A few days ago I ran a little test, and one passage drew a couple of comments . . .
“. . . and great heron from ancient lands dreamed of visiting greco-roman architecture. . . “
I had a few minutes, and the inclination, to write something along those lines, drawing on my limited knowledge of Greek Mythology.
For your perusal . . .
Golden Guardian, Silver Hunters
Copyright E. J. D’Alise, 2014
The first light of Helios crested the distant horizon, and the Great Golden Heron imagined she could see Aeos, her favorite of the fiery horses, leading the others in drawing the chariot across the sky.
Time to fly.
The golden wings spread, the light magnifying the brilliance of the feathers, the rising heat aiding in lifting the great bird as it launched from the cliff.
Gaining altitude, the heron noted the changing air currents and updrafts, direct results of the rise of Helios in the Eastern sky. She noted the moisture rising up to form slowly swirling wisps, barely hints of the massive clouds they would become later in the day.
And she soared, higher and higher.
Humans below awoke to their tasks, their struggles to find new imagined purpose, to find new gods showing them false paths to glory, to fortunes, to immortality.
The Great Golden Heron did not care about such things; new upstarts would be dealt with by others. Her job was to warn if those whose time had passed attempted to return.
She remembered a different time, sporting white plumage of a brilliance that could only have been gifted by the gods themselves. Her purpose? That of messenger, back then. She remembered the Titans; she remembered their Offspring, ruling from the heights of Olympus.
Chaos returned, banishing gods who played with the destiny of men, gods so fickle as to resemble those they sought to rule. All, save for two, were sent in exile, forbidden to step foot on Olympus ever again.
The Golden Heron broke through the clouds, the sun’s rays bathing its wings at the same time as it lit the cold stones of the vacant temples still standing on the mountain below. In decay they were. Monuments to the imagined greatness of gods, now reminders of their failings.
She banked, her sharp eye on the lookout for telltale signs of deities returning, of deities desperate for the glory and power of old. They would seek to gather their power here. They would seek to rebuild the temples, to reinforce myths, to gain control over men’s minds, to make themselves again.
There! A minor deity! To hide, it tried, but the Golden Heron saw the glow of gathering power.
She folded her wings as she rolled, and spread them again, as wide as she could, catching the light of Helios, reflecting it as a beacon onto the sky.
Miles away, the Silver Hunters sentry squawked The Cry of the Hunt in response to the golden beacon.
Ten and one Silver Hunters Herons lifted from their station as they had for the past two thousand years, taking to the sky, their long beaks well adapted to the task before them.
Some of the beaks were streaked with evidence of past hunts; a thousand years back, one Hunter had been lost to stop the return of Eris, and now one less than Twelve Hunters carried on their task.
As Helios neared the end his travel across the heavens, he cast a parting warm golden glow on the land. The Great Golden Heron alit on her perch catching those last rays, folding her wings around them, drawing them to her chest; warmth for the night. She closed her eyes as miles away, on the slopes of Olympus, twilight signalled the start of The Hunt.
As men drew their blankets to their chins to aid in the night’s sleep, the Silver Hunters descended silently on the mountain, Selene’s light guiding their grim but necessary task.
By dawn, Olympus would be free from the scourge of gods; still, and forever.
. . . OK, so that’s an Egret . . . close enough for my purpose.
Hope it was enjoyed.
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