Written by MattShadow.

He stood in front of the steps leading down to the basement, his plain orange shirt already getting dusty from just being near the entrance to this gods-forsaken place called the basement. The orange shirted boy brushed off his cargo pants and shirt before taking a hesitant step onto the old wooden steps, carefully avoiding a rather large crack that bore through the middle of the plank. The board creaked, but held fast to its hinges, and Cal took that as a sign that the step was safe.

Funny how this place has to make wooden steps when there is an elevator three corridors down, he thought to himself as he took another carefully placed step down another flight of stairs. It was Cal's luck, or maybe just the fact that he was the newest member, that he was given the orders to retrieve another stack of blank paper for the printer, which had recently run out of it. Normally you would go out and just buy a new stack, but the printer just so happened to run on a very fine-tuned set of magical papers, that were only housed in the base's ancient basement.

Another creak came along as Cal slowly paced along the stairway, stopping every so often to recheck the stability of his current location. A sudden vibration caused Cal to latch onto the splintered rail along the right side of the staircase, a result of his fellow THO members using the massive 127' inch TV and surround sound system Hephaestus recently installed as a thank you gift to Annie and Arthur for some unknown service rendered.

"Turn off the damned surround sound guys!" his voice only slightly muffled by the crazed weather fore-castings of Aeolus interrupting his team's usual programming. He heard a couple of stomps and voices, but couldn't make it out until one of them called out.

"Hurry up with that paper Cal! I need to print something out urgently and we sent you down there 20 minutes ago!" He sighed anxiously and increased his pace to 2 steps per minutes while awaiting for the bottom of this seemingly endless torment. Great, one more problem to add to this list. First this horrid job and now Kat's rushing me. Suddenly the endless creaking came to a halt and Cal felt something other than rotting wood underneath his feet.

"Oh thank the gods, I've reached the bottom." Cal looked around the dark basement room, taking in the grand scope of just how big the basement truly was. He walked past several crates, which he swore what sounded like growls were emanating from them. The teen in the orange shirt maneuvered around the crates, making sure to stay as far away from them as possible. As he turned the corner around the last ancient crate he knocked into a rusty pedestal, causing both it and himself to crash onto the floor. "That can't be good," muttered Cal as he picked himself up and surveyed the wreckage. He passed over the broken shards and noticed a glinting short sword on the ground. He picked up the gleaming weapon and turned it around. He couldn't see any special markings, but the sword was beautifully crafted nonetheless. "I wonder what you're doing down here in this dark forsaken place," said Cal eagerly as he picked up a shard of the pedestal, on which a name plate had been attached.

Əpsıĸӣ (Ehpsihkor)

"Stone-turner?" translated Cal. "I havn't seen this language in a very long time." He paused for a minute before continuing to talk to the sword. "Alas, you have a very interesting name." While examining the shattered ground one last time, he noticed a sword sheath that he hadn't seen before. Cal smiled and picked up the sheath, which surprisingly fit perfectly onto his outfit. He sheathed his newly found sword as he continued on his way, now looking intently for the magic printer paper.

He paced along the side of the wall, careful to avoid any fragile objects he could see. He stooped beneath a small arch and came face to face with an enraged face staring back at him. Startled, Cal withdrew his sword instinctively and positioned it in between himself and the face. It continued to stare, and Cal realized that it wasn't alive and lowered his sword cautiously. He quickly realized he was staring at a stone gargoyle after a quick examination.

"Imagine that," started Cal as he traced his empty along the various cracks and markings on the gargoyle, carefully stopping before he reached a small mark behind it's left ear. "Thought I wouldn't notice, didn't you?" He chuckled softly before continuing. "Nah, I'm too smart for you, I noticed the little activation switch." He tapped the side of the statue with a smug expression on his face, and slid past the statue and into a larger space.

"Reearwk" A sudden, awkward chirp erupted from behind him, causing Cal to twist around. He looked at the statue as it shook and shuddered, visibly seeing stone turn to flesh by the second. He whistled loudly as the Gargoyle finished coming to life.

"Well, that can't be too good." It turned around at the sound of his voice and gawked at him while flapping its wings. He began to back away slowly, but the giant creature lurched forward; Cal barely managed to drop to the floor in time to dodge it. He side-rolled and popped himself up just in time to see the gargoyle crash into a pile of crates ten feet away. "Uh-oh."

"It has been awhile since anybody has come down to this place," growled a voice from the broken crates.

"Reearwk?" The gargoyle hesitantly stepped away, seemingly no longer intent on attacking Cal. He repeated the process, bringing both himself and his weapon into a defensive position. A half-laugh half-howl echoed throughout the basement, causing the gargoyle to flutter backwards and knock over another crate.

"I must thank you, demigod," the last word seemed to spit out of his mouth. "If it were not for you, I don't think I'd ever be freed." Cal edged to the side, attempting to get a better lighting of the creature.

"Don't thank me, thank Greg over there." A sudden silence filled the room.


"Reearwk?" Cal shrugged in response.

"I couldn't think of anything better to name him. Speaking of which, what would your name be, uhhh, sir?" A howl of indignation filled the room as the creature stepped into the light. It appeared like a giant wolf, or at least one the size of small hummer.

"Do I seem like a joke to you demigod? I have fought the old gods, even Sól herself! I will not be a joke to you boy." Cal paused for a moment and briefly looked up to think.

"Uhh, okay. Hold on one sec. You wouldn't happen to be Fenrir would you?" A roar emanated from the wolf-being.

"Do I look like my—"

"—I'll take that as a no," interrupted Cal. "Excuse me, but my Norse mythology isn't on par with my friend Maxis's, so please excuse my mistakes." At this point, the wolf-being looked ready to tear him apart. "Wait a second, you're Skuld aren't you?"

"It's Sköll!" He lunged forward towards Cal, his fangs and claws sharpened to a needlepoint and ready to cut though the boy like a butter knife. Luckily, Cal anticipated this and barrel rolled to the side, narrowly avoiding becoming a human chew-toy. He stood up but Sköll was already launching back at him. Before either could react however, Greg slammed into the wolf god, sprawling them both into a nearby box with a rather large Fragile sign stamped on the side. He silently thanked the gargoyle as the Fragile box tipped over, smashing shards of mosaic glass all over the floor. For a half-moment, Cal thought the gargoyle had managed to stop the god for good, but a sudden howl told him that it had not.

"What to do, what to do," he muttered as he glanced around the room for something to use. "Oh wait, duh." He lifted up his new blade and smiled as Greg went flying backwards and Sköll balanced himself. His teeth snarled as he paced a few steps forward. Cal glanced over to the gargoyle to see if it was okay, but a soft reeawrk signaled Greg was still alive.

"Don't worry about your friend over there, as soon as I finish with you I'll deal with the beast." Cal smirked as he twirled with his sword in his hand.

"If anything here is a beast, it would be you my dear wolfie." He snarled as the two began to pace around in a circle.

"I am a god puny mortal. You stand no chance against my might, my strength only curtailed by Fenris himself, and who are you to dare challenge me."

"Well, first off. If you're as strong and mighty as you say you are, why am I still alive? Second, the name's Cal, probably havn't heard of me being stuck as a gift poodle for however so long, so you may have missed some startling news. I'll let you by on that one." He noticed the wolf stop pacing and stare at him, and he did the same.

"Cal.." Sköll muttered, as if a vague recollection of memory flashed across his mind. However, he then shook his head and snarled at him, a slight detection of hesitance in his growl. "Then I guess we'll find out!" He lunged towards him, and Cal proceeded with his previous move, ducking underneath his massive body, but instead of barrel rolling, he cut his blade across the Norse god's hind thigh. The wolf snarled in pain as he landed, and snapped at his wound as he twisted to face Cal.

"Fortunately for you, this weapon isn't charged up enough to fully affect a god; count your fortunes. Your thigh may only be stone for the next hundred years or so. Too bad. You ready for round three?" Sköll yipped at his thigh again as his blood, skin, and fur surrounding his wound began to harden and morph into stone, eventually stopping around a foot radius from the cut. He turned his snout back towards Cal and paused for a moment.

"Today.. it is not my day. I will come back for you Cal, and when I do, you will have Hel to pay. The sun will blot out and you will be ruined in battle! That is my curse unto you, and so you shall fall by it. A taste of your own medicine I suppose." Cal took a step back and raised his weapon up as a barrier between them.

"I've beaten curses and fates before," he said with slight anxiety. Sköll smiled, or as much of a smile as a wolf could pull off.

"You won't this time," and with that, the Norse god flickered into nothingness. He relaxed slightly at this, and then completely as he sheathed his sword. He took an immediate step towards the door but then remembered the reason he was down here. He then looked around the room for the white boxes containing the paper. Proceeding around a large group of boxes, he became aware of a large figure behind him. He jerked around, only to bear witness to a giant bird creature standing in front of him.

"Oh yes, you."

"Reearwk." Cal scratched his head.

"I probably shouldn't leave you down here alone." He turned back to his search as George continued to follow him around the room. He entered through an arc of broken down columns as he gradually began to circle back around the room, occasionally checking back to make sure Greg was still waddling behind him. He took a left and then a right, making sure to stray away from any boxes marked with the sign "DANGER" on it. As he slowly began to reach the staircase, he began to worry. "How have I not found these damned papers?" He turned around to start again, only to realize that Greg was no longer behind him. Cal cussed under his breath as he scurried around, trying to locate the giant gargoyle.

"Reeawrk," he heard a faint squawk come from behind him as he turned and rushed towards it. Another sound came form near the stairs.

"Uh-oh, you can't be let out of here." Luckily, he instead found him sitting on top of a large stack of papers directly next to the stairwell. A quizzical look appeared on Cal's face as he reached the stack. Greg turned his head as his hind-leg scratched below it's ear. "This couldn't have been here before. I would have seen it." The stone-drake fluttered down to the ground and posed itself in front of Cal. He glanced at Greg and then towards his short sword as he clasped it in his hand. "Sorry about this my friend, but if I need you again I'll be sure to come and get you." With that, he swung his weapon into Greg, turning him rock hard in a matter of a second. "Thanks though." He finally turned back to the stack of papers as he sheathed Əpsıĸӣ. He wiped some grime off his face and proceeded to grab an armful of paper before proceeding up the stairs.

Matt, Arcana and Annie were scattered across the couch as the TV glared. The programming turned to a commercial just as Cal breached through the opening and into the main room, causing several of the members to turn and look at him.

"Gods Cal," started Matt upon seeing him. "We sent you down there twenty minutes ago!" He shrugged as he lugged the paper over towards the printing room. He sat down the stack in front of Kat, who clicked off her Iphone and looked up at him.

"Are you alright? What happened down there?" He half smiled in response.


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