The Olympian Gods wake up in a world of cell phones, iPods, hybrid cars & telecommuting.
About 2500 years ago…
“Rhea!” Zeus bellowed from his throne atop Mount Olympus. “Rhea, I require your services!” Zeus’s big hands clenched into fists and he pounded on the arms of the ornate and gilded throne. The more delicate engravings and carvings snapped off and hit the floor as Zeus’s temper continued to flare.
“RHEA!” He yelled once more, causing the windows to shatter and the floor to tremble. The sun came pouring in the now empty windowpanes, sunlight sparkling off the shards of glass, rainbows taking form on the walls and ceiling. This seemed to anger Zeus further and he growled, swiping at the rainbows dancing on his face.
The air in the room shimmered and, in a cloud of glitter, Rhea appeared. She stood for a moment, glaring at her youngest son.
“For goodness sake! You’re rattling the skies with your yelling. What is so important that you have to scream like a child for his mommy?” Rhea demanded, hands on her hips.
Zeus was turning red, spittle forming on his lips as he sputters, staring at Rhea.
“Child? How dare you refer to me in such a way? I am the King of the gods, thank you very much, and will be addressed as such!”
“Oh, hush.” Rhea responded, walking up to the king of gods and hugging him close. “You ARE my child and as your mother, I feel it is my right and duty to let you know when you’re acting like one, and a spoilt one at that. Now, let us move on. What is it that you need of me, son?” She left go of him and took a step back.
Zeus sat for a couple beats, his color turning from red to purple and then slowly returning through the rainbow back to normal. Had anyone else been in the room, he would have let his temper run its course. Being that it was just he and his mother, he decided to let it go. He looked over at Rhea. A beautiful woman with raven hair and startling green eyes, she looked as young as the day she bore him. Zeus, on the other hand, was aging. His hair and beard brilliant white, the skin around his eyes and mouth wrinkled and webbed and crick had set up shop in his lower back requiring a lumbar support pillow on this throne. These issues were only a part of the larger problem. He stood and began to pace in front of his throne.
“Mother, I need your help. Actually WE need your help.”
“We who and help with what?”
“We the Olympians, and the problem is, well, it’s complicated.”
Zeus strode over to the table at the side of the room. It was overloaded with fruits, meat and wine. He grabbed a handful of grapes and an entire bottle of wine. Taking a swig, he returned to his throne. He sat, munching on the grapes for a few moments, deep in thought. Swallowing, he continued.
“The mortals are neglecting us. They have all but stopped sacrificing; they rarely seek out our counsel or our oracles. I have spoken with all the residents of Olympus and this is across the board. We are all finding it more and more difficult to use the powers that we possess. I cannot manipulate the lightening as I used to, Apollo is having difficulty with his precognition, Athena cut herself on her own sword, and Aphrodite is developing crow’s feet!”
Rhea began giggling.
“This is serious, Mother! I do not see how it is humorous in the least.”
“Of course you don’t.” Rhea continued to laugh, “But any woman who has ever had her love life screwed with for Aphrodite’s amusement would think this was hysterical, I assure you.” She continued to chuckle.
Zeus glowered at her, waiting for Rhea to stop laughing, still not seeing how this situation was funny. Rhea pulled herself together and faced her son with a properly serious expression. “And you believe there is a connection between the lack of worship and waning powers?”
“Of course there’s a connection! We are gods, but how can a god have power if there is no one to worship him? Can a god even be a god without worshippers? If we aren’t gods, what are we? We are even aging, Mother! Does this mean we are no longer immortal? These are questions I never thought I’d have to ask myself or even contemplate, but I find it’s necessary. I was hoping you would have a suggestion, a solution or something. Please, Mother.”
Rhea contemplated Zeus. He was her pride and joy. Oh, she loved all her children, as good mothers do, but there was a special place in her heart for her youngest. She would move heaven and earth to ease his suffering.
“Do you believe that the mortals will forget about you and the family completely or do you think this to be a temporary set back?” she asked.
“I have no idea. Apollo’s ability to see the future is on the blink so all the oracles are iffy at best. I’m afraid our time here as gods may be coming to an end, permanently. And I have no way of knowing if our immortality will be going with our godhood.”
Rhea thought for a moment. As the daughter of Gaia, the earth and mother of all, she had not felt any waning of her talents. The mortals and their rituals of tilling, reaping and sowing the earth was in homage to her, goddess of the land. She couldn’t imagine losing her ability to teleport or take the form of another. The sympathy she felt for her children and grandchildren lay heavy on her heart.
Rhea stood lost in thought. Zeus watched as her eyes glazed over and she began shuffling through the memories and knowledge Gaia had bequeathed her when Gaia last held a human body. Minutes passed. Suddenly, Rhea came back to the present.
“Here is what I can do for you, my son. I can use the magic of my mother and cast a net of stasis over Olympus and her inhabitants.”
“Net of stasis?
“You will all sleep until the time is right.”
“Until the time is right, Mother? Could you be a little more specific??”
“It is my intention that the inhabitants of Olympus will slumber until the mortals recognize you for the gods you are. I can not guarantee that it will ever happen, that the mortals will ever return to worshipping the Olympiads.”
“Will there be any side effects from this spell?”
“There could always be unforeseen complications or side effects, for good or ill,” Rhea said “There are no absolute guarantees in magic. Just as there is no guarantee that the mortals will begin to worship you again someday. Should you decide this is a good idea, you may be choosing unending sleep, possibly even death.” She added, stressing the words, hoping to give weight to their meaning.
Zeus thought for only a moment. “Do it now.” He said abruptly.
“Do you not want to talk to the family? Ask if they wish to be a part of this?”
“No. This is my decision to make. I can not bear to listen to their squabbling over the matter. My answer is final. Do it now.”
Rhea studied Zeus’ face. He looked completely resolute. She sighed. “Yes, my son. I will gather what I need and can be prepared to proceed at nightfall. If I may suggest, perhaps it would be best if you called everyone back to Olympus so that no one is left to continue on their own.”
“I will do so immediately.” Zeus stood, “Thank you, Mother.” Rhea turned and walked slowly from the throne room.