Chapter 6

The teams received intel from Olympia, a city not far from the portal[1] to Olympus. Apparently Hydus and Megdam had taken a squadron of Titans and they were camped out in an abandoned castle close to Olympia.

The Ocean and Jupiter teams followed the new information and camped out near the base of the castle. It was a stand off. Now the Titans couldn’t leave for fear of being attacked and the Ocean and Jupiter teams were hesitant to advance because they were outnumbered.

They’d heard a rumor that Hydus and Megdam were unable to teleport. That was concerning because Nordath was unable to teleport. His power made it impossible. It was possible that his power had chosen one of the generals as its new host.

Garnet stood at the edge of a great shimmering, translucent wall. Most Keeltose users couldn’t make a shield large enough to encompass a camp, but he wasn’t alone. Everyone had given him some of their Keeltose in order to power a shield to protect them all. Garnet picked up this trick in the war, but continued using it well into peacetime. His son interrupted his stare.

“Dad, what are you looking at?” A young dragon wandered to his side and grabbed the edge of his wing.

Garnet immediately turned to his youngest son.

Quest had a look of fear. The poor boy had already seen things no child should.

“I’m—” Garnet trailed off and Quest waited for a reply. Garnet turned back to the shield as if the perfect excuse would be written on its walls. He turned to his son and took a knee to better match his height.

“There are bad people out there. I’m watching them to keep us safe.” Garnet said placing a hand on Quest’s shoulder.

“I can stop them, Dad,” Quest exclaimed.

Garnet’s expression of comfort fled from his face.

“Quest, you can’t, and I told you not to talk about that.”

“But no one else is here.” Quest gestured around him. They were indeed alone.

“Besides, you told me we could trust these people.”

“I did? When?” Garnet challenged.

“When we got here.”

Garnet paused for a moment, presumably to try and remember. His son had grown so much in so little time. “I did. Your memory is good. You can trust these people, but let’s keep your power secret for now.” Garnet tried the hand-on-shoulder technique again.

“Okay. I won’t tell them,” Quest said reluctantly.

“I know it’s frustrating, but you won’t need to hide forever. Someday you’ll be able to tell everyone,” Garnet offered.

“When?”

Garnet turned back to the shield and looked back at his target. “When the war is over.” Garnet’s gaze fixed on a castle a few miles away on a nearby mountainside. From this distance he couldn’t see anyone, but distance did nothing to temper his gaze.

***

“Garnet!” Thane cried at the edge of his tent. He was asleep. He knew Thane well enough to recognize a worried tone. Garnet threw himself out of his tent and met Thane outside.

“I’m up, I’m up. What’s wrong?” Garnet asked rubbing his eyes.

“Someone’s here.” They both were silent for a moment. They weren’t expecting guests. The man and the dragon charged to the edge of the shield and began looking outside. The shield covered the campground. Whoever was there would have to pass through it. To their surprise the guest was standing patiently outside with her hands behind her back.

“Identify yourself!” Garnet yelled at the young woman.

She had a wide smile and bring red hair. She wore a red sundress, a gold amulet around her neck and no shoes.

“Hello,” she said slowly, as if addressing people who didn’t speak her language. “I’m Cilla. I’m here for Morgaine.”

Garnet stood motionless for a moment as if giving his mind a moment to process what he had just heard. He finally turned to Thane and began whispering.

“Do we know a Cilla? Is she one of Vivienne’s?” he asked Thane.

“You’d know better than I would,” Thane responded flatly without taking his eyes off the woman. Garnet turned back to the woman.

“Identify yourself, more clearly!”

“I’m Cilla. You’re Garnet, right?”

“No,” he lied.

“Then who are you?” She brought her arms from behind her back and crossed them.

Thane shot Garnet a disapproving look.

“I, uh, actually, I am Garnet” he bashfully corrected.

“Now I don’t believe you.” She shifted her weight to one hip.

“He is Garnet, you’ve just caught us off guard” Thane intervened. “We don’t know a Cilla and why do you want Morgaine?”

“Of course you don’t know a Cilla. I’m one of a kind and this is our first meeting.” She flipped her hair with one hand and then crossed her arms again. “As for Morgaine, that’s my business.”

“You can’t have her,” Garnet said.

“First of all, that’s not your decision. You don’t own her. She can make her own decisions. Except for the decisions I make for her. Second, I certainly can have her. I’m being polite because I don’t want to break your shield. Looks like it took a long time to make.” She dropped her arms to her sides and began walking closer to the shield. She placed a hand delicately on the outer wall.

Garnet and Thane looked at each other. Garnet shot Thane a look that only a soldier would recognize. Thane immediately ran off to find Vivienne.

“All right, Mrs. Cilla, why do you want Morgaine?” Garnet said in an almost mocking tone.

“Zaeus” She replied.

“I’m sorry?”

“Zaeus. Cilla is my first name. Zaeus is my last. Also it would be Ms. Zaeus, thank you,” she said while examining her fingernails.

Garnet definitely recognized that name. “Zaeus, like Athena Zaeus?” Garnet asked with a raise brow.

“Athena is my sister, she didn’t mention me?” Cilla seemed genuinely offended. Their conversation was interrupted by Vivienne’s arrival.

“What’s going on?” asked Vivienne.

“We have an interloper,” answered Garnet.

“Who is she?”

“Cilla Zaeus,” answered Garnet.

“What does she want?”

“You must be Vivienne,” said Cilla. “You’re Morgaine’s mom.”

“Yes,” answered Vivienne.

“I want to offer you a deal.”

“What?”

“I need your daughter for 48 hours.”

“That’s not going to happen.”

“This is a deal,” said Cilla. “There’s supposed to be negotiation.”

“I’m not making a deal with you,” said Vivienne.

“If you don’t make a deal, I’ll just do whatever I want.”

“Who are you again?”

“Cilla Zaeus, God of Love.”

Vivienne turned to Garnet. “Zaeus? Like Athena?”

“Her sister,” answered Garnet.

“Ok,” said Cilla, “you two have made it abundantly clear that Athena didn’t mention me.”

“We’re just trying to sort this out,” said Vivienne. “We don’t have any need for the power of Love. But thank you anyway.”

“Oh you misunderstood,” said Cilla. “This is not an offer. This is happening.”

“No,” said Vivienne. “You can’t have Morgaine for 48 hours. We are an army. We don’t have time for this kind of stuff.”

“Why can’t I have her?”

“Because she’s a soldier, my soldier to be specific, and we don’t know you.”

“I just introduced myself.”

“Why do you need Morgaine?”

“That’s not for you tarpers[2] to question. I want Morgaine for 48 hours and I’m offering you something in return. If you refuse, I’m just going to steal her and you’ll get nothing.”

“What are you offering?”

“A favor,” said Cilla.

Vivienne leaned over to Garnet. “We could use a favor from a god.”

“Are you willing to sacrifice Morgaine for that?” asked Garnet.

“She’s Athena’s sister. How bad can she be?”

“There might be a reason Athena doesn’t talk about her,” whispered Garnet.

“Let’s ask Athena.” Vivienne turned back to Cilla. “We’re going to talk to your sister first.”

“Ask why she hasn’t mentioned me,” said Cilla.

“No,” said Vivienne. She put two fingers to her temple and sent Athena a message[3]. Athena, she said, your sister is at our shield and she wants to take Morgaine for 48 hours. Is she dangerous?

Which sister? asked Athena.

Cilla.

Oh. She’s mostly harmless. Did she say why she wants Morgaine?

She said we tarpers don’t get to know why.

Sorry. She’s a bit of a princess. Don’t give her Morgaine. Just ignore her.

Thanks.

You’re welcome. Let me know if she gives you trouble.

Vivienne turned her attention back to Cilla. “You can’t have Morgaine. I’m not sure what you’re planning but we are in the middle of something very serious.”

Cilla laughed. “What are you doing?”

“We’re fighting a war,” said Garnet.

“Looks like you’re camping.”

“We’re not camping,” said Vivienne. “Go back to Olympus. We can address this after the war is over.”

“What war? All I see are trees.”

“There are Titians in the castle across the valley. We believe they have Nordath’s power. They are dangerous and it’s up to us to stop them.”

“So you’re fighting the people in that castle?” asked Cilla.

“Yes,” answered Vivienne.

“And if they were gone, the war would be over?”

“Yes, essentially.”

“Can do,” said Cilla. She teleported[4] away.

“What does that mean?” asked Vivienne.

“I don’t know,” said Garnet. “What did Athena say?”

“She said to ignore Cilla.”

“Well she’d know better than anyone. Besides, we have more important things to worry about; like the Titans.”

Vivienne nodded. “We should get back to planning. We need to infiltrate their stronghold.”

***

The next morning Vivienne and Garnet were securing a weak spot in the shield when Cilla appeared again.

“They’re gone,” she called. “Time for you to uphold your end of the deal.”

“Who’s gone?” asked Vivienne.

“Your friends in the castle,” answers Cilla. “I couldn’t tell which ones were Titans, so I just got them all.”

“Rago Kan,” said Vivienne, “where were you during the war?”

“What did you do to them?” asked Garnet.

“I didn’t do anything,” answered Cilla. “I asked Dad to handle it.”

“Dad? You mean Zeus?” asked Vivienne.

“That’s the one.”

“I thought he refused to help the war-efforts,” said Vivienne.

“He did,” said Cilla, “but he never refuses when I ask for a favor.”

“Where are the Titans now?” asked Garnet.

“They’re gone,” answered Cilla. “They’re not in the castle.”

“We need them dead,” said Vivienne. “The war isn’t over until they’re gone and the realms are safe.”

Cilla groaned. She put a finger to her temple and sent a message. “There,” she said. “Now they’re dead.”

Garnet was speechless.

“Prove it,” said Vivienne.

“Ok, I’m only doing this once. What proof do you want?”

“We’ll inspect the castle,” said Vivienne. “And we need Nordath’s power.”

“You can look at the castle all day long,” said Cilla, “but you never said anything about Nordath’s power.”

“Yes we did,” said Garnet. “We told you the power might be in the castle.”

“But you never said I had to bring it back.”

“The war isn’t over until that power is contained,” said Vivienne.

“Oh no,” said Cilla. “You said the war wasn’t over until the Titans were dead. Now they are. And I want Morgaine.”

“Let us inspect the castle and we’ll get back to you,” said Vivienne. “We need to see the bodies.”

“Ok,” said Cilla, “but then I get Morgaine.”

“We’ll see about that,” said Vivienne. She and Garnet went to look at the castle. They left Thane and Joan in charge.

Joan waited with Cilla while Thane ran the camp.

“It’s nice to see you again,” said Joan.

“Yeah,” said Cilla. “Nice to see you too.”

“You’ve grown a lot since the last time I saw you.”

“Wow,” said Cilla, “that was before your war.”

“It wasn’t our war. It was a war for the realms.”

“Your realm.”

“We fought and died to protect everyone. Nordath was a monster and a threat to all of us.”

“All of you.”

It was at that moment Joan remembered why she didn’t talk to Cilla.

Meanwhile, Garnet and Vivienne arrived at the castle. The Titan shield was down and they were able to enter without incident. Garnet opened the main door. Vivienne was prepared to fight in case Cilla was lying. They peered through the darkness. Garnet cast fire to light their way.

Inside they found the Titans dead though it wasn’t clear what actually killed them.

“She was telling the truth,” said Vivienne.

“I guess we should go back and give her Morgaine.”

“No,” said Vivienne. “We’re not giving Morgaine to some random teenager.”

“That random teenager just accomplished what our entire army has been trying to do since the war began.”

Vivienne sighed. “I wish we’d had this kind help earlier.”

“Be careful what you wish for.”

They returned to the shield to talk to Cilla.

“Thank you,” said Vivienne.

“You’re so welcome,” said Cilla. “Now about Morgaine.”

“We can’t just give her to you,” said Vivienne.

Cilla’s face changed to something resembling fury. “Why not?” she demanded.

“Because she’s a person, not a bargaining tool.”

“Yesterday you said she was a soldier fighting in a war and I took care of that.”

“At the risk of being called a tarper again, why do you need Morgaine?” asked Vivienne.

“That time has passed,” said Cilla. “We have a deal and you owe me. I’ll be back in an hour. Morgaine better be ready.” With that she teleported away.

“I can’t imagine what the god of Hate is like,” said Garnet.

“I guess we should tell Morgaine,” said Vivienne. They found her sitting Ethelmore.

“We have a small problem,” said Vivienne. “We need to address the camp.”


[1] Each realm has two portals connecting it to the others. When you walk through you are instantly transported to somewhere in the other realm.

[2] A derogatory term used by Gods to describe non-gods.

[3] People with keeltose can communicate telepathically and send messages to each other.

[4] Keeltose users can teleport using a Chaos or Order cast.