They say the more you have
The more you want, but sometimes that ain't true
Cause I never seen a man with one black eye
Who wished that he had two.
--James Galway and the Chieftains, Solo Salutes - Finale
Some people believe in destiny, or fate, or kismet. These people believe that everything that happens has a reason, that there is an overall plan to events. Some of these people believe that we are doomed to a future that we cannot change, and that to find out about the events that are coming is to be doomed. An example of these types can be found in almost anything Sophocles wrote.
Others think that the driving force in the universe has already decided who will be arriving in Paradise and who will be ending up needing sunblock for all eternity. You know, Calvinists.
These people don't know squat about fatalism, however.
For real dyed-in-the-wool gloomy resignation, you need my people.
You need the Aesir and Vanir.
Which is why I don't see them very often.
That explains, at least in part, why I'm hanging out with Hades.
My boring brother has headed back to Aesgaard, taking the cat with him, which means it's just me and Fenris wandering all creation. After a brief stop in Transverse City (I'm beginning to take a shine to that place) Fenris and myself were faced with a serious dilemma: Where to now? After all, I can't hardly take my boy back to Hel... she'll stick him back in Niffleheim guarding an ice cube. An _empty_ ice cube, now.
So I decided to do some visiting.
Right now I'm sitting on a throne of bone, watching the fires of Erebus rage forth. Some poor sucker keeps rolling a rock up a hill only to have it roll back over him like something that the animators at Warner Brothers might have come up with, and there's a shmuck in a lake with grapes hanging just over his head. When he goes for them, they pull away, and when he tries to take a drink out of the water, it recedes as well. Every so often, like now, he looks over at me with pure misery leaking out of his face like mucous from a third grader.
"Hey, you think that's bad? Try having acid venom dripped in your eyes! At least you get to _see_ food! All I got was a snake in the face." I turn to Hades, who isn't paying much attention. There are several empty bottles of Hennesy scattered around the edge of his throne. "Oh, not _again_ with the drinking."
"She's left me."
"She leaves you every six months, Hades. I mean, suck it up a little. She'll be back."
"For the love of Freya... she's only been gone two hours!"
He moans and opens another bottle of scotch. Well, if he's going to be a blubbering waste, at least he's getting there via the good stuff.
Suddenly, a bounding sound comes from one of the main tunnels, and I turn to watch Cerberus and Fenris come leaping in. Cerberus is a good boy, if exceptionally stupid (Fenris is the idea man when these two get together... you tell me Cerberus isn't stupid) and his three heads are merrily grinning at us. Fenris, for his part, is worrying at something he probably shouldn't be eating... it looks like Achillieus... but since Hades is blitzed, I'll let it go.
"What's up, boys?"
Yes, Cerberus talks like Scooby Doo.
Hel, it isn't _my_ fault. Stop looking at me like that.
"Intruders? Hmmm. Who'd be stupid enough to come down here?"
"We would." I look up and smile. Y'see, every pantheon has a trickster god, a god who comes in and shakes the place up from time to time. I fit the bill for the Norse pantheon. Hermes, or Mercury if you were Roman, does the same for the Olympians. And the little punk is floating above my head, with Dionysus hanging from his left arm. "Heard you were in town, Lock, and I know how much fun Uncle can be when Persephone takes off, so I grabbed Dion here and said 'Let's booze up and riot!' You up for it?"
"Herm, I'm a Norse god. We INVENTED boozing up and rioting. We called it the Middle Ages." I get up and pat Hades on the shoulder. "What say, old boy? You up for wine, women and song? Or even just rotgut, whores and caterwauling?"
Hades looked blearily up at me.
"Wow." Dionysus floated to the ground and looked over Hades, his long hair tangled with grape vines. Unlike Hermes, who is floating above both of us, naked except for his cap and sandals, Dionysus is wearing some kind of vine-garment. His hair is long and blond, and he looks a lot like his brother Apollo, but he's less of a prig. _Much_ less of a prig. "He's _tanked._ Man, I'm so glad they finally came up with liquor ...do you know how much I had to pee before?"
"C'mon, mopes," I haul Hades up by his shoulder and plunk his helmet on his head. It makes him look demonaical, even if he is a drooling wreck. "Let's all go get hammered and bring down a civilization or two!"
Right now, I'm feeling kind of woozy. Probably has to do with all of the drinking. And before you ask, yes, even a god like m'self or Hades can get blotto. It just _takes_ more. Or you can ask a handy god of intoxicating beverages, like Soma or Dionysus, to jump up your drink. Or both.
"So... There I was, handcuffed to her bed, and then she breaks out this long chain cat o'nine tails that wails like the tortured screaming of the damned..."
"And he'd know!" chortled Hades. "His daughter used to use that for a lullaby!"
"And she says 'Now, Loki Odinson, you shall learn why they call Lovvitarr the Erotic Mistress of Pain."
Hermes spit-takes his drink...which, to be honest, is probably a better choice than _drinking_ it...this mead tastes like liquid mouse... and bangs his hand on the table, laughing so hard his shiny metal hat wobbles.
"Man, I love it when you visit, Lock! Most of the rest of the Pantheons send such dull bastards... like that time Anubis and Ra came to protest the way the Greek Pirates were acting in Heliopolis. All they did was talk!"
"Geez, I haven't seen Anubis in... have I ever seen Anubis?.. Well, if I have, it was a long time ago." I take another drink. "Say, Herm, I haven't seen many naked women in this place."
"Yeah. What's the deal!? I need to forget my pain!" Hades bangs his hand down on the table, which of course explodes in shards of wood. I manage to grab my drink before it falls to the floor. "Bring on the live nude girls! I'm tired of all those dead ones back home!"
I notice that the clientele of this particular establishment are staring at us. For starters, I'm sure that they were pretty wigged out when Hades busted the table, and the roaring for nudity seems to be bothering them.
"There are no strip clubs here, are there?"
"What, in Troy? Naah. But I've always thought there should have been, what with that 'Topless Towers' thing. That's always annoyed me." Hermes begins sucking greedily at a wineskin.
"This is Troy?"
"Of course it is. Didn't you know that?"
"I'm a Norse god, who has time to study Greek History? I was always too busy encouraging Vikings to sack Constantinople or something." A thought inches its way into my fuzzy head just as Hades bends over and vomits on the floor. The wood begins to rot. "Didn't this place get destroyed a couple thousand years ago, during some sort of..."
That's when the guys in armor come running into the tavern.
"Greeks! Destroy them!"
"...war or something?"
One of the closer ones, a guy in a boar's tusk helmet, runs to captures us, steps in Hermes' spooge, and ages to dust right in front of the rest of them. The floorboards pick that moment to crumble, and the whole mess falls through the floor. Dionysus, slumped in his chair, doesn't notice another of them about to cut his head off.
Since he's a demigod, I decide not to take the chance and toss my drink in the guys face. He shrieks and falls flat on his back. Boy, Mortals just can't hold their liquor. The rest of them are huddled in a circle, trying to decide what to do.
Hades gets up and puts his helmet on, his body swelling to three times its size, black flames erupting from his eyes, and in general quite the impressive display of pique. He turns and wobbles drunkenly at them, which in this incarnation is quite scary.
"BEGONE, MORTAL FLUMES! OR I SHALL CONSUME YOUR SHOALS IN FLIERS!"
Okay, so that didn't make a lot of sense. Trust me, it's the _way_ he said it. They scatter like... well, like a bunch of poor mortal bastards who've just seen Hades drunker than a statesman. Hermes looks over at me, and I look over at Hermes.
And we both just start laughing. It takes me a few minutes to get enough control of myself to stop, and the whole time, if I let myself look over at Hades stumbling over to the bar to proposition the terrified waitress, I'll just _wet_ myself. Eventually, I manage to stop.
"Good one, Herm. Good one. I have to give it to you, that was a good one."
"Coming from the man who manuvered an angry Thor into appearing at Herakles' wedding, I am proud to accept your praise." Hermes stands up, undoes his tunic, and with great dignity begins to pee on the floor. "So, who's up for a Road Trip?"
I smile. If there's anything better than drunken gods rampaging, it's drunken gods rampaging *everywhere.*
"I am." The smile begins to make my face hurt, and I chuckle wickedly at the thought burrowing in my head. "Have you guys ever met Marduk?"
"Tall, serious guy with a net, always killing dragons and making laws?" Hermes immediately gets where I'm going with this. "You don't..."
"I do. I really do. And how hard could stripping him naked and covering him in lime jello be?"
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