16. "To Olympus by Chariot"

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Centering Athena,
Goddess of Wisdom and War:

To Olympus by chariot
     with Hera as my driver.
"You did well,"
   she tells me.

"Both men survived the encounter,"
          I admit.
     "That was the goal,
               and yet,
          the showdown between Achilles and Agamemnon
     left a sour aftertaste.
The anger in both men crested like a wave
     that withdraws into a churning mass,
          remaining just offshore,
          doubling and redoubling,
     never dissipating.
I worry for its return."

     Hera shakes her head.
"You are a puzzle, Athena.
     So focused
          on goals,
          on tactics,
          on battle plans,
     that you no longer see the war."

"Yes, my queen."
     This I must say as a courtesy.
          Father's sister,
          Father's consort,
               for the nonce,
     deserves the outer trappings of my respect
          but now she deigns to lecture me on war?
What does Hera know of war?
     Her chariot,
          trimmed with gold and silver,
          bedazzled by precious gems,
          horses transformed into peacocks,
     This is no chariot of war!
               And yet,
          Hera remains my most potent ally
               against Aphrodite,
               against Apollo,
               against Artemis,
               against Ares
          in the war to demolish Priam's Ilion.
     Through the gritted teeth of a forced smile
I tell my Dearest Stepmother Aunt,
     "Yes, my queen."

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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