Campaign of the Month: June 2012
The Eyes of Apollo
The hulking savage reeked, the foetor a delight.
The observer angled and cocked, better to perceive the giant. Accursed of all the landwakers, were the giants, bastards of the titans. This one stank of giant nearly more than it did of death.
Oh, through the gates of Hades it shall soon pass, across the Styx by Charon’s escort.
Hunger gnawed within as this man-thing emerged from the sacred place, tramping Aesculapian brethren as so many reeds underfoot, disregarding the preciousness of the divine snakes; their holiness.
Not even this shadowed one, the winged messenger, would so treat – what others of its kind would relish – to sate the hunger that was building inside. Feasting was close at hand. Yes. Not the sinewy strands of snake-flesh, but the tasty pink flesh and juicy orbs of this vile transgressor.
The giant-kin stumbled, smearing a snake beneath sandaled foot – yet the odor from rends and tears in the man-flesh spoke the truth. It would indeed fall soon, and then would come the answer to hunger’s call.
The painted-skinned man followed the path from the stone shrine, and turned mountainward on the road. But what use were roads to one such as this dark observer, sent by his master to mete the punishment. Spreading raven wings, he let the breeze carry him into circles above his walking feast. The man struggled on, and when the stone way bent seaward, that giant-kin stepped over its bounding wall like one of the gods might stride over a dense mountain range. Arrogance expressed in his every step, even as he strode higher toward the summit. But that imperiousness shall be devoured, his hubris – his bane.
The rust-headed man fell upon a rock. Aeolus’ winds bit hard here in the heights, and there were few and fewer trees in which to light. The man’s locks were dark with his own blood. Corvus could smell its deliciousness. Alas, the accursed man rose and strode on. It gave a bitter howl that was eaten by the wind. Frustration, pain, sorrow… who could tell with such primitives? The only thing certain was this – its time on this side of the world was quickening.
The staggering man stumbled, and again. With every fall, it rose and howled. The iron brand, mingled with the sweet taste of other men’s blood, was first used to crutch the man onward, then discarded as its weight grew too cumbersome, as weakness crept into his bones. It would be soon now, the feasting. It would be soon.
This creature, this giant of the north, from a realm far from these blessed and sacred lands, clutched now at freshly opened wounds. Stupid are those who mock the gods, and punishment in this case has been swift. Not one holy being on Olympus could let such blaspheme pass. Corvus hovered in circles, settling at last on an ancient monolith, left by long dead worshippers. Apollo’s wolves, dolphins, roe deer, swans, and cicadas chased each other around the plinth. The weathered and broken griffin was still solid beneath Corvus’ talons, despite the eons since it was carved and erected. Indeed, a fitting place for the barbarian’s end. Apollo foretold this would be the site of its fall, and the others in the Olympian Hall now observed the blasphemer’s final moments. Corvus showed them all.
Death did not take the giant-man easily, or peacefully. For his sacrilege upon Asclepius’s sacred hall of healing, the punishment was befitting of the offense. Worms burst forth from pustule wounds. Agony without the blessing of unconsciousness wracked the terrible man until the sun nestled into the deep violet skies. No mortal was witness to the man’s dying cries. No soul would aid him. The creeping fingers, tendrils of the Artimus moon, at last touched the corpse of the now silenced offender. And at last, Corvus feasted.