Chapter 2: Lyre and Moving
Happy days are always short. Time, like a petal in the wind, flows softly by—passes so slowly when unaware but so quickly when aware. Leto and her children spent several years on the island with fond memories of joy and happiness.
Through the passing of time, Leto educated her little angels the fruits of her knowledge. They learned the art of medicine like a ministry of healing; they learned music, learned archery, learned of the divine scriptures, learned of the gods of the world, learned of their history.
In the beginning, there was Primal Chaos, a formless void of mass emptiness. There existed no matter, no life or consciousness out of this primordial chasm. The Earth did not exist; land, sea, and air fused together so the earth was not solid; the sea was not fluid nor the air transparent. There was no sun or moon. All of Primal Chaos was a dark place of waste; cold and hot, moist and dry, all elements were in conflict. Light was heavy. Soft was hard.
But out of Chaos came Gaia, the great mother of all creation. Out of Chaos came Tartarus, the deep abyss that lay beneath the foundation of earth. Out of Chaos came Erebus, the deep darkness of shadow; his dark mists enveloping the earth, filling the deep hollows of its core. Out of Chaos came Nyx, the primeval existence of night. Out of Chaos came Eros (not to be confused with Eros the Olympian god), the driving force of life in the cosmos.
Gaia, through her union with Ouranos, Pontos, and Tartarus gave life to the heavenly gods.
Through her earthly flesh came the existence of mortal creatures. She is the mother of gods, the teacher of gods, and the most respected.
The creator of the divine scriptures origin was Gaia and through her, it was passed down to the heavenly gods.
Adelos thought scholarly learning to be a difficult matter and he can only helplessly admit that no matter the diligent work he puts into his study, he could not catch up to the pace of his elder sister and elder brother. Maybe it is not him that is lacking. Just that Artemis and Apollo were seemingly gifted in all aspects. All erudite knowledge his mother instructed unto his eldest siblings were an easy feat. Artemis and Apollo comprehended all sorts of scholarly pursuits without troubles and were adept in worldly skills such as music and archery. Even their mother was stunned at the growth of their pace. Adelos could not compare.
However, Leto was very pleased with Adelos’ progress. Though he did not receive the blessings of Zeus, was thought to be mediocre, unable to comprehend at the rate of his eldest siblings, and had little divine power, Adelos’ slow growth made her happy and her heart whole. Although he could not be considered a perfect god, her son had an active mind and his thoughts rich in abundance. For Leto, this was enough. Being himself is enough.
It often caused her and his eldest siblings mood to brighten up.
Adelos could see from a slight distance his elder brother and sister return from their hunt. He could not help but sigh a sorrowful sigh to the heavens. Six years have passed on this island since their birth. Artemis and Apollo’s growth was unfathomably deep. Already they look like a thirteen-year-old while Adelos himself looked like a normal child of six years.
Normal. Normality. Normalcy. He could only comfort himself like this.
Despite her age, already Artemis had grown to become a beautiful girl and her golden wavy hair which swooped past her ethereal neck was especially pleasant. She donned a knee-length tunic made from satin and silk. A quiver hung on her shoulder while she held her bow.
When her keen eye saw Adelos, she hurriedly ran towards him with a cheeky smile on her face.
“Little Adelos!” Artemis giggled.
She hugged Adelos and kissed him again. This little brother of hers was truly adorable. Since birth, she was always fond of him. She liked his calming presence very much. Plus, he’s so adorable and cute, unlike Apollo whose always so serious. For Artemis, Adelos’ selling points were his adorable temperance and adorable face. Such adorable thing… all she wished to do was squish him. Such thoughts caused her to giggle.
Perhaps at the time of his birth, Adelos loathed the touch of his elder sister but like the changing of times, thoughts, ideas and beliefs changes—he who once loathed her touch grew attached to Artemis’ hugs and kisses. He was fond of this beautiful girl’s embrace.
Apollo stood on the side, he’s slim, muscular with a well-proportioned and symmetrically handsome face; his smile fixed with fluorescent, archangel-white teeth; his rich golden locks tousled griminess which promised finesse; his eyes a deep, vivid baby blue like the great bodies of the ocean sea softly melting into a milky green; his cheekbones distinct and the gleaming sun dyed his skin olive created an ethereal, otherworldly handsome figure.
Apollo silently watched the scene before him and he could not help but show a foolish smile. Since birth, Apollo, his mother, and siblings lived peacefully on this isolated island. For Apollo, this people are his sun.
A sudden thought came to mind and Apollo used his divine gift. A magical stringed instrument appeared in his grasp. The stringed instrument differed from the commonly used instrument, the harp. The instrument was shaped beautifully; the lower part of the body is flat and curves upwards. The two curved arms are connected by a yoke with seven long strings stretched to the lower body.
Apollo smiled softly and walked towards Adelos. “Look, little brother. This is the lyre you want. The body is made of sycamore wood and the strings plucked from the tails of Pegasus. This past few days, I fine-tuned the strings so it should create a beautiful and enchanting tune when played.”
Adelos expressed a look of tenderness. Apollo’s effort made him happy. He quickly took it and drew the strings a few times and a long, sophisticated subtle sound came out which satisfied him.
He looked at Apollo and smiled earnestly. “Thank you, Big Brother.”
Leto taught her children the art of music but he thought his talent wasn’t too good. Oftentimes, he’d ask Apollo, the future music god, to help learn to play the lyre but majority of the time, Adelos relied on himself to learn to play the instrument. He did not have much of a choice. As a reincarnate, Adelos was not interested in hands-on approach and his body was too weak to hunt, not even able to catch a mere rabbit. The only good alternative was to find other ways to make himself useful.
Apollo rubbed his head and gently laughed.
Artemis wore a big smile on her face. “Little Adelos since Apollo has already finished making your lyre, won’t you let us listen to you play?”
Adelos nodded and sat cross-legged on a flat rock. He breathed deeply till the tingling nerves calmed down and slowly held the lyre up. He closed his eyes and stretched out his fingers, strummed the strings with his right hand while he held the lyre with his left. The melodious sound of the lyre somewhat differentiated from the commonly used traditional harp. The harmonics gave off the feeling of the wilderness; it was as if the sunlight fell as a blanket of white upon the green lands and the air had the gentle heat of a new season, it was neither hot nor cold but warm and tepid; the forest greens were alive with the singing and hummings of forest creatures. The soft, rich and subtle sound of the lyre made others think of the ancient times.
Apollo and Artemis were immersed by this spellbinding sound, suddenly feeling the presence of a dragon rushing high from the heavens towards the seven seas changing suddenly to a serene view of a man sleeping peacefully.
Adelos played with all his heart both physically and mentally. On a spur of a moment, between the heavens and earth, his body relaxed and visions blurred, his mind became and clear and was able to feel everything around him; his heart sank in peace and tranquility and found a chaotic space in between his brows. Inside the vague, chaotic space, there seemed to be a little gray bell resting and above the bell is some obscure ancient lines written. The aura it gave off was unsettling and mysterious. The sight of the bell gave birth to feelings of unspeakable joy.
Man is afraid of the unknown and when he came to this mythical place, he did not know the reason why and only felt as if all he experienced this past few years was a dream, but… perhaps the answer he wished for lied in this bell.
Adelos’ mood lightened, and the tune of the lyre became more pleasant, fresh, and comfortable.
Apollo and Artemis felt the dragon circling the air wantonly and fearlessly, and the man who slept peacefully awoke and danced with zeal. Feeling the change of atmosphere, Artemis and Apollo looked at each other with a light smile in their eyes.
From afar, the night goddess smiled lightly. The brows of Adelos which was originally close stretched. His youngest son, although clever and intelligent was far less talented than his eldest sister and eldest brother. Leto could always feel the burden he carried, but the moment his fingers strummed the lyre and played a tune, the burden in his heart seemed to clear away.
When gods are born, fate decides and determines their future success. Just before the gods’ birth, their divine powers gifted by the thread of fate will resonate between the heavens and earth, ultimately deciding the potential they are able to grasp in the future.
In a cave on Mount Dicte, Crete, Zeus was born. The flash of lighting, the roar of thunder, the scorching ember flames, and trembling sky signaled the arrival of a great deity. Therefore, Rhea, regardless of offending her husband, god of time and space and king of Titans, secretly gave birth to Zeus.
Rhea was a subject in love to Cronus and bore him splendid children. Cronus swallowed each child whole when they came forth from the womb of their mother with intent that no other proud sons of Ouranos should hold kingly office for he learned from Gaia and Ouranos that he was destined to be overcome by his own son. And Rhea struck with grief, besought her dear parents, Gaia and Ouranos to help conceal the birth of her child. They heard and obeyed Rhea’s wishes whilst speaking of the prophecies destined to happen.
Zeus grew with the greatest of divine gift and later rescued his brothers and sisters with fattening Cronus’ belly not with food, but with a stone which he first vomited followed in succession the children he swallowed and later led a ten year long war against Cronus and the Titans, driving them in defeat into the pit of Tartarus, ultimately becoming the king of gods.
And when Leto bore Artemis and Apollo, the sun and moon set high above the heavens and coalesced into one. All mortal flesh shook and faced the direction of their place of birth and ran in joy and tranquility. Such signs indicated their limitless potential in the future.
When Leto bore Adelos, only the Polaris constellation on the Northern Star reacted to the extreme. Among the vast group of stars, the Polaris constellation was neither conspicuous nor distinct and such Zeus did not care to take not take note of Adelos’ existence
Leto believed Adelos was aware of this situation despite her futile attempts to hide the gods’ scorn and mocking and also of Zeus’ choosing to ignore the very being of his existence. She believed this caused a knot to form in his heart but it seemed to have passed when listening to the beautiful sound of the lyre.
The gentle sound of the lyre slowly stopped.
Leto hurried over to her children anxiously. “My dearest children, we have to go.” The orbs of her eyes were a pool of sadness. “Hurry back home and start packing.”
“Mother, why do we have to go?” Apollo frowned. Though the Delos Island was small, he did not care much for it. He, his brother, and sister lived happily on this small, gentle island.
“Is someone after us, mother? Someone with evil intent?” Adelos was far more familiar with the current situation than Artemis and Apollo. In his previous lifetime, the histories of the mythical gods spread throughout the world over the course of thousands of years.
Leto lovingly gazed at her youngest child and nodded her head. With the exception of little divine power, his insight of the world and grasp of the heart and mind seemed to be a bit better than his eldest siblings.
“Themis sent me a letter. With Hera’s decree, a giant python is after us with means to kill.” Leto fumed with anger. In front of a stubborn deity such as Hera, she felt helpless.
Artemis’ oceanic blue eyes stared blankly and tilted her head in puzzlement. “What of father? Why does he not stop Hera?” Artemis learned since birth her father was a powerful and almighty existence—a king of gods.
Adelos creased his brows and looked at his sister with a strange look. He did not expect Artemis still looked to Zeus for help, but he said nothing.
“If he is able to stop Hera, he would not let us spend years on this island.” Said Apollo.
“Do not talk too much. Hurry and pack.” Leto said before leaving.
Other gods may not be aware, but Leto knew fairly well that Zeus, king of gods was only a mere, empty title pushed by his brothers eons ago after overthrowing their father, Cronus.
Poseidon ruled the seven seas, Hades controlled the underworld, and some of the more distant gods dismissed him. Zeus could only sit on top of Mount Olympus for he feared if one day, he went down, Mount Olympus would change thrones.
He feared his throne being overtaken. And it is also because of fear that Zeus disregards the feelings and merits of other gods, and even devoured Metis, goddess of wisdom, alive, for it was prophesied she would bear a child and overthrow him.
Leto, Apollo, and Artemis left. Adelos shook his head and a cold smile donned his face. He thought he would not entrust his life and safety on a god like Zeus.
He cleared his mind, entering a state of clarity. His spirit entered the spaces between his brows and went towards the gray bell.