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Cupid and Joxer were walking around the newly formed
temple, admiring the collection of bizarre things and
putting in some finishing touches.
The pit of toads seemed to have no purpose to Cupid, but
Joxer insisted that it was a necessity.
//Cupid, come to my audience chamber. We need to talk.//
Ares called to Cupid. The serious undertones of the message
made a chill crawl up Cupid's spine.
"Gotta go Jox, Dad's calling for me." Cupid said and
vanished in a pink flourish.
Immediately Cupid appeared in Ares main hall to be
confronted by the icy serious gaze of his father.
"Cupid. I have decided what retribution I require from
you." Ares said in a voice of deep solemnity. "You feel
that you were a bad son to me because you didn't share in
my life, well my retribution is to require you to accompany
me through the most painful thing in my life and share it
Cupid felt his heart sink at the look in his father's eyes
and the words that were spoken. "Where are we going?" Cupid
asked in a quavering voice.
"Follow me, you'll understand soon." Ares said as he walked
Cupid gathered himself and followed silently.
They came to a door at the back of Ares' temple. Cupid knew
this door. The only place in all of Ares' temple that he
had never been permitted entrance. Strife and Cupid had
tried for months to open this door but it was locked by
mortal and godly means. They had wondered about the
contents of this room and had decided that it must be a
With a wave of Ares' hand, the locks and wards fell away
from the door of the room.
With hesitation, Cupid entered the dimly lit room. He
looked around and was confused by the hodgepodge of items
sitting around. There were a few pictures, some weapons, a
few scrolls and a harp.
Ares stood by the door as Cupid began to make his way
amongst the piles of things. The items looked somehow
familiar to him... and yet he couldn't place why.
"What is all this stuff Dad?" Cupid asked his father.
Ares only responded with a hard, pained look.
Cupid decided to look closer at some of the items. He
picked up one of the scrolls and recognized the
handwriting. [Olerion!] Cupid thought to himself. Then with
an icy shiver crawling up his spine, he looked around the
room again with understanding. This room contained
memories, pain, loss, and grief.
With tears running down his face Cupid realized that the
retribution his father had decided upon was to share in
this pain... this pain that he should have shared in the
"I'm sorry Dad, I should have been there to share in your
mourning." Cupid said weakly, not knowing exactly what to
"They deserve better than this... they've been forgotten."
Ares said with his own tears.
"Then lets do something for them, make a memorial to the
fallen. We can make sure that they aren't forgotten." Cupid
said, knowing that this is what he must do to balance
things with his father.
"How will we honour them?" Ares asked carefully.
"Together. We will decide the best way to honour each of
their memories. Dad, I know how painful it would have been
to do this alone, but we can do it together. When we're
done we can get Ter, En, Pho, Demi, Harm, and Bliss to come
here and get to know the fallen."
Ares got a weak smile on his face and nodded. This was
exactly what he had been hoping for. His eldest surviving
son wanted to share in his pain and grief and to honour the
memory of his fallen children both god and demi-god,
Cupid's fallen siblings.
* * * * *
Zeus was nervous. He knew Hera too well to expect her to
remain on the sidelines as he had a good time. He had a
feeling that she would be striking at any time and he
needed to be prepared.
//Jett, I need to talk to you for a moment.// Zeus called
out in uncharacteristic timidity.
//Sure, let me ditch the dragon lady and I'll be there in a
minute.// Jett replied.
About two minutes later Jett appeared beside Zeus.
"What did you want to talk about?" Jett inquired
"I was with Hera long enough to know her mode of
operations. She'll be striking at me with another attempt
at vengeance soon." Zeus said with worry.
"Makes sense." Jett said, knowing that there was more to
"Since we've been playing together, she might target you to
get to me." Zeus said with irritation beginning to creep
into his voice.
"So what do you want to do about it? I mean, do we wait for
her to act? Do we do something to prevent her from acting?
Or do we strike first?" Jett asked with a gleam in his
Zeus considered it for a moment and said, "Do you already
have something in mind for a first strike?"
"I do." Jett said with an evil smirk.
* * * * *
Asclepius walked into Ganymede's room and saw him sitting
in deep, serious contemplation.
"Gan, are you alright?" Asclepius asked quietly.
"Yeah Ace, I've just been thinking about things." Ganymede
"You feel like sharing your thoughts?" Asclepius asked
"Yes and no. I mean, I know that I can tell you this stuff
and you'll be here to help me. But, at the same time, I
feel like I need to do this myself." Ganymede said with a
bit of misery in his voice.
"Then how about I just hold you and tell you that
everything will be alright?" Asclepius asked seriously.
Ganymede considered the words and his face broke into a
"Yeah, I think that's just what I need right now." Ganymede
said and stood to take Asclepius into his arms.
"Everything will be alright." Asclepius said quietly as he
laid his head against Ganymede's chest and held him
* * * * *
Cupid and Ares had worked for two hours, sharing ideas for
suitable shrines to the fallen when Cupid received a mental
//Cupid.// Hephaistos called in a neutral tone.
"Daddy Hep's calling me. Why don't we call it a night so
you can get home to Joxer. I'll think about this and we can
work on it again tomorrow." Cupid said quietly.
When Ares heard Joxer's name, any argument that he might
have made left him completely.
"That sounds like a good idea. Good luck with Heph." Ares
said as he left the room.
* * * * *
"Yes, Daddy Hep?" Cupid responded as he materialized in his
"Your mother and I have decided on the retribution we
require." Hephaistos said without a hint of emotion.
"What is it Daddy Hep? Just tell me and I'll do it." Cupid
said with desperation in his voice.
"We've given it a lot of thought. There have been a few
things that have irritated one or the other of us over the
centuries but there is only one thing that you have ever
done that has actually been a dissappointment to us."
Hephaistos said and took hold of Aphrodite's hand for
Cupid stood, not daring to breathe, waiting for his
punishment in the ensuing silence.
Aphrodite broke the silence by saying, "Cupie, you never
want anyone's advice or help until you've dug yourself into
a hole, then you come to us to dig you out. Our retribution
is that you are going to have to do this on your own. We
aren't going to tell you how to fix this. You made this
mess and you are going to fix it without our help."
"We love you son, you know that. But this once, you're
going to have to do this off your own back. You'll have to
decide how to make amends and how much is enough. The only
hint that I'll give you is that this has nothing to do with
your work... this is about our family and your place in
it." Hephaistos said solumnly.
Cupid nodded sadly and said, "Thanks mom, thanks Daddy Hep.
I'll figure out how to make things right... I love
Then Cupid flashed out in a muted pink blur.
* * * * *
Jace appeared in the main hall of Hades' temple. Thanatos
had said they could meet here, since Tartarus was difficult
and unpredictable to navigate.
//You came?// Thanatos thought in surprise.
[He expected me to change my mind when I'd had time to
think about it.] Jace thought sadly.
//Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing your sculpture. How
was your day?// Jace asked genuinely interested.
//Not very busy, with Ares being on his honeymoon, business
is slow.// Thanatos thought in response with an expression
that might have been a smile.
//Mine is slow too. It looks like I'll be getting busier in
the next few weeks. Apparently harvest season is a peak
time in the debauchery business.// Jace said
//I suppose it would be. Are you ready to go?// Thanatos
asked, with a bit of worry showing under the words.
//Sure, lead the way.// Jace responded with a smile, trying
to put Thanatos at ease.
* * * * *
Thanatos had led him to the river Styx and to Charon's
boat. After introductions were made, the boatride was made
Eventually they made their way into Tartarus. A shiver of
fear ran through Jace's body but Thanatos reassured him by
saying, //You can always transport yourself out, nothing
will harm you while you are with me.//
Jace became somewhat comfortable with his surroundings.
Thanatos' assurance had worked and he just enjoyed the
unfamiliar landscape as they made their way to Thanatos'
Finally Jace asked, //I'm just curious, why didn't we
//Truthfully, I wanted to see your reaction to Tartarus.//
Thanatos responded, sounding a bit ashamed.
Jace thought about that and asked, //How did I do?//
//Better than most. I've seen the shades of some of the
most fearsome warlords break down into tears before this
point.// Thanatos thought with a smile.
//This place has its own dark beauty. I mean, once I got
past the whole 'this is the place you go for eternity when
you're damned.' part, I could see the beauty in the craggy
stones and the pools of lava, and the stalagmites are
fascenating.// Jace thought as he continued to follow
Thanatos until they stopped in front of a cave.
//This is my home.// Thanatos said, seeming to be
//You don't have a door?// Jace asked with curiousity.
//I never needed one... everyone around here is afraid of
me.// Thanatos said simply.
Jace could see how Thanatos might frighten someone who
didn't take the time to get to know him.
Thanatos led the way in and Jace was amazed by the interior
of the cave. The living area that they entered was warm and
friendly, possibly the most comfortable room he had ever
//Your home is beautiful!// Jace thought in wonder as he
looked around the room at the comfortable furniture, ornate
vases, finely woven tapestries, and beautiful arrangements
of dried flowers.
//Thank you, I hoped you would like it.// Thanatos beamed
//I really do. Where are your sculptures? I've been waiting
all day to see them.// Jace asked excitidly.
//Right through here.// Thanatos said with worry in his
Jace followed as Thanatos led the way through his home.
They entered a large cavern. Thanatos made a gesture and
torches lit the room. Jace's breath was nearly taken away
by the beauty of the sculptures before him. There were
sculpted animals, people, and various other things.
Thanatos watched with worry as Jace walked from statue to
statue without saying or thinking a word.
//So?// Thanatos sent in a timerous mind/voice.
Jace turned to face Thanatos and had tears in his eyes.
//I've never seen such beauty captured in stone. You have a
wonderous talent.// Jace sent with awe in his
//Do you have a favorite?// Thanatos asked as he watched
Jace walking from sculpture to sculpture.
Jace considered for a moment, then walked to one of the
smaller, more delicate sculptures; a raven rendered in onyx
and said, //This one, it looks so lifelike that I keep
expecting it to take off into flight at any moment... and I
don't know how you managed to get so much expression into
the eyes but they tell a story of hurt and loss... too many
things seen... too many people lost...//
Thanatos was surprised by Jace's very accurate
interpretation of the expression he had given the raven. He
knew how the raven made him feel, but didn't know anyone
else would be able to see so deeply.
//When you leave, I'd like for you to have it.// Thanatos
said hesitantly, not wanting to be too forward.
//Thank you Thanatos... may I call you Than?// Jace asked
A smile flitted across Thanatos' corpse-like face and he
//Than, I know I just came to see your sculpture but...
could you come with me to the mortal realm for a while? You
have shared something so personal with me, that I want to
do the same in return.// Jace asked timidly, fearing
//Of course.// Thanatos responded with a smile.
//Then follow me.// Jace said and disappeared in a purple