tagSci-Fi & FantasyKing of the Mountain

King of the Mountain

byMSTarot©

In the game of life, we are all just pips on the dice. Destined to find ourselves either face up and valued or face down and ignored. It's a craps shoot, life. The question, though--one asked since the dawn of man--is just what hand is throwing those dice.

Ours or God's?

Well, in either case, the hands tossing them are not clean. You could even say they are filthy ... if you wanted to be crude. Crass. Disrespectful.

I can be all of those things when I need to. For the most part, I've tried to be a normal man. Walk the narrow path laid out before me by the lady Fates, those thrice delightful bitches. I've had what is generally called a love-hate relationship with those three women, the Moirai. And not in a meaningless, spiritual kind of way. I literally mean, I both love and hate them.

But then I guess every person feels that way about their mother at some point in their lives. Or "mothers" I guess would be more accurate since I was birthed by all three. Suckled by all three. Raised by all three.

Cast out by all three.

Discarded like a deformed baby in Sparta, only my crime was not being born hideous, or deformed but for being too much like my father, the Moiragetes. The god most people call simply, Zeus.

Now some say the Fates were his daughters. Some say that they were his servants. Some even hint that the Weavers Three were Zeus' eternal lovers, embodiments of the various lusts in his life. Young. Middle. Old.

Yeah. They were all of those and more.

Walking through a deserted back alley, I absently reached up and touched the string of the necklace around my neck. Not the metal coin hanging from it, but the cord itself. Part of the very Mother Thread of Life itself, knotted and braided by the hands of my mothers, it held me tighter to my hated destiny than all the metal chains upon the Earth could. My fingers then drifted down and over the smooth as silk metal coin. Worn by my own fingers till it was slick as ice, the coin was the only gift I ever received from my father.

And it was one that I had given him. Tried to anyway.

As I walked towards the museum, my destination for tonight this Valentines eve, I thought back to that day twenty centuries ago. Give or take a decade. Approaching my father's temple at Corinth on the day of the Lykaia festaval, my little hand held by my mother Lachesis--she was using her staff to make the crowds of worshiper's part before us--I had looked in awe at the majestic white marble structure. I had breathlessly listened to the hundreds of voiced raised in adoration of him. The Thunderer. The Master of the Fates. The Lord of mighty Olympus. KING OF THE GODS!

My father.

My unmet, unseen, unspoken to father. After all, when you are the bastard son of him, birthed on his daughters three, you cannot expect him to look upon your face with kindness, right? You are a byproduct of a god's lust, nothing more. Still I held in my hand a single gold coin, found in the mud of the street, clutched tight in my little fingers. I was going to place if upon the temple altar, an offering of love from a son to his father.

My mothers didn't know I was planning to do this. Or did they? They are the Fates after all; they had certainly measured my thread. They had to have studied the patterns of the weave and woof that was my--their only sons--future. Right? So if they knew and still let me do what I did, if they knew beforehand what I was going to do and what the results would be ... but then why did they not stop me?

Their son. Their beloved offspring.

Or maybe they were simply throwing the dice, too?

Either way, they landed on single pips that cool Lykaia festival day in Corinth. My little arm had barely could reach the top of the offering ladened stone alter; my fingers brushed it as I placed my gold offering. My eyes were upon the sculpted stone face high above that overlooked all of us. What was I looking for that day? Acknowledgement? Or maybe some recognition of my being his by-blow was what I needed that warm summer day, wanted for some reason only a child would understand.

Love?

Could it have been love?

Standing before the door of this modern museum, I looked at the line of round marble columns. Each topped by carefully sculpted capitals to resemble Corinthian leaved columns. I smiled thinking back to that day. Well, if love had been what I was after ... it was the last thing I received.

A roll of thunder, from a clear sky, had shaken the temple. The worshipers huddled in fear, screams of terror filling the air instead of songs and prayers. My mother had looked at me in horror, Lachesis' normally placid face shocked beyond mortal belief. Then I had been dragged from her grip by two large male priests, adorned in black wolf pelts. They screamed blasphemer at me even as they dragged me from the temple. I was tossed down the stone steps, tumbling amid a scuffing mob of feet to land battered and bruised.

What had I done? What was my crime?

Then the rocks began to fall upon me.

A rain of fruit-size stones, dozens upon dozens, hitting and then falling to surround me in a pile. They hit everywhere and no matter how much the small child begged his innocence, his ignorance, or his lack of guilt they did not stop. My blood splattered the temple's stone steps. My screams echoed off its stone columns. And, as I begged my killers to please have mercy, I looked up to see all of my mother's standing there calmly watching me being killed. Clotho, who I had always though so kind. Lachesis, who read to me stories to help me sleep. Atropos, quick with a switch or a harsh word ...

... she alone was crying.

The Inflexible, Inevitable, Unturnable ... was crying?

Then, through my blood filled eyes, I saw a glint of gold rolling down the steps. My coin, my found coin, my festival offering to my father, landed in the pool of blood before my face. My offering had been contemptuously spit back into my face.

When the last light of Apollo's chariot had vanished, I awoke again. I was being held in the arms of a woman, at first, I thought her to be one of my mothers, but then her star-filled black hair brushed my face and her midnight black eyes met mine and I knew that this was not them. She was beautiful. I saw her smile even as I thought that, clearly she could read my face or maybe even my thoughts. She placed a kiss upon my lips and I felt a coldness I had never known filling me.

The cold of the night.

The eternal cold of the goddess Nyx.

So like the icy cold of a bloody covered coin in the hand of a discarded, abandoned, forsaken child. It embraced me. As the Lady of Night did. She took my battered body from that place, breathing life if not warmth back into me. Nyx was to become my new mother, my protector, my teacher, my lover.

The night was all things to me after that.

Walking past the front desk and the tons of little pamphlets, I headed deep into the museum. Strolling undistracted, past all the shiny trinkets and broken detritus of so many lost civilizations. If I had not been so intent on my goal I would have wandered through here looking everything. Seeing again some of the forgotten bits and bobbles from my long life. I was surrounded by so many things that would had been familiar to a younger me.

The Roman, Egyptians, and Ottomans.

The Prussian, Slavic, and Russians.

The French, Germans, and British.

Broken empires, toppled kingdoms, lost places I had called home for many a century.

My eyes stopped on the massive skeleton of a beast, so old I felt suddenly young again. Bones so ancient they had become stone. I stood there, spending the time I did not have, contemplated the fact that all of my long life was not an eye blink compared to the antiquity of this creature's remains. That the mothers I both love and hated, the gods I have worship and despise, the humanity I have walked among and loath ... not even the titans of old can compare to this simple dumb beast.

Humbling, to say the least.

Past those ancient bones I walked into the exhibit where rested, perhaps free of dust for the first time in centuries, some of the oldest things on display here. Most were no longer even recognizable. Broken bits ... lost parts. A lot like me really. Ancient, forgotten, broken and anachronistic ... but still of value, to certain people. To be viewed, perhaps, with half-curious eyes. To never be touched, least they crumble to dust.

Well, this living bit of the past had lost his lustered-glitter in ages long past. No need to hang onto unwanted trash. Time to break the last pieces into dust and show the strong inner core for what it was, or blessedly let time lose that which should have been lost before the building of Rome.

My miserable, eternal life needed to end.

Before me on a stone pedestal stood a bowl. Within the bowl were four stone tiles, worn blank by centuries of mishandling. As I looked down at the ever so faint lines upon them I wondered at the names they must have once held. What the quiet lives of these people, whose lost names had once so defined, must have been like. I also briefly pondered where their bones must now lay, as unnamed as these tiles. Shaking off that melancholy, I glanced at my watch. It was time, or close enough that it didn't matter.

What were minutes in the lifespan of gods? Or even in the life of a half-man like me?

From my pocket, I took an eyeglass case that contained a piece of wood and steel. A broken arrow, four inches long, I handled it with the care one would give holding a viper, for this little triangle and stick were far deadlier that the most toxic of serpent's kiss. The acquisition of it would be a tale in and of itself worthy of Homer's hand. But now it was simply a means to an end. A vengeful possibly bloody end.

The bowl was surrounded by a purple velvet rope to keep viewers at a distance. The pedestal was wired to detect the removal of the bowl. There were guards, sitting eating their vending machine purchased breaks in front of banks of camera fed monitors. All of them were on the lookout for thefts.

Now one was looking for someone to give, to add to the collection.

From my jacket pocket, I took a stone tile identical to the ones before me. As old, as similarly crafted, and quite possibly made by the same hand as these. Only this one was completely blank. No name had ever been inscribed, two and a half millennium ago. With the most deadly "steel" arrow head of an arrow of Cupid, I correct that omission. The rune I marked was ancient when I was born, her name revered by all in that time. The goddess of women and marriage. Jealous and vengeful daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Wife of my father ... my step mother in the modern term.

Hera. The Queen of the Gods.

Casually, I placed the new tile into the bowl. Then began to speak words not heard in millennia. I uttered a sing-song chant, a dedication, a prayer, and a calling to attend the festival. My words were harsh sounding as I spoke again the language of my youth. Words that time now mispronounces into vile pronounced spewing's nothing like the beautiful sounds once heard by so many an ear. I knew I was attracting attention by then, standing there so still, but it no longer mattered. There was only one task left to do it and all the guards in this place could not stop it from coming about.

Reaching in, still chanting, I pulled her tile from the bowl. I read aloud her name, completing the ritual.

And I felt Hera's rage!

From a world away I could feel Olympus shaken by her anger. Lesser beings scattered before her wrath, even her own godly children fled. I stood there, cold tile in hand, listening to the sound of her approaching like a wave of wind. As unstoppable as a hurricane she was in her fury.

Fury directed at myself.

I hid my fear, I swallowed it down, all but choking on it in truth but I forced it into my gut. This had been centuries in the planning, decades in the preparation, years in the waiting, and days in travel to bring about. So I waited those last minutes in a calm terror.

The old gods avoid displays of their power now. Why I do not bother to ask. I simply know it to be so. Perhaps they got tired of playing with overly demanding humans and found new amusements, less taxing on their eternal lives. That being said though, I was not surprised in the least when the front doors of the museum blew in, torn violently from their hinges.

A goddess was here. And Hera was beautiful radiated in her anger.

With mortals falling back from her as they would from fire, she stalked to where I stood awaiting her. Her eyes never once leaving me. Her lips pursed, nose lifted as if she smelled something vile.

"Iberian!"

Hearing her speak my name, I smiled, even in the face of her fury. "Dearest and beloved, Mother of All, you look ravishing." Casually I walked to her, ignoring the contempt, the repugnation, the flare of true hatred in her delicate silver-hued eyes. I knew I had but moments left to live if I didn't move swiftly. So I did. "Forgive me goddess; it is the hand of your husband upon the thread of my life that makes me act so."

And, before she could act, I stabbed her in the heart with the steel arrow of Cupid.

Steel, for a love-wound that will never heal. Straight to the heart, were it cannot be healed, not even by the hand of time, gods, or even by Fate.

Not that my mother's would try, I could hear their collective laughter distantly in the back of my mind. Whether this was their will, their planned outcome or not, I had danced to the puppet strings. I had followed with protesting steps their trail of white stones to this predestined place, this time, this secular event. And, even as I saw the realization of what I had done pass over Hera's face, I knew my mothers were pleased with their beloved son. Pleased that I had taken at last the first steps in the action that I was born from their wombs into this world to perform.

A God needed to die.

And in the grand tradition of the Olympian line, it must be his son that kills him.

But the how? That had been left up to me.

On the beautiful face before me, I watched disgust turn to adoration. Revulsion turn to attraction. And hate to if not love--which I would not have wished from her-- then a lust so powerful even the body of a goddess could hardly contain it. This, the most faithful wife in history, was looking upon another man than her husband with desire. She stepped to me. Standing before me, lips parted. Expecting, silently demanding, what I wanted to give. Her enchanted desire to be mine overpowering her own morals. Her eternal upholding of the old rules of Hellene society had been tossed aside due to the magic of a simple piece of steel.

Placing the stone tile in her hands, the arrow head back in its eyeglass case, I took out the last item from my pocket. The one that had taken the most effort to obtain. The most guile.

"Drink this ... if you love me," I told her softly.

From my hand, Hera took the small stone flask and tipped water from the River Lethe into her mouth without a moment's hesitation. Eager to do anything to please her new found lover-to-be. From afar, echoing from atop mighty Olympus, I could hear a hundred gods screaming "NO!" in a cry that shook the whole of the heavens.

Hera looked around confused. Then she huddled into my arms.

"Where are we?" she asked, her voice quivering in fear.

"No place important. Come, let's leave it. We have other places to be."

She nodded, the power of Eros still flooding her blood forever with desire for me. Especially now that she had no memory of my attack, of who she was, or of her divine husband--my father, Zeus. Zeus, who even now at this very second was trying to find me, his face twisted inhuman in his mindless rage. Rage at my theft of what had always been his.

The love of a goddess.

The love of his wife. Mother of his children, and soon to be mother of mine. The warm woman in my arms snuggled into me and together we departed the broken building. Leaving behind the remnants of this plan. A stone bowl, fallen from its pedestal to the floor tiles scattered. An empty stone flask, reeking of the oblivion waters of the Underworld. And the shattered lives of mortals who had witnessed a being divine, in all her manifested power. Their minds were as broken now as the warped doors we walked through.

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"To a place with a bed. So That we can make love."

"Oh! That sounds wonderful, yes please let's do that. Quickly!" She began to tug at me to walk faster.

I smiled at her eagerness and was saddened by it at the same time. She, the mighty Hera, was now as much a puppet as I had always been. Being animated by the strings tied to her by the Fates. But she was a puppet with power, which I had never been. Till now.

"Take us there," I commanded. "Someplace safe."

With an instinctive use of powers she no longer knew she had we were instantly whisked to a place ... not here. Not of this place. Perhaps not of this Earth.

And I knew, even as my feet touched the cold white marble floor, it was a place safe from her husband's powers. I knew this because I heard for a second my three mothers hysterical laughter rise to insane levels.

"Oh ye gentle Fates, enwrap me in thy humor not," I muttered as I was dragged by my hand past smooth phallic-like columns. Past potted vases of unknown plants, past climbing spirals of incense smoke, and past white peacocks that spread their tails in a snowy display. Before us a golden door opened by no hand and behind that door was a bed of softest down pillows awaited.

"I don't know your name," she said when we stopped. "I know I love you, but I can't remember your name ... love. Why is that?"

I smiled and brushed a single strand of her black hair back from her eyes. "The why matters not, my love, but my name is Iberian. And you are Hera, my lover."

"Oh. Yes. I ... am that."

Then she was in my arms again, demanding a kiss from me now with a passion that was unsatable. And with that kiss a simple transformation began. From terrifyingly powerful goddess, to a woman in a driven heat of lust. Hera was no longer something to be feared, rather simply to be satisfied. Demanding to be satisfied at that.

As I shed my clothes and slipped her from hers, I could feel the towering menace that was her husband arrive. Zeus stalked storming around the protective walls of this sheltered place. Seeking a way inside, to end my life and reclaim his wife from my arms. Overpowering in his hate, impotent in his rage, my father the mighty Zeus--King of the Gods--knew what was happening. He knew and could do nothing.

And to me that made this act all the sweeter.

Not that it needed that vengeful spice to be sweet. Oh, to say she was divine in her nudity would, of course, be silly. But at the same time so very accurate. Hera moved her naked body against mine then took a hold of my ridged cock and pulled me into her bed by that handle.

Oh, to bed a goddess, no matter the consequences, what a delightful way to live. And oh, what an ecstatic roll of the dice to toss. Sex and vengeance.

Even as we slid into the warm silk-covered bed I could hear the anger of Zeus double. His rage building in parallel to my lust.

And his jealousy was warranted, for his wife was the sweetest of wines to the tongue.

Lifting her plump thigh, shapely calf, delicate ankle I began to kiss my way down her inner leg. Reveling in the softness of her skin, the warm, smooth skin rivaling the silk under us in its erotic decadence. When my mouth was before the holiest of temples, scents so delicate as to be nonexistent touched my nose, carrying to me a woman's lustful passions, and it was an appetizer before the feast. I looked up at her face across a thick forest of jet black hair, letting my lips brush that bramble, following the dark trails down her lips to the heat that radiated into my mouth.

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