Scions of Ragnarok
Name: Ria McLahlan
God: The Morrigan
Pantheon: Irish - Tuatha de Danan
Ria had just arrived at the McCarran International Airport and already she could feel the heat seeing the shimmering air through the glass panes of the airport. It was certainly a long shot from Ireland or Canada where she grew up. But then again, her life was certainly now a long shot from what it was before. She passed through immigration and took her belongings from the baggage trolley without a hitch. As she stepped outside to get a cab, the full force of the heat of Nevada struck her. Vegas was going to burn her alive before her mother's errands could kill her.
Getting a cab did not take long and she was glad for the air conditioning it provided. The cab driver looked at the rear view mirror at her. "Where to?"
"The Excalibur." Of course, her mother would pick a hotel that was named after the English-Irish legends, being what she was. Meeting her was the shock of her life. She had no idea why her mother would choose an abusive drunkard for her father. She had endured his abuse for seven years before the social workers caught word of her ordeal and put her in an orphanage where she was adopted by a Canadian couple. The couple were nice but the school she was enrolled in was not kind to an Irish girl. She had been bullied for five years before she had had enough, learned martial arts and fought back. Since then, she held out on her own and chosen the life of a martial arts instructor to help those who were being bullied and traveling all around the world to learn more.
Then one day, The Morrigan just appeared before her challenging her to a duel. She didn't know who the beautiful woman was, nor did she know the reason for the challenge. All she knew was that the woman was hell bent on knocking her down. And knocked down was what Ria experienced. She had never met anyone as fast or as strong as her challenger who then invited her to a dinner at a steak house in a private room. First she revealed herself to be Ria's mother to which Ria scoffed at. Someone that young couldn't be her mother. Unfazed, she told her she was The Morrigan--the Phantom Queen, the Washer at the ford. Ria recognized the reference to Irish mythology. Her father had been incessant on drilling it into her brain. She was about to say that the woman was crazy when she turned into a lean, grey hag with a wiry frame. Ria almost screamed, but for The Morrigan stilling her mouth with her hand.
Ria touched the tattoo of her gae bolga. The Morrigan told her she could call and put it back it with her thought. She tried and the great spear literally sprung out of her skin. The Morrigan also conferred to her the gift of prophecy, though hers was definitely limited and very much weak, and gave her more strength and dexterity more than any other human. She told Ria she could grow in power and ask her for more gifts--only if she pleased her mother--and be elevated to godhood. Ria believed her especially when she found out that she could now communicate with cattle. After everything, she doubted anything would surprise her. Until she found that people suddenly respected her more than they ever had. The Morrigan told her it was because of her Gaesa--the thing that marks her as a member of the Tuatha de Danan Pantheon.
Ultimately, they arrived at the Excalibur where her mother told her that she would meet with a fellow demigod. And receive her instructions.
Nevada. F-ing Hell. Nevada sucks. Van dropped his duffle bag to the ground and mopped sweat running off his head. If there was a Hell on Earth, you wouldn't have to look much further than Nevada. This was probably all some sort of sick joke. A joke that had run on far too long to be funny, if it ever was. Van sure wasn't laughing. Not even at the irony of a Roman God sending him to a hotel called Excalibur. Van was vague with his British history but he knew the English defeated the Romans and sent them packing home. Kind Arthur defended his lands against invaders with his sword Excalibur. Viola, two plus two equals irony. And he didn't give two cares.
This entire ridiculous thing started two weeks ago when some random dude appeared to Van. "Van, I'm your father." The guy had said quoting Darth Vader. Well, maybe not like that, but it would have been an improvement. The truth was Van had been grabbed and manhandled by this guy off the street and into an alley.
The guy had grabbed Van by his upper arm and swung him into an alley with surprising strength. Van had been surprised and he put up little resistance. Not that it would have done much good, he wasn't good at fighting. Once in the alley the surprise faded and anger set in quickly. Anger and a little bit of fear had allowed Van to decked the guy, causing him to fall onto the pavement.
Van turned his back to the guy in an attempt to leave the alley. However his exit was postponed when he was grabbed again. He turned; his mouth opened and swear words coming out of his mouth. Then he saw the guy again. He was different. He was something more than human.
Literally. One moment he was some random guy and the next... Van had been looking at a God. He knew it, deep down in his bones. Van wished the guy, no God, would stop holding him in place. He wanted nothing more than to run away. Then the God had said, "Don't hit me again brat." Just like that. Van felt his mouth drop open.
"Don't?" Van sputtered. "You dragged me into an alley and you don't want me to hit you?"
The God cut him off by increasing his hold on his arm painfully. Van had to shut his mouth or make an unmanly sound. "I'm busy right now so I'm going to make this quick. You're my offspring." Notice the lack of affection or acknowledgement. "That means you have to do what I say."
Van had raised his eyebrows at this point. He didn’t like where this was going. Then he cut in. "Like Hell I have to."
The God pinned him to the wall despite Van's protests. The God stared at Van then said simply. "I'm short on time, so I am going to make this simple for you to understand. If you are not in Nevada checked into a hotel named Excalibur in two weeks, I will kill you." The God let go of Van.
Van stumbled as the pressure against his arms vanished and fell down. He looked up at the God as he was walking away. "Do I even get to know your name?" He shouted after him. The God turned. "Mercury." Then vanished. Van had knelt there for a few minutes as the realization set in. First he was a Demi-God. A son of Mercury. Second, his newly discovered father was going to kill him. Eventually he had pulled himself off the ground and headed out. It had taken him a while to find the right hotel in Nevada and find out how to get there.
But now he was here. Waiting for another meeting with his homicidal 'father'. Van rubbed his arm where the God had grabbed him. It was still bruised faintly. Better than after the encounter when it had been an ugly black. He sighed picked up the duffle bag. No sense in putting it off any longer.
Ria sat on the lounge putting her belongings on her side. The Excalibur was not the most luxurious of hotels, but then she couldn't complain. She wasn't paying for anything and she could use all of the comforts of the hotel. That, perhaps was the only saving grace of being in Nevada. There were very few people walking around under the heat of Las Vegas' arid environment and she couldn't blame them. If her mother was going to send her out in this heat now, she would scream.
A man in a suit and darkened glasses approached her. She couldn't see his eyes, but she felt his eyes looking at her up and down. He had an air that said he didn't tolerate nonsense. He brushed his hair backward then said, "Stay here."
Ria blinked looking at him as he headed toward another man in his self assured stride. She shook her head and sighed. This was it. Whoever this man was, he thought himself very important. Maybe another god? A loyal servant of one of the gods? She didn't know. But the man looked like he belonged here and he owned the place. Perhaps he was the owner? She shook her head. No more speculations. She had to wait.
The man approached Van and looked at him, measuring him inch by inch. He grunted, recognizing Van's descent. Hermes, Mercury whatever he wished to call himself in which country. He hated the god with a passion and hated that he could not move against him. Not now. But even more, it grated him that he was under the thumb of the god. For now, he would have to acquiesce.
"You. Come with me." He turned without waiting to see if Van was following him. He settled himself in front of Ria and waited for Van to take his seat beside her. He held Las Vegas in his back pocket. He was the reason why Las Vegas was called the Sin City and these two fledglings were supposed to be under his care. Maybe he could twist them to his own designs.
"My name is Pan. Now, introduce yourselves."
Pan? Ria blinked. Who the hell was Pan? She felt that this was the person that was going to give her her assignment, but why was he so rude? Maybe he was a god. He crossed his legs waiting for them as if he had all the time in the world and no matter how long he waited he was going to have his way.
Ria sighed and gave up. She knew when she wasn't supposed to fight. "Ria McLahlan. Daughter of The Morrigan."
Dark suit, sun glasses? Who wasn't a walking cliché around here? Half the people in Vegas were trying to pretend they were someone they weren't. The other half wasn't even trying. Van sighed as the man turned and walked away, obvious expecting him to follow. Just great. Was everyone he met after this going to treat him like dirt? Probably. He sighed again and jogged to catch up. Best not be left behind. His lovely father might use that as a excuse and make good on his threat.
Van stopped when the man stopped. They were in the lounge and there was another person. A girl. Swell. At least the only positive in this situation was that the lounge was properly air-conditioned.
"My name is Pan. Now, introduce yourselves." The walking cliché said rudely.
Van didn't even blink. Yup. Everyone was going to be like that from here on out. Well, two could play at that game. He didn't say anything, but the girl did. And who the hell was a Morrigan? And how could you be the daughter of one? Perhaps she was part of some kind of cult. He managed to stifle a small chuckle. Gods having a cult. Amusing. But now it was his turn.
"F, son of U." Van said following the girl's same pattern. Of course, a little less proper. But he wasn't in the best of moods. Even if he was in a good mood, he wasn't even sure he'd tell them. Being threatened ruffled his feathers in a bad way.
Pan sneered at Van. Of course he already knew who the boy was. They were both the sons of the same man, and apparently, neither of them liked their father. Which as good for him. If he played his cards right, he could pull this boy over to his side. He laughed as Vanintroduced himself. Oh, the irony of what he said! "Van, Van, Van..." he took a deep breath calming himself. "You have probably never heard of me. I'm the reason why the word panic started. Ah, but who would even mind a minor god? Well, it's a shame you don't want to make yourself known to your partner. Your loss. Not mine."
"In any case," he cleared his throat, "Your belongings will be carried to your room. That's right," he added when Ria opened her mouth, "you will be sharing one room. I'm the one paying for it, so you can't complain. It's a suite or both your parents will be up my ass. Here." He put a piece of paper and two card keys on the table, "Your instructions," then stood up and left.
Ria looked after him and shook her head looking at her partner. He didn't look like he wanted to be there. Actually, neither did she, but what choice did she had. Gods had their orders. Beside her, she didn't see her belongings anymore, but for her wallet. Leaning over, it seemed that the man's luggage was gone as well. When it was taken, she didn't know, but there was nothing for it but to take Pan's word for it. She took the paper in front of her and read.
Bring back cerberus to the underworld. Pluto is having a fit.
Ria frowned. "Cerberus?" She looked at her partner. She sighed and shook her head. "Can we start over? I mean, we do have to work each other." Her voice had a bit of Irish accent the more she spoke, softened only by her time in Canada. She took the card key, put it in her pocket and extended her hand for a shake. "Ria McLahlan. Are you also a child of a god or goddess? I've never heard of the god Pan before...so I'm guessing you're not Irish."
Van watched the God Pan sneer at him. 'Feeling is mutual'. He mentally thought at the God. Pan was smarmy. No doubt about it. "I'm the reason why the word panic started." Tralalafingla. That God was extremely full of himself. His ego could do with a bit of deflating.
Van stopped glaring at the retreating God's back when the girl spoke to him. He had forgotten all about her. He turned back to her slightly flushed. He missed what she had first said. However he did catch the rest of it. He sighed.
"Van Adams." Van said extending her own hand. She wasn't American. No one talked like that in America. But he couldn't place her accent. It was strong to his ears, but he hadn't met anyone from a different country that spoke like that. "I guess. But honestly, I as far as I'm concerned, I don't have a dad." Never had one until two weeks ago and he sure as hell wasn't going to claim that psychopathic God. Ever.
Van looked around for his duffle bag, but it was gone. They really did nick it! "You Irish then?" He smiled at the girl. It would explain the accent. The closest he had ever heard was a British accent. Which didn't sound like hers at all. "I think Pan is the God of the forest, if what I remember from that Percy Jackson movie they had showing a couple of years ago." He chuckled. "Though I think that movie said he died or something. Pity that isn't the case here. He's a jerk."
"What does that paper say?" Van asked curious despite himself.
Ria agreed about Pan being a jerk. But he was a god, so maybe he had a few claims that he felt gave him the right. She thought for a moment at what he said. Percy Jackson movie...that was supposed to be about the Greeks. Which meant...
She handed him the paper. "Could be your cup of tea, Van. And yes, I'm Irish through and through." She laughed at the thought of his father. "Never knew I had a mother too before I met The Morrigan. Irish goddess of battle, strive and sovereignty...and fertility. The old hag! Gave me one heck of a throw down. Still feel it in my bruises. Who's your father? Aries? Apollo? Zeus? Hades? Goodness knows you need his help for this. Don't know much about your pantheon but Cerberus is quite popular." She handed him the paper for him to read.
"If you have any idea how we're supposed to do this, let me know," she said. "I can deal with Irish mythology. I know I can fight too, and better than when I first met my mother. Gave me a few boosts. Said it was my birthright. Hopefully, you can tell me what your dad gave you so we can work out how to do this thing together. Because right now, I don't even know where to look."
Van pressed his lips together. Great. This was turning out wonderful. Not. He looked down at the paper she had handed him. He sighed.
"Honestly. Let me just get this out of the way." He sat down heavily next to her with a murmured, 'I'm tired of looking down at you'. "Until two weeks ago I didn't even know who my father was. Hell, him being a God," Van paused and looked at the paper again. "He said his name was Mercury and he hates me." Which hurt more than he thought it would. Hurt a bit telling someone else too.
"But that's not the point." Van waved his emotions aside. "Until I meet him the limit of my knowledge of Roman," He emphasized roman. "Not Greek, Gods was zilch." He shrugged. "My knowledge of this stuff really is limited to that terrible movie I saw a few years back. Though I hear they are making a sequel." He handed the paper back to her. "You probably know more than I do."
Van stood up. "And Mercury didn't give me anything." Other than a death threat. "Sorry. Doesn't look like I'm going to be any help at all. Try Google." Maybe they'd let him go home now. He could just walk out of here and never come back. He looked out of the building as the idea took hold.
"Oh. Roman. Sorry." As far as Ria knew, they were the same, but obviously, they had differences. Well, what did she know about mythologies outside the Irish and Nordic? Movies. That's what. But somehow, she didn't believe Mercury didn't give him anything. Heck, he was supposed to be a god like his father if he survived this. He should be able to display anything supernatural, or at least something humanly improbable.
"Well, in any case, You cannot not be of any help. If they paired us up that means you can do something, can't you?" she asked desperately. "Look, I don't like being surprised like this as much as you, but we have to do something. This hotel has got to have internet access. We can look anything about Cerberus in Google, right? Something about the myths has got to be true."
She stood up and then, it was his time to look up at her. "Are you with me or not? Come on, we've got to find out how to find cerberus then find a way to lead it back to the underworld. Or, find out how to access the underworld in the first place...You must have something that can help. I mean, you're the son of a messenger. There has got to be a way for you to go from one place to another at least?"
The man was excruciatingly negative, but Ria couldn't be pulled to fall into the same trap. The best she could do was balance him. She couldn't do this alone. She grinned hoping to encourage him. "Come on. You should be heading to godhood, so might as well do this, right?"
Van listened to the girl talk. She sounded desperate. Like they had to do this stupid assignment. He didn't see why they had to and honestly he wasn't going to.
"Look. I don't know why you keep insisting I must be able to do something because of Mercury. I hate him. He hates me and he didn't give me anything. Whatever I have, whatever I am, it isn't thanks to him. And if this is the road to Godhood, maybe I just want to be a mortal."
Van shook his head. "Why is this so important to you anyways? Why are you so happy to help. What I've seen, all Gods are giant Dickheads. Your 'mom' as you call her, from hat you told me, beat the crap out of you. Sure she claims she's your 'mom', but how do you really know? Why are we supposed to just drop whatever it is that we were doing and do what they tell us to do?"
Van's voice was rather loud by this point. Other people in the lounge were looking at him.
"Honestly. I don't like what I'm seeing here. I'm not in. I was never in. I only came here because my 'dad' as you so happily put it, threatened to kill me if I didn't. Well, I came and now I'm leaving." He gave a mocking half bow to Ria. "I wish you luck on your path to Dickheadery."
With that Van turned on his heal and left.