A/N: Here, finally, is the epilogue. It only took me eleven years, but I've finally finished this story.
I knew Cronus would want to watch Theresa's confrontation with Zeus, so I wasn't surprised when he turned the scrying pool back to that point. Even though we both knew the outcome, I believed he was as curious as I was to discover how it had come about. Cronus watched Theresa's fight with Zeus eagerly. I watched it with confusion.
I watched as she tried and failed to take Zeus down. I saw the moment her friends arrived, and witnessed their many futile attempts to try to talk her out of what she was doing. Even Zeus tried to reason with her. Nothing anyone said seemed to make any difference, and eventually, they all banded together against her. For a long time, it looked like she was going to lose, perhaps she had, and Zeus had forced her to restore the powers she had stolen. Then, shockingly, she won.
I stared, unable to believe what I was seeing. Theresa had defeated Zeus, the king of the gods, something even Cronus had failed to do. As he slumped to the ground, having suffered what appeared to be a mortal wound, I turned my gaze briefly to Cronus. He appeared surprised, perhaps because we both knew that Zeus had survived this confrontation.
Then, even more surprisingly, the phantom split into pieces, and began attacking Theresa's friends. I turned to look at Cronus again, and saw the glee in his eyes. Obviously, watching the heroes fighting each other made him happy. Finally, Jay was the only one left standing. He was holding his xiphos, but instead of using it against her, he tossed it aside. He was pleading with Theresa to stop, to let go of all the power she'd absorbed before it was too late, but it seemed she'd lost control. The phantom had become too strong. It struck out at Jay, sending him sprawling across the sand. Seeing what she'd done, Theresa tried to expel it, but it overwhelmed her. She collapsed, steam rising from her.
Jay ran toward her as the other heroes picked themselves up from where they'd fallen.
"She can't be dead," Atlanta cried, turning to bury her face in Herry's chest.
All the other heroes looked equally shocked and heartbroken, especially Jay. That was when I realized something I knew I should have seen sooner.
He loves her, I thought.
I wondered how I'd missed it. I'd seen them interact dozens of times. I'd watched Jay put himself in harm's way to protect her. How had I never noticed the way they felt about each other? I wondered how Cronus had missed it. This was just the sort of weakness he'd be eager to exploit. I shook my head, and turned my attention back to the scrying pool. Theresa had survived, and I wanted to know how.
Jay looked up at the sky for a moment, and then, back down at Theresa. A tear rolled down his cheek, and fell onto her palm, then, he kissed her.
Suddenly, Theresa's hand clenched into a fist, and, as if sensing a change, Jay leaned back and looked at her in confusion. Abruptly, Theresa's eyes started glowing and a burst of light erupted from her with such force that it threw Jay backward. Several purple wraiths, I thought there were at least ten, rose from her body, and flew off in different directions. One entered Zeus' chest, and another entered Poseidon's, restoring their powers. I'd noticed Poseidon lying on the beach earlier, and suspected that Theresa had taken his powers too. This simply confirmed my suspicions. I was amazed that Theresa had managed to absorb so much power and survive. I already knew what would happen next…or I thought I did.
"Can we try that again?" Theresa asked Jay, clearly referring to the kiss, and Jay seemed more than happy to oblige.
After that, the scrying pool started showing what we'd already seen. I left Cronus watching endless repetitions of Theresa's battle with Zeus. He might be interested in repeatedly watching his son's brief defeat, but I wanted to spend some time alone. I had a lot to process.
Once I was out of sight and sound of Cronus, I sat down to consider what had happened. After seeing what Theresa had put them through, I was even more surprised that her friends had forgiven her. If I done even half the things she had, my brothers would never have spoken to me again. They probably would have torn me apart. Once again, I thought about how lucky she was.
I sighed. My mind was in turmoil and I had no one to talk to about it. I didn't know what to do anymore. Cronus had become steadily more unhinged, and now that he thought the heroes had fulfilled the Oracle's prophecy I knew he'd become even worse. I wasn't sure if he was right about the prophecy. After everything that had happened it seemed unlikely, that this was what the Oracle had meant when he said the heroes would defeat Cronus.
Not that it really mattered, if Cronus believed that the heroes had fulfilled the prophecy, then, he would be even more certain of victory, and even angrier if the heroes defeated him. Although, if the prophecy no longer mattered, then, why would we need to attack the heroes at all? Cronus could just as easily conquer the world without defeating them. I knew he wouldn't though. The heroes had caused him a great deal of trouble, and Cronus wasn't the type to forgive or forget. He would go after them until he had destroyed them, however long that might take.
Actually, now that I thought about it, he would probably just send me to deal with them. I sighed. I was so tired of fighting. I hadn't really thought about it before, but Cronus had trapped me in the same vicious cycle as our enemies, doomed to fight for him just as they were doomed to fight against him. I wished I had a way to break free of it, but I could only think of one.
I could leave.
I had considered it before, more than once. I remembered talking about it with my brothers, dismissing it as impossible because there were too many of us to have a hope of hiding from Cronus or the heroes, but now, I was alone.
It could work, I thought. I could find a cave high up in the mountains, miles away from everyone.
What would I do for food? I didn't really know how to hunt or catch fish, although I supposed I could learn. It couldn't be that hard. Still, I had never really done anything for myself. I had never even made my own decisions. I had never had the chance.
Maybe now's the time to take it, a little voice in my head whispered.
Did I have the courage? Could I really leave Cronus, and his self-destructive behavior, behind for good? How far would I get before he came after me or the heroes discovered me? I didn't know, but I also couldn't be sure what would happen if I stayed. How many more mistakes could I make before Cronus finally lost his temper, and destroyed me? I was lucky I'd survived the last few months I knew that, just as I knew that I couldn't remain here. I would probably end up back in Tartarus, but maybe I could have a taste of real freedom before that happened. I had never been free. I'd thought I was after escaping from Tartarus, until I'd realized that by agreeing to follow Cronus, I'd merely exchanged one prison for another.
I thought back to the last time I'd considered leaving, how my doubts had kept me from trying until it was too late. Could I really risk making that mistake again? Wasn't a taste of freedom better than spending my whole life imprisoned?
I thought about for another few seconds, then, I took a deep breath, climbed to my feet, and started walking into an unknown future.
A/N: This is the end of A Giant's Perspective, but not of Agnon's story. I'm planning to write a sequel called Enough is Enough. You'll probably think I'm crazy once you read it, but I'm going to try anyway. I don't know when I'll have the first chapter up, so keep an eye out.