Making Off with the Prize

"You yellow pustules," growled Odysseus as she stood tall, no longer looking ragged or decrepit, "You thought I was never making it home from Troy. You plundered my house, bullied my family and showed nothing but contempt for humanity and divinity alike. Here lays the results of such arrogance."

The suitors looked about them for their weapons, but all had been locked away except those held by Odysseus, Telemakhe and the select servants now in the hall. Their fear rose to a crescendo, many turning green with its bile. Only Eurymakhos had the courage to speak up.

"Madam, I take it you are Odysseus returned from war," said Eurymakhos, "It is true that we have eaten of your meat and drunk of your wine, but are these offenses worthy of death? We can repay all of that including a tithe of twenty bulls, gold and bronze. As far as any threat to your family goes, that was all Antinoos' doing. That man cared more for power than marriage. He egged a number of the more passionate fellows on to rash statements and even more rash behaviour, but now he has met with his cold justice."

Eurymakhos stepped forward with his hands open. "We are all good citizens of Ithaka. We do not blame you for your anger, but let us make reparations and part friends." Eurymakhos edged a little closer to Odysseus, smiling. She reached for a new arrow, but Eurymakhos in a moment lunged at her legs, knocking Odysseus down.

Acting out of the adrenalin of their the fear the suitors rushed forward further overwhelming the returned ruler of Ithaka, taking the servants and capturing Penelopos. Only Telemakhe held them back with sword and spear.

"Go now" called Odysseus to her daughter, but in vain. Telemakhe would not leave her reclaimed mother. The relationship meant too much to her.

Eurymakhos managed to stand with several of the suitors holding Odysseus in check. "Telemakhe, dear," he said in that jovial tone which had Telemakhe wanting to spit the man from aft to draft on her spear, "We have your mother. We have your father. How very convenient for them to witness my proposal and your acceptance.

"Since I am the wealthiest suitor here, I am sure that the other suitors would be willing to acquiese to the match, for they will undoubtedly leave with rich wedding gifts. Nevertheless, I cannot vouch for their behaviour toward your parents should you not accept my more than reasonable offer of marriage. It's a pity that either way, they will never see the grandchildren. I shall have to ban the in-laws from this island. Yet, they will have each other and we will have each other."

Telemakhe stood weapons in hand. A tear forced its way down her left cheek. Was death, her death, her parents' death, really preferable to marrying Eurymakhos? She looked over at them. Even held apart she could sense the depth of connection her mother and father held for one another.

Telemakhe dropped her sword and spear.

The End

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps