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Mythology
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Gods in Training
Writer TJ Nyx
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#36
Chapter 36 Albany
TJ Nyx
Jun 11, 2018
0
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11 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!Nxaq9BM9jEbsyKTsDPueposted on PENANA

            It was well past midnight when we landed. We landed at the ancient stadium that rested a ways above Delphi. I’m sure it’s never happened before, and will never happen again. But the ancient chariot racetrack proved to be a nice little landing strip for us. We’ll see how good it serves us when we take off, but let’s not worry about that just yet.copyright protection16PENANAhbeyD9HUWe

            “Ah, yes.” Gaia said smiling into the predawn world. She raised her hands to the sky and let out a relaxed sigh. “I forgot what is like to be in Greece. This feels great!”copyright protection16PENANAuJMFaVgX5z

            “That’s nice, can we get this done.” I said ushering her along.copyright protection16PENANACg2b1VDFL8

            “Two thousand years ago, this was the place to be. Never been anything quite like this old place.” Gaia muttered looking around. “Good memories.” She nodded and started toward the small dirt path that would take us down to the temple.copyright protection16PENANAT2j7AXhiSd

            “Do you miss Greece?” I asked Gaia. The path was zigzagging down the mountain, and we had a little bit of a hike to get to the Oracle.copyright protection16PENANAxmXj18fi6k

            “I miss when the gods were in Greece. It was our roots, and things were better then. Well, not better…but it was easier to be happy with the mess we had as our lives.” Gaia answered. “It was just a different time.”copyright protection16PENANASJBUUCQxhB

            “Why did the gods leave?” I asked. “It seems like you all liked this place so much. Why would you move on?”copyright protection16PENANAFbEZjfWAyO

            “Back then, Greece was the center of the world. So to speak.” Gaia said. “That’s where everything and everyone who was anything, was at. It was the place to be. The Greeks are the grandparents of the modern world. They started and made possible everything that makes up your world. The old one, where you were only Albany. But that didn’t last. Eventually Greece fell behind. We had to move on, not because we wanted to, but because it was necessary that we keep up with the times. Keep in mind, not all of us left. In fact there are still gods and goddess up and down this side of the world. Especially in the homeland.”copyright protection16PENANAO5bMpdVEv1

            “Which gods are still here?” I asked.copyright protection16PENANAYnKAiFc8cu

            “The Oracle and others like her. Some are tethered to certain places. Others just never had a reason to leave.” Gaia shrugged. “When you’re a god, you do what you want. And they just wanted to stay.”copyright protection16PENANAKSFpRYFOyd

            “Do they know that there are new Olympians, like me?” I asked.copyright protection16PENANADniP9H24my

            “Of course. Many of them came to see you guys made into gods.” Gaia explained. “We all still keep in touch.”copyright protection16PENANA6kVRVew7mI

            “I thought that all of the gods lived on Olympus.” I admitted. “I never imagined that they lived all over the world.”copyright protection16PENANAC7BhwtgciP

            “Well they do.” Gaia muttered. She stopped walking. “There it is.” She pointed down at the ruins of what must have once been a beautiful building. Now there were only crumbling walls and a few lonely pillars, but I could tell that this was once a building fit for the gods.copyright protection16PENANApVcIKlqNqM

            “I wonder what it looked like back in the old days.” I said admiring it.copyright protection16PENANAlw7hn2vTaS

            “It was crowded like Times Square. People from all over Greece came here to talk to the gods. The Oracle was…and I guess still is the hotline between mortals and gods.” Gaia explained. “Packed with people daily.”copyright protection16PENANACM0e3xHkJ0

            “Wow.” I looked upon the ruins and imagined a thriving temple filling up with petitioners from across the land of Greece coming here to ask a few questions of their gods.copyright protection16PENANA98VlQGHgu7

            “Come on, we need to be out of here before the tourists show up. It might be illegal to park a plane on an old chariot stadium.” Gaia said. With those words she left the path and took a shortcut to the temple through the remains of a Greek theater, using the seats as steps. I followed her down.copyright protection16PENANA3QEa71cDVm

            When we reached the bottom of the theater we were now level with the temple. We walked around to where the front of the temple used to be. Now Gaia stopped and turned to me.copyright protection16PENANAwy8xMc4uxN

            “Ok, about the Oracle. Be very careful what you ask her. In fact it would be best not to ask her anything.” Gaia thought about it and nodded to herself. “Yeah don’t talk at all. I can handle her. Remember, she knows the future, but that doesn’t mean she knows the truth. Like Janus used to say ‘Every choice we make affects the lives of everyone else.’ Or something like that.” Gaia muttered.copyright protection16PENANAuGWq2N7K4B

            “She knows the future, but not the truth?” I asked. “What does that mean?”copyright protection16PENANAS7swhzytdu

            “I have no idea.” Gaia admitted. “Hestia told me that before we left.”copyright protection16PENANAQK2ZhPclkJ

            I laughed. “Come on then, we should get this done with.”copyright protection16PENANA9Pp5fsSncW

            “Right.” Gaia said smiling. “Come on then.” She headed towards some bushes that were growing against one of the temples walls. “This way.” She told me, and then she edged her way between the bushes.copyright protection16PENANAZ44rAl19Pe

            “What?” I asked confused. But I followed her nonetheless.copyright protection16PENANADGYFFgvRBP

The bushes, were in fact, not growing against the temple wall. Rather they were covered the entrance to a tunnel that was hidden underneath the temple.copyright protection16PENANAAKE0QUsJhF

“When the gods left Greece, the Oracle moved down here.” Gaia explained taking a torch down from its holder on the wall. “I guess she got tired of all the visitors.”copyright protection16PENANAGgJKHk6JuV

“Well there will definitely be a drop in people coming to see her if they have to use the secret entrance through the bushes.” I agreed looking back at the door. “Kind of shady.”copyright protection16PENANAX7CWNhci8O

“Yeah.” Gaia agreed. “Let’s go. I want to get this over with.”copyright protection16PENANA7JzLJpGc9X

            We made our way down deeper into the tunnel. Gaia was holding the only light. All the other torches we came across had burned out a long time ago. Soon the tunnel stopped and turned into a roughly hewn spiral stairway down. Each step was so old and worn that I slipped a few times. Gaia even stumbled once.copyright protection16PENANARPeBAWWGFq

            Finally the passage leveled out and we were on flat ground again. That didn’t last long. After only a minute, we had left the passage and entered a round room. And I mean round. There room was spherical. I’d never seen anything like that.copyright protection16PENANACCxezkvMCE

            There was a small campfire burning at the bottom of the sphere there were several rugs and sitting cushions clustered around the fire. The walls of the sphere were bare, but the top of the room there was a small smoke hole, along with a ceiling stained pitch black, from thousands of years of smoke moving up past it on its way skyward. But I didn’t see the Oracle.copyright protection16PENANAAKo9w7zckI

            “Where’s the Oracle?” I asked looking around once more. Gaia tried to shh me and cover my mouth, but it was too late.copyright protection16PENANA9byoM8kJOZ

            “Well I’m right here!” a voice echoed in the cave. Previously, where there had once just been an empty cushion, there was now a woman. Well history books taught me that she SHOULD be a woman, but for the life of me I could find no visual proof. The Oracle was enclosed head to toe in white and black silk coverings. Her head was covered with a white hijab, a headdress traditionally worn by woman in the Middle East, with a black veil drawn over her face.copyright protection16PENANA9rCGFb1bYE

            “Why did you disobey me?” Gaia asked me sounding exasperated.copyright protection16PENANAQyoeIVli7F

            “Is that a question?” the Oracle tilted her head.copyright protection16PENANA1hRzFEHZnw

            “No, it’s not.” Gaia muttered quickly. “Could you give us a second?”copyright protection16PENANAZwYBdDNePL

            “Yes. That was an easy question.” The Oracle muttered to herself. She them began to hum to herself.copyright protection16PENANASFkhT2cflk

            Gaia leaned it close to my ear. “She’s listening to us, I’m sure. So don’t question anything I say. Say it as a statement.” Gaia instructed me.copyright protection16PENANAVmCMViqDhO

            “I understand.” I whispered back.copyright protection16PENANAahk8SxLGMB

            “Good! I know she doesn’t look like much, but this…girl…is more dangerous than Zeus, in some ways. Knowing the future is bad, knowing your own future is suicide. Knowing what life has in store for you, even if it isn’t actually a bad future, can drive you insane and sometimes beyond.”copyright protection16PENANArFgMWaO9pa

            I ask, in my head, ‘What could be beyond insane?’ But of course I didn’t actually ask that. I had a feeling the Oracle was watching me behind her veil, just begging me to ask that. So I kept my mouth shut. I realized that in some cases, Gaia was right, not knowing is definitely better.copyright protection16PENANAukw66rox5G

            “Let me do the asking. I’ve actually done this before.” Gaia was muttering to me. “Understand?”copyright protection16PENANAmfYGnQe9x1

            “I understand everything.” the Oracle answered. “I can see the future, and I have lived through the past. I have the knowledge of a million scholars gathered over a million lifetimes. I know things about you two. Would you like to hear them?”copyright protection16PENANAKYG1KDbzMA

            “Of course not.” Gaia answered quickly. “Can you shut up for a minute?”copyright protection16PENANAKhUgo1HMzN

            “Yes.” The Oracle answered instantly.copyright protection16PENANAtV2rCpiRyP

            “Ok, good.” Gaia said. “Is Blade dead?”copyright protection16PENANASjOykzbw9Y

            Good, straight to the point. But the Oracle didn’t answer at first. She took her time thinking it over.copyright protection16PENANA6Tf19D3RqD

            “It has been a minute.” She said. “As to your most recent question, a blade is a thing not a person. Therefore it was never alive.”copyright protection16PENANAEUyHmb6F2F

            “You knew what I meant.” Gaia exclaimed.copyright protection16PENANAvUZktkTFQ3

            “I know many things.” The Oracle said shrugging. “Maybe the true answer got lost in translation. You should ask, more specific, questions to drive the desired answer from my lips. You know me earth Titaness. In your own words I am a ‘Sniveling little freak that just refuses to come out and say the real answer because I’m lonely and isolated in my cave.’ Did I get that right?”copyright protection16PENANADWWTY6w1YX

            “You heard that?” Gaia asked horrified.copyright protection16PENANAFDSdkeprUr

            The Oracle sighed. “Do you really want me to answer that?”copyright protection16PENANA7pm6JQqDvg

            I motioned for Gaia to lean. When she did I told her. “Let’s focus on the connection between Deon and Hades. That seems to be less vague.”copyright protection16PENANAG8dD2cKzdI

            “Ok.” Gaia nodded. “What is the connection between Dionysus and Hades?”copyright protection16PENANAwTmo6HDw8x

            “They are both major members in the ancient Greek Pantheon. Both were also gods in that religion.” The Oracle said.copyright protection16PENANAYfWlmGbNjG

            Gaia glared at me. “Less vague my ass.”copyright protection16PENANA3ZPhDRtnqH

            I shook my head and decided that it was my turn to ask the questions. “Deon had a feeling that Blade, a person, was not dead. I had a similar feeling that was later proven to be true.” I informed the Oracle.copyright protection16PENANA6XAsmHa0ei

            “I know all this already.” The Oracle said rather cockily.copyright protection16PENANAxcyuxVbIIu

            “Good.” I told her. “Was my friend Deon’s feeling about Blade being alive true?”copyright protection16PENANApMue476yux

            The Oracle laughed. “Deon believed in his feeling. He trusted his gut, if you will. And that made it true to him.”copyright protection16PENANAfAvQ3SydSM

            I frowned. Focus on the connection I reminded myself. “Ok, Did Dionysus ever visit the Underworld?”copyright protection16PENANAwqY5Vw06eJ

            “Yes.”copyright protection16PENANAAEw5TAcZ8H

            “Did he meet Hades there?”copyright protection16PENANAxoi2elUNzN

            “Of course.”copyright protection16PENANAz6dyb84cej

            “Well, then there it is.” I said triumphantly. “We have our connection.” I said happily to Gaia.copyright protection16PENANAWPXsVQ27Qa

            “Would you like to know why Dionysus was in Hell?” the Oracle asked.copyright protection16PENANAOny7qNtlA2

            Gaia shook her head at me, but in my elated state since wringing out the answer I wasn’t thinking. “Sure.”copyright protection16PENANA8a9lJkuNxJ

            “Dionysus had a mortal wife. Ariadne. She remained faithful to Dionysus, but was later killed by Perseus at Argos.  Dionysus however descended into Hades and brought her and his mother Semele back. They then joined the gods on Olympus. He went down alone. He came up with two souls. He struck a deal with the devil.”copyright protection16PENANA7uy5WtVYBM

            “What kind of deal?” I asked, again without thinking. Gaia almost hit me.copyright protection16PENANA9q9IxAw0V7

            The Oracle giggled. “An eye for an eye. Two souls for two souls.”copyright protection16PENANA33icp1xTP5

            My brain was processing it. “Dionysus traded two people to Hades?”copyright protection16PENANADWzb1vFXuh

            “Yes.” Was my answer.copyright protection16PENANAJEHTmftTgp

Gaia actually hit me this time. “Stop this right now!” Gaia ordered me. “She wants to tell you this for her own sick purposes.”copyright protection16PENANA0ktiwSk4M9

The Oracle stood up. “Gaia! You need to know! Years have gone by and I have finally learned the purpose of those bodies. Hades hid them from me. Before that made me curious, now it makes me afraid.”copyright protection16PENANA9p6IB8eh5J

Gaia’s whole body froze. I had a chill or two as well.copyright protection16PENANAzPnhIKwcDN

The Oracle dropped the volume of her voice. “I can’t see the future of those bodies. At first I ignored it. I saw thousands of possible futures. I thought it would disappear like all the other false prophesies. It has only grown bigger.”copyright protection16PENANABE74XEXhIK

“Is this possible future…THE future?” Gaia asked.copyright protection16PENANArSaxBLFQ3L

“Nothing is certain, not even me, about the future.” The Oracle was now whispering. “But other possible futures are dropping like flies.”copyright protection16PENANAzCBWTjGqvk

One question was nagging at my insides. “What are those bodies for?”copyright protection16PENANAe7YlbW09dJ

The Oracle fixed her eyes on me. “They are a contingency plan.”copyright protection16PENANATFC3cdPS3T

“What does contingency mean?” I asked.copyright protection16PENANAECwfzqzfQ5

This time Gaia answered me instead of the Oracle. “Contingency is like a backup or last ditch, Hail Mary, all or nothing, one bullet left plan.”copyright protection16PENANAA4czqovrxJ

The Oracle nodded. “Those bodies are spare tires. Although I believe only one is for Hades.”copyright protection16PENANAaroMuB0ku4

“He’s still alive!” Gaia shouted. “Come on Albany! We have to get back.” Gaia dragged me back up the tunnel.copyright protection16PENANAe9HKogaXw1

“Good luck Albany!” The Oracle shouted. “Fight for your inches! Never give up.” The way she said that, made me extremely nervous about my future.copyright protection16PENANA365fFwEbYb

We crashed through the bushes and back to the outside world. The sun had come up while we were in the Oracle’s home. Soon people would be showing up, we had to leave.copyright protection16PENANAU8DiV8UVso

We ran for all we were worth back to the plane and clambered onboard. Baxter fired up the engines and we were off, the chariot stadium proved to be a nice little airport after all.copyright protection16PENANA0GxHqWXBUu

“In retrospect we should have had Iris use her rainbow travel.” Gaia muttered. “So much faster.”copyright protection16PENANACXAIdgfRrd

I was about to say something back when I remember the Oracle’s words. “Although I believe only one is for Hades.”copyright protection16PENANA2llGEhOzdg

“What?” Gaia asked.copyright protection16PENANAXdXvUosSZm

“That’s what the Oracle said right before we left.” I told her. “Who else would need a new body like Hades?”copyright protection16PENANAmCkWkxdzoE

“Who cares?” Gaia said. “Let’s just worry about one problem at a time.”copyright protection16PENANAMr087EpVdC

Deoncopyright protection16PENANAcbQaHKy9Dy

            I pulled the shroud down. Down past where the head should have been. SHOULD have been. The shroud collapsed, like it was giving up the joke now that I knew no one was under it anymore.copyright protection16PENANAwZaRWup94N

            I ripped off the rest of the shroud anyways and found myself staring at an empty altar. Blade was gone.copyright protection16PENANAOQfOZntojH

            “Oh shit!” I shouted. “Herman! Herman get in here! Blade’s alive!”copyright protection16PENANA1wSRGACfKf

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