Burdening News

     Artemis was trembling profusely as she returned to Mount Olympus.  Not only did she find the giants that had for so long terrorized the immortals, to be alive and well, but she had just - by protecting her only and unknown daughter - exposed her greatest weakness.  Celestia was in more danger now than ever before, and everything she had ever cared for was in jeopardy.    She stood just outside the gates of her father's court, realizing that she could not fight this alone.  She had to ask for the gods' help, and beg for their forgiveness of her insolence. 

     Inside now, she approached the throne on which sat her father, with Ares at his right shoulder.  She breathed a sigh of relief that the jealous Athena was not in earsight.  Zeus spoke in a booming voice, "What troubles have you, my daughter?  What have you learned of the threat?"  He was concerned for his daughter, but more so for his kingdom.

     The goddess breathed deeply before appealing to him.  "Father," she was gravely serious, "Otos and Ephialtes are very much alive.  They seek to make us pay; their price is our home."  She let it sink in.

     Zeus' face was ghastly white, and he paused before inquiring blankly about the rest of her news.   "What else burdens you, child?"  He was listening, but his eyes were wide and directed elsewhere.  Ares excused himself, she assumed to make ready plans for defense.

     Alone, now, with her father, Artemis broke down into tears.  Zeus' eyes returned to her, and he stood to embrace her.  She took what little comfort he could give, and he asked again- more gently, this time.  She quivered and wiped her eyes, and then she answered.  "My lord and father, I have born a child ... to the man that now watches over me from the stars."  She raised her head to the sky and gestured reverently to where her beloved Orion's constellation could be found.  Tears welled up in her eyes again, and she placed her hand over her breast.  Awaiting scorn or punishment from him, she bowed her head in shame. Several emotions played across Zeus' face.  First anger for being deceived, then grievance, for the thirteen years he had not known of his grand child.  But his feelings softened.  He lifted her head up to meet her eyes, and smiled faintly.  He embraced her again.

     Athena peered out from behind the column she had hidden behind; she had heard the entire conversation.  She sneered with envy at their display of affection.  Zeus was never that forward with her.  She was supposed to be his favorite.  Anger and fury erupted from her every pore.  Her sister had committed more than three acts of treason: she had been deceitful, she had betrayed her family, and now she posed a threat to their home.  And she had wrongfully maintained her position on the committee of virgin goddesses.  However, Athena refused to admit jealousy, although she, herself, had sought after Orion and been refused.  Instead, she intended to see to it that Artemis never be allowed face in Mount Olympus again.  She stomped off, scheming.

The End

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