CHAPTER III

Electricity was firing in to woods. Sennites were falling. Burning by raw lightning or just the pure shock of the bolts energy. Fire was erupting all around us. The trees were ablaze. Lighting bolts were flying through the trees, seeking out their human counterparts. The loud thunderclaps were enough to blow my head clean off. My hair was standing on end. I could feel Galahad's sword humming with electricity.

Buzz. Crack. Buzz. Crack. Screams were filling the air. Ahead of me I could clearly see a dead Sennite. Split in two. Like a hot dog left in the microwave too long. His intestines were charred grey and spilling from his split stomach, and his ribs were pushing out of his chest. Human Cornish hen. Buzz. Crack. Lightning was illuminating the forest. Buzz. Crack. Fire was spewing from some unseen source behind me. A giant flame thrower. More screams. The Sennites were in retreat!

I stood up. Behind me stood a giant. A true giant. Not like Lorg that we had seen in the Eire, but a human giant, dressed in a loose sapphire toga, at least 80 feet high. The trees still trumped him, but he could easily have pushed them to the ground. Beside him stood a woman, one-third his size, in assorted Greek battle ware, throwing what looked like halogen lights. Athena.

The gunfire had stopped. So had the lightning. We were all standing around a now burning forest. The hairs on my neck had still not fallen, and the buzz of pure energy still hung in the air, along with the strong taste in the air that you get when you put your tongue on a nine volt battery. We were safe for a few minutes.

Athena looked at me and smiled. "General. You live." Her tone was gracious and somewhat sultry. I was being hit on by a 30 foot Goddess from Mount Olympus.

"Well finally something goes freaking right!" Christopher yelled. "I mean, not that I don't like trampling through groups of homicidal maniacs, each with their own cute little way to kill me slowly and painfully, and THEN the sudden addition of freaking Nazi-screw ups from inner-city Chicago. It's about time someone actually shows up right when we need them. Oh wait. YOU'RE ABOUT AN HOUR FREAKING LATE, MAN! Our goddamn friend is dead! You could've done your little pyrotechnics show about an hour earlier and I would've been a LOT happier! You pieces of shit know just how to screw things up!" April had put both her hands on his shoulders. He was heaving mad. His usual cool self was red eyed and manic. His whole body shook with rage. April was crying. She was shaking too. She was thinking the same thing. Me? I was thinking it too, but that's not what was on my mind. I refused to let it be. I refused to let Jalil be dead. He was alive. He was back at Olympus. Safe. Singed, but safe.

"Calm down, young one. We must leave. We are not safe."

"That's the understatement of the freaking century."

Freya made her presence known. She didn't even have to speak. God's didn't get along with other gods, and Athena was on Freya's turf.

"I am Freya of the Kings of Asgard! Forth chair of the Aesir and Leader of the Vanir! The thanks of Folkvang to your rescue, but it is to me to get these soldiers of Midgaard to their man, Merlin the Magnificent." Athena stood, expressionless. I was just as shocked. Gods were never thankful. That was the first time I had ever heard a god thank another. I think the Norse were my new favorite.

The giant spoke. His voice seemed to carry less from his mouth and more from Athena's. "Freya of the Folkvang. Your soldiers are also the humble soldiers of Olympus. We have been called here by Zeus, of Cronus. They have been called by Zeus to Olympus, which is now overrun by the Hetwan threat."

Freya looked around at us. I nodded. I did belong to Athena first. She had always helped us out. Freya's face hardened. The hard face of a woman betrayed, but determined to keep her poise.

"And who are you, noble giant?" asked Freya in a girlish tone, unlike the one which had before led hundreds of experienced soldiers to their doom.

"I, my lady of the Vanir, am Prometheus. Creator of and protector of Man. Giver of fire. Traitor of the Titans and Warrior to Olympus. I have come because the fates fortold that we were to find our soldiers here. I ask now that you return them to our favor so that I may free my brethren from the grips of the God-Eating beast, Ka Anor"

Freya thought this over. I felt like I was in the slave trade. Being tossed around to fight one of two battles was not my idea of a good time. April stood straight up.

"Hell no!" she screamed. "We're going to the dwarves! We have to! We have to get to Merlin. He'll decide where we go next, but for now, we're his." Prometheus swept a hand the size of garage to scratch his head. I couldn't see his face, but it was probably in deep thought.

Loki spoke. "Get them to their man. We can solve the problems of Midgaard with our own men. These…trespassers are not worth the time of noble Asgard." Damn. Lost another ally.

"No," Freya said loudly. "This giant is wise. He is right. We shall ride them to Merlin. We are in this together from here forward."