This is definitely an original story from all counts, an idea I dreamed up so long ago. I couldn't let it go and this story happened. This will be primarily based on the greek pantheon but I plan to throw in the Norse and perhaps the Egyptian one if I can. It will also have various myths and legends and I'm doing most of the research myself. If there's something wrong, I apologize.
Anyways, I've rewritten the first chapter and hopefully everyone loves this version. Leave a comment, tell me what you think!
This was a time of gods and goddesses, enchanted ones, and legends walking the earth. All kind of myths and legends abounded, each in their own realm of worship. Humans were mere playthings, held in low regard by all, but we were mostly left alone. The small mortal lifespan held little no appeal to the fickle immortals, who would see hundreds of years pass as a second. Yet sometimes, a mortal would catch the attention of an immortal. Sometimes, the immortal would take them to their plane of existence and keep them, some for amusement, for servitude, or any reason. Reasons were for mortals. Whims were the fancy of the immortals. As for me, I was lucky enough to become a whim for the fae. A destiny that I accepted.
My mortal life began suddenly, a surprise a few weeks earlier than expected, but no less warmly received. Through my younger years, Kerys, my faerie companion, was at my side, growing with me in years and wisdom. We played together, got in trouble together, and kept one another company for the harsher times in life. If Kerys hadn't ever found me, I would have missed the opportunity of Gaia.
My name is Eveleen. This is the story of how a mortal rose through the ranks to live with the gods.
Kerys was still asleep on my bed when I rose for the morning, but I allowed her a few more moments before waking her. Aoife's spring was beautiful in the morning; I truly believed something magical resided there during sunrise. Before I went to the fields to begin my day, I always stopped by the spring to pay my respects. I never told my mother and father of my gifts to the spring, though I knew they wouldn't berate me for my belief.
I finished dressing and finally scooped up Kerys gently, cradling her in my hand against my chest. I saw her open her eyes wearily, then close them, and curl into a fetal position to get more comfortable. Kerys wasn't a morning faerie; she much preferred the night over the day. However, she still liked to be with me, even if it meant I had to carry her to the spring.
"Ya be careful, lass. Mornin's be tricky business, now," my mother stated as I quickly grabbed a muffin from the counter. My laughter echoed even after I exited a few seconds afterward. It was a well known fact that my father was not a morning person, and many a vase was accidentally left broken in his wake.
Stopping at the edge of the house, I picked a few flowers from the ground and kept walking, quickly crossing the field and entering the forest. Though only a few rays of light peeked through the trees, I had no need for a lantern. I knew the route by heart and could probably walk here in the blackest of nights.
Finally, I reached the spring, and placed Kerys on the ground softly. She mumbled and kept on sleeping, but I didn't expect anything different. Now, I gazed at the small spring and smiled. It was literally a pool of water two feet deep, with the clearest and most pure water I had ever tasted in my life.
Never had I seen anything fill up the spring, and never had I seen it overflow its small shores. It was always a constant, with a ring of roses growing in a perfect circle around it, and the softest green grass spreading toward the trees on either side. Past the trees, the grass just stopped. This place, however, was a miniature paradise, even more beautiful than any part of Ireland that I had seen.
I walked over and placed the small flowers in the water, smiling as they floated for a moment before falling to the bottom of the pool, as if they had been sucked under. It was always how it happened, and I would probably be more surprised if the flowers followed the laws of physics and floated like they were supposed to.
My reflection stared back at me as I watched the flowers fall and I smiled softly. I had a wild red mane of hair that could never become straight, no matter how hard I tried. My eyes were a soft green, set in a face with soft curves and not as plump lips. Slender neck and small in stature, I was tall for my people but not overly so. The only defining feature that stood out were my muscles. I was very toned for a woman, as I worked in the fields most of the day. Oh, there were other reasons but those I would never use in my lifetime, probably, but it kept me in almost perfect shape.
I dipped the last flower in the water, distorting my image as I stood and sighed. My offering done, I turned to pick up Kerys, and stopped as the hairs on my neck prickled. I was never one to ignore my sixth sense, not when it had brought me Kerys.
"Kerys," I whispered softly. The faerie groaned but sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, glaring at the interruption of her precious sleep.
"What?" she grumbled.
"We're not alone."
Now that perked her attention. She leapt to her feet and flew to land on my shoulder. She looked around with her faerie sight, but by the confusion on her face, she saw nothing. Most of the Irish supernatural was visible by fae sight and I could tell that it unnerved her that she saw nothing.
"None of my people are anywhere near this place," she murmured.
"But I feel something."
Kerys looked at me and pursed her mouth in irritation, but stopped as she saw the serious expression on my face. However she continued to flutter her wings, a sign of frustration, as she continued to look around.
"You're serious this time."
"Yes," I agreed.
"Fine. But only this once."
Kerys lifted her hands, small balls of golden magic forming on each of her fingertips, and began to glow a soft golden light. The balls swirled around her hands and began to travel around her whole body, leaving her transparent in their wake. Golden flakes showered from the magic and clung to her skin, shining bright for a moment before fading into a translucent white.
Her eyes glowed a ghostly white as she melded with the other world. When the balls ended their circular path at her feet they popped into a shower of golden sparks, leaving her as a corporeal entity on my shoulder. My exposure to the fae gave me the ability to see the other side, though only as much as a mortal could possibly do. Unless I went over, I would always see ghosts and mirages, a brief glimpse of things.
This was the fae swapping planes, a spell that they were born with the knowledge of. It was a simple spell for her since she was of the other plane of Tir Na Nog, like going back to her original form. To cross over she either needed a portal from Oberon or a different spell and a bit more of her magic.
"I see someone," she stated, a hand holding a strand of my hair. "She's floating above the pool." Her eyes were still the ghostly white from her crossing over, but that was with mortal sight. Still, it was unnerving for me to see her like this since I usually crossed over with her.
I looked toward the pool, but saw nothing. It was the same at it had always been but now with a feeling of something watching. It didn't seem evil at all, simply watching us.
"I don't see anything, Kerys," I stated, awe in my voice. It must not have been fae if I couldn't see it, which meant it was another type of spirit.
"Who are you?" Kerys asked, not responding to my statement. "I am fae. I mean you no harm."
"I know, little faerie." My eyes widened; I could hear the voice! It was clear and beautiful, like a perfectly chimed bell. It was the voice of a woman and it was soothing and relaxing to hear it speak. A fae with this type of voice was rare and most were gifted with natural abilities to enhance their physical selves, so this had to be another spirit, one gifted and old. "You and the girl have been paying homage to my pool for twenty mortal years. I am impressed."
"We thank you, great one, for honoring us with our presence. But what is your name?"
"I am Gaia."
"Kerys, she's one of the Greek primordial goddesses," I explained, awed beyond belief. Since my first encounter with the fae I had briefly delved into other pantheons to learn about them. I never thought I would meet a god that wasn't Irish or Celtic, nor did I think that the Greek gods would have such a reach to find us here in Ireland. "She's the goddess of the earth and gave birth to most of the forefathers of the Greek pantheon."
"Correct, mortal. I have witnessed you coming to my forgotten spring for these many years, and I will allow you one chance that I only give the most special of mortals."
"What gift do you speak of?" Kerys asked, still corporeal on my shoulder.
"I was worshipped all over the world," she began quietly, mourning evident in her voice. "For an Irish woman to remember me has given me great happiness. For this, I give the gift of servitude. If you will attend me, I will grant you access to Olympus. You will not want for anything, mortal, and you will be content for the rest of your life. A servant on Olympus is not a trifling matter, mortal. You will help me in the domain of the earth, use your powers to help the other mortals. But you will also have a spot of honor. Our servants are not the chattel here on earth. You are personally chosen by gods and goddesses, taken care of for the rest of your life. I will bless your family with your passing. Their crops will triple and never wither, never die. They will be able to have the farm they always dreamed of. You will be trained and later able to come and go to earth as you please, once you have the power to do so. You will be almost a minor goddess bearing my name. I gift this to you, mortal, because you have impressed me. Will you accept my offer?"
I took a moment to think and Kerys was silent on my shoulder, allowing me to sift through the swirling thoughts in my head. I knew that if I stayed, I would be tied to my farm forever. Though it wasn't a bad thing, my parents could only afford to send one child to college and the oldest had gone, leaving me to eventually inherit the farm. It wouldn't be a bad life or challenging one since I enjoyed the work, but it would be mundane. I would be stuck to the earth, tied to the farm. I would have the fae tie, but how long before they tired of me and brought in another mortal?
Or I could go with Gaia. I was good at sensing things of people and she meant me no harm, I could sense that. I could live in another world, a place kept apart from the earth and for gods and only gods. I could imagine the splendor, the majestic palace of my dreams and I wanted to go. Gods how I wanted to shirk responsibility and fly into the arms of this magical goddess.
"If I leave, who will inherit the farm?" I asked more or less to Kerys.
"There will always be someone willing to help your parents," she answered without hesitation. "They will find a way to make things work. They always have."
"I want to go," I murmured. "So much it hurts."
"But my friends. My life. What about the fae? How will Oberon be able to call for me if I'm in Olympus? How will I be with Titania when she needs someone to play the fiddle to sleep? And Puck! Who is going to prank the others with him?"
"This isn't a life sentence, Eveleen. You will see everyone again, I will make sure of it."
"What about Bruadar?" Bruadar had always come late at night when he needed company, because I never asked questions, nor did I hold him to the standard that his people did. We were close friends, only second to Kerys, and he was the constant in my life I looked forward to.
"Bruadar can visit you; the fae and Olympus have never been at war. I am sure we could work out a deal where Bruadar can visit you. Is that so, Gaia?"
"Yes, Kerys of the fae. It is a simple favor to ask Zeus and one that he will likely give to me. One fae will not be a danger to Olympus, and you speak rightly. We have never been to war with your people. He will have no reason to bar Bruadar from visiting you."
"Eveleen," Kerys began quietly, in a tone I knew was serious. "This will be the only chance to have something for yourself. To live a life you've always wanted. I know you love the farm, but you will always regret denying the invitation. What could you accomplish by living at Olympus? What could you see? What would you experience? Servitude for them is your position with us, if not better. She offers you a gift and one my people were remiss in giving to you. Accept this, Eveleen. It is the right choice."
"Your parents will want for nothing," Gaia interrupted us. "I will bless their crops and they will always yield bountiful harvests. They will be rich and will be able to expand. They will be able to hire help and not have as much duty in physical labor. I will care for them, so do not be tied down by responsibility. In time, you will be able to help them."
It was her words and her intent in the clear voice that swayed my decision. Again, she wasn't lying. She was a goddess of the earth. If she said it would grow, it would grow and prosper. With my leaving as I wanted I would leave my family in good fortune. Bruadar would visit me, I could visit Oberon. I would eventually be able to see my family. I would be able to do some good instead of living in a remote farm on Ireland.
"Will they know I've left?" I asked her.
"Yes. I will send an attendant to inform them of your decision and show them the fruits of their labors."
"They would want this for you," Kerys stated. "Just say yes."
The moment came where I had to make my decision. I wanted to go with Gaia. I wanted to experience all the Greek pantheon had to offer and I wanted to live in a luxurious palace. Yes, I would serve her, but I would have been a servant to the farm as well. It wasn't a bad trade off. I knew myself and that I craved adventure. So why wouldn't the words come? Why could I not make them form? Sure, I was nervous of the uncertain future to come, but it wasn't like me to not be able to say yes to something I wanted.
"Do it, Eveleen," Kerys urged. She knew me as no other and for her to say I should, finally brought the words past the sudden lump in my throat.
"I will serve you, Earth mother Gaia."
"I am glad, mortal. You have proved your loyalty already, and you will become my personal attendant. Walk to the pool, mortal."
I did as she bade and stopped outside the ring of roses, but I already saw something happening. The water rose in a slender string, wrapping around my body in coils, though it was not leaving any wet trails behind. As it got to my head, it suddenly spread, cocooning me in a wall of water, and my eyes widened. However, I could breathe, and I felt a slight tingling all over my body.
"This, mortal, is blessed water. You have already drunk from my pool; therefore you are already halfway through the conversion. This will seal you to my world."
"What about Kerys?" I automatically asked.
"She will be with you, though she does not have to go through the conversion. The Fae are already of the other plane. You are mortal. You must change to survive."
I could feel something at work, but looking down, I couldn't see a difference. I felt lightheaded, as if I was about to faint, but when I tried to cradle my head, I found I couldn't move. However, the lightness in my head didn't worsen, but merely stayed a constant.
"Breathe, Eveleen. You're making the transition into the spirit realm." Kerys voice was a beacon, and I latched onto it as I tried not to faint. "You will feel lightheaded, and your body will begin to feel weightless. Now to any other, you will appear a shade or ghost. You are not of the mortal realm anymore."
"You will be of the earth, therefore you must transform as the elements. Water." The water molded to my skin and fused with it, creating an itchy sensation on every part of my body. I tried to scratch but my arms were held firm by some unseen force.
"Air." Wind whipped around me almost at a gale force, slapping my hair against my face as it slammed into me and whipped around me in a mad frenzy.
"Earth." Below me the ground trembled and exploded. Little pellets flew from underneath me and spun around me in circles, each as small as a drop of water. As they whirled they mixed together until all I saw was the sodden brown of earth, then it too, slammed into me.
"Fire." The earth heated around me even as the wind dried the sudden spurt of sweat from my body. The earth held fast but it was too hot too quickly and I began to fear for the first time since this transformation had started.
"Hold, Eveleen. The final element: light." Around me the roses began to glow a blood red light as the grass began to glow a jade green. Even the trees began to glow a bright brown from the trunks. The lights formed into balls and shot into the air as different colored balls of light, orbiting and zipping through the paths of each other until a kaleidoscope of light shone down on my body.
As I watched the lights stopped their playful banter in midair, then dropped quickly toward my body, each aiming for a different part. I did the only thing my body could do: I screamed in terror. But instead of hurting, the elements fused into a pure white film, softer than silk, almost like strands of pure white hair. The film melded into my skin with a gentle caress and the pain that I had felt was instantly gone.
"There, Eveleen. You have finished." I felt lightheaded as I fell to my knees and wavered dangerously before two hands caught me. "Mortal, you have done well with the transformation. Have pride in yourself."
I looked to Kerys, who landed on my shoulder softly, gently grasping a lock of my hair as she scanned me with a worried face. I smiled at her reassuringly and hoped that I could pretend I wasn't as exhausted as I felt.
"You don't have to go with me, Kerys. You can always return to the fae," I murmured to her as the hands caressed my arms. Interestingly enough, I felt subtle warmth from them and felt instantly stronger.
"Where you go, I go," she stated simply, then looked away as her cheeks flamed. I knew she would always be with me, no matter who tried to keep us apart, and that was why she was more than my best friend. She was my sister.
"Are you ready to stand, Eveleen?" I nodded, unsure, but willing to try. I stood with the hands still on my shoulders and turned slightly so I could see the goddess I now served. I admit again, my jaw dropped and I gaped. It was all I could do.
She was a surreal beauty and I'd seen beauty from the fae. Her hair was a glossy green, a deep jade matching her eyes to the exact shade. Her face was a few shades from tan yet pale, but the skin was perfect and flawless, framing her high cheekbones causing the plump red lips of her mouth to draw the eyes. She was taller than me and thin with enough tone to suggest muscle, but even the way she stood made it seem as if she was too dainty, too protected, to do anything. In short, she was beautiful and ethereal, more than I could ever dream of for a god to look like. I couldn't even really describe how beautiful she was, because she just shone from the inside out.
"Do I meet your approval, Eveleen?" she asked with a soft, comforting smile. "I know my beauty can be daunting for some."
"It is," I replied honestly. "I couldn't have imagined you even in my dreams."
"Honesty and a compliment. A good combination. Are you ready to travel to my realm, Eveleen?"
"Aye," I replied easily with a smile. Things were looking up and now, I was looking forward the the palace in my mind. Because now, now with this beautiful goddess in front of me, I knew the pantheon would be above and beyond my mortal expectations.
"Then follow me." She walked around me and into the pool as Kerys landed on my shoulder. She lifted a regal hand and the water leapt to her bidding, forming and shaping into what seemed like a thin mirror. It shone our reflections for a moment until Gaia touched the water. It rippled and when it cleared, I saw a golden room in the reflection. She confidently stepped through and I looked at Kerys, who nodded hard once.
I couldn't do anything but follow.
The portal softly tingled the skin and caused me to shiver, but otherwise was easy enough to pass through.
"Come, Eveleen. We will go to Zeus immediately." I said nothing and followed along dutifully to the golden door in front of her. "Breathe. Here we go." She held out a hand and the ornate golden doors swung open to reveal the inside.
It wasn't a room at all; instead it seemed like a door in the sky. Around there was no walls, only an expanse of blue sky. Below my feet were the clouds dotting the sky, and below them was green grass and rolling hills. It was like a looking glass to somewhere I couldn't place on earth. However there was a line of gold that led to the center and whirled around, which meant there was a floor, only glass of some type.
But the eyes caught the gods first. How did I know? They were beautiful as Gaia with power seeping from their gaze. Each sat on a golden chair with plump white cusions, except for two in the far back. These two had an ornate throne, a bigger version of the golden chairs, only it was dotted with jewels and pearl inlay for the handles. There sat a man and a woman and these two I knew who they were before Gaia spoke.
"Gaia. What brings you here?" he asked. His voice was melodic, beautiful, and the words themselves were fused with power. But being around Oberon and Titania had taught me well, these words were indeed filled with power. It was the signal of royalty and leadership.
" I bring you a mortal that I desire to be my attendant," Gaia stated as she bowed her head in respect.
"Why do you bring me a mere attendant-"
"A personal attendant," Gaia quickly amended, grabbing Zeus's immediate attention.
"You have asked for few of personal use through the ages, Gaia. Come, mortal. Stand before me." I did as he bade and stood beside Gaia, remembering to hold my head high. Even if it was a false self confidence. "You bring more than an attendant. Who are you, faerie?"
"My name is Kerys. I serve King Oberon and Queen Titania."
"A faerie? Interesting. How did she capture you, faerie?"
"I stay willingly," Kerys stated calmly, her voice much more relaxed than her body language. "She is my friend and companion to the Fae."
"I see. You already have ties to gods, mortal. Whom do you serve?"
"Gaia," I answered immediately. Zeus began to laugh sardonically and I felt a fission of fear.
"Mortal, your supposed loyalty is amusing, but cut to the chase." The human expression had me quirking an eyebrow even as I bit back a retort. "Who did you serve?"
"Gaia," I answered again, a slight smirk on my lips. Sure I was shaking in my boots, but here and now I would prove my mettle. Oberon had done something similar when I first entered the Fae courts. Zeus stood, ready to punish me, but I didn't flinch or try to run. I stood my ground.
"It's true, Zeus. She worshipped my spring for twenty mortal years, albeit unknowingly." Zeus looked to Gaia, then back to me, and suddenly smiled.
"You were telling the truth, mortal. And you have mettle. You are interesting for your race."
"She has many skills," Kerys stated quietly. "The Fae often taught her things that no mortal should know."
"Then they laughed," I cut in, "At my pathetic attempts." Now Zeus laughed, his laughter booming around us.
"Come, mortal. Show me your skills."
"Got any-" Kerys clamped a hand over my mouth before I could say something, then glared.
"She will, and thank you for allowing us the chance, Zeus." I could have easily spoken around her, but I really wanted to rile her more than anything.
"She has the competence to wield a bow," one of the gods stated, and I looked to see a goddess speaking, her eyes assessing.
"She is built as a woman warrior," another agreed, and I recognized Athena on the spot. She was too famous, her symbol too recognizable to me, to not be known.
"But she shows no grace in the way she carries herself," a man stated from behind me. The voice was husky, a manly undertone that made me stiffen. I turned and saw him sitting lazily in his chair, his head in his hand and a leg thrown casually over the armrest. However, that wasn't what caught my attention.
He was beautiful, more so than the other gods in the room, with dark hair and green eyes that blazed brightly, with face full of hard lines. His smirk was dangerously attractive but also a dangerous warning. This man with the blazing cat eyes was danger incarnate and I was already on the defensive with only a sentence from him. His blood red shirt V-necked to his pants, showing considerable bronzed skin and muscle, and somehow I knew this was Ares. He wasn't sitting or acting like a warrior, but the aura around him screamed danger.
"Why not give the mortal a chance?" the god to Zeus's left stated. She was beautiful, even more so than Gaia, with haunting eyes that seemed to ripple every color and white hair spun like silk. "If Ares is so quick to cast her away without a show, I am not. Call for a mortal, faerie, and be quick about it. I'm sure you can find one mortal in this palace than can prove useful for once." She shooed Kerys away, but as I was about to step in on the faerie's behalf, I heard Ares voice stop me.
"Not necessary. You want a show, Hera, I'll provide you with one." Shit. I didn't want to be caught in between a power play of the gods. I looked to Gaia, who looked completely sympathetic, but she nodded once.
I turned to see Ares slowly walking toward me, his gait graceful and purposeful, like a panther stalking its prey. Every move seemed calculated for effect as he glided over to me, causing me to gulp. Sure, I had been trained to fight by the bored Fae, but never in a serious battle scenario and never against an opponent built and bred for war.
"Here," Kerys stated, and I reached out my hand, palm up. A whip materialized in my hand, a gift from the Fae to myself, stored in their world for the ultimate safekeeping.
"Good, mortal. You know I will not go easy on you." Yeah, I knew it. "Draw your weapon." I felt the stick finally solidify in my hand, and I waved Kerys away and stepped forward, flicking my hand up and down in a fluid motion. The whip flew out and cracked once before falling to the floor, and I drew it to my side to wait for the match to begin.
"What is that?" Zeus asked curiously.
"A whip sire," I heard Kerys answer. "One used by-"
Her voice drowned out when Ares lunged at me, a sword in his hands, and I snapped my whip into existence. As he became closer, I inflicted a few cuts before he thrust and I flipped out of range. I watched him closely to see if the barbed tip of my whip was having an effect on him, and he must have felt it because he touched a cut on his face.
"I see. You tipped your weapon in some sort of poison."
"Not poison. Just a paralyzing agent. It'll wear off in a few hours." He leapt at me and I managed to catch him in the leg before I had to duck and roll. But this time, Ares kept pushing, and I hit a button on the handle of my whip, causing the barrel to elongate to my elbow to become a blocking weapon. Of course, the whip was useless at close range, so I did what I had to.
I kicked at Ares and flipped away, holding up my hand. Now, I felt my other weapon appearing in my hand, and I pointed the newly formed sword at Ares. I had learned to dual wield, sure, but with two very different weapons. I cracked the whip once, taunting Ares to attack, and by his widening smirk, my point had gotten across. He leaped and my whip came at him, snagging his calf, and I barely got my sword up to block his overhead strike.
"Good, mortal. But now you have a useless arm."
True, I couldn't use my whip, but I still had tricks. I brought up my foot and hooked it under his ankle, knocking him slightly off balance, and I pressed my advantage. I brought the hilt of my whip toward him and he blocked with his sword, leaving my own sword with a wide open side shot. But of course, the fatal shot was dodged easily. He was a god; my tricks were useless on him. I was screwed on all counts and I'd be lucky to land one hit on him.
Now, he attacked with renewed vigor, and it was just a matter of time before I got hit. Sure enough, he scored a deep gash on my whip arm, and I cried out as I brought my sword down on his open guard. Using his godlike speed, he managed to block, and I glared. This was no fair fight. This was a mockery of a fair fight, and I didn't like the way he was toying with me, showing me who was the strongest in the most arrogant method possible.
"Zeus," I barely heard from my tunnel vision on Ares. "This is not a fair fight." I didn't hear Kerys's continuing voice because Ares against leapt and I blocked him with my sword as he slashed and hacked again and again, trying to find that one slip in my guard. And of course, he increased his strength every strike, which meant there would come a time where the blow would be too strong for my mortal body to handle.
Finally, I brought my sword a fraction of a second too late, and Ares batted away my weapon to slash my chest lightly, cutting my shirt open, thankfully above my breasts. The blood dribbling down my shirt I viewed as a nuisance, disregarded for the sword coming at my legs again. I knew there was no way I could block it. He had used enough of his god speed to make sure I couldn't block it. The sword landed on the side of my leg, cutting deep into my flesh. I cried out and immediately fell to one knee, knowing that leg was useless to me, and placed my sword tip on the ground as a sign of surrender.
"See? She's no warrior woman," Ares taunted, trying to goad me into another useless attack.
"I know when I am beaten," I said clearly for every god in the room to hear. "And he is clearly the best between the both of us. Of course, he is a god. It is destined for him to win." I taunted back. Instead of becoming angry at my barb of using his god powers against me, he merely smiled, and that irritated me beyond belief.
"How goes the saying? All's fair in love and war, mortal."
It took every ounce of willpower I had not to launch myself at the cocky god, and I was sure every god in the room saw the way my body shook in anger.
"Eveleen!" I saw Kerys fly over to me and lightly touch my face. "That was a good battle. You did well." The loss smarted because I knew I would have defeated most mortals they placed me against, but it had to be Ares. "Even my queen was impressed."
Kerys' ability was a rare one even for the Fae. She could give the ability to see through her eyes and watch what was going on to her Fae rulers. They couldn't control her or anything of the sort, but it was still a useful talent to have.
"Yes. She says if you were a god, it would have been a match sung across the ages."
"That sounds like Oberon," I said with a smile, trying to ignore my injuries.
"It may have been," Kerys allowed. "Come with me to visit Titania when this is over. We will heal your wounds." I stood, though I almost buckled under my cut leg, but I did manage to stand. If I had nothing else, I would have my pride even if Ares had stripped me of my dignity. My wounded leg shook with exertion and blood poured down my arm, down the whip, and steadily pooled on the glass floor beneath me. But still I held my head high and I would until my body gave out.
"Well done, mortal," Zeus stated, and I watched him, my face showing my utter confusion. "Rarely does a mortal cause Ares to use his god powers. He thought you weak, but you were enough to make him worry. I will grant you this mortal, Gaia, as long as she visits my hall often. I want to see this whip technique more often, and of course, to gaze upon such beauty." The line rolled off of me because I knew he didn't mean it, and I had heard of Zeus's many paramours. I had no wish to be another notch on his bedpost. "Now go. Clean yourself and make yourself presentable for the festival tonight."
I turned to walk out, but as I did, my eyes unwittingly slid over to Ares. He was back in his position on the chair, his body relaxed, but his cat eyes were fixated on me for some reason. They seemed intent, as if he were trying to peer in my soul, but admittedly, his eyes were haunting and I knew I would remember them as they were now.