Silver and Gold

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  • Published: 3 Apr 2017
  • Updated: 11 Apr 2017
  • Status: Complete
[Entry for Strange the Dreamer competition - Option One] Artemis and Apollo are brother and sister - two halves of a whole. Artemis has always been the wild one, the dreamer, the adventurer. But her brother has been torn away from her by a vengeful mortal angry with the gods. The sun has gone down on earth and the world is plunged into darkness as Artemis rallies together the greatest hunters the world has ever seen to save her brother, the only person who ever truly understands her. But time is running out, and in a month's time Apollo will die, taking he rest of the world down with him.

(Cover by NamesFromGraves)

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3. DEPLHI

It took some time for me to formulate a plan, which was of course to be expected. But eventually it came to me, just as the sun was setting beneath the earth for what seemed may be an eternity. I was passing through Delphi on my way to see the oracle - though I doubted she would be of much assistance without my brother - when I heard a cry from far away - warcry, in fact. But I couldn't let it distract me, and so I carried on towards the oracle.

Just as I had suspected, she was of no assistance to me. I presented her with a drachma and she simply stared at me, emptiness filling her lonely eyes. She said just one word. "Screams."

I paid her no heed at first, but as I left the screams began again, a thousand screams collapsing and exploding and imploding and weaving together with a thousand strands of pure and undiluted terror. and there was a girl there , a young girl - couldn't have been any older than nine - and she screamed as she grabbed my hand, dragging me through the streets of Delhpi.

The smell of aromatic spices danced through my nostrils, the sounds of screaming and sirens and swords - clashing, banging, crashing. And I stumble as she lets go, and there is a woman in front of me. No, not a woman. Cyrene.

The warrior, the queen of a city. Daughter of a titan, lover of Ares and... And Apollo.

"Lady Artemis," she said breathlessly, curtsying to me. "I have heard of your brother's absence, and I have come to speak with you, if you will grant me audience." Her eyes were large, brown, begging. I nodded. "My lady, I came her to Delphi to speak with the oracle. There were some problems back in my own city and our oracles were affected, so I thought the oracle at Delphi would be of more use. That was two days ago, just before Apollo went missing. The oracle told me to go to Ephesus, and all our problems would be solved. I... I heard about Apollo and I thought, maybe this wasn't simply about my city. I headed for Ephesus at once, of course, but the city wouldn't let me leave - it wouldn't let anyone in or out. But it let you in, my lady."

"What exactly are you suggesting, Cyrene?"

"I think that we need to go to Ephesus together, my lady. I'm sure of it. After all, that is the home of the Amazons, and the site of your largest temple. It seems right somehow."

I agreed. It was like something just clicked when she spoke, like everything made sense and a thousand puzzle pieces were just beginning to fall into place. "Yes. You are right, Cyrene. I trust you have all your required belongings with you?"

She grinned, baring a set of wolf-like teeth. "I've been ready for a day and a half, my lady."

I whistled with a smile, and my deer came running through the streets of Delphi. Grabbing Cyrene's hand, I hoisted her onto the larger of the two deer - Phoebe - with a courteous smile and a lady's smile. The two deer were not the normal deer one might find by a stream, of course. They gleamed silver and gold, sparkling and shimmering and beautiful as they reflected the two of us and the little girl, who jumped up and down like a mad dog begging for a treat. With a tinkling laugh, Cyrene tossed her a drachma and sent her on her way, as I took up position on my own deer. Calliope, her name was. The silver star, the beautiful muse. Apollo always loved that name, Calliope.

Cyrene reached out a hand to me, and I took it as my deer took flight.

 

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