Fueled by its need for blood, Erebus’s sword hums between Thanatos’s fingers. As a gift to his son on the eve of his tenth birthday, Erebus coupled the sword with a unique being:- “I call it shadow. It will help you master your abilities,” the god of Darkness responded to a baffled Thanatos, before leaving him to explore the black tennis ball that sat on his palm.
Every time Shadow and Thanatos’s eyes met, Thanatos was astounded by the resemblance that existed in their red irises. The black ghost-like essence did as its name suggested, replicating Thanatos’s bodily form as his own shadow following him everywhere. Shadow, from the day Erebus gifted this being to Thanatos, followed the god of death everywhere save for visits to Tartarus where the screeches of those in pain urged Shadow towards his rogue side. Even though ridding the world of some of Olympus’s enemies would benefit most, Thanatos preferred for them to suffer eternally than cease to exist because his Shadow loves the taste of their souls. Death and suffering is just a small portion of the dark power Thanatos wields.
Forged in the fires of Tartarus at the hands of lifers, the sight of the silver still roused sparks in Thanatos’s eyes. Silver is what has always defined the night family from the sun. Where the crowns and jewelry of Zeus and his lineage shone a bright gold, while the night family uses silver as its signature. And, only the purest of silver was used to make the god killer. Like the god of death, Shadow was equally entranced by the weapon. In an attempt to sate its desire shadow laced itself around the sword causing the air to crackle as Thanatos readies to strike.
An unsettling chill overcomes his body, one that he last felt when his father chose to check up on him a century ago. “Do it,” a whisper meets his ear, and the need to please his absentee of a father circles him once more.
“Who are you doing this for? Erebus? Or yourself?”
Anger bubbles in his heart at the thought of Erebus.
“Who is the rightful king?” The whisper reaching his ears louder than expected.
Blackness coats the land and an eerie silence fills the void. The ever-burning fire that is the underworld’s sun no longer shines across the fields that house the gallant and sincere souls- Elysium.
“With the rise of a new king comes the dawn of a new day in Elysium, and thus came the second day,” Hypnos’s voice travels across the void. The vibration of each step his twin took reached Thanatos as he rid himself of the hatred he had pent up over the centuries.
Luminescent gold drips off the god killer’s blade, soaking the ground as his opponent breathes his last. Never again will Hades’s body walk this earth, nor shall his word be law. The power, the throne, the kingdom, the underworld all belongs to Thanatos.“I was born a king,” he speaks to the rising sun. Thanatos extends his hand away from his body to the waiting nymph. She steps forward with trembling knees hands outstretched. In her palms sits a pillow with one of two silver crowns. Sensing its owner, the crown lifts off the pillow on its own accord and settles above Thanatos’s head, just barely touching his coiffed hair.
“As touching as it is to watch you finally wield all control of this land, I would like to paint Olympus silver and have my throne handed to me know,” Hypnos, the god of sleep remarks.
“And that you will brother.” A single gesture towards the risen sun opens the portal through which night chariots and warriors dash towards Olympus’s gate seeking to take what belongs to them.
Hades had admitted once that Zeus seemed to be at a loss as to what responsibilities to give his ever fruitful seed as they came of age. Hermes got the better end of the straw being the god of communication, but Dionysus’s ever drunken stupor quickly became concerning. The fall of Hades reached Olympus quickly, a sign that Hermes was indeed still as active as ever. Despite the forewarning of the night family’s troops set to invade Olympus, Olympus’s battlefront comprised of a half human half horse, a centaur front that did nothing to hold back the masses that charged across Gaia’s field from the gate.
“For a King who has seen many wars, your welcome committee lacks creativity. My first order of business once I am King will be to replenish the Centaur population. Where is he?”
Hera comes out from behind a white marble pillar to grace Hypnos with her presence. Her lips make no move to divulge where Zeus hides. Coward. “You knocked the pedestal from beneath Hades’s feet. The underworld is yours… What more could you possibly want?” says Hera. Hypnos moves to a nearby tray, nestled away in an alcove. “Father always told us not to share. Thanatos and I have never shared a bed even, why would I share a Kingdom when there is one ripe for the taking.”
Hypnos pours himself a drink while Hera glares at the back of his head. She is the sacrifice that they had offered in the hopes of gaining the upper hand. Zeus’s transparency going a step further and capitalizing the ‘I’ in imbecile. Sadly, his own wife even after his countless lies, has not learned the most important thing about her Husband, a life lost beneath the wheel of his chariot is acceptable if he is to remain king of the gods.“You are flying too close to the sun when your wings are made of wax,” she retorts. Hypnos’s chuckle is dark.
“I raised you Hypnos!”
“You… raised… me…”
“I gave you shelter!” “You… gave me… shelter”
“I cared for you!”
“You… cared for…me”
“I opened avenues for you that no one could ever open”
“No one! Not your best choice of words,” he raises the glass of ambrosia to his lips.
“How dare you throw the love I have for you…”
With a hand still wrapped around a flute and not a drop of the drink of the gods spilled, his other hand begins to apply pressure to Hera’s windpipe, leaving her gasping while her nails dig into the flesh of Hypnos’s arm. White begins to wash her face as Hypnos’s grip is relentless.
“I never asked for your love! I never asked for anything from you! I didn’t ask that you fill the shoes my mother failed to fill when it came to her parenting ways. I didn’t ask you to take me or my brother in. I never asked you to look after me. I never asked you for anything Hera! Why then are you bringing up things I never asked for as though I owe you?”
Hera’s body slumps against the pristine white wall. Her lungs labor to return her body to its normal state. “Why are you here Hera?” “You are making a tragic mistake… Zeus is like your father!” she yells, her voice no more than a broken whisper as her hands rub against her bruised neck. And once more Sleep’s fuse is lit. Hera observes Hypnos as he skates towards the picture erected on a wall in the back of the building. The palace of the gods was a place built to house all the primordial beings, even those from the underworld had rooms in the palace. But over the years, wars and disputes have widened the rift between them, so most began to avoid the palace.
“A palace of traitors is all that building holds!” Hypnos can still hear the snarl in Nyx’s voice after he and Thanatos suggested she visit Olympus. The goddess of the night has never seen any beauty nor good in anyone that is affiliated with gold. Nyx only ever trusts the family she built with Erebus and all its affiliates whom she had, without doubt, exploited to train her own offspring. Staring up at the portrait of Zeus and Hera, all he can do is agree with the woman that gave birth to him. Zeus is indeed a traitor.
“And there you go again, giving titles to the undeserving. The idiot sent you to placate me Hera, once more you are no more than a pawn in his in-genius plan to hold onto power that is not his to have in the first place.”
“I always knew you were a deluded individual Hera.” Thanatos’s fiery red eyes fixate on her. His black cape resting on his shoulders as his shoes squelch with every step. “You are nothing but a pawn on Zeus’s board. A card to be played when the need shall arise. Five children exist in the disgrace you call a marriage, yet he has spawned over twenty children. I thought you to be a smart goddess. I thought you would have realized that after all the scandals, and all the acts of infidelity, Zeus doesn’t care! Let me deal with the Queen Hypnos! Go claim what belongs to you!”
“He cares about you, would he have brought you into our home if he didn’t Thanatos?”
“Hera, we were brought into your home for one reason and one reason only, to put the man you call a husband on the throne he now calls his.” Confusion darkened her face more than it already had. “We were raised to be the perfect killing machines and brought in to this house to seize the throne on Zeus’s behalf. Now that I look back on that year, I realize how foolish we were not to have seized the throne for ourselves. It would have saved Hypnos and I a lot of work and precious time.”
Hera began to back away from the god of death as he made a slight advance in her direction. Her steps only pushing the feral smile he wore higher up on his cheeks. “Hypnos hides his true nature from most, save for the few that have had an encounter with his other side. This you know Hera. But I have never hidden who I really am. Because of that… we would gladly kill Cronus all over again. But this time, we will take the throne as well.”
Turning away from the Queen of the gods, Thanatos strides to the doors of the palace. With every step the floor of the palace cracks, the ground shifting from side to side. Hera’s screams reach his ears and with a wave of his hand he leaves behind his shadow to deal with her as it sees fit. “It is finished,” Hypnos speaks to his right, adrenaline feeding him through the connection they have shared since their day’s in Nyx’s Womb. The crown that glints above Hypnos’s head resembles Thanatos’s in every way save for the topaz stones that replace the rubies on Thanatos’s. Hypnos raises an index finger to the sky and gently lowers it until his hand is beside him once more. Their warriors in the field below bend a knee without hesitation. Red meets yellow as the twin’s catch each other’s gaze. The waves crash against the cliffside leaving not a grain of sand visible. The wind billows through Thanatos’s tresses as the grip on his beloved saber loosens. Heavily laden clouds cover the sky for as far as the human eye can see, a consequence of his foul mood son to be lightened by the reality that everything is now theirs.
“It has only begun,” Thanatos whispers to the wind.