Tuesday, 3 June 2014

How The War Of The Gods Began

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'You said the good soldier gives up what is good for them.  The good soldier just remembers what is good for their people’s survival.' Spiderfingers observed his soldier stroking the seat, watching her chuckle at whatever it was the vacant place was telling her.  Spiderfingers became aware of how inhuman he'd become.  
Once upon a time, there was a man-god and his name was Boleraam.  He lived in The Oma, the land of the gods, but he was unhappy.  He didn’t fit in.  When he visited Earth, people feared him.  When he tried to play with his half-brothers and sisters, they bullied him, ‘You’re not our real brother,’ they would say, ‘Your mother is human.  Humans are weak.  Humans are our toys.’
Boleraam didn’t agree.  He loved his mother and her family but he couldn’t live with her on Earth.  Her neighbours feared him, no matter how much he smiled.
Boleraam’s father was called Zeus and he was the new king of the gods.  He tried hard to love his son, but he had always felt nervous around him.  Zeus was unsure if he should make Boleraam bow down to him like the other humans, or if he should keep trying to show his son that there was so much fun in being a god.  Zeus’ new wife was the goddess Eros and she hated Boleraam with all her heart.  She had never forgiven Zeus for having a baby with an earth woman.
‘It’s not too late to give him away to a gypsy to look after,’ she would always say.
‘No,’ said the High-Father,
‘Boleraam is my son…he will be a powerful god one day, just you wait and see.’
Zeus had a plan to make his son more like him.  He gave Boleraam a brand new city to call his own. He hoped that Boleraam would enjoy having his own people to look after.  Zeus told his son,
‘I give you the land of Orealia! Rule its people well!'
And so Boleraam travelled to the outskirts of the Oma, to the land of Orealia where he would rule ... in his own way.
Most gods are like the school bully in the playground.  They like to play tricks on people who can’t fight back.  Gods have no mercy on humans.  They see them as toys to play with.  Boleraam however was different.  He had spent more time with his Earth mother than he had with his father, who was often away fighting other gods that wanted his kingdom, or his attention.  Boleraam couldn’t tell the difference.  He was sure there wasn’t one.
Boleraam didn’t mistreat his people.  He didn’t mind when any of them forgot his birthday.  He didn’t punish anyone for not praying in his temples.  There weren’t any.  He had closed them all down and told the priests to become fishermen and spend their time playing with their families.
When Zeus’ spies told him how nice Boleraam was, Zeus became angry.  He paid a visit to his son and asked, ‘Why can’t you be like your brothers and sisters? If a human being doesn’t give me what I want, I get angry.  Why don’t you?’
Boleraam shook his head, ‘I like them father.  Sometimes I hear them talking about me and they say nice things.  Not because they are afraid I’ll hurt them, or send them to Uncles' house, but because they want to.’ Boleraam’s father couldn’t understand his son.  People were for fun and games, and if they didn’t work the way they were supposed to, they could be broken, thrown away into the dark place his brother Hades lived.
‘If you won’t rule the people of Orealia, no one will!’ And with his lightening sword, Zeus destroyed the land of Orealia.  Boleraam ran away.
‘Go!’ shouted his father, ‘Don’t come back until you've learnt how to be a true god.’

Boleraam ran far, far away, a long distance from the ruins of Orealia.  He ran past the borders of the known lands, far from the centre of The Oma.  He found himself in a large jungle land that had no name.  He tried to think of a name for his new home, for he promised he would never live with other gods again.
‘Um?’ But he couldn’t think of one.  He ummed and erred until he decided to take a nap.  When he awoke he found himself surrounded by large creatures.  They looked like bears but had tusks like elephants.  The creatures had never seen anything like Boleraam and decided to worship him out of fear.
‘No…don’t do that.  I won’t be your god…I am Boleraam, and I’ll be your friend.’ Soon, after much hard work, the creatures and Boleraam learnt how to talk to each other.  He learnt that the land he was in was called Un and that these creatures were called Dilf’s.  Their biggest village was called Po and they used strange doors that looked like mirrors to travel long distances.  You walked into one and out the other side you'd pop ... miles away, in a different land.  Boleraam told the Dilf's about his father and that they would have to learn to defend themselves.  One day his father might come here looking for more people to bow down to him.  Boleraam wouldn’t let what had happened to Orealia happen to Po.  He would protect his new people from the gods.  And he made a promise to himself.  It was a special promise, so special that he said it out loud to himself every night, before he went to sleep in his mud hut, ‘If I ever forget to treat the Dilf’s properly, I’ll leave Po.  I’ll stay away from them forever.’

After many years Po, Hok and many other great Dilf villages were trained in defending themselves. Boleraam had taught his followers all the fighting styles his uncle Aries had used to impress him when he was young.  In return the Dilfs shared their legends and myths with Boleraam.  The Dilfs were a proud race and Boleraam shared their pride through falling in love with their fairy tales and in the retelling of their oldest stories.  The lessons in each fable gave him a strength that he never knew he had, although, Boleraam knew a dark truth: We will need to defend ourselves soon.
Boleraam's conclusions were soon realised.  The Dilf’s were forced to use their strength to defend themselves from monsters that worked for other gods, creatures that had finally discovered the great land of Un and all its gold and honey.  The Dilfs would make great playthings for their masters, the gods.  Soon Zeus’ spies told him about a race of bear-people who were led by a half god called Boleraam.
‘Now he understands!’ he said happily to Eros who put on her best smile for her husband,
‘Now he has become a war god! He did it all on his own too!’ Proud that his son had made a name for himself in a foreign land, Zeus sent his brother Apollo to the land of Un to invite Boleraam back home.  Zeus wisely decided not to journey to Village Po himself.  It would be embarrassing for him if the rumours weren’t quite true.  If his son was still mad and wouldn't take the invitation to return to where he belonged.  Which is exactly what happened.
‘But why?’ asked Apollo, ‘Come home.  This is no place for a god.’
‘I’m sorry uncle, but you don’t understand,’ replied Boleraam,
‘I like living here.  This is where I fit in.’
‘Fine, but visit your father soon, O.K? You can leave statues of yourself here so that those bear-people of yours can pray to you whilst you’re away.’
‘No,’ said Boleraam, ‘I’ll never do that.  I’m not their god, uncle.  Gods ruin lives.’
Apollo had a temper nearly as furious as his brother.  He slapped Boleraam in the face.  Boleraam’s Dilf’s screamed with rage.  They attacked Apollo who was not a fighting god.  That was why he was always surrounded with body guards.  These guards however were no match for the powerful bear-like Dilf’s.  No one had EVER stood up to Apollo before, not like this.  News of Boleraam and his Dilf’s spread all over The Oma and soon, many half-gods travelled from far and wide to join his growing army.  Forgotten daughters of selfish gods made their way to Village Po.  Half-boys that had been bullied by their full god families packed belongings to travel to Un.  They wished to join forces with Boleraam who was fast becoming famous.  He was given many names: The Rebel God.  The Trouble Idol.  Boleraam, the God of Chaos.  And this, Gideon, this was how the war of the gods began.

O.K, but it's time for your bedtime.

Mummy loves you too.

Yes, so does Danger-Man.

Yes, and you can play with him all you like next week, O.K?
Steph's relationship with her son was more comfortable at a distance, over the phone, a telephonic bond which afforded the mother ample opportunity to write strange stories without interruption.
Saturday was devoted to shopping, storytelling and napping, whereas Sunday afternoon would be remembered for water games: 
        Playing battleships with Gideon had always been joyful for Steph, despite her relationship with boats, thought Steph, chastising herself for fictionalising her downtime.  Precious few moments with Gideon were just that.  Her hands ferried her ambulance dinghy around her son’s back.  He drove his pirate ship after her,
‘Where is she?’ said Gideon skirting his boat along the bathwater, ‘We must rescue the princess!’
‘I don’t know,’ replied Steph her Lego craft surfing through islands of floating toys, ‘She must be here, somewhere?’
‘Maybe she’s drowned?’ said Gideon, to which Steph immediately responded,
‘No!’ her boat submerged under the surface of bubbles, ‘Here she is!’ Steph’s ambulance boat had resurfaced again with a pink Lego lady aboard.
‘My turn to hide her!’ said Gideon snatching the statuette from the bow of Steph’s boat, ‘My turn!’
Howard’s knock at the door arrived all too soon.
'That will be daddy Gideon, come on, drying time!' She lifted him out of the bath handing him a towel as she ran down her creaking steps to the door.
'Sorry, water games,' said Steph as she greeted Howard, a short man bespectacled with red roses in hand.
'That's O.K.  Here you go.' he said offering her the bunch of flowers.
        'You really didn't have to,' said Steph, unable to meet his radiant gaze, 'I'll just put these in some water and go get the little monster.' Steph closed the door pretending to herself that Howard didn't raise his hand, open his mouth, all signs of timid protest regarding yet another doorstop wait.  Roses slung to the table in the hall, Steph ran up the stairs regretting her indulgence in the bath-time games.  Now she had Howard at the door and Gideon's toys all over the house, not neatly packed away for Howard's five thirty pick-up.  Their ritual of afternoon snoozing (usually in front of the telly to the Thomas the Tank Engine DVD) would have to wait till the next sleep over.
Howard’s car disappearing down Steph’s road was her signal to rush to her bedroom, to open her laptop and curse its waking speed.  As she sat thumbing her way through Spiderfingers' diary, Steph noticed her prayer mat in the reflection of her desk mirror.  She got up, strode to the bed to shove the dusty mat further underneath it.  The outline of surrounding dirt served to remind her of how badly the house needed cleaning, but she had little time.  Activities like housework were obstacles. With Gideon gone, Steph felt free, able to step out of the role of mother; justified in the relinquishment of anything that might slow the development of her art. 
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4. Despite good will of cheerleader, Verbal and/or physical conflict takes place.
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(N.B The comments posted below pertain to an extended version of this story, truncated due to issues of pace). 

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