In Ancient Greece a young man learns of his grand destiny.
| Archedios and Chara~0~
In an age of man, brimming with evil and sin, a youth roved the hills of Greece in search of the titan, Prometheus. For Athena had come to his dreams and told him to do so. ~1~
His name was Phoebus and he was unlike any mortal. He had beauty and strength to rival the gods themselves. He had a love of growing things. All the gardens he planted were the most fair and the crops he grew were the most delicious. Phoebus also possessed the gifts of an oracle and was in tune with the gods. However, did not have hubris because all his childhood he had been enslaved. He had been free but one year before his dream from Athena.~2~
Phoebus traveled for countless miles. Finally, he rejoiced, for he had found the dwelling of Prometheus. There, in a secret hollow Prometheus waited for the youth. As Phoebus approached the Titan spoke, “Who is he that comes hither?” ~3~
“I am Phoebus,” he responded. “I was guided here by the Goddess Pallas Athena.” The Titan smiled. He had known who the man was even before he saw him.~4~
“Come. You have not been misled, for you there is a great truth that has been hidden from your eyes. I will reveal that truth to you.” Phoebus sat on the soft grass and harkened to the wise Prometheus. “Long ago, when Gaea was still young, a prophecy came to light. It foretold that one day a son of Zeus would overthrow him and drive the gods from Mt. Olympus. Only I knew the name of that son’s mother. I refused to divulge the information when Zeus chained me to a rock in the Causasus, but once I was freed I revealed to him that a son of Thetis, one of the Nereids, was destined to be stronger then his father. Achilles, son of Peleus was thought to be this child. This is not true, for the prophecy was for Zeus.”~5~
Prometheus continued. “Not long ago, Zeus raped one of Thetis’ sisters and brought Hera’s terrible wrath on the innocent nymph. Thetis sought revenge. She disguised herself as a beautiful mortal maiden and lured Zeus to her. She bore the son that would seal the god’s fate. To hide her son’s identity she made him mortal and left him to the world to carry out his destiny. The son’s mortal name was Phoebus, but his true name is Archedios.” Phoebus – Archedios – was stunned. Never in his wildest dreams had he thought his parentage was divine. Even more astounding was his fate. To drive the Olympians from heaven! It frightened him. No person had ever challenged the gods unpunished.~6~
Prometheus went onto explain, “The mortal world is falling into darkness. Soon Zeus will decide to destroy all in order to start anew. If this happens the next age of man will be plagued by their deities, for the gods are also turning to evil. While the Olympians punish the wrongdoing of mortals, they also sin and without punishment. You must raise common man to your cause, make them put down their evil rulers and bring them forth against the gods. This cannot be done unless you pass three ordeals and retrieve three items. The first task is to rid a nearby town of a wild boar sent by Artemis. Once it is dead you must takes its tusks. They have the ability to harm immortal beings. Next you must find a cyclops that eats any travelers that come its way. The cyclops possesses a horn. Any person who sounds the horn will strike fear into his enemies and courage into his allies. The final task is to find your way through a labyrinth full of traps. In the center are winged sandals. Once you have obtained these three prizes you must go to the river Styx and bath yourself in its waters to restore your immorality.”~7~
So Archedios went forth. He wrestled the boar and took its tusk. He defeated the Cyclops and acquired its horn. Then he made his way inexorability toward his last challenge.~8~
As he passed through a forest Archedios spied a person running in the shadow of the trees. It was a young maiden garbed in mens’ clothes and a quiver that was slung on her back. As she ran the light that peered through the leaves made her long dark hair shimmer and her fair skin glow.~9~
Immediately Archedios fell in love and gave chase. The maiden fled swiftly but Archedios was far swifter. In moments he was upon her. She struggled in vain to free her arm from his grasp. “Release me! I will have no man!” She cried. “For I follow Artemis the Huntress.” ~10~
“I love you. I will let no harm come to you.” Archedios pleaded.
“You have no love for me. Only a longing to fulfill your own cruel desires.”
“My only desire is to please you.”
“Then please me and follow me no longer.”
“For you to leave me would cause me terrible grief.”
“Show me your love and set me free.”
For a strangling moment Archedios fought himself over his decision.“ If nothing else then let me hear your name.”
“I am Chara.” Archedios loosened his grip and she was gone.
For days Archedios pined in his grief over his lost love. He wandered through the forests lamenting and singing songs of love and sadness. He longed for the one who was always on his lips. “Chara.”
One night, Athena approached Archedios in a dream and spoke in kind words. “Dwell not on your love. You have not lost her forever. Continue your quest lest the world ends from your selfish grief.” Archedios was emboldened by these words and so he returned to his adventure. He journeyed to the labyrinth and faced its perils. He came upon a dark chamber. At one end were the sandals. He rushed towards them until suddenly he was struck back. A serpent sprung from the shadows and lashed out at him. Archedios fell back. He was unprepared for such an attack. He fought to regain his footing but one quick blow flung him into a wall. The serpent leered at him. It pulled back its head for a final strike.
There was the swish and thunk of and arrow and the beast screamed in pain. Two more arrows followed the first. The serpent writhed on the stone floor. With its last ounce of strength it turned to bring the archer down with it to the dead. At this moment Archedios rose and hewed the creature’s head from its body.
In the following silence Archedios looked to see the identity of his rescuer. It was Chara. His heart lept with joy at the sight of her. “I am forever in your debt.”
“We are even.” Chara said softly. “You let a bird fly free when all other men would have caged her. You showed true love and now I show it in return.” With that she placed a kiss on his lips. “Let me hear your name.”
“Archedios, if ever you have need of me you have only to find me.” Chara kissed him once more then disappeared into the dark.
Archedios, filled with warmth took the winged sandals and sped on to his destiny.