done it differently if he could do it all over. So passed Zeus, the great King of the Olympians, with the lightning flickering from his eyes until at last he lay dead, a pool of golden blood about him. “You heard him mortal. Grab the scythe. Fighting you will prove most interesting. You have my word I will only fight you on equal, mortal terms. I do not care, for I cannot die. I merely wish to prolong this last entertainment before I have silence again forever” Khaos descended to the floor of the palace of Olympus and manifested a starlight sword.
Eurystratos got up, and seeing the scythe glow red hot after the energy Zeus had transferred, he cauterized the stump of his sword hand. He screamed at the entity in anger, for he realised this was the intelligence behind the voice that had given him aid previously. He was used as a puppet. Zeus had provided him now with a last and final means of truly claiming his freedom, even if he should die. For there is now no longer a heaven or hell to go to, Khaos had taken it all. The only thing Eurystratos could do was fight. He grabbed the scythe in his remaining hand, tore off his breastplate to be able to move faster, and took an aggressive stance. This would be his true final fight. He uttered ancient Spartan protection phrases, screamed the name of his noble family and charged.
The battle occurred faster than the speed of light. Eurystratos had become so empowered by the combination of Cronus and Zeus ‘s powers that he felt even stronger and faster than when the voice had hummed. Khaos’ warrior-manifestation delivered crushing blows, but Eurystratos managed to parry all of them with the scythe. Eventually Khaos had misjudged what an actual Spartan commander could do in battle, especially when empowered to a level beyond any Divine’s wildest dreams.
The great scythe rent Khaos’ manifestation in two as the starlit sword pierced Eurystratos’ heart. The dying Eurystratos lay on the floor as he sees Khaos’ manifestation flicker in and out of existence. He closed his eyes for his final breath as the death of Khaos connecting with the combined power of Cronus and Zeus, tore open a hole in the fabric of reality which consumed everything; Khaos and everything it contained and Eurystratos.
So ends our story of the last war for the Cosmos. All was in fact undone, for Khaos was unstoppable unless all races in existence could work together, as is how it was vanquished in the end. If Gaia had still lived, she would have been proud of the final moments of what she created.
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