Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Brothers Tuerl & The Staffs of Zeus - 12

Chapter 12-Heroic Battle at Sunset
As Alecto burst into the sunlight his pupils shrunk in an effort to avoid the dazzling new light to which they had just been exposed.  Alecto was forced to close his eyes for a moment, and during that time the reverberating noise of fighting stopped.  At last, Alecto opened his eyes and was astonished at the scene which was laid out before him.
In front of him there were only two people, but unfortunately for Alecto, one of them was Ares and the other was a tall handsome figure.  This figure illuminated the air around him, as though he himself was the sun.  The man wore no shirt, only a manly Greek skirt about his waist.  His rippling pectoral and abdominal muscles defined his entire muscular structure, but the muscles were not the kind of soft unshapely and untrained things which rolled under Ares’ son’s skin.  Instead they were hard, cut, and imposing.  Not only were his muscles awe-inspiring, but his face appeared to be in the zenith of youth.  His short fluid golden hair blended marvelously with his warm, light blue eyes.  This was Apollo, the god of the sun, and he and Ares were both gazing transfixed at Alecto.
The step-brothers did not know what to think.  Here standing before them was a spitting image of Achilles, but instead of carrying a mighty spear and shield, he had a shimmering blue staff and Apollo’s bow slung over his back.  Apollo had an incredulous expression on his face, while Ares had one of shock and awe.
Alecto regained his composure first and smiled at the sight of the two confused gods.  Alas, he had come upon the gods at just the wrong moment, for only seconds before, these two had been in close combat with one another, but now on seeing Alecto their problems dissolved, and they both found what they thought was a common enemy.
You see my sons, after the acquittal of Ares at Areopagus; Poseidon had taken Apollo aside and had told him that it was Ares who had stolen his bow (How he found out where it was, no one will ever know, although most have decided it was just a lucky guess).  Upon hearing this Apollo became wrathful at the deceit of Ares and decided to make him pay.  He had flown with all haste to hunt down Ares and came upon him just as Ares’ chariot landed on the earth.  At this time Apollo had leapt from the clouds and landed lightly in front of Ares’ chariot.  And Ares in turn had jumped out of his chariot and the two gods had begun to duel.  Apollo had only two small daggers to fight with, compared to Ares sword and spear, but still he fought like a lion, but no one will ever know who would have won such a mighty foray, for at that moment Alecto exploded onto the scene.
Now both gods stood before him glistening with fresh sweat.  Apollo, having seen the bow, thought he had found the true culprit of his bow at last, and Ares on seeing the staff and the armor knew this was no Achilles, but a thief and a vagabond.  They stood on the edge of conflict for only a second, before Ares attacked.  He launched his spear at Alecto thinking it would easily finish off the criminal, but he was mistaken, for no sooner had it left his hand, then Alecto lifted his staff and cast a spell at the weapon, once again acting only on the whimsical theory of his mind.  He watched as the spell collided with the weapon in mid-air, but instead of demolishing the spear as Alecto had hoped it would do, it only slowed down its progress for a moment.  Alecto found himself having to leap clumsily to the side to avoid the weapons deadly blow.  The spear missed, but in jumping to the side Alecto had taken his eyes off his attackers, and in that split second Ares leapt at him.
Raising his sword high into the air above his head Ares flew through the air towards Alecto.  He meant to finish this mortal off as quickly as possible, so he threw all his weight into this mighty, bone crushing swing, but Alecto responded quickly.  On seeing Ares leap he had drawn his sword from his sheath and only just in time.  The two blades clashed and a resounding echo reverberated off the rock walls surrounding the area.  Ares pushed his blade with unbelievable strength towards Alecto’s armored neck.  The two bronze helms glared undauntedly at one another.  Ares’ crimson and Alecto’s blue plume hovered in the air.  Suddenly Ares’ blade flared into the same deep crimson, but Alecto’s blade answered, flashing into an icy unyielding blue.  Ares’ eyes registered surprise, only for a moment, but this moment was all Alecto needed.  He gathered all the might he could muster and pushed forward with his own godlike strength.  His timely thrust threw Ares backwards, pushing the stunned god off-balance.
Quickly Alecto shot to his feet, but before he could regain his own balance, Apollo bounded forward and tackled him once more to the earth.  Alecto’s sword flew awkwardly away into the rocks nearby, and his staff dropped uselessly to his side.  He looked helplessly at the dirt in front of him as the mighty, bare arms of Apollo wrapped around his armored torso and squeezed with a strength which he had never felt before.  He was paralyzed under the unforgiving grip of the sun god.  He felt the air slipping out of him.  He began to see darkness surrounding the outskirts of his vision, and he began to feel the agonizing pain that accompanies death. 
This was it.  He was truly finished this time.  There was no one to save him.  Truly he would die in the arms of Apollo.  Now he felt his very will to live begin to fall away from him, but suddenly he felt something in the soil next to him.  Not thinking he ungracefully clutched at it, only to discover that it was the staff which had gotten him into this predicament.  But instead of feeling hate and bitterness at the touch, he felt everything he knew and loved come gushing back into his body.  The dormant fire suddenly awoke in him again, but this time it was much more powerful.  He felt his muscles contract as he rose to his feet carrying the struggling Apollo with him and then suddenly a potent shock ripped through his body.  His shoulders convulsed outward breaking the death grip of Apollo, and at the same time his now iron hands latched onto Apollo’s back and wrenched him off of his own back.  He held him in these now jaw-like hands, and he looked deep into the aghast eyes of Apollo, before hurling him mercilessly at a boulder nearby.  Apollo struck the stone and then lay motionless with astonishment.  He had finally met his match.
Without a moment more of hesitation, Alecto turned around swinging his bow off his shoulders and promptly notching an arrow.  He took a quick aim and sent a golden dart soaring straight at the now gaping face of Ares.  The arrow struck him solidly between the eyes and Ares fell back unconscious, for although he could not die, his body still had its limits of pain and an arrow to the head caused it to shut down instantly.
Alecto surveyed the scene of carnage he had just created, and it was only then that he noticed Poseidon standing warily behind a rock below him.  He wore an extremely pleased expression on his face.  Alecto would have described it as positively gleeful.  He watched as Poseidon delicately pointed at Apollo and then folded his arms patiently.  Alecto nodded, understanding what he must do.
He strode towards Apollo and offered him his hand.  Apollo took it and stood up, and although he towered over Alecto; he had a look of admiration on his face.  Alecto smiled as he took off his quiver and bow and offered them back to their rightful owner.  Apollo looked with even more astonishment at Alecto.
“Here is a thing of wonder.  The subjugator offers the vanquished a gift.”  He gently took his bow and quiver.
“I thank you…Alecto, for am I mistaken in the identity of my powerful nephew?”  He winked knowledgably, as Alecto removed his helm revealing his flowing jet black hair.
“Now since you have defeated two of your uncles.”  He smiled as though the thought of it was endearing to him.  “And having shown at least one of them an extremely merciful gesture.  I, Apollo, must return the favor.  In return for your mercy, I offer you the priceless gift which only I, the god of prophecy, know.  It concerns you and your powerful brothers.  For it will not be long now, until you are separated by more than just geography.  Soon you will all be together again it is true, but this temporary separation from each other will create a greater rift in your hearts than you can possibly imagine.
I being the keeper of this prophecy did not deem it necessary to tell you until now.”  He shook his head sorrowfully.  “For until now I deemed I was stronger than all four of you and I could still govern your affairs.  I, Apollo, decided to disregard the prophecy thinking the four of you could still decide what path you would follow.  I, the keeper of the prophecies, should know better, but I was afraid that my own intervention in the affairs of the prophecy would only make it even more rigid and unchanging.
So instead I decided to place trials and hardships in the way of your quests, trying to make it almost impossible to accomplish them.  But once again I failed, or more likely, I was thwarted by destiny.  For as fate would have it, the entire pantheon of gods, except Poseidon, were busy preparing for the trial of Ares when you, and your brothers left on your quests.
Only one god last night was heeding the cries of mortals, and however unfortunately for me…It wasn’t me.”  His face now changed into a mix between aggravation and resignation.  “Instead, it was Poseidon.  He already knew the outcome of the trial, and he decided it was his duty to bring justice, vengeance, and retribution to Ares.  So instead of looking to the justice of the tribunal, he looked to mortals and to demi-gods in particular, waiting for you-Alecto.  For perhaps out of the entire Greek world, you were the only mortal suited for the task at hand.
And so even with my unfathomable knowledge and wisdom, the beginning of the end has started for the Greek gods.  For soon, your might power and glory will surpass ours.  It will not be long until we are swept into the abyss of history and thought of by some as a “myth”.  He spoke the last word with hideously foul, contempt.  “Indeed, it will not be long before our very legacy is forgotten.  For we can no longer protect mankind!”  His voice was growing higher and higher as he bemoaned his own fate.
“I realize now that I was horrendously wrong.  And, perhaps I shall remain in my misery forever.  The memory that I could have done something, but instead I decided to take a backseat and watch as the course of events unfolded.  I chose, yes, but I chose the course which led to my long foreseen doom.”  He stopped at the utterance of that fateful word, and a silence swept over them.  Alecto gazed at the now thoughtful face as the howling wind swept back his glistening hair.  It made him sad watching the depressed, handsome, youthful face.  He felt compassion in his heart for this now abased god.  He stirred and tried to console the dejected Apollo.
“But why is it your end?  Apollo, I’m afraid I don’t understand.  I do not seek to overthrow you or mankind.  Surely you are mistaken…”  He was cut off mid-sentence by a sharp reply from Apollo.

“No.  I am not mistaken” He said firmly.  “It is now obvious to me that you have passed out of my sphere of influence.  And therefore it is upon you that I must place my trust.”  He gave Alecto a pathetic look as a tear began to slide down his cheek.  “For you are ours and mankind’s only hope.”

Chapter 11                      Chapter 13

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