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Dharmic Era was an event in SMITE to celebrate the introduction of Shiva and season 9's new conquest map. The story for this event takes place right after the conclusion of Odyssey: Perilous Seas's story. It began on January 25, 2022 and ended on April 19, 2022.

Description[]

Welcome to the Dharmic Era Event![]

Every 2 weeks we will release an event bundle with 4 exclusive items! On initial release the bundles will cost 900 Gems.png Gems and once the next bundle releases the previous bundle will become 1200 Gems.png Gems. Purchase 2 bundles to unlock the exclusive Honorable Hero Rama Skin, purchase 4 bundles to unlock the Unlimited Croaki Loki Skin.

Dharmic Era has a "Buy All" option which provides a discount of 62% for a total of 3600 Gems.png Gems.

Individually made purchases will discount the "Buy All" option cost by the value of the previously purchased bundle equal to 900 Gems.png Gems per previously purchased bundle.

(Purchasing 1 bundle for 900Gems.png Gems will result in the remaining three bundles costing 2700 Gems.png Gems instead of 3600Gems.png Gems)

Quests[]

Free Quests!

Every player receives 2 Codex Fragments after completing a match or going to the event page for the first time. Use the Codex Fragment to unlock a God Codex Portrait of your choosing. Complete a God Codex Portrait by filling in 3 lightning bolts when you play as that god, play against that god, or play with that god! Completing a God Codex Portrait will grant you another Codex Fragment.

Play as, play against, or play with a god three times to unlock their frame piece. Complete all nine Gods' Codex Portraits to fully unlock the final frame!

Exclusive Bonus Rewards[]

  • Unlock 2 Bundles from this event to receive the Exclusive Honorable Hero Rama skin.
  • Unlock 4 Bundles from this event to receive the Unlimited Croaki Loki skin.

Dharmic Era Cosmetic Items[]

These are the items that are available during the event. Each bundle costs 900 Gems.png Gems to unlock.

Unlocks[]

Prototype 2.0
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Charybdis Prototype20 Icon.png God Skin January 25, 2022 An exclusive skin for Charybdis. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Bone Wraith
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Kukulkan BoneWraith Icon.png God Skin January 25, 2022 An exclusive skin for Kukulkan. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Bone Wraith
Icon Type Release Date Description
LoadingBG BoneWraith.png Loading Screen January 25, 2022 An exclusive Loading screen.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Prototype 2.0
Icon Type Release Date Description
Avatar CutesyCharybdisPrototype.png Avatar January 25, 2022 An exclusive Avatar.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Xeno Weaver
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Arachne XenoWeaver Icon.png God Skin February 8, 2022 An exclusive skin for Arachne. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Malware Mercenary
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Osiris MalwareMercenary Icon.png God Skin February 8, 2022 An exclusive skin for Osiris. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Xeno Weaver
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Arachne XenoWeaver Icon.png Announcer Pack February 8, 2022 An exclusive Announcer Pack.
Discoveries
Story

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Spiders!
Icon Type Release Date Description
JumpStamp Spiderweb.png Jump Stamp February 8, 2022 An exclusive Jump Stamp.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Oni Huntress
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Artemis OniHuntress Icon.png God Skin February 22, 2022 An exclusive skin for Artemis. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Crystalline Chaos
Icon Type Release Date Description
T NuWa CrystallineChaos Icon.png God Skin February 22, 2022 An exclusive skin for Nu Wa. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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The Dharmic Era
Icon Type Release Date Description
MusicTheme TheDharmicEra.png Music Theme February 22, 2022 An exclusive Music Theme.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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The Dharmic Era
Icon Type Release Date Description
LoadingBG TheDharmicEra.png Loading Screen February 22, 2022 An exclusive Loading Screen.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Molten Doom
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Kuzenbo MoltenDoom Icon.png God Skin March 8, 2022 An exclusive skin for Kuzenbo. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Baked Perfection
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Awilix BakedPerfection Icon.png God Skin March 8, 2022 An exclusive skin for Awilix. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Cat Loaf
Icon Type Release Date Description
Emote CatLoaf.png Global Emote March 8, 2022 An exclusive Global Emote.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Cat Loaf
Icon Type Release Date Description
Recall CatLoaf.png Recall Skin March 8, 2022 An exclusive Recall Skin.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Collection Rewards[]

These items are bonus rewards for purchasing a certain amount of bundles in the event.

Honorable Hero
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Rama HonorableHero Icon.png God Skin January 25, 2022 An Exclusive skin for Rama. Granted for obtaining 2 bundles. It has custom animations and ability effects.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Croaki
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Loki Croaki Icon.png God Skin January 25, 2022 An Unlimited skin for Loki. Granted for obtaining 4 bundles. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Lore[]

Chapter 1 - Dance of Destruction[]

The stars were falling. Or maybe it was the whole of the sky, sliding into the sea. Gilgamesh couldn't be sure. Either way, it wasn't a good sign. He turned away from the opening in the roof of Tiamat's temple-palace and looked at Neith. "Something has changed," he said.

"No. This has been coming for some time. The world is a [sic]

"What now?" Merlin asked. His voice sounded small in the stultifying silence that followed the end of everything. He looked at Atlas. Freed of his burden, the Titan had made himself comfortable. He met Merlin's gaze with a lazy smile.

"Now? Nothing, save watch the cosmic sea roll in." Atlas stretched and leaned back against a rock with his hands clasped behind his head. "I don't know about you, but I'm interested to see what happens when it reaches us."

"You will drown," Tiamat rumbled, her gaze on the heavens. "Everything that is will drown. Except for me."

"Isn't that what you wanted?" Atlas asked. "For the great sea to swallow all of creation, so that you might attempt to pull something new from the black waters?"

"Attempt?" Merlin asked. He'd never considered the possibility that Tiamat might fail. It had seemed a foregone conclusion. But if she failed—what then?

"I will do it," Tiamat said. Merlin looked askance at her. Was that a note of doubt in her voice? Even a single moment of weakness could spell disaster.

"Perhaps." Atlas stretched again—he seemed to take inordinate pleasure in so simple an action, Merlin thought—and continued, "Or perhaps you are beginning to think about what I said earlier. That what comes next might not be what you imagined, or to your liking."

Tiamat turned and fixed the Titan with a glare. "No. I am merely impatient to see it done. I do not like this waiting. Where is the deluge I was promised?"

Atlas gestured airily. "Somewhere out there, racing inwards from the edges of existence. I told you—time was first, then the stars and finally, us. When the moment comes, only the strong will be able to avoid the undertow."

Merlin frowned. "Are you certain of that?"

Atlas glanced at him. "A little late to be asking me that, don't you think?"

Merlin turned away, searching for the familiar figure of Cliodna. [sic] The Banshee Queen stood some distance away, watching. Waiting—but for what? But in truth, he knew the answer to that. Just as he'd known what he must do the moment he'd allied himself with Tiamat. He looked down at his hands. His fingers curled into fists, and he felt the corresponding pull of his magics.

He glanced at Tiamat and wondered whether he was strong enough to survive, and to do what must be done. He had defeated Jormungandr. He could defeat Tiamat.

He had to.

He closed his eyes and thought of Camelot. Of Arthur. Of Morgan and the rest. All those he had known, and not just in one life. Magic sparked, danced about his fists. He opened his eyes—and found Tiamat looking down at him.

Amusement glittered in her eyes. "I wondered if you would be brave enough to try," she said in a soft growl. "Or perhaps foolish is a better word."

"Courage and common sense are often at odds," he said.

"You do not have the strength to resist the tide, Merlin. None do, save myself."

"I have survived the ending of the world before. I can do so again."

"But this is not about survival—it is about what comes after. Do you have the strength to rise above the waters and to wrest life from the abyss? To recreate that which will be destroyed?" She circled him, her crackling wings beating slowly against the still air. "Is your mind and body up to such a task?"

Merlin met her gaze. "We shall see, won't we?" he said, though the words tasted like ashes on his lips. This was madness. And yet, he could not stop himself. He had forced himself to the edge, but he refused to jump—not without one last attempt to correct his greatest mistake.

Tiamat dropped heavily to the ground, her claws digging into the rock. "I knew, even as you made your offer of aid, that this is how it would end. Morgan is more like you than she admits, though she fears me too much to attempt such treachery. But you—you stand at the precipice of eternity and see only opportunity." She reared up. "In another place, in another time, I think I would have liked your very much, Merlin."

Merlin gestured and a mystic shield shimmered into being before him. "And I you, Tiamat. But here and now, we have come to the end of our alliance. For the good of all things, I must—"

His declaration was interrupted by the hiss of displaced air as a shimmering portal opened nearby. He and Tiamat turned as a number of familiar figures stepped through. "See? I knew it," Morgan Le Fay crowed, as she waved the portal closed. "I knew he was up to something. Probably planning to usurp Tiamat's power of some such nonsense."

Merlin took a step back. "Morgan? What are you doing here?" His eyes widened as he recognized her companions. Gilgamesh, Bellona, Mulan, Persephone and—"Arthur?" he whispered. His hands dropped, and his shield faded to nothing. "Why have you come?"

"To do what you taught me to do." Arthur stared at him coldly. "I will not let the world die for your pride, or hers." He glanced at Tiamat. "Perhaps it is broken; but it can still be saved. We will save it."

"My brother king speaks correctly," Gilgamesh said, stepping past Arthur. "The world does not have to end this way. Not in ignominy and deceit."

"You are too late," Tiamat snarled. "The Titan has cast aside his burden. Existence crumbles. Soon there will be only the sea—and me." She rose to her full height, wings spread. "As it once was, so shall it be again. All mistakes washed away—a clean slate, its surface etched only by my claw and no other." She held up a talon for emphasis.

"But it does not have to be that way," Persephone said. "You do not have to do it alone. Let us help!" She extended a hand. "I too once thought that only I could save the world, but I was wrong. And the world paid the price for my hubris. But we have a chance now to set things right, not by starting over—but by starting fresh."

Merlin shook his head and looked at Arthur. "Arthur, this is the only way. The gods cannot be trusted to set the world on its proper course. I have lived through the end of all things before, and I have seen them make the same mistakes over and over again. We must take a different path this time..."

"A path you have kindly chosen for us," Morgan said. "Because you know best. Isn't that right, Merlin?"

Merlin shot her a glare. "I thought we'd agreed on what must be done."

Morgan slimed. "But not on who was to be the one to do it. That's why you left without me, isn't it?"

"I couldn't trust you," Merlin said. "Not with this. You can't help yourself—you'd have tried to take advantage of the situation, and condemned us all."

"And what about me?" Arthur asked. "Could you not trust me?"

Merlin looked away. "No. Because you would have tried to stop me." He glanced at Atlas and saw that the Titan was watching them with a look of amusement on his face. "I know what must be done, Arthur. You will thank me, in the end."

Tiamat gave a low, savage laugh. "I think not." She prowled around the group, her tail lashing like that of an enraged tiger. "You will all be swept away like the motes you are. It is coming. Can you feel it?"

Merlin could. The air had grown heavy—damp. But not the damp of a coming rain, but something more portentous. It was as if the air itself were weeping. The colors of the sky had grown muddy and muted, the sun resembled a blotch of dried blood. A persistent tremor ran through the stones beneath his feet; the world was shuddering in its death-throes. From somewhere at once far away and all too close, he heard the keening wail of the banshee, singing creation to its grave.

"Too late," Tiamat rumbled. She tore up a clump of stone and it ran through her talons like wet sand. "See?" The cosmic waters rise, and creation crumbles back into its base components. You will be swallowed by the abyss, and will trouble me no more."

Gilgamesh looked up at her. "Maybe. But I think after a while, you'll long for companionship as you once did. And then what, oh mighty Tiamat? Will you raise up a new race of gods to replace the old ones?"

Tiamat's eyes narrowed. "Maybe. What does it matter?"

Bellona pointed at her. "It matters, because soon enough you will have the same problem as before, if what Gilgamesh says is true. They will rebel against your tyranny and there will be war as in ages past. Maybe you will triumph this time—but maybe not. And what then? The cycle will begin anew and you will be right back where you started, imprisoned, or worse. Is that what you want?"

"I—no. Quiet. You are distracting me." Tiamat shook her head. "I will not doubt myself. I know what I must do to fix things, and I will not be swayed from it. I created this world and I will save it, whatever the cost."

The tremors were growing more pronounced. Merlin could hear a great roaring, echoing up from beneath the earth, as if the core of the world were collapsing in on itself. The sky dripped with molten light; the sun was a streak now, a red gash across the firmament. The air twisted in on itself, dying in his lungs.

The time to act was now—or never. Cliodna's [sic] wailing song rose and his determination rose with it. "Let it be now," he murmured. He raised his hands. The dragon was distracted, her attentions fixed on Gilgamesh. He would have no better opportunity to—

"No."

A single word, accompanied by the soft hiss of a sword clearing its scabbard. Merlin froze. Excalibur's edge rested against his throat. "Arthur...?" he began.

Arthur's gaze was serene. Guileless. For the first time since Jormungandr had laid waste to Camelot, Arthur was the man Merlin remembered. The boy he had taught. The warrior he had guided. "Not this way, Merlin. Not like this."

"The world...Camelot..." Merlin said.

"If it must be done, let it be done well. Not through treachery, or force of arms." Arthur sheathed his sword and looked at Morgan, who stood nearby. Merlin almost smiled. She looked...worried. But there was something of his old student there as well. There was worry, yes, but also hope. Arthur had always been good at getting people to hope. Merlin felt a swell of pride for the man before him.

Arthur raised his voice. "Only by standing together, by matching our courage against the dark, can we bring this world back into the light."

"He is right," Mulan said, joining Gilgamesh in looking up at Tiamat. "You cannot do it alone, Tiamat. The burden is too much. It is too heavy for any one god."

"Let us help," Persephone said, standing beside Mulan. "You wanted us to trust you. But trust goes both ways. The world cycle must be repaired. We are all of one mind in this. Let us be of one pantheon as well, if only for today."

Tiamat looked down at them in silence. Merlin caught her eye and she stiffened. "Merlin said much the same, yet he intended treachery. And you, Persephone—Morgan. You allied yourselves with me, but here I find you in the company of my enemies. How can I trust any of you?" She reared up, wings flaring. "One pantheon is it?" Rather, let us say a pantheon of one—me."

Atlas cleared his throat. The sound reminded Merlin of thunder. Tiamat turned. The Titan spread his hands. "One back, to bear the burden of eternity," he said. "Sounds somewhat familiar."

"Do you wish to challenge me as well, Titan?" Tiamat snarled. Atlas shook his head.

"Me? No. But someone is coming who might." He pointed up, into the rolling sky. Merlin looked up and his eyes widened. A rain of flower petals fell down from the heaven clouds. The swirled about, more and more of them, until Merlin could see nothing save the petals. Cliodna's [sic] song pounded in his ears—the rhythm of it had changed; it was no longer a warning of death. Rather, it was a song of annihilation.

The flower petals settled on the ground. Something—someone—stepped through them. No, not stepped. Danced.

A dance of destruction. Wild and furious.

Merlin staggered back from the blaze of light that erupted from the newcomer. He saw that the others were similarly off-balance, even Tiamat. Whatever she had expected, it wasn't this. Merlin tried to see past the light, to discern the shape of the being who'd appeared. All he could make out were the fierce, jagged movements of the dance—and the effect they had on the world itself.

The ground heaved. The sky descended, as if to meet the rising earth. The sun flickered and came apart in motes of bloody light. Cliodna's [sic] voice rose, threatening to deafen Merlin, before going silent all at once. Flower petals spun through the raging air.

The world ended as a god danced.

Chapter 2 - Dance of Creation[]

The Destroyer danced, and existence unraveled, one atom at a time. Time stilled. The stars flickered and were snuffed. Far worlds crumbled into cosmic debris, to be swept away by the black seas of eternity as they converged on the universe's centre, incomprehensible and inescapable. At the heart of existence, the world sang out its death-cry.

On Atlas' mountain, Gilgamesh watched, frozen, as a strange goddess shimmered into view, her skeletal features taut as she gave voice to the wail of the world's ending. The light of the newcomer's arrival seemed to set her ablaze – as if she burned with the world. She held up her hands – in protest? In welcome? He could not say – but the dancer did not cease his graceful movements.

The song he danced to was an incomprehensible roar to Gilgamesh's ears. Like the crash of surf against rock, but doubled and redoubled beyond all endurance. A thunder that echoed out of time's heart, shattering the fragile glass world caught in its path. He could feel that thunder pulsing through the rock beneath his feet, reducing the mountain to dust and memory. It was a slow-motion collapse; so slow that his balance suffered not at all. One moment, he stood on rock, and the next...sand. Then, nothing at all.

But he was not falling. None of them were. It was as if being so close to the epicenter had spared them being consumed – at least, immediately. He looked down at his hands and saw that they were coming apart like dust on the wind. Their substance was being torn apart as slowly but as surely as that of the world around them.

Beneath the all-consuming roar, he could hear the voices of his gods, crying out. And not just them. It was as if the voices of every inhabitant of the world, mortal and divine alike, sang out in unison. Their voices joined that of the skeletal goddess, and her song became theirs and was subsumed by the roaring cacophony of destruction.

The Destroyer danced, picking up speed. Gilgamesh felt Tiamat force herself past him. She sprang into the arc of the dance, into the heart of the light. Was she trying to stop it – or join it? He did not know, but something told him either way that she could not accomplish it alone. He stretched out his hand and caught at the glimmering flash of scales. Nor was he the only one. Persephone, Merlin and the others were there as well, all moving with him as if they'd all had the same thought in the same moment. Maybe they had. He could feel them, even as he felt Tiamat. A great mingling, even as their very beings unraveled into motes of light and shadow.

Through them, he could feel Tiamat attempting to grapple with the forces the newcomer – Shiva, someone whispered; Merlin, perhaps, or maybe Atlas – had unleashed. But it was too much, too fast. Like sand, it slipped through her claws and he heard her roar of frustration echo out across infinity. If Shiva heard, he gave no sign. The dance of unmaking continued and Tiamat screamed in fury as it began to consume her. She was drowning in the very sea she had roused. He felt her frustration, her disbelief and it was echoed by his own. So stubborn. So foolish. All of them had been so foolish.

Perhaps it was better this way. To be unmade and let whoever came after try again. Maybe they would get it right. But even as the thought occurred to him, he cast it aside. Surrender was anathema to him. He was a king. The first king. And he would not surrender to oblivion without a fight.

He felt a similar determination from Arthur, Bellona and the others. It strengthened his own and he cried out, trying to get Tiamat's attention. But she ignored them; or maybe she simply couldn't hear them over the sound of her own fury. Then – a light. A burst of something, or maybe it was the idea of something – a memory of lightning and starlight; of hoarfrost and thunder and a fire as old as time. He felt new presences in the chaos. The gods were not going gentle into the night.

He heard the roar of Zeus' lightning, and Odin's guttural war-cry. He felt the rumble of the earth as Terra and Geb flung the last of their strength against the devouring ocean, and the crash of Jormungandr's scales as the great serpent coiled about what remained of the world, holding it together for an instant longer.

Amaterasu's blade joined that of Tsukuyomi, darting against the tide. Chaac's thunder mingled that of Thor, as Yemoja's waters met the incoming tide in a great cascade. The gods of every pantheon were here, in some form or another, lending their strength to the cause. He saw a shadow that might have been Neith stride through the chaos, hand outstretched. Behind her came a flickering outline of starlight – Olorun. They called out as one – one pantheon, one voice.

Tiamat.

Tiamat flinched. Turned.

Gilgamesh felt Persephone's hand on his shoulder, and heard her whisper, Now. Strike now. But he knew that she did not mean to strike with his sword or fist, but rather his words. “Tiamat, you do not face the end alone – not this time,” he cried out. “We are here and we will face the end with you. If this thing can be done, it must be by all of us together.”

For what felt like an eternity, Tiamat stared at him. At them. He felt her mistrust. Her fear. She had trusted the gods once before and been betrayed. But it was different now. It had to be. For all their sakes.

Together, then,” she growled, at last. She threw back her head and roared, and Gilgamesh joined his voice to hers. The gods cried out as one, and the sound met the abyssal roar of the cosmic sea – and for an instant, drowned it out. A cry, not of fear or hate, but of defiance. Of promise and intent. A song of creation, as had been sung by Tiamat herself in the dim, first days before man or god existed.

At the sound of it, Shiva slowed his dance, and finally...stopped. Tiamat turned, and Gilgamesh joined her. Shiva stood, staring up at the abyssal emptiness above. He glanced at them, smiled and – without a word – started a new dance.

Gilgamesh felt light-headed. The voices of the gods fell silent one by one, as if something were snatching them away. Soon, only he and Tiamat remained. But the dance continued. It was more graceful than the first and beautiful rather than terrifying. He felt strangely calm as he watched Shiva move. “What…?” he began.

“A dance of creation,” a familiar voice said. Gilgamesh turned. Olorun stood behind him, and with him, Neith and Atlas as well. Tiamat glanced at them, seemingly unsurprised by their presence. There were others as well, but Gilgamesh could only dimly perceive them. Even so, he knew them for the oldest gods, the ones who had seen more than one revolution of the wheel. “The dance of destruction is always followed by that of creation. A new world rises from the ashes of the old. Or so it was explained to me by a curious fellow with the head of an elephant.” Olorun flexed his hands. “I can feel new stars burning in the heavens. I feel stronger than I have in ages.”

“New stars, new worlds,” Tiamat rumbled. “The sea recedes and buried seeds sprout anew. Even as it was the first time.”

“Will it be the same as it was?” Gilgamesh asked. “Will the others be as they were?

That depends,” Olorun said. “I left the stars in order to fix what I thought to be broken. But the longer I stayed, the more I came to realize that I could not.” He looked up at Tiamat. “None of us could. Not alone.”

“The fate of this world does not rest in the hand of a single god or goddess,” Neith said. Her eyes were on Shiva, but her words were meant for all of the gathered gods. “It has always been a shared duty, and one we have forsaken for far too long. But now, we have a chance to set the wheel once more onto its proper course.” She looked at Tiamat. “If we can put aside the past, and act as one.”

Tiamat looked away. “I am tired of war, but where there are gods there will always be conflict. They – you – are petty things, and you indulge your whims too easily. Why should I build a new world, just to watch you destroy it all over again?”

Gilgamesh cleared his throat. “Because, oh Glistening One, this time you will be there to ensure that they do not. And so will I. Gods like Arthur and Mulan – even those like Merlin – will strive to ensure that the balance is maintained, and that no great threat is left unmet. And mark me, there will be threats…a new world will bring new dangers. New enemies, new gods.” He paused and smiled. “New stories, even. But together, we can ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated in this turn of the cycle.”

Atlas laughed and spoke up for the first time. “Yes, why not make some new mistakes for a change?

Tiamat gave a rumbling chuckle and looked down at Gilgamesh. “A new world, one where all gods have their place, including myself. It will be crowded.

”Chaotic,” Neith said, smiling. “The strands of fate will grow tangled as new destinies emerge.” Her gaze flicked to Gilgamesh. “What was once predetermined will no longer be certain. What was once impossible might yet be.”

Gilgamesh nodded. “It will be interesting, if nothing else.” He looked at the others. “What are we waiting for, then? Let's get on with it.”

It is already done,” Shiva said, as he came to a halt before Gilgamesh. The air gave a sudden ripple, and before Gilgamesh's astonished eyes Tiamat and the others wavered like mirages and vanished. All save towering Atlas.

“Where did they…?” he began.

“To their proper places,” Shiva said. “As you must go.

Gilgamesh hesitated. “Did we make the right choice?”

Shiva smiled. “Go home, King Gilgamesh. A new future awaits.”

Shiva gestured, and Gilgamesh wavered and vanished as the others had. He paused for a moment, then turned. Behind him, the plateau was much as it had been before Atlas had set aside his burden. The Titan crouched before him, weighed down once more by the heavens. Shiva looked up at him, frowning. “It does not have to be this way, you know.”

"You know that it does,” Atlas said, looking down at him. He smiled grimly. “I am used to it.” He shifted his weight, adjusting his burden slightly. “Even so, it might be that I am able to set it aside every so often in the future. Who can say? After all, a new world brings with it new possibilities.”

“Yes. That is largely the point.” Shiva waved his hand and a tsunami of flower petals rose about them, cascading upwards and outwards. As they billowed, they revealed images of other places. In one, Zeus sat upon the throne of a restored Olympus, Hera by his side. In another, Odin threw open the doors of Valhalla as Ratatoskr whispered something in his ear. He saw Set clash with Horus somewhere along the Nile, and Bellona pursue a cackling Discordia through the corridors of an ancient temple. Hades and Persephone sat side by side in the underworld, and Baron Samedi strode whistling through an ancient burying ground.

The flowers swirled faster, revealing more of this new, but familiar world. Shiva saw a chicken-legged hut stalk through a dark forest, while inside two witches – Baba Yaga and Morgan Le Fay – discussed some point of magic. He saw Arthur and Merlin standing in an audience chamber before an immense circular table. They seemed as if they were waiting for someone. Far to the east, Mulan sparred with Sun Wukong amid a cherry grove, while Guan Yu watched in approval. Farther still, Tiamat reclined in her temple as Gilgamesh respectfully requested an audience with her.

The flowers rippled and parted, revealing a clash between Tsukuyomi and Susano. Moonlight flared as the two gods met in the center of a surging river. The flowers spun again and again. Shiva saw Olorun call down the light of the stars to illuminate his path through a deep cavern, as above, the crouching upside down shape of Camazotz watched. He saw the oceans froth and Charybdis rise to confront Kuzenbo, the king of all kappa.

Shiva gestured and the flower petals stilled. “Well?” Atlas asked. “What do you think? It seems as if all is as it was to me.”

Shiva pondered the question. The gods would clash, as they always had. It was in their nature. But perhaps the little fires of conflict would not grow into an impossible conflagration as they had so many times before. There were those who would work to ensure it – including himself. But even so, there was no way to predict what the future held.

"I think...we shall have to wait and see.” Shiva looked up at the Titan and smiled. “Whatever comes next will be interesting, if nothing else.”

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