I teleport out of the warehouse and frantically check my surroundings. I am in an olive orchard somewhere outside of Athens. I scan the area and don’t immediately see anyone. I exhale and take stock of the situation.
I shove my hand into my inner jacket pocket and feel the cool coin between my fingers. If Morrigan is nearby, it will heat up, and if it becomes scalding hot, it means she is likely right behind me. It’s a useful thing to have when your jealous ex likes to sneak up on people while invisible and stab them in the back.
Morrigan is in Greece, and her goons have Scylla. They are harvesting her blood to make drugs and for other unknown reasons. I have to track them down and get Scylla safely back to Charybdis or…. Well, I don’t want to think about the ramifications of that.
I pull my hand from my inner pocket and summon my tarot deck. The intricate black and gold cards assemble themselves, and I shuffle them. Even if I am cursed and unable to read my fate accurately, they might give me a direction to run. I pull a few cards out that seem to call to me and hang them in the air.
The Tower. Could signal change, could be something else like…Ruin.
I wave it back into the deck and focus on the next card.
The High Priestess. Secrets, a veiled mystery. Less than helpful.
Annoyed, I wave it back into the deck and look at the last card.
“Fucking Fates and their ridiculous jokes.”
I nab the last card and stuff it back into the deck.
“If Scylla were here, I could read her fate and make this a lot easier. Well, if she were here, I wouldn’t have to find her by using the worst practical joke deck of all time!”
I shout so loud a few trees shake, and a smattering of olives splat against the hillside. The juice of one splashes all over my nice Berlutis. As I rub the viscous liquid off my shoes, a thought occurs to me and I snap back up to a sudden stand.
I may not have Scylla here, but I have the next best thing.
The single vial of blood in my pocket feels strangely warm to the touch. I pull it out and stare through it.
If Morrigan and her stooges didn’t tamper too much, I could use the Ichor to do a reading on Scylla.
I walk to the bottom of the slope and place the vial on the floor in front of me. I riff the deck again and pull out a card.
Angrily, I pick up the Ichor and hold it in one hand while shuffling with the other. I pull a card and float it up to my face.
Fuming, I hurl the deck with all my might. The cards scatter out across the valley, fluttering to the ground like black and gold butterflies. In my fury, my other hand gets a little overzealous, and the vial shatters within the pressure of my fist. Cursing my rashness, I summon the cards back to my hand. They gently float back to me and assemble themselves in order. At least, that’s what I think at first. As I pick bits of glass out of my palm, I notice three cards haphazardly sticking out of the ground. Puzzled, I try to summon them again. Nothing. I shake my hand off and wonder if I am losing my touch.
Wait. I can’t lose my touch. I’m a God! What in the name of Tartarus is going on?
The cards sit there in the dirt, taunting me silently. The gravel crunches under my Italian leather shoes as I walk over and pluck the tarot from where they rest in the earth.
“Is this your idea of furthering your twisted little joke? You repugnant Moirai sicken me!” I flip the cards over and look at them closely.
Scylla is in Piraeus, in an abandoned chapel, and is fading fast.
“Was that so difficult?” I say aloud, wondering if the Fates can hear me. “Time to stop being selfish for once and do some good.”
Ugh. I’m starting to sound like my relatives.
I know that I can teleport right into the chapel, but that could mean walking straight into an ambush or missing something crucial. The sea breeze gently blows against my face, filling the air with that wonderful Mediterranean salty smell. The streets are lined with shuttered stalls and packed up street carts. In the wee hours of the morning, everyone is tucked safely in bed.
Fewer chances of someone getting in the way.
As I approach the chapel on the peninsula, I see lights flickering inside and a lone guard sitting at the entrance. I grab a nearby canvas sack and rip it along the seam, before throwing it over myself. I put on my best drunk impersonation, stumbling around and haphazardly walk into a nearby barrel. The guard looks up at the noise and walks towards me.
“Hey buddy, get out of here before you get hurt.” He tightens the grip on his gun and raises it.
Not that it would hurt me, but I’d rather have the element of surprise.
I bump into him as he goes to pull the trigger and place my hand on his neck. “You want to run all the way to Egypt. Do not stop for anything.”
“I want to run all the way to Egypt. I will not stop for anything,” he repeats slowly before turning around and sprinting off.
Been a while since I’ve used a suggestion spell on someone. Gotta keep that in my back pocket.
I walk to the rickety doors and peer inside. I see Scylla splayed out on the altar. Long strands run from her chest up to the ceiling, transporting her blood Gods only know where. She is feebly thrashing about and wailing while someone shoves a long needle into her stomach. Roughly a dozen Phantoms stand between where she is tied down and where I currently stand. I close my eyes and feel out the circumstances in the room. I shift every scale I can sense to the worst luck imaginable.
This is about to look like a scene out of a bad action movie.
I kick the doors open and yell, “Guess who’s still alive bitches!!” The first Phantom walks up to me with a knife in hand, as if he expects it to do anything. He lunges at me but catches his foot on the carpet running down the aisle. He falls and manages to stab himself in the leg on his way down.
I love it when they fight themselves for me.
They keep lining up to attack me, and I keep knocking them down with ease. One finally wises up and scampers off out the back door. The two remaining goons rush me from opposing sides and try to take me down. Instead, they crash into each other and fall on top of the pile at my feet.
I take a deep breath and look at the twisted pulpit. Scylla is tied up in a mess of cables and tubes running in and out of her body. If I move her too much or try to disconnect them, she would die in a matter of minutes. I’m out of options.
“Scylla…I can’t…” Her animalistic shrieks fill the chapel as I try to speak. She lashes out with a clawed arm, and I barely duck out of the way in time. She connects with a pillar which promptly explodes on contact. The shower of rubble rains down over the bodies strewn about the room, a few of the larger pieces make a sickening thud as they connect. She continues to thrash about as I place my hands on a tube. I curse Morrigan for forcing my hand and slowly start pulling. The tube makes a squishing sound as I pull it out of her. Ichor splashes me and falls down my face as I repeat the process over and over again. By the tenth cable, I realize the ichor is dripping from my chin, and is mixed with a stream of liquid that appears to be coming from my eyes.
Scylla’s screams become weaker with every tube I pull out. Finally, the rain pounding on the chapel roof is the only sound left. She looks into my eyes, and I swear they hold a glimmer of understanding before the light leaves them.
I sit in silence, unable to look away until the sound of footsteps shakes me from this sad waking nightmare. I feel a hand on my shoulder, and a soft voice speaks. “Hey there, stranger. You look like you’ve had a rough day. Let’s get you home.”