Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Brothers Tuerl & The Staffs of Zeus - 10

Chapter 10-Thievery in Ares’ Chamber
As Alecto plodded down the winding tunnel in front of him, he had a little bit of time to survey the walls around him.  The tunnel was lit by the light cast from flickering torches on the wall.  Strangely enough, the torches seemed very old, as though they never burned out, and it looked as though the smoke which should have blanketed the tunnel by now did not exist.  Indeed from what Alecto could tell no smoke emitted from them at all.  Being as it was the entrance to a god’s dwelling; however, he was not very surprised.
As he went deeper into the mountain he began to notice some of the sharp corners had deep scars in them.  Alecto thought the grooves were undoubtedly made by the two scythes sticking out of the wheels of the war chariot.  A shiver ran down his spine as he thought how vicious and unforgiving those scythes must be, to have the ability to carve deeply in the cold stone around him.
As he ran onward, he felt the air around him start to get warmer.  His heart started racing as he saw the formation of a large opening at the end of the tunnel.  As he approached, he slowed down and crept warily towards the opening.  Finally he reached the opening and gazed with wonder upon a colossal ornate hall.  He gasped at the beautiful vista which opened before him.
Everything from the floor to the roof was magnificently decorated.  The floor was hard as stone and yet it was a crimson red, a color which Alecto had never seen in stone before.  Mighty marble pillars held the proud roof above him.  The roof itself contained many warlike pictures, although they did not in themselves appear gruesome, only heroic.  But perhaps the most awe-inspiring object in the whole hall was an enormous bronze statue of Ares, fully armored, with his sword pointing up into the sky.
Alecto looked at this monument and snorted as he tried to contain his laughter.  “Now that’s when you know when you’ve become an egotistical buffoon.”  Alecto muttered to himself.  “When as a god, the largest tribute to yourself is in your own home, where only you can see it.  What can you do with it, pretend to worship yourself?”
After a few seconds of staring into the great hall, and struggling to regain control of himself, Alecto finally entered.  He began walking towards the far end of the hall, to inspect another doorway at the far end.  But as he walked he noticed, out of the corner of his eyes, two doorways, one on either side of the great hall.  He stopped not knowing which way to go, and then he remembered Poseidon’s advice.
“Trust your instincts.  They know more than either of us can ever pretend to know.”
As he thought this, he felt a strong desire to go towards the left door.  So he did, after all it was time to trust his instincts.  He approached the door confidently and found it to be a large field with stables.  It seemed Ares had decided to keep his horses here where he could protect them.  Alecto decided it was a wise choice, because otherwise he would most certainly have come in the dead of night and purloined those fascinating animals.  Next he felt the desire to approach the Iron doors at the back of the hall.
He walked towards them and went to give them a powerful shove only to discover that they swung open easily.  Inside was probably the most gorgeous addition to the dwelling.  It looked as though it was a war museum.  Hundreds of weapons were showcased on ornate stands in the hall.  Alecto examined the objects around him, but suddenly at the end of the hall he saw something, which fixed his gaze.  There, on a huge stand, was a beautifully carved golden bow.  Next to it was an equally superb quiver of arrows.  Alecto did not need anyone to tell him what this was.  He knew this was the unmatchable bow of Apollo, but he could not understand how Ares came to own it.
However, he decided whatever the reason, if it was no longer in the care of the true owner of the object, it was fair game to take.  So he ran, blatantly, straight up to the bow and lifted it from its “trophy mount”.  He lovingly lowered the bow and quiver, admiring their every feature.  The draw in the bow was unmatched.  He had never felt something so powerful and yet so easy to draw back in his life.  He smiled with satisfaction, he was beginning to really enjoy this “task”; demigods really did have more fun.  He lifted the bow and quiver over his shoulders and carried them with him as he surveyed the rest of the room.
He carefully scoured the room, anxiously hoping that there would be something else of value, which he could “reclaim” from its “mount”.  He walked quickly through the items noticing swords, shields, and spears galore, but he already had a sword, and he felt shields and spears would only weigh him down.  Suddenly he felt his heart stop.  He gazed in astonishment at the sight which met his eyes from the other end of the hall.  He saw, at the other end of the hall, right next to the door, a suit of golden armor.  He felt his heart beat start again as he stared longingly for the armor.  He knew this armor, for all demi-gods are told the tale of one of the greatest of their order.  This was the golden armor of Achilles.
He strode forward and reached for it with shaking hands, as gently as he could, he lifted the armor off the pedestal and over his head, onto his brawny body.  Quickly he secured the straps and bound the shiny armor to himself.  Then he lifted up the fearsome helm, which not only had a plume but also wing-like carvings in the side of it, and slid it over his slick black hair.  Then he grabbed the bow and quiver and slung them over his now iron body.
Alecto looked awestruck at his new appearance.  He could not believe he was wearing Achilles’ armor.  He was incredulous at how light the armor was.  He began to bend his arms and legs and began to be overwhelmed at the dexterity he felt in this armor.  Not only was it light, but it was exceptionally flexible.  He decided he must keep these items.  He left the iron room, closing the doors behind him and began his trek towards the last remaining door where the staff was sure to be.
As he approached the wide opening before him, he began to hear the sounds of a faint snore.  As he drew closer to the doorway it became more and more pronounced.  Finally he reached the opening, and he peered cautiously inside.
This room was much smaller than the other two rooms, although it was equally extravagant.  Inside were two large sofas which were definitely not of Greek make.  It seemed to Alecto that they were made out of some extremely fine, soft, smooth material.  In all reality they were silk, and Ares had received them as a gift for helping in a Persian war, but not only could Alecto not know that, but he was suddenly distracted by a huge movement on the sofas.  He watched, alarmed, as he prepared for the worst, but nothing happened.  Instead the movement just rose and fell and then Alecto realized where the snoring was coming from.
On the two sofas before him were two of the largest men Alecto had ever seen.  If he would have to classify them in terms of size, he would have named them two monsters.  They were behemoths, the like of which he had never before seen.  He stared, fascinated at the two gargantuan rising and falling chests.  It seemed like every bit of the two brothers’ being was muscle.  And here they were sprawled out on the sofa in obvious disarray; they looked just as though they were two enormous piles of muscle.  Alecto stared in surprise at the two of them.  He had not expected such enormous companions in the two brothers.  Surely they were sons of the god of war, but he did not think they were sons of the god of strength.  Indeed he thought Atlas must appear quite microscopic in comparison with these two. 
After a few moments like this, he finally pushed his jaw closed (It had fallen open upon seeing the brothers) and proceeded to creep into the room.  He had decided that he might as well get the dirty work accomplished before the two brothers awoke.  He snuck stealthily towards them and peered apprehensively up at them.  Now from this close angle he became surprised that the large sofas could support such weight.  He watched as an extremely minute fly (At least in comparison with these two) landed on a fat, large ear.  Alecto watched with a mirthful expression as the out of place, overly large ear began to twitch rapidly, as though in an attempt to get rid of the itch the fly created.
The thought occurred to Alecto that if the brother’s woke up, and he tried to punch one of them.  The one that had been punched might lean over to the other and ask if a fly had just landed on him.  It was not a happy thought, so therefore, Alecto thought it an extremely high priority, now that he had seen the brothers, to find the staff and get out as fast as possible.
He was now close enough to the brothers to have their heavy breath leave traces of moisture on his skin.  Suddenly the brother with the fly stirred.  Alecto froze, clinging to the idea that if the brothers woke up, he had one thing on his side and that was speed.  But the brother only rolled over onto his belly and dangled his arm off the sofa.  Idus began to breathe a sigh of relief but before it came out, he saw something that made him gasp.
In front of him, under where the brother had just lain, was the staff.  His heart almost leaped for joy at having found it so quickly.  But now he felt a sudden pang of fear in his stomach.  The brother had obviously been laying on it on purpose.  He was protecting it.  Ares had suspected Poseidon would try to recover it, and he had taken precautions, by giving it to the brothers to keep safe.
Alecto thought to his chagrin that if the weight of the brother didn’t crush the staff, surely there was no safer place than underneath one of those massive bodies, and although now he knew where it was.  He was now left with the problem of how to get it away unnoticed.  He sat and pondered on how to remedy this unforeseen problem.  He could not just jump up on the brother’s lap for he might wake up.  He couldn’t just go to the back of the sofa because it was too large.  It stood at least twenty feet in the air.
He kept thinking but try as he might, no solution presented itself.  He had finally decided to resign himself to defeat, when all of a sudden he had the idea that maybe, since the staff was made out of SEA wood, he could control it.  He thought that must be the solution, but he did not know how to use his power to lift it.  With a slight sigh he decided to once again trust his instinct.  He told himself he wanted to pull the staff to him, and instantly the urge came to lift his arm and say the word baen.  Suddenly the staff rose into the air and flew into Alecto’s outstretched hand.
Overjoyed he ran, not heeding anything else, to the door of the room.  He just got outside when he noticed his footsteps were clanging in an eerie silence.  It was only then that he realized the loud cosmic snoring had stopped.  Terrified, he made for the nearest bit of cover which just so happened to be the statue of Ares.

“Phooobos!”  A dull bellow issued from the room he had just left.  “The staff is gone, and I just saw a glint of gold leaving the room.  There’s a thief in our house!!”  The voice echoed like a cannon shot in the great hall.  Suddenly the ground shook beneath Alecto’s feet as the two gargantuan brothers burst into the great hall.  “Block the entrance.  We’ll make this would be intruder pay.”  Came the low fearsome roar of Deimos’ voice.  Alecto had been wrong in two things that night.  The first was in thinking that satisfying his insatiable greed would come to absolutely no harm, and the second was in the thinking that he was faster than the two enormous brothers.  Indeed, now he realized it was a good thing he had run for cover instead of trying to make a break for the tunnel, because the brothers covered the entrance so quickly that he would have had no chance to escape.  Instead, he found himself-trapped.

Chapter 9                 Chapter 11

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