This is an unedited version of Chapter 1 from Ledo's story. Coming soon.
Ledo- Lost Gods Book 2
by LaVerne Thompson
The soft sway of the water stilled as the Fates looked on. “Are we certain this is the only way.” The shortest of the Fates asked the question but only because she questioned everything. Already knowing the answer.
“It unfolds as it should,” a slender cloaked figure replied.
“Thus far. Each must be tested and do his or her part. Even the son of Ares, no one avoids their fate.” The one standing on the far right of the pool said calmly.
“But he has always been aware,” a raspy voice countered.
“Yet, he’s lived human lives. This will require the first use of all of his powers and once they taste it they will only want more,” the shortest stated.
The others nodded in agreement.
“Sooner or later they will all be tested,” the one on the right said.
“Failure is true death,” the slender figure replied.
“For us all.”
Ledo opened his eyes to stare into the blaze of the sun. Immediately he closed them, the movement caused pain to bang behind his shut lids, into his skull until it echoed throughout his body. Unsure why he could see the sun, or where he was for that matter. He moaned. Where the fuck was he? What happened? The last thing he remembered was transing and chasing after Ze’s lightning bolt. He caught it in his talons adding his own powers to guide it where it needed to go. Right into the entrance of Tartarus in an attempt to destroy it. He remembered the explosion and an endless sensation of his atoms being ripped apart as he was wrenched from his vulture form. After that it was all a blur.
An ice wind blew across his naked body, he shivered and tried to sit up. His human ass was freezing. It was so fucking cold. How long had he been out? The temperature shouldn’t affect him like this. Where was he? He glanced around and realized lay in the middle of a white sea of ice and blowing snow as far as his eyes could see. Was this the North Pole? Is this where the entrance had been hidden, deep beneath the ice?
That made sense, but no, not the North, the magnetic energy felt more like the South. Antartica. That’s where he was. Actually, what he was was fucked. While he could change his form he couldn’t create clothes and when he changed his clothes were destroyed. Usually he was able to make it back home or to some place where he’d stash clothes, not this time. Sometimes it really sucked being the son of a god. He shivered, normally the cold wouldn’t bother him but this was a bitter cold and he’d exerted a lot of energy. He also feared he might have lost quite a bit of time.
His bird form won’t help him here, he needed something that would function better in this stark environment. The other form he inherited from dear dad, one that’s part dog part wolf. With a thought his body shimmered, his bones seeming to liquefy before contorting changing in less than a nano second, he went from man to a dark gray wolf dog with a white patch on his head. He raised his nose and scented the air. In this form his senses were heightened ten fold. There. He caught a whiff of humans. Humans meant warmth, fire. He took off at a dead run following his nose.
Ledo was larger than any dog or wolf, stronger and faster, still by the time he arrived at his destination the sun was just getting ready for bed. He circled the place. It was the equivalent of a double wide mobile home, three of them in the boxed shape of an L. With his enhanced hearing, he listened in on the conversation. Some sort of scientific expedition instead of an adventure for shits and giggles group. Figures, they were studying the weather phenomena, trying to figure out what had been happening all over the world for the last month. The hole in the ozone layer was already three times the size of the US and getting larger.
The good news what he and Ze had done should put a stop to it. But he didn’t kid himself, it was merely a stop gab measure they’d done. They’d merely stunned Cronus. Hopefully, it would be long enough for Ze to gather some of the descendants of the Olympians to put a permanent hurt to Cronus once and for all. Meanwhile, he needed to get to a main town and try to contact Ze. This was one time he wished he and Ze were linked, or that he was telepathic. Instinct had led him to find Zeus in the first place, perhaps instinct would lead Ze to him. He’d keep focusing on the once god and maybe that would be enough.
First things first, Ledo needed food and warmth, even in his enhanced body his balls were freeziing. He was surprised not to see any dog sleds at the station, but they did have a helicopter and a couple of snow mobiles and it also looked like they had a generator attached to the mobile station. The top of the station had what looked like a triangular slanted umbrella over it, probably making it easier for the snow to slide off to one side and protect the transmitter up there. Good maybe he could use whatever kind of communications device they had to send out a call to Ze.
He decided the best approach was usually the direct one, he didn’t think they’d buy the idea of a naked man in the middle of the Antarctic in minus 52 Celsius weather, but a dog was another matter. He moved to the side of the helicopter, threw back his head and howled so the wind would carry it toward the structure. And he hoped no one came out with a shotgun to try to plug his sorry ass.
Aria sat in her room and took out her journal, since power was at a premium here she’d bought several paper journals with her to keep a personal log of her adventure. She always did. And so far it had been an adventure. She read over what she’d written from the time she’d been added as part of the research team.
As a new PHD candidate the competition to be part of the six person team with one of the foremost physicist of their time was…well the odds were NOT good. But she had a slight advantage, one of her favorite professors at the University of Chicago was the team leader’s sister. So she’d known about the expedition before it had been made public and was one of the first to express interest. It also helped she’d already switched her research and was studying why the rules of physics had been suddenly turned upside down.
It wasn’t just the weird weather, and expansion of the hole in the ozone layer, the magnetism of the poles had been changing, abnormal energy waves had been coming from the South Pole, having a direct effect on the weather. The strange thing was as strong as the emissions were, they couldn’t find the source, the heart of it. But they were close.
She made the day’s entry in her journal and looked back over her others, pausing on the one made three months ago. In a few minutes she’d put in a scheduled call to Michael. He’d asked her to marry him and stay before she’d left. She hadn’t said no she couldn’t marry him, she’d wanted to and he must have known that. His clue should have been the fact they hadn’t had sex in months and they didn’t live together. More her doing than his. He asked her not to answer him then, just think about it.
He’d been angry she accepted the chance to be part of ground breaking science. He was a scientist himself and had applied to be part of the expedition. It would have been unheard of for them both to have been on the same team. Most relationships don’t survive on these types of expeditions. At least not the ones she knew about. But, she made it, he didn’t. She got the feeling part of the reason he asked her to marry him was to stop her from going.
After four years of dating he’d never once talked about them getting married. In fact, he thought marriage was archaic. That all they needed was an understanding. She’d agreed, until she didn’t. Realizing she wanted something more. Her own parents had divorced when she was young, she spent summers and holidays with both of them, but each had remarried and their spouses had kids. Suddenly, she went from being an only child to a step-child. Is it any wonder she buried herself in books? Science could never hurt her. Science was based on fact, things that can be proven. Numbers never lied, never disappointed.
Yet, it had no longer become enough. She wasn’t sure when that had happened, but it had. Maybe because she was tweny-five and spent way too much time with her mentor, Susan and saw first hand what a real committed relationship was like. She and her husband had no kids, but had been married for thirty years and had sort of adopted Aria.
Placing her journal down, she took a deep breath and reached for her phone. The cell phones were hit or miss for the last few days, today was no different. No service. She rose to go and try the communications consul near the kitchen and hoped she’d have some privacy. The sound of a howl had her dropping the phone still in her hand. “What?”
She went running out of her room and meet Jenkins out in the kitchen area. Dr Jenkins was the leader of the expedition.
“What the hell is that? Didn’t sound like the wind.” Jenkins remarked.
“Sounds like a wolf or a dog, but that can’t be,” Aria said. “Not all the way out here.”
Sam and Henry, other scientist came out to join them, they stood near Jenkins staring out of the viewer. They didn’t have many windows in the place, only two, both unconventional, they helped to keep heat in and the cold out. The window in the kitchen area was triple paned and enhanced. It was also only less than 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide and had a lip on the front to keep the snow off of it. They called it the viewer, because all they viewed from there was white snow. It would be dark soon and the wind was picking up, snow was being blown around so they couldn’t see much.
“There are no dogs in Antarctica, not any more,” Jenkins stated. “Sled dogs have been banded years ago from the continent because of the fear they’d bring diseases to the indigenous animals in the area. So after decades of expeditions dependence on sled dogs they were eventually banned, so a dog way out here is impossible.”
“So that’s why we came by helicopter and the building was brought out by truck,” Aria said.
“Yep, and that’s why I don’t think it’s a dog,” Jenkins insisted. “Probably just the wind.”
“Maybe it got loose from someone who brought it in on some tourist excursion,” Sam stated.
“All the way out here,” Aria said. “I don’t think so, we’re several miles from anywhere. The closest excursion would be to Mt Sidley and who’d take a dog to climb a mountain.”
“I agree,” Henry chimed in. He was the oldest of their crew about sixty but probably in better shape than any of them. They had an area set aside for a gym and he spent as much time there as he did on his instruments and conducting experiments.
The howl came again. For some reason it sounded sad to Aria, resonating with her on some primitive level. Without another thought she turned to go back to her room to add more layers to venture outside.
“Where are you going?” Jenkins asked.
“It sounds like it’s hurt. I know it’s cold. I’m going to go check on it.”
“I’ll come with you,” Jenkins offered.
“Me too,” Henry chimed in.
“Thanks. I’ll only be a minute.”
She passed Chris, the engineer, on the way back to her room.
“What’s up?” Chris asked.
“We think there’s a dog outside and are going out to check it out.”
She opened her door and entered closing it behind her. Her room wasn’t much. Large enough for a bed that could fit two if they slept wrapped around each other, a side table and chair. As the only female on the expedition she had her own room. The other men had to share a room, all except Jenkins. As the leader of the expedition he warranted his own room.
When she got back Jenkins and Henry were dressed and waiting for her, so was Chris. Bob their communications expert and pilot had also joined them.
“Sure about this?” Bob asked.
“Since we’re all up I’ll fire up some tea or coffee if anyone wants to stay awake,” Sam said.
“Tea’s fine for me thanks,” Aria said. And the other men echoed her sentiments. She moved toward one of the cupboards and opened it.
“What are you doing?” Chris asked.
“Looking for something to entice the dog.”
“Entice it to do what?” Sam asked.
“To come inside.”
“What the hell!” Sam said.
She swung in his direction. “We can’t leave it outside in this weather, it could die.”
“We have no idea what condition it’s in, for all we know it’s rabid,” Sam argued.
When Jenkins stepped toward the rear door she noticed the rifle at his side and the gun in Henry’s hand. “Is that really necessary?” She shook her head. “Never mind.” She knew it was, she didn’t like it but best to be careful. While the dog wolf or whatever it was out there sounded sad and hurt to her, Sam was right, it could also be a wild thing. Best to be safe.
“Just give me some time to assess the situation before either of you go shooting at it.”
“Fine,” Henry said.
She found some beef jerky and put it in her pocket. They finished bundling up and Jenkins opened the door. As soon as he did the wind kicked up and flew into the small patches of exposed skin on her face. Damn it was biting out there. There was a reason they did any outside work when the sun was at its height. Although in the last few weeks they had more sunlight and the hole in the ozone seemed to have retracted to what it had been three months ago. No one had an explanation for how.
“There,” Chris said, swinging the flashlight he carried in the direction of the helicopter. Both Chris and Bob could fly. They’d been trying to teach her, it was definitely something she’d look into once she got back home to Pennsylvania.
She stared in the direction of the light and thought she saw something move in the shadows. Slowly, she headed in that direction.