A Godly Windbag in King Arthur’s Court

The world had been a different place, especially for the mortals. It was also incredibly different for the Gods of Olympus. There had been bigger and more intense fights with lives lost, lines drawn. Change. That was the nature of things, change. It just never seemed to happen this fast. He had always been ahead of the curve.

The office had been quiet of late. Very little business to do, very little business was being done. The once active executive, Zeus, had become isolated, and the closest thing to a hermit someone in his position could be. Further indication of things being off, it had rained. Hard. The overcast grey sky touched everything. The seasons had changed, and the King of the Gods had barely taken notice. Papers were strewn across his desk. Quarterly expense reports, personnel files, even a physical newspaper. All untouched. The office itself, normally awash in light and energy, was dormant. No lights were on. No doors were open. Only the grey as it came through the window. Only the grey. 

This time of year, under normal circumstances, the Olympus Administration would be pushing towards the end-of-year celebrations, parties, fundraisers, and gatherings of all kinds. The world had been a different place, especially for the mortals. It was also incredibly different for the Gods of Olympus. There had been bigger and more intense fights with lives lost, lines drawn. Change. That was the nature of things, change. It just never seemed to happen this fast. He had always been ahead of the curve. 

Have I lost a step in this era? he thought.  

There were so many unanswered questions, mysteries unsolved. He found himself in his chair, eyes blankly set outward through the window of his massive office.  

“Father.” Zeus thought he heard. Was it a whisper on the wind? He blinked his eyes and waited for the wind to speak to him again. He turned his head to catch it. 

“Father,” a voice said from somewhere. The rain continued to pound against the large window. The wind had picked up again. Was the storm speaking to him? The swirls of rain had become more clear as the storm progressed. He was shaken from his daze with a sudden start from a call behind him. 

“Dad! Dad, are you alive?” a female voice shouted. He shook his head and turned. Hebe, his daughter, and executive secretary stood with a look of one part concern, one part annoyance on her face. 

“Sorry. Do you need something from me?” he said, not bothering to look her in the eye. 

“You have a letter,” Hebe said, quietly. 

Zeus motioned his hand to the pile, a silent indication to Hebe where she should put it. Zeus once again did not make eye contact or even a sound. 

“Not this one. You’re going to want to open it.” She held the letter out in front of her and waited for her father to take it from her hand. Zeus cocked his head to the side, eyes narrowed, judgment and irritation on his face.

“Why?” he asked as he slowly took the parcel from her hand. He felt the paper, or what appeared to be paper. Zeus rolled it over and examined the item completely. 

“Is this vellum?” Zeus blurted out. “Who in the hells uses vellum anymore?” The quick interest caused Hebe to smile and lean forward over the desk, pointing to the wax seal. 

“See the stamp? I told you.” She rocked back on her heels, satisfied that Zeus was showing some sign of life. He looked up and, for the first time in what was probably months, smiled and met her eyes. He nodded at and turned back to the letter, curiosity on full display. 

“Thank you,” he said, full-throated and strong. Hebe turned and walked out of the office without another word. 

Zeus was an old god but had adapted to the modern world in recent years. Tablets, phones, computers, all of the cutting edge technology money could buy was in every nook, cranny, and alcove inside the God Complex. Yet, there was something about the old ways that tickled him. Scrolls, parchment, inkwells, and quills held a nostalgic comfort.

“Classics never die,” he said to himself. The envelope was bigger than standard mail, a thick piece, seemingly folded with great care. Zeus finally examined the stamp Hebe told him to check. The wax seal was a thick red but had sparkles of…something in it. The stamp itself was a wholly unique image. A single sword, point down, but unmistakable. Zeus tore the seal open. The document in full set his eyes on fire and cast a halo over his face as he read it. The ink glowed supernaturally in the dimly lit office. The expertly handwritten letter was in a language he was very fond of; old Brythonic. 

“English is such a rubbish language,” he said aloud as he continued to read to the end of the letter, interest at a high level. The final line crossed his eyes and forced Zeus to jump to his feet. 

“Hebe!” he yelled. She popped her head inside the office doors, looking at him questioningly. “Is my calendar clear?”

She disappeared to her desk and quickly flipped through the pages of the planner that held all of Zeus’ important engagements, meetings, and events. Hebe called back to her father through the doors. 

“You’re clear through Halloween.”

Zeus bounded around his desk towards the private elevator to his residence, pressed the call button to have it meet him. Document in hand, he read it over and over as he waited for the lift. 

“Get your mother on the phone, tell her to meet me in the penthouse.” He turned to look at his daughter. Energy flowed through him in a way that had been absent for months. 

“Prep the jet. Get me a clearance to Wales tonight.” 

“Wait, Father, you’re going personally? Is that wise? The last time you took a flight…” Hebe trailed off. Zeus acknowledged the point, his last trip had proved problematic. 

“This is different. I’ve been invited. It’ll be fine,” he assured her, a broad smile still across his face. 

“Call Hera. Meet upstairs. Prep a jet. Where am I getting clearance for?” Hebe asked to confirm. Zeus looked up as his elevator opened, the sheer excitement evident in the King of the Gods. He entered into the transport and spoke finally just as the doors closed. 

“Avalon.”

Zeus (Michael Z. Ryan)
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