â€œThe way to overcome the angry man is with gentleness, the evil man with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth.â€
~An Indian Proverb
â€œIt sounds good, doesn’t it? If only people and life were that effing easy. Trust me, it takes more than a friendly biscuit to tame a hungry lion. And it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Then it’s war.â€
~Savitar, Chthonian god
Dressed in a long, flowing white Grecian gown, Leta came awake with a sharp gasp. It took her several seconds to acclimate to her surroundings. She was still in her cushioned pod, asleep in the hall of mirrors on Olympus.
But something was wrong. She could sense it. The dark hand of evil slithered over her body with an unmistakable touch.
Dolor, the most vile of all gods, had been summoned back into the human realm which had triggered her own waking. The god of pain had been trapped centuries ago by Leta who had fought him until they’d both been bloody and spent. Forbidden by Zeus to kill him outright, she’d been forced to trap him so that he would never do to another what he’d done to her.
And once he’d been trapped, she’d placed herself in stasis to heal and await the moment when he would stir.
Now someone had uttered that which was to never be uttered again. Sucking her breath in sharply, she allowed her buried memories to assail her.
Damn them! The stupid humans had no idea what they’d unleashed. Pain wasn’t content to attack just the one person it was sent after. No, it was bloodthirsty and ruthless. Dolor respected nothing and no one was immune to Pain.
Sure, he’d stalk and kill the one he was sent after, but once that was through, Pain would return to the one who’d summoned it.
May the gods help the summoner then.
Closing her eyes, she reawakened her dormant powers. She let her thoughts drift until she found Pain’s target.
The target had his back to her, but even so she could tell he was tall and broad shouldered. His blond hair was tousled and wavy as it fell to the top of his black collar.
As a dream god, she could feel his bitter emotions calling out to her.
â€œYeah,â€ he said, his deep voice filled with malice. â€œIt never fails to amaze me how a single lie can undo an entire lifetime of good.â€
And it was then she realized something. This man didn’t need Pain. It already lived inside him right alongside Bitterness and Rage. They had him nestled tight against their bosoms and from what she sensed they had no intention of letting him go.
Then she heard it…
That deep, blood chilling laugh.
She flashed herself from her sterile pod to stand on the cold, marble floor. A bitter wind plastered her gown against her body, exposing her bare feet to the ankles. It made the gold bands on her upper arms bitingly cold. The walls around her were white with no pictures, curtains or anything else to break its sterile quality.
Still she felt the presence of the god of Pain.
â€œWhere are you, you bastard?â€
Dolor appeared behind her. Before she could move, he grabbed her by the hair and wrenched her head back against his shoulder. â€œYou didn’t really think you could keep me trapped forever, did you?â€
She tried to fight, but he released her and vanished. â€œThis isn’t over, Dolor,â€ she said, her voice filled with the weight of her determination.
His laughter filled the room. â€œNo, it isn’t. You bound me to this curse and before this is over, you will pay for it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a human to torture and kill.â€
She felt him receding all the way down her spine and there was nothing she could do to stop him. By the order of Zeus, her own emotions had been drained. Yet she felt something… remnant emotions from the past perhaps?
She wasn’t sure.
But one thing was certain, she wasn’t about to allow Pain to hurt another soul if she could help it. It was a solemn vow she’d made and it was one she would keep. So long as she had life in her veins, she would fight.
And as she started forward, her target turned in the mirror to face her.
Leta froze as she saw the man’s features. He was as beautiful as an immortal. Through the mist that separated Olympus from the human plane, she could see every curve and line of his perfect face. Sharp brows arched over eyes that were a pale green. Searing with intelligence, they showed her a soul that was tainted by betrayal. One completely devoid of trust.
And in that one single moment, she felt his sorrow inside her own heart. He wanted to trust someone. He wanted to reach out. But he’d forgotten how.
Alone and cold, he was pain personified.
Cocking her head, she realized something else. That pain that burned so fiercely within him was exactly what she needed to use in order to defeat Dolor. If she could channel it, it would meld with her powers and give her the advantage.
He’s been hurt enough…
It didn’t matter. She couldn’t see his pain for her own. Dolor must be defeated at any cost and if this human paid the price, so what? The life and soul of one would never be worth more than the lives and souls of many.
Aidan O’Conner would be her sacrifice and her past would finally be avenged. Pain would be defeated by her hand and laid to rest for all eternity.