THE STORY SO FAR…
Generations ago, civil strife tore the Pantheon apart. God fought God in a whirlwind of violence that destroyed the lives of thousands and turned the lands around Mount Olympus into a toxic desolation known as the Citrine Wastes.
Hera and her allies were victorious, banishing Zeus and all the male deities save for Hephaistos from the ethereal realms; dooming them to roam Tyrris until, starved of belief, they would fade from existence.
Zeus, however, refused to accept his fate. For over a hundred years, he plotted and conspired in the shadows, whispering empty vows and false promises to lure those dissatisfied with Hera’s reign to his cause. Aided by Hermes, he soon gained the support of Xenokrates, the zealous basileus of Ruxia, coercing him into forming an alliance with the tauros and invading the neighbouring city-state of Thena.
Exploiting the weakness of men is Zeus’s greatest gift. When the strategos of Thena, Dexios, loses his son, Keres, to the tauran herd, the Ruined God uses the devastated father’s grief to trick him into murdering Hades, thus breaking the barrier between the Underworld and the land of the living. Zeus then abandons Dexios to the Ruxians, leaving him to travel north to resurrect Keres and his fellow hoplites; an army of the dead able to traverse the poisonous Wastes and reclaim Olympus.
Unbeknownst to Zeus, Hades is survived by his son, Makar, who manages to escape the conquered city of Thena with a sophistes, Elena, and a priestess of Hera, Graycea. Vowing revenge on his uncle, Makar seeks entrance to Tartarus so that he can inherit his father’s place as Lord of the Underworld. The three companions travel to Eldenstar Lake, home of the Oracle, in the hope that she might guide them, only to find that she has been driven mad by the sundering of the barrier between the realms. She slits her own throat, causing Charon to appear. The ferryman recognises Makar and offers him passage to the Gates of Tartarus; two massive doors of bronze guarded by a half-man, half-dog kerberos named Kyon.
The companions best Kyon in a trial of skill and gain entrance to the Underworld where they discover that the land is in turmoil. The denizens of Erebos have been released from their shackles and are attempting to escape confinement. They are led by Ixion and his Lapiths, soldiers from a long-forgotten age. Persephone, Hades’s widow and interim ruler of Tartarus, refuses to recognise Makar’s legitimacy and orders him to leave. He disobeys, choosing instead to join the defenders on the walls.
Makar proves his worth in combat, slowly earning the begrudging respect of the kerberos, harpuia, and the Erinys, Tisiphone. Elena, however, is worried that the young ephebe may be losing his humanity as he becomes prone to increasingly violent episodes of bloodlust. She eventually discovers that part of Hades still remains inside him and that both father and son are fighting for control. Even worse, for the barrier between the realms to be restored, one of the two must cease to exist.
Kyon and Tisiphone believe that the only solution is for Makar to drink from the River Lethe and allow its waters to erase his identity. The son of Hades agrees, despite Elena’s doubts, but they are intercepted en route by Persephone, who would rather let Tyrris be overwhelmed by the shades of the dead than relinquish her hold on Tartarus. In the ensuing skirmish, Graycea is killed and Persephone imprisoned.
Yet, moments after her death, Graycea suddenly begins to breathe again. She reveals herself to be the Torch, one of the three aspects of the goddess, Hecate. The second aspect, the Snake, was the Oracle, and the third, the Key, was none other than Elena. She urges Makar not to drink the waters of Lethe as doing so will lead to the Gods incessantly repeating their cycle of internal conflict until Tyrris is destroyed. If Tartarus falls, however, the Pantheon will have no other choice but to band together against a common enemy.
Before Makar can make his decision, another Lapith assault calls him and Elena back to the walls. During a frenetic melee fought amongst the blasted rocks and magma pits of Erebos, Hades takes control once more, attacking Elena when she attempts to intervene. Her words finally manage to drag Makar’s mind back from the edge of extinction, and he plunges his tainted arm into a pool of lava, ridding himself of his father’s presence once and for all.
Meanwhile, Dexios, along with his former house slave, Makar, and the misthios, Krinne, are freed from imprisonment by his estranged wife, Melia. After liberating a group of captured Theneans from a silver mine close to the southern border, Dexios learns that the Ruxian strategos, Polydius, has betrayed his tauran allies and slaughtered them all in a gulley not far from the mine. He arrives at the site of the massacre to discover that only a single tauros has survived, B’thenna. Dexios is dissuaded from killing the tauros by Melia, who argues that they both now share a common enemy in Ruxia.
Plans are made to retake Thena from Polydius. Melia travels to Boena in search of allies while Dexios, Nambe, and Krinne cross the Sea of Scales to the isle of Atlis. Upon their arrival, it is revealed that Krinne is, in fact, the son of Faelios, the current basileus, who refuses to offer any assistance, reasoning that the Atlians must remain neutral to avoid repercussions from the winning side. Krinne invokes Ostrakismos and is banished from his polis, escorted by an honour guard of one hundred men.
Dexios now has the military strength to lay siege to Thena. Yet, in an effort to avoid more bloodshed, he decides to goad Polydius into a duel, which he eventually wins. B’thenna, hearing the voices of his dead herd clamouring for vengeance, executes the defeated Ruxian strategos with his axe.
And lastly, far to the north, Zeus travels to Lendes in search of information pertaining to the final resting place of Cerbriones, who disappeared somewhere in the Tauran plains along with an army of close to two thousand hoplites. Zeus plans to dig up whatever remains he can find in order to bolster his own undead forces.
The basileus of Lendes, believing Zeus to be the strategos Polydius, not only reveals precisely where Cerbriones’s body is located but also takes him to visit Apollo, another of the banished Gods imprisoned by the Lendians and forced through torture to fill glass globes with his essence to light the streets of the city. An enraged Zeus frees his son and kills the basileus, taking Keres and the other resurrected Theneans through the Dorias mountains and into the Wastes.
It is there, deep within that poisonous wilderness, that Hera and Zeus meet again for the first time in over a century. The Queen of the Pantheon and her daughters, Athena and Artemis, ride at the head of a thousand bronze warriors, unliving automatons known as myrmidons created by Hephaistos in an attempt to protect Olympus. Zeus, however, has one last trick up his sleeve. Artemis betrays her mother, removing the golden circlet that allows her to control the automatons and leaving her vulnerable to her husband’s punishment.
Before Zeus can exact his vengeance, a column of fire erupts from the distant slopes of Mount Olympus. Cronos, the Titan, has escaped the confines of Tartarus while the barrier was broken, digging his way up to the surface. Zeus rushes back to Olympus to confront him but is easily overpowered by his father who berates him for his tempestuous rule and reveals that he has returned to retake control of the Pantheon. Cronos believes that Zeus has allowed the humans too much independence, letting them spread unimpeded across Tyrris. He vows to enslave all those who acknowledge him as their new God.
And slaughter all those who resist.