Home can be a bed, a house, a collection of shopping carts under a freeway, a place you meet your friends, a bar, or even a rock. There’s an interesting fact about homes: you don’t have to like them to have them be a part of you. When you move, the home stays with you, and you carry it with you. I didn’t know this before escaping my eternal punishment. I thought that once I was off that rock, I’d forget all about it. That wasn’t the case. Like my famous brother, Atlas, I carried that rock with me. Every time I wasn’t thinking about something else, every time I closed my eyes, I felt that eagle every time I slept. But that’s finally stopped. It stopped because of the magic of Hestia.
I didn’t want to talk about this in my blog, but after Artemis had me dead to rights, there wasn’t any point in keeping my new home a secret. Yes, I’m safe. I have a new home protected from all the Gods, Titans, and Primordials, or so I thought. My hubris led Artemis to my home, and now I have to trust three goddesses with very different motives.
This is getting confusing. I kept things from you, so I should go back.
Atë took her own life, or so I thought. When I came to her body, I found an address written in ancient Babylonian. I went there first, and I found another address with directions to a location far from Olympus, and a single key. It was a simple thing on the surface, a modern key of matted steel color, but there was so much magic in it that even I could feel it. I needed answers, so I hid the key and went to Hades. All I got from Hades was the knowledge that Atë was still alive. She’d moved on to her next body. I had a key and an address Atë went to great lengths to give me. I was sure I’d meet Atë there.
The house was in a good neighborhood. Each of the two-story, four bedroom houses had large yards on the front and the back. The neighbors were ensorcelled somehow. I didn’t know if it was Atë or one of the others, but they didn’t even see me. As long as the key was in my pocket, no one saw me come and go. It was like I didn’t even exist. The yard was well gardened, but there were empty plots of dirt surrounded by stone bricks that seemed to be waiting for plants. Images flashed in my mind’s eye. I saw pomegranate saplings and olive bushes. I saw flowers I couldn’t name, and have since forgotten.
The key slid right into the doorknob, and it opened up. There was a savory smell wafting through the house. Paws and nails ran over the hardwood and tiles. This medium sized dog showed up, and it sniffed me for a breath before trying to jump into my arms. I’d never had a dog. I’d never ever seen one. I knew wolf, and hated that my brother made them so smart and resourceful. This was the distant cousin that you made of it. The dog was wet, smelled like a stagnant pond of water, and loved me for no good reason. I found myself petting it before I knew why.
“It took you long enough,” the Olympian Hestia called from another room. “I told you that my magic would die without…”
She came to the welcome area wearing an apron. The great goddess was adorned like a homemaker. There was a great warmth radiating off of her. She was a tray of fresh baked cookies. She was a pot of simmering mole. She was a pan of sizzling oil frying breaded chicken. She was an oven opening to let out a fresh batch of naan. Yet, when she took off the apron, she became stone walls, locked doors, a claymore by the hearth, a glock in the nightstand, and an electronic keypad beeping. Hestia put the apron on a nearby table. “How did you get in?”
“Atë gave me the key.” I held it up, but She didn’t soften one bit. “It’s the truth. Is She here?”
“If Atë gave you the key, then why don’t you know where She is?”
“She moved on to a new mortal body. I thought She’d be here.”
“If She gave you the key, She can’t come back,” Hestia explained.
“What? How is that possible?”
The goddess stared at the dog. It was thumping its tail on the tiled floor, waiting for me to pet it again. She looked at my thin face and tired, sunken eyes.
“Take your shoes off. There’s a rack by the door. I have something simmering. You like lentils?”
I wasn’t sure, but Hestia made a heavenly stew of them and other vegetables and herbs I quickly forgot. The cup of tea eased my fears quicker than any colorful alcohol at a bar. Perhaps this will help you understand why I wasn’t alarmed when I became sleepy. Hestia expected my drowsy spell, and lead me to an unfurnished bedroom. The moment my face hit the pillow, I fell into a deep sleep. When I awoke, Hestia was waiting in the living room. She had all of her bags with her.
“Atë promised me a great boon when I finished the task. Now that she’s gone, that boon’s fallen onto you,” the Goddess explained petting the sleeping dog on her lap.
“I’m sorry, what task? What did you do for her?” My voice came out hoarse. I sat on the couch across from Hestia. The moment I rested my legs, I felt my spine soften.
“This was to be her home away from Olympus. Atë had plans for this place. No God can find it through divine knowledge. That was Hecate’s contribution, well, that and the enchantments on the door and walls. As for me, she needed my help to turn this into a home that even the Gods couldn’t corrupt. If this place is your home, then you’re safe under this roof.”
“Me? This isn’t my home.”
“You ate a meal and slept in your bed. It usually takes longer to make four walls and a bed into something special, but…I helped things along,” Hestia explained with a smile.
Atë did me a kindness. She’d given me a home. “But now I owe you.”
“Now you owe me,” she agreed. “Don’t worry, I won’t ask for too much…today. You’re a trickster God of some renown, known for your lies.”
“I’ve been nothing but honest,” I protested.
Hestia smiled kindly at me. “This isn’t an accusation. I need someone of your talents. I want you to play a prank on Hera.”
“Nothing harmful, just enough to ruffle those peacock feathers she’s got in her bum.”
I couldn’t find the words, and just like that, she made her way to leave. The dog got up and sat on my lap. “You’re not going to take your dog?”
“It’s just some stray Atë let into the house,” she explained. “I think She was calling her Cerebus.”
“That’s a terrible name for this dog.”
“Not to Atë.” Hestia was at the door. “Oh, and Prometheus.”
I looked to her.
“One day I’ll ask for payment for the protection this house gives you, and should you refuse both my blessing and Hecate’s enchantments will work against you and all who live here. Do I make myself clear?”
I nodded. I already regretted making a deal with a Goddess, but the place was too useful to give up.
I was hungry, unbelievably so, but the dog on my lap was comfortable, and she didn’t want me to get up. I pet her head and talked to the pup about my predicament. I took to calling her Sera, instead of reminding me about the three headed war machine Hades kept. Atë and I had barely talked, but she’d been the one to free me, and she’d done so to bring me here.
There was a guest bedroom on the ground floor with three more bedrooms upstairs. The master bedroom was decorated by Atë, complete with designs both macabre and frantic. My room was close to Hers, but it lacked decorations. There was a rec room downstairs with not only a pool table, but a table and chairs made for children, and a gaming center that included modern video game systems I knew nothing about. The den had a library, and I checked every book for some kind of clue as to Atë’s whereabouts, but wherever she was, she didn’t want to be found. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized the garage was actually unlocked. There was a combination lock on the door, but it wasn’t latched closed.
There was a single dirt bike inside, old and used by the looks of it, and what could only be described as an armory. Atë had equipped the place with enough munitions to rip through the local police. There were rifles and handguns of various size and flavors that I knew nothing about. I ran my hands over the barrel and grip, but decided better of feeling the weight in my hands. She had old world objects too, full armor of a roman centurion, glaives, spears, and lances with ornate patterns seared into the metal, leather bracelets stained with centaur blood, and a helmet without any way to see through it. The scariest part about Atë’s little collection was the map of Olympus in the center of the four car garage, complete with a scale model. There was a purple sticky note at the bottom of the tower, “based on an older design the Olympians didn’t use.” On top of the workbench, next to the minibar, I found a letter from the lost Goddess of Chaos.
If you’re reading this, then you found my note and everything went according to plan. If anyone else is reading this, then you’ll never find me. I’m done with all of you, so don’t even bother trying to find me.
Anyway, I would’ve liked to say goodbye, but I’m tired of him trying to control me. If it was just the monster that pretended to be my father, I might’ve found a way to stay. They’re sick. They’re all infected with an illness worse than the black plague, and if you listen closely, you can hear them chanting ring around the rosies. Every century is just as boring as the last, and none of them want to change. I shouldn’t say that. Some of them see the blood turning to sludge.
You aren’t alone, Prometheus. There are those who would see Zeus fall, just not the allies that I wanted, nor the allies we needed. I wanted to form a great plot to end Zeus’ reign, but I’ve left that task to you. Of all the Immortals, you’ve always been the best at getting under his skin. Find allies and bring them here.
I called it Delusion, a sanctuary from Zeus where we can plot his demise. There were others involved in the building of this simple house, but they got cold feet. I suppose I’m no better, flying off to inhabit the mind of another. They don’t want me in Olympus. They never wanted me. He didn’t want me. We would’ve been so great together, Prometheus. The mortals would’ve known an end to their tedious complacent lives, and I would’ve been the great Queen of all alive and dead, but that was never my place. No, my place is in the minds of mortals, sewing discord and destruction. Without me, they’d be as boring as the Gods. Your fire wasn’t enough.
I’ve rambled again. I suppose I don’t want to say goodbye to this dream. As long as you don’t do something stupid, Artemis or the rest of Zeus’ pets won’t find you. The IP address is scrambled so none can find the source of your emails. Hell, you could probably keep writing your blog. That would piss Zeus off, seeing you post about how you’re openly defying him. I’d love to see the look on his face. Maybe I will. You’re safe, Prometheus, now do what you do best, and end Zeus’ reign.
I wish I could be there to help you. You’ll have to settle for Delusion. Don’t let anyone sleep in my room, and don’t kick Cerebus out. Never mind, you can gut her for all I care. She was supposed to be a present for my sweet lord of death. Who would’ve thought he’d be so unimaginative? You can tell him I said that. On second thought, don’t tell him any of this. No, you should post this entire letter on their blog. Let all of them know you’re untouchable.
Alright. I guess this is goodbye. If you look for me, I will test the limits of your immortality, one layer of flesh at a time.
PS: You may have inherited my debt to Hestia. Sorry about that.
It was funny reading her writing again. It would’ve been better to sit with her and discuss the downfall of Olympus one step at a time. But she gave me valuable information. There were other immortals working to overthrow Zeus. If I could find them, I could offer all of them a place to stay where Zeus couldn’t get to them. I needed to be patient. If I ran out and started recruiting them, it would be my downfall. I grabbed the petty cash Atë left me, and started up the old dirt bike. I needed to go down to Cross Roads.
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