I entered the office, well, what used to be her office. With a tear rolling down my face, I gasped at the sight before me.
No one was there, so I walked deeper into the ruined office. All the furnishings in her office had been moved or had fallen over. Paper was scattered all around. The beautiful peacock clock was broken and barely hanging on the wall. The windows…well, what windows? They were gone as well.
What happened here? Where is my mom? I continued to look around the office, and found one of her shoes, which increased my concern.
Suddenly, the room grew very cold, as if Thanatos was nearby. I didn’t see him, but the room felt odd. Like there was electromagnetic energy nearby.
I moved near the sitting area where the sofa was, and my eyes grew wide at the sight of the large bloodstain on the floor. Mom’s other shoe was nearby. All I could do was think the worst. My breathing was ragged; I tried to think straight, but I couldn’t. There was blood, her shoes, but no one around.
What happened here?
I dropped to my knees, clutching her shoes to my chest and internally screaming NOOOOO! Then I realized that I was actually screaming as the tears raced down my face.
I couldn’t handle this.
I knew this couldn’t be happening. I knelt there, trying to remember her, to remind myself that she was stronger than this, that no one could ever get this close to her and live.
But here I was…and no Mom.
I felt paralyzed by my fear, and the room seemed to crush me.
I felt the air change as four pops of air moved behind me. I spun around quickly, my fighting instincts taking over like second nature. I reached for my dagger, which materialized as soon as I touched my hip, believing the attackers had returned. Enyo was holding up Zelus, and Bia and Kratos were standing there, looking like a bloody mess.
“Whoa there, Nike,” Enyo said when she saw my eyes flash red. “Calm yourself, little one.” She raised her hand to show she was no foe.
Enyo, the Goddess of War. Some say we are exact opposites. Me the Goddess of peace and triumphant victory, and she, the Goddess of War and Death. Our eyes met. We both understood the other very well.
I lowered my dagger…in fact, I think I actually dropped it as I hurried to the aid of my siblings. “What happened to you?” I asked as I approached Kratos.
“We were ambushed,” Bia said telepathically.
“It was a trap,” Kratos said as he wiped the blood from his brow before going over to fix an overturned chair.
Enyo moved to help Zelus sit down. His leg appeared to be broken.
“Where were you? How did this happen?” I asked again.
“We were with Father and Perseus at the hidden vault. Nike, they came for the vault!” Bia said.
They recanted the story to me, and how Enyo had brought Dad back here to be tended.
“Then this must be Dad’s blood, not Mom’s,” I replied, looking once again at the stain on the floor. I was becoming more concerned. “But where is he? What’s happened to him?”
I looked at my injured siblings, and their faces showed what my heart also felt: fear and shame for not protecting our father better. I decided to tend to their wounds in order to distract me briefly from my unsaid fears.
Enyo left after the two of us did what we could for my siblings. She wanted to return to the vault and retrieve clues to how this had possibly happened. I wanted to go with her. I wanted to see the dead body of my father’s attacker, I wanted to cut him up into as many tiny pieces as I could, burn each piece slowly and feed them to a volcano. But they all stopped me.
“How dare someone, whom Father had granted favor to, how dare he attack our father!” I screamed at them.
“Nike, yelling at us isn’t going to change what happened,” Bia replied.
“She’s right, you know,” Zelus said. “How did he get such power? Or even know where to hit Father so effectively?”
“I don’t know,” Kratos admitted.
My anger began to turn to fear again. “Where did they take him? If Enyo brought Dad here, where is he now?” I thought about calling the hospital, but the sound of displacing air stopped me. This time, it was Ares.
We all looked at him as he stood in what used to be the door of Mom’s office. He had a hard look on his face, one I had seen on Dad’s face many times. It was one of steely determination, one of a man who was looking to destroy something or someone with his bare hands. You may think that the God of War is emotionless and angry all the time, but that’s not true. Falling in love with a mortal had softened him a bit, made him a bit more likeable. But this…this was something completely different. I felt my stomach drop as I looked at him
I moved closer to him, putting my hand on his shoulder. “Ares?” I said softly, looking at him with the deepest of concern.
He put his hand on top of mine and gently squeezed. “He’s still alive, little one, don’t fret.”
I let out the breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. “Where are they?”
“Upstairs in their penthouse.”
Glancing up, I looked deep into his eyes. “Tell me.”
“Dinlas used his ability to heal him. He tried his best, Nike, he really tried. But there are so many wounds…I just don’t know.”
His eyes teared up a little, and my brothers, sister and I gathered around him for a group hug. “Where is Enyo?” he asked me.
“She went back to the vault to see what she could find out from any survivors that might still be alive,” Kratos said.
Ares nodded. “I’ll join her.” He looked down at me. “You should go upstairs and see him,” he said. “All of you.”
The four of us looked at each other, a silent understanding passing among all of us. Ares left, then the four of us popped up to the penthouse. Once I arrived, I saw many people were gathered around the edge of the room. Mom was on the bed next to Dad. Hephaestus, Athena, Artemis, Apollo and Urania were all there. I could hear them all sniffling. I tried to make my way over to the bed, but Artemis stopped me. “No, Nike, you shouldn’t,” she said gently, putting her arm around my shoulder. She knew my relationship with our father was different, and she understood that the sight of him would cause me great stress.
“Wait, little one, you might not…” Apollo said quietly stepping in front of me.
“Wait? Wait for what? For our father to die?” I snapped at them.
Artemis looked at Apollo and nodded. He stepped aside and let me pass. As I approached the bed, it was all I could do not to fling myself on top of him and start to cry. It was surreal, like something you see in the movies. Here laid a great man of power, with his children around him, his loving wife next to his seemingly lifeless body. Seeing him look so pale…his beard had bits of blood from his mouth, and the bandages…so many bandages.
I could hear Mom whispering things in his ear. I looked around the room; everyone had their heads bowed. Moxie nodded to me,her face a stoic mask. I stood there, with tears rolling down my face, watching how each of them looked at their father, their leader, their champion!
I watched them all for a moment. Something began to stir inside of me. It was that thing that always called to me in times like this. I knew our father would be angry if we all just stood there. He would yell at us to “get the hell out of here and do something about this!”
I placed my hand on my father’s arm, being sure not to disturb Mom. He was not ice cold, and his breathing was very slow, but there was life, what little there was of it. But it was there. I leaned in close to his ear and whispered softly, “Don’t you dare leave us, we need you here.”
Turning to the nearest of my siblings, I knew what I had to do. I whispered something in his ear, and he in turn, whispered to the one next to him, and so on until all eyes were wiped and everyone had a purpose. In silent agreement, they all began to file out, kissing two fingers and touching the bed with them as they left one by one.
Mom looked up as we all filed out of the room. She saw her children offering love to their father. I was the last one out. “Don’t worry, Mom. We will take care of this.”
She said nothing, just watched as I closed the door.
The next day, we started the clean up from the great disaster. Moxie spun some tale about seismic vibrations, blah blah blah, for the media. Aunt Dem took care of any and all legal matters. Ares started work immediately repairing the building, and Kratos and Bia worked on helping with the installation of the new security system. One of us was outside Dad’s door at all times. Security was tripled at the building now.
Don’t be fooled by my act of encouragement from last night. I only wanted to do what I knew my dad would want me to do, rally them as best I could. I know we are all afraid of that big “What if…” We love him. I’m crying as I write this, but you need to know that he is not just our father, but he is our king. He is our God of Gods, and no one messes with our family and lives to tell about it. I’m so angry and pissed off right now. And a pissed off Goddess is not a very good thing for anyone.
Nike, the messenger Goddess of Victory.