And I watched, a rainbow above the world…

This, roughly, is the first part of the book I’m writing, an adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Of bodies changed to other forms I tell;
You Gods, who have yourselves wrought every change,
Inspire my enterprise and lead my lay
In one continuous song from nature’s first
Remote beginnings to our modern times.

In the beginning there was no light or earth or sky. There was only Chaos. The abyss. The absence of all. From this discord, the Gods created life.

From the abyss they tore the sky from her sisters, never again to touch. From the abyss they tore sea from earth. These sisters they would doom to always be touching, but always separate. The Heavens, she watched lonely from her place with only Gods - her sister’s children - to comfort her as they created their own home in her breast.

From a union of sisters, Earth and Sea, Prometheus created mankind. Vain as the Gods were, they moulded from mud a creature in their own shape.

The world which was given to humans was a world of milk and honey. Without Strife, men lived as Gods upon the Earth.

Descent arrived. When Saturn fell he brought about a new age of man. An age of temptation and the beginnings of Strife.

Man himself brought about the next age. A bronze age - a race of war and wickedness.

And further still, the world of men fell. An age of iron saw father fight son. Friend was no longer safe from friend. Dissension and immorality plagued the Earth. As brother fought brother they tore their Great Mother apart. And Earth’s sister - the seas and rivers - ran red with blood. From their place, safe in the Sky, the Gods watched this downfall, the ruin of their own creation. Something must be done, for the Earth which now bled was their own mother as well…

messenger n.: a person who delivers - a package or a message - from one person to another. see also: don’t kill the messenger.

I’ve no business of my own. No agenda, no ideas worth anyone’s mention. No, I am simply a messenger god. At least Mercury got a past - a story and a lively confrontation with his brother Apollo. Not me. I’ve always been Jupiter’s messenger. Or at least I was, until Mercury got himself those winged sandals.

In any case, this was all before Mercury. And I was charged with a mission. To deliver a real message to mankind.

Over a cup of ambrosia, Jupiter turned to me and said, “Iris, something’s really got to be done about all that racket bellow us.” I agreed. I always agree. No one argues with a man with lightening. Jupiter remained quiet. He gazed out over the clouds, his brow furrowed as he watched the strife below. Years and years from this moment, man would sculpt Jupiter as such, a thoughtful God. But now, the only thing they carved was each other’s flesh.

“Iris,” he said finally, “I want you to see to it that the world is flooded.”
“Flooded?” I asked. For clarity. Never to question his judgement. Messengers never ask questions.
“Yes. Have Zephyr lock up the north wind and release the rain from the south,” he said. I nodded.
“And you,” he fixed me with his gaze. Looking into Jupiter’s eyes is like being in a lightening storm. You’re drawn to its power but terrified by its danger. “You gather the waters and refill the clouds. Then go tell Neptune to release the rivers, streams and seas.” I nodded again.

I popped over to tell Zephyr and Neptune of their brother’s plans, and then set to my own part.

It was peaceful to watch the waves roll over the Earth. The houses and forests on her front were washed away. The animals and humans floated past, wolves and sheep side by side. Birds fell from the sky in sheer exhaustion.

The Earth sighed with relief as her sister’s embrace healed her wounds.

Above me, I could feel the Heavens growing heavy, itching to join her sisters. Jupiter would never let that happen. That would mean the end of us as well as the mortals.

Finally, the Seas calmed and I let the clouds run dry. Helios, on his chariot, drove past to warm the Earth’s surface and help pull her from her sister’s arms. And I watched, a rainbow above the world, just below the Heavens. I watched as the Earth, my mother, emerged a blank slate, ready for mankind to ruin all over again.

Next is Deucalion and Pyrrha, but I still have to work on that part a lot.

1 Comment

  • By konfusedfae, March 13, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

    “Beautiful” is an understatement, doll. This is breathtaking really.

    I’m amazed, as always, with your ability to paint with words. <3

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