Sons of War – Lead Us to War

“Okay, so we need a game plan here!” Phobos shouts, ducking and weaving like Sugar Ray to avoid teeth and poison. “Pops, how did uncle Herc handle this shit-stain?!”

Ares slashes out with his lance, opening up a gaping wound in the Hydra`s chest. This does not please the Hydra and four heads lash out at the god of war.

“Father is otherwise occupied,” Deimos yells, using his shield to batter any head that comes near him. “Uncle Heracles cauterized the heads once they were removed, ensuring that no other could grow back.”

“So we can`t behead this blighter?! What kind of flecking jolly-time rules are those!?” Chadwick slides behind a thick tree. It shimmies with the force of the bite from one long-necked head.  The archer comes around and lets a shaft fly at close range. It rips through one head cleanly. “How the hell do we kill something with all these heads and not…bloody hell, I can`t breathe right,” Chadwick coughs.

“Do not breathe in the fumes, they are toxic,” Deimos moves in a tight circle, his sword cleaving down into the hydra`s back foot. A head shoots downward and latches onto the terror god’s shield. A tug of war ensues. The shield leaves his hands. Thankfully, his music is still with him.

“Fall back and regroup, a direct frontal attack shall not fell this beast!” Ares bellow rises above the roars of the Lernaean Hydra. Persephone stands inside the gates, her arms folded casually across her ample bosom, a smile of smug assurance lighting up her lovely features. She watches with joy as the foursome are backed into her grove. Soon the beast would end them and her revenge would be complete. She steps further back and lifts the hem of her chiton over her nose. Cerberus moves inside with her after she beckons him. The poisonous fumes could overcome her husband’s favored hound. She wishes not for that to occur.

“Pops, we either got to use Herc`s trick or come up with a new one,” Alex swings out and clubs a nose, then lunges forward to deflect an open-mouth looking for a British snack. The Hydra is pushing them back, soon they would run out of grove to weave and juke through.

“Thanks, mate,” CW grunts, steps out, fires two silver arrows at once, then leaps back behind a white ash.  The tree breaks in the jaws of the enormous water dragon. Ares rolls under a snapping attack. Flat on his back he gouges his beloved lance upward through a writhing neck. Toxic blood flows out of the wound. The god of war levers himself to the right to avoid the deluge, but does manage to drag the blade of his weapon through the thick, green toxin.

“I say we try to open its gullet!” Deimos stabs at a hissing mouth, his shield now in the gut of this loathsome creature.

“I say we just get the hell out of here and call it a day, you know? Let bygones be bygones and whatnot?” Chadwick offers while running backwards and raining arrows down upon the Hydra. Trees are swiped aside as the lumbering lizard pushes its attackers closer to the stone walls that line the once fragrant grove. Ares is on his feet, his mind moving rapidly around how best to kill this hellspawn. He watches an arrow smack into an eye socket.

“Blind the dragon!” the battle god shouts.

The three young men stare at him just momentarily and then work at taking out eyes first. Each blinding arrow or sword or lance rips a shriek from the Hydra. Deimos feints left, his goal a fleshy eye socket. He can`t shout fast enough to warn his brother of the still-sighted immortal head snaking at him quickly. The Hydra strikes like an asp, teeth ripping through leather armor. Phobos is lifted from the ground. Liquid agony races through his torso as the first rush of venom pulses from fangs into his flesh. He pushes at the jaws that hold him. An arrow streaks past and the fear god is doused with liquid from the ruptured left eye. Phobos hits the ground like a bag of wet corn. Blood seeps through his cuirass and trickles down his thigh.

“ALEXANDER!” Ares roars then charges into the chest of the nearly blinded dragon.

Chadwick continues to fill the heads with shafts that never miss their target. The Hydra flails around blindly, save one that strikes at the war god time and again. Ares gilded shield buffers the attacks. Deimos races over to his twin and hauls him behind a shattered apple tree.

“Yeah, that sucked,” Alex shudders and rolls into his brother as the first wave of toxin rushes through his bloodstream, “Is Pops going postal?” Phobos inquires shakily.

Deimos lifts his head and finds a pair of crimson eyes burning deeply within Ares helm.

“Aye,” Deimos pants, “He is going postal.”

“Cool,” Alex grunts and struggles from his twin`s arms. “I want the bitch,” Alex grinds out, pushing unsteadily to his sandals.

Deimos goes with his sibling, steering the god of fear around the gutting of a Hydra. Chadwick has lowered his bow and stands, mouth agape, watching in macabre fascination as Ares rips the chest of the lizard open bare-handed then begins to extract internal organs. When a liver bounces past him, CW has a pretty clear idea of where his mates get their red-eyed battle frenzy from. Ares finds the eight-chambered heart and rends it from the dragon. Caught deeply in the lust, he holds it over his head chucks his helm aside then squeezes. Thick emerald blood pumps out, coating his fingers and arms. His cry of triumph can be heard on Olympus itself. The skin on his hands begins to smoke, the flesh bubbling off to show bone. Chadwick shakes the woolies from his head and runs at the war god. He is stopped in his tracks when glowing crimson eyes find him advancing from behind.

“Stay back, Mortal, or this shall be your heart betwixt my fingers,” Ares snarls. The fine hairs on CW`s neck creep up at the reverberation and death in the heaving gods tone.

“Right,” Chadwick announces walking backwards, “I`ll just be…you know, over there…somewhere,” The gangly Brit smiles weakly then turns and leaves Ares to having his fingers eaten off by poison. 

Phobos and Deimos near the gate, one holding the other, side by side they come for Persephone. She snaps her fingers and Cerberus leaps forward. The twins raise their swords and Phobos` shield comes up, although it shakes and quivers, as his body fights a war within him.

“Sit,” someone commands and the dog drops to its ass. Persephone lowers her hand from her face and her chiton flutters gracefully back down to her ankles. Hades steps forward. The twins stop moving and drop to one knee. “What manner of disruption is this outside my gate?” the god of the dead demands.

Chadwick comes blundering up and nearly falls over the two young gods bending the knee. CW swallows loudly. The man across from him has eyes like a shark, all dark and cold. He was a tall bloke, equaling Ares in height if not girth. His hair is black as night, his beard as thick and ebony as an endless scream.

“Drop down, dude,” Alexander whispers. Chadwick does as told, tearing his helmet off as he goes. “Don`t speak unless spoken to. Just stare at his feet, KK?”

CW bobs his floppy Hawk.

“I asked a question of you, my wife,” Hades voice is liquid and soothing, just like death. Persephone rushes to his side and buries her face into the folds of his chiton. “What brings the god of war and his offspring to my gates?”

“My husband, those impudent pups sought to abscond with me! Much as their sire, they wished to woo me. They came upon me in my grove. When I turned down their suit they summoned their sire and slave and…”

“I ain`t no slave,” Chadwick mumbles under his breath. Alex would slam an elbow into the gangly mans side but he`s too busy trying to stand up. Deimos drags his twin back down to his knees.

“Did I give a mortal leave to speak?” Hades asks, cradling his wife to his side and observing Ares slamming a huge boulder down onto the immortal head upon the Hydra. “Return to our keep. I would speak to these males privately.”

“Hell no man! No way she gets a fucking free pass! You don`t know the shit she put me and-”

The rest of Phobos` angry tirade gets shortened considerably when Hades blows the young god across what remains of his wife`s grove with the flick of a finger. Ares turns from burying the offending dragon head when his son rolls past. Blue eyes lock with black.

“I warn you not to strike at my sons again, Uncle,” the war god threatens while kneeling down beside his gasping boy. His fingers are naught but bone with shreds of flesh dangling off, but he lifts his stunned son into a sitting position just the same.

“Then I suggest you teach these whelps courtesy and respect for their elders,” Hades snaps then stalks from his wife.

Persephone remains inside the gates, anxious to see her husband rend them all apart. Deimos lifts his eyes to look at the woman who had taken him in when all others upon Olympus had shunned him. Even his own sire had turned from him, favoring Phobos and taking him to earth to live at his side. Despite what he owes the woman he finds he cannot forgive her. It saddens him but his heart now cleaves to his father, brother and wife, and the skinny human at his side staring at the lawn.

Hades steps through the gates, his robes rippling around his feet. Cerberus pads forward to walk at his masters side.

“I would hear what you have to say in defense of yourselves, Sons of War,” Hades says smoothly, his hands clasped in front of him. Cerberus drops to a sit when Hades pauses. ”I warn you to mind your tongue. You shall not be treated with such concern the next time you speak to my wife with such discourtesy, Phobos.”

“They have many…” Ares begins. Hades glares at him. “I shall let them speak for themselves, but when they are done I shall be heard!”

“As if anyone has ever been able to silence you,” Hades comments softly. “How fares that clever mortal consort of yours, Ares?”

“She is well,” is all the battle god will say. Hades nods at the curt response. His point to his nephew had been made.

“Stand, both of you,” Hades commands, “I would see into your eyes and judge the truth of what you say.”

“They shall spout fabrications my lord husband!” Persephone shouts from the open gates. “Ares blood beats through them! Do you not recall how he sniffed after me like vile hound before we were wed?!”

“I would warn you to remain silent, Woman,” Hades says over his lean shoulder. Persephone`s mouth draws into a slash. The god of the dead pads around the foursome of men, his long fingers now toying with a belt made from human vertebrae. “Now, Phobos and Deimos, speak.”

Alex leans on his brother`s shoulder. Chadwick remains on his knees, glad to have trampled grass to study. That Hades bloke makes his marrow quiver.

“Dude, she`s so full of shit her sandals don`t match!” Alex explodes. A dark, wiry brow creeps up Hades tan forehead. “This shit goes back, like way back. You remember when me and D died, right?”

“It is hard to forget the time you spent with my mother in the golden fields. Six years was it not?”

“Aye, my uncle, six years in your realm,” Deimos shuffles Alex higher with a small grunt.

“Rhea looks after you yet, else the Hydra`s toxin would have killed you young Phobos,” Hades mentions, moving back and forth in front of the three young men and his belligerent nephew. “So, this squabble has what to do with my beloved bride?”

“We don`t even need to rehash old trash, let`s stick to the shit that`s gone down in the past few months. Hey, Uhm, where`s her handmaiden? You know, the three-headed bitch that got fried like a fucking goddess on a stick not a week ago. Got any clue where Hecate is Uncle H? Why don`t you ask your beloved bride?” Phobos queries tartly.

Hades stops pacing and turns to stare at his wife. “Where is the goddess of necromancy, Persephone?”

“I do not need reply to questions from the likes of Ares or his sons!”

“No? Why then do we not summon Apollo down to bear witness? ‘Twas the sun god himself that smote the witch,” Deimos counters. Ares bobs his head in approval while his hands drip ichor and meat sloughs off to the trampled lawn. “Perchance we should call upon Artemis, for `twas her bow she gifted our mortal comrade with to battle the daemons Persephone sent against us. Let us take our case to the counsel upon Olympus! Let those who sit upon the thrones hear our complaints and cast a final judgment!”

“Dude, no, I can`t do a trip to the clouds,” Alexander coughs weakly. “I can`t waste all that time…”

“Aye, let us set this before Zeus and allow him to decide! Or am I the only one who goes to trial for grievances against our own?!” Ares asks.

“Very well,” Hades replies coldly, “We shall convene upon Olympus.”

“Nay! I shall not restate what-”

“Speak not to me in such a tone, Woman. Come,” Hades barks, latches onto his wife by her wrist and with a blink of a dark, soulless eye, transports the party from the gates of Hades to the glory of Olympus.

*~*~*

This issue gets its name from the song, ‘Lead Us to War’ by the band Sinergy. They have a sort of Dio vibe I think. Check it out!