Prologue: We Seize History's Most Deadly Kitchen Knife
The term half-blood is deceptive. It implies a duality, a clash of worlds – a meeting of mortal and immortal bloodlines. In essence, it sounds fantastic. Even desirable.
But that's not the truth.
A half-blood has no true family. In the human world, monsters plague them, an ever-present threat lurking in the shadows. In the Olympian world, they are limited, lacking the glory and might of the deathless gods. A half-blood is an outcast, save for among other half-bloods.
But there are those who are rejected by their own.
Lauhrel and Keta were two of them.
There's a fine line between love and hate. And they knew it better than anyone else.
Some would call it destiny; others, fate; others, dumb luck. Regardless, the events that were about to transpire would change the course of mortal and immortal history alike.
Within the ancient, stone shrine, the dual-bladed sword was firmly situated on a small pedestal. It lay still, unmoving, but the weight of its presence settled like a thick, heavy fog on the surrounding woods. Strange surges of energy radiated from it in waves. The left side of the blade sent heat rolling out from it, the kind of heat that makes your spine tingle; the right side emitted chills so fierce, they felt like icy pinpricks on the two girls' skin.
The first line of the incantation was engraved into the blade itself, but in Ancient Greek: Ασημένιο blade, θανάσιμο του bane. The pair of girls had no difficulty reading it. They were half-bloods; their minds were naturally wired for Ancient Greek and nothing else. English letters succumbed to dyslexia, and the ADHD didn't help much. Only Greek felt natural to a demigod.
Lauhrel was the first one to decipher the carvings. Properly translated, the blade read: Silver blade, mortal's bane. The Greek letters glowed with an ethereal light. In truth, the weapon was two swords, joined at the ends of their hilts; at the edge of either hilt, a symbol was precisely engraved. On the first, Alpha. On the second, Omega.
Alpha and Omega.
Beginning and end.
The pair of allies carefully laid their ox hide shields down in the grass, as though in reverence for the power before them.
"We've found it," Lauhrel breathed. "After all this time..."
"I know." The disbelief was plain in Keta's voice. "I can't believe it."
Lauhrel had never been particularly concerned with her appearance, but she felt almost embarrassed to appear at this critical moment, about to approach the blade of legend, with her overall look so unkempt. Her skin was sweaty, her knees and arms torn from a life on the run; her thin brown hair fell to her shoulders, and despite the veil braid that Keta had done for her, it was stringy and hanging in total disarray. Lauhrel couldn't help but feel a flush of frustration climb her cheeks. This was the moment that would change them forever.
The sword's presence wasn't exactly evil, but it was hardly good. It was something... else. Something beyond the black-and-white moral code that ruled the mortal realm. It was wild. Untamable. Uncontainable.
Although she would never have admitted it, Lauhrel felt a shiver of fear at the base of her spine. She took a deep breath, mustering her courage. "This is it," she said again, as if to convince herself. "My father's blade. Eternal."
Keta took a few steps closer, but then she paused, frozen, uncertain. She turned, looking to Lauhrel for reassurance. "It has a... presence," she breathed. "I can't... explain." Something between cold and heat tore through Keta, slithering down her spine. "It's powerful. I've never felt such power."
Lauhrel nodded. She blinked her golden-brown eyes, as though she were still trying to convince herself that this was real. "Don't be afraid."
"I'm not." Keta's deep blue eyes swam with panic. Her ADD always did heighten her reflexes, and today with no exception; she looked ready to draw her burnished bronze spear from its sheath on her back at any moment. "I'm just – you should go. Kronos was your father. Not mine. It's your rightful inheritance."
Lauhrel nodded. "Alright." She sheathed her polished bronze sword at her side, took a slow breath, and began to move forward.
The fifteen-year-old with the dark hair and low ponytail hung back, allowing Lauhrel to approach the blade's shrine. Lauhrel was two years older, but even so, she couldn't suppress the shudders that were beginning to quiver down her back.
So close. I never believed I'd get so close...
She reached out, fingers trembling, and pressed her palm against the cold iron. Energy hummed out of Eternal, singing in Lauhrel's blood. Her whole self thrilled with this strength, this unbridled mystery.
Keta saw the distance in her friend's eyes; they were always an unnerving gold, but now they looked almost molten, burning with some ancient power. "Lauhrel?" Keta burst out. "Are you alright?"
Lauhrel's lips parted, slowly, forming a syllable, and then the incantation was flying out of her mouth.
Ασημένιο blade, θανάσιμο του bane
Σκλάβους για όνομα του Θεού deathless Βασιλεία
A voice like iron against iron, growling, grating, called in Lauhrel's mind. Daughter of Kronos – where is the second?
Keta, Lauhrel tried to say, but her voice had disappeared into thin air. KETA!
Keta let out a shriek as the voice invaded her mind. Daughter of Hades, speak! Claws scraped at her from the inside out. Release me!
Keta gasped, her heart thudding against her ribs. Her stomach churned with nausea. Her mouth opened of its own accord, the incantation pushing up her throat, in unison with Lauhrel. Perfect unison. Something was taking over; something was seizing them, using them, calling them to itself...
Ασημένιο blade, θανάσιμο του bane
Σκλάβους για όνομα του Θεού deathless Βασιλεία
Του Titan κατάρα, η παρτίδα είναι cast
Θνητών δεν προορίζονταν για την τελευταία
Νεκρά γη, αιματηρή κηλίδα
Αυτή η μάστιγα, που διαθέτει ένα όνομα
Αποκοπή μαύρου, διπλής αγνοίας φως
σύνδεση των εξουσιών
Somehow, both girls knew exactly what the Ancient Greek spell meant. The words of Chaos, father of the Titans, rang in their ears, spinning inside of their heads.
Silver blade, mortal's bane
Slaves to heaven's deathless reign
Titan's curse, the lot is cast
Mortals were not meant to last
Fallen earth, bloody stain
Does this curse possess a name?
Choking black, blinding light
Bind the powers
Lauhrel felt her knees crash to the dirt, her mouth hanging mutely open, and she let out an agonized scream. Her bones felt like they were made of ice and burning alive, but at the same time. Too heavy. She couldn't move. Something twisted, roiled inside of her chest.
A similar shriek ripped out of Keta's throat as she doubled over, collapsing to the ground, facedown. She retched, clawed at the dirt. To no avail. No avail. Something lurched inside of her, something hideous and violent and wicked –
A black fog began to lurch out of Lauhrel's mouth. A sickening horror boiled in Keta's stomach, and she saw something similar snaking out of her throat.
The fog rose, crested up – hovered across the air, towards the blade of the Titan Lord, Kronos – and disappeared into Eternal.
Another yank, a sharp tug in her chest, and Lauhrel felt all the fight she had left in her gather and cough out of her throat. A flash of light. A glowing, pulsing, sparking orb of energy shot out of her and into the blade.
Eternal glowed like molten metal, glittering with a white immortal light.
Lauhrel and Keta closed their eyes. Keta thought she heard someone screaming, an anguished, jagged shriek that never broke for breath, and she thought maybe it was her. A terrible darkness, a blinding light, and the wind roared in a hurricane around the ancient shrine. Then, after a time, silence settled over the woods.
The voice of Eternal whispered in the girls' ears.
Rise, my Masters.
A/N: This fic is a project I'm doing with another author, "Spark of the Forgotten," who's really an awesome friend. Keta is her OC; Lauhrel is mine. Keta is pronounced "key-tah." Lauhrel is pronounced like "Laurel." More details on the origins of Eternal and the characters will come when the story really takes off, beginning with chapter one, which will move back a bit to show how the girls got here. This is all original. It takes place during the first Titan war, when Zeus and the other Olympian gods were plotting to overthrow the Titans.