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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Blog 90: Burdens Held

She looked upon her father, the great and powerful Titan, he had suffered enough, too much. Calypso looked behind her to the Giants and their mother Gaia. The Giants held the still struggling Heracles whose mouth was bound. Atlas raised his weary head, hearing the commotion. He had all but forgotten the differences in light brought by change. His memory of the time before the punishment was fading. In his mind Heracles looked little like the furious god twisting in the grips of the Giants.
“Father,” Calypso spoke, “your time has come again. Freedom will be yours in but a moment.”
The old Titan blinked stared at his daughter, still beautiful, her eyes which held all of the deep blue of the ocean and her heart all of the merciless power of its waves. Her silver hair caught the breeze of the cavern and moved like calm waves on the shore. The long suffering Titan tried to speak and failed, he had no energy to talk, no memory of how. Two of the Giants strained next to him, lightening his burden. Another four roughly thrust Heracles beneath the orb of the heavens as Atlas fell and Heracles had to clutch the celestial spheres lest they crush him. The four Giants held their captive again as Calypso lifted her broken father from the ground. A gentle trickle of water flowed from her fingers, nurturing his strength which had too long been sapped by the endless exertion of his punishment. Colour returned slowly as his mother Gaia held out an apple which he ate weakly, staring at Heracles. Heracles, still gagged, stared back with pure venom in his eyes. Heracles trembled with the effort of his new labour, Atlas laughed weakly, coughing up half chewed apple as he mocked his bitter foe.
“How the tide has turned Heracles. What will your father say?” Bound as he was Heracles screamed through the gag and a tear rolled down his chin as he remembered the death of Zeus.
“Zeus is no more father.” Calypso spoke. “Think of him no more. Glory in this victory and watch as Heracles bears the anguish with your burden.” Gaia Planted a seed by the foot of Heracles which grew into a tree which circles the son of Zeus and formed a pool around him. Gaia turned away as the branches of the mighty three wrapped themselves around the brawny arms of the fallen god. Heracles continued to struggle as Calypso and her father leaned over the lip of the pool. The Giants clambered over the wall of the pool and watched as it filled with water. A jet shot from the hand of Calypso as she stared intently into the weeping eyes of Heracles. She smiled as the water rose around him, up to his neck where she stopped and pulled the gag from him.
The mad screams of Heracles shook the foundations of the world. Earthquakes raged for days until he tires and began again only from time to time. Calypso never gave a second thought to Heracles whose last labour would support the heavens. Atlas thought of little else. Atlas did not hate Heracles as much as his children. He’d retreated from the pain of his burden into his mind. He’d dreamt of beauty and peace that had been shattered by the reality Calypso had brought him to. In the aftermath of the war all were wounded and too much had changed for his liking. He did not know the world he saw, nor its men and women who worshiped the new gods. He the took the Aegis shield and the sword of the hero Perseus from the armoury to the depths of Tartarus where Heracles remained, rooted in place. He drained the pool of water and looked into the raging eyes of the young god who said nothing.
“Would you go to your father if you could?” Atlas asked, Heracles only nodded. “Would it be cruel of me to guide you to him?” Atlas asked, raising Harpe so that Heracles could see it. The adamantine blade glistened even in the dim light of the cavern.
“Let the heavens fall if they must but let me go to him.” Heracles gasped. Atlas nodded and lifted Aegis over the wall of the empty pool of roots, his immense feet splashed the last puddle that fed the roots of the tree. He held the cheek of the god and saw a boy, lost in grief.
“May there be a realm for you to find him beyond this.” Atlas spoke as he slid the sword into Heracles throat. The blood shrivelled the tree which lowered the sphere of the heavens onto the shoulders of Atlas again who turned to stare at the Aegis shield. It held the power of the vanquished gorgon Medusa which turned mortals and monsters to stone. Atlas however could not be killed by the power of the gorgon gaze but slipped into unconsciousness as his body dutifully resumed its familiar task.
In his mind a father greeted a son and the two lived happily, beyond the wars of Titans and gods and the stories of men and women. Some saw the expression on the face of Atlas as a grimace but Calypso recognised the true bliss of the smile on his worn face. He was left there forevermore, as he wished.

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