Old 11-14-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
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The Gods are Crazy

Rob lingered in the back of the quiet bar he'd owned now these past 10 years, idly stirring a now-watery drink and checking his watch. It was almost time for the regulars. Or rather, the not-so-regulars, he thought to himself with a chuckle.

As his dark green eyes scanned lazily over the few patrons already inside, holding their hushed conversations in corner booths or harassing his bar maid (which was one of the worst ideas since launching a land war in Asia, he thought), he pondered for perhaps the 100 millionth time how he'd arrived here...How he'd fallen from the glory of being one of the most beloved minor deities the world had ever known...

Ok, so, beloved may not be the most appropriate adjective...But, he'd never been hated...Well, not by many...I mean, he couldn't have everyone just fawning over him...He was a Trickster after all.

It was the unnatural interruption of natural light that broke him from his revere. He shielded his eyes for a moment and let them adjust, and waved with a grin to the newcomer...One of the few in this world who knew what it was like to be forgotten, and to be one of his friends.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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In the sway of her hips rode the rise and fall of empires. The tender, soft pad of stomach between the curled edge of hard-loved ancient concert tee and the tautly stretched waistband of indigo jeans was the exact distance between love and madness. Those who bothered to look further, to seek in her unlined, pale almond face whether she could have possibly been alive to see Monterey 67, were further rewarded with wine-warm, merry eyes painted in exquisitely intricate kohl and a lush-lipped smile that delivered precisely half of your answer.

She had taken to calling herself Vina, because when she first began to mix with these gorgeous, strange humans it had been expected that exotic girls possess exotic names. Now, in this very melted pot, a girl of inpot-black hair and skin the color of roasted star anise named "Sarah" would not have been so amiss.

Yet, to this roving goddess, what you called her mattered so much less than the fact that you had -called-.

Swinging her round ass onto a stool, Vina offered her friend a deep, respectful nod and hooked lime-green Chucks into the worn wood rungs. Her bright, wise gaze hooked for a moment on the display in the corner, the white-blonde, blue-eyed "wench" impressing the importance of gentlemanly behavior on a tableful of boys who paid rapt and slightly fearful attention. She'd never agree with the... teaching methods of the Norse, but she could appreciate their effectiveness.

"I mean, honestly, I can understand a bit of flirtation, but wouldn't you want express consent before you put a hand on the ass of a woman with shoulders like a draft horse?" Turning back to her friend, she quirked a finely sculpted dark brow before a gently teasing smile stole her lips. "Well, -you- wouldn't, but equivocation is your wheelhouse, not hers."
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:20 PM   #3
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Rob threw the girl a smirk that had, in days past, emptied villages of maidens and sparked off small inter-continental wars, as he poured himself a fresh drink and a twin for Vina.

This one had always intrigued him. Throughout the centuries he'd met a few of her kind, and had more often than not found them humorless at best, and a touch fatalistic at worst. That Shiva broad...Yeesh...A hottie to be sure, and who didn't appreciate a girl who was good with her hands? But everything had been "Destroy this" and "Death to that guy"...In the end, he'd ended up sneaking out the back door while everyone else was one fire. Not his best one night stand.

But Vina was a different sort...Outwardly, a fun-loving temptress after his own steely heart...But on the inside, he sensed a depth he didn't quite know what to do with...That, and a vocabulary that could make Webster weep.

As he raked a hand through his spikey blond quaff and slid the goddess her drink, he leaned over the bar and sipped at his own.

"You know me but too well my lovely...But in the Norsemen's defense, they're a hardy people with strong appetites...Just not historic champions of common sense..."
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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Vina smiled and picked up her drink, considering the liquid with a steady, curious gaze. "I am comforted by the fact that you're drinking the same thing. At least this way, if it's charmed or drugged, we'll be able to fill in the black holes in each other's recollections." Throwing sense to the wind and arming herself once again with only the vague notion that this handsome ass was, for the most part, good, the goddess took a healthy sip.

She swallowed slowly, her review suppressed by sheer force of will, though she could not prevent the frailties of a mostly-human body from broadcasting her opinion. A shimmering heat rose brass-bright in her cheeks, her lips pursed, eyes narrowing and watering while she set the glass down. Her voice was slightly husky with controlled tears and covered-over laughter.

"Fuck! I can't decide if you'll get diabetes or cirrhosis first. I think I've lost the first layer of skin on my tongue and two dozen brain cells I was really looking forward to using." A delicate hand pushed the glass back to him, and yet the grin that unfurled across her lips was more flirtatious than before. "Coffee?"
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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The worlds first, best Trickster snorted in mock indignation, slamming a palm down on the bar in response to the insult. He responded in a measured tone, but he was still unable to remove that grin from beneath his honey blond beard.

"Sweet child, this is from my *personal* reserves, and frankly, I'm both chagrinned and insulted that you believe I would stoop to narcotics and chicanery to force a rose such as yourself to blossom!"

With a deft flip of a mug and a slow pour he slid a steaming cup across the bartop and related in hushed tones, "Everyone knows you cannot force a flower to bloom...Unless, of course, you happen to be Hades, and of course we all know *noone* tells him what he can and cannot do...The great oaf..."

Rob snorted yet again, as he was want to do, before vaulting up to sit on the bartop adjacent her, leaning back on his palms and quickly tossing back his own drink as well as hers, with a lick of the chops and a muttered "Waste not want not my dear..."
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:19 PM   #6
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"Do you have to stoop to get to chicanery? I'd started to think it was the very earth on which you stood. You make rivers of misdirection and mountains of half-truth, and subtlety is the star you hang in the sky when even the Sun has crawled off to lick the wounds of your tongue." Vina spoke in a broad brush of poetry as she tipped her chin into the palm of one hand, gazing up at the Trickster with an only half-pretended awe.

Reassuringly, she patted his leg with one long-fingered hand, the other lifting her mug to cleanse the taste of what she could only assume was a particularly potent blend of Drano and malt wine from her tongue. "Narcotics, on the other hand... well, that would be beneath you. And why wait so breathlessly on the unfurling of a lone flame of palash when a thousand primroses would tumble wide for a wink of your old eye? You'd find me a bitter bloom, my darling, and lose all enchantment with me. Which would be unfortunate, because I'd have to start paying for my coffee."

As she pulled her hand from his leg and loosened the silk tie that held her wrist-thick braid, the young girl lowered her voice, became more serious. "Have you seen Hades recently? The world agrees with him these last few months. He's half again as hale and bright-eyed as your lovely waitress on a Friday night, and I wonder if the reinforcement isn't going to what passes for his head."
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:30 PM   #7
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There were times when Brigit understood Rob's attraction to proprietor of such a place. The dark wood, corners shrouded in shadow and the slight smell of smoke, alcohol and lust took her back to the castles and temples where her name was spoken in Gaelic. Every time she pulled that solid wood door open, Brigit swore it was getting heavier.... or was it that she was becoming weaker?

Brigit didn't recognize the song, but it didn't matter. It had a beat and her knee high black boots hit the floor with each beat. As she walked, she could hear talking in one of the booths. It didn't interest her in the least. Her goal lay at the back of the bar. The faint smell of heather seemed to follow her. As she strolled towards her target, Brigit untied the belt of her trench coat and unbuttoned each jet button slowly. The garment slipped from her shoulders and she caught it before it hit the floor. With a shake of her head, Brigit's long red hair fell about her shoulders and down her back, covering a great deal of her little black dress.

Without saying a word, the red head slipped onto the high bar stool next to Vina, her large green eyes glancing down at the coffee cup in her hand. "I never could get used to the taste of coffee." Brigit commented in a thick Irish accent. Her eyes turned up to where Rob sat on the bar on the other side of Vina. "What I truly long for is a shot of something a wee bit stronger. Do you have another bottle of what we drank last week.... or did yee run out?"
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:48 PM   #8
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Rob smirked down at Vina and the friendly pat on the leg. He quite enjoyed the banter they had and he pondered for a moment in his scattered mind who would keep him on his toes, linguistically, if she were to fade, like many of those who came before them. He sighed internally as he poured himself another drink...To be destroyed or forgotten? Surely destruction was the lesser of two evils. Like the song said...Better to burn out than to fade away...Unfortunately, the latter seemed to be the way of the walk for his ilk these days.

He'd just opened his yap to respond to Vina's poetic quandary when Brigit glided in the front door and dropped down into her usual spot. He'd never been much for the paler-shade of woman, but in her case, he could make a millenial exception. Damn Irish...If nothing else, a fun people, and damn good distillers. "Ah, Brigit, my wild Irish rose!"

He poured her a drink to match his own and slid it in front of her with a wink and a grin.

"Welcome to the most sullen vocabulary battle since the last Presidential debate! We were just pondering the state of our musclebound bane Hades...Care to weigh in?"
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:03 PM   #9
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Vina took another sip of coffee, the juicy blood-orange curve of her lips embracing the mug's edge. "To be fair, Madam, I never could get used to the taste of anything stronger- especially the way our charming host pours. If I'm going to lose my senses to a tangle of poisoned biology, there are deliriums that beckon much more seductively."

Ah, and now he found her sullen! Dark eyes rolled in a mockery of martyrdom, and her elegant, long-fingered hands cast palm out in friendly exasperation. A flash of dark rust henna in the design of two downward lotuses, ink the shade of honeycomb on rose-pink skin. "You would think you'd learn to stay away from politics, Rob. Didn't the last President you snuggled up to stomp your gorgeous little heart to pulp and ribbon? If you lay down with crooks who swear they aren't, you'll get up with fleas that promise you they're just very tiny horses."

Her smile was an unspooled banner of wicked carnality, fleshy and rampant. It was paler than her mother-sister's, but no less red and all the more tempting for its rarity. She was happy to be near Rob on nights like this, not just because he was a good friend and a pretty face, but because he made it so easy to forget the world outside his cozy little dive.

People no longer sought knowledge, the way they used to- the urge to test, to stretch the boundaries of understanding, to cast their lot in with the legend and the epic. Unimaginative herds of bored children consumed their colleges alive, texting through lectures and buying paper after paper in pursuit of two magical letters, then found themselves impoverished and bitter-tongued rank and file, lifeless, lusterless. Those precious few who strove and strained in low lamp light gave her the strength to continue, though even now their numbers dropped as a country that starved their scholars rained gold on men who chased balls and spat disrespect into microphones.

They should have been hers, too, those angry youth who refused to sit quietly as their fathers died and their mothers crumbled. Still most pushed her away, dividing themselves into smaller and smaller genres and labels and beefs and contests until their records were hollow, frightened noise, the screech of puma in the night, the chit-chit-chit of taut-spined mongoose. It was enough to make a goddess cry, if she let it.

Vina saved her tears for a greater cause.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:27 AM   #10
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Brigit smiled as the small glass of amber liquid was set in front of her. Stimulations were much different now that she had taken this form. Tastes were much much blander than before. Coupled with the strange sensation of hunger, food and drink didn't bring the same pleasure they once had. The only thing that remained the same was the comforting taste of distilled and molt liquor. "Well, if you would be so kind as to drink my share of the coffee, I promise to drink your share of what ever our host is so kind as to pour."

With a slender hand, Brigit picked up the cold glass and raised it to her friends, "May trouble and misfortune follow us to the end of time, and never catch up." with her toast said, and a wink to seal it, Brigit raised the smooth glass to her lips and let the smooth liquor flow down her throat. When the glass was empty, she set it lightly on the bar and slid it towards Rob. "I tried to watch the debate, but it's hard to judge a man's intentions when you no longer can simply see what's in their heart..... but what of this talk of Hades? What has our dear friend been up to?"
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:00 PM   #11
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Robin almost did a spit-take at the mention of Hades as a "dear friend", but caught himself and merely let out a chuckle as he set down his empty glass. With a clearing of the throat and a grin, he shrugged and glanced to Brigit and Vina.

"Well my dears, that's precisely the problem...No one knows just what he's been up to...Which is always an unnerving prospect with the damnable cretin."

Robin shuddered at the thought of his last encounter with the god of the underworld...Without reliving it entirely, Robin had quick mental flashes involving images of liquor, baseball bats, and broken bottles...
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:04 PM   #12
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Vina could all too easily recall her last run-around with Death. He could be a very pleasant sort, with a "just business" smile and a handshake that made you wonder if you'd ever feel warm again... or he could be a real rotten bastard, an implacable, unstoppable force of un-nature. He kept a carefully balanced abacus in his head, beads that clacked hollowly as bone shifted toward some cosmic "balance" he would never explain.

She could remember how he'd smiled and nodded his regard as she waited in line outside a club, a small black dog straining at its leash. It was a fat-bellied, tail-thumping puppy, and countless girls squealed and cooed and played with the pup, admiring his massive paws and soulful eyes. Pale, shaven death smiled indulgently- people flirted with Death daily, after all, and he'd gotten quite good at flirting back.

Vina felt the crowd move around her when the velvet rope finally lifted, temporarily deaf to the sound of eager fans brushing past her, trading jibes, making plans. She felt stuck, her sneakers rooted to the pavement, her throat dry, her breath stopped. Hades gently took her elbow and turned her away from the closing door, steering her along the sidewalk toward home.

"You might want to miss this performance, lovely. I know it's going to be the last, but we do have to look out for one another."

And so she'd said nothing, done nothing. She'd avoided newspapers and televisions for the next week, feeling her empty stomach torque and shudder as teary-eyed students left bouquets and teddy bears against the hastily-erected fence surrounding the blackened crater.

It was a tragedy, but... we do have to look out for one another.

"There's nothing we can do about it, Robin. You know that. The world needs all of us, even the nasty ones. There are rules, there are... there are reasons for him, just like there are reasons for you and for her and for me. Who needs fertility if no one ever dies, right? Who needs to take a gamble and make a leap if you've got forever in front of you?" Though the sweet, soft girl spoke with a quiet, reserved certainty, much of the vibrance had left her smile, and there was enough shake in her hands now to require she use both to steer the mug to her lips again.
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:23 AM   #13
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Brigit started into her empty shot glass. Even in the low bar lights, the glass seemed to glow with a amber hue. They all had run ins with Hades. Some were most unpleasant, other times he simply made you wonder what he was up to. Though she hadn't seen him in a while, Brigit remembered her last encounter with the God of the Underworld.

He had come into her shop on a rainy last summer afternoon. Dressed in a three piece suit and bowler, Brigit would have called him dapper if she didn't know who he was. She was helping an older gentleman pick out a gift basket of vanilla candles for his wifes birthday. The customer didn't seem to even notice Hades, nor did the Lord of the Dead interrupt, instead he looked through her wears till the customer had paid and left. As the old man got into his car, there was loud clap of thunder and the clouds let go, raining so hard, Brigit couldn't see the end of the block. "Well, it looks like it will be far wet for any more customers to come today." He smiled, took a seat at the small bistro table and poured himself and her a cup of tea. He was pleasant and charming. Though he stayed for hours, he never once lost his temper. Brigit wasn't sure if it was fear or curiosity that made her the accommodating hostess. they didn't talk about anything in particular. The weather, how the price of whiskey had gone up and the many fragrants she carried on her shelves. After his forth cup of tea, Hades stood, bowed, took Brigit's hand and kissed it softly, thanking her for the pleasant afternoon and left.

Brigit couldn't help but give a slight shutter at the memory. It still bothered her: why had he paid her a visit? And why such a gentleman? Brigit had heard many stories of Hades outlandish behavior, but this seemed out of character.

"Viva's right." Brigit said, still staring into the bottom of her empty glass, "We are all needed whether we like it or not.... and besides," she looked up and gave a shrug as she pushed her empty glass closer to their host, "Worrying about his plots will accomplish nothing more than giving him the satisfaction that he is on our minds."

Brigit slid her glass a little closer to Rob.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:26 PM   #14
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Rob absently stroked his blond whiskers and gave Hilda the barmaid a nod, indicating it was time to close-up shop for the common rif-raf. He watched the slender maid with her ice blue eyes and platinum tresses as she went about her task, shooing some out the door and bodily hurling those who responded poorly to shooing. This night, like all the rest before it, when she'd finished her ritual of locking up, cleaning up, and pouring a drink, she dimmed the lights, set a few bottles of Robin's vintage on the bartop, stoked a fire, and settled on the couch beside it in silence with a book and her quilt.

Once the scene had settled again, Rob poured himself another drink and refilled Brigit's glass as well, before returning to his conversation with his two favorite ladies.

"While we all have a purpose, D's wanton destruction reeks more of aggravation and pissy-ness than the fulfillment of some basic celestial need for balance. He's been known to overreach in the past, and my fear is that this will continue"
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