The God Wars

Chapter Forty-two:

In the Vice

By Dwayne MacInnes

When Hermes called his name Ares became instantly alert. The god of war ran towards the city's gates. By the time Ares arrived Hermes was already there awaiting the racing chariot of Hades.

"It must have been a great victory," Hermes said. "He did not even bring his army with him. They must be coming behind him."

Ares frowned; he did not like the look of one chariot racing towards the city. Ares also noticed that Hades was not steady inside the rocking vehicle.

"This is not good," Ares said under his breath.

"What was that?" Hermes asked looking at the god of war.

"Look," Ares pointed towards the chariot now almost at the city's broken gate.

Hades pulled his black chariot up to the two gods. He strained to rein in the horses to a halt and nearly fell into Ares arms once the chariot stopped.

Hermes and Ares both noticed a javelin sticking out of the god of the underworlds shoulder. With a great wrench, Ares pulled it free and blood shot into the air as Hades screamed out in pain.

Hermes quickly started to bind Hades' wound with a dirty cloth. Hades stood up unsteadily on his feet. The god then walked over to the steps of the nearby tower and seated himself upon the stone steps.

"It was horrible," Hades gasped.

"Wine, quick," Ares ordered Hermes. The god of thieves quickly ran towards their supplies and retrieved a leather flask full of wine. He returned to Hades and thrust the bottle between the stricken god's lips. Hades took a few long pulls before finally pushing the flask away.

"What happened?" Ares asked once Hades seemed to strengthen.

"We were ambushed," Hades choked. "My forces were utterly destroyed. I think the Necro-lords escaped, but I cannot be sure. My warriors were felled to a man."

"Damn," Ares cursed.

"It's worse," Hades continued. "They are marching towards Atlantis in great numbers. You cannot hope to fight both forces once they are here."

"Maybe we can return to Olympus and you and Hephaestus could raise an even larger army," Hermes offered lamely.

Hades laughed weakly. "You do not understand. I am close to dying and once I expire my forces will cease to exist."

"How is that?" Ares pressed.

"Hephaestus was able to give his creation true life through his art with the hammer and anvil. He used his sacred steam and gave the Talos the life giving ichor that acts as blood does in a mortal.

"My creations cannot live and therefore can only be reanimated as long as I live. For they borrow life from me"

"Perhaps you are mistaken," Hermes said hopefully. "You may recover."

"No, my friend," Hades said calmly. "None knows death and dying as intimately as I do. I know that I have only a few hours left. You best make the most of it."

Ares slammed his fist into the stone tower knocking huge chips off the side. Ares calmed himself down and looked over to Hermes. The god to the thieves was deep in thought.

"Do you have a plan?" Ares asked.

"Perhaps it would be wise to call a truce," Hermes smiled.

"What?" Ares said. "You must be jesting. I will never surrender!"

Hades coughed up blood as the two gods looked at each other. Hermes sported a smirk and Ares frowned even deeper than before.

"Sometimes," Hermes explained. "You need to entice the snake out of the rock pile before you can cut its head off."

* * * * *

General Crist did not know what to make of Hermes on the far side of the canal. The god stripped of all arms held his hands aloft in surrender. He walked cautiously towards the canal.

"It appears that you have us beaten," Hermes called across the canal.

"How is that?" Crist asked. He knew that Theena was bringing the remainder of the Republic's forces southward. He still had radio contact with Zakrostas and already knew of Hades defeat. After all it was Crist who had warned President Greer that he noticed Hades marching north with a third of Ares' army.

"Please do not play me for a fool, general," Hermes replied. "You must know that your army marches south and will be here within the day."

"If we parley how do we know that you will entreat us honorably?" Crist asked.

"Even we gods have some notion of honor," Hermes replied. "It would be better for both of us if we established borders and respected each other's sovereignty. As proof of our good intentions we will withdraw from the city. We will establish a tent in the field where you and King Podaistas can speak with Ares, Hades, and me. We will give you three hours to consider this. I urge you to not waste this opportunity for another war may lead to mutual destruction."

Hermes retreated slowly by walking backwards. He never took his eyes off Crist as the god of thieves disappeared amongst the stone ruins of the outer city.

"What do you make of it, sir?" a soldier asked.

"I don't know," Crist responded. "There is only one way to find out. I will confer with King Podaistas, and if he agrees, we will meet with the gods to establish a truce."

"Sir, don't you think it could be a trap?"

"That is a risk," the general conceded. "But if it is not we could be squandering a great opportunity if we refuse. If it is a trap the gods better beware, for nothing motivates us humans than a couple of good martyrs."

The soldier nodded, "Or better yet, a sneak attack. I suppose these guys never heard of Pearl Harbor."

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on February 17, 2010 5:00 PM.

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