You have heard of them, our Téras. We Greeks have always known of the monstrous. Our cyclopes, our gorgons, our harpies - all these things, we speak of in our epics. From one generation to the next, we pass down these tales of terrors. We speak of them in meter, in rhythm. They entertain us, they enchant us - but most of all, they make us remember - for there are some things which should never be forgotten.
Our tales speak not only of the Téras, though. There is another word we Greeks know well. The word is hero. That is what I am. It is what I have trained to be, all my life. I stand between the monsters and the shores. I am the spear of Athens, the blade of Sparta.
Some day, the world will sing my epic.
Name: Vasia Kairodes [ Βασία Χαιρόδες ]
Ability: Vasia has the ability to enforce a "rhythm" to a fight or actions in an area around her, causing strikes to land on a particular beat as determined by the tempo she chooses.
Combat: Her temporal step-function serves to make her particularly evasive, as she can choose when a strike will land, often giving her precious time to get out of the way - or to counter. While she doesn't have particularly high natural defense or attack, she is very good at not getting hit - or at making sure that hits land in such a way that she can counter them. Her fighting style in close combat relies on counters, especially once the action has begun, though she has a proclivity for early "assassin-style" strikes if she has the space to take them.
Armament: Vasia prefers a spear for engaged combat, which she wields two-handed in a way more akin to a staff with a sharp end than traditional spear-bearing. This compensates for her form, which is lighter and more acrobatic than a traditional - usually male - Greek spear-bearer, who would also carry a shield. Vasia's spear is titanium-forged, and durable enough to block combat strikes so that she does not need to carry a shield as well. She also carries a trinity of daggers, wielded at extremely close range with deadly grace.
"On the beat. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Good! Double time for cardio, yes? Hit!" It was early in the morning, and the clouds were still tangling their way around Vasia's legs as she struck the padded bag hung up outside. From a certain angle, she'd always thought it looked like a hanging man. Her grandfather had laughed when she'd told him that, but he hadn't let her up on practicing any.
A girl needed to be strong, he'd told her. "Strong, and able to fight for herself, yes? This way a girl doesn't end up like Helen, like Europa! You ever meet a god, you kick him in the face." She'd heard the speech a thousand times by the time she was old enough for school. Once, when she'd been seven and he'd had a bit of ouzo, the speech had changed, and he'd said "like your mother."
He'd never spoken of it again, but she remembered, and pretended she didn't. He taught her to fight, because when her mother had been a little girl, he had taught her to be gentle, not to be a fighter like her old man. But then Vasia had come, and her mother had saved all the pills the doctors had given her for the pain of it all, and one day she had taken every one of them.
And like that, Vasia grew up with her grandfather, and he taught her to fight. At first it was punches, kicks. Later, it was knives. He did not tell her where he learned to fight with knives, and Vasia knew that if he ever did, it would be another thing she had to pretend she did not remember, and so she did not ask. There were other things to talk about - stories of heroes, of monsters. He read to her from the old epics, and she learned to take pride in her history, in where she had come from and the heroes that had come before them.
Eventually, she learned to count her own time, when it became too hard for him to count it for her - when speaking too much brought on the cough, the rattle in his lungs.
She remembered being eleven, when the school had called her to ask why she was not in class, and she had told them that he had died in the night. The day had been a flurry of medical technicians, of social workers, of questions where the answers were easy but the feelings were hard. It had started with her bringing him his coffee in bed, and ended with her in an orphanage.
She had cried, and another child had held her. There was no shame in emotion - they were Greeks, all of them. The orphanage had been hard at times, but it was not all bad. She had met Nell there, and Dimitrios. She'd tried to teach them to fight, because it was what her grandfather had taught her, and to fight was to tell his story with her fists and her knives, again and again until it passed into legend. Dimitrios had never been much of a fighter, but Vasia and Nell had learned that he had a knack for patching them up, when they inevitably hurt themselves.
When she had gotten older, the legend had come to her. Diatírisi, the tiny organization that the Greeks maintained to protect themselves from the things of legend - because time had passed and the epics had faded, but the things they spoke of were still very real. The téras, the monsters, they had not faded just because they were things of the past. Greece still had call for its heroes, to fight back against these things and keep their cities safe from harm.
Vasia had signed on with them immediately. Dimitrios was already there - some word of his ability to assist in medicine had gotten out, and they were willing to pay for his schooling as a doctor if he worked for them. He'd brought Vasia in as a fighter. Nell... Nell had been trying to make it on her own, back then. It had been Vasia who'd gone and persuaded her to join them. Perhaps, if she had never done that...
The morning fog twisted its way around her legs once more as she sighed, her breath driving the white wisps away once more. They coiled around the gravestone before her: Penelope Kritios, 7-5-2000 - 7-27-2021.
A hand fell on her shoulder, and she didn't look back. It would be Dimitrios, because today he would be here. In a month's time, she would be with him at the grave of his parents. In six months, he would be with her at her grandfather's. They did not forget people.
Some day, she would be at his grave, or he at hers. There would be pain there, but they would draw their resolve from it. Pain shaped a person, brought out the strength in them. Akhilleus had known that, and Odysseus, and people still spoke of the greatness of their deeds.
They would tell each other's tales, and live on in words. That was what it was, to be a hero.