Zeus pushed and prodded the barrier that separated the immortal world from the mortal; in truth, the barrier was not physical, nor could he actually touch the thin veil. No sense or sensation, not even the divine, could detect the blockade, but it was there nonetheless.
He had done this countless times before now, stretching out his palm as though that had any effectiveness. The best the gods had ever accomplished was brief moments where something felt like it was giving way, allowing the mightiest of magics to stretch just barely enough to send messages or create what the mortals referred to as miracles. So much power expended to perform minor tricks like turning into a shower of coins or rumble thunder across the land when one god or another was truly angry.
Zeus had had enough; he wanted to walk among the mortals, to impose his mighty will, and yes, frolic with beautiful women. Giving up, he withdrew his palms and relaxed, taking a few deep lungfuls of air.
"Vulcan!" Zeus' voice boomed across the marble room, summoning his son. Hephaestus preferred the name given to him by the Romans. Where one moment the floor was empty, the next a brawny god stood there. He looked as he always did: thickly muscled, tousled hair, drenched in sweat and soot from his forges, wearing a leather apron and gloves, holding tongs and a hammer.
Zeus popped an Egyptian date, a gift from Ra, into his mouth. "I need a weapon, a weapon more powerful than any other ever crafted. So powerful that it will crack, splinter, and shatter the veil which keeps us away from the mortals. And you will build me this weapon, my son."
Vulcan looked skeptical. "We have tried building more and more powerful weapons before; all have come to naught, our efforts useless. There is nothing I can make that will do as you ask, father."
Rather than rebuke the craftsman of Olympus, Zeus straightened himself on his golden throne, then leaned forward, focusing on Vulcan, his eyes narrowing. "Correct. There has been nothing that you can make that will succeed. If it were possible, you would have built such a weapon for me ages ago." Zeus sat back again. "Nothing you have made. Alone. By yourself."
Zeus appeared to grow in size, his presence filling the room; it was a trick of course, but even so, Vulcan flinched. "YOU WILL CRAFT A WEAPON, WITH THE STRENGTH AND AID OF ALL DIVINE AND IMMORTAL BEINGS! ALL SHALL AID YOU AND WITH IT WE SHALL BE SET FREE!"
When Zeus was composed again, Vulcan shivered. Vulcan knew the outburst was not directed at him but to enforce the idea that his father would not be denied.
"... All beings, Lord Father?" Trying not to sound doubtful or hopeful, Vulcan pondered inwardly. Maybe. Just maybe, with the help of every immortal, every fae, dragon, god, then perhaps it could be done. However, getting all those to agree on such a task, for a god that many did not even like, would be an impossible task.
Zeus smirked. "Except the upstart. Leave him out of it." He paused. "Yes, he can follow, but unless and until we need his help, all he will be allowed to do is come after we succeed."
"Mercury!" When nobody appeared for a few seconds, "Hermes!" The messenger god was either busy or being fickle.
Finally a crackle of sparks announced his arrival, swirling upwards into his form. "You called, father mine?" Subconsciously he straightened his loincloth. Zeus arched an eyebrow while Vulcan remained impassive.
"What kept you from –– never mind, I don't care." Zeus leaned forward again, this time to his fleet-footed son. "You are to take a message to every being on this side of the barrier. Every. Single. Being." Remembering himself, he continued: "Except the upstart. All others. Even his cast away 'son.' You will inform everyone, EVERYONE, to aid Hephaestus, whether or not they like me, him, you, or each other. We are to unite under Hephaestus' guidance to craft a weapon to tear the veil asunder. Do not accept denial or demurral. If you get any, hound them, pester them, plead, beg, bribe, do whatever, but all must work together. Is this understood?"
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Fire of the Forge An Imperii Romani StoryFantasy
During the early second century, the barrier between the magical and immortal world and that of mortal men has kept the two worlds apart for as long as any deity can remember. Near the heart of the Roman Empire, with the help of gods across all pant...