Karma Must be Balanced, From Time to Time
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters. Joss is my hero. I make no moolah!
The pale, brunet god contemplated the crowd of children as they gleefully pulled the laundry off the line it had been strung out on to dry earlier that morning. He pondered what they were planning to do with it, but judging from the massive bursts of energy he was receiving it was going to be a doozy of a prank.
The village was tiny and quaint. There were the prerequisite rolling green hills off in the distance. The children raced through a field of olive trees and then onward down one such picturesque green hill dotted here and there with yellow flowers towards a fowl smelling shanty. There were several large sows rooting in a muddy paddock nearby. Strife, who had been invisibly following the herd of tittering children started to smirk as he realized that they were heading for a pig shelter. The tallest of the children who appeared to be the brains behind the operation jimmied the door of the shelter open while several of his accomplices waited impatiently. One little girl looked slightly unhappy to be there and Strife sighed as his pale blue eyes perused her. That little urchin would be the first to crack when it came time for punishment. There was a victorious exclamation as the lock on the door gave and several of the clothing bearing children preceded the tallest boy inside. Strife peeked through a hole in the side of the shanty and happily watched as they threw the laundry over a rope that was hanging across the inside of the shelter for some unknown reason.
Strife began to chuckle. The person who's laundry was currently having 'essence of swine' added would be in for one unpleasant surprise. He would be getting energy bursts from this one every day for two weeks until laundry day rolled around again in the village. He would have to do something special for these children some day soon. The tall, lean god turned to contemplate the sun trying to figure out how long he had been wandering the Greek countryside today checking up on his most dedicated followers. The rays from Apollo's chariot glinted off of the safety pins holding together the form fitting black leather of his outfit. Strife crossed his arms and tapped a finger on his chin trying to decide whether or not to go back. Finally, he shrugged deciding he had wrought enough havoc for the day. He flashed back to his Uncle's temple, giggling.
Strife flashed in behind one of the pillars in the Audience chamber of the temple. He stealthily edged around until he could see Ares' throne. The large, black stone chair was empty and Strife hummed his annoyance. He walked out into the center of the chamber and put his hands on his hips tapping his foot while he decided where to look next. In keeping with a daily tradition he had started at the age of 7 the leather clad god turned on his booted heals and stuck his tongue out at a rather badly wrought statue of his mother, Discord, gracing one dusty corner of the intimidating stone room before he turned and walked down a side hall towards his volatile Uncle and boss.
For once, the large, muscled form of Ares didn't seem tense as Strife barged unannounced into the "war room" (a.k.a. messy office). Several of Ares' battle plans were coming to fruition. Ares thoughtfully tugged on his beard as he frowned at his maps. The frown was thoughtful today instead of thunderous.
"Anything ya need me ta do, Unc?" Strife asked as he plopped down on the edge of his Uncle's ebony black desk. He looked around the bright office at the piles of scrolls heaped on side tables and the three, large, uncomfortable chairs in front of the desk. Several scrolls rolled off of the desk and bounced noisily along the floor. Strife did his best to control the impulse to scramble to gather them and just beamed at Ares instead. He leaned over to quizzically look at his Uncle's battle plans.
"Not really," Ares muttered as he released his beard. One heavily muscled arm reached out and grabbed a piece of charcoal. He sketched in some tentative new routes on the map for his warlords to attack an upstart named Callisto. She had moronically tried to murder his daughter and his daughter's lover, Gabrielle. Even if he couldn't stand his daughter and her do gooder attitude he couldn't allow this slight to her. It would be horrible for his reputation.
Strife pouted, his lower lip briefly going out, and sighed. He was bored. He started twitching his right foot nervously. He was bored and when he got bored he inevitably got into trouble by making a nuisance of himself. He felt a tingling sensation and imagined he could already feel the energy blast slamming into his body. He would eventually provoke one out of Ares, no matter how amenable his mood, if he didn't find something to do with himself quickly. He was swinging his legs and lightly thumping his heels off of the front of the large, black desk when he abruptly stopped moving entirely. The silence and stillness tickled at Ares attention, as he was used to the minor hindrances to his concentration that Strife brought into a room with him, but he was too intent on his maps to look at his nephew.
Strife, for his part, was starting to feel light headed. He had in the past suffered from what Apollo had termed "panic attacks" due to his somewhat unique childhood, but there was no reason for him to be feeling that way in his Uncle's sun filled office. He tried to find a quiet place in his mind to force the feeling away, but he was beginning to suspect an external source. His eyes darted around the office and he started to feel queasy. The tingling was spreading and getting more intense. His skin felt like it was going to crawl off of his body-like thousands of eyes were watching him all at once. His breath hitched before picking up pace. "Unc?" Strife whispered in a worried tone.
"What?" Ares snapped, still not really paying attention. He was sketching out some intricate battle plans that he wasn't sure his substandard warlords would be capable of executing.
"I think something is wrong," he again whispered in a scared, small voice.
Ares eyes immediately darted to his usually cocky, boisterous nephew. Strife's already pale skin was as white as a shade in Hades. There was a sonic boom in the office and Ares instinctively ducked behind his heavy, wooden desk. His reflexes were honed from centuries of battle and 200 years of Strife's high jinks. Strife was frozen in terror as a portal of blue flame opened above his head. The flames exploded downward and appeared to consume the frightened, young god. The windows of the office exploded outward raining millions of glass particles glinting like diamonds in the sunlight down on Ares startled priests. The next second there was another sonic boom and the flames, along with Strife, were gone. The sun was shining innocently through the empty window panes into the office. Ares stuck his head up from behind his desk to look around himself. He cautiously stood up and walked around his desk half expecting to find Strife giggling to himself, hiding on the other side.
Perplexed Ares looked around. "What the fuck?"
Ares was talking to an empty room. He could hear his alarmed priests clamoring down the hallway toward his office...err...War Room.