Hey, Diary, you’ll never guess who I saw today…
“Nike, hurry up. We need to go,” Zelus said.
“I thought it was tomorrow,” I shouted from the shower.
“No, it’s in an hour. And we need to go meet with Father.”
“I thought we could wear our new suits.”
“No, Nike, hurry up,” Zelus yelled at me through the bathroom door.
I rushed through my shower and dried quickly, then walked over to where Francisco had hung my short tunic uniform. “Well, I haven’t worn this in almost a year. Not since we left the mountain top.” I got dressed and zipped down the stairwell to meet my family at the Escalade in the parking garage.
“Nike, go on ahead and check the grounds. Everything should be in order as I checked this morning,” Kratos instructed me. He was in his serious mode. These days, we checked and rechecked anything and everything that had to do with Dad.
I ran to the entrance of the garage and took to the air. Zelus was right behind me. We arrived in the throne room on the top of the mountain, before many of the others. Zel and I split up and flew around the entire newly remodeled Mount Olympus. It was lavish. It looked just like it had so many eons ago. I flew in and sat high above where everyone would stand.
Today, the three thrones were to be in use, and this hadn’t happened in such a long time. I figured many of the deities would be here for this.
I remembered sitting here many times when they thought no one was around. I could see them and hear them. Funny how in a place like this, people forget to look up. I stood on the beam, waiting for Dad to arrive. I watched as Zelus approached the throne room, walking around the thrones before he gave me the signal that Dad was coming in. I flew down and took my place in the back upper right, slightly behind the throne on the right. Kratos stood in front of me, Bia flanked the left front and Zelus the opposite of me on the left. We stood in our sentinel positions at full alert in our traditional armament. Our wings hung relaxed behind us, weapons at our sides. Father approached the center in front of his throne. He spoke with renowned authority.
But then she walked in, and I could no longer see or hear what was happening. For in 40,000 years, I have not laid a single eye upon her. And on this significant day of Oath taking, in walked my mother.
“Mother,” I whispered.
“Quiet, Nike,” Bia said telepathically, admonishing me for speaking.
I thought, “But, Bia…”
I watched as our mother, the beautiful Styx, the Oceanid of the river of promise, entered the throne room. She wore a suit of dark grey, her black, razor straight hair hanging down her back. She carried a leather folio, and headed to the table just in front of me, 200 feet away.
My lip quivered at the sight of her. My heart skipped a beat at how much I missed her. A slight tremble went through me as I heard her heartbeat so close to mine. I knew I missed her by all the internal dialogue swirling in my head. I looked away, blinking wildly at all the thoughts of her rushing into me.
“Hold, Nike. Steady.”
“Bia, there she is. She’s less than 200 feet from me. I need to talk to her. I need to..” I thought to my sister.
“No!” she yelled louder in my head. I felt a tight grip on my mind. “Do not move, Nike. Mother is not here for us. She is here to perform her duty, as we are here for ours. Don’t move.”
I stood frozen in place. The one person who could help me…maybe she could say something, and I would be whole again. Just one moment in her arms. I could feel the tears well up in my eyes. I swallowed deeply as I heard my sister’s words of steady and hold. I knew I needed to do my duty. Yes, duty. Focus on Dad’s voice. Protect Zeus, no matter what.
The room changed as the oath swearing began. The room got darker as each King stepped forward to say what they had to say. Helios was the one who was joining us. He betrayed us before, and now all things were being forgiven. I did not know or often understand the good, the bad, or the ugly of our world. I often saw that everyone was inherently good. I wanted everyone to win, but as my brother often reminded me, “Not everyone can be a winner.” Duh, I know, but…
I felt a sense of victory flood in the room as my chest tightened. A small smile crept over my face. Then, just like that, the ceremony was over.
Mother got up, closing her folio, then she turned and left the room, heading for the door. I wanted to run after her, but Dad came first. A single tear ran down my face. Uncle Poseidon popped out without saying a word to anyone. Then Uncle Hades did the same. There seemed to be some tension in the air around the three brothers, but I didn’t know what that was. Dad made a sound, and then he headed for the entrance. Kratos and Bia moved after him, Zelus and I followed. Once we were outside, I could see Dad moving quickly down the mountain, heading to the Escalade.
Kratos turned to me angrily. “Nike, how could you?”
“I…I didn’t mean to.”
“You need to get yourself together. These are still trying times. Father has a lot on his mind, and he doesn’t need to add you to that list. Do you understand me?”
“Kratos, hey, lighten up. You were just as surprised as the rest of us,” Zelus chimed in
“Nike needs her. She was so young then,” Bia sent to Kratos.
“She’s not now. Get it together, focus. Father comes first.”
I stood there as my elder brother scolded me. “She didn’t even look at us. Do you think she even knew it was us?” I whispered
“You stay and watch the others; we will see to Father. Nike?”
“Yes, I understand.” I bowed my head. Damn it! All I wanted was to catch up to Mother. I looked all around, but she had vanished. Kratos turned and headed after Father.
Bia turned to me and thought, “We will discuss this when you get home.” I nodded. “Now go do your job, Nike.” She nudged her head at me.
I watched as my siblings continued after Dad. Taking a deep breath, knowing that once again, my feelings were impeding my duty. Duty, duty, duty, I thought to myself as I turned to fly back to the room. My job was always to be sure of what happened after Dad left a room. To watch, to report, to know. I’m no snitch. I just helped if I could. The mortals believed they had Big Brother watching them; they had nothing compared with what the gods had…ME! I’m kidding.
As I listened to those that were still in the room, there was a slight tightness in my chest as they all disagreed with what had happened. There were some that thought that Helios would do just fine, and there were those that thought he would fail. I didn’t know how I felt, but the chest tightness felt like I was about to award a victory to Helios. Many had exited the room.
I floated down and stood behind Hellie, rocking on my heels till they were all done talking. I tapped him on his shoulder. He jumped a bit. “Hiya, Hellie. I just wanted to offer you a hug.”
“A hug?” he said, looking at his sister Selene. “I haven’t had one of those in a very long time.”
I stepped forward, opening my wings and arms. “Then it is high time you got one.” I enveloped him in my double hug, as I called it. “Welcome back, you big goof. I’m looking forward to racing the sunrise again.”
Hellie coughed. “Goof? Me?” He smiled.
I stepped away from the embrace. “Here, Hellie, this is for you, too.” I handed him a golden feather pendant. “Today, you won a significant victory. When you look at this, it will help you remember.”
He took it and smiled warmly, and his glow filled the chamber. “Thank you, my lady.”
“Ah, don’t call me that. Just call me Nike, okay?”
He smiled and nodded.
We all showed Hellie around, as it would be the night when I would have to be on patrol.
“Well, maybe Olympus would be all right for two hours.” I laughed to myself.