1 Scortching Hot Days - Apollo
I looked over the landscape, olive trees scorching on a hot day, stuck in contemplation. Reviewing so many events just to see how we got here again.
It was right here, that for many years I'd meet with the Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, the priestess of this—this temple built to do nothing, but honor and worship me.
"What is my name?" I yelled, waiting for someone to answer, "Apollo, my lord."
I sipped my wine again, leaning back in this make-shift throne.
The world does not believe in oracles anymore, but if they did I'd warn them, I'd help them, as I always did. I always was here for them, regardless of their worship. Regardless of how often people moaned and complained once they left earshot of the Oracle. And regardless of how many times they cursed at me, mostly in drunkenness.
A woman stumbled in as that thought passed. She was dressed in a lavish dress, studded and sleek. Her hair elegant, coils tight and eyes so—comforting.
"Are you my Oracle?" I said to her.
"Your oracle?" She responded, eyes sizing me up. "I haven't really had much success telling the future, but I guess I can try."
I laughed, still knowing that what I hoped for hasn't existed for ages but deciding to continue anyway.
"No love, I tell you the visions, all you must do is spread them. Speak them to prophecy, make sure the world is prepared."
She hesitated for a second. I could tell she contemplated walking away, but natural curiosity, intrigue kept her. "What have you seen?"
"I have seen the end of this age. Man will once again see an end, just like the Golden Age, and Heroic Age, and all the ages to come before. I have not seen who will survive, or how they will survive, but you must be prepared."
"But what did you see?"
Her assertiveness perplexed me. She acted as if I didn't just say her world was ending, that everything she knew was coming to an end. I'll blame it on the fact that she thinks I'm crazy. Or...
Does she think I'm crazy? I put my chalice down below me paying close attention to the way she stood, her expression, looking for any bit of...doubt.
I didn't know where to start.
"I saw flames, flames that touched the sky," I said triumphantly, hearing my own voice echo throughout the hall.
"What else?" She said, again unphased.
I tried again, this time not trying to impress her, but instead simply speak my visions. "The oceans turned cold and broken. The earth broken. I—I'm still trying to make sense of it."
"What else?" She repeated.
"God's dying!" I said struggling to control the inflections in my voice. "An unholy war that brings mortality to those who shouldn't be."
She touched me on the shoulder. "What else?" She whispered.
My lungs suddenly lost themselves. Mistimed breathes and mild hyperventilation made my next words barely come out as a whisper. "Souls that get no peace after death. Monsters and demons rising to where they shouldn't be."
I never saw her walk towards me as I spoke. Never truly felt her touch. Not until my head rested on her and her arms wrapped around me. It was in this moment, she let the truth speak.
"Something told me to come here today. I couldn't tell what or why. Something just kept speaking this word over and over until I was going crazy with images of this place in my head, looking just like this."
She referred to this illusion I created, returning my temple to its golden days, as I remembered. But maybe I return more than I hoped to its former days.
"What you heard, are you my Pythia?"
"Yes! I just heard it hiss over and over in my dreams."
I looked here in the eyes. The way she lit up, the satisfaction she heard from me speaking that one word, "then you must drink."
We took turns finishing the wine in the chalice. The wine was a work of the gods, more powerful than any mortal needs, but she handled herself well.
She leaned back, barely holding herself up, "I'm starting to see it now, what you saw. It's painful, scarring really. How did it all come to this though? Or am I to believe this just came out the blue?"
I looked at her, once more comforted in her eyes.
"It all started with the fruit. Rotten seeds born of darkness. A simple pomegranate. But it was made to maim. Made to put Zeus into an eternal sleep."
I investigated the chalice lifting it in hopes that just one more drop would bless my lips. Just one.
"Zeus slept, slept long. It has been thousands of years. But soon, he will awaken, and things will be nothing as they once were. There will be difference. There will be pain. Because when he awakes, his mind will be—lost."
"Damn." She said looking at the pillar in front of us. "But why not…"
"My Pythia!" I interrupted. "I'm afraid that our time has passed. These are the matters of gods. You must now figure how you will speak your prophecy."
I feared what I made of the woman who just left. I forgot the gift that it was to have someone to speak to of my visions. It was something about these mortal conversations, that was more relieving. That felt more humane.
I chuckled at myself for the silly pun.
I dropped the illusions of my temple. The throne dissolved behind me, the floor once again became disassembled, and the sun burned through now. It was just me and these tattered pillars.
I watched the woman leave wondering how far she'd get. Damn, I forgot to ask her name.
"My Pythia!" I yelled walking towards her.
But at that moment, lightning struck down from a clear sky. Burning her down to a crisp outline of bone. It's a shame, for she was as beautiful as they come.
This is what happens when God hears all, when God sees all. This is what happens when balance is lost. This is what happens Zeus has awakened.
A prophet has only one fear greater than see his visions recreated in front of him. It is that fear when he sees all, but the end. And a man who sees all is once again introduced to curiosity. When he must realize that some things aren't written—and he just must hope.
Who is there for me to pray to?