AresJoxerCupidStrife - Aylmera LaConstance


part 1 part 2

Title: Conception and Change
Fandom: Xena
Characters: Alcmene, Ares, Hercules, Aphrodite, Hera, the Moirae (Fates), Eris, Strife, own characters
Claim: Xena: Warrior Princess general
Prompt: 027: Parents
Rating: FRM (mainly cause I mention sex)
Summary: Hercules is conceived, the Fates fret, Aphrodite and Eris plot, and just for fun, a plot twist!
Warnings: violence, original characters, AU
Archive: AFF.net, ajcs_comm, AU100, FF.net, website, livejournal
Series: Changes in Time
Sequel: Takes place about 300 years after "The Return of War"
A/N: So, instead of doing my homework for my mythology class...I'm writing this. ::sigh:: My
teacher is going to wonder why my homework contradicts greek myths on Tuesday.
Word Count: 1658

~*~*~*~

They had sensed the moment of his conception.

The one with the power to bring about the Twilight of the Gods would be born in nine months.

They debated telling anyone. Oh, they knew that Aphrodite knew...she nearly destroyed the Tapestry in her anger. They also knew that she told Ares and Eris, but they didn't expect those two to try anything. Ares was more worried about keeping Strife from Zeus's attention, well aware that anyone of War was free game for Zeus, including the children.

Eris spent her time distracting Zeus, taunting him and making sure that he never noticed as Strife ran rampant around Olympus, sticking close to the temples of War and Love. They knew that the two War gods never worried about Strife when he was in Asphodel. Hades adored the mischief godling and Strife had Celeste and Hecate wrapped around his fingers.

"Sisters dear," started Lachesis as she looked at the threads she weaved into the Tapestry. "Come look."

Atropos and Clotho looked at each other before shrugging and joining Lachesis at the Tapestry. A shimmering solid black thread had wound its way around the thread of the Harbinger. A shimmering, solid violet thread had joined, as had a shimmering, solid pink-rose thread. The Fates looked at each other, eyes wide with comprehension and dread.

Ares, Eris, and Aphrodite had taken the Harbinger under their protection.

"Sisters," started Atropos slowly. "This is not what was suppose to happen."

"Ares was not suppose to meet the Harbinger for years yet," said Clotho. "Eris was not suppose to meet him until adulthood as was Aphrodite."

"I believe sisters," said Lachesis, a smile on her face as she traced the white thread that was slowly turning blue. "That the God of War, Goddess of Discord, and Goddess of Love have decided to prevent the Twilight."

"Impossible," scoffed Atropos. "Nothing can prevent the Twilight! It is the only thing set in stone!"

"But even stone weathers sisters," said Clotho. "And we knew when Ares was born that things would be different. Look at his thread," She pointed at the solid, shimmering black thread. "Look at when he was born, and then look at him now. He has defied everything we set for him." She smiled. "He is truly ruler of his own destiny."

Atropos and Lachesis looked at each other, sighed, and nodded their agreement. Ares was not suppose to retrieve his godhood back 300 years ago. He wasn't suppose to have gotten it back until two weeks from now. They just hadn't counted on Aphrodite.

"Let's return to our jobs," said Atropos. "The mortals should not have to suffer for our ignorance."

"Let us hope that when he is born, Ares is not in a foul mood," muttered Lachesis as Atropos returned to her place, ending the lives of mortals in suffering and Clotho began weaving thread again, mortals being born once again.

---

"He's been conceived," said Aphrodite quietly to Eris as they watched Ares tear his way through his men. Another war started due to Zeus's stupidity and arrogance, another war that Ares had to fight simply to keep the mortal population from dying out.

"Nine months?" asked Eris as she pulled a dagger out of her boot and tossed it toward a soldier. It slammed into the soldier, being embedded to the hilt and the soldier fell, unable to finish his attack on Ares.

"Less," said Aphrodite as she formed a violently pink fireball and tossed it at another soldier intent on harming a child that had wandered onto the field. Love she may be, but no one attacked the power source of Strife...not when she was able to interfere at least. "Do you know why Cupid and Strife aren't talking to each other anymore?"

"I have no clue," said Eris as she slammed her fist into a wooden pole. It broke in half, slamming against a warlord and knocking him unconscious. "All I know is that one day those two were as thick as thieves and the next they're attacking like bitter enemies."

"I think Zeus did something but I can't find out what," growled Aphrodite as she stood and tripped a soldier. "Cupid usually tells me."

"As does Strife," growled Eris. "Wanna switch? I'll interrogate Cupid while you bug that idiot son of mine?"

"After this war is over," said Aphrodite, her eyes on two young soldiers. "I need to keep watch on two of these men. They're destined for each other."

"Point'em out," said Eris as she swept up the child Aphrodite had protected and settled her against her hip. She gaped, blue eyes wide with awe and fear before she wrapped her arms around Eris's neck and her legs around her waist.

"Him and him," said Aphrodite pointing out a young man, barely into adulthood with shaggy brown hair and frightened blue eyes, and another man, about 32 if Eris was right, with long black hair, cold green eyes, and one of Ares's personal warlords.

"One of Ares's personal warlords with a soldier on the other side?" asked Eris. "'Dite, you love making my life complicated."

"Kallias," said Aphrodite, amusement clear in her voice. "Is the son of Apollonaris and the destined lover of Warlord Anicetus."

"You are putting a man, whose name means "beauty" with a guy whose name means "unconquerable"," said Eris before she burst out laughing. "I have got to see this one played out."

"And now I know where Strife got all his mischief from," drawled Aphrodite amused.

"Ha, ha, ha," deadpanned Eris before she looked at the girl in her arms. "And what is your name?"

"Syntyche," said the girl softly.

"And how old are you?" asked Aphrodite with a soft, soothing smile as the three made their way over to Kallias, invisible to all.

"Eleven," said Syntyche softly.

"Where's your Mama?" wondered Eris as she grabbed the wrist of a soldier one handed and tossed him to the side, causing him to slam into another soldier who was about to defeat Kallias.

"Over there," said Syntyche softly, pointing to the dead body of a local villager woman. "Papa's over there." She pointed at Anicetus.

"Oh this cannot be coincidence," said Eris annoyed. Aphrodite just grinned and took Syntyche from Eris's arms and, dropping her invisibility, placed the eleven year old in the startled arms of Kallias.

"Your job, young one," started Aphrodite as Syntyche clutched at Kallias, startled. "Is to take this little one to her father."

"And he is who my lady?" asked Kallias, arms tightening around Syntyche protectively.

"Warlord Anicetus," said Eris as she dropped her invisibility, eyes mainly on the enraged Ares who was on the other side of the battlefield.

"Lady!" Kallias exclaimed, startled. "He'll kill me before I can explain!"

Syntyche, smart for her age, looked back and forth between Kallias and Aphrodite and cocked her head to one side. "Papa is suppose to meet him, isn't he?"

"Yes little one," smiled Aphrodite. "He is."

"Papa won't hurt you," said Syntyche to Kallias. "I won't let him."

"ARES!" bellowed Eris suddenly, startling everyone on the field and freezing the war in progress. Ares turned, eyes filled with bloodlust and he looked at her coldly.

"What?" growled Ares.

"Where's Strife?" asked Eris calmly, not at all perturbed by Ares's anger. "I need him for a job."

"And this couldn't have waited?" snarled Ares as he stalked up to her, Anicetus following with narrowed eyes. He had seen Kallias holding his daughter.

"Dingbat's boy got conceived," said Aphrodite. "We need Strife to watch over the mother so that we can take the boy when he's born in eight months."

"Fine," growled Ares. "STRIFE!!"

"What?" snarked Strife as he appeared in a explosion of black spiders. Tall, pale, and skinny, he looked like one of those goth people Eris had seen in the Mirrors of Time from the 21st century.

He probably models himself after them on purpose, scoffed Eris as she reached out and backhanded Strife upside his head.

"Ma!" protested Strife rubbing at his hair. "Don't do dat!"

"Then explain to me why you and Cupid are suddenly mortal enemies?" hissed Eris.

"None of yer business," said Strife.

"Hey!" interrupted Aphrodite. "This is fine and all, but Ares has a war to finish and we have a Harbinger to raise."

"Oh...he got born?" asked Strife.

"Not yet," said Ares. "Your job Strife is to watch over his mother and make sure nothing and no one harms her or him. You are then to alert us when the child is born, eight months from now."

"Fine," growled Strife before disappearing. He'll go bug the Fates on this boy's mother.

"Are we done now?" growled Ares. Eris and Aphrodite nodded and he transported away, the war pretty much on hold now. There were only about six or seven men left standing, three from each side plus Anicetus.

"Why do you have my daughter?" growled Anicetus. He had seen his daughter's mother fall earlier, trying to kill him the deceitful bitch. Syntyche had fled before Anicetus could get to her and now it looked as if Kallias had or was in the process of kidnapping her.

"He kept me safe Papa," said Syntyche as the two goddesses disappeared. Kallias blinked while Anicetus looked at him.

"Come with me then," said Anicetus before he took Syntyche and walked away. Kallias, unsure of what to do, followed.

Perhaps Anicetus could help him return to his family and rescue his brothers Joxer, Jett and Jayce? The triplets were barely three months old and Kallias didn't want to leave them behind with their drunkard of a father and their whore of a mother.

He didn't want to return home and find them dead due to neglect.

Sighing, Kallias followed Anicetus into his massive tent (which somehow survived the battle) and stopped on the threshold.

A choice was about to be made...he just knew it. Ignoring Anicetus's confused look, Kallias held himself just over the threshold. If he went into the tent, he knew his life would change...for better or worse...but if he left, his life would probably stay the same.

Battles or my brothers? wondered Kallias softly before strangling his fear and stepping into the tent. He would die before he allowed his parents to keep the triplets.

---------------------


Strife grumbled to himself as he appeared in the Cave of the Moirae, smirking as he saw the three women jump and, as one, glare at him.

"What brings you here Mischief God?" asked Atropos calmly while Lachesis waved her hand over the milling spiders and they disappeared, consigned to the abyss.

"Ma wants me ta watch ovah da son of Zeus," said Strife as he ran his fingers through his hair and dispelled a couple spiders from the spiky depths. Lachesis grumbled and consigned those spiders to the abyss in Tartarus, ignoring Strife's giggle as she did so. She knew full well Strife did it just to see her react.

"You shall need help," said Clotho, eyes on her thread. "Even one such as you Mischief God will need the help of another to watch over the mother of the Harbinger."

"And who da yah want me ta ask?" asked Strife snidely. "Most of da gods prefer ta fahget mah existence."

"Why not Cupid?" wondered Atropos as she snipped another thread, ending the life of an ailing mortal woman. "You and he are friends, are you not?"

"Not," growled Strife, his anger rising at the mention of Cupid. He didn't completely understand why he was pissed at the Love God, he just was. He tried to befriend him again, tried to get past the unreasoning anger, and was able to last two hours before they got into a fist fight...over the color of a pillow for Gaea's sake! It was then that he and Cupid decided to just avoid each other if at all possible.

He missed hanging out with the Love god, missed just being with someone that hadn't despise him simply for existing. After he and Cupid had stopped being friends, stopped hanging out, he had found out pretty quick that he was depised by all the gods except for Ares, Eris, Aphrodite, and Hephaestus. He didn't know if Hades and his ilk were the same but he wasn't about to go find out.

Now he pretty much drifted and stayed around Ares and Eris. Despite their annoyance at him sometimes, he knew they loved him and weren't about to tolerate anyone being cruel to him, especially in their presence.

"Sometimes things are more than what they seem Mischief God," said Lachesis as she spied the sadness hiding deep in those complex black-brown eyes. He jerked, startled by her words.

"And sometimes anger and hatred hide deep pain," intoned Clotho as she fed another length of thread to Lachesis. "You need to learn how to tell the difference between truth and lies God of Mischief, and to tell when one is lying to you simply to protect you."

"Yeah, whatevah," sighed Strife before he transported out. He'd go bug Aphrodite for the identity of the Harbringer's mother.

"He suffers needlessly," snapped Lachesis as she turned on Atropos and Clotho. "You two swore by Styx that he wouldn't suffer if we allowed that mortal's request to the Erinyes."

"We obey the mort-" started Clotho startled by Lachesis's rage. Lachesis was the quiet one, the one who normally allowed her and Atropos to do as they liked.

"We do not," thundered Lachesis, placing her hands on her hips and allowing her godhood to work for her instead. Unlike what mortals and the other gods thought, the Moirae didn't have to be at the loom. They wanted(I) to, hating to deal with mortals and their petty requests. "Now tell me what that woman wanted the Erinyes to do to Cupid and I want to know now!"

"She was annoyed because Cupid didn't fall in love with her," said Atropos quietly. She warned Clotho not to allow that woman's request. She knew it would enrage Lachesis...and Clotho didn't listen, convinced she was correct and that Lachesis would accept it. Now she was going to pay for Clotho's stubbornness. "She wanted whoever Cupid was in love with to suffer the pain she was for eternity."

"And you were going to allow this?" growled Lachesis at Clotho. She really didn't blame Atropos, knowing that Clotho probably ran rough-shod over the gentle death goddess.

"I didn't see any reason not to," declared Clotho.

"Mother!" Lachesis roared, her temper close to exploding and she knew it wouldn't be pretty if she let loose. She knew though that the only one Clotho feared was their mother, Nyx.

"Dear, what?" asked Nyx as she transported in. A beautiful woman, she had long silky black hair and warm, amused blue eyes set in a heart shaped face. Her skin was moon pale. In fact, she looked nearly like a female version of Strife, but without the harshness that seemed to surround the Mischief god. Seeing Clotho's wince and Atropos's resignation, Nyx sighed and turned to Lachesis. "And what have your sisters done now?"

"They allowed the Erinyes to curse Strife," growled Lachesis.

"And who is Strife?" asked Nyx confused. She knew of no god named Strife. She knew of a god who would gain the godhood of Strife and Mischief.

"The son of Eris," said Clotho with a sigh. She knew she was in trouble. "Nephew of Ares, future husband of Cupid."

"Strife is Cupid's soul mate," said Lachesis. "They don't know that yet and were still just friends when Cupid had slept with a mortal woman. This woman knew that Cupid did not love her, would not love her and when Cupid left, she shrieked revenge and asked the Erinyes for help. Clotho stupidly allowed this revenge to take place and now Strife and Cupid are suffering for no reason!"

"What is the curse?" asked Nyx as she reached out mentally and pulled the Erinyes to her. Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone appeared before the Moirae and blinked. The Moirae normally left them alone.

"I don't quite know," said Lachesis as she glared at the three Erinyes. "What don't you three tell me before I bring Sostrate here."

"Why would you bring our leader here?" asked Megaera confused. "Lady Sostrate has better things to do than answer your petty complaints."

"Why is Strife cursed?" asked Nyx coolly and the Erinyes looked at her.

"We have not seen Strife in nearly a decade," said Alecto. "Why?"

"Then who are the Erinyes who answered a mortal woman's call of revenge on Cupid?" asked Clotho startled.

"That would've been Sappho," said Tisiphone. "It didn't go anywhere because Lady Sostrate learned of the request and banned it. We are not allowed to interfere in the business of the gods of Olympus, Asphodel, or the Sea."

"Then who cursed Strife and Cupid?" asked Lachesis. Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone looked at each other before they looked at the Moirae and Nyx.

"Strife and Cupid were cursed by Phthonus," said the Erinyes. "The curse can only be broken by Cupid because the curse's foundations are laid on Cupid, not Strife."

"And how does one go about breaking a curse by Phthonus?" asked Lachesis disgusted. "He's the personification of jealousy and envy!"

"Aphrodite will know if you tell her," said the Erinyes. "May we go now?"

"Go," sighed Lachesis. "You haven't been much help as it is."

"Lachesis," said Nyx warningly. The Erinyes just smiled and transported out.

"I am sorry Mother, but Strife does not need to suffer due to some woman's envy," said Lachesis. "I am going to speak to Aphrodite....and Eris."

"Why Eris?" asked Atropos. "Aphrodite is Love, she sho-"

"Eris is the Goddess of Discord and she used to be the goddess of Strife. She'd be the best one to understand how this came about," said Lachesis before she transported.

---

Strife cursed to himself as he appeared in Aphrodite's temple only to see Cupid freeze in mid-transport. It was too late to transport out, the Love god had already seen him.

"Strife," said Cupid calmly though his eyes betrayed his anger.

"Cupid," replied Strife as he fingered the dagger hilt at his back. He didn't know this new Cupid and he'd be damned to Tartarus if he even thought of letting his guard down. Ares would kill him for sure if he dared.

"Why are you here?" asked Cupid as he slid behind one of Aphrodite's chaise longues. He didn't dare take a step toward the Mischief god. If he did, he didn't know whether he'd kill him or fuck him.

"Need ta speak with 'Dite," said Strife. So far, so good.

"Mom's not home," said Cupid as he dug his fingers into the chaise's upholstery. "She's in Thebes organizing a marriage."

"Oh," said Strife before he took a step back. "See you around then."

"Wait!" called Cupid. Gaea damn it, he missed hanging out with Strife, missed having fun and being with someone who didn't see him as the son of Aphrodite or the son of Ares, but who saw him as simply himself. He didn't know why he was so angry at even the mention of Strife but he wouldn't...he couldn't allow it to get between them.

"What?" asked Strife warily. "Ya can barely stand ta be around me Cupe. I'm not stayin' so ya can insult me."

"I'm sorry," said Cupid. "I don't know why I'm so angry at you."

"Yeah, ya do," said Strife. "Ya just can't admit it ta yaself." He transported out and Cupid cursed. He'd been so close.

"Cupe? Sweetheart?" asked Aphrodite as she walked into the room. She had felt Strife's signature and had returned home to see what was wrong...and perhaps ask why he and Cupid weren't talking.

"Mom, ever have the feeling you've done something wrong but can't remember what?" asked Cupid as he stared at the spot Strife had been standing.

"Once," said Aphrodite, head cocked to one side. "I had promised Ares a favor and when he called it in, I forgot. It took me entirely way to long to get him to forgive me."

"What favor?" asked Cupid confused. To his knowledge, his parents were as close as they could be without returning to lovers.

"It's not my tale to tell," said Aphrodite. "And Ares won't tell you either. Just take it that we're good now and leave it at that. Why did you ask anyway honey?"

"Strife was here," said Cupid before he turned around to face her. "I hate him Mom and I don't know why! I don't remember him doing anything or saying anything to get me mad, I don't remember doing anything to him, but all I know is that I can't stand the sight of him anymore!"

"And yet you spoke to him," said Lachesis startling the two Love gods.

"Lachesis, what brings you here?" asked Aphrodite as she placed her hand over her heart. She really should get her temple shielded.

"You need to tell Strife who the mother of the Harbinger is so that he can watch them," said Lachesis to Aphrodite before she turned to Cupid. "You claim to hate the sight of him but you spoke to him. Why?"

"He's my friend," said Cupid confused. "I miss him."

"You have other friends," said Lachesis. "Why not simply forget Strife exists?"

"I wouldn't do that!" protested Cupid outraged. "I love him too much to sim-"

"Exactly," said Lachesis with a smile. "You love him."

"What am I missing here?" asked Aphrodite as she helped Cupid collapse onto the chaise. He looked shell-shocked and she knew that was due to the fact that he had just verbally and probably mentally told anyone that he loved Strife...including himself.

"Cupid and Strife have been under a curse set down by Phthonus," said Lachesis as she sat down across from Cupid while Aphrodite sat beside her son. "A mortal woman, envious and jealous of the fact that Cupid was in love with another and a male at that, wrought the seeds of destructin that allowed Phthonus to lay a curse on Cupid that now affects Strife. This curse makes anyone that Cupid is in love with, mortal or god, suffer pain and hatred toward him and vice versa."

"And who is this Phthonus?" growled Aphrodite. No one(i) cursed her son!

"Phthonus is the son of Nyx," said Lachesis. "He is envy and jealousy, especially when it comes to love."

"I've never heard of him," said Aphrodite slowly. "Eris!"

"What?" snapped Eris as she appeared, covered in blood and gore. She cleaned herself with a thought when Aphrodite looked at her before frowning. "And why is Lachesis here?"

"Do you know of a god named Phthonus?" asked Aphrodite.

"Nope," said Eris. "Phthonus isn't a god. He's like Momus, Nemesis, and Apate. He's the primordial god of jealousy and envy and delights in causing mischief and strife, especially when it comes to love. Strife isn't quite old enough yet to deal with him but knows he exists and normally can undo anything Phthonus comes up with. Why?"

"How do you know Phthonus?" asked Lachesis startled. The primordial gods and goddesses tended to stay away from the Olympians, simply because they were too used to being on their own.

"He tried going after Ares and Ares sent him packing," said Eris with a shrug. "I was lucky enough to be there to watch it. Every hundred or so years now, Phthonus challenges Ares and Ares nearly kills him. Strife watched the last 2 bouts and the next one's in a couple weeks." She smirked.

"Supposedly this Phthonus cursed Cupid and Strife," said Aphrodite as Cupid simply stared at his hands, his mind racing. "It's why they can barely stand to be near each other now."

"He did what?!"exploded Eris, her eyes flashing with her rage. "When? How? Why?!"

"When? 100 years ago," said Aphrodite calmly. "How and why? I don't know."

"One of my mortal lovers," said Cupid in the silence. "I had only slept with her once and she didn't appreciate it even though she knew it wasn't going to be more than that."

"Why can't this ever happen to Zeus?" wondered Eris. "How are we going to end the curse?"

"You can't," said Lachesis. "Only Cupid can because the curse's foundations lay on him. How? I don't know. Only Ananke can undo any curse set by one of the primordial gods and goddesses."

"Who?" asked Eris and Aphrodite as one. Ananke? They've never heard of that goddess.

"If you don't know her, I can't tell you who she is," said Lachesis. "Even we of the Moirae have rules to follow."

"Hold it," said Eris, reverting back to training. "Let me get this straight. Cupid slept with a mortal woman who, in her stupidity and jealousy, somehow gave Phthonus the power to curse Cupid and by extension Strife. Why was Strife affected?!"

"I'm in love with him," said Cupid quietly.

"About time you admitted it too," snapped Eris before turning to Lachesis. "Well?"

"The curse was worded so that any one Cupid is in love with hates him and vice versa," said Lachesis, slightly amazed at how the two houses of War and Love were interacting. She'd've to visit Olympus more often. "As Cupid is in love with Str-"

"Strife is affected," sighed Eris as she sat down beside Aphrodite. "So the only way to get rid of it is to find this goddess named Ananke?"

"Ananke can help you, depending on her mood," said Lachesis. "However, as I said before, only Cupid can make this quest. She will only speak to the one the curse affects and right now, it affects Cupid. It will stop affecting Strife as soon as it is lifted."

"Great," growled Eris. "And are you ever going to tell Strife that he is cursed?"

"No," said Lachesis. "He doe-"

"He'll notice when he stops hating Cupid," snapped Eris as she stood, her rage causing fire in her eyes. "You don't think do you?!"

"Eris," said Aphrodite calmly. "Sit down and call Ares. Let's explain this to him."

"He's busy with a skirmish," sighed Eris. "Sparta's after Athens, again."

"Again?" asked Aphrodite. "When are they going to stop going after Athens?"

"Never at this rate," said Eris before she smirked. "Hold on a minute here...Ponos!"

Aphrodite, Cupid, and Lachesis stared at the god that had appeared after Eris yelled. He was short, barely three feet tall, with short spiky blonde hair and amused red eyes. He was also naked.

"What?" He barked at Eris annoyed. "I was busy."

"Doing what?" taunted Eris. "Scaring off women what that?" She pointed at his penis and Ponos growled.

"At least I know how to use it," sneered Ponos. "When was the last time you got laid Eris? When you gave birth to that fool idiot you call son?"

Cupid snarled at that and Ponos froze. He knew that snarl. It was Ares's snarl. Turning, he narrowed his eyes as he saw the thunderous expressions on Aphrodite's and Cupid's faces.

"I dare you to call him that to his face," said Eris dryly ignoring the snarls from the two love gods. "Remember what happened last time?"

"Don't remind me," groaned Ponos. "I'm still finding spiders in my eggs."

Aphrodite, Lachesis, and Cupid blinked. Huh? What was going on here?

"Guys, this is Ponos, the primordial god of pain and toil. He's to Phobos what Eros is to Cupid," said Eris. "Ponos, I want you to meet Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Cupid, God of Erotic Love, Beauty, and Pederasty."

"Wasn't Eros pederasty?" asked Ponos as he cocked his head to one side, studying Cupid.

"No," said Lachesis. "Who are your parents?"

"My mother is Nyx, my father is unknown," said Ponos, recognizing another primordial goddess. "Yours?"

"Unknown," lied Lachesis. Ananke and Gaea forbid the Moirae from ever telling anyone who their mother was, simply to keep any god or goddess from trying to blackmail the Moirae.

"So why did you call me Eris?" asked Ponos. "I was busy."

"I need you to take over for Ares on the Spartan field. They're attacking Athens again," said Eris. "We need Ares here but the battle can't be left alone. He's trying to prevent something called the Battle of Tanagra."

"I'll go, but don't expect me to do much," said Ponos. Eris nodded and Ponos transported away. Barely a minute later Ares appeared, covered in blood and gore. Wisely Aphrodite said nothing, having seen the bloodlust lurking in Ares's gaze.

"What Discord?" growled Ares, his grip on his sword tight.

"How mad are you at Phthonus?" asked Eris calmly. She's used to Ares's bloodlust. He'll fuck it out of his system later.

"I'm annoyed more than anything..." said Ares slowly, the bloodlust dimming a bit at his confusion. "Why?"

"He cursed me Dad," said Cupid looking up at Ares.

"He did what?!" Ares exploded. Aphrodite and Lachesis slid backwards while Cupid blinked and Eris just smirked. She loved watching Ares go on a rampage...as long as it wasn't directed at her.

"He cursed Cupid and Strife," said Eris. "That's why the two have been fighting. Cupid's in love with Strife and some mortal woman got jealous and Phthonus used that to curse them. Anyone Cupid is in love with hates him and vice versa."

"And why am I just now finding this out?" growled Ares.

"Because we just found it out," replied Eris. Ares looked at her and she grinned. "Wanna help plan the torture?"

"Have you told Strife?" asked Ares.

"Nope," said Eris. "We're going to after we find him."

"Send him to me," said Ares. "I'll tell him and let him kill some soldiers so he doesn't go ballistic on Olympus. Do not tell Zeus about this either." He transported out.

"Do I look that stupid?!" yelled Eris, knowing he heard her.

"He's going to help?" asked Cupid.

"He's going to help," confirmed Eris before turning to Lachesis. "You'd better find out where this Ananke is hiding and tell us soon."

"I will tell when I am given permission," said Lachesis before she transported herself back to the Cave, startling a gossiping Atropos and Clotho.

"Sure you will," muttered Eris. "'Dite, I'm going to find Strife. Need you to go to Hades and find this mortal of Cupid's. Cupid, you stay here or by Rhea I'll defeather you."

She transported off, ignoring Aphrodite's amused look and Cupid's startled look.

"She's not what she appears to be, is she?" wondered Cupid.

"No son, she's not," said Aphrodite with a smile.

---------------------


TBC



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