Queen of Clouds
Mother of the nymphs
Surrogate mother to Hera
Exiled to the western ocean
Tethys was the Titan goddess of clouds and of water sources. Along with her husband Oceanus, Tethys gave birth to thousands of nymphs to protect the rivers and springs their mother created. This nurturing instinct helped drive the goddess from Cronus. When Zeus freed the infant Hera and her siblings from Cronus' belly, Tethys took Hera as a ward and raised the child as her own daughter. Hera grew up and when the Titanomachy began she left Tethys to fight alongside her brothers and sisters. The idea of fighting against Hera appalled the cloud goddess but neither could she fight against her own brother Cronus. Tethys and her husband Oceanus choose neutrality in the war.
Tethys watched as the war destroyed springs and disrupted the flow of rivers. The fauna and flora dependent on the water faltered and died along with the nymphs. She despised both sides for the destruction and felt simple relief when it was over. Summoned before the new King of the Gods for the first time, Tethys desired a chance to mend the damage caused by the war. The surprise when Zeus stripped her of the her realms and banished her to the far ocean was total. She protested and Zeus' wife, Hera, spoke in Tethys' favour. Zeus began to reconsider but Poseidon spoke up, warning Zeus that mercy maybe mistaken for weakness. The King of the Gods, uncertain of his new position, dared not risk any sign of weakness and confirmed his original sentence. Tethys lost her realms and went with Oceanus into exile.
When Tethys discovered that Poseidon had claimed her husband's realms as his own, she realised who was responsible for their exile. In her mind Poseidon had manoeuvred Zeus into banishing the couple and she formed a deep hatred for the Olympian. She strives to return to the Mediterranean, destroy Poseidon and reconnect with her children. Her plan is to isolate Poseidon from his fellow Olympians. Many beings have come into conflict with the proud sea god, and Tethys aids those facing the him. She is limited in power and cannot face Poseidon directly but her children, the river nymphs, are numerous. Among gods, demigods and mortals, Tethys is quietly building a faction who favour her and dislike, or even hate, the sea god.
Hera is key to Tethys' plan and she works hard to maintain good relations with her former ward. When Tethys and her husband can challenge Poseidon directly it is inevitable that Zeus and Hades will come to their brother's defence. Only Hera, Queen of the Gods, can keep the brothers out of the fight.
Tethys appears as an older woman in modest clothes with small grey wings on her brow. Unassuming for a god, she is quiet unless angered or her children are threatened, at which point she shows a vengeful and violent part of her personality.
Her cult builds its temples around fresh springs and enjoys a reputation as sanctuaries for children. The agents of Tethys are active around the coastline where those with a grudge against Poseidon are likely to be found. Tethys and her cult are tolerated by the Olympians within Greece as a favour to Hera.