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She called herself Gaea, the Earth Mother. Maybe she thought she could make him into a better guy. She would surpass any Titan at whatever she chose to do. I am okay with it. She knew about cake, because Kronos had eaten lots of it. I did mention the chains, right? Shiny, had twins named Helios and Selene, who were in charge of the sun and the moon.

She was gone. As you can imagine, Rhea completely freaked. She screamed some more. She would have launched herself at Kronos and pummeled him with her fists, or ordered her lions to attack, but she was afraid of hurting the baby that was now stuck inside him. She was trouble, I could tell! She stormed off in a rage. I mean, your husband eats your firstborn child like a slider hamburger…. First, Kronos had swallowed the baby Hestia whole.

Hestia, like her parents, was technically immortal. Gross in there? A little claustrophobic? You bet. But fatal? I can find a way to get her back.

Rhea was a gentle goddess. Even if she tried to fight, most of the strongest Titans, like Hyperion and that big goon Atlas, would back Kronos up. If the kid is immortal, why is Rhea worried about hurting her?

But, see, immortals can be hurt badly, crippled, or mutilated. They just stay crippled forever. And even if they had, Rhea would have been too scared to try. Can you blame her? As you may have noticed, Kronos was one crazy piece of work. High five! Her best bet was to stick it out, bide her time, and wait until she found a way to get Hestia back. Kronos tried to be nice to her. He bought her presents and took her out to dinner, as if that could make her forget about the baby in his stomach.

When Kronos thought enough time had passed—like three or four days—he insisted that they try to have more kids. Maybe he had a secret death wish. So Rhea had another baby—a little girl even cuter than the first. Rhea named her Demeter. Rhea dared to hope. Kronos took the child in his arms and saw right away that Demeter was another goddess.

She was trouble with a capital tau. He opened his jaws and swallowed her down. Cue the screaming fit from Mom. Cue the apologies. Rhea was seriously tempted to call out her lions, but now the stakes were even higher. Kronos had two kids in there.

But gods are kind of flexible about their size. Sometimes they are huge. They were like springs getting wound up tighter and tighter, hoping that someday they would get to burst out fully grown.

Kronos insisted they try again. Also a girl. Rhea named her Hera, and she was the least Titan-ish, most godly yet. Rhea was indeed the Great Mother. In fact, she was a little too good at it. Every child she had was Dad got to hold the baby.

It was one of those natural laws that Themis always insisted on. There was also a natural law against eating your kids, but Themis was too afraid to mention that to Kronos. And so Rhea mustered her courage. This time, Rhea left the throne room without throwing a fit. She was too numb with pain and misery and disbelief.

She had married a pathological liar who was also a murderer and a cannibal baby-eater. Could things be any worse? Oh, wait! Things were worse. Two more times she gave birth to perfect, lovely god babies.

The fourth child was a boy named Hades. Rhea hoped Kronos would let him live, because every dad wants a son to play catch with, right? Down the hatch, matey! The fifth child was another boy, Poseidon. Same story. At this point, Rhea fled the palace. She went to her brothers and sisters, her nieces and nephews, anyone who would listen. She pleaded for help. The other Titans were either too scared of Kronos like Themis , or they worked for Kronos like Hyperion and told her to stop whining.

Finally Rhea visited her sister Phoebe at the Oracle of Delphi, but sadly, even the Oracle had no advice for her. Rhea ran to the nearest meadow, threw herself on the ground, and began to cry. Suddenly she heard whispering from the earth. You will find help there! This child will be different! He will save the others! Rhea sniffled and tried to pull herself together. You take the Ionian Sea down to, like, Kalamata. Then you turn left and—You know what? When the time came and Rhea started to get very big in the belly, she took a few deep breaths, composed herself, and waddled into the throne room.

I will be back with the baby. And of course, my lord, I am all about pleasing you! He was suspicious, but he also thought: Plus, by now his thoughts were getting a little sluggish. I mean, five gods in one stomach—dang. Off you go. Where is Crete? Once she got there, she was immediately met by some helpful nymphs who had also heard the voice of Gaea.

They brought Rhea to a cozy, well-hidden cave at the base of Mount Ida. The bountiful forest offered plenty to eat. Yes, I know: Rhea gave birth to a healthy baby boy god. He was the most beautiful and perfect one yet. Rhea named him Zeus, which, depending on who you ask, either means Sky or Shining or simply Living. I personally vote for the last one, because I think at this point Rhea had simple hopes for this kid—keep him alive and away from hostile stomachs.

The sound echoed through the cave and out into the world—so loud that everyone and their Titan mother knew a baby had been born. A large stone emerged from the dirt—a smooth, oval rock exactly the same size and weight as a baby god. She knew this was a gift from Gaea. Normally, you would not be excited if She wrapped the stone in swaddling clothes and gave the real baby Zeus to the nymphs to take care of.

She just hoped she could pull off the switcheroo once she got back to the palace. And for milk, we have an awesome immortal goat. The nymphs brought in their goat Amaltheia, who produced excellent magical goat milk in many different flavors, including low fat, chocolate, and baby formula. Kronos has incredible hearing up there on Mount Othrys.

You may have noticed this kid has a set of lungs on him. Kronos will suspect something. She led Rhea to the cave entrance and called out to the Earth Mother: Sorry to disturb you. But we could use some help guarding this kid!

Preferably some very loud help! Three new helpers emerged, born of dirt and the spilled blood of Ouranos like I said, that stuff got everywhere. The new guys were large, hairy humanoids, dressed in fur and feathers and leather like they were on their way to some primeval festival deep in the rain forest. They were armed with spears and shields, so they looked more like headhunters than nursemaids.

Baby Zeus began crying again. The three warriors immediately busted out some sweet tribal dance moves, beating their spears on their shields and shouting and chanting. They covered up the crying just fine.

For some reason, Baby Zeus seemed to like the noise. A fine little boy named, uh, Rocky! He was full! Prophecy, and all. He unhinged his jaw and showed his extreme mouth-opening skills. They shifted—as much as they could in the cramped space—and Rocky landed in their midst. Meanwhile, in the throne room, Rhea threw an Oscar-worthy tantrum. She screamed and stomped her feet and called Kronos all kinds of unflattering names.

He was stuffed. Eventually, things quieted down in the palace. Kronos was now convinced he had thwarted the curse of Ouranos.

No way could his children displace him, since he knew exactly where they all were. He was the king of the cosmos and would never be overthrown! Meanwhile, Rhea visited Mount Ida whenever she could. Because in the next chapter, Zeus goes nuclear. He spent his days romping around the countryside with nymphs and satyrs, learning to fight with his loud friends the Kouretes, eating his fill of honey and magical goat milk yum!

By the time he was a young adult god, he had grown into a good-looking dude—all tan and ripped from his time in the forest and at the beach. He had short black hair, a neatly trimmed beard, and eyes as blue as the sky, though they could cloud over very fast when he got angry. One day his mom, Rhea, came to visit on her chariot pulled by lions.

He liked the word summer. She had been planning her revenge on Kronos for a long time. Now, looking at her son—so confident, strong, and handsome—she knew the time had come. That means they must have the power to change their size and shape. You should have that power, too. See if you can make yourself appear less godly, more…Titan-ish.

He had already discovered his ability to change shape. It was a footrace. Wolves ran on their feet. The only Titan that Zeus had ever seen up close was his mother, but he knew Titans were generally bigger than he was. They gave off a slightly different vibe—more violent and rougher around the edges.

He imagined himself as a Titan. When he opened his eyes, he was taller than his mom for the first time. The palace was huge. Its gleaming black towers rose into the clouds like greedy fingers grasping for the stars. The fortress was meant to inspire fear. Zeus understood that immediately. But it also seemed lonely and dismal—not a fun place to be king. Zeus decided that if he ever got his own crib, it would be much cooler than Othrys. His palace would be brilliant, blinding white. One thing at a time, he told himself.

I have to bear cups first. Rhea escorted her son into the royal hall, where Old King Cannibal was snoozing on his throne. The years had not been kind to Kronos, which was ironic, since he was the lord of time. Making mortal life forms wither and die no longer amused him.

Their attempts were unsuccessful, but they gave Kronos terrible acid reflux. Rhea approached the throne. Kronos had never heard it. Something about him seemed vaguely familiar—the sparkle in his eyes, the crooked way he smiled. Of course all the Titans were related. Maybe that was it. Still, he found this young one unsettling…. He looked around, trying to remember exactly who had introduced the boy, but Rhea had already faded into the shadows.

I can also sing, dance, and tell satyr jokes. Then he demonstrated some Kouretes dance moves. It was the most interesting thing that had happened on Mount Othrys in a long time. Other Titans gathered in the throne room to watch. Soon they were cheering and laughing. Even Kronos had a smile on his face. In no time, Zeus became the most popular servant in the palace.

His singing was as clear as the streams on Mount Ida. He always knew exactly what Kronos would like to drink—hot spiced nectar, cold nectar with a twist of lemon, nectar spritzer with a little cranberry juice. He also introduced the Titans to drinking contests, which were very popular with the satyrs back on Mount Ida. Everybody at the table started chugging at the same time.

The fastest drinker won. What did he win? Well, nothing—but it was a great way to show off, because nothing looks more manly or Titanly than having nectar dribbling down your chin and all over your shirt. Sure, he was king of the universe, but he was still the youngest of twelve kids. Despite his constantly full stomach, he got to the point where he could chug a full goblet of nectar in three seconds, and Titan goblets are the size of water cooler jugs.

He trusted Zeus to fill his glass with whatever would go down the smoothest. One night when Kronos was dining with his favorite lieutenants, Zeus mixed some special brews for the drinking contest. The nymphs back on Mount Ida had taught him a lot about herbs and stuff. He knew which plants could make you drowsy, which ones could make you dizzy, and which could make For Kronos, he mixed a special blend of nectar and mustard.

Zeus set it aside and waited for the right moment. Dinner started out as usual, with lots of drinking, eating, and catching up on the Titan news of the day. Zeus kept the nectar flowing. He entertained the guests with his jokes and his singing. The guy is insane. I mean his record is, what—three seconds? He was full already and had been hoping to avoid a drinking contest. I bet he would set a new world record tonight. His honor as a super-chugger was at stake.

He gestured for Zeus to bring in another round. Zeus ran to the kitchen and fetched his special concoctions. Kronos immediately noticed that his nectar tasted weird, but it was a contest.

The whole point was to drain the cup! Maybe his taste buds were just a little off. After all, Zeus had never steered him wrong. Kronos drained his nectar in two and a half seconds. He slammed the goblet upside down on the table and shouted: Kronos puked. He puked a puke worthy of the king of the universe. It was a kingly puke.

His stomach tried to propel itself out his throat. His mouth hinged open all by itself—the better to upchuck you with, my dear—and shot out five gods, a very slimy rock, quite a lot of nectar, some biscuits, and a chariot license plate. The five disgorged gods immediately grew to full-size adults right there on the dining table.

The Titan guests stared in amazement, their minds working slowly due to the spiked nectar. As for Kronos, he was still trying to catapult his guts across the throne room. He wanted to slice up the old cannibal on the spot, but the other Titans were starting to recover from their shock. They might be slow and sleepy, but they had weapons.

His army consisted of five slimy, unarmed gods who had spent very little time outside a stomach, much less in combat.

Guards started pouring into the throne room. Zeus turned to his confused siblings. Follow me, and I will give you freedom and revenge. Also honey and goat milk. While Kronos retched and his fighters fumbled with their weapons, Zeus and his siblings turned into eagles and soared out of the palace. The nymphs had heard rumors whispered through the earth: Kronos was sending his Titans to scour the world for the escapees. He wanted them brought back, either in chains or in small pieces.

Poseidon grunted. Do you have any? The others stared at her as if she were crazy. Perhaps we could steal his scythe. We could chop him up like he did Ouranos!

Then I could use the scythe for something better—like cutting wheat! Did you see those beautiful fields we flew over? Demeter blushed. I always dream about green fields. Mother Rhea stepped into the clearing. She hugged each of her precious sons and daughters, weeping tears of joy over their freedom.

As for the Cyclopes, they are talented blacksmiths. The idea of descending into the most dangerous, vilest part of creation somehow appealed to him. She knew about cake, because Kronos had eaten lots of it. The crumbs and icing were always getting in her hair. Hades found a cave system that led deep into the Underworld. He seemed to have a knack for navigating the tunnels. He led his siblings along the course of a subterranean river called the Styx until it spilled over a cliff into the void of Tartarus.

The gods became bats you could argue that they were already bats, but you know what I mean and flew into the abyss. At the bottom, they found a gloomy landscape of rock spires, gray wastes, fiery pits, and poisonous fog, with all sorts of nasty monsters and evil spirits roaming about.

The six young gods crept around until they found the maximum-security zone, surrounded by a high brass wall and patrolled by demons. In bat form the gods could fly over the wall easily; but once inside, they spotted the jailer and almost lost their nerve.

Kronos had personally hired the most horrible monster in Tartarus to make sure his high-value prisoners never escaped. From the waist up, she was a humanoid female with snakes for hair. From the waist down, she was a four-legged dragon. Thousands of vipers sprouted from her legs like grass skirts. Large, dark reptilian wings grew from her shoulder blades. Her scorpionlike tail swished back and forth, dripping venom.

The gods watched from behind a pile of boulders as the monstrous jailer tromped back and forth, lashing the Elder Cyclopes with a fiery whip and stinging the Hundred-Handed Ones with her scorpion tail whenever they got out of line. The poor prisoners were forced to work without any break—no water, no sleep, no food, nothing.

The Hundred-Handed Ones spent their time at the far end of the yard, quarrying stone blocks from the hard volcanic floor. The Cyclopes worked at the closer end. They each had a forge where they smelted metals and hammered out sheets of bronze and iron.

The venom in her tail could incapacitate even an Elder Cyclops for hours, leaving him writhing in pain. Besides, the Hundred-Handed Ones and the Cyclopes were gentle souls. Despite their looks, they were builders, not fighters. Then he sneaked up to the nearest Cyclops.

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The Cyclops lowered his hammer. This may take a while. Kronos tricked us. Together, we can get revenge and throw him down here. How does that sound? She will not let us finish any project. Spread the word to your friends. Brontes whispered the plan to his brothers Arges and Steropes. The gods waited in the darkness while the Cyclopes forged pieces of the new weapons, making each one look like a harmless, incomplete doohickey.

The next time the she-dragon turned her back and marched toward the far side of the yard, Brontes quickly assembled the first magic weapon and tossed it to Zeus. It looked like a bronze rocket, about four feet long, with nose cones on both ends.

As soon as he lifted it, his whole body tingled with power. Poseidon frowned. Electricity arced from one end to the other. Zeus aimed the thing at a nearby boulder, and a thousand tendrils of lightning zapped it into dust. Maybe things exploded a lot in Tartarus. A few minutes later, Brontes tossed them a second weapon—a spear with three prongs. Poseidon caught it.

He immediately fell in love with the trident. He liked pointy things! Also, he could feel the power of storms humming through the spear. When he concentrated, a miniature tornado swirled around its three points, getting faster and larger the more he focused.

When he planted the spear on the ground, the floor of the pit began to shake and crack. Hades caught this one—a gleaming bronze war helmet decorated with scenes of death and destruction. He glared at his brothers, and waves of terror radiated from the helmet. Zeus and Poseidon turned pale.

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They started to sweat. Zeus almost dropped his new lightning maker. Are we just supposed to stand back and be cheerleaders while you three do the fighting? Whatever tipped her off, she detected the presence of the gods. He stood and raised his bronze lightning bolt. He focused all his energy into the weapon. Poseidon lowered his trident.

Hera cleared her throat. Every spirit and beast in Tartarus had probably seen the flash of lightning, and now they were closing in to investigate. By most accounts, the Titan War took ten years—or maybe Kronos just used his time tricks to make it seem that long, hoping the gods would give up.

Rhea the Great Mother visited every Titan she could, trying to persuade them to side with Zeus. Many listened. Almost all the female Titans either helped Zeus or stayed out of his way.

Prometheus, the creator of humans, was smart enough to remain neutral. Oceanus kept to himself in the depths of the ocean. Helios and Selene, the sun and moon, agreed not to take sides as long as they got to keep their jobs. That left Kronos and most of the other male Titans, with Atlas as his general and champion fighter.

The gods and Titans skirmished back and forth—blowing up an island here, vaporizing a sea there. The Titans were strong and well armed. At the beginning, they held the advantage. But the gods did learn to fight. The Hundred-Handed Ones learned to throw barrages of stones like living catapults. Okay, you try throwing rocks with both hands at the same time and hitting your target.

Now, imagine coordinating one hundred hands—all throwing rocks the size of refrigerators. Once the gods learned to fight, the war still took a long time, because none of the combatants on either side could die.

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You had to actually capture each enemy and make sure he was hurt so badly, he would never heal. Then you had to figure out what to do with his crippled body. Finally Zeus came up with his big plan. If we do that, the hostile Titans will rally to protect Kronos. Then we can take them all down at once.

If we march up the slopes of Mount Othrys, Atlas will be ready for us. His troops will have the high ground. Zeus drew a map of the Greek mainland in the dirt.

Near Mount Othrys was another Greek mountain—not quite as tall, not as well known. It was called Mount Olympus. The Hundred-Handed Ones will launch volleys of boulders. Poseidon will summon storms and earthquakes. Zeus clapped his brother on the shoulder. You send waves of terror through the enemy ranks. Hera tapped the dirt map.

I like it. The next morning, as Helios rode his chick magnet into the sky, King Kronos awoke to a sound like thunder. Probably because it was thunder. Storm clouds rolled in from every direction. Zeus hurled a lightning bolt that blasted the tallest tower into black marble shrapnel. The Hundred-Handed Ones chucked so many boulders toward Mount Othrys that when Kronos looked out his window, it seemed to be raining major appliances.

The beautiful palace domes imploded in mushroom clouds of dust. Walls crumbled. Columns fell like dominoes. As the palace shook, Kronos grabbed his scythe and called his brethren to attack. The battle was a massacre, if you can have a massacre where nobody dies. A few Titans tried to counterattack, only to be buried in an avalanche of rubble and boulders. After the initial assault, the gods flew over and mopped up the resistance. Poseidon summoned earthquakes to swallow their enemies.

Did I tell you Othrys was the highest mountain in Greece? Not anymore. Today Mount Olympus, which used to be the smaller mountain, is over nine thousand feet tall. Mount Othrys is only five thousand and change. Zeus and the Hundred-Handed Ones had basically cut the mountain in half.

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The Cyclopes dug the Titans out of the rubble and began chaining them up. None of them got away. General Atlas and the four brothers who controlled the corners of the earth were dragged Even wrapped in chains, he was intimidating. If you throw these four into Tartarus, the entire sky will fall! Only their presence at the four corners of the earth keeps the wide expanse of Ouranos from crashing down upon us. They chained Atlas to the mountain and forced the entire weight of the sky onto his shoulders.

I did mention the chains, right? All your concentration goes into keeping that thing from crushing you. But what if no one does?

Imagine being stuck in that situation for eternity. All the other Titans who fought in the war got off easy. They were pitched headfirst into Tartarus. Which leaves us with the million-drachma question: What happened to Kronos? There are a lot of different stories. Most agree that the Crooked One was dug out of the rubble and brought before Zeus.

Most say he was bound in chains like the other Titans and tossed into Tartarus. Kronos was thrown into Tartarus in teeny- tiny pieces. Some versions claim that Zeus released Kronos from Tartarus many years later—either to live out his retirement in Italy, or to rule the Isles of the Blest in Elysium.

Anyway, Kronos was done. The age of the Titans was over. Some, like Helios and Selene, kept their jobs. Some even intermarried with the gods. Zeus named himself the new king of the cosmos, but he was smarter than Kronos.

How about we throw dice for control of different parts of the world? Highest roll gets first choice. What parts are we talking about?

Greece and all the other lands? Notice how the sisters were not invited to this little dice game? I know. Totally unfair. No surprise, Zeus got the highest roll. He chose the sky for his domain, which made sense because of the lightning bolts, and all.

Poseidon got the second-highest roll. He chose the sea and became the supreme god of the waters, above Oceanus, who got pushed ever farther to the margins of the world, and Pontus, who was mostly asleep in the muck all the time anyway. Hades got the worst roll, as he expected. Then Zeus sent them back to Tartarus—but this time as jailers to watch over the Titans. At least now they were the ones with the whips.

The Elder Cyclopes went to work for the gods. They constructed a workshop at the bottom of the sea near the island of Lemnos, where there was lots of volcanic heat to power their forges.

They made tons of special weapons and other fun collectibles, and had a good health package with a week of paid vacation every year. As for the gods, Zeus invited them all to live with him on Mount Olympus. Each of them had a throne in the main hall, so even though Zeus was in charge, it was more like a council than a dictatorship.

They called themselves the Olympians. Well…I say they were all welcome in Olympus: The guy had always creeped out his siblings. Now that he was lord of the Underworld, he seemed to bring doom and darkness with him wherever he went. The Olympians figured that now they could settle down and rule the world in peace.

There was only one problem. Remember that the Earth Mother Gaea was taking a nap all this time? Well, eventually she would wake up. And when she got home and found out her favorite kids, the Titans, had been thrown into Tartarus, Zeusie was going to have some explaining to do. Just be warned, some of their stories might make you feel like Kronos after a big glass of mustard nectar.

Seriously, every book about the Greek gods has to start with this guy. Are we doing reverse alphabetical order?

You know what? Forget him. Take a backseat, Zeus. She had an honest smile, warm brown eyes, and black hair that framed her face in ringlets. She was gentle and good-natured. She never said a bad word about anybody. She was more like the goddess next door—sweet and pretty in an unpretentious way. Usually she kept her hair tucked under a linen shawl. She wore plain, modest dresses and never used makeup. Because of that, her siblings tended to think of her as the youngest rather than the oldest—the last one to emerge.

Like Rhea, Hestia was a hard person not to love. In one important way, though, Hestia was not like Rhea. Her mom was known for being…well, a mom. The Great Mother. The Ultimate Mama. La Madre Grande. Hestia wanted nothing to do with being a mom. She loved her siblings, and once they started having kids, she loved them, too. Her fondest wish was for the whole Olympian family to get along and spend quality time together around the hearth, chatting or having dinner or playing Twister I.

You just clipped your first slide! Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later. Now customize the name of a clipboard to store your clips. Visibility Others can see my Clipboard. The instrument of my revenge. I will call it a scythe! The Titans muttered among themselves: What is that for? Why is it curved? How do you spell scythe?

Gaea cried. Ouranos isnt worthy to be the king of the cosmos. One of you will kill him and take his place. The Titans looked pretty uncomfortable. Soexplain this whole killing thing, said Oceanus. He was the oldest Titan boy, but he mostly hung out in the far reaches of the sea with the primordial water god, whom he called Uncle Pontus. What does it mean, to kill?

She wants us to exterminate our dad, Themis guessed. She was one of the smartest girls, and she immediately got the concept of punishing someone for a crime. Like, make him not exist anymore. Is that even possible? I thought we were all immortal. Gaea snarled in frustration. Dont be cowards! Its very simple. You take this sharp pointy blade and you cut your dad into small pieces so he cant bother us again. Whichever of you does this will be the ruler of the universe! Also, I will make you those cookies you used to like, with the sprinkles.

Now, in modern times, we have a word for this sort of behavior. We call it psycho. Back then, the rules of behavior were a lot looser. Maybe youll feel better about your own relatives, knowing that the first family in creation was also the first dysfunctional family.

The Titans started mumbling and pointing to each other like, Hey, youd be good at killing Dad. Uh, no, I think you should do it. Id love to kill Dad, honestly, but Ive got this thing I have to do, so Visit this link: The youngest of the twelve shouldered his way forward.

Kronos was smaller than his brothers and sisters. He wasnt the smartest or the strongest or the fastest. But he was the most power-hungry. I suppose when youre the youngest of twelve kids, youre always looking for ways to stand out and get noticed.

The youngest Titan loved the idea of taking over the world, especially if it meant being the boss of all his siblings. The offer of cookies with sprinkles didnt hurt, either. Kronos stood about nine feet tall, which was runty for a Titan. He didnt look as dangerous as some of his brothers, but the kid was crafty. Hed already gotten the nickname the Crooked One among his siblings, because he would fight dirty in their wrestling matches and was never where you expected him to be.

He had his mothers smile and dark curly hair. He had his fathers cruelty. When he looked at you, you could never tell if he was about to punch you or tell you a joke. His beard was kind of unnerving, too. He was young for a beard, but hed already started growing his whiskers into a single spike that jutted from his chin like the beak of a raven.

When Kronos saw the scythe, his eyes gleamed. He wanted that iron blade. Alone among his siblings, he understood how much damage it could cause. And as for killing his dadwhy not? Ouranos barely noticed him. Neither did Gaea, for that matter. His parents probably didnt even know his name. Kronos hated being ignored. He was tired of being the smallest and wearing all those stupid Titan hand-me-downs.

Ill do it, he repeated. Ill chop up Dad. You are awesome! I knew I could count on you, uhwhich one are you again? He managed to keep his smile. Hey, for a scythe, cookies, and a chance to commit murder, Kronos could hide his true feelings.

I will be honored to kill for you, Mother. But well have to do it my way. First, I want you to trick Ouranos into visiting you. Tell him youre sorry. Tell him its all your fault and youre going to cook him a fancy dinner to apologize. Just get him here tonight and act like you still love him. Gaea gagged. Are you crazy? Just pretend, Kronos insisted. Once hes in human form and sitting next to you, Ill jump out and attack him. But Ill need some help. He turned to his siblings, who were all suddenly very interested in their own feet.

Look, guys, said Kronos, if this goes bad, Ouranos is going to take revenge on all of us. We cant have any mistakes. Ill need four of you to hold him down and make sure he doesnt escape back into the sky before I finish killing him. The others were silent. They were probably trying to picture their shrimpy little brother Kronos taking on their huge violent dad, and they werent liking the odds. Oh, come on! Kronos chided. Ill do the actual slicing and dicing.

Four of you just need to hold him. When Im king, Ill reward those four! Ill give them each a corner of the earth to rulenorth, south, east, and west. One-time offer. Whos with me? The girls were too wise to get involved in murder. They made their excuses and quickly left. The oldest son, Oceanus, chewed his thumb nervously. I have to get back to the sea, for some, uh, aquatic stuff. Kronos smiled at them.

He took the scythe from Gaeas hands and tested its point, drawing a drop of golden blood from his own finger. So, four volunteers! Iapetus cleared his throat. Uh, actually Visit this link: Were in, Kronos! You can count on us! Excellent, Kronos said, which was the first time an evil genius ever said excellent.

He told them the plan. That night, amazingly, Ouranos showed up. He wandered into the valley where he usually met Gaea and frowned when he saw the sumptuous dinner laid out on the table.

I got your note. Are you serious about making up? Gaea was dressed in her best green sleeveless dress. Her curly hair was braided with jewels which were easy for her to get, being the earth , and she smelled of roses and jasmine. She reclined on a sofa in the soft light of the candles and beckoned her husband to come closer. Ouranos felt underdressed in his loincloth. He hadnt brushed his hair or anything.

His nighttime skin was dark and covered with stars, but that probably didnt count as black tie for a fancy dinner. He was starting to think he shouldve at least brushed his teeth.

Was he suspicious? I dont know. Remember, nobody in the history of the cosmos had been lured into an ambush and chopped to pieces before. He was going to be the first.

Lucky guy. Also, he got lonely hanging out in the sky so much. His only company was the stars, the air god Aither who was, in fact, a total airhead , and Nyx and Hemera, mother and daughter, who argued with each other every dawn and dusk. So Ouranoss palms felt sweaty. Hed forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasnt all yelling up in his face. Youre not angry Visit this link: Not at all!

Gaea assured him. Andyoure okay with me wrapping our kids in chains and throwing them into the abyss? Gaea gritted her teeth and forced a smile. I am okay with it. Good, he grunted. Because those little guys were UGLY. Gaea patted the couch. Come sit with me, my husband. Ouranos grinned and lumbered over. As soon as he settled in, Kronos whispered from the behind the nearest boulder: His four brothers jumped out from their hiding places.

Krios had disguised himself as a bush. Koios had dug a hole for himself and covered it with branches. Hyperion had tucked himself under the couch it was a large couch , and Iapetus was attempting to look like a tree with his arms out for branches. For some reason, it had worked.

The four brothers grabbed Ouranos. Each one took an arm or a leg and they wrestled their dad to the ground, stretching him out spread-eagle. Kronos emerged from the shadows. His iron scythe gleamed in the starlight. Hello, Father. What is the meaning of this? Ouranos bellowed. Gaea, tell them to release me! Gaea rose from her couch. You gave our children no mercy, my husband, so you deserve no mercy.

Besides, who wears a loincloth to a fancy dinner? I am disgusted! Ouranos struggled in vain. How dare you! I am the lord of the cosmos! Kronos raised the scythe. If you do this, uhwhat was your name again? If you do this, Kronos, said Ouranos, I will curse you!

Someday, your own children will destroy you and take your throne, just as you are doing to me! Kronos laughed. Let them try. He brought down the scythe. It hit Ouranos right in thewell, you know what? I cant even say it. If youre a guy, imagine the most painful place you could possibly be hit.

Thats the place. Kronos chopped, and Ouranos howled in pain. It was like the most disgusting cheap-budget horror movie you can imagine. Blood was everywhere except the blood of the gods is golden, and its called ichor.

Droplets of it splattered over the rocks; and the stuff was so powerful that later on, when no one was looking, creatures arose from the ichorthree hissing winged demons called the Furies, the spirits of punishment. They immediately fled into the darkness of Tartarus.

Other drops of sky blood fell on fertile soil, where they eventually turned into wild but gentler creatures called nymphs and satyrs. Most of the blood just splattered everything. Seriously, those stains were never going to come out of Kronoss shirt. Well done, brothers! Kronos grinned ear to ear, his scythe dripping gold. Iapetus got sick on the spot.

The others laughed and patted each other on the back. Gaea said. I am so proud! Cookies and punch for everyone! Before the celebration, Kronos gathered up the remains of his father in the tablecloth. Maybe because he resented his eldest brother, Oceanus. The blood mixed with the salty water, andwell, youll see what came from that later. Now youre going to ask, Okay, so if the sky was killed, why do I look up and still see the sky? I dunno. My guess is that Kronos killed Ouranoss physical form, so the sky god could no longer appear on the earth and claim kingship.

They basically exiled him into the air. So hes not dead, exactly; but now he cant do anything but be the harmless dome over the world. Anyway, Kronos returned to the valley, and all the Titans had a party.

Gaea named Kronos lord of the universe. She made him a cool one-of-a-kind collectors edition golden crown and everything. Kronos kept his promise and gave his four helpful brothers control over the four corners of the earth. Iapetus became the Titan of the west. Hyperion got the east. Koios took the north, and Krios got the south. That night, Kronos lifted his glass of nectar, which was the immortals favorite drink.

He tried for a confident smile, since kings should always look confident, though truthfully he was already starting to worry about Ouranoss cursethat someday Kronoss own children would depose him. In spite of that, he yelled, My siblings, a toast! We have begun a Golden Visit this link: And if you like lots of lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that.

He had to work his way up to being a complete slime bucket. The monstrous guys turned out to be useful, too. They had spent all their time in the abyss learning how to forge metal and build with stone I guess thats pretty much all there was to do , so in gratitude for their freedom, they constructed a massive palace for Kronos on top of Mount Othrys, which back then was the tallest mountain in Greece.

The palace was made from void-black marble. Towering columns and vast halls gleamed in the light of magical torches. Kronoss throne was carved from a solid block of obsidian, inlaid with gold and diamondswhich sounds impressive, but probably wasnt very comfortable. That didnt matter to Kronos. He could sit there all day, surveying the entire world below him, cackling evilly, Mine! All mine! A Visit this link: They had pretty much staked out their favorite territories alreadyand besides, after seeing Kronos wield that scythe, they didnt want to get on his bad side.

In addition to being king of the cosmos, Kronos became the Titan of time. He couldnt pop around the time stream like Doctor Who or anything, but he could occasionally make time slow down or speed up. Whenever youre in an incredibly boring lecture that seems to take forever, blame Kronos.

Or when your weekend is way too short, thats Kronoss fault, too. He was especially interested in the destructive power of time. Being immortal, he couldnt believe what a few short years could do to a mortal life. Just for kicks, he used to travel around the world, fast-forwarding the lives of trees, plants, and animals so he could watch them wither and die. He never got tired of that. As for his brothers, the four who helped with the murder of Ouranos were given the four corners of the earthwhich is weird, since the Greeks thought the world was a big flat circle like a shield, so it didnt really have corners, but whatever.

Krios was the Titan of the south. He took the ram for his symbol, since the ram constellation rose in the southern sky. His navy blue armor was dotted with stars. Rams horns jutted from his helmet. Krios was the dark, silent type. He would stand down there at the southern edge of world, watching the constellations and thinking deep thoughtsor maybe he was just thinking he should have requested a more exciting job.

Koios, the Titan of the north, lived at the opposite end of the world obviously. He was sometimes called Polus, because he controlled the northern Visit this link: This was way before Santa Claus moved in. Koios was also the first Titan to have the gift of prophecy. In fact, Koios literally means question. He could ask questions of the sky, and sometimes the sky would whisper answers.

I dont know if he was communing with the spirit of Ouranos or what, but his glimpses of the future were so useful that other Titans started asking him burning questions like: Whats the weather going to be on Saturday? Is Kronos going to kill me today?

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What should I wear to Rheas dance? That kind of thing. Eventually Koios would pass down the gift of prophecy to his children.

Hyperion, Titan of the east, was the flashiest of the four. Since the light of day came from the east every morning, he called himself the Lord of Light. Behind his back, everybody else called him Kronos Lite, because he did whatever Kronos told him, and was basically like Kronos with half the calories and none of the taste.

Anyway, he wore blazing golden armor and was known to burst into flames at random moments, which made him fun at parties. His counterpart, Iapetus, was more laid-back, being the Titan of the west.

A good sunset always makes you want to kick back and chill. Despite that, you didnt want to get this guy mad at you. He was an excellent fighter who knew how to use a spear. Iapetus literally means the Piercer, and Im pretty sure he didnt get that name by doing ear-piercings at the mall. As for the last brother, Oceanus, he took charge of the outer waters that circled the world. Thats how the big expanses of water bordering the earth came to be called oceans.

It could have been worse. If Iapetus had taken over the waters, today wed be talking about the Atlantic Iapet and sailing the iapet blue, and that just doesnt have the same ring to it. See, eventually the guy Titans started thinking, Hey, Dad had Gaea for a wife. Who are we going to have for wives? Then they looked at the lady Titans and thought, Hmm I know. The brothers wanted to marry their own sisters?! I find that pretty disgusting myself, but heres the thing: Titans didnt see family relationships the same way we do.

First off, like I said before, the rules of behavior were a lot looser back then. Also, there werent many choices when it came to marriage partners.

You couldnt simply log into TitansMatch. Most important, immortals are just different from humans. They live forever, more or less. They have cool powers. They have ichor instead of blood and DNA, so they arent concerned about bloodlines not mixing well. Because of that, they dont see the whole brother-sister thing in the same way.

You and the girl you like might have been born of the same mom, but once you grew up and you were both adults, you wouldnt necessarily think of her as your sister anymore. Thats my theory.

Or maybe the Titans were all just freaks. Ill let you decide. Anyway, not all the brothers married all the sisters, but heres the rundown. The oldest girl was Theia. If you wanted her attention, all you had to do was wave something shiny in her face. She loved sparkly things and bright scenic Visit this link: Every morning she would dance with happiness when daylight returned.

She would climb mountains just so she could see for miles around. She would even delve underground and bring out precious gems, using her magic powers to make them gleam and sparkle. Theia is the one who gave gold its luster and made diamonds glitter.