Yacumama

Sighing heavily, I tighten my grip on the staff and lift the prongs into the air. Spinning the Trident, I slam the points into the ground of my bedroom. In the same motion, I drop to one knee and press my forehead to the side of the golden artifact. I reach out to the sea monster’s soul, and the glow descends into the earth, slipping through the prongs and sending the creature to its next destination.

Staring at the glass dome ceiling of my bedroom in Atlantis, I watch the creatures of the deep swim above me, their bodies lit up by the phosphorescence wrapped around the pillars of the city. My ancestral bed is exactly as I remember it. The circular frame is massive, providing for my height, and big enough to fit ten or more—a fact I am intimately familiar with. My bedroom is one of the few places I can be alone. Long ago, it was outfitted to drain all the water, a pod of dry air. It is supposed to keep all the mers out. Well, all but the highest and most trusted of Bluefins. 

I need to think. 

Yacumama. The scroll provided little insight, but it is enough for me to start. Mother of all water. Death awaits all that touch. Extinct.

The last part clearly needs updating. I feel a twinge at the front of my head. What is it that is yanking at my memory?

Pinching the bridge of my nose, I squeeze my eyes shut and try to sort through the fractured memories in my mind. Everything I remember is diluted, it’s almost impossible to differentiate between what’s real and what is nothing more than a liquor-induced hallucination. 

I spent time in the Amazon once, didn’t I? Gritting my teeth, I try to narrow down the memories, but they are hazy, and the more I focus, the more blurred they become.

Fuck. 

Sighing loudly in frustration, I sit up in my bed and glare out at Atlantis. Little bubbles slowly make their way to the surface on the other side of my window. In the distance, tall golden pillars reach into the endless abyss of dark water. It lights the city with pulsing bioluminescence. During the night, it dims as the sky would, allowing the mers to get the rest they need. Right now, everyone in Atlantis is sleeping and I…I am trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. I need to focus, and the seditious voice whispers through my head.

You could have focus. You were in a particular state then, if you were again, you could remember…

My hands tighten into fists, my large frame shaking with my internal fight. Three thousand years, and it’s still a fucking battle every day. 

Grabbing a conch shell from my bedside table, I hurl it at the glass, letting out a frustrated yell. 

My shout is cut short when my Trident slowly begins to glow, my brows furrow, and I’m momentarily distracted from my strife. Picking up the weapon, I lay it across my lap. Strange. I frown, closing my eyes and focusing on the bond I share with the artifact.

A life passes through my Trident, one tied to the sea. I take a deep breath and see the scene flickering through my mind. Pressure. Pain. Release. By the end, a tear is slipping down my cheek. 

Scylla. 

She suffered. She died. Her death plays through me, the weight of loss on my shoulders. I look down at my Trident, twisting it in my hand, and wipe the tears from my face. Fuck, this is one of the worst parts of the job. Slowly, I stand from the bed. The entire Trident is glowing now, Scylla’s massive presence contained within. 

I will free you from your pain.

Sighing heavily, I tighten my grip on the staff and lift the prongs into the air. Spinning the Trident, I slam the points into the ground of my bedroom. In the same motion, I drop to one knee and press my forehead to the side of the golden artifact. I reach out to the sea monster’s soul, and the glow descends into the earth, slipping through the prongs and sending the creature to its next destination.

The Well of Souls.

Deep within Hades’ domain, the skeleton of the primordial Tartarus can be found. There is something there that only the three of us know. Something that, in the wrong hands, could lead to the destruction of the world. Within the chest cavity of the primordial lies a well, guarded and controlled by my brothers and me. The well contains the essence of those who have passed before us. It is filled with gods, monsters, and more. Gaia mandated us with its guardianship, a secret shared, brothers bound. 

As Scylla’s essence slips through the floor and out of my Trident, I feel my brothers more closely than before. It’s just for a moment while the well is accessed, our minds connect. Like a yarn of thread the Fate’s use, it pulls us together, allowing us to share our thoughts.

“What happened?” my youngest brother, Zeus, speaks to my head directly.

“Scylla, she…she was killed,” I answer back. 

“How?” my other brother asks.

“I…I can’t really explain,” I stumble over my words even as time is of the essence. “She was suffering.” 

The connection dims before I can explain further, Scylla now a resident of the well. She will be able to be reborn again if my brothers and I work in concert. However, that takes a lot of our power. So for now, she will rest. I fall back onto my ass as exhaustion settles into my bones. My breathing shortens, and the Trident is still embedded in the ground at my feet. 

I miss my brothers more than I thought I did. Hearing their voices in my head, I ached for their familiar presence, to have a simple conversation with them like old times.

Zeus. 

Hades. 

Gods, I’m pathetic. I’m supposed to be the ruler of the deep, and here I am longing for the familiar feeling of my brothers’ hugs. 

Cracks start to form along my feet, splitting the floor and continuing to the glass that surrounds my bedroom. Fuck. This is why I can’t see them. This is why I have to hide away. Forcing my legs to cross, I sit up and place my hands on my knees as I recall my mantra. 

The only thing I can control is myself. 

The only thing I can control is myself. 

The only thing I can control is myself.

Slowly, the sound of cracking glass stops, and everything is silent once more. Good. I take a few deep breaths to center myself before opening my eyes. I try to ignore my irritation at seeing the crack in the glass bubble surrounding my bedroom. That will need fixing.

I need to stay calm. I keep my distance from my brothers for a reason. I barely maintain control of my powers on a good day. Something about being around my family, my brothers especially, I lose it. Just hearing their voices in my head made some of my earthshaking powers slip. I hate this. I’m the older brother. I’m supposed to take care of them. Instead, I’m here. Miles away from them, only connecting to them when I access the well. 

I want more. I want to be there for them. But I’m not, I’m stuck. I’m bound to the sea, to my kingdom, even more tightly now. Like a collar around my neck, tightening, suffocating me. A yoke of responsibility. 

Fuck, I need to get my shit together.

Standing, I yank the Trident out of the ground, and it melts into mercurial gold, sliding up the back of my hand. It still feels unfamiliar as it glides up my arm, down my side, along my leg, before forming the golden beads around my ankle. 

Might as well be a shackle

My hands fist at my sides as I try to remember my original task. With the infection festering in the trench, I can’t mourn the life I live. I need to pretend to be the ruler they need. I need to go down into the darkness. Deeper than any god has ever gone. To the utter blackness that awaits to swallow me whole. 

Poseidon (Theo Laurent)
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