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AC Odyssey: The Children

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By the Gods...

Was a simple break too much to ask for?

It hadn't even been an hour since Kassandra's mater had sailed away, taking the journey back to Sparta.

All Kassandra had wanted, just for these few moments, was to lean over the balcony of her maters home, imagine the adventures they would have had - whether by sea, or by road - and just enjoy the feeling of finally having her mater back in her life. She didn't want her gut to be telling her that someone was stood behind her, that she should grab her spear and throw it at their heads.

She honestly though it may be Deimos, which meant that when she did throw the spear, she made sure to aim it just right of their head. That would get him back for shooting that arrow at her.

Except, when she turned, the spear jutting out of the wall a few inches away from a hooded head, it was too small to Deimos.
Still, whoever it was, they hadn't even flinched,

"You missed" a womans voice said, Kassandra folded her arms, "I assume you meant to do that" the woman pushed her hood down and stepped in to the light. With brown hair tide in a bun, and dark eyes on sun-kissed skin, the woman was no more than twenty.

"Lets assume I did" Kassandra said, the air around them had grown stale, cold; the city had gone quiet. The girl pulled the spear from the stone and Kassandra went to grab it from her hand but, she turned and held it out to Kassandra without hesitation, no want to keep it like the others that had touched it, "Who are you", Kassandra took the spear back, not before noticing how she let the spear drop in to her hand. The girl wandered over to the table of food, picking at some of the left-over fruit,

"Right now, that doesn't really matter. Just know that we have a..." the girl thought about it as she popped a grape in to her mouth, "A common objective" she was holding something in her hand,

"And what is that",

"To take down the cult of Kosmos" the girl held up the artifact fragment and, in seconds, the both of them were on their feet, back to back as masked guards came at them from each side.

"Time to die eagle bearer" one of the nine said,

"Do you always get so much attention" the girl asked, "I was kind of hoping of having you all to myself", Kassandra smiled, the guards started to circle them,

"Can you fight", the girl snorted,

"You think I stole that fragment from a pocket" the girl lunged forward on to one of the guards just as one swung at Kassandra with a shield. She dodged it, sticking her spear in to the soft leather near his belly and yanking it out before she turned and swung her sword at another. She'd never seen this many before... Never out in the open...
Had they come to kill her mother?

Kassandra glanced back at her new companion, she was already on her third. She worked fast. Too fast maybe. One of the fallen had started to pull himself away, towards his sword but then, the girl stepped back, her heel choking him before a third fell on top, her fourth man had started to back away, fumbling around with his bow,

"Watch out" Kassandra heard her say as she turned back, narrowly missing another hit by rolling away. Kassandra pulled over her own bow and shot the man in the chest, stunning him for a moment whilst she stabbed another in the throat. Pulling her bow over again, she went to aim for the man who had started to back away but, just as she let her arrow go, something gnarly and black jumped at him from the shadows.

He screamed out in agony at first, only for a sickening crunch, that made both Kassandra and her left over guard flinch, to silence him completely.

Kassandra hadn't realised she'd froze until the girl threw a dagger at her, missing her head by a few inches and slamming in to the jugular of the last man who was about to swing at her head with a sword.

There was quiet then, if only for a moment...

Then, the world, the people, it seemed to erupt in some sort of frenzy. Multiple arms grabbed at the girl and somehow, Kassandra was now surrounded by her crew. Barnabas had his hand on her shoulder,

"Commander, we're..." it had only just occurred to him that the masked men they'd seen her fighting from the ship were now lying dead at her feet, and the girl that the crew were holding down was no more than a kid. It was fair to say that they were a little late to the party.

"Is this really necessary" the girl asked from where she lay. She looked at the sword points aimed at her face, the crew jeering at her as if they'd overcome some great feat. Honestly, she'd seen them before Kassandra had - lying down seemed to be her only option.

"Stand down" Kassandra said, her eyes were still on the spot where the bowman had vanished. She took a step closer, a want to peer around the corner, to see if whatever had taken him was still there, but then they heard it. Even the crew all turned to look. The sound of bones being crunched and splintered,

"Did you think the Gods only favoured you" the girl asked. Ikaros flew on to the balcony then, raising his feet high as he walked across it towards Kassandra, as if on some sort of mission, she ignored him, the girl smiled at him and he tilted his head, as if he was sizing her up. The girl got to her feet,

"What was that",

"A lycaon" the girl said as she pulled the dagger, which had a serpent twisted around it's handle, from the mans neck, blood spurting upwards as the man gave a few more jerks before dying,

"A lycaon" Barnabas said, "By the Gods, that's a creature from Hades", the girl shrugged, not looking at them, she put the dagger back in to its sheath,

"Actually, he's more like a wolf" the girl turned and held out her hand, sticky with blood, "My name is Eos and, I assume you are Kassandra" she glanced over at the eagle was also staring at the space where the guard had vanished. Kassandra took her hand, about to say how impressive her friend was but, she felt the coldness of the artefact fragment between them, and then...

She was in Athens again... the temple.. Periklese... her brother... Stay out of my way... no... there was something wrong... she could see herself standing there... saw herself lunge at the guards... Kassandra felt the need to turn... felt the pain in her head as she caught sight of a mask... felt herself falling... felt the heat.. the flame... she was... 

Eos was the one who pulled away, snatching her hand from the tight grip Kassandra hadn't even realised she'd had; the fragment falling to the floor as the girl stumbled over to the balcony and threw up over the edge.

"What happened to you" Kassandra asked, she could still feel the heat on her skin, the pain in her head. The girl had been watching them, all the way back in Athens, she'd been there when Periklese had died. Eos took a few more moments to catch her breath, to make sure there was nothing else coming up before she turned her head to her. Using one hand to steady herself and the other to wipe her mouth with the sleeve of her robe, she snorted a smile that looked far too forced.

Eos began to unwrap her shroud and, despite the darkness, Kassandra could see the red blotchy skin all over her neck, the small red spots on her cheek. It was blistering and sore-looking, it couldn't have been more than a few weeks old.

"They threw me in a volcano" Eos took a deep breath as she put her head down on her arm, she still felt a little queasy "Guess that beats getting thrown from a mountain" she mumbled. Kassandra went to ask why, but then she felt the hair on the back of her neck go up, the crew go unnervingly quiet and Barnabas pull at her armour; she turned around slowly, a low growl making her grab at her spear.

The shadow that had attacked the archer was now standing on her mothers roof. It was a wolf, at least she thought it was; its fur was as black as the night; it had beady yellow eyes that drew you in, that made you feel all sorts of dread and, a magnificent set of white teeth that looked like it could bite through her skull no problem. It snarled at the crew and they raised their weapons, their hands shaking as they decided whether or not they should run,

"Behave" Eos said. The creature sat almost immediately, a look of sarcasm in its face that Kassandra couldn't understand before she remembered what a Lycaon was. There was something horribly human about it, the way it looked, the way its face twitched. "Probably best not to keep staring at him" Eos said, "Making eye-contact usually means he's about to eat you". Kassandra looked over at her, saw the small smirk on her lips as Eos leaned her head down on the stone wall, hoping it would cool off the ache inside.
Then, Kassandra saw the artefact fragment she'd dropped. Not really taking her eyes of the creature, who was also in no hurry to take his eyes off of her, Kassandra picked it up. "It's from the Chimera" Eos told her, she pulled something from her robes, "This here" it was a scroll, a bit blood soaked, but readable, "tells us that the silver griffin is held up on Prasonisia island. Now, as much as I like sailing, and killing them, I don't really feel like getting my feet wet once I get myself back to Attika" she held the scroll out to Kassandra,

"What did you do to deserve getting thrown in to a volcano" Kassandra asked as she took it from her, placing it in her pocket. For one, it seemed a bit dramatic; for two, getting thrown of a mountain was one thing, but getting thrown in to lava... The Gods either had a heavy hand on this one's life, or she was extremely lucky.

"I took something the cult wanted" Eos said quietly, she turned around, so she was facing her. Before Kassandra could asked what it was, Eos raised her hand, "It's long gone Kassandra" she smiled, "Even if I could bring it back, I wouldn't" she put her head back, "I really am going to hell" she added quietly. Eos looked back at the mystios, she didn't seem all that amused anymore,

"What is it you want with me then" Kassandra asked, the fragment was a nice offering - it had her attention at least.

"I'm looking for something Kassandra" Eos said, she pushed herself away from the wall, "Something I think you might end up destroying without even knowing", hell, Eos wouldn't blame her, not after what had happened.

"And what's that" Kassandra asked,

"Tell me 'mystios'. If there was one thing you could have, in this world, what would it be",

"My family" Kassandra said it without any hesitation. That's all she'd ever wanted. Her mater, her pater, her brother. And she would, despite the things that had happened, despite what the cult had turned her baby brother in to - she would stop at nothing to get them back, and she wasn't going to let a little girl and her pet wolf get in the way of that, no matter how humanly it looked at her. Eos smiled, nodding her head,


"So, as well as killing cultists, we have another thing in common" she sat down, "I'm looking for my family" she put her hand on her chest and sighed, "Except, their not some lone spartan warrior, lost baby or pirate queen" Eos almost laughed, "Their terrible, terrible" she had to emphasise that, "Human beings that have known nothing, but pain and suffering and..." Eos shrugged, if anyone could understand, it'd be the eagle-bearer, even if she didn't want to admit it, "And, I feared that if I never got to you, you'd kill them all and you'd never even know".

"Know what" Kassandra asked, "Who are you" her hand tightened around her spear. The creature stood up, baring its teeth at her before it vanished in to the black of the night.
This time, Eos gave her the only answer that mattered.

"A very lost child of Kosmos" Eos felt the lycaon rub itself against her leg as it emerged from the shadows next to her, "I'm one of Chrysis' tortured little babies".

Chapter Text

Looking to Barnabas, the old sailor knew he was being asked to leave. With a gesture to the crew, who's eyes were still on the big black wolf that hung around the girls legs, they left, leaving Kassandra and Eos alone.

"If you are who you say you are" Kassandra asked, she circled around slightly, "What stops me from killing you".

She'd heard rumours that her brother wasn't the only child to be taken by the cult, that there had been more who had suffered at their hands but, if she really was one of them, what made her in anyway more stable than her brother, what made this no more than a sick trick.

The men at their feet?

The cult didn't much care for its foot soldiers.

"Trying to kill me" Eos corrected. The wolf snarled at Kassandra, almost as if it was he who would stop her, but Kassandra had smiled at him. Lycaon or not, he'd have the same soft spot under his belly like any other wolf.

"I've slain the Kalydonian boar, I can slay you too" the wolf snapped it's teeth as Eos leaned back on the balcony,

"I can fight my own battles" she rubbed at the wolfs ear, "he's just a little scary" the creature snapped his head back at her, giving her a snarl before he sloped off, disappearing in to the dark.

Except, he didn't. It looked as if he had vanished in to the night, but Kassandra could still see him. He stood there, his beady yellow eyes had grew dim, blending in to the night; waiting, staring at the both of them – thinking – and then, with a swish of his tail; as if he'd decided they weren't worth it, he retreated around the corner and out-of-sight,

"You should never offend a lycaon" Eos said, she'd been watching him with her, "he'll be upset for about a week", she crossed her arms,

"How did you even come across one" Kassandra asked - fearless and terrible, that's what a lycaon was. Not some familiar who trotted around after you.

"When I was younger, I found a wolf cub" Eos tilted her head, "it was half-dead when we found it" she smiled, "eventually, it turned in to that" she nodded to the corner, she knew that however upset he was, he wouldn't be far from ear-shot. Damn thing was too nosey.

"I thought lycaons were once men" Kassandra said. That was how the story went. An old king had wanted to test Zeus divinity by serving him a slaughtered child; in return, Zeus had transformed him and his sons in to wolves.

"Me too" Eos shrugged, "until a oracle told me that it was a lycaon that followed me around and not a pet wolf" Kassandra glanced over at her, and Eos smiled, still watching the spot where the creature had been, "she told me I was doomed too but, that was after I stuck my dagger in her" she gestured the action as if it was as simple as sticking a pig with a butchers knife. Kassandra froze. Eos looked to her, "Come on Kassandra, you know as much as I do that the cult can't have the oracles sprouting 'nonsense'".

Kassandra remembered who she was talking to then,

"What is it you want Eos" Kassandra held up the fragment "what is this exactly",

"An offering of sorts" Eos said, "of our... mutual cooperation",

"And why do you think I'd want to cooperate with you" Kassandra asked, she sat back on the balcony, crossing her arms as if welcoming the girl to try her,

"Because I have... inside information" Eos said, she took a step forward, looking down at one of the dead men, "About the cult. About your brother" Kassandra stood up,

"What do you know about Alexios" she said, she had her hand on her spear, Eos put her hands up, not having to turn to hear her nails scrape across the metal.

"I don't know anything about Alexios" Eos shrugged a shoulder, pushing at the mask of the man with her foot, revealing his wrinkly old face - a fisherman she'd seen just earlier that day . "But Deimos... Now him, I know... I know how lost he is, how torturous and insufferable his life's been. How all he ever wanted was for his family to come get him... protect him from the pain he suffered every day. How" Eos tilted her head from side to side, "eventually... he stopped wanting that. How he covered the hurt and the pain with more pain; with death, with violence. With this want for control because he'd never had it before".

Kassandra turned away, looking to the Andrestia on the dock as Eos glanced over, "They did terrible things to us but, to him, Kassandra, it was..." Eos trailed off, there were some things she could let lie - and that was one of them. Kassandra didn't ask her to go on. Not yet. Eos kneeled down next to another of the men, "I do not know if I can make any of them see that the control they think they have is nothing more than a lie but, they deserve to have someone at least try".

Kassandra kept watching the Andrestia, thinking for the longest of times as Eos unmasked the others, pin-pointing the faces to men she'd seen that very day - in amongst the crowds of people who roamed Naxos.

The girl was right, if there were more like Deimos, Kassandra had to give them a chance. How could she justify not when that's all she wanted for her brother. Wasn't Eos the proof she needed to believe that her brother wasn't lost? That there was still somehow a way to get him out of this alive? Kassandra looked at Eos. How long had she been out of their clutches? How had she escaped? How had she come to be there at the temple?

"How long has it been" Kassandra asked, "Since you-"

"Almost two years" Eos said, Kassandra looked to her, she was still looking at the dead, "When they... initially discarded me... they thought that I was already with Hades when they threw my body to the wolves". The lycaon had dragged her through the forest that night. She'd convinced herself in those dying moments that he was going to eat her. The Gods last laugh.

Except, she'd wound up on the door of a physician instead.

"A physician saved my life. Didn't even ask my name. Did not care for it. All he wanted was to make sure that he never turned another soul away again" Eos shrugged, about to go on, but Kassandra stopped her,

"Why did they discard you in the first place" Kassandra asked,

"Because I betrayed them. I did something terrible. Something I can't even fathom myself" Eos was knelt down next to the man she'd thrown her dagger at, she didn't know who this one was yet, she couldn't place his face, "no matter how right it was" she added quietly. Eventually, she gave up and turned to look at Kassandra, "I was a weakness. A blip. They couldn't have that. Not when all they wanted was control, not when that control was slipping from their hands because Deimos had grown that much more powerful".

They were scared of him; hell, she was too but, not in the same way they were.

"You were proof that the control they had over you, is just as much as a lie as the control Deimos thinks he has over them" Kassandra said. Eos nodded, looking to the Andrestia with her.

"Kassandra, I'm not asking you to come with me. To help me find them. The last thing I need is the cults number one enemy following me around" Kassandra smiled, she liked that thought, "I am just asking that you give some of these people a chance. That you realise how corrupt the cult is; how they'd do anything to get what they want, how many innocent lives have been bought, how many lives threatened. The ones I'm searching for, you may kill them, you may not have a choice and that's okay" Eos said, "but I just ask that if you don't, if you have a chance to spare them, if you hear a name, or a whisper, you just leave one of these" Eos had pulled out a small coin. Kassandra took it, looking at the head of some old King or politician that had been pressed on to it, the letter C that had been engraved in to it with a dagger,

"What is this",

"When we were younger - very much younger - we had this pact" Eos leaned on the balcony next to her, "That, whatever happened, we wouldn't desert one another. We'd always be there. No matter what" Eos smiled, "That coin is similar to the one we each had. Now, the real coins have been lost, one way or another, they fell out of existence but, the pact didn't. Or, I hope not",

"And what would this mean to them" Kassandra asked,

"A truth we all wanted to forget" Eos said, "That we were just as innocent - maybe more - than the ones we slaughter".

After a moment, Eos pushed off the wall, "I'll leave you" Eos said, "I can give you the names of tortured babies, names of people who might have no involvement in anything the cult does, or everything it does. Whether you want it or not, I'm going to find the others, I'm going to try and convince them that it's a lie. That they don't need them. That their just a piece in their game and they'll be discarded as easily as I was. Even Deimos. There's only so much that can happen before they find a way to get rid of him too. Maybe they think they already have...".

"Where are you going" Kassandra asked as the girl walked away,

"To get myself a drink" Eos said, "I'll see you on the dock in the morning".

And just like that, Kassandra was on her own again.

Surrounded by bloody bodies, but she was alone. Left to think over the events of what had just happened, of the girl she'd just met, of what she'd told her about her brother.

It wasn't exactly an offer she could pass up. Any information about the cult, about who was involved, about what they were doing, she needed it. Even if it did come from a drop-out.

Except, she wasn't exactly sure what Eos was asking of her. Sure, she could keep an ear out for this 'family' of hers, even leave a few coins lying here and there, maybe think that little bit more before she took one of them down.

But then, just as a gale blew and the Andrestia started to rock in the harbour, Kassandra realised why she was asking - which was probably the most important questions. She'd been stupid not to realise it sooner. The girl had come to Kassandra because she was the only one willing to fight against it. Willing to put a stop to them. How many others had she met only to realise that the cult had a small hand in the things that they did, in the things that they said.

In that moment, she considered going to find her. To tell her that she would help her, that, if above anything else, she believed in what she wanted to do but, it was only as she pushed herself away from the balcony that she realised the terms the both of them would have to commit too


Eos was on the dock, just like she said she'd be, when Kassandra finally came down from her maters house the next morning. In the daylight, she looked different. She was still a pretty little thing, but she had a bit more meat on the bones than Kassandra had realised.

She was built like a warrior, a small one, but a warrior none the less.

"Eos" Kassandra said as she walked passed her. Eos stepped in line with her, waking slowly to the Andrestia. "I want to save my brother" Kassandra said, "I want to make the cult pay for what they did" Eos nodded, watching the sea in front of her, her hands behind her back, playing with the dagger she had in her back pocket - just in case - "And I think we can help each other" Kassandra stopped. Eos brought her hands to the front, "But, you have to promise me something",

"A promise for a promise" Eos suggested. Kassandra nodded, it was only fair.

"Eos, if you can not make them see. If you can't make them leave. You have to kill them" Kassandra said.

It's amazing the range of emotions that can fly past a persons face in a matter of seconds. Dread. Anger. Revenge. Humility. Acceptance.

After those seconds, Eos nodded.

She knew there was no other way. There never had been.

Hell, if she managed to even get close to one of them without them trying to kill her, it'd be a surprise.


 

Chapter Text

"Kallinos the beauty" Kassandra asked as she looked down at the scroll Eos had given her,

"Uh huh" Eos was trying the snake scaled breastplate on for size. It hadn't fit as well as Barnabas had thought it would but, it'd do until she found a blacksmith who could adjust it for her – and was much better than the old travellers robes she wore/

"Is he really a beauty" Kassandra said, raising a brow as she looked over at her, Eos shook her head,

"No, got this gods-awful moustache too. Very… uhh" Eos shuddered, "But, he's most likely got the most tactical mind n Greece",

"And he's just a simple captain" Kassandra asked,

"Well, tortured babies don't really make very reasonable leaders Kassandra, do they".

If her brother was anything to go by, then no.

"And he's in Fort Phyle, near Attika" Eos shrugged,

"He has whores in Attika" Eos told her, "Always was a little more adventurous when it came to those sorts of things. Doesn't usually stray too far".

There were five other names on the scroll.

Asphodel the Flower

Akin the Warrior

Melaina the Red Rat

Glaukos the Blue

Pyros the Flame

Eos had told her that she didn't think she'd have to add Deimos or herself to the list, honestly hoping that she wasn't going to mistakenly kill one of them on her travels.

There were also others, names of merchants, of priests, politicians - even Poldarkes - who was already dead and, a name that didn't surprise her in the slightest. Kleon. Eos wasn't sure, they were just as secretive with them as they were each other except, Eos and the others never had the honour of wearing masks. They'd been secluded - only a handful of people knew their faces - unless you were Deimos.

"Do you have any idea where the others are" Kassandra asked, Eos shook her head,

"Not really. I know where they were before but" Eos shrugged, "For all I know, their all dead" she pulled her hood back up over her head, "Could spend the next few years chasing ghosts". Kassandra nodded, passing the scroll to Herodotus.

He'd been all over the Greek world, maybe he knew a name.

At first glance, he didn't but, he took the scroll down under the deck anyway, looking through his writing for anything on some unsung warrior he'd passed on his travels.

Kassandra walked Eos back on to the dock, following her as she walked over to some barrels of fish just on the sand,

"Eos" Kassandra said, she turned to her, "What happens if my brother finds out what you're doing",

"I don't have an answer for that Kassandra" Eos admitted, "He might kill me. He might leave me be. Might drag me back to the cult" a small snarl came from behind the barrels of fish then, making an old fisherman throw his fish on the floor and run away, swearing to the Gods. Eos smiled, "Or maybe he'll be eaten by a lycaon",

"Does the lycaon have a name",

"Laelaps" Eos said,

"Ahh, the dog that never failed to catch what it hunted" Herodotus was there now, clutching the scroll in his hand, it hadn't taken him long.

"Yes" Eos said, "One of my favourite stories as a child" she tilted her head at the fish, "Never did live up to his name though" the lycaon snarled a second time from where it lay, it's belly full of fish as it lay in amongst the barrels, not bothering to move.

"Do you have anything Herodotus" Kassandra asked, looking to the scroll,

"The name. Melaina the red rat",

"What about her" Eos asked,

"I heard of a girl, a woman almost, who lived in the gutter at Lokris" Herodotus said, "Hair as red as fire, the stink of sickness in her bones but, no lust for death",

"That sounds like Malaina" Eos said, she sighed,

"Why rat" Kassandra asked,

"It's the name everyone else gave her" Eos shrugged, she'd always hated it. She'd never looked like a rat before - when they were young; she was so full, so beautiful and then, the 'eye' had taken her under her wing, made her in to a squirmy little thing that could get in to the smallest of places. "She has this way of being everywhere and nowhere" Eos said, "Of finding people who don't wish to be found". Eos sometimes wondered if Melaina knew she was alive, sitting somewhere back there in the shadows.

Eos wondered if she could even give Laelaps the slip.

The creature snarled a third time, almost in response. Eos looked to Kassandra,

"She's very unstable. Very touchy. Very…" difficult, complicated, maybe a little insane?

Who was she kidding. They all were.

"So, what you're saying is now I have yet another person to watch behind my back for" Kassandra said,

"Kass, they know where you are" Eos shrugged, "No point sending out one of their precious babies to hunt you down".

Great.

"Anyway, thank you Herodotus. Depending on what happens with Kallinos, I might just have to wait until she finds me".

Out of them all, Kallinos would be the most black and white. He would either come with her, or he wouldn't. She would try and convince him, she had to but, she'd know within a few moments whether it had fell on death ears.

And what that brought with it was something she told herself she'd decide on there and then.

"Eos, I wish you all the luck in the world" Kassandra said, "I hope we meet again", Eos nodded.

Kassandra had gone to leave but, not before Eos asked her one last question. Eos knew the mystios had heard of her but, had she met the woman who had done this to them.

"Did you ever meet Chrysis" Eos asked, Kassandra turned back to her, she nodded, "Did you kill her" Kassandra shook her head – she'd chosen to save that baby instead, "She's still in Argolis then" Eos said. She looked back to the fish barrels,

"I'll make her pay for what she did. To you. To Alexios. To your family" Kassandra promised,

"Would you meet me in Argolis Kassandra" Eos asked, "Once you're done taming the seas near Thera".

Kassandra thought about it a moment. Despite the things she hoped to do once she'd discovered the name of her real father, Kassandra still had errands in Argolis and Chrysis, killing her would bring her one step closer to the blood worshippers sage.

And, it would mean they wouldn't have to rough the open sea between Thera and Lakonia. Even if it did mean doubling back on themselves.

"Where would I meet you" Kassandra asked,

"I'll leave a message for you at the docks in the 'kingdom of Hope'" she almost laughed, "If I live to tell the tales of Kallinos the beauty" Eos said, "Depending on what it says, find me in the closest tavern". Kassandra wasn't sure how that would work but, she agreed to it none-the-less.

If anything, she was sure Ikaros could smell the damn wolf from a mile off.

The wolf of which had emerged from its hiding place.

A woman had screamed, a child had cried and, a man had fainted. Maybe even died from shock.

"That creature is not of this world" Barnabas said as he came up to them, Kassandra smiled at him,

"Then what other world is there" Kassandra asked, putting her hand on his shoulder and leading him back to the ship, "Tell me". Herodotus had bowed his head at Eos before following them.

She liked them. Herodotus and Barnabas. Eos could see why Kassandra had let them come along for the ride.

The Adrestia set sail just before noon. Leaving Eos stood on the dock, watching them until they were out of sight.

Then, Eos looked to the sea worthy vessel she had the pleasure of sailing on which was anchored just down the beach.

The Captain of the Argo, with its faded golden sails and goat as its figurehead, was not necessarily a mean man - he had been the one who had found her slithering around that volcanoes edge but, this little 'side trip' had not come without its costs.

"To Attika my lady" the pot belly balding man had bowed at her. Laelaps had snapped his jaws inches from his face, not admiring the sarcasm in his voice. The Captain straightened up quickly having smelt the creature's breath, oily and sea-like – had he already ate some poor Captain today?

"That would be nice" Eos said, she scratched the wolf behind its ears.

"First" he said quietly, as if he thought the creature couldn't hear him,

"Yes, the finest wine Naxo has to offer" Eos tossed him a key and he grabbed for it, letting it slip through his fingers before it fell on to the deck,

"What is this" he demanded, the wolf tilted his head at him and he knelt down slowly, hoping it wasn't about to try and snap at his head.

"Key to the tavern. Can have all the wine you want" Eos said, she strode past him, on to the ships deck,

"How did you" he asked as he turned around, holding the key up,

"I convinced them it was not their calling" Eos said.

The owner may also have been serving some drinks laced with hemlock – which would either kill you or make you very drowsy indeed - to some young Athenian girls who were passing through and, he may have accidently drunk a little himself before he found himself sat in front of a lycaon.

From what Eos had found out about him, it wasn't a tale told by many because they all ended up lost at the sea-bed.

She hadn't seen him again. But, Laelaps wasn't that much of an eater when it came to people – he just liked to chew on them.

That archer he'd brought down had still been alive when Eos had gone to look. She'd had to stab him in the head to end his suffering and then tell the beast to go hide the body.

The last thing they needed was for him to leave a trail of semi-dead chewed up cultists – or anyone – for that matter because, if anyone knew what the marks of a lycaon were, it was Deimos – and for now – she felt that little bit better knowing he was still in the dark about her ultimately untimely reappearance – especially as she had no idea where his head was at - she needed to gage at least that before she made any sort of move towards him.

She would eventually though.

Like she'd told Kassandra, he'd either kill her or let her go.

She just wasn't sure which yet. Wasn't even sure if any of them would apply when they met.

Kallinos though. There wasn't an in-between. He would either use his tactical and knowledgeable mind to advance her own movements or use them to kill her. Which is what made him an easy first 'target'.

Eos wasn't necessarily up for killing any of them but, Kassandra was right - the less cultists, the less of a hold the cult of Kosmo had on the world.

It did make her wonder if death would be fairer for the lot of them though.

After everything they'd done, could they live with themselves?

She'd thought it about herself once but, here she was. Still alive.

Why?

Maybe the Gods were punishing her for what she'd done. She couldn't blame them. Maybe she was meant to bring the dawn of a new day – just not the way the cult had once imagined it. Maybe she was to watch her family slip so far in to the clutches of dread, she'd fall in to. Maybe the Gods were just toying with her.

But, whatever the reason, it had left heralive - she hadn't found a way to make the horrible things she'd done go away but, the people she'd found had given her the hope that the cult had never. That love, acceptance, truth, it could go way further than a dagger to the heart. That when you finally decided that you wanted something more, there would be people willing to help.

Like an old sea Captain and his very merry crew that sung songs of pirates and sea-creatures late in to the night.

By the next day, their bellies full of fermented wine, Eos leaned over the balcony and watched as the crew scurried around on deck, the sails were down, and they were cruising through the sea, no sight of pirates or blockades in view.

"One day Hoyt" said the Captains first ship mate, Belen, "I am going to ask you to sail me out of this God forsaken land and take me somewhere it is always cold" even as a small child, he'd hated the heat of the Greek sun,

"I'd like that too" Eos said, the Captain glanced over at her,

"Is that so your heart and body can finally be at piece with one another" he asked,

Delightful.

"No. Although that would be a bonus. No, I'd like to always have a cold glass of wine" Eos told him. Hoyt made a puking sound,

"Wine is terrible cold" Hoyt said,

"No, I think I'd like that too" Belen interjected. The Captain shook his head as he put his hands up,

"When I'm dead, you can take it wherever you please. Take it to the south and find a vineyard",

"No, we're taking it to the north" Belen told him,

"That's what you think" Eos said, not looking at him,

"I'm not dying for a while yet, so you'll have plenty of time to decide where you're going" Hoyt said,

"Not afraid of a mutiny Captain" Eos asked. The lycaon had come down from his usual spot on the hull, as if he'd overheard the conversation and wanted to be involved in such things. It gave the Captain the shivers.

"I'd have to teach one of you how to sail first" Hoyt eventually said,

"I could do it" Belen said, he stood up straight and surveyed the crew, just like the Captain would, standing pretty - that's all that was needed.

"No, you'd drive us in to an underwater island and we'd be lost" Eos told him.


Even after a couple of rough weeks at sea, considering the state of Athens right now, Hoyt had been wary to even dock at the port of Piraeus but, the lycaon had snarled at him before he'd even mentioned it out loud and he'd taken it as a sign.

Standing on the docks Eos had shook the old Captains hand,

"Are we ever going to see you and that wolf again" the Captain asked, watching the lycaon as it bounded away and disappeared in to what seemed to be an empty warehouse.

"Perhaps not" Eos said, "But, if we were too, I sincerely hope it is not somewhere as… hot",

"As do I" the Captain said, "Say; you never told me how you ended up there". Eos shrugged,

"My family. Their part of a cult that are taking over the Greek world and decided that I was better at the bottom of a volcano than on top of it",

"That's almost as unbelievable as that lycaon of yours" Hoyt said, Eos smiled,

"Captain. Promise me this. If anyone ever offers you something that is far too good to be true, make sure that all your crew are intact and, that your wife and daughter are still in their little hut on the hill. And, if they are, take them, your ship, your crew and run. Greece may be where you live, but the people around you are your home" the Captain nodded,

"Good luck Eos",

"Good luck" she patted him on the shoulder and turned away.

It was selfish of her to have even thought that she'd be able to use some oblivious fools ship, and not expect the cult to go after him once they found out she was roaming around Greece but, she'd also still be at the bottom of that mountain boiling to death.

"She took your key" Belen told the Captain as they watched her walk away,

"What" the Captain patted his pockets,

"Key to that tavern. Took it straight out of your pocket" the Captain had frozen, in awe at the girl for a moment,

"Eos" he called. She held the key up, so he could see it,

"You wanted wine not a tavern" she called back.

The Captain smiled.

Chapter Text

After finding a blacksmith that was just about ready to close-up shop for the night, Eos somehow ended up jumping through a workshop window to acquire a sword that the blacksmith swore had been stolen from him. In return, he would adjust her armour for her.

After finding the very nice silver sword in a nearby chest at a fortified Athenian workshop, Eos had stayed and watched the Athenian guards from up on a small balcony, lying down so she could look over and listen to them.

At first, she was sure that none of them had anything interesting to say but, it was just as she decided that it was time to get back when she overheard a conversation just below her,

"They say there's this guy who chopped the head off a raging bull",

"Really",

"Yeah, commander says he's gonna try and make him join the cause",

"Is he a mercenary",

"Yeah, brute of a man too".

There was only one person she knew who called himself a mercenary and took a liking to big displays of power and authority - cutting the head of a bull was the least of his achievements.

Akin.

He was as sweet as a doll really but, put a weapon in his hand and he'd easily chop you in half. Some even swore the weapon was only for decoration.

His pride would get him killed but - at least it hadn't killed him yet.

Jumping back out the same window she'd came in, Eos returned the sword to the blacksmith just as he was closing his front door.

Eos had told him she'd pick up her armour in two days and, if she didn't, to keep it for himself.

Finding a cheap bed was that little bit harder and, eventually, she found a ledge inside the temple of Asklepios. Trusting Laelaps to warn her of any incoming threats, Eos wrapped herself up and lay down, staring at the ceiling.

As insane as it sounded, walking straight in to Fort Phyle wasn't that bad of an idea.

The Athenian Captain, if anything, admired his men. Their deaths weren't about to make talking to him any easier and, the longer she waited for a chance visit beyond the gates, the more she risked getting caught by the wrong people.

Kallinos was reasonable. Sort of.

And he liked a good game.

So, if she did go in and announce herself – in one way or another – if Laelaps and her could be sure that it was only Kallinos that resided inside, with a few Athenian men who her face would mean nothing to, she was sure that he would either talk to her there and then or, come find her.

Or, start some sort of riot and try to kill her.

He'd never been one for a show though. Eos had been convinced that his parents had been Spartans.


Up in the Parnes Mountains, Fort Phyle was one of those sorts of forts that you shouldn't really sneak around in – if you have the choice – so, even though she didn't doubt her ability, Eos took Laelaps contentness as a sign that the only familiar face beyond its walls was the one they were searching for and, figured that her plan from the night before was the best way to go.

After waiting and watching for a day, making sure Kallinos wasn't in any hurry to leave and that, there was no sign of any other cultists skulking around, Eos had left the lycaon to sun itself in some long grass the next morning, pulled her hood up and walked over to the main gates. An Athenian hoplite was stood there, staring aimlessly in to space. He didn't even see Eos before she was stood right in front of him.

"Chaire" Eos said, the man jumped ever so slightly, his hand grabbing for the hilt of his sword before he realised she was no more than a girl,

"Get out of here" he told her, putting his hands behind his back, standing up straighter,

"I have a letter for your Captain, Kallinos" Eos said, she pulled out a scroll,

"Look, he doesn't want any more of his… mistresses coming here" the hoplite informed her quietly, as if he was hoping to save her some embarrassment.

She'd been right. Nothing had changed.

"He'll want to see me" Eos promised him, the hoplite shook his head,

"Give me the letter" he went to grab it from her, but she held it away from him,

"Uh… no" Eos said, the man sighed,

"Then leave" Eos shrugged,

"Or what". The hoplite rolled his eyes again and pulled his sword from its sheath,

"I'm warning you". Eos raised a brow. He probably weighed about a hundred pounds and would bend quite nicely in the little alcove in the wall but, she decided on a less intense approach.

"I'm… defenceless" she held out her hands, the dagger was tucked very carefully in her robes, "And you're threatening me? Do you get a kick out of that",

"Uhh… no",

"And" she took another step towards him, "you're also wasting my time; and my employers. Considering what's written on this here letter, your Captain isn't going to be to happy to be kept waiting either".


"Captain" the hoplite had said, "There's a girl here for you",

Kallinos was looking down at a map and scratching at his moustache.

The beauty of Fort Phyle had always been a big man, an Athenian brute, but his muscles were firm and bursting beneath his armour – which, Eos had always been sure was the only feature that made any woman want him – as, everything else was just that little bit more disproportionate. Especially his nose, which was obnoxiously large and, not to forget - crooked; from having being punched a few too many times as a child by a baby demi-god and, his wrinkles were set so deep in to his face, you'd think that crows spent the night roosting on it.

He didn't have many redeeming qualities personality wise either, but his men admired him for his mind and his indescribable ability to drink. Eos had always thought it was because he was that little bit older than the rest of them - then, she realised that he watered his wine down.

"Is it the eagle bearer" he'd almost scoffed at the thought, wondering if she would be so bold to just walk in through the front door,

"No sir, she's… she's too young". Kallinos sighed,

"What did I tell you about letting my mistresses find their way in here" he had said through gritted teeth. Two other Athenians, that were stood in the corner drinking wine had sniggered a little. He'd shot them a look and they'd looked down at their feet, coughing it away.

"She says that... that she's not. That she has a letter for you" the hoplite said under his breath, putting his hands together,

"They all say that" Kallinos turned around, leaning back on the table - these women just couldn't get enough of him - "Send her in". The hoplite took a few wary steps back and nodded his head at Eos who was stood just around the corner.

It took Kallinos a moment to recognise her, or maybe it was a moment to get his head around her being alive but, slightly quicker than she'd expected him to, he composed himself and crossed his arms,

"What is it you want" he asked. Eos pulled out a scroll and passed it to the hoplite who scurried over to the Captain with it.

It was a letter from one of Kallinos' mistresses – Leanna – she wanted to meet him at their usual spot at midnight. She'd even signed it.

"Thank you misthios" Kallinos said, he hadn't looked up, playing the game just like she thought he might. Bowing her head slightly, she turned around and walked out.

Kallinos had surprised her. In that first moment, she hadn't been able to figure out whether he was going to kill her or not but, she was sure that when they met at the top of that rocky outburst just a few hundred metres or so from the fort, she'd know within a few seconds what he'd decided.

With no comings or goings from the fort, both Eos and Laelaps were left assured that he'd not sent any word of her little visit and, after returning to the sloth-like mercenary that had employed her to deliver the letter from Kallinos' mistress and informing him that the Athenian Captain wasn't in the mood for a midnight romp, Eos had taken her place.

The mercenary had also said that he would split the pay with her but, after what he was going through, she doubted the bounty on his head could be paid off by some odd jobs delivering letters.

It wasn't much past midnight when Kallinos joined her.

"You're not hard to find" Kallinos had joked.

"I've been doing a pretty good job at it" Eos told him, she crossed her legs,

"When you want to be found" he added, "Or, when you start being predictable" he said quietly. Eos smiled only a little as he sat down next to her…

"How are you even alive" he'd asked eventually. Eos shrugged,

"Ask the Gods that, not me". Kallinos snorted and put his head back, even under his helmet, you could see he'd grown a couple more chins,

"What are you even doing here" he asked instead, "If Deimos ever found out…" he let out a long breath, a whistle at the end of it,

"You questioned this whole thing since the moment you could talk and you're asking me".

That was Kallinos' 'flaw' - his strategic mind had always wondered whether there was another way to achieve what they wanted. Perhaps a way that didn't involve so much killing. The cult didn't like thinking like that. They had their way, and their way was the only way.

"I don't know anything else" he said quietly, looking back to the moon, to the rolling hills,

"Neither did I" Eos reminded him.

After a moment, he sighed, sad, and looked down at his feet,

"It got worse" he said quietly, "After you left… he got worse" Eos put her head down, "They said that you deserted us. They said that they punished you for that. That they sacrificed you to Kosmo".

Eos pushed herself up, "To hide their own disloyalties. Their own chaos. Their own..." she flitted the thought away with her hand, she didn't need to tell him what he already knew deep down.

Kallinos looked up at her, "Eos" he was sad, he actually sounded sad – which made it all the worse "I can't let you go",

"Then come with me Kallinos" he was a lost cause, she already knew that, she'd known it since he'd sat down but, she'd had to make sure,

"No. Eos. Peace will be ours", he stood up,

"They'll cut your strings soon enough. Why be their puppet",

"This is my decision Eos. They all think you're dead" he looked at the ground again. Eos felt her stomach fall, something was wrong, but, not in the way that she'd been worried about. Kallinos looked up to the moon, "They think you died after we threw you in to that volcano".

What…

Eos felt her mouth go dry. She'd been sure it had only been the Chimera and that other girl. Both of which she'd since killed. They'd kept saying that they had to get rid of her quickly – for good this time – that she couldn't be noticed by the others in case she ruined their plans.

"I was there Eos" he was reaching for his dagger, "I know what you were trying to do. Stupid really. You should have come to me first".

Honestly, back then, Eos hadn't known what she was doing. Not really.

"Who else knows" she asked - she couldn't hide the fear in her voice, couldn't hide the thoughts they both knew she was thinking.

The hair on the back of her neck went up, Laelaps was prowling behind him now, awaiting her sign. Kallinos had only smiled, this sick cynical smile that made Eos realise that he'd been toying with her. This was just one of his little traps. A trap he thought he could pull of all his own.

He just hadn't brought Laelaps in to the equation. Which meant that Eos knew that the only players in this game right now was him and her.

And the lycaon was a judge.

"It does not matter. Tonight, I'll keep my promise to Kosmo. To give them your life. Just like the one you took". Eos swallowed back the small sob in her throat but let the tear in the corner of her eye fall, watching as Kallinos wrapped his hand around the handle of his axe that hung on his waist.

"I never deserted you Kallinos. You deserted me".

Chapter Text

They were all dead.

Whether it had been whilst they were sleeping in their beds or patrolling the walls, the last thing these men had seen – or felt – had been a dagger…

In all honesty, it impressed him. The size, the shape of the wound, the twist. One person had overtaken a whole fort all on their own.

Or, Kallinos had fucked them over.

Deimos sat himself in the chair Kallinos liked so much and put his feet up on the table. They hadn't found him yet. He could just imagine him with his whores, unaware that all those men he so admired lay dead – or, like he was starting to think, he'd done it himself.

Then, they found him.

Up on his little rock overlooking the city.

The fight that had killed him hadn't been anything grand, whoever had got the upper hand on the greatest of Greece's minds had just been that little too quick for him.

A shame really, Deimos often wished it was he who could have taken his life – just for all those little things left unsaid in the years before. Still, it was a loss they couldn't afford. That the cult couldn't afford.

His men, wary, always wary, when he was around, suggested that it was the eagle bearer who had slaughtered the men so diligently. Except, his sister wasn't one for mopping up after herself. Usually, a bounty or a contract included just one thing – not the massive slaughter of a whole fort. That wasn't her style.

And to find Kallinos so far from home?

Perhaps someone had led him away…

But why then come back and slaughter the rest.

Finding a witness had not bee hard but, what he had to say was useless.

"I saw a girl" the farmer had whispered,

"Our Captain is known for his love of whores old man. A girl, no surprise" Deimos was still lounging back,

"This one looked like a mystios. She had a scroll in her hand",

"A message from one of his whores" Deimos glanced over at the hoplite he'd brought with him – he was more a slave than a guard but, he wouldn't look so intimidating whilst walking through the city, "Go to the city. Look for them" the hoplite nodded quickly and left without a word,

"What did this mercenary look like" Deimos asked, he folded his arms,

"She was small, maybe young, travelling robes, she… she wore a hood", Deimos smirked,

"No wonder they didn't kill you too".

An assassin with a heart. Too bad the farmer was just as useless to him as he had been to them.

The only thing was, he couldn't reasonably kill him.

But then, it was a good thing Deimos wasn't feeling reasonable that day.

The hoplite had returned a little while later with a story from Kallinos' favourite whore. She had sent him a message – via a male mercenary – and got a reply that Kallinos wasn't feeling up for a midnight endeavour. The mercenary was called Ogarneos, shoeless and a little dull, the whore had paid him a good sum of drachmae to deliver the letter.

The Shoeless Ogarneos who also had a known bounty on his head for stealing from an employer. A very large one. Seems that wearing bandages on your feet did indeed make your footsteps silent – it just didn't stop you from crying out when you tried to creep past a sleeping merchant; who'd smashed a bottle before he'd fallen in to bed,

So, whoever that girl had been, she'd played her cards in such an exact way that – other than a dead farmer – who Deimos had made sure that nothing of value could be remembered about her, no one – alive – knew she even existed.

There was just one thing that didn't really add up.

The chests had been pillaged. Yes. But, they'd left the stock pile of supplies. If it had been a Spartan spy, they would have burned or taken it. If it had been a bandit, they would have done the same…

Honestly, it wasn't worth his time. None of it was. It pissed him off just being here – especially for Kallinos - but, he knew someone who could find their little hooded misthios.

"It's time we made a visit to the rat in Lokris".


Even after his confession of being there whilst they'd thrown her in to that fiery pit, killing him had been just as hard as if he'd never said it.

Yes. Kallinos was a horrible person.

And, he'd never been kind to her. Never picked her up when she fell; had beat her in almost every fight they'd ever had; had humiliated her in front of those she'd once tried to impress; had never once said anything remotely nice to her - if you didn't count the "I'm sorry" moments before he died. Moments too late.

But, he'd got her out of more 'situations' than he'd put her in at least.

Once, on a small quest to dispatch an oracle – the one who had told her about Laelaps – she'd got herself a bounty and a riot of killer villagers on her tail. Somehow, with a small plan that included only a poisoned dagger, the villagers had been sent to a local masters house and had slaughtered him in the name of the Gods – just not the God they believed in.

Another time, he'd got her out of an Athenian jail when she'd been caught red-handed with a ceremonial staff - by throwing a stone tablet with the words 'execute the key bearer at nightfall' through the grate in the roof of her cell.

All she'd had to do was sit and wait until the key bearer made his rounds. He would look in to her cell with this smug grin on his face, dangling his keys for good measure – only for her to smash his face with the edge of the tablet and grab his keys as he dropped them.

Eos hadn't killed him – she hadn't hit him hard enough – but, just to make sure, Kallinos had sent Deimos to watch – assuring that the guard was indeed dead before he told Eos to open up the rest of the cells, setting whatever scum inside free and, covering their tracks.

Not to mention grabbing that ceremonial staff for the blood sage.

The events had never been spoken of again. The sage had her staff – she didn't need to know the riot that had ensued to acquire it.

From the way Kallinos acted, in the secret looks and words they shared, it was almost as if he was acquiring a mass of reason and secrets to use against them when the time came. But he never did. He could glance at them, make them feel small, insignificant – like he was their hero but, he always got them out of the problems they had. No matter how trivial.

It was his way of showing love – even if he did try to beat them to bloody pulps when they trained.

And, if Kallinos could see her now, she hoped that her 'plan' would make him proud. Even after everything.

A plan which meant that Eos hadn't left Attika yet. She was sat on her little ledge in the temple of Asklepios. Her armour had been adjusted and it now fit so well she could do just about do anything in it and, she'd been able to buy another belt with the drachmae she'd acquired from those chests.

She already knew that Deimos had been at the fort, that they'd spoken to Kallinos' mistress and been led back to only Ogarneos the shoeless. That the poor farmer had never left the fort. She should have just killed him herself – it would have been painless compared to what Deimos would have done.

But, if she'd been honest with herself, Eos hadn't expected him to come. She thought that maybe he would send some Athenian guards – maybe even Akin.

Still. Now. All she had to do was wait.

If she knew anything about him, it was that Deimos wasn't about to spend too much time searching for her himself – he'd send someone a little more discrete.

A rat.

And, this way, she wouldn't have to incriminate herself by asking around about a red rat, she'd just have to wait for the red rat to come to her.

Even if it was deferring from her initial plans, Kallinos hadn't really given her much time to ask about the others; given her no leads to run on. And, if he was here now, he'd tell her the art of planning meant you always had a second one.

This would have to be it.

The red rat. Melaina. She was deadly, she could sink her teeth in to you and you'd never even know you've been bitten but, fortunately for her, Melaina thought Eos was dead – and her superstitious mind, her love for the Gods, the words she chattered – it would all aid Eos in to being a ghost of sorts. Until, Melaina found the strength to get closer, to believe in a lie she'd been told, a lie she'd lived.

She would also tell Deimos.

But she'd only tell him.

Eos knew her enough for that. The others would never listen to her.

Her chattering's would either go unheard by the Demi-god or, he'd have his own want to come find her.

Despite Kallinos' teachings, Eos wasn't sure if she wanted that just yet but, she had no clue where the others were and, perhaps getting up close to them was the only way to decipher the trail back to a bond she'd been cut from.

Unless she heard more news of the bull be-header…


The red rat – who seemed to have found her way out of Lokris' gutter - was skinny, tall and currently in bed with Lokris' noble king, Antinous. Melaina's little side-quest.

A servant girl, just a child, small and quiet had interrupted them,

"I'm sorry… my… my king… but, there's a… there's a man here…"

"Tell him he can wait" Antinous grumbled, he had a handful of red hair and was just about ready to show this girl the time of her life.

"I would rather not" Deimos said as he came through the door, the small girl had flinched, almost pushing over the screen near the door to try and get away from him. Antinous jumped to his feet, as if he'd been caught like a deer in torchlight, pulling the sheets up to cover over his manhood. Melaina lay on the floor, bare, staring up at Deimos with big green eyes. "Put some clothes on" Deimos said, his eyes only flittering over her before he looked at the master. Melaina let out a little grown, raising her arms above her head in a stretch, "Kallinos is dead" Deimos added as he turned around.

In that moment, whilst Melaina fell silent and still, Lokris' King seemed to find his voice,

"Do you know who I am. What makes you-" the man choked as Deimos wrapped his hand around his neck,

"The question is, do you know who I am" Antinous grabbed at his throat, babbling incoherent words that Deimos wasn't happy about; the sheet he had clung on to fell and Deimos raised him in to the air. "Pathetic" he said before he dropped him, the leader landing in a heap on the floor. "Melaina" Deimos said before turning around again, leaving the red-haired girl to keep going over his words whilst the servant girl rushed to her master.

Kallinos is dead…


Attika. It was just as great as she remembered it. Full of Athenian guards and Kleons men, but just as beautiful and vibrant as it had been before the plague had hit. They'd lost a lot of people but, they'd recovered. The Spartans that had surrounded their walls had ran, afraid of the plague – and it had left them that little more open to the outside world again.

Now, that didn't mean the Spartans weren't slowly moving back in, she'd already seen a few brawls just walking through the streets but, the people were that little less hung up.

And, it wasn't long before she found a familiar face amongst the people. A face she didn't mind finding her in a crowd.

The physician that had saved her life.

The great Hippokrates.

And, not so surprisingly, a name Kassandra had mentioned.

"It's so good to see you well" he said,

"I could be better" Eos replied, she put her hand on her neck, felt the sores the fiery pit of the volcano had left her, "You don't by any chance have something for old burns, do you" she said quietly as some guards passed by them.

There was only so much old ointment, from an old box, in an old ships chest, that you could put on before you worried about your skin turning green. It had worked but, she was sure she'd be scared for life – and the trail that ran down her back would go so red and irritable, she'd considered lying bare back on stone for the rest of her days was the only way to keep it cool.

"I will ask but, not now, come with me" Hippokrates had said. Although, most likely the greatest healer Greece had ever seen, his practices were… a little more based on the science of the human body than praying to the Gods for safe passage through an illness.

But, going up against the grain was something Eos could get behind.

Following him to the outskirts of the city and to a small home, Hippokrates had ushered her in. There was another man inside, his leg wrapped with bloody bandages. He was sleeping – Hippokrates had given him just enough Hemlock to ease the pain and let him rest.

Before seeing to her, he'd redone the mans bandages, telling her about what he'd been up to. About who he had seen. She'd been under his care for so long, unconscious for so much of it, that now, he seemed to forget that she would remember all the things he talked about - still, it filled the silence. He spoke of the plague, of those that had survived it, about the help he'd found, about an eagle bearer – which only reminded Eos that Kassandra would be pissed if she got her favourite physician killed by association.

"Kassandra" Eos had said, "That's the eagle bearer you talk of",

"Yes" Hippokrates said quietly, he went silent for a moment, worried he'd said too much,

"I met her in Naxos" Eos told him, he seemed to relax, "She's a good person",

"The world is full of them" he smiled, he didn't smile often – he didn't have much to smile about – but when he did, there was never no malice, no hidden agenda – he was just happy.

"I know" Eos said, she'd killed a lot of them.

Hippokrates had looked at her burns, cleaned out an old blister that had never healed, applying something to make the dead skin fall off, to let the new skin grow over. He'd wrapped a bandage around it, told her to keep it as clean as she could, to apply this small jar of ointment to it once a day – that eventually it would heal over – the scars, he couldn't do much about but, he could soothe the skin, the scars would fade with time.

"What happened to you" Hippokrates had asked as she pulled the scaled breastplate back over her head, it was only then that he realised that he recognised it. It had belonged to Kassandra,

"Something really bad that I shouldn't tell you about – just in case" Eos said, the less he knew, the better,

"Kassandra, that's hers" he gestured to the breastplate,

"It is" Eos said, "I met her in Naxo's – we're… business partners" Eos said, "Now, I suggest you just stop asking questions" Eos stood up. She pulled out a bag of drachmae and threw it on the table, "That should pay you back for everything",

"If I lived my whole life making people pay me for my services, most would die" Hippokrates said,

"They would but, you're a smart enough man to not reject such a nice sack of drachmae" Eos said, "And, I think it's about time you leave Attika too",

"I will, once my patient is well" Eos smiled,

"Well then - like we promised, you never saw me",

"I think I turned blind" the physician turned around then, tending back to his other patient as if she'd never been there.

Two days after Eos had seen the patient hobble out, she'd watched Hippokrates go down to the docks and jump on a ship. There had been no sign of Deimos, or rats, or anymore familiar faces but, that night, Laelaps had come to her, emerging from the shadow.

It was time.

He'd sniffed out a rat.


Melaina, fully clothed, but still skinny and haunting had entered the city an hour earlier. By the end of that night, she had the names of mercenaries and msitios' that had spent the last couple weeks skulking around, trying to find a bounty or a contract for a little bit of drachmae.

Agatha the Eye Gouger - who, by the sounds of it left more of a clue to her destruction than a little twisted dagger to the heart.

Makarias the Lion Tamer - who was a man and not a girl.

Yulios the balanced - who again, was a man and not a girl.

And, Ogarneos the shoeless. He'd been looking for jobs to pay off his bounty and had last been seen jumping on a merchant's ship and sailing off in to the sunset - after he'd collected his drachmae from the mistress.

Melaina had almost given up. If only Deimos had given the farmer to her first – this may have been a little easier but, after overhearing a small disagreement between a blacksmith and a Captain – which had resulted with the Captain walking away with a silver sword, Melaina had the want to go and see him. A gut feeling.

Within a few moments, he had spewed most of the story out for her. The Captain had 'stolen' the sword from him and, a young girl had retrieved it for him. Perhaps a mistios, he hadn't known but, she'd had him adjust some scaled armour for her in return.

But, there had been something more about her he'd said. Dark hair, dark eyes, sunkissed skin – nothing unusual really but, there was something dark, something that prowled around beside her – he'd felt it, even seen it.

Eyes, dull but glowing, watching him from the shadows. Every night since, it was as if something had watched him sleep, a darkness so menacing he'd wake up in sweats.

Melaina's belief – in Gods, in myths and legends - was intrigued, even scared – just like Eos thought she'd be.

Laelaps had given her the first few frights, the swish of a tail in the corner of her eye; beady yellow eyes that blinked in and out of existence, a shadow that emerged from behind her in the shape of a wolf before she turned and found nothing.

Then, Eos pushed passed her in a rush as Melaina walked near to the markets and its crowds of people.

Eos had to do everything she could to make herself keep walking, even when she'd heard her name mumbled under her breath. Melaina had even smelt the same. Despite how long she spent in Greeces gutters, she had this sweet smell beneath the one that stunk of death. Like she'd spilt wine on her clothes.

Melaina had been her friend for a long time – maybe not in the end, not really but, they'd shared a lot before that. Using her 'flaw', her already gittery mind to make her doubt herself, doubt the world, it made her feel terrible but, it meant that when she did finally reveal herself, she'd have the upper hand.

Eos had waited and watched from a little ways away but, Melaina – even though she'd stopped to think about it – she'd turned around, looking over her shoulder as she made her way back in to the depths of the city. Laelaps had followed her, keeping his distance as he watched her freeze every few strides, shaking a little before she snapped her head around, as if she was going to catch something watching her. The grey morning storm clouds left too many shadows for Laelaps to be spotted.

She'd looked over her shoulder again as she went down a small alley way, pushing the door to a small house open.

Laelaps saw the glint of gold armour as Melaina had closed the door over, her whole body shaking as she took steps back from it.

Deimos was stood inside.

"What did you find little rat" he'd asked, which only made her jump and cover her face. Deimos gave her a moment, looking at the floor,

"I found her" she said quietly, "I found her",

"Who" Deimos asked. Melaina swallowed back a sob, her throat starting to choke itself as she grabbed at it, "Who" Deimos repeated, he moved and she cowered again,

"Eos" she said, "Eos…".

Deimos sighed and put his head back on the wall,

"Eos is dead" he said, "Kosmo took her" he said as he looked back to her, he was getting sick of her already,

"Kosmo gave her back… I saw her… Laelaps" her voice, it got smaller, stuttering – chattering, a high pitched panic, "I smelt her. She was there" she held out her hands, as if she could have grabbed her, "I… she's…" her hands started to shake, "She's… she's real… this time… I… I…". Deimos pushed off the wall but, he didn't go towards her. Instead, he walked over to the table, where a man lay with his head down. In the low light, you couldn't see the blood that dripped from his neck but, you could smell it.

"Melaina. She's gone" he said quietly, "She's been gone for along time. It's about time you remember that. That you remember what your job is", he left her to it, to sit and worry, or cry, or whatever it did these days when she convinced herself she saw the dead roaming around behind her.

Typical.

He thought she would be passed all that. Lokris had been a way to... clear her mind; given her a goal that meant she didn't need to sniff out those that hung in the shadows but, the ones that hung in the light. He'd been wrong though. Perhaps she was no use to them anymore. Perhaps they'd lost more than one that day.

Perhaps it was only time until they all met the same fait as the first two...

Or, perhaps she was telling the truth and Eos was alive.

But then, why kill Kallinos. He was an ass but, did he really deserve her blade for it? Would she have ever had the guts to kill him? Would…

Stupid. It was stupid.

Eos was dead. She'd died almost two years ago – back when the cult had taken her life in to their hands because she'd taken something they wanted, when she'd ran– something he could never blame her for – even if it didn't make any sense.

Chapter Text

It took Laelaps four days to convince Eos that she should go seek out Melaina – who, evidently, had not really taken Deimos' further orders to continue her search for the girl the farmer had seen.

Yes, she'd been walking around Attika, searching, but it had actually been for Eos herself and not the one Deimos wanted her to look for - even if they were the same person.

For those first couple of days, Eos had continued with her plan. To act like a sort of ghost that Melaina would see and then she would not but, eventually, Eos saw what Laelaps was trying to tell her with his disembowelled rats that he liked to bring to her and then crush the skulls of.

There was something else on Melaina's mind that this plan would only further hurt. Her mind had always been a little crushed in places, the eye had made sure of that but, never in the way that Laelaps was trying to show to her now.

Melaina didn't need a ghost. She needed something real.

Except, standing by that door, in the dead of night – after Laelaps had dragged her and almost ripped her arm off in the process – Eos forgot what it was she could say.

Melaina could do any number of things.

Attack. Cry. Scream. Hug her.

All of them. None of them.

Trying to ignore the pain in her arm - which the lycaon had probably grabbed a little too hard because it was now bleeding profusely through the peice of material she'd had to rip from her robes - and had also started to make her feel that touch little light headed, Eos thought back to that morning.

Laelaps had been off somewhere, she'd assumed watching Deimos at Fort Phyle and, she'd followed Melaina through the square. She hadn't meant to be seen at all, she'd promised Laelaps to leave the plan be but, somehow, she'd caught Melaina's eye by mistake for just a moment, saw her both frieghtened and relieved before she was able to disappear in to the crowd - leaving Melaina to stand there, and only for Eos to freeze herself when she saw Deimos and one of his men headed in her direction.

He had actually seen her, in the corner of his eye, Eos seen him stop, seen him go to turn his head but, she dodged around some Athenians and found herself sat down behind some pots. There had been nowhere to go. If he'd came over and not told himself he was going insane… hell, she didn't know what would have happened. Although, it may have saved her from the pain in her arm.

Still, Laelaps, who was here now, had assured her – in his own way – that Deimos was sat in Fort Phyle, on Kallinos chair, staring at some sort of letter he'd got from a mercenary not long before.

Deimos, who was also subsequently regretting having killed that old farmer – if only to have some sort of proof that the girl who'd came here actually existed.

For all they knew, the farmer was some crack-pot old fool who'd only been seeing things. Even if he had tortured all sorts of useless secrets out of him. It didn't mean that the man hadn't believed it enough to see something that wasn't there.

And, the blacksmith; with his wild little story of the girl who'd got his sword back for him – with dark hair, dark eyes and sun-kissed skin – which a fair amount of most Greek woman were also described as – and the ultimately dreadful feeling that he was being watched, was just as useless as the farmer. People would do all sorts to make some drachmae, especially in times of war.

And Ogarneos.

Well, it hadn't taken long for the bounty hunters to collect their payment.

Which did leave Kallinos' many whores but, none of them were in any position to pay a large enough sum of drachmae to slaughter a whole fort and, Kallinos' little Leanna had cried so much about it, Deimos had almost felt sick at the sight of the puffy eyed pig.

It was one of those plans worthy of Kallinos himself.

Which, either meant that Kallinos had planned it – and just sort of forgot to give anyone else the blame - and killed himself too - or… it was someone who'd been involved in multiple schemes with the great Kallinos.

Except, the men he worked with – and schemed with – were all accounted for, and all dead.

Which only left the rest of Chrysis' little brood, but; Akin- although a little more roguish nowadays - wouldn't have been so clean with the butchering, Glaukos was far away, staring at tablets on a wall, Pyros was off licking boots, Melaina was… Melaina, and Asphodel… well; even if she had been 'missing' for almost three months already, that little Persian flower would have poisoned them instead of stabbed them in the back.

And, no matter how many times Melaina told him she wasn't, Eos was dead.

Unless it was true and she'd somehow come back to haunt them on the say-so of Hades.

Honestly, he couldn't understand how just the thought of Eos – or even Asphodel – could send Melaina in to such a frenzy… They hadn't even left on good terms with each other.

Still, sitting back in Kallinos' favourite chair, its front legs hanging in the air, Deimos wondered about what they had said to him when he'd informed them of Kallinos' demise. Despite their assurance that Asphodel's disappearance was indeed planned – just not with his knowledge – they seemed to be that little more riled when they heard one of their greatest thinkers had gone to Hades without them knowing.

Even if they did conclude it to be nothing more than a personal attack by his sister – an obvious attempt for Sparta to get a hold of Athens once again.

Which, just didn't sit right with Deimos.

His sister profited off this war just as much as he did, yes, but, if she'd done it, she wouldn't have bothered leading Kallinos out to his little cliffside retreat. Surely...

Unless…

Unless his sister was intending to sway him… Only for her to realise quite quickly that Kallinos was too filled with fear to put a foot out of line… Deimos smiled…

It wasn't as if she hadn't expressed the want for him to join her on her little family reunion. Maybe she'd found out about Kallinos having grown up with him and thought that if she could convince him, she'd have access to her brother…

Well, it hadn't gone the way she'd planned… Obviously…

Deimos leaned forward then, the chair hitting the floor.

There was just that glaring little problem they all seemed to miss - that her damn ship had last been seen sailing south of Naxos and no one knew where she was.

Oh, and the cult had been hunting their mater just like she said they were.

How much else were they keeping from him.


Before she even touched the handle, Eos looked down at Laelaps.

"You have to stay outside" Laelaps tilted his head, looking offended - this was his idea, maybe Eos was the one who should stay outside - Eos sighed, almost smiled, she could only imagine what he was thinking. "If Deimos or one of the guards come, I need to know", the both of them felt the first pick of rain and the lycaon did a small whine before it turned away from her. Accepting his fait.

Eos pulled up the handle, opening the door slowly. It was dark inside, only lit with a few candles here and there. The moon behind her, it gave off some sort of sight but, as the door shut with a soft clunk, it took the moon and the huffing lycaon with it.

Her eyes scanned the room, it wasn't very big, had some small windows - not big enough to escape from - but there was another door, just off from where she stood, there was a small trickle of light coming through the glass, the outside. Then, she caught sight of the body hunched over the table, a pool of blood puddling at their feet – she felt her heart in her mouth, even lowered her dagger which she'd kept close to her chest. Then, she saw movement in the corner of her eye.

Letting her own dagger drop, she reached out to grab at the skinny wrists that were coming at her with their own. Raising her knee up to stop the kick to her stomach, Eos heard the daggers drop to the ground as they gasped and then, pulled the wrists together before she pulled the body around and held them still.

"Just kill me… and… and…" Melaina's legs collapsed and Eos let her fall, taking a step back. "They said you would come… that you would tempt us with your words…" Eos took a few more steps back, grabbing for the candle closest and bringing the light over to her. Melaina had dragged herself to the wall, hugging it as if it was the only real thing there, "Your lies… that you would drag us away from that which we would conquer. That-" she looked so thin now, the robes she wore out had been thrown on the floor, the gown she wore clung to her as if she was some sort of skeleton.

Eos had heard this speech before. It had been given to them by Chrysis. Except, it had concerned the eagle bearer and not her.

"You would see the world burn and chaos ensue and take from us the glory we ourselves deserve" Eos found herself saying the rest of the speech with her. Chrysis had given it to her a couple of days prior to Elpeanor dying, prior to that night that had changed everything for her.

Melaina had gone still, as if she was registering the voice in her head.

"Eos…" she said after a moment,

"Mel-" Eos went to take a step forward, her face illuminated by the candle only helping in making Melaina throw herself backwards, hitting her head on the wall and making even Eos flinch, her cry was high-pitched but feeble,

"I said you would come" Mel choked on a sob in her throat, "that you would haunt us… for what we did… for what we do…".

Eos said nothing, allowing the incoherrant babble to continue.

If she knew anything about Melaina, it was that she liked to be listened too. She wasn't always believed – some of the things she said were downright insane – but, Eos knew that the only way Melaina could accept this – accept her – was by talking herself in to it. Eos knelt down slowly.

"For what we believed… for we have no real place in this world" Melaina didn't look at her, she only stared at the body hunched over the table as she spoke, "Let me be with them, will you… wherever they are… silenced… soulless…" Melaina touched her face, pulled at the skin below her eyes, "She had it… she had the sight and they took her away… I have the… the sight…" Melaina looked at Eos but, it didn't actually feel as if she was looking at her, "And now, I cannot see, I am useless to them…",

Eos almost smiled. That was Melaina's gift. The reason the cult had taken the red-headed babe from Sparta all those years ago.

If Eos somehow had a lycaon by her side, Melaina had the blood of an oracle.

Except, as soon as she'd shown any signs of the sight, of Godly visions - the eye of kosmo had taken her and supressed it. Almost as if she was an experiment. Twisting her perfectly sane mind in to one that couldn't really fathom truth or lie. That made the visions she saw just a product of what the cult wanted.

And, amongst Chrysis' little brood, there had been a reason why the children of Kosmos had been taken and raised the way they were.

Kallinos had been the babe of great thinkers; Pyros had been an orphan to a flame that had killed everyone but him; Glaukos had washed up on a beach, a gift from Poseidon; Asphodel had been a Persian, a lost baby of a supposed Persian king, Deimos a demi-god and the blood of the first civilisation and Eos…

Eos'd had a twin brother once. Long dead now. Killed by a lioness. They said that in the end, the truest sibling had survived, and the other replaced by a wolf. Eos only thought it as a stupid decision, and a lucky break for the dying lycaon pup.

"She was so scared… so scared of them… but it's not a horror but an honor… the gods word… through her like a…" Melaina was still babbling, and Eos quickly realised that it was best she started listening again, "They took her… planned… the Persian flower… silenced for the lies she told… Eos… the wolf… the pack leader… planned… killed for the life she took…",

The Persian flower.

Asphodel.

Planned?

"Kallinos… the mind… the brother… taken for the schemes he pursued… and I… taken for the truths I do not speak…".

Except, Eos wasn't there to kill her.

And, as Melaina looked back from her to the body on the table, she had some sort of epiphany.

Eos didn't even see it coming. Melaina wrapped her arms around her neck and squeezed so hard, Eos choked. Melaina let go, holding her by the shoulders as she leant back,

"Eos…" she cupped her face in her hands then, "You're…".

Violence. Suppression. Acceptance.

The three stages of Melaina.

"But… they said you ran…" Melaina said,

"I never run Melaina" Eos said, her dagger was back in her hand now, gripped tight and held close to her. She hadn't even realised she'd picked it up.

The three stages of Melaina could so easily turn in to four.

"Their taking us out Eos" Melaina told her, "Their trying to…" she looked away, back at the body at the table, "their wiping us from existence… First, it was you… when you…" Melaina trailed away, "Then they took Asphodel" Eos sat back on her heels, the dagger flat on her thigh, "She saw a truth… a truth that was a lie…",

"What did she see" Eos asked,

"A vision… from the Gods… the Persian flower… the blood of an oracle ran in her veins Eos. She was never meant to". Asphodel had been a gift to the cult, a gift from a supposed Persian king to make it so the cult would leave them out of this war. That it would leave the Persians who resided here free to pass through without much hate. A treaty almost. "She was afraid Eos, she knew what they would do but, she saw something that made her mad, made her speak lies… then… she vanished… like a mist… he tried to… he couldn't find her… he still can't" she sounded horrified at that but, she'd always held Deimos in such high regard - no matter how much he pushed her away or flittered over her as if she was just something to be used.

"And Akin is so sad Eos. He left us… He ran…" Melaina put her hand out, grabbing softly at something invisible, "He loved her and they took her…".

Akin the warrior. The bull-beheader. Eos couldn't believe that he'd run, but she knew that he had loved her.

"And he says Akin is fine, that he is true, strong but, I've seen it. His pride; it will kill him".

They'd been saying it since they were children, if anything was going to kill Akin, it'd be that.

"And Kallinos… I think they took him too Eos… Like they tried to take you".

Eos took a deep breath and shook her head,

"No Mel, I did that" she said quietly,

"What" Melaina said it as if she'd forgotten that Eos was there,

"I killed Kallinos" Eos told her, she placed the dagger on the floor and Melaina watched her, the silver glinting in the candle light,

"But… you said" Melaina pushed herself up against the wall, "You are not real-"

"Melaina, he tried to kill me" Eos told her, "I went to Attika. I saw Deimos kill Periklese" she could see her shaking her head, but she carried on, "him and the Chimera threw me in to Hephaistos as the lava started to rise",

"The Chimera is gone. Vanished from the world" Melaina said quietly,

"I know. I killed her too" - Eos had took a pleasure in that one.

Melaina seemed to come back to herself then. "Eos… how did you… they said you… they said that they left your body to the wolves…" her voice was so small now,

"They did Melaina" she smiled "but, Laelaps found me",

"No Eos" she reached out again then, cupping her cheek as if to comfort her "He's dead. They shot him. He collapsed. His body was on fire" she raised her hands then, as if she was holding something.

"Well, he didn't die" Eos told her, he also hadn't been shot or set on fire but, Eos wasn't about to try and convince Melaina of that, "he dragged me away before I succumbed to Hades",

"But Kosmos took your life… for the one you took" Melaina whispered it, as if she couldn't let anyone hear it.

"Sometimes I wish he had but, the Gods must have found it funny to let me live" Eos said. She wasn't here to talk about that. "Melaina. I tried to get Kallinos to see the truth, and I don't need to do that with you because, you've seen it".

"Are you going to kill me too" Melaina asked, looking down at the dagger on the floor,

"No Melaina. I want you to come with me".

"What" Melaina looked up at her, "No… Eos… I",

"Why not Mel" Eos asked, "You've seen the truth… you've seen what the cult does… what they've done… you know it's not right",

"They would always find me… the eyes… but to leave them... I would be blind..."

"No Mel, you'd finally be able to see" Eos said, she put her hand on her head, felt the blood trickle from her hand on to her face,

"And the eyes would follow me, they would follow me and I would…" she was babbling on now. About the sage, about Elpeanor… About the shadow that had taken her.

"What if I killed them" Eos suddenly asked, Melaina stopped,

"I can't see without my eyes Eos" Melaina said quietly, her voice was suddenly soft again, as if she wasn't really there,

"No Melaina - you'd be able to see with the eyes the Gods gave you, the eyes that do not lie",

"Maybe I don't want to" she said it so quietly Eos almost didn't hear, she wasn't even sure she was supposed to. It made her feel sick. Still, Eos grabbed on to Melaina's hand, and, for the first time, Melaina actually looked her in the eye.

"If I got rid of them. If I found Asphodel. Would you come with me" Eos asked. Pressing that small coin in to her hand, laced with her blood now - as they had been once, all them years ago. She saw it. Hope, maybe even longing in those big, tear ridden green eyes before they turned away from her.

It made Eos realise that she couldn't give up on Melaina just yet. Melaina wasn't blind to the truth, she just didn't believe it. And that was more than what Kallinos had given her.

"I don't know" Melaina eventually said, "I don't know if there's anything after this Eos",

"There is a lot Mel" Eos told her, she hadn't experienced much of it yet but, just the people she'd met had made her realise that there was so much more room in the world to be who you wanted to be. And, most importantly, that nobody was just one thing.

"But would he not find me if I left… would he not-",

"What did Deimos say when you told him you saw me" Eos asked. She needed to know.

"He did not listen, he-"

"Mel, if he does anything, it's listen" he knew how important it was to Melaina that he listened, they all did,

"Yes, but… but he does not believe" Mel put her head down. Eos sighed, it would have helped, if only a little, but Melaina wasn't finished, she raised her head, "but... I think part of him wanted too… but now… Eos" she sighed, "we had him once, we had him whole but, the pieces… they've started to fade away, to break off. I don't know if there's many pieces left to save… I don't know if he could be anymore than he's made to be…",

"But you said he wanted to believe" Eos said quietly,

"We all know why that is Eos" Eos almost thought that she heard the bits of spite in her voice that Melaina could so easily let go, but she ignored it,

"Well, maybe that's the only piece we need to pull it back together" Eos said, it was almost a question but, Melaina wasn't about to answer it,

"He's so sad too" Melaina told her, she slouched her shoulders, sighed, "Ss many sad children… So many dead… Kallinos…" she nodded her head, "I saw his death once… long ago… He betrayed someone he loved… And he died for it"

"Because he did love us" Eos said, "in his own way". Melaina smiled weakly, she'd had more than few situations that Kallinos had got her out of as well. "Melaina. I can get rid of Kosmos eyes" Melaina sighed and Eos stood up, bringing Melaina up with her "but I can not do it on my own",

"Eos, they will know that I told you… they will see through the lies…"

"Melaina, they'll be dead and it won't matter".

Melaina took a step away from her, looking at Eos as she walked backwards towards the man on the table, she had the coin clutched in her hand, the bronze digging in to her palm.

"Did you take it Eos… did you rid it of this world" Melaina asked suddenly. Eos didn't realise what she meant, then she watched as Melaina turned around to the body that was still hunched and stinking on the table, "Did you take the life they punished you for", Melaina glanced back, saw Eos nod her head. "Only fitting really… You give life. You take it away…".

Eos wanted to tell her that it shouldn't work like that but, Melaina wasn't finished,

"I should think that Kosmo has enough children. That it should probably end with us".

Eos took that as a promise, as an agreement from the red rat of the cult of Kosmos.

And then, Eos heard it, the soft scratch at the door – which neither of them had realised had been getting louder to equate for the storm that was now hung over Attika. Eos pulled the door open and the lycaon raced in, turning around to snarl at it as it closed.

Melaina hadn't moved.

"Eos, you must go… You must…",

"Mel, come with me" Eos said, she turned to her,

"No, I can not Eos. Not yet. It's too dangerous. Please, just go".

She may have regretted it. Hell, Eos regretted most things nowadays, but, she knew if she stayed there any longer, whatever was coming through that door was not going to be stopped by a lycaon. Turning to the other, she'd had to yank Laelaps back by his tail to make him follow her outside and in to the downpour. A rumble of thunder following them as they ran through the darkened streets of Attika.

Only moments after she'd left, Deimos had pushed the door open and walked in. Squeezing the bun on the back of his head, he was about to announce to Melaina that he was leaving, that he had jobs elsewhere that needed his attention, that this was the last time he was going to tell her that she had to accept that Eos was gone, but he stopped. Melaina was stood frozen by the dead mans body, her hand bloodied, her fingers curled around something.

And, there was an overwhelming smell of wet dog.

Chapter Text

"Don't look at me like that" Eos said as she put her hand on her head, "You have to stay here".

The lycaon was sat with such a stern looking face, Eos had started to wonder if there was indeed a man under all that fur.

Wet fur.

Wet smelly dog fur.

"If Deimos knows anything, I need to know, I need to know if he's coming in my direction". The lycaon still wasn't convinced. "I need to know if he does anything terrible to Melaina" she added it as if it would change the lycaons mind but, it seemed he was in no mood to babysit oracles or demi-gods today. "Laelaps, he'll know something is up and, I need to know if he decides to act on it" the lycaon tilted his head at her, 'll wait in Argolis for you, I promise", the lycaon had snorted at her – the last time they'd 'split up', she'd ended up in a volcano.

Eos sat herself down on some steps. They were still out in the rain, having just ran from one side of the city to the other.

So, Melaina hadn't exactly gone terrible. It had gone better than she'd expected – except, the only way Melaina could be free of the cult was for Eos to kill the eye – and most likely the rest of the cults littler eyes – and Asphodel was missing, taken by the cult to somewhere where even Deimos couldn't find her.

And she had no leads.

Except, she did have Elpeanors breastplate and, at least that meant that there was one less eye of kosmo to deal with. Which also meant that maybe Kassandra had some sort of clue as to where the sage, or the others would be.

Which also meant she had to leave.

"Laelaps" Eos sighed, "I know it's probably a terrible idea but" she shrugged a shoulder, "If Deimos decides I'm worthy enough of his thoughts" the lycaon snorted at her again, "if he does" Eos repeated, "I need to have some sort of warning... and, yes, you could come with me and then tell me if he is close or some shit like that but, is it just coincidence or… is it because he decided that I am not dead".

The lycaon looked at her so sourly then but, she could see the give in his shoulders as they slouched, accepting his inevitable defeat on the decision.

Wrapping her arms around her knees, she put her head down on them, shivering a little as she took a deep breath. She'd thought about going back to the temple of Asklepios but, it was in the same direction that Melaina and Deimos was and, even though she had no worry about him, or her, traversing the stormy darkness, she didn't want to chance it. So, instead, she angled her way in to the small house Hippokrates had been in.

It was obviously just a house that he'd rented but, fortunately for her, it hadn't been rented out again. The lycaon, having followed her quite miserably, had lay himself down at the door as she pulled off her soaked-through travellers cloak and flung it over a chair. The leather belt she was wearing had been that little more defiant but, she lay that over another before she sat down on the small raised bed, that the man with the broken foot had lay on. Her arm didn't look all that bad now - the rain had washed most of the blood away but, it had also ruined her terrible attempt at bandaging it. Unwrapping it had caused a few curses which had made Laelaps look up from where he lay.

The lycaon thought he would feel worse about having bitten her but, considering his new job and her stupid decisions, he was hoping it'd be a reminder that he was always right.


The morning came quicker than Eos hoped - and, once Laelaps had brought her the scaled breast plate she'd left on that ledge in the temple of Asklepios, she and him parted ways. Hopefully by now, Kassandra would have found what it was she was looking for on Thera and, perhaps she was even making her way to Argolis herself. Perhaps she'd decided that Argolis wasn't high on her agenda at all and Eos would have to do it all on her own.

She couldn't blame her. Chrysis was a terrible person who deserved to die but, Kassandra had other things she had to do and Eos wasn't afraid to face her on her own. She'd only asked Kassandra if she'd like to come because, she knew that Chrysis was one of the sole reasons Kassandra was fighting against her own brother – not to mention all the things the old hag had done in the name of love to her adopted children - and all the things she'd continue to do to the babies that mothers foolishly left in her care.

And, if Eos was sure of anything, it was that, to kill a snake – and make sure that it stayed dead – you had to remove it's head.

It may also lead her to Asphodel.

Asphodel who, as sweet and helpful as she could be, had a love for drama. Something that Eos had never really understood. She couldn't say that she hadn't enjoyed the killing but, Asphodel found this sort of sick little enjoyment in it - a bit like Deimos did but, it was all the worse coming from someone like her.

Maybe it was because Asphodel hadn't suffered as much as them. The cult had taught her to defend herself but, she hadn't been thrown around a training ground by guys twice her size and instead, her skill for potion making had developed in to a fine line between healing and killing. But in all honestly, she was probably more useful. The Persian had this exotic beauty about her that made it easy for her to get men, or woman, to do whatever it was she wanted - which usually involved drinking some poisoned wine. Although, not before falling at her feet and begging her to bed them. If it wasn't for Akin, she was sure that the Persian flower could have at least made a lot of people happy before they died.

And, if it wasn't for Akin, Eos could imagine herself hating her so much more than she sometimes did.

But, Eos had realised that it was just her way of coping – just like Kallinos' schemes were his.

And now, she was either dead, in hiding or in serious trouble. The latter being the most likely if Melaina's words had any truth behind them and, she had to help her. No matter what she'd done, Eos had this belief that if the Gods could let her live after all her regrets, they could let someone like Asphodel live no problem. Even if her kill count was probably bigger.

Argolis would also have someone else she could use – the real son of Chrysis, Dolops. An old farmer who'd fostered some orphaned children.

She didn't know if he thought her dead but, they had history and, if she was to go after the eyes of Kosmo, her existence wasn't going to go unnoticed for much longer so, she decided that revealing herself to a few extra people here and there wouldn't hurt the situation any more than she already had herself.

And, hopefully by the end of her little trip to Argolis, Chrysis would be dead and she'd have a lead on a flower and some eyes.

If she remembered correctly, Argolis would take her about a day of non-stop walking to get too – which, after the night she'd had, was not going to happen.

Passing over a small bridge, Eos looked back at the scorched lands that surrounded Attika one last time, waving at the invisible lycaon she was sure was watching her and then, turned to the path that would take her through to Megaris.

She passed by the Kerkyan wrestling grounds - where contenders were training for the Olympics, an event she'd been too a few times if only to poison some politicians and, she stopped in the Sanctuary of Eleusis, listening out for any news that might help. It hadn't.

Back on the path to Megaris, it wasn't long before the valley she walked through started to narrow, high walls of stone towering over her on both side - which could only mean that she was minutes away from the valley of King Lelex; and, the city of Pigs - very tasty pigs Eos remembered as she passed by one of the butchers just inside the gates, picking up some pork scratchings to chew on whilst she wandered slowly through the streets.

The citizens didn't have much to say but, as she passed by some guards on her way out, she back-tracked a little to hear about some sort of disturbance in Argolis.

"I heard that she was doing it for years" the spartan guard said,

"Did the priests know" the other asked,

"Apparently not. The maters went to her with their broken babes and instead of return them, she kept them for herself" he shrugged a shoulder,

"What did she do with them" the guard asked,

"I would guess she sold them" the guard shrugged again, "I do not think there is much you could do with a babe".

Eos had a want to tell them that you could do a lot with innocent little babes but, not to dampen her own mood, she let them be. For, just this one time, Eos couldn't help but think, in that very moment, the Gods were smiling down on her.

Following the path, past the Isthmus of Poseidon, Eos remembered that there was a small cave just over the hill, almost on the border of Korinthia. And then, somehow, she decided that instead of going around – and wasting the daylight that she had left, she would walk up the hill and scale down the cliff to it.

Everything had been going fine until the entrance to the cave was just below her feet - and she'd realised that someone else had claimed it.

Two bodies lay in a heap at the entrance, splayed and bloodied. A warning used quite thoughtfully by the followers of Ares.

It was as she got herself ready to traverse over to the side a little, so she could jump down and be disguised by the bushes that she heard the echoes of someone coming up out of the cave, followed by a torchlight splaying a large single shadow across the ground.

Flattening herself to the cliff face and pulling out her dagger, Eos waited until the lone body was right below her before she let herself fall, taking him out quickly with a quick jab to the back and throat.

The white face told her what she needed to know – and also gave her some warning of what she would find inside.

Passing a broke-down wagon and more dead bodies, Eos found three others. One had been lying on his side, near a fire and a cooking pot, tucking in to a bowl of red meat - which was most likely the innards of the man who's torso lay on the altar - where two more were stood, chanting some incoherent words to their God.

Wrapping her arm around the lying mans throat, Eos had broken his neck before she'd even jabbed him with her dagger. He'd made a little gurgling noise as he slumped to the floor, his mouth still full of food but, before the other two could turn around, Eos had grabbed the dead mans sword and rammed it threw one of their backs before pushing them aside and then, only had to dodge the last ones swing before she kicked out at him, watching him fall backwards and crash in to the cooking fire.

He had screamed and threw himself away from it, trying to dampen the flames but the damage was already done; searing red welts were starting to appear all over his body. Waiting until he stood back up, Eos had thrown her dagger at the back of his head as he'd attempted to run, the flames still clinging to him as he hit the floor, the dagger sticking out the back of his neck.

The followers didn't have much but, it was only as she looked up that she noticed the sides of a chest on a small ledge above her. Climbing up on to it, she found a dead goat – which for a moment she considered roasting over the small iron barrel of fire that was there – and inside the chest, another trackers cloak and a pouch of drachmae. Enough drachmae to get her a room for the night.

However, with the sun already going down, Eos decided to stay on that ledge instead. Using the trackers cloak as a pillow, Eos had pulled her hood over her eyes and got a few hours of rest in.

Whether she slept or not, she couldn't say but, when the sun started to rise and she could hear the bird song echoing inside the cave, she knew it was time to pass over in to Korinth. No matter how achy all her bones felt. She'd spent days on that ledge in the temple of Asklepios, lying on stone with nothing but a small pillow she'd taken from the altar and never had a night as bad as this.

Stretching her legs by walking through the puddles of dye helped but, Eos was sure that the bottom of her sandals and feet would be stained orange forever.


Once inside the city walls, just for a moment, as Eos had looked from the horses to the pouch of drachmae she now had secured to her belt, she wondered if she should just get her very own Phobos and make life all that easier.

Except, it would most likely hate Laelaps with a passion – like almost everything did. It was almost as if they knew as much as the people, that he was some creature sent from Hades to eat them. When really, despite what the oracle had told her that day, despite the fact that he had lived a very long life - for a wolf – and that he had this unnervingly human thing about him, Eos liked to tell herself that he was a very 'big' well-behaved dog that people would be very jealous of if they did more than scream whenever they saw him.

So, instead of that horse, she decided that finding help from a local healer was a better waste of drachmae. Her hand didn't hurt half as much anymore but, Eos was sure she could see some of it turning green.

Which, despite her realising quite quickly that she was defending the same animal that had bit her, was a much better use of the drachmae because, the healer also had some choice words about what had been happening down in Argolis. A priestess had been found to be stealing babies, a priestess who hadn't been seen since the 'eagle-bearer' had saved one of them.

Except, despite the healer wishing her a painful time with Hades, Eos knew that Kassandra hadn't killed her. She was still out there, hiding but, it meant that cults hold had slipped and it would make it all the easier for Eos.

It also meant that, in all the healers faffing about it, she'd bandaged Eos' hand in such a way, she could only just move her fingers.

By that second night though, she finally walked in to Argos.

Finding a cheap bed was that little bit easier than Attika and, in the quiet of the night, she decided it was best to go down to the docks and leave that message for Kassandra, like she said she would and then, she'd find Dolops – and then, depending on what happened, she'd make her way over to Epidauros to put the feelers out for both the baby-snatcher and Asphodel.

Feeling much better after having had a soft bed underneath her – and perhaps still a little giddy after accepting a few too many glasses of wine from some drunk Spatans, Eos picked up some breakfast from a breads stall and made her way down the road to the kingdom of Hope.

The port was busy but, there was no sign of the Adrestia and, after talking to an eager little dock hand, she'd been told that a ship by that name hadn't made port yet. Which meant, after leaving the young boy with a little bit of drachmae and a folded piece of parchment – to give to the white eyed man aboard the ship – with nothing on it – which had only confused the young dock hand when he'd taken a peak at it later, she headed up to where she remembered Dolops had lived.

He used to live on a farm. She'd lived with him for a few years, worked the fields with her brother; Akin; Deimos. It was under his watch that her brother had died but, her grudge wasn't with him and, despite the jealousy that he always seemed to radiate, she knew he was just as much a victim as the rest of them.

She wasn't completely sure of how their meeting would go though.

But, she hadn't expected him to slam the door shut in her face.

Guess he thought she was dead too.

"Open the door Dolops" Eos said,

"She said you were dead" he cried from behind it, "She… she cried". At least someone had Eos thought but, it wasn't about to change the outcome of their next meeting,

"If it was not for her, you would not think me dead" – it wasn't exactly true, a few of the others had been involved too, but - Chrysis and her had not exactly left each other on very good terms. She couldn't remember much from that night – she didn't want to – but, Eos remembered trying to grab at her head and pull the eyes from her sockets.

"They said that they lost you. That you-",

"Dolops" that night was the last thing she wanted to talk about, "Do you know where your mater is". After a moment, she heard the door unlock. She stood back, letting him pull it open,

"If I did, would you kill her" Dolops asked,

"Uh… what" Eos had almost about to say yes but then, she remembered who she was talking to,

"I know what she did now. To you. To the others. I do not know where it is she hides but, if I helped you find her, would you".

Out of all the things she'd expected, it had not been that. Still, she nodded.

Eos saw a weight then, like it had been around his shoulders for years just lift off of him – as if he'd finally found someone to confide in - it almost made her feel sick with jealousy but she'd squashed it down. Since it had been found that his mater had been stealing babies, maters from all over had come to him – knowing of the orphans he'd once cared for – and begged him to tell them where they were.

He never knew. His mater would bring him children, too small and feeble to face the world alone and in turn, he would raise them; his mater would help, would lead them away for weeks on end, only to return them to him more hardened, more broken, only for them to eventually go away and never come back. His mater had always told him that she'd found them new homes.

He'd been younger, much younger, when Eos and her brother had been brought to him. His mother had told him of some twins she'd found, left to die and he'd taken them in without a thought. Along with Akin and Deimos, who was his maters pride and joy, they had been the only babes in which he knew that his mother had taken more of a liking too – he'd known of the others – of a baby from fire, another from the sea, one from the gutter and a flower - but, other than seeing the blonde a couple of times whilst travelling his wares, he didn't know much about them.

"Do you have any idea where she is" Eos asked,

"I wish I did. I wish a lot of things but, I..." Dolops sighed, "The last I saw her, she came here, crying about having lost a babe. I turned my back and then... she was gone" he shrugged his shoulder as he turned around, he wrapped his arms around himself. He was useless. Completely useless. But still, Eos said thank you. She knew now that by the sight of the empty wine bottles on his table that he was telling her the truth – and that he'd most likely be waking up the next morning with a head full of pins and may even convince himself that this was all some sort of dream.

She should have known, he never would have asked her to kill his mater had he been sober. He was too much of a coward.

"I'll come back if I hear anything",

"Yes, please do… and Eos... I am sorry" Dolops said, she gave him a smile before she left.

For the best part of an hour, Eos watched the farmers house. Dolops didn't leave and, on closer inspection, she saw him splayed out on his bed with a wine glass in his hand. The sun wasn't even in the middle of the sky and he was already snoring.

Under normal circumstances, she'd get Laelaps to trapes back and forth for her but, considering he was in Attika – or she hoped he was and he wasn't out there looking at her right now – it meant that she just had to go with her gut feeling that Dolops was in no way a threat and head to Epidauros.

It wasn't long before she was walkling under the olive tree of Herakles. As old as it was beautiful.

In the sanctuary of Epidauros, she saw the sick and the injured splayed out on their beds, the priests working tirelessly. A man, who had been lay in the corner had died, gone unnoticed and, a small skinny boy lay on one of the beds, an older boy sat next to him, clutching his hand.

A small girl had passed by her then, holding some medical supplies, only for her to back-track a little,

"Does your arm need seeing to" she'd asked, she couldn't have been anymore than ten but, she looked so willing to help that once she'd passed what the priests needed over – even though Eos hadn't answered her - she'd came back with a clean bandage.

Eos had sat down with her, near the sick boy. The girl had unwrapped the bandage so carefully, Eos hardly felt the fabric pull at the skin around the bite.

"What bit you" the girl had asked, her eyes going wide as she looked up at her,

"A very big wolf" Eos said,

"Ouch" the little girl had replied before pulling some salve from the pocket in her robes. Using a piece of cloth and a small water basin she'd pulled over, she washed over the teeth marks and wrapped Eos's hand back up.

She'd done an even better job than that healer in Argos. She could actually move her fingers now.

"It looks like it's healing nicely but, I will give you some extra bandages, it needs to be kept clean – especially a wolf bite – they can have all sorts of diseases inside them",

"Thank you" Eos said, flexing her fingers as the girl sat back, smiling. Eos had almost wondered as if she was expected to give her some drachmae but then, the girl had jumped up at the sound of the coughing young boy and she'd gone over to comfort him.

"Be still" she'd said quietly, "You'll see your mother soon, she'll be waiting for you". Eos sat and watched as both the little girl and, what she assumed was the boys brother, held the dying boys hands, comforting him as he fell off to sleep.

After a few minutes, Eos saw the little girl touch the boys wrist with her fingers. She moved, put her small hand on the brothers shoulder and squeezed it. He burst in to tears and buried his face in his brothers chest.

The girl returned to her then, her head down as she cleaned up the little bits of cloth cutting and ointment she'd left,

"He was really sick" the little girl told her, "They just lost their mater a few months ago… she left them homeless and hungry… we tried to help them but, it was never enough… the priests said that he died from a broken heart… that he didn't try enough…" the little girls lip had started to quiver, "But... its my fault really" she said quietly,

"Did you make him sick" Eos asked,

"No but… I was sick… before… really sick… but… they prayed for me… not for his mother and…",

"That's not your fault… if the Gods had wanted her to live, they would have… sometimes, it's just your time to go… no matter how much you think it's not",

"I know…" the little girl said, "that's why I'm still here… the woman who asked the priests to pray for me instead… she was this… I don't know… like an angel… she even had an eagle flying over her head",

"Kassandra" Eos said quietly - she wondered if the mistios knew how much of a mark she was leaving on the world.

"I don't know her name but, she was wonderful. She tried to get us a bull so she could save us all but, it was already dead. And the priest asked her who to save and she said me…" the little girl sat down, "and then, when I got better, when the others got sicker, I knew I had to do something. If they could save me, then maybe I can save others, you know",

"That's a lovely thought" Eos said.

"I want to be like her" the little girl nodded, "hse did so much for us - she rid the baths of snakes, she even showed the world how horrible that priestess was, how she was stealing babies" she wrapped her arms around herself,

"Yes, I heard about that",

"No one's seen her since. Do you think she could be dead",

"Maybe" Eos shrugged,

"I hope so… I have a baby brother… I'd never let anyone take him – ever",

"Good, you make sure of it" Eos told her. Leaving the girl to her work, Eos ended up near the guesthouse where a group of women had gathered, all shouting at the guards who were stood there.

"We want it destroyed" the head woman had said, "we do not want any more of these shrines tainting our land",

"Woman, come on. It is one shrine. It is full of those white-faced freaks. It is not worth it",

"We. Want. It. Destroyed" the woman repeated,

"Go and do it yourself" he shrugged, making himself chuckle. The woman had got up in his face then, pointing at him,

"You Spartan scum have no-" the guard pulled out his sword,

"I should think you'd stop there, midwife" the guard had said. The woman had sneered and then turned away from him, followed by the crowd of angry woman who threw taunts back at them as they walked away. The guard had sighed heavily and re-sheathed his sword.

Waiting until the women had dispersed, Eos went over to him.

"Not today mistios" he had said, putting his hand on his head as he closed his eyes, Eos smiled,

"You seem to be in need of one", he'd smiled, not opening his eyes,

"We don't need help of the likes of-"

"Yes, we do" another guard, bigger and more important from the looks of his helmet, most-likely a captain, "We can't spare any men but, we could spare you",

"We can't spare the drachmae" another who was leant up on the wall said, chewing at his finger nails,

"Perhaps we could sort something else out" the man had said, gazing up and down at Eos as she raised her brow a little – he reminded her of a Spartan Kallinos and, she wasn't about to go there,

"Well, if you have enough drachmae to pay this one to threaten women" the Spartan had scowled so much at her, the Captain had laughed, "I'm sure you have enough drachmae to pay me".

"Well, if you're sure we cannot find anything more pleasurable to exchange" the Captain said, he pointed over his shoulder "The shrines just over the way, destroy it – help those cannibalistic bastards meet their God and then, we'll talk about that drachmae". Eos nodded.

It didn't take her long to find the shrine.

She'd almost hoped that she'd find Chrysis in amongst the followers that were there but, she had no such luck. There was six of them. And, after dispatching the first two without the rest of them being none the wiser, Eos had grabbed the third, only for him to make a small yelping noise before she'd stabbed him in the throat, alerting the others. Pushing the now dead man at one of them, she'd taken the other two out quickly enough to grab a fallen spear and push it through the one who hadn't stood up yet, impaling him on the ground.

The shrine was decorated with pink petals which, Eos had let fall through her fingers before she destroyed it – making a promise to herself that if Asphodel was alive, she wouldn't be able to slip through so easily.

Chapter Text

Three weeks.

Three weeks with no word of Chrysis, no sightings of Asphodel, no sign of the Adrestia.

Three weeks of doing odd-jobs for midwives, scouting followers of Ares, talking to that little girl.

Which, hadn't completely been in vain. As well as the little girl getting her in to the bath house for a wash and, delivering her some clean robes; she had also known Asphodel, had seen her, spoke to her, told her how she had been taken sick. The little girl didn't know the details, only that she'd been taken in to the guest house – which Eos had searched every corner of and found nothing.

She hadn't talked to the priests about it but, the late nights spent outside their quarters had only laid bare their regrets and some half-assed stories about the ways in which they would heal those that came to them. She could see now why Hippokrates and the priests didn't get on.

But, those three weeks had also brought something else. Which, out of everything, bothered her the most.

No Laelaps.

Eos was sure that by now Deimos would have decided what way it was he was headed. Laelaps only had to know, he didn't have to follow him… as long as it was in the opposite direction… as long as Melaina was safe…

Unless… Melaina wasn't safe… unless something terrible had happened to him…

Eos had forgotten how lonely it was without him – how wary everything in the world was.

The amount of times she'd followed that little girl – if only to make sure that the words they shared didn't find their way in to anyone else's ears, how many times she'd been back to Dolops, only to find him trudging around his farm, as if he'd completely forgotten their conversation.

If she'd had Laelaps, he would have done it for her. Would have been able to let her know if someone wasn't telling a truth or holding something back. She had some sort of sense to it but, the lycaon would always be there, his sixth sense just needing to confirm what it is she felt.

She'd forgotten how helpless she felt without him. How useless she really was.

All-of-which had made her only the more desperate.

Desperate enough to bed that Spartan she'd insulted because she'd overheard them talking about Asphodel. It was either him or the Captain and she'd almost wondered if the Captain would have been more fun.

It had been an experience that had left her very unsatisfied but, at least now she knew that before Asphodel had taken sick, she'd been jittery and jumpy as she'd gone about her duties – she'd been like it for a while – and then, one night, she'd just snapped, started screaming about some voice in her head and then… nothing. The priests who had attended her were now gone and the rumour among the guards man was that the little flower had ran away with them.

When Eos had mentioned it to the little girl, she'd shrugged as she wrapped up a moany mans foot and said that she didn't really know who the priests were – that they were from across the sea but, they hadn't disappeared, they'd moved on. Needed elsewhere in the Greek world.


By the end of the fourth week, Eos finally saw the Adrestia heading towards her. When she wasn't following around priests or delivering letters to guards about the birth of their babies – one of which she'd awkwardly delivered to one particular Spartan guard just the day before – she was sat near the docks, waiting.

The sun was going down when the Adrestia finally docked but, she'd watched as the dock hand went up to them with his little book, ruffling through the pages to take out the folded letter. Kassandra had taken it from him, despite his complaints that it was the blind eye'd man and not her, smiled and nodded, as if there was something on there and then, passed it over to Barnabas. The old sea captain had scratched his head as he'd turned it over.

Kassandra had went to ask the dock hand where the closest tavern was but, instead, she spotted Eos sat on one of the roofs.

"Eos" Kassandra said, the mistios looked tired, Eos could see her almost struggle to pull herself up, "I was worried I would have missed you",

"Did you find what you were looking for" Eos asked,

"More questions than answers" Kassandra told her as she sat herself down next to her,

"That seems about right" Eos said quietly,

"What about you" Kassandra asked,

"Well. Kallinos is dead" Eos said – surprising herself how bland her voice sounded when she said it, Kassandra had went to offer her condolences but, Eos shook her head "There was no hope Kassandra, no time…" Eos sighed then, "Melaina is complicated, Asphodel is missing and Deimos…", even if she knew what to say about him, Kassandra may not have given her the chance,

"Have you seen him" Kassandra asked, Eos forgot that he was Kassandra's brother,

"Yes, he was in Attika after I… killed Kallinos and slaughtered all of his men", Kassandra had sat back, Eos smiled, "I never said I was a good person",

"Did he see you",

"Not really…" which was true, sort of, "I saw Melaina though, I spoke to her. She's a lot more unstable than she was before. Told me Asphodel was gone – that the cult said it was planned – except, they hadn't told Deimos and he's pretty pissed about it",

"Has Melaina joined you",

"If I can kill the eye of Kosmo, she might" Eos said, looking to the Adrestia, she tilted her head, "I left Laelaps in Attika, there was a moment when I thought your brother might follow me. I needed Laelaps to warn me if he did but, neither of them have showed up yet" Kassandra put her hand on Eos' shoulder,

"I'm sure he knows how to look after himself" Kassandra said,

"Yes" Eos said quietly, she leaned back, "I just miss insulting him". Kassandra smiled.

For the first night since Eos had left Laelaps, even though she'd spent most of it telling Kassandra that the people had turned against the priestess of Hera – because of what Kassandra had done – and Kassandra had given her some letters of which she'd obtained in relation to the eyes of Kosmo, Eos had closed her own eyes and slept for a few hours. She'd been lying on the deck of the Adrestia, the trackers cloak again being used as a pillow but, it had been the best few hours sleep she'd had in a while.

Walking through Epidaurus the next day, the little girl had ran over, insistent on telling Kassandra all of what she'd done since she'd seen her last and, as they'd passed by the Spartan captain and the guard – who was now ignoring Eos with some sort of passion - Kassandra couldn't help but question her about it.

"I've never had a Spartan man" Kassandra had said, "Are they as good as the stories say",

"Well, that one certainly didn't live up to the stories" Eos admitted,

"So, are you saying you had one that did" Kassandra asked,

"Well, I don't know if Spartan is pushing it" Eos had mumbled under her breath as they came to a small stream. There was a woman knelt down at the centre, crying. Eos had looked over at Kassandra but, the mistios was already heading towards her,

"Why won't anyone help me" the woman had almost screamed, "Please, help me" the woman had grabbed at Kassandra's hands,

"Calm down, tell me what happened",

"There are...Raiders... in the forest... my husband tried to fight them off",

"Argos forest" Kassandra asked, out of all the forests in the greek world, Argos' was the safest. Eos was watching, she had a terrible feeling already.

"They stole our food, our horse. They wanted to take me" she wrapped her arms around herself, "All I can hear is their awful laughing. Such a... horrible noise",

"Laughing? And a whole group ambushed you for one horse" Kassandra asked,

"Yes" the woman cried,

"If he's facing those bandits alone, he won't have long to live" Kassandra said, Eos raised her brow - what happened to her being nice and comforting,

"Please, I have a child. You have to help us" the woman begged,

"I will find them - and the bandits" Kassandra said, she turned her head over to Eos who shrugged, she didn't feel right at all.

"I have a bad feeling about this" Eos had said as they'd headed the way in which the woman had pointed. Eos looked over her shoulder as they passed through the trees, the woman was already gone,

"Me too" Kassandra said quietly.

They saw it then, a boulder, a man splayed out on the floor. Kassandra had knelt over him, putting her fingers to his throat, he was dead,

"Kassandra" Eos had said quietly,

"After you saved that child. I knew. Can't help but do the right thing, can you?" Kassandra had looked up and Eos had felt a shiver run all threw the back of her spine.

The little bitch.

"Chrysis…" Kassandra stood up, "You killed this man just to set a trap", Eos raised her eyebrow - she tortured little babies - killing a man was childs play to her.

"It's an honour to give your life to Hera's greatest priestess. He died willingly" Chrysis said as she walked out from behind the boulder, Eos caught her eye and the woman only smiled at her,

"With him gone, I have room for one more on my council. It isn't too late to join us" Chrysis put her hand out, "Of course Eos, I would take you back as well" Eos stayed silent, she could hear something, the clinking of armour maybe,

"No, I'll avenge my brother, I'll avenge those children you took the lives of" Eos already had her dagger in hand when the mistios pulled out her sword,

"You could have been great, you know - the both of you" Chrysis looked at Eos, a longing in her eyes that only made Eos feel sick, "Eos, my offer will still stand... if you survive this night..." she looked back at Kassandra, "You however. If you wish to be an agent of chaos - if you wish to be a killer - then kill, child", two cultists guards walked out from behind the boulder. A woman and a man.

Two small to be Akin, too bulky to be Pyros or Glaukos, Kassandra had glanced back at Eos and she'd nodded.

"You could have joined me messenger" Chrysis chanted as the two guards advanced on them, "We could have ruled the world together", Eos dodged the first swing on the mans sword - it was clunky, almost too heavy for him - he wasn't a warrior, probably some poor farmer, a merchant maybe - Eos turned and stuck her arm out, getting him in the side before she swung again and got him in the back of the neck. "Die for me my child" Chrysis had called out, watching as Kassandra fought with the woman. Chrysis was so infused with watching the mistios, Eos wondered if she could simply go up and just stab her in the back and she wouldn't even know.

The guard Kassandra thought was that much more skilled, flouncing around like some sort of dancer but, Kassandra still took her down.

Kassandra rounded in on Chrysis then, the old woman bringing out her own little sword which only gingerly shook in her hand before Kassandra flung it out of the way and grabbed her by the throat, pinning her against the boulder,

"You fucking snake" Kassandra had screamed at her, Eos walked over, watching from behind, Chrysis was laughing. "I will not stop until every last Cultist has met my spear. I will erase your from history" Kassandra put her spear near her belly, "This if for my mater... and every other family you destroyed". Eos wondered if Kassandra realised she had to cut the head off a snake first but, when the spear stabbed through her body, she let Chrysis fall to the ground, "Eos" she said quietly, glancing back. Eos nodded, taking a step towards her.

Eos knelt down next to Chrysis crumpled form, the old woman holding on to her stomach as if she could stop the bleeding,

"I would have taken you back Eos…" she said again, her eyes flittering shut as she shook,

"What did you do to Asphodel" Eos asked, Chrysis smiled, a small chuckle coming from her,

"I begged the Gods to heal her, to bring her back to us… like I did you". Eos realised where she'd be then, she felt stupid for not looking before - but that place, it just made her feel sick. "You could still help us Eos, you can still be the dawn of a new day" Eos put her head down, "My sweet child… my wolf" Eos shook her head and Chrysis reached up, her hand shaking as she touched her face, "It does not matter what you did Eos. I understand. I know what a maters love can do" Eos felt a sob in the back of her throat then, felt her eyes start to burn,

"You know nothing of a maters love" Eos said. She slit Chrysis throat, watching as the blood spurted out, watched as the life drained from her eyes.

"What did she mean Eos" Kassandra asked as she stood up, Eos looked over her shoulder,

"I told you I took something the cult wanted Kassandra" Eos said, "I couldn't let them have him too".

Chapter Text

Eos looked down at Chrysis.

This woman was the closest thing she'd ever had to a mater and, looking at her now, she felt nothing. She thought that, despite everything, she'd feel a little sad, maybe even pity her but, she didn't. If anything, it was more like a relief. Like breaking apart from something. The root of her life, now plucked and torn and broken and ungrowable.

It was so freeing – except, it had let something else free too.

"Eos" Kassandra said quietly – she still didn't understand. She had a feeling of what Eos might mean, of the words she'd said to Chrysis but…

Eos took a deep breath and turned her head slightly, she shrugged a shoulder,

"I did something terrible. Really, really terrible" her voice got quieter "and I don't regret it" Eos swallowed back the lump in her throat, "not in that moment… but I… I wish I hadn't had to…but" Eos sighed, "I did and…" Eos looked back at Chrysis. It wasn't that Eos had forgiven herself for it. She didn't know if she could.

Choice. Control. It was something Eos had never had until that moment. Not really. She'd never had a choice. She'd always been too scared… too much of a coward…

And in that moment, she'd taken that choice she had and done something unspeakable… something she was sure she hadn't even been punished for yet…

"What did you do" Kassandra asked, Eos shook her head,

"I can't…", she almost laughed "I can't tell you". It didn't matter anyway. It was done. It had happened. Nothing was going to change that. Nothing was going to undo it. Nothing would bring him back.

"Show me" Kassandra said after a moment. Eos turned around confused but, then… the spear? Kassandra was holding it out to her.

"What" Eos took a step back,

"I don't know how it works but…" Kassandra shrugged, she took a step forward "It might" - it had only showed her moments before, of her family, her own blood but, Kassandra felt the want to try it, the spear was calling for it.

"Kassandra, I don't…" Eos put her hands up, "I don't want to…".

"Help me understand Eos. Help me understand what they did to you". Eos shook her head,

"I did this to me Kassandra. Not them. Not Chrysis. Me. If I'd just let them…" Eos put her hands on her head, trying to stop them from shaking.

There had been so much pain afterwards; she'd never had the chance to mourn. Then, when she was healed, she spent her time experiencing a world she'd never known; the sight of it all making her realise what it was she had to do. She had to show them, the others - had to show them that the choice… that the control over their lives that they always wanted… it was right there, just beyond their grasp.

Then, she'd been stupid and gone to Attika. The new found thoughts making her overlook the obvious; making her ignore all the signs that Laelaps had given her. She should never have left that little hut… She should have never locked him inside but, she'd seen Deimos. He'd been just metres away from her when she'd felt someone grab on to the back of her head and smash it against the marble – no wonder she hadn't seen Kallinos – all she'd remembered after that was the heat of the volcano.

But, all that pain, made it so the pain of what she did got left behind – like she was running away from it.

Maybe this was her punishment.

The Gods had given her a taste of a world she'd always wanted – only for it to be torn away by the only world she knew.

"If you hold it in. You'll never accept it. It'll never be real" Kassandra found herself saying, she held the spear out more,

"Kassandra..." Eos sighed.

Eos had accepted it. She'd accepted it before it had even happened.

Still, maybe it was about time that Kassandra realised who it was she'd struck a bargain with on that night back in Naxos. Eos placed her finger tips on the spear, closing her hand around it as she shut her eyes.

For a moment, nothing happened, they just stood there. Eos even went to pull away but then, she felt the ground fall from beneath her feet, felt her stomach lurch – like it had when she and Kassandra had touched the artefact – she'd braced herself; for that moment, that terrible flash of pain and anger and hate and love…

Except, this time, it wasn't just a flash… it was almost as if she relived it…

Kassandra was like a ghost, watching it from the side-lines… Eos could see her, out of the corner of her eye, but, the scene played out like it should have.

Eos walked around the torch-lit training yard. She could hear it, that slight little breath, that clink of his armour… She turned just as he rushed her, only just missing the hit, making him trip over his own feet before he spun, grabbed her by the arm and threw her on to the ground… Deimos.

"Too slow" he said, tilting his head as he looked down at her,

"You're too loud" Eos replied. Deimos smiled and then held his hand out, pulling Eos up,

"Again" Deimos said, he turned away and Eos stretched her arms in the air and yawned, shaking her head,

"Enough is enough" Eos said. She closed her eyes, putting her hands behind her head as she leaned back, it was far too dark and even the torches were giving up.

"Again" Deimos said. He was in front of her now, she could feel his breath on her neck, feel that want. Eos smiled and then opened her eyes. Eos took just a step closer, and then, hooked her foot around his ankle and tripped him up, landing him on his ass.

"That quick enough for you" Eos asked, raising her brow as she looked down at him.

Deimos smirked, bringing his knees up and resting his arms on them. He watched as Eos turned around. She picked up the weapons rack that he'd knocked down and laid it back on the wall, "Why do you make such a mess for" Eos asked, shaking her head at herself for even asking. Deimo only sat there, watching her intently. She turned back to him, "Come on" she said, she held out her hand to him, "Give it up". Deimos had chuckled before he pushed himself up, swatting away her hand and backing her up on to the wall, Eos sighed.

"You'd like that" he said quietly. Deimos grabbed at her wrists quickly, holding them above her head with one hand, letting the other stroke down the iron breast plate she wore,

"I think I like this better" Eos replied, she moved her body towards him and his grip got tighter, making her slump backwards in a sort of protest. Deimos tilted his head, a small tentative smirk Eos knew exactly how to wipe off.

She leaned forward and kissed him.

The air stood still, tense, the only thing Eos could feel was the way her heart wanted to beat from her chest - she was sure even he could feel it. Then, he let her wrists fall and grabbed her by the waist, hoisted her up and kissed her back, nibbling at her lip as she let her hands fall to her side. Even then, she hadn't known where to put them.

"Kassandra".

The next image, Kassandra was happy she didn't get to see much of…

The bed… Eos... her brother…

"Kassandra".

It was night time. Eos was leant out the window, watching as a storm raged over the streets below… Attika… Phokis... A noise… a creak… a door. Eos spun around, her hand clutched around her dagger.

Chrysis.

'Eos… It will be a gift… a gift so…" Chrysis took Eos' hand as she swooned, 'Kosmos has blessed you' she squeezed her hand so tight, it went numb. Eos had shook her head, this was no gift. 'Eos' Chrysis said gently, she raised her hand to her face, wiping away the tear that had fallen. Her hand was stone cold. 'The others will see… they will see that this is an opportunity…" Eos felt the breath leave her body. This was no opportunity.

"Kass-Kassandra".

I know what I must do.

Eos leaned her head on the stone, she felt so sick.

The silence... it was too quiet...

"Kassandra, pl-"

Eos lurched forward

The pain… in her stomach…

It was too early…

Too soon…

"Kassandra. Please".

There was so much blood. Eos' skin was so pale, so tired. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes. It was there, just lying on top of her. Skin to skin.

So small… so delicate.

His skin… it was so thin… his breath so slow…

I will take him… I will make him strong… He will lead us… the cries of hope came from outside the door… the light shining from underneath it…

No… he won't…

The words were so muffled. The images were flashing around Kassandra's head as if something was trying to stop it. She held the spear tighter.

Eos tried to push herself up but, the pain was too much. Her body shuddered, and he looked up at her with those little olive-brown eyes. She knew it then… He was too small. Too wary… to weak… Chrysis couldn't make him strong… It was only time until…

They were arguing outside the door…

The darkness was coming for her. Eos could feel it. It was only a matter of time until it took her too…

She couldn't let them have him…

Even if he did live… his life… it'd be worse… so much worse…

She couldn't let that happen…

Eos looked down, saw the sweet helpless babe close his eyes. Saw him stretch out his small fingers…

"I'm sorry".

"Kassandra, please... Kassandra. Stop" Kassandra willed the cries away.

What have you done… You did this… You…

Eos fell from where she lay, the floor starting to shake beneath her – as if the Gods were truly angered.

You would betray us… You would take from us which is ours…

'He was mine' Eos cried.

The words, the screaming… Kassandra couldn't understand it. Until.

"KASSANDRA".

Kassandra shook herself, opening her eyes to Eos laying on the floor. The spears tip was stained red, Eos holding on to it for dear life, her hands bloody in an attempt to stop Kassandra from ramming it through her stomach. It had already cut threw the snake skin armour.

Kassandra took a step back, letting the spear drop out of her hand.

"I'm sorry" Eos said quietly. Kassandra turned away from her, her hand fisted so tight, her knuckles had turned white. "But I… I couldn't let them have him… if he'd lived… they would have turned him in to…"

They'd wanted something better than Deimos. Something easier to control.

"I…" Kassandra didn't understand, she didn't know if she could…

"I didn't want to tell you like this" Eos said. She would have… Kassandra deserved to know… But, not like this… Not with all that...

Kassandra looked down at her spear. Eos looked with her. She couldn't blame her if she really did want to ram it threw her chest. But, instead, Kassandra only picked it up and placed it on her back.

The cult; it had taken something from Kassandra she'd never even knew she wanted, something she never would have known about had Eos died.

What would she have done?

Was death really any better than the life that babe would have lived?

Eos hadn't known what was coming. Even from the side-lines, Kassandra had felt how isolated Eos had been in those last few days. How would she know Kassandra was coming for them… for the cult… Did her brother know what she would do… Was he really that far gone not to care…

Was it terrible that it was the only thing Kassandra really feared?

"Does he know what you did" Kassandra asked, she didn't look at her,

"I told him what I would do" Eos said quietly, "He didn't say anything… but I think…" Eos shook her head, trying to hold back the sob. "I keep telling myself that he never cared… that he knew what they would do and his… lust for power and control… meant that he didn't want any competition… that he wanted to be the only one that could be what the cult needed… but… I don't know…".

She'd told him and he'd sat there, just staring out of the window. She'd been the one to leave, the silence had killed her, and she couldn't stand it.

The next day, it had been like it had never happened. Like she hadn't told him anything – like it was already decided and they didn't need to talk about it anymore. He hadn't told anyone what she had said and, she didn't know if it was because he wanted it or because he knew it was the 'right' thing to do. He'd treated her just like he had before. They still even had their little moments - when their watchers weren't looking over them, scowling at just the sight of her.

She wasn't sure if what they had was love - or just something to cling on to that didn't hurt so much.

Then, they'd moved her to Phokis, keeping her locked up and shut off from the world except for a window. She'd spoke to him though, a door sat between them. Deimos had told her that he'd seen something in the pyramid, that a traitor had walked in to the cave and he'd let them go free. She'd told him to go after them, to find out what it was they knew.

She didn't know what time he actually left; she didn't know if he'd sat on the other side of the door as long as she had.

"I'm sorry Kassandra". Eos didn't know what else she could say; she didn't even know if she could look her in the eye anymore. How could she have forgotten how much they looked like his?

How could she have kept it so hidden that she'd gone about a life that she didn't deserve.

Kassandra held her hand out then, "We will destroy them Eos… Every single one of them" Eos looked up at her, "I swear it".

Eos couldn't understand. How could Kassandra even want to look at her when Eos wasn't sure she wanted to look at herself. How did she ever really come back from something like this? After everything Kassandra had been through, everything she'd learned, how did she show such mercy in the sight of something so terrible?

Kassandra knelt down. Almost as if she could see the struggle behind the dark eyes she'd made a bargain with.

It was because Eos showed something that even Kassandra's father hadn't.

Nikolaus had stayed loyal to Sparta and, it was only when she'd confronted him that he let her decide his fait… She'd let him go, the man who should have killed her, the man who had sent her brother to his death… to something worse than his death… to find his honour which he had lost…

But Eos had not stayed loyal… She had suffered and fought back… for family…. for love… Even if she had kept it hidden… Kassandra knew that moment, that choice, that was what drove her…

And how could she make a judgement against her when she'd left Nikolaus go free? Eos had faced the wrath of the Gods multiple times and she was still here. Maybe Nikolaus wouldn't be so lucky. All those babies Chrysis had took… How many had ended up in a pile of bodies that had never come back to life… that hadn't been strong enough to endure what the cult would do to them... However short his life, it had been filled with more love than Eos had ever felt. Kassandra knew that.

Kassandra placed her hand on Eos'.

"His death will not be in vain Eos. It will root itself in to this world and he shall not be another forgotten soul in this war. He'll be one of the reasons we stop it".

Chapter Text

"We can burn her… if you want" Kassandra had shrugged as Eos had looked down at Chrysis' body, tilting her head as if she couldn't decide on what to do with it. If Kassandra had learned anything from her time with Kyra, it was that a parent – however terrible – was still a parent.

"No" Eos said quietly, she looked over at her, biting her lip, "Can I have your sword a moment".

Kassandra didn't know whether to be impressed or grossed out in the single swing that decapitated Chrysis' putrid head from her putrid body.

"Is that a thing you have" Kassandra asked, Eos raised her brow, "cutting heads off".

Her brother had done it to Elpeanor and she'd been so relieved that she'd had a mask on. Although, she was sure she'd heard the others gasp around her too, a testimony, she imagined, to her brothers power.

"Someone once told me that to kill a snake, you have to cut their heads clean off their shoulders" Eos replied,

"Snakes don't have shoulders" Kassandra said, putting her hands on her hips.

"These ones do" Eos shrugged a shoulder, she smiled, "And now the maters and babes of Argolis can sleep peacefully in their beds knowing that this ones not coming back to life". Eos passed Kassandra's sword back to her, "But now, I need to go to Chrysis' temple" Eos told her,

"Why",

"Because Chrysis begged the Gods to heal Asphodel…" Eos shrugged as she turned around to her, walking backwards "there's only one place she'd do that…" Eos shook her head, scowling at herself, "and it's the only place we wouldn't go",

"Why" Kassandra asked again. Eos had already started to move, heading in the direction of the valley,

"Because it's where all this started for us… lying on an altar with a bat-shit crazy witch screaming in to the night. Your brother-" Eos hesitated. She'd kept so much away from Kassandra, so much that she'd deserved to know, she was worried, if only for a moment that maybe Kassandra didn't want to talk about it - not really - but, as always, Kassandra was more than eager to hear what she had to say,

"My brother what" Kassandra asked, Eos continued,

"Well… as big and mean as he is… he hates the place just as much as any of us do" Eos glanced over her shoulder to look at Kassandra, she wasn't looking at her but looking forward, a determined look on her face as they walked towards the temple. Kassandra was still processing all that had happened but, a grudge against Eos was not one of them. "Only one of us who would go there voluntarily was Asphodel" Eos had added.

"What happened to you and your brother" Kassandra asked, Eos had never really told her.

"Abandoned, left in the woods to starve – or that's what they said" Eos shrugged, "I don't really know if I'm honest" – they'd lied about how their champion had come in to their possession, they'd probably lied about the rest of them too.

"So, she took you there to scream at the Gods to make you strong then" Kassandra asked,

"Yeah, to make us strong and affirm our twin-like bond" Eos said sarcastically. "Glaukos, he washed up on the shore as a babe, she had to scream at Poseidon to make sure that he wasn't about to drag him back in and drown him. Pyros – complete opposite – " she waved her hands in the air, "he was pulled from a burning shack, the palest of Greeks skin almost blackened with ash and sores – you can still see them now" Eos' were like a smudge compared to the ones that covered him, "I was there when she screamed for him, calling out to the Gods to ensure the fire inside him never went out".

Eos had been four. Somehow, she'd decided that following her mater – and almost giving Dolops a bit of a heart attack – was the best idea she'd ever had.

Chrysis had lit so many candles, Eos was surprised it hadn't gone up in flames, and the child, Pyros, three with some memories of the world he'd left behind, screaming for his mater to save him from the fire. Any sane person would have said she was torturing him.

"Akin, a warrior, she called to the Gods to make him brutal, make him vicious, make him strong. And they answered" Eos shrugged, Kassandra was having a little trouble keeping up with both the walking and talking as Eos didn't stop, "Except, the vicious bit never seemed to come to fruition because he's a god given human teddy-bear",

"Teddy-bear" Kassandra asked,

"Don't get me wrong, if he needs to kill you, he will. His strength matches Deimos' – he may be even stronger but, your brothers more tactical. Akin has brute force and not much else".

He'd also had Asphodel.

"Melaina" Eos sighed, "Probably asked the Gods to keep her mind nice and clear so they could fill it with whatever shit they wanted and, Asphodel, of course Chrysis had to ask the Gods to forgive her for her bloodline having failed them and the Greek world".

"Her bloodline" Kassandra asked,

"Yes. The flower is a Persian" Eos told her, "A grand-daughter of some Persian King we were told".

Kassandra wondered if her blind Persian King had anything to do with that.

"The last time I was at that temple Eos. Chrysis set it alight. I do not know if there will be much left there". Kassandra hadn't chosen to wait and see.

"We'll find out" Eos said.

After a few more minutes of walking, they both saw the blackened ruins of the still-standing temple of Hera beyond the trees.

"Maybe we should set it alight ourselves when we leave… just to make sure" Eos said quietly.

"You think Asphodel is in there" Kassandra asked, she'd stopped, eyeing the temple suspiciously with her hands on her hips,

"Well, it is the last place we know she was if she's not" Eos shrugged, and, right now, that was all they had.

Eos stepped over the door which had fallen in to ruin and looked around, it did not help that it had already started to get dark out. That, along with the marble having been blackened, if it hadn't been for Kassandra's eye spotting the dark mass in the corner, Eos might have missed it.

"Eos" Kassandra said quietly, her voice echoed off the walls, Eos turned to her,

"Huh" Eos asked, only to find where Kassandra looked to. Eos stopped.

Huddled in the corner of the temple, there was a dark mass, dirty, skinny and human, a hood covering their face as they hugged the wall, their fingers like spindly strands as it held the darkened marble.

"No" Eos said quietly. Eos took a step towards it, her arm outstretched. Kassandra took a small step back, her hand clenched around her spear, ready.

Eos touched what she thought could be a shoulder, felt the bones jut out of the ragged robes they wore, felt the warmness of life.

Eos took another step closer and knelt in front of them,

"Be careful Eos" Kassandra said from behind her, she had a bad feeling about this. Eos reached out again, slower this time, pulling down the persons hood. She still wasn't sure if it is was a man or woman yet. Pulling the hood down revealed a bald head, a man?

"Are you ok" Eos asked quietly.

The body shook and Eos fell back just as it lunged for her, falling off to the side of her as their arms collapsed beneath them. Kassandra pulled Eos back and she scrambled on to her feet.

The body mumbled something incoherent, blood leaking from their mouths as they looked up.

It was no man.

"Asphodel" Eos choked, pulling from Kassandra's grip and going back towards her,

"Eos" Kassandra lowered her spear as Eos knelt in front of them,

"What did they do to you" Eos asked. Asphodel looked at her, her eyes twitching, her sentences nothing, but a gurgle of words and blood. Then, she grabbed at Eos' shoulders. Eos put her arm up, stopping Kassandra from coming any closer, she could see Asphodel's bloodshot eyes watching her warily, she said something else then, the blood spitting from her mouth, "Calm down" Eos said quietly, putting her hand on her head – her hair, those golden locks, gone.

Asphodel pushed at her, almost as if she was trying to stand. Eos tried to help, holding on to her by her arms but, Asphodel was so thin, her legs so weak, Eos had to grab for her when her legs collapsed beneath them. Eos lowered them both back down again.

Eos didn't know what to do.

Asphodel grabbed at her again, her fingers digging in to Eos' shoulders – or trying to -and Eos sighed, placing her hand on her face. Asphodel closed her eyes then, placing her forehead on hers, breathing shallowly, as if they'd reached some sort of stand still.

"Eos, we need to get her to a healer" Kassandra said, Eos nodded,

"Asphodel…" Asphodel had frozen, her breathing had stopped, "we have to go". Asphodel grabbed for her again, terrified at the thought, "we can get you better" Eos said quietly. Asphodel pushed away from her weakly, her arms scrapping at the air, "Asphodel… please". Asphodel snapped her head over to Kassandra, "she's here to help" Eos told her. Asphodel pointed at her and then she pointed at Eos. Her words were still garbled and bloody. "She's a friend" Eos told her. Asphodel shook her head, it wasn't that. Eos put her hand up again to Kassandra, making sure she stayed back.

Asphodel pointed at Kassandra again, her hand shaking and Eos looked over at her. She was pointing at the spear. Eos looked to it as well, "the spear" Eos asked, she saw Asphodel nod her head. Kassandra took a step forward but, Asphodel fell back, waving her hands again.

Eos sat back on her feet, she didn't understand what it was she was trying to say.

Kassandra didn't come any closer, but knelt instead.

"Asphodel. What are you trying to say" Kassandra asked. Asphodel looked at her, tilting her head, she raised her arm, pointing at her again, her arm reaching out. Kassandra moved a little closer and Asphodel touched her breastplate, where her heart would be.

Eos still had no idea what she was trying to say and neither did Kassandra.

"You can trust her" Eos shrugged,

"Thee" Asphodel managed to say, "Thee" she said again, the rest of the words were gurgled, broken,

"Thee?" Eos asked.

"No, Dei" Kassandra said, she sat back a little, "Deimos", Asphodel nodded her head violently, grabbing at Eos again,

"Deimos" Eos said, Asphodel nodded her head and then, she pointed at Kassandra. Eos looked at her and then looked back,

"She's his sister" Asphodel let out a breath of relief, grabbing on to Eos' shoulder, a smile lighting up the gauntness of her face. Eos took a deep breath and smiled back, feeling that little bit better – then, as if something had changed – Asphodel spun herself around so violently, she smacked Eos in the nose.

Eos took a deep breath, Kassandra sucking in a breath through her teeth as she watched the blood dribble down her mouth, they both looked to where Asphodel was now threating at – the outside. There was nothing there,

"Asphodel" Eos breathed, she put her head back, pinching her nose, "it's okay. It's only us". She saw Asphodel shake her head slowly, looking back to her,

"We need to get her to a healer" Kassandra said again, pushing herself up. Asphodel flung herself back instead, cowering in the corner again. Eos sighed,

"Asphodel, please" Eos said, her voice almost a cry.

Asphodel let out such a shriek, some birds roosting in the roof top burst out from amongst the rubble.

"Asphodel. You're safe. I promise" Eos said. Asphodel shook her head, turning to Kassandra who had bent over; she'd found something. Some sort of vial.

"Eos, does this mean anything to you" Kassandra asked, Eos turned her head and her shoulder slouched, her face dropped. Kassandra passed it over to her. Eos sighed as she brought it closer to her, turning the vial over. There was a dark green remanence coating it.

"Poison" Eos said quietly, she threw it on the ground and Asphodel flinched as it smashed and splintered.

A healer could do nothing. As adept as Asphodel was at making ointments, the poisons she made were so brutal, only she knew the key to the antidote.

"Why Asphodel" Eos asked, "You're not that weak". Asphodel grabbed at Eos' face, making her look in to her eyes, she looked so desperate, so scared but, did that really make up for this?

A cowards way out.

The look almost reminded her of Melaina, which only made her remember what the red rat had said. Asphodel had seen something, a vision from the Gods, something that the Spartan soldiers told her she'd been shouting about before she'd taken ill. "What did you see" Eos asked.

Asphodel, without any hesitation, put her finger on Eos's heart, poking it weakly, a smile on her face,

"You saw Eos" Kassandra asked. Asphodel smiled over at Kassandra. And, in that smile, Kassandra saw then that the girl had once been beautiful, that she could have won hearts all over Greece. Asphodel reached up at Eos' face again, caressing her cheek, trailing her fingers over the tears Eos didn't even realise were there.

"I'm sorry Affy" Eos said quietly, "I'm sorry I couldn't...", Asphodel shook her head slowly, still smiling, Eos put her head down. The last time they'd seen each other, they'd done nothing but bitch at one another. Despite everything though, she was still one of hers. "I wanted to…" Eos trailed off, she didn't even know anymore.

Asphodel raised her face, making her look at her again.

Eos wanted to ask what it was Asphodel had seen in her vision but, she'd never be able to tell her now. Maybe it was just what had happened to her, maybe she'd seen what they had done, knew that the rest of them were at risk, that the cult would rid themselves of them when they got too volatile, too hard to control.

Asphodel shuddered then, her mouth opening and a little more blood dribbling out as if she'd been keeping it in. Eos held on to her as she fell forward, letting her settle on her chest. She put her chin on her head and closed her eyes,

"I wish you'd just waited" Eos said quietly. Perhaps if she'd been there a few moments sooner, she would have been here before she'd swallowed it. Maybe it wouldn't have changed her mind at all.

It didn't take long then. Asphodel's body shuddered a couple more times as she took some of her last breaths.

Kallinos, she'd looked him in the eye when he'd died. He'd looked at peace, a strange kind of peace but, peace none the less. Eos couldn't pull herself to look at Asphodels.

"I'm so sorry Eos" Kassandra said quietly,

"You know…" Eos sighed, "When I first heard that the people had turned against Chrysis" she put her hand on Asphodels head, "I thought that the Gods were in my favour… just this one time… but, they always seem to take much more than they give",

"Eos, this isn't the Gods doing",

"It's the cults Kassandra I know" Eos snapped. Eos regretted it instantly but, Kassandra wasn't fazed - she was more like her brother than she realised. Eos sighed, "But I should be dead. Twice over. How do you explain that if it was not for the Gods".

It was also easier to blame them than to blame herself.

"Eos…" Kassandra trailed off. There wasn't much else she could say – it had been a long day – full of apparitions, truths and promises that seemed to get swept away with the wind as easily as they were made.

Before Eos had stood up, she'd stuck her finger in Asphodel's mouth. It was just as she thought.

"They cut her tongue out" Eos said quietly. Kassandra didn't say anything. Chrysis had done the same to that priest; so that he wouldn't be able to tell anyone what had really happened that night her mater had come here with her baby brother.

Eos was silent as she picked Asphodel's body up. She would never have been able to do it before but, Asphodel was more bone than human now. Kassandra followed behind her. They reached the cliffs overhang just outside and Eos lay Asphodel down on the grass.

Kassandra and Eos spent the rest of the evening dismantling the wooden overhang and piling it up in to a pyre. Then, as Eos just stared at Asphodel's body laying on top, Kassandra collected up some flowers from around the forest, lying them in a circle around it,

"Thankyou" Eos said quietly – she should have done it herself – she owed Asphodel that much – but, the realisation that it was a vision Asphodel had seen about Eos, that had done this to her, made her feel sick.

And Akin. Akin loved Asphodel. If Akin had any hope, it was her and now; she was gone, and Eos didn't know if a world without Asphodel was a world Akin would ever want to stay in. Whether he stayed loyal to the cult or not.

Kassandra lit the temple alight with some well-placed fire arrows and Eos lit the pyre. They both watched as the flames took a hold, lighting up the sky in Asphodels very last performance.

Eos wished Kassandra could have seen her before. She was less than a shell of the girl Eos had knew, it was starting to look like they all were.

Kallinos, Deimos, Melaina, Asphodel…

What hope did that hold for Akin, Pyros and Glaukos?

Early in to the next morning, the temple was completely uninhabitable and, all that was left of Asphodel was buried by both Eos and Kassandra underneath the tree of Herakles as the people of Epidauros slept. A single flower being laid over the dirt before the two of them walked back to the docks.

"What will you do now" Kassandra had asked as Eos had petted Phobos. Last time, the horse had wanted nothing to do with her having been so close to Laelaps.

"Well, most likely head to Argos" Eos said, she pulled out the letter that Kassandra had given to her,

"You know, you could come with us" Kassandra said. Kassandra knew that Eos had her own odyssey to write but, Kassandra didn't know Eos enough to be sure that anymore days like the last one wasn't going to push her over the edge - and, from what she knew now, she wondered if Eos would be the key to her brother reuniting with his real family, and more importantly, being able to live with himself afterwards.

"I'm sure our paths will cross again Kassandra" Eos had said, smiling, "But for now, I need to blind Kosmo and find my companion" Phobos snorted at her angrily, taking a step back as if he knew who she was talking about,

"I hope we do" Kassandra said.

Eos stood on the dock and watched as Kassandra jumped the small gap and looked at Barnabas, who had already hugged Eos very tightly and asked her to say hello to Laelaps for him – as he and Herodotus had both decided that he was a gift from Hades instead of a curse.

"Where too commander" Barnabas asked, giddy at the thought of another adventure,

"Lakonia" Kassandra said, she turned back to look at Eos. "My friend. It might not mean much. You might not even want it. But, I forgive you. You did the only thing you could. I only wish I had been there sooner" Eos smiled, feeling a tear fall as she put her hand up and they got ready to set sail.

Before, Eos might not have wanted it but now, now someone actually knew, someone who had seen it – almost – with their own eyes and accepted it for what it was, it meant everything.

And now, as Kassandra sailed off to her next adventure, it was time for Eos to continue hers.

Argos for Midas, Megaris for a captain and then, back to Attika for a damn wolf.

Although, she did wonder if turning up on Dolops doorstep and asking if he had any robes that weren't blood soaked should perhaps be her first point of call.

Chapter Text

Dolops hadn't remembered their earlier meeting but, like before, he was drunk before noon and this time, once Eos had told him that his mater was now a headless snake – and convinced him that she definitely hadn't risen from the dead in the clothes she'd been torn apart by wolves in – the farmer had welcomed her in to his house and she'd washed up.

After pulling on that trackers cloak that she still hadn't sold yet, Eos had stuffed the snake skinned breastplate in to a bag and, once she'd scrubbed most of the blood off her leather belt and ate some of his food, she'd set off.

If she was reading the letter right, there was a man named Midas, a banker by day and a fire starter by night, situated, at the time, in Argos. She had heard of the cults plans to resurrect Agamemnon and ruin perfectly good history but, it seemed the Gods had no want for his resurrection and they had failed miserably.

And, finding the banker had been so much easier than she thought it would be. Midas was being escorted around Argos with a guard, a pretty laurel leaf crown on his head as he made discrete orders for debts he wanted paid from struggling shop keeps, had private meetings with landlords and inn-keeps that Eos overheard through windows and, generally, just walked around as if he owned the place. Which wouldn't actually surprise Eos at all.

After spending most of the day following him around; that night, Eos had considered going on a little field trip with him but instead, after shoving her dagger through the back of the lonesome guard who'd been stood outside Midas' room at the inn; Eos had dragged the guard inside, sat him on a chair next to the door and allowed herself to rummage through all of his things.

Considering he was only supposed to be spending a 'few days' mopping up the cults messes, he'd got himself quite comfy. The bed looked very much slept in, the bookcases were full of books, some new, some very old; chests had been pushed in to every space possible, notes and letters were scattered all over the desk and, a couple of wine glasses sat on the floor next to the bed.

Eos sat down, swinging her legs up so she could lounge backwards as she inspected Midas' many things.

On the surface, Midas did look to be your typical banker – a very ruthless one, with a lot of notes that seemed to suggest that a lot of business men; and the likes of Argos, Attika and Phokis were in debt to him – but, under that surface, Eos found notes of secret temples, graves and ruins that the worshippers of the bloodline had ransacked, in hope of finding useful information and artefacts to use to the cults advantage.

Midas also had a black cloak and a white mask hiding in the bottom of one of his chests – which – if Eos hadn't been completely sure before, she was now.

Laying them over the back of the chair she sat on so that he wouldn't be able to miss them when he walked in, Eos helped herself to some of his wine and some salted meat he'd obviously been keeping and then, sat down at his desk again, reading over the letter about Sotera and her ships. She was supposedly hiding out at a warehouse in Megaris. What exactly for, she didn't know. T

hese letters were so much older now, would she even be there?

Midas had been but, perhaps the sight he was needing to burn was that little more trickier… or, from the crumpled up letter she found stuffed between two books in a hurry, it didn't seem like the sage was all that happy with how Midas was doing his job. Maybe the banker had decided that those historical artefacts – however ruined – were better made in to money than they were destroyed.

Eos smiled and glanced over at the mask.

The cults eyes saw all. That was their motto.

It didn't take long for Midas to come home that night. His arm was wrapped around his latest conquest, a young girl, whispering sweet words in to her ear as he pushed open the door. The guard Eos had sat on the chair slithered on to the floor, the trail of piling blood making the young girl scream and Midas jump, smacking the poor girl in the mouth.

Midas had shouted for the guard who'd escorted him upstairs just moments before but instead, Eos came threw - having stuck her dagger in him too - and she'd kicked Midas forward, grabbed the crying girl - who'd more or less just screamed at her some more when she saw the white mask on her face - and pushed her out, letting the door lock itself behind them. Eos watched as Midas pushed himself to his knees, gasping for air. His laurel wreath sat askew on the top of his head.

Eos took a small step forward as Midas grabbed on to his desk and pulled himself up, his legs wobbling; it didn't take him long to see the sages letter that he'd received just a few days before, smoothed out on the table, he'd started shaking before he'd even looked behind him,

"Who are you" he demanded,

"I thought Kosmo's eyes saw all" Eos said, taking a step forward. Midas used the desk to walk himself over, his hands searching beneath it for the sword he kept sheathed there – the sword Eos brought from behind her back. Midas froze. Eos used her free hand to lift her mask up, she'd never met Midas before but, she knew by the look on his face that he knew hers,

"But you…" he stumbled back,

"Maybe Kosmo's eyes are blinder than they think" Eos suggested before she rammed his sword through his throat, his eyes bulging as he'd begun his reply. Eos let him fall to the floor, his hands actually attempting for a few short moments to pull it out before he died.

Stuffing the mask back in to it's chest, Eos had left through the window, hearing the shouts of guards and civilians as they seemed to converge on to his door. She vanished in to the night just as they broke down her door. Eos left Argos and spent the rest of the night making her way to Megaris.

Eos' plan had been to make the killing look in-house. The crying girl a witness to the masked murderer.

And, it wasn't like cult members not to turn on each other anyway.

Right..

The port of Nisai, which Eos had noticed had been highly fortified in the weeks before, but had never bothered to investigate - seemed to be all that much more fortified now. And, if the eye really was here, she wondered if it was because Kassandra had been seen by one of the eyes little rats walking around on dry land. She'd hadn't felt anyone following them but, she was sure Kassandra's presence hadn't gone unnoticed.

Sitting up on the top of a tower, which didn't look as if it was being used for all that much, Eos had looked down at the port. Most of the guards stationed there were your regular Athenian soldiers, some hoplites, a few heavies, a captain or two. The docks were full of ships too - sailors, merchants, a couple pirates.

Why would the eye bring them all here? Why congregate in a place like Megaris?

Melaina had mentioned a woman once before, called her an eye - she'd never told Eos where she was from or what she looked like – only that mens hearts were weak when it came to her, and that the way she found their truest secrets was to open them up. Apparently, she'd given Melaina some of those lessons.

Which, would make finding her amongst all those men and their crews that much easier.

However, unlike Midas, Eos had been unintentionally watching her since she'd got there. A woman, who Eos assumed could only be Sotera, with all the conversing and flirting she'd done with the very tired Captains who had just woken up themselves, had walked out of the blue tent just near the dock. If she'd known she was in there, she could have been in and out without anything more than a trace.

And then, Eos wondered how long it would take for her to hear news of Midas, not too long she suspected but, maybe long enough for her to try and figure out what it was she was planning; and Eos thought that finding out what was inside those crates, that the crews were already starting to load on to their ships would be a start.

Having stood up, Eos had stretched her arms out and looked to the sea. There was another ship coming in. Slightly bigger than the ones already there. Eos tilted her head, resisting the urge to rub her eyes – as it wasn't about to change the faded golden sails with the goat figurehead at it's front.

The Argo.

Eos let herself sit back down again.

Out of all the ships in Greece, how was it this one had got themselves caught up in the cults operation? Or, had he always been a part of it and she'd just never known.

Eos laid back down on the tower again, surveying the port for that little bit longer whilst the Argo got ready to dock.

She wondered how many of those Captains who fawned over Sotera had wives – and whether Captain Hoyt would be so easily swayed.

When Hoyt had eventually walked on to the docks, Eos noticed how jittery and wary he was, which at least assured Eos that he wasn't at all comfortable with whatever was going on. And, the way he'd greeted Sotera told her that they'd never met. Sotera, who was quickly all over the pot-belly Captain. Seemed he'd drunk even more wine since they'd last met.

Eos had to give him his dues though, he seemed to resist most of her advances but, he couldn't keep her eyes off her when she finally walked away. Neither could Belen.

It was then that an Athenian, a small skinny hoplite, rushed over to her, whispering something in her ear which made her go a little pale.

Then, she turned back around – heading again for the Argo.

Seems it was giving passage – just to someone and not something.

Eos closed her eyes and put her head in her hands.

Out of all the ships in the Greek world, how did the one Captain she know end up giving passage to one of the people she had to assassinate. And, how on earth could she assassinate her now without giving blame to the Captain and his crew.

And, in the unlikely event that she managed to get close enough to her, hooded or not, there was a chance that Sotera would know her face just as much as Midas had – that if Sotera did get away, Eos' cover would be blown (if she managed to get away herself) – but, by now, she was starting to wonder if it bothered her all that much anymore - her existence wasn't going to stay secret for long - for all she knew, Melaina had told them and they'd believed her, maybe they were watching her right now...

Eos shook the feeling away, she didn't need Laelaps sixth sense to tell that wasn't the case just yet.

But, either way.

The Captains life, the crews life… If she got to Sotera before she stepped on that ship, nothing would lead them back to them.

The Captain who obviously had too big a heart for a damsel in distress.

Pulling her hood up, Eos had watched as Sotera had a small, hurried, conversation with Hoyt - who Eos had seen nod his head - and then, began to see the rest of the ships off, hurrying along their loading of the crates and barking orders, much to many of the men's dismay.

Eos clambered down the side of the tower that faced the sea, keeping an eye on the patrol of guards as she clambered around to the other and dropped down in to some long grass. Waiting for a guardsman to turn his back, Eos crept towards the back of the blue tent she'd seen Sotera coming out of that morning. Maybe if she decided to go inside and grab something, Eos would get her chance.

Then, all she'd have to do was slip in to the water and swim away.

But, Eos had learned that however easy something seemed, something more was always waiting around the corner.

And, when Sotera had decided to turn and head for the tent, she'd seen that something first.

If she'd gone pale before, she'd lost all colour now.

Eos hadn't had to look.

She'd seen it in Sotera's face.

They all looked at him like that.

Deimos.

Lowering herself in to the grass that surrounded the tent, Eos' stomach curdled as the port fell silent. All of the guards stared, their breaths catching as they eyed the blood he wore triumphantly all over his chest plate as he stride towards Sotera, that sarcastic smirk on his face.

Eos hadn't listened to what he'd said, she didn't care.

Sotera's fait could stay hanging in the air that little while longer.

Eos had to go.

She had to find Laelaps…

Chapter Text

Getting out of the port of Nisai, whilst everyone else was so in grossed with the appearance of Deimos was easy but, Eos had felt eyes piercing the back of her head as she'd jumped the wall and, she hadn't had the nerve to look back.

Walking the path back to Attika, taking the hill cliff path she'd taken before and sticking to the forests, Eos had passed by the Kerkyan wrestling grounds before noon and, once she'd scouted around the scorched patches of land that separated the Athenians and the Spartans, she found herself stood in the city's market place, trying her utmost to remember where Melaina's little den was.

It was the last place she knew Laelaps would have been.

Standing near the steps where she had told the lycaon that they were parting ways, Eos traced the run she'd taken that stormy night and ended up at the back door. Glancing through the small window, if anybody was in, they were sitting in the dark – which, if Melaina just happened to be inside – wouldn't be so surprising.

Eos risked knocking on the door first. If someone else had taken up residence there, she didn't want to just barge in unannounced but, with her ear close to the door so she could listen out for any sign of life, she realised no one was coming to open it.

Remembering the latch that had been on the other side, Eos had glanced at the alleyways two exits before she'd kicked the door with her foot. It didn't budge the first time but, at least now she knew there was definiitely no one inside. Another well aimed kick produced the magic noise she was aiming for and she stepped through, instantly gagging as the smell of something rotten hit her.

She backed out, waving her arms in the air as if it would get rid of it quicker but, she was sure it was already ingrained on to her robes.

It smelt like something had died in there.

Giving herself a minute, to catch her breath and prepare herself that little bit; Eos had pushed the door open, holding it with her foot so the light could shine in. Her face screwed up as she tried not to breath.

There was no sign of dead dogs or red-haired rats but, the body that had been slumped over the table was still there, rotting away. Whoever the guy was, he'd obviously not had anyone come looking for him. Which Eos thought was quite sad for a moment but, after one more glance around, finding everything the way she'd left it – other than a Melaina threating in the corner – Eos had let the door swing shut, giving some privacy back to the poor mans grave.

She didn't even think she'd be able to look properly with that body there. The stench of it would knock her out

But at least now, she was sure of two things.

If Laelaps wasn't trailing Deimos, he was trailing Melaina - or with Melaina.

There was another option she could have considered but, she was sure that when it came to death, the lycaon would be even better than her at escaping it.

Although, Eos doubted that Melaina was in the city, she decided to go to the temple of Asklepios, just in case Laelaps had left her some sort of sign. He hadn't.

Using the last of her drachmae, Eos had sat down to eat whilst Attika bustled around her. She wondered how many cultists walked among them, how many rats weaved themselves in and out. Eos had no second glances, no eye turns, no nothing but, if the world hadn't already proved to her how much you could change in three years, she may have overlooked Melaina or Asphodel in a crowd of people had she not know it them.

It was then, as Eos lay her head back, resting it on the stone wall that she saw two very important looking men conversing secretly as they went passed her.

It could have been anything but, one of them had this look about him and it made her feel a little sick.

Stuffing the rest of the chicken in her mouth, Eos had followed a few steps behind them. The streets were so full of people, it was easy not to get spotted as the other man – who didn't make her feel as sick – kept casually glancing over his shoulder, pointing out meaningless things every now and then as if to cover up his real intentions.

On second thoughts, Eos quickly decided that she didn't like him either.

She followed the two men in to a tavern, sitting a few seats away from them as they sat themselves in a quiet corner. She'd overheard them talking about some sort of project, which she couldn't make heads or tails of but, they'd also mentioned a red rat and a beauty, and Eos had sat up that little bit more straighter, leaning her head back slightly as if it would help.

"He say's the red rat is out searching for that girl who outwitted Kallinos",

"I did not think any girl could outwit him",

"Anything with a hole between it's legs can outwit a man" another voice had chimed in,

"Kleon".

Kleon.

The new leader of Attika.

What a surprise.

She'd always had her suspicions. It was just the proof she needed.

"I have a job for you" Kleon said as he'd pulled up a chair, "and I expect it to be done quickly. Discretely",

"Of course", something had happened then, maybe a note had been passed across the table, a letter perhaps, "a good day to you men" her suspicious fellow had said before he'd left, Eos glancing him walking out the door - she still didn't recognise him but, she had a feeling that either her or Kassandra would stick something in him soon enough.

"And you" Kleon said, "any news on our red-headed friend",

"There is a letter. She'd written it before she'd left but, you know what she's like. It was almost as incompetent as that brain of hers",

"Like I said, those with holes between their legs can easily outwit a good man", Kleons companion had chuckled and then gestured for a couple drinks at the woman who was pouring one for Eos, "how is the quarry anyway" Kleon asked.

It seemed that Eos had just found another eye.

The men hadn't stayed long after their one drink. Kleon had left first, then his friend - who Eos trailed all the way back to his little fortified mine.

Watching her quarry owner roam around the Lavrio silver mine, berating slaves and giving orders to guards, she pin-pointed his small dwelling, which sat near to the cave and then, deciding that it was far too early in the day – and too light – to try and roam around a heavily fortified silver mine, Eos had found her way back to Attika.

And, somehow, she found her way to the Parthenon.

The place Perikles had died.

Still sitting in it's unfinished state.

She didn't know why. It wasn't exactly a place that gave her that good a feeling but, just looking at the spot where she'd had her head smashed in to – and the stained marble where blood had been spilt, she realised that this was the place she'd failed. And, coming back to it now, on a much narrower but sporadic path, it was almost as if she was putting to rest what had happened, that, despite what had happened with Kallinos and Asphodel, she was on the right path.

In some form or another…

Finding her way back to the mine when the evening had started to roll in, she noticed how at ease the guard looked on the door way, how most of the guardsmen were making their way inside to sleep. Getting inside was going to be the easy part. Whether they were Spartan or Athenian soldiers, those that were stationed somewhere indefinitely always seemed to lack a real cause for concern.

It had been one of the reasons she'd taken out the fort so easily – they hadn't been expecting it.

There was also so many things to hide behind in the dark, the guards had never even realised that she'd been stood inches away from them.

Getting in to the little dwelling had been a little harder, if only for the guard who was stood, leaning up against the front door but, there was others he'd left unguarded, ones she easily unlocked before slipping in.

She'd heard the man inside snoring already.

Eos had found him sprawled out on his bed. After having watched him sleep for a moment, Eos had gone over to one of his chests, quickly finding the confirmation she needed before she'd turn back to him. The mask and cloak would always be a dead giveaway. Eos had decided to look through a second chest when she'd heard the creak of a floor board. Eos placed herself behind a dressing screen quickly, hoping the mattress and the sleeping man in front of it would disguise her feet.

"Master".

Master.

It was such a common word. Slaves, guards, they all had masters but now, Eos knew why this man made her feel so sick.

The Master had been the man who'd screamed in her face the night she'd given birth. She'd not seen his face, he'd worn one of those masks but, she could remember his voice now, remember the eyes she'd seen through the slits.

"Can it not wait" he'd asked. Eos closed her eyes and took a deep breath, hoping that it could as, she was very much going to stick her dagger in to his eyes and then maybe stab him a few times in the stomach so that he'd known what that night had felt like.

"Not-",

"Enough. She can wait until the morning" the Master declared, snorting like some sort of bull before he'd turned away from the guard.

The guard had left, leaving his Master to snuggle back up in his bed.

Only to be rudely awaken by a hand covering over his mouth and a dagger touching his throat.

His sleepy eyes had widened as they'd recognised Eos, the mumbled high-pitched words coming from his mouth making him sound like the mouse he was.

Eos had tilted her head, a smirk on her face before she'd plunged her dagger in to his left eye, clamping her hand around his throat as he'd writhed around, grabbing at his face, at her – then, gripping his throat tighter – feeling it start to collapse in her palm, she'd plunged the dagger in to his right eye and he'd let out a little cry.

Then, just to finish him off, Eos had stabbed him in the stomach, twisting her dagger around and around before his body went still, his grabby hands falling to the floor with a soft thud and his head turning to the side.

He'd took one last shuddery breath and then, he was dead.

They say that revenge doesn't feel good but, if only for a moment, it had but, Eos didn't know if revenge and justice was perhaps the same thing.

Pulling her dagger out, along with some of his gut, Eos had checked his pockets, hoping that he had the letter he'd spoken about on him - other than stuffed in to one of the many chests and drawers they had around them.

He didn't but, instead of being able to look, Eos had heard something outside. Keeping her dagger close to her, she'd crept over to the door – the guard who had been stood outside was now going down the stairs, to the soldiers that had arrived on horseback.

Then, she'd heard a small high pitched yelp from behind her and turned to see the back of an Athenian hoplite staring down at the dead man. Before he could say anymore and, just as he turned around to her, she stuck her dagger in his throat and laid him down next to him.

They couldn't have been after her.

Could they?

Had she missed something?

Eos slipped out the same way she'd came in, walking across some boards and to the side of a small cliff face, wooden perches sticking out of it. If she could get passed them, she could maybe get to the wooden lookout and then jump over the wall.

All of a sudden, there was an explosion of noise from behind her as they found the Master and the hoplite's body and, she jumped from perch to perch, taking another leap on to the tower and then, clambering on to the top of the wall.

Torches had been lit, shouts were being made but, Eos was already out

Taking a left turn, she'd glanced behind her, if only for a second, when she felt a wash of cold blow over her.

She didn't want to look in front of her. She should have just run but instead, she turned around.

Deimos.

He was looking at her; he'd hesitated, as if he was trying to process it, not for long but, long enough for Eos to come to her senses and make a run for it.

It didn't take long for him to give chase.

She wasn't sure she could outrun him and, when she ran straight in to a pair of Athenian soldiers, she could already imagine him having stopped, his head tilted and a smirk on his face as they finally had her trapped.

"Stand down" one of the guards had said, their swords raised,

"One day I will" Eos had said before she'd ducked one's dodgy swing and stabbed him in the side, making him keel over while she kicked the other in the knee, hearing a crack before he screamed and fell forward. Eos dodged past a third pursuer and headed for the trees.

For a moment, she thought she was out of view but, an arrow, straight and clean, smacked in to her shoulder and she tumbled forward from the shock of it. She pushed herself up quickly though, ignoring the pain and kept on going.

The blood though, it was bad, she could feel herself going light-headed all ready.

Finding a bricket of trees and shrubs to hide away in, sure she was out of site, Eos had sat down, trying to grab at the arrow to pull it out but then, she noticed the trail she'd left.

"Seems you're still too slow" she'd heard Deimos say as she'd sprung to her feet, hitting out with her dagger only for her to grab her arm and twist it upwards, catching the other and kneeing her in the stomach before she could do the same to him.

Eos closed her eyes as she keeled over, feeling Deimos grab her before she hit the floor.

She didn't know which hurt more. Her shoulder or her stomach.

She also really needed Laelaps back. This never would have happened had Laelaps been here. If she'd had Laelaps, he would have gone and checked the temple of Hera too, he would have found Asphodel... He would have found Chrysis… Why did she let him go for... She never learned her lesson... He was going to be so mad with her.

Deimos had said something else but, Eos had already blacked out, now imagining the uncomfortable confrontation between an eagle and a lycaon and, for once, she wasn't sure who would win.

Chapter Text

It was almost like Phokis all over again...

The room had been small and dark, a window - too small to squeeze herself through and, a wooden door, a crack of light coming in through the bottom.

The worst thing. Eos couldn't be sure it wasn't. Not yet.

She'd woke up in the cold, lying on a thin but, lumpy mattress and, everything hurt...

Except her head which, amongst the dark, had felt clear and a fresh - which only made thinking the worse all that easier.

Her shoulder also stung like a bitch and, her legs were so stiff that, just moving them a little made them ache.

She had to get up though, wherever Deimos had left her, she had to at least try and get out.

Pushing herself up, she'd gritted her teeth, her arms shaking as she sat up.

The room almost seemed that little clearer now, the draft was coming from the window, along with a meagre line of moonlight that showed her that she and her mattress, was the only obstacle in her empty room.

Getting to her feet had been even harder. Letting out a little whimper as she stumbled towards the window, Eos had grabbed at it so as not to fallfall, only to collide with the wall.

She let herself slip down it, leaning her head on the wall and taking a deep breath.

Even that made her shoulder hurt.

Letting the pain subside for a moment, Eos had looked up at the window, she felt like she was up high – really high. And her shoulder, that felt like it was broken. She had to strap it somehow. She still had her trackers cloak on but, she didn't know how she could do it herself.

However, her leather belt, her dagger, her notes, it was gone.

It was as if she was back at square one again.

Except this time, Laelaps was nowhere in sight.

Again, Eos pulled herself to her feet, looking out of the window and down on to the dwellings in the distance below. She didn't even know where she was – she was sure it wasn't Phokis - which only made her feel all the more worse. Turning around, wondering whether or not she'd been left to die, she'd rested her head on the wall, considering the likelihood of squeezing herself through the window and most-likely, falling to her death – so as to not give the cult pleasure – when, the door unlocked.

Freezing, she'd heard a few mumbled voices behind the door before it creaked open slowly, as if someone was about to peak in. Eos had the want to move, to hide herself in the shadows but then, something – or someone – was pushed and the door swung open, slamming in to the wall and allowing Deimos to walk in, a look of thunder on his face as he strode towards her, his hand out.

Eos grabbed at it just as he went for her neck, attempting to kick out of him but Deimos shoved her in to the wall, one hand gripped around her neck and the other resting on the wall next to her head. Eos felt herself slip again but he gripped tighter and pulled her up, rolling his eyes as if she'd disappointed him. In a last ditch-attempt, Eos grabbed at his hand, trying to prise his fingers off but, it only made him grip tighter,

"Deimos" she managed to get out before he closed his eyes and shoved her again,

"Answer me something first" he growled,

"Okay… okay" Eos said, she let her hands fall, a shuddering pain wretching through her as she took a deep breath. She was hoping Deimos' grip would have loosened but, his small glance back at the now closed door only made him angrier.

"Did you kill it" he asked - he sounded so desperate, it caught her off guard which, only made the question all the more confusing. Had she killed it?

Kallinos? Laelaps? Melaina?

"Eos" Deimos' voice broke and he shoved her again,

"I don't…",

"Did you do what you said you would" he almost whispered it, getting more annoyed than desperate now,

It…

Him…

"Him" Eos choked out and for just a second, his grip faltered, loosened. This was her time to escape but, Eos didn't have the energy and, that one little moment of longing in his eyes before they turned harsh and demanding again got to her,

"Did you" he spat. Eos managed a nod before the blackness took her again.

She wasn't sure how it'd happened, wasn't sure if it was the pain or the lack of breath but, Deimos had said something more and she hadn't heard it. She was glad she hadn't. Whatever it was, it wasn't going to change what had happened and, honestly, if she didn't have to think about it, she wouldn't.

If she had died though, Eos didn't know if it'd be a fitting end or not. There was always the chance Deimos would end up killing her – even before – to show his loyalty to the cult, to show them that she wasn't the distraction to him that they thought she was.

But, it'd take a lot more than that to kill her off, if past attempts had been anything to go by.

Eos opened her eyes again, staring up at the stonework in the ceiling. A torch had been placed on a hook by the door, lighting up the room and, wherever she was, it was even grimmer looking than she'd thought. It was a room made of stone, broken and mossied and, it smelt terrible.

And now, her arm had been slung, strapped to her chest so she couldn't move it. It made it hurt less but, it also made her throwing arm useless – although, she didn't have anything to throw.

And, as much as she wanted to think that Deimos still had some sort of sentimentality in him, his actions didn't mean anything, it only made him more dangerous. The cult had seen her as a weakness, if she hadn't taken what they wanted, they would have found a way to rid themselves of her another way – and Deimos knew that.

Even if he'd never admit it.

Even if he never cared.

Using her free arm to push herself up in to a sit, Eos had looked over to the window again, only to realise that she wasn't alone.

Deimos was sat next to it, one leg bent and the other stretched out, staring at the door. Deimos wasn't waiting for anyone, he didn't know what he was doing but, he felt her eyes on him and glanced over.

He knew she was exhausted, she wouldn't look him in the eye. He tilted his head and looked up at the ceiling instead, sighing to himself.

He hadn't wanted her to black out. He had a whole speech ready for her - about what she had done, how she'd betrayed them and all the rest – what the cult had told him had happened, a need to berate her and punish her for it but, she'd lost consciousness before it all and Deimos wasn't sure if he'd really wanted her to hear it or not.

He hadn't wanted a lot of things but, right now, Deimos wasn't sure what it was he felt anymore. He didn't know if she disgusted him or made him angry, or, despite everything, a little impressed – maybe even proud – that somehow, she was still alive.

Then, he'd catch himself thinking it and stomp the thought out of his head.

He'd had to deal with so much the last few days… the last few years… and, even when the signs were there, staring him in the face, telling him that Eos was alive, he convinced himself that it was only because a part of him – the chaotic part – wanted it to be true.

That she'd died that night he'd decided to leave and run off after someone whose head he should have slammed against the pyramid.

He'd wanted it to be Melaina picking off the eyes, maybe even his sister… Not Eos, not the one person that could make him hesitate, make him faulter. He should have been over all of that. He hated how much control it had over him; the Ghosts whisperings were getting louder and clearer with every day. He should have just killed her. He could have broken her neck and been done with it. The cult wouldn't want her.

Not anymore.

But, here he was, ignoring it all – just like before.

"So" Deimos looked back to her and Eos lowered her head, "You outwitted the cult with a scheme worthy of Kallinos himself".

Now that, that had impressed him. He still didn't know how Eos could have killed him though. No matter how much of an ass he was, she would never have killed him in spite, there had to be a reason.

Eos had always been very family orientated. She and Akin had made them all promise as children – before they knew more than just the pain – to look out for one another. And, they had, for a time.

Then, they grew up. The war started and, it had never been the same. They went their separate ways, all having some sort of goal to succeed at and, when Eos had died, the promise had died along with her. They believed what the cult had told them – that she'd killed the child in spite, that she'd laughed about it, told them they'd fail – and then she'd run. Only for the cult to chase her down and kill her – or attempt to anyway.

They believed a lie because the truth wouldn't bring her back. A truth that had made Melaina go mad…

Deimos had made a decision and, although he knew Eos had never been much of a runner but, she'd been alive for over three years and, it was only now that he was finding it out, maybe she had been running, maybe the thought made it hurt all the more.

"Why kill him" Deimos asked. Eos sighed, lying herself back down and staring at the ceiling again,

"Because…" Eos trailed off. She hadn't wanted to, she'd wanted him to be free from them, from the cult and, even if he had betrayed her, she could have forgave it – she knew how hard it was, knew what they made them do but, he was too far in and, he was going to kill her if she didn't kill him. Maybe he'd wanted it really. "He tried to kill me" Eos closed her eyes, "He almost did the first time".

Deimos looked over at her, "He wasn't there that night" he told her, none of them had been – not even when Pyros had promised Deimos he would be.

"No, not that night" Eos said quietly. Deimos snorted, shaking his head,

"You're a terrible liar" he leaned forward. Kallinos hadn't known that she was alive. He would have told him.

"And you're blind to the truth" Eos said, which only made him roll his eyes and stand up,

"Maybe your time away from us has blinded you" Deimos said,

"I wish it had" Eos said quietly, turning over so she couldn't see him.

Deimos stood there, staring at her for a moment.

He had more questions but, he also had other things he needed to do.

And, it wasn't like she was going anywhere.

Deimos left, locking the door behind him.


Whatever Deimos had planned for her, Eos was sure of two things.

It wasn't death by starving – the squirmy little hoplite shoved food through a hatch in the bottom of the door; and, she was semi-sure that the rest of the cult wasn't involved.

Although, maybe the reason Deimos hadn't been back, for what she could only imagine had been at least four days, was because he was planning something terrible to do with her. Or, he was assembling the whole cult so they could all indulge in her ultimate demise.

Though, she doubted it.

Eos had been laying up against the wall when she'd heard the door unlock.

This was her moment to rush them, to outwit them and escape but, no matter how much food they gave her, she'd had a fever for the last two days and she could only just stay up long enough to eat the soup they gave her.

Right now, she was wondering if she'd been here longer than four days. It wouldn't be a surprise to her, sometimes, she'd go to sleep in the light time and wake up in the light time…

The door opened and Eos looked up, letting her head rest on her shoulder as Deimos walked in,

"You look terrible" he stopped,

"Thanks" Eos said quietly. Deimos rolled his eyes and turned around, opening the door and leaving it again. He didn't lock it though.

Eos waited a few moments, her head still lying on her shoulder, listening. It didn't sound like he was talking outside, maybe…

Getting to her feet had been harder than she thought it would be, her head throbbed and she fell forward, her feet stumbling towards the door only to collide with it as it opened again. Deimos grabbed her by the back of the cloak and pulled her up, putting his hand on her shoulder and pushing her down so she was on her knees – she didn't even bother fighting him – she didn't have the strength.

"The moment you step outside, their ordered to kill you",

"Oh, can't let them have the pleasure, right" Eos asked, she closed her eyes, her head feigning forward, "Got to leave that for you". Deimos smirked as he leaned near the window, looking out,

"I'm glad you agree" he said,

"Uh huh" Eos held her arm out as she fell forward, forgetting that her other wasn't able to and fell awkwardly, falling on to her bad shoulder and just lying there for a moment,

"You're a disappointment" Deimos said, "I was expecting a better fight",

"Like that old, dying man whose throat you slit" Eos asked. Deimos glanced over to her,

"Do you not remember that old woman you slaughtered whilst she lay in her bed" he asked,

"Yeah but, at least she stabbed me before she died" Eos raised herself up, letting herself fall back in to a sit and pushing herself back on to the wall, "Periklese was dying and you're just like 'Athens is mine' and" she gestured the motion of her slitting her throat,

"What" Deimos said. Eos shrugged,

"It was quite the show" Eos put her head back, closing her eyes,

"You were no-",

"Was I not" Eos asked, "I told you before. Kallinos almost killed me the first time he tried",

"What do you mean" Deimos asked, he turned around; Eos hadn't opened her eyes, her head feigning forward as she tried to make herself stay awake,

"Who was there with you" Eos asked, "That night you killed the great Periklese" Deimos didn't answer, "Kallinos… The Chimera… Her little guard" Eos asked, her words so full of spite she had to shake herself.

Yes. They had been. Not for long but, they'd been there. The Chimera's slave though, the masked girl, he hadn't seen her when he'd found them afterwards and, they'd both made excuses to leave. Kallinos had been worried about his men – some of them had fallen sick and, the Chimera had other things to attend to.

He'd walked through Attika on his own that night, the whole city falling at his feet.

"Well, from your face" Deimos turned away from her, holding on to the window and staring out of it, "I'm guessing they were and – they threw me in to mount Hephaistos" Eos raised her hand to the scars on her cheek. Deimos glanced over his shoulder at her, he'd seen them the other night,

"And if that was true – you expect me to believe that you survived it" Deimos asked,

"No" Eos said, "But it is and, I did", she sighed "And it's not like I have anyone to back me up. Kallinos is dead. The Chimera is dead" Eos shrugged, "But… had it coming, did they not".

The Chimera had been gone for a while. Most of them thought she was on one of the isles – maybe she was still on Hephaistos. Deimos folded his arms and leaned his head on the window.

Eos watched him, trying to keep her eyes opened, she wasn't sure if he believed her – she still wasn't sure if it even mattered.

"I'm gonna be sick" Eos said, holding her arm out to stop herself from falling on the floor. Deimos turned around, not looking at her as he left again. This time, she heard the door lock behind him, "Fucking asshole" Eos said quietly as she closed her eyes, letting herself slide to the floor slowly, the cold ground making her shudder.

When Eos woke up again, she felt a pressure on her shoulder, like something was stuck in it, she shrugged it and someone grabbed her head, pushing it down, a hand pushing down on her back. She jerked herself, rolling herself over and grabbing on to the head that was hovered over her.

It was just some man, she'd never seen him but, she could easily twist his neck and he be dead. Instead, Eos felt something cold touch her neck, something sharp, she looked up. Deimos had his head tilted, smirking at her. She let the mans head go and he raised up, grabbing for the small jar he'd dropped as he tried to contain his shakiness.

"You could sit up or, I can hold you down" Deimos said, she felt the side of the blade pass across her skin,

"Just like old times, ai" Eos said, catching the small upturn in the corner of his mouth before he put the dagger back in his robes and grabbed on to her shoulder and pushed her up in to a sit. Eos crossed her legs and looked over at the rest of the mans things. A doctor.

"What's this" Eos said, she looked at the old man, his hands still shaking. Deimos sighed and the man flinched,

"If I let you die from a fever, I don't get the pleasure of killing you" Deimos stood up and walked over to the window, the doctor had almost frozen, this terrified look on his face as Eos looked back at him, she raised her brow,

"If he can't kill me, he'll settle for you so, you better get on with it" she said. The doctor nodded quickly and then proceeded to move himself behind her, he undone the make-shift sling from the cloak and then pulled it over her head. The doctor stopped, hovering his hand over the old red blistered skin on her shoulder,

"How… how did you-" his eyes glanced over at Deimos who was still looking out, "the… the sores" the doctor asked quietly,

"I got thrown in a volcano" Eos said, Deimos turned around, leaning back on the wall with his arms crossed,

"Doc, I suggest you be quick" Deimos said, "My patience for the both of you is waining",

"Yes, yes" the doctor said quietly. First, he passed her some disgusting looking drink, which she chugged and realised that it was a mixture of hemlock and whatever else, making the pain that little more bearable as he got to work.

Once he was done, he'd wrapped her up in a way that her arm was still useless but, it didn't hurt. Eos grabbed at her cloak and pulled it over her head, listening as the doctor to his feet as she struggled,

"You can go now" she heard Deimos said, the doctor scurrying out quickly as she felt Deimos grab her and pull her to her feet, she still had her cloak over her head, she felt his hand brush over the sores he could see under her robes and then pulled her cloak down, letting her get her head threw. "Now, your going to tell me everything" he said in to her ear, she snorted and he grabbed on to her hair and pulled it back, "Yes",

"Of course" Eos said and he let her go. Eos sat herself down on the floor and watched as he stood opposite, folding his arms,

"Start with that night" he said,

"You know what happened, they told you" Eos said,

"They told me they'd killed you", Eos sighed,

"They did" she sat back on the wall, "They beat me to Hades and back" she shrugged, "Wasn't like they hadn't just ripped a baby out or anything" – Eos wondered sometimes if it would have been different had she gone full-term – or, if it would have just been harder to take his life "They had to make sure that the blood would trail along behind me as I stumbled off, hearing their tauts and shouts behind me as I went through the forest, surrounded by the dark and the wolves…" Deimos raised his brow and Eos shrugged, "Then, my own little wolf dragged me off, the chimera walking away all smug and…" Eos closed her eyes,

It took me months to get back to myself and then, when I did, I decided that they were wrong – that when the rest of you got that little too much for them, they'd do the same to you". Deimos snorted and shook his head, pushing from the wall, he pointed at himself,

"I think you forget that they need me. I don't need them", Eos snorted,

"Of course they do" she tilted her head, smiling "That's why they wanted to replace you, right. That's why the first thing you ask me after however long it's been is whether I killed it or not",

"It was not a replacement" Deimos spat,

"Of course not" Eos said quietly, "Olright then, an extra, just in case something happened to their champion" Eos shrugged her good shoulder and she saw Deimos ball his hand in to a fist,

"I am the one leading this revolution. I will bring order to this world" Deimos told her,

"Maybe you will" Eos looked down at the ground, "But what place do you have in a world like that" she glanced over at him, but he hadn't moved, that stern look still on his face, he smiled when he caught her eye,

"I know what you are trying to do" Deimos took a step forward and knelt down, "It won't work", Eos smiled and look up at the ceiling, she didn't realise how smug she felt amongst the drowsiness,

"And you trust them, the cult" Eos asked,

"More than you" Deimos replied,

"Hmpth" Eos nodded, "Then why haven't you killed me yet". Deimos pushed himself to his feet and Eos jumped a little, the hemlock was starting to kick in, her eyes felt like they didn't want to stay open,

"I could, you know" Deimos said,

"You were always going to" Eos said quietly, lying her head on her shoulder.

Deimos looked down at her for a moment before he left, opening the door in to the hallway. Quickly spotting the doctor conversing quietly with one of the guards, he caught his eye and they went silent, the doctor nodding at the guard quickly and going on his way.

The guard stood up straight again, his hand turning white as it clung to the spear he held straight, Deimos only taking a few steps passed him before he turned and grabbed at him, smashing his head in to the wall, the guards at Eos' door closing their eyes as Deimos disappeared, following down the steps.

It didn't take him long to find the doctor. He'd been speaking with a misthios, a misthios Deimos had his hoplite shoot down from their horse as they rode out of the city, taking from him a letter that in-forced a little performance - which ended in the doctor being attacked by bandits on his way back to Argos.

He did trust the cult, he just wanted his secrets to be his and his alone. He knew what was coming, he'd seen it, he knew what they could achieve, knew that, without him, they'd be lost.

Eos had known that once too.

Chapter Text

It had been four days since the doctor had met his demise and, four days since Deimos had seen Eos awake.

The man had warned him that the medicine he'd leave for her – to ensure that the infection stayed at bay – might just make her that little unresponsive in the days to come but, only having the chance to escape from the clutches of the rest of his life when the sun went down, all Deimos had been able to do was watch her sleep.

Which was fine. Deimos could wait for his answers.

Except, suspicions were starting to arise with each new day and, the risk of them finding her was starting to grow with it. It also wouldn't be long before he was assigned something that would take him away from here - not to mention the annual meeting that was to take place down in Phokis - and, he wasn't terrible convinced that Eos would not hatch an escape plan and, by the time he was able to return, the men stood outside the door would either be dead, or grovelling - then dead.

He guessed it would depend on how Eos was feeling that day – whether she thought that her attempt at a swift death was better than the long one he'd inflict upon them if she was to escape.

There was always the opportunity to take her with him but, the risk was too much.

In all honesty, he couldn't let her leave this room.

But, first, there was so much more that he needed to know, answers to questions he needed, not the ones he wanted. The ones he wanted weren't important and, that want was the problem he'd had before.

And, what they'd had before. It had been chaos. He knew that now. Knew that they were only worried he'd get distracted. They'd done him a favour - they'd done something he hadn't been able to do – which made the want to just finish her off even more viable – just to prove that he could.

Because... she had distracted him… she'd made him weak and, without her, he'd been able to better himself. He was stronger – he had more control, more power – he didn't need her. He never had.

But then, why did a part of him want to hold on to that chaos, wanted to know why she had not sought him out sooner if the chaos had meant something…

Except, she had, hadn't she? Only to be thwarted by the likes of Kallinos.

Kallinos, who had only grown more bitter with every year – who had continued to distance himself away from the rest of them. Deimos probably hadn't helped the situation, Kallinos had never liked him – not really and, the thought of another – who could have replaced him – was something he knew Kallinos was fond of – even if they'd all sworn to him that it wasn't the case – and then, Deimos had smashed one of Kallinos' friends head against the pyramid multiple times – in order to safe-guard the intentions of another he should have been allowed to put out of her miserable existence by now.

Maybe he'd seen it as pay-back.

Maybe Kallinos was more loyal to the cult than he'd ever thought he would be.

Which Deimos couldn't fault but, he'd had hoped that Kallinos would have been more loyal to him than he had them.

Deimos stood up. They were also starting to notice how much more irritated he'd become - he'd killed a lot of impotent men in the last few days for no real reason - other than the lack of sleep he was getting and, he needed to rest.

As he stood by the door, Deimos glanced back at her. She'd been facing away from him this whole time, supposedly sleeping but, her eyes were wide open, he could see her staring at him in the torchlight. Deimos looked back at the door, picked up the torch and pushed the door open, locking it behind him.

He couldn't really blame her for not wanting to speak to him but, it still hurt - which only confirmed what the ghost whispered to him all the more.

Eos buried her face in her mattress once he'd left.

What was she going to do?

She had nothing?

And, even if she had thought that maybe she'd got through to him, he wasn't about to let her out – and, she wasn't in any position to escape.

All she could really do was tell him what he needed to know.

The truth.

Even if he didn't believe it at first, even if he didn't want to. Maybe, when the cult started to slip up – with so many of them falling - as she had no doubt that Kassandra was killing them off too - it wouldn't be long – then the doubt, the real truth, it'd come out and maybe – just maybe – it'd be easier to handle because he'd had some sort of buffer to it.

She'd never be able to beat him, he would always be too quick for her and… he was honestly more likely to kill her than she would him… maybe he would...


Eos waited two days for Deimos to come back and, this time, she was sat up against the wall when he walked in, placing the torch in it's holder near the door,

"You continue to disappoint me" Deimos said,

"I stopped trying to impress people a while ago" Eos said, she looked up at him, he folded his arms,

"Not even an attempt to escape. I'm starting to think you like it here" he smirked,

"Could be nicer" Eos replied,

"Well, it's about to get a lot worse",

"Uh huh" for some reason, Eos doubted it,

"You are going to tell me where Melaina is" Deimos said. Eos choked on her chuckle. He peered at her, annoyed - the last thing he wanted was to be mocked today. Eos shook her head at him. She'd heard the Master tell the Kleon that she'd gone but, she hadn't expected Deimos not to know where – maybe a part of her had even thought that he might have killed her.

Or, maybe it was just her that did that.

"Well, I was hoping you'd tell me" Eos said from where she sat. It would very much help.

Deimos had this look of confusion on his face for a few seconds.

"You saw her. That night in Attika" Deimos told her. Eos nodded her head, catching the small hurt in his eye before he looked away, going over to the window.

He spent an awful lot of time next to that window Eos had thought, as if he was watching out for something... someone… which was a bit useless considering how high up they were.

"Where's your mutt. I know he was there too",

"I don't know" Eos said quietly, "The last I saw him, he was in Attika too",

"Why" he didn't believe her,

"Because I asked him to watch you" Eos snorted, she shrugged, "To see how Melaina would react when I was gone". Deimos turned around, pulling a letter from the inside of his breast plate and smoothing it out.

This was the reason he'd kept her alive, to answer his questions. About Melaina, about Chrysis, about what it was she was trying to do – even if he already knew.

He didn't bother going over to the torchlight to read it, he'd read it so many times already, he knew the words off by heart - which Eos realised - which meant that he was far more worried abouts its words than he was ever going to say he was.

"I know what I must do. The Gods have shown me the way and I now know who is behind the death of our greatest mind. I will find them and make them confess. I will tear their eyes out and rip their heads off... I have seen a vision… A vision I strive to commend. A vision of a ghost who died at midnight, only to rise at the dawn of the next day. A vision shared by that which was taken" Deimos had wondered whether she had meant Asphodel but, she hadn't been taken - only contained, "My eyes see all" Deimos finished the letter before he crumpled it and tossed it at Eos, "I thought she meant you", he put his hands behind his back and looked out over the city again.

Eos picked it up, looking at it herself.

It was Melaina's scrawly handwriting. There wasn't much to understand, in all honesty, Melaina should have been after her but, it seemed that maybe she was looking for something higher.

"A vision shared by that which was taken" Eos repeated, Deimos' eye's flittered towards her and she looked over at him. "What did you do to Asphodel" Eos asked as she put the letter down, placing her hand in her lap - Melaina had told her he hadn't been able to find her but, she'd vanished just like Asphodel had and, Eos wasn't sure how certain she could be that Melaina had told her the whole truth.

"I can assure you, I did-", she put her hand up,

"Okay. What did your precious cult do", just the thought of it made her feel sick - Deimos went to say something but, he stopped, the look on Eos' face told him she already knew the answer,

"How about you tell me" he said, he turned back to her,

"They cut off her hair. Cut her tongue out and… Chrysis left her to starve in that temple of hers… then..." Eos trailed off for a moment - she'd killed herself, she'd given up - "she poisoned herself… she's dead… blood pooling in her mouth and frantic words she couldn't utter",

"How" was all Deimos could ask,

"I asked Chrysis where she was – before I killed her" Eos shrugged. Deimos thought that display had been a sign. He'd not seen it himself but, it hadn't taken long for others to find her and her dead guards, some had even paraded her head around the streets. "She said she'd begged the Gods to heal her" Eos told him, "there's only one place she does that… when I got there… she couldn't speak… she was skin and bone… dying… she'd taken... she'd taken the poison moments before I got there…"

"Always too late" Deimos muttered, Eos ignored him - if she didn't, she'd start sobbing and that was the last thing she'd give him the pleasure off.

"Melaina said that she saw something – like she was an oracle – she'd seen some vision that didn't comply with them, with you" Eos smiled as Deimos frowned, "And the cult didn't like that, obviously" – she didn't know how much Melaina had told him but, by the look on his face, she hadn't told him much more than she'd told her.

"Asphodel was a liability" Deimos told her then, "They took her because-",

"I was a liability Deimos. They killed me… what did you expect them to do to her" Eos sighed, "What happens when you turn in to a liability too…",

"You said" Deimos turned around, he put his hands on his hips, smirking, "You said that you were there when she died… how do I know you did not do it yourself" he shrugged, looking quite pleased with himself, "You killed Kallinos. What stops you from taking Asphodel's life as well",

"If I had not killed Kallinos, he would have killed me. And, Asphodels body would have wasted away in that temple – the vultures would have got to her, would have picked her bones clean – and you, you'd never know what had happened to her". It was only after she said it that she realised how terrible it sounded but, was it not the truth?

"That does not answer my question" Deimos said, "What stopped you from killing her",

"Akin" Eos told him, which only made him look away again, getting more angry and annoyed with himself. "Can you tell him" Eos said quiet, "Tell him she's buried under the tree of Heraklese".

Deimos chuckled, "I'd rather he died gloriously than I tell him his precious Affy is dead",

"And here I am thinking you did not care" Eos said, "Where is he", Deimos glanced over at her,

"Why, so you can kill him too" Deimos asked.

Eos looked away from him.

That wasn't the real reason why. Eos knew. It was because he didn't really know.

Deimos was as clueless as she was.

Which didn't make her feel any better.

Especially as he was still so set in his way.

No matter how much he faltered, letting go of everything you know isn't easy. It almost kills you a little bit inside and, you have to want it – and, right now – he didn't.


"What day is it" Eos asked as Deimos walked in, the sun had just set on another day and, she was sure he'd been gone for longer than a few days,

"You won't have to worry about that much longer" Deimos said, he crossed his arms as he stood in front of her,

"That's good to hear" Eos said, not looking at him,

"I think you know where Melaina is" Deimos said, Eos snorted,

"No you do not. If I knew where Melaina was…I'd know where Laelaps was… He'd know I was here and" she gestured at the door "Your guards would have been all chewed up and I would have got out by now" Eos sighed, "But I'm still here… Maybe you should tell me" she pointed at herself, "where Akin is. Then I can tell him about Affy. But… oh… wait. You don't know where he is either…",

"Akin is none of your concern" Deimos told her, "Wherever he is, he's far away from here",

"Where is here exactly" Eos asked, looking around the room,

"Have you not looked out the window Eos" Deimos asked,

"Of course I have. I have no idea where we are" Eos told him,

"And I thought you were the one that cared too much" Deimos crouched down, "We're in the Fortress of Olouros" she looked around the room again and, Eos remembered where she was then. It wasn't like Phokis at all. It was Archaia.

It was the room they'd hid out in during an assassination of a polemarch.

"And I thought I was sentimental" Eos said, she remembered it now. It had been used as some sort of pantry before, they'd spent a whole night snacking on nuts and dried meat - then, they'd walked up right behind a polemarch who'd gotten a bit too big for his boots and, Deimos had grabbed at him from the back and shoved Eos' dagger in to his throat.

The assignment was supposed to be a sort of training exercise. Deimos was so flashy in everything he did, leaving so much of a mess and, Eos, she was quick and clean and, the cult hoped that she'd be able to in force some of her ways upon him - except, they hadn't only snacked that night - and, it had been the start of the chaos that would tear them apart.

Eos stood up, using her arm that wasn't still slung and Deimos stood aside to let her pass. She went over to the spot she'd lay in - she'd found an array of boiled sweets on the bottom shelf right where her foot was.

"Why here" Eos asked, "If you're so against everything, why bring me here",

"Does it not seem fitting that it ends where it all started" Deimos asked, Eos smiled,

"I guess it does" Eos said, she turned around, shrugging a shoulder, "Or, you could just let me go"

"After all the chaos you caused…"

"Maybe…" Eos said quietly,

"Well. You are out of luck" he said,

"I don't think you've noticed yet but, I kind of have the best luck in the world",

"No" he came up close then, resting his hand on the wall near her head, "You have had incompetent people try to kill you",

"Go on then Deimos" Eos said, she reached out slowly and brushed her finger tips against his chest plate, "Give it a go". Deimos watched her hand, watched it trace the intricate details of his armour - it stirred something, something deep inside the both of them but, before she knew it, Deimos put his hand around her throat and shoved her against the wall,

"That was bold" he offered. Eos grabbed at his hand and lifted her knee but, Deimos spun her around and pushed her up against the wall, "Why are you always so difficult" he asked, her hand in a vicelike grip behind her back, his whole weight pushing up against her,

"How did you forget that already" Eos asked, her body involuntarily shaking as her shoulder started to ache, she was sure she'd even felt the wound tear again. Deimos moved back and let go of her. She put her hand on the wall, taking a moment before she turned to face him.

Their faces were so close then; she could see that pain in his eyes, the loss, the desperation and... she hated it. She hated what the cult had done to them, and even now, she had a want to kiss him – just to see what he would do – thinking that maybe, despite everything – it'd tell her what she really needed to know – whether it was he wanted anything more than what he had but, it was almost as if he was thinking the same thing – just for a moment – and he pushed away from her.

Eos slid down the wall, hitting the floor with a small thud.

"You need to stop" Deimos told her,

"Maybe you just need to put me out of my misery". Deimos looked back at her, "Why haven't you yet. Whats the point in this. I don't know where Melaina is… I don't even know if she's alive… if Laelaps is alive… just kill me… its easy" - she was sure it was the pain talking but, she couldn't tell.

"You really want that" Deimos asked,

"Maybe the rest of them will be safer without me" Eos shrugged, "Without the truth, it can't tear them up inside and… you're right…. Kallinos. Affy. Melaina. Their all gone. Because of me. The only reason you keep me around is because…" Eos stopped, there was another truth that could stay where it was for now - she didn't know if there was truth enough to say it, and, if she did, he may have finally snapped. And, maybe there wouldn't be any hope left after that - or maybe she was over thinking everything and she meant nothing to him, "Because you don't trust them" she said instead, "You never have",

"I don't trust you either",

It wasn't what she'd expected but, it was something.

"Well.. I'm the only one that's not lying to you",

"Really"

"Yes. I told you everything I know to be true. I don't have a reason not to",

"You have every reason to lie to me"

"Why? To turn you against them. Why would I do that"

"Because…"

"Because I killed our son?" the word made him flinch a little, "Because I was terrified they'd turn him in to an even worser version of you".

Despite the championist hold he had on everyone else, he still hurt as much as any other man. He was just that little bit better at covering it up.

"Do you think so little of me" he asked,

"No…" was all Eos said as she lay her head back and closed her eyes. At some point in her life, she'd thought the world of him – then, the cult had taken it and destroyed it and, she'd helped.

It was so much easier to destroy yourself then build yourself up – which was why she knew how easy it was to let the world go – and how hard it was to grab back on to it.

Deimos left without a word, locking the door behind him.

How the hell was she going to get out of here.

How long until the cult came knocking.

How long until Deimos finally snapped?

That night, trying to keep herself awake, Eos had fell in to some sort of daze. She'd dreamt for a few moments, of some far away noise… of some sort of howl and then… she realised it wasn't that far away at all.

Eos opened her eyes, trying to listen that little bit more but, it had already stopped. She wanted to get up and look outside but, she dozed off instead.

It couldn't have been long until day break when she heard someone shout from behind her door. She'd jumped awake, jerking her shoulder and crying out, making the shouting man go quiet for a moment before she heard it.

Something low, something that made the hair on the back of her neck rise up.

What happened next, happened quickly. Amongst the shouts, swords were pulled from their sheaths and she listened as they fought with something so un-earthly, one of the men had started to run. She could hear the echoes of his feet, heard him fall and shriek as something clamped down on him, heard his body hit against the wall as he was shaken.

Then. There was silence.

Eos sat there, waiting. She thought she'd dreamt it all - she must have - the shouts were so loud - if it had been real, there would have been more.

Deimos would have come.

The light, from beneath the door though, it had been blocked off, as if someone was stood there - or lying there. Eos pushed herself up and went over to it, pressing her face against the wood, trying to hear what was going on behind it.

It sounded like something was rooting through cloth, pushing things out of the way,

"Are you still alive" Eos asked, the rooting stopped and something jumped at the door, a snuffling sound following it, "You little..." Eos fell to her knees and prysed open the hatch at the bottom of the door and grabbed on to something soft, felt something wet dive in to her hand and then a black snout poke through, snorting at her, "You took your time Laelaps" he snorted at her again and she sat back. His snout disappeared for a few seconds, the small hatch closing and then, the key came sliding underneath the door. Eos pushed herself up, slotting the key in to the lock and pulling the door open - she was in a hallway - the hallway they'd killed the polemarch in.

And, her two door guards were lay on the floor, their eyes opened wide as they stared up at her, their throats and voice boxes torn enough to silence but, not enough to kill them.

Grabbing one of their swords, she put them out of their misery and then, she followed Laelaps down the steps.

It was so quiet... Were there actually any more than those guards? Had Deimos not heard their shouts?

Laelaps kept close to her, guiding her as they reached the bottom of the stairs

"Where are we going Laelaps" Eos asked as they came out on to the forts walls. Laelaps had looked over the edge and then back at Eos, "I can't jump that" she gestured to her arm and the lycaon only snorted at her, not impressed in the slightest and, ignoring the want to kick him - because, if it was any ones fault, it was his - she followed him to some steps and down in to the fort grounds. There were torches in the distance, on the other side of the fort - more men - but, they hadn't moved from where they'd sat.

Eos had been sure that the lycaon had not been quiet but, maybe the stone walls off the tower had silenced it all that more.

It was so easy to walk out of, so under-guarded.

She knew then that the cult had no idea she was here.

Which could only work in her favour.

Because, if they were keeping their silence, so was Deimos.

Chapter Text

The lycaon was in a hurry and, considering the situation, Eos could see why but, as they'd passed by some stables just east of the fort, she'd stopped. Laelaps had glanced behind him, realising that he wasn't being followed and tilted his head at her,

"Fancy scaring me a horse" she shrugged. The lycaon scoffed back at her before he veered off the path, heading towards a swamp, "if you were nicer to them, they might like you" Eos had suggested. Catching up with him at the green waters edge, Eos had sat down on one of the small bounders, letting her feet soak in the water for a moments. They could still the fortress they'd escaped from but, Eos' feet were already starting to ache and, the fresh air was already starting to make her drowsy. The lycaon pulled at her cloak then but, she swatted him off.

"Me and you need to talk" she told him. Laelaps looked back at the fortress and then, he sat down next to her, his eyes on the road,

"Where have you been".

He snorted at her - quite aggressively,

"I told you to come to Argolis - not stay in Attika".

He snorted again.

"And Deimos… in Megaris" she shrugged her shoulder "so much for keeping your eyes on him". The lycaon turned his head to her, "and what about Melaina" the lycaon looked back to the road, "if you were not looking out for me, at least tell me you looked out for her".

Eos watched as the lycaons shoulders fell, his mouth a thin line as his ears flattened back and he turned away from her, carrying on in to the swamp. He'd glanced back at her, the smallest of wags asking for her to keep following him.

It made Eos feel terrible but, she had every reason to be pissed with him. Especially as he gave her such a hard time when it was she that didn't listen - although, as he thoughtfully led her through the shallows, she wondered if maybe it had been some sort of payback. Now that, that she couldn't blame him for but, there was payback and then - then there was the risk of dying and, Eos had ran that risk very close.

It could also have been a complete accident but, so had some of her set-backs and he'd never once given her the benefit of the doubt.

After eventually passing by the swamps, the two of them came upon what Eos knew to be the Dyapontion ruins. The place where Pyros had been born and, which had subsequently been claimed by the followers of Ares – who were now all dead. The teeth marks told her exactly who was to blame.

"You had some fun Laelaps" Eos asked, looking down at the bodies in a want to make sure that they were dead and not still dying.

Laelaps never was good at finishing them off.

Laelaps had trotted over to her then, something shiny in his mouth. "What you got" she asked; he placed it down on the floor in front of her – a silver dagger. "Oh, you're a good boy really, aren't you" Eos said, scratching him on the ear as she knelt and picked it up. Laelaps had shook his head, still a little annoyed with her from earlier and trotted a little more down the path, glancing back as she rose to her feet slowly.

"I wonder which one Pyros lived in" Eos had said, brushing her hand over one of the doors, the wood flaking underneath her fingers. Laelaps snuffled at the house he was stood near, pawing at the door before carrying on. "That one" Eos asked out loud , "I wonder who set it all alight", the lycaon snorted at her – as if it was obvious and then, he continued on his way, leading her out of the ruins and over to the hills they could see in the distance.

Whining as she followed him up, they passed by the tomb of the first champion - which Deimos had dragged her too one night in search of an stone slate he'd heard off. It had all been very underwhelming - for Eos at least who, did not have the pleasure of seeing all the pretty golden symbols Deimos swore he could see. And then, on the descent down the hill - they passed by the Idean cave - a cave Eos knew all to well. "Are you doing this on purpose" Eos asked the lycaon - who only glanced back at her, his head held high as if he knew how much reliving that part of her past made her want to punch him.

After passing by a bandit camp, they came upon a great arched cliff with a fort on top,

"Archaia" Eos said out loud, not expecting a reply off the lycaon who, was already trotting down the path they'd joined.

After passing by some more ruins, they came to the outskirts of Pellene as the sun sat halfway between morning and night.

Eos stopped, looking to the ships sat in the docks, "Where are we going Laelaps" Eos asked, "Can we not get a boat" the lycaon looked at her stupid but, carried on, "Could be a stowaway" Eos suggested as she trudged along behind him.

Unlike the ruins, he made her walk around the town instead of through it.

Following a path for a little while, Laelaps took her in to the forest – and more hills.

After passing by the Olouros fortress – where she'd killed that old lady Deimos had reminded her about – they stayed close to the water, sneaking past an Athenian encampment and then, coming up on a lake of orange dye.

"Korinthia" Eos muttered to herself, she turned to Laelaps, who was definitely not headed in the towns direction, "Gonna make me walk around this one too".

As well as her legs feeling as if they would fall off, she was also hungry – at least whatever Deimos was doing, it wasn't trying to starve her.

Although, just the thought seemed to make the lycaon look back at her, snorting at her as if she should be that little more grateful.

Passing by some more forest, Laelaps took her over to some sort of indent in the land, a lake at its centre and a cave set back in to it. A cave Eos knew to have wolves inside.

Very big wolves.

But then, that was the benefit of having a lycaon and, the wolves scattered almost at the smell of him.

Although, Eos did often wonder how lonely it would have been for him had they not found each other – especially if his own kind didn't want to be anywhere near him.

Inside the cave, along with some long-dead bodies that just so happened to have a little bit of drachmae in their robes, a dusty old chest held a small pouch of it and, a silver belt, far too big for her to wear but, it'd bring a good amount of drachmae if Laelaps let her anywhere near actual people.

Leaving her inside, Laelaps had left the cave, coming back as night finally fell and plopping a dead snake at her feet.

"You couldn't have got me a rabbit" Eos asked.

Setting up a small fire just outside the cave, Eos managed to burn the thin meat almost too a crisp before she stomped it out and returned inside. Lying down in the middle of the cave, it didn't take Laelaps long to return from his own hunt, his belly full and, he'd laid down next to her, his head leant over her good shoulder and his eyes closed,

"Thanks Laelaps" Eos had said.

And then, for the first time in what felt like forever. Eos slept without a dream or a thought and, waking as the lycaon sneezed in her face, she managed to stand without an ache.

"Fancy finding me something to eat" Eos asked as she trudged along behind the lycaon; watching him diverts slightly off his original path and, to the outskirts of a ruined temple of Zeus and, more bandits.

"Laelaps. Steal me some goat and I'll get you some dried beef" the lycaon stopped, turning his head to look, as if he was thinking about it. And then, with a small wag of his tail, he disappeared off. It was only then that Eos noticed the small limp in his front right paw but, by the time he came back, it was gone and he was holding a large cooked goat leg in his mouth. The bandits hadn't even realised. He dropped it at her feet.

"Thanks" Eos said.

The two of them crossed by the original ruins of the argo - for which her own Captains ship was named after - and then, they came upon Megara.

Eos looked down from the cliff on to the city, the waft of cooked pig already reaching her nose and making even Laelaps lick at the air but, like all the rest, he started down the mountain, heading for the way around instead.

"One of the eyes were there, before" Eos told him, "I even saw Hoyt. Stupid man was gonna smuggle her off somewhere from what I gathered. I hope he thought better of it",

She probably should have made a point of asking Deimos if Sotera had gone but, if she was honest, she'd forgotten all about it.

Finishing off what was eatable of the goat, Eos tossed the bone to Laelaps and he caught it, parading around with it in his mouth as they came upon a cave - that, from the sound of it, had some homestead inside.

Catching another whiff of food, the both of them carried on, passing by the ruined pyramid of Apollo Karinos and a few more ruins - which again, had some bandits trouncing around and then, they came upon what seemed to be an abandoned Spartan camp - if you didn't include the wolves who had made a home there.

They'd already sensed Laelaps but, instead of bothering with them, they carried on - eventually coming to the Fort of Plataia. It was then Eos realised they were heading in the direction of Boetia.

"Please tell me we are almost there" the lycaon snorted at her, stopping on the top of a small hill and looking down. The scorched plains of Boetia at the bottom. "I hope you actually have some sort of plan" the lycaon snorted at her again and carried on, passing through the black fields and dead crops.

It was already starting to get dark again when they finally came upon Thebes. And, after taking her down alleyways and peeking around corners, the lycaon finally stopped outside a door.

"Melaina better be inside" Eos told him, he also better have a great reason for not having come to Argolis.

But, instead of a rat, there was a doctor.

"Hippokrates" Eos breathed, he looked up from his many vials and potions and smiled,

"Ahh, I thought you may show-" he stopped, taking the whole of the girl in.

Eos couldn't see what she looked like but, from the look on the doctors face, perhaps the lycaon had avoided the busy streets just in case she made someone wretch, "Sit down, sit down",

"I'm a lot better than I probably look" Eos had assured him,

"I don't doubt that but, at least let me look at your shoulder" Eos looked down at the sling, mud splattered and soaking. It hadn't hurt since she'd left but still, she sat, feeling the pain just as Hippokrates pulled the sling free - although, she didn't know it was more of a stiffness than an ache, "How did it happen",

"Arrow" Eos said. Hippokrates gently pulled the cloak from her head - she hadn't realised how bad she smelled.

Laelaps had definitely given the world the benefit of the doubt.

"The stitching is good" Hippokrates said before he got to work, cleaning the wound and stretching out her arm, which hurt like hell, concluding that she'd need another few weeks of it being of no use - which even the lycaon had whined at and then, after applying some creams to some of the deeper cuts she'd sustained in the last few weeks, Hippokrates had sat back and smiled at her.

"That should do you for a while. Those robes though, I think we'll have to find you something else". Eos sighed and looked down, she thought so too.

Pulling over a screen, Hippokrates had left Eos to wash herself and dress, Laelaps lying on the floor, on his back, tilting his head this way and that as he stared up at the ceiling.

"We have a lot to talk about" Eos yawned,

"We do" Hippokrates asked,

"Most likely" Eos said, "I'm assuming you don't mind me spending the night doc?" Eos asked,

"Of course not" Hippokrates told her.

By morning, Eos was sat on the bed, staring at Laelaps. He sat himself and tilted his head at her.

"Hippokrates" Eos said, she swivelled herself around to look at him at his work station, "How long has it been since I saw you in Attika?",

"A very long while" Hippokrates replied,

"Last night, you said you were expecting me" she gestured at Laelaps, "Did he?"

"Yes, he arrived here with a girl", Eos looked at Laelaps and he batted his tail on the floor,

"Melaina",

"I did not ask her name but, I had the same 'feeling'" - Laelaps - "as I did when you turned up on my doorstep",

"Is she well",

"There was nothing physically wrong with her" Hippokrates said, "her mind however, is very... broken",

"She's not here is she" Eos already knew the answer but, she couldn't help but not ask it,

"No" Hippokrates looked over at Laelaps, a lot less wary of him now,

"She left not long after your lycaon" Eos looked with him,

"Is he well" Eos said quietly, she saw the lycaons ears prick up,

"I have noticed a limp" Hippokrates said just as quietly but, the lycaon was already glaring at them, as if daring them,

"Yeah, I noticed that to" Eos said, she gestured for him to come with her head, "Laelaps, come here". The lycaon only turned his head away from her. Eos sighed. "I am sorry about what I said. And, thank you for coming to rescue me". Laelaps tilted his head, still averting his gaze "what more do you want me to say",

He rolled his eyes and trotted over.

"Whats up with your leg, let me look" Laelaps too a step backwards but, Eos had already grabbed for it and was pulling him towards her. He went to snap at her but, she held up a finger and he huffed at her. Eos turned the pad over, finding only a small cut in the middle of his pad, "Do you have some water" she looked over at Hippokrates. Laelaps let out a low growl and Eos glanced back at him "You want to die from infection, do you" Eos asked, he snorted and then looked away from her, "Honestly, I'm surprised something got you. You're getting old Laelaps - can even see the grey around your muzzle" Eos had turned to grab the wet cloth from Hippokrates and the lycaon had pulled his paw from her lap. Eos sighed, "You are acting like a child".

Laelaps shook himself and then placed his paw back up on her lap. Growling, Eos cleaned it out and, if only for the time being - to make sure he didn't lick off the ointment she'd put on it - she wrapped it in a bandage. He hopped away from her then, holding his paw up and whining. He sat himself in the corner, his head down.

"You're so dramatic" Eos told him before turning back to Hippokrates. "Do you knew where Melaina went",

"Ah yes, the girl - she mentioned something about her eyes before she left" Hippokrates said, "But, there was nothing wrong with them".

Eos sat back. Melaina was after the source of the problem - which was the cult.

The cult she was sure that Hippokrates had some knowledge about - especially if he'd met Kassandra before.

"You know Kassandra. The eagle bearer" Eos asked,

Hippokrates nodded "Yes",

"And you know what it is she's trying to destroy" the doctor nodded again, "Well, me and Melaina… We were a part of that. Except, I swapped sides and I think, in all the chaos, Melaina has too - she may seem crazy but... she's deadly. If she wants to find you - she will" which honestly meant that if she'd really wanted to find Asphodel, she would have. Pushing the thought from her mind for a little while longer, Eos said "And, if she's after who I think she's after, they won't be able to hide anywhere" Eos looked over at Laelaps, he was lay down, licking and nibbling at the cloth around his paw, "But what changed her mind" Eos said quietly. Laelaps glanced up at her, "What happened after I left".

Laelaps looked up at the ceiling and then rolled on to his back.

"You... waited" Eos said to him, "Then?". Laelaps jumped up, a rumbly growl coming from his throat, "Someone came... Deimos", she saw Hippokrates flinch at the name. Laelaps snorted at her, "No. Someone else". Laelaps rubbed at his face, "One of the eyes". Next, the hair on the lycaon back rose up and Laelaps grabbed a pillow from the bed and started to rag it around, snapping and growling at the air as if it had done something terrible. "The master" Eos said quietly and Laelaps growled, she smiled, "He's dead Laelaps, no need to waste your energy on hating him". The growls cut off and Laelaps looked over at her, the pillow falling from his mouth, the stuffing stuck around his teeth, "I made sure of it". Laelaps relaxed and then, he continued on his little show, starting to circle, his body down low, as if he was stalking something at the centre of it, "Like a vulture" Eos said,

"This is fascinating" Hippokrates put in before Laelaps continued.

"And then" Eos asked, Laelaps snorted at her, Eos rolled her eyes "obviously". Hippokrates had looked from one to the other, dumb-founded, "Then". Laelaps lay down and started to crawl away slowly, glancing back every for moments, "She crept away from him. She left him that note personally".

Laelaps bolted from his spot then, over to the door - it made poor Hippokrates jump.

"You ran. Where? Here", Laelaps shook his head, "Then where". Laelaps started to hack, almost as if he was going to vomit. "The sea".

Hippokrates had to stop her - "How did you get that, from that",

"Laelaps isn't too fond of the sea" she looked back at him, he'd sat down, "Right, why" he looked up, his eyes wide as he stared at the ceiling, "You saw someone" Eos shrugged, "Who". Laelaps looked around the room and then, he walked over to some folded clothes, rooting through them before pulling one out. Eos looked to Hippokrates, "Was that someone else's before" Eos asked him.

Hippokrates looked from the lycaon, to the cloth and then, back to Eos, "It belonged to a sea captain. He'd got foot rot and I gave him some clean robes but, that was-"

"Where was he from" Eos asked,

"Keos",

"You went to Keos" Eos asked him, the lycaon snorted a yes. It didn't take her long to realise who he meant - Laelaps had been enthralled by the size of the pirate queen - a friend of Hoyts. "You saw Xenia" Eos asked, almost as confused as Hippokrates was with the whole thing. How would Melaina had known to go to her - why would she have gone to her. Unless, she'd gone to see someone else. It was the sort of detail that Laelaps wouldn't be able to give her - unless he spouted a voice box. So, instead, she asked the questions she knew she could understand the answers of. "All good with her" Laelaps batted his tail on the ground, "Right, where then". Laelaps looked over at Hippokrates and Eos looked with him, "But Melaina was not sick" Hippokrates only nodded his head. Eos looked back at him, "So?".

Laelaps tilted his head and sighed,

"Ohh, now you worry about me" she grabbed at his ear and rubbed it, the lycaon pushing in to her hand before he placed his very large head on her lap. "How did you know where I'd be" Eos asked. Laelaps sniffed at the air, as if it was obvious and closed his eyes.

Hippokrates sat on the stool.

"It's amazing how you...communicate with him",

"Well, when you've been together as long as we have, it sort of just comes naturally. Although, it has its limits" Eos said, Laelaps snorted at her, "Thanks" she said,

"Still, it seems as if a snort is able to tell you as much as a person would",

"I don't have much of a choice if I'm honest. He can get quite... annoyed" - for lack of a nicer word - "if I don't so" she rubbed his ears again, "and, he's been the most constant thing in my life since I was... nine" she shrugged, "I owe him so much, least I can do is understand all his snorty little words". Laelaps had nipped at the robes she wore and she'd grabbed at his snout, holding her hands around it before he sneezed on her and she let go.

After Hippokrates had prepared a little bit of breakfast for them, Laelaps had left - to ensure that he wasn't going to scare off any of the doctors patients - and Eos had helped Hippokrates go about his day.

It was the least she could do, considering and, he also came back from the market with some dried beef.

"It'll be like I said nothing at all" Eos told him.

As night broke, the lycaon returned. One of Hippokrates patients had been sleeping soundly but, just at the lycaons presence, he'd started to twist and turn, getting unsettled.

"Thank you Hippokrates" Eos said, "I hope we see each other one day and, it's because I came to visit on purpose",

"As do I" the doctors smiled, "If you see Kassandra before I, make sure to tell her that I wish her well" Eos smiled and nodded at the doctor.

Full and, that little more awake, Eos and Laelaps walked through the quiet town, people minding their own business as they put their wares away,

"Melaina's in Attika, isn't she" Eos said. "You know. I didn't say before because... because it's..." Eos stopped and Laelaps looked back, concerned, "I found her... Affy..." she didn't need to say it, the lycaon already knew by the look on her face. Still, she had to get something off her chest and, she hadn't wanted the doctor to bare witness to it. She continued walking, "You know, I thought that she'd be stronger. That she would have tried harder... That even Akin would have found her by now..." it hadn't been that hard, not really. Perhaps if she'd given it a little more thought, it would have led her to the temple in the first place. "I thought they loved each other Laelaps. I thought that's what love was. Not giving up. Being indebted to someone".

The lycaon only listened.

"And I... well... maybe the cult did it... maybe their that bad that love - as true as theirs was supposed to be - just won't survive" the lycaon snorted then, he didn't agree with that, "maybe they never really had it... maybe they just gave up hope on each other...".

Eos had considered that maybe Akin and Asphodel had let each other go - but, if they'd let go off the only thing that made them truly happy, had there any been any hope for them in the first place.

Attika, Athens. It was much like Eos had left it. There were slightly more guard here and there but, they paid her no attention and she went relatively unseen. The robes bore no blood or leather and, she blended in with the rest of the crowd.

"Do you know where you are going" Eos had said in to the night. No one else would have been able to see the large black wolf lurking next to her. The lycaon stopped, his ears pricking up.

Eos looked to where he stared to.

The Agora.

That was what had been on Midas' letter from the eye, that she was awaiting his word in the Agora...

"Are we blinding an eye Laelaps" Eos asked. Honestly, if it had been as long as she thought it had, why would they have even stayed. With Midas and the Master dead, you'd think they would have at least got the message - but then, if Midas had been getting on their last nerve and, Sotera had wanted to leave - maybe there really was some sort of conspiracy going on.

The lycaon hadn't advanced any further forward, a sign to Eos that he wanted her to go first. Eos took a step in the direction of the Agora but, she felt the lycaon paw her leg and watched his nose point to another building, a small house just off to the side. "Not gonna give me any hint of what I'm about to walk in on" Eos asked, the lycaon sat down, gesturing his head to it again. "Thanks" Eos said quietly.

With her hand wrapped around the dagger Laelaps had gifted her, she quickly realised that the door was ajar, a small push making it creak as it opened. Eos took a step back, staring at the inside.

The once furnished room, most likely belonging to someone of great wealth had eyes had been painted on the wall in nothing more but blood. candles lit in almost every crevice of the room and, a woman, tied and bound at the centre of it all.

Her eyes had been gouged out, the blood seeping down like tears and, her tongue, half split and lying on the floor in front of her.

And, the worst bit.

She was still alive, her body writhing this way and that as she tried to escape, inaudible words escaping her mouth.

"I said I would hunt down that which had taken our greatest mind".

Eos froze, her hand clutched so tight around the dagger, she felt as if she may crush it,

"And I have".

Eos turned her head, finding Melaina stood in the corner. But, she wasn't staring at Eos, only at the woman. Melaina walked towards them, passing Eos as if she wasn't there and stood in front of her,

"You took from us one who would speak the truth, the greatest mind we had left... after..." Melaina trailed off, glancing behind her at Eos. Her eyes sad, yearning.

Deimos had been wrong on both accounts.

Melaina hadn't meant Kallinos - she'd meant Asphodel. Kallinos had his smarts, he had a great mind. Although, in the very end, it was not great enough to bare the truth but, Asphodel's had been - even if she'd thought the truth had not been enough.

Eos watched as Melaina started forward on to the woman, the woman's head going from side to side as she started to panic, cries and gasps escaping her mouth.

Eos knew then that this was the eye, the one who had taken Melaina as a child and... turned her in to what she was now but, this, this wasn't right. Eos was no innocent to torture but, something prolonged like this, when the torture gained nothing more than a zest of excitement or feeling from the one who did it, was wrong. No matter what you'd done.

Melaina was being as cruel as they'd taught her to be and, it only meant that they won.

Eos didn't give Melaina a choice, she didn't even look at her as she plunged the sword straight in to the woman's eye socket, killing her instantly.

"No" Melaina screamed, grabbing on to the body as it fell forward, "you... you killed her" she spat. Melaina shook the woman, as if somehow it would bring her back, her eyes streaming with deluded tears before she stopped, letting the body fall to the floor.

Laelaps was there now too, having nudged the door open at the frantic girls screams.

"Why would you..." Melaina looked over at her, she sat back, her body almost collapsing on itself, her head swivelling around to stare at the woman again,

"They win Melaina. If you let that sort of cruelty over take you, you are no better than them".

Melaina's head snapped to the both of them, her voice shaking,

"And you are any better. You killed Kallinos because he betrayed you" Melaina spat the words, "Our friend. Our family" she pushed to her feet, "What makes you have the right to take your revenge but not us" Eos took a step back and Melaina's voice settled, turning snarky and more bitch-like. "What makes you any better than me" Melaina scoffed."You were always an entitled bitch. You always felt like you deserve so much more than the rest of us", Melaina shrugged a shoulder, a cruel, twisted look on her face "Because you had him and then..." Melaina rolled her eyes, "Then, you had a gift. A gift you destroyed. It would have been wonderful. It would have been what we needed. What I needed" Melaina pointed her finger at her, "It would have brought us to greatness. It would have fixed this... this mess. It would have brought us the order he can't because you-"

"Him" Eos grabbed at Melaina's wrist and pulled her towards her, "They would have turned him - not it - in to something worse than his own father" Melaina pulled with her other hand, her body now shaking and scared - like she'd been back at that house but, Eos didn't let go. "He would have been a puppet they wore on their hand and he'd... he'd be less human than the minotaur, or the cyclops" Eos told her, "He'd never be a gift to anyone but people like her" Eos grabbed on to her shoulders and shoved her around, making her look at the woman sat on the chair, "And" Eos pushed her forward, "Where were you? When I needed you? My friends. My family. You... you just let them have me... after everything they did to you... everything she did... you just left me... I would never have done that... and if I'm so terrible, what are you",

"Eos" Melaina closed her eyes.

"Kallinos… It wasn't because he betrayed me Melaina… I killed him because he was a coward... and cowards have no place in this world" Eos took a step back, turning her head to Laelaps who had sat down, watching the both of them intently - he had nothing to say. "That woman Melaina…. that woman did terrible things to you and you..." Eos sighed, "You think - that somehow - that's okay to happen to someone else",

"Eos" Melaina said quietly but, Eos wasn't finished yet.

"They made us in to monsters and... is it such a terrible thing that I do not want that anymore... that I want something more than order. That night, Melaina, I didn't make it out of that room... Not really. Sometimes I don't even know who I am anymore. Most days I don't even know why I'm here" Eos shrugged, "doing... this... It's not like you deserve it" Eos took a step back, "or I deserve it... All I know is that he didn't... That all those children to come... whether their Kosmos or not, should not have to live under a rule that punishes them for happiness or love or..." Melaina looked up at her, tears in her eyes, "Maybe we don't owe each other but, do we not owe them" Eos asked.

Melaina didn't answer her - there was no reason why Melaina had not been there for her - no real enough reason that could have made it better. Melaina had been scared and, she'd used the spite she had for Eos against any want to go to her. She knew that Eos had done the right thing but, the more she thought about it, the more she'd wondered whether or not Eos had been the problem all along - or, maybe it was just easier to blame everyone else but herself.

"I found her, you know" Melaina looked up at Eos, she was looking away from her, staring at the door, "I watched her die.." Melaina knew who it was she spoke of, "She's gone and... the cult did that... she did that... and... you want to be like them" Eos turned back around, swallowing back a sob, "go right ahead - be everything they want you to be - everything you hate - but just..." Eos trailed off, she sighed "Do not expect to do it for very long".

Even if Melaina had joined in the chaos, even if it was the cult she was after; she'd only fall deeper in to the hole they'd dug for her if she continued the way she was and, Eos didn't know anymore if digging them out of that hole was going to do anything. All she could do was show them a truth they did not want and hope they believed her. Melaina had to want something more than herself and, if she didn't, she'd end up like Asphodel - whether at her own hand or someone else's.

Chapter Text

Deimos knelt, turning over the bodies of his dead guards. How could he be surprised? He'd given the mongrel a chance. A small chance but – a chance none the less.

The lycaon hadn't killed them – that hadn't changed – but, Eos had put them out of their misery.

Which, he didn't know if he was more pissed off about than the actual escape. Now, he had no leads and, no one to take his anger out on.

He should have just choked the bitch to death the moment he saw her. This was never going to end any other way. Not with the lycaon still running about.

Not with the way she made him feel.

And, it wasn't like he could trust her. He had known that there was more to that night in Phoki's but, had it not been necessary. They'd wanted the child to be a warrior, an ambassador for their cause, another child for Kosmo. Not a replacement. Eos had betrayed the cult – even if she'd told him months before that she would – she'd gone through with it and; how could he trust someone like that.

How could he trust anyone…

Deimos stood, stepping over the bodies and following the faint bloodied footprints that Eos had left behind her, they faded away before the bottom came and he'd looked, straight out to the gates.

All she was now, all she ever really was, was just another obstacle he had to overcome…

Maybe she'd even be useful… Maybe death was too kind…

Or… maybe he had to get a hold of himself and, the next time he saw her, he'd smash her head in to a wall.

Whatever it was, he'd show her that she couldn't get under his skin but, he could easily get under hers.

He'd show them all…


Eos had been sat for almost an hour when Laelaps had pricked his ears up - he didn't move from his spot so, the danger wasn't immediate but, it was coming and, they had to leave.

"Melaina. Get up. We have to go",

Melaina had been sat on the floor in complete silence since Eos' outburst. Eos had allowed the words to settle but, Melaina was allowing them to cut away at her - doubting the last few weeks as if they'd meant nothing.

"He will not stop" Melaina said, swirling her fingers in the pattern of a snake on the stone floor,

"Until I am dead - yes - I know" Eos stood, stretching her one arm in the air and rubbing the lycaon - who was actually now lay on his back - on the belly with her foot. Eos looked at the candles dotted around the room.

They could not leave a scene such as this to be found. Could they?

"Until you are back under his control" Melaina corrected her, still sat,

"Melaina. I was never under his control, even before" Eos said. It had been mutual. They'd enjoyed it just as much as one another. Yes, Eos probably could have enjoyed their moments together that little bit more had he let her touch him at will but, he'd made up for it for them both.

And, they'd been working on it. Some shape.

"You know what he's like when it comes to physical contact" Eos felt the need to remind her, "if it doesn't include him strangling you to death, he's not exactly up for it",

"Maybe not but, it is not before, it is now", Eos rolled her eyes,

"And, in the now, we should go" Eos told her,

"Why... why even bother" Melaina said quietly,

"Because you owe me Melaina" Eos wasn't sure if it was true, if it even counted because she was essentially guilt tripping her in to moving but, whoever was to come, wasn't exactly going to take kindly to what had happened here. "The rest of the eyes will fall from their graces without their sage - and, when they get too much, they'll end up dead".

The cult had no fear in taking out its own.

"But still - what is the point" Melaina had asked,

"You keep going until you find the point" Eos told her, "Now. Get up".

The other point, which would prove most useful to Eos, was the point of going to Keos and talking to Xenia.

Except, what Laelaps had not told her, was that Xenia was not the only one she'd spoken too. The lycaon had his flaws just as much as Eos did. Except, the lycaon did not acknowledge his.

"I'd..." Melaina hesitated a moment, then sighed " I'd heard news of Akin. Heard that he was selling himself as a mercenary to the likes of Spartan and Athenian generals",

"He never could decide who he really was" Eos said, the only ever group he'd been loyal to was the cult but, by the sounds of it, he'd not been much loyal to them either - or Asphodel.

"And then, I heard that he was training for a fight" Melaina had already been dawdling behind them, making Eos want to grab her and drag her – it'd probably be faster – but now, she'd stopped completely, "with forty-nine others". Eos stopped too, looking back at her.

Eos sighed, "The battle of a hundred hands", Melaina nodded. Eos had looked at Laelaps and, the lycaon had turned his head away from her - it was a time the lycaon would prefer to forget. Another time in which she'd gone against his wishes and almost died.

"You fought in that, did you not" Melaina asked, looking from one to the other,

"Not exactly..." Eos sighed, "I snuck in once the battle had started. I'd been on the tail of that deserter - he'd been riled up, planning to shoot down our champion before he reach his prime" Eos looked to the road in front of them. "I think that's the only time I have lied to him. Told him I missed his fight because I had got drunk". Eos turned back around to Melaina, wondering if she'd only asked her to change the subject, "Who told you where Akin was",

"A man I knew from the Kerkyan training ground. Akin did some jobs for him a few years ago. He'd used his true name – they'd become friends. Akin has done much since but, he adopts a different name to keep himself hidden, to keep the eyes from seeking him out. The man was from Keos. That was why I went there",

"Have you always known where abouts Akin was",

"No" Melaina put her head down, "I felt it better if I did not".

Melaina could find anyone. If she wanted to.

Perhaps she had been falling from the cults graces for far longer than she'd admit.

"Then, why did you talk to Xenia" Eos asked, Melaina smiled a little, remembering,

"It was by chance. She saw the lycaon at my heels. Warned me about him. Said she had said the same to another girl" Laelaps snorted at them both. "I told her I was trying to find someone. She told me that too many of us search for others when, the only person we need to find is ourselves" Melaina began to walk again, going passed Eos, "I thought that… by destroying her…" Eos raised her brow, she'd done more than destroy her, "I could do that… by making her feel like I did but…" Melaina stopped, it hadn't, it had only made her feel a sense of power and malice and… Eos was right – that was everything she did not want to be. "My… beginnings, it did not begin when I was taken by her". Melaina sighed, "And, that is why I can not come with you Eos".

Melaina, if she was good at anything, was making Eos' head hurt. Sometimes, she would wish to see the inner workings of those around her but, Melaina was not one of them.

"Why",

"Because to find myself I must go back to where I began, back to Sparta" Melaina said, "I need to complete a journey that is my own. All my own. I am not meant for what it is you are trying to achieve", Eos didn't even need to say anything to make Melaina explain that little bit more. Melaina smiled, stepping forward and taking her hand, "You will find yourself on this journey you take Eos and, I believe I may find myself on mine".

After a moment, Eos had nodded, a small smile on her lips.

Melaina was making a choice for herself – and, if that choice got her killed, at least she was the one who had made it. Not the cult. Not Deimos. Her. "Well, I wish you all the luck in the world" Eos said.

"Until the time we meet again Eos" Melaina squeezed her hand,

"Is there going to be one" Eos asked. Sparta wasn't exactly out of bounds for her. For all she knew, that was where Pyros and Glaukos were hiding but, Melaina was a rat and, Eos did not want to assume that she'd be as easy to find as she was before.

"We shall Eos, our paths will cross many times before this is over" Melaina assured her – although, Eos didn't feel that very much assured. Melaina let their hands separate and started to walk away, leaving Eos and the lycaon standing there,

"Melaina. One last thing" Melaina stopped, glancing back around, her eyes glassy, as if she'd entered some sort of trance. Eos took a small step back but, the lycaon had nudged her leg, reminding her of her question - "Is there any hope for him". Melaina had smiled, turning her head back to the road in front of her.

"For the time, he is still needed. In the end, only he can decide what it is he wants. Like us all… Eos. You are so full of chaos, it is a flaw, a weakness when one falls from order. But. You need both".

Eos looked over at Laelaps as Melaina walked away.

She'd hoped it would make her feel better.

It didn't.

Eos had looked at Laelaps,

"You gonna run off after her" Eos asked him, he snorted at her. "Well" she said, "If you come with me, we have to go sailing" Eos walked over to a small alleyway and sat down on some steps, "We have to go sailing... and... it is probably best that we get a ship from the port here than one in say, Argolis" she had no doubt that there would be others travelling to the island for the battle, "And, I know you hate the sea" the lycaon had whined, agreeing with her, "but, if we use Nisai, Deimos is much less likely to sneak up on us that way, is he not".

The lycaon had sat, not looking at her; and, Eos would take that as the only time Laelaps would ever admit that she was right.

Although, it wasn't like Eos was enamoured by the thought of getting a ship. For a ship, you needed drachmae to buy yourself a place, maybe even a favor of some sort – or, you used a lycaon to scare the Captain in to giving you one.

The port of Nisai was quiet that morning. There were no more than a few merchant ships and, Eos had glanced at Laelaps. Now, Captain Hoyts ship hadn't been the biggest but, when the lycaon had got a little anxious, he'd been able to pace from one side to the other, maybe even nip at the crew. However, on a merchants ship, he'd have much less space and, a lot less crew.

But, it was their only option.

And, if only to appease the very fed-up lycaon, Eos had told him to choose their target.

Laelaps decided to choose an older looking man who, if Eos was honest, didn't look like he'd actually be able to walk from one side of the dock to the other – the way he was going.

And, the reason for that was partly because he was old but, mostly because he was drunk.

"Where are you taking your wares merchant" Eos said as she found him, lying on his back and looking up at the sky. She was right, he'd laid himself down on the dock in front of his boat,

"I have been asked to bring my wares to men in Seraphos" the merchant told her, "I think I would like to be drunk when I die",

"Your drink might be what kills you, old man" Eos said,

"Ai, perhaps better than pirates" he told her, he held up the empty clay jug he had, sighing as he let it fall back to the ground,

"Why go then" Eos asked,

"Because I am a merchant. I sail the sea's with my son and… we hope not to die".

Everyone was so full of hope today…

"Maybe I could be of use then" Eos suggested. The old man snorted, then coughed and then opened one eye, his head slowly rocking from side to side,

"I am drunk, not stupid. You. You look tough but, you could not use a bow",

"You'd be surprised",

"Do you not know how dangerous the Aegean sea is. A one-armed mercenary will not take down a Spartan ship that does not like the look of you" a voice said from behind. The son. He wasn't much older than Eos but, he had this air about him that made her feel as if he was someone much worthier than her.

He also had a limp and only one full set of fingers.

He didn't look like he'd be of much use either.

"Like I said, you would be surprised. And, I also have a… companion" Eos said, "Who, may just scare them away just by… being there".

Eos had never felt that unnerving, horrible feeling that most people got when the lycaon was near but, she knew that it had made much bigger men than Kallinos, shit their pants.

"And who is this big scary companion you speak off" the son folded his arms, puffing out his chest but, he was only an inch or so taller than her and, if Eos could trip Deimos on to his ass, she'd have no problem doing it to him – one armed or not,

"He's on your vessel, eating your fish" Eos smiled. They both looked at the ship, even the father raised his head, only for him to faint. The son and his words had all but left his mouth. "You know, I think you'd need another to help you sail anyway. Does not look like your father will be of much use".

The son had stood there for a good long while before he'd said anything more.

And the lycaon'd had his fill.

Eos didn't think it was one of his better ideas but, neither the father - who was still out of it - or the son was going to begrudge it.

"If you'd just gave us a little drachmae, we would have given you passage" the son had said, his voice small, as if to make sure the lycaon did not hear him. Laelaps turned his head to him and the son had shuddered.

"I have this silver belt" Eos pulled it from the sack on her back. She'd thought that selling it to that blacksmith would have got him more in trouble than it would her.

"Or that" he said, his voice a little high as Laelaps came over to them. The son had moved himself, almost to hide behind Eos but, the lycaon sat so much like a dog, it made the son feel both stupid and petrified that the creature could act like that.

He had had seen mercenaries with lions who they fought next to but, this wolf, this creature, this was big and ungodly.


Eventually, once the son – because the father kept himself firmly drunk from the moment they met, to the moment they went their separate ways – had got used to the big black wolf that lay just metres away from him, his head over the side and his eyes closed, Eos found out that his name was Taavi and, he and his father had been sailing the Aegean sea, travelling from one island to the other since his mother had died ten years before.

The woman had hated the sea herself; and, until she died - although the son told Eos that his father had been a pirate in his prime – Taavi had never actually seen it. His mother had forbade it and, he'd never known why.

"Does it not make you feel bad" Eos asked, "Going against the wishes of your mother" – demon or not, Eos had felt some remorse by taking something her 'mother' had wanted. If anything, she owed Chrysis much more than she'd ever care to admit. Without her, she would have been left for dead in a forest – if that was truly how the story of how she and her brother came to be.

"Sometimes" the son told her, "But, we must all forge our own path, we must all take on the demons we grew up with, do we not" he'd shrugged.

"True" Eos said.

Their passage from Attika to Seraphos island was smooth but, Eos did come across one other problem.

And that was that the father was adamant that she and her thing got off at Seraphos and, never – ever - came near them again. It would be a set-back but, there'd be enough shady work for her to get a bit of drachmae and, Eos had told him that was fine– as long as he never told a soul of their passage because – if he did – the lycaon would swim out to his boat and eat him.

The son had laughed a little. Said that, even if he wanted to, no one would ever have believed that they'd given passage to a lycaon and a little girl.

Ignoring the insult, Eos had told him that perhaps it was better never to find out and, as the trip came to an end and they'd gone their separate ways; for good measure, and because Laelaps enjoyed the thrill, he followed the father and the son around, not close enough for them to see him but, close enough to remind them to keep their mouths shut.

And, like Eos had thought, it hadn't taken long for them to find another ship that was making its way to Melos for the fight.

"We need them. We won't get in otherwise. Remember what happened last time" a man stressed as he pulled at his raggedy head of hair,

"Do you not have faith in your Captain" an older man had asked, grabbing the mans shoulder,

"Yes but, how" he threw his hand back, pointing at the crew of men behind him, "With these bunch of lazy assed malakas".

"I could do it" Eos had suggested, butting in on the mens conversation, they'd looked over, their brows raised,

"I doubt it" the Captain said, smirking as he turned back to his ship, his hands on his hips,

"But Captain. Maybe she could. If she took them, they'd never know it was us" raggedy head had said desperately. The Captain sighed and looked back at Eos,

"I guess it depends on what it will cost us",

"Passage to Melos" Eos shrugged, the Captain snorted,

"You don't look like you'd be much use in a fight" he eyed her slung arm,

"You'd be surprised but, no, only supporting this time". Raggedy head looked from one to the other and then grabbed at his Captains shoulder, the Captain rolled his eyes,

"Go on. We have room", the Captain eyed Eos again,

"Perhaps we can come to some sort of arrangement" he took a step towards her, "our hospitality does not come cheap though" the Captain smirked and Eos had forced a smile. That was something she'd liked whilst being in the confines of the cult - no one had ever expected anything more of her than what she'd been trained for.

As another crew member had filled her in what she had to do, she'd overheard the Captain telling one of the others that he'd always wanted a mercenary to straddle him and, she'd decided to promise him something more - "I'll make your legs shake Captain".

Her first port of call though, was the obtainment of a blue sack of treasures he claimed had been stolen from him. Although, as she finally came across the group of bandits on Pirates Bay, Eos quickly realised that she was working for pirates, against pirates.

Still, a ride was a ride and, as she hid behind a wagon, she saw the distinctive blue sack with a golden pattern on the waist of one of the men. Seemed it was too precious to leave lying around. Still, even if he looked fast, he was thin and easy to drag down.

Getting Laelaps to cause a bit of a scene with the dog that resided there, she'd managed to pull him backwards but, he'd thrown his arms out instinctively and hit her slung one, making her curse a little and attract a guard who'd seen the captured man's leg flail in the air. Although, by the time they'd realised what was happening, she'd already choked the man and grabbed the sack but, as she ran, she felt the arrows fly pass by her head.

Fortunately, they were too panicked by the wisp of black that seemed to chase after her and never got a clear shot.

But, it wasn't going to stop them from following her. Seems whatever was in this bag was worth the risk. Perhaps even worth the risk of taking it and finding passage elsewhere but, it would cost them time and, Eos didn't think she'd have the strength, or patience, to deal with two sets of pirates.


"Here you go" Eos dropped the sack in to the Captains hand. The Captain, who was sat at a small table on his deck, eating a plate of cooked food, "It's all there",

"Ai. Good. Good" he opened it slowly, peaking inside, and then, he'd looked up at Eos, "and now, our other... payment" Eos smiled and brushed her fingers over his. The pirate had gone to stand up but, Eos launched herself over the table and straddled him, her knife to his throat,

"This enough for you".

He'd specifically said straddle - she'd thought the rest was up for interpretation. He was by no means bad looking but, as desperate as she was to get to Melos, she wasn't that desperate just yet.

And, he didn't look as if he'd be much fun anyway.

The crew had chuckled once they'd got over the initial shock and the Captain had laughed a little under his breath, a forced smile as he put his hands up in a mock surrender. Eos smiled back and stood up, taking a step away from him and watching the pirate get to his feet, a little shakey.

"I told you I'd make your legs shake Captain" Eos had said to him. "Oh and, we should probably go" Eos shrugged as she stepped away, staring out towards Melos.

"What. Why" the Captain asked,

"Because they saw me" she had the blue sack back in her hand which, only made the captain spin around, unsure of how she'd even taken them.

"I told you not to trust a one-armed mercenary" one of the crew had said,

"Well, I'll be a rich one-armed mercenary if they sink your ship" Eos told him.

"Ahhck" the Captain gave up, "Prepare to sail. Now" he patted raggedy head on the back, "Better win this battle. Ain't got enuf' drachmae to bury yuh".

What Eos had not warned them about was the lycaon but, they were already a hundred metres or so from land when Laelaps finally revealed himself. And, by all accounts, they only lost about four men who decided to throw themselves overboard. One was rescued, two were most definitely eaten by sharks and the fourth... well, the crew had decided that they'd find him back in Chora.

It had also not taken long for the whole of Melos to come in to view either but, following a particularly foggy morning, it also did not take long to see that the ships behind them were preparing for war.

"If my ship sinks, I will help Poseidon drown you" the Captain said.

Chapter Text

The battle between the two fierce little pirate ships was, to say the least, very… anti-climactic. It was nothing like the naval battles Eos had heard off but still; as they drifted closer and closer to Melos, and frighteningly closer to the obsidian rocks that lay beneath the sea, the Captain was too occupied with the arrows and spears that were gutting men on either side and, throwing them overboard.

It was as Eos and Laelaps watched the arrows tear through the sails and, the Captain claim that they had the upper hand and the only way to finish them off was to ram themselves in to them, Laelaps – who already felt as if he was going to vomit – had nudged Eos and threw his head up at the mass before he'd closed his eyes, trying to imagine himself on land.

A chain from the attacking ship had been flung in to the air, clinging on to the centre of the mass and splintering the wood. The impact of the two ships colliding would cause it to fall, making it entangle itself with the sinking ship and, Eos and the lycaon did not want to experience the aftermath of that.

Whipping the blue pouch off the waist of the Captain – she had no doubt it had been stolen from some rich man anyway – Eos jumped as the ships collided and the ships mass' fell atop each other. Laelaps had hesitated but, being so close to the edge, the impact had thrown him over too, landing him in the water next to her.

Freeing her arm from its sling desperately, Eos began to swim. It ached at first but, the water caressed it, supported it and, even as she shuddered at the cold, the lycaon swimming beside her urged her on. The sand was in sight, the waves crashing against the beach caught her, pulling her in, pushing her out, dragging her under but, the lycaon grabbed on to her cloak and pulled her out from underneath, dragging her on to the shore.

Eos lay on the black sand, closing her eyes and taking some deep breaths, hearing the lycaon snort and rub himself on the ground next to her. She grabbed at her pocket, finding the blue pouch safely tucked away amongst her robes.

"Laelaps" she rolled over, using one arm to push herself up in to a kneel, "we should go" she told him, "whatever is in this pouch" she took it out of her pocket and threw it on the sand in front of her, "I feel as it a sinking ship would not sway them from pursuing it". The lycaon, who was now lying on his side whined, as if asking her why she had taken it in the first place, Eos smiled, "There's not much to hunt here than clouds of ash. Do not want to starve, do you".

The lycaon snorted from his place in the sand and Eos stood up, turning around to the two ships. They'd started to sink, caught on the rocks. The men screaming and shouting as they jumped.

"We definitely need to go" Eos said.

By the time the two of them had reached the inner city, except for the smell of wet dog, Eos had been dried by the Greek sun and, the place was bustling with the sounds of battle. From the looks of it, it still seemed to be a week or so away but, the crowds had already started to gather.

"Fancy making this easy and just smelling him out like you did Melaina" Eos said, looking to the lycaon who'd disguised himself amongst some shrubbery, she heard a small snort and then carried on herself, leaving the lycaon to it and walking down in to the market square.

Opening the pouch, it was filled with a little drachmae and some bits of bluish ore. Orichalcum. It was rare as hell and, she didn't even know if it was useable any other place than that merchants shop in Phokis but, it was worth a try.

The first merchant she went to had looked at it stupid, asking her what in Hades it was – as had the second - but, the third had been a little intrigued. Swearing to only have one piece, she had exchanged it for some dark grey robes and then, used the drachmae to buy some dried meat for when the lycaon returned to her.

Chewing on it a little herself, she stumbled past the infamous Drakios, yelling the praises of the battle of a hundred hands and, the glory that would ensue - if one was to win. Avoiding the mans eyes, Eos found her way to the entrance of the battleground. As much as she had faith in the lycaon, if Laelaps was unsuccessful, perhaps she'd just have to put the word out for a brutishly strong mercenary and see if Akin's ego brought him to her.

It wouldn't be that difficult though. As the sun started to set, Eos spotted the lycaon in the shadows and, an even bigger one behind him.


"I feel as if I should be surprised" Deimos said, glancing behind him as he slowed his horse in to a trot, his hoplite and the other men who accompanied him turning their heads to their backs, wondering who it was he spoke to "Leave me" Deimos said to them, "Tell them their champion will grace them soon enough", his hoplite had nodded his head slowly, glancing at the other men who quickly did the same and then rode on. "Does she know of your broken promises" Deimos asked once they were out of earshot, looking to the shadows amongst the trees, "or, are you really like the rats who have nothing, but a greed for what others have",

"Can you blame me" Melaina asked,

"She would have given every moment to you willingly, I am sure" Deimos said, he looked back to the road as Melaina stepped out,

"Not every moment" Melaina said quietly. She took a deep breath. That was not why she was here. The past she and Eos shared, despite Eos' want to save her, a want that wasn't reasonable, it wasn't why she was here. Melaina took a deep breath, "Things such as that do not matter anymore",

"It does not" Deimos said, he turned his horse towards her, "What matters-" Melaina interrupted him and he gritted his teeth,

"What matters is that Eos will find herself in so much chaos that it will destroy her",

"Does that not make my life easier" Deimos asked, he smiled,

"We both know that is not the truth" Melaina said quietly,

"The truth" he smirked and threw his head back, looking to the sky, "Do you even know the meaning of the word",

"The meaning is not important. What is, is that Eos is on her way to Melos", Deimos looked at her, his brow raised,

"What are you playing at Melaina" Deimos asked, "Where do your loyalties lie",

"My head is much clearer now… I have seen the truth" Melaina turned away from him, her fingers fiddling with the air, "The Gods blessed me with a true sight before. A sight that I used against them" she spun around, "I know I must now make up for it".

"And" Deimos shrugged a shoulder, "If I kill you now, will your Gods save you", Melaina put her hands together,

"I suspect not but, you will not kill me" Melaina said. Deimos smiled and leaned forward on his horse,

"And how are you so sure of that" he felt the horse shudder beneath him and he sat up straight, "Did the Gods show you that too",

"No. But, if you wanted me dead; you would have done it already. If you wanted Eos dead, she would never have escaped",

"You know nothing" Deimos spat, he reared his horse and circled around her, Melaina stayed put.

"I know that she is on Akins trail. We both know that his pride will kill him. It might also kill her too",

"Then why tell her where he was" Deimos asked, a small ounce of care in his voice before he went stern again. Melaina turned to meet his gaze, confused. "You do not think I know" Deimos said, "You can find anyone. You've known where he was all along", Melaina glanced away, silent, "I bet you knew where Affy was too" Deimos said quietly, smirking as he leaned back a little, "I bet you knew what they did to her",

"No" Melaina shook her head, her hands starting to shake – he was trying to get a rise out of her, trying to play with her – "I-",

"So all that time I thought you were looking, you were not. You left her to the mercy of the people you run from now" Deimos said,

"Stop" she sputtered, swallowing back the lump in her throat,

"Or" Deimos made his horse step passed her, again facing the road his men had ridden down, "Did you have a hand in it" Deimos asked, "We all know how jealous you were of her to…",

"I would never…" Melaina trailed off, squeezing her eyes shut to stop the tears that would fall,

"And Eos" Deimos asked, his voice that little softer for a moment before he glanced back, "Did you know that she still walked on the plains of the living. Were all those words, all those… Was it just an act to you",

"No" Melaina choked, "No", she caught his eye – he believed her – if only then, he believed her.

"Why tell me where she is if you do not want her dead" Deimos asked, "Why tell me that Akins pride might be what kills her",

"Because" Melaina swallowed back another sob and took a deep breath, composing herself. She'd had to see if there was any hope in what Eos wanted for Deimos and, maybe, just maybe there was, she took another quick breath, "because you must decide what you will do with it. Pursue her. Leave her. Kill her. Just know that your decisions are meaningful" Deimos grinned, shaking his head but, Melaina was not finished, "Your choices will impact your fait". Deimos turned to her,

"My fait has been sealed, my destiny-",

"If that is what you believe, perhaps we are all the lost children of Kosmo" Deimos stopped, turning to the road again.

After a moment, he turned his horse to face her again,

"You… " Deimos' words trailed away.

Melaina was gone.

As if she was truly a rat that would scurry beneath your feet.

Deimos chose not to go after her. It would be pointless. She did not have what he needed.

Deimos rode in to Attika, towards the Agora, only to follow the path of the crowd that had gathered, his men trying in vain to quiet them. At the sight of him, the crowd separated, turning their faces to look at the floor, their hands shaking and their voices small

Inside the house his men pushed the crowd back against, held a scene he could almost say he was used too. A body lay on the floor, mutilated, broken. Deimos knelt next to them; her tongue had been pulled from her mouth, her eyes torn out and, her torture had been cut short, a sword through the eye socket and in to the back of the skull.

Whoever Melaina was loyal too, it was no longer the eye of Kosmo.

Deimos stood up, turning around to find the almighty Kleon,

"This is not your sisters work" Kleon told him, as if Deimos could not think for himself. He stepped over, looking down at the woman, "If I was a…. suspicious man… I may say it was yours" Kleon looked over at Deimos, at the slightly twisted face he was pulling, he smiled, "But, I am not" Kleon assured him, he patted him on the back and Deimos gritted his teeth, "And, I am sure your capable of finding the one who did" Kleon said, "You may take leave from us champion" Deimos stared in to the candle light – as if he needed permission "But, I expect you not to forget our little… arrangement… We'll need you when it begins" Kleon hated to admit it but, Deimos did have his uses and, he was worth about thirty Athenian brutes. "Well, I'll make sure I inform the others. You did wonderfully with Klitos by the way. I assume no one will find the body" Kleon said before he left, leaving Deimos staring off in to the dying flames.

"Melos" Deimos said to himself, "Melos is where I'll find them".

Chapter Text

"Eos".

Akin was just as big as she remembered him to be, maybe even bigger.

Except, that gentle face that would set him apart from all those brutish mercenaries you'd find on the roads of Greece - was aged, gaunt, his eyes left in shadow, his hair – which had been longer than Deimos' once – shaved and, the stubble on his chin left to grow in to some sort of raggedy brush.

If it wasn't for the lycaon next to him, Eos could easily have mistaken him for someone else.

A pattern that didn't seem to be slowing down.

Before Eos could say a word, Akin embraced her in one of those hugs he was always so good at, one that would envelope your whole body and fill you with the scent of sweat, steal and grease but, he squeezed that little too hard and, Eos felt like it wasn't because he was overjoyed to see her but, more as if he was in the midst of saying a goodbye...

But, other than that feeling, he showed no sign of wanting her gone and, Laelaps – who she'd glanced out the corner of her eye – had wagged his tail – whatever was up with Akin, it wasn't because he was being followed by anything unruly and, wasn't because he was about to kill her with some hidden blade.

Akin held her out in front of him, inspecting her, his large hands on her shoulders. He squeezed them, made her flinch but, he didn't care to notice.

"How" he said, he had not been able to fathom the lycaon stood in front of him but Eos… he wasn't sure she was truly there, no matter how real she felt. Eos put a hand on his, squeezing it weakly back,

"It is a long story" Eos gave him a small smile, her chin starting to quiver just at the thought of having to tell him. Akin put his arm around her, guiding her through the darkened streets,

"Come with me. Let us get out of view" Akin said, "I want to know everything".

Near to Melos' temple, a building, separated in to a few small homes, lay the house Akin resided in.

Which, just so happened to be the house the cult had used for both their fighters and their champions in the years before. It looked to be abandoned now though, the only thing which seemed to truly belong were some old mattresses that lay on the floor, a desk with Akins meagre bag of things atop of it and, a dusty old chest that was cracked open.

It was small, empty and… a little unsettling.

Akin always used to fill his corners with so many things. Not expensive things, just little things that he would find on his travels. Shells, rocks, fragments of old pottery – he'd even had this prized bull horn that he'd carry around with him everywhere - which she quickly realised was no where in sight.

They were the things that a mercenary did not need but, still. It didn't feel right. And, from what little he told her of the place, he'd been here for a little while and, still hadn't acquired much at all. Akin used to pick up rocks randomly and put them in his pockets.

His pockets were all empty.

"I have spent many days training" Akin told her, "On Hydrea island" he pulled out some apples from his bag, tossing her one before looking down at Laelaps. He'd sighed at the lycaons terrifying puppy eyes and then, dug deeper in to his bag and pulled out a piece of dried meat.

"So, you have a ship" Eos asked as she sat on the desk, biting in to the apple and flicking through an old leather book next to her. If mercenaries were anything, they were well paid during the war - Kassandra had a whole crew she kept alive just by the earnings of her mercenary work.

"No" Akin smiled and then slid the book away from her, Eos put her hands up in surrender as he turned away, "I borrow a row boat from the docks and hope Posiedon is on my side".

So not exactly a ship. And, not exactly a way off the island either.

"Ahh" Eos watched him put the book near one of the mattresses he seemed to be sleeping on. He turned back to her,

"Now Eos. Why are you here... how are you here". Akin had believed them when they'd said she'd died, he'd believed every word of what happened because, nothing was about to change it - nothing would change how much of a coward he'd been that day, nothing would change how he'd betrayed his best friend.

Eos had shared another glance with the lycaon, a glance that told her that she was fine to tell him.

And so, she did. Although, she missed out the part about Asphodel. There was already something upsetting him. Perhaps he already knew.

Eos kept the story of what happened in Phokis brief. Told him that she had taken the babes life but, they'd beat her and torn her apart and left her for dead - had thought she was dead - and, she had not run as they'd said she had, only that she'd awaited her punishment and, it seemed the God's saw fit to let her survive it.

"Eos, I'm so sorry" Akin said, "Someone should have been there. We promised... We promised him we would".

Akin and Deimos had been such good friends before but, in the end, it was Eos that had torn them all apart. They'd promised Deimos that they would be there for her, when he couldn't and, they'd betrayed him just as much as her.

"It is done Akin. No reason in mulling over it",

"Yes but..." he trailed off.

Eos continued after a moment, there was no more he could say about it. Eos told him that she had eventually healed, thanks to the good will of a physician and then, she'd thought it right to confront Deimos, to talk to him but, the cult had caught her, seen through her plan and, thrown her in to the center of Hephaistos.

She told him of how she escaped, that she ended the Chimera's life – avoided the subject of Kassandra – and, then, only when on her journey to unite with her lost brothers and sisters, which in turn had made Akin give her the meakest of smiles, that Kallinos had revealed his betrayal and, in the end, she'd killed him.

Akin did not question her. He knew of how sour Kallinos had grown as of late, how jealous he was. He'd fallen so hard and fast, none of them attempted to pull him back out again. It would always have been to late for Eos to do much about it.

Eos continued, told him that she saw Melaina, that she killed Chrysis, Midas, the Master. Then, Deimos had caught up with her, kept her prisoner.

At the mention of his name, Akin had smiled a little, "You know. I heard that Deimos had been distracted for a little while. Now I know why". Eos leaned back, taking another glance at Laelaps who had even turned his head back to them, after chewing on something he had hidden between his paws,

"But you said you did not",

"No. As far as I know, the cult do not know where I am. Once I register for the battle, no doubt Drakion will tell them but, for now, they know not of my existence", Akin said, which caught her off guard a little, surely he couldn't still be thinking of fighting, could he? What would even be the point? Together, they could do so much more than win a fight and get their names thrown out in to the world for the cult to find.

Still, if the cult knew not of his, how did he know of theirs.

"Then how" Eos asked,

"Pyros",

"Pyros..." Pyros was the baby, only a year younger than her but, he'd always been small and looked terribly malnourished all the time, despite how much he seemed to eat - and, perhaps the most untrustworthy of the lot of them. "Where-"

"Licking the boot of some Spartan" Akin sighed,

"Just some Spartan" Eos raised her brow,

"Well, no doubt it's one of... theirs" Akin shrugged. Eos sat back,

"And you trust him".

"Yes",

"Why" Eos asked, he'd always been a little more malleable, more willing to be everyone's friend instead of their enemy. What had changed.

"Because he swore he'd keep it a secret" Akin told her. Pyros swore a lot of things. "Anyway, there is no gain or no… loss in their lack of knowledge about me" Akin had shrugged, "I left on my own accord. I vanished and, except for Deimos, they left me be" - the demi-god had come close to finding him - to kill him, to talk to him, he still didn't know, he wasn't sure he wanted too.

"But why" why would they just give up on one of their greatest warriors - why just let him walk away Eos wondered. Even Laelaps was thinking, tilting his head as he stared into space.

Especially now. Especially in the midst of war.

"Because I am not like I once was" Akin told her, "I was always going to end up here. I must show them that the fight within me will only go out the moment I die" - he was lying, he was lying and he believed it so much that Eos could not say it.

Instead,

"I heard word of a man cutting the head clean off a bull" Eos said, "Was that you",

"Word travels fast amongst soldiers" Akin smiled, "It was an offering to the Gods" Akin told her. "A plight for them to accompany me on my journey",

"And did they" Eos asked. She was starting to wonder if the Gods really had a hand in anything.

"I have not met my match yet, so no".

What did his journey end in exactly?

Death?

Laelaps did a small whine, as if agreeing with her unspoken thoughts.

"Akin. Forget about this. Forget about the fight. Help me find Pyros, Glaukos... Asphodel" Akin looked down, closing his eyes as a heavy sigh left him. "Help me change their minds. Please",

"No Eos... I must do this.'' I must fight",

"But what if you die Akin. What if you die" she threw her hands up in the air, "what happens when Asphodel finds out that your pride killed you" it was so easy to talk about her, as if she was alive, Eos scared herself... Akin didn't notice though, he didn't seem to notice many things anymore.

Even Laelaps was starting to get a little agitated with him, those beady little eyes acting as if they were daggers.

"There are many things Eos - that a person needs to let go of in life. You of all people should understand that".

Why she wanted to ask him, why did she have to let go of any of it. What else did she have to hold on to if not them?

"You loved her Akin. You loved Affy and…" Eos sat back, it had been so real, had it not, "it was beautiful and-",

"It grew out of spite Eos. Our… love... Out of a want to rebel. Out of a want to make them see that we were in control, that we could do what we wanted and not be their puppets. It wasn't true and... in that way... it is easier to let go".

Had he even tried to find Asphodel? Had he tried and given up? Had Asphodel only did what she'd done because she thought everyone had given up on her...


"Melos" Deimos told the Captain who leaned over the edge of his ship,

"Does our almighty champion fancy smashing a few heads, does he" the young Sokos had asked, a cultist who was both youthful and brash, something Deimos could not stand in the slightest.

Even if others called him the same.

"What I want is none of your business", the Captain put his hands hands up,

"Of course not, forgive me my" he bowed, and Deimos did not miss the sarcastic grin in his face "champion". Deimos gritted his teeth, blowing air out his nose as the Captain turned around.

Perhaps he would smash someone's head in.

"We have space but, once in Melos, I shall stay within the obsidian isles for a good long while" Sokos said, "Drakion and me have things to do".

Deimos came aboard, looking to the crew that scurried around.

"Where did you find these men" Deimos asked. They were so squirmy and small, they looked as if they'd jump overboard at any sign of battle,

"My warriors are enjoying the fruits of their labour, they'll be here soon enough" Sokos told him, "these are just my rats who ensure that my ship will not sink",

"Are rats not famed for knawing holes in ships " Deimos asked quietly.

"We shall stop in Seraphonus first. I have a small shipment to pick up. Then, we shall travel to Melos" Sokos said, ignoring him.

It did not take long for them to arrive at the bay – except, there was no sign of any men or, this blue pouch of oricalchum Sokos was obsessed with obtaining. The young captain had walked around the encampment, ranting and raving about what he would do to the malaka's once he found them but, Deimos treaded that bit softer - which meant that he found the dead man amongst the brush, stabbed in the back.

And then, a trail running through the sand and in to the forest, arrows having missed their mark and embedded themselves in to the dirt.

Deimos concluded that something had most likely been stolen, that the men had pursued them. And, once in Chora, Sokos had talked to an informant of his and he'd came back to his ship, so red in the face his head might have exploded - which would have made things go a lot quicker for Deimos. The fight would be held soon and, he'd rather get there before anything too drastic happened.

"He says he watched the damn pirates chase each other down, sank north of Melos" he threw his arms in the air, muttering and grumbling as he pushed pass some of his crew, making his rats squirm and scurry.

"Well if you want it that much, you can go swimming" Deimos told him.

Sokos muttered something under his breath and then threw his hands to the air again, "Well, Poseidon can keep the damn thing safe for me until the morrow. I need a drink".

The two of them were sat in a tavern, Sokos had been getting more and more drunk and, been explaining to him what he had planned for the likes of the obsidian isles, all of which Deimos had no interest in.

Eventually though, after a long amount of silence, Sokos decided he was drunk enough to get that little more personal with the cults champion.

"I am... shocked they never made you marry" Sokos aid, "There seems to be no scope for the future. Your sister is by no means going to rally to our course, that's clear" Deimos rolled his eyes, there had never been a chance of that and, they didn't need her. He was enough, "and, well, we all know you have it in you. Perhaps just have to pick a better partner next time" and then, he'd laughed.

Deimos took a deep breath, his body shuddering in a little fit of rage as Sokos leant his head back, still chuckling to himself.

Since that day in Phokis, when he'd returned to the terror of what had happened to Eos - other than having the Master scream the events out for all to hear, there was never anymore said about it. Not to him.

There was no point. As angry as they were, they'd known to keep them words to themselves.

Ofcourse, Melaina had mentioned it, many a times. It was the start of that downwards spiral that had led her in to what she was now.

But the others - the other children - they'd let it go; both that night and Eos. Kallinos had said to him that there was no point in holding on to someone who was dead - even if in the end, thats what had killed him.

But, Deimos had not. He'd blamed himself. If he had been there, if he had not run after his sister like some lost little boy, perhaps Eos wouldn't have done what she did - perhaps she would have but, he would have been there to... Deimos stopped himself. Countless nights of thinking it had brought him nothing but, pain.

And, perhaps there was so much more to the night that even Eos could not fathom to tell him.

Perhaps it was better that he didn't know.

"Deimos" Sokos said again, annoyed.

Deimos looked over at him, he was stood up, his arms wrapped around a girl on either side of him,

"Would you like a girl for the night" the pretty Greek women were leant up against the young man, their hands already losing themselves amongst his robes, their eyes flittering between his and Deimos.

"No" Deimos said, he leaned back in his chair and stared at the full goblet of wine he had not drunk yet.

"That is fine. More for me" he grabbed at the girls and they swooned dramatically, giggling and whispering as he led them away.

One had glanced back, to get Deimos' attention, to tempt him in to a yes but, he did not look at her, his eyes firmly on his goblet.

The demi-god did not always say no. It was not in his best interest too but, they were always too clingy - as if they thought that their touch could be any different to anyone else. That it could comfort him instead of making him shudder.

A weakness he'd rather keep from the lips of prostitutes and whores.

That was one of the things he'd liked so much about Eos. They were both just as awkward, just as complicated that first time but - she'd known his boundaries, knew what not to touch, what not to do. Perhaps she would forget herself in the moment – they both would – but, she would right those moments just as much as he would. She did not cross the lines that so many others wanted too, did not expect anything more than what they already had. She understood him and…

Deimos picked up the goblet and chugged back the wine. He'd never liked the taste; didn't understand why it was people could drink it from dawn till dusk.

They'd told him that it could help you forget.

It didn't.

The next day, after far too much time wasted on sending crew members in to the wreckage to search for Soko's oricalchum - which was not there - the Captain had finally accepted that Deimos' observation, which included the washed up bodies on the black sands just metres away from them, that whoever did have his little blue pouch had either been eaten by a shark - of which one of the crew had met a bloody end to aswell - or, they'd washed up on Melos and decided to spend it.


"Are you sure about this" Eos asked him. She had spent the last two days trying to convince Akin that fighting would not bring him the 'relief' he was looking for.

"Yes Eos" Akin said, he put a hand on her shoulder and pulled her in for another hug, squeezing her that little too tight again before he pushed away,

"But why" Eos asked - she'd asked the question so many times and thus far, she'd always got the same answer. Because I have too. And, it wasn't good enough - and before he could give that answer again, she said "Why be what they want you to be" Eos said. He smiled,

"Because I enjoy it",

"No you do not" he still had the audacity to lie to her, "Everything you did before. All those people you killed for the cult... you",

"Do you not get that thrill Eos" Akin asked, "that thrill of death". Eos didn't answer, after watching Kallinos and Asphodel die the way they did, death didn't seem all that thrilling anymore.

But, Akin took her silence only as an agreement.

"If I was to die, I would rather do it fighting" Akin told her,

"You can do that in Lakonia. Argolis. Attika. You can do it fighting against the cult, not because your pride makes you wants to be the best Akin" Eos took a step back,

"It is my choice" Akin said,

"And what about me. What happens if you die" Eos asked,

"Not everything is about you Eos".

The snide words hit her harder than she thought they would, especially seeming how untrue they were,

"It is never about me" Eos said quietly, "Even when I needed you the most".

"But you are still fine, are you not, you are still here, still fighting" Akin asked, he'd took a step closer to her, hoping to bridge the tense gap between them but Eos shook her head,

"What's the point in fighting for people who have no want to fight for themselves",

"It is a choice we must make out own" Akin said,

"No Akin. Its the easy way out" Eos turned away, leaving him stood amongst the crowd of warriors and spectators that had gathered at the entrance to the battle ground.

Eos found Laelaps sat in the shadows of some stalls, they were empty of their merchants, either walking amongst the crowd selling their wares off their backs or, scared off by the feeling of lycaon.

"I don't think he ever really planned to come off that battlefield Laelaps" she'd said to him, "He wants to die gloriously, in battle. In line with his heroes of the cult".

Eos had heard something once. Of how, when some men accept death, everything about them changes, how they gives their things away, how they seem happy and content - how they have a haircut...

He would fight though. Akin was not one to let himself lose if he could help it. Or, he hadn't been. So, there was every chance he could make it to the end.

If the cult decided they did not want him dead.

Perhaps that's why they'd let him go...

The battle would not start for a little while longer and, as angry as she was, she wanted to atleast be in ear shot of the horns that went off as the contestants started to fall.

First though, Eos and Laelaps took a small walk down to the port. She'd been keeping her eye on it, just to ensure that no other pirates had decided to chase after her for the small pouch of oricalchum she still had tied to her waist, now in a simple white pouch instead.

But, this time, she felt like it couldn't of got any worse. Even Laelaps had whined a little at the sight of it.

The Adrestia.

And, it could only mean one thing...

"Barnabas" Eos called, her stomach already turning at the thought of Kassandra not being there. The old one-eyed Captain had turned his head, Eos only realising then the brute of a man he was talking to. He was easily the same size as Akin,

"Eos!" he put his arms out, "What a pleasant-", Eos waved it away,

"Tell me Kassandra is not fighting",

"Of course" Barnabas said, he was so confident in her, it would have made Eos smile had it been any other situation, "the almighty Kassandra can accomplish anything" Barnabas put his hands on his hips and looked at his companion, "I was just telling Testicles here that Kassandra will wipe out half of the arena within the hour". Barnabas had looked back, only noticing the drop in Eos' face, "What is it? You're not here to fight, are-",

"No, no, but" Eos looked to Laelaps "Kassandra's going to kill him".

Laelaps had growled at her before she'd said the words, already knowing what it was she wanted to do, "In and out, I promise, I just-" Laelaps growled at her even more, bearing his teeth and making a man who'd wandered over jump and scream a little. "Laelaps" he snapped his teeth at her "I've done it before, I'll be fine. They just need to get to the end. That's all".

The lycaon had nipped at her robes but she'd swatted him away. As far as Laelaps was concerned now, Akin had made his choice and, Eos had to accept it.

Except, Eos wasn't about to do that.

Akin had wanted the Gods to match him.

And instead, they'd sent him a Demi-God.

Chapter Text

It had taken Eos almost all day to get to the other side of the harbour but, finally, the champions peak was in sight.

As always, sentries were placed all around the battle ground - ensuring no one decided to back out at the last minute. Fortunately, the sentries did not think anyone stupid enough to sneak in so, as the sun started to set, she slipped over the ash aired hills and, in to the gluts of bloody battle.

Or, what had been.

As expected, the first twenty-five or so hands had fallen within the first few hours which, would cause more hassle for Eos than it would benefit her.

Yes, they were more spread out and, less likely to sneak up on her but, it meant that Akin would be harder to find and, the ones who were left, were far more likely to be the more deadly counterparts.

A fight did not scare Eos in any way, most of these contestants would have nothing on the likes of trained warriors but, she'd promised Laelaps she'd be careful and, her left arm wasn't as great at throwing daggers as her right and, a bow, which she had strung to her back, would probably do more damage if she whacked someone with it.

Still, Barnabas, always the mother hen, had equipped her with some of Kassandra's old armour. The first was a gold chest piece; a little too big but sturdy. Barnabas had told her that it had once belonged to the great Perilles - which Eos, and Herodotus (as much as he tried) did not think that he saw the irony in - some mismatched greaves and, a leather belt.

Pulling her hood up, Eos traversed a small hill that overlooked the starting point and, the cave that she knew Akin had a love for.

And, her first contestant.

They'd positioned themselves up high, planning to pick off those from below. She didn't really want to effect the fight in any way. If she could leave them be, she would but, the archer - who had heard her approach in the coming darkness - Eos had forgotten to change her movements in line with the heavy chest that she wore - and, the man had turned, an arrow narrowly missing her before she threw a small knife at him as he pulled over another. The knife caught the man in the side of the throat, making him flail and hold his hands to the wound but, it hadn't stopped the second arrow from coming for her. The direction was off and, it slammed in to the side of the chest plate instead.

And, her whole body shook - she'd forgotten the novelty of over-sized armours ability to shake you like a bell - and, she grabbed at the dent the arrow had left, could even feel the bruise already forming below. She was already considering taking it off but, then she'd have to explain to Kassandra why some over-paid soldier was walking around in her armour once the battle ended.

Putting the man out of his misery - he would have bled to death anyway - Eos took his spot.

Night finally fell and, some settled themselves down for the night but, others took it is an opportunity to move more freely.

And, if Laelaps had taught her anything - armoured or not - it was how to move at night, to take her time, to pace her steps in line with the noises night brought with it, to stay completely silent.

Usually though, the lycaon would be by the side of her, nudging her back in to the right stance or, nipping at her for making a noise.

It was honestly times like these that Eos remembered how much she relied on him.

She could sneak up on almost anyone, stab them in their beds or, even pass by them completely unnoticed but, that wasn't the cults training - Deimos and Akin were their masterpieces - that was spending time with a creature that used the shadows to go about his business. A creature who learned he could have a much easier life bypassing annoying people instead of trying to eat them. Although he still found the later quite fun.

The cult had trained Eos to be a warrior, to fight, to kill.

Her talent for silence wasn't natural, it was all Laelaps.

But, her gut was good at some things too and, a combination of the both got her through that first night.

And, as dawn broke, a glorious and bloody fight took place at the entrance of the cave, with a brute of a man at its helm.

Akin was still alive.

Eos made her way down, following the residues of the fight as a man ran backwards from Akin, shooting arrows at him, only as if to taunt him further down. Akin swiping at the flying sticks and slicing them in half with his sword.

It was a trap.

Eos had realised that but, she wasn't too sure Akin had.

Climbing up on to one of the many platforms, Eos had known someone was above and, even though they had turned to face her, their hunting bow strung and ready, she'd smacked them with her bow, getting them off balance before a small kick to the knee made them fall over the side and, onto a crumpled heap on the floor.

Further in and, jumping from spot to spot and then, finally back to the ground, she watched as Akin played their game.

He cut down the couple foot soldiers easily and then, he struck out at the platform with a kick so hard, it fell, bringing down the hidden archers with it and, revealing another brute who'd been waiting to make his move.

It wasn't unknown for contestants to strike up deals, both before and after, to deal with the more hardier of contestants but, Akin was so much more than they'd anticipated.

Eos stood back and watched, the swords parrying and their bodies shaking involuntarily as they struck one another. In some sort of triumph, the other brute managed to trip Akin over and, to end the small battle, they had picked up a spear, ready to ram it through the space in the front of Akins helmet but, Akin had rolled just seconds before, grabbed the bladed end with his hand and, pushed it backwards, impaling the man through the gap in his chest.

The wood splintered and the brute choked, blood gurgling up his throat before he fell backwards, dead.

Eos was just about ready to stand up from the spot she'd hidden herself in when Akin jumped around, grabbing a fallen sheild and holding it up near him, an arrow laced with green hitting it. Eos turned, seeing a tall skinny man expertly stringing the arrows and firing them rapidly against him.

Then, a sharp edged spear came up through his chest, his bow dropped, his eyes widened and, as he fell forward, behind him stood Kassandra.

"Stop" Eos shouted as they went to run at one another, only for Akin to turn suddenly and grab her by her chest piece and pull her towards him, about ready to throw her in to another of the platforms scaffolding.

"What are you doing here" Akin had demanded. Kassandra had taken a hesitant step forward, making Akin spin around to face her, letting Eos go.

"Just stop for one God damn second" Eos said, she grabbed at the hilt of his sword, "This is-",

"I know who this is Eos" Akin told her, his eyes fixed firmly on Kassandra, a gleam to them,

"Then" she stepped in front of him, "Listen to me".

Akin put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed it,

"This is my choice Eos" he squeezed harder, remembering how it had made her flinch before and Eos had pulled away, giving him room to barrel in to Kassandra, their weapons meeting in the middle.

Kassandra had parried and dodged the brute, easily a match for him, perhaps even a better one but, she kept glancing over at Eos who watched helplessly, saw that same look on her face that day Asphodel had given up.

How the hell was Eos still standing after what she'd been through when the others were so eager to let life slip away. To give up.

Eos told her that the cult had been terrible to them, to her, to her brother but... how much else had Eos not told her...

How many more scars did Eos have under all that armour.

Inside and out.

Distracted by her thoughts, Akin had struck Kassandra down, slamming the side of his sword in to her chest and making her fall. Akin had raised his sword, ready to stab her but, Kassandra jabbed him in the gut first. She hadn't meant for it to peirce through, not really but, for a moment, it felt as if Akin had pushed in to it and, it came out, threw the back of him.

Eos watched as Akin struck at her again, still standing but, the damage inside was already done. It didn't take him long until he tripped over his own feet and fell backwards, staring up towards the ceiling.

Akin had met his match and lost.

Kassandra stood over him, letting her spear drop to the floor. Akin had been one of the people she'd sworn to give a second chance, to help Eos fight for and..

"Do not look so sad misthios..." Akin had breathed, the blood seeping through his fingers where he held them against his gut, "It was always your bloodline that would put me out of my... existence..." he closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as the waves of death washed over him,

"But I swore to save you..." Kassandra said to him. Akin had smiled,

"You did" Akin said quietly. Kassandra had taken a step back. Perhaps she had saved him but, Eos... She looked over to her, saw her bottom lip quiver, saw her swallow back the lump in her throat, "I'm sorry",

"He" Eos pushed her hood down, she wiped at her nose with her hand, "He made his choice... Go... Win... Drakios can not be trusted... They'll try and make it so you don't leave alive", Kassandra nodded and then looked back to Akin, he was still breathing, his eyes flitting back and forth between them both.

"Eos, my ship -",

"I'll find my own way back..." Eos looked to Akin, "Go".

The misthios had hesitated for a second longer. She didn't want to leave Eos, not now. But, she heard the horn blow, signalling another checkpoint and she turned away, making her way back outside.

Eos sighed and sat down next to Akin, she pulled his helmet off and placed it next to him.

"Why did you give up" she asked, she was sick of repeating the question. Akin had tried to laugh it off but, he pulled a face and choked a little instead,

"I fought vali-"

"But you didn't have to..." Eos said quietly, "You could have fought against them... The cult... Not people who've been brainwashed for money and fame...".

It didn't matter how valiantly he fought. If he'd wanted to be remembered, he wouldn't have given his life to them.

"I did it for me..." Akin breathed, "They used to me kill... so many innocent people... so many that wished not to die... These here are the ones who come here knowing they could...".

It still didn't make sense to her.

"Still. You could have had so much more..." Eos said. Akin snorted a little,

"Is that what you have Eos... So much more?".

Eos looked down at her hands.

No, she didn't... And, with every loss, every moment, every life snatched away, it didn't seem like any of this was worth fighting for anymore... Not when she didn't have anything to show for the life she was trying to offer...

Because the life she lived, she wanted, relied on them being in it.

Eos was free to do what she wanted, to see who she wanted... love who she wanted, be who she wanted but, that was something you could not show... Only feel...

"What you are trying to do is very commendable Eos..." Akin closed his eyes, a small tear falling from the side of one, "And I... I wish..." he took a few small breaths and, Eos thought that this was it, the end but, Akin had a little bit more to say, "I wish I was strong enough to get through it but... I cannot...".

Akin opened his eyes, his bloody hands now trying to find itself in to his chest plate, trying to pull something out. Eos went to help but, he found what he was looking for.

A coin... The coin... One of the original coins they'd used in that stupid pact all them years ago...

Eos didn't have any left herself. She'd given one to Melaina, some to Kassandra and, she can only imagine Deimos or, one of the soldiers had taken the rest.

"I wish I was strong enough to keep this vow..." he held it up, tilting his head to look at it,

"Akin... I didn't tell you before... But..." Eos sighed, "Affy… She's gone... She'd been gone for a little while".

Akin closed his eyes and, his bottom lip quivered, he swallowed back a lone sob,

"How..." he asked,

"I found her in Chrysis' temple... They'd... She wasn't like she once was... she gave up too..." Eos sat back, "She gave up because everyone else gave up on her...".

And, Eos had been too late to show her that she hadn't.

"I should have done more... looked more" Akin admitted, he let his head lie to the side. "He did you know. Deimos... He took their words but, he did not believe them. He searched and... he never found her... I do not know if Melaina did... I do not think she wanted too... but... he... he did..." Akin closed his eyes, "He holds on too much; and all it gives him is more pain... its almost like he's addicted to it", Eos didn't say anything, she knew what Deimos was like, knew that he hurt far more than the rest of them.

And, if she couldn't save Akin. Asphodel. Kallinos. How on earth did she have any chance at saving him.

Eos closed her eyes and took a deep, shuddery breath.

"I wish I'd seen him... just once... before... I could tell him I was sorry, that brothers do not give up on one another... that they do not run away from each other..." Akin opened his eyes, "I don't know..." Akin took a small breath, "I don't know if there's a life for you, for him, for any of us once this over but..." Akin trailed off, his breathing slowed and, he never got to finish.

Eos closed her eyes.

Maybe there wasn't a life for them after this. Maybe she'd keep trying and trying, only to be the reason that, in the end, they all died anyway.

Maybe this was her punishment...

Eos waited until the final claxon sounded, until the sentries started to round up the bodies for counting. They'd be returned to whoever the contestant had named their kin as or, they'd be buried in a mass grave and forgotten about.

Eos didn't think she even had the strength for any of that.

Taking the same path back to the docks on the other side of the harbour, Eos had put her hands up when the Captain had asked her how it had gone, she didn't want to talk about it. But, to fill the silence as Eos placed the armour back in the chest, Barnabas told her that Kassandra had been in the last two, that they'd been taken to one of the other islands to fight it out. Eos wasn't surprised, Kassandra was as much a warrior as Deimos was - she only hoped that she had headed her warning about Drakios.

Leaving the Adrestia at the docks, Laelaps - who already knew what had happened - followed Eos as she made her way back through the streets, towards the temple and, the little home Akin had resided in.

She didn't know what to do next. Honestly, she should have just jumped on the Adrestia and gone wherever it was Kassandra was headed but, she couldn't burden Kassandra anymore than she had - especially when it seemed like her fight was all the more hopeless.

Eos had just rounded the corner to the house when she heard a small dispute rising from a stall. Laelaps had stopped and Eos had looked over at him.

The word oricalchum was all she needed to hear. Eos sighed. Those pirates had taken one hell of a long time to swim to shore.


Deimos had looked at the bodies of the men and women that had sat unclaimed after the fight.

Akin was too much of a brute to miss...

Had his pride actually killed him?

Or had someone got the better of him?

Had it been his sister? He knew she'd been one of the two left...

But - despite how much he wanted to have spoken to him before - the most important question still lay unanswered.

Where was Eos?

A question that was soon answered by the feeling of a lycaon 'stalking' him.

Laelaps hadn't spent much time following him around but, when Deimos finally found his way to the old house he'd spent many a nights in before, he realised the lycaon had led him straight to her.

Which he wasn't sure how to take. The lycaon wouldn't put her in any real danger but, the whole point of him coming here was to deal with her...

Was it not?

Chapter Text

Deimos stood by the door for longer than he should have.

The whole reason he came here was to...

Kill her.

It was the only outcome that made sense...

Deimos turned his head slightly, an unnerving feeling washing over him, a feeling of being watched by some beady yellow eyes.

Perhaps it was a trap. Perhaps the moment he stepped through, he'd be attacked. His sister had just won the battle of a hundred hands - Drakion and his guard were stupid to think that they'd be able to beat her down and, much to Sokos displeasure, were probably already dead. Perhaps she was behind the door.

Except... what if something worse was behind it...

What if he was too late...

What if he'd missed the body in the pile of those left unclaimed...

No... he'd know...

Deimos turned his head back to the door.

Whatever it was, he could take it.

And then, once it was done - once it was finished - these thoughts would leave him be and, he'd be able to continue on his path.

Deimos pushed at the door gently... it opened... the latch had wasted away in it's years of misuse.

He waited, listened... At first, he thought there was nothing inside but then, he heard the soft, light tone of someone asleep, of the shallow breaths that took a hold of them as they dreamt... Deimos stepped in, that feeling of unease slipping away as the lycaon 'vanished' back in to the night. Deimos had looked over his shoulder once more, raising a brow at the lycaon who was sat in the dark, staring at something he'd found on the ground.

As soon as he made the move, it'd be on him.

Perhaps it was just playing with him too...

Deimos looked over at the body, wrapped in sheets and a light sleep.

Eos.

Deimos found the flickering candle on the desk, a bag, it's contents splayed all over the floor... He tilted his head, it didn't look like it belonged to Eos - maybe Akin... He stepped over to the desk, pushing the door gently shut behind him. He'd waited a moment - just to see if the lycaon would come but, all was quiet. Deimos brushed his fingers against a small white pouch that sat on the table. It felt like some sort of rock inside. He picked it up but then, he realised that the room had gone silent. The breathing had stopped.

Eos was awake.

And, one of two things could happen.

She'd launch herself at him, a dagger - which she slept with under her pillow - in her hand or, she'd make a run for it.

She'd never been much for running though.

Also, Eos had hesitated, had felt the dread rise up from the bottom of her stomach.

Out of all the places he could have come to, how did he know she was here. He hadn't known where Akin was. And, there was no way in hades that Drakion had sent word to him so soon.

That hesitation cost her. There was no time to run and, as she reached for her dagger, Deimos had grabbed her by the wrists, pulling her on to her feet.

"Well, isn't this a surprise " he said quietly, their faces was so close, she could feel his breath on her cheek. Eos let the dagger drop from her hand, and Deimos let go of her wrists and she dropped to her knees, making even Deimos flinch a little as he grabbed for the dagger on the floor.

Deimos flung it, wanting it to embed itself in to the wall but, it chipped it instead and fell to the floor. He'd turned to her, expecting some sort of taunt but, she was still on her knees, looking beat.

"You could not just leave me suffer in peace" Eos asked,

"Melaina told me you were after our dear friend Akin" Eos sat back on her heels.

Melaina...

"I thought I'd come to put a stop to your little... game before..." he snorted, "Well" Deimos smirked, "Akin ending up like all the rest".

Eos swallowed back a sob in her throat.

She didn't need him to tell her, she'd already told herself it enough times...

Deimos knelt down, resting his arms on his knees as he leant forward,

"You're pathetic" Deimos told her,

"He lied to me" Eos told him, Deimos tilted his head, "I thought he wanted to win, to show them..." she glanced up at him a moment, saw the concern in his eye before her own blurred, struggling to swallow back a sob, she closed her eyes "But he never wanted to make it off",

"He made his choice" Deimos shrugged,

"He stopped looking for her..." Eos told him, "He said he never loved her... not really..." Deimos sat back a little.

Asphodel?

"Said it wasn't real...".

Deimos didn't think he knew enough about it to ever say. Akin and Asphodel had been audacious compared to him and Eos. They had flaunted their 'love' around as if it was something spectacular. perhaps that's what 'love' was he'd thought.

He couldn't say. He didn't think what he and Eos'd had was love. It all ended up hurting too much. All ended up being far too complicated and un-needed.

"Just get it over with" Eos said after a moment.

Like him, she knew it shouldn't end any other way.

Perhaps it was about time she gave up herself. Kallinos was dead, Asphodel was dead, Akin... Melaina... Well, if she'd survived Deimos, she had to be lost to her, didn't she?

The others... Pyros... Glaukos…

She loved them just as much but... what if they were already spiralling... what if they were fine with what they had and, Eos wasn't supposed to fuck that up for them.

What if she just had to leave them well enough alone.

And Deimos...

Despite everything... had it not only been time before he made do on a promise and killed her...

"I'm disappointed" Deimos said as he leaned forward again. "Kast time I saw you..." he grabbed her by the chin, made her look at him.

Last time he saw her, she looked terrible, all beat up and hurting but still, she'd had this twinkle in her eye - even when the pain got too much, when the seclusion made it seem like she hated him. Even when she'd told him about what had happened. Even when she'd doubted it then, it hadn't left.

It had now.

And over what. Akin? Asphodel? Was she really going to run away because of a few deaths? Her whole life had depended on killing people to get what she wanted...

Eos tore her eyes away from his. It hurt even more to stare in to them. To remember.

Deimos blew out of his nose and then tipped her chin up, felt her lip shudder from his touch.

He'd missed that.

Deimos moved his head, almost to kiss her and Eos turned away. He sighed and leaned his head on hers, smirking, he'd whispered,

"You were up for it before".

He was taunting her, trying to get a rise out of her, trying to get something but... her breath shuddered and she tried to stop herself, to shake herself out of it but...

Deimos felt the anticipation, in himself, in her but, right now, she was fighting it. Fighting it so damn hard, she was about to explode and...

Well, it was better than her being all depressed and sad, wasn't it?

Hell, if he was going to kill her, what did it even matter.

And...

Eos' hands shook as she rested them on her knees.

Her whole body felt like it was shaking, the only thing which was kept still was her chin.

Eos opened her eyes, felt her breath catch and, taking that as a queue, Deimos kissed her.

She'd hesitated, just for a moment, her mind racing at the thought that he may have been about to stab her.

One last kiss before death but, she quickly realised he wanted more and... so did she.

She'd regret it and, if she did get out, if she wanted to by the end of this, it'd only make it more complicated but...

Her thoughts fluttered away as he grabbed at her waist, laying her back on the bed gently as he nuzzled her neck with more kisses.

If Deimos was anything, it was a passionate lover. If girls could get over the whole don't actually touch me thing, he'd take them to Elysia and back. He knew every inch of her body and, she knew none of his. Not really. But, he liked that control and, it didn't hurt her in anyway - quite the opposite - so why not just give it to him. They had moments where they sort of lost touch with the world, lost that need for control, that pain, that anger and, those were the moments she craved but, those were the moments he felt so vulnerable in... the moments where he wasn't a demi-god or a warrior... he was just him... just a boy and a girl... No expectations... No nothing...

And those were the moments she wanted more off...

That was the reason she was doing this for...

Whilst Eos had pondered over her wants, Deimos had pushed up her robes, was feeling the new scars and bumps that hadn't been there before, the raised skin where something had been cut across her stomach, the burns from the volcano, the inflamed skin where a new bruise was forming, her body shuddered again - it was doing a lot of that now - and he felt her hand touch the top of his head - felt it flinch away too.

Deimos looked up at her, pulling at the skin gently with his mouth one last time - making her whole body shake. Deimos then grabbed her wrist, where it hovered in the air, and sat up, straddling her. He gestured his head up, Eos could feel the shake in him now too. The want. The longing. Eos pushed herself up with her free hand, kissing him, feeling the catch in his breath which he quickly shook away as he leaned back, letting her arm drop.

It was so easy to fall back in to.

But, he still had to get his armour off.

Deimos pulled the gold chest piece over his head, the metal clanging as it hit the floor. Then, he pulled Eos in to him, his arm wrapped around her back as he tickled her neck with the stubble on his chin, "My belt" he said quietly as she shivered. Her hand found its way tentatively to the clasp which, she undone so quickly, it would have surprised her had she had much time to think about it. It fell off as he grabbed at her thighs, making it so she wrapped her legs around him and he was able to move them back a little more, holding her up in the air.

Deimos let her go for a small second, pulling her robes off the top of her head before he pulled his own off.

Their skin, sweaty, sticky, tingled as it touched. Their bodies yearning all the more for those moments they'd been so good at. The ones that hadn't hurt.

It was one of the things that never ceased to amaze him. No matter how bruised or broken, no matter how many scars, Eos' skin was so soft, he wondered how they fitted together as well as they did.

The scars, the bruises, they shared so many, from battle, from life, from the cult, it was almost like they were able to make one whole person together.

Deimos looked to Eos.

He'd been avoiding looking her in the eye, despite what her body said, he didn't want that rejection, didn't want those fake smiles or that sadness, he just wanted her. He needed it.

Not because it was her... Just because... Just for this moment.

And Eos wanted that too.

Just for the moment.


Deimos had never been one for pillow talk.

Neither had Eos but, what he did like to do was lie there.

Eos watched him as he drew a circles on her thigh. She'd already given up trying to control the tingles and the shudders and the twitches. There was no point now. He knew what he did to her. He'd always known. Nothing had changed - even if everything else had.

And, although he'd never admit it, she knew she got to him too.

Those moments she yearned for hadn't came this time, Deimos kept catching himself before they could happen but, they'd smiled and they'd laughed and, Eos realised that - even if this was only an escape to him, even if it didn't change his mind - it had changed hers.

Deimos had watched Eos fall asleep, watched her think, watched her fight it but, after the day she'd had, the night they'd had, she was exhausted and, he was too.

Eos had turned around, wrapping herself in blankets and Deimos had looked at her back. At the marks he could see in the dim light of morning.

That twinkle in her eye... it was back... that hope she seemed to cling on to wasn't all that lost anymore but, he knew she knew the score, knew this wasn't him agreeing with her. He still had his part to do, still had a war to win, his destiny to fulfil.

He just needed this. This one time. This one blip. It wouldn't happen again. It couldn't.

Also, Sokos would have started to wonder where he'd wandered off too. It didn't matter, obviously but, Sokos was just as much a gossip and, he couldn't leave here empty handed... He'd came here for a reason.

Deimos went to reach out, to brush his fingers against the burns but, Eos turned back around. Her eyes were still closed, in a light sleep but, something had disturbed her. Deimos pushed himself up with his elbows, looking at the door.

He'd forgotten about the lycaon.

Where was he?

Why had he led him here?

He couldn't have possibly known...

There was a noise, like something crashing and Eos had jumped awake. Deimos quickly put his finger to his lips as she stared at him. There was some sort of ruckus going on outside. Deimos pushed himself up, baring all to the world and Eos turned over, pushing herself up and watching as he sauntered over to the window, peaking out of it. Eos snorted and he glanced back at her.

Then, he looked back at the little white pouch on the desk.

One of Sokos pirates from the sunken ship had told them that a girl had infiltrated their camp at pirates bay and killed their captain, running off with the pouch before boarding the other.

They'd not found her or the oricalchum in the wreckage, or that which had washed up on shore so, their only guess was that she was on the island.

Throw in the little extra that a girl had also been seen 'flaunting' it around the market...

And, Deimos had just found her.

"You're the one who stole the oricalchum" Deimos said, he looked back outside,

"I saved it from Poseidon" Eos assured him, which made him smile,

"Well, it seems they want it back" Deimos turned around, grabbing his discarded robes and pulling them back over his head.

He was definitely going to regret this.

"Let me take it and you can go" he shrugged a shoulder as he picked it up off the table,

"What" Eos said,

"You remember Sokos" Deimos asked, he pulled out a piece of the ore. It was the fine stuff, almost gem-like.

Sokos. He hadn't really been a part of it before. He'd been young, he was almost the same age as them. It was honestly a name she never thought she'd find in the hands of the cult - that reason being why Eos had never mentioned it to Kassandra.

But, he was an ass.

An ass with a ship.

Eos hadn't replied so, Deimos continued,

"This is his so, perhaps you should leave and I can" he flicked his hand, "Tell him I found it in the possession of some poor shop keep who found it on a body washed up on shore",

"Why" Eos found herself asking.

Deimos didn't really have an answer that made sense. He just didn't feel up to killing her today.

Only for the moment.

There was a reason why the cult had hated them so much. A reason why he should have hated her.

"Because I'm not finished with you yet", Deimos looked back outside, at the cultist guards that were kicking at doors and demanding entry in to homes. He pulled on his armour and left her, kicking at the door just as the masked guards came upon it, making them all jump back in fright, their hands grabbing for their weapons as he walked out. He'd put the pouch inside his armour.

Now, all he had to do was find himself a willing merchant.

Eos was still just sitting there, the sheets wrapped around her as she listened for any sign that he would come back.

For any sign at all.

She got one in the form of Laelaps. He bounded in, sitting himself down by the door as he looked over at the desk, tilting his head at the empty spot before tilting his head at Eos.

"Don't look at me like that" Eos grabbed at her robes and pulled them over her head.

The lycaon whined and she rolled her eyes.

There was no way Deimos would have thought to come here, to this house.

Even if Melaina...

Melaina...

She'd completely forgotten about her.

Why would she tell him? Had it been voluntary, on purpose? Had he tortured it out of her?

Had she just slept with him after he'd killed her...

Eos looked back at Laelaps.

No. No. He would have told her.

But still.

Eos pushed herself up, grabbing for her dagger which, she realised hadn't hit the wall like he'd wanted.

How had she not noticed that?

Had he noticed that she hadn't...

Laelaps whined again and Eos looked over at him.

He hacked.

"The sea" Eos asked him, "I have no idea how we're getting back over it". Laelaps snorted.

Oh. But he did.


With a little jump in her step, Eos and Laelaps found themselves at the docks once more.

The Adrestia was gone, back to Sparta with their Olympic champion and, just a few ships down, sat another familiar one.

Sokos had always liked ships.

He also seemed to like cultist guards as well but, they were off finding that oricalchum still and, Sokos was left with men who scurried along the deck.

"So. Kill a cultist. Get a ship" Eos looked down at the lycaon.

Not to mention, steal a ship that Deimos had most likely had arrived on and, make him regret letting her go all the more.

But, she'd had stupider ideas.

Chapter Text

"Are you actually going to help me this time" Eos asked quietly, looking down at the lycaon sat next to her.

The Captain of Eos' ride out of here - the young Sokos - had just emerged from the inside of the city - followed by a masked guard. "If Deimos is going to make an untimely appearance, I need to know" the lycaon snorted at her and moved towards the ship – a sign that, Eos hoped, meant the Demi-God was preoccupied.

Laelaps slipped in and out of the shadows of the morning sun, using the crews tired eyes to miss him completely and, essentialy jump aboard the ship before Sokos step foot on it.

And, from what Eos had gathered so far, the crew were just that.

Crew.

They scurried around looking for direction, too scared to act-out, to fight. Most likely they were slaves Sokos had bought or uprooted from homes for no real reason. A bunch of terrified men who might even thank her for taking out the monster that captained and shoved them about.

Sokos, seething over the events of the past few days, had shouted his orders. He wanted the deck and his cabin scrubbed clean. And, from what she could hear of his extensive ramblings, Drakios had indeed not arrived back from his get together with the two finalists.

Eos crouched down.

If Laelaps could take out the masked guard and, put Sokos at an unease, she'd be able to grab at him, bring a point to his throat and then, make him and his crew sail out of the bay.

Then, she'd cut his throat, throw him overboard and, sail back to the mainland.

Where on the main land, she wasn't too sure of.

Of the people Eos sought, she only really knew the location of what was a very complicated Demi-god - which had perhaps been made even more complicated in the recent hours - and, would be even more pissed with himself having let her go when he realised what she intended to do - not to mention, he could turn up at any moment and, ruin everything.

And the others... From what she could gather, Pyros was indeed licking the boot of some Spartan. Where this Spartan was though, she had no clue - Akin hadn't really been all that specific. Melaina - whether she was on her side of Deimos' now - had already promised that they would see each other again so, Eos decided that there was no point in wasting time on that reunion and, finally Glaukos… Now, Glaukos was being that little more ominous.

Although, he did have a thing for history. Ruins. Temples. Tombs. Perhaps she'd have to scour a few of those. Perhaps she should have looked more carefully at Midas' notes to see if his name had ever been mentioned in any of them.

Trailing away from her thoughts, Eos had looked back to the ship. Wherever Laelaps was hiding on it, none of the men seemed to have noticed and, all Eos had to do now was cause a little bit of a distraction.

And, she knew exactly the way to do it.

Sokos. Now, Eos had only ever heard of him but, a certain reputation of his - other than his want to drink - was said to proceed him.

Eos headed towards the ship, the crew glancing at her hastily before going back to their work.

"Captain" Eos said, not giving the man much time to think as he turned around to her. His demeanour changed completely, a wide smile taking over his face as he'd gestured for the masked guard to put away the sword he was drawing from his sheath,

"My lady" he bowed his head, "And what may I do for you", Eos took a tentative step on to the boat,

"You're ship" she put her hands out and turned to look up at the sails, her eyes widening in amazement "It's incredible" Eos told him,

"Well" Sokos shrugged "If this pleases you… I'm sure we could find something much more appropriate… for a woman of your... obvious intellect" Eos smiled,

"Or" Eos turned on her heels to face them, "You could drown yourself and, save me the trouble".

Sokos' face fell and he'd taken a step back, confused as to what she had said and, as the masked guard had raised his sword, Eos had stepped out of the way as something fast and black barrelled in to him, grabbing the man by the throat and vanishing with him over the side of the ship.

Flailing, Sokos had fallen to the floor, given Eos time to grab at the guards fallen sword and, hold the sharp point to Sokos' throat.

"Sail your ship out of the bay" Eos told him,

"What are you" Sokos whispered, his voice catching as he swallowed back a lump in his throat,

Eos shrugged a shoulder,

"I'm back from the dead Sokos. Now..." Eos glanced to the crew, "are you sure you can all afford enough drachmae for the ferryman".

Sokos, still laying on the floor had looked to them, gesturing them to go ahead.

The crew proceeded to rush around, to grab at ropes and shout down in to the depths of the rowers, telling them to make haste, their shakey voices almost inaudible as they scurried around her and Sokos - who she still had at sword-point.

"You won't get away with this" Sokos said. Eos had tilted her head, glancing at something behind him. Just the grin on her face made his eyes widen, his skin prickle.

"Oh, I will" Eos promised him,

"You have no idea who I am. They'll come after you" his voice shook,

"And I'll kill them too", Eos buried the tip of the sword in to his neck, making him choke; the blood rising up through his throat and pooling out of his mouth.

Eos turned around to the now frozen crew, the ship left to hang in the water, each of them staring at the large black wolf that was sat just behind her, it's beady yellow eyes locking with each and every one of them.

"Your captain is dead" Eos told them, gesturing to a still writhing Sokos - nearly dead - "Now, from what I hear, he's not been an all that great one" none of them had a want to admit it just yet. "I can't offer you much" Eos told them, "but, I can offer you your lives and your freedom" - which was much more than what they'd had before. "Once I'm back on the main land, you can take the ship, change it's banner, leave Greece" she shrugged, "Stay, and get sunk by one of his troublesome friends" it was honestly up to them "Or" Eos suggested "you can stand there and he can eat you" Eos had looked to the lycaon along with the rest of the men.

Laelaps licked his lips.

The men, secretly relieved but, still terrified, decided that dying by lycaon wasn't for them.

And, as they'd sailed out of the bay, Laelaps had looked back, tilting his head as he'd spotted some familiar looking figures on the docks. If he'd had hands, he would have taken great pleasure in waving at the Demi-god - who had his hand on the scruff of some poor merchant - and the rest of Sokos' men who couldn't understand why it was their Captain had left them.


Eos, although not much of a Captain, had watched from the Captains deck most of the time, looking up at the sails as they blew in the wind.

A ship like this - sturdy, stocky - it'd come in handy getting around the likes of Greece but, Eos was no Kassandra.

She didn't have friends in high places, or the drachmae to spare on the hungry crew. Even if she didn't kill them, unless they took some sort of their own initiative, they may very well die of starvation.

Although, there did seem to be one who was just that little more confident than the rest, who seemed to look over and stare that little too much, as if he had a will to say something but couldn't.

Eventually, she'd had enough of it.

"Come here" Eos said the next time she locked eyes with him. The man had mumbled something, not wanting to go much closer to her but, the lycaon brushed past his leg and he jumped, stumbling backwards before he fell on to his hands and knees and scrambled over to her, small sobs coming from his mouth as he clapped his hands together, ready to beg for his life if needed,

"Please. Please. I... I'll... I'll stop staring... I... I",

"Just shut up" Eos leaned over the small barrier, "What's your name",

"Leiandros".

Eos had never met a man so unlike his given name.

Except for Kallinos.

"Leiandros. Do you know who I am",

The man stuttered something, about not being worldly, about being sorry once more, about not knowing much outside the ship.

Eos glanced at Laelaps. He'd had his doubts at first too but, it seemed they'd been laid to rest.

"Now Leiandros. Have you ever heard of the cult of Kosmo" she asked him. Leiandros looked up at her, started to shake his head but, the feeling of the lycaon taking a step closer to him made him stop. He glanced over at Sokos who was still lying on the deck and nodded quickly, "And the rest of you" Eos asked, looking over to them. None of them replied but, all of their faces told her what she needed to know.

Eos looked to Laelaps.

They weren't cultists, weren't anywhere near the inside, that was obvious. They were indeed just men that Sokos had bought - Spartan, Athenian, a Persian or two. Men who had only heard the whispers of the guards who'd kept them in line, had been told that Kosmo would strike them down if they did not do as they were told.

Just more victims in a world of corruption.

"What is it you wanted to say Leiandros" Eos asked after she'd looked over the crew again,

"Well, there's a... there's a port in Arkadia... the smugglers port" he stammered, he and the other men had heard her talking to the black wolf, about where it was they should port, the wolf looking as if it was generally intrigued with what it was she was saying. "It'd be a great place to dock that... it's quiet... the people are quiet..." he looked back at one of the older crew mates, "Petros wife... she... she lives there... she... she could find us safe passage in", Leinadros put his head down again, his hands still clasped together, "Please... we just thought... that... maybe..." he trailed off.

After a moment, and sharing a glance with Laelaps, Eos nodded.

Arkadia it was.

By the time they were nearing dry land, a few of the men had found the courage to thank Eos for what she'd done; telling her that they'd been sold as slaves in the years passed, that they'd been up-rooted from their homes to fight in the war and, some had even been mercenaries, promised a good life and instead, been whipped in to shape by the creeps who pranced around in masks.

Some of them also wanted to leave their days of sailing behind them.

Now. Like anything Eos did. Letting them all live would be a risk. Once she was gone, they'd be free to talk and do whatever it was they wanted but, although the lycaon hated the thought just as much as she did, killing them would only bubble up that sinking feeling of regret…

And, she doubted it'd take much longer for the cult to get wind of her anyway.

If they didn't know already.

Which is why, she decided that it was up to them to choose what it was they wanted to do with their lives. Especially as that's all she wanted for her own.

The ship docked at the smugglers port just after night fall.

Some of the men had made their goodbyes quick, glad to be away from the water; Petros had reunited with a very old woman and, those that were left, had begun to pull apart the sails. Leiandros, despite how flinchy he was, seemed to have taken charge and, had pulled out a set of tattered blue sails from beneath the deck, claiming them to be enough to get passed the likes of the Octopus, if they were to come across her in open water.

And she didn't feel like sinking a ship that day.

Which Eos had learned from Sokos – whose body had been thrown in to the sea a little while before docking – was bridging the gap between Thera and Anaphi.

Having left them too it, Eos had turned to Laelaps as they'd made their way in to the surrounding forest.

"I feel like we should head towards the Olympics" he'd tilted his head at her as they walked, "Kassandra had that Olympic champion on her boat" Eos reminded him, "And, if we're going to find Pyros. Perhaps we need to see if she has a lead on any cultists that are skulking around Sparta".

Laelaps tilted his head the other way, thinking about it.

"But first" Laelaps glanced over at her, "I will make us a fire and" she pointed at him, "you can go find us a nice piece of venison", Laelaps snorted. No he didn't, she could find it herself. "You owe me" Eos stopped and Laelaps turned on his furry heals to face her, ready to argue but, "That shit you pulled in Melos. With Deimos. You owe me the meatiest stag you can sink your teeth in to".

Now, Laelaps had knew that Eos had needed some sort of boost. Some sort of reminder of what it was she was fighting for - for those moments that gave you some sort of happiness in a world as chaotic and painful as this one. But, using Deimos, however effective it was, had been the biggest risk Laelaps had - and would ever - take on Eos' life.

Which meant that it didn't take much more convincing for the lycaon to do her bidding.


Deimos looked up at the great olive tree of Herakles. His hands were filthy but - whether Akin had really loved Asphodel or not - the tree was a love they'd both shared and, now, they could reminisce under it.

It hadn't taken long for Deimos to find another ship back to the main land. The oricalchum had helped in that regard.

The thieving merchant - well, he was dead.

And now, Athens awaited him.

Kleon, it seemed, had already heard of the miss-happenings and, had wanted an update.

The Athenian leader, laying amongst his fine wines and dinners, had been all smiles as the Demi-god had sat down in front of him.

"I assume our little problem has been sorted" Kleon had said as he'd picked a grape out from one of his bowls, Deimos nodded. "Good. Then I have your full attention", he wiggled his finger in the air and a servant girl came over, pouring some wine in to the goblet he held up to her. She filled another herself and placed it down next to Deimos. "What happened at Melos" Kleon asked, "I heard Sokos had some mishaps with his crew",

"Mutiny" Deimos told him, "Crew killed him and took the ship for themselves",

"A bunch of sewer rats" Kleon asked, raising a brow,

"Sokos drunk more than any man" Deimos leaned back, shrugged his shoulders, "Only had to knock him over the edge",

"And I assume you… dealt with them" Kleon asked, not particularly bothered,

"No. They sail under a different banner now. We did find an old straggler" Deimos told him, "Admitted to the whole thing" – who Deimos had took a pleasure in drowning.

"So. What you are telling me; is that a bunch of worthless men are sailing one of our ships like prancing little ponies",

"And you - are telling me" Deimos pointed to himself, "that Asterion and the Octopus cannot deal with them themselves",

"Asterion has been... compromised... by your sister", Kleon liked to remind him regularly of the problems his 'sister' was causing them. Something Deimos felt mighty happy to deal with - had they let him.

"You should just let me kill her" Deimos shrugged a shoulder. Kleon sighed,

"Well, it's good to see that your sentimentality has worn off" Deimos leaned back some more, furrying his brow, "But then, how did the reunion with our dear Akin go".

"Well, if you knew where he was, you know where he is now" Deimos said, he picked up the wine and looked at it, seeming as unbothered as Kleon did about Sokos.

"Yes. Under the tree of Herakles" Kleon leaned forward as Deimos' mouth turned to a line, he placed the goblet back on the floor.

How much else did they know.

"I understand you were close; once but, do you not think it a little too soft. Akin would have had plenty of room in the unmarked pits back in Melos - and, it's what he deserved" Kleon looked up and clicked his fingers, the servant girl coming over again and refilling his cup. "Bad investment is what it was really" Kleon held his cup in the air, "Eos" he toasted to first. Deimos held his tongue. "Asphodel. Kallinos. Akin. Melaina…" he sighed, "Now, you wouldn't know where she was, would you".

Kleon took the moody silence as a no.

The servant girl had taken few tentative steps towards Deimos, to re-fill his cup, only to realise it was still full. "Oh, do not mind him my girl. Blood and violence are the only thing he can get drunk off" Kleon stood up, looking down at the Demi-god who hadn't bothered to look at him, "Which reminds me. Our forces are slowly penetrating Messenia. They could use your… expertise" Kleon suggested. "Oh, and you may also come across our little firecracker" Kleon turned away from him, "Now, that one is almost as good an investment as you are".

Kleon downed what was left in his goblet and left Deimos to his thoughts.

So that's where Pyros had slipped of too - not a Spartan boot, but an Athenian one.

Chapter Text

Once again accompanied by his skinny Athenian hoplite - who had not done much else other than wine and dine himself in Deimos' absence and, seemed to have forgotten his manners - Deimos and a small group of men, who were the sort that flinched just at the thought of him, had ridden towards Arkadia.

Kleon had informed him that an Athenian captain would be awaiting his arrival and, would update him further on what it was he wanted him to do.

Most of it would just be quick assassination jobs, lowering the forces defences, burning supplies and, laying waist to a few spartan soldiers.

All things he was good at but, also things any other mercenary would do if they were willing to pay - which meant Kleon wanted to keep an eye on him.

He could have told him to do it himself but, that would have arose too much suspicion and, for now, he was glad to have Eos all to himself.

Even if Melos had been a mess.

Now though, looking back, it only made him angry.

He wasn't even sure that he could convince himself anymore is that it was what he needed, just the once because, he hadn't needed that sort of escape since she'd gone, he hadn't wanted it.

Not with anyone.

And then, he'd let her go and, she and the damn mutt had killed Sokos and taken his ship.

Not to mention that she hadn't cleaned up after herself.

She'd let the whole of the ratty little crew go and, when he'd found some of that crew, they'd held no words back in claiming that it wasn't them. That a girl and a large black wolf had killed their captain and taken the ship for herself.

The old man, who Deimos had found at the Smugglers port, had the name Kosmo on the tip of his tongue before Deimos had thrown him in to the wall of his house and then, proceeded to stick his head under the water until he stopped writhing around.

He'd also made sure to get the old man's wife too.

Deimos sighed.

Eos had always been so good at covering her tracks before, leaving no trace of herself. Fort Phyle had been a demonstration of that, even the death of Midas and the Master would have been untraceable...

Hell, if Laelaps had not led him to her, if Melaina had not said that she was in Melos, he never would have went. He never would have found her.

But now, he didn't know what had happened to her. Whether she'd learned to give mercy or show some compassion, with Eos having not been much for any of them before, it would get her killed.

Melaina had warned her of the downward spiral Eos would find herself in. So, why had he really felt the need to go. He should have just left her. If she was so desperate to be different, what the hell was he trying to do.

He didn't need her. Not anymore.

Someone else could kill her.

It didn't need to be him.

Deimos looked to the road, to the men in front of him - to the company he had the pleasure of entertaining for the following weeks to come.

He would have rather just gone on his own.

Not to mention that his hoplite had told him his mare had died whilst he'd been away, that the brilliant, courageous blue horse had spooked and bolted, getting herself attacked by a bear that the hoplite swore blind he had tried to fight of.

But. So as not to give Kleon the pleasure of the 'softness' he'd accused him of, he'd shrugged it away, telling the hoplite he would have his instead.

The hoplite had made excuses, too soft to let the Demi-god have access to his gelding - which was fine, he hadn't wanted it.

Except, it also meant that he had to get used to a rowdy stallion, that, with all his might, had already kicked him three times and Deimos had a want to let hin be eaten by lions if they came across any.

Hell, he would have rather walked.

Ran, scaled cliffs and just...

Deimos rolled his eyes at himself.

This was Eos' fault.

The cult were right.

She was only always a distraction.

She made him weak.


"What is wrong with you" Eos asked as she stopped, causing the huffing lycaon to bump in to her. Laelaps whined pitifully, "What's wrong with it" Eos turned around and the lycaon sat, he huffed again, "well of course they do. We already know that" Eos said to him. It wasn't the greatest of holds no but, the cult easily had their hands dipped in to the games; he sneezed, "exactly, you can sniff them out and warn me", Eos turned away and kept on walking.

Laelaps sighed and stood up, following behind her slowly.

His increasing discontent to go towards the valley of olympia had been getting all the more overbearing in the last few hours and, he wasn't telling her why.

Yes, there may be a cultist or two skulking about but, maybe Kassandra, if she was at the olympics, had already taken care of them or, was hot on their trail already.

It wasn't even as if Laelaps was desperate not to go, as if he felt something terrible was about to happen, he was just a being moany mongrel.

Perhaps it was the lack of excitement they'd found in Arkadia. They'd passed through relatively quietly. Other than selling a stag to a butcher in Tegea, with the man being astonished at how clean the kill had been - Laelaps had spooked the poor animal by accident and, it had tripped and snapped it's neck - they had kept to themselves.

Although, Laelaps had taken great pleasure in scaring a small spartan guard half to death after he'd announced to Eos that he was off duty at nightfall.

The Olympics though, with its purple banners and bunting, was it's own cause for excitement and, in full swing when they walked in to the valley of olympia. Javelins were being thrown, races were being raced and, olympians were walking around half naked.

Eos looked over at Laelaps, watching as he disappeared around a corner.

She followed behind him, hoping at least he knew where he was going.

She'd been to the Olympics before but, that was only ever to poison people in the dead of night. Laelaps led her passed an empty pankration arena and, to an awards ceremony. What she found was nothing like she'd expected.

The winner was being crowned...

And, that winner was also Kassandra.

"Barnabas" Eos said to the one-eyed man she found at the front of the crowd, prouder than any mother could be,

"Eos" he exclaimed, he pulled her in for a hug before Eos could step away, "You're alive",

"Yes I-" Eos felt eyes daggering in to the back of her head, heard the low growl of Laelaps close by.

Cultist.

Eos didn't turn around but, she caught Kassandra's eye as she hurried down from the podium to greet her, making her take pause and glance to where the lycaon stood, its belly low to the ground and its beady little eyes staring right at Kallias.

He was Kassandra's next target.

And now he was Eos' too.

Eos glanced around, not looking at Kallias but, giving him enough of a scare for him to turn and hurry off.

Even the biggest of men were scared of those that returned from Hades.

"Eos" Kassandra said,

"After" Eos told her, "We have a cultist to kill".

Kassandra had scrambled in to her armour whilst Laelaps had gone on ahead, tracking Kallias through the streets and to the road out of olympia.

"Did you know who he was" Kassandra asked as she followed Eos, watching as she turned this way and that, as if she was following some sort of invisible path,

"No" Eos told her, "But, he knows who I am",

"But how",

"They wear those masks for a reason Kassandra" Eos told her - so that cult traitors couldn't kill them whilst they slept.

But, the thing with Laelaps, was that he didn't need to know what they looked like, only what they smelt like.

Laelaps - who they found stalking the giant of a man.

"Kallias" Kassandra called out, the big oath stopped and turned around, drawing his sword when he spotted the two women,

"I heard rumours of you being thrown in mount Hephaistos" he said, looking to Eos,

"I bet you've heard loads of rumours" Eos said, she drew her dagger, "Wonder how many of them are true",

"Oh Eos. You were weak then. And you're weak now" - he acted as if he knew her but, he had no idea, not really, a face and rumours was all he'd ever had.

"But, I still have a lycaon" Eos assured him. Kallias took a step back, his head snapping to the side of him as he saw the creature emerge from seemingly nothing,

"No. No. I killed you".

Kassandra looked to Eos and she shrugged.

Melaina had told her that someone had set him alight. Killed him.

Just what did happen that night in Phokis.

"So, you're the one who set him on fire" Eos asked, "Guess he deserves some payback".

Kallias swung his sword as the lycaon pounced, grabbing him by the throat and ripping in to it as he continued to swing his sword from side to side, narrowly missing the lycaon until Eos threw her dagger at his hand, embedding itself in to his skin and making him drop it.

And for once, the lycaon didn't stop until the man was dead.

"And how exactly are we supposed to clean that up" Eos asked the lycaon, putting her hands on her hips.

She knew he'd had second thoughts about coming here but, she hadn't expected this to be the reason.

And for him to have not wanted to come and seek his revenge... Perhaps the lycaon was a better person than Eos was.

Although, given the chance, he hadn't actually held back so, it made Eos feel all the better.

Laelaps had stepped away from the body and sat down, staring at it with his beady little eyes, as if just by pure will, he'd be able to make it go away,

"Thank you Laelaps" Eos had said, scratching the wolf on its head as Kassandra had knelt down, picking up something out of the man's pockets that she'd turned to Eos with. A letter.

"One of the Kings is a cultist" Kassandra told her,

"One of Spartas Kings" Eos asked, looking at it too, "Which one". Kassandra sighed,

"I don't know. But, if you're going to stay a little while. I could use your help in finding out" Kassandra suggested, "Our next stop would be Boetia".

"I guess I could take a little time out of my ever so exciting life to do you a favour" Eos said. Kassandra smiled and put her hand on her shoulder,

"Eos, I never said before but, I am truly sorry for" Eos was already shaking her head, "what happened to Akin. I did not-",

"It's okay Kassandra" Eos told her, "He'd made his choice already. I was too late. He didn't want..." Eos sighed and stepped back, shaking her head again - she didn't want to talk about it.

"When I saw you last. I thought you had made your choice too" Kassandra said. Eos snorted and turned around.

Perhaps she had made a choice. Then, she'd changed that choice.

Because of Deimos. Because she couldn't let go of the past. Because she couldn't let go of what she'd had...

Eos turned back around.

"Right. Kassandra. I have something to tell you" Eos shrugged her shoulders, "But before I do, I want you to remember" she glanced over at the lycaon who had averted his eyes, "I'm still alive".


"There's a spartan commander I want you to make a... show of" the Athenian told him as he sat back and put his legs up, "I want him butchered but, I want it done quietly. I want them to know how easy it is for us to infiltrate their camp, to slaughter their men without them knowing",

"Not your usual Athenian tactic" Deimos asked, folding his arms,

"Well, you're not Athenian, are you boy" Deimos grit his teeth, "You're not a usual soldier either" he raised his hand and flicked his wrist, a gesture for one of the men standing in the door way to come in, "Elis here will tell you where he was last spotted, what the man's name is" Deimos glanced over at the man and he flinched, "Remember, blood, guts, gore. Decapitation if it pleases you but, no screams, no whines, in and out - as if the God's themselves did it".

At that moment, a small skinny hooded man stumbled in to the tent, passing by Deimos and placing a far too heavy chest for himself on the man's table,

"Ahh, is this it" the commander asked, he let his feet fall to the floor and scraped his chair across so he was sat in front of it, like some sort of child excited to open a present,

"It is. It went exactly as planned".

Deimos didn't need to see his face to recognise the pitchy voice,

"Pyros" Deimos said, standing up straighter. The man lowered his hood. His scalp, face. Deimos sometimes forgot how cruel the Gods been to him as a baby. Pyros stood tall and bowed his head,

"Deimos",

"Kleon told me I'd see you",

"Yes, yes" the commander said, still eyeing the box, his hands hesitating over it, "Our little firecracker" the man said, "Walks through it now too",

"Well, it cannot do much worse to you, can it" Deimos said, not before noticing the new welts on his hands or, the extra red blotches on his neck.

They really were putting him to work...

"No" Pyros said quietly, averting his eyes back to the chest.

"Are you going to open it" Deimos asked, standing next to the giddy commander, seeing him shudder at the shear closeness,

"Uh... ofcourse" he faulted before he opened the chest, revealing the head of some wolf - except, it was almost ten times the size.

Deimos took a small step back.

"It's dead boy, the gnarly thing cannot bite you" the commander snorted at his own joke and then picked it up out of the chest, holding it up high so he could examine it better.

Its fur was black but, there were tinges of red on its tips, white around its muzzle.

And not Laelaps. Deimos took a step closer.

"The head of the lakonian lycaon" the commander told him, "Pyros here has been tracking him for us. Found his den on an old battlefield full of dead Spartans" the commander sighed, smiling at the thought, "Imagine what we could have done with it had it been alive". Deimos, and Pyros, said nothing.

"What do you need with a lycaon head" Deimos asked,

"Have you ever seen a lycaon before boy", he'd felt Pyros glance at him but, Deimos had said nothing - and again, neither had Pyros - "I thought not" the commander turned back to the head and placed it in the chest again. "Now, this is rarer than that oricalchum shit" the commander told him "And, I'd rather us have it than those damn Spartans" he closed the chest down and turned back to Pyros, "Get rid of its mangy flesh, I only want its skull". Pyros nodded his head,

"Of course".

Pyros, struggling just as he had before, picked up the chest and trumbled out.

"Perhaps Pyros" Pyros stopped, his back haunch, "Would accompany me on my little endeavour", Pyros had gone to answer but,

"We need sparkles, not fire works" the commander said, "Anyway, boy has to run off back to Boetia".

Deimos glared in to the back of Pyros' head, it had not been a question.

Besides, Pyros was always so much more than just a fire starter...

And, at one point, it was Deimos who had told Pyros what to do. Kleon had put an end to that, not much after Eos had 'passed'. Perhaps if the Athenian shit face hadn't split that bond, Akin would be there right now, maybe he would have been able to keep Asphodel in line instead of giving her all to Chrysis...

Kleons investments had fallen flat on their faces because of him. Even with Eos gone, they would have had each other - which might have been enough...

Deimos closed his eyes...

He had to stop this.

Kleon didn't matter.

Pyros didn't matter.

Eos didn't matter.


Eos had looked at Kassandra and Kassandra had looked at her, her mouth agape, as Eos told her what had happened between burying Asphodel and arriving here.

She told her about Laelaps never returning, about killing Midas, seeing Deimos at the docks of Megaris, killing the Master, being captured and imprisoned by her brother. How, even if he wanted something more, he might never be able to admit it. How Laelaps rescued her, how she found Melaina in Attika, having tied the eye of Kosmo to a chair and tortured her...

Then, how she'd gone to Melos, got caught in a dispute between two pirates, found Akin and his troublesome soul and then, that her brother showed up.

"He was in Melos" Kassandra asked quietly, "Deimos", Eos nodded,

"Did he see you" Eos nodded again, felt Laelaps staring up at her, awaiting the punchline; she glared back at him and he averted his eyes.

Which Kassandra noticed.

"Eos, what happened",

Eos went to say it and then didn't. In her head, she'd almost seen it as a reminder of the times she was fighting to have more off - not just sex but, an escape from the world, those little moments of happiness, of something more than just the pain, the loss, the misery.

And, Deimos had given her that before.

And, despite everything, amongst all the hate and the pain, it made her wonder if it only worked because its what they both wanted...

"He found me" Eos told her, she turned around, to look back at the Olympics. Kallias' body was still lying there, the vultures already circling over head. "And, I don't know what it was he wanted but..." Eos sighed.

Whether Kassandra would understand or not, all she could do was come out with it and, hope for the best.

She was still alive. That was the most important thing but, she didn't want it to give Kassandra false hope. It didn't matter how much her brother wanted something else if he was still so enamoured by the thought of his greater purpose, no matter the poison and lies that surrounded him. The pain.

Chrysis had conditioned them to endure pain, to welcome it... But, it never worked like that...

Eos turned around to her.

"He spent the night".

Kassandra took a moment to realise what she said, had furrowed her brow for a second, took a step back even,

"What do you mean..." Kassandra knew what she meant but, the words still left her lips. Eos had gone to explain but, Kassandra beat her to it, "You spent the night together. You..." Eos nodded. Kassandra took another step back, seemingly staring in to space as she thought about it. After a moment, she turned back to Eos, "What does that mean" Kassandra asked, "He has to feel something more for you Eos" Eos stepped back and shook her head, no it didn't - for all she knew, she was just a means to an end - "No, this..." Kassandra trailed off,

"It doesn't matter how much you want something unless you choose it" Eos told her, "You're brother hurts so much Kassandra. I know. Because I did too" she looked down, "I still do sometimes".

Kassandra understood then, as much as she could understand anyway. She took a step towards her and put her hand on her shoulder, "And, it's almost... Like a reminder... a little of something that doesn't hurt... Something you had complete control over... Something that you had and no one else did...".

Eos realised something then but, there was no point in admitting it. It wasn't the time and, perhaps the time would never come.

"But it is something. Its something I never would have had if you'd not turned up in Naxos Eos. There's a part of him that wants out... We just have to show him how to" Kassandra said,

"Kassandra. He needs the truth. That is what he needs. All of it. Then, he has to decide. We cannot do it for him" Eos said.

Perhaps the truth was that little too much...

Perhaps it wasn't enough at all...


At the Polichne Camp, in the north of Messenia, was where Deimos found the commander he'd been asked to seek out.

Wearing one of those obnoxiously large helmets, the commander had been moving from camp to camp around Messenia, collecting information on Athenian tactics and, making it all that harder for Athenian forces to invade.

Which was why, now, as the commander decided the camp would be his last stop for the night, Deimos had waited for the man to bed down. In the darkness, he slipped by the guards easily, their bravado too huge to think that anyone would infiltrate them so deep in to the night and, pulling the tent closed, he'd started by grabbing the half asleep commander, who had muttered something about whoever it was getting out, and ripping out his tongue.

They'd said quietly.

They'd said a show.

You wanted to make a show of something, the execution had to be one too.

Afterwards, what was left of the commander was left to writhe around, what remained of any blood inside pooling beneath him as Deimos pushed the cloth of the tent aside, looking out in to the quiet Spartan camp.

They'd had no idea.

Deimos, a little bloodied from his endeavours, had wiped the bottom of his boots in the soil before slipping out. Passing by two spartans who were stood next to each other.

He'd overheard them talking.

"The Lakonian lycaon met its end not a few nights passed" the bigger of the two had said, "Wonder if it was the last of its kind",

"I swear I saw another. Black as night. Beady little eyes that said they would kill me if I spoke of it" the smaller one said, he shuddered,

"Well, are you dead" the bigger one asked,

"Uhh… no" the small one shrugged,

"Then it wasn't a lycaon" the spartan told him, "If I know anything about the animals, it's that if you see one, you don't last long enough to talk about it" ,

"Whatever it was, it was a creature from Hades" the small spartan assured him.

Laelaps.

Eos.

Chapter Text

"The order of what" Eos sat down on the ships steps, watching as Laelaps stared at the crew, trying to will them in to flinching.

"The Order of Ancients" Kassandra told her,

"Persians" Eos asked. She tilted her head, about ready to throw something at the lycaon if he decided to nip at any of the semi-unsuspecting crew,

"Yeah" Kassandra looked over with her,

"Well" Eos leaned back, laying her head on her shoulder, "I guess there always has to be something".

"I found a letter on one of them" Kassandra pulled something from her pockets, "they were employed with trying to find someone. A baby that was taken from them a long time ago" Kassandra said,

"Asphodel was a Persian" Eos said, "Given to the cult because Persia failed" she shrugged, "Or something like that" she looked up at Kassandra, "Do you think they know she's gone",

"Not as far as I know" Kassandra folded her arms and looked to the front of the ship, at the waves crashing against them, they had Archai to their right and Phokis to their left, "I don't think them and the cult are on talking terms",

"Never know" Eos looked back at Laelaps, "Might destroy each other and save you the trouble",

"Chance would be a fine thing" Kassandra smiled, "Will not be many left for them to deal with though",

"Good to hear" Eos said before reaching in to her own robes. Eos pulled out the small note about the Octopus she'd got from Sokos - along with the artefact fragment she'd found in his pocket. If she was honest with herself, she hadn't exactly been looting them but, both Midas and the Master would have been lost to her anyway. Deimos had taken her dagger, no doubt he would have taken them too had she had them.

"You said we were going to Boetia" Eos said,

"Yes",

"What's in Boetia" Eos asked,

"The Spartans are trying to secure the area" Kassandra told her, "The King asked me to help them out",

"But what do you get out of it" Eos asked,

"An audience with the Kings" Kassandra told her, "And, hopefully enough evidence to proclaim one of them a cultist",

"Do you have any other leads" Eos asked,

"There is a cultist in Arkadia. Lagos" Kassandra told her, "I think he's working under his say",

"Lagos? I've not heard that name" Eos said; she saw the lycaon turn his head to her; neither had he.

"From what Brasidas has told me" Eos raised a brow, she'd not heard that name either, "He's a good man" Kassandra shrugged, "He wants me to spare him. To give him a chance. My mater thinks differently" - and, from Kassandra's tone, so did she - which made Eos snort all the more, trying her hardest not to laugh,

"Kassandra. If you cannot convince a 'good' man out of the cult. How are you going to convince your brother".


"How is it, a boy like Pyros managed to slay a lycaon" Deimos asked, watching the commander as he held the lycaons skull up for the other men to see, "Why even waste the time",

"Word is the boy wanted to do it all his own. Precaution he called it" the guard sat opposite him said, staring down at the bowl of wine he held, not daring to look him in the eye,

"Precaution" Deimos asked, glancing over at him,

"Yes. Boy says they attach themselves to people sometimes. Make'em stronger. More deadly" - Deimos did not think it was all that likely that the Lakonian lycaon would have attached itself to someone, like Laelaps had attached himself to Eos. They'd found him as a pup - raised him - he'd had no real choice but to see them as a worthy companion.

"From what I've heard of the Lakonian lycaon, it prefers its own kind" Deimos said, no need to kill it.

Laelaps never had. Deimos was convinced that the wolves thought him a traitor for having slept at a humans feet.

"Me too but" the guard shrugged, "Boy said he could and, the Commander said he wanted a skull on his mantle",

"And how exactly did he kill a lycaon" Deimos asked, "How did he even get close to it". Laelaps sense of smell was immense, the lycaon would have known he was coming.

"He snuck up on the beast, pierced it threw its back with a spear whilst it ate" the guard told him, "The beasts back was broken but, Pyros claimed it kept coming. He had to hack at it multiple times before he broke",

"And, how did he manage to sneak up on it" Deimos said,

"Well. They always say. To mask a smell. You burn it" the guard told him, "Throw your senses off, throw a wolves for sure, lycaon too it seems".

Perhaps that would account for all the new welts and blisters on his hands.


"Can you tell me more about him" Kassandra asked as she and Eos made their way towards the Spartan camp that resided in the scorched lands of Boetia. Kassandra had decided that her brother, no matter what he had done, if he'd had the chance to kill Eos on multiple occasions and not, there had to be something far more to him than the man she'd seen.

And, it wasn't as if Eos was the most submissive of people. He had to have some patience - especially for her.

"When we were younger" Eos said, "When Dolops cared for us. When Chrysis was not..." Eos trailed off. Just the thought of what Chrysis had done to them, to her, to Deimos. That pain she'd inflicted; conditioned them to endure; to welcome... It made her wonder how they'd even found the time to be children... And how, in the end, all that pain hadn't prepared her for the pain she'd felt that night in Phokis.

Some pains could not be taught...

"When we were just allowed to be... children" if she could even call it that, "we would spend the days working the farm. Me, my brother, Deimos, Akin... Then, in the evenings, me and your brother. We had this game" she smiled, remembering it, "We taught ourselves to scale the silos and, climb the trees. And, we'd race each other up this one particular tree",

"A tree" Kassandra asked,

"Yeah" Eos shrugged, "Every evening. And, he'll never admit it but, I used to beat him to the top much more than he beat me" Eos smiled, remembering it.

"What was he like back then" Kassandra asked,

"He was a little... ill-tempered but, he wasn't as much a bully as he is now" Eos said, "He was a good... leader. I guess... for our little troop of..." Eos shrugged, "whatever it was you'd call us" Eos smiled, "and, he's playful. If you could call it that. Sarcastic. Immature. Likes to hunt. People more than animals but, still" Kassandra rolled her eyes. "He spends a lot of time on his own" Eos told her, "Despite all the violence that consumes him, he likes the order of peace too. Or, he did" Eos took a deep breath. "He's difficult but, there is more to him than just the man you know" Eos said. "And, he was always patient with us, or me anyway...".

"That seems to be a reoccurring theme" Kassandra said.

"Yes but" Eos sighed, "I do not know if it was because he needed to prove himself to everyone else" she stopped. "Everyone else was trying to fashion him in to something they wanted - and that was not just the 'grown-ups'. Akin wanted a friend. Pyros wanted someone to suck up to. Melaina wanted someone to sink in her claws in to. Kallinos wanted someone to blame. Glaukos was Glaukos" he'd paid so little thought to Deimos and the rest of them, she was sure Deimos only hated on him because of the lack of attention he gave, "Asphodel, as much as she hid it, would have sunk her claws in to him too if it wasn't for Akin and I... I just took him for what he was" Eos said, "There was no point in beating me to a pulp because, he didn't need to prove himself to me" Eos shrugged, "Or, I just know how he fights and, I can dodge his attacks and jab him in the side". Eos liked that version better.

"Why" Kassandra asked, "What made you do that".

Eos shrugged, "I don't know" Eos admitted, "But, it happened and... the rest just happened too". Eos started to walk again.

"What happened to your brother" Kassandra asked after a moment, Eos had never really explained,

"Helios" Eos said, "His name was Helios and... it was when we were in Dolop's charge" Eos told her, "He and Deimos were out one morning. Not for any particular reason... Just... being children and... they came across a lion cub in a snare..." Eos shook her head, "Helios tried to free it but, it's mater was there. She ripped him apart..." Eos closed her eyes, "Your brother ran home, he looked as if he'd been crying and... I do not know if it was for Helios or himself but... he was never the same after that. Not really. He said that even beasts were loyal to their children... So, why were ours not loyal to us".

Kassandra put her head down, the thought of her brother watching that, of what it could have done to him made her feel sick... If only he'd knew how much he'd been wanted, how much his mater had tried to save him.

"After that, Chrysis took us from Dolops and" Eos shrugged again, "We moved from place to place, met the others soon after. Made our little 'promise' to each other... Lived in forts, small holdings, more farms - even stayed in a room under that temple in Phokis,

"Near that Pyramid" Kassandra asked, Eos nodded, "Did you ever touch it" Kassandra stopped this time, Eos turned to face her,

"Once" Eos said, "at night. I don't know why I did but... it felt like it was calling me..." Eos shrugged, "and then, when I did touch it... it didn't really show me much of anything... but, as accepting as I was of your brother, I was just as lied to and manipulated and... thirsty for blood, glory, the cults order... I saw these high-rise… buildings maybe, saw them falling; saw only chaos" Eos shrugged, "Maybe there would have been more to it but, I heard someone and let go",

"Who" Kassandra asked,

"A woman I think. I don't know",

"Not Chrysis" Kassandra wondered,

"No, someone else" Eos told her, "It was strange, she was there a moment and, when I turned back she was gone. Like a ghost".


Kassandra and Eos walked in to the Spartan camp, quickly gaining the attention of the Spartan warriors who had all stopped to look at them,

"Perhaps one of these could live up to that Spartan way that you're one in Argolis didn't" Kassandra said. Eos almost stopped, wondering if she had perhaps forgotten the conversation they'd had about her brother in the days passed.

Kassandra looked back, a smirk on her lips which quickly told Eos she was mocking her,

"I think I've had my fill of Spartans for a while" Eos told her. Kassandra smiled and then looked to the men stood in the red tent in front of them, leant over a map.

Kassandra took a step towards them and cleared her throat,

"I'm looking for-" one of them turned around, his eyes widening as he stormed towards her,

"You",

"Stentor",

"Sten-" Eos didn't think Kassandra had seen it coming. The punch the man delivered making her stumble back, Eos folded her arms and watched.

"Malakas" Kassandra cursed, she grabbed her spear and turned back around, holding out the scroll she had in her other hand, "I'm here to help you idiot",

"Not after Megaris. Not after what you did" Stentor told her,

"King Archidamos of Sparts sent me to aid you in securing the region" she shook the scroll.

Stentors face shook with the deep intake of breath he took, throwing his hands up in the air as he walked away,

"This is how much he trusts me - he put his faith in a fucking mercenary" he turned back around, glaring at Eos as well, "two" he proclaimed, muttering some more as he walked over to the edge of the camp.

"I'm not actually here to help you" Eos said quietly. Kassandra looked at her and Eos shrugged, she was sure Kassandra could handle him on her own.

Kassandra shook her head and followed after him.

After what seemed like a heated conversation and, a few more name callings, Kassandra joined Eos at a small fire she'd built herself at the edge of the camp.

"The four Boetian champions" Eos said,

"Yup" Kassandra passed her over some notes, the handwriting quick and scrawled, "Two each",

"Yay" Eos said.

Laelaps, brushed past her leg and she glanced over at him, he was sniffing up at the air,

"What's wrong" she asked. The lycaon tilted his head, as if it could make him smell better, he turned to her, staring at the notes she held in her hands. Eos looked down at them, "Who gave you these" Eos asked,

"Stentor" Kassandra said. Eos looked back at Laelaps, watching as he sat on his haunches and then got up again, disappearing off, back in to the brush. She'd just leave him to it.

"Stentor" Eos said instead, "He's your what... adopted brother",

"Adopted step-brother" Kassandra told her, "Nikolaus took charge of him as a child",

"Well, he seemed to fail at that too" Eos said,

"Perhaps but, Stentor thinks the world of him",

"Like you did" Eos suggested, she leaned back, "Do you know where he is now",

"Finding his honour" Kassandra said sarcastically,

"Well, from what I hear, Stentor seems to think he's dead" Eos said,

"If someone killed him, it was not me" Kassandra said, "He must have left without a word", Eos shook her head,

"Somehow, as unhonourable as I am" Kassandra smiled, "I do not feel that to find your honour, you abandon your..." she looked over at Stentor as he stood, his hands on his head as if he was about to pull his hair out, "family for a second time".

Eos looked at the names Kassandra had given her. A huntress named Nesaia and, a brute named Aristaios. One was to the forest to the north and, the other was last spotted near the Fort of Gla - in the middle of Lake Kopis. She was sure Laelaps would love that little boat ride.

Laelaps who had now arrived back, still very much convinced that he could smell something off.

"You know" Kassandra said, catching the lycaons glance out of the side of his eye, "I overheard the men saying someone had slain the Lakonian lycaon", Laelaps snorted and closed his eyes, turning his nose to the nights air,

"Must have been some warrior to conquer that beast" Eos said; she laid back, watching the fire flicker,

"Have you ever seen it before" Kassandra asked. Eos shook her head. She had only ever heard of it. "I did. I was asked to slay it",

"Why didn't you" Eos wondered,

"Because of him" Kassandra nodded at Laelaps. The creature who, for all his flaws, felt just as human and misunderstood as Eos was...

"I wonder who did" Eos said, "You think we would know the name. It is not something you would not want to brag about",

"Do you not think it strange" Kassandra asked, "Could it not be warning". Eos snorted and shook her head,

"The Gods might be great at taking things away from me but, they are not taking my lycaon" Eos told her, "Even if he is useless".

Laelaps opened only one eye, the glare he gave Eos making even Kassandra flinch - when all Eos did was smile and shrug her shoulder.


Laelaps and Eos had argued all the way up the forest trail.

The lycaon was sure that something was up, something was off about the Spartans at the camp but, he just couldn't put his nose on it. Eos had told him that, perhaps they just smelt bad, that he'd have to get used to them but, there was something more. Eos had asked him if it was a cultist but, it wasn't that. It was a smell he thought he recognised but, also a smell that he didn't. A lingering smell, a smell that had been there but, wasn't anymore. And the note they'd been given, the scrawled names on the pieces of parchment, the paper meant something to Laelaps and, he didn't know what.

"When we get back, I'll ask them who wrote the notes okay" Eos said, she crouched down - they'd just come upon, what Eos thought, was Nesaia's hut.

There didn't seem to be anyone home though.

"Figure out where she went" Eos told Laelaps as she stood up and wandered over to the fire behind the grass hut - food was still simmering in the pot, a venison stew perhaps. Eos looked over at Laelaps who had his nose to the ground, "She can't have gone far" Eos told him, "And, I'm sure that'll be done by the time we get back". Eos walked over to him, finding the large non-human footprints in the dirt. "You ready to fight a bear" Eos asked, the lycaon snorted.

Laelaps led Eos down the river, the wildlife that surrounded them - wolves included - fleeing at the sight of them.

"I think you should get yourself some friends Laelaps" Eos suggested, "Might make it so your not so moody all the time" Laelaps snorted at her and then stopped, crouching down as he spotted their target just beyond the trees. Nesaia and her bear were fighting against a pack of wolves, a pack of wolves that all seemed to freeze a moment before they too, fled. Nesaia had spun around, sword in the air, wondering what in Hades had happened, her bear now crouched low to the ground, growling at the spot Laelaps had been in.

The lycaon attacked the bear from the back, making it screech and throw itself around, knocking Nesaia out of the way. Eos walked over to her, both of them watching as Laelaps grabbed the bear by its throat and bit down on it, the bones in its neck snapping and the bear collapsing on the ground, its body twitching as it submitted to its death.

"I think my pets better" Eos said before she rammed her sword through the womans neck, hearing her stutter a few words before she met the same fait as her bear. Laelaps was now sat upon the top of the bear, watching her, "I guess your not that useless" Eos told him. Even the greatest of champions needed some time to get over the sight of a lycaon.

Sitting back at Nesai's hut, Eos had poured some of the stew in to a bowl for herself and left the rest for Laelaps.

"We have to boat over to that fort" Eos told him, "Best not eat too much" she suggested, glancing at the lycaon as he sat back on his haunches and sulked.

After having a second helping herself, Eos and Laelaps made their way over to Lake Kopais. Fortunately for them, there were small row boats a plenty - which made it all the more unfortunate for Laelaps.

"You can stay if you want" Eos suggested as the lycaon sat on the bank, glaring at the little boat Eos had picked bobbing in and out of the water.

After a few more moments - and a deep breath - Laelaps stepped aboard, lying himself down on it.

Eos started to row. It was beginning to get dark, which meant, it would be all the easier infiltrating the fort and killing the brute in his sleep - if he was indeed there - but, as they got closer, Laelaps found himself sensing something to the other side of the fort. He stood up, Eos taking it as a sign to row towards where he was looking, docking the small boat on the bank and following the lycaon up the small hill.

The two of them came upon a pair fighting. A Spartan and, what Eos assumed, was Aristaios.

"Well, I guess a thanks is in order" Eos said, watching as the Spartan man rammed his spear through the mans chest.

The man looked up at her, his spear poised and ready to strike.

"That was supposed to be my kill" Eos said, gesturing to the dead man at his feet, "Who are you" Eos asked, "Stentor sent two mercenaries to kill these champions, not three",

"Stentor sent you" the man said, lowering his spear, Eos nodded. Her eyes glancing at the lycaon who was crouching behind him,

"Answer my question old man. Who are you" he stood up straight,

"My name is Nikolaus", the man said.

Nikolaus...

Eos took a step back.

"You are Kassandra's father" Eos said quietly,

Laelaps emerged from behind him, the man turning to strike the beast only for Eos to throw a dagger at him, cutting in to the side of his cheek as he stepped back to dodge it,

"I suggest you put your spear down old man. He's much faster than you could ever be", Nikolaus turned back to Eos and Laelaps sat, his eyes locked on to his head.

"I guess my own question should be, who are you",

"Oh, you do not want to know" Eos told him.

She wanted to kill him. She had not realised it before but... this was the man who had thrown his children from the top of a mountain... thrown a baby that would grow in to a man Eos had grown up with, that would end up with her having to do the most unthinkable act known to man... an act Nikolaus knew all to well.

Except those children had survived it.

Eos looked over at Laelaps; he was thinking the same thing, holding that same grudge.

Except, this was Kassandra's fater and... Eos could not take his life in honour of what Kassandra was trying to achieve...

"What are you doing here old man. Why are you killing my bounties" Eos asked him,

"I left Stentor with the greatest responsibility a man could carry. I could not leave him to face it alone" Nikolaus said quietly, looking down at the body,

"That's nice" Eos said, she put her hands on her hips,

"Killing the champions will weaken the Athenian hold and destroy the rebels morale" Nikolaus told her,

"Like you destroyed Stentor's" Eos asked. Nikolaus looked away then, over the lake. He paid the lycaon no mind now but, Laelaps was sure to keep his eyes on him.

"I know that leaving him in Megaris was a mistake but, I was not fit to command" Nikolaus told her,

"And you think he is" Eos asked him,

"Yes" Nikolaus said, far too certain for Eos' liking, "But, I believe there are still things he needs to hear from me",

"Well, perhaps its time you realised that running away from your family isn't the way to save them".

Eos wanted to add that throwing babies off cliffs didn't help either but, she decided to leave the old man to it.

Chapter Text

Dropping Nesais greaves and Aristaios breastplate at the feet of the Spartan commander, Eos had not got much more than a grunt from the man she'd just killed champions for. She thought that perhaps if she'd thrown Nikolaus' head at his feet, she would have got a better response but, it was unfortunately still attached to his pitiful shoulders and, to escape the situation, Eos walked back over to the small fire she'd built on the out skirts of the camp. Only to find it had been soaked and, she was sure, pissed on.

Sitting back, she'd watched Laelaps lie between the brush. He was still wary about the camp, about its people but, he was also feeling queasy from his boat ride - which had been a lot more turbulent on their way back.

Kassandra was also not back yet and, with the other Spartans giving her a wide birth, she considered just bedding down for the rest of the day, her job was done. Except, Laelaps had whined from his place in the bush and, she remembered she'd promised to ask who had passed on the information to the Spartans about those champions. Reluctantly, Eos got to her feet to go and talk to the Spartan commander again.

"Stentor" she said, getting no response from the man as he leaned over his map, the two pieces representing the Boetian champions Eos was asked to take care of, were on the floor - stamped in to the dirt.

Eos stood next to him, making the man flinch sideways,

"What do you want" he demanded,

"I just want to know how you came to know about your four mercenaries" Eos said,

"What is it to you" he asked,

"That remains to be seen" Eos said, she pushed over the other two champions Kassandra had been sent to handle. There was no doubt that Kassandra would return victorious. The only reason she wasn't back yet was because Demeira was a bit further away. "Come on Stentor, I killed two mercenaries and a bear for you, least you can tell me is how you knew where they were",

"Well, if you must know" he pushed up the other two champion pieces back in to position, "We have intelligence from the inside" Stentor said,

"A spy" Eos asked, "You really are desperate" she added quietly enough for only him to here,

"I am doing-",

"I don't care. Whose your spy. What's their name" Eos asked,

"I hardly think that's important" Stentor told her,

"Oh it is, now, are you going to tell me or... Am I gonna make you scream like a little girl in front of your men".

Stentors face twisted and he took a step back, placing his hand on the hilt of his sword,

"I read that scroll. There was no mention of another mercenary... Who are you" Stentor said,

"I never said I was a mercenary and I'm sure as hell not here to help you",

"Then why are you here" he asked. Eos wanted to tell him that she was here to stick that spear behind him up his ass but, in that moment, a pair of boots and a helmet was thrown at their feet.

"Your champions are dead" Kassandra informed them. Eos smirked at Stentor and then, again, she knocked over the two pieces that represented the dead champions.

Stentor stood up straight,

"Well, whoever you are" he looked to Eos, "Sparta owes you both a thanks" Kassandra folded her arms, "It remains to be seen how much of a warrior you truly are though" he looked to Eos, "The battle for Boetia starts in the morning. Our scout has said that the Athenians are making a last ditch attempt to secure the region. Without their champions, they will be powerless to defeat us",

"With us on your side, they'll be powerless to defeat you" Eos said, she grabbed at the hardened chest plate she'd given him before, tapping it with her knuckles as she looked over at Kassandra.

Good enough for a champion, it would be good enough for her.

Although, it would never be good enough for a lycaon.

He'd still not come around to the idea by morning.

"Oh come on Laelaps" Eos said as the beast glared at her from where he sat. The other Spartan soldiers had already decided that the spot was cursed and, Eos had taken a pleasure in telling them that, whoever had pissed on her fire had angered the Gods and would wake up and have lost something very dear to them.

She was sure she'd seen Stentor avert his eyes.

"Is mater not letting you fight" Kassandra joked,

"You're so funny" Eos told her as she sat down, holding the helmet in her hands. "What is it, don't think I can handle it".

Laelaps snorted and stood up.

"I'll have a helmet on" Eos held it up to show him, "Even if one was, they wouldn't know it was me" Eos told him. Sure, they could tell she was a woman but, mercenaries usually aided in conquest battles anyway. She could have been anyone.

Laelaps sat up and stamped his paw on the ground,

"Well, when I'm fighting, you can figure out what your mysterious smell is" Eos told him, he huffed and turned his head away from her, "Stop being such a grump Laelaps" Eos said, "Like I said, you're more likely to draw attention than I am".

Laelaps turned away from her.

"I have a helmet" Eos repeated, she shoved it on her head and looked at Kassandra, "Tell him I'm not gonna die",

"This is too entertaining to get involved with" Kassandra told her. Eos sighed and then looked back at Laelaps.

"Speaking of entertainment" Eos looked back to her, "When I went after Aristaios. Someone else got to him before me",

"So you cheated" Kassandra shook her head, "I-",

"Kassandra. It... It was Nikolaus" Eos said,

"What" Kassandra sat up, "Are you sure. How do you",

"It was him Kassandra" Eos told her, "He was going after the champions to help Stentor. He said he had something to say to him",

"What did you tell him" Kassandra asked,

"I told him to stop running away".

"Are you ready" Stentor asked from behind her. He caught a glimpse of the lycaon in the brush and looked again, a little shudder going up his spine.

"Are you ready to bring honour to sparta" Kassandra said, looking at Eos,

"Why not".

Laelaps had given her one last shake of the head before he'd slunk off.


Lighting the last of the forts supplies on fire, Deimos stood up and turned around, shoving a spear threw the neck of a guard who had just walked in on him.

He'd been asked to do it quietly; without bloodshed but, he had needed to kill things. People. And, every guard had shared the same fait as the one lying on the floor.

These last few weeks, every one of his assignments had ended in so much blood, he'd heard that Kleon had been called upon to come and put him back in line.

He could not care. Kleon would come, would tell him to calm himself, to remember what it is they were trying to achieve and then, he'd leave. Run back off to Athens and allow him to do what it was he wanted. He would bring Sparta to his knees all his own. He did not need Kleon to do that.

Deimos walked out of the fort, grabbing his hoplites horse and riding back to the Athenian camp. His hoplite who now lay dead, laid up against the entrance to the fort, a sign to Sparta that neither them or the Athenians were safe from his wrath.

The small camp was quiet when he returned. The commander no longer paraded his lycaon skull around. Instead, he would keep to his tent, giving his advice on where he thought the champion should seek out next. As much as Deimos liked to think he knew everything, the geography of Sparta was not one of his strong points.

The commander who had flinched as Deimos had walked in.

"Tell me, where is the closest tavern" Deimos said as he pulled out the chair, putting his feet up on the table and his hands behind his head,

"That would be near the port" the commander said quietly, "Why" the commander asked, glancing up at him,

"If Kleon will be joining us" the commanders face fell, he hadn't realised he'd known, hadn't realised that, as much as a front Kleon put on for his want of peace, a few dead Spartans here and there would not bother him in the slightest, "We shall have to get him a welcoming party".


Kassandra had caught glimpses of Eos in the battle, taking out Athenians with such ease, it became even more apparent that she'd had an upbringing in which she'd been taught how to fight; how to dodge; how to swing a sword and, to throw daggers that landed themselves in the backs of Athenians necks, giving the Spartan fighting against them an almighty shock as they fell forward dead.

Eos was more brutal than Kassandra had thought she would be. Which, only helped to remind her that Eos and Deimos had been trained together. She was so much more brutal and quicker than she thought she could be... and, most of all, she fought without mercy... sometimes she even looked like she enjoyed it.

And, if she fought like that, how did her brother fight.

It was only Stentor knocking in to Kassandra and screaming at her to defeat the Athenians last champion that brought the mistios back in to the fight.

And, it was then that Eos, as quick as she was, got smacked in the side with a mace that was thrown at her - mostly because she'd sliced a man's hand off and, in a fit of rage and adrenalin before the pain set in, he'd thrown it at her.

The chest piece had taken most of the blow but, the metal was dented and stuck in to her side, making it all the more harder to lean back and dodge attacks without the thinned metal scraping at her skin.

They were winning though and, after having seen a man constantly give her funny looks from across the field, his helmeted head tilting itself at her as she cut down the men in her path, she made her way over to him, eventually getting close enough to join the group of Spartans that he was throwing about. She would have even been able to get a few good hits in too had she not hesitated.

From what she could see of his skin, it had been marked, burned. There were welts and blisters on his arm, scars on his chin.

But, he was so big. Too big to be Pyros...

The man had swung the hammer he wielded, taking out one of the Spartans stood there idly and, knocking him in to Eos who hadn't come back to her senses yet. She was thrown to the floor as the horns began to blow, signalling Spartas victory, making what was left of the Athenians - and her man, who just dropped his hammer, ever so close to her head - run.

Someone pulled her to her feet by the scruff of her chest plate and, she'd elbowed them in the stomach, the ever so-helpful Spartan man keeling over as she made her way towards the path the Athenians had taken.

Eos had glanced around, looking for the lycaon but, unlike the beginning of the fight - when she'd felt the eyes of the beast ever present - he was nowhere to be seen.

It didn't take her long to find what was left of their rivals though. Limping Athenians were making their way back to their camp, her man was there too, pushing his way to the front of the queue. The men who could, glared at him as he grabbed at them and pulled them back, as if he found some sort of enjoyment in making sure it was them who followed him.

It didn't look like anyone was going to miss him - which would make what happened next all the more easier.

It was when they'd got back to their camp that Eos made her move. All she'd had to do was find out what tent was his and then, after he'd gone to relieve himself, ambush him as he came back in. His eyes had gone that little wide as he got a proper look at her face. Whoever he was, she didn't recognise him but, it didn't matter much longer. Eos stabbed him in the throat before he could say anything.

Checking his pockets, Eos had pulled out some pieces of parchment she told herself she'd read later and then, she'd noticed the cloth sack that was laid out on the table, its contents hurriedly shoved in - as if he'd been planning on going somewhere. Feeling the need to empty it, Eos had turned it upside down and watched as both books, vials, ointments and a coin had fallen from inside.

It was only as she picked up the ointment, quickly realising that it was a cure for burns that she saw it.

The coin.

Except it wasn't an ordinary one.

The C engraved in to the metal was all too familiar...

Eos had looked back at the man. Had the fire changed Pyros so much that she hadn't recognised him. Had she just killed him and not even knew it.

Grabbing at the mans arm, she'd unfastened the metal greave and turned it over.

Pyros had four puncture wounds from teeth that had embedded itself so deep in to his skin, they thought he may have died from the shock. All this one had was inflamed skin. It was not a man she knew but, whoever he was, he knew one of the others.

And, from his afflictions, she could only imagine it would be Pyros.

Leaving the tent, Eos had passed by the wounded Athenians and started walking back to where she'd left the heroic Spartans.

Looking over the notes she had found in his pocket, the first having been a letter from some sort of lover - his name was Arges and her name was Marion - the second letter was a bounty he'd been contracted to fill, which would have been interesting had it not been Kassandra, but the third, the third was something different.

Addressed to Arges, Eos'd had slowed to look at it.

Arges.

I have no doubt in my mind that the creature survived that night - as I have told you multiple times already. You were there, you saw it. They are almost impossible to destroy but, recent happenings serves as proof that they can.

Although, you must never forget that the one we seek is more cunning, more sly. It hides itself in the shadow of man. Stalking. Preying upon those that would subdue it, those that have tried. He is able to reason, to scheme, to think. He is more human than beast.

But, he is no less easier to kill. He is unnatural and not worthy of the life he lives.

I know you have doubts on whether he lives but, the essence left in that Ares camp is unmistakeable.

Eos stopped.

He is hunting those who tried to destroy him. It will only be time until he comes for us too. Keep your skin hot, your fingers blistered and perhaps, we'll find him before he finds us.

Be quiet of our plans, we need to lure both sides until it is decided what is to happen next.

It was not signed but, Eos had a dreadful feeling that it was from Pyros.

And, after hunting down the Lakonian lycaon, now he was hunting down Laelaps.

Why, she had no idea.

As a boy she - and Laelaps - had got him out of so many predicaments, so many problems that... Eos could hardly believe that he'd want to kill him - out of loyalty more than anything. Laelaps would never hurt Pyros, not on purpose. He would not hurt any of them without her say. Not even if he wanted to.

"Who is it do you think you work for" someone had shouted, making Eos look up from her note, finding Stentor stomping towards her.

He looked pissed for someone who'd just won,

"What" Eos asked,

"You've been to the Athenians camp. To tell them of us no doubt. To assure them that we will-",

"Oh shut up Stentor" Eos said, passing him by and making her way back up the path, "I thought we already agreed that I was not here for you. Or Sparta. Or Athens" Eos reminded him, "I'm here for myself" she turned back around, coming face to face with him. He was about ready to punch her in the face, he probably would have and Eos would have broken the fingers in his hand before he'd gotten close if Kassandra hadn't interrupted them,

"You wan Stentor" Kassandra said, "Perhaps you should celebrate the moment with your men for a while",

"There is no time for celebration" Stentor spat, barging passed Eos as Kassandra came over to her,

"Where did you go" Kassandra asked, Eos passed the letter to her,

"Someone was looking at my funny" Eos told her.

Kassandra read over the words, she didn't understand what they meant. What creature?

"Have you seen Laelaps" Eos had asked Kassandra as they'd reached the camp, the Spartans tending to those who were wounded and Stentor stood, his hands behind his back as he surveyed them all, a sour look still on his face.

"Yes" Kassandra said, "He was here when we came back, by our fire". Eos found the lycaon sat in the brush. He looked ever so glad that she was alive but, he also looked a bit worried,

"You and me both" Eos had said to him, glancing over her shoulder as the lycaons eyes focused on something behind her.

Or someone.

Pyros.

It had to be.

Eos had stood up, taken a step forward but, a crowd of Spartans had started to form, some sort of dispute at the centre of it. Eos had pushed around, looking back at the lycaon as he'd scoured the edge of the camp.

Except.

She couldn't let him go.

"Laelaps" Eos had said as Pyros dissapeared from view; the lycaon stopped and glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. She shook her head. He had looked to where Pyros had been, a small sniff at the air before he'd retreated, back to his spot amongst the brush.

"Don't you dare tell me what to do. I am in command here" Stentor said, Eos turned around,

"You needed help" Kassandra folded her arms,

"By the Gods, how are you so arrogant. No wonder my father discarded you" Stentor said,

"You know nothing about my family" Kassandra told him,

"I know he threw you off a cliff and chose me instead" Eos looked back at Laelaps, had Stentor actually just said that. Had she just died or something. Was any of this real anymore.

"Now who's being arrogant. You were an after thought. Second place" Kassandra could give it as well as she could take is, Eos had to give her that,

"We'll see about that" Stentor took a step back and Eos shook her head - how could the man even assume that he could square up against someone like Kassandra.

He really did have no idea what he was up against.

"What do you mean" Kassandra asked,

"Now that we have driven the Athenians from the field" hee turned around and drew his spear, "It is time I dealt with my true enemy",

"Stentor, you" Kassandra sighed, taking a step back,

"Your job is done, mercenary. Now I will kill you for what you stole from me in Megaris"

"Why are you doing this" Kassandra shrugged,

"Because - because you marched in to Megaris. Ruined the fucking war. And murdered - my - father" Stentor took a deep breath, trying to keep himself calm.

Eos was sure Kassandra had a reason for not already telling Stentor that Nikolaus was alive. She had to.

"I did what I had to" - that was not the right answer Eos had thought,

"And so will I" Stentor said,

"What could you possibly gain from killing me" Kassandra asked - trying to kill her Eos would have added,

"Justice" fair enough Eos thought, "Vengeance" that was a nice one, "Peace" Stentor really was clueless, "One would be enough, but all three is better",

"You think vengeance will dull your pain. Trust me, it won't" Eos still didn't understand why the words 'Nikolaus is alive' had not left Kassandra's lips yet,

"Here's the thing. I don't trust you",

"You don't have to do this Stentor" Kassandra told him,

"No, but I do. There is nothing you can say to convince me otherwise" Stentor held his spear up,

Nikolaus is alive...

"This isn't what Nikolaus would have wanted",

"How would you fucking know. Traitor" Stentor spat,

"I am not a traitor",

"You betrayed Sparta. You betrayed your family-" well, it wasn't as if Sparta and her family hadn't betrayed her first, had it... "You killed my father and stole my chance at a normal life. You deserve nothing but the cold of my blade buried in your heart".

The two of them started to circle and, Eos was just about ready to go in and smack their heads together but, she hadn't had to.

Nikolaus brushed passed her, gesturing to the rest of the Spartans that surrounded them to leave.

"Killing each other won't heal the wounds of the past" Nikolaus told them.

"Pater", Stentor took a step back, his bottom lip quivering,

"Hello Stentor" he nodded his head, "Kassandra",

"I thought you were dead" Stentor told him,

"Not just yet" Nikolaus glanced back at Eos,

"She should pay for what she's done" Stentor told him, pointing at Kassandra,

"How many times do I have to tell you, I did-",

"Stentor, she owes me nothing" Nikolaus went up to him and took his hands. Stentor shook his head,

"I don't understand", Nikolaus took a step back,

"You both have a greater role to play. But, you" he looked at Stentor, "must become the leader I trained you to be - lead the armies of Sparta and be victorious" Nikolaus said to his son,

"How" Stentor asked quietly,

"You are an honourable man, a loyal son and a great warrior. You will be a better commander than I ever was. You can do this". Stentor smiled, nodding,

"I will father, I will make you proud", Nikolaus shook his head,

"You already have".

Stentor smiled, taking a deep breath before he looked back at his camp, at the men he had to command. Nikolaus let him go, turning back to Kassandra.

"That could have ended badly" Nikolaus told her,

"For Stentor" Eos had said. Nikolaus did not reply but, he didn't have to.

"Kassandra" Nikolaus sighed, "A shadow grows across Sparta. Be cautious when you return". Kassandra had smiled,

"Mater and I will deal with it",

"You found her" Nikolaus smiled. Kassandra fisted the air,

"Ruling Naxos", his smile had grown bigger,

"That sounds like her". Nikolaus had sighed and then, he had looked to Eos. "Your fight. It is not with Sparta, or Athens. Who is it with",

"The cult of Kosmos" Eos told him without hesitation.

Nikolaus closed his eyes, the snakes in the grass were everywhere,

"May I ask why", Eos shrugged a shoulder,

"Perhaps one day you can ask the other child you dropped from a mountain",

"Eos" Kassandra had taken a step forward but, Nikolaus put his hand out,

"No Kassandra, she's-" Nikolaus stopped, taking a step back, "what do you mean".

Kassandra had never told him. She'd never had the chance.

"Alexios is alive. The cult..." Kassandra trailed off,

Nikolaus looked away, ashamed, "I should have been there for you. For the both of you". Nikolaus took a deep breath and then took a step back, "May the God's watch over you all".

The two of them watched as he left, following behind Stentor who was now addressing his men.

"Why did you not kill him" Eos asked,

"You heard what he said, vengeance will not dull the pain",

"No, but then, what will",

"Justice" Kassandra asked like it was a question, which Eos had no answer to.

Eos looked to Laelaps.

"Just imagine how much more different it would have been had he been a father and not the conqueror he'd tried to be",

"The cult would not have my brother but, they would still have you".


Kleon had walked in to the camp expecting only Athenian soldiers.

But, right now, all he could see were the dead bodies of Deimos' unfortunate victims that, in the champions mind, had been that little too needy.

All the champion had wanted was to welcome Kleon with some girls to warm his bed, some men to liven the place up but, they hadn't known their place. It had been fine at first but, after initially having convinced himself to sleep with one of them, he'd smashed her head against the wall because she'd grabbed his. The rest of the men and women he'd killed had just been unfortunate.

Athens leader had not been worried by the sight, only disappointed that so many bodies had been wasted.

"If you kill them all Deimos, who is it we will rule when we win this war" Kleon asked, he put his hands on the table, a small sigh being the only real gesture of care he had for any of the fallen.

"Even I cannot kill every man in Greece" Deimos said, not looking at him,

"No but, you'll try" Kleon shrugged, "At least leave the pretty ones" Kleon suggested, "And, perhaps you should not forget what your job is either". Deimos stayed sat there, not moving, "I hear you've killed every Spartan you've come across. And, as much as I love dead Spartans, you will be able to tear threw as many as you want when the time comes. The time is not now".

Deimos had not moved, staring at the commander who was sat opposite him, his eyes looking to his lap. The commander had been the one to call on Kleon for aid and, Deimos was just making sure that the commander did not think that a change in command was imminent.

Yes, he would refrain from so much chaos but, that did not mean he had to do it his way - or Kleons way - he would do it his own way.

"Now, I suggest you stop making our commander here feel so unwelcomed, tidy up the mess you have made and, remember that this unnecessary chaos will only lead you farther away from our goal" Kleon pushed up from the table, "And, it is not like you have not had your fun" he gestured to one of the girls lying dead.

"And, what is it the almighty Kleon will be doing whilst I do all the leg-work" Deimos asked,

"I'm going to meet our little firecracker in the port in Achaia. Your sister was in Boetia, I have no doubt that he'll have some information in our aid to detain her",

"Then can I kill her" Deimos asked,

"We shall see" Kleon said quietly. "For now though, I have a small job for you" Deimos glanced over at him, "Lagos, one of our... associates, is having a hard time keeping to his path" Kleon told him, "I would like you to pay him a visit".

Chapter Text

Again, Kassandra has asked to read over the letter Eos had found as they made their way back to the port.

It didn't exactly mention a lycaon but, both Eos and Laelaps were convinced that's what it meant. And, Kassandra had to be honest with herself, it sounded too much like the creature walking next to them not to be.

"What is this about the Ares camp" Kassandra asked, Eos sighed,

"Well, when I escaped the fort, Laelaps took me through this Ares camp he'd... dealt with. At the time, I didn't think anything of it" Eos shrugged, "it was out of the way and, if you do not know the signs of a lycaon attack, they could easily have been attacked by a lion, or wolves or-" Kassandra stopped her,

"And, of all the Ares camp he could have found, it was that one". It seemed unlikely. The followers of Ares were spread all over Greece.

"Because... nearby is the place Pyros was born" Eos told her. Eos had always wondered whether Pyros knew, whether he'd been there, whether it was ever something he mourned for - having been so young.

Kassandra stopped as they came to the start of the dock, to the Adrestia sitting right where she'd left it.

"What will you do" Kassandra asked. Eos had been thinking about it and, considering the situation, there was only one thing she could do.

"I need to find Pyros" Eos told her, "I need to understand what he's doing, I just.." she looked to Laelaps.

Eos had considered asking Kassandra to take him, just in case Pyros did have a sure fire way to kill a lycaon but, the beast would never have it. He would end up following her and, it would cause more trouble than what it was worth,

"Is that a good idea",

Eos shrugged a shoulder, "I don't know what else I can do" Eos looked back to Kassandra, "If I let him just go...". Who knew where Pyros was at. Yes, he was after Laelaps but, Eos did not think that he had considered her to be part of the deal, not anymore. Perhaps that would change something...

"Eos, you might have to...". Kassandra knew she'd done it before but, after having lost the others, Kassandra didn't know if the bargain they'd struck all that long ago still stood. Kassandra did not know if it could.

"Laelaps is the only one who stood by me Kassandra" she took the letter back. "I would do anything to keep him safe. Just like he would for me" they looked to the lycaon who had his nose to the ground, taking no notice of them.


"Lagos. Let us not make this any harder than it needs to be" Deimos was leant on the mans door, flicking through a handful of bounties the businessman had put out for the cult.

A leader in Melos.

A mercenary in Megaris.

A farmer in Elis.

A butcher in Keos.

A ships captain with a goat sail.

A slave in Tegea.

A sister.

Deimos looked up at him,

"I am... I'm trying..." Lagos shook,

"You know that is not enough" Deimos took a step towards him and the man flinched away, covering his face. Deimos stopped. "Lagos. You have become distracted. I think that it may be time that other... arrangements... for your... family... are made",

"Pl-please no" he fell to his knees, "I-they-they have no have part in this-please" he put his hands together, his face getting closer and closer to the floor, "I-I'll do better. I-". Deimos knelt down, placing his hand on Lagos' shoulder, making the man freeze,

"Do you want them to see what I'll do to you if you betray your King Lagos" - Pausanias had been very cryptic with his letter but, Deimos had got the jist. Lagos shook his head quick. Deimos smiled and glanced up, spotting the small boy who was peeking through the door on the other side. He stood up and put his hand out, gesturing the small boy in. Lagos looked up, following his hand, his whole body starting to shake as his son came towards them,

"No-no-ple",

"Enough" Deimos grabbed the boy and pulled him over, holding his arm around his neck. The boy gasped, grabbing at Deimos' arms, desperate to escape, "Do you know how easy I could break your neck" Deimos said quietly, the boy stopped, shutting his eyes tight,

"Let him go. Please. I will do as you say. I promise",

"You will" Deimos said to him, "but first" he looked over to the men who were now stood at the door, Lagos' wife in tow. Lagos fell back on his heels, his eye twitching as his wife cried out for him and her son, "these distractions will be..." Deimos looked back to Lagos and smiled, "taken care of",

"Please... please... I'll do anything" Lagos put his whole body to the floor, begging,

"Do not worry my friend, no harm will come to them if our arrangement is kept to. Your King made me promise", Lagos went to say something but, Deimos stuck his fingers in to the sons neck, making him squirm and Lagos look down again - he nodded his head. "Good". Deimos threw the boy towards his mater, the two of them embracing before they were torn apart. "Take them" Deimos said. The wife cried out one last time, reaching out for her husband who didn't even have the balls to look at her.

The men shut the door behind them, leaving Deimos and Lagos on their own.

"Now Lagos" Deimos crouched down, resting his arms on his knees, "I have something more for you" Lagos looked up warily,

"Anything" he swallowed the lump in his throat. Deimos grabbed him by that throat, pulling him to his feet - the man was almost like a dead weight,

"I want to know of every bounty you make" Deimos told him,

"B-" Deimos shoved him in to the wall,

"Every bounty you make" Deimos tilted his head, "And, one word... to anyone... and I'll bring you your sons fingers personally".


Both Eos and Kassandra had watched Laelaps stuff his nose in to a hole in the dock, closing his eyes as he took a deep breath in,

"What are you doing" Kassandra had asked him, she looked to Eos, "What is he doing". Eos shrugged,

"Laelaps, are you trying to inhale the sea" Eos asked - if the water was any higher he'd have his snout in it. The lycaon snorted and looked up, towards a burnt out torch.

Eos sighed and put her hands on her hips, "Pyros", the lycaon snorted, "Well... if it's the same smell as before",

"How did you even..." Kassandra looked from the lycaon back to Eos. Eos raised her brow,

"What",

"He snorted" Kassandra shook her head and went towards Barnabas who was talking to Herodotus on the edge of the dock, "He snorted" Kassandra said again. Eos smiled and then looked to Laelaps who, in turn, had stuck out his tongue before he looked over at Barnabas.

"Commander" Barnabas said, "I do not know if it means anything but" he looked behind him, to the sea, "There was a man, a hooded one but, he had blisters on his hands, burns. Herodotus believes him to be the flame". Kassandra looked to Eos,

"Yes. From what you have told me" Herodotus took a step forward towards them, "I believe it could be him", his hands rested behind his back,

"Herodotus... Any man could have blisters on his hands" Eos said,

"He was accompanied by a Spartan" Herodotus said,

"Any hooded man with burns could be accompanied by a Spartan, Herodotus" Eos shrugged, "There must be a reason why you think it's him",

The thing is - Pyros. Other than the burns, there was nothing that could identify him from across a battlefield. No symbol that he wore, no weapon that he carried, no defining scars that could not be hidden beneath robes.

"Because. When he saw me; Barnabas; the ship, he acted very peculiar, as if he knew of us" Herodotus said, "He stood right there" he gestured to where the lycaon was stood, his nose now resting in the hole once again. "Then, he got in a row boat" Herodotus looked down the beach, "And, he rowed out to a small Athenian ship anchored a hundred or so metres out" he looked over, at the sea.

"A Spartan on a an Athenian ship" Kassandra asked,

"An Athenian spy on an Athenian ship" Eos told her, "Which way did he go",

"He went that way" Barnabas said, pointing south-west. Kassandra raised her brow - so, anywhere,

"We sent a couple of the crew to one of the peaks of the mountains" Herodotus nodded towards it, "They say it was heading towards the Scavengers Coast". Kassandra looked to Eos,

"What's over there", Eos had shrugged,

"Fancy dropping me off so I can find out".

Laelaps hacked from behind them.


"Remember who it is you serve Lagos" Deimos said as he looked down at the man from his horse,

"How... how will I-I let you know" Lagos didn't look at him, "About the...",

"Oh, do not worry Lagos, I'll be back" Deimos smiled.

As long as Kleon had a hand in Lagos' business, he'd stick around.

However, his next feat lay in Tegea.

A place, which Deimos rode in to just after night fell, was said to be the oldest and most powerful city in Arkadia.

Technically, it should have welcomed the strong with open arms.

Except, Deimos had never liked it there and, the people liked him even less.

It was also the place Eos had told him she was pregnant.

And, as he passed the boundary of the city, he almost felt a want to leave.

It had been during the winter when Eos had not returned home. She'd gone out, to a blacksmith and just, never came back.

And, back then, when she had not wanted to be found, she wasn't.

Unless a lycaon was looking out for her.

Laelaps had left a trail when Eos hadn't. And then, when he'd got closer to Tegea, he'd lost that trail. Eos had obviously realised what the lycaon was trying to do but, once he'd passed through, it was the lycaon who had turned him around.

She had been at the Sanctuary of Athena Polias, sat up in the greaves.

It was then she had told him. And, after listening to the day she'd had - which may have just been as stressful as his - he just accepted it. There was nothing else he could have done. They had been stupid and now, they would suffer for it.

And then, as much as he tried to forget it, as much as he longed for what they'd had before - even after she'd told him what she would do - which he'd accepted as well, which he should have berated her for, which he should have told someone about - everything spiralled out of control and now, they were here and...

Pushing the thoughts from his mind, reminding himself of why he was here, Deimos found the house he was looking for.

One of Lagos' bounties had peaked both his and Kleons interest. A slave had supposedly 'killed' his master, a master who just so happened to be brother to a rogue cultist that had slipped through Deimos' fingers - which Kleon liked to remind him about.

Now, if Deimos took the time to look for he who called himself the Swordfish on Messara, he did not doubt that he would not find him but, leaving mainland Greece now, for anything, would not do the Demi-God any good and, he was one of those cultist he would happily leave to his sister to take care of. For all he knew, she already had. But, lest she never got the chance, he had a feeling by the end of the night that he would know where the Swordfish was.

And the master too.

The house had been abandoned, apparently left to the mercy of thieves and robbers who, it seemed, had taken a lot of his furniture.

Except, the door had also been locked.

However, Deimos found out, from the neighbour who he'd strangled for having peeped through one of the windows at him; the furniture and, most of his belongings, had been moved from the masters house a few nights before he'd been killed. It seemed like the master had expected himself to go somewhere.

The neighbour also told him of how the master had been struck down by his slave, in full view of the Temple of Demeter and Kore; that, despite the hard work of the guard and a physician, the master had died. Which, to Deimos, sounded far too rehearsed and, he'd broken the neighbours neck and left him to rot, stuffed between a couple of barrels in the alley between two houses.

And then, as uneventful as the house proved to be, minus finding and killing a sleeping man upstairs in the bedroom - who Deimos would later learn had been the masters guard - both a letter telling him to meet someone with the initials P.S at a small clearing just east of a well-known bandit camp - which just so happened to be the same initials as the master in question - and a visitor the guard received when midnight struck, proved both Deimos and Kleons suspicions.

Now, the slave and his scarred cheek - which Lagos had noted on the bounty as being his only defining feature - had taken one look at the blood and ran, completely unaware that the culprit was standing in the same room as him.

The slave, no matter how many times he glanced behind him, had no idea that Deimos was following him; and, when they'd finally made it out of Tegea, the sporadic running had stopped, the slave having finally convinced himself that he was not being followed.

Deimos let him believe it. He had a very good feeling that the slave would lead him straight to the master he had 'killed'.

Passing through the smugglers forest, passed a bandit camp, the slave led Deimos to the small clearing from the letter. A man, stood in expensive blue robes was watching the darkness, only turning around when he heard his slave approach, his words shaky as he told him what had happened. The man, however much the people of Tegea did not like him, seemed to have a soft spot for his slave, asking him to calm himself, asking him to sit.

Deimos had listened as the slave gave the man hurried words, had told him that he'd found the guard dead, that they had to leave immediately.

That he'd had word that his brother was hiding out in the caves near the Fisherman's Beacon, in Messara.

With that, when the master had asked the slave to grab a bag from the tent, which Deimos just so happened to be sat behind, the Demi-God had grabbed the man by the throat, collapsing it within moments.

"Who are you" the Master had said, taking a step back as he looked from side to side, grabbing for a fire poker next to him. He held it out, his hand shaking,

"I have come to collect the bounty on your slaves head" Deimos said as he let the dead slave fall, looking down as his body did its last few twitches.

"Uh... yes..." Deimos raised his brow and looked back at him. The master stood up straight, "Yes... thank you for that... he... he has been plotting to kill me... he... he told me I had a bounty on my own head... told me I had to leave Tegea" the master said, his voice starting to calm itself as he recognised the markings on his chest plate. His brother had told him of the cult, told him to be compliant.

Under any other circumstance, Deimos was sure the man could talk a good talk, perhaps even say enough to make someone else believe his words but, Deimos was not someone else. Deimos looked back at the slave. How easy it was for a rich man to blame a poor man so easily - especially when the poor man had paid with his life.

Although, in all respects, Deimos had come to collect a bounty. A bounty that was worthless if it was not true.

"Word is, he already did" Deimos looked to the Master, "It seems the rumours were wrong. Let us fix that".


It had taken most of the trip from port to port to decide whether or not Eos and Laelaps going to the Scavengers Coast alone was in any way, a good idea.

In the end, Eos had told Kassandra that, even if she didn't find Pyros, Arkadia and this Lagos - who would be Kassandra's next target once she'd returned to Sparta and talked with Brasidas and her mater - were just south of there and, Eos was sure they would meet-up somewhere in the middle.

Kassandra had wanted Eos to consider that Pyros, from what they knew, was also planning on killing Laelaps - to which the lycaon had cackled at - and, Eos had agreed but, like she'd said before, from the look on Pyros face when she'd seen him, he'd not been expecting to hunt her to.

There was also the chance that, by the time she got to Arkadia, a bounty as big as Kassandra and her maters would be on her head but, mercenaries did not scare her and, she was sure that not every man was willing to burn the scent off of themselves to sneak up on a lycaon. Not to mention that she was so unknown to most of the Greece world, the mercenaries they'd need to send would be people who knew her and - people Laelaps would be able to smell out.

So, on Barnabas' suggestion, after travelling that little more west, so as to avoid any confrontation with the small Athenian ship, which was now docked at the port at the Scavengers Coast, Eos and Laelaps were lowered down in to a row boat.

The coast, as always, was sparse with its people and, the lycaon, who was able to travel freely in the early morning light, was having a hard time settling his stomach after they'd nearly crashed in to an underwater ship wreck.

Eos had laughed and said that was why it was called shipwreck cove and, the lycaon had vomited.

It also meant that any trace of Pyros that the lycaon had, which ended on the dock, had been lost. The small Athenian ship had also paid them no mind, Pyros had already left, along with his spy and now, the men were restocking what little they could for a return trip to Athens.

The people who lived there were just as useless to her. As always, keeping to themselves. They were poor, pitiful, living in make-shift homes made from the wreckage of old ships. They did not want to know of the people who passed through, did not want to get involved with what was going on. Life was hard enough without having a mercenary like character asking them questions.

It was better to just keep quiet.

Which meant that both Eos and Laelaps were at a loss. They had no leads, no way of knowing where Pyros was and, as Eos had sat down on one of the rocks overlooking the sea and, another ship wreck, she'd noticed the left-overs of a body below her. The unlucky fool had been there a while and, after telling Laelaps to stay away - just in case he caught something, she'd sat back and watched as the sun started to rise.

It was almost mid-day when the lycaon climbed up to where she was sat, the suns rays having been doused by the grey clouds that had settled over top of it.

The lycaon had sighed deeply, as if the fish he'd been snacking on had finally settled the motion in his stomach and, after a moment, Eos had asked him something she hadn't been able to stop herself from thinking about. A question she thought it was time she got a real answer too.

"Why did you never tell me about Phokis".

Eos understood that he would have waited to tell her - in those first couple of months, even she had not known if she was coming or going but, it was not just her that had suffered it seemed - he had suffered too - at the hands of people he may not have always trusted but, he had trusted enough to not harm him. Laelaps was a lycaon, a majestic beast that had attached itself to Eos and, most of the cult had been enthralled by it. A gift from Kosmo, from the Gods. A beast that did their bidding (or Eos') without hesitation.

The lycaon did not reply, only resting his head on his paws.

Eos wondered how many of those scars were now hidden beneath his thick fur - fur that before, she would always comb through with her fingers. She'd known of all his lumps and bumps then, of a spot he had on his shoulder, a tear in the skin he had on the side of his rump. Except, there had been no time for that - they were spending too much of their time trying to stay alive.

She also wondered why he had not told her about Pyros, about Melaina - she had said that she'd seen the lycaon on fire - the lycaon had been in Phokis that night and, it only occurred to Eos now that Melaina had to have been too. As well as Pyros. Even if it had been claimed they weren't.

Laelaps had gave her a disheartened sigh, almost as a response to her inner thoughts.

Eos had sighed and shook her head then, realising why the lycaon had never told her.

Because, as much as she would have wanted to know; everything they did was in aid to save them; to save Pyros, to save the others. Laelaps had fought with the feeling that, if he was to tell her, he would jeopardise that, that it would make her lose even more hope - or, his most selfish fear that, she would brush over it - just like she had their betrayal to her. That, what had happened, didn't matter.

But, it did. It mattered so much more than Eos could ever say. It hurt like hell but, she and him both knew what that life was like.

Still though.

"You're an idiot" Eos told him. Laelaps snorted, moving his head so he couldn't look at her, "You know, if I had to choose... I'd choose you", Laelaps turned his head back slightly. "You know me more than any of them" Eos said quietly, he snorted again, "well, obviously not him but" Eos shook her head, smiled, "you've been with me through it all" she gestured to the world in front of them, "If I had to...".

The last thing Eos ever wanted to do was choose but, she owed so much to the creature sat next to her that, she'd never be able to live with herself - anymore than she did now - if she put them over him. No matter how much she felt for them.

The lycaon, now having felt terrible himself, had laid his head on her lap. After swallowing back a lump she didn't even know she had, Eos was just about ready to tell him not to get too comfy, that they'd have to plan out their next venture when, his ears pricked up. Eos had turned her head when he did - although it had taken her a couple more moments to recognise who it was he was staring at.

Kleon.

Chapter Text

The Traitor

Lying down on the rocks, Eos and Laelaps watched as Kleon turned and walked towards the Athenian ship.

Like before, Pyros was nowhere to be seen and, the politician had turned back to look at the coast, his hands on his hips.

"Pyros must be here somewhere Laelaps" Eos glanced over to him and the lycaon snorted, "I know". Eos took a deep breath and pulled up her hood, "We need to find him before Kleon does".


Deimos looked at Lagos' wife, caged and crying. He had to hand it to himself, this was a good little spot in which to keep them hidden. To keep them from the prying eyes of Lagos' mercenaries.

Although, there was the one problem of a couple of the guards having taken Lagos' serving girl for themselves. Deimos did not mind them having their fun but, he would make sure personally that the girl was returned once the fun had been had. They did not need any excuses for what they had to be compromised. And, if the serving girl could not keep her mouth shut, Deimos would give Lagos her head as a gift.

Leaving them to it, Deimos made his way to Fort Samikon, finding Lagos talking with some mercenaries who left as he walked in.

"Bounties aplenty" Deimos asked; Lagos had flinched, jumping almost a foot from the ground. "Do calm down Lagos" Deimos had overheard them speaking of only his sister, of which at the moment, he cared very little for. "I've brought you something". Lagos turned his head to him, his bottom lip shaking.

Deimos reached in to the sack he held and threw the decapitated head at the mans feet. Lagos cried out, covering his face, refusing to look - to see the head of his wife, or his son. Deimos raised a brow as he took a small step back, he smiled, "If you feel I have need of giving you your sons head, please do tell me why that is Lagos".

Lagos uncovered his face slowly, looking down at the head of a man with a scarred cheek.

"The... the slave" Lagos said quietly, he would have been relieved had he not been looking at a bloody head

"And" Deimos threw another head, making Lagos flinch again,

"What..." Lagos looked from the masters head back to Deimos,

"It seems our friend was planning on taking a trip to Messara" Deimos took a step forward and looked down at him, "To see his brother. I obviously do not understand the want between siblings" Deimos looked up at Lagos and smiled.

"But... he... he would not" Lagos looked back to the head,

"Traitors" Deimos told him, "They will always get what is coming to them".


Keeping their distance, Eos and Laelaps had followed Kleon to Pellene, the politician pulling a cloak over himself to disguise the Athenian colours he wore.

As of yet, Laelaps had been able to assure Eos that, apart from the guards that Kleon had surrounding him, clothed in robes with their swords hidden beneath their cloaks, there was no sign of a Demi-god - or a flame - which was worrying Kleon just as much as it was Eos.

"No sign at all" Eos asked again, looking to Laelaps as Kleon stopped by the stables nearest the tavern. As off putting as the smell was, Laelaps knew of it now, he knew what to relate it to. Still though, Laelaps had nothing. Eos sighed and turned herself as Kleon looked to where she stood, annoyed - flustered even - by Pyros absence. Laelaps grunted and Eos shrugged a shoulder, looking towards the smelters sat all in a row - Pellene, as poor as the people were on that coast, had been the first to join Sparta in the war.

"I know it does not mean anything Laelaps" Eos told him, "But it means something".

The lycaon grunted again, she sighed,

"I said-" Eos felt the lycaon scratch at her leg and she turned back around. Kleon had gone. "Where" she asked, looking at the lycaon. Eos followed Laelaps eyes to where the politician was now, conversing with another. They were heading in to Pellene Tavern.

"Ughh" she turned away again and looked back to the smelters, "you must be getting old Laelaps", the lycaon snorted, "you have to be... if you can't smell him".

Machaon the feared was said to have the stink of death on him but, Eos was sure it was because the man hardly bathed.

Machaon was also a name Eos had given to Kassandra on her list. She had not been too sure then that he was a cultist but, she had a feeling he was now.

Eos watched as Kleon and Machaon disappeared in to the tavern. Eos looked to the lycaon and nodded at him. He'd snorted at her - as if he was ordering her to stay - and then left her to go listen for anything useful.

Instead of staying where she was, Eos had made her way to the statue of Poseidon.. She had been told of the bronze statue but, had never seen it. It really was glorious - well, most of it. Although, before she could really wonder whether the Gods really did have such small gifts, Laelaps returned to her.

"Pyros" Eos asked, the lycaon snorted, "lead the way old dog" - Eos was sure he wanted to bite her.

In most circumstances, Eos would have made Laelaps stay a little while longer - if only to see what route Kleon and Machaon would take - but, she did not know if they too had a hand in the killing of lycaons. Although, Laelaps was uneasy about what had been said, of the way it had been said. Something was a foot. Perhaps even a trap.

By Pyros. By Kleon. By Machaon. They did not know. For who, they could only assume.

Laelaps led Eos through the outer boundary of the peaks of Erymanthos and Poseidons wrath, heading to what Eos could only assume had to be Patrai.

From what Laelaps had snorted and grunted at her, the Athenian spy, who had turned out to be a mercenary, was found dying, paid for his services in blood. His last words being some mutterings about the boy having ran to the temple of Zeus.

"What are we going to do if we find him" Eos asked out loud, the lycaon snorted, "I can not be as quick to act as I did with Kallinos Laelaps" Eos said, "I know of the treachery but..." Eos did not know if she could just kill him. Not straight away anyway. They needed to talk.

Laelaps grunted.

It did not take long for them to reach the outskirts of Patrai - and, from what they could see, Kleon had not made it there yet.

The temple of Zeus is where Laelaps led her next. It had four entrances, on either side - four possible escape routes Eos had thought.

"The temple of Zeus" Eos looked to Laelaps, "the God of Gods" she smiled, "you guys have history, right" Laelaps grunted. "Maybe Zeus called upon Pyros to finally put you all out of your misery" Eos suggested. Laelaps snorted, "Well, you never know" Eos told him. "Is he inside" Laelaps nodded his head. Eos took a deep breath, "I need to speak with him".

The only problem they had was that Laelaps could not cross the boundary of the temple.

Any other temple of the Gods, Laelaps could enter and leave without any harm coming to him but, they had learned long ago that Zeus' temple would deal him great, great pain if he was to step through. It was the only place in the world he could not save her from.

In that moment, it became clear who the trap was for and, who had set it. Perhaps not even intentionally. Perhaps Pyros thought that this was the only place the lycaon could not get him.

"Laelaps. If this goes badly. If I get caught. Just run" Laelaps snorted a small cackle and looked at her, his head tilted, "If we both get caught, who's gonna rescue me" Eos took a step forward and Laelaps tilted his head the other way, thinking about it.

It took him a moment to shake his head and snort at her again.

Eos turned around, "They won't kill me on sight" Eos told him quietly, "they would not dare spill blood in Zeus' temple. They may not keep me alive as long as Deimos but, you know" she shrugged a shoulder, "long enough for you to come to my rescue, I am sure". Laelaps snorted. If they could completely avoid that, it'd be better.

Leaving Laelaps outside, Eos stepped through the threshold of the temple, entering behind the statue of Zeus that stood in the middle. Pyros was knelt in front of him, his eyes closed. Eos took one last look to Laelaps who sat down, watching her closely. She walked around the side of the statue, making Pyros flinch and fall backwards, covering his eyes,

"Pyros" Eos said quickly, feeling her heart fall in to her mouth for a moment - it had been so long since she'd been so close to him, part of her almost didn't care of what he had done, only that he was still alive.

"I... I..." stuttering, his hands had gone for the small dagger at his waist. Eos put her hands up, her dagger safely tucked in to her robes still,

"No need for that" she told him, "I just want to talk",

"You were supposed to be dead" Pyros stuttered, "they" he looked up to Zeus.

"I can only assume it was the Gods that let me live" Eos told him - although the lycaon would want her to think otherwise,

"No" Pyros said, "They Gods would not... not after...",

"You were there" Eos said, "in Phokis", she saw him nod his head. Eos took a deep breath, "I thought we were friends Pyros...". Pyros face turned sour for a moment,

"We could never be friends..." he said quietly, "never when he was there".

Anger, so much anger, washed over her then.

"You're still jealous, after all these years" Eos had to stop herself from shouting. She had almost forgotten about it - it had been so pitiful, so useless. Eos closed her eyes and took a deep breath. There was no point in this. His reasons, as selfish as they were...

"It was his fault" Pyros told her, "if he had not-",

"Oh Pyros" Eos shook her head, "did Chrysis never tell you that babies are not born in woods or burning houses" Eos asked, Pyros looked away. "And, if it was all his fault... if you cared so much... why did I feel so alone that night. Why did you leave me to their mercy".

Pyros didn't have an answer. None of them ever did.

Eos looked up to Zeus - she knew it would not take Kleon and Machaon long to get here.

"If you cannot answer me that, answer me this" Eos looked back to Pyros who had lowered his hood. He had never had hair, the fire had made sure of it but, his scalp, it was so red, so blistered, so raw.

Was it even necessary. Was this really what he wanted.

"After everything we did for you, me and Laelaps. Why are you hunting his kind for. Why are you hunting him".

They were not a threat to anyone. If the Lakonian Lycaon had been left alone, it would have stayed in it's den. Yes, it had killed Spartans, would perhaps kill a man or two but, it was a wild animal, it did not hunt for sport, for power or victory. It was more wolf than man. Laelaps was more man than wolf. They were two completely different things. Laelaps had told her that once.

"The beast-" Pyros glanced to the entrance she'd come in at, as if he thought to see Laelaps stood there - he was not.

"Has a name" Eos told him,

"And he is here" Pyros asked,

"He is loyal. Unlike you" Eos felt a need to say,

"I am loyal" Pyros looked to Zeus once more,

"I thought Kosmo was the only God you served Pyros" Eos asked,

"I do" Pyros said quickly,

"But it is Zeus you kneel too" Eos shrugged a shoulder, looking back to the God "so why".

"He is unnatural" Pyros told her, "untameable",

"He is just as unnatural as we are" Eos told him, "Just as untameable".

The cult only proved that with what they had created.

"Perhaps you are not really here" Pyros wondered out loud, "I suspect the lycaon is though, transferring these obstacles in to my head". Eos raised her brow.

"You've believed in a lot of shit Pyros but, never that".

It was then Eos felt the hair rise up on the back of her neck. She turned, rushing her small dagger in to the chest of the man who stood behind her.

If only it had been Kleon… They could have solved so much...

Except, it was Machaon who met his end instead - although, not before the edge of his blade caught the side of her thigh as she spun around. Machaon fell but, two more men advanced, grabbing her on either side and pushing her down on to her knees.

"Eos" Kleon smiled as he stepped through in to the temple on the other side, he put his hand on Pyros' shoulder. "Now, the stories I've heard about you... seems you have cheated death twice over". Pyros looked up at him, confused - it only made Kleon smile more. "It was Kallinos and the Chimera the second time round, was it not" he came and knelt down in front of her, "do you know how close you came to ruining that night for us".

"Worried your Champion would have seen the truth" Eos asked, Kleon snorted and flicked his fingers, making one of the guard elbow her in the ribs,

"I have no qualms about my champion" Kleon said, he stood up, his hands on his hips, "I just do not admire the distraction. Of which I am sure you would become if we were to let you live".

So Eos had been right. Deimos had not told them. Pyros didn't seem to have a clue either.

"Kill her" Kleon said, he turned away from them, "make it quick", the guard that had elbowed her drew his sword. Eos was about ready to kick out when Pyros had grabbed at him, pleading,

"In Zeus' temple", the guard hesitated, looking back to Kleon

"Is she not a lover of lycaons" Kleon said as he turned back to them, "Zeus would find her a worthy sacrifice I am sure" he looked up at the God towering over them, "And" he sighed as he looked to Machaon, "It is not like she had not done it first".

"The lycaon" Pyros said quietly.

Every man froze, even Kleon.

He felt it. That dread in the bottom of his stomach; the hairs rising on the back of his neck; that cold chill that could only come from something unearthly. They all turned slowly to the low growls of the creature stood at the door. Kleons hidden men lay in his wake, their deaths so silent and quick, it was as if the world forgot of their passing.

"You can not enter this place beast. Zeus will not allow it" Pyros warned him. Kleon turned back to his guards who held Eos, watching the politician with such a smirk on her face, it made him sick - the moment they stepped through that door, the lycaon would rip them to shreds - whatever happened.

"Kill her".

The guard dropped the sword he held instead, his eye starting to twitch as they stared towards the lycaon. Kleon glanced back around. The lycaon took the step over the boundary between the inside, and the outside and, Eos had closed her eyes. The last time, the pain he had felt had tore through her heart. Except this time, the pain never came. Eos heard the lycaons claws tap at the tile flooring and she opened her eyes.

"It seems that this day, Zeus will" Eos said quietly.

Kleon drew his sword as the lycaon barrelled in to him, throwing him to the ground before he bit down on his shoulder and launched himself towards Eos. The guards let her go and she rolled out of the way as Laelaps landed on one of them, ripping in to his throat before he pounced backwards on to Pyros, twisting himself in the air so he landed on top of the boy.

Pyros cried out, the lycaons snapping jaws getting every so close to his face before Eos called him away.

The lycaon thought he would not listen to her this time but, something told him that Pyros would get what he deserved another way and, so would the rest of them.

Laelaps did leave him with a reminder though, biting down on to the arm he'd bit once before, tearing the skin as he ripped his jaw from it, following Eos as they escaped through the entrance they'd came in.

It had all been so quick, before Kleon could even get passed the pain in his shoulder, Eos and Laelaps were gone.

Kleon held on to his chest as he looked up at the ceiling, "After them" he spluttered. The only guard left looked at his friend, watching as the blood continued to spurt from his throat. The lycaon had spared him - although he'd still soiled himself. Kleon rose and smacked him across the face before he grabbed at his shoulder, biting the bottom of his lip as a hot pain struck through him. He looked to Pyros who was still lay on the floor, his hand so tight around his arm, it would not take it long to turn blue. "How did you kill the other one" Kleon demanded.

"I... I used the Falx of Olympos" Pyros said quietly, staring up at Zeus "I stabbed him in the back".

It had been luck that he had found the spear only days before. A spear said to be forged in the place where Zeus resided, a spear that could weaken the beast. A spear he would never bring in to Zeus' temple.

"I must..." Kleon took a deep breath and leaned on the wall, "I must send word to Lagos" he said, "Deimos must leave for Messenia at once".

Chapter Text

Eos had been wrong.

So very wrong.

Zeus, as just and fair as he supposedly was, as much as it was the Gods that had gifted her a lycaon in the first place, had made it so she had a chance to survive that night... Just like before, Laelaps entry in to the temple, his loyalty, it had come at a terrible price.

The lycaon collapsed as they reached the paved walls that surrounded Patrai, only meters away from where Kleon stood, in agony - the thought of which made Eos roll Laelaps over the edge, having had no other choice.

The wall was not high. It would not have hurt him, not usually but, as the lycaon pushed up on to his unsteady feet, the first step he took had been painful, the second so excruciating Eos had to grab him, had to haul him over to the bottoms of the mountains, his feet only able to touch the ground so gingerly, Eos did not know if they had enough time to get away. To get far enough from them.

It became apparent quickly that running would not work, not now and, having remembered seeing some crevice in the rocks on the mountain face, Eos hoped that it would lead them in to a cave.

The crevice wasn't so small, the ivy sprouting down from the top covered the entrance and, it was only as they got closer, Eos saw how the leaves looked torn and twisted and pushed back in to place.

Someone else was already inside.

Eos had lay the lycaon down in the grass, his breath so fast, she was almost worried she'd return back to silence.

Inside, for a moment, Eos could hear nothing as she stuck close to the cave wall - the streaming bits of sunlight would have exposed her had she went through them - but, she could smell it. Something was simmering on a fire.

Their helmeted heads and leather armour told her that it was just bandits. Thank the Gods it was not the Followers of Ares. Eos could not imagine that she would ever be hungry enough to eat what they ate, although she was sure Laelaps would not mind some freshly cooked man meat.

Eos snuck up on the first, pulling him over the little barrier where they'd set up their sleeping area. The bandit had hit out before she was able to silence him, crashing some pots to the floor and attracting the other two who were leant over their stew.

They drew their swords and Eos had thrown her dagger, impaling one of them as he'd fallen back on to a spear, the dagger still sticking out of his chest. The other was just that little more nimble though. He had run and swung his sword at her feet, making her jump that little bit before he swung his own leg and tripped her on to the ground.

The bandit had raised his sword and Eos had grabbed for his fallen brothers next to them when she'd seen the entrance of the cave go dark.

The bandit had hesitated, giving Eos time enough to stab him through the belly and kick him backwards. Eos had jumped to her feet, sure that it was Kleon but, it had only been Laelaps.

He'd tilted his head at her before he'd stumbled forward and collapsed, a small, very annoyed groan coming from him as Eos sighed and put her hands on her hips,

"I told you to stay" Laelaps didn't grace her with a reply, only letting himself turn in to dead weight as she ended up dragging him over to the bandits bed. She was sure that must have hurt more. "We'll just rest then" Eos tried not to yawn, "we can afford it".

It was a lie but, they had no other option.

"Why did you not just stick to the plan Laelaps" - the very stupid and unorganised 'plan', which Laelaps would have cackled at had it not hurt, "I would have been fine",

Laelaps snorted.

"You're an idiot" Eos said.

He snorted again, Eos sighed,

"I didn't ask you to" she lay back on the ground.

Laelaps moved a little and shuddered, which only made him cry.

"You'll be okay" Eos said softly, "not like you got much of a choice".

Eos lay there for a little while, wondering if the cut on her leg would get infected like the one on her shoulder had and end up killing her, listening out for both the sounds of boots echoing through the cave and, the sound of the lycaons breath. It was starting to steady itself, the shudders of pain getting less and less as he finally drifted off to sleep.

She wished there was an ointment or potion for it, something to at least dull the pain but this - this was an internal battle between God and beast.

Between a creation and its creator.

It would take a couple of days for him to be able to walk properly, a little longer to be able to hunt and perhaps more until he was at full fitness again. Laelaps needed time, time they did not have.

She had already decided that it would be best to find Kassandra in Arkadia, to find this Lagos. Kleon would never think that she'd be that stupid... and Pyros... well, Eos was not sure what would come of another meeting with him.

She could not see him kill the lycaon, not by himself but, the loyalty they'd had to one another once, was gone. Perhaps it had been gone for far longer than she'd thought. Perhaps she had been blind to what was really happening in those last few months that led up to that night in Phokis.

It was almost like Kallinos all over again. Except, Kallinos would have killed her. Maybe Pyros would to given the chance.

Kallinos had also been so black and white, so easy compared to the others but, right now, she wished he was here.

That man would have been able to cook up a scheme that would have tricked Pyros over to them, given them time to make him see the truth - he was so easily manipulated.

But then, Eos did not see how anymore manipulation, of any of them, would ever get them where they should be.

Still, if Kallinos had been here, if he hadn't given up so soon, perhaps it'd all been different. Perhaps they'd all be alive.

The lycaon grunted and then sighed at her,

"I know" Eos said quietly.

It was not down to her actions to why they had turned out the way they were, she'd had more than enough to deal with herself.

Perhaps she'd had a hand, like everyone else but, only they could decide on their fait. Only they could decide what turn to take when the path split.

Or, like her, they could choose to veer off it completely. It only took one real moment to decide and Kallinos, Asphodel, Akin, they must have had that moment.

Perhaps the other hadn't yet.

Perhaps she could still make Pyros see.

Melaina, even Deimos, Eos was sure that those could only ever be works in process.

Glaukos - wherever the hell he was - perhaps he'd already decided. Perhaps he was out there living a simple life, perhaps he was out there doing the cults bidding or, maybe he was already dead.

If she ever saw Melaina again, she needed to ask her about him. Even Deimos had not mentioned him, not even Akin. They'd not been the closest but, Glaukos had still been a part of them.

The lycaon grunted at her again. Eos had looked over at him, sometimes she honestly felt as if he could read her mind.

After having peeked through the ivy once more, Eos now sure that if Kleon was searching for them, it was not in this direction - not to mention that he'd not think them so close - Eos was sure that no one had seen the lycaon wounded and frail - she made for the stew that sat a top the fire, now sure that it smelt good enough to eat.

It was boar, not exactly her favourite meat in the world - as much as she loved pig, boar was just too tough - but, considering she picked out the chunks of meat for the lycaon - he'd never been in to his greens - she didn't really get to try it.

That night, with their bellies filled, she continued to spend it wondering what it was that had happened to the little family she'd once had - even with the lycaon disgruntled groans telling her to spend it some other way. Most nights had been spent exactly the same away. The darkness making it all the more easier to get lost in ones head.

They had been so close as children... They'd not had much of a choice... Then, they grew, they trained, some grew closer and others drifted away and, the 'friendship' they'd had, it seemed to have faded away. There had always been tensions but, when they needed each other, their efforts had been second to none.

Perhaps the cult had not liked that.

Perhaps Eos' death had only been a testament to it...

Perhaps they felt that they'd lose that control if their loyalties lay with each other...

Eos sighed and turned over, maybe she'd never really know and, she would have to be okay with it.


After two days, the lycaon was able to sit up, his head down as he almost rested while sat, as if he was trying to see what hurt the most.

"There's farm's in Arkadia" Eos said, "empty ones" Eos told him, "we'll procure one and you can stay there, recover your strength" Laelaps grunted at her. He didn't like the thought of it at all. Eos did not think that sleeping on stone would do well for any of them. "I'll go and find out what I can about this Lagos" Eos told him, "and, if they do send anyone after me, they'll be expecting a lycaon too, not just a girl on her own".

The lycaon grunted again, he still didn't want to go.

Which was now more because of the other problem she'd not considered...

Eos forgot how long of a walk it was going to be with a whiney ass lycaon.

Not to mention the horrid feeling that someone was following them.

Laelaps had been the one to bring it to her attention first, the limpy lycaon making little meeps as they headed further off the path they were following.

From what she could gather, there was only one but, Eos would rather not waste any time. The lycaon on the other hand wanted her to be that little more patient, to draw him further away.

Eventually, on the lycaons meep, Eos had turned and thrown her dagger, smacking it in to the mans helm and making him fall backwards, grabbing at his helmet and struggling to get it off as his ears rang.

Eos gave him peace quickly. Laelaps was far too sure of his ill intentions to give him much of a chance.

Knelt next to him, Eos had searched through the dead mans robes, finding nothing but a good amount of shiny drachmae and inside, a note which read 'for your troubles'.

Eos sighed and gave it over to the lycaon to turn his nose up at it.

She recognised the hand writing. She had seen it before, when she had done a job for one of the cults sages. Okytos the Great, who had trained both her and Deimos in their younger years, had handed it to her and told her she should get herself some archery lessons or, he'd sacrifice her to Kosmo. Deimos had told him that he'd make a far better sacrifice than her.

But, what this all meant, was that Kleon had brought out the big boys to deal with her.

The boy here though, because that was all he really was; he didn't even have much in terms of weapons on him. I seemed that all he was supposed to do was follow her, perhaps pass back the information that the lycaon was hurt, of the path they would take.

But then, they knew how good a scent the lycaon had, they knew he wouldn't be able to be snuck up on so easily.

They were playing some sort of twisted game and, Eos was not sure she wanted any part in it. Especially if her head was going to be the prize.

Carrying on their way, they were passing through a little bit of Elis when they came across their second spartan military camp.

And, it was Laelaps who again veered off their path, heading in to the woods.

Sure now that no one was following them, Eos had joked, "I hope you're gonna catch us a goat". She had glanced back at the Spartans stood at the entrance of their camp, completely unaware that anyone was watching them.

Perhaps they'd be just as careless with their food Eos thought.

It was only as the lycaon grunted, to get her attention, that she realised where they were.

Eos almost felt a little bad for forgetting.

It was in these woods that they had found Laelaps as a cub; starving, dying and crying for a mater that had abandoned him just like theirs had abandoned them...

The cave they assumed he had emerged from was up ahead, nick named by the people as the den of the lykaon.

That day, it had been full of wolves, wolves they'd had to escape from. Now though, even in his state, the wolves had scattered from just his presence and the cave was empty.

"I'm guessing you've had enough for one day" Eos said as she stood in the middle of the cave and looked around. The lycaon snorted at her and curled himself up on a small ledge. Eos smiled and then walked over to a small pouch next to him, some old dusty coins inside which she put in to her pocket.

Tegea was still a little further away and, it didn't look as if the lycaon was getting her that goat so, waiting for the sun to go down, Eos ventured back out.

Equipped with only the silver dagger on her belt, Eos had scouted out the spartan military camp.

If she could grab herself a bow, the sword that she saw hung up on one of the weapons racks and, a cooked goat leg, she'd be set.

Waiting for the opportune moment, Eos had jumped through a gap in the fence as the camp started to go quiet.

Finding a bow was easy.

An archer was laying in one of the tents, facing the outside and, all she had to do was reach underneath the tent from behind him and pull the bow under. His quiver following soon after.

Dropping them both off over the gap in the fence, Eos used the tents to hide from the Spartans, getting closer to the weapons rack she'd seen the sword hung up against.

A Spartan was stood there already, hanging up his armour and his own sword, muttering about something Eos could not care less for. She'd thrown a stone, letting it hit off a shield that lay on the floor a couple metres away from him.

"Huh" the Spartan had looked over, ducking his head as if he could see better in the darkness, "is anyone there" he asked quietly. There was no response but still, the Spartan grabbed his sword, his breastplate hanging half on, half off and stepped over to it.

Slightly sad that she hadn't been able to grab his sword instead, Eos had plucked the sword from the weapons rack hold and disappeared around the corner as the Spartan turned back.

"What" he'd said, sure he'd seen some sort of floating glint of light. Sighing at himself, he'd shook his head and muttered that it was time he went to sleep.

Now, it was time for the main course. The semi-carved goat meat near the fire. Now, just a peice of that was both the grand prize and the real challenge.

Eos had sat down, watching as two Spartans did the same, seemingly paying more attention to drawing things in the flame lit dirt than the goat itself.

She had to get them to move, before more joined them and, before they decided that they were hungry.

Looking at the tents, she almost wondered if some sort of distraction would grab their attention long enough for her to swoop in.

Perhaps if one of the tents caught on fire, she had thought. Except, the only fire they had was the one dwindling in front of them and the ones the guards held at the gates.

If she was good enough with the bow, she'd be able to shoot an arrow through the flame, lighting the tip on fire and then watch it crash in to the tent and watch that catch alight too.

Except she wasn't.

She was probably better off hoping she could get close to her own goat - even if the smell of lycaon would surely push them away - and hope that it stayed still long enough for her to one-shot it.

Hell, she would probably do more damage throwing her dagger at it than she was shooting it.

But then, she'd also have to cook it and, considering she'd already stolen from these Spartans already, it was no point stopping now.

There was another option though

The wolf in the cage.

If she could somehow set him free, perhaps he'd make enough of a distraction for her to grab the meat and run.

Eos had looked back towards the gap in the fence. All she could do was hope that she didn't use a quiver full of arrows to break down the unmoving wooden gate.

Positioning herself on a corner of a tent, Eos had taken a deep breath, trying to remember Deimos' terrible teachings and, pulling back the string, the arrow had flew that little prematurely, hitting the ground nearer to the Spartans than the cage. It had made one of them jump a little but, he'd quickly brushed it up, wiping his eyes. He'd been falling asleep.

Eos sat down as the Spartan glanced towards her, taking no real notice before he looked back at the drawings his friend had made.

Again, Eos stood and took the shot. This time, the arrow flew towards the cage but, bounced off at the side, only making the pouty wolf jump and growl at the bars. The Spartans paid no notice of it.

Sitting down again, Eos pulled another arrow from the quiver and took a deep breath. She was starting to think it was all too much work.

Standing for a third time, Eos pulled back the string, only to spot a third Spartan coming over to them. She took a step back, to be sure that she was hidden and let the arrow go, watching it fly through the air and crash in tot he cage gate.

The Spartans had all looked over. The gate had been broken but, the wolf was now lying dead or dying behind it, she couldn't be sure.

Not exactly what she wanted but, it'd had the desired effect.

The three of them had stood up, drawing their swords as they moved over to the cage, leaving the goat unattended.

Eos had grabbed at the goat leg and then walked backwards, glancing behind her to make sure the coast was clear and, passing by the archer as he stretched one arm in to the air and tried to grab at the missing bow with the other.

It caused a little bit of a scene but, Eos was already back in the woods by the time the Spartans were able to regroup and figure out what had happened. And, it had taken them even longer to realise that part of their goat was gone too.

"Your brethren gave his life for that" Eos had told the lycaon as she'd sat down next to him, ripping some meat off for herself before giving the rest to Laelaps.

He grunted. Laelaps had no love for wolves.


The next morning, Eos woke with the plan that she would head over to Arkadia's farm land, which she was sure was just over the hill and, find herself an abandoned farmhouse.

Except, it didn't take her long to realise that the lycaon was trailing behind her. It still hurt him to walk but, he'd already smelt the faint leathery smell of cultists guards and, he wasn't taking any chances.

From what she could gather, there was an outpost near here which, despite the lycaons moans, would perhaps fall in their favour.

If she could find her way in, perhaps in the dead of night, she'd be able to find some clues on who it was had a hold of the region.

And, she knew enough of how they fought for them to ever be a threat.

The farm they found had been abandoned for a good long while and, was almost in sight of the cultist outpost Laelaps was groaning about. Most of the inside had been pillaged by bandits but, it was safe and dry and, there were enough blankets left for Eos to make the lycaon comfortable.

As night fell, Eos had pulled up her hood.

"I won't be long" Eos had told the lycaon before she'd left him, hearing his little groans of disapproval as she closed the door.

Already she'd found out just from buying her beef in the hours before that Lagos was a leaders name. Which meant that Lagos' compound was the first place she needed to go.

Except, it was empty.

Of Lagos anyway. There were a couple of guards at the gates but, after climbing through a gap in the fence, she realised that even they were there on their own.

Which didn't make any sense. From what she could gather, Lagos was still alive so, Kassandra had not killed him yet and, from the looks of it, a child also lived here too.

In one of the rooms, Eos had noticed the marks of blood on the floor. It was not fresh but, it had been left to sink in.

Perhaps Lagos was already dead.

After checking that the two guards were still at their post, Eos took no time in looking through Lagos things. Lagos was indeed the giver of bounties, bounties that included Kassandra, slaves, leaders, farmers, mercenaries. She had even found a very old bounty that had once been for the Shoeless Ogarneos. The mercenary who had been a part of that masterplan of hers all that time ago. She didn't know if she'd ever be able to live up to the likes of that anymore. And, it had been paid which, she guessed, meant that her masterplan had indeed worked as successfully as it could have.

And, for now, there didn't seem to be any sort of public bounty on her but, Lagos was not here and, Eos could not be sure that it did not mean there was not one somewhere.

Which didn't really matter if the cult already had one on her head.

She had already wondered if Pyros would be trailing behind the cults group of heroic mercenaries. She didn't know if she'd be able to convince him that the cult would dispose of him as easily as they had her. Maybe he already knew that and it was the reason he did so much for them.

What she had convinced herself of though, was that Kleon would not send Deimos. Kleon had only ever saw her as a distraction, as something that made their Champion weak and, with all she was sure they had planned, they would not want to worry him with something like her. Except, considering he already knew, he must have been doing a hell of a good job to convince Kleon, of all people, that nothing was going to push him on the path they were on.

Although, if, in the end, they did send him. Eos did not know if Deimos would outright disobey Kleons or the cults order.

Laelaps wouldn't stand a chance against him, not in his condition. And, Eos wasn't stupid. She could perhaps outwit him for a little while, even hold her own for a time but, if he wanted to kill her, he would.

She wondered if that would make it all the more harder for him to come back... All the more harder for him to turn away from them...

For a moment, she wondered if she thought too much of herself but... she hadn't seen him in weeks and, Kassandra had heard no news of her brother. For all they knew, he was out there mutilating people and, that balance, that tipping point, it had already been crossed.

Perhaps the way he'd acted towards her already proved that it had been crossed, that he was too far gone to even care who he hurt or who he listened to.

But, something told her there had to be more, that there were still pieces trying to cling on and... Laelaps trusted him. Perhaps only for a moment; perhaps not all the time but, he'd trusted him and... the lycaon would never realise how much that meant to her.

Sighing to herself, Eos had placed the bounties back where she'd found them and found her way over to another one of the buildings, finding what would have been Lagos' bedroom.

And a bed that had not been slept in, in a while.

Although, she did find a crumpled up letter near the corner of the room.

Lagos

There is nothing I can do. From what I know, your family is safe but, I do not trust that their safety will be guaranteed unless you stick to their terms. Just go to Fort Samikon. Do as they say and maybe the Gods will have mercy on us. From what you've told me, you shall have nothing from him.

The cult had this thing for blackmail. As much as they'd like to think that such things were below them, they knew that taking that of which someone treasured was the easiest way to get their alliance.

Which also meant that Lagos had not always been as willing.

Which meant there may have been some truth in what that Spartan had told Kassandra about him.

Which would also mean that the only way they could afford a change in his allegiance was if his family were truly safe.

A family she had no idea where to look for.

Eos left the compound and wandered over to Tegea. It didn't take her long to find herself outside the Sanctuary of Athena Polias. She'd looked up at it, wondering if perhaps she should have just kept running that night, that maybe she should have asked Deimos to go with her... Eos had looked back at the quietness of the mighty city. It seemed that the shadow Nikolaus claimed to have spread over Sparta may just have spread over them too.

That night, surrounded by a couple drunks, it take had not taken her long to hear about the death of a slave and, the second death of a wealthy man. Their bodies had been found without heads, rumours that a champion in gold armour had been paid their bounty.

Seems Deimos wasn't as far away as she thought he was.


If Deimos'd had his way, he may have tortured the courier in to telling him who else he had delivered a letter to but, so as not to arouse suspicion, he had let him go.

Kleon had sent him word. He was to go back to Messenia. Kleon had praised him for his work with Lagos - like a dog - and told him to return to the Athenian commander, that the Athenians would soon strike, that they would need him by their side.

It was not unlikely. It would only have been time until he would have to leave. He could not stay there forever, waiting for a bounty to be drawn up the moment Eos stepped in to Arkadia.

But, he had a feeling that Kleon was hiding something. Not to mention that word of some animalistic slaughter had reached Arkadia just days before. Blood had been spilt in the temple of Zeus by an animal so black, people claimed it was a shadow. Deimos only knew of one beast that could be described in such a manner.

He also knew that the beast would not have been able to pass through the temple without paying for it.

Which also meant Eos was far closer than he thought...

The letter had instructed him to leave for Messenia at once but first, Deimos had made his way back to Fort Samikon. He was sure Lagos would know more. Not to mention that he already had a little explaining to do about a Spartan General who had been noticed sniffing around. Deimos was sure that Pausinias could do with such news.

The Fort was quieter when he got there, the guards had been lessened, more or less completely changed and, if it hadn't been for the unnerving feeling Deimos gave them, they may have stuck to their word and informed their leader that Deimos had just walked through the gates.

Ignoring them, Deimos had found Exekias the Legend speaking with the fearful Arkadian leader, catching word of a letter and, a problem of the past, before Lagos' eyes had shifted and flinched as he'd spotted him.

The demi-god did not fail to see the leader place a letter on the side as Exekias turned around to him but, he gave all his attention to the large brute of an ugly man that the cult sage was none the wiser.

The only reason Exekias would be here was if he was after someone the cult wanted dead. Someone the cult did not want Deimos to know of.

Deimos was also sure they thought him stupid.

"What are you doing here" Exekias asked, that little too quick, too wary,

"Just tying up some loose ends" Deimos said, ignoring his tone, making Exekias visibly relax, as if he thought he'd got away with it.

"I see" Exekias looked at Lagos. He smiled at him, as if agreeing to some unspoken truce. "Well, Lagos" he nodded his head and turned to Deimos, "be gentle with him, will you, he's useful" Deimos had smiled smally and felt Exekias pat him on the back as he'd left.

Deimos' eyes flicked to the floor as Exakias shut the door over, leaving it hang open slightly so as to listen. He then looked up to meet Lagos', the man physically terrified of being left in a room with him.

"Give me the name of that Spartan Lagos" Deimos said,

"Please, he's just a friend, he's not a threat" Lagos promised,

"Still, I am sure our mutual friend might want to know if... one of their own... might attempt to make things difficult".

Lagos didn't have a choice.

"Brasidas" Lagos said quietly.

Deimos smiled and turned around. He had glanced towards the letter on the side. Looking to the door, Deimos had glanced back at Lagos as he'd picked it up. The leader reached his hand out, his lips shuddering as he tried to say something. Deimos had tilted his head, the smirk making Lagos go quiet.

He glanced over it quickly,

"Perhaps you should add Brasidas to that bounty on which you have my 'mother and sister' Deimos had suggested.

Deimos had placed the letter back and pushed open the door. One of Exekias' men was standing close to it, no doubt having listened but not seen that of which had gone on.

Other than Lagos, who he was sure could be swayed more by the sight of a small finger than his own, Deimos only looked to be sticking to the plan.

Exekias walked him to the entrance, almost as if he was making sure Deimos would be on his way quickly.

"So, what business do you have here" Deimos asked,

"I have a bounty I'm going to collect " Exekias had never been a good liar - which only meant that he was telling the truth,

"Need any help" Deimos asked him. The sage hesitated a moment,

"No" Exekias said, he laughed, "This head needs to stay on its body",

"I see" Deimos mounted his horse, there was no point in pressing on the subject. "Well, will you be joining us in our little battle against the Spartans" Deimos asked,

"I'll be joining whoever pays the most" Exekias smile,

"Well then, let us hope that is us" Deimos has said, making the big man do an outside shudder as Deimos rode away. Both of them knew that the Champion had been waiting for the moment he could accidently break his neck.

The Champion was near the end of the road when he stopped, sure enough now that the darkness would leave him unseen as he turned his horse around.

The letter had not given him much, only that Lagos was to pass over the details of his most trustful mercenaries for a problem from the past, a problem that the letter said would likely kill them but, the reward would be delightful and beyond a man's wildest dreams.

It had also mentioned that the problem was likely in Arkadia.

No wonder they wanted him gone.

They would not bother had it been Kassandra or Myrine. They knew how much he'd delight in finishing the two of them off.

Although, he had never seen his mater before... Perhaps they would pass by each other and never even realise what they had once had... What Deimos had once wished they'd had...

Deimos looked to the sky.

Still, it could only be Eos. He'd had this terrible, nagging feeling that wouldn't go away for a little while now. Ever since Kleon had left to see Pyros. He had no idea where she was, where she had been but... he had a feeling they did.

It would not take them long to find her - not with how careless she was - perhaps that downwards path was not something she could be saved from. Although, whether or not they'd be able to pin her down and kill her would be another question but then, if they did, she'd no longer be a problem for him. That feeling of weakness, of vulnerability, it'd fall away and he'd be able to stay on his path.

Even if that chaotic part of him did not want it.

They would never find out that he had knew. Eos would never tell them. She'd never use him against them like that. She'd never betray his trust.

All that bad and, she was probably the most loyal...

Chapter Text

The Champion had crossed over to Messenia just moments before he had decided to turn back around.

The party of Athenian soldiers he'd come across, no matter how much fearful admiration they had for him, was just making him all the more pissed. Their words were so mindless, so babbled, all it did was annoy him more.

Deimos had ridden on, swinging his horse around once he was out of sight and taking a lesser path back. He had glimpsed the Athenians through the trees as he passed them by. On foot, they were slow. If things went to plan, he'd make it to the Athenian camp before they did. No one would none the wiser and, his life would be all that little less chaotic.

Because, he had no choice, not any more, he had to do this.

All he'd been able to think about since leaving Exekias at the fort was that he would never be able to find the 'peace' he needed to live his destiny, if he was never sure that Exekias got the job done. What if, like before, they did only half, leaving her to wait in the shadows, ready to strike again. The cult had almost - almost - destroyed her multiple time already but, they hadn't been able too. Perhaps they never would, not really.

But he could. Deimos could.

The world, the people, Deimos did not see the point in her fighting for them - he could not see that anything would ever change what would be... the damage had already done... the betrayal of a life lost... the want for a different one... how could it ever be different... after everything that had happened...

He did not think he wanted it. He did not need it. He had everything he wanted, right there, ready to take it but...

Eos was in his way. She had always been in his way and... he'd never even seen it... he hadn't wanted to.

That chaos she held inside of her, it might have killed her eventually but, he could make it quick, painless.

She deserved that at least. Not the pathetic mercy of a mercenary.

And, despite where the outcome may lead, perhaps it was time for one of her pursuers to pay off a debt they'd been avoiding.


Eos had not meant for it to happen.

She'd tried her luck and, she had tripped.

Falling atop a sleeping cultist guard with their extravagant armour and masks hurt enough without tearing open the small wound on her leg. Although she had managed to kill them with her dagger, the others converged like crows to a corpse and, after taking out another who'd ran in to the pitch black of the room, Eos had no choice but to run herself.

If she had learned anything in her time away from the cult - because it was definitely not seeing in the dark or a lessened dependency on the lycaon - it was that running from people who were trying to kill you, was a lot different from running from people she cared about and, she'd accepted that.

And, she didn't want to take her chances, not in her state, not with Laelaps in his. She hadn't slept properly in over a week and, the adrenalin that would course through her veins felt as if it wavered with every moment.

Finally loosing her masked assailants, Eos had doubled back to the abandoned farmhouse.

Laelaps was better, much better but, Eos had noticed that far away look in his eye, the way he would still shudder in his sleep. Some times, it was so bad, he would not move for hours afterwards, awake but, not really awake.

And, she could do nothing but watch. She would never know what it felt like, would never know if the shudders he felt was from the pain or a terrible dream. To have been so close with the Gods, to be literally at the end of their hand. Was there something far worse troubling him than the aches in his feet, the burning sensation in his back.

Would he ever tell her. No. But, it did not make her think any less of it.

He hadn't been very talkative at all these last few days.

Although, she wasn't sure if he was pissed with her or not. Her little visits to the cult outpost wasn't his favourite thing and, coming home a little breathless had made him close his eyes as she'd arrived back, pretending to be asleep.

Still, after having sat herself down next to him, Eos had pulled out that of which she'd gone to the outpost for.

Ease-dropping on a chance conversation between a dressed-down cultist guard, who had been enjoying himself, had led her to believing that they were planning something, which seemed to be much truer and, far more troubling than she had expected.

This was going to be a full-on conquest battle between Sparta and Athens.

From what she could gather from the letter, the Athenians were already on route and, towards the bottom of it, it had told them to stay out of the way of their Champion did they not want their head removed.

Seems Deimos would be there too.


By the next morning, Eos had almost considered making her way to Fort Samikon. If Kassandra's next 'target' was Lagos then, there was no doubt that she'd end up near there eventually and, she hadn't heard of any eagle-bearer walking around Tegea - which she was sure would be the talk of the city - and, not the fact that Zeus had brought his wrath down upon a select few who had spilt blood in his temple.

The story of the lycaon and the Athenians in Archaia got more extravagant every time Eos heard it.

The most recent way the story was told now, was that the God of lightning had brought down their wrath - in the shape of a shadowy beast - upon a select few he'd not found worthy, fatally wounding many and sparing only one to tell the tale and warn off any other nay-sayers.

If only it had been true.

Kleon - and Pyros - were most definitely alive. A lycaon bite hurt like hell but, it wouldn't kill you and, as much as the lycaon regretted not having ripped Kleons throat out, he had blamed Eos for having been too distracting with the whole sword about ready to ram through her head. Eos had argued that the second extra it would have taken to throw the cult in to complete disarray would have been worth it but, considering she hadn't wanted Laelaps anywhere near them in the first place, she forgave him.

The only thing Laelaps had fatally wounded - unfortunately - was their pride.

Except for that one guard Laelaps had ripped the throat out of... and the rest of the men Eos was not sure if Laelaps had killed or, if he'd left dying.

She guessed there was some truth.

After a moment more, Eos had left the lycaon to a cow bone she'd bargained from the butcher and decided to head back in to the centre of Tegea.

Which she soon realised may have been a terrible mistake.

At first, she really hoped that the increase in the amount of mercenaries roaming around was because Kassandra was here but, having checked the skies multiple times for that eagle that flew around her head constantly, Eos had started to wonder if her little escapade the night before had brought them there instead.

Except, they had all arrived so fast, it must have meant that their base of operations was close by - perhaps Lagos did have a bounty on her head. Which meant that, really, she was better off leaving Arkadia all together.

She had no leads on where Pyros was, whether he was in on this whole mercenary thing and, she had no idea how it was she'd be able to convince him that his own path would only lead him somewhere he would not be able to escape from. Perhaps it was about time she went to Lakonia and saw whether or not Melaina had actually made it.

It was times like these that Eos had the urge to sit down and wonder what the hell was she doing. She knew what she wanted but, going about it, finding these lost people, it was as hard as she'd expected it to be - especially that they were now so few in number and, the ones who had seemed changed, were dead or, a little crazy. Even now, she still had no real idea if Melaina was on her side, the cults side or, her own side. Perhaps she would never know. Perhaps she did not want to.

If she had anything going for her though, it was that the mercenaries had no idea what she looked like and, after having passed a few of them discreetly, making sure she had enough cover to pull them over and shove her dagger in the their throat had they taken more than a second glance at her, the only indication that they were after - that was clear as day - was that they did not fear asking the people if a girl with a blue trackers cloak - which Eos had quickly got rid of - and a pretty silver dagger - which she kept hidden in her robes anyway - was roaming the streets.

Eos was not as imposing as the eagle-bearer or a demi-god, or a girl with flaming red hair, or burned skin, or shiny blonde hair. She was just that, just Eos. Her weapons were hide-able; her grey hood was perhaps the only thing she had kept over the years but, that was not enough to go on.

Perhaps if they had taken their time to notice that she now had some faint red blotchy patched on her cheek, it would have made everyone jobs easier but, it was making it all the easier for her to just walk passed them.

Although, she did feel a little uneasy. Not that she was being watched but, just as if something was stirring.

Eos had been near the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore when she had found out about one of Lagos' serving girls being seen with a couple of soldiers. The men who had been talking about her hadn't had many nice things to say but, even they had found it weird how Lagos' wife, who the serving girl usually attached herself too, hadn't been seen in a few weeks. One of the men had even mentioned that Lagos' son, who was friends with his own boy, had been missing out on their daily outings near the barracks.

Even Lagos himself had been a ghost.

Eos listened on, hearing how the serving girl and the guards had been seen down in Pans Cradle and, Eos decided that maybe passing through there wouldn't do to much harm but, it was on the way back to the abandoned farm when she had walked in to a small crowd she quickly realised was for her benefit more than anything else.

At the front of the crowd, there were mercenaries, both of which had a hold of some girl.

In all honesty, she could probably pass for Eos from a distance but, close up, whoever the judge was, would know it wasn't her.

Now, Eos did not want some innocent fool to die in her place, as easy as it would make it for her but, it had not taken her long to see the loose grip the mercenaries had on the girls arms, how she was just that, little too dramatic - even considering the circumstances - and, despite all the noise, from the towns people and the few mercenaries that were there - how cold and quiet it had gone.

Her gut told her to leave and, once she had weaved through the crowd, quickly noticing that a mercenary was coming towards her, although still a little hesitant she'd tripped up a man who thought he hadn't been seen grabbing some sort of knife from his robe and disappeared down between two houses.

Passing by another alleyway, Eos had almost bumped in to a hooded man that she'd noticed had brought out a small, needle like dagger - that would have dug in to her calf had she not stabbed him in his shoulder first. Which, as his hood fell back, she realised was Pyros. Taking a quick moment to look behind her, Eos had grabbed at him and hauled him over to a darker part of the alleyway, making sure she grabbed at his little spindle like dagger and tossed it away from them.

"Eos" Pyros cried out, which only made her elbow him in the chest, making him choke a little as she threw him on to the floor,

"Pyros. Do not make me do this" Eos said, "Do not be their puppet",

"I am not their puppet" Pyros spat as he pushed himself to his knees, "I was never their puppet",

"Then why act like one" Eos said, "Why are you even..." Eos took a step back, "After all this time, after everything we went through" Eos said, "Those mercenaries in Archaia, that time in Megaris, in Boetia" - Pyros had almost drowned, he would have had it not been for Laelaps going in and dragging him out, "Helios...".

Her brothers death, however young they had been, had hit Pyros as hard as it had hit Eos. Helios had been his best friend and, he had just never came back.

Dolops had found what was left of him but, it would never be the same.

Pyros didn't look at her as he pushed up on to one leg,

"I do not think you were meant to understand" Pyros had said, "This was never meant for you Eos. The cult-",

"The cult" Eos said, "Did you ever consider if was your precious cult that lit the fires. That it was them that sunk the ships. That it was them that stole us away",

"We all tell ourselves that Eos... So that it hurts less" Pyros told her, "You know that".

It was always easier to believe that the cult had taken them, against the wishes of their parents, than the thought of the hard truth, of them having been left to die. For children that had been raised to withstand pain, it was odd how far they would go to avoid it.

"But, that would never have changed what we already were. Of what we always would have done. Of the chaos. Of how tainted our blood was", Eos didn't understand what he meant. The cult had turned them in to the monsters that they were. "Our destinies-",

"Our destinies Pyros... their just lies" Eos told him - she'd had enough of that sort of shit from Deimos, she didn't need it off him too. Their destiny was what they made it... not what some oracle, controlled by the cult, claimed it to be.

Pyros glanced over at her.

"My destiny is clear" she saw him reaching in to his robes, "You fell off the path" - how had she forgot about the stupid blade he hid in his boot. Eos sighed,

"No Pyros" she put her hand on her head, "My path just has that more twists than yours" Eos turned and swung the Spartan sword she pulled so easily from her belt, striking at the mercenary who thought they could sneak up behind her. She'd ducked, dodging a swing from Pyro's small blade and stabbing the mercenary in the gut as he fell back. Eos had swung the sword back out, cutting in to the greaves beneath Pyros robes before she struck out at his throat.

Pyros had flinched back just in time, the blade only scratching at him. He'd stumbled back and, for a moment, Eos thought she'd done it but, he only stood there, his hand clutched around his neck.

His eyes betrayed him quickly and, Eos had gone to kick him in the stomach when she heard another join them from behind.

The mercenary, although skinny, came at her with an axe, almost ready to chop her leg off. Eos had twisted herself and kicked him instead, her sword getting lodged in his throat. The man had dropped the axe, the blunt side crashing in to Eos' calf as it fell to the ground; she was sure she felt something in her ankle twist as she pushed herself back up, dodging another swing from none other than Exekias himself.

"Okytos trained you well Eos" he said from beneath his helm. Eos blocked the mans sword with the axe that she grabbed quickly, feeling all of his weight bare down on it. Taking a deep breath, she twisted it, smacking the man in the nose

"I trained myself" Eos told him as she stepped to the side and kicked out her good leg, hearing a snap as it collided with his ankle.

She did not think that she had heard a man scream so loud.

Especially this one.

The big brute had fell to the floor, grabbing at his foot and screaming. She had gone to smack the sharp edge of the axe down on the mans head when she had felt an arrow strike her hand, making her let go and fortunately miss the mercenary by a few inches, landing near to where he still clutched his foot, grinding his teeth now as he tried to fight away the pain. Dodging another, Eos had taken a step back. Enough was enough.

Eos dodged a couple more arrows, slowly making her way from the alley before she had looked back at Pyros, his hand still held tight around his throat, as if he thought he was dying.

Eos had grabbed her dagger and thrown it at him.

It would have killed him too had a man not finally built up the courage to stick his head through his window to see what all the noise was about. Eos did not have to wait to hear the mans wife cry out to know that she had missed her target.

It did, however, make the mercenaries surrounding her hesitate, giving her enough time to dodge a couple of flimsy arrows that had been let go and, letting her run passed the small crowd at the end of the alley that had started to gather.

"After her" Exekias had shouted.

They had ran in her direction but, Eos had already gone. The crowd, having thought the fight a little unfair, had made a way for her and, she had disappeared through another alley way.

Or so they thought.

Eos was not too far from where Exekias and Pyros now hobbled too, hidden quietly between some crates, letting the other mercenaries run passed her.

The adrenalin, it was starting to waver, her leg, she was starting to question whether it really was broken or not.

"Why are you just stood there boy" Exekias cried, "After her",

"She...", an inch closer and it would all have been lost,

"She would have killed you given the chance",

"But-",

"You expect much more from someone like that" Exekias asked.

Eos had to swallow back a small laugh. She had a want to stay, just to finish the two men off but, the more she sat, the more she thought the numbness in her leg would make it impossible for her to get away had something gone wrong.

And, it was obvious by now, that Laelaps, was not coming to help.

Eos vanished in to the darkening night, trailing her thoughtful pursuers for a little while before veering off at a crossroads and making her way back to Laelaps.

"You need to hurry up and be better" Eos told him as she let herself fall on to the floor next to him, holding her leg up and placing it on the groaning lycaons back, "I just broke Exekias' ankle and almost - almost - slit Pyros throat open. Then I missed and threw my dagger at a farmers head",

Laelaps snorted, Eos shook her head,

"At least it was quick?" Eos asked, "I didn't say that I killed him", he snorted again, "Well... shut up" Eos put her hands behind her head and laid back. "At least we know where their at" Eos told him, "Just means a hasty exit is in store". The lycaon groaned, he'd started to like this place.


Eos had spent the next day preparing her sack, telling Laelaps that she would make one last trip in to Tegea, before the merchants shut up shop, to buy some food for the road, perhaps even some dried beef if he was nice, maybe some shiny new daggers. She had already spent a little of the drachmae she had found on that boys body by now but, the purse still felt heavy. Perhaps she'd even treat herself to a hot meal in one of the smaller taverns.

Laelaps had thought her stupid, especially after what had happened but, Eos did not think that they thought her stupid enough to go back. Not to mention that, in the dark, it would make it all the more harder for them to see.

If anything though, she had quite a pleasant surprise when she walked back in Tegea.

The mercenaries that had roamed the streets had dwindled down in to almost nothing. And, it was not long before she had heard why.

The Eagle-bearer had been seen in the northern part of Lakonia and, everyone seemed to be getting a little excited.

Seems the cult would have to split their resources or, pick their specific target.

Eos had considered leaving right then to find her but, her leg, at times, felt far too fragile to have to fight whatever may already be chasing after her.

Kassandra had a way with stealth but, she was more the look at me sort and, Eos did not think she could handle it.

As it started to get dark with a thundery storm that had been threatening to take them all day, Eos was making her way back to Laelaps, her second knap-sack now filled with enough supplies to get them through the week, when she had noticed the glow off in the distance. At first, she had only admired it. Thinking that the a bolt of lightning had caught the fields alight. It would have been beautiful if the people had not been panicking.

And, it was only realising where the fire had to be coming from and overhearing the word mercenaries that Eos realised it was no wheat field fire.

Snapping out of the trance, Eos had started to run, seemingly pushing in to those that were running the other way.

At the end of the terror, she found the farm house she'd left Laelaps in that morning on fire, cult guards jeering at the flames as if it would flush him out.

Eos had searched the flames, trying to listen desperately amongst the cries of Zeus to hear the lycaon but, there was no shadow in the flame, no creature pleading with its God to escape. Eos did catch sight of Pyros though, standing near-by, his hand clutched so tightly around a spear she had not seen before.

Pyros had caught sight of her too.

He hadn't hesitated this time. he'd called at his men, pointing in her direction and, she'd run. The wheat wasn't fully grown yet but, the ground was so hazy, so foggy that, when she collapsed, her calf having started to spasm in protest, Eos laid as still as she could, baring through the pain as she heard them run passed her.

'He's not in there',

'Where is she',

'Keep your eyes open, they could be anywhere'.

Eos had lay there for what felt like an eternity, listening as the thunder roared, lighting flashed across the sky and the red glow start to dampen.

It was when she was sure that the rain had put the fire out, leaving only embers, that Eos had pushed up on to her knees, looking over to it.

Pyros was gone, so where the men who had chased her. All that was left were a couple of shady looking characters. Not soldiers, not even mercenaries. Bandits Eos had thought. Guarding it.

Eos left them it.

Laelaps hadn't been inside.

Thanks the Gods.

Except, Eos did not know where it was he would go. Unless he would go back to the lykaon den.


Deimos had watched as the farm caught a light.

He was even certain he had seen the lycaon stood behind the men, his beady yellow eyes seeking him out in the darkness before he wandered off, a tip toe to his step.

He had seen Eos the day before, surrounded by mercenaries but, she'd escaped, not unharmed but, unharmed enough so that she could outrun the brutes.

He had lost her then, as had they.

Something though, whether it had been through words or something he had missed, something had led Pyros and the men to that farm.

And then, something more had caught their attention.

At first, Deimos thought that the lycaon had returned but, whatever had ran through the wheat fields had been human and, again, they had escaped.

Pyros, his hand almost going white from having held on to that spear for so long, had dropped it when he had seen Deimos.

Grabbing him by the throat before he could utter a single word, Deimos had pulled him aside, his hands clawing at his neck before Deimos smirked and let him drop.

"What are you..." Pyros pushed himself up a little, grabbing again at his throat, his finger flitting over the small scar Eos had left him,

"I want to know what you're doing here Pyros" Deimos looked to the house, the embers smouldering in the rain,

"We..." Pyros took a deep breath. "Its... its nothing... It does not concern you" Pyros pushed himself to his feet, grabbing back at the spear, as if he was ready to strike him with it.

Deimos didn't get up. Pyros had aimed multiple weapons at him over the years and, not once, had he ever came good on the threat.

No matter how close he came to it.

Deimos had grabbed the tip of the spear and yanked it towards him, grabbing at Pyros again as he fell forward and slammed him in to the ground.

All without getting up.

"I have a feeling it does" Deimos said, "and, you owe me".


It did not take Eos long to realise that the wolves had returned to their den but, thankfully, the wolf that had seen her off obviously had no want for human flesh today because, he had only ensured that she was far enough way before he'd returned back to his family.

Stopping near the road that would take her back to Tegea, Eos chose to go the other way, veering off it quickly when she spotted some riders in the distance.

If Laelaps was not at the den and, assumedly, not amongst the rubble at the farm house, she didn't know where he could be.

Her best bet now, would be to find Kassandra somehow. If she had been seen near-by, it would not take her long to get to Lagos. Perhaps Laelaps would think the same.

Perhaps the thing had never left Eos side and was just sulking. She would not put it passed him. Often times she would feel alone, only to realise that the lycaon had been giving her daggers from afar.

Nearing Fort Samikon, Eos wondered if perhaps hiding right under their noses would be the way to go.

They would never expect it and, when Kassandra bull-dozed through - which she was sure would be sooner rather than later, perhaps there would already be a few less guards for her to have to contend with.

Except, Deimos had thought similar.

With Lagos out of the picture, the bounty on Eos' head would be all the less admirable.

He just did not realise that Eos had no plan to kill him.

Pyros had told Deimos that he was after something from the past. A beast. The lycaon. The lycaon that was supposed to have been killed that night in Phokis.

Pyros almost put himself at the scene, said out loud that he was there, that he saw it himself but, he stopped, instead telling Deimos that he had seen the lycaon afterwards. That it had sort him out, seeking comfort, only to have turned on him.

But, Deimos knew he was lying.

Laelaps had never had any love for Pyros. For one, he would be the last person the lycaon would ever go to and, secondly, Pyros had promised him that he would be there for Eos when he could not, and instead, the boy had claimed he'd not been anywhere near that tower in Phokis when the cult had 'taken' her life.

Every single one of them had betrayed him... They'd left her to the mercy of the cult when she needed them most...

And, if he could wish anything away, it would have been that night.

That whole day. The pyramid. His sister. Eos. The baby.

It haunted him then, it haunted him before, it haunted him now.

He'd had no control over it.

Like he'd had no control over what had happened on that mountain...

Still though, Deimos had led Pyros to believe for a time that he had no knowledge of Eos. Had let Pyros tell him that the reason they had kept it quiet was because Kleon had thought the Champion too sentimental, too attached to what had happened. Had let Pyros convince him that the lycaon was not his to contest with, that he had more important things to worry about, that he would lead them in to the new world that they had dreamed off.

Except, Pyros had not kept his words to himself.

Deimos had heard him tell another that Pyros believed himself to be that of which would lead the cult in to the order they craved. That to do that, that which had caused the chaos, the loss of control, had to be dealt with.

Eos, the lycaon, Kassandra, Kleon...

Even Deimos...

It seemed Pyros had a plan that was all his own, despite the act he played.


It had been only a day or so since Eos had taken up residence in the vastness that was Samikon Fort. It had not provided much in terms of shelter, those rooms that did have four walls and a door were usually locked and, the rest looked as if it was about ready to fall apart. Still though, Eos had managed to find herself a spot where she could lay atop of, watching the forts comings and goings.

There had been a far few more guards - and even mercenaries - than what she had thought but, she'd managed to get in passed the break in the wall and, get high enough, to avoid them.

Although, it quickly became apparent that her plan of taking out the guards who roamed the border surrounding them was not meticulous enough. Even if she did toss their dead bodies over the wall.

In the end though, it was her own body that had betrayed her as she'd grabbed at one of the mercenaries, her calf deciding to cramp and her grip faltering enough for him to pull away and swing out his arm. The small shield he bared had smacked her in the face, knocking what little sense she thought she had out of her.

Honestly, they should have just killed her then but, when she did wake up, she realised that they wanted something more.

They'd left her in one of the open roofed buildings, her feet and hands bound behind her back.

There was a stool near her, empty of the man she was sure she'd caught a glimpse of when she'd first started to come around.

Shaking herself quickly, trying to rearrange her thoughts, Eos had rolled herself over. Her ears popped, her head hurt but, she could now hear that which had roused her in the first place. Someone was happening just outside, the panic, the sound of blade tearing through flesh, it made her panic. Eos had started to shake her leg, ignoring the essence of the cramp that still lingered and feeling the small blade she had inside her boot slip out.

Rolling herself on to it, Eos had grabbed it and cut through the bonds, muttering as she nicked at her arm as the rope fell away. Eos had untied the rope around her feet and stood up, stumbling over to the open door way.

Either the mercenaries had turned on each other - which wouldn't exactly be a surprise - or, Kassandra was outside, coming to her rescue.

It was neither.

Eos didn't have enough time to react to the man now stood in front of her, the mercenaries that lay dead at his feet, the sound of men rising from the beds that they lay in.

But, she had enough time to realise who it was.

Deimos.

He grabbed her and slammed her up against the wall, the knife falling to the ground as he held her hands above her head.

He leaned his head against hers, breathing deep as he took a glance back at the men. Eos could feel his heart beating through the leather chest peice he wore, leagues down from what he was usually used to.

Perhaps to anyone else, to people who did not recognise the face, the deep olive-brown eyes of a champion, they'd take him for just another mercenary.

After a moment more, Deimos dropped his hands, let them trail down her side, pull at her robes, making her whole body shudder.

He was just about ready to say something sly when they'd heard voices etch closer, wondering what all the commotion had been about.

Deimos grabbed at Eos again and pulled her inside one of the buildings. Closing the door behind him, he had pushed her on to the floor as he'd bolted it.

Deimos turned and Eos pulled the dagger from his belt that she'd felt digging in to her stomach. The hilt felt familiar. It fitted in her hand so well, she realised that it could only be the one he'd taken from her in Melos.

The one Elpeanor had given her.

Deimos had gone to draw his sword but, she'd held the dagger to his chest and he had let her push him over to the wall.

Smirking, he had let his blade slide back in to its sheath.

"Do it" Deimos said.

Eos knew the exact place to strike and, without his armour to protect him, his death could either be quick and painless or, slow and brutal. She only had to choose.

Except, like Pyros, Eos couldn't.

Grabbing her hand, digging his fingers in to hers, she dropped it and Deimos turned them over, so she was backed against the wall once more,

"You've caused quite the stir" Deimos said,

"So did you" Eos pointed out, "Can't just leave the glory to someone else",

"I thought you knew me" Deimos asked,

"And I thought you knew me" Eos said,

"The Eos I knew would not be trying to get herself killed" his hand went to her side, his fingers finding his way inside her robes, one more squeal and he thought he could kill her happily.

Just one more.

"Well, I seem to be a doing a terrible job at that" Eos said, "Considering", his fingers touched at her skin, made it prickle with a heat that made her lose her breath for a second,

"Let's fix that, shall we" Deimos said quietly.

The door rattled and he flinched, the both of them turning their heads towards it. Deimos had covered Eos' mouth as someone had looked through the small window near their heads, finding nothing more than crates and boxes. It wasn't long before they were called away.

Eos felt his heart start to race... or maybe that was hers... she couldn't be sure...

"For someone who wants me dead, you-",

"Shut up" Deimos growled before he grabbed at her head and kissed her.

Eos felt her heart fall in to her mouth but, she pushed away from him all the same.

"Deimos", she grabbed at his arm and he swatted if away, his fingers threading through hers as held her hands up above her head again,

"Don't" he said, silencing any further protests with another kiss.

He either had to cool off by killing something or, this and, the urge to do this was too overwhelming.

Despite her better judgement, Eos held her hands above her head as Deimos let them go, grabbing her by the waist as he hungrily tore her robes off.

"You really need to sort your shit out" Eos had said, which only made Deimos look at her, his eyes betraying his need for this far more than her almost instantly,

"You really need to shut up" he said.

Lying on a thin blanket on the ground, it had not taken long for Eos to fall asleep.

She had not slept properly in days and, somehow, lying next to Deimos, it comforted her enough to let all that exhaustion go.

Deimos had not been able to though. He was awake, playing with the thin, almost see-through cloth she'd pulled over herself. He had a want to see her shudder, to see her body give itself to him, time and time again but, he could not take his eyes from the bruises, the cuts, the scars. There was so much more to explore, so much that he could catch up on.

Which, perhaps meant it was the right time he made good on that promise he'd made to himself.

What had happened with the other men, the mercenaries, he'd played his role well at first.

Without the armour, his sword, the scraggly grey hood that only let the world see his eyes, he'd been able to pass by Lagos without the man realising who he was. He'd just been another mercenary but then, they'd captured Eos and, what they wanted to do to her, what they had planned for her, what they said that even Pyros hadn't known about... He hadn't been able to let that happen.

Deimos had been the one sat on the stool when one of the other men had poked their head through, telling him it was his turn. Deimos had stood up, almost as if he was about ready to pass by him but instead, he'd broken the mans neck. The other three staring aimlessly at him before they attacked.

He had let his feelings get the better of him. He had lost control and now, they were dead. There were many things Deimos was but, he was not that.

And, it was her fault; this girl who lay so close to him, he could take her in his arms and squeeze her to death did he want to.

Deimos sat up.

The cult were right, Pyros was right. She was the epicentre of the chaos inside of him. The chaos that surrounded him. The chaos the cult pursued, the chaos he did not think could end.

"Do not think too much" Eos had said sleepily. Deimos rolled his eyes before he glanced down at her,

"Afraid you might not last" he asked. He sighed and laid back and she turned over so she could see him, he forgot how beautiful she looked somehow, even with all the grime and the dirt.

Deimos resisted the sudden urge to touch her, balling his hands in to fists. Eos didn't notice.

"Pyros was there, in Phokis" Eos found herself say, "Did you know that".

If only she knew what Deimos had done, Eos may not have lay with him so casually.

"Seems you need better friends" Deimos let the urge go and trailed his finger over her neck, following a small scar he remembered he'd put there himself.

"I thought I did" Eos said, she'd reached out a little, wanting to touch the smattering of hair on his chest but, she stopped.

Deimos snorted and grabbed at her, pulling her over so she straddled him. He sat up, leaning his head on hers, let his fingers stroke at her arm as she rested her hands on her legs,

"Shame you were wrong",

"Shame".

This time around, Deimos told himself that he only wanted to see if he could reign back some of that control he felt like he had lost but, he only lost more of it.

Eos was able to work him in to a slithering wreck, because he let her, because, even though she caught herself and stopped, the moments they yearned for was too much to bare.

Her touch, her soft caress, on his arms, his stomach, even the fingers through the hair, like this; it did not bring him any pain. She had always been scared of touching him but, not because she was scared of what he would do, or because he intimidated her or, anything like that. It was because, out of every single person he'd ever met, she had never wanted anymore than he was, who he wanted to be. She did not do it dominate him, to make him feel weak, she did it because she wanted him.

And, she tried to fight it just as much as he did.

Towards the end, he tried to bring it back. The last thing he wanted her to think was that she had won, their little game had gone on long enough but, she was able to make him wait until she was finished, before he did and, amongst the ecstasy, it had just made him all the more pissed.

The little smirk on her face made him forget it though. She was trying to get a rise out of him. He couldn't give her that kind of pleasure.

"You know" he sat up, Eos straddling him again as she lay her head on her shoulder, trying to catch her breath, "I think you might be one of my best" Eos had snorted and put her head down.

She didn't know if that was a compliment or not.

Still.

"Do you ever really get this far with anyone else" Eos asked him which, to her surprise, made his eyes flit away, as if the words had hurt him,

"You'd be surprised" he had said, he'd looked back, smiling a little. "What about you",

The question had thrown her a little but still, Eos shrugged, "You know, here and there",

"Really" Deimos asked. Eos was not one to throw herself around for the sake of it. It was something she did not share with Melaina, or Asphodel.

"Another Spartan actually" she told him, although, she didn't know why,

"And" Deimos leaned in,

"Loads more fun than you are" he was holding her arms behind her back again,

"You're lying" Deimos said,

"Well, it's not like I have great taste in men, is it".

It had taken Deimos a moment but, Eos knew that it was 'pissed' she could get him out of and, 'pissed' she needed to be wary off.

This was the latter.

Deimos had pushed her off of him and Eos had laid on the floor.

"What are you doing" Eos asked, "If you do not want me dead, what do you want",

"I want you dead" Deimos told her, he brought his knee up, resting his arm on it as he looked to the door, as if he was trying to figure out the best way to do it,

"Why" Eos asked, "Because it would hurt less that way".

Deimos stood up. Grabbing at his belt on the floor, he'd placed his hand on the hilt of his sword,

"Is this what you do to everyone now then" Eos asked, "Fuck them, than kill them",

"I-" something hit the door, making the both of them flinch.

The sound of an eagle squawking made her realise who it was.

Eos grabbed at Deimos' arm and twisted it back, but, it had only made it all the more easier for him to pull her up and push her over to the small window. His hand clasped around her throat.

He'd looked outside, watching as Kassandra mowed down another unsuspecting guard before throwing her spear in to the back of another one.

Seemed his sister had learned a few more tips in her travels.

"Isn't this a surprise" Deimos said, he looked down at Eos, "Perhaps I will deal with both thorns today",

"Please, just..." Eos had been so close to him, she had seen the hair on the back of his neck prickle, felt her skin go just as cold as his.

Deimos let Eos go,

"One day, you'll be too late" Deimos said, glancing back at the lycaon.

Laelaps was stood behind him, balancing on the crates, his teeth bared,

"Just go Deimos" Eos said quietly. Deimos snorted, shook his head,

"It does not work like that" Deimos spat, he grabbed on to her shoulder, the want to hurt her overwhelming him as he dug his finger in to the old arrow wound he knew was there. Eos smacked him and, he'd let go, taking a few steps back as he wiped at his mouth. "Why don't you just stop Eos. You can't save them. You can't save me" he told her quietly,

"What if I could" Eos asked, Deimos did not look at her, his eyes lost to the darkness,

"And what if the past is too hard to face" she'd heard him say, "What if we do not want to",

The past, his past, it haunted him. The mountain had only been the beginning and, it should have been his end. Except, here he was.

"Then kill me and prove it" Eos had said.

The lycaon had growled, a bid to remind them that he were still there but, Deimos knew that the lycaon could not stop him. If he wanted to. He could.

But he didn't.

"Stay out of my way or, I will" Deimos promised her.

Eos did not believe him. Hell, Deimos didn't even believe it himself.

Perhaps this was one thorn that was far too deep, perhaps she would be his downfall, alive or dead. Perhaps it was about time he accepted that.

Deimos had grabbed at his things, ignoring the lycaons snarls as he'd dressed.

Eos, keeping some distance, had grabbed at her own, feeling Deimos' eyes on her as she'd pulled her robes back over her head.

He was still watching her as she picked up her belt.

There was something else he needed to know.

"Are you and my sister working together" Deimos asked, his voice was softer now.

"I asked her to help" Eos said quietly,

"And where did that get you" he wondered out loud, "How many of us have you saved".

Eos didn't reply. She didn't need to be reminded of those she'd failed.

Deimos had gone to the door, opening it slightly.

"Well, you can cross another one off your list" Deimos told her.

Eos had wanted to say that this was only proof that he wanted more but, he hadn't meant himself,

"Pyros is dead".

Deimos had left, leaving the questions hanging from Eos' mouth as he disappeared in to the hazy morning fog, leaving what remained of the fort to the mercy of his sister. What ever happened now, Lagos would not be his problem anymore.

And, he had some Spartans to conquer.


Eos had looked down at her dagger.

"Pyros is dead" she'd asked the lycaon as if it were a question, the creature avoiding her eye as he gingerly stepped down off the crates. Eos knelt down and picked the dagger up, "I guess..." she sighed and twirled it with her fingers.

Eos would have killed Pyros if she was given the chance; hell, he wasn't going to hesitate, that had been clear but, she would have done it as quickly as she could, without any pain. If the cult had done it, if Deimos had done it, she could only imagine it would have been slow and brutal.

And, if he had, if Deimos had taken his life, did that not mean that he was on her side.

Or, did it just mean that he had crossed the line, that Pyros was trying to take what was his, that he was trying to be the leader Deimos thought himself destined to be.

Which, in its entirety, made Eos feel even more as if she was failing miserably...

She really had lost her way... Perhaps she'd never had one..

All she had left now was a girl who was crazy, maybe even dead, a man she knew nothing off and, a man who was so haunted by the past that even the good things hurt him.

There was only so much Eos could do. Only so much she could get someone to listen to her.

She'd always known that but, it didn't make it any easier.

Deimos was still hung up about the past. A past before the cult. A past that involved his sister, his mater... Eos could show him that the cult only wanted one thing from him and they'd throw him away afterwards but, she could not show him that the thing he'd wanted most... had wanted him too...

Perhaps only Kassandra could do that.

Perhaps, if anything, he would choose to listen when she did.


Deimos knelt down next to Pyros. Seems he had bled out in his attempts to escape.

Deimos had warned him to stay still, that he'd be back but, it seems Pyros had not been interested in playing their game. The arrow Deimos had shoved in to his gut, the one Deimos had told him not to mess with... well, it must have been far too tempting and, Pyros had tried to pull it out, ripping out what was left of his insides and leaving his body a bloody mess.

Deimos had thought to let his death seem glorious.

The mercenaries he'd been with, who had thought to overthrow him; they had been slain with Pyros lycaon killing spear but, unfortunately, a stray arrow had snuffed him out.

Deimos had reached in to Pyros robes, to find the spindle like dagger, considering he'd returned his other to its rightful owner but, instead, he found an old scrap of paper.

It was browned, bloodied, old. He unfolded it slowly, the paper tearing and sticking together. The writing had already been faint, smudged.

He read what he could.

The work ... has been commend... That …. have sought for so long is finally within our grasp. You know what to do …. are in ….

I understand that it will be hard, that you will feel as if …. betrayed your own but, it is for …. of the people. Your blood will run ….; that of which taints it will be over-ruled by your allegiance, by ….. The chaos they have pursued, the ….. have lost, ….. in the fight to make it right.

The only sentence that lay unworn was the last.

I n the beginning, there was chaos, and together, we are the Order.

Perhaps these were the words Pyros now lived by. His want for power, for control, to lead the revolution... Perhaps he was not alone in his efforts... Perhaps it only gave more people for Deimos to kill.

"In the beginning, there was chaos, and together, we are the order" Deimos read out loud. He looked over to Pyros, as if he was about to explain himself, "What were you and Melaina up to" Deimos asked him.

Because, in Pyros last hours, Deimos found out that it was Melaina who had told Pyros where to find Eos. Just like she had told him that Eos would be in Melos. Melaina was playing a dangerous game for someone who seemed to have Eos' best interest at heart.

Deimos patted Pyros on the shoulder as he put the paper on to his lap,

"You promised us so much Pyros" Deimos said to him, "Did you really think your lies would lead you to a greatness you never deserved".

Chapter Text

"Laelaps said you'd be in there somewhere" Kassandra said as Eos found her and Lagos, "well, he snorted, a lot, I assumed" Kassandra shrugged a shoulder,

"What else did he snort about" Eos glanced over at him as she pulled her robes down, Deimos really had made a mess of them. Laelaps had sat, making Lagos' bottom lip quiver at the sight of him,

"What do you mean" Kassandra asked. Eos sighed,

"Your brother". Lagos' eyes widened and Kass raised her brow at him, seems no matter how calm he acted with her, he was a snivelling wreck when it came to the champion they'd created,

"Don't worry Lagos" Eos said, "He's gone",

"But-",

"Your family is safe Lagos. I promise you that" Kassandra told him again,

"He said he would cut off my sons fingers..." he said quietly,

"He has his ways" Eos shrugged. Kassandra glared at her, "what?",

"Can't you be more sensitive" Kassandra asked quietly,

"Were they hurt" Eos asked her, "in any way",

"No" Kassandra said, she crossed her arms,

"Exactly. There's a lot of things he would do Kassandra but, it's not hurt kids",

"Are you sure about that" Kassandra asked, a little too desperately Eos had thought but, this was not the moment to dive deeper in to it,

"I'm not saying he has a soft spot" Laelaps snorted, "He'll scare Hades out of them but, if he were to have brought you fingers, they probably would have been your wife's",

"Eos" Kassandra snapped,

"Maybe your serving girl. Not like you'd look at them to realise",

"I think it's time we leave" Kassandra said. "Lagos" she nodded her goodbye and he nodded his head back quickly.

Once out of the fort, Kassandra had shaken her head as Eos followed behind her.

"What happened to you" Kassandra asked, "there's only so many snorts and grunts you can listen to before your head hurts",

"Well..." Eos looked at the lycaon, shrugged a shoulder at him, "Archai was a little bit more eventful than we hoped. But Machaon is dead, Laelaps bit Kleon",

"Ohh. Was that what you were on about with all the snapping" Kassandra asked as she looked to him,

"Laelaps entered Zeus' temple" Eos tilted her head from side to side, "Bad idea" the lycaon snorted, "Zeus does not like that but" Eos shrugged, "We escaped. Hid out in a farm. I broke Exekias the Legends ankle",

"His ankle" Kassandra asked, not able to hide how impressed she was, she'd heard of that mercenary before, had thought that he was perhaps one of her sages. She was sure of it now.

"Yup" Eos sighed, shook her head, "Pyros lit the farm we were staying in on fire. Me and Laelaps got separated. Decided I'd be stupid and hang out in the fort. Got captured by mercenaries. Got... saved... sort of. Thought it was just so your brother could kill me but..." Eos shrugged, "somehow, I didn't. I don't know. Almost died again when you showed up. Then. Poof lycaon pops out of the ground",

Laelaps snorted.

He'd already told her that if she hadn't been so distracted, she could have escaped through the crack in the wall behind the crates.

"I get told to give up on my disastrous journey. And then, he tells me Pyros is dead, leaves and..." Eos sighed, "here we are".

Laelaps snorted again,

"I think he's trying to remind you of the time when you almost scared someone to death" Kassandra said,

"We-",

"Wait, what..." Kassandra had only now twigged on to what Eos had actually said - "Pyros is dead".

Eos nodded,

"How" Kassandra asked,

"Deimos told me",

"Did he",

"I don't know" Eos said, she shrugged, "But there was something odd about him", Laelaps huffed, "No, not Deimos, Pyros" Eos said, "Like... I don't know. Just some of the things he said. Almost as if it was sort of... all down to him",

"Perhaps Deimos felt threatened",

"Maybe but... Pyros spent his life trying to make people happy because... well... maybe he didn't feel good enough but... now he seemed too... I don't know... it is just odd",

"A lot can happen in a few years" Kassandra said,

"Tell me about it" Eos shook her head, "I can already feel the wrinkles near my eyes" Eos rubbed at them and Kassandra smiled,

"What you need is a good meal and, a hot bath",

"What I need is a-". Laelaps had stopped in front of her, the hair up on his back as she almost tripped over him, "what are you-" Eos saw her before Kass did.

Melaina.

The red-haired woman emerged from the trees, scantily dressed in dark robes.

Laelaps took a step forward and Melaina stopped. He would be their buffer.

"You were always so protective of her. Even now" Melaina said softly,

"Melaina..." Eos said quietly, she sighed, she couldn't believe it. What was she doing here, did she know about Pyros? "Melaina, Pyros...",

"Is dead. Yes, I know" her voice had gone cold,

"How",

"I see so much now..." Melaina told them, she raised an arm and the lycaon took another step towards her, his teeth bared, she lowered it, put her hands together in front of her, "With all of the eyes gone, its almost as if I can see everything that they would...",

"They're all gone" Eos looked to Kassandra, the misthios nodded, she had found Sotera on a merchant ship just a week or so ago.

"And the cult continues to fall. Us included" she raised both of her arms and turned away, as if she was about to touch the low hanging branches of a tree, she sighed,

"Do your eyes see where Glaukos is" Eos asked, he was the only one she had never got anything on.

"Eos" Melaina had almost laughed, "You bring death to every one of us. Pyros. Akin. Asphodel. Kallinos. You really think I would tell you where he is".

Eos took a step back, her eyes dropped to the floor and Kassandra saw that same look in her face that she'd had in Melos. Kassandra shook her head,

"The cult did that" Kassandra told Melaina,

"My words are not for you - eagle bearer" Melaina snapped. Laelaps snarled at her as she turned back to them. The red head flinched ever so slightly.

"That is where you are wrong" Kassandra said, "I saw what the cult did to Asphodel. I saw what it drove Akin to. I've seen my brother",

"This is not about you" Melaina repeated, calmer now, "It is about that which will bring a dawn of a new age. The path chosen depends on you". Melaina looked to Eos. "Before" Melaina said, "A man came to me. He told me of the many things I would accomplish, the many things I would do, the things I would see. I did not believe him. Not then. But, my nievity, my jealousy, it led me to believe how wrong I was the moment you killed your child",

Kassandra saw Eos grab at her robes, at her dagger, there was only so much she could take but, Kassandra had held her arm out, a comfort, and a want, for Eos to keep listening,

"For he told me that a child would be safe, away from harm, away from the cult, it would lead us in to the dawn where there was only order",

"They said the same about Deimos" Eos snapped,

"Deimos is still needed. For now. His future though - his path; it will end where it began",

"Not if I have anything to do with it" Kassandra said,

"Order and Chaos. A balance. An edge so fine" Melaina said. "If you have that",

"You have peace" Eos said,

"Yes but, not all will await that time, the burden is too much..." Melaina turned from them, "There was another. A long time ago. A child, born from order... But, given both willingly and unwillingly, only brought more chaos", Eos looked at her,

"What are you saying Melaina",

"Asphodel saw it. She died because of the words she dared to utter, the words she did not understand" Melaina said,

"About you" Kassandra said quietly, she looked to Eos,

"Melaina..." Eos stepped forward, "What are you trying to say" she said again,

"That you will have to decide soon enough what path you will take, that you were not abandoned but stolen - stolen from those that would have protected you",

"Thats not a surprise Melaina" Eos said, "we were all probably as stolen as each other",

"The same ones who now hunt that which is tainted" Melaina looked to Kassandra. She smiled as she said the words, "In the beginning, there was chaos..." Kassandra knew the next line but, she did not say it. Melaina sighed, "Kassandra, what will you do when the time comes to rid us of the cult" Melaina asked, "When you have the ghost, when you hear their words, their whispers, will you fall as your brother did",

"No" Kassandra told her,

"I hope not" Melaina said.

Neither of them stopped her as she walked away, disappearing off in to the foggy Greek morning.

"That which is tainted" Eos said, "The..." Eos looked back at Kassandra. "You said you found a letter. From that... Order... about a baby",

"I don't think Asphodel was the Persian they sought" Kassandra said quietly,

"I have a brother Kassandra, I had... why would the letter not mention the both of us" Kassandra went to answer but, she did not have one,

"Perhaps Melaina is wrong" Kassandra said,

"Perhaps" Eos said quietly, she looked to the lycaon. Laelap was still trailing Melaina with his eyes, having seen her jump on a horse, having ridden in the direction of a ridge.

The ridge he knew Pyros was on.

Laelaps snorted, almost as if he was sure the threat was now far away from them and then looked to Eos, he snorted again.

"Oh, now you don't trust her" Eos said quietly, Laelaps huffed, "Fair enough".

Kassandra didn't bother to ask.

"Come, we must meet my mater and Brasidas",

"What" Eos said, "Who",

"My mater and-",

"Your mater" Eos asked, she took a step back, she did not want to have to deal with that today too, "Do you think that's a-"

"You right now. You are the hope she needs to know that her son is not all lost",

"The only hope I can give is that of death by the sounds of it". Laelaps snorted at her, telling her to stop being so depressing.

Eos had never given much thought to Kassandra or Deimos' mom. Of the very little Kassandra had told her, Eos did assume that her earlier thoughts that they were all cold-hearted traitors was likely wrong but, Eos did not want to have to face up to her either.

She'd taken something from them just as much as she'd taken from him and... had Kassandra told her that?

"Eos" Kassandra had said as she stopped near a path; which Eos assumed led up to the cliff that overlooked the fort. Eos looked to her, she was still trying to figure out what Melaina had meant. "You said you saw my brother. You said he almost killed you but, he didn't. Again. That must mean something" Kassandra didn't want it to sound like a question but it had,

"Maybe it does. Maybe it won't even matter if Melaina is right. His path will end where it began" Eos said quietly,

"We won't let it" Kassandra told her,

"What if we don't have a choice" Eos asked,

"We all have a choice" Kassandra said.


Atop the hill stood a woman in red and a Spartan. Eos held back as Kassandra went to greet them,

"The Bounty is lifted - Lagos is alive" Kassandra told them, the woman folded her arms - Myrrine - and shook her head but, the Spartan - Brasidas - Eos assumed, was all for it,

"See? I knew we could solve this without violence",

"That cultist deserved to die" Myrrine said,

"Lagos left the cult" Kassandra put her hands on her hips, "I convinced him he was safer without them",

"The cult of Kosmos would eat their own young if it served their needs!" Myrrine said.

If only life had been so short Eos had thought.

"Not Lagos. He was being blackmailed. They had Lagos' family by knifepoint. I have the proof that Pausanias is the one who instructed it" Kassandra told her,

"King Pausinias" Brasidas said, "We must return to Sparta to confront him",

"We should kill Lagos first. Tie up the loose ends" Myrrine was adamant,

"If you cannot forgive Lagos for what he did - how is it you would forgive Deimos" Eos had asked without thinking. Myrrine had turned to her, ready to argue but, she stopped. Kassandra smiled and put her hand on her maters shoulder.

"Mater, Brasidas. This is Eos".

Myrrine gave Eos such a big smile then, as if she understood; as if Eos had never been smiled at before. She felt the strings of her heart pull so much, she thought she might cry. It was almost a little like Barnabas', like his motherly hen smile he always seemed to beem around but, this was so pure, Eos did not think she could ever really deserve such a thing

"Eos" Myrrine held a hand out but, Eos didn't take it, she smiled, "Thank you. Thank you for what you've done for him".

Eos could not say the words and tear the womans dreams apart so, she said nothing,

"Eat" Myrrine told her then, gesturing to the fire, to stew that lay over it, "You looked starved".

She was and, she hadn't even realised how much her belly ached from growling at her.

Brasidas had left soon after but, they were to stay the night, sat around the camp fire.

Eos had listened as Kassandra and Myrrine had talked - they had not had a real moment to speak of what had happened in the years they'd been apart but, it always did seem to all come back to one thing. To one person they missed just as much as they missed each other.

And, Eos wished so much that Deimos could have been there to see it.

"Eos, I know it's hard, Kassandra has explained some things but, I want to know what he was like, what he's really like" Myrrine said.

Eos smiled, "When we were younger..." Eos stopped, to think whether the truth was too much, too harsh but, if Myrrine had got this far, she had to be able to take it. "He was a sweet kid, a bit rough around the edges, a bit of a temper but, he was... he was a good friend... and..." Eos sighed and sat forward, "he'd always help me with the chickens when we were little. Always used to race up this same tree, every day" Eos was sure she saw a tear in Myrrine's eye. Eos almost didn't want to ruin it with what she was about to say next but, Myrrine deserved the truth,

"Then... when we went in to... training" Eos saw her bottom lip turn, "he showed this unstoppable force, this... He was unbeatable... But, behind it all, he was still that kid that would help me with the chickens. And, there was so much pain... such terrible things..." she added quietly. "But" Eos looked up at the sky, "there was a sense of humanity in it. Somehow. I don't know how to explain it. But, we could separate it. Almost. Before. Separate the pain and the moments without it. We didn't see any other life but, we did laugh, we had people to hold on to, to look at and say that we were doing the right thing". Eos shook her head, "And then we grew up. Some of those moments didn't go away but, they became so rare that, the pain was just constant..." Eos sat back and looked to where Laelaps was lay, staring at her through the flames on the other side of the fire, "and that was only me... Deimos had it so much worse... He had so much pressure, from everyone, everything...".

Eos didn't know if she wanted to go on. If Myrrine had wanted hope, Eos could not really give her any but, the look, the want in the mother's eye, made her keep talking anyway.

"Before. He was quite... patient..." everyone but Myrrine raised their brows at her, "I could goad him to a point that any normal man would snap, from anger, from..." Eos shrugged, smiling a little, "and he'd just stand there, waiting for more. Not bothered in the slightest" which Eos never really knew if it was because he didn't care or, because he thought he was better than everyone else to listen to what they had to say or that, unlike everyone else, he knew Eos never meant it.

"But now, it's so much different. He was a little reckless before but, he had control. He thought he did anyway. But I think... I think he may have started to realise he doesn't and, he can't handle that" Eos looked over to Myrrine, "and, when the cult realise that, when he gets too much for them, no matter how scared they are, they'll find a way to get rid of him too - just like they did me".

Myrrine nodded and took her hand; Eos swallowed back the lump in her throat,

"I know what you did Eos" Myrrine said, "And I... I do not know what I would have done had I been in your situation but, I know, that as a mother, I would do anything to keep my children away from such harm". Eos hadn't been able to look at her, it was the last thing she needed to think about tonight, "And I know you think this want for him may be fruitless but, don't you see Eos" Myrrine said, "From what Kassandra has told me, your life was in danger far before that night in Phokis".

Eos glanced back at the lycaon. She knew that baby had saved her, in a way and, she'd thanked it by taking that of which had saved her in the first place.

"You made him weak, he cared - cares - about you and, they know that",

"Perhaps..." was all Eos could say.

"Let us get some rest" Myrrine said, "We have a long ride ahead of us tomorrow".

Eos had been lying on the bed roll for some time when she heard Myrrine ask a question she thought she would have asked earlier.

"Is she dangerous" Myrrine asked,

Eos did not have the time to worry about how long Kassandra's reply would take,

"Not to us" Kassandra assured her quickly.

Eos let out the breath she was holding in slowly.

"He waivers for her" Kassandra said. "But. He does not only hurt for what happened in Phokis. He hurts for what happened on that mountain" Kassandra poked at the fire, "but she cannot tell him a truth she does not know",

"The way she talks about him" Myrrine said quietly,

"She cares much more than she says",

"Perhaps she does not realise it yet" Myrrine smiled and looked over,

"The cult call her a weakness but, she is part of his strength, we need to be the other part" Kassandra said, "We won't be enough for him. But together... I think we can be".

'Maybe' Eos had wanted so much to say.


"So you have your cultist King" Eos asked as she pulled on her greaves the next morning.

"I did. It's Pausinias" Kassandra told her,

"Is that the one who sent you to war or the Olympics"

"The Olympics",

"Well, perhaps he though Kollias would bring you down",

"I guess he did not bargain on a lycaon taking him" Kassandra said, she glanced over to the lycaon who she was sure had grinned at her for a small second. She looked back at Eos, "You know what I thought",

"What" Eos stretched her leg out. The bruise the axe had left was a nice shade of yellow now.

"That I should have just taken you" Kassandra said, Laelaps snorted aggressively at her and Eos turned to him,

"Well, maybe it was not all me",

"You'd still need proof though" Eos shrugged,

"True" Kassandra said, "Would have been nice to see him squirm though",

"You're going to kill him either way right" Eos asked, "Why not just make it happen".


The ride back, other than Phobos being very unhappy that he had to carry two people and have a lycaon trailing behind him, was uneventful.

"Are you ready to take back our families land" Myrrine had asked as they'd stood outside the palace.

"Ofcourse" Kassandra said "But my purpose here it to bring down the cultist King",

"You make your mother proud Kassandra" Myrrine said, "But, are you sure you have enough proof to accuse him". Kassandra glanced over at Eos who smiled.

"I'm sure" Kassandra said, Myrrine smiled,

"I'll gather the ephors and meet you in the throne room" she nodded her head at them before she left.

"What are ephors" Eos asked,

"My mater tells me they are men who were elected from the citizens of Sparta. They have power over even the Kings. Those are who we need to convince" Kassandra told her. Kassandra put her hands on her hips and stared at the door.

The Kings did not like to be kept waiting.

Eos had stayed back as Kassandra and Myrrine had walked over to the two men at the front, one old and one, not so old.

"What are we waiting for" Archidamos demanded. He was so impatient Eos had thought, was Kassandra sure she had the right King.

"Sorry to keep you waiting" Myrrine said quickly

"You summoned the ephors" Archidamos said, gesturing to them,

"You must have achieved some success to gain this adoring crowd" Pausinias said, opening his arms to everyone - seems he had not noticed Eos yet,

"I brought home a wreath for Sparta" Kassandra held it out to them, "Though, I had to enter the Games and win it myself", Pausanias took it from her,

"Very good. But, what of our Pankration champion, Testikles?" he asked as he admired it,

"There was an accident at sea before he could compete" Kassandra said.

He got eaten by a shark. Eos wondered if Kassandra forgot that telling the truth was all that really mattered right now.

Perhaps that was a truth for another day.

"Games are hardly important" Archidamos threw his hand in the air, "What about Boetia",

"Stentor and I defeated the Athenian forces. You have nothing to worry about" Kassandra assured.

Archidamos relaxed a moment, smiled but then he gestured at the Ephors,

"If you have nothing but good news to share, why did you call for the Ephors". One of them stepped in,

"We were told serious charges would be brought",

"Serious charges" Pausinias asked, he looked to Archidamos, "Against whom" he looked back to Kassandra,

"You act as if you don't know. Against you, Pausinias" he took a step back, "I have travelled Spartan lands and found proof of Pausinias betrayal. He is a member of the cult of Kosmos. These traitors are willing to kill hundreds to rule thousands. I have all the proof you need right here". Kassandra held it out.

"Proof, what Proof" Archidamos gestured at Ephors to take it. The man looked down at the letters, at the words, he turned to the Kings,

"So, the rumours are true. We never could have thought a King could be so dishonourable",

"My honour belongs to history" Pausinias said,

"You deserve death for your crimes" Kassandra told him,

"How dare you threaten a King" Pausinias said, "I will not-",

"I do have one more thing" Kassandra said, she took a step back as she looked to Archidamos. The old King was holding on to the evidence so tight, almost as if he hoped it would break like glass and be found fake. Archidamos looked up at her, "Eos, if you would" Kassandra turned back and all eyes fell to her.

Only Eos saw how pale Pausinias went.

He was their cultist for sure.

"You. You are supposed to be dead" Pausinias claimed,

"Guess you haven't heard the good news yet" his skin went even paler, as if her voice made it true,

"Guards, seize her, now" the Spartan soldiers hesitated,

"You will do no such thing" Archidamos proclaimed, he pulled out his sword and aimed it at Pausinias, "You have betrayed Sparta, betrayed me, you will not leave this Palace alive". Pausinias flinched a way a little, "Leave us" Archidamos demanded. He found Eos, "Not you", he said.

Eos looked at Kassandra and shrugged, she was sure she'd be fine.

The congregation dispersed, leaving the Kings and Eos alone in the palace.

"I want to hear you say it Pausinias. I want to hear you admit it" Archidamos said, his voice echoed around the room, almost like a thundering, getting louder and louder,

"Admit to what. Admit to the glory I would have brought Spart-" seems he would not be backing down,

"Admit to your betrayal boy", Pausinias said nothing. Archidamos snapped his head to Eos,

"You" he demanded, "Who are you",

"She's like me" Pausinias told him, he took a step forward, "Or she was" there was so much spite in his voice, it may have hurt a younger her but, she was too old to care about words from a King,

"You're a cultist too" Archidamos could hardly believe it ,

"If you define cultists as babies sacrificed to Kosmos and raised to withstand the greatest of pains and turned in to killing machines. Then yes. I am a cultist",

"What is your name" Archidamos asked, his voice was that little gentler now,

"Eos",

"My king" Archidamos suggested

"You are not my king" Eos told him,

He smirked.

"Why should I not kill you too" he asks "If you admit so willingly to being a part of the cult",

"I believe we both heard him say that I was dead, did we not" Eos asked,

"That is... true " he looked to Pausinias.


"What did the King want" Kassandra asked as the Spartans at the door opened them for Eos to emerge.

"For Pausinuas to admit" Eos said,

"Then why did he need you" Kassandra asked,

"He said he had a problem with troublemakers returning from the dead and wanted to make sure I wasn't one of them",

"What did Pausinuas say" Kassandra asked,

"He told him everything. How he pushed Sparta in to war with Athens, how he _ and _",

"Why would he",

Eos looked over to the lycaon who stood hidden by the corner of the Palace, "Hard to say no to him",

"What did he say about you. Did Pausinuas tell him you were one of them",

"I told him what I was. Told him after that they often take babies and then kill them when they get too much. Told him that the baby they threw from Mt. Taygheto was one of those",

"Alexios" Myrrine said quietly, Eos nodded,

"And what did he say" Kassandra asked,

"Not much" Eos shrugged, there wasn't much he could have said, "But, he did ask me how I was really any different to Pausinias",

"And what did you say" Kassandra askrd

"That for the longest of times, I never had a choice. And when I did finally have that choice. I made the right decision".


Eos had given Kassandra and Myrrine a moment to step in to their old house, to reminisce. She looked to the lycaon,

"Do you think I'll ever have a house" she asked him, he snorted, "I know but, it'd be nice wouldn't it. Even if we weren't there all the time... Just somewhere to put things...".

Brasidas appeared then. He nodded a hello before knocking on the door, Eos followed him in when Laelaps had snorted at her.

"I'm heading to Pylos as soon as I can. I think you may want to come as well" Eos heard Brasidas say, she stopped near the door,

"I'd be happy to return the favour" Kassandra put her hands on her hips, "Whats waiting for us in Pylos".

Eos had forgotten to tell her about the letter,

"Glory" Brasidas said.

That was not what Eos had expected but, seems Sparta was not living up to any of the expectations she'd had ever.

"The Athenians are pushing the Spartans back even as we speak. It would be a devastating loss for Sparta, and I cannot allow that to happen",

"Sounds like you've lost confidence in Sparta's warriors" Kassandra shrugged,

"They're are strong as they have ever been. But now they're facing a power they can't even imagine" Brasidas said,

"Do you mean Deimos" Myrrine asked, she looked to Eos at the door who glanced down,

"Yes, that's what the rumours are saying. A force of nature in the body of a mortal, who can cut down any soldier in his path",

"If Deimos is in Pylos, we have to stop him" Kassandra said,

"I will wait for you at the bay but, be quick. Each moment we waste is another Spartan dead" Brasidas turned around, "Eos" he nodded, "Would you join us" Brasidas asked as he looked from her to the lycaon. Laelaps had already decided he liked the man enough to go to war for him. "We need all the help we can get",

"Sure" Eos found herself say, "why not".

Brasidas nodded his head and left them.

"You must bring him back Kassandra. Please" Myrrine said. Kassandra glanced at Eos and then nodded at her mother,

"I'll do my best" Kassandra said. She turned to Eos,

"Eos. I don't think this is a good idea. The cult",

"Probably already know where I am" Eos told her,

"Deimos..." Kassandra said,

"Deimos never told them. And I don't think he'd admit it anyway" Eos shrugged. But, it was not that she was worried about.

"Eos, what if you were to come up against him" Kassandra asked,

"I guess we'll deal with that if it happens" Eos said quietly. Perhaps, if anything, his actions would prove what side he wanted to be on - perhaps they'd prove nothing.


Eos had been stood with Barnabas as Kassandra had said goodbye to her mater.

"What if he was to kill her Kassandra" Myrrine asked,

"I do not think he could" Kassandra admitted,

"Whaf If he did",

"It won't change what we want" Kassandra said quietly, "If I let it, Eos would never forgive me" she looked over to her,

"But could he forgive himself". Kassandra didn't answer because she didn't know.

Chapter Text

"Are you sure you are up for this" Kassandra said as Barnabas helped Eos put on one of the many breast plates that Kassandra had in the trunk of her ship,

"How many times have you asked me that now" Eos said as she pulled at a strap and Barnabas took a step back, making sure it fitted right.

"My brother will be there" Kassandra said,

"I know" Eos said, "I've faced him more times than you have, remember" she looked over at the lycaon, the glare she gave stopping the snort he was about to give before he'd given it, "and I know" she looked back to Kassandra, "that it doesn't really count for much considering the circumstances but...",

'Stay out of my way'

Thats what he'd told her.

Hell, that's what he'd told his sister that time in Athens...

"I'll try and stay out of his way" Eos said quietly,

"Eos, if you die" Kassandra put her hand on her head,

"What do I do if you die" Eos asked her as she sat on the steps, "who else would want him to save him then".

Because, no one else would.

"Eos" Kassandra sighed and gestured at Barnabas to take the helm. She sat on the top step and put her hand on her shoulder, "just promise me you won't-",

"Decide that I want to be Sparta's hero" Eos snorted, "Kass, I'm not stupid. I know I can't take him. Not like that".

Eos knew she could hold her own for a little while, maybe even dodge most of his attacks, she knew how he fought, how he swung his sword but, she knew it'd only make him angry. Make him reckless. More reckless.

And, after having thought about it that little bit more, it was a position she didn't want to put him in.

Unless he came after her.


"Look at all that smoke" Barnabas said, "That battlefield is on fire",

"Where are all those Spartan reinforcements" Eos asked. There were only two Spartan ships parked up on the beach. Around three Athenian ships floating in the water nearby, a man or two patrolling them by the looks of it.

"Seems we're the only ones coming" Kassandra shrugged. Eos leaned over the side, a want to look in to the water,

"Actually, seems we are the only ones who made it past" the red of the Spartans sails were still drowning beneath them. "Be careful out there" Eos said to Laelaps as he shook himself a little, preparing himself for the ship to dock, "if any of them come near you with that spear" even though the lycaon had cackled at the thought of it being able to kill him, "just run",

"Did you not tell him that last time" Kassandra asked,

"I'm hoping he learned his lesson", Laelaps snorted at her.


"You, take me to Brasidas" Kassandra had wasted no time as they came to the beach. Eos was a step behind her, the lycaon going and sitting in between the tents as the rest of the Spartan men talked in small groups,

"What do you want with him" the Spartan had asked, his hands behinds his back,

"We fought together" Kassandra told him,

"A friend" the Spartan asked,

"Yes... and a friend to Sparta. Now, take us to him" Kassandra said, the Spartan looked to Eos and then, looked past her to find the lycaon.

His eyes widened,

"I...I have orders" his stutter was quick - both Eos and Laelaps were impressed, "stand guard and wait for reinforcements. They were due two nights ago" he gestured to the sea,

"You can stop waiting, we're here" Kassandra gestured to the three of them,

"You and your... dog..." Laelaps tilted his head, "won't talk so tough once you see them",

"All they shall see is the ferryman. Now, if you could" Kassandra gestured towards the red glow of death in front of them.

The Spartan nodded, a small smile on his lips, he gestured to his men to follow him.

He kept talking as the both of them joined him at the front, the lycaon a little bit ahead of them,

"Brasidas said that the... d-beast would...". Brasidas said that a creature devised by Zeus himself would accompany them in to battle, that they should try and stay out of his way and that, he thought the owner could be scarier than the pet did the beast come to any harm from a Spartan man. Not many of the men had believed him.

"He'll surround us, take out any stray Athenians" Kassandra said,

"Could he not just barrel through them" another Spartan asked,

"You have enough time to tell all your men not to run away from a lycaon" Eos asked, the man huffed,

"Spartans do not run",

Laelaps snorted. The small group of Spartans all looked over at him. Eos shook her head,

"No, you're not allowed to try" she said to the beast, "behave yourself" she looked back to the Spartan and smiled.

He looked away quickly.

"Did he actually-" Kassandra whispered as she leaned in a little close,

"No. He actually said something nice".

As they came upon the field of battle, the heat got even more unbearable,

"Barnabas might have ensured that a blade won't kill me but, this heat will" Eos said, she pulled at the collar of her chest plate,

"We've had warmers summers than this, come on" Kassandra said. She drew her sword. "Lets send these Athenians to Hades".

"Lets" Eos pulled out her own, a beautiful silver sword Kassandra had pulled from the hands of a dead cultist, they both felt it would be rather suiting.

Eos swung first, taking out an Athenian as Kassandra came up behind her, taking out another.

The Athenians were as strong as Brasidas had said they were, a dangerous drive pushing them through but, Eos had found her way around them in Boetia easily enough and, she cut through them almost as well as Kassandra did. Seems the misthios had been practicing.

"Eos, be careful" Kassandra had said as she watched an Athenian captain swing his sword and almost take Eos' head off her shoulders, which ended with Eos stabbing her dagger through his eye. Eos grinned and then dodged another, cutting at his legs and making him trip over.

As the battle wore on and the fire became an enemy to both Spartan and Athenian, Eos and Kassandra got separated, cutting down Athenians, cutting down their Captains and, getting further and further in, catching glimpses of Laelaps as he grabbed Athenians by the leg and dragged them away, which only made the men move further in, the field getting all the more crowded.

Eos, having stabbed a her sword through the heart of an Athenian had looked up, finding Brasidas. She was about to call out and tell him it wasn't all that bad but then, she spotted him.

Deimos.

He walked so steadily, cutting down Spartans as if they were toys. He was in his element.

Moments like these was what he was created for.

Brasidas ran towards him,

"Brasidas" Eos and Kassandra voice echoed at the same time but, Eos was closer as Deimos swung his sword at him and then tripped him over with it. Eos pushed past the Athenian she was fighting, stabbing him in the gut with her dagger quickly in a bid to get to Brasidas, to make sure he was alive but, as she swung her sword at an Athenian Captain who thought he could catch her off guard, she had turned her back to him.

Deimos hadn't seen her, he couldn't possibly know it was her but, she felt the bottom of a foot connect with her back and throw her forward, taking the Athenian with her.

Eos rolled over and jumped back up, the chest plate had taken most of the blow but, she jumped straight in to his hands. Deimos grabbed her by the throat and held her up,

"I told you to sta-"

Something cried out and Eos felt herself go cold, saw the hesitation in Deimos' eyes as he froze for a moment. They both looked, along with some of the other men. Eos spotted Laelaps quickly, he was surrounded by men, coloured in blue but, she could see the purple accents - the cult...

"Dei-" he threw her and she landed on a group of soldiers. Eos felt something break, could even feel the blood. She rolled over and felt a sheild from one of the men below her smack her in the head, making her go faint.

She heard Kassandra, heard the two siblings clash - she was sure everyone had. Eos closed her eyes, took a deep breath and then tried to push herself up but, another one of the men she was still atop of kicked her off and, as she rolled over again, on to the ground, she saw Laelaps in the distance, saw one of the men bludgeon him over the head, his eyes rolling back as he collapsed.

Eos blacked out with him.

It was only minutes, she was sure but, as she opened her eyes once more, she pushed herself up, to find the lycaon gone, his body moved - men dying around her. She heard something fall, heard Kassandra call out.

Pushing herself around, Eos felt the blood seeping over her skin, this pain she couldn't find, couldn't see. Her eyes were so shakey and dark, she only just saw a tree fall a top Kassandra as the misthios tried to grab at something in front of her.

Eos tried to get up but, the pain was too much. She felt herself black out again, only to open her eyes, to see the smoke starting to clear, hear the groans and grunts of dying and injured men surrounding her.

Eos looked to where the trees had fallen, watched as they dragged an unconscious Kassandra up, shackling her before they threw her on to a wagon. Deimos was there, his armour bloodied and tired, his back to her.

Eos let herself fall back.

Where would they take her.

Where had they taken Laelaps.

They couldn't have killed him.

Not yet. Not like that.

The pain she felt grew that little stronger and, whether it was from that, the shock, the sudden cold chill or the vomit that was swelling up in the back of her throat, she felt her eyes close and she blacked out again.

"She has to be here somewhere" someone said desperately as Eos woke once more, staring at the smoke that covered the blue sky of morning. She moved her head slightly, could feel the ache in her bones. "She can't have-there" she heard the rush of foot steps, grabbed at where she'd put her dagger only for it to fall out of her hand as she brought it to the man who knelt next to her, she tried to grab him instead.

She stopped,

"Eos, it's okay" - but it wasn't. Eos looked at her hand, at where the dagger should have been, t the twisted pieces of bones where her fingers should have been, at the bruises up her arm, at how the blood had seeped from under the greaves.

"Barnabas" Eos croaked.

Chapter Text

It had not taken long for the Demi-God to ride out after the men who had left for Athens in front of them a couple of hours before – a caged lycaon in tow.

From what he'd been able to pull from the tongue of the general in command of that little group of undercover cultists guards - that he would have ripped the throat out of and fed to the unconscious lycaon the men were dragging in to a cage had he not told him what they were doing – the beast had a bounty on his head and, Kleon wanted him back alive.

Although, if it was to escape, Kleon wanted it killed and gutted.

He was not taking any chances.

Kleon had also suggested that they do it quietly, so that Deimos didn't take much notice but – in the event that he did – he was to go to Kleon first and not rip through what was left of their pathetic war-torn people in a rage.

Except, the party had left before him – when he'd told them not to - and, after looking at the hunched, unconscious figure that was shackled and muttering in her sleep, he left Kassandra to whatever the Athenian men had planned for her. In the end, she'd be headed to Athens as well, he was sure Kleon had plans for her, sure it would not be the last time they met – although, he would have much rather just dealt with her here and now than waste the time for Kleon to have the last word.

The horse he took was wary, which only told him – more than the blood they trailed – that they were going in the right direction.

At first, there were only small spills here and there but, as whoever it was started to bleed out, started to slow, the puddles of blood got larger, more frequent and, eventually, Deimos came across the lycaons first victim – one of the undercover cultist guards.

His arm had been shredded, the veins were still pulsating and, his breaths were so shallow, Deimos had waited a moment to see if the man was alive.

He knelt down and the man opened his eyes.

The man looked at him and snorted, "It hurts" he smiled and lay his head back.

"What happened" Deimos asked – perhaps the lycaon had already escaped – or perhaps he was just picking off the unsuspecting guards one-by-one,

"I thought it was asleep" the man said, "it wasn't",

"Are you still heading for Athens" Deimos asked. The man nodded,

"He has a lot explaining to do, doesn't he" the man said quietly, "I'm sure that thing was supposed to be dead", Deimos nodded, "seems things like coming back to life",

"But you won't" Deimos said, the man snorted,

"The cost is always too much. Who would want to" he asked before he closed his eyes, his last few breaths being small before he finally gave up.

"Who would" Deimos said as he stood up and looked towards the way the carriage had travelled in.

The Demi-God should have just left them to it. They'd get the beast to Kleon or, they'd all die in the process. It wasn't his problem. It never had been. And, if he was able to keep up the façade that he didn't know about either of them, perhaps it would give him even more room to figure out what the hell he wanted to do about her - about what it would cost him if it went wrong.

Deimos had told her only days ago that she should stay out of his way, that he meant it and, like every other time, he'd faltered.

He could have finished it all, right there and then, he could have snapped her neck and it be over.

It would show the cult - show Kleon - that the chaotic part of him was lost to the past. A past that should have stayed dead – except he'd only thrown her. He'd not seen her rise – perhaps she was dead – perhaps the only way to get near to that carriage, to that lycaon, was for him to kill the lycaon too.

Whatever bounty on the lycaons head would not be worth enough to either of them had Eos died. The lycaon would take them all out with him.

Deciding that following the path on foot would be more effective, the horse was having none of it, it did not take him long to find a second fallen cultist as night started to fall. Deimos did not recognise him from the original band of men but, his throat had been ripped open and, there wasn't really much left of him to know.

After that, he came across the clearing in which the wagon had stopped. The horses had already been unwilling to pull the wagon in the first place but, it seems the smell of blood had only made them more nervous and now they were refusing to go at all.

The General was instructing his men to set-up camp, that the horses needed to rest for a moment, that the men – who were wounded – needed to be bandaged up before they were lost too and, that the man pointing and poking his spear at the very awake lycaon should stop.

Deimos watched as the lycaon, who was laying there, unnervingly quiet, had bit down on the head of the spear that the man had poked through the cage and thrown his head to the side, the sudden shock of it making the other end come up and smack the man in the face. Laelaps had chewed at the wood, at the metal, the wood splintering and the metal bent as he let it fall to the bottom of his cage.

A cage he could get out of if he so wished.

Deimos had seen them surround him on that battlefield, had seen them stick him in the side with a spear – the wound of which the lycaon was hiding behind his right hind leg – had seen him get clobbered with a mace.

Deimos knew that the lycaon had suffered in that temple, he knew what it did to him – he shouldn't have been on that battlefield at all – not really. He wasn't undefeatable, even if he thought he was. Even if the strength he showed just lying there made others think he was some sort of unbreakable beast – there was a reason why the lycaon didn't stand.

Having kept his distance for a moment longer, Deimos had watched as Exekias hobbled in to the clearing, leading a frightened mare that had no want to be anywhere near the beast. Although, it seemed Exekias' other pet – a male lion he'd beat in to loyal submission – had followed behind him too.

Deimos had never seen the point in taming a wild beast. It was bound to turn on you sooner or later.

Laelaps; Laelaps was different, he could not be tamed and he was far too human to listen to anyone but himself.

The cultist mercenary had used the Falx of Olympus to aid his walk. Seems he'd found Pyros and their rogue band of mercenaries.

He'd eyed the beast as he'd pushed the reigns of the horse in to the hands of another before he'd gone over to the General, his voice getting louder as his face went redder,

"He wants the thing alive" Exekias shouted, "Do you know how much trouble I went to in Tegea to catch that thing" he stood in front of the cage, the Falx of Olympus gripped hard in his hand, "I should just shove this through you right now, after what you and your little bitch put me threw".

Deimos had seen the warning first, had seen Exekias' hand with the spear go to thump the cage, had seen the lycaons beady little eyes dart to it.

It was as if Exekias thought the beast would not grab at him.

But he did.

As Laelaps teeth sunk in, Exekias had cried and kicked out at the cage, a force so strong, the hinges had buckled and the lycaon crashed out, sinking its teeth in to the mercenaries neck as he attempted to stab him full of holes. Only two of them pierced the lycaons hide, missing the beasts soft underbelly in his desperate attempts before Exekias went limp.

The horses reared and ran, the wagon barrelling over one of the guards who had tried to drag the horses back down to the ground.

Laelaps had looked up, wounded but, having terrified the men - some had already ran away - he was no match for them.

For a quick second, Laelaps had caught sight of Deimos, had glared at him before he'd jumped at one of the remaining men.

The Falx of Olympos had not killed him as Pyros had said it would.

And, in that moment, Deimos decided what it was he had to do – how he could have things the way he wanted, how he could keep that control that was slipping away from him and, maybe keep his and Laelaps mutual acquaintance alive long enough to figure out what he wanted.

First though – he had to prove himself. The last thing he needed was a blighted sentimentality to a beast he should have wanted dead.

And, despite everything, that glare had meant much more to Deimos than anything else.

As Deimos broke through the trees, the lycaon had left the throat of the man in pieces and launched himself at Deimos, batting at the male lion who had thrown himself at him first, the lycaons claws dragging over the lions face, leaving him bloodied and blind as the big cat fell backwards.

Undeterred, the Demi-God ducked, swinging his sword that little too low so that he missed and then turning and kicking the beast as he came in for another.

Laelaps was thrown to the ground, a slight more hesitation in his getting up that Deimos had not prepared for. The other men had started to circle him; the male lion was still shaking its head and pawing at its face, distracted.

The lycaon grabbed at one of the mens legs, biting down so hard that, when he'd let go - once the men had backed off a couple of paces - it hung by tendrils and the man collapsed and screamed.

With the lycaons back to him, Deimos had let his sword slip back in to his sheath but, instead, he'd grabbed at the lycaon, wrapping his arms around the beasts chest and squeezing a wheazy breath out of it; feeling the moment Laelaps ribs were about to buckle before he let go, the lycaon biting down on his golden greaves and letting Deimos feel the lycaons teeth push through, feeling them pierce his skin.

The lycaon had fallen to the floor, the men watching as Deimos turned away, grabbing at his greave as he yanked it off, feeling the metal pull and rip at his skin as it came off bloody. Letting it fall to the floor, Deimos had turned his head back as he watched the male lion and the lycaon clash, rolling off in to the dense forest that surrounded them, snarling and snapping at each other.

One of the men had looked at him, his eyes wide and frightened and, Deimos had grabbed at the mans mace he held and pushed him to the floor, telling him he would deal with it.

The men waited, watching as the Demi-God disappeared in to the dark, drawing his sword in the other hand.

They heard the vegetation break, the branches snap and, the sound of an animal cry out as it was beaten.

Deimos emerged from the forest, far bloodier than Exekias and his ripped-out throat, and held up a canine tooth between his fingers for the General, who hadn't really moved since Exekias had shouted in his face.

"I... I think Kleon would prefer its skull..." the General had been able to say after a moment,

"There is not much of it left. You can go check if you want" Deimos had said as he'd leaned himself up on one of the trees near to Exekias. He dragged his hand over his throat, wiping off some off the animals blood and rubbing it between his fingers.

And, to Deimos' surprise, the General had. Deimos had stood up and watched as he'd disappeared with a torch in to the forest, following the trail of blood that had been left. The General only reached the first bloodied appendage before he turned back.

He had seen the mace, seen the essence of bloodied fur and pieces of brains and decided Deimos was right.

"I hope Kleon won't miss the beasts bounty" Deimos said as the man arrived back, a quick nod of his head before they both looked to the bloody remains of Exekias.


"I can't even…"

"Eos, this is Kassandra you're talking about, the great eagle-bearer" Barnabas told her, "This is a creature from the Gods delivered to us peasants to bring terror and misery over that it does not find favourable" Herodotus shook his head, "You could not think that a tree or a clobber to the head could kill them"

"No but a sword to the heart would" Eos told him, as thick and hard as Laelaps (and Kassandras) hide was, steel could still kill them,

"Eos, we have to take our time" Herodotus said, "We must be tactical about this",

"And what if they are already dead Herodotus" Eos asked, she looked to Barnabas, "What are you going to do then" she put her head in her hands and let herself fall forward a little.

They had no clue where the Athenians had taken them, not really but, Barnabas, and his unbreakable spirit had told her that sailing to Athens was their only option. Herodotus had told her that there were men there that were still true to Perikles's cause and, Eos had asked them if it could even still be considered as his if he was dead.

She had wanted to go after them herself, grab a horse and follow the trail they were most likely to leave but, when Barnabas had found her on that field, as she'd looked at the bloody mess that was her hand, she'd passed out and woke up surrounded by broken Spartans.

Although, she had to give it to Barnabas. He was there, a bowl of wine in one hand and a hot knife in the other. Eos had been about to ask him what he intended to do with it when she'd felt someone hold her hand down. One of the Spartan field doctors was taking no time in chopping off what was left of two of her bloodied, bent fingers. Another two Spartans had to hold her down when she tried to amputate the doctors ear with the hot knife instead.

He had wanted to take a third as well but, Eos had managed to grab at his throat with her bloody hand, showing the very bent finger was still able to push in to the soft spot under his jaw enough for him to panic.

Barnabas had to rescue him – the two Spartans were far too impressed to help; and then Barnabas had played doctor as the Spartan one had walked away cursing at her. Somehow, Barnabas had set it in a splint – once Herodotus had read over some medical notes on how to do it – and then they had met with Brasidas.

The Spartan man had told her not to worry, that she had much more to give than a few throws of the knife – which was easy for him to say considering his leg was not being amputated – but, it wasn't just that. Eos could learn to use her other, it would be terrible but, throwing knives had not kept her alive.

Laelaps had.

And now he was gone, most-likely dead – or about to die - and she couldn't do anything about it.

And, as much as she had tried not to, she still somehow ended up on the Adrestia.

It had been Ikaros that had lay a piece of blue cloth on her head, Barnabas telling her that it was a message from Zeus himself that Athens was indeed the place they were to go.

It had taken them weeks though.

Even if Zeus had wanted them to go to Athens, it seems Poseidon had not.


Kleon wasn't happy.

He'd wanted the lycaon alive – his contacts had wanted the lycaon alive – and instead, Deimos had brought him a tooth because he said it was the only thing left – which the general had reciprocated.

Except, Deimos was much angrier than he was and, the politician had let the thought slip.

"How long have you known Kleon" Deimos was inching closer and closer to the politician, making the hairs on the mans neck stand on edge as he clutched his goblet where he lay. The girls that had been present had not even taken any orders from Kleon to leave, just the Demi-Gods presence had made them scatter.

He hated that about him. Hated it so much but, he had to play this the right way or, he'd end up one of the end of his sword and – Kleon was not stupid enough to think he could take him single-handedly.

"It came to my attention when… Pyros" Exekias had sent him word that he had found the boy dead, having bled out and surrounded by mercenaries – good mercenaries who Exekias knew himself – knew would not have betrayed him unless they had been given a greater bounty – or, the boy had decided his loyalties lay elsewhere. Kleon could not be sure.

Kleon had also hesitated and now, Deimos was even closer to him, he could feel the air start to get thick with trepidation, could feel his stomach start to squirm, he kept the feeling unshown, "When Pyros returned to Boetia" he sat up and the Demi-God stopped, putting his hands behind his back as if he intended to listen – Kleon was sure he was going to grab for a dagger instead – "He informed me that he saw another lycaon – after he had killed the one in Lakonia – and then" keeping Eos existence from Deimos would do him no good – especially when she undoubtedly turned up in search of her furry friend – "he mentioned that he had seen a girl following it" – Deimos' face didn't change the way Kleon thought it would, Kleon had looked out for that slight bit of hesitation, for that longing he'd had so much as a boy but, all he looked was angry, maybe a little perplexed, perhaps he really was over that little game he seemed to adore so much as an impotent child,

"What do you mean" Deimos asked, he'd taken a step closer,

"Pyros did not know who it was – only that he felt the need to hide himself away in a temple" he snorted. Kleon looked down at the tooth as he placed his goblet on the floor, his hand shaking ever so slightly as he picked the tooth up instead, "Machaon and myself followed him; found him inside with your little toy" he saw Deimos' lip curl, "seems she survived that night in Phokis" Deimos glared at him – sentimental or not, that was a touchy subject for every one of them – "and seems she had turned in to quite the preacher in her time away from us" Kleon sighed and stood up, "although, she seems to have changed her tune". Deimos didn't say anything, which Kleon was not sure how to take so, he kept talking, watching his face, fascinated by the emotions he tried not to show.

"Eos escaped us" Kleon had thought that her name would have made Deimos soften for a moment, perhaps even tense but, he showed nothing but a deep loathing that now radiated from him, "but the lycaon was injured. Exekias tracked her down in the end, seems she was working with your sister" that only made Deimos frown – he had made it perfectly clear what he wanted to do to Kassandra – "as far as I know, the fire on that field took her with it but" he looked to Deimos, "I want to of course make sure that your loyalties do not lie with a broken toy".

Deimos smiled; it made the pit in Kleons stomach lurch,

"I think you know where they lay" Deimos looked to the canine he held,

"It seems I do" Kleon smiled and went to take a step passed him when Deimos grabbed him and threw him up against the wall, making sure he slammed his hand hard on to that shoulder Kleon seemed be hunching a little too much. Kleon croaked out a grown as he tried to grab for him but Deimos held him tight, a small shift to the right and Kleons neck would break in two,

"Remember who it is that wins you all these battles Kleon" Deimos told him quietly, "I do not like to be made a fool out of" he snapped before he pushed away from him.

Kleon stood there, not moving.

He decided then that the boy was over-staying his welcome.

In everything.

Still, the politician looked up, an attempt to look as unfazed as possible – which he knew would not give Deimos much pleasure – but, Kleon had promised himself years ago that he would squirm as little as possible in front of him, a control over himself he was not going to give out lightly,

"I don't either" Kleon said, he flicked the tooth towards him and Deimos caught it between two fingers, so elegantly and without incident that it made Kleon hate him all the more, "let that be a reminder to you of our cause, of who you serve".

Kleon again, pushed passed Deimos but, he had not finished yet, "I only hope you do not turn soft when she arrives here wanting her teddy back" Kleon had said before leaving out the door, a little more hastily than he had liked but, the politician felt that staying in a room with the man any longer would only get him killed.

Outside, in front of the people, Kleon had nothing to worry about.

Although, it left Deimos with even more of a want than ever before to ram his sword through his face, to cut off his arms and his legs and serve him on a plate to the cult – for his own lies…

He should have just killed him.

Deimos should have killed a lot of people, a lot of things.

It would make his life much easier.

Perhaps he was going soft…


The port of Piraeus was just as Eos had left it but, the city had come alive once more. The disease that had ripped through Athens had killed many but, the survivors had started to recover. Except, another plague was now hanging over them.

And this time it was Kleon.

So, as not to cause too much suspicion, Eos, Barnabas and Herodotus had travelled in to the port on a small boat, telling the crew to wait for a signal that the port was safe to dock at whilst they found out where Kassandra was.

Fortunately though, familiar faces were awaiting them.

Only one of which Eos recognised.

And she could not have been any happier to see him.

Hippokrates.

"Sokrates" Barnabas said, he held out his arms, "It is good to see you". Eos smiled at Hippokrates who nodded his head at her,

"As it is you but, we have work to do" Sokrates did not take Barnabas' hug and looked to Eos instead, "and I think you could help us" he said to her, "Hippokrates tells me you are very quick and quiet on your feet",

"I try" Eos said.

"Good. Because I think we might know where they are keeping Kassandra" Sokrates looked back at Barnabas. Eos could not help but smile at the look on the old sea Captains face, as if his heart had swollen "but, Kleon has not been making it easy for us",

"Tell us, what has he been doing" Herodotus asked. The two men walked together, Barnabas hanging on their words for anything more about Kassandra.

Hippokrates fell in to step with Eos behind them.

"How are you" he asked,

"I could be better" Eos told him, she looked to the three men in front of her.

It was great that they knew where Kassandra was but…

"Hippokrates" Eos looked to him, "Have you heard anything about Laelaps". For a moment, the doctor looked confused – which only made Eos look away from him – he didn't even know he was missing – which only told her that there had been no sighting of him.

"What happened" he asked.

Eos told him.

And, this time, considering the dire circumstances, she told him everything.

There were parts he didn't need to know, parts she was sure he already knew and things that he had not known – only things that he had thought.

The doctor listened, just like she had listened to him all that time ago – whether or not he had thought she had been sleeping or in too much pain to hear him.

"If he is out there, we will find him" Hippokrates said, "he is as much a friend to us that you are".

It did not take them long to find their way to Perikles's old residence.

"Here Eos, let me take a look at that hand before we attempt any rescues, shall we" Hippokrates said.

The doctor had looked it over, shook his head at some of the workmanship, especially the way the fingers had been amputated. Eos could not feel anything in the two stumps nearest her smallest finger, only numbness but, Hippokrates had said it was not good enough.

The splint though, he was happy with that. He had massaged the finger closest her thumb, smiled as Eos winced when he'd pinched at it and then said that, with time, with some exercises, the feeling should return back fully and, she may even be able to hold on to a knife without dropping it.

Or, it might just go septic and she'd lose the whole hand.

Eos had told him she would rather him cut the finger off now and be done with it but, Hippokrates had told her it was very unlikely and that she would probably be fine.

Returning to the chamber where Sokrates, Herodotus and Barnabas had placed themselves, looking over a table with a map of Greece, a map of Athens and a load of documents scattered around it, Eos had the pleasure of meeting Alkibiades.

Kassandra had told her about him.

About his appetite.

"Ohh, would you look at you" he didn't waste any time, Kassandra had told her that it wasn't in his nature, "You really are a fine specimen",

"Thank you" Eos had said awkwardly before turning to the rest of the men who were now all staring at her too – except, they weren't undressing her with their eyes like Alkibiades was. "Right, so where do you think Kassandra is" Eos asked, she leaned on the table,

"We believe she is here" Sokrates pointed to the map, to the almost epi-centre of Athens,

"The prison" Eos asked,

"Yes, apparently someone of her description was taken there a few weeks ago" Sokrates said, he stood upright and put his hands together, "so far, we have not been able to get close with the amount of guards that has been on patrol in that area but",

"I could" Eos finished for him, she picked the map up,

"And, if Laelaps is being kept anywhere" Hippokrates had chimed in, "it may be there", Eos nodded.

"Okay" she said, "tonight I'll take a trip to the prison" she put the map down, "but for now, you need to tell me everything you know about Kleon and his Athenians".

Seems Kleon resided in the city more often than not. That he would receive countless messengers to both his home and the spot under the canopies where he and his mirage of ladies spent a lot of their time. That he was lying to the people of Athens, that he was manipulating them. Nothing much more than she could expect.

But, also, that he had brought his golden armoured champion with him to do all the dirty work.

Deimos had made his presence known in the dark of the nights when one was to peak at their unwillingness to follow the unwritten rules.

Fortunately for the men around this table though, only small incoherent threats could be given in fear that their deaths would spark too much of a rebellion – a rebellion that would look bad on Kleon – although, they weren't much more than just men standing around a table with no real plan as of yet when it came to him. They needed Kassandra. They needed the eagle-bearer.

For now though, all they had was Eos.

Eos of who was now stood on a roof nearest to the jail, watching as prison guards changed over their shift and then, she spotted what they'd all been searching for.

The only sign they needed which told them that Kassandra was there.

Ikaros.

Which now, by the constant pecks on the arm that he gave her, which she only assumed was him saying hello without drawing attention by squawking, told her that Laelaps wasn't.

Chapter Text

"It seems I was right" Kleon said as Deimos walked in to the room, the Demi-God raised a brow as he leaned on the wall. "It seems Eos has come to Athens in search of her lost teddy bear", Kleon glanced up at him, at the stone-cold look he seemed to wear most days.

Kleon had already decided that it was just an act to hide his true feelings, to hide his wants. Akin had been like a brother to Deimos but, Eos, Eos had been so much more and, Kleon would not give-up such an 'opportunity' if it was to arise.

"And what will you do about it" Deimos asked.

"I know you'd most likely want to do many things to her" Kleon shrugged, "now that girl" he stroked the jaw of the girl who was lay near him, "was the only one who could tame a boy like Deimos". Deimos' jaw clenched.

"I bet I could try" the girl suggested. She'd glanced over at Deimos, fluttering her eye lids but, the glare he gave her turned her stomach and made her go cold. She looked back to Kleon, her eyes also avoiding his as she got back to work on the button she'd been teasing open for him.

He sighed and gestured for her to go.

The Demi-God had such an essence about him, the girls either ran from him or fell at his feet. None of which Deimos was interested in and, Kleon did not like the thought of having any of those he rejected. Which was likely all of them but still.

"When she starts to cause us trouble" Kleon said, "I expect you to leave her be" he said,

"What" Deimos said as he pushed from the wall,

"The girl has a bounty on her head - just like the lycaon did" Kleon told him, "and it will not be long until they come to collect it themselves" Kleon looked over at him after having watched the girl leave, such a loss. "She is not our problem anymore", he tilted his head from side to side, "that is unless she causes too much trouble - then, I'll deal with her myself" Kleon suggested, "no need for you to get involved, do not worry",

"A bounty" Deimos asked, "who would want her other than us",

"People we owe" Kleon told him, "now-",

"But she-" Deimos hesitated, Kleon noticed, "she betrayed us. The cult. Our cause",

"I seem to remember that you benefitted majorly from that" Kleon said, "no one to take your crown".

Deimos went pale, he felt sick to his stomach but still, Kleon went on, not taking any notice, still looking after the girl he'd had to dismiss.

"Such a timely departure you had" Kleon smiled.

A rage had started to build inside of Deimos, a rage he did not think he could quell. Not now. But, for that moment, the words that left his mouth were so calm, it made Kleons insides twist. "And how was I supposed to know you'd rip it out of her early".

For a moment Deimos thought he saw a flash of regret on Kleons face. The Athenian leader had not been in Phokis that night but, he had heard what had happened. The Master and Chrysis, they'd grown impatient, too wanting... It had been too early. He had heard the baby had been terribly weak, perhaps too weak even but, Chrysis had said that she could bring it back, just as she'd done Deimos.

However, a part of Kleon had wondered whether Eos had done it a favour.

Kleon would never admit it though. Not out loud. By then, he had already decided what he wanted and frankly, it was not another self-professed Demi-God that would turn in to the likes of its father - the cult had proven time and time again that they could not raise competant children - no matter the blood which ran inside of them.

"I'm not saying you did boy, I'm only suggesting that perhaps we're both after the same thing" Kleon said, "as we've always been. Now go" Kleon gestured him away as if he was one of his dogs, "take a girl and try not to kill anyone".

Deimos had considered taking Kleon up on his offer. Deimos had stopped by the whores Kleon would surely bed that night, thinking that if he could get threw a night with one of them, it'd made the want he had for something more chaotic go away but... Kleon had also told him to not kill anyone...

And, women like that, they wouldn't understand his want, would not fathom what he needed from them. He couldn't let them have that sort of control over him.

So instead, he found himself in the one place he knew Eos would go to.

Which was also the place he might be able to get answers for something else that had been bothering him.

Passing by the Athenian prisons guards as they sat idly, Deimos walked up to the cell he knew Kassandra was contained in. From what he'd heard, his sister hadn't been all that cooperative.

Kleon had mentioned something about the first civilisation. That Kassandra may have found something more about it than they had but, it seems that no amount of beatings or taunts could get her to talk. And right now, Deimos could care less about the cults little side-quest.

Except today, Deimos hoped her silence would end.

Kassandra had spent a lot of her time there sleeping, trying to keep her strength up but, today, it was almost as if she felt his presence. She opened her eyes, put her hand on her head and then looked over at him. It took her a moment to realise who it was before she stood up and walked over, stretching out her back as she did.

"You are pathetic" Deimos told her.

If something like this could hold her down so easily, what was it Kleon was so worried about.

"If I'm so pathetic, why am I behind these bars" Kassandra asked, wondering if her brother had only came here to insult her.

'Quick' Deimos had thought, he snorted,

"I do not think you'd want to be on this side", he smiled and folded his arms.

"Then what do you want" Kassandra asked. Her voice was not as cold or as judgemental as he thought it would be, it was soft, understanding almost.

He needed to know something. Something Eos could not give him...

Deimos opened his mouth to say it but, he stopped and instead, he decided that taunting her a little more would make him feel better.

"I just wanted to see if they had killed you yet" Deimos said,

"Obviously not" Kassandra said, gesturing to herself as she took a step away,

"Obviously" Deimos repeated, he glanced over to where the guards were, around the corner, and then back to Kassandra.

She sighed, "Deimos, please. Me and Eo-",

"No" Deimos took a step back and shook his head, he couldn't do that today,

"Please" Kassandra begged, "I know you both-",

Deimos shook his head again and then pulled something from his robes.

"This is what I think of her" he tossed the tooth at Kassandra. She caught it, confused at first, but it didn't take her long to click. "I told her to stay out of my way".

"What... no" she looked at Deimos, at how his jaw clenched as he tried to keep eye contact with her, tried not to look away, "not Laelaps",

"Gets inside your head, doesn't he" Deimos said, the words forced. He had to get a hold of himself.

"You didn't..." Kassandra looked back at the tooth. How. Why. He wouldn't do that - not if everything Eos said about him was true.

Deimos had gone silent, he had to go, he couldn't stay here - he never should have come. He turned away, leaving Kassandra to stare at the yellowed canine that had sunk in to the throats of so many, she was sure she would have felt something more.

"Deimos" he almost didn't stop. "Please. Tell me what it is you want".

Eos had told Kassandra something once before.

She had told her that their past, the mountain - Eos couldn't help with that - only Kassandra could fill in those blanks - only Kassandra could convince him that his family did not abandon him to the cult. But... if he had killed Laelaps… for the cult... for that control Eos had told her he was losing every waking moment... Kass wondered if Eos would have said the same thing.

Except, she would. She would because... Eos knew what he was... Eos had killed enough people - people she loved - to know that sometimes it was the only way.

Except, Eos would never forgive him for this.

And, Kassandra was not sure that the world without her would be a world Deimos would want to be in.

Still. Kassandra had promised her mater she would try.

Deimos turned back, glanced again from side to side and then came back to Kassandra's cell,

"I want to know what you were thinking back there" he said quietly,

"What. Trying to save you" Kassandra said - if that wasn't already obvious. Deimos snorted and shook his head,

"That's not what that was. I told you stay out of my way. Yet, here you are" Deimos said - it wasn't as if he'd not warned them. Both of them.

"What, a prisoner until I'm killed" Kassandra asked,

"That's the plan" Deimos folded his arms and tilted his head from side to side, a smirk on his face, "Or, I could come in there and end you anytime I please". It was a lie but, it would sound convincing enough if anyone was to walk around said corner - which he glanced towards quickly before looking back. Kassandra had raised her brow at the hesitation but, she let it go. "But before that, tell me what you know" he said.

"I thought your cultists told you everything. Sounds like you're on their side but, their not on yours" Kassandra told him. Deimos stood up straight,

"You think I'm just a puppet" he nodded at her, "Then prove it to me. Tell me why I'm on the wrong side. Convince me. I dare you" He needed to know - he needed to know the truth, the real truth... The truth Eos was trying to show him.

"What do you want to know" Kassandra asked,

"Everything you claim to be true" Deimos waved at the air, "But after this, I kill you" he added for good measure - he would not give her the thought that she could sway him from his cause with such words, from the destiny he was professed to live. This would not change that. "Why was I abandoned that night on the mountain" he asked.

"It was the Pithia's propechy, the Spartan Ephors said there was no other choice" Kassandra was so quick with her words, Deimos almost wondered if - instead of the truth - they were just some lies she'd formulated before, readied and waiting for a moment like this one,

"A prophecy" he asked anyway,his curiosity getting the better of him

"You and I both know who feed the Pithia her words" Kassandra said. Deimos glanced down,

"I do" - the cult. The fucking cult. Perhaps. No

Deimos looked back at up her, smirking, "A baby with a fait so terrible, it was thrown of a cliff" it sounded absurd and Kassandra may have slapped him across the face if she'd been able to, just for how obnoxious he sounded, Eos must of had the patience of a saint to spend time with this man. "What kind of prophecy would lead to that",

"The Pithia said that you were going to bring Sparta to greatness or to it's downfall, waiting for the outcome was too big a risk". Kassandra heard something drop behind her, heard the sound of claws scrape against metal, she ignored it - she didn't need rescuing right this moment, she needed to speak with her brother,

"A risk" Deimos asked.

"I heard you're unpredictable" Kassandra said, gesturing to him all,

"I call it being decisive" he said it smiling but then he huffed and his face hardened again. He held his head high, "You weren't decisive that night. You. My family. Let me go". Deimos couldn't disguise the hurt in his voice. Kassandra was already shaking her head,

"Let you go. You have no idea what happened on that mountain" she told him,

"Then tell me" Deimos said, he took a step closer to the bars,

"Mater went after you" Kassandra told him, his eyes softened, she saw him hesitate, she saw that longing - for home, for love - in his eyes. It was still there. Eos had been right.

"What do you mean after me" he asked - His family, they'd abandoned him, they'd thrown him from a cliff - he'd been disgraced by Sparta. No one had gone after him.

"She went down the mountain to find you - she had to find you",

"And what did she find there" Deimos asked, his voice softer now,

"She brought you to a preist to be healed but, he told her you died" Kassandra told her.

Deimos swallowed the lump in his throat and shook his head,

"I wasn't her only child" he faltered for a moment before he said, "Not everything was lost" he'd started to shout but, he stopped himself,

"No. All was lost. Everything we ever knew" Kassandra almost matched his,

No. She didn't understand. She couldn't.

"What do you know. You know nothing of what I had to do" Deimos said - nothing of what he'd been through.

"Listen" Kassandra said it softly this time - attracting any attention would only make him put that barrier back up and Deimos hated it that she knew that - "After you and the elder fell, they threw me of Mount Taygetos too. Father let me go. It was his duty",

"You were abandoned too" Deimos said quietly,

"Yes",

"But we both survived. Against their wishes" Deimos said, Kassandra thought she almost saw the fire light inside of his head,

"We did. We're alive", he smiled,

"Maybe it serves them right". Deimos was about to say something more when he heard his name.

"Deimos".

Kleon.

Deimos turned away from him, trying to compose himself, "We have been searching for you and you are here - in the gutter" he glanced over at Kassandra. "I heard shouting" Deimos turned around.

"It's nothing" he said,

"Leave" Kleon told him, "Now" Deimos didn't. "This was not you're action to take boy". Kleon felt ever so mighty when he had his men around him but, this time, Kleon regretted the words almost as soon as he'd said them. He saw the Demi-Gods jaw clench as he turned to him, pointing,

"I am not your puppet. And you, are not my master" Deimos told him. He was no ones puppet. He did all this for himself. For what he would achieve. Kleon and him did want the same thing but, they could not both have it.

Kleon held his hands up,

"Of course Champion. Any digression, I won't repeat" Kleon told him.

Deimos huffed at him and walked away from them both.

He had also seen that of which had fell in to the cell behind Kassandra. Some sort of small stone tablet he was sure could only be a message from her people - from Eos. Perhaps she'd heard the whole thing and he hadn't even known.

Would she ever be able to understand... Would she ever give him the chance to explain... Did he even want her to?

He listened to some of what Kleon had to say to Kassandra before he left - she said nothing of their conversation, nothing of how he'd faltered, of his hesitation.

She'd not betrayed him.


Eos watched as Barnabas and Sokrates readied themselves to burst through the doors of the jail. She'd heard Kleon arrive and knew it was time for them to act.

The Politician also knew they were on to him, knew he had to act quickly - except, Kleon had this will to belittle those he was about to order the killing of.

Before having gone to gather up the old sea Captain and Philosopher who hid in the home near the prison. Eos had seen Kassandra and Deimos talking - about the past, about what had happened on the mountain. She'd listened as his voice had gone soft, contemplative - as if he'd truly stopped to think about it but then, she had also listened as he'd got defensive, as if the truth was too much.

Eos could only hope that it had been enough for him to see.

"Chaaaarrrgge" Barnabas had shouted,

"Yeaaaaaah" Sokrates had added as they ran at the gated door,

"By the power of the Gods - Halt" the cell door flew open as Barnabas barged in to it, spade in hand.

Eos had to stop herself from laughing when the small, almost inaudible "Aw" came from Barnabas as he realised they were too late.

"Good timing" Kassandra said, a bit out of breath but with a smile on her face, two guards moaning and groaning on the floor around her.

Sokrates had knelt down and was rubbing some blood between his fingers,

"Interesting. Death may be the greatest of human blessings after all".

Eos had already learned that to either question or agree with this man was a bad move. He spoke far too much and only succeeded in giving her headaches.

"At least you tried" Kassandra said,

"Surely it's the thought that counts. Thank the Gods you're alive Kassandra" Barnabas said,

"If those guards are not the last, I say we leave and do it quickly" Sokrates said,

"Wait - we need to talk about Kleon" Kassaandra said,

"Sokrates and Eos are on to that Malaka. We know what he's doing" Barnabas punched the air,

"Eos" Kassandra asked. Eos appeared near the door,

"I told them you'd be fine" Eos said, "but they insisted that stone tablet would reassure you of their allegiance" she nodded to the small stone tablet Kassandra held, the words 'Hold on, we're coming' etched in to it.

It had been useful in beating the two guards arounds the head if anything.

"Come. We must go" Sokrates said once more, "Eos, I assume the coast is clear",

"Their not dead but, they're... sleeping" Eos told him,

"Good, shall we" Sokrates looked to Barnabas and Kassandra.

Outside the prison, Kassandra again reunited with her faithful spear, Kassandra had pulled Eos over to her once they'd got far enough away from the pison. Sokrates had noticed. There was something on Kassandras mind. Something they were not needed for.

"Come Barnabas" Sokrates said, "Kassandra, Eos, meet us back at Perikles' residence. There, we shall discuss all we know", Kassandra nodded and the two of them watched them leave, heading in to the city. Eos turned to her, smiling,

"Did-",

"Eos. I saw my brother" Kassandra said,

"I know" Eos said, "I heard you talking to him",

"You heard us" Kassandra took a step back,

"Yes" Eos raised her brow, she shrugged, "It's not much but, it's something. It's a step forward".

Had Eos not heard what he'd said... Or what he'd not said...

"Eos..." Kassandra trailed off. She couldn't have heard it. Perhaps she'd only heard the words after the stone tablet had dropped.

"Whats wrong Kassandra" Eos asked, she'd heard what he said, the way he was, the battle he seemed to be having inside of him, it was natural, this was what they needed.

Kassandra looked down at her hand, at the stone tablet, Eos looked down with her, saw the streak of red,

"Kass, your" Kass opened her hand, the tablet dropped but, there was something else, something she'd been squeezing at.

The tooth.

"Eos, I'm..." Kass sighed and shook her head, she wiped at her eyes, a wetness coming away with it,

"What" Eos asked again, looking from the tooth to Kassandra. Kassandra hoped she would have knew what it meant,

"Eos, it's Laelaps" she said quietly. Eos raised her brow and then looked back to the tooth, she shook her head,

"Kassandra, that's",

"Deimos gave it to me" she took Eos' hand and pushed it in to it. It was only then Kassandra realised the lack of fingers she could push to wrap around it... Eos pulled away, taking a closer look at it. "He..." Kassandra trailed off...

Laelaps.

Her fingers.

What had happened to her fingers.

"Kassandra, he wouldn't" Eos looked back to her, "Its",

"Eos, I'm so sorry",

"Is that what he said" Eos took another step back from her, "Did he say he killed him". Kassandra shook her head and Eos went to argue more but,

"He didn't need to" Kassandra told her - even if a part of her didn't want her to believe it.

Kleon had told her the truth, as he'd left, he'd said that Laelaps was dead. That Eos would join them both soon enough. "Kleon..." Kassandra trailed off, "I'm so sorry"

Eos shook her head again,

"No" she told her, "No. He wouldn't do that" Eos took another step away from her and put the tooth in her pocket,

"Eos",

"I'll meet you back at Perikles'" Eos said, she turned away from her,

"Eos wait" but she didn't and, even when Kassandra tried to follow her, Eos dissapeared in to a crowd of people and she lost her.

She had to find Deimos. She had to know the truth.

This wasn't Laelaps tooth... She'd seen those teeth more than enough times for that...

Which meant he had to be alive...

And meant something worse must have happened to him.

Laelaps wouldn't just abandon her - not like this.

Perhaps he was dead...

But. If she was sure of anything, it was Deimos hadn't done it.

He couldn't have.


It didn't take long for them to hear that Kassandra had escaped. But, it had come at no surprise to Deimos when Kleon had left only impotent guards to safeguard her demise. She'd proven herself a seasoned warrior and Kleon had underestimated her - as he had her friends. Eos...

But, Kleon had to be careful now. He had the love of Athens people and, he had to hold on to that. He could not aid in a massacre of the group of rebels in Perikles' home. It was untasteful, which also meant that neither could Deimos. Although, it didn't mean that the Demi-God couldn't have any fun. There were many leaders and masters in Athens that did not want for Kleon, or him, to succeed in their course for power and, he'd made it known what would happen to them if they were to rebel. Or open their mouths.

Deimos stopped and turned his head as he came to the edge of the balcony of Solons House.

He knew Eos was there.

He'd known for a while.

She had listened in on his conversation with the guard, how Deimos was here to pay Solon a visit. Then, she'd been just feet away from him when Deimos had threatened the poet, telling him that the words he wrote and professed should only imitate the glory they could bring to Athens if they worked together.

Deimos had considered leaving after that, to lead her back in to the city but, the balcony was quiet, the poet too scared to move, the night dark and the men below them far too unlikely to look up.

"I told you to stay out of my way",

"When have I ever listened to you",

"You should".

Chapter Text

"Just tell me where he is" Eos said. That's all she wanted from him right now. Nothing more.

"I told my-". Eos threw the tooth at his feet as he turned around to face her.

The Demi-God grinded his teeth as he looked down to it,

"Do not treat me like a fool" Eos said,

"Then perhaps you should stop acting like one" - his voice was low, almost a growl

"Tell me where he is"

"I",

"No, just answer the question" Eos shouted. Deimos came towards her and grabbed at her arm but she stepped back and swatted him away, "Please",

"I told you" he snatched at her arm again and held it tight, squeezing it, "Don't be a fool. Leave m-".

She hit him. Right in the face. Fingers or not, her fist connected with his jaw and he stumbled back, a small hesitation before he drew his sword and stalked towards her. A rage brewing inside. Except Eos didn't move.

"What is wrong with you" he said as he grabbed on to her and held her over the edge, she didn't even try to fight it- Pyros would have shit himself - he hated heights, hated looking down - but Eos embraced them and - she knew he wouldn't let go.

"You should know" she said, staring in to those cold olive brown eyes that had such chaos and loss behind them.

Deimos took a breath and stepped away, pulling Eos back with him and letting his sword fall back in to its sheath,

"Just answer my question and I'll be gone" Eos said, she looked down at the tooth, at the imposter, at the lie Deimos had told Kleon.

For Laelaps.

For her?

Deimos looked with her.

"He was alive the last time I saw him" Deimos said, "He escaped the wagon and left",

"He just left" Eos shrugged. Deimos took a breath,

"We fought but, he got away",

"Well he didn't come back to Sparta" Eos told him, "He's not here" she gestured to the air around them, "Where is he",

"I do not know" Deimos said, he turned away from her, to look back out over Athens. Even with all the chaos inside of him, even he could not resist the beauty of a quiet night overlooking the city - the peace it would give him for just a moment.

"Why did you lie to Kleon" Eos asked it, she knew she shouldn't have. The answer was clear. But, some part of her hoped that letting him say it out loud may have helped.

Deimos raised his head and snorted, "Hmnn".

Eos knew then that she was not going to get the reply she wanted.

"Because he wanted proof of my allegiance" Deimos said, gesturing to the world in front of them,

"So you gave him a lions tooth" Eos shrugged, "I didn't realise your leadership was so at stake",

"It's not" Deimos muttered,

"But you swore your allegiance to him",

"To the cult" Deimos spat as he turned around, "I swore my allegiance so they know I shall not be swayed by the likes of you" he seethed, pointing at her.

"Huh" he turned away from her again - he couldn't let her get to him, not like this, "your allegiance was a lie" Eos told him. Deimos shook his head as his finger nails dug in to the stone of the balcony.

There was no point in this. No point in any of it. Not with her...

Still...

"There's a price on your head Eos" he said quietly, his voice going soft as he said her name, making her have to swallow back the lump she had in her throat,

"That's not a surprise" she said, "The c-",

"Not the cult" Deimos said, "something else. Something that's lurking in the shadows. Something I think had a hold of Pyros... Maybe even Melaina...",

"What",

"I think Laelaps went after them",

"What" Eos repeated but quieter, as if asking herself...

Something had been bothering Laelaps. After the temple, after being subjected to Zeus wrath, he'd been a little... complacent, as if his mind was elsewhere. Had he known something then?

"You need to keep yourself out of their sight" Deimos warned,

"And leave Laelaps to their mercy" Eos asked, she tilted her head, "I thought you knew me better",

"I thought I did" Deimos put his head down, "The Eos I knew was not so careless with her life",

"The Eos you knew didn't have one... and, if you're so sure that I cannot sway you, Laelaps is the only one I have left".

Deimos looked up, over Athens once again. He closed his eyes. His wants, his needs, for power, for control... It crumbled when it came to her... The hurt in her voice... in her words... he wished it could be different - so much different.

Deimos turned around,

"Eos, I..." but she was gone.

Just gone.

And she was not hiding behind a door or, hanging off of the wall. She was gone. Just like that.

Every one of their moments, he'd been the one to walk away, to leave first, and this, this was just that last little bit of control he had with her fading in to nothing...

He had to change that... For his own sake more than hers...


It was almost morning when Eos found herself back at Perikles' home. Kassandra was outside, sitting on the step, waiting for her.

"Did you speak to him" Kassandra asked as she sat down next to her, Eos nodded, "only words this time". Eos sat back, she wasn't even going to answer that - even if she was only joking,

"Laelaps is alive. He let him go... but... he said that I have a bounty on my head" Eos told her,

"We kno-",

"Not the cult Kassandra",

"Then who" Kassandra asked,

"He doesn't know but" Eos looked at the , "he said that he thinks whoever it was got a hold of Pyros and-"

"But he killed Pyros",

"I don't mean it like that" Eos said, "before he died, almost..." Eos remembered what Pyros had said to her, in that alleyway.

"Eos" Kassandra wanted to tell her not to worry too much but...

"Pyros was weird. Do you remember me telling you" she said. Kassandra nodded. "It was like he was working for someone else. Like he had some sort of other objective other than the cult... He said he thinks it's something to do with Melaina too",

"We all know who's she in favour of at the moment" Kassandra said quietly,

"The order" Eos said, "Do you remember what she said",

Kassandra nodded. As well as telling her that her brothers journey would end where it began, she had also told them that Eos was essentially the baby the note spoke of, the baby stolen away from the order all that time ago.

Seems Asphodel's lineage had been tainted with a lie or two...

"You need to keep yourself out of sight of them" Kassandra said. She knew how dangerous they could be, how far they would go to pursue someone and, if the cult knew about it, if Deimos knew, it was much more serious than either of them had realised - even if Eos was sure that she couldn't be the one they searched for.

"Your brother said the same" Eos muttered quietly.

"What else did he say",

"That his allegiance is to them, that he can't be swayed",

"Lies" Kassandra said. Eos nodded, trying to smile but, she put her head in her hands instead - Kass was only trying to change the subject now...

"I can't leave Laelaps out there" Eos told her, "I need to find him".

Kassandra shook her head, "You have no idea where he is Eos, you can't just leave",

"Why not" Eos asked,

"It's not safe out there on your own if Deimos is telling the truth" Kassandra shrugged "You're safer with us here" Kassandra told her.

"I can't just leave him" Eos shrugged,

"Eos, you have to some faith that he'll come back" Kassandra told her, "he always does",

"Kass this is different. It feels different" Eos told her,

"Eos. If the Order is after you, if Laelaps has gone to seek them out himself, you barging in after him will only get the two of you killed",

"But what if they have him already. We won't even know",

"Eos",

"Kassandra" Eos stood up, "He's the only thing I have. The only one who stuck with me through everything. He's saved my life so many times. I can't just let him go off - he's not himself. The cult wouldnt have been able to take him and..." it seemed like Deimos had done that little more damage too - if only to save them both from what Deimos thought to be the real threat...

"And if you leave, if you go running off in the wrong direction" Kassandra said, "if you get yourself killed, then what? Then Laelaps is left with nothing. We're left with nothing..."

Eos sighed and shook her head, "but I can't just sit here and not know",

"Eos. There's a reason Laelaps did not seek you out. Trust that",

"But what if he-",

"Eos. You'll see him again" Kassandra told her, "but, right now, Athens needs our help" Kassandra said, "these people need our help".

Except Eos didn't care for the people... If it ended up with Kleon dead, then that was great but... it wasn't something she cared for right now... the people even less so... they'd never been favourable of her kind... she was sure they never would be... Except, Kassandra was right. To run off after Laelaps, without any clues on where he was, on no real lead on where the people who hunted her were, it was stupid.

And, Eos didn't have the strength in herself to do it all alone.

"Eos. I swear that once Kleon is dead, we will find Laelaps together. We will figute out what-or who - you are and, we'll do it together. I promise".

Eos nodded but, it still didn't feel like enough.


"Blood. It's ever so important, isn't it" Diona was circling so close to Deimos, he could smell the the wine on her breath. She brushed his hand with hers and he froze, closing his eyes as he tried to contain the urge to not gut her - "my blood, your blood". Deimos could only imagine how pretty her blood would look splattered all over Kleons walls... Diona leared over him, ready to let herself fall on to his lap, "you grew up to be such a warrior. Such a man" she put her hand on his shoulder, about ready to lift her leg over his lap.

He'd had enough.

Deimos grabbed her by the throat and threw her on to the floor but, Diona had heard of the ways he threw his prey around, tossing and teasing it first before he struck. The bruises he left was only the foreplay.

"Don't touch me" he said quietly. He leaned over the table some more, looking at the letter he'd been given. It was from Glaukos... He hadn't heard from him in months...

Diona didn't care for that though, she was already on her feet, stretching her arms up as she sauntered back over to him - she'd been with men - even woman - rougher than that.

She licked her lips as she reached out for him again, "oh, come on now. You may even like it". Deimos looked up, staring out, at the guards stood in the boundaries of the Akropolis sanctuary.

No, he wouldn't.

Diona had attempted, to again, lift her leg over his lap but, he grabbed her by the throat and pushed her over to the wall, the table flipping and it's contents falling on to the floor.

"I knew you liked it rough but, not this rough" he squeezed that bit tighter, feeling her little body flinch.

"I didn't know you thought your life so worthless".

Deimos didn't squeeze too hard, he couldn't. The last thing he needed was to be accused of betraying the cult because he'd strangled one of their priestesses to death.

That would change soon though...

"Oh Deimos" she brushed her fingers against his armour, "come on. You're just..." she smiled and Deimos slammed her in to the wall again, "out of practice" she squeaked, "when was the last time you-",

"Do you want me to choke you to death" Deimos asked her. On second thoughts - he could do what he liked right now...

"If it riles your little beast" she spread her arms out, a purr leaving her mouth "give it to me".

So he did, squeezing her throat, watching those dark eyes of her go from seductive whore to horrid realisation that this may have been the last of her; her lips going a pale shade of blue as she grabbed at his arm desperately and kicked out with her legs.

Then, she passed out.

Deimos let her fall to the floor, her body gasping for air as she fell in and out of consciousness.

He left her, moving outside to where the small water feature was. With any luck, she'd realise how unwanted she was and leave.

Again, he looked at the scrawly curly writing Glaukos used to practice when he rewrote the books he found in lost tombs.

One of Kleons men had passed it to him, obviously deemed as not being that important but, to Deimos, it was.

It meant that he was alive. The drowned babe had been searching for some lost tomb, some slates and, apparently, he'd found one, thought that Deimos, considering his bloodline, could help him figure it out.

Terrible timing and, they had never been the best of companions before but, the letter also mentioned how sorry he was that Akin was dead, that Kallinos had been lost too - even if Glaukos mentioned that it was rather poetic that such scheming was used to cover up the killers tracks. That, if anything, the ugly brute probably wanted it that way.

An irritated sigh sounded behind him,

"I don't even feel sore" Diona questioned as she walked in, "Are you sure you had you're way with me" she strutted over to the table with the wine, "ever so dissapointing" she turned back to where Deimos was leaning up on the wall, holding an empty goblet between her fingers, she pouted at it.

"What do you take me for" Deimos spat, he crumpled the letter in his hand as he took a step forward. He was a lot of things but, he wasn't that.

"Oh, well, you know, I just thought that" she shrugged and sat on the table, "Eos was always so strong-minded, despite her... flaws... only way she'd not resist your obscene distaste to touch was to have her... a little restrained",

Deimos fist had almost turned blue,

"Perhaps I should have brought some rope" she pondered out loud, "perhaps you'd rather do it in the water..." her body shivered at the thought...

"Eos knew when to silence herself" Deimos said,

"No" Diona told him, "she just didn't know how to handle a man like you",

"You know nothing" Deimos said, he leaned back on the wall - they'd never understand, they couldn't. Chrysis had not done to them that she had done to him. Diona may have been able to survive being thrown around a bit but, she never would have survived what he did.

"Give me a chance. I'll show you" Diona reached her arm out, almost as if she expected Deimos to come towards her, but instead, Kleon arrived, a barrage of guards scuttling in behind him.

"Now, now Diona" Kleon said as he picked up the crumpled note Deimos had let go of as he'd opened his fist, "leave our champion alone" which he unscrumpled and looked over. Deimos hadn't even realised.

Kleon would send some cult guards to Glaukos instead, perhaps with a note saying he'd have to find a new bloodline to help with his studies, "he's been ever so touchy lately".

Kleon looked over at her, at how she sat, her arms folded as her finger fiddled with the top of the cup, the red marks around her neck ever so evident,

"How about you find someone else to choke for your petty little games" Kleon had said it before he'd realised how close Deimos was to him.

The Champion grabbed him by his chest peice, Kleons guards stepping aside as Deimos held him in the air, over the water. It wasn't deep but, Deimos would still drown him in it given the chance.

"Do not take me for that slave master or the silver Griffin" Deimos warned him as Kleon raised his hands. Despite the initial shock and the leaders hesitation, Kleons distaste for the Champion had grew enough that he was no longer afraid of him,

"You don't want to do this" Kleon said, adding mockingly, "not in front of our guests" Deimos let go, the leader landing shakily on his feet before Deimos pushed passed him. He looked over his shoulder,

"I think you should return to your sister" he told Diona,

"I'm sure your bed would suit us both much better" Diona suggested. Even Kleon thought she was pushing her luck. Deimos began to draw his sword,

"Your head would look pretty on this" Deimos said,

"You're other sword perhaps but" Diona held her hands up in surrender, "I know when I'm not wanted", Diona stood and brushed passed the guards that had followed Kleon in, catching one of their gazes and leading them along behind her.

"Shame. She and you could have been a good match" Kleon said as he put the note on the table and grabbed for some wine, "still, I'd rather your focus be on Mytilene"

"Do you really think the Athenian people so stupid" Deimos asked. Kleon was betting on it,

"They are scared, they do not know what is best for them" Kleon said, "and I am surprised your not up for a fight Deimos. What happened to you",

"Ohh I am" Deimos told him,

"Good" Kleon told him, "I'll send someone else to go and help Glaukos. Once Mytilene and the rebels are finished with, perhaps then you can go and see what it is he's found",

"I have no want to see Glaukos" Deimos said,

"Of course not, you only stared at that letter for an age because of what, sentimentality",

"Perhaps you'll end up on the end of my sword by accident" Deimos suggested quietly to him before he left, the guards hurrying to make room for him.

No, Kleon thought.

Deimos would meet his end in Amphipolis. He'd die gloriously in battle. A shame. A real shame but, the outcome would give Kleon what it was he desired.

Just like the others, their Champion had lost his way... It was only a matter of time before a simple mistake led to his undoing.


"Talk to people or steal things" Eos shrugged, "When have I ever been a people person", she'd looked at Barnabas for some sort of encouragement but, caught between her and Kassandra was not something the old Captain wanted today.

"Steal things from Kleon" Kassandra reminded her. She shook her head and looked back over the table - at the map of the city - at where the Akropolis Sanctuary was - Sokrates had told them that a student of his had been posing as a guard, that Kleon had moved his personal lodgings there, that he would have secret meetings, that he'd hidden something there that could prove his dishonour.

"Thepsis will need a... gentler hand" Aristophanes said, Eos looked over at him,

"Is that supposed to be some sort of joke or-",

"Eos, I'd rather you just stay here" Kassandra said honestly,

"And I'd rather leave and find my best friend Kassandra but, you know" Eos shrugged and Kassandra looked away, over to Herodotus. The story-teller had only shrugged.

Together, they'd convinced Eos that staying with them really was in every ones best interest but, Herodotus had also warned Kassandra that Eos was not one to sit around and wait.

""Eos, if they catch you -"

"I think you are thoroughly underestimating the girl" Sokrates put in, "she's not the one we had to rescue from an Athenian jail", Kassandra sighed and glared over at the man - he wasn't helping.

"And, by the sounds of it, she's also been in far more dangerous situations than any one of us have" Alkibedes chimed in as he appeared near the door. He'd been lurking outside most of the day, not interested enough in the schemes of old men and far more interested in what he could achieve in the art of love.

"OK, fine" Kassandra said, "You go find the evidence Sokrates needs" she put her hands down on the table "and I'll go find your actor" Kassandra nodded at Aristophanes.


"Well, yeah" Eos was sat on the balcony of Perikles' home, beneath canopy. She and Sokrates had decided that waiting until nightfall to plunder the sanctuary would work in her favour, except, that meant that she couldn't get away from Alkibiades, "he's better than any Spartan I've had".

"Can we not" Kassandra said as she lay her arm over her face. The misthios had spent the day searching for the actor and found him drunk beyond measure. She'd told Aristophanes that he needed a moment to sleep it off, and then, she'd got back and see what it was he wanted - because he'd also told her that he was incapable of performing... and also something about sausages... Kassandra had left the bumbling mess on his bed and came back here, wanting a moment to herself.

Which had been interrupted by Eos and Alkibiades, who, by the sounds of things, had not left the lost little cultist alone since she'd arrived.

"Kassandra. I don't think you've realised but, my sex life revolves mostly around your brother so, perhaps you should just keep your questions to yourself..." Eos suggested.

"She can but I-" Alli had leant over, about to tap Eos' nose with his finger,

"Do you forget what he did Alli" Kassandra asked. Kassandra did not blame her brother for what happened to Perikles', she couldn't - the old man had been dying anyway but, still...

"Of course" he waved his hand around, "but, that does not change his... abilities...",

"Well... its never bad" Eos said,

"He seems like someone who would like it rough" Alli leant back, his whole body doing some sort of shake as he stared up in to the canopy. Alli had heard of many a nights with that Champion ending in bloodshed and, he was dumbfounded he'd finally found someone who had not just survived the initial encounter - but further encounters after the first.

"I don't know if I'd call it that" Eos told him,

"You've not got much to compare it too though" Kassandra shrugged - in hope that it would somehow tone down the conversation,

"Yes but I'm not a prude Kass" Eos looked back to Alli, "it's not as rough as you think",

"He doesn't let you touch him" Kass slipped in - that still confused her to some degree but, it was her brother and, there was only so much she really wanted to know.

Kassandra quickly realised she should have just kept her mouth shut.

"Oh, are you sure we're talking about the same thing" Alli asked, his sing-song voice that little bit more quiet,

"No, not touch him like that" Eos said, "like... touch him..." she wasn't even sure if she could explain it. And, it wasn't as if the rule really accounted for her. Not all the time anyway.

"Ahh, in other pleasurable ways" Alli concluded, "Perhaps you need a bit of practice yourself to-" Eos could hear Kass' eyes rolling in to the back of her head,

"Alli. I heard that he killed a girl once. Didn't even get her out of her clothes because she touched his shoulder".

There obviously would have been those that hadn't fallen foul to death but, it wasn't something that was very preached about afterwards and, like Alli had mentioned to her that morning, mostly in passing, that it seemed to end in far too much blood than usual.

"Hmm. I wonder how it would work. It's probably akin to tying yourself up, is it not" Alli suggested

"Well. Perhaps not that..." Eos tried to tell him but, Alli was already imagining it - it was easier to just let him.

"Very... Exciting..." Alli had glanced over at Kassandra, reaching over and letting his hand slip under her chest plate. The Misthios smiled ever so slightly.

"He'd rip threw you Alli" Eos stood up quickly. It hadn't exactly been her plan to palm Alli off to Kassandra like this but, it'd work.

"Well. Perhaps you could show me" Alli suggested, "I've had many a practice with one Demi-God too... perhaps me and you will be well suited",

"Leave her alone Alli" Kass said as she pushed herself up, leaning back on her elbows as Allis hand continued to play underneath her robes.

"You could join us" Alli suggested,

Eos shook her head, "I think I'll stick to my Demi-God... you can stick to yours".


Getting in to the sanctuary had been far easier that she thought it would be. The only real problem they'd have was if Kleon was there - although, Eos had joked that a quick stab would solve all their problems and, Sokrates had made her promise to wait for until after Kleon had bene made a fool of.

However, it seemed that, as of right now, he was enjoying a warmer bed somewhere else and that meant that walking around his lodgings was all too easy. There were two guards stationed just outside the front door but, they were too bothered with watching some birds fight over some food to look back.

It didn't take her long to find something of use... A letter from a polemarch telling Kleon that he had moved some of Kleons personal effects and hidden them. What personal affects and whether they'd be of any used to her, she wasn't sure but, after finding a muddy shovel and some footprints, she found herself in Kleons garden and looking at a chest half buried in the ground.

Seems they'd either took a break or forgotten about it.

It didn't take her long to find a note from a polemarch.

After a few terrible attempts at picking the lock, she decided that she'd have to give this Polemarch - who generously informed Kleon via the note that he would hold on to the key until further notice - and would be patrolling the Parthenon as usual - a visit.

The Parthenon, in all its grandness, was only a few metres away from her, and after jumping over some posts and climbing up on to a roof - which she'd almost slipped from when she held out the wrong hand to catch the ledge - it was there, right in front of her.

The man she sought was patrolling the east side, walking up and down diligently, a small whistle coming from his lips as he did.

This would be easy, his route so unfazed and unbroken but, Eos did not miss who was sat on the steps of the grand temple.

Deimos.

He was brooding, that moody look on his face that meant he'd had enough. Of what, she didn't want to know but, if she made a blunder of this, he would be the first to know and her cover would be blown.

So, she waited that little bit more - almost in hope that perhaps Deimos would leave - but, eventually, she realised that the only reason she stayed lying there, on the roof, her eyes on him instead of the polemarch - was because of the urge to go to him. She wouldn't know what to say, not to mention that it would probably make things worse... but, still, the want was there anyway.

Convincing herself it wouldn't help any of them, Eos, with the cover of darkness on her side, slipped through the arch to the western side of the Parthenon and towards her man. Her feet were light and, with just one strike - a dagger threw the back and in to his heart - he'd grabbed at his chest before he'd fallen forward quite gracefully. Laelaps would be proud of her. Although, he would have wanted to watch the hair on the back of his neck to go up first, for that little hint of worry to fall in to his whistle.

Finding a key - which she could only hope was that which unlocked the chest - Eos had pushed the man over the wall, down on to the rocky ledges below.

The less suspicion right now, the better. Once the people knew of Kleons true plans, the Polemarch would be just another puppet - but, right now, he'd only be seen as a martyr.

Exiting out the way she came, Eos had turned, to look for Deimos on the steps but, her stomach shrunk and turned when she saw him gone.

It was a good thing really but, she would rather know where he was than not.

Just in case he decided to jump out.

Returning to the locked chest, Eos had knelt down and unlocked it. Inside, she found a chest piece, some sort of staff, some ship manifests but, nothing to prove that Kleons goal was much different to that of the peoples...

Eos closed the lid and sat back on her heels. It should have been here.

Unless Sokrates informant had been wrong.

Unless it had been a trap - which by the sickening feeling she now had in her stomach that someone was behind her, may well have been true.

"Is this what you were looking for" they said, Eos felt her insides twist as she let out the breath she'd been holding.

Deimos.

Eos glanced over at him, at the scroll he held in his hand.

"Kleon should have known you'd come after this" Deimos said. Eos stood up slowly.

That meant that Deimos was there on his own accord.

Still, Eos was not prepared for what would happen next.

Deimos looked at the scroll once more and then held it out to her, not having moved from underneath the arch way.

"Why" Eos asked, she hadn't taken the step towards him yet,

"I have my reasons" he said.

Eos walked over to him slowly, reaching out to take it from him but, he grabbed her arm as her fingers closed over it,

"Remember what I said" Deimos told her quietly, "Stay out of sight". Deimos let her go and took a step back, fighting the urge to glance back as he left. He wanted to make her feel as if she was just a pawn to him. Just another puppet but, part of him hoped she wouldn't think it...

Eos let out the breath she'd been holding again, watching as he disappearing out of sight and then looked to the scroll.

It was all there. All they needed to help discredit Kleon in front of the people.

And Deimos had given it to her.

Seems the two of them were at loggerheads - seems if Kleon and Kassandra didn't come to blows, they soon would - perhaps even sooner.


The next day, she had found Sokrates and Kassandra waiting for her near the Pnyx.

"No one died" Sokrates asked,

"Well... only one" Eos assured him,

"You have it though" he asked. Eos handed it over to him and before taking her place within the crowd that had gathered, awaiting to see what Sokrates had to say to them.

Kassandra, who Eos had avoided looking at, already knowing that she was staring at her, had watched. It had taken her all night to get this - Kassandra had almost left to go find her but, Alli had told her to let the girl have her fun - except, Eos did not have that skip in her step or, that glint in her eye. It made her question whether or not she'd been making further searches on her quest for where Laelaps could be but, really, Eos had just taken her time in getting back.

Listening in on useless conversations and, enjoying the beauty of the city at night... And racking her brains over how Deimos had been.

Since she'd come to Athens, Eos had ate good food, slept in clean sheets, had clean robes laundered and ready for her every morning, living this part of a life she'd never really had. Alkibiades had made sure that they'd been well catered for, well cared for but, it had not gone unnoticed to Kassandra how very broken Eos' sleep was, no matter how much her body had healed, how the bruises from a life sleeping in caves and living on the road had started to fade, the aches of it all falling away, Eos still looked as if she had the weight of the world on her shoulders and Kassandra knew the only way to lift it, was to find Laelaps.

And, eventually, Eos would decide that was what she wanted to be doing - even if it meant risking her life...

The talk convinced the people there of Kleons true actions and, with the play to discredit him even further in it's pre-production stage - readied for the morning after, they could only hope that it would make the Athenians see that Kleons attempt on Mytilene was the wrong thing.

Deimos had watched his sister and Sokrates perform the awkward discussion from the back of the crowd. He'd almost wondered how on earth the people would be convinced but, by the end of it, they were shouting Kleons name in vain and it made him smile.

Eos though, near to the front, was what made him leave. She'd only glanced towards him for a moment - she wasn't even sure it was him - but, he couldn't take the question in her eyes, the things she wanted so much for him. The hope he didn't want to promise her...

Chapter Text

"This play better be good" Eos said as she folded her arms, enjoying watching Thepsis and Aristophanes argue... Something about the mask Thepsis had to wear not bringing out his good side... Though, a mask of Kleons face was never going to bring out anyone's good side, which she was sure Sokrates would have made a point of had he been there.

"Eos", she turned to look at Kass who was walking over, Alkibiades following behind the Misthios as if he was some sort of lost, blonde puppy.

"Kassandra" Eos replied,

"And Alkibiades" Alli added in. Kassandra rolled her eyes and Eos sighed, smiling a little.

"Alli, Sokrates was looking for you" Eos told him, "Needed your help with something",

"Oh was he now. Perhaps..." he walked off before they could hear what he said, probably for the best they both thought. Kassandra mouthed a thank you as they heard him call out for him.

Kassandra was fond of the man but, sometimes, even she could not deal with the amount of attention he gave her.

"Do you still think Kleon will go to Mytilene" Eos asked - the argument over their shoulder was now on whether or not fresh or rotten fruit should be thrown as the politician fell from the peoples graces - "even if this play does make him look the fool" she gestured to the fools behind them.

"It's Kleon. Nothing would surprise me" Kassandra said. She picked up the mask Thepsis would be adorning - as soon as the two of them stopped arguing. Something about the lines now.

"Ugh... Its kind of creepy how alike it is to him, isn't it" Eos said,

"Do you think my brother would talk to me if I put it on" Kassandra held it over her face as she sat down on steps that led to the back of the stage.

"Probably more likely to punch you" Eos said.

Kassandra muffled a laugh.

The conversation at the prison had left Kassandra with some that Deimos now realised what it was the cult had done, that it was them that had led to him being thrown from that mountain...

His voice, his face, when she'd told him that Myrine had gone after him, it was almost as if something clicked, as if he realised how wanted he was... but, he'd still left, leaving her to Kleons 'mercy' - more opposing to Kleon but, from the looks of things, that had been brewing already.

Although now, despite that, she knew herself that there was a chance, a real chance. It wasn't just Eos' words anymore. She'd seen his want for the truth, the need for it.

"Your brother needs to come to you Kass" Eos told her as she leaned back, "He did it once already".

"Yes but..." and there was always a but. Always. Because, even if Deimos was doubting the cult, it didn't mean that he wanted out of the world he was in - even if Eos was proof that he could feel an emotion other than the violence and chaos that consumed him - it didn't mean he'd give up on something he'd been told he was destined to be his whole life... Perhaps he had been destined to bring order and the cult... the cult took that destiny away when he was thrown from Mount Taygheto.

Perhaps there would be nothing left for him once this was done... Once the war was finished... Eos could help, Kassandra was already convinced that they were in love with each other, no matter how much they fought it, but love... love didn't always keep you alive... purpose did...

Its what had kept Eos alive all this time - and the lycaon - but once that purpose was complete, what more did she have. Unless she found another. Perhaps living, despite the odds stacked against you, was purpose enough...

Perhaps some peoples only purpose in life was to live it.

But, Eos was right, Deimos had to make that move. He had to decide what path he wanted to take. Perhaps he'd never be able to live with himself - with what he'd done...

But then, if Eos could... perhaps he could too.

Eos hadn't told Kassandra that Deimos had given her the evidence to convict Kleon. It wasn't the hope Kass wanted when, all it was, was a game between him and the politician... A game for power.

"You know what I've realised..." Eos pushed away from the wall she was leant on,

Kass looked up at her,

"We're not fighting for the same person. Not really",

"What?" Kass asked,

"You're fighting for a brother you lost on a mountain, a baby..." Eos snorted, shaking her head. It was not a gesture to how futile Kass' fight was but, of how very, very different their expectations were. "I'm fighting for someone whose done terrible things and... may not actually be worth saving...",

Kassandra sighed, she was right. Kassandra had to understand that Deimos wasn't Alexios, he wasn't the same baby she used to cuddle at night or rock to sleep, he was something completely different.

"But that's okay" Eos smiled, "because I'm also fighting for the one the Greek world doesn't know...". It always warmed Eos' heart when she saw how attentive Kassandra became when it came to her brother, about the part of him she hadn't seen yet. Eos hoped he had seen some of that at the prison - at the love Kassandra had for him. A love he'd always been so desperate for. "The one who dragged me up when I was down, the one who showed me that the world wasn't just all... pain..." Kass looked down at the mask, wondering if Eos had done that for her brother once... "That you could laugh when the monsters were right there in front of you... That you could stand the pain that little bit longer to get through. Even if it was all for nothing in the end... The only person I knew I could trust... every single time... ".

There was so much more she could say; like the way he made her whole body shudder with this feeling she couldn't explain, just from a glance; the way he said her name, so gently, when the chaos tried to embrace them; that little shiny glint in his eye that he got on occasion; the small sarcy remarks he made that had her rolling her eyes.

Kassandra sighed, "You make him sound like such a good person. I think I'd like to meet him one day". Eos snorted, ruining the tender moment they were having,

"He's still a sadistic arrogant arse who may kill you if you look at him wrong" Eos assured her,

"I think it runs in the family" Kassandra said smiling. "And I don't mean mine", Eos shook her head,

"Nice to know you think so highly of me". Kassandra sat back, still holding the mask of Kleons face.

"Thinking of you. I've had a letter from my friend, the Persian, Darius" Kassandra said,

"The grumpy old man" Eos asked, Kass smiled, if they were to ever meet, she hoped Eos would keep the nickname to herself.

"I asked him about you, about Laelaps, about that letter I found",

"And",

"Nothing" Kassandra shrugged, "whatever you were, whoever you are to them, you were after his time in Persia",

"We Kassandra" Eos reminded her, "me and Helios",

"That doesn't make any sense" Kassandra said,

"Unless they have the wrong person" Eos suggested, "unless they do mean Asphodel and she's... gone...",

"Why would Melaina-",

"If the Order are as bad as you say they are, perhaps Melaina can't be trusted" Eos said. That girl had never not been odd - Eos had no clue what side she was on... Maybe she was on one all on her own.

"Perhaps...",

Eos sighed, "nothing about Laelaps",

"Nothing",

"You said the last you saw of the Order, they were in Makadonia right" Eos said, she shrugged, "well, after Mytilene, we could-"

"No Eos" Kassandra shook her head, averting her eyes back to the mask,

"What",

"You're not coming to Makadonia, or Mytilene",

"Yes. I am",

"No, not yet. I can't chance that - not on a battlefield. Not after how easily the cult took Laelaps." it was decided. Eos would stay here until it was done. Kassandra could not risk such a thing.

"You have got to be-",

"Eos, you can't... fight... your left arm isn't strong enough to hold a sword" it sounded better in her head,

"Is that the only excuse you can come up with",

"Eos... You don't understand what their like... The Order, their ruthless, manipulative, they'll do anything to get their own way..."

Eos shook her head - the thing was, she did, much more than Kassandra.

"You say that if I've no experience with those sorts of things" Eos threw her hands up in the air. "Kassandra, I was one of those people. A ruthless, manipulative murderer that would stab you in the back if it got what I needed". Kass had hesitated but, not long enough for Eos to go on,

"Then you know how dangerous they are. I'm only asking you to sit this one out Eos" Kassandra said, she looked to her, the hurt in her eyes, it broke Kassandra's heart. "Once Kleon is dead, we will find Laelaps, we will destroy the cult, destroy the Order and... bring my brother home".

"I can't just sit here and do nothing" Eos swallowed back a lump in her throat, she shook her head,

"I know that Eos but, we need you, he needs you... alive... safe",

"Are you telling me that Laelaps doesn't" Eos asked, Kassandra closed her eyes, she couldn't deal with the look on Eos' face. "That his life is worth less". Kassandra looked back to the mask, to the dents she'd made in to the clay.

"No Eos... I'm saying your life is worth more... and I think Laelaps would agree".


"This play will show the people what a pig Kleon really is" Aristophanes announced quietly to the small group of rebels who had gathered just behind the amphitheatre. Him and Thepsis had finally stopped arguing, the crowds were pouring in and, it looked as if even Kleon was going to witness his theatrical defeat in front of the people.

"Or, it'll get you killed for slander. Both of which I'd find very entertaining" Eos patted him on the back, watching the man pale.

"Your obsession with death is futile Eos" Sokrates said as they made their way around to the front.

"Because I have no obsession with death" Eos assured him, "I obviously have an obsession for risking death. There is a difference.",

"She's almost died a lot more than any person should" Kass said, "And survived a lot more than any normal person could". Eos hadn't spoken to her since the argument that morning and, even if Eos had smiled a little at the words, Kassandra knew the space between them was still sour.

"But, considering the circumstances" he gestured to the crowd as they made their way up the stairs and to their seats, "would you rather risk death all of the time or embrace the lfe you've been given." Sokrates asked,

"Sokrates, I am not (she was never) in the mood for one of your philosophical teachings today... Besides I risk death just by living. Its not like I have much of a choice" - Eos regretted having carrying on the conversation almost immediately.

She liked Sokrates but, sometimes, he just didn't understand when a conversation was over.

Hell, she'd watched him and Aristophanes argue the same point for over an hour - which had merely been interrupted by Barnabas having vomited all over the men's sandals, after he'd taken the wrong vial from Hippokrates stash to help with an irritatingly sore elbow. Seems the vial he chose was for those who'd ate something dangerous and needed to release it a much faster way than the usual.

"We all have a choice" Sokrates insisted. Eos had the want to bang her head against the stairs, if only to hope that she could get away from the man's words for a little while. "Each and every one of us. It all lies in what choice we make when the paths are open to us.",

"So. I chose to be raised and tortured by the cult of Kosmos so they could turn me in to one of their little...pets" Eos asked... "or die" she added quietly as they took their seats at the back, a view of Athens in the backdrop.

"You chose to continue that path",

"Of course I did" Eos told him, "I also chose to get-",

"Eos" Kassandra said. Eos stopped and sat back - as pissed as she was at Kassandra, she was right, telling Sokrates about what had driven her away from the cult in the end was something she'd rather keep from this philosophical madman. "Sokrates. Sometimes the right choices are not on either of the paths we can take. If a child is raised in poverty, is that not the only world they know until they have a peice of wealth?" Kassandra questioned,

"But they would know of wealth and attempt to procur it",

"Are you essentially saying I was too lazy to be a good person" Eos asked, "not to mention the things that happened to me once I decided to take the 'right' path. You wouldn't have made it out alive". Eos did not think that until Sokrates had experienced the level of manipulation and pain she'd been through, he couldn't really have any sort of opinion on it, philosophical or not.

"And how do you know that" Sokrates asked,

"Because I don't think your mind could haul you out of a fiery volcano" Eos said; or be ripped open and then dragged by a lycaon to Hippokrates, who was sitting quietly next to him, seemingly enjoying the play which had finally begun.

"Perhaps I would not find myself in a fiery volcano" Sokrates said,

"No Sokrates, because I'm me and your you" Eos waved her hands in the air, "and you didn't get raised by a cult who taught you that love could only bring pain, that glory and peace were the only thing that mattered, that to bring order to a chaotic world, you had to kill people, to wage war",

"And you didn't see a problem with that" Sokrates asked,

"it's all I knew... and... the power, the knowledge that brings you towards this order... their order... it can make even the best of men fall..." Eos sat back even more, wondering if she'd fall in to an abyss and be free of the infuriating man. "Sometimes Sokrates, to do the right thing, you have to sacrifice innocent people... family",

Kassandra wasn't sure if Eos meant Lagos or herself... Maybe both...

"And if you can look me in the eye and tell me you are willing to do that then... Then we can talk about making the 'right' choices when everything else is making you make the 'wrong' ones".

"There's a lesson in that" Sokrates mused, "Perhaps even-"

"Sokrates. I may only have one full hand but, I will strangle you with it quite easily if you do not shut up and listen to this damn masterpiece Aristophanes has made for us".

The play was a hit, jokes were made and, as the crowd cheered from the beginning to the end, Kleon had scuttled off, hiding his head.

"And killing him now wouldn't be justifiable" Eos asked as she nodded towards him.

"No, we must remember that, despite everything, he is still a man, he still has supp-",

"He's no man Sokrates. I thought you smart enough to know that at least".


Kassandra and Barnabas had arrived back after readying their ship, about to ride off to Mytilene, after Kleon. Seems he thought that it would help him pull back the support he'd lost in Athens in the last few days.

It also seemed that Brasidas had made his way there too, to fight with the rebels.

"I think I might just go take a bath" Eos said as Kassandra joined her and Alli for the last time,

"Oh, I can show you if you'd-",

"No Alli, I want some peace and quiet",

"I can give you a little peice of satisfaction, don't know about the quiet part though",

"I'll be fine",

Alkibiades sighed, ever so dramatically, as if his heart had been torn in to pieces. "There is a perfectly good bath here though" Alkibiades promised her, he looked over at Kassandra "And we can't let you go on your way without a good wash either".

Eos was even more sure now that she wanted to be alone.

"No, no, I need the air..." Eos told him,

"The air will most likely be full of wine-drunk beggars" Alkibaides informed her, "You may need someone to help shoo them away",

"I'll kill them instead" Eos promised him, making Alli go a little shade lighter.

Kassandra knew she was joking, "don't stay too long" Kassandra said - Athens was the last place they'd come, Kassandra was sure of it but, still...

"I'm thinking that if I stay until I look like an old lady, you won't notice me coming aboard the Adrestia" Eos said,

Kass looked away, "I'm sorry Eos but... I'd rather see you as a real old lady".

Eos smiled, it was probably the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her.

"I think there's a compliment in there somewhere" Eos sighed, there was no point in being angry with her - Kassandra wanted what was best for her - even if it did benefit her quest to reunite her family - Eos knew that Kassandra would fight for her just as much as she would anyone else and... that was something she'd only had with two other people, well a lycaon. "Just try not to kill your brother, okay" Eos told her,

Kass smiled, "I'll try my best not to",

"Ohh no, I need to at least experience him once before Hades takes him..." Alli said,

"And then Hades will take you too..." Eos assured him. Alli sighed dramatically, whimpered a little and then left, calling out to Kassandra that he would get her bath ready for her. Eos was about to tell her to enjoy it when Kassandra grabbed her hands,

"Thank you" Kassandra said, "I'll be back soon. We'll find Laelaps. I promise", Eos sighed, smiling,

"We will. For now, just focus on giving that Malakas Kleon what's coming to him",

"I will",

"And please don't take too long. There's only so much time we have until I end up killing the scholar" Eos told her, "and maybe even him" she added quietly, nodding after Alkibaides.


Eos found the baths, overlooked by two stone Athenians and a stone eagle. The wine-drunk beggars were nowhere to be found and, apart from a patrol of Athenian guards, who had been going in the other direction, it looked as if that peace she sought would be doable.

Because, after having this soak, maybe even a good nights rest, she would start her own enquiries on the morrow.

Pulling her robe off and sinking in to the bath, the clad peices of cloth that Alli had let her borrowed to bathe in left far too little to be desired for but, considering the distinct lack of wine-drunk beggars, Eos could have bathed naked had she have the nerve.

Eos laid her head back, letting the thoughts run through her mind, letting schemes take shape and dreams float by, just enough to see but, always too far to touch.

With Kleon gone, the cults control over the people would slip dramatically. There would be odds and ends left here and there but, they would not have so much of a hold.

And Deimos.

Deimos would find himself in a position where he'd either fall in to the chaos further or, finally see the light... He already doubted them - even if he wasn't ready to admit it.

Eos said a lot of things but, he was never going to ruin that hope for her until one of them drew their last breaths... Or, until that hope became truth...

Right now, with everything that had happened, that's all she had...

And a lycaon to find...

The things of which she would do to him when she did were unspeakable... The trouble, the ache, the pain, the worry. Laelaps thought only he could hold a grudge... Eos would show him what a grudge really looked like... One that would annoy him so much, he would wish Hades really had taken him.

Unless Hades already had...

The thought of which ruined Eos' soak before it had even set in... and convinced herself further that staying in the baths until she looked like a prune was not going to help any of them.

What she was sure of though, was that she needed him... Now more than ever... She always would... No matter the times she cursed him... She needed her best friend back...

She could not just sit idly and wait for Kassandra to return but, she also understood that Athens, as a city, would keep her far safer from the Order than a mountain pass, a cave or even a secret encampment in the forest.

The next morning, she'd already decided that she would haul Sokrates and the others back in to that little room and start making some enquiries of her own.

They were the most resourceful group of men she'd ever met and, if they could not get her news on cooked meat being stolen from someone's fire or plate - because Laelaps would always rather steal food off someone else then catch his own - and, whether anyone had felt an earie presence - then no one could.

Laelaps wouldn't have left her with nothing. Perhaps he had left a trail. Not enough to follow but, enough to know that he was okay.

And, considering the Order had been in Makedonia, it seemed only smart to start near there. The Order were a group of people Eos was sure Laelaps had never come across so, he perhaps would have started there too.

Eos stretched out and put her hands behind her head.

Closing her eyes, she'd imagined the lycaon surrounded by cooked pig and cow and enjoyed the water sitting idly over her, feeling the wind flutter against her bare skin as she made herself stay, just for a moment.

Moments, perhaps minutes, had passed before Eos realised she wasn't alone. The pull of sandals on the ground was a giveaway.

"Leave me alone or I will kill you" she said, hoping that whoever it was would get the message, and, as the peace and silence returned, she thought they had. They'd moved away ever so quietly but... she was sure they were gone.

Then, she felt the ripple in the water, heard the sound of someone sit opposite her,

"Alli, if that's you, I will..." Eos opened her eyes.

It wasn't Alkibiades.

"What are you" Eos grabbed at her robes for no reason at all. This man had seen enough of her naked to know every single part.

"Really" Deimos asked as he leant his head back, chuckling to himself as he stretched out in the water. Eos slung the robes back on the floor and sat up.

The moonlight shone over him as if he really was some God who'd been gifted to the earth to tempt those he favoured in to death. Except, she did not think a God would be so battle scarred.

Those sores, those scars all over his chest... The stroke of a whip or a chain where a mother had brought unbearable pain until the son was broken, able to mold him in to something else.

There were other wounds too, from training, the battles he'd thought, the wars he'd been a part of. Some deep, some only for decoration. Proof of the warrior he was. Of the Champion he'd become.

"Why aren't you at Mytilene" Eos asked,

"I will be" Deimos said quietly, he still hadn't looked at her yet, enjoying the brisk air on his eyelids, letting the water wash over and relax him.

"You're fighting for Kleon...",

"I fight for myself" Deimos spat, he opened his eyes - a part of him wanted to undermine her, make her feel small and just...

But he couldn't... He knew there was a reason why he'd tried not to look at her...

Unlike him, the bruises Eos wore were the proof of her downfall... and, every time he saw the jagged lines of arrows or daggers, or swords, or bruises; those little speckles of red on her from the fire, the scar over her belly where they'd cut the... Deimos stopped...

"Not the cult" Eos asked quietly,

"You need to stop" Deimos warned as he he stood up and waded over. This triumphant smirk on his face as he noticed Eos looking him over. He had not left anything to be desired for... The God's could see him in all their glory... Just like they liked them... But so could the rest of Athens if they were to walk around a corner...

"I do" Eos agreed, she put her head back. She also should have just left the moment he turned up - Deimos had a lot of courage and bravery but, she did not think him courageous enough to run after her naked...

Deimos hesitated for just a moment...

He had something he had to do - for his own sanity - for what would come if...

But right now, he could have her.

He knelt down, running his hand along her leg, up on to her breast, feeling the little shivers she gave her as he did.

She had so much control - even if it would seem to others that he did.

And he had none. She could resist the urges much more than he could and, he'd never understand how...

She would falter... But, she was quick to fix it -too quick he'd thought sometimes...

He trusted her... Trusted her more than some whore Kleon offered him, more Than Diona, more than anyone but, it was something he couldn't give her... It was too much...

Deimos grabbed her hand as his lips found her neck, felt her grab his shoulder before letting go. He grabbed her other hand and she let him, feeling the heave in her chest as she tried to control it, felt the quiver in her legs as their skin touched.

The thing was... He let that control him... That fear... The only fear he couldn't deal with... But he could for her, he could right now...

He had to prove that he could. Prove that he wasn't afraid. To see whether the want she had for him was real or, just something she did to get his attention - to try and draw out that chaos the cult accused her of so many times.

He raised her hand, his fingers threading through the fingers and stumps that were left... He let go of her other and pulled her up as he sat back. He lay her hand on his shoulder and for just a moment, she grasped it as he lifted her atop of him but, it slipped away, he grabbed it again,

"What are you scared of" he asked quietly. Eos looked to him,

"I'm not" she breathed - but he was... Scared of how it might make him feel, scared of the pain it could cause if he did.

But, he had this want in his eye, just for a moment, and, staring in to them, Eos took her other hand and put it on his shoulder, felt him tense, felt him squeeze her thigh as he pulled her closer,

She kissed him then, if only to take his mind of it, and it worked, if only for a moment.

Deimos leant back a little more, the water brushing against his neck when he heard laughter. Eos hadn't, she didn't care but, he moved his mouth, only for her to find it again,

"Stop" he said, pushing himself on to her so he was leant over her, one hand holding him up and the other holding on to her. He looked over to the noise, saw her hand, the sun kissed skin still holding on to his,

"What are you-",

"Guards" he said quietly,

"And, they won't know me",

"But they'll know me",

"And as soon as they see the big scary Demi-God, they'll run away",

"Maybe" he said quietly, still watching.

He was afraid... Eos thought anyway... She let her hand slip off, down his chest, past the ripples of scars and he turned back and glared at her, she let go, putting her hands up.

"Come with me" he wasn't giving her a choice - even if he liked to think that he was,

"They're just guards. You know what Athenians are like" - they'd see them and run away, they wouldn't wait to see who any of them were.

"Perhaps I'd rather not share you with the world",

"Don't go all-", Deimos pulled her to her feet as he stood up.

"Please" - that word clung at her, clawing at her heart, trying to rip it out of her chest so he could have every ounce of control she had left.

"I hate you",

"You keep telling yourself that" Deimos told her.

Not giving her anytime to get her robes back over her head, he'd pulled her away from the water and around the corner, finding an open door and an empty room.

"Whose Alli" Deimos asked as he grabbed at her hands and held them behind her back, he'd glanced at the door one last time, sure they were well hidden and smirking,

"Alkibiades" Eos told him, he pushed himself up against her. Every other girl would have fallen at his feet but, other than those small little shivers and that pulsating in her chest - which ricocheted through the both of them - she stood up against it, her body as hard as his was.

"Another one of your desperate little attempts" he suggested as he let go of her hands, now smirking at the fact that they stayed in their exact place, he hoisted her up, his fingers digging in to her thighs as he pressed her to wrap her legs around him,

"Are you jealous" Eos asked, she let her hands come around with her, placing them on the wall as he stumbled back on to it,

"Of that skinny little Athenian" he mused,

"Well then, stop talking about other men and just",

And he did, letting his one hand push her head on to his and kissing her.

"Don't think you've won" he mumbled,

"I've come to the conclusion I never do" she mumbled back, "but second place isn't too bad".


"Why do we do this for" Eos said as she sat up, "what's the point". She could feel him rolling his eyes next to her, as if the world was rolling its too..

"Why not" Deimos said, staring at the ceiling, he felt her shudder next to him, from the cold this time though, not him. He touched her back, traced the dark red scarred tissue where the fire had burned her, she shuddered again,

"Because we're not on the same side" she reminded him,

"Why do we have to be" he asked quietly,

"Because it's the only way it won't hurt",

"And you wouldn't..." Deimos stopped.

He knew she wouldn't... By falling back in with the cult, she could do what she was good at, killing people, order - she'd always been so good at it, keeping things in check, controlling herself, the others, controlling the rage inside of him; she was made for this, for a life of order .. But, the cult had done too much... They'd drove her in to chaos and... they'd done it to him too. To them all.

The one thing they were trying to stop, they created... This downfall of theirs was of their own making.

They didn't need the cult... They just...

Deimos pushed himself on to his side, brushed his lips against her skin, took a deep breath, felt that small little shiver as he closed his eyes,

"I'm sorry" he whispered,

"For what" Eos went to turn around, there were so many things, she'd kind of lost count but, before she could lock eyes with him and make him stop, Deimos grabbed her by the neck and pulled her in to him. Eos went for the dagger that wasn't there before she kicked her leg backwards, only making him roll over so she was on top of him, letting him get a better hold on her.

The small squeeze he gave her, Eos felt the breath she'd been desperately trying to hold fall out, felt his fingers dig in to the spot by her jaw, saw the black spots mask her vision as the temple ceiling started to fade.

"I have to" she heard him say as she passed out...

Chapter Text

Chapter 35 - The Price

Deimos was stood, leaning on the bars, watching as Eos started to stir in the morning light behind them.

She would be awake soon. She'd be pissed and she'd want answers... answers that would only make her more determined to ruin what he was trying to give her - even if it didn't seem like all that much - even if he wasn't sure what he was trying to give her in the first place. He hadn't thought it through, the more he waited, the more he realised that.

But then, if he left her with nothing, but a locked room; if he left without a word, she'd only assume the very worse and... he couldn't do that to her. Not this time.

He didn't owe it to her, he didn't owe anything to anyone but...

Deimos banged his fist on the stone - this was stupid. He should have just left. She'd have no means of escape, the doors were too heavy even for her and, as long as she didn't manage to get her hands on the men outside, he knew they'd be more than enough to keep her here, to keep her safe... for now at least.

The men here, they weren't exactly the finest of Athenian stock but, they were loyal, trust-worthy and, terrified of him, which would help in them keeping their mouths shut.

"Really" Eos' voice was croaky, an ache in her throat as she pushed herself up, letting out a little yawn as she shook her head, trying to get her bearings. Deimos pushed away from the bars, folding his arms. "Are you with them too" Eos asked, looking around the room - this time, she had no idea where she was - she could see a closed door - most likely locked - that she was sure would lead to the outside, some mats on the floor, the cell door that Deimos was stood behind over to the side. It was almost like a luxurious prison cell Eos had thought.

"What" Deimos asked, he turned his head a little, checking on some of the Athenian guards - who were keeping their distance - before he took a small step closer.

The Demi-God wouldn't have to watch his step so much, not now - there was no chance of Kleon walking in on them and ruining it - but, he had to maintain the control he had on the situation. He knew what Eos was like, knew how she'd try and make him feel and... he couldn't let them happen... not right now... he had to tell her what was and then leave... simple as that.

"The Order" Eos said, she sat back on her feet. It looked like she was in some sort of sleeping quarters maybe. The mats on the floor weren't luxurious but, they were cushioned - there was a table with some things stacked on it, a huddle of blankets in the corner.

It was certainly not the empty room they'd been in earlier.

"No" Deimos said. Those were the last people he was going to hand her over to.

"So the cult decided I was too much trouble then" Eos suggested, she tilted her head as she stared off towards the locked door in front of her - the handle on this side had been yanked off - meaning the only way she'd be able to open it, if it were to be unlocked, was by prising it open from the inside. "Kleon wanted to make sure it wasn't me who shoved a dagger through his eye", she looked over at Deimos, her hand feeling around her waist, speaking of daggers, that was gone too - but, at least she had her robes back on, if anything.

"This isn't for them" Deimos said, his voice quiet as he took another step towards the cell door. He rested his hand on it, his fingers closing around the bars.

Deimos had been lying to himself. She had so much courage, so much fight in her, he didn't know how much more of it he had in him, not with her.

"Then who's it for" Eos shrugged her shoulders. "You" she'd said quietly. Deimos had been about to answer but, he'd stopped. He'd wanted to lie but, he'd had enough of those. Eos watched him turn his head again, staring down at the floor as he closed her eyes, her heart sinking that little bit more. "Why even bother" Eos asked then.

"And you say I'm blind" Deimos stared back up at her, his voice so quiet, Eos resisted the urge to get closer, just to make sure she didn't miss it.

"Then tell me why" Eos said, she sat back on the ground - those few hours they'd spent together, Eos had a feeling they weren't part of whatever he had planned, but, it also meant she had to be delicate about this - she couldn't force him in to anything, he'd do what he wanted but, maybe she could try and hold on and be a voice of reason...

"Because they won't think to look for you here" Deimos said,

"Who".

Deimos bit the inside of his lip and then leaned his head back - he felt so hopeless - he reached in to his pocket and pulled out a note. His eyes scanning over it before he held it out.

After a moment more, Eos pushed herself up, her legs that little shaky from having passed out as she took the few small steps towards him. Slowly, she reached out for it, their fingers touching for just a moment before Eos snatched it from him, having felt his want to take the letter back. Deimos sighed and leaned himself up against the bars as she smoothed the paper out.

His care for the guards was starting to dwindle. They'd do what he'd say or he'd kill them - simple.

Eos' eyes skimmed over it at first, as if they weren't able to focus but, the words she found made her stop, made her skin go cold.

Greetings my friend,

I know this journey has troubled you, I know you fear for your life but, remember that it is chaos that troubles you most.

As planned, a courier has already been sent to lead the girl away; news that her beast was seen near to Elis will lead her straight to us.

If she resists, our mercenaries will make sure she runs in that direction anyway. Her love for the beast matches that of the love she has for that which is tainted - for that which is so chaotic, our hopes may be meaningless - I hope we are proved wrong.

Eos felt Deimos' eyes on her then, almost as if he was waiting for her to react to that very sentence but, she didn't... she wasn't sure enough that it meant what she thought and, even if it did, she didn't know how too... especially with what came next.

My friend, I also know the rumours of the beasts attacks have reached you but, do not fret, it is injured and we have it within our grasp. By the end of this week, we shall have them both.

In the beginning, there was chaos, and we are the Order.

"Laelaps" Eos said quietly. Deimos closed his eyes for a moment - he knew what would come next... "We can't... we can't leave him to them" Eos said. She looked at him. For a moment, she saw that sadness in his eyes, that want to stay, the want to help even but... Deimos looked away and shook his head.

Eos was never one to ask for help... not off anyone... She only did when she knew she couldn't do it alone...

She wasn't asking him to leave the cult, leave behind what he'd done, leave his search for glory... or whatever it was he sought these days... even he didn't know... she was just asking him to help her find a stupid little mongrel who thought he could do it all his own. Find a friend that would do absolutely anything to ensure she was safe...

But he couldn't...

Deimos had knew at the time that Laelaps had no plans to return to Eos just yet. Laelaps hadn't been sure of what he was going after but, whatever it was, Deimos was sure the beasts plan had been to lure them further away, to trick them in to searching some place else. Give Eos time. Time she'd not known what to do with other than worry about where the lycaon was.

Deimos soon realised that the lycaon never understood the love Eos had for him. She'd die for him just as quick as he'd die for her...

And once, Eos would have done it for Deimos too. He wondered if she still would, he wondered if he'd ever want her to.

Deimos wondered more if those words on the letter were only words written in haste, by people who didn't understand... or if the truth he seemed to fight was all to easy to see...

Maybe Eos fought that truth too.

Maybe the truth was better left behind...

"They don't know where you are" Deimos said quietly, "the man who that letter belongs to is dead. They think you would have fled by now".

"So what are you going to do. Leave me here" it surely wouldn't take her long to find something to pick the lock with, to escape - what did he think he could gain from this... Why bother when he was so pent up about his quarrel with Kleon, the quarrel for top spot... Letting them have her would benefit him, the cult...

"I have no other choice" Deimos said quietly - because he didn't want her to stop, he didn't want the cult to have her, he didn't want the Order to have her... She was the only one who understood..

"But you do" Eos sighed, she took a step towards him but he turned away from her, his hand still wrapped around the bar as he leaned back on his feet, the want to rip it open beating him up,

"Stop it" he said quietly, a bitterness in his voice.

"No" Eos swallowed back a sob in the back of her throat, felt it burn as she choked it back, "just don't" - she didn't know what else to say.

"Please" his voice was so small now.

Eos took a step back and put her hands on the back of her head - she had to think about this, she couldn't just let him leave, not yet.

"How long are you going to keep me here for" Eos asked him. Deimos turned his head slightly, "Where even are we",

"Do you not remember" Deimos asked. He turned to the buildings around them - Eos looked with him, at the towers, at the walls. They were in a fort.

Not just any Fort though.

It was fort Phyle... Just over from here, on the top of a hill, she'd killed Kallinos...

It was the last place she'd want to come back to.

"You'll only be here for a little while" Deimos said, "Just until I..." he let the sentence go and turned to where the guards had been - seems they'd scattered.

"Until what Deimos" Eos asked,

"Trust me" Deimos said, he leaned his head back on the bars, if he reached out just a little, he could touch her, "Please",

"Deimos..." Eos took another step back, let her arms fall, "It's not... this isn't up to you" he turned his head up a little, his eyes locking with hers,

"I can't let you...",

"I told you once we were on the wrong side" Eos said, "Do you remember", he sighed,

"Eos...",

"Then why are you doing this... why do you care".

Deimos took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He knew what she wanted him to say but, he couldn't. He'd already faltered enough getting her here, he had to hold on to that little bit of control he had left right now, he couldn't give in to her again, it'd only make it harder to leave.

"What you want Eos... You don't...",

"And you know that" Eos asked as she came up close to the bars. Deimos sighed and raised his hand, stroking his fingers down her cheek slowly, feeling the heat try to entice him before he let them drop away.

"You don't want whats to come Eos, you never did" because he knew what had to happen... He knew there'd be no other way out... His destiny was clear... even if he wasn't sure he wanted it anymore...

"But I want you" the words left Eos' mouth without even a thought.

"No..." he took a step back, "you don't want me..." no one wanted him, no one wanted what he'd become, "you only want what I could be" - like everyone else. They all wanted him to be a version of himself that benefitted them.

"I've only ever wanted you..." Eos said, she looked down at the armour he wore, the way the gold shone in the morning light. "I want you. Just you. Not a champion. Not dread reincarnate, not" she put her on the bar, so close to his now, "Alexios...". Deimos closed his eyes at the name, at the name his parents had given him, at what his sister would call him. It meant so much to them but... it meant nothing to him, not really and, nothing to Eos either. That was a world neither of them knew. A world before this. Before all the hurt and the pain. Deimos wasn't sure that Eos' efforts proved there was one after it. "And, I'm not...". Eos wondered then if Deimos could have done something terrible enough that she would be able to turn away from him but... she knew the pain that would lead to it, that would follow... she lived it everyday...

"The past won't-",

"Then deal with the past" Eos told him,

"You don't want that" Deimos smiled - that would mean dealing with his sister, with those who stood in his way... Something he'd have to face up to eventually. He hadn't been avoiding it... he'd just had... other things on her mind... a nag he couldn't bare to throw away just yet.

"But maybe you need to" Eos said quietly, she knew the bitterness, the sourness, even the hate Deimos held for Kassandra - for what his family had done to him... But, Eos could only hope that Deimos realised, before it was too late, that they loved him... that it would be enough for him to deal with what he'd done... to walk away from it... He'd always wanted a family... He could have that...

"Eos, I" Deimos sighed and laid his head on the bars again,

"You don't have to go to Mytilene" Eos told him - he shook his head, that wasn't an option,

"I'll be back" he threaded his fingers around the bars again,

"You said that last time" the words were quiet but, he heard them and it hurt, he turned his head, a heave in his chest as he looked to the floor - the last time he'd said it, he'd ended up getting tangled in the ache of a family he'd lost, at the price of losing the one he could have had.

Eos was leaning on the bars, her head on the metal, their faces so very close.

"I..." Deimos reached out and stroked her cheek again, embracing that spark between them, her skin so soft that he closed his eyes, leaning his head on the cell door again, their foreheads touching,

"Please Deimos" it tugged at him and he smiled, letting out a small breath before his face dropped.

He'd regret this. Regret the words - so much but... he wanted to see what she would say... he needed too... just to know... just in case...

"I need you" he said it ever so quietly, as if he thought it wouldn't make it real but, it was just loud enough that Eos caught it.

She didn't realise how much she'd needed to hear it until then.

"Then don't leave... you don't need them", she wanted to reach for his hand, could feel his other hand clenching around her robe through the bars, as if he didn't want to let go.

"I..." the struggle in his eyes. Eos wondered how much it hurt, if it killed her just to watch.

"Deimos" his name on her lips, never with malice or control, he turned his eyes away from her, staring at the ground,

"I have to" Deimos took a step back,

Eos shook the bars, as if she was snapping him out of the moment,

"No you don't. You don't and you know that" she said, "you don't need to do this for them". Deimos closed his eyes and spat through gritted teeth,

"I am not their puppet" he slammed his fist against the wall.

"Then stop acting like one" Eos told him,

"You should understand" he said, his face close again now, the beg in his voice making her turn away from him. She was the only one who could now. The only one he had left.

"I do" Eos told him quietly - which made it all the more worse.

Eos turned around, saw Deimos avoid her eyes as he took a step back, closing over another door, leaving her with another small outlet in to the world. He stayed there for a little bit longer, she could see him but, eventually, after stroking the wood of the door one last time, he turned away and left her - leaving her to the Athenian guards that inhabited Fort Phyle.

The Order wouldn't think to look for her here - it wasn't a place Eos would ever come back to, not on her own.

Eos sat, sitting up against the wall. it shouldn't have hurt this much, not when so much was on the line.

Eos couldn't stay here, even if the Order had thought she'd fled, how could Deimos be so sure that they wouldn't come - how long was she supposed to stay here? Until he came back from Mytilene - if he came back... Eos put her head back. She didn't know what to do.

She wasn't sure she'd even handled any of that the way she should have... Eos reached out for the note she'd dropped at one point and looked at in the dark, not really being able to make out the words in the small light she had but, she knew what it said.

The Order really were after her, after Laelaps...

And, she still couldn't understand why - not when everything she knew to be true was now supposedly a lie.

Eos only hoped that Laelaps stayed out of their way.


Leaving the Fort, giving strict instruction to the few men that were there - all of which had been too cowardly to join Kleon in his bid for redemption up north - Deimos left, leading his horse down the path and to the end of the road...

Kleon thought he was tying up some loose ends for the cult, that he'd gone to solve some dilemma one of the others was having but, it had been only a ruse so Deimos could get this done.

He'd heard that his sister didn't intend on taking Eos with her but, all she'd left her with were some politicians and a playwright - in the most known residence in Athens - she'd be a sitting duck to the Order. No matter how smart she was, how she would have handled it, having had any sort of lead on Laelaps, she would have taken it - the Order knew that.

And, considering her decision making lately, it wasn't exactly as thoughtful and pristine as it used to be.

And now. Whether she liked it or not. She'd be hidden away until he got back. Then, he'd let her out and, she could decide what it was she wanted. If she still wanted him.

Perhaps that past he needed to deal with so much would end up catching up with him before he was ready... Maybe he didn't want it to - not if it meant losing sight of what he wanted now...

Deimos realised he was still stood, at the end of the road, his horse looking at him, a little stumped,

"Come on girl" he said gently before he pulled himself on to her back. He took one last look at the Fort, fighting the urge to go back as he turned away from it.

All he really wanted right now was for Eos to realise all he wanted, all he needed, was for her to still be alive by the time he got back.


It had been almost three days, the wooden door only opening so the Athenian guards outside could pass her in some hot food, having resorted to tossing the cooked piece of meat at her and closing the door over as quickly as they could - to stop her from throwing it (or anything else) back at them - and, Eos was now starting to doubt whether or not she'd be able to get out without grabbing a hold of one of those guards and not getting stuck with a spear.

She'd tried the second door many a times already but, other than the little bit she'd been able to push it slightly, only to realise she'd definitely have to pull it - the lack of handles making that more difficult - the lock was still in place and, the nail she'd taken from the table hadn't been small enough to fit inside it.

It did mean she had a table leg but, the guards were smart. Other than the usual whistle from the one who patrolled around the fort, passing by her building, they made sure to mix up the times in which they opened her door and threw things in at her.

And, she'd already lost one leg by throwing it threw the bars and smacking one of the guards in the face and, she'd rather not lose them all the same way.

Another day passed before Eos started to question whether or not the Order would find her. Perhaps Deimos had led them running somewhere else - perhaps he'd single-handed-ly caused Laelaps death in that...

Eos sighed as she lay down, hearing the door open, the guards pushing something hot and sloshy in to her cell with the hilt of their sword - it smelt like soup. Eos didn't bother getting up this time, only waiting for them to close over the second wooden door before she went over and got it.

It was some sort of broth, some vegetables, a little bit of what she thought might be chicken. It wasn't as nice as the food she'd been used to for the last few weeks but, it wasn't terrible. Seems just like before, Deimos definitely wasn't about to starve her.

Although, she could just imagine the headache the sun would give her when she finally saw more than the little rays of light the doors offered her.

Perhaps waiting here until he got back was all she could do - if he even did.

However, as dawn broke on the next day, Eos realised that waiting wasn't an option.

Someone was stood outside the second door, their head blocking off her little bit of light as she, again, looked at the note.

She couldn't make out their face but, their voice told her she didn't know them.

"You would fall in to chaos for him, wouldn't you" the man's voice said, a gentle, soothing voice - as if he was able to read the thoughts running through her head at that exact moment... About Deimos, about Laelaps... She didn't know which the man meant but, she was sure that the routine whistle of the guard who would pass by her cell was due soon...

"I'm already in it" Eos put her head back on the wall, her hand wrapping around the table leg next to her. She listened as the door unlocked - how it just hung there for a moment.

"Can you forego it just a moment longer" the man asked,

"Believe me. You'd rather me kill you than Deimos for letting me out" Eos said, she hadn't moved, her eyes scanning the room once more, picking out a place in her mind to use to her advantage when they came in.

"Deimos' path won't bring him back here" the man said, "that path will end soon, destroyed where it began",

"And I bet that'll" Eos stopped, the whistle of the guard was back, as expected. Eos blinked - there no one was there, no one was blocking the light - she heard the guard pass by, the whistling coming to its peak before dying away again.

Eos looked the door up and down - perhaps she'd imagined it.

Waiting a moment, just to make sure the guard was indeed gone, Eos had grabbed on to the edge and pulled it a little - hearing the small creek as it began to open.

She stopped.

Eos pushed it back shut a little and stepped back.

That hadn't been some do-gooder who'd just risked their life for her. It had to be the Order - maybe even the cult - she couldn't be sure for certain. All she knew was that the game their were playing was now waiting for her to make her move.

Except, what was it they expected her to do? Leave and find Laelaps? Walk straight in to their arms and thank them for letting her out. When Deimos was right? To run after the lycaon would only put them both at risk and... the Order... she still didn't understand what they wanted but... she doubted it was anything good.

All she knew for sure was that this little make-shift cell wasn't safe.

Athens wasn't safe.

Mytilene - that couldn't have been safe either...

Except, Kassandra would be there, Deimos would be there and... if the efforts she'd seen were anything to go by, it looked as if they were trying to avoid the Demi-God siblings... Perhaps neither of them had ever considered that.

But then... without a ship... without a horse... without anything... getting to Mytilene was a journey she may have paid with her life with.

Eos sighed and sat back down on the wall opposite.

She had to think about this.

Really think about it.

She just didn't know how long she'd have until they decided her move was over. Maybe she'd need the rest of those table legs.


The cliffs overlooking the Fort were prime for overseeing the comings and goings of the Athenian stronghold and... it had just enough cracks and crevices to hold something much darker of a shadow than what the two lone men represented.

A darkness that was said to come from the underworld itself and would make one of the two lone Persians (once a bald man had walked away - informing them that they were to corral the prisoner to the end of the road as quickly as possible) shiver and mention that it was cold, that a chill had broke threw the sun.

Then, the other would turn and say,

"The weather here is-" and he'd stop, no longer faced with his friend but, the silent snarl of teeth that gave him no time to scream as it ripped in to his throat.

It was dark when Eos finally stood up again. A storm had started to brew in the sky, and, Eos had decided that under the cover of darkness was perhaps the only way she'd be able to escape but, as she waited for the guard to go past, losing his whistling amongst a clap of thunder, she pulled the door open.

She'd taken a step out when she felt something huge, heavy and furry barrel in to her, its body taking the brunt of the fall as she fell atop of it, cushioned almost.

For a moment she lay there, staring at the open door, waiting for something to happen. But other than another clap of thunder and the sky lighting up, nothing did.

Eos scrambled to her feet and pushed the door closed before she turned back to the lycaon.

She had so many horrible things she wanted to say but, none of them really came up.

"Where have you been" he snorted as he pushed up - expecting a thank you at the very least, even if he had been the one to throw himself at her - "you should have come-don't look at me like that" she spat, seeing the flinch in the lycaons step backwards, "we are in this together. Always together" he snorted quietly, his head down. Eos sighed and grabbed on to his head, hugging the stupid oath tightly, feeling the lycaon let out a breath, just as happy to see her as she was to see him. Eos sat back.

"What happened to you Laelaps. What did they do to you" he huffed and looked up at her, those beady yellow eyes were dim now, nowhere near as piercing... He sat down on his haunches and hung his head,

Eos stroked down his chest, finding scars in the now thinned fur that hadn't been there before.

"We can't stay here, can we" she said quietly, combing her fingers through the fur, he huffed a little.

If anything, Laelaps had to give it to the Demi-God... If they hadn't had their eye on him as well, they never would have known to come here.

Pulling the door open again, Laelaps led Eos passed dead guards, passed old blood stains Eos was sure she remembered from before and then, climbing out the back, Laelaps made them circle around, the lycaon leading her near to the encampment just down the road.

There was a masked guard on watch - the design different to the cults, Eos was sure - looking the wrong way and, two other man, one pacing whilst the other sat drinking. Laelaps inched them close enough to hear their words.

"Do you think she managed to kill them" the drinker asked, "Or manoeuvre her way out of sight with the storm", he gestured to the sky, to the thunder and the sprinkle of rain that had killed their fire.

"You really think I didn't consider that" the bald man asked - it was the same man who had spoke to her earlier - his voice not all that soothing anymore - he sounded a little agitated., "Every man in that Fort has eyes on her" he said, "Seems she's wanting to bide her time... Perhaps she's waiting for us to make the next move instead",

"Unless she has a friend" the drinker suggested. Eos glanced at Laelaps, the lycaon staring contently at the men, his ears twitching this way and that as he listened from all sides.

"Her friends are far away" the bald man said, he stopped his pacing to look to the Fort.

"We should have got that guy when we saw him, head was all over the place, could have flanked him and dealt with that one there and then" the drinker sighed - he would have liked to brag about that one.

"He is not ours to take, you know that",

"But this little... What is she exactly? Mercenary? Cut-throat? One handed fool that thinks she can parlay with the big boys", Laelaps pulled his head back and stared at Eos, his head cocked as she wiggled the left over fingers on her right hand without looking at him,

"She is a weapon. A deadly, resourceful weapon" the bald man said it so gleefully, it made Eos shiver a little,

"Of which we want to destroy... So why are we giving her bribes and peace offerings" the drinker held out his bowl.

"Because this one has no home" he was told, "this one, unlike those monstrous fools who we will destroy, peice by peice, has no real allegiance to anyone".

If that's what the thought, Eos knew then that what they knew about her was wrong - all wrong.

"Except that stupid wolf that ripped half my ear off", the drinker gestured at his head, at the old bloody bandage held against it. Eos smiled - glad Laelaps had left them with a souvenir as they had him.

"Which we will have soon enough".

"Which hasn't been seen in three weeks" he reminded him, "For all we know, he could be cosying up next to your weapon right now" he sat back, "nah. This girl. Deadly as she is. As you say. There has to be a reason why Amorges wants her - she seems far to gone to ever side with us",

"Once she realises we can give her what she wants, she will", Eos felt Laelaps eyes on her but, this wasn't the time to discuss her future plans.

"And what is that exactly" he shrugged,

"What she's always wanted",

"And that is..." he asked, annoyed,

"Never mind it" the drinker sighed as the other looked back to the Fort "just know that she'll have no other choice when it's given to her".

Eos looked to Laelaps and, she was sure, if the lycaon could shrug, he would have done it in that very moment - even if he was avoiding her eyes.

Leaving the men to their wait, Eos and Laelaps carried on down the road.

It didn't take her long to realise that the lycaon had got slower, his pace wasn't as fluid, as graceful as before - and, that they weren't heading back to Athens.

"Sokrates and Alli will be worried" she mentioned. The lycaon didn't reply. "You'd like them... maybe not Alli. He's very... forward... but... it would have been nice to have you around to glance at and roll my eyes with when it came to Sokrates... Now you, you'd be all he talked about... I don't think he actually believed me when I said I had a lycaon... at all... even if Hippokrates agreed with me..." the lycaon perked up at the name, the small little happy cheep he gave - as if he'd only started listening now. Eos sighed and shook her head - mostly at herself.

All the malice and heart ache she felt for the beast had gone missing.. It all just slipped away... like it was nothing... Just a small mishap... as if nothing had really changed...

Except it had... It had been weeks since she'd seen him but, she hadn't expected a grey muzzled wolf to fall back in to her life, one whose fur had thinned, whose teeth were losing their colour, whose eyes had gone dark... She'd expected the pure black one who'd fallen out, a bit worse for wear, a bit shaken but... not this...

"Deimos thought he was keeping me safe Laelaps", the lycaon turned his head to look at her, a small nod coming from him... "But... He was wrong..." she looked to her feet, "I guess I know he cares now",

Laelaps snorted dramatically, making her smile,

"Well, he said it out loud", Laelaps shook his whole body in protest, Eos noticing how his back legs shook just a little too much. "I know. Almost got him to stay too. I think" she sighed, "I guess it's best he didn't". Laelaps winged a little, "Yeah, I don't know Laelaps... I don't know what to believe anymore... Do you know what those men mean... Do you know why they want me".

The lycaon stopped.

He sat down. He did. He'd heard that bald one say it.

"What do they want Laelaps" he huffed and hung his head again, sad this time, "What they could offer me... Is it what I want",

The small humph he gave told her it might be,

"What would the price be? Would I sacrifice what I have now for it", Laelaps let out a breath and looked up to her, those not so beady little eyes trying to unravel the threads of her mind, "Would I sacrifice you..." she asked. The lycaon lowered his eyes slightly before he turned away, getting up and moving on - as if he didn't want to know the answer.

"Well I wouldn't" Eos told him as she shrugged her shoulders, "no matter how good it is" she followed him, "You are gonna have to deal with me until the end of the line mongrel" she knew he rolled his eyes at her, his tail always did a little flick when he did, "and then some... Hell... all I want is..." Eos shrugged, "well, when I figure it out, I'll tell you".

Because it'd changed.

Before all this had happened. Before the baby. Before her fall. She'd just wanted to get by, to live as much of a life as she could... Even if it was killing people who didn't necessarily deserve it, she wasn't going to lie and say she didn't enjoy it - that she wasn't proud of how she could take out a whole fort without anyone inside it raising an eyebrow - that the chaos it brought wasn't the most enticing thing she'd ever felt.

But then... when she'd found out about the baby... she had wanted them not to live the life she had... and, whether it had been the hormones or not, the realisation of what she'd done, of what she was, it crashed down upon her and... she'd been too scared to find any other way out for her... for her son...

And after that... After surviving the terrors that had been... she'd seen a light and knew that the only way to save the people she cared about - even if they didn't care about her - was to show them how easily thrown away they were... how easily the cult would do to them like they'd done to her...

Even if she had been too late...

It made her wonder more where Glaukos was... made her wonder if perhaps the Order had him on side too... like Pyros... like Melaina...

Made her question - how out of all of them - she still had the one she thought she'd lose first. Deimos was still here... the cult were still inside his head but... she could see the pull they had on him fading... and, the pull that the Order didn't...

And, she'd began to think that he was the only one she wanted enough now to keep persuing this...

Because of him... She'd found Kassandra... she'd seen Kassandra live in such chaos and still be able to laugh and love. Maybe that is what she wanted... Just to live... That wasn't something the Order could give her...

That was something only she could give herself...

Laelaps was quiet as he continued to lead them away. He took them through the woods, past streams, through the woods of Megaris, the valleys of Korinthia and then, as night finally settled, the storm starting to quiet, they stopped outside a cave.

The same cave she'd slept in all those months ago - when she'd left Laelaps in Athens to watch over Melaina. The grave of Sisyphosp. The tribute of which stood just outside, a giant statue trying to hold up the hill.

So much had happened since then, Eos could barely remember it all.

The cave was still empty though - seems the followers of Ares had decided it wasn't all that great a place to eat people in.

"What's wrong with you" Eos asked as she sat down, "What are you mulling over in that brain of yours now".

Laelaps snorted hard and then flopped himself on the ground dramatically,

"This is the hand the God's dealt us" she gestured at the damp stone and the moss,

Laelaps grunted.

"And that's my fault" Eos asked, "of course! Because you've always been such a good boy" Laelaps huffed, "who obviously got praised in the last life too-because now you're a fearsome beast who steals cooked goat legs from starving farmers", Laelaps sat up a little and snorted again, "Oh, so whose fault is it exactly" Eos asked - she'd love to know.

Laelaps grunted and then put his head down.

"Its not her fault" Eos smiled and lay back, sighing as she remembered.

In the very beginning, the lycaon knew that they'd need some sort of help to achieve their goal but... Kassandra was definitely not the lycaons first choice... at all... He would have rather someone not so involved - especially not Deimos' sister but, Eos could talk and he couldn't and... that out voted him completely.

"If it wasnt for Kassandra, we never would have got this far" Eos told him quietly, "she might have killed me already on her search for cultists" Eos shrugged, the lycaon snorted again, "she might have killed you by now too - who knows", he snorted again, "perhaps we never would have got off Hoyts boat" Laelaps hacked a little - he'd rather not. Eos smiled,

"It was worth it Laelaps. No matter how dire it got, it was worth it" Laelaps took a breath in and then let out a long shakey one, as if he was agreeing with her but, he wasn't happy about it.

"You know. They said they had you in their sights" Eos pushed up to look at him. "How did you get away", Laelaps grumbled at her and then moved his head, his eyes peering at the entrance as he rested it on the ground, keeping watch. "You're not that quick anymore Laelaps" Eos said quietly as she lay back again.

Neither of them were.


Eos woke up to a smell so putrid, she was scared she'd open her eyes and see the lycaon dead and rotting but, instead, she heard him grumble at her, something in his mouth.

Eos pushed herself up, the lycaon stood in front of her with a cooked leg of something in his mouth, he dropped it on her lap and she flinched

"What is that" Eos asked, Laelaps sat back and snorted,

"That's not boar, it's like" Eos picked it up between a couple fingers and held it back out for him, "I don't know but, you have it, please".

Laelaps peered at her for a moment,

"What's that look for" Eos asked, he cheeped at her a little, "they didn't starve me" Eos told him, "you have it, go on". She let it drop and the lycaon caught it, snorting at her some more, "I do like it... Just, not today".

Eos lay back again, the smell still making her feel nauseous as she closed her eyes, trying to block it out.

The lycaon snorted at her again and she snorted back at him.

Once Laelaps was done, Eos having had to eventually go outside because the smell was too irritating - she was convinced the boar had been poisoned and the lycaon was about to fall dead but, he'd wandered out, not as energetic as usual but, not with such a limp in his step anymore.

"Do you have somewhere we're going to" Eos asked as they carried on.

He snorted.

"You don't have a miraculous plan" Eos asked him, he snorted again, "no, me neither" she shrugged and spun around as they walked... More fields, more woods, less and less civilisation. She was sure they were going south.

The lycaon stopped as they neared what had been one of Zeus temples, in ruins now but, bandits had made it their home.

"Why does it smell like that for" Eos asked, the fumes of the fire wafting the smell of goat over to them, the lycaon raised his brow at her, "It just doesn't smell right" Eos told him, "like they added something awful to it".

Laelaps huffed and carried on, passing them by,

"Well I'm not going to say the service was bad" Eos said to him, "And maybe I did get spoilt but, damn, should have seen their pantry Laelaps. You never would have left it".

Perikleses' pantry was fit for the Gods.

Eventually, the two of them came upon a small faming village surrounded by wheat. Of which Eos was all too happy to eat the spoils of, when Laelaps swiped her a loaf of freshly baked bread straight from a recently opened oven.

The man baking it had blinked twice, having only stood and watched as the black furry beast had walked up, snarled when he realised he'd been caught and then disappeared.

He wasn't sure if he'd dreamt it but, he was sure that his bread was gone.


"Why are we going South for" Eos asked, finishing off the last of the bread.

Laelaps grunted, seems the lycaon did have a plan - or parts of one anyway.

"What about Melaina" Laelaps stopped and turned around, he snorted at her, "I know what she said. That guy even said it",

Laelaps whined a little and turned around,

"Why Sparta" Eos asked, "we don't even know what's going to happen in Mytilene. How would he end up back there anyway. He'd go to the Fort first, wouldn't he",

Laelaps grunted,

"Kleon would be dead. Isn't that he wants. He wants his sister dead too but... How does something end unless someone makes it end? Unless they meet there and fight but..." Eos sighed.

Because the only way Deimos would face the past would be to go back to it - like she'd told him he should.

Laelaps grunted at her then, a sign to tell her to be quiet.

They were coming across some more ruins... And, considering they were in the valley of judgement, that could only mean it was the ruined sanctuary of Kephaisos - which she only knew off because it had been one of the cults outposts...

Seems it still was by the looks of things. Except, there was no one inside.

And, Eos didn't know if they'd missed a terrible battle that had given them the eary silence or, they were about to be involved in one.

Eos felt the rush of air as Laelaps bounded towards her, heard the spring of a bow as she ducked out of the way. Laelaps leapt, catching the arrow in his shoulder and landing on a masked man who came from the brush.

It wasn't the cults mask. It was the same as the one near to the Fort - it must have been the Order.

Eos grabbed at the down man's sword and swung around, stabbing another man in the gut as she heard the small welp come from Laelaps behind her. She turned and threw the sword, tripping over a body and grabbing on to Laelaps and pulling him out of the way as the last man who his sword and got in paled by the flying blade, grabbing at it before he fell backwards.

Eos watched as he tried desperately to pull it out, struggling. She pushed up and went over to him, grabbing on to the hilt and shoving it further into his chest, the silence starting to loom once more. The lycaon pulling himself up in his wake, his ears still twitching.

"Tell me what you want" Eos demanded,

"You won't-" Eos jilted the sword a little and he gasped, choking on the blood that was coming up from his throat, "you. He wants you" he took a deep breath and put his head back, his body guttering,

"Why" Eos asked, "Who",

"Because they took you away from him..." he trailed off, the mans eyes closing as his breathing started to waiver. Eos let the sword go and took a step back. She turned to Laelaps and froze.

It was so quick, there was no way she would have caught it; the knife, it flew straight at him, the lycaon not having enough time to move as one of the dying men yanked the arrow from his shoulder as he buried his snout in their gut.

It caught the lycaon in the throat, the cry making her miss the sound of the shield as it hit her on the back of her head, twisting her back around. Pulling the sword from the dying mans gut and sticking it in to the man behind her, the steel broke as it passed through his breastplate but, the shattered blade tore threw his chest none the less. Eos stared in to the mans wide eyes as she yanked it out and he fell forward, dead.

"Laelaps" she said quietly, dropping the sword as she turned back around, "Laelaps".

The lycaon was lay, his body shuddering over the top of dead men. The knife had slipped out, the blood starting to pour from the wound with every breath he took.

"Laelaps" she fell to her knees and grabbed on to his fur. "You'll be fine" she said, "you can't-" the lycaon took a deep breath in and then shuddered it out. "Hey, hey" the lycaon opened his eyes, they were so dim now, the yellow was almost gone, "you just need some time Laelaps... You've been worse... Its only..." Eos looked to the lycaons neck, it had missed his throat but... the blood didn't care for that...

"I'll get you to a doctor" Eos told him, looking back to his face, "you can't get rid of me that easily" Eos stood up, felt the blood rush to her head, the pain in the back of it. Laelaps raised his head slowly, tried to push himself up even but, he collapsed, his whole body shuddering as Eos fell back down to her knees and thread her fingers threw his fur, the poor creature couldn't stop shaking,

"You're okay" Eos said softly, "you'll be fine... you just need a minute... we can have a minute... then... we can get fish..." Eos looked to the ruins, to the smoke that rose from the fire there "or goat legs... or boar... or- s-s-sea captains" Eos closed her eyes, her whole body shaking with his. "We can just find Hoyt Laelaps... We can go... Its okay... We don't n-" the shaking lycaon was starting to still, she could feel it, "we can have a vineyard... or something... just one more boat ride Laelaps... that's all, I promise... Please..." the lycaon stilled and Eos choked on the lump in her throat, clenched her fist in his fur as she felt his chest rise and fall, so slow now.

"I'm so sorry Laelaps... I wish... you..." he opened his eyes and Eos looked at him, saw the small blink he gave her before he closed them again, his body taking one last breath before he passed.

"Laelaps" Eos buried her face in to the lycaon fur, the tears bursting out in a way she never thought she'd be able to again...

Laelaps was her best friend...

And it was like Melaina said, she brought only death to those she cared for... To those she wanted to save...

Eos sat back, her vision blurred as she looked at the lycaon body... This wasn't how it was supposed to end... He was supposed to die in his sleep, by a nice fire, when he was grey, old... Not like this... Not because of her...

Eos had heard the drawing of more swords, the tread of sandals on the ground. She'd stood up, pulling a sword with her, using it to balance on as she struck out, meeting with a masked cultist guard before she felt something smash her over the back of her head, felt the blood start to trickle down her skin as she fell sideways. She rolled on to her back, her eyes catching sight of two different masks before she blacked out.

Chapter Text

The Champion had woken up to men pulling him on to a wagon, had felt someone yank the arrow out of his back and apply pressure, felt as they'd douced it in alcohol and brought a hot knife to his skin, searing the wound shut.

The pain from that may have killed a man but, not him, it was like a scratch, an irritable one - one he didn't need to be dealing with right now.

A piece of decoration, nothing more...

Deimos had grabbed on to the Athenian, the want to smash his head in to the man vials and potions next to him almost over taking his want to find Kleon - to make sure the bastard was dead.

Before the Champion had fell, more from shock than anything, he was sure, he'd seen the man run, saw his sister on his tail.

The bastard had shot him in the back like the coward he was.

Deimos hoped his sister had caught up with him, that his death had been slow, painful - hoped the life had been choked out of him, that he'd suffered, that he'd drowned in his own blood.

Letting the Athenian doctor go, Deimos stood up, ignoring the words of the tired and terrified men around him and, found his way back to the battlefield, to where Kleon had been chased away...

His sister, she was nowhere to be seen; the man he'd killed, the general, Brasidas, his body had gone too.

His sister had been so angry about that. Deimos had seen it, the hate, the sadness in her eyes, that want to kill him for it - it wasn't personal. War was war. People died. Men like Brasidas died. Men who went up against him died.

That was how it was, that was how it would always be. There couldn't be any other way.

Deimos followed the path up, finding himself on the beach. At first, he hadn't seen anything, no sign of a fight, no blood but, it was as he looked, towards the setting sun, that he saw someone at the edge, the water lapping over them as the tide came in.

Kleon.

His neck had been broken.

Quick and swift. A death he didn't deserve but, dead none the less..

Deimos left him to the waves, sure they'd find his body eventually, blast him as a coward whod' ran away. Which, it seemed (in his absence anyway0 they'd lost the battle. The Athenians grab for the northern territory had been lost in one full swoop.

But, Deimos did not care for that. He did not care what colour owned what. Deimos had, had his sights on the whole of the Greek world. This war, it was a war for control, nothing else.

A war that would end one day...

There was no place for men like him in the peaceful world so many of them wanted.

So, in that moment, he decided the only way to hold on to himself, was to take what was his, to deal with a past that was trying to destroy everything he was.

Then. Then he could go towards that order he was destined to bring - the Order he'd bring in anyway he could.

What did he have left otherwise...

Eos... Eos...

He had her but, for how long, how long could she live in a world she'd never wanted... How long until she chose a different path that didn't involve him. When would his temper finally snap and Eos lost her life because of it...

He'd find out soon.

He'd take her with him.

He had something he had to do. A place he needed to see for himself.

Not through the small eyes of a crying babe but, the eyes of a grown man.

Leaving what was left of the Athenian scum, telling the cultists guards within, that if they followed him, he would kill them, Deimos took a horse and started riding back towards Athens.

Passing through Malis, Phokis, he'd stopped momentarily so he wouldn't kill his horse and then, as he'd passed through Lokris, he'd taken a small moment to look at the leaders house in which he'd found Melaina in.

Part of him wished he'd left her there, to lie in the gutter with the rats and filth of this world. It would have made everything so much easier, so much less painful. But then, part of him knew it would only be time until he found out the truth about Eos.

The cult had lied to him for years... he wondered if anything they'd said to him was true...

Perhaps his destiny was - no. No.

The artefact had shown him once, the order he could bring, the destiny he was meant to fulfil.

It couldn't have lied to him too - could it...

The artefact from a world lost, from a civilisation his bloodline descended from... a civilisation he'd spent his whole life trying to find, for the cult... every man he'd killed was supposed to lead them that much closer... or maybe it'd just led them further away... the myths he'd heard to open the gates to it... great men had run away from those...

Because that's what it was, that was why they did what they did. To find a power so great, they could control, not just the Greek world but, the whole of it...

Or, it was...

The civil war between the two nations had grown more powerful, the war inside of the cult worse and... the cult had lost their way... No wonder his sister had made them their prey, like a wolf attacking a motherless lamb...

They'd stood no chance - not with her around - but, Deimos wasn't a lamb.

It was just turning morning as the back of Fort Phyle came in to view, and, Deimos already knew something was wrong.

He stopped on the cliff edge, overlooking it, glancing at the carcass of a man on the cliff below, his head torn from his rotten body.

Something feral, something pissed and something only out for blood could have done that.

Then, it had also taken to the Athenian guards who inhabited the fort too.

Their bodies had been torn up, their throats ripped out and their guts dived in to - if only for good measure - all of them surrounding the small building he'd left Eos in...

But, worst of all, was the open door, to the side of that building. The door he'd locked himself - the key of which he had in his robes right now. He'd even wedged it awkwardly so she'd never be able to push or pull her way out - not by herself.

Someone had let her out - and then, a lycaon had torn threw. There was no denying that only Laelaps could have done this. Eos and Laelaps were silent in their killings, but the aftermaths were always so different... Laelaps didn't have the advantage of a quick stab in the back. He left the marks of a beast - especially when he didn't clean up after himself.

If Deimos could be certain of anything though... It was that Eos was not there, not anymore...

Either she'd escaped or been taken - by the looks of the mens bodies, left to face the elements and the scorching Greek sun - she'd escaped but, not even a lycaon could have opened that door. Eos couldn't have - Deimos was sure of it.

And, the lycaon wouldn't have killed all those men without a reason. The one on the cliff, yes, obviously they'd been a spy but, not the ones in the Fort - they were there to keep her in, to protect her, not hurt her - unless their allegiance had changed - and the lycaon knew that.

Deimos turned his horse around.

The letter had said that the lycaon had been seen near Elis but, it had been terribly wrong - perhaps it had only been part of a trap. Perhaps the rotten body on the cliff top had watched his every move - perhaps he'd led the Order straight to her...

But, if the lycaon was alive, if they were together, he'd find them. Sooner or later. Eos was safe with Laelaps - she'd always be safe when he was around.

Deimos had followed what he thought was a trail, a trail left by some sort of beast but, in the end, as he came upon Korinthia - he wasn't sure if he'd been following an old bear or a lycaon...

And, even if there had been small signs of someone else with them, they were light on their feet - just like Eos tried to be.

If there was one thing he knew, it was that there was an outpost that the cult held in the Valley of Judgement and, having lost the trail already, Deimos headed over to it.

Except, it was empty, abandoned -recently by the looks of things - and quickly.

Deimos wandered through; at first, he found nothing but then, he found a trail that led around a corner, to an open grave yard of sorts...

Kneeling down, Deimos looked at the line of men laid out. One of them wore a cultists mask, but the others wore a mask he did not recognise. Their bodies - some had been killed with blades, other with teeth.

Laelaps teeth. Seems he was on the right track - if anything.

But, he didn't understand where the other cultists would have gone. Unless they'd all run away but, then, he was sure they'd been moved. Like he'd said, Laelaps was not one for pretty lines. Which meant that someone had been back.

If he could find where it had happened, it may have gave him more clues but, as he stood up, about ready to do that, when he saw something crumpled on the floor, a letter.

Greetings my friend,

The beast was lost to us near Arkadia, his trail has gone cold but, we will find him and take him from this world. He is far too chaotic, far too unreliable. The girl will be made too choose; let's hope she chooses wisely.

It was Melaina that found him in the empty ruins, stood staring at the letter.

"She didn't choose wisely" Melaina said softly.

Deimos scrunched up the letter and turned, his sword in his hand so quick, it would have sliced her throat open had she been there.

But she wasn't. It was as if she'd never been there at all. Deimos took a step back, scanning the ruins, the fields, the trees. He was sure it had been Melaina.

Deimos followed in the way of her voice but, she was nowhere to be seen. Just gone. Gone like Eos was.

He couldn't believe her though. Not yet. Melaina was with them. He was sure of it. Her. Pyros.

They didn't have her, they couldn't - Laelaps wouldn't let them.

It took two weeks for Deimos to find evidence that Eos had been taken, trails of dead Spartans, Athenians and, cultist guards in his wake... Evidence that only told him that. That she was taken... But, there was never anything on the lycaon... It was almost as if he'd been erased...

Deimos had wiped the blood off his face and started walking.

He didn't know what they wanted with her - he didn't understand how they'd have claims to anything of the cults - not if what he knew about them was true. The Order, the Cult, they were old friends, branched from the same tree - the cult had just found a God to serve instead.

But God, or man. Eos was of no use to them, she wouldn't choose to side with them.

Would she.

Where was Laelaps?

Had he...

No, the damn thing was too stubborn to die...

But, if he had, Eos... it would have broke her heart... maybe more than he had...

And, it was because of all that, Deimos finally found himself atop Mount Taygheto... alone...

He'd searched for Eos and found nothing more. The Order had gone quiet. He'd left men and women, in his wake, to find her and... he'd failed...

And now, now he was stood here; looking over Sparta, looking towards the bone pit at the bottom - where he'd fell to as a baby... where his mater had found him, had tried to save him...

But, it hadn't been enough.

Nothing was ever enough...

It was the eagle that Deimos saw first, circling over his head.

Ikaros, that's what his sister called it... Not as ferocious as a lycaon but... just as annoying - he was sure of it.

Which also, only meant one thing.

He looked up, towards the sky, to the sea beyond... Funny how they'd both end up here.

"Alexios" a woman cried out from behind him, his mater...

"On the edge of the world, a mother calls out to her child. Touching" Deimos tilted his head. This was it.

"Alexios, please" he turned around, Kassandra pulling their mother back as she tried to reach out for him,

"You use that name as if it means something to me" Deimos said, he shrugged, a small smile on his lips. Kassandra had used it too. It meant nothing. It couldn't.

"It's the name your father and I gave you" Myrine said - she sounded so strong, so sure, so certain but, Deimos was just as certain about something as well.

"Was that before or after you brought me to this mountain to die" Deimos asked, he waved his hands at the ruins, at this place - it was pretty, he'd give them that.

"It was the cult" she cried, "I tried to save you. I did everything. The priest told me you were dead" Myrine swallowed back the lump in her throat,

"And they told me you abandoned your son!" Deimos took a step back, shaking his head.

"Alexios, come to me" Myrine took a step forward, her hand out, "we are your family. We can go home" - he didn't think he wanted that anymore - he didn't know what he wanted.

Deimos snorted, "Family? Home?" he laughed, "My sword is my family. The battlefield is my home".

Myrine almost rolled her eyes then, putting her hand on her head as if she was dealing with an impetuant child - maybe she was he'd thought, which only made him smile more.

Although, he had glanced at his sister, who, so far, had said nothing.

Kassandra had caught his eye for just a moment.

Like her brother, she'd never found out where Eos had gone. She'd just vanished completely - the one thing Kassandra had heard of though was her brothers trail of destruction.

Kassandra looked to Myrine, she sighed, "I promised to bring him back mater but, the cult, they've poisoned his mind" she said,

"Promised to bring me back to mater did you. You didn't bring me here" Deimos took another step back, he'd brought himself here, "why don't you tell our mater the truth" Deimos suggested - because it was, it had to be. His life couldn't have been a lie.

"And what truth is that" Kassandra asked,

"That... That I'm the chosen one" Deimos said desperately, pointing at himself, "I'm the one with the destiny. I will bring order to this world". He pointed at Kassandra, "You're nothing, but a mercenary, with a... broken spear",

Kassandra sighed and shook her head, "The cult controls your destiny but, you don't need them. You never did. Together, we can destroy them, people like them and bring peace back to this world",

"Peace?" Deimos shook his head, "and what under Helios would you do with peace. Milk the goats" Deimos laughed, he shook his head, "look at you - oh mighty misthios. You profit from this war just as much as I do" he took a step forward from the edge, his mother visibly relaxing, "you don't want peace. You just don't want to have to deal with me".

Kassandra took a few steps towards him, "What I want - what I've always wanted - is my family",

"Alexios" Myrine said quietly. Deimos looked away for a moment, to the ruins, to the marbled stone, he looked back.

He sighed.

"When I was little, I found a lion cub trapped in a snare. My friend tried to free it...",

Kassandra had heard this story before. Eos had told it to her. Deimos had never forgot it.

"That's when I heard the deadly growl of its mother" Deimos sighed, "I watched as the lioness tore my friend to bloody shreds" he tilted his head, gritting his teeth, his heart starting to race, "Even in the world of beasts, a family. Protects. Its. Young" - the hurt, it was so real, so harsh and, Kassandra could see it, that piece of him inside that Eos had once - the vulnerable one.

Deimos had failed his own son, he'd not been there to protect him, he knew how much it hurt, knew that pain - and, Kassandra had wondered if that was one of the reasons why he hated her so much - because, from what she knew, he'd left Eos that night to run after her instead.

And, having said the words out loud, Deimos was now considering whether he deserved it... Deserved all of it... A man had said that children often follow in their parents foot steps.

"I loved you. I still. Love. You" Myrine cried.

"The one you love is dead. My destiny is clear and", he drew the gleaming golden sword from its sheath, pointing it towards them, "I won't let you get in my way".

Kassandra put her hands out.

"Alexi..." she sighed, Eos had been right, using that name, it was useless, "listen to me. You are my brother. I tried to protect you once and I failed. I will not fail again" Kassandra took a couple tender steps forward.

Deimos turned around and squeezed his eyes shut as Kassandra pulled the spear from her back, holding it out to him.


"Deimos' path ended where it began" the bald man said as he looked in at Eos, "the prices we pay for the greater good are always the hardest ones. You'll understand that soon enough young one. You won't fight it any longer" the man left, putting his hand tenderly on the red haired woman's shoulder before closing over the door.

"He can't be..." Eos sat back, her hands closing tight around the letter, around the words.

"He is" Melaina said, she tilted her head, "he lost sight of you and... he couldn't deal with that...",

"If I'd...",

"Deimos has no place in the world we are going to build" Melaina said, "his path, the Champions path... It would always end where it began... given as a child-",

"He was not given" Eos cried at her, "they took him. They said he was dead Melaina... His family-",

"We were his family. Not them. They could never love a monster like that Eos. I don't think many could - except another monster",

"Kassandra-",

"Kassandra made the last move. She decided Deimos' fait" Melaina said.

"Go away Melaina" the hairy, bearded man said, "you have said enough for the day",

"I've told the truth Glaukos. I should think you should start telling it soon".

Glaukos stood up and came to the bars of his cell,

"Let me out and I'll show you it".

The Order had taken one of the last remaining children of the cult but, it had been ever so unwillingly.

"How long do I need to stay here" Eos asked, "I made my choice. I'm not going to unmake it. They said-",

"Eos. Your choices was never yours to make and... well, things are now a little... difficult". Glaukos wrapped his hands around the bars, if he could reach her, he would have slammed her head against them - there was a reason she stood so far away - she was terrified, terrified of what he would try to do to her - what Eos would do.

Eos glared up at her, her voice quiet as she said.

"I would not let the Cult have him, what makes you think I'll let the Order have this one".

Chapter Text

"You need to eat something" - Glaukos had growled the words under his breath as he'd past by her, shoving a small loaf of bread in to her hands as she sat down.

Eos glanced at the pot hanging over the fire. It had been bubbling for the last few minutes, the bubbles now popping and letting that smell of cooked cow flow through what used to be the mighty Palace of Agamemnon - subsequently left in ruins once he'd died...

It turned her stomach a little but, Glaukos was right. Perhaps she'd just eat round it. She'd seen them shove some vegetables in there at least.

Still, if she could live of these semi-stale loafs of bread, she would.

Eos put her head down. It had taken almost a month for the men to start believing that Eos and Glaukos wasn't a threat... and, she was sure she'd seen some letters being exchanged before they were allowed out of their cells, allowed to breath the fresh air. That hadn't meant that they'd accepted their fait, or accepted the offer of joining up with them - they were in a limbo, it seemed. But, Eos was sure that the both of them knew where their small efforts were headed.

And, that was not in to the loving embrace of another undercover organisation that wanted to control the world.

Also, as far as Eos knew, her - and Melainas 'suspicions' - on what the sickness and the sudden hatred for cooked meat meant - seemed to have remained just between them... and Glaukos.

Although, Eos knew that, as time passed, the suspicion would spread and it'd be all too hard to hide.

And, Eos didn't know what would happen when they found out. They'd not been quiet about their hate for those which were tainted; about the bloodline that would lead them all in to such chaos, it would make the world collapse in on itself...

Which, it seemed, Eos would add to once again... and... she did not have it in herself for a repeat of last time - which meant that before the next season came around, she - and Glaukos too, if he made it - would have to be long gone - whether they fought their way out or not.

For now though, they needed to watch them, track their movements, find a familiarity in it that the could use to their advantage - another thing Kallinos had taught her..

Eos had still been sat by the fire, debating whether to at least try what was in cooking pot when the same bald man and drinker, from that encampment near Fort Phyle came over. At first, they continued to talk quietly, between themselves but, it seems 'drinks-alot' had a bit more to say to her today.

"Now, tell me, what is it we're to do with the girl" he'd had said, Eos glared up at him, "Ouch. If looks could kill",

"Shame my lycaon didn't finish the job" Eos suggested, the hole on the side of his face only bled on occasion now,

"I would have liked to have been there when he died" he crouched down, "would have liked to have seen it",

"He would have killed you first" Eos said, "or I would have. That ugly face would make even the God's turn away" Eos looked back to the fire,

"Now, you are just trying to get a rise out of guest" the bald man said - Eos had found out only lately that his name was Cyrus.

Guest. Eos had learned not to scoff at the word. Guests weren't supervised day in, day out by thick armoured Persians who had swords and hatchets on their belts and, had not actually seen another human being other than said guards, baldie and drinks-alot.

"Our guest. When are you gonna realise she's playing you like a fiddle. But well" he sat opposite Eos and leaned forward, "now we know it's runs in the family, don't we".

Eos raised her brow, felt Glaukos move in a little closer - as did he, "and then there's you. A boy who looks like an old man" drinks-alot sat back, his arms folded, "when are you gonna remove that scruff off your face, won't have much buoyancy with it when we throw you in the sea",

"Enough now Baraz" - Eos preferred 'drinksalot' more - Cyrus said gently, as if the conversation hadn't included murder, "Eos". She didn't look at him.

What did Baraz mean. Runs in the family.

What family.

Whose.

Cyrus sighed, "I wish you could only learn to keep your mouth shut. Those words you speak are not yours to utter",

"And whose are they" Baraz poured himself a drink, this time from the flask on his belt - he always did it when Eos - or even Glaukos - was around, as if he thought they'd poison him.

Little did he know that every sip of that flask he took would lead him to death. Glaukos had laced the inside with a stem from a plant he believed to be poisonous. Hopefully, the man was killing himself slowly and, he didn't even know.

He'd end up dying and, there'd be no proof to say that he hadn't finally drunk himself to death. And, maybe even a distraction they could use to their advantage - if it worked.

There wasn't much glory in any of it but, Glaukos had always enjoyed experiments - especially if they led to a more peaceful life.

"Amorges" Cyrus said. Eos watched as Baraz sat up a little, he placed his flask down - just the spoken name of their mysterious boss seemed to have an effect on them - all of them, except Cyrus, who said it with such courage and honour, it was almost as if he enjoyed seeing the men squirm. "Which reminds me" Cyrus looked back to Eos, "I have a letter for you".

Eos watched as Cyrus put his hands in his robes, taking out a piece of parchment, "here". Eos reached out for it slowly - the last one she'd read - which she kept hidden in her bedroll - was a letter from a scout saying that the cults champion - that Deimos - was gone... and then, she'd had Melaina stand there and tell her it was true... That, like everyone else, Eos had failed him...

Except Glaukos who had said she hadn't failed any of them anymore than they'd failed her... which, despite everything, had only made her feel worse.

And now, with their hunt for Kassandra gathering speed - she'd heard of their supposed efforts in Archai... of the blockade they were planning... of the storm that was brewing... causing a little havoc so that the Eagle-bearer would make an appearance...

Just like they had in Makedonia...

Eos was worried the letter would have news of Kassandra losing the fight too.

Except, it didn't.

It was an invitation. Of sorts.

Eos,

I hope the men have been treating you with only the utmost respect. However, I believe it is about time we met. I imagine you have grown a lot since I last saw you.

Meet me in Heras Watch, on the edge of the cliff, near the bronze club of Hephaistos. I do hope you shall take what I am offering you this time.

"You leave in an hour" Cyrus said, "eat something Eos, you will need your mind to be clear".

Eos glanced at Glaukos, who was stood over from her, his brows arched, wondering what could possibly have been on it.

After eating her way around the chunks of cow in the broth he'd passed her, a couple of Persian guards came and escorted her out of the ruined Palace of Agamemnon.

The place was so big, with so many doors and hallways, it was easy to get lost but, she hadn't had that pleasure.

The guards, as diligent as always, escorted her to an empty cliff, just above an altar - which she assumed was where poor Hephaistos had lost his club.

The guards bowed their heads and left, seemingly disappearing back in to the forest but, she was too smart to think they'd gone.

She looked over the sea, at the stars in the sky, to the land..

The Foundry of Hephaistos... She could see it in the distance. The flames at the bottom of it were just a memory to her now, something that had happened, the reminder still on her skin but, she felt no worry or remorse at seeing it.

She'd been staring towards Athens, the port of Piraeus, cosied between Aegina and the Isle of Salamis when she heard a voice.

"Beautiful view" Eos turned around to a man, old, his grey hair combed back, his hands clasped behind him, clothed in simple blue robes - nothing special.

"Who are you" Eos asked,

"Of course... you won't remember me" he sighed and looked to the night sky, "you were just a babe when your mother fled... away from our... fantasy... away from me" Eos took a step back, she could see the guards hidden among the brush - an arrow aimed at her head if she were to make any move against him.

There was no running.

"Eos" the man said again, he came towards her and took her hand - she had terrible feeling in her stomach and it wasn't the meat coming back up to meet them. "My name is Amorges" he said - so this was the big baddy leader of the Order that drinksalot got all bothered about - this was the one who had his eyes on Kassandra, on those other Persians Kassandra had been helping.

And, it seemed, had, had his eye on her too.

Amorges looked to be searching for something, in her face, in her eyes but, he seemed disappointed.

Maybe they really had been after Asphodel all along. The actual Persian.

"Eos. I am your father".

At first, Eos had still been considering that Asphodel was the one that they wanted, trying to think of a way to prove that, she hadn't even realised what he'd said but then, it dawned on her.

Made her heart clench, she pulled away,

"W-what" Eos took another step back, heard the brush rustle behind them,

"I know it is difficult for you Eos but-"

"You. No, you can't be" Eos shook her head, "they abandoned us. In some woods. Not-",

"That is a lie the cult told you Eos. They could not tell you a truth that would make them weak, that would hinder them" Amorges said, "although, the lie seems to have done that anyway",

"You let - what" Amorges went to reach out for her hand again and Eos took another step backwards - this wasn't happening. He couldn't have been.

"Eos. You were born of order in to chaos, swallowed by it but, your blood is pure - it always has been" Amorges told her, as if he was the only assurance she needed.

"What" Eos asked herself more than him,

"Your mother. She was to be one of us" Amorges said, "but instead, she ran, with you, a crying babe in her arms, a want to escape from Persia... from me, back to her home" Amorges sighed, looking back over the sea "and what a beautiful home it is" - he was looking towards Athens, to Attika... "The only thing was, she could not have you, not really. She'd lived a lie with us, a fantasy, before running back to the one she truly loved" he continued looking over the see, longingly towards the Athenian city, "and that, in the end, is what led you to be sacrificed at an altar".

Amorges looked back to Eos, "You see my child, I-".

"Did nothing" Eos told him.

Deimos had thought that his family had betrayed him, that they'd abandoned him, something it seems he'd never been able to get through in the end, and here she was, being told the same...

Except... Her 'parents' had never abandoned her. They were a part of the reason that the things that had happened to her, had happened.

And, from what she knew of the Order, she knew they would not have been as easily deceived as a lone spartan woman was.

"You...",

"You have to understand. My duty is to-"

"Persia" Eos said, "then why are you here, telling me this. When did you decide you wanted to be a father",

"I have always been a father" Amorges told her, "Your brother-",

"My brother is dead" Eos spat,

"Helios was never your brother" Amorges said, "he was but a babe abandoned by-",

"Abandoned... I think we all know where the cult finds it children" Eos told him - through lies and deceit,

"Abandoned by his parents when they fled from wolves...",

"Only to grow up with them" Eos suggested - as if that made it any better.

Amorges narrowed his eyes, he didn't know where she got her wit from, her words but, he knew that he'd rather her listen than speak,

"Then, to be torn, limb from limb... by a lioness no doubt... or, so they say",

"What are you trying to say" Eos asked, feeling the lump in her throat,

"All I am trying to say Eos, is that your life has been ridden with chaos, with that which is tainted..." he looked back towards Athens, "the cult of Kosmos, they lost their way. It should never have got to this point",

"Bit too late now",

"For them... but, not for you" Amorges turned around to her, "the offer is still open. That I promise you",

"The offer... The offer I turned down only to be told you'd change my mind" Eos shrugged and took another step back.

What did he think would have happened... that she'd be overwhelmed with some sort of love for her long lost father... for a man she didn't know... For a man who hunted people as if he were the God's hand... the reason Pyros had turned against her... the reason why she didn't have a best friend anymore... the reason why she didn't have Deimos anymore...

Eos had not had much before but, it had been enough. Enough to get by and for then, for those moments, it was okay...

She didn't need a long lost family - like Kassandra... she just needed her friends...

And now, here, all she had was Glaukos...

And, a baby she had a feeling they wouldn't be all too fussed on when they found out...

"What is it you want from me" Eos asked quietly. He turned back to her, he smiled,

"Eos, we don't-",

"Don't lie to me father" Eos thought that maybe saying the word out loud would have stirred a little emotion inside of her but, it didn't, it was empty - which she was sure Amorges was aware of.

She knew, that at one point, they'd wanted to take her to Persia... Cyrus had said that maybe a change of view would be nice but, it seemed they'd changed their minds...

"Well, if you insist" he looked back to the sea, "we wan yout to... check in, on an old friend of yours...",

"What" Eos said quietly,

"Oh, don't worry, you won't have to embrace the chaos anymore than you have already. All I want to know is where she'll head to when... we start our little exertion",

"Friends don't do that to each other... maybe you don't have many to know that" Eos told him,

"No but, those with higher priorities than before might consider taking the offer to ensure those priorities come to no harm" Amorges was still looking towards Athens, as if what he'd just said hadn't been so foul,

"You wouldn't know anything about those sorts of priorities" Eos spat, "perhaps it's better if you leave those to the ones who do care".

Amorges was taken aback. The red head had only implied that it could be possible - that it could have been one of the bloodline - he'd just not been certain whether Eos would have been so forthcoming with the information...

Eos hadn't either but, this time, she wasn't going to be that scared young girl anymore that prayed to the God's that it wasn't true. She couldn't and... if Amorges hadn't realised by then that Eos would take any opportunity she had to break away from them, that was his loss.

"Eos, I only ever wanted you, home, safe... not caught up in all of this..." Eos could hear the sullen tone to his voice - as if he was really that sad... as if he actually cared for someone he knew nothing about - even if he thought he did.

"And, I only ever wanted to be left alone by the likes of you" Eos said, "when are you going to realise that your children do not want what you have".

Eos turned away from him, from the scene he'd painted in front of them. She saw him raise his hand, the guards on watch coming back towards her, circling her as they had before...

"I will see you again Eos... The offer still stands" she heard him say. Eos had taken a moment before she'd turned back around, to laugh and say that it would stand forever but, he had already gone.


For the last month or so, the eagle-bearer had tried to keep her head down...

Her mother had told her that a little time away from hunting the cult would do her some good but, Kassandra had realised it would only make it worse.

She didn't have the luxury of having time off - not like that but, she had been more mindful... Cultists had fell but, Kassandra had got creative. Some had tripped over their feet and fell from cliffs, others had just... never been found again.

But now, things were about to get complicated again.

And, Kassandra wasn't sure if she could deal with it. She thought she'd be able too but, things were so different now.

Her mater, on the other hand, seemed to have embraced that. She had even taken to that Spartan life she'd lost quite easily... she'd needed too... As head of a house, she had affairs she had to get in order and, she'd even become a confidant of the king - his eyes in to the cult he'd been blind to.

And, if Kassandra had to be honest. It was nice to see her mater waiting for her outside her childhood home - however worried she looked.

"Hello mater" Kassandra said, the two of them embracing before pulling away,

"Kassandra, I'm so glad you're here",

"Me too" Kassandra smiled and then looked up, towards the mountains, "usual" Kassandra asked. Myrine sighed, so very disheartened and then nodded,

"Be gentle" Myrine told her. Kassandra nodded.

She'd try.

Kassandra had made her way past the hub of the city, finding the path out and to the mountain - - taking a trail she know knew all too well.

The first time she'd taken it, she'd been out of her mind with worry, terrified at what she'd find at the end of it but now... now she knew it'd never end like that...

Because the thing was... That day on the mountain... The world had lost something... Something so strong, so fearsome and... there hadn't been much left but, there had been enough - just enough.

Deimos' path had ended where it began but... her brothers hadn't...

And, it was as she took that same path, remembering how she thought she might find him in the bone pit... having done what he thought he deserved himself, that she realised she needed to stop running from him... Stop treating him like glass...

Kassandra found him in the usual spot, sat, his legs hanging over the side as he stared off in towards the sea. The mount Tayghetos overlook - the same place an old blind Persian king had asked her to stand atop of once.

"You worry far too much" he said, not looking at her,

"I do but, it's because I care" Kassandra said as she sat down next to him, leaving a foot or so between them,

"Any sign" he asked quietly.

Kassandra sighed. Each time she saw him, he asked, each time she had to shake her head, each time watching another piece of him slip away.

On that mountain, he'd turned around to her, ready to swing his sword but, he'd stopped. He'd looked at her, at the spear... He'd took a step forward, took the spear in his hands and then collapsed - as if something had shaken him... As if the spear had shown him every terrible thing he did and, for a moment, she'd seen some sort of longing in his eyes.

Longing for peace. To leave the world.

Myrine had put her hand on his shoulder slowly, and, he hadn't even flinched. "I've done terrible things" he'd cried.

And then, after words Myrine could only have said to comfort him. Kassandra had knelt down in front of him and, she'd seen the tears in his eyes, the rush of hurt, of pain, finally starting to drown him, all he could say at first was,

"I...",

"I know" Kassandra said. The sorry he wished he could have said got lost and, Deimos had looked back at the spear. "We will find her" Kassandra had said quietly, knowing he'd know who she meant, "I promise",

He'd shaken his head, "She's gone".

"You can't give up" Kassandra told him,

"B-",

"She didn't. You can't either".

Kassandra had, had a horrible feeling in those few moments... That her brother could have snapped, could have hit out - leaving her with no other choice but, just like she thought, Eos - without even being there - was what had given him hope.

A hope that had been lost the moment Melaina showed up - after they'd just enjoyed the most awkward meal any of them would ever have.

They'd been outside. Sat on the wall, overlooking the red flowers.

Her brother hadn't even moved, not even flinched, when Melaina had said the words out loud.

"Deimos' path ended where it began",

"But my brothers didn't" Kassandra had told her,

"No" she'd said, "I never said his would".

"Where is Eos" Kassandra had drew her spear,

"Far from your reach now" Melaina said, she turned, to look at the view with her brother, Kassandra looked with her - almost as if she thought she was looking towards something.

Melaina turned away.

"You are not going anywhere this time" Kassandra muttered under her breath,

"Be careful Kassandra. The Champion might be gone but, that does not make him any less chaotic, any less of a threat to what we want to achieve...",

"What",

"His blood is tainted... whether he's a champion or not...",

"What do you...",

"They think that the only thing left of him, was what the cult created... not what he created himself... maybe they should never find that out", Melaina warned,

"If I kill you, they won't" Kassandra said,

"Eos' only hope was that her brothers and sisters lived, that they chose their own paths. Perhaps we shouldn't forget that".

Melaina left and, Kassandra had let her.

Deimos had only sat there... Staring out over Sparta...

"I don't know why I hold on" he said quietly to Kassandra now, "to..." he trailed off. Saying her name, thinking it, it was so painful...

"Because you love her" Kassandra said. He didn't reply. "And that's okay" Kassandra looked down towards the city, "there has to be someone who knows what happened" Kassandra said,

"Melaina does" he said, "next time I see her, I'll beat it out of her" - he'd been angry with Kassandra letting her go but, he'd been too angry with himself having just sat there and done nothing.

"I'll hold her down" Kassandra agreed. Her brother looked over at her and she saw a small smile before he looked back to Sparta, he sighed,

"I don't want to die" he said, "I just...",

"I know you don't" Kassandra said, "mater just... worries about you",

"She needn't too" he said.

"Maybe... maybe you need to get out of here... Come with me" Kassandra said,

"I thought you said it was too dangerous" - it was safe to say that he had not been happy to have to stay in Sparta for these last few weeks, as if he was too fragile for the world...

His sister said they could take down people, like the cult, together and... the most blood he'd seen was from a leg of cow his mater had cooked once.

"I was wrong" Kassandra said, "what Melaina said... I wanted to protect you". Although, what Kassandra had realised in her walk here... was that her brother needed purpose - Eos had told her that was the only way he'd get threw it and... it was about time he did.

To forget the past would only make everything he thought, everything he believed about himself, both the good and the bad, mean nothing and... Kassandra couldn't lose him to lost thoughts.

On the other hand, her brother had opened his mouth to say he didn't need protecting but, he stopped, there was only three people in the whole of the world he finally believed that to be true about and... one of them he'd wanted desperately to protect himself and, he'd failed...

"When do we leave" he asked,

"Tomorrow morning" Kassandra said, she folded her arms.

"Another family dinner. How fun".


"Oh Eos, you do like to make things difficult for yourself, don't you" Cyrus said as she sat back down at the fire,

"Might as well be consistent" Eos murmured,

"Well, I've been told to tell you that the offer still stands. The both of them" Cyrus said,

"The offer to help you in killing my friend" Eos shrugged,

"Come now, if she was your friend, she would have found you by now" Cyrus said. Eos glanced up at him, watching as he stood and then nodded his head, taking his leave from them.

Glaukos, who'd been leaning against a chest that had once been filled with the jewels and wares of Agamemnon himself - which Glaukos had enjoyed studying in his spare time - there hadn't been much else to do - came over and sat down near her.

"What happened" Glaukos said as he reached for the fire, warming his hands, keeping his eyes on the flames,

"The leader, he's..." Eos didn't see the point in hiding it, not now, not with him. It would only make things harder in the long run, "he's my father...", Glaukos raised his brow and sat back a little,

"And I thought Deimos' family tree had been complicated" - he'd studied that for a long time, Deimos' bloodline... it had been filled with Kings, leaders and great minds... and then Deimos who, in his own way, had probably lived up to it.

"There's more. Helios wasn't my true brother either. Just some poor babe who got abandoned by his parents and left to wolves so they could... get away...",

"I didn't know him all that well" - Glaukos hadn't had the pleasure of being one of Chrysis' favourites - "but from what I heard, you two were so different. Not that different. But, different",

"It gets better" Eos sat back, her eyes wandering over to one of the masked guard, who was talking quietly with the bald man, throwing small glances back at them every now and then,

"Go on"

"My mother..." Glaukos sat up a little more, "she's a part of the cult. She had a fling with Amorges... and then, when I was born. I guess she ran away. Back to Athens",

"Athens" Glaukos said, "she could be anyone".

Glaukos was knowledgeable when it came to the members of the cult. He knew their names, their faces - a bit like Deimos. He would have been a useful ally to Kassandra.

Except, he didn't know which of them came under the...whole having a secret daugher who'd been raised up as one of the cults weapons...

"She could already be dead Glaukos... Kassandra could have taken her out already... I could have looked her in the eye and never knew...", Eos sighed - more from frustration than longing.

There were no accidents here, no mistaken identity, no lies... Her mother, even her father, were responsible for what had happened to her. It seemed whatever would have happened, a life of order had awaited her on both sides...

"Why do I feel as if this just gets worse" Glaukos said after a moment.

"Because I think it does... I decided I wouldn't be there dog, that I wouldn't help them find Kassandra...", she looked down to her hands,

Now, Eos wasn't sure if she was making the wrong decision but, how could she betray her like that - after everything. Not to mention that the guards would be up her arse more than ever. Amorges little birds would surround her and she'd never know who.

Glaukos nodded - he could understand that. Eos hadn't told him much about what had happened before. Thinking about the before only led her thoughts towards Deimos, to Laelaps and... Glaukos didn't want to lose her to the memory... But, he knew that Kassandra had meant a lot to her - she'd got her through some tough moments and, after everything, after the life they'd lived, it was nice to know that there were still people who could accept them.

"I'm sorry" Eos looked back to the masked guard and , they were looking towards them now, making no effort to look away.

"We've been through worse" Glaukos reminded her,

"Except now, we don't have the time to waste".

Chapter Text

"Barnabas of the sea, at your service" the one eyed Captain had bowed as he'd introduced himself to Kassandra's brother, who had raised his brow before he'd nodded his head, his arms folded,

"I am Dei-" he caught himself. A flutter of dread... no, not that... maybe guilt... he couldn't even be sure... had overtook him for a small moment - he hadn't had to introduce himself before - not as "Alexios".

"It is good to finally meet you Alexios" Barnabas said without missing a beat. The old man hadn't even battered his one good eye lid.

Kassandra had warned him the night before, as they'd sat around the table, the woman shovelling the food in to her mouth as if she was some sort of animal, that Barnabas was not for the faint of heart or, the overly sad. Which, he hadnt known then if it was a jest at him or not - Alexios wasn't sad... he wasn't sure he had enough left inside for that, it was more a mixture of anger, of confusion, of petty hates he knew he had to get under control. Not sadness.

Still, Alexios liked the old man. The Captain didn't stare or treat him any different than anyone else - the rest, it was as if they were walking on eggshells around him, watching their words so carefully, it was as if they were worried that, if they stumbled, he'd lash out just for the sake of it... and he'd been sure they were passed all of that... Which was not helped by the fact that even Kassandra and Myrine did it more often than not.

His mater especially.

Whilst in Sparta, despite his mater's suggestion that he should at least go and talk to the people who'd lived there - there was no threat in talking to a fisherman at the docks, or a shop keep in the town - they'd never know who he was. The pathetic, blue robes he wore helped him to blend in - much to his distaste at first but, still Alexios had chosen to keep himself to himself. Not to mention that Kassandra had drunkenly begged him to keep his head low... Something he'd been excelling at brilliantly, where as Eos... Alexios stopped... he couldn't think about that now... not about her...

Overall, he was just trying to not to be stupid... No mate how angry he got, with his maters constant love, trying to make up desperately for all the lost time or, with the time he had for his mind to stew, he knew that, right now,he'd be no use in any sort of fight if he was to get caught out - by the cult, or the order...

What it had all made him sure of though, was his need for a purpose, something to focus on other than the guilt of before...

This world... The world he thought would be full of opportunities, felt empty and, that only added to the greatest of disservices that he felt - even if he'd done enough to not deserve it - although, he realised that, as Barnabas had passed by him, carrying what could only be a crate of wine, it was that the world never owed you nothing and, you had to take what was yours...

But, he didn't know what that was... he never had... he'd never got the chance to know.

The Champion he'd once been was well and truly gone... Without the golden armour he'd worn so proudly, his apparent death - as pitiful as it sounded - it had led him to be forgotten. A warrior that, despite the chaos he harbinged beneath, did not get the glorious death they may have said he deserved.

"Myrine" the Captain had almost sang, "it is so good to see you again", the two of them embraced, chattering like old woman as they pulled apart.

If Alexios was sure of anything though, it was that he didn't want his 'mater' following on his path of redemption - or, whatever this was.

The relationship between them; it was fine, in its own way, a little strained at times but, that was more because he couldn't be the loving child that Kassandra was.

Alexios didn't need her to sit up, to comfort him when he woke up from the terrors that tried to embrace him every night, the sweats and thoughts were enough hassle without having her cooing over him...

At first, he thought he may get used to it but, he'd started to realise it was too little, too late. He didn't know if he had anything left in him to love, or feel, for anyone else... He'd used it all up and, a part of him would wonder if the peice he clung on to was the only thing that made him go on. As much as all the other part didn't want to believe it.

It was weak of him, everything about him was weak - which only aided in making him more angry - and, he hadn't found the inner strength he thought he'd had without them. Without the purpose they'd promised - or perhaps they hadn't really promised him anything and he should have promised something himself...

Alexios averted his eyes, realising he'd been staring at the back of Barnabas' head and, he'd noticed Kassandra raise her brow at him out the side of his eye.

Kassandra, as much as she tried to understand, she didn't yet know the man Eos had told him so much about - or, this version of him anyway. His purpose, their purpose, Kassandra had started to wonder if the trials she'd faced to bring him home were never meant to end like this - as much as she hoped they were...

It was never anything she could really discuss, especially now Myrine was here. As worried as she got about him, she had so many dreams for him and, even suggesting that it was never meant to be was an offence.

Myrine, who was already telling Barnabas of the quest she was on - which, Alexios was sure was just a cover to keep an eye on him.

Myrine claimed that the Spartan King was worried about things he'd heard from Messenia and, with Kassandra having been given a letter from a courier that very morning - about a possible disturbance in Archai involving the Order - from her Persian friend Darius - Myrine thought it only right she was to go too and report back to the King as soon as possible.

Poor Kassandra had stood there for almost a whole hour, watching as the waves lapped at the ship, tossing it around gently, Poseidon teasing a storm.

If the Order was involved in some sort of sea blockade in Archai then, she had to help but, Melaina's words - that her brothers existence should go unnoticed if she didn't want a target put on to his back too - made it all the more difficult the decision. And now, she had her mater to worry about too.

And then, after having looked out a the sea for long enough, Kassandra had realised that, it wasn't her choice. None of this was ever her choice and, to treat Alexios like he was some sort of child who couldn't make his own decisions, would only create a rift between them - a rift she was sure had already started to form by her having left him in Sparta in the first place.

So, she turned to her brother, who had arrived a little while before and had been stood on the dock, looking out to the sea too. Kassandra always wondered what it was he thought about, his face so contemplative, she wondered he was so used to the ghosts of the past, they were just as painless as everything else.

"Here" Kassandra said. Alexios, lost in thought, had taken a moment to turn. He took the letter from her, reading over it.

"And you don't want me to go" Alexios said, he turned back to the sea, the letter being scrumpled tightly in his hand - he knew it had been too good to be true... No matter though. He couldn't stay here - not anymore. He wasn't scared of any Order - he had to-

"No, I..." it was the last thing she wanted but, "I want you to decide".

Wrapped up in his own thoughts again, cursing himself, his sister, his mother, even the crew on the ship, it had taken him another moment to realise what she'd said,

"You know my answer" Alexios told her, holding his head up.

As stupid as it sounded, there was a reason he needed to be close to them...

As lost as he was when it came to her, being close to the Order, it would give him the chance to search for her - or, at least search for some answers on what had happened... Perhaps that could be his purpose for a little while - finding the answers he needed , his path to follow until he found what else the world would have in store for him... maybe even move on...

Alexios had never let go of the hope that Melaina's words were only for the faint of hearing who may have assumed the worse... That her words could be interpreted differently... Just like her words about him - about his fait.

Except, Alexios didn't know what he would do if he did find out that she was truly gone. His mater had told him he would have so many opportunities to persue now, that he would just have to take them as they were thrown at him but... he loved her... he loved Eos and, the night terrors that plagued him the most were the ones was living in a world where no one truly understood him - not like she did, not like the others... They knew the terrors he'd faced, the ones he'd never be able to talk about...

That gave him a thought...

Maybe they could make a stop at Elis.

Glaukos had said that he'd found a tomb on the west side of Mount Psophis, perhaps he was still around. The two never had much to do with each other, not really but, Glaukos had always been a little more rebellious, in his own way, which, Deimos thought that, if anything, he could carry on the hope that Eos had wanted. Of how she'd wanted them to make the decisions for themselves, the whole of themselves, by helping liberate Glaukos from that.

Which, Alexios knew he had to try and do for himself too. No matter the monsters he fought, he had to make himself prevail - he had to find a purpose that only involved himself... Otherwise, it would only be a purpose that would lapse on the failings of others...

Taking a deep breath, Alexios had stood on the ship deck with his sister, Barnabas on the other side of the misthios, as the Adrestia finally set sail.


"I don't know if it's a good idea" Kassandra said, "What if he runs straight back to the cult and tells them you're not dead".

"First of all, there's not many of them left" Alexios had said. Kassandra had collected a multude of artifact peices and, she'd even retrieved the ones he'd told her about - the ones Eos had left in her very fine but still destructive trail through the cult. "Second, they'll shake in their greaves and hope it's you and not me coming to rip them from their beds - or yours" Alexios folded his arms.

Kassandra stopped a smile. As much as she had hated Deimos' arrogance and, the now faint lines of a cocky grin on his face, she was glad that, even with everything, he was able to berate her with a joke... Even if it hadn't been one of Kassandras proudest moments.

Because, in all Kassandra's infident wisdom, on the cult no less, she'd beded Diona the day before she realised that the woman was a cultist, a twin no less, which, only because of a bruise on her arm - that Kassandra had put there - she was able to distinguish between the two identical sisters.

Alexios had told Kassandra that she should have just killed them both but, she hadn't been very fond of the idea.

Now though, they'd already docked and, it wouldn't take him long to find the tomb, he was sure of it. Kassandra had sighed, as if giving her brother permission to go but, he'd already decided he was going to do it anyway.

Keeping to the mountain passes, Alexios had found his way to some sort of glorified cage entrance.

Inside, apart from some small shrines, all he really found was a large slate. It did seem to have some sort of power in it though. He was sure he could see the glow in the symbols, retelling the story of the tomb and who was buried here. He touched it, feeling that same spark run through him when he would touch the artifact and, he flinched away.

There was no pain but, that... that was the reason why he was taken in the first place. Because there was power in their blood. The cause of all that pain... perhaps the Order was right... perhaps he and all of his bloodline really were tainted... perhaps being a demi-god really wasn't all that great...

Fighting the small urge inside of him, to place his hand upon it, to take in that power, Alexios continued on through the tomb, finding, towards the end, a hallway, that had once been home to a make-shift camp.

There was a bedroll there, a very dead fire, a pouch of what could only have been some berries once, now rotten and black and, a leather journal.

The pages were damp, even stuck together at some points but, through the splodges, Deimos could see the same faint handwriting as the letter.

Glaukos had been here. It just looked as if he'd left in a hurry. There was no sign of any pushing, pulling, no sign of a struggle, of blood. He'd just left and never come back.

Alexios wondered if maybe Glaukos had run from something, maybe even been captured. Whatever it had been, he'd not been here for a long while. No one had.

Taking the journal with him, Alexios found his way back to Kassandra, who was stood on the dock, speaking with an old friend of hers - who, Deimos quickly realised was none other than that sculptors, Phidias' friend.

Deimos... Alexios had killed him... His body had been torn to pieces... All for three words that had never got them anywhere... That, and the rest of the terrible things he'd done to try and stay at the top, to discover a legacy lost to an ancient civilisation.

The hooded man had eyed him carefully as he'd walked passed, taking in the plain chest peice that he wore, the belt without the gold insignia that they knew him so well for... the only thing Deimos had left of Deimos physically was his sword - which he kept in a covered sheath and, the golden band he wore on his forearm - he hadn't been able to get rid of it, no matter how much he'd tried.

The rest though, it was in a bottom of a chest Kassandra had told him. Alexios had thought that letting it burn in some sort of heap would make him feel better but, he hadn't built up the courage enough for that - he didn't know if destroying it would help when, to forget what he did, would make him less of a human than he already felt as if he was.

"Find anything useful" - the hooded man was gone but, Alexios had been staring out at the port, having not even realised they'd started to sail once more, "brother" Kassandra asked, finally pulling him out of the hole he'd found himself in.

He stumbled at first, "No. Not..." he trailed off and shook his head. He took a step back "not really".

After a moment, Alexios looked down as he pulled out the journal, holding it in both hands. He felt as if he squeezed enough, he'd squeeze the ink right out. There was probably nothing useful inside anyway. Alexios glanced up slightly, feeling the hovering of someone more, other than his sister and, he saw Herodotus, the story-teller.

Alexios caught his eye, took a look back at the journal and then held it out to him, "this might have something but, the pages are wet, I don't know if you can do much with it", Kassandra turned to Herodotus, watched as he took it, almost a little excited, and opened the cover slowly, the first few pages stuck to it.

"I'll see what I can do" Herodotus said, giving Alexios a smile before he disappeared under the deck.

"What is it" Kassandra asked,

"Glaukos' journal",

"So, he was there",

"Yes but, he'd left a while ago, left everything" Alexios folded his arms and leant over the barrier, watching the crew below.

"Do you think it was a trap" Kassandra asked, Alexios looked up at her to say it wasn't a very good one but, Kassandra wasn't finished yet, "Eo..." she stopped and Alexios averted his eyes, back to the crew.

Kassandra sighed before she started again. "She said that he was always his own person, that he was rebellious in his own way. Do you think the Order could have got to him, like it did Melaina and..." she trailed off. Kassandra knew that Eos had killed Kallinos herself but, Pyros, Pyros it seemed they'd been close with as children and, it was a subject they hadn't touched yet.

And a subject Alexios only wanted to leave where it was. Nothing would change what was.

"Pyros" Alexios shrugged, "maybe".

The thing was, as much as Glaukos would rather the cult not determine what it was he done or, what he researched, moving on to another secret organisation was never really a goal for him.

Melaina and Pyros on the other hand... Now they, they'd always been after that little bit more, or mad... Alexios wasnt sure how but, it was true.

"When Melaina told us about you, about... what would happen... E..." Kassandra sighed again, a name couldn't hurt him, but, it also made Kassandra feel terrible because, she'd lost her too. Despite what she and Deimos had been through, Kassandra had lost her too. They'd fought side by side and, Kassandra hadn't been able to save her either.

"Eos asked her if she knew where he was. It seemed like she did" Kassandra said,

"Why didn't she tell her" Alexios asked quietly. Melaina had not battered an eye lid when she'd told him where Eos was... She'd done it willingly. What had all that been for? Had she hoped that Deimos would kill her? Or, was it just a part of this game Melaina thought she was so good at winning at.

"Because all E... Eos brings is death" Kassandra said. She shook her head, "I didn't know anything about Kallinos but, she told me she'd know - as soon as she saw him, whether or not he'd be on her side" Kassandra looked out to the sea.

Kallinos had been holding on to a grudge for a while... a grudge that had began when Deimos had killed his friend that day at the cults gathering, trading his life for Kassandra's. "Then, we found Asphodel, thin, bald and... dying in the temple..." Kassandra shook her head, "Eos held her as she died and... she was heartbroken... I could see it in her... she'd been too late and, she only blamed herself",

"That wasn't her fault" Alexios said quietly, the cult had driven Asphodel to madness and, it had never been anything that Eos had done...

"Then it was Akin. I killed him. In the battle of a hundred hands. Eos had found out that I'd entered too. She went in there, to stop him but, he chose death..." Kassandra looked at her brother, could see the look as he remembered. How he'd buried his friend underneath the tree. How the lycaon was what led him to her that night - Laelaps had knew then that he'd never hurt her. "Eos watched him die too".

"The cult did that" Alexios said, "didn't they. The things that led us to those moments, we never would have had to choose if they'd not-",

"We would always have to choose" Kassandra said, "just maybe, without them, you would have seen a bit more of the truth - than the lies they fed to you".

Lies Alexios knew many of because, then, it had been easier to listen to the lies and excuses, instead of deal with what was really in front of them - and, he'd been selfish... so very selfish...


They had just docked in Archai, at a secluded bay in Istion valley, near an old ship wreck.

"We should stay here" Myrine had suggested to her son. Alexios glanced at her - he knew she was only trying to protect him but, she didn't get to make the rules... he did... if they wanted him so much to live his life the way he wanted, they needed to let him,

"We?" Alexios asked, he saw Kassandra look at him, her face pleading with him not to say anything more - she'd been doing it since they'd left Elis. Trying to stop the confrontation that Alexios left bubbling up inside of him when his mater suggested they do something else other than what he needed to do.

"Alexios" it was Herodotus. The story-teller had been hard at work deciphering that book and, Alexios had already decided that it was a lost cause - "I think I may have found something that could equate to your friends sudden disappearance". Kassandra took a step backwards, gesturing to Myrine to step back too, to give him some space. They always seemed to end up huddled around him and, he hated it.

Reluctantly, his mater did. Myrine knew he needed to decide on his own but, she did not want him to chase after that which was gone, but to chase after that which was right in front of him.

Herodotus handed him the book, having found a page that wasn't as torn and ruined as the rest of it,

"This here" Herodotus stood next to him and pointed to it, "your friend seems to mention that he is worried about someone following him but, here" he pointed to another bit, "he mentions that he does not think it is the cult of Kosmos doing - it doesn't fit with the way they do things" - yes Alexios had thought, because, if Glaukos had been up to something they weren't happy with, Deimos would have been their first port of call - especially when it came to one of the cults children.

Kassandra took the distraction as a moment to leave, she needed to go and meet her old friend Darius.

Alexios was sure she didn't think he'd seen her but, he hadn't needed to. The atmosphere changed dramatically when Kassandra left the ship - the crew weren't lazy, they just weren't very uniform and precise - like he liked them.

Still, he didn't care for a couple runaway Persians anyway.

"And then, here" Herodotus turned the pages slowly to another, having bookmarked them gently, "it seems he decided to do a little bit of research himself. It's not very clear but, he seems to mention something here about an Order". The pages were so faded, Alexios could only just see it, "and here, he mentions that the cult seemed to have had some run-ins once or twice with them" Herodotus turned the page again, leaving out those that were completely unreadable, "And here, it mentions a name, an Athenian Captain - based in Archai". Herodotus pointed to what could could have been a name but, he wasn't able to work it out. Herodotus looked at Alexios and gently, he passed the book over.

Alexios took a closer look - wondering if it really could have been who he thought it was. Theodoros - he used to be one of Macheons men - before Eos had killed him. He hadn't kept any tabs on where he'd gone next - neither had Kleon.

"Do you think he's involved with the Order" Alexios asked as he passed the book back. He folded his arms, tilting his head at the faded side Herodotus hadn't been able to decipher, as if it would help - it didn't.

"I cannot be sure" Herodotus said. Alexios let his arms fall and he looked out, towards the sea - at least he had a lead, his own lead, perhaps even a lead to the Order but, maybe it wasn't enough. Maybe Glaukos had made a choice already, maybe he was already dead.

Herodotus looked at him, there was something else but, he'd wanted Kassandra's opinion on it first. It wasn't enough to help them in their efforts, only to bring up the past the boy was seemingly trying to leave behind, even if he struggled desperately with it.

After a moment, Herodotus realised that it wasn't his choice either.

He'd overhead Kassandra and Alexios' conversation on the dock and, he'd never be able to let go of the things he needed to if they didn't allow him to choose.

"There is something else though" Alexios glanced back, watching as Herodotus went and put the book down, turning the pages ever so more gently now, going backwards a little more. He hadn't bookmarked this bit. "Here, it... well... it's not been very preserved but... it mentions Eos".

Unlike Kassandra, or him, Herodotus did not shy away from the name. Words were his fortay and, he was never afraid to say them.

Alexios had looked down at the floor, trying to resist this urge to throw himself at the book,

"What..." he took a deep breath and shook his head, "what does it..." he looked back towards the sea,

"Nothing you may not already know" Alexios closed his eyes and sighed, "it says that he heard of Eos' existence - that he was worried about her and, it seems he planned to send you a letter",

"He did" Alexios said, "It just didn't say that",

"It was like some sort of secret code" Barnabus put in excitedly - he missed the girl and her godly creatures just as much as Kassandra did, "have you still got it",

"No" Alexios said - he'd had so many other things on his mind at the moment, it hadn't mattered.

He knew who would have told him though, the one would have left out the trail of clues.

The one who'd left them out for him.

Melaina.

If he found her, he might find answers - answers he needed - about what she was doing, about what the last few years had meant - even if it didn't end with Eos.


It was dark when Alexios decided he'd had enough of staring at the sea. Leaving as Barnabas and Herodotus debated whether the large reddish globe off in the distance was another earth, destroyed and baron, like Herodotus said or, if it was an orb of eternal fire sent by Hades to punish them - like Barnabas was telling him it was and, with Myrine having found a place at the front of the ship, now lying and looking towards the stars, he'd taken it as a moment to go without any confrontation.

His plan was to see if that Athenian Captain was still in Archai and, he knew the first place to look would be the Teichos of Herakles - one of the cults forts - which he'd be sure Kassandra - and everyone else - except Barnabas, who had been telling him that his decisions and choices were now his to make and, he was to ride the waves with Poseidon like the Demi-god he was - would say it was a bad idea (like Kassandra wouldn't do it).

At the Fort, channeling his inner silence, the thought creeping up on him that he would have made the lycaon proud with the light steps he'd taken, Deimos had found a spot to sit and watch from.

Waiting, listening, as the men roamed around, Alexios overheard mostly meaningless conversations, until he heard the Captain name being mentioned.

Who, it seemed, wasn't thought fondly of.

And, for those reasons, was probably why he'd decided to patrol the Leaders house in Archai instead.

Seems he'd been getting a bit too comfy since Macheon had died - despite the fact he'd shit himself whilst watching one of his friends throats get ripped out by a lycaon - and, was trying to take up the handle - much to the distaste of everyone else because, they thought they should do it instead. Seems he had wanted them to follow him in to something else, something more and, whilst some of the men there had considered it, most had pointed out that the cult was losing itself to the war and its enemies and, it wouldn't be long until he died too.

Alexios had also heard his name being thrown around too or... his old name...

The only reason he called himself Alexios was that so people didn't know it was him. Seems you can be the most fearful of warriors but, you get rid of the armour, of a name and, that fearfulness goes away...

And, it seems dying on a mountain top, where he'd been sacrificed as a babe, was all rather poetic to them and now, they were trying to decide whether he'd been thrown off or, if he'd jumped.

Jumping had never been an option... If he'd survived the fall as a baby, it'd only be his luck to survive the fall as an adult too. It wasn't the pain in his body that he'd been scared of but, the pain of knowing he tried and didn't succeed...

No, he knew what he would have to have done to provoke his sister and, he hadn't done it.

And that spear, he'd had the want to touch it, to reach out for it and, he'd felt a rush, a rush of emotion, of everything he'd done, the terrible, the unthinkable and, the good... Which didn't involve much more than what the cult had called chaotic... A love that he'd lost now but, he was sure had made him want to see the truth... A truth he wondered if it would ever make room for him...

Making his way back in to the city, he had found the Captain where they said he'd be. He was stood at the front of the leaders house, as if he was waiting for something - or someone.

Taking a moment to search around the upstairs of the house - he found something from a woman named the Tempest. Which, by the sounds of it, he was sure would be useful to Kassandra in one way or another.

And then, to Alexios' delight, he came out and saw what it was the Captain had been waiting for.

A couple cult guards had made an appearance. They'd talked amongst themselves quietly before Alexios watched as he went back towards his men, telling them to keep their eyes to the skies for the arrival of the Eagle bearer and, that he would be back by mornings end.

The cult guards had left before he'd come back, going off in another direction but, it was not long until they circled round and found each other again once they were out of view of the leaders House.

"Far too much effort" Alexios had muttered to himself as he'd followed them. They'd stopped at a house just at the edge of town for a moment, being joined by a man with an eye patch and, who Alexios was sure, was a man who had a hole in the side of his head instead of an ear.

The masked cultist guards led the three silent men towards the east, to a military encampment.

The two Athenian guards stood at the entrance had smiled as they'd arrived, welcoming them in, as if they were old friends, their empty posts being replaced by the two masked cultists.

Inside, there were a couple more men who had held their hands out to greet the newcomers and then, they had all convulsed in to one of the tents. Alexios was sat on the other side of it, having came through a break in the fences.

The men inside seemed to have sat down, laughing with one another, the jostling of bowls telling Alexios that wine was being poured as they got comfortable.

At first, Alexios wondered if he'd somehow turned up to some party but, by the sounds of things, this was a common occurrence and, he'd struck gold.

Seems his sisters arrival had not gone unnoticed.

"The Eagle bearer has returned",

"Of course she has. She cannot resist a cry for help",

"She is resilient, I'll give her that",

"Who is it we're talking about now" one had slurred. Alexios sat up,

"The Eagle-Bearer" the general had said,

"Ahh, that one, not heard much about that one",

"I'm surprised",

"Nah, don't talk all that much. It's actually quite nice",

"Be useful though",

"It'd all be lies",

"What are you trying to say",

"Nothing. Nothing",

"You knew of her brother though, right" Alexios sat up a bit more - seems Kassandras arrival hadn't given him away,

"I know the bastard was in love-" he heard someone start to choke, a cough saving them from death, which was just fine because Alexios had to stop himself too.

"In love. Deimos? Are you really that drunk", it was the Captain.

"I saw it" he proclaimed, the slur still stuck in his throat,

"Of course you did",

"I did",

"You be careful what that rat whispers in your ear" the Captain said, "I didn't know her well but, Macheon never trusted her",

"She played us like a fiddle" another said.

Melaina.

"A running theme. But, she did come to us",

"Are you surprised" another said, "I heard Diona went missing the other week. Hasn't been seen. Can only imagine its because that Eagle pecked out her pretty little eyes".

"Now, she was a Goddess, given to us by Persephone herself",

"I was kind of hoping I had a chance" the Captain mentioned, "you know, with Deimos gone and everything",

"They never fucked though. Right",

"No, Kleon said no woman could satisfy a man with such a blood lust",

"But one did" another said, "If he was in love with her, as you say",

"They were both just as fucked up as one another" another said, "did you hear what she did",

"Did you hear what we did",

"No",

The questioner laughed, "Good" he took another drink, "that is not something I'll relive for anyone".

Trying not to throw himself in the to the tent and slay the lot of them, Deimos had sat, gritting his teeth, trying to remind himself to breath every once in a while and, listen to what more they had to say.

It wasn't much. It just seemed like the drips and drabs of the cult were trying to get on the good side of this Order...

Eventually though, as the night wore on, they got quieter, the drink flowing less freely as it got too much for them.

"Baraz, I think it's about time you go back - before you can't find your way back",

"I guess so. We'll be moving soon. If things go as planned - best get there before it happens"

"Or unplanned" the Athenian Captain had suggested,

"It'll be a surprise but, look at what she did in Makedonia. We have to be prepared" another said,

"Either way, we'll be sure to have two less people to deal with",

"Then the eagle-bearer won't have anyone to fall back on",

"A little bird tells me that she brought her mater with her",

"Then we can kill two birds with one stone",

"Maybe we'll get all four and be done with it" Baraz had said, Alexios realised that it was him who was the slurrer, "I was hoping we could go home soon",

"Is that not the plan",

"Not anymore" Baraz had stood up, his legs feeling heavy as he did. "Bastards, you know" he moaned "tried to poison me, the beardy one",

"This again",

"I could have died" Baraz said,

"All it did was make you sleep and piss your pants",

"Die of embarrassment" one had put in,

"Did you get them back",

"As much as I could do" Baraz said, "Cyrus wasn't so keen but, still, he deserved it".

Alexios wondered who he could have meant but, seems, however drunk he was, his whingy words didn't give out much.

It was then, the men started to leave but, it was only one that Alexios had his eye on.

He was the third to leave, now chaperoned by the two cultist guards.

The drunk one.

He had stumbled and groaned as they'd walked down the road, away from the encampment, even more to the east. The drunk was muttering something, about not being seen for what he really was but, Alexios was already surveying the mans end. The lust for violence came so easily, he wasn't even shocked - how could he be.

Alexios could not see the two guards being a problem. He could sneak up on them, stick the dagger he had in to the first ones back, grab their sword - he'd left his on the Adrestia - and then, plunge it in to the second ones chest. The drunkard would be defenceless and, maybe he'd even talk before he died.

He obviously knew where Melaina was, maybe he knew something about Eos and... if it was true, he'd know who he was.

Or, who he had been.

He said that Deimos had been in love, as if it had been out there for the world to see... If anything, Alexios had to tr-.

Alexios felt a hand on his shoulder and spun around, having been ready to grab them by the neck and stick the dagger he had in to their throat but, it was his sister.

She shook her head - none of what he wanted to do was a good idea - she'd looked down, at the dagger ready to stab her.

"Eos'" she'd said quietly before Alexios pulled away, putting the snake headed dagger back in to his pocket, he shrugged her off.

"Do not-". Kassandra put her hands up,

"I won't" Kassandra assured him.

The siblings watched as the three men disappeared but, Alexios felt as if it wouldn't be the last time he'd see him.

"They know Myrine is here" Alexios told her as they took the walk back to ship, "she never should have come",

"Try telling her that" Kassandra said. She sighed and shook her head, he was right, she never should have come. Anyway, it was done now and, they'd just have to deal with it. "What was that anyway",

"A party" Alexios shrugged,

"Between the cult and the Order",

"The drips and drabs of the cult" Alexios told her.

There was nothing else he could say about it... nothing that was useful to her...

Back at the adrestia, Kassandra informed them what she'd found. There were people who had been stranded in Archai by the blockades and, a woman from a nearby town was helping them.

Having sorted the problem Darius'd had and, after doing a little digging, they knew that what they had to do was to lead the Tempest out, deal with her and, the drips and drabs of what was left of the Order shouldn't bother the stranded any longer. It also meant that her Persian friends could finally escape from there once the sea was clear.

Alexios had pulled out the letter he'd found and passed it over to her.

"This just confirms it" Kassandra said, "their building a weapon, for the skila. It might be unstoppable if they get it working",

"Nothing can stop the Adrestia" Barnabas said,

"Wood burns old man, on water or not" Alexios said.

"But, perhaps it'll be her ship that burns instead" Kassandra suggested.

Kassandra, having wanted to keep an eye on her brother, had asked him to come with her when she'd returned to Darius and his son that next morning.

Darius, ever on the defensive, hadn't taken kindly to the intruder. Except, Alexios had grabbed the old man as he'd came out of the shadows.

Natakas was just standing there, his hand on his face. If he didn't trust Kassandra by now not to bring just anyone in on their little operation, he didn't think he ever would.

"Alexios, stop" Kassandra said.

Alexios, having grabbed Darius by the throat and aimed the blade that had just came out of nowhere towards the bottom of the old mans chin, had waited a moment for the blade to retract before he'd let the man go.

Natakas didn't even bother seeing if he was okay. His fathers lack of trust would be what got him killed one day, he was sure of it.

"Darius, this is my brother",

"I noticed" Darius spat, massaging his throat before he went and stood by Natakas, folding his arms, "You're much quicker than she is",

"I'll take that as a compliment old man" Alexios said. The glare the old man gave him was worth it.

"It doesn't take away from why you're here though" Darius looked to Kassandra, "the more they believe him dead, the better. Why bring him",

"Because I have my own business with the Order" Alexios said, he folded his arms too,

"And she's probably already dead. Revenge is never going to bring her back boy" Darius told him.

The sharp intake of breath Alexios gave also most made him snap, "call me boy again and that blade will be dragged-",

"Enough" Kassandra said, "we have other things to worry about",

"No, you do" Alexios said, "I did not come here to rescue some poor sailors, or Persians who run away" he gestured to Darius,

"Then why did you come" Darius asked,

"I don't have to answer to you" Alexios folded his arms, "I don't have to answer to any of you". Alexios turned around, leaving them but, not before hearing the old man say:

"Maybe the lie about his fait wasn't all that heart-breaking",

"You've told enough of them" Natakas had spat at him.

In his anger, instead of finding his way back to the encampment, in hope of ripping threw some masked guards - cultists, Persians, he didn't care which - he found himself on the coast where the Adrestia was docked.

Alexios sat on the soft sand.

If she was gone, then it meant his hunt for answers would be futile, that it would only bring up a past he was sure he had to leave behind now.

But if she was gone, every peice of what he thought he had, thought he needed, was also gone and... He was still here and, it made him feel terrible.

If it wasn't for him, she never would have been in that fort, none of this ever would have happened if he'd not let the chaos of the two of them take over all that time ago.

Maybe she would have stood at his side in the wars he fought, maybe Kassandra would have killed her, maybe Eos would have found her way down the same path anyway...

He lay back. Eos had risked everything to show him the truth and, he knew, to throw that away now, was against everything she wanted but... that glimmer of light inside him was starting to fade and... he didn't know how long it would be until the monster inside took over again... Kassandra couldn't keep it down forever - unless...

She never would though. He was sure of that...

Perhaps at one time, Kassandra had considered killing her brother was the only way but, she'd passed that now.

Kassandra who, after telling Darius what she thought of his outburst, leaving him and Natakas to argue, had followed her brother and sat down near him. She waited for his words first.

"I'm not here to be a hero" Alexios said. He didn't move, continuing to stare up at the sky.

"I know" Kassandra said, "He's just... old and... stuck in his ways... they've been running for a long time",

"That's not my problem" Alexios said,

"I know it's not but... this would be easier if the two of you got along" Kassandra said.

"I just need to know what happened" Alexios said, "I need to know if she's gone, if the dogs... gone",

"I didn't think anything could ever kill that thing" Kassandra said. At that moment, as if on cue, Ikaros landed in front of them, squawking a little,

"His loyalty to her would" Alexios said.

Back on the Adrestia that night, Herodotus had came over to him, Glaukos' book in hand.

"Alexios, it seems that here" he pointed at some of the more later pages - "it mentions seeing a man with only one ear, even said they spoke but, I cannot see what about. However, Glaukos had started planning to leave after it" he pointed to another artp of the journal, "and then it ends. There is nothing more after it".

Alexios had a feeling he knew who it was that had visited Glaukos - and, if Glaukos had left behind his beloved journal - it could only mean that he'd been taken before he'd had time enough to leave on his own.


Alexios had found the mercenary after his sister in the city, one of the same mercenaries he knew had been sent after Eos in Athens. Seems the hunter had indeed changed its prey.

He'd considered jeering the man over, killing him and his stupid bear, but then, he'd noticed a familiar face near to the statue of Poseidon. The drunk man, Baraz.

Following after him instead, it hadn't taken long for Alexios to realise someone else was following him too but, as if to throw them off, Alexios diverted down an alleyway - an alleyway that would have taken him straight in front of Baraz had Alexios not turned down another.

It meant losing sight of the drinker but, by the time he got to the quiet little secluded hollow, he knew who it was.

And, he knew it'd be worth it.

"So, you are alive" Alexios sighed, "I was told you were dead" he felt him come closer. It was the Captain. "Seems the saying is true. Once a snake, always a snake" - Alexios knew he meant Melaina - "no matter, I'll fix that",

"Of course you will" Alexios turned, the Captain throwing himself at him immediately.

Alexios stepped out of his way and turned to him, the thrill he started to feel making him hesitate, allowing the Captain time to stand and swing his sword. Alexios caught the blade in his fingers and the Captain had pulled it out of the grip, his leg kicking out and getting Deimos in the gut, making him stumble backwards.

Alexios hadn't needed to have worried about doing it himself, if he carried on like this, he'd fall to a pompous athenian Captain instead.

The Captain, who had said something before he'd struck out again. Alexios only able to dodge it. Just. Placing his hand on his own sword quickly, Alexios met with his and, with just one flick of his wrist, the Captains sword fell from his hands and, he went scrambling. It gave Deimos time enough to ram his sword through the man's gut and back out the other side.

The Captain fell to his knees, his hands going to the hole in his stomach, his eyes starting to gloss over as the blood started to spill.

Alexios lowered his sword, his hand shaking - which he wasn't sure whether it was from the cut on his hand that was bleeding all over the handle or, if it was the thrill of the kill that was coursing through his veins, making him feel that little bit sick. It had been the first blood he'd seen in months, the first man he was able to watch give his last words and die as someone else...

Even if Alexios had realised that the someone else wasn't really that much different to who he had been.

"You know" the Captain said, "when they first said that they were gonna take all of the 'children', we... I didn't believe them... and then, they started to fall... like sacks of shit..." he laughed and fell forward, clutching his stomach as he turned around and laid on the ground, looking up, "who knew that one of their own could do that - without any thanks it seems but, then again, we all know how delarious she could be..."

"What" - he was speaking about her. About Eos.

"Seems they forgot about you though... no matter... he knows now... that" he wiggled his fingers "Baraz... I'm sure they'll fulfil that purpose. The order being eternal and all that",

The Captain chuckled, "Perhaps Hades will have a room for the both of you". The Captain smiled and Alexios felt someone behind him. He turned, pushing his sword up through the chest of that damn mercenary, pulling it out, letting him fall to his knees and then, swinging it and slicing his throat open, watching the man struggle between which appendage he should be grabbing at before he died.

Alexios looked back to the Captain but, he was already dead.

Sitting down, Alexios had put his head between his knees, his heart beating a thousand times an hour. He felt sick, as if everything he was trying not to be, had come out in that one moment.

But he'd had too... There hadn't been another option... Alexios held his hand out, spreading his fingers, the slice across his palm pulsating, the blood twitching itself out.

He knew the conclusions they'd jump to, the state of him and, he didn't care.

And now they knew, now that Baraz knew, he was sure the blood would only become second nature to him again. Even if the thrill of the kill felt empty. As if he didn't deserve it anymore. Although, the blood was just as thick...

And, they'd had her. They'd had Eos...

And, if the Captain was telling the truth... she was gone... just like Melaina said...

Eventually, having sat in the same spot for most of the night, Alexios got up and started walking towards the Adrestia.

Coming in to view of the ship, he'd seen his sister pacing, his mater stood, her hand on her head.

It was Kassandra that noticed him first, who had seen the blood. She'd hesitated, he'd seen it, she thought she'd lost him... Just like that... Myrine though, she'd not, she'd followed Kassandras horrified gaze and rushed over to him, Kassandra snapping out of it and running after her - not to him.

"Alexios" he'd stopped, staring at the look on his sisters face. Did she really think him that weak. His mater, as fearless as before, had grabbed his hand, had pushed the cloth he'd wrapped on it over, "Are you-",

"Leave me" Alexios said as he pulled his hand away,

"What happened" Kassandra pushed in front of her mater and grabbed on to his shoulders, making him look at her. Alexios flinched away, the betrayal in his eyes making Kassandra regret it.

"They have her... they had her" Alexios had said after a moment - they weren't the words he'd wanted to say, not the words any of them needed but, she'd done everything she could to show him a path without so much blood shred and, he'd enjoyed it... There wasn't anything else to enjoy... anything else to hold on too. Except this...

"I told you Alexios, if Eos is alive, we'll find her",

"But I... she...",

"You need to find your own way my son" Myrine said, she put her hand on his shoulder and he shrugged her away again - if people could stop thinking that touching him made him feel better, he'd appreciate it,

"You don't know what I need" Alexios said,

"I know she would not want you to risk your life for her" Myrine said, "To show them-",

"They already know" Alexios said, his voice colder and harsher than he wished it to be,

"What" Myrine asked, her old skin going pale,

"What do you mean they know" Kassandra said, pulling him to face her - she didn't care about his non-touchy thing "Who". Alexios had that cocky grin on his face, like Deimos would, like he didn't even care.

"The Athenian Captain is dead but, the drunk knows".

"Kassandra", the three of them turned around - it was Darius, "it's time" Kassandra nodded and then turned to the two of them. "You stay with me" Kassandra told Alexios, "Mater, stay with Darius",

"What" Alexios snapped,

"We have a blockade to break apart" Kassandra told him - and, there was no way she was going to leave him on the shore now. She couldn't trust him not to run off and, the storm was here.

Myrine stood on the coast with Darius as they sailed away, heading towards the ships off in the distance. She turned to the old man - she'd never talked to him much but, it was almost as if he already knew what she was going to ask and, he was already taking a step back and shaking his head,

"It is not my place to get involved" Darius put his hands up,

"You would do anything for your children, would you not" Myrine said,

"Kassandra-",

"Kassandra will understand one day the lengths a parent will go to, to protect their children",

"I cannot let you go after them alone" Darius told her,

"Do not underestimate me" Myrine said, "If I can get to him, to that" she threw her hands up in the air, "Baraz. Perhaps news of my sons life will die along with him",

"A son that despises you" Darius asked,

"You don't understand what he's been threw" Myrine said,

"I understand that he killed without mercy, that he was part of an organisation attempting to suppress the gre-"

"He was a baby who I let go! Who was tortured - made to feel as if pain was an old friend, who watched his best friend die, who loved and lost everything he ever wanted... who goes on because he hopes he'll find that again. Would you not despise me too" Myrine asked him. It was not all Myrines fault but, the weight of the guilt, even now, would forever be a burden that would follow her in to the underworld. "Tell me what you know of him" Myrine said.

"Your life is not wort-",

"My life is worthless compared to theirs. I would rather him live a life he deserved than I live anymore of mine",

"Myrine" Darius said quietly.

"Darius, I will not let this man rule my sons head and take his life. For as long as I breath, I will never stop fighting for them".


A rogue wave had crashed in to the Adrestia as they'd got rid of that last ship, throwing Alexios and a few others overboard. He'd washed up on the scavengers coast, the others having been lost to the waves.

Taking a deep breath, Alexios had stared up at the sky. As they'd ridden out, Kassandra had told him that, to survive, he'd have to kill, there would always be men that would want to better him, he just had to learn that mercy was an option, that it didn't always have to end in death.

"I don't think I know what that means. Mercy." Alexios had said,

"If you didn't, you wouldn't feel the way you do about Eos right now".

Because that had been mercy, letting her go, sparing her life, over and over again.

A mercy that had led him here, without her.

Something Kassandra had reminded him of though, was that Eos had never wanted him to change, she'd just wanted him to be who he wanted to be - not who the cult had wanted him to be - and, Alexios was terrified now that it was the same thing...

"I knew it..."

Alexios jumped to his feet elegantly, feeling that little bit of fire in his belly, warming him up - he knew the voice, the slur... Baraz...

"Four birds, one stone" he smiled as he pulled his sword from its sheath, "I was right",

"I am not a bird" Alexios drew his own, the wet gold glistening in the moon light,

"But your mother is..." Baraz said, he took a step forwards,

"What do you mean" Alexios asked,

"Why don't you ask her" Baraz shrugged, "When you see her in the underworld".

Baraz took the first swing and Alexios met his steel sword with his gold one, the clang as it met radiating through him, his chest being filled with a lust he'd tried so hard to push down.

"The snake said you died" Baraz told him, their faces so close, Deimos could see the fear in the mans eyes, could see the sweat drip from his brow - Alexios didn't even think that the man knew of his terror just yet. Alexios parried him away, throwing him a stumbly few steps back - the want to play over-taking him.

"That was your first mistake" Deimos said, he took a step back as Baraz gathered himself. The man wore next to no armour, a chest piece Alexios could pierce if he wanted to and, some greaves that wouldn't do much good if Alexios lashed out at his ankles and; he was already considering slicing off the other ear, if only to make his ugly face more symmetrical.

"No, our mistake was not killing you ourselves" Baraz came at him again - Alexios would have to give it to him - he really thought he had a chance, as if the waves had taken their toll more than the years before had. Alexios grabbed his wrist, twisting it before Baraz squeeled and kicked out - his foot had smashed in to Alexios' stomach, but, Alexios hadn't moved an inch, as if Baraz had kicked a wall. The drunk stumbled backwards, his foot shaking as he lashed out again, desperately this time. Alexios swung his sword upwards, a twist in the air meaning that Baraz' sword flew from the mans hand and landed in the dirt.

"Who cut off your ear" Alexios asked as he started to circle him.

Baraz stood, letting his head fall back, feeling the rain on his skin, hearing the thunder from his one good ear - the other was always so blocky.

He smiled, "You know them" he said, "Or, you did" he let his head lie on his shoulder and caught Alexios' eye as he started to slow. He laughed as he let his head fall forward, shaking it, "Fucking beast tore it off like it was a piece of ham from the fire".

Laelaps.

"Then he ran away, my arrow stuck in his hide..." he smiled again, "not what killed him though, sadly. I would have liked to have been there when he died though... Told the same to your girl".

Alexios hadn't realised that his circling had stopped.

"Now, that one" he smiled, "now that's another story. A story that already ended without you".

Alexios had only seconds to realise that the man had moved towards him, a dagger in his hand. But, he was no match for him. Alexios grabbed his hand and stuck his sword up in to his gut, yanking it out and watching as the man fell to his knees.

Dropping his sword, Alexios had grabbed on to him by the throat and held him up, his hand closing around his throat. If he held tight enough, he'd break through the skin, the blood splurting out like a water fall but, something made him stop. He dropped the drunk and stepped away from him.

Baraz fell back on to his knees, his head down,

"One day, when the lies of who we are, fall away, what's left" Baraz had looked up to Alexios then, as if it was truly a question. It sounded like something Melaina would say.

"More than you think" Alexios said. Grabbing his sword, he swung it and the sharp blade cut through Baraz's throat, a mixture of wine and blood spurting out of the wound as he fell forward, dead.


Kassandra had defeated the Order of the Storm that night but, like every other time, it had come at a cost... It seems that it was not only the cult that would exploit the hopes and dreams of a child...

Alexios came up behind Kassandra as she looked over the sea,

"There's no simple life for people like us brother" Kassandra said,

"I never expected there to be" Alexios told her. Kassandra heard him draw his sword, she didn't even stop him. Nothing would ever be simple, especially not this. "Darius" Alexios said. Kassandra turned around, putting her arm across his chest, as if to stop him - she understood they hadn't got off on the right foot but still.

"Where is our mother" - and she did not expect those words to escape her brothers mouth either.

Darius had looked at Kassandra first, could see the shame in his face as he took a step back,

"Darius" Kassandra said,

"She went after him" Darius said, "Baraz. For you" he folded his arms and looked to Alexios - as if his 'betrayal of trust' was nothing compared to his,

"And you let her" Kassandra spat.

"Baraz is dead old man" Alexios pushed passed his sister, "I killed him. Where is she". The old man grit his teeth - he knew he never should have told her, should have refused. But, would she not have gone anyway.

"I told her where the encampment was" Darius said eventually - the one where Alexios had found the drunk.

"Darius..." this was never meant to include Myrine, Kassandra should have just left her in Sparta, should never have brought either of them here, so close to something with such a want to kill them.

The siblings, with Darius and Natakas close behind, the old mans son cursing him the whole way, caught up with their mater just as a man fell to his knees and, she dragged the small steel sword across his neck. They were the men from the party, the drips and drabs of cultists and Persians.

"Mater" Kassandra called out. Myrine turned slowly, having to hold herself as she did, her hand clutched on to her stomach, a dagger having been pushed in and pulled out, the blade tearing her skin apart. Alexios grabbed her before she fell, lowering her down slowly.

"Mater" Kassandra said again, kneeling down next to her,

"It's okay lamb" Myrine said softly, her voice was so calm, as if the pain had not touched her, she closed her eyes and Kassandra grabbed on to her hand.

"No, you can't" Kassandra said, choking on a lump in her throat. It was almost as if the will of her daughter brought her back to life but, Myrine already had a few more words to say,

"You are strong Kassandra... So much stronger than you think", she squeezed Kassandra's hand with every inch of strength she had left, felt the light splatter of a tears on her forehead before her son threw his head backwards, trying to breath it all back in.

"Alexios" that name, she always said it with so much love. He looked down at her, shaking his head - "Listen to me. I love you." But he didn't deserve it, "I always have and, even my death",

"You're not..."

But, the stench of death was all too familiar. It would always be too familiar to him. This place reeked of it. Everywhere he went, he'd be reminded of it...

"You must learn to let the past go Alexios... Eos would not want you to spend your life holding on to it, to her... You need to remember that",

"I need..." Alexios stopped, the lump in his throat making it impossible to speak...

"You'll find what you need one day my son. I promise you that" Myrine said, she reached her hand up to his face, stroking his cheek gently before her hand fell, her chest taking one last deep breath before she turned to Kassandra, "Look after your brother. Don't let them have him", Kassandra nodded as Alexios threw his head back, choking on a sob, his whole body shaking as he felt that last breath escape her.

This was the sort of pain they could never prepare him for... The one that held on to the remains of his heart and tried to pull it outside of his body - despite how much he'd despised her love, now it was gone, he realised how much he needed it. Even if he hadn't loved her back, her nag, her worry, he'd been getting used to it and... now, it was gone. Forever.


"I did this" Alexios said, "this-",

"You can't blame yourself for others actions Alexios" Kassandra told him, watching as the pyre their mother lay atop of burned. "She did what she thought she needed to",

"And it wasn't worth it... was it" Alexios asked,

"Not many things are worth the risk" Kassandra said, "not really but, you're alive" - and that had been worth enough to their mater,

"You put too much emphasis on my life" Alexios said. That was their mistake. They thought him better and, everything he felt, only proved he couldn't be the one they wanted him to be. Without purpose, he was nothing...

"A mother will do whatever she has to, to make sure that her children are safe..." - Darius had told her that afterwards but, she knew that already, she'd seen it happen before...

Alexios turned away and Kassandra put her hand in his shoulder, felt the small flinch before he willed himself to relax - which only made him tense more when she squeezed it assuringly.

"And I understand that now..." she looked back at the flames, "and, we can't let her sacrifice be in vain",

"I won't fall to the order Kassandra" Alexios said,

"No brother, you won't" Kassandra moved her hand and took a deep breath, turning herself back to the pyre "because you're not staying here",

"What",

"You're going to leave, with Darius and... Natakas...",

"No, I can't. Kassandra, I have to-",

"No brother, I need you to be safe" she turned back to him, tears filling her eyes. Alexios closed his. "They all wanted you to be safe, to find your own way and... I... I don't think you can do that here anymore" Kassandra said.

His bottom lip had started to quiver again...

All Alexios had wanted, his whole life, was to have a family, whether the same blood run through them or not and... ;ike all the other times before, he was being asked to say goodbye to it...

And, he knew he had to...

The people he cared about... they were gone. Dead. Lost. There was nothing for him here. Not anymore.

The questions would just go unanswered. He'd had to live with that, he'd have to control his own self, stop himself from ever turning in to the thing he was raised to be...

He knew he had to but, he didn't know if he could.

Perhaps it wouldn't even matter anymore...


"Thank you" Alexios had said as they'd stood on the dock that day. Kassandra had smiled and, for that second time ever in their adult life, they'd embraced, Kassandra closing her eyes in hope to keep back the tears.

It wasn't the end for him, it wasn't the end for any of them, it was the beginning of something and, true to style, Barnabas had joined in just before they'd broke apart, wrapping his arms around the both of them.

Alexios had shook a little but, Barnabas was respectful enough not to hold on too long.

"You need to get yourself a ship of your own Alexios" Barnabas had said, "you would make a great Commander",

"Maybe I will" Alexios said.

Maybe the sea was all he could really take right now, the uncertainty of it matching the uncertainty of himself. His purpose being nothing more than getting from one day to the next, each day a different challenge...

He liked the sound of that...


After watching her brother, her friends, sail away in to the horizon, Kassandra had to have a minute to herself.

That was the end of it. Darius. Natakas. Alexios.

It wasn't the end of the Order - she felt as if she'd be fighting them her whole life but, it was where their story ended, as the storm finally brewed over. Her brother would be safe. Away from here.

And, Kassandra still had so many questions - questions that could only now be answered by taking down Amorges and his own band of monsters.

Swigging back the last of the wine, Kassandra slumped back on the wall.

"Kassandra"

She could hear them now, calling her name - maybe she'd had too much wine,

"Kassandra" - they sounded like they'd had to much wine. Perhaps it was her mater, calling for her from the afterlife, willing her to get up, to keep going. One more swig of wine and she would.

"Kassandra" her name, spluttered, desperate,, came from behind her and she turned her head,

"Alexios" rushing to her feet, Kassandra grabbed at her brother as he collapsed, he was soaked through, "Alexios - what happened",

"The Order" he breathed, "They, they took the ship",

"How are you-",

"Old bastard threw me over the edge" Alexios shook his head.

Darius.

"Where are they",

"I don't know" Alexios said, his head hurt - he was sure he'd hit something as the tide had dragged him ashore, "I...",

"Shh" Kassandra said "take some breaths".

"Kassandra, Kassandra" it was Barnabas, she looked up, "the Order have them. They have Darius and Natakas",

"They won't for long" Alexios stood himself up, still swaying on his feet,

"Brother, you need to rest",

"No" Alexios took a step and Kassandra grabbed him before he fell, "This is it Kassandra... the Gods spoke... I know my purpose". The words were heartfelt, strong but, the pain and ache in his head was stronger and he blacked out.

Chapter Text

"I named you, you know" Amorges said, remembering those early days more fondly than she'd ever seen him fond of anything. He was so content when he spoke of them, it was almost beautiful... And so very, very simple...

However, Eos wasn't really listening, not really. She was trying not to be sick... The words only registering a few moments after they'd been said.

"After the Goddess of the dawn" he held his hands out to the night sky as it slowly turned to morning. They were in that same spot as before, the one that overlooked the volcano - that had Athens off in to the distance.

Oh, what Eos would do for some vegetables stew cooked by Alkibiades kitchen girl...

"Who I couldn't be anymore different too" Eos had said as she'd put her head down - in hopes that it would make the contents of her stomach go backwards, somehow... Honestly, she'd rather him just get on with whatever inspiring moral or comment or, whatever it was he wanted to tell her today - perhaps even ask her again if she would join the order - so that she could say no - and then, he'd be able to whittle a little about all the chaos that consumed her and then, send her back - back to some ruins and a bed made of hay but, at least it was quiet.

"Beautiful, mysterious, fierce, the bringer of light" he'd been going on about this Goddess for a while but, Eos only caught the end. He sounded so proud of himself but, he seemed to have forgot what else the Goddess had been said to be.

"Who abducted men and was never truly satisified" Eos shrugged, "mighty fine Goddess to live up to" Eos told him, "and, I guess the unsatisfied bit I can agree with too" - she'd never been much satisfied with anything in her life, spare a couple of people and a lycaon, perhaps it was one of the reasons she ended up here.

"Did you know, I found one of her shrines once" Amorges sighed, "it was beautiful, the dawn of a new day encased in stone",

"I'm sure it was" Eos pinched the bridge of her nose as she put her head back up, squeezing her eyes shut. Now she had a headache - whether from him or the baby, she wasn't sure.

"You know, your mother-"

"My mother" Eos snorted and sat back "whoever that stupid Athenian bitch is, that is not a title she deserves". Amorges sighed, ever so disappointed,

"She only ever wanted order... she just... surrounded herself with the wrong people... with those who, with the power of order, was too much for them...",

"Are you insinuating that she's a victim" Eos asked, she lay her head back on the tree she was sat up against - she didn't care about who she was, not really. Honestly, Eos had never cared for who her parents were, never really mourned for them.

She'd held some resentment, a little bit more now than before, considering her parents were a whole part of the world that had caused the terrible things to happen to her and the people she loved but, not enough to find them, to prove herself to them...

She didn't know why... perhaps it was just how she coped... She'd had her brother for a time, that had helped... Then, she'd had Laelaps and... she hadn't needed them. Hadn't wanted them.

It was what set her and Deimos apart. Eos had made peace with what had happened but Deimos, Deimos had been thrown off a cliff and left to die - or so he'd been told... And then, the cult had tortured him, far more than any of the others, had turned him in to a monster and, it'd only made him hate himself... Hate the people who'd caused it...

"A victim of-".

"My kind of victim and your kind are two completely different things" Eos said. "Mine involve the innocent people who die because men and women think themselves better than everyone else" she shook her head and closed her eyes, "and yours are those that run away from their responsibilities and allow their babies to turn in to monsters",

"Is that not better than death".

It was a low blow - probably the lowest he could have struck her with but, Eos knew it in the way he walked, in the way he - and the others - talked, their words were meant to provoke, to challenge and, Eos wasn't going to give him that - not today.

"When I die, I'll come find you in Tartaros and tell you" she folded her arms, her stomach had started to settle - thank the Gods.

"Oh Eos" Amorges hadn't looked at her this whole time, just staring out towards the sea. After a moment more, he turned around to her, his hands still behind his back. "I heard about your friend, about what he did",

"What we did" Eos said, not looking at him, "I wish we'd just strangled him in his sleep",

"That would probably have been more favourable than the chaos that consumed him instead" Amorges admitted. Eos looked up to him,

"You mean Kassandra got to him first" Eos asked, she smiled, "good for her". Amorges, his mouth a hard line, turned back around.

"I enjoy our little meetings Eos" Amorges said, "it is nice to make up for lost time",

"I don't " Eos told him. She sat up, "how about you just tell me what you have planned for me and Glaukos and get it over with".

No amount of catching up was going to make her want to join them - even if the situation would get more desperate as the time went on.

Part of her had almost started to wonder if she'd have to say yes, to play the long game for a time, before she was able to escape, away from them, away from this whole damned place.

Except, this child, she didn't think she could give it much of a life but, she didn't want it to be in the hands of the Order, of any kind of order... But, she couldn't lose them, couldn't do what she'd done before...

It would be the only thing she'd have left of him and, she needed it, like she'd needed him... And, she'd failed him, she couldn't fail them too.

"Your death Eos" Amorges said, so calmly, it made her realise where she got I from, "that is all we can plan for the likes of those that fall in to chaos and refuse to come out",

"Of course it is. That's why I'm still alive" Eos said - there was a reason they were delaying the inevitable, the reason their decisions were changing at every turn. They were waiting for something and, it seems Eos was waiting for something too.

"However, I understand that the chaos can be rather confusing at times, that those who think they need it, are only possessed by its power" Amorges told her. "That chaos that consumed you once before is coming for you Eos... but, we shall meet again. I will give you one last look in to the salvation I can offer, in to the salvation you could offer the world",

"My answer won't change Amorges" Eos said - she didn't understand what he meant but, she was sure whatever it was wouldn't change her mind. "don't waste you're breath",

"Perhaps when you see it, with eyes anew, you'll understand",

"The chaos is a part of me" Eos stood up, felt the serene, peaceful world around them tense up. If she moved only a few more inches, she'd have an arrow aimed straight at her head - perhaps she'd be quick enough to grab it and stick it in him - given the shock of it, she'd have a few moments to run, to get a head start...

"But it won't be forever" Amorges said.

It was then though, that a chill ran threw her, her stomach finally turning and the boiled beans they had for breakfast coming up in chunks. Amorges only stood there, watching as she vomited.

Her mother had been the same, sickness overtaking her. He often wondered whether it was only that which had kept her with him, no energy to run back to the life she truly longed for.

Perhaps Eos would only be the same - except, Amorges would not make the same mistake this time.

There was no doubt that Eos was only biding her time, waiting for the right moment.

And, it would come, and, it would show her the truth. A truth she could only see with her own eyes.

Amorges nodded at one of the guards stood away from them - it was time for them to go, to move on to some place else. He doubted he'd ever see this coast again and, he would stay a moment longer as the guard grabbed on to Eos' arm and dragged her up, a dagger held against the bottom of her spine to ensure she didn't make any sudden movements.

Their power would always overcome the chaos, but - as much power as the Order supposedly had - it not translate to nice comfy carts to ride in.

Hell, it was only because Eos annoyed them with how slow she walked that they allowed her to ride a horse. Her hands were bound and the horse was being led so, she didn't exactly have the upper hand over the situation but, it meant she could keep her strength - even if the saddle was making her arse hurt.

Although, she guessed it was better than being slung over the back of one.

Glaukos was the poor fool to receive such a fait.

Anyone would think he was dead but, after Baraz had found out what they'd tried to do (for 'research purposes' Glaukos had decided to inform the asymmetrical headed man) Glaukos had taken the beaten for it. Baraz had broken his leg and, in the midst of it, hit Glaukos' head so hard, he hadn't died but, he'd lost consciousness for several hours and now, a long with the broken leg, blacked out at the most inappropriate of times - or, when he felt like walking with his wooden leg was too much for him.

Which also meant that, in the grand scheme of things, running away wasn't exactly plausible either.

She'd thought about it and, she knew the only way she'd be able to get away from these men would be on her own, without Glaukos.

But, if she left, if she managed to escape. They'd kill him just to spite her and, she couldn't let that happen - couldn't have that on her conscious too.

So many people had died because of her, she couldn't keep adding to that list.

Glaukos was the only one she had left from a past that she'd never be able to escape from. A path she'd realised she didn't want to escape anyway - there was too much she never wanted to forget.

But, she knew that as the days, the weeks, the months, wore on, she knew how desperate it would get.

If they saw Kassandra as tainted, Deimos... Well, he had been even worse and, would they not only consider this baby to be the same... Or, would they use it for their own cause, just like the cult had used Deimos for theirs... Maybe her blood wouldn't be enough to dilute the chaos they thought it would bring with it.

Hell, she didn't know what was going to happen. Amorges never spoke about it directly, not really. The ploys were there but, he'd rather tell her about the past, about his reasons for joining the order, how he and a very dear friend fell out...

Eos wondered if Kassandra knew everything about that Persian she was running around with.

In any case, she or them, seemed to have got Baraz, and, they'd even messed up their little blockade in Archai. Which, Eos realised Amorges hadn't been too bothered about. In all honesty, as much a 'price' he seemed to put on Eos' head, he didn't seem to have any love for the men he left her with, able to speak more freely with her than he would Cyrus, and ever had Baraz. His circle was small, very small and, Eos had a feeling that the man was passed sacrificing peers for the 'greater good'.

Sometimes, she thought he almost expected her to break free, to run, to escape.

Seems he hadn't considered that she'd bide her time - for what she wasn't sure yet - or, perhaps he had...

Perhaps he was biding his time too.

"Gah, I think this leg just needs chopping off" Glaukos moaned as one of the masked guards pulled him up from the back of his horse and plopped him on to the floor.

"I can try and do it" Eos said as she sat next to him, her hands still bound. The guard glanced down at them and then looked away. They'd stopped for a moment, a couple of the masked men having gone up ahead to make sure that everything was in place.

"You should go" Glaukos said quietly - the men had dwindled in number

"I should" Eos admitted, she looked over to where Cyrus had been, having left the mare he'd rode on to go up to the Fort they'd be occupying for a little while. The Teichos of Herakles, high upon the hill, with a rocky cliff face that would certainly kill you if you were thrown from it.

"But your stupid, so you won't" Glaukos almost sounded as if he was joking but, the conversation was one they had more often than not nowadays.

"But I'm stupid" Eos could only agree,

"What are we waiting for Eos" he asked,

"I don't know yet...", Glaukos sighed, "but, I feel like we have to".

Glaukos picked up his leg and moved it over a little, hearing the bones jostle around inside.

"Before..." he glanced up at the masked guard who was still looking the other way, his mind on something else, "before it comes... if we're not out...". Glaukos had even less of an idea of what would happen but, his growing thesis was that it was nothing good. "I'll cause a distraction" Glaukos told her, "you'll have to run",

"We have a long while yet" Eos said. Glaukos looked down, at her stomach, almost all of himself leaning on her now as his head started to hurt, like little nicks of pains. It had been almost three months since he'd watched them drop her in to that cell next to him, he was sure of it. And, the crappy food, the vomiting, the lack of energy, she wasn't showing yet but, in the next month or so - if it lasted that long - her stomach would start to swell, her feet would start to ache even more than they already did and, running, running wouldn't be that easy anymore.

"And what if its too late by then" Glaukos asked.

Eos didn't reply. She didn't know. She didn't have any idea what to do. Not anymore. Part of her only thought it pointless to resist but, the other part of her said it was the only thing she was good at and, giving up, giving up wasn't an option.

Because... there was always one thing Amorges seemed to forget when he spoke to her of the path that had led her to them... And that was that they killed her best friend... And, despite the things she'd did, that was something she'd never be able to forgive any of them for... Forgive herself for... Laelaps was gone because of them, because they deemed him too chaotic and, unless Amorges could bring those lost back from the dead, she'd never want anything to do with their Order or what they had to offer her.

The Teichos of Herakles, it had been a cult outpost at once and, seemed to be their new residence. However, it wasn't the Fort Eos and Glaukos were staying in but, beneath it.

Except, as much as Eos was sure her captives would have liked to - they couldn't just throw Glaukos in so, they took their time in helping him get down the ladder first.

And, it meant that she had a moment to sit; and over hear a conversation between Cyrus and a man she'd not seen before. He wore an eye-patch, perhaps they'd only traded in Baraz for a different model.

"I do not know where she is" Cyrus said, stroking his bald head as he shrugged,

"She was supposed to meat Amorges on the bridge" eye-patch said,

"She left to do that" Cyrus told him.

Who were they talking about Eos wondered. There was no 'she' except her in their company, right?

"Do you think they..." eye patch pulled his finger over his neck,

"No, they'd make an example of her, like... like Baraz. No" Cyrus said as he sat. A different as the two of them had been, the arguments and tension between the two of them, the bald man missed his one-eared friend. Eos couldn't even find it in herself to pity him, she hoped it hurt like hell and, that he hid the sadness because he knew none of the others would truly understand it.

It was only lately that Eos had realised that the men who held her captive would probably jump at the chance to get the upper hand on one another.

"Maybe she left us" eye-patch suggested,

"Why would she. She came to us." Cyprus shrugged - the girl was just as scandalous as the rest he thought, she was probably off playing her games...

Melaina. That's who they were talking about but, Eos hadn't seen her in days, weeks maybe. Had she really been hanging around here, so deep in the shadows, Eos'd had no clue she'd been there.

"That one woman slaughtered all those men - men that hadn't even taken their vows yet" eye-patch said, he didn't seem that bothered about the men who had died, more intrigued,

"And then she died too" Cyrus had to put in before eye-patch finished,

"Still, maybe she realised we underestimated them".

"Go" Eos looked back to the guard who'd been stood in front of her, now gesturing for her to take the ladder down in to the dark herself.


If Eos had hoped for some comfort, it wasn't what she and Glaukos would be offered down here. A couple cages had been set up and, a fire that never actually stayed lit was the only comfort they'd enjoy whilst they were there.

It had been just two days when Eos declared to Glaukos that they would break out that night, the guard who was sat near them not even bothering to look up from picking at his finger nails.

"And how will you do it this time" the masked guard asked. He wasn't very well-spoken, like the rest of them, a foot-soldier that seemed to have only tagged along, a bit of humour attached to the laziness that he resigned himself to.

"First, I'mma take this dagger and throw it at you".

The guard had flinched, getting to his feet quicker than she'd ever seen him move in his entire life. Eos held her hands up - the both of them empty.

Snorting at her, the guard plonked himself down again and now started to eat his finger nails instead.

"What happened to your dagger Eos" Glaukos asked. He was having one of his out-of-body moments. Cyrus had given him some pain relief and, that combined with how much his head hurt, left him in a daze that probably wouldn't wear off until morning.

"The snake headed one" Eos asked as she lay back on the bars.

"Yeah" Glaukos said. Eos sighed, not bothering to give him an answer, it wouldn't matter anyway, "that'd be useful" - he said it as if she answered her, the meds making him close his eyes and fall asleep soon after.

"Seems you need a new game plan" the guard said. Eos didn't bother replying to him either.

It was a little time after when the two of them heard shouting, someone calling the guard from deeper in the cave.

Muttering and grunting to himself, the guard had stood up, stretching his arms over his head,

"Good luck prying those bars open" he said to her as he walked off.

"Maybe you'll fall out and die and I'll have all the time I need" Eos told him, watching as he disappeared in to the darkness.

There must have been another way out she thought. She was sure she could feel some sort of draft coming from deeper in the cave.

A while or so passed before the guard returned with someone else. She was sure it was eye-patch guy.

Eos had already laid down, Glaukos was snoring softly next to her, inconsolable to the world and the words the two men spoke of. Obviously both sure that she was asleep too.

"Why did you bring them here" the lazy guard asked as he sat back down in his spot,

"Because Amorges will want to deal with them himself" eye-patch guy said,

"But Amorges isn't here" the guard shrugged and gestured to the cavern, "doesn't it just make us more of a target",

"Don't worry about that, we've got a plan to lead her down south" - he sounded so sure of himself.

"And you'll think she'll just leave them" - Kassandra - they had to be talking about Kassandra.

Who was it they'd caught? The Persian.

"Her mother is dead, their the only people she has any want for now, so no, I don't think she will".

Myrine had been the one to slaughter all those men...

Taking a stuttered breath, feeling another chill prickle at her skin, Eos had put her arm over her head.

Why would Myrine have done it? Why would Kassandra not have been there to help? Had she...

"Then you have to take them with you" the guard told him,

"I have my orders" eye-patch told him, he nodded towards the cages, "you have yours". He put his hands on his hips, "I do prefer mine, I've heard how irritating she can be",

"She's not that bad" the guard admitted.


The guard had fallen asleep when Glaukos began to stir, Eos trying her best to get his attention,

"What do you mean other prisoners" Glaukos asked,

"I don't know but, their up there" she nodded towards the ladder, she'd heard Cyrus say to just put them in the temple, to keep them bound and quiet. "Guard thinks they'll make us a target",

"For who" Glaukos asked,

"Kassandra",

"Oh" Glaukos sat back, "Please tell me this was what we were biding our time for",

"They'll expect her to track them down Glaukos, they'll set a trap",

"She should know that though, right",

"I think so but, Kassandra's not always one to sit and think about stuff long enough to make up a plan" Eos told him, "She'll just... wing it and... hope for the best",

"And what if they get her" Glaukos asked,

"I don't know" Eos said. She sat up a little more. "Glaukos, I think this was... or is... meant to happen",

"What do you mean".

Eos bit the inside of her cheek, thinking a moment.

"Amorges told me that I'd see the chaos again, with eyes anew, all that shit he talks about all the time" Eos said, "I think I might be meant to get out".

"That doesn't make sense" Glaukos told her,

"I know and that's the worst bit" Eos told him.

How did he have so much faith that she would see it, that she'd change her mind...

It was almost like Melaina... How she was so sure of the things she said...


"Did he say the Gods spoke to him" Barnabas almost seemed a little jealous,

"I think he may have hit his head Barnabas" Kassandra said as they laid her brother on the ground.

"What are we going to do" Barnabas asked. Kassandra looked to her brother, then to the captain and then, to the sea,

"You are going to make sure he has a moment" Kassandra said, "I'm gonna see if I can find where they took them too",

Alexios was already starting to stir, his mind going in to overload - Kassandra could have waited for him but, the longer she did, the colder the trail.

"When he wakes, tell him to wait for me" even Barnabas raised a brow at the request but, Kassandra was sure there was no harm in trying. "I won't make a move until he's with me. I'm just going to take a look",

"Are you sure you don't want one of the men to go with you" Barnabas asked - he secretly wanted it to be him.

"No, I'll be quicker on my own" Kassandra d looked at her brother, "make sure he's okay Barnabas, keep him safe",

"A Captains promise Commander".

Kassandra, still knelt, looked at her brother once more - this should have been the end of it, of it all; he should have been sailing away on to a new life, a new beginning - wherever and however it would have been - it would have been away from here, away from the pain...

And now, now he was filled with more anger, more hate...

Kassandra stood up and left the two of them to it.

Her goal was to see if anyone else had survived, if anyone had seen it.

Down on the dock, where they had said goodbye, she could see the small crowd that had gathered, the burning pieces of ship in the water.

Kassandra listened to those who had watched, how they'd seen the ship attempt to sail off in to the night, only for one, dark and silent, to crash in to the middle of it, tearing it apart.

The screams, the terror, as the ship was boarded as it began to sink, people getting cut down and thrown from the deck to swim with the sharks...

No one had come out of the water they said, lost to Poseidon and all he held dear...

The attacker though, one of them claimed that it had docked at the Scavengers Coast, that they'd heard even more shouting there as masked men had led prisoners on to the beach.

Kassandra wasted no time in making her way there, finding the source of the shouting. The coast was now littered with bodies as well as ships. Some had been civilians that had got in the way and, others had been those she'd tried to save, those that had been stranded when the blockade in Archai begun.

And, they'd all been slaughtered, for what? So the Order could get their hands on Darius and Natakas. No matter what they said, did all this death really benefit anyone...

It was then, as she stood, her arms folded as she looked at the tracks in the sand, going up off of the beach, that Kassandra heard something behind her and resisted the urge to sigh.

"You need to learn to listen" Kassandra said as her brother joined her,

"You need to learn that I don't listen to anyone" Alexios told her abruptly,

"Well, we know that. Still, I wouldn't have made a move with out you" Kassandra turned to him, "you know... Gods speaking to you and all that",

"Shut up" Alexios spat and then pushed past her, following the tracks.

Kassandra sighed - it had came out a little bit more sarcastic than she'd hoped - she thought he may have found the humour in it but, perhaps he had he bashed his head so badly that Deimos had just popped out to play and his sense of humour was again non-existent.

"Alexios, this isn't your fight, remember" - he'd never cared for the people, for Darius or his son - he was going to leave - he needed to.

"How can it not be" Alexios turned back to her, "your blood, my blood, it's all the same",

"But they don't know you're alive Alexios" Kassandra said, that beg in her voice that always caught him off guard - the one that begged for him and not a life he was going to take. "You can leave. This doesn't need to be-",

"It's all I'm good for" Alexios said, he took a step back, "Killing, fighting" he shrugged, snorting a little bit as if this whole conversation was meaningless, "you know what I am",

"I do" Kassandra said softly. It took him by surprise a little, he hadn't expected her to agree, had expected her to fight it, "but, I've also seen who you want to be" Kassandra smiled a little - even that had been a little more chaotic than she'd hoped but, it was what he wanted, no one else, "and I know you don't think you can be that and, that's fine but, if you think you need to do this - for whatever reason - I'm with you".

Alexios' face softened, Kassandra saw his eyes smile a little, saw that glint in his eye, the shiny one she hadn't seen for a while. Kassandra knew just as much as he did that he didn't understand why he needed to, why he needed to now finish what the Order had started, he just knew he did and, for once, it was good enough.

"Still" Kassandra said, "you need to rest. The last thing I need is you blacking out on me again",

"I'll be fine" Alexios told her, turning on his heels and continuing to follow the tracks. Kassandra sighed.


"Eos. It's been a while" Polemon the wise said as he stopped in front of their cages. Eos had noticed him on her way in but, she hadn't had the strength to say much. She was surprised Kassandra hadn't killed him on her way threw the first time. Seems the misthios hadn't left many of the cultists alive after having saved a few civilians - except for the ones who had hid down here. "Glaukos" Polemon said proudly - Glaukos only grunted back.

"I forgot to add you to my list of people for Kassandra to kill" Eos said. She'd forgotten quite a few at the time but, honestly, back then, she wasn't sure she even knew what she was doing.

"You've always had a soft spot for me" Polemon said, he combed back the grey hair he had on the side of his head with his fingers.

"No, you're just forgettable" Eos laid her head back on the bars, could feel another cold chill across her back.

Polemon grunted and then folded his arms. "Still, I thought you were smarter. What their offering you, it makes sense".

"I like causing Chaos" Eos told him. Polemon snorted and then looked to Glaukos,

"And you too boy",

"Give me a book and I'd be happy" Glaukos admitted,

"You could have all the books you wanted boy. Herald would do you well" Polemon said,

"The Herald" Eos asked - that was not a name she'd heard. Polemon smiled and folded his arms,

"He's the one who writes about our great feats",

"And all your downfalls" Glaukos said,

"A good storyteller only tells the exciting parts" Polemon told him,

"No" Glaukos wouldn't have that, "a good storyteller tells you everything and then, you decide what it is you want to listen to" -that was his thoughts on it - "besides, I'm not a story-teller" he told him. It did make Eos raise her brow a little, Glaukos loved stories - whether they were true or not - or, he had. "I'd rather have the facts. Not something a story-teller spun for entertainment" he sighed, "especially not for the likes of small-minded people, like you".

Polemon's face twisted and he kicked the bars of Glaukos cage,

"I did not know that you would fall in to the chaos so easily" Cyrus was there now. The lazy guard had done nothing to quell the anger in the old 'wise' man, he'd been rather enjoying it.


"How are we going to get to them" Barnabas asked. Kassandra was fond of the Captains zest for life and eagerness to face danger but, on land, she'd rather he left the danger to her.

The trail they had followed had been easy to keep track off - perhaps too easy.

Which was why Kassandra had begged her brother to go back to Barnabas, to wait for her. The last thing she needed was to be ambushed and have to worry about him as well.

The longer they didn't know of his existence, the better.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the Order tried to use them as leverage" Kassandra said,

"Yes, they know how predictable you are. Always having to be the hero" Alexios said. Kassandra ignored him. Her brother was already getting that little more unbearable by the moment.

"Yes, thick and fast" Barnabas said eagerly,

"They'll be expecting that" Kassandra said. She sighed and looked down at the map Barnabas had rooted out for her.

The Teichos of Harakles.

She'd been threw there once already, having slaughtered the whole lot of cultists there whilst rescuing the stranded. It had been empty for a little while after... Or, so she'd thought.

It was a big place, numerous rooms, temples, overhangs, a cliff.

"So maybe this time, I don't" Kassandra said, "they'll be expecting me but..." Kassandra didn't know if she'd regret this but, she didn't expect anyone in that fort to make it out alive anyway, "they won't be expecting both is us".

Alexios smiled,

"Isn't that dangerous. What if someone recognises him " Barnabas asked,

"Can you be quiet" Kassandra asked, looking to her brother,

"Of course I can" Alexios said,

"Well then, we'll scout around it, find out how many men they have, find out where their keeping Darius and Natakas. Then, we'll go in quiet, take the guards out slowly. They won't even know we're there"

"You've been spending too much time with that old man" Alexios told her.

"I like to think he wasn't the only influence" Kassandra said quietly.

It wasn't only Darius who had a knack for keeping to the shadows...

Chapter Text

"Eos" Cyrus was stood next to her cage, a smug look on his face.

"Cyrus" Eos yawned as she sat up, taking a glance over at Glaukos who hadn't woken yet - he'd been up most of the night moaning about his leg, these little twinges of pain making it impossible to sleep.

"It seems our time together has come to an end" Cyrus said - he almost sounded a little disappointed. He was. He may never be able to see what ended her.

"Finally got the message" Eos asked. Cyrus smiled,

"The message has been loud and clear the whole time" Cyrus agreed, "if it was my decision, you'd already be dead" - how nice Eos had thought,

"After everything we've been through together" Eos asked - he'd been tolerant of her once, maybe it was because she threw up his food so much... "and you still want me dead" Eos sighed, "now that's a shame",

"Oh Eos, eventually they'll see you for who you truly are" Cyrus said, he smiled and looked over at Glaukos. Eos, he'd always thought it, was useless to them but, Glaukos. Glaukos would have been a mind that would have helped them in their desires and their wills. The Herald had almost came himself to take the boy - it was Amorges who had stopped him.

"It's not my fault if everyone else is blind to what's in front of them" Eos said, gesturing to the world, she shrugged a shoulder "you get used to it though".

"Ahh yes, your path was ever so successful wasn't it" he put his hands behind his back as he stepped over to Galukos' cage, "of showing the truth to those that were blind to it" Cyrus said,

"At least I tried" Eos said quietly - which, was all she had now...

They'd all died but, perhaps her efforts had given them a little more sliver of peace before it had happened... That someone had cared enough to try... when no one else would... Perhaps it was always meant to happen, to punish her for the things she'd done... Maybe it only gave her that little more motivation to get out, to live...

Except, Eos didn't know how to. The last few days, she'd figured that something was coming - she'd overheard Cyrus saying he was to leave, that the prisoners, the Persian up top, would be dealt with soon, that their problems would be fixed. Eos didn't know what that meant either. Honestly, she didn't know if what he was saying was even true. Cyrus never seemed to try and hide the words he said, as if he wanted them to hear them.

"Perhaps you'll see the truth before you die too" Cyrus suggested, "Its the only thing you'll have left" Cyrus glanced back at her,

"I don't care if you see the truth before you die" Eos shrugged, "Hopefully it'll be my face though".

Just for spite...


The two siblings waited until darkness fell to launch their attack.

They'd spent the day waiting, watching. The patrols were thin for such a large outpost - which they knew had to be for a reason but, on that front, the words spoken by the Perisan soldiers had been quiet. One of them had only mentioned that a group of them had left the night before, that they were going to Messenia, along with a few men who had arrived that morning.

It gave Kassandra a point of reference for next time, for when Darius and Natakas were safe.

She'd rid Greece of this Order just as she was the cult.

And, if her brother chose to, she was sure he'd follow her to. For revenge, for answers, Alexios still wasn't sure yet but, he couldn't rest until he did. 

Kassandra had glanced at her brother before they planned to part ways. For a time, she'd seen a different person, overwhelmed, secluded, broken, lost and now... now she did not flinch at the thought of him killing, of taking lives, of the blood he could wear so easily, she realised it would only leave room for Deimos to return...

But if it were the only the Order, the Cult, on the end of his sword, did it matter....

What would happen when it was none of that left...

Once the two of them were sure they knew the routes the men would take, Kassandra and Alexios went their separate ways. Kassandra stayed on the walls, taking out the look-outs quickly and quietly, giving her brother better access to the torch-lit guards who wandered below.

Grabbing his first masked guard, Alexios dug Eos' dagger through their back, a new love for how the small gasp left a persons body, before he broke their neck. The guards body went limp, letting him pull them backwards, laying them down amongst the brush he had hid in.

From their scout around, they'd found there to be twelve or so guards that were always on patrol and, about six others who would routinely change over for them.

It sounded like a lot but, with the place being so huge, the guards were scattered around, only passing each other every so often. 

So, by the time they realised some thing was up, there wouldn't be enough of them left to do anything.

After ensuring that those that walked the outer walls were out of action, Kassandra found her way in to one of the many temple-like structures that dotted the Fort.

Her spear ended the lives of three sleeping Persians. She pierced one heart, one neck, and the last, found the spear going threw his mouth as they woke to the delayed spluttering of one of his dead friends.

Alexios on the other hand had taken out his third wanderer when he overheard a couple of them talking as they crossed paths.

"How long are we going to keep them here" the smaller of the two had asked.

"Until Amorges says so" the larger one replied, as if he'd answered the question too many time already. "Now. Get back to your patrol. The eagle-bearer could come at anytime",

"She's all alone now" the guard shrugged, "who is she going to bring as back-up? An old sea Captain". He'd sounded so sure of himself.

Which only meant that Alexios took a little more enjoyment in killing this one, spinning him around and watching as his eyes flashed through surprise, desperation, shock and then finally, death, all in a few seconds.

Alexios had no doubt that Barnabas would have tried his very best but, well, he was much more suited for the job.

It was then he heard his sisters signal, a small whistle that indicated that she could see Darius and Natakas. The larger guard had looked up, wondering if it had been a bird or one of the men when Alexios had stuck the dagger in to his back to.

The temple Darius and Natakas were being kept in, the both of them bound at the ankles and wrists, was empty except for them. They were being overlooked by the shrine of Herakles/

Darius had seen Kassandra first, the tired eyes of the old man taking only a moment to widen, a gesture Kassandra knew meant something was behind her.

Turning, Kassandras blade clashed with one of the masked mens sword and he fell back from the shock, giving time enough for Kassandra to get a swing in before they were back on their feet, their shield held high.

Thinking fast, Kassandra tossed a dagger towards Darius and Natakas and, the old man flopped towards it, lying atop of it before he spun around, the blade in his hands as he started to cut at the bindings around his wrist. Natakas was shimmying over to him, a continuous "Quick, quick, quick", coming from his mouth.

The move had distracted the man for a moment, letting Kassandra take a swing at the shield, making the mans arm vibrate and giving Kassandra just enough  time to cut through a blind spot and stick her spear in to the man's leg. She used her sword to stop his cry as she rammed it through his mouth, the sword splitting as it went through the small opening in the mask but, killing him all the same. 

Kassandra had liked that sword but, she quickly decided it wasn't right for the life she lived.

Darius was just taking the bindings off his feet when Kassandra joined him.

"I'd like to point out that it almost went to plan" Kassandra told him as she knelt down and undone the bindings on Natakas feet,

"I'm just glad you're here" Natakas said. Kassandra smiled but, Darius was happy to ruin that mood.

"It was stupid" Darius said, "and far too risky",

"So was throwing my brother off a ship in to shark infested waters" Kassandra said as she helped Natakas on to his feet.

Darius smiled a little.

Myrines words, her actions, they'd stuck with him and, he knew that, unlike him and Natakas, the Order would not have given Alexios anymore mercy than the rest of the stranded they'd slaughtered on that boat. If they had found him, they would have killed him. He was more of a liability to them than Kassandra was.

And Myrine had given her life because of him, because of her want to keep him safe and, he'd admired her too much for her sacrifice to be in vain.

"Come on. Alexios should have taken the rest of them out by now" Kassandra said, "There weren't as many as w-".

They'd heard it first, as if something was whirling through the air. The three of them had stopped, to listen, but then, a ball of fire flung itself through the door right behind Kassandra, throwing the three of them towards the wall.

"What was..." Kassandra pushed herself on to her knees. Smoke having started to fill the temple already,

"It's a trap" Darius, who was already back on his feet, said as he pulled Natakas up.

Kassandra moaned as she stood up, having watched for a moment, another ball of fire hurdling towards her before Natakas pulled her out of the way.

"I think that's our queue to leave" Natakas said quickly.

Darius nodded and they went out of the temple together, watching as another came hurdling towards them again, the three of them narrowly missing it as they jumped to the side, the ball of fire destroying the temple steps, the pillars starting to shake as a ball of fire hit something beneath them.

"Alexios" Kassandra shouted out,

"I'm here" she heard her brother say, finding him down on the ground and watching as another one of the balls of fire hurdled towards him. Kassandra had no time to warn him but, a Persian had emerged and swung for him, making it so her brother missed it by only a few inches. It had taken the two of them by surprise but, Alexios recovered faster, stabbing the man in the gut with his own sword.

Kassandra and the other two were behind him now,

"I think it's time we-".

It was as if the first few fire balls had only been for practice, the next of them coming thick and fast, smashing in to the temples, in to the floor, their aim random and destructive, taking out their own men as they tried to escape, the Persians screaming as they tried to escape.

"We need to go" Kassandra shouted over the fire to Darius,

"There are more prisoners Kassandra" Darius said, "down in the-", Darius had been pointing towards some sort of ivy hidden entrance way when a ball of fire was flung and thrown inside.

"You go" Kassandra said, "I'll get them out".


The three of them had been asleep when they'd heard the first explosion, the ceiling above them starting to crumble.

The guard had jumped to his feet, an imaginary sword in his hand whilst Glaukos had flinched and hit his leg out, banging it on the bars and only making it hurt more,

"Cut it off" he'd begged as Eos woke a little more softly,

"What's going on" she'd asked, looking towards the guard,

"Uhh" he looked at his empty hand and then felt the ground tremble as another explosion smashed against the outside. "I", he put his hand down and walked towards the ladder, looking up, seeing the faint bit of bright light that shouldn't have been there at this time.

And then, watched as someone started to descend.

It was Polemon.

"What going on up there" the guard asked,

"The bastards ran" he turned to Eos, pointing his finger, "You-"

It was then the ceiling, the floor, the walls, everything started to shake and, the guard had took another step forward, a bright light ambling straight for him. Crashing down in to the steep cavern, taking some of the ladder with it, the ball of fire had smashed the guard across the head before it had exploded - taking half of his face with it and, the explosion had thrown Poleman at Glaukos' cage, knocking it over.

Eos covered over her face, the smoke almost instant as she stood up and called out to her friend, the smoke already having covered the ground, covering over what she thought was an unconscious Glaukos, the cage having been splintered and broken.

"Glaukos" the smoke was starting to rise, the  cavern starting to fill completely as another fell through, making her throw herself down, covering herself, "you better not be dying on me" she'd shouted through the smoke.

"I won't" Glaukos was so close, he made her jump. Using one hand to hold on to the bars, helping himself stand, he used the other to twist the key in to the lock. The door opened and she grabbed him as his legs collapsed. She dragged him from the smoke, having almost tripped over what she could only imagine had been a piece of the dead guard.

"Come on" Eos said. She tried to pull him up, to make him rest on her shoulder, "we have to get out of here",

"No" Glaukos said, he pushed her off him, "I'll only slow you down" - his leg was even more mangled than before, she'd have to drag him.

"Don't be so stupid" Eos said,

"Go, I'll be fine" Glaukos said,

"You'll die" Eos told him,

"Eos, you can't carry me, you know you can't" he looked towards the caverns - they didn't even know if it led to a way out, didn't know how long it would take if it did. "Just, go",

"I'm not leaving you" Eos told him, biting her lip, she grabbed him again and pulled him up on to his one good leg - he'd have to hop.

"Eos, we'll never get away" Glaukos moaned, "Just leave me here" Eos was shaking her head, she couldn't, "Find Kassandra. Anyone. And then come back for me" - they both knew it didn't work like that... Although, Glaukos had wondered already if this was Kassandra's doing but, as much as he didn't know about the misthios, he wasn't sure if balls of fire were really her style... Perhaps the Order had got on the wrong side of some heavy artilleries, maybe even the cult?

Eos didn't have the heart to tell him that Kassandra was one of the last people she wanted to face...

But he was right. Holding him upright was already starting to make her legs ache and, she didn't know where the cave led... If it even led to an exit... If it led to the cliff...

Hell, she didn't even know if she had enough energy to get herself out, let alone him.

Eos sighed and put him down, going back towards the smoke that was already starting to clear. Finding what was left of the guard, she grabbed his non-imaginery sword, that he hadn't removed from his belt yet and gave it to Glaukos.

"Don't die" Eos told him, swallowing back a lump in her throat - last thing she needed now was to get emotional. The lingering smoke clouded her view as it was.

"Same to you" Glaukos said, he looked to where Poleman still lay - he'd only been knocked out. "Now go". He hoped he'd find enough strength in himself to kill the man before he got up.

Eos left him, taking a glimpse behind her as she saw Glaukos move a little, as if he was pulling himself to sit up against the wall, dragging the sword behind him. She looked back to where she could feel the draft, rounding the corner. 

Deeper in to the cavern, it looked as if it used to be a mine of some sort, forgotten tools collecting dust, more ladders and wooden overhangs surrounding the stone walls.

She hadn't realised how big it was.

Or, how close Polemon was...


Kassandra had jumped in to the cavern after realising that the ladder had burned up - followed by Alexios - despite her asking for him to go with the others.

Finding the guard and the empty cages, they'd carried on a little more, not expecting a sword to be swung at their faces as they made the first turn.

If Alexios hadn't shouted for his sister to stop, Kassandra would have sent her spear right up in to Glaukos' gut and out again - just like Akin.

Kassandra had dropped him instead, and Glaukos had landed on his leg but, he was already so pale, so in shock, he didn't even feel it. 

He looked as if he'd seen a ghost.

"Glaukos" Alexios asked, passing his sister to look at the bearded man -dirty and old-looking... as if a witch had cast a spell on him...

"You're... you're alive..." Glaukos pushed himself up against the cavern wall, "oh my god" Glaukos put his head back, staring up at the ceiling, he couldn't believe it.

"Glaukos" Kassandra asked, "what".

Was this the prisoner Darius was on about.

"Deimos" it left his mouth so easily, so full of relief, Alexios wasn't sure how to feel, wasn't sure how to even respond. "She's alive, she's" Glaukos put his head back, pale but, smiling, "damn, you have to" he started trying to get up, the pain finally rushing threw him as he stood, his leg collapsing beneath him.

Kassandra semi-caught him,

"What are you talking about" Kassandra asked him, her brother was staring at him, as if he was still trying to work things out.

Glaukos looked to him, ignoring Kassandra.

"Eos, Eos was here. She escaped, she went" he'd gestured towards the draft, his next word having not even formed in his mouth before Alexios rushed out.

Kassandra let Glaukos fall as she tried to reach out, to call him back. It was no use. She turned back to Glaukos and grabbed him, slamming him against the wall. There was no reaction, he looked so happy, it almost made Kassandra skin crawl.

"If this is a trick-",

"It's not" Glaukos said, he took a deep breath, holding back... Tears? Kassandra let him go again. But he kept himself up, leaning against the cavern wall, a spurt of adrenalin making it hurt less for a moment. "She thought he was dead "Glaukos said, he let out a small breath, "Melaina told us",

"Melaina..." Kassandra took a step back and looked to where her brother had gone to. She looked back at Glaukos. It was then he fell forward, the adrenalin having run out, making him faint from the pain. Kassandra had let him fall to the ground - still trying to get her head around it all. She sighed, "come on then" Kassandra said, picking him up and throwing him over her shoulders, his leg now dangling at some god forsaken angle - which Kassandra tried not to dwell on.

It seemed Melaina had a lot of explaining to do...


Eos was finally outside, the breath of fresh air making her cough as it twisted with the smoke for a moment before she managed a deep breath in.

She had wanted to saviour the moment but, Polemon was at her heels and, she turned to go left, all she was faced with was more air and a cliff. As she turned around, she had to dodge a heavy swing from Polemon, managing to pass by him as his body swung with it, tired and hungry for a bit of blood.

The bastard had already grabbed at her ankle as he'd tried to pull her from the ladder, leading to her to twist it when she got to the top...

She was lucky Polemon was an old semi balding man otherwise he would have caught her by now.

Eos continued to run limply towards freedom, to the plain grass of the surrounding fields, Polemon still not having giving up yet. She didn't even want to look back, to the fort, to the fire she could still hear people screaming in... 

She had to find somewhere to hide - perhaps she'd be able to jump him then - make it easier for herself.

It was as she got towards a small stream that she stopped, her lust to run having dwindled away, her chest starting to hurt. She'd thought that the dip would have given her enough cover to be lost in the night to Polemon but, he'd jumped her, almost landing on top of her. He'd missed it but, he was quick enough to grab her by the neck and slam her in to the ground, taking the wind out of her.

Polemon had opened his mouth but, instead of words coming out of it, the tip of a sword had, splattering Eos with blood and, coming so close to her face, she thought it'd go threw hers too.

She felt Polemon grip fail and, as the sword was pulled out, he was pulled from her too.

Eos rolled away as she saw the dark figure behind them, seeing the dagger they held in their other hand.

She'd stood up, the want to keep running overtaking her but then,

"Eos".

They said her name so softly, so gently - like they were asking if she was there...

It couldn't be.

Perhaps she was dead. Perhaps Polemon had strangled her to death just in time.

"Eos, please" it was that same beg, that same need in his voice - the one she missed so much - this couldn't be real.

Alexios reached out and touched her shoulder, making Eos flinch.

He stopped, sheathing his sword as Eos shook, looking back slowly.

"D..." she couldn't even get the word out, she hadn't said it out loud for such a long time..

"Eos" another voice called her now.

Kassandra...

Eos looked to her, Glaukos being held around her shoulders... He was alive... She could see him muttering...

This was real... It had to be...

Now though, she was almost too afraid to look back, the thought that she'd not see him, that he had only been in her imagination. She'd done so well at keeping it away, the thoughts, the sadness... it had been hard at first but, she'd been able to bury it, to leave it there for a time when she was ready to dig it up and finish dealing with it...

"Eos" his voice called her eyes to him again.

He was here...

Alexios reached out again and Eos shook her head,

"You're... You're not..." she swallowed back the lump in her throat, her eyes starting to sting as she held everything back. 

The hurt, in his eyes, this was real... it wouldn't, it couldn't hurt so much if it wasn't... could it?

"He's real Eos" Kassandra said, her bottom lip starting to quiver. She couldn't believe Eos was real too. She was almost worried that if they stepped to close, she'd vanish...

Kassandra knew that Eos was the key to what had made her brother break free, whether for good or bad, when it was just him and her, he could be himself and...

Eos looked back at Alexios, that rush of everything she'd been holding back, the anger, the hate, the love... that need... and, she fell to her knees, her whole body shaking.

Alexios knelt down next to her again, desperate to touch her, to make sure she was real but, her body would flinch and, he couldn't...

"Eos"he said quietly,

"I...",

"I know" Alexios said.

Eos shook her head - he had no idea,

"I have...",

"Kassandra" this voice was a little thicker, not Greek. The Persian. Eos glanced over at him, saw the way he raised his eye brow - at the other who stood behind him. "We need to get out of here" he looked backwards, to the small glow in the distance, at the contraptions that had been used to assault the fort.

"That we should" Kassandra agreed. She whistled off in to the night as she placed Glaukos on the floor.

Alexios was still knelt down next to Eos, not knowing what to say. Eos was looking at his hands, at the want they had to reach out to her, at the dagger next to him, used and bloodied, her dagger. She hadn't had it since the fort. How must he have felt... 

How could Melaina tell her he was dead... to protect him? to protect herself? what had she gained from her lies... Had she been wrong? The Order had thought the same thing. Amorges had thought the same thing. Had she lied to them too...

Eos heard the sound of hoofs riding towards them and she turned her head. The grey and ever beautiful Phobos was the first one to reach them, almost freezing mid-step as he realised who she was - as if he was waiting for a lycaon to emerge from the darkness. Eos had shared the same thought and, it had made her burst her in to tears. 

Other than Glaukos, who was still too dazed to experience any of it, it was Alexios who realised what was wrong...

The lycaon was gone... He was gone...

"Eos" Kassandra said quietly. She made a move towards her and, Eos knew how much it hurt Alexios when she didn't try and stop her from taking her hand but, she didn't care, she couldn't, not now. "We need to go",

"It'll just follow us" Eos said quietly, trying to take the tears back, her eyes starting to burn as she choked on them,

"What will" Kassandra asked,

"The chaos" Eos said,

"You've lived in it for this long" Kassandra said.

Alexios stood up - the chaos had only ever bothered her once before... So, what had they done to her to make her think that again...

Yes, Eos thought to herself, she was a natural at living in chaos but, this baby wouldn't have that same luxury... It'd be small and defenceless and... Eos looked over to Alexios... How could she tell him? Last time it had been hard but, for the time being, they'd had a some sort of stability (it was never order) but now, she didn't and, she couldn't see herself ever having that again...

A simple life was far beyond her reach... It always had been... It always would be...

She'd never wanted it... She still didn't... But could you run as fast with a baby as you did on your own?

Was this the chaos Amorges had meant?

Chapter Text

"Kassandra, do you think this is wise" Darius asked,

"You're the one who said there were more prisoners, remember", Kassandra said. Hell, if the old man hadn't said anything, maybe Glaukso would have died, left alone to starve or bleed out in the cave and Eos, well, Polemon perhaps would have squeezed hard enough to kill her.

"Yes but" Darius glanced over at Eos - she didn't look at him, still staring in to the flames, she knew what he was thinking - she couldn't be trusted. She wondered if maybe he even knew - what she was, who she was - "Their obviously of some importants to them, they could-",

"So are we" Natakas put in, he stood up from the fire, "we pose just as much of a threat as they do - as Kassandra does",

"Except we know why their after us" Darius said, he turned to Eos, "what do they want with you". Eos didn't reply, she didn't think she owed him an answer. Darius turned back to Kassandra "are you sure we can trus-",

"You, of all people" Alexios said, "have no right to question any ones trust".

Kassandra shrugged a shoulder when he looked back at him, "I would trust Eos with my life" Kassandra told him, "that enough for you". Darius looked to Eos a moment more, the girl finally meeting his eye.

The old man had expected some loathing - if what he'd been told about her was true, it was that she was stubborn, hot-headed and, her track record led her only to be a liability but, all he saw was sadness.

It had been just hours since they'd escaped and, she hadn't said a word... Not since she'd told Kassandra that the chaos would follow them.

That Glaukos on the other hand, hadn't stopped moaning since they'd got there. None of them could blame him though, his leg was so mangled now, they were all surprised that the pain hadn't killed him.

By noon, they'd returned to the small house they'd stayed in whilst fighting against the Tempest, overlooking the village of Dyne and, as much as she hadn't wanted to, Kassandra had gone in search of Hippokrates. She knew where he'd be. She'd had word that he'd gone to Elis, to help some Olympian with a rotten foot. She only hoped that Glaukos could wait that long.

And Eos... Kassandra would have asked her to come with her but, she was so shaky, so pale, she needed to rest and, her brother, her brother had no clue what to do but, Kassandra didn't think separating her from him again would have done either of them much good - especially him..

He'd wanted her back so badly but, he didn't know what he'd do when he did... Even less now.

There was something more than the lie Melaina had told them. Eos could get over that, Kassandra was sure of it but, there was something else now. Something that made her want to start a sentence but then... stop.

Something that made her want to avoid Alexios gaze at every moment - and Kassandra could see how it was killing him inside... How it made him only stand and gaze at her from afar.

"All she knew was Deimos" Alexios said as he joined his sister, his eyes having not left Eos that whole night, "I'm not..." Alexios wasn't sure what he was...

Deimos had, had a destiny, a purpose - however much of a lie it was - and, Alexios only had a lust for violence, and death. that now, he was trying so hard to quell, to not let take over him...

"She once told me we were fighting for different people" Kassandra said, "that she was not fighting for Alexios but, for Deimos. Except, it wasn't the one the world knew" Kassandra smiled, "she was fighting for the one that could make her smile, could drag her up from her lows... The one she trusted more than any other person in the world" Kassandra smiled but, it only made Alexios sad...

He wasn't that man anymore - or, he didn't think he was anyway. He was filled with so much hurt and pain and anger and, a part of him had willed Eos able to wash it away with just one look and... she hadn't been able to even look at him yet, her eyes avoiding his at every turn...

"And then..." Kassandra sighed, "Then Laelaps…".

Kassandra trailed off. Alexios had told her what Baraz had said, about Laelaps but, still, a part of her had waited for Laelaps to emerge from the shadows, to show up at the last moment, but no...

Laelaps was gone... really gone.

"I thought he was too stubborn to die" Alexios said after a moment,

"Everyone, everything, dies, eventually" Kassandra said quietly,, "just have to make sure that it was worth it",

"Do you think his was" Alexios asked,

"If it was protecting her, then yes" Kassandra said... which Alexios would agree on but, he knew the guilt Eos would let herself drown in because of it. She had loved that thing, perhaps more than she'd loved anything.

"Can I trust you to look after things here" Kassandra asked, pulling Alexios back to the present, "I'd like to come back to as many abled bodied people as I left to" - it was a joke but, despite her efforts, it made neither Alexios or Darius, who had overheard it in passing, laugh.


Alexios had been stood, watching as the Persian had gone over to talk to Eos... He may have saved his life but, that didn't make him like him anymore... And now, how hostile he was towards Eos, made him like him even less.

Perhaps it was time they tried to leave again... The urge to save their sinking ship having flown away quite enthusiastically.

But, it seemed that for the most part, Eos had looked at the old man - more than she had him - and, to distract himself, he'd gone to speak to Glaukos.

"I found your journal" Alexios said, he passed the old, worn and damp book over to him,

"Ahh, so you did come" Glaukos said. His rugged beard had been shaved off, his face that ten years youngers. Alexios nodded and sat down, his eyes glancing to where Eos was stood, looking out over the village, talking quietly with Darius. "I was hoping I'd see it again". Glaukos opened the book up, the pages had, had time to dry since Alexios had rescued it but, it'd only made it more brittle. One of the page corners crumpled in Glaukos' hand as he went to turn it, "might need to start a new one".

"What happened to you" Alexios asked, he looked towards Eos again.

"It was strange" Glaukos admitted, he placed the book down and moved his leg a little, it had almost gone numb now. "We were almost like guests sometimes". Alexios looked back to him, "I think they were trying to show us what they could offer, a stability perhaps, I don't know",

"Did you..."

"Did we ever say yes" Glaukos snorted and shook his head, "no",

"Then why did they keep you" Alexios asked, "why not just kill you".

Glaukos sighed and looked over at Eos,

"You need to talk" he told him, "a lot has happened but, not as much has changed as you fear it has".

"But what if I have" Alexios asked,

"If you have no want to talk to her for hours, no want to cling to her every word, no want to search her out in a crowd first... Even when you believed her butchered and dead" Glaukos smiled, remembering back, "you looked, just in case..." he looked back at Alexios and smiled, "are you no longer that man?",

Alexios sat down, not replying. Glaukos could see how much it hurt Alexios to not know the words to say or, have the will to say them.

"You know" Alexios looked back to him, "she hasnt stopped since that night in Phokis. There's always been something happening, always something to figure out, always something to find, to rescue, to sacrifice and... I think she just needs some time to mourn those she lost... and mourn those she didn't..." whether Deimos had died or not, Eos'd had other things to worry about, never really being able to get over what she thought she'd had once, what she'd wanted... Her life had been a whirlwind with moments of peace thrown in but, the moments were far too little...

"I was there when Melaina told her, when she held on to that piece of paper, never letting it go. I wouldn't be surprised if she still had it now, tucked in to her robes somewhere…" Glaukos said.

Alexios sat there a moment. He had some idea of what he could do but, he didn't know if he had the means to do it.

"Do you know where..." he sighed, shaking his head, "where Laelaps died",

"They caught her in the valley of the Kings, near one of the cults outpost",

"Do you think he's still there",

"Baraz never showed off his skull like some sort of memento so, I assume he is" Glaukos had never really thought about it. Eos hadn't even told him about what had happened, not really, she'd only been able to say so much and, the rest he'd heard off the guards - of how Laelaps had taken an arrow for her, how a dagger had been what had ended him.

"I killed that bastard" Alexios said, looking towards Eos again.

"So it was you who did what I could not. Serves him right. Bastard took my leg".


Eos had been stood, overlooking the city when none other than Darius had come over to stand next to her.

She'd already decided she wasn't too fond of him. The judgemental glare he kept giving her made her wonder what his problem was.

It had taken Darius a moment to decide what he wanted to say.

"Who are you" was all he asked.

"Do you think children should be punished for their parents mistakes Darius" Eos asked,

"No" Darius replied.

If Darius believed in anything, it was that.

"Remember that" Eos said - she could already hear Deimos' foot steps, his want so much to be quiet, to not spook her.

Eos sighed. She wasn't a deer who'd run at the slightest bit of movement or loud noise.

She just didn't want to have to look him in the eye and have that pressure of having to reassure him that everything would be okay. That it would be different now... She'd only made their lives more troublesome... more dangerous and... even if Darius said he wouldn't blame children for what their parents did, would that change when he found out who hers was...

And this baby... What life could it have... On the run...

She'd realised what Amorges had meant now too...

She'd see the chaos with eyes anew...

And, he hadn't just meant the 'chaos' Kassandra and Alexios caused. He'd meant the one that would follow them wherever they went, the chaos caused to destroy them... The same chaos that would follow this baby...

Darius had left, not wanting to be a third-wheel and leaving the two of them to the night sky.

"Eos, I", Alexios sighed and sat down, leaving a foot or so in between them.

He'd wanted her back, so badly and, he didn't know what he'd expected... A part of him had hoped, maybe too much, that she could just make it all better, that she could stop him having this fight inside of him, between what he was, what he wanted to be, what the world expected of him...

But, she didn't and, he shouldn't have expected her to do that.

What if it was a trap... What if this was meant to happen... What if she'd made her choice and she'd chosen the Order... What if they were waiting in the shadows now...

No... No... She wouldn't do that...

"I..." Eos cut of his train of thought...

She'd spoken to Darius... He'd not heard what she'd said but, she'd found it so easy and he was just...

"I'm sorry" Eos eventually got out,

"For what" he heard himself whisper,

"For not being there" Eos took a deep breath... Part of her wished she'd just stayed at the Fort... That they'd killed Cyrus and Baraz - jumped them from behind, there and then.

Just waited for him to come back, waited for him to see the carnage and then let her say how stupid he was for thinking he was clever...

Laelaps... Laelaps would still be here... Able to snort at her when she said something stupid, able to see the mean little glare he'd give when he judged you... Those beady little eyes that hadn't been so beady anymore...

"I never should have left you there" he said after a moment.

It was a regret he had to live with, one of those choices he never thought he'd be able to forgive himself for...

But she was here, she was alive and... she was talking to him... It wasn't much but, then, she looked over at him, the both of them locking eyes for a moment, the hurt in his and, the sadness in hers - as if there was something more - something she couldn't say yet...

He knew how that felt... The want to say something that he didn't know how to explain... The time he felt he needed to say it...

Eos had done everything she could for him before and, maybe now, he had to return that favour...

He'd smiled smally, his mouth not reaching his eyes but, enough for him to see the small little eye roll she'd give when he was trying to be coy and failing at it.

He looked back to the night sky.

It was quiet and simple, as if the past few hours had never happened and, Alexios was not fool enough to think it would last... Eos had said it, the chaos would follow them and, they'd have to be ready for it...

Except, they were together this time and... it had to make a difference... it just had to...


It had taken Kassandra even less time than she'd expected, returning with Hippokrates quite quickly. The physician had only had to look at her to see that she was desperate and, she'd filled him in on the way - leaving the Olympian with the same man Kassandra had met in Argos all that time ago, at Hippokrates old clinic.

When Eos had gone missing that night, in Athens, a good part of him had wanted for her to just have gone after Kassandra - not able to just lie low and wait but, when Kassandra had returned, when she'd told them that Eos hadn't been there, he'd been worried, so worried and, the guilt, of not having done more, had weighed down on him until the moment Kassandra had told him they'd found her, that they needed his help.

It was Glaukos who needed him first though.

The unspoken mutual agreement that, there was no saving his leg and, his best chance was to just cut it off, had been apparent quite quickly between the two men. Glaukos accepted the fait instantly, trusting the man and grabbing a piece of cloth that he stuffed in his mouth, Hippokrates giving him a mournful look.

Taking one of Kassandra's axes that she'd taken as a trophy from a mercenary this one time, Hippokrates had cleaned and sharpened the edge of it with a dagger and hoped that one swing would do it.

Natakas and Darius held him down, he had Kassandra to swing it (part of he thankful that she wouldn't have to look at the mangled limb any longer) and, Hippokrates was ready with a hot prong from the fire - ready to sear the wound shut before he lost too much blood.

Although, however much Glaukos had accepted it, it didn't make it any less painful and, the small moment between the axe smashing in to his leg and, the moments after - before he blacked out from the pain, the rag had fell from his mouth and his screams had made their stomachs curdle and their ears pop.

The smell had made Eos have to leave, to throw up what little she had in her stomach and leave her stood there, even more exhausted.

Hippokrates had directed the others on what to do, Natakas having taken to it quickly enough so that the physician could go and comfort her.

"Eos" Hippokrates had said quietly.

"I don't know if I can do it" she said quietly,

"Of course you can",

"No... they..." Eos shook her head, "they don't even know who I am" she gestured to the others, trying to help fix what had been broken, "they won't understand",

"I know who you are" Hippokrates told her, "you're strong. Stubborn. You never give up" he told her, "I've seen it",

"But I had..."

Hippokrates had already come to the realisation that Laelaps was gone. He hadn't needed Kassandra to tell him that.

"And now you have us Eos. You'll always have us",

"You don't know that Hippokrates, my... my..." Eos sighed. He was probably the only one she could tell who'd not let it slip but, she didn't want to see that judgement in his eye, in the flinch away from her,

"Tell me Eos" Hippokrates said quietly,

"Amorges... He's my..." Eos trailed off and Hippokrates sighed, catching on quite quickly, a little disappointed,

"Eos... If you don't know by now what a band of misfits we are... I don't think you ever will... It doesn't matter what we were, who we were, what blood runs through us; its that we're here, now. That we're together - that like every other time before, we fight for each other -like we always have".

A part of Eos almost wondered if Hippokrates knew how one sided it had been but then, this man had given up his time to help put back together a girl, that a large wolf had brought to his door step and, she knew that fighting didn't always have to end in blood.

Eos sighed, "there's something else" Eos said,

"Now, I know what that is" Hippokrates said confidently. Eos glanced over at him, her eye brow raised, he smiled, "when have you ever thrown up at the smell of anything cooked".

Eos snorted, a laughy sort of cry erupting before Hippokrates placed his hand on her shoulder,

"However you want this to go, I'm with you" Hippokrates said.

Hippokrates had worked out the dates, worked out that the night in Athens, before she'd disappeared, had been the culprit, like she didn't know, that she had less than six months to go. That, despite her non-worded fears that her insides were too torn for it to end anyway but bad, her body wouldn't have chanced it had it not been ready, had it not been well fed and strong at that exact moment to carry another little human inside of her.

Which, after only a quick check, Hippokrates had promised her it was still alive.

The only thing she needed now was rest, food she could stomach and, the less cooked meat she was around, the better.

Except, she also had to find it in herself to tell the others and, despite Kassandra most likely being the easiest out of the two to tell first, she knew she'd have to tell Deimos it first - or Alexios… she wasn't even sure he liked that name... The little look he'd give whenever someone said it out loud, that far-away look in his eye for just a moment... Eos had seen it but, no one else seemed to have bothered...

Whoever he wanted to be though, she hadn't seen him since that night they'd sat and watched the night sky. He'd left later that night, having taken a horse from the village, having told a very scared, but mostly tired man that he'd bring it back soon.

Glaukos had to assure Kassandra - and Eos - that her brother would be back, that he had to go get something.


Taking a horse from the village, which he fully intended to return even if the villager had told him to take it in return for leaving him alone, Alexios had headed towards the Valley of Judgement, to the same outpost he'd been to before...

He knew that's the last place she'd been but, he hadn't realised it had bene so absolute.

Alexios had been stood there, staring at the abandoned outpost, the bodies having been moved a long while before, the outpost allowed to be taken back by nature.

It didn't take Alexios long to realise he wasn't alone, his hand hovering over the hilt of his sword as he turned his head.

Melaina.

"You-" Melaina put her hand up, making Alexios stop, as if there was now some sort of barrier between them but - it was only because he wanted to hear what she had to say, wanted to know how she'd worm her way out of this one.

"I only told the truth. I said she'd made her choice" Melaina sounded so proud of herself,

"But she" Alexios took a step forward, Melaina having taken a small step back, "you told her I was dead",

"Deimos. Is. Dead" Melaina told him, she tilted her head, her red hair flowing freely over her shoulder, "is he not",

"You lied to her" Alexios told her, "you were sisters and... how could you" - Melaina… He didn't even know what was true or, what was fake anymore...

"I speak a truth only the Gods want to hear" she raised her hands to the sky,

"Then how do you explain this now" He had found her - when Melaina said he wouldn't...

"You were brought together to say goodbye",

"I am not-" Alexios had took the small few strides to reach her, about ready to reach out and grab her when she said,

"Over there, by that tree". Alexios stopped.

"What",

"Laelaps remains. That is what you are searching for". Deimos looked over, towards the tree in question,

"When he died, they were going to burn him but, they left him instead... to rot",

"How did I miss it" Alexios asked quietly,

"You were so full of guilt" Melaina said gently, "of sadness". Melaina placed a hand on his shoulder, her fingers tapping on his skin.

Alexios turned and grabbed her by the throat,

"And you are so full of shit",

"You don't want to do this" Melaina struggled only a little, which only made Alexios want to squeeze more,

"You don't-",

"You're scared he'll come back... that they'll see you differently" Alexios felt his grip falter, "that she'd see you differently...".

Alexios let go, stepping away from her... She was right... was she?

"Perhaps you'll say goodbye sooner if he does" Melaina had left him with that, walking away just as soundly as she had all those times before...


Kassandra had just gone out to look for Alexios when he returned, carrying a large sack on his back. A little breathless, Alexios had laid the bag down in front of Eos gently, so as not to damage any more of what was inside.

"What..." her whole body went cold, as if whatever was in the bag was going to come out and get her.

"You never got to say a proper goodbye to him so, uh" Alexios shrugged a shoulder, "I thought we could do that".

For a moment, Eos didn't know what he meant but, as she reached out, touching the bag, feeling what only felt like hard stone inside, she realised it wasn't stone at all...

"Do you know how mad he'd be if he knew you were able to carry him on your back",

"I feel as if he'd be delighted that it made my chest hurt a little" Alexios said, watching Eos smile, his heart filling with such an immense sort of love, he had to take a small breath.

Kassandra had noticed, not being able to hide her own smile... This was the man Eos knew, the one who cared, the one who wanted to feel loved and, she only wished her mater could have been there to see it. To see a real glimpse of the man Eos had promised them was there...


Laelaps would have wanted something bigger for his funeral, for more people to have cried over him, to have sung songs in his honour but, none of them had it in them for that...

"A lycaon" Darius asked again. He'd seen the bones, the leftover pieces of fur, but, he still couldn't believe the size of it. It was almost the same size as a lion but, it maybe bigger and, definitely a canine.

"A lycaon" Eos had told him, having been smiling that little bit more since. She realised that a big part of her hadn't had the chance to say goodbye to him and, now she knew she could, now he wasn't just being left to the elements, to the world, now she could put him to some sort of rest, she felt ten-times better... and, it gave her a distraction.

"You would have liked him" Kassandra said. She put her hands on her hips as she looked down at the hole she and Alexios had just finished digging. "Now, he could sneak up on anything - despite the size of him",

"He most likely wouldn't have liked you though" Eos put in. Darius glared at her.

"He didn't really like a lot of people though so, not like it's an insult" Kassandra assured him,

"Yeah, he wasn't that nice most of the time either" Eos said, "but..." Eos sighed, but he had been her friend and... she would have done anything if it meant him being alive right now... So many things she could have done... So many things that could have been different...

They had buried the lycaon in the woods near to Dyne, beneath a couple of trees... Kassandra had suggested they buried him in the small houses garden but, Eos knew that, as much as he did enjoy his home comforts, he'd want to be put to rest in a place he could run in and, it also had a pretty good view...

Kassandra had said that he had been a good friend, an even better dog and, she hoped that now, Zeus would have forgiven him for what he's done and, would have let him gone to rest. Eos had smiled throughout it, knowing he'd be turning in his grave at the thought of being called a dog but, she also knew the peace that would come with it all too. A peace he deserved.

Eos had stood there for a little longer than the rest, looking down at where he was.

Alexios was watching her, wondering what could have been going through her mind. Kassandra came over and stood next to him. She was about to say that she was proud of him, that he'd did a wonderful thing but, instead, he said,

"What if I'm not the same enough person for her" - Melaina had been right. He wasn't the same man from before and, was that piece Eos had wanted gone now too? Kassandra, resisting the urge to put her arm around his shoulders, smiled,

"Then, I'm sure she'll love getting to know you" it was almost sarcastic, the way she said it, making herself smile more. "What you need to ask yourself though. Is. Are you ready for her to not be the same person she was" Kassandra asked. She could see the pieces of Eos in there but, there was something still bothering her and, Kassandra didn't know if she'd be able to get over whatever it was.

It worried her but, not like it worried Darius. She was sure he'd already decided that she was out to get them.

"I just want her" Alexios had let the words escape before he'd realised but, he had to remember that Kassandra knew that... Kassandra knew about them, about what had happened and, he didn't have to bare that weight, that guilt, all the time - they didn't have to hide it...

"Then make sure you tell her that when she's questioning whether she can deal with the new you" Kassandra did put her hand on her brothers shoulder then, felt him flinch only a little before he relaxed, nodding his head,

"Thank you" he said before Kassandra patted him on the back and left them both.


"He wouldn't want me to say good bye... He'd want me to sulk for all the years to come... I don't think he realised how easy it would be..." Eos said, knowing Alexios was behind her. She sighed, "It's not as if I expected him to live forever, I just... I just expected him to live longer... for him to have died from age, not...",

"What happened" Alexios asked,

"They jumped us and... He got hit but... he was fine and then..." Eos took a deep breath and closed her eyes, "then they stuck a dagger in him and" she gestured at the air, "he shouldn't have been so stupid". Eos took a step back and shook his head "and it gained nothing, he sacrificed his life for nothing, they still...",

"You're here now" Alexios reached out a little, his fingers brushing against hers, that spark was still there, even if it felt like she was trying to push him away "you're safe" - he said. Eos didn't think he sounded so sure.

Eos sighed.

Alexios lowered his hand and looked back to the lycaons resting place.

"Amorges said something. He said a lot of things but, he said that perhaps when I've seen the chaos with eyes anew, I would change my mind" she looked over to him, half looking at the ground, "I don't think he understands that I've heard all of his words before. Words said by men hungry for power... men like him... and, I don't know.. this whole thing he has... it's so delusional. It's like he lost his way. But not like I did. He fell deeper in to the clutches of order and I fell out".

Perhaps once, Amorges had been on the right path, perhaps he had wanted Order but, his duty to his country, it had clouded his duties to everything else and, now, he didn't know what he was doing anymore. The chaos he was trying so hard to destroy had gobbled him up too.

"I think this was meant to happen" Eos told him after a moment, "to show the chaos that follows Kass… not just the one that's caused",

"I'm sorry" Alexios said,

"No, I am" Eos said, she took a deep breath,

"You've done nothing wrong Eos, you didn't ask for any of this" Alexios said,

"I've done plenty wrong" Eos said quietly...

"I almost left" Alexios told her, "My mater...".

Eos lowered her head, "I'm so sorry" - she hadn't asked about it yet, hadn't wanted to bring it up.

"I never would have gone if I knew",

"Maybe if you hadn't, I'd still be there" Eos said,

"Waiting" Alexios asked, Eos nodded, "what were you waiting for",

"I don't know. I was just..." it wasn't a lie, she really didn't know what she'd been waiting for. A sign perhaps.

"Did you ever think about saying yes" Alexios asked, she nodded. But she hadn't. "Melaina told me you were dead, that you were gone. That you'd made the wrong decision... and then Baraz… He told me you were dead too... that Laelaps was dead"

"So you're the chaos that got him" Eos asked,

Alexios was ashamed of it, of the thrill it still gave him, to kill, he nodded, admitting it,

"I enjoyed it. More than I should have",

"You always have" Eos said, Alexios looked over to her, his brow slightly raised and she turned around to look at him properly. Eos shrugged, as if it was something so meaningless, compared to everything else, "so do I" she said, she gestured to the small group that was Kassandra, Darius and Natakas a little ways off, "so does Kassandra. No matter how much you fight it. The rush of death, of killing, the thrill that came with it... It never goes away... Those who say it does lie... You might have the greatest intentions whilst sticking a dagger in to some ones heart, or throat but, it was whether you let that power it led too control you...".

Enjoying killing to an extent, enjoying how it made you feel, Eos couldn't see that as a crime - especially not when giving death to those that deserved it... It was killing because you wanted to indulge in that power, in the thrill that it gave you, because you could, killing mercilessly.

"I'm scared Deimos will..." - he hadn't told any of them about Melaina… He didn't think he wanted too...

"Just because you change your name - it doesn't make it easier" Eos told him after a few moments. "It's not gonna take away what you've done" Eos said, "people can't just do that" Eos told him. She looked to Darius then, "even though they do", she looked back at Alexios, "and that's okay... because there's much more to Deimos than just the bad bits",

"I don't think there are",

"If there weren't, you would have finished me off a long time ago" Eos told him. He smiled and took a small step closer, able to reach out and brush her fingers against her robes, "and, you kept going, even after everything. You don't need me for that. You never did",

I do" he said, the want to lean his head on hers, "I do... and you can believe I don't but... I had no reason to be anything more than what the cult wanted me to be, without you",

"But you were" Eos told him, smiling, "I wasn't here and you chose your own way",

"I never would have got here without you though" Alexios said, "and, I can't say goodbye again",

"Amorges knows my answer" Eos said, she looked back to Laelaps, "and" she stopped for just a moment, it wasn't even a hesitation, this was what she wanted, this was what she wanted more than anything, she just didn't know if it would be what they wanted when she told them all the truth. All of it. "I don't plan on saying goodbye to anyone else".

Chapter Text

"It still baffles me" Natakas said as he sat down. Kassandra passed over a bowl to him, having mastered the boar recipe he'd taught her back in Makedonia and, having even added a bit of broth to it as well - at Alexios' request.

Eos, on the other hand, had almost gagged at just the sight of it but, after being able to turn it in to a small coughing fit instead - which still meant that a little vomit did come up anyway, she waved her hands at the others to keep talking - having interrupted Natakas' next few words.

Alexios had looked over, glancing from the broth to Eos for a quick moment before he'd looked back to Natakas.

"So many of their men died at the Fort and, for what" he asked them.

Eos bit her tongue for the time being. She didn't know if she could do this tonight.

"It was the Order. They have no love for foot soldiers and bystanders - as long as they get what they want, they do not care who gets caught in the crossfire" Darius said - he hadn't touched his food yet either but, he just wasn't pleased with the fact that Kassandra was trying to churn up the past of the family they'd lost - even if she did have the best of intentions - as Natakas had mentioned to him already.

"Natakas is right" Kassandra said, "they attacked the Fort and didn't even give chase" she said. She sat back and put her hands outs, she'd been thinking about it, "what if it wasn't the Order, what if we walked in to some sort of conflict" Kassandra suggested.

It was a nice thought, a theory that they could have used to their advantage... even if it had been the cult who had done it, they could use the conflict in a way that they could destroy both but, whatever their own plan was to cover up the massacre that had happened, it didn't change what it had been.

"It was the Order Kassandra" Eos said as she placed her bowl down.

"They lack numbers as is" Kassandra said,

Eos sighed, feeling that little more defeated by the entirety of the situation - "because they wanted to prove something".

"What" Darius asked - he knew she'd been hiding something - and, that small word they'd had didn't seem to make him any less volatile.

Eos looked over to him - if she kept talking, she'd have less of a want to vomit but, Eos also knew where this conversation would end up and, she felt like she'd just vomit anyway.

But, if they were ever going to move forward, they needed to know.

Eos looked to Kassandra then, avoiding the judgemental eyes of the old man.

"Amorges said that I would see the chaos with my eyes anew... that it was coming" Kassandra went to argue but, Eos carried on. Alexios sat back, this was what she'd meant. "Even when you don't cause the chaos, it follows in your wake" Eos told her, "in order to put you down".

"Why would he want you on their side so badly for" Darius asked. Amorges wasn't against mass-homicide but, this was different - this girl was hiding much more than she cared to admit.

Everyone's eyes turned to her, everyone but Glaukos, who was staring at the floor, small goose bumps having risen on his arms that he tried to rub away.

Alexios looked over at him and stood up slowly, his eyes now darting between Eos and Darius...

Kassandra had glanced at him. The tension starting to thicken as Eos felt the hair prickle on her arm.

"Amorges is..." Eos sighed and put her hands together, sitting up a little more, staring at the fire.

"Out with it" Darius snapped, he'd stood up now too, making both Eos and Kassandra flinch a little. Natakas, who was sat next to him, only shook his head at his father's inpatients.

Alexios hadn't moved, only stood there, staring at the floor now.

"Amorges said that... he was my father".

Saying it out loud, it still felt weird. As if she was lying to them...

They, who had all gone quiet, as if hadn't registered yet.

Kassandra was the one able to get around it the quickest - Melainas words that day after confronting Lagos weren't all that confusing anymore. 

It was Darius who reacted first though. A spite having built up inside him over the years for a man who used to be his friend.

"You mean to tell us that you-" Darius had started coming towards her, a bitter look on his face when Alexios stepped in front of him,

He was bigger than Darius and, the ery silence that he gave him, made the old man lose his nerve as he stepped back a little but, not enough for Natakas.

"Pater, stop, its not her fault", Darius looked over to Natakas, quickly turning defensive over his outburst - this was something she should have told them immediately - not left till now.

"But she-",

"She what" Natakas asked, he threw his hands up in the air, "she didn't ask for this" Natakas told him, "just like I didn't ask for us to run. I didn't ask to lose my brothers and sisters and mother" Natakas told him, "that is your fault".

The rest only watched, the guilt having laid heavy on the old man's heart...

"Natakas" Darius pleaded, "I..." he trailed off, he'd never wanted it either...

"Kassandra trusts her", Natakas told him, not wanting anymore apologies.

Eos had glanced over at Kassandra and she'd nodded her head - this didn't change anything... Kassandra had seen the truth that day they'd kill Chrysis. She'd seen who, what, Eos was and, she'd never doubt her - not for a minute.

"And that's enough for me so, it should be enough for you too",

"It doesn't make her any less of a threat" Darius said, turning to Eos, "I know what Amorges is like, he won't stop until he gets what he wants",

"I'm never going to submit to him Darius" Eos told him, "I've been threw far more shit with the cult than I have with them",

"Then he'll have you killed " Darius said, "if you don't submit to their order, you'll meet the same fait as the rest of us",

"I don't plan on dying anytime soon Darius" Eos said, she bit her lip and took a breath, "Amorges though",

"And you'd be the one to end him" Darius asked. Eos snorted a little,

"I killed the woman who raised me Darius" Eos said, "why do you think a man who left me to the cult of Kosmos is gonna be any different".

Unnerved for the second time that day, by a child that had been cultivated and raised by an organisation much like the one he was trying escape from, Darius left, followed closely by Natakas who wanted to remind his father how it was he should act.

Glaukos had pulled himself up too, hobbling away on his wooden legs to give the other three some privacy - he'd been given the job of deciphering peices of evidence and notes that Kassandra had collected from dead cultists and order members and, he knew they'd rather hear what Eos had to say than what he did...

In all honesty, Glaukos just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and, had done a little too much snooping for their liking. If it hadn't been for Eos - who he was sure had made it clear to them that he had to live - the Order would have killed him and thrown him back in to the sea no doubt...

Kassandra had given a helpless look at the bowls of un-eaten pork as her brother sat back down again. Alexios knew something had been bothering Eos but, he'd not thought it be that.

"It makes sense now" Kassandra said after a moment. Eos looked over at her - if any of it did, she'd love to know how - "do you think it was what Asphodel found out" Kassandra asked. It wasn't what Eos had been expecting but, she now had a feeling that Asphodel had knew something a little closer to home.

"There's more" Eos said, "it's not just Amorges whose my long, lost, father",

"What do you mean" Alexios asked. Eos hadn't looked at him properly yet, not having wanted to see anymore hurt, or betrayal in his eyes but, there wasn't, only curiosity.

"One of the cultists is my mother" Eos told him.

Perhaps that's what Asphodel had found out, Eos thought, perhaps she'd even found out who and Chrysis had wanted her children to remain that - her children.

"Is she still alive" Kassandra asked,

"He never really said, he only spoke about her from before so..." Eos shrugged, "maybe". Eos sat back a little, having moved the bowl a couple feet away from her now. "Whoever she was, it seems Order really does run in my veins" - which, considering the kind of order both organisations wanted to bring upon the world, - "maybe my fait really was already sealed...".

Maybe the whole new dawn thing did make sense.

"Our blood doesn't make us who we are" Alexios told her, the want to reach out to her getting all the more overwhelming by the second but, he didn't think he was ready for that. Eos smiled. She'd wanted to say he couldn't use her own words against her but, this time, his blood, her blood, it had made something more and, she was terrified of what their blood would bring for them.

Except, she couldn't tell them that yet.

She had to tell Alexios first... Enough other people knew that wasn't him.

"It doesn't make Darius any less right though, does it? Amorges said this was my last chance. I've just put you in more danger",

"Do you remember what you said" Alexios asked quietly,

"I hadn't told you then" Eos looked back to the fire, she could feel the lump in her throat, trying to scratch the back of it, "I didn't know how you'd take it".

She may have not planned to say goodbye to any of them but, they may have said goodbye to her instead.

"We've all had enough happen to us to realise that children should not be judged by what their parents do" Kassandra said. 

"Does that mean Helios wasn't your brother" Alexios asked, the name still faltering at his lips. That would be a day he'd never forget...

"No" Eos looked to him, "just some poor babe Chrysis picked up".

"Do you have any idea who your mater could be" Kassandra asked,

"I know she was, or is, Athenian, or... that's where she went back to anyway",

"How did she and Amorges even...",

"They met before, had an affair, then... when I was born, she ran" Eos shrugged her shoulders, "maybe you've killed her already". Kassandra almost looked a little sad at that, wondering if maybe Eos would have wanted to know who she was but, Eos had been past that point for a while now... Its not as if she'd have anything to gain from them... Except questions she knew she'd never get straight answers too.

The three of them sat there for a little while, staring at the fire before Kassandra finally stood up.

"I'm gonna make sure Natakas has not committed murder" - which was just an excuse because she felt like the two of them had to have a moment alone together.

There was more Eos wasn't telling them and, Kassandra couldn't figure out what could have been 'worse' than Amorges being her father...

"Families" Alexios said. Eos smiled a little and then looked back to the bowl of pork. She was hungry but, just the thought of it made her feel sick.

"Here" Alexios said, holding something out to her. Eos turned to him, to the bread roll, "pork isn't too good but, the broth is", Eos tried not to smile too much and took it from him, still taking a few seconds before she brought the bowl back to her.

The smell had been worse than the taste but, Eos wasn't sure if it was the bread that had done it.

Alexios had watched her for a moment more before he'd looked up, the other four returning to sit down. Both Persians seemed to have calmed down a bit but, he could see that Darius still had questions, the bitterness still not having gone away.

"Did you learn anything more from them" the old man asked as they sat down.

Eos nodded,

"There was a ploy to lead you towards Sparta, I think" Eos said,

"You think" Darius asked, Natakas had glared at him,

"I don't know" Eos said, "it's almost as if there were two different plans. One to stay. One to leave" she shrugged a shoulder as she put the bowl back down, still holding the bread though, "all I know is that, the more important men, went towards the south" Eos told them,

"Cyrus did, didn't he" Glaukos said,

"Yes",

"Cyrus" Darius said it quietly, he recognised that name, "any other names that may help",

"We heard something about a herald who wrote about the orders victories" Eos said, "never saw him though",

"And that man with an eye patch" Glaukos reminded her,

"Yeah, but that's it, eye-patch" Eos shrugged.

"Where in Sparta were they headed" Darius asked,

"I don't know",

"Kassandra", it was Barnabas... He had this thing of suddenly turning up with little bits of insight. "There is only one place in all the Greek world that would have been able to create the weapons that would have caused the destruction that you saw at the fort",

"Where" Kassandra asked,

"Messenia".

"Ugh, so if we don't have Kings working for the cult, we have Kings working for the order" Ka