A Family Gathering
Achilles tried to break the chains restraining him. There was no use in doing that. The hideous creatures accompanying Hades, surrounded Achilles, with the edges of their weapons pointing at him. He gave up trying to free himself.
“Well, nephew what brings you here?” said Hades, with a big spiteful smile on his face. Achilles, with anger filling up his chest, he tried once again to break the chains that restrained him. Once again, he failed.
“I am here to stop your foolishness… Your stupid plan to destroy my world!” he shouted.
“Hold on, now, son of Poseidon” replied Hades, laughing hard. “It was never yours, to begin with. And secondly, why my plan is stupid? It’s not that I am the first one to suggest genocide!”.
“You are a lunatic! Can you hear, what are you saying?”.
“Yes, boy, I hear myself, but it is you and your small fucking brain that cannot understand the things I am trying to accomplish here!” Hades said, with anger in his voice. “For you, puny people, everything that we gods do, it is something bad or immoral. But what do you know? Your little and miserable life, with the purpose of nothingness! I am giving you a purpose here! To achieve something from the nothing you are!”.
“By killing every living man and woman on this world? This is just mad!”.
The Zeus Paradox
“For who? When Zeus did that nobody talked about it, like nothing ever happened”. Achilles looked at Hades with a questioning look.
“What do you know about Zeus?” he asked. Hades started laughing again.
“The ignorance of your kind never stops to amaze me! Look here, so to know some things. Your good god Zeus, he pulled the strings for the Trojan War to happen, because you, men, you were too many!”. Achilles looked down to the ground, not knowing what to say.
“But then he realised, that through your prayers and you honoring the gods, it’s their source of power. That’s why they took part in the war. Only I was the one who opposed this immoral decision of your Zeus! It was then that I felt that I had enough for all those shitty gods! I approached Priam and told him about my plan. He was outraged for the cruelty of the Olympians. And he agreed to help me. But Zeus, figured my plan and managed to stop me. And then your organization was born. Through the free will of you, people!’ said ironically.
“We chose to follow these instructions!”.
“Really? You think that the gods respect your free will? This was the biggest joke of your creators. I know you think I am cruel, but believe me they are no better than me!”.
“And so what? You are the same shit. What difference will this have?”.
“The knowledge of the truth. You cannot choose the truth. The truth is the truth. Truth cannot change, no matter how long a period of time passes, or who claims to have achieve it. It is eternal, it cannot change. That’s my wold! My new reality! My salvation that I offer to you!”.
“Still it’s your truth, your opinion! And I am going to stop this scheme of yours!” Achilles shouted angrily. Hades started laughing hard.
“Oh, let’s see you do that! Do you see these chains in yours hands? These are forged by my colchids servants, to keep someone bound here, for all of eternity! So, nephew… you are stuck here with me!”.
For Nikolaos, not even a minute had passed. He waited for the seconds to pass. Suddenly, as he was waiting, he saw the wrist of Achilles darken, like the blood leaving from this part of his flesh.
“What is happening?” he asked himself, starting to worry about Achilles. He removed the cork from the vial with the antidote, that it was supposed to bring Achilles back to the realm of the living and gave it to him. Nothing happened. The rest of Achilles skin started to darken, too.
“Shit, what is going on?”. Then the sea foamed and a man emerged from the waves. He was holding the trident.
“Lord Poseidon!” exclaimed Nikolaos and fell to his knees.
“Get up!” said Poseidon. “My son doesn’t have enough time!” said Poseidon.
“What… What are we going to do?”. Poseidon looked around him.
“The source of my son’s power comes from me and I draw power from the water of the sea”. Poseidon took the body of Achilles to his arms and went back to the sea. Before dissapearing under the waves, he turned to Nikolaos.
“When he awakes, do not tell him I was here” he shouted to him.
“Why not?” asked Nikolaos, but the God of the Sea dissapeared under the waves.
Hades vs Achilles
Hades unsheathed his two blades and with slow steps, started to approach the young demigod.
“Do you know what is your problem? Not you as a person, nephew, but as humanity. You cannot understand. You don’t know how to do that. I am trying to prove a point here… and it seems pointless. You are idiots. Even you, nephew… I am intrigued that you cannot feel my words…” he sighed. He stopped before Achilles. “You know what I think? Even if a God, tried to come and live among you, to teach some truths that you as humans need, you wouldn’t be able to understand him! You would turn against him and you are also capable of killing him, too! You are that idiotic of a kind”. Hades sighed again. “It’s a pity. From all the bastards my brothers planted on this miserable earth, I kind of liked you…”.
He raised his blades to strike. But then, Achilles, in a burst of power, broke the chains that restrained him. He was all covered suddenly by water, his source of power.
“Nikolaos” he thought to himself and smiled. He probably realized that something was wrong. Using his water manipulation powers, he hit a surprised and stunned Hades with a wall of water. Hades fell on his back. He quickly came to his senses.
“Don’t just stand there!” he shouted to his army of monsters. “Kill the bastard!”.
The army of the undead charged. Achilles noticed that the water around him started to increase, like a column, all around him. The creatures stopped, afraid, for a second. Achilles smiled.
“Let’s even the odds, shall we?”.
With his power, he created a water dagger in one hand and plenty of water knives swinging all around him. Two hell – hounds rushed on him, but by the time they touched the water column around Achilles, their bodies just crushed in a splatter of blood. In split seconds, Achilles rushed ahead, sending flying water knives in exposed necks, destroying the army of the undead. In a matter of minutes, several monsters were lying dead, under the vicious smile of Achilles and the stunned gaze of Hades.
“How… is this possible…?” he only managed to ask.
“You try taking something from me, I’ll take everything from you”. Then the collumn, started to expand and Achilles started moving upwards in the air.
“Stop him, stop him!”shouted Hades to the remnants of his army.
“See you later, asshole” said Achilles. Hades threw to his direction one of his swords, but Achilles dissapeared.
He found himself lying at the bottom of a sea. He was able to breth underwater. A gift coming from his father for sure. He found out about it when he was around the age of 10, during one of the training sessions by the lake, at Delphi. He always found the sea calming. Everything was nice under the surface. He kept lying for a bit. Then he remembered Nikolaos. And the mission. And all of these situations that brought him there in the first place. He emerged from the water. Nikolaos had a worried face.
“I thought you would never make it…”.
“I did” was the only reply from Achilles. “Now let’s the hell out of here”.
On the way to the mountain of Parnassus, no one was talking. Achilles was walking alone, ahead of his friend, lost in his thoughts.”I can’t keep up with this”, thought Nikolaos. “Achilles, stop!” he shouted to his friend. Achilles didn’t respond, only kept walking. “Bloody hell…” he muttered, and prepared a small fireball in his hands. “That should wake him up” he said and aimed at Achilles. He threw the fireball. But it stopped mid – air. Achilles then turned to Nikolaos. With his palm with one single move he extinguished the fire.
“What is it Nikolaos? Why do you keep bothering me?” said Achilles with a wary voice. Nikolaos left stunned.
“How did you… What the hell was that?” he managed to ask.
“I… I don’t know. Maybe it is something that the new me can do” Achilles answered.
“And you do not want to talk about it? What happened down there? Why so gloomy? You stopped a fireball in the air like it was nothing and you are just like that”.
“There is always a price for those godly gifts”.
The Gift From The Realm of Hades
“You underestimate the Gods! When they give us something, it is always for our good! The Gods serve always a higher purpose from us humans!” argued Nikolaos.
“By destroying others in the way! Like what they did in my situation!” shouted angrily Achilles. Nikolaos stood silent for a little while.
“What do you mean?” he asked finally.
“In order to fullfill my ‘destiny’, or call it whatever you like, I had to sacrifice myself, my own soul” Achilles replied. “My mortallity”.”Do you know what makes the human life so special Nikolaos? Do you know why men are more valuable than a God?” he said as clmly as he could. Nikolaos was just staring at his friend, unable to say or do something. “Gods do not have an end, they cannot die. Not in our way. Humans, from the other hand, do not know what is going to happen to them, they know that they have an end. And now this is lost to me” he continued. “You know what the worst part? I cannot feel a goddamn thing. I know that the situation is hopeless for me, but I cannot feel… feelings. You understand what I am trying to say, right?” he asked his friend, turning at him, like he was waiting for an answer.
But Nikolaos couldn’t find something appropriate to respond. Achilles just shook his head. “It’s a fate worse than death…” he whispered to himself.