Silver Bow Foundation was throwing its first annual fundraiser, and the theme this year was a masquerade. I was wearing a beautiful gown of navy blue and black by Zac Posen. It truly was my favorite because it had pockets, and they were deep. My mask was a golden leather lace cut with scalloped edges, a perfect match with my golden wings.
The ballroom was stunning. My sister, Artemis, outdid herself. This was a night of the Gods and mortals; everyone was here. Even Mom and Dad came. Everyone was dressed in their absolute best.
Artemis had forgotten to get an auctioneer, so she asked me for help. The music and the drinks were great, but nothing was as much fun as the auction. I even tried to help Dad win his bid for Mom. I got called out for trying to cheat; I couldn’t stop laughing. It was all in good fun. Artemis’ foundation raised the most money in the history of her company. I had to say it was largely because the family all came out in large numbers to support her. Even after what happened at Lady Nyx’s party with the Titans showing up out of the blue like that, I was very glad that we could all get together one more time before the year ended. Security was very high. I don’t think that Bia or Kratos were more than five to six feet away from Mom or Dad the whole party. Zelus kept a lookout on the monitors and the perimeters. I had eyes on the doors and crowd from the stage.
The dancing and the food were outstanding. I tossed a few glitter bombs in the air just as the clock struck midnight. Everyone cheered. I overheard Dad say, “Wonderful party, Artemis, my dear. Let’s do this every year.”
Artemis just beamed with great pride that her father was pleased with her. It was nice to see.
As the party began to wind down and everyone headed out, I wanted to walk home. Kratos and Bia were with Mom and Dad, so they were good, and Zelus was talking to someone over by the bar. I grabbed my coat and headed for the door. A lot had happened over the last few weeks, and I wanted to clear my head.
It had just snowed, and everything was covered in fresh white powder. The streets were crowded with partygoers heading home. A couple was walking toward me, and you could tell they may have had two too many. I smiled at them.
“Clappy goo year,” one of the young women tried to say to me, slurring her words.
“Happy New Year to you both. Get home safe now,” I said after they passed me.
They both just laughed as they went on their way. Mortals were such happy creatures when they had come from a party. I decided to take a night flight. Opening my wings and with one swoop, I was as high as the 20th floor of the office building. I soared through all the high rises. I could hear the beeping of horns and saw the traffic lights changing from red to green; some were just flashing red. Police cars were staged at a checkpoint and I watched as drivers tried to walk a straight line. I kept giggling at how wobbly they were.
As I continued soaring through the high rises, I heard some people getting into their Ubers and Lyfts. Good nights and Happy New Year rang out. Slowly, the streets were emptying.
Something caught my attention.“What was that?” I thought to myself. I heard something that you shouldn’t hear at almost one in the morning. But I heard it again, so I decided to follow the sound.
It was a baby crying, and from the sound of it, a newborn. My chest had that ache it got when I was supposed to announce a child was born. I landed near one of the Dark Sparks locations on Olympus Boulevard. I walked, but then found myself running because the baby’s cries were not being soothed. I came to an alleyway and rushed down it, knowing this was not a good night for a baby to be in the cold.
I followed the cry to see if I could find the child. I didn’t expect to see what I found: a woman lying in the snow, frozen to death and by the looks of her, she had just given birth. She had wrapped the child up in her coat. I moved closer to see if there was anything I could do. I saw Thanatos approaching me.
“No, Than, please…she just gave birth. Please don’t take her.”
“I’m sorry, Nike, but she’s got to come with me.”
Tears were running down my cheeks. “And the baby? Must you take it as well?”
“I will shortly if no one helps him.”
I didn’t even think about it. I picked up both the mother and the baby. I figured she’d lost too much blood during the delivery.
“She says to tell you thank you, Nike, for trying to save her son.”
I nodded to Than. “I will do my best.” I reached into the pocket of my dress and pulled out a fistfull of drachmas. “Here, Than, for a better place for her, as her final act was to save her son,” I said, handing him the coins.
“I will see to it personally,” Than said, bowing slightly, as he put the coins in his pouch.
I took off my coat, wrapped it around the baby to keep him warm, then placed one of my feathers in his tiny hand. “Stay with me, little one. We are going to get you some help.”
I had to save him. I wanted him to be victorious over Death. I couldn’t save his mother, but I would give him a fighting chance. Tears were flowing down my cheeks, and they landed on the baby. The rush of the air and the movement must have calmed him, because he stopped crying.
I raced to the nearest hospital I could find. Olympus General had just opened. I saw a wheelchair outside, and gently placed the mother and baby in it. Looking at the baby once more, I kissed his forehead and said, “You are your mother’s ‘Little Victory’. Live and be loved. I shall be watching over you.” I put my finger to his lips to seal my promise. A small indent formed above his lip. This is what I did to all the babies; it was a secret promise between them and me.
I screamed for help. I heard the rustling of people headed toward the door. I flew up to the hospital roof to be unseen.
“Dear Gods, she’s dead.”
“There’s a baby!”
“How did she get here?” I heard one of them ask. Now all I could do was hope that he would be saved and safe. I just wanted something to go my way for a change. I’d messed up a few times over these last few weeks, and now we had Titans loose. At least the baby would get the help he needed. “Nike, come on, let’s just go home,” I thought to myself.
Before I flew away, I said one more thing. “Victory shall be granted until you, little one. We will meet again. I guarantee it.”
I flew to the OA building and through the break room window. Dad thought it was funny to call the building “The God Complex.” I chuckled to myself as I turned on the television and walked over to the fridge to get some chocolate milk.
“It’s true, Dana,” the male anchor said. “He’s being called the New Year baby, and he’s a miracle. A mother gave birth to her child and died in the snow earlier this morning. Apparently, she wrapped her son in two coats and died from blood loss and the cold temperatures.”
“Jerry, do they know who the woman was?”
“They haven’t released her name yet. But they have said that the child is healthy. He was found with a golden feather in his hand and has a birthmark of two lip imprints on his forehead and brow.”
“Looks like his mother gave him one last kiss before she passed away.”
“That poor little child. Have they said what will happen to him and his golden feather?”
“The hospital has put the feather in their safe and the child will remain at the hospital until the proper authorities can be contacted.”
“Well, Jerry, this child has truly been blessed by the Gods and Goddesses.”
“True,” the reporter nodded in agreement.
I smiled at that report as I clicked off the television.
“So, you did this?” A voice came from behind me.
My smile faded as I turned around to see him standing there. “Uncle Hades, I didn’t mean to take one from you,” I replied, lowering my head as I waited to be chastised.
“Thanatos told me what you did for the child’s mother. You did good, Nike, but I’m still watching you.” He pushed off the door frame, turned and walked out the door.
I relaxed a bit. “Well, that’s a good start to the New Year,” I told myself.
Okay, mortals, it’s 2020! Let’s show my uncle that “Victory” is not wasted, but earned and cherished among you. I’m watching you!
“What is freely given can be freely taken away.”