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Mythology
Adventure
Gods In Training: Generations
Writer TJ Nyx
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Gods In Training: Generations
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#12
Chapter 12 Artemisia
TJ Nyx
Jun 11, 2018
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No Plagiarism!hZ9wRf7tsv2pnciQNI46posted on PENANA

            You’d think the Olympian guard would be the class act of the mythological world. The guardians of the gods, the best fighting force ever assembled. Well, I regret to inform you but you’d be very wrong. They sucked. To be fair the 13 most powerful beings on earth didn’t need much protection, and the guards hadn’t seen action in nearly four years. But still, I should not be giving archery lessons to demigods and satyrs who didn’t even know which end to shoot from.copyright protection14PENANAbJfI8AK4rX

            “Fire.” I ordered. The seven or so guards before me let loose their arrows. Only one hit a target, and it was three lanes over. “Again.” I ordered. They set about reloading. Kara had assigned Paul and I guard duty. We had been ok with it at first, you know, figured it would be easy. Then we had talked to Chiron. Our hiatus had apparently applied to the guard as well. It was seriously undermanned and criminally undertrained. We had done more teaching so far than actual guarding. But then again, we hadn’t expected to do much guarding.copyright protection14PENANA0IX9ePpliR

            Hestia was gone. Now don’t get me wrong that was clearly a problem. But the other gods were dealing with it, and they were dealing with it very far away. She wasn’t attacked. There was no sign of a struggle. Godly struggles left signs trust me. So in my mind that leaves only two possibilities she left willingly or disappeared in some Kronos-y time paradox. In both scenarios, there wasn’t much need for a border patrol. This was just a free excuse for Paul and I to practice our archery and work on our tans.copyright protection14PENANARlhfxA5ki9

            But to the others this was more serious. Kara was preparing for war. She had Herman checking up on everyone, gathering reports, and spreading news. And because of the sense of urgency in Kara’s actions, an unease was growing on the mountain. We hadn’t made it known that the hearth had gone out and Hestia was gone, but her disappearance was starting to be noticed. And constantly shutting off the throne room was only fueling speculation.copyright protection14PENANAruTGc1hX5J

            This city was scared, and they didn’t know why. Thankfully that helped our understaffed guard problem. Plenty of volunteers wanted a chance to get in on the action. But more wanted to join simply to try and learn what was going on I think. We had had a rash of recruits quit once they learned they wouldn’t be given top-level security clearance. Either way, I missed the hiatus already. “Fire.” I ordered.copyright protection14PENANAV6rSgGIF21

            “My lady Artemis.” Chiron rode up to me. “It is your shift.” He said bowing.copyright protection14PENANAxUmO9ToeeH

            “Dismissed.” I shouted to my recruits. “Finally.” I turned to Chiron. The centaur, my brother, and I were on a rotating schedule of patrolling the forest, when we weren’t teaching the fresh nincompoops that is. I happily grabbed my bow and headed towards the barracks.copyright protection14PENANAoFbimojElp

            The guards assigned under me were already armed and waiting. “Lady Artemis!” they saluted and stood at attention when they noticed me.copyright protection14PENANAngwP9MwSrz

            “Hey how you doing?” I asked smiling. I felt powerful when my men treated me like this. I felt like a goddess.copyright protection14PENANATYtfNC9cRn

            “Ready and waiting for orders.” The sergeant screamed. I don’t really know why they always yelled, but I liked it. It let Paul know I was in charge. He looked over and stuck out his tongue at me.copyright protection14PENANAUg36yquS4Q

            “Then let’s move out.” I screamed right back, pretending to shoot an arrow at my brother. I led my troops through the city towards Hercules’ landing. There, pegasi and chariots would be waiting to ferry us down into the valley. “I don’t know what I’ve been told.” I said.copyright protection14PENANAis7OhhAO92

            “Artemis is awesome and bold.” They chanted behind me.copyright protection14PENANAn21QiOsr0j

            “Goddess of maidens and the hunt.” I continued.copyright protection14PENANAPUAT08jv0n

            “She is the bestest of the bunch.” They said in step.copyright protection14PENANAljQt77KIVT

            “I died once but came back to life!” I shouted.copyright protection14PENANAKiWL8ezBFA

            “Paul is dumb and won’t get a wife!” they started clapping and cheering before falling into another verse. You might not have noticed, but I put my own twist on a classic marching song. I found that it made it more personal to the soldiers, and connected me better to them as their commander. And added bonus it created a fun little rivalry between my men and Paul’s. I also couldn’t help but giggle when I watched Paul struggle to find anything that rhymed with Artemisia in his futile attempts at retaliation. Weird names have some perks.copyright protection14PENANAVvuvovEH0F

            After three verses we had reached the landing. “Mount up!” the sergeant shouted. The soldiers filled the chariots. I stepped onto my own with the sergeant climbing aboard after me. “My lady.” He bowed his head.copyright protection14PENANA5mYVP53ANZ

            “I think we’ll go scout out the forest on the far side of the valley today.” I told him.copyright protection14PENANAuyiqkrEU2k

            “Yes Lady Artemis.” He once again bowed. I tried to pick a new spot everyday. That way it still felt like a mission, instead of the ten-mile hike that it was.copyright protection14PENANAuXPZtev7Ww

            We landed in the valley, and the sergeant quickly shepherded the patrol towards my desired location. I walked behind leisurely, stringing my bow and gently plucking the string, feeling the vibrations against my cheek. At least it was pretty out today. I looked up at the sky, not a cloud in sight. I breathed in the air and closed my eyes. I had fought a battle on this field. Paul and I had stood back to back, emptying our quivers. Had the situation not been so serious, we might have made a contest out of it. But that was a long time ago, and this field would probably never see the likes of that battle again.copyright protection14PENANAM1SKXIQ1jE

            We reached the woods without any more memories of times before Blade was good. It was then that I took my place at the front. The soldiers spread out behind me and soon we were wading through bushes and under branches, quiet as spring deer. There was no marching song now, no talking, and barely any footsteps. The satyrs in the group were unnaturally quiet with their cloven hooves, and even the demigods and halflings were lighter on their feet than normal people would have been. There was a second objective to this mission after all.copyright protection14PENANA1NdjdxKSrN

            My whole life I had been an archer. Practically born with a bow. And yet I had never been bow hunting. Now as the goddess of the hunt, I wished to rectify that fact. And there was no better opportunity than this. Besides, it was far more likely we stumbled across a buck or some other kind of game than we actually found anything worth telling Herman about.copyright protection14PENANAcWL2Vegrlc

            And so my men would fall into a near silent march, and I would hunt. It was a good system, not that we ever saw anything. I was starting to suspect there was some magic preventing people and animals too from getting too close to Mount Olympus.copyright protection14PENANAX8ePTcyKeR

            Just then I heard it. Something was moving through the woods up ahead. I froze in my tracks and knelt down. Looking behind me I saw that the guards were alert and looking for the noise, but likewise were crouching. I prowled towards a tree and peered around the edge. Whatever was moving up there was big, it was making a lot of noise, I could hear its heavy footfalls from here.copyright protection14PENANAofFCyT9jLB

            It was definitely too big to be a deer. I racked my brain trying to think of what else it could be. I wasn’t exactly the woodsman expert, but I was able to eliminate squirrel and rabbit as well. But then, I got a hint. Through the bushes about twenty yards away I spotted it, the large hairy back lumbering amongst the flora.copyright protection14PENANA6YxR1t6hVr

            “Bear.” I told myself. Can you hunt bear? I wasn’t sure, besides this bear had to be massive from the size of its back. I wasn’t entirely confident I would be the victor if I attacked. “We’ll let it pass.” I whispered to my sergeant. My first chance to hunt something and I was passing on it. Goddess of the hunt eh? Yeah right.copyright protection14PENANAuSAJIuWgea

            The bear was just digging through the dirt minding its own business, completely oblivious to our existence. Maybe I should scare it off so we could continue our patrol. Do bears dig holes in the ground? A bush behind the exposed back started shaking. I realized the bear’s tail was wagging in the bush, causing the stir. Wait, bears didn’t have tails that long. I was starting to get a bad feeling about this. I reached for my quiver and loaded an arrow.copyright protection14PENANA8DpOfYHpis

            “Hey bear!” I shouted quickly. I drew the string back and locked onto my target. All movement and noise stopped instantly from the creature. Slowly, I saw the hairy back turning towards my voice. My heart started racing, I had to calm down. I needed to be steady and cool to shoot with the utmost accuracy.copyright protection14PENANA0orygs2mKX

            The creature edged forwards, there was no noise, but I could see the bushes and branches slowly bending to get out of its way. There were less leaves blocking my view now, I felt like I was in Jaws. But instead of a sharks fin racing towards me there was a mountainous hairy haunch stalking towards me.copyright protection14PENANAOfPpYyTUO7

            The head poked through the brush. It was not a bear. The face was markedly canine. In fact I recognized that face. I relaxed my pull on the string and lowered my bow.copyright protection14PENANA5XKuLZttpL

            “Hey there Cerberus.” I smiled. The bear sized dog pushed forwards another foot. There was only one head. Cerberus had had three the last time I saw him. The beast howled, a frightening burst of noise rocketed into the near silent forest. It had seemed louder than it should have been. And then it charged.copyright protection14PENANAWqanYrQ1NA

            Realizing I was about to be mauled, I hurried a shot off. The arrow pierced the beast’s shoulder, but did little else in the way of stopping the charge. I drew another arrow, but I was overtaken before I could fire it.copyright protection14PENANAZCPP1OnUJc

            I was knocked to the ground with the beast on top of me. I was dazed and it was with blurry vision that I watched the sergeant and several of my soldiers charge the beast and attempt to drive it off. The monster stood strong over me, swiping and snarling at anything that came close. My bow had been knocked out of my hands but the arrow I had drawn was still clenched in my fist. Sitting up, I jabbed the arrow into the beast’s neck. Yelping it jumped off me and retreated. I quickly got to my feet and grabbed my bow. My head was hurting from my fall, and I think my elbows were scraped up, but other than that being bowled over proved relatively safe.copyright protection14PENANA1OaMjWMNpb

            “What is a hellhound doing here?” someone asked. The beast was quickly surrounded by my men.copyright protection14PENANAylBJJAazBY

            “These beasts are meant to be in Tartarus hounding the damned. They cannot be here.”copyright protection14PENANAaBA0qBONvy

            “It’s clearly here.” I pointed out. “But not for much longer.” I drew another arrow and took a step forwards. I locked eyes with the beast. There was such hatred and anger in those eyes. They glared at me and I could tell that if this thing could think it’s thought would totally be bashing on me right now. The beast let out one last howl.  This one sounded much less scary. It was almost like a wounded yelp. My bowstring twanged and there wasn’t anymore sound coming from the hellhound.copyright protection14PENANA0xmajG65tv

            “Do we…report this?” the sergeant asked.copyright protection14PENANAg2RSLBsWa3

            “I’m not sure how significant it is.” I admitted. “A lone hellhound in the woods. Not sure that means much. I think we can bring it back as a trophy though, show Paul who’s a better archer!” The men let out a cheer. Just then another howl pierced the forest, almost responding to us. Followed by two more. When the howls echoed into nothing, we heard a different noise. The sound of something crashing through the woods towards us.copyright protection14PENANAUlFul55aTB

            “Form up!” the sergeant screamed. “A phalanx before this tree, with Lady Artemis behind.” The men quickly got into ranks and readied themselves. It looked like this wasn’t such a lonesome hellhound after all.copyright protection14PENANAJU864sMbxg

            “Do not be afraid.” I shouted. “They are just dogs!” We were forced to wait as the hounds closed in on us. My heart was really racing now. I readied my bow and tried to predict where they would emerge. The sounds were getting close now they were almost on us.copyright protection14PENANAHOiyG4980k

            “Steady!” the sergeant called.copyright protection14PENANAcUGSp2XucR

            With howls and barks from hell itself the hounds burst from the bushes and were on us before there was time to swing a sword. They fought with a ferocity and rage that had been lost in the first hellhound. I guess that comes with killing their friend. As I watched, the three hellhounds ravaged through the ranks felling several of my guard.copyright protection14PENANA6WLf2QHO1f

            “Hmph.” I grunted as I loosed my arrow. It found its mark, but the creature seemed to not feel the pain. The phalanx was broken, the hounds swarmed through the mass of men biting and swiping anyone they pleased. One of the hounds picked me.copyright protection14PENANA4I4nhKrrTs

            I fired an arrow into its side before I was forced to dive out of the way. The beast rocketed into a tree, shaking the trunk and causing leaves and branches to shower down on us. I rolled to my feet and another arrow was in the hellhound before I was steady. It kept coming. I fired another arrow, missing this time as it darted to the left. I didn’t have time to draw another arrow. I was diving to avoid its pouncing paws. I tried to get to my feet, but the creature had been faster. It swatted at my back, knocking me down and shattering my quiver.copyright protection14PENANAM6msYLuWgH

            “Ahhh!” I called out, my back burned. I could feel its claws raking through my flesh. I kicked my legs back, like a horse rearing and was able to dislodge the beast. I scrambled to my feet. My quiver and most of my arrows had been broken, my back was bleeding, and my men were dying. I had to get the rest of them out of here. But first, I was going to kill this beast. I picked up a stray arrow from the ground and loaded my bow.copyright protection14PENANAOnDzCFqkur

            The hellhound snarled and me and crouched, as if to pounce again. I waited, letting the creature come at me. I forced myself to calm down, slowly my heart and focusing on what I wanted to do next. The hellhound was flying through the air towards me, mouth open wide teeth barred.copyright protection14PENANAzz9DWrooSi

            “Hyah!” I punched forwards with the hand that was holding the bow. My fist entered the creature’s mouth. My punch drove it too the ground, and I was now pinning it there by the mouth. My bow was the only thing forcing its mouth open and allowing me to keep my hand. I quickly fitted my last arrow and drew back. I believe that was the shortest distance I had ever shot an arrow, several inches. But it was sufficient to send the beast back to its home. My bow was pretty badly damaged, teeth marks and scratches. I was not confident it would be able to hold the tension at a full draw.copyright protection14PENANAQEpd7oZBlg

            I turned back to my men. They had managed to kill one of the hellhounds, but the other was still on the fringes holding its own. There were so many lying motionless on the forest floor. Half of my men looked dead. There was no one without injury.copyright protection14PENANAj9DWJfC9z6

            A horn sounded through the forest. The hellhound’s ears perked up, and it darted back through the woods. From the noise it was easy to tell that it was going back to where it had come from. The battle was over.copyright protection14PENANAB9FLNBcc05

            That horn had made me uneasy. It meant someone else was out there. It meant that these weren’t just loose hellhounds. Someone had sent them here, and someone had called them back. These weren’t stray dogs that only attacked because they felt threatened. There was something else going on here.copyright protection14PENANAuQJU4Qi3sD

            “We must hurry back to New Olympus.” I shouted. “Help the wounded.” I glanced down and saw that my sergeant was on the ground, bite marks at his neck. “Leave the dead.”copyright protection14PENANAjLNXIwckGM

            “Yes Lady Artemis.” This time I was sad when they saluted. There were so few voices.copyright protection14PENANAqhW52JHfVH

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