The wards, as Zeus called them, are not his children. Many though Zeus has, these three (of the total four) are his foster children from the days of the Titanomachy. The Winged Victory was Nike. Mortals are enamoured with her, but she was absent this day. Before Zeus and Perseus on the helipad were Kratos, God of Strength, Zelus the God of Zeal, and the silent Bia, Goddess of Force. Powerful, these three, and always at the side of Zeus. By promise and oath, Zeus favored these young deities and wished them higher station upon Olympus.
“Good,” Zeus said. “We musn’t delay any longer. Perseus, you remember my wards?”
Perseus clasped the forearm of each, in succession, as a show of respect. “Memories flood the mind of victories shared by all. Good to see you again,” Perseus said as he entered the waiting helicopter.
Zeus stood in front of his gathered children, silently taking a moment. Power, strength, and righteousness permeating the group. Finally a smile from the King of Skies broke the quiet. The three entered the helo and strapped themselves in, and Zeus motioned to the pilot to take off.
They flew south in the direction of the Kingdom of Mycenae, the ancient domain of Tiryns and the site of the labours of Hercules. The Kingdom of Argos with its lineage of rulers and kings sits inside this modern method of flight. These places of great historical significance had stayed active in the years of the Olympians’ absence. The mines in the region have boasted riches upon which the Olympus Administration was built. Modern gold bullion depositories occupied the landscape, bolstered by the still lucrative tourism and vacation industries that have supported the OA since the economy of Rome evaporated.
“Why do they attack my money?” Zeus bellowed, with no need for a microphone to communicate.
Perseus, unable to match the power and volume of the King of Storms, used the available headset. “We don’t know. They appeared a week ago and it felt like nothing more than a random skirmish. We know nightgoyles steal and covet minor baubles and trinkets, but when enough of them invaded a major installation and wiped out two full legions, we had reason to believe a bigger player is behind this.”
For the first time another spoke, it was Zelus. “Who, or what, can bend a swarm of nightgoyles to their will?”
The question hung in the air unanswered. Perseus provided more in the way of intelligence. “That’s what I had hoped to discover with your deployed resources, Father. The last word from those inside the facility claimed to hear music. Sounds over the comms were not clear, but the legionnaires said they heard a lament in an old tongue. Nothing our mortal soldiers would be able to identity.”
The pilot interrupted their discussion to provide a status update. They would arrive in less than ten minutes, but the skies were darkening. It was barely midday, yet upon the horizon a sky so dark even Nyx would feel at home.
As if in response to the scene, the helo began to violently rock back and forth. “Lord Zeus, swarm inbound, intercept course, two o’clock,” the pilot explained.
Zeus began to make a fist in his right hand, electricity charging and sparkling into a ball of powerful energy, only for Zelus to casually touch his foster father’s arm to stop him. “Let us, milord.” Zelus said, and Zeus immediately dissolved the ball of lightning in his hand as he nodded to the three young gods.
Each gestured a sign of excitement toward Zeus as they all leaped from the helicopter headlong into the swarm of nightgoyles. Each of them flew like angels of destruction into the creatures. Zelus cried out an oath to Zeus for strength as he tore the wings from the nearest gray-skinned nightmare. Its body fell lifeless to the earth as Zelus moved to the next.
Kratos swung his fists wildly, a red and orange aura surrounded him in his vicious attack, a nightgoyle dispatched and dead with each rage-fueled strike.
Bia floated into the middle of the swarm, eyes closed as if she were the most at peace she could have ever been. In a flash she awoke, a visible globe of force extended out from her body. A wave of devastation tore through the remaining handful of nightgoyles. Their bodies shuddered and contorted as the wave hit them. Like leaves on an autumn breeze, they gently fell out of the sky.
“Like a tempest against wayward ships,” Zeus said, clearly proud of the fashion in which his foster children performed.
Perseus was on comms with someone on the ground. “Excellent, let him get a foothold at the gates and we will meet him there.” He turned to Zeus. “Ajax brought Myrmidons. Fifty. Well-seasoned and ready to engage at the main vault.”
Zeus only nodded lightly in acknowledgement, eyes still fixed on the display of his wards. The helicopter slowly made its descent towards the waiting Trojan War hero, Ajax.
Zeus calmly exited the craft, and Perseus was off in a flurry of reports and requests from his soldiers. He had been too long away from the fields of battle. Men were carved into legend here, and the King of Storms looked to recognize any soldier worthy of attention. Above him, the skies cleared of the winged beasts who have insulted Zeus so by stealing, or trying to, his amassed wealth. One by one, his wards landed on the fields ahead of him, their power evident in the ripples of electricity that radiated around him. “Worthy of legend, indeed,” Zeus said softly.
“Father, the swarms have moved. They have consolidated over the main vault,” Perseus yelled, “We may yet take control this day.”
Perseus rallied with Ajax and his Myrmidons. Lines formed, weapons drawn. The hulking beast of a man walked directly to the Lord of Olympus. “Great Grandfather, it has been too long,” he said, clasping the forearms of his patriarch. “Would that we could drink of adventures long complete, but I fear we still have ground to claim. What say you, King, do we dare attack the front or solidify our defense?”
A glimmer of light emerged from the vault. The front door was wide open, its many inch thick doors collapsed and distorted off to each side. Zeus could see in the doorway a man. Clearly a man, not the hunched over and winged figure of a nightgoyle. No, this was the leader. The power behind the hordes.
“Ajax and Perseus, take the fight to the nightgoyles on the outside. I want this area clear and ready to retrieve the dead or wounded. Wards, to me. We take our assault to the doorstep of the thief.”
Zelus, Kratos, and Bia formed a V shaped wedge in front of their King. They all walked slowly, but deliberately towards the entrance to the main vault.
“No one fucks with my money.”