Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father's Day tale

Matt, mighty god of war and lord of the estate, drew the day’s official reportings to a close with a nod to his advisors Rellgl and RJ and then relaxed into the simple wooden throne. Man and thrakkon vanished through the door into the reception hall, followed by Matt’s head mages Phoenix and Birch and then by the thrakkoni attendants in the room, leaving the god alone with Sorscha.

“So. Any remaining business for the day?” he asked his chief assistant without turning his head. He knew she was standing where she always did, immediately in front of the curtains that opened onto the stairs that spiraled back down into his chambers. The answer, he knew, would be “None but your bidding, Master,” just as it always was. The thrakkon had been created to serve him, a role she filled well, but creative ideas weren’t her strong suit.

A giggle from behind the curtain brought his chin around quickly, though. That was different. Sorscha stood still, a grin gripping one corner of her lips as she made clear efforts to fight it down from the remainder of her face.

“I believe….” She began.

“Yeah,” Matt interrupted. “Heidi, you can come out now. And bring your sister with you.”

The twins sprang from behind the curtains and skipped across the half of the throne room that separated that exit from their father. Heidi skipped, anyway; Linda walked.

“Well,” Matt continued once his daughters stood in front of him. “Welcome to my throne room, I suppose. To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit? And does it have anything to do with whatever Linda is hiding behind her back?”

“To the day, Dad,” Heidi chirped as Linda beamed.

“The day?”

“Happy Father’s Day!” both girls said while Linda pulled a large folded piece of paper from behind her back.

“Well. I—I didn’t realize anybody was still tracking those days,” Matt said, gingerly opening the paper. Inside was a well-drawn portrait of the god of war and his wife, dressed up in regal finery as they had been on their date to Olympus, with both girls’ signatures below.

“It’s beautiful, girls. Thank you. You both worked at drawing this?” As both girls’ heads bobbed, he smiled and said, “I’m proud to have such talented daughters, then.” Rising, he enfolded both girls in his arms. They stood quietly for a long time, father holding both daughters in a warm hug.

“We haven’t had a lot else to do, with Mom being gone and all,” Heidi said, breaking the silence. Linda speared her sister with a dark expression as Matt disengaged and smiled tenderly.

“She’ll return soon enough, girls. Thor and I have known each other a long, long time, and I’m sure he’s taking good care of her while he teaches her how to fight like a goddess. We talk to her nearly every night now.” It was true; Matt signaled the girls whenever their mother buzzed in on the link he had created from where the thunder god was teaching her to fight as a test along the path to becoming an immortal. Together they would come running at his signal and spend as long as they could sharing the events of the day with their mother, and listening to the events in Thor’s hall in turn.

“Dad,” Linda changed the subject, “what’s it like to be eternal?”

“I wouldn’t know. Eternal means forever, in both directions. I’ve lived a long time, but not forever. I’m actually immortal.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I do. It’s tough sometimes. I’ve spent eons watching humans do stupid things to each other. I know I will continue spending the next many eons watching humans continue to do stupid things to each other. Sometimes it’s kind of like being a father: knowing, based on experience, how things will turn out, yet also knowing that they don’t care, they’ll do it their way anyway.”

“Have we been like that, Dad?” Linda asked.

“Nah,” Matt smiled. “Well, maybe a little. But you two are the most wonderful daughters a father could hope for. That, and you’ve generally been willing to listen to what I say. Except, of course, the one time on our trip to....”

“Brazil. Yes, Dad, we remember.” The story of a childhood prank that had backfired and landed the twins in the Rio de Janeiro jail had been the focus of attention recently, and the girls weren’t in the mood to hear it again.

“I was about to say Sicily, but now that you mention it, there was that trip too.” Matt’s smile warmed even further.

Eagerly changing the subject again, Linda asked, “So, Heidi and I were talking the other day, and we started wondering. Who is our grandfather?”

“He was a wonderful school teacher. It’s too bad you were never able to meet him.”

“We know about him, though. What about your father? You never talk about him.”

“MY father? Um—well, he is the creator. The Father God. You kinda come from a pretty powerful line, girls.”

“And where is he?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know, Dad? Don’t you know everything?”

Matt snorted. “No. Not even close. If I were omniscient, I’d’ve been able to stop your little foray into the war room—-remember that?”

“Uh huh, but it doesn’t answer the question,” Linda said, standing her ground. “Where is he?”

“He went away.”

“To where? And why did he go away, Dad? It seems a silly thing for a father to do, creating and then disappearing.”

“Yeah, that’s the human way to think about it, I guess. But he’s the creative force behind everything, girls. He created the place that you know as the universe. He created us, the gods. Oh, he stops by every so often and plays around—the Norse knew him as Odin, and the Greeks knew him as Zeus. And then he goes and my guess is that he plays around in other creations of his. I mean, looking at it as a god--why would the ultimate creative being create a single universe and then say, ‘okay, good enough, I’m done forever’?”

“Good point, I guess. So since he’s gone, we’ll never get to meet him, will we?”

Matt nodded. “Yeah, you will. I think, anyway. I can never predict what he’ll do, of course, but I get the feeling he’ll be back soon.”

“Really? I can’t wait,” Heidi exclaimed. “You’ll have to introduce us as his granddaughters so we can tell him how much we disapprove of his absence and then forgive him with a great big hug.”

Matt roared in laughter, unable to control his humor enough to play along. Sometimes the girls acted very much older than their thirteen years, and sometimes the opposite. “I think it would be the first time he’ll have heard all that.”

“I bet. Now, Dad, what do you want to do on your special day?”

“Hmm, let’s see. Since I’m the Dad of War, how about if I go and find a nice village to raze? You can go with me.”

As both daughters’ faces blanched, Matt chortled. “Just kidding, girls. Just kidding. How about a nice pleasant ride around the estate? Phobos could use some exercise, I bet.”

Knowing how much his daughters loved to ride horses, Matt smiled as they led him from the throne room to the stables for a Father’s Day ride.


Hope you enjoyed.  To all the Dads out there--and to my own, up in the Creator's embrace--I wish all a very Happy Father's Day!


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