27. “Something Holy and Immortal”

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Centering Atë,
Goddess of Bad Decisions:

From the beard of Agamemnon,
     I watch with glee
          the well-intentioned assembly
     called by Achilles.

"Him next, him next,"
     I cackle.
  Onward from Achilles there would be no limits.
          But oh,
     what a circuitous route that would require.

     First, I whisper into the Overlord's ear:
"The intolerable gall!
          The ingratitude!
The Olympian peaks of disrespect!
     How long will you allow this dress-wearing warrior
          to undermine your authority?"

     "How long indeed," Agamemnon muses,
          just before making exactly the wrong choice,
       prompted by the Goddess of Bad Decisions.

Then, on to the herald I jump,
     and burrow into his scalp.

"A few drinks can only help your chore,"
  I suggest.
     "Your courage needs a fortress,
          and the war will pause for your needs.
  The generals can't very well proceed
       without its most important herald."

     "This is true,"
       Eurybates mutters.
          "All these great kings of Hellas
               would fall to chaos
          without heralds and attendants like us.
     We are important."

From the herald,
     I jump to his friend,
  in order to seal the scheme.

So they drink,
     and my powers grow stronger with wine.
  Already formidable,
       I become all-powerful
and test my powers among the Myrmidons.

"Maybe you're one of the immortals.
     How can you know without a proper test?"

"Is your sword as sharp as it should be?
     Quick, test it on your arm!"

"Maybe you can best Odysseus in a brawl.
     Why not challenge him to find out?"

The drunkards fall effortlessly to the might of Atë,
     but they are not my targets.

My plans require infecting the Best of the Achaeans,
     so I send the heralds onward to his tent.

This was the path by which I
     complete my passage
          from Agamemnon on high
               to his Aether
                    to the air of mortals
                         to the ears of Achilles
                              and into his skull.

"Summon your mother,"
     I whisper.
  "Tell her your troubles.
       Spread Atë to the sea-goddess
     and from her mouth
  into the ear of Zeus on high."

     "I should talk to my mother,"
          Achilles tells his soulmate.
       "She'll know what to do about Agamemnon."

"I don't know,"
     says the soulmate.
  "That seems like exactly the wrong choice."

But of course it is.

     Ignoring this good advice,
          Achilles exits the hut
       and jogs directly to the seacoast.

EPIC CYCLE ROADMAP:

* The Kypria
* The Iliad
* The Posthomerica
* Tales of Nostos
* The Odyssey
* The Telegony
* The Aeneid
  Rage is the first book of the Iliad. Amazons is the first book of the Posthomerica.
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