Grimm appeared in the doorway, holding the door open and letting the dark souls escape. Legions of darks souls so vile that even the gods and goddesses who stood with Chronos were aghast.
“We will lose,” Zerina choked out. Despite her mother telling her to stay inside, she started to leave.
“Wait, Zerina!” Broni held her in place.
It was hard to watch, but she remained by the window, praying for everyone she loved to remain unharmed.
Hades stepped in front of Mother. “You think to use my kingdom for your gain?” His voice boomed out so loudly even the clouds in the sky shook.
As her eyes lifted skyward, she saw movement on the hill. It was Rocque and his warriors.
“Rocque!” Destiny had apparently seen them, too.
“Why are they standing there?”
“Rocque won’t interfere. He considers the fate of mankind in man’s hands.” Destiny looked away from her husband. She could understand. She didn’t agree with his decision, but it was his to make.
“I don’t understand?” Cara’s gentle voice broke as she watched her husband’s every movement.
“His lands and animals have been destroyed by human hands. He and the rest of the immortals won’t interfere. They look at it as a war between the gods.”
“But if earth is destroyed, they will be, too,” Cara argued.
“They know that, but they aren’t willing to make the sacrifice if the humans benefit. Do you see one human out there?”
Zerina searched the crowd behind Mother. No human was in sight.
“But isn’t he worried about you?”
“I married Rocque last night. And he knows I conceived our children last night and that I wouldn’t jeopardize my children by taking part in the battle. Chronos won’t harm me. It’s a damnable offense. He won’t take the chance that his own men will turn on him.”
“That’s why you agreed to stay inside.”
“Yes. As much as I love Mother, I have to protect my girls.”
Zerina’s eyes returned to Hades, who crouched down, rising with a handful of dirt in his palm. Then Hades spread his fingers out, letting the dirt slip through.
“From the soil underneath my command, rise up and defend me!” he roared.
The dirt swirled and tossed in the air, blowing the soil far and wide. Warriors that had been lain to rest for centuries started coming over the horizon behind them, the bodies as grotesque as the ones lining behind Chronos. The numbers still didn’t exceed those from the doorway that Merlin had opened.
Hades snapped his fingers and a humongous dog came bounding out of the doorway, trampling the dark souls escaping to rest beside Hades.
Zeus stepped forward. “Two of my sons have betrayed Mother.” He turned his head. “I am sorry.”
Mother bowed her head back in acknowledgment.
“From the skies above, my sons and daughters, defend me.” The skies grew dark as his children joined their ranks.
Poseidon stepped forward. “From the seas, all warriors, I command you to defend me.”
Zerina was staggered by the magnitude of warriors who strove to answer their kings’ commands.
“Their deaths will be on you.” Chronos rose his fist in air.
Mother rose her hand in the air, both staring at each other with mutiny.
The war began with the drop of Chronos’ hand, Mother’s dropping next.
The two sides started merging at a run.
Zerina turned away, unable to bear watching Hades. Cara couldn’t, either.
The battle shook the clubhouse, pieces of the ceiling tearing away and falling. Zandra and Abby screamed in fear, running toward the bar to hide.
“Broni, do you see Adam?” Abby yelled.
“No, stay down,” Broni yelled back as even more of the ceiling crumbled.
Zerina couldn’t stop herself from looking. She fearfully searched for Hades, seeing him sitting on the shoulders of Typhoeus as Cerberus bounded forward, using his large paw to knock Typhoeus down as Hades used his hands to blind the god.
Zeus was fighting Atlas, while Ares fought Apollo. The goddesses were amid the battle with Athena and Aphrodite fighting each other. Jinx had Morgana in a chokehold, and her mother had Demeter pinned down.
Her gentle father was fighting Eros, Aphrodite’s son. It wasn’t a fair fight. Valentine was older, and Eros was screaming in pain every time her father hit him.
The battle became bloodthirsty, gold blood spilling, glittering in the sun. The muddy, black blood clung to those warriors who fought the dark souls.
When Fate rose after bashing Demeter in the head with Thor’s mallet that he had handed to her, she returned it to her son. Zerina’s eyes stayed on Fate as she struggled through the warriors that were determined to destroy each other. She nearly fell as she tried to reach Mother, who was battling Merlin. Then Zerina saw Fate disappear beneath the throng of warriors.
“Fate!” Destiny ran outside, leaving the door open.
Broni hurriedly slammed it closed before grabbing Zerina’s shoulders to push her back. “No, Zerina.”
She sobbed, running back to the window to see Destiny throw herself into the crowd to reach Fate. The fighting was growing worse.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Rocque running down the hill with his warriors following.
Before Rocque could reach her, though, warning yells rang out from Mother’s ranks as Cerus used his horn to make his way toward Mother. Even Zerina could see the glint of death in the bull’s eyes as he tossed one after another out of his way.
Destiny stopped running toward Fate, instead running toward Mother.
Just when Cerus would have reached Mother, Destiny threw herself in front of her, taking the bull’s horn in her stomach.
“No!” Rocque’s anguished cry filled the air.
Zerina, Broni, and Cara screamed in agonizing pain.
Abby came out from under the bar, recognizing Broni’s cry. The human woman tried to help them as they clutched their bellies.
“It’s Destiny. All Moirai feel her pain.”
Through tear-filled eyes, Zerina saw Grimm sink to his knees as Tartarus used the opportunity to thrust Grimm behind the doorway that he had created, tossing him back into the depths of Hades.
Zerina then saw Rocque lifting Destiny in his arms as his warriors turned into wolves. With a running jump, they sank their teeth into Cerus’ skin.
Rocque carried Destiny, who was dangling limply, in his arms. “Please …”
Mother sank to her knees, holding her hands out toward Destiny, weeping as she rocked her aunt.
“Heal her … I’m begging you,” Rocque gasped out.
“I can’t … When Destiny conceived your children, she had Jinx spell her, making her earthbound until after the children were born. I’m sorry … my daughter …” she cried. “I’m so sorry.”
Rocque rose to his feet to stare down at the red blood smearing his hands. His grief-stricken cry had the hair on Zerina’s arms rising.
“From the deepest forests, to the driest desert, to the highest mountain, hear my commands. Every immortal, hear my cry! Attack!” His voice rose so high that birds flew from the trees, circling overhead before flying away to spread his summons.
“Broni, keep Zandra safe.”
Broni tried to stop her friend, but it was useless. Abby had already run outside.
Zerina saw her picking up one of the planks that had fallen off the clubhouse. Zerina couldn’t understand why until she looked outside to see Adam fighting with the humans that had fled when Typhoeus had appeared. They had returned with weapons.
Knowing the bullets would be useless, they used the butt of their guns to smash into anyone who came near Mother and Destiny.
Zerina, Cara, and Broni took a final look before turning to stare at each other. Their eyes met. If they were going down, they wouldn’t do it cowering in fear.
“Zandra, run to the back room and hide,” Broni ordered the
young girl as they went to the door.
Zerina saw Chronos’ gaze pinpoint on her.
Immediately, he yelled his command to Dionysus, “Bring Zerina to me.”
Before Dionysus could reach her, Hades jumped down from Typhoeus’ shoulder. “Cerberus, protect Zerina.”
The giant dog ran to Zerina, blocking her from Dionysus.
Prometheus, the creator of fire, made the mistake of throwing a fireball at Broni. With one swipe of Rhys’ axe, he lost his head.
Zerina dodged Cerberus, running toward Destiny, dodging the grasping hands of Chronos’ warriors to fall next to her aunt.
Taking her limp hand in hers, she lifted pleading eyes to Mother.