Darkness. I am no stranger to it, for obvious reasons. But this was not my darkness. This was not my home.
I lingered there in not-my-darkness, the unfamiliar territory pressing in around me like a vacuum. Time, ironically enough, didn’t exist in this space. Everything, including myself, felt stopped. I could not remember what I was before Chaos gave birth to me, but I imagined it was something close to this, and I wondered where here was.
And then, I remembered.
My daughters, my best friend, my equal. They had watched me die. I was dead.
And I cried.
Life, and all that it entailed, was worth forfeiting. As long as Kronos kept his word, and I had a feeling he would. He may be labeled cunning, but when a situation folded on itself, he was not one to linger longer than he had to. I hoped I wasn’t wrong about him this time. Just this once.
My vision clouded, and ephemeral figures blurred into view. Faint and vague at first, and when they grew sharper, my heart ached with the pain of a hundred deaths. They were memories: my memories, and they played out before me as if on a projector.
Clotho and Atropos teaching Lachesis how to untangle fate strings that got knotted;
Attending Hades and Persephone’s wedding, Cerberus wearing a large red bow;
Eros laughing over the small gold plaque I installed at Nox over his favourite booth, the words Fairest Of Them All engraved into it;
Dinlas’ eyes when he first stepped into the Void, as filled with stars as my own are;
The thrill of the hunt as I joined Artemis and Hestia, flying through the woods with the satyrs at our sides;
One by one, these images paraded before me, as if a reminder to what I lost. Unabidden, I reached out to touch them, hoping maybe it would bring me back, when I froze. The memories were passing through me. I lowered my hand, and let out a dry laugh – they weren’t passing through me, I was dissolving. Disappearing. No one knew what happened when a god died, well…here we are. I gave everything to ensure the ones I love were safe. They knew I would do anything for them, they just didn’t know the extent. I guess I should have explained better – too late now.
My feet and calves had disappeared, my thighs and hips close behind. I stood silently, hands held outward to watch them go, letting my thoughts fade away just as quickly as the rest of me was…
When someone grabbed my wrist.
I gave a strangled yell, and pulled back out of reflex, but the grip was tight on me. The hand seemed to have pushed through the black around me, and was growing brighter now, an arm following it. It adjusted its hold on me, just as another hand pressed through the black and grabbed me, a little higher than the first one.
My voice caught in my throat as I choked out, “Who are you?”
Those words turned on the night sky: stars erupted around me, constellations in all their glory, and I had to turn away from the nebulae and asteroid belts that bloomed before me.
Three pairs of hands materialized and slid their fingers over my other hand, rolling up my forearm before settling into a comfortable spot they could hold on to. I stared at them all now, familiarity gnawing at me, until I saw a leather band with an obsidian bead woven into it.
“Dinlas…?” I glanced at the hand above his, and then at the others. “Eros? Daughters?”
The hand with the bracelet rubbed my wrist briefly, before slipping away for a moment. Eros’ and the Fates clung to me tighter until Dinlas returned, the bead now glowing brightly.
The five of them settled, before starting to pull me towards them, like a sailor pulls an anchor from the sea bed. The stars around me began to collapse in this faux Void, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the wall of dark that I was being herded towards.
“But…this is as it should be. You are safe, oikogéneia…”
The projection of memories alighted before me once more, playing in fast forward until they came to Kronos holding my family in chains once more; the pain inflicted on them, the Chaos fragment thrust through me. But it paused as I watched myself close my eyes and fade into mist, gold blood oozing from my wounds. I glared at the image, before realizing it wasn’t me I was supposed to be focused on.
Rings of light encircled the shoulders of my five, crossing over one another and growing larger by the moment. As Kronos stepped away from my body, a savage grin on his face, he turned to my family just as the rings broke and shot towards the Titan, encapsulating him. There was no sound to be heard, but by Kronos’ expression, he looked to be in terrible pain.
The Fates pulled their slackened chains off as the Titan struggled to free himself, lunging towards him looking more like vengeful sirens than my demure daughters. Dinlas’ gifted wings flared out, breaking the chains that held him. A barely concealed snarl on his face as he sat up, Eros freeing himself in a similar fashion, and they exchanged grim looks before following the Fates’ lead – Eros swiftly nocked an arrow, his bow foolishly left by Kronos, as Dinlas unsheathed his sword and lunged at the Titan.
Whosoever thought it could only be a Primordial that took down a Titan was sorely wrong. Or perhaps there was enough of me in them that they could do so. Regardless, I have never been so proud in my life to watch them lay waste to that Hades-forsaken Titan, and they did so with a ferocity that would make even the Amazons flinch. The rings of light that held Kronos burned into his skin as they tightened, and the fight seemed to last only a moment. He lay in a meaty mess opposite my body, and Eros gave him a boot to the head for good measure, before kneeling beside me with the others. They did not see him roll over, barely, and disappear.
I had melted into a dark, thick mist, my body already gone. Lachesis covered her face, her body shuddering as Atropos wrapped her arms around her sister, but Clotho’s eyes were trained on Dinlas and Eros.
She caught Dinlas’ eye, his face empty of emotion, and she jerked her head at the mist before them. He considered her for a long moment, eyes switching between my daughter and the cloud, before raising a hand, hesitant over something. Dinlas glanced at Clotho once more, before slipping his hand into the darkness. His face said everything a moment later, and he whipped his head to face Eros, who mirrored his brother’s move, his eyes growing wide almost immediately. Clotho touched her sister’s shoulders, their red eyes and tear-stricken cheeks burning into my heart, before they mimicked the brothers as well, moving as one.
I looked down at the hands once more, my body solidifying as they brought me back to their side. A small orb of light growing within my chest, visibly, and I took a deep breath as the nebulae surrounding me caved in on themselves. A deep vibration rolled through my torso, and I gasped as an energy surge flew from the fingertips on my arms. It rushed through my body, my skin radiating with the brilliance of a thousand suns, burning away the helplessness and defeat that lingered within me still. Feathers brushed my back as wings sprouted, and the images of Kronos standing over my body lit a fire inside me, clean anger creating a chaotic halo behind me.
Taking a deep breath, I turned my arms to grasp theirs.
“Time to take back home.”