Book Excerpt, no. 1
This is an excerpt from the first chapter of a work I have a mind to see published and was hoping to receive feedback from those interested in reading it. Briefly, the work is set in the world of Greek mythology, set fourteen years after the end of Trojan War when all the major Greek kings and commanders had returned home. This intended book is meant to be one of ten with the first seven books as stand-alone stories and the last three much more tied together and involving the characters detailed in the previous stories. Embedded within the work, but not in the excerpt, are footnotes and maps which would help the reader. Here, they are not included. I will make this disclaimer concerning this work: one does not have to be well-read on Greek mythology to understand this work. You should be able to pick it up and just read from it straightly without having to say pick up your copy of the Odyssey and read Book 3, line 30. That is not this work. I will add too that the writing style of this work is meant to mimic that you would see in old English translations of Greek and Roman texts. This was done on purpose to lend to the idea of this as a story which could have been written long ago. It is a style preference on my part; I could easily see some turned off by it.
I could go into a long-winded discussion of what I want to see, but I will leave it there for now. I appreciate whatever feedback people give. I will take whatever comments for what they are worth. If people leave behind criticism that I think demonstrably improves the work, I will add it; if, on the other hand, the comments argue against style more than substance, this I will likely ignore. With that said, I wish to express my thanks to any who care to read this excerpt and who may be curious as to what comes next:
When I had quaffed some fine Ophioussan spirits and offered up a heartfelt plea to Phoebus and his Muses for divine inspiration, rose my lulled brain into a rapturous state, a plain of reality hitherto unknown. Flashed many wild and fantastic visions before my eyes as if I had been admitted into the mind of the Gods. Ancient memories of bygone eras—the times when noble heroes still roamed the earth and put right what frauds, discord-sowers, and kinslayers put wrong—these were all revealed to me. So, too were many mysteries which plague many thinking minds. Where did all the heroes go? Why do we only know of villains in our times? Where are the Gods to deliver justice? The answers to these puzzling questions were all made known to me.
When I came to, I fetched reed and parchment post-haste. Less I forget all that I had seen, began I to dictate what Phoebus and the Muses had revealed. Even now, his lyre’s plucked strings and Calliope’s melodic voice ring in my ears. Lend your eyes to what my ears have heard. Write I of the times after the war in Ilium, the times after all the famed Hellenes returned home or not at all, back to their forlorn kingdoms, their homelands stricken with dearth, death, and despair in their long absence. Write I of the times when the dreaded Thalassans scoured the Great Sea and brought doom upon our forefathers and all of civilization. Write I of lion-gated Mycenae, of its wealth, its opulence, its might, and its downfall under proud and spiteful Orestes and how his rivals—the Heraclids—at last, secured their promised throne. Write I of the courageous heroes, young and old, cunning and daring, from far and wide, who aided the Heraclids in their ascension and who ended the Thalassan’s reign of terror. And write I of that most auspicious point in all of history when the Gods themselves quit the mortal realm and retired fully onto Olympus. Through blessed drink, through solemn prayer, have I come onto the mind of the Gods and so reveal what my feeble hand can write.
Many a tale my reed intends to put down, but here it shall regale you with the story of her, Teleia, the Amazon, and her ward, Barsa. My pledge to you is this; to provide you, as best I can, the words spake, the deeds done, the sights beheld, the locations travelled, the thoughts conceived, all that has been revealed to me. But know this; there is a time and place for all things. Not all can be seen or heard at once. O, if life were so, it would be either all joy one moment or all sorrow the next. Not so! So, have patience with me and I promise to illuminate you.
Come with and let us, with our minds, wander off to Cyprus, to Cythera’s island. Come we after the solstice, after the first new moon of the first month of the year, fourteen years since the war in Ilium. Come we onto the western end of the island, onto Paphos, onto the court of Agapenor the Arcadian, son of Ancaeus, him of two score and six summers. He survived the war but was lost thereafter like so many others. Found him sanctuary on Cyprus where he dedicated himself fully to Aphrodite. To this end, built him a magnificent pleasure-palace to his patron goddess, the Eromanteion, and became Cythera’s favorite as a result. And she showered him with many gifts, with many lovers, and much wealth. But she could not preserve him from every ill for with the accumulation of wealth comes those wanting to take it away. Built Agapenor his own little empire in Paphos, and for it, gained him the evil eye of far-flung rivals. Chief among his foes were Baal of Tyros to his east and Ramesses of Egypt to his south. It is a myth that kingdoms are fashioned after one man. Births the man the vision, but requires many hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, to enact it. Needs a king a talented cadre of artists, scribes, smiths, masons, diplomats, counselors, and other skilled agents to maintain his kingdom. Amongst these must include loyal spies able to make war and sow discord amongst his enemies and to counter the self-same machinations and intrigue devised by his rivals. And this agent took the shape of her, Teleia, arms-bearer and ward once to Penthesileia, now a seasoned adventurer.