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Missing Episode From The Odyssey
“After escaping the Goggle-eye monster we roamed the seas for two days, and on the third a favorable wind blew us forward. In our ignorance we rejoiced at our good fortune; however, the gods had a different plan. When the sun reached its peak in the sky, Hypnos’ sleep claimed us most unexpectedly while some unknown force drove our vessel forward. By the time we awoke, the sky was dark and we engulfed by an eerie fog with strange noises cutting through the icy air. Our ship that had been creeping slowly stopped as it hit a rocky shore and the mist thinned just enough to see the ghastly cliffs towering above us on either side of a narrow channel. The moon, full and bright, sent shadows weaving through the mist making mysterious shapes in the air. Then we noticed the black rocky shore was less than a spear’s throw away, so I five men to accompany me in an exploration of our surroundings. They were Aesoleus, Calisphor, Eresomendo, Phenolos, and Spiroredian. At first the chosen five protested, for the gory details of or last stop were still fresh in their minds.
“To convince them I stated ‘God has brought us safely here, but he could have easily drowned us as we dozed. He would not be likely to kill us now, but instead we must be in his favor’
“In truth I did not believe my speech, but an excitement to venture forward into the unknown had penetrated and filled me. The lust for adventure was compelling and I wished to see the truth under the mist. It was this strong force that pushed me to disembark on the rocky shore. And whether by my speech or because of that same lust for excitement, my men agreed and we went ashore with hopes to find help on our journey home. But, alas, the moment we put foot on the hard glass like rock, the boat was hidden behind the hazy vapor, and we knew that only discord could be found here. My heart chilled, and all I could see were five faces around me white with fear looming in the darkness. Our thrill for adventure was replaced with irrepressible dread.
“’Odysseus’, jeered Aesoleus, ‘I can see now you spoke the truth. A god has surely favored us. Perhaps the Earthshaker has forgiven you already. Or maybe the goddess Athena Grey Eyes, whom your hubris has recently offended, is the helpful one.’
“’ You mock me son of Antinoos, why, because you flee from darkness of possible the mere fog is your nightmare’ I retorted, ‘Be a man now, for we have been in worse, have heart.’
“At the word ‘heart’ jagged rocks rose from the ground and encircled us like a hound’s mouth on a rabbit. We were defenseless against those black teeth, barred as if about to sink into our flesh and tear out our pulses as a dog would destroy its vulnerable victim. And when finally that menacing grimace ceased its growing, the icy black floor began to shake with fearsome trembles. And with a blood curdling scream Aesoleus sank into the rock and was devoured by the awful thing. Then suddenly two of the spear like rocks parted revealing a dark path. I slowly led the way through, but not without escaping a feeling of being swallowed down the throat of this monstrous rock.”
“As we advanced through the darkness, we found an obstacle made to confuse us in our path. About halfway in, a mist settled on us, and we could no longer see. Convinced the mist would soon end, we continued onward, but listened carefully and held tight our swords. We never could have foreseen what came next. It was as if the world had turned upside down. While our feet stayed anchored to the floor, or ceiling, we felt the blood rush to our heads, our veins about to pop. I heard a man gasp as the pressure in my head mounted. Then right before we felt death end life, our worlds righted, and we fell to the floor.”
“As we began to stand up our eyes fell upon the body of Calisphor, his eyes were rolled back looking into his head.”
“Eresomendo choked at the sight of his dear dead friend and told us “’It must be some terrible monster who dwells at the end of this tunnel. We must turn back now and fight through the jagged rocks to avoid a conference with such a dreadful creature.’”
“Horrified by Calisphor’s death and convinced by Eresomendo’s truth we were in agreement to turn back. But before we could put words to actions, stones fell from the ceiling of the tunnel like a solid wave of destruction. A wave that rolls and rumbles, building up before the break to crash on the beach, was this rock. The sight of the rock brought forth a powerful emotion in the four of us; an unquenchable fear of death. That wave meant to kill us somehow turned us against each other as we fought for the exit forcing our fellows behind us. Blood lust rode in our own eyes, making us fight as each of us wished to be the only one to exit. When finally Spiroredian and I burst forth from the tunnels bloody depths the rage in our hearts melted to grief as the wave of rocks washed over our fellow men. And as we looked powerless those rocks crashed over them as a bloody wave. Those rocks smashed him and drove the breath from his lungs as he drowned under the black stones. That ocean of boulders continued to crash and fill the tunnel and as water fills all gaps so did those black stones to melt to seal the tunnel.
‘Odysseus son of Laertes, come at last’ an icy voice whispered.
“I was filled with dread of what I would see when I turned to face her. When I did, it was just in time to see her hurl a spear though the heart of my companion. Spiroredian, my cousin, sank to the floor his eyes wide with shock and horror as he sank to the ground, his own blood pooling around him.”
“Shaken, I looked around at my new surroundings. A goddess, with dark wiry hair wearing a dagger and robes black as night, stood in the middle of a hall of black rock. A large chandelier made of black diamond’s illuminated the mist swirling at the goddess’ feet. Carved into the wall, were windows might have been, were pictures of war and death and, being as gruesome as they were, they left me with no doubt who this deity was.
“Then the Lady of Sorrow spoke. ‘Prince Odysseus of Ithaca; how long I have waited to see you. Since you burned Troy to the ground, never have I stopped wondering about you. It tortures me to know that I and my brother Ares, daughter and son of Zeus Almighty, were bested by a mortal at Troy. We fought you in the deadly struggle, and I watched with pleasure as your soldiers fought like wolves for the maiden Helen. You tore each other apart in the bloody battle just as dogs for a piece of meat you have no right to. Your blood watered the earth as you killed for a fools’ alliance to protect a women you did not love. Oh, they were ten exciting years, your fight gave me pleasure to watch, but you ruined it for me, you and your wooden horse of trickery. You ended the war I happily took credit for, me and my apple with ‘Kallisti’ written on it, and I will have my revenge! You will never outwit me again, for I am Discord itself, the one gods avoid and humans fear!’
“Oh Goddess of Strife, believe me when I tell you I have paid for that bit of trickery. The gods leave me now to wander, and I pay every day’ I exclaimed. ‘But if you would only let me go that would cause strife enough among the gods and confusion too. Is that not what you are known for, oh Goddess divine? Do you not rejoice in causing trouble among the immortal. You queen of Chaos are undefeatable. Be not mad at me but mad at the gods that planted the idea in my mind.’
“Careful words you do deliver, meant to bewitch the minds of those who strive to harm you. Alas you have convinced me of a better plan, I was sure to kill you but now a better idea has come. I challenge you to a battle of wits. And if you refuse, oh yes you have a choice,’ she smiled wickedly, ‘if you refuse my game you will watch your men kill each other under my spell but you will sail home directly, under my protection. (This will surely stir up Athena, Poseidon, and the other countless gods against you.) If you play and I win, I will win, your men sail away free and you are left to die, if you win, you will not, I will send your ship away with you and your crew to Aeolus who will surely help you home. All this I promise by the Styx.’
“I accept.” I could hardly refuse the challenge or allow my friends to die for my cowardice even if it meant sacrificing myself.
“Very well we begin the first to answer wrong or fail to provide a riddle loses. I go first, Odysseus answer me this;
I never was, an always to be
No one ever saw me, nor ever will.
And yet I am the confidence of all,
To live and breathe on this terrestrial ball’
“The Future’ I replied to her astonishment, but she did not know I had answered this riddle years before. ‘Now my turn:
I am always hungry;
I must always be fed,
The finger I tough
Will soon turn red’
“You fool, you think I don’t know the name of my greatest tool which devours the earth, the answer is fire. Now prove yourself again:
All about, but cannot be seen,
Can be captured, cannot be held,
No throat, but can be heard.’
For this I had to think little more than a moment ‘Wink is what you have described, my turn goddess:
Until I am measured
I am not known,
Yet how you miss me
When I have flown.’
‘Time of course, solve for me this next mystery, Odysseus:
It cannot be seen, it cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt,
Lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
Comes first follows after,
Ends life and kills laughter.’
‘Darkness you have described. Now Goddess tell me what you could never know:
What word is discord in the world,
But cooperation too,
Scares men to death,
But is sought out,
But harmony last.’
She laughed “Do you think me so narrow minded as not to see something as simple as that? You have delivered a poem of conflict and dispute the only answer is I, the cause of conflict’
“You are too vain, Goddess, and in your pride you forgot my first hint ‘Tell me what you could never know’. Your answer was incorrect and it is Love which you will never know and Love who is my friend in your defeat. Now hold fast your promise, remember you cannot break it now because you have sworn on the river Styx.’ In finishing my speech I prayed silently to Eros promising him a sacrifice for helping me invent my last riddle.
“Though reluctant, she did return me to my ship and send it to Aeolus’s Palace but cursed us first.
‘Be damned you, Odysseus, hated prince of Ithaca, ‘I tell you now the men you have saved shall be your downfall.’
“Though her promise held, so did the curse of the Goddess of discord whom both gods alike avoid, sister of War, daughter of Zeus, and Eris who began the Trojan War.”