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Hope Reborn was an event in SMITE made for the introduction of Ix Chel. It begins right after the conclusion of Magic: The Gathering Event's story. It began on March 28, 2023 and ended on July 11, 2023.

Description[ | ]

Welcome to the Hope Reborn Event![ | ]

There will be 3 chapters in this event spanning over 3 updates. Each chapter has a chest containing 5 Skins and a Cosmetic Bundle.

On release of a new chapter, there will be an initial discount. Once the next chapter releases, the discount will no longer be available.

You can either roll the chapter chest or directly purchase the skin you desire in the store.

Quests[ | ]

Purchasing ANY item from a chapter will unlock that chapter's quests which reward Gems.

Unlimited Chapter Rewards[ | ]

In order to obtain the unlimited chapter reward, you will have to unlock every item in that chapter.

Unlimited Collection Reward[ | ]

Unlock all items from ALL 3 chapter chest to receive the Unlimited Aphrodite Skin!

Hope Reborn Cosmetic Items[ | ]

These are the items that are available during the event. Items are bound to Chapter themed chests. Upon rolling the chest, the player will randomly receive one of the 5 items.

These are the chests currently available:

Unlocks[ | ]

God Skins[ | ]

Business Dog
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Anubis BusinessDog Icon God Skin March 28, 2023 An exclusive skin for Anubis. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Annihilator
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Martichoras Annihilator Icon God Skin March 28, 2023 An exclusive skin for Martichoras. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Fenrawr XD
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Fenrir FenrawrXD Icon God Skin March 28, 2023 An exclusive skin for Fenrir. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Voidsworn
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Surtr Voidsworn Icon God Skin March 28, 2023 An exclusive skin for Surtr. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Cryomech
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Ymir Cryomech Icon God Skin March 28, 2023 An exclusive skin for Ymir. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Hope Bundle[ | ]

Voidsworn
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Surtr Voidsworn Icon Announcer Pack March 28, 2023 An exclusive announcer pack.
Discoveries
Story

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Cottage Flame
Icon Type Release Date Description
GlobalEmote Cottage Flame Global Emote March 28, 2023 An exclusive global emote.
Discoveries
Story

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God Skins[ | ]

Mischief Maker
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Charybdis MischiefMaker Icon God Skin April 18, 2023 An exclusive skin for Charybdis. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Oni Adventurer
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Athena OniAdventurer Icon God Skin April 18, 2023 An exclusive skin for Athena. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Spectral Shifter
Icon Type Release Date Description
T The Morrigan Spectral Shifter Icon God Skin April 18, 2023 An exclusive skin for The Morrigan. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Dream Eater
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Camazotz DreamEater Icon God Skin May 2, 2023 An exclusive skin for Camazotz. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Vampetrify
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Medusa Vampetrify Icon God Skin May 2, 2023 An exclusive skin for Medusa. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Dream Bundle[ | ]

Smug Cat
Icon Type Release Date Description
GlobalEmote Smug Cat Global Emote May 2, 2023 A Global Emote.
Discoveries
Story

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Hope Reborn
Icon Type Release Date Description
LoadingFrame Hope Reborn LoadingFrame May 2, 2023 A Loading frame.
Discoveries
Story

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God Skins[ | ]

Shackled Souls
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Ares ShackledSouls Icon God Skin May 16, 2023 An exclusive skin for Ares. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

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Demon Dasher
Icon Type Release Date Description
T NeZha DemonDasher Icon God Skin May 16, 2023 An exclusive skin for Ne Zha. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Twisted Jester
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Thoth TwistedJester Icon God Skin May 16, 2023 An exclusive skin for Thoth. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Cosmic Traveler
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Cliodhna CosmicTraveler Icon God Skin May 30, 2023 An exclusive skin for Cliodhna. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Chop Chop
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Osiris ChopChop Icon God Skin May 30, 2023 An exclusive skin for Osiris. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Aspire Bundle[ | ]

Hope Reborn
Icon Type Release Date Description
File:T HopeReborn Icon.png Music Pack May 30, 2023 A Music pack.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Striking Archon
Icon Type Release Date Description
Avatar StrikingArchon Avatar May 30, 2023 An avatar.
Discoveries
Story

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Chapter Reward[ | ]

Elven Enchanter
Icon Type Release Date Description
T MorganLeFay ElvenEnchanter Icon God Skin March 28, 2023 An Unlimited skin for Morgan Le Fay. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Meowi
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Maui Meowi Icon God Skin April 18, 2023 An Unlimited skin for Maui. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Striking Archon
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Ishtar StrikingArchon Icon God Skin May 16, 2023 An Unlimited skin for Ishtar. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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Collection Reward[ | ]

Leading Lady
Icon Type Release Date Description
T Aphrodite LeadingLady Icon God Skin March 28, 2023 An Unlimited skin for Aphrodite. It has custom animations and ability effects, and custom voicelines. Also comes with a Jump Stamp and a Recall Skin.
Discoveries
Story

Video

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List of quests[ | ]

At least one item from a chapter has to be purchased to unlock that chapters quests. The player is able to earn 100 Gems per chapter by completing both quests.

Hope
"Hope is needed as monsters traverse the earth and ravage everything."
Chapter 1 Hope Reborn lore teaser
Requirement
Play 2 Arena Matches.
Reward
50 Gems
Chapter 1 Hope Reborn lore teaser
Requirement
Get 60 Kills and Assists.
Reward
50 Gems

Dream
"Dreams are woven when a light weaves new hope as she descends from the Mayan lands."
Chapter 2 Hope Reborn lore teaser
Requirement
Deal 50,000 Player Damage.
Reward
50 Gems
Chapter 2 Hope Reborn lore teaser
Requirement
Earn 60,000 Gold.
Reward
50 Gems

Aspire
"The monsters aspire to defeat all gods, even though hope was brought anew."
Chapter 3 Hope Reborn lore teaser
Requirement
Get 2 Wins of the Day!
Reward
50 Gems
Chapter 3 Hope Reborn lore teaser
Requirement
Get 50 Kills and Assists.
Reward
50 Gems

Lore[ | ]

Ray of Hope[ | ]

Maui stepped into the heart of the volcano and the heat beat against his flesh. Despite the searing red glow cast up by the roiling magma, he could see his hosts clearly. Pele waited front and center, sitting atop a throne made from molten rock. Beside her stood Vulcan, looking as pugnacious as Maui recalled from their last meeting. But they were not alone. Above them, looming atop a blackened ledge of stone, stood Odin the Allfather. Near him stood Zeus; the King of Olympus glowered down at Maui as if the latter had done something to personally offend him. A jade glow to his left signalled the presence of Yu Huang, his hands held behind his back and a contemplative look upon his face. And to his right, the celestial radiance of Olorun. Maui felt a flicker of trepidation at the sight of so many divine rulers, but he swiftly quashed it and put on a wide smile.

“So. You called and I came.”

The summons had been a surprise. It wasn’t often that Pele called his name. Mostly she wanted nothing to do with him, if she could help it. And if she’d allowed these others into her sanctum, he judged it must be important. That didn’t bode well, but he was curious as to what it was all about.

He cleared his throat. “I trust I have done nothing to offend anyone here? No? Good.”

He settled his hook onto his shoulder. “Then why am I here? Discordia up to her old tricks?”

Pele and Vulcan glanced at one another, but it was Olorun who spoke. “No. Not Discordia. Though it is because of how you dealt with her that Lady Pele suggested we call upon you as the solution to the problem before us.”

“And that problem is?” “Something new – or perhaps something old,” Olorun said.

Maui frowned. “Which one is it?”

“Both and neither,” Odin said.

His good eye flashed with cold fire as he studied Maui.

“Are we certain this is the one?” Zeus asked. “He’s not even a proper god!”

“Neither was I, once,” Yu Huang said, pointedly. “A good point, though,”

Vulcan rumbled. “He’s not a warrior, either.” He tugged on his beard. “What does he know of honest battle?”

“Perhaps it is not a warrior that is needed here,” Yu Huang persisted. He looked up at Odin. The others did as well. The Allfather of the Norse pantheon, for his part, was still peering at Maui – as if trying to determine what, exactly, he was looking at. Maui, suddenly uncomfortable, looked at Pele, hoping for some explanation. “I still don’t know why I’m here, great lady – not that I mind, you understand. But I was in the middle of something when your summons reached me…” “Some mischief, no doubt,” Pele murmured, with a slight smile. Maui shrugged. In reality, he’d been up to nothing at all. He’d been bored, in fact. That was why he’d responded so swiftly.

If nothing else, Pele’s summons had promised to be interesting. “One person’s mischief is another person’s honest fun,” he said.

“Spoken like a true trickster,” Olorun said. “I think he’ll do.”

“You would say that,” Zeus growled. He looked at the others. “This is madness. Worse – idiocy. Let Athena or Ares take up the task. They are more than capable -”

“They would fail,” Odin interrupted. “As would Thor, or Horus, or Mulan. As Bellona did. Warriors will not win this day.”

“Indeed,” Yu Huang said. “It is war we are trying to prevent.”

Maui studied them as they spoke. Zeus was angry; Odin, pensive; Olorun, considering; Yu Huang, serene. He looked at Pele, and in her eyes, he read concern.

“What war is this?” he asked, aloud. “Only it seems to me I just got done preventing one.”

“And it was well done,” Yu Huang said. “But is different. The fire that is coming has been denied for so long that if it is allowed to spread it will engulf us all. Even those normally above such terrestrial matters.”

He glanced at Olorun as he spoke. The latter crossed his arms and looked up at Zeus and Odin.

“You were warned what might happen when you came up with this plan,” he said. “Tiamat said this might happen, and I agreed with her. Binding Surtr is not the answer.”

Zeus blustered in protest, but Odin, a grim look on his face, nodded. “Aye. You did warn us, you and the dragon-queen, but still, I would do it again come to it.”

Odin looked at Maui, and his sole eye narrowed. “Even so, Yu Huang is right…things have changed. Surtr is not as he was; or, rather, he is all that and more. Attacking him head on will only feed his conflagration. We must wage a different sort of war, if we are to repair what has been broken. Or so the runes insist.”

Zeus threw up his hands in apparent disgust. “Runes, always runes. What do runes know about anything?”

“More than you, I suspect,” Olorun said.

Zeus growled and clenched his fists. Sparks of lightning danced across his knuckles. Olorun turned to face him, his jaw set. Maui sensed no love lost between the two. The rumor was that Zeus bore Olorun some grudge, but no one could fathom why and neither of them was telling. He raised his hand, catching their attentions.

“Who’s Surtr?” he asked. “And why are we attacking him? Or should I say you, for, as you have pointed out, I’m not the warrior-type. In fact, I can’t think of anything I’d like less than to go to war – especially with someone who’s done me no particular wrong.” “Surtr will do us all wrong, if he is given the chance,” Zeus said, bluntly.

He crossed his arms and glared at the others. “He will bring an end to all that we have built in this turn of the wheel, if he is left to his own devices. I will not allow that. If I must confront him myself, with the full might of Olympus at my back, I will.”

“We cannot, and you know it,” Yu Huang said, sharply. “To confront him in our full fury is to set the wheels of Ragnarok in motion once more. That is why we choose champions to face him. Five gods, to represent the pantheons.”

“Except this time, they failed,” Zeus said. He looked at Maui. “And this…trickster, is your answer. Surtr is not Discordia, to be undone by a child’s prank. Or Tiamat, to be bargained with.”

Maui sighed. He still wasn’t sure who Surtr was, but he was liking what he was hearing less and less.

“Then find someone else,” he said, bluntly. “I don’t know what you expect of me, but I do know I have better things to do than listen to you all argue about matters that clearly don’t concern me.”

He made as if to leave, but suddenly – he was somewhere else. Snow spun about him, and he found himself standing on a rugged slope. Fir trees rose like green towers above him, and far below he could see the winking lights of a mortal village. He turned to see Odin studying him. “What is this? Where are we?”

“The lands of my worshippers,” Odin said, joining him.

“I thought it would be more productive to speak to you alone – god to god, as it were.”

Maui grinned. “Somehow I do not think your companions will approve of you whisking us away for a private chat.”

Odin smiled and tapped the side of his nose. “They almost never do. But you want answers and you won’t get them while Zeus blusters and the others hedge about.”

He sighed. “It is because they are afraid. They see the end coming, and scramble to avoid it. But we Norse know better than most that endings cannot be avoided – only delayed.”

“And this Surtr is an ending?”

Odin held out his hand, and Maui saw that a small group of runes danced above his palm.

“One of them. He is, or was, part of the cycle of death and rebirth.” As he spoke, each rune flashed in turn, and Maui thought it meant something, though he couldn’t say what.

“Existence is the snake that eats its own tail. One moment passes into the next, often repeating the same sequence of events. But regardless, it always ends the same way: Ragnarok. The final fire.” As he spoke, the runes burst into flame and were reduced to cinders.

“When?” Maui asked, his mouth dry.

Odin smiled thinly. “It already happened.”

Maui blinked. “What? When?”

“In an earlier cycle. But we stopped it. For just one moment, the pantheons were united – and oblivion was held off. But it was a mistake. Because the fire must always come. And if not the fire, something worse.”

Odin spread his fingers and the cinders rose and spun, taking on a vaguely serpentine shape, before becoming something more like an octopus.

“Always something worse. The harder we fought, the worse it became. And the worse it became, the more our alliances – ever tenuous – frayed, leading to more destruction. No matter what we did, the cycle would not be denied.”

He paused. “Until…” “Until what?” Maui asked.

“Until we stopped fighting.” Odin closed his hand, and let it drop.

“No more wars between the pantheons, no more striving to rule over each other. We made peace, and old enmities and transgressions were forgiven, if not forgotten. Oh, we still have our differences, and some – like Discordia – cause trouble where and when they can, but we do not clash as we did in previous turns of the wheel.”

"Then what’s the problem?” Maui asked

Odin frowned. “Surtr will stoke the old flames anew. He seeks to undo all that we have done, because that is his purpose. We cannot allow it. Not when we have come so far, and accomplished so much since the last cycle ended. But to go to war against him…it will only end one way. So, we had to do something different.”

“The five champions Yu Huang mentioned…”

“Yes. Until now, it has been enough. Surtr was chained – broken. He was no longer a threat to the cycle. But the magics that bound him have been undone; perhaps they were never meant to be maintained for so long. Not against something like him. He defeated the five sent against him this time, and has escaped. For the moment, he is weak. But that will change. The longer he is free, the stronger he will become, until…”

“The final fire,” Maui said.

Odin nodded. “A fire to sweep the world clean. Men and gods, all consumed.”

Maui shook his head and looked away, out over the mountainside. He could smell meat cooking in the village far below, and hear singing. They would not survive the conflagration Odin was describing. But what were the gods for, if not to protect mortals from that which might harm them? He looked at Odin. “What must be done?”

“War – confrontation – will only feed Surtr. I fear that is how he escaped. With every battle, his fire grew and raged against the spells we wove to contain him, until, finally – they broke. But to leave him free is just as dangerous. We cannot risk it.” Odin looked at him. “So, you must gather another band of five…”

Startled, Maui stared at him. “Why me?”

Odin shrugged. “I cast the runes and they showed me you.”

Maui frowned and rubbed the back of his neck. The idea of confronting a monstrous fire-giant held little appeal to him, but obviously someone had to do it.

“And what will you and the others be doing while I’m out gathering four fools to help me?”

“We will work to repair the magics that tamed him in the first place, so that all can be as it was before he broke free.”

“Won’t that simply start this whole mess over again?” Maui asked.

Odin nodded. “But what else can we do? We are creatures of the cycle, playing out our stories over and over again within the tapestry of a story yet greater still. Surtr must be broken and bound and fought over and over again. That is the way of it.”

He looked at Maui. “Unless, of course, you have a better idea…” His eye glittered as he spoke, and Maui suddenly recalled that Loki wasn’t the only trickster in the Norse pantheon. And even as the thought occurred to him, the first glimmerings of a plan crystallised in his mind. Maui smiled. “I just might, at that.”

Odin sighed in something that might have been relief. “Then there might just be hope for us all.”

Lady of the Rainbow[ | ]

The village was on fire when the traveler stepped out of the forest. Winged shapes swooped through the dark sky, cutting lazy circles through the smoke. The screeches of the bird-women grated on the newcomer’s ears and she quickened her pace. Mortals fled into the forest and the hills, paying little heed to her in their fear. She didn’t blame them. If she were not who she was, she too would be afraid.

But she was Ix Chel, and the only fear within her was the fear she brought to her foes. She strode through the smoke, ignoring the heat of the flames, ignoring the cries of the wounded and the beasts that preyed upon them. That would end soon enough, once she had put right all that was wrong here.

The first step was letting them know she was here. She raised her staff, and the prism of light within flickered – flared – and finally erupted into a kaleidoscopic blaze of rainbow light. It grew brighter and brighter, until it pierced the smoke in all directions, drawing the eye of every living thing in the village, human and otherwise. Among her worshippers, a rainbow was considered a grievous omen – a portent of doom to come. Before she was done, these monsters would believe the same.

The bird-women came first, plunging down like arrows. Ix Chel raised her staff and thin beams of concentrated light coalesced and shot out, weaving back and forth to intercept the darting forms of her attackers. The creatures fell writhing at her feet. Those that had escaped the shimmering barrage rose up and away, fleeing or regrouping.

Something bounded towards her through the smoke, bleating with rage. The creature resembled a man, albeit one with legs of a goat. It clutched a crude spear in its hands and thrust the weapon at her. She batted it aside with a swipe of her staff and then jabbed the ferrule into the goatman’s stomach. It fell to the ground wheezing. Before she could finish the creature off, more of them loped towards her from all sides. Too many.

This wasn’t the first burning village she had come across in her journey. Everywhere, the monsters were on the warpath. And it was war, not just a simple rampage. They were attacking temples and holy places, challenging the gods. Even in the lands of the Maya.

She slammed her staff down again and her opponents retreated in momentary disarray, blinded by the searing explosion of colors. She could hear more monsters approaching, drawn by the sounds of battle. She frowned, debating the merits of a tactical withdrawal. But no – she had never fled from battle before and she wasn’t about to start now. “Come then,” she murmured. “For you, I shall weave a tapestry of pain.”

She draw on the ambient light of her surroundings – the gleam of the setting sun, the glare of the fire – weaving it together in a shimmering orb of power as her enemies closed in once more. They were stubborn; driven to battle by a will greater than their own.

The will of Surtr.

Many in the Maya pantheon held Surtr to be a problem for the Greek gods and possibly the Norse. But she knew better. The longer the fire giant was free, the stronger he became. It was in everyone’s best interests to stop him as soon as possible. Especially if his armies continued to grow.

Surtr was bent on revenge. He was a fire that, if left unchecked, would destroy them all. Once, he might have represented something else – the destruction that preceded creation – but that day was long gone. Now there was only the fire, and the simmering ashes it left in its wake.

The goatman raced towards her, followed by several of his brethren and she launched the orb towards them. A crackling rainbow erupted, casting the monsters to the ground. They lay groaning, smoke rising from their blackened forms. She had little time to celebrate, however, as the bird women – harpies, that was what the Greeks called them – swooped towards her, taking advantage of her momentary distraction.

Talons plucked at her flesh as she swung her staff, driving them back for a moment. As they rose and banked, she drew more light to her, weaving it into thin arrows of color with her staff. She sent the volley up to meet the harpies, knocking several from the sky. But not all of them.

Where one fell, two more hurtled down to replace it. More of the goatmen had arrived as well. They crept towards her, wary now after her earlier displays of power.

Ix Chel turned in place, trying to keep them all in sight. She called up more strands of light, letting them coalesce in her hand. “One at a time, or all at once, it makes little difference to me,” she called out. “I will fight you all and make something beautiful of what is left.” She flung out her hand, casting bolts of light into the closest goatmen. As she did so, she heard the snap of the wings and ducked. A harpy swooped past, screeching in frustration. A goatman dove at her as she straightened and even as she drove him back, a second harpy landed on her back, clawing and tearing.

The other monsters closed in, howling and shrieking in triumph. Ix Chel caught the harpy by the wing and dragged it from her back, flinging it bodily into one of the goatmen. But the others were not dissuaded. They thought that their numbers gave them the advantage. Ix Chel clasped her staff more tightly, determined to teach them the error of their ways.

Then, as the first of the creatures reached her, a great cry sounded from above – a rolling, bellicose war chant. Goatmen and harpies paused, looking upwards in surprise. There was a flash of light and the newcomer dropped to the ground with an earthshattering boom. The heavy fishing hook he carried bit into the ground, further rupturing it and sending the goatmen flying. Those that managed to stay on their hooves were clearly shaken by the suddenness of this new arrival. Ix Chel seized the opportunity to lay about her with her staff, knocking the nearest of the creatures sprawling.

Together, she and the newcomer drove their enemies before them, striking with bolts of light and whirling hook. Her ally laughed as he fought and she found herself amused by the sheer joy he took in combat. Too many gods saw battle as a matter of life and death; few understood the enjoyment of a good brawl. She gestured and vibrant ribbons of color speared through the ranks of the monsters, exploding intervals and sending them tumbling through the air like falling leaves.

Suddenly, a shriek of a harpy rattled down from above and the goatmen began a disorderly retreat. They’d clearly had enough. The newcomer watched them, frowning. “That’s new. I’ve never seen harpies and satyrs work together like that before. What about you?” He directed this last question to her.

She recognized him now. Maui, one of the Polynesian gods. He was far from home. Then, so was she. “No. Why did you interfere? I had things under control.” A bit of an exaggeration, but she would not want him to get the wrong impression. As she spoke, she raised her staff and stirred the air, releasing the rain that hid within the clouds above. It fell, snuffing the flames that consumed the village. Hopefully, there was enough of it left that the mortal could rebuild in time.

“You looked as if you needed help,” he said, resting his hook on one shoulder. He held out a hand, catching the rain.

“Looks can be deceiving,” Ix Chel said, facing him. Maui smiled.

“Maybe so. But I helped anyway. You are far from home, Ix Chel. The gods of the Maya rarely come so far from their lands.”

“The same could be said of you, Maui.”

Maui shrugged. “I am looking for someone.”

“Surtr,” Ix Chel said, making a guess. There was only one being whose location preoccupied the diverse pantheons at the moment. It appeared she and Maui shared the same mission. At least in part. “So am I.”

“Not to confront him, I hope,” Maui said. “From what I’m told, he’s more than a match for any single god – or goddess.”

Ix Chel chuckled. She’d heard much the same on her journey. According to Chaac, Surtr had already defeated Bellona and Anubis, among others. No small feat, even for a giant. “No. I am here to locate him, nothing more. After I find where he’s hiding, my pantheon will confront him as one – something the other pantheons are too fearful to do, it seems.” Even if she had to drag the lot of them into battle, kicking and screaming.

“From what I’ve seen, they have their own plans for dealing with him,” Maui said and something in his tone told her he spoke the truth.

“Well, they are not acting quickly enough.” She looked around at the ruined village as she said it and felt a flicker of anger. Where were the Greek gods? Did they not hear the cries of their worshippers? “They hide in their high kingdoms while their worshippers suffer the predations of his army. With every passing day, his forces grow in size. Every monster in Greece has joined his horde, all of them eager to spill the blood of the gods.”

“I didn’t even know he’d built an army,” Maui said. He took in the village, as if seeing it for the first time. “That’s going to make my task a lot harder.”

Ix Chel peered at him. “And what is your task?”

“I’m going to stop Surtr of course.” He preened slightly. “A mighty task, for a mighty hero, don’t you agree?”

“Yes,” Ix Chel said. “We should probably find one.”

Maui hesitated – and then laugh. “Yes, I agree. We really should. But until then, it’s just me.” He paused. “Unless.. you’d care to join me?”

Ix Chel stared at him. “What?”

Maui smiled sheepishly and rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, as you just pointed out, I am possibly not up to the task myself.” His smile turned sharp. “But two of us – or better yet, three or four – well..”

“Or five,” she said, softly. Five, she knew, was the traditional number of gods sent to humble Surtr in his imprisonment. She had never participated in the ritual, finding it distasteful. Surtr’s purpose was awful, but necessary. In preventing him from fulfilling it, the gods had altered the natural cycle in ways that even she could not predict.

He nodded. “Or five. Five might stand a chance.”

Ix Chel studied him. “Five gods faced him before and failed.”

Maui nodded, unperturbed. “They did. But I don’t intend to make the same mistakes they did. Facing a monster like Surtr head on is never the answer.”

“And what is, then?” Ix Chel asked, curious. Maui was renowned as a trickster of no small inventiveness. If he had a plan, it might be worth learning what it was. Especially if it could lead to Surtr’s defeat. While she had no doubt that her pantheon could stop Surtr if it came to it, such a conflict would cause needless destruction on a horrific scale. And to Ix Chel, nothing was worse than destruction without purpose.

Maui scratched his chin. After a moment, he said, “Tell you what. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”

Ix Chel stared at him for long moments and then laughed, loudly. She slapped him on the shoulder, nearly knocking him from his feet. “See that you do, trickster. But until then, I think it best I accompany you. You like like you need all the help you can get!”

Council of Monsters[ | ]

"Could you repeat that?" Surtr asked, as he reclined on a makeshift throne of broken stone. The ruin he had made his camp was one of many scattered throughout these lands. It reminded him of his captivity, but that was a good thing. It kept the fire of his anger simmering.

The fury in the golden mask said something in a querulous tone and flapped its leathery wings for emphasis. Its two sisters screeched in support, filling the jungle clearing with noise. He glanced at Martichoras. "What is she saying?"

Martichoras, laying sprawled nearby, cracked one eye and said, "No idea. It is probably hungry."

Surtr raised an eyebrow. "I thought you could talk to them." Martichoras has proven invaluable at wrangling the loyalties of his bestial kin, and at securing allegiances of the lesser monsters. If given a choice between serving Surtr or being eaten by Martichoras, most monsters chose to serve. But the furies were different - not monsters as such, but definitely monstrous. That they had even agreed to this meeting was something of a triumph.

Martichoras yawned. "What gave you that idea?"

"You are the one who suggested they might join our cause," Surtr rumbled. He glared at the manticore, but Martichoras merely flicked his tail lazily and closed his eyes. Of course, useful as the self-proclaimed king of the manticores was, he was also lazy and intransigent. When he was in the mood to help, he was useful; otherwise, he was just annoying.

"I'm not the general here," Martichoras growled. "You are."

Surtr sighed and turned his back to the furies. The winged creatures resembled women, albeit distorted and demonic ones. He'd heard stories of their savagery and vindictiveness, but never seen them in the flesh. They were impressive, if fragile by his standards. He leaned forward. "We have a common foe," he said, hoping they understood. The satyrs and harpies had, after all. Then, the furies weren't likely to be intimidated by him.

The gold fury shrieked again, but this time he thought he understood her meaning. "Yes," Surtr said. "The gods. They hunt us. Hurt us. And they must be made to pay. That is what you do, after all." At his words, the three furies set up a great cry and, and beat the air with their wings. He decided to take it for agreement. Throughout the ruin, the rest of his army joined them. Satyrs bellowed, manticores roared and harpies squalled. The sound made Surtr's heart swell with something akin to pride. They were not warriors, but they would do.

Slowly but surely, his army was coming together. The jungles were populated by hundreds of monsters. As word of their ravages spread, more would come from all over to join him. At least, that was his hope. He could not face the gods alone; even Martichoras wouldn't be enough to even the odds.

They needed more allies. Real ones - not just monsters, but allies with strength enough to rival the gods. Even the furies would not be enough, for all their might. Surtr closed his eyes, recalling the time before his captivity. He had marched to war with other like himself. Fenrir. Hel. Jormungandr. Where were his old allies now? Did they even exist in this new world, or had the gods bound them as well? His hands clenched uselessly.

If they were bound, as he had been, he would find them and free them. And if they were gone - he would avenge them.

Martichoras suddenly sat up, alert. His eyes narrowed. "Someone is coming."

"Our sentries didn't alert us," Surtr said, pushing himself to his feet. He gripped his sword, but didn't unsheathe it. The monsters fell silent as a new sound intruded on the ruin - a soft susurrus of scales rubbing against stone. Even the furies paused.

"They did not see me," the newcomer hissed, in a voice like dry leaves tumbling across rock. "But I saw them." She emerged from the jungle with a curious undulation; her lower half was that of a serpent, her upper that of a woman. But like any woman Surtr had ever seen. Her hair was a nest of coiling serpents, and her visage was hidden behind a porcelain mask. She carried a bow in one clawed hand and had a quiver of arrows strapped to her waist. Those monsters closest to her draw back in obvious alarm.

Her gaze burned into Surtr's own; he felt the heat of her hatred, and knew that it rivaled his. "They are stone now," she continued, as she slithered into the clearing. "And arguably of more use as statues than sentries."

Martichoras snarled. "Medusa," he spat.

She glanced at him, and he flinched. Surtr chuckled. "Medusa. I have heard of you."

She inclined her head. "And I, you, mighty Surtr." She rose to her full height and looked around the ruin, at the gathered monsters. "This must be the mighty army we have heard rumors of." She paused as her gaze fell upon the furies, and they eyed her with a similar amount of wariness.

Surtr paused. "We?"

"We," a new voice said, from somewhere above. Surtr looked up to see an arachnid shape skuttling along the tops of the ruined walls. Like Medusa, she had a woman's torso, but rather than a snake's tail she had a spider's abdomen and eight great, hairy legs that gripped the stone with ease. "Your army is smaller than I had heard Surtr," she continues. "Paltry, compared to that which the gods can muster. Even with the furies you stand little chance."

"You are...Arachne," Surtr said, slowly, dredging the name from a fractured memory. "Cursed by Athena." He glanced at Medusa. "As were you."

Medusa hissed at mentioned of the goddess. "The Olympians have much to answer for," she said, flatly. "Their cruelty knows no bounds."

Arachne dropped lightly to the ground, causing the nearby harpies to hiss and take to the air. "But you already know that," she said, with a glance at Medusa. She crept in a circle around Surtr, studying him. "We didn't come here to compare suffering, however."

"Then why did you come?" Surtr asked. But he already knew the answer. He could read it in their eyes, in the way they held themselves.

"To join you," Medusa said.

"To offer an alliance," Arachne clarified, with a warning glance at her companion. " We have heard of your fight against the gods, and have come to make common cause. Not as servants, but as allies. Much like Martichoras here. Or the furies." She gestured to the gold masked trio, who murmured to one another in their own incomprehensible tongue. Surtr hoped they were not having second thoughts.

"Why?" he asked.

The question seemed to take Arachne aback. "What do you mean?"

"Why do you wish to join me?"

Medusa's mane of serpents clattered and hissed in agitation. "Vengeance."

Arachne shook her head. "More than that." She paused. "The gods must be taught that their actions have consequences. They made us monsters. Now we will show them what monsters do." She looked at Surtr. "I know your story, my lord. You are the fire that brings new growth. But the gods are content with the world as it is. They presume to hold the world in place, to make the cycle of things more to their liking. Together, we can show them the folly of such hubris."

Marichoras snorted. "And what use are you? A spider and a snake. I have eaten my share of both over the years." He stretched, catlike, his talons digging furrows into the soil. "What armies do you possess? What magics?"

Surtr silenced him with a gesture. "Tactless though he is, my friend raises a good point. My army is small, as you pointed out. Two more warriors will not even the odds against us."

Medusa hissed angrily. Surtr saw her eyes flash, and felt a sudden gratitude for his stony exterior. Arachne laughed. "Medusa is the warrior, my lord - and a formidable one. There are few willing to face her in battle. My talents, however, lie elsewhere." She held up a hand, and he saw a cluster of spiders crawling along her palm and forearm. "My servants are everywhere - even in the halls of the gods. They see and hear all." She smiled. "An army needs spies as well as swords. Or so I am told."

Surtr smiled. "Yes." Monsters made excellent raiders and fighters, but they were poor scouts and even worse spies. "And what do your servants tell you?"

"That the leaders of the gods hunt for you. That they have sent their champions to bind you once more." She brought the handful of spiders to her ear, as if to hear what they had to say. "They whisper the names Maui...Ix Chel...they say these gods have routed your warriors in a village to the north of here. That they search for you, on behalf of the Allfather."

"Odin," Surtr murmured. "Of course he would be at the forefront of this." His anger flared. Odin was the one the one to blame for all of it, he suspected. Odin feared the twilight of the gods, and had employed every trick he knew to avoid it. "This Maui and Ix Chel...are they dangerous?" He did not recognize the names, but that meant nothing given the state of his memory at the moment. The past - his past - was coming back to him, but slowly, in bits and pieces. Some things were clearer than others.

Arachne looked at Medusa, who shook her head, and said, "Clever, cunning...but not especially dangerous. Not to us. But they could become so, if left unchecked."

Surtr tugged on his beard, thinking. "If the gods are hunting me - us - then this army would not be enough. You would not be enough." He looked around the ruin, and felt again the weight of his duty tug at him. But these creatures were embers only. It was not the conflagration he needed.

"But we can find more, my lord," Arachne said. "There are others like us - victims of the gods, exiles and monsters. They are everywhere and all of them would join you, if given the opportunity. But the gods are clever. They have hidden your escape from the world, so that only a few, like us, know that you are free. We must show them that you are a power to be feared - a leader to be followed."

Surur nodded slowly, pondering the matter. Then, "We must send a message. One that the gods cannot ignore. Thus far we have contented ourselves with raiding mortal villages and towns. But punishing their worshippers is not enough."

"A temple," Martichoras grunted. Surtr looked at him.

"A temple?"

"The gods love their temples. Why don't we knock one over?"

Surtr frowned. It was a good idea. Martichoras was surprisingly perceptive at times.

"No," said the gold fury, abruptly. Surtr blinked and looked at her.

"You can speak our tongue?" he asked.

"Of course," she said. "We simply choose not to do so unless it suits us." She tapped a claw against her mask. "Not just a temple. The gods have many temples. If it is vengeance you are after, you must trike them where it hurts." She looked up at him. " You must pick the right temple."

"Not just a temple." He murmured. Another name surfaced from his tattered memory. A place sacred to the Greek pantheon. "Olympia. The temple of Zeus. We will burn the city and reduce the temple to rubble. Thus will we make our intentions known." He looked at Medusa. "You will lead the attack."

Martichoras heaved himself to his feet. "Her?" he asked, perplexed. "What about me?"

Surtr smiled. "You are not a general, remember?" He looked at Medusa. "Lead the assault. Prove your worth."

Medusa bowed her head. "It would be my pleasure."

"And what of me?" Arachne asked, a sly smile on her face. Surtr held out his hand, allowing several of her spiders to crawl onto it. They stood at attention, as if awaiting orders.

"You will find us the allies we need." Surtr rumbled. "Send your spies to the far corners of the world and seek out every monster and exile that the gods have ever crossed. Tell them that the final war has begun - and it is time for them to choose a side."

Gallery[ | ]

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