Hephaestus (Iain Houston)

Family Meeting

I release my anger, directing it towards the table instead of my family is the only concession I can make. I melt the metal in the screws and the brackets. They fall to the floor as molten liquid, hissing as they hit the carpet. The table collapses with a crash, depositing some of my siblings on the floor. Moxie’s coffee falls and the cup bounces, sending her drink pouring out. Eris’s feet remain in the air as if the table is still in place. They look at the scene, moderately interested.

Assistance

Ares is stunned. He has not yet had time to be angry as the barrel of the tank’s main gun begins to droop, and he is serenaded by the screaming of the men inside. He may have spoken again, but I would not have heard him over the sound of the shells in the tank detonating, sending huge yellow lumps of molten steel flying in all directions. The turret flies high into the air, losing its shape as I continue to heat it. It crashes to the ground as boiling liquid.

Battleground

The pain troubles me, reminding me of what I am and that I am not what I should have been. Have I not suffered enough? My wife does not think so, and nobody speaks to guide her or to restrain my recalcitrant brother and his grievous behaviour. They would do well to remember that I could deal with the matter if I so chose, as I have been forced to act before. The day may come when I am left with no option.

Bedchamber

As I enter, the world stops. For one brief moment, bright light is everywhere, but I am unsure whether I truly see it or whether it is some other type of experience. It seems the light is behind my eyes, as if all of my body, and all that there is, is composed of it. Then it disappears, and the world begins again.

Confinement

What is this? Sorcery? Am I dead? This is not the Underworld. This is not what death should be. Why am I here? How long have I been here? I wonder if this is the first morning I have awoken in this room. Would I remember if it was not? Someone built this for a purpose. But what purpose? To confine me? Why? I have many questions but no answers.

Apparatus

And who shall I be then? I will still be ugly, still not like other gods. I presume I will still have this feeling of apprehension, still feeling something is waiting for me. But I will have made some progress. I will have evolved while they wallow in their petty squabbles and pursuit of pleasure. What else shall I become? What limits are there to my improvement? Perhaps I will outgrow my family if I have not already.

Affliction

It is unfair. Why must I be the one to endure this? Why must I live in pain, alone, ugly, and unloved? Why do others get to enjoy existence? I am so tired, in every sense. So very tired. At last, I feel the pills take effect unless it is my imagination. The pain still seems to be there, but I find I care less. Perhaps I can sleep.

Reconnection

The mortals understand that everything, ultimately, can be understood. Once that is achieved, any issue simply becomes an engineering problem. If they could understand what was wrong with my leg, if they could divine the source of my pain, then they could perhaps treat it. While the mortals are limited in some ways, those limitations force them to think deeply about problems, and their solutions can often be ingenious.

Armament

I find myself admiring its ingenuity, but there is something else. Something like disappointment. A sadness that the mortals should make such an effort to kill each other. Did we teach them that? Did they learn it in the phalanx while they prayed to the gods?

Acquaintance

I have taken some other food as well, for it is not the done thing to simply have a large plate of bacon. It is better to have other food, even if it is to remain uneaten. Choosing only one foodstuff and consuming it to the exclusion of all else makes people uncomfortable. In my thousands of years among the mortals, I have mastered some small points such as this.

Awakening

The rock radiates heat, and I feel it on my skin, awakening me. It is not like the artificial heat of the mortal furnaces. It is something raw and ancient. The rock in front of me has become a pool of yellow liquid. The mountain is awakening, the volcano welcoming me home.

Symposium

Iron becomes something, a bright searing liquid, then a hard, unyielding block. It becomes a weapon, a support, or a barrier. The others never truly change, never become anything other than what they always were.

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