I arrived at the warehouse a full minute after the clock struck 7:30. With anything else, I would’ve been thirty minutes early—after all, war was not one of those life events that one could afford to miss. But no one’s life hung in the balance at this get-together. The only thing at risk was some people’s dignity and possibly their better judgment if Eros was going to be playing with his arrows. That’s why I wore my good running shoes.
I stepped into the warehouse, not knowing where to focus my gaze. The industrial nature of the warehouse was made softer by the black silk draped everywhere. The low light of the lanterns and light strings also helped to make the place feel less harsh. On top of the three different fully stocked bars, there was a guy with a tray full of drinks and food. I recognized the scents of nectar and ambrosia. This really was just a to-do for the gods.
I scanned the warehouse, taking note of who was there and how they were dressed. Whoa. Grandpa’s here. Zeus was definitely one of those deities I had very little interaction with. I didn’t know if that was by my choice alone or both. As intimidated as I was by my father, Grandpa was ten times more frightening to me. He had maintained his throne for as long as he had for a reason. Even if I didn’t always agree with him—especially with how he chose to handle one particular family member’s betrayal—I knew to go against him was a death wish.
Selene and Artemis had also graced the party with their presence. In very romantic dresses, no less. I almost didn’t see Thanatos with the way his heavy pea coat blended into the darkness. How is he not hot? And then, there was Aunt Amphitrite, looking gorgeous in a flowing blue summer gown, reminiscent of the sea. I looked down, appraising my outfit of running shoes, light-wash, ripped jeans, a thin white t-shirt, and my cameo jacket in case the party went late into the night when it would turn cold. I also knew that my hair was fluffy and a bit messy from air drying after my afternoon shower. “I can’t tell if I’m under-dressed or not.”
Found them. I kind of stuck by the door, scanning until I found the two troublemakers. Eros was in white pants and a jean shirt while Clio was wearing a cute, black and white cocktail dress with long sleeves and tall heels. The mismatched couple did nothing to clue me in to the attire expectation for the evening. I marched right up to them, immediately pulling my brother’s and sister-in-law’s attention. They both smiled at me, and Clio gave me a motherly kiss on the cheek. She really is a natural at this. “How are you?” Clio asked.
“Well, Clio, I’m wondering what you and my brother are up to with this whole show.”
Clio tilted her head and asked, “Me?” My brother just smirked at her. That was his signature I’m up to no good look.
I crossed my arms over my chest, refusing to believe Clio’s innocent act. She herself may not have been a muse of mischief, but with the company she kept, she had learned a thing or two about causing trouble. “Oh, like this doesn’t have you two written all over it.”
“It’s not us.” The mischievous smirk my brother was known for was replaced with a frown and furrowed brow. I looked him in the eye, regarding him deeply. My brother had managed to find many ways to circumvent the truth, despite being bound never to lie. He was a pro at finding the loopholes that meant he was telling the truth but not the complete truth. Unfortunately, no one specified that lies of omission counted as lies.
Maybe they didn’t arrange it, but I’m willing to bet good money they knew about it. After all, they’re so chummy with the biggest troublemakers in our entire family. It has to be one of them. The question is which one? And why would they bother to invite me? They don’t even like me.
Maybe I’m meant to be the floor show. I started scanning the warehouse ceiling, looking for any buckets of animal blood conveniently hanging over particular spots. Nothing. The rafters were clean. For now.
“Eris?” I asked.
As if on cue, the deity of mischief swooped in, looking alluringly androgynous in their suit. They were already double fisting with a drink in one hand and a shrimp cocktail in the other. “I’d say it wasn’t me, but I can’t remember my phone password, so..” Of course, they were enjoying this mystery. “Though I will say if I did this, there would be a lot more leather harnesses suspended from chains in the ceiling. You know, make it classy.”
Well, that only leaves one possible suspect. Assuming Eris isn’t lying. They have that option, unlike Eros. A quick look at Eris told me everything I needed to know. Nah, this isn’t their style. Leather harnesses are.
“I thought it was something to do with Selene and Artemis.” I quickly brushed off Clio’s suggestion. They wouldn’t be this dark and urban. They would have planned some moonlight reception by a lake with lanterns. As I was mulling over the options, I picked up a cup of nectar from a passing try, absentmindedly sipping it.
Wait. I looked at the waiter and knew that I didn’t recognize him. He was aesthetically pleasing in his suit with dark hair and eyes. And he was doing a good job of making sure he has served us all a drink. I looked down at my glass suspiciously. Who are you, and what are you up to?
I allowed my brother, sister-in-law, and Eris to fade into the background as I kept an eye on the waiter. They were talking about sex—big surprise there—so ignoring the conversation wasn’t all that hard. When I wasn’t watching the waiter, I was watching the door to see if an obvious host arrived. Erebus was a distinct possibility, though the look of disgust on his face at the venue suggested otherwise.
Relief did wash over me when Aunt Nike strutted in, wearing a blood orange dress that really hugged her figure. That dress alone confirmed I was under-dressed for whatever this to-do was. Nothing can hurt us with all of these War Gods around. “Auntie! Over here!” I definitely wanted to stay close to her, just in case.
My call drew a beaming Nike to our group. We embraced each other tightly, making up for lost time. “Looking good, Nike,” I complimented.
“Thank you, Drista.” I loved that nickname she’d given me. “I can’t stay long. I have to be on patrol soon.” Just stay long enough to make sure that we’re all safe.
A dark cloud of smoke pulled my attention to the door and my hand to my pocket where I kept my pocket staff. I only relaxed a little bit when I saw it was the harpy Atë, clad in a low-cut red blouse and a high-cut leather skirt. And she wasn’t alone. The lithe woman next to her was clad exclusively in black and definitely shared her sister’s abundant energy. This was my other aunt, Hekate. We had not had many experiences with one another. I had no prior opinion of her, and that made her a wild card.
Like Erebus, the sisters looked around the warehouse in disgust, but that faded a little when Clio launched her petite form into the chaotic goddess’s embrace. “The two hottest goddesses in the world!” Once they were done hugging, Clio invited Atë and Hekate to join the little group we had created. Eris naturally flanked Atë.
“Hello, love,” Atë cooed.
I wanted to ask if Atë knew anything about this whole party, but there was not much of a chance that she would even acknowledge me, let alone answer. I was outnumbered with all of these war gods around. Nike was about the only one on my side.
So for a while, I just stood awkwardly, people-watching my family. Erebus was looking at Atë like a sad puppy trying to get its owner’s attention. And naturally, she ruthlessly ignored him. Boy, those two burn hot and cold. I’m getting whiplash from watching them go from love to hate and back again.
Eventually, as the conversation amongst the group wound down to sex again, I took a chance. Turning to Atë, I asked, “You have anything to do with this whole get-together?”
To my surprise, the Goddess of Ruin didn’t completely ignore me. She just blew air through her lips in sarcasm. “As if I would go to a warehouse.”
One of them has to be lying. There’s no one else who would do this. Unless… unless this is some party to welcome back a family member who hasn’t been back since Nero’s Betrayal. But who could it be?
Mom is like Atë; she wouldn’t do a warehouse. She’d plan a whole wedding or something.
Maybe Enyo? Nah, she’s not a party type. And even if she was, this isn’t her aesthetic.
There were way too many possibilities to think about between all the Olympians, Gods, Goddesses, Primordials, and Titans.
Fuck. What if Kronos set this up? We’d be trapped like rats all in one place. It would be so easy to take all of us out at once. I gripped my pocket staff in my free hand, still holding my glass of nectar in the other. “I don’t like this,” I mumbled under my breath where nobody could hear me.
“Before things get too crazy, I’d like to make a toast.” As usual, Grandpa knew how to command the room’s attention, despite the free bird jeering from Eris. “It occurs to me that we don’t do this nearly as often as we should.” That’s because most of us try to kill each other when we get together. Either that or fuck each other. Either way, it’s a lot of drama. “Things have been quiet as of late. All of us doing our own thing, which is great. But whoever brought this shindig together, I would like to thank you.”
Not even Grandpa knows who planned this party? This can’t be good.
Most everyone joined in the cheers, but gradually, they all started asking the same questions I had. Who had invited all of us, and why did we all come if we had no clue who our host was? The only person who could answer any of these questions was the odd man out.
The Butler. It sounded like a really bad dinner party murder mystery, but he was the only person who could explain why this was happening. Where was that guy?
Before I could search for the butler, the lanterns and twinkle lights lowered, signaling that something was going to happen. Then whispers started filling the room, growing louder and louder. It was chanting, and nothing ever good happened when chanting was involved. I could feel the air around us become charged with power so strong that it blew the black silks away, revealing the mirrors hanging on the warehouse walls. These windows of reflection glowed with the same power that surrounded us, and as I looked over them, I could see our names etched into the frames, along with some runes.
Right as I dropped my glass and started to extend my pocket staff, my eyes fell to the mirror with my name scratched into it. I could see myself in its glowing picture. Before I could dig my heels in, I was yanked forward off my feet. My staff was ripped from my hand as I was dragged against my will to a fate I wasn’t ready for.