726 BCE / XXVII Ann. Ab Urbe Condita
Battered, exhausted, and only a little apathetic from their victory at New Carthage, the heroes of Olympus rolled into Valhalla uneasily. Passion had begun to fade, replaced by the soldiers’ firm sense of duty: Certainly, they could not allow this peaceful town of friendly mortals to fall. So, the armies — drawn from all over, from Aquitania to Asgard to Ogygia — assembled. As they so often do, rumours fluttered through the ranks of the army — what great forces might Kronos send from his camp today? The hour of battle rolled around, and yet the horizon was still. The gods shifted uncomfortably — what trick was this?
The mysterious silence from the Titans was almost as unnerving as the enemy army itself. It seemed the advance of Iapetus had been a decoy; Kronos had threatened the gods with an enemy they knew well, but he attacked with one they had not yet encountered. The western plains of Valhalla shook as mighty footsteps pounded toward the town. The Olympian army — undying gods and brave mortals alike — sallied forth to meet their enemy, coming face-to-face with a new Titan: the violet warrior Thanos.
The ground beneath him, which once bore lush, fertile grassland, burst into flame. The heroes charged forth to meet Thanos in battle, and the powers of Olympus rained down on the mysterious Titan — until, that is, the gods’ attention was split. Indeed, the vanquished Hyperion had returned to the battlefield (perhaps Atlas hadn’t bound him tightly enough…), and he continued to absorb the mortals’ attacks. The Titans ripped through the countryside, laying waste to the peaceful lands with mighty explosions and fire. Kronos’ Curse of Time continued to plague the mortals, and latency swept over them the closer they came to their enemies.
Still, spurred on by their hatred for the disgraced Hyperion, the army of Olympus triumphed swiftly. The gods Ceres, Kratos, and Honos, aided by the Aphrodisian lovechild Eryx, finally brought an end to his cruel terror, locking Hyperion back under the weight of the sky. Turning their attention back to Thanos, the soldiers fought on.
Overcome by hubris, Thanos raged across the battlefield until he fell into a pit of his own creation — a great bowl of stone, carved out of the idyllic plains by the Titan’s own weaponry. The mortals and gods pursued him into the quarry, even as droves of Titan warriors poured over the precipice. Wardens from the underworld kingdom of Hades crawled from the stone to augment the chaos, but even they could not faze the defenders of Olympus on this glorious day. Fighting on through water and flame, the heroes pinned Thanos at the bottom of the pit. With a fell swoop of Honos’ axe and a flash of lightning, the gods struck a final blow to cast the wretched purple creature back to Tartarus.
A great roar of victory rose once more from the mortal army, their passion for battle renewed by the conflict. The lands of Valhalla had been ravaged, but the city stood — with an oath from the gods that, should this Titan menace pass for good, the beautiful landscape shall be restored. Beaten four times now, Kronos fumed alone in his camp. Rising from his throne, he shouldered his deadly scythe.
“Fine,” he grumbled. “I’ll do it myself.”