We race together towards the central tower, I support Iapetus and Tethys leads on.
“Our luck won’t last,” I say,” the guards will figure things out. And soon.”
Iapetus hobbles on weak legs beside me and jabs me in the side.
The prison facility was built around a central tower with two levels, the lower leading to the twelve corridors and heavy doors for each cell and the upper level leading to the guard areas. These mortals had been working in here before they revealed themselves to us and had added their own halls and doors to various parts of their facility.
Iapetus guides us to the end goal and our luck held just long enough.
We rest him against the wall of the small side room with a large wheel in the center.
“They added this at my personal request,” Iapetus explains, “it opens all the doors at once. Just in case they ever needed us urgently.”
“Whatever caused them to disappear wasn’t urgent?” I grip the wheel and begin to turn it, the old metal grinding and squealing as it resists.
“I fear that whatever caused them to stop coming came too quickly for them to do much of anything.”
I glance at him and look to Tethys, who shrugs. I turn back to the task as footsteps close in, thumping heavily. Someone shouts.
“Stop them! Kill them if you have to!”
Tethys and I look to each other and she curses, drawing out the orb again.
Iapetus lifts an arm weakly towards the wheel.
“I already told you Hyperion, ten thousand years and you still don’t listen to your older brother. Not all our siblings are without power.”
Right, I forgot. Only those of us who resisted the plan.
I heave on the wheel and Tethys joins in and we hear it, the satisfying sound of rust and age giving way to movement. The doors are open.
Our siblings are free.
It doesn’t take long for the screaming to start. Then staccato cracks fill the air in rapid succession. I feel the facility shake with some unseen impact and it brings a smile to my face. The guards that had been coming for us retreat, their boots thumping away towards one of the passages to their temporary safety. They shout and clamor and Tethys and I look out of the room to see a half dozen or more dragging their comrades away.
Brave. I can admire that.
The first one to come up the stairs is a handsome man with a short graying beard and a hair the colour of dark earth. His shoulders are broad and his fingers thick and stained with dirt. A sickle is tucked into his belt.
“Cronus!” I shout, “brother!”
“Hyperion! I should have known it would be you!” he smiles and lifts me with his thick arms easily. It had been his idea to imprison us and he built it for the mortals. They allowed him his power because he could not escape his own prison. That must be why they came for me first, then Iapetus. We were some of if not the weakest of us.
The next is a beautiful woman that latches on to his arm, smiling with her brother. She is older as well, with short spiky hair and a twinkle in her eye. Her beloved pet follows her as always, crafted from the molten rock itself. A majestic lion with a dull mane of red flame.
“Rhea, sister, as radiant as ever,” I kiss her on each cheek while Tethys latches on to Cronus.
“Little brother, as hot headed as always I assume,” she says while returning them.
The eldest Titan siblings. The best of all of us.
“Quickly!” I lead them to the next oldest brother who weakly smiles at them.
“I’d get up but…”
Cronus scoops Iapetus up in his arms and closes his eyes for a moment, allowing some of his energies to pass to Iapetus. When he sets Iapetus down, his legs no longer shake and he stands firmer than before. Though not much. The loss of their faith is draining him.
Oceanus and Themis are next, though just one looks in poor fashion. Oceanus had been a massive man before, with a beard that rivalled the Northmen themselves. He was bent with wear and his beard was thin, wispy. His muscles have sagged and his gut has drooped.
“Quit yer gawkin’!” he snarled, then broke into a crooked grin, “though I must look like something the sea forgot.”
“Worse than that, even,” I say. I don’t interrupt as Tethys runs to her brother, she doesn’t latch onto him though, just grabs his face with both hands. They whisper to each other and we don’t try to hear.
Themis is the smallest of us but even I am afraid of her temper. Though she calls it righteous justice. She curtly nods, never one for reunions I suppose.
She sighs and her shoulders sag and she gives me a hug.
“It is good to see you brother,” she whispers, a moment of softness before she returns to a face of granite and greets the others.
I ask it just as we hear the shouting.
We spare no thoughts, simply run to the voice.
Phoebe has never sounded so desperate.
We find her with Mnemosyne and Crius, standing in the doorway of one of the cells. She is further in than the others and has dropped to a knee, holding out her hands towards him. His eyes betray madness, those once bright green eyes of Coeus are dull. He stands with his back against the far wall and warily watches all of us. His eyes dart to and fro but never settle on anything.
His walls are covered in writing from floor to ceiling.
The scars on his arms and legs are obvious. The ink he used was Titan’s blood.
“Brother, please,” Phoebe begs, and I can see the tears pooling on the floor beneath her, “don’t you remember?”
“Can’t remember, can’t. Not meant to, only forget.” He stammers it out. His voice isn’t right either. We shouldn’t have ever brought him here. He needed knowledge, to learn. Without it…
I look to Cronus and he looks at me.
I can see the shame in his eyes. His prison. His brother.
Phoebe lets out a choking sob and runs to him, embracing him. He stiffens but does not retreat or fight, just stands there and does not embrace her in return.
“We have to go…” I hear my own voice and it surprises me, “if we don’t go now we might be trapped down here for another ten thousand years. Even Cronus can’t dig us out from this deep.”
Then it hits me. Eleven. I only count eleven.
I haven’t seen her yet.
“Where is Theia?”
She lies on a steel table, so still, so beautiful.
My twin sister doesn’t move as I gently brush the golden hair from her face. She doesn’t breathe. Her face is slack and peaceful, just as I remember it. Even after all these years.
My hands shake as I take one hers in mine, it’s so cold for a goddess of the sky.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t move.
When I breathe it catches in my chest and escapes as a choked sob.
I take her in my arms, her head loosely rolling into my shoulder. I don’t want to see the scars that cross her body. They must have come for her first.
Then they killed her. On a steel table without any of us to comfort her. To be with her in those last moments.
Did she scream? Did she beg for mercy? Did it hurt?
I kiss her forehead and let the tears come.
No one speaks, no one moves, they just look on.
I hold her and there is nothing more important to me at this moment. Nothing more important than where she needs to be.
“She deserves blue skies.”
They part for me. Each of them gently caresses her as I go by, saying goodbye.
Iapetus and Cronus are last.
“They will try to stop us.”
I don’t stop walking, still holding her. Somewhere beyond those doors is the stairwell to the outside. With sunlight and clear skies and escape.
Between us and that are men with weapons that can kill a Titan. That have already killed a Titan.
“Then we will kill them all.”