The Aetherfae

The Aetherfae by Christopher Shields

Book: The Aetherfae by Christopher Shields Read Free Book Online
Authors: Christopher Shields
time ago. She is as much a victim of the clan wars as anyone. Perhaps more so.”
    “I don’t recognize the name.”
    “Like me, she doesn’t use her Olympian name. She once called herself Pandora.”
    “As in the box?”
    He chuckled, shaking his head, and looked at me through his brow. “For the record, it was a Jar—but she is one and the same.”
    “Did she open the…jar—like the legends say—and let loose all the evil in the world?”
    Gavin laughed again. “I’m afraid this is another example of humans getting a story wrong after retelling it over and over. The real story has been perverted into a parable. According to Greek legend, Pandora was the first human woman—created by Zeus.” Gavin laughed again. “Zeus didn’t create anyone, and she, most assuredly, is not human. According to human mythology, Zeus gave her a jar—or a box—that contained all the bad in the world. Zeus warned her never to open it, but she was unable to contain her curiosity.”
    “So, what really happened?”
    He sat on the porch steps and waited for me to join him. “At the end of the first war, after Surero, the first Maebown, destroyed Ra, Ozara visited my clan—in force.”
    “You told me once before that the original clans didn’t take sides in the war.”
    Gavin shook his head. “No, they did not. Ozara has never forgiven them, either. She came to Olympus to lure two Olympians away, offering them both positions on the Seelie Council to replace two who fell in battle.”
    “Let me guess, Pandora was one of them.”
    “No, in fact she was not. Ozara had her sights on Ares and Poseidon, two of the twelve leaders of the Olympians. They considered the offer for a month. It was a terrifying time. Leaving would have weakened my clan, made us more vulnerable to the Seelie and Unseelie, so Zeus begged them to stay. A month later, Ozara returned to Olympus demanding their answer. Ares was loyal to Zeus and refused her. It angered her, but I suspect he was never her real focus. Poseidon, well, he was loyal to no one. He agreed to join the Seelie on one condition.”
    “A condition? I’m sure Ozara loved that.”
    Gavin smiled. “He demanded Zarkus’ head. He believed that since the Aetherfae, Ra, was dead and the Unseelie were weakened, Ozara should make good on an old promise: to hunt down and destroy the Unseelie elders—Zarkus specifically. Ozara said no, of course—one doesn’t dictate terms to Ozara. She said the war was over and the killing was done. Had Poseidon wanted to take Zarkus, she said, he should have fought for the Seelie when he had the chance.”
    “Okay, wait a minute, why did Poseidon want Zarkus destroyed if the Olympians didn’t take a side in the war?”
    “Poseidon was first and foremost an Atlantean Fae. Zarkus and the Unseelie destroyed Atlantis over six thousand years ago. Poseidon was the lone survivor. The Unseelie didn’t just destroy Poseidon’s clan—they destroyed the island. Flattened it to the ocean floor so no trace remained. Poseidon came to the Olympians as a refugee.”
    “You’re telling me that Atlantis was real?”
    “Yes, it was real. Not quite what Plato imagined, and not as old as he suggested, but it was real. Its destruction drove Poseidon to the brink of insanity. One Fae, more than any other, helped Poseidon recover from the torment of losing everything he loved.”
    “Pandora?”
    “Yes. When Ozara declined Poseidon’s demand to destroy Zarkus, he became belligerent and threatened her. Only Zeus prevented his death. Ozara sought to punish Poseidon’s public outburst and reestablish the Seelie’s dominance. She took the one thing that Poseidon held dear. She forced Pandora into a bronze urn and sealed it with Aether.”
    “She was innocent…that’s…I don’t have the words.”
    “It was barbarous. To make it worse, Ozara left the urn at Olympus to torment Poseidon. She promised to open the jar when the Olympians apologized for betraying the

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