It’s been a loooong time, obviously. What I’ll be posting here for the next few days is the story ‘Babble-On’ that I failed to finish in time for a Greek-based story challenge. I hope you enjoy and please comment. 🙂
The world, as it started, was one of chaos. Zeus, in his power and wisdom, conquered the Titans and brought an era of peace to the gods and mankind. There was only one language, that of the gods, who taught it to humanity. Humanity, being all of one mind under the gods, selflessly toiled away to provide for themselves, and make sacrifices to their benevolent deities. Each knew their place. Each knew their responsibilities. Even the gods had sovereignty over their own particular aspects. Some gods had more than one. Some gods shared sovereignty over a particular aspect. All this was according to Zeus’ plan. And it worked. Sort of.
Many of the gods had, in afterthought, felt that Zeus had taken advantage of their euphoria at the defeat of the Titans, and that their own aspects and influence were restricted by the provisions they had agreed to within that joyous moment. They muttered about the ‘overlap’ of their influence with others in the divine pantheon.
One of those who seemed uncaring of the limitations was the young Hermes. Hermes was one of the more overlooked gods when it came to the war with the Titans. It was his cunning that waylaid and destroyed Argus. His cunning and ability to effect things indirectly served the gods well. He was the consummate scout and tracker, allowing Zeus to formulate plans based on the knowledge of the Titans location and activity. This intelligence was instrumental in Zeus’ strategy. Why and How is what we’ll see.
* * * *
Hermes lay on his stomach at the crest of a low hill. The soft grass tickled his belly as he watched the brown herd of cattle contentedly crop grass in the vale. Beside Hermes, the Titan Prometheus lolled on his back, hand raised towards Apollo’s flaming chariot. He was bare-chested, with a brilliant blue loin cloth, which was in stark comparison to Hermes’ saffron toga, golden belt, and leather sandals. Very much the affluent noble to Prometheus’ bare foot laborer.
“You’re here to check up on me for Zeus.”
Hermes chuckled. “That, and wondering where your mind is wandering. Zeus asked about that, too. He seems to think you like to meddle.”
Prometheus smiled as he laid his arm across his eyes, and saying with an overdramatic flourish of anguish, “Oh, woe! Woe! Woe! I, the Titan whom sided with the rebellious gods, distrusted as a spy, treasured as a turncoat, and then, when the war is won, distrusted for my unwavering devotion to the gods and my ‘meddling mind’ that won’t let Zeus rest peacefully with…” he stopped, then gazed up at Hermes, “who is he deciding to sleep with now?”
“Themis.” Hermes replied off-handedly, his attention still on the cattle downslope.
“…with Themis, and, ah, that pause ruined the moment.”
Hermes nodded. “Yes, and she’s pregnant with triplets.” Prometheus nodded, then rolled onto his stomach to determine what had so much of Hermes’ attention. He followed Hermes’ gaze down to the cattle, who were slowly cropping grass, then raising their heads to chew then swallow, before lowering their heads to crop more grass.
“It’s quite the sight, seeing them work so perfectly together, that each raises it’s head within and instant of each other, chew the exact same way, then lower in tandem for another mouthful. A simple design that yet whispers of a whole.”
Prometheus nodded at Hermes’ words. “Of course, it’s like the fish, the birds, and all plants and animals.” He began to wax poetic, like a schoolteacher who’d stumbled into a fascinating thought. “Each hints at being a separate piece, but each in truth is the tiniest pert of an enormous whole that works in harmony to promote harmony and contentment.” He glanced briefly to Hermes. “And you’re bored with it all because it is so precisely, harmoniously, unchanging.”
Hermes sighed, rolling onto his back to follow Apollo’s chariot. His elbow bumped the Petasos, his broad floppy-brimmed hat he never seemed without. Caduceus, with its twined serpents, representing his position as messenger and scout during the war with the titans, lay underneath the battered hat.
“In the war, it was chaotic, uncertain. There was a joy in the uncertainty, an understanding of what that chaos meant. How it shaped the lives it touched.”
“Yours, most of all.” Prometheus stated it as a fact, not an empathetic answer to a friend.
Hermes sighed at his words. “Yes, mine most of all.”
Prometheus chuckled. “Now who’s being dramatic?”
Hermes tried to glare at the Titan, but gave up a moment later, and draped his arm across his eyes. “I admit to drama, but you must admit, I have little to encourage any of my gifts, or skills.”
“Excepting your duty as the final Guide.” Hermes raised his arm and now he did glare at the lounging titan.
“Oh yes, we can’t forget the guide to the underworld. As if anyone died of something other than old age, or from food stuck in their throat”, Hermes rolled back to his stomach, and growled as his eyes strayed to the cattle, contentedly munching the grass.
“My pardon.” Prometheus gently replied. “Clearly, this is more than simple boredom.” The cattle seemed to pick up on the shift in mood. They all stopped chewing and seemed to turn as one and gaze upslope at the two gods. Hermes and Prometheus observed for a short while longer, then Prometheus stood as the cattle returned to the important business of eating.
“I shall take my leave, good Hermes, and will go visit the humans. Cattle are well and good to gaze upon, for a shepard, but I enjoy the human antics more.” He brushed bits of grass from hi loincloth, then strode purposely southward, towards the nearest human settlement. Hermes gazed after his friend, whom he had to deliver a report upon to Zeus.