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GODs of War

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Summary: Janus and Ethan pissed off the wrong god on Halloween.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered > Theme: Halloween(Past Donor)gunsmithFR18517,73052231,28427 Jul 053 Sep 05Yes


God(s) of War

Part 3 and epilogue

A/N: Disclaimers, legalese, etc. are all found on the prologue



For once, Xander couldn’t feel the omnipresent
memories of Kratos joined to his own consciousness.
And as much as the memories were disturbing at best, the current predicament he
was in didn’t help him any. It wasn’t every day you get stabbed by a freaking
huge pillar thrown, he guessed correctly, by a demented war god. He could have
sworn he saw and felt Kratos die and drag Xander down with him in his death throes. Now the young man
found himself in free-fall over what looked like and ocean of blood and fire,
complete with a bizarre looking boat off in the.

Hades, his mind supplied. This place almost looked just the way Kratos’s mind pictured it would look like. Since he was in
free-fall without a parachute, there was nothing he could do. But then all of the
sudden he came to a jarring stop in mid-fall as a voice
spoke to him from beside him.

"Well, now you’re kind of early to be here aren’t you?"

Xander was confused and a little amused at the
same time as he took in the figure before him. What the fuck was Alan Rickman
doing here, he thought, with all four huge wings stretched out behind him? The
wings were not at all out of place with the custom tailored suit he wore,
making him look all the more impressive.

In answer to his unspoken question, "Alan Rickman" introduced
himself with a smirk. "I am Le Metatron, the
Voice of the one true GOD. Welcome to the Grecian Underworld."

Xander’s jaw hung wide open, and it would’ve hit
the ground if there were one within reach.

Back in the real waking world:

Giles was beginning to panic; he’d tried most of the minor spells in trying
to revive the young man caught within a cocoon of golden energy. Spell after
minor spell had no effect, so in desperation, the man formerly known as
"Ripper" – a mage of terrible power and reputation amongst the
European demonic underworld – embraced his old mantle of power once more, this
time to save a life rather than to end it.

Just as he was about to release a phoenix spell of revival, a soft, yet
commanding voice halted him.

"Please don’t." The voice said in gentle, yet firm tones. "At
least not until they’ve finished having a word with him."

"And who are they?" Giles said, eyes
alight with mystic energy waiting to be released. Hands poised to both for
attack and self-defense if need be. "And for that matter, who or what are

"You can call me Michael." The being said, unfurling two large
wings from under his long trench coat as proof of what he was.

"The Archangel?" Rupert Giles said in astonishment, his powers momentarily
leaving him as he got the second shock of the night.

"Of course," the Archangel said, eyes
twinkling in secret mirth. "Who were you expecting, John Travolta?"

"Let Xander finish what is there to be
finished." Michael said, "Take care of him and his friends, Rupert.
The world may soon have need of his new gifts."

And without another word, the Archangel Michael vanished, leaving a stunned
librarian with an unconscious Xander alone in his

It was all too much for the normally unflappable Englishman to take in, so
he fainted.

"You have got to be kidding me!" Xander
exclaimed as he hung in mid-air in stunned disbelief, "You’re for real? I
mean, I know I’ve seen Dogma for the over a dozen times, but this is
ridiculous. Oh, man. I really must be losing it."

The Seraph actually barked in laughter at the mere mention of the movie.
"The movie was quite fascinatingly funny, and it could be taken with a
grain of salt or two in some areas." He said. "But that’s what you
get for visiting someone who was drunk up to the gills while trying to fulfill
the thirteenth apostle’s request."

Xander just continued staring at the obvious
Seraphim in mute disbelief, an effort of pure will in trying not to piss off an
angel with his smart mouth.

"In any case," The Voice continued. "We just wanted to see
how you were doing in all of this. And besides, the Lord only knows why this
had to happen. And then not to mention that some of the PTB had you slated for
early termination before this, only to have their plans dashed by your costume
choice. They figured you going for a soldier, but none of them could have
foreseen you going as that particular soldier though."

"Hey, don’t blame me." Xander replied,
"I thought it was cool to be some sort of champion until I actually found
out firsthand just how badly needed Kratos’s
redemption was from his point of view."

The seraph nodded in understanding. "And that is why some things are
never meant to be known after all. Personally, I’d blame the muse for this.
You’d never have found that ancient Greek tome in that Watcher’s cache if she
hadn’t conveniently placed it under your very nose when you opened the delivery
crate when inspiration hit you to seek out Watcher information for costume

"Huh?" said the confused young man.

"She knew of your fervent desire to help the slayer out and decided to
see if she could do something about it." Metatron
explained. "She enlisted Janus in setting the
whole thing up, but they could never have thought it would turn out this way.
But then again, It’s a good guess that our
"Boss" might have had something to do with it. Lord only knows what
else can happen."

"God?" Xander
said, eyes going wide as diner plates. "But why

"And why not?" The Seraphim countered.
"Granted its not something I would like to have
happened, but there you are, gifted with the strangest sort of luck any mortal
should never have."

"The cryptic bullshit is getting kinda
old," Xander groused, folding his arms across
his chest, trying an air of annoyance while suspended high above the fabled
river Styx. "Especially when I’m sorta hanging up here, literally."

"There will be time enough for answers later." Le Metatron said. "I just wanted to have a look at you
before you moved on to finish this part of your journey. And to wish you luck,
for not many get this type of dubious honor. You won’t remember much of this conversation
anyway until we see each other again. Now off you go, time to finish this and
learn all you need to learn."

Xander just stared at the Voice of God blankly,
confusion and anger warring on his features. Before he could ask another
question, whatever was holding him up suddenly let go and he continued his
downward plunge into the river Styx – this time, he was
once again joined as an observer/unwilling participant into Kratos’s
memories as the cursed Spartan fell into the depths of Hades.

screamed in his seeming mental prison as he saw through Kratos’s
eyes the ever-nearing river of the dead.

Downwards, Kratos fell. Frustration and anger at
such an ignoble death pouring from him in waves at the way Ares had cheated –
yet again. This latest cowardly act bore fruit within to do what he can to make
sure the god of war will pay, even if he had to fight all the beings in Hades
by himself to do so.

As he fell, he spotted something that looked like a bone ledge with a man
trying to climb up. Said person was also slipping as his own sweat was mixing
in with the already slick surface, his hold almost loosening as the wayward
Spartan made a grab for the man’s legs. Xander/Kratos
began to climb up and over the hapless person, who surprisingly, was the
captain of one of the ships being attacked by the sea hydra Poseidon asked Kratos to take care of. It was no question why this
particular captain was here after Kratos sent him
plummeting down the dead hydra’s acidic belly, for the ship captain was naught
but a slaver.

And all spartans hated slavers.

"Let go fool!" The ship captain said in desperation. "You
will drag us both down into that cursed river!"

"There is a task left for me above." Replied Xander/Kratos,
using one of the mystic blades as leverage, he sank it into the dead captain’s
back and climbed all the way up. "I will see it completed."

The ship captain was shocked to recognize the voice and looked up to see the
very man who sent him here in the first place.

"You again?!" the doomed captain exclaimed.

The ashen-clan warrior’s only response was to kick the dead man straight
into the river below, heedless of the other man’s pleas, then turned and almost
let out a loud groan. The entire way was littered with death traps, platforms,
and most of all, the monsters that guard against egress from Hades’ domain. Was
this really Hades, or some sick fool’s twisted idea of a nightmare? He sighed
and started the arduous task of battling and outwitting his way out of the underworld.

"There’s got to be an easier way out of here." Xander/Kratos
thought, remembering the stories of how Hercules braved the underworld more
than once, coming out relatively intact. But then, you probably have to be the
son of a god to do it.

After what seemed like hours, Xander/Kratos
finally came upon the steps leading upwards, tired, but never spent enough. He
would face down Ares, or die again in trying. He did not care for himself as
long as the god of war died by his hands.

At the base, Xander/Kratos looked up, and up, and
UP. And they weren’t exactly steps either, they were handholds – with all
manner of obstacles all around it to make sure you think more than twice about
climbing out of the underworld. This time, he really did let out a groan.

"Oh come on!" Xander cried within his
silent position as he watched and felt Kratos’s
annoyance once again. "This is just as worse as it was going through that
damned temple!"

But Kratos was resolute in his resolve to see this
to the very end. So he began to climb to the highest peak in all of Hades. When
he reached the highest point, he saw a portal open up above him and a rope
dropped from within, easily reachable from his position.

Not looking a gift chariot in the mouth, Xander/Kratos
took a deep breath and began to climb once more, for beyond the portal he saw a
glimpse of Athens burning.

Time was running out for Athena’s fair city.

When Xander/Kratos finally returned from emerged
from the portal leading out of Hades, his eyes widened as he recognized where
he was in Athens. There before him
was the very same old man he had met outside the temple of the oracle that said
he was building a grave for him. And that meant that he did just came out of
the self-same "grave" the old man was laboriously digging a while

"Ah, Kratos, and not a moment too soon, I
only finished digging just a moment ago." The gravedigger said, happily
greeting the Spartan back from the underworld.

"Who ARE you?" Xander/Kratos asked in
hushed tones of disbelief.

"Ah, now that is an interesting question." The old man hedged,
looking to his right, a distracted air about him as he saw Ares continue to
destroy the city. "But for now, you must hurry, Athens
needs you."

"But how did you know I…" Xander/Kratos began, very confused about how the old man
knows so much.

"Athena isn't the only god keeping watch on you, Spartan." Was the
only reply he receives from the old man, his eyes taking on an affectionate
look that unnerved the warrior for a second. "Complete your task, Kratos, and the gods will forgive your sins!"

Xander/Kratos was then distracted by the chaos and
looked away from the old man to take stock of the situation. And when Xander/Kratos turns back to the old man, he finds him gone.

The very silence that signaled the elderly gravedigger’s mysterious
departure sent the coldest chill up his spine. Shrugging it off, he turned his
thoughts to the task currently at hand once more, his quest to kill a god.

Elsewhere, the elderly gravedigger smiled; his eyes alight with tendrils of
pure power. "And good luck to you too, young Alexander."

As the cursed warrior made his way through the rubble-strewn city,
dispatching monsters in his mad rush to get to that part of Athens Ares was
currently destroying, he could only pray that he
wasn’t too late. As he passed the area leading towards the desert sands, he
took a left and came to a grim tableau. The very sight of the
person writhing pitifully upon the marble floor reminding him of what he had
lost in his insane quest for power and glory.

There, the Oracle of Athens lay, dying from several wounds. She looked up at
the sound of approaching footsteps and saw the last thing she thought she would
see in Athens’ final hours.

"Kratos..." she coughed, choking in her
own blood. "Returned, but too late... Ares has
taken Athens... there is no more
hope... no hope... "

"Ares… is victorious… we… failed…" The cursed Spartan was struck
dumb as the Oracle of Athens died at his feet, flashes of his own wife dying in
a similar fashion striking him into immobility. The full horrors of the night
returned, fresh as the day he struck them. The emotional
agony almost driving Xander/Kratos to his knees.

Xander, in his hapless connection to the ancient
warrior, was nearly gibbering as emotions and nightmares that weren’t really
his crashed into him again and again. The very act tearing
apart large pieces of the innocence in his soul.

As both souls righted themselves without being aware of each other’s doing
so, both with similar cries for vengeance at the injustice done to Kratos’s family. With an inhuman snarl of defiance, the
warrior quashed down the horrors plaguing him and stalked off to finally put an
end to the madness attacking Athens
– and his own shattered soul.

It was time for the god of war to die.

Xander/Kratos had traversed the Desert
of Lost Souls, bested the deadly
traps of Pandora's Temple, and
escaped Hades itself. There was but one task left. Xander/Kratos
finally reached the cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea,
the view showing Ares laying waste to the seaports below.

The god of war paused in his rampage, gazing up at the stars, and began to
gloat. His voice echoing all over Greece,
his arms showing all that he had laid in ruins
"Zeus! Do you see now what your son can do? You cast your favor on Athena,
but her city lies in ruins before me!" He dangles the Box of Pandora in
his other hand, holding it upward in triumph. "And now, even Pandora's Box
is mine! Would you have me use it against Olympus itself?!"

Then something made the god of war turn, and he saw a familiar face gazing
up at him with hate-filled eyes, standing upon the nearest cliff.

"Kratos?" Ares
said, surprised. "Returned even from the
underworld." Turning his gaze once more skywards, he bellowed.
"Is this the best you can do father? You send a broken mortal to defeat
//ME//? The God of War!"

While Ares continued mocking the very gods themselves, Xander/Kratos
charges a lightning bolt of Zeus’s Fury and aims it at the chains holding the
Box to Ares’s hands. Once free, Pandora’s Box
plummets towards the Athenian shores. Quickly, Xander/Kratos
dashed downwards, running for all it was worth towards the enchanted Box. Grim determination, and desperation urging him to go faster -
lest the insane god retrieves the Box once more.

Once down by the beach, Xander/Kratos wasted no
time in reaching the fabled box. And without question, or reservations, he
opened that which was said to give him the power to defeat a god.

And after thousands of years, Pandora’s Box was finally opened once more. Eldritch energies spilling forth, engulfing Kratos
entirely. The power of the gods, unleashed.

And by no small feat, it also engulfed the very soul of the young man
currently tied to Kratos’s own. And with it, the gift
that was long denied to the world of man - went straight into the unsuspecting
young soul that would soon change the fate of mankind.

The Hope that was locked away inside the box was finally free!

Like a sentient thing, the power unleashed from Pandora’s Box swirled around
the champion of the gods, making him grow to the size of a Titan. Now, he was
just as large as the insane war god that was destroying Athens.

Ares showed no fear as he studied the man before him. "You are still
just a mortal, every bit as weak as the day you begged me to save your

Xander/Kratos drew the Blades of Chaos, the very
same instrument the god in front of him gave that day when he asked Ares to
save his life. "I am not the same man you found that day!" He said,
the fires of vengeance burning bright in Xander/Kratos’s
eyes as he finished answering his former master, his intent for all to see.
"The monster you’ve created has returned, to kill you!"

"You have no idea what a monster is, Kratos."
Ares scoffs, summoning spiked wings from within to appear on his back.
"Your final lesson is at hand!"

And then did the long-awaited battle begin. Each combatant gave no quarter,
no remorse, and no mercy. The Aegean Sea upon which they
fought was in turmoil as each blow; each attack and defense, created tidal
waves never before witnessed since creation. The very heavens itself thundered
with a war cry as the gods on Olympus bore witness to a
battle raging the like to their war with the Titans and with the giants long

Far beyond the walls of Athens,
Hercules and his erstwhile companion strove to hurry to the great city. Word of
Ares’s madness had reached them far too late, the
only hope lay within the former avatar of Hercules’ stepbrother, Kratos, who they heard was already there. As the sky
rumbled with thunder, the heralding battle cry of two combatants beginning
their dance of death rang across the clouds.

"It’s begun." Hercules muttered, pausing in their run towards Athens.
The demigod prayed the city would still be standing when they arrived.

In another part of Greece,
Xena, who was still recovering from her brush with Dahok, felt a foreboding sense of death, which lay in the
direction of Athens. And though it
chilled her to the bone, she could not make the trip to try and help whoever
needed it.

And though she had heard of one of the gods’ new champions, Kratos, like herself, was once a follower of Ares. She knew
the Spartan had once been in her army, right by her side at one time as she led
her troops all over the ancient world. The man, himself, was just as cruel as
the Warrior Princess was in the old days. Their bloodlust for power and glory
was unparalleled, but then she changed. Xena saw the
error of her ways, and in time, she heard that Kratos
did the same.

Both had finally found out the price of Ares’s
loyalty. Both had mourned for lost chances. Both had also become former
enemies, and now allies to Hercules. And both grew to hate their divine
benefactor, Ares, and Xena knew that Kratos had more reasons to hate the damned war god then she
ever did.

Though not too much of a religious woman herself, she sang a prayer of
deliverance to whomever would listen that it would soon be over.

Xander/Kratos fought like a man possessed, using
the knowledge of warfare taught to him by the gods, the former avatar of the
war god used them all to play in this very battle. And though victory was a
remote possibility, even with the power released from Pandora’s Box, he knew
only one outcome: one of them will not live once this battle is over.

The battle raged for what seemed like an eternity until Xander/Kratos
saw an opening in Ares’s defenses, so he took it and
savagely cripples the god of war. Ares cried out in pain, summoning a portal to
whisk the bothersome Spartan away. His words echoing around
the hapless warrior as he was sucked in. "I have taught you many ways to
kill a mortal, Kratos. Flesh that burns, bones
that break, but to break a man’s spirit, is to truly destroy him!"

As Xander/Kratos fell downwards once more through
the air, spotting what seemed like a small floating island amongst the sea of
stars. The Spartan landed on the island, creating a small crater around him
upon impact. Dread filled him as he saw a familiar temple; the nightmares that
had plagued him for ten years have now taken full substance. Trembling, he
staggered towards the temple doors, fear growing with every step as he drew
nearer. With an inhuman effort of will, he cleared the last few steps in a dead
run, smashing the doors open to find his wife and daughter standing by the alter. His past now stood before him.

"Kratos!" The
sweet voice of his long-dead wife tore through his shattered core, igniting a
hope long since abandoned. She was clutching their child in a tight embrace as
she stood in front of the main altar, looking around in fear. "What’s
happening? Where are we?"

"By the gods!" The Spartan couldn’t
believe his eyes. "Can this be real?"

Suddenly, before he could tale another step, the very temple walls came
alive as a stream of darker versions of him, stepped through, surrounding his

Kratos’s wife paled in fright, but it was his
daughter who spoke for both of them - fear etched in a single word. "Daddy!"

That single word galvanized the real Spartan into action, the fear
completely vanishing as he unsheathed the Blades of Chaos. And this time, the
very blades that once killed them, will now be the ones to save them.

"Ares!" The Spartan bellowed. "There
is nothing you can put in my way that can stop me! I WILL save my family!"

He fought valiantly against the hordes of false Kratos,
massacring them with a zeal he had never felt before. This is what it means to
be a protector; this is how it feels to be a man once again. This is what it
feels to be whole, for Kratos had done the
impossible; he had saved his family!

"Do you see, god of war?" Kratos cried, triumphant. "You took them once, but
you’ll never have them again!"

Then, Ares’s voice thundered from all around the
temple. "You cannot save them, Kratos, you gave them up in your quest for ultimate power. There
is a price for everything you gain."

"But not that price!" Kratos snarled in
defiance. "I didn’t want them to die!"

And the ground shook with the full fury of Ares’s
reply, throwing the Spartan to the ground. "No price is too high for what
I offered you!"

Xander/Kratos was never given time to get his
bearings as he was lifted off his feet to dangle in mid-air as the enchanted
chains holding the blades to his wrists lifting him aloft like a marionette.

Ares then released and unbound the chains bonded to the Spartan, effectively
stripping him of his powers. "Now," Ares said with a malicious grin.
"You will have no magic, no power."

"And all that you have," Ares roared, "Is dead!" The god
of war then commanded the blades to fly towards Kratos’s
family, slaughtering them again.

Broken, Kratos fell to his knees, muttering the
same phrase over and over. "No, not… not again."
And the spirit of the Xander quailed, shaken into

When Xander/Kratos came to, he found himself back
on the Aegean Sea; his emotions spent as his body was
racked with the grief of seeing his family die a second time. Then something
caught his eye. The giant lighthouse statue of Athena used a huge sword as a
bridge, gigantic in comparison to a normal sized human, but completely perfect
for titan-sized one. And it glinted brightly against the moonlight presiding
over the battlegrounds.

The battle is not over, it seemed, the gods had sent one final gift to Kratos.

The Titan-sized Spartan walked over and reached out to grab the hilt,
pulling the sword "Athena’s Blade" free from
its moorings. Emboldened by the final gift, he strode towards his enemy once
more, with one mantra repeatedly hammering through his very bloodstream:

"I still have allies in Olympus, Ares." Kratos said, readying for the final battle. "And now
you will see just how strong I am!"

Both combatants roared as Ares also summons his own sword. Blade met blade,
the sounds pealing across all of Greece
as loud thunderclaps as the two charged at each other.

Up in Olympus, a figure of immense power looked upon
Athena, saying; "We have done all we can. It is up to him now. And should
he succeed, prepare him."

"At once." Athena replied as the two
returned to watch the battle raging below.

The battle they fought couldn’t even be described as such; a more accurate
description would be two people trying to brutally massacre the other. Gone was
the graceful, yet deadly formality of a duel, and in
its place stood something as primal and as old as time itself. When Kratos once again found an opening in Ares’s
defense, and again he took it, crippling the god of war once more.

Ares staggers back, blood frothing from his lips. "Remember Kratos," He reasoned. "It was I who saved you, in
your time of greatest need."

"I haven’t forgotten, Ares." Kratos
growled. "I remember how you saved me."

"That night," Ares said, his mighty strength waning, sanity
seemingly returning to the insane god’s countenance. "I was trying to make
you a great warrior."

Xander/Kratos snarled as he lunged and thrust the
huge blade through the god’s chest.

"You succeeded." He said, bitterly, and withdrew the sword. He
stepped back, chest heaving with exhaustion and pent up grief.

Ares staggers downwards, for one final time, blood exploding from his chest
as he roared, huge spurts painting the sea crimson. And, as if in slow motion,
he falls, his body engulfed as a golden glow blew outwards, creating an even
more massive tidal wave that reached for miles, creating floods and drowning
several small islands. Kratos had done the
impossible, a mortal defeating a god. Ares, the god of war, was no more.

Athens had been saved, though
most of it in ruins, it will grew and thrive again. And far into the outskirts
of the city, Hercules had just arrived to bear witness to that impossible fact.
A part of the demigod was saddened at loosing a stepbrother, even one as insane
as Ares. And he was now concerned for Kratos as well
as Athens. Athens
can be rebuilt, but a soul torn asunder by Ares’s
machinations would take longer to mend, if they ever will.

Aimlessly wandering the desert, the still Titan-sized Spartan watched Kronos in the distance, understanding a bit of the god’s
own torment akin to his own. It took a few days for the powers released from
the box to settle down, and he returned back to normalcy. As normal as any
grief-stricken mortal could be.

And as he sought to rebuild his soul with the help of the gods, the truth
was revealed to him as he faced Athena once more on the deck of his ship.

"Athena," Xander/Kratos begged the
goddess. "Rid me of the memories that haunt me still."

"You have done well, Kratos." Athena
said, thanking him. "Though we mourn the death of our brother, the gods
are indebted to you."

Her words of thanks and praise warmed the seasoned warrior, but the words
that followed sent him crashing back down into the depths of despair.

"We promised that your sins would be forgiven," she continued.
"And so they are, but we never promised to take away your nightmares. No
man, no god, could ever forget the terrible deeds you have done."

With weary resignation, Xander/Kratos bowed his
head in acceptance of his fate. Once his ship landed, he immediately set foot
inland, aimlessly walking in a state of fog. In the end, knowing that the
visions of his past will never leave him, Xander/Kratos
made his way back to the bluffs overlooking the Aegean Sea.

The wind whipped around him, tears that would never come forth filled his
eyes. "The gods of Olympus have abandoned me."
He said, his voice hollow, as ghostly as his very title. "Now there is no

And then the warrior cast himself from the highest mountain in all of Greece.
After ten years of suffering, ten years of endless nightmares, it would finally
come to an end. Death would be his escape from madness.

The winds howled as he plunged downwards; his soul attaining a moment of
peace as the raging waters below rose up to meet him. Then he slammed into the
waves at the speed of fifty-five miles per hour.

The shock of the impact was enough to jar Xander’s
soul free from the confines of Kratos’s
consciousness. He floated head over heels as a ghost over the Aegean
Sea as he saw the Spartan sink down.

The once innocent young man looked down, saddened beyond words at Kratos’s fate. But then he saw movement from below the
waves; his eyes alight with wonder as he saw the fallen warrior lifted aloft
towards the clouds.

In an instant, he felt his ghostly form follow.

The fate of Kratos was not as it seemed, for the
gods had other plans. Brought aloft like a feather, he was magically lifted
from the Aegean Sea to stand back at the very cliffs he
dove off of. A hidden archway with golden doors coming into view, along with
another statue of Athena now stood before him.

"You will not die this day, Kratos."
Athena told the bewildered Spartan. "The gods cannot allow one who has
performed such service to perish by his own hands. Ares’s tactics were brutal, he had to be stopped."

Kratos saw the doors turn and open, the confines
shimmering like an upright pool of water, and what lay behind was distorted as
a multitude of lights flickered around the shimmering event horizon. He could
have sworn it was Olympus behind those doors.


"But now there is an empty throne in Olympus,"
Athena continued. "And a new God of War is needed. Take these stairs Kratos,
they lead to your ultimate reward."

Disbelief washed over the mortal-turned-god, he stood rooted to the ground
he landed on.

"Your battles are at an end Kratos." Athena
said, now urging the former Spartan onwards. "Your Journey is over, take these steps to Olympus and
your place among the Gods."

Kratos looked towards the gates, then turned his head back towards Athena’s statue, still not

"Take these stairs, Kratos." The goddess
repeated. "They lead to your ultimate reward."

Kratos nodded once to show he finally understood,
then walked through the portal. As he was about to enter, he felt someone
watching him, but when he looked towards the left, he saw nothing there.
Shrugging, the former spartan marched straight into Olympus.

And from that point forward, throughout the rest of time, whenever men road
forth to battle for good cause or for evil, they did so under the watchful eye
of the man who had defeated a god.

They were driven forward by Kratos, the mortal who
had become the new God of War.

The ghostly form of Xander shivered as he felt the
Spartan’s gaze fall on him for the briefest of moments. He could’ve sworn that Kratos somehow knew he was there. Once the ancient warrior
entered the portal, the doors closed and the entire archway vanished, leaving
only the statue of Athena.

Curious, Xander walked up to it, studying the
exquisite detail. Suddenly, as he got too close, the statue glowed, heralding
the presence of Athena in the statue once more.

"Greetings, Alexander." Athena greeted the spirit in unaccented english, shocking the man as she
saw him yelp and fall down on his butt. Then the goddess laughed. A melodious
laugh as only a goddess can attain.

"Gaah!" Xander yelped, as he fell back in surprise at the
appearance of Kratos’s patron. "I thought nobody
could see me!"

"Nobody could," Athena said, chuckling as she gazed at the spirit
of a young man not of this time. "At least not until you had absorbed the
last remaining gifts of Pandora’s Box. It surprised us to find a mortal from
the far future sharing space inside an unwitting Spartan’s skull."

"Yeah, well," Xander said nervously,
gesturing at his current condition. "It’s not like I planned all of this.
And what the hell did you mean by absorb the last of Pandora’s gifts? I am very
un-absorby here. As a matter of fact, I look like a
frigging ghost!"

"Pandora’s Box has the power to affect everything." Athena
explained, "It can affect time and space. So it is very possible that
while this may or may not be only a memory of simply your spiritual journey
into the past, be rest assured that the Box has indeed changed you."

"How?" Xander
asked, half-afraid of the answer.

"The power of the gods now flow within your
veins, young Alexander." Athena replied, "You have ceased to become
mortal the very moment the untamed powers within Pandora’s Box entwined itself
into your very soul."

"What!? How? Why?" Xander
panicked, hopping from one foot to the other, then
stopped as he heard the goddess laugh again at his antics. "Huh?"

"Be not afraid, young Alexander." Athena said, "I see a great
many things that lie in your journey, but first, you must return to whence you
came. Have faith, Alexander. Until me meet again."

"Wait!" Xander cried as he felt himself
fading away. "Why me?"

As Xander vanished, Athena’s voice echoed in english as she too withdrew her
statue and her presence from the mountaintop.

"There truly is a price to pay for everything you gain, young
Alexander." The fading voice whispered to no one. "And though you
know it not, I welcome you, little brother…"


The tale of Pandora’s Box remains to this day. After the weapon was taken
from the temple, the structure endured. Cronus, the
Titan, lived for another thousand years wandering the desert floor, but that
was long ago. The temple has grown silent, and the beast
who wore it for so long, has died – relics of a world long past.

But all myths may not be for the ancient times. Soon, a band of explorers
will someday make their way inside the giant, forgotten structure, and find
that the dangers, and many of its secrets, still remain.

And as with all greatness, a new hero will emerge to brave the dangers
within, and claim that which has long waited for its master to wield.

Present day:

Out in the desert, around two hundred miles beyond the walls of where
ancient Greece once stood, a joint military exercise open to the public led by
the United States were practicing a series of international war games. It’s goal is to conduct an experiment of how well the
weather guidance systems would fare in desert conditions - for commercial, and
military use. In this case, two newly state of the art Apache helicopters were
outfitted with the new systems and currently flying across the sands,
constantly testing themselves against the sudden sandstorms that habitually
littered the particular region. And with them, David Jaffe, a top-notch
reporter with his news crew was along for the ride on separate helicopters.

"Damn," David said over the pick-up from behind the pilot. "I
can hardly see out there. Are you sure the new guidance systems are working

"It’s working fine, Mr. Jaffe." Replied Lt. Joan
Andersen, keeping an eye outside the canopy while glancing at the digital
readouts on her console. Then her eyes narrowed as she saw a spike in
the screen showing that showed an alarming build up of what appeared to be a localized
tornado heading straight for them. "Ah shit!"

"Shit?!" The reporter shrieked,
"Don’t give me that shit, I don’t do shit! What the hell is happening out there."

"I don’t know sir," She responded, her voice tight as she
concentrated on getting them through the ordeal in one piece. "Hang

After radioing her chase ‘copter, she felt the first wave of airborne sand
slam into the helicopter as she struggled to fly over the sandstorm. With no
visibility and the rotors whining in protest as she coaxed whatever power they
had, she gritted her teeth as struggled with the yoke. Nature and machine
battled for dominance for at least ten minutes; then just as suddenly as the
spike in her readouts appeared, it vanished.

The chilling calm that followed made them all uneasy as the sands started to
fade and die down. All of a sudden, proximity alarms from the guidance systems
blared out a warning, signifying they were too close to an object larger than
the craft itself. Trying to get a clear view from the sand blasted canopy,
Andersen slowed the Apache to a hover, letting the rotors help in blowing the
excess sand off to allow better visibility. When they could see, they saw that
they were a few meters off from smashing into the base of a mountain – but that
wasn’t what shocked them silent.

Instead of the natural uneven slope that all mountains had at their base,
they saw an exposed skull larger than a four-story building buried halfway in
the desert floor. And further down, skeletal remains of a titanic hand that could
have easily swiped the advanced machine out of the air.

And on top of the mountain, uncovered from the sands for the first time in
thousands of years, lay an ancient temple.

Meanwhile, back in Sunnydale, Xander
finally awoke from his three-day mystically enhanced sleep.

……The End?………


----Xander will return------








A glimpse of things to come:

Excerpt from God(s) of War: Re-forging the

…..Xander had finally reached the entrance of the
ancient temple. His eyes swept the desolate ruins with a feeling of déjà vu.
While he may not have been here personally, he felt as if he knew the place
intimately via Kratos’s memories of his quest in here.
And while the long forgotten Spartan never truly had time to fully explorer the
temple, in part due to his goal of only getting the weapon that would allow him
to destroy Ares, he knew that a temple of this grand a scale held more secrets
and "treasures" to claim.

Xander’s musings were cut off as a sound echoed
far overhead, his newly enhanced hearing picking up the near-silent noise of a
stealth plane jetting past the area. A few minutes later he saw a black dot
above grow larger as something fell from the sky. Whoever it was, the skydiver
was an expert. Or flat out crazy, the jump itself looked like a high-altitude
low open deal.

The young man’s eyes narrowed as he began to make out the telltale figure of
a woman as she began to spread her body to slow her
fall and then opened her chute. Seconds later, she landed hard, tucked into a
roll while detaching the chute from her pack in single smooth motion. She
stopped a few feet from him, startled that someone had gotten there before her.
Slowly, she lowered her backpack and took off the dark helmet that protected
her head.

Xander smirked as he saw exotic features gracing
the face underneath the helmet. Long braided hair cascaded from behind her as
she undid her flight suit, revealing a functional skintight body suit that
could double as a diving suit if need be.

The young warrior had to fully resist a gut-busting guffaw as he recognized
the woman immediately from Giles’s photo album, for standing in front of him
was Rupert Giles’s very own niece.

"Greetings, Lady Croft." He said.




Special Thanks to: David Jaffe and to all of Sony Computer Entertainment of
America for creating one of the best games ever to grace the PS2. And I’d also
like to thank SamuraiX/Raul Copaciu
and Gamefaqs for their Walkthroughs and games script
copy that helped me solidify the back-story dialogue.


The End

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