Slaying the Minotaur

Ocean has been selected to rescue the enigmatic and nomadic princess of a foreign tribe from an elusive structure known only in legends. Armed only with a ceremonial staff and the cloak and pelts per tradition of his own tribe, he fearlessly ventures forth to rescue her. But the structure is not totally abandoned and there lies a dark creature with an even darker heart at its epicenter. And it's hungry so very ravenously hungry ...

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1. The Beginning

It was decided.

 

The elders sat back and looked upon the council and nodded sagely. The boy would journey to the structure and save the princess. The boy in question was bestowed with the ceremonial garb per tradition of his small tribe. He was donning the white fur pelts of wolves that had been slain four fortnights ago. It had been dyed three times until it had reached a creamy consistency resembling the hue of the moon shining directly above them.

 

On a raised dais was the simple oaken staff that would be used for his talents. The boy smiled appreciatively and bowed his head, a gesture of respect and reverence as he offered penance to the Old Ones. He placed two bundles of myrrh and frankincense for the Old Ones and they burned them on a small gathering of firewood until the tents stunk of them.

 

“I beg you to grant me the strength to carry this staff with me, all the days of my life,” the boy kissed the wood deferentially and strapped it across his back diagonally. He fastened the corded belt made of dyed sinew and muscle and his arms rippled with the effort of hefting it.

 

“May the Gods show favor upon you young one,” the elders droned on and the boy nodded. He spent his time kissing the hands and cheeks of his family members. Clasping his mother’s hands to his as they openly wept.

 

For his father he left a present of slabs of freshly slain and cleaned deer meat. The venison would be tasty when stewed with carefully roasted potatoes and seasoned with thyme and sage. For his sister he left her a clay jar of incense that she could burn and a mortar and pestle he’d asked Aka to slave for two fortnights over. When the young woman cooed graciously he known he’d done her well. To his little brother he whispered for Ava to shield him from the other.

 

Then the boy was off, speeding up hills and across valleys on his horse. He rationed the smoked rabbit meat and yams his mother had prepared a fortnight before. Ocean whooped joyously as he finally saw the massive labyrinthine structure come into view. It had been built upon a sturdy foundation of outcropped rock and was made with limestone and other old rocks and primordial things. He’d fought off raiders and had lost most of his rations and now his belly sung piteously with hunger. Still he ignored it as he patted his horse and whistled for it to go. It bowed its head and nuzzled him and he smiled, wiping away the tears as he turned his faithful beastly companion loose.

 

“You’ve served me well Menno,” he turned his back upon the dappled speck of grays and mottled black. With each laborious step the boy’s feet and legs ached with the endeavor. He exerted himself and knew this when he passed out across the stone steps, having reached the top step.

 

His staff was clutched tightly in hand and he didn’t have time to hear the soft pattering of eager and curious feet. Didn’t have time to register the sensation of being poked and prodded or the heat that licked and singed at his flesh and clothing. He was on fire. He woke up bleary-eyed. His eyes tearing he surveyed the glow of fire he was roasting underneath. He was tied to a pyre and being burned alive!

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