Colt choked. "W-what?"
"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. You were always stubborn and down right tenacious about the stupidest things," Anna remarked, leaning back in her chair while the others watched her in silent shock.
"How do you know my name?"
"Really, you haven't figured it out yet? I know you can't have forgotten me. Not after what happened in the glade, lover."
He leapt up and backed away, causing his chair to crash to the floor. Colt didn't notice it any more than he noticed when he ran into the kitchen wall behind him. His heart pounded as air burned its way into his lungs with each pant, his hands clenching into fists. The white heat of pain he'd thought long evaporated rose, searing everything in its path as he fought to keep it from consuming him. Only one woman had ever called him lover and her name bubbled up from within him. "Liese!" he roared.
The girl across from him raised both brows, her eyes in his direction. She looked nothing like the woman from his memories, but the tone and words were undeniably hers. "There's no need to shout, Coltrane. I can hear you just fine."
"How are you not dead?" Colt cried while his mind fought through the jumble of thoughts and emotions assaulting him.
She shrugged in that fluid way Liese always had, something he'd found attractive once. "Same reason you're not."
"I see your body."
"Yes, well, since I don't go insulting those more powerful than myself, I was given a far better option. He allowed me to keep my memories, so that no matter how many times I am reborn, I will always remember who I am and who I serve."
"You serve a-"
Anna rode right overtop of his words. "Now, now. Calling me a…now what was it again? Ah yes. The used whore of a god with more power than brains, is a good way to cause yourself even more suffering. I'd have thought you'd learned your lesson the first time, but apparently not."
"You cheated on me with half the village, you harlot!"
Now she stood, glaring in his direction. "I serve a fertility god! What did you think our rituals consisted of? And you knew when we paired off that He always comes first. Most men would have rejoiced at being given permission to sleep with as many others as they wish."
"Most men don't have to worry about catching something from a woman incapable of keeping her legs closed!"
Anna slammed her hands onto the table. "I was raising power for my god and reaffirming my ties to Him, you logger-headed maumet! For a hunter who benefitted from the fertility and generosity of Him, you were nothing but ungrateful and insulting."
Colt two strides forward, until he too, was leaning against the table. "And when I asked you of your rituals, of your work with your god, did it never occur to you to explain that you would be joining yourself with other men?"
"Those men had partners and none of them seemed bothered by it," she snapped.
"Oh well, forgive me for expecting loyalty from someone I'm pairing with."
"You knew my first loyalty was to Him."
"When you told me your god would always be first in your heart, I accepted that. But you never told me that it would mean I would be the last in a never-ending stream of men inside of you."
"You are nothing more than a jealous, close-minded lout! You deserve what happened to you."
"If you weren't a woman, I'd have killed you several times over by now," Colt growled, gaze locked onto the hazel eyes burning before him. His arms trembled with how hard his fingers were gripping the edge of the table.
"As if you could," Anna hissed back.
"I don't need a bow to put an arrow through your heart, harpy. Continue to push me, and I might forget myself enough to do exactly that."
"Try it and see what twisted form you'll end up in next. I'd thought losing your body would have taught you not to go against me or Him, but it seems I've once again overestimated your intelligence."
"That is enough!"
The shout cut them off. They turned as one to see Thalia standing, a faint tremor running through her body as she glared at both of them. "I don't know what is going on, what's gotten into the two of you, or what you think you're doing, but I've had enough of the threats and insults from the pair of you! We came here to work together not to fight!"
Colt winced and looked away from the steel of her eyes. He heard shuffling and glanced over to see Anna sitting back down, eyes on the table. Almost as one, they said "Sorry, Thalia."
Thalia sat slowly, all four sets of eyes on her. "Now, what was all that about?"