Leg Post 59 establishes that the Heavenly Realm for Earth is broken up not only by religion, but also by denominations. In the past, Mount Olympus was host only to the Olympian Gods. One night Zeus sneaks out of bed to visit the Earth but he accidentally awoke Hera on his way out and she chases after him. Zeus meets with his secret human lover, Io, in Argos but then he senses Hera approaching. He accidentally turned Io into a big cow, having meant to turn her into something much smaller and less conspicuous. Hera saw through it, but employed a trap to win over Zeus - she asked to be given the cow as a gift. He quickly saw he couldn't escape the trap and gave Io to Hera. Zeus asks his daughter, Athena, for help and she forms Athena's Eleven for the mission. Hermes Trismegistus, a scholar and alchemist, is invited to help form the plan. Odysseus, a boy of just sixteen, is invited to join not only because of his prodigious smarts but he is a descendent of The Killer from the original families of Atlantis. Britticus is asked to join, in part because he had worked with Athena in the past alongside Medusa and Perseus in Leg Post 55. Britt constantly gives hints, often by mistake, to Odysseus' future. The Count is also a member, though nobody knew that he was actually Count Desmond in hiding, and is seeking to be paid in information on Britticus. Another member of the group is the nacaal named Greene who is gathering information on the world beyond the Chinese jungles his people call home. Caelia, from the northern ice lands and faerie, also joins the group. They discussed the situation with Io as Hera had placed her under the guard of the powerful giant Argus, whose body is covered in hundreds of eyes. The meeting is briefly interrupted when another member arrives, Zoroaster the NeSorcerer. The two guarding the tent were time-travellers, Xerxes Rumplekirk and Aellah. Xerxes enters the tent with a plan. They travel to the meadow in Egypt, near to the city of Thebes, where Io is being kept. There they meet with Taliesin who has been transformed into a cow to spy for them. The rest of the group, however, are disguised in cow-suits. Athena is unable to interfere in the meadow lest Hera detect her, so the others must sneak in without her. Britt's rapping causes Argus to detect them and Caelia hits him with her strongest magical blast, but its does nothing. Zoroaster's teleportation is blocked by a teleportation dampener and he must use a shield to defend against the giant materialising club of Argus. Taliesin guides Io away from the battle while Caelia then blinds Argus with a lightshow that allows Xerxes and Aellah to move in and defeat him. The Count immediately leaves, not having helped them at all, as he had his information on Britticus. As punishment, Hera sends a horse-fly to tortuously sting them all for eternity, including Athena. They flee to Thebes, almost driven mad by the constant stinging. Zoroaster travels ahead and is able to get Thoth to greet them. He is unable to undo the transformations of Zeus, but he is able to transform her into a new god - something the people of Thebes desire - to undo Hera's new curse. She agrees and becomes Isis and apprentice to Thoth. Hermes Trismegistus requests to remain in Thebes as a student of Isis while the rest of the group disband. Isis gives Athena a firm confirmation that she has proven herself, something Athena is constantly striving for. Taliesin is, unfortunately, forgotten and left as a cow.
The Cow Called Io
The heavenly realm exists alongside the physical world but is a complex place of variety thanks to the multitude of heavens available to would-be interested parties. Once there were a great many religions that spanned the globe and each heaven was represented within the heavenly realm. Today there are far fewer religions used by the people of Earth, and yet each religion has broken up into many denominations. There is a heaven for the Catholics, the Protestants[Ext 1], the Mormons[Ext 2], the Jehovah’s Witnesses[Ext 3] and the rest of the Christians[Ext 4]. The Muslims[Ext 5] have separate heavens; one of the world’s largest denomination, the Sunni[Ext 6], and another for the Shia Muslims[Ext 7]. Buddhists have six different heavens in just their one religion. Very greedy indeed. The Scientologists[Ext 8] might visit the heavenly realm but just complain it’s boring and get themselves a new body from the afterlife factories.
In the future the forgotten gods of the world would band together in Mount Olympus to save on needless real estate, but once Mount Olympus was exclusively for the gods of Greece. The physical manifestation of Mount Olympus could be seen by the Grecians but the mountain itself was merely a gateway to the heavenly realm. The gods each kept their own domiciles and Zeus, king of the gods, lived with his wife, Hera. Their bedroom was needlessly large and, thus, mostly empty except for fancy ornaments and statues and trinkets. The bed was ovular and caressed with red, silk sheets. Glowing orbs of lights lilted through the air and cast dancing shadows through the room. The large windows showed the depths of space, each one a picture of some distant stars, galaxies or even universes.
Zeus opened one eye and peered over at his sleeping wife. Why gods slept is a question to be asked of them and not me, the humble Narrator. Then again, why do they eat or drink or breathe? Why do they speak? Why do they have bodies? Why do they have sex so much? Why are they even capable of reproduction? Who bloody knows.
Zeus slunk from the bedsheets and a toga appeared on his naked body. His body, specifically, was commonly referred to as a ‘dad bod’. The kind of rotund form of a man comfortable with his role as husband and father to several sprogs and no longer needs to prove himself to anyone. His beard is meticulously curled, as though a curling iron was taken to the thing, but still white to show he is a wise, wise man. He slipped from the room and, with a crack of thunder, vanished from Olympus.
That crack, however, startled Hera to wakefulness. She had the appearance of an older woman, the mother and queen of gods, but had a certain regal majesty and refinement of a 1950s movie star. Her hair was commonly worn raised to the top of her head with a plait snaking around her temples, all to reveal her long, elegant neck. As she slipped from the bed, a long toga of black spread across her body. It glittered with stars, like a window into the cosmos. She swept around the bed, discovered her husband missing and opened a vision of the Earth. She spied the bolt of lightning streak through the night sky of Greece and was instantly hot on his tail.
Hera: “You won’t be cheating on me tonight, oh husband of mine!”
Zeus had transported himself to the land of Argos in Greece. It was a very strange land. It was one, massive retail store. The people of Argos would enter the store and browse the catalogues to choose their desired object, which would then he shipped out of the warehouse by Argosians on electric buggies that scooted down aisles upon aisles of goods. Even the people’s homes were storerooms filled with assorted boxes and could be entered anytime by a customer or worker.
Io: “Oh Zeus! What if she finds out!?”
Zeus: “She won’t find out, darling Io. I’m much too careful for that!”
Hey wait a minute, you can’t do that! Stop reading me!
Zeus: “Bugger. We’re in for it now!”
Io: “Don’t let her kill me, Zeus! I’m too young, and insanely pretty, to die!”
He snapped his fingers and transformed the human girl from human into animal.
Hera: “Zeus! What’re you up to, you old goat!?”
Zeus: “Hera! My dear, dear wife! What a… pleasant… surprise!”
Her voice was the kind of upper class American accent of old days that verged on sounding British to modern audiences. Her words were each spoken with clarity and force that made even Zeus sound like a hillbilly drunk on a gallon of whiskey.
Hera: “What are you doing with that cow?”
Zeus turned with surprise to see he had turned the poor Io into a big, black and white Holstein cow[Ext 9]. The cow looked at him with large eyelashes and blinked with just as much confusion as him. He had meant to turn her into a cat, or something equally small and inconspicuous.
Zeus: “Uh… I… just bought it. I’m starting a farm. Got to have lots of milk!”
Hera: “She does have very large udders…”
Zeus: “She does. Very, very… nice… and big…”
Hera frowned at him.
Zeus: “Ahem! Good for milking!”
Hera then smiled and slow, cunning smile. Zeus’ spine tingled as he sensed a trap building up around him and he knew, long before it snapped upon him, that there was no escape. His wife was as cunning as Eris and he often wondered why she was god of women and wives rather than god of trouble. Then he remembered – women are trouble!
Please remember that Zeus’ sexist views do not represent the views of the Narrator or the management.
Hera: “You know, dear husband, I have always wanted to own my very own cow…”
Zeus: “Oh. That’s nice. We’ll go buy you one—”
Hera: “Oh, but Zeus, I want that one! She looks like such a fine specimen and those large udders will give me lots of milk! I could milk her udders every day…”
Zeus swallowed and his eyes widened as that particular scene sprang to mind. He then shook himself. Naughty Zeus!
Zeus: “Well, well—I—”
But struggle as he might, he knew she would rebuff any and all excuses as to why he should not give her this particular cow, without admitting the truth. She had him ensnared and he had been ensnared like this enough times to know he was done for. He groaned.
Zeus: “Okay… my dear. You can take this cow.”
Io glared up at Zeus with horror in her big, bovine eyes.
Hera wrapped her arms around the cow’s neck and hugged the beast.
Hera: “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of her. I’ll milk her with my own hands every morning.”
Zeus’ mind went away again.
Zeus: “Maybe I should… watch…?”
Hera: “You want to watch me milking a cow? How strange…”
Zeus: “Oh! Well, I just—maybe I could learn—nothing. Nevermind! Your cow, your time.”
Hera: “I shall take her now then. I know just the spot. It’s a great field in Egypt where the grass is always green and the cow herd is so content with the herdsman.”
Zeus bit his lip.
Zeus: “You mean the herd kept by Argus, the giant?”
Hera: “Yes! She will be very, very… secure.”
He watched as Hera led the cow away by the rope around her neck. Io glanced back at Zeus with a pleading look on her animal face and Zeus chewed his lips, trying to figure out what he was going to do.
Athena’s Eleven assembled in the ‘command bunker’ of Zeus. It was a tent pitched in the middle of Argos for everyone to see, but he insisted it was the ultra secret operations tent for Operation Save the Cow. Athena had been tasked with assembly a crew for the heist and they all now stood in the tent of Zeus.
Zeus: “Alright, listen up troops! This Operation Save the Cow is of utmost importance! You are all hereby sworn to secrecy and should you die on the operation, you will be disavowed!”
He was wearing military fatigues from the 20th century, which looked very strange to the ancient Greeks who thought he was trying to dress as a bush. His helmet kept slipping and he would adjust it with such frequently he really should have just taken it off, or fastened the damned strap.
Athena: “They know how important it is, father.”
Zeus: “No, but seriously, you can’t tell anyone! If any of my kids by Hera, like Ares, find out then they’ll totally snitch on me!”
Athena: “Oh, I did wonder why you asked me to help you. Why the hell were you having sex with a cow anyway? Isn’t that a step too far?”
Zeus: “No no! I turned her into a cow afterwards!”
Athena: “And were you a cow before?”
Zeus: “No! You think I’d turn into a cow to have sex with a woman?”
Athena: “Yes. Yes you would. Lest we forget when you peed on Danaë.”
Zeus: “I didn’t pee on her! I was a golden shower!”
Athena: “The time you turned into an eagle to have sex with a woman?”
Zeus: “She really liked birds…”
Athena: “When you were a bear.”
Zeus: “I was a teddy bear and she—that doesn’t make it any better, does it?”
Athena: “You were a snake.”
Zeus: “There a lot of women that like snakes. They’re all long and phallic, you know?”
Athena: “You were a vulture…”
Zeus: “A different bird loving woman. I don’t know why I meet so many of them.”
Athena: “You turned into fire!”
Zeus: “Uh… I don’t know what her deal was.”
Athena: “An ant!! I mean--- how!?”
Zeus: “It was a really strange day for me.”
Zeus: “… Okay. That was bad of me. But, in my defence, I wanted to know what a lesbian was! I didn’t know it meant women who have sex together! I thought it was some kind of knitting club. You can imagine my surprise!”
Athena: “Learn to keep it in your pants. Especially stop turning into other things to do it!”
Zeus: “You’re not the boss of me!”
Athena glared at him.
Zeus: “Okay fine. You’re going to save Io if I agree, right?”
Athena: “Yes. We will save the cow.”
Zeus: “Hey, don’t call her that!”
Athena rolled her eyes.
Zeus: “Oh, you meant literally. Sorry, I thought you were being mean to her because—okay, okay. So, you will come up with a plan?”
Athena: “That’s why he’s here.”
She swept her hand towards the old man stood in the corner. He seemed to be impressed by the presence of gods but also disappointed to find the king of the gods to be such a moron. The human was a great teacher and philosopher and was renowned both for his strategical thinking and his alchemical experiments. He had travelled the world and was a follower of many gods, though not all from the same religion. Thoth, in particular, was of paramount importance to his understanding of magic, and Thoth’s wife, Ma’at, who represented the law and order of things.
Hermes Trismegistus: “I shall plan this… caper, as Athena put it. I and Athena assembled this team for their unique skills and talents that should serve for our adventure.”
A young man of sixteen held his hand up, like a reluctant student in class who feels it’s his duty to correct the teacher.
Odysseus: “Can we get a better description of this terrible giant you say is guarding your sacred cow?”
Athena: “His name is Argus—”
Odysseus: “Like where we are?”
Athena: “Not Argos, Argus!”
Britticus: “Now that’s just confusing.”
Odysseus: “I agree with the Roman.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Young men—”
Britticus: “I’ll have you know, I’m older than you are! Boy!”
Hermes just rolled his eyes. He knew eternal life was possible through various means, in particular through the use of alchemy, but Britticus told a story of living for millennia and time-travelling back before his own birth and of planet’s filled with more advanced civilisations than he could even conceive of with his ‘primitive Grecian brain’. All of this cast a heavy shadow of doubt over his credibility, but Athena vouched for him, claiming past adventures with Perseus – a legendary hero of Mycenae. He would have doubted this too had Athena not told him.
Hermes Trismegistus: “My point is, I feel the name of the giant is rather unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Whether it sounds like the name of a place or not.”
Odysseus: “Relax. We’re just busting your chops.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “I’m not even going to ask what that means. Athena, oh goddess, please tell us more of Argus.”
Athena: “Argus is, as said, a giant. So he’ll tower over all of us. But the most unusual feature is that he is the all-seeing giant.”
Odysseus: “He has some kind of clairvoyant powers?”
Britticus: “That’ll make this a short adventure. We show up and he’s like ‘yo, I’ve been expecting you so I set up laser turrets all around the field and you’re all going to die in a few seconds.’. This is going to go swimmingly.”
Odysseus: “What’s a laser turret?”
Britticus: “A turret that fires lasers.”
Odysseus: “Dude, that was the single most unhelpful explanation in the history of explanations.”
Britticus: “Future stuff, Odysseus. You’re not allowed to know it.”
Odysseus: “But you gave me the secret to ice cream! I want the secret to laser turrets!”
Britticus: “Ice cream is harmless, laser turrets are not.”
Odysseus: “Except, from what you tell me, ice cream makes people fat, right? So I’ll make ice cream incredibly cheap, everyone eats it, everyone gets fat and everyone dies from heart attacks. I’m going to destroy all of mankind.”
Britticus: “My God! You would wield the power of ice cream for great evil!?”
Athena: “Nobody cares about ice cream!”
Odysseus: “You clearly haven’t tried strawberry and choc chip! Then you’d care!”
The Count: “I understand why Britticus is here. He is stupid, but talented. Why is this boy here?”
Odysseus: “Because I wield the power of ice cream!”
The Count growled from within his cloak. He appeared as little more than an apparition. His cloak concealed everything from his body to his face, though the glint of sharp teeth could sometimes be seen from within when he wanted to threaten someone. Nobody knew his name as he was simply known as The Count. People assumed he had something to do with mathematics and was here to keep an eye on the budget.
Athena: “Odysseus has a sharp and cunning mind that will help us. I know he’s young, but what he lacks in experience he makes up for with talent.”
Odysseus: “Even the gods think I’m a genius.”
Athena: “He also lacks humility. A flaw in his character I hope will be corrected in time!”
She glared at him like she was his disappointed teacher.
Odysseus: “Yes ma’am! I’ll try!”
Britticus: “Hahaha, that’s a good one. I already know that your arrogance gets you stranded on a bo—”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Are you about to reveal those future things you warned him about a moment ago, Britticus?”
Odysseus: “Hermes! You asshat! Britt, don’t listen to him! Give me the low down! I get stranded on an island of Amazons, right? I get sex every hour of every day?”
The Count: “I seriously recommend the removal of the boy from this, what did you call it? Caper?”
Odysseus: “You’re just jealous because I get an island of Amazons in the future and you just get to be a creepy dude in a cave. Oh wait, you’re a creepy dude in a cave already! I guess some things never change.”
The Count: “He is young and brash and self-centred. He will be useless.”
Britticus: “I’ve been wondering why you’re even here, Count. I don’t think you need the money.”
The Count: “I am information gathering.”
Brittcus: “About what?”
The Count: “You.”
Britticus: “… I don’t lean that way, sorry.”
The Count: “… right. I’m leaving.”
Athena: “What? No! Britt apologises!”
Britticus: “I said I was sorry!”
The Count: “Time is a fragile thing, not to be taken for granted, Britticus. I learnt that the hard way. I have been in hiding for so… long. But the convergence of events is drawing near and I needed to see what you became… after.”
Britticus: “Oh great. Let me guess, this is all some timey-wimey stuff that I’m in the centre of? Again. It stopped impressing me when I saw the birth of mankind.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Impossible!”
Britticus: “Yeah! There were these dudes and they made this other dude. It was weird, actually.”
Odysseus: “You have a real knack of explaining things in such a way that you explain fuck all.”
Britticus: “It’s a gift.”
Greene: “I feel like my time is being wasted. I don’t need to know the backstory of all of you.”
Greene was a nacaal from the ancient and lost Kingdom of Mu that was plunged into the depths of the ocean long before the development of Greece. Since then, the survivors of the kingdom had lived in the jungles and forests of China, avoiding contact with the local people as much as possible. Sometimes one of them would venture out into the world to make discoveries and report the information back to those still hiding in China. Greene was often the one chosen to make the excursions because he was unafraid of what lay beyond the protection of the trees.
Britticus: “Come on dude! Backstories are great! This whole post is backstory building for most of us!”
Odysseus: “Not another one of those Storyists!”
Athena: “Considering your lineage, Odysseus, I find that quite an ironic statement.”
Odysseus: “Uh, you mean my dad on Ithaca? There’s not much to tell. Except that he’s totally awesome and one day, I’m going to do even better than him!”
Athena: “You are descended from an ancient line of men and women that were of the chosen families of Atlantis. You are a direct descendent of the fighter. This is why your family have attained such grand accomplishments in battles and adventures.”
Odysseus: “I knew I was great, but now I know I rock.”
Britticus: “Uh, should you really be telling him this?”
Athena: “You are too.”
Britticus: “Oh no, you mean Odysseus is another one of my family line?”
Athena: “No, I mean you are descended from another one of those family lines of Atlantis.”
Britticus: “I am!? Wait, did I already know that?”
Athena: “At this point in your timeline? No, I don’t think so.”
Britticus: “Oh right. I am!”?
Hermes Trismegistus: “And what, goddess Athena, are these chosen families to do?”
Athena: “I have already spoken too much on the matter.”
Odysseus: “Oh, come on dude! The hell!? You can’t say this stuff and not give us the details! That’s like… a plot tease!”
The Count: “For once, I am in agreement with the child. Please, tell us more. Can you tell us of any more that now live with this lineage?”
Britticus: “And now, I agree with Athena. Anything that Mr Creeptastic wants to know, is not going to be in the best interest of everyone else.”
The Count: “Now, now, Britticus. We are all here for our own reasons, and this is mine. I desire information.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Is this knowledge truly dangerous for us to know, oh goddess Athena?”
Athena: “Honestly, I don’t think so. But since I don’t know for certain, I’m going to stop there. All you need to know is that Odysseus is important enough to warrant being here.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “I almost feel that I am the most unqualified man here, given my mediocrity.”
Odysseus: “Don’t be too hard on yourself, old man. We can’t all be ultra special awesome!”
Athena: “You are my most prized member, Hermes. Please have faith in that!”
Greene: “Could we continue talking of Argus? I still don’t understand what is meant by his many eyes?”
Athena: “I mean literally that. He has hundreds of eyes on his body. His legs, his arms, his chest, his back. They are everywhere!”
Zeus: “I expect they’re even on his, you-know-what! Imagine that! You could see yourself—”
Odysseus: “Ew, I think that might actually put me off sex!”
Britticus: “But he probably has eyes on his arse too. So he could see himself… you know?”
There was a collective grimace in the room.
Caelia was a faerie from the frozen wastes of the northernmost lands, far north of Britannia. She was very short, peaking at just four feet, and had the face of the most angelic child of the imagination of parents everywhere. And yet she had an aged mind far beyond the years of most of her peers in the room and was not afraid to confirm it.
Caelia: “Each and every plop. And some of it would get in your eyes when it splashes in the toilet!”
Odysseus: “What’s a toilet!?”
Britticus: “Wait, how in the hell do you know what a toilet is!?”
Caelia: “I don’t know. Sometimes I just say things.”
Odysseus: “A wagging tongue sinks ships, Caelia!”
Britticus: “Oh the irony.”
Odysseus: “What’s that supposed to mean!?”
Greene: “So this Argus can see all thanks to his eyes and he guards the field where our target cow resides. But surely he sleeps?”
Athena: “He does, but while some eyes will close, others will remain open and watchful. We cannot sneak up on him.”
Greene: “That’s unfortunate, but perhaps a frontal assault then? He may be a giant but we are eleven and have both intelligence and strength at our behest! Caelia alone may be more than a match, I know of a faerie’s great magic!”
Caelia: “Aren’t you charming! So long as there’s plenty of aether, I can blow the swine to kingdom come.”
Britticus: “There’s another anachronism. Maybe a part of your brain is trapped in some kind of time paradox.”
Caelia: “Saying there’s some defect with my brain, is kind of an insult, Britticus. I get mean to people who insult me.”
Britticus: “Usually I’d shrug off a threat, but when the threat is made with such a hideously adorable face it’s kind of terrifying.”
Caelia: “You’d better believe it, boyo!”
Athena: “An assault may be our only option.”
Zeus: “I don’t want Io getting hurt!”
Athena: “We’ll keep that in mind.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “If it is an attack that is needed, we should still consider strategy in our battle tactics. A giant that can see everywhere cannot be blindsided and may be able to see attacks coming with more accuracy than any normal human.”
Odysseus: “Sucks to be a normal human, eh old man?”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Your attempts to goad me will be unsuccessful, young man. I am too old to be bothered by matters of pride.”
Athena: “Besides, you are a normal human, Odysseus. Being one of the lineage mostly means you are a prime example of humanity. As human as humans come.”
The Count: “I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest you are not special, boy. That blood, in particular, is very, very special indeed…”
His teeth glinted from within his hood and even Odysseus lost some of his hubris as a chill crept down his spine.
The meeting was then interrupted as a man lifted the tent flap and poked his head inside. Everyone was startled and turned with fight or flight reflexes. This meant that everyone but Britticus was ready to fight. Britticus wound up hiding behind Athena.
Zoroaster: “Sorry, I would have knocked but, you know, tent flap.”
They all settled down.
Odysseus: “Great. Another old man!”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Fellow admirers of Thoth are more than welcome to our little meeting. I am surprised you are late, though.”
Zoroaster: “Life of the NeSorcerer is a busy one, Mr Trismegistus! Plus the two gentlemen on guard were insistent on a password.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “I don’t remember setting a password.”
Britticus: “Aha! That was me! The guys outside seemed pretty stupid so I thought they might let any old moron wander in. So I gave them a password.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “And did you tell any of us the password?”
Britticus clicked his cheek as he realised his mistake. Odysseus guffawed while everyone else rolled their eyes.
Zoroaster: “Well, fortunately, after a few attempts I managed to guess the password correctly.”
Caelia: “What was it?”
Caelia shook her head at Britticus.
Britticus: “I didn’t want to make it too difficult to remember!”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Perhaps we should go over what we have learnt of Argus for the sake of Mr Spitama?”
Zoroaster: “No need, Mr Trismegistus! I have exceptionally good hearing. A frontal assault against a giant as powerful as Argus may not be the most agreeable of methods, but by the sounds of it – it may be the only option. Unless the giant is, perchance, weak to something we could use against him?”
Despite his long, white beard, Zoroaster’s face was smooth and untarnished by either blemishes or by wrinkles. He had a narrow face and the dark skin of a man of the Middle-East. Only his eyes betrayed that racial heritage as they were blue.
Zeus: “Well, he really likes cows?”
Caelia: “Pretty sure he meant something more like an Achilles’ Heel, not his sexual preferences.”
Britticus: “Gah! Ixnay on the Achilles—”
He, not very surreptitiously, motioned to Odysseus with his head but Caelia just frowned and shrugged, not even knowing what she had said was a future event. Odysseus frowned at Britticus.
Odysseus: “Got a bit of a tic there, huh?”
Britticus: “Oh, uh, just a crick in the neck, you know?”
Greene: “I don’t think the giant’s fondness for cows is going to help. Is there anything else that—”
Suddenly the tent flap opened again.
Xerxes Rumplekirk: “I have a plan!!”
Zoroaster: “Aren’t you supposed to be guarding the door?”
Britticus: “Yeah! What’s the password!”
Xerxes Rumplekirk: “That’s my line!”
Britticus: “Oh yeah.”
Aellah: “So what’s the plan?”
Caelia: “You’re supposed to be watching the door too!”
The two men, like Britticus, claimed to be time travellers. They were searching for a pirate they named Tsou de Ming and had tracked her to Greece at the time period. While they hadn’t found her, they agreed to offer their services to Athena’s Eleven in exchange for information in tracking her down. One was an eccentric man with a cane and the other was a manic with a glowing sword. Two totally normal and trustworthy individuals.
Athena: “Okay, what’s the plan?”
Xerxes Rumplekirk: “Well—"
The field where Io was being kept was a majestic field of open space and was ripe with green grass, a few trees and plenty of rainfall. Unlike the rest of Egypt. Just beyond the field were the deserts of sand that coated most of the landscape. The field wasn’t far from Thebes, the capital of Egypt at the time, but the humans were never able to see the field unless they accidentally stumbled through the invisible shield. Then they were squished by the herdsman who tended to the herd of cows grazing on the grass.
Just on the cusp of the field, ten figured entered the field from the desert.
Odysseus: “I think I’m physically melting…”
Greene faceplanted the grass.
Athena: “It’s Egypt, were you expecting snowdrifts?”
Caelia, who was adapted to those snowdrifts, had fainted long ago and had to be dragged by Aellah. He was chosen because he was the only one still grinning the whole journey.
They all sat down to rest and taken in the cooler weather of the field.
In the distance they could see the giant form of Argus where he stood watching his herd. He was thirty feet tall and eyes were found all over his body. Eyes bunched up around his other facial features, around his ears and mouth and nose. He had no hair, instead his scalp was also covered in eyes. He wore no clothes and the theories of Zeus and Britt were both confirmed to be true.
Caelia mumbled as she started to regain consciousness. She rolled over several times, unable to get herself up in her costume.
Britticus started dancing from side-to-side.
Britticus: “Bitch, I’m a cow. Bitch, I’m a cow.”
Zoroaster: “What are you doing?”
Britticus: “I’m getting into character!”
Hermes Trismegistus: “I don’t think cows behave that way.”
They were all dressed in cow suits, as per Xerxes’ plan. Britticus lifted the floppy muzzle of his suit to get a look at the others from the hole in the head piece. Aellah-cow was trying to help Caelia-cow get up.
Britticus: “I’m a cool, rapper cow.”
Zoroaster: “I have to admit, I’m a bit worried about these disguises. We should have just transformed ourselves into actual cows.”
Xerxes Rumplekirk: “But if we are actual cows we can’t do anything but moo at him. This way, we are still primed for an attack!”
Aellah: “I like being a cow. This is a very peaceful meadow.”
Britticus: “I said, I ain’t a moose bitch, get out my hay. Get out my hay, bitch, get out my hay!”
Zoroaster: “I don’t think I like this ‘rapping’ business.”
Britticus: “You gotta get with the times!”
Athena: “There’s Taliesin!”
The druid came trotting over to them. Unlike everyone else, he was actually disguised as a cow. He had been hiding in the herd for several days to survey the land and watch Argus. He hadn’t been able to turn himself into a cow, despite being a magical druid, he had had to be turned into a cow by Zeus. When a cow he was a brown bull, with little horns and a long tail.
Odysseus: “How do we know that’s Taliesin? It might just be a normal cow?”
Xerxes Rumplekirk: “Or another spy disguised as a cow!”
Odysseus: “There can’t be that many people with the same stupid plan.”
The cow mooed at them.
Greene: “I think it might be a cow after all.”
Athena snapped her fingers and Taliesin-cow was able to speak.
Taliesin: “Moo! Moo!”
Athena: “You can talk now.”
Athena: “In English, not cowish.”
Taliesin: “Oh right. So are we ready for the attack? I’m a bit tired of eating grass. It gives me really bad gas.”
Britticus: “Yeah, I read somewhere that cows are causing climate change! Bung up your arse, Taliesin!”
Taliesin glanced backwards, as though he were considering the feasibility to following through with that command.
Athena: “Have you studied his patterns, Taliesin?”
Taliesin: “He’ll most likely stand around like this for the next hour or two. He just watches the cows. It’s pretty unnerving actually. He can definitely see us all over here now. So be careful not to give yourselves away. I look like a real cow, you guys look like… well, like guys dressed in cartoon cow suits.”
Odysseus: “Yeah, we’re all as good as dead aren’t we?”
Zoroaster: “Not if we work together! Come on, Athena’s Eleven! Let’s get over there and rescue the young lady!”
Athena: “I can’t interfere, else Hera will detect my involvement and my father will be up shit creek without a paddle.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “That’s an unfortunately named place, though I don’t see why Zeus would be there.”
Athena: “It’s a—it doesn’t matter. I’ll await your return. Good luck!”
The cow-herd started to waddle over to Argus. As they drew near they could see the eyes on the giant’s back following them. Some of the eyes frowned with suspicion, other eyes were wide with interest.
Britticus: “My milkshake brings all the boys to the farm!”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Cows do not rap, young Britticus!”
Odysseus: “Is milkshake like ice cream!? Teach my the secret to milkshake!”
The giant started to stir from his silent watch.
Britticus: “Got milk bitch? Got beef? Got steak hoe, got cheese, grade A hoe, not lean! These heifers got nothing me—”
Argus: “A rapping cow?”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Damn.”
Britticus: “Bitch, I’m a cow. Bitch, I’m a cow. I’m not a cat, I don’t say meow.”
Odysseus: “It’s all over. We’re going to die.”
Argus: “I am Argus, little girl-cow.”
Caelia jumped from all four to her legs and cast an explosive blaze of magic at Argus. The explosion had to be refined and controlled so as not to endanger the cow herd, where Io would be. The giant was sent stumbling forward. His eyes down his back closed or squinted against the bright, firey maelstrom, but he was otherwise uninjured.
Odysseus: “Our strongest attack did nothing.”
Odysseus: “This is all your fault!”
A colossal club materialised in the hand of Argus as the cow-suited people suddenly scattered in all directions. Zoroaster was the only one to stand his ground and he caused the aether to warp and alter in the air in an attempt to distort reality itself. The vicinity of Argus became a whirl of confusion as things appeared in and out of existence – a flock of chickens, a horde of spoons, a massive door that bonked him on the head. Argus wafted his free hand against the attack of assorted things and rose the other arm high into the air. The club swung down on the NeSorcerer and instantly squished him into mush.
Argus rose the club, but where there should have been Zoroaster paste there was nothing but a hole in the earth.
Zoroaster: “Teleportation is probably the most basic magic spell taught these days. Come now, sir, did you thick it would be so—”
He was forced to teleport himself again as the club swung in his direction. But when he reappeared he felt a shift in the air. An oppressive force that felt almost like gravity was being squished into a single space.
Zoroaster: “Teleport dampener. How unsporting.”
The club came down again but Zoroaster raised a shield of protection using one of his wands. The wand was gnarled and long and was created with a phoenix feather as its core. This gave the spells an element of fire to it, so the shield was bright red and flaming. The club ground against the barrier but then, in the air around the shield, appeared more massive clubs. They struck the shield and rattled the human within.
He may have been using one wand for the shield, but he had a second hand. He whipped out another wand to channel his magic, this one a straight and polished affair with vril at its core. The blast of powerful magic hit the giant and he stumbled back, relieving some of the stress upon the shield. But the floating clubs continued to bash the shield relentlessly, even if Argus was dazed.
Before Argus could resume his attack, there came a loud, screeching moo. A cow fell from the sky and landed just short of the giant with a deadly crunch. This was followed by a second cow.
Taliesin: “Stop! Stop! Don’t use the cows as artillery!”
Caelia: “Why? They’re just cows!”
She launched another one of the herd into the sky, the poor creature mooing with sudden fright and confusion.
Taliesin: “It’s cruel! Leave the cows alone!”
Odysseus: “Besides, you’ll kill the target!”
Caelia: “Oh right, yeah. Which one is she?”
Odysseus: “She’s there! She’s the Holstein cow!”
Britticus: “Which is the Holstein?”
Odysseus: “The black and white one!”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Taliesin, go and fetch Io! Lead her away!”
Taliesin: “Why me!?”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Because you are the most vulnerable here.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “You are still a cow.”
Taliesin: “Oh right, yeah. Forgot.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Plus, your magic is quite terrible. I’m sorry to say.”
The cow waddled off after Io. Caelia took that as her cue to launch another cow.
Britticus: “Okay, can we please stop killing the cows? I’m going to have nightmares of tortured cow screams.”
Caelia: “I’ll stop using cows as projectiles when that big sod isn’t going to mush us all into soup.”
Britticus approached the giant and started firing sprays of tea at the creature. He used sleep-inducing tea, hoping to bring the monster down, but Argus seemed to be impervious to the effect. Another club materialised in the air, poised above Britticus. Odysseus leapt and knocked them both aside, just as the club struck the earth. The massive weapon followed them as they then ran. Greene summoned up vines from the ground that latched onto the club to stop it moving.
Hermes Trismegistus: “Argus’ greatest advantage is his sight. Lady Caelia, could you see about blinding our foe?”
Caelia: “Lady Caelia. I like that. But I don’t think I could poke each and every eye.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “I was thinking more of a light show.”
Caelia: “Aha! Gotcha!”
She manipulated the aether into a dazzling display of fireworks around Argus. The giant was blinded, his eyes blinking and wincing against the light. His clubs swung wildly in all directions. This gave an opening for Aellah and Xerxes Rumplekirk to bumrush Argus and soon, because the Writer of this post is bored with this ‘action’ oddly enough and wants it over with, they somehow defeated Argus and slew the beast.
Aellah: “Another fearsome foe killed!”
Britticus: “You really shouldn’t grin like a lunatic when you say stuff like that.”
Athena: “Excellent. I never doubted any of you.”
Odysseus: “Yeah? What about this useless git? You didn’t do anything this whole time!”
The Count: “I could see you had everything in hand.”
Britticus: “I hope you’re not paying him, Athena!”
The Count: “My time has been more than compensated enough for now.”
He turned from them and started stalking across the field.
Britticus: “Uh, you’re just going to leave?”
He didn’t say a word and just leave.
Xerxes Rumplekirk: “Some people really have no manners.”
Zoroaster: “Well, we have won a great victory. Now we need to get Io to Zeus so that he can undo the transformation caused by Hera.”
As her name was invoked, her voice suddenly boomed across the field.
Hera: “Argus! Argus! You shall PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES!”
Odysseus: “Oh crapcakes. It was nice knowing you all! Oh wait, no it wasn’t. You all suck!”
Greene: “Be ready for an attack!”
Britticus: “Yeah, I’m in favour of just running away.”
But as they stood, on guard, nothing seemed to happen. They waited with bated breath. Still nothing happened. Finally they relaxed when they found themselves in no danger.
Caelia: “An empty threat?”
Britticus: “Gods have short attention spans. She probably got distracted by some other human affairs.”
There was a buzzing around them as a horse-fly came into their vicinity. Each of them swatted at the annoying insect until it finally bit someone.
Britticus: “Ouch! Bastard! Why did it have to bite me!?”
Caelia: “Maybe it’s because you’re oh-so-sweet?”
Britticus: “I don’t think now’s the time to be flirting with me, faerie-girl.”
Caelia: “You wish I was flirting with you!”
Britticus: “Actually, no I don’t. You look like a twelve-year-old. I’d probably be arrested.”
Caelia: “Hey! I’ll have you-ouch!”
She swatted at the horse-fly on her skin. She lifted her hand to find she missed it.
Xerxes Rumplekirk: “Ow!! Blighter had a nasty bite!”
Zoroaster: “We should leave anyway. There are cows here for the insects to feed on.”
Taliesin: “Yeah! Including the ones she murdered!”
Caelia: “You can’t murder cows. They’re animals!”
Taliesin: “That’s discrimination! That’s—ow! Bloody thing’s following us!”
Hermes Trismegistus: “I feel this creature may be a little too insistent…”
Athena: “Ow! Hey! I’m a god, they can’t bite me!”
Zoroaster: “Unless my esteemed colleague is correct! This may be the punishment of Hera after all…”
Odysseus: “A stupid little fly? Come on— ouch! Sonofabitch!”
Aellah: “Ouch! That does smart!”
Britticus: “Stop being so happy about it! You freakazoid!”
Athena: “Ouch! We need to get a move on! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! By the gods, stop! Ouch!”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Ow! That is quite a nasty bite! I fear we’ll all be bitten and sore by the end of our journey back to Greece!”
Britticus: “GAH! Little twat! Stop it! Die! Die!”
He started trying to attack it, but no matter what they did, the horse-fly survived and continued its attack on them.
Odysseus: “That damn Count guy knew this would happen! That’s why he ran off!”
Zoroaster: “Maybe we should seek sanctuary at a place closer than Greece!?”
Taliesin: “I agree, but where? It will just follow us wherever we go!”
Zoroaster: “We go to Thebes!”
So the group set out for Thebes. They were slowed down by the unfortunate cows, Taliesin and Io, being too slow to go fast enough to run from the horse-fly. Soon enough both Britticus and Odysseus had abandoned the main group and run off ahead to Thebes. Likewise Zoroaster vanished, claiming that he was going ahead to secure aid but Caelia was sure he was just trying to avoid the horse-fly.
Caelia: “I hope it follows you!”
Greene managed to make a spray from plant nectar to dull the pain of the stinging wounds, but it wasn’t enough to ease their trauma. The constant pain and bites were beginning to drive them crazy. Even Athena, the wise and composed god, was raging and tired.
They eventually made it to Thebes were they saw Zoroaster stood at the gates of the grand, ancient city. With him is a dark haired man. His hair is quite short and unkempt, as though he has better things to do than worry about his haircut. His skin is very dark as with many Egyptians but around his eyes are dark rings of sleeplessness. Stood at the man’s feet was an ibis that quietly watched the people approaching.
Athena: “Thoth. Are you able to help us?”
Hermes Trismegistus: “My god! Thoth, my lord of magic!”
Hermes managed to fall to his knees, though his old bones creaked and crackled. Britticus shook his head.
Britticus: “Don’t do that. At least save it for a god that wants people to bow to them.”
Thoth: “The time-traveller is right. You need not bow to me, Hermes Trismegistus.”
The old teacher had to be helped up by Aellah and Xerxes. Thoth looked around them and spotted the evil horse-fly. A moment later and it was gone. But they could still hear the buzzing of the pest.
Greene: “What happened?”
Thoth: “I have displaced it. It is not gone, you are not yet free, but it is a reprieve. The only way to stop the beast is to free your friend, here.”
He gestured to Io. The cow looked very upset, resigned to her miserable fate.
Athena: “Are you able to undo Zeus’ transformation? I don’t know any Greek god that could override his will.”
Thoth: “Sort of. I cannot turn her back into a human.”
Britticus: “So what, you can turn her into a fish instead? Not very useful.”
He looked at the ibis.
Britticus: “Or creepy bird. Is that a person?”
Thoth ignored Britticus.
Stop reading the Narration, Britt.
Zoroaster: “I have spoken with Thoth about an alternative approach and he has agreed. The people of Thebes have been seeking a new deity and Thoth has wanted an apprentice.”
Thoth approached the cow.
Thoth: “Io, would you become one of our pantheon? You will be revered as a god of magic as one of your domains and I shall teach you our ways.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Such an honour. I confess, I am jealous.”
Britticus: “Totally unfair. If Zeus turned me into a cow, I bet I wouldn’t get to be a god!”
Odysseus: “You’d be a terrible god.”
Britticus: “True. I’d be the god of no-fucks-given.”
Though the cow was unable to talk, Thoth could sense her feelings on the matter. He nodded and, a moment later, Io began to transform like she was Sailor Moon.
Britticus: “Wow. My favourite part of this post.”
Caelia: “Can’t we get some censorship over here?”
Athena created some censor bars to block the view of the naked Io.
Britticus: “And lo, did the goddess Athena spoil everyone’s fun.”
Caelia: “You think she wants you to look?”
Britticus: “You’re just jealous all the attention was drawn from you to her.”
Caelia: “Aha! So you admit you do fancy me!”
Britticus: “Uh, wait, no! That isn’t—”
Odysseus: “Dude, she looks like a twelve-year-old!”
Britticus: “That’s not what I meant! I know she—”
Caelia playfully plumped her hair.
Caelia: “Well, you know, I do like older men.”
Britticus: “What!? Stop it! You can’t do this to me! I know you’re like a million years old, or whatever! I’m not weird! I’m not weird!”
Fortunately for Britt’s embarrassment, the transformation was complete and in the place of the black and white cow there was now a woman. She was a white woman, like other Grecians, but her clothing and hair was styled like that of an Egyptian elite. Her dress was long and red and tight to her body. Her feet were bare but on her head was an unusual box-like hat. In one hand was an ankh, which represented life in Egyptian hieroglyphics, and in the other was a staff. Her long, black hair was tipped with golden beads and her face was coated with make-up around the eyes.
Thoth: “You’ll be given the Egyptian name of Isis.”
Isis: “Thank you, Thoth, for taking me as your apprentice. I’ll do my best to be a good student of magic and I’ll work for the Egyptian people.”
She then turned to the others.
Isis: “And thank you all for saving me from Argus and Hera. You did me a great service and I promise, I will never forget that. As a god of Egypt, I’m sure I can find ways to repay your kindness.”
Odysseus: “Does that mean I can have sex with all those Amazon women now?”
Athena: “Odysseus, you do know Amazon women are dominant, right? You don’t have sex with them, they have sex with you! They’ll chew you up and spit you out.”
Odysseus: “My kind of woman!”
Athena: “There’s no helping some men.”
Isis approached Athena, much to the Greek god’s surprised. Isis took her fellow god’s hands in her own and smiled a sweet and serene smile.
Isis: “And especially thank you, Athena. Your Eleven saved me. They all earned their rewards, whatever they may be, from you and your father. But you, you saved me for no other reason than you were asked to. I know I owe you my freedom and my life. I am forever indebted to you. You need only ask of me and I shall do whatever you please.”
There was a long pause as Athena blinked in surprise. She didn’t remember being so earnestly thanked for anything she had done before and was taken aback by the experience.
Odysseus: “Is this where they lesbian-kiss!?”
Caelia: “Because a lesbian kiss is somehow different than any other kiss?”
Britticus: “Hush! You guys are ruining it! I want to watch!”
Athena rolled her eyes.
Athena: “You see the people I have to put up with?”
Isis just smiled again, amused by Athena’s lack of reaction to her pledge.
Isis: “I appreciate you, Athena. Try to remember that. You have proven yourself amongst the worthiest of beings in this world.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Erm, if I might interrupt? I know this is quite a selfish request but I would very much like to remain here in Thebes and study, possibly under the esteemed tutelage, of yourselves?”
Thoth: “I cannot train a human in the ways of magic.”
The face of Hermes became saddened, though he attempted to mask it. His back became rigid and his chin held high as he fought to defy the disappointment and sorrow that welled within him. To come so close to what he had dreamt of for his whole life and be denied was a heart-breaking moment for the old man.
Thoth: “But I am sure Isis would pass on knowledge I teach her.”
Hermes Trismegistus: “Ah! Then I am your most humble servant, Lady Isis.”
Isis: “So, I have my first scholar already!”
Zoroaster: “Well, now that our tale is done, I must return to my student. I left him trying to tame butterflies.”
Caelia: “You can’t tame butterflies.”
Zoroaster: “I know that. You know that. But he doesn’t.”
The old NeSorcerer started off immediately but he did glance.
Zoroaster: “Then again, my student claims he is master of the impossible. Perhaps nothing is out of reach of any of us.”
Britticus: “These old geezers spout some stupid nonsense and think they’re a font of infinite wisdom.”
Athena: “I think you should stay out of trouble for a while, Britt.”
Britticus: “Believe it or not, I actually try to avoid trouble. It still finds me me.”
Caelia: “Maybe you’re just so attractive?”
Britticus: “There you go again! Are you deliberately jail-baiting me? I’m not into kids!”
Caelia: “I’m not a kid!”
Britticus: “That’s just the excuse those anime writers come up with for writing underage sex in their shows.”
Odysseus: “Then again, lots of people are getting married and having sex at twelve in this era!”
Caelia: “Aha! You want to marry me!?”
Britticus: “What? What? What?”
Caelia gave an evil cackle.
Greene: “I have learnt much of humanity from this experience, but I definitely think I need to take a break and return to my forest. My people will be very interested in this story.”
Caelia: “And I’ll go back to my snow. I hate all this heat. Although…”
She smirked at Britticus and blew a kiss at him.
Caelia: “Maybe I could do with a little hotness in my life.”
Britticus: “Did the world run out of faerie boys or something? I swear, I’m going celibate after this.”
That got a good laugh from almost everyone, even Hermes.
Britticus: “Laugh it up, arseholes.”
And so, Athena’s Eleven was disbanded. Hermes remained in Thebes with Isis and Thoth. Britticus, Odysseus, Greene and Caelia travelled to Greece together where they then went their separate ways. What happened between Britticus and Caelia is a mystery best left unsolved.
Taliesin: “Hey, wait a minute. Everyone forgot me!”
Taliesin, still as a cow, was left being a cow and seeking help from any random magic-user or god that would listen to a stray, talking cow.
"The story of this post is very loosely based on the story of Io[Ext 11] and the later myth of her transformation into Isis[Ext 12]. Argos[Ext 13] is the name of a real place in Greece[Ext 14] but it is also the name of a retail store, Argos (retailer)[Ext 15], in the U.K.[Ext 16], hence the reference to the land being a giant retail store. Britt's rap song at the end is Mooo![Ext 17] by Doja Cat[Ext 18]." ~ Britt the Writer
- ↑ Protestantism article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Mormonism article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Jehovah's Witnesses article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Christianity article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Islam article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Sunni Islam article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Shia article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Scientology article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Holstein Friesian Cow article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Old McDonald article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Io (mythology) article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Isis article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Argos article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Greece article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Argos (retailer) article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ United Kingdom article, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Mooo! (Official Video) video, YouTube.
- ↑ Doja Cat article, Wikipedia.