The continuing stoooooooooory of some Gods who are wrecking shit up.
Setting information we glean: In the World of the Volanyi, marriage aka Joining is pledged in front of a priest of Always (she being in charge of love and death and all), with hands joined, palm to palm. Marriage is a ritual focussed on child-rearing as opposed to child-BEARING, in the sense that parentage is less of an issue than who will raise the child. Always believes that preparing a child for love and death requires two people (of either gender) not one. Those who create a child that is not protected by such a bonding are shunned, and children who are abandoned often become priests of Always to ensure the mistake is not repeated.
Prologue: We see Smith and Lika having their Joining ceremony, with all the gods in attendance – even Korak and Ix, bristling at the newcomer, trying their best not to tell their younger sister Lika she is making a huge mistake. Then we cut forward to Lika and Smith’s marriage dissolving. Smith says that she knew who he was when they got married, and she says that that’s the problem (I think).
PANTHEON, SERIES ONE EPISODE THREE: SO ABOVE
When last we left our Gods and their mortals, Skoh was supposed to be making the beast with two backs with Yeqawa, but Smith had got their first. Meanwhile, Always has decided that she too will take mortal form to prove she can do it and thus is worthy of ruling the Five. She appears in the market places and sends word to Aristeia and Korak at their respective temples to let them know what she has done. As she is walking the streets, however, she sees “Skoh” leaving Yeqawa’s pavilion…and then sees the real Skoh arriving. Always tries to give chase but lose Smith in the crowd. Skoh responds by calling Yeqawa names and heading straight back to his battlefield.
Meanwhile, Inikaya sends word to Aristeia that Dorabus needs to see her. Poor old Dorabus, the bronzed, muscled buffoon who is in charge of Agriculture, is still chained to his plough, as Smith tricked him to be. This causes some house damage as he tries to clean up for Aristeia, but all he knows is his best girl walked out on him and he can’t understand why. Korak wishes to talk to Aristeia about keeping watch over Always, but can’t find her in the Sky, and Inikaya tells him she’s at Dorabus’, so he joins in the commiserations when he arrives.
Meanwhile, Ix has a visit from Lika. She tells him she’s left Dorabus, he says that makes sense, he was beneath her. Then she says she wants to go back to Smith, and he says that’s stupid because he is ALSO beneath her. Lika says that Ix was always a big bully trying to run her life and Ix tells her to shut up because he knows better than her, which is why he IS trying to run her life because if she was so smart she wouldn’t be here right now talking about how screwed up her life is. Lika slaps Ix’s face and runs away crying. Ix, furious, goes to find Always hoping she can talk some marriage-sense into his sister.
Always isn’t on the Endless Plain so Ix heads over to see if Dorabus has seen her, and encounters Aristeia and Korak. Ix and Korak (once again) have a massive argument about who is going to go and see Always.
Korak: I’m going to see Always!
Ix: No, dammit, I’m going to see Always!
Korak: Well, we’re BOTH going to see her then!
Ix: Don’t tell me what to do! You’re not the boss of me!
Korak: I’m not telling you what to do, you’re telling ME what to do!
Ix: No I’m not, I’m just saying I’m not going with you!
Korak: Well I’m going to see Always!
Ix: Fine, well you can come with me if you want to, but I’m not going!
So Korak goes to find Always, fearing she might be in danger on the mortal plane. Even more furious, Ix goes back to his forest to brood. Smith shows up and Ix decides not to tell him Lika is in the forest. The two scheme some more about how they are going to hurt Korak, now that he has become mortal, and once again, Ix says he has plans and tries to hide the giant monster he’s been building behind some trees. Smith again appeases Ix’s Stress, but the jig is up when Aristeia comes looking for Lika and Ix proves to be a terrible liar. Aristeia goes and comforts Lika, telling her about how terribly Dorabus misses her. During this conversation, they talk about marriage and how Always is down on the mortal plane. Aristeia says she can never do that, bound as she is to sky, but Lika, Goddess of Knowledge and Tradition, assures the sky goddess there is a way.
Smith then joins the ladies and takes his ex-wife to the Endless Plain to reminisce – and to send her back to where she belongs, which they both know is with Dorabus. In the end, they understand each other pretty well. Meanwhile, Always has gone looking for Skoh to fix this terrible situation. She joins a band of men heading to the front of Skoh’s empire building, and we learn more about how the Volanyi fight and prepare to fight. That night, Korak joins the men and women around the fire and he and Always have a brief chat about all sorts of things, including Korak trying to explain to Always about how battle works and how to bind wounds. They begin to actually fall for each other, rather than just being betrothed.
Next morning brings the battle, and Korak and Always realize they’ve made a terrible mistake: Skoh is leading the OPPOSING army. Very soon, now-mortal Korak meets his greatest champion on the battlefield. Sensing a test, Skoh attacks in full fury, and Korak, finally learning a lesson about humility, decides to not kill his champion and tells his warrior to stand down before anybody gets killed. (This act impresses the hell out of Smith and Ix who are observing, although neither of them want to admit it.) Skoh takes the moment to inform his God that the thing about him visiting Yeqawa was wrong, she was with another guy, and the Trickster at that. (Skoh, like all of Korak’s champions is charged to hunt and kill the Trickster, wherever he may lurk, a holy charge each champion approaches differently). Korak begins to see that Smith’s idea of a fair experiment is pretty askew, as indeed might be his idea of a fair challenge.
Meanwhile in Godhome, Smith, Aristeia and Ix only know that their siblings are in battle, and begin to panic – although for different reasons. Smith is worried that without him there to mess things up, Korak might be doing a good job of being a mortal and impressing gods and mortals alike. Ix and Aristeia are worried that Always could get hurt. Aristeia decides to fly down and keep watch, bringing up wind and rain. Ix, fearing for the half-cousin he always idolised being crushed in what he now realises is half his plan, decides to Solve Things directly – he takes his giant bear-snake monster and – snatching an eagle from the sky for the magic – gives it wings, and sends it to the battle field to scoop up Always and save the day.
Of course, Ix is master of all things that run and crawl – he is NOT the master of the birds of the air, and taking wings off an eagle makes Aristeia FLIP OUT. A gigantic storm breaks on the battlefield, and a terrifying monster – the Ixola – swoops down through the darkness and lightning. In the chaos, it escapes with Always. Korak swears vengeance as it flies away. Always screams in fear and passes out. Aristeia screams in rage at her realm defied. Smith screams in anger at Ix for ruining his plans. And Ix smiles, because he fixed everything…although, looking down at the eagle in his hands, he is given a moment’s pause.
Stinger: Yeqawa summons her high priestesses and says “Fetch my instruments. The one who shamed me must die!”