Rewriting History - The Myth Begins Part 1
Narrator: Many eons ago, before the race of man walked across the vastness of the Earth, there was once the Titans - the children of Earth and Sky. Taller than the highest mountains, the Titans ruled over all with an iron fist - but none were worse than their king; Cronus, who murdered his father to take his throne and power above all. But in time, his rule was challenged by that of his son; Zeus, the future Lord of Olympus, who gained allies from three other great gods from lands afar. What occurred then was a fierce battle that shook creation to its very core, the earth rumbled from the struggle while the sky changed to a hue of red blood. But in the end, the four gods emerged victorious, slaying Cronus and banishing the Titans to the deep infernal pits of Tartarus, the fiery half of the underworld. But however, this was only half of the war to come… Enraged at the treatment of her children, Gaia; the Earth manifest, swore to avenge this wrong and traveled far below to couple with the fiery embodiment of Tartarus itself. What came from this unholy of unions was a beast whose form was greater than his half-siblings and whose own presence heralded violent fire and storms. This abomination of abominations would now and forever be known as Typhon, whose very name inspired fear and dread when spoken of… After a battle that carved canyons and forged mountains, Zeus and his fellow gods succeeded in defeating the monster, burying Typhon alive under a mountain that would one day be called "Etna". But the war was not yet over. Typhon's mate, the monster Echidna, slunk away into the shadows, vowing to avenge her husband. All the while, Typhon, still alive but trapped under the mountain's weight, continued to roar and spew fire and smoke, swearing his revenge against the gods… But now, we gaze further from that moment into the age of man, in part the growing city of Athens - one of the most knowledgeable places to come upon in the known world.
*Athens, Greece - 3,000 years ago. Out in a vast field of wheat, there was a quaint little farm with a small thatch roofed farmhouse made of clay, along with a barn and a pasture. Sitting on a rock on the edge of the field was a teenage boy with short blonde hair and wearing a tunic, sharpening a bronze sword with a piece of flint. This was Tyron. Unbeknownst to him, something was stalking him from behind, its body obscured through the wheat. Slowly, it crept closer and closer toward Tyron as he continued sharpening his sword. It was just about to pounce when…*
Tyron: *sits up* Don‘t even think about it, Blue.
*A small nine year old boy with a blue tunic and longer blonde hair pops out from the wheat field, looking a bit disappointed. This was Tyron’s younger brother, Darius, or Blue as he was simply called because of his interest for the color*
Blue: *annoyed* Aww, you heard me?
Tyron: *looks back at Blue* I could hear you for miles. If this was an actual war and I was an enemy soldier, you’d be dead right now.
Blue: *crosses his arms* Well you're no fun.
Tyron: *smirks* Yes, I am.
Blue: Oh yeah? Then let me play with your sword.
Blue: Ah, come on! Kids in Sparta get to wield swords when they’re five years old!
Tyron: Yeah, and Spartan women have to shave their heads and wear men's clothing when they get married, but you don't see mom doing that, now do ya?
Blue: But why do YOU get a sword and I don't?
Tyron: *sighs* We've been through this ten times already, little bro. Grandpa got me this sword because I'm going to be joining the army soon. And I'm doing that so YOU won't have to. *tousles Blue's hair* Little squirt like you wouldn't last ten seconds.
Blue: *sighs* Yeah, yeah, I know. But your sword's so cool though.
Tyron: *looks at his sword* Yeah, it is, isn’t it? *to Blue* You know, Blue. This is not an ordinary sword.
Blue: What do you mean?
Tyron: This sword is VERY special.
Tyron: I'll explain more when you're older.
Blue: No, tell me now.
Tyron: I don't think you'd believe me if I did, Blue. It's a lot to wrap your little head around.
Blue: Could you at least give me a hint? Like a tiny one?
Tyron: Okay… The blacksmith Grandpa bought this sword from? He said the metal came from the SKY!
Blue: *eyes widen* No way!
Tyron: Yes, way! When have I ever lied to you?
Tyron: Okay, this works a lot better when you don't consider it. But seriously, Blue, a sword is a gift worthy of great respect. It's not a toy to be played with. You could get hurt or worse.
Blue: *sad* I understand… *looks down*
Tyron: *smiles* Ah, go ahead. *hands Blue the sword* I can't stand to see you pout like that.
Blue: YAY! *tries to pick up the sword, only to struggle with its weight* Wow, this sure is heavier than it looks!
Tyron: It'll be a lot less heavy once you're older.
*Just then, the sword began to glow, emitting a soft humming sound. Both brothers were stunned to see such an amazing thing happen. Soon enough, the glow disappeared and the humming sound faded away to silence*
Tyron: What in the name of Zeus?
Blue: Whoa… What was that?
Tyron: I don't know… It's only ever done that for me.
Blue: What are you--
Tyron: Shh! Wait… You hear that?
Blue: Hear what?
*Just then, the wind began to change, making the two boys feel very uncomfortable. Suddenly, large figures were seen marching toward the farm. Upon closer inspection, the boys could see that they were tough looking soldiers dressed in blackish green armor, carrying banners, swords and helmets with long metal crests at the top that slopped back behind their heads. Just by looking at the fierce looks on their faces, these didn't seem like they were from Athens. Blue looked scared as he eyed the fierce looking bull pictures decorating the soldiers' helmets and chest plates; unable to move*
Blue: Tyron, who are they?
Tyron: Cretans… Blue, get back to the house! Run!
*Blue, too startled to question his older brother, quickly ran towards the farmhouse, but managed to look over to see his brother. His mother and father quickly came out to see what was going on. His father looked like a taller, older version of Blue, with short hair and a beard, and wearing a sky blue tunic, while his mother was a few inches shorter, her head barely reaching her husband's shoulder, had red hair wrapped in a bun, and was wearing a white tunic*
Blue's Mom: Blue? Blue, where is your brother?
*Blue panted as he pointed out toward Tyron out near the field just as the Cretan soldiers were approaching him*
Blue's Dad: Oh no…
*Meanwhile, the Cretan soldiers gathered around Tyron as their captain approached him, taking out a scroll from his belt*
Cretan Captain: Tyron of Athens?
Tyron: That depends on who is LOOKING for him.
Cretan Captain: *unrolls the scroll and reads from it* As you should be well aware of, every nine years, seven Athenian virgin youths are picked to be sacrificed to appease our lord, King Minos of Crete, as per agreement between our two kingdoms.
Tyron: Yes, I'm aware.
Cretan Captain: Then I’m sure you must realize why we've come.
Tyron: Actually, I kinda figured that out once I saw you comin’ up the road.
Cretan Captain: You should feel honored we picked you, Tyron. You will be sacrificing yourself to protect your beloved city state from war with Crete.
Tyron: Sorry, fellas, but I'm already gonna be serving my city state by enlisting in the Athenian army. Looks like you came all this way for nothing.
Cretan Captain: Hmm… Well then, perhaps we’ll just have to take you by force if you will not comply.
Tyron: *picks up his sword* You can try! Oh, and… your queen's a cow-lover!
Cretan Captain: *becomes very angry* How dare you?! *turns to the other soldiers* Don‘t just stand there, SEIZE HIM!
*All at once, the Cretan soldiers charged at Tyron, planting their banners in the ground and drawing their own short swords. Tyron blocked and dodged each blow the Cretans threw at him, but was eventually overpowered and pinned to the ground as his arms were bound behind his back, causing him to drop his sword onto the ground*
Cretan Captain: Take him back to the ship… and give him twenty-- No, FIFTY lashes! That will teach him to insult our queen. Blasted, uppity Athenians. The sooner King Minos decides to level this bunch of scholars and boy-lovers to the ground, the better off the world will be.
*Soon, the Cretan soldiers began to violently drag Tyron away from the farm. Seeing this, Blue slipped away from his parents' grasp and ran out to the field, in hopes to stop them. But by the time he got there, they were already too far away. But then he heard Tyron shouting at him*
Tyron: *yells out* Blue!! Listen to me!! Take care of our family! You've got to be there for mom, dad and grandpa! Use your wits to make a difference! I will find my way home and we will be together again! I promise!!
Blue: *yells out* TYRON!!!
*Blue began sobbing, as he dropped to his knees, watching as the Cretans dragged his brother out of sight and eventually out of Athens altogether. His parents approached silently behind Blue, allowing their son to release his sorrow. His mother laid a comforting hand on his shoulder watching teary-eyed, as his father only looked on to the far distance. They stood on that hill top besides an object sitting next to the boy, Tyron's sword, which gave off the same glow out of his line of sight*
*Nine years later…*
*Inside the upper room of the farmhouse, Blue, now seventeen and a half years old, lay sleeping in his bed and snoring up a storm as the sun slowly came up in the dawn from outside the window. Just then, the rooster was heard crowing off in the distance, just barely able to wake Blue from his sleep*
Blue: *lazily opens an eye* Eh?
???: Rawk!! Cock-a-doodle-doo!
Blue: *eyes widen* WAAAH!!! *tumbles out of his bed* Ow…
???: Time to get up, time to get up! RAWK!!!
Blue: Okay, okay! I know! *rises up to his feet and brushes himself off*
*Blue looked up to see a small green Conure parrot with red wing feathers staring down at him from a perch that was nailed into the side of the wall. This was Beleraphon, or just simply Bel for short, Blue‘s pet*
Blue: Mornin', Bel. How are you today?
Bel: *cocks his head at Blue* Rawk! *whistles*
Blue: Heh… I know the feeling. *takes the parrot onto his arm* Come on, let's go get some breakfast. How does that sound?
Bel: Breakfast! Awk!! Yummy!
Blue: *smiles* Heh-Heh, ain't it always? *heads out of the room*
*Meanwhile, Blue's mom, dad and grandpa were setting up the table as Blue and Bel came down the stairs. Blue‘s grandfather was a squat, chubby balding man, with gray hair on the sides of his head, along with a gray moustache and goatee, and was dressed in a slightly faded purple tunic*
Blue's Mom: Good morning, Blue.
Blue: Morning Mom, what's cookin’ today?
Blue's Mom: Rack of lamb, same as yesterday.
Blue's Grandpa: *smiles* Heh! I ain't complainin'!
Blue: *lightly smiles* As always, Grandpa…
Bel: Rawk!! *flies onto the table and eats a piece of bread*
Blue's Grandpa: *annoyed* Hey, that's my bread!
Blue's Dad: Any plans for today, son?
Blue: I was planning to go check on Leon today - he always has some wacky new gizmo or what-not to show me…
Blue's Grandpa: Feh! Leon… Why in all of Greece would you ever associate yourself with a boy like that? He's a strange one, he is. Building those insane contraptions, thinking he’s another Daedalus or something.
Blue: Hey, Daedalus' work would look like child's play if he knew what Leon's been working on. He says they'll help revolutionize all of Greece should they succeed.
Blue’s Grandpa: Well, all the same, I still think your friend is a complete and utter crackpot! No normal boy his age stays shut up inside all the time.
Blue: Heh! You’re one to talk! Didn’t you once tell me that YOU had some weird friends when you were my age?
Blue’s Grandpa: *sweat drops* Point taken.
Blue's Dad: That is how your mom and I met… *chuckles*
Blue's Mom: *chuckles* Now-now, enough talk… *presents the meal onto the table and takes a seat next to her husband* We have a big day ahead of ourselves, so let's eat to have some energy.
Blue: Oh, you folks have plans too?
Blue's Dad: Well the fields will need to be tended and we'll need to make sure we're well stock on fresh crops before the seasons change.
Blue: *nods* Of course. *to his grandpa* And you, Grandpa?
Blue's Grandpa: Heh - ya know me.
Blue: Yeah, you're right. You'll just sit in your chair and stare at the fire, like you love to do.
Blue's Grandpa: *chuckles* Darn tootin'!
Blue: *looks at Bel* Come on, Bel, let's go. *heads for the door*
Bel: Awk!! *flies off the table and after Blue*
Blue's Grandpa: Least I get my bread back.
*Smiling with amusement, Blue quickly ran out the door with Bel following close behind*
Blue's Mom: He's growing up so fast…
Blue's Grandpa: Almost starting to look like Tyron… *eyes widen in realization* I-I'm sorry.
Blue's Dad: N-No… It's alright.
*An eerie feeling crept upon the family, the memory of the sad day Tyron was taken flashed in their minds*
Blue's Grandpa: It will have been nine years in a few months.
Blue's Mom & Dad: *slowly nod*
*Silence filled the room as they gazed out the window of their house, toward the unknown in the looming distance, as if they were expecting something to appear in broad daylight. For whatever they feared to be true or how close of a reality it will be, their concern was how it would not only effect their lives but the life of the only child they have left*
*Later, within the confounds of the city of Athens, Blue rushed through the busy walkways to find his friend's home, dodging people on foot and mounted on horseback, as well as the slow wagons drove by ox and mule. Up ahead from the busy streets, a two-story building with white walls and an orange tiled roof stood. However, unlike the others around, there were a few additions to the home - one being a large bronze pipe that ran up from a wall towards the sky where white smoke rose from*
Blue: Wonder what he's got this time. *walks up to the front door*
*Without any warning, the door slowly opened by itself and a loud hiss of steam was made*
Blue: *coughs* Criminy!!
Bel: RAWK!!! Fire! Fire!! Man the buckets!! RAWK!!!
???: *calls from inside* Oh, Blue! Is that you? Come on in!
Blue: *gulps a bit from the doors, but soon enters the home* Okay…
*The inside of the house was filled with beakers, loose scrolls with sketches on them, tools scattered everywhere, and the air was filled with incense*
Blue: *looking around* Good Hera, Leon, have you ever thought of cleaning up the place?
Leon‘s Voice: No time, too busy…
*Just then, Blue could see a tall boy, about a year or two older than he was, with short brown hair, wearing a greenish tunic and a pair of leather bands around his wrists, sketching out a picture on a large piece of paper by the window. This was Leon, Blue's best friend*
Bel: *whistles* Messy, messy!
Leon: Hey, Blue. I see you brought Bel with ya.
Blue: Yeah… *smiles as he lightly pats the bird's head with a finger* He doesn't like to be left home alone with my parents… And Grandpa complains about him making too much noise, so I have to take him with me every time.
Leon: Well, I'm glad you came over.
Blue: Thanks. *coughs, waves the smoke away from his face* What’s with all the incense?
Leon: Clears my head, helps me think better and come up with new ideas for my inventions. Oh, and Athena over there seems to like it.
*Leon pointed toward a small white marble statue of the goddess, Athena, dressed in a long flowing dress, carrying a spear in her right hand, a shield in her left, and with a war helmet adorning her head, sitting atop a clay brick fireplace off in the corner, with eight burning incense sticks placed around it*
Blue: Jeez, I feel like I’m in a temple… A very messy, unorganized, poorly-attended temple.
Leon: What you call "unorganized", I call my creative process.
Blue: And this is why my Grandpa thinks you're an utter nutcase.
Leon: He can think whatever he wants. Nothing I haven’t heard before.
Blue: I’ll bet. So… What are you working on this time?
*Leon suddenly stopped sketching as he sat silent for a good long minute. He then took the paper in his hands and crumpled it up into a ball as he growled in frustration, before throwing it over his shoulder, hitting Blue‘s forehead and onto the floor*
Leon: Well, nothing anymore. *sighs* It’s a complete mental block. Every idea I've come up with recently just ends up crumpled up and on the floor! This NEVER happens to me!
Blue: So I’m guessing the incense isn’t helping, huh?
Leon: That or Athena has decided to ignore my pleas. Not that I can blame her.
Blue: *puts a hand on Leon’s shoulder* Oh, come on, man. Don’t say that. You’re one of the most loyal Athena worshipers I know of. She’d never let you down!
Leon: Then why haven't I been able to come up with anything good in two weeks?
Blue: *eyes widen* Whoa, seriously? That‘s a new record for you-- *composes himself* Uh, anyway, I’m sure there’s something here you’ve sketched that’d make a great invention.
*Blue searched through a pile of crumpled up pieces of paper on the floor before picking one out, un-crumpling it to see a sketch of what looked like a sort of bird-like kite or glider*
Blue: See, like this one of a…big…bird…kite thing?
Leon: It's supposed to be a flying machine. I based it off the design Daedalus made. You hold on to that handle there coming from the bottom and jump off a cliff so the wind catches you and moves you along. I know, it's ridiculous.
Blue: Well, I happen to like ridiculous.
Leon: *half-heartedly* Gee, thanks.
Blue: So, why did you abandon it?
Leon: Because I then remembered what happened with Daedalus' son, Icarus…
Blue: *eyes widen* Oh… Right.
Leon: I'm not gonna even bother with that until someone comes up with a sealant better than wax.
Blue: Or use something other than feathers?
Blue: You know, Icarus wouldn’t have died in the first place if King Minos hadn’t held him and Daedalus against their will. Lousy Cretans, always ruining everything…
Leon: *concerned* Oh, jeez… Blue, have you been thinking about Tyron again?
Blue: *sighs* I'm sorry. It's just that when you brought up Icarus… it just--
Leon: I know, man, I know… I’m sorry.
Blue: It’s been nine years since they took him away… And pretty soon, they’ll be back again… To take seven more… Just like they always do.
Leon: You don’t think they’re going to take YOU this time, do you?
Blue: They won't… because I don't intend to BE here when they come.
Leon: What do you mean?
Blue: I'm gonna join the Athenian army.
Leon: *eyes widen* Wha? Blue… the ARMY?!
Blue: Yup. I've been planning this for a few years now. Once my birthday has passed and I‘ve turned 18, I'm going to sign up for the army.
Leon: Blue, that has to be the craziest idea you've ever come up with, even crazier than that time you tried to train a DONKEY to herd sheep!
Blue: For the record, I had no idea that donkey was temperamental. It was either the donkey or the neighbor's pig.
Leon: Dude, BEL would've made a better candidate, and he's TINY!!
Bel: Rawk! Here sheepy, sheepy! Rawk!
Leon: Look, point is, Blue, the idea of you joining the Athenian army just to avoid being sacrificed is NUTS! I mean, look at you! You're so scrawny, you wouldn't last a minute in combat training!
Blue: *sarcastically* Gee, Leon, your enthusiasm is very reassuring.
Leon: I'm just trying to keep you alive, man. Suppose another war breaks out with Sparta? Those guys are RUTHLESS!
Blue: I appreciate your concern, dude, but the opportunity to fight for the army was stripped away from my brother and I'm not about to lose this one. *sighs* But you’re right, the thought of me joining is crazy. Heck, Tyron even said that I wouldn’t last 10 seconds… He also told me he was doing it so that I wouldn’t have to. But now that he’s gone…
Leon: Blue, I'm not saying you don't deserve an opportunity to prove yourself. But your brother was clearly the 'soldier' type and you, well… I'm sure you could aid the cause in 'special' ways.
Blue: *narrows his eyes* Like what?
Leon: *pause* Well… Give me a moment, it'll come to me… Eventually.
Blue: Well, if you’re so smart, why haven’t YOU ever thought of joining the army? I’m sure they’d put your ideas to good use.
Leon: Oh, no! No, no, no, no, no! No way! I do NOT build weapons for war! It’s not my style. Besides, I think we have enough ways to kill each other already.
Bel: *hides his head under his wing* Rrrr…
Leon: Which is why I'm begging you to reconsider your decision. Not just for your sake, but for the sake of your family. I mean, how do you think they'll react when you tell them you want to join the army? Or were you planning NOT to tell them?
Blue: Of course I'm going to tell them, Leon, and 'yes', they're bound to say no. But it's better to be honest than to have them find out later; otherwise, it'll be worse that way. I'm sorry, but my mind is made up.
Leon: *sighs* Then I sincerely hope you go with no regrets.
Blue: *nods* Yeah. Me too.
*Silence filled the room as Blue departed for home to inform his family the news, with Bel flying after him. Leon looked on as his friend left, fearing what could be the last time he ever saw him*
*As Blue traversed down the dirt road, Bel perched on his right shoulder, he passed several hooded figures sitting along the side streets and alleyways, most likely homeless. He kept his attention toward the road ahead, unaware of one particular hooded figure slowly turning toward the passerby. All of a sudden, a black snake slithered through one of his sleeves, wrapping around it's arm as the head reached the shadowed face of the mysterious stranger. At a glance, one would assume it was the man's pet, despite how eerie it appeared hissing through the man's hood as if speaking to him. The hooded man only nodded as he got up onto his feet, his figure towering the others who appeared too engaged with their own conversation*
*The man silently stalked Blue, who remained blissfully unaware he was being followed, through a crowded street, keeping a lengthy distance so as not to draw attention to himself. As Blue got farther and farther from Leon's home and the main streets, the man slowly slipped his hand into the folds of his robe, drawing a nasty looking dagger. The snake slithered out, hissing and wrapping around the man's wrist*
*Suddenly, Bel, upon spotting the hooded man sneaking up from behind with dagger in hand, squawked loudly, flapping his wings at a rapid pace, alerting Blue to the danger that was about to strike*
Bel: *squawking* RAWK!!! Alert!! Stranger danger!! RAWK!!!
Blue: Huh? Bel?
Bel: RAWK!!! DANGER!!! DANGER!!! BAD!!!
*Suddenly, Bel flew at the hooded man's face, swiping his claws, buffeting the sides of the man's head with his wings and pecking savagely at his nose and eyes. The hooded man was temporarily blinded, trying to swipe the frantic bird aside when Blue finally took notice*
Hooded Man: AUGH!!! Get off of me, bird!!
Blue: *shocked* Bel!!
Bel: *screeches* HELP!!!! GUARDS!!! THIEF!!! BANDIT!!! *flies to Blue's shoulder* RUN!!! RUN!!!
*Heeding Bel's advice, Blue began running as fast as he could to get away from the hooded man, pushing past several passersby in the process and even accidentally knocking a few down. The mysterious man, after readjusting his hood in the struggle, silently growled as he stormed after the boy. Any unfortunate passerby in his path was cast aside with a single gesture, while the man retained hold of that dreadful dagger in the other hand*
Blue: *looking over his shoulder* What is that guy’s DEAL?! I don’t even have any money on me!!
Bel: RAWK!!! DON'T STOP!!! KEEP RUNNING!!! RAWK!!!
Blue: I’m going as I can, Bel, but he just keeps coming!! I’m gonna have to try and lose him somehow!!
*For several moments, Blue ran through the sea of passerbys, who either barely paid little heed or simply passed through with annoyance. With Bel flying close behind, Blue kept running as hard as his legs could carry him never looking back. Eventually, Blue made a quick turn along a tight corner and pressed himself against the side wall of a building, taking deep breaths as quietly as possible. Slowly, he peered to see if his pursuer was still hot on the trail… Surprisingly, apart from the larger crowd, he couldn't see the hooded man anywhere*
Blue: *sighs in relief* Phew… I think we lost him.
No sooner did Blue make his way out from the corner, when a figure bumped in front of him knocking him down on the ground. Blue shook off the butterflies and looked up only to discover the mysterious hooded man, who stood before him ever so suddenly*
Hooded Man: I think not.
Blue: What the-?! But… How did you-?!
Hooded Man: You'll have all the time you need to figure it out... *grabs Blue by the shirt collar, hoists him up* in the UNDERWORLD! *draws his dagger again*
Blue: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hey, hey, hey! What do you think you're doing!? You can't kill me, everyone will see you!!
Hooded Man: This is a big city. People see their fellows murdered on the street every day and do nothing about it. I can stab you right here and now and everyone else will just go on their merry way while you bleed out.
Blue: Look, man, I’m sorry I don’t have any money on me or anything, but don't you think this is a tad extreme?
Hooded Man: Not really, no. Now hold still… *places the dagger near Blue's throat* Better you die with dignity than as a coward…
Bel: RAWK!!! *grabs the edge of the man's hood in his claws and yanks it down over his eyes* Night time! Night time! Who put out the lights?!
Hooded Man: YAH! Get off me, you blasted bird! *swings wildly*
*Bel continued to keep a firm grip on the man's hood, keeping it drawn down and blocking his vision. Just then, out of the man’s sleeve, the snake reappeared and as fast as lightning, fangs exposed, it struck Bel with a venomous bite on his leg*
*The sudden bite caused the bird to spasm and drop to the ground much to Blue's horror and shock*
*And just as quickly, the snake slithered back down the man's sleeve while he finally managed to grip his hood and unfolded his blocked sight. With the hood down, Blue looked on in silence before the man looming before him. At a glance, he would pass off as any human with the black hair that matched the beard on his chin, though sides of his head were shaven. Yet what sent chills toward Blue was not so much his gray eyes, but rather the long white scar across his left eye and strange sort of symbol burned onto his forehead that looked like a cross between a crystal and a tear drop*
Blue: What in the…?!
Mugger: Take a good look, you miserable mortal… *holds the knife to his eyes* It will be the last thing you ever see!
*Suddenly, Blue, filled with anger from what the mugger’s snake did to his parrot, shouted as he struck him in the kneecap with his foot and then brought his fist around to strike him in the chin, sending him sprawling*
Blue: Don’t you EVER mess with my bird, you ugly glob of donkey spit!! *picks up Bel* Hang on, Bel! I've got you!
*As Blue ran off into the crowded streets to get help for Bel, the mugger got back up onto his feet and was about to chase after him again, when the black snake slithered out of his sleeve and glared at him with its unblinking eyes. The mugger, trying to ignore the snake, made several attempts to continue his chase after Blue, but every one of them was met by a ferocious hiss from the black snake, whose eyes glowed bright red as it exposed its sharp fangs. Finally, with pure rage in his eyes, the mugger nodded and pulled his hood back off, running down a side street*
*Later, back inside Leon’s house, Leon was still sketching away when a loud, rapid knocking was heard from his front door. Frustrated by the knocking, Leon groaned as he tossed aside his piece of charcoal, and got up to answer the door. He pulled the door open, only for Blue to practically fall on top of him*
Leon: What the--?! Blue?!
Blue: Leon, please help! It's an emergency!! Bel's hurt!
Leon: Hurt? What happened?
Blue: We were attacked by a mugger and Bel was trying to protect me when his pet snake bit him!
Leon: A snake? What kind?
Blue: I don’t know, but it was black with red eyes and big fangs! Pease, Leon, you have to help Bel!! I don’t want him to die!!
Leon: Okay, okay, I'll see what I can do. Bring him inside.
*Blue carried Bel further inside Leon's home, as the bird struggled to breathe and spasmed in-between. Passing several rooms and into Leon's study, Blue gently laid his bird onto a table as Leon began to look through a collection of clay jars and urns, pulling out various powders and dried herbs*
Blue: I hope you know what you're doing.
Leo: Well, without knowing the exact species of snake, this is mostly guesswork, but I'll do what I can.
*Leon dropped the items into a mortar and began to pestle them into a fine powder before dumping it into a small flask of water and shaking it until the liquid turned bright blue*
Leon: Here, poor it onto his wound. It should neutralize the poison.
Blue: What is it?
Leon: Well, it's a little complicated, but, essentially, it's a potion that will bond to the venom in Bel's bloodstream and shut it down before it kills him.
Blue: And if it works, it'll cure him?
Leon: Hopefully. Like I said, I don't know what snake species bit him, so we'll have to leave it to the Gods from here.
*Blue nodded as he walked over to the crippled Bel and gently poured the potion into the parrot’s bite wound. Bel gave a hissing squeal of pain and weakly flapped his wings for a moment out of reflex before falling silent and still. At first, Blue was terrified, but he then saw the little bird's chest gently rising and falling*
*Meanwhile, far off from the house and off in the wooded outskirts of Athens, the scarred mugger was pacing in agitation, dragging his dagger through the bark of the ancient trees. He began to shake the sleeve of his tunic until the black snake slithered out and coiled up on a rock*
Mugger: What was THAT about back there?! We had him right where we wanted him, why did you stop me?!
Snake: *raises its head* Patience, my friend. The scuffle was beginning to draw attention. Any longer, and the city guards would've been on us.
Mugger: Guards. Heh! Like they’d ever be a match for me…
Snake: Says the man who got bested by a parrot.
Damon: You said he would be an easy kill, a quick job and we move on with the plan! It’s not my fault he had that psychotic bird protecting him!
Snake: I didn't think it was important. Besides, after that bite I gave him, my venom should’ve taken its toll on the mangy little thing by now.
Mugger: You should've bitten the BOY! What are we supposed to do now? That kid will have his guard up in case we try again!
Typhon: We've been over this, Damon! That boy has PROTECTION. Even if I DID strike him, most likely he'd be immune to my poison, especially in Athena's own city. We need to be SMART about this.
Damon: Well, then come up with an idea or something! You're supposed to be the one with the plans! You know, if you weren't necessary for me to get my revenge, I would--
*The snake hissed fiercely as its eyes burned with crimson light. Suddenly, Damon began to scream, falling to his knees and grasping at his throat, his own eyes shining with the same light as black scales began to sprout across his skin and the mark upon his forehead caught fire*
Snake: Do NOT forget, Damon, that I hold controlling interest in our partnership. You do as I say, or the pain you are feeling now will be a mere tickle compared to what you will feel when I tear your BONES out through your SKIN! AM I MAKING MYSELF CLEAR?!?!
Damon: YES!!! YES, YOU ARE!!! NOW PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP!!!
Snake: Make it stop, WHAT?
Damon: MAKE IT STOP, MASTER!!!! I BEG OF YOU!!!
Snake: Very good.
*In an instant, Damon's pain ceased, the black scales vanished from his skin and the mark on his forehead returned to normal. Feeling weakened by the experience, he lay down on the ground, panting for breath*
Snake: Now you listen closely. My time in this body is nearing its end and I must recuperate my strength. So in the meantime, I'll try to think of a way for us to handle that boy. You wait for me and don't do anything until I say so. Do you understand?
Damon: *panting* I… I understand.
*With that, the snake was consumed in fire, collapsing into a pile of black ash before Damon and then blowing away in a gust of wind*
*Meanwhile, back at Leon’s house, after the potion had been applied to Bel’s bite wound, Leon was bandaging up the little parrot’s leg as Blue petted him on the head to keep him calm and gave him water to drink*
Leon: *finishes* And there we go. Just let him rest for a few hours and he'll be back to his old self in no time.
Blue: *sighs* Thanks, Leon. I owe you one. *picks up Bel and gently cuddles him* I thought I was gonna lose you, buddy.
Bel: Rrrr… Blue… Friend…
Leon: Anyway, Blue, back to this mugger you were talking about. Are you sure he wasn't after any money?
Blue: *puts Bel back down on the table* Like I told you, he just jumped out at me and tried to KILL me!
Leon: Well, there are a lot of sick people like that in this city, especially around the slums.
Blue: Yeah, but this… this was different. He was after ME, specifically. It was like... I don't know… he had something AGAINST me.
Leon: You said you were able to see his face when Bel removed his hood. Do you remember what he looked like?
Blue: Well, yeah. He was pale. He had this short black hair and a scar over his eye… and then there was that weird tattoo on his forehead.
Blue: Yeah. I've never seen one like it before. It kinda looked like a diamond. A diamond inside of a circle.
Leon: Diamond inside of a… *eyes widen in realization*
*Quickly, Leon took a piece of paper from his table, along with the piece of charcoal and quickly drew the diamond shaped symbol Blue described on the mugger’s forehead*
Leon: *shows Blue the drawing* You mean like this?
Blue: Yeah, that’s it! Exactly like that.
Leon: Oh jeez… That is NOT good.
Blue: Why, what’s wrong?
Leon: *begins to toss scrolls off his shelves before pulling one away and opening it* Because, Blue, THAT… is the symbol of TYPHON!
Blue: *raises an eyebrow* Who?
Leon: TYPHON! The ancient primordial monster Zeus fought at the beginning of the world, remember?
Blue: Uh… *sweat drops* Refresh my memory? Eh, heh, heh…
Leon: *sighs* According to Hesiod's Theogony, Typhon was given birth by the Earth Mother, Gaia, as revenge at the gods for their destruction of her offspring, the Titans, including Zeus’ father, Cronus, who was their king. Zeus eventually defeated Typhon and buried him under Mt. Etna to keep him prisoner forever. Ever since then, he’s been trying to get out, but to no avail, angrily spewing fire and smoke from the mountain’s top.
Blue: Yikes! Now I see why you’re so worried. So why do you think that guy had Typhon’s symbol tattooed to his forehead?
Leon: Well, the Titans might've been monsters… but they DID have worshippers, you know.
Blue: And he was trying to kill me because…?
Leon: Who knows? Either for a blood sacrifice to Typhon or perhaps he was just bloodthirsty himself. One thing’s for sure, both you and Bel are lucky to be alive.
*Just then, there was a knock at the front door. Hearing it, Leon excused himself to go see who was there. Opening the door, he saw it was a seemingly hunched old woman with gray hair and a wrinkled face, adorned with a dark gray hooded cloak. From the way her hands were shaking and her lips so dry, she looked like she hadn’t had anything to eat in days*
Old Woman: Excuse me, young man. I hate to trouble you, but could you possibly spare some food and drink for a poor old woman with nothing in the world to her name?
Leon: Oh! Um, well… You see, I'm a little down on my luck myself and…
*Just then, Blue appeared by Leon’s side, seeing the old beggar woman out on the street
Blue: Leon, what’s the matter with you? Don’t you know all beggars are under the protection of Zeus and Hermes?
Leon: Well, yeah, but…
Blue: *to the beggar woman* Why don't you come inside? I'm sure we can find something for you to eat. *to Leon* Right, Leon?
Leon: Uh, right, right. Come on in. *extends a hand*
Beggar Woman: Oh, thank you, young man. How very kind of you. *grabs Leon’s hand*
*Blue and Leon carefully helped the old beggar woman inside and sat her down on a chair next to Leon’s drawing table*
Leon: Sorry about the mess… And the incense. If I’d known we were going to have company, I’d have cleaned up… *looks to Blue, eye narrowed in annoyance*
Beggar Woman: Oh, that's all right. Anything is better than being outside in the hot sun.
Blue: I'll get you some milk. *to Leon* You do have milk, don't you, Leon?
Leon: Of course I have milk. I just went to the marketplace for some this morning.
Blue: Great, I’ll go get it. *goes into the kitchen*
Leon: *to the old woman* Uh… Please excuse my behavior at the door, it’s just that… You caught us at a bad time is all.
Beggar Woman: I understand, young man. After all, I'm a strange person who just showed up at your doorstep when you and your friend were clearly distraught. Who would simply allow one such as me into their home with no hesitation, eh? *cackles*
Leon: *uneasy* Uh… Yeah, right.
Blue: *comes in with a glass of milk* Here you are, ma'am. *hands it to the beggar woman*
Beggar Woman: Oh, thank you, kind lad. You've done this wretched old soul a service I can never properly repay. *begins to drink*
Blue: You’re welcome. Always happy to help. Anyway, I gotta get home before my parents worry about me. *walks toward the door*
Leon: *grabs Blue by the arm* Blue, wait! You can't go now. What if that crazy cultist shows up again? You barely got away this time! You might not get lucky twice!
Blue: Look, I'm sure he got the message. Right now, I gotta get Bel back home. Mom's going to be crazy enough with worry as it is.
Leon: Is it really worth risking your life? Oh, who am I kidding, you're already doing that by wanting to join the army!
Blue: *groans* Don’t start that again…
Leon: You really think you'll honor his memory if you march off to DIE?!
Beggar Woman: Your friend is right, Darius. Besides, there are greater things in store for you than to simply be another nameless helot.
Blue: Hey, even some of the greatest commanders started as… *pause* Wait… How did you know my real name?
Beggar Woman: I've been watching you a long time, Darius. Ever since the day your brother was taken from you by Minos' soldiers.
Blue: *eyes widen* Who are you?
*Suddenly a bright light slowly began to manifest around the elderly woman and quickly engulfed her. When the light faded, in the old woman's place was a beautiful young lady with long, braided ebony hair. She wore a blue skirt with a sash, along with a bronze breast plate, armored gauntlets on her arms, armored boots, a bronze owl shaped shoulder guard, and a bronze helmet adorning her head. In her right hand she held a long spear, and a small barn owl was perched on her left shoulder. This was Athena, goddess of war and wisdom*
Athena: This give you a clue? *smiles*
Leon: *eyes widen* Uh… Eh… It's Athena! You're Athena!! I mean, of course you know who YOU are… Guh… *falls to his knees* Forgive me, o mighty goddess! I have failed your test of kindness, I am unworthy of your--
Athena: Whoa, whoa, easy there, Leon! No need to grovel, it doesn't suit you.
Blue: Athena? *looks at the statue on Leon's fireplace* Wow, you look nothing like Leon's little statue!
Leon: Huh? *looks up at Athena's face* Hey, he's right. You look no older than I am.
Athena: Well, I AM one of the younger gods, you know. Eternal youth don't hurt, either. *looks at the statue on Leon's fireplace* Ugh, I hate those things! Like I REALLY want to look middle-aged.
Owl: Hoo. *fluffs up his feathers*
Leon: So, uh… What brings you to my home, o goddess of wisdom and strategy? Again, sorry it’s such a mess. Everything’s so unorganized and…
Athena: What you call "unorganized", I call a creative process. *takes a deep breath, sighs* LOVE the incense, by the way. Really gets the mind going, you know?
Leon: Oh… jeez… *blushes*
Athena: *to Blue* Anyway, my business here has to do with you, Darius.
Blue: Me? What did I do?
Athena: It’s not what you did, it’s what you’re going to do.
Blue: What is that supposed to mean?
Athena: You, Darius, have been chosen by the will of my father, Zeus, to restore the balance of the universe before it's too late…
TO BE CONTINUED…