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Gods of Olympus Chapter 1

by JohnLocke1

“I have decided to relinquish my title as one of the twelve Olympian gods.” Hestia said in a language- less voice that reverberated throughout the halls of Olympus.

The gods did not have a language. They just spoke and all understood. When Hestia spoke, the crowd gasped. The Twelve did not change their expressions. They knew that this was coming.

“We understand that you wish to go back to your duties wholeheartedly.” Zeus said, his voice like a blast of thunder.

“I do. I feel as if being one of the Twelve is distracting me from my charge over the hearth.” Hestia said.

“Distracting in what way? What do you mean? Can you explain it? Is it us? Are you distracted by us?” Hermes asked rapidly, always curious about the world around him.

Hestia could not find the words to explain herself to her brothers and sisters. Neither was she anticipating that she would have to explain her decision to the Twelve. She had just expected to go through the ceremony of stepping down from her title and then go back to the hearth where she belonged. Hestia glanced around. The crowd of creatures who had come to witness this gathering of the Twelve wanted to know why she would leave the prestige and honor of sitting on a throne of Olympus.

“I feel as though there is too much fighting amongst the Twelve. I need a calmer environment. I am sure you all understand.” Hestia said, her words dancing around her true anger at the Twelve.

“I’m afraid some of us don’t understand, Hestia. What fighting do you mean?” Hera asked, spitting the words down to her sister.

Hestia looked up at Hera’s disapproving face. Hera was naturally thinking of ways to make existence difficult for all of the gods. When Hera spoke up, Hephaestus immediately got up on the edge of his throne, a fire having been sparked in his soul.

“Possibly the throwing of children off mountains! Or you trying to kill and torture everyone my father has had an infatuation with!” Hephaestus said, his voice coarse from laboring over a fire night and day.

Aphrodite let a small laugh slip playfully from her perfect lips. Aphrodite loved to see Hera in bad light.

“How dare you bring up such issues in front of the lesser beings?” Hera yelled to Hephaestus, pointing to the crowd below, “Zeus, did you hear this filth? Will you allow this disgusting abomination to speak to me in such a way?”

Zeus did not speak. He had learned from experience that nothing could satiate Hera. Apollo spoke in Zeus’s stead, as he often did.

“Abomination? You have made him what he is, Hera.” Apollo said in his angelic voice.

Apollo had to feel Hera’s rage once as well. All of Zeus’s children not born of Hera have gained her hatred. Apollo had gained the misfortune of being of a different mother. He felt Hephaestus’s pain.

“He was a disappointment from birth. He was weak and ugly. I just made it obvious to everyone else. A little trip down the mountain served him well. No child of mine would be anything less than perfect.” Hera said.

Hestia winced at Hera’s spiteful words. She loved all of her brothers and sisters and it pained her to allow Hera to speak to Hephaestus in such a way, but she dared not speak against Hera now. She wanted to leave the Twelve, not become their prisoner.

“You evil witch! Do you enjoy the freedom of being able to stand up, mother? Because I can take that from you once again, if you wish.” Hephaestus said, reminding Hera of his act of revenge.

“You ingrate!” Hera screamed, her anger causing Olympus to shake.

The crowd of creatures below all shuddered with fear when they realized that Hera could accidentally kill them all. None of them wished to see the kingdom of Hades today. Hestia, on the other hand, was giving the crowd a glimpse of what happened to her every day.

“I think you understand what I mean by ‘distracting’, Zeus.” Hestia said.

“I understand,” Zeus said, calming all other Olympians with his agreement, “But who have you nominated to take your place?”

Everyone in the palace, the palace that had hosted the most rambunctious parties, the loudest debates, the fiercest fights, suddenly grew silent. The lesser gods were all wishing it to be them, of course. They wanted a chance to be one of the Twelve. To receive the power and the glory of being one of the most powerful gods on Gaia. It was an intoxicating idea, but Hestia had already made her choice.

“I have chosen Dionysus to take my place as one of the Twelve.” Hestia said.

The mountain exploded. Everyone was shouting and yelling. Even Zeus had stood up. He was trying to hold back Hera while she attempted to kill Hestia. Poseidon did nothing as he found the matters of Olympus to be trivial. Athena and Demeter stayed silent. Athena was using her powerful wisdom acting as her guide while Demeter did not participate in debates. Apollo eagerly supported Dionysus being one of the Twelve. Aphrodite agreed with Hestia, as well. Hephaestus and Dionysus were great friends, so he was verbally assaulting Hera. Hera hated Dionysus, even though he had saved her life. She thought he was too crazy to be able to take being one of the Twelve seriously. He was also the product of Zeus and another woman. Ares and Artemis agreed with Hera, since they both took their jobs very seriously as well. Hermes and Dionysus got along fine, so he supported Hestia as well.

“Silence!” Zeus shouted.

The mountain grew silent at his command.

“I will hear from each of the Twelve.” Zeus said, turning to Hera.

“He is insane! He can’t handle the responsibility of being one of the Twelve. He is unpredictable and too concerned with his ‘festivals’ to even consider this proposition.” Hera yelled.

“He is perfectly capable of doing anything any of the rest of us can do. And he is just as insane you are, Hera.” Hephaestus said, “Probably less so, in fact. I support Hestia.”

“I would love to see Dionysus again. I haven’t seen him since Hyacinth died. He’s quite the god,” Apollo said, trying to picture Dionysus’s face after such a time apart, “I agree with Hestia.”

“He may be powerful, but he’s too attached to the world below to ever come back to us,” Artemis said, her voice as mysterious as the moon, “He loves those humans and he loves the earth. I refuse Hestia’s request.”

“Ha. He doesn’t love anything. He just wants things. Don’t confuse want with love.” Hera said.

“Silence, Hera.” Zeus said.

“They are easy things to confuse, Hera. However, Dionysus has loved those humans as no other god has. I’ve felt it from him. I’ve felt everything from,” Aphrodite said, “I agree with Hestia.”

“No.” Ares said, speaking absolutely as he often did.

“If Hestia desires Dionysus to take her place, I see no reason to refuse her.” Demeter said.

“I agree with Hestia. There is nothing wrong with Dionysus. He’s a great god. I like him. He made me wine once. It was nice. Actually, I don’t remember it. Or maybe I do. I must have been drunk. I wonder if he will make me wine again.” Hermes said, nearly jumping in his throne.

“Brother?” Poseidon said, asking Zeus his thoughts.

The King of the Gods simply looked at the King of the Sea. Poseidon then knew Zeus’s thoughts on the matter.

“I agree with Hestia.” Poseidon said quickly, eagerly waiting for the moment he could leave the sky and return to his domain.

Athena merely shook her head. Zeus considered Athena’s choice. If Athena opposed it, there was reason for opposition.

“Lower creatures of Gaia!” Zeus shouted, gaining the attention of the masses below, “What do you think of Dionysus?”

The crowd surrounding the thrones became savage. They had been demanding that their voices be heard and they were eager to speak. They seemed to be rallying around Hades, who did not want anyone but himself to take the throne of the Twelve.

“There are other more qualified gods who could take Hestia’s place as one of the Twelve!” Hades yelled from the ground, but he was powerful enough to have his voice reverberate off the walls.

“Hades, my brother. Are you considering yourself for the position?” Zeus asked, the question pulling a veil of silence over the palace.

Hades felt the stares of the other creatures boring into his macabre head. The whispers overtook him. He had lived the entirety of his life hidden away inside his realm of shadows. He wanted out. Hades took a step forward, his body beginning to quiver and shake. A strange darkness overtook the shining palace and wrapped around the Twelve. It could not fully encase Apollo and Zeus, but it was causing them some discomfort to protect themselves from Hades’s shadow. His form began to turn ethereal. He took flight as the other creatures stepped back in awe of his power. He was reminding them that he was a god.

“My brothers, my sisters, my friends, my subjects,” Hades said, his voice drilling into the creature’s souls, “Who remembers the Great War?”

Shudders, screams and fear became prevalent in the crowd. The Twelve even lowered their gazes in remembrance of the dark days. Words were Hades’s power. He constructed them, polished them, tamed and mastered them. Some say that Zeus forced Hades into the Underworld for fear of his words. Zeus did not want to be challenged for power.

“Why talk of this day, my brother?” Zeus asked.

“To remind you who was there, brother. To remind you who fought for the fall of our father and for the establishment your reign. My body was broken. My will was almost broken. My powers became drained and diminished. However, I fought ever still. I remember the day when we cast the Unjust into the Pits of Tartarus. Zeus lifted the world from darkness and we obtained peace!” Hades took a pause and felt the condition of his listeners.

They were in awe of him and he could tell. Hades knew that he need only push them a bit further before he had them in his grasp.

“Imagine what we could accomplish, my friends, by adding my power to yours. We would be unstoppable!”

The crowd erupted into praise of the master orator. Zeus, however, was not amused. He glanced to Apollo, who shared his hatred of Hades’s speeches. They had to stop it.

“I propose a contest between Hades and Dionysus.” Apollo said.

Hades turned to Apollo and sneered at him with all of the distaste that he could muster. The crowd had calmed and was now intrigued by Apollo’s proposition. Hades could not refuse.

“What sort of contest?” Hades asked.

“I propose a contest of popularity and faith. As we all know, we have fallen out of favor with the rest of the world.” Apollo said.

The creatures and gods all sighed dismally. The world was divided in who was correct in their gods, but no one had given an offering to Zeus in ages.

“The world has forgotten the gods of old and replaced them with new divine beings. We have lost brothers. Gods have been fading to nothing as the world loses faith in us. We have lost power. Because of this, I believe that my contest will prove which god truly deserves to become one of the Twelve. The god who manages to find just one person in one day who still worships them will receive the honor of being one of the Twelve.” Apollo said.

“I agree with your terms, Apollo,” Hades said, “Let us confer with Dionysus.”

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22 Reviews

Points: 42
Reviews: 22

Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:00 pm
AutumnDawn wrote a review...

hee hee
I just love it when Hera gets served. she is so nasty and mean. and this whole plot is just PERFECT . JUST PERFECT !!!!!!. I mean just whoa. I LOVE THE GREEK GODS.
I came thinking that rick Riordan should come out with a novel. where the greeks gods take over again.
also, who is your favorite greek god?
My is ares and Athena plus Apollo

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20 Reviews

Points: 543
Reviews: 20

Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:41 pm
ScribbleBug wrote a review...

Hi! Cool piece! I love Greek Mythology! But it wasn't very accurate. For one thing, gods can't die. So Hera can't try and kill Hestia. Another, the gods never conversed with the lesser beings. Olympus matters were handled only with the Olympian gods, because they were proud and a bit arrogant. And as for the gods accepting Dionysus, almost all of them were for it. Hera was, from all the versions I have read, the only one against his coming to be an Olympian.

Hades was never even mentioned in the myth because hes not an Olympian, and there was no contest between Hades and Dionysus. Dionysus came to Olympus and almost immediately Hestia resigned to keep peace and keep the gods from fighting.

The story kind of dragged. Maybe adding some more details would help? I think it has real potential, but I think you could fix some of the mythology errors and add some details. Thanks for listing to me gab on about Greek mythology!

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1259 Reviews

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Reviews: 1259

Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:35 pm
Firestarter wrote a review...

Hey johnlocke!

I'll be honest. I stopped reading fairly quickly.

Have you ever heard of in media res?

This chapter is like the opposite of that. For half the chapter, you simply have exposition. Now, exposition is necessary, but in full paragraphs it gets really difficult to read. Yes, we might need to know some of this stuff, but the skill of writing comes in revealing it to the reader without dumping it like some sort of "character handbook". It reads like a wikipedia article on Greek Gods, rather than the start of a novel!

It's boring. And this is Chapter one, the start, the place where any potential readers are going to say "Yeah, I'll stick with this, I want to know how this plays out." They're flakey at this point. You haven't got their attention yet. They're trying it out but you've got to sell it to them, hook them in.

Here's where you should start your story:

“I have decided to relinquish my title as one of the twelve Olympian gods.”

BAM! The reader is instantly interested. You've got a hook. You've got a plot. You've got conflict. Start with that.

Start dropping parts of description in after each character talks, rather than dumping it all at the start.

I have other thoughts about your POV and characters and dialogue, but I think EloquentDragon has covered that pretty well.

PM/write on my wall if you have any questions or anything.

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192 Reviews

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Reviews: 192

Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:35 pm
EloquentDragon wrote a review...

EloquentDragon here to review, as per request.

To start things off, this seems like a rather interesting proposition you have here for your story. If I am not mistaken, it is based off of the myth of the acceptance of Dionysus into the Mount Olympus Pantheon. This is not a story I would have personally tackled, so I commend you for taking on a story laden with so many complex and ambiguous characters.

That being said, the entire first half of this piece, where you describe the gods/goddesses, is not exactly necessary. Why go through all the trouble of describing these characters if we’re not going to see them again, or if they aren’t important to the events of the story? Furthermore, the description of the divinities follows nearly the exact same pattern. “This god looked like this, he dressed like such-and-such, his eyes were the colors of blah-blah-blah, and he carried a whatever, symbol of his power.” This gets very repetitive after a while, and is dry and uninteresting, having little to do with the actual story.

My advice? Find a viewpoint character. While you can certainly tell this from an omniscient point of view, (based more off of the original myths, I’m assuming?) it is much more practical and interesting to the reader to choose one character and tell the story from their point of view. After reading your story, I would suggest Hades or Hestia, as they seem to show the most personal involvement in the events of the story.

With that being said, you could essentially cut all the paragraphs of diety description without harming any part whatsoever of the story itself. Which is why I find it laregely unnecessary. Not to mention that (hopefully) your readers will be at least somewhat familiar with Greek mythology, and therefore a description of, say Zeus would not be needed since they already have a picture of what he looks like in mind.

The mighty palace itself was almost as beautiful as the creatures that inhabited it. It was made of gold and silver and adorned with diamonds and sapphires. It seemed to stretch on for miles into the sky. The most important part of the palace today, however, was the throne room. All were gathered there. Even Hades had left his dark pits to see the history that was being made. Satyrs danced around the twelve giants thrones. Centaurs leapt through the air. The Muses stood with each other, giggling while looking up at their shining master. All matter of creatures from all depths of Gaia had been brought to Olympus to look upon their lords.

Not to mention the above paragraph does not match in any way the mood of this paragraph here:

If this gathering had been under different circumstances, all eyes would be on the gods, but today, everyone was looking down at Hestia, the goddess of the hearth. She was bowing before the other gods in an act of respect before she stood and spoke to the crowd.

Which is when the story truly begins. The first paragraph needs some revision--- you describe mount Olympus in a very text-bookish way… it’s the same thing we’ve read about in school. Make it more visual, more vivid to the reader. Give your setting a strong sense of place. Words should not just be there to fill empty space--- make them count for something.

The next three pages or so are particularly problematic in that the action and dialogue exchanges are confusing. Very confusing. There is little direction here and you seem to pan around wildly to whatever god happens to be speaking at the moment. Revise, edit, and trim. Revise the dialogue so that it’s clearer, and only add things that are important to the story itself. Give the characters more room to express themselves, don’t rush. (Remember, since you’re going to cut all the boring descriptions of the gods, you’re going to have room to work things out more. Draw out the tension and suspense. Right? ;) )

The key here, is of course, tension. Don’t lose the tension. If you lose tension, you lose reader interest. Give us a reason to care. What dire situation should we be caring about right now? I would suggest stressing the relative un-safeness of Hestia’s position or show Hades views toward the whole procession of events. But give the reader some reason to care, keep them in the midst of it.

Mostly, some of the biggest problems I found were with word choice and grammar. Everything is quite muddled here, you need to go back and revise. Give us a clear picture of who is speaking--- and how they speak. It’s not enough just to tell the reader that each character is unique… you have to show that they are unique. Make each person an individual. This doesn’t mean you have to take forever and give everyone a speaking part… but those who do act or speak need to be obviously different from each other.

Overall: I think you have some potential here, however, don’t fall into boring “school-report” mode. This sounds like a Wikipedia summary, besides the dialogue. But good stories are about the characters. You need to make them involved and engaging. No one wants to read about a character who is inactive---no one wants to read about a myriad of inactive characters either. Refine your idea. This could be taken quite a ways, but only if you’re truly passionate about it. Write about what YOU care about.

I’d like to see you make these characters more original, present a new light on the same story we’ve heard about in school. Take us there… show us this world as you see it. Make it fresh, new, exciting. Otherwise, you’re just retelling something that’s been done and redone for 3,000 years.

Anyways, I hope this helps, PM me if you have any questions.

The natural world is a package deal; you don’t get to select which facts you like and which you don’t.
— Bill Nye