Chapter 4:

Ritual of godly powers acquisition!

A New Olympian God

The pitch-black shadow, the female figure stands between Ares and Zeus. She has just intervened before they started fighting again. It would have been the climax of their dispute over a subject its details I do not know yet. Athena has mentioned an incident with Hades, the god of the underworld and dead. But this time it is also the matter of Zeus’s choice to make me a god. I do not know the real cause behind Ares’ intrusion. Bookmark here

“I waited! I wanted to see if you could put some reasoning to your son’s head, but you were unable to stop him from fighting you. I do not blame you though, even with the help of the wise Athena you could not put an end to this fight without letting yours and Ares’ fists decide the result.” The black shadow is looking at Zeus and Athena, probably. It is not the easiest thing to tell where she is looking at. You cannot see her eyes or any body part. You are just watching her shape, the outline of her figure. Still, you can guess at least the direction she is focusing her gaze because of the head’s shape. Bookmark here

“And you my child, Ares, why are you so persistent on fighting Zeus? You know that your father is stronger than you, and yet despite your condition you did not quit! I have to admit my admiration for your spirit and will, but I hope you do not expect me to stay silent and see you falling on your demise!” The black shadow has turned her head and is facing Ares now. She is making a few steps towards him and extends her arms forward. Bookmark here

“Ησύχασε τώρα.” (“You can rest now.”) Says the black shadow with a calm, gentle voice. Her figure expands again wrapping Ares. Once her original woman-shaped form is restored uncovering Ares, he immediately falls unconscious on the ground. Did she kill him?! But she just said that she did not want to watch him falling on his demise! Bookmark here

“This will keep you quiet for now. So, let us proceed. Shall we, Isocrates?” The black shadow turns her back at the sleeping Ares and faces me. She is fixedly looking at me while approaching. I can sense her steady gaze upon me! She has come close enough, she is standing only a step before me. Bookmark here

“I believe it is time for you to learn my name, isn’t it?” Finally, I get to learn her name! Bookmark here

“My name is Nyx. I am a god as well, though not the same kind of god as an Olympian. I am a primordial god, an older and superior godly being.” She is Nyx! That explains how easily she could handle Ares, and why Zeus immediately stopped moving when he heard her voice earlier. From what Athena told me a little while ago she must be extremely powerful. But judging from her current behavior she does not seem that mean. She did not want Zeus and Ares to fight anymore. She expressed her dislike for fights and battles in general, because of their harsh consequences. Cursing Rea must have been a thing of the past for her attitude. Bookmark here

“And you are Isocrates, a human. Or I should rather say a god, but that would be proper only after I have finished my ritual. My purpose for being here today is to grant you godly powers.” It seems that a self-introduction is unnecessary. Nyx already knows my name and I suppose she also knows much more about me. Bookmark here

“And that I will do!” Nyx announces the beginning of the ritual. Her black figure expands once more. She covers the entire space around me leaving Athena and Zeus outside of it. Complete darkness surrounds me. A small light is glowing in the dark. More and more lights start glowing. They are stars. It is like I am staring at the night sky. Light transmits from a star to another creating a bright line connecting them. It seems random at first, but it reveals known shapes. Constellations are formed. Arcturus, Vega, Sirius, I can clearly discern them. Bookmark here

“Isocrates, you should know that I will not give you the godly powers. The powers will be given to you! Darkness will enter your body; it will travel inside you. Darkness will explore your very soul roaming over your thoughts, and you will receive your corresponding powers.” The space around me is shrinking and darkness is entering my body. Bookmark here

I cannot move, I am floating into dark. I feel nothing of my body, only my mind’s consciousness. My vision becomes blurry and I can barely keep my eyes open. I am hearing weird sounds, but I cannot understand what I am listening to. My ears are ringing! Bookmark here

“Ahh!” I wake up. I am in the same state as before. Nothing has changed. I am conscious although I still cannot move my body at all. My ears are not ringing anymore! My vision becomes clear again! Before my eyes all I can see is nothing but dark. I am only aware that I am seeing, I cannot distinguish anything around me. Suddenly I can see something glowing, the stars light up again. It is the same constellations. Arcturus, Vega and Sirius. My body is rotating towards their direction. They also gather close to each other. Bookmark here

“Hello, Isocrates. We are some of the many constellations of Nyx. It is a pleasure to meet you because that means your mind is benign on first look. On a very basic, superficial level that is. Someone could say your aura instead, in order to better describe it. Still, that is enough for us to accept you.” Bookmark here

The three constellations are speaking together in one voice. The declared my mind, benign on first look. Whatever that might means. I try to speak, talk to them but my effort to respond is in vain. Bookmark here

“You humans, and the gods to be utterly truthful, need words to communicate. But we don’t! We are speaking through notions and concepts. Our thinking is our speaking! Fear not though, we will talk to you for everything you need to hear. We will not let you on the dark.” The constellations reassure me, probably because they are able to read my mind. Bookmark here

“So, Isocrates without further ado let us begin our journey!” Bookmark here

My eyes shut. I am bewildered. For a moment I am feeling everything. It is like every thought on my mind, no matter how significant or minor, no matter how important or trivial, is coming to my main focus! But I cannot grasp it, I cannot perceive it, it is merely passing through my brain, I cannot process it! It is like I am thinking of everything understanding nothing! I am thoroughly dumbfounded! Bookmark here

“Easy, easy now Isocrates. Let us guide you in this journey. Let us inside your thinking. Let us connect with you.” the constellations speak to me. They are responsible for this brain storm! Bookmark here

“Ηρέμησε! Δείξε μας τον αληθινό σου εαυτό!” (“Calm down! Let us watch who you are!”) Bookmark here

My brain relaxes, my thoughts become less and less. My mind is clear. Only one thought left. Bookmark here

“Haha, Isocrates, you cunning kid. This is how you deceived your mother to buy you that spear and make your favourite food. You are quite cunning despite your young age!” Bookmark here

“Father, I did not deceive mother. I would never do that! I simply found a way to persuade her.” Bookmark here

“Hahaha, I see! That might be the case indeed, but next time I might tell her to rethink her decision.” Bookmark here

No, father! Please, do not tell her!” Bookmark here

It is a small kid playing with his father. That kid is me! That is my past! However, I do not remember this particular recollection, it just happened to recognise my father’s face. Bookmark here

“All right, all right! I won’t tell your mother! Happy now? Come here, you have to repay me for my kindness, not exposing your little trick!” My father grabs me by my belly and pulls me closer. It has been a while since I saw my father’s face for the last time. I never learned how he died. One day he never came back home. My mother left the house searching for him. She did not find anything, but she has only searched near the house. She told me that she would go to search for my father extensively and that I had to stay back, safe at home. She could not have taken me with her. Alexandra and her parents came to keep me company and look after me in this moment of... My mother returned a few hours later crying. She has never told me that my father was dead, not even once. I assumed and assume to this day that my father died back then. What else could have happened? Now that I am a god or at least I am to become one, I could think of other possible scenarios. My father though had no connection with the gods other than that of a believer. Bookmark here

“Father you are hurting me! Stop! Come on, stop! It hurts!” My father squishes me onto his body, he is hugging me tightly. To be honest he had never hurt me with his hugs, I remember that clearly. I just wanted to play more with him, to casually run more with him while chasing me. So, when I were getting bored of his hugs I were starting to scream. I liked it when he was hugging me, but not all the time. Sometimes it was a sign that he was getting tired. He was sitting down and hugging me to catch his breath. Sometimes that was the end of our game, but not the end of our time together. He was telling me stories or asking me various things with no certain context, whatever was crossing his mind at the moment. Bookmark here

“So, Isocrates, what do you think about your actions? Are you deceiving your mother or not?” Questions like this! Well, this one is on context since I had just told him, my little secret technique for persuading mother into granting my unreasonable requests. Unreasonable?! I wanted to practice spear and shield. I wanted to play more with the other kids. I wanted to eat the food I like. Every time I wanted to convince my mother; I was doing the simplest thing. I knew very well that she was loving my father with all her heart, so I was simply telling her that I wanted to be like him. I would strive to be like him if... and then I was asking for a favour. Naturally, it did not always work on the first try. However, if I was also stating my efforts to be like father, then my mother would always grant my favour. I do not know if my mother wanted to allow it, or my persuading was that good. She truly loved my father with all her heart, and I can still sense her bitterness from his lose. And I truly wanted to be like my father, I believe my mother also sensed my resolution. I admired my father. He was a strong warrior and a strong dad. Bookmark here

“I do not believe it is deceit. I am not lying to her; I am convincing her. I am telling her the truth and what I want.” I think my answer matches my thinking to this day. I never thought I was deceiving mother. I was persuading her with reasoning. I wanted to be like father and of course I wanted a reward. A small gift along the way to achieve that. Bookmark here

“Then, how about you also convince me to grant a wish of yours? Let’s go to Agora, I want to see you in action!” My father sets me free from his hug. He loosens up his grip, but I am still standing on top of his lap. I jump with force and I turn to face him! Bookmark here

“Since you ask me to, but be prepared...” I tell him full of confidence! Bookmark here

We are walking our way to Agora. I am letting my father know my plan beforehand. I am telling him that I will use the same trick! I will persuade him telling him about me and mother. I will win this game following the same strategy. I want to show him that I am not deceiving mother. I am telling her the truth. She values me and father so much, that is why she cannot deny granting my favours after I have put it this way. Bookmark here

As I am watching my memory, I suddenly remember something. That we never finished our game. I never tried to persuade my father that day. It was at that day when I first met Alexandra. A girl the same age as me that used to roam freely over the streets of Athens. Though, that day she had a specific reason to roam, and she was not exactly roaming. I remember she hit my father while running. Bookmark here

Kssoot! Bookmark here

My remembrance stops here. I cannot see any more of that memory, it froze with the image of me and my father walking. Bookmark here

“It seems that you remember your father pretty well, Isocrates. Despite the years passed since his death. Though, are you sure he passed away?” Bookmark here

The constellations are reading my thoughts, but what is the point of that? Why do they ask me about my father and why are they showing me this memory? Bookmark here

“Is this my recollection? Are you showing me my true recollection or are you affecting my memories to communicate with me?” I directly ask the three constellations. They said earlier that they communicate through ideas, concepts and notions. This memory might be the notion of my father in my mind, and they might want to listen to my inner thoughts and what I think of this memory. Bookmark here

“We would never alter any memories! We do not intervene to any extent at your thinking. All this is the inside of your mind. You are watching those particular memories because we need to know you better before we give you the godly powers. We also need to decide what kind of powers we shall give you. You are watching this memory so that we can hear your inner thoughts first, and then hear your external thoughts after we ask you certain questions.” Bookmark here

“Then why did you show me this memory of my father?” Bookmark here

“That we cannot answer. Like we said, we will not intervene to this process at all. Feel free to speak your mind. After all we are able to read your inner thoughts, so there is no reason for you to hide anything.” Bookmark here

“Alright, I will answer all your questions. I have no reason to distrust you.” Bookmark here

“Do you ever felt like deceiving your mother with this technique as you call it?” The constellations resume the inquiry, straight to the chase! Bookmark here

“No, I do not! I never did deceive my mother. My technique was nothing more than the presentation of truth. It might appeal to her emotions, but it had reasoning. My arguments had logic in them!” Bookmark here

“Thank you for your honest answer, Isocrates. Let us continue!” Bookmark here

Kssoot! Bookmark here

My recollection continues from where it previously stopped. I am circling around my father as we are walking, heading to Agora. A small girl approaches us running, she is careless watching behind her. She crashes onto my father. Bookmark here

“O-oh, I am sorry! I did not see you.” Bookmark here

“Hey, you should be more careful. How could you have seen him if you are looking behind you?” I yell at the little girl. My father puts his hand on my shoulder. Bookmark here

“This is not the right way to speak to a young lady, Isocrates! Little miss you should be more careful like my son said, but do not worry I am fine I did not get hurt.” He politely tells the girl. I calm down watching his polite manners. She says nothing. Bookmark here

“Do you mind telling us why you were running?” My father calmly and gently asks her. Bookmark here

“My father is chasing me. I am running to get away from him.” she seems hesitant to answer, but she finally tells us while stretching her dress. She is wearing a light pink tunic and brown sandals. Her figure is quite nice. I remember that I overly liked her hair which were long and were falling back upon her dress. Bookmark here

Kssoot! Bookmark here

The memory freezes once more. The image of Alexandra stretching her pink dress distorts. Her figure in my mind becomes deformed. Bookmark here

“Isocrates, did you hate Alexandra for falling onto your father?” The constellations appear brightly in front of me. Or should I say in front of me thinking and recalling. Bookmark here

“I was angry about it, but I did not hate her. Obviously, it was an accident and not a serious one.” Bookmark here

“It was an accident, indeed. But did you feel anything for her?” Bookmark here

Alexandra was a good-looking girl from that early age, but I do not think I could fall in love back then. I was too young. Bookmark here

“She was and is beautiful, but I did not have any feelings for her at the time.” Bookmark here

“Very well.” Bookmark here

Kssoot! Bookmark here

The memory continues, I believe we are reaching the ending. I think the constellations will stop this memory soon enough. There is not much else to show me after I have met Alexandra for the first time. At least not anything unusual or notable had happened after that if I recall correctly. If there is a meaning and a reason behind choosing this or any other memory to show me, then I believe that this memory will end at any moment after we introduce ourselves to each other. Bookmark here

“Did you argue with you father? Did your father hit you by any chance?” My father smiles at her to earn her trust. He was a kind person and very considerate of the others. Bookmark here

“NO! No! My dad would never hit me! I was just angry because he would not let me have this necklace.” She unties her necklace from the back of her neck to show it to us. Bookmark here

“This is a nice necklace! Don’t you agree Isocrates?” Bookmark here

“It is beautiful. It shines.” I was not trying to be polite. Her necklace was looking attractive on her. Bookmark here

“Then it is decided. This necklace is a gift from our family to you. It is a gift from me and my son Isocrates. I will buy it for you, but first you will stay here with us until we find your father, alright?” My father had already made his decision from the time Alexandra showed us her necklace. To be fair it was not a bad one, if not for that I would not have become friends with her. Bookmark here

“Ok, I will wait here with you. But will you really buy me this necklace?” Alexandra or should I say the small girl. We have not introduced ourselves yet, hence I typically, in my recollection, do not know her name. She would have hit me in the head if I have called her small girl now. She is by far not a little girl anymore. Nor she is small anymore, her strength is plenty to knock out a fully grown, big man. Bookmark here

“Of course, I will! Do you think that I am a man who reneges, breaking his promise? Or do you believe that my son will betray you and break his promise? You do think lowly of our family!” My father tries to hold back, to not smile as he teases Alexandra. He leans his upper body forward at her direction to make him appear more serious. To emphasize his heavy words, he puts up a nice act using his arms and facial expressions to the max. My father would never even consider breaking his promise, but he wants to make that clear to a little girl. He has to explain without explaining. Bookmark here

“No! No, I don’t! I am sorry, I believe you! You will keep your promise.” She responds pretending to be mad at my father. The small girl is adorable when she blushes. She is fidgeting rolling and stretching her tunic dress to hide her embarrassment, albeit she should not be embarrassed. Watching Alexandra be all red and a little shy is pleasant and sad at the same time. Pleasant because she is cute and adorable, but also sad because grown-up Alexandra will not blush neither be embarrassed. It would have been nice if she could act shy at times. Bookmark here

“Alright then, it is decided. A promise is a promise, but do you not think that you need to offer something as well?” my father politely asks while widening his smile. Bookmark here

“Wh- what can I do for you?” Alexandra is startled, she fixes her posture at once. She becomes stiffer, but you can see the confusion in her eyes. My father’s question caught her completely off guard. I guess that is the natural reaction of a little girl when a big, strange man asks her to give him something in return for a gift. Bookmark here

“Oh, you do not have to worry. I am not going to ask for something difficult. It is a very simple thing! I just need to know your name, that way you can be friends with my son. Actually, allow him to go first!” My father assures her and brings me forward. I was standing at his side, but now I am violently standing in front of Alexandra and I must introduce myself. I remember that I was not particularly shy when I was young. However, I recall that this introduction was pretty hard for my younger self. Bookmark here

“I can easily do that!” Alexandra regains her lost confidence. I am still a little hesitant, but I know that I should not be. You cannot hesitate, she is just a girl not different than a boy. That is right, she was the first girl I ever introduced myself. And it was quite tough at the beginning until... Bookmark here

“Come on son, go on! Tell her your name and she will tell you hers. Then, you can be friends!” My father encourages me. He understood that I was nervous, and he tries to make me relax. He says the obvious, it is only a self-introduction. That was all I needed; my uneasiness went away! It was an irrational fear, and it had now vanished! I lift my head and stand straight! Bookmark here

“Hello, I am Isocrates! Nice to meet you!” I introduce myself proudly! I have also greeted her, but this is not enough! I never asked for her name! No, that will not happen! I remember my exact thoughts! It feels weird watching your past self, knowing what you were thinking. Rewatching your past actions knowing you can do nothing more than simply observe! Bookmark here

“Your name?” I add as I am holding out my hand to her. Bookmark here

“I am Alexandra! It is a pleasure to meet you!” Her words are way too formal for a little girl, even though my greeting was also on the formal side. We shake hands, but I want more! I want to be sure! Bookmark here

“Do you want to be my friend?” I ask her as soon as we have finished with the gesture. Oh, the anxiety! We have introduced ourselves, so I could have ended it there. But I remembered my father’s words. No, I did that of my own will. I really wanted her to be my first girl friend. Bookmark here

“Yes, I would like to be your friend!” She enthusiastically replies. I could not expect such enthusiasm; I was truly joyous! Bookmark here

“Making friends! Being childhood friends! I am jealous of you two! When a friendship is genuine it can become something like a promise! So, you have to cherish it, because you do not want to break your promise and betray your friend.” My father goes on a monologue, both of us laughed. Back then I could not understand why he said that. But right now, I definitely do. Alexandra is indeed my dear childhood friend for so long, and I hope that we will continue keeping our promise to each other! Bookmark here

“Oh, there you are! I found you, thank Zeus!” We have waited on the spot sitting on a bench until her father finally found us. He hugs his daughter tightly and stroke her head and silky hair. He then gives her a quick and short but definitely good scolding for leaving his side and running away like that. It is like we are not present at all, and he is alone with his reckless daughter scolding her for her foolish actions. Alexandra used to be like that since back then, when I first met her. Disobedient, that is! She can easily break the rules and she does as she pleases. She can be wild and sometimes hard to deal with, but she is a good friend of mine. She is always there in times of need to help me. She is supportive although fierce and disobedient. I like that trait of hers; her tough character! She is independent, but her behavior is not indecent. She is not rude to the people she cares for, or to complete strangers if she has no reason to be. She might not be compliant, but she is not offensive. Most of the time at least! Bookmark here

“I owe you a massive, a huge thanks! Thank you for taking care of my daughter while I was busy CHASING HER!” Alexandra’s father is thanking mine. At the end of his sentence, he turns his head at Alexandra raising the volume of his voice. He is still angry with her, despite the extent scolding just before. Bookmark here

“Please, we did nothing deserving all that! We just found a friend and chatted, isn’t that so, Isocrates?” Bookmark here

“Yes, Alexandra is my friend. And I will not allow you talk to her like that! You might be her father and you might be right. But whatever happened, it happened.” Bookmark here

“It seems you made a brave friend, Alexandra! But be careful young man, because bravery can often be interpreted as impertinence.” My courage probably did more harm than good, at least that is what I thought. His face had a stern look, I could not know if it was because of his daughter or my stupid intervention. I was happy for making a new friend, my first girl friend by instantly overcoming my sudden fear, and I think that I already crossed the line. If my behaviour annoyed her father, then I might not see her again! Bookmark here

“Well, in this case it earned you a medal! I prefer my daughter to have reliable friends rather than cowards! So, do you want us to walk together our way home?” I did not mess up! At the time I could not feel more satisfied. After all, I have earned the medal of gallantry in the early-on battle with her father. Bookmark here

“After we pay for that necklace!” my father tells a joke to lighten up the mood again. We are going to pay for the necklace. And then, we take the way home along with our new friends. At the front, me and Alexandra are hoping around and messing with each other. At the back our fathers are walking while talking. Bookmark here

“We turn here. Alexandra come back we have to leave. Again, thank you so much for keeping my daughter safe!” Bookmark here

“No, no, do not thank us. It was a pleasure meeting Alexandra even under those circumstances! Hope to see you again!” Bookmark here

“Goodbye, Isocrates.” Bookmark here

“Bye-bye, Alexandra. Let’s meet here tomorrow to play again!” Bookmark here

“Yes, I will wait for you in the morning after the sun rises!” Bookmark here

We say our goodbyes as we parted ways. We would meet again tomorrow morning. After this day, me and Alexandra would spend a lot of hours, days, years together playing, talking, laughing and arguing, growing up. I was so excited that the whole way home I was telling my father about Alexandra. Though the memory is quite different. My father is gone. I do not see him anywhere. I am alone in the same street my father was with me a minute ago. I thought that the constellations said they would not alter my recollections. But my memory has not stopped, it only changed. I am bigger, I am not a child anymore. I have become a teenager! Oh, I think I know now! My memory has not changed at all. This is a different remembrance! The anamnesis of my father ended! Bookmark here

“Come inside Isocrates! What are you standing there for? Are you waiting for Alexandra?” Even though I cannot see her, I immediately and effortlessly recognise the voice coming from inside my house. It is my mother’s voice! Bookmark here

“No, I am coming!” I am confused. No, no! I know this recollection, but... No, I am overwhelmed. The memory change, the transition was smooth, but totally unexpected and way too sudden for my brain to handle! It was hard to distinguish memories and if they were true recollections. My mind went blank for a second. Bookmark here

Ok, ok! Pull yourself together! The constellations are strangely silent, I hoped that they could provide some advice since they can hear my inner thoughts and they know very well whatever I am currently thinking. Alright, I know the memory, all I have to do is watch it and answer their questions. Bookmark here

But my memory does not continue. It has stopped after my mother’s voice was heard inviting me to our house. It looks like it will not continue as long as I am in this mental state. I must focus on the memory. Alright, I remember that day pretty well. It was at that day when I had a serious injury... Bookmark here

“Are you coming in or what?” My mother asks me one more time. It seems that the recollection resumes exactly from where it paused. I was trying to find a good excuse so that I could hide my injury from mom. No, there is no way she will not notice it! I will go inside and tell her, this is the best option here. Bookmark here

“Yes, I am here!” I stand at the doorstep watching my mother preparing food for our lunch. My father is no longer alive. I could only be with him again in the previous anamnesis. Now our family is just me and my mother. Bookmark here

“I am making your favourite. Do you remember how you were trying to convince me to make it for you when you were young? You were always using your father as a role model. You were admiring him, and you wanted to be like him. That you were always telling me to persuade me. It was your constant argument, your whole reasoning.” My mother reminds me of my old habit. For me it is as fresh as ever! Bookmark here

“It was your one and only argument, but it was rather solid and quite successful.” Bookmark here

“In fact, it was one hundred percent successful. You could not even deny it, you never did.” I respond in a playful manner raising my shoulders while smiling like I am wondering. How come she was always accepting every one of my requests? Why did she fulfill all of my childish desires? Of course, we both know the answer! Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah! Make fun of me, you audacious young man! You took advantage of my love for you and your father. But you were not all talk, you knew pretty well that I wanted you to grow up into a fine man. So, you put the effort to achieve that. As a result, you were asking for a few... rewards.” My mother also cheers up! Bookmark here

“And you my lady of the house were there to provide!” I am bending over lifting one of my legs. Since the situation allows it, I am trying to amuse her a little more. I also want to hide my wound for a little longer. I want the talk about our past to stop before I tell her. I need her not to think about my father. Bookmark here

“So, I am going to pour some water on my face and I might take a quick bath.” My mother is still laughing, now is my chance. I tell her and I am going fast to my room. Bookmark here

“Please, also wash your clothes before we eat. Alright?” Bookmark here

“Ναι!” (“Yes!”) I am in my room. Oh, yeah, I remember, my spear, my shield, my sword and my helmet. I had them all stored in here. They were gifts from my father except for the spear. My mother may not be particularly good when it comes to raw strength and hand-to-hand combat. But she is one of the best when it comes to spear. She has an excellent mark, and she can target with great precise even from a very long distance. She is not terrible in close combat either. As long as she is wielding a weapon, she stands a chance being victorious at the end of the fight. If she wants to assure victory in a close combat that is when my father comes into play. Or should I have said my father comes into battlefield. He was an excellent warrior with great technique and agility. Though not powerful, he was also strong enough to be considered a threat. My parents made a good team. When they were fighting together, they made each other stronger. I wish I could have seen them fighting together more! Bookmark here

Ahh! I am greeting my teeth to be as silent as possible. I am treating my wound washing away the dirt with my wet clothes. In the end of my room there is an enclosed, rather narrow space we use as the bathing room. It has wooden benches, and we operate it like a sauna. If you only need to shower there is no need for the steam, you are just standing up between the benches and wash yourself with the hot water from the amphora and the olive soap. The toilet is a hut built outside. Bookmark here

“Ισοκράτη τελείωσες με το πλύσιμο;” (“Isocrates, are you finished using the bathroom?”) Bookmark here

“I am there in a minute!” I am washing swiftly my clothes; I do not want to anger her. I am laughing at myself. The wound you are about to show her will be a bigger surprise than the unwashed tunic! Bookmark here

“Να’μαι!” (“I am done!”) I present myself like I am setting foot on stage. I wear only my himation in a way that is not covering my wound. I am purposefully exposing my injury. This is not going to help; what was I thinking? Bookmark here

“Oh, my gods! Isocrates you are hurt! Come closer, let me see it!” My mother says but she has already approached me, and she is examining my wound. Bookmark here

“What happened? How did you get hurt like that?” Bookmark here

“It is no big deal; it is just a scratch.” Obviously, it is not just a scratch. My mother is not the type of mother who exaggerates and frets over trivial matters. It is a bad injury and my mother can tell. Bookmark here

“A scratch?! This is just a scratch?! No, you know you are badly hurt that is why you showed me your injury. Otherwise, you could have just hidden it! You have already treated your wound. Come on, tell me what happened.” Bookmark here

“I was wandering the streets on my way home when I saw a bunch of guys surrounding a man.” Bookmark here

“And you tried to rescue him attacking them! Without a shield or a sword! With your bare hands, and we are both watching the result of your heroic actions. Gladly you avoided the worst, and you were able to return home alive. Look, I know that it was the right thing to do. But how many times I have told you that there are lives you cannot save. Staying alive and helping people, defending those in need is a thing to be proud of. But giving away your life to save one, sacrificing yourself is not worth it.” Bookmark here

“No, mother this is not how it happened. I thought that too! It seemed like they were assaulting him. However, the man stood up for himself. Not only he did defend himself, but he also fought them and made them flee. He then came after me. He was a tall, muscular man. His arms were pretty big, you could see clearly that he was really strong. He tried to punch me, but I evaded rolling on ground. He continued pursuing me. Luckily, Alexandra was passing by and she helped me hold him off.” Bookmark here

I remember that fight pretty well. It was the first time me and Alexandra joined forces to fight together against a strong opponent. And I say first, because after that fight we both trained at Athens main soldier force which is not mandatory. I had fulfilled my obligation to join the army for two years in my early teens around the age of twelve. In this recollection I am seventeen, I am still in my adolescence but close enough to be considered an adult capable of making his own decisions. Same goes for Alexandra who despite being a female having no obligation to join any military force at any age, she decided to train with men! Women or girls could join the army if they wanted to, but they rarely chose to do so. Bookmark here

Even if Alexandra was not allowed to join the army, anyone would have been convinced to let her in after watching her skills in that street fight. I would, certainly! Her assistance was crucial to defend against this big man. If I was alone then I probably would not have made it! Bookmark here

She saw him coming after me for the second time after I had evaded his first attack. Alexandra attacked him from distance with her bow. When he was busy deflecting Alexadra’s multiple arrows, she has come next to me. She is not just a regular archer. Alexandra is an excellent user of the bow, though unlike my mother her close combat abilities are not to be taken lightly. In terms of power, she is much stronger. I think her strength would be comparable with my father’s. Bookmark here

The muscular man with the hefty fists had deflected the many arrows only using his massive arms, no shield, no spear, no nothing! He attacked me again, he rushed at me with excessive speed. He joins both his hands Bookmark here

Bang! Bookmark here

Alexandra defends me once more with her shield. It sounded like a rock has hit the iron shield. She can barely stand after the hit, even though she was supporting her shield on the right side of her body. The man attacks again like nothing has happened. He is like a maniac! We both roll to the sides to avoid the hit. Bookmark here

“You have to attack, if you want to live!” Alexandra yells at me. Bookmark here

“But—” Before finishing my sentence! Bookmark here

“Here, take my sword. I will use the bow to hit him from distance. I will leave the shield here, if you want to take it. You have to fight him and make an opening for my arrows to hit.” Alexandra throws her sword at me. She lays the shield on the ground and moves to a further away spot. Bookmark here

“Then, I have to do that. It is time for fight, big man.” I am not going to use the shield at all. I am not extremely fast, and it will only slow me down. This man is big, but he is pretty speedy as well. Wielding only Alexandra’s sword will give me an advantage in moving around the field. Bookmark here

Alexandra is shooting arrows at him. I try to attack his legs, but once I approach him the big man immediately punches. His punches are full of power! If he lands a hit, then he would probably knock me out and kill me! Bookmark here

I could keep evading his attacks until he is tired, but he is not showing any signs of fatigue. He is like an untired monster attacking everyone in his sight. If I want to stay alive, I must finish this battle. Bookmark here

“Γαμώ!” (“Damn it!”) Alexandra shoots a triplet of arrows and shouts because she missed the target, because it was not a fatal hit. But she did hit him, one arrow landed in his abdomen! The big man just breaks the arrow without removing it from his body. It is not a deep cut, but he is not even bleeding. Alexandra gave me an idea! Bookmark here

I run back to where Alexandra left her shield. Bookmark here

“Shoot again” I command her. Bookmark here

I grab the shield and throw it to the big man. I am targeting his abdomen, he catches it, now is my chance! Bookmark here

Hssoot! Bookmark here

I slash his right leg with my sword, he falls! Bookmark here

Alexandra, you must get him this time!” With her previous shot she has forced him to use his left arm as armor against the incoming arrows. Then I threw the shield, so he had to use his right arm to defend against it. He caught but it does not really matter. I could get close, and I slashed him in his right leg. He lost his balance and used his left arm as support. So, Alexandra has now a clear view! Bookmark here

She shoots the final arrow, but it will not reach its target! Bookmark here

The big man raises his right arm and smashes the ground. It creates a huge explosion throwing everything around him away. The arrow is destroyed from the shock wave! It sends me flying. The sword slips from my hand, and it pierces me as I crash on a building. Bookmark here

When I opened my eyes, Alexandra was standing before me. The man had vanished! Bookmark here

“But why did he attack you in the first place?” My mother wonders. To be honest, I also do! Bookmark here

“I really do not know! I have no idea! He was like a... crazy. He was crazy. It was like he could not control himself. He was attacking, everything and everyone. If it was not me and Alexandra, he would have attacked anyone else who had the luck to be there.” Bookmark here

“Did those guys do anything to him?” My mother asks a question I had not thought of at the time. Thinking about it now, they could have done something. I think that they played their part in this incident. It was after they approached him and talked to him that he got crazy. Bookmark here

“Yes, they most likely did, but we cannot be sure about that! He had lost control!” It seems that I underestimated my younger self. I remembered wrong. Not only I did think of it, but I had a pretty good reasoning on this one. They could have done something, but you never know. Bookmark here

“Anyway. Mother, from all that, your only question was that little thing? I just had a... battle! With a stranger! For no reason!” Bookmark here

“You have already treated your injury. I have already told you that you should not sacrifice yourself—” Bookmark here

“I should not, but like you said I should be helping people in need. If it was not me, but an old man instead. He would have killed him. Actually, he would have killed me if not for Alexandra. I want to be stronger, to be able to protect myself. Then I will defend my city and its people. I will join the main soldier force, their best unit!” Bookmark here

Kssoot! Bookmark here

The memory freezes, it stops right before my mother speaks. Bookmark here

“Why did you show me these particular memories?” I ask the constellations. The first one was a recollection of my father, and the second one was a recollection of my mother. They both had Alexandra in them, and they were both first times with her. Does that mean something?! Bookmark here

“Oh, you watched those two! We saw a lot more of you, Isocrates! Those memories were important to you. Your mind decided to show you those two when we entered your body, when we entered your soul initiating this process. As we told you before; we do not alter memories! We do not affect your thinking! Everything here is a piece of your mind.” the constellations answer me. I do not know what to think of what I just heard. If all this is mine, then what is the point of them doing that? Bookmark here

“What about your questions then?” I want to end with this and receive my powers already! I understand that they have their reasons for doing this, but I think it is taking way too long! Bookmark here

“Do not be hasty, Isocrates! Remember we can hear your every thought.” Bookmark here

“I remember that. This is why I am thinking like that, to let you know.” I answer back at the three constellations to inform them that I really do want it to finish and acquire my powers. Bookmark here

“Very well. I think we have shown you enough. And we have seen plenty. We judged, but what about you? What do you think of these memories? Are they fond memories of yours?” Bookmark here

“They are! Being able to watch my father again was a great feeling even though bittersweet. The recollection of my mother was that of an important decision. Also, Alexandra was present in both of them along with my parents.” Bookmark here

“What about your mother? She is the weakest among you! She can be convinced easily, and she is also vulnerable after your father’s death. She has not used her spear for quite a long time neither she has fought recently. She rarely practices anymore.” Bookmark here

“She is indeed relatively weak compared to me and Alexandra, but she is not weak! My mother is a battle thinker. She has good perception, good vision. She is a warrior of wits. The spear can be used in both short and long distance fight. And despite lacking in raw strength, her skills and abilities compensate in power. She is a capable spear wielder. She is useful to have in battle. She can prove herself in difficult situations!” Bookmark here

“How about Alexandra? Can you trust her? She is defiant! She can also be troublesome at times. Are you sure that she will not betray you? She does not show devotion nor loyalty to anyone. She follows no one!” Bookmark here

“Alexandra is untamed, a wild woman with fierce disobedience, but she is a good friend. She has always stood by my side, and she will keep doing so. I do not fear her treachery, for it will never happen!” Bookmark here

“If you were to come across this big man. Would you try to kill him?” How am I supposed to know the answer in this one? Bookmark here

“If he tries to kill me first, then I guess I have to do something. I cannot stand there simply waiting my imminent death, don’t you agree?” Bookmark here

“Then—” Bookmark here

“I think this is enough my brothers. We have seen enough; we have heard enough. I think it is time for us to decide. Only the future can answer the important questions!” a different voice is heard. Am I hallucinating? Is the voice in my head only? No, that is not possible! The three constellations are in my head, they read my mind, they hear all my thoughts. Can it be one of the three speaking separately? Bookmark here

“No, Isocrates. I am not one of them. I am their brother. I am Orion!” His constellation shines bright, brighter than his brothers. His light concentrates into a bright ray. Bookmark here

And you shall be the god of future!” Orion’s ray inserts my right eye! I can see his constellation taking form inside my eye! Bookmark here

“What are my powers? What can the god of future do?” Bookmark here

“Our job here has come to an end. It was a pleasant journey, Isocrates. But a journey awaits you as well.” The three constellations speak again with their united voice. One more time that they give me no explanation at all! Bookmark here

“Nyx will tell you more about your godly powers. Though the rest is up to you to figure out!” Bookmark here

My right eyes shines, emitting an intense bright light covering everything!Bookmark here

Zach G
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