Kratos, Ghost of Sparta, did not reflect any emotion as he tore his blade out of the chest of the undead warrior before him, turning his attention to its fallen comrades. Satyrs, undead, cerberi, and centaurs all lay before him, torn limb from limb, their blood coating the stone floor with a pungent scent familiar to the Spartan. "Weaklings," he spat.

He sheathed his blades for the time being, and continued walking through the hallway, stepping on the corpses below his feet. He bent before the iron gate in front of him, gripping the bars. Kratos lifted the heavy gate, slamming it upward into the frame with hardly a second thought. As he stepped into the enormous round room, he noticed a small, almost diminutive altar in the middle of the room. He stepped towards the shrine, hoping to see the small statuette displayed there.

The Spartan turned at a noise. He watched with a growing anger as shadowy portals appeared around the temple room. From these dark holes, figures emerged. More undead soldiers and archers, satyrs, gorgons, and centaurs appeared before him, all with the same intent as the others: to kill him.

With a roar, Kratos drew the Blades of Exile, their wicked curves gleaming in the torchlight, and threw himself at the first satyr in his sight. He cut a gash across its chest, hot blood spilling out even as the Spartan stabbed the other blade into the warrior's skull. He swung the chains bound to his flesh, sending the blades in glowing crimson arcs across the room, rending flesh and bone before his burning gaze.

"Is this how you challenge me, Zeus?" he bellowed, jumping behind a gorgon. He wrapped his iron grip around its neck, pulling at her skull. He felt the skin stretching, heard the wretched snake screaming beneath him, flashing its stone gaze at its comrades in its frenzied panic. As he finally tore the gorgon's head away, part of its spine trailing behind, he finished his question. "Do you send these weak foes to me, so that I might grow tired of bloodshed?"

He stabbed another archer. "I am the true god of war! I will never tire of bloodshed!" He launched a blade straight into the heart of a satyr, swinging the still-bleating body into its comrades.

He gripped the blades tight in his hands, feeling a fire building up inside of him, and he unleashed his energy, swinging his chain in an enormous vortex of whistling blades and screaming fire, reducing the remaining enemies to nothingness. Kratos retrieved his blades; his shoulders were slumped, and he breathed heavily. Once again, another legion of foes were dead before his feet.

With a grunt, Kratos sheathed his blades, and turned to the shrine. As he drew closer to it, the object displayed on the altar became more obvious to him. It was some sort of statue, depicting a rearing horse. Its marble body was far cleaner and more polished than the surrounding stone in the room.

"Kratos," a voice whispered gently.

The Spartan once again drew his blades, looking for the voice. "Who goes there?" he demanded, "Show yourself!"

The voice echoed from all sides, inside Kratos' mind. "I am afraid I cannot physically manifest myself. However, I can tell you this: the statue before you can grant you what you seek."

"This relic will grant me power? Power to defeat Zeus?"

"Once you unlock the power held within, you will defeat your most hated enemy."

Kratos glared. "How do I know this is not a trick? Gods and Titans alike have attempted to lure me away from my path. Why would this be any different?"

At this, there was a blinding white light. Kratos flinched, raising his arms to defend himself, but instead of blistering heat, he felt soothing warmth. Relief washed over his tensed muscles, his numerous scars slightly tingling at the light's touch. For a moment, Kratos felt at ease.

As the light slowly receded, Kratos felt his brow lower and his anger slowly return. "Would any of your gods have done that? Surely they would instead blast you with fire and lightning."

"They would have." The Ghost of Sparta stewed in his thoughts, eyes closed in concentration. "Fine." He said at last.

Kratos turned to the shrine, putting away the Blades of Exile. He strode powerfully towards the altar and picked up the statue. The small horse felt surprisingly light, and as he turned it over in his calloused hands, it felt immensely fragile.

Suddenly, the statue exploded in his hands. Kratos was paralyzed as the light returned, harsher, more painful. "TREACHERY!" he snarled. The light was overwhelming him now, enveloping. The warmth returned, but Kratos only felt angrier at the voice. Just before he was completely overpowered, the former god of war cursed the gods with his final thoughts.

~/~/~/~

Princess Celestia started suddenly. She had been sitting in her throne room in Canterlot, listening to the latest report from her guards when she suddenly felt a deep disturbance.

"Sister?" To her right, Princess Luna moved to comfort her fellow alicorn. "Did you feel something?"

The captain of the guard stopped mid-sentence, noticing the monarchs' looks of concern. Celestia shook her radiant mane in unease. "Captain, keep us alert of any unusual news. I believe we may soon have a very important visitor."

~/~/~/~