718 BCE / XXXV Ann. Ab Urbe Condita
The fog of war hung thickly over Aeterna as its battered armies moved listlessly in their camps. Fearing yet further retribution from the furious Demeter and her deadly cadre, they marched despondently, morale shattered. All the while, deep in the Cloaca Maxima — the labyrinthine sewers of Rome — a flame of hope flickered dimly still. Zeus, King of Olympus, conspired with his grandson the Asterian Son of Ares, and summoned his immortal allies.
Dionysus emerged from his drunken stupor, and the great Earth-Shaker Poseidon rose out of the water. A call went out to a few more brave mortal heroes: the lactic Mage of Clermont, the swift-winged Icarus, the warrior Gabe of Constantinople. Together, they plotted a way to restore harmony. A herald of Demeter arrived in Asteria, bearing the unwelcome, but expected, news: Her armies were set to descend on the island paradise of Ogygia in pitched battle.
The allies of Rome and Zeus scrambled to action, sending messengers to all corners of the world in search of reinforcements. The uproar fell on the ears of the Titan Atlas, long slumbering since the Titanomachy. Fearing for the peaceful home of his daughter Calypso, he pledged himself to the mortal cause, letting his booming cry of war ring out across Aeterna. On the eve of battle, the Roman command sent scouts into the field to gather intelligence. Aiming to map out the territory of Demeter’s army with more than hearsay, they travelled far and wide on foot and on horseback. It was Icarus who succeeded most, with his strong wings and grace in the air; urged on through Zeus’s sky by the god himself, Icarus flew for miles until, at last, he found a hidden refuge of Demeter’s strongest Russian ally.
Content with their newfound intel, the mortal allies readied for battle. Rousing his comrades, the Son of Ares cried out, joined in cacophony by Zeus and Atlas and their godly allies. They spoke in bitter regret for what was lost — Antioch, Constantinople, and so many lives — and they pledged their blades to all the immortals wronged along the way: to Poseidon and Dionysus, to Hermes and Hera, and perhaps most of all, to the vanished goddess Makaria. By the good grace of Tyche, they were in position early, for the enemy army invaded early as well, engaging with the help of a spy they’d sent into Ogygia.
Though Calypso had not yet returned to her home, her allies stood in defence — even Hecate, who broke her vow of peace in the name of justice. Waves upon waves of enemies flooded the city: fearsome Demeter, and her lieutenant Leonidas. The war-god Kratos, and the Cruel King that once ruled Dacia. The demigods, furious Eryx and hubristic Pandion. Some guy. The onslaught was quick, and blood soon watered Ogygia’s lush jungle
. Eris watched on in glee, cackling as chaos enveloped the city. Both sides struck great blows, but Demeter’s immovable army marched ever forward. Mortal hairs stood on end as Zeus’s lightning bolts crackled through the sky. Kratos tore through enemies, and Atlas and Leonidas clashed their blades as Dionysus rained arrows into the maelstrom. The brave Son of Ares, heaving his axe aloft with great virile strength, brought it down hard on his enemies. Ever still, Ogygia continued to crumble. In desperation, Dionysus whispered in the ear of Icarus.
>”Fly swiftly, hero of Olympus,” he murmured.
“Launch our attack on the bunker of Leonidas.” The boy obliged, arriving with haste at the jungle enclave and claiming it for his own.
Meanwhile, Dionysus and his father Zeus made for the lands that had once been Comino. Still the territory of Pandion, the outpost hadn’t shaken its strategic value. Greater in number, the allies of Olympus overwhelmed the peninsula, drawing their enemies — if briefly — from Ogygia once news of the counter-attack reached their ears. Though they had, at last, captured Calypso’s island, they could not rest on their laurels.
With bitter Pandion’s lands ceded, the gods travelled swifter than ever to Asgard, the once-gleaming home of Kratos. As Poseidon and his cousin Atlas attacked, the greatest warriors of Demeter’s army arrived to defend. The city, unprepared for attack, fell quickly, however, as the vengeful sea god planted his trident and consumed the seaside town with his power. The world spun ever further into disarray, and the combatants shed their weapons for sharp words, both sides’ lust for battle dissipated. As the two armies seethed with rage and pain, the fighting sputtered out.
A small band of Roman and Frankish soldiers walked sullenly across what once was the great Farm of Demeter. In her fury, the goddess had destroyed it, reducing the fields to arid dirt. Wicked barbs of speech continued to fly between enemies, with no resolution. “Vae Victis,” cried the gods of Rome, as the enemy lieutenants basked in the fall of Ogygia.
At last, though, the army of Demeter approached with an offer of peace: she and her allies would withdraw fully, on the condition that Icarus be cast out of his home in Asteria. The Son of Ares protested, loath to abandon his greatest compatriot. Icarus himself, though — courageous to the last — departed the city before his friend could stop him. At long last, the bliss of Pax and Eirene soothed mortal hearts after the martyrdom of heroic Icarus. The remaining mortals gathered to mourn the lost and celebrate their Pyrrhic triumph.
The gods of Olympus convened, agreeing to cast Demeter and her allies out of Olympus for their crimes. The rest, encouraged by Hera’s motion to restore the sacred godly Mountain, then began to withdraw somewhat from mortal affairs: Dionysus retreated to his sacred vineyard at Ampelos, inviting his uncle Poseidon to fish its plentiful waters. Zeus ascended to his mountain castle, and Hecate returned to her desert oasis. So ended the war that threatened to tear the world asunder.
Weep not for what is lost, dear reader; what was built can be rebuilt. Sing odes and epics that keep Ogygia’s days of glory alive in memory; sing of Constantinople, of Antioch, of Comino. Sing so that arrogance and pride stay shackled.
In unity there is strength; in hatred there is bloodshed. Semper Olympus. Semper Aeterna.