Facing the Music

Your face is like a song.
Your sweet eyes whisper and I want to sing along.
Your features are in tune.
Let's sing together and turn every multitude.

Maureen McElheron

Odysseus could feel her rage at these young men, these leeches, who had terrorised both her daughter and her husband while she was away, rise within her. How she would love to put an arrow individually through each one's heart. Yet, something inside remembered the futility of all the killing in Troy.

She would never be able to make them feel as much pain as she felt, because she would never know what they felt, whether it was enough. No doubt some had parents who had put them up to this bid for the throne, and taking their lives would mean she would have even more battles to face within her own country, amongst her own people, as they sought vengence for their children's deaths.

Odysseus lowered her bow.

"Men of Ithaka, I your sovereign Odysseus have returned," she announced standing tall in her full glory. A divine light shone through a northern window and bathed her head and shoulders in gold. "I call upon your sense of honour and ask you to leave this place, then send reparations for your over-lengthy stay at this household's expense. Though I have every right to take your lives for your actions, I am giving you this one chance to walk away alive and with some portion of your dignity."

The suitors, too young to recognise Odysseus and mostly too arrogant to willingly acknowledge the evidence, whispered amongst themselves. Finally, Antinoos came forward.

"We know that once there was a ruler in Ithaka," said Antinoos, "But she has been too long gone. Younger bodies and minds are now needed to make this country rich and powerful. I have waited years to legitimately take that which is ours. Telemakhe should have been given by Penelopos when first we made our bids. Now I no longer care how it is that we acquire the throne, but acquire the throne we shall."

The suitors looked about them for their weapons. After discovering their lack, Antinoos' face darkened even more, then he rushed Odysseus, knocking her over before she could raise her bow once more. The other suitors took their cue and did the same with Telemakhe and the armed staff.

Braided lightning flashed across the hall. A cracking, like rock mountainsides splitting in two, vibrated the castle and everyone within it to their bones.

Athena Saves the Day--Odysseus Invests.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps