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Spencer English 9HP7 The Odyssey: Episode 7 “The Brew of the Gods”
Muse, whisper to me, in that I can tell the story of the skilled man who has a lion’s heart and a golden mind. Help me honor the story that the ancestors have passed down to me, to tell the story of a man who risked his life, for the one he loves. The tale of a man who journeyed through oceans and oceans of blue, the tale of a man who journeyed through forests and forests of green. Through me, narrate the time of when a man so strong, so brave, was forced to fall to his knees, and beg even the most condescending of monsters. Allow me, Muse, allow me to recount the convoluted story of a lover and his hardships.
The Escort ---------------------------------------------------As the dark night swiftly enveloped the bright sky, the weeps of the servants could be heard throughout the wintry palace. Eurynome, Penelope’s trusted housekeeper, escorted out of the palace, the fifteenth physician that day. Both held a grim expression doubly apparent on their pale faces. Standing at the doorway of the palace’s entrance, Eurynome tried to comfort the physician with kind words, words far gentler than the ones Odysseus had presented to him earlier. “Please, excuse my master’s erratic behavior, he is quite anxious and hasn’t gotten much sleep lately, being that the mistress is in great pain and suffering. The woman he has loved for so many years past, for many more moons than any man may ever dream of counting, is to depart to the Underworld without him. I hope you are able to understand his grief, dearest Physician.” The disconsolate physician sighed and shook his head. “I wish I could have brought happier news to the Master, however, I cannot tell him a lie and get his hopes high. The poison is fast paced, and, unfortunately, will spread to the entire body in as soon as two moons time. This poison is as fatal as a knife to an innocent man’s weakened heart. Please, dear Eurynome, send my condolences to the grieving Master.” With soft words and a gaze filled with guilt, the physician gave a farewell nod towards Eurynome, and turned to the smooth, endless walkway of the palace.
By Penelope’s Side ---------------------------------------------------Her long hair fell around her head like the halo of angels. Penelope’s eyes dulled to a misted shade, unclear as the murky waters of the ogres’ swamps. Kneeling on the floor beside her bed, Odysseus gently grasped his beloved wife’s hand as if it was his sole reassurance that she had not left his side yet. “My dear husband, I cannot help but feel it... my days are becoming shorter and shorter. It will not be long before my eyes close for an eternity. Please, forgive me when I leave your side sooner than expected. We had yet to live life and grow old together, and you just returned from your journey and now I’m about to depart on a tiring one of my own...” Penelope stopped in the middle of her speech, coughs butchering the rest of her words. Odysseus forcefully blinked away the crystal tears that were slowly forming in his bloodshot eyes. He had to maintain a strong facade for Penelope, for himself... It would not do her well if she saw that her death was causing him torturous depression. Thus, he clenched his jaw tightly, and opened it reluctantly to speak hopeful words. “I will find a cure for you, my dear! I swear by it! I will scour through all the lands we own, and every other land! Every physician available shall examine you. Every possible cure, every possible antidote will be found! I will plead to every god in Olympus to cure you. I will gravel beneath any god in the Underworld, to spare your life, to not take you away from me!” An exhausted and lackluster smile bloomed upon Penelope’s sickly pale expression. Lifting her hand from Odysseus’, she reached for his cheek and gingerly caressed it. Her hands shook in midair, and Odysseus frantically reached for it and held it to his cheek. “Do not trouble yourself for me, Odysseus, I...” Penelope’s eyes snapped open violently as a new row of coughs escaped from her chest. Odysseus’ own eyes widened as he held his breath in terror. It was not until blood dripped threateningly from the corner of her dry mouth that he sprung into action. “Eurynome! Call a physician immediately! Get him here right now! Eurynome!” Seconds later, the doors to their bedroom flew open, and the sixteenth physician scrambled into the room. “Master Odysseus! I have arrived!” The physician hastily ran to Penelope’s side as Odysseus stepped away to watch him hopelessly. Eurynome entered the room and quietly begged her master out of the bedroom.
“Please, Master Odysseus, you have not eaten all day. Young Master Telemachus awaits you in the dining chambers.” Before he could protest, the physician turned and nodded silently to him. “Please, listen to her orders, Master Odysseus. It will be an ominous sight when both Lady Penelope and you have fallen ill. I will see to Lady Penelope, you may eat in peace.” Odysseus could not bear to leave as he saw his wife’s delicate frame shaking in the bed. From her place, Penelope motioned for Odysseus to leave. Her ghostly lips curved into what seemed to be an ushering smile. At her insistence, Odysseus tore his eyes away from her petite body and stormily exited the room. Outside, Odysseus made his way down the corridor, bringing his hands to his hair and then to his face, a wretchedly strained cry sounding from his throat. “Please, god of medicine and healing, Apollo! Help me! I beg you...help me find a cure for my wife! Spare her life! Or rather, take mine in her stead! I will die for her! Twenty years without Penelope had driven me mad, a lifetime without Penelope, will eventually murder me! If I had known that the impudent Antinous had poisoned my wife, I would have shot a thousand arrows through his heart! Please, Apollo, I beg you! I beg you! Tell me...tell me how to cure her. I will sail any ocean, I will hunt any monster, I will do anything! Just...” He broke off, lifting his head from the floor when he spotted a figure standing before him. Glancing upwards, it was then that he noticed the proud form of Apollo in front of him. “You have called for me, Odysseus, master of seaways and landways. You ask me to tell you a cure for your ailing wife?” In Apollo’s arms was his kithara, his fingers softly strumming the lyre. A glimmer slowly lit up within Odysseus’ eyes, and the master of seaways and landways nearly jumped at the question had he not still held a sense of dignity. Odysseus stood in place, looking up at Apollo as he began to breathe easier. “Yes, I do ask you to tell me a cure for my dear Penelope. Whatever it is, I will find a way to achieve it. Nothing will stop me, I will make sure of it.” Apollo raised a fine eyebrow before curving his lips upward to form a secretive smile. “Your confidence is most becoming, however,
your arrogance may bring your downfall. To find a cure for your wife, you must sail to Alethria, an island near Ithaca, and gather two items that will combine to create the antidote for her. You must first find the nest of the Krounixe, a bird-like monster on Alethria, and do whatever is necessary to attain a piece of its feather. The feathers on the Krounixe resist poison of any kind, and will instantly erase your wife’s poisoning. You may not, however, kill the Krounixe. I am rather fond of it and I will avenge it if I find it dead. It will be hiding in the cold, protecting his territory. Where he lies, breathing will be a task in itself. The air is thin, thus, Odysseus, be prepared. Trek carefully, mortal, for this will not be a simple quest. You must keep your goal in sight and your emotions at bay. Once you have successfully taken a feather from the Krounixe, sail back to Ithaca and on your way back, you must scoop a canteen full of Alethrian water, the special water belonging to the island itself. It is located only on the waters near the shores of Alethria. Thus, if you sail too far out, you will find merely salt water. After you have gathered these two items, you shall return to Ithaca and create the antidote. The feather will dissolve itself in the Alethrian water, another point as to why you must collect the correct water since the feather will not dissolve in any other type of liquid. Give the antidote to your wife, and she will stand up stronger than ever.” Odysseus sharply retained all of the given information heard from his acute hearing, and locked eyes with the god when he finished speaking. Furrowing his eyebrows, Odysseus clenched his fists and looked out of the tall glass window at the glistening sapphire blue ocean beyond it. Apollo simply observed him as the master of seaways and landways nodded stiffly. “I will obtain all of the items for Penelope...for us.”
“For Us” ---------------------------------------------------180 Odysseus paced himself for the long journey ahead, looking left and right, trying to find the nest. It will be hiding in the cold, protecting his territory. Where he lies, breathing will be a task in itself. The air is thin, thus, Odysseus, be prepared. Trek carefully, mortal, for this will not be a simple quest. You must keep your goal in sight and your emotions at bay.
Deep in thought, Odysseus climbed through the wild branches and stepped carefully along the sandy pathway. After miles of thinking, Odysseus realized the answer. He saw the mountain to the East and started for it. Time didn’t seem to exist on this island, only his task. The forest around him was lush and green, animals were scarce, but insects infested the island. As the rising sun was nearing its peak, Odysseus found himself at the base of the mountain. He started his hike and the air suddenly thinned. The temperature around him dropped rapidly as he ascended up the slope, breathing heavily. Higher up, he began to climb slower to conserve his much needed energy for the fight to come. Out of the corner of his eye, a great bird emerged and spread its wings to show its fearsome beauty and power. Upwards he climbed and soon reached the peak by the third sun. Blazing up in the sky, the sun shone bright and directly into his line of vision. Odysseus mustered up the courage to find the bird. He hiked a little bit more and off into the distance, He saw a nest. The nest. The nest that would save Penelope and in turn, save his heart. He tightly clenched his jaw and narrowed his eyes on his target before quickening his steps toward the nest. Odysseus glanced up from the rocky tracks of the mountain to spot the Krounixe once more. It was leisurely soaring the skies above its nest, still unaware of Odysseus’s presence. Odysseus was closing in enough to glance at the distinct characteristics of the Krounixe. It was a marvelous bird-like monster indeed, deserving the attention of such a god as Apollo. The Krounixe hovered, a proud bird, its large wings cut through the wind in feathery streaks of scarlet red, warm brown, and golden sunshine. Odysseus momentarily paused his steps as the Krounixe slowly descended from the air to land on its nest; the bird-like monster’s piercing eyes traveled across the island. It stood tall, its nest located near the top of the Alethrian Mountain, overlooking the rest of the island. Conscious of his job there, Odysseus bent his head and lowered his back to avoid the Krounixe’s probing obsidian eyes. Once the bird wrongly presumed that the vicinity was clear, it turned its back to Odysseus and continued to clean itself in its nest. Taking the golden opportunity as it came, the master of sea, air, and land hastily trudged upwards once again, making sure to muffle his steps to ensure
that the Krounixe would not detect him It seemed like hours passed before he finally arrived close to the nest. Calming his harried breaths, he hid behind a thick tree to ready himself for the oncoming encounter with the Krounixe. Fastened around the left side of his belt was a leather canteen to contain the Alethrian water and slung across his back, lay a plain tan colored pouch in which he would secure the Krounixe’s feather.
. His right hand moved to his side to feel a knife, six inches in length, sheathed, that was strapped to the right of his hip. The Krounixe still faced away from Odysseus, leading him to believe that the bird-monster was starting to slowly doze off. Let the bird fall into a deep slumber and I’ll simply pluck the puny feather from it while it’s still resting. I’ll be back for Penelope before two sunsets. Odysseus thought to himself with a wry smile, confident that it would be an easy task. Thus, he felt the adrenaline pulse through his veins, and he peered out of the side of the tree to spot the Krounixe safely tucked away in its nest. Odysseus’ eyes darted around the area to look for any supplies which may be of use to him. The surrounding area around the Krounixe’s nest was vast and empty, filled with towering trees that aged longer than a century. The branches of the trees all swooped outwards in a tangle of dark brown bark and crisp green leaves. The large trees grew close to each other, the branches of separate trees sometimes intertwined to form shady areas where the branches crossed. The leaves of those intertwined branches were thick enough to be able to hide a man. Odysseus turned his gaze away from the trees and back to the Krounixe. Carefully, he crept out from behind the tree stump and started to approach the Krounixe. He focused on the bird and tip-toed over to its nest. Gaze locked onto the bird, Odysseus did not realize that there was a small branch in front of his foot CRACK! The twig made the slightest sound, and yet the bird heard it and it awoke from its slumber. Its eyes darted to the source of the sound, a man! It spread its wings and with one swift movement, it was up in the air, just hovering near the tops of the trees. Odysseus quickly lifted a medium sized boulder nearby and searched for a tree near the disturbed bird: a place for good aim. He spotted the perfect one and sprinted to it for time was of the essence.
He reached the tree and cautiously climbed it before settling atop a stiff branch, right behind the Krounixe. It didn’t see him, but he saw it. 305 In a flash, he threw the boulder high up above the bird and it caught the Krounixe’s eye. Carefully, the bird kept its gaze on the unknown object, watching it descend from the sky. Odysseus seized the moment and jumped from the tree, pouncing onto the Krounixe’s back. It flapped its wings wildly, frightened and astonished. Odysseus lay his muscled chest down against the Krounixe’s back and grasped its feathers gently. As the bird was struggling, Odysseus held on tighter before gaining control of the great bird. Suddenly, the Krounixe’s widened obsidian eyes softened and slowly lost its terrified gaze. Odysseus gripped its feathers in such a way that a bond grew between them instantaneously. The valiant monster smoothed out its ride and glided through the air back to its nest. Odysseus held on as the Krounixe landed in its soft, twig entwined nest. Odysseus swiftly slid out his knife from the sheath and sliced a feather from the bird, near its body It fell into his hand and brought him down to the bottom of the nest. It felt as if the bone in the feather was not hollow, but solidly made of steel. Odysseus lifted it with all his might and slung it over his shoulder and sheathed the heavy feather His legs trembled from the unexpected weight, but he patiently balanced the feather onto his back. One foot in front of the other, he trudged back to his ship, ready to finish his quest and return home to Penelope. He could not even count how much time the trek took him, but finally, his ship was in sight, only steps away. Heaving, he determinedly doubled his pace with his goal in sight and Penelope in his mind. When he eventually arrived to the ship, he slung the feather off from his back and laid it onto the wooden floor. Standing up, his eyes then turned to the water surrounding the ship. The Alethrian water is only located on the waters nearest to the shores of the island. Nodding to himself, he unbuckled the canteen attached to his belt and stepped off the ship once more. Eyeing the sandy shores of Alethria and the calm waves beyond it, Odysseus approached the waters closest to the shore.
He glanced at the water before tossing another glance out at the water farther out. Almost immediately, he noticed the difference. The waters further out were a darker tint in color than the Alethrian waters. The Alethrian water was a clearer shade of blue, glittering even more so than the ocean water. It seemed to reflect the lighter palettes of the sky and clouds, giving off an aqua hue. Convinced, Odysseus uncapped the canteen and swiftly bent over to scoop some of the Alethrian water into it, stopping when the liquid brimmed at the top. He tightly secured the cap back on the canteen and began striding back to his ship, a look of pure satisfaction expressed on his face. “I have found the antidote for you, Penelope,” Odysseus smiled wryly as he gazed out at where Ithaca would be, where Penelope was.
Cured ---------------------------------------------------375 Impatient and wracked with nerves, Odysseus paced back and forth as he waited for Eurynome to bring a cauldron to dissolve the feather within the water. His eyes shifted left and right as he stood at the archway of Penelope’s and his bedroom. He glanced at Penelope in the bed before changing his gaze to the corridor. Seconds later, Eurynome pattered down the corridor with a handful of servants, an enormous black cauldron hefted in their hands. “Master Odysseus, I’ve brought the cauldron!” Eurynome announced as they arrived in front of their master. Odysseus nodded in approval at her, “A thousand thanks, Eurynome. Now, we must first pour in the Alethrian water. Then, we shall place the Krounixe’s feather within the water. It should dissolve in the water, as Apollo had instructed me to do.” Eurynome nodded as they stationed the cauldron on the ground beside the canteen and the feather. Odysseus nodded as the servants moved aside for him to begin creating the antidote. From her bed, Penelope sat up to quietly peer at him. Odysseus turned to gaze at her, sending a tender and reassuring smile her way. Penelope could only crack a hopeful smile in return. Focusing back on the task at hand, he reached for the canteen and pried off the cap. Calmly, he angled the canteen as the water began to rapidly pour itself into the cauldron. He waited for the last drop to fall before handing the canteen to Eurynome and started to lift the Krounixe’s feather. Less heavier than before since he was now used to the weight, Odysseus promptly settled the feather into the cauldron.
He stepped back to wait for the feather to dissolve. Languidly, the feather started to slide further into the cauldron by itself, indicating that the bottoms of the feather were breaking apart. Awed, Odysseus and Eurynome along with the other servants waited until the feather finally disappeared completely into the cauldron. Once he was certain it had been dissolved completely, he stepped forward to peer into the cauldron. He couldn’t help the smile that broke onto his face when he saw the now transparent liquid inside the cauldron. He turned around to bark an order at a servant, “Hurry! Bring me a bowl!” The servant scrambled to his feet and dashed out of the bedroom. Moments later, he arrived back into the bedroom and loyally handed the bowl to Odysseus. Odysseus thanked him and dipped the bowl inside the cauldron to scoop the brew into it. Eurynome raced out of the bedroom as Odysseus brought the bowl to Penelope’s bed. Penelope gulped slightly as she stared at the bowl in her husband’s hands. She looked into his eyes and found only a persuading spark within them. Nodding to him, Odysseus lifted the bowl to her lips as she hesitantly began to sip the water. He waited until she finished drinking and flashed his eyes back to her face. Penelope closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, her eyes fluttered open when she smiled at him. Odysseus recognized the message within her smile immediately and threw his arms around her. “Thank goodness! It has worked!” Behind them, the servants began to cheer in happiness. Penelope looked up from their embrace when she sensed the presence of a physician that Eurynome had brought in. Odysseus turned around as well and allowed the physician to examine his wife’s pulse. Seconds passed by before the physician released Penelope’s wrist. The air was tense and the servants remained silent until the physician smiled and nodded, “The Lady Penelope is recovering.” Cheers broke out again and tears escaped from Penelope’s eyes as she hugged her husband tightly. “You saved my life, my dear Odysseus. I could not have asked for a better husband to love me.” Odysseus chuckled, a rosy glow returning to his face. “I swore to find an antidote for you, nothing was to stand in my way, and alas, I have found it. May we live a thousand more lifetimes together, Penelope.” Penelope nodded contentedly at him, “We shall live more than a thousand lifetimes together.”
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