Check out our episode here! Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Everything born must die. Does that count if you sprang, fully-formed, from Zeus's head? Athena doesn't think so, but it really seems like she and Hermes are dying, but not from the same affliction. She's sprouting owl feathers on the inside that will surely suffocate her. Hermes seems to be wasting away, getting thinner by the moment. They are currently trudging through the desert, looking for a goddess.
Cassandra and Aidan, meanwhile, are scamming freshmen in the cafeteria. Cassandra's a psychic and can always tell which way the coin will land when playing Heads or Tails. She knows pretty much everything else, too, but this is an easy thing to fake knowing how to do. She definitely learned it from Criss Angel. When their friend Andie joins the table, the freshmen leave, now short $10. Andie is the captain of the hockey team and hopes that Cassandra and Aidan will come to her game, but they decline and study instead. Cassandra knows she is going to lose her psychic ability when she turns eighteen, so she needs to be prepared for college. Later, between studying and making out, Cassandra and Aidan talk about college and Andie's team winning the game, a little about Aidan being a wealthy orphan, and how they'll always be together, but then it's time for him to go home to his adopted parents' house. It's a school night after all.
Back to Athena and Hermes. They've finally found the goddess they were searching for, Demeter, mother of the earth. Or, at least, part of her. They're not sure which part though. As they are wasting away and filling with feathers, Demeter is being stretched thin, literally. Her body is taut like a trampoline, spread over miles and miles of the desert. With the help of an owl, they find Demeter's mouth and ask her for help. She tells them the gods are at war. Since they can kill each other now, they will, because why not? They're spread out all across the world, some not seeing each other for hundreds of years. That's at least how long Athena and Hermes have been together. Athena has been searching for others for a long time. She wants to end whatever this is that's happening to them, the twilight of the gods. Demeter suggests that Athena and Hermes find the Oracle. Maybe she'll help them, if she's forgiven them that is.
Cassandra, Aidan and Andie are relaxing and drinking around a bonfire, talking about hockey and scholarships and college when a cat fight breaks out between two girls, complete with hair pulling. They're fighting over a guy. Andie goes to break it up while Cassandra wonders why no girls ever come after Aidan. He's the best looking guy at school. Or... he was. His teeth are bleeding. His eyes are bleeding. A feather has just broken through his skin. Oh god, he's a monster!
Athena and Hermes find a bar on the outskirts of the desert. They sit with beers amongst a group of burly, flannel clad men watching a baseball game. They try to decide which prophetess they should be looking for, which one Athena had wronged in the past and who would likely still be angry at her, and then they realize it's Cassandra, who Athena once cursed to never be believed. Hopefully in her new incarnation she won't remember that. Just as they're figuring this out, the bartender and the patrons begin to melt. Their skin sloughs off, leaving fishy scales and gills and tails behind. Nereids. A bar brawl breaks out and Athena and Hermes kill all but two of the fishy creatures. One, the bartender, escapes into a nearby stream, off to the ocean to tell Poseidon everything they've been talking about. The other is pinned to the floor of the bar with a barstool. Athena looks inside the creature's mind to see a battle-crazed Poseidon eating his children. Oh great. The war that they hoped to stave off has already begun, and soon Poseidon will know they are looking for Cassandra. They have to find her first.
So... Aidan didn't have bloody feathers poking out of his face and from underneath his fingernails. Cassandra had a vision of that happening and then passed out. Her brother, Henry, drove her and Aidan back home, with Andie following behind. Cassandra, now tucked in her bed, has a dream of a handsome guy not much older than she is sleeping by the remains of a campfire. She knows him, or knew him, and liked him, or hated him. Then he's attacked by a cyclops. He kills the first one, but the second time, he's not so lucky. As Aidan is walking home, he calls to the owl he knows is following him and snaps its neck. He knows Athena wants Cassandra. He knew she did as soon as Cassandra mentioned the feathers. But Aidan will kill anyone who even gets close to Cassandra. He's been waiting for her for a long, long time.
Athena wakes from her dream where she knows something bad just happened, something quick, but can't place just what it was. Hermes sees in her eyes a determination to be the hero while he'd just like to get out of the desert and away from camping on hard ground and into a city. Can't they just let the war go? Live out the rest of their days doing whatever? No. Definitely not. Does he want the gods to get Cassandra and destroy her? No. So they have to find her. Circe's witches will probably be able to track her, so they head to Chicago. They hitch a ride with a slimy guy named George who constantly stares at Athena's chest in the rearview mirror. While on the road, Athena remembers the last time she interacted with Cassandra, but back during that war, they were on opposing sides. She remembers the stupid golden apple she competed for against Aphrodite and Hera. If only Paris had given her the apple, the Trojan War might have gone differently. Now, back to this war. Hera is probably behind everything and she probably orchestrated the trap at the bar, working with Poseidon.
They arrive in Chicago after a weird bus ride and enjoy long hot showers in a hotel before going to find Circe's witches. Circe is long dead of course, but her descendants and followers are still around, now in Chicago and working as escorts. Celine, the proprietor of the establishment, shows Athena and Hermes around. In addition to the more pleasurable side of the business, they are also witches, so of course they offer spellwork and potions and all sorts of other things to wealthy business owners. They also happen to be tending to an Old One. Odysseus.
Cassandra is still freaking out over the vision of the guy being eaten by the cyclops. She can barely eat, really, she can barely function at all. She walks to school and is late getting there, so she and Aidan skip the rest of the day. A few days later, they're at Andie's hockey game, which they're going to lose, by the way, when she has another vision. This one is also terrible. A girl with bright, silvery hair, streaked with blood, is running through a forest or jungle, being chased by massive dogs. She's not going to make it. Aidan takes Cassandra outside and asks about what she saw. When he hears, he gets visibly upset. Later, back at Cassandra's house, she describes the vision again to Andie and Henry. Aidan says the girl in the vision is his twin sister, Artemis, and then he reveals himself to be Apollo and begins to explain about the gods and goddesses and says they'll be looking for Cassandra. She knows this though. Somehow. She has another terrible vision at school the next day and sees her science teacher's head split in half by an explosion. Yikes. Don't worry, her teacher's head is fine. The actual explosion was nowhere near her.
Odysseus was always Athena's favorite warrior. Now he's an eighteen year old British guy being pleasured by three of Circe's witches. Seems fitting. He's bandaged but has been healed from his double cyclops attack. He knows that the gods are dying and joins Athena and Hermes in their quest to find Cassandra. He also knows that he's Odysseus because he drowned when he was a kid. When he was rescued, he got all the memories of his first life. Now, together, the three ask Celine and the rest of Circe's witches to join their cause and locate the prophetess. It only takes Athena getting mad, telling them to get off their asses and pulling a feather out of the roof of her mouth to convince them. After a séance, they pinpoint her location in a small town called Kincaid in New York. Maybe their luck is changing! No. No it's not. Hera arrives then, slowly turning to stone, and blows up the building. Hermes, faster than anyone can see, grabs Celine and a few other girls and jumps out the window before it explodes. Athena and Odysseus aren't far behind. Everyone else, except for Hera of course, is dead.
Andie takes Cassandra to the movies to take her mind off the explosion, but it doesn't help. She leaves in the middle and Aidan comes to find her. Cassandra feels terrible that there's nothing she can do to help and just wants the explosion to happen quickly and be done with so she doesn't have to feel helpless anymore.
Athena, Hermes, Odysseus and the few witches have run several miles away from the explosion and in the wrong direction. They split up now, Hermes taking the witches to safe houses then heading on to New York, Athena and Hermes heading to New York, just more slowly. They hitch a ride with a guy who says he'll take them pretty much all the way, so they take the opportunity to sleep, but then are jolted awake when the guy tries to throw Athena out the open door into a semi. No no no. Odysseus ends up crawling to the front seat to drive and Athena fights the guy, who is obviously lovestruck and therefore working for Aphrodite, before he throws himself out onto the highway. They've got to get away from this crime scene quick and find a new way to get to New York.
Cassandra watches news reports of the explosion and is upset because she doesn't know who or where or why any of it is happening. Later, she gets ready for a Halloween party at a friend's house. She and Aidan were meant to be Jack the Ripper and his last victim Marie Kelly, but she didn't want to have guts dangling all over the place after all her terrible visions, so Andie is corseted up as Marie and Cassandra has a bloody slashed throat instead. She notices someone behind a porcelain mask watching her, but then they're gone. A little later, the masked person comes back and takes Cassandra by the arm down into a wine cellar. Aidan is there in an instant, not happy to see Hermes at all. Aidan smashes a wine bottle to fight, but then Hermes bonks a bottle off Cassandra's head and bolts away, saying that Aidan's big sister is coming and she's not going to be happy. Cassandra, Aidan, Andie and Henry leave after that. Aidan meets up with Hermes later and they apologize for the fight, but Aidan doesn't want to join up with him and Athena. He just wants to be with Cassandra and keep her safe. Hermes says that Athena wants to keep them all safe but if he gets in their way, she won't put their safety above her own. Aidan thinks he could take Athena in a fight. The gods are dying after all, so she must be getting weak. He asks Hermes to just leave them alone, but that's not really an option.
Athena and Odysseus abandon their getaway car at a truck stop and find a ride with a trucker. He'll take them into New York. He is a good guy, which is nice, and Athena gives him her blessing, if that even works anymore. She and Odysseus rest in the sleeper cabin in the truck and make out some before Athena snaps back to herself, her virginal, warrior self. The trucker stops to change loads and they get some food and drinks and talk plans. Athena is going to stop Hera because the world doesn't need her kind of destruction. Hermes said earlier she's got her warrior cloak on again and it seems she does. Then she has a coughing fit and spits out a feather from her lungs.
The day after Halloween, Cassandra, Andie and Henry watch the news and see the bombing in Chicago, but Cassandra doesn't want to watch that. She doesn't know why Athena and Hermes blew up that building and she doesn't want to know why. Aidan arrives then, perfectly fine, and they all help Cassandra and Henry's dad rake leaves. Aidan tells Cassandra that they're going to have to leave soon, to run, so they go to his house to make a plan after the raking is finished. They decide to write notes to their families to tell them they're going on a trip for a few days to buy them some time, and they're going to take Henry's car.
When Athena and Odysseus finally make it to Kincaid, Athena is a little surprised to see that Hermes is there. She half expected him to run away, but he has a motel room and got them all new clothes. When they're all showered and dressed, Hermes says he thinks he's found Hector, Cassandra's brother, and oh yeah, Apollo is here protecting Cassandra. They talk of what happened on their way to meet Hermes, about Aphrodite sending the lovesick guy, but Hermes isn't sure that Aphrodite is really involved. She's always been nice to him and it's not like Athena is super girly or at all interested in men and love, so why would Aphrodite have anything against her? He believes Athena though. Then they talk about why Hera wanted Odysseus, and it's because he knows where the weapon is that they want to use. That weapon is Achilles.
Aidan and Cassandra are preparing to run away but then they're met by Athena, Hermes and Odysseus. Aidan and Athena fight, Aidan smashing Athena's head in with a rock. He tells Cassandra to run but she doesn't, instead she runs up to them, making them stop their fight. Athena turns back to Odysseus, asking him if he felt better after he woke up and realized who he really was (after dying, ps) and he's like kind of? and then Athena begins to choke Cassandra. She dies.
Odysseus is upset with Athena, who used to be so patient and understanding, but who also just strangled a girl to death. Athena is also upset. Upset that she's filling up with feathers and upset that Apollo doesn't seem to be dying at all. Odysseus and Hermes manage to resuscitate Cassandra and when her eyes open, Athena sees they are the thousands year old Cassandra's eyes. She's there and not there, the same and not the same. She loves Aidan and hates Apollo. She thinks of her brother, Henry, who is also Hector, and her friend Andie who is also Andromache. She struggles with having two brains in one head, but doesn't want to run anymore. Aidan apologizes to Cassandra for making a god's mistake thousands of years ago and tells her he loves her. He's going to talk to Athena, Hermes and Odysseus.
Cassandra goes back home and tells Henry and Andie that they are Hector and Andromache and that she is THE Cassandra, Cassandra of Troy. She tells them what happened and then she has a vision. In it, Hera, turning to stone, Aphrodite, covered in bruises, and Poseidon are torturing Celine to find out where they all are, guilting her into telling. Poseidon takes a huge bite out of her leg and she relents. Kincaid. Then Hera snaps her neck. Cassandra goes to tell Athena, Aidan, Hermes and Odysseus what she saw. They were talking about Artemis and Demeter and how they're all dying, everyone except Apollo, though he might be and they just don't realize it yet, then Cassandra arrives, dropped off by Henry and Andie. After she tells them about her vision, Aidan says they need to run, but where? It's not like Hera's going to give up looking for them. She blew up part of Chicago! She doesn't know when Hera, Aphrodite and Poseidon are going to kill Celine, and Hermes wonders if he can save her and the other witches, but Athena tells him it's no use. And they decide they can't run. They should make a stand. Henry and Andie rush in then, worried because Cassandra hadn't come back out yet. Athena thinks about killing them and bringing them back so they'll remember who they are so she can use them as soldiers. Cassandra slaps Athena and Athena tells them to leave. Odysseus notices Cassandra's slap left a sizzling red handprint on Athena's face, then Athena realizes that Cassandra is a weapon.
Athena goes to scout out the land to prepare for battle and Odysseus follows. He's always been so comforting to her. They decide that Kincaid is not the best place for battle, but it will have to do. Cassandra, Aidan, Henry and Andie decide they're going to run, but they're all agitated. Andie and Henry are struggling with the idea of their past lives, so Aidan picks Andie up by her throat, offering to kill her to bring back her memories. Henry rushes to his side and he puts Andie down, then they leave to pack bags. Cassandra is upset that they have to leave their parents behind but says they'll come back. They'll come back when the gods are dead, whenever that may be. She starts packing too and tells Aidan to get them some money and supplies. As he's getting ready to leave, Cassandra and Henry's parents come home, expecting help with the groceries, just like normal parents would. Cassandra was hoping to leave before they got home. She doesn't want to see them, doesn't know if she can leave them, so Aidan goes to help carry in their groceries.
Athena, Hermes and Odysseus are watching Hera blow up more buildings in Philadelphia and other cities, wondering just what she's planning with these diversions. They know she's coming. And Poseidon is coming, too, disguised as a Nor'easter. Sure, it's a weather system moving across the country, not a god and lots of sea monsters. What are they going to do? They're dying. Do they stand a chance against Hera? Athena says they need Apollo and tells Hermes to go get them all, and not to be subtle about it. He speeds out of the motel room and back very quickly, telling her that they're gone. Oh, Apollo, what have you done? They're currently driving in Henry's Mustang, heading toward Pennsylvania, wondering if their parents are looking for them yet or planning their punishments. Surely not. Cassandra and Aidan hold hands and then she falls asleep.
She wakes up when they stop at a gas station. Henry and Andie are outside of the car, talking about getting choked out by Aidan and whether or not they should do it. While waiting in line to buy their gas station snacks, Cassandra and Aidan see Hera's attacks on Philadelphia, which is of course the direction they were heading. As they run out to the car, a disheveled man approaches Cassandra and tells her "she'll have you now," and his eyes change from hazel to bright blue. Aidan says those are Aphrodite's eyes and takes the man around the corner to dispatch him. Now, on their way back to the car again, Cassandra has a vision of Hera killing her, swinging her around like a ragdoll and her head cracking on pavement. They get in the car and head back to Kincaid and Athena. Athena had been trying to track them and had just about given up when she heard a whisper from Demeter, telling them they're on their way back, but they're going the wrong way.
If almost running over a wild old lady who shambles into the middle of the street and creepily melts equals going the wrong way, then yes, they went the wrong way. Athena, Hermes and Odysseus are in a car now, racing to meet Aidan, Cassandra, Andie and Henry. They're very near a lake, which is a bad idea if Poseidon is after you, which he is. The wild old lady is a Nereid and not the only one. More ooze up onto the road and then Aphrodite is there and slams her hands into the hood of the car. Aidan gets out to fight her while Henry and Andie get out to fight more Nereids. Aidan gets hurt and Cassandra gets out to help, but then Hermes speeds up and slams into Aphrodite. She pouts and heads back toward the lake. The Nereids do too. And then shark-mouth Poseidon rises from the water, covered in barnacles and coral and shells and seaweed, completely disgusting. Everything is terrifying and then a Nereid pulls Cassandra into the water. Hermes and Aidan go in after her and she gets free, but then Poseidon grabs her. They all fight Poseidon, trying to get Cassandra free. She pulls a piece of his body away and then Aidan and Hermes catch on. They pull coral and barnacles off and seaweed veins out and eventually Cassandra is free and Poseidon is beheaded by Aidan. They come out of the water just as Athena and Odysseus arrive. It looks like they might actually be able to survive, but then Aphrodite runs up and shoves a tree branch through Aidan's chest and scurries away.
Cassandra, Athena and Hermes try to stop the bleeding. Aidan is Apollo so he'll be fine, gods don't die. But Poseidon just died. They're all slowly dying. Maybe that was Apollo's form of death, dying like a human. He tells Athena to take care of Cassandra, apologizes to Cassandra, then his light goes out. They do not have time to mourn however because Hera arrives. This is it. This is the moment Cassandra saw in her vision. Athena goes to fight Hera after some conversation of why Hera has to kill some of them in order for her to live. She's killing those that aren't her legitimate children and since Athena just popped straight out of Zeus's head, it's clear that she wasn't needed in Athena's life at all. Athena heads in to attack and Cassandra is right there with her. Hermes gives them some great advice: don't get hit.
Well, Athena does get hit, several times, but she hits back, with a tire iron. Cassandra stays away for the most part, what with her not being immortal and definitely not being able to take a stone punch. Athena's ribs are shattered and she can feel feathers pouring through her punctured lung, but she keeps fighting. And then she decides to run instead and is captured. Just when you think Hera has won, Athena hears Demeter's voice telling her not to give up. She swings upward with the tire iron and hits Hera in the face, then grabs her stone arm and pulls it away long enough for Cassandra to come in and touch Hera with her magic hands. She flies in and the three topple to the ground. Everywhere Cassandra touches Hera, she turns to stone. She's like an advanced form of the gods' own curse. Hera eventually flings her away and, just like in her vision, her head cracks against the pavement. Athena runs to check on her, Hera pretty much completely turned to stone now. Cassandra's head swivels to look at Athena and her eyes are empty like an abyss, but she blinks and they go back to normal and she's fine. The battle is over and they won.
They have a funeral for Aidan and the entire town is there, mourning a boy they thought they knew who they thought died in a car crash. After everyone is gone except for those that really knew him, Cassandra plans to go after the one that really killed him with her hands that can kill the gods. Aphrodite. Hermes and Athena think that, even though this is the death Apollo would have wanted, the death of a human hero, it's not a proper funeral for the god of the sun. Together they move the clouds and burn Apollo's casket.