I paused and smiled as my favorite grandson, Dinlas, stepped into the room. “I hope I’m not interrupting, Nana. I heard you talking in the hall and had to come in. I haven’t heard one of your stories in so long.”
I waved him to a spot on the couch, but he pulled up a chair next to Nyx instead. “Of course not, sweet boy. You are always welcome.” He smiled at me and I saw a sparkle in his black eyes.
Moxie turned back to me and whispered, “Athena.”
I sighed. “Yes, Athena. I couldn’t do anything to her at that time because that was when my foolish son, Hephaestus, locked me in that chair.” I saw Nike open her mouth and raised my hand to stop the question I knew was coming. “A story for another time, little one.”
Moxie nodded. “I bet he was put on restriction for a very long time.”
“I almost smote him from existence. Hephaestus is lucky I love him.”
Moxie whispered to Nike, “I got smote once. Learned my lesson.” Nike gasped and stared at Moxie in shock.
“Anyway, I tried to put Alcaeus out of my mind and attempted other activities to keep me occupied. Eventually though, I heard that Alcaeus had become a local hero and had even won a wife – a mortal woman named Megara. She was a lovely woman, always putting up offerings for me.” I smiled fondly at the memory. “It was such a sad day when Alcaeus killed her.”
“Wait, what?” Moxie and Nike looked at each other. Dinlas glanced over to Nyx and saw her grimace, but he didn’t look particularly surprised at my revelation.
“Why did he kill his wife, Lady Hera?”
“You see, Alcaeus was becoming quite conceited and full of himself. He was rude and arrogant and demanding. He refused to pay for things, claiming that he was a demigod and a hero, and should be worshiped. Megara and two of their sons were always so embarrassed, and tried to pay for things and make amends where they could. But their oldest son was just like his father, just without the strength and power.”
Moxie looked disgusted. “Pfft, mortals.”
Nyx tsked. “What an embarrassment. That poor woman.”
Urania stumbled into the room, carrying a stack of papers and looking a little disheveled. “Oh, I’m sorry, Lady Hera. I’ll find another place to work.” She turned to walk back out, but I called out to her.
“Please, Urania, stay. Do your work or listen to my story; regardless, we appreciate your presence.”
“S-story? What story?” She held her papers tighter to her chest, and Nike turned and motioned her over.
“Lady Hera is telling us the story of Herakles. Come, Urania, sit with us. Please?” She batted her lashes sweetly, and I could tell Urania realized she had no choice but to join us. She picked her way around Dinlas and Nyx and sat on the couch between Nike and Moxie, still clutching her papers to her.
I waited for everyone to settle again before continuing. “Alcaeus was rude and refused to worship the Gods. I even heard Athena complaining about the lack of a sacrifice to her by the son on one of her feast days.”
Dinlas whispered to Nyx, “I bet Grandpa was pissed.”
Nyx frowned. “Bold of him to assume the Gods wouldn’t visit him one day.”
I just looked at Dinlas and said, “Your grandfather, Zeus, thought that Alcaeus could do no wrong and just brushed it off as ‘boys will be boys’. Zeus said that as long as Megara and the rest of the family gave good offerings, then there was nothing wrong.”
Urania frowned. “Boys’ club. Figures.”
Nike hissed under her breath, “No, just Daddy’s club.”
Moxie grumbled, “Always the women who have to do all the work.”
“So I punished Alcaeus. I set upon him a terrible madness.”
“Like Papaw Cronus?” Moxie perked up.
I grinned wickedly. “Worse, Moxie-moo. Much, much worse.”