The Six Emperors: Helen of Troy versus Mahrem, the God of War

By Leonard Pigg

 

Illustration: Sterling Clark

Mahrem, the Ethiopian God of War stands upon a hill. He wears fatigues with a gun holstered at his side. A smile come across his robust face and he wipes sweat from his bald head. He is in Liberia, watching young soldiers fighting. Explosions pepper the landscape and gunfire blazes through the air. Bodies are strewn across the area, buildings are burning and the survivors cry out. Everything happens around him in fast forward, until the battle is done, bodies are buried and the mourning commences. He is there, barely visible, as if a phantom that finally disappears. That night, Mahrem reappears next to a mass grave. He raises his hands, which start to glow a sickly green color. “I command the casualties of war to rise up and battle once more. Go forth and create chaos in my sacred name!” Mahrem says to the night skies. A haze falls over the mass grave and one by one, the carcasses rise from the grave. Suddenly, there are fifty undead soldiers awaiting his command. Mahrem smiles, then points to a city a few miles down the road and says, “Destroy everything there. The world must know and fear me once again!” The horde shamble down the road silently marching in line.

Meanwhile, Helen of Troy is in full Spartan-styled armor battling a ninja. The two are atop the roof of an abandoned factory in Detroit. Sparks fly as blades clash and Helen says, “Who sent you?” The ninja leaps away from her and throws down a smoke bomb. With the area of battle suddenly obscured, Helen is on the defensive. She sheathes her sword and takes out a whip and begins to spin it around her, faster and faster. The smoke begins to funnel up and the ninja is gone without a trace. She looks down and sees that there is a scroll left on the ground. She picks it up, unraveling the paper and sees the Eye of Providence drawn on the page. “Illuminati…” she says coldly. Suddenly, she is knocked to the ground and the ninja reappears out of thin air. A trickle of blood comes from her nostril and she springs back to her feet. “I am Nyō, goddess. Remember the name of the man who slayed you!” he says, swinging the sword at her. Helen dives out of the way and swings her whip at him, ensnaring his feet. She then jumps from the roof whip still in hand, which causes the ninja to fall, dropping his blade. Nyō is dragged across the rooftop, clawing at the ground, trying to stop his inevitable fall from the roof. He clings to the edge of the building, climbing claws dug in. Helen dangles below, planting her feet against the wall and pulling with all her might. The edge of the roof breaks and the ninja starts to fall. The whip unravels from him, while she is in mid-leap and manages to kick him as the two meet in the air. Her attack knocks him into a nearby retention pond a few feet away. She lashes onto a flagpole and swings down safely. Reeling her whip back in, she takes her sword back out and charges toward the pond. Helen sees the ninja floating in the water, seemingly lifeless. “You fought admirably, but not adequately.” Helen says, driving her sword through the ninja. The dirty water turns red and Helen walks away. She sheathes her sword and takes out a small fob, pressing the button. A portal opens and she steps through.

Helen appears on a balcony in Transylvania. Dracula sits under the moonlight sipping blood from a goblet, while another larger man sits across from him drinking mead. It is Ares, the god of war. He is dressed in a purple toga and his red hair is in a ponytail. “Perfect timing, Helen! I’ve been talking to your vampire friend Dracula for hours. He is well versed in the art of war and violence. Suffice to say, I’m impressed.” Ares says as he takes another sip. Dracula and Helen kiss, then she hugs Ares. She then sits down with the two. “The Illuminati sent a ninja after me today,” Helen says. Dracula replies, “Just one? They must be running out of money.” Ares says, “Or it was a test. Perhaps they’re testing your prowess? Given your godhood, you would think they’d send a more powerful foe. Nevertheless, I require a favor of you.” Helen sits back, removing her helmet and running her fingers through her hair. “What would that be, dear Ares?” she asks. “There is another war god, Mahrem of Ethopia. I wish for you to stop him for me. He plans on unleashing a zombie horde across Africa and creating a unified nation under him. I cannot allow him to succeed, as many of my worshippers run guns there. A unified country could put them out of business and I can’t have them losing faith in me, possibly turning to him. Do this for me, I’ll give you a flagon of Ambrosia and you’ll have me in your debt. What do you say?” Ares speaks slowly, taking another sip. “This sounds like something of interest to the Six Emperors, so I’m in.” Helen says as she pours herself some mead. “Besides, I might have need of a war god in the days to come and Ambrosia is always a welcome drink. I’ve not had it in over a century.” Dracula says, “I shall go with you, dear Helen.” Ares finishes his drink, rises and says, “Then it is settled. Please inform me when the task is done. I’ll even give you some Ichor for your trouble, Dracula. There are few finer things than the blood of the gods.” Dracula smiles, fangs exposed. Ares takes a small hourglass from his toga and shakes it. A portal opens next to him and he steps through it. It closes behind him in a flash of light. “Relax my dear, for tomorrow night we shall deal with this Mahrem!” Dracula says to Helen confidently.

The next day, Mahrem’s army grows as they attack the locals in Monrovia. The undead soldiers catch the citizens off-guard with sheer numbers. The horde overwhelms and converts innocent people, increasing their might. As the army continues through the city, Mahrem rides in a rickshaw carried by the undead. He laughs and says, “Soon the sky shall rain blood upon the city and my power will grow tenfold. Let chaos reign supreme!” Suddenly, his declaration is interrupted by an explosion. Several of his soldiers are blown apart as a military strike-force shows up, led by White Panther. Panther’s white costume, trimmed in gold shines in the darkened streets. His soldiers, all in fatigues have the logo of the White Panther on their uniforms. They move silently and engage the undead. Panther throws a dagger at Mahrem, who catches it. He climbs out of the rickshaw and says, “Handle the soldier! White Panther is mine!” Panther remains silent and charges toward Mahrem. He kicks the war god, knocking him back against the rickshaw. Mahrem retaliates by firing his pistol at Panther, who dodges the attack. Panther kicks the gun from Mahrem’s hand and throws a punch. Mahrem catches his fist and throws Panther, sending him crashing through the window of a store, leaving him dazed. “I am a god! How dare you think you could stand against me?” Mahrem says, walking toward the fallen hero. Panther throws a bolo around Mahrem, ensnaring his feet. The war god falls to the ground, face first. Panther leaps in the air, landing feet first on Mahrem’s back. “The beauty of cats. Always landing on out feet.” Panther says, driving two knives into Mahrem’s back. The god screams and the nearby undead horde abandon fighting soldiers and charge toward Panther. White Panther leaps onto the top of a van, with knives in hand. His soldiers continue to fire on the distracted zombies, while Panther slashes and kicks at the ones attempting to climb the van, keeping them at bay. Mahrem’s wounds begin to close and he angrily rises back to his feet, eyes glowing green. The twenty or so troops that arrived with White Panther had suffered heavy casualties. Mahrem realizing this, resurrects the dozen fallen troops to add to his legion.

The sun goes down and the remaining soldiers are nearly out of ammo. An unnatural fog descends upon the group, as Panther fights past the undead and gets toward his remaining soldiers. “We’re running low on ammo, sir. We’ve also got a few casualties. Not sure how much longer we can hold out.” one of them says to Panther. “We can’t let this attack spread any further. Call for back-up and I’ll hold the line.” Panther replies. The fog takes the form of Count Dracula, startling the group. Panther stands at the ready in front of his soldiers. “No need for back-up. The cavalry has arrived. Go home.” Dracula says with a fanged smile. Panther charges at the vampire, who catches him by the throat and lifts him off the ground. “Perhaps you’d prefer to die by my hands instead, mortal?” Dracula says. Suddenly, Dracula’s hand begins to burn and he drops him. “My garb has been blessed by the priests of my village to protect me in battle. I can’t imagine that felt good at all, vampire.” Dracula growls as he holds his smoldering hand. Panther takes a battle stance as Helen of Troy appears from a portal and says, “The White Panther means well, but this is a battle of the gods. Panther, you and your friends would do well to get people to safety. We will handle Mahrem.” Helen holds her sword between Dracula and the Panther. “You’re right. We will protect the innocent and you two are not it.” Panther says as he leaves. Dracula pats Helen on the shoulder and says, “It’s time for the children to feed.” Suddenly, a swarm of bats begin to encircle the zombie horde, tearing at them in a swirl of teeth and claws. “Thank you, darling.” Helen says giving Dracula a kiss on the cheek. “So, which one of you fools wants to fight me first?” Mahrem says as his eyes glow with green energy and holds a machete that burns with the same energy from his eyes. Helen draws her sword, pointing it at Mahrem. The two begin to circle up, while Dracula charges at the horde of zombies and begins attacking them. “I could use a work out.” he says as he plows into the swarm. Dracula laughs as he starts punching and kicking at the zombies. “It’s not like the undead can turn a vampire!” Dracula says, throwing them around like rag dolls with his vampiric strength.

The night sky begins to rain, as lightning and thunder follow soon after. Mahrem and Helen circle up and duel, matching each other blow for blow. Helen lands a kick, knocking Mahrem back. He spins around throwing a knife, which hits her in the forearm. He laughs and says, “You’re the first woman that’s lasted this long in a fight with me!” Helen drops her sword, then pulls the knife from her arm. She licks the blood from the blade and breaks out her whip, disarming Mahrem with a quick lash. “I doubt you have the stamina!” Helen yells as she lashes at Mahrem again, this time he catches the whip and yanks her forward through the air. He punches her in mid-air and sends her crashing against the side of a building. She hits the ground hard and groans, as he throws the machete into the ground, blade first. “Never have I been so disrespected! To think you would dare strike an Africa god with a whip? Blasphemy in any pantheon!” He tosses two grenades in front of her, which cause a massive explosion and the building is damaged. Debris crash down onto the goddess, as he pulls a machine gun out and fires into the smoke and flame. Suddenly, the bat swarm begins to surround Mahrem. He is confused at first, then fires blindly and gives a warrior yell. As he is distracted, an enraged Dracula grabs the machete Mahrem left behind and goes towards the war god. Moving at an unearthly speed, Dracula runs Mahrem through from behnd with the machete. “I’ll feast on your blood, godling!” Dracula says angrily. Suddenly, the green glow of the machete surrounds Dracula in tendrils of energy and he screams in agony, falling to the ground. Mahrem turns and smiles, kicking the vampire. Dracula is sent tumbling across the street. Mahrem picks up his machete and laughs, walking towards him. “I can’t be harmed by my own weapons, you dolt! Nevertheless, I can certainly harm you.” Mahrem swings his machete down at Dracula, who looks up with a smile as he turns into mist, protecting him from the attack. Mahrem continues swinging at the haze in a frenzy. “I’ll destroy you!” he says. The mist drifts up and away from him and reforms on a nearby roof. Mahrem puts the machete in between his teeth and starts climbing up the side of the building to reach Dracula. Helen crawls from the rubble and sees Mahrem engaging Dracula, unaware of her return.

Just as Mahrem is about to reach the edge of the roof, Helen lashes onto his feet with her whip. She plants her feet, using all her strength and pulls him down hard, sending the war god crashing to the ground, cracking the pavement. Dracula leaps down from the roof, landing on Mahrem with a stomp. Mahrem stops moving and Helen binds his hands and feet with her whip. She summons a portal near her and says to Dracula, “Bring him.” He picks up the unconscious god and carries him through the portal with her. The three materialize in Antarctica. Helen takes her sword and strikes down at the ground, creating a hole in the ice to the arctic waters next to a glacier. Dracula tosses Mahrem into the hole. Helen and Dracula step away from the glacier, as she conjures another portal a distance away. Before the two step through, she gives a scream that resonates across the landscape and causes the glacier to crumble atop where Mahrem was left. Dracula applauds and says, “I couldn’t have done it better myself, dear. On that note, we shall return to my castle and celebrate.” She kisses the vampire and says, “We’ll summon Ares tomorrow and let him know of our success. Tonight, I want you all to myself.” The two step through the portal and it closes behind them, leaving Mahrem buried at the frozen landscape.

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