ALTERNATE ENDING: FUN AND GAMES
Several weeks later saw Holli and Viktoria building Discord a decent amount of followers and overseeing construction of a lavish temple, but bickering over the smallest of things.
"I'm telling you," Viktoria said, "The draperies should be black. She wears black all the time!"
"Just because she wears it," Holli replied in a tight voice, "doesn't mean she wants to look at it all the time! Who would want their temple to look like a dungeon? Maybe she wants a little color in there."
"Maybe you want a little more color in your face," Viktoria said as she raised a fist to shake under Holli's nose.
Holli remained unimpressed, "What makes you think you know her so well, huh?"
"She recruited me first, that puts me in charge!"
"She did not!"
"She did. She recruited me to help get you to join her."
"Ha! So she wanted me first!" Holli replied triumphantly, "You were only first because I said no the first time she asked."
The two continued fighting in this vein for some time, ignoring the things going on around them. They actually quite enjoyed these little tiffs. It had been a long time since they'd been able to argue with anyone without fear of a lashing; they relished the opportunity to release some years of pent up aggression and anger in a torrent of shouted arguments. But there was a kernel of real conflict in this fight. They truly didn't know who was in charge here and it was starting to really affect their working relationship and their tentative friendship.
They were in the middle of another spirited shouting match when Discord appeared and shouted, "Ladies! What is going on here?"
Viktoria turned to face her goddess, "Tell her I'm in charge here, that I'm head priestess."
"No," Holli said also facing their goddess, "Tell her I'm the head priestess."
"That's what you're fighting about? You're supposed to be building my temple!"
Holli waved her hand towards the ever growing building, "Never mind about the temple, this is important! Tell her I'm in charge. You wanted to recruit me first, which means I should be in charge!"
"You actually did recruit me first," Viktoria heatedly said, "that means I should be in charge. Tell her!"
"Those are both stupid reasons to put someone in charge," Discord said, a little mystified that this had become such a problem. As far as she was concerned she, the goddess, was in charge and they should both get over themselves.
"Well," Holli said, "If we can't decide based on that then you need to pick one of us to be head priestess."
"What? I can't decide between you two!"
"You have to!" Viktoria said, "We'll never get anything done if we don't know who trumps who."
"But you both bring different things to the table," Discord whined, "Can't you two just be co-head priestesses?"
"No!" Both mortals shouted.
"Well, I have no idea how to choose," Discord said, then she had an idea, "Which means I'll need help to pick." She shouted, "ARES!"
The God of War winked into existence beside his protégé and looked over the scene unhappily, "I was in the middle of something, Discord. This had better be good."
"I can't decide which of these two should be my head priestess," Discord told him.
"You called me here for this?" When Discord nodded he looked at her blankly for a long moment. "You're an idiot," he said to Discord, then cast his eyes towards the two candidates, sizing them up, "You two, fight to the death. Whoever wins is the head priestess."
Startled the two mortal women looked to their goddess, she still looked miffed about being called an idiot, "Discord?"
Discord glared at Ares but said, "Yeah. What he said. Fight to the death. Go for it."
The two women stared at their goddess incredulous.
"You know what?" Holli said to Viktoria.
The Amazon turned to her companion to ask, "What?"
"She is kind of an idiot," Holli answered bluntly, causing both of them to stifle laughter.
"Hey! I heard that," Discord said, turning from glaring at Ares to glare at Holli. Ares took the opportunity to roll his eyes and go back to whatever he'd been doing before Discord summoned him and disappeared.
"I said it loud!" Holli riposted, "And I'm not going to fight her to the death. That's just dumb and you'd lose a good worker if we did that. Plus I kind of like her and have no desire to kill or be killed."
"Well," Discord said, "How do you want to decide this then?"
Holli thought for a moment, "Okay, I have an idea. We're going to decide this with a game of chance."
"What, like dice?" Viktoria asked.
"Nope, it's one I've just made up," Holli replied, "It's called rock, parchment, knife. Okay?"
"Uh, sure," Viktoria said, "How do you play?"
"Well, rock is this," Holli held her hand out in a fist, "parchment is this," she spread her hand flat, "and knife is this," she held her index and middle fingers out held tightly together, "Got it?"
Viktoria quickly performed the hand gestures, "Yeah. What next?"
Holli explained, "Alright, here are the rules. Rock smashes knife, knife cuts parchment, and parchment covers rock. On the count of three we're each going to hold out one hand in rock, parchment, or knife and whoever has the winning symbol gets to be head priestess."
Discord nodded, "I like this game. Simple, direct, decisive."
"Yes, all the things you're not," Holli smiled sweetly at her goddess while Discord frowned. "Okay, let's do this."
"One." Holli said.
"Two." Viktoria chimed in.
"Three!" Discord finished the count.
Viktoria and Holli held out their hands at the same moment. Viktoria's hand was pulled into the rock shape while Holli's was held flat as parchment.
Holli reached out and covered Viktoria's fisted hand, "I win."
"Wait, what?" Viktoria looked down at her hand, not really getting how rock could be beaten, "Hey, best two out of three!"
"Nope," Holli called as she walked off to find the textile merchant and order some colorful fabrics to decorate the temple with. "I'm head priestess. Deal with it."
"Holli," Viktoria chased after her, "Holli, can't we take turns? Like switch it up at every full moon or something?"
"Nope," Holli denied. "Too confusing for worshippers. I won fair and square."
"In a game you invented!" Viktoria protested, "That can't count!"
Holli never slowed down as they both left their goddess behind, "Discord approved. Suck it up and help me pick out an artist to do busts."
It only took a few more months for the temple to be completed and for Holli and Viktoria to occupy some rooms and build a following. It was a stunning example of masonry, towering over the surrounding landscape and drawing worshippers from miles around. The inner parts of the temple were adorned with gorgeous busts of Discord, swathes of colorful fabrics and tapestries, and glimmering with gold and jewels winking in the candlelight.
Holli and Viktoria had taken rooms next to each other and found that with a clear hierarchy they got along much better. They still argued, more because they liked to tease one another than any actual difference of opinion, but never in front of the other priestesses or worshippers. It didn't take long for their relationship to become something more than friendly and it took even less time for the entire population of the temple to know that their high priestesses were lovers. Eventually Viktoria's room was relinquished to house another, she'd been living in Holli's quarters for close to two years before Holli convinced her they could share a suite of rooms and not end up killing each other. After the move they were happier than they'd ever been, while the surrounding room occupants were more exhausted than they'd ever been.
Over time their temple became one of the most popular in all of Greece and helped Discord to become an accepted and valued member of the pantheon. That notoriety didn't make Viktoria or Holli any more reverent towards their goddess, but part of the appeal of the worship of Discord was the dropping of petty formalities. A sacrifice here and there a little bit of chaos and mischief and everyone was happy.
Viktoria never did beat Holli in a rock, parchment, knife match. She always chose rock.
A/N: Which ending is better? Tell me in a review!