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J Hart F

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Changed Earth (Part 9)

The familiar, stern voice echoed across the hills, "Akakios, come back here right now!" A command, certainly; but their father never yelled unless in battle of training.

Akakios turned around on top of the neighboring hill, eyes wide with fear and face sweaty. What he saw must have calmed him slightly; or the voice of his father had broken the grip of flight that came over him. As his breath slowed, Akakios slowly came down the hill and over to his father.

"There is no need to fear, my son," he tried to sooth.

Akakios' mind sharpened again, and his body tensed to fight, to erupt, to argue. "That was the voice of Death. How can you say I shouldn't fear!"

"That was not the voice of Death." He placed a firm hand upon Akakios' shoulder and knelt to look him in the eye. "That was our Mother Earth, the Ground beneath our feet which holds our sweat. She calls herself Gaia."

His eyes widened even more. "Then she is a Titan and should be disregarded in favor of the Gods! We will be punished for speaking with her!"

"I have been speaking with her for years, my son. Have I been punished?" He waited and watched as Akakios looked anywhere but at his father's eyes. "Has your brother been punished?"

This brought eye contact instantaneously. Then Akakios turned his face to look at Diodoros, who sat a few paces off while he watched his younger brother learn. Akakios' eyes were hurt; betrayed by family on what seemed like multiple fronts. Not even his brother could be trusted now; that was the look that pierced the air between them. "You knew about Her?" he aksed with a slight malicious tone. His face had become a mask of controlled emotions. Diodoros knew it well.

"He was trained as I am training you. And the first thing you must know is Gaia." Their father stood and turned Akakios away from his older brother and made him walk along the crest of the hill. "The stories you are told about the Gods are grand and fantastic, but have very few physical manifestations."

"But... If Gaia is real then everything is true!"

"To a degree you are correct. One piece of a puzzle doesn't prove the entire picture does it? This tree," he pointed to an olive tree just ahead, "doesn't prove that all trees grow ontop of hills, even though you don't see any other trees right now." Their father let the thought resonate for a few moments. "Do you understand, my son?"

"Yes.. and... No. I don't know..." he shrugged, accepting without full comprehension as he did with most things. Then, Akakios had a sudden thought. "So how many Gods are there?"

Their father smiled. "I don't know exactly how many 'Gods' there are..." He stopped walking and turned to his youngest son; love blazing in his eyes. "Let me explain another thing," he said as he knelt down again. "It's alright to call them 'Gods', for in a sense they do rule over an aspect of reality and their dominion is whole because of them. I prefer to call them spirits."


"Because that's what they are. The spirit of the Earth is Gaia. The spirit of the sun is Helios. The spirit of lightening is Zeus."

"But he's a God!"

"So are they all," he said with complete happiness.

"Oh, right."

Akakios stood their thinking for a moment, his eyes looking everywhere as if trying to see these invisible spirits his father spoke of. Eventually he caught sight of the tree again and stood transfixed.

His father sat down all the way and crossed his legs. "Are you ready to go back and speak with Gaia?"

Akakios nodded as he sat down and closed his eyes, slowly turning his head to face his father once more. A gentle breeze came over the hill as Diodoros walked up silently to the meditating pair. Sitting a respectful distance off, he watched patiently; leaving this mystery to be unveiled by their father for Akakios. He already sensed a small rift between himself and his brother, one that he feared would never heal completely.

Hopefully you will understand soon, my brother, Diodoros thought. He watched Akakios' face, noticing the expressions that flashed through the relaxed muscles.

After a while, the sun moving past its noon, the shocked look faded away. Wind started to blow a little harder, rustling the branches of the olive tree and creating waves in the tall grasses. A warmth in the air arose sharply. Diodoros touched his face and felt sweat starting to appear as the heat continued to rise.

He quickly created a wind of cold northern air to sweep over the hilltop; and it came with strong gusts, swirling around the solitary figures in the quiet afternoon. The heat, however, did not dissipate. Diodoros looked at his father, worried something might be going wrong in their trance.

Something certainly was. His calm, chiseled face was contorted into a scowl of concentration; the sweat dripping from his temples onto his tunic. Akakios, on the other hand, was smiling nearly gleefully.

Diodoros didn't wait. He was in the trance, searching for his father and brother in the infinite expanse of the mindscape. It wasn't hard to find blood-relatives in the mindscape, and with that ease already present the added stress in energy flow from Gaia made it almost impossible to miss the two of them.

Akakios and their father were not bodies floating in darkness; they were symbols representing the energies and thoughts being used. Diodoros knew his father as the green and blues, colors of the earth, which swam around a pillar of fire stretching throughout the heavens. The pillar had a central focus, large and round as the sun, and the flames which twisted outward were violent and explosive, lashing out with feral energy.

It had to be Akakios at the center, Diodoros knew this. But he couldn't understand what Helios was doing with his brother, who had no idea how to use or manipulate the energies of any spirit yet, least of all Gaia's, whose was the easiest. Diodoros pulled forth the energies of the earth, brown and strong and thrust himself towards the central focus of the flames. Barreling through epicenter of fire, Diodoros caught his brother and pulled his energies out of the focus. Instantly the flames died down.

Healing white energy flew all around Diodoros and Akakios. Diodoros felt his brother's presence fade from the mindscape, and he released himself as well.

The sky had turned an ominous grey, clouds rolling in from the west as a storm threatened on the horizon. The air was tepid. The wind was calm though the storm approached quickly. Diodoros looked over to where his father and brother were, to find his father stooping over Akakios with hands placed against his chest. Akakios had fallen backwards to lay on the ground face up.

"What happened," he asked.

There was no response from his father, whose face was still focused as he spread healing energy over his son. Diodoros knew his father couldn't hear because he was entranced still, so he waited.

It took another hour or so before Akakios woke up again and his father sat back, exhausted. Even through his tiredness riddling his face, their father seemed slightly impressed and happy. "It looks like Helios may grace you as none before!" he said to Akakios.

Diodoros didn't understand and stared at them, perplexed. If this was suppose to be such a joyful occasion, why was there so much danger in the circumstance that had just transpired?

Ethan opened his eyes from his reverie, trying to place the event into context in regards to Nick. Though nothing so dramatic had occurred, there was still the presence of Helios in Nick's essence; and Gaia had blessed him with hope he would use the energies of the sun. Ethan hoped his younger brother was simply a lesson learned and now the steps being taken were more cautious. Since he started training Nick, Ethan had not searched for Gaia's voice, had not payed attention to her presence on the island.

A blue butterfly flapped its wings in front of Ethan's face, adding the vibrant blue to the greenery he saw in the sanctuary. "It's time I speak with you again..."

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE IT!

    First off, I love me some backstory. Yes, I realize that EVERYONE gets to read this - but it still gives me this feeling that I know the characters a little better than everyone else does because, well - I know their history. It may not make sense and its absurdly illogical - but I feel . . . privy I guess?

    Okay - I can't explain it very well, so lets move on.

    I also feel a little better versed in Gaia, Helios, and how they relate to Ethan and Charles.

    Although, now I don't feel as motivated to read "The Gods of the Greeks" (Yes, I fully bought it JUST to give me better knowledge for your story.)(Yes, I'm aware that I am a super nerd)

    Also, I really enjoyed the tree growing on a hill metaphor. Did you make that up yourself? It perfectly relates to the Karl Poppers theory of falsifiability and scientific hypothesis!

    (See? Nerd)

    Good work, my Josheleh