Becoming Hercules

The version you weren't meant to know

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As seen in Becoming Hercules

The Story…

 
The spawn of a dragon. The disgraced daughter of a powerful merchant. A small-statured soldier. An apprentice seer. In seven-gated Thebes, they will gather to redeem their honor, save their kingdom, and uncover secrets and truths along the way.
  With one foot in mythology and the other in supernatural fantasy, Becoming Hercules will thrill and delight readers of the Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, Circe and Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe.
 

Becoming Hercules

  Access to draft episodes is available upon request to Mythoversal Newsletter subscribers. Look for an official upcoming launch on Amazon’s upcoming Kindle Vella platform.  
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The Backstory…

 

A Failed Mission

  Sidonian Prince Cadmus was assigned by his father to locate his missing sister, Princess Europa, who was last seen playing on the beach with a wild bull.   He failed, and as a result, Cadmus could never again show his face around any of the Coastland settlements, and was effectively homeless.  

The Founding of Cadmeia

  During his search, Cadmus had met and married the lovely Harmonia. As wedding gifts from the bride’s parents, Harmonia received a necklace of enduring youthfulness, while Cadmus received a divine mandate to build a seven-gated city in the Hellenic wilderness of Boeotia.   The newlyweds followed a magical cow across the countryside.   Cadmus slew a dragon.   The couple created a band of Spartoi warriors by plowing the dragon’s teeth into a sacred field.   And to save costs, Cadmeia was built on some existing ruins using Cyclops labor.  

Cadmeia becomes Thebes

  Generations passed.   A princess got blown up during a tryst with Zeus.   A prince got turned into a deer after an encounter with Artemis.   A king got torn apart by his own family members at the urging of Dionysus.   And the people took to renaming their city Thebes, so they could pretend the previous royal scandals had all happened in some other, less lucky place.  

The Curse of Laius

  The descendants of Cadmus and Harmonia reigned over a kingdom of spreading influence and growing ambitions, supported by five powerful tribes of noblemen descended from the five original dragon-blooded Spartoi.   The Thebans also benefited from the guidance of the ancient gender-fluid seer, Tiresias.   Until one day, Good King Laius received a prophecy from Tiresias that greatly disturbed him.   As a result, a child was left to die on the slopes of Mount Kithairon, Tiresias was banished to a spire atop the Temple of Apollo, and everyone else was ordered to never speak of prophecy again.   It was all very mysterious.  

Riddle of the Sphinx

  Years later, a sphinx appeared, bringing a miasma of famine, disease, and death. The monster-infested, plague-ridden kingdom was further thrown in chaos when Good King Laius was slain on the road while seeking aid, leaving behind a widowed queen and no heir.   All seemed lost until the great hero Oedipus arrived, fleeing an unspeakable fate in his home kingdom of Corinth. Oeidpus defeated the sphinx, married Queen Jocasta, and took his place on the throne. With the wise counsel of Creon, a Spartoi-spawned magistrate from the Tribe of Echion, Oedipus brought peace and prosperity to Thebes for the next fourteen years…   …until another plague arrived, with an even greater intensity than before.  
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Prior Version

 
In a time of disease and social distancing, the seven-gated City of Thebes cowers in fear. But in the city’s darkest hour, a new hero will rise.   Following in the footsteps of Ino, a true Spartoi runs…toward death!
  Run, an original adventure in Mythoversal Thebes, began as a pandemic lockdown project. This set of poems, typed out on a vintage typewriter in a typewriting livestream, form the basis for the second and third chapters of Becoming Hercules.   The original poems will remain available to Mythoversal Newsletter subscribers.
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Run: Pandemic Poetry

 
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Sources:

  Becoming Heracles is an original story by Greg R. Fishbone, inspired by characters and settings from the Theban Cycle of Greek and Roman Mythology, drawing from works by Sophocles, Aeschylus, Ovid, and travel writer Pausanias.   During his 2nd Century visit to Thebes, Pausanias described statues to Pyrrha and Henioche, two daughters of Creon, prominently placed on the Acropolis in evidence to some now-lost story that once inspired a hero cult.  
“On the right of Apollo’s Ismenian temple are statues of women made of stone, said to be portraits of Creon’s daughters, Pyrrha and Henioche, whose legendary deeds are now known only to the keepers of their mysteries . . .”
— Pausanias, Descriptions of Greece, Boiotia IX:10.3 (paraphrased), 2nd Century CE
  Creon was the father-in-law, brother-in-law, and chief advisor to King Oedipus.   Pausanias is also the source for the characters of Alkis and Androkleia.  
“In the temple of Artemis Eukleia (Artemis of Fair Fame), they say that within the sanctuary were buried Androkleia and Alkis, daughters of Antipoine. When the Thebans were about to engage in battle with the Orchomenians, an oracle was delivered that success in the war would require a citizen of the most noble descent to make a great personal sacrifice. The House of Antipoine had the most noble ancestor, but Antipoine refused to act, and so the duty fell upon her daughters . . . Before the temple of Artemis Eukleia is a lion made of stone, said to have been dedicated by Heracles after he had defeated the Orchomenians and their king, Erginos son of Clymenos.”
— Pausanias, Descriptions of Greece, Boiotia IX:17.1 (paraphrased), 2nd Century CE

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Series
Transgender Hercules
Book
#1: Becoming Hercules
Status
In Progress


Cover image: "Jupiter Pluvius" (1819) by Joseph Gandy (1771-1843)

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Author's Notes

Sage gfishbone

Greg R. Fishbone
       
Greg R. Fishbone, Author in Residence at Mythoversal, is the former publisher of Mythic Heroes magazine and author of fantasy and sci-fi books for young readers. He is currently presenting disrupted retellings of the Iliad and Posthomerica, and the upcoming serial, Becoming Hercules, fiction set in Mythoversal Thebes.

 
  This story was originally written in prose, but it felt so much like poetry that I had to express it in a different format. Thanks for putting up with my experimentation, and let me know what you think!


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