Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Brothers Tuerl & The Staffs of Zeus - 11

Chapter 11-Untimely Escape
Alecto sat with his back to the giant statue.  His back felt like a frozen board.  He hardly dared to breathe in fear of what might come of the noise he made.  It was only now that he began to realize how small and frail his body was.  He sat in fear thinking of the tragedy that his last moments in life would be spent in this underground dungeon.  He closed his eyes for an instant thinking about this, and then as he opened them, he saw the glint of the golden armor.  Suddenly his strength came flooding back to him.  He pulled himself together.  He was not done.  He was not finished, and this was not his end.  He was a demi-god, and not just any demi-god.  He was endowed with the very power of the sea which Poseidon possessed.  And more than that, he had the mighty Achilles’ armor and the great Apollo’s bow.
His burst of courage overwhelmed his body with brevity, but then he felt a feeling of shame beleaguer him.  “No fear should ever enter my mind” he thought.  But still he had no idea what he was going to do, and he could hear the pounding of a pair of oversized feet coming towards him.  He looked around frantically, and he racked his brain for a quick answer, and then suddenly the voice came again.
“Trust your instincts.”
Alecto hurriedly fixed his eyes upon the statue behind him, and thought to himself “I need someplace to hide, I need someplace to hide.”  And then just as he thought this, the word “sconde” hissed silently from his lips.  He watched in astonishment as a piece of the statue dissolved to create a small doorway.  Not only did the doorway appear; however, but it seemed as though the inside of the statue had just been hollowed out for his use.  Hastily he dropped onto his belly and crawled through the opening, and as soon as his feet cleared the small opening, it closed silently behind him.
He had entered not a moment too soon, for as soon as the doorway disappeared Deimos’ ugly head leered around the statue.  But instead of seeing an infinitesimally smaller Achilles, he saw only the crimson floor, and the back side of Ares.  He grunted as he twisted his muscular head and stomped off, away from the statue.
Now that Alecto was in a position of safety, he began to take in his newest prison.  Inside the statue it was, as one might expect, rather dark; nevertheless, it was not pitch black.  Instead he saw two slits above him, on the wall, where light was flooding torrentially into the small room.  He stared at this spot for a while, realizing it was the eyes on the statue.  He wondered if there was a way for him to reach the eyes.  If there was a way, he would effortlessly have a bird’s eye view of what was going on at the front of the great hall.
Alecto looked about him as he thought and suddenly his eyes rested upon the blue staff.  For the first time he had a moment to examine the staff.  He thought it looked brilliant, for even in this light it shone with a dazzling radiance about it.  Alecto’s heart took courage as he looked at the glimmering object, he picked it up and he felt his heart stir inside of him.  Just touching it set light to a burning desire in his heart to do something special.  It was a fire which had long been dormant.  He wondered if this happened every time he handled the staff.  He thought to himself that he had not had this feeling when he first picked it up.  But then again he had not really had time to record his feelings the first time he had picked it up.
Now holding the warm wood in his hands, he felt he could do anything, but first he felt like he needed to reach the two eyes above him.  As he contemplated what to say, the word “togliere” burst abruptly from his lips.  He felt himself begin to rise in the air.  It was a strange sensation, rising through the air with magic, and although he had never had something like this happen, he felt he knew what to do.  He concentrated his attention at the two holes, and he rose steadily towards them.  Finally he came to a halt.  He was now standing motionless in the air, peering through the two eye slits directly in front of him.
At the end of the hall stood one of the brothers, Alecto guessed it was Phobos.  As he watched, the brother became restless and began to pace back and forth in front of the tunnel.  Alecto watched apprehensively as the solid mass blocking the entrance to the tunnel stepped to the side.  He was afraid they had blocked the entrance, in an attempt to keep him in, but he was relieved to notice nothing in front of the entrance.  It looked like the brothers were so convinced that nothing could get by them (An idea with which Alecto wholeheartedly agreed) that they had overlooked the obvious need for something to block the entrance.
As he thought this, he felt a disturbance in the air around him and looked down to see Deimos trudge haphazardly past the statue.  He had passed directly below the face, and Alecto suddenly felt extremely queasy, and started to choke in his throat.  He had sniffed a large whiff of Deimos’ vile stench.  Six weeks (At least) without a bath only intensified Alecto’s dislike for the two of them.  Alecto coughed stealthily into his hand as he tried to prevent himself from tearing up from the horrid smell which clung to the air around him.
As he did this he failed to notice Deimos approach his brother and begin to whisper to him.  After he finished whispering the two brothers glanced uneasily around the hall in front of them.  Of course all this Alecto failed to notice because he was gasping for air, but in case you, my sons, are wondering why Deimos looked unnerved.”  Jennifer looked at the two sons and only then realized both of them had drooping heads, and were rapidly blinking their eyes in an effort to stay awake.  She blinked herself, realizing how tired she herself was.  She yawned and like a chain reaction both sons started yawning as well.  In fact the whole table began to yawn.  She came out of the yawn first and asked.
“Shall we wait to finish the story another time?”  And before she even had a chance to look inquiringly at her sons Idus answered hastily, but in a slow tired voice.
“No, we want to hear the rest of it.”  His voice rang out wearily, and yet it was unquestionably firm.
His mother sighed and then continued the tale.
“As I was saying, although Alecto didn’t realize it, the two brothers had just discovered that Apollo’s bow was missing.  However, Deimos had failed to recognize Achilles’ armor had disappeared as well.  But the brothers were terrified of the person who might be in their dwelling.  The facts, to them presented themselves like this:  Deimos on awaking saw a golden flash of light at the doorway to the hall, next he could find no intruder in the entire house, it looked as though the thief had just disappeared, and finally, when he found the bow missing he felt he knew who the intruder was.  For from these facts it could only be one person…The great Apollo himself, and if Apollo was there, they were in a very dangerous situation, for neither of them stood a chance at besting Apollo.  Let alone a ticked off Apollo, which he undoubtedly was.
They knew they were in trouble.  Ares himself, when he had brought home the bow, had told them that if it ever went missing to fear for their very lives.  They were immortal it is true, but they had heard a rumor, which Ares confirmed, that if one of Apollo’s arrows was to hit a god dead center in the heart.  It would break the binding link between body and soul and the god would become mortal and inadvertently die.  Now, they knew that as soon as they reached the river Styx, Hades would recognize them and restore them to immortality, but the thought of the pain which accompanied death did not sit well with the two brothers.
That such an idea would have occurred to the brothers is, of course, absurd.  For Apollo was one of the gods on the tribunal and would undoubtedly be at Ares’ murder trial, but as all too often happens, when fear is present, intelligent thinking is shunned, which causes only more fear and unrest.
Now all of this Alecto missed, because he was too busy trying to quietly waft away the air surrounding him.  Finally he succeeded and took a deep gasp of the clear crisp air near him.  He felt life rush back into his body with this breath of air.  His body became invigorated again as he gazed back at the two brothers, trying to form a plan to escape from this death trap.  Then he felt an eccentric idea form in his head, and although he had not seen the brothers’ uneasiness his instinct told him this was what he should do. So before he truly knew what he was doing, he was shouting at the brothers in a deep earth-shaking voice.
“Deimos! Phobos!  You two have lain hidden too long in this wicked lair.  It is time you paid for your sins against humanity.  I, Apollo, have come to repay your wrongdoings with vengeance.  To implement pain on those who will not do right.  And to execute judgment on thieves who steal my weapons.”  He spoke the last words with his own kind of poetic flair, but really he did not need to.  For after the words I, Apollo, the brothers had gone scampering to the door to the left and had slammed it shut with an enormous force, and now were throwing everything they could against the door, to create a “life protecting” barricade.  Alecto smiled at his own wit as he descended to the floor and crawled back under the opening which had reappeared.
Back into the dull light of the great hall, Alecto wasted no time in sprinting hastily for the tunnel.  As sure of himself as he was, there was no telling when the brothers might think something was amiss and come after him.  But his worries were groundless, because he had managed with his few words, to strike such fear into the hearts of the brothers, whose names were fear and terror, that they were at that moment, cowering on the floor, behind the sofas which they had thrown into their barricade to block the doors, and they were trembling at the very thought of death, which had never reared its ungainly head so close to them.

So Alecto was able to run unheeded through the great hall and through the tunnel, but as he approached the entrance to the tunnel he heard shouts and the clashing of weapons outside.  Undeterred he ran boldly on into the blinding light of the setting sun, confident he could take on whatever new threat presented itself to him.

Chapter 10                     Chapter 12

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