Leg Post 51 sees the sisters Stheno and Euryale running down the streets of Athens in the wake of a great wave that passed through the city. The wave itself was actually Poseidon who was bitter that the Athenians had chosen Athena over him as their patron. After terrorising the city for weeks he heard of the sisters that lived in the city who were daughters of another sea god and he decided he would defile the youngest of them to spite the city and Athena. Medusa sought protection from Athena in the Temple of Athena but the god did not answer. When the other sisters arrived they were all distraught that their god had not protected Medusa. When Athena's statue took life the three women cursed the god and she was forced to punish them for their insolence by transforming them into the snake-like creatures that would be known as Gorgons.
Two young women ran through the streets of Athens, hoisting their skirts with their hands. The two sisters appeared similar - long, blonde hair, narrow faces with sharp cheekbones and eyes that were large and bright. As they ran, the streets ahead of them were entirely deserted. The great wave of ocean water had either swept them aside, or the people had been fortunate enough to get indoors before its arrival. The two women chased the wave.
The damage to the streets was clear as glass, pottery, food and wood lay strewn all over, but the buildings managed to withstand the angry seawater. It was not here to destroy the city this time. It was here to defile the temple of Athena.
Stheno was the eldest of the sisters. Her long legs were tanned from all the time she spent basking in the sun. Euryale was her younger sister but she was delicately pale, spending all of her days in study indoors and shunning the world. The two of them rushed to save the youngest sister of the three, who has sought sanctuary at the temple.
Stheno: "Athena will protect her. Athena will protect her."
Stheno repeated the line over and over as they continued to see the destruction left in the wave of the sapient wave. Poseidon, god of the oceans, was intent on punishing the Athenians, and Athena herself, for choosing the young goddess as patron over him. The old god, brother of Zeus, had expected the humans to devote themselves to him by virtue of seniority and his great power over the planet Earth. But they had chosen the wisdom and courage of the young Athena instead. For weeks he battered the shoreline of the city, snatching people into the sea's depths and obliterating the city limits. But when he heard of the three sisters that inhabited the city, daughters of another sea deity and favoured by Athena and the Athenians, he knew he would take the youngest of them.
The Temple of Athena came into view down the long boulevard of the city, which was lined by battered palm trees and the roads swept clean by the wave that was Poseidon. They saw the wave itself bash down the huge temple doors and flood inside the building. They hurried along.
Stheno: "Athena will protect her. Athena will protect her."
The temple itself was of typical Greek architecture for the time period. Brilliantly white columns supported the overhanging roof and the steps up the temple were steep. The triangular roof was coloured bright orange and statues of important, historical Athenians stood outside. But inside was the massive statue of Athena herself.
Stheno and Euryale reached the steps and bounded up them. While Stheno was lithe and athletic, Euryale was dumpy and she clumsily scurried upwards behind her elder sister. They burst through the open doors. The atrium where the statue stood was soaking wet but there was no sign of Poseidon. Clutching at the ankle of Athena's statue was their youngest sister. They approached slowly.
Stheno: "Are you okay? Did... did he...?"
It took them some time to accept the reality.
Athena had not protected their sister. Athena had been silent. The city's patron allowed Poseidon to have his way.
Anger and hurt and betrayal welled up inside Stheno. She screamed at the statue and cursed Athena for allowing this to happen. She cursed Athena so fiercely that the god, in Olympus, was stung by the animosity. The statue rumbled and shook.
Medusa released the statues ankle. She glared at it at the statue came to life.
Athena: "You dare curse my name, mortals?"
Medusa: "I came to you to protect me! But you did nothing! I am defiled and hurt. And you allowed it to happen! Why!?"
Athena: "It is not a god's duty to protect every mortal that comes clammering before us. I may defy my uncle, but I am not his match in battle yet."
Medusa: "You could have tried! What chance had I!?"
Athena: "Poseidon has done me a great shame this day and I shall claim vengeance upon him."
Medusa: "He has done you great shame!? You!?"
Stheno: "Curse you, Athena! False god!"
Medusa: "Damn you to ruin for what you have done!"
Athena: "Careful mortals. I understand your pain, but you grow insolent. I am not at your beck and call. Gods are not to be judged by mortals, we judge you."
Medusa: "Hateful god! I despise you! I denounce you! I declare you unfit!"
At that, punishment was required and Athena grimly meted it out.
The three defiant women were transformed. Their blonde hair became a mass of hideous, venomous snakes. Their skin turned a pale shade of green and their pupils became as a serpent's slits. They were consumed by their rage and anger, especially against men and the insult visited upon Medusa. In this way they would have their vengeance upon evil men by luring them into their dens and slaying them. Their snake-eyes would turn men to stone while a single bite from their snake-hair would kill a man in a matter of hours should he be able to escape their clutches. They were known to all as Gorgons, once their family name.
Athena felt some guilt over her actions but such vitriol against her, as a god, could not go without rebuke. But she vowed she would bring her uncle down for the insult done.
Britt's Commentary Edit
"The uncomfortable nature of Medusa's creation as a monster stems from the original source material. However in that material, Athena[Ext 1] blames Medusa[Ext 2] for her own rape at the hands of Poseidon[Ext 3] and transformed her into a monster on those grounds. Instead of victim-blaming, here it is with reluctance that Athena punishes them for their insolence." ~ Britt the Writer