TEN YEARS LATER
POSEIDON WOKE WITH THE TASTE OF SALT AND BLOOD ON HIS TONGUE. His heart pounded against his chest, as if trying to break free from its cage. He squinted and rolled out of bed, careful not to wake Pero, his pet hawk. In the empty room, he stood and steadied himself against the cool white walls. The faint smell of coke fire lingered in the air.
Insomnia plagued the god of the sea. A week without sleep had left his eyes bloodshot. He paced the Olympian stronghold’s marble floor, where the gods discussed things privately.
A knock on the oak door broke his reverie. Dressed in a loose white tunic, his black, shoulder-length hair in disarray, Poseidon straightened and strode over to open the door.
His mother, Rhea, stood across the threshold. Dressed in a blue silk, floor-length, and hooded cloak, she put her finger to her lips and pushed him into the room. She whispered, “A conspiracy to assassinate the king is underway. Zeus thinks he can slay his father by himself. I am worried. Please stop him.”
Poseidon laughed as he crossed his arms. “Oh, Mother. Save your favorite son? Zeus still thinks he is a hero since rescuing us in Tartarus. My brave brother. Let him try. Why not?”
Poseidon saw his mother overwrought and flustered, Rhea broke eye contact. She tugged on her long red braid, sputtering, angry at this weak gesture. “Please, Poseidon. When Zeus decides, there is little we can do. Help him. I am begging you.”
From the open bedroom window, the sound of stomping feet and the melodic ring of voices singing spilled into the room. Poseidon hurried and witnessed three cyclopes and a crowd of his people below.
Wearing a tunic and with one shining eye, Arges requested, “Poseidon, Zeus, Hades: we bear gifts. Come, your uncles are here to honor you.”
The three bald, one-eyed, shaggy brothers waited next to an open wooden wagon. The scarlet bed of the carriage featured door handles with golden dolphins. Servants of the Olympians singing praises to the gods followed them. They carried little baskets with pomegranates and oranges in them, and two servants at the front sang while others played lyres.
Blinking at the bright light of the sun, Poseidon gazed up into his Uncle Arges’s radiant smile.
Brontes, and Steropes crouched low by an open wooden wagon carrying an altar made of bronze. Olympians singing praises to the gods followed the cyclopes.
Brontes and Arges reached into the wagon, retrieved the altar, and transported it to Zeus’s feet.
The altar resembled an ancient, megalithic temple: a thirty-foot statue depicting Greek mythology, Dionysus, on a chariot with panthers, made of bronze and gold and decorated with precious gems.
Arges placed his broad, calloused fist over his heart and smiled at the demigods. “We are grateful to you for saving us from your father’s hell. We are giving you weapons to help you win the war against the Titans, and as a sign of respect. Please accept this gift as thanks for your bravery in rescuing us from eternal damnation,” he said.
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