When you fail to draw Artemis the cat hybrid a second time. Yes, the featured picture is my attempt at drawing Artemis. Again.
Please note that when I mention Aslan, I do not mean the real Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia, just like I don’t mean the real Artemis or the citadel Cadmea of Thebes, Greece. Many of the characters here have names based off of fantasy and Greek mythology. If you want to skip to the story, just keep scrolling to the line.
Just a little background on the names I’m using in my story –
Aslan: Name taken from the Chronicles of Narnia. It is used for a noble character who possesses strength and insight. – lion hybrid
Winter: Some random roleplay character I made up. – Spectre girl
Artemis: The Ancient Greeks saw the Egyptian goddess Bast (goddess of cats) as a version of their moon goddess, Artemis. – cat hybrid
Cadmea (Caddie): (This is taken from Wikipedia) In Greek mythology, the Teumessian fox, or Cadmean vixen, was a gigantic fox that was destined never to be caught. It was said that it had been sent by the gods to prey upon the children of Thebes as a punishment for a national crime. Creon, the then Regent of Thebes, set Amphitryon the impossible task of destroying this beast. He discovered an apparently perfect solution to the problem by fetching the magical dog Laelaps, who was destined to catch everything it chased, to catch the Teumessian fox. Zeus, faced with an inevitable contradiction due to the paradoxical nature of their mutually excluding abilities, turned the two beasts into stone. The pair were cast into the stars and remain as Canis Major (Laelaps) and Canis Minor (Teumessian Fox). | Cadmea was the name of the citadel in Thebes, Greece, and I figured it’s make a nice name for a girl. – fox hybrid
Laelaps: ^^^^ *points to above* – dog hybrid
Lycaon: There are several versions of this story, but the most common seems to be that Lycaon, a king of Arcadia, tested Zeus’s omniscience by serving the god the roasted flesh of his son Nyctimus. In retaliation, Zeus transformed him and all his offspring into wolves, while Nyctimus was brought back to life. – wolf hybrid
Peregrine – I was thinking about a bird hybrid and I remembered this report I did on the peregrine falcon in third grade, so I decided Peregrine would work fine. – falcon hybrid
Arion – In Greek mythology, Arion is a divinely-bred, extremely swift immortal horse who was endowed with speech. – colt hybrid/unmortal (whichever way you want to look at it; I came to Arion purely by accident when choosing the unmortal’s name).
Roran: Also something I made up. – servant of the Underlord (who you’ll learn about later)
Annika: Eh. It’s close to my own name. – another servant of the Underlord
Remy and Rethwood: As stated on Day 1, Remy and Rethwood were names I stole from a roleplay I was spectating. – Annika’s siblings
Nara: I don’t even know how I came by this one. – demon hybrid/Void Child
Tessa: This is just some name I got from somewhere. – angel hybrid/Sun Child
Madelene: I altered the name Madeleine. – head angel of the Heavenly Council
Jason: Just a name. – human
Dierdras (Dee): Yes, this is a girl’s name, altered from Deirdre, but Dee’s a boy. – human
Amarantha: Don’t ask. It might have come from the amaranth flower. – human
Nephthys: This wasn’t intentional; Nephthys just happened to be the name of the Egyptian goddess that protected the dead. – an immortal crossbreed shapeshifter
Lamia: Also not intentional; Lamia was an ancient Greek child-eating demon. – demon
And that concludes the names. Now, read on for the actual story.
The hybrid fox scurried through the long grass. Artemis should be here somewhere.
Caddie skidded to a stop. “Winter?”
The Spectre girl stepped out from behind a tree, her soft blue light contrasting with Caddie’s red one. “Where’s Artemis?” she asked, folding in her ghost-like wings.
“I don’t know.” Caddie glanced around for the hybrid cat, pushing her brown hair out of her face. “I was looking for her.”
“I’ll help,” Winter offered, but Caddie shook her head.
“I want you to stay here at the rendezvous. After all, I am faster, and if she gets here and finds no one, she’ll be confused.”
The seven-year-old sighed, then sat in the grass. Caddie looked up at the stars, twinkling in the indigo sky, expecting at any moment to see Artemis’s dark shape leap down from the tree branches overhead. When nothing happened, she raced off.
She slowed a few minutes later, having crossed miles and miles of forest to the lake. Sure enough, Artemis was kneeling by the water, staring into its depths.
Caddie approached her. “Artemis. You called a meeting and now you are not there?”
Artemis sighed, then stood up and brushed back her long, black-streaked-purple hair with a paw. “It’s hard to hide,” she mewed softly. “Hybrids like us. I don’t know how much longer we can live like this, Cadmea.”
Caddie sighed too. “I know, Artemis, and that’s why we’re going to do something about it. Is that not why you called the meeting?”
Artemis shook her head. “It is, but I’m not the right one to take up the leadership. It has to be you, Cadmea.”
“What? B-but–” Caddie stammered. “I’m just thirteen! I can’t lead an army of hybrids.”
Artemis smiled at this. “I’ll help you, but in the end it will be your decision. I will advise you where possible.”
Caddie shook her head. “Artemis, I can’t do this.”
Artemis became serious again. “Cadmea, you must.”
The hybrid cat scampered over the rocks, and Caddie followed close behind. Before long, they were standing with Winter, watching as more hybrids emerged from the shadows.
A shapeshifter slunk out of the darkness. He gave the three a slight nod and shifted into a raven, perching on a bare tree branch with a rustle of his inky black feathers. A hybrid falcon named Peregrine joined him, dipping the branch as she landed. The shifter squawked at her in annoyance, but settled again. Peregrine shifted over a little so the branch didn’t snap under her weight.
A group of rabbit hybrids hopped out of the grass, followed close behind by a hybrid hound and two slithering snake hybrids. They all took their place in the clearing – the hound settled by the tree, the rabbits clustered around a small burrow in the ground, and the snakes wound themselves around the tree’s trunk.
More and more arrived until the clearing was filled with hybrids in every tree and every bush, covering every bit of ground. They all clustered around the large rock in the center, upon which Artemis was now standing.
“What isss ze purrpossse of ziss meeting?” one of the twin snakes hissed finally. “You have told uss nothhhing, Artemisss.”
“We can’t hide any longer,” Artemis announced in response, and was met by a clamor of voices.
“We know that already!” a wolf hybrid howled. “Tell us something new!”
“How?” yelped a young bear hybrid.
“We cannot hide! We are not scared rabbits to run and hide at the first sign of danger!” a badger hybrid snarled.
“Watch your tongue!” a mother rabbit hybrid scolded. “It keeps us alive.”
“Silence!” came a roar from the back of the crowd.
Everyone turned to stare at the lion hybrid, who was pacing back and forth in what limited space he had. “Let Artemis speak,” he growled. “She will tell you what you want to know.”
“Thank you, Aslan. Now, as I was saying,” Artemis continued, “we must take the fight to our captors. I have received word from the cardinals that the unmortal has been located. The demons are readying themselves for action, but the unmortal is with Jason and Nephthys, who was tracking the unmortal under the alias Diantha. The Heavenly Council has not been notified.”
“We must find them,” a hybrid mare neighed, pulling her colt closer. “They can keep us safe and help the rebellion.”
“Yes. My filly needs protection!” another whinnied. “And some of us are foaling soon. We need shelter!”
Artemis held up a paw to quell the shouts of agreement. “Winter, Cadmea, and I are formulating a plan to meet up with Jason and Nephthys. Already Laelaps is working on it as we speak.” She gestured to the hound, whose rapt attention was focused on the air around them as she tried to detect their presence on the Earth’s surface.
“But how are we to avoid the Heavenly Council?” Peregrine cried out. “It is impossible. The angels are omniscient!”
“They know not everything,” Caddie called out before she could stop herself.
All eyes turned to her. “By what do you mean?” a hybrid tiger asked gruffly. “No lie, nor any deception, can remain hidden if concerned with the angels.”
She looked up at Artemis, and received only a look that said, You’re on your own.
She sighed. No help there.
“I mean,” she began hesitantly, “the angels only know so much because of their sources. If we were to locate these sources, and avoid them, we could reach the party before Jason turns Nephthys and the unmortal over to Madelene.”
“Caddie’s right.” Aslan pushed his way to the front. “We must find these sources.”
“But how?” someone wailed.
Caddie felt a little more confident now that she knew she had some support. “We track the angels.”
There were murmurs of confusion from the crowd, and Caddie hastened to explain. “Most of the angels have animal companions, do they not? We could ask them to keep us updated. We could evade the informants easily, because there is no doubt that these companions would not have heard any names. Even one is valuable. The demons have stations, the angels have spies, so why not do we have informants?”
A cheer rose, and Caddie smiled in relief. Glad that’s over with. I hope Artemis doesn’t expect me to do it again.
She felt a slight tug on her fingers and looked down at Winter, who was gripping her hand. “You did great,” the young Spectre girl whispered.
As the meeting ended and the hybrids began to disperse, the shifter slipped off the branch upon which he was perched. He shifted back into a human form and approached the three as they chatted by the rock.
“See? You can do it,” Artemis told Caddie, who vehemently shook her head.
“That was terrible, Artemis,” she gasped. “You can’t expect me to take over. I’m not cut out for this!”
“While you may think so, it did not appear so,” the shifter said as he came closer. “You presented yourself as confident and smart, young Cadmea.”
“I-I did?” She frowned. “But I don’t feel confident. And I’m most certainly not smart.”
“But that was a smart plan,” the shifter reminded her.
Artemis acknowledged it with a nod before Caddie could reply. “Obsidian’s right. I could not have thought of something so simple, yet so effective. It’s brilliant, Cadmea, and it will work.”
Caddie shook her head. “It’s just too much pressure.”
“And you think I could handle it better?” Artemis gave a short, bitter laugh. “I would likely end up bringing us all down to ruin. We need to hand this operation over to the next generation, Cadmea, and right now you’re the best representation of what we must lay our hopes upon.”
“But I’m so inexperienced!” she protested.
“Yet you are open to new ideas,” Obsidian rumbled. “You see the situation with fresh eyes, and you are against denying good counsel simply for keeping your pride, because the youth are more dedicated to the cause than the older for the reason that they must secure their own good future. You work with us, for us, because you know your duty. You understand that you must look at the problem from every direction, and you leave the door ajar for anyone who wishes to push through, to contribute. You include everyone.”
“And your experience will grow with you,” Artemis added.
“I-oh.” Caddie stopped trying to persuade them to let her out of it. “Fine. But only because no one else wants the job.”
“Oh, there are many who want it,” Obsidian warned, his voice containing a hint of foreboding. “But they are not the right ones to have it.”
“So you’re giving it to the right one who doesn’t want it. Great.”
Artemis laughed. “In time you will wonder why you refused to begin with.”
Winter scampered away, bored, her silvery Spectre wings fluttering as she launched into the sky and disappeared. Obsidian shifted into a raven again and flapped away, while Artemis leapt into the treetops once more.
Caddie remained sitting on the rock in the faint pool of moonlight. She sat for hours, thinking, never moving, even as dark clouds drifted across the sky. The light faded, but she did not notice.
Finally, a some time after the heavy downpour began, she slipped off the rock. It was slick with rain and her brown hair was plastered to her face. Her blue beanie was soaked, as well as her red-and-black outfit. She adjusted the wet arm band, pushing back her sodden hair.
She held up her hands, staring at them. Am I really cut out for this? she wondered as she squelched through the mud.
The wet grass brushed her ankles as she stared into the darkness of the forest. She stood for a moment, then glanced down at her pale hands. They glowed with a faint red light that matched the sparkles on her shirt, and she shoved them in her pockets to quell it. How can I lead them when I cannot even control myself?
She took a step forward, towards the trees, then dropped into all fours, her hands morphing into fox paws. Lycaon will know what to do. He can help with this mysterious power.
Thunder rumbled directly above as she dashed through the trees, and there was the ominous sound of a tree crashing to the ground in the distance, but by the time the next bolt of lightning flashed, she was already long gone.
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