Part 2: Return to the Cosmos.
"A long time ago, there used to be great beings that walked the Earth. In Hebrew, they were called Nephilim. In Greek, Titans. There were many. Most wreaked nothing but destruction and were evil. These evil ones claimed to be Gods, under the leadership of Kronos. Humans were forced to worship them or face death. It was only a matter of time before humanity forgot about the "One God.". Some of the Titans that intermixed with humans gave birth to a new generation of creatures: Great mighty warriors and beautiful maidens who had the strengths of the angels, the beauty of the humans and the temper of the titans. They were called the Olympians because they took up that mountain in the middle of the Earth as their home.
And they waged a war against the Titans who saw that they were quickly getting the fairer side of public opinion for their courage and dignity. Humans loved them, and started to worship them instead of the Titans. So there was a great war which the Olympians won. The Titans got many punishments. Some were pardoned and lived on the other half of the Earth; some were thrown into Tartarus in the underworld. And some, like Kronus (whose son was the leader of the Olympians) were locked up in other stars and planets. Countless of years later, there was an unprecedented deluge, which the Olympians didn't expect. The deluge drowned all that remained of the titans and nephilim on Earth and saved only a handful of humans and animals. After the great flood the Gods met to know who ordered the great flood. That's when an angel appeared and asked the Olympians to surrender to the One God who Was, Is and Will Be. The Olympians were dumbfounded that there was a being who called himself "The One God." Zeus, then the King of the Gods called a meeting to discuss this. All the Gods unanimously disapproved any surrender. Thus it became and so the Age of Prophets began..."
The girl shook her head. "Look. I don't know how long your damn story is going to take as long as you let me know where I fit in it." The man turned around and looked at the painting on the wall. She looked at him: "That's me isn't it. Don't tell me I used to be an angel." The man shook his head: "You didn't used to be. You chose to become one. But before that, you were the proverbial "Daemon", a creature that falls under the "Miscellaneous" category of beings. That is, neither an elemental sprite nor angellic nor human. You were one of the illegitimate yet direct heirs to the throne of Zeus. You see. Zeus, was your father." The girl's eyes widened, but she smiled. "You're bloody kidding me." She said. The man shook his head with a smile. She started laughing hysterically. "Zeus, the King of Gods, was my father. Like I could walk up to Zeus and say: Daddy, daddy, can I go out and play with the humans?"
The man was amused but didn't like her sheer sarcasm. "Whether you like it or not, you were the daughter of Zeus. You were Artemis. Like your grandmother, you were the Goddess of the moon. You also ruled the Hunt. The crescent represented your bow." He said that as he pointed to the silver bow that the painted Artemis held in her hand. She pointed at the man. "And that'll be who, The Sun God?" he nodded. "Yep. That's Apollo. Your twin brother. "
"You are SO bullshitting me." She said as she shook her head in disbelief. The man stood up and walked to the wardrobe. He opened it and took out a crossbow and an arrow. He walked towards the window behind her bed and opened it. The window overlooked a magnificent garden. The garden had a hedge maze and in the middle of it, there was a court yard with three large squares. The left square had a grand fountain festooned with cherubs. The right square had a large sundial. And the middle square had a six-pointed star symbol engraved onto the marble (the same star as the one on the shield in the other painting).
The garden and the house sat in the middle of a great forest. The girl could see trees as far as she could. The man handed over the crossbow and the arrow to the girl. "What do you want me to...?" "There." The man said. "See that deer?" She got up on her knees to get closer to the window and looked outside. A baby deer sheepishly stepped out of the forest into the garden and sniffed around. "You want me to shoot that deer?" she asked. "Do you see it?" he asked again. She hesitated but remembered the dream and the taunting of her so-called brother. She nodded. "Good." He said, and then pulled a string next to the window and a velvet curtain fell over it.
"I want you to shoot it through the curtain."
She grinned: "You must have a lot of confidence in me." He nodded: "More than you'll ever know." She sighed, looked at the crossbow and examined it. Even if she was Artemis, she wouldn't know how to use a Crossbow; too high-tech. She examined the string and immediately understood the structure of the crossbow. She attached the arrow and pulled the string. The mechanism locked the arrow in place. The man smiled in admiration. She stared at the point of the arrow and gently caressed it with her fingers. Her hand then traveled to the string and felt its softness. It was all too familiar to her. Maybe she was the Goddess of the Hunt. He is telling the truth isn't he? She had a million questions. But her rare patience was now taking over. She didn't know what this man wanted from her but she'd better be careful or she'll get herself into a mess.
She straightened her back. She tightly held on to the Crossbow''s handle -other hand supporting the crossbow shaft- and readied her line of sight. She could barely see through the curtain but could make out the outline of the deer. How was she going to do this? She wanted to take a shot anyway but thought about what he said in having confidence in her. "Do it. Not for him, but for yourself. If you really are Artemis." She said to herself. She strained her eyes as she carefully aimed. She looked at those tiny needle holes that filled the curtain. She had an idea. She strained to see through the holes and as much as it was amazing, it didn't surprise her when her vision magnified and started seeing THROUGH the several microns wide holes!! She could now clearly see the deer; she adjusted her aim with pinpoint accuracy and pulled her finger on the crossbow trigger. All that the man heard was a faint "foosh" sound, but the next moment he heard a thud. He moved the curtain and smiled. "Perfect shot." He opened the curtains completely to show the dead deer. "Ok, now I know who I am. Now who the hell are you?" She asked. He waved a finger at her signaling "No." and said: "As we agreed. First, breakfast. Then you'll let me finish your history, and then I can start with mine."
She sat back down on the bed and munched on the grapefruit. "Is this going to take all day?" she asked. He sat next to her and put a hand on her leg. "You see." She interrupted him as she grabbed his hand, nearly crushing it and threw it by his side: "I prefer it if you tell the story without any "bloody" formalities." He grinded his teeth in anger as he rubbed his crushed hand. "Very... Well." He said bitterly.
He continued his story. "The Olympians ruled for a total of twelve thousand years. Until the message of the prophets spread far and wide. Every human tribe received a prophet. From the Native Americans to the Arabs. And the might of the Olympians shook solemnly. Everyone was doubting their existence now, and the lack of self-confidence made them weaker. The angel appeared again. He called out for their surrender. And Zeus once again called the Gods from the corners of the Earth. And when all the Gods were quiet and couldn't speak, Hermes, Zeus' closest messenger came up with the ultimate diplomatic solution. He negotiated a guarantee of the pardon and safety of the Olympians in exchange for quiet departure from the Earth and an oath never to return. The "One God" agreed and pardoned them. So one by one, the legion of the Olympians ascended from Mt. Olympus onto the Cosmos. Some of the Olympians took up their homes close to Earth, so they could look up to it and remember their days of glory. Zeus, who loved the humans the most, was as such. And he took up his home next to his father's. The others took up homes in the stars that they revered. All of the Olympians ascended the cosmos..."
Artemis sighed with a heavy, sad heart. Sad, because she actually remembered that day. The walk across the cosmos. She looked up at the man. He smiled. "They all ascended the "cosmos". Except one, who did a totally different kind of ascension." She looked up at him and wiped a tear that helplessly formed in her eye. "Who?"
"You." He finished. She flinched. "You should remember that day very well. For it was the turning point of your life." He said. She paged back through her memories and tried to recall. She shut her eyes.