"I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry for blood, more vengeance. more desolation. War is hell."
- General William T Sherman, 1879
The dank smell of fresh spring
hung in the air under the maples
, the shade keeping the sweet sizzle of the June
sun off of the picnic table. Just down the hill flowed the river, a touch too swift for swimming. Bellerophon
sat in the shade, idlely watching seeds pinwheel
into the water to be swept away. A smile curled his lips. "Don't ride to Olympus
" he muttered to himself, eyes clouding over as if lost in memory
s were just as precious as memories for someone so old.
scent filled the air, rousing the ancient Greek
. Only one thing in the world smelled like that. The thick smell of old iron
arrived soon after, confirming the identity of the approaching figure. Mimir
trudged the leaf-covered path
toward the table, his deep blue eyes slowing drinking in the environment
. He has seen this scene played out before, in the waters of the Well
, but he tried to seem interested. Bellerophon
knew him to be a pathetic
actor, much like a peeking child on Christmas
Turning in his seat, Bellerophon raised his glass in a toast. "Good Tidings
, Old Friend! Let it be known that the heroes of Corinth
are always hospitable
to their guests." Mimir grinned as he sat across the table. Hospitality indeed. He rubbed his throat
in remembrance of the last time he was so warmly received
. "The only cheer in my heart is to know that you are delivering a letter you haven't read. Again
." rumbled the Viking
, his white beard
dancing on the edge of his smiling lips.
Bellerophon's eyebrows rose, and he tipped his head with a knowing nod. "Here's to repeating the mistakes of the past
then." he offered. Mimir swept up his waiting mug
and joined in the toast
. "To the Past
. And the Future
. The fairest of the Norns
They drank the richest and rarest of wines
. Bellerophon slowly sucked it through his teeth
with a disinterested expression, while Mimir swallowed the glass in a deep quaff
, the excess rolling down his long white beard.
stuff.", offered the Greek.
"So thin and reedy. Like a mortal
", agreed the Norseman
Bellerophon made a show of licking his gums and then spit
heavily on the ground. "I'd rather drink mare's piss
. Even water
Mimir turned in his chair and looked at the flowing river. "Even that a waste of effort
, my friend. If it doesn't come from the deeper well, it tastes the same as a mug of air
". Dropping the cup on the mossy rotten pine
, his eyes came back to the seemingly young hero. "Your note comes from divinity
. Let's have a taste of that spirit
"I'm not much for delivering messages."
"It all worked out for you
. Well. Until you got greedy
"Greed worked a bit better than your grisly trade
", mocked Bellerophon, holding his left eyelids
open to expose his rolling offering.
Mimir didn't respond, instead holding out his open hand for the letter that Bellerophon held. Slowly extracting it from under his cloak
, Bellerophon pressed it into Mimir's palm
. "I'm not slaying any monsters
"All the monsters are asleep.
The parchment smelled of sulpur
and old blood
. The red seal seemed like wax, but slowly moved along the seam. "New mythologies
always go all out on the theatrics
." said Mimir, holding the letter between thumb and forefinger. "I bet Loki
would enjoy this." Bellerophon smiled knowingly.
"What were they calling this one
"Depends on who
"This isn't the smiling god
is it? Who tells the mortals that they go in loops
doesn't smile much from what I remember."
"I though it was Allah
"Depends on who you ask."
The new religions. Mimir almost felt like not opening it, but he had to pay the bills somehow. Belief
doesn't grow on trees.
A job from Amu
. Mimir read the coiling black ink
and rolled his old eyes. Amateurs
, he thought. Shaking his head, he turned the page toward Bellerophon, who was scratching his chin
"No monsters." he said, pointing.
"Do you have a shovel
"A 'Labors of Hercules
' job? I hate those ones."
"It pays well."
"I can find a shovel somewhere. What are we digging for?"
"Why do they want those?"
"They seem to think that the side with the most
"These new guys sure act like mortals."
"Look at this stupid contract he sent us. Small print
"Wow. They don't even respect us any more. Are we that old
, Mimir? When did the World get so old?
They sat silently at the table and watched the river roll past, like the attention of the mortals. Mimir didn't know the answer to Bellerophon's question.
To Be Continued?