Character Building Exploration

**Author’s Note – I wrote this to help myself explore these two characters and their back stories. This beginning part of Thanatos’ story happens about sixteen years before the series Warriors of Greecium takes place. Hope you enjoy this unedited sneak peak. **

Thanatos was sitting in a cushioned rocking chair, and a chubby black cat was sitting with her eyes closed on his lap. He smiled peacefully as he listened to the trickling rain hitting the roof and the purr of Nyx filling the silence of his small home. His hand idly scratching behind Nyx’s ears as he read. The only thing that could have made this moment better was if Macaria was here to share it with him, but she was confined to the Underworld. His thoughts drifted to her image. He could almost smell the sweet floral scent that followed her, and he could almost see her smiling and giggling as she pushes a loose black curl out of her eyes. 

Someone rapped on the door tearing Thanatos out of his thoughts. Nyx leaped off his lap to run towards the door. Sighing, he put his book aside and walked to the door. Hephaestus stood on the front step, his eyes wide with desperation. Thanatos stiffened at the sight of Hephaestus and his disheveled appearance. His dark hair was damp from the rain and dripped into his eyes, he was breathing shallowly. The most startling thing about Hephaestus’ appearance was his clothes. He wasn’t wearing his olympian clothing made from fine silks and embroidered with golden fire. Instead, he was wearing a crimson tunic that ended just above the knee and leather sandals. The clothes were those of the mortals on Greecium. 

“I need to talk to you,” Hephaestus whispered, pushing himself past Thanatos. Nyx followed Hephaestus trying to weave herself between his legs. She loved to pester Hephaestus mostly because she knew she could get away with it. Hephaestus ignored Nyx’s attempts to annoy him. He was obviously too preoccupied to notice her. 

“What’s going on?” Thanatos asked. 

“I need your help and it’s very important.”

Thanatos offered Hephaestus a cup of wine and guided him to a chair across from the rocking chair. “How about you have a seat and tell me about what’s going on.”

Hephaestus nodded, took a sip of wine, and sat on the edge of the seat. His fingers tightened around the cup so tight, his fingertips turned white. Thanatos had never seen his friend so unsettled about anything. “I’ve been visiting Greecium, disguised as a warrior. It started during the last war, at the end when it looked like my warriors were going to die against Poseidon’s warriors. During the battle, I fought with a woman, and we talked over the outcome of the battle once it was over. She was…” Hephaestus trailed off, his eyes focusing on nothing ahead of him. “I tried to stop it. I tried to keep myself off Greecium. I tried to stay in my place, continue with my duties and go about my affairs. I tried to forget her.” His intense gaze fell on Thanatos, “She didn’t know who I was, so after a while I told her expecting her feelings to change. I expected her to hate me once she found out I was who I am. But, she didn’t hate me, Thanatos. She confessed her love for me.”

Thanatos nodded, understanding why this was so important. For so long, Hephaestus had been one of the most hated gods, ever since his birth the other Olympians detested him. Thanatos knew, too, what it felt to finally meet someone who didn’t hate you, being the god of death—even peaceful death—meant he wasn’t a loved god among the immortals and the mortals. But when he met Macaria, he felt the love of another being and it changed everything about him. 

Hephaestus continued, “I’ve given myself to her. I know it’s against the laws we put in place at the creation of this world, but I can’t stop myself.”

“You don’t have to explain yourself to me, Hephaestus. I understand. But, what is the thing you need my help with?”

“She’s pregnant. It’s my baby. The law states that anything like this happens, then the child will die and the mortal and Olympian punished. Thanatos, please, help them escape their death. I can’t loose them,” Hephaestus pleaded. 

“Hephaestus, you’re asking me to break the law, I don’t know if I can do that.”

“I’m begging you to do this for me. I’ll do anything for you, if you do this one thing for me,” tears welled in Hephaestus’ eyes. 

“Can I ask you a few things before I give you my answer?” Thanatos asked, and Hephaestus gave a curt nod. “How do you plan to protect them when it’s found out that you broke the law?”

“I’ll do whatever it takes to protect them. I’ll sacrifice myself before I let any harm come to my family.”

“How do you plan on fathering this child?”

“She’s the Commander, so she makes enough gold to support herself, and our baby will not put any strain on finances. I’ll give my child the love they deserve and I will make sure they know they are loved no matter what they do.”

Thanatos leaned back in his seat and considered what Hephaestus was asking. He knew this woman was important to Hephaestus, and that he meant everything he had said about protecting them. Was Thanatos willing to break the law to help his friend? Perhaps there was something he could do to help keep Hephaestus’ family a secret. He wanted to help Hephaestus. He deserves to feel love. He’s changed so much since everyone left Earth and created Greecium; he deserves to have the love this family will give him. 

Thanatos leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees and held his chin in his hand. His brows furrowed as he thought. He was willing to help Hephaestus keep his family. Maybe he could ask Hephaestus to help him be with Macaria. He dropped his hand from his chin and looked at Hephaestus. 

“I will help you,” Thanatos started, knowing he had to word this carefully. “And I know what you can do for me in exchange.”

“I’ll do anything,” Hephaestus said with a sigh of relief. 

“As you know, The Keres, my sisters of violent death, were killed in our escape from Earth, and I took over their role. Now, my Death warriors have helped me a great deal with the burden of such a role, but I would like to never see the violent bloodshed of battle again. I want peace. I want to be with Macaria. Can you help free me of this hell I’m trapped in?” Thanatos hated that he had to keep part of this plan from his friend, but there was no other way to get what he wanted without keeping this secret. 

“I’ll try to help, but I don’t know what I can do about that,” Hephaestus said with uncertainty. 

“Don’t worry about trying to figure out what you can do. I’ll let you know what to do when it’s time.” Thanatos stood and gestured for Hephaestus to follow him to the door. “My friend, it’s time you return to your family. Enjoy their company and rest easy. I’ll do what I can to help them.”

“Thank you, Thanatos,” Hephaestus gave him a shining smile.

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