I stomp into the lobby of the OA building with more presence than flare, ignoring the mutterings among the mortal staff regarding the puddles of water I leave in my wake (and, unbeknown to them, my divine brine-blood). I dare not pause as I make straight for my own rooms, bearing the giant pearl. My jewel needs to be placed in to warm ocean water. I do not stop, not even to gaze upon Aphrodite, who seems to be hanging around waiting for conflict. Or love. Some love is just too much trouble. Shaking my head, I make a mental note to cover a few things with my nephew when he shows up. Both my nephews, come to that.
I make my way up to my own floor, shifting my weight uncomfortably. While I can feel the Hudson River and actually see the water from here, I miss my waves. This changes the moment I open the door to my suite.
Wall-to-ceiling clear tanks mean my actual living space is smaller – but it does not feel small. I am Poseidon and believe me when I say there is nothing little about this god! The tanks ensure that all around me flow tropical coral ecosystems and thousands of my elegant ocean-living minions. How they find their way in and out of my wall-tanks I do not know (I am not an engineer, after all), but I do insist that they be allowed to come and go as they please. This ensures the inhabitants of the tanks are always changing. Like my ocean; like the earth; like me. Even you, mortal. You change all the time, too – or do you prefer not to know this? I think many of you do.
I enter my ocean-away-from-home, stop, and listen.
I hear them, whispering and swishing. The sub-whispering welcome of creatures you mortals rarely notice. I smile and nod, sending out affection. They deserve it. Unlike you human creatures, my ocean folk are not fickle. Then again, they are far simpler creatures. Carefully, oh-so-carefully, I unseal a panel in the wall and place the pearl within the cavity there.
Do not eat, I telegraph to the swarming species as the hatch spells “food” to my friends here, but they hardly need telling. Immediately, they retreat, watching both myself and the pearl (side-placed eyes can do this, you know; depth perception is definitely lacking in most fish species, but they have the ability for a wider gaze than you or I).
“Thank you, children.” I mutter, feeling their energy, their reverence. The deeply powerful vibrations of the creatures that belong to my realm. They nose up to the pearl, accepting it, rolling it, even playing a little as they maneuver it towards a flat, sandy space sheltered by a little coral cave.
“Gently,” I caution, “gently now.” But I cannot be angry. Two powerfully sucking tentacles slither forth, settling protectively around the base of the pearl. A sound, a murmur, ripples smoothly through my thoughts. A giant octopus for a foster-guardian. Well, why not?
I also hear wailing and grief. My minions are weeping and full of sorrow. They know the pearl is powerful, but only if it remains in the water. Old Ted must have kept it hidden and far too dry for far too long. I spit a curse and catch myself. I must not inflame the creatures surrounding me. Hephaestus is a fine craftsman but we are almost two dozen floors up and I have no desire to rupture my walls. It would mean death to my creatures – and they are needed. I hear, rather than see, the sounds of Delphine’s descendants. The children of my own dear pet dolphin are dearer to me still and I am glad they are here. I have work for them.
Find me a ship, I command, and with a swish of tails, some bubbles, and flickering silver shimmers, Delphine’s children are gone to do my bidding. Not many mortals know that I am the grandfather of Danaus, the Libyan king who created the first ship. Would that he were with me now. . .but no matter. I know exactly what I need.
A trireme that can withstand the slamming power of my oceans and the rage of its captain. I’ll also need a crew.
I lower myself onto a divan placed there (I suppose) by one of my well-meaning relatives. I notice the design: nautilus shapes and pondweed fronds. An absurd blending of marine life with freshwater plants. I grin; Artemis, my niece, has always had a sense of humour. It’s time I met with her – but first, I need coffee. Then a drink. Then a ship.
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