so watch it but be prepared for that

A Total Solar Eclipse Revealed Solar Storms 100 Years Before Satellites

Just days from now, on Aug. 21, 2017, the Moon will pass between the Sun and Earth, casting its shadow down on Earth and giving all of North America the chance to see a solar eclipse. Remember that it is never safe to look at the partially eclipsed or uneclipsed Sun, so make sure you use a solar filter or indirect viewing method if you plan to watch the eclipse.

Eclipses set the stage for historic science. Past eclipses enabled scientists to study the Sun’s structure, find the first proof of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, and discover the element helium — 30 years before it was found on Earth..

We’re taking advantage of the Aug. 21 eclipse by funding 11 ground-based scientific studies. As our scientists prepare their experiments for next week, we’re looking back to an historic 1860 total solar eclipse, which many think gave humanity our first glimpse of solar storms — called coronal mass ejections — 100 years before scientists first understood what they were.  

Coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, are massive eruptions made up of hot gas, plasma and magnetic fields. Bursting from the Sun’s surface, these giant clouds of solar material speed into space up to a million miles per hour and carry enough energy to power the world for 10,000 years if we could harness it. Sometimes, when they’re directed towards Earth, CMEs can affect Earth’s space environment, creating space weather: including triggering auroras, affecting satellites, and – in extreme cases – even straining power grids.

Scientists observed these eruptions in the 1970s during the beginning of the modern satellite era, when satellites in space were able to capture thousands of images of solar activity that had never been seen before.

But in hindsight, scientists realized their satellite images might not be the first record of these solar storms. Hand-drawn records of an 1860 total solar eclipse bore surprising resemblance to these groundbreaking satellite images.

On July 18, 1860, the Moon’s shadow swept across North America, Spain and North Africa. Because it passed over so much populated land, this eclipse was particularly well-observed, resulting in a wealth of scientific observations.  

Drawings from across the path of the 1860 eclipse show large, white finger-like projections in the Sun’s atmosphere—called the corona—as well as a distinctive, bubble-shaped structure. But the observations weren’t uniform – only about two-thirds of the 1860 eclipse sketches showed this bubble, setting off heated debate about what this feature could have been.

Sketches from the total solar eclipse of July 1860.

One hundred years later, with the onset of space-based satellite imagery, scientists got another piece of the puzzle. Those illustrations from the 1860 eclipse looked very similar to satellite imagery showing CMEs – meaning 1860 may have been humanity’s first glimpse at these solar storms, even though we didn’t understand what we were seeing.

While satellites provide most of the data for CME research, total solar eclipses seen from the ground still play an important role in understanding our star. During an eclipse, observers on the ground are treated to unique views of the innermost corona, the region of the solar atmosphere that triggers CMEs.

This region of the Sun’s atmosphere can’t be measured at any other time, since human-made instruments that create artificial eclipses must block out much of the Sun’s atmosphere—as well as its bright face—in order to produce clear images. Yet scientists think this important region is responsible for accelerating CMEs, as well as heating the entire corona to extraordinarily high temperatures.

When the path of an eclipse falls on land, scientists take advantage of these rare chances to collect unique data. With each new total solar eclipse, there’s the possibility of new information and research—and maybe, the chance to reveal something as astronomical as the first solar storm.

Learn all about the Aug. 21 eclipse at eclipse2017.nasa.gov, and follow @NASASun on Twitter and NASA Sun Science on Facebook for more. Watch the eclipse through the eyes of NASA at nasa.gov/eclipselive starting at 12 PM ET on Aug. 21.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

blacksmithgendry  asked:

since you're excited about Gendry returning and the image of you writing while holding your baby in a wrap is hilarious, can I please have Gendry wearing his baby in a wrap while Arya is out and about and she comes home to find them both asleep on the couch? whenever you have time again is fine :)

Oh my god. This is perfect. Shit, I’ll just make it a continuation of this fic. A fair warning: I put next to no thought in their kid’s name. I just thought up a meaning, looked up some names, and picked one.


Ryder would not sleep. Look, Gendry loved his son – loved him more than he’d ever thought himself capable of loving anything – but the boy would not allow Gendry a moment’s rest. Every time he thought the kid was out for the count, he’d lay him down – and then seconds later, Ryder’s eyes would spring open, he’d kick the blanket off, and let out the loudest wail. It shouldn’t be possible for a baby of a month old to be so loud. It was ungodly.

It didn’t help that it pulled at Gendry’s heart in a way that he’d never thought possible. He’d considered himself hard – had to be considering how he’d grown up alone – and he’d heard children cry before. Growing up in an orphanage did not allow for an easy, soft, quiet childhood. But there was nothing quite like hearing his own son cry. It jerked him away from whatever he was doing. It broke his damn heart.

All Gendry had been trying to do was take a piss for the past hour, but every damn time he laid his son down, Ryder would cry out and Gendry found himself rushing over to him. The last time he’d tripped over his undone pants and nearly sprawled face first on the ground. A little crying wouldn’t hurt Ryder – how many times had he said that when he lived at the orphanage? – and yet somehow it hurt him now that it was his own child.

Weak. Even worse, if he didn’t know any better, he’d think that Ryder knew it.

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guys i spent my whole day out with friends and i just got home and i made the
utter mistake of watching the leaked episode 6 and 

holy fuck

do i hate everything right now

i was not prepared for this, i was not prepared for any of this at all. i am ended, my watch is ended, someone come and burn my body please. i just want to sink into a hole and stay there not made of ice please

i have so much i want to write about this episode but i am honestly physically mentally and emotionally wrecked, so i will go hug my dog now and cry in bed and rest and tomorrow tackle all this with a fresh head. @unseenmockingjay & @littlefiinger i heard you wanted to hear what i have to say, well get prepared. because i wasn’t prepared for this episode

for the time being, have my episode 6 feels recorded live as they emerged:

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anonymous asked:

Yeah it was a request lol! I kinda worded it wrong. The tall reader drabble! :)

Original request: Omg can I suggest a headcanon for the assassins (Desmond included) for tall reader? 6'0-6'2?


Connor Kenway:

  • Immensely grateful that he doesn’t have to lean down too much to kiss you
  • But then again, he was tall. Ridiculously tall
  • The two of you would be hard to distinguish occasionally due to your heights but only from a distance
  • Connor teaching you how to use a bow and arrow was much easier since your bows were generally the same size
    • It also made things simpler when thinking of birthday gifts as well
  • It wasn’t common that women were six feet tall during the Colonial Era, so be prepared to catch a few pairs of eyes watching you curiously as you walk around New York
  • Even though Connor does want to protect you on occasion, he knows that your height and the skills he’s taught you would be enough to placate him

Desmond Miles:

  • Sneak attack hugs were less difficult for him since the two of you were around the same height
    • So expect a lot of them
  • Sometimes you would put on Desmond’s clothes and try to fool Rebecca and/or Shaun by covering your face with Desmond’s hood
    • It worked but only when they were extremely tired
  • Training with Desmond was fairly equal since the two of you had similar heights and builds
  • Desmond absolutely loves to try and place his arm on your shoulder and say that you’re still a bit shorter only for him to wind up on his back after being flipped
  • One of you would end up being the other’s body pillow every night until that person flipped over and the roles were reversed
    • This would go on until someone woke up
  • In all honesty, Desmond doesn’t mind if you’re a little shorter or taller than him
  • He’s met a lot of people during his time as a bartender after all

Originally posted by assassinscreedstuff

Originally posted by ckaczmarek

@elise-the-assassin @fortunefavoredthebrave @sylvennia

whenever i listen to fanfare it gives me such a happy feeling like it brings me back to when i first got into sf9 and how fast i fell into this group i remember watching this mv 923749 times and having that spiral into me watching every video of them i could find ugh i’m emo rn

anonymous asked:

So excited about those wips you mentioned. Give us a sneak peek of some, please?

Ah, thank you! Here, have some snippets. The Thorki one is from another wip called “Loki -cosmo fic”


“Isn’t that a bit much?” Silver asks when Flint slides the Glock under his pillow, right next to the knife he saw him put there earlier.

“*Some* us like to be prepared,” Flint grunts. For a moment his voice is muffled by his shirt, but the fabric doesn’t take the sting out of his words. “Contrary to what you think this isn’t a vacation.”

Silver watches him take off his shoes and pants. Everything is folded and put away, neat and tidy. Everything about Flint is efficient, from the way he treats his clothes to the way he holds himself. Everything about him screams *cop* in in bold, flashing letters. No, this isn’t a vacation. They’re lucky if their cover isn’t blown within the first day.

*****

People often underestimate Alec because of his age. But it’s him who time and time conquered his fear and bared himself to Magnus, made himself vulnerable, even when Magnus couldn’t. Gave Magnus the most precious gift tonight, and damn it all, Magnus can’t live without him, either. After all these years he finally gets to have this, somebody who loves him, who’s strong enough and willing to fight for him, gives as much as he takes.

*****

The new arrival doesn’t stop, doesn’t preen and present like Kolos. He barges right in, lifts his arms and unsheathes two massive swords that are strapped to his back. It’s a sight to behold, the thick muscles in his arms bulging with the weight of the weapons, the merciless sun glinting off the polished metal of the blades with a blinding glare.

It’s wrong. Everything about it is wrong.

Loki feels almost faint, as if he’s out of his skin and watching a grotesque unfold.

Those fingers should be wrapped around warm, worn strands of leather, not cold and lifeless steel. Loki can almost feel it, the woven pattern a familiar press against his palm. He remembers the bite of it every time he pulled with everything he had to give and still the thrice-damned hammer wouldn’t give.

t0asty-marshmall0w  asked:

Omg! I now sorta get why you like bugs!!! My gecko has been a slow eater(stressed), because we recently moved and I bought him super Worms. And I don't usually deal with food that i have to feed, so I'm clueless. So I shove a piece of apple into their container and close it and put it back on the shelve. And I hear a noise, and I realize it's coming from the Worms. I open it and their eating. And they MUNCH!! And it so cute! And Cool watching them! And I've been sitting sharing at them eat!

You can feed superworms just about anything, but they like fresh veggies and fruit! 

I find it really cute too watching bugs eat <3

Make sure you feed your gecko the worms within 14 days, or the worms will pupate and prepare to become beetles. I hope your gecko feels a little better soon!

1. Have a Positive Mental Attitude- Prime yourself at being always comfortable and confident that u can do a lot better at studying. Remember that you are studying things that will prove to be valuable in real life. 

2. Prepare your Work Space- Look for a place in your home or bedroom where u think u can study and maintain concentration in your work. Have materials stocked up and in place before your study. This way, u can finish your work without any interruptions. 

3. Avoid Cramming- study an hour a day even when there’s no homework. Scan your notebooks and do a little advanced reading of your textbooks. You can also research through the internet to learn more about the topics u are covering in school.  I suggest google scholar, it’s like google but for students, it has the citations, and filters results so that only helpful outcomes appear.

4. Do projects with more enthusiasm and creativity- Don’t be afraid to think of new ideas or ways to present your homework or projects. Teachers always give additional points to students who show great effort in their works. SO, don’t be afraid to do something original, do something that hasn’t been done before.

5. Raise Your Hand- Be active and establish a friendly attitude towards your teachers. Offer to help them out in checking some work, filing papers or just carrying their things. Little good things add up in the end for that extra effort grade, and they’ll always remember you as a very helpful student. 

6. Enjoy Reading the Latest News- Find connections or associations with your life as a student, as a child, as a friend, or as a citizen. Certain reports would always ask for u to react so better be ahead with current events which you may be affected with. 

7. Listen to Your Teacher, take a few notes- In my experience, the more i copy and take down notes, the more i get lost in the lecture. It is best to listen first and understand before u jot down any important keywords. Yes, use keywords, simple doodles and arrows to make associations. These will help u remember all concepts mentally. 

8. Keep Notes on Index Cards- I use personally use the smaller oxford ones, they are more portable honestly pretty aesthetic..  

9. Watch TV Wisely- Yep you heard it, TV, when watching TV I sometimes pick up points which may seem relevant in my life. They sometimes even have something to do with what’s happening in class at the moment so, always initiate conversation about the latest shows and issues you have watched. Don’t be afraid to argue and defend your opinions. 

post-emoji movie Trauma

WARNING: the following text contains spoilers and can be considered disturbing to some readers. especially my brain, because it’s leaking out my ears after typing this.

This is the first movie ever I’ve gone to see on opening night. And let me just say that, for the record, I’m glad I went to watch with friends. Without them, I would have most likely calmly exited the room, climbed up to the roof, and dived straight off.

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If you are young and lost - things I’ve learned so far in college:

1. Do not go looking for validation of your beauty or self-worth from a boy. If you do not already believe in your own worthiness, it can only be dangerous to try to find it from someone else.
2. No one is going to look at you and see all the flaws that are constantly running through your head.
3. Don’t ever regret trying. For once, don’t be the fearful one. Someone needs to be the fearless one. Let it be you.
4. Always be as confident as you are on your good days.
5. Remind yourself that you do have good days. When a good day happens, be grateful and don’t forget it.
6. Forming relationships with people will help you grow and learn. No matter what kind of relationships or how they come to be or end.
7. You are better than you used to be, and you should be proud of yourself.
8. Talking about it with a friend will make you feel better.
9. You are important. You can’t let yourself forget that. You’ve suffered for too long doubting that you were important.
10. There are things that make you love life. When the weather is nice, when someone tells you that you are good at something, when you choose to socialize, when you get a good grade, when you try a new food, when you discover a new song.
11. Compliment people. It will make them happy, and it will also make you happy.
12. Nobody is perfect. Everyone has their insecurities. Fake it till you make it. Fake that you have confidence until you actually do have confidence.
13. Don’t be disappointed if someone doesn’t like you like you were hoping. There are/will be people who do like you a tremendous amount.
14. Don’t be so focused on appearances, but do have the confidence that you are not ugly.
15. There’s no point in comparing yourself to another girl, especially if you don’t know her.
16. Don’t take your friends for granted.
17. Don’t regret staying up late with friends, even if you have school or work the next morning. These nights make college memorable.
18. The less you eat processed foods, the happier you will be. Buy natural foods and cook them yourself.
19. There are people who love you, so why is it that hard for you to love yourself?
20. Always make eye contact and watch your body language.
21. Picking at your skin when you’re stressed about something else is a stress reliever at the moment but you will ALWAYS regret it right after.
22. Don’t let other people ruin your favorite songs.
23. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying meaningless sex. But be prepared for the nights you find yourself feeling unfulfilled and wondering if you don’t deserve more.
24. Sometimes in life you have to hurt someone. But always put yourself first above any boy.

—  screwful 

shoutout to “wheresthejump.com” for having a catalog of horror movie jumpscare times so that a coward such as myself can watch for the plot and the spooky monster design without my mind constantly preparing itself to keep my physical body from shitting itself

i actually contributed a list of jumpscares for “Uzumaki” myself and it was put up, so i feel like i really helped out a little tiny bit B^]

2

Best and worst parts of a potential V route:

Best:

  • seeing this man smile
  • taking away some of his pain
  • encouraging him to trust and confide in his friends 
    • you can’t do it all on your own, v 
    • you don’t have to take everyone else’s burdens, v 
    • let us help you
  • more information about all the other characters
    • yoosung and his high school days 
    • pretty much anything about jumin since dude never shares the past
    • zen’s wilder teenage years 
    • more about jaehee, i don’t even care what, just gimmie 
    • more about rika and hopefully whatever the hell her real name is
    • seven and saeran and things about the choi bois that aren’t pure angst
    • driver kim and his favorite dad jokes 
      • v making dad jokes with him
  • new phone calls! 
    • v has the voice of an angel and i am ready to sin
  • new chat rooms!
  • new text messages!
  • new CGs! 
  • v getting his own emojis! 
  • learning about his childhood 
    • finally figuring out what happened to his mother 
  • talking about succulents and cacti and his love of desert plants
  • hearing why he named elizabeth the 3rd that
    • learning what other odd names he comes up with 
  • passionate rambling about photography 
  • seeing more of v’s photography!
  • if they include mint eye, actually learning about it 
  • why does he have 20 spoons in his house??? v, tell us your secrets 
  • watching v be a philosopher 
    • while jumin is a scientist 
    • their banter though
  • yoosung hopefully producing some hilarious rants about v 
    • and them making up and both finding peace
    • watching the rants stop being sad and funny and then just funny 
    • v please play along 
  •  more shitposting
    • oh boy 3 AM! 
  • v trolling the chats 
  • potential new ending where some people aren’t worse off than at the beginning 
    • yoosung and zen aren’t in the dark 
      • and yoosung isn’t idolizing rika anymore
    • jumin isn’t miserable and alone 
  • rika is held accountable for her actions 
    • the people she brainwashed and hurt get justice 
  • getting this man out of the horrifically abusive and toxic relationship he’s in
  • watching him heal
  • jihyun kim being happy 

Worst:

  • those bad endings are going to be bad
    • who is up for sacrificing their soul and getting them first to spare the rest of us the pain?
    • y’know. like v does. 
  • watching v idealize rika and not see what their relationship is truly like
    • having to see more of what she’s put him through
    • the abuse is bad enough, don’t let it get worse 
  • v possibly making more mistakes
    • “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”
  • new information about other characters being depressing as hell
    • good that we know more about them
    • but how much more can my heart take?
  • watching yoosung and jumin Suffer™   
    • hello potential unrequited love, how are you today?
  • probably more things that the good parts override because this man being healthy and happy is so important!!
SANSA ISN'T SELFISH! JEALOUS! OR POWER HUNGRY!

Do you think she is still the girl she was in Season 1? Have you been ignoring her behaviour the past few episodes? Or in Spoils of War alone? She has thought of nothing but the North throughout this season.

Originally posted by iheartgot

Thinking ahead and preparing for not only the war that is to come, but the long Winter and how the Northerners with weather it.

Originally posted by kit-harington

When she questions Jon? It’s because she believes him to be the King he is, and wants him to live long enough to rule it, unlike Robb. He is the first family she has seen in years, she doesn’t want him to leave Winterfell, or her. 

Originally posted by iheartgot

Those saying she is power hungry? She did not offer Bran Jon’s title, she offered him hers. Because he has every birthright to be the Lord of Winterfell, but he isn’t their King.

Originally posted by a-girl-has-a-name

And when her sister is finally home. She acknowledges that Jon loves Arya more than words can describe. And she knows how deeply Arya cared for Jon, look at the smile on this precious muffins face at that prospect of seeing her favourite sibling. Sansa made that genuine smile happen.

Sansa has offered nothing but wise counsel based on her knowledge she has obtained through her toxic situation in King’s Landing. She is making the most of what she has learned in the Capital to ensure the security of her people and family. She can even conceal her emotions exceedingly well.

Originally posted by miamay94

She knows what needs to be done, and she knows how people think. The look she gives Lyanna, isn’t only an impressed and satisfied one. But a knowing one. She knows every able bodied person must be provided for and prepared for the Long Night. 

Originally posted by iheartgot

That’s why I think, while watching Brienne and Arya spar, she gives that look. It’s not one of jealousy like so many people are saying. It’s one of fear. She hides it behind her trained facade, but she see’s Arya fighting with such skill, and she knows, especially with that Valyrian steel dagger, Arya will be on the front lines with Jon. She doesn’t want to lose her family again. 

My point? STOP HATING ON SANSA FUCKING STARK.

All Our Secrets Laid Bare

Pairing: Peter Parker x reader

Prompt: The reader’s nosy (and quite rude) relatives are coming over for an unexpected family dinner. Long story short, they expect the reader to have a boyfriend, which the reader most definitely does not have. Luckily, they do have a best friend by the name of Peter Parker. One small favor wouldn’t be too much to ask, right?

Warnings: Some angst towards the end.

Word Count: 3,524

A/N: The reader doesn’t know Peter is Spider-Man in this imagine.
Also, I’m sorry if there are any grammatical errors. My usual beta reader wasn’t available and I really wanted to get this imagine posted.
Enjoy!

Originally posted by hardyness

“You’re my boyfriend now.”

“I-I’m sorry, what?” Peter stammered back through the phone.

This was not how you planned this day to go.

“It’s a long story. Nosy relatives coming over for dinner, may have lied and said I had a boyfriend just to get them to shut up, don’t actually have a boyfriend, typical family stuff, you know?” you tried to explain.

There was a slight pause as Peter digested all of the information you just threw at him.

“Okay, so basically, you broke under pressure and lied about have a boyfriend, and now you need me to be your boyfriend to protect you from your nosy relatives?” repeated Peter.

You rolled your eyes, perfectly aware that Peter couldn’t see them through the phone call, but positive that he felt the frustration anyway, “I didn’t break under pressure, I just… improvised.”

“Oh yeah, totally,” said Peter, voice dripping with playful sarcasm. “So do you need me to be your boyfriend or not?”

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anonymous asked:

I know you probably have a lot of requests with the gods and monsters - but would you ever do an Ares based one?

Zeus’s mistress Io remains in her form of a cow, guarded by Hera’s servant Argus, and Hera is content.

She will remain in that form until her death. Hera hopes that lying with her husband was worth the sacrifice.

Zeus won’t speak to her, unwilling to admit the cow is actually his lover and ensure her death, and equally unwilling to stand against his wife to try and rescue her. Hera has him just where she wants him, and it can’t last, it never does, but she intends to enjoy it while it does.  

Then Artemis comes to her, gold and fierce. She never flinches away from her queen, staring her in the face as if she is nothing more than another of her huntresses. If Hera did not hate her for being her husband’s daughter, she thinks she might actually like the girl. “Io has a destiny,” she says, “you must let her go.”

“I don’t care for her destiny,” Hera says idly, “especially when that destiny involves getting with my husband’s child.”

“She is to give birth to a new line of kings,” Artemis hisses, “to be the wife of a death god, to be mother goddess of a whole new people. She is not meant for us. You must let her go.”

“I am Hera,” she says, “I am Queen. I must do nothing.”

Artemis growls, hand twitching for her bow, but Hera only raises an eyebrow. Let the girl try. There are few that can stand against her, and the huntress is not among them. Artemis lets out a low breath and says, “Do it, my queen, and I will grant you what it is you most desire.”

“Some peace and quiet?” Hera asks.

“A child,” she answers. “Let Io go, let her fulfill her destiny as a goddess of the Black Land of the Nile. If you do that, I, the patron goddess of childbirth, will personally use every ounce of power I possess to ensure you conceive and deliver a child of Zeus.”

Hera’s eyes narrow, “Neither my power nor his has ever been able to achieve this. What makes you think you are any different?”

“We all have our domains,” she says, “just as you cannot command the sea, just as your husband has no power over the art of weaving, so can I ensure a healthy child when you could not.”

She taps her fingers against her throne. They call her a mother goddess, though she’s raised no children. Hephaestus may be her precious son, but he doesn’t know that it was not her that threw him from Olympus. Very few people know that. And she didn’t raise him regardless, that honor belongs to Hecate.

A child, of her and Zeus. A child she can raise.

“I accept,” she announces. “You may take her, and Zeus may fulfill her destiny.” She leans forward, brings the oppressive weight of her power to the fore and lowers the pressure of the air until Artemis is left shivering. “Know this, Patron Goddess of Childbirth. If Io births a son of Zeus before I do, I will travel to the Black Land of the Nile and slay her and her children with my own two hands. Not even Hades will be able to put her back together again.”

“Yes, my Queen,” Artemis says, unable to keep her teeth from chattering.

~

Hera is true to her word. She allows Hermes to think he’s tricked Argus and to steal Io away. She pretends to be outraged at the audacity, at the pure white cow traveling to the sands of the Nile.

Artemis is true to her word. Hera lies with Zeus, like she has so many times before, and a child grows inside of her. One day she stands before her husband and brings his hand to the swell of her stomach, “This is your child.”

Something almost like happiness steals across his face. She forgets, sometimes, that they hate each other only as much as they love each other. After so much time together, many would think it would be one or the other. They simply opted for both.

Artemis is there during the birth, her easy confidence more comforting then Hera will ever admit. Delivering Hephaestus was easy compared to this. She screams and cries and Hestia’s hands on her shoulders are all that keeps her from collapsing and begging someone to just cut the child from her. She doesn’t think she can die in childbirth, not with Artemis between her legs. She wishes she’d thought to ask before this began.

But she does not die. Her son is born, just as healthy and beautiful as Hephaestus was. “Well done,” Artemis says softly, placing the squirming child into her arms.

Zeus touches her hair and kisses his son’s forehead. “We shall call him Ares.”

“Very well,” she agrees, so tired her eyes struggle to stay open.

She hands her son to Hestia, and finally allows sleep to take her.

~

Ares grows into the spitting image of his father. Same copper-red skin, same silky black hair. Her husband keeps it short, but her son lets his grow long. The minutes Hera spends every morning brushing his hair are among her favorite.

He has an eager smile and a soft heart. Hera doesn’t know where he got it, since it’s certainly not from her or Zeus. Demeter tolerates his bumbling after her, though any time Kore attempts to meet her cousin Demeter’s temper frays. Poseidon allows Ares to explore the depths of the sea with a minor sea god acting as his guide. Apollo plays for him, and Artemis teaches him to hunt. Zeus’s lightning doesn’t burn his son, and when storms rage he takes Ares to the top of Olympus and teaches him to throw lightning bolts.

Hera selfishly does not allow Ares to go to the underworld. She knows he would be safe there, that Hades would protect him as he protected Hephaestus, but that’s precisely why she won’t allow it. They got to raise one of her sons already. It pains her to share Ares with them now.

He is happy, and kind, kinder than anyone would expect a child of her womb to be.

“He must choose a domain,” Zeus rumbles, watching Ares shoot arrows with perfect accuracy.

“He is a child still,” Hera says, “let him remain so for a little longer.”

“If he does not choose a domain,” Zeus warns, “one will choose him. We are gods. We must be gods of something.”

She flickers her gaze at him, and he scoots an inch away from her. “He is a child, and for now a child he will remain. We are not Demeter. We shall not thrust the responsibilities and power of a deity on a child who is not prepared for it.”

Zeus disapproves, but says nothing more.

Her son will be the god of something patient, something soft. The god of lost children, of heartbroken suitors, of forgiveness. Something where his gentle heart will aid him instead of hurt him.

She traded her happiness for power. She doesn’t regret it. But Ares doesn’t need to do the same – she’s the most powerful goddess that still walks the earth. He’s her son, and he’ll want for nothing she can provide.

~

Ares is almost fully grown, long hair reaching his hips even braided, and the strength of his limbs is such that he can keep up with Artemis on her most vigorous of hunts, that he can throw his father’s lightning bolts halfway across the world.

He’s been to every place, and met every god of the earth, sea, and sky.

Except for one.

 It’s not hard to find the volcano. He’s strong enough and old enough to take care of himself, and his mother does not worry when he says he’s going to the earth. But he did not tell her where, precisely, on the earth he was going.

He has strong legs.  It’s easy for him to climb to the top of the volcano. He’s almost made it there when something grabs his shoulders, stilling him. He turns, and stares into a single large eye. “What are you doing?” the cyclopes growls.

“I’m looking for Hephaestus,” he says, “He’s my brother.”

“My master has many brothers,” the cyclopes says.

Ares shakes his head. He is not the product of his father’s fling with a sprite or mortal. “I am Ares, son of Zeus and Hera. Just as Hephaestus is. I came here to meet my brother.” The cyclopes hesitates. He asks, “What’s your name?”

“Brontes,” he answers, surprised.

“Brontes,” he smiles, “I just want to meet him. I’ve never met him before. I won’t linger.”

There’s a moment where Brontes looks conflicted, and Ares tries to look as unassuming as possible. “Fine,” he huffs, “but don’t get angry at me if he dips you in lava.”

“That would be fun,” he says brightly. Lightning doesn’t burn him. So far the only thing hot enough to cause him pain is Hestia’s fire. He probably could go swimming in lava.

Brontes looks at him as if he’s slightly unhinged. He just keeps smiling.

~

There are more cyclopes underneath, and bright glittering machines that Ares can’t even begin to wrap his mind around. “Who are you?” someone demands, and a hand grabs his wrist and yanks him away from a boiling vat of lava that he’d been peering into.

He looks up at a man taller and broader than he is. He has skin almost as dark as the obsidian of his volcano, but lighter eyes. They are the color of dark amber, of molasses. “We have the same eyes,” he says happily.

Hephaestus releases him instantly. “You shouldn’t be here.”

“Why not?” he asks, “The mortals talk of you. No one else will. But you’re my brother, right?”

“You shouldn’t be here,” he repeats, “Does Zeus know where you are?”

He shrugs, taking a step closer. His brother takes a step back. He wonders if he’ll have to treat Hephaestus like a spooked horse.  “Father doesn’t keep track of where I am. Mom know I’m on earth.” Hephaestus flinches, small enough that he almost doesn’t notice. “We have her eyes, you know.”

He can’t stop starring at Hephaestus’s skin. They do not work like mortals – Demeter, Hestia, Zeus, and Hera are all different shades despite coming from the same parents. But – Ares looks so much like his father. Kore looks like Demeter. Yet Hephaestus looks nothing like their father. He can see their mother in him, in the eyes and shape of his jaw, even in how angry he is right now. He looks like Hera does when she’s about to lose her temper, lips pressed into a thin line and the careful stillness of his shoulders.

“I wasn’t trying to make you angry,” he says plaintively, “I only wanted to say hello.”

Unlike their mother, Hephaestus lets out a deep breath and seemingly all of his anger along with it. “I’ve been avoiding you.”

“Why? You don’t even know me.”

Hephaestus kicks him lightly in the shin, the pretty gold and copper of his metal legs catching his eye. “You have legs, and I do not. Hera did not throw you from Mount Olympus as she threw me.”

Ares looks hard at his brother’s face. The stories say his mother threw her son away for being ugly, but he seems just as handsome as any other god Ares has seen. His features are strong and chiseled, and he supposes that could have looked unattractive on a baby, but –

– his mother loves him. Hera loves him with a ferocity only matched by her temper, she loves him at his most mischievous and irritable, loves him when a stray thunderbolt sets Demeter’s hair on end, loves him when even Artemis and Apollo have grown tired of his antics, loves him when Athena can tolerate no more of his questions. He is her son, and so her love comes without conditions.

He doesn’t think Hera would have loved his brother any less just because of how he looked.

He also knows that if he tries to say that, it’s likely Hephaestus will push him into a lava pit.

“Well, that’s not my fault,” he says, “If you don’t want us to be brothers, can’t we at least be friends?”

Hephaestus’s face softens. He looks like their mother then too.  He crosses his arms, “You can’t tell your parents.”

Our parents, he thinks but doesn’t say. “Obviously. Where did you get so many cyclopes?”

The last remnants of his brother’s stern façade shatters as he throws back his head and laughs.

~

Ares is very near maturity, more adult than child, and his father constantly pressures him to choose a domain. He usually quiets with one sharp glance from his wife, but the fact remains that it is time for Ares to take his place among the gods of the pantheon, to have temples in his name and worshipers like a proper deity.

He doesn’t really want any of that.  He wants to continue hunting with Artemis, learning with Athena, building with Hephaestus.

His brother lets him help out in his workshop sometimes, if he’s very careful and does exactly as he’s told. Otherwise he sits on a table, legs swinging, and watches his brother work and tells him about what he does in the time in-between visits. He talks about their mother enough that Hephaestus doesn’t flinch at her every mention, which Ares can only consider an improvement. Sometimes Brontes will stand beside him and they’ll eat sweet buns together.

Unfortunately, all things, good and bad, must come to an end.

~

There are two giants, Otus and Ephialtes, who grow tired of hearing of the golden boy of Olympus, who grow jealous of his kindness and his beauty.

These two giants sneak onto Mount Olympus in the middle of the night, sneak into Ares’s room, and kidnap him. They’re not stupid enough to attempt to kill him. Instead, they stuff him into an urn, and seal him inside. Ares rages and fights, uses every trick he can think of to break out his prison, but none of them work.

Stuck at the bottom of the urn and seething, he can’t help but think that if he’d listened to his father and chosen a dominion he might be strong enough to free himself. But he didn’t, so he can’t, and instead he waits.

And waits.

And waits.

Days turn to weeks turn to months. He knows they’re looking for him. He knows his mother will tear apart the whole universe attempting to find him if nothing else. But – what if they can’t? What if he’s stuck in this urn for the rest of eternity?

In his darkest moments, his sorrow turns to rage. He is a god, son of Hera and Zeus, how dare they do this to him?

Then, one day, the urn opens.

Hermes peers down into it, then his face splits into a grin. “We’ve been looking for you!” He reaches down and hauls Ares out, and for a moment all he can do is blink at the glaring sun. Then his vision clears, and he sees they’re in the midst of a battle. The giants are fighting against the gods, against his parents, against the twins, against his brother. It’s bloody carnage, but – he can’t help but feel touched that all these people came looking for him. “Almost everyone offered to help find you,” he says, “but Hera didn’t want to draw too much attention to ourselves trying to sneak into their territory.”

No sooner has Hermes finished speaking than a giant barrels into his mother with sickening snap. Her shoulder slopes at a grotesque angle, but it hardly even slows her down.

“I have to help,” he says, a desperate urgency filling him. They came to help him, and now they’re getting hurt. That’s never something he’d wanted.

“Ares, wait!” Hermes calls out as he goes hurtling toward the battle. He doesn’t wait. Fighting on the ground can only do so much good, they’re strong but they’re outnumbered one hundred to one. He darts to Artemis, twisting around the bodies she’s throwing over her shoulder. “I need your bow!”

“Ares!” she says joyously, then, “What?”

“Trust me,” he says, “give me your bow.” A giant comes running towards them. Artemis flips him over her shoulder while continuing to stare at him in confusion. He’d be impressed if he wasn’t so worried. “Artemis, please!”

She hands over her bow. She moves to give him her quiver of arrows as well, but he’s already moving away from her. Next it’s to his father, who’s hurtling lightning bolts towards the swarm of giants crowding him. They’re deadly, but only so effective at close-range. He grabs a sizzling lightning bolt right from Zeus’s hand, the only being on the planet who could do that and survive, and keeps running. “Get clear!” he calls out over his shoulder. “Everyone move!”

He runs up past Hermes, needing to get to high ground for this to work. “Get everyone off the battlefield,” he says to Hermes. “Now.”

Hermes pulls a face, but by the time he makes it to the top of the mountain, the gods have shaken off most of the giants, are far enough away that he doesn’t have to worry.

He can do this. He’s Ares, the son of Hera and Zeus. He’s been trained in archery by the great huntress herself. He breaths in, and strings his father’s lightning bolt like an arrow. He pulls it back, breaths out, and lets the lightning bolt fly.

It lands in the middle of the battlefield full of confused giants. With a great clap of thunder and a burst of light, they’re all gone.

All that remains of the traitorous giants is a crater.

The gods are approaching him, his mother at a limping gait that makes his chest ache. Zeus gets to him first, grin stretched wide as he grabs him by both his shoulders. “My boy! That was magnificent!”

“Thanks,” he says. The smell of charred flesh is in the air, and it makes his stomach roll.

They kidnapped him. They stuffed him in an urn for over a year. They hurt his mom.

That doesn’t mean he enjoyed it. He never wants to do anything like that ever again.

“This was destiny,” his father says enthusiastically, and Ares has no idea what he’s talking about. “This is what you’re meant to do, son.”

He stares. He hopes it’s not.

The other gods are still at the bottom of the mountain. Artemis and Apollo each have one of his mother’s arms slung over their shoulders and are helping her up the mountain. Hermes and Hephaestus aren’t far behind.

He’s never seen his father look so proud of him. There’s a leaden pit in his stomach he can’t explain.

“In honor of my son’s great feat,” Zeus booms, his voice carrying across air, speaking with the voice of the king of the gods so his words become law, so they spread to every corner of the world, “I declare him Ares, God of War.”

Ares can’t breathe.

This isn’t what he wanted.


gods and monsters series, part xvii

read more of the gods and monsters series here