Many think that a god's hand would be soft and gentle. Each caress feeling like silk against the skin. That they would offer safety and protection for those who need it most.

But they were not.

They were cold.

They were cruel.

They were rough. And they bruised the skin just like any other mortal hand.

She thought she had protection. She thought she had sanctuary.

But the goddess abandoned her. Turned her back when she had needed it most.

She could still feel the callus of his fingers as they raked against her bare skin; hear the deafening tear of her robes from her body before being slammed into the cold tile floor. Though he pinned her hands at her back, his fingers wrapping around both of her wrists, he didn't cover her mouth.

And so, she screamed.

It was all she could think to do.

The only bit of defiance she could muster as she roared to the heavens.

It wasn't enough, not when she felt him push his way into her, as she was forced to her hands and knees like a dog, her hands clenching the torn remains of her robe.

Tears welled in her eyes as the God of the Seas went faster, harder; each time sending a shock of agonizing pleasure through her body. She never felt more disgusted.

She could feel him getting close, dreading the feel of his seed inside her.

But just seconds after his climax, his howls of pleasure quickly turned to pain. His hands released her, and she wasted no time trying to scramble away from the god, ignoring the feeling of something sliding down the back of her thighs.

Through her disheveled hair, she could see blood dripping onto the white marble tiles. Her eyes trailed up the god's glistening body and was shocked to find an arrow lodged into his shoulder. She stared in disbelief.

Then seemingly out of thin air, a young woman bearing a shield on her left arm drove its edge into the side of the god's head. The blow would've killed any man.

The priestess screamed in surprise, gathering the remains of her torn robe to cover her sore breasts. The god grunted, looking over his shoulder only to be met with another blow to the face, the metal of the shield ringing throughout the temple.

The god was sent skipping across the tiles like a stone on water, and into one of the thick columns. The sound was like a crashing boulder. The priestess looked up to see a woman of warrior's standards standing over her.

Though corded in muscle, she was of average height. Her sun- tanned skin gleamed from either sweat, or the mist of the sea. A full quiver of arrows was strapped against her spine, but the bow had been discarded. Instead, she bore a shield and a short sword clutched between white knuckles. Her armor consisted that of leather and bronze, resembling the familiar style of the soldiers. Her chocolate brown hair was pulled tight into a braid over her shoulder.

Other than her size, the priestess couldn't focus on anything else but her eyes.

They burned like a wildfire.

The color of a wholly gold, they were as cold and contrived as the ore itself. They nearly glowed with the burning rage in her heart. Her lips pulled back into a snarl that wasn't entirely human.

Rage. Power. Cunning.

If anyone could rip the gods to shreds, it was this savior.

The warrior leapt for the god, pushing off those powerful feet. She goes to strike with the shield again, but is met with limestone, cracking and chipping it from the impact. The God of the Seas had materialized across the temple, but already the warrior's shield was spinning towards him like a discus. The priestess cowered at the base of the statue of Athena.

The god screamed in pain as the shield sliced open his arm, buying the warrior enough time to leap atop his back, lock her legs around his waist, and drive her blade into his back and through to his chest. Yanking it out, she drove it through again.

Dark red blood arced through the air. The priestess didn't expect the gods to bleed – perhaps it was only an illusion.

The warrior tore into the god with claws and steel and teeth. Rent and cleaved and shredded.

Even Mother Gia seemed to fear the warrior as the very air around the priestess shuddered. The God bucking and thrashing.

The warrior woman laughed manically as he tried to recoil. Laughed around the mouthful of raw skin she ripped from his neck and spit it onto the temple floor; laughed at the gore that coated her arms, smiled at the blood that splattered onto her neck and face.

The God of the Seas struggled like a bird under a cat's paw. The warrior refused to relent her grip.

Finally, as she was about to drag her blade across the god's neck, a deep rumble of thunder rattled the sky. A knife of lightning cut across the sky, striking the space between the priestess and the fight. She didn't see where the two of them went, only recalled seeing her beloved goddess, Athena, finally coming to her rescue.

But when she beheld the goddess' face, her insides turned to liquid.

And then . . . cold.

Not the cold of a winter chill, or even the burn of solid ice, but something colder. Deeper.

And then that cold bit into her.

It was a bite of venom, a bite of a death so permanent that every inch of her roared for mercy.

Then she felt the burning.

Immortality was not a serene youth.

It was fire.

But not the fire of that warrior woman who saved her.

It was a molten ore poured into her veins, boiling up her mortal blood until it was nothing but steam, forging her brittle bones into fresh steel.

She could only recall her face slamming into the marble floor once more, before realizing she was back in her world. Back from wherever she had been.

But she felt different.

She was not the same.

And never would be again.