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When you reach Palodes,

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"Oh, what a bust. I'm glad to be rid of them all, if I'm honest-- ho ho ho, does my reputation precede me? Well then, that's what you get to for listening to Mercury, the insufferable bore. You heard what he did to-? Yes. Bored him to death. Literally. And he is a fake, an impossible, endless liar... he's going around, telling everyone we're related? I mean, really? As if my roguish good looks could be owed to him-"

Faunus is drunk.

"Oh, quiet; I don't give a harpy's throbbing scaly tit what you think- really- really you should be thanking me for my exalted company, I am spewing, among other things, pearls of wisdom."

Faunus is talking to a goat.

It's quite apt, really. He likes goats. No, not that way-- not since the end of the Golden Age, anyway. He gets a bit nostalgic around Saturnalia, perhaps, but then he remembers how the Golden Age isn't really anything to mourn-- no Auphe nipping at your heels anymore-- and gets properly soused like everyone else on the Capitoline... or wherever he is this year.

Faunus stands on shaky legs-- entirely human in appearance, thank you-- leaving the goat behind, to wander through the hills of Paxos. Which means, really, that he should call himself Pan. He is Pan, here.

He has difficulty remembering all his names, sometimes. Usually when he's drunk. Sober, his vanity preserves much.

He is confused. He's not on the Capitoline or the Aventine or the Palatine, and it is not Saturnalia, nor anywhere near it. No, Pan is drunk on a hill in Paxos, talking to goats, trying to avoid thinking about his love life.

He is a god, you know.

He was to be married, once.

No, not that time. If you think the great god Pan was only ever to be married once, you are truly, truly more of a- a flash in the paleolithic pan than, than-

The great god Pan, called Faunus and Inuus and Tammuz, false son of Hermes called Mercury, vomits into a hole in the ground.

Perhaps it is best to call him what you do: Robin Goodfellow, called Rob Fellows, true son of no one (no, Polyhemus, not him).

Robin crawls along on the grassy hill, feeling the earth warm and pleasant beneath his feet. He is a rustic god, and this is before the death of such concepts. He is earthy and musky and full of life, not like the gleaming silver capitol-- and who needs that? Why would one want to be so sterile and lifeless? (The Robin of today would scoff at such ideas while rubbing the dirt off his imported shoes, but times change, and the timeless along with.)

Speaking of sterility and lifelessness-- Robin feels a gust of cold wash over him. Not wind-- it is a pleasantly warm summer-- but a true radiation of pure and perfect cold, an essence distilled and distributed via some arcane miasma. This is a sensation that will be lost in the Age of Reason. Robin will not miss it.

In any case, the cold blows the drunkenness right away, and in an instant Robin is sober. That, more than anything, signals the presence of a god. And a high-ranking one, for them to have that kind of power. Robin's skills are largely based in ingenuity, not like those who came from the aether just for their followers, like Sif (a good lay if there ever was one) and Apollo (slightly less so, surprisingly).

Robin opens his eyes-- he hadn't realized he'd closed them-- to see another type of creature altogether. When Sif and Apollo are the fevered dreams of scattered and persecuted polytheists, this man in front of him will still be. He is truly endless.

Before him stands Morpheus, called Oneiros and Kai'ckul and many other things, leader of the Oneiroi, false son of Nyx.

Before him stands Dream of the Endless.

"Pan," he says. (This one never forgets names.) We will call him Dream, for that is the name Robin knew him by before he was Morpheus, and so it sticks like a fever in his mind. Memory is a funny thing. For Robin, it is mercurial enough to match his temperment.

"You," Robin says, still crouched on the grass. He is covered in dirt and vomit, and his mind, now sober, still throbs strongly with one of Dream's younger siblings (no, not the one you are thinking: their twin).

Even in mourning, Robin knows the value of presentation. He stands, seemingly unconscious of the stench of him. In truth, as rustic god of fertility and furry mirth, he simply does not care.

Dream does not sneer or hiss. He is too dignified for that. He says, "you are debasing yourself." He would say something like that.

Robin laughs and sits back on the grass. He makes a motion for Dream to sit down next to him-- it is the right sort of thing to do, even though there is no way the Parcae (Moirae? Whatever) ever meant Dream to take him up on the offer. "Morpheus," that is the correct name, right? "I am a god of drunken revelry and goatfucking. What are you expecting, exactly?"

Somehow, that eternal shine in the pools of Dream's eyes take on a judgmental quality, if one can anthropomorphize light. Considering Robin is currently speaking to an anthropomorphization, he thinks he can get away with it. Anyway, a judgmental tint would make sense. Dream has never been fond of those more festive gods, not since the incident with his son. A sorry affair, to be sure, but decidedly not Robin's problem.

Dream says, "I have been asked by Bacchus to collect you."

Robin feels a tug at his heart. He will never entirely learn when an Endless-- one of the twins, usually-- is fiddling with him. Possessing a naturally volatile temperament, it may never be possible to notice such interference.

Robin says, "No."

That gleam in Dream's eye becomes bright with a flash of-- Robin is going to guess-- surprise, and then some other emotion entirely.

Robin smiles.

"You are a god," Dream says. He doesn't sound tired, or disappointed, or disgusted. He doesn't sound like anything, really. It's strange; Robin can never remember exactly what the Endless sound like unless he's talking to one. Dream says, in that same indescribable tone, "You have responsibilities."

"No," Robin says. He wants to cry, to bleed, to indulge in dramatics until the pain in his heart subsides. "Fuck off." Despite his tone, Robin is still smiling.

Dream stands resolute. "You are a god."

Robin rolls his eyes. "No. I quit. Tell them I'm dead."

"You cannot skirt responsibility so easily."

"Yes, I can. Tell the first ship you see: the great god Pan is dead." Robin's smile grows wider. "I'm the sort that can survive that."

Dream says nothing.

"The rules work however we like, do they not?" As always, Robin's question is rhetorical. "If you're believed dead, you may as well be."

The gleam in Dream's eye changes intensity for a moment, flashing bright white light. "And do you wish to die, little god?"

"It would be," Robin lies back on the grass and covers his eyes in the crook of his elbow, "a blessing."

"Then I will tell my sister you wish to see her, and follow your instructions." And with that, Dream was gone, and the warmth of summer returned. But Robin was still sober, damn them both.

But perhaps that, too, is a blessing. Very quickly, Robin takes off running, off the hill and out of the Paxi. He does not want to stay in the same place, should Dream speak true, and his sister find the great god Pan waiting.