|Percy I. Chapman | Ἑρμης (polytropus) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-07-13 11:13:00
|Entry tags:||apollo, hermes|
therefore the man with heavy eyes
Who: Apollo and Hermes
What: Following the Gigantomachy, Hermes attempts to garner more information from his brother than is rightfully earned...
Where: Somewhere around ye old Mt. Olympus, I'd wager. ;)
When: Between the never and now.
“So tell me, brother, is our father still mad about that silly prank you pulled on him?” Apollo asked, flicking a bit of the scented water across the open bath in Hermes’ direction. Steam rose from the water in soft curls around them, filling the air with the smell of flowers.
Various attractive nymphs were tending to their every need, filling wine goblets, pouring heated water into their bath, offering platters of fruit. Apollo plucked a large ripe strawberry off of one of these and bit into it, savouring its sweetness. “I mean...you killed Hippolytus. Surely that’s enough to win back his favour…”
“Come now, Apollon, you don’t truly believe that father will hold a lasting grudge against me, of all the gods?” Hermes’ smile was confident, and the dismissive manner in which he shook his head--as if his brother’s question was nothing less than ludicrous--said more than enough about how he viewed Zeus’ temper.
Fleeting, passionate, and wretched, but their father’s moods were certainly prey to...other fancies which offered more pleasing forms of enjoyment.
“If Father has viable concerns about my actions, he will make them better known. Until then, I have never failed in my duties, as requested. And perhaps the death of Hippolytus pleases him far too much for him to act upon his anger.” He beckoned to one of the carefree nymphs, eternally beautiful and yet lacking a certain charm which mortals possessed in abundance and the gods themselves never would. Hermes could therefore pardon many of his father’s romantic dalliances, if not for the sake of better business, then because his own interest in the lives of mortals had never yet been diluted.
Plump grapes, the purple of dark blood stained upon an altar, were granted to him by the nymph’s slender fingers. He held the small bunch above the waters of the bath, peering carefully at them, in search of the ripest one. Finding it, he tossed the fruit into the air and caught in a swift movement, head tilted back.
“The War of the Giants is over, brother,” Hermes stated with finality, unperturbed. “And we shall reap the rewards of a less troublesome existence.”
Apollo grinned at his brother’s statement, popping the rest of the ripe berry into his mouth. “We have thought that before, Brother,” he reminded him once he swallowed. “That the enemy had been completely vanquished and there was now nothing left but happiness in our future. There is always something brewing to ruin our fun,” he reminded him. “If it’s not the Titans it’s the Giants. If it’s not the Giants...what next, the mortals?” He said it in jest, but his recent dream nagged at him in the back of his mind, causing the slightest of frowns. In an attempt to banish it from mind, he let his eyes sweep across the room at the beauty all around him and they paused on a particularly attractive nymph holding a tray of delicacies. He grinned at her and beckoned her forward with a tilt of his head, which she happily obliged, pulling a cherry from the pile on her tray and dangling it just out of reach of his lips, teasing playfully. He laughed and stretched his neck, trying to reach the fruit without using his hands as the lilting song of the nymph’s laughter delighted him.
Apollo’s suggestion reeked of surface level light-heartedness; Hermes might have laughed, if he did not feel a prickling of apprehension at the back of his neck--surely imagined, but nonetheless worth heeding. If there was one solid fact in this life which he had found to be true, it was that everything, everything changed in its own way, in its own time. Nothing which sought survival would dare to remain constant. Transformation, of every sort, was a necessity.
And Hermes was familiar enough with his kindred to know when he’d said volumes by saying so little. One certainly couldn’t claim to be a god of prophecy otherwise, could they?
“I know these mortals,” he said plainly, granting himself no airs concerning a matter of utmost certainty. “I know what it is they do when faced with atrocities, and with forces far beyond their own power.” Hermes smiled, although it did not quite reach his eyes. Though it might prove to be an effort to gain further insight from Apollo, the task did not daunt him. He only needed to choose his own words carefully, to maneuver around the various possible outcomes which Apollo hinted at, ever so freely, in order to discern the undisclosed details.
“You are suggesting they might become a threat to us. Or do you suppose, Apollo, that it is we who must take care, lest we underestimate their abilities? I cannot say I disagree, but,” here he paused, worrying at a thought and silencing it with another plump grape. “Their belief in us has never been stronger. It is their belief which gives us any reason to continue, and to exist as we are.” If his sympathy for mankind--or rather, call it an unmasked interest in the lives of mortals--blinded him, Hermes would accept his brother’s judgment. What he would not accept were half-truths. Not from anyone but himself.
Apollo sighed, waving away the nymph with the lilting voice. “That’s the problem though, isn’t it?” he said thoughtfully, “belief comes in waves...and right now we’re at the crest of a very high wave indeed...but from here it can only come down. And I’ve seen…” he stopped himself from saying it, not wanting to mar the beautiful day and their relaxing bath. “Nevermind...I shouldn’t have said anything,” he backpedaled, “let’s just...enjoy the day.” He nodded to the nymph again to resume her post and finding a shining smile for her that she echoed on her face. He picked up a ripe piece of apricot from her tray and popped it in his mouth.
The messenger god watched his brother carefully, ascertaining whether or not to continue an attempt to sate his own curiosity. Apollo, not one to mince words nor lead mortals astray--whatever their fates may be--seemed reluctant to divulge his own learnings of the matter at hand.
Stifling his immediate questions with a carefree smile and inquisitive raise of his brows, Hermes acquiesced his brother's request with a nod. Although he did not agree with the prophetic god's decision to lure him in with a fascinating, if alarming, proposal, only to leave him scraping for morsels of information, he would accept it. For now.
“I cannot, unlike yourself, grasp the future before it has occurred,” he said smoothly, busying himself with the remainder of the grapes. When the bunch was nothing more than a tangle of contorted branches, hardly fitting of even Dionysus’ haphazard designs, he tossed it behind him to a waiting nymph.
“What I can do, however, is live in the moment.” A mischievous glimmer shone in the corner of his eye and the curve of his smirk. If Apollo noticed and accepted Hermes’ adopted shift in manner, all the better for him to continue prying for answers in a moment's notice. But caution oft proved necessary, particularly when one's brother greatly disliked being deceived in any manner.
“Rather like the mortals,” Hermes continued, keeping his tone light. “I can perhaps understand them better than I might care to admit. Although they would struggle to defeat a giant, as Hades is much too frugal with the use his helm.” Laying his head back on the edge of the bath, relaxed and comfortable, the Slayer of Argos smiled at the bright sky. “Fortunately for my sake, it is never too far for wanting.”
“Now now, brother,” Apollo scolded good-naturedly, “we also struggled to defeat the giants, or have you forgotten already?” he pointed out. Only the gods and mortals working together had defeated them, where either trying alone had failed. Spectacularly. “And if you become light-fingered around Hades’ helm, I will not be able to save you from his inevitable wrath,” he added with a smirk.
Just then, a gorgeous water nymph swam up to him from beneath the pool, smiling at him and gesturing that he should turn around. He echoed her smile, turning his back on her which she immediately started gently massaging with her semi-fluid fingers. He sighed happily, kneeling on the bench under the water and enjoying her attention. “Now this is how you worship a god,” he purred, tilting his head back a little as his muscles relaxed.
Assessing what shapes could be found within the clouds high above, Hermes scoffed at his brother’s remarks, though privately he was quite pleased. Caution would remain his companion in this curious endeavor, but Apollo seemed all too glad to move away from the uncomfortable talk of his foreseen prophecy.
“Ah, but I take the helm only when I need it,” Hermes said lightly, smiling to himself. “The opportunities simply present themselves as if Fate itself were tending to my needs. As it should be, or perhaps I’ve miscalculated the necessity of Fate.” He raised his head from the edge of the bath, watching his brother carefully. Would Apollo argue against his purposely misguided comment about Fate’s role in the lives of the immortals, or would the slanderous admission be brushed away as an obvious fallacy? Hermes liked to believe that Apollo was too clever to be caught up so easily in one of his lies, but oh how he did appear to be...rather distracted. For Apollo’s benefit, Hermes could not fault the other god; the water nymph’s talents were obvious, as were her more pleasing physical attributes.
Unable to keep himself from looking, as well as commenting, Hermes took it upon himself to offer Apollo one more query, eager to discover which issue he would focus on first. “Should the nigh-immortal worship the immortal?”
Apollo laughed at what he perceived as a jest on his brother’s part. “Should the sun trace the sky by night and the moon by day?” he asked. It sounded like a joke, but there was deeper meaning to it, as there always was. “Should fish fly and birds swim; the sky turn green and the grass grow blue?”
He looked over at Hermes, his smile melting just slightly with what he had to say. “I don’t dictate the order of things; but I do know that one day, they will change, and worshipper may one day find themselves the worshipped. And the worshipped….” he stopped then, as if he had said too much. Instead, he leant over and plucked another choice piece of fruit from the offered platter. “I will only say this: we should have a care to enjoy our current status, while it lasts.”
The messenger god could barely repress a grin of delight at Apollo’s poetic comeback, playful and searching, despite his previous attempts to dissuade Hermes from prodding further for answers. “I see you haven’t lost your sense of humor,” he remarked, carefully maneuvering around the darker undertones in Apollo’s latter message. Only a fool would entirely disregard one iota of a prophetic message from him.
Particularly one which caused such a dreadfully uncomfortable feeling once heard. Unsated curiosity would have to temporarily be stifled, burning questions silenced with another tasteful drink from the serving nymphs.
“The experience of a single moment is enough for mortals,” Hermes said after a moment of thoughtful consideration, waving over a light-footed tree nymph carrying a tray with much desired refreshments upon it. “Perhaps it would do us well to learn from them,” he continued, accepting a full goblet from a nymph whose name currently escaped him--perhaps Apollo was far better acquainted with her. Hermes raised his acquired goblet, a splash of liquid spilling ever so much over the sides. “To this moment, then, brother, and may the giants dare not rise again.” He drank, allowing Apollo to decide for himself whether he referred to the murdered race of monstrous creatures, or the shadows of a looming fate which neither of them might fully recognize.
“Perhaps,” Apollo echoed, deciding that it would be a very good idea to not elaborate any further on what he’d seen. He knew better than anyone the burden of foreknowledge, and how destructive it can be to the wrong mind. His vision of what was to come was definitely disturbing, but he also did not yet fully understand it. Just because a vision of the future looked terrifying at first, doesn’t mean it actually is once all of the pieces were in place. It could very well be that this...change to come...would be for their ultimate benefit. Or it could harbinge the coming of a very dark time for them indeed.
“To the moment,” Apollo echoed, putting on his best try at a happy smile for his brother’s sake and lifting his goblet of wine in toast. But as he drank, he could have sworn the wine tasted sour on his lips.