There’s something many of you mortals may not realise about being a god. We live forever, more or less (in my case, mostly more). I am the son of Cronos and brother to the sky-dwelling, lightning-wielding Zeus. My other brother is the god of death and I reside between them. I am one of the few gods who make their home here on Earth (well, beneath my seas, to be precise, but you get the idea).
I live eternally. . .and sometimes I forget. Incidents, wars, important dates – and lovers. The memories stirring within me now are still unclear, like a painting distorted by water. In time, the forgotten knowledge will rise. Among the many millenias-worth of sights and sounds I witness, I will remember. I will know her again (and if you were old Ted here, you’d best not be around when the memories of my Oceanid resurface).
Ted’s Tale concludes:
. . . and when I wake I find I am alone on the deck, naked, and the sun is already high. How long have I slept? Where is the woman – the woman? I blink again, and then I remember. I stand and trip. Something large and luminous rolls past my splayed feet. I run after it, pick it up – and catch me breath. It’s a pearl. A perfect sphere, about the size of a coconut. I feel me boat lurch beneath me legs and hurry to take me place at the tiller once more, steering her course more accurately and away from the shoals. I think I see, away in the distance, a flicker of a tail. Just for a moment I hear, too, a distant splash. Could it be her? Or just a trick of the light?
I look down at my pearl and smile, making ready to come about.
“Quite a story, eh, barkeep?” Old Ted grins up at me. “You like me pearl, eh?” he asks again.
“Your pearl?” My voice is quiet. Deadly. I barely notice the change moving over the washed up seaman’s grizzled face.
“Yer hand,” Ted mutters, staring as I push his final drink closer. For once, he is not gaping at the rum. “Yer not even bleeding!”
I glance down. The old lush is not correct. I am, in fact, bleeding pints of saltwater leaking all over the damn bar as I struggle to mop up with my uninjured hand and an ancient piece of cloth, muttering swear words that have not been heard on earth since the drowning of Atlantis.
Ted’s glazed eyes lift to mine and I sense he can “See” me. “Wa – what areya?” he asks in wonder.
This is it then. The only time a mortal Sees a god is when the god allows it – or another god steps in. There is only one god who would dare, and only one reason he could have for doing so. Old Ted has cadged his last drink. Behind him, flaming heat flashes up into my grate. Ted jumps as the Fury appears, bowing before me.
“Shut UP, old man.” I clasp my trident for just a moment and reveal myself, to a degree. I am quite something. My head just scrapes the ceiling as a wave of icy seawater sweeps in, soaking Ted from head to foot, dousing the infernal flames and flash-flooding the bar before receding at my command. I glow with emerald light and immortal, golden flame. Behind me, the ghosts of a thousand sea monsters snarl and rail, held back by the power of my will alone. All belong to me, and all serve me this night. The strength of my seas are very great, and this foolish sailor has no idea what he’s done to anger a god.
The old drunk scrambles off his stool, coming to attention. The creature sent by Hades squeals at the sudden dousing, re-flaming all the brighter.
I laugh, feeling the sea monsters vanish. “My apologies, Megaera,” I reply. “How is my brother?”
“Lord Hades sends his compliments,” she hisses, her speech echoed by the thousands of tiny serpents writhing out of her skull. My establishment suddenly sounds full of whispering voices, all speaking the same sounds. Meg has the sense to keep her bat wings furled indoors, but her flaming tongue licks over Ted’s skin and she lifts her fiery scourge slightly before raising her brow in my direction. (This is quite the challenge as, if you’ve ever seen a Fury, you’ll know their brows are not easy to make out.)
“The mortal must come with me. Now.” She adds and again, her snakes repeat her words.
I wave my hand. “Take him.” A crack, a flash of fire, and all that’s left of old Ted is the faint scent of brimstone and singed flesh.
Hum! Old Ted’s tale has more holes than a coral atoll, but for all his bluster and sharkshit, there’s something to this story. Somewhere, my Oceanid lives and the pearl – is it? Could it be? I shake my head (carefully; in my current aspect I can cause far more mayhem than I intend. Think divinity is easy?). I pull it together; I’m a god, by Cronos, and I can handle this.
Striking the ground thrice with my trident, my thunder deafens all within range. I am careful, but even I can feel the slight shift of rock plates far beneath the earth.
The chest surrounding the giant pearl splits, then breaks entirely apart. Holding my sliced skin above the jewel, I watch the pearl absorb my briny blood. This is it, then. The proof I need that this jewel is, after all, my own.
“Hephaestus!” I yell, and my voice is full of rage. “Artemis! Nike!”
The thunder outside pains even the ears of my deep-dwelling merfolk. I clap my hands until it grows louder still. “HEPHAEASTUS! I’m going to need a ship!”
“I’m going to need you all.” I mutter, staring as yet more of my blood is absorbed by the pearl; a necessary requirement but it still hurts like the fires of Tartarus. “Including the god of healing.”
This is Family Business, and it’s time I took care of it. Time? I just hope I have enough.
Poseidon must return to Olympus.
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