Flash: Athena’s Horse Phase

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“Hey Uncle, how are things?” Hermes asked as he landed on the pebbled beach.

From shore to where the sea disappeared over the edge of the world, flames danced red waiting for the Helios chariot to finish the day’s journey. Poseidon emerged from the shallow waves that had been lapping at his ankles. “Better than some, worse than others. What do you want little trickster?”

“Me, nothing.” He smirked, producing the perfect dimple in his clean-shaven face. “Well, lots of things, you know how *greedy* I am. But that’s not here or there, because Big Daddy sent me.”

Leaning against his trident, Poseidon rolled his eyes. “And what does that storm-god wannabe want now?”

“Just a horse for a few days.” The messenger waved to where the equines played in the incoming tide. “Shouldn’t take long.”

“A horse? Is he throwing a party for the Norse again?”

Hermes snorted, remembering the prank he and his father arranged for his opposite to the north. “Nah. Just wants one for Athena. He dotes on her.”

Poseidon’s thick gray eyebrows crashed together in confusion. “Athena?”

“Oh, right.” After sitting on a rock, Hermes shared how Poseidon’s brother had a killer headache, Hephaestus took an axe to Zeus’ head, and Athena emerged fully formed and in armor. He also relayed, being a solo parent, Zeus had actually stepped up and been taking care of the new goddess. “The Oracle says Athena is going to be entering her horse phase soon and he want to be prepared.”

“She is a goddess, if she is going through an animal phase, she can just transform.”

Hermes shook his head. “She hasn’t got a handle on everything yet, though she is as sharp as a sword and will get it all under control soon. Which is good, because I don’t think Zeus can handle the responsibility much longer.”

“Is she hot?”

“No! Well, yes, but NO.” Hermes facepalmed. “Dude, the girl isn’t even a week old. Yes, she is an adult, and a goddess, but Little Owling is still young.”

“That the best time.”

“Ew, ick. No, no,” The trickster god held up a finger, wagging it firmly. “No, it isn’t.”

“And could you stop me?”

“I won’t need to. Girl has a spear larger than your trident and she will shove it where Helios never shines if you make moves on her.” Hermes dropped his stern tone and switched to begging. “Just a horse for a few days. All children go through a horse phase.” Seeing his uncle getting a contemplating look, Hermes continued. “And don’t shift into one to get her to ride you. Again, spear in unfun places. Let her have this time before the dogs that is our family are released. Just a simple safe horse.”

Poseidon’s lip curled. “My horses are not toys or safe.”

“Athena is a full-grown woman and we up in Olympus who have been dealing with her these past four days are all pretty positive she is going to be a goddess of war, if not THE war god. Yeah, that spear thing … Ares hit on her her first day. He held his own, barely.” Hermes laughed. “She doesn’t need toys or safety, but she will need a horse to ride for a few days. I know, you guys had the suckest of childhoods after Chronos swallowed you. Break your trauma a bit Uncle. Help the next generation be healthier. Her childhood isn’t going to be longer than a fortnight before she becomes whatever it is that she is going to be. Let her have this.”

(words 598 – first published 8/20/2023)

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