A New Olympian God
Did Zeus just spout nonsense? I was at a loss of words and so confused! Is it possible for him to have lost his mind? Or maybe he is joking!! NO, that cannot be happening. A god came all the way here… He is serious, the whole situation is serious. I do not understand. Why? Why me? I was looking down at the gathered crowd from the temple entrance. It is the same as before, claps and cheers, people screaming “The new god, our god!” Everyone has accepted Zeus’s choice without hesitation. I tried looking at the priests to get a better understanding, to clarify things. Instantly, as I moved my body Zeus grabbed me by the neck and muttered “We should leave now, Athena is waiting us back in Olympus.”
Right away the body-shaped light glowed and turned into a huge eagle. It grasped me with its gigantic talons without hurting me and started flying. You could distinctly hear the flaps from its massive wings moving up and down. Once we reached the altitude where mostly clouds were apparent around us Zeus in his eagle form started emitting rays followed by a thunder. Then a rocky mountain with steep slopes have emerged. In front of my eyes stands the highest summit of all Greece. A peak where only the gods have the honour to live and set their foot on. Humans are not allowed here, but today this comes to an end as I was chosen to be here and even more than that be a god. At the snow-covered mountaintop, a tall golden iron gate “guards” the gods’ mansion. It opened as soon as Zeus, who have changed into his human-form body and have left me down, approached. Even from such a near distance I was not able to see what is inside until the gate had opened wide enough.
The gods’ residence does not look like an entirely different world. It has the same architecture with Athens, the buildings, the streets, and the overall aesthetic is similar to our “human” city. The real difference between them is the absence of people, the human crowd making our towns to bustle with life. Here the only thing existing in the roads and alleys is golden statues. Statues of the same girl in different positions. Statues made with quality in mind and with great detail. Statues that seem impossible for a human to craft. I had a quick look in the space around me, when I noticed a small owl standing on Zeus’s shoulders.
“Hello, my dear human and new god. Welcome to Olympus. I am Athena, the goddess of wisdom.” said the owl as it transformed into a woman. Athena is a normal height woman with curly also normal length hair. She is not a woman of tempting looks, but she has her charms. Her body is slim and her face looks somewhat appealing. Definitely, her strong part is her perceptive eyes. I had the feeling she has already scanned me!
“I think your duty is completed, father. Allow me to take the reins and show our new god to his new home.” Athena told Zeus, while she kept looking at me. She speaks steadily and her facial expression does not “falter”. A disciplined face; focused eyes, a serious yet not stern look and tightly sealed lips not “letting out” even the slightest smile. Zeus turned again into an eagle and flied away.
“Follow my lead Isocrates, I shall conduct you through the gods’ estate.” Athena started walking and I followed. Her facial expression remained unchanged.
“The town we are currently walking is built by Hephaestus. That is the reason you see the same statue everywhere. It… she is his lost child, Pandora. Do—”
“Hephaestus had a child?” I interrupted Athena without thinking. It is a natural thing to wonder, as it seems we humans do not know much about gods. Also, a deceased child, I could not hold back, and I asked. I better be careful next time I decide to indulge in my curiosity. I am a god now, and I should watch my behavior.
“Do not worry though, I was about to say. Pandora is alive and fine. She is taken good care of by the priests.” Athena continued without showing any sign of annoyance after the pause. I was interested in the story about Hephaestus’ past and the “origin” of the town. So, I decided to ask questions freely, while trying not to irritate Athena.
“Could not Pandora’s mother take care of her?” I guess her mother must be a mortal, maybe a peasant, but I did not mention anything relevant, because love affairs between gods and mortals are a sensitive matter, even for us humans, so it might be even worse for a god, since they can lose believers.
“Pandora is the child of Hephaestus and Aphrodite. Hephaestus moulded her from soil and Aphrodite the goddess of love and intimacy breathed life in her. However, Hephaestus spent too much time with her and neglected his duties. Since then, the human faith in him had dropped significantly and he lost some of his powers. Because of that Zeus exiled Pandora from Olympus, he ordered Apollon to erase her memories of her father Hephaestus. Later on, Zeus took her in one of his many altars and told the priests to take care of her. Hephaestus was devastated, but he had plenty of powers left for him to implement his plan to reunite with Pandora and bring her back. He had retained his craftsmanship in certain fields. Though he could not create, anymore, excellent weapons out of almost anything. Still, he was exceptionally good at pottery, sculpturing and constructions of pretty much every building or machine. He perfected his technique after Zeus took away from him his beloved Pandora. He created this town to prove himself and ask for a second chance. He wanted him and Pandora to live together in this human resembling town, so he will never again forget his responsibilities towards them. Zeus became furious, he punished him even harder, for he has become obsessed with this kid. He forced him to destroy and rebuild this town in the entrance of our godly city, right behind the gate so everyone can see it. Next, he forced him to craft all these Pandora’s statues and filled the town with them to remind Hephaestus his failure and warn the other gods.”
Athena finished the narration, and I was left with a sorrow feeling. Hephaestus must suffer incredible to this day. I cannot even begin to comprehend his pain, the sadness that he felt and is feeling. Only one thing I could think of.
“What happened to him in the end?” I immediately asked and looked at one random Pandora statue. He made them so well. He must have paid tribute to her in this way. Now that I know about the history of these statues, I can sense his last goodbye to his Pandora!
“Hephaestus lost all hope after that. He became fully obedient and silent. He always carries out his obligations like he executes orders. You will not be able to see him today in our little tour, but you will meet him along with everyone else in due time.”
Athena responded with a concise answer, a comprehensive one, but empty of emotions. She showed no sympathy for him in her response. It might be an old story now, she might got used to it or Athena avoids expressing herself in purpose, she is the goddess of wisdom after all. I need to pay close attention to her actions, I must learn from her.
Temple of Delphi, back in Athens.
Zeus have left with Isocrates for Olympus, likewise most of the people have left the temple. They are heading to Agora, for there will be held a meeting. Only a few have stayed to hear the priests preach. Today was a remarkable day, the king of gods himself visited the temple, thus the crowd felt ecstatic and already left after they witnessed Zeus and his “eagle departure”. Even so, the meeting in Agora will not start unless all the important people are gathered there, and some of them are still inside the temple listening to what the priests have to say.
The priests have ended preaching. Everyone has left, except for Diomedes. The priests asked him to wait after they have ended their preaching to talk with him privately.
“Diomedes, we know you are a man of trust. You have shown your value, as one of the gods’ followers. We, the priests, also see you favorably. You have shown us that you are a precious believer, a capable and honest man.”
“I appreciate your kind words, my priests. How I may be of help to your sacred work this time? I have believed in gods since I was a little kid, and I always thought that they are telling me to keep up my faith through your support on me.”
“The gods have noticed your deep faith. They always welcome their beloved followers, and they always look after them. They have one simple and reasonable request. They want you to inform us about the tonight’s talk in Agora. They want to know what is troubling their children, simple as that.” The priests said that and returned back inside the temple.
“Then I shall provide for the gods!” Diomedes grinned and rubbed his hands
The already gathered crowd were waiting. Diomedes was the last one to enter the forum. He has a visible smile on his face. He looks cheerful and in a good mood. After he sat down the meeting started.
“A mortal, one that was here with us yesterday, became a god. The gods made it possible because they understand how important we are to them. Zeus himself chose Isocrates to be a god. We must not let the chance slip from our hands. Now there is a human in Olympus, and he is a god. We do not need to ask the gods to communicate directly with us. Now we can directly talk to Isocrates, and he can discuss our desires with the other gods.” Athenagoras started the conversation as usual. He cut straight to the chase!
“What you are proposing Athenagoras is not irrational by any means. Though we must give the gods and Isocrates some time. He has just become a god, and I am sure there are a lot of things for him to learn. Also, being a god might prove a heavy task. We should not hurry. The gods gave us an opportunity and we must not waste it. We shall stay silent and wait for the gods, Isocrates or whoever else, to contact us again, before we proceed asking for favours.” Meletios spoke in a calm and confident manner. He processes carefully all the options; he then constructs his arguments to sound compelling. He thinks, before he speaks.
“Always in a hurry! Am I right, Athenagoras? You never stop wanting more! Despite your SINISTER demands the gods have showed mercy. They even made a mortal into a god. Still, you desire more from them!” Diomedes looked at Athenagoras and said, as he kept on smiling.
“And you never stop wanting more authority and riches! You and your friends the priests! The only thing you care for is YOUR fortune and wealth! You do not want the priests to lose influence. So far everything went your way, and it must have been convenient. But now a human, not you, became a god. Oh, you must feel terrified!” Athenagoras retorted with plenty of anger, while standing up.
“Insults are not the way to do things. Don’t you agree Meletios!?” everyone turned the heads to where the voice came from. It was Alexandra, who was sitting behind Meletios and has now stood up. This time she is participating in Agora. She is allowed to because everyone is after today’s events. Besides, her penalty was for her not to take part only in the previous Agora.
“I will be your mediator! As a childhood friend of Isocrates, I will speak with him every time you want to ask the gods something. I will let him know all your concerns and needs.” Alexandra added and finished her sentence.
She looked around her, everyone was nodding, even Diomedes. It might have been the surprise element that convinced them so easily. Anyhow, Alexandra has achieved her purpose. She ended, at least temporarily, the conflict between Athenagoras and Diomedes. And she is now the “middleman” of gods and humans.
“Then be it!” Meletios shouted and continued speaking loudly “Let us have a cup of wine. Let us all celebrate together our new god, Isocrates!”
The crowd agreed and everyone headed to the tavern.