Chapter 6 - The Chaos of Ancient Gods
The Gods’ Tavern
Somewhere in Ancient Greece
“Adrienne!” Seth shouted as he made his way to the middle of the room.
I caught up to him and grabbed his arm. I yanked him towards me and he looked at me with fire burning in his eyes. Literally.
“She’s not your wife!” I hissed.
He looked at me as if I’d gone crazy. “I know my own wife when I see her face, boy!” he spat.
“Look again!” I shouted.
Good thing it was noisy here and the gods and goddesses were minding their own businesses or this would have been a shit show and our covers would have been blown. My answer took Seth aback and he paused. He looked at Aphrodite, the woman he thought was his wife, more closely. Then, his entire body relaxed.
“What sorcery is this?” he asked.
Well, that was a good question.
Err. One I didn’t have an answer for.
So how do I explain to Seth that Aphrodite’s glamour is making her appear to be the most beautiful woman in the eyes of those that look upon her? She doesn’t have a true form and will always appear to be the seer’s idea of beauty.
She is the quote, ’beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ personified.
That was her magic.
But how to explain this to a mortal? How do I tell him about ancient gods and goddesses and magic and that I am part of it? Not only that, I am actually from the future and I was sent back to the past to right all wrongs!
I sighed. Well, I can just pretend to be dumb. That always works.
“Uhm. What magic?” I asked.
He frowned and I could see him thinking hard.
I lifted my hand and gestured at Aphrodite who was busy laughing and flirting, as per usual.
“That’s my cousin. I know her face when I see her,” I told him, throwing back the words he said.
He looked deep in thought for a few seconds. He was looking at her closely, no doubt noting all the similarities and difference. That was the thing with Aphrodite’s magic. It wasn’t always perfect. She cannot capture the love shining in someone’s eyes or the subtle differences the world would consider as imperfections.
Let’s say for example that Seth’s wife has a mole or a birthmark in her face. When he looks at Aphrodite, that won’t be there. Or if Seth’s wife looks at him with all the love in the world in her eyes, when he looks at the goddess of beauty and love, that won’t be there because no magic in the world can recapture that look.
I sighed. It was followed by a long and heavy sigh from Seth.
He turned around and headed back to our seats by the bar. Dionysus was behind the counter and he was again busy mixing drinks of all sorts.
“One day this is going to be famous,” he told us.
I raised an eyebrow.
“What is?” I asked.
“This drink,” he said. He served us two drinks that was as blue as the sky. Of course in the century I came from, this is already famous. They’re called cocktails but they didn’t need magic to transform into different colors. They just needed a blue Gatorade or something and voila!
But in this century, these didn’t exist. And if he sold them outside, he’ll be branded as a witch and stoned to death.
“What would you call them then?” I asked.
“Blowjob,” he said and then lit the drink on fire. I flinched. Seth looked at it with eyes wide. Once corner of his lips were turned up in either a smirk or disgust at the term Dionysus just called it.
“Why that term?” he asked. I shook my head. One rule in surviving the chaos of my Olympian family is that you never ask them why they do things. The answer would just drive you crazy.
“I love blowjobs. So I call it that,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone as though he was just talking about the weather.
He turned around and began serving the other gods and goddesses. Seth looked at me and then retrieved the drink and downed it in one gulp. He winced as the concoction went down his throat with heat and it made him choke a little.
“Now you know why it’s called a blowjob!” he shouted.
I rolled my eyes.
“Excuse my family. They’re a little crazy,” I whispered.
“Every family is a little crazy, boy,” he told me with a smile. He also had this wistful look as though he was thinking of his family.
I also recalled my own family. My dad and his obsession with diamonds. My mom and her obsessive compulsive way of trying to fix the Underworld. My twin, Aurea, and her fascination with the god of Death. Yeah, every family is a little crazy. Mine is not perfect but I love them with all my heart.
I swallowed the lump in my throat.
And now I have to fix everything.
“What are your plans after this?” I asked.
He raised an eyebrow and drank one more of Dionysus drinks. “You shouldn’t have too much of that,” I told him. I know from experience what Dionysus’ brews did to you.
“What are yours?” he asked.
“I have to travel to Sparta. I’m looking for something.”
Seth smiled. “Well, I guess we’re spending more time with each other. I’m headed the same way.”
He shook his head. “Home is far, far away from here, boy. I am looking for something too,” he answered.
Well, what a vague guy. But whatever. Having a companion to travel with is better than braving it on my own. At least I know he can fight. I’m not saying I can’t hold my own when worse comes to worse but at least it’s good to have someone who’ll have my back.
This wasn’t really a good century. There were bandits and all sorts of evil roamed the land.
“Good,” I replied. He held out his hand and I shook it.
“Now for some travel provisions?” he asked.
“We’ll get everything we need from here,” I told him. Just have to bear with my family for a bit more.
“I assume we’re going to spend the night here to prepare the provisions and travel as soon as daylight breaks?”
I nodded. I’d have to ask Poseidon for horses, Hephaestus for weapons, Zeus for some more information, and perhaps Demeter for food for the long journey ahead. I sighed. I missed the future, or should I say the present? Well, whatever it is, I miss my own time.
Journeys were easier because there were planes, cars, boats. And because everyone I loved was there.
I gritted my teeth and faced Seth. “Wait here. Call me if anyone speaks to you,” I told him. He nodded and reached for one more of Dionysus’ brews.
First, I approached Zeus.
“Hey, uncle,” I greeted.
He looked at me from head to toe. “Ah. Hades’ son,” he said, the corner of his lips lifting in a small smile. “Never knew this would happen,” he added. He reached for my face and his fingers turned it from side to side.
“My name’s Aidon. Thought I should introduce myself.”
“Hmm. Curious. You look like him and I feel the blood of immortals running in your veins,” he said after his thorough inspection. I cleared my throat. “Yeah. Ugh. I grew up not knowing about all this. I just found out about it now.”
“My mother is mortal. I was kept from all these…” I waved my hand across the room “…secrets.”
“Ahh,” Zeus replied. “And now you are told about your heritage and your existence. Why now?” he asked. A lot of people thought Zeus was a fool. That he was good for nothing except cheating. But we know the answer to that now. And about him being dumb? That’s not true.
Underneath his calm and easy façade was the cunning of a true king of the gods.
“We’re trying to find something.”
His eyebrows raised. “What?”
“The scroll about the other world, Ilyia,” I replied. Zeus gasped. He grabbed my arm and moved away from the other gods and goddesses towards a quieter area.
“How did you know about that?” he hissed.
I tried to keep a poker face. But deep inside, I was thinking about a hundred different lies I could say to get myself out of this scenario. No way, I can tell the truth about my quest or my powers. Time was something the immortals were afraid of. It’s very easy to change to course of history and destroy the world as we know it. If I told Zeus I had the power over time, he’d lock me up in Tartarus.
“My gift is seeing the future,” I lied.
Zeus’ eyes widened. “Hmm. An oracle in the family… This is new,” he commented. Yeah, I know. Oracles were usually mortals gifted the ability to see the future by the gods.
“What did you see, boy?” Zeus asked.
“A betrayal.” Zeus gasped and cursed under his breath. “Who?” I shook my head. “I didn’t see that part,” I lied. “I only saw that one of us will find it and use the knowledge contained within to reach another world. They have a weapon that could kill an immortal. That weapon was stolen–“
Zeus held up a hand. “And used to kill all of us?” he finished for me. I nodded. “Sounds like either Cronus or Erebus,” he whispered. I kept my poker face, not wanting to confirm or deny anything. I could tell him the truth but it’s much easier this way.
“What do you plan on doing with the scroll?” he asked.
“Hades and I will destroy it and everyone who may have knowledge about it. We need to get rid of all of it now. But first, we need to know where it is.”
Zeus was silent for a long time.
“I don’t know exactly where it is,” he answered. I gasped. “Zeus! This is serious. We need your help–“
“Boy, I said I don’t know exactly where it is. But here’s what I know: A few days ago, there was a mortal woman. They say she had the sight to see this other world. She began spouting things no one understood as if in a trance. She said something about a place called Ilyia, an army of gold, etc. But she also spoke of a weapon that could kill gods.”
“Where is she? And how did you know all this?”
“She’s in Sparta. But now is nowhere to be found. I sent Hermes to eavesdrop and let me know about the threat. He said people spurned her for being insane. But just yesterday, there’s news that people are studying her words.”
“So it isn’t actually a scroll but a woman?”
Zeus shook his head. “There’s talk of a scroll. A priestess of Apollo listened to her and wrote everything down. They say that scholars are actually studying this. Those scholars are under the king of Sparta.”
“I have to find it right away before more people know about it.”
“Then you must make haste to Sparta. What do you need?”
“I need horses for me and my father. Food and other travel provisions. Weapons.”
“I will tell Hermes. You’ll have it before the sun rises tomorrow.”
“Thank you, Zeus.”
“I’d need you to report to me, boy. Only me and no one else. Don’t trust anyone else. I want to know everything that’s happening.”
“How do I do that?”
“I’ll send Hermes,” he said. I nodded.
“Now go back and introduce yourself to everyone else. It’s really huge news that Hades has a son,” he said with a small smile. I grimaced but did as I was told. I exited the small room and Zeus followed.
“Dionysus! Bring more drinks! Today, we’re welcoming Hades and his son!”
That got everyone’s attention. The chatter went down and there was silence as everyone turned.
“Hades got some?!? Finally!”
“Well, he looks like his father!”
“But those eyes… Wow.”
“The mortal must be beautiful!”
“Not as beautiful as me.”
“Is he mortal? I don’t think so! I sense power in this boy.”
There were more comments from my family but the last one stood out.
The second-to-the-last stood out too. It was Aphrodite saying no one was as beautiful as her.
The last one was from Poseidon. Good thing Seth was busy taking more drinks from Dionysus and he didn’t hear it or I’d have to come up with another lie slash explanation.
“Whatever it is, I don’t have it yet!” I shouted back and everyone giggled.
“Welcome to the family, nephew,” Poseidon told me and clapped me on the back. “Err. Thanks, uncle.”
“Poseidon, I have to talk to you about horses for tomorrow. How soon can you get two ready?” Zeus asked his brother.
“In a snap, brother! But doesn’t Hades have his black purebred stallions?”
Zeus looked deep in thought. It’s true. My father bred horses too and those black stallions were his pride and joy especially during chariot races.
“We need something a little more inconspicuous. We’re going to pretend to be mortals,” I whispered.
“Ahh. Playing with the mortals, I see.” Zeus caught my eye and shook his head. He meant that I had to play this game and let Poseidon believe whatever he thought. I shrugged. “Yeah. He’s training me,” I answered.
“Huh. I’ll have two delivered here tomorrow morning,” Poseidon answered.
“Have it before sunrise,” Zeus said and Poseidon nodded. Then, he went off and fetched his wife, Amphitrite, who was with Hera. The two were also accepting more drinks from Dionysus. Everyone else was also drinking and I was sure as hell that everyone would be wasted before midnight. Seth, with the rate at which he was drinking, would be leading this drunken-fest.
Mental note: must stop Seth from drinking more soon.
At seeing the two queens together, I felt a twinge in my heart. Seeing two of them wasn’t the same. My mother was always with them and it was always a trio of queens.
That’s how it is and that’s how it always should be.
But this time was way before my mother was even born. This made me remember that I was in a completely different timeline and whatever I did here could save or destroy the world. I have to finish my mission and I have to do it right.
Nothing else is acceptable.