Born deep in the forest, far from the prying eyes of mortal men,
a small creature flitted ceaselessly 'round the perilous rack and fen.
It searched for a bit of Magic to keep its Age Olde Race intact,
snooping in the Neverlands, Stealthy Fugitive from Truth and Fact.
A raptor plummets from the sky, cruel talons spread...
Shrill Scream of Pain ... THE ANCIENT TRIBE IS DEAD!
Forest Giants tremble, they moan their sad refrain,
"We'll never see their like again, dancing naked in the rain!"
Chronos, the Keeper of Time on Mount Olympus saw the small body he loved so much pierced through and through by an enormous eagles talons. He impulsively sobbed, "Oh, Gods, no!" He reached with his mind for the control that allowed the reversal of the Hands of Time and ratcheted it three times backwards. He snatched the beautiful tiny creature to his chest before the deadly talons could again impale Aelia and kill her.
Alarms were sounding all over Olympus and supervisors flooded into the Control area for Damage Control. "This has to be the biggest screw up since the last ice age!" spoke one pessimistic participant of his office staff.
"Aelia will be forced to go back to be eaglet fodder." predicted another individual.
Chronos calmly intoned, though mentally he was feverishly examining Aelia for injuries, "You may both process your resignation papers immediately, if you wish. Otherwise remain calm and quiet. If I must, I will go back with her to protect her or die with her. See what that does to your precious time line."
They'd all known of her, of course, and all knew she was the last of her elven kind. Chronos had secretly and very jealously kept watch over her since her birth well less than a score of years before and especially since the deaths of her parents.
A visage of Zeus peered down upon them all. "Is this how our subjects fates are being decided now, on a whim?"
Hera's beautiful face and figure appeared beside that of her husband, "We have all been concerned for Aelia, my Lord. I would have saved her too, had Chronos not done it before me. She is far too precious a being to be ripped asunder and fed to eaglets as bits of bloody meat and entrails. My darling husband, I go to my knees and implore you to show mercy and intercede for this dear elven child so many of us adore!"
Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, also appeared on her own knees and supplicated, "My Lord God Zeus, Chronos could no more have allowed Aelia to be killed than he could stop revering you, I see in his heart he has an overwhelming love for the young maiden."
Zeus demanded, "Would someone please allow me to view the subject of all this uproar for myself?" Chronos lovingly held the nude adolescent torso of Aelia with her head gently cradled in his loving hands and bowed to Zeus as he went to his own knees and extended her unconscious body forward. Zeus grumbled, "The lass is tiny but so very pleasing to my eyes, Aphrodite. Could her heart truly be as pure as she appears?"
"Even more so, my Lord." Aphrodite insisted. "She is among the most innocent and pure of all your many subjects, and has more potential than all of the rest!"
"Then she shall live and be loved for many years as she deserves." Zeus decreed. He then knelt to kiss the child's forehead to give her his own personal blessing. "Chronos, the rearing and education of this favorite of Hera's, Aphrodite's, yours, and now of mine is to be your primary responsibility. See to her happiness and as to your other duties you may delegate your authority among your underlings as you think best." With that Zeus was gone.
The Goddess Hera winked lasciviously as the Lord God Zeus agreed with her decisions, then she followed to reward him with her own version of her gratitude.
Poor Aelia was conscious now and shivering from the shock of literally having been snatched from the pain and terror of her horrible death, then being instantly restored to life and good health within seconds.
Chronos clutched the small naked child to his chest to warm and comfort her, both physically and mentally. Aphrodite produced a warm comforter and lovingly tucked it around her to ease her shock. She smiled sweetly and said, "Lord Chronos, you did notice Lord Zeus insisted you see to her happiness? That would seem to imply to me it extended to any assistance you might need from the other Lords and Ladies. Please consult me if you need my help with that. I also happen to know the Goddess Hera loves Aelia as much as you and I."
"May our Lord God Zeus bless you, Goddess Aphrodite." Chronos spoke thankfully. "Perhaps you can help us? Even after closely observing Aelia these few years I have seen her sip flower nectar and eat berries, but I have no idea what other foods will sustain her."
"Perhaps she will be able to help us with that, Lord Chronos," Aphrodite confided, "she seems to be reviving. Aelia, my dear, do you speak our language?"
The girls beautiful eyes were as dark as her waist length glistening raven hair. "That eagle killed me!" Aelia hysterically blurted out.
"Yes, it did, and because of his love for you Lord Chronos broke every rule and regulation extant among the Gods of Olympus and reversed the hands of time to rescue you. Goddess Hera and I, Goddess Aphrodite at your service, intervened, too. Eventually our Lord God Zeus seemed quite taken with your appearance and our glowing reports of your virtuous personality. My personal estimation is you are as of now the favorite of most of the Gods on Olympus, and your security is being adequately seen to. Our next order of interest seems to be the type of nourishment you prefer?"
"I have been very hungry, near starvation for months, since my parents died." Aelia admitted. "Perhaps that's why I didn't sense the danger of the eagles attack on me beforehand in time to evade it. My main nourishment comes from the vegetables, fruits, and nuts I forage for, but I also hunger for the magic I've felt in the past and I crave it. I feel it coming from the two of you now. Perhaps it is your love?"
Lord Chronos waved his hand and a large tray with an assortment of various prepared carrots, potatos, yams, and other vegetables, grains, breads, greens, fruits, sliced melons, and roasted nutmeats appeared before them on a table. "Does any of this please you, my dear? If not, we will try something else." Chronos saw a tear of gratitude run down Aelia's cheek and he bent to gently kiss it away and savor the moment. He told her, "Enjoy yourself then, dear one. I certainly will from seeing you well fed."
Aphrodite stayed with them and assisted Chronos in feeding Aelia the nourishing foods until she was fully sated. She even remembered to procure a golden chalice of milk for the tiny girl, reminding her friend Chronos she was still growing, albeit slowly as befitted her elven race, and she needed the calcium.
Aphrodite then escorted Aelia to show her the public sanitary facilities, then dipped her into the public baths. She then dried her, and draped her in a warm robe. "Chronos," She informed him, as they rejoined him. "Your ward has had a fearful emergency, then a feast she's not been accustomed to, and a tour of the public baths and toiletries. Now, I would advise about eight or ten hours of restful sleep lying in your strong arms on your broad hairy chest where she can hear the comforting sounds of your heart that beats with your love for her."
Lord Chronos peered down at the awesome beauty of Aelia. "Our dear Aphrodite can sometimes be blunt, but she is most often correct. Would it embarrass you if I held you as you rested? I know you've had a desperately traumatic day and I would do anything within my power to help comfort you!"
Tears streamed down Aelia's beautiful face as she reached for the two of their hands. She said, "The agonizing pain of my death earlier today? It was a cheap price to pay to regain a family!"
Aphrodite and Chronos both professed their love of Aelia, embracing her and kissing her, then Aphrodite excused herself, citing prior engagements. "Don't worry, my Darling, I will often share Chronos blankets with you as you shall share mine."
Aelia found her bed atop Chronos chest a warm one and more of a nest in the thick hair on his chest and among his vast beard. Aphrodite had been correct. The sound of his strong heartbeat was very reassuring to her. The few times she was startled awake by nightmares, he was instantly alert to comfort her with an embrace and a kiss. He even dredged several pleasant lullabyes from his long ago childhood and sang them lovingly to her each time she woke.
The following morning when Chronos woke he was faced across his chest with Aelia's loving eyes. He told her, "I hope you slept well, my beautiful ward?"
She returned, "I only hope I didn't disturb your own rest overmuch, Lord Chronos. Your sweet caresses and songs were very calming to me each time I stirred."
Chronos told her, "I cannot recall a night in my life that has been half so wonderful, my love. Having you in my arms and responding to me when I spoke or sang to you was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I know you must grow, mature, and experience various lovers to find the right mate for you. It will hurt me, my precious, but I want you to know my heart wants you to grow to be the happiest woman you could ever become."
"I am already the happiest woman I could ever become." Aelia purred. "No other man's quick wit and strong arms could have saved my life, then comforted me as your own have done in the last few hours. No others broad chest and beard could be the warm nest I am most comfortable sleeping in, and no force has been known to change an elven maiden's mind when she is in love."
With that settled, Aelia placed her tiny hands on either side of Chronos smiling face and adoringly kissed his lips.
"It appears the two of you are getting along well this morning!" Aphrodite laughed as she appeared and dove into her friend's bed. "Oh, excuse me, was I invited?"
Aelia laughed, and Chronos told her, "You are always invited, Goddess Aphrodite. What have you planned for today?"
"I thought we might first investigate what Aelia will and won't eat." Aphrodite spoke. "I have suspicions her diet has been limited to only what was available to her instead of what may have been nutritionally been the best for her. If she is to be all she can be that should change as of right now!"
Chronos nodded and agreed, as did Aelia who asked, "Did you have a test in mind? We already know I'll eat most vegetables, fruits, and nuts. I can recall my father hunting and fishing for us, so meat and fish would have to have been among our natural elven foods."
"Oh, that's easily tested for then." Chronos suggested. A table appeared at their bedside, with three plates, utensils, and covered platters. He raised one to display a savory sliced venison roast with mushroom gravy, another displayed crispy broiled fish filets. The third held roasted potatos, bread and butter. "Do these stir any memories, my dear?"
The two adults embraced and simply enjoyed watching Aelia for a time as she ate ravenously. "I think we can safely say our darling is omnivorous!" Chronos laughed fondly.
Aphrodite and Chronos also ate some of the delicious meat, fish, bread, and potatos he'd provided for their meal. Aphrodite then escorted the child to the public baths. When they returned they cuddled Aelia between them for a pleasant nap.
The Goddess Aphrodite yawned as she woke from her refreshing nap. "Chronos, my Love, this would be a good time to browse at the public baths for tutors for Aelia. Zeus's decree is still fresh in everyone's mind and we can't waste a moment in her education."
"Alright, my love," Chronos agreed,"but only because you say so."
Aelia only stirred after insistent kisses from them both. "Is it dinner time already?" She asked. "I can remember so many good things now I've missed eating!"
Aphrodite told her, "I will promise you a trip through the public market to refresh your memories, Love. Either Chronos or I can purchase or reproduce anything you would like to eat either cooked or raw. You need ever again miss the things you truly love. We will also visit the tutors and mentors lounging around the public baths and see if we can make more favorable connections for you."
Aphrodite asked Aelia to mentally picture a tiara, rings, bracelets, necklaces, a brooch, and matching hair stays she'd think attractive, then she just as quickly handed them to her. "Now for a robe, perhaps one with a sash?"