The Runner

by Greg R. Fishbone
Pyrrha of Thebes, Book One

Tales » Greek/Roman » Pyrrha of Thebes » The Runner
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!
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The Runner is Book One of the "Pyrrha of Thebes" series, an original free-verse adventure in Mythoversal Thebes.  

Previously in the Theban Cycle...

 

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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Chapters in Verse

 
Verse-Chapter 1: "I Run" In which we meet a protagonist on the run.
   
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Verse-Chapter 2: "The Only Sounds in All of Thebes" In which an invisible terror is detected.
   
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Verse-Chapter 3: "A Prayer to Echion" In which we learn a prophecy.
   
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Verse-Chapter 4: "Inside the Citadel" In which a hidden weapon is remembered.
   
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Verse-Chapter 5: "The Knife!" In which a blade is examined and options are contemplated.
   
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Verse-Chapter 6: "What I See" In which royal connections are ultimately unhelpful.
   
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Verse-Chapter 7: "Scarred by the Battle of Fifty Brothers" In which ancient oaths are recalled.
   
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Verse-Chapter 8: "Downhill Into Udaius's Ward" In which no shelter is found.
   
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Verse-Chapter 9: "Gossip Among the Echionai" In which cruelty is recalled.
   
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Verse-Chapter 10: "The Main Road" In which death rides a black cart.
   
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Verse-Chapter 11: "Looking Back" In which we learn that Hope is not the only thing with feathers.
   
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Verse-Chapter 12: "Acknowledged" In which Pyrrha names her pursuer.
   
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Verse-Chapter 13: "Together through the Spartoi Wards" In which pleasantries are exchanged.
   
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Verse-Chapter 14: "I Imagine Androkleia" In which friends would be soooooo jealous.
   
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Verse-Chapter 15: "Just So" In which prophecy is overrated.
   
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Verse-Chapter 16: "A Fickleness of Prophecy" In which madness becomes a possibility.
   
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Verse-Chapter 17: "Chores Without End" In which Hermes gets down to business.
   
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Verse-Chapter 18: "Toward the Graveyard of Humanity" In which a future is revealed.
   
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Verse-Chapter 19: "The Finish Line" In which an ending arrives, to be continued.
   
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Sources:

  Pyrrha of Thebes 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 Apollon’s Ismenian temple are statues of women made of stone, said to be portraits of Kreon’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, 2nd Century CE
  Since Creon was the father-in-law, brother-in-law, and chief advisor to King Oedipus, Pyrrha and her family would have had an insider view of all the unfolding drama.

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The Runner

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Author's Notes

Sage gfishbone

Greg R. Fishbone
       

 
  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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