Sorry about Friday. My computer went out on me. It turns out the power cord was broken.
Here is another bit of fiction. Enjoy.
Ari padded along silently in the wake of the clamorous titan. The climb was steep and strenuous, but Ari had no fear of losing his quarry. Between the noise and destruction, the titan left a path that couldn't be missed. A path lined with Laurel branches, smashed and broken, their soft, fragrant, green innerwood exposed and splintered, and rocks scattered and gouged into the dark earth. Ari's only real fear was being found, noticed, and caught.
Up, up they climbed, the titan in the lead, Ari behind, until Ari saw ahead of the titan the red light of the forge. Here their paths would diverge. The titan would steal what he'd come to steal, and Ari would steal what he'd come to steal.
The titan, poor sap, would share his loot. It was why he'd come here. Ari had no intention of sharing. What he took, he took only for himself.
Off to the right, Ari saw a whitish-golden light. There was what he sought. He glanced back as he left the titan's path, to see a large, strong hand reach out into the wavering heat of the forge to grasp a branch sticking out from the forge's fire, and pull it out, still flaming, glowing red.
Fire. Humans would have fire. Ari wanted something more.
He crept through the cold, empty darkness toward the bright, welcoming light. He stopped at the very edge of that darkness. There were no shades of gray here. On one side nearly utter darkness, on the other brilliant, nearly blinding white-gold light.
Crouching in the darkness, Ari looked upon the gods. He coveted their power, their arrogance, their aloofness. That was what he'd come to steal.
As the titan had taken fire, yet still it remained, so Ari intended to take power, and yet it would still remain with the gods. Elusive, flickering, and yet strong, vital, nourishing. The power was in the light. Ari knew it. The light sprang forth from all within its domain.
Ari looked around the ground in the light. As the titan had used the branch to carry away the fire, so Ari would have to use something to carry away the light. The large stones of the floor would be too heavy. The furniture, glowing glorious stools and tables and such, were too far away for him to snatch and run off without being noticed. A goblet would be perfect, but again Ari couldn't get to any. The gods themselves, while moving closely past where Ari hid, would not be easy to sneak out, and they tended to be touchy about kidnappings and such.
A god walked past, Ari wasn't certain which, and a single strand of glowing golden hair floated to the ground. Ari stared at it as it lay on the bright, white stone. Absolutely straight, blazingly gold, and magnificently marvelous, it was perhaps as long as one of his fingers.
Quickly, Ari reached into the light and pulled the single strand of hair into the darkness. And ran.
He clutched the strand of golden hair tight in his fist, but the glow escaped through and around his fingers and hand. He fled down the mount, heedless of his path, stumbling over rocks, tripping over broken laurels, falling and rising, running and rolling. Taking the glow, the power, the arrogance, the aloofness, with him.
The glow was a beacon in the dark.
Something snatched at him, clutching his clothes and arms. Ari felt himself lifted up, flying through the air. He heard the beat of great, large wings on either side of him, as deafening as thunder. He was dropped, and fell from the darkness into the light.
The gods had clustered into a mob, and like most mobs there were as many emotions and purposes as there were individuals. Most of the mob seemed more or less amused, especially one youthful male god with short, straight, golden hair.
The youthful god grabbed Ari's hair, to pull him out of his fearful crouch. "He's almost cute, in a Hephaistos sort of way."
Many of the other gods laughed. The largest, strongest did not, he had to be Zeus. Neither did a lame, crooked one; he glared and scowled. "A titan has been to my forge. There is fire among the humans."
Trembling, crouching down, Ari shrunk into himself as Zeus approached him.
"Tell me all," Zeus said, and the light of Olympus trembled.
Ari told. All. Coveting. Following the titan. Farther up the mount. Stealing the strand of hair.
Still Ari clutched it in his hand. Still he wanted it, power, arrogance, aloofness.
Zeus turned his mighty, fearful countenance on the youthful, golden-haired god. "I will deal with Prometheus. You deal with him."
The youthful god sauntered over to where Ari crouched, clutching a single strand of golden hair. "And? Will you give it back?"
Clutching the strand of hair to his heart, Ari put his other hand over his fist, protectively. "I will give it to no one. I wanted it for myself."
"Power? Arrogance? Aloofness?" The youthful god sneered down at Ari. "And yet you cower with fear. And beg at my feet." He smiled, and leaned down to pet Ari's head. His fingers slipped down behind Ari's ears to gently scratch.
The strand of hair slipped through Ari's hand as his fingers shrank and he could no longer hold it. The strand of hair tickled against him, and attached itself to his chest. His clothes, his body, he could feel them transforming, shrinking, changing. He shook and stretched as golden fur covered his body.
Angling his head, Ari moved until the scratching fingers were over the itchy spot. There, that was good.
Arching his back, Ari rubbed his furry cheek against the youthful god's ankle. He'd had enough scratching. His tail swung and looped around the god's leg.
The god chuckled. "The power, and arrogance, and aloofness you may keep. As well as the fear, and the begging." He pushed Ari away with his foot.
Ari shrugged, and flicked his tail, pretending it was his idea to walk away from the god. Then he sat and began licking his paw, and grooming his whiskers, occasionally looking back to make sure they knew he didn't care about them.
"Oh, Apollo, he's darling. Just like a miniature lion." A female god smiled at the youthful one, looking as similar to him as a woman could. "What do you call him?"
"Call him what you like, Artemis." The youthful god turned and walked away, uncaring.
The female god crouched down, and extended her hand toward Ari. "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty."