We stand on the sandy shores of some secluded beach, far from the prying eyes of any mortals and taking a moment for ourselves. No chance to say a proper goodbye to our brother but we could send Theia off.
Coeus was still staring blankly but Phoebe was looking much improved after her display of power. I often forget how strong she can be.
Crius and Oceanus were the last of us to be drained of power. Crius had quickly regained his once under a clear sky, drawing his power from the stars and constellations. Some of them hadn’t been so hurt by the imprisonment, their powers were rooted in less physical needs than ours. Others had been devastated by the lengthened time in the prison.
Oceanus had quickly remedied his weakness as well by throwing himself headlong into the salt water. When he stood again, walking through ankle deep waters, he had quickly become himself again. He was no longer bent with frailty but standing taller than any of us. Wider too. His beard was again thick and pitch black like his hair and his crooked smile was still the same. Just more lively.
With that we were all ourselves again, just as I remembered us.
We were just two siblings short.
I carried Theia to a flat space not far down the coastline, all of us standing under a perfectly clear sky with a setting sun across the water. It was a brilliant sunset and the moon shared the sky as well.
“There’s no better sky for her,” Cronus says as I place her on the ground and brush her hair from her face. I kiss her forehead gently and step back to allow the others their moment of goodbye.
When they are done they form a circle around her, leaving two empty spaces. Then they all look to me. It is our first funeral for a Titan but it feels right to say it this way.
I kneel down beside her and kiss her forehead one last time before closing my eye and letting the fire of the sun pass from my body into hers.
The flames grow tall and consume her, turning a bright blue and reaching far into the darkening sky. Her ashes spread into the air and are lifted away on a gentle breeze. We stand a while longer even though her body is gone.
We say our last goodbye.
Cronus stares down at the rocks. I take his forearm and lead him down the water’s edge, away from the others. We walk for a long time without speaking.
He stops very suddenly and takes my arm.
“Brother, I’m sorry. This is all my fault.”
“That’s why I wanted to walk with you.”
He drops his head in shame.
“I was wrong you know,” I say, continuing down the water’s edge. He follows but doesn’t speak.
“I remember our fight, I though about it every day in that cell. I was wrong then. To think I was better than you. Than any of us. I wasn’t. I’m not. I will always hate them for stealing Theia from me, always. But you were right, we had no right to wage war and involve the mortals. They are not toys or playthings for us, they are ours to protect. And ours to punish when they falter. I forgot that, back then. None of this is your fault, none of it.”
He stops walking and stares out over the sea. When he looks back at me his eyes are hard again, they are the eyes of my brother once more.
“Do you think they remember the Titans? Do you think they knew who was in that prison?”
“I don’t know brother.”
He looks back out over the water.
“Then let’s find out. And remind them just who the Titans are.”
Our pilot was nervous, we’d left him sitting on the rocks near the aircraft and there he had remained. Cronus, Oceanus and I decided it was time for a chat.
“So, what do you know?”
“Probably not much but I’ll tell you whatever I can,” he was scared, eyes darting between each of us. Good.
“What year is it?” Mnemosyne interrupted us, coming and sitting in front of Jeff with crossed legs, “did you idiots forget I can read his mind? Coming over here with the whole big tough guy act, just ask him nicely and stop trying to intimidate him.”
“Twenty thirty six.”
She took his hands.
“If you lie to me, I will walk away and they will do what brutes do best. Got it?”
“Who sent you?”
“I just get paid, a guy I knew had this guy that he knew that was looking for pilots to ferry people in and out of there, that’s all. Just a paycheck. I mean…who would believe it? I thought they were nuts when they talked about people down there, figured it was just rumors. The company that cuts the check is Orion Energy, some big US company in…well energy. I always figured there was some big discovery to be had down there for them, some reserve of oil or whatever. Then they shoved a rifle in my hands and told me to stop whatever came up that elevator shaft.”
“What is the US?”
He gives us a strange look.
“Right, ten thousand years…you’ve missed a lot. Oh!” he digs in his pocket, fishing out a flat object and tapping it a few times, lighting it up, “my phone. Connection’s probably shit but it’ll work.”
Crius takes it. We would have gone to Coeus but he is rocking back and forth and talking to himself, Phoebe desperately trying to bring him back to reality.
Crius sits with the pilot and Mnemosyne, learning how the little object works. All the knowledge of the mortals in such a small device. Dependent on a power supply. Fascinating.
Pretty simple now that I hear it, sort of astounding we didn’t help the mortals with something similar all those years ago. It was the satellites, who would have thought of that? Not even Coeus would have launched anything at the sky and I suppose Theia and I just weren’t clever enough to come up with that.
“Orion has a website, with profiles.”
Crius is clearly picking it up well. He holds the phone and we all cluster around it, staring down as it comes to life with a picture. Piece by piece it reveals a man with a neatly trimmed beard that is more grey than brown.
There was a long silence. They slowly looked to me, as if I had answers.
The wind howls across the mountain but the cold does not bite into me, not with the warmth of the sun burning inside.
The threat is different than the elements.
Cronus hits me across the mouth and I taste blood, coming back at him with a knee driven into his stomach. He sprawls out and gasps for air as I tumble on top of him, wrapping my chain around his throat. He elbows me in the gut but I sink my knee into the small of his back and begin to pull, hearing the rewarding sound of him choking as the chain tightens.
That’s when I feel it in my stomach, the point of his sickle slowly burying into my flesh. An impasse. Yet again.
It is Iapetus and he is begging with us, pleading. His eyes are filled with tears and he points down the mountain. I fall back, letting the chain unravel from his neck. We both stare down at the fire and destruction. Cities burn even as torrential rain pounds down among the flames.
“Please. They are dying. They are dying for you.”
I look at Cronus and feel shame. I have tried to kill my own brother for power and glory and he tried to kill me.
“For ten years they have marched armies in your names!” The tears come freely for Iapetus as he shouts at us, “we have begged you to stop and now they are dying by the millions! Babies have been slaughtered, children burned alive, family lines have been snuffed out for the two of you! How dare you!”
I see the others coming up the mountain as well. Themis is covered in dried blood and her eyes pierce through me. She demands something with those stern eyes. Justice. The fires eat at the mortal world and I see it. There is no justice for them. Not while we stand.
Cronus gets to his feet, dropping the sickle to the earth.
“We failed them,” he says it quietly, so quietly I almost don’t hear it.
“How do we make it right?” I ask Iapetus.
“We will imprison ourselves, the mortals will have time to recover and we will be punished for our crimes,” Cronus says, holding himself straighter, “is that justice, sister?”
“Then we shall do it.”
“You two should be the only ones!” Oceanus shouts it, “you want to take me away from my sea and from them because of your stupid feud?”
“Yes brother, they should find their own way for a time. We have been, all of us, too close to them. When they began to worship we should have ended it. Not embraced it.”
“How long?” Cronus asks it of Themis, she is always fair in her decisions.
“One thousand years, an eternity for the mortals and a fitting punishment for us.”
Punished. We don’t deserve to be punished. We are gods. We-
Her hand touches my arm softly. As she does the skies begin to clear and the rain slows. She always brings clear skies wherever she goes, my sister. Her gift.
“Brother, no more.”
I hesitate. She speaks it again.
I look to the cities in flames and then to her. Then I agree.
“One thousand years.”
Cronus builds his prison deep in the mountains where it shall remain, containing the twelve of us for one thousand years. He provides us with food and luxuries and enough books to occupy our time. Even for a thousand years.
Twelve mortals are selected to be our guardians, along with a small mountain town that will provide them with everything they need for our imprisonment. They will keep watch over the prison and pass down through the generations their knowledge until we are to be released.
Each of us selects a mortal that will be ours. They are friends of ours, ones that we have bonded with in these recent years.
One by one we enter our cells.
Crius, the youngest of us. The lad that loves the stars and gave the mortals navigation across the vast oceans. He winks as his door shuts first, looking to the constellations painted on the ceiling of his cell.
Coeus and Phoebe, the inseparable twins of knowledge and prophecy. Coeus with his bright green eyes and more books than the rest of us combined to keep his mind occupied.
“Won’t be long at all, not with a good book.” he says, giving his sister one last hug before his door closes behind him.
Phoebe is next, taking a deep breath before she steps into her cell. The one that lives every choice at every moment. Maybe this will be soothing for her.
Mnemosyne gives each of us a peck on the cheek and me a slap on the back of the head. Then a kiss on the cheek.
“My big brother. I’ll remember you. All of you.” She says and then her door is closed. She thinks she’s funny, the one who doesn’t forget.
Iapetus, knowing he will suffer the most, walks with surprising calmness.
As his door closes he smiles at us.
Tethys and Oceanus, the latter grumbling, say their goodbyes to each other.
Oceanus offers a crude gesture as his door closes.
Theia and I have our moment together. She holds my hands in hers and gives me a kiss on the nose.
“Calm brother, perhaps some time down here will temper that fire.”
She laughs and then my sister is gone from me behind her heavy door.
Rhea and Cronus say their goodbyes and Rhea gives me a warm embrace.
“Try to listen to your sister,” she whispers. Her door closes.
Themis doesn’t say much, just a curt nod to each of us. Always fair, that one.
Only Cronus and I are left.
He walks to my door and sees me into the cell that will be my home for the next thousand years.
“We deserve this.” He says.
I have nothing to add as my door closes and I am left alone. I stand in the center for a while before I am roused from my thoughts.
“It’s just a thousand years, at least you have me to talk to. For a while.”
I turn to look up at the guard room where he stands, offering a smile. I snort again and wave him off.
“I should have picked some better suited to conversation then.”
He laughs and the just sentence begins.
“So,” I say, settling against the wall and looking up to him, “what are we going to talk about?”
“I suppose we can start anywhere, got nothing but time right?”
“Thank you Zeus,” I say with a sigh, “for that reminder. Nothing but time.”