This is part 2 of "The Vial of Arsalan."
Over in Mount Olympus, Athena, Hestia, Damon, Maeja, and Straton all appeared into a godly training hall. The room was wide and spacious, with purple walls and white pillars. The ceiling towered above everything, while the floor appeared to be sparkling with magical dust.
“It is here that we shall begin your final training,” Athena stated.
“But how shall I train, Athena?” Damon curiously questioned.
“Ares shall prepare you with that,” Athena assured. “But Hestia and I must talk with your parents. They are the ones who shall steal the vial, for our godly powers are slowly weakening as Persian troops continue to invade.”
Soon enough, Ares magically appeared in the room and approached Damon.
“You must put your trust in us, Damon” Hestia proclaimed.
With that, Maeja, Straton, and the two goddesses departed elsewhere while Ares and Damon practiced. Straton and Maeja were then hoarded into a smaller room where Athena and Hestia entered while closing the door.
“What do you want with us, Goddesses?” Straton bravely chanted.
“Straton, you and your wife are not in trouble,” Athena reacted. “We need your help with a perilous and important task.”
“And what is that,” Maeja politely commented.
Hestia pronounced, “Our powers have deemed too weak at this point. As parents of the chosen one, you two are the next candidates.”
“Candidates for what?” Straton rudely accused.
“Straton, you must calm down,” Athena said soothingly. “If you stir the fire too long, you shall burn yourself. But that is besides the point. The point really is that in order to kill Arsalan, Damon must fight him twice and then drink the vial of Arsalan that contains his life. It is his only weakness. To continue, you two must steal the vial while Damon fights Arsalan at dusk. After, return it to Damon while he is still fighting before midnight. Damon shall drink it then. Your task is very important.”
“And how do you so-called Goddesses plan on us doing just that!” Straton shouted in disgust. “If you think that I’m going to risk my life just for Damon to drink a stupid vial, then you two are crazy! Even if it stops the dictator Arsalan, it still helps Damon and therefore, I refuse to do it!”
“Straton,” Athena advised, “you will aid Maeja in this task before the holy name of Zeus and Greece. Hestia and I have devised a plan. Just remember, this Straton. Those who run fast stumble.”
“Whatever,” Straton snarled while rolling his eyes.
“Now,” Hestia announced, “it is time.”
“Already?” Maeja choked uneasily. “It has been not even a full hour since sun break.
“Yes, Maeja,” Athena answered. “That part may be true but time moves differently in Mount Olympus. Thus, we shall depart in a few whisks of time.”
“Your majesty, it is near dusk,” a servant of Arsalan informed.
“Yes, it very well is,” Arsalan growled. “And am quite aware. I am also more blood thirty and ravenous for winning this time. For I am Arsalan of the Lions!”
“Yes, your majesty,” the servant answer backed. “Shall I fetch your finest sword this time?”
“Yes mere servant,” Arsalan masterminded. “You shall fetch my weapon now.”
The servant returned back to the lobby with Arsalan’s pre-sharpened sword. With that, Arsalan stepped out of the lobby and into the yard where the battle was to take place. Nobody was there yet, but another thunderstorm began to roll in. Once more, lighting tore at the night sky as if it were cutting cloth in two halves. Thunder belched through the sky like a drunken man burping, only with more horror. As the raindrops began to topple down to their deaths on the ground, the Gods and Goddesses began to arrive once more and sat underneath a cozy canopy. Zeus, who was causing the thunderstorm, was extremely anxious while tears flowed like a river from his eyes.Finally, Damon magically appeared before Arsalan while his parents appeared together in Persian armor before Arsalan’s mansion’s back door. Athena and Hestia took their seats, as well.
“So we meet in the midst of nature’s temper tantrum,” Arsalan evilly snipped without knowing that Zeus was the source of the inclement weather. Then, a flash of lighting illuminated the night sky brighter than all the torches in Athens put together.
Arsalan continued, “Chosen or not, my strengths have inflated much over the course the sun travels through the sky. I shall not be defeated tonight. I shall not die.”
Damon, who became more war like with the spirit of Ares among him, countered back, “Arsalan, you villain. You have enslaved all of my beloved Athens! I know you have more plans but they shall dissolve away in these very raindrops that pelt us like swords will soon!”
Arsalan growled back, “All is very true except for the part of the abolition of my plots and my lioness body.”
“I may stand alone visibly tonight, Arsalan, but I stand with Hypatos and all of those of Greece!” Damon declared triumphantly.
“Well then,” Arsalan said, “we shall never…”
“No Arsalan, allow me,” Damon interjected. “We shall never know why I came here unless we draw our swords.”
“Very well,” Arsalan remarked. “Let us fight till blood and valor spill!”
The two warriors charged in at each other while all the Gods and Goddesses restlessly watched and remaining pedestrians filled the overhanging balconies once more.
With Maeja and Straton, they proceeded with the plan. Dressed in stock Persian armor, the two waddled in like little penguins on ice. They often would stumble and even fully trip only to have their helmets break the fall.
Once when Maeja tripped, Straton chuckled, “Have a nice trip? See you next fall!”
“Straton!” Maeja whispered. “We are on a very important mission.”
“Oh, yeah,” Straton said while remembering their purpose.
As time went on, Straton and Maeja grew accustomed to walking in such a getup. As planned, they snuck past many of Arsalan’s minions and troops in the mansion. And with ease, they slipped like a slippery snake into the living room where the hearth was located.
“Bulls eye!” Maeja silently gleamed. “We found the vial!”
“Great,” Straton reacted sarcastically. “Now grab the silly thing and let’s scram.”
“Oh, Straton,” Maeja sighed softly. “You are acting like a jerk now.”
Despite Straton’s immature actions, she reached up to grab the unguarded vial when suddenly all of her armor collapsed off of her body! Straton casually reached down to help her when his armor fell off, as well!
“Now what do we do, Maeja,” Straton panicked. Without hesitation, Maeja spotted a rather large basket.
“Quick, get under that basket in the corner!” she softly screamed. The two dived towards the basket and took cover underneath it, with the vial in Maeja’s hands. Once underneath the immense basket, Maeja and Straton began to devise a new plan. This plan appeared to be rather complex and tricky, too.
“Okay Straton, just nonchalantly slide the basket across the floor towards an exit,” Maeja plotted.
“Whatever you say, dear,” Straton complied.
With such a plan, Maeja and Straton slid the basket across the marble and carpeted floor one inch at a time. So in a perfectly time frozen room, an uncanny force moved the basket across the floor much like a lethargically roving slug. Shortly after, the basket was on a collision course for a side table! Then, CRASH! Maeja and Straton had rammed into the table and knocked over a vase. This immediately alerted a nearby Persian soldier who glanced in the room and spotted the roving basket.
“ مزاحمان!توقیف آنها (Intruders! Seize them!),” he shouted.
Instantly, numerous Persian soldiers blockaded the living room. One daring soldier approached the basket and lifted it up; thus, revealing Maeja and Straton.
“Well Maeja,” Straton stammered while remaining completely still. “What do we do now?”
“I say we make like a bread wagon and haul buns!” she shrieked.
One Persian soldier shouted, “حمله! اجازه ندهید که آنها را دور. آنها ویال! (Attack! Don’t let them get away! They have the vial!)”
Maeja, with the vial still, and Straton flocked out of the room like a rabbit hopping away from a famished fox. They ran through the wide corridors, dodging Persian troops in every possible way. Often, four way intersections were blocked in three of the corners. This forced Maeja and Straton barley to escape the tortuous wrath of the Persian troops. Eventually, the two had a decent lead on the troops.
In accordance, another Persian soldier yelled, “آنها در حال دور شدن است.راه اندازی نیزه (They are getting away! Launch the spears!)”
Without hesitation, Maeja and Straton picked up their pace as the nearly enclosing Persian troops projected pointy spears towards Straton and Maeja’s tender flesh. Soon enough, Straton lost his pride and darted more chaotically ahead.
“Straton, don’t leave me behind!” Maeja hollered in terror.
But sure enough, Athena was right about those who run fast stumble. Straton’s feet traveled so rapidly, that they became tangled and caused him to fall and land on his face. In another split second, a spear, sneaky as a leopard, grounded itself in Straton’s tender back, spilling his blood on the floor. Maeja passed him and by and in disgust with all of his previous actions, she left him behind.
“Maeja, save me!” Straton requested.
“Sorry Straton, but you are a terrible husband to me now,” she insulted.
As a tragic result, Maeja sprinted towards the exit to safety, still with the vial, while the distracted Persian soldiers dragged Straton to the slaughter grounds to be burned alive. It was quite a depressing scene to see Straton murdered, but the victorious Maeja trumpeted a wonderful victory as she retrieved the vial and survived the Persians. Nonetheless, the scene outside was not that grand as she hoped it to be. She had exited out through the lobby and into battle of Damon and Arsalan during the height of Zeus’s thunderstorm. Instantly, she crept around and found Athena and Hestia.
“Athena, Hestia, I’ve brought the vial!” Maeja jumped with joy.
“Very well done, Maeja,” Athena congratulated. “Just keep it hidden until it is time.”
“Yes, mam,” she saluted back.
“But where is Straton?” Hestia asked nicely with curiosity.
“He was sacrificed to the Persians,” Maeja said.
“Oh, well,” Hestia commented, “he wasn’t that likeable anyways. He was stubborn like a bull.”
After the conversation with the two Goddesses, Maeja turned her attention to her son. While he battled out, she saw something different in him.
“You cannot beat me under these stars tonight,” Arsalan bellowed.
“Perhaps you shall converse those words, for the stars in the Greek sky rain hatred on you now,” Damon scowled.
The rain continued to pour down like a waterfall as Zeus’s emotional tears of the possible death of the immortals invaded his mind. Anyways, each raindrop smacked Damon and Arsalan in the head and slid down their cheeks, emphasizing their fierce expressions. Their swords clashed even harder, and soon enough half of Damon’s sword was sliced right off.
“Fool, just surrender now and I shall spare your lifeless blood as life-full,” Arsalan offered.
“I cannot. I must fulfill my destiny. For it is written in the same stars that you will die under tonight!” echoed Damon.
“Have it your way, then” Arsalan hissed. “I, however, do have quite a trick for you.” Right after, he called stridently, “سربازان، مونتاژ و حمله (Soldiers, assemble and attack!)”
Not a moment to spare, Persian troops began to litter the battlefield. Damon became frightened and stiff. He felt as if he was at a loss as dozens after dozens of troops raided inwards. Lightening electrified the night sky once more and thunder shook the very Earth itself. Arsalan, with his eyes blinded by himself, stood proudly and nefariously laughed. He knew that he could not be defeated.
Ares, who was still on the sideline, shouted, “Stab him now, Damon! Do it now and drink the vial! Trust me! Destiny can never be defeated!”
With no hesitation, the stunned Damon picked up what remained of his sword and swiftly stabbed Arsalan twice, once in the chest and then in the neck. Arsalan, still living and breathing, choked on air and crashed down on his knees gasping for air. However, he was still not dead and his Persian troops still were inclosing Damon in grand influxes.
“Maeja, toss the vial to Damon now,” Athena commanded. “Do it now!”
Maeja did toss the vial, sending it tumbling through air. The Gods and Goddesses all watched with great intensity, almost as if the whole action was in slow motion. Would Damon catch it? Or would the vial, with its glass structure, shatter to pieces on the ground? Damon was not looking when the vial was tossed, so suspension stirred the atmosphere like a bowl of cold, foul soup. Many called to his attention, but Damon never turned around. And so it would seem that vial would shatter, releasing all contents upon the ground. However, the vial stopped it mid air! But how?
“Damon,” the ghost of Straton called out, “drink this vial now!”
Damon quickly grasped the vial and chugged all of the contents in a heartbeat. Time seemed to have froze for the stressed Damon. First off, the liquid tasted awful, much like dirt off the ground. Second, Damon went into a trance, as all of the actions were stripped away from the world. All that currently was, was not. He felt rather unconscious as flashbacks of all his past actions pictured in his mind. However, it felt as if the world were backwards. In this trance, Damon saw his mother’s robe, his humble house, the bitter Straton, the beautiful Athens, and more. By seeing such pictures, he felt as if destiny itself was rewriting his entire life. Lastly, Damon saw the slowly dying Arsalan. Arsalan was choking his last breaths of air and pleading for his life. But what was done. Arsalan was destined to his death. Then, the trance ended and Damon returned to reality only to find himself in the same place as before. This time, nevertheless, the sky was sunny, Hypatos was alive and reigned Athens once more, and all of the Gods, Goddesses, and mortals were present. Although Straton was still dead, his ghost stood next to Maeja front and center. Hypatos began the conversation.
“Dear Damon, our savior, our liberator of Athens and all of Greece! You have annihilated those wicked doings of Arsalan, who shall be no more! You have returned my life, and all of those directly destroyed by Arsalan. Athens retains her one, true natural beauty of Greece. And it is all your fault! How can one begin to shower kudos within your soul? Perhaps, I may have the solution. In continuation, it is with great, pride, honor, and respect that I shall present an eternal gift towards you, on behalf of me, the Gods and Goddesses, and all of the Greeks. Ladies and gentlemen, I herby give the city plaque of ownership to our beloved Damon!”
All those present blew up in cheers and applauses while Hypatos gave the sacred plaque of Athens to Damon, making Damon the owner. Then Zeus, who now felt much perkier, stepped up to pitch in his share.
“Damon, my dearest mortal Damon. Alternatively, should I announce you as immortal Damon? With great regards towards you, I would deliver the same speech as Hypatos. And without further delay, I shall present my gift instantaneously. From the time you snuck into the meeting at Athens, from the time you met Athena and Hestia, I never showed any doubt in your skill and destiny. And if anybody else objects, then they are liars! Furthermore, I am honored, if you choose to accept, to present you with a membership as the God of bravery, sword fighting, and destiny. These are my words to you, dear Damon.”
“I am honored as I do accept, Zeus,” Damon smiled cheerfully.
“And I believe I owe some words of gratitude as well,” Maeja added. She stepped up to the podium on the stage and began, “I will admit Damon, that I have been cruel to you in the past. I was blinded from your true abilities. You have certainly proven worthy from your actions, and I am proud to have such a brave, courageous son like you. You shall make a fine man one day.”
Maeja began to break down in tears of joy before the vast audience. Then the ghost of Straton stepped up to the podium, too.
“Damon, my dearest and only son. I too must admit that your mother and I have abused you in the past, and as you can see, faith has caught up to me. I am only a former shadow of myself. But that does not mean, before my departure to the Underworld, that I may speak final words about you. In my honest opinion, you have made your mother and me very proud. You may finally say that you have impressed us.”
Damon came over to his mother and ghost father where they gave Damon his first hug ever. To Damon, this was the perfect day. Not so much because Arsalan was defeated, not so much for the key to Athens, not even for the membership of an immortal God, but today was perfect because he had impressed his parents. They finally loved him, and Damon could not have asked for a better moment in life. And on that note, Straton left to the Underworld while the audience clapped and cheered.
- The End –