Moxie smiled. “I know this part.” Nike looked confused and Moxie just shrugged. “Mama Gee tells me stories, too.”
“Oh, of course.” Nike just nodded and then the girls turned back to me.
“You see, Papaw Cronus’ father, Uranus, was a horrible primordial, and Mama Gee helped her son overthrow his father so that the Titans and the Primordials could live in peace.” I raise my hand to stop any questions. “That’s a story for another bedtime and one that maybe Mama Gee will tell us.”
“I s-still s-say s-slice him from s-stem to s-stern and be d-done with it. He’ll heal. He’s immortal,” Ares said.
I smirked at my bloodthirsty son, and rubbing my hands together, I continued. “Mama Gee had heard the prophecy that one of Papaw Cronus’ sons would overthrow him. She knew that Papaw Cronus would do something drastic, but she never thought he would kill his children. When she saw that he was just eating them and they were still alive, she was relieved. Mama Gee tried to stay out of the situation as much as possible because, as you know, the more you try to mess with a prophecy, the faster it comes true.”
“What was it like in there, Hera?”
“I may tell you that story another time, Moxie-moo, but let’s not get sidetracked. I’m almost done. When Mama Gee found out that Nana Rhea was pregnant with her second son, Poseidon, Mama Gee sent whispers on the wind to Nana Rhea during her bath, trying to give her ideas on how to save the baby. Sadly, Nana Rhea was so bitter and hurt she never heard the whispers. When Poseidon was born, Papaw Cronus gobbled him up as soon as Nana Rhea named him.”
Nike gasped. “I don’t like him very much.”
“He’s a s-schmuck,” Ares retorted.
“By now, Nana Rhea was so heartbroken, it felt like Papaw Cronus punched a hole in her chest and ripped out her heart. She was just a shell of the beautiful Titan that she used to be, a mere fragment of herself. She would haunt the woods at night, begging the moon to bring her children back to her. But the moon never answered. She would throw herself off of the highest cliffs, begging the seas that caught her to bring her children back to her. But the seas just took her salty tears and never answered.”
The girls wiped tears from their eyes.
“She would run naked through the widest meadows, wailing for the winds to bring her children back to her. But the winds just urged her on and never answered. She did everything she could to avoid Papaw Cronus but he still came to ease himself in her often. She stopped seeking nourishment for her body and she wasted away. She stopped seeking laughter for her soul and she wasted away. Finally, Mama Gee couldn’t take it anymore. She couldn’t sit back and watch her lovely Titan daughter waste away to ash.”
Moxie sat up straight and whisked away the rest of her tears. “Mama Gee to the rescue! She’s a rockstar, you’ll see. She’ll fix this!”
“I hope so,” Nike whispered.
“So Mama Gee gathered up Nana Rhea, told Papaw Cronus that she was mad at him and wouldn’t forgive him until he gave Nana Rhea back her babies, and whisked Nana Rhea off to an island called Crete. Little did Nana Rhea and Papaw Cronus know but she was pregnant again! This time with baby Zeus!”
“Daddy!” Nike whooped loudly.
I smiled at Nike’s excitement. “Papaw Cronus begged Mama Gee to let him see his wife. He may not have been behaving very well, but he loved his wife as best as he could. However, Mama Gee was NOT having any of his nonsense.”
“That’s because Mama Gee is a badass!” Moxie giggled.
“For months, Mama Gee led Papaw Cronus around the world, looking for his wife. Months went by and finally, Papaw Cronus decided he was done asking his mother for help, and he would look for his wife on his own. Being a man, he decided to do things the hard way and cast himself out across the lands to the furthest cities. Eventually, though, he came to a (then) small island called Crete. It was the very last place he had to check, and he was beginning to think his wife had escaped to a different realm and he would never find her.”
“H-he was a s-stoner th-thinking with his boner. N-no wonder it t-took so long,” Ares mumbled, and Hephaestus barked out a laugh, leaning over for another fist bump before laying down on his pillow, his soft brown eyes already getting sleepy.
“Papaw Cronus wandered into a small, but beautiful, temple dedicated to Mama Gee. He went in to leave a small offering for his mother and to apologize for his behavior. He wasn’t going to give up the children he’d eaten, but he wanted to make things right with his mother and wife. As he was saying his prayers, he heard a small infant cry. He knew that sound well. It was the sound a newborn baby makes when they take their first breath. Papaw Cronus turned to leave the temple, and heard a soft but familiar voice on the winds. It was his Rhea!”
“Oh, no!” Nike pressed her hands against her chest, fear in her eyes.
“He was so happy to have found his wife, he didn’t realize that the baby’s cry had come from the same room!”
Moxie lifted her small body up on her knees. “Don’t trust him! Run, Nana, run!!”
“Papaw Cronus rushed into the birthing room with a smile, but skidded to a stop when he saw his wife holding a bloody infant to her breast. His brain had a hard time putting together what his eyes were seeing. His wife was lying on the birthing bed, feeding a newborn child. She looked exhausted, with tear stains on her cheeks and sweat pooled on her chest and stomach. Her legs were shaking so badly her attendants lowered them onto the bed for her. Papaw Cronus wanted to rush in and demand what was going on, but he couldn’t move. He was so enraptured by the outpouring of love on her face for the tiny infant, he was frozen.”
“Don’t eat my daddy!!!!” Nike was so wrapped up in the story she was almost in tears.
“When Nana Rhea raised her eyes from her son and met Papaw’s gaze, all the love she had drained from her face and only hate remained. Quickly, she handed the baby to an attendant and rushed her out of the back door. Papaw Cronus ROARED!!!!”