Meanwhile in the realm of the gods, a beautiful eyed, black haired, colour changing dressed goddess crouched over a small sphere of crystal murmuring under her breath. As she spoke, light gathered in her hands and slowly seeped into the crystal ball.
“HERA!” With a voice of thunder and a flash of lightning Zeus appeared followed by Athena, Aphrodite and Ares. “What are you doing?”
“What am I doing?” Hera asked in complete innocence. “I am only keeping watch like you said”.
“By yourself?” Aphrodite asked. She wore a long pink dress and her long grey-blonde hair was tied up in a braid. “Why do you choose not to crystal gaze with the rest of us?”
“I choose to do so alone because I cannot concentrate with the rest of you muttering non-stop”.
A second flash of lightning heralded the arrival of another god. Poseidon strode out of the light, his bare chest, long black hair and beard streamed with water. A wide belt of seaweed was wrapped around his broad waist and he wore a short kilt of horsehair. He carried a trident in one hand and a crystal ball in the other.
“Zeus, what is the meaning of this?” He held up the ball and all thosepresent leaned forward. The image in the ball showed a high angle view of the Great Hall where the King had his throne. Poseidon tapped the ball with a finger and zoomed in on the image. It showed Catarina and Dameon on the ground beside a Ki’miri they didn’t know.
“Who’s that?” Athena asked.
“I believe her name’s Serah”, Poseidon explained, “a good friend to the prince and very loyal”.
Before the others could speak the remaining six gods and goddesses arrived. Zeus seeing them appear, clapped his hands. “Let the council begin.”
As one, the Gods and Goddesses took their seats. Zeus produced his own crystal ball and let it float to the centre of the circle where it joined with Hera’s, which was where she’d left it. One by one the others followed suit. As the last ball joined the pile there was a flash as they merged into a giant crystal ball. The image was the same as the one shown a few moments earlier. The edge of the image shuddered as the King entered the picture. His lips moved but no sound reached the watching Olympians.
“What’s he saying?” Cupid asked, smoothing out his ruffled wings. Poseidon leaned forward and tapped the sphere sharply with the centre point of his trident. The image shimmered, reformed, rewound and then started again, this time with sound.
“What am I to do with you brother?” the King asked. “I could let you go but since you seem to love my rule so much there’s probably no point.” He walked around the three prisoners, musing, “I could torture you but… no, too strong… never give in. Hmmm.” He stopped suddenly looking at Serah, “perhaps I should appeal to you in a different way.”
Looking up he snapped his fingers. “Summon the glass-smith”.
The high doors at the end of the hall opened wide and Coran entered, hands tied behind his back and feet hobbled. He stumbled forward and fell to his knees. A guard roughly yanked him back up and prodded him forward again. He looked up and locked eyes with Serah and mouthed, ‘shop, present, you find’. The watching Olympians saw Serah nod imperceptibly.
“What could this present be?” Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home whispered to Cupid who was seated beside her. Cupid shrugged.
“It’ll be a small useless glass figure, no doubt,” Hera sniggered.
“Shut up”, Ares snapped. “It will be swords or weapons”
“Don’t be silly”, Hermes, god of messages growled. “It’ll be directions on how to get to Chalamore”.
All gods and goddesses fell silent as Zeus stood up. “It could be any or none of those things,” he said.
All the gods and goddesses eyes snapped back to the crystal ball as the King’s voice rose in fury. “Maybe this will convince you”. They looked to see Dameon lying on the ground with blood trickling from his mouth. Serah had freed one hand but was pinned to the ground by three different spears and Catarina was still in the same place, hemmed in by spears and was muttering non-stop under her breath.
The King was holding Coran off the ground by his throat, his sword in his other hand. He drew back his arm and plunged the sword forward.
Aphrodite covered her eyes. Cupid looked away sickened. Only Ares and Hades seemed unaffected but still refused to look. Ares found something of great interest in the arm of his chair and Hades closed his eyes. The other Olympians were in various states of distress.
Back in Valhall we stared in disbelief as the King pulled out his bloody sword. He gestured at us, “Throw them out in the streets,” he nodded at Coran’s lifeless form “…that in the river and clean this.” He thrust his sword at a nearby guard, “I have no more time for them”. He turned around and walked trough the doors at the other end of the hall leading to his private chambers.
We were hauled up by a troop of guards, frogmarched out of the castle and thrown down in the street. We made our way to the hideout where we put the plans that Dameon had worked on the night before into action.