Clink. Clink. Clink.
The Pennyman reached forward and dropped the obol into the waiting mouth of the Other that had fallen from the mountainside. It was a day after the storm and still Graham had not made his move, leaving the Pennyman with a lot to think about, and all the time in the world in which to do it. His father was dead and his mother had turned against him. His family had broken their agreement. Let their fates fall where they will. The bridge that had allowed their souls to cross back over had been destroyed and the balance was again right, with souls only flowing in one direction, in to the underworld.
He checked on his mother, Nyx still sitting upon her makeshift throne at the bar in Las Vegas, watching the outcome of the battle through the eyes of her followers. They had finally joined with Graham’s army and now they too sat atop the plateau, or stretched down the back of the mountain. More soldiers were coming, stragglers still joining the army as it sat, ready for war.
Acmon could not be found, but the Pennyman has expected that. He checked in on Phanes again who was still wandering around in Boulder City. Phanes saw him and smiled, waving him over.
They exchange pleasantries, the Pennyman uncomfortable in his once-rulers presence.
Finally, “How goes the war?” Phanes asked, and the Pennyman blinked.
“It is at your doorstep, do you not know?”
“I have been securing the foundation for new followers, of us or of them, that will be for them to decide. But no, I do not know. I have been all over this planet, Our homeland lies in ruins, the places our warriors conquered have long been forgotten. This war will be a temporary win if at all for us. We can not control their every thought.”
“Tell that to Tartarus and Nyx, they believe they can.”
“Oh, they can, for a time. But their armies are finite. Once their souls run out, then what? That is why I am doing what I am doing.”
“You sound like Chronos.”
Phanes screwed up his face at this statement. “That old fool?” He then looked at the Pennyman. “I am playing the long game, aren’t I.”
“Yes, indeed you are.”
“He and I always had more in common than either of us wanted to admit. I fear I am needed elsewhere.” He said, winked, and was gone, leaving the Pennyman standing in the middle of the otherwise empty street within the walls of Boulder City.
He walked down the barren streets, listening to the wind from a nearby storm whip through the trees and rattle a loose slat on a fence. He turned a corner and was atop the mountain plateau, watching as soldiers sat just as silent as the streets below, staring into their fires. He passed amongst them, a few of them turning as he did so, but many ignoring the man that had once sealed them to millennia of whatever fate awaited them, and would do so if they fell again.
Graham sat atop the hood of his red Mustang, flipping a small object in his hand over and over.